Power Management Solutions?

Automating power management has always been a difficult problem for me to solve with my robotic platforms. Ideally, I'd like to simply plug my
bot in to an external supply, and have a control board handle recharge of the on board batteries while continuing to power the bot, all while providing battery information to the primary controller via a bus (e.g. I2C). I've designed some simple controllers of my own, but actually constructing and debugging can be a chore, and I rarely see any affordable commercial solutions. My approach has been to design a modular system of separate routing, recharge, and supply boards, which would detect the presence or absence of an external supply, and then use FETs or relays to reconfigure the supply lines appropriately. My goal is to avoid having to redesign an entire board every time my bot's power requirements change slightly. How does everyone else handle this issue?
Chris
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I've been kicking this issue around for some time. I have been assuming a 24V battery system. I want to distribute 24V and then localy regulate (dc-to-dc conversion) to the needed voltages (and power ratings). Additionally, via I2C, I am interested in monitoring functions such as voltage, and in contolling local power. Sadly, time is one thing I lack so I haven't been able to pursue this.
I'd certainly like to hear more about what you have done.
TC
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