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26 Jul 2013


A team at the University of Illinois has unveiled a battery design which offers 10 times the energy density and 1000 times faster recharge time compared to current cell technology according to a paper in the Journal Nature Communications.

The battery uses a LiMnO2 cathode and NiSn anode but the real innovation is in the novel electrode design. The electrodes are fabricated using a lattice of tiny polystyrene spheres which are coated with metal. The spheres are then dissolved to leave a 3D-metal scaffold onto which a nickel-tin alloy is added to form the anode, and the mineral manganese oxyhydroxide forms the cathode. In the last stage the glass surface is immersed into a liquid heated to 300˚C (572˚F). The resulting structure massively increases the electrode surface area and reduces the clearance between the electrodes. [via]

New Battery Technology Charges 1000 Times Faster - [Link]

25 Jul 2013


Fritz Weld writes:

Lithium-ion batteries are sensitive to bad treatment. Fire, explosions, and other hazardous condition may occur when you charge the cell below the margin that the manufacturer defines. Modern battery chargers can manage the hazardous conditions and deny operation when illegal situations occur. This fact doesn’t mean, however, that all cells are bad. In most cases, you can replace the discharged battery and increase your device’s lifetime. Figure 1 shows the circuit for testing battery packs.

Simple circuit indicates health of lithium-ion batteries - [Link]

24 Jul 2013


Abel Raynus writes:

Rechargeable NiCd (nickel-cadmium) cells are widely used in consumer devices because of their high energy density, long life, and small self-discharge rate. As a part of one project, I needed to design a reliable and inexpensive charger for a battery pack containing two NiCd AA-size 1200-mAh cells. In the process of the charger design, I needed to solve two main problems: first, setting a proper charge-current value, and second, stopping the charging process when the cell is full to avoid overcharging. This Design Idea describes a way to overcome both problems.

Charge a nickel-cadmium cell reliably and inexpensively - [Link]

24 Jul 2013


by Abhijeet Deshpande:

Properly maintained rechargeable batteries can provide good service and long life. Maintenance involves regular monitoring of battery voltage. The circuit in Figure 1 works in most rechargeable batteries. It comprises a reference LED, LEDREF, which operates at a constant current of 1 mA and provides reference light of constant intensity regardless of battery voltage. It accomplishes this task by connecting resistor R1 in series with the diode. Therefore, even if the battery voltage changes from a charged state to a discharged state, the change in current is only 10%. Thus, the intensity of LEDREF remains constant for a battery state from a fully charged state to a fully discharged state.

Simple battery-status indicator uses two LEDs - [Link]

23 Jul 2013


by Fran Hoffart:

A circuit that properly charges sealed lead-acid batteries ensures long, trouble-free service. Fig 1 is one such circuit; it provides the correct temperature-compensated charge voltage for batteries having from one to as many as 12 cells, regardless of the number of cells being charged.

The Fig 1 circuit furnishes an initial charging voltage of 2.5V per cell at 25°C to rapidly charge a battery. The charging current decreases as the battery charges, and when the current drops to 180 mA, the charging circuit reduces the output voltage to 2.35V per cell, floating the battery in a fully charged state. This lower voltage prevents the battery from overcharging, which would shorten its life.

Charger extends lead-acid-battery life – [Link]

20 Jul 2013


Vladimir Rentyuk writes:

A TL431 shunt regulator is a perfect choice for many applications. You can use it as a comparator with hysteresis by taking advantage of its inner voltage reference along with few additional components. You can use this comparator with hysteresis, like a Schmitt trigger, as a simple battery monitor (Figure 1). You calculate the threshold voltage, VT+, of this comparator as VT+=VREF×(1+R1/R3), where VREF, the internal reference voltage of shunt-regulator TL431, is 2.5V.

Shunt regulator monitors battery voltage - [Link]

18 Jul 2013


This Design Idea describes a 9V battery-voltage monitor whose total parts cost less than 34 cents (Figure 1). You configure transistor Q1 as a 10-mA current sink. LED1, a Kingbright WP7104IT, is on when the battery voltage is good.

Configure a low-cost, 9V battery-voltage monitor - [Link]

13 Jul 2013


Texas Instruments is one of the most dominant technology companies ever. Behind Intel and Samsung, it is the world’s third largest producer of semiconductors. In addition, they are the largest manufacturer of digital signal processors and analog semiconductors. Young students may just know of TI as producers of their world famous graphing calculators. However, for the older, more experienced students, they quickly learn TI has technology that can be found everywhere. In fact, many of the ICs used for basic electronics are all created by TI.

There is also one additional area TI’s technology excels at. That would be in energy efficient electronics. One of the more popular devices is the MSP 430 microcontroller family. These MCUs allow developers to create embedded applications, which can manage power extremely efficient. The CPU can work with speeds up to 25 MHz or can be lowered to save power in applications. More importantly, the MCU has a low power idle mode. When working in this mode the CPU will draw as little as 1 micro-Amp of current. Along with the low power capabilities, this MCU can also work with all the usual embedded electronics communication protocols and peripherals.

Texas Instruments releases new battery saving technology – MaxLife - [Link]

5 Jul 2013


Inspired by trees scientists at the University of Maryland have developed a nanobattery that uses tin-coated wood fibers to store liquid electrolytes. Replacing the lithium found in many rechargeable batteries by sodium makes the battery environmentally benign. Sodium doesn’t store energy as efficiently as lithium, so you won’t see this battery in your cell phone – instead, its low cost and common materials would make it ideal to store huge amounts of energy at once, such as solar energy at a power plant.

Existing batteries are often created on stiff bases, which are too brittle to withstand the swelling and shrinking that happens as electrons are stored in and used up from the battery. The researchers found that wood fibers are supple enough to let their sodium-ion battery with an initial capacity of 339 mAh/g last more than 400 charging cycles. This puts it among the longest lasting nanobatteries. [via]

Rechargeable Wooden Battery - [Link]

3 Jul 2013


3D printing a battery itself is a remarkable achievement. A 3D printing a battery as small as a grain of sand is a giant hurdle forward in both, 3D printing and battery technologies. That is exactly what researchers working at University of Illinois and Harvard have done. To achieve this process the researchers had to create their own custom 3D printing technology. Although there are many types of materials 3D printers can use, most print objects using small liquid droplets, which build upon one another to create the object from the bottom up. For the researchers this process was not sufficient to achieve their goals. Therefore, they designed a 0.03mm nozzle, which releases the liquid materials continuously in a fashion, which is similar to toothpaste being squeezed from its tube. In addition, the researchers also invented a 3D printing material that is electrochemically active, which ultimately allowed the printed battery to store and release charges.

Micro-battery is 3D printed - [Link]





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