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How Does Battery Management System (BMS) Protect Battery

17 Apr 2023
What Does Battery Management System (BMS) Mean to Battery

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Battery Management Systems (BMS). If you are wondering what a BMS is and how it can benefit your battery-powered device, you are in the right place. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about BMS, from their role in preventing battery damage to their different types and maintenance requirements. Whether you are an engineer, a hobbyist or a consumer, understanding the basics of BMS can help you make informed decisions about choosing, using, and maintaining batteries safely and efficiently. So, let's get started!

 Table of Content

Part 1: What is BMS?

A Battery Management System (BMS) is an electronic device that manages and monitors the performance of a rechargeable battery. The BMS ensures that the battery operates within safe and optimal conditions, preventing overcharging, over-discharging, or overheating that can damage the battery or the device it powers. The BMS also provides accurate information about the battery's state of charge, voltage, temperature, and other parameters, allowing the user to monitor its performance, predict its lifespan, and optimize its usage. Battery management systems are used in various applications, such as electric vehicles, renewable energy systems, portable electronics, and medical devices, among others.

what is BMS

Part 2: Why is BMS Important to Battery

A Battery Management System (BMS) is not only important for indicating the health of a battery but also functions to protect it while in operation. Different battery cells and chemistries have specific voltage, temperature, and current ranges within which they can safely operate. The BMS continuously monitors these parameters and takes corrective measures if any cell exceeds its predefined limits. For instance, lithium batteries are highly reactive, and the BMS should monitor each lithium cell to ensure that it operates within safe limits, preserving the battery's longevity.

Cell balancing is another crucial safety feature of the BMS. Individual cells within a battery pack may operate at different levels of strength, charging or discharging faster than others within the chain. This imbalance could degrade the health of the overall pack, leading to a shortened lifespan. If one cell short circuits or fails, it can impact the stability of the entire pack. Cell balancing equalizes the charge between individual cells based on each cell's capacity, ensuring that the state of charge (SOC) remains evenly distributed. The BMS monitors and controls the charge demanded from each cell in the chain, helping to maintain the optimal performance and lifespan of the battery.

Part 3: The Function of Battery Management System

The main function of a Battery Management System (BMS) is to manage and monitor the performance of a rechargeable battery. The BMS performs various tasks to ensure that the battery operates within safe and optimal conditions, including:

Battery Protection: The BMS protects the battery from overcharging, over-discharging, over-current, and overheating. It prevents these events from occurring by controlling the charging and discharging process and ensuring that the battery's voltage, current, temperature, and other parameters are within safe limits.

Battery Monitoring: The BMS continuously monitors the battery's state of charge, voltage, temperature, and other parameters, providing accurate information about its performance. This information helps the user to track the battery's health, predict its lifespan, and optimize its usage.

Communication: Many advanced BMSs have the ability to communicate with external systems, such as a microcontroller or a battery charger, to exchange information and control signals. This communication helps to ensure that the battery operates efficiently and safely in various applications.

Overall, the function of the battery management system is to extend the battery's life, improve its safety, and optimize its performance, making it an essential component in many battery-powered devices.

Part 4: How Do Battery Management Systems Work?

Battery Management Systems (BMS) do not follow a fixed or universal set of criteria, as the technology design and features implemented generally depend on various factors such as:

  1. The size, complexity, and cost of the battery pack
  2. The application of the battery and any safety, lifespan or warranty concerns associated with it
  3. Certification requirements from various government regulations that mandate functional safety measures to avoid penalties and costs

There exist multiple BMS design features; however, two essential features are battery pack protection management and capacity management. In this article, we will discuss how these two features work. Battery pack protection management has two main areas: electrical protection, which prevents the battery from experiencing damages due to usage outside its safe operating area, and thermal protection, which involves active and/or passive temperature control to bring the pack into its safe operating area.

 

how does bms work

4.1 The Protection of Current:

To ensure electrical safety, it is crucial to monitor the battery pack's current and cell or module voltages. The safe operating area (SOA) of a battery cell is determined by its voltage and current levels. The picture below provides an example of a typical lithium-ion cell SOA, and a well-designed Battery Management System (BMS) should protect the battery pack by restricting operation within the manufacturer's recommended cell ratings. To promote additional battery lifespan, further derating may sometimes be necessary to maintain operations within the SOA safe zone.

BMS Protection of Current

Picture source: synopsys.com

Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries have specific current limits for charging and discharging, with both modes being able to handle higher peak currents but only for short periods. The maximum continuous charging and discharging current limits, alongside peak charging and discharging current limits, are typically set by battery cell manufacturers. To ensure safety and prevent damage to the battery, a Battery Management System (BMS) designed for Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries will impose a maximum continuous current limit. However, it may also take into account sudden changes in load conditions, such as an electric vehicle's rapid acceleration. Additionally, a BMS built for these batteries may include peak current monitoring. By integrating the current and deciding whether to reduce the available current or interrupt the pack current altogether after a delta time, the BMS can respond instantly to extreme current peaks, including short-circuit conditions that may go unnoticed by resident fuses. Moreover, it can accommodate high peak demands as long as they do not exceed the safe operating limits for too long.

4.2 The Protection of Voltage:

A Battery Management System (BMS) protects the battery's voltage by monitoring and controlling the charging and discharging process to ensure that the battery stays within its safe operating range. The BMS uses various methods to protect the battery's voltage, including:

  1. Voltage Monitoring: The BMS continuously monitors the battery's voltage using sensors or other measurement devices. It compares the measured voltage against predetermined safe limits, and if it falls outside this range, the BMS can take corrective measures.
  2. Overvoltage Protection: The BMS prevents overvoltage by limiting the charging current or stopping the charging process altogether. When the battery reaches its maximum safe voltage, the BMS will turn off the charging circuit to prevent further charging.
  3. Undervoltage Protection: The BMS also protects the battery from undervoltage by preventing over-discharging. The BMS stops the discharge process when the battery's voltage drops below a certain level, preventing damage to the battery.
  4. Balancing: In multi-cell batteries, the BMS ensures that all cells are balanced by equalizing their voltages. This helps to prevent overcharging or over-discharging of individual cells, which can lead to reduced capacity and lifespan of the battery.

The safe operating area (SOA) limits of a lithium-ion cell are primarily influenced by its intrinsic chemistry and temperature at any given time. Since battery packs undergo significant current cycling due to discharging from load demands and charging from different energy sources, these SOA voltage limits are often further restricted to optimize battery lifespan. The BMS must have knowledge of the battery's limits and make decisions based on their proximity to these thresholds.

For example, as a battery approaches its high voltage limit, the BMS may request a gradual reduction of charging current or terminate the charging altogether once the limit is reached. However, there are usually additional intrinsic voltage hysteresis considerations to prevent control chatter close to the shutdown threshold. Conversely, when approaching the low voltage limit, the BMS will request that major active offending loads reduce their current demands.

4.3 The Protection of Temperature:

The Battery Management System (BMS) protects the battery temperature by monitoring and controlling it to ensure that it stays within safe limits. The BMS uses various methods to protect the battery from overheating or underheating, including:

  • Temperature Monitoring: The BMS continuously monitors the battery's temperature using sensors or other measurement devices. It compares the measured temperature against predetermined safe limits, and if it goes beyond this range, the BMS can take corrective measures.
  • Thermal Management: The BMS manages the temperature of the battery by implementing thermal management techniques such as passive cooling, active cooling, or heating. Passive cooling involves designing the battery pack with features such as heat sinks, fins, or vents to dissipate heat passively. Active cooling uses fans, pumps, or liquid cooling systems to actively remove heat from the battery pack. Heating methods may also be implemented to keep the battery at a certain minimum temperature during cold weather conditions.
  • Charging Rate Limitation: The BMS limits the charging rate if the battery temperature is too high, preventing overheating and damage to the battery. Similarly, if the battery temperature is too low, the BMS limits the discharging rate to prevent underheating.
  • Shutdown: In extreme cases where the temperature exceeds the safe limit, the BMS may shut down the battery to prevent permanent damage.

4.4 The Protection of Over Charge and Over Discharge:

A Battery Management System (BMS) protects the battery from overcharge and over-discharge by monitoring the voltage and current of the battery pack during charging and discharging. Here are some common methods used by the BMS to protect the battery:

  • Overcharge Protection: The BMS prevents overcharging by limiting the charging voltage or current when the battery reaches its maximum safe voltage limit. If the charging process continues beyond this point, it could lead to permanent damage to the battery or even cause a thermal runaway event. The BMS can also terminate the charging process altogether if the voltage limit is reached.
  • Under Voltage Protection: Similarly, the BMS prevents over-discharging by limiting the discharge current or terminating the discharge process once the battery's voltage drops below its minimum safe limit. This prevents the battery from being damaged due to excessive discharge.
  • State-Of-Charge (SOC) Estimation: The BMS accurately estimates the SOC of the battery based on the voltage and current measurements. This allows the BMS to predict when the battery will reach its voltage limits and take corrective measures to prevent overcharging or over-discharging.
  • Balancing: In multi-cell batteries, the BMS ensures that all cells are balanced by equalizing their voltages. This helps to prevent overcharging or over-discharging of individual cells, which can lead to reduced capacity and lifespan of the battery.
  • Temperature Monitoring: Overcharging and over-discharging can also increase the temperature of the battery, which can lead to thermal runaway. A BMS helps mitigate this risk by monitoring the temperature of the battery and taking corrective measures if the temperature exceeds its safe operating range.

4.5 The Protection of Short Circuit:

To protect the battery from short circuits, the Battery Management System (BMS) continuously monitors the voltage and current level, among other parameters. Short circuits can be caused by various factors such as punctured cells or damaged wiring, which pose a significant risk to both the battery and connected devices. The BMS protects the battery from short circuits using the following methods:

  • Cell Protection: In multi-cell batteries, the BMS keeps an eye on each cell's temperature and voltage levels. If any cell displays signs of overheating or overvoltage, the BMS disconnects it from the rest of the pack to prevent damage to the battery.
  • Limiting Current: The BMS restricts the charging and discharging currents to prevent excessive current flow that may lead to short circuits. Additionally, fuses or circuit breakers may be employed to shut down the system if a short circuit occurs.
  • Voltage Monitoring: The BMS continuously monitors the battery voltage to detect any sudden changes that could indicate a potential short circuit. Upon detecting such events, the BMS takes corrective measures to prevent further damage to the battery.
  • Temperature Monitoring: A short circuit can cause rapid heating of the battery, leading to thermal runaway. To avoid this, the BMS monitors the battery's temperature and can limit the current flow or cut off the power altogether if the temperature exceeds the safe operating range.
  • Fault Detection: The BMS can identify faults in the wiring, connections, or other components of the battery system that could cause a short circuit. Once detected, the BMS takes corrective measures, such as shutting down the system until the issue is resolved. 

In summary, the BMS plays a critical role in protecting the battery from short circuits. By continuously monitoring the battery's voltage, temperature, and current flow, the BMS detects potential issues and takes corrective measures to prevent further damage, improving the battery and connected devices' safety.

Part 5: Litime Built-In Battery Management System

All Litime Batteries have a built-in BMS that safeguards against the most common causes of battery failures and dangers. The BMS protects the cells from potential short circuits, high currents, excessive heat or cold, and high or low voltages to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Now Litime release the newest 12V 100Ah mini which has Litime’s 1st Gen LiTime BMS. The latest LiTime self-developed BMS provides full safety protection for overvoltage, undervoltage, overheating, overcurrent and short circuits, ensuring ultra-reliability and safety of the battery. What’s more the upgraded auto-balancing technique improves the battery life by maximizing the capacity of a battery pack with multiple cells in series, backing up that all batteries deliver life cycles from 4000+ (100% DoD) to 15000 cycles ( 60% DoD). That’s pretty much 10 years of everyday use.

litime build-in bms battery

Protecting Your Batteries and Ensuring Longevity with a BMS

A Battery Management System (BMS) is crucial for safeguarding your batteries and ensuring their longevity. By continuously monitoring voltage, temperature, and current levels, a BMS prevents overcharging, overheating, and undercharging of the battery, improving its performance and lifespan.

With the use of a reliable BMS, you can mitigate the risk of fire hazards caused by batteries and protect your investment in them. A BMS also helps ensure that each cell of the battery pack receives an equal amount of charge, preventing one cell from being overworked compared to others.

Therefore, investing in a high-quality BMS is essential for maximizing the benefits of your batteries while keeping them safe. A BMS ensures optimal battery performance and longevity, helping you get the most out of your investment in them.

 

You may also like

<<< Unlock More Power - Top Tips For Expanding Your Battery Bank That’s Already In Use

<<< Lifepo4 Vs Lithium-Ion Batteries: Which One Should You Choose?

<<< The Ultimate Guide To LiFePO4 Battery Maintenance: Keep Your Power Going Strong

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