Date of Award

6-2015

Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Dr. David B. Braun

Abstract

This report demonstrates improvements made in battery charging and battery management technology through the design of a universal programmable battery charger with optional battery management system attachment. This charger offers improvements in charge efficiency and unique battery charging algorithms to charge a variety of battery chemistries with variety of power requirements. Improvements in efficiency result from a synchronous Buck Controller topology as compared to previous universal chargers that use asynchronous Buck-Boost Converter topologies. This battery charger also surpasses current universal battery chargers by offering different charge modes for different battery chemistries. Charge modes provide the user an option between extending the life of the battery by selecting a mode with a slower, less stressful charge rate or a shorter charge time with a fast, more stressful charging mode. The user can also choose a charge mode in which the battery charges to full capacity, resulting in maximum runtime or a less than full capacity, which puts less stress on the battery thus extending the lifetime. Ultimately, this system permits weighing the performance tradeoff of battery lifetime and charge time. The optional battery management system attachment offers more precise monitoring of each cell and cell balancing for Li-Ion batteries. This further enhances the performance of the charger when integrated, but is not necessary for charger operation.

The battery charger consists of three subcircuits: A microcontroller unit, a power stage, and a current sensing circuit. A C2000 Piccolo F28069 microcontroller controls a LM5117 Buck Controller by injecting a pulse-width modulated signal into the feedback node controlling the output of the buck to set a constant current or constant voltage thus creating a programmable battery charger. The pulse-width modulated signal changes according to charge algorithms created in software for specific battery chemistries and charge requirements. An analog-to-digital converter on the microcontroller monitors battery voltage by using a voltage divider and an INA169 current shunt monitor, which outputs a voltage corresponding to the charge current to another analog-to-digital converter on the microcontroller, monitors the charge current. This allows the charger program to maintain correct and safe charging conditions for each charge mode in addition to measuring output power. Lights on the microcontroller display a real-time status to the user of which portion of the charge profile the charger is in. A solid red light means the charger is in the constant current portion of the charge profile. A blinking red light means the charger is in the constant voltage portion. No red light means the battery charger finished and the battery is currently charged above nominal voltage. The battery charger works with the battery management system in the next section to provide ultimate battery charging and managing capabilities.

The battery management system consists of two subcircuits: A microcontroller and a battery monitoring circuit. The MSP430FR5969 microcontroller unit communicates with BQ76PL536 battery management integrated circuits to create a battery management system that monitors data such as cell voltage, pack voltage, pack temperature, state of charge, fault statuses, alert statuses, and a variety of other useful cell parameters. This data displays on a liquid crystal display screen through different menu options. The user scrolls through the menus using a capacitive touch slider on the microcontroller unit and selects a given option using the option select button. A cell balance mode allows the user to check the balance of the cells and allows cell balancing if the cells differ by more than a set threshold.

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