Combination meter how to get to turn on

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by robl45, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. robl45

    robl45 Member

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    On my 2004 I am having the problem with the combo meter not turning on. Last week, it wasn't turning on at a all sometimes. this past week it has been pretty good about turning on, but only if I turn the lights on first. Is there any foolproof way of gettiing it to turn on? the car is worth probably 2000 dollars tops and its hard to justify 290 dollars for someone to repair it.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    nope. make sure your 12v is healthy. other than that, you need a new meter.
     
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  3. robl45

    robl45 Member

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    Believe it or not, not everything is about the 12v battery.

    At any rate, I had multiple times it wouldn't come on at all and now at least 10 times in a row it has come on which leads me to believe that there is a way to get it on.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i believe it. you're likely right, all the best!(y)
     
  5. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    And there's the conundrum of owning an old car. Want it to work reliably? Get it repaired/replaced. Sorry, there is no magic, free hack for this.

    GOOD LUCK!
     
  6. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Prius Speedometer Replacement

    Could you justify 150, and self install?
     
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  7. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Is there any foolproof way of gettiing it to turn on?

    Yes, replace it.

    At any rate, I had multiple times it wouldn't come on at all and now at least 10 times in a row it has come on which leads me to believe that there is a way to get it on.

    If your washing machine starts acting funny, is there a secret combination of light switches and cabinet doors that you can operate that will make the washing machine work correctly?

    That's basically what you're asking. The capacitors on the circuit board are failing. Contrary to this:

    "Believe it or not, not everything is about the 12v battery. "

    believe it or not, a new 12v battery MAY temporarily solve this, since a new battery will most likely have a higher voltage available when first starting the car and that extra voltage may be enough to help those caps act a little better. Kind of like what you're attempting to do by using 42 different combinations of electrical sequences.
     
  8. robl45

    robl45 Member

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    It typically comes on when putting the lights on first and then starting. But there were a day or two when it wouldn't come on at all. Still if it keeps coming on, I get the caps are dead, however, there would appear to be some way to get it to come on as it continues to come on. The 150 price is better, but its a lot to tear out and I read one person said it took multiple tries to get the thing back together and the cable on correctly before it would work.
     
  9. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Unless something changes, in the near future the vehicle will no longer start, it could be tomorrow or next year.

    Please report back with status updates, newly learned tricks, or magic combinations that will start the vehicle.
     
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  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i'm surprised by all the negativity here. there has to be a way to get it to come on, since it comes on sometimes.
     
  11. robl45

    robl45 Member

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    So currently it continues to work, most times it requires me to flick the lights on and off and then the dash will turn on. This typically works if the car has sat for awhile. If i turn the car off at the gas station, it can be quite difficult to get the dash back on, using the key fob to lock and unlock the doors usually will get it at that point.
     
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  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    excellent!(y)
     
  13. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Yeah, there's a capacitor in the display that gives out and it's often progressive. There are threads and YouTube videos showing how to replace it. If you're comfortable with some disassembly and soldering, it's not really hard and would only cost a couple bucks.
     
  14. pasadena_commut

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    While I take your point, the example you chose isn't ideal, because for old dial controlled washing machines there often is a free workaround for at least one failure mode. Our old Kenmore has 3 different "programs" on one dial, with varying lengths of wash and number of rinse cycles. This was very common for machines of that era. The one we always used stopped working reliably because the contacts wore out (after 22 years). Rather than replace the switch (and good luck finding an exact replacement at that age) we just started using another program. Sure, it runs the wash cycle a couple of minutes longer, but the clothes still come out clean. At the observed failure rate on that switch we expect to be on the trash heap ourselves before we have "used up" the last of the 3 three "programs"!

    The problem with the combination meter isn't so much that they used the wrong capacitor, but that they entombed the board deep in the dash. This requires a ridiculous amount of disassembly and reassembly just to reach the problem component.
     
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  15. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    What I found with those is that the 'programs' were notches cut into flat discs that rotated with the timer shaft, and different switch contacts (motor, spin, fill, etc.) rode on the different discs, and dropped into the notches at the right times in the program.

    At some point they started making the discs from plastic. Then they could just have the bare metal electrical contact be what rode on the disc. The contact could get warm during operation (especially if old and not super clean), and the heat would reach the part that rode on the disc, soften the plastic, and sort of mold the sharp-edged program notches into more rampy things. Of course that makes the contact even worse, increasing the heat, so the condition is progressive.

    It's hard finding an exact replacement at that age, but I did once just clean up all the contacts again, build out the carved places in the discs with epoxy, and once it was cured, file them back to the original shape with a nail file. Not sure why I ever thought I had time for that, but it was GF's washer at the time, and it did work like new afterward.

    Edit: no wait, I remember it now ... it wasn't so much about carving the existing edges into rampy things. The timer wheel in this particular control didn't move continuously like a clock hand: there was a clock motor involved, but it would just bump the control wheel ahead by a small amount, once every minute or so. In between bumps, the control discs weren't moving at all. Which meant, if the electrical contact was hot enough from a part of the program that had just ended, it would now be sitting still for a minute on one part of the plastic disc and melt its way down in, adding a very narrow new program notch. It had ended up making a sequence of those new little notches a minute apart. It was easy to just fill those in with epoxy and make them go away.
     
    #15 ChapmanF, Dec 24, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2019
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  16. robl45

    robl45 Member

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    still continues to work. The problem is when the car has not sat long it can be a real chore to get the dash to work again. Usually the keyfob trick of foot on brake. lock. lights on, foot off brake, lock does the job. I can't believe no one has any tips for this on this forum as reddit has a number of tips that people have said are sucessful
     
  17. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Some people find it kind of exciting to have the thrill of playing "will it work?" every time you go to use the car.

    The real question is whether or not you need it to be reliable?

    At some point it will definitely fail and leave you stranded.
    Sometimes it fails by not turning on.
    Sometimes it fails by not turning off.
    Both situations make for some interesting situations.

    It is pretty random about how to make it turn on. Clap you hands three times and spin around clockwise... it turns on.
    Jump three times in the air in 3 seconds... can also sometimes make it turn on.
    Seriously though, it will continue to work fine... until it doesn't.
    Sometimes people go many months in limbo, not knowing if this will be the time of complete failure.

    If you need reliability you will need to either try fixing it yourself or find someone else to fix it for you..
     
  18. robl45

    robl45 Member

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    Maybe it will fully fail and maybe not. For me this is a temporary car. I just sold my Mercedes and am currently between jobs so need this prius to last a bit until I get another job, doesn't really make sense plowing money into it, but it is nice when the dash is on. I just bought a battery yesterday for it, couldn't get away from that. As I posted originally, the fact that it has been going for months and months now leads me to believe that while there is something that prevents it from turning on, especially when the car has been turned on recently,it will likely continue to turn on, maybe the cap that is bad fills super slow so overnight it will turn back on? I don't know, but I do know that it doesn't seem to be getting any worse.
     
  19. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    All of the tips are here, but you will have to use the 'advanced search' feature to find them. They haven't gone sticky yet.
    Most likely you'll be fine, until it doesn't start :cautious:

    Just tell employers about the potential for being late to work because of a failing capacitor, then they have no reason to lay you off o_O
     
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  20. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    The search function on the forum is worthless. Go to google and search for "priuschat combo meter." It's one of the most talked about topics on this forum. Here are a few of the hits I got:
    combination meter repair - DIY | PriusChat
    Combination meter NOT NECESSARY AT ALL | PriusChat
    Combination meter replacement | PriusChat
    Combination Meter Out After 12v Battery Replacement | PriusChat
    Does Combo Meter REALLY need replacing? | PriusChat
    2008 Prius Combination Meter | PriusChat
    New (to us) Prius- Combo Meter issue! | PriusChat
    Combination Meter for sure. Fuse as well? | PriusChat
    2005 Prius combo meter (dash) not lighting up | PriusChat
    Combination Meter or 12V Battery? | PriusChat
     
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