Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced an intelligent battery management IC that easily identifies potentially unsafe batteries not approved by consumer electronics manufacturers for use in their devices. The bq26150 device authenticates battery packs used in cell phones, PDAs, digital still cameras or other portable applications.
TI's bq26150 resides in the battery pack and communicates with the host system’s microcontroller or applications processor. The host processor, such as TI's OMAP2420 applications processor, interrogates the battery pack upon pack insertion with a request for data over a single-wire communications line. The secure battery management IC calculates data obtained from a secret decryption key known only by the end-equipment system manufacturer.
The data is uniquely programmed in the bq26150 circuit using secure, non-volatile memory. If the battery information checks out, the system can allow normal system operation with the battery pack. A manufacturer can program the system to take action to protect the consumer if the battery pack response is not correct or if the battery pack is not approved or determined to be defective. For instance, a manufacturer may decide to render the system inoperable or only allow discharging of the battery.
Other security ICs planned for 2005 combine battery validation with other functions, such as battery fuel gauging and primary safety control. The bq26150 chipset is now sampling with volume production scheduled for the second quarter of 2005. Pricing in 1,000 piece quantities is $1.15 each.
For more information, see www.ti.com/sc05002.