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Discussion Starter #1
The IMA light came on last week, and the dealer says the code is P1449 (deteriorating battery). The car is NOT under warranty because of an accident a couple years ago (salvage title), although the accident did not damage the battery. Honda Customer Care has confirmed that I'm out of luck on any warranty.

Right now, it seems to be driving fine - I'm getting as much acceleration as usual and mpg is fine. But the dash lights are not reading, so I can't monitor charge/assist or battery charge level. (I know it's not discharged, because the car gets very sluggish then.)

So - what next? I am looking for a salvage battery, but it may be a while. Is there any chance that the code means something other than a bad battery or module?

I've seen people on the forums talk about disconnecting the 12V to reset the dash. Will that at least allow me to monitor the battery? What in particular do I need to be watching for, other than the 12V going dead?
 

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I have been driving for 15k miles with NO IMA and NO PROBLEMS.

I guess it's just a matter of acceptance....
 

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Yes trunkout you keep posting that and I am happy for you. But your reply is NOT on point to failing batteries since your IMA failure is a different component.

Once your batteries reach the "failure" point you too will NOT be able to drive since you'll be in 12v discharge without power for the ignition system etc.

To briefly summarize; With battery failure codes an Insight _will_ ultimately reach the point of insufficient current to keep the 12v system charged.

Days of driving remaining :?: Most certainly :!: :D
Weeks :?: Possibly. :)
Months :?: Not likely. :|
Years :?: :doubt:

See the other recent threads for the rest of the details.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks and update

Well, I did read the various threads on IMA failure, and ended up disconnecting the 12V to reset everything. (The dealer did not even bother to get the display up again for me.)

Thank you all who post here for this information!

Right now, the car is doing fine. It seems to be doing charge/assist as usual. I did remove the radiator block, just to be on the safe side, and so my mpg is rather low now (cold weather low, not different from 3 months ago).

The dealer 3 hours away who specializes in hybrids is on the lookout for a used battery pack for me. (This in contrast to the local dealer, whose service people were unable to answer the most basic questions, and basically treat hybrids as weird creatures that should never stain their service bays.)
In the meantime, I'll just keep driving. I'm an ex-EV driver (ComutaCar), so I'm already trained to not expect acceleration or high speeds. It may annoy the others on the freeway, but too bad.

But as I said, it's driving normally. Unlike others with problem batteries, I've never experienced a recal in the year I've owned it. I do wonder if driving through the big puddles of snow melt last week had something to do with its crisis.
 

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Re: Thanks and update

LJF said:
The dealer 3 hours away who specializes in hybrids is on the lookout for a used battery pack for me.

<snip>

In the meantime, I'll just keep driving. I'm an ex-EV driver (ComutaCar), so I'm already trained to not expect acceleration or high speeds. It may annoy the others on the freeway, but too bad.

<snip>

I do wonder if driving through the big puddles of snow melt last week had something to do with its crisis.
As an ex-EV'r I shouldn't have to brief you on the pitfalls of used batteries, but you'd better watch the cost / mile of a used pack vs. new. Nor should I have to note that neither the radiator block or big puddles have any effect either.

_Truly_ failing batteries will re-code in a matter of days / weeks after a reset. I wish you the best in this regard.

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
New battery on order

Well, I did opt for the new battery pack (~$5000 - ouch!), and will get that installed later this week. The new battery makes this a $13,000 used car instead of a $8,000 used car. I'm not overly pleased, but it's in the ballpark of what is out there for sale.

On the curious side:
The first time the IMA light went on, I lost my charge/assist display and the SOC read full. After resetting, the displays came back.

Today, the IMA light came on again, but I kept all the displays. (It was charging/assisting, but the charging was definitely slow.)

Bought AAA membership today. If it conks out on the way to the dealer (125 miles), at least I can get it towed in.
 

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What no member has yet pursued is an IMA battery pack alone - sans updated controllers. Should be closer to $2500 installed.

But as you may know from reading in here the updated controllers are designed to further extend the IMA batteries life so it may be a foolish choice. Depending on the many specifics of temperature, traffic and terrain in your location the additional controllers may be a low cost / benefit ratio.

Just $2500 or so difference in cost for thought. ;)

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's certainly worth considering. But I suspect that I need the updated controllers more than I need the battery, given the way it's been acting, and the way other people have described their (normal) operation. And there's the extreme environment around here, too - yearly temp ranges from +100 to -20 are pretty standard. :?

Given the gas savings of the Insight over my Escort wagon, I'll have to drive it for another 10 years to make the battery replacement pay off. But it's more fun to drive, so I'm likely to do it. By then, there should be some used Insight 2's in the affordable range. ;)
 

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Hi LJF!

Sorry to hear about the demise of your battery! For an ex-EV'er there might be other options to extend the life of a battery declared dead by Honda's computers...
Using grid-charging and MIMA, one can bypass much of Hondas overly protective logic and still get a reasonable charge out of a battery that will post IMA codes if run with the stock IMA controls.

I've been running a dead battery from dfiore of this board. It had 200k miles before I got it. With the investment of some sweat and a lot of time, this comes cheaper than the new Honda battery...

But if you are getting a new battery, you might want to consider donating the old one to science. I'm sure there are a bunch of people interested, but Mike Dabrowski, inventor of MIMA, third wheel and other goodies, would probably be able to make best use of it for the benefit of the Insight community.

Good Luck with the resurrection of your Insight!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks. I still don't know if the dealer will let me keep the old battery. I certainly want to, and since I'm paying out of pocket, I don't see why not. That doesn't mean that they would see things the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Problems fixed

Got the new IMA yesterday. Car is driving fabulously now - it's about 160 miles from LaCrosse, and it averaged 74mpg home on the 2-lane roads. (This was trying to keep a steady 55mph, rather than driving for mpg.) So I'm $5800 poorer, but still fairly happy. I see 80 mpg in my future. We'll see how it does in the city today.

The charge for not returning the core for rebuilding was $3000, so I did not keep the old one. (This strikes me as going well beyond incentives for recycling and moving toward coercion. But it's their company.)

Some last notes on the old one - I still suspect it was mainly a controller problem. On the drive down, it was deep cycling - the controller was letting the battery drop to about 2 bars before starting to charge it. Then it charged (at about a steady 4 bars) until the SOC read full. The battery was not discharging abnormally - it went down in proportion to the number of hills I went over that needed assist. It held the charge fine when I didn't use assist. There were none of the "dreaded recals" - it was a just a steady charge/deep discharge cycle. The IMA light went on the first time it discharged down to 1 bar, but I did not lose the displays.

During the recharging cycle (about 8 miles) I was getting 48 - 50 mpg. During the discharge cycle (varied by hill count and degree of assist) I was getting over 70 mpg. This was all at 55mph, with a few slower spots through towns.

On the drive back, the SOC never dropped below a few bars from full. The assist is also giving a bit more power - it's much easier to go uphill at 55. The "sweet spot" for maximum mpg seems to have dropped a bit, from around 52 down to around 46mph.
 

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Re: Problems fixed

Thanks for the follow-up in closure LJF :!: :D So few new members put forth the effort. :|

LJF said:
Some last notes on the old one - I still suspect it was mainly a controller problem. On the drive down, it was deep cycling - the controller was letting the battery drop to about 2 bars before starting to charge it. Then it charged (at about a steady 4 bars) until the SOC read full. ...
While it may have been a controller fault its still _very_ unlikely from the information you posted (you did have an IMA battery code of death ;) ) . As batteries age they will not be "able" to accept or maintain SoC like new. The SoC gauge is a calculated value based on how much power goes in and comes out of the battery. When a battery can no longer "accept" a charge, hold it, or internally looses it more rapidly than a minimal amount, SoC will begin to behave erratically as you've seen.

But remember IMA SoC does all kinds of _strange_ things for all kinds of reasons. Its _normal_. There are simply too many variables of temperature, traffic, terrain and throttle (MPH) to directly interpret a "different" SoC reading as batteries 90% "worn" etc.

The old controller logic was a contributing factor in more rapid aging of the IMA batteries. And the IMA batteries are the "weakest" link. Goodbye :!:

;)

HTH! :)
 
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