should examine the parametric nature of any specification critical to your applica-tion,particularly with regard to the tem-perature range you expect your productto experience in both operating andstandby modes.Battery-management components gobeyond just charge control,providing cellprotection and “fuel-gauge”functionsdepending on how sophisticated a pow-er-source interface you require.At thisend ofthe spectrum,many devices areequipped with circuitry sufficient to ac-quire,process,and communicate currentoperating conditions,performance his-tory,and pack-specific informationamong the various entities that have usefor the information.
SIMPLY CHARGE IT
The four common chemistries requiredifferent recharge algorithms and givedifferent indications when they havecompleted the charge cycle (
).Justas deep discharging most chemistries re-duces cycle life,overcharging can do thesame.Li-ion cells,particularly attractivefor their outstanding charge density,de-mand high accuracy ofcharge circuits,typically allowing a tolerance ofonly
50 mV during the constant-voltagephase ofthe recharge cycle.Most secondary cells tolerate tricklecharging for long periods.The simplestcharging strategy,therefore,uses a smalllinear regulator circuit in conjunctionwith a series pass element and a current-sense resistor (
).Versions are alsoavailable with small PWMs that use sim-ilar application circuits but reduce thepass transistor’s power dissipation.Cir-cuits such as these are available from anumber ofvendors and with a range of auxiliary features for charging single andstacked Li-ion cells or nickel-chemistry cell stacks (
).They use an adap-tive method that adjusts the charger’s be-havior according to the battery’s state of charge.A charger ofthis type starts by testingthe battery for deep discharge,which itdetermines by comparing the battery’s
Neither a no-brainer nor rocket science,choosing the best chemistry requires adeliberative comparison between batteryattributes and your design’s power-sourcedemands.
Lithium chemistries are perhaps the bestsupported by semiconductor manufactur-ers, but they’re the most demanding of bat-tery management, too.
Many battery-management componentswill work with multiple chemistries, thoughsome require trimming or scaling compo-nents.
Batteries pack an enormous amount ofenergy into a very small space—some morethan 12,000 joules per cubic inch. Batterymanagement doesn’t just extend batterylifetimes; it protects the portable productand, in some cases, your customer.