All battery test equipment requires software to operate the instrument. The software interface can be one of the main differentiating points besides hardware performance. It is important to confirm the software communicates using a modern high-speed standard such as TCP/IP (Ethernet) protocol and whether high-performance microcontrollers are used internally. This helps future-proof the system as well as meet the bandwidth necessary for fast data logging.
A software user interface should use familiar commands and follow a logical process to create tests, but also needs the flexibility to control advanced test protocols. The best software will not restrict the researcher to pre-defined test parameters, but will give full authority over the equipment’s voltage and current control. The following questions will help identify a complete feature-set:
Are capacity and energy calculations made at the micro-controller level or post-processed data?
- Is there a limit on the number of steps per test?
- How can an EV drive profile be performed?
- Do tests utilize branching and looping conditions?
- Can tests utilize multiple condition like this for each step and combine logical functions?
- Can tests use mathematical functions?
- Can the software use meta-variables instead of numeric values only, such as stopping a test based on
“80% discharge capacity” instead of only a numeric value?
- How many of these meta-variables are offered?
- Can tests be controlled using C-rate values instead of amperage if the cells under test vary in capacity?
- Can channels be connected in parallel to increase the current capability? If yes, then how many?
Arbin allows all these methods and more to apply dynamic and complete control of voltage, current, power, & load, and offers user-defined variables in addition to the 90+ standard meta-variables.