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Why do we need EV charger protections and safety elements?

Written by Tudor Marchis

Updated: May 17, 2022
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

EV charger protections and safety elements are among the most important things to look for when buying an electric vehicle charging station.

As the EV industry grows, there is a lot of attention (for good reasons) on the EV charging station itself.

However, there's another aspect to consider that many vendors may get wrong: safety. You, as an end-user, want to be safe while charging, and you also wish the charger not to present any danger to the public or your property.

Many manufacturers claim their chargers have all the necessary safety features, but not all respect every safety standard.

Furthermore, you may want to double-check if the chosen charging station indeed incorporates a 6 mA DC leakage detection device.

This will dictate what type of RCD you need to use to protect yourself and your family, as the price between the two classes in question varies drastically, often as much as the cost of the charging station.

ev charger protection

The RCD (residual current device) can often be overlooked, but its importance is crucial in preventing serious harm due to electrical shock.

You may be thinking that the usual circuit breaker (MCB) installed in the consumer unit (fuse board) may be more than enough.

Still, the circuit breaker's goal is to protect the electrical system and wiring from overcurrent and short-circuits, whereas the RCD protects people and pets from electrocution.

ev charger protection
Source: Doepke Tec Art 08 Selecting the correct Type of RCD 18th Edition

So, what type of RCD should be chosen for adequate protection?

According to the IEC 61851 standard, any charging station must be protected against 6mA smooth DC and 30mA AC fault current.

The AC type RCD is not suited for electrical devices since it induces a pulsating direct current (DC) that is not detectable by this form of RCD and is even outlawed in some countries.

The A type works for most electronic devices, but specific devices might create a smooth DC current in the network, which can blind the type A RCD.

In such a case, the type A RCD would not trigger even when a fault has occurred. Faulty charging stations can sometimes cause higher DC currents, making this type useless.

The B type RCD is the go-to solution for safety when installing EV chargers, but it is also the most expensive. A good quality B type RCCB can cost around 500-600 €. But no price is too high for your safety, isn't it?

To protect our customers and their loved ones and save them the high cost of type B RCDs, our 1P7K charger has an integrated 6mA DC detection device (RDC-DD) so that it can be installed on any circuit protected by a type A RCD, which is often already installed in your home.

Our product, the 1P7K has an integrated RCD protection module that detects both 6mA DC and 30 mA AC. Surely, an A type RCCB has to be installed on the power supply, but this is way cheaper than the B type, usually around 20-30 €.

The integrated protection module within our charger makes sure the external protection is not “blinded” by the smooth residual DC.

The 1P7K also has integrated overheating protection meaning that if the charger overheats, it lowers the charging current until the temperature stabilizes. If the temperature does not drop enough, the charging stops, protecting your home and the charger from any damage.

Please check carefully when choosing your desired EV charger so it has all the necessary protections integrated and that it respects the standards accordingly. Otherwise, you might have to spend extra money on installing external devices or end up with a potentially dangerous charging station.

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