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Designing a new USB Hub for Model 3

Would you buy this kind of accessory?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Yes if <$100

  • Yes if <$50


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Jul 3, 2019
28
8
Massachusetts
Hi,

I'm a month old SR+ owner. I really like how Tesla has data enabled front USB ports for connecting your phone or storage device (for Sentry). However I realized that the front USB ports do not allow for fast charging (Limited to USB 2.0 standards of 0.5A each).

I recently came across the new Jeda USB Hub which allows you to split the front USB ports into 5, with additional storage compartment for SSD.

I was planning to make my own USB hub with the following features (before I came across the one from Jeda):

  1. 12V Supply from power socket. *optional* (Will need to route the cable somehow)
  2. QuickCharge 3.0 and USB-C Power Delivery (upto 30W, provided 12V is available)
  3. 4 Data+power ports + 4 Power/charge only ports + 1 Data only (for Sentry) (2 USB-A, 2 USB-C for each of the 4 pairs)
Optional features planned (not finalized):
  1. Embedded Raspberry Pi (Zero W or 4 or something similar) embedded with USB switch-over. This would allow raspberry to access the files on storage. You can have it log drive data, view Sentry files, auto upload sentry files/drive data. Wifi hotspot is also a possibility.
  2. Integrated ~5000 mAh battery. This can allow the device to fast-charge the devices, while slowly charging over the two USB ports. This can potentially free up the need for 12V supply. It can also provide power for some time when the car is turned off.
Is this something that fellow owners be interested in? Any recommendations? Feedback is most welcomed!

Thanks
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
11,648
15,730
NC
Hi,

I'm a month old SR+ owner. I really like how Tesla has data enabled front USB ports for connecting your phone or storage device (for Sentry). However I realized that the front USB ports do not allow for fast charging (Limited to USB 2.0 standards of 0.5A each).

I recently came across the new Jeda USB Hub which allows you to split the front USB ports into 5, with additional storage compartment for SSD.

I was planning to make my own USB hub with the following features (before I came across the one from Jeda):

  1. 12V Supply from power socket. *optional* (Will need to route the cable somehow)
  2. QuickCharge 3.0 and USB-C Power Delivery (upto 30W, provided 12V is available)
  3. 4 Data+power ports + 4 Power/charge only ports + 1 Data only (for Sentry) (2 USB-A, 2 USB-C for each of the 4 pairs)
Optional features planned (not finalized):
  1. Embedded Raspberry Pi (Zero W or 4 or something similar) embedded with USB switch-over. This would allow raspberry to access the files on storage. You can have it log drive data, view Sentry files, auto upload sentry files/drive data. Wifi hotspot is also a possibility.
  2. Integrated ~5000 mAh battery. This can allow the device to fast-charge the devices, while slowly charging over the two USB ports. This can potentially free up the need for 12V supply. It can also provide power for some time when the car is turned off.
Is this something that fellow owners be interested in? Any recommendations? Feedback is most welcomed!

Thanks



I originally bought one of these-

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075QYN4S5/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Intending to run to the 12v along the side of the console as I'd seen in videos without needing to cut/drill anything.

Plan was to run phone chargers (2.4 amp per charge cable was fine) and radar detector (via 12v passthrough) off that, and just use the factory USB ports for 1 music USB drive and 1 camera USB drive.

Turned out the cable was too thick to do it without cutting so I returned it....and now I'm using 1 factory port for camera, the other for an anker USB hub that has a music key and 2 charging cables which run slowly.

If your device can get me all the ports you list from the 12v with a cable I can route along the side of the center console behind the trim panel without cutting/drilling I'd bet interested. Bonus if it's nice and "factory looking with hidden area" like the Jeda but not required.

FWIW I'd much prefer that (and skipping the battery).
 
Jul 3, 2019
28
8
Massachusetts
I ran into the same issue when trying to find a compatible product. For phones, 2.4A (2.1 A for the front ports) is kinda slow, when you have QuickCharge, Fast charge, etc. These chargers require active circuitry to be able to charge at full speeds.

With USB-C Power Delivery, one would be able to charge something like a macbook air.

There is 12V cable behind the front ports to tap into, but I would avoid it. I would rather have a cable run from a plug inserted in the power socket and run the cable behind the interior trim.

I am exploring if It would be possible to combine the power from the two ports (~4 A) and use that to fast charge a phone.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
11,648
15,730
NC
I ran into the same issue when trying to find a compatible product. For phones, 2.4A (2.1 A for the front ports) is kinda slow, when you have QuickCharge, Fast charge, etc. These chargers require active circuitry to be able to charge at full speeds.

With USB-C Power Delivery, one would be able to charge something like a macbook air.

There is 12V cable behind the front ports to tap into, but I would avoid it. I would rather have a cable run from a plug inserted in the power socket and run the cable behind the interior trim.

I am exploring if It would be possible to combine the power from the two ports (~4 A) and use that to fast charge a phone.


FYI the front ports put out 2.5a not 2.1... the 12v in the armrest is 12a continuous, 16a peak
 
Jul 3, 2019
28
8
Massachusetts
well sure, but if I plus something in that gives me 1 amp that doesn't mean the PORT can only output 1 amp.... the port is happy to give you 2.5 if you plug the right thing in.

Yes, one would need to use a smart usb splitter, rather than tapping of the + and - of USB port like most splitters/hubs do.

For the one I;m designing, it would need to negotiate 4.8A from both ports.

From the posts (showing 2.5A of current draw) that I have seen, the USB testers used might have inaccuracies/spikes and actual reading must be close to 2.4A, which conforms to USB spec.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
11,648
15,730
NC
Yes, one would need to use a smart usb splitter, rather than tapping of the + and - of USB port like most splitters/hubs do.

For the one I;m designing, it would need to negotiate 4.8A from both ports.

From the posts (showing 2.5A of current draw) that I have seen, the USB testers used might have inaccuracies/spikes and actual reading must be close to 2.4A, which conforms to USB spec.


Could certainly be the case (regarding the testers)... and I suppose irrelevant if you end up getting power from the armrest... I imagine some folks won't want to take any trim panels off though no matter how easy it is, so probably you'd want an option for both getting the 4.8A from the front to feed your device OR getting the 12A from the armrest to do so.

I guess where it's tricky is how much power goes where if only pulling the 4.8 since you might have one guy plugging in an SSD that might have a 3+ watt max draw, while a different guy is only plugging in a USB key with a .3 amp max draw, but both want the phone cable plugged into another port to charge "as fast as it can"

I guess maybe that's still an issue with the 12v since 2x30w chargers would use all of that by itself....
 
Jul 3, 2019
28
8
Massachusetts
Could certainly be the case (regarding the testers)... and I suppose irrelevant if you end up getting power from the armrest... I imagine some folks won't want to take any trim panels off though no matter how easy it is, so probably you'd want an option for both getting the 4.8A from the front to feed your device OR getting the 12A from the armrest to do so.

I guess where it's tricky is how much power goes where if only pulling the 4.8 since you might have one guy plugging in an SSD that might have a 3+ watt max draw, while a different guy is only plugging in a USB key with a .3 amp max draw, but both want the phone cable plugged into another port to charge "as fast as it can"

I guess maybe that's still an issue with the 12v since 2x30w chargers would use all of that by itself....

On the 12V socket, we get a power budget of 144W. Utilizing both the ports would give, 24W. The cable to run from 12v would need to be 14 AWG (over-engineering/estimating it).

Having a dedicated port with current priority of 5W for accommodating SSDs would be beneficial (see point 3, data only port). Rest can be split among other connected devices.
 

japhule

Member
Jul 24, 2018
177
164
Dallas, TX
If I was to build something similar to the JEDA, this is how I would imagine it would be.
  1. It would be powered by a 12v plug. User would need to run 12v from arm rest or other means to connect to it.
  2. There would be at least 4 x USB ports for data (teslacam, music, and 2 game controllers or other future use) that connects to the existing front USBs.
  3. At least 4 x USB powered ports (2 x QuickCharge 3.0, 2 x 2.4A)
  4. Maybe additional USB C for more options
  5. Nice to have: A 12v socket for additional 12v accessories (ie, external dash cam).
I basically have all of the above currently in my car using a variety of accessories, not pretty but at least its hidden and gives me some flexibility.
 
Jul 3, 2019
28
8
Massachusetts
If I was to build something similar to the JEDA, this is how I would imagine it would be.
  1. It would be powered by a 12v plug. User would need to run 12v from arm rest or other means to connect to it.
  2. There would be at least 4 x USB ports for data (teslacam, music, and 2 game controllers or other future use) that connects to the existing front USBs.
  3. At least 4 x USB powered ports (2 x QuickCharge 3.0, 2 x 2.4A)
  4. Maybe additional USB C for more options
  5. Nice to have: A 12v socket for additional 12v accessories (ie, external dash cam).
I basically have all of the above currently in my car using a variety of accessories, not pretty but at least its hidden and gives me some flexibility.

That's exactly my plan. The least invasive way possible. I'm planning to have total 9 USB ports (see point 3 in top post). I can make it modular, to have the ability to add more ports if required.

There would be also 12V terminal screws, where one can attach a socket/wires if needed. The 12V input will be current limited to 12A (according to M3 manual) as not to trouble the car with cutting the voltage.

Will have rough sketches done by next week.

Thanks a lot for your feedback.
 
Jul 3, 2019
28
8
Massachusetts
I am using it for the TeslaCam. Bandwidth is dependent on how strong your wifi connection is, its a little slower for me because my router is 3 floors above where the car is but I have it copying while my car is charging overnight. I do get corrupt files every now and then, but its not because of the raspberry pi, its an issue with all model 3s and the way it saves the videos, probably a software issue. I don't think there's anyone that has never had a corrupt file.

If I'm reading this correct, you have Model 3 -> RPI 0 W -> USB stick?
 
Jul 3, 2019
28
8
Massachusetts
Yes, one would need to use a smart usb splitter, rather than tapping of the + and - of USB port like most splitters/hubs do.

For the one I;m designing, it would need to negotiate 4.8A from both ports.

From the posts (showing 2.5A of current draw) that I have seen, the USB testers used might have inaccuracies/spikes and actual reading must be close to 2.4A, which conforms to USB spec.

I did some tests today in my Model 3. Here are my findings:
  1. The ports are dumb with regards to charging specifications. They do not support having voltages on D+ & D- lines as most of other smart chargers do. It just lets you draw current upto 2.4 Amps from VBUS and GND.
  2. They are HIGHLY SENSITIVE to current surges. It's very easy to trip the current sensor when connecting and inductive/resistive load. The in-rush current overwhelms the current sensor and it shuts of the power. It's on an exponential reset timer.
Will keep on updating this thread as my experiments continue.
 
Jul 3, 2019
28
8
Massachusetts
Would anyone be willing to replace the USB ports assembly in the center console?

There is a charger+data hub located behind the USB ports, which can be upgraded to one with more power. To remove it would require unscrewing the side trim panels.
 
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Ejl80

Member
Dec 23, 2017
585
513
Nj
Would anyone be willing to replace the USB ports assembly in the center console?

There is a charger+data hub located behind the USB ports, which can be upgraded to one with more power. To remove it would require unscrewing the side trim panels.
Sure, but I'd prefer the original plan.
 
Jul 3, 2019
28
8
Massachusetts
the Tesla hub does? The factory one?

Yes, behind the two USB ports. The part no is "1093295-00-A". See attached pic.

s-l1600.jpg


s-l1600 (1).jpg
 

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