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----------------------- Page 1----------------------APPLICATION NOTE From Nickel-Cadmium To Nickel-Hydride Fast Battery Charger J. NICOLAI, L.

WUIDART INTRODUCTION Today, many cordless and portable equipment are supplied by a rechargeable batte ry (NickelCadmium, NiCd or Nickel-Hydride, NiMH). Individual applications su ch as portable phones, camcorders, cordless power tools, portable appliances and audio equipment highlight the enormous contribution made by rechargeable batteries to our comfortable lifestyl e. NiCd battery chargers charging in one hour and even less are already widespread. Ultra fast charging of NiCd batteries in less than 15 minutes is a very attractive feature in applications where the battery is rapidly discharged, as in power tools such as cordless dril ls [1]. Nevertheless, when fast charging, the use of a non-adapted charge termination me thod may lead to a significant reduction of the battery service life. This could cause a prejudice against the appliance manufacturer's image, as when the battery service life is reduced, the user is practically led to a costly replacement of the complete battery pack. The trend is now to replace NiCd batteries by the more envir onmentally friendly NiMH batteries. Several charger applications such as notebook computers and portable phones already require NiCd /NiMH compatible battery chargers. In this case, the most common charge monitoring method used for a NiCd battery (negative delta voltage :[- V]) is no longer suited to the NiMH battery. In this application, the charge termination method is based on the detection of the inflexion point in the battery voltage curve. This inflexion point detection method is not only "NiCd-NiMH compatible", it also significantly increases the NiCd battery life-time when fas t charging. Such a performant charger can be totally managed by a low cost 8-bit microcontro ller (MCU), the SGS-THOMSON ST6210. Safe charging is achieved by the combination of three ba ck-up charge termination methods :[- V] detection, temperature monitoring and timer cut-off. An additional benefit of using such a 20 pin standard microcontroller lies in its h igh adaptability of application features.

The proposed charging power converters use the Switched Mode Power Supply techno logy (SMPS), operating from AC mains or DC voltage sources. A 3 5W/100kHz offline and a 15W/100kHz DC/DC chargers are described in this note. AN417 / 01,94 ----------------------- Page 2----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 1 CHARGE TERMINATION METHODS Basically, NiCd and NiMH batteries are charged by a constant current source (see Figure 1). Figure 1. A battery charger is made of a constant curr ent source controlled by a microcontroller which monitors the battery voltage variation with its internal analog-to-digital converter Vin cell voltage I charge battery micro controller NiCd ST62xx or NiMH As soon as the full capacity of ted by the microcontroller, the charging is stopped by turning the ples of power converters operating as current sources are given later. used in two different charging methods depending upon 2/16 ----------------------- Page 3----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 1.1 The [- V] method the battery off. has been detec exam

current

Schematic

The same converter hardware can be the appliance requirements.

When a NiCd battery reaches full charge, its voltage decreases slightly (see Fig ure 2). The

negative delta voltage method [- V] consists of stopping the charge as soon as th e voltage slope versus time becomes negative. This first charge termination technique is o ptimized to fast charge a NiCd battery to its full capacity. Figure 2. The negative delta voltage method fast charge is terminated at point A. V deg C cell voltage temperature 1.6 60 A -dV 1.5 50 1.4 battery voltage 40 1.3 30 battery temperature 1.2 20 charging time In fact, a NiCd battery charged with the [- V] method is slightly overcharged: Fi gure 2 shows that the battery temperature has substantially increased at point A when charge is terminated, which may decrease the life-time of the battery. More precisely in Figure 3, mos t of the current fed to the battery between point B and the negative voltage drop A is not direct ly converted into active battery charge, but into heat. This can be seen in the temperature c urve shown in Figure 3. The point B corresponds to the inflexion point of the battery voltage curve versus time. The [- V] method is definitely no longer suited when it comes to charging NiMH ba tteries: the NiMH charging reaction is permanently exothermic (releases heat), so the battery temperature

would become excessive in its [- V] area of the voltage curve (see Figure 3). Another characteristic of the NiMH batteries makes the [- V] method unsuitable: s ome types of NiMH batteries do not exhibit a significant voltage drop as NiCd batteries do when reaching their full capacity. 3/16 ----------------------- Page 4----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 1.2 A The inflexion point method

second charge termination method much more adapted to NiMH batteries consists of detecting the inflexion point of the voltage curve, thus avoiding any excessive overheating of the battery. This method therefore significantly increases the battery life-time . Figure 3. Fast charge terminates at point B in the inflexion point method. V deg C cell voltage temperature 1.6 60 A 1.5 B 50 1.4 battery voltage 40 1.3 30 battery temperature 1.2 20 charging time 4/16

----------------------- Page 5----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER Figure 4. NiMH versus NiCd charging characteristics: the NiMH battery temperatu re rise is larger during fast charge, and its -[ V] is less important, as its voltage slop e variation. NiCd v oltage NiMH voltage NiMH te mperature NiCd temperature charging time Detecting the inflexion point of the voltage curve with the MCU requires the eva luation of the first derivative of the battery voltage curve versus time, and to detect its sum mit. 5/16 ----------------------- Page 6----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 2 PRINCIPLE OF THE INFLEXION METHOD Every 4 seconds, the analog to digital converter (ADC) o f the ST6210 microcontroller measures the battery voltage and temperature. If the temperature is above a pred etermined threshold (40 degrees Celsius for example), fast charge is terminated. The battery voltage is actually measured several times in seri es, and an average of the measurements is made, to reduce measurement errors due to high frequency noise (for example generated by a switched mode charging current). Further, a rolling average of the present and previous measurements is made, to remove low frequency noise due to electrochemical battery voltage variations (see previous description of this technique in bibliography reference [1]). This averaged battery voltage data is used to extract a time derivative, by calculating the difference between present voltage and the voltage n samples earlier. Because of the voltage digitization, which is measured by the ADC of the MCU, the first derivative curv e features a typical discontinuous aspect (see Figure 5). For this reason, the MCU calculates a digital smoothing of this discontinuous de

rivative. The inflexion point is then identified by detecting est summit encountered on the smoothed derivative curve (point B in Figure 5). When this summit is detected, fast charge is terminated. Figure 5. Inflexion point method. battery voltage and derivative B

the

first

high

smoothed derivative voltage derivative battery voltage charging time -> 6/16 ----------------------- Page 7----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 3 CHARGE CONTROL PROGRAM DESCRIPTION The microcontroller detects the inflexion point in the battery voltage versus ti me curve while charging. When full charge is detected, the MCU puts the charger in trickle char ge mode. As safety protection, the MCU also terminates fast charge if -[ V] is detected, or the battery temperature exceeds a predetermined threshold, or a timer with programmable time duration expires. Figure 6 shows the simplified flowchart of the program for the complete charge c ontrol. The overall system is reset after each new input source voltage connection. It is al so reset when a charged battery is removed, and replaced by a discharged battery. Figure 6. Simplified program flowchart. START MEASURE BATTERY VOLTAGE 256 TIMES NOISE FILTERING AND AVERAGING CALCULATE DERIVATIVE SMOOTH DERIVATIVE Y ARE WE AT INFLEXION ?

N Y ARE WE AT DELTA-V ? N Y IS TIMER EXPIRED ? N WAIT 4 SECONDS Y IS TEMPERATURE ABOVE THRESHOLD ? N N IS BATTERY PRESENT ? Y TR ICKLE MODE NEW BATTER Y INSERTED ? N Y 7/16 ----------------------- Page 8----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 4 TEST RESULTS Figures 7 and 8 show curves of a NiCd battery charge respectively terminated by -[ V] and inflexion point methods. A similar comparison is made with a NiMH battery in Figures 9 and 10. The charging current is 2.2 A, the NiCd battery was a 1.4 Ah type and the NiMH battery a 2.2 Ah type. These measurement results clearly show that the battery temperature increase is much smaller with the inflexion method than with the conventional -[ V] method. M oreover, these curves demonstrate that a one hour charge of NiM H batteries can be properly monitored by the ST6210 MCU. Figure 7. Charge of a 1.4 Ah NiCd battery with the -[ V] method: charging current 2.2 A, total time 48 mn, temperature increase 9.6C. cell voltage

temperature 32 deg voltage temperature 22.4 deg charging time 8/16 ----------------------- Page 9----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER Figure 8. Charge of a 1.4 Ah NiCd battery with the inflexion method: charging current 2.2 A, total time 41 mn, temperature increase 5C. cell voltage temperature smoothed derivative 26 deg voltage temperature 21 deg charging time Figure 9. Charge of a 2.2 Ah NiMH battery with the -[ V] method: charging current 2.2 A, total time 63 mn, temperature increase 18.2C. cell temperature voltage voltage 41 deg temperature 22.8 deg

charging time 9/16 ----------------------- Page 10----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER Figure 10. Charge of a 2.2 Ah NiMH battery with the inflexion method: charging current 2.2 A, total time 57 mn, temperature increase 7.5C. cell temperature voltage smoothed voltage derivative voltage 26.5 deg temperature 19 deg charging time Charge of different battery types with an 2.2 A current source. Battery Temperature increase NiCd 1.4 Ah 9.6C inflexion point 5C NiMH 2.2 Ah 18.2C inflexion point 7.5C 10/16 ----------------------- Page 11----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 5 CHARGER SCHEMATIC EXAMPLES 57 mn -[V] 63 mn 41 mn Monitoring -[V] Duration 48 mn

5.1

Block diagram

The charger is a power supply operating as a constant current source. Such a cur rent source can be made with a SMPS working from the AC mains or from a DC voltage source. F igures 11 and 12 give block diagrams of an offline SMPS charger and a DC to DC charger. Figure 11. Block diagram of an off-line SMPS charger. NiMH or AC mains SMPS NiCd battery PWM current temperature mode UC3845 voltage Figure 12. Block diagrams of aDC/DC charger. NiMH or DC voltage SMPS NiCd battery PWM current temperature mode ST6210 UC3843 voltage 11/16 ----------------------- Page 12----------------------MCU ST6210 MCU

FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 5.2 Battery charger examples

Offline charger Figure 13 gives an example of an offline 35 watt battery c harger working at 100 kHz. This SMPS can deliver up to 3.5 amps DC to a 6 cell battery. Typical charging time of a 1.4 Ah 7.2v NiCd battery pack is around 30 minutes. This offline ch arger is an asymmetrical half bridge totally controlled from the primary side with a standard PWM control IC, the UC3845, regulating in current mode (see bibliography [3]). The asymmetrical half bridge structure allows the use of two standard 500V power MOSFETS IRF820 without snubber network, as voltage across each power M OSFET is systematically clamped to the input DC voltage by two demagnetization diodes (BYT01/400). The MCU controls the SMPS section through a single optocoupler, either in battery charge mode or in trickle mode. Note that the high side power MOSFET is simply driven by an auxiliary winding of the power transformer, avoiding the use of an additional pulse transformer. The switching frequency is set at 100 kHz in order to keep the magnetic parts to a reasonable manufacturing cost level (see bibliography [2]). The power transformer and the output inductor can be integrated on a single ferrite core to allow a signifi cant shrinking of the power converter size. This integrated magnetic technique has been used in a 80 watts / 15 minutes charger (see bibliography [2]). By a simple resizing of the discrete power devices ratings, and by applying the [- V] termination method, the same off-line converter hardware has been used to charge a typical 7V2/1.2 Ah NiCd pack of cordless drill in less than 15 minutes (see bibliography [1] [2]). DC/DC charger Figure 14 shows a 15 watt 100 kHz battery charger supplied from a 12 oltage. The DC input voltage can be supplied from a car battery, or from a 50/60 mer rectified voltage. This DC/DC charger is controlled by the PWM control circuit For example, such a 15 watt converter is able to deliver 1.5 amp DC, ve 1500 mAh NiMH cells in approximately 1 hour. 12/16 ----------------------- Page 13----------------------Vdc input v Hz transfor UC3843. charging fi

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----------------------- Page 15----------------------FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 6 CONCLUSION A relevant feature dominates today's electronic appliances - true portability. I n these cordless appliances, fast charging of the battery packs is often considered by the user a s a significant comfort improvement. Such an improvement can be achieved with a safe and cost-ef fective charger concept using an off-the-shelf microcontroller, the ST6210. Moreover, the present battery charger concept is NiCd/NiMH compatible, meeting t he current trend to progressively replace the NiCd battery by the more environmentally friendly NiMH battery. The charge termination method is based on the detection of the battery voltage i nflexion point in order to avoid any excessive overheating of the battery. Such a charge technique significantly improves the battery service life, preventing the user from untime ly replacing his battery pack by a costly new pack. In addition, this low cost microcontroller pr ovides a safe charge by combining three other back-up termination methods typical of high end dedicated control circuits : [- V] detection, battery temperature monitoring and timer cutoff. The natural programmability benefit of such a microcontroller-based charger desi gn allows the designer to easily implement additional user interface functions. For example, a "gas gauge" function indicating the remaining battery capacity to the user could be easily added to the present basic program, whilst retaining the same charger hardwar e structure. Finally, the

major benefit of using this off-the-shelf in the high adaptability of its application features. 15/16 ----------------------- Page 16-----------------------

ST6210

approach

lies

FROM NICKEL-CADMIUM TO NICKEL-HYDRIDE FAST BATTERY CHARGER 7 REFERENCES [1] - Ultra-fast NiCd battery charger using ST6210 Microcontroller AN 433 / L. Wuidart, P. Richter (SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics) [2] - An ultra-fast NiCd battery charger concept 43rd International Appliance Technical West Lafayette, Indiana U.S.A. / L. Wuidart Conference, May 5-6,

[3] - A cost effective ultra-fast NiCd battery charger AN 486 / L. Wuidart, JM. Ravon (SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics ) Information furnished is believed to be accurate and reliable. However, SGSTHOMSON Microelectronics assumes no responsability for the consequences of use of s uch information nor for any infringement of patents or other rights of third parties which may result from its use. No l icense is granted by implication or otherwise under any patent or patent rights of SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics. Specifications mentioned in this publication are subject to change without notice. This publication supersedes and replaces all information previously supplied. SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics products are n ot authorized for use as critical components in life support devices or systems with out the express written approval of SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics. 1994 SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics - All Rights Reser ved 2 Purchase of I C Components by SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics, conveys a lic ense under the Philips 2 2 I C Patent. Rights to use these components in an I C system, is grante d provided that the system conforms to the I2C Standard Specifications as defin ed by Philips. SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics GROUP OF COMPANIES Australia - Brazil - France - Germany - Hong Kong - Italy - Japan - Korea - Malaysia - Malta - Morocco The Netherlands - Singapore - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - Taiwan - T hailand - United Kingdom U.S.A.

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