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Discussion Starter #1
I hope this is in the right forum - if not, move.

My original 12-volt battery had to be replaced after 3.5 years. I kick myself to think it could have lasted longer it the water level was checked periodically. The battery was ignored until there was a problem. It was only one-third full. The replacement was $75, with a number of people commenting it was the size of a riding lawn mower battery.

It seems when the 12-volt battery runs down, the hybrid battery also gets drained. Anyway, my hybrid battery was completely drained a couple of times from the bad 12-volt battery. Hope this did not shorten the life of the hybrid battery.
 

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Isn't the Insight battery a "maintenance free" one, in that you can't check/add water to it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They should have said "low-maintenance".

The factory 12-volt battery had tape over the caps which could be removed with a coin or blade screwdriver. I tried pouring diststilled water and charging the battery, but it was too little - too late. If I had done this every six months from the time I bought the Insight, the battery would probably still be going strong.
 

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Delta Flyer said:
They should have said "low-maintenance".

The factory 12-volt battery had tape over the caps which could be removed with a coin or blade screwdriver. I tried pouring diststilled water and charging the battery, but it was too little - too late. If I had done this every six months from the time I bought the Insight, the battery would probably still be going strong.
Not necessarily. In the three years that I have had the car (original owner), mine has continued to have its' electolyte level at an acceptable without ever adding any distilled water. The car was manufactured in August 2000 so I figure the battery itself is probably about 4 years old now.

However, I started noticing problems this past winter where the SOC was dropping and had a very hard time getting above 1/2 scale. The car was running in constant recharge mode trying to get the battery pack fully charged. After reading some threads on Yahoo! about the 12V battery, I decided to disconnect the original Furukawa battery (putting a gel cell in parallel just before disconnecting so as to not reset the radio or computer) and hook it up to a battery charger. It immediately started drawing around 6A and slowly dropped to around 1.5A continuous draw after an hour. I left it on for about two hours and it never dropped below 1A which seems to indicate a small internal short. I reconnected it and after a subsequent drive to work, the SOC returned to full scale. This problem happened again this past week and I again when through the same process with the net result being the car is back at full SOC. I now have an Optima D51DA on order that I paid a total of $106.73 for. Being a deep cycle battery, it should stand up better to the type of use the Insight demands of it plus I have a 300W 120V inverter that I may start using with it during blackouts since it has a nice large reserve capacity.

So, even if you pamper your battery, there are things besides the electrolyte that can go wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wild guess: maybe the Texas heat depleted my battery fluid level. I bought my Insight September 9, 2000.

Yes, I've wondered if there was a short in my car.

For anyone that tries putting distilled water in the battery: leave at least a half-inch from filling. In college I did that and the acid overflowed and ate through the firewall. :(
 

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Hm. I have lately been seeing the IMA battery staying at about 50% for extended periods of time. I thought it had something to do with my driving habits changing (city commutes < 5 miles each way), but perhaps I should change my 12 volt. Will report back.
 

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Tim Maddux said:
Hm. I have lately been seeing the IMA battery staying at about 50% for extended periods of time. I thought it had something to do with my driving habits changing (city commutes < 5 miles each way), but perhaps I should change my 12 volt. Will report back.
Before replacing it, try hooking it up to an external charger for a while and make sure that it is indeed having trouble (no reason to go through the expense of replacement if it is not needed). It may very well be the shorter commute. In my case, my commute did not change but the SOC did.
 

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12 v battery

My 12 v battery was recently replaced as well. My car is a 2000 and has over 60K miles on it. In the months prior to the actual death of the original battery, I noticed that the car was never fully charging and seemed to be entering charge mode constantly. I figured that the car is just getting older and the big battery pack was starting to end its life. Anyway, the battery finally dies outright and I go to my local Honda to get a replacement. The parts person asks if I have AC or not. I was then told that the tcars equipped with AC have a different 12v battery. I purschase the new batter (about $70) and lo and behold, it is much physically larger than my old battery, which looked like a motorcycle battery. The new battery fits perfectly int he mounts (i.e., it fully occupies the battery compartment). My old, dead, battery was about 60% the size of the new battery and fit in the same place but did not "fully occupy" the battery area. Since the battery swap (4 weeks ago) I can report: much less system charging, better mpg (very slightly and this is not empiric) and IMA battery levels usually hovering above 85% full. I know wonder whetehr the battery that came witht he car was the correct battery.
 

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Re: 12 v battery

glois said:
(snip)
I know wonder whetehr the battery that came witht he car was the correct battery.
The small 12V Furukawa battery is the correct battery but may not have been the right choice on Honda's part. As has been posted on the Yahoo! Honda-Hybrid site, the best battery for the type of duty required is a deep cycle. A regular starter battery never gets enough exercise since it is not called upon to start the car except under bizarre circumstances.

Sometime today UPS (assuming the tracking information is correct) will be dropping off my new Optima D51DA battery. I had thought about going with either the conventional black Honda Civic battery that is now being used as a replacement or the equivalent but I realize that it is still not the right battery for this application. Being a deep cycle, the Optima should have a better life span plus it does not mind being heavily discharged to 70% of its capacity. I have a 12V/120VAC inverter that I want to use for emergency power and it looks like this battery in conjunction with the Insight will be a perfect match. In a blackout I can use the battery to power my inverter and then recharge it with normal driving.
 

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Hi glois-

Welcome! I appreciate the assessment of your mods you include in your signature. You might consider adding your general local and transmission type as these are often relevant to questions and comments. :)
 

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Dan, I will bet you $100 that glois has a manual transmission. If I'm wrong, I'll give you 200.... ;)
 

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Holicow-

I may be slow, but I know better than gamble with the superhuman. Even at 2 to 1. (How come there is no emoticon giving a juicy raspberry?)
 

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Changed my 12V battery yesterday. So far so good, I am seeing a much more stable "full" IMA battery reading. Recently it had often drifted down to 50% as reported above. I will report back in a week after I've had a chance to abuse the IMA a bit :)
 

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I put the Optima D51DA in yesterday and so far so good. No need to change the battery cables as the posts are on the correct side. They have more slack now as the Optima is wider than the original battery.

Before I pulled the Furukawa battery, I measured the voltage at the accessory outlet with the key in the ACC position; it varied between 11.1 and 11.2 volts. I put the Optima in and now get 12.0 volts. But even before I measured the voltage I noticed the cabin light was a bit brighter when I got it the car. I drove the car about 15 miles last night and had no problems with the SOC. I'll keep my fingers crossed. The new battery does look a bit odd with its grey cylindrical shaped cells and bright yellow top! However, it fits right in with the Insight styling.
 

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How does the Optima D51DA fit - when the height listed is 8.937" almost an inch higher than the oem battery?
 

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tbsi said:
How does the Optima D51DA fit - when the height listed is 8.937" almost an inch higher than the oem battery?
It sounds like they may be including the battery posts in the D51DA height measurement since I cannot account for the reported difference. There was no height difference in my installation. I placed the D51DA into the battery box, replaced the battery retainer bar and tightened the retaining bolts. The fit was perfect and the battery is secured to the battery box. I can post a picture of the installation if anyone is interested.
 

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Tim Maddux said:
I will report back in a week after I've had a chance to abuse the IMA a bit :)
Following up more than a week later... I haven't seen any long term benefit. Looks like I wasted my money.
 
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