Replace Hybrid Battery -- Where to buy dead battery to repair?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Wayne Walter, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i like your 'can do' spirit wayne, all the best!(y)
     
  2. Texas Hybrid Batteries

    Texas Hybrid Batteries Active Member

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    This is a really good idea! Let me know if she takes to it and maybe I'll try to teach my wife how to rebuild hybrid batteries. :)

    Have you talked to Kiwi yet? He has some really good information about testing and rebuilding batteries and you might be able to talk to him about buying some testing equipment.

    Matt
     
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  3. strawbrad

    strawbrad http://minnesotahybridbatteries.com

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    Wayne,

    I hardly know where to start. Your enthusiasm is overwhelming and refreshing. It is matched by your complete lack of any practical experience with Prius batteries. You'll be a lot more fun to talk to after you actually try out a couple of your ideas. Please don't spend a bunch of money on equipment before you test some of your theories.

    There are pitfalls to pack level work. The first is the danger of high voltage work. Working at the module level is just much safer than at the high voltage of a complete pack. Another problem with pack level work is that the individual modules will vary away from the average. This is the reason HA recommends deep discharges be done in steps. I cringe when I read something like discharge the pack to .5 volts per cell. That's just not how a full pack discharge works. Here's an example of a pack I deep discharged. When the pack was at 87 volts the modules ranged from -1.01 to 6.68 volts. Has anyone else bothered to measure individual module voltages when doing light bulb discharges? The same thing happens on a pack level charge. The weak cells will hit full while the stronger cells keep absorbing charge.

    OUCH! :eek: I'm giving Wayne the benefit of the doubt for now.

    I am also looking forward to seeing the results of his pulse capacitor battery de-sulfator test.

    Brad
     
  4. m.wynn

    m.wynn Senior Member

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    Aw, jeez...
     
  5. jeff652

    jeff652 Senior Member

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    Thanks. This is exactly what we tried to build. Something anyone can use. Regarding the speed, this is why we are releasing our universal ProlongPro rapid charger this spring. It will work with any size battery (up to 240 cells) and charge the pack at 3A to ~85-90% SOC, then taper to 350mA for final top charge and balancing. Should shorten the charge cycle from 18-24 hours to 3-5 hours. Our resellers specifically asked for a faster solution, and we are hard at work delivering one.

    Shops and power users shouldn't mess with the light bulbs. The Intelligent Discharger is for them. It automatically tapers current down as it deep discharges and turns itself off when done. We are releasing a faster universal ProlongPro version this summer that will have a calibrated module load tester integrated as well as well as a lower cost (but slower) consumer intelligent discharger. Our goal is to completely phase out the light bulb solution in the near future.

    If your planning high volume replacements, like our taxi cab fleet customers, keep an extra battery on hand that you can recondition in advance. Then when a customer calls, you can install in an hour, then take that core and recondition it for the next customer. With this approach, customer down time is around one hour total.

    :)
     
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  6. Wayne Walter

    Wayne Walter Junior Member

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    This is kind of you. I didn't talk to Eric or Kiwi yet but got their numbers. With our daughter grown, my wife is looking to do something to help make money. So, at a minimum she can answer phone calls and questions and make appointments or even deliver a battery for an installer. The catch is that she's not able or willing to try to install them--so we'll try to reduce my involvement to just installing and teaching her while I keep my day job. She's smart so she'll learn quickly the common questions.
     
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  7. Wayne Walter

    Wayne Walter Junior Member

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    Folks, this original thread was about how to find a dead battery. But now it seems some of you are following this thread as to what I learn. Any opinions if I should start a new thread?

    Update:

    My 2 Turnigy Reaktors arrived. But they, of course, need a 12 to 24 Volt power supply which is best done with car batteries. Well my original thought was to purchase 1 car batter for each charger. But somehow in research about reconditioning batteries, I discovered it's possible to recondition many typos of batteries including 12V car batteries. I had one in my garage for over year that came out of the Prius. It quit charging properly.

    So my current project is reconditioning that battery plus I got 2 more dead 12V batteries from my mechanic. He will give me 3 to 5 more today.

    This is good exercise at the last to learn how to use my Reaktor.

    To get started, I connected the Reaktor to the Prius with it running to give me a 12V power supply while reconditioning the 12V batter.
    And also ordered a 200W 12V power supply that should arrive today.

    The 12V battery actually took a full charge. I discharged it again and then let it sit on a normal trickle charger and it charged again to full 12V.
    I have a professional 12V battery tester arriving today or tomorrow from Amazon. I want to see if the Cold Cranking Amps are high enough.

    I ordered a 200W 12V power supply for the Reaktor.

    Question: When the Reaktor discharges a battery it feeds that energy back into the supply battery. But what if there isn't a supply battery but instead a power supply. Then where will the energy go? I'll ask the HobbyKing company, if none of you know.

    Also, I ordered the other supplies that need to recondition any 12V including hydrometer and such. I'll begin working on the other 12V batteries when those supplies arrive.

    My goal right now is to get at one 12V batter to supply each Reaktor for reconditioning hybrid modules.

    Question: Since the Reaktor can accept up to 24V supply, does it make sense to feed it with two 12V batteries in series? Again, if none of you know that, then I'll ask the HobbyKing guys.
     
  8. Wayne Walter

    Wayne Walter Junior Member

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    Jeff, thanks for the information and responses. It's good to see you're working on a faster option. And 3 amps with a tapering off sounds like a nice compromise. I was thinking 80Amps but the component parts get very expensive at that high wattage. For the shop, i'm considering building a 10 watt charger / discharger also with tapering and automatic cycling for up to 5 cycles.

    Do you accept resellers? I ask because it will be wise for consumers to recondition themselves at intervals as you describe on your site. So it will be nice to recommend your consumer products to customers locally if you offer reseller pricing.

    Jeff, about keeping a battery on hand, that is exactly the plan. That's why I started this thread was to find out how to get a dead battery to recondition myself instead of buying a reconditioned one that requires me to return the "core".

    So right now I'm the proud owner of 1 Prius but 2 HV batteries. So once I learn how to recondition this extra one, we'll swap it for my daughters car and then recondition the other one and begin to offer it for resale.
     
    #108 Wayne Walter, Jan 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  9. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    The tricky part of rebuilding is having a supply of modules of varying qualities.
    A good module from one pack may not work well with a different pack.
    There are many factors that need to considered when matching modules. IR, capacity, self discharge, etc.

    Putting a GREAT module in an OK pack can be disaster.
     
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  10. Wayne Walter

    Wayne Walter Junior Member

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    Eric, it's unclear if only needing to replace one module then where to do get a good match?
    I did read about this matching modules problem. But not yet experienced it yet and clueless how to deal with it.
    My guess is that nuances like this is why the guy that sold me a reconditioned battery had 3 failures in 18 months.

    My "guess" is to buy lots of different modules and compare those things to find "close" matches.

    Another idea is to find it if there is one dead cell in a module -- like Brad says is often the case -- can possibly be saved by re-hydrating it or something. Apparently not, however.
     
  11. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Wayne,
    Glad we got a chance to talk on the phone.
    Wish you well in your endeavors. Sounds like you have some great ideas and definitely the right mindset.
     
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  12. jeff652

    jeff652 Senior Member

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    Yeah, an 80A charger with a 0-360VDC range would get real expensive ;). We welcome resellers. You can read more about it on our wholesale page, located here:
    Become a Prolong™ Battery Systems Authorized Reseller - Hybrid Automotive
     
  13. Wayne Walter

    Wayne Walter Junior Member

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    Your overview of the industry and business sense for the hybrid batteries business for sales, replacement and reconditioning was marvelous.
     
  14. Jetsurgn

    Jetsurgn Junior Member

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    Any information on rebuilding the Plug-in Prius battery?
    Thanks
     
  15. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Replacement would be more likely.
    You think NiMh is hard to match? Lithium is much more of a challenge.
     
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  16. Wayne Walter

    Wayne Walter Junior Member

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    After consulting with Eric, I still see some value in reconditioning hybrid batteries in certain situations when a person literally cannot afford to get a rebuilt or new battery. Eric taught me more about the challenge of choosing a replacement module that is properly balanced with the rest of the modules. Eric convinced me that taking any replacement module to swap is likely to last maybe 6 or 8 months before you gotta repair the battery again.

    It's already been a hassle for my daughter 3 times in the last 18 months of her battery throwing triangle of death codes.

    I decided to get a rebuilt battery like Eric sells with 3 years and 36,000 miles warranty. They are a bit more affordable than a totally new battery and reliable enough to be worth the money.

    As a family we're analyzing and adjusting our budget to make this purchase next week. Once the battery is here, I will install it myself to save a bit more money.

    After that, I'm planning to offer this as a service to others because in my area there's only 2 choices: either the dealer or low-end reconditioned batteries. I can offer the service of replacing rebuilt batteries at a bargain compared to dealer prices. And later I'll connect with the Toyota parts department and also offer the service of replacing with a new battery, still at significantly less than dealer prices.

    I'm still jazzed about the idea of reconditioning batteries. And buying a "rebuilt" battery is still better than buying new for the environment and for financial savings.

    For now, I'm working on reconditioning several 12 volt car batteries. That will be nice skill to have next time a 12V car battery dies on us.
     
  17. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Woh, buying yet another battery? This can't be good. Not sure where you're seeing cost savings from all this. Why not just buy a new one and move on with your life? Doesn't seem like you're hard up.

    Reconditioning batteries is not a hobby, one mistake can kill you. Being stranded can be dangerous for your daughter when the batteries fail.

    Doing it as a business is high risk , especially since you seem to be an amateur at this. Getting sued once will not be an enjoyable experience.
     
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  18. Wayne Walter

    Wayne Walter Junior Member

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    JC, your concern is appreciated. And it's clear you mean it with kindness. So thank you.

    To put you at ease, I have much experience working with high power electrical systems both A/C and D/C. That includes designing, installing and repairing such. And I held an electricians license when I was younger and later an Air Conditioning installation and repair license.

    And you're not sure about cost savings? A new battery installed by the dealer costs over $4,000. Eric installs rebuilt batteries for total price installed of $2,200 that come with 3 years and 36,000 miles warranty. That's a savings about around $2,000. Nothing to sneeze at. Eric also sells new batteries installed for $2,900 which is still $1,000 or more savings from the dealer and is the exact same battery.

    So there is savings.

    And as far as a business, I already ran my own businesses for a total of 8 years. So I have solid knowledge of legal, financial, sales, marketing, and other aspects of running a business. So it will be fun.

    Again, thanks very much for your concern, JC.
     
  19. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Dorman builds the same batteries and supplies them nationally through parts stores and offer 3yr warranties. Their cost is about $1500.

    The thing is, their batteries fail all the time and rarely go the distance on the warranty period. Just because it's warranted, doesn't mean it's good. You've already got 2 warranty replacements in 1 year correct?

    There is no magic to batteries, as they age, they fail. Yes you can prolong them, but they'll still fail. It's like a used car with lots of miles. Your mechanic will be able to fix it when it breaks, but it'll just keep going back into the shop.
     
  20. Wayne Walter

    Wayne Walter Junior Member

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    JC, thanks. You are knowledgeable as well. Batteries going bad isn't such a traumatic thing for our family as it seems to be for others. What was annoying is that it seems we will have be paying $1,200 per year for reconditioned batteries with 12 months. Over next 3 or 4 years that becomes a lot of money. But $1,500 for a Doman with 3 years warranty means $1,500 for 3 years even if it fails there's no more expense.

    Also, battery failing isn't so horrible because it happens gradually and gives weeks of time to solve it before it's totally dead. My daughter is still driving hers just fine while I am studying how to handle this.

    Besides, the brand new batteries only come with 12 months warranty from Toyota. Yes, most of the time they last years. but infrequently they can fail early--if that happened after spending over $2,000 on a new battery it will truly piss me off and and hate Prius!!! So we want the peace of mind of zero battery expense for next 3 years.

    By the way, Dorman batteries are far higher quality than DIY reconditionated batteries since they carefully match replacement modules and they have excellent equipment for reconditioning. So while some of their batteries do fail before the warranty period, most of them don't. And we're happy to roll that dice considering they accept the financial risk plus it's easy without shipping costs to swap the battery if it dies. And I can replace it myself to save on mechanic expense.

    NOTE: When my daughter's battery first died 1.5 years ago, if I knew what I know now, I would buy a new one and install it myself. Then our total battery investment will be about $2,000 and most likely would still be running fine. But we're already into the car $1,500 on top of the original $4,500 price of the car at the auction. I'm not going to put another $2,000 and have $7,500 invested in a car that's only worth $4,000.

    Dorman batteries are significantly cheaper here in my area. I'm guessing that's because there's nobody offering the service to installing them around here. So doing that for another 3 years expense free will be very nice indeed.

    FYI, the local hybrid battery guy wants to buy back the battery in my daughter's car for $600. So I'll use the one I got for $500 as the core to exchange for the Dorman battery.

    Also, I'm returning one of the Turnigy Reaktor chargers. But I'm keeping the other one for fun or maybe do a business reconditioning 12V batteries.
     
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