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Yesterday I played the tape deck for about 15 minutes without the motor running, and discovered I had totally drained the batteries. Nothing but clicks when I turned the key. How can this massive battery system have no more storage capacity than two AA batteries? After the car was jump-started, the gauge showed a full battery charge. Anyone know what's going on?
 

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hi,

You have depleted the 12V battery. It has not touched the IMA battery.
Once the 12V is out, the IMA does not know the IMA battery state of charge anymore so it will show up as empty but it will figure it out with a few minutes (will force charge for a while and the true state will show up)

Probably your 12V battery is not good. You need to change it. I supose your car is a 2000 or 2001 .

I do not find those small OEM battery to last long, and the are not really used. I have put a Civic type battery (one with the poles at the right place: for a Suzuki Swift)
 

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As Yves stated its the 12v battery that has failed.

Your understanding of the battery system of an Insight being "massive" is incorrect. Yes, the IMA battery voltage is higher, but its true energy capacity isn't much better that a large 12v battery.

It is a shortcoming of the Insight in not properly exercising the 12v battery to obtain maximum life. You can more that double its life (statistically, YMMV) with a monthly 30 min headlights on / engine off workout. You must also monitor the final voltage of this workout and never let it fall below 11.0v. Over exercising a battery near the end of its service life will then cause it to fail sooner (but you will have otherwise already extended its life).

HTH! :)
 

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I agree w/ the two previous posters that the 12v battery is probably dead and the IMA battery is fine.

One additional detail: when the 12v battery in the Insight goes dead, it prevents you from starting the car with the IMA, because the computers cannot boot and power will then not be sent from the battery pack to the IMA motor, even though the IMA battery is functional. So the 12v battery that sees 0 use and a constant positive float eventually croaks, rendering your Insight inoperable.

IMO this is a Catch-22-like design flaw that should be fixed, either with a 12v system that can tolerate the abusive/nonstandard behavior of a hybrid Honda vehicle or with an IMA that is not dependent upon the 12v battery that it is abusing.
 

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My four year old battery just died this morning. The IMA could not start the car. A new one is already in the car. SOC went to zero and then charged right up. It will be interesting to see if mileage or recals are different. Neither had been a problem to this point.

_____
Bill
 

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William said:
My four year old battery just died this morning. The IMA could not start the car. A new one is already in the car. SOC went to zero and then charged right up. It will be interesting to see if mileage or recals are different. Neither had been a problem to this point.

_____
Bill
Just curious, what replacement battery did you go with?
 

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Insightful Trekker said:
It is a shortcoming of the Insight in not properly exercising the 12v battery to obtain maximum life. You can more that double its life (statistically, YMMV) with a monthly 30 min headlights on / engine off workout. You must also monitor the final voltage of this workout and never let it fall below 11.0v. Over exercising a battery near the end of its service life will then cause it to fail sooner (but you will have otherwise already extended its life).
John,

This is a great way to test the battery, and it's a great idea to test it under controlled circumstances, rather than when you are out on a first date (or whatever circumstance you most need your car to be reliable). But can you point me to something with evidence that this will prolong the life? It's not part of the general battery lore I'm familiar with, and I see no mention of it in this extensive discussion of car battery care and life, for example.

http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden/carfaq.htm

Thanks

Charlie
 

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New date "we're stuck in the woods" explanation: "The twelve volt battery is dead because we sat here listening to the radio too long, and the IMA system can't start the car without it." :lol:
 

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John Wayland the inventor of the Insight Shoebox subwoffer and a looong time EV drag racer is generally considered the Insight lead acid (12v) battery guru. And while he dosen't post here (rarely :?: ) here's his oooold post on the topic:

From: John Wayland <[email protected]>
Date: Sun Jan 26, 2003 6:49pm
Subject: Re: Re: Battery aerobics revisited

Hello hybrid fans,

"josemj1 " wrote:

> --- In [email protected], John Wayland wrote:
> > ....This is exactly what I've been preaching about when I say that,
> > absent any regular exercise, the Insight's 12V battery will atrophy
> > and loose capacity.
>
> Hmmmm.... The above statement is contrary to all I've read from
> battery manufacturers about lead-acid batteries.

OK, I can do this Hmmmm....thing too :)

>
> In particular, lead-acid batteries will last for a very long time (>
> 10 years) if always kept topped-off and never discharged below %25 of
> capacity.

If you go back and read 'everything' I've submitted on this, you will indeed, find that my
recommended 'exercise' is this exact routine you've described. Running the 15 amp load of
the headlights for 20 minutes to 1/2 hour (per my recommendation) is a 5-7.5 ahr
discharge....right in line with that 25% of capacity, at 18-28% of the Insight's 12V, 27
ahr battery.

> By topped-off I mean "float-charged" at 13.8V, not
> rapid-charged at 14.4V.

You're a bit off on your description of a float charge. For the typical wet cell or AGM
battery, 13.1V-13.25 is the recommended float level...13.8V is too high for a float level,
and on a wet cell battery you will needlessly gas it, and with an AGM battery, you'll pop
its pressure valves, ultimately destroying the battery.

> The fastest way to kill a (non-deep-discharge)
> lead-acid battery is to discharge it to less than ~6V.

Again, you're a bit off. I set 10.5V as the low limit when under a mild discharge,
certainly not as low as 6V..and it makes no difference if its an SLI type or deep cycle
type (described as deep-discharge), either type is hurt by 6V levels.

> A slower but just as sure way is to put it on a shelf and never float-charge it.

Again, a correction. A high quality AGM type lead acid battery, such as Optima or Hawker,
are far better off 'sitting on a shelf' rather than constantly kept on float. Constant
float without discharges, gradually erodes the positive plate and never allows the battery
to exercise.

>
> I hope that the "regular exercise" you recommend doesn't involve
> frequent discharges below 50% of capacity.

Again, you might want to go back and read 'everything' I've submitted on this. I have
never recommended regular 50% discharges for a non-deep cycle type battery. I do,
recommend discharges in the 18-25% range as opposed to simply allowing the battery to be
on float or in a standby mode without ever having any discharges.


> At any rate, lead-acid batteries don't suffer from the "memory" effect that NiCds are
> suspected of, and so need no "exercise" to restore their capacity.

You are correct about 'no memory effect' for lead acid batteries, but you are wrong about
'no need no "exercise" to restore their capacity'. You might be confusing the two terms
and conditions, they are not the same. Lead acid batteries certainly do need to be
exercised, without it, they lose capacity and atrophy...with it, they stay healthy and can
deliver their full capacity. The fact that so many of the Insight 12V batteries that
rarely get exercised are now at a fraction of their original capacity is a good example of
this.

See Ya.....John Wayland
 

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Thanks John B. John W certainly has the experience with batteries. I can't say I'm fully convinced--constant float at too high a voltage may be the real culprit, rather than lack of exercise. But it's also true that a shallow discharge in the 20% range he suggests is not going to hurt and might be prudent. And it's also an oppotunity to test, which is a good thing in any case.

Chalrie
 

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There are so many battery issues on these forums. Usually a new or potential Insight Owner has concerns about the IMA system when really the main concern should be that 12V.

Taking a look at that first seems to solve the majority of problems.
 

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I just found a couple of papers on maintaining batteries in float mode for telecommunications applications (where they are used for backup and are in continuous float for years, and where reliablity is very important and there's lot's of good data). The references are below--they are available on ieeexplore.ieee.org, but not for free.

I picked these two papers to look at more carefully because they were the only ones I found recommending something other than contant float with no exercise. The first simply recommends letting the battery sit completely disconnected until self discharge lowers the SOC (state of charge) to 97%, and the charging fully and open-circuiting again. The second paper recommends periodically discharging to 95%, then fully charging, and then floating with a lower-than-usual float voltage.

Neither paper says that there is any benefit to exercising the batteries. Both claim that the advantage is that the continuous float charging can damage the batteries especially if the float voltage is too high. The one that recommended actively discharging 5% recommends it only as testing, not as exercise.

So my conclusion is that the "need to exercise" is a myth, assembled from the experience that: 1) Leaving batteries on float often hurts them since even a little too high a float voltage can be damaging over time, and 2) Leaving batteries disconnected for too long damages them since they end up sitting in a state of partial discharge, which is well known to lead to degradation.

So now the question of why insight batteries tend to last three years if lack of exercise isn't a problem. Here's my theory: as you drive, the dc-dc cycles between charging and deciding the battery is fully charged and letting the 12 V system run off the battery for a little while. That's a great plan if you think they need exercise, but what if you pull into the garage and stop just before it was reading to start another charging cycle? The battery sits in a partially discharged state. If it does that on average half the time, and it would last 1.5 years in that slight partial discharge state, the result is that the battery will last 3 years.

One idea is to get an inexpensive little automatic charger, and, at least if you are going to be parked for more than a day, top off the battery with it after you pull in the garage. I got one of these, and am happy with it. I note that it doesn't get warm and take that as an indication that it's efficient.

http://www.directdepot.net/product_info ... cts_id=887

Charlie

References:

A new approach to intermittent charging of valve-regulated lead-acid batteries in standby applications
Bhatt, M.; Hurley, W.G.; Wolfle, W.;
Power Electronics Specialist Conference, 2003. PESC '03. 2003 IEEE 34th Annual
Volume 2, 15-19 June 2003 Page(s):895 - 900 vol.2


Guidelines for lead-acid battery telecommunications applications
Reid, D.; Tullius, N.; Glasa, I.;
Telecommunications Energy Conference, 1992. INTELEC '92., 14th International
4-8 Oct. 1992 Page(s):407 - 412
 

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The Insight's starting battery is not designed for float operation. You will find that batteries designed for float often have much thicker plates, and a weaker active material. Because of this, they have less surface area on the plates and thus a MUCH lower peak current. This is no good in a car that has a starter drawing hundreds of amps though.

There are two solutions:

1. Make sure that you have the DC-DC recall performed. It fixes this problem (or at least reports to).

2. Use a battery designed for long periods of float. Most deep cycle AGM batteries can handle this easily, yet still easily deliver the current needed if you have to use the "normal" starter. I personally use a Deka PowerSports battery (EXT12 I think).
 

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2hybrids said:
<snip>

Taking a look at that first seems to solve the majority of problems.
Only sometimes :!:

What replacement of an otherwise good 12v battery accomplishes is simply an IMA reset (forced recalibration). And its a rather $expensive$ way to do it. ;)

Compaired to the IMA batteries its small change :!: So its easy to see how several Insighter's have been happily fooled into thinking that replacement of the 12v battery "solved" the problem.

IMA problem without a code :?: e.g. frequent recals. Do the IMA reset proceedure first :!:

Link:

http://www.insightcentral.net/encyclope ... orage.html

HTH! :)
 

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There is another test/ excersise for the 12 vdc battery I'd like do do but haven't figured out how to do it yet. There is a conventional 12 v starter motor on these cars. Get a mirror and a flashlight, it's right there on the bellhousing area where you'd expect it.
Any way- What fuses could be pulled to simulate a failure in the IMA and get that starter and battery working as in conventional cars???
 
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