Texas Instruments Develops Tech to Extend UAS Battery Life, Flight Time

Posted by Betsy Lillian on January 18, 2017 No Comments

Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced two circuit-based subsystem reference designs that the company says will help consumer unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturers add flight time and extend battery life.

TI says its 2S1P battery management system (BMS) reference design transforms a drone’s battery pack into a smart diagnostic black box recorder that accurately monitors remaining capacity and protects the lithium-ion battery throughout its entire lifetime.

Designers can use the drone BMS reference design to add gauging, protection, balancing and charging capabilities to any existing drone design and improve flight time, the company explains. The technology also leverages a bq4050 multi-cell lithium-ion gas gauge to accurately measure remaining capacity over the entire life of the battery.

According to TI, a barrier to increased UAS flight time is often the inefficiency of turning a drone’s propellers. Now, TI says its new reference design for drone electronic speed controllers will help manufacturers create drones with longer flight times and more smooth and stable performance. The “sensorless high-speed field oriented control reference design for drone electronic speed control” features TI’s C2000 MCU InstaSPIN-FOC solution, including an F28027F microcontroller for precise motor control and the FAST field observer software algorithm that estimates rotor flux, angle, speed and torque.

In addition, the company says, motor parameter information is used to tune the current control bandwidth. Unlike other techniques, the FAST sensorless observer algorithm is completely self-tuning and requires no adjustments for proper operation and propeller control. The design also includes a 60-V LMR16006 SIMPLE SWITCHER DC/DC converter with an ultra-low quiescent current to efficiently manage a drone’s lithium-polymer batteries.

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