Ultracap - Self discharge

Ultracap Self-Discharge

Ultracap-Knowledge | Rainer Hake | reading time: 1 minute

Cell voltage and temperature make all the difference

After charging, every energy storage discharges itself more or less independently. The same applies to ultracaps.

Above is the equivalent circuit diagram of a condensation stator. Parallel to the actual capacitance C, there is the parallel resistance Rp, which is responsible for self-discharge. The ESR (equivalent serial resistance) is shown in series to this. It is responsible for the charge and discharge losses that cause the ultracap to heat up and that create a certain level of induction, which is negligible in practice.

The extent of self-discharge is mainly dependent on the ambient temperature and the cell voltage. The leakage current specified in the data sheets is the maximum leakage current that occurs over 72 hours. In the first hours the leakage current can be significantly higher. The figure shows the course of the first 72 hours.

Leakage current curve of an Ultracap cell

Voltage of an unloaded cell

The adjacent figure shows how the voltage of an unloaded cell changes in the first 72 hours. After the cell has been charged to its maximum voltage of 2.7V and then disconnected from the power supply, the voltage decreases asymptotically. The time which needs to be bridged from charging to the use of the electrical energy must be taken into account when the energy storage is being designed.

Voltage curve of an unloaded ultracap cell

More info on the topic in the blog post:
Ultracap Balancing, Cell Balancing and Leakage Current


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Why are components like ultracaps called different names?

The variety of terms is explained by the English-language terms commonly used in the electronics industry, which are often mixed with German terms or used synonymously. In some cases, manufacturers have also introduced artificial terms to better distinguish themselves from competitors. Here are the most important examples:

Double layer capacitors (DSK) are referred to synonymously as:

  • EDLC (Electric Double Layer Capacitor)
  • Supercapacitors = Supercaps
  • Ultracapacitors = Ultracaps
  • Goldcap™ [Panasonic]
  • Boostcap™  [Maxwell]
  • Greencap™  [Samwha]
  • PURIXEL™  [Pureechem] for supercap cells
  • PURETRON™  [Pureechem] for supercap modules

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