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Building better lithium-ion battery management systems

John Day

John Day

Posted Jul 16, 2013

Battery systems in cars are increasingly crucial not just for hybrid and electric vehicles but also to handle the fast-growing in-vehicle electronics workload. Building battery systems can get tricky.

Testing technology specialist dSPACE observes that since automotive battery management systems (BMS) interact with several systems in a car, including its powertrain, energy management, vehicle safety, and infotainment, BMS should not be developed in isolation. The systems all have to work together and should be developed together.

So to aid developers working with high-voltage lithium-ion (li-ion) battery packs dSPACE is offering an in-vehicle Battery Cell Voltage Measurement and Balancing system intended for fast and precise measurement and control of cell voltages in li-ion batteries.

The firm says its rapid control prototyping (RCP) system simplifies the development of critical battery management algorithms. The modular system can be assembled to create configurations of up to 200 battery cells and 846V total voltage, and it provides ±3 mV measurement precision for each cell with a frequency of up to 1 kHz, regardless of the number of cells. According to dSPACE, this allows developers to study the performance characteristics of various cell chemistries in a real-world environment.

The dSPACE system features critical cell-balancing functionality to maintain individual cell charges at the same level, enhancing operational safety by preventing thermal runaway conditions and extending battery life. In “manual balancing” mode, developers can balance cells individually or collectively, and at any desired time intervals. An “automatic balancing” feature allows developers to specify target voltages and cut-off times and focus more of their attention on BMS algorithms.

The modular system is said to meet all performance and safety requirements for using high-voltage Li-ion battery packs during development. According to the company it provides extensive cell monitoring, error detection and alarm functions. Its safety features include warnings about errors in hardware, communication and synchronization, cell overheating, isolation faults, and undervoltages and overvoltages at both cell and pack levels.

Vehicle Safety, dSPACE, energy management, battery management systems, Powertrain, rapid control prototyping, Infotainment, lithium-ion (li-ion)

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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