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I purchased a First Gen MT Honda Insight with a Hybrid Revolt battery that had been purchased on 9-25-2013, and the IMA battery light come on 3 months prior to the warranty expiring, so I contacted Matt, and he sent me a replacement. I asked him if the replacement was of the same quality as the ones normally sold, and he said "Since we don’t have many failures we just replace them with a new pack. Since you are out of warranty the replacement will have 90 days."

I had to pay for the shipping, but I thought that was justifiable, given that this time I thought I was getting a reliable battery into my car. However, only 13 months after receiving the replacement, the dreaded IMA battery light came on again.

I tried to contact Matt immediately through Hybrid Revolt's website phone number and left voicemail, messaged through email and site form, but I haven't heard back from him yet. I even purchased a Prolong Charger & Discharger to see if battery could come back to life, but although I can usually get a few days of city driving use before the IMA light comes on, I have to recondition (3 full charge and deep discharge cycles) the battery weekly and plug into the charger a couple times a week to keep it going, but after 7 months that's taken away my enjoyment of having this car.

So, my questions are:

1) Are Hybrid Revolt batteries expected to last only one to two years? Does it seem likely that I received a rare bad and then an even worse apple?
2) Do you guys believe I was intentionally sent a lesser quality replacement with reconditioned cells, since the warranty was only given for 30 days?
 

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technically your first lasted 3 years and the replacement lasted a year so you got 4 years of battery life that cost you the additional shipping cost.

i know that batteries cost a LOT, but these seem to be rather normal figures for aftermarket batteries. it is also why so many G1 owners have reserved themseles to just grid charging their cars periodically. it's actually less headache in the long run and definitely cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Lyger, the first one lasted 21 months and the replacement, 13. If you add those numbers you get 34 months, which is 2 months shy of 3 years. Is that how long the Hybrid Revolt pack should last?
 

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then has your car been sitting for long periods of time? because you said the initial battery was bought in september of 2013. that counts to 4 years to me, maybe 3 and a half if you count wait time and shipping, so there's almost a year missing in there.
 

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No. I reported the IMA light immediately and Matt told me it could be some recalibration issue. I followed his advice below:

1. Disconnect the 12 volt battery for 1 minute then reconnect it (negative cable only is fine).
2. Start the car and let it idle, you will notice 4 bars of charge on the "CHRG/ASST" gauge.
3. Monitor the charge gauge, as soon as the 4 bars of charge disappear, increase the RPM to between 3200 and 3500 RPM - the 4 bars of charge may return.
4. Hold the RPM at 3200 until the 4 bars of charge disappear again – if you drop below 3000RPM the charge will disappear, so keep the RPM between 3200 and 3500.
5. Once there are no longer any bars of charge with the RPM between 3200 and 3500, return to idle and wait for the IMA battery gauge to climb to full. Once the gauge is full, the calibration is complete.

And kept on repeating this procedure for a few months, until eventually the check engine light came on. I messaged him and didn't get a response for a while, and was almost giving up, but then eventually tried again and was able to get a hold of him, and it was great that he actually honored the date I first messaged him. I am grateful for that. I received the replacement in October 2015, which lasted until mid December 2016. The car's never been sitting while in my possession, though, and it used to be the previous owner's daily driver too when I got it.
 

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well, in all honesty i think all the aftermarket suppliers will never be able to offer as good of a pack as the original honda packs were. the biggest issue is how the car itself charges the pack and treats it, pushing it until it virtually sais to shut the thing off completely instead of even attempting to balance itself. i'd rather have the car do its own calibration for a day or 2 than to have it sit in my driveway, or having to play circus of unplugging the charger and flapping the switch and vice versa every time i need to go somewhere.

the aftermarket sticks just aren't as good of quality as the panasonic ones, and they're going into older cars where the wiring isn't as good anymore or the engines aren't in proper tune and taxing the battery more. there is also climate variables too and heat to deal with and humidity and moisture. the construction even from a glance of these better battery sticks just makes me cringe a little, even if they do work, somewhat. even the nickel plating on them is so thin that you can accidentally scrape it off easily, exposing a mild steel base shell.

i think it sucks that your replacement only lasted a year, but the biggest issue is the car and its engineering. these cars almost need a grid charger to survive anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I really didn't know that the original Panasonic sticks were far superior, so thank you for shedding light into that. If I don't sell the car soon I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and go for a BumbleBee instead.
 

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I don't have an iron in the fire (no HV battery in my car) but looking in from the outside, shouldn't the advice to buy a new battery from one of the aftermarket suppliers be more carefully couched?

Mostly I read here when someone's battery is stuffed "Buy a new battery from XYZ supplier - they are great people and you'll be really happy."

People here know a lot more about this topic than I do, but shouldn't this advice come with caveats - eg need for grid charging, shorter life in hotter climates, probably shorter life than original Honda battery, etc?

I am thinking that if enough people have real life bad experiences with replacement batteries, and then share those experiences (not necessarily here), the notion will quickly spread that when the HV battery is stuffed, the car should be thrown away because no HV battery replacements are any good.
 

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i think more and more people are just nursing their batteries along until they are totally shot or converting to gas only mode.

both of those aren't ideal and leaves out those who want a maintenance free car, there is other negatives to consider as well. however this car isn't really the maintenance free type, the cost of batteries quickly diminishes the point of owning the car aside from it merely looking different than most other cars on the road.

the batteries on both my G1s quit within 3 months of me buying them, but i still had to drive the cars every day so there is always a way, and that is one good thing about having the ICE, unfortunately the car just doesn't drive well without the boost.

the panasonic batteries were better, "were" being the key word. they haven't been manufactured for years so even the short lived aftermarket batteries are probably on par with the honda remans.


even if the money werent an issue, i still think i'd find alternatives to the battery issue before bothering with replacing it. unfortunately the cost of the packs just makes no sense, and it reflects in the values of these cars dropping to rock bottom. my common sense always keeps me from making bad monetary investments.
 

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The 'aftermarket' batteries really haven't been around long enough to know how good or bad they are. We're just now at about the 5 year mark since the first 'betterbattery' packs were sold. It seems like there's been more and more reports at IC lately, like over the last 1/2 year, 1 year, of failing aftermarket packs... So, to me it seems like we're just now starting to see how long aftermarket packs last...

I agree with Lyger, though, that the build quality of the aftermarket sticks is pretty shoddy, definitely so compared to an original Panasonic. I just noted the other day in another thread, how I've had an aftermarket 'betterbattery' stick sitting on the shelf in a box in my bedroom for a while - and how it's now got rust specs and streaks on most of the cells. The 'cans' aren't stainless steel; they look like zinc coated, Lyger said nickel coated above... A lot of the end caps are crooked. They don't have the extra large spacers between cells 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 like the OEMs (which appear to be a safety feature, raising the cells away from the stick slots in the pack, or possibly just raising them away from whatever surface they rest upon). The end nuts are cheap/chinsy and don't fit as snuggly/precisely in the end plates/against the busbars as OEM... etc etc...

Anyway, I'd say the lifespan of an aftermarket pack is looking something like 5 years. The warranties I believe are typically 3 years. A lot will depend on how the pack is used though, such as climate/temp, how often you drive, maybe how hard you use the pack and whether you drive mostly at night (lots of background charging/small capacity window being used)... It shouldn't be like that, but what can you do?. Personally, I'd never pay the asking prices for aftermarket packs. If there were a 5 year warranty, then maybe it'd be worth it. Otherwise, $2000-2500 for 3 years of battery? Just doesn't seem like a good deal...
 

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That all sounds good and reasonable - can we make sure that we tell people all of that, those who are seeking a replacement HV battery?

I think that a balance is needed here. Those vendors providing a replacement battery service do the community a valuable favour, but the purchasers need to have their eyes wide open as to what they are buying.
 

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If there were a 5 year warranty, then maybe it'd be worth it. Otherwise, $2000-2500 for 3 years of battery? Just doesn't seem like a good deal...
I like everybody else, would want my replacement battery to last as long as possible. Something like 10 years would be awesome. However, I will add to the quoted comment, above, that it is also dependent on mileage put on that pack. For me personally, I would put almost 55,000 miles on my car in three years time. That puts the repair cost at about 4.5 cents per mile, assuming that battery did last three years. That isn't very bad. Others drive their cars in different ways, of course.

Hybrid Revolt seems significantly cheaper than Bumblebee. Has anybody compared the build quality of the two dealers? Also, are we getting similar reports of Bumblebee failures? (Still on my replacement Honda-supplied battery from 2007. But watching this thready closely.)

Thanks.
 

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Obviously quality and specs of cells are important.
Please correct me if I am wrong. From what I have seen in real life and from what I have read on the forum, I am inclined to conclude that driving style is the most important factor in battery life span.

Some people, especially CVT drivers, lack the patience to deal with the initial lag of the transmission and tend to put their foot on the floor every time they want to accelerate.

I don't know about the OP, but I have seen that the heavy foot mostly kills batteries very fast.
 

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so does using all the accessories. i find that simply using the a/c blower motor on high tends to blow through the IMA charge in no time versus having it on low or off. every cycle of the charge of the battery is 1 cycle closer to unbalancing the pack.
 

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OEM quality sticks

Years ago, uhtrinity showed us how to make an Insight pack using high quality sticks from a Ford Escape pack. Maybe it is time to revisit the idea of adapting these plentiful/cheap/excellent sticks to the Insight.
 

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i don't know about cheap, the only ones i came up with were $1k for some 12 year old used battery banks.
 

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Years ago, uhtrinity showed us how to make an Insight pack using high quality sticks from a Ford Escape pack. Maybe it is time to revisit the idea of adapting these plentiful/cheap/excellent sticks to the Insight.
Here's the link to that thread by uhtrinity, titled: "Ford Escape Battery Project"
http://www.insightcentral.net/forums/modifications-technical-issues/20450-ford-escape-battery-project.html#post201976
The pictures still work and fwiw: can be seen that a nasty rodent had made a home in the donor battery!
 

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2007 Honda Civic Hybrid (Same issue and contact get ahold of Matt)

I'm in the same boat. I bought from Matt with Hybrid Revolt back in October of 2013 and I had almost the same exact thing happen with my battery verbatim with my 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid. The first one got me within a month of my 2 year warranty with less than $50K in mileage and the second is going out now with about the same amount of mileage only 18 months into the battery. Now Matt isn't answering my phone calls, emails, or messages on the website.. Today's date is 08/02/2017

Unreal.
 

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So, I'm brand new to this forum. I'm only here because of my sudden interest in MPG. I've been researching the Prius for hours and hours, but suddenly a 2002 Insight with only 90k miles on it popped up in facebook marketplace near me for only $2500. I thought it was TOO good to be true. Long story short, my OBD reader indicated bad hybrid battery. Which led me to this forum. I must put in my two cents on any business that sells a "refurbished" battery pack. In my research on the Prius, I learned that "refurbished" only means that the individual cells tested good. There's no real way to learn how long lasting a used individual stick/cell is before it fails. So even though you may have all good sticks in the battery pack; they are all used, and any one of them can fail at any time. We're playing hammer the mole here with this. That's why "remanufactured" cells are a financial lose-lose. Many of these companies only warranty for 1-3yrs at most. It makes sense that they know these used sticks will all go bad eventually. Buying a refurbished pack is only hoping that one of the cells won't go dead faster than any of the others, but this is hopeless. I do see that there are a couple individuals who are taking on the task of building completely new battery packs for the Prius without using used cells which is amazing. It would take someone like that do do the insight battery pack where you'll get another 8-10yrs out of it. It's a shame really how the manufactured batteries business work. I want to buy this car, but not while lacking cheaper options for battery packs. Hmm. Sorry I can't offer a solution, but just an awareness.
 
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