Optimizing charge cycles and battery life

Bits & Pieces has been on a roll this week with an automotive theme in honor of the latest additions to Atmel’s touch family: the mXT336S and mXT224S. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how Atmel optimizes automotive charge cycles and battery life with its MCUs.

As automotive enthusiasts know, Li-ion technology is currently the first choice for modern high-performance batteries. To be sure, Li-ion batteries are up to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than conventional NiMH batteries – yet manage to store significantly more energy.

However, while the batteries do offer concrete advantages in terms of size, weight, recharge speed and resistance to memory effects, Li-ion has a higher cost compared to other battery types. Of course, this can definitely be improved by using a battery management system like Atmel’s which optimizes battery performance.

“Our Li-ion battery management solution offers high accuracy analog measurement functions in combination with efficient active cell balancing ensuring optimum usage of battery capacity,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “Specifically, the megaAVR, ATmega32HVE2 and ATmega64HVE2 microcontrollers (MCUs) can be used to improve the performance and longevity of 12V standard lead-acid batteries.”

As the engineering rep notes, the above-mentioned MCUs are designed for intelligent battery sensor applications – with the devices determining the state of charge and state of health for 12V standard lead-acid batteries by measuring the battery voltage, current and temperature.

“For cars with idle-stop-go function, this feature is mandatory to retain sufficient battery energy for a guaranteed engine start,” the engineering rep added. “Combined with the Atmel ATA6870 Li-ion battery monitor IC, it forms an ideal system solution for replacing 12V standard lead-acid batteries with Li-ion batteries.”

Additional key features of an Atmel-powered battery management system and components include:

  • Active balancing – The industry’s first to feature active cell balancing for high cell count Li-ion batteries to prevent energy loss.
  • Maximum safety – Highest accuracy due to simultaneous cell voltage measurement of the cells in the entire battery stack leading to precise state-of-charge and state-of health calculations.
  • Smart sensing – Allows engineers to measure the battery voltage, current and temperature with up to 18-bit accuracy.
  • Valuable development tools – PC-controlled development kits help devs easily build a battery management system and get the most of the battery management devices.

Interested in learning more? Detailed information about using Atmel’s powered system can be found here.

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