Using an external outlet timer for Level 1 Charger

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by ro345, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. ro345

    ro345 New Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    First time poster. Just picked up a 2014 PiP. I'm considering changing my electric utility billing to peak-offpeak, since I can likely get much better rates. Unfortunately, peak times are exactly the time that we pull into our driveway when getting home at the end of the day. Super peak pricing during the summer is 24c/kwh, ouch. I want it to be very easy for my wife to accomplish charging. I don't want her to have to remember to push the "Timer" button, because she just wont remember. I also want to be able to charge the vehicle at any time on the weekends (I know, just don't push the timer button).

    I want my wife to be able to just plug in at any time and not worry about pushing buttons or what time of day it is. To this end, I was thinking about using an Insteon outlet to toggle power directly at the outlet. I already have a large Insteon installation at my house, so it would be very little effort to make this work. I would simply plug my Level 1 charger into an Insteon enabled outlet. I would have the outlet powered Monday - Friday 10PM to 2PM, and all day Sat and Sunday. These are the off-peak times. Peak times, the outlets would be turned off. All my wife would need to do is plug it in when she got home.

    Does this seem like it will work? Is there any problem with having the Level 1 charger plugged into the car, but not being powered at the outlet? Is there any problem with toggling the power on/off at the outlet while charging?

    Thanks! Great info here on the boards!
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome to priuschat! sounds fine to me, but i can't guarantee 100%. all the best!
     
  3. ny_rob

    ny_rob Senior Member

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    The PIP draws about 8-9 amps (at 120 volts) so as long as the remote socket can handle it... should probably work.
    I ran my PIP's EVSE off a 15amp Z-Wave controled outlet as a test for a few weeks and it worked fine.
     
  4. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #5 on former PiP

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    Wow! Someone more tech-challenged than my wife! She doesn't go near computers or smart phones, but she has no more problem with the timer button than figuring out how to push the power button to turn the car on and off. No put-down intended; everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses that make them who they are.
     
  5. priuskitty

    priuskitty PIP FAN

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    Should work, in my case, my outlet is part of my Apartment building where I pay my landlord $15.00/mo. The outlet is connected to the parking lights in the parking lot the lights are connected to a photocell so the power comes on at dusk and off at dawn. The PIP charger comes on when power is applied to the outlet. I have been charging this way since April 23, 2012 with no issues.:cool:
     
  6. ro345

    ro345 New Member

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    Ok, I will have to give it a try and see what happens!
     
  7. -1-

    -1- Don

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    :)I have to disagree with the OPs thinking. The timer system for the PIP is very simple and easy to use. "You" either choose the time to start or stop charging. "You" decide which. All your wife would have to is to push the timer button until the time quits flashing. Then actually plug the charging cable into the vehicle. Again, Toyota provided us with a simple built in timer system. Why use anything else?
     
  8. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    I disagree. I think the UI on the in-car timer is terrible for a consumer device. Try explaining to a non-tech person how to set the timer where they have to change the time and the failure rate will be quite high, IMO. Sure, if you have it previously set to start and the start time doesn't need to change you can tell someone to just press the timer button once and you'll see the green timer icon on the right side of the dash after the power goes off.

    No one needs to explain to me how to make it work...I use it often. But the press, press and hold, 4 display modes (view and set for "start," view and set for "end by") could be much more clear and simple with more info displayed. Instead of flashing when in the set mode why not just have a message that says you must now set the time, but be clear that if you do nothing it won't be set. And when you do have the timer set it says nothing special and you just do nothing and that mode and time is now set.

    Mike
     
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  9. rogerv

    rogerv Senior Member

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    Except when your neighbors unplug you. :)
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you see it when you check into a hotel and you have to set the clock radio alarm for the morning. some are intuitive, most are impossible without instructions.
     
  11. priuskitty

    priuskitty PIP FAN

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    "unlike":mad:
     
  12. rogerv

    rogerv Senior Member

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    I think I saw that in one of your posts recently........
     
  13. priuskitty

    priuskitty PIP FAN

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    yup, you did. Nothing against you, just the idea of my neighbors unplugging me gets me steamed.:cry:
     
  14. -1-

    -1- Don

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    :)That's exactly what I suggested with the "you" being the OP.
     
  15. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    Hmmm, my car came with an owner's manual. :p
     
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  16. mmmodem

    mmmodem Taste Tester

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    I had no issues with setting the timer. It's the same as setting the clock, right? The only issue I had was the definition of start and end timer and that required a Priuschat explanation. I can see how It would be difficult to set for others though.

    My experience so far is that I am more likely to forget to plug the car in than forget to press the button. The manual says to plug directly into the outlet. Last year, someone nearly burned down their bathroom because of bad wiring. I'm more worried about that than forgetting to press the button every once in a while. It's $1 a charge during peak versus $0.30 at night. I can spare the 3 quarters every once in awhile.


    iPhone ?
     
  17. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #5 on former PiP

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    One thing to consider for those with tiered home electric rates and "smart meters" that record your usage in real time: you have to to determine exactly when in your billing cycle you are getting into the higher tiers. The way it works (at least with PG&E in northern California), is that the first X kwh are at Tier 1, the next Y are at Tier 2, and so on depending how many tiers they have. So at the beginning of your billing cycle, a full charge of your PiP costs a lot less than at the end, when the kwh are costing you more. PG&E has a nice web site that I use that tells me on a running basis not only how many kwh I have used each day, but what the cost of those kwh was.
     
  18. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    One way to look at the tiered rates is that you are in tier #1 (for example) for the first 20 days of your billing cycle, then you are in the next tier for the rest of the month (or maybe go into a 3rd tier, etc.) But it is easy on the PGE web site to see your typical daily usage on a day you do not charge. So it is a good idea to project out what your usage is going to be without car charging...thus you can determine your incremental cost to recharge your car X times per month, for example.

    You can't run your fridge on gas...so you are going to incur those kwh anyway. Personally, I rarely have to worry about this since I'm 100% in tier #1 all the time now. (A new fridge and a few LED lights keep me below the theshold all year now).

    Mike
     
  19. Redpoint5

    Redpoint5 Senior Member

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    I bought this outdoor timer from Amazon for $11 to turn on an 800 watt block heater in my truck. It will easily handle the power requirements of the PiP. That said, doesn't the PiP have a way to schedule hours of charging once and for all?
     
  20. ro345

    ro345 New Member

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    I am the OP. I agree that pushing a "Timer" button to set the timer on the Prius isnt difficult. Regardless, my wife is still going to forget to push the timer button. Its much easier for me to install some type of external timing device than it is for me to hound her about pushing the timer button.
     
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