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Old 01-04-2013, 02:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Happy Newbie with Newbie Questions

Hello! I became an Insighter, Insightian, whatever ... last year. Not at all technically oriented. Truth be told, no interest at all in becoming an Insight techie. I just want to drive my car and have fun! After several months, I'm more comfortable with the shifting (this is oh so very different than my 87 CRX Si). Happy to be able to get up to 85 speed-wise. Only 52 mpg, but I'm ok with that. My 67 Mustang gets about 10 - 15 mpg, but she's fun to drive, too.
The ride is a 1st gen 2000 Insight with over 120,000 miles. I'm the 3rd owner. Paid a lot (for me anyway) to buy it, and then dumped in even MORE money to fix all the things 'found' in my 120,000 mile check up. Nothing really important.... brakes, broken motor mount, and more.... eeep!

Newbie Q1: The most I ever charge up to is half of the bars. Have never seen a full charge. Should I be worried?

Newbie Q2: Sometimes I'm neutral/right in the middle between charging and assist. That's good, right?

Thanks for your time and patience with my questions!
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5/2012 - just over one month ownership. love love love my car. ^.^ mpg 58.2 woo-hoo!
1/2013 - I'm down to 52 now, but I'm having fun driving. ^.^
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Nina View Post
Newbie Q1: The most I ever charge up to is half of the bars. Have never seen a full charge. Should I be worried?
Not that I'm aware of. If you feel a good amount of assist with the state of charge (SoC) gauge at half the bars, that's a good sign. But then, my understanding is that you'd want the battery charged up more to avoid background charging - charging that doesn't show up on the gauge and that's done from the gas engine. You don't want that; you want to charge with coasting and braking regen. My car background charges when I drop below 65%; if your gauge is at half, in theory you're at 50%...

You should at least try to get the bars moving up, in my opinion, make sure it CAN charge more and that there isn't some fluke, some bug or whatever going on... If you don't have the opportunity to charge in your day-to-day driving, just rev the engine above 3200 rpms and hold it there. Usually you'll see 4 green charge bars light while the car charges the IMA battery. Do that and make sure the SoC gauge moves, that the bars incrementally tick up. I'd do it at least once until 19 SoC bars are lit...

Not sure I understand your second question...
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If you are driving it at 85 often, getting 52 mpg driving the Insight, I imagine you use quite a bit of assist and therefore never let the car charge full on its own. If all that's the case, very normal. In typically highway cruising you usually don't want to be in assist or regen to get better MPG but it seems you are driving more aggressively than what would allow that to happen. It's up to you how you choose to drive though and I usually avoid getting into driving style, especially if I showed you even an 80mpg trip, not to mention a 100mpg trip, you would probably immediately reject the idea of driving for better gas mileage.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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+1 for both prior responses ^^

As far a seeing in the "neutral" on the chrg/asst gauge, yes that's ideal when cruising. When you let up on the gas and the car is slowing in gear, from let's say 50mph, you should be seeing stronger charge. Even stronger if you touch the brake just slightly.

Additionally, I would check all the ground straps, to make sure they are in very good shape. (Even if intact, the copper strands can build up oxidation in between the individual strands and under the insulation which can degrade conduction.) This is a cheap maintenance issue. (Probably $50 for all four and very minimal labor.)

One more thing I would suggest is to disconnect the negative terminal of the small 12V battery up front, (this is actually one of the grounding straps I was referring to) and reconnect after a couple of minutes. This will reset the SoC and you may start seeing new levels on your dash.

Good luck!
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Agreed with above comments and since you are in a hilly terrain maybe more draw is even more pronounced ... Perhaps a "Calpod/CARD" switch would help in your situation?
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An OBDIIC&C gauge would allow you to set the SoC at high, mid and low levels via joystick while lon the fly. This imposed setting affects the regen charging regime and may be useful.
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