How does a battery management system work?

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A typical battery management system (BMS) design consists of several vital components. First, the Battery Management Unit (BMU) continuously monitors battery parameters such as voltage, current, temperature, and state of charge. The battery balancing circuit ensures uniform charge distribution across battery cells or modules. This circuit distributes charge to the individual cells of a battery pack, ensuring a uniform charge level.

The BMS continuously monitors each cell's state of charge (SOC) in a battery pack to assess its available capacity and overall health. Tracking the SOC and measuring the voltage of individual cells pose significant challenges. There can be hundreds or thousands of individual cells in a large battery pack, such as those found in EVs. Accurately measuring each cell requires specialized algorithms to mitigate common issues like voltage imbalance and drift.

Additionally, isolation and monitoring are vital aspects of a battery management system. Isolation separates the high-voltage battery and the rest of the electrical system. The BMS ensures proper barriers and insulation to prevent electrical faults and hazards. Isolation monitoring continuously checks for any breaches in the isolation, providing early warnings and protecting against potential short circuits or other electrical hazards.

Finally, the BMS interlock monitor oversees the activation and deactivation of high-voltage systems and ensures that the battery is properly connected and disengaged when appropriate. The monitor prevents accidental activations or other dangerous situations. While the components listed here are standard, the BMS design and implementation will vary based on the intended use.



Electric car charger plugged into EV


Specialized electric vehicle battery management systems

In addition to the components listed above, electric vehicles (EVs) typically incorporate a precharge system. When a vehicle is turned on, the precharge circuit gradually increases the voltage applied to the vehicle's powertrain before enabling full power. This process prevents sudden high-current surges that could damage the system or cause safety hazards. One might consider this akin to how simple inductors limit inrush current, though BMS precharge systems are typically much more involved and capable.

A battery management system optimizes EV energy efficiency and extends driving range. Additionally, a BMS enables efficient utilization of energy generated from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power. Finally, BMS tech is crucial in large-scale energy storage systems used in industrial settings (paralleled when a personal vehicle is used as a temporary household backup battery during grid outages). In this way, automotive or otherwise, battery storage can ensure a stable power supply during peak demand and enhance grid stability.



BMS Diagram


Battery management system design support: Egypt BMS Center of Excellence

Battery management system technology is critical in ensuring the optimal performance and safety of batteries used in various applications. However, customers often face challenges regarding their implementation and support. Arrow established its BMS Center of Excellence in Egypt in response to these challenges. This facility’s specialized engineers are dedicated to addressing customers' needs.

Engineers often require BMS solutions to align with their specific battery type, power requirements, and system configuration. Moreover, battery safety and performance optimization are big challenges for a BMS, so an off-the-shelf solution may not work in a particular application. One must also comply with the BMS functional safety standards, such as those outlined in ISO26262 for Automotive and IEC61508 for other industries. The requirements written into those standards affect the hardware, software, and even the development process of battery management systems—all areas where Arrow’s BMS Center of Excellence can assist.

Proper battery management system integration

BMS tech has applications in a wide variety of industries and technologies. A BMS monitors and manages battery performance, optimizes energy efficiency, and extends the driving range in EVs. They can also play a crucial role in large-scale energy storage systems used in industrial settings and grid-level applications. Battery storage, plus the proper integrated battery management system, ensures a stable power supply when the overall grid is strained and offers a range of other benefits stemming from the efficient usage of available resources.

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