HCH-II Recalibrations (Recal). What are they ?

Discussion in 'Honda Hybrids' started by msantos, Aug 6, 2009.


Have you ever had a re-calibration of the SoC on your HCH-II ?

  1. What is a recalibration?

  2. Never. At least not yet.

  3. Yes, I get them once in a while (at most 1-2 per month)

  4. Yes, I get them at least once a week

  5. Yes, I get them once every day

  6. Heck yes... I get a recal during every commute

  7. Heck yes... I get a recal during every commute and I also have the IMA light ON

    0 vote(s)
  1. Kacey Green

    Kacey Green Well-Known Member

    yeah I had something similar almost every cold weather trip after climbing out of the bowl my neigborhood is in
  2. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    Sounds like my neighborhood, except mine is a bowl of a neighborhood within a bowl of an area. You can't go anywhere here without climbing a hill in any direction. :(
  3. InIllinois

    InIllinois New Member

    I hate to say it, but I am relieved to see all of these posts. I apologize for not having studied all of the pertinent vocabulary, but I have been having some serious issues with my HCHII charge levels since June '09. I went to have the control arm issue resolved in June (and purchased a new set of tires out of pocket - too many miles to get them pro-rated!). This began a series of bad experiences with my dealer that I won't go into but that have really eroded my trust in them.

    They wound up painting the roof of my car because their attempt to do a touch up job on some bad paint went wrong. The resulting paint job was also terrible, and they asked me to bring it back so they could subcontract a better job. When I picked up the car after the first paint job, I was headed out of town for 5 days. The SoC was at 2. In 10 months of owning the car I had never seen it that low. I didn't know what to think at the time, and I assumed it would charge up shortly.

    I know that I don't get the best performance out of my car, because I usually drive too fast on the highway, and the little town that I live in is all short trips and stop signs, so I don't get the mileage I had hoped for. I hate to admit it, but my lifetime FE is about 41 MPG over about 32K. It's kind of sad considering I live in one of the flattest places in the country.

    That said, during the next 5 days I drove the full width of the state of Iowa (non-stop West in one day, non-stop East in one day). The SoC never reached a full charge. When I got home I kept it for a week trying to get some "normal" readings from the battery. I took another trip to Chicago and was driving in busy stop and go traffic when the SoC went to zero right before I had to make a left turn. At this point I was pretty livid and decided it was time to go back to the dealer. I was used to my SoC being at 6-7 most of the time, but now it was hanging out in the 4-6 range, and I had not seen a full charge in 3 weeks (including a several hundred miles of Interstate driving).

    I noticed that there is a warning inside the door not to put it in a paint booth that gets above a specific temperature or it will damage the battery. I called my dealer back, told them about the problem, and scheduled my second paint job. When they got the car, they began to ask questions about how hot it was outside when this happened. I should note that the state of Illinois just posted the coolest month of July on record. I was watching the temperature at the time, and it was in the low 80s. They claim to have driven the car around with test equipment and found no problems with it. They then directed me to the page in the manual about recals.

    Later the same day, I was driving at 45 MPH when the SoC went to 3 bars at 79F (I have a photo). I read this form and attempted a reset. It seemed to work for a day or two. In general, my IMA seemed more volatile than ever before. On a 5 mile trip around town running errands on an 80F day, my SoC would go from 6 down to 4 and back up to 6.

    After another week or two, I took it to a different dealer. They looked it over, installed some new codes, test drove it, and said it was operating within normal parameters. Then they said something that struck me as strange. They said they didn't have any way to test the IMA battery. Is there really no way to load-test this battery the way you would a 12V battery?

    Since then I have taken photos of my SoC at 3 on a 90F day, at 2 on an 83F day, at 1 on a 72F day, and at 0 on a 77F day. It has gone to zero a second time while I was making a left hand turn through a busy intersection (not in my town - we don't have those). On none of these occasions has the charge returned to full (maybe it's not supposed to?)

    Is what i am describing consistent with recals? I have been driving to a temporary job that is about 1.5 hours from me 3 days a week. When I drive on the highway, it does not seem to have any problems. When I get into traffic, it just seems very volatile. It charges and discharges a lot faster than ever before. The first dealer that did the bad paint job did not mention installing any software codes either of the times I had it in.

    Do I need to go to another dealer? Is there something they are missing? The service writer at the first dealership had never heard of LRR tires, and didn't understand why I would want a new set of them on my car, so I wouldn't be surprised if they missed something that they don't see very often.
  4. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    Sorry to hear of your problems. I would get it to another dealer. Iwould also find out if the car was cooked in a paint booth.
  5. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    InIllinois, I would definitely seek out another dealer. I drive a 33 mile round trip commute every day in 90+ degree weather with 52 total stop lights and I don't have the problem you are describing. Something does not sound right with it.

  6. hunter44102

    hunter44102 Well-Known Member

    Recal every Wednesday:

    I have a 44 mile commute every day (22mi each way). On the commute, I may get a forced regen once a month.

    However, on every Wednesday I drive to my mom's for lunch and she is only 1.5 miles from my work.

    No problems on the drive TO her house. But approx 45 mins after lunch, when I drive back to work, almost every time, I get a crash and forced regen.

    Something about the really short trip and I haven't figured out why it happens.

    I park in a shaded area so I don't think its a heat issue, and AC is completely off.

    This happened with my old PCM firmware (possibly factory 2006) and happens with the update I got in May.

    Also, today I had an interesting crash where it was stuck on 3 bars for about 9 miles (there were 2-3 green regen bars going the whole time), and then suddenly I had 8 bars and everything was good.
  7. Kacey Green

    Kacey Green Well-Known Member

    I get this sometimes, though every beginning commute from home seems to dip down to three bars even if I start with a full pack and keep out of the assist, in the winter you see them just disappear all at once but in summer it makes it look like the thin assist bar near the center line uses one bar of SoC per 1 sec of use (on the climb out of my sub-division). Winter or Summer I usually have a full pack right before I have to stop to make the left onto the interstate.

    Sometimes, like when I park at 6 bars or less I don't see the 8 bars until I get to almost the next exit once on the freeway.
  8. kristian

    kristian Well-Known Member

    I had my second crash since the 09-58 TSB last night. It definitely seems to resist crashing more than before, but it's still an issue (assuming 2X monthly recals ARE an issue).

    One thing I'm starting to think about a little: after a crash, my car never charges back up all the way to 8 bars after a crash. Most of the time, it will get back up to 5-6 and then go about business as usual. I wonder if it never gets back to the high end of the SoC in the recalibration so it never knows the upper boundry.
  9. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    I have come to the conclusion that most of these re-cals that I have been having, have more to do with all the stop and go's of my morning and afternoon commute.

    Just this past weekend, I visited my parents who live about 45 miles away. 99% of the drive is all highway. No re-cals and had an average for over 90 miles at 68.4mpg. However, everyday this week I have had a re-cal in my afternoon commute.

    I'm taking mine in this labor day to have the new software update. It will be interesting to see if I will see fewer re-cals like Kristian.

  10. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  11. hunter44102

    hunter44102 Well-Known Member

    FYI Msantos - the link doesn't appear to go anywhere, including the one on the original post
  12. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Sorry about that Hunter. It should be fixed now.
  13. greenrider

    greenrider Well-Known Member

    Re: HondaCare and Software Updates

    My HCH II is at 45K. I'd like to get the latest sw update which appears to have gone a long way in remedying the IMA recal in hot weather issue, and I'm wondering if my HondaCare warranty will cover the PCM updates, especially if I take it in for the battery crashes?
  14. aryntha

    aryntha New Member

    I'm rather concerned, and trying to find an answer for this. (And it DOES relate to the battery, please read through - I hope msantos can provide some insight!)

    I have a 2007 HCH-II and for the previous two years, it has been flawless, 47.5-48 mpg.

    This Monday, as I was driving, I had the following happen:

    -Check Engine Light came on,
    -Power steering light came on and power steering died,
    -Odometer stopped counting,
    -Speedometer dropped to 0,
    -green (D) drive dot began flashing,
    -IMA stopped assisting.

    (The IMA light did NOT come on.)

    So, I took it in to the dealer and they spent 4 days trying to figure out the problem - Replaced the VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor), CVT Sensor (?) and fixed a 'loose wire going into a harness';

    -- but, they also performed these 4 PCM updates.

    I got it back today and everything seems to be in working order EXCEPT:

    1) Assist happens much less often than it used to. I am often climbing grades with ICE only, even if the SoC shows a near full charge. [Assist does happen, but at seemingly random times, and often much more briefly than i'm used to.]

    2) Regen appears to happen slower; its much more rare for it to show 'full bars' on regen now.

    3) It's only been a day, but it seems my 47.5-48 mpg is a thing of the past. On a recent (Granted only 50 mile) trip, what used to be 45 is now 33.

    4) the iFE gauge which used to be pretty easy to 'keep balanced on 50' now seems to want to sink more towards the 20-30 side of things much more often.

    .. Do I have a problem? Should I have them back out these updates? Is there anything I can do?

    ... Not sure what to do at this point... I had zero problems with my HCH-II until now... Are they taking away my fuel efficiency just to avoid having to replace the pack under warranty?
  15. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi aryntha, and welcome to CleanMPG.

    Given the post-repair symptoms you describe I will say the dealer either omitted one step or did not perform it correctly.

    Every time you service the CVT, you not only must check for PCM updates and apply them but you must also perform the "learn procedure" which also includes a sequence of other resets. The dealer can successfully perform this with their HDS as it is far more thorough than doing it through the alternate means.

    Failure to complete this step results in the kind of symptoms you describe along with a few more. Rolling back the PCM software is something you do not want to do as the newer software is far better. Besides, you CANNOT rollback the software anyway without replacing the actual PCM module with one loaded with an older software version.

    Your battery pack does not appear to have any issues at all and since these behaviors and symptoms are all CVT-PCM related, I would opt to reset the car myself and if that does not do the trick I would have them do it with the HDS.

    I'll PM you the directions on how to perform this reset.


  16. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    I got the latest software update and all I can say is "wow!" I got a chance to drive around with my wife running errands in the 90 degree weather w/ mostly no A/C. No recals at all! Not even after sitting a couple of hours in the sun. To confirm Kristian's observations, the SoC went as low as 4 bars and also, there is less Assist when climbing inclines and hills, which I love. It will be interesting to see how if fares on tomorrow's commute.

    My dealer, which is typically great and never questioned my previous software update request, pushed back on me a bit w/ this one, stating that I may not even have the problem or may already have the update. Oh, and also that the Service Bulletin that I handed him was not a recall and isn't necessarily required. Duh! In addition, he had to call the District Manager to get approval for a "good will."
    They ended up confirming that I did not have the 75.00 update and that they were going to cover it under the powertrain warranty.

    I'll give them one other opportunity before I decide to go elsewhere. It seems once you are passed the initial 3yr/36k warranty, they start treating you like you're a child.

  17. Kacey Green

    Kacey Green Well-Known Member

    That's appalling, I can understand (though not agree with) their point, up until you handed them the instructions from Honda telling you to come visit them.
  18. Jess

    Jess Well-Known Member

    Well so far I'm not really crazy about the new software update. Funny, b/c at first I thought it was great.

    It feels so different. Not smooth like before, but I can't really describe it. It feels like the IMA is assisting less. On the other hand when it's at 7-8 bars I get 5 or 6 bars of Assist vs. the 4 I used to get.

    Plus the dreaded no Auto Stop when re-calibrating (and yes I continue to get daily re-cals) at a low SoC. I can feel that it wants to shut down and then doesn't.

    It truly feels like one has to drive it differently than before. I'm hoping that eventually I'll get used to it and not even notice the difference. Right now, though, I wish I had not had the update. :(

  19. Kacey Green

    Kacey Green Well-Known Member

    Yes it's like I got 4 new cars last year instead of just 1, thanks to the software.
  20. ematzen

    ematzen Well-Known Member

    Hey gang - I'm in the same boat. Had the update installed a few weeks ago. There has been improvement, I'm impressed with it recharging the battery quicker when it goes completely dead, but I do think it provides too much boost when fully charged, and in a 20 mile drive I will go from fully charged to completely empty two or three times. And I have a steady, soft foot.

    Daily recals are a pain. But at least the car has pickup when I need it, regardless of whether there is charge in the battery or not.


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