Month: September 2017

See this post for the sometimes problematic cable locking mechanism.

Today my 2013 Q210 ZOE was at the dealer for it’s 4 year maintenance. I arrived there a tad low on battery so I asked them if they could please hook it up once they were done with it. No problem of course. Just as I arrived to collect it, I saw the chief mechanic getting in (it was already hooked up), so I walked up to him first. He was a tad nervous and said he had updated the charger firmware and now he noticed it wasn’t charging. I walked around only to hear the somewhat familiar cam wheel “whee whee” noise from the locker mechanism, so I joked: “well, luckily my friend, I do know what is wrong. Hooked the thing up again and all was dandy, though now of course I had to wait a bit to make it home.

Chatting along he told me the locking motor was now a new part number and maybe I wanted to replace it (80-ish euro). I decided to go for it. I have had a few early terminated charge sessions, and like the inner flap hinge, sometimes Renault does not always acknowledge a warranty issue, but they do improve the design over time. I’ll report back on this.

When I got home tonight the KONNWEI dongle I ordered on August the 29th had arrived directly from China.

I ordered it here. Less than 9 euros.

It had the proper 120 ohm resistance on the CANbus. Next, I opened it up and it is the new design, i.o.w., it seems like the error was found and new production runs are OK. Of course we don’t know how many old supplies there are and if by chance I got the top of a just replenished stack. YMMV.

Note in the previous post that the problem started occurring already in April. I didn’t know this but at least there is a fair chance the problem dongles are sort of slowly going out of stock.

Short glossary: We have no ties with KONNWEI. Actually KONNWEI902s are knock offs of real ELM327 based hardware, but they have been the only consistently stable ones we have found. And we haven’t spotted “knockoffs of KONNWEI knockoffs”. Yet.

It seems the manufacturer has cost-optimized the hardware, which is not bad at all. However, as said in the previous post, there is a problem with one component. Recent deliveries have not worked and actually I heard of a few drivers getting weird error messages in the dash. Not fun.

Long story short: we would gladly recommend something that works, but we have no decent alternative. The solution at this moment unfortunately is tinkering. It’s not hard to do and you don’t need fancy knowledge or tools. Just a fitting hex tool and a sharp exacto style knife. I did this on a non working dongle and can confirm it works.

  • remove the 4 screws
  • gently pry open the case. Be careful that the connector and the front stay in the half that has the main PCB mounted on
  • check this post to determine if you have the old or the new design. Unfortunately there is no way to check this from the outside *)
  • if the design is “old”, stop here. If your dongle does not work there is another problem
  • if the design is new, locate the chip with 8 pins roughly in the middle of the PCB
  • just above and between the 2nd and 3rd pin of that chip, there is a tiny black component (resistor), see picture below
  • carefully cut away the middle part of the resistor. Ensure you do not damage the track going up on the right side. Damaging the track on the left, going to the second pin is not a big deal. Of course if you have soldering skill, you can also de-solder the resistor.
  • close the case and put the bolts back in. Note that one side has hex formed holes, these are for the nuts.

Done!

I drove with a modified dongle today without any problems. The only issue I had were more than usual ATMA timeouts and I had the impression it was all a bit slower than what I am used to. The former I need to investigate a bit further, it can probably be fixed with a modification in CanZE, the latter might be subjective, or maybe the processor is a bit slower in the optimized design.

We fully expect KONNWEI to fix the problem in the long run, and it seems there are already new designs shipped with the new resistor. part of current stock seems to be troublesome though.

*) If you have a multimeter there is actually an external way to check the dongle. Measure the resistance between pin 6 and 14. If it’s 20 ohms, you have a bad dongle. If it’s 120 ohms, it’s fine. BTW pin counting is from right (1) to left (8), top row, meaning in the wider part of the connector first, then the bottom row, again right (9) to left (16) in the smaller part.

EDIT: The leafspy guys reported on this last April. Oops! Oh well! More pictures there too BTW.

Today I received an email stating that some KONNWEI’s are shipped with a 20 ohm resistor across the CANbus. This is a massive production fault. First of all, normal bus termination is 120 ohms, second, the dongle should not impose a new termination resistance at all.

Now, I am not saying this is the root problem of the recent KONNWEI issues. I need to do tests, and I will try to do them tonight. It is still possible there are additional firmware issues, and in fact, earlier measurements indicate there may be indeed. This resistance problem might cause problems though with some ECUs and not with others, making everything transient and hard to tackle. I am extremely grateful to Amazon user for finding this error and SpeakEV member cDy for relentlessly pursuing the issue and following tons of reviews.

Stay tuned. If this is indeed the main problem, at least there is a path to a solution.

Latest KONNWEI guts with faulty resistor. Flat cable and crystal on the PCB

Old KONNWEI design with the wiring loom and the floating crystal

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