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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, new Insight owner here. I've admired them for some time and finally had the chance to pick one up with a bad IMA battery for a few hundred $$. After some research on the forums I was able to disconnect the battery and (aside from being completely gutless) it seems to be a great vehicle! The forums here have been a fantastic help, and it's amazing to see so many active members for such a limited production vehicle.

Now that I have the car running and driving, and have made sure there were no other mechanical issues, I am now looking into battery replacement or refurbishment. The car had a refurb battery installed in January 2015, and has had approximately 40k miles put on it since then. The previous owner parked the car when the IMA light came on, and had never grid charged it or made any other modifications.

When I read the codes before purchasing the vehicle, I noticed that in addition to P1568 which I was expecting, it also had P1449 (Battery module overheating). That sounds to me like a cell with high resistance in the pack. Is it worth it to invest in a grid charger to try to save this pack, or should I go directly to pulling/swapping cells or just buying a refurb from someone like Bumblebee?

TIA!
 

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Hi welcome to the forum, others will be along shortly with far more experience than me to give advice, I am still on my original battery and it seems to be in good condition, I did a discharge then grid charge regime as advised by Peter Perkins on here and since then my battery is knackered code has gone away;)
Good luck with your car
Peter
 

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P1449 has several subcodes, it's probably not a cell/battery overheating one, but voltage imbalance.

Always worth trying a charge/discharge cycle regime or two before pulling it apart and entering the realms of rapidly diminishing returns. I would..
 

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Welcome. Here is a link to a thread I always keep bookmarked. It not only shows how to get the subcodes or blink codes that Peter is talking about above, and it shows a method of homing in on bad stick pairs.

https://www.insightcentral.net/forums/honda-insight-forum-1st-gen-discussion/94562-question-concerning-old-battery-conditioning.html#post1061778

As Peter kinda intimated, it gets much less hopeful if you have to get into the guts of the pack. There are a multitude of problems making that work. Check the links in S Keith signature.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies! I didn't realize that code could be more than one thing. Unfortunately my reader doesn't display more info than that. I'll order a grid charger and see if that works before digging into it further.

On the subject of batteries, I see that lithium conversions (LiPo using Leaf batteries, etc) seem to be extremely difficult. Is this just due to a BMS solution for such a large pack being hard to find or nonexistent?

Is there any info about using LiFePo batteries? A 50s pack would be about a perfect replacement for pack voltage from what I can see. 144v minimum, 160v nominal, 180v fully charged. Additionally LiFePo can handle a lot more current than LiPo, and is less likely to catch fire in case of BMS failure.

Any information about the min and max voltages being delivered to the battery pack, charging curves, and data that the computer expects from the battery (IR, etc) would be greatly appreciated. I assume the most difficult/expensive part of a conversion would be a BMS with mosfets capable of handling the 100a/200v load? Any threads with info on this? I see many people asking about Lithium without having any idea what they're getting into, but not much info being offered up by the few people working on such systems, and it seems that the Linsight project is on permanent hold from what I saw.
 

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On the subject of batteries, I see that lithium conversions (LiPo using Leaf batteries, etc) seem to be extremely difficult. Is this just due to a BMS solution for such a large pack being hard to find or nonexistent?
Difficulties and delays on the Leaf approach. The battery modules have to be modified internally, and that is a bit of a show stopper. The Leaf batteries are kinda connected in the history here with the Linsight management system which is on hold with no scheduled completion date.

Is there any info about using LiFePo batteries? A 50s pack would be about a perfect replacement for pack voltage from what I can see. 144v minimum, 160v nominal, 180v fully charged. Additionally LiFePo can handle a lot more current than LiPo, and is less likely to catch fire in case of BMS failure.
This option is being actively persued. Member retepsnikrep has built these packs in the past, and member IamIan is currently working with A123 prismatic pouches. Both were/are successful in building working packs. That chemistry is LiPO4.

Any information about the min and max voltages being delivered to the battery pack, charging curves, and data that the computer expects from the battery (IR, etc) would be greatly appreciated. I assume the most difficult/expensive part of a conversion would be a BMS with mosfets capable of handling the 100a/200v load? Any threads with info on this? I see many people asking about Lithium without having any idea what they're getting into, but not much info being offered up by the few people working on such systems, and it seems that the Linsight project is on permanent hold from what I saw.
There are a number of threads on IC on these topics which cover most/all of what you are asking. Use the google custom search, top left, to find the considerable amount of IC material on the subject. No one is currently using a BCM in a working system. There are some BCM design efforts under way, and the Orion BCM can be used with a variety of chemistries. Orion is about $1000-1500 and requires programming.
 

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After Effect.

Everything is already on here and has been done or discussed many times.
You will need to spend days/weeks searching/digesting etc all the info.
You have a ton of reading to do and then some more.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys, I guess I didn't look hard enough! Sorry to ask something that's already been answered
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I was in a hurry so I ordered a grid charger instead of building one, and then a few days later we got hit with a blizzard so I cant drive the Insight anyway!

I hooked up the grid charger and the battery was at 131v after sitting for ~6 months. It charged for 18 hours before hitting 174v, which seemed like a long time to me before I found that it only charges at 350mAh. I have high hopes that the battery will come back from the dead since that means it took about 6.3Ah to charge it up not accounting for IR. I left it for about 2 hours at 174v to allow it to "balance", but didn't notice any increase in temperature from the pack.

I have built a discharger but dont know if I'll use it yet. Unless you guys think I should cycle the battery a couple times I'll probably just start driving it and see how the battery does considering how well the first charge went.

In the meantime, I've had time to change the oil, spark plugs (with indexing washers), air filter, install an aftermarket stereo and rear speakers, and restore the headlights. Unfortunately my wallet is now complaining, so I'm going to have to wait a couple weeks to order Peter's IMAC&C and other much needed upgrades.

There is an incredible amount of info about these cars on the forums, I just wish it was better organized for newbies. Digging past page 100 for relevant info is making me paranoid that I'm missing things. Regardless, thanks to all for such comprehensive info on these cars!

On further research into the batteries and power systems, they really are surprisingly simple. It seems Peter has done all the research necessary to mod the BCM to accept all types of batteries. A LiFePo pack with integrated BMS should be a piece of cake if I'm understanding this correctly. Possibly some modifications to the resistor array and an Arduino to tie in the BMS to BCM could allow the car to see the real state of charge and adjust regen/assist automatically.

Sorry for the ramblings. Hope everyone has a great weekend!
 

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I hooked up the grid charger and the battery was at 131v after sitting for ~6 months. It charged for 18 hours before hitting 174v, which seemed like a long time to me before I found that it only charges at 350mAh. I have high hopes that the battery will come back from the dead since that means it took about 6.3Ah to charge it up not accounting for IR. I left it for about 2 hours at 174v to allow it to "balance", but didn't notice any increase in temperature from the pack....
hmm, I think I'd put it back on the charger for a little while longer, maybe at least another 4 hours... It's hard to say just what 131V means in terms of the charge state of each cell - we'd hope it'd be like 131V / 120 cells = 1.09V per cell. But as far as I can tell that's too much to hope for. It's probably more like some cells at say 1.28V and some at 0.68V or the like, meaning, some cells near totally self-discharged and some still somewhat charged. The self-discharged cells can take quite a bit of charge to reach full, and since the goal is a balance charge that gets all the cells full, you'd need to let the charger rip for longer than you might normally do with say a routine maintenance grid charge...

In a more basic sense, most people would probably consider your pack empty and needing a full charge from empty to 100%+. The cells are nominally 6.5Ah - so a 6.3Ah charge wouldn't get it there. Personally, I'd do a minimum of about 7500mAh and then watch voltage change and temp after that to see what happens. If the pack were around room temp (65-75F) at that juncture I'd expect to see a peak around 174V - 176V before considering it done, leaning toward the higher side. But it's hard to pinpoint the exact appropriate peak voltage with different circumstances. So I'd also look at temp and expect to see some temp increase, maybe let it increase at least 5-10 degrees F before calling it quits. If I didn't see any of these I'd probably go no longer than a total amp-hour input of say 8500mAh...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info, eq1. I'll put it back on for a few more hours and wait for a temperature increase
 

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^ This probably goes against what most people would say/recommend, but depending on where you're charging your pack, it might be better to have the fan OFF during the extra charge - in this case where you'll be watching and monitoring. If it's too cool where you're charging, the fan would probably hide any temp increase. Plus, you want the pack to be warm enough during the charge... If for example you start this extra charge period and the ambient temp is only 37F, well, first off, you should probably be using a space heater to get the ambient temp up, but in general, it'd take longer to reach full, plus you wouldn't expect to see very high temps when it is full - because it's so cold to begin with...

Also, the full voltage will be higher; can't remember the exact adjustment, but it's something like 0.3V for every degree C below 20 degrees C. So, for example, if you'd expect to see about 175V full at 20C and the temp were only 10C, expect to see a voltage of 175V + (10 X 0.3V) = 178V indicating full... This is just a general guide though because it's all hard to measure and stuff - just know that such and such difference in temp, colder, you should be reaching higher voltages if the pack is truly full...

....The car had a refurb battery installed in January 2015, and has had approximately 40k miles put on it since then. The previous owner parked the car when the IMA light came on, and had never grid charged it or made any other modifications.
Do you know anything more about the pack than being a 'refurb' battery? What kind of refurb is it? What does that mean, exactly? Etc...
 

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Thanks for re-enforcing my observations. My pack charges more often full and at a slightly higher voltage now that we are cold out here on the coast.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
eq1 – Yes it definitely goes against what the grid charger manufacturer suggested, but from my knowledge of battery chemistries it makes a lot of sense. I have a lot more experience with LiPo than NiMH though. In the future I might consider tying into the temperature leads in the pack to get a better reading. It’s been around 45-50f in my garage while the pack has been charging. Guess I’ve been too careful with it!
Regarding the battery, it’s a Dorman refurbished pack according to the part number and receipt. A local shop installed it in 2015 for $2700 and change!
 

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....Regarding the battery, it’s a Dorman refurbished pack according to the part number and receipt. A local shop installed it in 2015 for $2700 and change!
Ah, OK, that's good to know. As far as I know those packs aren't what we'd consider "refurbished" per se - it has new sticks, but the case and parts are used. I think we call those packs "remanufactured"... I think of refurbs as being stuff with reconditioned sticks. In any event, I'm not as familiar with the behavior of those packs/cells as I am with OEM. There's differences. I don't think I'd ever deep discharge an aftermarket pack, for instance... The top voltage might be a little different from OEM as well...
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
ericbecky - I'm not looking for a drop in solution right now, but thanks for the offer! This is a project car, and as such I will likely be building a pack from recycled LiFePo cells or another DIY solution.

eq1 - Do you know if they're an unbalanced pack of new/used sticks, or what they count as refurbished vs remanufactured? I doubt I'd deep discharge the pack anyway, unless it was a last resort.
 

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Like I said, as far as I know they're new sticks, just the case and circuit board are used. Same as all the aftermarket pack sellers. Whether those are 'balanced' or 'unbalanced' - who knows. I think the general idea is that Dorman is kind of a cheap, mass market vendor and their products kind of reflect that. Way back when there was some logged data of a Dorman pack. It looked OK but it fell short of what Eli at Bumblebee said BB's packs could/should do - and he chalked it up to sticks 'just being bunged together', so... Ericbecky might have more to add, better insights...
 
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