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The Voyager uses a Modular Battery System (MBS) which is a battery technology that was originally designed for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The Regiment needed a scalable power source that could satisfy the power needs of multiple airframes and sophisticated weaponry.

voyager_led_251The MBS has successfully completed testing related to performance, safety, adverse environments, and electromagnetic interference. The U.S. government’s safety of flight review board approved the technology and an Air Worthiness Release was awarded.

The term lithium-ion is a widely used, catch-all term that refers nonspecifically to a variety of different batteries that use lithium ions to carry current between electrodes. The Voyager uses lithium iron phosphate. Other lithium-ion combinations are; Lithium cobalt oxide, lithium manganese oxide, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide, lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide, and lithium titanate, all of which use lithium ions to move current and all of which are commonly referenced as simply lithium-ion as a generic description. However the differences are fundamental as the specific chemical reactions are different due to the component materials being different.

Lithium iron phosphate batteries offer enhanced safety, good thermal stability, high current output, and long life cycles. The Voyager uses an enhanced lithium iron phosphate chemistry called lithium-ion nanophosphate which is very safe, especially when compared to other lithium-ion chemistries. This is not only because the specific chemical reaction is inherently safer but the materials are additionally more stable and tolerant of abusive conditions, thus they are the safest and most appropriate battery chemistry for aviation applications.

The chemical process that occurs within a nanophosphate lithium-ion battery differs from that of other lithium-ion batteries because all of the lithium ions are transferred between the anode and cathode during a charge/discharge event.  Incomplete transfer of lithium ions between the anode and cathode allows lithium to plate onto the anode in metallic form.  Metallic lithium is more reactive than ionic lithium and is therefore more dangerous. Nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries simply do not create metallic lithium. Nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries release only a small amount of heat and oxygen and do not exhibit the energetic thermal reaction that metal oxide lithium-ion cells experience which can in severe cases lead to a battery induced fire or explosive reaction. When exposed to similar conditions, nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries (compared with metal oxide lithium-ion) release only a small amount of heat and oxygen and do not exhibit the energetic thermal reaction. This improved chemical stability of nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries lowers both the probability and severity of battery malfunctions and adds an increased measure of safety regardless of the additional safeguards that can be incorporated into a battery.

For production, the most durable lithium-ion cells and other components are used. Custom, electronic sensors and safeguards (BMU) have been designed and added all of which are encased in a durable, waterproof, impact/vibration resistant housing. The Battery Management Unit (BMU) component continuously monitors all critical functions and parameters and will safeguard the battery and its users if any value is outside acceptable limits.

The BMU performs the following functions:

  • Monitors all internal stack cell voltages
  • Monitors all external battery terminal voltages
  • Monitors internal battery stack current flow and direction
  • Monitors battery cell temperature
  • Monitors the charge/discharge control FETs

If any of the above move outside acceptable parameters, the BMU will activate redundant processes that disconnect the battery stack from the external battery terminals. This functionality ensures that damage or failure related to over-charge, over-discharge, short circuit, or over-heating is extremely unlikely.

In addition to these safeguards, Voyager allows users to confirm the battery’s state of charge, the proper functioning of the circuit control FETs, and the overall health of the battery during a pre-flight check routine.


"The Voyager is built to perform, last and above all else be safe!"
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