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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My late husband (barnum on these forums) bought a grid charger from artric back in March of 2011. He also installed a harness in each of our 2 Insights at that time.

The artric charger was the basic charger shown in the artric installation video at
. I'm reading on this forum that it has been found since that time that discharging is also critical.

1. My first question is: is the original artric harness suitable for discharging? I ask because I read this at olrowdy01's site at grid-charger-discharger

"Unfortunately you will also not be able to do a discharge cycle of the battery to increase it's life with a diode inside the case. For that reason I would recommend that you not install any diodes in the charging harness."

From artric's installation video, it sounded like there was a diode in the charging harness he supplied at that time. But I don't speak electrical.

2. If discharging using that harness is not possible, should I still use the artric charger to try to balance the IMA battery? The cars have been sitting for a long time.

Thanks in advance.
 

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My late husband (barnum on these forums) bought a grid charger from artric back in March of 2011. He also installed a harness in each of our 2 Insights at that time.

The artric charger was the basic charger shown in the artric installation video at
. I'm reading on this forum that it has been found since that time that discharging is also critical.

1. My first question is: is the original artric harness suitable for discharging? I ask because I read this at olrowdy01's site at grid-charger-discharger

"Unfortunately you will also not be able to do a discharge cycle of the battery to increase it's life with a diode inside the case. For that reason I would recommend that you not install any diodes in the charging harness."

From artric's installation video, it sounded like there was a diode in the charging harness he supplied at that time. But I don't speak electrical.

2. If discharging using that harness is not possible, should I still use the artric charger to try to balance the IMA battery? The cars have been sitting for a long time.

Thanks in advance.
Hi there.

Sorry to hear of your loss.

You are correct about the diode. At 5 minutes into the video he says there is a diode in the positive lead connected to the forward end of the large white resistor connection terminal. The diode will probably look like a small bulge in the positive wire somewhere between the battery and the Molex 4 pin connector. Perhaps it is right at the positive lead where it attaches to the resistor.

MAKE SURE THE BATTERY MASTER SWITCH IS SET TO OFF ANY TIME YOU ARE DOING ANYTHING INSIDE THE BATTERY BOX !

You will be able to grid charge your batteries but not discharge them until the diodes in both charging cables have been removed or just have someone solder a jumper wire from one end of the diode to the other lead of the diode. (And of course insulate the diode with electrical tape afterward.)

Since the cars have been sitting for a long time do NOT allow each car to charge the batteries until after you have first grid charged the batteries to 174 volts. A normal grid charge will take 24 to 30 hours.

If you have a friend or a mechanic that can remove or bypass the diode you can set the battery master switch to OFF and drive the car for a short distance (to a mechanic etc). You need a 10mm wrench to remove the screw that holds the small cover over the battery master switch which is located under the hatch carpet.

Note that the 12 volt battery will NOT be getting charged with the IMA battery set to OFF. What that means is depending upon how good and charged the 12 volt battery is will determine how long the engine will run. If you have to drive the car make sure your 12 volt battery is charged up first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
olrowdy01, Thanks for your condolences and for your quick response. Each of the eight vehicles Mr. Barnum left behind has presented her own unique challenges and the Insights are no exception.

You said: "do NOT allow each car to charge the batteries until after you have first grid charged the batteries to 174 volts. A normal grid charge will take 24 to 30 hours." For that, I'm afraid it's too late. After each winter, I've been following the procedure to charge up the IMA battery by removing the No. 15 40 A fuse, as documented in the February 2001 Service News entitled "IMA Battery and Long Term Storage: ’00–01 Insight."

I've been starting them once a year, but having been stranded a couple of times when the 12V battery wasn't being charged by the IMA battery, I'm nervous about driving them now. I replaced the ground straps on one of the cars last summer (there has to be an easier way than how I did it, following Honda's directions) and the car seems to be acting normally. But I need to do more research on your excellent website and elsewhere before I decide whether I'll keep one of them or dispose of both. I'm considering keeping one of them, but I'm not sure I have the chops to maintain them. The nearest Honda dealer is 175 miles away.

It was disappointing to hear that I would need to replace or modify the existing charging harnesses to accommodate discharging. So that will factor in my decision as well. And it's a pity that discharging can't be accomplished by just driving the car.

I had to put the cover back on the battery box of one of the cars but was able to do so and live to tell the tale, thanks to the excellent info on this forum. People have been pretty clear about the dangers involved.

Thanks again.
 

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olrowdy01, Thanks for your condolences and for your quick response. Each of the eight vehicles Mr. Barnum left behind has presented her own unique challenges and the Insights are no exception.

You said: "do NOT allow each car to charge the batteries until after you have first grid charged the batteries to 174 volts. A normal grid charge will take 24 to 30 hours." For that, I'm afraid it's too late. After each winter, I've been following the procedure to charge up the IMA battery by removing the No. 15 40 A fuse, as documented in the February 2001 Service News entitled "IMA Battery and Long Term Storage: ’00–01 Insight."
The main reason to not let the car charge the IMA battery after a car that hasn't been run for some time (after Winter in your case) is that the battery is in prime condition to get most benefit of balancing the cells and the normal charge current is too high a current level to do that. BUT if the batteries are in decent condition they may not have lost a lot of the charge by being stored cold.

I've been starting them once a year, but having been stranded a couple of times when the 12V battery wasn't being charged by the IMA battery, I'm nervous about driving them now. I replaced the ground straps on one of the cars last summer (there has to be an easier way than how I did it, following Honda's directions) and the car seems to be acting normally. But I need to do more research on your excellent website and elsewhere before I decide whether I'll keep one of them or dispose of both. I'm considering keeping one of them, but I'm not sure I have the chops to maintain them. The nearest Honda dealer is 175 miles away.
Members of the forum will do all we can to help you keep them running.

I used some of the AWG #4 battery wire that people use to deafen themseves with their boom box cars as the 12 volt battery cables on my Insight for those ground cables.

It was disappointing to hear that I would need to replace or modify the existing charging harnesses to accommodate discharging. So that will factor in my decision as well. And it's a pity that discharging can't be accomplished by just driving the car.

I had to put the cover back on the battery box of one of the cars but was able to do so and live to tell the tale, thanks to the excellent info on this forum. People have been pretty clear about the dangers involved.

Thanks again.
Don't get too excited about the death warnings with the IPU cover open. We have to protect ourselves when giving IMA battery info with what -could- happen if someone does something stupid inside the battery compartment. The dangerous voltage is effectively turned off with the master switch set to OFF and the high voltage points are not right out in the open.

Just make sure the battery master switch is OFF anytime the cover is off the IPU. If you're still nervous about fooling around in there wear a pair of kitchen rubber gloves.

Removing or disabling the grid charging fuse is one of the simplest electrical jobs you can do. Finding the fuse along the red [Positive] wire is the hard part. The diode is about 1/2" long.

Find a friend or someone that knows how to solder and the job should not take a very long time at all. Basically just strip the heat shrink away from the bulge in the wire where the fuse should be and solder a jumper from one diode lead to the other. Or cut the leads near the diode and solder the two loose leads together and tape it up to insulate the wire. Perhaps an Insighter in your area will come to the rescue?

If you like the cars at all do NOT get rid of them because of a diode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the encouraging words!

I've just ordered one of those 12V monitoring devices (INNOVA 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor) I saw mentioned somewhere. Hopefully it will work and let me know if the 12V is about to die. That would give me confidence to go further with this project of learning how to maintain an Insight.

I have a bunch of dumb questions but I think I'll do a little more reading before I ask. I don't want to start a flame war unintentionally.
 
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