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Discussion Starter #1
Imagine: parking a '03 Civic IMA at the movie theatre in fair weather, returning after two hours in a full thunderstorm, to find the IMA battery almost completely empty. (Car feels sluggish). It was fine before.
My question: how can the IMA battery go flat in two hours? Can a thunderstorm, with a lot of lightning, do this?

I'm pretty sure I shut down and locked the car properly. I think it restarted on the IMA, so it must've had some energy left.

Also, after having been empty, the battery seems to need at least 100 miles of normal driving to regain its former strength. Is this normal behavior for a NiMh batpack?

Interestingly, the car is a press demo from the Dutch importer (I'm writing for a Dutch engineering magazine.) An intrigued Honda guy promised to have the car diagnosed.

greetings,
Bart Garvelink
 

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Hey Bart,
Finaly, an other Dutchman on this forum ! Did this problem occur only once during a rainstorm, or also in dry weather ? Are the powerlines below the car not damaged or scratched ?
 

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Bart,
Is it a 5sp or a CVT? I have never heard of this problem with a Civic Hybrid. Have fun, RIck
 

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Recal?

Maybe this is the first report of a battery recalibration in a Civic?
 

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Sounds like a recalibration to me. As long as it doesn't start happening all the time it is perfectly normal behavior designed into the system by Honda to properly exercise the pack every now and then.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Probably a battery recalibration indeed

I've just read the Q and A bit about battery recalibration, thanks to Tim for cueing me. It was probably just that.

The gauge read almost nothing, the IMA was recharging at constant speeds, and it did not give assistance for a few kilometers. As far as I remember, it did not need the auxiliary starter to restart.

But the coincidence is still striking. It happened only once, while the car was parked. The rain and lightning were I guess a freak coincidence.

I honestly can't tell you how often the battery recalibrates itself. I've had the car (a 5sp, Rick) for 8 days and drove 500 kilometers in it. Since november 2003, it had racked up 9745 kms of trainer and press demo duties.

According to the odometer, I got 5,8 liters/100 km over 500 km, = 1 liter/17,2 km = 40,8 mpg U.S.

greetings,

Bart
 

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Re: Probably a battery recalibration indeed

B Garvelink said:
The rain and lightning were I guess a freak coincidence.
There is a small chance that lightening struck close enough to cause a memory corruption in the State-of-Charge gauge (SoC). It would then reset itself to zero to clear the error.

When the battery was recharging, did it go gradually up to full, or did it go smoothly part of the way and then jumpt up to full at the end?
 

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How rare, today I changed oil of my Insight and it went verry well. After a testdrive, refueling the car and after a stop at a ice-salon I restart the car, I had a total death IMA battery, I see this as the so called battery recalibration. It does not have to do with weather, cause it was verry nice now. So a thunderstorm will not be the cause of this Bart !!
The recharge was initiated for 6 bars for the rest of the trip home.
 

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thougth he said it was outside in a storm.... well you never know 2 hours inside, there could of been a couple lightning bolts, and with a lot of bad luck it struck it, or near it, and drained it.
 

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I doubt or a lightning strike can be the cause of a total battery drain, I think that the whole package is in the cage of Faraday, and should'nt drain the battery in a split second. It is still verry strange to see that the battery is empty, while it was full just 5 minutes before ( in my occasion )
 

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Discussion Starter #15
In response to the esteemed users Windmill, Armin and Arsenic1250:

I'm a believer of the recalibration theory right now.As I understand it, the battery is (and bloody well should be) well insulated from the outside.

the battery was hovering around the half full mark for quite a few miles, giving assistance, but constantly recharging. I tried a bit of regenerative driving: tried to gather speed without using assist, tried to lose speed IMA only. After a while, it was fine again.


Battery recalibration seems to be quite rare. How often does it happen? Has anyone seen it more than once?

Bart.
 

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B Garvelink said:
Battery recalibration seems to be quite rare. How often does it happen? Has anyone seen it more than once?
Reported frequency of recalibration varies widely. If you search back through the Yahoo! groups discussions from 2-3 years ago you will see a lot of discussion about "recals" and people who are dissatisfied with how often they occur.

The recal happens when the IMA computer realizes its current estimate of battery state of charge is incorrect. Recals that people are going to complain about are ones where the IMA computer corrects the SOC display to 0.

So, there are some driving habits or climates that will result in such a recal more often. People in very cold weather will see fewer recals, as the IMA will more often force-charge the batteries to keep them warm. The opposite is probably true for people in warm weather. People driving lots of highway miles will see fewer recals, because they are less likely to exercise the battery pack extensively, resulting in less errors. Also, there is a hidden trickle charge of the IMA battery during long highway drives that will tend to keep the battery pack at or near full.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Today I called back the Dutch Honda importer who had promised to look into the matter. They are flummoxed.
The Honda guy emptied the 12V aux battery and took the Civic for a test drive. As far as he knew, a problem with the aux battery is the only reason for the IMA gauge to read incorrectly. That until the aux 's been recharged.

They asked with Honda Europe in the U.K., but could get no explanation. Then I mentioned this forum and the suggested answer recal. The tech guy from Honda did not recognize what I was talking about.
Apparently, the technical tuition of Honda personnel doesn't mention battery recal.
Apparently, among the 100 Civic IMA's running in Holland (5 full time press demo cars) this was the first time the thing came up.

I don't want to sound to harsh on them, they were really nice and helpful. but yet I'm puzzeled as well.

Bart
 

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It seems strange, but the charge in my battery always seems to fluctuate whenever there's heavy rain. Sometimes I'll get out of the car and come back with 1/4 charge "gained" and sometimes it'll be 1/4 charge "lost." I don't know any logical explanation for this behaviour - it's just what I've observed.
 
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Hi Foxpaw:

___What you are describing sounds like a sporadic short in the BCM possibly instead of an actual drained or miraculously rejuvenated pack?

___B.Garvelink, you may want to post your situation into the Yahoo – Honda Hybrid forums. There are some very savvy HCH owners in there and all are very willing to help …

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:k4ep27f1][email protected][/email:k4ep27f1]
 

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I see this problem a lot in my Insight.
I have a 2000 Insight 5speed.
Since summer has started I haven't been driving the Insight very much, but a month or two ago I was having frequent problems with the IMA battery. I drove a lot of highway miles, very conservatively, so I had 3/4 charge to full charge at all times. I would park it in the driveway in the evening with a full charge, come outside the next morning, drive about 4 or 5 miles and the IMA battery would drop from full to dead in about 5 or 10 seconds for no reason at all. It just started happening more and more frequently until it started happening every other day and sometimes every day. I talked to my Honda dealer, who's hybrid was conveniently at a graduation at the time, but they hooked up a computer and got a code from the ABS and the IMA (no warning lights on the dash were illuminated). They cleared the codes and told me to come back when the hybrid mechanic was there if i still have problems (i havent had a chance to go back yet) but the IMA conveniently died again on the way home from the dealer that day. I have seen this problem a few times since then, but hardly at all anymore because i dont drive it as much in the summer. Hopefully they will start replacing Honda Manufacturer warranty parts for free and fix the problem.
 
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