HCHII IMA Battery Recalibration

Discussion in 'Honda Hybrids' started by Mr. Kite, Aug 3, 2008.


How often do you experience battery recalibrations in your HCHII?

  1. never

  2. up to a few times a year

    0 vote(s)
  3. up to once a month

  4. more than once a month

  1. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Yes they can. The dealership's service departments will execute a number of checklists that depending on the circumstances can identify a fault at the cell module level.

    In reality, many service departments will refuse to carry out the service checklists unless permanent or recurring temporary DTC's are present. This is because the choice of the diagnostic checklists are often triggered by a DTC condition and technicians do not want to incur more time that what the SD will be paid for.
    At most, they may plug the car in to the HDS and if all counters are found to be within acceptable boundaries they will simply wrap it up and say they can do nothing more.

    However, if you are diligent and cordial you may suggest they do a physical diagnostic of that pack. This type of procedure actually requires that they open the IPU chassis and test the BCM lines to each of the cell modules. I know for a fact ;) that not many dealerships will want to get to that level of detail on normal billable time unless they are ordered and supported by Honda engineering services to do so.
    What I am suggesting is that you escalate and forward a letter to your nearest Honda Corporate office and CC the service department manager as well stating your concerns and objectives.


  2. Mr. Kite

    Mr. Kite Well-Known Member

    My wife just called to tell me she had another battery recalibration. I will try to schedule a service appointment sometime in the next few months.
  3. kristian

    kristian Well-Known Member

    I threw a notepad in the car a few weeks ago and have been recording the date, time, location and (starting today) the temperature. That way I have a record of it instead of just saying "it happens 2-3 times a week."

    I am going to touch base again in a week or two with my dealer and see if they've had any headway.
  4. hunter44102

    hunter44102 Well-Known Member

    I noticed that my HCHII has battery issues (recal, one green LED, fast discharge) happen on days that are 85deg F or higher and using A/C, on my return route from work, which is an inclined slope for the first 5-6 miles.

    I think its just a lot of assist and AC thats discharging the battery quickly, down to 2 bars, and then has a forced re-charge for the next 8-10 miles, so I'm not sure if this is a re-cal, but it just seems that is drops quickly from like 5-6 bars to 2.

    is it possible that the vents in the back seat might have a layer of dust inside and things are heating up in there? After 2.5 years and 50k miles I would think that there would be some dust build-up in the back. I will attempt to remove the seats and see if this is possible.

    I guess for now I will not run the A/C until I get past the uphill stuff, or only pulse it during the one down-hill section.
  5. kristian

    kristian Well-Known Member

    What is happening to me is at lower temperatures (62 degrees yesterday morning) and it happening without AC. It does happen more frequenly on the way home lately when the temps have been high 70s-low 80s. It never seems to happen at lunch though when temps are the hotest here (I probably just jinxed myself on that one).

    Do you see the battery falling one blip at a time with lots of assist, which works it's way down from say five bars.........to four bars.......to three bars, etc. taking a little time inbetween each drop, or does yours lose assist completely and then 10 second's later drop like a lead balloon straight to 1 bar?

    Do you run your AC in auto or "AC on"? Have you read through MSantos' AC thread? For those temps, using your AC is good for the battery.
  6. Mr. Kite

    Mr. Kite Well-Known Member

    I'm just using this thread as my log. :) I think I'll just start editing one post for my log. I had another battery crash today. The temps were in the low 70s and I was going up a pretty steep hill.
  7. williaea

    williaea New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm a bit late to this thread but I'd like to share a bit of what I have going as well. I have a 2006 HCH II purchased new in Feb 2006. Total mileage to date is just over 25K. My work commute is 2.2 miles through 7 stop lights. This commute is hard on the battery as it has no significant opportunity for the SOC to build up through regen. I also have two regular "highway" routes of 19 and 25 miles that include some reasonable Central PA hills. It's usually only during (after) these two runs that I ever see the SOC over 6 bars.

    I had none or very few recalibration issues with the car until the past few months. Since then I have had about one every week (give or take a few days). I also started keeping a log of it sometime in July. The vast majority of my recalibrations happen during my work commute. Typically the car will sit for days at 5 bars SOC and then all of a sudden decide it really should be below that and do the recal as I pull out from a light or stop sign (dropping one bar at a time down from 5 to usually 3 or 1 bars SOC).

    Anyhow - I just wanted to check in and let folks know this isn't an isolated incident. I think that knowing what I know now about your situations I will start keeping a bit more data (temperature, sun, etc) and see if I can add anything more of value.

  8. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Eric;

    No this is not an isolated incident. To the best of my knowledge there are many, many people observing this phenomenon and checking in with their dealers. In my area there are two dealers with whom I have very close "working relations" and they both report a rise in the inquiries. The formal answer that they have been giving is that this is OK and until you get a definitive indication through the IMA warning light it is likely to be functioning normally.

    Just to give you a more personal perspective. I have two HCH-II's (2006 and 2007 models) and the 2006 exhibits this behavior as in did when it was just 1 year old (last year). The 2007 model did not yet have any of these instrumented calibrations yet but I expect it to occur anytime.

    Now, I am not saying this is always a normal thing - especially when it happens VERY frequently. In my case it may happen once or twice per month during the summer stretch. During the hottest weeks it may even happen a couple of times per week, but then I can go on for many weeks without a single occurrence.

    So far, winters are not a concern but inner city/suburban drivers like myself are more likely to see this behavior occurring as early as in the car's first year of age.


  9. iamian

    iamian Well-Known Member

    Given from what I have seen.

    The recalibration events are at least partly due to the cells and subpacks in the battery not being balanced...

    no matter how closely matched the cells over time a multiple cell battery pack will get some batteries charged to different SoC... if the battery control system is designed to keep the batteries balanced or to fix out of balance conditions when they happen... than it isn't much of an issue... I know the Insight has no method built in the car to balance the battery cells... as far as I know the HCH I or II are also both missing any method of balancing the multi-cell battery pack.

    while fixing the balance issue might solve the problem short term... the root cause is still there and it would be expected to get the out of balance issue again...

    further... the battery cells are not all treated the same... some cells are pushed harder than others and will wear out before others... so even if you balancing the pack yourself... eventually pieces of it will start to fail....

    When there is a problem with the battery module Honda Instructs their technicians to replace the whole thing... they make no efforts to fix out of balance conditions etc... Honda does not train or equip ( for $ cost benefit reasons ) the technicians to treat or deal with the battery pieces... if one of the cells goes bad Honda technicians are instructed to recycle and replace the whole pack... good batteries are sent to be recycled along with that one bad cell.
  10. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    That makes sense! I think you probably hit the nail on the head! Thanks,H
  11. Mr. Kite

    Mr. Kite Well-Known Member

    Update: 8 battery crashes during the last 26 days the HCHII was driven.
  12. kristian

    kristian Well-Known Member

    I've logged 17 events since 7/30/08. I haven't kept a log of how many days I've driven the car though--probably ~34 so it's happening roughly every other day on average. That doesn't show the cold spell we had when I went several days without an event. On the other hand, I've logged two events in one day once...

    I think it's time to call the dealership again--I'm starting to get frustrated by this...
  13. Mr. Kite

    Mr. Kite Well-Known Member

    It was time for an oil change so I decided to make an appointment with the dealer to report the battery crash problem. As expected, I now have an open claim with Honda Tech.

    I also had them check out my engine block heater again. It wasn't working the last time I took it in, but they said it was fine. This time, they decided it was a problem with the actual heater and they will replace it. They had to order the part, but they will be replacing it free of charge. :) I really thought it was just a problem with the cord from backing out with it plugged in a few too many times. (If I wiggled the head of the cord around, I could hear the gurgling sound.) Anyway, I'll take a new one.

    As for the oil change, I brought my own oil and filter in and then they didn't charge me at all. :)
  14. hunter44102

    hunter44102 Well-Known Member

    Please let us know what they tell you about the battery crashes. Thanks
  15. kristian

    kristian Well-Known Member

    Cool. Did they give you a questionaire? I'm assuming they checked everything out but didn't find anything right? Keep us posted if they come back with anything. I never did bring my car back in, but I'm only having recalibrations weekly lately so it hasn't seemed as annoying....
  16. Mr. Kite

    Mr. Kite Well-Known Member

    They didn't give me a questionnaire, but they did call me to ask some questions at some point after I dropped it off. No, they didn't find anything. I'm having less battery crashes as well. I guess our cars are doing a better job of approximating the battery level during the cooler weather.
  17. hansonclan

    hansonclan Member

    Same here. Cooler weather, less A/C use, haven't had a full up crash in weeks. Yesterday I got the pesky 1-2 bar forced regen for a few miles, but no crash. MPG is up too - hanging around 64 for this tank.
  18. Mr. Kite

    Mr. Kite Well-Known Member

    How are people's battery crashes going? I have a log in the top post. It looks like there is a gap without many crashes, but that might be just my wife not noticing and/or mild crashes.
  19. hansonclan

    hansonclan Member

    I haven't had a crash since my last post in Sep. Mine seem to be linked to heat and A/C use. My FE has gone down now that the weather is cooler, and I do have frequent 1-2 bar forced charges. It's dark when I commute home now, and I've noticed that I get a minor forced charge whenever I turn the headlights on.

    I was browsing old posts the other day, and found these by Green&Blue. They describe my car's behavior perfectly:


    Seems like that should be a sticky - might keep us newbies from thinking there's something wrong with our cars. We might have a beef with the design logic, but it seems to be working as designed.
  20. williaea

    williaea New Member

    Just checked in on this thread for the first time in a while.

    I have had two recal events in the past 2 months (Oct, Nov) after having 10-12 perhaps over the previous 3 months (July, Aug, Sept). When I do get forced charging the SOC typically peaks at 6 bars rather than 7 or 8. I almost NEVER see over 6 bars anymore. Well - that isn't quite true. I sometimes have 6 bars when I park the car and then when I next start it - magically I'm at 7 bars. ?????

    The car is driving me a bit nuts lately and making me wish I had opted for the EX 5 speed instead! And now that gas is cheap it's not like I can sell it for any reasonable amount of money.... :-(


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