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I am building a device which I would like to be able to charge with several different types of external battery chargers (different Icharge within spec of battery, of course). If I understand everything correctly, I won't need an extra charge IC on my board with this setup. Now, while this device is charging I would like to still be able to power the loadside logic. What is the best way to do this? Should I add a source selector and only use current provided by the charger to put in my on-board DC/DC during charging? Should I add a load sharer? Or is it sufficient to just power everything from Vbat even with the charger plugged in and pull the 20W required for the logic from the charger like that? Either way, isn't the charger constantly detecting current draand "thinking" the battery is not full yet potentially detrimental for the battery? Thanks!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Will the external battery chargers be able to simultaneously provide sufficient battery charging current AND sufficient power for the load (plus a few percent more for overhead management?). If not then you have a more complex circuit I suspect. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 12:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ What kind of battery? Most battery chargers provide a fixed current until the voltage reaches a certain level then a fixed voltage until the current falls to a certain level to determine end of charge. The fixed current stage should just increase charge time but you risk over charging during the fixed voltage stage. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 16:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ "...with several different types of external battery chargers" which different types? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 18:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WarrenHill li-ion or lipo probably. Either way the load will have to be powered during charging and scope says charger must be external. Any ideas? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex Er
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 15:48

2 Answers 2

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Depending on the charger and battery type it will probably work ok.

Lead-acid:

Chargers are usually very dumb and just supply a current/voltage limited output. The charger shouldn't care at all if a load is connected in parallel. Although you should note that the "float voltage" that the charger supplies is higher than the normal battery voltage. The float voltage on a "12V" lead acid battery is usually 13.8V for example.

Li-ion:

Most chargers have an output that is voltage limited to 4.2v per cell, as well as current limited. More complicated chargers have time and mAh cutoffs which could trip you up. But in practice that would just mean you have to start the charging cycle again.

NiMh:

These have complicated charging logic. The load likely would trip some threshold on the charger.

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If the external power source is a battery charger then it is likely to be confused if there is a load on the battery while it is charging.

Most devices that can run from external power or battery use a simple power supply, and put the battery charger inside the device.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I know, but the scope is explicit about not puting the charger inside of the device as different chargers with various charging currents are available. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex Er
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 8:19

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