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Active balancing makes DC/DC converter more energy efficient

19 Dec 2013

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A monolithic flyback DC/DC converter developed by Linear Technology balances high-voltage stacks of batteries to make up to 96 per cent of stored energy usable. The new LT8584 DC/DC converter has an average discharge current of 2.5A and maximises the function of uninterrupted power supplies, batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles, and other energy storage systems. The product is available in industrial and automotive temperature versions for under $4 for 1,000-quantity orders.

LT8584 offers high efficiency active balancing, which redistributes the charge from the stronger cells (higher voltage) to charge the weaker cells during discharge. This enables the weaker cells to continue to supply the load, extracting 96 per cent of the entire stack capacity where passive balancing usually extracts, approximately 80 per cent, according to Linear Technology. Passive energy balancing protects against damage to cells by over-charge or deep discharge, but offers no improved run-time as it dissipates the added energy of the higher capacity batteries to match the lowest one.

The device includes an integrated 6A/50V power switch, enabling an average discharge current of 2.5A while offering a simple and compact application circuit. Its isolated balancing design can return charge to the top of the battery stack or to any combination of cells in the stack or even to a 12V battery used as an alternator replacement.

The LT8584 takes its own power from the cell that it is discharging, removing the need for complicated biasing schemes. It integrates seamlessly via the enable pin with the LTC680x family of battery stack voltage monitoring ICs without any additional software. The LT8584 also provides system telemetry, including current, resistance and temperature monitoring when used with the LTC680x family of parts. When the LT8584 is disabled, it draws less than 20nA of quiescent current from the battery. For applications that require higher balancing current, multiple LT8584s can be paralleled. It is packaged in a 16-lead TSSOP and is both FMEA and ISO 26262 compliant.

The LT8584EFE is packaged in 16-lead TSSOP and is priced starting at $2.95 per 1,000 quantities. An industrial temperature version, the LT8584IFE is tested and guaranteed to operate from a -40°C to 125°C operating junction temperature and is priced starting at $3.25 for every 1,000 orders. An automotive temperature version, the LT8584HFE is tested and guaranteed to operate from a -40°C to 150°C operating junction temperature and is priced starting at $3.50 per 1,000 units.

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