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Old 11-16-2012, 07:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default IMA/CEL Options

Hi A new member with the standard IMA/CEL dilemma. I have reviewed this forum but could still use some advice.

I am second owner of a 2000 Insight. First owner had ECM replaced under recall in 9/00 and 6/05. I bought in 6/05 with 33k miles. Had P1447 codes in Oct 07 at 58,425 mi and Nov 09 at 73,650 mi resulting in replacement of battery, BCM, MCM and (I assume) ECM under warranty in each case. My 10 year Honda warranty expired Jan 2010 and I am now looking at IMA/CEL lights at 90,425 miles on the clock.

My regen has not been good for some time and mileage also seemed worse before the current IMA episode. Also, the car had been sitting for about 3 weeks before these lights appeared.

Next step is to get codes scanned.

I am considering shifting to gas-only since this is no longer a daily commuter and it is mostly driven around town. Before making that decision, I want to try shutting the IMA light off, force charging the battery and shutting off the CEL to see how long before any lights come back on.

Now also seems to be a good time to see if there are any Insight tech wizards in the Seattle area that could rebalance the battery, etc for me. What is a typical cost to have that procedure done?

QUESTIONS (1) Should the battery packs be dying as frequently as mine seem to be? (2) Might the controllers need to be replaced or do I just focus on the battery pack issue? (3) Does the CEL light really matter as far as sensors/catalyst are concerned since it just seems to be part of the IMA light package? (4) Does anyone have an Insight pro to recommend in the Seattle area or (5) do I just make a B line to Portland to get a MaxIMA installed?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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(1) Should the battery packs be dying as frequently as mine seem to be?
Unfortunately, battery packs in Insights that have been parked regularly for several days without having been driven seem to fail early. Two had failed on my Insight after it had been only 22,000 miles, only 13,000 of which had been driven during the previous 6 years (i.e., lots of periods of parking and not much driving). Insight owners who drive more tend to have battery packs that last longer.

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(2) Might the controllers need to be replaced or do I just focus on the battery pack issue?
Probably not. Your car has apparently had the two ECM recalls performed, so your ECM is new enough. When Honda replaced your battery packs, they also updated your BCM and MCM, so yours should be fine.

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(3) Does the CEL light really matter as far as sensors/catalyst are concerned since it just seems to be part of the IMA light package?
Probably not, but I'll defer to others who understand things better than I do.

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(5) do I just make a B line to Portland to get a MaxIMA installed?
If I were in your shoes, I would turn off the master IMA switch immediately to stop use of the battery pack which could be further damaged by continued use in its current condition. Its cells are probably seriously out-of-balance (i.e., they have a range of different charge levels due to differing self-discharge rates). I would balance-charge the battery pack before buying a replacement pack to see whether you can rejuvenate your current battery pack. Even if you were to buy a new battery pack, you would also need to regularly balance-charge it to keep it healthy since you don't drive so much. So buying or building a grid charger now would not be a waste of money.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default IMA/CEL Options

Hi Art and thanks for the reply - I think the moral of the story is to give the Insight more regular exercise. (I used to have a 55 mile commute round trip, but no longer.)

My intention is to try a force charge first using the instructions below found elsewhere online. Do they seem right to you??


To reset IMA light - turn car off, remove key, in fuse box under the hood just above the 12v battery (regular battery) remove fuse #9 labelled 10 amp, which is located at the corner-most bottom right position of the 3X3 fuses in the middle of the console, for 60 seconds. re-insert fuse and star engine (IMA light should now be off) rev engine at about 3500 - 4000 rpm for about 5 minutes while in "park" position, until the IMA battery is almost full, then let engine idle (run) for 10 minutes to re-learn. drive around the block and park.

To reset check engine light - disconnect 12v battery for 30 minutes (negative cable first) then re-connect (negative cable first).[/I]These resets will help determine if the problem is persistent (if lights eventually come back) at which point you should look into getting a replacement battery.

If I were to turn off the IMA switch as you recommend, do I need to open everything up and disconnect the connnectors as below or just throw the red switch?? These are the instructions I would follow in any case. Do they look right to you??--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Honda Insight (2000-2006) - Battery Bypass Instructions

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Art - this link was referenced in earlier reply to Andy Chan that you commented on

Honda Insight (2000-2006) - Battery Bypass Instructions ....I'm sure you know where it goes...I couldn't imbed in reply.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I think the moral of the story is to give the Insight more regular exercise.
I don't drive my Insight just to give it exercise. Since 2008, I have been storing my Insight for ~6 months each winter. Each summer, I drive it mostly on one 3,000-5,000-mile road trip with irregular driving the rest of the spring, summer, and fall.

After driving with my replacement battery pack for about 7 months, I started balance-charging it whenever I have parked my Insight for more than about a week without driving it. After 4 years, my battery pack remains very strong due to regular balance-charging despite not being exercised regularly. Merely exercising a battery pack can't balance its cells as balance-charging does, so balance-charging is the best way to extend the live of a battery pack.

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My intention is to try a force charge first using the instructions below found elsewhere online. Do they seem right to you??
Just disconnect the negative cable of the 12 v. battery for 30 seconds. Then reconnect and drive normally. The battery pack charge level will show 0 bars at first, and you should see 3 or 4 bars of forced charging. Depending on the actual battery pack charge level, the charge level gauge will eventually perform a positive recalibration when the battery pack is as full as the IMA system allows (~80%) during which it will suddenly begin increasing to 19 or 20 bars at the rate of 1 bar per 2 or 3 seconds.

If you want to force charge without driving, you can do so by increasing the engine speed until you see regen occurring (somewhere above 3,000 RPM). You should disconnect the power steering fuse to prevent a power steering diagnostic trouble code (DTC) from being set. The end result is no different from driving except that you will waste some gasoline and the charge level gauge might perform the positive recalibration after a shorter period of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinman View Post
If I were to turn off the IMA switch as you recommend, do I need to open everything up and disconnect the connnectors as below or just throw the red switch?? These are the instructions I would follow in any case. Do they look right to you??
The only reason you might need to open up the battery pack compartment to disconnect the BCM connectors would be if your 12 v. battery is not being charged when you merely turn off the red switch. This can occur if the battery pack is overheating. You will know that the 12 v. battery isn't being charged if the 12 v. battery warning light illuminates. This warning light can illuminate temporarily when the engine speed exceeds ~4,000 RPM or occasionally at idle, but this is normal. Disconnecting the BCM will also result in a DTC being set and the IMA trouble light illuminating which could prevent your car from passing a state inspection in some states.

This post shows which connectors would need to be disconnected if your 12 v. battery isn't being charged.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Art - thanks for the clarifications...looks like I was making it harder than it needs to be for the moment. Will report back on results.

Re "exercise"....my comment was meant as tongue in cheek but there seems to be more to it. When you say you balance-charge: How is that different from force charge or grid charge? (I think I understand the concept of the latter two and the need to balance sticks, just not sure how to do it.) And you say that you do it whenever the car has been sitting for a week or so??

Thanks for your specific expertice and to forum members for improving general knowledge for people who previously relied on the dealers at times like this.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Balance charge is the same as grid charging overall.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Eli - is balance charging what Art does with the "IMA battery maintenance charger" cited in his signature block?
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes, it is.

You can grid charge without balance charging though, that's what I was trying to get at earlier.

To balance charge, you essentially overcharge the pack at a very low current, to ensure that even the weakest cells are fully charged.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd do the following:

1. try IMA reset and let the car charge the HV batt. I'd do the 'rev-charging' - sit there and waste a little gas, revving above 3000 rpms. You get a constant charge going and hold it there, rather than the starting and stopping experienced when you drive. If this doesn't work,

2. try grid charging. Maybe some local will chime-in and can loan you his grid charger, though you'd probably have to make your own harness. If no locals, try 'Jeff' somewhere in this forum. He makes the simple grid chargers and sells them for something like $200, I think. Mike D. also around here is selling his older, refurbed grid chargers for $400. If these don't work, and you have $2000 to spend,

3. Call Eli at Bumblebee and get a new battery. If you don't have $2,000 to spend,

4. Try a stick-level refurb - take the pack apart and cycle the sticks with a $75 'Superbrain' charger. If this doesn't work,

5. Save your money then call Eli at Bumblebee...

My guess is that either the reset and forced charge/rev charge will get you going, or the grid charge will... You'll probably need/want to get a grid charger anyway, even if just the reset and forced charge get you going...

I might be able to help you with a stick-level job, or a grid charge if I happen to make one by the time you need to grid charge. I got most of the parts, but haven't gotten around to it (for like many months)... I have a superbrain, did a stick-level job on my pack many months ago, which brought a mostly unusable pack back to maybe 50-60% performance...
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Last edited by eq1; 11-19-2012 at 03:40 AM.
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