When it comes to rapid advances in technology, we don't have a whole lot to gripe about as a society. We've got computers in our pockets, broadband-class speeds without wires, and more pixels on our displays than we can even count. But on the battery side, there's a lot of room for improvement. Texas Instruments realizes it, and this week introduced two power management chipsets with TI's patented new MaxLife fast-charge technology, which allows consumers to charge single-cell Li-Ion batteries faster and experience longer battery life. The bq27530 and bq27531 fuel gauge circuits, coupled with TI's bq2416x and bq2419x chargers, optimize battery performance using the highest possible charge rates with minimal battery degradation.
TI's MaxLife technology leverages a degradation modeling system to minimize charge time while extending battery service life – as much as 30 percent according to lab tests. Based on TI's popular Impedance Track battery capacity measurement technology, the MaxLife algorithm accurately predicts and avoids charge conditions that could degrade the battery.
Traditional software-controlled battery management systems – whether implemented with a microcontroller, PMIC (power management integrated circuit) or digital signal processor – are limited in their ability to predict accurate battery capacity and translate that information into run time. The new bq27530 and bq24160 chipset for 2.5-A charge rates and the bq27531 and bq24192 chipset for 4.5-A charge rates give designers greater flexibility by having the gauge control the charger directly. This autonomous battery management system reduces software overhead, improves battery safety and security, provides better thermal management and allows a designer to adapt the charging algorithm to support different platforms and newer higher capacity batteries.
Before we get too excited, it's important to remember that these types of battery advancements have been trotted out before, but a lot of it seems to fade away after hitting the drawing board. Hopefully we'll soon see some meaningful boosts, though.