New Prius, Battery Recondition Idea After Reading Forum ALL DAY :)

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by ArmyChief, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. ArmyChief

    ArmyChief Junior Member

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    So, I'm purchasing a new-to-me 2013 Prius Persona tomorrow and will be giving it to my 18 year son to take to college. I am an Automotive Technical Instructor Full-Time and 35 year Army Veteran (still in) Electronics Warfare Warrant in the National Guard. I have a electronics repair shop in my garage and fell pretty confident in my abilities. That being said, i wanted to run my idea past this supreme group.

    I've spent all day watching every YouTube video and reading the pertinent threads here and want to go completely over the car before my son leaves for college (test/replace if needed 12 volt battery, test/recondition/replace HV battery modules, clean fan and inlet duct..etc).

    When it comes to reviving the HV battery modules, the DIY process seems to include a RC battery/balance/charger/discharger. The recommended was the older 4X300 (due to firmware allowing discharge/charge totals being displayed on screen) or Charsoon Antimatter DC 4X300 (older firmware, but on backorder). The idea is to Charge @ 5A to 7500mA & Discharge @ 0.7-1A to 5.8VDC (albiet Hybrid Automotive goes down to 3.0 VDC (0.5 PER CELL - 6 cells per module). SO, since ONE of those 4 channel RC Chargers are about $200-240 US and there are 28 modules....it would take a while. I read a LONG thread (Dorman Part 2 I think), where a member did like SEVENTEEN cycles and brought almost every module back past 6500 mA each !. I've read up on the chemistry of NiMH and how the Prius ECU SOC/charging strategy isn't optimum for the battery energy density.

    Anyway, to speed my process up and spend the SAME amount of money, could I use 14 IMAX B6 (I think they are clones of SkyRC B6) which are 80W Chargers and put to modules in series? (So, my charge would still be @ 5A to 7500mA (Say 16 VDC @ 5A = 80W) & Discharge @ 0.7-1A to 11.6 VDC (or 6 VDC for deep discharge like Hybrid Automotive does). This would allow me to do all 28 modules at once.

    This seems feasible to me (kinda like the grid charger - prolong charger/discharger), but at a lower level (2 modules in series versus all 28 in series).

    When finished, I could tie the POS & NEG in parallel fo an hour to balance (or longer if someone thinks longer is needed).

    Thanks for any feedback,

    Doug
     
  2. ArmyChief

    ArmyChief Junior Member

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    Well, I tried to edit my above and could not see where to do that. After looking at the specifications of the IMAX B6, my main issue is the 5W discharge spec. That would limit my discharge to about 300 mA...way to slow. So, it seems like 2 Hitec X4 AC Pro's might be better.
     
  3. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    It doesn't sound like the hv battery needs re-balancing according to the info posted. Instead I would grab techstream, or put an OBDII & app to measure real life data of the hybrid battery. If the max & min voltage are no further than .3 volts apart while driving then hv battery reconditioning not needed. After that, I'd check the EGR pipe to see if the circuit needs cleaning. If not sure what that is, make some coffee because you'll have another day of reading to do.
     
    #3 Grit, Apr 5, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
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  4. royrose

    royrose Senior Member

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    how many miles on the Persona?
     
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  5. ArmyChief

    ArmyChief Junior Member

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    Grit,

    Thanks for the reply. Not sure what info posted led you to think the HV battery might not need to be reconditioned. My thought was that the battery is original (7-8 years old and has 155k miles on it). I did notice the dash MPG indicator says 42 MPG. Based on those two factors, I think a reconditioning couldn't hurt. (I've got a few months before he leaves for college...better for me to go through this vehicle completely before he leaves). I have Techstream, AutoEnginuity, Dr. Prius & Autel MP908P...Once we get through this "lockdown", I will perform a thorough HV battery test.

    Now, you mention the EGR tube, I'm familiar with EGR's, their purpose and operation...I'm assuming there is something special/unique with these 1.8L's

    155k, all original battery. Also, as just replied..the MPG info says 42 MPG (a "typical" indicator HV battery "might" be weakening).

    LOL...reminds me of diesel EGR's and GDI intake valves. I did a quick search and watched a YouTube video. Piece of cake, I will be doing that as well. Thanks for heads-up.

    BTW, is there a thread/document for new prius owners of things to look at/modify/update/repair?
     
    #5 ArmyChief, Apr 5, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2020
  6. ArmyChief

    ArmyChief Junior Member

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    BTW, I just ordered the Nickel-plated buss bars & nuts. I will be going through this vehicle completely before giving to son for college.
     
  7. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    .....that 17 cycle thing was probably me...

    First things first...is the hybrid system still under warranty? The car is only 7 years old and the hybrid warranty is not "original owner" only. If the warranty is valid, I wouldn't mess with it.

    You may be better off getting some apps like hybrid assistant and hybrid reporter that will let you perform a test of the HV battery using the AC system and then graph all the module voltages. It will very clearly show any weak modules. You can do that test monthly or quarterly to track the condition of the modules so you know well in advance of any issues getting ready to show up.

    If it's not under warranty, and you want a truly reliable battery, either purchase a battery from a wrecked Gen 4 (make sure its the nmih model) and put those modules into your case, or go new Toyota or use the @2k1Toaster replacements.

    Any of those hobble chargers will allow you to do multiple modules in series, even the 4 channel ones. The problem with that is you don't get capacity values for the individual modules, but that's no big deal if you don't want it. The other issue is that you can charge at pretty much whatever value you want to save some time, but the discharge portion is always the limiting factor for time. Most hobby chargers are limited to 5w or 10w, doesn't matter if it's one module or two modules, it will self limit current flow to whatever the watt limit is. 2 modules will take twice as long to discharge.
     
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  8. ArmyChief

    ArmyChief Junior Member

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    Yup, was you..great thread with detailed info

    See above, not under warranty - 155k miles

    See above, will be using various tools to test before making decision

    Don't feeling like either spending that kind of money, also..buying a used pack still has possible different capacity issues. Once I get the vehicle and run the testing, I'll know more of course. The good thing is..I've got time. Son goes to college in August. This also allows me to teach him diagnosis/repair on his vehicle. Lastly, I'll know everything is as good as it can be before he leaves.

    Yup, see above (my second post)...biggest drawback is the discharge rate (5W-10W). However, what I like about the HiTec is that is tracks and displays ALL the CHG/DSG amounts from the cyclic process. Lastly, has PC software for graphing.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  9. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    My reply was based on the only definite info posted, "2013." We didn't know the car has 155K and over 42 mpg until you replied to my reply. My answer would have been different if I knew the hidden information :LOL:
     
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  10. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    However, what I like about the HiTec is that is tracks and displays ALL the CHG/DSG amounts from the cyclic process.
    This is true for all the hobby chargers, but I also like the HiTecs. The firmware seems to work better when programmed for multiple cycles. I have 3 of the older version of the one you listed and they work great, other than the 5w discharge limit. Just keep in mind that if you do 2 in series on each channel, you're not going to get capacity values for each module. You'll get a value for what the charger thinks is a single 12 cell 14.4 v battery.


    Lastly, has PC software for graphing.

    If this is important for you, I would find a forum or another owner who has it and uses it to get their evaluation. Or contact the manufacturer and actually verify it, and that the cable is commercially available or they have cables available.There's plenty of chargers that advertise it, but it's funny how when you actually buy it, it suddenly doesn't have updated firmware, or no ability at all.
     
  11. ArmyChief

    ArmyChief Junior Member

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    Just wanted to advise, this HiTec has 10W discharge per channel


    Not dramatically important, but I'ma gadget and statistics guy..so it could be "neat" :). I will contact company about SW and cable (I believe it's a standard micro USB to USB cable.)
     
    #11 ArmyChief, Apr 5, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
  12. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    I know you meant to type 10W. The three older versions I have are the 44167 model Hitec X4 AC+. It was probably 10-12 months later that the 5w versions fell out of favor and the 10w versions became the new thing. The 44254 became the new model and the 44167 was discontinued. I looked very hard at the 44254 when I was looking to purchase 7 more. Had a hard time finding someone with 7 available and ended up going with the CQ3 charger (simple and rugged, lol) and a guy on ebay worked out a reasonable deal for me to buy 7. Their dimensions matched up better for my mounting situation also. Still been thinking of picking up a couple 44254s tho, mostly because I liked the older version a lot.

    You'll enjoy working on the battery. Military training in the electronics field has you covered for anything you may run into.
     
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  13. ArmyChief

    ArmyChief Junior Member

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    I looked at the CQ3 as well, but could not find many that had them in stock. Do you think the specs of the CQ3 are better than the HiTec? I know one of the things people talked about in many of the threads was the accuracy (or lack of) the DCH/CHG readings between machines.
     
  14. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    I'm satisfied with the CQ3s but would like them a lot better if they had the HiTec firmware.

    All the hobby chargers have safety settings you can customize. If anything I customized on the HiTec caused the charge to end, it would automatically start the next cycle, if I had it doing multiples.

    On the CQ3, if the same situation triggers, the entire sequence stops. I would find that inconvenient if not for the fact that one full cycle matches up extremely well with my wake/work/home schedule. I use a 1.5A discharge and 2A charge cycle. Discharge first, then charge. I start a cycle at 530am and another at 530pm. Just dumb luck that it works out well for me.
     
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  15. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Hi Chief!
    First, I would like to thank you for serving our nation.

    I’ve been a Prius owner for ten years and a member of this community the entire time. We don’t see a lot of battery problems here, and most of us in this forum have more background in automotive mechanics than electronics. If you’re looking for the Prius battery wizard in this forum, he’s looking at you in the mirror, and the rest of us would love to learn from you.

    That said: We see a LOT of engine-related problems between 150K and 200K miles, and they’re often preventable. I can give you a long list of maintenance tasks which should be performed with the mileage you’ve got, and we have excellent videos showing how to perform each one:
    Oil Change
    Check tires for wear and proper inflation
    Engine Air Filter Change
    Cabin Air Filter Change
    Transmission Oil Change
    Engine Coolant Change
    Inverter Coolant Change
    MAP and MAF sensor clean
    Spark Plug Change
    PCV valve replacement / OCC Install
    Throttle Body / Intake Manifold Clean
    and, everyone’s favorite: EGR Cooler Clean

    I’d do all those things before looking into the battery. I have, in fact.
     
  16. ArmyChief

    ArmyChief Junior Member

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    Rebound, my pleasure....I really enjoy the service. I also want to say I'm in the FLARNG now and my civilian job is a full-time automotive technical instructor for a OE/OES/AM parts manufacturer. So, I've got VERY strong electronics (Basic to RF/SATCOM) & Advanced automotive skillsets. I hope I can not only learn from the threads here (some are VERY long :) )....but maybe show some techniques to assist in quick diagnostics.

    Well, I've just spent TWO full days reading MANY threads (some recommended by above conditions).

    So far, I fell "spun-up" on the EGR/IM/OCC/PCV upgrade/maint service and what symptoms they present. Also, the head gasket concerns.

    My HV (traction) battery concern and why I want to test, document, recondition is because:

    1. It's the original - 155k miles
    2. The fact that the Toyota ECU maintains 60% (+/-20%) in itself lends to degrading battery capacity (energy density).
    3. My son will be 2.5 hours away @ college and I want to try and make sure this vehicle is "as good as it can be" before leaving in August.

    I have the carfax and it appears ALL Toyota services have been done by the dealer religiously. I plan on calling the dealer with VIN and asking specifically what was done and mileage tomorrow.

    You mention videos for the above...other than NutzaboutBolts YouTube channel, is there a link to them?

    Thanks again for your reply !

    Doug
     
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  17. royrose

    royrose Senior Member

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  18. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    NutzAboutBolts is the best series, although I don’t think they cover battery reconditioning.

    As you can see, quite a lot of people who removed their EGR coolers found them completely clogged. 100% of people who pull the throttle body find a pool of oil in the intake manifold from the PCV.
     
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  19. theJoePrius

    theJoePrius New Member

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    You must be a very careful or lucky Prius owner my friend, I got to this thread because i'm experiencing HV battery failure with my 2013 Prius. Mine has 160k miles on it, but just bought. As such I don't know much about the car's history which I guess matters allot for hv battery health.
    My previous owner to his credit disclosed the hv battery issue to me. He even told me that the car was used by a relative of his in California who was homeless and lived in the car(unfortunatly that's so common in CA). He also added that his relative used the car for Uber. I'm adding all these details because taken all together, they seem to suggest to me that the system was in used pretty much 24/7, which would greatly impact the health of the HV battery.
    I took the battery out;
    clean the fan which was very dirty;
    clean the corrosion off the battery connector;
    shuffled the modules positions by placing middle ones which showed lower voltage toward the ends, and ends with better average voltage to the middle(allot of people recommended this step on Youtube ).
    I however did not load-test any module nor did I balance the charges for lack of necessary equipment and for mistakenly thinking that the cleaning alone would take care of the issues. It didn't.
    I'm looking for reliable and affordable options on charger/balancer, which led me to this thread.

    So @ArmyChief thanks for starting this. I will be riding right along you for this project. I like your knowledge based deliberation process. Please post which charger you settled on along with you rational.
    @Rebound I will be tackling some of your recommended maintenance items while waiting on right equipment for the hv battery project.
    I'm starting with that EGR pipe :)
    Thanks guys!

    Had the same issue using my cell phone, but my laptop, the 'Edit' tab shows right at the bottom left corner of the post.
    Hope this helps.
     
    #19 theJoePrius, Apr 22, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2020
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  20. ArmyChief

    ArmyChief Junior Member

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    Yes, careful...I took my professional scan tool & bought the Dr. Prius app and spent an hours scanning and testing the HV battery before paying for the car. Even brought my 12VDC battery tester to test the AGM (that's a $160-200 battery). Found the AGM bad and the HV battery had a 72% battery life (pretty good and the maximum module-module voltage deviation was 0.16 VDC.

    Joe, just picked up car last week. Bought the HV fan filter off ebay (it did not have one installed). Bought the nickel-plated bussbars and nuts off Amazon and ended up with the Hitec X4 AC Pro charger as mentioned above. I have a snapshot from my scan tools as to the individual module voltage levels and will be reconditioning then in packs (2 modules in series). I can do a video of the process if you desire (not sure you electronic knowledge).

    Since the son doesn't need the car till August, that give us plenty of time to do all the additional maintenance/upgrade work I want to do. I've ordered/received and will be installing/cleaning:

    New EGR valve (bought from Japan for $140 new - OE)
    Clean EGR Cooler & Intake manifold
    Replace plugs
    Clean Fuel Injectors
    Clean MAF
    Change oil and install Fomoto F103S drain valve
    Drain & fill transaxle
    Drain & fill engine & inverter coolant
    Replace cabin air filter
    Upgrade headlights to LED
    Replace PCV & install catch can
    Replace radio (Pioneer DMH-2660NEX), speakers & add a Pioneer TSWX130TA Subwoofer under seat

    Good luck with your vehicle !
     
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