What Powers the AC?

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Technical Discussion' started by ePWR, May 30, 2017.

  1. ePWR

    ePWR Member

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    Will be in the hot south/west U.S. this summer. Daily temps reach 100 or more. Any chance of "over using" or harming the air conditioning system? Can I set it to the lowest setting and just leave it there? (It says "Lo" on the display).

    The AC is the one area of my Prius that confuses me. I've seen members discuss the "heat pump." Not sure if that is related to the AC. What actually powers the system in the Prius? If I understand correctly, the Prius AC is not like a conventional system as in a non-hybrid vehicle. Thanks in advance. (I do have tinted windows, and use a heat shield when parked. It gets very hot when driving).
     
  2. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    I believe the Prime has a heat pump for heating & cooling. The Liftback uses conventional heating, possibly supplemented by electric on some trims. I believe the AC is just an electric compressor.
    I find AC affects mileage less than heating, likely doe to the engine needing to run to heat the coolant.
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    the a/c is powered by the hybrid battery. no harm in using it any way that toyota allows with the controls. you can leave it on low, set a higher temp, use 'auto' run any fan speed, use any vent mode. you cannot damage it.
    and when you are comfortable, so is your hybrid battery. the worst thing for the battery is to leave it parked in the warm southern sun all day. if this is unavoidable, use tinting and window reflectors to keep out as much solar heat as possible.
    or better yet, just stay in cyberspace.;)
     
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  4. ePWR

    ePWR Member

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    Thank you for the replies. Ok, I will power-up the AC and let her rip, and not worry about it. I would remain in cool cyberspace if I could, but I have some earthling relatives in Arizona that need assistance. This Prius has performed great so far. My trip will give her a serious test. :)
     
    #4 ePWR, May 30, 2017
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  5. ePWR

    ePWR Member

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    #5 ePWR, May 30, 2017
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  6. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Air conditioners and refrigerators are heat pumps. We generally use the heat pump term in daily use when referring to a HVAC system that can pump heat both ways and not just out like an air conditioner. Its more efficient to move heat around than make it with electricity, so a heat pump can be a good way of preserving plug in EV range in cold climates. Thus why the Prime has one.

    The Prius A/C compressor is electrically driven instead on being directly driven by the ICE as in traditional cars. There are efficiency gains, but the big plus for hybrid acceptance is in having cooled air while the ICE is off.

    The only concern I'd have with the A/C would be with an older car, and that concern would be more with the system producing cold enough air, not over causing it damage. The system in the Prius requires no more thought than in any other car. I would actually make more use of the A/C in a hybrid than in an ICE car because cabin cooling the source of battery cooling, and a cool battery means better fuel efficiency.
     
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  7. ePWR

    ePWR Member

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    Thanks very much.

    The article I linked mentions all the sensors the Prius has to help with the AC function. (On page 2 or 3). Very interesting. I'm aware of the humidity sensor that's up by the rear-view mirror, but did not know about the other two (or three?) sensors. The "hidden details" of the Prius. :)
     
    #7 ePWR, May 30, 2017
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
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  8. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    I'd consider not putting it on "Lo" - but on the lowest number available instead. It's really not going to make it any colder, but what some older systems did under those circumstances was to bypass the thermostat.

    I suspect it wouldn't happen on PRIUS ...

    ... but a l-o-n-g time ago (1980), we had a NISSAN which had an adjustable thermostat on the A/C, and after ½ hr driving, the airflow stopped. We were in the humid tropics. Hmmmm. Took it back to technician, who turned the thermostat a tiny bit back from absolutely full and left it running - after a few minutes the airflow started again gradually getting more and more. What had happened was that the cold condensate had frozen on the evaporator coils instead of draining out as it cycled on/off. The puddle of water underneath was huge from the melted block of ice. My next car did the same (a Mitsubishi), but since then they've all only had ON/OFF - PRIUS is the first Climate Control car I've had.
     
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  9. Data Daedalus

    Data Daedalus Senior Member

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    I'm probably out of my depth warbling on about a Prius 2 on the Prius 4 forum, but I do like the company and the info about the Prius 4 / Prime - so I lurk in the background a lot

    It's finally gotten hot in London, and last week, it got close to 30c, so for the first time ever, I cranked up the speed on my A/C from the lowest speed to the third setting, with onboard temperature set to 17c.

    I'd just like to report that the A/C on my Gen 2 was up to the task, keeping my daughter and I "cool as cucumbers" from the relatively toasting hot atmosphere outside.

    Personally, I was very impressed at its cooling capabilities. The nicest bit was getting stuck in traffic for a short while and still being kept chilled, even with the engine off! That just rocks!!

    I hope that I can afford a Prius Prime someday


    iPhone ?
     
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  10. RCO

    RCO Senior Member

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    I would say, you're always welcome on the Gen 4 forum. Better keep saying for a Prime, but a daughter might not help with the saving up. Depends how much she enjoys shopping - she is an apprentice woman! :rolleyes:
     
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