Other Parts Discussed in Post: BQSTUDIO

Previously, I wrote about why your battery-powered product needs a fuel gauge. If you identified with this need, then you might have looked around to see what gauges are available and thought about dropping one into your design.

Not so fast! I don’t want to scare you, but did you know that you will have to configure and optimize the gauge to match your system and battery? Dare I recommend that you even do some testing and verification to see how accurate the gauge is under your particular use conditions?

“That sounds scary,” you say. Well it could be if you don’t have the right information and tools to do it. So let’s talk about how quick and easy it could be if you did have the right tools. Imagine a graphical user interface (GUI) with a wizard that steps you through some questions and configures the gauge for you. What if that GUI could control a small printed circuit board (PCB) that automatically cycles your battery to optimize and test the fuel gauge while you sleep, or work on other parts of your design? The data from the fuel gauge could be logged, analyzed and plotted to see how it performed. What if you needed no bench equipment at all, and simply plugged this low-cost wonder into the wall while you left it cycling overnight?

Such a PCB does exist, and it’s called the Gauge Development Kit (GDK). Such a GUI also exists, called the Battery Management Studio (or bqStudio for short). Simply connect your battery and target single-cell fuel-gauge evaluation module (EVM) with the GDK and a PC; then you’re ready to automate a learning cycle and perform any arbitrary testing. Constant loads, stepped loads/charges or pulsed loads are easily generated and controlled with scriptable logic.

It’s likely you don’t have much time to become a battery or gauging expert, so TI wants to make it easy for you. Even if you don’t have time to watch our videos at Battery Management University, we think you’ll easily be able to pick up a GDK + EVM + your battery, configure and optimize the gauge, and run some testing to verify the performance for your system and load conditions.

For more about the GDK, check out the GDK tool folder or watch this video. Even without the GDK, you can download a copy of Battery Management Studio and check out its features, then play with a fuel-gauge EVM like our bq27421.

TI has the most open and well-documented gauge portfolio on the market, as well as the easiest to use. Part of that ease of use comes from the tools we provide, so now you shouldn't hesitate to design-in a fuel gauge!

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