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Old 07-05-2011, 03:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I have to agree with Metro, an Insight with no battery assist is still decent to drive. I was a little disappointed to find that the battery was done in mine, though for what I paid for the car, what could I have bought that was even close to it? A sort of rusty CRX would have cost me more, and wouldn't be as fun. The build quality on these cars is impressive, mine has a lot of KMs on it but hardly a squeak or a rattle out of it. The steering is fun, and it's just plain comfortable. Now I wouldn't take it on a long trip through the mountains without the assist, but I think I will keep it as my daily driver for the summer at least. The super hot coug - I mean nice lady that lives in my building saw it and said it was cool and she loved it. Honestly that was reason enough to drive it right there ha ha.

Until I get the input shaft bearing sorted out on the other twin, I won't be able to drive it and see how the battery pack is in it. So for now, I think I will try to make this one as driveable as possible the way it is. Without the assist I find there is a flat spot once you just get moving from a stop, that will be the first thing I try to sort out. The return spring on the accelerator on mine seems awful stiff, it's probably meant to be that way, but even softening that up would help push past that flat spot I think.

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Old 07-05-2011, 08:24 AM   #12 (permalink)
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What I'm trying to suggest, perhaps not so artfully, is think of the motor as another 'performance' part of the engine no different than a special cam, ignition, fuel or exhaust system. We are so used to dealing with mechanical parts that we are resistant to the idea that electro-mechanical systems can make major improvements in engine and vehicle efficiency.

How many times have we seen folks propose just adding a motor to their car for a home-brew hybrid without taking a systems approach and understanding 'you can't bolt on high mileage.'

What I'm suggesting is if you have a system already designed to use the motor . . . well not using is a bit like having one dead spark plug in a four cylinder engine and not fixing it. You'll get to where you're going but you're carrying a lot of 'dead weight' and not getting any good from it.

I don't mean this in a hostile way any more than when I'm sitting in traffic, my engine is off, and I hear the car next to me needs a valve job or the pickup with the loose fan belt or the van with the stuck choke. These folks have lives and immediate concerns so car maintenance is down on their list of priorities. Just I'm trying to gently suggest the time to fix the roof is before it rains and we're about 3-4 months away from 'cold weather.'

Is it that hard to pull the Insight battery pack out and at least put it on the bench? This would be fascinating thread to watch and to the limits of my ability, perhaps even offer some help with either suggestions or parts (mostly Prius but who knows.)

Thanks,
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I don't disagree (entirely) Bob.

But with my "hobbled" Insight returning 80-95 mpg (US) in my current driving regimen, I believe *in my case* repairing the pack and bringing the hybrid functions back online would be a textbook illustration of diminished returns! I'm pretty sure even the low/moderate expense of refurbishing the pack couldn't be justified from a strictly financial/fuel saving angle.

Why? Because I have modified my driving style to mimic the major fuel-saving benefits of the IMA system.

In city driving, I'm manually killing the engine when coasting/stopped - actually, I'm more "aggressive" here than the IMA system would be on its own. And on the highway I monitor my right foot very carefully (and modulate load) to maintain lean burn as much as possible, which is how to get stellar highway fuel economy from this car.

A less motivated driver would be relying on a functional hybrid system for idle stop in the city and to keep the engine in its lean burn envelope (or "widen" that envelope) on the highway. For that driver, a pack repair would be a much more pressing concern (and probably more easily justifiable from a financial angle).

Again, I do plan to pull the pack and investigate refurbishing at some point. (Just not in the immediate future - too many projects!)
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:59 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Darin, explaining why hybrids are not necessary in the hybrid forum is going to be a hard sell

How much does the battery weigh? You might yank it out for now just to save a few pounds if for no other reason.
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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In my case! In my case!

---

"The battery is manufactured by Panasonic EV Energy and weighs only 48 lbs. or 22 kg." - InsightCentral.net - Encyclopedia - Honda Insight Battery Module

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Old 07-05-2011, 01:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
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MetroMPG you've got it exactly right. The best way to efficiently use Honda's IMA system is to not use it (for acceleration, at least). I use a switch to disable assist at least 90% of the time. I do allow regenerative braking when I need to slow down and I prefer auto-stop to turning the car off. I also like the quiet engine start using the motor rather than the starter.

You probably would still get better mileage with a healthy hybrid battery. Your 12v battery would be charged from the hybrid battery instead of the electric motor like it is now which is causing some additional load on the engine and may be causing it to be a little harder to get and/or stay in lean burn. I'm also unsure of the service life of the insight's starter, my car used its starter twice last year. Both times the temperature was below zero (farenheit).
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Of course a "typical" driver would do none of these efficiency enhancing driving techniques or mods, so a fully functional system would be to their benefit.

But you're right - one of the first mods I'll do after fixing the pack will be installing the clutch switch mod to shut it all off again ... well, to disable assist most of the time, as you say.

Of course, sometimes you just can't coast to decelerate, in which case regen will be most welcome (as will be the max-regen switch mod). I will say I definitely wish I had regen every time I have to hit the binders while driving this car.

EDIT: and you're right - that quick, quiet IMA engine start is pretty slick compared to the archaic 12v cranker.
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcb View Post
How much does the battery weigh? You might yank it out for now just to save a few pounds if for no other reason.
I don't believe that will work (though I don't know of anyone who's actually tested it). It's the systems design thing again: the IMA system is the alternator, and I believe needs the battery pack - even a "dead" one that doesn't give good assist - in there as sort of a ballast for the system.

Another thing you may not appreciate is that the motor is also controlled so that even when it's not providing assist/regen, it's still using a small amount of current as a vibration damper.

FWIW, pulling the battery is not all that big a deal. Took me a couple of hours the first time. A cordless drill comes in handy, though, as there are dozens of small bolts holding the cover on. Also, wear insulated gloves, as the battery does produce enough voltage to kill you if you happened to create a short. This isn't easy, but why take the chance?
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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It was just a suggestion. Like you, my project list is much longer than I have hours in a day to keep up with. When you're ready to tackle the electric power side, you'll have a lot of help. <grins>

Bob Wilson
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:28 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thanks, Bob. I have a feeling mine will just be one more of several pack refurb projects on the site.

Matt (Robert Smalls) has already nicely documented the rebuilding/rebalancing of his Insight's pack: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ems-13610.html

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