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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have a 2000 Honda Insight with 180K miles on it which I have owned for around 1 year. The IMA battery performance definitely dropped off a lot recently. I got an IMA error at one point which stopped the hybrid system from working and when the 12 V battery ran dead I charged it, which rest the IMA fault and everything continued on fine for a while.

I put the car away for the winter and recently got it out again. It need a full charge on the 12 V but then seemed like all was working well for a couple of weeks. I then left the car for around 1 week without use and the 12V battery was dead and it wouldn't crank. So I charged it again and the hybrid system re cal'd and charged so I thought it was OK, however the next day it wouldn't crank again.

Now, if I charge the 12V the hybrid system doesn't re cal, there is no charge or regen and no battery power level, no IMA warning light but it is not charging and it won't drive more than a few hundred yards without the dash dimming and the EPS dying and basically running out of juice.

I checked all the fuses and all were good.

I am pretty sure the IMA battery is totally dead but I wanted to check in here before I pull it from the car and explore options for restoring the hybrid function.

Thanks for any input you have.
 

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Hi, I have a 2000 Honda Insight with 180K miles on it which I have owned for around 1 year. The IMA battery performance definitely dropped off a lot recently. I got an IMA error at one point which stopped the hybrid system from working and when the 12 V battery ran dead I charged it, which rest the IMA fault and everything continued on fine for a while.

At that point it would have been best to have gird charged the IMA battery to try to bring it back to a working condition.

I put the car away for the winter and recently got it out again.

That wasn't the best thing to do without grid charging it before storing it.

It need a full charge on the 12 V but then seemed like all was working well for a couple of weeks. I then left the car for around 1 week without use and the 12V battery was dead and it wouldn't crank. So I charged it again and the hybrid system re cal'd and charged so I thought it was OK, however the next day it wouldn't crank again.

The problem with immediately running the car again without another IMA grid charge is that if the cells weren't balanced (and if it's an old battery they probably are NOT balanced) the battery more than likely couldn't deliver it's best output etc.

Now, if I charge the 12V the hybrid system doesn't re cal, there is no charge or regen and no battery power level, no IMA warning light but it is not charging and it won't drive more than a few hundred yards without the dash dimming and the EPS dying and basically running out of juice.

It sounds like the 12 volt battery might be shot. Charge it up and take the battery to an auto parts store that will load test it for you.

When the IMA battery is so low on charge etc the car won't try to charge it anymore. So what you are seeing is a bad case of what is normal. :(


I checked all the fuses and all were good.

I am pretty sure the IMA battery is totally dead but I wanted to check in here before I pull it from the car and explore options for restoring the hybrid function.

Thanks for any input you have.
Sorry to say but this sounds like "How to kill a battery in one year."

Before you pull the IMA battery try getting or building a grid charger and give that a shot. I have an article on my website that has a schematic, pictures etc and the parts you need to build your own charger.

There are also links on the forum for building or buying grid chargers. Do a search and read up on rejuvenating the IMA battery on the forum.

What error codes do you have? And how old is the battery? Has it ever been changed?

You can drive the car for as long as you want to if you go into the battery box (the IPU) and disconnect the BCM box (three connectors). I would do that until you get a grid charger so you don't cause more damage to the IMA battery. That will give you a chance to try to bring it back to running condition.

With the BCM disconnected the 12 volt battery will be charged by the IMA motor running as an alternator. You will have an error code but the car will run fine and you will still get great gas mileage on the highway.

A belated welcome to the wonderful/wacky world of G1 Insight ownership. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply, the welcome and the tip on how to get it running in gas only mode.

As far as I am aware, it is the original battery, I bought it from the original owner and they said it was the original. Plus, I pulled some of the covers back and it doesn't look like they have been touched.

I actually don't have electricity in my garage so grid charging isn't an option for me.

I am interested in doing something a little different with the battery. It seems like I should be able to have a high energy density battery store feeding the standard battery so I can handle the required duty cycle but also have more capacity. There are a few EV charging stations where I work so I could probably use that. I'm still mulling over what to do.
 

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Thanks for the reply, the welcome and the tip on how to get it running in gas only mode.

As far as I am aware, it is the original battery, I bought it from the original owner and they said it was the original. Plus, I pulled some of the covers back and it doesn't look like they have been touched.

Considering that it is 14 years old it probably is past it's prime. :(

But some of the guys are nursing old batteries along for quite so time. Without a way to grid charge it though you are going to have a problem.


I am interested in doing something a little different with the battery. It seems like I should be able to have a high energy density battery store feeding the standard battery so I can handle the required duty cycle but also have more capacity.

Don't forget your IMA battery pack is 120 cells similar in size to "D" cell batteries. The fully charged voltage for the Ni-Mh pack is ~174 volts. The batteries are limited to about 90 A output in use and take a charge up to 60+ amps or so (but not for an extended time). So your auxiliary pack has some work cut out for it. Plus the cooling of the new battery and where to put it. The car is designed around the Ni-Mh chemistry so if you go to another chemistry there is the charging problem etc.

But a few of the forum members have installed aux packs or are working on doing it. Some are either doing or thinking about going full electric power. And most people here are eager to share. Pete (of OBDIIc&c fame) is the guy to talk to about for that.


There are a few EV charging stations where I work so I could probably use that. I'm still mulling over what to do.
With a current limiter you could use one of them for grid charging the normal IMA battery if they put out ~178 volts or so. Your adapter could be quite simple but you would also have to tap into the charging input voltage to deliver 12 volts DC @ ~0.7 amp to run the IMA battery cooling fan while charging. There's room inside the IPU for the normal grid charger components so your charging equipment could fit inside with a waterproof charging connector hidden near the license plate. That would be a cool project that people would be interested in.

I used to charge my Henny Kilowatt car at work when we moved to a new building that was under construction. I asked the owner of the business and he had a 120 Vac outlet installed at my assigned parking spot. ;)

Normally grid charging takes 12 to 18 hours (all approximately depending upon the condition of the battery etc) because you need a slow charge to equalize all the cells in the pack.

See if you can find the electrical specs and connector size of the charging stations and go from there. You may be on to something here. I once plugged my Henny into a Xmas parking lot display at Sears. When I came out of the store 1/2 the Xmas lights were out so I casually unplugged the car, stored the charging AC line and sneaked away into the night. :D
 

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In general it sounds like a bad 12V battery, plus an unbalanced, aging, not-fully-charged IMA battery... Take care of the 12V then move to the IMA pack... Discharge/grid charge would be the typical course of action, at least a grid charge. An alternative, stop-gap measure would be a rev-charge at as low a current as you can muster:

-rev the engine to about 3500 rpm and/or until you see ~4 green bars of charge on the dash charge gauge, then drop it down to exactly 3000 rpm. The green charge bars will disappear, but there should be a charge current equal to about 10 amps. Just hold it there until the state of charge gauge bounces up to 19 bars, or as long as you can until charging is disabled.

Charging might drop out during this process in which case you'd have to re-initiate the sequence - rev to about 3500, drop down to 3000 and hold. The objective here is to charge the pack at as low a current as you can, for as long as you can. This would likely charge the pack more than you're able to while driving, as the current is steady and relatively lower... And as I said, this needs to be done after you take care of the 12V battery, such as just after you replace it yet before you drive...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Some great suggestions here, thanks for all your input. I think I will take a staged approach to bringing this car back to optimum. I generally ride a bike to work for my commute so I can afford to have the car of the road for an extended period of time.

I am a little torn between buying a grid charger ($400 ish) or just buying upgraded cells ($1000) and installing them in my battery. The $600 ish difference between those two options doesn't seem too big. I will see what I can do with the rev charge though, I'm quite interested in that.

I was starting to suspect the 12 V battery, however it took a number of hours to charge it which made me think it was at least halfway decent, but I got less than a mile before all the lights went dim and then it wouldn't crank the engine.

I will look at the 12 V first.

Thanks!
 

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Not sure what "upgraded" cells you'd be able to get for ~$1000. You could buy used sticks for cheap and test them, replace bad ones in your pack. But that can take a lot of time and effort. A whole new set of upgraded sticks would cost something like $1800 plus shipping, and you'd have to install them of course.

You mentioned that you don't have electricity in your garage and that 'grid charging was out,' but then you're still considering a grid charger in your last post - so I assume grid charging is at least a possibility (and I would think it always was, as I'm sure you could get an extension cord or go to the neighbor's house or something). You might consider building one of these grid chargers - really very easy and less than like $50:
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum...issues/22663-grid-charger-power-supplies.html
I did that and have used it many times... You can discharge the pack with a 75 watt incandescent light bulb, a good, solid light bulb socket, some wire, and alligator clips (the latest 'wisdom' is that you want to discharge the pack pretty low before your final, long and slow grid charge)...

Oh, also, make sure you check all the main grounds, particularly the one just under the air box, which corrodes and breaks easily...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What do people think about this battery

XPS modules, SPX modules, 12V to 144V modules, Lithium battery modules

The max 20 second current on the battery is 50 Amps, not the 100 Amps that the IMA can draw or generate, but that could be handled electronically.

It has 144 V with a 15 Ah capacity, which looks like if coupled with MIMA or something similar it could be used to provide much longer continuous assist.

Thoughts......?

Oh, the grid charging solution for me would either be to remove the battery from the car and do it inside or fit a plug so I could do it at work. I live in an apartment which is about 400 feet from my garage.

Thanks
 

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Sounds... explosive.
Unless you have the ability to limit the amperage. If you have the electronic skills it could be doable. You will need to solder up some other boards to fool the car's computers. It is looking for a different battery chemistry profile and different capacity. Also, since it is a bit chilly in the winter in MN, you will want to have some sort of heat source for winter.

If you are truly serious about this kind of setup we should talk. I've helped import lithium cells and I have other suppliers I already work with for lithium solutions. They ain't cheap, but they are fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, I put the car away in winter - I still ride my bike (fat bike) to work all winter long. I am serious about doing it. I feel reasonably confident about the electronics work. I'm a mechanical engineer but I work with quite a lot of control electronics so its not uncharted territory for me.

I haven't investigated it thoroughly but I believe there is a 20 KHz PWM signal that tells the system how much charge or assist is required, so by inputting this signal rather than allowing the cars electronics to control it I could basically have a similar system to MIMA and just limit it so as not to exceed the batteries requirements.

I just watched a Youtube video of someone in the UK that fitted a Lithium battery and modified control modules to an Insight - that looked pretty cool.
 

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What do people think about this battery
We used those xps 15ah cells/packs in the UK CVT Rally car for a couple of seasons a while back.

They were ok with the assist currents but could not cope with the Insight 50A regen levels and we killed a few. OK If you don't care about battery life in a competition car.

You would have to limit regen to about 25A max to have any hope of them lasting long term.

The BMS supplied was rubbish as well hopefully they have improved that a lot now.
 
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