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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I've owned my 2000 Insight since about 2006. I've never used a grid charger, but I think it's time. My IMA and check engine light are on. I'm trying to avoid replacing the battery again. This time after only 3.5 years.

I've looked at the sticky with threads about IMAs and grid chargers, but am still looking for recommendations on where to buy a grid charger from so that I can 1) attempt to recondition the battery and 2) test voltages of each stick.

I spoke to Raj at Venice Hybrid Tech. He sounded like he knows what he's talking about. From his web description, he seems to have a decent product.

Thoughts, recommendations on grid chargers? Reliability, relative ease of use are my preferences. I don't want go cutting into wires on the Insight. I don't mind removing the battery pack. I'd like to be able to plug it in and keep the charge topped off as appropriate.

Thanks!
 

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Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT buy the grid charger product from Venice Hybrid Tech. It is a spectacularly unsafe, cheap piece of garbage. I've been meaning to post about this for a while, but too busy and/or forgot.

Problem #1: Venice Hybrid Tech's piece of crap doesn't run, and has no provision to run, the pack cooling fan.

Problem #2: It's wildly unsafe. In this picture, you are looking at full pack voltage! across those two exposed pins.
White Wood Gesture Grey Finger


Electrical wiring Gadget Cable Electronic component Gas

(Pictures are from a G2 Insight, but the negligent design is the same on a G1.)

Also this is so cheap that if you want the voltage display to work, you have to plug in a 9V battery.

I've run into this disgraceful Venice Hybrid Tech grid charger twice on customer cars now and it is shockingly bad.
 

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I have never seen a Venice Hybrid charger in person, but I trust @Bull Dog's analysis. Looking at the two pictures he posted, there are some obvious safety issues, particularly for a cable that is left exposed after installation. I'll note that the HVDC cable he's using is only rated for low voltage.

There are good grid chargers out there, I've just never used any commercial offering, hence I don't have a recommendation.
 

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A LOT of Insighters are using these.
I built mine years ago before the chargers were available out of a transformer.(reverse engineering)
 

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RB batteries is the company I go on about these days. It has a built in charge and discharger and is fully programmable via a touch screen. You just plug it in, set minimum voltages on the discharge cycles, select the number of cycles you want, and let it do it's thing.
 
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A LOT of Insighters are using these.
I built mine years ago before the chargers were available out of a transformer.(reverse engineering)
After I bought my 2003 in 2018 I bought a Prolong charger because Prolong is a supporter of Insight Central. I have been very happy with the Prolong charger. My IMA battery has acted up every 6 to 9 months. After three repeated deep discharge cycles as recommended by Prolong it has been back to "normal". Achieving a deep discharge is labor intensive, more so when you do it three times. I am seriously considering buying a Prolong discharger, but I'm retired and the balance between my time and my money is difficult to determine. Consider buying a Prolong charger / discharger package if you think you will keep the car for another 3 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
After I bought my 2003 in 2018 I bought a Prolong charger because Prolong is a supporter of Insight Central. I have been very happy with the Prolong charger. My IMA battery has acted up every 6 to 9 months. After three repeated deep discharge cycles as recommended by Prolong it has been back to "normal". Achieving a deep discharge is labor intensive, more so when you do it three times. I am seriously considering buying a Prolong discharger, but I'm retired and the balance between my time and my money is difficult to determine. Consider buying a Prolong charger / discharger package if you think you will keep the car for another 3 years.
Thanks for this feedback! I was about to pull the trigger on their charge / discharge set, but they're out of the discharger until July or so.

I've got the RB batteries set up on the way. I'll likely pick up the Prolong set for our 2007 Prius we inherited.

(The P word isn't a bad word around here, is it?)
 

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Thanks for this feedback! I was about to pull the trigger on their charge / discharge set, but they're out of the discharger until July or so.

I've got the RB batteries set up on the way. I'll likely pick up the Prolong set for our 2007 Prius we inherited.

(The P word isn't a bad word around here, is it?)
You will be very happy with the RB batteries setup. The fact it automates the charge/discharge cycle is the reason I bought one, despite having a hybrid automotive charger at the time. I recently made an adapter harness to charge hybrid automotive cable equipped vehicles with my RB batteries charger, so I gave the Hybrid automotive one away.

Also, about the Prius comment. They are great cars, and here is how I feel about them.

The Prius is more like an Apple product. If you want something you can get in, drive it how you want, and still get good mileage, then they are for you. They are simple and just kinda do their thing.

The insight is more like an Android product. You get more freedom with how you do it, and you can customize more how you drive to get more economy. However they are more a tinker-ers car to get the best out of it. Just like an Android. One is not necessarily superior to the other, and they both do what they do very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You will be very happy with the RB batteries setup. The fact it automates the charge/discharge cycle is the reason I bought one, despite having a hybrid automotive charger at the time. I recently made an adapter harness to charge hybrid automotive cable equipped vehicles with my RB batteries charger, so I gave the Hybrid automotive one away.

Also, about the Prius comment. They are great cars, and here is how I feel about them.

The Prius is more like an Apple product. If you want something you can get in, drive it how you want, and still get good mileage, then they are for you. They are simple and just kinda do their thing.

The insight is more like an Android product. You get more freedom with how you do it, and you can customize more how you drive to get more economy. However they are more a tinker-ers car to get the best out of it. Just like an Android. One is not necessarily superior to the other, and they both do what they do very well.
I had my Gen 1 Insight (bought him used in 2006) long before I had a smart phone. Coincidentally I'm more of an Android guy, and as it turns out I link to tinker. Sounds like I fit that mold. :) I've left the Insight stock, except for a sound system. The grid charger will be the first "tinkering" that I've really done with the Insight, and it's a pretty minor task at that.

My Prius comment was somewhat tongue in cheek, but I'm glad to know that they're not outlawed here. ;-)
 

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Thanks for this feedback! I was about to pull the trigger on their charge / discharge set, but they're out of the discharger until July or so.

I've got the RB batteries set up on the way. I'll likely pick up the Prolong set for our 2007 Prius we inherited.

(The P word isn't a bad word around here, is it?)
I did not read about the RB batteries unit on Insight Central back in 2018 when I bought my Prolong unit. (Maybe I missed it.) I got my Prolong unit with the manual discharge option, i.e. a light bulb socket and a DVM. Manual discharge is very tricky because all of a sudden you are at the minimum safe voltage so you need to watch it every 15 - 20 minutes when it gets close. As I wrote earlier, I was considering buying a Prolong [automatic] discharger. You wrote that it is not available until July. The price is $ 299 so the RB batteries unit that charges and discharges automatically at $ 395 is the way to go, assuming it works which seems to be the case based on other IC posts.
 
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