Why Type 2 (Mennekes) extension cable won't work on tethered charging stations

When I first got Leaf and bought a Type 2 to Type 1 extension cable, I have been surprised when nothing happened after connecting it to tethered charging station. Only after a bit of research I figured out why it's not charging and what's the reasons of making different connectors. I though it was only me who didn't know about the differences. But after seeing hundred times of same question asked "why its not charging?" in different places and helping to answer some of them again and again, I decided  to make a post about it and share the link next time same question will be asked.

So why its not charging. Answer is simple. Type 2 plug length is different. Check the picture bellow:
As you see plug for non tethered charging stations is much longer (length 44.5mm) compared to pug made to be used on tethered charging stations(length 32.5mm). So if you try to use plug for non tethered charging station on tethered one nothing happens, because contacts can't reach as they are much deeper in the plug.

Why it's done so? For very good reason. All non tethered charging stations must and have ability to detect maximum allowable current of the cable connected to it. It's done by checking resistance between PP and PE contacts on the inserted plug. Meanwhile none of tethered charging stations need this, because they already got cable fitted with correct current rating. So tethered charging points are not doing any further tests on the cable connected between original cable and vehicle, as they were designed not to be used with additional extension cables. That's why Type 1 to Type 2 adapters for tethered charging stations always comes with 32A rated cable which is very short. And the plug fitted on them is a short one, so the charging can be activated. Meanwhile long extension cables comes with 16A or 32A rated cables and a long Type 2 plug, so it could not be used on tethered charging station. Probably we don't need to explain what would happen if you try to force 32A through 16A cable. For this reason extension cable plug is always longer, so no contact can be made in case someone tries to use it on tethered charging station.

Can you modify it to make extension cable work with tethered charging station? Yes, but you must remember that's not legal and you're risking of getting a huge repair bill if charging station gets damaged while your vehicle is connected to it by using non authorized method, even if it wasn't the direct cause of you using incorrect/modified charging equipment. So if you still decided to do such a modification, you must realize that all responsibility goes only on you and no one else. All next information is for education and developing purposes and I take no responsibility if you decided to use it for charging purposes.

If you decided to modify extension cable, you must only do this on 32A rated cable! Tethered charging stations won't be able to detect your cable maximum rated current, as they don't need to, they already got correct cable fitted and no further tests done! So always chose highest rated cable. Modification is very simple you just need to shorten plug length by 12mm. Again such a plug legally cannot be used as it was literally damaged. So it's only up to you if you want to take a risk. Such modification will allow charging to be activated on both type of charging stations - tethered and non tethered. The only downside, extension cable won't be locked anymore on charger side while vehicle is charging. So anyone will have ability to disconnect it.

Next picture shows such modification done for emergency purposes. I bought vehicle and had to do 1200km trip back home, I bought only Type 1 to Type 2 32A extension cable without knowing all this information. And probably as you guessed I was in trouble when on my way back home I find out I can't use it on tethered charging stations. What a surprise! I was lucky I could figure out this quite quickly and do this modification on the move.
Hope this information will be useful to someone. Or will save a day as it did to me. But again, if you decide to do such modification, you have been warned that such modification is illegal and you realize that you take all responsibility for your actions.



Banner photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

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