Road Trip for battery?

Discussion in 'Honda Hybrids' started by Mendel Leisk, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Just to update, after my son got no call back from Honda (responding to their earlier voicemail, in response to my email), I called them up, but didn't get very far. They're basically saying take it to the dealer, very noncommital.

    And my son, always the sensible one, maybe too sensible, is saying let's wait 'till the warranty expiration (Dec) before considering ReInvolt (or other) replacement battery.

    Also, while the 12 volt battery swap we did seemed to stop the recals for a while, they're back now, about the same frequency: daily and/or once per trip.
  2. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member


    I received the GC, Harness and Discharger this past Wednesday. Mike shipped it , Insured, Priority Mail, so it reached me in NC from CT in two days. He supplies you with pretty much everything you'll need from special double sided tape to zip ties. He even supplies a tool to remove the clips in the upholstery and rear of the HV pack. My dad and I installed the harness yesterday. I, nor my dad, have done anything like this with a car before, but Mike's tutorial video on YouTube was extremely helpful. We had the iPad with us at all times. I did have to call Mike about what size torx bit to use. He picked up right away and was very helpful, offering other helpful suggestions.

    I hope to use the charger today once the weather warms up a little. It will not work in temps under 30 degrees F. I'll keep you updated, if you like, on how it's working out.

    I wanted to take pics but we got so engrossed in the install, I forgot.

    I'm not surprised by the return of the recals. That battery, like mine, sounds like it needs balancing.

  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Thanks for the update, and yes, please post how it works.

    Also, just looking through the Grid Charger order form: can you tell me what specific items you ordered? I'm guessing it was just "Second Gen Civic Harness" and "GC01 Universal Overnight", and maybe one of the insurance options.

    Are you planning to try it on your Prius also? Is it even possible? I don't see anything like "Prius harness" in the order form.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  4. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member


    Yes, I purchased the GCO1 charger, the second gen Civic harness and the discharger. I don't plan to use it in the Prius as I have read that unlike Honda, Toyota has a battery management system. I'm not concerned about it...yet.

    I want to try and get a discharge and charge in today. Next weekend when I have more time, I want to do the "soaking" which is 3 rounds of discharge and charging. It's supposed to take around 16hrs to complete and is supposed to be be good for reconditioning the pack.

  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member


    Assuming the GC's in the trunk when in use: are you following the tip to disable the trunk light (to avoid drain on the 12 volt), putting a screw driver shaft in the trunk latch to fool the car into thinking the trunk is shut? It was demonstrated in the GC install video on YouTube.

    I was death on "courtesy" lights when we had ours: just disconnected a trunk light connector; it's in the lid, nearby the latch. It's in between the two sheet metal layers of the trunk lid.
  6. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    You had better hurry up Mendel as our Canadian dollars appears to heading south! H
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

  8. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    Hi Mendel,

    So I hooked the GC and discharger up on Sunday afternoon around 4pm Est. and ran it on Runmode 6. This charges the battery, tops it off and then discharges it. It does this for 3 cycles. It finally ended around 10 or 11am the next day. I'm not sure of the exact time, actually, as I was at work and that is when my wife called me to tell me it was done. The charger is fairly quiet even with two fans going. When it's done it stores all of the charging, discharging info, including how long it took to charge the pack and how long it took to discharge it. It would top the pack off at around 186V and is programmed to discharge down to 143V. Mike was nice enough to setup the charger for my year and model car. All you have to do is select the Runmode you want. You can also edit parts of the selected runmodes. For example, you can edit how many cycles you want the charge/discharge to run: 3,2 or 1.

    So my car sat all the rest of the day and night. The next morning commute I had zero recals. I typically can't drive the hundred feet or so out of my neighborhood without a recal. On a typical morning commute, which includes dropping the kids off at school, I could have 2 or 3 recals before parking at work. However, I did have 1 recal soon into my afternoon commute, which I typically get. I'm going to hook it up tonight for 1 charge/discharge cycle and see if that helps.
    Having 1 recal instead of 3 or 4 or even 5 in a day is definitely a step in the right direction. I had a feeling that it would take more charging and discharging at first before I see, dare I say, a complete turnaround.

    The other cool thing you can do is delay when the charger comes on. So if you come home the night before with a depleted battery, you could delay the charger so that it charges later in the night and when your ready to go, you have a topped off and warmed up battery.

    Yes, Mendel, I use a pencil to trick the trunk latch.;)

    I can post some pics of it in action if you like.

  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    Thanks Jess.

    Now if Honda's software fix had also included a harness install and setting up dealerships with something like this GC...

    Anyway, sounds good. Looking forward to the next installment.
  10. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    Ok, so last night, I set up the charger to charge and top off the pack, discharge, and charge it back up again. This took about 10hrs to do.

    During today's commute the battery behaved differently than it had yesterday. Today, it actually went down to 4 bars of SoC. I haven't seen that in over a year. Traffic was really bad with an accident and all, so all of the stop and go was taking a toll on the SoC. Then the it did something that I don't remember it doing before. Instead of dropping the SoC and going into a recal, it, instead, dropped a bar or two of regen and started charging itself back up to 5 bars. All the while I still had assist. It was like it knew it was low and decided to charge back up to 5 bars. It stayed at 5 bars for a short time and then it was at 8 bars. I don't know if that was a recal, but if it was, it was like a soft or mild recal. Really though it was like the simple battery management system was actually doing its job.

    The afternoon commute was the same. I started the commute home on 5 bars (we have a lot inclines and hills around here) and then it dropped to 4 for a bit and then did this "soft" recharge thing again, and was back up to 5 and then stopped. Then eventually the SoC was back up to 8. I didn't experience the jarring recharge that goes along with a battery recal. This was a better experience than yesterday. Although, I'd rather it not have any kind of recal at all. Overall, I think it was a better day than the one before.

    One other thing, the battery seems to move easier up and down the SoC. I'll be at 7 then down to 5, then back up to 6 and to 7 then back down to 6 and then to 5 again. But I'm always able to get the SoC back up, easily. Before, it would just go down and down to a recal without much of an opportunity to get it back up.

    Tonight, I'm putting it through another discharge cycle and I'm curious what tomorrow will bring. I'm thinking I may do this every night until the recals/recharges stop completely. Then, perhaps I can use the GC/Discharger every other night or so. It will be nice to eventually only have to do this once every other week or once a month.

    * I posted a few pictures in the Gallery under the Hardware Modifications section.

    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 2010 Prius (CAN Touring) Staff Member

    That sounds interesting, like there's less flimflam in the displayed state of charge, and that it's able to do a deep knee bend and get back up. ;)

    Something extra I can think of, is MSanto's suggestion to periodically disconnect the 12 volt and leave it off for maybe 30 minutes. Might be something to do after a few more charging sessions, so the car loses whatever it's learned and starts fresh.

    I noticed something on the GC website, a fob for resetting the car's memory. I think it was pending, but not ready yet. The inference was that the car is not aware of the extra charging, it might be throwing it off, and a reset is good.
  12. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    I forgot about disconnecting the 12V. That might be a good idea to do. Would be nice to "erase" the past year's recals.

    I looked at the SoC reset too but thought it was something that you had to leave in the OBDII port? I'll have to look at it again. I would rather keep my SG connected if that's the case.

  13. pdogg81

    pdogg81 Active Member

    Mendel, FWIW, my car finally threw the IMA light shortly after getting a new 12V battery. The way I can get it to come on now (while I still have the old IMA battery in it) is to have it go into a recal down to 2 bars and start force charging. Once it gets up to 3 bars it will give you some assist if you are aggressively accelerating so when possible try to floor it before it charges up to 4 and magically jumps up to the full mark. If I try that a few times, especially at highway speeds, the IMA battery sometimes doesn't have the juice to continue assist and will throw the IMA light. Once that light is on you can take it to the dealer and have the code read so you can get a new battery.

    Once you shut the car down, only the check engine light will stay on, but they can still pull the "serious deterioration" code and hopefully resolve the issue. I'm not sure how long the code will stay in memory though so I'd probably try to take it to the dealer before shutting the engine off 3 or more times.

    I didn't have it trigger the IMA light when charging up from the first recal but probably after two or three of them while I was on the highway moving pretty quick.
  14. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    I asked Mike about the SoC reset device and he said that he doesn't have it for the civic because there isn't one around to work on. It would be nifty if the SGII could reset it. If only...

    Mike did point out a feature on the GC that might help though. Before it starts the charge/discharge cycle, it will ask if you would like the voltage level of the pack, back to what it was before the cycle started. I'm trying that tonight because for the past two days I've experienced that recharging thing that it does when at 4 bars and I'm thinking it has to do with the SoC being off. I think this because of what happened on my afternoon commute today. It began with 5 bars and then quickly dropped to 4. However, it drove nearly the entire 15 mile commute on just 4 bars! Assist was still available when I needed it and it never did the recharge thing. Finally, I was able to get it back to 5 bars before I got home. I'm so surprised and relieved that it could handle the commute on just 4 bars. I think that says a lot on how much the GC and discharger are helping.

  15. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    Hey Jess
    Are you a election by trade? Or is it necessary if you have some basic knowledge? Did you find the instructions good enough for a. Do it yourself mechanic. I am thinking of ordering this charger. I do have a electrical buddy who could do the wiring. H
  16. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    Harold, I'm not an electrician, but I consider myself handy enough and with good safety sense to do minor electrical tasks. Really though you don't have to be an electrician to install the electrical harness. As long as that HV pack switch is off, you'll be just fine. I had my dad help me as he was an Electricians Mate in the Navy. He has had plenty of experience with electrical work and DIY projects. Plus you need an extra pair of hands to remove the pack. It's very heavy and a little awkward to remove and replace.

    Mike's video tutorial is very good to follow. Although I would also recommend watching the first gen civic video. He gives pointers and shows some installation shots in that video, that are helpful with the second gen install. I made sure I watched them several times before I received the equipment. Even during the install I had the iPad with me to view each step as we went along.

    One thing to note though. The HV pack that Mike is working on in the video is a 2009 pack. The placement of the harness' negative terminal is in a slightly different position for packs from 2006 - 2008. He provides a link to a couple of photos under the video. I didn't see them until the day before we installed it.

    I was pretty nervous about spending so much and not to mention, possibly voiding the warranty of the IMA system, but I don't regret doing it now. If anything, I think I've extended the life of not just the IMA system but the engine too. I imagine that the numerous recals are very taxing.

  17. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice Jess. I believe your used pack is probably as good as the one that would replace the old one. I think I will bite the bullet and and follow your lead.:)h
  18. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    Harold it's definitely starting to behave like it did when it was new. I'm hoping this will make it last for another 76k miles.

    Good luck and feel free to touch base with me if you have any questions.

  19. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    I believe the pack will last much longer if it is kept in balance. Let's hope anyway! H
  20. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    So the charger did just what Mike said it would. It remembered what the voltage level of the pack was before it performed the discharge cycles. However, this did not seem to help avoid the recharge that has been occurring all week. My afternoon commute was the same as yesterday: started at 5 bars and then dropped to 4 and stayed that way until I was nearly home. I ended back at 5 bars.

    Bottomline is that ever since I've used the GC and Discharger, I haven't had one recal. Recharges yes, but due in part by starting with a low SoC and the fact that it's one incline after another in the beginning of my commute.

    Since it's the weekend, the pack is getting a 3 cycle charge/discharge. This might take half the weekend to complete. After that, I may start laying off of the GC for a day or so and see how the pack behaves on its own.


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