JP5598939B2 - Power sharing between portable electronic devices - Google Patents

Power sharing between portable electronic devices Download PDF

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JP5598939B2
JP5598939B2 JP2013112456A JP2013112456A JP5598939B2 JP 5598939 B2 JP5598939 B2 JP 5598939B2 JP 2013112456 A JP2013112456 A JP 2013112456A JP 2013112456 A JP2013112456 A JP 2013112456A JP 5598939 B2 JP5598939 B2 JP 5598939B2
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power
user interface
interface device
port
battery power
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JP2013211900A (en
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フラッティ,ロジャー,エー.
ホーリエン,キャシィ,リン
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アギア システムズ エルエルシーAgere Systems LLC
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  The present invention relates generally to electronic devices, and more particularly to power sharing between electronic devices.

  As computer systems and broadband Internet connections have advanced, computer networks (eg, local area networks (LANs)) have become more common and are commonly found in both commercial and residential environments. In addition, advances in wireless technology allow users to register for Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), Bluetooth® (Bluetooth SIG, Inc.) using the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 wireless network communication protocol. Trademark), infrared technology, or other wireless technologies, allowing access to the Internet from a portable electronic device via a wireless LAN (WLAN), thereby freeing the user from the limitations of traditional office environments It became so. Such portable devices that provide wireless access may include, for example, laptop computers, cell phones, Blackberry® handheld devices (registered trademark of Research in Motion Limited), and the like.

  While portable electronic devices can handle the requirements of mobile computing, they are not without limitations. For example, when a portable device is unplugged from a normal power outlet, it can only operate for a limited time using its internal battery power, after which the battery can be routed through the power outlet. Must be recharged. It is known to draw power from a network port, as in Power over Ethernet (PoE) applications using the IEEE 802.3af standard (see, for example, US Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0246557 A1, its disclosure). Is incorporated herein by reference). As an application of this technology, PoE is often used to power an access point (AP) in a WLAN. This is because APs are sometimes installed in areas where power outlets are not available. However, while it is known to power individual electronic devices from a direct Ethernet connection, mechanisms for charging the internal batteries of multiple electronic devices from a single direct connection to a power outlet are currently available Not yet known.

US Patent Application Publication No. 2005 / 0246557A1

  Therefore, there is a need for a technique for sharing power between portable electronic devices that are not affected by one or more of the above problems presented by conventional approaches.

  In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the above needs are met by providing a technique for charging internal batteries of portable electronic devices interconnected in series, as in a daisy chain configuration. Beneficially, the technique of the present invention eliminates the need to connect each device directly and directly to a power outlet from the mains. This is especially true when traveling abroad, where power converters and / or adapters must often be used, or when working in an environment where many portable electronic devices compete for a limited number of power outlets. It is advantageous.

  According to one aspect of the invention, the portable electronic device serves to facilitate power sharing with at least a second electronic device coupled thereto. The portable electronic device includes a battery power source, a first port adapted to connect to a first network connection, and a second port adapted to connect to a second network connection. An input stage in the portable electronic device is connected to the first port. This input stage serves to supply the battery power with the power received via the first port from the first network connection in order to recharge the battery power. The portable electronic device further includes an output stage connected to the second port. The output stage serves to supply power from the battery power source to the second network connection via the second port.

  According to another aspect of the invention, a method for sharing power between portable electronic devices is provided, where each device includes a battery power source. The method includes receiving power through a first port of a given one of the portable electronic devices, and charging the battery power in the given portable electronic device using the power received from the first port. And directing power from a battery power source in a given portable electronic device to a second port in the device adapted to connect to another one of the portable electronic devices.

  According to yet another aspect of the invention, a power sharing system includes a first portable electronic device that includes a first battery power source and at least a second portable electronic device that includes a second battery power source. The second portable electronic device is coupled to the first portable electronic device via a network connection. The second portable electronic device receives power for recharging the second battery power source from the first battery power source via the network connection.

  These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of exemplary embodiments of the invention when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

1 is a block diagram illustrating an example of a system for sharing power among a plurality of portable electronic devices according to one aspect of the present invention. FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating at least a portion of an exemplary portable electronic device, according to one embodiment of the invention. FIG. FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating at least a portion of an exemplary portable electronic device, according to another embodiment of the invention.

  The present invention is described herein in connection with an exemplary configuration for sharing power between portable electronic devices. Reference may be made to examples of specific circuit configurations used in describing some aspects of the invention, but the invention is not limited to these specific configurations, and Those skilled in the art having the teachings from the specification should appreciate that modifications can be suggested within the scope of the present invention.

  FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary system 100 for sharing power among a plurality of portable electronic devices in accordance with an aspect of the present invention. System 100 includes a plurality of portable electronic devices 102, 104, and 106. Each device may be a portable personal computer (PC) including, for example, a laptop computer, a handheld computer device (eg, Blackberry®, a personal digital assistant), and the like. Portable electronic devices suitable for use with the present invention may include, for example, mobile phones, MP3 players, and the like. Not all of the portable electronic devices 102, 104, 106 connected in the system 100 need to be of the same type and / or the same function. Each portable electronic device preferably includes a first port (1) that may be an input power port and a second port (2) that may be an output power port. Specifically, device 102 includes a first port 108 and a second port 110, device 104 includes a first port 112 and a second port 114, and device 106 includes a first port 116 and a second port 118.

  As used herein, the term “port” is intended to broadly refer to a connection mechanism for input and output of signals to and from one device and / or transmission and reception of signals between two or more devices. . In general, a port is a place that is physically connected to some other device, usually in some removable configuration (eg, a socket and a plug). Two common types of physical ports are device ports and network ports. Device ports are often used to facilitate the connection of two or more devices (eg, via cable or directly) and include standard protocols such as Universal Serial Bus (USB), FireWire, etc. Can be included. Network ports are often used to facilitate connecting devices to networks such as, but not limited to, Ethernet. The term “port” is intended to be broadly interpreted to encompass, for example, sockets, jacks (eg, headphone jacks or telephone jacks), interfaces (eg, network interfaces), and the like.

  Although one or more of the ports 108, 110, 112, 114, 116, and 118 can include network ports such as, for example, an Ethernet (eg, PoE) connection, the invention is not limited to any particular The protocol is not limited. Devices can be interconnected using standard network cabling such as, for example, Category-5 (CAT5) or alternative cabling. More specifically, the output power port 110 of the device 102 can be connected to the input power port 112 of the device 104 via the cable 120. Similarly, the output power port 114 of the device 104 can be connected to the input power port 116 of the device 106 via a cable 122. The first and second ports of devices 102, 104, and 106 are typically used with a resistor jack (RJ) -45 or other standard, so an 8 position 8 contact (8P8C) modular Ethernet connector is used. Although shown as comprising, standard or non-standard alternative connector types are contemplated as well.

  As is apparent from this figure, the first device 102 in the chain cannot make use of the input power port 108. Instead, power can be received by the first device 102 directly from the external power supply 124 via the cable 126. The cable 126 may be connected to a corresponding power connector on the device 102, such as a 2-pin direct current (DC) power jack. Typically, the power supply 124 receives alternating current (AC) power directly from a power outlet via a standard plug 128. The power supply 124 may include, for example, a step-down transformer (not explicitly shown) to reduce the AC voltage received from the power outlet (eg, 120 volts) to a level suitable for use with battery power in the device 102. Can be provided. In addition, the power supply 124 can include a rectifier circuit (not explicitly shown) that can include one or more diodes to convert the received AC voltage to a DC voltage, as is well known to those skilled in the art.

  Although only three portable electronic devices 102, 104, 106 are shown, it should be understood that the present invention is not limited to any particular number of portable devices that can be connected in a chain of devices. Rather, the exemplary system 100 may include fewer portable electronic devices (eg, two) or more portable electronic devices (eg, four). For example, additional devices can be included by connecting a cable between the output power port 118 of the last device 106 in the chain and the input power port of the additional device, which is described herein. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art who have the teachings in writing. Further, if the power sharing system 100 includes only two portable electronic devices (eg, 102 and 104) and no further expansion is required, the input power port 108 of the first device 102 is not used and is therefore removed. be able to. Similarly, the output power port 114 of the second device 104 is not used and can therefore be removed.

  Referring now to FIG. 2, at least a portion of an exemplary portable electronic device 200 according to one embodiment of the present invention is shown. The device 200 may be an implementation of one of the portable electronic devices 102, 104, or 106 in the exemplary system 100 shown in FIG. 1, which device 200 includes a first port 202 for receiving power, And a second port 204 for supplying power to the connected downstream portable electronic device. Each of the first port 202 and the second port 204 can include a network port, such as an Ethernet (eg, PoE) connection, for example, but the invention is not limited to any particular type of port. . For PoE connections, ports 202 and 204 can include, for example, RJ45 compatible jacks, but the invention is not limited to any particular type of connection.

  Input power port 202 is connected to input stage 206. Similarly, the output power port 204 is connected to the output stage 208. Input stage 206 preferably operates to receive power from input power port 202 and to deliver at least a portion of this received power to battery power source 210 in portable electronic device 200 to charge the battery power source. Although not explicitly shown for the sake of clarity, at least a portion of the power received from input power port 202 may also be supplied to other circuits in device 200. The output stage 208 receives power from the battery power source 210 and sends at least a portion of this power received from the battery power source to the output power port 204 to provide power to downstream devices connected to the output power port. To work.

  Some portable electronic devices may be injected directly from a CAT5 cable via their respective input power port (eg, RJ45 jack) or from an alternative connection (eg, coaxial cable, twisted pair, etc.) It is designed to receive power. These devices are considered “PoE compliant” or “Active Ethernet compliant”. Devices that are not PoE compliant are included in the input stage 206 and can be converted to become PoE compliant via a DC PoE tap 212, sometimes referred to as a “picker” or “splitter”. The PoE tap 212 is connected to the input power supply port 202 and serves to take out the DC voltage injected into the input power supply port. The two basic types of taps are passive and stabilizing. The passive PoE tap simply takes the voltage received from the input power port 202 and supplies this voltage to the direct connection in the device. The stabilizing PoE tap takes the voltage received from the input power port 202 and converts this voltage to another voltage that is substantially constant regardless of variations in the received voltage level. According to another aspect of the invention, the PoE tap 212 includes a controller (eg, a current limit circuit, a voltage clamp circuit, etc.) for selectively controlling the amount of power drawn from the input power port 202. Can do.

  Further, input stage 206 includes a charging circuit 214 connected to PoE tap 212 and battery power supply 210. The charging circuit 214 receives the voltage supplied by the PoE tap 212 and serves to supply at least a portion of this voltage to the battery power supply 210 for charging the battery power supply. The charging circuit 214 is preferably configured to supply the battery power source 210 with a charging voltage and / or charging current that substantially conforms to a predetermined charging profile of the battery power source or an alternative specification. The level of voltage and / or current supplied to the battery power supply 210 may be a function of one or more characteristics of the battery power supply. This profile includes maximum output voltage, maximum output current, internal battery impedance, battery type (eg wet or dry), chemical composition (eg lithium ion, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, alkali, lead-acid), etc. Including, but not limited to. According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, charging circuit 214 may include a voltage and / or current regulator circuit.

  The charging method implemented by the charging circuit 214 can be divided into two general categories: fast charging and slow charging. Slow charging is usually defined as the charging current that can be applied to the battery power source indefinitely without damaging the battery. This method is sometimes referred to as “trick flow charging”. The advantage of this charging method is that it generally does not require an end-of-charge detection circuit because it does not damage the battery power supply regardless of the length of use. The disadvantage of this method is that it takes a considerable amount of time to recharge the battery power supply. Fast charge is usually defined as a recharge time of about 1 hour, which corresponds to a charge rate of about 1.2c. c is a function of the battery's ampere-hour rating. When using the fast charge method, the temperature of the battery is generally maintained in the range of about 10 ° C. to about 40 ° C. in order to prevent gas from accumulating inside and ultimately exploding the battery. Is done. The advantage of this method is that the battery power can be recharged in a short time. The disadvantage is that a charge termination detection circuit (typically requiring monitoring of the battery power voltage and / or temperature) is required to prevent overcharging of the battery power, which increases the complexity of the charging circuit 214. Is to increase the cost.

  The output stage 208 preferably comprises a PoE injector 216 connected between the battery power supply 210 and the output power supply port 204, or an alternative voltage injection circuit. The PoE injector 216 preferably operates to receive a DC voltage from the battery power supply 210 and insert at least a portion of this voltage into the output power supply port 204. The two basic types of injectors are passive and active. An active PoE injector can use active elements to transfer power up to about 100 meters through standard Ethernet (eg, CAT5) cabling. Passive PoE injectors can take advantage of unused lines in Ethernet cables and transmit power through them to a far end of up to about 30 to 40 meters. Optionally, the PoE injector 216 includes an automatic load sensing circuit with current limiting and / or overvoltage protection, thereby avoiding the risk of damaging the cabling or portable electronic device connected to the output power port 204. The It will be appreciated that protocols and cabling types other than PoE can be used to communicate voltage from the battery power source 210 to downstream portable electronic devices connected to the output power port 204.

  Referring now to FIG. 3, according to another aspect of the invention, the output stage 302 in the exemplary portable electronic device 300 comprises a controller 304 connected to a PoE injector 306, or an alternative processor. The PoE injector 306 is connected to an output power port 308 for supplying power to a downstream portable electronic device connected to the output power port. A battery power source 310 in the device 300 is connected to the controller 304. In addition, the device 300 includes an input power port 312 connected to an input stage 314 in the device. For PoE connections, ports 308 and 312 may include, for example, RJ45 compatible jacks, but the invention is not limited to any particular type of connection.

  Like the input stage 206 in the device 200 shown in FIG. 2, the input stage 314 includes a PoE tap 316 connected to the input power port 312 and a charging circuit 318 connected to the PoE tap and the battery power supply 310. Prepare. The PoE tap 316 serves to extract the DC voltage that is injected into the input power port 312. The charging circuit 318 operates to receive the voltage supplied by the PoE tap 316 and supply at least a portion of this voltage to the battery power supply 310 to charge the battery power supply. The charging circuit 318 is preferably configured to provide the battery power source 310 with a charging voltage and / or charging current that substantially conforms to a predetermined charging profile of the battery power source or an alternative specification.

  As can be seen, the output stage 302 in the device 300 is the same as that in the device 200 shown in FIG. 2 except that a controller 304 connected between the battery power source 310 and the PoE injector 306 is added. The output stage 208 may be the same. Controller 304 preferably serves to selectively control the level of voltage and / or current supplied to PoE injector 306. Ideally, the amount of voltage and / or current sent to the downstream device via output power port 308 is less than the amount of voltage and / or current supplied to battery power source 310 by charging circuit 318. Otherwise, the battery power will drain faster than it is recharged. However, during charging, there may be a condition that at least temporarily allows the amount of power drawn from the battery power source 310 to be greater than the amount of power supplied to the battery power source.

  The controller 304 can include at least one input adapted to receive a control signal Vctl for controlling the level of voltage and / or current supplied to the output power port 308. This control signal can be generated by input stage 314, such as by charging circuit 318, and can indicate the level of voltage and / or current being supplied to battery power source 310 at a given time. Alternatively, or in addition to the control signal Vctl, the controller 304 monitors the level of voltage and / or current supplied by the battery power source 310 so that the battery power source outputs a predetermined level of voltage and / or current to the output power source. It can serve to determine the ability to supply port 308. The controller 304 monitors the power requirement of the second device connected to the output power port 308 and controls the level of power supplied to the second port as a function of the power requirement of the second device. Can work as. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the controller 304 uses a voltage and / or current regulator circuit to provide a substantially constant voltage and / or current, respectively, to a device connected to the output power port 308. Can be provided.

  At least some of the techniques of the present invention can be implemented in an integrated circuit. In the formation of integrated circuits, typically the same die is made in a repeating pattern on one surface of a semiconductor wafer. Each die includes the devices described herein and can include other structures and / or circuits. Individual dies are cut from the wafer or diced and packaged as an integrated circuit. Those skilled in the art will know how to dice a wafer and package the die to produce an integrated circuit. Integrated circuits so manufactured are considered part of this invention.

  The integrated circuit according to the present invention can be used in any application and / or electronic system that can operate on battery power. Suitable systems for implementing the techniques of the present invention can include, but are not limited to, portable computing devices, communication networks, electronic instruments, and the like. Systems incorporating such integrated circuits are considered part of this invention. Given the teachings of the invention provided herein, it will be possible for one skilled in the art to devise other implementations and applications of the embodiments of the invention.

  While exemplary embodiments of the present invention have been described herein with reference to the accompanying drawings, the present invention is not limited to these detailed embodiments, and is not limited to the appended claims. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the invention.

Claims (10)

  1. A first user interface device operative to facilitate power sharing with at least a second user interface device coupled, wherein each of the first and second user interface devices comprises: :
    Battery power,
    An input power port and an output power port for connection to the respective network connection;
    An input stage connected to the input power port, the input stage serving to supply the battery power with the power received via the input power port to recharge the battery power;
    An output stage connected to the output power port, comprising an output stage that serves to supply power from the battery power source via the output power port;
    The output power port of the first user interface device supplies power to the input power port of the second user interface device;
    The output stage comprises a controller, which is:
    Determining the capacity of the battery power supply and supplying a given amount of power to the output power port;
    Monitoring the power requirement of the second user interface device;
    Controlling the amount of power supplied from the battery power source via the output power port based on the determined capacity of the battery power source and the power requirement of the second user interface device. User interface devices.
  2.   A power over Ethernet tap, wherein the input stage is connected to the input power port and serves to extract a DC voltage from the first network connection and supply at least a portion of the DC voltage to the battery power supply The first user interface device of claim 1, comprising:
  3. The power over Ethernet tap connected to the input power port extracts a variable DC voltage from the first network connection and a substantially constant DC from the variable network voltage from the first network connection. The first user interface device of claim 2 , wherein the first user interface device converts to a voltage and provides the substantially constant DC voltage to the battery power source.
  4.   The first user interface device of claim 2, wherein the input stage comprises a charging circuit that receives power from the input power port and controls the amount of power supplied to the battery power source.
  5.   5. The first user user of claim 4, wherein the charging circuit comprises at least one of a voltage limiting circuit and a current limiting circuit that supply at least one of a substantially constant voltage and a constant current to the battery power source, respectively. Interface device.
  6.   The first user interface device according to claim 4, wherein the charging circuit comprises a charge end detection circuit that prevents overcharging of the battery power supply.
  7.   The first user interface device of claim 6, wherein the end-of-charge detection circuit monitors at least one of a voltage of the battery power source and a temperature of the battery power source.
  8.   The first user interface device of claim 2, wherein the charging circuit maintains a temperature of the battery power source in a range of about 10 degrees Celsius to about 40 degrees Celsius.
  9. A method of sharing power between at least a first and a second user interface device, wherein each user interface device includes a battery power source and each user interface device is connected to a respective network connection. Including an input power port and an output power port for the method,
    Receiving power via the input power port of the first user interface device;
    Charging the battery power in the first user interface device using the power received from the input power port of the first user interface device;
    Directing power from the battery power source in the first user interface device to the output power port of the first user interface device;
    Supplying power from the output power port of the first user interface device to the input power port of the second user interface device;
    Determining the capacity of the battery power source and supplying power to the output power port;
    Monitoring the power requirement of the second user interface device;
    Controlling the amount of power supplied from the battery power source via the output power port based on the determined capacity of the battery power source and the power requirement of the second user interface device;
    Including methods.
  10. A power sharing system,
    A first user interface device connected to a second user interface device, wherein the first and second user interface devices are each:
    Battery power,
    An input power port and an output power port for connection to the respective network connection;
    An input stage connected to the input power port, the input stage serving to supply the battery power with the power received via the input power port to recharge the battery power;
    An output stage connected to the output power port, comprising an output stage that serves to supply power from the battery power source via the output power port;
    The output power port of the first user interface device supplies power to the input power port of the second user interface device;
    The output stage comprises a controller, which is:
    Determining the capacity of the battery power supply and supplying a given amount of power to the output power port;
    Monitoring the power requirement of the second user interface device;
    A system for controlling the amount of power supplied from the battery power source via the output power port based on the determined capacity of the battery power source and the power requirement of the second user interface device.
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