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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there...

Long time no post. Heh.

I'm looking to buy a 2000 Insight with about 36000 miles. I'd heard that the barreries start to lose their power at about 80,000 to 100,000 miles and need to be replaced - a $8K job. (please correct me on any of the numbers).

My question is: what happens when the batteries lose their ability to keep a charge? Can the Insight still be driven as a car with a 3-cyl gas engine (with lower fuel efficiency), or does it shut down? And would I really have another 44,000 - 64,000 miles until the job needs to be done? Are there cheaper ways to get the batteries replaced?

Thanks a lot.

MacW.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Me = Stupid Newb. Should have searched first. This has been discussed a lot (I thought it would be).

Anyway, Ignore the stuff about battery life. Nice to know that the battery pack is closer to $1.5K than 8K. Seems more realistic. Makes the Insight look like an even better idea than it was (which is one of those "infinity plus one" things :D ).

Anyway, if the batteries die, I understand that they could in theory be replaced with batteries you buy directly from panasonic. But can you replace the batteries with those from a hybrid civic?
 

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A civic hybrids battery pack uses different size batteries. Also, I've inquired about getting the D cells directly from panasonic, they keep telling me to go to the manufacturer. If you knew the right person I bet you might be able to get them though. Or maybe even a regular industrial Nimh D cell might work. The thing I don't like is the fact that you can't just buy the battery pack. You have to buy half of the magic box just to get new batteries. This will run significantly more than if you could just get batteries. Heck, if you could get the sticks of batteries you could probably rebuild the pack for a few hundred bucks.

Anyways, if the car shoots a dead battery code before 80K you get a new pack and from what I hear a new 80K mile battery warranty from panasonic.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hmm...and how can I make it give me a dead battery code? 8)

Anyway, it's a neat idea that you could ge another 80K by getting a dead battery just before 80.
 
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Hi Rick:

___Have you read of anyone actually getting into the packs for a DIY replacement? I read in the Insight KB that a special tool is needed but it doesn’t look like a regular puller (gear/clutch type) but more of a tool to grab the pack and haul it out? If you could just swap out the pack or even the cells for a few hundred bucks, the price goes down far enough where the TCO wouldn’t be adversely effected at whatever mileage they would happen to need replacing. I sure hope Panasonic will eventually sell to the end user instead of just the OEM given the parts markup and forced labor rates can make up possibly ½ or more of the total cost as far as I am concerned.

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:1zozc1yd][email protected][/email:1zozc1yd]
 

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I haven't heard about anyone actually doing it yet. There are some pictures floating around somewhere of a dissassembled battery pack though, doesn't look too impossible. The special tool is really just a rig to lift the unit out of the car. I really don't think it would be all that necessary. The pack weighs something like 46 pounds so it wouldn't be that hard to get out. The only other issue would be the 4 temperature sensors. I believe two are at the ends of the rows, but two of them are placed in the middle of some of them. You would have to extract the temp sensors from the old rows and heat shrink them back in to the new pack.

I haven't really had a pack in my hands, but from what I've seen I think it could be done. It might take a day to do, but if it saves a thousand bucks or more I'd say it would be well worth it. This wouldn't be a diy job for everyone though. You'd have to have at least some working knowledge of how to safely work around high voltages. I could see myself attempting it one day if necessary. Then again I've had plenty of experience working around high voltage battery packs.

As far as Panasonic selling to end users I wouldn't hold my breathe. This is the only real obstacle in the way that I can see right now. I guess time will tell, but so far there hasn't exactly been that many people who have had battery packs go outside of warranty.
 

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You can buy individual panasonic 6.5AH NiMH D cells at Digikey 14.26 ea in Quanities 100-500. You might be able to find them cheaper from other electronics suppliers.
You can use some heat-shrink and make your own sticks.

If I was to take my battery pack apart, before I buy 120 batteries, I would measure the capacity of each old cell individually to see if there are only 1 or a couple of weak ones. The "weakest link in a chain" thinking applies here.

There are 4 thermistor type temperature sensors in the pack as well a PTC temp sensor for each cell that is wired serially. There is a voltage tap for every 12 cells and you should get an IMA light if voltage for any 12 cells falls below 7V or the difference between any group of cells is greater than 1.2V. (It's all in the service manual.)

If want to trick honda into giving you a new battery pack, :evil: (I can not condone such a thing nor will I help anyone trying to do so) get the service manual and preferably a ODB2 scanner. There are 4 Diaganostic codes whos only answer is to replace the battery.
 

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Only problem with the digikey ones are they appear to be the standard solder end type. The Insight Batteries screw together at the ends. This is so they can move that up to peak 90 amps. The solder tabs would melt under that kind of current. The search continues I guess. I've already emailed panasonic inquiring about getting the screw terminal batteries, again they tell me to contact the manufacturer.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
But Panasonic is the manufacturer, is it not? Or does it go
Manufacturer > Panasonic Label > Honda Packaging?
 

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Well panasonic makes the whole battery assembly. The caseing around the batteries and the cooling and even possibly the battery managment is panasonic. If you open the magic box you'll notice the cooling fan is a panaflo brand, panasonic makes these, they also make great computer case cooling fans. I know on their page they have battery managment units, this may be a Honda part though too.
http://www.peve.panasonic.co.jp/e_news.html
Thats all you get. If you would like to try and get some batteries from them be my guest.

I dunno, I think I'm counting on the fact that there have already been several owners here locally who have had their batteries die of heat exhaustion at around 70,000 miles so I'm hoping mine will too so I can get a new pack before that time rolls around. This is where I heard they come with a new 80K mile warranty from panasonic, that could be wrong, but if it is true awsome! I guess I'll really worry about it when I'm outside of warranty.
 
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