Dear forum members.
The brake and clutch switch mods have been discussed at length on the forums, but to recap they give the following benefits.
1) Brake pedal switch piggy back mod allows full regen braking without pressing brake pedal, so avoiding wasted energy. This also activates brake lights, and appears to the vehicle as if you were lightly pressing brake pedal.
2) Clutch pedal switch piggy back mod shuts off the IMA system, and allows you to prevent assist or charging at will. This helps you control the charging so that is occurs when you want it, and not in a parasitic fashion when battery gets low. (You still need to ensure it is activated suffciently to maintain battery charge), but this can be done when road conditions are more favourable.
This post shows my brake and clutch switch mod install, and includes some high res photos.
This is not a substitute for the excellent MIMA system, which I may well install later, but it is less invasive, and it may be more suitable for those cars with warranty remaining.
First of all the safety stuff, the Insight has high voltages at several points, this mod does not access these systems, but if you are unsure let someone else do it for you.
Working under the dashboard to get access to the switches and wiring is very, very difficult!!! I am 6'4" and my back is killing be now after hanging upside down, squeezed into the footwell for an hour, trying to solder!
If you are small and nimble it will be a lot easier!
Under the dash some of the SRS airbag wiring is accesible, don't touch it!
Any yellow colored connector or any wire loom that is yellow is SRS related. Even disconnecting one of these connectors without first taking the proper precautions can cause an airbag to deploy
Severe injury or death can occur in your hit at the wrong angle.
[End mod insert]
You don't need to disconnect any of the insight systems to install this mod, but ensure the vehicle is off of course.
This mod involves splicing into four difficult to access wires and the drilling of one hole to suit your switch in the Steering column shroud.
OK lets start.
First of all you need an on-off-(on) sub miniature double pole toggle switch. Double pole to keep the brake and clutch circuits seperate, but allowing them to be controlled with the same switch. Rating should be about 3A, but it's not critical. Smaller physical size the better.
The three position switch has a central off position, one way is a locking on position, and the other is a momentary on position.
In use this means pushing the switch away from you into the locked on position mimics the clutch pedal being depressed, and disables the IMA system. IMA remains inactive until you move the switch to the central off or regen positions.
Pulling the switch towards you into the momentary on position mimics footbrake application, and forces maximum regen for as long as the switch is held or the battery monitor system will allow. (Engine speed, battery state of charge, and battery temp all effect regen performance and duration)
Releasing the switch from the momentary on regen position returns to the default centre off position, and leaves the vehicle in standard IMA mode.
Nice and easy, all on one switch, mounted under the indicator stalk for ease of access and use. It's a bit like an early PTT "Push To Talk" radio switch.
The step by step install process is as follows.
1) Obtain your switch and attach four suitable wires of about 3A rating 4ft in length.
Remember one half of the double pole switch is the clutch switch bypass, and the other is the brake switch bypass. Get the connections the right way round, and don't use one pole of the switch for both lots of connections, momentary for the brake switch, and locking for the clutch switch. The brake and clutch circuits should be completely independant and isolated from each other.
2) Remove the steering column lower cowling, there are three crosshead screws underneath, and a number of clips on each side which need to be eased out.
3) Assess the steering column cowling, and decide where you want the switch. I put mine just below the indicator stalk on the left hand side. (I am not convinced I got my switch in the best place, you might find somewhere better.) Ensure there is clearance for the switch when the cowling is re-installed, also make sure the indicator stalk does not foul the new switch stalk or interfere with it's normal operation. There is not much space available inside the steering column assembly, so check carefully before you drill the switch mounting hole.
4) Drill the hole suitable for your switch, and mount it in position, route wires under dash. Remember momentary position towards you, and locking position away from you. Test switch, does it work as you expect!
5) Reassemble cowling, making sure switch and wire do not foul anything in the steering column assembly.
6) Add semi flexible extension to switch stalk to allow easy use. I used a piece of thin black plastic 5mm diameter tube the same length as the indicator stalk. I heated this and formed the end, so that is would fit over switch stalk and mould itself into position. One drop of super glue and it was fixed. I also used a small piece of heatshrink to tidy up the joint, and a slightly larger tube on the other end to give more of a stalk like look. It is easier to experiment with this before the switch is fitted, or buy a spare one (I did), and use that for stalk design and moulding
7) Manoeuvre yourself into the footwell, and locate the position of brake and clutch switches on foot pedal assembly. Note how inaccesible these are and swear! The clutch switch is the worst to access! Decide how you are going to break into the wiring to piggy back the switches. I managed to splice into both sets of wires, and solder upside down to attach mine. Ensure any connections are secure and well insulated. Remember we are piggybacking switches, which means the ones we are installing will be in parallel with the ones on the pedal assembly, not series.
The clutch switch is on the left in these pictures, it uses a small plug with only a short section of wire available for splicing. It appears to use miniature spade connectors, so it might be possible to make up a simple extension, but I did not investigate this further, I spliced into the wires.
The brake switch plug uses standard 6.3mm female spade connectors in a moulded unit. It is easily possible to make up a little extension for this circuit using male and female auto spade connectors. Soldering upside down at an impossible angle is not recommended for the faint hearted!
Extricate yourself from the footwell, tidy up and go for a test drive. Congratulate yourself on a job well done, and see what improvements in mpg you can achieve.
Estimated cost of mod £1.00 or $1.50!
Time to do the mod 2hrs. 1hr spent cursing upside down in footwell.
I hope this helps.
If you have to take your vehicle in for warranty work, remove the switch or just tell them it is for the hands free phone system!