Hybrid Car Testing Basics

The Hybrid car testing is something you have to be careful about. Failure to do this will not only damaged your hybrid vehicle but kill you as well...

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Is hybrid car testing for hybrid owners? Or if you are planning to buy a used hybrid... can you do your own battery testing? I thought I should clarify these questions because it has serious repercussion. Try this, do you know that hybrid battery testing is a dangerous job? Most hybrids have battery packs called (HV) and they are usually rated over 300 volts and it can kill you?

Hybrid battery hazard is common on these cars because of the fact that most hybrid vehicles have a power Inverter that can boost up the HV voltage from 300 volts to 500 volts (Inverters sits on top of your transaxle or transmission).Shown below are important information to protect yourself from HV battery accidents:

Hybrid charging system:

To keep your hybrid vehicle run at optimum voltage level, the HV battery charging condition is constantly controlled by a process known as State of Charge or SOC. It monitors the charging rate of the HV voltage so that the difference between the highest and lowest charge does not exceed 20%. On average, the SOC target is set at 60% but should normally not go lower than 50%. If it goes lower than 40%, the HV is supposed to be defective and needs replacing.

Hybrid Auxiliary battery:

A separate 12 volt battery is made to run the gas engine and it is called auxiliary battery. This 2nd battery must not be charged with the regular charger because it is very sensitive to high voltage. Use only factory approved charger and if you must charged it with the regular charger, use the lowest setting. Finally, remove the battery from the vehicle when it is being charged. If for some reasons the hybrid vehicle will be parked for more than 2 weeks, the battery should be removed also from the vehicle.

Hybrid car testing procedures:

To test the battery voltage of hybrids, you need a voltmeter that can measure around 1000 volts DC to prevent damage to your voltmeter. At the same, you need a pair of insulated gloves which must be able to handle up to 600 volts to avoid electrocution. Although some voltage wires or cables are color coded orange to protect you, there are other parts that don't follow this procedure like the capacitor of your Inverter which is not color coded. If you accidentally touch this (rated around 500v) part, it can kill you.

Here are some guidelines for hybrid car testing of electrical components:

1. Always test any electrical wiring you touch before working on it if it is a 12 v supply or not.

2. Cover every service connector when disconnecting them from the high voltage connectors and make sure to turn engine key off before disconnecting service connectors.

3.Do the same when you unplug other voltage terminals

4.Use insulated pliers or tools when handling electrical parts.

5. Never leave any metal parts nuts, bolts in the area of the car where you are working.

6. Avoid wearing metallic objects in your body or work clothes.

In the end, hybrid car testing especially with HV batteries can be done safely if you follow the car manufacturer guidelines. For exact instructions, please contact your hybrid dealer or ATS.

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