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Discussion Starter #1
Does anybody have a bit of technical knowledge to know something about starting the car. In particular, my father has taken my car out a couple of times and has engaged the transmission without waiting for the READY light. As such, could premature shifting and/or acceleration progressively cause damage to the vehicle? I know the vehicle doesn't have a "transmission" per se, but am unsure as to exactly how the car gets "ready" in the five seconds that it normally takes from pressing the button.
 

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In what I've read, the "READY" indicator is present on hybrids as a replacement for the sound of a running engine. It's there to indicate the vehicle is on and operational even though the gas engine may be off and the engine compartment is silent.

Referencing this site (https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1108160_explaining-how-honda-accord-hybrid-system-works-video), I think the risk of "premature driving" might be on the electric motor, since it's engaged in EV or Hybrid mode at start-up. (Car can't be in Engine Drive mode when starting.)
- EV Drive = electric motor to drive the wheels
- Hybrid Drive = electric motor to drive the wheels, while the gas engine recharges the battery pack using the second motor as a generator
- Engine Drive = gas engine directly powering the front wheels; a clutch that is disengaged in the other modes locks the engine and propulsion motor together

However, the Insight's gear selector is "shift by wire" which manages the transmission mode via electronic control instead of mechanical link from the gear shifter. Per this site (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drive_by_wire), "the direction of motion of the vehicle (Forward, Reverse) is set by commanding the actuators inside the transmission through electronic commands based on the current input from the driver (Park, Reverse, Neutral or Drive)." If the electric signal didn't make it to the actuators, the direction wouldn't engage.

Net, since these are electronic signals I don't think there is any wear... AND since the car still ends up moving in the desired direction my (non-professional) assessment is that things are working as they should, by electronic activation of the right components in the right sequence. Maybe the electronic signals are sent to components even faster than the "READY" indicator can detect.
 

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Since your original post, I've been watching more closely the start-up sequence and indicators. The "READY" indicator comes on VERY quickly (almost immediately) to indicate the engine (gas or electric) is on, then the "READY TO DRIVE" image shows up a second or two later. The lag between the two is probably the time to start the engine (READY) and for the car to check all its systems (READY TO DRIVE).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Insightfully,


If you start the car and cruise only at low speed once the READY TO DRIVE light comes on, then only the battery is on. Thus, the engine would presumably not start. I wonder then, if the car is going through its checklist, if premature driving (whether in reverse or drive) somehow might interrupt the car's checklist process?
 

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Interesting thought. I assumed that the checks continue and show a message if "not ready to drive" or some other failure. Would love to get my hands on a technical manual that describes the true sequencing behind the curtain...
 

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I found the following article helpful in describing the electrical transformations in comparison to conventional start-up. It's a general article on hybrid/EV start-up, a tad dated (2015) and not Honda-specific... but the most information I've found on the electrical start-up so far! Connecting With Hybrids: Hybrid 12-Volt Battery Systems

The article mainly highlights the role of the 12-volt battery in start-up, summarized as follows:
  • The 12-volt battery enables a series of electrical checks in rapid succession that are required before the high-voltage battery is safely connected.
  • Electrical checks include reading stored codes from electrical control units (ECU's) to flag unsafe start-up conditions; high voltage leak test; pre-charge relay closure to test the main relay; final main relay closure; and final start-up connection of high-voltage battery pack.
  • Also occurring during this time are 1) charge-up of high-voltage capacitors to both protect the high-voltage battery from voltage spikes and to ready the system for extra acceleration power, and 2) connecting the DC-to-DC converter to the high-voltage system. (The DC-to-DC converter is the hybrid/EV equivalent of a conventional alternator.)
  • The "READY TO DRIVE" light comes on after the 12-volt battery has completed the electrical check steps for the single drive cycle.
  • The 12-volt battery doesn't power a conventional starter motor, so uses little energy to perform the start-up checks and needs minimal recharging depending on accessory use.
It doesn't mention what happens if the start-up sequence is interrupted (e.g. "premature driving before system is ready"), but it seems the high-voltage battery would not (ever) connect itself to power the car unless all electrical checks have been completed. There are so many other fail-safes on the car, so I want to believe the high-voltage battery connection is the most protected of all for safety/combustion reasons. If this is true, the electric engines wouldn't start until after the high-voltage battery is safely checked/connected.
 

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With all the fail-safes in the Insight, I always pushed "drive" as soon as the car started. I figured the car would not allow it if it wasn't ready. Once or tweice it wouldn't go into drive, and it took a second try, which, I think, proved my point. With that said, it only takes a few seconds for the "ready to drive" message to appear.

"Owning a hybrid is like being vegan - you need to tell everyone how awesome it is." -Anonymous (well, me, but I'd never want to fess up to it - and I'm not vegan, just an Insight owner - which is way awesomer than being vegan)
 

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Yep - when it doesn't go into drive, neither high-voltage battery (nor engine) were connected yet. The "READY" indicator comes on VERY quickly (almost immediately), then the "READY TO DRIVE" a second or two later. The lag between the two is the time to check all systems.
 

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Ready Light

My insight is pretty new, and so i'm still parsing through what I'm just noticing, or if things are actually newly appearing.

what is with the READY in all caps above the gauge? I've checked the manual, and it is supposed to appear to say the car is READY to drive.. but then why does it stay on while I'm driving?
 

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My insight is pretty new, and so i'm still parsing through what I'm just noticing, or if things are actually newly appearing.

what is with the READY in all caps above the gauge? I've checked the manual, and it is supposed to appear to say the car is READY to drive.. but then why does it stay on while I'm driving?
Good question, I think it just stays on, once all of the system checks have been completed. It may be something as silly as just another visual aid to let you know the car is on, I haven't spent enough time in Accessory mode to see if it illuminates then as well.
 

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i think its intended purpose is to indicate that the car is really on (started) and ready to drive in lieu of more familiar indications that you would find in a conventional ICE car like: engine vibration you can feel in the seat. tachometer. whatever.
 

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what is with the READY in all caps above the gauge? I've checked the manual, and it is supposed to appear to say the car is READY to drive.. but then why does it stay on while I'm driving?
The visual "READY" indicator for hybrids replaces the sound of a running engine. It's there to indicate the vehicle is on and operational even though the gas engine may be off and the engine compartment is silent. Toyota uses a similar indicator light for their hybrids.

The manual doesn't specifically say what the "READY" indicator checks/indicates, but we can semi-reverse-engineer from the attached page on what to check when the "READY" light doesn't turn on. These are the types of 'electrical checks' that occur before the "READY TO DRIVE" image appears on the DII:

- Temperature too Cold for vehicle operation
- Car isn't started and/or remote is out of operating range or weak fob battery
- Power System
- Transmission System problem
- 12V battery
- Immobilizer System still active
 

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I can understand the point of the “ready” light in a hybrid but the stupidest light I’ve ever seen was in my gas engine Fiat 500X. It had the word RUN in the top of the center gauge display, right above the speedometer. As if you couldn’t tell the engine was running.....so unnecessary and annoying to look at.
 

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I can understand the point of the “ready” light in a hybrid but the stupidest light I’ve ever seen was in my gas engine Fiat 500X. It had the word RUN in the top of the center gauge display, right above the speedometer. As if you couldn’t tell the engine was running.....so unnecessary and annoying to look at.
Coming from primarily domestics, the "cruise" light still baffles me. I get having a light when it's engaged, but a light to say it's "ready" makes no sense to me. I guess it has to do with the fact that most modern cruise control systems are engaged like a menu, vs the old school on the stalk controls. I don't mind the status lights on the Insight, because it's implemented well. But the older 2000's Honda 2 cruise light set up drove me nuts.
 
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