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Discussion Starter #1
Hey!

I purchased a 2000 Honda Insight from a family friend, she'd replaced the battery in 2010. But, today the IMA light came and my mechanic said it read 1447, battery deteriorating code :(

I don't want to fork over the $3000 for a new battery and am wondering if the grid charger will work.

Thoughts?

Also, how do you charge the grid charger? I've been unable to tell how it actually get the power to power the battery.

Thank you!
 

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Hey!

I purchased a 2000 Honda Insight from a family friend, she'd replaced the battery in 2010. But, today the IMA light came and my mechanic said it read 1447, battery deteriorating code :(

I don't want to fork over the $3000 for a new battery and am wondering if the grid charger will work.

Thoughts?

Also, how do you charge the grid charger? I've been unable to tell how it actually get the power to power the battery.

Thank you!
The code says that the battery is in trouble. Your mechanic is correct.

A grid charger could buy you some time, a year or two at best.

The charger gets hooked up to the the IMA battery and the battery fan through a wiring harness which is usually purchased with the charger. There are decent chargers for around $400. See this site:

Hybrid Automotive - Grid Charger - Hybrid Battery Rebalancer

Some folks build their own chargers using a design from www.99mpg which is open source. In all cases, the charger is plugged into an regular household socket or an extension cord.

The $3000 price you quote is probably from Honda. DO NOT buy a replacement battery from them. Their packs are simply reconditioned packs using salvage parts from other packs which have been turned in at repair. There are several suppliers of new batteries, made in China, which have much better promise.

Go to "User CP" above and edit your profile to provide your city. That way, someone might be found who can help steer you correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Jime,

Thanks for the advice. Question, how does the grid charger charge? Do you have to plug it in to an outlet and then your IMA battery pack?
 

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Jime,

Thanks for the advice. Question, how does the grid charger charge? Do you have to plug it in to an outlet and then your IMA battery pack?
Yes, you have the idea correct. But the battery is enclosed in a large aluminum box in the back, under the carpet. In order to effectively use the charger, and to be able to disconnect it, the harness I spoke of must be installed within the box, and get attached to some electrical connections. Then the connector end of the harness is routed outside the box so that the charger can be conveniently connected and disconnected.

Don't forget to edit your location:)
 

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I am in Los Angeles, thought I'd updated my profile.

I understand that the grid charger has to be connected to IMA battery, which involves removing the carpet and metal enclosure. What I don't understand is how the grid charger get its charge, so that it can power up the IMA battery. From photos I've seen, it looks like the grid charger sits in the trunk and connects to the IMA battery through various cords (I'm assuming these are the harness you are referring to).
 

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OK, now I see that you are somewhere in the LA area. Hybridautomotive that I referenced earlier is in LA area - Covina I believe. The owner Jeff is a regular on here, manufactures and installs the charger. I'd get in touch with him if I were in your shoes. He has a great reputation here on the forum, and he loves the cars.

Incidently, there are lots of FAQ and some illuminating pictures on his site. Good luck.
 

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I understand that the grid charger has to be connected to IMA battery, which involves removing the carpet and metal enclosure. What I don't understand is how the grid charger get its charge, so that it can power up the IMA battery. From photos I've seen, it looks like the grid charger sits in the trunk and connects to the IMA battery through various cords (I'm assuming these are the harness you are referring to).
Yes, you are pretty much spot on. There is one cord which goes through the enclosure to the inside for the IMA hookup points. The other cable shown is just hooked to a household outlet. It takes the charger about 14 hours approximately to do a grid charge, or over a long weekend night.

Explore the FAQ's that are exhibited on the site. You will learn a lot from those.:)
 

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I was wrong about Jeff's location. He is in San Jose, so a bit of a drive. You could still order the charger from him and find someone locally to install it. Now that your general location is known, perhaps we'll find someone who has installed on of the chargers. I'd still put in a call to him.
 

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Hybrid automotive is in San Jose.

I'm in Covina, give me a call tomorrow 909-605-3810. I have Hybridautomotive's products in stock.

Scott
 

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Well, there you are. klr3cyl (or Scott) is a first rate mechanic and a great guy. Spent time watching him rebuild a Insight transmission up at the New England meet this summer. You couldn't be in better hands:)

See how valuable IC can be!
 

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A grid charge has breathed new life into my HCH2 with a few 1447 codes and IMA lights ('06 - 8 years of AZ heat). I still get a recal as much as once per trip after the car sits for a few hours or the temperature changes significantly (30°F change from evening to morning here in AZ). But I just parked it from mostly surface street driving, and it's sitting at 56.5mpg for the last 50 miles.

You can also build your own using Mike's plans at 99mpg.com:

http://99mpg.com/ProjectCars/mimapackwhack/

Located about 3/4 the way to the bottom of the page.

I built it for $84.05 including shipping. I had an old computer power supply cable for input and I cut an old 3-prong extension cord in half to connect it to the battery.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I guess the problem might be plugging the grid charger in, not the easiest thing to do when you live in an apartment. How long do they need to be plugged in?
 

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I guess the problem might be plugging the grid charger in, not the easiest thing to do when you live in an apartment. How long do they need to be plugged in?
If you start balance-charging with a nearly full battery pack, you should be able to complete the balancing phase easily within 15 hours. You can force the engine to charge the battery pack by holding it at greater than 3,000 RPM until the charge level gauge indicates full.

Living in an apartment, I know that this could be difficult. Fortunately, our Swedish apartment parking space includes an electrical outlet, so I can balance-charge here. But when our Insight was at our Honolulu apartment, I was unable to balance-charge due to no electrical outlet in our parking space. There was an electrical outlet in the parking garage where I could have parked long enough to balance-charge, but the condo manager wouldn't allow me to use this outlet even though I offered to pay for the paltry amount of electricity used (<$2, in my case). Maybe you could find an outlet that your manager would allow you to use occasionally.
 

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faye:

Welcome. Sorry to hear you're having troubles with your mpg gem.

Jime (Jim), KLR3CYL (Scott), and aisbell (Art) are highly respected members and Insight owners who have given great advice. Give Scott a call, not only is he an expert Insight mechanic, he is a genuinely decent and honest person. Many of us here have personally met and worked with Scott, including myself.

Jim posted a link to HybridAutomotive , Jeff652 (Jeff). He makes grid chargers and now has a discharge set up as well. I purchased my grid charger from him a couple years ago.

Your 1447 code is the same code I had on my red cvt. With the use of a grid charger (and later a discharger) I was able to nurse my ailing pack to useable health for another 20k miles. After 2 years, I decided to use my fuel savings to purchase a new pack from a vendor here on IC.

Here is a link to a spread sheet with dtc codes.

The 1447 is one of the earlier codes indicating an 'out of balance' battery pack. In many, many cases, grid charging is very helpful. Left alone, the condition will worsen and the 1449 code will follow, which indicates a more severe issue.

The grid charger is an invaluable piece of battery pack maintenance equipment. A lot of Insight owners here on IC own them, also including myself.

You currently have many options, and experts nearby.

Post a pic of your G1, we like drooling on other peoples cars. :D

Good luck,
 

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I guess the problem might be plugging the grid charger in, not the easiest thing to do when you live in an apartment. How long do they need to be plugged in?
Maybe you have a friend who has better electrical access who whould "loan" you an outlet four times/year? The electrical cost is very small.
 

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Many many thanks to all the response, beyond helpful and really helping to calm my stress about this.

It's great to hear that 1447 is the "starter" bad code. I am still able to get a full charge on my battery. If I use the grid charger, will the IMA light eventually go off? It's good to hear it only needs to happen a few times a year. Sounds like it takes about 15 hours.

What is "discharging" the battery?

Venice Hybrid Tech is just down the street from me. Raj seems to have positive reviews and was really helpful on the phone. Since he is so close I thought I would head there.

Thanks!
 

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Raj has been helpful to me as well. If he's local, I would encourage you to go that route.

A successful grid charge will clear the codes and cause the IMA light to go out provided the cause was the pack, and it soundss like that's the case for you.

Discharging has multiple meanings. If you are saying it in the context of something "discharging" the battery causing this problem, that's not accurate. Your issue is likely a result of one or more of the 120 "D" cell batteries in your pack is out of sync with the others, or more realistically, they are all out of sync with each other resulting in the "best" cell causing the battery to indicate "I'm fully charged" while the "worst" cell is causing the battery to indicate "recharge me". This causes the car to think the battery has lost a lot of capacity.

A grid charge forcibly pumps all cells up to their maximum at a very low charge rate that minimizes the possibility of damage. Due to the possibility that marginal cells might be near empty even when the car thinks it's fully charged, I would budget in excess of 20 hours to insure all cells are fully charged. You know you're there when the cells are comfortably warm to the touch.

"Discharge" in the "grid charging" context indicates manually discharging the pack via a feature of the grid charger or an external load (incandescent light bulbs, halogen work lamp, etc.) to 1V/cell in an effort to improve the performance of the marginal cells and thus expand capacity.

I hope that answers your question.

Steve
 

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faye:

Take some time and read the info Jeff posts about grid charging and his discharge feature. Even if you don't choose to use his product, the information is very helpful for the Insight owner considering such maintenance.
Here is a link to his site, and 'Grid Charger' section.

Grid charging is good maintenance widely accepted in the community. As noted above, it forces charge to all 120 cells (arranged in 20 'sticks' of 6). The pack cooling fan MUST run during this operation to prevent overheating the pack. Most grid charger set ups will cause the fan to run.

When beginning a charge, many will record a voltage anywhere from 150 to 160+ volts. Once the pack rises to 'peak voltage', and that varies with every single pack, the sticks or cells that are weak or lag behind others will begin reach their full charge. Typical peak voltage is around 172 volts, but that depends on many conditions and varies some with each pack. Periodic monitoring (I record voltage each hour) will determine when you reach peak voltage. This can take as long as 18 hours or so.

Once a 'plateau' is observed (and it may vary a volt or so), it is assumed 'peak' has been reached and the 'balancing' phase begins. There is much discussion and widely varying opinion on this, but typically about 3 or 4 hours of 'balancing' is sufficient for lagging cells to reach full charge. 'Balancing' is the benefit of grid charging and describes very closely what this does for the pack. A balanced pack has more 'capacity', performs better, and in the long run adds to the cars efficiency.

As beneficial as grid charging is, it only part of the maintenance. Discharging is the other part. This is also a widely debated topic, but many have reported beneficial effects on their pack. Here is a link to a thread that many very experienced people contributed to regarding 'deep' discharging.

Discharging helps to minimize or erase the 'memory' effect that occurs in the cells. After charging to a given peak voltage, the discharge equipment will cause a slow and controlled depletion of the battery down to a target voltage, followed by another grid charge. This is repeated a couple times in an effort to 'recondition' the battery. Similar to using portable tools to a point the battery becomes weak before placing the tool back on the charger.

Some owners report long term benefits and continue operating their 'tired' pack for a long time and many miles. Some have reported progressing symptoms and eventual failure of their pack.

A symptom to be alert for is an IMA light with loss of assist and regen. This is typical indication of the P1449 code which has 4 sub-codes and indicates further deterioration of the pack. Should this occur, you are driving on what's left of the 12v battery and you are likely to be stranded along side the road.

My apology for the length,
good luck,
 

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Hybrid automotive is in San Jose.

I'm in Covina, give me a call tomorrow 909-605-3810. I have Hybridautomotive's products in stock.

Scott
Scott is a good friend and authorized reseller/installer of our products. I am sure he could arrange to charge & balance your pack every now and then when he changes an oil change for you ;-).

Be careful who you choose to get your charger from. Raj does not understand what he sells, he still thinks IMA battery cooling capabilities are not needed. Without proper IMA/IPU fan controls, a grid charger can easily overheat and destroy your IMA battery. Avoid cheap chargers that do not have this critical capability. He also has repeatedly plagiarized my website even after I have asked him not to. This is very disappointing for me.

Hope we can help keep your Insight running strong. :)
 
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