Preventing lithium polymmer battery issues for wearable devices

Unveil the best practices to a successful new product introduction by preventing battery issues with these best practices.

Lithium-ion Polymer Chemistry Characteristic

Lithium-ion uses various cathode materials, such as, Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (Li-NCM) and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4). Each materials offers different trade-offs in terms of energy density, stability, and cost. Li-NCM battery has a higher power rating and energy density compared to the LiFePO4 battery.

Besides, high temperature can lead to fast degradation or even thermal runway, and low temperature can increase the internal resistance and affect the delivery of the power or causing damage. 

Different material has different specification, using Li-NCM as example, the regular standards of operating temperature is between -20~0℃ to 55~60℃, and charging temperature is between 0℃ to 50℃. 

Determine Key Specifications

Choose the right lithium-ion battery specifications based on the device, such as, power requirements, size constraints and desired lifespan. 

Before introducing a new product to the market, it is essential to determine the key specifications of the battery used in the device. This includes factors such as capacity, voltage, and current ratings, which directly impact the performance and safety of the battery.

By carefully defining and adhering to the key specifications of the battery, you can mitigate the risk of unexpected occurrences and ensure a positive user experience.

Charge Discharge Process

Lithium-Ion Battery shall neither be overcharged nor over-discharged due to the chemistry reactions can lead to safety hazards or reduce the battery lifespan. Typically, if the battery cell is protected with a BMS or protection board. 

For single Li-NCM battery cell, the voltage goes up to 4.2V considered as fully charged and voltage down to ≤ 2.75V considered as fully discharged. When the battery enters a level of 2.5V, it shall be considered as deep discharged and shall avoid using it. Overcharged can lead to safety issue. 

High relative humidity will also increase the process of self-discharging.
You shall always conduct the manufacturer’s datasheet for a more precious description.

Power Management

Implementing a robust battery management strategy is vital for monitoring and controlling the performance of lithium-ion polymer batteries. It measures, such as, state of charge estimate and state of health monitoring, and balances the battery pack (multiple cells) to maximize the battery life.

Li-NCM battery cell, full discharge at 2.75V, a recommended termination for BMS to prevent the Deep-Discharged issue can set to 3V or more, measure the expected time for using and storage period, it can be a trade-offs.

Storage And Shipment

The temperature and relative humidity (RH %) affect the battery lifespan and self-discharging speed due to the chemistry reactions.
Provide a consistent environment with temperature around 25℃ and RH less than 60% for storage. 

Charge the battery to a certain level based on the measurement of expecting storage period. Power-off the device entirely.

Charge the battery to a certain level of 60 to 80% of full capacity before shipping.

A proper retention plan will be helpful to address turnover rate avoiding stocking too many batteries.

About Charger

The charger used with lithium-ion polymer batteries plays a significant role in their performance and safety. Using a compatible and high-quality charger that meets the battery's specifications is essential for efficient charging and preventing issues like overcharging or short circuits.

Educating users on the importance of using the right charger and avoiding counterfeit or low-quality chargers can help maintain the integrity of the battery and prolong its lifespan.

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Posted by Bala Wang