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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is no new thought and most of the threads I have read about it seem to focus on trying to hack the computer controls.

Here is my thought, I have noticed that when I first get in my insight and turn the key to accessory on but not to start the engine that if I drift forward that the regenerative braking will activate. And from what I recall reading the insight doesn't have a regular alternator just the IMA Motor which provides power asssist and regenerative braking and alternator like runing functions.

Ok now then the wires that come off the IMA motor and go back to the computer control system carry that current used to recharge the batteries. If this is the case and since the regenerative braking kicks on even when the car is just in accessory on mode and the engine has never started, and as far as I know the only way for a computer to tell if an alternator / the regenerative braking is turning to to check for power comeing from it. As such we dont' need to hack any of the computer controls we just need to put the insight into accessory on mode tap into the wires that go from the IMA motor out to the computer controls and supply the same voltage and current that the IMA regenerative system produces in alternator mode or maybe the low setting of regenerative braking mode.

Someone let me know if I am missing something becuase it seems to me that this method will make the insights exsisting computer controls think that the vehicle is turnning and producing power from regenerative braking or alternator like functions and as such it would then use that to charge the battery.

Granted we have to know the current and voltage the IAM Motor sends but a simple multimeter / ampmeter can do that.... and I would image that we might have to install a switch or soemthing to disable the AC charging system for when we have the engine running and are actually driving btu that shoudl also just be a simple switch instilation....????

So ... I know there are a good number of people on this site smarter than I am .... so ecuse me but I want to pick your brain.... Am I missing something here???? it seems overly simple but I can't think of why it wouldn't work....

Thanks for any input anyone has.

Ian.!
 

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The primary issues are that of damaging the IMA pack by overcharging. And that under certain temperature conditions charging or discharging the IMA batteries will severely damage them.

If you believe you are seeing abnormal IMA function(s) first do the MCM (IMA or simply the reset) proceedure (search the archives).

If your driving conditions frequently cause the IMA pack to fall to a low state of charge that regenerative braking won't keep up with you may also wish to try the headlights on intervention. The "alternator" function of the IMA system will increase charging of the IMA pack with headlights on.

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
AC Charger & Over Charging

Over chargeing shouldn't be a problem coming from the same wires as the IMA Motor becuase it is the same thing as if the battery is fully charged and you brake it doesn't then over charge the batteries just becuase you are breaking.... In my experience when it is warmer anyway on a completelty full battery if you break it does not do regenerative breaking but the IMA Motor is still turning and producing power like an alternator with the batteries full and this doesn't harm anything so shouldn't it still be ok to supply a charging current directly to the wires from the IMA motor just have to match the same voltage and amps and such as the alternator like functions of the IMA Motor.

Kind of like when you fist start a regular car the alternator at first has to recharge the spent power from the battery but after a few minutes of driving the alternator has recharged the Battery ... but the alternator is still being turned by the engine and as such sohould still be producing power which doesn't over charge a regular car's battery either.... this type of over charge protection has to be built in or the alternator functions would over charge the battery as welll just by drivign aroudn or leaving the car in idel.

By all means let me know if I am missing something here abotu how the alternator charges the batteries but the alternator should still be pumping power and that doesn't do any damage why would the same type and amount of power when the engine is not turning do damage????

Ian.!
 

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Ok let me get this straight. Your saying that on an incline you can drift forward in gear without the engine started and get the gague to show regen? Probably not a good idea to begin with, I coast in neutral like that sometimes, but the engine should try to push start itself if you've got a steep enough incline to do this.

Ok so your suggesting that the battery pack could be externally charged by putting an outside power source to this? First you'd have to disconnect the motor somehow because if you just put power to it the motor would try to spin. I mean I guess in theory it could work, though I've never seen the car show charge unless the engine was running. This method actually makes a lot more sense than just hooking power directly up to the battery pack as it would use the cars on board electronics to keep it within the specified SOC range.

The biggest problem is you can probably say "bye bye warranty, bye bye." Ohh, you'd have to supply 12 volts to keep the 12 volt battery charged too, in accessory mode it draws off of it.
 

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IamIan said:
when I first get in my insight and turn the key to accessory on but not to start the engine that if I drift forward that the regenerative braking will activate.
I'm sure you are turning the key all the way to "ignition on". The instrument cluster doesnt work in the accessory position, and neither does the 144V main disconnect relay.

Even then, as Rick pointed out, to get regenerative braking you would need to be in gear with the engine turning. This seems hard to do. Maybe there is something wrong with your IMA charge indicators?


But back to the idea of grid-charging the Insight. This has been discussed a lot and here is my brief recollection of it:
-you need to provide your own charger and charge management, including "full"-detection.
-the charger needs to connect the supply routed through the battery current sensor (so that the car can keep track of the charge going in)
-The ignition needs to be on while charging (same reason). This will drain the 12V battery, so you also need to also provide a 12V charger, which is easy.
-The overall amount of energy you can get into the pack is small, especially since the Insight battery management cannot be told to deplete the charge to prepare for the next grid charging.

In summary, the total cost/benefit ratio is pitiful.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
AC Charge

Actually it was initially an accident I normally park with my car in neutral and just the parking break... when one day at the freinds house who has a steeper drive way than I do I went to leave turned the key to accessory on but since it was a down hill figured at first that I would jsut drift a bit so I took the break off and begain to drift forward the car felt really wierd when I put it in gear which was when I remembered I hadn't started the egnine so fearing I would damage something on my beutiful car I quickly put it back in neutral started the engine and off I went as normal.... but I do recall that for that short period of time when in gear that at first the car did not try to start itself.... must not have been a steep enough incline becuase I have push started my old 1990 Chevy Chavalier a few time doign that before I got my insight ..... anyway , but enough the the engine was not started the regeneration mode was on and showing green lights....

It at first occured to me a complicated method of charging the car by having an outside source turn the wheels but then I dismissed that as it isn't good for the engine to be turning and such without the engine on as oil and things probably aren't being distributed properly .... so like many others I had read on this sight it occured to me to plug it in to AC as everyone with an insight knows if the car is in forced regeneration you dont' get good MPG and you don't have much power for pulling out either ....

But most people try to think of attaching to the batteries directly and instantly run into massive road blocks... 144 Volts intigrated sensors ect...ect... that is when it occured to me that if the car can regenerate while the engine is off it might not be healthy for the engine to be turning wihtout being on but I don't need the engine to turn I just need the power coming from the IMA motor as if the engine was turning... or at least the car thinks it is comign from the IMA motor.

After reading Insightful Trekker's post it occured to me that I couldn't have it charging as regenerative braking power levels becuase in warmer weather if the battery is full and I brake down a large incline I remembered the regenerative braking stoping at some point .... I guess to protect the batteries from over chargeing .....

But that still left chareing the car with alternator levels of power which do not over charge a car's battery .... but on long road trips even without forced regeneration or regenerative breaking I have noticed the alternator like action bring the batteries up from a little over half to eventually all the way to full .... Plus even on long road trips in an insight or any car once the battery is fully charged the alternator being attached to the turning motor still produces power .... but the car doesn't over charge the battery either there is a over charge cuircit built in somewhere into the alternator to battery path or something else becuase that isn't over chargeing the battery... otherwise if the alternator woudl over charge the battery you would have manufatures sayign not to drive for more than x number of miles without like stoping the car and running your head lights for a while to drain the battery.

Which leads me to my thanks to Insightful Trekker's post refined idea of taking the wires from the IMA motor that go off to regenerate the car as a alternator would you test them with a multi-meter to find the power levels that the alternator fucntion is putting out in Volts Amps and Weather it is AC or DC and if DC the polarity.... you then tap into those wires to run an new line out to an AC outlet .... I agree you might have to put a switch or relay or something in to prevent the AC Charging power from going to the motor itself but at most that means you get home flip a switch you put in the dash to AC Charge mode and then plug your outside line into the AC power .... and just like an alternator the car should not over charge the battery if low alternator levels of charge are all that you are sending. That way you always have a fully charged and ready to go Battery when you pull out.... Soem might nto need it but others woudl find it helping to boost thier LMPG a few points.

Agreed anything like this is likely to void Honda warrenties , which is why I will probably have to wait a year or so on my 2000 insight before i do any modifications .. it should take me that long to get to the 80,000 mile mark at which point the warrent shuts off anyway.

You also mentioned 12V accessory power.... I shouldn't have to mess with any of that becuase I am giveing the car power just like it does in alternator mode which means the cars built in electronics will handel the accessories powering and chargeing or 12V for me.

Insightful Trekker did point out that I was over looking the regenerative brakes shut off when the battery is full but the alternator doesn't so that should be a safe level of charge and I agree with Rick I might have to install a cut off switch to prevent power from going to the motor but that shoudl be it... the rest of it should work .....

Now if only I will be pacient enough to wait until my 80,000 mile point to do any of this.

Ian.!
 

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Ian, I agree with Aaron that there would not be any significant benifit to charging the 144 volt battery.

However, I like the "spirit" of what you are trying to do, and you did make a neat observation so I'll try to explain the main problem.

What you are trying to do is not imposible but it would require quite a few extra power components and would also require reprograming the computer to provide safe operation.

Hooking up power to the IMA motor without modifying the car's electrical system will burn out the motor , as a stationary electric motor has a very low DC resistance and the power from the charger will flow through it rather than into the battery pack.

Kip
 

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Discussion Starter #9
AC Charger Revised

I know the insight as it is will not run on electric alone, and I hope to someday have a car that will , Maybe I'll convert my insight around 100,000 Miles .... But as I said this would be for keeping the insights battery charged which is good to have as any insight owner notices the difference when they try to drive in forced regeneration mode or try to pull out with no power assist.... will it be used by everyone probably not ... how much of a difference would it actually make in MPG I doubt more than 5. I know it isn't a major event. And like any such modification we also know that this would void any warrenties.

It shouldn't have anything to do with the motor anymore as I said thanks to others posts and we refined the idea from some of the flawed things I thought of in the begining.

Step 1> test power that IMA motor puts out in alternator function.

Step 2> Install cut off switch inside car .
You get home notice the battery was bellow half and flip a switch to AC charge mode .... Which cuts off the connection to the motor and activates the connection to the AC Charging plug. You might need to turn the car key on far enough that your instrument display comes on but you dont' actually start the engine.

Step 3> Plug in Insight to AC power

Step 4> Inisight's internal chargeing circuits charge batteries properly as they would when the car is driving along with the IMA motor suppplying alternator power ... This prevents over chargeing and the need for a seperate charge control as the car doesn't normally need one for normal operation.

Step 5> Unplug Insight in the morning.

Step 6> Turn key to off possition Then switch insight back to normal driveing mode via the same installed internal switch.

Step 7> Start Insight and drive off with fully charged internal batteries.

Since the IMA motors Alternator functions are what charge and power all the electrical systems in the car including the dash display and and regualr 12 Volt battery no other modification I think should be nesseccary.

To those who have pointed out some of my earlier flawed thoughts on this path I thank you for your insight :) heheh :) and your help, in getting the bugs out of this idea.... for those of you who might know of additional flaws I have not figured out or been made aware of that would prevent this from working please post your thoughts and insights :)

Thanks again....
Ian.!
 

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Re: AC Charger Revised

IamIan said:
Step 4> Inisight's internal chargeing circuits charge batteries properly as they would when the car is driving along with the IMA motor suppplying alternator power ... This prevents over chargeing and the need for a seperate charge control as the car doesn't normally need one for normal operation.
No!

This will most certainly blow something up and turn your car (and possibly your house) into a burnig heap of ashes! Don't do it!

Just becausse the motor/generator delivers AC current, doesn't mean you can just plug it in! Others have made that naive mistake before. It's not the same!

Firstly, it's three phase. Secondly, voltage, current and frequency are all different from your home wiring. Thirdly, the cars inverters actively control the motor/generator by varying the fileds to adjust the voltage, current and frequency. That wouldn't work with home AC.

As I pointed out before (and has been discussed for as long as the Insight exists), the only feasible way of grid-charging is DC. Charge the battery directly, with current limiting and end-of-charge detection. This is known technology and not dependent on proprietary Honda electronics and software. Just make sure the charge current goes through the battery current sensor and the ignition is on for the car to "know" the battery is charged. See my post above.

But then again, it doesn't seem to me that you have the skills required to do this level of surgery to your car. Please don't destroy it or yourself trying!
 

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Yeah dude, seriously, there way more than adequate power there to stop your heart. Espeically when your playing with the high voltage going to the motor and back.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
AC Charger Flawed

So ... What I am getting in a round about way is that you are saying that during the use a multi-meter to check what type of power AC or DC Polarity and Voltage and Amps frequency and such... you are saying that can't be done for some reason ... or that it isn't possible to replicate what honda outputs from the IMA motor in the alternator mode. ???

I wasn't aware of that ... Will have to look into it further and do some more testing ... but as said before I propably won't do any serious modifications like this or the complete conversion to EV until it is past the 80,000 mile mark and maybe I'll be pacient enough to wait for the 100,000 Mile mark...

For all those who shared... thanks .... Back burner for now at least until further testing / validation can be completed.

Ian.!
 

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I doubt you'll even pick up 5MPG. This is certainly an option with the Prius (has been done before), but not the Insight. The pack is too small and too well integrated to the rest of the car. Mileage increase if you're lucky might be 0.5 MPG.
 
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