Onboard Charger needs replacement - 2018 Honda Clarity Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-07-2020, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Onboard Charger needs replacement

I just paid $150.00 for diagnostic test to see why my car will not charge with 120Volt level 1 or 220Volt Level 2

I was told my onboard charger needs to be replaced at a cost of $6000.00 for the part plus $1000.00 installation. Two month wait to get the part and must pay for it now or they won't order it.

My car has 254,000 km on it 155,000 miles. I'm out warranty even though I bought an extended warranty

that expired at 200,000 km. My Clarity is less than three years old. Any advice or ideas are appreciated.

Last edited by bigmikebiker; 12-07-2020 at 10:32 PM. Reason: left out one point
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 06:24 AM
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Replacing the entire unit would be a rip-off. It’s very likely that there’s a failed component in there that costs less than 5 bucks to replace. In my opinion, this is probably not something you want to rely on a dealer to fix. They want to simply replace the whole thing. You need to find someone who is willing to take the unit apart and troubleshoot/repair it at the component level. The other option would be to look for a used/reconditioned unit. Unfortunately I do not know of anyone who does that type of repair but you’ve got to believe there is someone out there who can do it.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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I absolutely agree that it's a rip off. Even if i did pay to replace it, the new part is only guaranteed for 1 year or 20,000 km or 12,200 miles.

I could never recoup that money in fuel savings. Fixing what is wrong with it makes sense however trying to find someone who knows how, seems unlikely.

Thankfully I don't have to fix it. I'm going to contact Honda and complain, for what it's worth. With this I want to warn people what might happen. If I had known this I might have passed on buying this model. That said, up until this point I felt it was the best car I had ever bought.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmikebiker View Post
onboard charger needs to be replaced at a cost of $6000.00 for the part plus $1000.00 installation.
I am guessing that is CAD? If so that would be $4,700 and $780 USD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmikebiker View Post
Thankfully I don't have to fix it.
I assume you mean that you plan to just continue operating the car as a hybrid and not plug it in. There are people who do that, some people simply don't have a place to plug in, and others live where electricity is more expensive than gas. In those cases they use HV Charge to keep the battery charged, even though it will only charge it just over half way they can at least have the benefits of having some EV miles.

However if it can't be plugged in then the car is pretty much unsellable, although I can understand that investing $7,000 CAD in a car with 200,000 km on it is not much of an alternative either. I agree it is unlikely that you will find someone who can repair the charger, however if you can find a mechanic who can source the part from a salvage yard and also hopefully have lower labor cost. Although with the $1,000 quote from the dealer I am guessing the charger is buried somewhere that requires removing other parts to get to it, maybe even removing the HV battery.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Yes I am talking about Canadian dollars. I'm not sure if HV charge mode would work or not. Yes I would just operate it as a hybrid vehicle and forget about plugging it in. You're right the car is unsellable however if I can keep driving it until the wheels fall off, I'm OK with that. What I just did was I called Honda and asked for mediation. I'm going to send them the diagnostic report and the cost estimate and see if there is any willingness on their part to negotiate. My thought is they should give me the part and charge me to have it installed. I would spend $1000.00 CAD to fix it. Then they could take my defective part and use it to research what caused it to fail and use that as a way to improve future chargers. I am probably dreaming that they will do this, but dreaming is free!
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 11:23 AM
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Another thing to think about. I don’t know for sure but I would assume that the charging unit which receives external power from the J1772 receptacle on the car may be the same unit that also derives power from one of the motor/generators to charge the HV battery. Since the car is still operating correctly in that regard, one would assume that the problem with the “onboard charger” is fairly minor. In fact, for all you know, it could just be a faulty wire/connection between the onboard charger and the J1772 receptacle.

If I were you, I’d take it to another dealer and get a 2nd opinion and I’d also search for an ‘expert’ who might be able to give you a little insight. There must be someone who understands the inner workings of this thing that isn’t as greedy as your typical dealership.

Just a side story to demonstrate how greedy some dealers are: I have a friend who owns a Chevy Equinox. She is single and doesn’t speak English well. She took the car to the dealer for an oil change and they sent her home with a checklist of things that ‘urgently’ needed attention. The principal among these was the need to replace brake pads *and* rotors on all four wheels for which they wanted $600.

I looked at the brakes and determined that the pads were in need of replacement within the next six months (not quite worn down enough to cause the wear indicators to start squealing) and the rotors were in excellent shape with no need to replace. I bought pads for all four wheels for $50 and charged her a modest fee for my labor to replace them. Saved her $500.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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It says they checked the wire continuity. It passed those checks. according to Honda trouble shooting the next step is to replace the battery charger.

Second opinions cost $150.00 each.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 02:26 PM
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Here’s something that might yield some leads: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electr...ight_to_repair

There is a growing movement among consumers to demystify the internal workings of electronic devices and to require that companies supply information that would allow an individual to repair them. It might be worth requesting full documentation from Honda using this premise. If documentation including schematics, parts lists, and theory of operation were available for the onboard charger I think you’d find a number of folks who might be willing to repair them at competitive rates.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. It's worth a try.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-08-2020, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmikebiker View Post
I'm not sure if HV charge mode would work or not.
If the car continues to operate normally in HV mode then HV Charge will work, as it's just a software routine that changes the HV priorities for maintaining battery charge. Normal HV uses the gas engine to charge the battery, but only up to the "set point" which is the SOC level that it was at when it switched to HV. Or in other words the approximate number of EV miles remaining when it switched to HV. Once you get down to 0 EV miles however it stays there and will not charge back up above 0 miles, unless you are going down a steep hill that generates a lot of regen.

The only difference with HV Charge is that it uses a fixed set point of 58% SOC regardless of what the SOC was when you activated HV Charge. So if for example you are down to 0 EV miles and you switch on HV Charge it will charge to 58%. People who use HV Charge say that the effect on mpg is not that noticeable compared to regular HV. It changes the engine sounds somewhat, as you would expect the engine will run more often and at higher revs than regular HV, but it's not that bad.
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