Powerline communication (PLC)

  1. PLC communication description

  2. Planning Installation and Networking

  3. Influences on the PLC network

  4. Installation & Electrical connection

  5. Powering and connection to the charging stations

  6. ZAPTEC App

  7. Installation of additional charging stations

  8. Troubleshooting

 

PLC communication description

Powerline communication (PLC) is a communication method that uses the local power grid (230V) to provide internet connection to other Powerline devices (charging stations). The PLC module is thus a communication converter, which converts wired internet connection (network cable) to internet over the local power grid (Powerline).

 

Planning of installation and networking

 

Influences on the PLC network

The following points may affect the signal strength of the PLC network:

1. Total cable distance

Cable length has a direct effect on the signal strength of the charging stations. In addition to having one PLC per cable run / course, it is therefore also important to consider the location of the PLC module. If the supply from the switchboard is located far away from the charging system, the PLC module should be placed closer to the charging stations.

This is also one of the reasons for not connecting the PLC module with all three phases. The charging stations communicate with the PLC only between L1 and Zero, connection on the L2 and L3 terminals on the PLC module will lead to increased cable length the units try to communicate over.

2. Numbers of connected devices

A PLC module has a limit on the number of devices it can communicate with. Exceeding this number will lead to unstable communication over the PLC. It is therefore important to isolate PLC communication on each course by encrypting the PLC module and associated charging stations.

Info om ulike plc moduler

3. Protective Earth conditions

Grounding conditions to the PLC module and the charging station are important to obtain good signal quality over the mains, PLC communication uses the ground connection for positioning the frequency range PLC communicates over. Thus, make sure that the PLC module has an adequate earth connection, if the earth connection is insufficient or affected by external factors (Eg: Earth fault). This can lead to the PLC not being able to maintain sufficient signal quality for stable PLC communication. Without a ground connection, the PLC communication range will be significantly reduced.

4. Local disturbances from the power grid

Will lead to reduced stability and signal quality on PLC communication. Noise from external sources (eg frequency converter, etc.) can be difficult to map, but this can be limited by installing a filter before the PLC module.

The maximum number of charging stations connected to a PLC module will depend on the points above, but a general recommendation is 20 charging stations per PLC module.

 

Notes in ZAPTEC Portal 

It is recommended that information about installed PLC modules be registered in the note field in the ZAPTEC Portal. So that it is easy to find out which PLC module is installed in the installation / charging system.
 
BILDE av notatfelt

BLOKK

Tips:
Scan the small QR code with your mobile phone so that the information on it
the bottom information sticker can be easily copied and pasted into
note field in ZAPTEC Portal.

This can be done BEFORE, DURING or AFTER installing the PLC module.

 

Installation & Electrical connection

BILDE oversikt PLC

BILDE Kobling

*Example of electrical connection of PLC

 

1. Assembly
PLC communication module is mounted on your rail. If there is a long distance from the distribution board to the charging stations, it is recommended to mount the PLC module in a housing near the charging stations. But the length of the network cable should not exceed 90 meters.

2. Upstream protection breaker
It is recommended to install a 10A fuse before the PLC module. PLC module is usually mounted after a 63A power circuit, but the connection terminals are 1.5-2.5 mm2.

An upstream protection breaker also simplifies any troubleshooting / restart of the PLC module.

Info:
This protection is not registered in the ZAPTEC Portal,
and has no direct function against either ZAPTEC Portal or ZapCloud.


3. Coupling
IMPORTANT: Only use connection terminals marked L1, N and PE.


ZAPTEC charging stations communicate on PLC over L1 and N, PLC module should therefore not be connected as 3 phase. See example sketch of PLC connection.

On IT networks, L3 is connected to N terminal, See example sketch of connection of PLC above.

 

Powering and connection to the charging stations

When a new PLC module starts up for the first time, it is not connected to any charging stations. The LIGHT indication on the PLC module will not light up in mceclip2.pngSince the PLC module is not connected to one / several charging stations.

To get the charging stations on the PLC network, they must be assigned the same network key (encryption key) as the PLC module. This is done using the ZAPTEC App.

When one or more charging stations are assigned the same network key as the PLC module, the indicators will light up: GREEN-RED-GREEN

After all the charging stations to be connected to a PLC module have been assigned a network key (encryption key), the number of devices on the PLC network will be the number of charging stations + PLC:

 

Installation of additional charging stations


When retrofitting charging stations on a course with an encrypted PLC module, the charging stations must be encrypted via the ZAPTEC App.

Info:
PLC module purchased after Nov.2019 comes pre-encrypted with QR code
PLC module purchased before Nov.2019 is without encryption and without QR code


PLC module without QR code? See this section for retrofitting
Encryption of PLC module + charging stations can be performed in the ZAPTEC App
If the PLC module has a QR code in this format:

BILDE QR kode

Use QR code to connect the charging station to the installed PLC module.

The charging station must be encrypted to get online from the PLC network, this is described in below, ZAPTEC App

It is also possible to contact Zaptec Support to get technical assistance to encrypt retrofitted charging stations.

This then presupposes that there is at least 1 charging station that has an internet connection to the ZAPTEC Portal.

 

ZAPTEC APP


Below in the steps below is how to connect the charging stations to the PLC module with QR code.

1. Stand near the charging station

2. Open the ZAPTEC App
 
3. Select ACTIONS
4. Select Configure ZAPTEC devices
5. Wait for the ZAPTEC App to scan for available charging stations through Bluetoot or Press "Show List" to show available charging stations
6. Enter the PIN code of the current charging station

The PIN code can be found at the following locations:
1. ZAPTEC Portal (Charging Station Settings)
2. Sticker on the box of the charging station
3. Sticker behind user manual
4. Sticker on lightning bag with SmartKey and 4 nuts
 
7. Select PLC
8. Select Scan Network Name
9. Choose Camera to scan QR code on the PLC module in ZAPTEC App
10. The QR code will be scanned automatically, press Save in the upper right corner in ZAPTEC App
11. The charging station will now receive IP address from the Network, and the number of PLC units will increase.
 
Repeat step 3 to 11 for each charging station to be connected to the PLC module
 
ZAPTEC App -> Actions -> Configure ZAPTEC Devices -> Charger ID -> PLC -> PLC Network

Copy the Network Key from charging station

If the charging station shows RED with UNSECURED in the ZAPTEC App (PLC network)
this means that the charging station is unencrypted

 

How to use an existing network key for retrofitting charging stations


Retrieve network key from existing charging station & Check if charging station is encrypted


Network key is recommended to be copied into the note field in ZAPTEC Portal.
So that it is available when retrofitting charging stations


Alternatively, the network key can be copied from another charging station as
is connected to the same PLC module via the ZAPTEC App.


If the installed PLC module and the remaining charging stations are encrypted, you must copy the network key (SECURED) from another charging station or from the note field in ZAPTEC Portal.


ZAPTEC App -> Actions -> Configure ZAPTEC Devices -> Charger ID -> PLC -> PLC Network

PLC Network menu, Press "Set Network Key" and paste Network key, then Press "SET"

After entering the correct network key, return to the configuration menu, then Press "Save" to save the changes to the charging station.

 

Troubleshooting

Skjermbilde_2020-06-14_kl._17.44.41.png

The LEDs on the PLC module indicate the following:

mceclip1.png: Lights GREEN when PLC is energized.

mceclip1.png: Not lit: PLC is NOT powered

mceclip2.png: Lights / flashes RED when the PLC module communicates with one / several charging stations.

mceclip2.png: If it is GREEN, it has no contact with other devices on the PLC network.

This is usually because the charging stations are not immediately encrypted
network key as PLC.

mceclip3.png: Flashes GREEN / YELLOW when in contact with router.

mceclip3.png: If there is no indication here, it is not connected to an open port on the router (firewall). Even if it communicates with the router, it does not mean that it has internet access.

If there is a firewall and blocked outputs on the network,
then the following ports must be opened: Internet & network requirements

The charging stations communicate with the PLC via L1 and Zero, it is therefore very important that the phase order is the same on the entire charging system.

If the charging stations are offline and the light on the PLC is lit GREEN-RED-GREEN, check the internet connection and/or router

If one / more charging stations are offline, but the PLC is lit GREEN-RED-GREEN, check in the ZAPTEC App if the charging station is encrypted.

 

If the PLC network seems unstable, it may be due to too many charging stations connected to a PLC, too long cable runs or disturbances in the mains. Feel free to contact ZAPTEC Support to check this.

  

PLC module delivered AFTER November 2019 from ZAPTEC



 

PLC module delivered BEFORE November 2019 from ZAPTEC

 

How to use an existing network key for retrofitting charging stations

See the instructions in ZAPTEC App section

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