Tag: battery emulation testing

How is a Battery Emulator Different from Power Supplies & Electronic Loads?

Battery Emulator vs. Power Supplies and Loads - NH Research (NHR)

Battery Emulators VS. Power Supplies & Electronic Loads

Battery emulators are bi-directional, whereas power supplies and loads are unidirectional devices. A power supply regulates voltage and expects some amount of current to be drawn. Electronic loads regulate current and expect voltage to be provided. Being uni-directional, these devices are unable to accept or supply power in the reverse direction.

An approach engineers often take is to build their own test setup using sources and loads. This can be challenging, and time consuming, and has many of the disadvantages of the common DC bus architecture described above. Typically, DC sources have a programmed response time of 10 to 100 ms, which is far too slow for today’s EV applications such as electric powertrains. For example, using a DC load to modulate power or provide a return path for back-EMF requires complicated software development, considerable integration and test time, and does not provide an accurate simulation of the battery’s internal resistance. Additionally, the load must consume power at all times, and since it is not regenerative, all of the power is dissipated as heat waste, increasing operating costs and creating uncomfortable work conditions.

Battery emulators maintain a positive DC voltage and can immediately accept or deliver current, allowing power to flow in either direction. More advanced battery emulators, like NHR’s 9300 Battery Emulator, allow further real- world simulation of battery characteristics by modeling the battery packs series-resistance (RINT).

The RINT Model: Accurately Simulating Battery Characteristics

The Internal Resistance (RINT) model provides a simulation of the battery’s internal chemical resistance, along with additional pack resistances created by internal connections, contactors, and safety components. The RINT model can be implemented with a true bi-directional source (Vocv) and a programmable series-resistance (Rs). This model is sufficient for understanding the major characteristics of battery-based resistances and pack resistances. While the number of mathematical models has increased, these more complicated models are used to understand the electro-chemical characteristics of batteries, the nuances of  which have little impact on the overall system when compared with the total resistance of the pack.

NHR’s battery emulators feature this equivalent RINT Model providing an electronically programmable “Battery Emulation” mode. As in a real battery, NHR’s battery emulators adjust the output voltage depending on the direction and amplitude of current flow.  This automatic adjustment of output voltage better simulates real-world battery pack characteristics especially when compared with common DC-bus and source/load simulation systems.

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Battery emulation is ideal for applications such as electric powertrain, fuel cell emulation, energy storage systems emulation, Solar PV inverter testing, DC Bus emulation, and more. For more information about key differentiators and technology considerations for battery emulation, please contact us.

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Testing Electric Vehicles Using Battery Emulation

Testing Electric Vehicles with Battery Emulation - NH Research (NHR)

Today, next generation battery emulation provides a competitive advantage for testing electric vehicle (EV) components and systems. Battery Emulation is ideal for testing the electric powertrain, DC fast charging and other EV applications in which a battery is required for testing.

Using batteries as power sources for testing is an extremely time-consuming and costly challenge across the transportation electrification industry including EV, aerospace, and e-mobility markets. The transition from traditional to modern electrification architectures, require flexible and scalable testing methodologies. Testing with batteries can delay projects, increase safety risks and hinder engineering productivity. As electrification is evolving to higher power demands, the ability to emulate a battery or energy storage systems with speed and accuracy is critical. Battery emulation can substantially reduce test time, energy consumption and operating costs.

Battery Emulation Testing vs. Real Battery Testing

There are 3 key benefits to testing electric vehicles with battery emulation or battery simulator testing, rather than using a real battery. Battery emulation dramatically reduces testing time, provides highly repeatable test results, and creates a safer test environment. This results in preparation time, operator errors, and result variations due to battery temperature or aging, being eliminated.

Testing EVs with Battery Emulation Reduces Testing Time

Testing a real battery often requires operator preparation for each step. Batteries must first be charged, or discharged, then allowed to rest, and finally tested. The significant battery preparation time can be avoided by using an emulated battery. Emulation can reduce total test times by more than 70%.

Battery Emulation Provides Repeatable Test Results

Over time, batteries provide inconsistent test results, wear out, and need to be replaced. Battery age, internal temperature, and cycling are all contributing factors to the limited battery life-span. Manual battery operation, including rest time facilitation, can also cause inaccurate test results. Battery emulation provides consistent and repeatable test results, unlike those from real battery testing, during which battery changes and operator errors cause variations in test results.

Battery Emulation Improves Safety

Although batteries are generally safe when operated within normal operating ranges, they are high energy devices that may pose serious risks upon battery or unit under test (UUT) failure. Such risks include exposure to dangerous gases, fires, explosions, or corrosive chemicals. These concerns have led to safety policies stating that tests must be conducted and monitored during working hours. Furthermore, testing extreme cases of over-discharged or over-charged batteries can pose unpredictable risks and safety hazards. Battery emulation creates a safe testing environment without any of the concerns that arise when real batteries are used. Also, emulation safely verifies UUT behavior when a battery is outside a normal operating condition.

Not all Battery Emulators are Created Equal

While testing with real batteries is possible, it can seem quite impractical. Using battery emulator or battery simulator testing produces test results faster, provides a consistent test, and can safely test power electronic devices that typically require a real battery.

However, not all battery emulators, regenerative DC sources and DC common bus architectures are optimally designed to provide accurate and timely results. There are key technology considerations when selecting a battery emulator for your application. Contact us to learn what battery emulation capabilities are the right approaches for faster, scalable and more repeatable testing.

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NHR Presents Live Webinar: The Fundamentals of Battery Test, on April 29th.

EV Batteries - NH Research (NHR)

NH Research Inc., a leading provider of power electronics and battery test solutions for the automotive, industrial, energy storage, and critical-power markets, will be hosting a free live webinar on The Fundamentals of Battery Module and Pack Test on April 29th, 2020.

In this live webinar, Martin Weiss, Product Director at NHR, will discuss key industry trends impacting battery test, current challenges and opportunities, and key factors in selecting the right test approach. This session will cover the fundamental concepts and key considerations for module and pack battery testing.

Webinar Description:
The battery market is growing rapidly due to the acceleration of electrification in the automotive, aerospace and energy industries. In turn, batteries have become the pivotal component for electrifying cars, planes, trains and automobiles and storing clean energy. Therefore, it’s imperative that today’s engineers, researchers, and managers understand the fundamentals of how to test batteries as well as the most productive approaches to ensure product performance, safety and time to market.

Battery pack and module testing is becoming more critical than ever. Today, engineers face new challenges including increased complexity of the tests and set-ups, long development and test times, addressing safety requirements and avoiding hazards. Furthermore, testing to the application requires emulating real-world conditions by reacting to CAN, BMS and other communication protocols.

In this series, learn about:

  • Industry trends impacting battery test
  • The fundamentals of battery module/pack testing
  • How to reduce time to market and improve engineering productivity
  • Next generation solutions for battery test

Webinar Event: The Fundamentals of Battery Module and Pack Test
Dates: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 2-3pm EDT

Register now: https://nhresearch.com/landing/landing-webinar-registration-form/

For more information on our Battery Test Solutions, visit our application page.

About NH Research

NHR enables electrification by accelerating innovation, validation and functional testing of today’s technologies. Backed by over 50 years of experience in power conversion and power electronics test systems and instruments, our test solutions deliver the performance, simplicity, and safety that engineers and researchers in aerospace, defense, automotive and energy industries require.

For more information, visit www.nhresearch.com.

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