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Originally Posted by luckydevil
...After all, they are kept charged by the HV battery and not an alternator.
The 12v battery is charged by the DC/DC converter, not the traction battery.
Don't know if you have replaced your 12v battery yet, but check this Web site. In the last few years, we purchased two batteries from them for our 2002 Prius. Also, just because the batteries are small, they don't last longer. Our "Miata" batteries only lasted about 3-4 years each due to the extreme heat in the desert southwest (Phoenix) area. You might have better luck with the Optima's, though; I think they are a better battery than the Miata-type battery that was the previous replacement for Gen I Prius's.
Note to Paul01: You can hook up a portable starter battery to a dead 12v battery to get the electronics started. It's just like jump starting a regular car; you just don't need near as much capacity, because you are only providing power to the hybrid computer electronics.
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