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Old 04-05-2012, 05:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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First attempt at a hybrid battery recondition, result: FAIL ('03 Civic Hybrid)

Recently acquired a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid with 236k, a bad head gasket and an IMA light.

Previous owner sold me the car for almost nothing because he couldn't get plates for it as it wouldn't pass emissions. Car had/has a P1449 code and here a CEL is an automatic failure, even if it's just the hybrid system, kinda stupid IMO.

I found a thread about charging individual cells on here ( http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...0-a-19975.html ) and decided to give it a go, I have an extensive background in RC hobbies, so chargers weren't an issue and the tech/methods are the same.

Getting the battery pack out was pretty straight forward:


On the bench:


I took the pack home, I knew I'd be into this for 20+ hours and wanted the comfort of my couch, even though I wasn't on it very long. Running 9 chargers at once, rotating batteries between charge and discharge, logging data, I was running all over, even with help!

The disaster of doing this in my kitchen:


So after 2 exhausting days, who knows how many kilowatts of power, I was left with this data set:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...1TktHQ0E#gid=0

Unfortunately I got impatient and it was late Sunday night, so I rebuilt the pack and installed it. No change in the lights. Some change in the performance of the car. I saw a few more bars of charge and assist in the first 20 miles or so of driving. Also, oddly, some worse MPG for the first 200 miles.

So now I'm back to deciding if I want to buy a used pack, have this one reconditioned (don't like the price or the time on that option), or just continue to get 48.8mpg and not whine about the IMA not working 100%.

I'm not opposed to giving the batteries another go, but I don't like not driving the car, and I did drive it about 35 miles with the battery out and it was just too nerve racking.


Last edited by MetroMPG; 04-06-2012 at 11:29 AM.. Reason: added link to Insight pack refurbish thread
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It would be green to go with a reconditioned pack, and make the most of the car by getting the battery pack running as it should Or better. here's a idea,
perhaps you can make a battery pack yourself? for less money and if you desired more reserve, I like this idea best!
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Now there's a concept! Homemade, hot rod battery pack! I think we just gave this guy a million dollar idea. " Budget Battery Packs for Your Hybrid Hack " I want my 10 percent when it goes big!
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGreenAuto View Post
Running 9 chargers at once, rotating batteries between charge and discharge, logging data, I was running all over, even with help!
Wow! I can just picture it. I was busy enough with just 1 charger.


Quote:
So after 2 exhausting days, who knows how many kilowatts of power, I was left with this data set:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...1TktHQ0E#gid=0
Looks like that #3 subpack is pretty toasted. I'm sure you know your pack is limited by the performance/capacity of its weakest subpack. So if you're seeing 2234 mAh from that stick, you're looking at about 1/3 of original capacity. It generally looks pretty worn out - capacities didn't recover nearly as nicely as mine did (nya-nya).

Quote:
No change in the lights.
Did you clear codes/reset the lights after re-installing the pack?

Quote:
So now I'm back to deciding if I want to buy a used pack, have this one reconditioned (don't like the price or the time on that option), or just continue to get 48.8mpg and not whine about the IMA not working 100%.
Depends what your goals/criteria are.

Quote:
I did drive it about 35 miles with the battery out and it was just too nerve racking.
How so?
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGreenAuto View Post
Unfortunately I got impatient and it was late Sunday night, so I rebuilt the pack and installed it. No change in the lights.
The P1449 code and IMA light won't reset on their own. (At least if it's the same as the Insight.) They can't even be cleared with the ScanGauge reset function. In the Insight, you have to (IIRC) pull the #18 fuse from the box by your left leg, and wait at least 10 seconds to do a reset.
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Disconnecting the 12v battery and waiting a while works too.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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In order:

I found batteries for $4.45 each, and they're 8500mah. That with a new flash for an updated pack would be SWEET. A little daunting though, I'd have to salvage all the temp strips and end parts.... hmm, maybe.

I didn't like driving it with the battery pack out because of the little red battery light staring me in the face. I can ignore yellow lights, but after so many years I'm trained to get nervous about red ones.

I reset the codes with my Matco CAN400 scan tool. I was wondering if I should have done a harder reset. Maybe I'll try that today.

Goals.... the sky! I don't know, I'd like to see 50 all day long. Last tank was down to 44.58 because I was driving it like a jackass. Current is at 58.2 according to the dash after 140miles.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You could just ditch the battery pack all together, enjoy the extra trunk space and put a piece of black electric tape over the red light in the dash. Problem solved.
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjts1 View Post
You could just ditch the battery pack all together, enjoy the extra trunk space and put a piece of black electric tape over the red light in the dash. Problem solved.
True. But I don't like that the 12v doesn't charge at idle.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjts1 View Post
You could just ditch the battery pack all together, enjoy the extra trunk space and put a piece of black electric tape over the red light in the dash. Problem solved.
That's actually not bad advice, if your goal for higher MPG is strictly financial. The payback on a pack rebuild that takes you from ~50 to say ~60 mpg is going to take a long time (may not apply to the super cheap cells -- or subpacks -- you say you found).

I drove my Insight for several thousand kms getting 80+ MPG with the hybrid functions completely disabled. The primary reason I bothered to do my pack refurbishment exercise was out of simple curiosity over how the hybrid system behaves & the fun of learning how best to use it.

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