jwatte
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 5:44 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Jul 2011

Charge port cover opener/closer

Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:44 pm

After driving for six months, I've settled into a routine that has me forget to re-close the lid after disconnecting the charger twice a week, and forget to open the lid before getting out of the car once a week.
The reason for the former is that I generally carry a bag in one hand, and unplug the cable with the other hand, carry it over to the charging port, then get into the car -- not closing the cover.
The reason for the latter is when I stop the car with "P" instead of "power off" to finish listening to a podcast. Then I press "power off" when I get out, which overrides the instinct to pull the port level when getting out.

This leads me to believe that the correct placement of affordances for the charging port is an opener on the outside, and a shutter on the inside -- totally reverse from what it has.
I understand that the charging port right now works like a gas cap, but ... there's no gas to steal, so the lock-out seems pointless.

Does anyone have a good solution to this?

Here's my straw man proposal:

1) Wire up a solenoid to the release for the charging port cover.
2) Wire up a servo to the retaining levers/hinges for the charging port cover.
3) Wire up a small pushbutton in the grille to the right of the front license plate; have this pushbutton activate the solenoid to open the cover.
4) Wire up another pushbutton to the control panel inside the car; probably to the right of the charging timer override button, and have this activate the servo to close to cover. (Gotta be a pretty strong servo -- say 15 kg/cm).

Maybe make it all a bit more failsafe by running it through a trigger-once timer or something -- a little bit of electronics parts I'm fairly comfortable with.
I briefly considered making all this controlled by some bluetooth or similar device from my phone, but getting the phone out of the pocket and getting it to wake up so you can run some "unlock" app is about as much bother as walking around to the driver's side, opening the door, and reaching in to open the cover -- still annoying!

Given the high finish of the car, I'll have to be extra careful when working this to make sure I don't ruin anything external, but I think I can swing that with enough care. I also don't think I will re-sell the car (I drove my previous car for 16 years before scrapping it)

So... ideas? Advice? Shouts of horror?

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planet4ever
Posts: 4674
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Delivery Date: 02 May 2011
Leaf Number: 1537
Location: Morgan Hill, CA, south of San Jose

Re: Charge port cover opener/closer

Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:48 am

Google search for open charge port cover on the MNL search page gave this as the first hit:
Exterior Charge Port Quick Release

But I must admit I don't remember anyone asking for an internal closer before, though I have had to climb back out of my car a few times with a chagrined look on my face to close it.

Ray
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adric22
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Leaf Number: 000768
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Re: Charge port cover opener/closer

Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:52 am

I guess i never really thought about it before, but you're right. there really is no good reason to have a locked charge port cover.
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garygid
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Re: Charge port cover opener/closer

Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:14 am

vandalism.
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jwatte
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 5:44 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Jul 2011

Re: Charge port cover opener/closer

Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:50 pm

garygid wrote:vandalism.
Would do what?
That a key to the door wouldn't?

jwatte
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 5:44 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Jul 2011

Re: Charge port cover opener/closer

Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:02 pm

planet4ever wrote: Exterior Charge Port Quick Release

But I must admit I don't remember anyone asking for an internal closer before, though I have had to climb back out of my car a few times with a chagrined look on my face to close it.
Thanks for the link!
I'm wondering whether a single servo could be made to do double duty to open and close (moving both directions)....

jwatte
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 5:44 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Jul 2011

Re: Charge port cover opener/closer

Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:25 pm

To follow up: I can do the wire-or-rope-or-quicktie trick for a quick outside opener just fine. Getting a strong enough 12V solenoid has turned out to be a challenge (they're mostly 24V, and a high-amp voltage doubler is more trouble to properly robustify...)

However, for the closer, I can't find any way to actually lever/close the lid, other than pushing on the lid. The mechanics of the hinges that hold the lid up are really well designed to not let any other force make it close than a push from the lid itself, and the lid is a foot off the compartment when open, so no easy actuation possible. To make an auto-closer, I may have to fab an entire new hinge/enclosure for the charger port, and put the lid on that, and then adjust it to get got fit and finish -- a crazy-hard proposition that I don't think I could really pull off (unless perhaps if I make it a many-months passion project...)

EVDrive
Posts: 514
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:21 pm
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Leaf Number: 776
Location: SF Bay Area, Ca

Re: Charge port cover opener/closer

Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:50 pm

Install a spring from the top of the door to the bottom. Set the tension to "light" so the door doesn't slam and gives you an inch before it starts to pull back.
Next, disable the stock charge port door lock. Then install a push to release door magnet (for pantry doors). Then you have a door that closes itself and you can push to open it from the outside.


jwatte wrote:To follow up: I can do the wire-or-rope-or-quicktie trick for a quick outside opener just fine. Getting a strong enough 12V solenoid has turned out to be a challenge (they're mostly 24V, and a high-amp voltage doubler is more trouble to properly robustify...)

However, for the closer, I can't find any way to actually lever/close the lid, other than pushing on the lid. The mechanics of the hinges that hold the lid up are really well designed to not let any other force make it close than a push from the lid itself, and the lid is a foot off the compartment when open, so no easy actuation possible. To make an auto-closer, I may have to fab an entire new hinge/enclosure for the charger port, and put the lid on that, and then adjust it to get got fit and finish -- a crazy-hard proposition that I don't think I could really pull off (unless perhaps if I make it a many-months passion project...)
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jwatte
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 5:44 pm
Delivery Date: 14 Jul 2011

Re: Charge port cover opener/closer

Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:28 am

That's an interesting thought. I don't want a long spring from the lid to the compartment, though -- it would get in the way of inserting and removing the connector.

coqui
Posts: 257
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Delivery Date: 11 Dec 2011
Leaf Number: 15024
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Charge port cover opener/closer

Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:03 am

+1
Wierdos'll do anything.
garygid wrote:vandalism.
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