Semiconductor Equipment

Greater flexibility for battery management system testing

17 November 2021

A new family of battery simulator modules from Pickering Interfaces, a supplier of modular signal switching and simulation solutions for use in electronic test and verification, has recently become available. Targeted at applications in electric vehicles (EVs), automotive, aerospace, energy storage and electric aircraft, the new modules are designed for battery stack emulation in battery management system (BMS) testing.

The 41-752A is a battery simulator module that occupies a single PXI slot. Source: Pickering InterfacesThe 41-752A is a battery simulator module that occupies a single PXI slot. Source: Pickering InterfacesThe importance of BMS testing and validation, Pickering said, has increased in line with greater adoption of EVs and battery stacks for other applications. Typically, test engineers have had to link simulation modules to separate digital multimeters (DMMs) to achieve voltage and current readback. The 41-752A and 43-752A, which benefit from the modularity and scalability of the PXI/PXIe platform, eliminate this requirement by enabling direct voltage and current readback either programmatically or via soft panel control.

The new modules occupy a single slot and are available with two, four or six battery cell simulators per module. Those simulators are fully isolated from ground and from each other, facilitating series connection to simulate batteries in a stacked architecture. An isolation barrier of 750 V allows the modules to be used to simulate lower-power battery stacks commonly used for vehicle propulsion. Each cell simulator is accurate within ±5 mV from 1 V to 7 V; battery charging emulation is available up to 100 mA.

According to Pickering, the simulators can also sense a remote load and correct for wiring losses; each cell provides independent power and sense connections. The battery simulator is designed to respond to dynamic loads, minimizing the need for local decoupling capacitors at the load. In addition, the module can independently read the voltage at the load, via sense lines, and output current for each cell. When supplied with I/V readback, the driver can automatically adjust the module's output voltage through a feedback system, allowing higher accuracy.

The modules can be combined with other PXI switch and simulation modules from Pickering, including high voltage switching, fault insertion, thermocouple simulation and RTD simulation. They can also be combined with other vendors’ PXI modules, such as a CANbus interface, adding to the flexibility of BMS test system design.

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