Charging anomaly

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by jdonalds, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    I agree. For all we know there can be a software issue on one end or the other.
  2. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    Pretty much the only way the Juicebox could be causing this is if there is no problem at all and the sensors measuring the kW charging are flaking out near the end of the charging cycle (should be showing a smooth curve and it's showing this ragged stuff). If the measurements are correct, then if there was a voltage quality problem inside the juicebox causing it, it would have heated up enough to burn something up by now, so I think that is ruled out. Also it would get worse with time and should be there throughout the charging cycle, not just at the end. If it was voltage quality at the panel, then lights would be blinking enough to let you know there is a big problem somewhere. Again, there is no software in the juicebox controlling the amount of power going into the Clarity during charging. All the juicebox can do once charging starts is provide 240V to the Clarity and let it pull what it wants, (unless it blows a fuse or trips a breaker due to the Clarity trying to pull in more than maximum allowed by the frequency of the square wave info signal on the J1772). Of course as far as what is "possible", I guess that is somewhat left to the observer. We could all just be in comas somewhere viewing alternate reality stuff (like the Matrix) and none of this is really "real" anyway so anything is really possible. But if all the physics and "reality" we have been trained to believe in is really "real", then it is highly unlikely the juicebox is the source of this anomaly...
  3. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    There is software and firmware that controls the screen, the graphing, the readings from the sensors, the car’s charge rate, and so on but that is not the point. We do not know what is the issue is. BTW the EVSE is more than just a cord. There are electronics in it. The issue can be anywhere or perhaps the jagged graph has nothing to do with a reduction in jdonalds range and is perfectly normal. We really need more testing.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  4. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    You are right that it is more than just a cord. It is a handful of components, but it does not control the car's charge rate during charging (only tells the car the maximum amount of current it can pull). As to the graphing, etc, yes it does do that, but I don't believe that the graphs looking like they do is a result of sensors or software problems. I believe it would be a very odd problem to display the graph correctly for the first half of the charging cycle then do this jagged stuff for the end of the cycle. If you want to argue that the probability that the JuiceBox is the issue is non-zero, I'm willing to accept that, but I also would argue that it is essentially zero. To me, the probability that the problem is with the Clarity is essentially 100%. If you are wanting to argue, just to argue, then so be it. As to whether the jagged charging graph is actually causing the reduction in range, I haven't made that leap. I only say that the jagged charging graph is very highly likely to be due to the Clarity.
  5. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    I am not arguing. I am just saying (keep saying) we really do not know what the issue is yet.
    In fact I agree to some extent because it is strange the consistency of the issue of the graph. If it a result of a failing part or an overheating part in the car or the cord I do not believe it would be so consistent from one charge to the next. That to me that does not scream a failing component in the EVSE or the car.
  6. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Results from Honda were exactly what my major concern was. They said there is no problem.
    I had them give me the Battery Capacity number at the last minute before I took the car back after 3 days. It read 49.6. At 320V that would be 15.8KW I believe. Does anybody know if that is within spec?

    I'm not happy.

    Text of Honda service department
    RO 6383665 ON 05/09/2019 TECH PERFORMED SOFTWARE
    Caused by

    Our ambient temperature over the last couple of days has been in the mid 60's.

    I have two plans in mind.
    1) Contact Honda Customer Service to see if they can do anything about this.

    2) Trade in our Clarity and buy a new one. We like the car. If I can get one for $5K under invoice, and get about $22K for my trade in I'll break even with Federal and State incentives.

    Honda High-Voltage Battery Limited Warranty:
    Gradual capacity loss of the high-voltage battery is expected and not covered under warranty. Greater-than-normal degradation is covered for 8 years or 100,000 miles, and can be determined by an authorized Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid dealer.

    If I use 47 miles as the baseline then if 39.9 is within spec it is a 16% drop in 18 months. We Clarity owners should all be concerned if this is normal behavior.

    By the way our Clarity didn't sit on a lot for months. We literally bought it off the truck on Dec 5, 2017.
    Any other suggestions?
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  7. MrFixit

    MrFixit Active Member

    Nominal battery capacity is 55 Amp-Hours (17.6 kWh at 320V).
    Warranty for battery is 8 years with capacity above 36.6 Amp-hours (2/3 of original capacity).

    With your measured value of 49.6 Amp-Hours, your capacity seems to be at 90% of original capacity. If you lost 10% every year like this, it would fall out of the warranty limit well before the 8 years.
  8. DucRider

    DucRider Well-Known Member

    Battery is 311V with original capacity of 54.6 Ah. You are at 91% of original capacity with a calculated 15.4 kWh vs the original 17 kWh.

    What we don't know is how the BMS handles the buffer. It appears the original usable capacity is ~ 13.1 kWh. If the buffer is a straight %, your range would be 90% of the original 47 or 42.7 miles. If, however, it keeps a set kWh buffer (4 kWh), you are down to 88% of original "usable capacity" and have a range of 41.4 miles. The reported 39.9 is slightly below, but not out of line with either of those.

    As MrFixit stated, the warranty is for 36.6 Ah.

    If you do trade in on a new Clarity, remember that the CA rebate must be repaid at a prorated rate if you have the car >30 months (you can apply for an exception to have the rebate "transferred" to the new Clarity, but you would not be able to apply for another in this case). You'll have a little math to do to see what the actual numbers would be.
    see pg 23

    Sending you a PM as well
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  9. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    I would appreciate anyone who has 29K or more miles on their Clartity indicating their ambient temperature and EV Range.
  10. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    Having calmed down a bit after receiving the results from the Honda dealer I realize I have several options at this point.

    1) A board member warned me that, in California, if I trade the Clarity in to buy a Clarity replacement before owning it for at least 30 months I will have to pay the state rebate back, or try to negotiate moving the remaining rebate to the new Clarity. So this may be an option, although this plan is now set back and can't be my top option.

    2) Work with Honda to see if I can get them to make a repair. I'm convinced that there's something wrong with the car. As the ambient temperature increased heading toward summer the EV Range began to climb, twice even hitting 48 miles. Then suddenly on April 18th it dropped to 38-43 and the JuiceBox began reporting those saw-toothed charge graphs.

    3) Just drive the car and see if the range and battery capacity continue to drop. I may be able to return to Honda in a few months or a year reporting an out-of-spec situation. We've had a few cool days and the range isn't going over 40.

    I wish I could use my ODBII device to get the battery capacity number. Does anyone know how to do that?

    4) Keep the car until the 30 months are up then trade it in. This may or may not be economical depending on values at that time. This will push me out to June 2020. I may be able to live with that. I'd have to pay attention to the continuing availability of the Federal Tax Credit to make sure it doesn't run out.

    Still deciding...
  11. MrFixit

    MrFixit Active Member

    Another thought for discussion.

    A replacement battery lists at a price of around $4K. Is that wholesale, retail, or even a real price? Who knows... Of course, this is also just the part. Who knows how much the labor would be. But - you will lose some money with each of your identified options (unless the thing happens to continue to degrade below the warranty spec limit). With whatever bargaining power the dealer may have, and in the interest of customer satisfaction [and recognizing that this vehicle is cutting edge and learning from this could feed into product improvement] - what is the best deal that the dealer could give you to replace the battery on your nickel outside of the warranty?

    Here is what strikes me with this - I read somewhere that the 17 kW battery "consists of 168 cells that are organized into 14 modules". Why in the world did they not make the battery replaceable at the module-level? It would be in everyone's best interest (us customers, Honda, insurance companies) if it were possible to replace just the defective portion(s) of a battery. The BMS is also likely to have this same modularity, and the system can undoubtedly already identify which module(s) is defective. If the whole thing is $4K, then a "module" should be 'only' $285 [if there are indeed 14 of them]. Quite a reasonable cost to potentially repair @jdonald's problem.
  12. Danks

    Danks Active Member

    Any chance of trying to charge a different Clarity on your Juicebox and see if it comes out different? Or charging yours on a different Juicebox where you can see the graph it makes?
    insightman likes this.
  13. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    I've seen a couple of Claritiy cars in the city. At this point I'm convinced the JuiceBox isn't the problem. I charged the car on 110V and, while it didn't generate a graph, it didn't charge any better than the JuiceBox. Also now the Honda dealer has charged at their site and only achieved 39.9 EV Range.
  14. Walt R

    Walt R Active Member

    This is an issue that those who have researched solar may be familiar with - when a panel is warrantied to not drop below X% in Y years, is that a flat limit (i.e. X% in year 1 still meets spec) or a prorated curve (linear from 100% to X% over time)? Cheaper panels are often the first case, whereas some higher quality panel manufacturers have chosen to make a prorated warranty one of their selling points (and indicator of quality, that they stand behind their products better).

    So, which approach will Honda take? Given that warranties are not a major competitive item for automobiles, I would guess that officially it is a flat limit. However, I see two arguments you could make to get them to replace it now:
    1 - with this trend line it will clearly fall below spec, so they should replace it now for the customer satisfaction karma (i.e. avoid social media problems)
    2 - if your battery is degrading they should take it back to R&D to tear it down and learn from it. Given that another forum member was contacted randomly (?) to have their battery taken to R&D, maybe you can ask for contacts to reach out to those managing that program directly.

    Your third option, of course, is to keep driving the car. If your trips tend to be less than 30-35 miles roundtrip then perhaps it wouldn't affect your use that much. And it gives it time to fall the rest of the way out of spec.
    The Gadgeteer likes this.
  15. Danks

    Danks Active Member

    I don't disagree with you. You are measuring the situation one way with a certain set of evidence. The dealer/Honda is measuring the situation a different way using a different set of evidence. I'm just suggesting that some additional evidence. A different car doing the same thing on your Juicebox points to the Juicebox. If it doesn't do it, then it points to your car. If a different charger gives the same graph with your car, but not others, that points to your car. I think the dealer will have a more difficult time dismissing that evidence. At the very least, such tests will tell you something.

    Any chance they would let you take a Clarity home to test on your charger so you can test the charger vs the car?
    The Gadgeteer likes this.
  16. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    @jdonalds, I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy who has been a long time poster on the forum.

    Everyone above is making some very good and logical points about troubleshooting and how we would want the dealer to handle this in a perfect world. Unfortunately, as @jdonalds has found out, real life is often unrewarding. IMHO, the dealer is not going to incur any meaningful expense other than what Honda will reimburse them for. And the Honda warranty is very simple. It states the battery is warranted for 8 yr/100,000 miles (10/120,000 in Cali) to have a capacity of at least 36.6 Amp hours (~2/3s of starting 55 Amp hours) as measured by the dealer’s i-HDS. As long as its above 36.6, you will have a long and (most likely fruitless) uphill struggle to get Honda to do more than what’s in the warranty, especially since we’re talking about $5 to $10,000. I can guarantee that the dealer not going to eat that cost.

    I don’t know what I’d do in your situation other than be highly frustrated as I’m sure you are. Maybe let the battery drain every trip and accept some inefficient ICE propulsion in an effort to make the battery fail under warranty by increasing the charge cycle depth and frequency? Take a hit and see how much it would cost to trade in? That will probably be expensive though. Keep running it up the flagpole to Honda corporate? Keep it if the range doesn’t decrease any more? No really great choices. All you can do is pick the least painful.
    We’re all pulling for you.
    Walt R likes this.
  17. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    In the winter we've been getting close to running out of battery charge already. 30 mile trips are almost a daily occurrence here. When the cold winter days have dropped range below 35 we come close. With this range degradation I expect next winter we will have to rely on the ICE for a small portion of the trip. This is a double whammy as we charge with solar when possible. Winter days often don't produce enough to run the house and charge the car. So with the range deteriorating we not only may have to use some gas but we will also use additional grid power.

    I have no problem with some battery degradation on the order of 3-5% over these 18 months. The problem is we've lost somewhere in the 8-10% range, and it dropped suddenly rather than a slow decrease.
  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Because all the cells in a li-ion battery pack have to be carefully balanced, so none of them will achieve a higher (or lower) voltage than any other when charging or discharging.

    Putting new cells into a used pack causes the entire pack to be out of balance, which prematurely ages the pack and may well render some of the capacity unusable.

    Successfully replacing one or more dead or malfunctioning cells in a li-ion pack requires the replacement(s) to be carefully and perfectly matched to the existing cells. This procedure is not for the faint of heart, and it's not for the casual do-it-yourselfer. I've seen reports from people who claim that they have done it successfully, but who knows if such replacements will last over years?

    If you want to see how hard it is to replace cells in a li-ion pack successfully, just skim thru the detailed list of instructions here.

    It doesn't. They aren't made that way. Since it requires a wired connection to each string of battery cells, you can't just plug in a new module to a BMS.

    Rivian is talking about removable battery modules, but my guess is that each added module will have to have its own independently functioning BMS, just as each has to have water-tight connections for the cooling system. That is, such added "modules" will actually be separate battery packs, but sharing the same cooling system. At least, that's my understanding.

    insightman likes this.
  19. Walt R

    Walt R Active Member

    Sorry for not re-reading the full thread, but are you actually using the same energy to get your reduced range? If the battery capacity is reduced, you may be using the same energy/mi but stopping charging sooner. I know that's not the point of the thread, but I'm trying to keep you from thinking you're being penalized twice, if that's not the case. Your original post showed a lot of partial charges, so I don't know if you are correlating miles to kWh for charging.

    I'm not a battery expert, so maybe this problem does consume more energy. But on basic principles, I wouldn't think that holding the voltage high and the battery not accepting it (thus no current) would create heat. But maybe there are inter-cell effects I am not familiar with.
  20. MrFixit

    MrFixit Active Member

    I can understand how cell-level replacement could be totally impractical, and was not trying to advocate that.

    It would not seem unreasonable to architect a modular system where each 'module' has a self-contained BMS. Although a critical (albeit non-trivial) function, it would seem that a BMS is a rather 'simple' piece of microelectronics when compared to everyday things like cell phones and microcomputers. In the Clarity, if there are 168 cells contained in 14 modules, then each module would have 12 cells. If they are in series, that would be ~43V. Placing 7 modules in series gives the ~300V. These modules must already have cooling interfaces.

    This is just back-seat engineering, but the designers chose a modular approach anyway (I'm sure for a lot of good reasons). There are some great benefits to making the modules slightly more complicated so you can replace a $300 item rather than a $4,000 item.

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