Matt Brown is a Senior Design Engineer at Tesla and he made a beer dispenser with a prototype Model S door handle that some fool had tossed in the garbage. For shame. Luckily Matt repurposed it to create this car hack and we wanted to share it with all of our fellow Tesla (and/or beer) enthusiasts out there.
Here's Matt Brown on his dispenser:
The closures team was tossing out a few old prototype door handles, and I asked if I could have one for a personal project. They assumed I was going to put it on my '64 Honda project car. I was thinking about modifying the metal part of the handle to replace the tap handle on the kegerator, but since I had the entire mechanism, I wanted to do something that used it.
I hogged out the insulation in the back of the kegerator door and then carefully cut a hole in the front that was slightly bigger than the handle. I clamped the handle mechanism in and filled the void with expanding foam to both hold the handle in and insulate the door.
The mechanism is controlled by an Arduino; I had to wire up and code new controls because the existing electronics networked with other controllers on the car to determine when it could and couldn't activate. I used an infrared proximity sensor below the spout to present the handle automatically. The dispensing is activated with a linear solenoid hooked up to the spout with a simple pushrod I fabbed up from an old brake line. I tried using a fluid solenoid in the beer line, but it created too much head in the beer. I thought about using a globe valve with a wiper motor or something, but I kind of like the handle mechanism.
I put an extra switch in and coded in some timeouts. I'm always afraid I'm going to come home to a flooded apartment, and a Model S door handle hiding like a dog that just peed 14 gallons of beer on the carpet.
On the reliability of his design, Matt bragged that "80% of the time, it works every time." That's okay, we love it all the same. Also, what is the '64 Honda project Matt references? Hopefully, there's more on that to follow.