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Old 10-18-2012, 10:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Block-Heater Unplug reminder

Found something kinda neat in the thrift store the other day. It's called a "Pitot Tube Protector."

On an airplane, it protects the airspeed-measuring device.

On a Prius, it reminds me to unplug the block-heater!



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Old 10-18-2012, 11:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Fire trucks and ambulances have auto-eject devices for the block heater plug which cycle as the ignition circuit is engaged.

I like the simplicity of yours.
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've seen those ejection systems. My Dad was a firefighter for a long time, and I've done some work for the local fire station too.

The ejection systems are pretty slick, but they ARE expensive/complicated!

Always thought it would be fun to design a low-tech/cheap version, but I already have enough projects!
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice setup. I know I've driven off with my block heater plugged in before. Thankfully I normally back out of the driveway, and the plug is on the front of the car. Still, its never fun coming home to seeing the extension cord laying out on the driveway...
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Although the Hymotion system cuts power to the Prius when it's plugged in, that's not foolproof either.

It requires that AC power connects all the way through. If the other end of the extension cord isn't plugged in, nothing stops you from driving off with the cord.

Outdoor outlets have a GFI on them. If that pops, BOTH ends of the cord can be plugged-in and you still don't have power which activates the "No, you can't drive" feature.

My wife somehow managed to drive off once with the cord plugged into the Hymotion charging port. I wasn't home at the time. When I got home, the cord was out on the driveway, pulled hard on the electric outlet. The female end of the cord had a little damage on the ground pin. Thankfully, there was no damage to the Hymotion port on the car.

As far as I could tell, the cord was only pushed half-way on to the car, and she just forgot about unplugging it. (Busy with the baby, etc.) Since it was only half-plugged-in, the car's safety feature did not kick in. On the other hand, at least the cord came undone with little damage.

Long-story short; even fail-safes fail, and low-tech beats high-tech every time.

I like low-tech.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ditto on this idea.

My EBH plug is on pass side, I just loop orange power cord around to my driver mirror and back. Kind of hard not not notice even without the 'Remove before Flight" Nice touch though.

Wife finally asked me after a few weeks why I was plugging my car in...
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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When I was experimenting with a block heater, I tied off the extension cord to a nail on the garage wall. Then I tied off the block heater cord right behind the connector, and lubricated the connector with wax.

Then, when I drove off without unplugging, it just unplugged itself with no damage.
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I vaguely recall reading about a "magnetically-coupled" plug than used strong magnets to "hold" the contacts together.

The "powered" end had a trio of concave-looking circular "sockets" that were held against/in-contact-with by the magnets to the "un-powered" trio of convex-looing circular "plugs."

A lot of force was needed to "directly" pull the two apart, but they could be easily "tipped" apart.

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Old 10-28-2012, 06:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I used a Battery Minder for the Battery, and a Block heater for the Engine. I powered these through a plug that was on the drivers' seat.

One important consideration is that of a Ground Fault Interrupter for the outlet. Also the use of a timer. An hour should take the deep chill off the engine.

I always figured that the morning start was the Hard part; the rest of the day will be 30 degrees warmer. You need to know that the start is getting Marginal.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I've seen where a well-known contributor on diesel truck forums has stated that, when plugging in the block heater (roughly) that, 90-minutes gives 90% of the heat rise".

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