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Discussion Starter #1
So while I wait for my 2017 to be built - I've had lots of time to think about how I want to mount my EVSE in the garage. I love having that clean "surgical center look" - and my renovation last year with epoxy floor, and new everything helped that along... pic for reference:

http://imgur.com/hnjcZal

Basically since I won't be needing to keep the EVSE in the car, I would only charge at home, and work would provide a charger I'm free to get crazy and cool with the mounting of it in my garage.

Since I'm into electronics/automation sort of thing the idea i have is for a 6" diameter 40" long PVC tube mounted in the attic center above the garage, attached to a linear actuator linked into an RF remote kept in the car. The actuator would have a 40" stroke and descend from the ceiling in the general area of where I park. The bottom end side would have a cutout and running down the length would be the EVSE cable. Ready to pickup and plug in. When done, just put the cord back in, push a button and it retracts 40" back up into the ceiling. Once it's actually working I'd then dress it up to look clean/professional.

It would be running to the EVSE mounted in the attic attached to a dedicated 240V line on a 20A breaker. Right now I'm just sourcing parts and for all the materials its looking to only be about 250 dollars. (the actuator itself sucking up 170 of that)

Thoughts? I know my imagination can get a little wild, but it would be a fun project I think that could keep me busy for a weekend or two. The only issue that came to mind is the EVSE being in the attic, not sure how it would cope with the 110F texas summers we have. I'd be charging at night anyway when things are already cooled down.

Just for fun here's the whole album of the garage renovation -- you can see what it looked like "before" - that's my dad in the pic by the way :)
http://imgur.com/a/9nuHe#hnjcZal
 

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If you think longer term, but it a much bigger wire so if you go to 30-50 amps you don't have to run a new wire.

Similarly, the 40" drop would position the EVSE cable right near your charging port. What happens if you buy a future car with a charging port neat the front grille (leaf, Audi, etc) or near the back (tesla) or if a visitor stops by for a charge. Maybe in addition to the 40" drop there's an option to pull more and get the remainder of the charging cord for an occasional visitor.

For ideas on the mechanism, a neighbor of mine mounted a garage door opener vertically in his basement to open and close a panel to his flat screen TV. If you have room in the attic above the garage that might work. Add custom homelink to your G2, then you can have it learn your main garage door opener as well as the second one to stop the cord.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you think longer term, but it a much bigger wire so if you go to 30-50 amps you don't have to run a new wire.

Similarly, the 40" drop would position the EVSE cable right near your charging port. What happens if you buy a future car with a charging port neat the front grille (leaf, Audi, etc) or near the back (tesla) or if a visitor stops by for a charge. Maybe in addition to the 40" drop there's an option to pull more and get the remainder of the charging cord for an occasional visitor.

For ideas on the mechanism, a neighbor of mine mounted a garage door opener vertically in his basement to open and close a panel to his flat screen TV. If you have room in the attic above the garage that might work. Add custom homelink to your G2, then you can have it learn your main garage door opener as well as the second one to stop the cord.
Cool idea with the mechanism. :)

Sadly -- no Tesla in my future, if I ever have another 70K laying around it's going to pay off the house (lol) And it might sound bad, but I have very few friends, and nobody I know owns an EV.

One cool aspect I'm thinking about incorporating into the drop down Tube is that if you need extra slack, you can always pull more out (since the charge cord is rather long itself) I'd have to rig up a secondary little motor on a spool wired to a button on the drop tube that would pull any of that extra slack back up should you want to close everything and retract. However from my measurements/parking setup, that would be a secondary thing I could add later if needed. For my parking setup and measurements once the tube is in the down position, I'd only need perhaps 2 feet of "slack", and that would be easy to setup as I'd have the evse plug itself kind of hanging back up on itself with the proper level of play.

This is my first house -- and longer term isn't really a concern for 30-50A. I've been here 3 years, after another 5 or 8 I might move somewhere else. Once I have the parts and such, its maybe a 1 weekend project at most costing not too much, not really concerned on the value adding aspect to the house. Mostly just the cool factor of hitting a button in my car and having a level 2 charge cord magically appear by my cars side :)

Would be very interested in adding a custom homelink setup to the 2nd Gen Volt - one button for each device as you say :)
 

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That is a neat idea and would be a good project if you are into automation. There is a commercial solution like that at the link below (no idea of cost)
http://evsellc.com/garage-overhead-ev-charger.shtml

I personally value simplicity and reliability more, so I would stay away from a remotely controlled actuator and would prefer to keep the EVSE out of the attic heat. Mounting the OEM EVSE on the garage ceiling inside the garage, rather than inside the attic, would keep it in a cooler location.

As for a retractor, I would make a simpler counterweighted retractor that has no electronics, like the one at the link below. The counterweight could be located anywhere, even in the attic.

http://www.evchargesolutions.com/product-p/cordretract.htm

We use these where I work and they are fine.
 

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The only issue I have with my cord is that it spirals up and needs to be unwound from time to time. Be sure to clamp the portion in the tube near the end to be able to prevent it from twisting into a wad deep inside.

My idea would be to have a swinging overhead arm like they have in DIY the spray washes.
 

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In this photo of a Gen 2 EVSE, you can see the approved temperature range as -30C to 50C (-22F to 122F).



So I'd be concerned about it overheating in an attic.
 

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I love stuff like this, please post pictures of the project when you're done. My only concern would be to make sure the cable isn't rubbing on anything during the up/down movement. Moving at least once a day could wear through the jacket after awhile.
 

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Perhaps a cheaper/simpler idea would be to repurpose a garage door opener to wind/unwind the cord on a reel mounted near the ceiling (or just above the ceiling in the attic if you want it fully out of sight)

For those of us with homelink, the button would already be ready to go in the car :)
(Sorry for poking an apparent sore spot for some :p)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I love stuff like this, please post pictures of the project when you're done. My only concern would be to make sure the cable isn't rubbing on anything during the up/down movement. Moving at least once a day could wear through the jacket after awhile.
I did have the same thought -- If it works out such that I don't ever need to "pull excess down" then the cable could be zip tie mounted at the top such that it would move with the drop down tube, this would eliminate any rubbing issue. If I did want to be able to have the tube drop down and have the option to pull out an extra 5 feet or so if needed, I can always rig up a guide bar/roller type setup at the top of it so any wear would be minimal. Also - hello to a fellow Jeff we share the same name :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Perhaps a cheaper/simpler idea would be to repurpose a garage door opener to wind/unwind the cord on a reel mounted near the ceiling (or just above the ceiling in the attic if you want it fully out of sight)

For those of us with homelink, the button would already be ready to go in the car :)
(Sorry for poking an apparent sore spot for some :p)
I was doing some research into perhaps repurposing a retractable reel thingy, taking it apart and putting the EVSE cord in it's place. Problem is most of those ceiling mount retract cords aren't designed for such heavy gauge cord, on top of that, most of those things are built such that to have a clean/freely moving spinning rotation, the point of contact for each wire is a circular copper ring on the inside where a pin presses down to complete each circuit. I highly doubt these contact points would be rated for a constant 15A load @ 240V.

I could take the retract thingy apart and try to just wind up the cord (no cutting) but anytime it was pulled down, an equal length of cord would spit out on the attic side as well and wouldn't wind back into the device clean/easy. like this:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/attachments/electric-small-kitchen-home-appliances/25831d1391100218-fixing-spring-retractable-power-cord-can-rice-cooker-ff.jpg

Since the charge port has a communication wire to the EVSE, setting it up to function on a reel like that with the circular pin/wheel thing wouldn't really be possible.
 

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I was doing some research into perhaps repurposing a retractable reel thingy, taking it apart and putting the EVSE cord in it's place. Problem is most of those ceiling mount retract cords aren't designed for such heavy gauge cord, on top of that, most of those things are built such that to have a clean/freely moving spinning rotation, the point of contact for each wire is a circular copper ring on the inside where a pin presses down to complete each circuit. I highly doubt these contact points would be rated for a constant 15A load @ 240V.

I could take the retract thingy apart and try to just wind up the cord (no cutting) but anytime it was pulled down, an equal length of cord would spit out on the attic side as well and wouldn't wind back into the device clean/easy. like this:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/attachments/electric-small-kitchen-home-appliances/25831d1391100218-fixing-spring-retractable-power-cord-can-rice-cooker-ff.jpg

Since the charge port has a communication wire to the EVSE, setting it up to function on a reel like that with the circular pin/wheel thing wouldn't really be possible.
Your idea sound interesting. Awhile back i was looking for hanging solution because due to my garage layout i need to be in the #2 spot in my garage away from a wall and I wasnt interested in backing in every day, so I looked at hanging options but they seemed a little pricey for me like this $375 retractable device made by clipper creek.

https://store.clippercreek.com/mounting-solutions/ev-charging-cable-retractor

In the end, I went the cheap and easy route and simply mounted my unit to my garage door openor and have been fine with it. It only takes a few seconds of extra work rather than using a retractible device.

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?206778-Installed-my-L2-charger-for-2016-Volt-But-could-use-some-ideas-to-improve-setup&p=2858473#post2858473

By the way, nice remodel and good luck with your project.
 

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The actuator would have a 40" stroke and descend from the ceiling in the general area of where I park.
Increase the plug end travel by attaching a pulley to the end of the actuator, and another near the actuator body. This could mount to the ceiling, sparing you the attic heat, and you could see the lights on your ceiling-mounted EVSE.

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Increase the plug end travel by attaching a pulley to the end of the actuator, and another near the actuator body. This could mount to the ceiling, sparing you the attic heat, and you could see the lights on your ceiling-mounted EVSE.

Thanks for the idea with the pulley -- I was throwing around some sort of pulley system in mind if coupled with a stepper motor that would be run by a cheap Arduenio board. The motor itself wouldn't have to be anything super powerful if there were 2 or 3 pulleys involved.

Random - what did you use to generate that image? was it just done in photoshop or is there some sort of mechanical program that can make schematics or diagrams like this easily?
 

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Thanks for the idea with the pulley -- I was throwing around some sort of pulley system in mind if coupled with a stepper motor that would be run by a cheap Arduenio board. The motor itself wouldn't have to be anything super powerful if there were 2 or 3 pulleys involved.

Random - what did you use to generate that image? was it just done in photoshop or is there some sort of mechanical program that can make schematics or diagrams like this easily?
Mister Dave is great with Photoshop and I'm sure indesign, adobe illustrator, etc. but a drawing like this can also easily be done in PowerPoint.
 

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Thanks for the idea with the pulley -- I was throwing around some sort of pulley system in mind if coupled with a stepper motor that would be run by a cheap Arduenio board. The motor itself wouldn't have to be anything super powerful if there were 2 or 3 pulleys involved.
In that diagram the motor will need twice as much torque as it would if it was directly driving just a single pulley, because the arrangement doubles the travel of the weighted end of the cord.
 

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Thanks for the idea with the pulley -- I was throwing around some sort of pulley system in mind if coupled with a stepper motor that would be run by a cheap Arduenio board. The motor itself wouldn't have to be anything super powerful if there were 2 or 3 pulleys involved.
You sounded pretty certain about a 40" linear actuator. In my garage 40" wouldn't be enough - not sure about yours. Plus I have a bedroom above mine, so I thought about how I'd do it with a 40" linear actuator with everything mounted to the ceiling.

Random - what did you use to generate that image? was it just done in photoshop or is there some sort of mechanical program that can make schematics or diagrams like this easily?
Photoshop. I have 3DS Max and such but this was a simple concept that didn't require that kind of time. Besides, I have something else cooking on Max pretty much all the time.

In that diagram the motor will need twice as much torque as it would if it was directly driving just a single pulley, because the arrangement doubles the travel of the weighted end of the cord.
How much does a cord and plug weigh?
 

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How much does a cord and plug weigh?
Not a lot - I was just trying to point out to accelerus that adding more pulleys doesn't necessarily mean you can use a smaller motor. It depends on the configuration - anything that increases the effective travel for a given motor rotation or actuator offset will require more force to operate.
 

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Not a lot - I was just trying to point out to accelerus that adding more pulleys doesn't necessarily mean you can use a smaller motor. It depends on the configuration - anything that increases the effective travel for a given motor rotation or actuator offset will require more force to operate.
OIC .
 

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Not a lot - I was just trying to point out to accelerus that adding more pulleys doesn't necessarily mean you can use a smaller motor. It depends on the configuration - anything that increases the effective travel for a given motor rotation or actuator offset will require more force to operate.
Yeah the particular actuator i have my eyes on has the ability to pull/lift 35lbs at 2" per second over it's 40" stroke. So even with a full assembly drop down tube/cord it wouldn't be anywhere near 35lbs.
 
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