Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Where The Hell Is It?

As I mentioned last night, I had to jump-start the Prius today. Once I got the Pathfinder in position to be able to connect it to the Prius' battery, I got the hood opened and started looking for the battery. Hmmm. Strange. I would have thought it would be rather obvious. Where the hell's the damned battery?? Let me get the manual.

OK, no biggie. The 12V battery's in the trunk. Reposition the truck. Open the trunk. Umm... trunk's locked and doesn't have a lock. Maybe I need to open it from the inside. Great, there's no release there. Back to the manual.

Ah, so. The trunk locks automatically before the 12V battery dies and can't be opened without that battery. OK, so let's see what they say... ahhh... they have a whole procedure (14 steps or something) for boosting the car. Please note that boosting in this context means starting from another car's battery, not stealing! It is this procedure that discusses the existence of a special boosting connector in the fuse box in the front engine compartment!

Let's just reposition the truck again and open said fuse box. That took some work. The front-most clip on the box cover is not really well positioned for someone with large hands, but I managed to get it off after a minute or so. Now we just have to hook up the jumper cables. Not so fast! The clips on the jumper cable are TOO BIG to clip onto the nut & bolt!! Dammit. Hmm... let's see... this little piece of metal with a plastic back looks as if it might actually be touching the bolt?

Turns out that it is. The diagram in the manual doesn't make it all that obvious, but it is, and the alligator clip can actually grab it. I have to pull the cables apart a little bit to get the ground to reach the designated attachment point, but that's OK. Now, the hybrid system will start without even starting the truck (it's got a much bigger battery than the Prius), but it won't put it into gear... OK, fine. The manual wants me to charge for five minutes revving the truck to 2000 rpms.

Rachel's been pretty patient. She's climbing around the base of the tree. When she wants help because she thinks she's about to fall off, I tell her I'm still trying to "fix" the car and if I help her get down she can't climb until I'm finished. She wants down. OK.

I turn it on and leave it running while I put Rachel's car seat in. Don't know if that's five minutes. Probably not.

At this point, everything was fine. Dawn actually followed our route most of the way to her office just in case, but I was pretty sure it was going to be OK. If worse came to worst, I'd just have Lee (the director of Rachel's school) help me jump it again. It is a little odd, though... In a non-hybrid, you just have to get the thing started and either rev it or drive it for a few minutes to charge it up enough to be able to start it again... It's a little wierd that the hybrid system can't start off it's own battery if the 12V is dead.

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