My Experience with eMotorWerks

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My Experience with eMotorWerks

Electric Vehicle Discussion List mailing list
Last year I bought an EV Juicebox 40.  I did not opt for the Pro model because I did not see much value in the internet side of the product.  I mostly liked the fact that I could max out my circuit with it even though I do not currently have any vehicles which charge at that high of a rate.  Still even the non-pro version comes with some internet dependent features some of which were interesting enough to me to connect the charger to my WiFi and download the App on my phone.  Then last summer I got an email telling me that eMotorWerks had tried to push out an update to my charger that had disabled the WiFi and it was no longer online.  They needed it back to fix the problem and offered me a free replacement which they were willing to ship out first and then let me return mine.  That seemed reasonable and the whole exchange process was pretty painless.  It just took a few emails and a couple of forms, and they paid for everything.

It did bug me a bit that they had botched an over the air update.  I have spent a career in IT with large portions of it dedicated to automatically updating networked computers, so I have some sensitivity to the caution needed to successfully pull this type of thing off.

I got the replacement charger and hooked it up to my WiFi.  Then a couple of months later I noticed that it was once again not connected to my WiFi. I opened a ticket with their support organization and asked them if they had perhaps once again busted my charger for me.  They did not directly answer that question, but did once again offer to exchange the unit.

At this point I did not jump on the exchange.  First of all I did not feel like doing the paperwork again even though it was fairly easy.  Mostly though it bothered me that they possibly kept breaking my charger.  Not in a way that kept my cars from charging, but how was I to know that would always be the case.  I kept dragging my feet on the exchange as well as badgering them for a root cause.  Eventually they claimed that the WiFi chip goes into a safe mode when it experiences a weak wifi signal.  This did not sound right to me on many levels, although perhaps it is true.  My charger is physically perhaps 6 feet away from my Access Point.  Also, if it were hardware related why would they ship me a new unit with the same problem as the one they had to replace already?  Maybe I am being too skeptical...

Eventually, I decided I would go forward with the exchange, but not connect the new charger to my WiFi.  Then I would have the functionality I paid for if I ever decided I want it, but not have to worry about any unwanted updates.  Alas, I took too long making up my mind and they closed the support ticket for me, so rather than have them reopen it, I just decided to keep my current charger as is.

I did send a note to their Customer Service department letting them know of my dissatisfaction and that I would not be buying any additional chargers from them or recommending them to fellow EVrs.  It is very possible that I will be adding a second Level 2 charger in my garage in the near future, but it will not be another JuiceBox.

Damon
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Re: My Experience with eMotorWerks

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That’s unfortunate. Do they not offer the ability to hardwire it to your modem or router to ensure no connectivity issues?
I personally try to do that with anything that has a wired and wireless ability if at all possible for the best possible performance, whether it’s a smart TV, XBox, Play Station, or an EV charger for that matter.

Grant

Sent from ProtonMail Mobile

On Mon, Jan 7, 2019 at 17:57, Damon Henry via EV <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Last year I bought an EV Juicebox 40. I did not opt for the Pro model because I did not see much value in the internet side of the product. I mostly liked the fact that I could max out my circuit with it even though I do not currently have any vehicles which charge at that high of a rate. Still even the non-pro version comes with some internet dependent features some of which were interesting enough to me to connect the charger to my WiFi and download the App on my phone. Then last summer I got an email telling me that eMotorWerks had tried to push out an update to my charger that had disabled the WiFi and it was no longer online. They needed it back to fix the problem and offered me a free replacement which they were willing to ship out first and then let me return mine. That seemed reasonable and the whole exchange process was pretty painless. It just took a few emails and a couple of forms, and they paid for everything.
>
> It did bug me a bit that they had botched an over the air update. I have spent a career in IT with large portions of it dedicated to automatically updating networked computers, so I have some sensitivity to the caution needed to successfully pull this type of thing off.
>
> I got the replacement charger and hooked it up to my WiFi. Then a couple of months later I noticed that it was once again not connected to my WiFi. I opened a ticket with their support organization and asked them if they had perhaps once again busted my charger for me. They did not directly answer that question, but did once again offer to exchange the unit.
>
> At this point I did not jump on the exchange. First of all I did not feel like doing the paperwork again even though it was fairly easy. Mostly though it bothered me that they possibly kept breaking my charger. Not in a way that kept my cars from charging, but how was I to know that would always be the case. I kept dragging my feet on the exchange as well as badgering them for a root cause. Eventually they claimed that the WiFi chip goes into a safe mode when it experiences a weak wifi signal. This did not sound right to me on many levels, although perhaps it is true. My charger is physically perhaps 6 feet away from my Access Point. Also, if it were hardware related why would they ship me a new unit with the same problem as the one they had to replace already? Maybe I am being too skeptical...
>
> Eventually, I decided I would go forward with the exchange, but not connect the new charger to my WiFi. Then I would have the functionality I paid for if I ever decided I want it, but not have to worry about any unwanted updates. Alas, I took too long making up my mind and they closed the support ticket for me, so rather than have them reopen it, I just decided to keep my current charger as is.
>
> I did send a note to their Customer Service department letting them know of my dissatisfaction and that I would not be buying any additional chargers from them or recommending them to fellow EVrs. It is very possible that I will be adding a second Level 2 charger in my garage in the near future, but it will not be another JuiceBox.
>
> Damon
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Re: My Experience with eMotorWerks

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Mine has WiFi only, no Ethernet port.  I think that is the case with all their chargers, but I have not thoroughly researched it. Regardless, an improper update could just as easily break an Ethernet connection as a WiFi connection.  For instance it could reset the Gateway address leaving the charger unable to reach the internet.

Damon
________________________________
From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, January 7, 2019 3:12 PM
To: Damon Henry via EV
Cc: Damon Henry
Subject: Re: [EVDL] My Experience with eMotorWerks

That’s unfortunate. Do they not offer the ability to hardwire it to your modem or router to ensure no connectivity issues?
I personally try to do that with anything that has a wired and wireless ability if at all possible for the best possible performance, whether it’s a smart TV, XBox, Play Station, or an EV charger for that matter.

Grant

Sent from ProtonMail Mobile


On Mon, Jan 7, 2019 at 17:57, Damon Henry via EV <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
Last year I bought an EV Juicebox 40. I did not opt for the Pro model because I did not see much value in the internet side of the product. I mostly liked the fact that I could max out my circuit with it even though I do not currently have any vehicles which charge at that high of a rate. Still even the non-pro version comes with some internet dependent features some of which were interesting enough to me to connect the charger to my WiFi and download the App on my phone. Then last summer I got an email telling me that eMotorWerks had tried to push out an update to my charger that had disabled the WiFi and it was no longer online. They needed it back to fix the problem and offered me a free replacement which they were willing to ship out first and then let me return mine. That seemed reasonable and the whole exchange process was pretty painless. It just took a few emails and a couple of forms, and they paid for everything.

It did bug me a bit that they had botched an over the air update. I have spent a career in IT with large portions of it dedicated to automatically updating networked computers, so I have some sensitivity to the caution needed to successfully pull this type of thing off.

I got the replacement charger and hooked it up to my WiFi. Then a couple of months later I noticed that it was once again not connected to my WiFi. I opened a ticket with their support organization and asked them if they had perhaps once again busted my charger for me. They did not directly answer that question, but did once again offer to exchange the unit.

At this point I did not jump on the exchange. First of all I did not feel like doing the paperwork again even though it was fairly easy. Mostly though it bothered me that they possibly kept breaking my charger. Not in a way that kept my cars from charging, but how was I to know that would always be the case. I kept dragging my feet on the exchange as well as badgering them for a root cause. Eventually they claimed that the WiFi chip goes into a safe mode when it experiences a weak wifi signal. This did not sound right to me on many levels, although perhaps it is true. My charger is physically perhaps 6 feet away from my Access Point. Also, if it were hardware related why would they ship me a new unit with the same problem as the one they had to replace already? Maybe I am being too skeptical...

Eventually, I decided I would go forward with the exchange, but not connect the new charger to my WiFi. Then I would have the functionality I paid for if I ever decided I want it, but not have to worry about any unwanted updates. Alas, I took too long making up my mind and they closed the support ticket for me, so rather than have them reopen it, I just decided to keep my current charger as is.

I did send a note to their Customer Service department letting them know of my dissatisfaction and that I would not be buying any additional chargers from them or recommending them to fellow EVrs. It is very possible that I will be adding a second Level 2 charger in my garage in the near future, but it will not be another JuiceBox.

Damon
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Re: My Experience with eMotorWerks

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I have the JuiceBox Pro 40 (for the last 4-5 years now).  Once or twice
in that time it has dropped off my wifi, but I was able to get it back
on by power cycling it, and following the "initial setup" procedure.
(i.e. it had gone to a "safe mode" and lost my wifi password, but I was
able to reset it and get it back on the network without shipping it back.)

In all cases the EVSE still charged my vehicle, even if it had lost
network connectivity.

EMotorWorks has been very accommodating for other issues I've had with
it (that ended up being a problem with my charger in the vehicle, not
the EVSE), and I've been happy with their service and product.

If I need a new EVSE I plan on buying their current Pro 40 model (which
now comes with UL certification.....mine is old enough it was before
they spent the money for the certification, although basically the same
unit.)

Jay

On 1/7/19 5:57 PM, Damon Henry via EV wrote:

> Last year I bought an EV Juicebox 40.  I did not opt for the Pro model because I did not see much value in the internet side of the product.  I mostly liked the fact that I could max out my circuit with it even though I do not currently have any vehicles which charge at that high of a rate.  Still even the non-pro version comes with some internet dependent features some of which were interesting enough to me to connect the charger to my WiFi and download the App on my phone.  Then last summer I got an email telling me that eMotorWerks had tried to push out an update to my charger that had disabled the WiFi and it was no longer online.  They needed it back to fix the problem and offered me a free replacement which they were willing to ship out first and then let me return mine.  That seemed reasonable and the whole exchange process was pretty painless.  It just took a few emails and a couple of forms, and they paid for everything.
>
> It did bug me a bit that they had botched an over the air update.  I have spent a career in IT with large portions of it dedicated to automatically updating networked computers, so I have some sensitivity to the caution needed to successfully pull this type of thing off.
>
> I got the replacement charger and hooked it up to my WiFi.  Then a couple of months later I noticed that it was once again not connected to my WiFi. I opened a ticket with their support organization and asked them if they had perhaps once again busted my charger for me.  They did not directly answer that question, but did once again offer to exchange the unit.
>
> At this point I did not jump on the exchange.  First of all I did not feel like doing the paperwork again even though it was fairly easy.  Mostly though it bothered me that they possibly kept breaking my charger.  Not in a way that kept my cars from charging, but how was I to know that would always be the case.  I kept dragging my feet on the exchange as well as badgering them for a root cause.  Eventually they claimed that the WiFi chip goes into a safe mode when it experiences a weak wifi signal.  This did not sound right to me on many levels, although perhaps it is true.  My charger is physically perhaps 6 feet away from my Access Point.  Also, if it were hardware related why would they ship me a new unit with the same problem as the one they had to replace already?  Maybe I am being too skeptical...
>
> Eventually, I decided I would go forward with the exchange, but not connect the new charger to my WiFi.  Then I would have the functionality I paid for if I ever decided I want it, but not have to worry about any unwanted updates.  Alas, I took too long making up my mind and they closed the support ticket for me, so rather than have them reopen it, I just decided to keep my current charger as is.
>
> I did send a note to their Customer Service department letting them know of my dissatisfaction and that I would not be buying any additional chargers from them or recommending them to fellow EVrs.  It is very possible that I will be adding a second Level 2 charger in my garage in the near future, but it will not be another JuiceBox.
>
> Damon
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Re: My Experience with eMotorWerks

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Damon,
Thanks for sharing your experience.
We are very aware of the issue you are reporting.

First a full disclosure:
As of this morning (Jan 7, 2019), I will be responsible for all hardware (electronics) development at eMotorWerks.
This means I can influence the future (not the past, did not get the flux capacitor to work yet).

Now for a bit of background:
The WiFi chip in the JuiceBox is updated using the service of a 3rd party. We are responsible for the development and testing of the code, then we push it to the cloud and it is transferred (OTA) outside of our control. We can only prepare a release and pull the trigger. That process has not always worked well as you have noticed, for that I can only offer an apology, not a solution. The communication with the 3rd party is outside my direct observation so I do not know the exact status and whether the issues that we were experiencing in the OTA are now solved or not, I can ask my colleague for an update.
As far as I have heard, we do understand the issue and the circumstances leading to it better and the 3rd party has taken steps to avoid “bricking” the WiFi of the JuiceBoxes in the field.
We have a stake in good working JuiceBoxes that are internet connected, since we sell not only JuiceBoxes (so it is our name attached to the product) but also Energy Services, which means for example that for owners who opt to allow remote control of their charging, we can provide added value to charge your EV on Renewable Energy only, for example. Or not charge when the grid is (almost) overloaded. The latter is part of a package that can pay you a monthly bonus for allowing the grid operator to delay your charging for a certain amount of time.
You are also getting benefit of the internet connection in the form of feedback in an App on your phone or a webpage on your computer, showing the status and history of the charging.
Lots of features and while most of it already works, we are also continually improving so we welcome feedback to hear from you what it is that you need.

This all to say that we want JuiceBoxes to connect to the internet, so if you want you can re-open the ticket and get the WiFi connectivity fixed instead of having a box without all the smarts.
Your choice, of course.
Regards,
Cor.

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Damon Henry via EV
Sent: Monday, January 7, 2019 2:57 PM
To: EV List
Cc: Damon Henry
Subject: [EVDL] My Experience with eMotorWerks

Last year I bought an EV Juicebox 40.  I did not opt for the Pro model because I did not see much value in the internet side of the product.  I mostly liked the fact that I could max out my circuit with it even though I do not currently have any vehicles which charge at that high of a rate.  Still even the non-pro version comes with some internet dependent features some of which were interesting enough to me to connect the charger to my WiFi and download the App on my phone.  Then last summer I got an email telling me that eMotorWerks had tried to push out an update to my charger that had disabled the WiFi and it was no longer online.  They needed it back to fix the problem and offered me a free replacement which they were willing to ship out first and then let me return mine.  That seemed reasonable and the whole exchange process was pretty painless.  It just took a few emails and a couple of forms, and they paid for everything.

It did bug me a bit that they had botched an over the air update.  I have spent a career in IT with large portions of it dedicated to automatically updating networked computers, so I have some sensitivity to the caution needed to successfully pull this type of thing off.

I got the replacement charger and hooked it up to my WiFi.  Then a couple of months later I noticed that it was once again not connected to my WiFi. I opened a ticket with their support organization and asked them if they had perhaps once again busted my charger for me.  They did not directly answer that question, but did once again offer to exchange the unit.

At this point I did not jump on the exchange.  First of all I did not feel like doing the paperwork again even though it was fairly easy.  Mostly though it bothered me that they possibly kept breaking my charger.  Not in a way that kept my cars from charging, but how was I to know that would always be the case.  I kept dragging my feet on the exchange as well as badgering them for a root cause.  Eventually they claimed that the WiFi chip goes into a safe mode when it experiences a weak wifi signal.  This did not sound right to me on many levels, although perhaps it is true.  My charger is physically perhaps 6 feet away from my Access Point.  Also, if it were hardware related why would they ship me a new unit with the same problem as the one they had to replace already?  Maybe I am being too skeptical...

Eventually, I decided I would go forward with the exchange, but not connect the new charger to my WiFi.  Then I would have the functionality I paid for if I ever decided I want it, but not have to worry about any unwanted updates.  Alas, I took too long making up my mind and they closed the support ticket for me, so rather than have them reopen it, I just decided to keep my current charger as is.

I did send a note to their Customer Service department letting them know of my dissatisfaction and that I would not be buying any additional chargers from them or recommending them to fellow EVrs.  It is very possible that I will be adding a second Level 2 charger in my garage in the near future, but it will not be another JuiceBox.

Damon
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Re: My Experience with eMotorWerks

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I bought a Pro 40 in 2015, even though I only have an 20A outlet in my
garage and upgrading is not simple because the garage is connected to
the house by a buried cable.  I got it with the idea that I might take
it with me and plug in to people's range outlets or at campgrounds,
though I never have.

I adjusted the maximum current to 16A using the app, but every so often
the charger would trip the circuit breaker and I would wake up to an
uncharged car.  I was completely unable to get any help from eMotorWerks
support.  Fortunately, this charger was open source. (Is it still?  I
couldn't find the source today.)  Reading the source I discovered that
when the charger cannot connect to the server for 90 seconds, it forgets
the server current limit.  What an awful design!  It should keep the
last current limit that it saw.

Fortunately I was able to open up the charger and adjust the
potentiometer that gives a hardware limit on the current draw, so now
I'm able to charge reliably, no thanks to eMotorWerks.  If I ever wanted
to use it for higher currents I would have to adjust the hardware
again.

                                        Ken
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