Power Electronics / Power Management


Just Batteries develops Li-ion battery pack for drones

28 October 2020 Power Electronics / Power Management

The commercial market for drones is ever growing, ranging from delivering your pizza or shoes to supplying medical equipment to rural and inaccessible areas.

Just Batteries’ design, development and production capabilities give it the professional capability to support the drone market, particularly in new ventures and enterprises.


3D rendering of the battery pack.

With a specific set of parameters and specifications, the company created a large format lithium-ion battery pack with a high power capability for a lifting drone. Some of the design parameters were:

• Output voltage of 48 V (14S), output current of 300 A for up to 5 minutes. This equates to 14 400 Watts – about the same power as five 150 litre geysers.

• The weight had to be as low as possible and Just Batteries managed to build it under 14 kilograms.

• The peak power capability is in the region of 400 A for a few seconds (19 200 Watts).


Thermal image of the battery pack during testing.

Component and other design considerations

With very high energy density and low internal resistance, the Samsung 25R cells, that can deliver 20 A continuously, were chosen. The power control module (PCM) used is specified at 260 A continuous with much higher peak current capabilities.

Multiple spot-welding techniques were performed and analysed to ensure that the required current capabilities were met.

Testing

Vigorous testing had to be done. Knowing the risks involved and what was at stake, possible accidents and pack limitations had to be considered to constrain battery rupture and thermal runaways which could have possibly catastrophic consequences.

During the final load testing, Just Batteries analysed the power performance and temperature increase on various components of the pack. This was done using a welding load bank with a load current capability of 500 A.

This testing process would not have been possible without the professional help of some third-party providers. Smarter Welding provided the load bank and Comtest supplied the respected Fluke Thermal Imager 401 Pro.


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