Coastal EV Modification Installation Idea

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Audio and Electronics' started by 05PriusDriver, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. 05PriusDriver

    05PriusDriver New Member

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    Ever have a solution to a problem that is so simple that you know someone else has had to think of it already. After searching these forums and using various search engines, I have found nothing to support that someone else has already thought of this. Maybe I am the first, maybe not. Either way, here is my idea.

    This is my idea for making installation of the Coastal EV modification much simpler. I hope Coastal is reading these forums and paying attention because this could help people by making the installation a very simple process, and it could increase Coastal’s sales because this item could be marketed to people who would otherwise be afraid to make this modification.

    If anyone decides to incorporate my idea into their product (Coastal, are you there?), it would be nice to at least make it worth my while. You know, fame and fortune, mention my name in your credits, remind me to buy flowers for my anniversary so I don’t get in trouble next time. Toss me a free iPod interface when you release it. You get the idea.

    I have been reading the forums here and there seems to be some concern as to the warranty being void if the EV modification is made due to the fact that there is some splicing into the existing wiring in the Prius. My idea would eliminate the need for the installer to have to use wire taps. Installation would also truly be a ten minute job for those with small enough hands to reach the computer plug.

    Finally, after all of that running on of my mouth (keyboard), here is my idea. You'll have to work with me on this because I don't have photos.

    During the installation process of the EV modification you have to unplug a plastic connection from the car computer. Basically there is a bunch of wires in a plastic plug and the plug goes into the socket. Simple enough.

    Once you remove the plug from the socket you are holding a bunch of wires in your hand and you have to use the provided splicing terminals and connect them to the wiring by crimping the terminals to the proper wires. You are basically cutting through the wire insulation and giving yourself a way to connect another wire to the existing wire. I hope I am not being too confusing here. If anyone wants to clean up my writing, feel free. I won’t be offended.

    My idea is that instead of providing the splicing terminals, provide the wires instead along with the male/female plug/socket.

    Have the wires pre-connected into what is basically a wire extension. Coastal could provide a couple of inches of wire that has a male connection on one end and a female connection on the other end. Their device can be pre-installed into the wiring extension so that the only thing the car owner has to do is unplug the connector from the car, plug it into the provided wiring extension, and plug the other end of the extension back into the socket that the original plug was removed from.

    Did any of this make any sense? Did I just fry a brain cell or two?

    Let me try this again. This time being less wordy.

    Instead of Coastal providing us with some wire terminals that have to be spliced into the car wiring, they can provide us with a glorified extension cord. Male on one end, female on the other end.

    The installer (Prius owner) would unplug the MALE connector from the FAMALE socket on the car computer. The male connector would then be plugged into a female connector furnished by Coastal. This female connector would be attached to a bunch of wires and at the other end of the wires would be a male connector that would plug into the car where the original plug was removed.

    Coastal could pre-wire their device into the wire/connectors they provide.

    Installation would be nothing more than unplugging the wires from the car, placing them into the Coastal provide device, and then plugging the Coastal provided device into the car.

    Damn! I confused the crap out of myself. I hope you all get what I mean here.
     
  2. darelldd

    darelldd Prius is our Gas Guzzler

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    That would surely make the installation easier and cleaner. No question! The problem is, those connectors would need to be sourced and purchased (this could be a BIG problem, as we've seen for the 2006 EV switch), along with all the pins and sockets and wire, and then the labor to assemble them would need to be added... in the end the kit would easily be 2, 3, even 4x more expensive than it is now. Maybe not a show-stopper, but certainly something to consider.

    Trailer lighting wire harnesses have done this for quit a while. By we're typically only dealing with five or six wires with those.

    Where do I send the flowers? ;)
     
  3. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Cost and labor were my thoughts exactly there. Yes it would be simpler, no question, and cleaner to remove probably as well, but sourcing those plugs and pins, male and female, assembling them, testing them, etc. would be a major effort.

    Also, removing those taps is very simple and leaves an essentially unnoticable rent in the insulation. The warranty concerns aren't really about the wire taps as much as they are the frying of the ECU or early demise of the battery (both, btw, pretty much unfounded without gross abuse/negligence)
     
  4. aaf709

    aaf709 Ravenpaw of ThunderClan

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    I get the idea, that's how the enhancement kit goes in. It's a good idea, but the other thing to consider is how that would fit in the small area where the plug is. I don't really want to open that up yet again, but would there be enough room? Not only the room to accomidate the extra plug, but also the length of the wires of the original plug. Would they be able to stretch far enough?

    OK, I've thought about it and seeing that as an extension cord, like was described, would work. I agree, the cost would go up. Plus, what if it's true that it was the plugs that caused the delay of the NAV kit? If that's true, you might wait a long time for your EV kit.
     
  5. jef

    jef New Member

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    I'd rather wait and pay the extra money, but that's me. You see, the UPS guy stopped by today with my Coastal EV kit, and I dutifully removed the covers and my lower glove compartment as described in the instructions. The relevant plug was buried under the wires for the other plugs to the point where I couldn't see it. Then, when I got it moved out, I had no room to work. If I could, as I imagine this working, take out the original plug, plug it into the special plug for the mod, and then plug the modification's plug into the slot, I'd be done now. As it is, I am wondering if this is too difficult for me to be doing as a do-it-myself project (leaning toward yes) and thinking about how I might overcome that.
     
  6. 05PriusDriver

    05PriusDriver New Member

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    The cost would go up. Agreed.

    I'll be the first to admit that during the installation my frustration level got to the point of wanting to drive my car into a brick wall.

    Coastal could consider making a second version of the kit. People that wish a very simple installation without having to do anything with wiring, would probably be willing to pay more.

    I know that if Coastal had told me that something like this was available and it added an extra $15 to the price, I would have paid it in a second.

    I would be willing to bet that the extra part costs would not exceed a couple of bucks. It is the labor of assembling the parts.

    Maybe Coastal could sell the kit un-assembled. How hard can it be to insert wires into a harness? And, since it can be done in the comfort of a living room (or any other work area) assembly would be somewhat simple.

    Just a thought.
     
  7. 05PriusDriver

    05PriusDriver New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(darelldd @ Apr 6 2006, 04:13 PM) [snapback]235954[/snapback]</div>
    It really is not about the flowers. It is more about not having my wife mad at me for not bringing the flowers. I figured I had better clear that up. :rolleyes: :lol:

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(jef @ Apr 6 2006, 06:50 PM) [snapback]236014[/snapback]</div>
    That's exactly how I felt when I first got behind my glove box. After a few expletives, and a few nicks on the back of my left hand, I finally got the nerve to do it. It really is tight back there. One of the things you can do, which I posted in another thread, is to remove the two screws that you see in STEP 3 of the instructions from Coastal. In their photo for step three you will see two screws. Coastal does not mention removing the screws. I did anyway. You remove the screws and slide the plastic piece held by the screws to the left. There are some clips as well that need squeezing to remove that plastic piece. Doing this will give you just enough extra room to make it worth while. That is how I was able to reach.

    Also, my 10 year old held a flashlight for me so I could see better. My son says he will hold a flashlight for anyone willing to pay his price.

    By the way, your feelings about the project are another reason for Coastal to consider this idea. I can smell that free iPod interface coming any day now! ;)
     
  8. cdavid

    cdavid Member

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    I would vote for this mod, even if it was more expensive. After spending hours installing the one I received (I'm reasonably competent, used to be an elec engr) I couldn't get mine to work. In and out with the connector 8 times or so, checking the wires over and over, the taps, the orange pin, etc. If I pushed it in any more, it would have come out of the back of the connector. They were very nice on the phone and we reviewed the common installation problems, and offered to promptly will send me another one.

    I was very frustrated, and of course having the nicks in the tapped wires, the socket for the orange wire slightly buggered up from forcing it in so many times, removing it, reinserting it, etc.

    My wife thinks I'm an idiot and can't believe I did this mod knowing that it potentially can invalidate the warranty, with permanent evidence on the wires and socket should they be inspected.

    Having a fully occult system as described would be worth a few extra bucks in my opinion.

    My reason for this is since my installation was going so poorly, I was worried that I would pull some other wire loose, who knows, and my car do something abnormal, requiring me to go to a Toyota dealer. They surely must know that hundred or thousands of Prius owners are installing these modifications. They will see my nicked purple and white wire with black stripe and my swelled entry into socket location 27.
     
  9. 05PriusDriver

    05PriusDriver New Member

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    I guess we are on the same track here. By the way, cdavid, my wife just about castrated me for doing this modification. I am still intact though. :blink:

    If you decide to proceed with the install, just go slowly. It is scary, but it can be done. I just hope that by the time I get my next Prius that Toyota will already have the EV in the U.S. models, or Coastal will have the pre-assembled units. I am NOT going to do another install. One install like this one is absolutely enough.

    Something else to keep in mind is that like cdavid and myself (and others), we may feel confident about doing the install, but when it gets in our hands the story changes.

    I am a computer technician. I am used to playing with wires in tight places. The difference being that when playing with computer wires, the worst thing I can do is mess up an inexpensive part. When dealing with the Coastal EV modification, there is a lot worse that can happen.

    Not everyone is an electronics wizard though, and for those who are not, this modification is out of the question... unless Coastal looks at my idea. Then the mod is easy enough for a child.
     
  10. cdavid

    cdavid Member

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    I'm working on the assumption that the unit I received was not functional, having checked everything over so many times. Of course, the frustration level was tremendous. Having disassembled and reassembled my car so many times (Yes, gave up, put it back together, thought about it for awhile, took it back apart, checked everything another 3 times, etc., another iteration or two).

    That thread by Windstrings encouraged me to purchase the product. If in fact I had a good unit (presuming the received one was bad), I would be done and happy. I'm hoping the replacement will work straight away.

    Back to your original idea, though, I would pay extra for a fully reversable solution not requiring taps, etc. But then again, maybe the Prius black box or memory units record EV only operation history. That makes the stealth part of this idea irrevelant, but may improve the ease.

    I hope the warranty thing doesn't ever affect anyone with this mod. Surely Toyota must have anticipated that leaving the software in the Prius as on the Japanese and Euro models, would surely and quickly be accessed by tech savy Prius owners. The software should have been disabled otherwise.
     
  11. 05PriusDriver

    05PriusDriver New Member

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    I feel for you! I did the same thing. I guess this is common. I took my air vent and glove box out several times before finally completing the mod. It was to the point that either it would work or I would die trying.

    I was not so much concerned about hiding it from Toyota. Ease of install is my goal. Toyota can't really void a warranty over this. I have spoken to a few Toyota reps and they all have different opinions. Its not like you would take your car into the shop for a warranty repair on your power windows and they tell you that they won't honor the warranty because of the EV modification. What does one have to do with the other. At best they could complain if you had an EV problem. Then they would have to prove your modification was at fault. Good luck to them with that.
     
  12. faastguy

    faastguy Junior Member

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    Hey, does anyone know what has happened to Coastal E Tech?? I have e-mailed them several times in the past weeks, with no reply :( Hope they didn't short-out on the high tension lead, while doing R&D on some new knarly product. Coastal: If you're out there, please answer your e-mails! I want to spend some money with you :rolleyes:
     
  13. cdavid

    cdavid Member

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    I emailed them the other day about my nonfunctioning switch and they got back to me right away. Also I called them on their non 800 number a couple of times on Thursday and got them quickly (one time was busy, but got through 5 minutes later).
     
  14. mssmith95

    mssmith95 Michael

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    The plug idea is a good one, although, from my experience in sourcing electronic parts, that plug could be an issue. Also, I believe a lot of us have read the "another Prius died on the Highway" thread, where a wrongly inserted plug became a major issue. Since this plug directly controls the functioning of the vehicle, the replacement plug would have to be exactly the same, with the same ratings ,wire gauges, etc. Any deviation from the stock one could have dire consequences. The NAV plug is a different animal altogether...as if it does not work, or breaks, does not effect the actual drivability of the car.

    The current MOD was really easy to install...with many thanks to those before us who detailed the project. It took only about a half of an hour...and even if it took a bit longer, is well worth the amount of time/effort.

    So cost is one issue, and functionality/liability is certainly another.
     
  15. 05PriusDriver

    05PriusDriver New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(mssmith95 @ Apr 8 2006, 11:02 PM) [snapback]237023[/snapback]</div>
    I am by no means an electrical engineer, so I have no argument with your statements. I do have a question, though.

    The connectors are plastic, right? Why would it be difficult to make plastic connectors? They are already made for Toyota. There are already female/male connectors in the vehicle, so someone is making them.

    I suppose that custom making them might get costly if there was not a quantity ordered, but what is the harm in finding out the cost? A friend of mine just had some custom parts made in China. Cost him about 30 cents each for a quantity of 1,000. Suppose Coastal had to invest $1,000 to get the connectors made. That could easily (IMHO) be made up with the increased sales driven by the ease of installation for us non-savvy installation types.

    As for the wire, I am assuming that the important factors would be proper guage and insulation, right? How hard could that be to match? Even if the quality exceeded Toyota's.

    My guess is that the parts installed from Coastal now are not perfect as far as Toyota would be concerned.

    My original post was just a suggestion to open up a potential market of those who don't dare do the modification. I know three other people here in Miami that won't buy this modification because they are afraid to make a mistake. If the install were more fool proof, they'd buy it. I asked them if they would pay $75-$80 instead of $50 if the installation were "plug n play" and they were absolutely ready to pay the extra money for a snap-in installation.

    I guess Coastal would have to be willing to take a business risk. I know nothing about them, so I have no idea what their financial position is. Some companies would not have a problem investing an extra thousand or two in order to make it back many times over. And, if they don't make it back, it would be a tax deduction for being a business loss. I think.
     
  16. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    part of the problem is fitting that massive pin into the ecu. they really should use ecu-size pins. they're out there, we used them, we've got a ton of them actually.

    sounds like there is quite a bit of demand for a plug-and-play device here. while it's hard to do, the install can be done. we haven't done the coastal mod, we installed a factory switch. but it sounds like there are similar procedural problems... this is why we deviated a bit from the previously published install instructions.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(05PriusDriver @ Apr 10 2006, 09:41 PM) [snapback]237835[/snapback]</div>
    heck on that note

    we're making a few extra factory EV switch wiring harnesses for people who want a plug and play thing. basically it's: disassemble the dash, plug 4 pins on one end of the harness into the EV housing, unscrew a screw, wrap 2 of the wires around it, screw it back in, scotch-lok to tap into an illumiation source, run long wire to the ECU, plug in, reinstall dash.

    it's not a major operation or anything, but we can make 15 or so if anyone's interested.
     
  17. mssmith95

    mssmith95 Michael

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(05PriusDriver @ Apr 10 2006, 06:41 PM) [snapback]237835[/snapback]</div>
    I agree that it would not hurt to find out. However, you still have not addressed my one main concern. This is the reliability/liability of using another plug. Since this is being used in the main computer, and the car will not function without that plug correctly installed, a faulty plug would cause much more trouble then if the current mod fails. The car could stall, leading to an "out of control" situation.

    Right now, if their Mod fails...no biggie...you just lose your EV mode. However, if even one of those plugs were to fail...it would only take one...and as far as I know, 100% quality control is impossible to deliver.
     
  18. jef

    jef New Member

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    Continuing from upthread my discussion of why creating an easier to install version of this mod is a very good idea....

    Having decided not to do the Coastal EV switch install myself, I took my car and their kit to a local shop that specializes in performance mods. They installed it according to the instructions and used a volt meter to confirm all of the connections. So I turned on the car to test it and proved it didn't work. They fiddled with the wires a bit more before giving up.

    If this kit can foil guys who reprogram ECUs everyday, it is not ready for end users.
     
  19. cdavid

    cdavid Member

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    If your Coastal EV device didn't work, it may be the device. Here's my story.

    Earlier in this thread I described the frustration of trying to get the unit to work. I must have spent bits of 6 hours with about 6 disassemblies, checking everything, and could never get the thing to work.

    Coastal promptly sent me another one. While waiting, I left the unit in place. I could never get it to activate by depessing the stalk for 2, 3, 4, or more seconds.

    Then something very weird happened. I got up to go to work the next day, started the car as usual, begain driving, and the engine wouldn't go on like usual, soon my battery decreased to two purple bars, and suddently, 3 quick beeps. I had been in EV mode, even though I didn't engage it. About 6 hours later, upon returning, the same exact story. Every time my car was parked for 6-8 hours or so, starting did the same thing, in EV mode even though I did not attempt to engage it. Suprisingly, after I parked and went to start again after 15 minutes or so, it would start normally, in regular, non-EV mode. Again, never able to engage manually in EV mode.

    Well, the new one came. It took me less that 10 minutes to disassmble, place the device, check the unit, and reassemble my car. This time it works perfectly, exactly as described.

    I had a bad unit, and it behaved very strangely.

    Call coastal, there were very quick to sent out the replacement. They included a UPS sticker to return the original unit, which I will tomorrow.

    I emailed coastal about this aberrant behavior, but hadn't heard back. They probably think I'm crazy. I thought I would go crazy trying to get the original unit to work. I'm glad it now does.

    You may also have a defective unit.
     
  20. jef

    jef New Member

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    Well, I've managed to read every thread about people's experiences with the Coastal EV mod on this board, and it seems far more likely that the connector pin on the end of the orange wire isn't deep enough than the unit is defective. Not that I would discount that possibility, it just seems too early to draw that conclusion based on what other people have said.

    This leaves me in quite a conundrum. Like I said, I didn't perform the install, such as it is, myself. I just spent 15 minutes and sacrificed more blood to my car, and I was unable to get either the white bar or the orange wire to move. Which means even if I have a defective unit, I couldn't get the old one out to send in for a replacement.

    Excuse me, I didn't mean to engage in a pity party, but like I said, I think my experience is illustrative of the market need for the enhanced device proposed in this thread.
     
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