Unconventional battery testing

  • 14-Dec-2009 04:05 EST
AVL e-storage tester.jpg
Regenerative power processing electronics are used in AVL's e-storage tester.

There are limits to testing batteries with conventional systems, but a new e-storage tester is designed to address various vehicle electrification complexities in simultaneous fashion.

"Battery testers have been used for years, but newer technology and advances in requirements for the batteries (such as the interfaces for in-vehicle electronics) are making more advanced testing capabilities necessary," said Stephan Kunzfeld, Product Manager for AVL's e-storage tester.

The e-storage tester is an offshoot of other AVL engine testing products. "Since nothing on the market was suitable for our testing needs with respect to battery pack development, we developed this product for our requirements. We are using it for our in-house battery development projects, and we are offering it to our customers," said Mario Schweiger, Application Manager for AVL's e-storage tester.

The testing unit uses a proprietary automation system that incorporates control for the power electronics so users can create or modify test sequences. Other features of the system are the INtime operating system with Windows as the graphical user interface, multiple power-output stages, as well as flexible I/O subsystems. AVL's e-storage tester can be installed as part of a test cell or exist as a portable unit.

Whether being used as part of a permanent test cell or as a mobile unit, the e-storage tester supports CAN communication to the battery management system.

Said Donald Wright Jr., Software Product Manager for the AVL e-storage tester, "Being able to tie into the CAN lines on the battery, the AVL e-storage tester can monitor signals that are on the CAN lines and use those for safety monitoring or for deterministically executing an automated test run.

"If there are signals that are not part of the battery and need to be measured separately, the I/O—when connected to the AVL e-storage tester—can be used to measure or simulate those signals to the battery management system. This allows customers to test according to the battery management system requirements and then integrate the BMS signals in the automated test runs, thus addressing one of the crucial topics in the battery development process," Wright added.

The integration of test devices (i.e. the conditioning units for air- or liquid-cooled energy storage systems and temperature or voltage sensors) is enabled by the e-storage tester's complete control system. "This means the customer can test the batteries and simulate the environment that the battery pack will operate in when it is inside the vehicle," said Schweiger.

The e-storage tester is appropriate for testing batteries used in HEV, PHEV, BEV, and other vehicle applications. "AVL's e-storage tester also could be used in applications involving super capacitors, fuel cells, and other electric energy storage devices," said Kunzfeld.

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