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Discussion Starter #1
I am starting this thread with an eye to not only getting some feedback on a problem that is starting to become a major concern but to also let people know of a problem with the 2010 Insight that might be happening to other. Hope this is helpful to other and to me.

We purchased a "new" 2010 Insight (I quote that because it was used by the dealership owner's wife for the first 500 miles) which is covered by a new car warranty and was actually financed using Honda's 5 year .09% interest financing. So it is considered a new car. Worked fine for the first 600 miles that we drove it, it now has 1600 miles on it. At around 1200 miles we went out one morning and the little (should I say, pathic) starter battery was dead as a door nail, not even clicks. I charged it, got the car started and took it the 100 mile round trip to the dealer to have them check that it is good. They put their fancy analyser on it and it showed good battery, flooded, and apparently the charging system working. That latter part is a little flakey considering there is no charging system on an Insight but, whatever. They said they could not do anything further because Honda would not pay until their analyser showed something to be bad, interesting concept, one machine deciding if another machine is working, is this the beginning of the robot society?

In order to kinda try and head off what appears to be a defect in the design of the car, a pathic battery and no charging system, I installed a trickle charger on the battery and brought the battery up to full charge (took about 8 hours at 1.5 amps) and for several days it seemed to work ok. Now today, 4/20/2011, my wife came out from school and found the battery dead as a door nail again. I went over with the Cruiser to get her going and when you turn the key on it did do a few clicks but quites, apparently not enough poop to even keep the clicks going. I jumped it with the Cruiser and it started right up, apparently it is not loose connections like some threads have indicated.

I now have a message in to the service manager who had seen fit to go home on time, apparently Honda people do not work overtime. Tomorrow we will see what the next adventure will be in the saga of the dead toy battery. Keep tuned in and let me know if something rings a bell so I can bring it up when I talk with the service manager tomorrow. Unfortunately I can see the Lemon Law lumming in the distance for some reason. Thanks....Bob
 

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Sorry to hear that. This should be a problem with the DC-DC converter that converts charge from the IMA battery onto the starter battery.
 

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After almost 40,000 miles no problems to report here with my 12V battery although I have seen others not happy with the small size.

The Insight does in fact have a charging system. It doesn't have an alternator like most cars but instead uses a DC to DC converter to drop the voltage from the IMA battery and charge the 12V battery.

The Insight will use the 12V battery and starter in certain conditions, usually when it's very cold. This only kicked in 2-3 times for me this winter but the small battery turned the ICE and started the car with no problem. You do need a good charge on the 12V to start the car but the IMA battery/motor should start the car the vast majority of the time.

Check the simple stuff. Either something is draining the 12V or the 12V is just shot regardless of what Honda says. If I was sure nothing was draining it (light on, aftermarket mods, etc..) I probably would have replaced it the first time it stranded me.

Keep in mind the car might have low miles but it has probably been around for awhile. For instance I got my 2010 Insight in April of 2009, almost 2 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Appreciate the comments, do understand the DC DC thing but to me, that is probably the problem. Not having a real charging system the toy battery is dependent on the IMA system having a reasonable charge in it to keep the toy one charged. If the car is parked with the IMA system at 20 or 30 percent, good chance the toy battery will not have much more of a charge in it either. That could result in some serious depletion just to keep the electronics alive in the car, even if there is no unusual drain. The car is used pretty much only for short, 3 to 5 mile trips with a lot of stop and go, stuff that would use the IMA for acceleration and not give it time to recharge before being shut off. It does give the best mileage in that environment but I think there are implications that make that type of use real hard on the hybrid part of the car. Maybe?
 

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A couple things:

Not having a real charging system the toy battery is dependent on the IMA system having a reasonable charge in it to keep the toy one charged.
I don't think I agree with this. Whether the charging system uses a DC-DC converter or an alternator the 12V battery is just being presented with a regulated current to provide charging. The battery doesn't care where that current is generated anymore than your toaster cares whether the voltage it uses comes from a windmill or a coal fired power plant.

If the little red battery icon (lower left on the instrument panel) isn't lighting while you are driving I seriously doubt you have a charging issue. I think you probably just need to bite the bullet and buy a new 12V battery.

The other thing is for the type of driving you are using the Insight for I personally would have opted for a dual mode hybrid, preferably a plug in, or even a full EV (Leaf).

If you went with the (much more expensive) Volt you probably could have gotten away with plugging it in once a week and probably would never have to use any gasoline at all., or at least very little.

Of course I guess it's a little late for that although the resale value of our little Insights are skyrocketing lately. The last time I check KBB my 2010 EX with 40,000 miles was listed at over $19,000 in excellent shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You sound like my wife, she's so fed up with the problem she wants to advertise it and get a Prius, however Toyota's are not an option for me, tired of having to have them fixed constantly. Maybe I could sell it for cash and keep the .9% interest loan, make some money on it. Afraid I would have to know more about how Honda set up the DC DC system before I would write it off as the cause. Knowing the 2010 is a new remake of the discontinued Insight, there could be first year issues that they are not aware of yet, we just encountered one before there were enough complaints to make them interested. I know Honda HQ is not interested in problems, they hung up on me when I told them they had a problem with the gas cap lock on the Insight. Nice people. The service manager is very interested so I hope for some good cooperation, and NO, buying a new battery is not an option. Seems like I paid for a warranty somewhere in this transaction, no?
 

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Appreciate the comments, do understand the DC DC thing but to me, that is probably the problem. Not having a real charging system the toy battery is dependent on the IMA system having a reasonable charge in it to keep the toy one charged. If the car is parked with the IMA system at 20 or 30 percent, good chance the toy battery will not have much more of a charge in it either. That could result in some serious depletion just to keep the electronics alive in the car, even if there is no unusual drain. The car is used pretty much only for short, 3 to 5 mile trips with a lot of stop and go, stuff that would use the IMA for acceleration and not give it time to recharge before being shut off. It does give the best mileage in that environment but I think there are implications that make that type of use real hard on the hybrid part of the car. Maybe?
That type of use will be very hard on the engine part of the car, but that also applies to any vehicle powered by an engine. The electrical motor and battery won't mind it because the cars computer will manage that. The lead-acid battery likely doesn't have enough time to be charged on such a short trip. There have been a few people who have had a short lifespan of the 12v battery that Honda provided, it is possible the Honda batteries installed in the 2nd gen car might be defective or inferior but I can't say that to be certain. The 12v battery that came with my 1st Gen lasted 6 years and the second one is now 5 years old. The first one was a smaller motorcycle size that Honda doesn't even sell in the US but all of the 1st Gen Insights were supplied with them when they left Japan to be sold here. For the 2nd Gen I think it is the same thing as the 1st Gen, the replacement is a larger group 51 battery. It's the same size that a Civic uses.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, probably very true. I put a 100 amp load on the battery after giving it a full recharge and it shows to be just marginal but comes back into the low green when the load is removed. It shows to be a 200 CCA battery, my 750 Nighthawk uses a bigger one. I'm going to invest in a 300 CCA AGM Battery to carry in a small case with cables so my wife or I don't get stranded. And then see just how difficult Honda is to deal with considering I think your evaluation is pretty accurate. Probably just needs a new battery as the car is an early 2010 probably put together in Japan in 2009 and been sitting for quite a period of time. Thanks for your comments....Bob
 

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Some people have had problems with the oem battery under the hood not holding a charge. Since the IMA system powers most stuff it is not necessary that you have a big honking battery under the hood, nor does it send hundreds of amps to the battery to charge it when its low.

Id see about getting the battery replaced. Mines died about a year and 5 months later and I put in a group 51 "civic" battery in its place.
 

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NO, buying a new battery is not an option. Seems like I paid for a warranty somewhere in this transaction, no?
Of course. You and your wife shall not have to handle this mess. Have them service under warranty until it doesn't lose charge anymore. Mine doesn't and most of ours don't either, yours surely doesn't have to be like this if not for manufacturing defects.
 

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I now have a message in to the service manager who had seen fit to go home on time, apparently Honda people do not work overtime. Tomorrow we will see what the next adventure will be in the saga of the dead toy battery. Keep tuned in and let me know if something rings a bell so I can bring it up when I talk with the service manager tomorrow. Unfortunately I can see the Lemon Law lumming in the distance for some reason. Thanks....Bob
I agree with Carniver, you should not have to deal with this thing repeatedly, it does sound like a warranty issue. The inconvenience of it is magnified by the fact that you live 50 miles from the dealer. I'd suggest having it towed in so it is exactly how you found it when the battery dies. If they resist towing you in, go over their heads and contact Honda directly. Tell them you're going to try to return it on a Lemon Law claim. Remind them who's boss.
Good Luck,
Brian
 

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Brit, are you open to thinking about something someone may have done in the first 499 miles of this car's life? Or something you did in the next 600? It's not unusual for a dealer to install a temporary security system. Nor is it unusual for people to do modifications to a new car. And who's to say there isn't an accidental short from a light bulb change or something simple like that?

It sounds kinda like the battery is performing as normal, but there is a human induced current draw when the key is off.

I know that in many circumstances, this is a new car. For troubleshooting purposes, it is not.
 

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It sounds kinda like the battery is performing as normal, but there is a human induced current draw when the key is off.
This is what I've been thinking as I've read this thread.
 

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Have you tried calling Honda of America? 800-999-1009 I would have them open an case for you and then ask to speak with a supervisor. They will have one call you within 24 hours. Make sure to ask for a case number and the supervisors name that will be calling you back before you get off of the phone. I would tell them to give you a loaner car until the problem is fixed. Time to play hardball as it does not sound like the dealer is taking this issue seriously. I believe you could bring up possible complaints with the BBB, Attorney General, and look up your states lemon law.

Good Luck!
 

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I realize you're 50 miles from the Honda dealer, so would that hold true for the nearest Acura dealer? Just asking, because we have both here and they are a stones throw from each other (different ownership). There was an MDX in my past, and I'm still friends with the guy who was my service advisor, or whatever you call them. The Acura service people here are actively soliciting work. I've taken my prior Honda to them for work, and plan on taking the Insight when it needs servicing to non-hybrid parts. The Acura people treat me well, and, if / when you need to leave the car, they will give you some sort of Acura to drive. They can do Honda warranty work from what I understand, and you might have better luck with them. Just a thought.
 

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Starter

I bought my 2010 Insight in April 2009, have 22K miles on it in Minnesota (insulated not heated garage kept). Never had a battery problem and I have never heard the traditional starter. I have yet to have a problem as big as a burned out light bulb. FWIW
 

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April 21st, Insight battery was dead yesterday at 5pm when my wife left school. Interestingly enough, she got it started by turning the key to the start position just before it starts the starter motor, left it for 10 minutes and it started. Apparently the IMA battery will recharge the smaller battery if you are not in a hurry. This could be our life with this Honda Hybrid. I called Jim, the service manager, and explained situation. He explained that he was aware of this problem due to it happening to 2 cars up in Ketchum (all other discussions left me with the impression this was his first experience with this problem). He stated that his suggestion to them was to just drive the car further before shutting it off to recharge the starter battery. (Stupidest damn statement anyone could make, ESPECIALLY a service manager.) That's what we need to do, buy a hybrid to get good mileage so we can drive it just to charge the battery. I explained several solutions, he said the regional rep was to be in his office this PM and he would inquire about a solution to the dead battery problem. He also suggested that the battery might be marginal and may need to be replaced but did not offer to do it. He said he would get back to me after he talks with the regional rep. As of today, April 24th, I have heard nothing. I called Friday the 22nd, around 3pm to see if he had learned anything assuming he would leave work around 5 as he had not called me, I was told he left to go to California for the weekend. Guess my problem is just not all that important to him. Maybe we can change this over the next week or so. So far this weekend the battery has died twice just after being charged with the trickle charger to full charge. If it isn't the battery then this is a real mistery.
 

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My advice is to go to the BBB website and file a compliant. I do not know why they just do not grab another battery off the shelf and switch it in.

I agree that the oem battery is marginal and it sounds like you have one that is in need of replacement. Is the heat eye blue with a red dot? Are all teh cells at the same fluid level?
 

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Op sorry to hear about this, my car was purchased new 11/14/2010 and is a fully loaded EX-Nav, my car has 8600 miles and has never seen the dealer since it was first sold. Not sure why you are having these problems with your battery.
 
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