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On-board Charger (OBC Charger) - What Is It And What Components Can be Found On It

Now that EVs are capturing the market, it’s very interesting to understand this innovative technology from the electronics aspect. An EV must have an on-board charger, which facilitates charging the battery pack installed in an EV without removing it. In this article, you’ll be plugged into all the essential details that are related to on-board charger for electric vehicles.

Table of Contents

What’s An On-board Charger For Electric Vehicles?

So, this is a small yet magical device that allows you to charge your EV without removing the battery from it. When you plug in your EV charger in the port of your EV, the electrical current is received by the on-board charger first. The AC current is converted into a DC current, which is forwarded to the battery. This is done by your on-board charger for EV.

But remember, that there are many more electrical components through which the electricity passes before reaching the battery.

Also read: AC vs DC – A Complete Guide on What You Need to Know

What Are Features Of An On-board Charger?

●Power Conversion: Your on-board charger will convert the AC current into DC current so your EV battery pack can be charged.
●Offers Communication Protocol: Not only the current is converted, but the pass of current and charging status of your EV battery pack is constantly monitored. In some EVs, the on-board charger may also give the battery charging status, charge percentage, etc.
●Comes With Safety Features: There are many safety features that an on-board charger will give you such as temperature sensing and control, voltage monitoring, etc.

What Are Types Of On-board Chargers?

  • On-board AC Chargers

    This is the most general type of charger you’ll find in most EVs that convert AC to DC. The engineers measure the charging power of an AC charger in kW, where the charging power is subject to the EV that it’s made for.

    For every EV, a specific type of charger with a specific kW capacity will be deemed valid. Ideally, an on-board AC charger is expected to range from 3.3kW to 7.2kW. This type of charger is a bit slower than the DC chargers.

  • On-board DC Chargers

    With the advancement in the EVs, better EVs came up with longer drive ranges per charge and supported fast charging. In order to facilitate fast charging, the concept of on-board DC chargers came up. This type of charger can charge a batter way faster (almost in half time or even less) than the regular AC chargers.

    In these types of chargers, the input current is still direct current, which is forwarded to the battery pack without conversion. The process of bypassing the conversion of AC to DC facilitates rapid charging.

    Also read: Battery swapping station- An alternative option for your electric vehicle charging

What Are Applications Of An On-board Charger?

Applications of on-board charger
Applications of on-board charger
  • To Charge Your EVs At Public Stoppages
    If you’re on a road trip with your EV and you’ve had a rest stoppage such as a hotel or a restaurant, you can charge your EVs using your on-board chargers from a public charging station. Most people fear that the public charging station may not be compatible with the EV charging system, which is wrong.
  • Fleet Charging
    The concept of fleet charging in on-board chargers is to allow businesses and commercial workspaces to charge several electric vehicles without compromising the charge output or risking the vehicles. For this, a centralized charging infrastructure is set up for fleet operations.

Different Components Of An On-board Charger

  • Current Converter
    This is the actual converter that’s converting the alternating current into direct current. You might know it by names like rectifier, transformer, etc.
  • Charging Control Unit
    It’s like a central hub, which controls the battery charging. It functions like a central processing unit, as it’ll make sure that the correct voltage and current is supplied to the battery and the battery temperature is under control, etc.

How Does An On-board Charger Work?

1.The power is input from an external source, most probably from your wall outlet.
2.The current is received by the transformer, which converts the input alternating current to the desired current, voltage, amperes, etc.
3.Then, there are certain components on the board, which take care of regulating the received DC to the battery pack.
4.Every on-board charger will have a battery connection, and the current is passed to the battery connection before finally reaching the battery pack. The on-board components ensure that the current stays regulated throughout the charging process.

Also read: What is energy storage BMS

Things To Know When Designing An On-board Charger

Factors that needs to be considered before designing the on-board charger
Factors that needs to be considered before designing the on-board charger

●You should be familiar with the current scenario of charging standards in the market. You should learn about the charging protocols like CHAdeMO, CCS, or Type 2 that might be trending.
●As mentioned previously, every EV has a particular charging current and voltage. You cannot simply attach any on-board charger to any EV. So, you should have a clear idea of which EV you’re making a charger for, and what are the charging requirements for that particular EV.
●Thermal management is a very important thing, as many EVs have reportedly been catching fire, which can happen during charging. A proper cooling system is essential for your EV on-board charger. That way, you’re securing your charger and EV at the same time.

How to design an on-board charger for EV

How To Select An On-board Charger Manufacturer?

1.Prefer a quality-loving manufacturer

Go with a manufacturer, who itself loves quality products. This way, you can ensure that your on-board chargers are made with utmost care and are of high quality and follow all the standards.

2.Consider skills and talent

You don’t necessarily have to go with a big company. There are several startups nowadays that have a small capital investment, but the staff there is very skilled. Choose a manufacturer (whether small or large) that has the right skills and talent needed for the on-board charger production.

Final Verdict

So, if you’ve got an idea of on-board chargers and have gone through the selection criteria of an on-board charger, you’ll be interested in going with IBE Electronics. IBE Electronics thrives for quality, customer satisfaction, and has all the right skills and talent needed to make the best automotive-related PCB boards that remain within the budget.

FAQ

●Power Conversion
●Offers Communication Protocol
●Comes With Safety Features

●You should be familiar with the current scenario of charging standards in the market. 
●You should have a clear idea of which EV you’re making a charger for, and what are the charging requirements for that particular EV.
●Thermal management is a very important thing, as many EVs have reportedly been catching fire, which can happen during charging. 

1.Prefer a quality-loving manufacturer
2.Consider skills and talent

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