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Nowadays fake Lithium and NiMH batteries are everywhere which is sold by advertising with higher capacities than their true capacity. So it is really difficult to distinguish between a real and a fake battery. Similarly, it is difficult to know the capacity retained in the salvaged 18650 laptop batteries. So, a device is required to measure the true capacity of the batteries.


In the year 2016, I have written an tutorial on " Arduino Capacity Tester - V1.0 " which was a very straight forward and simple device. The earlier version was based on Ohms Law. The battery to be tested is discharged through a fixed resistor, current and time duration is measured by Arduino Nano and capacity is calculated by multiplying both the readings ( Discharge current and time ).


The drawback of the earlier version was that during the testing, as as the battery voltage decrease, the current also decreases which make the calculations complex and inaccurate. To overcome this, I have made the V2.0 which is designed in such a way that the current will remain constant throughout the discharging process. I made this device by inspiring the original design by MyVanitar


The main features of Capacity Tester V2.0 are :


1. Capable of measuring the capacity of AA / AAA NiMh / NiCd, 18650 Li-ion, Li-Polymer, and Li FePO4 battery. It is suitable for almost any kind of battery rated below 5V.


2. Users can set the discharge current by using the push-buttons.


3. OLED user Interface


4. The device can be used as an Electronic Load


Update on 02.12.2019


Now you can order the PCB and components together in a kit from PCBWay

 


Disclaimer:Please note that you are working with Li-Ion battery which is highly explosive and dangerous. I cannot be held responsible for any loss of property, damage, or loss of life if it comes to that. This tutorial was written for those who have knowledge of rechargeable lithium-ion technology. Please do not attempt this if you are a novice. Stay Safe.



Schematic Diagram




The whole schematic is divided into to followings sections:

1. Power Supply Circuit


2. Constant Current Load Circuit


3. Battery Voltage Measurement Circuit


4. User Interface Circuit


5. Buzzer Circuit


1. Power Supply Circuit


The power supply circuit is consists of a DC Jack ( 7-9V) and two filter capacitors C1 and C2. The power output (Vin) is connected to the Arduino pin Vin. Here I am using the Arduino on-board voltage regulator to step down the voltage to 5V.


2. Constant Current Load Circuit


The core component of the circuit is Op-amp LM358 which contains two operational amplifiers. The PWM signal from the Arduino pin D10 is filtered by a low-pass filter ( R2 and C6 ) and fed to the second operational amplifier. The output of the second op-amp is connected to the first op-amp in voltage follower configuration. The power supply to LM358 is filtered by a decoupling capacitor C5.

The first op-amp, R1, and Q1 build a constant current load circuit. So now we can control the current through the load resistor (R1) by changing the PWM signal pulse width.


3. Battery Voltage Measurement Circuit


The battery voltage is measured by the Arduino analog input pin A0. Two capacitors C3 and C4 are used to filter out the noises coming from the constant current load circuit which can degrade the ADC conversion performance.


4. User Interface Circuit


The user interface circuit is consists of two push-buttons and a 0.96" I2C OLED display. The Up and Down push-button is to increase or decrease the PWM pulse width. R3 and R4 are pull-up resistors for the Up and Down push-buttons. C7 and C8 are used to debounce the push-buttons. The third push-button (RST) is used for resetting the Arduino.


5. Buzzer Circuit


The buzzer circuit is used to alert the starting and end of the test. A 5V buzzer is hooked to Arduino digital pin D9.


How Does It Work?


The theory is based on the voltage comparison of the inverting (pin-2) and the non-inverting (pin-3) inputs of the OpAmp, configured as a unity amplifier. When you set the voltage applied to the non-inverting input by adjusting the PWM signal, the output of the opamp opens the gate of MOSFET. As the MOSFET turn-on, the current runs through R1, it creates a voltage drop, which provides negative feedback to OpAmp. It controls the MOSFET in such a way that the voltages at its inverting and non-inverting inputs are equal. So, the current through the load resistor is proportional to the voltage at the non-inverting input of the OpAmp.



Capacity Measurement


Picture of Capacity Measurement



Here Battery is discharged to its low-level threshold voltage ( 3.2V).


Battery Capacity (mAh) = Current ( I ) in mA x Time (T ) in Hours


From the above equation it is clear that to calculate battery capacity (mAh), we have to know the current in mA and time in Hour. The designed circuit is a constant current load circuit, so the discharge current remains constant throughout the testing period.


The discharge current can be adjusted by pressing the Up and Down Button. The time duration is measured by using a timer in the Arduino code.



Assemble the PCB





For Soldering, you will need a decent Soldering Iron, Solder, Nipper and a multimeter. It is good practice to solder the components according to their height. Solder the lesser height components first.


You can follow the following steps to solder the components :


1. Push the component legs through their holes, and turn the PCB on its back.


2. Hold the tip of the soldering iron to the junction of the pad and the leg of the component.


3. Feed solder into the joint so that it flows all around the lead and covers the pad. Once it has flowed all around, move the tip away.


Software & Libraries




First, download the attached Arduino Code. Then download the following libraries and install them.


Libraries:


Download and install the following libraries:


1. JC_Button: https://github.com/JChristensen/JC_Button


2. Adafruit_SSD1306: https://github.com/JChristensen/JC_Button


In the code, you have to change the following two things.


1. Current Arrays values: This can be done by connecting a multimeter in series with the battery. Press the up button and measure the current, the current values are the elements of the array.


2. Vcc: You use a multimeter to measure the voltage at the Arduino 5V pin. In my case it is 4.96V.


Updated on 20.11.2019


You can change the Low_BAT_Level value in the code as per the battery chemistry. It is better to take a little margin over the cut off voltage stated below.


Here is the discharge rates and cutoff voltages for various Lithium-Ion Battery chemistry:


1. Lithium Cobalt Oxide: Cut-off Voltage = 2.5V at 1C discharge rate


2. Lithium Manganese Oxide: Cut-off Voltage = 2.5V at 1C discharge rate


3. Lithium Iron Phosphate: Cut-off Voltage = 2.5V at 1C discharge rate


4. Lithium Titanate: Cut-off Voltage = 1.8V at 1C discharge rate


5. Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide: Cut-off Voltage = 2.5V at 1C discharge rate


6. Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide: Cut-off Voltage = 3.0V at 1C discharge rate



Conclusion





To test the circuit, first I charged a good Samsung 18650 battery using my ISDT C4 Charger. Then connect the battery to the battery terminal. Now set the current to according to your requirement and long-pressed the “UP” button. Then you should hear a beep and the test procedure starts. During the test, you will monitor all the parameters on the OLED display. The battery will discharge until its voltage reaches its low-level threshold (3.2V). The test process will be finished by two long beeps.


Note: The project is still under development stage. You can join me for any improvements. Raise comments if any mistakes or errors. I am designing a PCB for this project. Stay connected for more updates to the project.

Hope my tutorial is helpful. If you like it, don't forget to share :) Subscribe for more DIY projects.


Thank You.

https://bit.ly/2Y7yxA8

Bill of materials used in this project

Arduino Nano
1
0.96" OLED Diasplay
1
Opamp LM358
1
Power Resistor 1R / 5W
1
Resistor 1M
1
Resistor 4.7K
2
Resistor 330R
1
Capacitor 100nF
4
Capacitor 220uF /16V
1
Piezo buzzer
1
Button Switch
3
Button Switch Cap
3
8 pin DIP Socket
1
Female Header 15 pins
2
Female Header 4 pins
1
Heat Sink
1
Screw Terminal
1
DC Jack
1
5mm LED
1
Nov 10,2019
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