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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am a new ED owner. I didn't even know there was such a thing called EVSE until five days ago! After I got the car, there were a couple of things I wanted right away.

1. Faster charging than what is possible with the Level 1 EVSE supplied with the car. Plus, I wanted to keep the factory supplied EVSE just locked up in the car for emergency use while on the road.

2. Listen to the music on my iPhone via the standard car stereo without fumbling with wires to connect the phone to the AUX input every time I got in the car.

I'd like to share what I did to get those two things.

EVSE
I couldn't stomach the fact that the EVSEs are so darn expensive for just a glorified box with a relay and a simple signaling mechanism. With a little googling, I found Juicebox. I am an electrical engineer and I have done quite a bit of house wiring. So why not a DIY EVSE? I ordered a Juicebox and 25 feet of J1772 cable, drove 15 minutes to their warehouse to pick them up (how convenient :), a little soldering and some wire hookups later, voila!, I now have a Level 2 charger that has worked well, at least for one night. My factory-supplied Level 1 charger can now stay in the tailgate for emergency use.

Not including the input cabling part, the juice box solution runs about $310 with a 25 foot cable EVSE. Still lot of money, but not so bad for a box that can actually put out about 15kW. (btw, you would need a 70amp J1772 ($$) if you want to push it beyond 7.5kW. And, anything more than 3.3kw is irrelevant for the Smart Car ED as its charger can't take more anyway.)

I did have a hiccup or two when wiring the Juicebox, but nothing that took more than 5-10 minutes to resolve. Their documentation is somewhat hard to read for the reading-challenged, and it doesn't seem to always match the rev of the board/box they are selling. But their email support was very prompt and helpful. Overall, it was easy to build.

DIY EVSE isn't for everyone, but I took this route. I still can't get over how much a commercial EVSE or even a kit like this costs. Niche market, I guess.

Wirefree music from iPhone to car stereo
I wanted to play the music on my iPhone wirelessly on the car stereo. I have just the standard factory stereo, not the fancy one.

So this is what I did. The Smart ED's glove compartment has a USB port and an AUX port. I paid less than $10 to get this bluetooth adapter on amazon.com

Connect the adapter to the USB and AUX ports, pair the iPhone, and that's it. All music played on the iPhone can now be heard via the car stereo AUX. Phone calls will still be through the phone.

What I liked about this bluetooth adapter other than the price was that it has no battery. It comes on when you turn the key in the car and goes off when you take off the key, just like how we would want it. When I was googling, I saw some units that had battery. I didn't want to mess with turning them on/off. This battery-less one seems like a better solution as there is nothing to turn on/off. The unit is small enough (an inch or so) to not interfere with anything in the already small glove compartment.

So there you go! A new guy's DIY EVSE and Bluetooth music.
 

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Juicebox ... Not including the input cabling part, the juice box solution runs about $410
There is the problem: For just $90 more you can get a complete, fully assembled, waterproof EVSE rated up to 25A with warranty and someone other than yourself to sue if it burns the house down (e.g. from ClipperCreek). I'm happy to pay the $90 for the convenience and insurance. (and I'm an engineer, too).

The higher current rating of the Juicebox is useless for the Smart, since that will only draw 15A anyway.
 

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the problem with the phone hook up is that the phone call does go throught the speakers, but there is no microphone so you still have to (illegally) hold your phone and talk through it while you drive. The bluetooth-streaming audio is cool for $10 though.
 

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welcome to the smart and EV community.

One word of caution regarding installing anything electrical into your house wiring:

I would STRONGLY suggest having the final wiring installation done by a LICENSED electrician.

Why?

Follow my line of thought. You build (or buy) and install an EVSE yourself in your garage.

A few days (weeks, months) later your garage burns down and the cause appears that it "could have been the EVSE".

Your homeowners insurance is going to ask "WHO installed that device?"

I would really not want to try to explain that I did it myself (and I am also an engineer)

I would rather say "XYZ Electricians installed it" and have them provide explanations?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There is the problem: For just $90 more you can get a complete, fully assembled, waterproof EVSE rated up to 25A with warranty and someone other than yourself to sue if it burns the house down (e.g. from ClipperCreek). I'm happy to pay the $90 for the convenience and insurance. (and I'm an engineer, too).

The higher current rating of the Juicebox is useless for the Smart, since that will only draw 15A anyway.
I actually made a mistake. It costs $310, not $410. I edited my post. But even with that, I agree with you. Most people should just pay the $190 more and buy what makes them feel safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
the problem with the phone hook up is that the phone call does go throught the speakers, but there is no microphone so you still have to (illegally) hold your phone and talk through it while you drive. The bluetooth-streaming audio is cool for $10 though.
Actually, I specifically tested for that situation. At least with my iPhone, the audio out as well as microphone stay on the phone even while the phone is connected with Bluetooth for music output. I don't know much about Bluetooth, but I suspect that the Bluetooth profile used for handsfree phone device is different from what is used for streaming out music.

Other phones may behave differently.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
[...]
I would STRONGLY suggest having the final wiring installation done by a LICENSED electrician.
[...]
I completely agree with you. Most people shouldn't do what I did and I am not recommending that others build or wire in an EVSE on their own. I should have added warnings in my original post.

That being said, I'd like to demystify the notion that a DIY EVSE or its input wiring is some sort of time bomb waiting to explode and burn the house down. It really is a very simple device and there is not much to it. The only thing that operates on line voltage in EVSE is a relay, and that too a "normally open" relay. The control logic is all low voltage (arduino in the case of Juicebox and OpenEVSE).

Yes, things could go wrong. Your point is very valid. Most people should not do these things. I'm not recommending it either. Just sharing what I did. That's all.

OK, I need to go now. There is a strange smell coming from my garage. Oh no....... :)
 

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Actually, I specifically tested for that situation. At least with my iPhone, the audio out as well as microphone stay on the phone even while the phone is connected with Bluetooth for music output. I don't know much about Bluetooth, but I suspect that the Bluetooth profile used for handsfree phone device is different from what is used for streaming out music.

QUOTE]
That is correct, which means you cannot talk on the phone "hands-free". So you would still get a ticket, at least in Calif, if you used it while driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That is correct, which means you cannot talk on the phone "hands-free". So you would still get a ticket, at least in Calif, if you used it while driving.
That's right. But I wasn't looking for a handsfree phone device. I just wanted my own music while driving without having to plug in to a cable every time I got into the car.

Phone calls can wait until I get out of the car.
 

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That's right. But I wasn't looking for a handsfree phone device. I just wanted my own music while driving without having to plug in to a cable every time I got into the car.

Phone calls can wait until I get out of the car.

best USB



 

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Discussion Starter #13
I witnessed something crazy a few weeks ago. I was on my bicycle stopped at a red light waiting to go straight. To my right was the turn lane for cars. I saw this driver stopped right next to me waiting to turn right. I heard her say something. I thought she was talking to me and looked at her. This lady was not only holding the phone in one hand and steering with the other hand, she was actually on a video call having a rather animated conversation! :badidea:
 

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i also use a USB device for tunes..never have to worry about your phone battery
Dont have such a small one like Finest...lol...but mines Blue...

switch cars and I take my library with me

for bluetooth I use a Jabra Freeway fits on the Visor and is portable

Charge lasts weeks...speaker is very loud...I can not wait till I get home as my job requires me to be available at all times

its hand free...and thats the way i want to stay...no texting

the next version of the Smart should have bluetooth standard...nice job OP on setting up your car to do what you want and posting it for us as a low cost option that works
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Well, I am the OP. After about a month of using this simple <$10 bluetooth music streaming solution, I wanted more. While I still don't care about making phone calls while driving, I wanted a couple of things that my original solution wouldn't do without taking my hands off the steering wheel and my eyes off the road. For example, I wanted to do the following:

1. Skip tracks
2. Ask Siri on my iPhone to play a specific track / album I am in the mood for
3. Tell Siri to navigate me to a location
4. Use Siri to listen to the game scores of my favorite sports teams

After a bit of research, I settled on a self-install of Parrot MKi 9100 bluetooth car kit. This kit comes with a wireless remote control that can be strapped on to the steering wheel. I can skip tracks or initiate Siri with a tactile button push on the steering wheel without looking. It integrates very well with the car's built-in radio and speakers.

So what started as a sub-$10 solution has been tossed out in favor of a $149 full fledged bluetooth integration. Oh, well...

Next project: LED lights for the footwell on the same circuit as the interior dome light.

*** EDIT APRIL 16, 2014 ***
Added some pictures of the Parrot kit bluetooth finished install.
Remote control on steering wheel
Display under the center console buttons
Microphone by the rearview mirror
 

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I got the same bluetooth adapter on eBay and it is working great. I leave my Android phone face down in the pop-out tray below the radio console. Then by holding the Volume Up key for one second it'll skip to the next track on Spotify.

I'll mention that the 1 inch RCA-to-RCA cable included with the bluetooth adapter is awful and I used a normal 3-foot cable with better insulation, it got rid of all static.
 

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In my smart, I wanted Sirius/XM and Bluetooth for both streaming and phone calls.

Instead of attempting to put in different modules, I instead bought a Kenwood head unit for $189 at Best Buy that has full bluetooth integration in it. I also bought the Sirius XM module and had it all installed so my total price was around $320. This gives me full bluetooth audio including phone calls with a real microphone, and Siri control by holding a single button to activate Siri. It also gives me full XM radio.

I had the surround sound system in the smart, and with the Kenwood radio, the sound quality is much much better than that crappy radio Smart puts in. The difference in the sound quality is night and day.

I found a great mounting kit on Amazon for under $20. that makes it look factory.
 

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In my smart, I wanted Sirius/XM and Bluetooth for both streaming and phone calls.

Instead of attempting to put in different modules, I instead bought a Kenwood head unit for $189 at Best Buy that has full bluetooth integration in it. I also bought the Sirius XM module and had it all installed so my total price was around $320. This gives me full bluetooth audio including phone calls with a real microphone, and Siri control by holding a single button to activate Siri. It also gives me full XM radio.

I had the surround sound system in the smart, and with the Kenwood radio, the sound quality is much much better than that crappy radio Smart puts in. The difference in the sound quality is night and day.

I found a great mounting kit on Amazon for under $20. that makes it look factory.
Hey Reedlewis,

What model Kenwood did you go with?
 

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I put in the Kenwood KDC-BT758HD radio. With the mounting kit available I still have a cubby below, and it sounds incredible with the surround sound that the car already had.


I am also getting an smart ED and am going to put the same model into that car also. I know it will not sound as good since that new car only has the two speakers instead of the tweeters, etc. But I really cannot make many mods to the ED since it is a lease car.
 
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