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Old 07-02-2011, 06:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wow, the battery DOES make a difference! (Insight IMA back on after forced recal.)

Thanks to Jamesqf's tip, I forced a recal on the computer by pulling fuse #18 (5th from the left, bottom row, very important info lol). As soon as I started the Insight it showed charging on the dashboard! I drove around town a bit and the battery level kept on rising. The auto stop kicked in and scared me, I thought I had stalled it somehow! The idle also dropped under 1000 rpm. Once it had some charge in it, the battery assist also kicked in when I was pulling away from a stoplight. What a difference! Man it's pretty peppy now, it's way more fun to drive. I figured the assist was only for hills or passing, I didn't realize it kicked in at low speeds as well. I have yet to see how long the battery will last when climbing a steep hill, but at least I know the charging system works, and I have had no lights come on the dashboard to tell me there is a problem anywhere. I was so excited I drove to a local big box store and bought a cassette adapter for my MP3 player so I can rock out through the factory Honda cassette deck. Good times!

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Old 07-02-2011, 07:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by War_Wagon View Post
I forced a recal on the computer by pulling fuse #18 (5th from the left, bottom row, very important info lol).
care to explain a bit more about what you think was going on and the problem you fixed?
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sorry, I had that in another post. The battery was showing 1 bar on the charge display, and the car wasn't charging it. It was also idling too high, and the auto-stop wasn't kicking in. Pulling the fuse fixed all of those problems, so now I can figure out if the battery pack is any good.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'll trade you my factory Honda single-CD player radio for your cassette radio.

I'd rather have the ability to use the adapter. (Do the FM transmitter thingers work any better than the cassette adapters?)

Glad to hear your forced recalibration worked.

My pack is in bad enough shape that the IMA light and battery-related Check Engine Light codes came back (and the hybrid assist/regen disappeared) after only about 30 km or so after I did a forced recal.

I don't mind the way the car drives without the hybrid "boost". I'm used to Metros/Fireflies .
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Old 07-03-2011, 01:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
I'll trade you my factory Honda single-CD player radio for your cassette radio.

I'd rather have the ability to use the adapter. (Do the FM transmitter thingers work any better than the cassette adapters?)
If you want one, I think I still have the old one from mine on a shelf somewhere.
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Old 07-03-2011, 01:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by War_Wagon View Post
I figured the assist was only for hills or passing, I didn't realize it kicked in at low speeds as well. I have yet to see how long the battery will last when climbing a steep hill...
Actually it's a lot more for the low-speed acceleration than anything.

On hills, a good battery should let you do maybe 1000-1500 vertical ft at about 6% grade, doing 55 or so. (Of course this is really approximate.) Couple of points to note.

First, you may see a gradual drop of the charge gauge to part way down, then rapid drop to zero. This is a less-than-perfect battery, but should still give you decent service for years.

Second, there's a bit of a trick to keeping it from using too much assist on a long climb. You want to avoid getting SOC so low that it forces regen while you're still trying to climb. You can climb at 50-55 mph in 3rd, but it's good to keep the RPM below 3000, because that's where the VTEC shift point is. You can feel it kick in, and see a drop on instant mpg. You can cruise in 4th at highway speeds too...
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Old 07-03-2011, 03:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Metro, I find the cassette adapters work better than the FM transmitters. Some work better than others, price doesn't seem to have much to do with it. I bought the cheapest one they had at London Drugs and it works great. I will be looking for a cassette deck for the other twin, it has some fancy Sony CD player with no MP3 input in it, and man I hate aftermarket stereos.

Well the battery assist experience was short lived, it charged all the way up to full, and the assist would kick in for about a half an hour. Then when I went out later that night, the pack was down to 1 bar and it wasn't charging again. I'll try a recal again and see what happens.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Just FYI, if you're planning to refurbish your own pack, doing forced recalibrations and using regen/assist on its ailing cells will further damage the weak ones. (More of them may need to be replaced.)

Having said that, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to any ecomodding type person to buy an Insight with a dead pack, and not bother replacing/refurbishing it. Just use the car as a non-hybrid. As long as the DC-DC converter works to keep the 12v system happy, you can drive it without any of the other IMA functions active and still achieve stellar fuel economy.

I actually see no real reason to refurbish my pack and bring IMA back online, aside from sheer curiosity about the project itself and then getting to play with the hybrid functionality.
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Old 07-04-2011, 01:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Just FYI, if you're planning to refurbish your own pack, doing forced recalibrations and using regen/assist on its ailing cells will further damage the weak ones. (More of them may need to be replaced.)
I think this is a good idea but a better one might be to look at alternate pack designs. It sounds as if the stock battery management system may have a systemic problem and analysis might lead to a pack with longer legs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
. . .
Having said that, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to any ecomodding type person to buy an Insight with a dead pack, and not bother replacing/refurbishing it. Just use the car as a non-hybrid. As long as the DC-DC converter works to keep the 12v system happy, you can drive it without any of the other IMA functions active and still achieve stellar fuel economy.

I actually see no real reason to refurbish my pack and bring IMA back online, aside from sheer curiosity about the project itself and then getting to play with the hybrid functionality.
I am not a Honda IMA expert but I remember seeing a Honda chart showing how the electric motor provides low-end torque. What I don't know is the extent the Honda control laws stress the batteries. Monitoring the temperature would be a good start.

You've got a vehicle with outstanding, low aerodynamic and rolling resistance. Bringing the ICE back to OEM spec seems like a natural especially if it can be done in a way that extends the battery life.

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Old 07-04-2011, 02:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You're absolutely right about the torque benefit of the electric assist - it peaks at 2k RPM, engine+motor.

But a "neutered" gen. 1 Insight is still a step up from my usual ride, in both fuel efficiency and driveability. Even without assist, the stock Insight has more power, not to mention lower rolling resistance, less aero drag and better handling than a stock Metro/Firefly.

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