Battery Management Systems and Their Role in Safety and Reliability

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1 Battery Management Systems and Their Role in Safety and Reliability Part 2 presented by Chris Ewert from Ewert Energy Systems, a designer of BMS systems for large format lithium batteries

2 Outline What is a BMS? Why use a BMS? What can and can't a BMS do? What is cell balancing Common battery pack failure modes Design tips

3 What is a BMS? Battery Management Systems are used to monitor and protect lithium ion battery packs. Monitors the voltage of each individual cell in series and protects the battery pack. Often interfaces with other devices.

4 Primary Functions of a BMS Over & Under Voltage Protection (Each Cell) Thermal Protection Over-current Protection State of Charge Calculation Cell Balancing Fault detection

5 Secondary Functions of a BMS Current limit calculations Digital or analog interfaces with application Cell Health Monitoring Data logging and analysis Additional calculations (range, cell resistance) Peripherals such as fan management, isolation fault monitoring, etc.

6 Why use a BMS? Lithium cells are very intolerant to over-charge or over-discharge! Each cell's voltage must be monitored continuously. Maximizes cell lifespan. Maintains balance for maximum capacity. Application must often be aware of state of charge. Advanced warning before most failures.

7 Why use a BMS? Enforce maximum charge or discharge currents at various temperatures (for example, many lithium cells cannot be charged safely below a certain temperature.)

8 What can a BMS do? From: Why Lithium Ion Batteries Fail and What You Can Do about it A Design and Manufacturing Perspective ; Vidyu Challa, DfR Solutions Webinar. You can get a copy of the presentation by ing Vidyu at

9 What can't a BMS do? Cannot protect against internal shorts or manufacturing flaws within cells. Cannot extend the lifespan or capabilities of a cell beyond how it was originally manufactured. Protect against wiring shorts or loose / bad connections. Provide proper protection when improperly designed, integrated or installed.

10 Common Battery Failure Modes Low capacity cell(s) High resistance cell(s) Cells developing high internal self discharge Cell manufacturing defects Other physical abuse (shock & vibration, thermal, impact, improper compression)

11 Cell Voltage What is a low capacity cell? Amp Hours

12 Cell Voltage Example of High Resistance Cell Time

13 What is cell balancing? Cell balancing adds or removes energy from high or low cells Balancing is performed typically at one location in the battery (high or low side) Having balanced cells maximizes the usable capacity of a battery pack up to the capacity of the weakest cell. Active balance can slightly increase usable range, but only for certain applications.

14 Cell Voltage What is an out of balance cell? Amp Hours

15 Cell Voltage Example of Out of Balance Cell Amp Hours

16 Common causes of battery failure Low quality cells Allowing over-charge Allowing over-discharge Use at elevated temperatures Charging below minimum temperature Using cell above specified max. currents (or prolonged use at max. currents)

17 Detecting Faults Monitoring cell internal resistance Monitoring cell capacity Cell temperature Isolation fault monitoring (for large packs) BMS should monitor it's own sensors for faults

18 Application Design Tips BMS Must be able to stop all charge and all discharge current if it determines that is necessary Ensure equal current is pulled from each cell. Do not tap the battery pack at different locations for different voltages. Ensure sufficient electrical isolation to prevent shorts. Always have backup shutoffs for safety.

19 Battery Pack Design Tips Select the best cell for the particular needs Prevent breaks in stack (fuses / disconnects) Busbars EMI considerations Keep all cells the same temperature Thermal management for shorts Design the battery pack with extra margins!

20 Test The Application! Always test the application. Battery pack cycling is recommended. Simulate as many characteristics as possible including temperature and C-rates. Cell datasheets sometimes overstate capabilities of cells.

21 Parallel Strings Avoid whenever possible Configuration not recommended when it can be avoided! Additional safety systems needed for this configuration

22 Standard Cell Configuration

23 Parallel Cells

24 Things to look for in a BMS Provides all basic cell protections including thermal protections Ensure the BMS can detect faults with the battery and with itself Accuracy, Speed and Reliability of BMS Doesn't drain cells while in standby Handles failures safely (study the failure modes) Will the BMS identify which cell is defective EMI considerations Compatibility with your cell voltage and amperage Features for your specific application

25 Things to look for in a BMS Provides all basic cell protections including thermal protections Ensure the BMS can detect faults with the battery and with itself Accuracy, Speed and Reliability of BMS Doesn't drain cells while in standby Handles failures safely (study the failure modes) Will the BMS identify which cell is defective EMI considerations Compatibility with your cell voltage and amperage Features for your specific application

26 Questions? Chris Ewert (Part 2) Ewert Energy Systems (630) Vidyu Challa (Part 1) (301) DfR Sales Contact: Mark Musitano (301)

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