Keysight Technologies
E36731 A Promo 642356c693732

Imitation Batteries Take on Testing of Portable IoT Devices

March 28, 2023
Keysight’s new battery emulator packs an electronic load and power supply that provides up to 200 W at a maximum of 30 V and 20 A.

This article appeared in Electronic Design and has been published here with permission.

Check out our APEC 2023 digital magazine for more show coverage.

Testing the battery at the heart of a portable IoT device can be a serious challenge today. Engineers need to design for peak battery performance and validate their designs against the conditions they will face out in the field.

But a new benchtop test platform from Keysight Technologies can serve as an emulated battery for testing and create battery profiles that are able to assist with new product designs. The E36731A identifies the impact of variables affecting the battery drain of devices without the need for physical batteries and, thus, helps engineers enhance their designs for better battery life or shrink the final product’s form factor.

Analyzing current drain and conducting run-down tests of the batteries in IoT designs can pose difficulties. Manually charging and discharging a battery can take a long time, slowing time-to-market, and it’s critical to test at different charge levels as battery characteristics vary. When comparing test results, the battery’s parameters and charge levels must match. Doing so can be problematic when testing with a physical battery.

But, according to Keysight, the E36731A integrates an electronic load and dc power supply that can emulate the battery at the heart of a device, giving engineers a good reference point for testing at any charge level.

Why Emulate a Battery?

By testing with an emulated battery, engineers can quickly assess the effect of design or software changes on battery life by instantly transitioning a battery’s charge state. Coupled with precise current drain analysis, this helps engineers project the performance of the lithium-ion (Li-ion) or other types of battery over time once deployed in the field. These insights are useful when it comes to identifying potential areas of improvement in a design, said Keysight.

For flexibility, the new battery emulator and profiler provides power up to 200 W at a maximum of 30 V. And it offers a wide dynamic measurement range from microamps to amps (up to 20 A).

“Rather than relying on intricate and time-consuming manual tests, the emulator allows engineers to quickly identify the current drain effect of critical factors such as hardware changes, software updates, and temperature changes,” said Carol Leh, VP and GM of the Electronic Industrial Solutions Group at Keysight. “This way, engineers can save time and improve their device designs.”

The new offering works with the company’s PathWave BenchVue Advanced Battery Test and Emulation software to generate highly accurate battery profiles with properties that can be used repeatedly to simulate a battery’s drain.

Profiles can be linked to factors such as age and temperature. The ability to automate battery run-down and cycle tests enable you to estimate the battery’s runtime and lifespan more accurately, said Keysight.

Check out our APEC 2023 digital magazine for more show coverage.

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