I had noticed that the power reel supplying my Twizy with electricity had begun to trip on an ever increasing basis. Along with this the plug was getting pretty warm as it charged the car. I thought that this must have been normal as I had no previous benchmark to draw an alternative conclusion against. Little did I know that things were only ever going to get worse.
I attempted to charge the Twizy one evening, but came out later that night to find that the reel had tripped again. So I reset it and got up the following morning to find it had only put a small amount of juice into the battery until it tripped again. So I reset yet again, had my breakfast and popped out to the garage just before I went to work. Fortunately I did as the plug had started to melt which had also damaged the power reel.
I counted myself very lucky especially as the reel was resting on a carpet in the garage. For whatever reason the fuse didn’t blow, but on inspection there was a lot of carbonised deposits showing that there must have been a lot of arcing inside. I showed the plug to an electrician who said straight away that the damage was caused by a loose connection inside plug.
I decided to take no chances in the future. No more plugging the car into a multi socket extension. It was going to have its own dedicated lead so I set to ordering all of the components to make up a charge lead . I changed the plug on the car for a new one and ran the new lead from one of the two double sockets in the garage. This was left hanging from the garage roof for easy connection to the car to limit stretch on the Trizy coiled cable.
I posted the photo above on the Twizy facebook page and a chap said he had done a similar thing, but also could monitor the power consumption and activate / deactivate the plug remotely via something called a Fritzbox router.
This looked really interesting but I found that it was only compatible in Europe. However, It didn’t take long to realise that there was a solution for me that would work the same at a fraction of the price. The smart home was always something that I never really wanted to get into, but my research has made me realise that home automation is getting cheaper and cheaper. I’ll cut to the chase as I could start going off on a tangent..
What I ended up buying was a ‘Smart Plug’. This can be controlled via a smart phone via a wifi connection. Very simple setup and the particular model I brought could also monitor power usage
So after watching some youtube footage I thought this looked like it ticked the box. I wasn’t confident at first as this plug would be required to be connected to my wifi network, but this was unfounded. The only issue is that the plug does catch on a regular plugs on / off switch which I thought was a bit of a negative from Teckin. For my case it was fine as it would be sandwiched between the new extension outlet, and the Twizy plug.
Once the smart plug was connected to my wifi network following the guide, I could make the socket live whenever I wanted, monitor the power consumption, set a timer so that it would turn off after a period of time or just turn it off all via my smart phone. Pretty good eh? 🙂