Lithium-ion batteries have a lot of advantages over their lead-acid counterparts. They’re lighter, more efficient, charge faster, and have a longer lifespan. However, they’re susceptible to conditions that can damage the battery pack. Tapping into all of this potential requires lithium-ion batteries to be more complex and include components to help avoid these damaging conditions. In fact, this is the primary purpose of the battery management system.
What is a Battery Management System?
A battery management system (BMS) is said to be the brain of a battery pack. The BMS is a set of electronics that monitors and manages all of the battery’s performance. Most importantly, it keeps the battery from operating outside of its safety margins.
The battery management system is critical to the battery’s safe operation, overall performance, and longevity. Moreover, it protects whatever the lithium battery is installed in (boat, RV, etc.) and the people who are using it.
What is the Function of a Battery Management System?
The primary function of the BMS is to protect the battery cells from damage caused by being overcharged or over-discharged. Additionally, the BMS calculates the remaining charge, monitors the battery’s temperature, monitors the battery’s health and safety by checking for loose connections and internal shorts. The BMS also balances the charge across the cells to keep each cell functioning at maximum capacity.
If it detects any unsafe conditions, the BMS shuts the battery down to protect the lithium-ion cells and the user.
How Does a Battery Management System Work?
The battery management system monitors individual cells in the battery pack. It then calculates how much current can safely go in (charge) and come out (discharge) without damaging the battery.
The current limits prevent the source (usually a battery charger) and the load (such as an inverter) from overdrawing or overcharging the battery. This protects the battery pack from cell voltages getting too high or low, which helps increase the battery’s longevity.
The BMS also monitors the remaining charge in the battery. It continually tracks the amount of energy entering and exiting the battery pack and monitoring cell voltages. It uses this data to know when the battery is drained and will shut it down. This is why lithium-ion batteries don’t show signs of dying like a lead-acid, but just shut off.
Why a BMS is Important
Battery management systems are critical in protecting the battery’s health and longevity but even more important from a safety perspective. The liquid electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries is highly flammable.
So, these batteries need to be operating optimally and within safety limits at all times to prevent a fire.
Battle Born Built-In Battery Management System
All Battle Born Batteries have a built-in BMS. This protects against all of the most common causes of battery failures and dangers.
These include protecting the cells against short circuits, high currents, excessive heat, cold, and high or low voltages. Battle Born’s built-in BMS also protects against faults.
Protections Offered By a Battery Management System
Let’s review the protections of a battery management system:
Under and Over-Voltage
Damage can occur if a lithium-ion battery cell is overcharged (cell voltage getting too high) or over-discharged (cell voltage getting too low). The BMS helps protect from under and over-voltage situations so that damage to the battery’s cells does not occur.
The safety and stability of lithium-ion battery cells depend on temperature maintenance within certain limits. If the temperature exceeds the critical level on either end, thermal runaway can occur. Consequently, this can lead to an inextinguishable fire.
The BMS monitors the temperature and sometimes controls cooling fans (in the case of an electric vehicle) to help maintain proper conditions. It will even shut down cells if needed to protect the battery.
Protection from Shorts
Internal and external shorts can also lead to thermal runaway. For this reason, protection from shorts is another critical component of a battery management system.
Keep Your Batteries and Your Family Safe With A BMS
There are many benefits to lithium-ion battery technology. But lithium-ion battery cells and conditions must be monitored, managed, and balanced to ensure safety and optimal longevity and efficiency.
The battery management system is the primary component in the battery pack that monitors all of these conditions. Above all, it keeps your batteries operating safely and optimally so you can get out there and stay out there with peace of mind.
Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?
We know building or upgrading an electrical system can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help. Our Reno, Nevada-based sales and customer service team is standing by at (775) 622-3448 to take your questions!
Also join us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about how lithium battery systems can power your lifestyle, see how others have built their systems, and gain the confidence to get out there, and stay out there.