Patents Examined by Patrick B. Law
  • Patent number: 5898290
    Abstract: A battery capacity monitoring system readily indicates the remaining capacity of an uninserted battery pack upon an operator's request. Such request may involve the touching of one or more contacts disposed on the battery pack. The battery pack also includes a display and a communication means for communicating capacity information to the device in which it may be installed. The communication means may also be used to display status when the battery pack is not inserted. When inserted a device, the battery pack and device participate to determine time estimates for remaining battery life based on known device loading characteristics and current battery capacity. An operator viewing such information may more adequately determine the usage value of the current battery charge. Moreover, the battery pack and corresponding device are configured to detect the beginning of the process of removing a battery pack. In response, the device saves operational states and data before losing power.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 6, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 27, 1999
    Assignee: Norand Corporation
    Inventors: Paul Beard, Robert J. Grabon
  • Patent number: 5847538
    Abstract: An overcharge or excess discharge of a battery cell can be avoided by an electronic switch formed of a single transistor. A positive electrode of a battery cell (3) is connected to a positive connection terminal (1). A negative electrode is grounded and connected through a transistor (4) to a negative connection terminal (2). When a terminal voltage of the battery cell (3) is a detected to be a predetermined voltage or greater, an output from a detecting circuit (5) is supplied through a series circuit of two resistors (6), (7) and a positive temperature coefficient resistor (PTC) (8) to the base of the single transistor (4) and supplied to power supply terminals of two comparators (9), (10). Further, voltage-divided outputs of two resistors (11), (12) and the negative connection terminal (2) are respectively connected through two resistors (13),(14) to positive and negative input terminals of the comparators (9), (10).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 8, 1998
    Assignee: Sony Corporation
    Inventor: Morio Yoshimatsu
  • Patent number: 5821729
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for charge exchange between a plurality of series-connected identical energy storage devices. At least one electric storage device is alternately at a given rate connected in parallel to the energy storage devices. The electric storage device is formed from a transformer winding which is charged by the energy storage devices. Transformer windings are connected in parallel with alternating polarity at the given rate to one of the identical energy storage devices so that all the identical energy storage devices are individually connected in parallel at each step to a transformer winding, thus facilitating direct flow of energy from one of the high-grade energy storage devices to a low-charged energy storage device. The method and apparatus may be used to balance the charges of energy storage devices such as accumulators and of energy converters such as fuel cells.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 13, 1998
    Assignee: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.
    Inventors: Heribert Schmidt, Martin Jantsch
  • Patent number: 5812274
    Abstract: An image signal processing apparatus to realize signal processing system and apparatus constitution, where an image signal inputted using a photoelectric conversion element such as a CCD or a contact type image sensor is obtained in circuit constitution of small scale with high picture quality. In order to solve the problems, data width of a signal referred to in a shading corrector, an MTF corrector and an error diffusion circuit is made b+f+j.ltoreq.8 per one pixel. Or error component commonly possessed by plural pixels (N pixels) in the error diffusion circuit is made b+f+j'.ltoreq.8, data width per one pixel being made j'=j/N. Image signal processing is realized in this constitution, thereby data width of a signal referred to in respective signal processings is reduced, and an image signal satisfying accuracy of signal processing sufficiently and having high picture quality can be obtained. For example, when a circuit is constituted by LSI, the memory section can be easily mounted on the same LSI.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 22, 1998
    Assignee: Hitachi, Ltd.
    Inventors: Tatsuki Inuzuka, Toshiaki Nakamura, Shinichi Shinoda, Yasuyuki Kojima
  • Patent number: 5812159
    Abstract: A liquid ink, drop-on-demand printhead includes a substrate having a plurality of drop-emitter orifices, an ink channel coupled to each of the orifices for delivery of a body of ink to the orifices at a pressure above ambient, thereby forming an ink meniscus at the orifices. Drop selection is effected by selectively delivering heat to ink which has been delivered to selectively addressed ones of the orifices, thereby causing a difference in meniscus position between ink in addressed and non-addressed orifices. A heater is suspended in each ink meniscus close to its surface when the meniscus is at its position in a non-addressed orifice, the heater being effective to heat the meniscus and to thereby reduce surface tension of the meniscus at selectively addressed orifices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 22, 1998
    Assignee: Eastman Kodak Company
    Inventors: Constantine Nicholas Anagnostopoulos, Ravi Sharma
  • Patent number: 5808443
    Abstract: A backup battery charger measures charging capacitor voltage and charging battery current to calculate battery charging circuit resistance and open circuit float battery voltage. Microcontroller computation of the backup battery float battery voltage and battery charging circuit resistance changes enable efficient charging and monitoring of battery conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 15, 1998
    Inventor: John W. Lundstrom
  • Patent number: 5804943
    Abstract: A bilateral switch (302) plus inductance (304) to drive a capacitive load (306 plus 350) by resonant charging and discharging the load.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 8, 1998
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventors: Robert L. Kollman, James G. Sills
  • Patent number: 5798629
    Abstract: An apparatus for diagnosing a low voltage battery includes a high voltage battery for powering an electric automobile, a voltage converter that reduces the output of the high voltage battery to a low voltage, a low voltage battery for powering the auxiliaries of the automobile, a current/voltage sensor, a controller, and a warning indicator. The low voltage battery is connected to the high voltage battery through the voltage convertor and a resistor is connected to the low voltage battery. The current/voltage sensor detects electric currents and voltages of the low voltage battery and the resistor. The controller diagnoses the degradation of the low voltage battery at the start of operation of the automobile by referring the output of the current/voltage sensor to a set of selected predetermined reference values.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1996
    Date of Patent: August 25, 1998
    Assignee: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Kenji Terauchi
  • Patent number: 5773954
    Abstract: A charging station for charging a battery that powers a portable data collection device. The shopping cart carrying the data collection device is provided with one or more connection elements that engage a guide rail of the charging station and conduct current to the battery disposed on the cart. The data collection device is mountable to a shopping cart and includes a housing having a clamping assembly for releasably clamping the housing to a pushing bar of a shopping cart. The housing defines an interior region supporting device electronics. The device further includes an interactive touch sensitive visual display screen and a retractable, tethered dataform reader releasably mounted on the housing. When mounted on the housing, an imaging assembly and illumination assembly of the reader are continuously actuated to read a dataform presented to the reader. When removed from the housing, the reader is actuated by depressing a trigger on the reader.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 30, 1998
    Assignee: Telxon Corporation
    Inventor: David B. VanHorn
  • Patent number: 5747965
    Abstract: A battery pack for providing a standby power source for use with powered motion furniture having an electric motor. The battery pack includes a housing defining a cavity within which a first battery and a second battery are disposed and electrically connected in series, a circuit board for regulating the charging and discharging of the first and second batteries, and a support member for securing the circuit board within the cavity. An umbilical cord is electrically connected to the circuit board and is electrically connectable to the electric motor in order to provide power to charge the first and second batteries when the electric motor is connected to a power source. Alternatively, when the electric motor is not connected to an operative power source, the batteries power the electric motor through the umbilical cord connection.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 5, 1998
    Assignee: La-Z-Boy Incorporated
    Inventors: Larry P. LaPointe, Jonathan R. Saul
  • Patent number: 5747964
    Abstract: A battery charging system for multiple series connected battery cells which includes a plurality of shunt regulators, adapted to be connected in parallel with each of the cells. The voltage of each cell is monitored during charging. When a cell is fully charged, excess charging current is shunted around the fully charged cell to enable the remaining cells to continue to charge. Circuitry is also provided to prevent the charging system from discharging the cells when the battery is not being charged. In an alternative battery charging system, a voltage source is connected across each of the serially connected batteries. Each voltage source is capable of sourcing or sending charging current. During charging conditions, the voltage sources source charging current to the cells. In order to prevent fully charged cells from being overcharged, the voltage across each cell is monitored. When the cell becomes fully charged, as indicated by the cell voltage, excess charging current is sunk to ground.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 17, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 5, 1998
    Assignee: Packard Bell NEC
    Inventor: Robert R. Turnbull
  • Patent number: 5744932
    Abstract: The current invention is comprised of a method and apparatus for monitoring the condition of backup batteries, especially those associated with an on-line, uninterruptible power supply driving a critical load. This is accomplished by measuring an AC ripple current induced into the backup batteries by the UPS, comparing the amplitude of the AC ripple current to a low level limit and to a high level limit determined by the UPS operating parameters and the critical load, and indicating an alarm condition when the AC ripple current falls outside the range defined by the low level and high level limits.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 1995
    Date of Patent: April 28, 1998
    Inventor: William G. Kissel
  • Patent number: 5744930
    Abstract: A battery compartment (12) adapted to accommodate any of several different types of batteries (30, 32, 34). The compartment (12) includes a hollow region having a length equivalent to that of one or more batteries (31, 33, 35) and includes a positive contact (65) disposed at one end thereof. The compartment also includes a cap (14) adapted to couple to an end of the compartment (12) remote from the one end. The one end includes a first contact (65) and one or more additional positive contacts (63). The additional positive contacts (63) are coupled to anodes of diodes (64) having cathodes coupled to the positive contact (65).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 28, 1998
    Assignee: Motorola, Inc.
    Inventors: James Harvey Fleming, Theodore Woolley Keller, David Moon Yee, Bennett Charles Beaudry
  • Patent number: 5739673
    Abstract: A battery-charger uses a fuzzy logic microprocessor. The use of fuzzy logic makes it easier to take account of the diversity of the types of batteries to be charged and to control the state of the batteries charged while, at the same time, producing a battery at very low cost, whereas these functions are normally carried out by far bigger microprocessors. The invention can be applied especially to the charging of batteries assembled to constitute powerful energy sources, that are used especially for automobile haulage, large-scale consumer articles, professional and industrial equipment or computer equipment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 27, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 14, 1998
    Assignee: SGS-Thomson Microelectronics S.A.
    Inventor: Maurice Le Van Suu
  • Patent number: 5731686
    Abstract: A method and apparatus is provided for miniaturizing battery overtemperature protection and voltage regulation circuits in which such protection and regulation circuits are formed in an integrated circuit (200, 600) and embedded in the casings of individual batteries. In one aspect of the invention, a MOSFET switch (Q1), a temperature sensitive diode (D1) and a control circuit (604) may be formed in an integrated circuit (600) and embedded in the casing of a battery. The MOSFET switch may be placed in the charging path of the battery to provide an open circuit when the battery temperature exceeds a predetermined value. In another aspect of the invention, the operation of the MOSFET switch (Q1) may be controlled by a control circuit (204) to provide a constant output voltage from the battery, thereby improving the operation of the portable system using the battery.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 15, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 24, 1998
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventor: Satwinder Malhi
  • Patent number: 5729115
    Abstract: An apparatus for charging batteries of different types is disclosed as including support means for receiving a battery having a positive terminal and a negative terminal, a battery interface for electrically coupling the battery charging apparatus to the received battery, and a circuit for identifying the particular type of the received battery and supplying a charging current to the received battery in accordance with a specified charging algorithm applicable to the particular battery type. The battery interface includes a positive contact positioned within the support means so as to engage the positive terminal of the received battery, a negative contact positioned within the support means so as to engage the negative terminal of the received battery, and at least one sensing contact positioned within the support means which senses a voltage from the received battery indicative of a particular battery type.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 17, 1998
    Assignee: Ericsson Inc.
    Inventor: Ivan Nelson Wakefield
  • Patent number: 5726556
    Abstract: A charging state display apparatus has a first means for indicating a charging amount and a second means for causing the first means to indicate a charging amount from a restart of charging.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 23, 1994
    Date of Patent: March 10, 1998
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Akira Yoshihara, Takashi Kawabata, Kiyokazu Churei
  • Patent number: 5723971
    Abstract: A charging apparatus for a rechargeable storage battery is disclosed which charges the battery at a constant current. The charging apparatus monitors a variation in voltage of the battery during charge and finds a minimum value thereof to estimate the amount of capacity of the battery consumed before charge for determining the charge time required for charging the battery fully based on the estimate of the amount of capacity and the temperature of the battery.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 19, 1996
    Date of Patent: March 3, 1998
    Assignee: Nippon Soken, Inc.
    Inventors: Shoji Sakai, Toshiyuki Kawai, Hironori Asa, Sadahisa Onimaru, Mitsuo Inagaki
  • Patent number: 5724479
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a fluid flow controlling member including a primary flow path having a relatively small capacity of containing fluid and a secondary flow path located on a side of the primary flow path and having a relatively large capacity of containing fluid. The primary flow path absorbs part of the flowing fluid and the remaining fluid flows along the surface of the primary flow path in an exposed manner.A difference between the velocities of the exposed fluid flows moving through the primary and secondary flow paths is created so as to define a boundary area for restrictedly controlling at least the exposed flowing fluid on the primary flow path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 28, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 3, 1998
    Inventor: Kei Takahashi
  • Patent number: 5721413
    Abstract: A method for heating pipes with closely spaced end portions that are to be joined by forge welding or the like. Two diametrically opposed contacts are attached to each end portion for supplying high frequency alternating current for resistance heating of the material in the respective end portions. The contacts for one of the pipes being located in close proximity to and substantially in the same axial plane as the contacts for the other pipe. The contacts for one of the pipes are arranged to form an angle (.alpha.) with juxtaposed contacts of the other pipe so that the projections of the juxtaposed contacts onto the axial plane intersect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 1995
    Date of Patent: February 24, 1998
    Inventor: Per H. Moe