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So I have had my 2001 m/t insight for about 16 months give or take. When I purchased it, the owner had the clutch switch wired to use the battery on demand because it was weak. I disabled the battery immediately and started driving my 236 mile daily round trip saving loads on gas. Later on I bought a cheap grid charger, did a few discharge charge cycles, then tested. I loved the extra power and braking assistance but could only get maybe 30-40 minutes of a drive and no hard acceleration before the Ima light would come on. I average usually around 54mpg lately with a commute of around 60 miles round trip. I'd love to have some assist up the hills and be able get as much as I can out of it.

So I'm thinking about doing some charge/discharge cycles with a hobby charger. Question: Is it worth it? Is it really alot of assist? Is it likely I will be able to recondition? I know I'll need some sticks from another pack most likely to build a balanced pack. Should I just go bumblebee? Going that route and spending that much does the gas savings/happiness from extra assist to cost ratio even come close?
Also suspension... Killer3cylinder springs reviews anyone? I'm planning to build a hitch for a bike rack and maybe an ice chest and looking for something to help the rearend. Couldn't hurt as it rides like a tank as is.
Thanks in advance all.
In Arkansas btw
 

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Most battery stick swaps or try relive life on sticks are a lost cause, really hard to pair up and match. The time spent won’t last. Am trying the deep discharge Udd method now which deep discharges the taps at a slow rate 5 taps at a time. This is all done in the car than charge for 30 hours .At this point you have nothing to lose or invest in a 5 year bumble bee battery. Look up the quintessential in the search box and the 1449 thread that’s linked for detail pictures layer out by eq1. Also unhook the bcm connectors on both front and back ,this should keep the battery 12 lite out and allow you to still drive car in gas mode.
 

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I just push the thread to top 1449.
Thanks 442. Looks to be alot of good info in that thread I'll keep reading through. The battery has been out of my car for a year or more I may go out and do some voltage measurements and look at doing a gridcharge on it. And look into your method.
 

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So I have had my 2001 m/t insight for about 16 months give or take. When I purchased it, the owner had the clutch switch wired to use the battery on demand because it was weak. I disabled the battery immediately and started driving my 236 mile daily round trip saving loads on gas. Later on I bought a cheap grid charger, did a few discharge charge cycles, then tested. I loved the extra power and braking assistance but could only get maybe 30-40 minutes of a drive and no hard acceleration before the Ima light would come on. I average usually around 54mpg lately with a commute of around 60 miles round trip. I'd love to have some assist up the hills and be able get as much as I can out of it.

So I'm thinking about doing some charge/discharge cycles with a hobby charger. Question: Is it worth it? Is it really alot of assist? Is it likely I will be able to recondition? I know I'll need some sticks from another pack most likely to build a balanced pack. Should I just go bumblebee? Going that route and spending that much does the gas savings/happiness from extra assist to cost ratio even come close?
Also suspension... Killer3cylinder springs reviews anyone? I'm planning to build a hitch for a bike rack and maybe an ice chest and looking for something to help the rearend. Couldn't hurt as it rides like a tank as is.
Thanks in advance all.
In Arkansas btw
I'm an old fuddy-duddy and like to think that the engineers at Honda knew what they were doing with the motor-engine combination. And that means a functioning battery. Yes, you can run it without the battery. It's not a good idea as you have a hard time getting out of your way. The NiMH battery/motor combo functions a lot like a turbo boost on the Insight. It is designed in as a part of the car. I sure do appreciate that boost when passing or going up a hill.
 

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I'm an old fuddy-duddy and like to think that the engineers at Honda knew what they were doing with the motor-engine combination. And that means a functioning battery. Yes, you can run it without the battery. It's not a good idea as you have a hard time getting out of your way. The NiMH battery/motor combo functions a lot like a turbo boost on the Insight. It is designed in as a part of the car. I sure do appreciate that boost when passing or going up a hill.
Yeah I agree from my very limited experience with a functional battery, I remember a night and day difference. The portion of the battery assembly with the breaker is still in my car I believe. I jumpered the battery halves I suppose, together and have it on a grid charger in the garage atm. Hopefully I can revive it for a bit. I appreciate your input.
 

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The portion of the battery assembly with the breaker is still in my car I believe. I jumpered the battery halves I suppose, together and have it on a grid charger in the garage atm. Hopefully I can revive it for a bit. I appreciate your input.
What does this mean -- "jumpered the battery halves I suppose..."?

When I purchased it, the owner had the clutch switch wired to use the battery on demand because it was weak. I disabled the battery immediately...Later on I bought a cheap grid charger, did a few discharge charge cycles, then tested.... could only get maybe 30-40 minutes of a drive and no hard acceleration before the Ima light would come on.
Did you by chance ever note the trouble code? Do you remember what the BAT gauge behavior was like - like did your bars plummet from high up, the IMA tried to charge and then you got the IMA light? or something else...

So I'm thinking about doing some charge/discharge cycles with a hobby charger. Question: Is it worth it? Is it really alot of assist? Is it likely I will be able to recondition? I know I'll need some sticks from another pack most likely to build a balanced pack.
In short, it's probably not worth it: The amount of time and effort vs. the probability of success is not favorable, particularly when you'd probably have more chance of success trying the tap-level ultra-deep discharge thing hybrid442 mentioned. Review that stuff and if it looks like something you can do, I'd suggest you try it.

Having a fully functional pack - that puts out the amount of power it's supposed to - seems like a pretty big bonus to me. I like to have that extra power at-will. So to me having a good pack adds a lot of, not necessarily enjoyment, but rather it removes a lot of annoyance. Gas-only feels a bit too kludge-y for my taste. But having said that, if you drive gingerly and go for extreme MPG or the like, the IMA system doesn't do a lot, so it'd be perfectly reasonable to scrap that system.

Hard to say what your chances are of winning back the kind of IMA performance that's worth all that. I have an original 20 year-old pack that puts out full power. They CAN be reconditioned to fully perform... On the other hand, it seems almost a trivial exercise to get a pack to at least function - not throw IMA lights, put out some assist, etc. If you can stick some pins in your taps over a couple weeks, do a full grid charge, and end up with functionality, I'd say it'd be well worth the 'effort'...

One probably only needs to replace sticks if one or more sticks have cells with relatively fast self discharge. That is a real chore to spot, so basically you just have to try the 'reconditioning' and hope it holds. Unless you dug into measuring voltage taps on a regular basis over a week or more, under fairly regimented circumstances, you'd probably never know whether you have fast self discharge cells...

Should I just go bumblebee? Going that route and spending that much does the gas savings/happiness from extra assist to cost ratio even come close?
Buying a new replacement pack depends mostly on one's personal financial situation. If you can afford it, it's worth it. If you can't, it's not. I don't think a new pack does anything for gas savings. I mean, it can but it's not anything you couldn't get out of a merely functional old pack. And as I mentioned above, having an IMA system that puts out full power makes a pretty big difference in performance. But, personally, I would never pay a couple thousand dollars for that performance bonus. It's not worth that much to me. But that's me, other people are in different boats, where for example a new replacement pack means a car that actually works - so it's worth a lot more to them...
 

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What does this mean -- "jumpered the battery halves I suppose..."?



Did you by chance ever note the trouble code? Do you remember what the BAT gauge behavior was like - like did your bars plummet from high up, the IMA tried to charge and then you got the IMA light? or something else...



In short, it's probably not worth it: The amount of time and effort vs. the probability of success is not favorable, particularly when you'd probably have more chance of success trying the tap-level ultra-deep discharge thing hybrid442 mentioned. Review that stuff and if it looks like something you can do, I'd suggest you try it.

Having a fully functional pack - that puts out the amount of power it's supposed to - seems like a pretty big bonus to me. I like to have that extra power at-will. So to me having a good pack adds a lot of, not necessarily enjoyment, but rather it removes a lot of annoyance. Gas-only feels a bit too kludge-y for my taste. But having said that, if you drive gingerly and go for extreme MPG or the like, the IMA system doesn't do a lot, so it'd be perfectly reasonable to scrap that system.

Hard to say what your chances are of winning back the kind of IMA performance that's worth all that. I have an original 20 year-old pack that puts out full power. They CAN be reconditioned to fully perform... On the other hand, it seems almost a trivial exercise to get a pack to at least function - not throw IMA lights, put out some assist, etc. If you can stick some pins in your taps over a couple weeks, do a full grid charge, and end up with functionality, I'd say it'd be well worth the 'effort'...

One probably only needs to replace sticks if one or more sticks have cells with relatively fast self discharge. That is a real chore to spot, so basically you just have to try the 'reconditioning' and hope it holds. Unless you dug into measuring voltage taps on a regular basis over a week or more, under fairly regimented circumstances, you'd probably never know whether you have fast self discharge cells...



Buying a new replacement pack depends mostly on one's personal financial situation. If you can afford it, it's worth it. If you can't, it's not. I don't think a new pack does anything for gas savings. I mean, it can but it's not anything you couldn't get out of a merely functional old pack. And as I mentioned above, having an IMA system that puts out full power makes a pretty big difference in performance. But, personally, I would never pay a couple thousand dollars for that performance bonus. It's not worth that much to me. But that's me, other people are in different boats, where for example a new replacement pack means a car that actually works - so it's worth a lot more to them...
So the 4 spacers on the breaker side of the battery. This may be where the grey plugs are and I believe people have referred to this as battery halves.ome side was around 40vdc and the other 60vdc Without the breaker and the rest of that assembly I just jumpered them together and have the pack grid charging in the garage.


I never read the code regretfully, was working way to many hours and driving a lot at the same time. I let it do a couple soc cycles and if I mashed the pedal under load almost instantly the light would come on. If I drove it easy I would get around 40 miles or so. The meter seemed to function as I would expect but have limited experience with it.

I've pretty much thrown out the bumblebee thought. I won't be driving the car alot anymore and when I do I'd just like max efficiency and the extra boost. Without the battery in I don't believe I am able to achieve lean burn so I would think it could help in the mpg department but could be wrong.

After a good long grid charge I'll try to do the udd method.
Thanks for your input eq1
 

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So the 4 spacers on the breaker side of the battery. This may be where the grey plugs are and I believe people have referred to this as battery halves.ome side was around 40vdc and the other 60vdc Without the breaker and the rest of that assembly I just jumpered them together and have the pack grid charging in the garage.
Well, just make sure you've connected the right bits together... 40V and 60V halves - either you've got a really discharged pack or you're not measuring in the right places (or you're just playing really loose with the values). It should be more like 58V and 86V minimum...
 

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Well, just make sure you've connected the right bits together... 40V and 60V halves - either you've got a really discharged pack or you're not measuring in the right places (or you're just playing really loose with the values). It should be more like 58V and 86V minimum...
I measured each stick individually and came up with 102.3v. After I jumpered I measured 102.2vdc across the whole battery. It has been sitting in my garage for more than a year. I don't have a schematic but I feel comfortable I'm in the right place. I also felt it was really low but didn't know where the halves were tapped at. Glad to know they should be off somewhat.
Thanks eq1
 

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^ Given the year sitting, that make sense, sounds right... So, do you have the sticks loose, free from the pack, or otherwise have the pack out of the car and have easy access to the sticks? If so, considering your circumstances and depending on how much time you want to devote to this, you'd generally be better off 'doing something' with the sticks than putting it all back together and doing stuff at the tap-level. That'd be kind of backwards...

The fact that your sticks sat for a year and most of the cells are probably deeply self discharged can be a plus. Basically, if you have easy access to the sticks, then all you 'really' need to do is a few things:

-check the voltage of each cell, write down, note which are not deeply self discharged (above ~0.7V, but particularly above 1.2V)
-use ~47 ohm resistor to deeply discharge each cell that is not deeply self discharged

For both of these you don't even need to remove the heat shrink, you can just use a needle and carefully pierce the wrap.

After you get all the cells deeply discharged, put the pack back together and grid charge it, preferably 'on the bench'. About an hour after the charge, check each cell voltage, write it down, and then let the pack sit for a week.

At week's end measure cell voltages again and compare to the baseline. How much did each cell's voltage change? Did they all change about the same amount?

All the cells should be within about 0.010V (about that, I'll check for a better value if you decide to go this route). Basically, any low voltage outliers are relatively fast self discharging cells and might pose a problem to pack functionality...

That's pretty much it.

Assuming you don't have any major self discharge outliers, your pack would be ready to reinstall. When you first use the pack you should probably try to exercise as full a charge state range as the car will allow, at only modest charge and discharge rates, maybe for a couple weeks. I'd probably try to keep charge state on the low side, too. I wouldn't do full braking regen at high charge state at least for a couple weeks... The cells will likely be in a somewhat 'cruddy' state, and if you push them at the extremes (mainly higher charge states) they'd be more likely to be pushed out of balance... I don't have any real data on that though, it's probably not too serious an issue...

Oh, yeah, one more thing: I've assumed you have an OEM pack. My understanding is that this 'stuff' doesn't work with aftermarket packs - so if you have an aftermarket pack you can ignore everything I wrote.

Oh, crap, I just realized - you're already grid charging the pack.
 

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Eq1,
Yes the pack is on a bench in my garage. How low should I discharge each cell with the resistor? Any particular reason for 47 ohms? I figured logically cell by cell makes the most sense but I see alot of nay saying about stick work. Thanks for the info
 

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Haven't you already started grid charging it? If so, then you don't know which cells were NOT self discharged already, and then discharging at the cell-level becomes a major pain -- because you'd have to do them all to catch the ones that weren't self discharged...
 

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Eq1,
Yes I've started the grid charge a few hours ago. All I have is time with this pack so it's not a rush. I do have the voltage written down on the stick level and can assume some have been deeply discharged only one stick had 7.xxvolts some were 3.xx. at this point maybe I should do a full charge, then discharge the whole pack and let it sit for a week or two and do cell level work. Or with my El cheapo charger it probably hasn't don't much and go ahead with cell level work. How far do you recommend letting voltage drop to?
 

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I don’t mess with the battery no more.. Took it out -70 pounds. Took out another 61 pounds.

use 100 psi in my tires. You could go 80 psi. It takes so much less energy to move the car on high-pressure tires I don’t miss my battery at all..

Say I lose one year tire life on a set a tires. Get five years instead of six. Or four years instead of five. It will be a long time before equals $1000-$2000 for a new battery. And you will need a new battery every four or five years.

But that’s just me. I’m at 400 foot above sea level and have fairly flat driving. If someone would give me an LTO though I would take it. I would love to have it and would charge at home and and have a blast.

I am really all for the hybrid. I just don’t like nickel metal hydride at all. I’ve had high hopes on batteries on six different cars. Never got a good one yet. Never had an LTO either. I sure would like to have it though. Good luck to you.
 

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I don’t mess with the battery no more.. Took it out -70 pounds. Took out another 61 pounds.

use 100 psi in my tires. You could go 80 psi. It takes so much less energy to move the car on high-pressure tires I don’t miss my battery at all..

Say I lose one year tire life on a set a tires. Get five years instead of six. Or four years instead of five. It will be a long time before equals $1000-$2000 for a new battery. And you will need a new battery every four or five years.

But that’s just me. I’m at 400 foot above sea level and have fairly flat driving. If someone would give me an LTO though I would take it. I would love to have it and would charge at home and and have a blast.

I am really all for the hybrid. I just don’t like nickel metal hydride at all. I’ve had high hopes on batteries on six different cars. Never got a good one yet. Never had an LTO either. I sure would like to have it though. Good luck to you.
Wow 100psi? My re92s say max 44 and I run about 45-50 in them. I'd be anxious about a blowout 24/7 . Nimh is still in use widely for backup power systems. Yes lithium is superior in many ways but it's more of a fire hazard. Could you imagine a pack made of the Samsung phone that had the explosion issue? A galaxy note (x) I believe. That'd be a big fireball. I'd love the weight savings,longevity,higher ah of lithium but I agree a grand or two for a battery isn't worth it and lithium would be more.

The car is fine batteryless but it's going to be just a weekender soon and with the states new tax on hybrids I want to save as much as possible on gas. Would like the better drivability with all the hills around here as well.
 

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Eq1,
Yes I've started the grid charge a few hours ago. All I have is time with this pack so it's not a rush. I do have the voltage written down on the stick level and can assume some have been deeply discharged only one stick had 7.xxvolts some were 3.xx. at this point maybe I should do a full charge, then discharge the whole pack and let it sit for a week or two and do cell level work. Or with my El cheapo charger it probably hasn't don't much and go ahead with cell level work. How far do you recommend letting voltage drop to?
hmm, tough one... I think I'd suggest just continuing with your grid charge, do the cell-level check, 1 week wait, cell level check again like I described earlier. I think outlier fast self discharge cells ('FSDs') is the main thing that makes packs totally dysfunctional. All the other forms of degradation seem pretty marginal. As long as you don't have the outlier FSDs, your pack should work, or with some 'light' reconditioning it should work eventually...

If you don't find any outlier FSDs after the 1 week period, I'd suggest just reinstalling the pack and then doing the tap-level thing at some point in not-too-distant future. I can't recommend dealing with sticks and their cells individually, such as with a hobby charger. It's just too easy for it all to spiral out of control and eat your life, and in the end you don't end up anywhere beyond where the tap-level can take you, more or less...

I don't recommend full pack discharges. Well, maybe with people who have no other options, like you can tell they just wouldn't be able to handle shorting taps... That doesn't sound like you.

There's a thread titled "P1449" that should be near the top of the problems and troubleshooting forum, I think, right now. Someone else, hybrid442, is trying the tap thing. You might want to read that thread and follow along if there's any future updates.
 

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'Ive pretty much thrown out the bumblebee thought. I won't be driving the car alot anymore and when I do I'd just like max efficiency and the extra boost. Without the battery in I don't believe I am able to achieve lean burn so I would think it could help in the mpg department but could be wrong.
With Mudder's Arduino mod you can have lean burn without a battery. It requires a slightly different version of the code. It's documented in his thread.

I had a perfectly working battery, until one winter I had a water leak which shorted a wire under the dash and disabled the IMA system. I found the car a lot less fun to drive, and there was a fuel economy penalty - if I recall it was something like 10-15%. I was pretty unhappy. After winter I pulled the carpet out and fixed the damaged wiring.

Around a year later I intentionally removed my battery and sold it, with the intent to put a 200+ HP Acura motor in. I drove for another year with the battery intentionally removed, and didn't mind it nearly as much. Context sensitive I suppose? In some ways it was nice not to worry about the battery.

Now I have the Acura motor in the car. If I drive carefully I can get 50-60mpg, with mid to high 60's possible with my full bag of tricks. That goes out the window when I put my foot down. Honestly, I can't say I like the car any better or worse now, many thousands of dollars later. It's faster, less refined, less fuel efficient (but still reasonably economical).

~

I feel a stock Insight is a great car, but the battery is a ticking time bomb. Battery replacement costs kill any fuel savings over other economy cars. You do it because you love the car.

A bypassed Insight is most in want of different gearing. The spacing between 1-2-3 is too large, and 4-5 are close enough together that 4th might as well not exist most of the time. However, take the time and money to build a custom transmission and you might as well have just bought a battery. I feel this is also something you do only if you really love the car.

Edit: One thing I really appreciate after my batterectimy is how much extra cargo room I have in the rear.

I think these cars can be really rewarding to those who love them and either a) take care of them, or b) modify them.
 

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I agree. There are so many mods to use and methods on here to keep a original pack healthy enough to get you by til you make a decision to bypass,straight gas ,lto,reconditioning of sticks seem to be the last desperate resort and requires alot of time .
 

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I'm using a Hybrid Automotive Prolong grid charger and discharger for the reconditioning process and then made my own battery module load tester by adding a couple wires, a switch and headlight port to the light bulb discharger. I use alligator clips on the end of my grid charger harness to read the voltage and provide a load from the headlight. Here is their website: https://hybridautomotive.com/products/

After doing a bunch of reading, I came up with this approach and so far, so good. I've successfully refurbished several IMA batteries using this method. My first step is to test the voltage at the gray plug to see what the 10 pairs of batteries are showing. That will give you an idea of the problem batteries. Then I recondition the whole IMA battery over roughly 5 days. Charge 24+ hours, discharge to 96v, charge 24+ hours, discharge to 60v and charge 24+ hours. After that, I let the battery sit for 12-24 hours to kinda settle the resting voltage. Then I remove the side covers of the battery, alligator clip the + & - bolts and load test all 20 sticks for 2 minutes each. Resting voltage 12-24 hours after the initial reconditioning is not a good way to determine if you have a bad stick. Unless really bad, they'll all show pretty consistent voltage after a grid charge. However, the 2 minute load test will reveal problem sticks within 2 minutes. I write down the resting voltage, turn on the light bulb for 2 minutes and then write down the voltage after 2 minutes, then subtract the loaded from the resting voltage to see how much each battery drops in voltage. I've seen as low as 1.39v and as high as 3.13v. The lower the better, but the most important thing is trying to keep the sticks consistent across not only all 20 sticks, but the 10 pairs of sticks too. So once I have the 20 sticks complete, I do the same math across all 10 pairs to ensure the resting voltage range is <.2v across all 10 pairs and the loaded voltage range is <.6v. As eq1 has pointed out in other threads, the self-discharge is probably the most important test though. The load test is good if you've done the reconditioning process, but get an IMA light either immediately or within a few days.

eq1 suggests doing a self-discharge test over 1 week. I tested this approach and have found that 3 weeks is a better approach if you want a higher success rate. So after the load testing, I grid charge one more time, wait 12-24 hours and write down the resting voltage for all 20 sticks. 1 week later, I record the resting voltage for all 20 sticks again and repeat for a total of 3 weeks of just sitting on the bench. On one particular pack I was working on, over 1 week, the pack spread was .14v. Week 2 was .18v. But during week 3, I had a stick plummet in self-discharge rate and the spread became 1.37v. If I removed just that one stick, the spread would have been .2v, so I removed 2 more sticks to make the spread .1v over 3 weeks. The tricky part is, you have to do this entire process with spare sticks to ensure the self-discharge rate is the same/close to the rest of the pack you're trying to condition. It takes a month or more to refurbish an IMA battery and is likely why people don't bother.

It's a long, tedious process, but kinda fun. Many of the hours are charging and discharging. Disassembly, load testing & reassembly is about 2 hours, then all the math and strategically placing the replacement sticks, depending on how many, could be another hour. I think if you already have the equipment and sticks, it's worth the effort and time, but to go out and buy it all...I don't know. Might be best to just pay for it to get it done right. After reading through the plethora of knowledge, I have a lot of respect for the folks who figured this all out. I wouldn't have attempted it in the first place. And at first, I thought they made it much more difficult than it needed to be, but after refurbishing a pack that needed 7 sticks replaced, I see why it can certainly be difficult. 1 stick was very easy, 7...not so much.
 
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