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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone here pushed the limits on the IMA motor's power rating and lived to tell the story? I know it's a 10 kW motor as rated by Honda, but the IGBT power stage driving the thing can pretty easily pass 200+ amps with adequate cooling, and it's a 600V-rated part. I was wondering if the motor has cooling ports that could maybe be hijacked to push more coolant through. Was also thinking of driving the motor from my own BLDC controller with a slightly higher DC link voltage (maybe push things closer to 200V?). With a 200V DC link and 150 amp peak current limit, I'd think the motor on its own should be capable of freeway cruising, especially if some of the gas engine's parasitic loads are taken off. Hell, if A/C isn't needed and an electric water pump could be rigged up I'd think the accessory belt could be taken off.

Obviously at that point none of the existing IMA electronics would be involved but I'm fine with that. I'm more curious as to the max current one can push into the stator, and what the insulation can tolerate voltage-wise (IIRC the IMA system can push the DC link as high as 300V during regen so would that be applicable to the motor's insulation rating?) Also, what's the typical temperature rise of the motor with the stock cooling setup, if one pushes 10+ kW continuous?

7,136 Posts
The IMA motor is air cooled. With a healthy battery, the IMA system will push a maximum of just over 12kW for about 4 seconds at a time, and only in 2nd and 3rd gears. All other gears are limited to 6.5kW.

Peter has done some pretty extensive testing of the IMA motor, he will be able to chime in better. Suffice to say though, it is over-engineered and can definitely take more power. I want to say he had it up to 23kW, but I might be making that up.

My understanding with permanent magnet motors is that it is possible to demagnetize the magnets by driving it too hard. Without something like dyno testing, you will not be able to tell that this has happened. So caution is needed.

1,616 Posts
The HCH II had a 15kW IMA motor. I think it uses the same bolt pattern as the Insight. If it's beefier than the Insight motor you might get better results by swapping one of those in. I don't think anyone has done this before, you'd be the first.

The Insight IMA commutation sensors are different than what's on the HCH II motor, so I don't know if it'd be compatible or not.

11,180 Posts
As Eli says I've done a lot of stuff on this over the years.

There is tons of reading for you to do and YT videos on my channel to watch etc.
Lithium, supercapacitors, hacking voltages, hacking currents etc it's all doable and documented in detail on here.

The IMA motor and the standard electronics can be overdriven significantly.

I've done around 22kw+ as a maximum up to now..
I've tested upto 250V with the standard IGBT and 150A+ etc. (Not at the same time yet)
220v is a more sensible limit IMO as you can still use the stock DC-DC if you keep the voltage below that.

Of course driving the motor with your own controller the world is your oyster.
I would think a sustained 250v is fine.
Higher voltage = less current for same power of course which is nice as you know.

Heating is an unknown factor, but we can make some reasonable assumptions.
ASFIK the motor has class H insulation.
It's stator is enamelled copper wire.
The magnets could die if they get too hot or you overdrive the motor too much, but no one has tested them/it to that point.
The usual neodymium magnet heat specs probably apply.

The motor has no active cooling or temperature sensing built in, so you could drive it to destruction.

I have put lots of peak power and ah through it in relatively short periods, but I think sustained (30 mins) 5kw+ or more would likely overheat it, but I'm happy to be proven wrong.
IMA Motors are cheap and plentiful as they never go wrong in normal use, so testing one to destruction is easily doable and would cost little apart from your time to replace it.

I did install heat sensing devices in one of my cars IMA motors but I never did any follow up work on it.
I use a +40% current hack routinely on all my cars even with standard Nimh packs.

There is a useful pdf on the web about some laboratory testing of an accord IMA motor and temperature rises etc.
That's very similar and you can extrapolate from that about sensible limits.

I suggest start searching on here for current hacking, voltage hacking etc etc etc and dig in for the long haul.
Use a few key words like igbt, mdm, current hack, voltage hack, more power.

These will get you started.


283 Posts
I love reading this stuff...but ask me if I understand any of it. I’m hoping that the more I read, the more saturation occurs and it sticks in my brain.

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