Critique of Hybrid Automotives Prolong Battery Charger

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by FireFighterHill, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. FireFighterHill

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    So I finally got all the parts together to install and hook up the Prolong Battery charger. Everyone who has one or has looked at them knows they are NOT cheap. Well I did what I do with just about all my large purchases, I searched for a good deal. Well I found what I thought was a good deal. I got a Prolong value Reconditioning package for 165.00 dollars used on Ebay. This is a ALOT cheaper than the 399+ they go for new depending on the vehicle you have. So after I spent the 165.00 I spent another 160 on the harness for 1999-2003 Prius harness. So grand total is about 325.00 give or take a few bucks. Great deal, or so I thought...

    For 150 dollars plus shipping, I expected a much higher quality wiring harness. For that price you would think they could make it completely plug and play (According to Hybrid Automotive the plugs needed to make it "plug and play" are proprietary and unavailable) or at least spring for some heat shrink on all the connectors. Another thing im not sure why they used Aluminum wire instead of Copper (Its actually tinned copper wire). Second problem I see is that the fuse on the harness side is INSIDE the battery case (According to Hybrid Automotive this is a safety feature to keep a short from energizing the battery case). That means to check the fuse you have to completely disassemble EVERYTHING. Another thing I found during my install with the harness, is the cooling fan controller. Isn't long enough to hide the module inside the body panel. Currently I'm going to have to extend the wire id say about a foot, just so I can tuck it in behind a body panel.

    So I got the harness all installed and go to hook it up and it all seems great. I plug it in to start the charge and nothing. Well long story short, I blew the fuse inside the Prolong charger. Come to find out, this charger I got doesn't work for the 1999-2003 Prius. It can only handle up to 250 volts. Something that is NOT mentioned ANYWHERE on the website! And since Hybrid automotive doesn't list part numbers of the different chargers on there website, it was almost impossible for me to know this before hand. Let me say I do take some blame, I could have called first and asked, but there was nothing on there site to lead to me believe there was a difference in the chargers, only that the harness's are different. The descriptions given are very generic, and they don't elaborate at all on the differences or list separate model numbers for different vehicles.

    Before I wrote this review I looked all over their website just to see if I missed something, couldn't find anything that mentions specific differences or that there is even the existence of multiple chargers with different output voltages and corresponding model numbers!

    Another observation, the harness to charger connector is "keyed" for orientation. My 2003 Prius harness plugs right into this Charger though it is meant for the 2006-2011 Civic. So I learned just because it fits doesn't mean it works

    So for those of you who have multiple hybrids and think you will be able to just buy another harness and use the charger on both, well you better call and make sure. Otherwise you may damage your car or the charger.

    I'll post pictures of my install. I re-crimped and heat shrinked most of the connections.
     
    #1 FireFighterHill, Sep 18, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  2. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    When you order from Hybrid Automotive there is a dropdown to select your car. I am sore there is a reason for that. @jeff652 can explain it, I am sure.
     
  3. FireFighterHill

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    Yeah, obviously different cars take different harness, no where on the entire site does it mention that they sell different model chargers with different outputs. All they list is a output range in the FAQ. No where on the site does it list different part/model numbers and specs for the different chargers.
     
  4. jeff652

    jeff652 Senior Member

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    You are too funny. If you had just asked during one of your calls about the differences we would have gladly told you. Not really fair to blame us for your mistake. If you had purchased from us you would not have had any problems at all. You tried to save some money and be coy with us about it on the phone and it didn't work out. This is not our fault.

    Here is where the different battery sizes are clearly listed on our website:
    Prolong Simple Discharger User Guide - Hybrid Automotive

    The fuse on the car harness is intentionally inside the hybrid battery compartment to save your life. We don't want you, or a emergency worker to die, if you are in a collision and the harness shorts to the chassis. If you already moved it out, you should move it back inside the hybrid battery compartment . . . .

    The Gen1 Prius is the reason our product description for all of our car harnesses DO NOT SAY PLUG AND PLAY. The product description and installation instructions are honest and straight forward, no ambiguity. If you had read the Gen1 Prius install instructions you would have never seen a plug-and-play claim made. Here are the links again in case you would like to double check:
    ProlongĀ® Battery Systems Car Harness - Discharge Ready - Hybrid Automotive
    1999 - 2003 Toyota Prius Installation Instructions - Hybrid Automotive

    We spent weeks researching the unique offset connector Toyota used on the Gen1 Prius. It's impossible to find. If it was available, it would be on our harnesses. It's not an issue of cost - due to purchase minimums, we have tens of thousands of connectors for cars we will only sell hundreds of harnesses for. Here is one example:
    Fan harness pins by the tens of thousands - Hybrid Automotive

    Sorry you tried to save a few bucks and lost. Sorry you are trying to blame it on us. Next time be honest with us on the phone and tell us what you are trying to do. We help people who buy used systems second hand all the time. In 10 seconds we could have told you that what you are trying to do would not work . . . . .
     
  5. FireFighterHill

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    I wasn't "coy" about anything. I was completely upfront about what I was doing and where I had got the charger. I actually gave your phone rep a lot of technical information he didnt even ask for. I only called for help trouble shooting. That link you shared Prolong Simple Discharger User Guide – Hybrid Automotive says nothing about different model chargers! Just list voltages and numbers of cells AND that info is under the simple discharger! Mentions nothing about chargers. Re-read my post I never claimed that the harness was sold as "plug and play". My biggest problem is LACK OF INFORMATION ON DIFFERENT MODELS AND THEIR CORRESPONDING SPECS. So please point me to a place on your website that list each of your different chargers with corresponding model number and specs.
     
    #6 FireFighterHill, Sep 18, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  6. FireFighterHill

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    And just to be clear these are my critiques of the harness, considering its high cost. Crimped plastic insulated connectors instead of soldered and shrink tube insulated connection. Aluminum wire instead of copper wire (its actually tinned copper wire). None plug and play (due to unavailability of proprietary connector). No harness extension for fan control module. I don't say these things to be insulting, i'm just saying I expected better, I was hoping for a harness that looked like it came that way from the factory. I as a consumer want to give my experience and maybe you can use the information I provide to improve your product and make it better for future consumers. The points about the fuse and proprietary connector are understood and noted.
     
    #7 FireFighterHill, Sep 18, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  7. jeff652

    jeff652 Senior Member

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    Fair enough. We are not perfect. Our phone guy is new and still learning. We are working with him to improve his knowledge.

    The fan harness box has wire anti-tension built into it. If you want to add shrink, we can understand. The wire is tinned 300V PVC shielded copper, not aluminum:
    Stranded Hookup Wire (300 Volt) | Bulk Wire

    We sent you an email about upgrading your charger.
     
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  8. FireFighterHill

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    Thank you for the answers and information. I edited my post to correct my misconceptions. I implore you as a consumer to PLEASE put on your website a page that list the different charger model numbers and there specs and if at all possible cross compatibility.
     
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  9. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    It sounds like you were not aware of the voltage of your car and then went out and bought a charger without checking what voltage it operated at.

    That is not the fault of the maker of the charger.

    I would liken this to buying a spark plug kit for a 4 cylinder engine, and then being upset that it didn't fit the needs of your 8 cylinder engine. Not the spark plug maker's fault.

    Unfortunate situation, but a good learning experience.
     
  10. FireFighterHill

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    I am very well aware of the voltage of my car. I have taken apart and replaced modules in the traction battery numerous times. Instead of assuming I dont know what im talking about how about you go find on Hybrid Automotives website the information you assume I should just know from generic pictures and drop down menus. What you are saying would be true if Hybrid Automotive LISTED THE VOLTAGES AND CORRESPONDING MODELS OF DIFFERING CHARGERS! But they don't. So using your analogy it would be as if a company sold spark plugs for different cars that they manufactured but failed to tell you each car requires a different spark plug because they also don't put anywhere on there website that each car has a different engine and dont list part numbers. So all you have to go on is a generic description and picture with a drop down menu. Get my point?

    And further my point ProlongĀ® Battery Systems FAQ – Hybrid Automotive no where does it say that these specs are met with multiple chargers with differing part numbers and not just one single universal charger.

    My point all along is that listing part numbers and specs goes a long way when trying to research parts, what will work and what wont.
     
    #11 FireFighterHill, Sep 18, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  11. FireFighterHill

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    Ive provided numerous examples of the lack of complete information on Hybrid Automotives website, but some how im just supposed to know there unlisted model numbers and specs, like im a psychic! So to anyone else who wants to give me a hard time, save your breath. Unless you have something constructive to add, keep it to yourself.
     
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  12. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    I too was under impression that chargers and dischargers are universal for different voltages. I was going to see if my friends with a Prius gen 2 and Prius C wanted to share the charger and discharger with me. Now I understand we would need two sets of equipment. One for Gen 2 cars (mine and one of theirs) and one for their Prius C. This was not at all obvious from HA website and product descriptions. I think it would be much nicer to have a some sort of designation on the charger and dishcarger as to what voltage (or a range) it works with. A model number scheme of some sort would be useful. OP makes a valid point on this one.
     
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  13. jeff652

    jeff652 Senior Member

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    The 'standard' Gen2 Prius, Gen3 Prius, and Prius V (as well as some Lexus) use a 168 cell pack. For all 168 cell batteries, the Charger and Discharger are the same unit. Only the car harness is different. You can use a higher cell count charger on a lower cell count battery, but the process will take ~40% longer as the charger current will fluctuate and average only around 200mA.

    We have enabled SKU visibility on our website, so the difference in part numbers will be more obvious. We will also expand the technical detail specifications to delineate each SKU shortly:
    ProlongĀ® Battery Systems FAQ - Hybrid Automotive

    EDIT: Done
     
    #14 jeff652, Sep 18, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
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  14. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    I agree that some of the feedback you put forward is helpful.

    But.... While I would still enjoy giving you are hard time over a drink in good spirits... I'll take your suggestion and save my breath. :)

    I have watched these products grow from their infancy many years ago to their current versions.

    I have way more info about these products and their history in my head than I care to admit.

    It's often hard to remember to step back and see it from a newbie's point of view.

    For that I thank the OP.
     
  15. Brian in Tucson

    Brian in Tucson Active Member

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    I bought the charger and intelligent discharger from Hybrid Automotive. The system works well and is well made. I paid full retail, and have no complaints. The quality of the harness is fine for what it does, as it emerges aft of the cooling fan, it is not individual wires, but is encased in a strong fiber tube. The connectors for the Prolong elements are good quality, and the workmanship is excellent. I blew a fuse in the harness, so I understand what is involved in replacing it--basically you have to go back thru most of the installation process. I asked Hybrid Auto about this and was satisfied with their logic, so I didn't change the harness at all. Think about a loose wire that carrying over 300v. It's a pretty scary prospect.

    While I sympathize with your plight, I think it's a bit unfair to negatively criticize a product that's not meant for our little cars. From a design aspect it would be nice if the charger had switchable, multiple ranges. I am not an electrical engineer, so I don't know how difficult this would be to manufacture.

    If you were in Tucson, I'd be happy to lend you my Gen 1 gear, all you'd need would be the wiring harness. The proper stuff works really well, & I believe that it helps extend the life of the HV battery. From that point of view, it's expensive but, imho, worth it.
     
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  16. FireFighterHill

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    Brian in Tucson, My biggest criticism was the lack of product information on their website. Not a single place, up until yesterday, made any mention of separate model numbers for different chargers. This led me to believe (foolishly) that the chargers were universal. So when I found the item on ebay and tried to search for the part number on the back of device I got zero information on it. Why, because up until yesterday, hybrid automotive didnt publish the model numbers or specs or each charger.
     
  17. Brian in Tucson

    Brian in Tucson Active Member

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    I bought mine from the H A site and don't recall any confusion about which model to buy.

    I'm sure there's some logical engineering reason for not making a charger that will have different application controlled by a rotary switch.Maybe that's something they'll add at a later date. I blew the harness fuse, too, the local BIG Ace Hardware had a supply of them.

    BTW, I think the harness is too expensive too. I'm entitled to my opinion, no matter how stupid it is.
     
  18. cooltroy

    cooltroy Junior Member

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    I have had great success with them and their product...
     
  19. Kingsway

    Kingsway Active Member

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    Just a thought on the subject of the fuse: It occurs to me you could have a secondary fuse, outside of the housing and of a much lower value. In that way, a short outside of the case might blow the external fuse, leaving the bigger one still intact?
     
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