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Hello fellow Insight drivers. I have read some of the older posts on this topic and I cant find the answer I need. There seems to be alot of "I think" or "probably" comments. I am hoping someone with factual knowledge here can further assist.

I am looking to ad the following product:
Solar 12 Volt Battery Trickle Charger
Item#: 50022
UPC#: 834319000648

I know the 12v lighter port does not work when the car is shut down. The initial plan was to use this on the lighter port while the car is operational. I also read just running some internal fans to allow the batteries to breath better.

1) Is it possible to charge the battery pack via 12v lighter? I believe not, I think the pack runs to a DC->DC converter which would resist any charging of the battery pack. Besides, while at Auto Stop, any charging that would occur would throw some kinda error as the car is not expecting a charge... right? If errors would not occur, is it possible at all to charge the battery pack directly?:-?

2) IF the battery pack charges the 12v battery under the hood (as there is no alternator it has to i guess), my assumption is that I can plug the solar panels in via alligator clips on the 12v battery. The theory I have is the battery pack would have to provide less power to the 12v battery -in turn saving said power for the car to accelerate. :-?:-?

When I bought my car, the dealer informed me "If you don't drive it for a week or so it will die and you will need a jump". Now wouldn't option 2 prevent this using the product I mentioned above?
 

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Sounds like some misinformation. How many cars sit on a lot and don't get started for a few weeks, and when someone wants to drive one of them, they start right up???!!! Sure, you could clip a solar charger to the 12V battery butt I don't think you would really accomplish anything.
 

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Sounds like some misinformation. How many cars sit on a lot and don't get started for a few weeks, and when someone wants to drive one of them, they start right up???!!! Sure, you could clip a solar charger to the 12V battery butt I don't think you would really accomplish anything.


I can only speak from my experience, of course. But, no, when I went for my test drive the battery was dead. They brought out the car jumper which was fully charged and that did not work. They had to bring out jumper cables and we eventually got it going. Maybe four hours later after signing paper work and getting approved, it was dead again. We even had them replace the battery before driving off the lot. Once I got it home after an hour drive I have yet to have a problem.

I don't mean to be rude, and I do appreciate your response, however, once again there seems to be much "I think" or "your probably" on this topic. I am looking for factual data.
 

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ShroomMan,
12V battery sounds like it is bad, or you have a idling current drain that is draining it when the car just sits.
A healthy 12V battery should allow the car to sit for several weeks and still have plenty of charge left. A sulphated one will behave just as you describe.

Easiest test is to have the 12V battery load tested, which many autoparts stores will do for you.
While a solar charger would keep the battery charged, it could also overcharge the 12V battery unless you have a charge controller that will turn off the charge if the battery starts gassing. The way to connect it would be directly to the battery through an isolation diode.
Since the car tends to fully charge the 12V whenever it is running, there should be very little MPG gain from external charging of that battery.
The car will run fine with a very bad 12V battery, as it is only used to power the computers, and the DC/DC will keep the 12V in the correct voltage range during operation. I replaced my original 12V after 7 years, when I noticed that several of the cells had dried out to only 1/4 of their proper level. Even with that dried out condition the car had no problems starting and running as long as the HV was available to start the car and maintain the 12V.
With the bad 12V, if I turned off the IMA, the thing could not crank the engine at all, and the dash lights would die when you try.
Start by getting the 12V checked, and go from there.
Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input Mike. I looked into the possibility of over charging. The product I am getting is 5w, I read somewhere you only need worry if it is 10w and higher. Also the product is a trickle charger it is supposed to have some type of power management built in to prevent the over charge.

Right now I think the plan is to hook up to the battery. If all else fails, I did not waste my money, as I read a really good article how to hook up a quad fan system to vent the battery exhaust using solar. This option would probably help me out alot more in the long run.

I'll do some research on the isolation diodes. BTW I forgot to mention this is the 2010 version (gen2 from what I have discovered) -but you already knew that Mike.
 

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A 5 watt or 10 watt solar panel isn't going to do much to a battery that was low enough to start a car. 10 watts wouldn't overcharge a car battery either, that isn't even an amp, especially with power management built in to prevent it. That also implies there is enough sunlight to even produce 10 watts. It would be a better idea to have a charger that is at least a few amps to get the battery charged up. If you don't want to buy a charger, most auto parts places will charge the battery for you for an hour and then test it to tell you if it is in decent shape. Buying a used car off the lot where the car was sitting for awhile and needed a jump could be compromised, or in need of a good extended charge.
 

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To the OP: at www.hondatechinfo.com, you can buy a 3 day subscription for $10 that will give you all the service and operation info, trouble shooting, wiring diagrams etc. for your car and answer the questions you posted. You can also buy the printed manual there too. The printed manual was the first "accessory" I bought for my 2010 EXN. I would have looked up the info for you to try to be more accurate but it's at work and I'm home. I was out of town for a week and when I returned, the car started just fine. Hopefully it was just the battery in your's.
 

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Thank you for the info -I had no idea that even existed. I will be checking this out.

If this post continues to get hits or stays alive. I will post details in what I find. I may update with what I do anyway. :D
 

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operational 12v solar charger

Just to experiment with photovoltaic cells:

I have been charging my 12v bat with a 1.5 watt solar charger for a few months now. I bought it thru radio shack web. It is also in some pep boys chain stores. It claims that it does not need a controler because of the low wattage. On a sunny day, attaching it, only raises the 12v bat up only 0.01v, so it is only a trickle charger.

Because the supplied 12v lighter port is off when the key is off, I added another 12v plug, that is wired to the fuse harnes, onto an always live thick line. To protect the system, I also included a 1 amp fuse and a blocking diode, so only limited power can go ONLY TO the battery. But as recommend by radio shack, I still unplug the charger before starting the car.

Since the no-load voltage is about 24v on a sunny day, it is still above 13v no-load on cloudy days. So this can charge just about any day.
 

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I have tried trickle chargers in the past. The type you plug into your cigarette lighter, and it runs a tiny amount of current back to your battery. The problem with those are, the solar panel on it is tiny, so it doesnt really help. So instead i got portable solar panels, with inbuilt charge regulator, you can get them from about 30Watts in power and up to huge. But the 30 Watt is nice n small for your job.
 

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First off when it comes to solar the phrase go big or go home applies. You are going to be lucky under idea conditions to get 4 hours of full sun shine daily. Even then 5 watts nothing to a car and is power requirements. You would have much more success if the sun light was used for heat vs voltage, but thats another story.

The I2 in good condition is like any other car and does not need a solar charger or electrical charger of any kind. Now having said that, we do not have an alternator, but a DC to DC converter that uses the hybrid battery voltage to charge the 12 volt battery. Myself and a few others have found if you use a larger 12 volt battery it helps mpg as its not topped off as frequently from the hybrid battery. Once the key is on, yes you can back feed the 12 volt side through the cig or accessory port.

Now Mike has built a solar panel using cis cells to charge his hybrid battery in his car when parked. Previously he used a few panels to charge the 4 trojans he used for his e wheel and booster pack. And, if that was not being charged on the go he has solar panels on his garage to charge it at home too.

My "brilliant" idea is once I get the rear view camera up to "glue' those cis cells to the rear glass, use a charge controller to supplement power for the 12 volt side. I figure under idea conditions about 150 watts. I may add a strip or 2 on the roof and even go as far as using the hood too.
 

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To the OP: at www.hondatechinfo.com, you can buy a 3 day subscription for $10 that will give you all the service and operation info, trouble shooting, wiring diagrams etc. for your car and answer the questions you posted. You can also buy the printed manual there too. The printed manual was the first "accessory" I bought for my 2010 EXN. I would have looked up the info for you to try to be more accurate but it's at work and I'm home. I was out of town for a week and when I returned, the car started just fine. Hopefully it was just the battery in your's.

Thanks for posting this website. I contacted them and the reply I got was stating, that they are there to assist Honda Dealership shops and Privately owned shops. They do not typically assist the DIY guy, but would be willing to. However, as this solar topic is not a stock option at this time, they would not be willing to assist.

But thanks for the post - this will help other people out if they need to work done and they don't no how to fix it.
 

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Thanks to everyone who participated in this thread. I did go buy a SunForce 5watt trickle chargers for starting out. I used suction cups to clip this in the back window, and plug in directly to the 12v lighter adapter.

I am still in the process of gathering some results, as soon as I have some information I am happy with I will post them at my blog. Along with any other solar additions to the car, I will also post them there. For anyone interested, you can check it out here:
Quigz Solar Ideas

P.S. I spoke to some union electricians who confirmed 5watts is not alot of power. For example your LCD monitor needs more juice to operate. Nonetheless, I am pretty happy with what I came up with. And the moderator is correct, "Go big or go home". The problem is the cost of solar panels for some people.
 

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Keep in mind solar cells have a long life time. Its going to take a few years like owning a hybrid to break even or turn a profit. Another member here uses cis cells on ebay that are a dollar a quarter watt. I am planning on buying a 120 pack to put on my rear glass and rear section of my roof.
 

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Let me tell you with my 06 HCH, yes along with the I2 I own, I didn't drive my civic for 2 weeks in the dead of winter in Minnesnowta, which this winter was stupid cold, and had no problem when starting work came up again. So I am saying from personal experiences, that's a load of bull that it goes dead after a week.
 

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So its netting 5 more mpg and allows use of your accessories with the key off?!?!?!? I maybe sticking 170 of those cis cells to my car complete with solar charge controller.
 

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Someone needs to make a roof rack solar mod. :D Question is, can the solar panel overcome the aerodynamic drag.
 

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Let me tell you with my 06 HCH, yes along with the I2 I own, I didn't drive my civic for 2 weeks in the dead of winter in Minnesnowta, which this winter was stupid cold, and had no problem when starting work came up again. So I am saying from personal experiences, that's a load of bull that it goes dead after a week.
Thanks for the response. I am not speaking from personal experience. I drive everyday and have not had that opportunity to let it sit for a week or two. I am just going off what I was told at the dealer. I do know from personal experience my battery was dead when I went in for my test drive and even after being charged it continued to remain dead until it had some drive time in it. I do not know why that happened -Just FYI, I bought my car with four miles on it.
 

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So its netting 5 more mpg and allows use of your accessories with the key off?!?!?!? I maybe sticking 170 of those cis cells to my car complete with solar charge controller.
Thanks Cobb. Yes, that is what I am seeing at least 5mpg increase with only 5watt trickle charge. And yes, I have full power when the key is out of the ignition, to listen to the radio/cd player. Actually, I turn the car off and leave the radio playing all the time when I run in the store real quick. It is a great conversation piece for anyone that asks questions in a parking lot.

As soon as my 5 year warranty is up, I am getting the solar roof rack myself connected to a dual battery system. I am hoping my local Honda dealer will offer my something like this so I wont break the warranty.
 
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