IMA


Getting in shape while making electricity

Getting in shape while making electricity
How many watts can you make?
Got tired of bringing the hand crank Prius transmission to renewable energy fairs so I got busy mounting an Insight IMA motor on an exercise bike chassis.
The main task was to make a core for the rotor and mount it on bearings.
I used aluminum for the rear bearing and coil assembly which I removed from the stock cast aluminum housing to make it lighter and smaller.
I hope to also add red green leds to show the frequency and polarity of the generated voltage.
Works great.
Added a small 24 V battery and a 600W sine wave inverter so energy could be out into the battery slowly (I am not in shape yet) and then power up to a 600W load from the battery.

Making a simple IMA bypass connector from an old pack relay board

Making a simple IMA bypass connector from an old pack relay board
simple IMA bypass connector
The IMA battery can be completely removed from the car, and the car will still function, if the DC/Dc converter can have the HV input it requires.
The typical way to do this is to remove the whole connector/relay board from the pack, and use it to make those connections.
If the fuse and connector from a used pack is available, a much safer and simpler IMA bypass can be construced.
You remove the DC/DC connector, the 30A fuse, and make up some wires with ring terminals, and make a short bypass connector with those components. It is important to keep everything well insulated, and prevent ant possible shorts, so here is how I made mine.
If you can leave the HV battery in the car, just pull the "A" connector of the BCM and turn off the HV battery switch
location of BCM A connector

Quick way to make a connector for checking the subpacks

Quick way to make a connector for checking the subpacks
Battery tap rotary switchvoltage tap reader
After several hours of trying to find the BCM connector that is the mate for the battery tap harness connector,I gave up.
Using a pack that had no cells,so the connector would not have power.
I took a small clear plastic bag, and carefully taped the cut up bag over the harness connector,and secured it with black tape near the base, where the wires come out.
Next I inserted the pins pulled from one of the 104Pin headers used in the MIMA plug and play adapter, through the plastic into the harness connector female pins.
Making sure that the pins were inserted fully,I covered the plastic covered connector with epoxy putty, allowing the pins to stick through the epoxy.
I taped the epoxy with black tape to hold the shape.
When the epoxy cured,I soldered a ribbon cable to the pins, making the order of the ribbon follow the taps from the - end to the HV + end in sequence.
An aluminum duct tape dam that was adhered to the epoxy, made a cavity on the rear where the ribbon attached to the pins.The cavity was filled with hot melt, casting the wires and pins in place.
I put a 12 pin .1" OC straight male header on the other end of the ribbon.
The voltage taps can be read here, or I can plug in another female 12 Pin header, also attached to a ribbon, into a pill bottle(it was handy).
I mounted a 20 position break before make dual pole rotary switch on the base of the pill bottle, and two terminals on the cap for the volt meter.
I also made the conector for a civic pack, that plugs into the same female header on the rotary switch /pill bottle, so the same switch can do either.
To use it, one unplugs the voltage tap connector from the pack, and attached a voltmeter to the two pill cap terminals, and I can monitor each 12 cell stick , in sequence, as well as the whole pack voltage.
It took less time to build than I spent looking for the connector, and It can do both a civic and insight.
The connector plugs in reliably and securely, after the plastic is removed.
Not pretty, but it works well and is pretty rugged and safe.

Lifting the battery safely

Lifting the battery safely
Some insight battery pack lifting options
As anyone that has pulled the battery pack on their insight can tell you, it is just heavy enough to hurt your back, and it requires you to lift in a very awkward position. Honda has a special lifting frame that the techs use, so I thought that with the requirement that one pulls the Insight pack to do a clean grid charger install,it was time to see if a quick and dirty version of the lifting frame could be fabricated.
Randall sent me a photo of one he made, using some handles, and a piece of plywood.

I made one with long handles, that allow comfortable lifting angles, and full control of the pack while removing or installing.

IMA motor coil shift in collision

IMA motor coil shift in collision
Front end accident shifted IMA motor coil knocking it against rotor
I acquired a complete insight motor/transmission from an insight that had been in a front end collision.I was preparing to shim the IMA rotor so I could remove it from the engine,and discovered that the rotor was shifted sideways from the coil assembly to the point where it was rubbing on one side, and the other side had a big gap.

The mass of the coil assembly and severity of the impact seem to have shifted the coil on its mount. I could not see where the aluminum block or IMA housing had shifted, but do see some abrasion on the front of the block ? the problem is that if the casting was bent there the gap would have been on the other side???

When I get a chance I will eventually remove the coil assembly from the casting, and compare it with one that was not hit to see what actually moved?

The point here is that if you get in an accident, the coil can shift and rub the rotor causing some future failure. This should probably be inspected after a front end hit, but I really doubt that it ever is???

Reading the blink codes

Reading the blink codes
how to read blink codes
While most of the nice OBDII code readers can tell us which P code is causing a check engine or IMA light, it cannot tell us the subcode ( Blink code).
The photo shows which pins need to be shorted together on the Insight OBDII plug to have the car report the blink subcodes.
Short with wire and the codes are reported.

When reading the IMA blink codes, the IMA light blinks and if the check engine light is on, it will blink
Example: a 74 IMA code would be 7 slow blinks, and 4 fast blinks, if there is more than one code, the blinking will have a long pause, and then blink out the second code.It will cycle through all the codes in a circular fashion. Say there was a 74, and a 78, and a 63. The IMA light would bilnk the 74, then the 78, then the 63, and then start back with the 74 and repeat until you release the short.

Blink codes:
Blink codes page 1
Blink codes page 2
Blink codes page 3

Taking Video of the dash

Taking Video of the dash
Car monopod
When shooting the MIMA video, I needed a way to hold the camcorder so it would shoot the dash display,with no hands, as I needed both to drive the car.
I cut an oak board in a triangular shape with two soft rubber feet for the driver door side,and a square shape that fit into the steel square tube on the other. A locking screw was made by welding a nut over a clearance hole on the end of the square tube. It works just like a tripod leg. The telescoping arm is put between the two front doors and forced open so it presses against each, then lock it.
A tripod head was attached so the camera can look at the dash while driving.
The MIMA videos were shot using this technique.

Real time external MPG display

Real time external MPG display
Rear Real Time MPG display
Back in 2002, I decided that I wanted to let the other drivers on the road know what I was getting for MPG.
I mounted a tiny color video camera on a bent piece of solid # 14 wire, which I stuck into the slot between the dash bezel and the steering column bezel. The camera was carefully focused so that only the bargraph and MPG displays were in the field of view. I made a waterproof rear LCD video display and fed the video signal to the monitor.
It was a bit too dark for full sunlight viewing, but was quite readable under most other conditions.
I hated it. I felt compelled to drive in my most efficient way, since everyone was watching, and finally took it out for that reason. Now if I were a hard core hypermiler that always got super numbers, it would have been another story.This was before MIMA, so maybe I need to dig it back out?

Insight Battery pack turbo cooler

Insight Battery pack turbo cooler
Insight Battery Turbo Cooler
As any owner will tell you, when you are pumping charge in and out of the pack with MIMA, it can get hot, especially in summer. The battery is cooled with a two speed fan that draws air into the battery pack from behind the passenger seat inlet vent.MIMA will force the two fans on at full speed when the temperature of the battery gets over 95F.
I made a Turbo Cooler for my pack by ducting the passenger foot AC outlet to the battery pack input duct. I set the fan on high, and the duct to foot only. The driver side vent is ducttaped over, so that all the air comes out of the passenger side.
The increased air flow helps a lot, with mild MIMA use, but if you are really pushing the hybrid ratio to the electric side, the pack can still get into the 100 F range. Because of the large thermal mass of the heavy batteries, it takes a lot to cool them even a few degrees. To Turbo Cool the pack, I wait till I am going down hill, so the power is nearly free, and turn on the AC to full, set to 60 F. A long hill and you can cool the pack several degrees.