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Discussion Starter #1
My 2003 HCH I is on its second battery pack. The first failed 2.5 years ago and Honda replaced it under warranty. But I never got very good mileage with the replacement, so I don't think it was in such great shape either. The IMA light came on again in July, as before with P1600 and P1449 and a blink code for "battery module degradation". 10 days ago charged it from 158V to 172V at somewhere between 300 and 500 mA (it was fluctuating) using an electrophoresis power supply and a home made IPU fan controller. It ran pretty well for about a week, then it had a recall, then a lot, then the IMA came back on. It is recharging again as I write this.

The thing is, the IMA does a lot of odd things, and it was doing them even before the IMA light came back on. The SOC will be most of the way up (down at most 2 or 3 bars), accelerating - and it will show 3 bars worth of charging. Other times the SOC will be down to 2 or 3 bars, and it will give me 5 or 6 bars of boost on acceleration. Today I parked it in the morning with a SOC showing around 7, then 4 hours later when I turned it on the starter motor kicked in and the SOC was down to 2. 5 minutes later on the road it was back up to full, and when I got home in 20 minutes from start up the pack was at 168V. Basically the car is acting like it never quite knows how much charge is in the pack, so what it does, and the SOC it shows, don't quite match. Right after it was charged last time it would charge with all of the green bars, and provides assist to at least 6 blue bars. I never stomped it to see if the boost reading would go all the way up.

I am thinking about trying a discharger next. I have a nice 185 Ohm 250 W metal power resistor to work with, just need to mount that with a fan and power FET or something similar to control it - once I figure out if 1A discharge is too high at the top end. That would be down to about 2/3A at 120V. I'm also thinking about wiring in a "Frankenstein" style switch as a last resort to shut it off should the transistor short.

I think the biggest problem with these packs for me is where I live. It gets really, really hot here. NiMH batteries are not supposed to be stored, let alone used, above 30C, but the air temperature here is often 38C (daytime) for weeks at a time, and in a parked car in the sun it is insanely hot. I try to park it in the shade or in the garage, but it isn't always possible. (Also the inside of my home garage has been as high as 50C on a hot day, so lately I have been leaving it in the driveway with the windows down 1" all the way around. That's about 40C in the cabin but who knows what inside the trunk and battery case.)
 

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Failing IMA

Have you checked your chassis grounds? Their are 3 of them. Don't just look at them, pull on them to see if they fall apart. I had to run an extra ground from the negative terminal of the 12V battery to the engine block.
:)
 

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I think you're seeing positive recals. Do a search for them here and see if the behavior matches what you're seeing. This is a symptom of a pack problem but not as serious as negative recals. Also, your mention of time passing suggests abnormally high voltage when charged by the IMA (due to internal resistance issues) and then the car seeing it drop to a normal resting voltage when it is parked.

The P1449 is a clue. Your battery is failing, and right now you are just getting the symptoms tamed a bit, but not solving the problem. Your positive recals are symptoms as well.


My 2003 HCH I is on its second battery pack. The first failed 2.5 years ago and Honda replaced it under warranty. But I never got very good mileage with the replacement, so I don't think it was in such great shape either. The IMA light came on again in July, as before with P1600 and P1449 and a blink code for "battery module degradation". 10 days ago charged it from 158V to 172V at somewhere between 300 and 500 mA (it was fluctuating) using an electrophoresis power supply and a home made IPU fan controller. It ran pretty well for about a week, then it had a recall, then a lot, then the IMA came back on. It is recharging again as I write this.

The thing is, the IMA does a lot of odd things, and it was doing them even before the IMA light came back on. The SOC will be most of the way up (down at most 2 or 3 bars), accelerating - and it will show 3 bars worth of charging. Other times the SOC will be down to 2 or 3 bars, and it will give me 5 or 6 bars of boost on acceleration. Today I parked it in the morning with a SOC showing around 7, then 4 hours later when I turned it on the starter motor kicked in and the SOC was down to 2. 5 minutes later on the road it was back up to full, and when I got home in 20 minutes from start up the pack was at 168V. Basically the car is acting like it never quite knows how much charge is in the pack, so what it does, and the SOC it shows, don't quite match. Right after it was charged last time it would charge with all of the green bars, and provides assist to at least 6 blue bars. I never stomped it to see if the boost reading would go all the way up.

I am thinking about trying a discharger next. I have a nice 185 Ohm 250 W metal power resistor to work with, just need to mount that with a fan and power FET or something similar to control it - once I figure out if 1A discharge is too high at the top end. That would be down to about 2/3A at 120V. I'm also thinking about wiring in a "Frankenstein" style switch as a last resort to shut it off should the transistor short.

I think the biggest problem with these packs for me is where I live. It gets really, really hot here. NiMH batteries are not supposed to be stored, let alone used, above 30C, but the air temperature here is often 38C (daytime) for weeks at a time, and in a parked car in the sun it is insanely hot. I try to park it in the shade or in the garage, but it isn't always possible. (Also the inside of my home garage has been as high as 50C on a hot day, so lately I have been leaving it in the driveway with the windows down 1" all the way around. That's about 40C in the cabin but who knows what inside the trunk and battery case.)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Same car. It has been limping along with the IMA light on for a long time. I gave up on grid charging since the IMA light always comes on a day or two later. Basically it is now an exercise of driving it into the ground.

Yesterday in a further attempt to shuffle off its mortal coil the car decided that it wasn't going to use the IMA at all. It was fine in the morning but after work, after having sat in the parking garage all day, it started with the starter motor and showed only 1 bar SOC. The red battery light was also on. Revving it up to 1500 RPM turned off the red battery light. Going to 3K didn't start it charging though, the charge/discharge part of the display showed nothing happening, and the SOC didn't budge after 3 minutes at 3K RPM. So I drove it home, being careful to keep it above 1500 RPM to keep the 12V alive, while wondering which junk yard would want the carcass.

This morning the OBDII(blink) codes were P1449( 78 ), P1600( 69 ), and P1570. Voltage on the pack was 144.5 volts. Just for yucks the car was started (it used the starter motor) and then rev'd to 3K RPM. 4 green charge bars appeared, and after a few minutes it picked up another blue SOC charge bar. Different from yesterday, and the only thing that changed was that it sat overnight. Kept that up until it got to 4 SOC bars, then took it for a drive. At first the charge rate wouldn't go above 4 green bars, and it slowly worked up to around 50% SOC. Then suddenly, the SOC jumped all the way to 100% and the charge bars on braking would go all the way to max. Bizarre. Drove it around a bit more and then parked it. Waited two hours and checked the voltage: 157.8V. Will check it again later (it is raining, I have to wait until I can do this dry before breaking out the voltmeter.) Of course the CEL and IMA lights are on. Still, like Lazarus the IMA seems to have risen from the dead. At least temporarily.

The battery mechanics of this are a little puzzling. Can a cell fail open and then recover enough, perhaps by new electrolyte flowing into the region, to allow current to flow?
 

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Have you ever done a "Good Discharge" on the battery, prior to charging?

HTH
Willie
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Have you ever done a "Good Discharge" on the battery, prior to charging?

I'm not sure what you mean by a "good discharge". I tried a long slow deep discharge, then grid charge, and also a long slow deep discharge then drive the car to recharge. The discharge had to be slow because of the fuse in the charger line, right up next to the battery. The difference being the former also takes a long time to slowly charge, whereas the latter charges it to 100% SOC very quickly. A couple of times each. When none of these things would extend the IMA light off interval past a few days I stopped trying.

Voltage down to 154.2V at 16:00 now. Not a good test though because the ambient temperature has been falling. I have to drive it in a little while and will find out then if the IMA keeps playing nicely or resumes playing dead.
 

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Same car. It has been limping along with the IMA light on for a long time. I gave up on grid charging since the IMA light always comes on a day or two later. Basically it is now an exercise of driving it into the ground.

Yesterday in a further attempt to shuffle off its mortal coil the car decided that it wasn't going to use the IMA at all. It was fine in the morning but after work, after having sat in the parking garage all day, it started with the starter motor and showed only 1 bar SOC. The red battery light was also on. Revving it up to 1500 RPM turned off the red battery light. Going to 3K didn't start it charging though, the charge/discharge part of the display showed nothing happening, and the SOC didn't budge after 3 minutes at 3K RPM. So I drove it home, being careful to keep it above 1500 RPM to keep the 12V alive, while wondering which junk yard would want the carcass.

This morning the OBDII(blink) codes were P1449( 78 ), P1600( 69 ), and P1570. Voltage on the pack was 144.5 volts. Just for yucks the car was started (it used the starter motor) and then rev'd to 3K RPM. 4 green charge bars appeared, and after a few minutes it picked up another blue SOC charge bar. Different from yesterday, and the only thing that changed was that it sat overnight. Kept that up until it got to 4 SOC bars, then took it for a drive. At first the charge rate wouldn't go above 4 green bars, and it slowly worked up to around 50% SOC. Then suddenly, the SOC jumped all the way to 100% and the charge bars on braking would go all the way to max. Bizarre. Drove it around a bit more and then parked it. Waited two hours and checked the voltage: 157.8V. Will check it again later (it is raining, I have to wait until I can do this dry before breaking out the voltmeter.) Of course the CEL and IMA lights are on. Still, like Lazarus the IMA seems to have risen from the dead. At least temporarily.

The battery mechanics of this are a little puzzling. Can a cell fail open and then recover enough, perhaps by new electrolyte flowing into the region, to allow current to flow?
You've been very fortunate to have as much function as you've had for as long as you've had with an IMA light.

Never seen a cell fail open. If it failed open, you would have 0V. Shorted cells or cells that have such high self-discharge they might as well be shorted are not at all uncommon.

P1570 means you taps are out of whack, likely due to a truly failed cell. Check your taps at least 30 minutes after parking it, preferably 10 hours after...



Ideally, you want MAX - MIN < 0.2V. >1.2V = dead/shorted cell
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Check your taps at least 30 minutes after parking it, preferably 10 hours after...
Too much of a PITA to take the back seat off just to make a voltage measurement. I don't plan on doing that again until (or if) I replace the battery.

Odd that apparently even Honda cannot read these voltages through their proprietary OBDII extensions. Extra service hours for an IMA status check, courtesy of design by Honda!

Yeah, I know I'm pushing it letting it limp along this long. This car sees almost entirely suburban driving conditions, and the MPG is down only about 10-20% from its peak. Since pack capacity must be absolute crap, and it is doubtless burning joules through self discharge, it suggests that the majority of the efficiency gains in this mild hybrid are in the mildest of mild boost/regen conditions. It is only driven about 6K miles a year, so boosting MPG from ~37 to ~43 MPG (current to best ever results) with a $2000 battery and $3/gallon gas will take about 29 years to become a positive investment. The real tipping point is when the car either becomes undriveable or needs to pass smog to be reregistered. Then the choice is the $2000 battery or buy a new car.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Today the IMA is offline again: 1 bar in SOC and no green or blue bars to indicate activity. It was working OK for the the last 5 days, worked perfectly normally, even when it was turned off yesterday. Strange. Something about sitting for a while seems to let it go into a nonfunctional state. Probably some stick self discharging so much that it gets way out of range. Oddly though holding the RPM at 3K while in Neutral doesn't start it charging. I had thought that was a failsafe, that it would always regen under those conditions.
 

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Your "probably" is better described as "almost certainly".

Did you read codes? There are codes that disable IMA. Force charging will not work when it's disabled. A 12V reset will reset codes and may permit force charging again.

I think it's time to consider full-on bypass.
 

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in message 4, above.



I think I would rather replace the battery. Not much point lugging a dead one around. Or will a bypass let the car work with the battery completely removed from the vehicle?
Concerning message 4, you have had a change in behavior, I would expect a new round of code reading.

IIRC, P1570 is tap disparity related, and a P1449(74) as well.

With bypass, you will no longer be subjected to recalibrations and forced charging. It's very common for bypass to result in improved mileage, so there's a point in lugging an 80# pack around.

There are bypass/removal instructions for the Insight. They might apply.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Threw in the towel on this pack and ordered a replacement from Hybrid Revolt.

Grid charging it turned off the red battery light for a grand total of 4 days. In the "confused" vein, some mornings the car still starts using the IMA rather than the starter. Then a few seconds later the red battery light goes on.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Threw in the towel on this pack and ordered a replacement from Hybrid Revolt.
Installed the new IMA and was treated to an IMA light, a red battery indicator, and these codes:

P1600(69)
P1637(71) (MCM internal circuit malfunction)
P1569(70) (Battery cell temperature signal circuit problem)

Matt recognized that set of codes as a mismatch between the pack (no PTC strips) and the car's software (expecting PTC strips). The old battery and the car both had PC1 triangular stickers. I was instructed to cut the red wire on the white plug (the center one in the group of 3 on the battery, like in the picture here

Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum - EcoModder.com - View Single Post - new IMA battery, recognized by car, but not charging?

) and presto, all was good. Now I'm trying to get used to not seeing the IMA and CELs lit while driving around, which is how it was most of the last year.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So, new pack in the car for, about 19 months now. It has had one grid charge so far, because it was having some recals, when it was just over a year old. That charge went normally, taking a long time for the voltage to saturate. I'm not sure exactly when that happened as it was in the middle of the night, but it was still 2V shy of the top after 9 hours. Saturation was 181V.

Lately it had a couple of recals, so it seemed like it was getting out of balance. On Saturday the weather was nice so a grid charge was started which was expected to go for about 20 hours. SOC was around 50% when the car was turned off. My grid charger has a 30 Ohm drop resistor in it (needed to stabilize the current limit, that is in another thread

http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/51378-electrophoresis-power-supplies-current-limit-accuracy-2.html

), so at 300mA the power supply reads 9V higher than the battery. Turned it on with a current limit of 300mA and a voltage setting of 181V and observed the following:

14:15 168-169 (alternating)
14:48 172
16:00 178
16:30 181
17:30 181
20:00 181
21:05 181

At which point I checked the current on the PS (I can only see V or A, not both) and it was at 0.2A. 0.2 * 30 = 6V, so 181 was 175V on the pack. 181 was where it saturated on the first grid charge too.

From that it looks like most of the pack was actually fully charged, or very near to it, since it saturated in a bit over 2 hours. Never mind the 50% SOC on the display.

Let it sit 24 hours (had other things to do) and started it up and drove around. It still showed 50% SOC. Pulled fuse 9, waited a minute, plugged it back in, reset the code, radio, time, and then drove it around. It shot up from no bars to 100% SOC in a minute or two.

This is a new one for me. Previously my bad packs (This is the 3rd) acted wonky and then charged like they were empty, or very nearly so. This pack seems to have entered a state where it confused the SOC calculation to the point that only a reinitialization got it out. This pack is the "8AH" variant, which is more capacity than the original. Perhaps the extra capacity can do this? Now I'm wondering if the reinitialization alone might have been good enough.
 

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I'm not sure what your problem is, the charging behavior or the reset. I'll let somebody else comment on the charging.

The reset is perfectly normal. You changed the battery and the car didn't know about it. The reset forces the car to calculate the current SOC. That's why you do it.

Resetting does nothing for the battery. This will reset codes and turn off the IMA light, but it doesn't fix anything. That's why we grid charge.

It's a lot easier to pull Fuse #16 under the hood than crawling under the dash.

Edit: I just realized this is an HCH1. I don't know the fuse numbers on that one.

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The reset is perfectly normal. You changed the battery and the car didn't know about it. The reset forces the car to calculate the current SOC. That's why you do it.
Exactly, that is why I did it.

The odd part was that before the grid charge the SOC was around 50%, but it clearly wasn't because the grid charge was so fast. 2 hours at 300 mA is 600mAH, but the battery is nominally 8000mAH, so it was 7400/8000 =~ 92% full. However the SOC shown before grid charging was around 50%. 4000mAH
at 300mA/H should have taken over 13 hours to fill.

In short, the wide discrepancy between the actual SOC and the displayed SOC is what is new. I'm wondering if perhaps because the car is expecting a 6500 AH battery but actually has an 8000AH one it accumulates SOC errors until it is way off. The problem with that theory is that the recals I observed should have resolved that, but perhaps they are not entirely equivalent to a full reinitialization?
 

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Maybe it's like the G1 ONLY WORKING IN THE 20-80% range.(Per the dash gauge)
 
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