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Here's the deal: On Saturday, May 5, I will be displaying my Insight, along with other hybrids, in the Plano, Texas "Live Green in Plano Expo" event (as I have during the last two or three years). It will be a static display (no driving) but several hundred people will likely check out my car (as happens anywhere it's displayed, you all well know how that goes). :)

At many new car shows I attend, some of the new cars are rigged to display their instrumentation and to allow attendees to play with the nav systems, the radio, etc. They are plugged into AC power so the vehicle battery is not quickly depleted, but I don't know how they activate the 12v displays. Salesmen I've asked there are clueless about how it's done, they just show up after drawing the short straws, and they're pretty humorless about anything that doesn't result in an immediate sale. :roll:

So, here's my question: Is there a way to do that with my Insight without damage? If I plug in a trickle charger and turn on the key to the "run" position, would it damage any components? The displays would be "on" for the better part of 6-8 hours... AC and radio would be off, only the instruments would be hot. Up to now, I've simply put a picture of the display overlaid over the dash, but it just doesn't have the drama of the actual LCDs fired up. I would love to be able to reliably and repeatedly demonstrate the display, especially the start-up sequence (always a crowd pleaser!). ;)

Anyone ever done this? :?:

Any thoughts, suggestions, warnings, opinions, and/or experiences welcomed. I'm sure someone in this group will provide me with the wisdom to direct me in the right path... :D
 

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I don't think leaving it on all day would be a good idea even if you had a battery trickle charge because all of the IMA components in the back are powered up as well when the display is illuminated. The one thing that I can think of that would only use power when people are looking and have the cool display startup, would be to use a normally closed relay in the ignition with a remote control switch (the key left in the correct posistion). You would remotely engage the relay while people are not looking at the display. When disengaged, the contacts would close and it would be like turning the ignition key to the on position. Also, you could drive it home with the normally closed relay. Here would be an idea using a remote A / B cable switching device from Radio Shack like the one shown here:http://cgi.ebay.com/A-B-SWITCH-FROM...emZ110108438260QQcategoryZ64596QQcmdZViewItem
Just use the hot ignition wire as the cable wire. I have seen the inside of this remote so yes, it should work. Just be careful with remotes providing a voltage like a remote A/C switch. They would have to be internally modifed to bypass the power wires.

JoeCVT - Just your average CVT owner
 

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Well,

AFAIK it's never been reported as done here in the forums. But unless the interior temps are going to approach the 100's I can't see leaving them on an issue.

However, IIRC the key on load is 4-7A so a "trickle" charger will leave you with a dead battery long before the 8 hours are up.

I'd be tempted to pull out fuses (shut down the unneeded circuit(s)) just as an overheat precaution. And then check the 12v load and trickle charge approprately.

Don't want to roast a good 12v battery with too much current either. ;)

HTH! :)
 

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Hi Boogety; As you know, car shows are a hobby of mine. Over the past 5 years, I have displayed my Insights at aprox 185 shows, events, seminars, expos, etc. To specifically answer your question, I would say this: at a "green expo", only a small percentage of folks will actually want to see your dash display. It happens to me occasionally. Therefore, just briefly turn the key on when someone asks to see it. But really it's a good thing, because you don't want too many people sitting in your car, or touching the interior, etc. Large #'s of people can really mess things up! If you want to show off, you can reset your FCD and carefully drive 100 miles or so, averaging 90+ MPG, then park it at the show!

Use this as an opportunity/excuse to really detail your car, have it shining better than the day it was new. I find it very worthwhile to remove all 4 wheels and clean the wheel wells and the back and front of the wheels. I use tire shine on the whole tire, including the tread!

I have a professionally made large red sign, listing the features and performance of the car. Over the years I have refined the info on the board, as a result of fielding many thousands of questions. There are certain things about the Insight I feel are very important to emphasize. For example, my sign clearly says "This is NOT an "electric car", but a gas-powered car with a slight electric assist during acceleration only".

To distinguish the Insight from the Prius, for example, I try to de-emphasize the "hybrid" part, and clearly explain to people that the 5-speed Insight achieves it's high mph due to aerodynamics (including flat bottom panels), lightweight aluminum construction, lean burn catalyst, small efficient engine, wheels and LRR tires, etc.

One question I get very freqently is, "how does your car (87 mpg average) get so much higher mpg than a Prius??

The very best answer to that one seems to be: "The Prius is a big, heavy, steel 4 door car that excels in city driving. The Insight is a small, lightweight, aluminum 2-seater that loves to cruise on the highway."

Most of my shows are antique/classic/muscle cars, where mine is often the only "new" car in attendance. Therefore, few people know much about efficient cars. At least in your case, many of these people care about "GREEN", so the knowledge base will be substantial.

Another very common question is "why don't I see many of these cars driving around? I always answer, "It was made from 2000 -2006, and very few were produced. It was intended as a proof of concept car for the green, trendy 2000 millenium. Never meant to be mass-produced, extremely high R&D, tooling, and manufacturing processes costs are not recovered. Also, there is limited demand for a 2-seater."

Your voice may get hoarse from talking. I would advise you to prepare a display sign showing mpg, weight, engine specs, fuel capacity, maximum range, etc. People are amazed at what this car can do!
 

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Excellent answer Billy. Thanks for the tips.

As for the display burning out, I see no reason why it would be any different form driving the car for that many hours straight. Nevertheless, Billy's point about having folks sit in your car is a good one. All it takes is for one person with a rough rivet on back of their blue jeans sitting down in your car and the fabric will be torn to shreds! I'd recomend some kind of seat covering as a precaution. You don't want to have some issue like a dammaged seat spoiling your day.

Have fun and do us proud. Remember you own the first, the rarest, the most fuel efficient, and the most fun hybrid. 8)
 

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Or take a good picture of the display and have it available to look at.

I have a folder with a collection of various papers on the Insight, all in plastic cover sheets, that I carry around in the car in case people want to know more. For example, a drawing from the shop manual explains the layout of the gas engine and electric motor (to somebody familiar with cars) better then I can explain it...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Excellent suggestions, thanks one and all!

It should go without saying that my Insight (and any of my other cars I enter in shows) will be, if not Pebble Beach-ready, much cleaner than when it left the dealership. I even Q-tip and toothbrush areas of the car normally never cleaned by normal human beings, and I especially work the engine bay and underneath the car. I have had people actually look under my car with a hand mirror, and I'm not talking judges, just walk-ups. Who carries a mirror to a car show? Hmph... :roll:

I like the idea of a poster with facts, I have a three-ring notebook with info and ads for people to look through if interested, but few people go to the trouble (kind of the purpose of the notebook, it's there for diehards, but scary for most others). I'll go to FedEx Kinkos and work something up. A crowd favorite is a framed picture of my Insight and I, posing under the "Pikes Peak Summit" monument. It answers ther question of whether the car is a real car, or a toy. Never mind that most any car can make it up to Pikes Peak, it's still an impressive picture for most peeps. ;)

And I do have a color picture of the display... I blew it up to actual size, cut it to fit the dash, and I just slip it over the darkened display to give people more than just a blank dash to stare at. :)

If any of you are in Plano that day, stop by and check it out! Thanks again... :D
 

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If you want to keep the 12 volt stuff alive for presentation I'd find a lock smith that would cut you a copy of your key on a blank with no transponder. That way you could leave it in the ignition and not worry about anyone trying to steal the car.

The 12 volt battery won't last very long if left on so you'd also have to power it. Most times when they put vehicles on display like this in doors they use a sizeable switching power supply. I've used Iota DLS power supplies and they work very well. Actually for an indoor display they require fuel tanks to be less than 1/4 full and you have to disconnect your 12 volt battery. Usually you'll just see the output cables from the power supply taped temporarily to the battery cables which will feed all the electronics.
 
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