Lithium Ion Battery Charging Unit

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Problem Statement

Our team was contracted by Itron to update their existing battery charger to support the latest single cell battery pack. The development criteria of this project include the improvement and updating of the battery charging circuit. This project also involves the development of the physical interface of the battery with the charger.  This interface includes the exterior of the charger, the battery pack insertion, and the printed circuit board (PCB). The battery charger must be capable of charging Itronís new battery pack for the Japanese handheld meter reading device.  The battery charger must be similar in cost, appearance, and function in the same manner as the current battery charger.

In order to accomplish this task, the team used the current battery charger as a platform for the new concept.  The mechanical development was driven by two factors: (1) the updated shape of the battery pack and (2) the change in electrical contacts.  The electrical development was driven by minimizing cost and simplifying components. 

The re-design formulated by this team meets and exceeds the constraints set out in the scope of the project.  All functional requirements within the design space have been met, while also adding some new functional features.  These new features include:  foreign material drain holes, a two layer printed circuit board, test fixture mounting holes, and corrosion resistant electrical spring contacts.  The cost of the new charging unit is similar to the current battery charger, and the preliminary cost analysis shows that the new unit will cost less than the current one.

This report details the development of Itronís new lithium ion battery charging unit.  It includes project background and problem statement as defined by Itron.  This report describes in detail the concepts considered and also the concepts finally selected.  A cost analysis of the final product is included along with an outline of future work as it pertains to this project.

This is solid model of the new battery pack.

This is a solid model of the new handheld meter reader.

This picture depicts the current battery charger.

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Last updated: 05/10/05.