Power supply for mobile devices

November 04, 2014 //By Michael Mueller
Power supply for mobile devices
Michael Mueller of congatec considers what to look for when selecting a power supply for mobile devices.

Mobile devices rely on an independent power source. Decisions that are made early on in device development - such as the choice of a suitable battery pack, charging concept, controls for power consumption and power supply dimensions - impact device usability, cost, operation and lifespan. Device function and application provide the guiding lines.

Building blocks of a mobile power supply
Simply put, a power supply system for mobile devices consists of four logic blocks: source, distribution, consumption and charging. Each block has its own intelligence and contains hardware and software. For the success of a device, it is important that the battery lasts a long time, provides sufficient power and is light and small. Next to operating time, weight and size, the most important requirements of a mobile, battery-powered device include safety, durability and unhindered access to international markets. Each of the logic blocks offers the potential to find a perfect design compromise between often conflicting requirements. Therefore, the overall concept encompasses more than just the rechargeable battery.

1. Power source
If the power does not come out of the socket, then hopefully it comes from a well-charged battery. A mobile device draws energy from the main power supply or one or more battery packs. The rechargeable battery needs to be small and light, but at the same time provide a lot of energy. Since these two requirements are contradictory, high energy density is at the top of the battery wish list.

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Requirements for rechargeable batteries:

• High energy density, i.e. small and light
• Large capacity, i.e. long battery life
• Protection against deep discharge and overcharging
• Worldwide compatibility
• High load and charging currents
• Long lifetime
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High energy density
But where does the energy come from? A battery consists of one or more cells. Different chemical processes are used to build these cells, but when it comes to energy density per cell,

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