Reconditioning Experience with Hybrid Automotive's Prolong System

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by biglew8, May 16, 2017.

  1. Borninblue

    Borninblue Member

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    Just thinking out loud....at what point does it just economically make sense to purchase a new battery rather than prolong. I get “extending the life” but around 6-700 more you have a new pack.
     
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  2. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    There’s more to the financial equation than this, if you think about it;).

    If you purchase the equipment, you can:
    • Maintain your battery
    • Rebuild a battery
    • Share the equipment (co-own)
    • Loan the setup out
    So while it may seem like a decent investment, there are ways to make it work for you:).

    Hope that helps(y).
     
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  3. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    In addition to Raytheeagles' points, there's this:

    I bought and started using my Prolong system a little over two years' ago with my screen wildly fluctuating at the time. We will never be able to definitively determine exactly when it would have failed but it was showing signs it would be soon so I figure it's already given me an extra two years of battery life and it's still going. In those two years the price of a replacement battery from Toyota has dropped from $2500 to the current $1800-1900. The battery price reduction is about the price I paid for the Prolong. Not only has the Prolong paid for itself, I will probably recover around half of what I paid for it when I'm done with it and sell it as a used unit that's been well taken care of. So, in fact, I will most likely be turning a profit by purchasing my Prolong system when I did.

    In the meantime, battery technology continues to evolve and improve. Prices may continue to drop. Counting on that drop to continue might be a bit of a gamble but I think there's still room for a little more.

    My personal opinion is the time to purchase it is before the battery throws a code but it's showing signs of weakness on the MFD. After the code is thrown I'm sure there is some benefit but I wonder for how long before the inevitable replacement is necessary.
     
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  4. mcbrunnhilde

    mcbrunnhilde Opera singin' Prius nut!

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    What srellim234 said. The system maintains battery health, so I expect to have few or no problems going forward on my car. I would have been much more inclined to purchase a new (or reconditioned) battery if I'd already thrown a code or had complete failure.

    Yet another Prius-owning friend had a failure at about 140,000 miles (he ended up driving on just the engine for about a month), but the car was more than 10 years old, so it was out of warranty (California has the 10-year, 150,000-mile warranty...most states have the 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty for exactly the same battery). He opted to get a brand new battery from a dealer, because he intends to keep the car for many more years and figured a new one would last significantly longer than a reconditioned one. I probably would have made the same decision myself if I'd been in his shoes.
     
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  5. Sanjay Goel

    Sanjay Goel Member

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    Wondering how will Matt (from Texas Hybrid Batteries) work on your car when you are in CA?
     
  6. oil_burner

    oil_burner Active Member

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    yep, the prolong is way overpriced for what it is.
     
  7. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    Lots of things are. Mine, however, has already recovered the cost for me by extending my battery life long enough for replacement batteries to drop more than the Prolong system cost. It has enabled me to help another Priuschat member with her battery for free and I will recover even more money when I eventually sell it. The Prolong system works, is simple to use and the company provides tremendous customer service and support. To some of us that is worth a lot.

    A new battery, professionally installed, is NOT only $6-700 more than a Prolong system as claimed above. Even if you are fortunate to find a supplier who can provide new cells or a complete battery for $1500, it does you no good if it's still sitting on the floor of your garage, outside of the car. Not everyone has an extra $1000-1500 (the difference between the Prolong and the new battery installed price). Besides, a group of a few people in an area collectively picking up a Prolong system can reduce the cost to $100 or $200 dollars apiece.

    What is your cheaper alternative that provides all the benefits of the Prolong system for those of us who aren't in a financial position to replace the battery and aren't capable or knowledgeable enough to dismantle our cars to work on the batteries cell by cell with hobby chargers?
     
    #967 srellim234, May 13, 2019
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  8. mcbrunnhilde

    mcbrunnhilde Opera singin' Prius nut!

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    I'll be driving through DFW on that long road trip I'm taking, and I'll be at just under 300,000 miles. :)
     
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  9. mcbrunnhilde

    mcbrunnhilde Opera singin' Prius nut!

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    So is makeup. And fancy restaurants. And Disneyland. And designer clothes. And none of these will help extend the life of my battery. ;)
     
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  10. Sanjay Goel

    Sanjay Goel Member

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    Good morning, afternoon, evening to everyone here...

    Need some advice as I just started my 2nd reconditioning attempt on my 2010 HiHy Ltd purchased with 160k miles Jan 2018 here in Dallas, TX. Car has over 191k miles now.

    There are several points I would like to have opinion of experienced folks from priuschat.

    - My previous attempt at reconditioning
    Update + Good news + Some questions:

    So after more than a year from when I abandoned reconditioning attempt of my 2010 HiHy; I started it again last night. Conditions were favorable - in the sense that it is still not too warm here in Dallas + got a new/used 2006 Lexus ES330 for my son yesterday to replace the 1999 ES300 that he used to cut his teeth on. Hence, till we get rid of his 1999 ES we have an extra vehicle in the household and I can peacefully do the full reconditioning.

    Last time when I tried this in Mar 2018, I was unable to determine if the hybrid battery's cooling fans were running or not and so had abandoned the process during the 2nd charge cycle when at 331 V - meaning that I did not do balancing on my last charge cycle being afraid of the battery overheating.

    Since then I acquired the recommended OBDII reader and have used the Hybrid Assistant app to better understand and monitor the status of my hybrid battery and have become comfortable and use the HA app only very infrequently. However as the summer progresses I suppose I will use it more to monitor the status. I have learned that in my car the cooling fan first comes on at speed 1 when the battery temp reaches 96 F, at speed 2 when temp reaches 100 F and speed 3 for 105 F. I have seen battery temps up to about 113/115 F but the fan stayed at speed 3. The HA app allows to manually control the fan speed and I found that they were quite loud at max (6) speed and that at speed 3 I can feel the air at the inlet vents when I put my hand there.

    I had an idea (which I thought at that time to be a bright idea) of monitoring the battery temps during the charge discharge cycle using the Hybrid Assistant app since I can run the app putting the car in aux mode by pressing the power button twice without putting my foot on the brake. Starting the first balancing charge about 8 PM last night at 309 V. This morning at 5:40 AM it was 339 V and is at 341 for the past 2-3 hours. The good news part is that I can feel the cooling fans running this time around - so probably at speed 3 right now because they are barely audible yet I can feel the air at the inlet vents. An hour ago I put the car in aux mode and connected the app and it showed the battery at 86 F but did not show the fan running at all.

    Question 1 - is there any chance of ruining anything by putting the car in aux mode (as described above) while it is being charged? Is there any chance of the hybrid battery being engaged in this state?

    Question 2 - I recently read in this thread the Hybrid Automotive folks no longer recommend discharging down to 0.1 V per cell in the 3rd discharge cycle. The discharger that I have is programmed to discharge to 0.8 V, 0.5 V, and 0.1 V for the 3 cycles. Current instructions say to discharge to 0.6 V, and 0.5 V in 2nd and 3rd cycles. Should I skip the 3rd discharge cycle or should I do 2 discharge cycles down to 0.5 V per cell? Need some guidance on what should be optimum in my situation.

    Looking for recommendations...

    Hare Krishna!!!
     
  11. Sanjay Goel

    Sanjay Goel Member

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    :D:D(y)(y)(y):):)
     
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  12. mcbrunnhilde

    mcbrunnhilde Opera singin' Prius nut!

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    I should have said that I'm altering my trip plans so I can go by DFW on my way east, now that I can get an odometer fix!
     
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  13. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    I can't help you with question #1 but I can tell you what I have done about Question 2. The new Prolong discharge standards did change.
    Prolong® Battery Discharger User Guide
    On my generation of Prius they changed so that the top discharge stayed the same, the middle discharge went to a number between the top and the previous middle and the lowest discharge went to the same number as the previous middle one. I discharged to the highest number as usual. For the middle one I knew the discharge usually takes 5 hours or a little over so I just estimated when it would hit the new target number. I only missed it by 2v and just switched at that point back to the charger. For the final discharge I just used the middle button on the discharger since the old middle is the new low.

    If the Prolong targets changed similarly for your vehicle as they did for mine, that's an easy solution to the changes. If the numbers changed so that two or all three numbers no longer match your discharger buttons you're going to have to babysit the system a bit to turn it off manually.
     
  14. Sanjay Goel

    Sanjay Goel Member

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    In the first balancing charge before starting the reconditioning cycles, at 10 AM it was showing as 341 V and I was planning to switch to the first discharge cycle after the suggested wait of 6-8 hours in case there is no change.

    However, 2-3 hours later it went back down to 340 V. Now I am confused.. why is the voltage going down when it is continuously being charged? When do I begin the 6-8 hour count for stopping this balancing charge? From when it reached 341 V or 340 V?
     
  15. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    From the Prolong site (the italics and bold Print are my emphasis):

    "Once the battery becomes 'full' the balancing process will begin. During the 'balancing' phase you will most likely see a steady voltage reading or a very slow oscillation of voltage - perhaps a 1-3 volt swing over several minutes. This means the battery is in the balancing phase. The initial balancing can take 4-12 hours after the filling phase is complete. Subsequent balancing sessions will likely be much shorter, perhaps 4-6 hours after filling is complete. During balancing, each individual hybrid battery cell is rising to a true 100% state of charge. As an individual cell reaches its peak voltage it warms slightly, then the voltage drops as it converts the excess charge energy to heat, then the cell cools and again charges to 100%. The process is repeated over and over. (This is why proper battery cooling is so important). As the higher voltage cells undergo this cycle the lower voltage cells continue to fill and 'catch up' to the cells that have already reached 100% charge level. This is how the hybrid battery pack as a whole becomes re-balanced. Once the voltage no longer fluctuates, and/or the desired amount of time has elapsed, the charging and balancing process is complete."

    It's not going to hurt anything if you are uncomfortable watching the number decline and disconnect before it goes lower. I would suggest calling Hybrid Automotive on the phone and voice your concerns with them. They won't steer you wrong with their advice.
     
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  16. Sanjay Goel

    Sanjay Goel Member

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    Actually, without seeing your recommendation, I called and spoke to George @hybrid Automotive. The voltage had gone down further to 339 V when I called. George explained that it is not that balancing is complete when the voltage stays same for 6-8 hrs. For my HiHy battery he gave the peak voltage range as 336-343 Volts. He said that once the battery has reached this range, further 8-10 hours is sufficient to complete the balance. Since I had seen 339 V in the morning at 7 AM, I disconnected the charger about 5 PM - after 10 hrs of balancing and total of 21 hours of initial balance charge.

    George also said that after disconnecting the charger I should wait 30 minutes before starting the discharge cycle - else there is risk of blowing some fuse (not sure which one). I gave it about an hour and just now started the 1st discharge at 6 PM.

    Regarding the change in reconditioning process, he explained that the first discharge should be to 0.8V per cell (same as before) which translates to stopping at 192 Volts. 2nd discharge should be a number between 0.8-0.5V that will have to be monitored and stopped manually and the 3rd and final discharge should be to 0.5V which is the middle button in my discharger. Then a final balancing charge and we are done.

    Unfortunately the weather is a bit warmer than I would like - the highs are predicted to be in the 80s throughout this week and due to my garage door facing west it becomes quite warm in the afternoon/evenings :cautious::unsure:
     
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  17. DanIL

    DanIL Junior Member

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    Thanks to srellim pointing out full reconditioning could take up to a full week, I borrowed another car and started the reconditioning process today to get a head start on the long weekend.

    The car: 2007 Prius base with about 90,500 miles. Bought used last September. Using Torque Pro, HV battery seems pretty healthy for it's age: 0.1-2V fluctuation in block voltages, Soc usually 60-70%, display predominantly in lower green and upper blue. So, reconditioning is for maintenance and extending the life of the original battery. No codes/errors occurred.

    I rigged an old phone (now a mini-tablet, I guess) on a tripod to take photos of the Prolong gear (Deluxe package) every 30 mins. They are backed up to a cloud, where I can view them with my current phone. So, I can monitor the process remotely, like while at work. I'll upload a photo of the setup when I can.

    Data so far:
    Thurs 4am, started charge/balance 1, initial voltage 225V
    4:30am - 231V
    5am - 236V
    5:30am - 238V
    6am - 239V
    6:30am - 240V
    7am - 240V
    7:30am-12pm (present) - 241V

    I'm at work now and won't be home until 6:30pm. I'll then decide if I switch to discharging ASAP.
     
  18. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    I'm impressed with the way you set up the remote monitoring. I've always headed out to the garage every so often to look at it. Well done!
     
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  19. DanIL

    DanIL Junior Member

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    Thanks! I have about one good idea a year...gonna be a long 364 days. :D
     
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  20. DanIL

    DanIL Junior Member

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    Checking every 30 minutes since reaching 241V at 7:30am today, there has been NO change...241V every time. Last checked 5:30pm.
    All I can conclude is that the voltage has stayed constant at 241 for 10 hours. If I was home, I would have the discharger on by now. Will change in about 1 hour.

    Does this mean the battery took 3 hours to charge and there has been very little, if any, balancing?

    We'll see how the rest of the reconditioning goes.
     
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