2 weeks ago my 2013 Q210 Zoe refused to charge anymore. At the beginning it was like only sometimes and worked again after a few tries, but rapidly this behavior change to “not at all”. So I tried what I was able to:

  • Let the car sleep for a while and try again.
  • Charge the 12V battery.

… but nothing worked out, so I ended up visiting the national dealer here in Luxembourg. Things over here are still a bit complicated because – for now 8 year already – we have one and only one person that is allowed to touch the high voltage parts of electric cars at Renault. This meant I had to wait 3 days before getting their verdict: the charger needs to be replaced!

After some fast calculations and the question about a new car or not, I ended up giving them my consent to replace the charger but with the condition that I want to get the old one back 😉

You see right, they replaced the entire block, including the filter unit and the cable to the charge port with even the plug lock motor, although I am quite sure that only a very specific part is malfunctioning. Ohhh … you are right: having to pay 3700€, this was a quite expensive replacement, but at least my car now charges again. (I got a Twingo as replacement during 2 weeks … uhh … ahh … it’s a nice small car with which you can make a u-turn anywhere, but that’s the only positive thing a found about it …)

Some changes I have noticed:

  • The charging process starts a lot faster compared with the old charger. After connecting the cable, the “ongoing checks” takes only about 2-3 seconds, which is about 10 times faster than before.
  • The buzzing during the charge process is not as loud.
  • Although my battery health dropped from 102% to 98% after the invention, the range at the end of charge is about 20km higher than before and I’ve noticed that the battery indicated do longer drop very fast on the first half. The magic 98% hints that the battery computer was reset and/or updated so it has to learn how to calculate a reasonably accurate range again.

We got contacted by Scott Heim, reporting how well CanZE can be used with a Chromebook. Here is what he wrote on RZOC:

Haven’t heard talk about using a Chromebook with CanZE. As I’m a computer geek & experimented with a cloud version of chrome. It gave me the idea a Chromebook would be perfect if it works. So local shop had a sale & Chromebook was at the price point. Took a punt, found CanZE was available for install. Did a little happy dance! Then the real test out in the car. At first had some issues, all turned out to be my stupidity. Chromebook turns out to be an excellent partner with CanZE & Zoe. Actually way more stable connection then I got using my mobile. Seeing Melbourne has had 200 days of lockdown, most with curfew & 5km distance. I been keen to see how my 12 volt battery was copping. It’s been quite a cold winter. The motorcycle required a new battery. As you can see my main battery has great health! Eventually I’ll get to enjoy Zoe, she is about to have her first birthday with 3050 km on the odometer.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RZOC.CLUB/permalink/2550694458407407/

Although the last picture of Raplh’s Zoe Plugin has a make-like flair, he didn’t stop there and even installed some led indicators using a NeoPixel strip.

a perfectly fitting cover
a look above the cover
the NeoPixel’s are shining through the cover
easy to plug out
Start it up 😉

Thanks to Ralph for sending me pictures of his Zoe plugin, which is basically a CanSee dongle that exactly fit’s into the car. But take a look at the pictures yourself.

the bottom layer
the solder side
ESP32 installed
gluing the ODB connector
all connections in place
the installed plugin

The second print (blue) is finally usable, but I refined it to make it fit more neatly. The third print (orange) is the last one I did today and the components of my previous prototype fit perfectly.

The print may not look perfect, but hey, is quite a step above the “duck tape version”, isn’t it?

Today I’ve been building two more CanSee dongles. As the case is slightly different than the one of my development build, the screws don’t fit, so I needed to tape the cases, but the dongles do work, despite of the tape 😉

These two babies are definitely test builds, meaning that I experimented a lot on how to put the different elements together, putting them in the wrong order, placed them upside-down and all that kind of stuff that occurs while experimenting.

But they are operational 😉

Anyone interested in getting one?

Just be warned: I’m not a professional and doing this just for fun, so the risk is fully yours! Although I’ve tested them in my car (which did not blew up … uff) I give no warranty and will not be responsible of whatever you do with the dongle.

While looking for some stretched screen, I came up with one of these new dash camera devices (1280×400 pixels). OK, the camera in itself doesn’t really interest me, because I only want to use it to make CanZE run on it, which is actually quite easy to do.

The only thing on that device that I do not like at all, is that the USB connector seams to be used only for power, so I can’t use it as development device out of the box but need to compile and transfer the app package in order to be able to install and run CanZE. 🙁

But at least the PlayStore is available out of the box and all underlying Android settings can be reached easily …