Best Practices for Testing Electric Vehicle Charging Points | Major


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“Don’t miss a great business opportunity, make sure you are properly equipped to test the charging points of an electric vehicle,” says Megger’s Peter Wade. In the past five years, electric vehicle technology has made huge successes in the transportation market, and it is certain that within a decade, electric vehicles (EVs) will be ubiquitous on the country’s streets. However, one of the factors limiting the growth of electric vehicles is that charging points are sometimes few and far between, leading drivers to worry about where and when they can recharge. As a result, there is a strong demand for new electric vehicle charging points for public use and in private homes, which has resulted in it becoming one of the fastest growing areas of business for electrical contractors. As expected, there are strict requirements for the electrical protection included at the charging points. The basic requirements, set forth in the IET Wiring Regulations, are that the charging point must be shielded at the circuit source, or integrally at the charging point at the inbound supply position, by a Type A RCD / RCBO. There should also be a requirement to automatically disconnect the supply in the event of a DC fault above 6 mA. Detailed requirements regarding electric vehicle charging points are contained in IEC 61851-1: 2017, Conductive Charging Systems for Electric Vehicles – Part 1: General Requirements and IEC 60364-7-722: 2018 Low Voltage Electrical Installations – Part 7-722: Requirements for Installations or Special sites – supplies for electric vehicles. As a first step, any contractor intending to take advantage of the lucrative electric vehicle charging point installation / testing market must ensure that it is fully informed of these requirements. Their second step should be to ensure that they have suitable testing equipment to ensure that requirements are met in practice. Testing will always be required at newly installed charging points and may also be required later as part of a routine inspection and testing or if an error is suspected at any time. Some modern multifunctional stabilization testers, such as the Megger MFT1741 +, have the necessary functions needed to test electric vehicle charging points, but cannot be used on their own to perform a full range of tests. This is because in order to test the charging point it is necessary to simulate the vehicle connection. In particular, the person conducting the test should be able to initiate the charging process by providing the charging point with the appropriate combination of proximity pilot (PP) and control pilot (CP) signals. To make this possible, and to make it easier to connect the tester to the charging point, the test equipment manufacturers have introduced adapters, such as the Megger EVCA210-UK, that are specifically designed to test the EV charge point. Generally, these adapters are supplied with a type 2 plug for charging points that have a type 2 plug attached to or mounted on the board, which is by far the most common. However, some manufacturers also offer a Type 1 plug, such as Megger EVCA210-UK, to meet the needs of charging points with a Type 1 socket. The most popular vehicle that requires this is a Mitsubishi PHEV. Be warned, not all transformer manufacturers include the type 1 plug as standard! Features that users should look for in an EV charging point adapter include selector switches to adjust CP and PP status indication, push-buttons to simulate CP faults and ground faults to ensure the charging point output is properly and safely disconnected and a pre-test PE test guide. This ensures that there are no dangerous voltages present on the PE conductor. Finally, with the availability of single and three phase charging points, it is advantageous that the switch provides the savings for connecting test instruments with not only the mains socket, but also the 4mm plug ports for L1, L2, L3, N, and PE. Ideally, auxiliary contact points should also be available to access the CP signal so that, if needed, it can be monitored with an oscilloscope as an aid in error detection. Megger EVCA210 integrates all the above features. According to Energy Supplier EDF, there are currently 30,000 general electric vehicle charging points across the UK, with 10,000 added in 2019 alone. The growth rate of expansion can be expected with confidence, which means that the installation and testing of electric vehicle charging points represents an excellent business opportunity for electrical contractors. Working efficiently and effectively in this growing but competitive market depends on having the right tools for the job – and that includes reliable and versatile testing equipment.


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