Still not sure about the Solar Roof powered Fan

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by krausternet, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. krausternet

    krausternet Member

    Sep 25, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    2013 Prius

    I've had a 2013 with solar roof for three years and I still don't know if I am using it correctly.

    With the button pushed in (on) on a warm day when parked in the sun it does work, usually. I can hear the fan running when I get in the car, prior to pushing to pushing the main power/start button.

    I say it usually is running as intended. But I think there have been times when I pushed it, its been hot outside, I've been parked in the sun and it should have been running but I find it wasn't. Somewhere in my reading I've come across that it has to do with what the settings of the temp and venting control are prior to turning off the car. I've read that you can NOT have the fan settings set to recirculate the air. You need to have the button with the icon of the air coming in from the outside set to ON to get the solar fan to work. Is that correct? Maybe I accidentally had the vent settings on recirculate when I had exited the car and that caused it to not work?

    Also does the temperature setting have anything to do with whether the solar fan comes on? I doubt it. But I don't know.

    Also I've read that it won't work well/efficiently unless the windows are slightly open. I guess if the car is relatively air tight that would make sense to give the incoming air a path to push hot air out. Maybe an half inch to an inch on all four windows?

    (It's a cool spring day today and the picture was taken with the car in the garage so ignore the outside temp reading in the picture.)

    Attached Files:

  2. Bay Stater

    Bay Stater Senior Member

    Mar 3, 2016
    Central Mass
    2013 Prius
    I only had my 2013 model 4 with the solar sunroof pkg for 10 months, thus one Summer of ownership so far. During work hours, I park my car out in the open so the sun hits it. My observations, when the temperature in the interior is hotter than outside, the ventilation fan runs. I have always left the air circulation setting to vent. Have not tried setting it to recirculate though so I don't know.;)
  3. walterm

    walterm Active Member

    May 17, 2007
    2015 Prius
    I've never seen any interaction with the climate controls affecting whether the solar fan was active or not. One thing to check-
    make sure you have the switch for the solar fan in the 'on' position before you turn the car off. If the car is off turning the switch 'on' doesn't do anything. Note that it also runs in 'cycles', i.e. it runs for a while, then shuts off for a while. Perhaps those times you thought it wasn't running were just times that it was in the off period of the cycle.
    fotomoto likes this.
  4. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

    Apr 22, 2009
    So. Texas
    Other Hybrid
    What walterm said; switch only works if car is on. However, I used to sit in mine on sunny, cool days during our mild winters while watching our kids soccer games for up to an hour and I never notice it cycling. The fan speeds will drop dramatically with any cloud cover sometimes to the point that it sounds like it's not running so maybe that is what walterm observed.

    It will take approx. 10 minutes after car is turned off for fan operation to begin.
  5. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Other Non-Hybrid
    It's operating as intended. The climate control settings doesn't matter for the solar panel ventilation system. It's only if you use the Remote A/C function.

    After 30-60 seconds, the system will automatically open the vent (so it's fine if you leave it in RECIRC as it'll change it to FRESH AIR after you park the car anyway).

    It won't start until 10 minutes as surpass to avoid flush out the colder air if you were running the A/C prior to parking the car

    The fan will run depending on the strength of the incoming solar radiation. That means it may run intermittently or continuously depending on sun angle, strength, cloud cover and shade (e.g. tree branch with leaves swinging above your car). I've had it run March up north when it was sunny even though it was 0°F outside lol (but the interior was warm enough because the March sun is actually decently strong in the north when it's a clear day). Given that you're in SF, much further south, it should run continuously since the sun angle is higher up. (I can't remember where the sun is overhead in the northern hemisphere during the summer).

    Remote A/C is activated via your remote fob button and that one runs according to your climate control setting.
    Bay Stater likes this.