Photo Credit: Texas Instruments

Flight time was a hot topic at AUVSI’s Xponential conference in Dallas last week. A top-of-the-line drone for personal use has a range of about 27 minutes, and industrial UAVs are plagued with similarly brief flight times. In order to push that number higher, Texas Instruments has released a Battery Managements System reference design to manage capacity.

In a meeting at Xponential, I spoke to Jasraj Dalvi, electrical engineering lead for motor drives at Texas Instruments, about the drone industry. TI, he says, is trying to target as many core subsystems as possible in order to keep their strong presence in the industry. Some of their ideas are shared between groups like aerial systems and automotive.

“Fortunately the automotive industry has done a lot of this already,” Dalvi notes.

The 2S1P Battery Management System brings that expertise to non-military drones and is also suitable for robot or radio-controlled projects. The TI C2000 MCU InstaSPIN-FOC solution packages together a F28027F microcontroller and the proprietary field observer software algorithm FAST, which orients the BMS in regards to angle, rotor flux, and other elements that could drain the battery. This algorithm is self-tuning and includes a 60-V LMR16006 SIMPLE SWITCHER DC/DC converter, which uses low quiescent current.

The changes in these algorithms allow the BMS to push its power conversion efficiency.

Texas Instruments has published the reference design for the RC 2S1P Battery Management System and is offering samples now.