New owner! Hello world!

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by PoorPeatree, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. PoorPeatree

    PoorPeatree New Member

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    Good Day!

    I bought a 2016 Prius Two Liftback this week!

    As an Elec Engineer, I'm looking to see what kind of upgrades(underlined)I might be able to do for the car.

    It seems the THS IV system is used in several vehicles, so I'll be doing some reading around to find out what form factor differences there are between the Prius Prime hardware + PiP gen 1 and other THS IV cars. I assume that the Lexus models or larger cars have stronger MG1/MG2 motors. I also hazard to guess that the Prius Prime has a interesting power flow due to the MG1 and MG2 driving the wheels. Also, the Prius Prime uses a Li-Ion battery pack, rated for 8.8 kW. I guess this battery has a much better power to weight ratio (or power density) than the NiMH battery factory installed. Anyone have any insight into how to get a battery that fits my car and has lower weight and/or more capacity, like a Li-ion? It seems getting more capacity wouldnt really upgrade the miles per gallon at all, only allow me to run for longer on a battery charge (which is charged by the motor to begin with). However, a lighter battery would be marginally better.

    For now, I love the car!! I've really enjoyed getting 55-65 mpg on regular gas. My old car was a premium gas guzzler, so i paid about $200+ a month for fuel!

    I like the audio system when my iphone is plugged in playing music off of my stored music, but I'll probably upgrade the system one day to a high quality speaker set and attempt to mod the control panel into the Prius Prime control panel...

    Definitely getting a max allowable window tint, its about $300 for the best in my area.

    I'm looking to get a ELM327 wifi device and an app like Torque or similar to view the precise amount of amperage delivered by/to the battery. With that, I'll also want a iPhone holder to be able to see the readout.

    I've already replaced the vanity and dome interior lights with LEDs. Doing so should help protect the battery from unintentional depletion, and they provide a lot more light. I'm trying to work out how to remove the map light bulbs so I can replace those with some LEDs as well! I'm still trying to find a how-to for the reverse lights, which I've got LED bulbs for but i'm not sure how to proceed with the replacement. I'll probably get the dealer to replace the map lights and reverse lights later, or show me how.

    Has anyone had any luck figuring out how to plug in the HV battery to a wall outlet if it's low? Even for small amounts of charge, it would be handy to be able to plug in, in case it dies.

    I haven't spent much time looking at the owners manual, but it appears to be 700 pages of somewhat useful info!
    2016 Prius Two, white.JPG
     
  2. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Welcome!
    Enjoy your ride.
    It appears you like to get every bit of data you can from your vehicle.
    You remind me of another user in Alabama, @bwilson4web . He had had a Gen 1 & Gen 3 Prius. He currently has a new Prius Prime & a BMW i3 Rex, which is a plugin with a small engine to extend its range.
    Perhaps you two guys could work together, sharing data with the rest of us. May people use a ScanGuage II to monitor constantly select data points.
    Here are a couple of threads from a UK user.
    ScanGauge II – Prius Gen 4 XGauges – Observations on Hybrid Battery Current | PriusChat
    ScanGauge II – Prius Gen 4 XGauges – Observations on State of Charge | PriusChat

    Driving a Hybrid is a little different, but if you just drive it normally, you will get great gas mileage.

    I believe the Prime has an additional one-way clutch that allows MG1 to assist MG2 and the Engine for acceleration. Bob Wilson calls the Prime Generation 4.5 instead of the 2016/2017 Generation 4.
     
    #2 Prodigyplace, Feb 12, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  3. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Regarding battery, you could take a look at Boulder Hybrids in Colorado where they convert Prii to PlugIns, due to generous state incentives. @3prongpaul visits here from time to time. There has not generally been too much cost-effective room for improvement over the Prii as designed. I don't believe we've heard any Toyota replacement costs yet for Li vs. NIMH in the Gen4.
    ReInvolt (now Dorman) was going to develop a Li replacement for Gen2/3...never happened.

    Boulder Hybrids |

    You got the Gen4 Two with NiMH whereas all other levels 2-eco,3,4 have Li batt in USA (NiMH overseas)
     
  4. PoorPeatree

    PoorPeatree New Member

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    Prodigy: I've also read there is a clutching system for the MG1, allowing much faster speeds on battery alone. I'm interested to see if this is a thing you can add to the prius liftback, but I'm guessing it would require a bit more than just buying a clutch and slipping it on. thank you for the links!

    EDIT: I looked around and it seems the XGauge modules are not what I'm looking for, but the posts that you linked for SOC and Battery amperage were very helpful! Thank you!
     
    #4 PoorPeatree, Feb 12, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
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  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Congratulation on the 2016 Prius Level Two. It is a fine car and but for the absence of TSS-P, I might have picked up a 2016 Level Two ECO in May. But Bill Penny only had a 2016 Level Three with TSS-P and it had a moon roof instead of outstanding MPG.

    As for mods to the car, let me endorse what others have suggested, get some seat time. As you learn what works and doesn't work, you'll gain a clue about where future enhancements can help.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  6. PoorPeatree

    PoorPeatree New Member

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    Thanks, Bob! I'm trying to avoid being overexcited, but I'm failing. It's fun having my first new car, and it's even more fun that it's a hybrid!

    I think the only thing i'll be doing this year is the ipad/iphone mount, ELM327 interface to the phone, and the rest of the non-LED interior lights. Maybe see if I can plug in the HV batt...
     
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  7. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    You are welcome!

    Bob would probably be a good resource about the differences on the Prime. He is likely more familiar with the Gen 3 Prius, but he should be able to tell whether the clutching system is a separate unit that could possibly be added to a Gen 4 Prius.
     
  8. kevinwhite

    kevinwhite Active Member

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    The only clutch I know of that has been added is a one-way clutch for the engine to prevent it rotating backwards in the Prime. It doesn't affect the speed that MG1 rotates but it does allow it to provide torque to the wheels allowing increased power output when driving in EV mode provided the battery can supply that power. The normal hybrid does not have enough battery power for this to be any value - MG2 can already accept all the battery power available.

    The clutch does not increase the allowable regeneration power.

    kevin
     
    #8 kevinwhite, Feb 12, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
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  9. PoorPeatree

    PoorPeatree New Member

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    Interesting Kevin, I appreciate the input. I should go drive a prius prime and see the difference.

    I had a great day of driving today! My pal's birthday was yesterday so we tripped down to our favorite brunch location and i got 100 MPG on the way there, and the two legs back were 50 MPG and 180 MPG! Interesting round trip fuel consumption.
     
  10. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Thanks. I forgot about that detail.
     
  11. Samprocat

    Samprocat Active Member

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    It will be much better to find donor car with rear wheel drive and do exactly the way you like and how much your budget is...
    Depends on type of .....you can easily reach Tesla range with a lot less money

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  12. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats and welcome! don't bother trying to plug in the battery, it can't be done. never has, never will. impossible. i dare you! i double dare you! face it, you're not smart enough. :cool:
     
  13. PoorPeatree

    PoorPeatree New Member

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    I'm close with a friend in cyber security who has been studying "hacking" CAN bus cars to make them do things they shouldn't. I don't see why this wouldn't be possible, a CAN bus isn't especially secure. We should be able to convince the Batt ECU that the main ECU wants to deliver a charge, and then apply DC power to the system at the battery side of the inverter. I'd like to see a wiring diagram of the system.
     
  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    let's put it this way then, you and your friend may have the smarts, but you don't have the intestinal fortitude.
    sure, anything can be done, but will it? i think not.;)
     
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  15. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Enjoy your car - I'd agree, drive it for a bit before $pending big $$. Li-ION is only 16kg lighter - and in an almost 1500kg car (with driver), that's negligible. TOYOTA supposedly put the lighter Li-ION battery in some markets in upper models to account for more accessories.

    In Japan, 100% of PRIUS are Li-ION, but the cynical of us wonder if that's because Japanese owners rarely keep a car longer than 5 yrs.

    There has been a lot of discussion on PriusChat re Li-ION vs NiMH - personally I'd prefer the tried and proven NiMH. I have no idea of the cost difference between the two - I heard that it was initially quite large, but the gap has closed.

    Your question about whether a larger battery could increase MPG. You have the balance between mass - if it were possibly to, say, put a second battery in parallel, you would double the battery mass as well as capacity. Downside - extra mass. Possibly upside - the HYBRID effect of storage -> "free driving" -> regeneration might give an advantage in some driving conditions as you would be able to store more regenerated capacity. I guess TOYOTA has tried to achieve some middle ground between marginal benefits and over-the-top.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that your PRIUS is a HYBRID, not an Electric Car.

    It's not impossible, to convert it to a PLUG-IN, but in my case, where I live at the bottom of a hill, my battery is always full when I get there, so there would be almost no benefit of trying to plug it in. If it had a bigger battery which took longer to regenerate, that could be a different situation, particularly if you lived at the TOP of a hill. Nothing is impossible, supposedly, just tricky - Gen 3s were occasionally converted, but I haven't heard of a Gen4.
     
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  16. TinyTim

    TinyTim Active Member

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    Here is a helpful hint. Putting the car in neutral requires holding the shifter toggle to the left N for a second or two. This is helpful intel when going through a car wash. You can't just tap it to N.
     
  17. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Except for us whose car is RHD - then hold it to the RIGHT for a second or 2.
     
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  18. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Back in the first days of Prius ownership, there were a lot of efforts spent trying to make a Gen-2 into a plug-in and at one time, two companies offering a kit. But they had to do some severe hacks including things to disable the engine leaving the "Check Engine" light on. Now folks who would make such mods are the type who are OK with this but it wasn't really all that practical. Once Toyota came out with PiP-1, those companies evaporated. But a couple of years ago, a German student did it for his Gen-1.

    I had thought about putting a boost charger on my Gen-3 but this is not a trivial problem:
    • 7.2 V per module with peaks of 8.1
    • 28 modules managed as pairs
    Design requirements:
    • ~202VDC when in operational configuration
    • two different sized blocks with an isolation relay in the middle
    • too much heat - fails a module which fails the pack
    • overcharging - fails a module which fails the pack
    • undercharging - unbalances the pack which leads to pack failure
    In my speculations, a low-power, set of microcontrollers like TI MSP430 would manage one module with a shunt charge management and thermal monitoring. External power would come in via transformer or capacitive coupling to keep each MSP430 isolated from the series DC. There would be a system manager that would collect metrics so we could tell what was going on in the pack. All of this would be squeezed inside the case in such a way that it would not adversely impact cooling. When not in operation, the MSP430 and its glue logic would go into very low, microamp mode.

    The "hack" mode would have been to build a series zenner, linear array to function as a poor man's DC shunt charger. The problem is as each module (or module pair) reaches their charge limit, each becomes a 'heater' from the charge that shunts around that module. When down to the last module, 27/28, you're looking at ~97% of the charge energy heating the pack. So the fan has to come on and the heat evacuated. It also becomes very inefficient as most of the power at the end goes into heat.

    There are variations on this theme like an AC power, shunt charger with latching bypass. This probably is the most practical but we still have to monitor the heat and dump the excess. NiMH charging is exothermic.

    If you decide to go this way, contact me via a 'conversation' and I have some resources you are welcome to bench experiment with. Much better to practice on parts on a bench without risking the ride.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  19. RCO

    RCO Senior Member

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    So long as you remember to keep it n Ready Mode and not put it into P. :oops:
     
  20. Dasrosie

    Dasrosie New Member

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    Late post, but I came across this video that goes through changing all the interior lights and parking lights to LEDs. Very informative.
     
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