To help ensure reliability, stationary batteries need to be maintained and tested regularly. Even "maintenance free" batteries require regular testing because they can deteriorate over time. All it takes is one battery in the string to fail to take the entire string off-line. One bad battery will affect the usable life of adjacent batteries by raising their charge voltage. Worse still, a battery or interconnect with a high impedance could overheat, ignite, or explode during a discharge.
In addition to providing backup power, stationary batteries are increasingly used to store renewable energy, such as solar and wind. Those batteries are subject to the same potential degradation and need to be tested regularly.
Closing the feature gap in battery testers
While battery testers have been around for quite a while, a few years ago Fluke began to notice a growing gap between what was available and what was needed to effectively test stationary battery systems. "Most of the battery testers out there had either no CAT rating or a low CAT rating," says Chris Gloger, Digital Multimeter Business Unit Manager for Fluke. "We wanted to develop a battery analyzer that was not only more efficient but also had a CAT III rating to provide more safety."
Fluke had the advantage of being able to develop their battery analyzers from the ground up to address the requirements of the IEEE Standard 1188, which was established in 2005 after most other battery analyzers on the market had been developed. This standard governs maintenance, test schedules, and testing procedures for optimizing the life and performance of stationary batteries. "We started with the IEEE standard and asked ourselves 'How do we make those tests safer and how do we make them quicker for customers?'," says Gloger.
The answers to those questions led to the development of Fluke 500 Series Battery Analyzers. These intuitive test tools were specifically designed for measuring all kinds of stationary batteries including GEL, AGM (absorbed glass MAT), lithium-ion, and wet-cell lead-acid.
The 500 Series analyzers offer improved impedance test performance even in high-ripple environments. What's more, their 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, and increased accuracy, safety, and operational efficiency.
Multiple tests at the same time
All three Fluke 500 Series Battery Analyzers—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 Fluke BT520 and BT521 include an Intelligent Test Probe with an integrated LCD display that shows measurements right on the probe. You can capture measurements 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 you're testing to help you keep track of your progress. That's especially handy when testing a long string of batteries.
The BTL21 Intelligent Probe on the BT521 analyzer adds an infrared temperature sensor so you can measure temperature and up to two other data points simultaneously—1000VDC, 600VAC, 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
- Long reach test probe extenders for testing double stacked battery cells
Easy analysis and reporting
When you've finished testing, just plug the battery analyzer into your PC via the USB port and quickly export measurements using Fluke Battery Management Software. From there you can easily compare results, analyze trends, and generate battery analysis reports.
In addition to simplifying testing, the Fluke Series 500 analyzers offer several ergonomic features for easy handling. Their compact design and rugged construction make it easy to take them just about anywhere. The smart lithium-ion battery delivers more than eight hours of continuous operation. And you can quickly see the battery charge status through the built-in LEDs. Plus, each unit comes with a shoulder strap, belt strap, and magnetic hanger to provide hands-free operation.
Whether you're responsible for maintenance, troubleshooting, or performance testing on individual stationary batteries or battery banks, you can work faster, safer, and more accurately with Fluke 500 Series Battery Analyzers.