Paranoid about draining battery

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by embcreate, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. embcreate

    embcreate New Member

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    I just discovered this group. I've only owned my Prius a month (2006 - package 3). I love the great gas mileage but I'm getting a little worried about the battery. When I sit at long stop lights or in heavy traffic, I've noticed the battery starts to drain down to 2 bars, then 1 bar. I shut off the air conditioning, open the windows, turn off the radio and pray I start moving quickly!! With my other car, the gas guzzler, I was comfortable sitting in traffic. Now with the Prius, I'm paranoid!! Has anyone's battery drained all the way down while stuck in traffic? I haven't noticed any Prius' stuck on the side of the road yet so I'm assuming this doesn't happen. Maybe I need to stop paying so much attention to the little battery?? I don't think I've ever seen the battery completely full but I do know I hate watching it drain lower and lower.

    Any comforting thoughts or help out there??
     
  2. KMO

    KMO Member

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    The engine will come on to recharge when necessary. There's no need for you to take any action. If you're totally stationary with A/C running, expect it to drop to 1-2 bars, then stay there until you start moving again, with the engine coming on for short periods. You're fine until you run out of petrol.

    Unless you've placed it in "N", that is, in which case it can't charge (and I think it will give you an on-screen warning about that eventually). Keep it in "D" or "P".
     
  3. tripp

    tripp Which it's a 'ybrid, ain't it?

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    Yep. You're good. The car will take care of it, like KMO said. Toyota went to a lot of trouble to make sure that the battery is protected so that it doesn't have to be replaced. The bars that you see on the screen account for only 40% of the SOC (state of charge). When the battery is "full" it's at 80% SOC and when it's "drained" it's at 40% SOC. The bars on the energy screen don't represent constant increments either. Somewhere here on PC is a thread that describes the range of SOC that each bar represents. It's really not that important. Just know that you're not stressing the battery.
     
  4. ghostofjk

    ghostofjk New Member

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    What tripp said. The important thing to remember is that what the battery bars are showing you is NOT the total SOC of the battery---the lowest bar is simply the lower limit of the software's VERY conservative "management zone". There has NEVER been a reported instance of the HSD battery being drawn all the way down.

    Exhale. Enjoy your car. :)
     
  5. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Go ahead, see what happens when you try to drain it. Give you a nickle if you can lose that last pink bar. Unless you put the car in neutral and leave the AC and stuff on you'll never completely discharge the HV battery, it's doing it's job when it goes low by not running the ICE and creating pollution while not moving.
     
  6. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    One more of the same here:

    When the car decides it's good and ready the engine will come on and recharge the battery a bit, then shut off. In theory you could eventually run out of gas. Like if you were in a traffic jam with the car on for a week. Of course, by then everyone else would have run out of gas long ago and started walking.

    If you are a radical environmentalist who would rather swelter than burn an ounce of gas (and I know people like this) you can shut the car off if you are going to be at a dead stop for 20 or 30 minutes or more. But understand: you'd be conserving a wee bit of gas, not protecting the car, because the car protects itself. That battery will last the life of the car!

    So relax, enjoy the cir conditioning, enjoy the peaceful feel of the engine off, and if that traffic jam lasts long enough, you'll feel the engine start and stop periodically.

    And congratulations on owning the coolest car in the universe. Have fun.
     
  7. sdsteve

    sdsteve New Member

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    Not to change the subject too much, but the other day I got a call just after I pulled into my garage. I should have transfered the call back to my handheld, but I chatted away on the phone for a while via the BT with the car on (but in park). When I got off, I noticed the battery was down to 2 pink bars.

    That day it was extreme hot out, and it seemed like the battery would run down rather quickly even though it was similar driving routes to normal (no big uphills or anything). Took about 2 days for it to "act" normally again. Anybody else experience anything like this (battery charge runs down quick when hot)?

    Steve
     
  8. Mozencrath

    Mozencrath Junior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(San Diego Steve @ Jul 3 2006, 09:26 PM) [snapback]280728[/snapback]</div>
    Yes I noticed this yesterday. It was about 93 degrees here and very humid. It seemed like the ICE never stopped trying to charge the battery....Anybody know why this is?
     
  9. geologyrox

    geologyrox New Member

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    I've noticed it as well, but just attributed it to the AC working overtime, and draining the battery accordingly
     
  10. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Good Lord, everyone, do I have to do all the work around here?

    Welcome to Priuschat, embcreate :D
     
  11. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(TonyPSchaefer @ Jul 5 2006, 11:43 PM) [snapback]281794[/snapback]</div>
    Yes, it is your personal cross to bear. :D

    Tom
     
  12. mikepaul

    mikepaul Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(embcreate @ Jul 2 2006, 04:34 PM) [snapback]280202[/snapback]</div>
    A few weeks after I got my car, I was going to take a road-trip. I was still using the Energy screen, and noticed my battery was down to maybe 3 bars, and stayed there. I parked, and let the engine do what it wanted, but it never put more energy into the battery so, thinking something had gone wrong, I went home depressed about the 'problem' and the lack of the road-trip.

    After checking here and being told there was no real issue, and seeing the battery fill up over the next day, I stopped looking at the Energy screen all the time and now spend 98% of the time on the Consumption screen.

    Less heartache that way...
     
  13. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(mikepaul @ Jul 6 2006, 06:20 AM) [snapback]281939[/snapback]</div>
    I used to watch the Energy screen so I'd know when it was appropriate to use the EV switch (when the SOC is high). Now I have SOC as the top item on my CAN-View screen for the same reason. It's counter-productive to use EV when the SOC is low.

    To anyone that does not have the EV switch, I agree with Mikepaul's suggestion: don't even look at SOC.
     
  14. sdsteve

    sdsteve New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(mikepaul @ Jul 6 2006, 06:20 AM) [snapback]281939[/snapback]</div>
    But the energy screen keeps calling me... can't you hear it?? :p
     
  15. Lottetrouble

    Lottetrouble New Member

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    I came online today to look up this very topic after sitting on the 101 freeway at midnight last night (ironically immediately after watching "Who Killed the Electric Car") for 30 minutes in start and stop traffic and watching my battery drop to two bars and go to red for the first time (that I am aware of).

    I didn't have the AC on, just the filtered air, but turned that off as well as the radio. Nothing was helping it go back up, so I pulled into the emergency lane and got off at the first exit and drove over surface streets until I was topped back off about 10 minutes later. It really scared me and pissed a lot of people off as I was passing them on the right. About 5 minutes later, the green bars went all the way to the top and I've never seen that before either. It's not even a year old but is acting like a two year old.

    From reading many of the posts over the past year, I trust you guys more than the service people I've met and dealt with, and certainly more than the salespeople (don't ANY of them own one yet???), and wanted to discuss this before taking it in. My Dad was telling me to call a service department and take it in before I get stranded alone somewhere, but frankly I haven't been impressed with either service department I've been to for my 5,000 services.

    And since I mention that, I've noticed that the car seems to get less mileage after each service. I'm due for my 15,000 mile checkup soon, and will be returning to my home base (Rancho Santa Marguerita) for that since they sent me a free certificate for it. I sent a friend of mine to them to purchase her Prius.

    I am aware that this went on to about three different issues, sorry, but it's all part of the same story. My main concern is the battery issue in traffic jams.
     
  16. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Lottetrouble @ Jul 8 2006, 05:03 PM) [snapback]283088[/snapback]</div>
    I'm not quite sure how to interpret your post. Are you saying you're still concerned about "the battery issue"?

    We've tried to say over and over and over that your car is behaving absolutely normally and exactly as designed. There's no need to pull of, there's no need to turn off the air or radio or anything else. If anything, just turn off the Energy screen and stop looking at the battery level if it causes you so much anxiety. The car will run, as needed, to keep the battery charged to a safe but nominal level.
     
  17. GasGuzzler87

    GasGuzzler87 New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(efusco @ Jul 8 2006, 05:46 PM) [snapback]283098[/snapback]</div>
    haha, you sound slightly frustrated. I think he'll read this whole page and realize everything's ok. Don't worry bout it.

    Prius recharging it's own battery FTW.
     
  18. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Lottetrouble @ Jul 8 2006, 03:03 PM) [snapback]283088[/snapback]</div>
    See, that was your problem. You should have turned the A/C on! That would have drained the battery faster to the level at which the engine would come on and recharge it.

    Of course, in those conditions it will only charge a little, and then the engine will shut off and the battery will drain some more, and then the engine will come on again.

    Why is this?

    Because when there's no demand for acceleration or heat, the engine does not need to run, so the car will run it as little as possible TO SAVE GAS!!! Then, when traffic gets back to normal speeds and the engine has to run anyway, it will charge the battery back up to a higher level.

    Listen to Evan you guys! It's normal for the SOC to drop very low when the car is on but not moving much and you're not trying to heat the cabin. It's saving you gas like it's supposed to do!!!

    And remember that if you see zero bars on the battery icon, that means you still have 40% SOC in the battery, because the icon only shows the norman range of use.
     
  19. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    I usually leave the car powered up when I'm at shows, such as Tour
    de Sol or Altwheels, just to be able to more easily demo stuff and
    sometimes I'm providing AC power for something so I need to keep the
    DC/DC converter supplying the inverter. It has *often* conveniently
    happened that in the middle of explaining some other point, the SOC
    drifts down into two-pink-bars territory and the engine fires up all
    by itself to pump back up to the 3-blue-bars level where it'll be
    happy for a while. This always startles bystanders, and lets me
    drive home the point that the engine and battery management take
    care of things quite well, and that when the electrical system needs
    more zoobs it just fires up the engine to supply it, just like the
    furnace in your house -- do you think about when the furnace starts
    and stops? No, that's the thermostat's job. Same with the Prius.
    .
    _H*
     
  20. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(hobbit @ Jul 8 2006, 07:19 PM) [snapback]283175[/snapback]</div>
    Zoobs? :D :D :D
     
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