Engineers Edge


Constant Current Charging - Battery

Battery Application & Technology

Constant-current charging simply means that the charger supplies a relatively uniform current, regardless of the battery state of charge or temperature. Constant-current charging helps eliminate imbalances of cells and batteries connected in series. Single-rate, constant-current chargers are most appropriate for cyclic operation where a battery is often required to obtain a full charge overnight. At these high rates of charge there will be some venting of gases. Positive grid oxidation will occur at elevated temperatures or extended overcharge times. Normally the user of a cyclic application is instructed to remove the battery from a single-rate, constant-current charger within a period of time that permits full charge yet prevents excessive grid oxidation.

Another type of constant-current charger is the split-rate charger. A split-rate charger applies a high initial current to the cell and then switches to a low rate based on time of charge, voltage, or both. The choice of switching method and switch point may be affected by the relative priority of minimizing venting (early switching) versus maintaining good cell balance (later switching). In some split rate chargers, the charger will alternate between the high and low rate as the battery approaches full charge. Split-rate chargers are useful when the discharge cannot be classified as float or cyclic, but lies somewhere between the two applications.

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