Fitness, Food, Flying, Funny Stuff, Technical Reviews. Personal Blog of Robert Bullock, semi-professional bon-vivant.
I've gotten over $200 in cash back from them at places I would have shopped anyway! Ebay, Staples, more! I put it at the top because they ROCK. Basically, you get a kickback from Ebates when buy.com or whoever pays them. Win-win. If you like throwing money away, don't use them!
This goes in and out of stock. If you see it, get it. YMMV on other brands. Has a high and low switch. I use low with the heater below. From Amazon: High setting draws 3.5 amps, Low setting draws 2.7 amps. A customer actually benched it on a power supply (!).
Disclaimer: if you keep it on the floorboard, don't blame
me if it makes you wreck or melts something. I have the rubber mats and
this thing doesn't get that hot. (Make sure it's far away from your brake pedals!)
A note on this: it blows a little warm air around your feet if you put it there or will defog a portion of your windshield. A tiny hair drier is 1000 watts, this is 180. Manage your expectations. I think it works ok as a foot zone warmer. Don't expect more than that.
Why use it? The Nissan Leaf heater I have seen draw 5000 watts. That's a LOT. 1000 watts for an hour gives me 4.7 miles of rang on average. So if you're heater runs on low at 2000 watts for an hour or 4000 watts for 30 minutes, etc. you can lose almost 10 miles of range. The 2012/2013 IIRC are supposed to be more efficient. Also, if you live in colder climates, get the heated seat and steering wheel options.
DISCLAIMER: To set this up, you need to replace the fuse in a Socket Expander with a 20A fuse, same as the Leaf has for the socket. Let's just say you will catch something on fire, so you won't do it. I did it and it's fine. The socket in the Leaf has a big piece of ceramic in it for heat dissipation, the Leaf fuse blows at 20A, and I only use 17.7A with the heater on and the seat cushion on low.
So to sum:
Really, you should be able to run the cushion on high along with the heater but I recommend just the low setting if you run both. Obviously, you can run the cushion on high without the heater if your feet don't get cold or you need it to defog the windshield.
Another disclaimer: Don't do it!
Another warning: This MAY have led to me having to repair my socket, but it's also possible it was defective.
If your Nissan Leaf cigaretter lighter stopped working but the fuse isn't blown, here's how I fixed mine. Probably also works on other Nissan power sockets.
DISCLAIMER: Assume I'm an idiot and any guidance you find here will cause a fire, hairloss, and render you sterile.
I like this little one. I use mine often. It will melt solder on the lowest temp settings, and it's butane so it works everywhere. Cool gadget. Not for fine soldering, but great for wires and ugliness like we're about to do. I aim to misbehave.
And a screwdriver. Longish, with a wide flat blade.
Ok, so I was running a mini heater and the heater seat cushion from my Nissan Leaf power socket (cigarette lighter) and all of a sudden it quit working after I wiggled the plug expander (gives me 3 sockets).
By the way, PLEASE if you want some of these items use our Nissan Leaf store on Amazon to buy it or really, anything you buy on Amazon counts. MOST of the things in the store I've tested, use and own, or have something similar.
This is how I get paid to write the articles fixing the weird issues I can't find solutions to anywhere else.
Ok, so moving on.
The fuse was not blown. By the way, it's a 20Amp fuse so it should be enough to run the mini heater and heated seat pad on Low with a couple of amps to spare. The two together should be under 18 amps according to the info on Amazon and the mini heater specs.
I decided to dig into the dash and see where the problem was.
That's pretty simple. It was a lot easier than I thought.
DON'T think that little panel that holds the socket can be removed by removing the screws at the top. It can't. There's something at the bottom that holds it also. Plus those top screws are a major pain to get in and out without undoing a whole lot more stuff and you'll drop your screw or screwdriver and then you're fishing.
Not that I did. Or anything.
Just do this:
1. Pull the connector off (pic above) and measure the voltage. Should be around 12V. Polarity doesn't matter we just care if it's getting power so just put the voltmeter leads to both lead connectors. May read -12V if you have the leads reversed. Again, doesn't matter. In this case, I was getting power here. If you don't have power, then you have a weird problem somewhere else. Not this weird problem.
2. So, take the socket out. I carefully used a screwdriver so I didn't tear up the plastic. GENTLY, and use a wide blade, unless you like scratches. Maximum area to spread the pressure out. Minimum force, so you don't make gouges. I put my blade across the top and it was wider, this pic is from the guide above.
Notice the socket cover says 180W? That's 15 Amps. The mini heater and pad run how much? Just less than 18. But the fuse is 20. Again, don't blame me if you melt something.
A note on that: the socket has a LOT of open air around it inside the console, so nothing touches it. Also, there's a big ceramic piece inside the socket to help with the heat generated in the socket. Worst case, if you melt it, it's just a power socket. Cheap and pretty easy to replace after you learn your lesson.
I never do, that's one of my problems.
Now, remove this screw off the socket:
Then, take this part
and scuff an area closest to the blade and the side so you can add some solder. This is where my problem was: something in here lost continuity between that blade and the housing part of the socket. My guess is a spot weld or something broke because 240W isn't enough to melt metal and the fuse would blow past that amount.
Make it look prettier than mine:
Reassemble in reverse order.
Now, wasn't that fun?
Pardon my shameless PLUGS to use my Amazon store. PLUGS, get it? See what I did there?
I learned this late in the game, and fortunately for me, I had a 30 Amp 240V circuit that I only had to run about 10 feet to my garage, and an electrician friend to do it.
We put in an L6-30 outlet.
Without question 240V is the way to go so see if you have a laundry drier outlet in or close to your garage.
There's a solution that's way faster than the normal trickle charge 110V that you get from the stock Nissan charger, and a dedicated 240V solution, and you might already have it in your garage.
You might also ask an electrician if the existing wiring in a 110V outlet might be suitable for a single 20A plug. You might get lucky. That's a cheap change: just change the outlet. But ask a professional.
This is what you are looking for:
That funny looking hole on the left with the horizontal slot denotes a 20A 110V circuit.
In short, this will give you about 40% faster charging than a normal 110V 15A circuit. The Leaf 'wastes' about 300W per hour during charging so it's a much smaller percentage wasted on 20A vs 15A.
I recommend using evseupgrade.com to upgrade your stock Leaf EVSE, or get an extra here from our Leaf Store on Amazon if you want one to carry around. (Thank you, your Amazon purchase supports us.)
They will set you up with a 20A 110V adapter so you can use 240V and 110V with any amperage up to 20A by modifying your stock EVSE.
I had this done and it is NICE.
Later, you can get 240V added to your garage since the EVSE is already set up for that. This allows you to upgrade in stages, vs. laying all the money out at once.
Ultimately you will want to charge as fast as possible to minimize the hours spent wasting that 300 watts per hour.
Math: 6 hours a day on 110V = 1.8Kwhr wasted. (6x.3Kw). Around here that's about 18 cents.
But let's say you charge 30 days out of the month, then it's $5.40 per month or almost $65 per year.
If you spend $600 on putting in 240V (not unreasonable for the EVSE upgrade and a short wiring run and socket) then saving $65 per year is over a 10% return on your investment.
Cutting your charge time using a 20A 110V will still save you 40% of .3 kwhr so .12 kwhr or 1.2 cents per hour. But if the outlet is already there, it's free money.
If you carry the EVSE around, there are a lot more 20A 110V circuits on buildings than you think. I have been adding them on Plugshare.com.
Using those should add about 7 miles per hour of charge vs 4-5 on the stock EVSE.
Final thought: Since I have BOTH outlets in my garage, and a measured 122V/244V voltage, I can run 6.8Kwhr of power to two cars: 1.95Kwhr and 5.85Kwhr assuming 80% current on both circuits.
At my average useage on my Leaf, the 122V circuit will give me 7.75 hours of range per hour of charge. That should be plenty for almost anyone. 8 hours (probably easily done overnight) would be 62 miles of range. If you plug in at let's say 7pm and charge until 6AM the next day, that would almost fill any Leaf from a totally empty battery which is probably rarely the case. For me, that would be 85 miles of range.
So if you have TWO electric cars, you can still get great useability out of both without the fuss of adding another 240V circuit.
I hope this helped you save some money and increased the usability of your Leaf.