Best Car Battery Charger, Vehicle-Tracking Systems Demand Integrated Battery Power Management

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Best Car Battery Charger – In developed countries like Europe and North America, the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in vehicles is expected to increase the adoption rate of vehicle tracking systems. Such systems can be active or passive – they collect data in the same way and are just as accurate.

The main difference between active and passive involves time. Active trackers are also called real-time trackers, as they transmit data via satellite or cellular network, which instantly shows where the vehicle is located. In this way, the computer screen can display this movement in real-time. Thus, active tracking is the best choice for businesses interested in improving their delivery efficiency and monitoring their employees driving in the field.

Best Car Battery Charger

Active trackers also have geo-fence capabilities (think of this feature as a force field), alerting when vehicles enter or exit from a predetermined location (source: RMT Corporation). Such systems can also help prevent theft and help restore stolen vehicles. Of course, active GPS tracking devices are more expensive than passive devices and require monthly service fees.

Passive trackers, on the other hand, are cheaper, smaller, and easier to hide. Their weakness is limited data storage. They store information on the device rather than transmitting data to remote locations. The tracker must be removed from the vehicle and plugged into the computer to view the information.

Passive systems are good for people who track their mileage for work purposes, or for businesses that are interested in reducing the misuse of their vehicles. In addition, they are often chosen to monitor the actions of people as well (think of detective work). Passive tracker is a good choice if immediate feedback is not needed and there are plans to regularly check device data.

Both types of trackers are portable and have relatively small form factor. Therefore, battery power is required, such as backup capability to store data in case of power loss. Due to the higher voltage and current of the automotive system required to charge the battery (usually single-cell Li-ion), the switch mode charger is desired for higher charging efficiency when compared to linear battery charger IC, as it produces less heat in shape power dissipation.

In general, embedded automotive applications have an input voltage of up to 30 V, with some even higher. In this GPS tracking system, the charger with a 12V Li-ion battery to a single cell (usually 3.7 V) with additional protection for a much higher input voltage (in the case of voltage transients of the battery visit), plus some sort of backup capability, would be ideal.

Both types of trackers are portable and have relatively small form factor. Therefore, battery power is required, such as backup capability to store data in case of power loss. Due to the higher voltage and current of the automotive system required to charge the battery (usually single-cell Li-ion), the switch mode charger is desired for higher charging efficiency when compared to linear battery charger IC, as it produces less heat in shape power dissipation.

In general, embedded automotive applications have an input voltage of up to 30 V, with some even higher. In this GPS tracking system, the charger with a 12V Li-ion battery to a single cell (usually 3.7 V) with additional protection for a much higher input voltage (in the case of voltage transients of the battery visit), plus some sort of backup capability, would be ideal.

Traditional linear topology batteries are often appreciated for their simple footprints, simplicity, and low cost. However, the disadvantages associated with this charger include limited input and battery voltage range, relatively higher current consumption, excessive power dissipation (heat generation), limited cost termination algorithms, and lower relative efficiency.

Traditionally, the battery backup power management system for batteries consists of multiple ICs, high voltage volt regulators, and battery chargers, plus all discrete components – not a compact solution. Therefore, the initial tracking system is not very compact in form factor. Typical applications for tracking systems use automotive batteries and single-cell Li-ion batteries for storage and backup.

Then why does the tracking system require more integrated power management solutions? In particular, it is necessary to reduce the size of the tracker itself; smaller is better in this market. In addition, there is a requirement to charge the battery safely and protect the IC from the transient voltage; the need to backup the system if system power is lost or failed; and to power a relatively lower rail voltage from the general service (GPRS) chipset service pack at ~ 4.45 V.

The backup power manager and integrated charger solution, which solves the outlined objectives, requires the following attributes:

Synthetic buck topology for high efficiency.
Wide input voltage range to accommodate various input resources, plus protection against high voltage
Appropriate battery voltage to support GPRS chipset.
Simple and autonomous operation with onboard charge termination (no microcontroller required).
PowerPath control for seamless switching between input power and power backup during power failure events; it also needs to provide an inverted blocking if the inputs are shorted
Battery backup capability for system load power when input is missing or
Traces of small and low profile solutions due to space constraints.
Sophisticated packaging to improve performance and thermal spaces
To address this specific need, Analog Devices recently introduced LTC4091 – a complete Li-ion battery backup management system for the 3.45- to 4.45-V supply rails that must remain active during long-term main power failures.

LTC4091 uses 36-V monolithic buck converters with adaptive output controls to provide power to the system load and enable high-efficiency battery charging from the buck output. When external power is available, the device can provide up to 2.5 A total output current and up to 1.5 A charging current for a single Li-ion battery, cell 4.1 or 4.2-V.

If the main input source fails and can no longer load the load, LTC4091 provides up to 4 A to the system output load from the Li-ion battery backup through internal diodes, and relatively unlimited currents when external transistors are used. To protect sensitive downstream loads, the maximum output load voltage is 4.45 V.

The PowerPath control of the device provides a seamless switch between input power and power backup during a power-failure event and allows inverted blocking with reduced inputs. Common applications for LTC4091 include fleet and asset tracking, automotive GPS data logger and telematics systems, security systems, communications, and industrial backup systems.

LTC4091 includes maximum 60-V absolute overvoltage input insulation, making the IC immune to high-voltage input transients. The battery charger provides two selectable charge voltages optimized for Li-ion battery backup applications: the 4.2 V standard and a 4.1-V option that trades batteries to increase charging / discharging lifespan. Other features include soft-start and fold-back frequencies to control output current at startup and overload, as well as droplet, auto recharge, low battery precharge charges, timer disconnection, thermal regulation, and thermistor pins for qualified charging temperatures.