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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know a lot of people come to this place to seek free help with car problems and complain when it doesn't come. I will paypal you whatever you think is fair if you can help me diagnose and fix whatever it is I've done wrong to this machine. Not a joke. Now that I've got your attention:

I own a 2003 Insight, it's my 2nd as my first was rear-ended and totaled. I've only had the new one about 3 months, and got the dreaded p1449. I would have considered myself a fairly capable DIY-er before today, so I dove right in to reconditioning the sticks and replacing bad ones. I removed the IMA battery, cycled the sticks, and replaced two that were corroded and not holding a charge. All the rest successfully completed charge and discharge cycles with a Hitek X1 Pro hobby charger. All achieved at or around 74-7500 mAh when the process was complete. Pack was delivering 177V when reassembled.

Upon re-installing the battery, I got a more or less instant check engine light and IMA light. The battery charges itself for a few minutes, then declares itself full before the IMA light comes on a minute or two later and the meter empties itself. Furthermore, the HVAC is no longer responsive to its buttons and the blower begins blowing at random speeds as long as the car is switched on. The OBD returns a p1542; IMA blink code is 59, indicating a high voltage short. No amount of resetting and error code clearing will fix it.

In an attempt to troubleshoot it, I switched the battery breaker off and disconnected the positive and negative leads. Upon doing this, the negative lead underwent what I could only describe as an explosive discharge upon touching the metal on the converter unit, leaving a small scorch mark (I was wearing proper PPE including insulated gloves and I was not hurt, but definitely would have been were I not taking the proper safety precautions. I removed and disassembled the battery again, and reassembled the entire battery array including the bolts and PTC connectors by hand. The result is yet again the same after re-installing the battery.

I'm at my wits' end here, I can't figure out what on earth I've screwed up to make this happen, but it was definitely something I must have reconnected wrong. In an attempt to troubleshoot, I found that removing the connector pictured below stops the blower short from happening, but the IMA doesn't function with this disconnected; I'm not an expert on this thing so I'm not going to pretend like I know what this connector does or why any of this is happening. Upon resetting the IPU by disconnecting and reconnecting the 12V battery, the IMA will assist the engine in accelerating before the light comes on, which leads my uneducated self to think that something wrong is happening when the converter attempts to charge the IMA battery. There has to be something I can do to troubleshoot and fix this.

Insight Central, can you help me?
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fair enough. To clarify, I'm looking for help re: things I can try where I am, if that help comes electronically via posts on this forum or over email, I'm happy to pay for that as well. Anything that works.
 

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I'm on the Savannah River in Augusta. I can help you for free, maybe. Was it working fine without the p1449 code for any time after purchase? If so....

Buy a new battery from Bumblebee, $1049 these days and they often offer free shipping.

If not, you may have a more complicated problem.

In all seriousness, and I learned this from talking extensively to a few of our moderators here - Rule #1 for a Honda Insight is never own a Honda Insight. Rule #2 is, if you skipped rule #1, get a new battery for your Honda Insight rather than trying to coax old packs along with cheap replacement cells. It can work, but there is nothing like driving the car without all these issues coming up all the time.

Good luck!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm on the Savannah River in Augusta. I can help you for free, maybe. Was it working fine without the p1449 code for any time after purchase? If so....

Buy a new battery from Bumblebee, $1049 these days and they often offer free shipping.

If not, you may have a more complicated problem.

In all seriousness, and I learned this from talking extensively to a few of our moderators here - Rule #1 for a Honda Insight is never own a Honda Insight. Rule #2 is, if you skipped rule #1, get a new battery for your Honda Insight rather than trying to coax old packs along with cheap replacement cells. It can work, but there is nothing like driving the car without all these issues coming up all the time.

Good luck!!!
Thanks man. I figure a brand new battery is the last thing I'll try. I just can't shake the feeling that the battery is fine, I just reassembled it like an idiot. The p1449 isn't even showing up any more.
 

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Thanks man. I figure a brand new battery is the last thing I'll try. I just can't shake the feeling that the battery is fine, I just reassembled it like an idiot. The p1449 isn't even showing up any more.
There's a very good chance it can work and work well. On the other hand (and this comes from people who've been doing this to these cars 10+ years) there is a certain joy in fiddling with the batteries on a regular basis but then realizing that with all the time you've spent doing that you could have done other things and it's time to just spring for a new battery. Sort of like you walk 100 hours in uncomfortable shoes and then realize if you'd just spent a little more money on nice shoes your feet would hurt way less.

Good luck! If ever in Augusta GA come by, food/coffee/beer on me, would love to swap car stories and work on yours, I do so often for folks local to me!
 
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FYI: The connector you circled in red connects the MCM to the IGBT pre-driver. Disconnecting that connector prevents the MCM from being able to drive the IGBT, which directly powers the hybrid motor.

The reason the AC won't work is your IMA system isn't working... that's expected behavior when the IMA is broken.

I keep my version of the IMA schematic on github. Here's the entire IMA system in one picture, along with an overview of what you're looking at here.
If you haven't used github before, it's easiest to view these files by clicking the "Download" button on the right of each linked page above.
 

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So there's sparking between the negative lead of the battery, and the converter assembly. That suggests there isn't a common ground. The DC-DC converter is connected to the inverter chassis so they share a ground. But something on the junction board could be messed up so the dc-dc and main ground aren't the same voltage. The main negative terminal and the dc-dc converter plug are the only 2 spots the car is connected to the negative terminal of the battery, right? Unless of course there was a major contactor or thermistor failure. [Edit - and a ground connected through the voltage taps]

I don't have an insight junciton board in front of me, just a civic hybrid one and pics of the insight one. My theory is the negative line of the DC-DC plug (grey connector on the fan side of the junction board) is connected to the wrong bus bar. That could've happened by accident installing or unistalling a grid charger. Looking at pics of the junction board, it'd be pretty difficult to attach that wire to the middle battery tap, so I'm guessing that the dc-dc ground is accidentally connected to +144V.

[Edit - it can't be on +144V since the breaker was switched off. The dc-dc negative could be on the middle battery tap, that seems unlikely but possible.]
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So there's sparking between the negative lead of the battery, and the converter assembly. That suggests there isn't a common ground. The DC-DC converter is connected to the inverter chassis so they share a ground. But something on the junction board could be messed up so the dc-dc and main ground aren't the same voltage. The main negative terminal and the dc-dc converter plug are the only 2 spots the car is connected to the negative terminal of the battery, right? Unless of course there was a major contactor or thermistor failure. [Edit - and a ground connected through the voltage taps]

I don't have an insight junciton board in front of me, just a civic hybrid one and pics of the insight one. My theory is the negative line of the DC-DC plug (grey connector on the fan side of the junction board) is connected to the wrong bus bar. That could've happened by accident installing or unistalling a grid charger. Looking at pics of the junction board, it'd be pretty difficult to attach that wire to the middle battery tap, so I'm guessing that the dc-dc ground is accidentally connected to +144V.

[Edit - it can't be on +144V since the breaker was switched off. The dc-dc negative could be on the middle battery tap, that seems unlikely but possible.]
What you're saying makes sense. The first thing I thought when I saw the discharge was holy crap, is this thing ungrounded? There was a grid charger that was installed on this thing before I owned it, and the previous owner could have screwed this up somehow. I attached a picture of someone else's that unfortunately has some markings on it, which are not mine. Can you see what you're talking about on this photo, and can you circle it perhaps?
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Here's a marked up version. You can see one of the red lines goes to the negative dc-dc wire. You want to make sure that's attached in the same place as shown in the image.
I also forgot before, marked in yellow, there is another wire grounded to the dc-dc, this goes to some capacitors on the junction board in between ground and +144V, if those capacitors are bad that wire could be shorted to +144V.

You can use your multimeter to probe for continuity or voltage, depending on if you have the battery cells removed when testing. If you have the cells connected, even with the breaker off, be very careful around any exposed metal in the car or on the junction board.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here's a marked up version. You can see one of the red lines goes to the negative dc-dc wire. You want to make sure that's attached in the same place as shown in the image.
I also forgot before, marked in yellow, there is another wire grounded to the dc-dc, this goes to some capacitors on the junction board in between ground and +144V, if those capacitors are bad that wire could be shorted to +144V.

You can use your multimeter to probe for continuity or voltage, depending on if you have the battery cells removed when testing. If you have the cells connected, even with the breaker off, be very careful around any exposed metal in the car or on the junction board.

View attachment 96331
Thank you so much, this at least gives me something to try tonight when I get home from work. I'll check every contact with a multimeter. I'd imagine if I'm looking for a ground, reading any voltage is going to indicate a problem. Is this capacitor something I could replace myself, or would I be better off looking to buy a different junction box?
 

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If you remove the pos and neg cables that attach to the pack at the top, and the neg cable sparks (or rather arcs) on the DCDC case, aren't we talking about a problem with the 'left side stuff', not the pack side, especially if you have the pack switch OFF? I don't know much about these things, but I'm picturing the source of the energy being discharged coming from the big MDM filter caps rather than the pack, seems like there's some relays and/or bleed resistors that are supposed to drain those, and if there's a 'hiccup' in that circuit you could get some nasty discharge... I'm thinking those 'bleed resistors' are attached to the IPU side wall, on driver side, but not sure about that. They're kind of janky, seems like it'd be easy to knock them around, have a wire detach, etc... Seems worth poking around over there, just look it over...

Oh, also, with your P1449 after reinstalling the pack, did you ever disconnect the 12V neg cable to reset computers, before the reinstall? Seems like that code can linger unless cleared with the neg cable pull, I've had issues before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you remove the pos and neg cables that attach to the pack at the top, and the neg cable sparks (or rather arcs) on the DCDC case, aren't we talking about a problem with the 'left side stuff', not the pack side, especially if you have the pack switch OFF? I don't know much about these things, but I'm picturing the source of the energy being discharged coming from the big MDM filter caps rather than the pack, seems like there's some relays and/or bleed resistors that are supposed to drain those, and if there's a 'hiccup' in that circuit you could get some nasty discharge... I'm thinking those 'bleed resistors' are attached to the IPU side wall, on driver side, but not sure about that. They're kind of janky, seems like it'd be easy to knock them around, have a wire detach, etc... Seems worth poking around over there, just look it over...

Oh, also, with your P1449 after reinstalling the pack, did you ever disconnect the 12V neg cable to reset computers, before the reinstall? Seems like that code can linger unless cleared with the neg cable pull, I've had issues before.
The pack switch has been on; the car reports the high voltage short immediately upon starting whereas it did not before, so it's got to be something stupid I did regarding the battery reconditioning and reassembly, or so I figure. The DCDC, as far as I can make an uneducated guess at, is generating a charge when I reset the IPU as it believes the IMA battery is dead. I think it's spinning that charge up, and then the charge isn't going anywhere, just staying built up in the DCDC rather than discharge to the IMA battery. Likely because of something malfunctioning there. Maybe. I'm no expert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here's a marked up version. You can see one of the red lines goes to the negative dc-dc wire. You want to make sure that's attached in the same place as shown in the image.
I also forgot before, marked in yellow, there is another wire grounded to the dc-dc, this goes to some capacitors on the junction board in between ground and +144V, if those capacitors are bad that wire could be shorted to +144V.

You can use your multimeter to probe for continuity or voltage, depending on if you have the battery cells removed when testing. If you have the cells connected, even with the breaker off, be very careful around any exposed metal in the car or on the junction board.

View attachment 96331
I gave it a look. All the wires are in the right places. I tested continuity and it exists everywhere it should with the exception of all the wires attached to the capacitor, which I've just learned today is the way that should be as well (never said I was an electrician). I think you're right in saying the capacitor's bad. I took some photographs of it, and being honest, it looks like an array of 6 capacitors possibly soldered in sequence and then cast in rubber or something. I'm not really sure, I'm not even close to an expert. I don't know where I'd get another one of these or even how I'd install it.

Looks like Bumblebee's getting a big sale sometime this week. If I hook up the new one and still have the same problems, God help me. Thanks for your help regardless.
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The pack switch has been on; the car reports the high voltage short immediately upon...
Yeah but earlier you said you turned the pack switch OFF before you removed the big cables, after which you got the big arc...

In any event, I don't know. On the 'Y-capacitor' thing, in your pic, Peter P. (retepsnikrep) worked with those before and wrote something about it, I think he substituted some off the shelf caps for the originals. Maybe search for "Y-capacitor" with him as author, or just "capacitor"...
 

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Could you clarify, is there continuity (0 ohms) across the 2 orange wires attached to the capacitor? Capacitors should not have continuity.

Here's the diagram of the capacitors snipped from Mudder's great diagram. There are 6 capacitors, but they're in 2 sets of 3 in parallel with each other to make up the 2 shown in the diagram. As you can see, the Y capacitor spans the +144V and GND of the battery, and the GND of the DC-DC is connected as the center tap. I don't know anything really about Y capacitors so I'm not sure how or why it's set up this way. Despite that, neither the top or bottom sets of capacitors should be an open circuit, because then you could have things like the 144V go into the dc-dc ground and make the mess we may have here.
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If the capacitors are the issue, this is a replaceable part. You'd disconnect the orange wires at the other ends where they screw onto the metal bus bars. I haven't been able to find one for the insight on ebay, but someone on here will have it for sure.

That all being said, even if this is the issue and you can fix it, you may still have the more normal issues with unbalanced sticks. Getting a battery working well takes a lot of work, so if you feel like you'd be better off buying one that won't cause you trouble, that's a totally valid option as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Could you clarify, is there continuity (0 ohms) across the 2 orange wires attached to the capacitor? Capacitors should not have continuity.

Here's the diagram of the capacitors snipped from Mudder's great diagram. There are 6 capacitors, but they're in 2 sets of 3 in parallel with each other to make up the 2 shown in the diagram. As you can see, the Y capacitor spans the +144V and GND of the battery, and the GND of the DC-DC is connected as the center tap. I don't know anything really about Y capacitors so I'm not sure how or why it's set up this way. Despite that, neither the top or bottom sets of capacitors should be an open circuit, because then you could have things like the 144V go into the dc-dc ground and make the mess we may have here.
View attachment 96343

If the capacitors are the issue, this is a replaceable part. You'd disconnect the orange wires at the other ends where they screw onto the metal bus bars. I haven't been able to find one for the insight on ebay, but someone on here will have it for sure.

That all being said, even if this is the issue and you can fix it, you may still have the more normal issues with unbalanced sticks. Getting a battery working well takes a lot of work, so if you feel like you'd be better off buying one that won't cause you trouble, that's a totally valid option as well.
My bad. There's no continuity across the wires connected to the capacitor, which is correct as I understand it. I'd be open to attempting to replace that part, were there a replacement available.
 

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Here's a link to that post/s where Peter P. tests/rebuilt the Y-capacitor, which he calls the "snubber" unit: High Voltage LTO Setup.. 96 Cells. Can it be done?

edit: There's actually an explanation of what they're for some posts down from the linked post, I've copied the whole thing and pasted it below, it's mudder's explanation:

This capacitor network is a high frequency snubber that references the IMA pack to ground. This prevents high frequency noise from the IGBTs from causing interference. You really should keep the center-tapped ground connected to the chassis. Also note that there are two of these capacitor packs... one on the junction board and the other inside the PDU.

The P1444 issue you're seeing could certainly be due to this capacitor network leaking... other possible causes:
-leakage inside the IGBTs
-leakage inside the larger capacitors (inside the PDU)
-insulation breakdown in the BLAC motor.
-fault inside the DCDC.
-leakage inside the MCM (you should measure more than 300 kOhm from both MCM connector E wires to chassis ground).

The proper method to test the capacitors for leakage is to test them while they have the full pack voltage across them. You'd place a small series resistor from each 'hot' leg, and then ground the capacitor bank. With the capacitors charged, you'd then place a DMM across both terminals on each resistor (one at a time). Using V=IR you can then calculate the leakage current. Ideally it should be pretty much 0 A.
 
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