What's a Grid Charger?


How do I know if I need a Grid Charger?

Is your hybrid vehicle throwing a troublesome hybrid CEL light? Are you experiencing frequent re-calibrations or reduced fuel economy?  Replacing your hybrid's battery can cost thousands of dollars. Forget that, we are providing an affordable option to extend the life of your hybrid battery!  Our grid chargers help restore and balance the cells of your vehicle's hybrid battery resulting in prolonged use and increased fuel efficiency.  Grid charging your battery is a great maintenance service, even on good batteries.  


For those stubborn degraded batteries we also offer a discharger for exercising the pack to help restore lost capacity.  A simple two light bulb discharger is inexpensive and gets the job done.


Why does my IMA battery fail?

The IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) battery stores energy provided ideally from the regenerative braking of the vehicle.  This energy stays in the battery until it is needed, such as during acceleration.  The battery is not perfect and cannot store this energy indefinitely.  Energy leaks out over time and this is called self-discharge.  The battery consists of many cells strung together.  A battery in good condition will have the same amount of self-discharge for all cells.  This is ideal.  You don't want cells with varying speeds of self discharge.  If this happens, the cells will have varying amount of charge and the overall battery performance degrades.  This is typically when the vehicle will start throwing trouble codes.  It notices the vary amount of voltage between points in the pack; they should all be equal.


What does the Grid Charger do?

A Grid Charger is a device used to, in the basic terms, over-charge the battery.  When a NiMH cell reaches fully charged, it starts to produce heat instead of rising in voltage any higher (Still goes higher, but greatly leveled off at this charge rate).  This is a great side-effect that we can take advantage of.  If this didn't happen then you would nee to disassemble the battery pack to gain access to the individual "sticks" and manually recondition each one.  This leveling off of the cell voltage during full charge, means that any cells that are lagging behind, can catch up.  The laggards will continue to charge at full speed while the full cells slow down.  This is the basic method of balancing.


The only downside is you need to deal with the heat being produced as it can negatively affect your battery.  Luckly RBbatteries grid chargers all come with IMA cooling fan power to prevent this.


How do I install a Grid Charger?

The grid chargers are user installed.  If you are able to follow directions with a tiny bit of electrical and mechanical aptitude, you should be good to install.  Color printed instructions are included with all grid chargers.  All the little hardware bits required are also included like zip-ties and crimps.  Some simple hand tools may be required during installation.  These may include: Torx/Phillips/flat screw drivers, a small flat head screw driver, wire strippers, and scissors.


 How often should I Grid Charge?

Grid charging frequency will depend on the condition of the battery.  It can vary widely, from once every few months to every few days.  Generally, once every two to four weeks seems common.  Less MPG, less acceleration power and, of course, the dreaded IMA light, can be indications of the battery needing another pump from the grid.