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What is the function of BMS?

A battery management system (BMS) is any electronic system that manages a rechargeable battery (cell or battery pack), such as by protecting the battery from operating outside its safe operating area, monitoring its state, calculating secondary data, reporting that data, controlling its environment, authenticating it and / or balancing it.

A battery pack built together with a battery management system with an external communication data bus is a smart battery pack. A smart battery pack must be charged by a smart battery charger.

Protection

A BMS may protect its battery by preventing it from operating outside its safe operating area, such as:

  • Over-charging
  • Over-discharging
  • Over-current during charging
  • Over-current during discharge
  • Over-voltage during charging, especially important for lead–acidLi-ion and LiFePO4 cells
  • Under-voltage during discharging, especially important for Li-ion and LiFePO4 cells
  • Over-temperature
  • Charging while under low temperature
  • Over-pressure (NiMH batteries)
  • Ground fault or leakage current detection (system monitoring that the high voltage battery is electrically disconnected from any conductive object touchable to use like vehicle body)

The BMS may prevent operation outside the battery’s safe operating area by:

  • Including an internal switch (such as a relay or mosfet) which is opened if the battery is operated outside its safe operating area
  • Requesting the devices to which the battery is connected to reduce or even stop using or charging the battery.
  • Actively controlling the environment, such as through heaters, fans, air conditioning or liquid cooling

Balancing

In order to maximize the battery’s capacity, and to prevent localized under-charging or over-charging, the BMS may actively ensure that all the cells that compose the battery are kept at the same voltage or State of Charge, through balancing. The BMS can balance the cells by:

  • Wasting energy from the most charged cells by connecting them to a load (such as through passive regulators)
  • Shuffling energy from the most charged cells to the least charged cells (balancers)
  • Reducing the charging current to a sufficiently low level that will not damage fully charged cells, while less charged cells may continue to charge (does not apply to Lithium chemistry cells)

Battery connection to load circuit

A BMS may also feature a precharge system allowing a safe way to connect the battery to different loads and eliminating the excessive inrush currents to load capacitors.

The connection to loads is normally controlled through electromagnetic relays called contactors. The precharge circuit can be either power resistors connected in series with the loads until the capacitors are charged. Alternatively, a switched mode power supply connected in parallel to loads can be used to charge the voltage of the load circuit up to a level close enough to battery voltage in order to allow closing the contactors between battery and load circuit. A BMS may have a circuit that can check whether a relay is already closed before precharging (due to welding for example) to prevent inrush currents to occur.

Communication

The central controller of a BMS communicates internally with its hardware operating at a cell level, or externally with high level hardware such as laptops or an HMI.

High level external communication are simple and use several methods

Low voltage centralized BMSes mostly do not have any internal communications.

Distributed or modular BMSes must use some low level internal cell-controller (Modular architecture) or controller-controller (Distributed architecture) communication. These types of communications are difficult, especially for high voltage systems. The problem is voltage shift between cells. The first cell ground signal may be hundreds of volts higher than the other cell ground signal. Apart from software protocols, there are two known ways of hardware communication for voltage shifting systems, optical-isolator and wireless communication. Another restriction for internal communications is the maximum number of cells. For modular architecture most hardware is limited to maximum 255 nodes. For high voltage systems the seeking time of all cells is another restriction, limiting minimum bus speeds and losing some hardware options. Cost of modular systems is important, because it may be comparable to the cell price.Combination of hardware and software restrictions results in a few options for internal communication:

  • Isolated serial communications
  • wireless serial communications

To bypass power limitations of existing USB cables due to heat from electrical current, communication protocols implemented in mobile phone chargers for negotiating an elevated voltage have been developed, the most widely used of which are Qualcomm Quick Charge and MediaTek Pump Express. “VOOC” by Oppo (also branded as “Dash Charge” with “OnePlus”) increases the current instead of voltage with the aim to reduce heat produced in the device from internally converting an elevated voltage down to the battery’s terminal charging voltage, which however makes it incompatible with existing USB cables and relies on special high-current USB cables with accordingly thicker copper wires. More recently, the USB Power Delivery standard aims for an universal negotiation protocol across devices of up to 240 watts.

Computation

Additionally, a BMS may calculate values based on the below items, such as:[citation needed]

  • Voltage: minimum and maximum cell voltage
  • State of charge (SoC) or depth of discharge (DoD), to indicate the charge level of the battery
  • State of health (SoH), a variously-defined measurement of the remaining capacity of the battery as % of the original capacity
  • State of power (SoP), the amount of power available for a defined time interval given the current power usage, temperature and other conditions
  • State of Safety (SOS)
  • Maximum charge current as a charge current limit (CCL)
  • Maximum discharge current as a discharge current limit (DCL)
  • Energy [kWh] delivered since last charge or charge cycle
  • Internal impedance of a cell (to determine open circuit voltage)
  • Charge [Ah] delivered or stored (sometimes this feature is called Coulomb counter)
  • Total energy delivered since first use
  • Total operating time since first use
  • Total number of cycles
  • Temperature Monitoring
  • Coolant flow for air or liquid cooled batteries

Monitor

A BMS may monitor the state of the battery as represented by various items, such as:

  • Voltage: total voltage, voltages of individual cells, or voltage of periodic taps
  • Temperature: average temperature, coolant intake temperature, coolant output temperature, or temperatures of individual cells
  • Coolant flow: for liquid cooled batteries
  • Current: current in or out of the battery
  • Health of individual cells
  • State of balance of cells

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