The Blog

Battery Management: Measuring State of Charge and Battery Health

in Battery Management System

How Battery Management Systems Utilize State of Charge (SOC), Health (SOH), and Life Measures (SOL)

I was participating in a panel discussion about battery management system (BMS) design at the 2014 Battery Show in Novi Michigan and was asked for some of my opinions around State of Charge, State of Health, and State of Life measurement for large-scale batteries. While I was presenting Nuvation’s new battery management system at our booth on the exhibition floor, similar questions came up again a few times, so I thought I would share my answers here.

- Michael Worry, President and CEO, Nuvation Engineering
Read More

Electronic Design: Getting to First Time Right

in Electronic Design Services

 

5 Principles of First Time Right Electronic Design

Getting to “first time right” is a key goal at Nuvation Engineering and is built into our electronic design methodology. Broadly speaking, it means two things: First, when you design and build new hardware, your methodology delivers new boards with zero cuts and jumps. You may need to still tweak a component value or two or change component population options, but you’ve avoided those problems that would require a board re-spin. Second, your first board spin has NO architectural or serious performance issues that would require a re-spin before transitioning to volume manufacturing. So basically “First Time Right” means “no board re-spin required.” This helps your project stay on budget, on schedule, and maybe even ahead of the curve on both of those critical KPIs. Read More

Discofish Meets Paparazzi at Burning Man 2014

in DiscoFish, Garage, Uncategorized

It look like the tech paparazzi got a snap of Discofish, Nuvation’s ever evolving autonomous vehicle experiment, at Burning Man 2014, and an honorable mention in Techcrunch. Well, to be fair, they called her a “horror from the depths of the ocean” instead of Discofish, but hey, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right? But seriously Techcrunch folks, if you want to actually get to know her by name, do drop by and let us take you on a tour, she lives at the Nuvation Garage in Sunnyvale California. Be sure to come visit at night though, so we can light ‘er up for ya! This year we added LED-expressive iridescent tail fins to the humble camper van that has grown into a an extra long fully autonomous vehicle with LIDAR, a sound stage, flamethrower, and (ahem, cough cough) “dancing pole” on it’s “tongue.” Here she is all lit up at Burning Man in 2013.

And (drumroll….) we also made internet TV! It was Andy Warhol who said we all get 15 minutes of fame. I counted about a 3/4 of a second for Discofish at 2:35 (the timer runs backwards, so that’s at the beginning) of Katie Kouric’s video about Burning Man. Andy, you owe us 14 minutes, 59.25 seconds.

Nuvation Launches New Battery Management System

in Battery Management System

 

After developing four generations of custom battery management systems for large-scale batteries, Nuvation Engineering has launched a modular and scalable off-the-shelf BMS that reduces the need for manufacturers in the electric vehicle, grid energy storage, and telecom power backup industries to develop their own custom solutions.

NuvationBMS_5perspective

September 16, 2014, Novi, Michigan, THE BATTERY SHOW. Nuvation Engineering has begun taking orders for a Q4 product release of Nuvation BMS™, their new battery management system for high capacity battery packs with outputs in the 36VDC to 1200VDC range. Many off-the-shelf battery management systems do not natively support voltages as high as 1200VDC, a target set by Nuvation’s Director of Product Management, John Corman, to address the upper end of grid energy storage requirements. Read More

Battery Management System Scalability

in Battery Management System

 

When designing Nuvation BMS™, Nuvation’s fourth-generation battery management system and first off-the-shelf BMS, our goal was to create a set of modules that could be connected to the battery pack in different configurations to support a wide range of battery topologies with different chemistries, voltages, and capacities. Our industry research and consultations with customers revealed three main market verticals where such a configurable BMS was of greatest interest to manufacturers:

  • Specialty Vehicles – Battery powered traction systems and subsystems
  • Telecom Power Backup – Data centers and telecom towers
  • Grid Energy Storage – Micro grid, solar, wind, etc.

While not every target battery deployment we encounter fits neatly into one of these categories, this matrix enables one to evaluate the Nuvation BMS in terms of its suitability to meet the full range of its target battery topologies.

A battery pack is typically scaled in one or both of two directions: vertically and horizontally. Scaling vertically involves stacking battery cells in series to increase pack voltage. Scaling horizontally involves connecting multiple stacks of cells in parallel to create greater capacity at the same pack voltage. Very large systems usually require the pack to scale both vertically and horizontally to deliver high voltage and high capacity. Read More

Visit Nuvation at the Battery Show

in Battery Management System

Battery Show banner
Nuvation Engineering will be launching our new  off-the-shelf Battery Management System at The Battery Show in the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan Sept. 16-18, 2014.

  • Visit us in booth #  B1621 on the show floor to see our new off-the-shelf BMS product demonstration in action. Linear Technology will also be showcasing their products using Nuvation’ BMS in their own booth, # E905
  • On Wednesday September 17, 3:00pm-3:45pm, in booth B1853 on the exhibition floor, Nuvation Engineering, Bloomy, and Linear Technology will be participating in a panel discussion about the future of battery management systems with respect to large-scale battery technologies. This panel discussion is free to all Battery Show attendees, and will offer expert insights into this rapidly growing area of battery technology.
  • September 18, 1:30-3:15, Conference Track 2, Ruby Ballroom – Battery Management Systems – Michael Worry, Nuvation’s CEO, will be participating in this conference track and discussing “Real-world challenges for battery management systems.

For more details, please visit our website Events Page.

Engineering Scholarship Winner

in Robots, Scholarship

Congratulations to Marina Dimitrov from Portland Oregon, the 2014 winner of Nuvation’s $1,000 engineering scholarship. Applicants were asked to submit a short essay about something they really enjoyed about engineering. Marina told us all about her work on robots that make elephants exercise!

Check out Marina’s winning essay.

Packy the Elephant Meet “Packy,” one of Marina’s oldest customers. Robot feeder and worktable Packy’s robot personal trainer is getting some upgrades from Marina’s FIRST Robotics team. Marina gets ready to make a robot!

Now a Sophomore at Stanford University majoring in Biomechanical Engineering, Marina discovered her passion for robotics during high school in the FIRST Robotics Competition, where she created robots that play Frisbee, soccer, and basketball (this time the robots did the exercising!).

Marina cutting metal Marina working in the lab. Elephant Feeder Process Flow Chart Elephant feeder UI flow chart. Robot playing sports Robots playing, ummm, what sport is that?

This summer she studied the “biomechanics of tuna” and is thinking of ways to make robots swim better by “striving to understand and mimic what nature has had millions of years to design.” Not a bad resume for eighteen years old – wait a minute, are we saying “Marina” is studying the biomechanics of fish at Stanford Hopkins Marine Station…I get the feeling we will be hearing more about this dynamic future engineer in the…future. Congratulations again Marina, and please drop by Nuvation’s California office sometime, and see if you have any biomechanical engineering tips for our air hockey playing robot.

Franken-Systems and Electronic Design

in Electronic Design Services

At Nuvation we began using the term “Franken-systems” many years ago (maybe back in the late 90’s?); nobody recalls the exact moment in time. Somebody probably blurted it out on seeing a lab setup with wires running all over between development boards and perfboard circuit prototypes. We’ve certainly seen the term other places as well, so we don’t know if we came up with it first. Doubtful we did, but we do like the term, it’s a concept that customers, vendors, and new colleagues all seem to understand.

A Franken-system refers to a collection of development boards for processors, FPGAs, sensors, and the like wired together to create a very non-form-factor early prototype in order to facilitate software and logic development. Sometimes we’ll make lab prototypes for certain circuits, sometimes we’ll have custom cables made, and sometimes we’ll go so far as to fabricate interposer cards to connect boards that have complicated interfaces, lots of connections or high-speed considerations. Read More

Nuvation In the News – Autonomous Vehicles Research

in Autonomous Vehicles

Electronic Design News has published a story about Nuvation’s collaboration with the University of Waterloo on autonomous vehicles research. EDN began taking an interest in our exploration of this exciting emerging technology when our CEO Michael Worry suggested during a presentation at the 2014 EE Live! trade show in California that that it should be illegal for humans to drive.

Car Crash Image

Should it be illegal for humans to drive?

 

Autonomous Vehicle Research Presented at IEEE

Steven Waslander, the lead University of Waterloo researcher on the project, presented two Nuvation-sponsored research papers on promising autonomous vehicle technologies at the IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium last June in Michigan. “Pneumatic Trail Based Slip Angle Observer with Dugoff Tire Model” explores ways autonomous vehicles can ensure accurate vehicle control “at the limits of tire performance,” and “MPC Based Collaborative Adaptive Cruise Control with Rear End Collision Avoidance,” well, that one’s a bit more self-explanatory when you know that “MPC” stands for “model predictive control.” Read More

New Battery Management System for Energy Storage Platforms

in Battery Management System

A couple of weeks ago Nuvation’s product management team asked me to start preparing some marketing materials for our new “gen 4” battery management system (BMS). Finally, it’s time to start talking about it! It’s been a while since we released a new “ready-to-ship” product, and we already have interested clients asking for more information. This is a true COTS battery management system – and it’s chemistry-agnostic, scalable, and configurable.

The new BMS is designed with a modular architecture (there are different physical BMS modules you can put together in a custom configuration for your target system) that makes it scalable for uses ranging from large electricity grid energy storage systems, large datacom/telecom systems like cell towers, and industrial transportation platforms such as tow motors, naval vessels, and mobile robots. We addressed safety by creating a fault tolerant fail-safe design with built in redundancy, and choosing processors with strong noise immunity.

BMS User Interface - Pack View

BMS User Interface – Pack View

But for me, the coolest part of this battery management system is it includes a Wi-Fi module, and we made an iPad app for it, so you can monitor the battery’s state of charge and other data remotely, on your iPad!

That’s all I can say for now (oops, did I accidentally leak a new impending product launch? Companies never do that, except by accident!). Stay tuned for more updates as we ramp up for a product demonstration at The Battery Show in Novi, Michigan this September.