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I'm pretty handy (I've changed my front brakes, spark plugs, catalytic converter, transmission oil, routine oil changes, coolant). I'm considering changing my IMA battery pack (at 155,000 miles). What is the best link to help me with that project? Any advice from any of you who have done that project?
Dick Roos
 

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IMA

A few members including myself have swapped battery packs for one reason or another. If you are going to attempt this I strongly recommend you purchase a set of Insight workshop manuals, they turn up on e-bay often enough. They are expensive but invaluable for this sort of work.

My thread is here but there are several others and using the search feature should pull up quite a bit of info.

http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=5158

Safety is a key issue, the pack is dangerous dead or alive ;)

The main IMA pack switch has a lock tab.

Some of the pack connectors have sneaky double clips or hidden release tabs/mechanisms which make unplugging them quite tricky.

The pack is heavy I manged mine on my own without the special lifting tool but I'm a big bloke.

Took about 2.5 hours to swap mine out.

Why are you changing yours?

Has it thrown an IMA code?

Peter
 

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Buying a used pack is a crap shoot. The "new" pack may be worse than the old one.
You may want to check out my Saturday Hybrid Workshop blog:
http://www.99mpg.com/workshops/mikessaturdayhybri/
we have pulled and rebalanced the subpacks in three Insight packs so far.
The one with 150K on it was badly unbalanced with some subpacks dead and others at ~50% SOC. After Ian cycled each subpack, the subpacks came back to a balanced condition, and the pack was run for ~500 miles with perfect operation.
Ian's pack with 108K was much better, but still showed some imbalance.

The final pack was from a CVT with only 45K, and the balance was within a few percent.
My pack with 120K will be tested for balance and AH capacity next.

It was a lot of work, but if that turns out to be the reason that packs start to perform strangely when they get old, it is worth the time.
We used a smart charger like this:
http://www.rcbatteryclinic.com/triton.htm
On the second pack we found that only the power distribution assembly on one side of the pack, and the clear cover on the other side were necessary to access both ends of the subpacks for the cycling, which made the process quite straight forward.
As Peter said. This pack can fry you if you get across the wrong terminals, so do not attempt any of this unless you are very confident of your electrical skills. ;)
 

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Mike Dabrowski 2000 said:
Oh good! You're using the little charger I forgot after the first install meet! Great little toy!

I would voice some caution about the healing effects of re-balancing, though. It will help in the short term, as you observed, but it won't fix lower capacity / higher resistance cells or sub-modules. So whatever caused the out-of balance in the firstplace is still there and will cause it to recur after some time...
 

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Yes we finally got some good use out of your charger.
You are probably correct about the long term situation, but if in fact some of the subpacks are exhibiting a memory effect loss of capacity, a couple of full cycles could repair the problem? I recall fixing some NICAD's that had lost capacity, and with continued use they held up pretty well?

Lots of testing to do before we can start taking our assumptions and turning them into facts.
As part of the Saturday Hybrid Electric workshops we are finally building up a custom isolated subpack monitor that will measure all 20 subpacks, and plan on datalogging them while driving. We will also read current, and possibly temp.
With 4 packs to play with, with 40K 108K, 120K, and 150K of use, we have a good cross section of packs to test.
Time will tell.

;)
 
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