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Discussion Starter #1
A Cautionary Tale?.... My situation: G1 2000 Insight, Original IMA battery, purchased/installed new IMA BB battery early 2014, some problems within 2 years, Hard IMA light by 2.5 years. Presently owner of a $2000 "paperweight" (that LOOKS like an IMA battery).

This is just a discussion. Perhaps just to give prospective/potential IMA battery buyers some insight and something to consider... By NO means meant to badmouth or denigrate Bumblebee Battery or other battery builders. They provided the advertised product, it worked great and I am certain they have many satisfied customers. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.

Across the IC forums, I have seen numerous references by IMA battery buyers who chose to spend the $1500 to $2000(or more) to get a new IMA battery, as I did. It also appears that a number of them experienced the evil IMA battery problems after 12/16/24 or more months, as I did.

So the question is: Is the gamble worth it? How lucky do you feel? Is it an unrealistic expectation to think you will get IMA battery life anywhere near the original battery? IF I were to tell you BEFORE purchase that you have a fair chance that your new, expensive battery might not make it past the first few years would you still want to buy it?

Yes, I have heard the logic that the car is now older and taxes the battery more than it did when new...Having said that and even accepting that concept. My factory battery lasted 12 YEARS, would it be unreasonable to expect at least 6-7-8 years life from a "new & Improved" IMA battery? I kinda sorta did.... I was kinda sorta WRONG.

WHERE is the "deal breaker" point for you or me? If you knew up front the battery MIGHT be ONLY good for 3 years? 4 Years? 5 years? Would YOU consider that a good "return on investment"? Would you still buy one?
I must admit I was shocked and disappointed. Perhaps, naively, I fully expected to get at least 50%-75% of my factory battery life with the new one (6-8 years or so), perhaps more. Is it the very nature of these IMA batteries to be so problematic?

Hindsight being 20/20 => I <= would NOT have spent $2000 on this "experiment" and should have just bypassed the IMA battery (as I did when it died) and enjoyed my 2000 Insight with a bit less "oomph" minus IMA. (Must admit I like that "oomph" but wish it cost less to get back..). Or perhaps a better investment would have been to buy a good balancer/charger and attempt to salvage my original battery? I gather that is what the Honda dealers do.

Buyer beware, be AWARE. If you do choose to buy a new battery just be conscious that you may find yourself with IMA problems again not too far down the road OR perhaps you may not....luck of the draw? Do YOU feel lucky?
Just my .02 cents.
I welcome your thought/comments. Am I exaggerating the risk?

PS: Fair is Fair, so I want to state that due to a death in the family I failed to report the battery to BB within the 3 year warranty period. They did offer (for a fee) to bring the battery back to life but I couldn't see investing any more money in the "experiment". The point I am trying to make here has nothing to do with a warranty issue (as far as I know BB honors its warranty just fine) but the fact that I (and others) never expected to have a battery problem again so soon. I envisioned that my Insight would go to a new owner or a scrap yard with the new battery in it. Presently looking for a way to kill the CEL so I can pass inspection.
 

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The Achilles' Heel of the car is its HV battery. Always has been; always will be.

If you just want to get into the car and drive it, you need to filter out the enthusiasm that people have here for grid charging, battery replacing, etc. As you'd expect in an enthusiasts' group, they are far more accommodating of the car than most people would be.

My situation was even worse in that I live on the other side of the world and so a replacement battery from an aftermarket supplier would perhaps cost me twice what it cost you.

When my (free Honda factory replacement) HV battery died something like 5 years ago I didn't think for one moment about replacing it - the chance that I'd be very unhappy on my return on investment was far too high.

As you may or may not have seen, there is an increasing number of people saying what you have just said. Bought new aftermarket battery, battery failed sooner than they expect, now unhappy.

What I wish is that people here would be more nuanced in their advice, rather than telling people who have a dead HV battery that "you can't go wrong with supplier X, he's great, buy his battery" and lots of stuff like that.
 

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if you aren't a tinkerer, just sell the car and buy something a bit less attention whorish.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If I can get a registration with a check engine light and IMA, I would not spent $1200 for a battery.
Unfortunately the Great State of Texas doesn't like them little lights being ON so you won't pass inspection which means no registration/tags... Ras
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The Achilles' Heel of the car is its HV battery. Always has been; always will be.

If you just want to get into the car and drive it, you need to filter out the enthusiasm that people have here for grid charging, battery replacing, etc. As you'd expect in an enthusiasts' group, they are far more accommodating of the car than most people would be.

My situation was even worse in that I live on the other side of the world and so a replacement battery from an aftermarket supplier would perhaps cost me twice what it cost you.

When my (free Honda factory replacement) HV battery died something like 5 years ago I didn't think for one moment about replacing it - the chance that I'd be very unhappy on my return on investment was far too high.

As you may or may not have seen, there is an increasing number of people saying what you have just said. Bought new aftermarket battery, battery failed sooner than they expect, now unhappy.

What I wish is that people here would be more nuanced in their advice, rather than telling people who have a dead HV battery that "you can't go wrong with supplier X, he's great, buy his battery" and lots of stuff like that.
You are, obviously, smarter than myself. I bought into the BS and went down the rabbit hole. Anyone visiting Insight Central (aka IMA Battery Problems Central) can't help but notice the inordinate amount of IMA related noise.
Charging/discharging/rebuilding/bypassing, what works, what doesn't (often not agreed upon)..Bottom line, if you build/sell grid chargers or fix/rebuild/sell IMA batteries the Insight is the BEST car ever invented! For the rest of us...not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
if you aren't a tinkerer, just sell the car and buy something a bit less attention whorish.
I get your point. Guess I was spoiled & deluded by the fact that ALL I did for several YEARS with my Insight was drive it and everything WORKED! Once the battery went south the "tinkering" began. Worked/stopped working/worked/stopped working etc... Guess I (erroneously) believed that I could actually FIX the problem, it would stay fixed and I could go back to just enjoying my little car. It's nice to have dreams..... :(
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Search youtube for "Honda insight IMA bypass". Standard legal warning: Not legal for on-road use in USA.
Thanks for the note. Saw that on YouTube already and it may be THE option I will have to use (only OFF-Road in my new Honda Insight Dune Buggy of course..). If someone would build some ready to plug in and drive off Arduino IMA bypass boxes as shown I bet they would sell a bunch.... I know I would buy one. Ras
 

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I get your point. Guess I was spoiled & deluded by the fact that ALL I did for several YEARS with my Insight was drive it and everything WORKED! Once the battery went south the "tinkering" began. Worked/stopped working/worked/stopped working etc... Guess I (erroneously) believed that I could actually FIX the problem, it would stay fixed and I could go back to just enjoying my little car. It's nice to have dreams..... :(
most of us have those same issues, the erratic nature of the car without spending quite a chunk of change seems counterintuitive to me. i deal with the tinkering, but most days i'd rather just get in and drive it. even after spending several days months ago in rebuilding the battery it started acting up again but then went back to working perfectly normal.... it's very frustrating.
 

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It would be interesting to see what failed.

- maybe some other failing component in your car caused the battery pack to fail?
- maybe the inability of western companies to control quality of anything made in mainland China is what caused it?

I avoid buying anything made in mainland China when I can and I have assumed BB have tight reigns on quality so it is a bit of a conflict.

Manufacturing anything in China has sunk so many companies because the common challenges of obtaining quality, honesty, consistency, and standards will never change until the Govt changes and 2 generations pass to forget the old ways.

I think BB better sort this stuff out for maintaining their reputation. I was planning on buying their product when my pack eventually ages but now I am not so sure...and I'm sure everyone else who reads these posts regarding premature failure will now have second thoughts.

BB's reputation could be restored by flying out and do the forensics on the car and battery pack and share the cause of failure and provide a solution to preventing further failures... and sort out the customer.

- If manufacturing and supply chain need to be moved to USA to maintain quality and happy customers then that should also be evaluated.
- If a failing component in an aging insight is killing the batteries then that must be communicated.
 

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It would be interesting to see what failed.

- maybe some other failing component in your car caused the battery pack to fail?
- maybe the inability of western companies to control quality of anything made in mainland China is what caused it?

I avoid buying anything made in mainland China when I can and I have assumed BB have tight reigns on quality so it is a bit of a conflict.

Manufacturing anything in China has sunk so many companies because the common challenges of obtaining quality, honesty, consistency, and standards will never change until the Govt changes and 2 generations pass to forget the old ways.

I think BB better sort this stuff out for maintaining their reputation. I was planning on buying their product when my pack eventually ages but now I am not so sure...and I'm sure everyone else who reads these posts regarding premature failure will now have second thoughts.

BB's reputation could be restored by flying out and do the forensics on the car and battery pack and share the cause of failure and provide a solution to preventing further failures... and sort out the customer.

- If manufacturing and supply chain need to be moved to USA to maintain quality and happy customers then that should also be evaluated.
- If a failing component in an aging insight is killing the batteries then that must be communicated.
I don't think it would even be an option to move battery manufacturing anywhere else. Wouldn't it cost $millions to set up?

While I have never have any direct contact with Bumblebee (except they ignored requests to appear in my book on the Honda Insight, which I thought at the time very interesting), I'd imagine that they are doing all the quality control etc that they can.

I think the best approach would be to state what the possible outcomes actually are in terms of battery life, then people can make their own judgements as to whether that purchase is worth it.

It's my gut feeling it's nothing to do with the rest of the car being defective (wearing of engine, etc); it's to do with the fact that no replacement batteries are as good as the originals.

But without a completely new battery management system, new era batteries and probably a revised motor control system, the situation will continue as is. (I don't want to open a can of worms, but I believe that a well-proven, cost-effective and durable replacement for the complete battery system, that would be suitable for people like the original poster, will probably never happen.)
 

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The only qualm I have with what's being said is the impression that people around here intentionally mislead others - a lot of "BS" - when it comes to buying a new pack, rebuilding, etc. The fact remains that nobody has really known just how reliable or unreliable aftermarket packs are or would be. They haven't been sold long enough. We're just now starting to see more reports of failures - and it's not looking so good for the aftermarket packs. But until now nobody's really known (and we still don't really "know" as we have no real info, data, statistics, etc.)... Maybe there's a few who have been knee-jerk in recommending aftermarket packs, I don't really know. But in general I think most people at IC who comment on such things try to give others their best, sincere advice...

For me, paying $2000+ for a new pack assuming it has a fair chance of failing in a shade over 3 years - not worth it. Had I bought one it would have been with the assumption that it's much more likely to last past 3 years, have the longevity closer to the OEM packs (or even more, since they're billed as being an upgrade)... That assumption seems unrealistic now... For some I'm sure 3 years is good enough, they probably have more money to spend on such things. Plus there's a chance the packs last longer... Not for me, though...

-I'm hoping a lithium option will be available, plus I bought the car thinking I'd be doing that myself anyway...

-Going IMA-less isn't that bad at all. I ran with a bypassed pack for a few months and with the exception of some hacks that will need to be done to avoid glitchy stuff, the overall experience wasn't much of a step down... Creating more space, reducing weight when removing all the IMA stuff, too, is a decent trade-off for having lost electric traction power...
 

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My pack recently failed after like close to 3 years. I'm getting a replacement, but I'm going to have the bypass device that keeps the IMA/CEL away on hand for when this one fails. Because when it does, I'll have a turbo, and I won't care for the IMA anymore.

So that is the trick, instead of buying a new IMA, spend the same money and turbo your car/by bypass your battery. The turbo will last very, very much so longer than an IMA, and give you about 3x the performance. (3x the torque, probably 5x the HP)
 

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My pack recently failed after like close to 3 years. I'm getting a replacement, but I'm going to have the bypass device that keeps the IMA/CEL away on hand for when this one fails. Because when it does, I'll have a turbo, and I won't care for the IMA anymore.

So that is the trick, instead of buying a new IMA, spend the same money and turbo your car/by bypass your battery. The turbo will last very, very much so longer than an IMA, and give you about 3x the performance. (3x the torque, probably 5x the HP)
A turbo won't give 3x the torque and 5x the power at the rpm at which the IMA is working.

I don't want to be rude, but this is exactly the sort of implicitly misleading information that will cause grief down the track.
 

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The only qualm I have with what's being said is the impression that people around here intentionally mislead others - a lot of "BS" - when it comes to buying a new pack, rebuilding, etc. The fact remains that nobody has really known just how reliable or unreliable aftermarket packs are or would be. They haven't been sold long enough. We're just now starting to see more reports of failures - and it's not looking so good for the aftermarket packs. But until now nobody's really known (and we still don't really "know" as we have no real info, data, statistics, etc.)... Maybe there's a few who have been knee-jerk in recommending aftermarket packs, I don't really know. But in general I think most people at IC who comment on such things try to give others their best, sincere advice...
If you can point to a single recommendation for a Bumblebee (or whatever) battery where the poster giving the advice has pointed out that the battery probably won't last very long, I'll eat my words.
 

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A turbo won't give 3x the torque and 5x the power at the rpm at which the IMA is working.

I don't want to be rude, but this is exactly the sort of implicitly misleading information that will cause grief down the track.
+1. In fact, the IMA works very well to "fill in" some power before the turbo spools up.

5X hp? 67 X 5 = 335 HP! I think not.

Sam
 

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Like eq1, I don't think any members have deliberately misled on this issue. It just takes some time for a statistical trend to develop. We still don't actually know what the data says, but I'd certainly agree that it is troubling at this point. There are actually some Better Battery failures which aren't being discussed.

We are kinda looking at the problem in a postmotem sense. 3-5 years ago, folks made their decisions with much less information, but with at least a hope that some non Honda option would be better.

If this trend continues, it is going to make a Lithium option of some sort all the more urgent - something reasonably ready to drop in and not too expensive. Otherwise a large percentage of these cars are going to be running on bypass.
 

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+1. In fact, the IMA works very well to "fill in" some power before the turbo spools up.

5X hp? 67 X 5 = 335 HP! I think not.

Sam
I think he means 3x and 5x the output of the IMA. But it's still really deceptive.
 

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Not implying anything shady.....

The only qualm I have with what's being said is the impression that people around here intentionally mislead others - a lot of "BS" - when it comes to buying a new pack, rebuilding, etc. The fact remains that nobody has really known just how reliable or unreliable aftermarket packs are or would be. They haven't been sold long enough. We're just now starting to see more reports of failures - and it's not looking so good for the aftermarket packs. But until now nobody's really known (and we still don't really "know" as we have no real info, data, statistics, etc.)... Maybe there's a few who have been knee-jerk in recommending aftermarket packs, I don't really know. But in general I think most people at IC who comment on such things try to give others their best, sincere advice...

For me, paying $2000+ for a new pack assuming it has a fair chance of failing in a shade over 3 years - not worth it. Had I bought one it would have been with the assumption that it's much more likely to last past 3 years, have the longevity closer to the OEM packs (or even more, since they're billed as being an upgrade)... That assumption seems unrealistic now... For some I'm sure 3 years is good enough, they probably have more money to spend on such things. Plus there's a chance the packs last longer... Not for me, though...
power...
Just wanted to clarify....my "BS" remark was not meant to imply that anything shady or even misleading was going on. Just that there is a constant drone of conversation about batteries here on IC that I got caught up in the "you can fix your IMA problem" mindset and spent money thinking/believing it was a genuine one-time solution to the problem. It wasn't and it isn't. I "drank the Kool-Aid" and bought into the fairy tale...
All I wanted to communicate & encourage was a genuine "reality check" for anyone even thinking of investing in a new IMA battery. I believe that BB and others do the best they can. Build up the battery packs with the materials available to them, test them and they do perform as expected (at least for a while...). Invest in a rebuilt engine for your car and you will probably get 100-200 or even 300,000 miles out of it. Buy a rebuilt IMA battery and you may or may not get 1-2-3 or more years. That "new" IMA battery is not an investment it's a gamble. It might work out or you may have just pissed away a lot of money.
EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW THIS!
Heartens me to see several folks on the "don't do it" side of this conversation. IF I had seen more of these type of comments long ago I probably would not have taken the gamble/risk.
Until & Unless we start to see that rebuilt/new IMA battery failures are a true RARITY I must loudly join the chorus and say, "DON'T DO IT!!"
 
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