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 Post subject: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:21 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:51 am
Posts: 11
Location: Australia
Ok, sorry, this feels like a very dumb question from a new owner, but... when it's cold outside and I hit the 'auto' button on the climate control, the aircon 'snowflake' symbol comes on even though the climate control clearly knows that it needs to heat, not cool, the interior.

I understand this is normal behaviour, and I also know that it's possible to un-link the aircon so that it does not come on automatically in this way. What I don't understand is why it does it in the first place, and what it's actually doing? Surely Mitsubishi implements it this way by default for a good reason. What I expected to see in auto mode was that the snowflake would appear if the ambient temperature was higher than the temperature set on the climate control (i.e. the cabin needs to be cooled) but not if the temperature in the cabin was lower than that requested. I can't understand why it makes sense to run the air conditioner - if that's what the snowflake is telling me is happening - when the unit is trying to raise the temperature of the cabin. In my VW Golf the A/C comes on automatically if you select windscreen de-mist, even while heating, which makes sense, as the de-humidified air produced by the A/C helps to de-mist more rapidly. But in the PHEV the snowflake just seems always to be on while the thing is in auto mode, regardless of whether it's de-misting or not. I can't believe this means that the A/C is actually running in cooling mode all the time, but what does it mean? And if it's not required (i.e. can be turned off) during heating, why would Mitsubishi enable it by default?


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 Post subject: Re: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:18 pm
Posts: 4161
Location: Netherlands
The airconditioning is particularly useful in cold conditions, as it extracts moisture from the air and helps to prevent fogging.
You can change the default by pressing the button for 10 seconds.

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 Post subject: Re: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:47 am
Posts: 184
Location: Southern end of North Yorkshire, UK
As above - it’s called air conditioning not air cooling for a reason. The air con unit cools and removes moisture, but that air can then be passed through the heater matrix resulting in hot, dry air out the vents. Without the air con on, you get hot damp air out which can steam up the windows when it’s cold outside.

So on general unless it’s really dry outside, you generally want the air con on. Most climate control systems of the last 30 years or so have an interior humidity sensor as well as temperature so if it detects the car interior is too humid it’ll automatically turn the air con unit on to dry the air.

Basically just set the temperature you want (eg 21C) and let the climate control system decide the fan speed, air con, vent and recirculation settings.

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 Post subject: Re: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:59 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:51 am
Posts: 11
Location: Australia
richr wrote:
As above - it’s called air conditioning not air cooling for a reason.


...understood - although I have to say that if I was Mitsubishi and I wanted a symbol that meant "not cooling" I would probably not have gone with a snowflake :-)

Joking aside, thanks richr and jaapv for the quick and very helpful replies - much appreciated.

I note that if you hit the 'de-mist' button then the A/C comes on even if it's been switched off manually, so on that basis I think I'll un-link it from the auto setting and just use the de-mist button if I want the A/C on to assist with de-misting, and leave it off otherwise, at least for winter. It just pains me to think of valuable battery energy being expended to pre-cool air that the heater is then going to use more energy to re-heat :-)

Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:18 pm
Posts: 4161
Location: Netherlands
Be aware that an AC must be used on a regular basis to avoid cleaning and maintenance costs.

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 Post subject: Re: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:18 am
Posts: 436
Location: Yorkshire end of M1, UK
The snowflake symbol is used all round the world by every car manufacturer that I've driven to signify that the air conditioning is on. Do you want to start a worldwide campaign to change it? ;)

jaapv is 100% right. The fluid contains additives to maintain the seals within the system. If it's not used regularly, the seals can "dry out", causing leaks and meaning significant expense - far, far more than you could possibly save by keeping it off. Most experts recommend that you use the AC at least once a week for a significant time to maintain the seals. TBH I find it easier to leave it on as the losses are tiny compared to other potential power drains on the car, such as under-inflated tyres

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 Post subject: Re: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:47 am
Posts: 184
Location: Southern end of North Yorkshire, UK
I prefer fog free windows when it's cold or wet, and less sweatiness when it's hot to being able to travel a possible extra 2 or 3 miles more on battery power so tend to either have the heater off altogether if the outside temperature and humidity is comfortable enough or on auto if it's not or I'm doing a longer journey when the engine will be on anyway.

It's personal choice though - everyone uses their car differently. Some people try to force an Outlander PHEV to never run on petrol, and so accept that the battery will suffer because it wasn't designed to be used like that. Similarly some never charge it, and so it's mainly running on petrol and accept they are spending more on fuel. Some people just don't like air conditioning, despite all the benefits it can bring. The impact on fuel economy and power is pretty tiny on modern vehicles, and potentially even less so with the electric aircon compressor and computer control of power flow in the PHEV.

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2008 Volkswagen Caravelle (diesel)
(recently departed - 2004 Subaru Outback 3.0Rn (LPG), 1991 Mitsubishi Pajero 2.5 LWB (WVO))


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 Post subject: Re: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 3:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:18 am
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Location: Yorkshire end of M1, UK
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 Post subject: Re: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:51 am
Posts: 11
Location: Australia
But apart from lubricating the seals, and the de-fogging, and the reduced sweatiness in summer - what has the air conditioner ever done for us?


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 Post subject: Re: A/C auto mode and snowflake symbol...
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:45 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:43 am
Posts: 270
Location: Forres, Scotland, UK. 2014 GX4h with clear rear light lenses.
I leave mine on most of the time now as if I forgot to use it in the winter the gas seemed to escape. Don't know where it went though... when re-gassed and tested for leaks couldn't find any. Costs around £85 to have it re-gassed so cheaper to leave it on all the time. Also, not to forget that the aircon is used to cool the batteries too. Now whether it uses this facility of its own accord I'm not entirely sure - I'm thinking the car does make the decision to aircon cool the batteries without any contribution from the driver. That being the case though there still has to be some gas in the system for it to be able to work in the first place.

And if anyone doesn't already know this, if - on a very hot day and you've got the aircon set to 18 centigrade - the snowflake symbol starts to flash, then chances are it's running low on gas. The fact that the air coming from the vents is not very cold at this point is also a clue. I think the car will in fact turn the aircon off if there is insufficient gas so it doesn't damage itself. The flashing symbol can I believe also be indicating any other sort of aircon malfunction, but in my experience aircon usually malfuntions because the gas has depleted.

My old Citroen Xantia of days gone by didn't ever have its aircon re-charged and it still worked perfectly when I sold the car for £800. I think it was about 12 years old by then. I only ever used the aircon when it was really hot, rarely in the winter. I'm suspecting that todays 'eco friendly' aircon systems are not as robust as ozone depleting systems of the past.


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