Atmel Launches Industry's Safest Battery Management Solution for Automotive and Industrial High-Cell-Count Li-Ion Battery Packs

Devices enable cost savings of up to 60 percent compared to existing solutions

SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Atmel(R) Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML) today announced the availability of a new Li-Ion battery management chipset for high-cell-count automotive and industrial applications such as electrical/hybrid vehicles, e-bikes or uninterruptible power supplies. Atmel is currently the only supplier to provide a complete two-chip protection solution including all necessary functionalities with the highest safety level.

The ATA6870/71 chipset requires less external components than comparable solutions because it includes a hot plug-in capability, six integrated AD converters with a cut-off frequency lower than 30 Hz, saving external filters, and a stackable microcontroller power supply. With Atmel's cost-efficient 30-V CMOS technology, these features allow cost savings of up to 60 percent, compared to existing solutions.

The ATA6870 is the industry's first battery management IC to include all functionalities required to control a high-cell-count Li-Ion battery including six precise 12-bit AD converters for voltage monitoring, cell balancing, cell temperature measuring, and unique features such as stackable integrated power supply for a microcontroller or hot plug-in capability.

"Battery safety and efficiency are key for industrial and automotive battery applications," said Claus Mochel, Automotive High-Voltage Marketing Manager for Atmel Corporation. "Atmel's new ATA6870 and ATA6871 address these issues by offering a battery management solution with an unsurpassed safety concept and advanced parallel cell voltage measuring and balancing technique."

Since Li-Ion batteries are very sensitive against overcharging and deep discharge, they may burn or explode. To prevent this, Atmel provides a special safety strategy with its secondary protection device, the ATA6871. This monitors the battery cells' voltage and temperature, and prevents Li-Ion batteries from thermal runaway or exploding. If either of these were to occur in a battery cell, it can then be switched off by the emergency relays. With its implemented self-test routines, which run without an external microcontroller or software and its hardware-implemented monitoring thresholds, the ATA6871 constitutes the highest available safety level for Li-Ion battery monitoring. Proper operation is ensured even if the primary device is damaged.

About Atmel's ATA6870 and ATA6871

Both the ATA6870 and the ATA6871 circuits monitor six-battery cells and can be stacked up to 16 times. For the highest communication robustness between the stacked ICs, the ICs feature level shifters based on current sources. The ATA6870 also includes an 8-bit checksum monitor that helps further increase data communication robustness.

The ATA6870 provides a dedicated AD converter for each battery cell to be monitored. This enables simultaneous measurement voltage of all cells within one battery string for precise state-of-charge determination of Li-Ion battery cells.

The integrated power supply for the microcontroller can be stacked the same way as the IC itself. Therefore, the current required to supply the microcontroller can be taken from the top cell and be fed back into the battery string's bottom cell. As a result, the microcontroller's current consumption will not cause any cell imbalance, helping designers save expensive high-voltage devices.

Availability, Pricing and Photo

Samples of the new ATA6870 and ATA6871 ICs are now available in small QFN48/SSO28 packages. Pricing starts at USD $2.95 for the ATA6870 and USD $1.31 for the ATA6871 at 10k-piece quantities. The evaluation kits are also available now. This enables a quick start with the ICs to allow prototyping and testing of new battery designs immediately. For the ATA6870, Atmel offers additional software for PCs and laptops with a graphical user interface to control and optimize high-cell-count battery stacks.

To download a high-resolution photo of the ATA6870/71 device, please click the following link:


Product information on Atmel's Li-Ion battery management ICs ATA6870 and ATA6871 are available at: (ATA6870) (ATA6871)


AD = Analog Digital

CMOS = Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor

Li Ion = Lithium Ion

NiMH = Nickel Metal Hydride cell

QFN = Quad Flat No leads

About Atmel

Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets.

(C) 2009 Atmel Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Atmel(R), Atmel logo and combinations thereof, and others are registered trademarks or trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other terms and product names may be trademarks of others.

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