IEEE Seeks to Improve Batteries

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The first full draft of a new standard for mobile computer batteries has been completed and is circulating for comment among the companies that created it. The standard, IEEE P1625, “Standard for Rechargeable Batteries for Mobile Computers,” seeks to improve the reliability of the next generation of rechargeable lithium-ion and lithium-ion polymer batteries.

The IEEE P1625 effort arose because changes in handheld and notebook computers are placing ever greater demands on their batteries. These demands include the need for more power and greater energy density and the ability to withstand more frequent charge-discharge cycles. Batteries also need to be able to tolerate higher operating temperatures and exposure to mechanical shock, vibration and other stresses.

“IEEE 1625 will be a voluntary standard that specifies minimum guidelines for the design, validation, manufacture, and testing of battery cells and packs and the computer. It will address such areas as qualification, manufacturing process control, lithium-ion battery chemistries, packaging, and end-user notification,” said Jeff Layton, IEEE 1625 Working Group Chair.

In addition, the new standard aims to improve battery reliability by accounting for multi-fault scenarios. This involves examining all relevant battery and system designs to minimize the risks users might face should a battery fail under intended use or reasonably foreseeable misuse conditions.

The standard is based on the collective experience of industry leaders involved in making handhelds, laptops, and batteries. The IEEE 1625 Working Group currently contains 18 companies: Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Battery-Biz, Compal, Dynapack, Fedco Electronics, IBM, Inventec, Motorola, National Semiconductor, Panasonic, Quanta, Samsung, Sanyo, Solectron, Texas Instruments, and Wistron.

Once the comment period has ended, it is expected that a revised draft will undergo broader industry review in October. The standard is targeted for completion in the first half of 2004. A copy of the current draft standard will go on sale in mid September at the IEEE’s online store.

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