High efficiency bidirectional cell balancer maximizes capacity and lifetime of series connected battery stacks

October 18, 2013 // By Mark Vitunic, Linear Technology
Large, series connected strings of batteries are commonly used in electric vehicles, backup power systems and a wide variety energy storage applications.

Maximizing the lifetime and ensuring safe usage of such battery stacks requires accurate measurement and balancing of each cells’ state of charge (SoC). Passive, or dissipative, balancing can correct for SoC mismatch due to temperature gradients or cell to cell impedance differences throughout the pack. However, passive balancing cannot compensate for capacity differences that result from cell aging. Cell aging occurs in all cells and occurs at different rates due to the same factors that cause SoC mismatch. Without capacity compensation, the runtime of the battery is limited by the lowest capacity cell in the stack.

Active balancers such as the LTC3300 have the ability to correct for SoC imbalance as well as compensate for cell to cell capacity differences.

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