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Summary: I installed the Maxx Volts EL-1 grid charger. This is a description. It so far reads 151V and 0ma.

Background: I'm an engineering type, and have worked for Japanese companies. I like Honda, and have a 2001 CVT Insight. It started showing signs of cell failure, along with 02 sensor failure. I decided to install a grid charger, and received a donor battery pack, which I'm currently vetting (no pun intended). This installation has nothing to do with the donor battery pack.

The Maxx Volts EL-1 (for Entry Level) seemed like a good alternative to soldering one together. After years of soldering stuff together, I would let someone else do that job.

The unit arrived without an AC power cord, or a bulkhead mount for the cable to pass through the wall into the IMA battery assembly. This didn't bother me; I have both. It's a PC power cable.

The tools needed are easily found: A T30 Torx bit, a 10mm bit, and a 1" drill bit that can go through cheap aluminum. There are four wires to connect the grid charger. A cable to discharge the unit is not included. I'll get to that later.

Maxx Volts has two videos that are needed for the inexperienced to do the job. You need to be familiar with how electricity works; there are voltages inside that can kill you dead as fast as a gunshot wound. Beware. I am.

Two connections are made to the IMA, one easy, the other not so easy but do-able. The videos advised a method to discharge a small capacitance through a volt meter. I did that, and connected the wires according to the methods described in the videos. This is not rocket science, but there are a large number of bolts and things to remove before you can get into the IMA battery pack. Again, know something about electricity because the charges inside can be deadly. Oddly, in the video, the installer does not wear protective gloves, believing in his luck. Good safety practices are recommended, especially if you have coffee nerves. I had no trouble; you could meet a mortician.

It took 45 lazy minutes to get to the wiring, five minutes to wire it, and a lazy hour to re-assemble the lid, trunk, carpet, etc. A prior installer in this car bent the rear wall of the IMA housing and deformed it. I had to bend it back. It wasn't tough, but such things will frustrate others. At this stage, several people have been into the battery pack of a Gen1. Some were professionals, others used crowbars and dynamite.

After re-assembly, I plugged in the unit after noting that there is no FCC or UL sticker on the charger. The on/off switch is not an on/off switch, rather a high-voltage bypass switch, contrary to indications on Maxx Volts website. It must be in the ON position for all use cases except troubleshooting.

The unit came to life, and fans kicked on. A reading of 151V and 0ma/milliamps was noted. As I don't have a schematic, I can't detect why there is this error; there cannot be a reading of 151v and no current, unless it's out of the range of the meter, which is unlikely. After four hours, the same reading has been noted. I will leave it intact overnight to see what happens.

Now for the discharge circuit: Although this kit doesn't come with it, it's an easy connection. The fact that it's a kit also means that the unit doesn't have to comply with FCC regulations as supplied, but UL testing would be nice.

One can install a circuit that uses two incadesent (NOT LED) 120VAC bulbs (as these work on DC as well) in SERIES NOT PARALLEL, to discharge the pack. How far to discharge the pack is a matter of debate on this forum. I'm going to peak the pack first, discharge later. One does not do a charge and discharge at the same time. Read other posts to understand how the pack is charged and discharged, and most importantly WHY.

Two connections are made to the battery pack using 18ga lamp cord wire; spade lug terminals are recommended. The battery interconnect is obvious. Be careful as the B+ is LIVE. In turn, the lamp cord leads to your discharge pack, which are the two 120VAC bulbs wired in SERIES (for a 240V discharge, a maximum that should never be seen in a Honda battery pack of this type). Once the bulbs are dim, the pack is probably sufficiently discharged and ready for the long-charge cycle described elsewhere many times in this forum.

Over the next 36hrs, I'll see what the pack does in terms of voltage peaks. This is their entry-level, under USD$160 grid charger. The videos were ok. Installers are cautioned to use caution installing this unit, and no installation can avoid these cautions because of the voltages and current present in the Honda Gen1 battery pack.

Unless the voltage doesn't change, which will make me suspicious of the charger or its installation, I'll know soon if I got my money's worth. YMMV, Offer not good in Idaho.

Tom
 

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Make sure you have turn the IMA master switch back on. The grid charger will not charge if the switch is off.
 

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Summary: I installed the Maxx Volts EL-1 grid charger. This is a description. It so far reads 151V and 0ma.

Tom
Test for charger current by connecting the dummy load to the grid charger's high voltage output instead of to the IMA battery.

[edit]
After reading the specs of the E-1 you shouldn't be able to discharge the battery using the supplied wiring harness. It seems the harness has a diode(s) in it.

From the E:-1 brag specs:
"-Battery pack to charger reverse electrical flow protection built into battery harness.
-Positive electricity from battery pack cannot flow from high voltage positive in our wiring harness back to the charger. "
___

Since both the plus and negative HV pins are (supposed to be) isolated from the car's chassis,
the current won't flow into the negative lead either. :)

p.s. The FCC regulates devices that transmit RF, not battery chargers etc. [/edit]
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My discharge harness is separate from the EL-1's. DC is DC, and from the anode and cathode B+/B-, the current flows. This is not the point of measurement inside the EL-1, which read 0ma at last glance.

A good explanation on the basics of CE FCC requirements are here: IEEE Xplore Full-Text PDF: and as the supply is a switching supply, can be categorized as a potential unintentional radiator of RF emission(s). With a few exemptions, and battery chargers aren't necessarily one of them, switching power supplies as discrete devices can qualify. When such a supply is say, part of a PC, then it's the PC that has to be certified as a compliant device. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This morning, a reading of 150V and 0ma was taken. I've contacted Maxx Volts to find out what might be happening. In the interim, I rebooted the IMA after disconnecting all.
 

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I just installed this... pretty straight forward. Pictures of the install would help. Maybe we could spot the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Not much to spot. I'm going to do my triple check tomorrow. Hope I find the problem myself. This isn't rocket science. If not, the folks at Maxx Volts will send another one. After having written many product manuals myself, I'm pretty good at directions. The provided instructions are clear enough for me. Just going to check connections, then rig a meter to ensure all is well. You never know; I'm not a perfect installer. Might be self-inflicted. I'll know tomorrow.
 
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