Look like another thing I'm gonna have to save up for. Will be in touch when I have funds. Thanks.
Ocean '00 MT
Continental Eco Contact 5s in 185/60/14.
Warm air mod
Grid Charger with timer
OBDII C&C gauge
12v solar charger
IMA solar charger
6.5in touchscreen HU
Iím finally getting round to writing an update on my progress with Peterís electronics (sorry for the delay!). A fortnight ago, I visited Peter in Yorkshire for a couple of days to have a new Better Battery IMA pack, IMAC&C and mains charger fitted to my Insight, as well as visiting Insight mechanical specialist Steve of Auto-Tech, Thirsk, to have new brake discs and pads fitted. To provide some background information on the matter, when I acquired my Insight in October, the original IMA pack was clearly in decline. Although fine on motorways, it would recal at least once a week on my commute on the hilly A-roads between Dundee and St Andrews, and really didnít like urban driving. Therefore, it was necessary to replace the IMA pack and find a way to deploy the IMA more intelligently than the carís computer can manage. Also, the front brakes were becoming severely worn, and Honda wanted in excess of £200 including labour for a fitted new front set of discs and pads. Firstly, I would say that if anyone plans to visit Peter for electronic work, but their Insight also requires mechanical attention, Steve is the man for the job. He is very approachable and helpful, and his service is fast and efficient. My new set of front discs and pads were fitted for a total cost including labour that was tens of pounds less than what my local Honda dealer wanted for the parts alone, plus I was given a courtesy car whilst the work was being carried out.
Now, on to the main topic, Peterís IMAC&C and the Better Battery pack. After a good nightís rest and a hearty breakfast at the local B&B a mere 100 yards from Peterís home, it was time to report for duty. I arrived shortly after the agreed start time of 8.30am (Mint, the B&Bís black lab, wanted to say hello before I left) to find that Peter had kindly already done much of the prep work, fitting the IMAC&C joystick to a replacement steering wheel, building a Better Battery pack using an old IMA battery housing and removing the rear upholstery from the car, which had been left with him the night before. Peterís experience proved invaluable as the whole process went swimmingly; given the number of components that were removed from the car, tinkered with, added to and put back in place, we were both pleasantly surprised to be finished by lunchtime. The maiden drive in the newly eco-modded Insight went without a hitch and was followed by the traditional run in Peterís lithium-ion plug-in hybrid Insight to the local cafe for lunch. That machine can shift, as the now ergonomically-shaped passenger door handle can attest to!
After gathering my belongings and saying goodbye to a heartbroken Mint, I set off on my motorway tour of England, visiting friends in Birmingham and heading to Wokingham near London on business, before heading back up the M6 towards Scotland and Dundee. The hundreds of motorway miles racked up gave me a chance to check out the IMAC&C. You donít appreciate the pull of the electric motor until you use three or four taps of the joystick to the right to pass slower traffic going up a steep motorway hill, without touching the throttle and thus maintaining circa 75mpg whilst doing 65-70mph in 5th gear (normally using the throttle to do this in 5th would reduce fuel economy to 50mpg for very little acceleration). The LCD display is very informative and allows you to see how much drain/gain you get with different assist/regen settings. Its battery pack percentage display is also far more accurate than the standard one on the dash, which I quickly grew to ignore. Strategic IMA deployment was crucial in the hills near Carlisle, which whilst being very scenic, would drain the battery of an OEM Insight very quickly. The tap-to-pass, KERS-esque IMAC&C joystick function worked well when passing slow articulated lorries going uphill, but also allowed me to control hill descent without using the footbrake; on some steeper downhill sections, I was able to maintain motorway speeds by using two or three taps to the left (more regen than the Insight would give if left to its own devices), without engine braking or foot-braking, topping the battery up by several % before the next big climb. However, I hadnít driven many of these roads before in the Insight, so I didnít have accurate fuel economy targets to compare the IMAC&C-assisted results to. The real test would come when I returned to my commute.
This week, I have driven four journeys to St Andrews and back. Two of these journeys were driven without touching the IMAC&C joystick, and two were driven ďintelligentlyĒ using the IMAC&C function. Before the upgrades took place, the car had to be driven in a manner that kept the battery topped up to avoid a recal, rather than to achieve high fuel economy. As such, I would normally drive in one gear lower than I, or the car, would want to, which brought the fuel economy down to circa 62-64mpg for a return journey of 30 hilly miles, with battery capacity ultimately decreasing journey after journey until the IMA would recal and force the vehicle to charge again.
The first journey was spent trying to get out of old habits and actually listening to the gear change lights on the dash that were flashing furiously in my face. Depending on wind speeds on the Tay bridge and the traffic on the roads, fuel economy can fluctuate quite a lot on the roads in question anyway. Nonetheless, fuel economy was clearly up on my first journey, and I was on for 68mpg until the last stretch in Dundee when I forgot I was trying to be scientific and decided to see what the Better Battery/IMAC&C were like if you stuck the car in 2nd gear and buried the throttle to get ďrally mode.Ē The answer to that last point is ďawfy guid fun,Ē but it doesnít half wreck your fuel economy, bringing it back down to 66.3mpg.
When I first drove the Insight using the IMAC&C joystick on my commute, the difference to the driving experience was very noticeable. The vehicle is far more fun to drive as the electric motor has a real kick to it, but I also found myself using it more than I would use the footbrake, thus recovering more energy and reducing brake wear. Average fuel economy for the 2nd run was 70.2mpg, a figure that I hadnít seen in about a month, and thereís definitely more to come from the car as I become more confident with the limits of the IMAC&C in different gears (leave max regen on for too long when decelerating and you will stall the car!). Crucially, battery capacity remains pretty static over the course of the whole commute, returning to roughly where it started off in the morning when I bring the car home in the evening and generally gaining a couple of % overall rather than losing quite a few % as before. Urban driving still requires sparing use of the IMA, but that said, Dundee is a very hilly city and I live right on the banks of the Tay, so the only way is up. In contrast, my drive through Birmingham, an area with flatter terrain, resulted in much better performance with considerably less drain on the battery pack when using the IMAC&C properly. I havenít used the mains charger yet, but I plan to start charging the vehicle every night and treating it like a PHEV, geeiní it laldy on the IMA on the hills and running the pack down in the name of better fuel economy.
Overall, I would strongly recommend Peterís IMAC&C. Itís a fantastic piece of engineering that lets you take back control of your Insight. Teamed with a Better Battery pack, the performance of your Insight is much improved over its OEM form, with a punchier battery pack that is more willing to accept charge and more than capable of delivering it. As an EV enthusiast and driver, the purely regenerative braking offered by the IMAC&C is a big plus, too. I hope to be able to comment on the mains charger when I finally get round to using it.
On behalf of the Insight community, I would like to thank Peter for his outstanding work. He has created some brilliant electronics for our vehicles and dedicated a lot of his time to sharing the technology with us and fitting them to our machines. It was a pleasure to meet you, Peter. I hope to write a mini-manual for the IMAC&C when I get a spare minute in return for your graft, expertise and patience given my ineptness with a spanner!
I have to build up some more pcb's this week for the G1 and HCH1 version as I have run out of built units now.
Just to make the IMAC&C pricing clear for UK/EU G1 owners.
The built G1 IMAC&C pcb and switch is £200. (You can fit it yourself by all means)
Install in the car inc footwell wiring (which I hate doing so that's why it's expensive) but not including the steering wheel switch mounting is £300.
Steering wheel mounting the switch on manual cars only is £100.
So that's a total of £600 for the whole package inc fitting at my place and lunch at the cafe
OBDIIC&C $50 inc software, pcb, switch and obdii plug.
IMAC&C HCH1 $50 inc software and pcb.
Last edited by retepsnikrep; 02-04-2013 at 02:43 AM.
About 4 months ago I had IMAC&C and my Genisis One (maintenance) Grid charger installed by Pete. I have been leanring to use IMAC&C and while was getting good MPG previously I am now getting much better results.
I have two basic commuting routes, one to my local office just 7 miles and one I do a minimum of 2 times per week is 75 miles (figures are each way).
I have been using Mikes Grid charger and I have not had any issues charging most nights and during the day if I am honest My battery is tired, but functioning OK for now, without throwing errors. The office in Birmingham are going to install a dual type 2 outlet so I can charge for free. So I want to install a connector in the rear bumper to enable this (any ideas).
Below is a couple of videos of my progress so far.
Thanks for your help Pete, its a lot of fun. Mike the Grid charger is working great.
Insight owner since 7th Feb 2009
2002 Red 5 Speed MT 170,000 Miles OBDIIC&C, IMAC&C, GCM1 Grid Charger
Projects Planned: Rad Block, Block Heater
2007 Silver A8 3.0 TDI now passing 142,000
Previous Owner of a: 2005 Silver Manual Insight with 25,000 miles. lmpg 81.9
Previous Owner of a: 2001 Black A2 1.4 TDI 87,000 miles,
All my cars are Aluminum (I think its magnetism)
Good effort Richard you might want to keep a close eye on Mike's site and charger thread for the developments on the discharger which may recover some additional capacity from your pack. The longer we can keep them working the better.
Re the plug for charging at work.
Simplest is an extension lead in through rear hatch you can shut it on the lead without damage.
I have used a flip up rear number plate and put a caravan blue 16amp socket behind it for one of my cars.
Re the videos let's have the whole commute shot like a documentary or user guide. I did one for my 13 mile commute.
It's been two months since I last posted about my progress with Peter's IMAC&C and the Better Battery pack upgrade. We've had a prolonged bitter spell on the east coast of Scotland this spring, with snow and strong headwinds which have hammered the fuel economy, taking my hilly, twisty Dundee --> St Andrews commute down to around 65 mpg. However, the weather has started to improve, and the fuel economy has been steadily rising again, culminating in setting a new personal best of 82.1 mpg today (battery capacity at start 52%/at end 33%; I try not to dip below 30% to improve the lifespan of the cells). This was in part due to having extra battery capacity to spare following a 260 mile journey to Glasgow/Ayrshire and back, which topped up the battery much more readily on the motorway sections than it would have before the upgrade, whilst returning an average fuel economy in the high 70s. This figure would have been much higher were it not for the fan club that the car has amassed in my home town, with a few people wanting taken out for a spin in it. Looks like we may have a few new prospective Insight owners! The higher fuel economy may also have been due to a change in strategy. Previously, I used the IMAC&C to make the IMA motor do most of the work when accelerating uphill, easing off the throttle and thus prolonging the time taken to reach the desired speed. However, today I made more use of "rally mode" in 2nd gear to attain the desired speed, then stuck the car in 5th gear and gave the IMAC&C joystick one tap to the right to give just over 1 kW's worth of assist. I have heard of this theory of faster acceleration yielding higher fuel economy in Insights before. As counter-intuitive as it may seem to a conventional ICE vehicle driver, the theory seems to be correct.
Typically, without grid charging and when used exclusively on the Dundee --> St Andrews commute, the battery fluctuates between the low 30s and the mid 40s in percentage terms, with more capacity possible if I choose to ramp up the IMAC&C's regenerative braking override on the 2 mile downhill section across the Tay Bridge coming into Dundee. I have had no recals (I used to average one per week) and the car consistently returns higher fuel economy than expected; I have noticed that I am putting a lot less fuel into the car at the pumps during its weekly pit stop, and despite calculating how much fuel I will need for the week, I often end up with one return commute's worth of fuel left over per week/fortnight.
I had previously considered using Peter's grid charger extensively, turning my Insight into a PHEV and depleting the battery every day to maximise fuel economy. Thus far, I have found that the extra 30% or so of battery capacity that this strategy gives me returns only mild improvements in economy, but this is more likely down to lack of experience with the set-up. Today's new fuel economy record shows that there is still more to come from the vehicle, and the warmer, calmer weather will certainly help to achieve new personal bests. Overall, the IMAC&C, grid charger and Better Battery pack have proven to be sound investments, improving the fuel economy and power of the vehicle and also making it even more enjoyable to drive. I have recommended all three as essential upgrades to the prospective Insight owners that I know.
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