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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Civic hybrid and am curious if anyone knows how the AC draws power from the engine. Is it an electrically or mechanically driven compressor? In either case, does the temperature or fan setting affect the power draw from either the engine or battery?

I'm trying to optimize how I use the AC and generally when I need to use the AC, I just set it to the lowest temperature and cycle the AC on and off by pushing the button. I was assuming that increasing the temperature setting doesn't necessarily decrease the AC power consumption, but this could be a wrong assumption. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

I did a search in the forum and didn't come across anything relevant.

thanks,

aspenboy
 

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Mechanically driven. By a belt.

What you are doing is probably the best way to minimize use, I think. It's just what I do, too. You know better than the climate control when it is too uncomfortable for you, and when to turn the compressor on briefly. If it is hot, I leave the fan on high, and recirculate.

Another option is to set a higher temp, and leave it there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
do you know if the mechanical power used by the A/C compressor is changed by the temperature setting. I know the heat is a matter of diverting/combining different amounts of heated/cold air and I was wondering if it was the same for ac.
 

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Yes, the lower the temp setting, the more the compressor is used. You are exchanging more heat, which will require more energy from the engine.

Another thing you can do better than the climate control: You can tell when you are going downhill (assuming you have hills wherever you are), and that is a great time to hit the button to turn the a/c on for a spell.
 
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The new Prius has an electric compressor. Dunno if it is 12V or runs off the pack at higher voltages, but I want one in my Insight. AC in auto stop, no change in MPG (though theoretically it would have to charge more often...)
 

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el_vacho said:
no change in MPG (though theoretically it would have to charge more often...)
A lot more. Plus more charge/discharge cycles on the battery pack.
 

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Electric AC has the advantage of being perfectly sealed unit that can run even with the engine off, however it will probably take more net power from the engine as mechanical energy has to be changed to electric power and then back to mechanical power.
 
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