2010 Solar Package in cold weather

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by southeprius, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. southeprius

    southeprius New Member

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    Here's a question I'd like to throw out to all of the new 2010 Prius owners who opted for the Solar Package (moon roof):

    When it's freezing cold outside, can the Solar Package option in any way help to warm up the car's interior?

    Will pressing the A/C button on the remote heat up the cabin if preset to 80 degrees?

    I understand that the solar panels on the roof power the ventilating fans, and not the actual a/c unit. I also understand that pressing the A/C button the remote activates the a/c unit that runs on the hybrid battery for set number of minutes. If you disable the solar powered ventilating fans by pressing the disabling button that's to the left of the steering column, will the remote a/c unit also be disabled?

    However, I live in the Pacific Northwest where it can get freezing cold, so I'd like to know if buying a Prius with the Solar Package is only going to benefit me three months out of the year, or also when it's cold.

    I have had a Clifford remote engine starter on a Toyota Matrix before, and it worked great to heat up or cool down the cabin because the engine was running.

    I've read most of the relevant threads, googled, youtubed, and even binged, but all either confuses or skirts the answer. Will the remote a/c on the Solar Package warm up the cabin?

    I'd like to know asap because I'm trying to decide between one Prius equipped with the Solar Package and another Prius with only the Remote Engine Starter installed.

    Please test it out on your new 2010 Prius, and tell me what you find.
    :cheer2:

    Cheers
     
  2. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    In short, no.

    But then again, your definition of "freezing cold" is quite different from mine (here in Minnesota).

    Neither the use of the venting nor the condenser will result in warming. They are for cooling.
    .
     
  3. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    No. One answer to all of your questions.

    Tom
     
  4. MaggieMay

    MaggieMay Active Member

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    Good question... here's another:

    If it is 32 degrees outside and the sun is shining bightly on the solar panel - what would the ventilation system do - blow 32 degree air into the cabin?

    I love having a sunroof and I'm trying to see how the solar panels could be used for more than a couple of months a year.
     
  5. royrose

    royrose Active Member

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    As stated by others, the remote a/c with the solar roof won't heat the car while the remote start accessory will.

    To my understanding, the difference is that the remote a/c will never turn on the ICE. If there is not enough battery charge, it will not run. The remote start will turn on the ICE as needed and therefore can heat as well as cool. Also, the remote start will run for up to ten minutes while the remote a/c runs up to three minutes.

    Of course, with the remote start, you may actually be burning gasoline on those winter mornings.

    I am planning on getting the remote start because of it's versatility and because I don't want to pay for nav to get the solar roof.
     
  6. southeprius

    southeprius New Member

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    I really appreciate the answers, thanks!

    From what I've learned so far, it appears that the ventilation fans will draw in the cooler air, even if it is only 32 degrees outside with the sun shining, so the Toyota rep. suggests to turn off the mechanism by pressing the disable button.

    Cheers
     
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  7. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator
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    The system is designed to not ventilate the car if interior (or exterior?) ambient is < 68˚F. Either way, the defeat switch can be used if it's operating when not intended.
     
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  8. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    My has run below that temperature. Perhaps that number is from old documentation.
    .
     
  9. Midpack

    Midpack Member

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    I live near Chicago and I have concluded that solar would be a benefit less than three months of the year. It could work during summer but even then, if it's overcast (like Pac NW) I suspect it won't do much so even less than three months. IMO solar is pretty much a marketing gimmick, although it might have more utility for those living in the SW or other mostly hot, sunny regions. As I understand it, Toyota had other plans for solar when originally conceived (trickle charging the main battery?), but that did not pan out (RF interference?). As much as I want a sunroof, I'm not going to pay $3600 for it when I don't need nav or solar.

    And the economic advantages of the Prius already don't work out vs a conventional small car until gas reaches about $8/gal (5-year breakeven calc vs a Honda Fit) - so an additional $3600 only makes it less cost effective. YMMV
     
  10. FireEngineer

    FireEngineer Active Member

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    Mine too, at least the outside temperature. Perhaps since the solar ECU is connected to the A/C ECU it uses the interior temperature sensor, which could be warmer than outside. I need another subscribtion to TIS.

    Wayne
     
  11. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    Keep in mind the car still has the two 400 W electric heaters, so there is a possibility -some- heat could be put into the car with the remote turn-on of the A/C system. I suspect we'll have to wait for winter to be sure. It would have no noticeable effect here though. I've only felt the GII heaters in late spring. In winter it's "what heaters?" I'm freezing. Warm up the engine!!!

    Also, the solar roof is a "sunroof", and it can heat the interior a bit if the sun is shining, as long as the shade is open.
     
  12. ronhowell

    ronhowell Active Member

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    Yeah, making a nice little mobile meat-locker out of your brand new Prius!! :D
     
  13. MaggieMay

    MaggieMay Active Member

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    Hey it's always handy to have a spare fridge available! :p Maybe I could rent out freezer space to neighbors to help pay for the car! :rolleyes:
     
  14. ronhowell

    ronhowell Active Member

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    Good one, MaggieMay! :)
     
  15. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    besides the answer being no, the fact that the solar panels convert radiant sun energy to electricity means that the winter sun will do less to warm the interior actually doing just the opposite of what you had hoped for...

    but then again, the solar panel does have a slider. leaving it open will allow sun to shine into an area that would normally be shaded... either way, i dont think the sunroof is a winter type thing but your post does make me think that i now understand why there is a disable button for the solar fan control...
     
  16. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator
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    I've forgotten to close the slider more than once - does increase temps in the car 5-10°F.
     
  17. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Well also if you park in a dusty area or an industrial area where you want the fans to be off.
     
  18. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Well also if you park in a dusty area or an industrial area where you want the fans to be off.
     
  19. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Moderator
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    With a filter, I wouldn't worry unless there was an odor associated w/ it.
     
  20. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Zoo =P
     
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