The credit card battery was developed in response to OEM demand for a short lead time, compact, and rechargeable lithium-ion battery solution for their devices.An object as being as small as a sugar cube is fairly easy to visualize. Similarly, if the reference was to a quarter or dime, the object’s dimensions are apparent. However, if the item described was compared to an 1ICP-063450-2 lithium-ion smart battery, undoubtedly, that would leave most puzzled.

This very debate recently took place at the headquarters of Accutronics, a UK designer and manufacturer of professional battery solutions. The design team wanted to brand their newest battery range by giving it a descriptive nickname that would tell everyone its approximate size. They came up with the phrase “credit card battery.”

The credit card batteries were developed by Accutronics in response to OEM demand for a short lead time, compact, and rechargeable lithium-ion battery solution for their devices.

When planning to build an off-the-shelf battery, manufacturers need to consider a few key points. Quality, availability, and the level of customization that might be required by the end user should all be addressed.

Many OEM designers want to be able to integrate a battery that suits their application without going through the time and expense of developing a new energy solution for every product. However, finding a product that meets their quality expectations and that comes with the right level of functionality and regulatory compliance is no easy feat.

It was to meet this demand that the range of credit card batteries was born. The series has been designed as a standard, readily available product that lends itself to customization in a timely and cost effective manner. The credit card sized batteries are pre-engineered, tooled, and have regulatory certification as standard before they reach the end user.

The rationale for developing the new range of smart batteries came from the fact that electronic device OEMs in professional markets find it difficult to access smaller, high quality, rechargeable lithium ion battery packs for their portable devices. This might seem surprising, given the success of lithium ion batteries in consumer electronic devices, such as smart phones and laptop computers.

However, the requirements of OEMs in professional markets are very different from those in the consumer sector, and there is often a disconnect between managing expectations and what the battery industry is willing or able to provide.

The credit card battery is ideal for applications including telehealth devices.For instance, the lifecycle of an average consumer battery is 18 months. In contrast, specialist OEM devices have a lifespan of 15 or more years, which makes the risk of obsolescence very high. This means that embedding a consumer battery, which will become obsolete in just a couple of years, is not a viable solution for manufacturers.  

Regardless, OEMs often have to buy a battery that was designed for a smart phone or portable camcorder. However, such products don't come with the technical backup required and the OEM is at the mercy of the product lifecycle of the consumer device for which the battery was originally intended.

In contrast, the credit card range of rechargeable lithium-ion credit card sized batteries is suitable for medical, industrial, and portable electronic applications. The products feature accurate impedance tracking fuel gauges, an active protection system, and a compact connector.

There are two products in the credit card range — the CC2300 and the CC3800. Measuring just 3-3/8 × 2-1/8 in., both products have exactly the same footprint as a regular credit card. At a height of just 0.36 in., the CC2300 is designed to be integrated into portable electronic products where energy density and functionality are of extreme importance. The CC3800 has the same footprint as the CC2300 and offers the same technology benefits. However, its larger storage capacity of 3,800 mAh offers 40% more runtime. As a result of the greater power, the CC3800 is also larger, with a height of 0.58 in.

Both the CC2300 and the CC3800 feature lithium ion cell technology for long runtime and fast charge capability. Each of these batteries operates from 4.2 V down to 3.0 V (3.7 V average) and has a typical capacity of 2,300 or 3,800 mAh respectively.

These new smart batteries are ideal for applications including telehealth devices, data recorders, point of sale terminals, handheld security scanners, and numerous other portable medical and electronic devices intended for professional use.

Meeting internationally recognized standards for safety and transportation, the batteries are supplied with comprehensive technical back-up, enabling the designer to easily integrate the product into the device system. Both the CC2300 and CC3800 come with an active electronic protection system that makes them resistant to over-charging, over-discharging, and short-circuiting.

The batteries are exempted from the Dangerous Goods Shipping regulation, thus minimizing the cost and complexity of freighting. The labels, packaging, EEPROM set-up and case color can be customized according to the OEM’s preference.

The CC2300 and CC3800 are backed up with a number of accessories that help OEMs when testing and designing the batteries into their products. These include the CX6100 desktop charger and hook-up development PCBs that can greatly reduce the time to market.

The smart credit card sized batteries are unique, not only due to their physical size, but also to the technology employed. Designed with flexibility in mind, they offer freedom of choice to OEMs, in the same way in which credit cards and other financial products offer freedom of choice. And just like a sugar cube or a quarter, the name of the battery clearly describes the technology encapsulated in such a small piece of engineering real estate.