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Keeping in charge

A low cost, but widely applicable, circuit for lithium ion battery charging. By Ross Bannatyne.

Many applications now require the system to be portable. Portable means cordless and cordless means battery power. Replacing batteries is inconvenient and can be expensive, so many designs now incorporate battery charging circuits so, when the system is not in use, the battery in the portable device can be recharged. Common examples are cordless ’phones, pdas, medical equipment, metering and remote sensing.
This article discusses a basic design for an intelligent lithium ion battery charger circuit developed by Future Electronics. The basic design is simple enough to be broadly applicable to batteries of differing characteristics, yet general enough to give engineers a good understanding of how to design a battery charger circuit.
The big advantage of the approach taken by Future is that it uses a low cost microcontroller. Because the microcontroller’s flash eeprom can be programmed (or reprogrammed in circuit) easily, it offers flexibility to the designer. The software can be modified as required to accommodate the different charge profiles of different battery types.

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Vanessa Knivett

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