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Old 04-06-2009, 06:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Plug In Charger for Insight

Does such thing exist for a Stock 2002 insight, A plug in charger? I would love something like that.
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ian's hit the nail on the head.

It's been discussed a lot on here, and would probably save people a lot of grief with out of balance packs which end up being removed/replaced/reconditioned.

I looked at getting something suitable made and did get a quote a year or so back which was about $100 for a 180v DC 250ma CC/CV charger with universal AC 90-250v input.

Because of the high voltage dangerous output we can't just throw something together and hope for the best, we need to decide on a suitable spec and a safe connector which can be easily obtained and fitted by owners to their vehicle.

The actual connection to the pack is straightforward but access is difficult and people could be injured/killed if they are not familiar with high voltages etc.

I didn't get time to follow it up any further.

IMO we could, and in fact should get something made for our mutual benefit.

So if someone want to get some quotes for a PSU brick with the above specs be my guest.

Peter
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Peter,

I for one, would be interested in purchasing such a charger. While my battery warranty in still in effect for another year or so, one of my main concerns with any hybrid is the battery pack.

I have followed many discussions on IC about this topic, with much interest. I would like the charger to automatically either drop charge rate when 'full' or shut off completely, if at all possible.

Look forward to seeing how this turns out.

Jim.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Everyone should keep in mind that charging the batteries to full repeatedly will shorten their lives, and is not going to be all that beneficial.

Almost all of the battery problems that I've seen could have been avoided if there was a way to fully charge the pack. P1447 errors are almost exclusively caused by degraded cells (memory effect) that could have been eliminated with occasional charging to full. But not every day. Perhaps once every couple of months.

The lack of charging does not cause the problems. Individual cells out of spec (and cell wear) causes it, but cycling the battery or at least fully charging it would keep these cells in line and not allow them to degrade other cells in the pack.

As an analogy, think of it as changing your oil frequently to cover up an oil consumption problem. If you burned a quart of oil every 5000 miles, and you changed your oil every 3000 instead of 7500, you'd very effectively mask the problem. It wouldn't matter that you were burning the oil.

Here, it wouldn't matter that the cells were trying to get out of balance if you could force them back into spec temporarily by charging the pack.
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, I am leaning towards disagreeing with you on that. I have been plugin charging about 5 days a week for about a year now and haven't seen a noticeable difference in capacity.

After the weather finally gets better (spring-like) I will do an EV discharge run and see what the range is compared to last year. I'm not too enthused atm at removing the packs and doing full capacity tests, so that will have to do for now

Btw, for those who don't know I use a simple current limited charger that starts at ~600mA for two packs. Starting charge wattage is at ~130 watts and end charge is around ~70 watts after 12 - 14 hours. A usual charge takes about 1.5 - 1.8 kW/hrs. Since this is essentially a dumb charger I rely on the end charge being so weak as to not cause damage. It hasn't been an issue at all in the winter, but I do run the pack fans in the summer and have to remember to unplug the car or the packs do heat up into the low 120F range. This is due to charge + car interior temp due to the sun.
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Old 04-15-2009, 02:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I am not advocating a plug in charge every day, although as UH points out it may not be that detrimental. I'm proposing a charger used perhaps up to a maximum of once a week to reduce balancing issues in ageing packs. It could save everyone quite a bit and avoid pulling packs for a full rebuild/recon when it's not necessary.
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhtrinity View Post
Well, I am leaning towards disagreeing with you on that. I have been plugin charging about 5 days a week for about a year now and haven't seen a noticeable difference in capacity.
I'm only referring to the rated lifespan in cycles. The Insight doesn't cycle the battery very far. You are half-cycling it daily. I don't know how much you are reducing the life of the cells, but you are reducing them.

How much are you actually saving by topping up the battery? Assuming a half charge to begin with on average, you are replacing, what, 3 mpg over a 10 mile stretch? Let's make it 15 miles because you are topping to 100% (above the Insight's capabilities).

I'm not saying this is not good to do, just that it isn't a huge $$$ savings. In a car with a large battery pack (Peter?), it's more advantageous.

I'm all for topping up your battery monthly or maybe even semi-monthly, but nightly will not benefit the pack and in my opinion will shorten its' life overall.

A charger like this would be advantageous for storage of the cars, though, and I might implement something like it to keep my "ready to go" exchange packs up to snuff...
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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With my 40ah lithium pack I don't have a high self discharge issue.

Lithium cells are much better than nimh in this respect prob <2% a month.

Nimh self discharge especially the ones in our beloved Insight varies between cells which causes us the imbalance problems as they age, and it's very high prob in order of 10% or more a week.

I charge like an EV every day, and just replace power used during day. My cells if only partially cycled may last 5-10 years and many 1000's of cycles.
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I charge like an EV every day, and just replace power used during day. My cells if only partially cycled may last 5-10 years and many 1000's of cycles.
But "last" does not mean "stay in prime condition. The performance will degrade far sooner than that.

It's beginning to look like the average lifespan of a pack is about 7 years before it gets so bad that the car gives up. I expect that after a thorough reconditioning (and replacement of marginal and bad cells) that the battery would have an average lifespan of 5 years under the same conditions as original. I think with monthly top-ups we could easily extend the life to 12 years (between rebuilds). This exceeds your 5-10 years, which is what I mean by shortening the lifespan. Even the process of reconditioning the sticks shortens their life, but since it extends their usable life, it is worth doing.

Of course, if everyone topped up their packs, I'd be out of business.
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