EVs Receive Boost with New Bi-Directional Converter

Calex’s BCA converter sees a 97% increase in efficiency over its predecessors.

BCA DC/DC converter. (Image courtesy of Calex.)

BCA DC/DC converter. (Image courtesy of Calex.)

Calex recently announced the launch of its BCA, a 3kW bi-directional nonisolated DC/DC converter intended for automotive and electric battery applications. Weighing 2.8lb, the BCA is compact and lightweight, with dimensions measuring at 8.67 x 6.14 x 1.01 inches.  The converter’s design provides an efficiency boost of 97 percent, and the packaging and thermal design makes it well suited for harsh shock and vibration requirements—like those associated with electric vehicles— as well as easier integration with a battery pack.

Such design specs are especially useful when it comes to the standard architecture of hybrid electric vehicles, which usually require the use of two independent batteries at different voltages. The BCA improves efficiency by charging a low side 12V battery during normal operation (buck mode) and charges or assists the high voltage 48V battery in emergency situations (boost mode). In the event that the 48V battery requires charging while in the boost mode, the unit enters into pre-charge mode.

“The BCA provides a complete solution for in-vehicle power distribution in 48V/12V battery configurations, making this an outstanding choice for OEM vehicle electrical systems,” said Michael McNally, director of product marketing at Calex Manufacturing.

The BCA’s other features include a disconnect switch based on a back-to-back MOSFET configuration for the low side battery, reverse voltage protection, short circuit protectionandreduced standby current for the low side. The baseplate of the enclosure allows for ease of mounting to a chill plate or chassis, and these units have an operational baseplate temperature range of -40˚C to 100˚C.

Calex’s BCA also uses a Controller Area Network (CAN) 2.0B interface for complete control of the converter, as well as monitoring of the LS current and the internal temperature. Lastly, the converter utilizes a high-speed CAN-Transceiver for communication with the microcontroller.