Why are small, low-cost battery sites generally a poor match for highly capable ohmic battery monitoring products? The answer isn’t just cost. This paper draws a contrast between the differing performance expectations and resource environments of two categories of stationary battery system users. It proposes some simple requirements for battery monitoring at cost-constrained sites with modest sized stationary battery systems, and proposes a solution to providing battery health assessment at such sites.
Failure to start is the most significant avoidable cause of diesel generator malfunction. Over 80% of failures to start are caused by battery problems.
Today most gensets do not include any means to detect that the starting battery has deteriorated, and may not be fit to start the engine. End-users have tolerated this situation because there has been no practical, cost-effective battery failure detection system. The low-cost, practical battery failure detection proposal made in this paper would significantly reduce the number of genset start failures and associated business risk.
Dynamic Boost is a new battery charging technology that delivers more accurate real-world charging results than was available in earlier generation chargers. “More accurate charging” means faster charging with lower risk of overcharge for every recharge cycle. The benefits of more accurate charging enabled by Dynamic Boost include a more reliable battery-backed application, reduced need for battery maintenance, lower risk of premature battery failure, longer battery life and lower costs.
HELIX (High Efficiency LIfe eXtending) technology saves batteries and energy in genset engine starting applications. Today, lead-acid starting batteries used in gensets are replaced nearly twice as often as identical batteries used for vehicle starting, and too often fail catastrophically instead of gradually as they do in vehicles. The reason is that lead-acid starting batteries were optimized for the charging cycles experienced in vehicles. By emulating vehicle charging, HELIX extends the life of starting batteries and reduces the risk of catastrophic end of life battery failure. HELIX also reduces energy use by employing a special Eco-float mode when batteries are fully charged and in standby. A periodic HELIX refresh charge tops up batteries at the correct interval.
Operating at high frequency, switchmode power conversion outperforms line frequency (50 or 60 Hz) power conversion topologies such as SCR and controlled ferroresonant in nearly every way. Switchmode technology delivers advantages in dynamic response, smoothness of DC output, size, weight, noise, energy efficiency, cost, and standards compliance. Switchmode converters are typically modular and hot-swappable, meaning that field repair can be performed faster and by less skilled staff than is required to repair legacy line frequency chargers. Despite these significant advantages, there is continued hesitance by some users, including at electric utilities and some industrial customers, to adopt switchmode technology battery chargers.
This paper attempts to identify the causes for this hesitance. A new approach to the electrical, mechanical and thermal design of switchmode power converters suggests that the issues identified can be addressed. A ruggedized switchmode battery charger design suited for use in challenging environments is presented.