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Project Universal Interlock System:
Interlock system
It deals with a cost-saving and simple device for a universal socket, including no active electronic aid, which, after inserting the plug into the socket, recognizes that an electrical consumer is turned on in order to enable the device to lock the socket. As a result, an inadvertent or intentional separation of the plug from the wall outlet can be prevented. The unlocking will be prompted as soon as the power consumption is lower than a defined minimal value.

This device is useful among others for the charging stations of electric vehicles. The most widely used charging mode for electric vehicles is predicted to be charging via the outlets which are used in the households of a country. Thus the charging stations which are installed countrywide by the utility companies should be provided in addition to the complicated intelligent sockets for > 16 A with the usual standard household outlets for < 16 A so that flexible loading of all electric vehicles can be guaranteed. In addition, charging stations with complicated intelligent sockets are very expensive. Furthermore, the number of charging stations must be many times higher than that of electric vehicles in order to guarantee a comfortable and flexible electromobility. Totally a high amount of energy consumption is expected if the millions of charging stations are equipped with complicated intelligent monitoring systems for the socket interlock, which are always quasi active and consume electrical energy, regardless of whether they are in use.

It is conceivable that in the future adapters will be used to allow the country cross-border charging of electric vehicles. This is on the one hand important because the electricity grids are construed differently in different countries. On the other hand, it is because of the connectors for heterogeneous households. Use of adapters facilitates the electromobility. For example, three different charging cables cannot be carried in the vehicle on a cross-border travel between the three countries Germany, Switzerland and Italy. But a single charger with special country-specific travel adapters can be used. When using the Universal Interlock System, the plugged system of connector-adapter-socket can be locked, since the locking system is variable and adjustable.

The device is called universal because that is usable for all connectors. In the framework the project "Universal Interlock System" a prototype system is developed which meets the full functionality of locking a socket above 0.5 A. The picture above shows one of the several concepts which have been applied for a patent by PhysiTronik in 2012 at the German Patent Office.