June 30th, 2009

LiIon Battery Charger

LiIon Battery Charger

Even though not much information is published about Lithium Ion Batteries, we find them more and more often powering our portable electronics. While their price sometimes can go pretty high, LiIon batteries offer higher capacity from less weight and volume and faster charging. Laptops, portable media players, cell phones, cameras, etc. almost all use the LiIon so there is a very high probability to recover the battery from a damaged device and this way get all the advantages at a small price.

Like with other batteries, inside the LiIon type there are one to four cells connected in series, each at about 3.6-3.7V. Higher capacity is obtained by connecting series groups of cells in parallel. All is nice though until the battery gets empty, then the tricky part starts. Conventional chargers don’t work on LiIon and can even destroy them. There are some generic charges on the market but either they’re very expensive or they’re for small batteries.

Newer batteries communicate with the charger telling the settings to be used for charging. Even older batteries have a thermistor that monitors temperature and a protection against complete depletion. This being said, in this project is presented a DIY solution for a LiIon Battery Charger. There are some things you must know about the battery so that you can safely charge it.

First of all you must know the pin-out, you risk damaging the battery and/or charger if you connect it the wrong way. Then you must know the number of cells but you can determine this by dividing the battery voltage rating by 3.7V, you must also know the capacity and thermistor value. The charge current can vary between half and full capacity rating, the lower value the safest but the slower.

The charger presented in the link is based on application note AVR450 from Atmel. The project uses the AtMega8 microcontroller and it  features adjustable charging settings as well as Smart Battery Interface. Schematics and code for the Atmel are available as well as information on how to operate it. Good luck!

LiIon Battery Charger: [Link]

DIY Lithium Ion Battery Charger

Lithium Ion batteries pack a lot of power by weight compared to other types. There are 2 things that need to be handled differently than nicad on NiMH:

1. They cannot be used as a direct substitute (even if they look like other AA’s) since they run at about 3.6 (or so) volts.

2. They cannot be charged in the same way as nicad or NiMH.

Sooner or later you are gonna need a Li Ion charger in one of your projects, so it’s better to be prepared.

DIY Lithium Ion Battery Charger: [Link]

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