Ideas on very weird Prius battery exchange

softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
So I bought a 240,000 mile 2012 Prius  for $2500 knowing the EV battery is about gone and there is a "noise in the ABS system" though the brakes are currently working very well. Well - I enjoy the challenge of breathing new life into bargain vehicles it seems. A more "solid" and lower mileage 2012 Prius runs closer to $9,000 plus or minus a few thousand of course. He drives me around for an ~hour while I get used to what looks like a spaceship to these old eyes. Then I drive if for an ~hour, all feels very good. Long drives? Turns out we kind of hit it off. 

Shops charge well over $2200 to replace the ~80 lb. NiMH high voltage EV battery with 28 modules.  There are multiple youtube videos on doing the job yourself. There are a lot of details and bolts and materials - decent do it yourselfers can normally look forward to spending an afternoon doing it themselves.

Found a craigslist ad offering a "good" Prius EV battery from a 2014 for $650. 2014 is "compatible" with 2012. The seller is parting out a dented up 2014 with "130,000" miles. Looks interesting - the battery is only 5-6 years old and I can verify the odometer reading. Right? Wrong - the car was emptied of valuable parts and crushed two months ago - the craigslist ad is two months old. I decide to meet anyway - why not? 

Turns out the battery has no manufacturing date but the seller seems honest enough and certainly knows EV car batteries due to his "owning a transportation company" that uses hybrid EV vehicles. Questioning reveals he has had the battery sitting for four months and it sat for another two months before he purchased it at a car auction. At least six months of sitting. I say that it might be a brick and the price would have to be really low to take a chance on it. There is no way to test the modules without removing well over 60 small bolts and it is late.  

He says that he has turned down offers of $400 and won't sell it "real low". I say that I can't pay good money for an almost complete unknown that may be a brick. After all, I can buy tested modules for about $30 each. The Prius has 28 such modules. This deal is now off.

Then he makes an irresistible offer: Take the battery home and try it out for a couple weeks. Pay if I decide to keep it. He says he trusts me and declines on even taking a picture of my drivers license. I take the offer saying that I will measure each of the 28 modules. That will mean removing the plastic tamper proof seal which likely lowers the value of a 2014 Prius EV battery. But how can he expect to get good money with no proof whatsoever of a good EV battery? He realizes this is true of course. If a lab tested it and certified its health, the value would go up exponentially. 

This "deal" is weird. But how can I miss  if I can test the battery for a couple weeks at no charge? 

What will he likely say if I come back and say his battery is worth "$500" to me, that figure could be higher or lower of course. 

Having another complete EV battery is a nice luxury. That allows one to optimize a battery before replacing it. Sort of like having a spare engine when doing an engine overhaul. The spare battery is likely worth at least $150 to me. I anticipate finding mostly good modules, maybe ~3-4 questionable on a 2014 Prius NiMH EV battery with 28 modules. But used batteries always surprise - one way or another. 

Ideas?

Here is the Prius EV battery - there are a LOT of parts. After removing 48 small bottom bolts, one can start to get at 28 modules. You can see the orange tamper proof seal on the lower right. 

First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,610 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Looks like fun, keep us posted.

    Anyway to trace the ser # ?   Thieves are stealing batteries out of cars on the street, don't be an enabler of stolen goods.
    The gangs are well trained, they pull a battery out under 20 minutes, and don't electrocute themselves


    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,105 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2019 #3
    My boss had  his catalytic converter cut  out of  this car  when he went into work early one morning, about 2 hours before the rest of the crew showed up. It wasn't  a bad part  of town and a busy street, though not at 6 am, but a 4 lane road   between  the interstate and the business 'interstate'! Pretty brazen, hard to  run off with  balls that big!

    My brother and his son have had 3 Priuses between  them, they are 'sort of' at  the conclusion that once you start having  bad cells you are likely to continue to have bad  cells. Load test  the cells, I think there is also a resistance test you can do...   Also learn how to read the car's  codes, it will tell you which batteries are bad and I think weak. If you save your original printout   of the cell  conditions and then  the after replacing printout, you will have something to show him to justify your evaluation. 

    I ALWAYS sell old laptops/electronics this way,  If it's  working for you in a month give me $100 sort of thing. I usually sell to people I know and often when they have little or no value to me. 
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,274 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2019 #4
    @Photowhit said 
    I ALWAYS sell old laptops/electronics this way,  If it's  working for you in a month give me $100 sort of thing. I usually sell to people I know and often when they have little or no value to me. 

    The computers, or the people you know? :D
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,451 ✭✭✭✭✭
    +1 on load testing the battery as a whole.  Seems to me a "good battery" sold as such is different than a bunch of modules or cells that need individual sorting/testing/rebuilding.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
    mike95490 said:
    Looks like fun, keep us posted.

    Anyway to trace the ser # ?   Thieves are stealing batteries out of cars on the street, don't be an enabler of stolen goods.
    The gangs are well trained, they pull a battery out under 20 minutes, and don't electrocute themselves


    I'm hoping the serial number will lead me towards the manufacturing date. I would bet good money that he did not steal the battery though he did say he could install the battery in 30 minutes. I will notify the police if it is stolen of course. He has a lot of experience with EV cars, especially the Prius. He feels the 2005-2009 were the most reliable and now drives a new Ford EV. He showed his dash reading currently at 72mpg with his new Ford. It's battery is ~twice as large as the Prius battery. He probably drove in a favorable manner towards the meeting - 72mpg sounds too good to be true all the time. 

    My take, so far, on the Prius EV is an increase of ~5mpg on the highway and ~10mpg in the city. It does better in the city than the highway because it converts normal braking energy to charge the battery. A great concept but the price is also significant. It "might take 100,000 miles" to break even on the fuel savings with a new car. A very wild guess there. 

    Watched some more youtube and found I can check module voltage pretty easily. I will document the readings and notify him of the results. A healthy module reads at least 7.6 volts. It also appears that many batteries are worked on because of a single defective module. It is amazing what one bad cell does to a battery string. Something I now have significant experience with. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
    Estragon said:
    +1 on load testing the battery as a whole.  Seems to me a "good battery" sold as such is different than a bunch of modules or cells that need individual sorting/testing/rebuilding.
    I have no idea how to load test an ~ 210 volt battery with Prius connections. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,451 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Neither do I.  A 240v resistance load like a water heater maybe?   
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
    Estragon said:
    Neither do I.  A 240v resistance load like a water heater maybe?   
    Perhaps. But is US 240 volt compatible with ~210 volt DC? 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,049 admin
    For heating elements, you can always hit them with less voltage (and they will draw less current)...
    • 210v^2/240v^2 = 0.77 = 77% of the heating element's rated wattage @ 240 VAC/VDC
    Note that "energy wise" (current/voltage), that 240 VAC RMS (root mean square) voltage is equal to 240 VDC -- I.e., the RMS voltage of 240 VDC is 240 Volts RMS

    Of course, there is the issue that DC current sustains arcs much better than AC current... So any switches/fuses/breakers you use, need to be rated at ~210 VDC minimum (a 240 VAC switch can easily arc and fail when breaking 210 VDC).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm comfortable with voltage readings - especially since that is all I have and noyone has likely monkeyed with the battery.

    Measured three times. All cells are between 7.55 and 7.49. Four cells are down to 7.50 or 7.49. Most measure 7.54 or 7.53. Not too bad for sitting at least six months. 

    He started off asking $650 two months ago with no takers. I'm thinking a discount is in order due to a few sub-optimal cells and too long sitting around without a charge. Could be a year, or more,  for all I know. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,610 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2019 #12
    Test the battery with the accelerator pedal !!  Don't use the brakes 
     Or run the air conditioner.
    Then read the cell codes .
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2019 #13
    My Prius is now 220 miles away making it hard to install and test. Can't seem to drive two car at once. 

    Seller is sticking with his original asking price of $650. Bit surprised considering he had no luck for two months. Also surprised he removed his ad - perhaps it expired. I think they only run for a month lacking renewal? 

    It would be far, far cheaper to replace my bad module/modules in my 2012. Though I would still have a battery that is two years older than his 2014. The price difference is big though - maybe $60 vs. $650. I'd likely walk at $650. On principal as much as else. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭

    Seller is firm at $600 - a fair price if I had no good options. Wants $150 to install it while betting he can do it in less than 30 minutes. So $300/hr - seems steepish to me.

    It would likely take me at least 1 1/2 hours on a good day. Plus a degree of risk.

    It is a 2014 battery that has sat for at least 6 months though voltage is still 1.25/cell which is OK. NiMH cells. My Prius is a 2012 with 230,000 miles.

    I can get "good 2012" cells for $25/each if I get four or more. I figure $100 would carry me a year or more with luck. Seller checks the Ah and I can check voltage.

    Once the battery is out, more than half the work is done for replacing bad cells.

    Sellers earned credit by letting me try the battery via 100% trust. He lost that credit when he seemed a bit greedy about his time - $300/hour? I will do dangerous work for a fraction of that. I think 3 pair of nitrile gloves would likely insulate me and still have enough dexterity.

    Its a toss up at this point. A 2 year newer battery for $600. Or $100 and another hour of work and a 2012 battery instead of a 2014. I could flip a coin on this choice.

    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,274 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Being in the import business for used vehicles  from Japan for a while, I once imported a Prius for salvage, it was a lightly damaged 2009 model with 56 000 KM, the FOB price was ¥ 56 000 or around $560, shipping was ~$1000 to Vancouver B.C. Canada, the purpose was for the battery but the whole vehicle was included which included many other useful part's 
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
    mcgivor said:
    Being in the import business for used vehicles  from Japan for a while, I once imported a Prius for salvage, it was a lightly damaged 2009 model with 56 000 KM, the FOB price was ¥ 56 000 or around $560, shipping was ~$1000 to Vancouver B.C. Canada, the purpose was for the battery but the whole vehicle was included which included many other useful part's 
    Prius owners are unusually interested in thrift. I could see salvaging engines, seats, doors etc as being a sound move. 

    The most expensive item is the generator that is between the engine and transmission. Toyota demands over $4000 for the part - with labor fees also being very high. I don't think they go out very often though. When they do - automatic total. Nobody wants it. 

    Your ratio of price vs freight charges is frightful. The Pacific is largish. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
    So I bought the 2014 battery assembly and black leather seats for $900. Pretty straight forward hybrid battery swap as modern cars go. 

    Imagine my surprise upon finding that my old battery measures very strong - going just from voltage readings. All cells between 7.9 and 8.2 volts. More deviation than you want but very high readings. My "new" battery all measured between 7.49 and 7.55 after sitting a few months. Likely would have all read 7.5 with a simpler read out. Much more uniform. 

    The dash trouble messages remain the same. That is good news and bad news. Good news because I am close to having two good battery packs. Bad news because the problem may not be fixed. Battery seller said it could be my inverter - which sits atop the motor in the Prius Gen III. 

    My Prius scanner is on a "slow boat from China".  Took it to Auto Zone. Their scanner said I need a new hybrid battery pack. Exactly what the electric vehicle shop told the last owner. Hopefully I just need to clear the codes. That would be nice. 

    Guess I should try to offer to sell, and install, my old battery after replacing the lowest cells. Sellers often guarantee at least 7.75 volts/cell. I have at least 7.9 but there is too much variation - from 7.9 to 8.2. Shops charge at least $2200 to install a refurbished battery. I might go for $900 but someone else is going for only $700. Probably several years older than a 2012 though. One could likely make some money selling and installing Prius hybrid battery packs. It is also somewhat safe after the big orange disconnect has been removed. Just a whole bunch of bolts, nuts, connections, cramped space and a big, heavy and awkward battery to remove and install. 

    Ford vs Ferrari is an excellent movie if you can appreciate horsepower, competition, and the ultimate car race. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Damon and Bale are great though I really liked Bales wife - in the movie. One of few quality movies I've seen this year. 98% audience approval is also rare: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ford_v_ferrari
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,274 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You refer to measuring cell voltages as being 7.XX volts, is this not actually a module voltage of 6 nickel metal hydride 1.2V nominal cells connected  in series? , that's  my understanding.
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
    You refer to measuring cell voltages as being 7.XX volts, is this not actually a module voltage of 6 nickel metal hydride 1.2V nominal cells connected  in series? , that's  my understanding.

    Correct
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 2,914 ✭✭✭✭
    How do I replace the 7.9 and 8 volt modules when the replacement offering are only assured of at least 7.75 volts?

    I am wondering if my modules were being over charged which led to too much variance in module voltage. i.e. - If 7.8 volts is considered healthy then 8.2 volts may be too high?

    Think I need to scan with Prius battery software (Dr. Prius for example) prior to a lengthy drive.

    It might actually be the Toyota inverter after all. The seller owns a 2 million/annual transportation company using hybrid vehicles. He likely knows a thing or two.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
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