What is a Grid Charger?
A Grid Charger is a small electronics device that, when connected to the Hybrid Battery Pack, charges your Hybrid Battery Packs at a very low current ( ~ 350 mA). Its name signifies the fact that you are using the “Grid” i.e. AC power for charging instead of the internal charging system of the Hybrid Cars.
Why do I need a Grid Charger?
You need a grid Charger to charge and re-balance the Hybrid Battery Packs. This will get rid of the error codes and turn off the CEL (Check Engine Light) and the IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) light. When the IMA light is on, the Hybrid Battery does not perform its supporting role, thus the MPG will go down and the IC engine will work under extra load. Plus, in many cases the DC_DC converter does not charge the 12V battery in the cars, which can lead to a lot of dangerous consequences.
A lot of consumers are unaware of the dangers of driving a car while the 12 V battery is not being charged. We recommend to our customers to either charge your 12 V battery every day or get your systems checked and repaired. The car systems can shut off unexpectedly in the middle of a road or traffic.
You have a choice to either get a new battery pack from the dealer, who will charge you between $3,500 to $4,000 (plus around $600 for labor), or you can have your pack re-conditioned locally through some private company/individuals if you are lucky.
This Grid Charger will help you avoid all the HASSLES. If you use this charger on the weekends and whenever you intend to park your car for an extended period of time, the charger will provide a constant low current of 300-350mA which will not only maintain the charge of all the cells but the weak cells will get charged to their full capacity and thus balance out the whole pack. Over a period of time, by using this charger, the battery pack will regain its capacity and will last longer, giving improved performance and better fuel economy.
Why do we need to charge the Hybrid Battery?
We need to charge the Hybrid Battery because over time, with constant use, the cells/ Modules in the Hybrid battery become weak and un-balanced. When I say un-balanced, it means that each cell and consequently each Module/Stick has a different level of voltage and capacity. The internal resistance of the cells also becomes different over a period of time say about 7-8 years.
The Battery Management Systems (BMS) of Hybrid Cars are designed so that these systems measure the voltage of each Module/Stick, and compare these to each other. If these readings are different and beyond the specified range, then an error code is generated by the BMS: e.g. P 1447 / P1449 for Honda Insight and P 1600 for HCH. These cells/modules also develop what is known as the “Memory Effect”.
How does the Grid Charger help?
The Grid Chargers, when connected to the Hybrid Packs, charges these cells to their full capacity at a very low rate of current, thus getting rid of the “Memory Effect”. It also re-balances the Modules/ Stick as these will have the same voltage after the use of the Grid Charger. As a result most of the error codes are likely to disappear.
As these Chargers have a very low rate of current, these do not cause any harm to the battery packs. The amount of heat generated is so minimal, that there is no need for running the battery fans.
What if I have some dead Sticks/ Modules in the Pack?
The grid Charger WILL NOT revive any dead Sticks/ Modules as it is not a magic wand. Those need to be physically replaced by opening up the Hybrid Packs. After replacement, if you use the Grid charger, it will charge up the whole pack and re-balance it. So it is still very useful to have a Grid charger handy even if you are re-conditioning your Hybrid packs.
A number of merchants in the re-conditioning business are using our chargers as they can charge the whole pack at the same time, thus cutting down on the total time taken for the job. However it is worth mentioning that in 90% of the cases of error codes, there are no dead cells/sticks, especially for Honda Hybrid cars. Thus using a Grid Charger is still very cost effective and possibly life-saving.
Will my IMA light and Check Engine light go off?
Yes, with the use of this charger, your Hybrid Battery will regain its capacity and charge. Moreover this charger will help you re-balance your whole pack, thus your IMA light and CEL(Check Engine Light) will go off. However I must warn you that if there are any dead cells, or cells which are beyond normal wear and tear, those cells will need to be replaced before the charger will be effective. It is a electronics device; not a Magic Wand.
Does the Charger need special wiring and connections?
The charger will need to be connected to the Hybrid Battery Pack through a special Wire Harness. We will provide the Wire Harness and Instruction with pictures after you purchase the charger. Alternatively if you live in Los Angeles , I can do the connections for you for a fee.
Can I make the connections or do I need a qualified electrician?
The wire harness and the instructions are very clear and comprehensive for anybody to follow and make the connections. I have further simplified the procedures for Honda Insight so that now you do not need to remove the pack, but you can make the connections in situ.
We are not liable for any mistakes you make by yourself. If you are not confident, you may either contact us for further clarifications or use a mechanic to have the wire harness installed for a small fee.
Will this charger make the battery fan run while charging?
While I am not in favor of running the fan as the charger supplies only 350 mA of current and as such does not generate significant amount of heat but due to customers demand, I have now included the instructions and power source to run the fan while charging the Hybrid Battery for Honda insight.
Can I use this charger when Grid power is not available?
Yes, it is possible to use this charger with a 12/24 V Battery power. You will need an inverter. I suggest using a 800 W inverter, although 400W may work too, as the load factor for the charger is very low.
I live in Europe. Can I use this Charger here as the power Supply is 220 V.
Yes, this charger can be used any where in the world without any modifications as it works on AC input of 65-265 V.
Input AC 65-265V 50/60 MHZ
Output DC 170 – 350 V (5% Tolerance) Depending upon the model.
Charging Current 300-350mA
Over Current protection, reverse Voltage protection.
TC 75C TA 50C(Max)
WARNING: This is a very High Voltage gadget and needs careful handling. I will provide instructions on safety and safe handling. I have built this charger keeping safety in mind. Due to the fact that not everyone is a qualified electrician, I have built in safety features like color coded wiring, solid plastic body and no exposed wires. The power plugs are special in that they fit only one way.
USE THE CHARGER ONLY WHILE THE IGNITION SWITCH IS OFF.Do not touch any wires for at least 10 minutes after switching the power source off to the Charger.
CAUTION: Please make sure that you make the right connections as this a DC gadget and reverse connections can damage the Charger. I have now incorporated a fuse as a special safety measure but still caution is warranted.
WE ARE NOT LIABLE FOR MISTAKES YOU MAKE OR DAMAGES YOU INCUR BY YOURSELF.