PHEV Prius gets finishing touch

After charging the PHEV with the power cord hanging out of the trunk I finally got ambitious and located some bumper-mount power inputs.  They are made by MARINCO and cost around $12 each.  They mount in a standard 1 1/2″ electrical conduit hole so being an electrician by trade I just happen to have a Greenlee punch that size. The metal lock-nut that comes with it is a cheesy cast style that I replaced with what is known as a RIDGID CONDUIT lock-nut.  It is a bit larger and stamped which makes it a bit stronger.  It was a bit difficult to get the lock-nut real tight being there is only room enough behind the Prius bumper for your hand so in retrospect the next time I will braze two 1/4-20 nuts onto the lock-nut to use as thumb-screws.

I used a standard 4″ square electrical box cover I punched a 1 1/2″ hole in as a backing plate but the next one I think I will use a 4″ octagon box cover instead.  I had to curl the top and bottom of the plate to match the curves in the Prius Bumper, the octagon box cover should be easier to bend.  The lock-nut on the left is the one that comes with the inlet plug.  There are three places on the plug if you want to use screws you can drill a 1/8″ hole and use SS screws.  Be sure to mount with the GROUND terminal UP as there is a drain hole inside the connector to let water out.  What I did, after fighting to get the lock-nut tight was to carefully drill & tap the three screw places right into the metal backing plate, tapping threads to 6-32 and using 6-32 x 3/8″ SS screws to hold the input connector solid.  This I found out taps through the lock-nut and keeps it from turning as well.

   

Now with copper prices so high I wasn’t surprised when I went to get a cord for the Prius to find 50 footers around $25 for the cheaper ones and up to $50 for the “commercial grade”.  All were either ugly orange or black/red, yuk. BUT!, hear this, around the Holidays most stores have GREEN extension cords!  I ran onto a big boxful left over at Home Depot, #14 AWG, three wire, 15 amps cords 50 feet long for $12.95 each, can you say “scoop”?.  The only problem they had 3-plug ends on them which required cutting it off and installing a standard female 15A cord cap.  Damn, the price on those things HAS SKYROCKETED!! Don’t even go look at the “twist-loc” connectors, I saw some up to $50 each!! The “Pro-Grade” 15A female cord caps were over $5 and most closer to $10, BUT!, wait, Wal-Mart to the rescue!, Leviton 15A Pro-Grade cord caps UNDER $4 EACH blister packed!! Don’t even bother going to the Wal-Marts around me because they are all gone 🙂

I have been replacing batteries this month, the 18AH MK brand are being replaced with TOYO 20AH units.  The TOYO were only a few dollars more than the MK’s.  I buy them from WEST FLORIDA BATTERY in Port Richey, FL, a family owned & run battery business, ask for Bob, tell him plug-in-Prius-Jim sent you!  I thought I was suffering early battery failure but when I calculated the cycles on these from 02/15/2008 to 06/15/2008 with 1 to 4 cycles per day I estimate over 300 cycles on these batteries!  Weekdays usally one with my son driving to school and home with maybe another for an evening trip to the store, all these add up if you include maybe 3-4 for each weekend day.  Here is the new TOYO with the Zener/Fuse shunt installed.

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