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I'd like to measure the voltages of individual lithium based cells (LiPo, LiIon, LiFePO4) in a battery pack (up to 4 cells in series), using an ADC. I was thinking about the following approach, using an analog multiplexer and an amplifier: enter image description here

  • The multiplexer is powered by the battery to prevent the cell voltages to be above the multiplexer's supply voltage.
  • The multiplexer routes each cell's positive and negative terminal to the amp's inputs.
  • The amplifier is also powered by the battery pack.
  • The amplifier has a gain of 1 and turns the selected cell's voltage into a single ended signal that is then divided down to ADC range.

I'm looking for an accuracy of 10 mV.

My questions:

  • Is this a reasonable approach?
  • What should I look out for in the amplifier? So far it would have to support rail-to-rail inputs, unity gain and high CMRR. Any recommended types for this application?
  • Channel select and inhibit inputs could simply be driven with an N-channel FET and a pull-up to +BATT. Should I consider other approaches?
  • What kind of filtering should I have at the amplifier's inputs?
  • Are there any caveats when the pack has less than 4 cells (in the schematic: BT3 and BT4 shorted for a pack with 2 cells)
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  • \$\begingroup\$ What should I look out for in the amplifier? You're missing: rail-to-rail input voltage range. \$\endgroup\$ – Bimpelrekkie Mar 27 at 13:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ That was actually in my notes and somehow didn't make it into the question. Added. \$\endgroup\$ – Christoph Mar 27 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ This design is basic but lacks specs & features like UVP,OVP, OTP, CMRR, Noise filter, in addition to logic level shifter, rip-up and retry with better specs first ! Add Fault detection, and ADC conversion cycle time. with test points and calibration and provision for off-chip balancing. Never start with a schematic! ALWAYS start with design criteria.! \$\endgroup\$ – Sunnyskyguy EE75 Mar 27 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SunnyskyguyEE75 indeed there's more to talk about, since this measurement circuit would be part of a balancing charger. However, discussing the whole charger would probably get closed as too broad. So let's keep the discussion focused on actually measuring voltages, and for that purpose I need no UVP, no OVP and no OTP. \$\endgroup\$ – Christoph Mar 27 at 20:17
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The approach is reasonable. Things I'd consider adding: -

  • Resistors in series with each battery feed to the multiplexer to prevent circuit board track burning when you get it wrong and short the battery out.
  • Use an InAmp with a small negative rail so that you can avoid having to get rail-to-rail devices (more options are created)
  • If you implement the series resistors I mentioned then a 10 nF across the InAmp input terminals and 10nF from each input to ground gives you sufficient filtering.
  • Ensure that the maximum battery voltage does not get close to the peak voltage supply for the CD4052. Max value is 20 volts from the data sheet.
  • Logic line levels do need to follow the battery supply so use MOSFETs and pull-ups as you mention.
  • I'd consider using the AD620 as the InAmp but don't forget the small negative rail (circa -3 volts)
  • For the ADC, the potential divider needs to be calculated correctly and the inherent resistance it provides might be enough of a protection on its own. However, it doesn't hurt to have diodes to both rails in case of over or under voltage.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ The positive input would have to accept rail voltage as well since the amp is powered from the battery. Unless I create a 20V positive rail as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Christoph Mar 27 at 13:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it will. Using isolating DC/DC converters that produce (say) a 3 volt DC output, you can use one for the negative supply and one bumbing up the top battery voltage by 3 volts to give you the extra clearance. On the other hand, the AD8223 InAmp (from memory) will work down to 0 volts and so just an uplift on the battery voltage is needed. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Mar 27 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ The AD8223 has a minimum gain of 5, so I'd have to divide the cell voltage and open another can of worms. The suggested -3/+18(-ish) supply seems more reasonable. I could also supply the multiplexer from +18V. \$\endgroup\$ – Christoph Mar 27 at 20:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ AD8422A: Vin from -Vs+1.2V to +Vs-1.3V, unity gain, CMRR (DC, G=1) min 86 dB, and cheaper than the AD620 (CMRR at DC, G=1: 73 dB) \$\endgroup\$ – Christoph Mar 27 at 20:41

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