High-power batteries generally consist of a series connection of many cells or cell banks. In order to maintain high performance over battery life, it is desirable to keep the state of charge of all the cell banks equal. A method provides individual charging for battery cells in a large, high-voltage battery array with a minimum number of transformers while maintaining reasonable efficiency. This is designed to augment a simple highcurrent charger that supplies the main charge energy.
The innovation will form part of a larger battery charge system. It consists of a transformer array connected to the battery array through rectification and filtering circuits. The transformer array is connected to a drive circuit and a timing and control circuit that allow individual battery cells or cell banks to be charged. The timing circuit and control circuit connect to a charge controller that uses battery instrumentation to determine which battery bank to charge. It is important to note that the innovation can charge an individual cell bank at the same time that the main battery charger is charging the high-voltage battery.
The fact that the battery cell banks are at a non-zero voltage, and that they are all at similar voltages, can be used to allow charging of individual cell banks. A set of transformers can be connected with secondary windings in series to make weighted sums of the voltages on the primaries.
This work was done by Francis Davies of Johnson Space Center.
This invention is owned by NASA, and a patent application has been filed. Inquiries concerning nonexclusive or exclusive license for its commercial development should be addressed to
the Patent Counsel
Johnson Space Center