Teardown Tuesday: Car Finder & USB Charger
Ever forget where you parked? Nonda is looking to fix those issues with a product called Zus.
Ever forget where you parked or how much time is left on the meter?
The Zus Smart Charger
The key component that makes the Zus a ‘smart’ charger is the app that it gets paired to. The app is available in the Google Play Store and iOS app store. The app runs in the background and monitors to see if there is still a Bluetooth connection to the Zus charger. If the connection to the charger is lost the app remembers the GPS location and displays a pop-up notification asking the user if they would like to set a timer. In the app, the user has the ability to look at the timer (if one was set), distance and direction to the parking spot, and a map of the parking location. Cellular coverage is not needed to navigate back to the parking spot; only a GPS connection is needed.
The Zus App!
The bottom of the shell with the light pipe
The Zus is made out of a two-piece shell that is comprised of a polycarbonate and ABS blend from Covestro (formerly Bayer Plastics). Opening up the charger was a lot of work. There are no external (or internal) fasteners on the charger. It appears that the shell of the charger is joined through solvent welding.
The seam of the Zus charger
The Trusted Link Bluetooth charger
The smarts in this charger is a BLE012 Bluetooth module made by Trusted Link. At the heart of the Bluetooth module is a CSR1012 Bluetooth SOC. This Bluetooth module supports Bluetooth 4.1 low energy that is used to connect to a smartphone.
The CSR1012 Bluetooth SOC
The Bluetooth module indicates its pairing state with the help of two white LEDs. These LEDs shine through two light pipes that are mounted to the top of the plastic shell.
The pairing LEDs
The 3.3V voltage regulator and Bluetooth module
The charging controllers and an LED
The ‘charging’ part of this smart charger are two MA5887 USB fast-charging controllers manufactured by Prolific. This charging controller supports automatic device detection for Apple, Samsung, and Nexus devices. Based on the type of device connected, the IC can enable charging up to 2.8A. Also in the image above is one of the two LEDs that are part of the ElegantShine Lighting system on the charger.
Switching Power Supply
The GSTek GS9206 voltage regulator
To provide the power to the charging ICs, the Zus charger uses a switching power supply with buck topology. On the Zus's webpage Nonda refers to a “ZUS Cooling System” and a "special cooling system". This system is most likely the switching power supply since there were no other prominent cooling mechanisms (active or passive) inside. Switching power supplies run cooler and more efficiently than linear power supplies that are often used on car chargers. This is a pretty typical switching power supply design. At the heart of the supply is a GS9206 (PDF) buck regulator made by GSTek. Paired to the buck regulator is a relatively large inductor in a through-hole package.
The inductor for the switching power supply
The Zus charger without its shell top
The Zus Smart Car Charger is more advanced than typical car chargers due to the Bluetooth module. The mobile app is well-designed and easy to use. As advertised, the charger stays cool due to the switching power supply. Additionally, the charger does rapidly charge iPhone 6S and Nexus 5s's.
A big thank you to Nonda for sending us this charger and making this teardown possible!
Thanks for looking at this week's Teardown Tuesday!
Stop by next Tuesday for another teardown! We're always looking for new things to teardown, so if you have any suggestions or would like to contribute an item for a future Teardown Tuesday, click here for my email address.
Next Teardown: Dash Camera