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This paper presents an active cell balancing method for lithium-ion battery stacks using a flyback dc/dc converter topology. The method is described in detail, and a simulation is performed to estimate the energy gain for ten serially connected cells during one discharging cycle. The simulation is validated with measurements on a balancing prototype with ten cells. It is then shown how the active balancing method with respect to the cell voltages can be improved using the capacity and the state of charge rather than the voltage as the balancing criterion. For both charging and discharging, an improvement in performance is gained when having the state of charge and the capacity of the cells as information. A battery stack with three single cells is modeled, and a realistic driving cycle is applied to compare the difference between both methods in terms of usable energy. Simulations are also validated with measurements.