Battery systems in facilities, industrial plants, and communications systems are vital to many companies’ basic operations, from turning the lights on to powering high-voltage machinery. Regular tests are vital to prevent outages, as capacity drops long before a battery’s life expectancy and weak cells can cause expensive service interruptions. Battery testing equipment is designed to diagnose battery health and electrical characteristics. A battery tester machine gives the user insight into the voltage, impedance, and storage capacity of a battery or load, providing a concise report of how long the battery will be able to supply power and whether it will be able to operate at maximum functionality.
Test personnel can choose from equipment designed specifically for cells, modules, or packs, depending on their application. Leading-edge test systems are programmable and regenerative. Programmable battery test systems allow for complete flexibility and control of the test, with each channel tested independently. Regenerative battery test systems return discharged power back, greatly reducing power consumption. Battery testing equipment is especially essential in applications like life-cycling, in which the battery’s load interactions in the field are replicated.
To determine what kind of battery test equipment is ideal for your application, it's helpful to know the different types of battery testing.
What is Battery Testing?
Battery testing gives the tester insight into the battery system’s health and clues as to whether the cells may lose their owners money or jeopardize the safety of employees. Battery testing consists of two primary methods: impedance testing and battery discharge testing.
- Impedance tests are performed on the power line to discover weak battery cells prior to failure.
- Battery discharge testing is performed off the line and tests the performance of the entire battery system, demonstrating how the battery will interact with a load in real-world conditions.
Common Battery Test Equipment Applications
Battery tester machines are required for a diverse array of tests from life cycle testing to cell balance verification. The following are common uses:
- Life cycle testing
- Electric vehicle testing
- Electrochemistry testing
- Supercapacitor testing
- Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)
- Coulombic efficiency testing
- Simulating real-world test scenarios
- Research & development for products, vehicles, and grid storage
- Validating battery management systems (BMS)
- Testing smart battery modules
- Hybrid pulse power characterization testing (HPPC)
- Dynamic stress testing (DST)
- Testing lithium, nickel, lead/acid, sulfur, silicon, and more types of batteries
Choosing the Right Battery Testing Equipment
Choosing the right battery testing equipment for your application can be a difficult process; test systems are costly, replacing them is time-consuming, and installing them brings both active and back-up systems that rely on batteries to a halt. Renting a battery tester is often the best option: you get the industry’s best equipment for a fraction of the price, and a rental period flexible to your test schedule. Consider the following when selecting your battery tester machine:
- Battery Type
- Look for a battery test system that offers high-precision, integrated energy storage testing for both lithium-ion batteries and others.
- Basic Functions
- A battery tester machine should be able to diagnose charge and discharge rate, state of charge (SOC) and state of health (SOH), depth of discharge (DoD), and take highly accurate voltage, current, temperature, and power measurements, both statically and dynamically.
- Regenerative Capabilities
- Regenerative battery testing equipment is often desirable, as regenerative systems recycle energy from the battery to the electrical system or connected grid.
- Most modern equipment is customizable, offering upgradeable multi-channel test capabilities.
ATEC recommends the following battery test systems.