Fast charging also causes increased Joule heating of the cell because of the highercurrents involved and the higher temperature in turn causes an increase in the rate of thechemical conversion processes.The section onDischarge Ratesshows how the effective cell capacity is affected by thedischarge rates.The section onCell Constructiondescribes how the cell designs can be optimised for fastcharging.
This refers to the properties of the battery itself and does not depend on the charger. It isthe ratio (expressed as a percentage) between the energy removed from a battery duringdischarge compared with the energy used during charging to restore the original capacity.Also called the Coulombic Efficiency or Charge Acceptance.Charge acceptance and charge time are considerably influenced by temperature as notedabove. Lower temperature increases charge time and reduces charge acceptance.
that at low temperatures the battery will not necessarily receive a full charge eventhough the terminal voltage may indicate full charge. SeeFactors Influencing State ofCharge.
Basic Charging Methods
A constant voltage charger is basically a DC power supply whichin its simplest form may consist of a step down transformer from the mains with arectifier to provide the DC voltage to charge the battery. Such simple designs areoften found in cheap car battery chargers. The lead-acid cells used for cars andbackup power systems typically use constant voltage chargers. In addition, lithium-ioncells often use constant voltage systems, although these usually are more complexwith added circuitry to protect both the batteries and the user safety.
Constant current chargers vary the voltage they apply to thebattery to maintain a constant current flow, switching off when the voltage reaches thelevel of a full charge. This design is usually used for nickel-cadmium and nickel-metalhydride cells or batteries.
This is charging from a crude unregulated constant voltage source. Itis not a controlled charge as in V Taper above. The current diminishes as the cellvoltage (back emf) builds up. There is a serious danger of damaging the cells throughovercharging. To avoid this the charging rate and duration should be limited. Suitablefor SLA batteries only.
Pulsed chargers feed the charge current to the battery in pulses. Thecharging rate (based on the average current) can be precisely controlled by varyingthe width of the pulses, typically about one second. During the charging process,short rest periods of 20 to 30 milliseconds, between pulses allow the chemical actionsin the battery to stabilise by equalising the reaction throughout the bulk of the
Page 3of 12Battery Chargers and Charging Methods6/11/2008http://www.mpoweruk.com/chargers.htm