New Industry Products

Pickering Introduces PXI/PXIe-Based Multi-Cell Battery Simulator Modules

October 29, 2021 by Gary Elinoff

The new products occupy a single PXI slot and are tasked with the testing and validation of battery management systems.

Pickering’s 41-752A and 43-752A target electric vehicle (EV), aerospace, and energy storage applications. The new units offer two, four, or six battery cell simulators per module.


The 41-752A and 43-752A Multichannel Battery simulation modules. Modified image courtesy of Pickering


Testing the Tester

Pickering’s informative video points out the ever increasing number of use cases for rechargeable batteries, notably including EVs. Rechargeable batteries are finicky beasts, and can only be safely charged and discharged by means of complex battery management systems (BMS). 

Pickering’s new modules are purposed to simulate the conditions that the BMS will encounter when it goes live and controls a powerful, cantankerous rechargeable battery system. Pickering advises that within a single PXI or PXIe chassis, users can build a system capable of over 100 cells of battery simulation.


Capabilities and Operation 

Each cell simulator is specified for ±5 mV accuracy from 1 V to 7 V., and each of the battery cell simulators modules are fully isolated both from ground and from each other. This important feature makes it easy to connect the cells in series, effectively simulating actual real-world battery cell topologies. The isolation, at a 750V level, makes it possible for the modules to simulate the lower voltage battery stacks that are now often employed in EV propulsion. Up to 100mA of battery charging emulation is available. 

Each individual cell provides independent sense and power connections. This allows each simulator to both sense each remote load and then to correct for losses. The simulators are capable of responding to dynamic loads, which serves to minimize the requirements for decoupling capacitors at load. A read back system supplies the current and voltage information to the driver, which then adjusts the module’s output voltage by means of a feedback system. This design allows for greater accuracy.


The Need for Testing and Validation of Battery Management Systems

Comments Pickering's Simulation Product Manager, Paul Bovingdon: "With the increasing adoption of EVs as well as battery stacks for other applications, one of the significant challenges to be tackled is the effective testing and validation of the Battery Management Systems (BMS). Previously, test engineers have had to link simulation modules to a separate DMM to achieve voltage and current readback. Our new modules eliminate this requirement, making them simpler to use and more accurate. The 41-752A and 43-752A modules benefit from the modularity and scalability of the PXI/PXIe platform. These modules can be combined with Pickering's other PXI switch and simulation modules, including high voltage switching, fault insertion, thermocouple simulation, RTD simulation, and more. They can also be combined with other vendors' PXI modules, such as a CANbus interface, to create a fully flexible BMS test system." 


Extensive Software Support

Because of this support, users have the ability to design their own targeted applications, employing whatever programming languages and platforms they prefer, such as MATLAB, LabVIEW/LabWindows, .NET, and C//C++.

Operating system choices are wide open, too. Users can opt for Microsoft Windows, most species of Linux, and even such hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) operating systems as Veristand, LabVIEW RT and QNX. 

This unusual flexibility makes for seamless integration of the new modules into the users existing systems, regardless of vendor(s).


The Two Versions

  • The 41-752A for PXI 
  • The 43-752A for PXIe