Enginer PHEV DC/DC Overheating issues

Discussion in 'Prius PHEV Plug-In Modifications' started by kiettyyyy, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. kiettyyyy

    kiettyyyy Plug-In Supply Engineer

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    Hey folks!

    Thought I should start a thread about this since the other threads are kind of mixed up....

    So, as shown in the "Has anyone installed the enginer PHEV?" thread, another individual and my self were experiencing overheating on the DC/DC converter within about.. say 10-15 minutes of use.

    I've been in close contact with Jack Chen regarding this issue and apparently, my SECOND DC/DC converter was programmed by the factory to have a higher output.

    If you're experiencing overheating issues after attempting to add in a hot-air vent fix, make sure to contact Jack with your serial number.

    Remember, this is a work in progress. I'm sure Hymotion and Plug-in Supply had their bugs and flukes when they first started out ;)

    My THIRD DC/DC converter is on its way.
     
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  2. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

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    do you now what higher output this converter got? higher voltage or higher amps?
    and if the normal is around 12amps what is yours doing?

    do you need to send back the first 2 converters? or can you keep them ;-)
     
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  3. kiettyyyy

    kiettyyyy Plug-In Supply Engineer

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    No, I didn't bother to check. I think it's just higher output voltage. My car's SOC likes to chill at 8 bars(Full).. I know. That's high. I usually have to turn the switch on and off while driving to balance the SOC at about 6 to 7 bars.


    I met Jack at the expo in Long Beach and returned my first charger and grabbed my new 4kwh Mottcell batteries.

    I'll be returning the second converter as soon as I install the third one when ever it arrives. There's no point in keeping a defective converter that is a potential hazard.
     
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  4. Preacher

    Preacher New Member

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    I think I'd be the other person with the converter heat issues :( I had tried to install some venting and duct work which did help the issue but not much, it got me another 5 or 10 minutes of run time maximum. My replacement converter is on it's way from Jack, my third one too.

    I'm curious if mine might be defective in the same way as kiettyyyy's. I still have my current one installed until the replacement arrives. I'll throw a meter on both of them and post the output results once the replacement unit arrives.
     
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  5. plugmein2

    plugmein2 New Member

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    Mine has been working fine. What should I watch for if it starts to malfunction?

    JOANNA
     
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  6. kiettyyyy

    kiettyyyy Plug-In Supply Engineer

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    If the internal temperature of the DC/DC converter goes well over 70 degrees celcius within a time span of 10 to 15 minutes.

    You'd only get a realistic range of 9 to 13 miles before the DC/DC overheats.
     
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  7. toddwking

    toddwking Average Joe

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    Mine went bad as well, not sure if it was from overheating or not, but I presume it was. I have a replacement now that I just plugged in a few minutes ago. I'm going to run it a couple minutes to confirm it's working, and then I'm going to head to the store to run a duct to the air vent in the pack (and just kind of jam it in there? Not sure how to connect it up, but I'll improvise :).

    I have to say though I'm not terribly optimistic that this will solve the overheating issue, but I'll give it a go.

    Preacher, I saw in your other posting that you are adding fans to the converter, removing the charger to improve airflow, etc. Am interested - has that done the trick for you? If so, could you outline again exactly what all you did to fix it? For example, you mentioned you wired up an external fan to trigger when the converter fan does. Can a regular joe like me do that, or do you need to be more technically inclined?

    Also, does anyone know if there is a vent to the outside of the car that I could run a duct to? I recall that when it was working that it made the interior of the car smell a little bad, and I'd rather it just vent outside.
     
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  8. krousdb

    krousdb NX-74205

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    Just remove the storage bin to the left of the converter. Behind that bin is two sets of vents. Run your duct to those two vents.

    You also might want to "think out of the box" with the converter, if you know what I mean. That is what I will be doing. Just be careful routing the cables.
     
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  9. cabledave

    cabledave Member

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    I had seen it mentioned to remove the storage bin, however your added observation that there are vents:):):) that are being blocked by the bin prompted me to remove ours.

    I'll let everyone know how this affects my average temperature as it has been getting as high as 137.
     
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  10. Preacher

    Preacher New Member

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    Yes as others have said there is a vent to the outside of the car behind the storage bin in the rear left. I'm still working out the kinks in my system but I'll post what I have so far and do a better write up later this weekend after I have more results to report.

    I did install a couple of fans and some duct work which did seem to help but not as much as I would have liked. Jack has sent me a replacement converter which arrived late today. I'm going to take some readings on both the old one and the new one for comparison and I'll see if this new one overheats less.

    I don't like leaving that storage bin out of the car. Besides the fact that it holds my tire repair kit and compressor (I removed the spare tire and jack), without it I can't close up the trunk area to look nice and neat. That said, after I'm done testing out the new converter that just showed up not too long ago I'm going to rerun the duct work around the bin and put in a stronger fan.

    I don't see why you can't wire up your fans like I am doing mine. :) Like I said above, I'm going to do some testing with the new converter and try to streamline my fan/duct work a bit. I'll post full details with my results, some pics and how I ended up wiring it and running the duct work once I get what I think will work for me, hopefully by tomorrow afternoon. :)
     
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  11. cabledave

    cabledave Member

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    Hey Preacher, where are you connecting your fan?
     
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  12. Fibb222

    Fibb222 New Member

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    You guys shouldn't have to improve the ventilation. Your converters are simply defective. I hope I don't get stuck with one of those when I get mine.
     
  13. Preacher

    Preacher New Member

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    I am splicing the fans to the power leads that power the two stock fans in the converter, that way when they spin up the new two external fans spin up too. That was my first take at it and it worked great. If I end up having to go with larger fans then I'll probably change this connection method but with the size fans I'm using right now the draw seems fine and I'm getting plenty of additional air flow.
     
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  14. toddwking

    toddwking Average Joe

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    I see said the blind man - That should be simple. If I splice the wires from the fan inside the converter like Preacher is talking about, I could put a little fan in between the box and the vent to make sure it's sucking out the hot air with maximum efficiency.

    I wonder if I can figure out a way I can vent it to the outside, yet still at least kinda use the plastic holder thing on the left, that thing is kinda handy. Maybe I'll drill big holes on either side and have a weird looking vent tube (+ a little fan) going through it...
     
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  15. Preacher

    Preacher New Member

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    So I received my new replacement DC/DC converter yesterday and got it installed today for some testing, below are the results.

    First, I tested the output voltage on the original 'bad, overheating' converter. It was pretty high, 259V. I removed it and my fans and ductwork and installed the new replacement converter. Once it was hooked up the voltage output did look much better, coming in at 243V, much closer to the unit's specification output voltage of 240V.

    I tested the new converter on my usual drive to work tonight. It's a drive of 19.5 miles, 14.3 miles are nice back roads with an average speed of 40MPH and the last 5.2 miles are a highway where after getting up to speed I average between 60-65 MPH. Also, to test if additional fans are going to be needed or not, as mentioned above I removed all ductwork and extra fans from my installation. The only 'modifications' to the kit were the charger is still removed from the box and installed in the spare tire compartment and the little storage pouch next to the exterior vent is still removed. Now for the results.

    Overall I was pretty happy. The new converter made it 18 minutes before overheating. In fairness, my car was hot from sitting all day with the windows up and the AC was still cooling it off, I was quite impatient to start my drive. That said, while it was running I was THRILLED with my results (I'll post the details below for those that would like them) :D

    The kit did cool down in record time (8 or so minutes) and I was able to use it again just before jumping on the highway. I am still convinced that either the converter needs to be moved out of the box and into the spare tire area where it can more easily breath or additional fans will need to be added along with direct ductwork out of the car. I'll be experimenting with options tomorrow afternoon after work (I work an overnight shift on the weekends). Now onto the details of my first mostly successful trip with the 4KWH pack installed.

    For reference, my usual MPG (no pack) for this trip is about 59MPG on the back road portion and an average of 51MPG on the highway portion.

    For the 14.3 miles of back roads I did a mix of pure EV where possible and maxed out my speed at 45MPH in some areas. I'm estimating my average speed was 40MPH. I had the energy screen up and just before the extra batteries quit and I was at 94.3MPG :eek: I was pretty thrilled to say the least but I neglected to see the mile mark I was at when the pack quit, I only noted the time on the clock. By the time I had completed the 14.3 miles of back roads, just before the on ramp for my highway portion of the trip I was at 74.1MPG, still impressive in my opinion and for my driving habits! After my 5.2 mile trek on the highway I pulled in at work with 69.1MPG.

    Impressive results for this kit for me at least and I'll be even happier when I've worked out the rest of the required ventilation issues!

    I'm going to try my ride home from work in the morning and see how the converter fairs after a night of cooling down and a recharge (I plug in at work during the overnights which is great for me). I'm hoping with a cooler interior temperature in the morning starting off the converter may run fine for most if not all of my trip home. I'm still convinced some minor alterations will be required to optimize the installation for cooling since I do drive in the hot days too but we'll see how it goes. I'll post additional overheating results (or hopefully lack there of) in the morning after my ride home :)
     
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  16. Fibb222

    Fibb222 New Member

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    Ha ha Dave, I thanked him first!
     
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  17. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

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    the OEM inverter got a special cooling system
    ofcourse that works on a lot hinger amps and voltage but maybe a continuos 12 amps Dc-Dc converter needs more then just 1 small fan or is there no fan on the dc-dc converter

    my charger that i use for my plugin can max out 10 amps and i only use 2.5 amps but there are 2 fans on the charger to give it some cooling and with really hot outside temp. i can feel it putting out a little hot air.
    so i guess at 10 amps charging it will get a lot hotter.
     
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  18. plugmein2

    plugmein2 New Member

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    My DC/DC converter is still working fine. Maybe I got a good one. I keep my car stored in the garage, and when I charge, I like to keep the top of the kit open to monitor the batteries. I then close it, and off I go. This might be why I am not overheating.:rolleyes: ???

    JOANNA
     
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  19. Fibb222

    Fibb222 New Member

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    I hope I'm as lucky as you. I don't live in a hot climate if that's the difference.
     
  20. eMileage

    eMileage Member

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    I think the overheating issue is mainly affecting a few 4KW systems. This may be due to the case being full (due to double the number of batteries) leaving less air space inside the case, than in the 2KW system. If there is anyone with a 2KW system that is experiencing overheating, please feel free to correct me on this point.
     
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