02 Jan 2013

Maxim Fuel Gauge Reduces Quiescent Current

Maxim has started to sample their MAX17048. This is a simple to use fuel gauge for Lithium-ion (Li+) batteries.

One of the key advantages of the new fuel gauge is that it maximises battery lifetime and has an operating current of only 23µamps. This means that the battery power is focussed on the equipment it is meant to be powering rather than being used on the management systems required.

The power can be even further reduced when it enters its micropower hibernate mode, in which the fuel gauge continues to operate.

The MAX17048 requires a minimum of external components. Only a single capacitor is required rather than multiple components previously required. This not only reduces costs because of the reduced bill of materials, but also enables the chip to reduce the board size. In fact the circuit typically reduces the board area by a factor of three when compared to other solutions

The MAX17048 fuel gauge is aimed at portable battery-powered applications where size, cost, and power are critical. Typical applications include as smartphones, wireless handsets, and mobile accessories, including Bluetooth headsets, portable speakers, fitness devices, and Wi-Fi routers.

Traditional fuel gauge designs require multiple external components including current-sense resistors, which increase both bill of materials (BOM) cost and design complexity. Those fuel gauges also use coulomb counting, which can drift and affect the accuracy of the gauge over time. The MAX17048 features the proven ModelGauge algorithm and does not require coulomb counting to report accurate battery state-of-charge, thus extending runtime. The MAX17048 functionality is also integrated into the company’s TINI Power System-on-Chip (SoC) to make it easier to upgrade designs to more complex systems.

“Although fuel gauges have traditionally been found in notebook computer applications, they are increasingly appearing as a critical ‘must-have’ element in consumer devices. With a highly accurate fuel gauge, customers know how much battery is left in their mobile device and that gives them confidence in the product,” said Susie Inouye, Principal Analyst of Databeans.

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