With automakers scaling up for a sales boom in start-stop vehicles, Freescale Semiconductor has rolled out a low-power, low-cost sensor meant to monitor the batteries used on those so-called micro-hybrid cars.
The MM9Z1J638 sensor, which mounts on a battery lead, will track the battery's health and enable the vehicle to know if it has enough juice to stop and restart the engine at a traffic light. The technology is considered especially important for start-stop vehicles, whose starters draw more current and must be engaged about 10 times more frequently than conventional starters.
"When you pull up at a traffic light, this sensor will measure the state of the battery, so when the light turns green and you hit the gas pedal, you know you can restart the engine," James Bates, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale's analog and sensors group, told us at the recent Freescale Technology Forum.
Freescale's new sensor will track a battery's health and help a start-stop vehicle know if it has enough juice to stop and restart the engine at a traffic light.
(Source: Freescale Semiconductor)
This isn't the first battery sensor to offer such capabilities, but Freescale says it is about 50% smaller than its predecessors, draws about 20% less power, and costs 30-40% less. The product, which the company calls the first to integrate a microcontroller, A/D converter, and CAN protocol chip into a single package, measures about 7 mm x 7 mm. It is scheduled to reach mass production at the end of this year.
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