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Discussion Starter #1
This just started. It is a very noticeable difference. The system is working much harder and charging much more aggressively. I鈥檓 hoping there is not a failed battery 馃攱 stick or an internal short circuit?? Don鈥檛 have a grid charger yet, hoping that is all I need to fix this. I鈥檓 new to all this; it seems a grid charger is mandatory.
 

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Sounds like your pack is at minimum unbalanced. Any codes/IMA light? It's not that the pack 'isn't holding a charge'; it's that one of the monitored stick pairs is likely near empty while the others aren't. When that pair goes low, the car tries to charge aggressively, but since the others aren't as low, it can only charge so much without overcharging the others - so it stops charging. If it can't charge a minimum amount you get a P1449-78. As far as I can tell, at least in my car with the couple of BCMs I've tried, the car will do everything it can to charge at least 35% of total rated capacity (i.e. 2275mAh). For example, it will drop the charge current when at least one tap gets close to the charging voltage cutoff...
 

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Grid charger + Deep discharge will change your life.
 

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Grid charger + Deep discharge will change your life.
Not always, and for unmaintained batteries like his, frequently not. I don't think he gave us enough battery history to offer much constructive advice yet.

How old is the battery? Is it a Chinese replacement or is it an original Honda? Have the tap voltages(stick pairs) been measured? How often does it recalibrate? Does it set codes?

Stick pair measurement method:

https://www.insightcentral.net/forums/honda-insight-forum-1st-gen-discussion/94562-question-concerning-old-battery-conditioning.html#post1061778
 

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Discussion Starter #5
One of my biggest problems, is in my area there are no Insight mechanics. I have limited free time to do much of my own maintenance. So i鈥檓 Not making as much progress, as time goes by as I would like. I鈥檓 new to this subject, but I have basic mechanical skills and experience. Thanks to everyone for their advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Have not checked for codes this year. It鈥檚 going in for valve lash adjustment soon and will try to pull any codes. I do know this, something must have happened, with the previous owner. He took it to the Dealer twice for what looks like MPG issues, they just flushed the intake system and system diagnostics etc. I don鈥檛 think they could find any problems. I took it to a Foreign car Tech (no Insight experience) last Fall, they could not find a problem, but recommended valve lash adjustment.

Sometimes the IMA Battery goes down to 3 bars and doesn鈥檛 seem very 鈥渞eceptive 鈥 to accepting a recharge. Other times it seems to take a charge in a normal manner.

This may seem anecdotal, but I have read about people who have had several G1s and once in awhile they get one that stands out from the others for max MPG and much easier for getting into lean burn. And it seems they can鈥檛 always figure out what the hang up was with the others. So far, for me getting to this place has been a very tall order! Also, when I drove it home from N Carolina the gas I got in Virginia (Sunoco) made a big difference in MPG and lean burning. Several questions and mysteries, but fewer answers for this newbie! Still got a few more things to check out.
 

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What Jime says - we generally need more info...

Have not checked for codes this year....
Is the IMA warning light and CEL ON or OFF?

Sometimes the IMA Battery goes down to 3 bars....
This is usually indicative of what I described earlier, that is, if you're not actually using a ton of assist to gradually take the BAT gauge down to 3 bars... Usually, when there's problems, the first thing people see is the BAT gauge plummeting from somewhere up high to 3 bars (it plummets to 1 bar, but it re-charges so fast that by the time you notice it it's at 3 bars).

....and doesn鈥檛 seem very 鈥渞eceptive 鈥 to accepting a recharge. Other times it seems to take a charge in a normal manner.
What are you seeing that underlies your idea of 'not being receptive' to a charge?

This may seem anecdotal, but I have read about people who have had several G1s and once in awhile they get one that stands out from the others for max MPG and much easier for getting into lean burn. And it seems they can鈥檛 always figure out what the hang up was with the others....
That's been known to happen, but it's rare. And the difference/s aren't glaring. Over 6, 7 years, I've seen maybe 3 or 4 people comment on something like that. But that stuff isn't really related to the types of IMA problems your descriptions suggest...

You should probably reset your computers by pulling the underdash #18 fuse or 12V neg cable. The 'computers' have been known to get confused at times. Checking your ground connections and making sure they're intact and solid is also a typical first step - they corrode and break and cause problems. There's two 'to the right/under' the air box and also the 12V neg cable attachment to the firewall.
 

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I say, lets start with codes. If the check engine or IMA light are lit, you have codes. Take it to an auto parts store and see if they can read them. Sometimes they can't because it is a hybrid. O'Reiley's seems to usually work.

MPG is very much in driving style, driving mix, terrain, weather and tires (RE92 a must for good numbers-8 to 10 mpg penalty without).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don鈥檛 have answers to all of your questions. But I will shortly. No IMA light. I have never seen the BAT gauge at one bar. Sometimes when it is down to 3 bars it seems to take a charge readily, other times it won鈥檛 easy budge. I disconnected the starting battery overnight, about 1 week ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Based on YouTube vids, I think I can鈥檛 get into LBM as easily and can鈥檛 stay in as easily. Terrain is not all flat here, some hills.
 

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My two cents...

In the past three or four days, I have noticed that I've started my car a few times to find the IMA battery at zero bars, and no assist until it charges up to a certain point. No codes or pending codes, either. Up until then, everything was fine; car also operates fine once it charges.

Nine months ago I knew I had one stick that was a little low in voltage compared to the others. I got all the parts for a grid charger, but have been chasing many other small issues. So this has now become a high priority.

The idea is that in normal car use, one stick (or one or more cells in a stick) may develop a higher resistance to charging. The "grid charge" is really a charge that is run long enough for that reluctant stick to get fully charged (the others get there first.) I have not read the millions of posts on this, so I may stand corrected. The charger designs you see here seem to be low enough current to not damage the cells which reach their target voltage sooner.

As for other causes of mileage issues, what has helped me has been repairing the EGR valve (this is a LONG story, not yet finished; replacement is best, and we're learning more about whether or not cheap valves are acceptable). I also found my mileage was particularly sucky recently, and it may have been partly due to multple tires being low (I had one mounted and balanced, and it was particularly low; I had not checked the others for a while.)

Setting the valve lash also was a big improvement for me, as I found mine several thousandths too tight.

I also am told that a clogged EGR plate can make a difference in gas mileage. This is one thing I have not yet checked.

I have been running Shell V-Power 93 for the past 5000 or so miles, not for the octane, but for the additives (another long story). I wanted to clear out any deposits from questionable gas purchased on one road trip and before got the car. I will be switching back to 87 soon to see how that goes, but will be sticking with a dealer that is subscribed the "Top Tier" brand (google it; this includes Sunoco, Shell, Exxon, and Costco; its a collection of additives above the federal minimums). This also means I will no longer be buying gas at Sheetz, because I don't think they subscribe to Top Tier.

I am very interested to know more about your gasoline adventures - what was different about that Sunoco fillup? Where did/are you getting fuel now? What's the amount of ethanol? (It seems there are many variables, and some days they stars align and I get great mileage; other days, not so much.

Good luck - please keep us posted...
 

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If you have no IMA or Check Engine Light(CEL), then you may be in pretty good shape for grid cycling to improve the battery performance. Sounds like it is an OEM battery from your notes about Honda dealer, so that is a plus when it comes to older batteries.

You can build your own charging and discharging rig, if you are a good electrical type, or you can buy a rig. Lots of folks here have success with the www.HybridAutomotive.com economy rig with the light bulbs. It is all manual so you will have to watch the discharge closely because it falls very rapidly at the end of capacity. The Cadillac of rigs is the www.HybridRevolt.com setup which is programmable, but somewhat complex. There are cheaper rigs on eBay, but reviews vary. Just ask if it has discharge capability.
 

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Get a grid charger and do a deep discharge. This should be considered mandatory for insight owners.
 

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Get a grid charger and do a deep discharge. This should be considered mandatory for insight owners.
Yes, I think history has proven you right. It does seem a compromise just how much to do. The OEM battery is rated at 300 full cycles life, so don't do more or deeper than necessary. A routine modest discharge to 90V or so, once a year, is probably good, then a saturation grid charge 2-4 times a year. I personally don't discharge new batteries until I begin to see recals. That may be 18 months or more of use. Of course, this is just a personal approach or idea. There is no actual scientific evidence for any particular routine, but some cycling almost certainly helps.

Older problem batteries almost certainly benefit from the routine you mention. It doesn't sound like his battery necessarily has any serious problems - no IMA or CEL - but a modest cycle would most likely help.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The 鈥渕ysterious 鈥 Sunoco gas 鉀 station in Virginia that I mentioned was on I 81, (my best guess), near Raphine. I pumped 93 10%gasohol. Ethyl or methyl alcohol is a mild octane additive. Since the compression ratio in an Insight is above 10:1 (a purposeful HONDA decision for increased efficiency) I was taught that 93 octane was required to prevent spontaneous preignition and maximum combustion efficiency. I have encountered numerous opposing opinions. Yes, I do realize that since the early 70鈥檚, electronic counter measures have been engineered to minimize spark knock!

I don鈥檛 think it is widely understood that increased Octane retards/delays Combustion. At any rate, everybody here in Maine is already screwed, if they have a high compression engine. We have cheap, Canadian gas (Irving). It is only 91 Octane.
Most automobiles do not have high compression engines and will NOT obtain more power or MPG by burning Premium gas. I have a 1990 CRX HF (52,000 miles); I drove it from Phoenix, AZ to Maine. I did get 50 MPG, but only on 93. I tried 87!

We need National Gasoline Standards, to assure that we are getting a consistent product. The Octane has got to be certifiable and impurities like sulfur need to be minimized.
 

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You should buy a grid charger.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I will be buying soon. Just trying to decide which brand. Some people swear by the discharging process and others not so much.
 
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