Introduction: Chevrolet Volt DIY Illuminated Charging Port

Picture of Chevrolet Volt DIY Illuminated Charging Port

Chevrolet Volt has an optiona l illuminated charging portThis is a costly accessory especially in Canada costing around CAD$300.

Which led me to seek a more affordable solution.
I managed to build this using stock Angel Eye Halo COB LED for a fraction of the price.

I think the end result is even better looking and more functional than the original accessory.

Use the original accessory installation manual as reference for this DIY installation: volt_illum_ charge_port.pdf

Parts:

Tools:

Step 1: Threading Wires From Charging Port to Engine Compartment

Picture of Threading Wires From Charging Port to Engine Compartment
  1. Use plastic trim removal tool to pry off housing bezel from charge port housing, from the bottom left hand corner and move to lower right hand corner to release bezel.
  2. Gently pry the bezel outward and disengage the bezel from the charge port housing assembly
  3. Bend 14 AWG Romex Wire into half moon shape.
  4. Fish the wire through charge port drain hole and route until it is visible between quarter panel outer and upper rail. (see dashed line in photo above for routing behind the fender panel).
  5. Since the drain hole is pretty narrow, attach one 18 AWG wire to the routing aid with electrical tape. Then attach second 18 AWG wire to first 18 AWG wire. Staggering them this way will reduce the overall diameter of the bundle of wires.
  6. Pull the routeing aid up whilst feeding the wires through the drain hole, until the wires emerge in the engine compartment.

Step 2: Attaching Current Driver

Picture of Attaching Current Driver
  1. Cut the wires between current river and the COB LED connector.
  2. Use terminal crimping tool to attach butt splices to the wires that were cut on the current driver.
  3. For strain relief for wires, attach butt splices to rear of current driver with a zip tie.
  4. Estimate 1/4" loom length by following wire routeing behind fender panel accommodating a little extra and cut to length.
  5. Insert 18 AWG wires into 1/4" loom then feed loom and wires down back behind fender panel down to drain hole.
  6. Attach current driver to harness above charging port in engine compartment using zip tie.
  7. Reattach the COB LED connector to 18 AWG wires in the charging port using butt splices that emerge through drain hole.

Step 3: Solder Terminals

Picture of Solder Terminals
  1. Solder 18 AWG red wire to the Yazaki YESC 2.8mm Female Terminal.
  2. Solder 18 AWG black wire to the Molex MX150 2.0mm Female Terminal.
  3. Crimp terminal wings onto the wires using pliers (or crimping tool).

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Step 4: Routing Harness Terminals to Current Driver

Picture of Routing Harness Terminals to Current Driver
  1. Estimate length of 1/4" loom and 18 AWG wires attached to 2.0mm and 2.8mm terminals, following the routing in engine compartment highlighted in yellow in photo above, starting at harness connector between fuse box and brake fluid reservoir, to current driver.
  2. Attach loom with zip ties, as shown in photos above, following the highlighted route.
  3. In order to fit butt splices in loom next to current driver, stagger 18 AWG wire length so the butt splices fit one after the other in the loom, rather than side by side.
  4. Use crimping tool to attach current driver input wires to the wires in the loom with butt splicers.
  5. Fit wires and butt splicers into the loom.

Step 5: Attach Harness Terminals Into the Harness

Picture of Attach Harness Terminals Into the Harness
  1. Detach male and female harness connectors from one another, the red button lever on the side of the harness will need to be pulled back first.
  2. Use small precision screw driver to gently pry out female connector white face, using the housing as a pivot point, until it reaches pre-lock position about 1/4" travel. Caution: It should never be fully removed from the connector housing! Excessive force may damage it!
  3. Use needle nose pliers to pull out the blue silicone plug from the large terminal cavity. If its grip slips when trying to pull out the plug, use can also use the precision screw driver through cavity from opposite side of pliers, to help push out the plug.
  4. Use precision screw driver to pry off rear connector face, then use needle nose pliers to pull off black plastic cavity plug. Then reattach rear connector face.
  5. Feed 2.8mm terminal with red wire into large cavity. Feed 2.0mm terminal with black wire into adjacent cavity.
  6. Push female connector white face back into harness.
  7. Reattach Male and female connectors and lock them in place by pushing red lever back into place.

Step 6: Attach COB LED

Picture of Attach COB LED
  1. Verify fit of COB LED around the larger diameter round base of the charging port. If it's a tight fit you can use sandpaper to lightly sand the inner diameter of the COB LED or very lightly and carefully use a Dremel tool making sure not to damage the COB LED module.
  2. Place a bead of silicone around the larger round base of the charge port which will serve as an adhesive to keep COB LED in place.
  3. Place some of the silicone over the attachment points of the wires on the rear of the COB LED module, to help keep them sealed rain.
  4. Push COB LED module back into the charging port base, whilst keeping wire attachment point on back of COB LED module at "10 o'clock" so that it's not sitting in a pool of water in case drain hole gets clogged.
  5. Attach COB LED connector to the current driver connector.
  6. Attach Charge Port Bezel, that was removed in step #2 making sure wires aren't pinched and are concealed behind the bezel.

Comments

LarryW94 (author)2017-06-02

Finally figured it out. Had to remove the whitish plastic piece from the female end of the plug. Once I did that, it exposed the ends of each wire and the ends of the plastic plugs. These plugs are square on the end and will never pull out of the plug. Removing the cover exposed the square end and they can be easily removed. Again, thanks for the instructable, works perfect.

LarryW94 (author)2017-05-27

First thanks for posting this instructable. Attempting to do this on my 2016 Volt. The plug for the positive wire is as you show. However, the negative port has some sort of nonconductive plastic plug inserted. Pushing and pulling seem to do nothing. Any idea how to remove this plug? Thanks again.

heli__guy (author)LarryW942017-05-28

See in step #2 this photo:https://cdn.instructables.com/FR6/8ZN2/J1MEY0VZ/FR68ZN2J1MEY0VZ.LARGE.jpg

You have to use a screwdriver to pry off the rear part of the connector, then use a precision screwdriver to push that "stick" out to free the pin port.

The photo above does have a square on this pin, if you place your cursor on that square it does specify this: "Use precision screwdriver to pry off rear connector face, then use needle nose pliers to pull off black plastic cavity plug"

Hope this helps.

Captain Tight-Pants (author)2017-04-24

I want to do this to my wifes 2015 but they didn't have that as an option on her year :(

You can work something out, using either Halo COB LED, or LED light strip, and utilize microswitch to turn LED's on when the charge port is opened, or motion detector:

See this thread: http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?284522-Chevrolet-Volt-DIY-Illuminated-Charging-Port

Swansong (author)2017-04-19

That's a neat mod :)

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