4 Problems at the Drive-in - 2018 Honda Clarity Forum
  • 3 Post By 2002
  • 1 Post By GomerF
  • 1 Post By altfuelcarguy
  • 1 Post By 2002
  • 2 Post By Kerbe
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Maine
Posts: 9
4 Problems at the Drive-in

Last night we drove to a Drive-in for the Maine International Film Festival.
No more speakers hanging on the window with cords to a post outside. Sound is broadcast over an FM frequency. And therein lies some problems we couldn't find answers to in the manual in the glove box.

Both the Instrument panel and the Information screen were brightly shining as we tried to watch the movie. Our solution was to use a chips bag to cover one and one of our virus face masks to cover the other.
  1. So my question is how to deal with those two very bright light surfaces when using the radio only?
  2. Twice during the movie, the car shut off. Scramble to get it back on to hear the sound. Where would I find out how to control that timer?
  3. And of course, about midway through the movie, the mosquitoes found us and we wanted to close the windows, but couldn't figure out how to do that without turning on more than the radio. Suggestions on this, please.
  4. Finally, the fourth problem is with the daytime running lights staying on when when the power is on for the radio. An irritant for the car ahead of us, but also using battery power when not needed. Is there a way to shut them off?
On a side note: There were about 250+/- cars there and three of them were Claritys. This is in Maine where you might see one other Clarity in a year. Two 2018s - Touring & Basic, and our 2019 Basic. All owners LOVE THEM!!! And all had a hard time finding one in Maine. Once again, dealers are the problem. Our dealer still does not have a Clarity in stock after we bought ours in Oct 2019. And as I wrote before, they sold two the day we bought ours, and had to get ours from New Jersey. It came with 400 miles on the Odo.

BTW, all three of us are older (they not retired), and all of us have PV systems at our homes. Perhaps that says something about the people at the movie or Clarity owners?

Also, the charging "system" that I installed and wrote about elsewhere <https://www.clarityforum.com/forum/6029-post115.html> has been working beautifully. We mostly use it to charge at 120 but use 240 during the day to top up.

So, would appreciate any help anyone can give. Stay Safe
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 01:48 PM
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First to go over some basics that you probably already know, but just in case some of it is not clear, there are three modes that the car can be in:


The first two are activated by pressing the power button without pressing the brake pedal. One press for ACCESSORY, another press for ON. Pressing the brake pedal while pressing the power button puts the car into READY mode. The word READY will always appear on the display when you are in that mode, if it doesn't then you are either in ACCESSORY or ON mode.

It's important to note that ACCESSORY and ON modes draw only from the 12V battery and will eventually drain it. Only when in READY mode does it draw from the HV battery. Which of course can be drained also but it takes a whole lot longer, and also when the HV battery does get down to 0 then the gas engine will automatically come on to recharge the battery. Whereas in ACCESSORY or ON modes it will let the 12V keep draining until it is dead. Although in ACCESSORY mode it will turn off after 30-60 minutes which is what you experienced, but it won't stop you from repeatedly turning it back on to ACCESSORY mode and continue to drain the 12V for another 30-60 minutes at a time until you have successfully killed it. ON mode meanwhile will just keep running continuously until the 12V well is dry, which it will do much faster since ON mode activates the entire electrical system except for AC compressor and heater.

Also the HV battery is lithium ion which is designed to be cycled (i.e. drained and recharged). Whereas the 12V is a traditional lead acid which gets worn out when it is drained excessively, and draining it too low can greatly shorten it's life. Meanwhile the HV battery has built in safeguards to keep you from draining it enough to harm it.

So to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the 12V battery it's normally best to avoid ACCESSORY or ON modes except for brief periods. Although just using the radio in ACCESSORY mode might be okay for a couple of hours, it's just not great for the 12V battery. And it also requires you to have to press the power button every 30-60 minutes or so to turn it back on. You could avoid that by putting it in ON mode, however that activates the entire electrical system and will drain the 12V much faster, not to mention also lighting up all of the dash lights, so no real advantage to being in ON mode, you might as well put it into READY mode.

As for the DRL's, there's a trick to turn them off, simply activate the parking brake prior to turning the car on, and voila no DRL's as long as the headlights are not on and as long as the car is not in gear.

The dash can be dimmed using the brightness button behind the left side of the steering wheel. Also the infotainment screen has a separate brightness control, press the brightness button on the lower left side of the infotainment screen to cycle between day and night modes, each of which have separate brightness settings. The third setting is off which makes the infotainment screen go completely dark, although for some inexplicable reason the control buttons on the left side of the infotainment screen then go to maximum brightness. But at least that gives you just a small strip of light that can be more easily covered up.

What I would recommend for movie outings is the following:

- Put the car in READY mode. Another nice thing about READY mode is that you can run climate control for heat or AC. As long as the HV battery has a decent charge you will be fine running climate for two hours. And no real risk as the worst case is you run it down to 0 and the gas engine will come on, although even then it will only cycle on for a few minutes at a time if you are just sitting parked.

- Use the buttons behind the steering wheel to dim the dash to the lowest setting

- Press the infotainment brightness button and cycle the infotainment screen to off

- Make a small cloth or cardboard cover that will cover the infotainment buttons and the power button (the big red glaring one)

- Make another small cover for any of the climate or gear select buttons that are still on, unless you don't find them bothersome

- Make a cover for the main display, unless at it's full dimmed setting you don't find it bothersome.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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OK 2002, you are so kind

"First to go over some basics that you probably already know." Yes, that's true for dimness settings, but I have to be retrained after coffee breaks, so thank you.

What I did not know is the THREE modes and how they work differently. Somehow I just assumed that READY was the car's way of telling me to drive, not a mode to sit and watch the movie. Thanks for defining those modes and clarifying where the power comes from. (Ironically, I even used HV Charge on the way to the drive-in to make sure there was sufficient power in the battery, not realizing that none of the power was being used in Accessory.)

And the DRL's trick is great.

As always the wealth of knowledge here on the website is breathtaking. Thank you for taking the time to write all that out so thoroughly and succinctly. I owe you a beer. G-
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 10:09 AM
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Thanks 2002, great info!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 11:29 AM
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Since we are on the topic of the 12V battery there is the subject of when it gets charged. There had been some mystery about that, but some Clarity owners have hooked up voltmeters to the 12V battery and done some tests and have come up with the following:

- The 12V battery is not charged by the gas engine, i.e. the gas engine does not have to be running to charge the 12V

- The 12V battery is charged from the HV system anytime the car is in READY mode

- The 12V battery is also charged whenever the car is being charged. Note that just being plugged in will not charge the 12V battery, it's only during the time when the HV battery is being charged that the 12V battery is charged

Some people have experienced a dead 12V battery in their Clarity after letting the car sit for a week or two, leading to theories that there is some parasitic drain going on, but others have gone that long or longer without a problem, so it is suspected that the ones that died from sitting for a week or two were probably weak already. Either way if your car will be sitting idle for more than a week you probably should give the 12V an occasional charge. You can use battery chargers designed for this purpose, Battery Tender for example is a popular brand. But an easy way is to simply turn on the car to READY mode and leave it sitting like that for thirty minutes or so. Just remember to go back out there and turn it off! It would be very rare for the gas engine to start up during this time, but it's not entirely impossible so if the car is in an enclosed garage it's best to do this with the garage door open.

If you do wind up with a dead 12V battery, it can be jump started like any other car. Actually what is safer and easier is to use one of those small portable jump-start batteries, they are about the size of a paperback book and work surprisingly well even for regular gas powered cars in most cases, but they work especially well for Clarity (and most hybrids) because when starting the car the 12V battery is only used to power up the electrical system, and then the HV battery does the actual turning of the engine. So very little power is needed to jump start. They are a little pricey around $40-$50 but it's great peace of mind to keep one in the trunk or glovebox, and also you will likely find you are able to help other people get their car started with it.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-15-2020, 07:43 PM
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Bring a portable FM radio and leave the car off?
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Davis, California
2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, Black Crystal
2018 Chevrolet Volt Premier, Green Mist
2010 Toyota Prius II, Pearl White (currently in New York with my daughter for college)
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2020, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by altfuelcarguy View Post
Bring a portable FM radio and leave the car off?
Sure but it's usually a lot nicer to listen through the car's sound system, especially with multiple people in the car. It's an issue for gasoline cars as they have to use the 12V (or idle the gas engine), but there's no reason for someone in an EV not to run the sound system off of the HV battery for two hours.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2020, 01:30 PM
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Just add a bit of info that might help with the skeeters: I live in southwestern Mississippi where it is usually a tad bit warmer and more humid than Maine. I visit an allergist for weekly injections and, due to Covid-19, they are given outside the office. I am then required to sit in my car for 30 minutes before having the injection sites checked. Sitting in the car in broad, unshaded daylight when the temperature is at 110 degrees is NOT something one does with the windows open - so I run the AC. The AC system in the Clarity is surprisingly quiet when running at normal speed and the drain on battery range is negligible - just a few tenths of a mile for 20 minutes. Yesterday I had cataract surgery and my "surgery buddy" was not allowed inside the building but had to sit in the car - in 112 degree weather. She sat in the Clarity listening to the radio with and with the AC running, surrounded by HUGE pick-ups and SUVS (all running their ICEs, pumping out heat and exhaust) for just over 90 minutes - and the Clarity registered a 2-mile drop in range.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-19-2020, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by altfuelcarguy View Post
Bring a portable FM radio and leave the car off?
Another option are MP3 portable players with earphones. Most have FM band built in.
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