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Discussion Starter #1
I recently had Scott at Jue Motors in Covina install a clutch switch in my 2000 Honda Insight (his suggestion). Could you comment on the best uses and the benefits of the switch?
 

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I recently took a trip where I was pushing the car hard. Speed limit or higher, lots of AC use, two people and luggage, some cruise control, some headwind. If I didn't pay close attention it would start using assist and deplete the battery. Then I'd have to endure background charge charging it back up. It was easier sometimes to just turn off the Calpod switch and run on gas.

On a smaller scale when I see a long uphill coming up I'll turn it off, downshift, and go up the hill gas only.

For me the benefit is being able to kill assist when I know the battery will get drained for no good reason.

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Rainsux. How does the Clutch Switch Affect the MPG?

I drove about 1000 miles to Covina on a bypassed battery and got very decent MPG. The Honda was sluggish at low gear and low speed but did fine on the freeways. Then I drove back with a new battery and only used the clutch switch for the long, steep hills. The mileage was considerably lower, perhaps because I had the AC on (at 70F).

I understand that the reason to have a clutch switch is to avoid battery depletion. Can you judge battery depletion just by looking at the IMA bars? In the final months of my old battery (may it rest in peace) typically it would spend days around 10 bars, then build up to 18 or 19, and suddenly plunge all the way to rock-bottom 2. So how many minimum bars should you aim at for a healthy charge?
 

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Using IMA assist during constant-speed driving is inefficient. It's more energy efficient to just burn gas. For maximum efficiency, IMA assist should only be used when you need more power.

For example, my house is about 1200' higher than the city. As I wind up the roads, it's more efficient to stay in 2nd gear (without assist) than it is to shift up to 3rd gear and use IMA assist for a couple miles.

The OEM G1 doesn't give the driver the ability to control whether or not the IMA is used. Enter the 'calpod' switch Scott installed for you. It fools the car into thinking you've pressed the clutch in, in which case the ECM won't request IMA assist (or regen (in most cases)).

So I typically drive with the switch enabled most of the time, and turn it off right before I break (so the car will regen). I always leave it on on the interstate, unless I need more power.

Basically I leave the switch on until I need power/regen.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So you save gas and extend hybrid battery life?

Thanks, mudder. It sounds like a clear program. I have always climbed up hills in second, sometimes in first, but the hybrid battery feels obliged to help anyway and ends up losing a few bars.
 

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I drove about 1000 miles to Covina on a bypassed battery and got very decent MPG. The Honda was sluggish at low gear and low speed but did fine on the freeways. Then I drove back with a new battery and only used the clutch switch for the long, steep hills. The mileage was considerably lower, perhaps because I had the AC on (at 70F).

I understand that the reason to have a clutch switch is to avoid battery depletion. Can you judge battery depletion just by looking at the IMA bars? In the final months of my old battery (may it rest in peace) typically it would spend days around 10 bars, then build up to 18 or 19, and suddenly plunge all the way to rock-bottom 2. So how many minimum bars should you aim at for a healthy charge?
Other factors will affect mileage much more than than the battery. It's more about battery management than gas mileage. The dash will give you a rough estimate, but with an OBDIIC&C gauge you will see exactly what's happening. The behavior you saw with the old battery was a lot of recalculations. Each car, battery, and driving style is different, but the new one will probably "normally" stay about 3 bars from the top.

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mods Mods Mods

Thank you, Rainsux and atikovi.

I did not know about the brake switch. A search of InsightCentral suggests that it has been discussed extensively here. I don't have enough technical knowledge to follow the discussions. Perhaps you could explain how it works in easy terms. Thanks.
 

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I had the brake but deleted .Why? Several reasons. .less complicated one clutch switch to use.----The brake switch produces more electricity – which is hard on old battery .---- I drive slower than most people so clutch switch is better alternative for me. Also I try to charge battery at home at lower Power range to be more gentle on old battery. This may or may not be the best Open for suggestions from upper brass.
 

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Brake switch lets you get maximum regeneration without stepping on the brake and to keep autostop active longer while coasting. Brake and clutch switches can be wired into a single 3 position switch.
 

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I have a complicated relay setup and four switches. First I'll detail how my Millennium Falcon-esque setup is wired, then I'll explain how I use it while driving.

DFCO = Deceleration Fuel Cut-Off, which is in all 1995+ North American vehicles, where the car remains in gear while coasting but you aren't pressing the throttle so it stops the injectors and fuel is not going into the engine, but the engine keeps turning because the car is in gear and the wheels are moving.
OBDIIC&C = A display gauge made by IC user retepsnikrep that displays IMA battery information and other info from the car's computer, the ECM.
EFAS = "Elegant" Forced Auto-Stop which is a PCB I make but pioneered by another IC user many years ago that can trick a 5MT Insight into going into Auto-Stop whenever the driver wants wants at any speed.

Setup
I have a Honda S2000 leather steering wheel, which comes with two cruise control buttons, but I don't have cruise control.

I wired the top button and the bottom button to some solid-state relays and an arduino (Arduino #2) on a circuit board. I also have a third button on my shifter which is a SPDT momentary push button (think of it like you press a relay and it switches current from one wire to another) that's hooked up to another arduino (Arduino #1). (I could probably combine everything and reduce it to one arduino, but the one for the shifter button was already in the car long before I got the S2000 wheel.)

On the left side of my dash (above change drawer) is a SPST maintaining push button, that is to say each time you push it the button toggles on or off. Push it in and it closes the circuit for my clutch, and also self-illuminates so that I know clutch switch is turned on.

The shifter button is rigged to one of my EFAS PCBs. When held down it activates two solid-state relays. One relay breaks the clutch switch circuit, so the clutch switch turns off if it was on. If it was already off it just stays off. The other relay swaps the VSS signal to the ECM with a fake one being produced by Arduino #1, which tricks the car into going into Auto-Stop if I then (while holding the shifter button down) shift into neutral and either A: tap the brake or B: press the bottom button on my steering wheel.

So, the steering wheel buttons, the bottom one is wired to Arduino #2 which has a couple SPDT solid state relays wired to it. One relay breaks the clutch switch circuit (turning it off) if it wasn't off already, and the other one closes the brake circuit, thereby acting as a brake switch which turns the brake lights on, and (usually -- will explain later) starts IMA regeneration.

The top button is also wired to Arduino #2, and gets it to toggle its clutch-switch circuit relay. Press it once the circuit is broken, press it again the circuit is completed. It's almost essentially a remote or secondary location for the clutch switch above the change drawer, except it's programmatically controlled, not a mechanical switch like the actual one itself. If the car is restarted or if power were for some reason to be deprived from the circuit board Arduino #2 is wired to, the relay would default to closed and the original clutch switch above the change drawer becomes the master again. I can still always turn the change drawer clutch switch off by pressing it, the one on the steering wheel can't close the clutch circuit if it's off. But if the one above the change drawer is on, the steering wheel one can be used to toggle it off or back on. The point was to have access to the clutch switch circuit at my fingers instead of reaching to my left to activate or deactivate it.

Brake switch (usually) causing regeneration:
Car can only regen when in gear, right? Usually if my clutch switch is on, especially in gears 2, 3, and 4, I have to turn it off (using either the master clutch switch button or the one on the steering wheel) and then blip the throttle, and THEN press the brakes or the brake switch to get regen. In gear 5 the car, even with clutch switch on, will almost certainly go into regen just by pressing the brake switch button (the lower button) on the steering wheel because it also opens the clutch switch circuit. But something about the car probably to do with the ECM doesn't always like it if I press the brake switch in gears 2, 3, or 4 when the clutch switch was on. I think the ECM wants to see the clutch being not depressed (clutch switch open) before it will start to do its normal DFCO+regen and then augments that state by seeing that the brake is pressed (either hold brake or hold down brake switch) and allows the IMA motor to send its full power potential to the IMA battery. Basically, gear 5 is less finnicky than the others. I haven't really tried gear 1 because regen in first gear is kinda silly anyway.

Blah blah okay that's a wall of text above, I probably should have just busted out MS Paint and given y'all a diagram. Moving on...

Usage Scenarios

Scenario #1:
I'm driving along. My clutch switch is turned on at almost all times. I see I have to stop ahead or slow down. If I'm in gear 5 (usually am) I hold down my brake switch on the steering wheel and I get regen and start to slow. When regen is about to end (remember in gear 5 regen stops at a higher speed than in the lower gears) I keep holding down the brake switch (or switch to holding the brake itself with my foot) and then on the shifter I hold down the button on there and throw the shifter into neutral. The car will go into auto-stop (even though I'm well above the 19mph threshold) because of the EFAS function provided by the PCB with Arduino #1.

Scenario #1 A:
I'm driving in gear 2, 3, or 4 and I need to slow considerably and the clutch switch is on and I want to get braking regen. I press top steering wheel button which opens the clutch switch. I blip the throttle. Car starts to go into DFCO+regen. I now press either the brake pedal down or I hold the bottom steering wheel button.

Scenario #1 B:
I'm driving in any gear and I need to stop very suddenly. I hit the brake pedal and I throw the shifter into neutral as you would normally do and I don't mess with any of the buttons because they don't matter when it comes to situations like this.


Scenario #2:
Driving in gear, clutch switch is on. I have to slowly decelerate for some reason, but I don't need to stop. I hold down the button on my shifter, put it in neutral, and either tap the brake switch or the brake pedal and the car goes into Auto-Stop. (This motion takes less than half a second to complete.)

Scenario #2 AA:
Clutch switch is on. I've already done scenario #2 and am in Auto-Stop, but now I need to accelerate again, like maybe I'm on the highway and the traffic in front of me is starting to speed up or I'm going to go up a hill. I tap the gas pedal to start the engine again and shift into the desired gear.

Scenario #2 AB:
Clutch switch is still on. I've done BOTH Scenario #2 and Scenario #2 AA and I am driving along in gear. I notice I don't need to accelerate anymore, but I ALSO don't need to brake. Maybe I'm going down a hill that isn't very steep so I'm going to maintain speed but I for whatever reason don't want to go faster. I hold down the shifter button, put the car into neutral and now the car goes into Auto-Stop. I didn't need to press the brake this time, all I pressed was the shifter button.

I can now cycle between Scenarios #2 AA and #2 AB indefinitely until EITHER I come to a complete stop (0 MPH) OR I for some reason hold down the shifter button for more than 0.75 seconds, which resets the process and I gotta go back to the beginning of Scenario #2.


Scenario #3:
Clutch switch is on and I am in gear 5, I am driving in gear, I need to regen, but I don't need to slow down considerably. I can press the top button on my steering wheel and the clutch circuit toggles and is now open. I can get DFCO+regen immediately.

Scenario #3 A:
Clutch switch on, I'm in gear 2, 3, or 4, I need regen but I don't need to slow considerably. I press the top button on the steering wheel, clutch circuit is toggled opened. I blip the throttle, and then I get DFCO+regen.


Scenario #4:
Clutch switch on, I'm in gear 5 as usual, I see on OBDIIC&C IMA SoC is high but IMA voltage is lower than 159 volts and I want background charge. I press down two times on OBDIIC&C gauge to set IMA SoC to 40% and then I push in on the OBDIIC&C gauge button to go back to its main screen. I press the upper steering wheel button, clutch switch turns off, I get DFCO+regen, or if I'm still driving like trying to maintain speed I can drive in 5th and get acceleration+background charge.

Scenario #4 A:
Clutch switch on, gear 2 or 3 or 4, low IMA voltage and want bg charge, set IMA SoC to 40% w/ OBDIIC&C, press top steering wheel button to deactivate clutch switch, blip throttle, then I get DFCO+regen or I keep throttle down because I'm like maintaining speed and I get acceleration+background charge.

Scenario #4 B:
Clutch switch on, I'm in Auto-Stop and coasting in neutral, I have low IMA voltage. I set SoC using OBDIIC&C, I turn off clutch switch, the engine should restart now but might not (the why of this is unimportant, but related to my EFAS button), and I shift into the correct gear for my current speed (which if the engine wasn't restarted by now, well, now it has restarted itself as usual) and I blip the throttle to rev match then release the clutch. I'm now driving engine-on in gear and I get background charge.

That's a lot to remember or think about, but it was more complicated before I integrated the EFAS w/ the clutch and brake switches. For most of these operations I only press 1 of the added buttons, and now that I have the extra steering wheel clutch switch button it's more ergonomic than before.
 

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Brake switch lets you get maximum regeneration without stepping on the brake and to keep autostop active longer while coasting. Brake and clutch switches can be wired into a single 3 position switch.
+1 to using a DPDT ON OFF (ON) switch for this, as recommended by IC user retepsnikrep in another thread long ago. My complicated steering wheel setup with two momentary S2000 cruise control buttons wired to a circuit board could actually be replaced and simplified by a simple DPDT ON OFF (ON) switch wired to the steering wheel mount, or perhaps the shifter. Rig the clutch switch to the maintaining side and the brake switch to the momentary side. Drive around with clutch switch on at all times, but if you need to regen you flip it to the momentary brake side. You might still have to do some of my stuff (Scenarios #3 and #3 A in post above) to get regen working, but it's going to be more ergonomic.

In my first Insight I wired a DPDT ON OFF (ON) switch to the steering wheel, but I wired it wrong so only the brake side worked right. Now that I know how to use relays I could go back and rig it to a circuit board with relays and make it work 100%. You need 4 wires to do it without a circuit board so retepsnikrep had his in the example he made not on the steering wheel itself, but instead on the steering wheel mount below the turn signal, with a stalk attached to its lever so you could easily reach it from the steering wheel without lifting your hand off the wheel. On the steering wheel itself in the G1 Insight with factory clock spring you only can get 3 extra wires to the steering wheel so you'd need a relay + circuit board setup to properly wire a clutch//brake button onto it.
 

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I've put this in a half dozen Insights by now.



Pressing down for brake is a momentary switch i.e. it returns to center when you take your finger off, pressing up for the clutch switch it stays up until you press it back to center.
 

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With the one you've got in the photo, does it always immediately give you regen if you had it in the up position and you push it down? Or do you maybe have to slowly push it down so that both are off for a fraction of a second before you get to the brake switch on position?

If it's the second scenario then maybe I could programmatically simplify things for myself by changing the code in my Arduino #2 to add like a 100ms delay or however long it needs.
 

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I haven't really paid attention to that but never noticed a delay. The clutch and brake are wired interdependently of each other in the switch so as one is switched off the other should come on.
 

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I think mine switches from clutch on and brake off to brake on and clutch off too fast because the relays are solid state and make the transition in only 4ms. The ECM might not see this transition and therefore thinks I'm putting the brake on before the clutch switch is off.

It probably takes more than 4ms to go from clutch on to clutch off to brake on using the mechanical DPDT switch unless you were to push it down super fast so your ECM is actually able to see clutch on, nothing on, brake on.
 

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I know the Clutch Switch (FAS) dosen't work on 04-06 G1s. However, can I disable assist by just disconnecting it by taping it closed or cutting the wire temporarily for a 400 mile freeway trip that is all up and down hills? I just don't want to kill my IMA when I won't need it on the freeway for 6 hours. Or should I just turn the Red IMA switch off and go in lower red line mode?
Too much effort to reconnect my already programmed off-road Arduino mod to be able to redline my G1 in the lower gears!
 

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I just don't want to kill my IMA when I won't need it on the freeway for 6 hours.

Too much effort to reconnect my already programmed off-road Arduino mod to be able to redline my G1 in the lower gears!
I'd be more concerned about killing the engine by frequently redlining it than killing your IMA.
 

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I'd be more concerned about killing the engine by frequently redlining it than killing your IMA.
But Honda engines love to be revved, not counting the new ones like Civic Type R! Plus it would justify buying another G1..
 

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A 3 cylinder isn't a very balanced engine to begin with. It's not all that smooth at idle and can't imaging running it at high rpm can be good for it.
 
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