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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had an odd thing happen last night: was driving down the freeway when the red battery icon (not the IMA indicator) lit up. Within a couple of miles the lights went dim, then the engine more or less quit running. I don't think it was an IMA problem: the gauge was close to full charge, and it had been doing normal assist-regen right before. I pulled the fuse to reset the system, but it wouldn't start again.

After a longish hike (a couple of hours) to the nearest parts store, I found a jumper battery pack. With that on, it started, and after a couple of minutes of idling the IMA did its recal, and now the car seems to work fine again.

Anyone have any idea of what could have caused this, and whether it's likely to happen again? (Or was it just a case of Murphy knowing I had an important flight to catch?)
 

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That has happened to me a few times before. It is likely that your IMA battery is about to give up the ghost - when the IMA 'fails' it stops charging your 12V battery and the 12V then gives up surprisingly quickly.

You can reset the IMA but it is likely to happen more and more frequently. I actually found that in this situation if you drive very gently, as if not using assist, then the IMA system could recover and the 12V light would go out.

With the 10yr / 150,000mile warranty that you have in America, I would wait for the IMA light to come on then take it to a dealer. HTH.
 

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The Insight's 12v system is entirely dependent on the 144v system for its power supply.

But the DC-DC converter can fail independently.

A check of the DC-DC converters input supply vs. what it's outputting (under moderate load) will isolate the failure.

In theory a bad 12v battery can cause the same symptom (low internal resistance). After fully charging the 12v battery with an external charger check it on-board (installed, the current supplied from the DC-DC converter) with no additional loads applied . IIRC you should see less that 15ish amps at idle and at speed.

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Humm... It could easily be a bad 12V battery. The current one has been in the car since before I bought it about 3.5 years ago. I've been looking around for a new one, but haven't seen one that size. Considering that I'm doing a lot of driving over the Sierra at night, maybe I should just get the larger Civic battery.

Might be the 144V too. It's been doing recals when it gets down to about 1/2 the gauge on long climbs. No IMA lights, though, so I guess no warranty yet :-(
 

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James
The best way to answer the question is to get a 12V lighter plug, and connect a digital voltmeter to it. Watch the voltage, and it will soon be real clear if the dc/dc is charging the 12V or not. I am still running on my original 12V battery after 109K. May want to check the tightness of the battery leads as well.
good luck.
 

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With the lights on, If the dc/dc is working, the 12V system will be at 13V or higher, if it is not, it will be at 12V or lower.
John, What is the low internal resistance that you refer to, a shorted cell? Even with a shorted cell, the dc/dc should have kept the car running, as the system will work at least down to 11V.
 

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Never cut one open to find out. ;)

However, in a conventional alternator equipped car when the stator windings are toast you'd better look for the cause. In this _unusual_ mode of failure commonly its internal to the 12v battery.

When replacing the alternator and testing the system (new alternator installed, same 12v battery) the current demand of this type of bad 12v will be abnormally high (after giving sufficient time for the surface charge to build). Which came first :?: Alternator overcharging causing 12v damage or the other way around :?: I've seen what I'd attribute to each component failing, sometimes and eventually causing the other to be damaged too.

In the Insight since (IIRC) the DC-DC converter has a thermal limiter, much more resistant to being "smoked" than an alternator. And since its source is the 144v system an abnormal DC-DC converter current demand (low 12v battery internal resistance) _in theory_ can cause an abnormal increase in recals. In theory it could also cause the 12v charge warning light to come on (the DC-DC converter is in thermal shut down therefore your in 12v discharge).

AFAIK no one has confirmed this yet. But there is plenty of anecdotal information from post in here to support the recal theory. None yet to support the 12v charge warning light only. So far that has only been from failing 144v's.

HTH! :)
 

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I would test it as suggested by Mike first and then pull the battery and take it to an auto parts store such as Autozone that will load test your battery. With the age of your battery, I would change it at any rate with winter coming. You could go with a standard Civic battery or upgrade to an Optima Yellowtop.
 

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I think we may have missed an obvious possible issue here.

James, I'm not recalling what year Insight you have. If it's a 2000 there is a certain VIN range that had a recall for the DC/DC converters where they'd possibly occasionally shut down when they shouldn't. This would cause the charging system light to come one. I've never heard of anyone actually having a problem with this, but it's deffinitely a possibility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Happened again last night, though with a happier result. I immediately pulled off the road, shut the engine off, waited a few seconds, and started it back up: no more battery light, and it seems to be running fine again.

That, added to the fact that the first time I was only able to go a couple of miles (at freeway speed) from the time the light came on until everything died, suggests it has to be related to the 12-volt battery going bad. I installed a new Civic-sized one today, so we'll see. At the least, it should give me a bigger reserve :)
 

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this happened to me yesterday. actually, i better back up... this happened to me a little over a year ago. i got a new battery (the $130 'insight' battery, because i didn't know about this forum, heh) and i thought that was that.

yesterday i was driving and all the dash lights started to flicker and the car just shut down. i got out and tried to figure out what to do for a while, then tried it again and it was fine.


a couple of things:

i live in (very hot) hawaii
it's a 2000 with about 87K miles
the battery gage had been empty for a few days and wasn't 'charging' no matter how i was driving (it is charging now)


after reading through these threads it seems as though i might be one of those people who needs to replace the big IMA battery?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don't know if the 12V thing is related to the IMA battery at all. Mine generally stays within the top 1/4 of the gauge, except when climbing long grades. There, if I'm not careful, it will get to a point where the gauge goes from 1/2 or so to 2 bars within 30 seconds or so.

It's done this as long as I've had it (40K+ miles), but seems to happen more easily as time goes on. I suppose the battery is getting towards the end of its useful life... And both times the 12V light came on, the IMA was close to full charge.
 

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On Friday night last week, my girlfriend took the car to go to an office christmas party and got a speeding ticket with it. To add to the drama, right there, the car refused to start for a few tense moments...then finally fired up. The SOC meter did a re-calibration and my girlfriend called me home to tell me about what had happened. A quick visit on Insightcentral pointed to a soon to expire 12V battery (never changed on my 2000). I had seen the red battery light briefly the day before whilst playing the radio too loud. So that now made sense.

So I went to meet her with the family Buick to swap cars with her. I wanted to be the one driving if the car was to quit on the way home on the elevated highway at 1h00 am. I made it home fine and first thing Saturday, I bought a new Civic-size AC Delco battery. It fit right in and the + and - posts were at the right place. I was quite impressed by the top bracket being engineered for a small and big battery with its elongated lower bolt hole. Problem solved.
 
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