Selecting the optimal cell chemistry for portable designs

VanZwol, Jeffrey
April 2005
Portable Design;Apr2005, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p10
This paper discusses some factors in choosing the optimal cell chemistry to power a portable system. The power requirements of cell phones, PDAs, portable medical equipment, handheld scanners, and other systems differ almost as much as their uses. Some of the more relevant and applicable cell chemistries for these devices include NiMH, Lilon, and LiPolymer. Each chemistry has a unique set of characteristics that qualifies or disqualifies it for a target application. Characteristics of NiMH batteries include a nominal voltage of 1.25 V, 500 duty cycles per lifetime, less than 0.5C optimal load current, an average energy density of 100 Wh/kg, a charge time within four hours, typical discharge rate of about 30 percent per month when in storage, and a rigid form factor. Lilon battery characteristics, on the other hand, include a nominal voltage of 3.6 V, 1000 duty cycles per lifetime, less that 1C optimal load current, an average energy density of 160 Wh/kg, a charge time within four hours, typical discharge rate of about 10 percent per month when in storage, and a rigid form factor. LiPoly cells have similar performance characteristics to Lilon cells, including the same nominal voltage. The timely key difference is in the number of duty cycles per lifetime, which sits at 500. LiPoly cells have the unique characteristic that they are typically packaged in a slightly flexible form.


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