September 2012




Feature Article



Monitor Your Battery Cells for Superior Reliability
Do you know the status of your remote site battery plants?  Would you know if one individual cell was falling out of its ideal voltage or temperature range?  At a lot of companies, battery cell monitoring is a commonly overlooked opportunity to reduce costs and improve reliability. more












  Sponsored Announcement

Microchip Launches 8-bit Microcontrollers with Integrated Configurable Logic in 6- to 20-pin Packages
The PIC10F(LF)32X and PIC1XF(LF)150X MCUs each feature new peripherals, including Configurable Logic Cells (CLCs), Complementary Waveform Generators (CWGs) and Numerically Controlled Oscillators (NCOs), enabling functionality that was not possible before with low pincount MCUs. These general-purpose MCUs enable designers to enhance the functionality, reduce design size, and decrease the cost and power consumption of products.



The CLC peripherals on the PIC10F(LF)32X and PIC1XF(LF)150X MCUs enable software control of combinational and sequential logic, which increases the on-chip interconnection of peripherals and I/Os, thereby reducing external components, saving code space and adding functionality. The CWG peripheral works with multiple peripherals to generate complementary waveforms with dead-band control and auto shutdown, which provides improved switching efficiencies. Additionally, the NCO peripheral enables linear frequency control and high resolution, which is required for applications such as lighting ballast, tone generation and other resonant control circuits. The MCUs also feature low power consumption, with currents of less than 30 µA/MHz in active mode, and less than 20 nA in sleep; as well as an on-chip 16 MHz internal oscillator, Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC), and up to 4 Pulse-Width Modulation peripherals. An integrated temperature-indicator module enables low-cost temperature measurements.


To facilitate application development, the PICDEM Lab Development Kit (part # DM163045, $134.99) now includes samples of both the PIC10F322 and PIC16F1507 MCUs. Additionally, the F1 Evaluation Platform (part # DM164130-1, $39.99) is available for development with enhanced mid-range core 8-bit PIC MCUs, including the PIC1XF(LF)150X family. Also available is a free CLC Configuration Tool, to streamline the setup process of the CLC module by simulating the functionality of the registers and combinational logic in a graphical user interface (GUI).


The PIC10F(LF)320 and PIC10F(LF)322 MCUs are available in a 6-pin SOT-23 package, as well as 8-pin PDIP and 2 mm x 3 mm DFN packages. The PIC12F(LF)1501 MCU will be available in 8-pin PDIP, SOIC, MSOP and 2 mm x 3 mm DFN packages, and the PIC16F(LF)1503 MCU in 14-pin PDIP, SOIC and TSSOP packages, as well as a 3 mm x 3 mm QFN package. The PIC16F(LF)1507 MCU is available in 20-pin SSOP, PDIP, SOIC, and 4 mm x 4 mm QFN packages, as will the PIC16F(LF)1508/9 MCUs, when available. Pricing starts at $0.37 each, in 10,000-unit quantities.

Click here for more information.

  New Products

Global Technology Systems, Inc. Introduces All-New Genius Batteries
Global Technology Systems, Inc. (GTS) has introduced its latest product, the Genius Batteries. Genius Batteries are an intelligent solution for simple and efficient battery management. Millions of workers around the globe rely on mobile devices to complete critical tasks and battery management is essential to their success. Until now these workers have had little, if any, insight into the health of their batteries, leading to costly delays and disruptions including mid-shift failures and unnecessary maintenance costs. In-field experience demonstrates that standard batteries are either used beyond their useful life or are discarded with significant life remaining.


Genius Batteries deliver a deeper and more accurate measure of a battery’s health without the need for additional equipment. The measure TSoH gives users greater confidence that the batteries they rely upon are healthy enough to operate full shift.

Each Genius Battery utilizes a built-in LED indicator to inform the user of its SoH at all times. As the battery is used and its health declines, the LED indicator turns yellow, informing the user that they should order a replacement. When the LED turns red, the user knows the battery is no longer reliable and should be replaced. These lights are simple to understand and indicate exactly when to reorder and replace the battery.

OutBack Power Debuts FLEXmax Extreme Charge Controller
OutBack Power Technologies, Inc. has introduced its FLEXmax Extreme, a sealed, outdoor-rated maximum power point tracking (MPPT) charge controller. A passively cooled design, the FLEXmax Extreme is a charge controller that offers full power output over a wide range of temperatures with a sealed unit capable of protecting circuit boards and other sensitive components from dust, dirt, insects and other contaminants. By eliminating the cooling fan in the design, the FLEXmax Extreme removes the greatest obstacle to long service life and high reliability, since fan problems can severely limit power output.

OutBack Power created the de facto standard with the introduction of the industry’s first multi-voltage MPPT controller. Today, OutBack Power’s line of FLEXmax controllers supports a wide variety of system designs and energy applications by increasing the yield from a solar photovoltaic (PV) array as much as 30 percent more than conventional designs. Using FLEXmax technology and featuring a sealed design, the FLEXmax Extreme offers unprecedented thermal management capabilities and continues in the OutBack tradition of breakthrough products and performance in this critical renewable energy system category.

The FLEXmax Extreme supports 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 VDC battery voltages; logs the last 128 days of operational data; and features a voltage step-down capability and manual and auto-equalize cycle. Paired with OutBack Power’s recently announced AXS Port Modbus/TCP interface, the FLEXmax Extreme lets industrial customers take advantage of powerful command, control and integration capabilities. Additionally, the technology meets international standards, including UL1741, IEC 62109, IEC 62509, RoHS and CE.

ON Semiconductor Introduces Fully Integrated Li-Ion Battery Charger to Address Next Generation Power Efficiency Demands
OnsemiON Semiconductor has introduced a fully programmable Lithium- Ion (Li-Ion) switching battery charger optimized for power efficiency in smart phones, tablets and other handheld devices. The NCP1851 significantly reduces charge time, increases battery life and includes advanced startup features.

With 1.6 ampere (A) charging capability, the device is sized at 2.2 mm by 2.55 mm for the latest USB compliant input supplies and large battery capacities and can complete a full charge cycle of a 1650 milli ampere hour (mAh), 4.2 volt (V) Li-Ion battery in 90 minutes.


“Robustness, efficiency and fast charge time are now pre-requisites for designers of today’s high performance, ultra-space constrained applications,” said Thibault Kassir, director of ON Semiconductor’s Interface & Power ICs Division. “The NCP1851 single chip solution allows simple integration into the latest USB charging designs. We are already receiving wins from our major customers for the device due to its charge time performance and advanced feature set.”


The NCP1851 integrates dynamic power path management which enables instant system turn-on in case of a weak battery and helps replenish a deeply discharged battery. Both the device’s internal junction temperature sensor and external Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) thermistor ensure safe charging of the system by reporting dedicated interrupts to the i²C Control Bus. The NCP1851 provides a USB On-the-Go (OTG) mode that boosts battery voltage to power accessories plugged into the USB port, eliminating the need for another step-up converter.

Smart Battery Chargers Offer Three-Phase Operation
GlobtekAvailable in versions delivering 4.2 V, 8.4 V or 12.6 V at 1 A to address single- or multiple-battery configurations, the GTM91128 families of smart Li-Ion battery chargers from GlobTek offer three charging methods: conditioning, constant current and constant voltage. The universal-input devices have a minimum current charge termination technique with timer as back up, with LED indication of charging and fully charged states. An additional feature of the smart battery charger family is that they have user-interchangeable plugs for seamless international operation.


Additional features of the GTM91128 battery charger family include built-in over charge and damaged-cell detection, with a battery over-temperature protection option also available. A custom battery cradle can also be designed for specific battery form factor, if desired. All appropriate safety and EMC approvals are done and available.


  Industry News


GE and Xtreme Power Form Strategic Alliance to Deliver Energy Storage for the Grid
GE Energy Storage and Xtreme Power have formalized a strategic alliance to work together to provide energy storage solutions.  The alliance combines GE's Durathon battery technology for grid energy storage systems and Xtreme Power's extensive experience as an integrated energy storage turn-key solutions provider. The new GE Durathon battery products, which can last up to ten times longer than conventional lead acid batteries and store more energy in half the space, are the result of a $100 million initial investment in battery technology developed at GE's Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY.


GE's Durathon battery technology, when paired with Xtreme Power's Xtreme Active Control Technology (XACT), should enable safer and highly efficient storage of massive quantities of electricity at low cost for grid applications. XACT is a proprietary control system architecture that offers control algorithms, real time response, remote monitoring and optimized power management. Together, GE and Xtreme Power expect to tap a global segment looking for effective and efficient energy storage on the electric grids of the world, both old and new.


"Teaming up with Xtreme Power provides customers in the energy space access to turn-key solutions based on breakthrough Durathon battery technology," said Prescott Logan, General Manager of GE Energy Storage. "Our combined team's proven experience in integrating energy storage technologies with power conversion systems and the grid, as well as installing and operating multi-megawatt energy storage systems will bring real life-cycle value to our customers."

Flux Power's Battery Pack Technology Selected for TransPower's New Semi-Truck
Flux Power Holdings, Inc. was selected by TransPower, an advanced clean energy technology company, to provide the battery packs for prototype battery-electric trucks that offload shipping containers like those used in the heavily trafficked Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.  The new vehicles, funded in part by competitive grants received from the California Energy Commission, are expected to offer a solution that can eliminate the need for traditional diesel-powered engines and substantially reduce or eliminate emissions in these severely congested ports.


"We are delighted to be a part of TransPower's new commercial semi-trucks.  Full-battery electric or plug-in hybrid commercial vehicles hold enormous potential for reducing petroleum consumption and substantially lowering or even eliminating smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions in heavily trafficked areas, such as the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach," said Chris Anthony, Flux Power Chief Executive Officer. "Our innovative battery management solutions are ideal for automotive manufacturers looking to migrate towards efficient, clean vehicles for the future.  Flux's battery management solutions are flexible enough to be used in a variety of applications, yet powerful enough to deliver the performance that industrial vehicles need to get the job done." 


Flux Power notes that electric vehicles are displacing traditional combustion vehicles for utility and passenger vehicle needs at an ever-growing rate as electric vehicle technology becomes more advanced and costs come down. Utility vehicles and commercial trucks are a well suited market for electric power, as they are often operated in confined or congested spaces where excess emissions from combustion vehicles is difficult to manage. Moreover, lowering these combustion motor emissions is a goal of many Federal and State agencies, which has also spurred adoption of electric technologies in this space. This adoption is further assisted by increased environmental consciousness on the part of consumers, which has increased sales of both hybrid electric and all electric vehicles.

SB LiMotive Joint Venture to be Disbanded
Bosch is redefining the focal points of its activities to develop and produce batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. In light of changing market structures, this will allow Bosch to make the best possible use of its own capabilities, as well as to develop them further. For this reason, the two parent companies of the SB LiMotive joint venture have agreed to reorganize their collaboration and future business relationship. The agreement is subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities.


Commenting on the reorganization, Dr. Bernd Bohr, the chairman of the Automotive Group of Robert Bosch GmbH, said: “When it comes to electromobility, a market with great potential for the future, we have already made a successful start with diverse projects, and are driving forward manymother developments. In restructuring our operations, we can respond better to our customers’ requirements with respect to market focus and speed, and will continue to work all out to expand our market activities.”
In future collaboration with its former joint venture partner, steps have been taken to ensure that all development and supply agreements will be continued. In addition, the parties have agreed to grant each other access to patents.


The entire battery systems business will be transferred to Bosch, including all components, such as the crucial battery management system. Bosch will take over the subsidiary SB LiMotive Germany GmbH. Based in Stuttgart, it focuses on systems engineering, battery management systems, prototyping, marketing, and sales. At the same time, Cobasys will be integrated into Bosch. This subsidiary, which is important for the US market, has locations in Michigan and Ohio.


Bosch plans to further expand its activities relating to electrochemistry and the production of lithium-ion battery cells. The objective is to cooperate closely with specialist partners from industry and higher education to establish research and development work on high-performance battery cells in Germany and to set up a European specialist network. This will enhance capabilities relating not only to batteries for electromobility, but also to the stationary energy storage devices of the future.


The establishment of a manufacturing facility in Europe is a further important component of Bosch strategy. The aim is to efficiently combine the know-how of German and European suppliers when it comes to materials and the construction of complex manufacturing facilities.

TideSmart Global Installs One of Maine's First Electric Car Charging Stations
TideSmartTideSmart Global, a collective of creative businesses focused primarily on experiential marketing, has completed a first-of-its-kind solar-powered public electric vehicle charging station located on its Falmouth corporate campus. 


On Monday, September 17, TideSmart opened the charging station for public use, making it available to business neighbors (approximately 300 professional workers within a quarter mile in Falmouth), community members, friends and family.

The 208-volt charging station, powered by solar panels, will charge a vehicle nearly eight times as fast as a standard outlet, providing convenient on-the-go service for an increasingly environmentally aware community.   For example, the station can recharge the batteries of the Ford Focus Electric Vehicle in just over three hours. It can supply power for all electric cars and plug-in hybrids that use a standard connection, pulling energy from TideSmart's rooftop solar panels.

This plug-in initiative adds to TideSmart's existing green efforts, which inspire all aspects of its business.  The 6-acre corporate campus features 350 square feet of solar panels that power 40 percent of the campus, LED exterior lighting, radiant heating and many other LEED elements.




Event Listings


MDSMotor & Drive Systems 2013, February 7-8 in Orlando, Fla., is an international, industry-leading conference focused on the latest growth trends and technical advancements impacting motor and drive systems. Join hundreds of peers and potential business partners and discover how new technologies are improving performance, energy efficiency and providing cost savings in a variety of applications.

This annual conference will feature more than 25 presentations on new motor and drive technologies and design considerations, motion control, power electronics/modules and components. Sessions will also cover market trends and growth areas as well as regulatory and safety issues.


This conference provides the best forum to learn from leading motor and drive system manufacturers on new technologies entering the market and what’s ahead.



FPSIDGA’s Future Power Summit
October 10-12
Washington, D.C.

IDGA’s Future Power Summit will focus on R&D and application of cutting-edge, economical power sources into military installations, housing complexes and vehicle. Plus, you’ll learn about acquisition of commercial solutions into military systems (see event brochure).

Network with a range of leaders who decide the future of military power through aggressive energy goals and engineers who work hard to build capabilities to meet these goals. Speakers include:
·    Honorable Katherine Hammack - Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy & Environment)
·    Tom Hicks SES - Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy)
·    James Holland - Deputy for Installation Policy,  AF Installations (SAF/IEI)
·    Captain Lynn Peterson USN - Deputy Director,  Electric Ships Office (PMS 320)
·    Michael Gallagher - Program Manager, Expeditionary Power Systems, Marine Corps Systems Command

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