Test equipment should facilitate rather than frustrate the testing process. Good equipment allows researchers to pick up the smallest of changes during the experiment. Durable and reliable equipment have a mixture of qualities that work together for an accurate and efficient testing process. Outlined below are 5 key features of good battery testing equipment.
- High resolution Resolution refers to the smallest change in measurement that can be detected by the equipment’s sense and control circuitry. Higher resolution allows for higher clarity in the data. For instance, Arbin’s equipment has 24-bit resolution, compared with the industry standard of 16-bit. This allows the slightest changes in voltage and current to be visible to a greater number of digits. This is crucial as significant changes and patterns in measurement would be missed with lower resolution equipment.
- High Precision High precision equipment means that there is less noise/fluctuation in the equipment’s measurement. Precision also indicates the consistency and repeatability of the instrument’s measurement circuitry. Miniscule changes in the data are lost when there is too much noise. The lack of precision also prevents consistent and repeatable results from experiments. This makes it extremely difficult to see trends early in the cycle life, and see the differences between early cell degradation.
- Accuracy Accuracy refers to the trueness of the test equipment measurement. In other words, the closeness of the average sample to its true value. Good accuracy is best evaluated when the equipment also has high resolution and precision. Without the clarity and clean readings, the accuracy specification alone is much less meaningful.
- Minimal temperature fluctuations The temperature of the test equipment will inevitably affect its measurement. Good equipment minimizes this impact. Temperature stabilization is achieved through the design of the equipment. For example, Arbin’s equipment makes use of shunt designs and high quality materials that are resistant to temperature fluctuations. Internal thermal control mechanisms also isolate sensitive components and tightly regulate temperature. Since temperature is a component that greatly affects the functioning of a battery, these features that regulate temperature are essential in maintaining control over the testing process. Temperature fluctuations are easily visible with high resolution and high precision equipment, allowing researchers to catch these changes.
- Robust Materials As with any research equipment, ones made with quality material and quality construction stand the test of time. Reliable battery test equipment is resistant to corrosion and temperature and can hold calibration well. Since battery-testing can be quite long-term, reliable equipment should be able to stay consistent throughout the entire testing process. Equipment that fails or breaks down in the middle of the testing cycle will greatly hinder the research and development process.
The benefits of high quality battery test equipment High quality test equipment is needed to accelerate the battery development process. Industries like the Electrical Vehicle (EV) industry benefit greatly from high precision test equipment like Arbin’s that can detect the smallest differences between cells and materials early in the cycle life. EV batteries are projected to last 8-10 years, but a long test cycle slows down the development process. EV batteries can then fall behind the development speed of the other parts of the vehicle. Reliable, high-precision test equipment allow researchers and manufacturers to accelerate the testing and development process, and allow them to advance faster with materials research and battery development.
High quality test equipment accelerates development by providing reliable and precise data for the research process. All the above features are complementary and work best together. For more in depth information on how to evaluate battery test equipment click here.