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Discussion Starter #1
Hi fellow Insight owners,
I am curious if anybody has noticed what I have been noticing about the battery state of charge meter in the 2000 5 speed Insight.
I bought mine used @ 23,000 miles and have driven it 1000 miles thus far.

I notice that the meter shows charge draining really fast under half to full acceleration as well as when climbing hills. For instance, the meter is near full and after a half to one mile of acceleration later the charge indicator shows half charge or even 1/4th charge.

On a similar note, I feel as if something is off kilter on the way the accelerator pedal is functioning. It is almost difficult durring cruising to not allow power to be used from the battery to assist. On the other hand, full acceleration use of the battery/motor seems not to give all that much power for accelerating.

I appreciate any comments on this subject.
Thanks,
Martin
2000 Silver 5 spd
 

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Hi Martin,
[edit] Is it my imagination or did your original signature state you had a 2002? Probably my mistake. At any rate, if you have a 2000 and your acceleration does not seem as good as when you first got the car, you might have the dealer check your ECM. If you have the latest ECM updates, there is a slim possibility that one of your battery cells is defective. I have seen this in some very rare instances. Good luck!
Benjamin

--- Original Post ---
Actually I think this is normal, and other 5-speed owners can hopefully confirm this. Unless you feel a serious lack of power that had never occurred before, you needn't be worried. I know several 2000, 2001 and 2002 manual transmission owners who rarely have their batteries above half-full and usually see it around the 1/3 mark. So, this clearly has little to do with the car's age and more to do with the manual vs. CVT issue. The CVTs seem to maintain a much higher state of charge under most conditions. Personally I would favor the battery pack being used to the greatest possible extent.
Benjamin
 

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Motty82 said:
I notice that the meter shows charge draining really fast under half to full acceleration as well as when climbing hills. For instance, the meter is near full and after a half to one mile of acceleration later the charge indicator shows half charge or even 1/4th charge.
Martin,

I believe you have experienced what is called a recalibration of the batteries Sate-of-Charge gauge, or "recal" for short. There have been many discussions on the two yahoo groups. Honda declares this to be normal. Assist will be limited after a recal, until the battery had time to charge somewhat.

Motty82 said:
On a similar note, I feel as if something is off kilter on the way the accelerator pedal is functioning. It is almost difficult durring cruising to not allow power to be used from the battery to assist. On the other hand, full acceleration use of the battery/motor seems not to give all that much power for accelerating.
Does this happen with the IMA gauge showing full assist (all orange bars lit?) There are numerous reasons, why the car would limit assist. A recent recal event is one of them. Another one is too low or too high temperature. Usually, this would be reflected on the gauge by not lighting all bars.

Armin
Y3085
MYBRID
 

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When I first started driving the Insight (2001 5sp), I had trouble keeping the battery level indicator anywhere above halfway (actually, "had trouble" isn't the right phrase; I just wasn't paying much attention to it at all - it still worked fine). As time went by, I learned that some judicious use of a lower gear in certain situations (particular hills around my area being the biggest culprit, although some of them don't appear abnormally steep) would keep the batteries from draining much at all. Using the lower gear for these "rough spots" doesn't seem to affect my mileage much (it's gotten steadily better as I've learned more about the causes and effects anyhow) and prevents the Insight from using its electric motor at full power in high gear, which seems to drain the batteries very quickly (although it's probably just that in high gear it's easy to use "a little assist" for a long period of time without noticing much).

Since I started dropping to fourth at times, I've nearly always had the battery charge indicator above the "must charge at cruising" level. I don't think it's necessarily "better" for the batteries to be at high charge, but I've certainly had fewer recalibrations. I do typically use full throttle to accelerate whenever it is necessary, and the difference between the amount of assist available at high charge vs. low charge is very noticable.

As a friend of mine says, "you're always playing the Insight Game."
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Response to input

Benjamin,
Yes, in the the original signature I did state I have a 2002, but I made a mistake and corrected it quickly to (2000).
I beleive I have had only one RECAL event. During this event the charge level gauge went all the way down to 0% and possibly even turned off (reset/restarted) for a fraction of a second then showed 100%. The other times that my gauge shows low, it recharges during the remainder of my trip. BTW, I do live in North-West Vermont so the battery pack is being subjected to very harsh temperatures (sub zero at times).
Armin,
It depends on how hard I press down on the accelerator pedal as to the number of bars lit showing assist level. Most of the time when I want hard assist from the electric motor, the assist meter shows all bars lit or almost all bars lit. From time to time I also only press down hard enough for 50% assist to show.
Edv,
I do typically use full throttle to accelerate whenever it is necessary, and (the difference between the amount of assist available at high charge vs. low charge is very noticable.)
How is it that the difference between the amount of assist available @ high charge vs. low charge is very noticeable?
 

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On My 2000 5 spd I notice a drastic usage of battery power when making long hill climbs. Trips to San Diego on I-8 I will see My battery deplete and recharge a minimum of 4 times. I will drop to 4th as soon as I hit the grade and keep RPMs at around 3000-3500. as the battery level drops I will drop to 2nd and maintain RPM at approxiamtely 3500-4000 and recharge battery while maintaining speed up hill (this is a steep long grade about 18 miles of grade). On flat ground which is what most My commute is I can maintain a charge level of about 3/4 most times and notice a "recalibration" discharge about every 2 weeks (my comute is about 80 miles day).
 

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Re: Response to input

How is it that the difference between the amount of assist available @ high charge vs. low charge is very noticeable?
It isn't, if I'm not using full throttle. However, with an open throttle, the assist meter doesn't fully illuminate if I don't have at least 1/3 or so charge (as indicated), and "full assist" vs. "not quite full assist" gives a different feeling. I'm not certain exactly what charge level does/does not give full assist when requested, though.
 

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Re: Response to input

Motty82 said:
I beleive I have had only one RECAL event. During this event the charge level gauge went all the way down to 0% and possibly even turned off (reset/restarted) for a fraction of a second then showed 100%. The other times that my gauge shows low, it recharges during the remainder of my trip.
I think you got it the wrong way around. What you describe as the "other times" is the real recal event. The gauge drops swiftly, but not instantly to one bar or zero bars. Then it recharges during normal driving. The first event you describe is not something I have seen before.

Motty82 said:
Armin,
It depends on how hard I press down on the accelerator pedal as to the number of bars lit showing assist level. Most of the time when I want hard assist from the electric motor, the assist meter shows all bars lit or almost all bars lit. From time to time I also only press down hard enough for 50% assist to show.
This sounds like normal behavior. What is the problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess the problem is that I am not used to what "normal" actually is with hybrid technology and that i'm a little uptight that I am not experiencing normal hybrid driving characteristics.
 

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Motty82, what you describe sounds like normal Insight behavior to me, except for the event which Armin referred to as "not something I have seen before." I have also not seen that on my SOC meter. Other than that, my Insight behaves much like yours.

When you do experience a battery state-of-charge recalibration, then you'll get a good sense of what an Insight feels like with no assist... weak!
 

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Recal Event

A recal event occurs when the State of Charge (SOC) indicator has lost track of the true energy residing in the battery. In other words the SOC may show 75% and then suddenly a low voltage is detected from the battery pack. The SOC then quickly drops to zero and force charges the battery pack (Engine works harder to charge, no autostop etc). During this timeframe the IMA will not provide assist making the car much slower to accelerate, pass etc and because you are burning more fuel you mpg value will take a dive. There was a poll on the yahoo group where we tried to find a common factor. Only conclusions that we were able to determine is that it is limited to the 5sp (00, 01 and 02) and if you experience them they will gradually increase in frequency. Some have never seen one. Guess we will see if any 03's have the issue. My car was nearly a year old when I had my first recal. It occured in Aug 01. Don't know for sure but I think heat build up plays a factor. (I tinted the windows and park in the shade when I can). I now usually get 2 to 3 a week. At first I thought they had to be hurting my mileage as you definitely see a difference when its force charging but as the frequency increased from monthly to weekly I could easily see that it had no impact on my overall mileage for a tank of gas. As a result I think it is not a battery problem but a sensor problem (not accurately measuring the amount of current flowing from or to the battery pack). Others who have taken their car in for this issue have said Honda now calls this normal behavior. Since not everyone see's this problem I don't call it normal but see it as a minor inconvience for such a great car. Mine tend to occur within 20-30 miles of city driving after having driven a lot of highway miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the great information peeople! :)

Hey everyone,
I want to thank all who have responded to my post with such excellent information on this issue. I really appreciate it!! :lol:
Happy cruising,
~Martin
 

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On MIZR teh SOC calibrations seemed to really get more frquent just before My battery pack died. I would see a recalibration sometimes 2 times in 45 mile comute. But the biggest concern just prior to or should say reason I took MIZR in for a check up was the IMA light and the CEL coming on. I had complained several times prior to toal failure of battery pack of a IMA light coming on while traversing the "grapevine" section of I-5 but it would go off and stay off once i stopped and restarted the engine with the key. Now i havnt seen recalibration since having the battery module replaced and it seems to hold a steady charge level even better than when MIZR was new.
 

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Just a quick question. (Picking up my 2000 5sp Insight tomorrow) If I pick up the car from the dealer and the battery is at 40-50%, the SOC, that is, what can I do in the lot before I go to make it recharge? Did someone mention revving 2000-3000 for a few mins? just curious since Ill be driving it home 45 miles and thought Id like it with some assist.

Does everyone think its normal for low SOC with a manual as previously mentioned? Does anyone with a 5sp ever get more than 80% charge while cruising?

Thanks.
Michael
 

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SOC at pickup

Michael,
When you pick up your car just drive normal. The car will handle the charging and you will have assist. Look at it this way. If you waste the gas to charge the battery up to 100% before leaving you will have no place to put the energy this car recoupes (regenerative brakes)when you break leaving the dealership. Have fun watching the LCD but keep an eye on the road too.
 

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Many of us have found that over time the state of charge will drift up while cruising along on straight level highway with no green bars / CHRG bars lit up. Apparently the car trickle-charges the batteries, running a slight positive float.

My Insight came home from the dealer with a low charge level and very low LMPG. You'll find that the charge level will pratically take care of itself, especially if you help it with regen-braking (brake in gear, not in neutral, and don't downshift) smoothly and a little earlier than you might normally do it (don't rush up to a stop and slam the brakes, brake gradually and sooner). There are tips on the main website about this that are very helpful.

And don't worry, despite what Richard said your car won't break when you leave the dealership :)
 

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I usually have a 90 to 100% SOC in a 5 speed 2003 ( "Smurfette" ) it takes me about 30 miles of hilly roads to get to 90% and you will have good assist down to 30% SOC
 

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Just thought Id answer my own question. I had 50% SOC when I left the dealership in Nanuet, NY and drove about 45 miles back and averaged 54+ MPG and had a 100% SOC once I got off of 287South. The Autostop turned on twice once I hit 2 stopsights and loved it.

I have maintained a 70+ SOC with daily driving, usually 80%+ or better now that Im learning how to drive it. Im addicted now!

michael
 

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Ecfool said:
On MIZR teh SOC calibrations seemed to really get more frquent just before My battery pack died. I would see a recalibration sometimes 2 times in 45 mile comute. But the biggest concern just prior to or should say reason I took MIZR in for a check up was the IMA light and the CEL coming on. I had complained several times prior to toal failure of battery pack of a IMA light coming on while traversing the "grapevine" section of I-5 but it would go off and stay off once i stopped and restarted the engine with the key. Now i havnt seen recalibration since having the battery module replaced and it seems to hold a steady charge level even better than when MIZR was new.
I would say that your experience would indicate that the SOC calibrations may have more to do with a low capacity battery pack that discharges at a faster rate than the SOC meter expects. This is probably due to a weak cell. The recalibration saves the pack by force charging before the weak cell is reverse charged, but since all cells are in series, the weakest cell will determine the pack capacity.
My 2000 5 speed is at 48K, and I have yet to see a recalibration, so it is hard for me to see how Honda can call them normal.
We have been over this subject at length in the Honda Hybrid group. I would like to know what they found with your old battery pack, when it was returned to Honda.
I still have 3 of the battery pack test connectors if anyone is interested in monitoring the battery sub pack voltages.
Mike
 
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