GB2558672A - Improvements in or relating to stairlifts - Google Patents

Improvements in or relating to stairlifts Download PDF

Info

Publication number
GB2558672A
GB2558672A GB1700820.2A GB201700820A GB2558672A GB 2558672 A GB2558672 A GB 2558672A GB 201700820 A GB201700820 A GB 201700820A GB 2558672 A GB2558672 A GB 2558672A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
stairlift
power
rail
power receiver
charging
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Pending
Application number
GB1700820.2A
Other versions
GB201700820D0 (en
Inventor
Scott Pugh Gavin
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Stannah Stairlifts Ltd
Original Assignee
Stannah Stairlifts Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Stannah Stairlifts Ltd filed Critical Stannah Stairlifts Ltd
Priority to GB1700820.2A priority Critical patent/GB2558672A/en
Publication of GB201700820D0 publication Critical patent/GB201700820D0/en
Publication of GB2558672A publication Critical patent/GB2558672A/en
Application status is Pending legal-status Critical

Links

Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B66HOISTING; LIFTING; HAULING
    • B66BELEVATORS; ESCALATORS OR MOVING WALKWAYS
    • B66B9/00Kinds or types of lifts in, or associated with, buildings or other structures
    • B66B9/06Kinds or types of lifts in, or associated with, buildings or other structures inclined, e.g. serving blast furnaces
    • B66B9/08Kinds or types of lifts in, or associated with, buildings or other structures inclined, e.g. serving blast furnaces associated with stairways, e.g. for transporting disabled persons

Abstract

A wireless battery charging system for a stairlift capable of charging a variety of battery types using common hardware. The stairlift comprises a carriage 5 to which is mounted a chair 11, batteries 8, a motor and gearbox 7 and a charge receiver 18. Charge transmitters 116 are mounted to the rail 6 at the top 14 and/or bottom 15 to allow the stairlift to charge while it is stationary. A suitable method of power transfer would be induction through the use of electrical coils. The charging system may also include a communications portal 23 for communicating diagnostic and or user data to a remote location wirelessly.

Description

IMPROVEMENTS IN OR RELATING TO STAIRLIFTS

Field of the Invention

This invention relates to stairlifts and, in particular, to a method of and/or apparatus for charging the battery or batteries of a battery-driven stairlift.

Background to the Invention

Currently battery powered stairlifts are powered from one or more lead acid batteries housed in the stairlift carriage. While some stairlift rails include a charging busbar extending along the length of the rail, in most cases the stairlift is provided with fixed charging contacts, typically at either end of the rail. To effect charging of the batteries, complimentary contacts on the carriage must be mechanically engaged with the fixed charging contacts on the rail and it is not uncommon for batteries to become discharged because the contacts on the carriage are not properly engaged with the contacts on the rail. Further, over time, the contacts can become misaligned and/or worn.

The charging contacts on the rail are connected to a charger. The charger may take a variety of forms because lead acid batteries are tolerant to a range of charging regimes. However, as battery technology develops, charging regimes have to be tailored to specific battery types and this can lead to complication and expense, particularly if and when one battery type is substituted for another.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a method of and/or apparatus for charging a stairlift battery which goes at least some way to addressing the problems identified above; or which at least offers a novel and useful choice.

Summary of the Invention

Accordingly, in one aspect, the invention provides a method of charging a battery incorporated in a stairlift, said stairlift having a stairlift rail; a carriage displaceable along said rail; one or more batteries mounted in said carriage; a power transmitter mounted in a position on or adjacent to said rail; and a power receiver included in said carriage; said method being characterized in that it comprises passing power between said power transmitter and said power receiver wirelessly.

Preferably said method further comprises passing a charging control signal from said power receiver to said power transmitter.

Preferably said method comprises configuring said power receiver and/or said power transmitter with a plurality of charging control regimes.

The method may further comprise manually selecting a charging control regime or configuring said power receiver to determine a battery type and apply a charging control regime appropriate to that battery type.

Preferably said method further comprises configuring said power receiver to receive data relating to the operation of said stairlift, to pass said data to said power transmitter, and to configure said power transmitter to send said data to a remote location.

As an alternative to configuring said power receiver with a plurality of charging control regimes said method comprises configuring a stairlift controller with alternative charging control regimes and causing an appropriate control regime to be communicated to said power receiver.

In a second aspect the invention provides a stairlift including a stairlift rail; a carriage displaceable along said rail; one or more batteries mounted in said carriage; a power transmitter mounted in a position on or adjacent to said rail; and a power receiver included in said carriage; said stairlift being characterized in that a connection between said power transmitter and said power receiver is wireless.

Preferably said power receiver, said power transmitter and said connection are configured to pass charging control signals from said power receiver to said power transmitter.

Preferably said power receiver is configured with a plurality of charging control regimes. Said power receiver may be configured so that individual regimes are selectable or may be configured to determine a battery type and apply a charging control regime appropriate to that type.

Preferably said power receiver is configured to receive data relating to the operation of said stairlift and to pass said data to said power transmitter; and said power transmitter is configured to send said data to a remote location.

In an alternative a stairlift controller is configured with alternative charging control regimes, said controller being configured and operable to communicate one of said regimes to said power receiver.

In a third aspect the invention provides a stairlift comprising a rail; a carriage mounted on said rail for movement along said rail; and a battery charging facility provided in part by a charger mounted on or adjacent to said rail and a charge receiver mounted on said carriage, said stairlift being characterized in that a communications facility is included in said battery charging facility.

Preferably said charger is connected to, or incorporates, an external communications interface operable to communicate data or messages to a remote location.

Preferably said charger and said charge receiver are configured to interact wirelessly.

Many variations in the way the invention may be performed will present themselves to those skilled in the art upon reading the following description. The description which follows should not be regarded as limiting but rather, as an illustration only of one manner of performing the invention. Where possible any element or component should be taken as including any or all equivalents thereof whether or not specifically mentioned.

Brief Description of the Drawings

One form of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1: shows a schematic layout of a stairlift installation to which the present invention may be applied;

Figure 2: shows a schematic diagram of a stairlift charging system according to the invention; and

Figure 3: shows a typical charging characteristic for a stairlift battery.

Description of Working Embodiments

Referring to Figure 1, a stairlift installation comprises a stairlift carriage 5 mounted on a rail 6, the carriage 5 being displaceable along the rail by an electric motor and gearbox 7 mounted in the carriage and powered by one or more batteries 8. A pinion 9 mounted on the output of motor/gearbox 7 engages a rack 10 to effect drive.

In the conventional manner a chair 11 is mounted on the carriage 5 upon which a user sits when the stairlift is in operation. A hand control 12 is provided on armrest 13 to enable the user to effect movement of the carriage and chair up and down the rail 6.

As shown the rail 6 has an upper end 14 and a lower end 15. Mounted on or close to the rail, at positions adjacent to the upper end 14 and lower end 15, are charge transmitters 16 which are connected to a battery charger 17. Mounted on the carriage is a charge receiver 18 which, when adjacent to one of the transmitters 16, receives charge which can be applied to the battery 8.

In accordance with a first aspect of this invention, charge is passed wirelessly from the charge transmitter(s) 17 to the charge receiver 18.

The charging system will be better understood with reference to Figure 2 in which those components to the left of the dotted line are fixed with respect to the stairlift rail 6 and comprise or include the charge transmitter 16 while those components to the right of the dotted line are mounted in, and are displaced with, the stairlift carriage 5 and comprise or include the charge receiver 18.

In the form shown the fixed side of the system comprises a charger 20 which receives power from a mains fed power supply 21. Typically the power supply 21 is a 24 volt power supply. The fixed side further includes a wireless transmit coil 22 and a communications interface 23.

On the moving or carriage side, the system includes a wireless receive coil 25 and a power receiver 26, the power receiver 26 receiving power from the charger 20 via the coils 22 and 25. The power receiver 26 rectifies the high frequency alternating current from the receiver coil 25 into direct current to charge one or more batteries indicated by block 27

As stated above, an important aspect of the invention is that power is passed wirelessly between the coils 22 and 25. This has the advantage that the coils do not have to be exactly aligned for charge to pass successfully and issues of mis-alignment and wear can largely be ignored. To this end the power transmit coil will typically be positioned on or adjacent to the stairlift rail so that when the carriage is adjacent to a charge point the coils 22 and 25 will ideally be positioned in the order of 1cm apart but will typically tolerate a spacing of 0 - 3 cm in vertical spacing and 0 to 3 cm in lateral displacement. The coils 22 and 25 should not actually touch to avoid rubbing wear. These figures are based on a general rule that the maximum operational distance λ between the coils is in the order of /3 the diameter of the coils. In this instance we have chosen to use commercially available coils of 4.5 cm diameter.

Another important aspect of the invention is that the power receiver 26 can be configured to apply a variety of charging regimes to the battery 27 whilst maintaining a single common charger 20, one example of a charging regime being shown in Figure 3. In this way batteries based on different chemistry and having different designs can be substituted without the need to change the system hardware. Each charging regime is based on a particular battery type and/or design and is held either in a memory 28 associated with the power receiver 11 or in the main control unit 30 of the stairlift. In the latter case, a particular charging regime can be transferred to the power receiver 26 via a serial link.

Given the likelihood that a specific battery type or chemistry will be associated with particular stairlift model, the natural place to permanently store the charging regime will be in the main stairlift electronic control unit. This charging regime can then be serially transmitted to the power receiver board at the start up of the stairlift.

Referring to Figure 3, it can be seen that any charging regime will include varying voltage levels, current levels and stage timings depending on the specific battery type. These can be reduced to a small set of parameters that can be transmitted to the charge receiver 26 at start up.

Another important aspect of the invention is that each charging regime may conveniently be effected by passing control signals from the power receiver 26 to the charger 20 using the charging coils 22 and 25. To this end, the charger 20 is provided with a communications receiver unit 31 and the power receiver 26 is provided with a communications transmitter unit 32.

Given that, in operation, the coils 22 and 25 resonate together, communications may be effected by the well-known technique of phase shift keying using microprocessors/ microcontrollers incorporated in the units 20 and 26.

In broad terms the technique involves switching in or out a capacitor (or resistor) so that the resonant frequency of the whole system (receiver and transmitter) is shifted.

When two coils are resonating together because of their close proximity (i.e. transmitter and receiver coils) then they act much like a single coil. So by switching ‘in’ a capacitor on the charge receiver 26 the resonant frequency of the transmitter is also affected. This can be measured on the transmitter board by looking at the phasing of the transmitter waveform relative to the driving waveform on the transmitter electronics. This phasing measurement is effected by software running on the transmitter board and allows data bits of ‘0’ and ‘ l’to be serially transmitted wirelessly from the receiver 26 to the transmitter or charger 20.

The alternative resistor method does not use frequency response but instead selectively loads the receiver coil 25 which weakens the amplitude in the transmitter 22 (higher current in the receiver generates an anti-phase magnetic field against the transmitter).

This anti-phase field reduces back EMF in the transmitter which causes a increase in transmitter coil current. The increased current in the transmitter causes a drop in amplitude on the transmitter side which can be detected by the transmitter software.

An added benefit of the communications functionality is that other data relating to the operation of the stairlift such as, for example, diagnostic data, usage data, and user help requests can be sent along the same pathway and relayed to a remote location using interface 23, the interface 8 typically comprising an internet router or WiFi interface.

It will thus be appreciated that the present invention, at least in the case of the embodiment described, has a number of advantages including: i) Problems associated with charge point wear and mis-alignment are largely obviated; ii) A universal charger may be adapted to charge batteries of different types and having different charging regimes; iii) The charging system can also provide a communications portal.

Claims (15)

Claims
1. A method of charging a battery incorporated in a stairlift, said stairlift having a stairlift rail; a carriage displaceable along said rail; one or more batteries mounted in said carriage; a power transmitter mounted in a position on or adjacent to said rail; and a power receiver included in said carriage; said method being characterized in that it comprises passing power between said power transmitter and said power receiver wirelessly.
2. A method as claimed in claim 1 further comprising passing a control signal from said power receiver to said power transmitter.
3. A method as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 comprising configuring said power receiver with a plurality of charging regimes.
4. A method as claimed in claim 3 further comprising manually selecting a charging regime or configuring said power receiver to determine battery type and apply a charging regime appropriate to that battery type.
5. A method as claimed in any one of the preceding claims further comprising configuring said power receiver to receive data relating to the operation of said stairlift, to pass said data to said power transmitter, and to configure said power transmitter to send said data to a remote location.
6. A method as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 comprising configuring a stairlift controller with alternative charging regimes and causing an appropriate regime to be communicated to said power receiver.
7. A stairlift including a stairlift rail; a carriage displaceable along said rail; one or more batteries mounted in said carriage; a power transmitter mounted in a position on or adjacent to said rail; and a power receiver included in said carriage; said stairlift being characterized in that a connection between said power transmitter and said power receiver is wireless.
8. A stairlift as claimed in claim 7 wherein said power receiver, said power transmitter and said connection are configured to pass control signals from said power receiver to said power transmitter.
9. A stairlift as claimed in claim 7 or claim 8 wherein said power receiver is configured with a plurality of charging regimes.
10. A stairlift as claimed in claim 9 wherein said power receiver is configured so that individual regimes are manually selectable or is configured to determine a battery type and apply a charging regime appropriate to that type.
11. A stairlift as claimed in any one of claims 7 to 10 wherein said power receiver is configured to receive data relating to the operation of said stairlift and to pass said data to said power transmitter, and said power transmitter is configured to send said data to a remote location.
12. A stairlift as claimed in claim 7 or claim 8 wherein a stairlift controller is configured with alternative charging regimes, said controller being configured and operable to communicate said regimes to said power receiver.
13. A stairlift comprising a rail; a carriage mounted on said rail for movement along said rail; and a battery charging facility provided in part by a charger mounted on or adjacent to said rail and a charge receiver mounted on said carriage, said stairlift being characterized in that a communications facility is included in said battery charging facility.
14. A stairlift as claimed in claim 13 wherein said charger is connected to, or incorporates, an external communications interface operable to communicate data or messages to a remote location.
15. A stairlift as claimed in claim 13 or claim 14 wherein said charger and said charge receiver are configured to interact wirelessly
GB1700820.2A 2017-01-17 2017-01-17 Improvements in or relating to stairlifts Pending GB2558672A (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB1700820.2A GB2558672A (en) 2017-01-17 2017-01-17 Improvements in or relating to stairlifts

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB1700820.2A GB2558672A (en) 2017-01-17 2017-01-17 Improvements in or relating to stairlifts

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
GB201700820D0 GB201700820D0 (en) 2017-03-01
GB2558672A true GB2558672A (en) 2018-07-18

Family

ID=58463463

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
GB1700820.2A Pending GB2558672A (en) 2017-01-17 2017-01-17 Improvements in or relating to stairlifts

Country Status (1)

Country Link
GB (1) GB2558672A (en)

Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20040130915A1 (en) * 1999-06-21 2004-07-08 Baarman David W. Adaptive inductive power supply with communication
US20130162203A1 (en) * 2011-12-23 2013-06-27 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. Power receiving device and wireless power supply system
GB2542822A (en) * 2015-09-30 2017-04-05 Acorn Mobility Services Ltd Lift system and method

Patent Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20040130915A1 (en) * 1999-06-21 2004-07-08 Baarman David W. Adaptive inductive power supply with communication
US20130162203A1 (en) * 2011-12-23 2013-06-27 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. Power receiving device and wireless power supply system
GB2542822A (en) * 2015-09-30 2017-04-05 Acorn Mobility Services Ltd Lift system and method

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
GB201700820D0 (en) 2017-03-01

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
US8064825B2 (en) Power reception control device, power transmission control device, non-contact power transmission system, power reception device, power transmission device, and electronic instrument
US8129864B2 (en) Inductive power supply with duty cycle control
US9673634B2 (en) Power supply
JP5478326B2 (en) Non-contact power supply system
KR101237105B1 (en) Controlling inductive power transfer systems
JP5647179B2 (en) Inducing having a device identification function power supply
US9496081B2 (en) Counter wound inductive power supply
US20130057205A1 (en) Apparatus for wireless power transmission using multi antenna and method for controlling the same
KR101201824B1 (en) Power-supplying device, control method for the same, and power-supplying system
US9099239B2 (en) Contactless power supplying system and metal foreign object detection device of contactless power supplying system
KR101632129B1 (en) Systems and methods for induction charging with a closed magnetic loop
US9287039B2 (en) Wireless power transfer method, apparatus and system for low and medium power
JP6152388B2 (en) Wireless power transmission modulation ripple is improved
JP6444965B2 (en) Arrangement of coils for inductive power transfer
US8525483B2 (en) Control of battery charging power
JP5111397B2 (en) Wireless charger apparatus having a coil array, non-contact charging system and charging method
JP4544338B2 (en) Power transmission device, the power reception device, the power transmission method, a program, and the power transmission system
US8179089B2 (en) Power transmission control apparatus, power transmission apparatus, contactless power transmission system, and data determination method
JP2006149168A (en) Non-contact power feeder apparatus
KR20170041891A (en) System and method for power transfer
WO2015023899A3 (en) Impedance tuning
JP2009504117A (en) Charging power supply device, the battery device, the wireless charger system, and charging method
WO2008042902A3 (en) Method and apparatus for magnetic induction therapy
WO2012067522A1 (en) A wirelessly rechargeable battery and power transmitter
JP2010016985A (en) Method of data transmission in electric power transmission, and charging stand and battery built-in device using the method