Switching LiPo Battery Charger

From Mindworks
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Team Name Trip C
Duration Spring 2014 - Fall 2014
Faculty Instructor
Faculty Advisor
Faculty Mentor
Team Members
  • Ryler Adams
  • Pankaj Dhyani
  • Abraham Martinez

The University of Idaho Marching Band has been incorporating multimedia displays into their performances, including synchronized light emitting diodes powered by Lithium-Polymer battery packs. There is a need for a charging system capable of charging approximately 200 packs safely and efficiently within a one week time frame.

Problem Definition


Turnigy 800mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack
The Lithium-Ion Battery
Term Definition
Minimum Capacity 800mAh
Configuration 3S1P/11.1v/3cell
Constant Discharge 20C
Peak Discharge(10sec) 30C
Pack Weight 75g
Pack Size 57x29x23mm
Charge Plug JST-XH

A device which can switch between multiple lithium polymer batteries after charge completion of a single battery and hence charges in a sequence is required by the University of Idaho marching band.Automatic switching of the batteries during the charging process requires less user interface and the circuitry to design the aforementioned device is one that can be achieved under a moderate budget. The prototype and the circuitry can be multiplied and extended as the number of batteries to be charged increases and further improvement of the circuit can also reduce costs.

Problem Statement

A robust lithium polymer battery charger that requires less user interface is desired for charging batteries used in the light show produced by the University of Idaho marching band. The prototype required should charge 10 batteries in a day and thus 50 batteries in a week. In future iterations of the project a system containing four of the prototypes modules can be connected in parallel to charge 40 batteries in a day and hence 200 batteries in a week .


Marketing specifications:

  • 200 batteries need to be charged per week.
  • Should be user friendly and require minimum amount of interfacing during or after charging.
  • The device should be scalable so that the prototype could be multiplied or added to charge more batteries in future iterations i.e. a modular system.
  • The charging status should be indicated to the user.

Engineering Specifications:

  • Since 200 batteries needs to be charged per business week, a battery matrix system (charging multiple batteries or charging in sequence through a single board) needs to be formulated. Charging circuit for parallel (simultaneously) or series (charging 1 battery then switching to the next in series) needs to be devised.
  • For minimum interfacing, a control system needs to be integrated within the design that controls the voltage and current flow to the batteries. Possible microcontroller programming required.
  • The rows and column number of the battery matrix will decide the number of batteries to be charged, parallel or serial charging and the amount of interfacing required. The number of batteries being charged per 2 hrs. (Approx. charging rate for a single battery) or over a course of a day or a week needs to be analyzed to allow the client minimum interfacing but good results.

Design Specifications:

  • A battery matrix of 10 X 1 was decided. The design will charge one battery at a time and switch to the next one in the column as soon as the microcontroller senses a voltage change. Hence the design will charge 10 batteries in roughly 20 hours and 40 batteries in the same time if 4 modules of the design are used and connected in parallel to a power supply. Thus, it will charge 200 batteries/business week. This matrix was selected since it will require minimum interfacing from the user as 40 batteries have to be connected once and removed by the end of the day rather than charging 10 batteries in parallel, that will require plugging the batteries in and out after every 2 hours. The single evaluation board circuit (single IC) will be used to charge and will switch to the next battery in the column through a switching circuit consisting of a electromechanical Relay (DS1E) and controlled by a microcontroller.
  • Arduino Uno was selected because of it’s small size and a list of important functions (required for the project) that it could implement.
  • For charging 200 batteries per week, four of the PCB boards (10 X 1 matrix per board) connected in parallel to a power supply can be used. The whole modular system will charge 40 batteries per day hence 200 batteries per week. A single PCB board will be designed and made while the modular system is left for future senior design teams to finish.



Evaluation Charging Circuit

BQ24105 Evaluation Module

The ti bq241xx (bqSWITCHER) evaluation module delivers a suitable technique for evaluating a charging management solution for portable applications. The evaluation module used incorporates the ti bq24105 IC which fulfills the capacity of charging more than three battery cells in series safely and efficiently. The evaluation module for the bq24105 chip is default set to charge one battery cell, but by using the voltage output regulation formula, provided by the integrated circuit's datasheet, one can find the modifiable resistance across two nodes on the module and is able to configure up to three battery cells in series (~12v). By evaluating and observing the module, the constant current and constant voltage characteristics become apparent when testing. First the voltage begins to rise and current is constant. Once the voltage reaches maximum voltage the current decreases to prevent the battery from creating too much pressure inside possibly initiating a fire. Current drops to zero and voltage falls slightly due to charge termination. An occasional topping charge can be applied to top off the charge.


Arduino Uno

The Arduino Uno Revison 3 microcontroller board was selected according to desired criteria such as the suitable size, suitable memory, sufficient analog & digital input/output, and large product support. The Arduino Uno R3 is a simple yet robust microcontroller that is based off the Atmega328 processor.


Term Definition
Microcontroller ATmega328
Operating Voltage 5V
Input Voltage (recommended) 7-12V
Input Voltage (limits) 6-20V
Digital I/O Pins 14 (of which 6 provide PWM output)
Analog Input Pins 6
DC Current per I/O Pin 40 mA
Flash Memory 32 KB (ATmega328) of which 0.5 KB used by bootloader
SRAM 2 KB (ATmega328)
EEPROM 1 KB (ATmega328)
Clock Speed 16 MHz


Panasonic DS1E-M12V

Panasonic's DS1E-M12V was used for the switching circuit. It's electromechanical nature allowed the battery to be completely electrically isolated from the charging circuit. The specifications of the relay are shown below.


Term Definition
Contact Form SPDT (1 Form C)
Contact Current Rating 3A
Coil Voltage 12V
Maximum Switching Current 3 A
Coil Current 33.3 mA
Coil Type Non-Latching
Power Consumption 400 mW
Termination Style Solder Pin
Contact Rating 2 A at 30 VDC
Mounting Style Through Hole

Detailed Design

Design Schematic

PCB Schematic


PCB Design

A PCB was designed that includes the evaluation charging circuit, relays and battery connections. The PCB contains the tibq24115 switcher IC and it's evaluation module (EVM) circuit along with 10 electromechanical relays (DS1E) for 10 batteries. It also has microcontroller connecting junctions along with the EVM junctions for reading the values from the evaluation circuit. The PCB layout is shown below.

PCB Schematic

Team Information

Abraham Martinez:

Major: BS in Computer Engineering
Graduation Date: May 16, 2015
Hobbies: Weight Lifting, Listening to Music, Drawing, Eating
Email: mart0197@vandals.uidaho.edu
Responsibilities: Wiki Manager/Logic Designing/Circuit Configuring

Pankaj Dhyani:

Major: BS in Electrical Engineering
Graduation Date: December 19, 2014
Hobbies: Playing Guitar, Videography
Email: dhya5789@vandals.uidaho.edu
Responsibilities: Wiki Manager/PCB Designing/Circuit Configuring

Ryler Adams:

Major: BS in Electrical Engineering
Graduation Date: December 19, 2014
Hobbies: Camping, Family time
Email: adam7906@vandals.uidaho.edu
Responsibilities: Circuit Configuring


Document Archive

Team Meetings





Project Schedule


Design Report

Design Report

Final Presentation