What is Battery Protection in a Battery Management System?

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Editorial Team - everything PE

May 15, 2024

Battery Protection Device from Victron Energy

Battery protection is a key component in a battery management system (BMS) that ensures the safe and efficient operation of rechargeable batteries. It prevents possible failure or damage to the battery cells within a battery pack. A BMS usually features an electronic switch that disconnects the battery from the charger or load during critical conditions, preventing potentially dangerous reactions.

A battery protection unit of a BMS is active during the following critical conditions:

  • Over-charge: occurs when the battery is charged beyond its maximum allowable capacity.
  • High & low temperature: happens when the internal temperature of the battery cells exceeds or drops below their safe operational ranges.
  • Over-discharge: takes place when the battery is discharged below its minimum allowable capacity.
  • Over-current: happens when the battery experiences a short circuit or a high inrush current during startup.
  • Reverse polarity: occurs when the battery terminals are incorrectly connected to the device. 

Failing to disconnect or manage the battery during such conditions can result in the following issues:

  • Thermal runaway: This often occurs due to over-charging or overheating of the battery. Overheating can be caused by an increase in ambient temperature or by charging/discharging the batteries at high current rates. Thermal runaway not only damages the battery cells but can also lead to fires.
  • Cell death: This typically happens when batteries are discharged below their specified thresholds.
  • Damage to the load device: This is usually caused by poor inrush current management or reversing the battery polarity.

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