Evaluating Battery Test Equipment – Part 1/12 – Resolution

Resolution indicates the smallest change in measurement that can be detected by the instrument’s sense and control circuitry.  Typically referred to in “bits” of resolution or an absolute unit of measurement such as µV or µA.

For battery test equipment, resolution is determined by the analog to digital and digital to analog conversion, commonly known as ADC and DAC, of the sense circuitry and control system.  Analog signals vary at a continuous (near infinite) rate while a digital signal varies by a discrete rate that is measured in bits.  When zooming in to look at current/voltage/time measurement data, the bits of resolution are the smallest changes that can be detected, and while capacity, energy, internal resistance, etc. are not direct measurements, they are all calculated from the same data.

Translating this into test results…
Arbin’s 24-bit resolution means its circuitry can sense 1 part in 16,777,216 (2^24).  This is a 256x improvement over 16-bit resolution (1 part in 65,526), which is the industry standard.   Greater resolution produces greater clarity with more significant digits.  Higher resolution test equipment, when combined with high precision measurements, has the sensitivity to detect changes in voltage & current (as well as capacity, energy, IR, etc.) that would otherwise be missed, such as detecting a small spike in resistance as a battery approaches end of life, or a slight dip in coulombic efficiency that indicates end of life.  Many academic papers have been published by scientists who look for trends and identifying test metrics that can reduce the test time required during battery material development.  An upgraded tool with better resolution and overall performance should expedite this process even more.

(1) Resolution | (2) Precision | (3) Temperature | (4) Robustness | (5) Accuracy | (6) Software

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