New England Hybrid festival 2014

New England Hybrid festival 2014
another good year
Another festival has come and gone,
Not as many photos as last year but I think that we all had a nice time.
Special thanks to Paul, for the use of his garage.
We have a new MPG champ this year, Jim Epting after running some practice loops did the route with 134.4 MPG, Mountain Driver got 110.

Read More

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.

Insight Oil Pan second chance

Insight Oil Pan second chance
Oil Pan second chance
Thanks to Jim Alger at Find My Insight who sent me a stripped out oil pan, I believe I have a better solution to the expensive replacement that many people have faced.
This may have actually been part of the design, as I cannot see any other reason they would have put that strange O-ring retainer in the stack of washers.
I carefully looked at the pan, and saw that there were at least 4 complete threads in the rear of the stripped out magnesium hole. I quickly realized that if the crush washer, and O-ring plate were gone, and I cleaned the remains of the old threads out of the hex bolt, that it threaded in fully, and actually came out the other side with the full 4 threads to hold on to.
I got out the trusty gasket punch set, and made a nice 1/8" thick rubberized cork washer.
I screwed the bolt back in, and found that from first resistance(initial crush), to where I felt I was going to squeeze out the cork (not likely)that I had nearly a 1/4 turn. This should seal easily between the hex plugs polished underside, and the nice flat surface of the oil pan. The only question that remained was could it work loose over repeated hot cold cycles.
I decided that since there was already a nice blind threaded hole and bolt left over from the O-Ring washer, that I may as well make a hex plug anti rotation retainer,
I dug up a thin aluminum sheetmetal plate, and drilled a hole that was just a smidge larger than the distance across the hex head flats of the hardened plug. This hex is 17MM, so as a backing cavity I used a 6 point socket, and pressed the hex head through the aluminum with my drill press. This cold forms the aluminum to make a nice snug fitting hex hole to fit the hex head of the plug. I cut out the aluminum and made a narrow tab, then carefully bent the tab to slightly less than the wide base of the hex plug and the cork washer so it would not bottom out when applied.
Finally I drilled a clearance hole in the tab for the retaining screw.
I tightened the plug with the retainer in position till the hole lined up, put in the screw, and believe that this oil pan will work as good as it did before stripping out, all without the need to do any machining or removal of the oilpan, and with only the addition of a single sealing washer.
Cork rubber is good in oil, and is rated for -40F to 180F. I just happened to have a piece, but a better washer material may be Aramid/Buna-N, which is rated for -40 to 700F
You can buy a pack of 5- 5/8" X 1" X .062 Aramid/Buna-N
washers from
Part # 93303A284 for $8.10

When cleaning the EGR does not fix the hesatation

When cleaning the EGR does not fix the hesatation
EGR chanels can get blocked
As any hard core Insight owner knows, the Insight will buck and hesitate under low throttle when the EGR valve either gets clogged, or develops a bad feedback potentiometer.The exhaust gas passes into the cylinder intake by passing through an aluminum casting. Each of the three channels that are fed by this channel has a steel flow control orifice in the path.
When we removed the intake manifold on the green machine, this channel was totally clogged, and we needed a screw driver to clean it out. Probably should be cleaned whenever the EGR is serviced.

Rear view Video cameras

Rear view Video cameras
Rear view Video Cameras
Even before the rear MPG display, I played with using video cameras as a way to potentially replace the drag inducing rear view mirrors. I had acquired some LCD video displays and color cameras at the MIT electronics flea market. The cameras had a rather narrow field of view, so I set up four of them looking out the lower rear hatch window. I built a joystick operated 4 camera switch so I could easily select the camera. The display worked well except for when the sun shined directly on it, so I had a removable sun shield. The cameras worked very well during the day, or under street lights, but even with the automatic appture control, did not have the low light sensitivity to see much more than headlights of approaching cars. Of course to totally replace the rear view side mirrors, I would have needed two more cameras. With the correct choice of cameras,field of view, and a bright monitor, two side cameras should easily replace the side mirrors.
Several years later,at Hybridfest, I saw Bill Kinneys Insight that was set up with exactly that system, which seemed to work very well.

Auto brake light

Auto brake light
MIMA regen auto brake light
Calpod asked that a regen based brake light activation be designed for MIMA equipped Insights, as the car can slow down pretty fast if full regen is applied.
Without the brake lights to warn the guy behind you that you are slowing down, you could get rear ended if he is not awake.
The software is already working, and the Violet MIMA aux wire will pull low when the regen is greater than 15A.
The problem was how to interface to the car. If the brake switch was shorted by a relay, that would work, but as soon as the brake light is activated, the car will try to apply full regen, as that signal feeds to the MCM.
In looking at the schematics, I chose the connector in the passenger side B column as the best place to tie in. This spot is where the drive signal for the high mounted brake light is located. With this circuit, only the high mounted brake light will activate when MIMA or the car is over 15A of regen.
Any small 12V relay with SPDT contacts should work.

Mikes Saturday Hybrid-Solar- Electric Workshop

Mikes Saturday Hybrid-Solar- Electric Workshop
With the many projects I hope to work on, some extra hands are always welcome.
Check here to see if their will be a workshop if you want to come up and lend a hand.
Present project:
Design, build, and test an IMA-EV mod to give full electric mode to the gen 1 Insight

Read More