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Discussion Starter #1
I just dragged home another 2000 Insight. It was cheap ($300), but has a few issues. I probably saved it from the crusher. It sat for a couple of years. What are the odds of the "new" IMA battery taking a charge? I disabled it for now. Also, is there a starter from another Honda that can be used? I had to borrow the starter from my other Insight to get this one running. I'd prefer a used junkyard starter, but there are no Insights in junkyards near me. I know there's no direct cross reference, but I'm hoping something is close enough to work.

Neither of my Insights came with keys, hence the dropped steering column. The wires on the seat are a towing harness I made to use the Insight's taillights instead of taping magnetic lights to an aluminum car.

Other issues:
Leaking fuel lines on firewall
Brake lines look bad
Pops out of 2nd gear
Body is kind of beat up
Stiff shifter
A/C doesn't work
 

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For $300 you did great. First, you did save it from the crusher. It will only appreciate in value. The worst possible case is that it becomes a donor car for parts. Good luck with it and keep the board posted on your progress, please.
 

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What are the odds of the "new" IMA battery taking a charge?
The odds are good. I've done a full discharge/recharge on a few old IMA with great success.

You should have no problem finding a starter from someone on this forum. All the issues you mention on this car are fairly easy to fix, good score.
 

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Congrats, gas fumes!

Second gear on these cars is prone to self-destruction. KLR3CYL rebuilds them and sells rebuilt transmissions. Or it should be possible to rebuild it yourself.

There's something about the design of the 2nd gear synchro that's unusual - which causes it to fail often. There's a mod to correct the problem, when you do a rebuild.

Double clutching is also a useful skill on these. If it likes to grind going into second (or any gear), you can avoid the grind and probably get many additional thousands of miles by double clutching. I had a rebuilt installed but I still double clutch when downshifting.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The battery charged up and seems to work great. But twice I've heard a squeal from the back at full assist. Imagine a loud electronic mosquito. Normal? The battery is still uncovered, so I could be hearing things that wouldn't normally be heard. I can also hear the battery fan.

Does not pop out of 2nd gear, by the way. Just the normal downshift crunch. Previous owner told me it was popping out.

Brake lines replaced, fuel lines spliced. Running pretty good!

Can the rear brake shoes be backed off from the access hole in the backing plate? I can't get the drums off and I couldn't find the adjuster when I poked around with a screwdriver. Trying to remove the whole hub, drum is seized to it. Feels like the shoes are catching on the drum when I try to remove it.
 

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The DC-DC converter squeals when going from low power mode (12.5v) to high power mode (14v) and vice versa.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The DC-DC converter squeals when going from low power mode (12.5v) to high power mode (14v) and vice versa.
Thanks. But I've only heard it twice at WOT and full assist. Maybe the DC-DC is squealing from not getting enough power from the battery?
 

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Thanks. But I've only heard it twice at WOT and full assist. Maybe the DC-DC is squealing from not getting enough power from the battery?
I'm not sure exactly how it works. To my knowledge the only charges the 12V at 12.5 volts for best efficiency, and allows the high voltage battery to take up the slack. Under certain conditions, maybe when power is being pushed through assist or regen, it switches to high power mode. I've driven with the IMA on and compartment open and never noticed any squealing other than the DC-DC. Do you have a scangauge or voltmeter to see if the voltage changes in tune with the noise?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'll watch the voltage and try to get it to make the sound again.
 

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The DC-DC converter squeals when going from low power mode (12.5v) to high power mode (14v) and vice versa.
Does the DC-DC really have a low power mode or is it just on or off, with on being around 14 v (around 13.5 v for me) and off being whatever voltage the 12V battery happens to be at?
 

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Does the DC-DC really have a low power mode or is it just on or off, with on being around 14 v (around 13.5 v for me) and off being whatever voltage the 12V battery happens to be at?
Yes, the DCDC really does have a low power mode. I call it "12.x mode". Pulling the WHT/GRN line that goes to the DCDC low activates 12.x mode. In 12.x mode, the DCDC will only output current when the 12 volt battery drops below 12.x volts... until then, all current is sourced from the 12 volt battery, which slowly discharges it. I have 100% verified this behavior on a test bench... you can prove it to yourself by disconnecting the positive lead to the 12 volt battery while the G1 is in autostop; assuming you have a functional IMA battery, you will see that the car remains powered even when the 12 volt battery is diconnected.

Letting the WHT/GRN wire float high (i.e. cutting that wire) puts the DCDC in what I call "14.x mode." In 14.x mode, the 12 volt battery is charged. All current is sourced from the DCDC (instead of 12 volt battery). If the 12 volt battery has a low SoC, then it will sink about 300 watts for a few hours, tapering off to just a few watts once it's fully charged. During this initial charging period your fuel efficiency might slightly drop. However, once that battery is fully charged, it won't pull much power in the future... insight barely ever uses the 12 volt battery with WHT/GRN cut, so you won't have any long term fuel economy hit.

IMO, there's no reason to ever be in 12.x mode, as it causes the 12 volt battery to discharge to ~30% SoC. The OEM behavior tends to stay in 12.x mode for long stretches, presumably to improve gas mileage. However, this 'fuel savings' - if any - isn't worth the tradeoff of always having a dead 12 volt battery. For this reason, I highly recommend cutting the WHT/GRN wire going to the DCDC.

Related: the GRN/BLK wire going to the DCDC controls whether the DCDC is on or off. Pulling GRN/BLK low disables DCDC, while leaving it floating always leaves the DCDC on.
 

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Also, if the DC-Dc actually turned itself off, the voltage wouldn't stay at 12.5 volts for hours on end.

I followed mudder's advice and disconnected the WHITE/GREEN wire, and the only squeal I had was when the DC-DC turned on for the first time when starting the car. No squeals at all after and it stayed charged pretty decently. The meanwell unit is much better though.
 

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Yes, the DCDC really does have a low power mode. I call it "12.x mode". Pulling the WHT/GRN line that goes to the DCDC low activates 12.x mode. In 12.x mode, the DCDC will only output current when the 12 volt battery drops below 12.x volts... until then, all current is sourced from the 12 volt battery, which slowly discharges it. I have 100% verified this behavior on a test bench... you can prove it to yourself by disconnecting the positive lead to the 12 volt battery while the G1 is in autostop; assuming you have a functional IMA battery, you will see that the car remains powered even when the 12 volt battery is diconnected.

Letting the WHT/GRN wire float high (i.e. cutting that wire) puts the DCDC in what I call "14.x mode." In 14.x mode, the 12 volt battery is charged. All current is sourced from the DCDC (instead of 12 volt battery). If the 12 volt battery has a low SoC, then it will sink about 300 watts for a few hours, tapering off to just a few watts once it's fully charged. During this initial charging period your fuel efficiency might slightly drop. However, once that battery is fully charged, it won't pull much power in the future... insight barely ever uses the 12 volt battery with WHT/GRN cut, so you won't have any long term fuel economy hit.

IMO, there's no reason to ever be in 12.x mode, as it causes the 12 volt battery to discharge to ~30% SoC. The OEM behavior tends to stay in 12.x mode for long stretches, presumably to improve gas mileage. However, this 'fuel savings' - if any - isn't worth the tradeoff of always having a dead 12 volt battery. For this reason, I highly recommend cutting the WHT/GRN wire going to the DCDC.

Related: the GRN/BLK wire going to the DCDC controls whether the DCDC is on or off. Pulling GRN/BLK low disables DCDC, while leaving it floating always leaves the DCDC on.
Thanks, @mudder and @mpg_numbers_guy. The reason I asked is because the DC-DC converter is NOT keeping my battery at 12.5 volts; the voltage drops, as if the car is relying on the 12V battery for power instead of the DC-DC converter (using either my 2004 or my 2006 ECU configured to work in the 2004). That's why I thought the DC-DC converter was an on-or-off thing.

I guess this is yet another Insight thing to investigate the behavior of. I put a cigarette lighter plug onto a Harbor Freight voltmeter to watch the battery voltage during operation. I was shocked (kind of) to see that the voltage is either around 13.5V, or is around 11-12.5 V.

Did you happen to measure the output in amps of low power mode? In my car, if low power mode exists, it does not seem to supply enough to keep up with the car's loads, and that the battery is being relied on. It's as if the starting battery is being used for the 12V system like the IMA battery is being used for the IMA motor.

I can kick on the DC-DC by turning on the lights and sometimes by tapping the brakes.

The 11-12V range is concerning me. Not because my battery is shot (and I plan to leave it that way as long as it teaches me about the system powering it) but because this does not seem to be a healthy way to use a starter battery. The "common knowledge" is that starting battery plates are very thin compared to "deep cycle" plates. Turning off the DC-DC converter as yet another fuel conservation measure is interesting, but, @mudder, as you point out, is it worth it?

Or is my DC-DC converter just not putting out enough (any) current?

I have also been wondering if the low battery voltage is dropping my coil pack voltage enough to weaken the spark enough to cause misfires or incomplete burn. I've noticed a kind of stumbling during lean burn under high engine load (low RPM, high throttle position, trying to get the most power out of lean burn before it pops out.) I've also noticed piston head fouling and wondered if oil leakage around rings or valve guides might be the cause of build-up. When the build up was removed, it seemed like the stumbling went away until the build-up returned. Anecdotally, at least. I switched to heavier oil to try to see if that was a variable. I've not finished that test. Maybe the fouling is unburnt fuel???

I agree with you about powering the battery full time. I would rather just have a higher float voltage, if possible. Would a slow PWM (~ 1 second period) of the DC-DC achieve this? Or is there a way to change the output voltage of the DC-DC converter? It would be nice to know Honda's rationale for the current design.
 

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Under around 1300 RPM the DC-DC cannot maintain 13 volts, voltage typically falls under 13v even under light load. At under 1100 RPM the voltage will fall to just above 12v, and under 1000 RPM brings the voltage under 12v after only a few seconds, and this is with not much more than the base load (guesstimate <20 amps).

The Meanwell PSU "alternator" charges the 12V battery much better at lower RPM. It turns on at 950-1150 RPM depending on conditions and load, and will stay on down to 850-1050 RPM outputting whatever voltage you set it to, again depending on load. Higher loads will tax it more and cause voltage drop, but so far it has kept my 12V battery charged much better than the stock DC-DC did.
 

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I would rather just have a higher float voltage, if possible. Would a slow PWM (~ 1 second period) of the DC-DC achieve this? Or is there a way to change the output voltage of the DC-DC converter? It would be nice to know Honda's rationale for the current design.
If you want the DCDC to always* output 14.x volts, then all you need to do is cut the WHT/GRN wire going to the DCDC... nothing else needs to happen besides taping both ends.

If you want to change the actual output voltage (e.g. 14.2 volts, 14.7 volts, etc), then you'll need to interface to the RED/YEL wire going to the DCDC... that's the DVCT signal, which is the engine coolant temperature represented as a 0:5V PWM (10 Hz clock). I wouldn't recommend doing this, as the OEM behavior correctly charges the battery (as long as it remains under the hood). If you're putting the 12 volt battery in the IMA bay - instead of engine bay - then you'd want to modify this signal to reflect the temperature in the IMA bay. Lead acid battery charge voltages are highly dependent on ambient temperature.

*The DCDC will always output 14.x volts as long as the IMA battery is working properly and is charged. When the IMA battery is bad enough to set CEL, the MCM can completely disable the DCDC (by pulling GRN/BLK wire to DCDC low)... cut that wire if you want to disable that behavior, BUT note that this will itself cause intermittent CEL (i.e. if the key is turned from 'on' to 'off' and then back to 'on' in under one minute). You shouldn't need to cut GRN/BLK unless you're stranded on the side of the road with a dead 12 volt battery.
 

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Under around 1300 RPM the DC-DC cannot maintain 13 volts, voltage typically falls under 13v even under light load. At under 1100 RPM the voltage will fall to just above 12v, and under 1000 RPM brings the voltage under 12v after only a few seconds, and this is with not much more than the base load (guesstimate <20 amps).
Clarification: Note that this is only the case if no IMA battery is installed... with a functional IMA the DCDC will continue cranking out at full power until the IMA battery SoC drops below 25%, at which point the MCM will then disable the DCDC (by pulling GRN/BLK low).

The Meanwell PSU "alternator" charges the 12V battery much better at lower RPM. It turns on at 950-1150 RPM depending on conditions and load, and will stay on down to 850-1050 RPM outputting whatever voltage you set it to, again depending on load. Higher loads will tax it more and cause voltage drop, but so far it has kept my 12V battery charged much better than the stock DC-DC did.
I agree the meanwell PSU is better in every way, except cost... the DCDC is free.
 

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I agree the meanwell PSU is better in every way, except cost... the DCDC is free.
The Meanwell PSP-1000-15 PSU I tried couldn't handle the AZ 110F summer heat, keep shutting down and reset.

Stock DCDC works a lot better for my case.
 

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A late congrats

I would just like to say congrats for attempting to resurrect this car. I find it one of the few morally (maybe not financially) worthy of restoration and hacking.
 
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