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Discussion Starter #1
Our 2010 Insight (99,500 miles) has been showing the Check IMA System light periodically for the last few months. For the most part the car seems to be functioning fine but the SOC occasionally fluctuates wildly.

I've been looking into what to do about it. I talked to a local hybrid mechanic yesterday about reconditioning. Some places say that it will restore 90-95% of your battery at a fraction of the cost of a new battery. This sounded too good to be true and after talking to the mechanic yesterday it seems that it is. The process involves slowly depleting and recharging the battery over the course of a few days. Once done there's really not much way of knowing if it fixed anything and even if it did the "fix" could last a long time or the problem could come back in a few weeks. He did not recommend trying this.

Refurbished batteries are another option. They are less expensive than a new battery but not by enough for me to feel comfortable with it. Looking around on hybrid forums there's a lot of stories of refurbished batteries failing very prematurely.

That leaves a brand new battery as the most failsafe option. Unfortunately it's also the most expensive option.

For new batteries I've looked into two options.
1. Honda dealer. My dealership gave me a verbal, well handwritten on an invoice for another service, quote of $2500. I have to double check that that is for a brand new battery and whether or not it includes labor.
2. Green Tec. This is a national hybrid battery chain. They offer three batteries for the G2 Insight, two reconditioned and one new. The new one is roughly $2100 and includes installation - they will come to your house and install the battery. From the description on their site this battery looks to be a better battery than what Honda offers (though take that with a grain of salt, they're trying to sell you something). It comes with a 36 month warranty with no mileage limits.

Green Tec sounds pretty good because) 1. it's less expensive, 2. the battery seems better and 3. the warranty is longer than what I think Honda offers

Does anyone have experience with Green Tec? Looking online the reviews seem overwhelmingly favorable. Their BBB score is an A+, they've been around for years, etc. Seems like a trustworthy business.
 

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Hypermiler
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I'm not a G2 owner nor GreenTec knowledgeable.

Many of us G1 owners go to Jeff at Hybridautomotive for "grid charge/discharge" systems that provide maintenance for our packs and extend their life. Even after replacing the pack, the system remains useful as a maintenance tool.

For packs, both refurb and new built, and also with warranty; many of us rely on Eli at Bumblebee batteries.

Jeff and Eli are highly regarded here on IC.

Definitely worth a look.

edit: just noticed you're in WI. Eric at EV Powers is near you. He also is well versed in Honda packs, and is also highly regarded here on IC. Might be worth stopping by for a visit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.

Eric is who I talked to about the reconditioning process and the pros and cons. He also said that the dealer price was "a steal". I really appreciated his honesty about everything, nice guy.

Bumblebee doesn't have the battery that I would want in stock.
 

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Unfortunately, there are many stories of premature failures of the Chinese sticks. Bumblebee will now sell you a pack with a 5 year warranty, but you pay $2300 plus shipping. It is probably the best deal available, but haven't checked lately.

They are fairly easy to install if you just follow directions.
 

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Before anything else...

1) Very important to establish that your 12V battery is healthy. LOAD test.
2) Very important to establish that your car is fully "patched" with all updates.
 

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This, the failure of 2nd gen IMA battery packs is rare. It will, of course, happen eventually, but I seriously doubt you are there unless you have addressed both items Mr Keith suggests.
 

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This, the failure of 2nd gen IMA battery packs is rare. It will, of course, happen eventually, but I seriously doubt you are there unless you have addressed both items Mr Keith suggests.
Thought I'd chime in before you... Even *I* can learn something eventually... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Before anything else...

1) Very important to establish that your 12V battery is healthy. LOAD test.
2) Very important to establish that your car is fully "patched" with all updates.

I should add a bit of detail to my original post...

I brought the car in to the dealership back in the fall when the IMA light was on. They could not get any error codes to show. According to their records all updates/recalls/TSBs have been taken care of.

I replaced the 12V battery last fall. The check IMA light continued to periodically appear after this.

Our current plan is to drive the car more regularly and see what happens.
 

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I should add a bit of detail to my original post...

I brought the car in to the dealership back in the fall when the IMA light was on. They could not get any error codes to show. According to their records all updates/recalls/TSBs have been taken care of.

I replaced the 12V battery last fall. The check IMA light continued to periodically appear after this.

Our current plan is to drive the car more regularly and see what happens.
I'm not familiar with the issue on the G2, but the G1 Insight and the highly similar HCH2 have issues with corroded grounds. Those should be checked as well.

I bolded the most important thing you've posted so far. If you are NOT driving a hybrid regularly, you are inviting exactly these sorts of issues - even with a new battery.

I would be inclined to pursue grid charging vs. battery replacement especially if this isn't a daily driver.

your car is below average mileage. How many days a week do you drive it, and how often does it sit for more than a few days at a time?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm embarrassed to say that we have not been driving it much, we weren't aware that it could cause issues.

We have two cars but are very much a one car family. We carpool for work. Our driveway is single width so whatever car is easiest to back out is usually what gets driven. This means that the Insight can sit for up to a week. It also tends to get shorter trip duties as our CR-V is more comfortable for road trips. We will definitely change that habit.
 

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I think you've found the likely source of your issue. Park the CR-V in front for a week and use the G1. See if you notice the battery behavior changing.

While I'm not 100% certain it applies to the G2 (I suspect it does), it might also be worthwhile to do the following:

Disconnect 12V battery (-) terminal for 60 seconds.
Reconnect 12V battery (-) terminal
Start and allow car to charge IMA battery at idle until it stops (do not drive it).

Repeat the above up to 3 times until the final charge terminates almost immediately.

The process wipes the car's memory of the state of charge of the battery, forces it to charge it to assess its response and determine state of charge.
 

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Most folks who buy 2nd gen Insights that have sat around just find that the IMA assist is not what it should be. Once driven regularly they seem to come back. Any Hybrid is not a candidate for sitting around. I do think just driving it will fix it.
That said, the only way a Honda dealer can check for software updates is to actually connect the car to the Honda computer in the service area. A simple scan for codes will not do that. Neither will having a service writer run your VIN on their computer.
While the last software update was a recall, there where 3 others, early on, that you had to either beg for or have a very savvy service department that was on your side.
 

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reconditioning and IMA codes

I am local to Bumblebee. Had Eli recondition at ~55k; my reconstructed car sat for months before being purchased at auction. The improvement was immediate but the $600US cost is not cost effective. It seems to me to be a blatant example of forced obsolecsence that these maintenance routines are not built in to the system.

Now at 112k, I saw notably low IMA mileage values over the winter, but with the summer gas it appears to have returned to "normal". The ASST meter definitely indicates it is participating less, at lower values, than when first reconditioned.

At ~99k I got codes that translated to a system short (interpreted by local indie shop Atomic Auto). Honda dealer was ready to do a warranty replacement before national office said I needed to get a 2nd instance of the code, at which time they'd replace no questions asked. Cost me $77 to have them keep a piece of paper attesting to this. Has not happened.

A previous post to this thread describes disconnecting the negative terminal of the starter 12v battery; is this in any way a maintenance routine with any effect similar to a rebalance or recondition?

My main interest is in preventing battery FAILURE. If maintenance procedures do not ensure it, then they are not cost effective, and it's better to decide whether to replace the battery or just get another car...
 

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I am local to Bumblebee. Had Eli recondition at ~55k; my reconstructed car sat for months before being purchased at auction. The improvement was immediate but the $600US cost is not cost effective. It seems to me to be a blatant example of forced obsolecsence that these maintenance routines are not built in to the system.

Now at 112k, I saw notably low IMA mileage values over the winter, but with the summer gas it appears to have returned to "normal". The ASST meter definitely indicates it is participating less, at lower values, than when first reconditioned.

At ~99k I got codes that translated to a system short (interpreted by local indie shop Atomic Auto). Honda dealer was ready to do a warranty replacement before national office said I needed to get a 2nd instance of the code, at which time they'd replace no questions asked. Cost me $77 to have them keep a piece of paper attesting to this. Has not happened.

A previous post to this thread describes disconnecting the negative terminal of the starter 12v battery; is this in any way a maintenance routine with any effect similar to a rebalance or recondition?

My main interest is in preventing battery FAILURE. If maintenance procedures do not ensure it, then they are not cost effective, and it's better to decide whether to replace the battery or just get another car...
For you, your limited understanding, and your black or white logic, that. ^^^
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Update to my original post ...

So far driving it regularly seems to be doing the trick. The IMA light has not come on and the SOC has hovered around the 3/4 mark and has never dipped below 1/2. The assists and charges are predictable - no forced recals. Mileage is in the mid 40s and the car seems to be functioning fine.
 

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Very glad to hear it. You really should build a routine that ensures the car is driven at least 3 times per week.
 
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