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I wanted to offer a data point that might be of interest in the general discussion of NiHM battery management in the G1 Insight.

I bought my MT car new in Colorado Springs in 2005; it now has about 127,000 miles on it. I had an optimal commute (20 miles each way, and achieved a daily average of more than 100 MPG on many days in the summer) and had a lifetime average of 72 MPG. Then a few years ago I (foolishly) moved to Massachusetts, where there is more air, more wind, and more traffic, and my lifetime average dropped down to 68 MPH. Last year I moved back to Colorado Springs.

What I noticed was that in Colorado, I never had a battery recalibration event. At first, probably because the battery was new. In Massachusetts I had several of them, maybe a half a dozen that I noticed and probably a few more over a period of three years. I was certain that my battery was going to fail. But I've been back in Colorado for a year now and have not had another recalibration since returning.

The potentially relevant observation is that there is a road west of Colorado Springs that goes up to Divide, Colorado. That's an altitude difference of about 3000 feet in a distance of 25 miles. It is steep. I drive up there fairly often, probably once a month on average. On the way up, it is almost impossible to avoid "emptying" the battery to the point where you are depending on the full-blown 75 HP of the ICE. On the way down, there are long grades where you get full recharge, and by the time you are back to Colorado Springs, the battery has been "full" at least three times and has gone for probably five miles with no noticeable charging activity because it's so full.

I wonder whether this sequence of "empty" to "full" is allowing the battery management system to avoid recalibrations. There is certainly plenty of discharge opportunity going uphill for the system to manage the low end of the charge range, and plenty of energy available on the way back down for it to do any sort of charge manipulation it wants to do at the high end of the charge range.

???
 

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It's possible your long uphill/downhill 'cycling' could make some difference, maybe by virtue of wider charge state range usage? Or just generally more exercise... Also, one thing to consider: When I was in Colorado a while back, I noticed my IMA functioned differently, it was throttled, didn't put out the same power at the same throttle position, etc., as it does at sea level. That's what I thought it was - a difference in elevation affected the ICE, which affected how much assist was commanded. Our cars do have a barometric sensor...
 

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Another anecdotal data point.

I bought a 2005 Insight with "battery problems" per the seller. It came from somewhere in Indiana - basically flat land. After getting it to northern NM and taking care of the usual minor Insight issues, I put it into service on my 40 mile roundtrip commute. The route to work starts at about 6600 feet and ends at about 7350 feet with two long climbs. Coming home from work, I can cover most of the downhill distance (about 8 miles) in FCO with the car charging the battery as it sees fit.

During the first two weeks, if I used any assist for more than about 5 seconds, I would get P1449 and associated errors and would have to reset the IMA system regularly. It was much less common to get an IMA error after one of the long downhill sections where the IMA battery was being charged aggressively. These errors and resets became fewer and farther between and I could use assist for up to about 30 seconds. Fast forward a few months and I rarely got IMA errors and was able to use assist as often as needed for the climbs. I think there is something to the positive effects of regularly using some assist and using long downhill sections for sustained regen in the 10 to 15 amps range. I have not datalogged much in this car, so I do not have battery voltage, amps and SOC data or tap voltages to prove anything, but just by driving the way I usually do on my normal commute, took a flaky IMA battery to a fairly useful state.
 

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Aggressively cycling and using it will wake it back up and revive to some extent lazy cells/packs.
 

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Another anecdotal data point.....
The problem with your story is that you didn't drive it in the flat land etc. So it's less of a 'data point' for the mountainous exercise revival theory, OP's thing, than it is for just regular 'ole exercise being palliative... Doesn't sound like we know how the previous seller drove the car, maybe it sat, was hardly driven, never pushed, etc...
 

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True, I have no idea how it was previously driven, but I doubt the topography in Indiana has hills like the ones I drive. Thus, it is unlikely that the IMA battery saw the sustained types of regen that are possible, and that I get regularly, with long, reasonably-steep downhill sections. My story was not meant to be scientific, only anecdotal, and conveys my experience with not just that car, but generally all three of my driveable Insights. All three had various IMA battery problems when I got them, but those problems have become less problematic as the cars are used in the manner I use them.I began grid charging of two of the packs after determining their IMA batteries were useable, and will be doing the same to my latest one soon. What works for me may not for others.
 

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....My story was not meant to be scientific, only anecdotal....
I know. I was merely trying to draw a possible distinction between dougie's case and yours. Sounds like they could be more similar than I was thinking. I spend/have spent too much time with these batteries, so when I read stuff like this I'm always trying to... gets things as focused as possible.

In general, a pack that hasn't been used much or very hard should improve if it's used more and/or harder. I think this could be your case, though not necessarily.

A pack that's been used regularly, like dougie's 40 mile daily commute, at high elevations - but then sees harder use, wider cycling, in up and down mountain terrain, at lower elevations -- perhaps here too there's more improvement to be had...

I guess my angle was that, sure, there's likely some gains in either case. But also, the elevation difference might factor-in, as I once saw automatic lighter IMA usage at high elevations. The perception of gains could even be due to 'computer stuff' - where there aren't really any material improvements in the cells, but rather, the computers are just handling things differently at the different elevations...
 

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The proposed effect of altitude is interesting. Looking at the OBDII C&C parameter list, I see Bar (BAR pressure, kPa) as one of the choices, but I wonder if there are other parameters, that logged in conjunction with Bar, would lead to any correlation with the retarding of assist at higher elevations. Variables that would have to be controlled for a meaningful study might include throttle position, grade of roadway, tire and tire pressure, transmission type and gear, ambient temperature and likely (many) others.
 

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Here's a link to my original query about altitude vs. IMA output/behavior, there's quite a bit of discussion on the issue:

Here's a direct link to I think what's probably the answer: https://www.insightcentral.net/threads/altitude-impact-on-ima-performance-behavior.109234/#post-1252842
 

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I’m guessing your route is up and down Ute Pass 24, which is a good bit of grade; Especially all the way to Divide.

I’m sure by Santa’s Village your Insight battery is tapped and remains so past Green Mountain Falls (we have a cabin there) and up out of Woodland Park as well.

I was in West Seattle for a year where I bought my 2000 5sp. I never had an IMA beep that year. The hills made for a quite daily fill and empty of the Factory charge-o-meter.

Then last year we moved out to much flatter Port Angeles, in which I’m also mainly driving in town. Usually there is only a one to three hundred feet of standard elevation change and only 5 mile trips. Once every couple weeks a 30 mile r/t recharge 55mph fairly flat steady state to the box stores in Sequim (Skwim), returning with an almost full ‘tank’ of battery.

When we first arrived, we used to climb up to Hurricane Ridge here in Olympic National Park, a 5200’ elevation change from home, at sea level, once every few weeks. Then the $80/year Park Pass Expired and we quit the complete discharge/charge cycle.

Many times now the car gets parked between ¼ and ¾ ‘tank’ battery. Before in Seattle I would downhill it to full most days.

Hills kill mpg, as when I bought from the original owner the lifetime as mainly a town car was 47.3 mpg by 100,760.

I learned how to plan one big uphill and weave my way slowly downhill and finish on flat along the beach so my ‘B’ trip 7023 miles averaged 56.5 mpg in Seattle. High trip 81, 63 ave highway in the hilly Puget Sound area highways.

I’ve had three IMA resets in Port Angeles this year. The battery doesn’t get a full span of empty-full out here, from lack of super mountain climbs, shorter trips and lack of flat steady state recharge.

The battery was replaced at 100741 just before I bought it, in December 2017. As soon as I get the barn door track rails mounted and the door sliding I’ll get the car in the garage and use my new grid charger, and light bulbs discharge as well.

There is a happiness factor to being charged to the top and drained to the bottom for rechargeable batteries... in my iPhone, flashlights, Ryobi tools and my Insight.

Big Hill climbs/descents seem to do the discharge/charge to keep the batteries on their toes. Soon I’ll be cycling the batteries in the garage instead of on mountains and tall hills.
 

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@5sp I was just reading a few different articles that state how phone batteries only last maybe two years as opposed to car batteries in that with phones the batteries get drawn until zero charge and cars have a buffer with the batteries. It seemed to imply that batteries last longer on phones if you don’t wait to get to zero before charging them. I dunno.


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^ When it comes to phones and the Insight, at least in this thread, we're generally talking about two different things. I think 5sp and his "happiness factor" idea when it comes to his phone probably has to do with recalibration - it's a battery management thing. In our cars management can be an issue, too, but when we talk about up and downhill cycling and such, it's probably more about bona fide, material improvement to the cells... OK, it could be either. But when it comes to lithium batteries, the full cycles hurt the cells yet may improve the battery management; with the Insight the ~full cycles and hard driving can help both the cells and the management. It probably helps management when you first move from one low impact driving regime to harder driving regime, but then it'd be more about material cell improvement, if anything...
 

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I mentioned, I have no idea but try to remember everything (problem with that is there is so much contrary info it’s hard to figure out), but thought that since battery doesn’t completely discharge driving wouldn’t it be better to do the lightbulb thing and recharge?

You mention an interesting point about battery load. So thrashing it from time to time is good for it? I drive and only use assist sparingly. I’d really like to read more about this.


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I mentioned, I have no idea but try to remember everything (problem with that is there is so much contrary info it’s hard to figure out), but thought that since battery doesn’t completely discharge driving wouldn’t it be better to do the lightbulb thing and recharge?
Yes, I think if your battery is acting up it'd be better to do the 'light bulb thing' first before trying to use the pack hard (first grid charge though, then discharge)...

You mention an interesting point about battery load. So thrashing it from time to time is good for it? I drive and only use assist sparingly. I’d really like to read more about this.
As far as I can tell, the BCM prevents you from doing serious harm to the cells, within the short term, that is. The BCM can detect when tap voltage starts to plummet, which happens when a cell is nearing empty, and then the MCM will throttle the assist load. Similar things happen at the top end when charging. But, a common scenario is that some cells are say half full, and one or more are near empty, and I can't imagine constantly harshing on the pack with those cells at the extreme ends of the charge state range can help. So, you want to do the grid charge/discharge stuff first, try to get the cells more in gross balance, before you really subject the pack to hard times...

I might bend the rules a little on the low end: it's not that I'd recommend hard core assist at low charge states on an unknown condition or flaky pack, but I might suggest trying to use progressively low charges states as much as you can. I think the OEM management uses the pack at high charge states too much, too often, and over time, or perhaps even in the short term, this degrades the cells...

In general, I find that my pack/s perform better overall when I use them hard. Not just in the immediate term but in the long term. Among other things, I started using full assist very frequently, and a lot of assist a lot of the time -- I basically stopped babying the pack and instead tried to use it as much as possible (think 5th gear, 1300 RPM, 30 amp + assist as a norm). I think that's been my goal: to be able to throw anything at the pack and not worry about it. I reached that point quite a while ago (with a couple caveats, however). But I also started with a tap-level ultra deep discharge/grid charge reconditioning process, and I've used the pack at very low charge states. Hard to tell what the exact most helpful thing is/has been...

If you want to read more I've pontificated on these things for the last couple years (at minimum) in a couple different threads.

Here's a few links. The first two kind of go together:

The third is kind of where I dump anything having to do with 'Insight NiMH voltage', which ends up being a lot of different things...

This last link goes to the best summary of what goes wrong with Insight NiMH cells that I've seen to-date among a wide variety of sources, many very wonky and reputable. The whole thread's pretty good, but just this summary if very powerful...
And I have attached a pdf that's basically a condensed version of that thread, the summary, and some of the questions and answers. Might make it easier to read/digest, etc...
 

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