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Design a low-cost lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery charger with MCP73123

Posted: 08 Sep 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:battery charger MCP73123  LiFePO4 battery  design battery charger 

Demand of fast-discharge rated energy storage sources for electrical vehicle (EV), hybrid electrical vehicle (HEV) or portable power tools have driven the commercial development of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. The traditional LiFePO4 battery systems usually require high voltages or large capacities. However, the nature of its characters such as longer cycle life than typical Li-ion batteries, better resistance to thermal runaway and higher output and peak current rating make them ideal candidates to RC (remote control) toys and backup power applications.

The typical capacity of LiFePO4 battery cells are available in the ranged from 500mAh to 2,300mAh. They are usually rated at 3.2V. There are systems or applications that do not require large capacity (multiple cells in parallel) or high voltage (multiple cells in series) battery packs. Each power path has one IC to manage the charge profile and display the state of charge.

Most LiFePO4 battery manufacturers have different charge and discharge specifications for their batteries. However, all LiFePO4 share Constant Current-Constant Voltage (CC-CV) algorithm with Li-ion batteries. The preferred charge voltage is typically 3.6V. The termination current can be either fixed value or ratio of fast charge current. Unlike Li-ion chemistry, LiFePO4 can be charged with higher C rate.

This application note is intended to provide design guidance for designers who are interested in taking advantage of using Microchip's MCP73123 to charge LiFePO4 batteries to reduce the product development cycle, cost and time to market.

View the PDF document for more information.

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