Fear of pushing the battery packs, or not

April 19, 2016

Fear of pushing the battery packs, or not

Battery technology has improved, there's no arguing that. However, it's not improving at nearly the same rate as other areas of technology, including...

Battery technology has improved, there’s no arguing that. However, it’s not improving at nearly the same rate as other areas of technology, including the vast feature set (in both hardware and software) that’s being packed into today’s consumer and industrial devices.

In fact, I had a discussion about this just the other day (which spawned the idea for this blog). I complained that battery technology moves very slowly simply because the pack makers are afraid of a catastrophic event, like the battery catching fire, exploding, etc. To avoid these scenarios, I argued that they’re afraid to push the batteries beyond a very conservative level.

The group I had this discussion with claimed that it’s simply laws of chemistry, that the chemicals used in the battery packs simply can be pushed any further than they already are.

Regardless of which side of the argument you’re on, or maybe it’s both, it’s clear that uses are demanding more battery life. So if it’s not coming from the battery itself, it has to come from the electronics that drive the system. Lower-power processors, better analog and power design, and so on are helping to extend battery life.

There are some tricks that can be applied, and even some devices and software algorithms that you may not have been aware of that can help you in this regard. To that end, we’ve put together an Embedded University class to explain some of these techniques. Called Get the Most Juice from your Battery Pack, the class is taught by Joshua Israelsohn, Founder and Director of Media and Training Services at JAS Technical Media. The on-line class, sponsored by Texas Instruments, takes place May 4, at 11:00 EDT.

Rich Nass, Embedded Computing Brand Director