Car Camping Dangerous???

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by Chris Papaya, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Chris Papaya

    Chris Papaya Member

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    I would like to go out in the Prius on a long road trip, camping and urban boondocking along the way. I love the fact that the AC can run while you sleep.

    However, I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but I will essentially be sleeping on top of a high voltage battery which now sounds kind of unsafe. If it shorts or discharges somehow, I would prefer not to be laying right on it. I think maybe a smoke detector in the car would be a good idea, but how dangerous is this really?

    Thanks.
     
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    Like most cars, the worry you SHOULD have is carbon monoxide. Be sure the exhaust can vent. The good news is that on a Prius it builds up more slowly than on cars that idle. If even one person had been electrocuted by their Prius, believe me, you would know.

    When not running, both the positive and the negative cables are disconnected, when running the 12 volt system is constantly testing the High Voltage system.



    At 3:55 to 6:05 he describes the service plug, you could remove it if you are concerned.
     
    #2 JimboPalmer, Dec 17, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  3. Beachbummm

    Beachbummm Senior Member

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    if you don't wet the bed and get a carbon monoxide detector you should be fine ;)
     
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  4. Chris Papaya

    Chris Papaya Member

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    I see. That's true I probably would have heard of that. Definitely putting a smoke detector in there.
     
  5. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    I think that as long as you aren't prone to disassembling your car in your sleep, you're safe from contacting anything high voltage. You're at much greater risk from other humans than from your battery. Prius camping is actually quite popular, from what I hear. Enjoy! :)
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    a bigger concern is the electro magnetic field. california is now warning people not to carry their phone in their pocket. imagine what sleeping on that battery might do to you.:eek:
     
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  7. Aaron Vitolins

    Aaron Vitolins Senior Member

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    Ive Prius camped many a times! I always thought it was cool I was sleeping on top of a large battery and a fuel tank. I guess thats where my nerdy brain goes when sleeping in a prius.

    The engine hardly ever runs even with heat or AC so even if you were stupid enough to stay in a Prius in a garage I doubt a Prius could kill you.

    God bless hybrids!
     
  8. William Redoubt

    William Redoubt Senior Member

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    There is zero chance of getting carbon monoxide poisoning sleeping in a Prius. The car only runs a couple of minutes to charge the battery when the AC is on and the car is in the Ready mode. A Prius, left on idle for 24 hours with the AC on will burn about 2 gallons of gas. Even in a sealed two car garage that would only produce about 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO. Death is possible (not certain) at larger than 2500 ppm. Impossible in Prius outside.
     
    #8 William Redoubt, Dec 18, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  9. DavidA

    DavidA Prius owner since July 2009

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    Does a fully charged battery emit EM radiation? News to me. An electric motor in operation might, if not shielded.

    I get a kick out of people who say that electric cars set off their EMR allergies, and can't get near them. Yet they are just fine driving their 8-cylinder gas cars with alternators, 50,000 volt coils, and spark plugs, let alone all the other power systems and technologies all cars have within them.
     
  10. JamesBurke

    JamesBurke Senior Member

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    Crash tested and shielded. Your exposure will not be much different than you get at home from being near any appliance. Ever stand near one of those big green transformers on a street or parking lot? Think what they're radiating. Car camped a lot but never in a Prius. Though sometimes I do hum.
     
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  11. RCO

    RCO Senior Member

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    Camping in a Prius is increasingly popular on this site. There are several videos on YouTube you could watch and a few members on here also.
     
  12. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    The non-plugin Prius fires I've heard about seem to be the same as the non-hybrid car fires -- mostly related to gasoline or combustible fluid systems in the engine compartment. And no more common in Prii than in other cars.

    So it seems that you ought to have the smoke detector for camping in any car. The Prius seems to not be special in this regard, either positive or negative.
     
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  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    isn't there a headlight wiring issue on the early gen 3's?
     
  14. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    There is an issue with some 2010s and 2011s where the low-beam bulbs don't last as long as you'd like, but that doesn't sound like a reason not to go camping. (It's funny you should mention the issue, I just got my Toyota warranty-extension letter for it today in the mail.)

    There was a bit of discussion of the issue that took place on the thread about 2010 right-front-area fires ... I'm the guilty party who mentioned it there, but not really because I thought there was any direct connection between the bulbs-burn-out-early issue and fire risk. If anything, I was suspecting more of an indirect connection ... like ... who knows how many people have been annoyed by their bulbs burning out early, and have decided, with whatever their varying skill levels, to make homebrew headlight mods ... ?

    I think the main thing that people (reasonably) wonder about with car camping is carbon monoxide. I think even that risk is vanishingly low in a Prius, certainly if it is outdoors. But it is very easy to bring along peace of mind in the form of a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. Keep in mind this is a different thing than a smoke alarm (though there are some combination alarms that do both). I can't really imagine much point in carting around a smoke detector in a car; it's such a small space, I suspect if it bursts into flames, you'll have noticed by the time your alarm goes off. It's monoxide from exhaust, the colorless odorless silent killer, that you might feel safer with an alarm for.

    As for the risk of the car spontaneously bursting into flame, I don't think that's any higher when you're sleeping in it than when you're driving it, and you do drive it, I imagine, so you've already made some judgment about the size of that risk. :)

    -Chap
     
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  15. JamesBurke

    JamesBurke Senior Member

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  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Drivers should be awake and aware of their surroundings. Smoke alarms are intended primarily for people who are asleep.

    But because CO is odorless, CO alarms are equally intended for both.
     
  17. JamesBurke

    JamesBurke Senior Member

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    I remember back in my youth (pre 1980) hearing about people who died from CO poisoning in their cars after become snowed in. Buildup of snow blocking the exhaust tailpipe was the claimed cause. You were to clear the tailpipe area often, crack your windows open and only run the ICE 10 or 15 minutes an hour if this happened to you. It is not uncommon for CO detectors to be carried in older single engine aircraft especially if there is no supplemental O2 on board.
     
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  18. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    The cell phone puts out radio frequency emissions. The stationary disconnected hybrid battery does not.

    When sleeping, that battery has no current flowing, thus no magnetic component. The electrostatic component is shielded inside a Faraday-like metal cage. The static electricity generated on your clothing during your movements is far stronger, and not shielded, in fact it is in direct contact with your skin.
     
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  19. Johnny Cakes

    Johnny Cakes Senior Member

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    Agreed, although the extra cargo space of the Gen 3 makes for better camping imho.

    You are going to want to crack the windows anyway, otherwise you will wake up to a bunch of condensation on the inside of the glass. Even in the hottest weather, the ICE is only going to run a couple of minutes per hour as it only needs to charge the traction battery, which is where the a/c gets its power. The ICE will run more on the coldest nights to produce heat. I have see the traction battery totally full receiving no energy from the ICE, yet the ICE continues to run to produce heat.
     
  20. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    If the car's in READY with the climate control on moving some air through, there shouldn't be a huge condensation problem. In heating weather, I did a comparison for my Gen 1 on a couple different ways of staying warm, one using just the heater, one with the heater off and a 40 watt heated blanket. I projected out to about three days of comfort on a full tank for the former, nine days for the latter (but, with the heater completely off, there would be a condensation problem). Again, that was for a Gen 1, and I only compared those two specific approaches.

    -Chap
     
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