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This is my first post. If I break the local etiquette slap my hand. I have spent the last two days reading the forums and looking for solutions.

The company I work for recently (read two weeks ago) purchased a 2000 Honda Insight as a runabout car. We are in Lake Havasu City, which is very hilly and temps reach into the 130s. In fact most of the summer the highs average just at or below 122. I don't think the IMA batteries are handling this very well.

In the last week all of the following has happened, in chronological order:

The IMA light came on, I did not know what it was for and assumed it meant something like the IMA system is in use. Normal, right? :rolleyes: I noticed however that the batteries seemed to both charge and discharge rather quickly. Meaning, that going downhill on the highway, using the engine in a low gear to keep the speed from running away, I could go from about 3 bars to almost full in 2.5 miles. However from almost full I could take it down to just a few bars just by having to stop and start a few times.

After about 6-7 days of this my check engine light came on. The car came with a Grid Charger that looks poorly built and has no display (so we have not used it), and a OBDIIC&C. So I plugged in the OBDIIC&C to pull codes and see why the check engine light came on. I got P1568, P1447, and P1448. I figured that since LHC was 123 degrees at the time the batteries must just be hot. Stupidly I continued to ignore the issue.

The next day I had to go to a neighboring town about an hour away, and through hills. On the way there I continued to have the IMA Light and the Check Engine Light, if I revved over 3K I also got brake light and a battery light. I also noticed that I had a single bar on the IMA battery and it was neither charging or assisting the whole trip over. The way back was even more fun, as in addition to all that the ABS light came on and the dash dimmed and sometimes completely went out. I also had problems getting up hills. Long story short, I did not make it back. I found by self stuck in the Mohave Dessert for 3.5 hours in the peak of the afternoon heat. The car would not start on the 12v and cell phones don't work there, so all I could do was wait and try to start it every so often. After 3.5 hours it finally started, but had the same symptoms. It got me home.

The next day everything was back to normal. The car charges and assists fine, and it even auto stops the engine -- which I had not noticed before, but it was not doing that prior. I still have the check engine light, but the only code now is the P1568 for the battery overheat.

Here are my questions. How do I know what mods the prior owner did? I am not familiar with the car, but the OBDIIC&C and the Grid Charger lead me to think there might be other things not stock. I have the mark over the 14th character of the VIN, and the prior owner claims the battery was changed in 2010, but I would not know what a "Better Battery" looks like. I don't know how to tell if a MIMA mod was ever installed, or how to use it if it was.

How can I keep the batteries from overheating in this environment? The hills are bad enough, but blowing 122 degree air across things tends to cook them rather than cool them. Therefore I am not sure if using the OBDIIC&C to run the battery fan all the time would help or not. Also, how can I tell what version of firmware the OBDIIC&C is running? I still need to go over the manual for that device a bit more, as my understanding of it is slim to none as of yet. If I can not trust the current setup, should I reset everything to 1 as I read in a thread here, and what exactly does that mean? Do anyone have any suggestions on what a good baseline setting would be for such a hot environment? Keep in mind that even in January the days here get into the 80s, so I am not worried about cold at all.

Finally, I am willing to do mods if they are easy and inexpensive. Are there any you would suggests to help deal with this environment? How about the switch parallel to the clutch switch to better control when I use the IMA, could that be used to prevent this overheat issue from stranding me again? I mean if I disable IMA at the first sign of trouble, would this have still happened?

Sorry to throw so much out there. I am really new and I find the forums to be too vast for me to find good, concise, answers to all of these questions right now. This is my daily driver, and I can not afford to break it trying to figure this stuff out.

Thank you so much.
 

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seeing as this is your daily drvr. Lets get you rolling, and it will give you time to sort the rest out. I suggest doing the BCM bypass for now. Heres how-in the back, peel back the carpet and get to the breaker switch for the IMA batt. turn it off. Next, remove the cover that hides the battery/IMA stuff. When you get that removed, standing at the rear of the car youll see 2 computers (about 5x5"). The one on the left is the BCM. Unplug the 3 connectors to it. The tabs that lock them in place are tricky, they push up (and are fragile). Once its all unplugged, your gas only. The CEL and IMA light will be on, but it will charge the 12v battery fine, and will run fine. The obd cnc can be explained well by others as I don't have 1 yet. As far as I know, the "dot" over the vin is just letting you know the ecm has been updated. The battery prob was changed, but the Honda batts are remanufactured and don't last. For that, talk to Eli (bumblebee batt). Many are very happy with his product.
As for MIMA/or mods. That's a bit tricky. The mima should have some kind of joystick in the car. The mods would best be found if someone saw you car in person-or, if it really looks like its out of place you can ask and we may be able to tell you.
 

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First thing should be to check/replace the ground straps and check/replace the 12v battery. The dash dimming and the car not starting from the 12v are both symptoms of those problems.

As for the battery... I dunno, man. Run the A/C, is my recommendation (which you must be doing anyway, goodness). Keeping the battery fan on should help, as I'm pretty sure it takes air from the inside of the car and circulates it through the pack.

You may consider taking the battery out altogether and doing the battery bypass to run on gas only. Your choice though, I'm sure you noticed the car is rather more sluggish without it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies so far.

I did have a ground strap from the engine to the body that had most of it's strands broken. It was the upper one, and I have replaced it today. I need to check the condition of the 12v battery still.

Running the AC is a bit problematic. As a computer tech that does on site work, my typical day is parking for a hour or two, with 10 - 15 minute drives in between. Hardly enough for the AC to have much effect. Typically I have the windows down and just leave them that way full time, even when parked. As such, I have experience with the hot air that I commented on cooking more than cooling in my original post. Driving down the highway with the windows down feels much like a hair dryer on high a few inches from the back of my neck. I can only imagine what the fan blowing over batteries that produce heat of their own is like.

Possibly I could use the switch that parallels the clutch to prevent charging and assist from generating any heat until the AC has a chance to bring the inside temp down a bit, then allow the IMS to operate normally.

Is there any way to tell what batteries are back there if I take some good pictures?

As far as other mods, there is no joystick I can find, so I guess there is no MIMA. Maybe some pics of the sloppy Grid Charger build as well.

I know there are a couple people here from Arizona, or at least there were. It would be interesting to find out if they ever came to a decent way of managing the heat.
 

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cant see the batterys unless the pack is pulled and torn apart. You might, and I mean very slight chance find a Honda reman sticker on the pack verifying it was changed (mine had it where the mcm was). The calpod switch I think would do more harm then good for your short trips as the pack would be discharged more often then charging (it will force charge at some point regardless). perhaps you could install a higher cfm fan in the battery box, that might draw cooler air from the ac quicker. At the very least, it would keep the pack near ambient temp and not heat up more
 

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If your IMA battery is in bad enough shape, the 12v battery light will come on(and stay on continuously) and you'll get the dash dimming, etc. You also lose lean-burn and air conditioning with either a bad battery or the battery removed from circuit. Sounds like your air conditioning is not turning on due to the codes you are getting. P1568 is a battery balance problem, one of the stick pair monitors is seeing the voltage too low and is preventing your car from using the battery. The 12v battery light coming on when getting above 4000RPM is normal when the car has removed the IMA battery from circuit by shutting off its relay to the battery pack but after it is below that point for awhile it should turn off again. Sounds like you may have been seeing battery recalibrations, was the battery gauge going up a tick every 5 seconds or so on the way up and the same on the way down at any point while driving while showing charging while going down or simply going up to the top without showing it charging at the time? Sounds to me like the battery is shot. You could give the charger a shot, let it charge for about 24 hours and see if the battery works again or just get a Bumblebee Battery and then you shouldn't need to worry about dealing with the charger and your potentially failing/failed battery. Bumblebee Batteries, LLC - Honda IMA Products
 

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I cannot help with your battery but offer advice on heat management. I also live in az & feel your pain. What does help is removing the cargo container because the muffler heat even though it is shielded , it is poorly shielded! Heat builds up inside the right rear corner & just cooks the pack. I crack the top of the cargo top a little to let some air flow go out & in. I blow a fan inside the corner at night when I get home from work with cargo container removed always. I also remove the top battery insulation & leave the car outside away from my hot garage until the garage gets close to ambient. I park under shade trees & place reflective cover over hatchback & side widows externally using velcro!
Still planning on making an internal reflective heat shield on the inside right rear corner to help keep heat buildup down in that area of the car.
Sounds like a pain. YEP IT IS. The car does not like high heat. Driving with ac on high rpms running lower gears seems to help also. Yep NO hypermiling in AZ from May-Sep, unless you want to kill your IMA battery. Good luck! Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hmm . . .

If I am looking at $2100 for a battery immediately after purchase, for a car that is seemingly always going to hate this environment. Then maybe I should consider unloading it?
 

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I haven't looked at whether or not there was a way of tricking the car into having the air conditioning continue to run without the IMA pack active but if you could figure that out and are willing to drive without the extra assist you could still get the use of a high MPG car.
 

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My thoughts.

Your 12 volt battery may be ok. The car shut down use of the I a battery, and stopped charging the 12 volt battery, and then slowly drained the 12 volt battery. It sounds like your 12 volt battery lasted a long time with no charge, so it might be ok.

Your 12 volt battery got so low that the car died. This may have reset the computers. Resetting some of the computers that monitor and control the ima battery make the computers figure out the state of the ima battery. Some people have been able to disconnect the 12 volt battery for 30 seconds, resetting the computers, and driving for a month before they start to get codes. Then the reset it again.

If the ima battery really is bad you could get a grid charger and balance it once in a while. I bought a used hoeffer ps 250 power supply to do that on eBay for around $70.

If the imabattery is really bad, you can always bypass it. I think all that you need to do is flip the ima battery switch and remove about three connectors, it will then operate off of the 12 volt battery and still charge the 12 volt battery. When the car stopped using the ima battery, did it still have enough power to drive on a long term basis in the traffic you have there, could it make it up the hills?
 

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If your AC is running, couldn't you install a flexible hose (or something similar) directly from the passenger AC vent to the battery air vent behind the passenger seat? I recall reading that Eli did that once, but can't find the thread. That would help cool the battery.

Then at the expense of lower mileage (sacrilege!) maybe install one of those remote car starters, so you could remote start the car with AC on for 5 to 10 minutes before you leave to bring the temps down inside the car.

Heavy or reflective tint for the windows? Bring a sprayer bottle of water and spray the radiator area just before you leave to help the AC blow cooler in a shorter span of time? I can imagine rigging the spritz to spray the radiator instead of your windshield.
 

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geocougar;
I believe that mod with the AC hose was done by "Mike" a very long time ago.

The secret in keeping the IMA battery temp low is not to use the IMA battery much.
A CARD switch allows that.

Bottom line is that you have to change your driving style, and adapt to the environment.

HTH
Willie
 

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Thanks again for the replies.

I got the code to clear this morning by running AC for twenty minutes when it was still very early. Then later I ran to the store and it posted a P0420. I was afraid that with a 420 code it was gonna start smoking on me, turns out I was not too far off -- Catalytic Converter issues.

I am interested in seeing if the current batteries have any hope. So tonight when I get home I will take some good pics of the homebrew grid charger this guy has and get some opinions. It looks nothing like the ones I have seen for sale, and he left bare and exposed wires in places that can touch things they should not. Also, he has everything just thrown in a plastic box with nothing secured to anything. What I mean will be more apparent when I post the pics. If it looks like a valid grid charger I can fix the construction issues and give it a shot to balance the cells.

So far it has been acting pretty normal today, but I think some of you were correct in saying that I have been experiencing recals. I just can't see any battery with decent capacity filling and emptying as quickly as it does. I guess I'll see if a rebalance helps, provided the grid charger is usable.
 

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Don't "panic" over the 0420 code. Lots of info here at ICN., cheap to fix.

New member,,,,,,lot of reading needed here at ICN...........should be done.
Heat on the IMA battery should be your major concern now for battery life, or learn to "drive around" the problem...........Which can be done!

Time for a road trip to Lake Havasu?

HTH
Willie
 

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Hi It is a fantastic car, but you will not be able to enjoy it as without the IMA it feels very sluggish. Overheating happens to me also but in NJ I would have half a dozen to a dozen occurrences like this on very hot days . Today it happened again and it is just a bit over 90 outside....

when the IMA pack is deteriorated overheating happens probably more often as some cells will generate heat during charging...

with the heat my main concern is how to start the car once it stops . So on a hot day I would turn the a/c on and move it to 90*F so the a/c does not work, but the car's computer think it is working, so it disables "auto stop" and I can drive as long as I want....

With me the grid charging once or twice a week helps a lot in my case .
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Don't "panic" over the 0420 code. Lots of info here at ICN., cheap to fix.

New member,,,,,,lot of reading needed here at ICN...........should be done.
Heat on the IMA battery should be your major concern now for battery life, or learn to "drive around" the problem...........Which can be done!

Time for a road trip to Lake Havasu?

HTH
Willie
Looks like you are only about 4 1/2 hours out Willie. Do you come to LHC to play in the lake?

Here are the charger photos: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112085577484950338584/posts/eQV1CoB7Vjd

My concern is mainly that everything is just hanging out and the fuse holder has poorly soldered, long, uninsulated connections. It is just begging for something to touch something it should not and short out.

I can rebuild it cleanly, but does the charger look otherwise legit? If so I will give that a shot.
 

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You have good power supplies

You definitely have the good stuff, Meanwell power supplies. Yes, just clean it up, and you will do well.

My 0.02 worth,
Tim Glover
 

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Those Meanwell power supplies look correct. You should have 3 of the RS-25-48 48 v. power supplies, one LPC-20-350 350 ma constant current power supply, and one 12 v. power supply to power the battery pack cooling fan while charging is occurring. The open circuit high-voltage output should be about 178 v. This output voltage can be set by adjusting the output of each of the 48 v. power supplies.

So you should definitely clean up the construction. There is a wiring diagram for this charger somewhere. Hopefully, someone who knows will post its location.

The self-discharge rate of a NiMH cell increases with temperature, so in your climate, your battery pack is probably becoming unbalanced fairly quickly. Balance-charging is the only way to restore this balance, so you need to use your grid charger whenever you see a recalibration of the charge level gauge. You haven't reported the dreaded P1449 DTC, so maybe your battery pack can be rejuvenated by balance-charging it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Great info guys. I noticed the batteries dropped from about 33.5 SOC to less than 11 sitting while I was at work. Since that was roughly the time between my last two posts, it was around 6 hours. Right now at 8:25 pm it is still 105, which is a drop of 3 degrees over the last 15 minutes. It is suppose to get all the way down to 91 at 5:00 am tomorrow.

I will get the charger rebuilt this weekend and see if I can keep the batteries is decent shape. I have seen P1447 and P1448, but no P1449 as of yet. Fingers crossed.

I will let everyone know how things are going after I get the cells balanced. Also, now that I have the general idea of what the charger layout should be, I can go hunting for the schematic to double check things. Thanks aisbell for the description of what I was looking at.
 
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