Electrical Power & Protection

A better battery analyser

August 2015 Electrical Power & Protection

Stationary batteries need to be maintained and tested regularly and even maintenance-free batteries can deteriorate over time. All it takes is one battery in a string to fail to take the entire string offline. One bad battery can affect the usable life of adjacent batteries by raising their charge voltage; and a battery or interconnect with a high impedance can overheat, ignite or explode during discharge. In addition to providing backup power, stationary batteries are also increasingly used to store renewable energy. These batteries are subject to the same potential degradation and also need to be tested regularly.

Fluke noticed that most of the battery testers on the market had either no CAT rating or a low CAT rating and as a result developed a more efficient battery analyser with a CAT III safety rating, the Fluke 500 series. The company was also able to address the requirements of IEEE Standard 1188, which was established in 2005 after most other battery analysers on the market had been developed. This standard governs maintenance, test schedules and testing procedures for optimising the life and performance of stationary batteries.

The Fluke 500 series is intuitive and specifically designed for measuring all kinds of stationary batteries, including GEL, AGM (absorbed glass MAT), lithium-ion and wet-cell lead-acid. The analysers offer improved impedance test performance, even in high-ripple environments. The intuitive user interface and intelligent test probes simplify the testing process by guiding technicians quickly through setups. The result is reduced measurement complexity and cost, with increased accuracy, safety and operational efficiency.

All three Fluke 500 series battery analysers – the BT 510/520/521 – offer a broad range of battery test functions, including simultaneously measuring DC voltage while testing internal resistance and full condition testing using automated string function testing.

The BT520 and BT521 include an intelligent test probe with an integrated LCD display that shows measurements right on the probe. Measurements can be captured automatically in sequence mode or manually by pressing the save button on the probe. The LCD display indicates that the measurement has been taken and saved and uses audible voice cues to indicate which measurements in the sequence have been made. The voice count battery ID identifies which battery is being tested to help keep track of progress – especially handy when testing a long string of batteries.

The BTL21 intelligent probe on the BT521 analyser has an infrared temperature sensor to measure temperature and up to two other data points simultaneously – 1000 V DC, 600 VA C and ripple – to provide a more complete view of battery health. All models also include ergonomic two-prong test lead probes with a Kelvin connection to ensure resistance measurement accuracy; replaceable tips to extend test lead life and further reduce the cost of ownership; and long reach test probe extenders for testing double stacked battery cells.

When testing is finished, measurements can be exported to a PC using Fluke battery management software so that users can easily compare results, analyse trends and generate battery analysis reports.

For more information contact Comtest Group, +27 (0)10 595 1821, sales@comtest.co.za, www.comtest.co.za


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