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Cell Simulation Hardware for Safe and Efficient BMS Testing

Peter Blume

Many battery and energy storage system manufacturers and users utilize live cells for testing the electronic subsystems, including the battery management system (BMS), cell monitors, safety interlocks, charging systems and master controller. There are problems with this approach in the various stages of battery system design, development and production. First and foremost is safety. Li-Ion cells, in particular, are hazardous and may be subject to thermal runaway. Second is repeatability. The characteristics of cells change with every charge and discharge cycle. The third is efficiency. It is time consuming to charge and discharge cells in order to test the electronics at various states of charge. This makes many test procedures unnecessarily lengthy. Finally, use of real cells limits test coverage of the associated electronic subsystems to the to the SOC capabilities of the specific cells that are used. This prevents the test equipment from physically testing any and all scenarios that cannot be safely exercised with live cells. In this presentation, the paper will discuss BMS and battery electronic test techniques using commercially available cell simulators and fault insertion units.

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