US20190033385A1 - Systems and methods for determining a state of charge of a disconnected battery - Google Patents

Systems and methods for determining a state of charge of a disconnected battery Download PDF

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Publication number
US20190033385A1
US20190033385A1 US16/046,883 US201816046883A US2019033385A1 US 20190033385 A1 US20190033385 A1 US 20190033385A1 US 201816046883 A US201816046883 A US 201816046883A US 2019033385 A1 US2019033385 A1 US 2019033385A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
battery
batteries
remote
charge
voltage
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US16/046,883
Inventor
Don Karner
Frank Fleming
Ulf Krohn
Christer Lindkvist
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Electric Applications Inc
Northstar Battery Co LLC
Original Assignee
Northstar Battery Co LLC
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US201762538622P priority Critical
Priority to US201862659929P priority
Priority to US201862660157P priority
Priority to US201862679648P priority
Application filed by Northstar Battery Co LLC filed Critical Northstar Battery Co LLC
Priority to US16/046,883 priority patent/US20190033385A1/en
Priority claimed from PCT/US2018/044232 external-priority patent/WO2019023672A1/en
Priority claimed from CN201880063354.7A external-priority patent/CN111279557A/en
Assigned to NORTHSTAR BATTERY COMPANY, LLC reassignment NORTHSTAR BATTERY COMPANY, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: FLEMING, FRANK, KROHN, Ulf, LINDKVIST, Christer
Assigned to NORTHSTAR BATTERY COMPANY, LLC reassignment NORTHSTAR BATTERY COMPANY, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: ELECTRIC APPLICATIONS INC.
Assigned to ELECTRIC APPLICATIONS INC. reassignment ELECTRIC APPLICATIONS INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: KARNER, DONALD B.
Publication of US20190033385A1 publication Critical patent/US20190033385A1/en
Assigned to NORTHSTAR BATTERY COMPANY, LLC reassignment NORTHSTAR BATTERY COMPANY, LLC RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: INTERTRUST (SWEDEN) AB
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J7/00Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries
    • H02J7/0063Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries with circuits adapted for supplying loads from the battery
    • H02J2007/0067Discharge management, i.e. discharge current reduction at low state of charge, sequential battery discharge in systems with a plurality of battery
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J7/00Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries
    • H02J7/0013Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries acting upon several batteries simultaneously or sequentially
    • H02J7/0025Sequential battery discharge in systems with a plurality of batteries
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J7/00Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries
    • H02J7/0047Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries with monitoring or indicating devices or circuits
    • H02J7/0048Detection of remaining charge capacity or state of charge [SOC]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J7/00Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries
    • H02J7/0047Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries with monitoring or indicating devices or circuits
    • H02J7/005Detection of state of health [SOH]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J7/00Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries
    • H02J7/0063Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries with circuits adapted for supplying loads from the battery
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/10Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications in which an application is distributed across nodes in the network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/80Services using short range communication, e.g. near-field communication [NFC], radio-frequency identification [RFID] or low energy communication
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E60/00Enabling technologies; Technologies with a potential or indirect contribution to GHG emissions mitigation
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E60/00Enabling technologies; Technologies with a potential or indirect contribution to GHG emissions mitigation
    • Y02E60/10Energy storage using batteries
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y04INFORMATION OR COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES HAVING AN IMPACT ON OTHER TECHNOLOGY AREAS
    • Y04SSYSTEMS INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO POWER NETWORK OPERATION, COMMUNICATION OR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVING THE ELECTRICAL POWER GENERATION, TRANSMISSION, DISTRIBUTION, MANAGEMENT OR USAGE, i.e. SMART GRIDS
    • Y04S10/00Systems supporting electrical power generation, transmission or distribution
    • Y04S10/30State monitoring, e.g. fault, temperature monitoring, insulator monitoring, corona discharge
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y04INFORMATION OR COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES HAVING AN IMPACT ON OTHER TECHNOLOGY AREAS
    • Y04SSYSTEMS INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO POWER NETWORK OPERATION, COMMUNICATION OR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVING THE ELECTRICAL POWER GENERATION, TRANSMISSION, DISTRIBUTION, MANAGEMENT OR USAGE, i.e. SMART GRIDS
    • Y04S10/00Systems supporting electrical power generation, transmission or distribution
    • Y04S10/50Systems or methods supporting the power network operation or management, involving a certain degree of interaction with the load-side end user applications

Abstract

A method is disclosed for determining a state of charge, a self-discharge rate, and a predicted amount of time remaining (tREMX) until the battery will self-discharge to a pre-determined minimum state-of-charge (SOCmin) under storage or transit conditions, in a disconnected battery. The method further discloses calculating a time to recharge the battery (ReChargeTime) from its current SOC to a desired SOC. A battery monitor circuit, embedded or attached to a battery, monitors an instantaneous internal temperature (Tx) and a voltage (Vx) of a disconnected battery to perform the analysis and provide notification, scheduling, and take other actions. In an example embodiment, the method further comprises displaying this determined battery information on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to, and the benefit of: U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/538,622 filed on Jul. 28, 2017 entitled “ENERGY STORAGE DEVICE, SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR MONITORING AND PERFORMING DIAGNOSTICS ON POWER DOMAINS”; U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/659,929 filed on Apr. 19, 2018 entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR MONITORING BATTERY PERFORMANCE”; U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/660,157 filed on Apr. 19, 2018 entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR ANALYSIS OF MONITORED TRANSPORTATION BATTERY DATA”; and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/679,648 filed on Jun. 1, 2018 entitled “DETERMINING THE STATE OF CHARGE OF A DISCONNECTED BATTERY”. The contents of each of the foregoing applications are hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes (except for any subject matter disclaimers or disavowals, and except to the extent that the incorporated material is inconsistent with the express disclosure herein, in which case the language in this disclosure controls).
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present disclosure relates generally to monitoring of energy storage devices, and in particular to determining a state of charge of a disconnected battery that may be in storage or transit.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Lead acid energy storage devices are prevalent and have been used in a variety of applications for well over 100 years. In some instances, these energy storage devices have been monitored to assess a condition of the energy storage device. Nevertheless, these prior art monitoring techniques typically are complex enough and sufficiently costly as to limit their use, and to limit the amount of data that is obtained, particularly in low value remote applications. For example, there is generally insufficient data about the history of a specific energy storage device over the life of its application. Moreover, in small numbers, some energy storage devices are coupled to sensors to collect data about the energy storage system, but this is not typical of large numbers of devices and/or in geographically dispersed systems. Often the limited data obtained via prior art monitoring is insufficient to support analysis, actions, notifications and determinations that may otherwise be desirable. Similar limitations exist for non-lead-acid energy storage devices. In particular, these batteries, due to their high energy and power have entered various new mobile applications that are not suitable for traditional monitoring systems. Accordingly, new devices, systems and methods for monitoring energy storage devices (and batteries in particular) remain desirable, for example for providing new opportunities in managing one or more energy storage devices, including in diverse and/or remote geographic locations.
  • Batteries are often stored for some period of time before they are connected and used. Typically, a battery is manufactured and stored for a period of time before it is shipped out of the manufacturing facility. The battery may be packaged, unconnected to other batteries, chargers or loads, with other batteries. For example, the battery may be individually packaged and grouped with other batteries on a pallet, or in a shipping container. The battery or group of batteries may be stored on a shelf or warehouse floor. The battery or group of batteries may be shipped to an intermediate point of distribution, or directly to a supplier of batteries. The battery may be stored at the intermediate or supplier destination for a further period of time. Eventually, the battery will be reach its intended location of use, be connected to a load and/or a charger, be installed in a battery pack with other batteries, and/or the like.
  • It is known that certain types of batteries will self-discharge over time when stored, disconnected from a power system to maintain its charge. It is impractical, excessively expensive, and likely detrimental, to store all of the batteries in a state where they are each connected to a charger to maintain the charge. Thus, it can be necessary to periodically recharge the batteries being stored in a warehouse or being shipped. The problem is knowing when to recharge them, knowing when to check the batteries in the warehouse to determine their state of charge, and knowing how best to schedule the recharging activity. It is inefficient to manually test and recharge every battery stored on the shelves in a warehouse. There exists a need for a more efficient way of solving these problems.
  • SUMMARY
  • In an example embodiment, a method for determining a state of charge in a disconnected battery is disclosed, the method comprising (a) sensing, using a battery monitor circuit, an instantaneous internal temperature (Tx) and a voltage (Vx) of a battery that is one of a plurality of batteries that are stored or in transit, wherein the battery is not electrically connected to a power system, and wherein the battery is not electrically connected to any of the plurality of batteries. The method may further comprise: (b) determining an average voltage (Vxave) by averaging the voltage (Vx) of the battery for a predetermined period of time (tavg); and (c) determining that the battery has been in a rest period, during which the battery is neither charged nor discharged, for a resting predetermined period of time (trest), by confirming that the average voltage (Vxave) has not varied by more than a predetermined voltage amount (dV) for the resting predetermined period of time (trest). The method may further comprise: (d) calculating, for the battery that has been in the rest period, a state-of-charge (SOCx) based on an empirical correlation as a function of Vxave for the battery, wherein the state-of-charge represents a percentage that the battery is currently charged between 0% and 100%, inclusive; and (e) wirelessly communicating data between the battery and a remote device for displaying the SOCx on the remote device.
  • In an example embodiment, the method may further comprise calculating the self-discharge rate (SDRx), wherein the SDRx is a function of a current internal temperature (ciTx) of the battery, and the battery capacity (CAPx). In an example embodiment tREMX is a function of the state-of-charge (SOCx), the SOCmin, and the self-discharge rate (SDRx). In an example embodiment, the method further comprises displaying the tREMX of the battery on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
  • In an example embodiment, the method may further comprise calculating a time to recharge the battery (ReChargeTime) from its current SOC to a desired SOC; wherein the ReChargeTime is a function of the current SOC, the desired SOC, a maximum charge current and a battery capacity (CAPx); and displaying the ReChargeTime on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
  • In an example embodiment, a battery monitoring system is disclosed for monitoring disconnected batteries in storage or transit, the battery monitoring system comprising: a plurality of batteries, wherein each battery of the plurality of batteries: is in storage or transit; is not electrically connected to a power system; is not electrically connected to any of the plurality of batteries; and comprises a battery monitor circuit embedded into or attached onto the battery and having a transceiver, a temperature sensor for sensing an instantaneous internal temperature (Tx) of the battery, and a voltage sensor for sensing an instantaneous open circuit voltage (Vx) of the battery; and a remote device. In an example embodiment, at least one of the battery monitor circuit and the remote device are further configured, for each battery, to: determine an average voltage (Vxave) by averaging the Vx of the battery for a predetermined period of time (tavg); determine that the battery has been in a rest period, during which the battery is neither charged nor discharged, for a resting predetermined period of time (trest), by confirming that the average voltage (Vxave) has not varied by more than a predetermined voltage amount (dVxave) for the resting predetermined period of time (trest); and calculate, for the battery that has been in the rest period, a state-of-charge (SOCx) based upon an empirical correlation as a function of Vxave for the battery, wherein the state-of-charge represents a percentage that the battery is currently charged between 0% and 100%, inclusive, wherein the state-of-charge is calculated based on an empirical correlation as function of Vxave. In an example embodiment, the remote device is configured to display the SOCx for the battery without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery, and without a physical external connection between the remote device and the battery.
  • In an example embodiment, the remote device is configured to display at least one of a time to recharge the battery (ReChargeTime), a SOCx, or a predicted amount of time remaining (tREMX) without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
  • The contents of this section are intended as a simplified introduction to the disclosure, and are not intended to limit the scope of any claim.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES
  • FIG. 1A illustrates a monobloc having a battery monitor circuit disposed therein, in accordance with various embodiments
  • FIG. 1B illustrates a monobloc having a battery monitor circuit coupled thereto, in accordance with various embodiments;
  • FIG. 2A illustrates a battery comprising multiple monoblocs, with each monobloc having a battery monitor circuit disposed therein, in accordance with various embodiments;
  • FIG. 2B illustrates a battery comprising multiple monoblocs, with the battery having a battery monitor circuit coupled thereto, in accordance with various embodiments;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a method of monitoring a battery in accordance with various embodiments;
  • FIG. 4A illustrates a battery monitoring system, in accordance with various embodiments;
  • FIG. 4B illustrates a battery monitoring system, in accordance with various embodiments;
  • FIG. 4C illustrates a battery operating history matrix having columns representing a range of voltage measurements, and rows representing a range of temperature measurements, in accordance with various embodiments;
  • FIG. 4D illustrates a battery having a battery monitor circuit disposed therein or coupled thereto, the battery coupled to a load and/or to a power supply, and in communicative connection with various local and/or remote electronic systems, in accordance with various embodiments;
  • FIG. 5 shows a schematic diagram of a system with two groups of batteries in different locations and inventory tracking, in accordance with an example embodiment.
  • FIG. 6 is a graph of the open circuit voltage vs. state of charge for an example battery, in accordance with aspects of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 7 shows an example of battery storage and recharging system in accordance with aspects of the present disclosure.
  • FIG. 8 shows an example of remote device in accordance with aspects of the present disclosure.
  • FIGS. 9 and 10 show examples of processes for determining a state of charge, time remaining to recharge, and/or time to recharge in a stored or disconnected battery in accordance with aspects of the present disclosure.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The detailed description shows embodiments by way of illustration, including the best mode. While these embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the principles of the present disclosure, it should be understood that other embodiments may be realized and that logical, mechanical, chemical, and/or electrical changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of principles of the present disclosure. Thus, the detailed description herein is presented for purposes of illustration only and not of limitation. For example, the steps recited in any of the method descriptions may be executed in any suitable order and are not limited to the order presented.
  • Moreover, for the sake of brevity, certain sub-components of individual components and other aspects of the system may not be described in detail herein. It should be noted that many alternative or additional functional relationships or physical couplings may be present in a practical system, for example a battery monitoring system. Such functional blocks may be realized by any number of suitable components configured to perform specified functions.
  • Principles of the present disclosure improve the operation of a battery, for example by eliminating monitoring components such as a current sensor which can drain a battery of charge prematurely. Further, a battery monitoring circuit may be embedded within the battery at the time of manufacture, such that it is capable of monitoring the battery and storing/transmitting associated data from the first day of a battery's life until it is recycled or otherwise disposed of. Moreover, principles of the present disclosure improve the operation of various computing devices, such as a mobile communications device and/or a battery monitor circuit, in numerous ways, for example: reducing the memory utilized by a battery monitor circuit via compact storage of battery history information in a novel matrix-like database, thus reducing manufacturing expense, operating current draw, and extending operational lifetime of the battery monitor circuit; facilitating monitoring and/or control of multiple monoblocs via a single mobile communications device, thus improving efficiency and throughput; and reducing the amount of data transmitted across a network linking one or more batteries and a remote device, thus freeing up the network to carry other transmitted data and/or to carry data of relevance more quickly, and also to significantly reduce communications costs.
  • Additionally, principles of the present disclosure improve the operation of devices coupled to and/or associated with a battery, for example a cellular radio base station, an electric forklift, an e-bike, and/or the like.
  • Yet further, application of principles of the present disclosure transform and change objects in the real world. For example, as part of an example algorithm, lead sulfate in a lead-acid monobloc is caused to convert to lead, lead oxide, and sulfuric acid via application of a charging current, thus transforming a partially depleted lead-acid battery into a more fully charged battery. Moreover, as part of another example algorithm, various monoblocs in a warehouse may be physically repositioned, recharged, or even removed from the warehouse or replaced, thus creating a new overall configuration of monoblocs in the warehouse.
  • It will be appreciated that various other approaches for monitoring, maintenance, and/or use of energy storage devices exist. As such, the systems and methods claimed herein do not preempt any such fields or techniques, but rather represent various specific advances offering technical improvements, time and cost savings, environmental benefits, improved battery life, and so forth. Additionally, it will be appreciated that various systems and methods disclosed herein offer such desirable benefits while, at the same time, eliminating a common, costly, power-draining component of prior monitoring systems—namely, a current sensor. Stated another way, various example systems and methods do not utilize, and are configured without, a current sensor and/or information available therefrom, in stark contrast to nearly all prior approaches.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, a battery monitor circuit is disclosed. The battery monitor circuit may be configured to sense, record, and/or wired or wirelessly communicate, certain information from and/or about a battery, for example date/time, voltage and temperature information from a battery.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, a monobloc is an energy storage device comprising at least one electrochemical cell, and typically a plurality of electrochemical cells. As used herein, the term “battery” can mean a single monobloc, or it can mean a plurality of monoblocs that are electrically connected in series and/or parallel. A “battery” comprising a plurality of monoblocs that are electrically connected in series and/or parallel is sometimes referred to in other literature as a “battery pack.” A battery may comprise a positive terminal and a negative terminal. Moreover, in various exemplary embodiments, a battery may comprise a plurality of positive and negative terminals. In an exemplary embodiment, a battery monitor circuit is disposed within a battery, for example positioned or embedded inside a battery housing and connected to battery terminals via a wired connection. In another exemplary embodiment, a battery monitor circuit is connected to a battery, for example coupled to the external side of a battery housing and connected to the battery terminals via a wired connection.
  • In an embodiment, a battery monitor circuit comprises various electrical components, for example a voltage sensor, a temperature sensor, a processor for executing instructions, a memory for storing data and/or instructions, an antenna, and a transmitter/receiver/transceiver. In some exemplary embodiments, a battery monitor circuit may also include a clock, for example a real-time clock. Moreover, a battery monitor circuit may also include positioning components, for example a global positioning system (GPS) receiver circuit.
  • In certain example embodiments, a battery monitor circuit may comprise a voltage sensor configured with wired electrical connections to a battery, for monitoring a voltage between a positive terminal and a negative terminal (the terminals) of the battery. Moreover, the battery monitor circuit may comprise a temperature sensor for monitoring a temperature of (and/or associated with) the battery. The battery monitor circuit may comprise a processor for receiving a monitored voltage signal from the voltage sensor, for receiving a monitored temperature signal from the temperature sensor, for processing the monitored voltage signal and the monitored temperature signal, for generating voltage data and temperature data based on the monitored voltage signal and the monitored temperature signal, and for executing other functions and instructions.
  • In various example embodiments, the battery monitor circuit comprises a memory for storing data, for example voltage data and temperature data from (and/or associated with) a battery. Moreover, the memory may also store instructions for execution by the processor, data and/or instructions received from an external device, and so forth. In an exemplary embodiment, the voltage data represents the voltage across the terminals of the battery, and the temperature data represents a temperature as measured at a particular location on and/or in the battery. Yet further, the battery monitor circuit may comprise an antenna and a transceiver, for example for wirelessly communicating data, such as the voltage data and the temperature data to a remote device, and for receiving data and/or instructions. Alternatively, the battery monitor circuit may include a wired connection to the battery and/or to a remote device, for example for communicating the voltage data and the temperature data to a remote device via the wired connection, and/or for receiving data and/or instructions. In one exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit transmits the voltage data and the temperature data wirelessly via the antenna to the remote device. In another exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit transmits the voltage data and the temperature data via a wired connection to the remote device. In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit is configured to be located external to the battery and wired electrically to the battery.
  • The battery monitor circuit may be formed, in one exemplary embodiment, via coupling of various components to a circuit board. In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit further incorporates a real-time clock. The real-time clock may be used, for example, for precisely timing collection of voltage and temperature data for a battery. As described herein, the battery monitor circuit may be positioned internal to the battery, and configured to sense an internal temperature of the battery; alternatively, the battery monitor circuit may be positioned external to the battery, and configured to sense an external temperature of the battery. In another exemplary embodiment, a battery monitor circuit is positioned within a monobloc to sense an internal temperature of a monobloc. In still another exemplary embodiment, a battery monitor circuit is coupled to a monobloc to sense an external temperature of a monobloc. The wired and/or wireless signals from the battery monitor circuit can be the basis for various useful actions and determinations as described further herein.
  • With reference now to FIGS. 1A and 1B, in an exemplary embodiment, a battery 100 may comprise a monobloc. The monobloc may, in an exemplary embodiment, be defined as an energy storage device. The monobloc comprises at least one electrochemical cell (not shown). In various example embodiments, the monobloc comprises multiple electrochemical cells, for example in order to configure the monobloc with a desired voltage and/or current capability. In various exemplary embodiments, the electrochemical cell(s) are lead-acid type electrochemical cells. Although any suitable lead-acid electrochemical cells may be used, in one exemplary embodiment, the electrochemical cells are of the absorbent glass mat (AGM) type design. In another exemplary embodiment, the lead-acid electrochemical cells are of the gel type of design. In another exemplary embodiment, the lead-acid electrochemical cells are of the flooded (vented) type of design. However, it will be appreciated that various principles of the present disclosure are applicable to various battery chemistries, including but not limited to nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), lithium ion, lithium cobalt oxide, lithium iron phosphate, lithium ion manganese oxide, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide, lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide, lithium titanate, lithium sulpher, rechargeable alkaline, and/or the like, and thus the discussion herein directed to lead-acid batteries is provided by way of illustration and not of limitation.
  • The battery 100 may have a housing 110. For example, the battery 100 may be configured with a sealed monobloc lead-acid energy storage case made of a durable material. The battery 100 may further comprise a positive terminal 101 and a negative terminal 102. The sealed case may have openings through which the positive terminal 101 and negative terminal 102 pass.
  • With reference now to FIGS. 2A and 2B, a battery 200 may comprise a plurality of electrically connected monoblocs, for example batteries 100. The monoblocs in the battery 200 may be electrically connected in parallel and/or series. In an exemplary embodiment, the battery 200 may comprise at least one string of monoblocs. In an exemplary embodiment, a first string may comprise a plurality of monoblocs electrically connected in series. In another exemplary embodiment, a second string may comprise a plurality of monoblocs electrically connected in series. If there is more than one string of monoblocs in the battery, the first, second, and/or additional strings may be electrically connected in parallel. A series/parallel connection of monoblocs may ultimately be connected to a positive terminal 201 and a negative terminal 202 of the battery 200, for example in order to achieve a desired voltage and/or current characteristic or capability for battery 200. Thus, in an exemplary embodiment, a battery 200 comprises more than one monobloc. A battery 200 may also be referred to herein as a power domain.
  • The battery 200 may have a cabinet or housing 210. For example, the battery 200 may comprise thermal and mechanical structures to protect the battery and provide a suitable environment for its operation.
  • With reference now to FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B, in an example application, a battery 100/200 may be used for back-up power (also known as an uninterrupted power supply or UPS). Moreover, the battery 100/200 may be used in a cellular radio base station application and may be connected to a power grid (e.g., to alternating current via a rectifier/inverter, to a DC microgrid, and/or the like). In another exemplary embodiment, the battery 100/200 is connected to an AC power grid and used for applications such as peak shaving, demand management, power regulation, frequency response, and/or reactive power supply. In another exemplary embodiment, the battery 100/200 is connected to a drive system providing motive power to various vehicles (such as bicycles), industrial equipment (such as forklifts), and on-road light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles. In other example applications, the battery 100/200 may be used for any suitable application where energy storage is desired on a short or long-term basis. The battery 100/200 may be shipped in commerce as a unitary article, shipped in commerce with other monoblocs (such as on a pallet with many other monoblocs), or shipped in commerce with other monoblocs as part of a battery (for example, multiple batteries 100 forming a battery 200).
  • In an exemplary embodiment, a battery monitor circuit 120 may be disposed within and internally connected to the battery 100; alternatively, a battery monitor circuit 120 may be coupled to and externally connected to the battery 100/200. In an exemplary embodiment, a single battery monitor circuit 120 may be disposed within and associated with a single monobloc (see battery 100), as illustrated in FIG. 1A. In another exemplary embodiment, a single battery monitor circuit 120 may be coupled to and associated with a single monobloc (see battery 100), as illustrated in FIG. 1B. In another exemplary embodiment, multiple batteries 100, each having a battery monitor circuit 120 disposed therein, may be disposed within and comprise a portion of a single battery 200, as illustrated in FIG. 2A. In another exemplary embodiment, a single battery monitor circuit 120 may be externally coupled to and associated with a single battery 200, as illustrated in FIG. 2B. In yet another exemplary embodiment, more than one battery monitor circuit 120 is disposed within and connected to one or more portions of a single battery. For example, a first battery monitor circuit could be disposed within and connected to a first monobloc of the battery and a second battery monitor circuit could be disposed within and connected to a second monobloc of the battery. A similar approach may be employed to associate multiple battery monitor circuits 120 that are externally coupled to a battery.
  • The battery monitor circuit 120 may comprise a voltage sensor 130, a temperature sensor 140, a processor 150, a transceiver 160, an antenna 170, and a storage medium or memory (not shown in the Figures). In an exemplary embodiment, a battery monitor circuit 120 is configured to sense a voltage and temperature associated with a monobloc or battery 100/200, to store the sensed voltage and temperature in the memory together with an associated time of these readings, and to transmit the voltage and temperature data (with their associated time) from the battery monitor circuit 120 to one or more external locations.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the voltage sensor 130 may be electrically connected by a wire to a positive terminal 101/201 of the battery 100/200 and by a wire to a negative terminal 102/202 of the battery 100/200. In an exemplary embodiment, the voltage sensor 130 is configured to sense a voltage of the battery 100/200. For example, the voltage sensor 130 may be configured to sense the voltage between the positive terminal 101/201 and the negative terminal 102/202. In an exemplary embodiment, the voltage sensor 130 comprises an analog to digital converter. However, any suitable device for sensing the voltage of the battery 100/200 may be used.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the temperature sensor 140 is configured to sense a temperature measurement of the battery 100/200. In one exemplary embodiment, the temperature sensor 140 may be configured to sense a temperature measurement at a location in or inside of the battery 100/200. The location where the temperature measurement is taken can be selected such that the temperature measurement is reflective of the temperature of the electrochemical cells comprising battery 100/200. In another exemplary embodiment, the temperature sensor 140 may be configured to sense a temperature measurement at a location on or outside of the battery 100/200. The location where the temperature measurement is taken can be selected such that the temperature measurement primarily reflects the temperature of the electrochemical cells comprising battery 100/200 itself and only indirectly, secondarily, or less significantly is influenced by neighboring batteries or environmental temperature. In various exemplary embodiments, the battery monitor circuit 120 is configured to be located inside of the battery 100/200. Moreover, in various exemplary embodiments the presence of battery monitor circuit 120 within battery 100/200 may not be visible or detectable via external visual inspection of battery 100/200. In other exemplary embodiments, the battery monitor circuit 120 is configured to be located outside of the battery 100/200, for example attached to a battery 100/200, electrically connected by wire to battery 100/200, and/or configured to move with battery 100/200 so as to remain electrically connected to the positive and negative terminals of battery 100/200.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the temperature sensor 140 may be configured to sense the temperature measurement at a location on or outside of the battery 100/200. The location where the temperature measurement is taken can be selected such that the temperature measurement primarily reflects the temperature of the battery 100/200 itself and only indirectly, secondarily, or less significantly is influenced by neighboring monoblocs or environmental temperature. In an exemplary embodiment, the temperature sensor 140 comprises a thermocouple, a thermistor, a temperature sensing integrated circuit, and/or the like. In certain exemplary embodiments, the temperature sensor 140 is embedded in the connection of battery monitor circuit 120 to the positive or negative terminal of the battery 100/200.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 comprises a printed circuit board for supporting and electrically coupling a voltage sensor, temperature sensor, processor, storage medium, transceiver, antenna, and/or other suitable components. In another exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 includes a housing (not shown). The housing can be made of any suitable material for protecting the electronics in the battery monitor circuit 120, for example a durable plastic. The housing can be made in any suitable shape or form factor. In an exemplary embodiment, the housing of battery monitor circuit 120 is configured to be externally attached to or disposed inside battery 100/200, and may be secured, for example via adhesive, potting material, bolts, screws, clamps, and/or the like. Moreover, any suitable attachment device or method can be used to keep the battery monitor circuit 120 in a desired position and/or orientation on, near, and/or within battery 100/200. In this manner, as battery 100/200 is transported, installed, utilized, and so forth, battery monitor circuit 120 remains securely disposed therein and/or coupled thereto, and thus operable in connection therewith. For example, battery monitor circuit 120 may not be directly attached to battery 100/200, but may be positioned adjacent thereto such that it moves with the battery. For example, battery monitor circuit 120 may be coupled to the frame or body of an industrial forklift containing battery 100/200.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 further comprises a real-time clock capable of maintaining time referenced to a standard time such as Universal Time Coordinated (UTC), independent of any connection (wired or wireless) to an external time standard such as a time signal accessible via a public network such as the Internet. The clock is configured to provide the current time/date (or a relative time) to the processor 150. In an exemplary embodiment, the processor 150 is configured to receive the voltage and temperature measurement and to store, in the storage medium, the voltage and temperature data associated with the time that the data was sensed/stored. In an exemplary embodiment, the voltage, temperature and time data may be stored in a storage medium in the form of a database, a flat file, a blob of binary, or any other suitable format or structure. Moreover, the processor 150 may be configured to store additional data in a storage medium in the form of a log. For example, the processor may log each time the voltage and/or temperature changes by a settable amount. In an exemplary embodiment, the processor 150 compares the last measured data to the most recent measured data, and logs the recent measured data only if it varies from the last measured data by at least this settable amount. The comparisons can be made at any suitable interval, for example every second, every 5 seconds, every 10 seconds, every 30 seconds, every minute, every 10 minutes, and/or the like. The storage medium may be located on the battery monitor circuit 120, or may be remote. The processor 150 may further be configured to transmit (wirelessly or by wired connection) the logged temperature/voltage data to a remote device for additional analysis, reporting, and/or action. In an exemplary embodiment, the remote device may be configured to stitch the transmitted data log together with the previously transmitted logs, to form a log that is continuous in time. In this manner, the size of the log (and the memory required to store it) on the battery monitor circuit 120 can be minimized. The processor 150 may further be configured to receive instructions from a remote device. The processor 150 may also be configured to transmit the time, temperature and voltage data off of the battery monitor circuit 120 by providing the data in a signal to the transceiver 160.
  • In another exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 is configured without a real-time clock. Instead, data is sampled on a consistent time interval controlled by the processor 150. Each interval is numbered sequentially with a sequence number to uniquely identify it. Sampled data may all be logged; alternatively, only data which changes more than a settable amount may be logged. Periodically, when the battery monitor circuit 120 is connected to a time standard, such as the network time signal accessible via the Internet, the processor time is synchronized with real-time represented by the time standard. However, in both cases, the interval sequence number during which the data was sampled is also logged with the data. This then fixes the time interval between data samples without the need for a real-time clock on battery monitor circuit 120. Upon transmission of the data log to a remote device, the intervals are synchronized with the remote device (described further herein), which maintains real time (e.g., UTC), for example synchronized over an Internet connection. Thus, the remote device is configured to provide time via synchronization with the battery monitor circuit 120 and processor 150. The data stored at the battery monitor circuit 120 or at the remote device may include the cumulative amount of time a monobloc has spent at a particular temperature and/or voltage. The processor 150 may also be configured to transmit the cumulative time, temperature and voltage data from the battery monitor circuit 120 by providing the data in a signal to the transceiver 160.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the time, temperature and voltage data for a battery may be stored in a file, database or matrix that, for example, comprises a range of voltages on one axis and a range of temperatures on a second axis, wherein the cells of this table are configured to increment a counter in each cell to represent the amount of time a battery has spent in a particular voltage/temperature state (i.e., to form a battery operating history matrix). The battery operating history matrix can be stored in the memory of battery monitor circuit 120 and/or in a remote device. For example, and with brief reference to FIG. 4C, an example battery operating history matrix 450 may comprise columns 460, with each column representing a particular voltage or range of voltage measurements. For example, the first column may represent a voltage range from 0 volts to 1 volt, the second column may represent a voltage range from 1 volt to 9 volts, the third column may represent a voltage range from 9 volts to 10 volts, and so forth. The battery operating history matrix 450 may further comprise rows 470, with each row representing a particular temperature (+/−) or range of temperature measurements. For example, the first row may represent a temperature less than 10° C., the second row may represent a temperature range from 10° C. to 20° C., the third row may represent a temperature range from 20° C. to 30° C., and so forth. Any suitable scale and number of columns/rows can be used. In an exemplary embodiment, the battery operating history matrix 450 stores a cumulative history of the amount of time the battery has been in each designated voltage/temperature state. In other words, the battery operating history matrix 450 aggregates (or correlates) the amount of time the battery has been in a particular voltage/temperature range. In particular, such a system is particularly advantageous because the storage size does not increase (or increases only a marginal amount) regardless of how long it records data. The memory occupied by the battery operating history matrix 450 is often the same size the first day it begins aggregating voltage/temperature data as its size years later or near a battery's end of life. It will be appreciated that this technique reduces, compared to implementations that do not use this technique, the size of the memory and the power required to store this data, thus significantly improving the operation of the battery monitor circuit 120 computing device. Moreover, battery voltage/temperature data may be transmitted to a remote device on a periodic basis. This effectively gates the data, and, relative to non-gating techniques, reduces the power required to store data and transmit data, reduces the size of the memory, and reduces the data transmission time.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the transceiver 160 may be any suitable transmitter and/or receiver. For example, the transceiver 160 may be configured to up-convert the signal to transmit the signal via the antenna 170 and/or to receive a signal from the antenna 170 and down-convert the signal and provide it to the processor 150. In an exemplary embodiment, the transceiver 160 and/or the antenna 170 can be configured to wirelessly send and receive signals between the battery monitor circuit 120 and a remote device. The wireless transmission can be made using any suitable communication standard, such as radio frequency communication, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Bluetooth Low Power (IPv6/6LoWPAN), a cellular radio communication standard (2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, 5G, etc.), and/or the like. In an exemplary embodiment, the wireless transmission is made using low power, short range signals, to keep the power drawn by the battery monitor circuit low. In one exemplary embodiment, the processor 150 is configured to wake-up, communicate wirelessly, and go back to sleep on a schedule suitable for minimizing or reducing power consumption. This is desirable to prevent monitoring of the battery via battery monitor circuit 120 from draining the battery prematurely. The battery monitor circuit 120 functions, such as waking/sleeping and data gating functions, facilitate accurately sensing and reporting the temperature and voltage data without draining the battery 100/200. In various exemplary embodiments, the battery monitor circuit 120 is powered by the battery within which it is disposed and/or to which it is coupled for monitoring. In other exemplary embodiments, the battery monitor circuit 120 is powered by the grid or another power supply, for example a local battery, a solar panel, a fuel cell, inductive RF energy harvesting circuitry, and/or the like.
  • In some exemplary embodiments, use of a Bluetooth protocol facilitates a single remote device receiving and processing a plurality of signals correlated with a plurality of batteries (each equipped with a battery monitor circuit 120), and doing so without signal interference. This one-to-many relationship between a remote device and a plurality of batteries, each equipped with a battery monitor circuit 120, is a distinct advantage for monitoring of batteries in storage and shipping channels.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, battery monitor circuit 120 is located internal to the battery. For example, battery monitor circuit 120 may be disposed within a housing of battery 100. In various embodiments, battery monitor circuit 120 is located internal to a monobloc or battery. Battery monitor circuit 120 may be hidden from view/inaccessible from the outside of battery 100. This may prevent tampering by a user and thus improve the reliability of the reporting performed. Battery monitor circuit 120 may be positioned just below a lid of battery 100, proximate the interconnect straps (lead inter-connecting bar), or the like. In this manner, temperature of a monobloc due to the electrochemical cells and heat output of the interconnect straps can be accurately measured.
  • In another exemplary embodiment, battery monitor circuit 120 is located external to the battery. For example, battery monitor circuit 120 may be attached to the outside of battery 100/200. In another example, battery monitor circuit 120 is located proximate to the battery 100/200, with the voltage sensor 130 wired to the positive and negative terminals of the battery 100/200. In another exemplary embodiment, battery monitor circuit 120 can be connected to the battery 100/200 so as to move with the battery 100/200. For example, if battery monitor circuit 120 is connected to the frame of a vehicle and the battery 100/200 is connected to the frame of the vehicle, both will move together, and the voltage and temperature monitoring sensors 130 and 140 can continue to perform their proper functions as the vehicle moves.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, temperature sensor 140 may be configured to sense a temperature of one of the terminals of a monobloc. In another exemplary embodiment, temperature sensor 140 may be configured to measure the temperature at a location or space between two monoblocs in a battery, the air temperature in a battery containing multiple monoblocs, the temperature at a location disposed generally in the middle of a wall of a monobloc, and/or the like. In this manner, the temperature sensed by the battery monitor circuit 120 may be more representative of the temperature of battery 100/200 and/or the electrochemical cells therein. In some exemplary embodiments, temperature sensor 140 may be located on and/or directly coupled to the printed circuit board of battery monitor circuit 120. Moreover, the temperature sensor 140 may be located in any suitable location inside of a monobloc or battery for sensing a temperature associated with the monobloc or battery. Alternatively, the temperature sensor 140 may be located in any suitable location outside of a monobloc or battery for sensing a temperature associated with the monobloc or battery.
  • Thus, with reference now to FIG. 3, an exemplary method 300 for monitoring a battery 100/200 comprising at least one electrochemical cell comprises: sensing a voltage of the battery 100/200 with a voltage sensor 130 wired to the battery terminals (step 302), and recording the voltage and the time that the voltage was sensed in a storage medium (step 304); sensing a temperature associated with battery 100/200 with a temperature sensor 140 disposed within and/or on battery 100/200 (step 306), and recording the temperature and the time that the temperature was sensed in the storage medium (step 308); and wired or wirelessly transmitting the voltage, temperature and time data recorded in the storage medium to a remote device (step 310). The voltage, temperature, and time data, together with other relevant data, may be assessed, analyzed, processed, and/or utilized as an input to various computing systems, resources, and/or applications (step 312). In an exemplary method, the voltage sensor 130, temperature sensor 140, and storage medium are located inside the battery 100 on a battery monitor circuit 120. In another exemplary method, the voltage sensor 130, temperature sensor 140, and storage medium are located outside the battery 100/200 on a battery monitor circuit 120. Moreover, method 300 may comprise taking various actions in response to the voltage, temperature, and/or time data (step 314), for example charging a battery, discharging a battery, removing a battery from a warehouse, replacing a battery with a new battery, and/or the like.
  • With reference now to FIGS. 4A and 4B, in an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 is configured to communicate data with a remote device. The remote device may be configured to receive data from a plurality of batteries, with each battery equipped with a battery monitor circuit 120. For example, the remote device may receive data from individual batteries 100, each connected to a battery monitor circuit 120. And in another exemplary embodiment, the remote device may receive data from individual batteries 200, each battery 200 connected to a battery monitor circuit 120.
  • An example system 400 is disclosed for collecting and using data associated with each battery 100/200. In general, the remote device is an electronic device that is not physically part of the battery 100/200 or the battery monitor circuit 120. The system 400 may comprise a local portion 410 and/or a remote portion 420. The local portion 410 comprises components located relatively near the battery or batteries 100/200. “Relatively near,” in one exemplary embodiment, means within wireless signal range of the battery monitor circuit antenna. In another example embodiment, “relatively near” means within Bluetooth range, within the same cabinet, within the same room, and the like. The local portion 410 may comprise, for example, one or more batteries 100/200, a battery monitor circuit 120, and optionally a locally located remote device 414 located in the local portion 410. Moreover, the local portion may comprise, for example, a gateway. The gateway may be configured to receive data from each battery 100/200. The gateway may also be configured to transmit instructions to each battery 100/200. In an example embodiment, the gateway comprises an antenna for transmitting/receiving wirelessly at the gateway and/or for communicating with a locally located remote device 414. The locally located remote device 414, in an exemplary embodiment, is a smartphone, tablet, or other electronic mobile device. In another exemplary embodiment, the locally located remote device 414 is a computer, a network, a server, or the like. In a further exemplary embodiment, the locally located remote device 414 is an onboard vehicle electronics system. Yet further, in some embodiments, the gateway may function as locally located remote device 414. Exemplary communications, for example between the gateway and locally located remote device 414, may be via any suitable wired or wireless approach, for example via a Bluetooth protocol.
  • In some exemplary embodiments, the remote device is not located in the local portion 410, but is located in the remote portion 420. The remote portion 420 may comprise any suitable back-end systems. For example, the remote device in the remote portion 420 may comprise a computer 424 (e.g., a desk-top computer, a laptop computer, a server, a mobile device, or any suitable device for using or processing the data as described herein). The remote portion may further comprise cloud-based computing and/or storage services, on-demand computing resources, or any suitable similar components. Thus, the remote device, in various exemplary embodiments, may be a computer 424, a server, a back-end system, a desktop, a cloud system, or the like.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 may be configured to communicate data directly between battery monitor circuit 120 and the locally located remote device 414. In an exemplary embodiment, the communication between the battery monitor circuit 120 and the locally located remote device 414 can be a wireless transmission, such as via Bluetooth transmission. Moreover, any suitable wireless protocol can be used. In some embodiments where battery monitor circuit 120 is external to battery 100/200, the communication can be by wire, for example by Ethernet cable, USB cable, twisted pair, and/or any other suitable wire and corresponding wired communication protocol.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 further comprises a cellular modem for communicating via a cellular network 418 and other networks, such as the Internet, with the remote device. For example, data may be shared with the computer 424 or with the locally located remote device 414 via the cellular network 418. Thus, battery monitor circuit 120 may be configured to send temperature and voltage data to the remote device and receive communications from the remote device, via the cellular network 418 to other networks, such as the Internet, for distribution anywhere in the Internet connected world.
  • In various exemplary embodiments, the data from the local portion 410 is communicated to the remote portion 420. For example, data and/or instructions from the battery monitor circuit 120 may be communicated to a remote device in the remote portion 420. In an exemplary embodiment, the locally located remote device 414 may communicate data and/or instructions with the computer 424 in the remote portion 420. In an exemplary embodiment, these communications are sent over the Internet. The communications may be secured and/or encrypted, as desired, in order to preserve the security thereof.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, these communications may be sent using any suitable communication protocol, for example, via TCP/IP, WLAN, over Ethernet, WiFi, cellular radio, or the like. In one exemplary embodiment, the locally located remote device 414 is connected through a local network by a wire to the Internet and thereby to any desired remotely located remote device. In another exemplary embodiment, the locally located remote device 414 is connected through a cellular network, for example cellular network 418, to the Internet and thereby to any desired remotely located remote device.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, this data may be received at a server, received at a computer 424, stored in a cloud-based storage system, on servers, in databases, or the like. In an exemplary embodiment, this data may be processed by the battery monitor circuit 120, the locally located remote device 414, the computer 424, and/or any suitable remote device. Thus, it will be appreciated that processing and analysis described as occurring in the battery monitor circuit 120 may also occur fully or partially in the battery monitor circuit 120, the locally located remote device 414, the computer 424, and/or any other remote device.
  • The remote portion 420 may be configured, for example, to display, process, utilize, or take action in response to, information regarding many batteries 100/200 that are geographically dispersed from one another and/or that include a diverse or differing types, groups, and/or sets of batteries 100/200. The remote portion 420 can display information about, or based on, specific individual battery temperature and/or voltage. Thus, the system can monitor a large group of batteries 100/200 located great distances from each other, but do so on an individual battery level.
  • The remote portion 420 device may be networked such that it is accessible from anywhere in the world. Users may be issued access credentials to allow their access to only data pertinent to batteries owned or operated by them. In some embodiments, access control may be provided by assigning a serial number to the remote device and providing this number confidentially to the battery owner or operator to log into.
  • Voltage, temperature and time data stored in a cloud-based system may be presented in various displays to convey information about the status of a battery, its condition, its operating requirement(s), unusual or abnormal conditions, and/or the like. In one embodiment, data from one battery or group of batteries may be analyzed to provide additional information, or correlated with data from other batteries, groups of batteries, or exogenous conditions to provide additional information.
  • Systems and methods disclosed herein provide an economical means for monitoring the performance and health of batteries located anywhere in the cellular radio or Internet connected world. As battery monitor circuits 120 rely on only voltage, temperature and time data to perform (or enable performance of) these functions, cost is significantly less than various prior art systems which must monitor battery current as well. Further, performance of calculations and analyses in a remote device, which is capable of receiving voltage, temperature and time data from a plurality of monitoring circuits connected to a plurality of batteries, rather than performing these functions at each battery in the plurality of batteries, minimizes the per battery cost to monitor any one battery, analyze its performance and health, and display the results of such analyses. This allows effective monitoring of batteries, critical to various operations but heretofore not monitored because an effective remote monitoring system was unavailable and/or the cost to monitor batteries locally and collect data manually was prohibitive. Example systems allow aggregated remote monitoring of batteries in such example applications as industrial motive power (forklifts, scissor lifts, tractors, pumps and lights, etc.), low speed electric vehicles (neighborhood electric vehicles, electric golf carts, electric bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc.), grid power backup power supplies (computers, emergency lighting, and critical loads remotely located), marine applications (engine starting batteries, onboard power supplies), automotive applications, and/or other example applications (for example, engine starting batteries, over-the-road truck and recreational vehicle onboard power, and the like). This aggregated remote monitoring of like and/or disparate batteries in like and/or disparate applications allows the analysis of battery performance and health (e.g., battery state-of-charge, battery reserve time, battery operating mode, adverse thermal conditions, and so forth), that heretofore was not possible. Using contemporaneous voltage and temperature data, stored voltage and temperature data, and/or battery and application specific parameters (but excluding data regarding battery 100/200 current), the short term changes in voltage and/or temperature, longer term changes in voltage and/or temperature, and thresholds for voltage and/or temperature may be used singularly or in combination to conduct exemplary analyses, such as in the battery monitor circuit 120, the locally located remote device 414, the computer 424, and/or any suitable device. The results of these analyses, and actions taken in response thereto, can increase battery performance, improve battery safety and reduce battery operating costs.
  • While many of the embodiments herein have focused on electrochemical cell(s) which are lead-acid type electrochemical cells, in other embodiments the electrochemical cells may be of various chemistries, including but not limited to, lithium, nickel, cadmium, sodium and zinc. In such embodiments, the battery monitor circuit and/or the remote device may be configured to perform calculations and analyses pertinent to that specific battery chemistry.
  • In some example embodiments, via application of principles of the present disclosure, outlier batteries can be identified and alerts or notices provided by the battery monitor circuit 120 and/or the remote device to prompt action for maintaining and securing the batteries. The batteries 100/200 may be made by different manufacturers, made using different types of construction or different types of cells. However, where multiple batteries 100/200 are constructed in similar manner and are situated in similar environmental conditions, the system may be configured to identify outlier batteries, for example batteries that are returning different and/or suspect temperature and/or voltage data. This outlier data may be used to identify failing batteries or to identify local conditions (high load, or the like) and to provide alerts or notices for maintaining and securing such batteries. Similarly, batteries 100/200 in disparate applications or from disparate manufacturers can be compared to determine which battery types and/or manufacturers products perform best in any particular application.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 and/or the remote device may be configured to analyze the data and take actions, send notifications, and make determinations based on the data. The battery monitor circuit 120 and/or the remote device may be configured to show a present temperature for each battery 100/200 and/or a present voltage for each battery 100/200. Moreover, this information can be shown with the individual measurements grouped by temperature or voltage ranges, for example for prompting maintenance and safety actions by providing notification of batteries that are outside of a pre-determined range(s) or close to being outside of such range.
  • Moreover, the battery monitor circuit 120 and/or the remote device can display the physical location of each battery 100/200 (as determined by the battery monitor circuit 120) for providing inventory management of the batteries or for securing the batteries. In one exemplary embodiment, the physical location information is determined by the battery monitor circuit 120 using a cellular network. Alternatively, this information can be provided by the Global Positioning System (GPS) via a GPS receiver installed in the battery monitor circuit 120. This location information can be stored with the voltage, temperature, and time data. In another exemplary embodiment, the location data is shared wirelessly with the remote device, and the remote device is configured to store the location data. The location data may be stored in conjunction with the time, to create a travel history (location history) for the monobloc that reflects where the monobloc or battery has been over time.
  • Moreover, the remote device can be configured to create and/or send notifications based on the data. For example, a notification can be displayed if, based on analysis in the battery monitor circuit and/or the remote device a specific monobloc is over voltage, the notification can identify the specific monobloc that is over voltage, and the system can prompt maintenance action. Notifications may be sent via any suitable system or means, for example via e-mail, SMS message, telephone call, in-application prompt, or the like.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, where the battery monitor circuit 120 has been disposed within (or coupled externally to) and connected to a battery 100/200, the system provides inventory and maintenance services for the battery 100/200. For example, the system may be configured to detect the presence of a monobloc or battery in storage or transit, without touching the monobloc or battery. The battery monitor circuit 120 can be configured, in an exemplary embodiment, for inventory tracking in a warehouse. In one exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 transmits location data to the locally located remote device 414 and/or a remotely located remote device and back-end system configured to identify when a specific battery 100/200 has left the warehouse or truck, for example unexpectedly. This may be detected, for example, when battery monitor circuit 120 associated with the battery 100/200 ceases to communicate voltage and/or temperature data with the locally located remote device 414 and/or back end system, when the battery location is no longer where noted in a location database, or when the wired connection between the monobloc or battery and the battery monitor circuit 120 is otherwise severed. The remote back end system is configured, in an exemplary embodiment, to trigger an alert that a battery may have been stolen. The remote back end system may be configured to trigger an alert that a battery is in the process of being stolen, for example as successive monoblocs in a battery stop (or lose) communication or stop reporting voltage and temperature information. In an exemplary embodiment, a remote back end system may be configured to identify if the battery 100/200 leaves a warehouse unexpectedly and, in that event, to send an alarm, alert, or notification. In another embodiment wherein the battery monitor circuit 120 communicates via a cellular network with a remote device, the actual location of the battery can be tracked and a notification generated if the battery travels outside a predefined geo-fenced area. These various embodiments of theft detection and inventory tracking are unique as compared to prior approaches, for example, because they can occur at greater distance than RFID type querying of individual objects, and thus can reflect the presence of objects that are not readily observable (e.g., inventory stacked in multiple layers on shelves or pallets) where RFID would not be able to provide similar functionality.
  • In some exemplary embodiments, the remote device (e.g., the locally located remote device 414) is configured to remotely receive data regarding the voltage and temperature of each battery 100/200. In an exemplary embodiment, the remote device is configured to remotely receive voltage, temperature, and time data from each battery monitor circuit 120 associated with each battery 100/200 of a plurality of batteries. These batteries may, for example, be inactive or non-operational. For example, these batteries may not yet have been installed in an application, connected to a load, or put in service. The system may be configured to determine which batteries need re-charging. These batteries may or may not be contained in shipping packaging. However, because the data is received and the determination is made remotely, the packaged batteries do not need to be unpackaged to receive this data or make the determination. So long as the battery monitor circuit 120 is disposed within (or coupled externally to) and connected to these batteries, these batteries may be located in a warehouse, in a storage facility, on a shelf, or on a pallet, but the data can be received and the determination made without unpacking, unstacking, touching or moving any of the plurality of batteries. These batteries may even be in transit, such as on a truck or in a shipping container, and the data can be received and the determination made during such transit. Thereafter, at an appropriate time, for example upon unpacking a pallet, the battery or batteries needing re-charging may be identified and charged.
  • In a further exemplary embodiment, the process of “checking” a battery may be described herein as receiving voltage data and temperature data (and potentially, time data) associated with a battery, and presenting information to a user based on this data, wherein the information presented is useful for making a determination or assessment about the battery. In an exemplary embodiment, the remote device is configured to remotely “check” each battery 100/200 of a plurality of batteries equipped with battery monitor circuit 120. In this exemplary embodiment, the remote device can receive wireless signals from each of the plurality of batteries 100/200, and check the voltage and temperature of each battery 100/200. Thus, in these exemplary embodiments, the remote device can be used to quickly interrogate a pallet of batteries that are awaiting shipment to determine if any battery needs to be re-charged, how long until a particular battery will need to be re-charged, or if any state of health issues are apparent in a particular battery, all without un-packaging or otherwise touching the pallet of batteries. This checking can be performed, for example, without scanning, pinging, moving or individually interrogating the packaging or batteries, but rather based on the battery monitor circuit 120 associated with each battery 100/200 wirelessly reporting the data to the remote device (e.g., 414/424).
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the battery 100/200 is configured to identify itself electronically. For example, the battery 100/200 may be configured to communicate a unique electronic identifier (unique serial number, or the like) from the battery monitor circuit 120 to the remote device, the cellular network 418, or the locally located remote device 414. This serial number may be correlated with a visible battery identifier (e.g., label, barcode, QR code, serial number, or the like) visible on the outside of the battery, or electronically visible by means of a reader capable of identifying a single battery in a group of batteries. Therefore, the system 400 may be configured to associate battery data from a specific battery with a unique identifier of that specific battery. Moreover, during installation of a monobloc, for example battery 100, in a battery 200, an installer may enter into a database associated with system 400 various information about the monobloc, for example relative position (e.g., what battery, what string, what position on a shelf, the orientation of a cabinet, etc.). Similar information may be entered into a database regarding a battery 100/200.
  • Thus, if the data indicates a battery of interest (for example, one that is performing subpar, overheating, discharged, etc.), that particular battery can be singled out for any appropriate action. Stated another way, a user can receive information about a specific battery (identified by the unique electronic identifier), and go directly to that battery (identified by the visible battery identifier) to attend to any needs it may have (perform “maintenance”). For example, this maintenance may include removing the identified battery from service, repairing the identified battery, charging the identified battery, etc. In a specific exemplary embodiment, a battery 100/200 may be noted as needing to be re-charged, a warehouse employee could scan the batteries on the shelves in the warehouse (e.g., scanning a QR code on each battery 100/200) to find the battery of interest and then recharge it. In another exemplary embodiment, as the batteries are moved to be shipped, and the package containing the battery moves along a conveyor, past a reader, the locally located remote device 414 can be configured to retrieve the data on that specific battery, including the unique electronic identifier, voltage and temperature, and alert if some action needs to be taken with respect to it (e.g., if the battery needs to be recharged before shipment).
  • In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 itself, the remote device and/or any suitable storage device can be configured to store the battery operation history of the individual battery 100/200 through more than one phase of the battery's life. In an exemplary embodiment, the history of the battery can be recorded. In an exemplary embodiment, the battery may further record data after it is integrated into a product or placed in service (alone or in a battery). The battery may record data after it is retired, reused in a second life application, and/or until it is eventually recycled or disposed.
  • Although sometimes described herein as storing this data on the battery monitor circuit 120, in a specific exemplary embodiment, the historical data is stored remotely from the battery monitor circuit 120. For example, the data described herein can be stored in one or more databases remote from the battery monitor circuit 120 (e.g., in a cloud-based storage offering, at a back-end server, at the gateway, and/or on one or more remote devices).
  • The system 400 may be configured to store, during one or more of the aforementioned time periods, the history of how the battery has been operated, the environmental conditions in which it has been operated, and/or the society it has kept with other batteries, as may be determined based on the data stored during these time periods. For example, the remote device may be configured to store the identity of other batteries that were electrically associated with the battery 100/200, such as if two batteries are used together in one application. This shared society information may be based on the above described unique electronic identifier and data identifying where (geographically) the battery is located. The remote device may further store when the batteries shared in a particular operation.
  • This historical information, and the analyses that are performed using it, can be based solely on the voltage, temperature and time data. Stated another way, current data is not utilized. As used herein, “time” may include the date, hour, minute, and/or second of a voltage/temperature measurement. In another exemplary embodiment, “time” may mean the amount of time that the voltage/temperature condition existed. In particular, the history is not based on data derived from the charge and discharge currents associated with the battery(s). This is particularly significant because it would be very prohibitive to connect to and include a sensor to measure the current for each and every monobloc, and an associated time each was sensed from the individual battery, where there is a large number of monoblocs.
  • In various exemplary embodiments, system 400 (and/or components thereof) may be in communication with an external battery management system (BMS) coupled one or more batteries 100/200, for example over a common network such as the Internet. System 400 may communicate information regarding one or more batteries 100/200 to the BMS and the BMS may take action in response thereto, for example by controlling or modifying current into and/or out of one or more batteries 100/200, in order to protect batteries 100/200.
  • In an exemplary embodiment, in contrast to past solutions, system 400 is configured to store contemporaneous voltage and/or contemporaneous temperature data relative to geographically dispersed batteries. This is a significant improvement over past solutions where there is no contemporaneous voltage and/or contemporaneous temperature data available on multiple monoblocs or batteries located in different locations and operating in different conditions. Thus, in the exemplary embodiment, historical voltage and temperature data is used to assess the condition of the monoblocs or batteries and/or make predictions about and comparisons of the future condition of the monobloc or battery. For example, the system may be configured to make assessments based on comparison of the data between the various monoblocs in a battery 200. For example, the stored data may indicate the number of times a monobloc has made an excursion out of range (over charge, over voltage, over temperature, etc.), when such occurred, how long it persisted, and so forth.
  • By way of contrast, it is noted that the battery monitor circuit 120 may be located internal to the monobloc or within the monobloc. In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 is located such that it is not viewable/accessible from the outside of battery 100. In another example, battery monitor circuit 120 is located internal to the battery 100 in a location that facilitates measurement of an internal temperature of the battery 100. For example, the battery monitor circuit 120 may measure the temperature in between two or more monoblocs, the outer casing temperature of a monobloc, or the air temperature in a battery containing multiple monoblocs. In other exemplary embodiments, the battery monitor circuit 120 may be located external to the monobloc or on the monobloc. In an exemplary embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 120 is located such that it is viewable/accessible from the outside of battery 100.
  • With reference now to FIG. 4D, in various exemplary embodiments a battery or batteries 100/200 having a battery monitor circuit 120 disposed therein (or externally coupled thereto) may be coupled to a load and/or to a power supply. For example, battery 100/200 may be coupled to a vehicle to provide electrical energy for motive power. Additionally and/or alternatively, battery 100/200 may be coupled to a solar panel to provide a charging current for battery 100/200. Moreover, in various applications battery 100/200 may be coupled to an electrical grid. It will be appreciated that the nature and number of systems and/or components to which battery 100/200 is coupled may impact desired approaches for monitoring of battery 100/200, for example via application of various methods, algorithms, and/or techniques as described herein. Yet further, in various applications and methods disclosed herein, battery 100/200 is not coupled to any external load or a charging source, but is disconnected (for example, when sitting in storage in a warehouse).
  • For example, various systems and methods may utilize information specific to the characteristics of battery 100/200 and/or the specific application in which battery 100/200 is operating. For example, battery 100/200 and application specific characteristics may include the manufacture date, the battery capacity, and recommended operating parameters such as voltage and temperature limits. In an example embodiment, battery and application specific characteristics may be the chemistry of battery 100/200—e.g., absorptive glass mat lead acid, gelled electrolyte lead acid, flooded lead acid, lithium manganese oxide, lithium cobalt oxide, lithium iron phosphate, lithium nickel manganese cobalt, lithium cobalt aluminum, nickel zinc, zinc air, nickel metal hydride, nickel cadmium, and/or the like.
  • In an example embodiment, battery specific characteristics may be the battery manufacturer, model number, battery capacity in ampere-hours (Ah), nominal voltage, float voltage, state of charge v. open circuit voltage, state of charge, voltage on load, and/or equalized voltage, and so forth. Moreover, the characteristics can be any suitable specific characteristic of battery 100/200.
  • In various exemplary embodiments, application specific characteristics may identify the application as a cellular radio base station, an electric forklift, an e-bike, and/or the like. More generally, application specific characteristics may distinguish between grid-coupled applications and mobile applications.
  • In various example embodiments, information characterizing battery 100/200 can be input by: manually typing the information: into a software program running on a mobile device, into a web interface presented by a server to a computer or mobile device, or any other suitable manual data entry method. In other example embodiments, information characterizing battery 100/200 can be selected from a menu or checklist (e.g., selecting the supplier or model of a battery from a menu). In other example embodiments, information can be received by scanning a QR code on the battery. In other example embodiments, information characterizing battery 100/200 can be stored in one or more databases (e.g., by the users providing an identifier that links to a database storing this information). For example, databases such as Department of Motor Vehicles, battery manufacturer and OEM databases, fleet databases, and other suitable databases may have parameters and other information useful for characterizing the application of a battery or batteries 100/200. Moreover, the characteristics can be any suitable application specific characteristic.
  • In one example embodiment, if battery 100/200 is configured with a battery monitor circuit 120 therewithin or externally coupled thereto, battery and application specific characteristics can be programmed onto the circuitry (e.g., in a battery parameters table). In this case, these characteristics for each battery 100/200 travel with battery 100/200 and can be accessed by any suitable system performing the analysis described herein. In another example embodiment, the battery and application specific characteristics can be stored remote from battery 100/200, for example in the remote device. Moreover, any suitable method for receiving information characterizing battery 100/200 may be used. In an example embodiment, the information can be stored on a mobile device, on a data collection device (e.g., a gateway), or in the cloud. Moreover, exemplary systems and methods may be further configured to receive, store, and utilize specific characteristics related to a battery charger (e.g., charger manufacturer, model, current output, charge algorithm, and/or the like).
  • The various system components discussed herein may include one or more of the following: a host server or other computing systems including a processor for processing digital data; a memory coupled to the processor for storing digital data; an input digitizer coupled to the processor for inputting digital data; an application program stored in the memory and accessible by the processor for directing processing of digital data by the processor; a display device coupled to the processor and memory for displaying information derived from digital data processed by the processor; and a plurality of databases. Various databases used herein may include: temperature data, time data, voltage data, battery location data, battery identifier data, and/or like data useful in the operation of the system. As those skilled in the art will appreciate, a computer may include an operating system (e.g., Windows offered by Microsoft Corporation, MacOS and/or iOS offered by Apple Computer, Linux, Unix, and/or the like) as well as various conventional support software and drivers typically associated with computers.
  • The present system or certain part(s) or function(s) thereof may be implemented using hardware, software, or a combination thereof, and may be implemented in one or more computer systems or other processing systems. However, the manipulations performed by embodiments were often referred to in terms, such as matching or selecting, which are commonly associated with mental operations performed by a human operator. No such capability of a human operator is necessary, or desirable in most cases, in any of the operations described herein. Rather, the operations may be machine operations, or any of the operations may be conducted or enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning. Useful machines for performing certain algorithms of various embodiments include general purpose digital computers or similar devices.
  • In fact, in various embodiments, the embodiments are directed toward one or more computer systems capable of carrying out the functionality described herein. The computer system includes one or more processors, such as a processor for managing monoblocs. The processor is connected to a communication infrastructure (e.g., a communications bus, cross-over bar, or network). Various software embodiments are described in terms of this computer system. After reading this description, it will become apparent to a person skilled in the relevant art(s) how to implement various embodiments using other computer systems and/or architectures. A computer system can include a display interface that forwards graphics, text, and other data from the communication infrastructure (or from a frame buffer not shown) for display on a display unit.
  • A computer system also includes a main memory, such as for example random access memory (RAM), and may also include a secondary memory or in-memory (non-spinning) hard drives. The secondary memory may include, for example, a hard disk drive and/or a removable storage drive, representing a disk drive, a magnetic tape drive, an optical disk drive, etc. The removable storage drive reads from and/or writes to a removable storage unit in a well-known manner. Removable storage unit represents a disk, magnetic tape, optical disk, solid state memory, etc. which is read by and written to by removable storage drive. As will be appreciated, the removable storage unit includes a computer usable storage medium having stored therein computer software and/or data.
  • In various embodiments, secondary memory may include other similar devices for allowing computer programs or other instructions to be loaded into computer system. Such devices may include, for example, a removable storage unit and an interface. Examples of such may include a program cartridge and cartridge interface (such as that found in video game devices), a removable memory chip (such as an erasable programmable read only memory (EPROM), or programmable read only memory (PROM)) and associated socket, and other removable storage units and interfaces, which allow software and data to be transferred from the removable storage unit to a computer system.
  • A computer system may also include a communications interface. A communications interface allows software and data to be transferred between computer system and external devices. Examples of communications interface may include a modem, a network interface (such as an Ethernet card), a communications port, a Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) slot and card, etc. Software and data transferred via communications interface are in the form of signals which may be electronic, electromagnetic, optical or other signals capable of being received by a communications interface. These signals are provided to communications interface via a communications path (e.g., channel). This channel carries signals and may be implemented using wire, cable, fiber optics, a telephone line, a cellular link, a radio frequency (RF) link, wireless and other communications channels.
  • The terms “computer program medium” and “computer usable medium” and “computer readable medium” are used to generally refer to media such as removable storage drive and a hard disk. These computer program products provide software to a computer system.
  • Computer programs (also referred to as computer control logic) are stored in main memory and/or secondary memory. Computer programs may also be received via a communications interface. Such computer programs, when executed, enable the computer system to perform certain features as discussed herein. In particular, the computer programs, when executed, enable the processor to perform certain features of various embodiments. Accordingly, such computer programs represent controllers of the computer system.
  • In various embodiments, software may be stored in a computer program product and loaded into computer system using removable storage drive, hard disk drive or communications interface. The control logic (software), when executed by the processor, causes the processor to perform the functions of various embodiments as described herein. In various embodiments, hardware components such as application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) may be utilized in place of software-based control logic. Implementation of a hardware state machine so as to perform the functions described herein will be apparent to persons skilled in the relevant art(s).
  • A web client includes any device (e.g., a personal computer) which communicates via any network, for example such as those discussed herein. Such browser applications comprise Internet browsing software installed within a computing unit or a system to conduct online transactions and/or communications. These computing units or systems may take the form of a computer or set of computers, although other types of computing units or systems may be used, including laptops, notebooks, tablets, hand held computers, personal digital assistants, set-top boxes, workstations, computer-servers, main frame computers, mini-computers, PC servers, pervasive computers, network sets of computers, personal computers, kiosks, terminals, point of sale (POS) devices and/or terminals, televisions, or any other device capable of receiving data over a network. A web-client may run Internet Explorer or Edge offered by Microsoft Corporation, Chrome offered by Google, Safari offered by Apple Computer, or any other of the myriad software packages available for accessing the Internet.
  • Practitioners will appreciate that a web client may or may not be in direct contact with an application server. For example, a web client may access the services of an application server through another server and/or hardware component, which may have a direct or indirect connection to an Internet server. For example, a web client may communicate with an application server via a load balancer. In various embodiments, access is through a network or the Internet through a commercially-available web-browser software package.
  • A web client may implement security protocols such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). A web client may implement several application layer protocols including http, https, ftp, and sftp. Moreover, in various embodiments, components, modules, and/or engines of an example system may be implemented as micro-applications or micro-apps. Micro-apps are typically deployed in the context of a mobile operating system, including for example, iOS offered by Apple Computer, Android offered by Google, Windows Mobile offered by Microsoft Corporation, and the like. The micro-app may be configured to leverage the resources of the larger operating system and associated hardware via a set of predetermined rules which govern the operations of various operating systems and hardware resources. For example, where a micro-app desires to communicate with a device or network other than the mobile device or mobile operating system, the micro-app may leverage the communication protocol of the operating system and associated device hardware under the predetermined rules of the mobile operating system. Moreover, where the micro-app desires an input from a user, the micro-app may be configured to request a response from the operating system which monitors various hardware components and then communicates a detected input from the hardware to the micro-app.
  • As used herein an “identifier” may be any suitable identifier that uniquely identifies an item, for example a battery 100/200. For example, the identifier may be a globally unique identifier.
  • As used herein, the term “network” includes any cloud, cloud computing system or electronic communications system or method which incorporates hardware and/or software components. Communication among the parties may be accomplished through any suitable communication channels, such as, for example, a telephone network, an extranet, an intranet, Internet, point of interaction device (point of sale device, smartphone, cellular phone, kiosk, etc.), online communications, satellite communications, off-line communications, wireless communications, transponder communications, local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), virtual private network (VPN), networked or linked devices, keyboard, mouse and/or any suitable communication or data input modality. Moreover, although the system is frequently described herein as being implemented with TCP/IP communications protocols, the system may also be implemented using IPX, APPLE® talk, IP-6, NetBIOS®, OSI, any tunneling protocol (e.g. IPsec, SSH), or any number of existing or future protocols. If the network is in the nature of a public network, such as the Internet, it may be advantageous to presume the network to be insecure and open to eavesdroppers. Specific information related to the protocols, standards, and application software utilized in connection with the Internet is generally known to those skilled in the art and, as such, need not be detailed herein. See, for example, Dilip Naik, Internet Standards and Protocols (1998); JAVA® 2 Complete, various authors, (Sybex 1999); Deborah Ray and Eric Ray, Mastering HTML 4.0 (1997); and Loshin, TCP/IP Clearly Explained (1997) and David Gourley and Brian Totty, HTTP, The Definitive Guide (2002), the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference (except for any subject matter disclaimers or disavowals, and except to the extent that the incorporated material is inconsistent with the express disclosure herein, in which case the language in this disclosure controls). The various system components may be independently, separately or collectively suitably coupled to the network via data links.
  • “Cloud” or “cloud computing” includes a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. Cloud computing may include location-independent computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers and other devices on demand. For more information regarding cloud computing, see the NIST's (National Institute of Standards and Technology) definition of cloud computing available at https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.SP.800-145 (last visited July 2018), which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • As used herein, “transmit” may include sending electronic data from one system component to another over a network connection. Additionally, as used herein, “data” may include encompassing information such as commands, queries, files, data for storage, and the like in digital or any other form.
  • The system contemplates uses in association with web services, utility computing, pervasive and individualized computing, security and identity solutions, autonomic computing, cloud computing, commodity computing, mobility and wireless solutions, open source, biometrics, grid computing and/or mesh computing.
  • Any databases discussed herein may include relational, hierarchical, graphical, blockchain, object-oriented structure and/or any other database configurations. Common database products that may be used to implement the databases include DB2 by IBM® (Armonk, N.Y.), various database products available from ORACLE® Corporation (Redwood Shores, Calif.), MICROSOFT® Access® or MICROSOFT® SQL Server® by MICROSOFT® Corporation (Redmond, Wash.), MySQL by MySQL AB (Uppsala, Sweden), MongoDB®, Redis®, Apache Cassandra®, HBase by APACHE®, MapR-DB, or any other suitable database product. Moreover, the databases may be organized in any suitable manner, for example, as data tables or lookup tables. Each record may be a single file, a series of files, a linked series of data fields or any other data structure.
  • Any database discussed herein may comprise a distributed ledger maintained by a plurality of computing devices (e.g., nodes) over a peer-to-peer network. Each computing device maintains a copy and/or partial copy of the distributed ledger and communicates with one or more other computing devices in the network to validate and write data to the distributed ledger. The distributed ledger may use features and functionality of blockchain technology, including, for example, consensus based validation, immutability, and cryptographically chained blocks of data. The blockchain may comprise a ledger of interconnected blocks containing data. The blockchain may provide enhanced security because each block may hold individual transactions and the results of any blockchain executables. Each block may link to the previous block and may include a timestamp. Blocks may be linked because each block may include the hash of the prior block in the blockchain. The linked blocks form a chain, with only one successor block allowed to link to one other predecessor block for a single chain. Forks may be possible where divergent chains are established from a previously uniform blockchain, though typically only one of the divergent chains will be maintained as the consensus chain. In various embodiments, the blockchain may implement smart contracts that enforce data workflows in a decentralized manner. The system may also include applications deployed on user devices such as, for example, computers, tablets, smartphones, Internet of Things devices (“IoT” devices), etc. The applications may communicate with the blockchain (e.g., directly or via a blockchain node) to transmit and retrieve data. In various embodiments, a governing organization or consortium may control access to data stored on the blockchain. Registration with the managing organization(s) may enable participation in the blockchain network.
  • Data transfers performed through the blockchain-based system may propagate to the connected peers within the blockchain network within a duration that may be determined by the block creation time of the specific blockchain technology implemented. The system also offers increased security at least partially due to the relative immutable nature of data that is stored in the blockchain, reducing the probability of tampering with various data inputs and outputs. Moreover, the system may also offer increased security of data by performing cryptographic processes on the data prior to storing the data on the blockchain. Therefore, by transmitting, storing, and accessing data using the system described herein, the security of the data is improved, which decreases the risk of the computer or network from being compromised.
  • In various embodiments, the system may also reduce database synchronization errors by providing a common data structure, thus at least partially improving the integrity of stored data. The system also offers increased reliability and fault tolerance over traditional databases (e.g., relational databases, distributed databases, etc.) as each node operates with a full copy of the stored data, thus at least partially reducing downtime due to localized network outages and hardware failures. The system may also increase the reliability of data transfers in a network environment having reliable and unreliable peers, as each node broadcasts messages to all connected peers, and, as each block comprises a link to a previous block, a node may quickly detect a missing block and propagate a request for the missing block to the other nodes in the blockchain network.
  • As will be described in greater detail herein, in an example embodiment, a battery monitoring system is designed to determine, for disconnected batteries that are stored or in transit: (1) the state-of-charge of the battery, (2) the time remaining until recharge of the battery is required; and (3) the time to fully charge the battery from its current state-of-charge. In an example embodiment, a disconnected battery is a battery that is not electrically connected to a power system and that is not electrically connected to any other battery.
  • The system is designed to make these determinations without connecting external test equipment to the battery, without physically touching the battery, etc. In an example embodiment, the system may be designed to calculate the state-of-charge on an individual battery of a plurality of batteries that are in storage or transit without unpacking, sorting, or relocating the batteries. In one example, a subset of batteries might all be on the same pallet. For example, 30 batteries may be stacked on one pallet. In this example embodiment, a person may be interested in the state-of-charge of a specific battery but may wish to obtain that information without manually sorting through all the batteries on the pallet. In this example embodiment, the system may be configured to identify a specific battery on a pallet without unpacking the pallet.
  • As mentioned above, over discharge during extended storage can damage a battery. To attempt to prevent over discharge of batteries during extended storage, in the past, the only option has been a very manual process. One example manual process involves logging. Although many different manual logging processes may exist, in one example, the logging may involve a worker in a warehouse walking down the storage racks, unpacking/repacking, unstacking/restacking, and otherwise manually checking to see if the voltage on the batteries is below a threshold value. If the voltages are above the threshold value, a note may be logged that the batteries were all checked on a particular date, and they won't be checked again for another set number of days (e.g., sixty days). In one example, the pallet may be physically marked with the date the voltage was last checked against the threshold voltage. If the voltage is found to be below the threshold value, the battery may be recharged.
  • In accordance with an example embodiment, a system is disclosed for projecting out into the future (anticipating) when a recharge will be needed for a battery (that is in storage or transit) without doing any manual acquisition and/or logging of data. By anticipating the date of recharge, the system is configured to reduce the number of times the battery is checked. In fact, in various example embodiments, the system may be configured to entirely eliminate manual checking of the batteries' state-of-charge.
  • In this regard, in an example embodiment, the system may comprise a remote device communicating wirelessly with a battery monitor circuit that is electrically connected to the battery.
  • In an example embodiment, one or more of these determinations can be used in providing advantageous services related to the battery(s). For example, the system may provide an efficient charging of disconnected batteries, where the only times the battery needs to be physically touched or connected to, is when it indeed needs to be charged or is being charged. Further, in an example embodiment, the batteries are charged only when they need to be, such that no unnecessary charging is performed due to the state-of-charge being unknown, and such that no batteries are charged before they need to be charged. In an example embodiment, the system is also configured to assure that no battery will be allowed to over-discharge while in storage, and to identify batteries that may have internal damage based on an unusually high self-discharge rate.
  • The system may furthermore be configured to schedule charging activities. For example, the system may facilitate charging the battery, in a group of batteries, that is most in need of charging. For example, the batteries in a group of batteries may be ranked in order from the lowest state-of-charge to the highest state of charge. Then the system may schedule the charging in the ranked order. In another example, the system is configured to avoid a backlog of charging activity by determining when each battery of a group of batteries being monitored will be ready for recharging and how long it will take to recharge that battery. The system may then be configured to schedule charging of batteries, considering the available charging characteristics and length of time to charge the batteries, and begin scheduling recharging far enough in advance to avoid a backlog of charging activity. In an example embodiment, the system may be configured to schedule maintenance workers on which batteries to recharge and when to recharge them. In another example embodiment, the remote device is further configured to provide a notification identifying the batteries of the plurality of batteries that will reach a minimum state-of-charge within a predetermined period of time. In another example embodiment, the remote device is further configured to predict the length of charging time that will be required to return a battery approaching the predetermined minimum state-of-charge to one or more higher states of charge. Moreover, any suitable scheduling scheme may be used that is based off of instantaneous battery voltage (Vx) that is wirelessly communicated with the remote device.
  • In another example embodiment, the system may be configured to rank a group of batteries, that are in storage or transit, in order of their state of charge (e.g., highest-to-lowest or lowest-to-highest) without touching the batteries in the group.
  • In another example embodiment, the system may be configured to flag a discharged battery, or nearly discharged battery, to caution against its sale or installation. For example, the remote device may provide an alert to a sales clerk advising against selling a particular battery to a potential customer. In one example embodiment, the system is configured to temporarily remove a discharged battery (a battery that has been identified as discharged or nearly discharged) from saleable inventory to prevent the sale or installation of the discharged or nearly discharged battery. For example, if the battery is below a threshold state-of-charge, the system may remove the battery from saleable inventory.
  • In another example embodiment, the system may comprise a subset of batteries of a plurality of batteries wherein each of the subset of batteries share a common characteristic. For example, the subset of batteries may share a common manufacture date (e.g., a first lot of batteries may all be formed within the same month). In an example embodiment, the common characteristic may be the chemistry of the battery.
  • In an example embodiment, the common characteristic may be the brand, model #, capacity, nominal voltage, float voltage, state of charge v. open circuit voltage, state of charge v. voltage on load, and/or equalized voltage, etc. Moreover, the common characteristic can be any suitable common battery characteristic.
  • The information characterizing the battery (that may be stored on the battery or remotely) is described in further detail below, but in example embodiments may comprise a battery capacity (CAPx), a ReChargeTime correlation, and correlations of open circuit voltage to: state-of-charge, and self-discharge rate.
  • In an example embodiment, the system is further configured to receive and store the specifics related to a battery charger (e.g., charger manufacturer, model, current output, maximum power, and charge algorithm).
  • In this example embodiment, the system may be configured to discriminate an outlier disconnected battery, within a subset of disconnected batteries, that is outside of a normal population of the batteries of the subset of batteries, and to flag the outlier battery as a likely defective battery. For example, if 49 batteries were all approximately the same “age”, and all have been used and charged similarly, but one battery has an extremely low state-of-charge level, the system may be configured to make the assessment that this battery is failed/failing. In yet another example embodiment, the system may be configured to identify a defective battery among a group of similar batteries. The system may further provide alerts, or take safety action to protect the battery, the environment surrounding the defective battery, and people working around the battery (e.g. warehouse workers and truck drivers). In a specific example embodiment, a date (e.g., a date of manufacture or a date of a most recent full charge of the battery) is known, and the system is configured to flag the battery as likely defective when based on the date, a projected state-of-charge at a present date varies significantly from the state of charge (the actual state of charge) calculated at the present date.
  • In yet another example embodiment, the system may be configured to monitor inventory of a number of batteries. For example, the system may be configured to record the presence of each battery that reports in to the remote device. The system may be configured to uniquely identify each battery that reports in to the remote device. The system may be configured to log into inventory each battery that communicates with the remote device. The remote device may further be configured to identify missing batteries based on the absence of reporting from a battery that was previously in the inventory.
  • In a larger system, and with momentary reference to FIG. 5, in an example embodiment, groups of batteries 550 are located in multiple locations. For example, a first group of batteries 551 may be located in a first location, and a second group of batteries 552 may be located in a second location. The first group of batteries 551 may provide data to a first remote device 511, and the second group of batteries 552 may provide data to the same or a second remote device 512. This data may be communicated (e.g., via the cloud 580, or any suitable communication channel) recorded in one or more databases 590 to manage inventory remotely from the location(s) of the batteries in storage or transit. In an example embodiment, the system 500 records the location of the battery and the identity of the battery based on information provided from the battery wirelessly to the remote device 511/512. In various example embodiments, the battery monitor circuit 120 may wirelessly communicate the monitored voltage and temperature to, for example, a remote device 414, an onboard electronic device (onboard the application), a server, a gateway, a cloud-based system, or any suitable remote device capable of receiving the data (not shown). In another example embodiment, the remote device may communicate with any of these devices.
  • As described above, in various example embodiments, the battery is a lead-acid battery. The multiple chemical reactions (primary and secondary) which occur in a lead acid battery make the determination of its state-of-charge particularly challenging, compared to other types of energy storage devices. Therefore, the calculations for determining state-of-charge, in an example embodiment, account for all these reactions by correlating open circuit voltage (OCV) to state-of-charge (SoC). In an example embodiment, this is done empirically for each type of battery. With momentary reference now to FIG. 6, in an various embodiments, an OCV-SoC correlation 600 can be represented graphically. In one example embodiment, the OCV is plotted relative to the SoC.
  • Although described herein predominantly in the context of a battery, a monobloc, and lead acid energy storage devices, it is anticipated that the technical problem to be solved, and the solutions presented herein may be applicable to other electrochemical energy storage devices. Eg. Lithium Ion, etc. Thus, in an example embodiment the systems and methods described herein may be applicable for determining (1) the state-of-charge of the battery, (2) the time to fully charge the battery from its current state-of-charge; and/or (3) the time remaining until recharge of the battery is required, for an electrochemical energy storage device. Thus, where applicable, the disclosure herein for a battery or a monobloc is to be understood to be applicable to any battery or electrochemical energy storage device.
  • The battery may further comprise a battery monitor circuit having a transceiver, a temperature sensor for sensing an internal temperature (Tx) of the battery, and a voltage sensor for sensing terminal voltage (Vx) of the battery, wherein the battery monitoring device can transmit data representative of the Tx and the Vx. In an example embodiment, the remote device may be designed to receive the Tx and Vx from each battery in the warehouse (or from a plurality of batteries in the warehouse). In another example embodiment, the remote device may be designed to receive the Tx and Vx from each battery in a shipping container in transit.
  • Based on the Tx and Vx received, and various empirical correlations associated with the battery, the remote device is designed to determine, for disconnected batteries: (1) the state-of-charge of the battery, (2) the time to fully charge the battery from its current state-of-charge; and/or (3) the time remaining until recharge of the battery is required. In various example embodiments, the disconnected battery can be a battery 100 with a battery monitor circuit embedded (FIG. 1A) or attached (FIG. 1B). In various example embodiments, the disconnected battery can be a battery 200 comprising multiple batteries 100 that may have embedded monitor circuits (FIG. 2A), or a battery 200 with a monitor circuit attached (FIG. 2B). FIGS. 4A and 4B, illustrate example systems for monitoring disconnected batteries.
  • FIG. 7 shows an example battery storage/transportation, monitoring, and recharging system 70. In an example embodiment, the system 70 comprises a battery 700, and a remote device 710. In an example embodiment, battery 700 is a disconnected battery. Stated another way, battery 700 is not electrically connected to a power system and can only be charged if subsequently, physically connected to a battery charger. In an example embodiment, “connected” can mean a physical connection to the terminal of the battery that would allow current to be supplied to or from the battery.
  • In an example embodiment, the battery may be individually packaged in a sealed container to prevent inadvertent contact with its output terminals. Protective packaging such as this is common in the industry, but it creates a large burden that is solved by the present disclosure. Without the technology of the present disclosure, the protective packaging requires that the battery be unpackaged to check its terminal voltage (and therefore, its state-of-charge), then subsequently to charge it. After a terminal voltage check and/or charging, the battery must then be repackaged to prevent inadvertent contact with its output terminals. Also, in an example embodiment, the battery may be stacked with a plurality of batteries on a shelf or pallet or may be in a shipping container with many other batteries. As a result, without the technology of the present disclosure, it would be necessary to move several other batteries to access the battery in question, it again would be necessary to move several other batteries to put these batteries back in their place on the shelf or pallet or shipping container once work on the battery in question is complete and it has been repackaged.
  • In the system, there is no physical connection between the remote device 710 and the battery 700. In an example embodiment, the system further comprises multiple batteries. In an example embodiment, the system further comprises a charging device 715. In a further example embodiment, the system comprises a correlation device 720.
  • In an example embodiment, each battery 700 may comprise a battery monitor circuit 705 (similar to battery monitor circuit 120, discussed with reference to FIGS. 1A and 1B). Battery monitor circuit 705 may comprise a transceiver, a temperature sensor for sensing an internal temperature (Tx) of the battery, and a voltage sensor for sensing the voltage (Vx) across the terminals of the battery. In an example embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 705 is configured to transmit a signal or data representative of the Tx and the Vx to the remote device 710. For example, battery 700 can comprise an electronic component or circuit (such as battery monitor circuit 705) that can communicate with remote device 710 (e.g., a portable electronic device, server, gateway, or cloud-based system) via a wireless protocol such as Bluetooth, cellular, near-field communication, Wi-Fi, or any other suitable wireless protocol. In an example embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 705 is connected to the battery 700, either embedded into the battery or attached thereto. In an example embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 705 is embedded in the battery 700. In an example embodiment, the battery monitor circuit 705 is attached to the battery 700. Thus, the battery monitor circuit 705 may be configured to move with the battery 700, with its sensors configured to report on the respective battery with which it is physically associated.
  • Remote Device 710
  • The remote device 710 (similar to remote device 414, with reference to FIGS. 4A and 4B) may be configured to receive the signal or data representative of the Tx and Vx from each battery in a group of batteries (e.g., from a group of batteries in a warehouse or in transit). Batteries in storage may be in a warehouse, intermediate distribution center, store, end consumer maintenance shop, at the factory, at a distributor, at the store, at a customer's receiving and storage facility, and/or the like. Batteries in transit may be in a truck, train, shipping, service van, ship, shipping container, yard, and/or the like. Moreover, the system is configured to work as described herein even when one or more batteries move around the warehouse, out to the distributor, and even if they come back to the warehouse. In one example embodiment, a remote device located in a warehouse or in or near a truck may receive a signal(s) or data representative of the Tx and the Vx from a group of batteries.
  • The analysis is described herein as occurring in the remote device, however, in some embodiments, the remote device may include a combination of devices. For example, a portable electronic device may communicate with the battery, but the calculations and display of information, etc., can be divided among a computer and/or the portable electronic device. Further, analysis may occur in the battery monitor circuit 705 alone, or with the battery monitor circuit 705 working in conjunction with the remote device 710 to share operations of the analysis. In one example embodiment, a portable electronic device receives partially processed Vx and Tx data, a server performs the analysis, and a portable electronic device displays results of the analysis. Moreover, any connectivity between remote device components may be used. In an example embodiment, the remote device 710 is configured to make determinations as described herein, and to display the results. In an example embodiment, the remote device is configured to display the (1) the state-of-charge of the battery (SOCx), (2) the time to fully charge the battery from its current state-of-charge (ReChargeTime); and/or (3) the time remaining until recharge of the battery is required (tREMX), all without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery, and without a physical external connection between the remote device and the battery.
  • The system 70 may be configured to sense or detect an instantaneous internal temperature (Tx) and voltage (Vx) of a battery 700. The system 70 may further be configured to determine an average voltage (Vxave). Vxave can be determined in any suitable way, but some embodiments, Vxave is determined by averaging the voltage (Vx) of the battery for a predetermined period of time (tavg). In some embodiments Vxave is calculated in the battery monitor circuit 705 and transmitted to the remote device 710.
  • In an example embodiment, the system is configured to determine that the battery has been in a rest period, during which the battery is neither charged nor discharged, for a resting predetermined period of time (trest). This may be done, for example, by confirming that the average voltage (Vxave) has not varied by more than a predetermined voltage amount (dV) for the resting predetermined period of time (trest).
  • In an example embodiment, the system is configured to calculate, for the battery that has been in the rest period, a state-of-charge (SOCx) representing the actual state-of-charge of the battery at that time. The state-of-charge represents a percentage that the battery is currently charged between 0% and 100%, inclusive. The system may be further configured to wirelessly communicate data between the battery and a remote device for displaying the SOCx on the remote device.
  • The state-of-charge (SOCx) may be calculated for individual batteries of a plurality of batteries that are in storage or transit without any testing equipment external to the individual batteries, and/or without unpacking, sorting, or relocating the batteries. In an example embodiment, calculating the state-of-charge is performed on individual batteries of a plurality of batteries that are in storage or transit without any additional physical labor for incremental increases in the number of individual batteries tested.
  • In an example embodiment, the system 70 is configured to determine the actual state-of-charge, SOCx, by comparing the Vxave to the OCV-SOC correlation. This correlation can be obtained from any available source. For example, this correlation may be available from published manufacturer data. This correlation data can also be obtained from empirical methods, such as by using a correlation device 720 to empirically derive the correlation. Thus, in an example embodiment, the SOCx may be based on an empirical correlation as a function of Vxave for the battery.
  • In various examples, a correlation device 720 can comprise a testing device or computer that are designed to measure a state of charge and the corresponding voltage across the terminals of a battery that is disconnected from any load or source. The correlation device 720 may be separate from any of the other devices in system 70. In some examples, a correlation device 720 may be used to determine empirical correlations between the state-of-charge (SOCx) and the average voltage across the battery terminals, of a battery that is at rest, for each type of battery. In some examples, correlation device 720 may establish the empirical correlation between the SOCx and the average voltage at rest based upon the type of battery 700, wherein the type of battery 700 is one of: absorptive glass mat lead acid, gelled electrolyte lead acid, and flooded lead acid. In an example embodiment, the SOCx is a function of the manufacturer, chemistry, acid concentration, etc. In one example embodiment, the empirical correlation SOCx over a range of interest, is a linear function, with units in percentage, represented by SOCx=(m*Vxave+b)*100. For example, the empirical correlation for an AGM NorthStar battery is SOCx in percent=[Vxave×0.6165−7.0290]×100, when the Vxave is limited to values between 11.402 and 13.015 V. See FIG. 7. In another example embodiment, a curve can be fit to the entire range of SOCx, or different curves can be fit to different portions of the entire range of SOCx. In an example embodiment, correlation device 720 may be designed to establish the empirical correlation between the state of charge (SOCx) and the average voltage based upon laboratory testing of the elected battery 700.
  • In another example embodiment, correlation device 720 may be designed to receive input as to the type of battery 700 (e.g., model, manufacturer), and measure the SOCx over a range of Vx for the model of battery 700 (e.g., measuring two or more states of charge corresponding respectively to two or more open circuit voltages). The voltage measured can be a single voltage measurement, or the average of more than one voltage measurement. In an example embodiment, the correlation device 720 is further configured to fit an equation to the measurement results, wherein the empirical correlation is based at least in part on the fitted equation. For example, the correlation device 720 may be configured to fit a curve to the two or more states of charge and corresponding open circuit voltages to generate the empirical correlation characterizing Vx vs SOCx for the particular battery type. In that example, the system is configured to; measure a first state of charge corresponding to a first open circuit voltage; measure a second state of charge corresponding to a second open circuit voltage; and fit a curve between the two or more Vx vs SOC points to generate the empirical correlation characterizing Vx vs SOC for the particular battery type, or any combination thereof. In some examples, the empirical correlation for SOCx is a linear function.
  • This correlation activity may take place long before the battery monitoring, remote from the monitored battery. Nonetheless, the correlation developed by correlation device 720 can, in an example embodiment, be saved in the battery, on the battery monitor circuit 705, on the remote device, on an onboard device, in the cloud, on a server, in a database, or the like, for use when called upon.
  • This OCV-SOC correlation can be represented by a formula, by an equation, by a lookup table, by a graph (see FIG. 6), or by any other correlation method. The OCV-SOC correlation can be stored (e.g., stored on the remote device or the battery monitor circuit) in any of these forms and used to determine the actual state-of-charge. For example, the remote device can receive the Vx from the battery monitor circuit, calculate a Vxavg, and determine the SOCx using the Vxavg and the OCV-SOC correlation. In another example embodiment, this process could be done in the battery monitor circuit.
  • In an example embodiment, when it is determined that a battery state-of-charge falls below a threshold, the charging device 715 may then be used to perform the recharging.
  • The battery monitor circuit 705 and/or the remote device 710 may determine several parameters in order to determine the time remaining until it will be appropriate to recharge a battery. These parameters may include tREMx, the state-of-charge (SOCx), and the self-discharge rate (SDRx). In an example embodiment, the system is designed to determine self-discharge parameters, wherein the determining self-discharge parameters comprises determining a predicted amount of time remaining (tREMX) until the battery will self-discharge to a pre-determined minimum state-of-charge (SOCmin) under storage or transit conditions. In an example embodiment, the self-discharge parameters are based on the SOCx, the SOCmin, the Tx, a self-discharge rate (SDRx), and a battery capacity (CAPx). These self-discharge parameters may be displayed on a remote device, all without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
  • In an example embodiment, the system is designed to calculate a self-discharge rate (SDRx), wherein the SDRx is a function of a current internal temperature (ciTx) of the battery, and a battery capacity (CAPx) (described in more detail below). For example, the self-discharge rate (SDRx) may represent the rate of discharge for a battery 700. In one example embodiment, the
  • SDRx = 10 ( - 2494 ciTX + 273 + 7.3185 ) + 1.992 CAPx ,
  • for an AGM NorthStar battery. SDRx may be denoted in units of, for example, percent per day. In an example embodiment, SDRx may be stored in the battery monitor circuit (along with other battery parameters, such as the battery 700 capacity), or may be stored in any other location for ease of access and use. Thus, in an example embodiment, the actual SDRx may depend on conditions such as temperature.
  • In an example embodiment, the battery capacity (CAPx), for a specific type of battery, is based on manufacture specifications. In an example embodiment, the CAPx can be stored in the battery monitor circuit 705 (e.g., in a battery parameters table). In this case, the parameters for each battery travel with battery and can be accessed by any system performing the analysis described herein, including any software application. This is particularly convenient for battery monitor circuit 705, as it may be programmed when manufactured. However, in another example embodiment, battery monitor circuit 705 can be designed to be connected externally to the battery and to upload an appropriate battery parameter table (including the relevant CAPx) and to remain connected to the battery. Furthermore, the CAPx for a particular battery can be stored in an onboard device (onboard the application) or more remotely from the battery, with an identifier of the battery to which the CAPx pertains. In this case, the CAPx can be accessed by any component of system 100 based on the identifier. In some examples, the CAPx for a specific type of battery, is based on a second empirical correlation determined by measuring various SOC's at different Vx levels and fitting a curve to the results, or any combination thereof.
  • The system may be further designed to calculate the tREMX as a function of the state-of-charge (SOCx), the SOCmin, and the self-discharge rate (SDRx). In an example embodiment, the tREMx=(SOCx−SOCmin)/SDRx. The system may be further designed to display the tREMx of the battery on a remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
  • The tREMx may represent the time remaining until recharge of the battery 700 is required, and may be in units of time (e.g. days). The tREMx may represent the time remaining until the battery 700 reaches a predetermined state-of-charge threshold (e.g., 0%, 10%, 20% charged, SOCmin, and the like). The state-of-charge (SOCx), and the minimum state-of-charge (SOCmin) parameters may both be in units of percent. The SOCmin may be the minimum percent state of charge allowed before recharge of a self-discharging battery 700 is required. In one example embodiment, the predetermined minimum percent SOC is 50%. However, any suitable SOCmin percentage may be used. Moreover, it should be noted that the tREMx may also be expressed as a date (day, month, year, etc.), with the “date” being a point in time a period tREMx ahead of the present date, when it will be appropriate to recharge the battery.
  • In one example embodiment, the tREMx may be displayed to a user as follows: “Time remaining based on storage at Tx° K”; for tREMx values greater than 365 days display “>12 months”; for tREMx values between 30 and 365 days display the time in months as a whole number, rounding down; for tREMx values between 7 and 30 days display “1 month”; and for tREMx values less than 7 days display “Recharge Required”. Moreover, any suitable method of communicating the time remaining until recharge is recommended, may be used.
  • In an example embodiment, the actual time remaining may depend on conditions (e.g., temperature) that may not be constant throughout the discharge period of estimation. For example, a stored battery may experience a wide range of temperatures over a one year time period if not stored in an environmentally controlled space. But the temperatures may be relatively stable over a few weeks. In an example embodiment, the self-discharge rate SDRx varies with temperature and therefore, the actual time remaining (tREMx) also varies with temperature. As there is no way to predict the future temperatures in which the battery will be stored, the accuracy of the tREMx may be good for one month, but need more flexibility for longer time periods. Thus, tREMx display ranges may be selected to reflect reasonable uncertainty in tREMx. For example, estimates for shorter time periods may be more accurate, so the time partitions may be more granular for more immediate estimation periods. The estimate may be more accurate if the battery 700 is stored under controlled conditions (e.g., in an air conditioned warehouse).
  • In an example embodiment, the uncertainty in tREMx that results from varying temperature of the battery is eliminated by displaying tREMx for various storage temperatures. Moreover, tREMx may be estimated more accurately when based on predicted environmental storage conditions, which may for example be obtained from analysis of the temperature history of the battery.
  • In an example embodiment, a user can query (e.g., with a remote device 710) how long it will take for a particular battery 700 to recharge to a predetermined SOCx from its current (or from a future) SOCx. In an example embodiment, the ReChargeTime is a function of the current SOC, the desired SOC, a maximum current of a charger and a maximum voltage of the charger, or any combination thereof. For example, ReChargeTime may be determined according to the relationship ReCharge Time=f[SOC,max current of charger, max voltage of charger]. In an example embodiment, the ReCharge time is equal to the difference between a desired SOC (often the maximum state of charge (SOCmax) and the actual SOCx, multiplied by a rate of charging. In another example embodiment, the ReCharge time is equal to the difference between a desired SOC and the minimum state of charge SOCmin, multiplied by a rate of charging (to determine the charge time once the SOCmin is reached).
  • The rate of charging may be a function of maxI and maxV of the charger, for example. In some cases, a maximum current (maxI) and maximum voltage (maxV) are obtained from manufacture specifications from the charger being used to charge the battery 700. In some cases, information about the charger or the method of charging the battery may be unknown, making the charge rate unknown. However, in an example embodiment, for a particular battery chemistry (e.g. AGM lead-acid) a generic correlation between charge time and the actual SOCx (e.g., a curve) typically well represents all batteries of this type. A different generic curve may well represent batteries of a flooded type. Thus, in an example embodiment, generic data for a particular battery chemistry may be close enough to determine the ReChargeTime by looking up a predicted ReChargeTime based on the current SOCx. In some example embodiments, the correlation between ReChargeTime and SOCx, e.g. the f(maxI,maxV), is empirically determined in one or more segments over the range from SOC 0% to SOC 100%. An empirical function may be used to partition charge categories, e.g., by segments first portion, middle portion, and last 10% of charging. Thus, an empirical or theoretical correlation can be established for each portion.
  • In an example embodiment, the ReChargeTime correlation and/or the charge rate of known chargers can be stored on a mobile device, on an onboard device (onboard the application), on a data collection device (e.g., a gateway), in the cloud, on a remote server, on a device integral to the battery itself, or on a device attached to the battery itself.
  • FIG. 8 shows an example of a remote device 800. The remote device 800 may be a personal computer, laptop computer, mainframe computer, palmtop computer, personal assistant, mobile device, or any other suitable processing apparatus, and may be an example of, or include aspects of, the corresponding elements described with reference to FIG. 7. In some example embodiments, the remote device 800 is a mobile phone or tablet configured to receive and process the Tx and Vx data as disclosed herein. The remote device 800 may include a receiver 805, a processor 810, a user interface 815, and a charge monitoring component 820.
  • In some embodiments, the receiver 805 may utilize a network access device (capable of communicating via any of a plurality of wired or wireless protocols). In that regard, the receiver 805 may include a single antenna or a plurality of antennas in conjunction with the network access device to transmit and/or receive information. The receiver 805 may include any hardware, software or combination thereof described above. In some examples, receiver 805 may receive a wireless transmission comprising data representing the internal temperature and the voltage of a battery.
  • The processor 810 may include any processor or controller capable of implementing logic, as described above. In some embodiments, the remote device 800 may further include a non-transitory memory as described above. In some example embodiments, the non-transitory memory may also store battery and/or application specific characteristics. Alternatively, the battery and/or application specific characteristics may be stored in the remote device.
  • A user interface 815 may enable a user to interact with the remote device 800. In some embodiments, the user interface 815 may include a speaker, a display, a touchscreen, a graphical user interface (GUI), or the like.
  • The charge monitoring component 820 may include a voltage component 825, a rest period component 830, a SOC component 835, a self-discharge component 840, and/or a time to fully charge component 845.
  • The voltage component 825 may determine a Vxave, for example, by averaging the Vx of the one or more batteries for a predetermined period of time (tavg). In some embodiments, the Vxave is provided from the battery monitor circuit, but the voltage component may nevertheless further average the Vxave. In some embodiments, the voltage readings are received without a time stamp being transmitted, but are nevertheless recorded at the time they are received from the battery. These may be totaled and divided by the number of data points, to arrive at a new Vxave.
  • The rest period component 830 may determine that the battery has been in a rest period, during which the battery is neither charged nor discharged, for a resting predetermined period of time (trest), by confirming that the Vxave has not varied by more than a predetermined voltage (dV) for the predetermined trest. In one example, the predetermined trest may be 20 minutes, and predetermined voltage amount is 0.020V. Nevertheless, any suitable trest, and dV amount may be used.
  • SOC component 835 may calculate, for the battery that has been in the rest period, an SOCx based on an empirical correlation as a function of Vxave for the battery, wherein the state-of-charge represents a percentage that the battery is currently charged between 0% and 100%, inclusive.
  • In some examples, the SOCx represents an operational status of the battery; the operational status of the battery is calculated remotely, without any physical connection between the remote device 800 and the battery, and without a physical external connection to the battery. In this example embodiment, the calculating SOCx is performed on individual batteries in storage or in transit. In an example embodiment, the calculating SOCx is performed without physically connecting to any of the plurality of batteries. In an example embodiment, the calculating the state-of-charge is performed on individual batteries in storage or in transit, without any additional physical labor for incremental increases in the number of individual batteries tested, or any combination thereof.
  • The self-discharge component 840, for example, may determine self-discharge parameters. In some embodiments, determining self-discharge parameters comprises determining a predicted amount of time remaining (tREMx) until the battery will self-discharge to a pre-determined minimum state-of-charge (SOCmin) under storage or transit conditions. In an example embodiment, the self-discharge parameters are based on the SOCx, the SOCmin, the Tx, a self-discharge rate (SDRx), and a battery capacity (CAPx). And in this example embodiment, these self-discharge parameters are determined remotely, without any physical connection between the remote device 800 and the battery, and without a physical external connection to the battery.
  • In some examples, the calculating the tREMx is performed on individual batteries in storage or in transit, without physically connecting to any of the plurality of batteries; the calculating the tREMx is performed on individual batteries that are in storage or transit, without any testing equipment external to the individual batteries. In an example embodiment, calculating the tREMX is performed on individual batteries, of the plurality of batteries that are stored or in transit, without unpacking, sorting, or relocating the batteries.
  • In some examples, the calculating the tREMx is performed on individual batteries that are in storage or in transit, without any additional physical labor for incremental increases in the number of individual batteries tested.
  • In some examples, the self-discharge component 840 may calculate SDRx, wherein the SDRx is a function of a current internal temperature (ciTx) of the battery, and CAPx. In this example embodiment, the system is configured to calculate the amount of time remaining (tREMx) before the battery will self-discharge to a predetermined minimum SOC (SOCmin). In an example embodiment, the tREMx is a function of the SOCx, the SOCmin, and the self-discharge rate (SDRx). In an example embodiment, the system is configured to report the tREMx. For example, the system may report the tREMx on a display on the locally located remote device.
  • In some embodiments, the system is designed to calculate the time to fully charge the battery (ReChargeTime) from its current SOC to a desired SOC. In an example embodiment, the ReChargeTime is a function of the current SOC, the desired SOC, a maximum current of a charger and a maximum voltage of the charger, or any combination thereof. In an example embodiment, the Time to Fully Charge component 845 may be configured to receive the current SOC, the desired SOC, and an indication of the rate of charging possible (such as, a maximum current of a charger and a maximum voltage of the charger), and to calculate the ReChargeTime based on these inputs.
  • FIGS. 9-10 show examples of processes for determining a state of charge, time remaining to recharge, and/or time to recharge in a stored or disconnected battery in accordance with aspects of the present disclosure. In some examples, these operations may be performed by a processor executing a set of codes to control functional elements of an apparatus. Additionally or alternatively, the processes may be performed using special-purpose hardware. Generally, these operations may be performed according to the methods and processes described in accordance with aspects of the present disclosure. For example, the operations may be composed of various substeps, or may be performed in conjunction with other operations described herein.
  • In block 900, the system may sense an internal Tx and a Vx of a battery. In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by the battery monitor circuit.
  • In block 905, the system may determine an Vxave by averaging the Vx of the battery for a predetermined period of time, tavg. In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by a voltage component as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • In block 910, the system may determine that the battery has been in a rest period, during which the battery is neither charged nor discharged, for a resting predetermined period of time (trest), by confirming that the average voltage (Vxave) has not varied by more than a predetermined voltage amount (dV) for the resting predetermined period of time (trest). In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by a rest period component as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • In block 915, the system may calculate, for the battery that has been in the rest period, a state-of-charge (SOCx) based on an empirical correlation as a function of Vxave for the battery, wherein the state-of-charge represents a percentage that the battery is currently charged between 0% and 100%, inclusive. In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by an SOC component as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • In block 916, the system may wirelessly communicate data between the battery and a remote device for displaying the SOCx on the remote device. In an example embodiment, the data is the Tx and Vx sensed in block 900. In another example embodiment, the data is an average of the Vx sensed in block 900. In another example embodiment, the SOCx is calculated on the battery and the data is the SOCx itself. In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by the transceiver in battery monitor circuit 705 as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • In some embodiments, in block 920, the system may determine self-discharge parameters, wherein the determining self-discharge parameters comprises determining a predicted amount of time remaining (tREMx) until the battery will self-discharge to a pre-determined minimum state-of-charge (SOCmin) under storage or transit conditions. In an example embodiment, the self-discharge parameters are based on the SOCx, the SOCmin, the Tx, a self-discharge rate (SDRx), and a battery capacity (CAPx). In an example embodiment, the self-discharge parameters are determined remotely, without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery, and without a physical external connection to the battery. In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by a self-discharge component as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • With reference now to FIG. 10, another example of determining a time remaining to recharge in a stored or disconnected battery is shown.
  • In block 1030, the system may calculate SDRx, wherein the SDRx is a function of a current internal temperature (ciTx) of the battery, and a battery capacity (CAPx). In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by a self-discharge component 240 as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • In block 1040, the system may calculate tREMx before the battery will self-discharge to a predetermined SOCmin, wherein the tREMx is a function of the SOCx, the SOCmin, and the self-discharge rate (SDRx). In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by a self-discharge component 840 as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • In block 1050, the system may report the tREMx. In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by a self-discharge component as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • In some embodiments, the system is further configured to calculate a time to recharge the battery in a stored or disconnected battery.
  • In block 1060, the system may calculate a time to recharge the battery (ReChargeTime) from its current SOC to a desired SOC; wherein the ReChargeTime is a function of the current SOC, the desired SOC, a maximum charge current and a battery capacity (CAPx)). In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by a time to fully charge component 845 as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • In block 1070, the system may display the ReChargeTime on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery. In some cases, the operations of this step may be performed by a time to fully charge component 845 as described with reference to FIG. 8.
  • In further example embodiments, the method may further comprise selecting a specific type of battery, and establishing the empirical correlation between the state of charge (SOCx) and the average voltage (Vxave) based upon laboratory testing of the specific type of battery. For example, establishing the empirical correlation between the state of charge (SOCx) and the average voltage (Vxave) may further comprise: selecting a particular battery type; measuring two or more states of charge corresponding respectively to two or more open circuit voltages; and fitting a curve to the two or more states of charge and corresponding open circuit voltages to generate the empirical correlation characterizing Vx vs SOCx for the particular battery type. In another example, the resultant empirical correlation is stored in the battery monitor circuit for calculation of the state-of-charge. In yet another example embodiment, the resultant empirical correlation is stored in the remote device for calculation of the state-of-charge.
  • As used herein, the terms “comprises,” “comprising,” or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. Also, as used herein, the terms “coupled,” “coupling,” or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a physical connection, an electrical connection, a magnetic connection, an optical connection, a communicative connection, a functional connection, a thermal connection, and/or any other connection.
  • Principles of the present disclosure may be combined with and/or utilized in connection with principles disclosed in other applications. For example, principles of the present disclosure may be combined with principles disclosed in: U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “BATTERY WITH INTERNAL MONITORING SYSTEM”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “ENERGY STORAGE DEVICE, SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR MONITORING AND PERFORMING DIAGNOSTICS ON BATTERIES”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR UTILIZING BATTERY OPERATING DATA”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR UTILIZING BATTERY OPERATING DATA AND EXOGENOUS DATA”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DETERMINING CRANK HEALTH OF A BATTERY”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “OPERATING CONDITIONS INFORMATION SYSTEM FOR AN ENERGY STORAGE DEVICE”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DETERMINING A RESERVE TIME OF A MONOBLOC”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DETERMINING AN OPERATING MODE OF A BATTERY”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DETERMINING A STATE OF CHARGE OF A BATTERY”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR MONITORING AND PRESENTING BATTERY INFORMATION”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DETERMINING A HEALTH STATUS OF A MONOBLOC”; U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DETECTING BATTERY THEFT”; and U.S. Ser. No. ______ filed on Jul. ______, 2018 and entitled “SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR DETECTING THERMAL RUNAWAY OF A BATTERY”. The contents of each of the foregoing applications are hereby incorporated by reference.
  • In describing the present disclosure, the following terminology will be used: The singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to an item includes reference to one or more items. The term “ones” refers to one, two, or more, and generally applies to the selection of some or all of a quantity. The term “plurality” refers to two or more of an item. The term “about” means quantities, dimensions, sizes, formulations, parameters, shapes and other characteristics need not be exact, but may be approximated and/or larger or smaller, as desired, reflecting acceptable tolerances, conversion factors, rounding off, measurement error and the like and other factors known to those of skill in the art. The term “substantially” means that the recited characteristic, parameter, or value need not be achieved exactly, but that deviations or variations, including for example, tolerances, measurement error, measurement accuracy limitations and other factors known to those of skill in the art, may occur in amounts that do not preclude the effect the characteristic was intended to provide. Numerical data may be expressed or presented herein in a range format. It is to be understood that such a range format is used merely for convenience and brevity and thus should be interpreted flexibly to include not only the numerical values explicitly recited as the limits of the range, but also interpreted to include all of the individual numerical values or sub-ranges encompassed within that range as if each numerical value and sub-range is explicitly recited. As an illustration, a numerical range of “about 1 to 5” should be interpreted to include not only the explicitly recited values of about 1 to about 5, but also include individual values and sub-ranges within the indicated range. Thus, included in this numerical range are individual values such as 2, 3 and 4 and sub-ranges such as 1-3, 2-4 and 3-5, etc. This same principle applies to ranges reciting only one numerical value (e.g., “greater than about 1”) and should apply regardless of the breadth of the range or the characteristics being described. A plurality of items may be presented in a common list for convenience. However, these lists should be construed as though each member of the list is individually identified as a separate and unique member. Thus, no individual member of such list should be construed as a de facto equivalent of any other member of the same list solely based on their presentation in a common group without indications to the contrary. Furthermore, where the terms “and” and “or” are used in conjunction with a list of items, they are to be interpreted broadly, in that any one or more of the listed items may be used alone or in combination with other listed items. The term “alternatively” refers to selection of one of two or more alternatives, and is not intended to limit the selection to only those listed alternatives or to only one of the listed alternatives at a time, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
  • It should be appreciated that the particular implementations shown and described herein are illustrative and are not intended to otherwise limit the scope of the present disclosure in any way. Furthermore, the connecting lines shown in the various figures contained herein are intended to represent exemplary functional relationships and/or physical couplings between the various elements. It should be noted that many alternative or additional functional relationships or physical connections may be present in a practical device or system.
  • It should be understood, however, that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating exemplary embodiments, are given for purposes of illustration only and not of limitation. Many changes and modifications within the scope of the present disclosure may be made without departing from the spirit thereof, and the scope of this disclosure includes all such modifications. The corresponding structures, materials, acts, and equivalents of all elements in the claims below are intended to include any structure, material, or acts for performing the functions in combination with other claimed elements as specifically claimed. The scope should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given above. For example, the operations recited in any method claims may be executed in any order and are not limited to the order presented in the claims. Moreover, no element is essential unless specifically described herein as “critical” or “essential.”
  • Moreover, where a phrase similar to ‘at least one of A, B, and C’ or ‘at least one of A, B, or C’ is used in the claims or specification, it is intended that the phrase be interpreted to mean that A alone may be present in an embodiment, B alone may be present in an embodiment, C alone may be present in an embodiment, or that any combination of the elements A, B and C may be present in a single embodiment; for example, A and B, A and C, B and C, or A and B and C.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A method for determining a state of charge in a disconnected battery, the method comprising:
a. sensing, using a battery monitor circuit, an instantaneous internal temperature (Tx) and a voltage (Vx) of a battery that is one of a plurality of batteries that are stored or in transit, wherein the battery is not electrically connected to a power system, and wherein the battery is not electrically connected to any of the plurality of batteries;
b. determining an average voltage (Vxave) by averaging the voltage (Vx) of the battery for a predetermined period of time (tavg);
c. determining that the battery has been in a rest period, during which the battery is neither charged nor discharged, for a resting predetermined period of time (trest), by confirming that the average voltage (Vxave) has not varied by more than a predetermined voltage amount (dV) for the resting predetermined period of time (trest); and
d. calculating, for the battery that has been in the rest period, a state-of-charge (SOCx) based on an empirical correlation as a function of Vxave for the battery, wherein the state-of-charge represents a percentage that the battery is currently charged between 0% and 100%, inclusive; and
e. wirelessly communicating data between the battery and a remote device for displaying the SOCx on the remote device.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising displaying the SOCx of the battery on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein calculating the state-of-charge is performed on individual batteries of the plurality of batteries that are in storage or transit without any testing equipment external to the individual batteries.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein calculating the state-of-charge is performed on individual batteries of the plurality of batteries that are in storage or transit without unpacking, sorting, or relocating the batteries.
5. The method of claim 1, further comprising a subset of batteries of the plurality of batteries, wherein each of the subset of batteries share a common manufacture date, and further comprising discriminating an outlier battery within the subset of batteries that is outside of a normal population of the batteries of the subset of batteries, and flagging the outlier battery as a likely defective battery.
6. The method of claim 1, further comprising: determining self-discharge parameters, wherein the determining self-discharge parameters comprises determining a predicted amount of time remaining (tREMX) until the battery will self-discharge to a pre-determined minimum state-of-charge (SOCmin) under storage or transit conditions, and wherein the self-discharge parameters are based on the SOCx, the SOCmin, the Tx, a self-discharge rate (SDRx), and a battery capacity (CAPx), and wherein the self-discharge parameters are displayed on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
7. The method of claim 6, further comprising:
a. calculating the self-discharge rate (SDRx), wherein the SDRx is a function of a current internal temperature (ciTx) of the battery, and the battery capacity (CAPx);
b. wherein the tREMx is a function of the state-of-charge (SOCx), the SOCmin, and the self-discharge rate (SDRx); and
c. further comprising displaying the tREMx of the battery on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the tREMx=(SOCx−SOCmin)/SDRx.
9. The method of claim 6, wherein calculating the tREMx is performed on individual batteries, of the plurality of batteries that are stored or in transit, without physically connecting to any of the plurality of batteries.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
calculating a time to recharge the battery (ReChargeTime) from its current SOC to a desired SOC; wherein the ReChargeTime is a function of the current SOC, the desired SOC, a maximum charge current and a battery capacity (CAPx); and
displaying the ReChargeTime on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
11. A battery monitoring system for monitoring disconnected batteries in storage or transit, the battery monitoring system comprising:
a plurality of batteries, wherein each battery of the plurality of batteries:
is in storage or transit;
is not electrically connected to a power system;
is not electrically connected to any of the plurality of batteries; and
comprises a battery monitor circuit embedded into or attached onto the battery and having a transceiver, a temperature sensor for sensing an instantaneous internal temperature (Tx) of the battery, and a voltage sensor for sensing an instantaneous open circuit voltage (Vx) of the battery; and
a remote device;
wherein at least one of the battery monitor circuit and the remote device are further configured, for each battery, to:
a. determine an average voltage (Vxave) by averaging the Vx of the battery for a predetermined period of time (tavg);
b. determine that the battery has been in a rest period, during which the battery is neither charged nor discharged, for a resting predetermined period of time (trest), by confirming that the average voltage (Vxave) has not varied by more than a predetermined voltage amount (dVxave) for the resting predetermined period of time (trest); and
e. calculate, for the battery that has been in the rest period, a state-of-charge (SOCx) based upon an empirical correlation as a function of Vxave for the battery, wherein the state-of-charge represents a percentage that the battery is currently charged between 0% and 100%, inclusive, wherein the state-of-charge is calculated based on an empirical correlation as function of Vxave; and
wherein the remote device is configured to display the SOCx for the battery without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery, and without a physical external connection between the remote device and the battery.
12. The system of claim 11, wherein the remote device is further configured to provide a notification that identifies the batteries, of the plurality of batteries, that will reach a minimum state-of-charge within a predetermined period of time.
13. The system of claim 11, further comprising a subset of batteries of the plurality of batteries, wherein each of the subset of batteries share a common manufacture date, wherein the remote device is further configured to discriminate an outlier battery, within the subset of batteries, that is outside of a normal population of the batteries of the subset of batteries, and flag the outlier battery as a likely defective battery.
14. The system of claim 11, wherein the remote device is further configured to predict a length of charging time that will be required to return a battery approaching a predetermined minimum state-of-charge to one or more higher states of charge.
15. The system of claim 11, wherein the remote device is configured to display at least one of a time to recharge the battery (ReChargeTime), the SOCx, or a predicted amount of time remaining (tREMX) without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery, and without a physical external connection between the remote device and the battery.
16. The system of claim 11, further comprising: determining self-discharge parameters, wherein the determining self-discharge parameters comprises determining a predicted amount of time remaining (tREMX) until the battery will self-discharge to a pre-determined minimum state-of-charge (SOCmin) under storage or transit conditions, and wherein the self-discharge parameters are based on the SOCx, the SOCmin, the Tx, a self-discharge rate (SDRx), and a battery capacity (CAPx), wherein the self-discharge parameters are displayed on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
17. The system of claim 16, further comprising:
a. calculating the self-discharge rate (SDRx), wherein the SDRx is a function of a current internal temperature (ciTx) of the battery, and the battery capacity (CAPx);
b. wherein the tREMX is a function of the state-of-charge (SOCx), the SOCmin, and the self-discharge rate (SDRx); and
c. further comprising displaying the tREMX of the battery on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
18. The system of claim 16, wherein the tREMX=(SOCx−SOCmin)/SDRx.
19. The system of claim 16, wherein calculating the tREMX is performed on individual batteries, of the plurality of batteries that are stored or in transit, without physically connecting to any of the plurality of batteries.
20. The system of claim 11, further comprising:
calculating a time to recharge the battery (ReChargeTime) from its current SOC to a desired SOC; wherein the ReChargeTime is a function of the current SOC, the desired SOC, a maximum charge current and a battery capacity (CAPx); and
displaying the ReChargeTime on the remote device without any physical connection between the remote device and the battery.
US16/046,883 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a state of charge of a disconnected battery Abandoned US20190033385A1 (en)

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US201762538622P true 2017-07-28 2017-07-28
US201862659929P true 2018-04-19 2018-04-19
US201862660157P true 2018-04-19 2018-04-19
US201862679648P true 2018-06-01 2018-06-01
US16/046,883 US20190033385A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a state of charge of a disconnected battery

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US16/046,883 US20190033385A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a state of charge of a disconnected battery
CN201880063354.7A CN111279557A (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-27 Wireless capable monoblock
PCT/US2018/044232 WO2019023672A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-27 Wireless enabled monobloc
CA3071148A CA3071148A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-27 Wireless enabled monobloc
KR1020207006078A KR20200032739A (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-27 Wireless-enabled monoblock
JP2020504186A JP2020529104A (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-27 Wireless enabled monoblock
EP18837887.1A EP3659218A4 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-27 Wireless enabled monobloc

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US16/046,883 Abandoned US20190033385A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a state of charge of a disconnected battery
US16/046,791 Active US10684330B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for detecting thermal runaway of a battery
US16/046,792 Active 2039-02-10 US10921381B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for monitoring and presenting battery information
US16/046,774 Abandoned US20190033383A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a reserve time of a monobloc
US16/046,671 Pending US20190033381A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for utilizing battery operating data
US16/046,773 Active US10627451B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for detecting battery theft
US16/046,727 Abandoned US20190033393A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Energy storage device, systems and methods for monitoring and performing diagnostics on batteries
US16/046,747 Active 2038-09-02 US10830826B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determning crank health of a battery
US16/046,855 Active 2039-06-01 US10830827B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Operating conditions information system for an energy storage device
US16/046,709 Abandoned US20190033377A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for utilizing battery operating data and exogenous data
US16/046,687 Pending US20190033382A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining an operating mode of a battery
US16/046,811 Active 2038-10-05 US10816607B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a state of charge of a battery
US16/046,777 Active 2038-08-03 US10823786B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Battery with internal monitoring system
US16/046,737 Abandoned US20190033388A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a health status of a monobloc

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US16/046,791 Active US10684330B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for detecting thermal runaway of a battery
US16/046,792 Active 2039-02-10 US10921381B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for monitoring and presenting battery information
US16/046,774 Abandoned US20190033383A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a reserve time of a monobloc
US16/046,671 Pending US20190033381A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for utilizing battery operating data
US16/046,773 Active US10627451B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for detecting battery theft
US16/046,727 Abandoned US20190033393A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Energy storage device, systems and methods for monitoring and performing diagnostics on batteries
US16/046,747 Active 2038-09-02 US10830826B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determning crank health of a battery
US16/046,855 Active 2039-06-01 US10830827B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Operating conditions information system for an energy storage device
US16/046,709 Abandoned US20190033377A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for utilizing battery operating data and exogenous data
US16/046,687 Pending US20190033382A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining an operating mode of a battery
US16/046,811 Active 2038-10-05 US10816607B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a state of charge of a battery
US16/046,777 Active 2038-08-03 US10823786B2 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Battery with internal monitoring system
US16/046,737 Abandoned US20190033388A1 (en) 2017-07-28 2018-07-26 Systems and methods for determining a health status of a monobloc

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