US20130104438A1 - Battery adaptive device - Google Patents

Battery adaptive device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20130104438A1
US20130104438A1 US13286835 US201113286835A US2013104438A1 US 20130104438 A1 US20130104438 A1 US 20130104438A1 US 13286835 US13286835 US 13286835 US 201113286835 A US201113286835 A US 201113286835A US 2013104438 A1 US2013104438 A1 US 2013104438A1
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Prior art keywords
firearm
mounting rail
mounting
rail
powered
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Abandoned
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US13286835
Inventor
Steve Hines
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Steve Hines
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41CSMALLARMS, e.g. PISTOLS, RIFLES; ACCESSORIES THEREFOR
    • F41C27/00Miscellaneous attachments for smallarms; Accessories; Details not otherwise provided for
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F41WEAPONS
    • F41GWEAPON SIGHTS; AIMING
    • F41G11/00Details of sighting or aiming apparatus; Accessories
    • F41G11/001Means for mounting tubular or beam shaped sighting or aiming devices on firearms
    • F41G11/003Mountings with a dove tail element, e.g. "Picatinny rail systems"

Abstract

An empowered mounting rail is, essentially, an electrical power source, a powered mounting rail capable of passing electrical power to a firearm accessory, and a mounting base. The mounting base can attach the empowered mounting rail to a firearm's mounting rail. An electrically powered firearm accessory can be powered by the electrical power source when fastened to the powered mounting rail portion of the empowered mounting rail.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • Embodiments are generally related to firearms, Picatinny rails, firearm rail systems, batteries, and firearm accessories.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Firearms, particularly military style carbines and rifles, are often outfitted with rail systems. Historically, Picatinny rails were attached to or formed into the upper receivers of M-16 style firearms to which sights such as scopes, red dots, and even iron sights have been mounted. Over time, more and more mounting rails have been added with current models having mounting rails on the receiver and four mounting rails on the forward hand guard. The reason is that a vast number of rail mountable firearm accessories have become available. Examples of these firearm accessories include the aforementioned sights as well as lasers, flashlights, bayonets, grenade launchers, sling swivels, cameras, bipods, vertical fore grips, and other items.
  • A number of the firearm accessories are electrically powered. Many solutions simply include battery compartments. For example, a flashlight accessory is basically a battery powered flashlight with rail compatible mount points. More recently, solutions are being developed for electrifying the firearms and rail systems. Hines (U.S. Pat. No. 7,627,975) and Thompson (US Patent Application 2011/0000120) teach bringing electrical power to forward mounted accessories. Darian (US Patent Applications 2010/0192446, 2010/0192448, and 2011/0131858) also teaches powering firearm accessories from a firearm rail. Many of the current art electrified rail systems use powered firearm mounting rails that conduct electrical energy from an electrical input connection to one or more rail mounted devices. Among the advantages of electrified rail systems is that the batteries and the active components can be located separately to reduce the weight at the front of the firearm. A carbine can be unwieldy if it has numerous accessories with batteries attached to the fore grip. Electrified rail systems allow those forward mounted parts to be much lighter because they themselves can be battery-less while electrically powered by electrical power sources located elsewhere such as in the butt stock. A new generation of firearms having electrified rail systems and compatible accessories are being introduced.
  • A large number of parts and products for non-electrified firearm systems have been in production and in the field for over a decade. Systems and methods providing forward and backward compatibility between the non-electrified firearm systems and the new generation of electrified firearms and electrified rail systems are needed.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY
  • The following summary is provided to facilitate an understanding of some of the innovative features unique to the present invention and is not intended to be a full description. A full appreciation of the various aspects of the embodiments disclosed herein can be gained by taking the entire specification, claims, drawings, and abstract as a whole.
  • It is therefore an aspect of the embodiments to have a powered rail, a battery compartment, and a mounting base attached together to form an empowered mounting rail. These three components can be formed as a single unit or otherwise attached to one another in a more or less permanent manner. The mounting base attaches the empowered mounting rail to a firearm mounting rail such as a Picatinny rail. Before being locked in place, mounting bases can either slide along the firearm rail or can slot into position. Once positioned, a mounting base is locked into position. A firearm accessory that requires electrical power can be attached to the powered rail and thereby be mounted to a firearm and also obtain electrical power. Such powered accessories include, but are not limited to, powered scopes, illuminated scopes, red dot sights, other powered sights, lasers, laser designators, range finders, flashlights, and cameras.
  • The battery compartment is designed to hold batteries and to help pass electrical power to the powered rail. Some embodiments can have switches that make-or-break the circuit between the powered rail and the batteries (or single battery). Other embodiments can have switches that control delivery of electrical power to the powered rail.
  • It is an aspect of some embodiments to provide power monitoring circuits. Batteries lose charge over time through use or through degradation. A monitoring circuit can produce a visible output indicative of the electrical power available in batteries that are installed in the battery compartment.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying figures, in which like reference numerals refer to identical or functionally-similar elements throughout the separate views and which are incorporated in and form a part of the specification, further illustrate the embodiments and, together with the detailed description, serve to explain the embodiments disclosed herein.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an empowered mounting rail fastened to a non-electrified quad-rail in accordance with aspects of the embodiments;
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an empowered mounting rail powering a battery-less flashlight in accordance with aspects of the embodiments;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates an empowered mounting rail with batteries in accordance with aspects of the embodiments;
  • FIG. 4 illustrates an empowered mounting rail n accordance with aspects of the embodiments;
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a firearm flashlight accessory for use with empowered mounting rails in accordance with aspects of the embodiments;
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an empowered mounting rail with a power level indicator in accordance with aspects of the embodiments;
  • FIG. 7 illustrates an empowered mounting rail with a sliding mount and locking mechanism in accordance with aspects of the embodiments;
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a high level conceptualization of a firearm with empowered mounting rails and accessories in accordance with aspects of the embodiments;
  • FIG. 9 illustrates a way of dealing with a short circuiting problem in accordance with aspects of certain embodiments; and
  • FIG. 10 illustrates a flashlight accessory 1001 with a powered base 1002 that can be slotted and damped into position in accordance with aspects of certain embodiments.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The particular values and configurations discussed in these non-limiting examples can be varied and are cited merely to illustrate at least one embodiment and are not intended to limit the scope thereof.
  • An empowered mounting rail is, essentially, an electrical power source, a powered mounting rail capable of passing electrical power to a firearm accessory, and a mounting base. The mounting base can attach the empowered mounting rail to a firearm's mounting rail. An electrically powered firearm accessory can be powered by the electrical power source when fastened to the powered mounting rail portion of the empowered mounting rail.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an empowered mounting rail 101 fastened to a quad-rail 103 in accordance with aspects of the embodiments. Quad-rails are typically mounted on a rifle or carbine in place of a smooth handguard or forward stock. A quad-rail 103 has four mounting rails 104. The mounting rails 104 illustrated are Picatinny rails. An empowered mounting rail 101 is attached to the top mounting rail 104 and a flashlight 102 accessory is attached to the empowered mounting rail 101. The illustrated flashlight 102 has no battery compartment because it is designed to obtain electrical power from the empowered mounting rail. Note that the quad-rail can be electrified or non-electrified.
  • Note that the powered rails can be intentionally compatible with the currently available standard mounting rails. There are a number of different mounting rails standards, The United States defines the Picatinny rail with MIL-STD-1913 to be a standard small arms mounting rail. The Weaver rail is similar to the Picatinny rail with some accessories capable of using either the Picatinny or the Weaver. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has at least two rail specifications (STANAG 2324 and STANAG 4694) for mounting rails that are largely compatible with the Picatinny. Yet another mounting rail somewhat compatible with the Picatinny is the “Canadian Weaver” that was developed by the Canadian Military. Other world militaries such as the Chinese military and the Russian military have similar standardized mounting rails. The important point here is that the powered rails can be dimensionally compatible with standardized mounting rails.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an empowered mounting rail powering 101 and a flashlight 102 in accordance with aspects of the embodiments. The empowered mounting rail has a battery compartment 201, a powered rail 202, and a mounting base 203. The flashlight 102 has a flashlight body 205 and a powered mounting base 206. A powered mounting base is a mounting base that can transfer electrical power from a powered mounting rail 202 to the body of an accessory such as the flashlight body 205. A switch 204 can connect and disconnect battery power from the powered rail 202. FIG. 3 illustrates the empowered mounting rail of FIGS. 1 and 2 along with batteries 301. The batteries 301 go into the battery compartment 201 to supply electrical power.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates an empowered mounting rail 101 in accordance with aspects of the embodiments. The empowered mounting rail 101 is illustrated from a different angle to better illustrate the mounting bases 203. These particular mounting bases are of a variety that can slide along a mounting rail and then lock into position with bolts. Other varieties can not be slid along the mounting rail, but are “slotted in” by being placed such that part of the mount fits into a rail slot and the mount clamped into position.
  • An empowered mounting rail can be assembled by attaching together a powered rail 202, battery compartment 201, and mounting base 203. Alternatively, all three of those components can be formed together. For example, a single injection molding can be used to mold all three components at once such that they are attached together by being part of the same molding.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a firearm flashlight accessory for use with electrified rails in accordance with aspects of the embodiments. The accessory has a flashlight body 205 and a powered mounting base 206. The body 205 can be a little more than a reflector, a light source (bulb, LED, or other) and electrical connections to the powered mounting base 206. A bolt 501 is shown passing through one side of the powered mounting base 206 and threaded into another side. Tightening the bolt 301 can force the base to clamp onto the rail. Furthermore, the bolt 301 can be positioned to pass through a slot in the rail to thereby set the accessory to a particular slot position. Tightening the bolt afterward can damp the accessory in position.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an empowered mounting rail with a power level indicator 601 in accordance with aspects of the embodiments. The battery compartment 201 and powered mounting rail 202 are present, but placed differently in relation to one another. The power level indicator 601 can be a small LED that lights when the battery power level is high enough. Note that battery voltage is typically used as an indication of power level. Another option is that the LED lights up in one color, such as green, when there is ample power and lights up in a different color, such as red, when power is getting low. No power can be indicated by an unlit LED.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates the empowered mounting rail of FIG. 6 from a different angle so that the locking mechanism 701 is more easily visible. The sliding base 604 allows the empowered mounting rail to be slid onto a firearm mounting rail and then locked into position by the locking mechanism 701. The locking mechanism 701 can be pressed into a rail slot by a tensioner 602. The tensioner 602 can be attached by a bolt 603, by some other fastening means, or can be molded as part of the unit during the molding process.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates a high level conceptualization of a firearm 801 with empowered mounting rails 804, 805 and accessories in accordance with aspects of the embodiments. The firearm 801 has two different types of firearm mounting rails. A non-powered firearm mounting rail 104 does not transfer electrical power to accessories while a powered mounting rail 803 does. The two firearm mounting rails are dimensionally similar with the same slot spacing, etc. There are also two types of empowered mounting rails 804, 805 shown. One empowered mounting rail 804 has a non-powered mounting base 203 while the other empowered mounting rail 805 has a powered mounting base 206.
  • A powered mounting base 206 allows an empowered mounting rail to share electrical power with a powered firearm mounting rail 803. As such, a flashlight 102 having its own powered mounting base 206 can be attached to the powered firearm mounting rail 803 and can be powered by the empowered mounting rail 805. The electrical power can pass from a battery compartment in the empowered mounting rail 805, through a powered mounting base 206 and into the powered firearm mounting rail 803. From there, the electrical power passes through another powered mounting base 206 and into the flashlight 102. On the other hand, a non-powered mounting base 203 can not transfer power.
  • In many cases the firearm mounting rail 104 will be a Picatinny rail which is a standardized and well defined part available from many sources. It is therefore desirable for the powered firearm mounting rail to be either dimensionally similar or dimensionally incompatible. When dimensionally similar, legacy firearm accessories can be attached to the powered firearm rail. The negative aspect there is that, unless carefully designed, a non-powered mounting base 203 can cause an electrical short circuit if made of conducting material like aluminum. Similarly, an electrically conductive firearm mounting rail 104 can cause a short circuit through a powered mounting base 206. The short circuiting problem can be avoided by making the powered and non-powered variants incompatible.
  • Other ways of dealing with the short circuiting problem is through short circuit detection and shutoff, detection and indication, or current limiting. Current limiting circuits allow the passage of an electrical current as long as it remains below a threshold. Detection and shutoff detects short circuits by measuring resistivity or impedance and opening the circuit when those values are too low. An indicator, such as an LED, can show that a short is detected.
  • FIG. 9 illustrates another way of dealing with a short circuiting problem in accordance with aspects of certain embodiments. Dimensional features such as a keyway 903 or detent along with a key 902 can be compatible with non-powered legacy equipment while providing compatible equipment to form circuits. A powered mounting base 901 can have a key 902 that is pushed into the base by a non-powered rail, but is pushed by an internal spring to extend into a socket 903 in a powered rail 904. If the key 902 carries power, then it can have a non-conductive tip 905. In order to minimize clogging, the keyway 903 can be pushed open by the key 902 or can extend completely though the rail.
  • FIG. 10 illustrates a flashlight accessory 1001 with a powered base 1002 that can be slotted and clamped into position in accordance with aspects of certain embodiments. Loosening or removing a bolt 1005 allows a clamping piece 1004 to move and open up the base such that it can be slotted onto a rail cover. A cross member 1003 fits into one of the recoil grooves in the mounting rail. The bolt 1005 can thereafter be tightened to clamp the powered base 1002 into position. The illustrated embodiment indicates the bolt 1005 threading into the cross member 1003 although there are many other ways to provide the correct clamping action. The cross member 1003 can have keys or keyways similar to those discussed above, can have exposed conductive regions that match up with similar regions on the rail, or can have other means of bringing power into the powered base.
  • With the increased use of accessories drawing power through the rail system, there will be devices that loose power when parted from the host rail or when the powered rail or rail powering system fails. Empowered rails or similar battery adaptive devices can serve as power sources separate from firearm rail systems. Similarly, the empowered rail can be the electrical power source or a back-up electrical power source for an entire powered rail system or firearm system. In fact, a battery compartment electrically connected to a powered base and mounted to an electrified rail system can power that electrified rail system.
  • It will be appreciated that variations of the above-disclosed and other features and functions, or alternatives thereof, may be desirably combined into many other different systems or applications. Also, that various presently unforeseen or unanticipated alternatives, modifications, variations or improvements therein may be subsequently made by those skilled in the art which are also intended to be encompassed by the following claims.

Claims (20)

    What s claimed is:
  1. 1. A system comprising:
    an empowered mounting rail comprising a powered mounting rail, a battery compartment, and a mounting base wherein the powered mounting ran, the battery compartment, and the mounting base are fixedly attached together, wherein the mounting base provides for removably attaching the empowered mounting rail to a firearm mounting rail, and wherein the powered mounting rail provides for passing electrical power supplied by at least one battery in the battery compartment to a firearm accessory when the firearm accessory is mounted on the powered mounting rail.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1 further comprising a firearm comprising the firearm mounting rail wherein the mounting base is removably attached to the firearm mounting rail.
  3. 3. The system of claim 1 wherein the firearm accessory is a flashlight.
  4. 4. The system of claim 1 wherein the firearm accessory is a laser designator.
  5. 5. The system of claim 1 wherein the firearm accessory is an optical sight requiring electrical power.
  6. 6. The system of claim 1 further comprising a switch wherein the switch controls the passage of electrical power between the at least one battery and the firearm accessory.
  7. 7. The system of claim 1 further comprising a power level indicator.
  8. 8. The system of claim 7 further comprising an indicator control wherein the power level indicator has a plurality of modes comprising an operative mode and an inoperative mode and wherein the indicator control determines which of the modes the power level indicator is in.
  9. 9. The system of claim 1 wherein the firearm mounting rail is a Picatinny rail.
  10. 10. The system of claim 1 wherein the powered mounting rail, the battery compartment, and the mounting base are formed together as a single piece.
  11. 11. A system comprising:
    an empowered mounting rail comprising a powered mounting rail, a battery compartment, a sliding base, and a base locking mechanism wherein the powered mounting rail, the battery compartment, and the sliding base are fixedly attached together, wherein the sliding base is configured to slide with one degree of freedom on a firearm mounting rail, wherein the base locking mechanism locks the sliding base onto the firearm mounting rail, wherein the powered mounting rail provides for passing electrical power supplied by at least one battery in the battery compartment to a firearm accessory when the firearm accessory is mounted on the powered mounting rail.
  12. 12. The system of claim 11 further comprising a tensioner wherein the firearm mounting rail comprises a slot, wherein the tensioner presses the base locking mechanism into the slot to thereby lock the sliding base onto the firearm mounting rail.
  13. 13. The system of claim 12 wherein a force applied counter to the tensioner unlocks the sliding base to slide with one degree of freedom on the firearm mounting rail.
  14. 14. A system comprising:
    an empowered mounting rail comprising a powered mounting rail, a battery compartment, and a powered mounting base wherein the powered mounting rail, the battery compartment, and the mounting base are fixedly attached together, wherein the powered mounting base provides for removably attaching the empowered mounting rail to a powered firearm mounting rail, and wherein the powered mounting rail is configured to pass electrical power supplied by at least one battery in the battery compartment to a firearm accessory when the firearm accessory is mounted on the powered mounting rail, wherein the powered mounting base is configured to pass the electrical power to the powered firearm mounting rail.
  15. 15. The system of claim 14 further comprising a base locking mechanism wherein the mounting base is a sliding base configured to slide with one degree of freedom on a firearm mounting rail and wherein the base locking mechanism locks the sliding base onto the firearm mounting ran.
  16. 16. The system of claim 15 further comprising a tensioner wherein the firearm mounting rail comprises a slot, wherein the tensioner presses the base locking mechanism into the slot to thereby lock the sliding base onto the firearm mounting rail and wherein a force applied counter to the tensioner unlocks the sliding base to slide with one degree of freedom on the firearm mounting rail.
  17. 17. The system of claim 16 further comprising:
    a firearm comprising the firearm mounting rail, wherein the firearm mounting rail is a Picatinny rail, and wherein the mounting base is removably attached to the Picatinny rail;
    a switch wherein the switch controls the passage of electrical power between the at least one battery and the firearm accessory;
    a power level indicator and an indicator control wherein the power level indicator has a plurality of modes comprising an operative mode and an inoperative mode and wherein the indicator control determines which of the modes the power level indicator is in; and
    wherein the powered mounting rail, the battery compartment, and the mounting base are formed together as a single piece.
  18. 18. The system of claim 14 further comprising a switch wherein the switch controls the passage of electrical power between the at least one battery and the firearm accessory.
  19. 19. The system of claim 14 further comprising a power level indicator and an indicator control wherein the power level indicator has a plurality of modes comprising an operative mode and an inoperative mode and wherein the indicator control determines which of the modes the power level indicator is in.
  20. 20. The system of claim 14 further comprising a firearm comprising the firearm mounting rail, wherein the firearm mounting rail is a Picatinny rail, and wherein the mounting base is removably attached to the Picatinny rail.
US13286835 2011-11-01 2011-11-01 Battery adaptive device Abandoned US20130104438A1 (en)

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US13286835 US20130104438A1 (en) 2011-11-01 2011-11-01 Battery adaptive device
US13426222 US20130104439A1 (en) 2011-11-01 2012-03-21 Powering firearm accessories with a false battery

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Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20150226521A1 (en) * 2014-02-07 2015-08-13 William Q. Patterson Handgun automatic sighting system
US9200867B1 (en) * 2014-01-08 2015-12-01 Richard E. Swan Modular integrated powered handguard and accessory mount system for combat weapons
EP2975356A1 (en) * 2014-07-15 2016-01-20 Qioptiq Limited Weapon accessory bracket
US9383167B1 (en) 2015-02-05 2016-07-05 Raytheon Canada Limited Powered sight mount
WO2017127298A1 (en) * 2016-01-18 2017-07-27 Wilcox Industries Corp. Modular powered platform for weapon
US9823043B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2017-11-21 Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership Rail for inductively powering firearm accessories
US9891023B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2018-02-13 Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership Apparatus and method for inductively powering and networking a rail of a firearm
US9897411B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2018-02-20 Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership Apparatus and method for powering and networking a rail of a firearm
US9921028B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2018-03-20 Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership Apparatus and method for powering and networking a rail of a firearm

Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20110173865A1 (en) * 2010-01-15 2011-07-21 Colt Canada Corporation Rail for inductively powering firearm accessories
US20130061504A1 (en) * 2009-12-23 2013-03-14 Michael Jon Malherbe Communication and power distribution system and segmented rail adapter

Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20130061504A1 (en) * 2009-12-23 2013-03-14 Michael Jon Malherbe Communication and power distribution system and segmented rail adapter
US20110173865A1 (en) * 2010-01-15 2011-07-21 Colt Canada Corporation Rail for inductively powering firearm accessories

Cited By (13)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US9823043B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2017-11-21 Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership Rail for inductively powering firearm accessories
US9879941B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2018-01-30 Colt Canada Corporation Method and system for providing power and data to firearm accessories
US9921028B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2018-03-20 Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership Apparatus and method for powering and networking a rail of a firearm
US9897411B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2018-02-20 Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership Apparatus and method for powering and networking a rail of a firearm
US9891023B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2018-02-13 Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership Apparatus and method for inductively powering and networking a rail of a firearm
US10060705B2 (en) 2010-01-15 2018-08-28 Colt Canada Ip Holding Partnership Apparatus and method for powering and networking a rail of a firearm
US9200867B1 (en) * 2014-01-08 2015-12-01 Richard E. Swan Modular integrated powered handguard and accessory mount system for combat weapons
US20150226521A1 (en) * 2014-02-07 2015-08-13 William Q. Patterson Handgun automatic sighting system
US9212867B2 (en) * 2014-02-07 2015-12-15 William Q. Patterson Handgun automatic sighting system
GB2528267A (en) * 2014-07-15 2016-01-20 Qioptiq Ltd Weapon accessory bracket
EP2975356A1 (en) * 2014-07-15 2016-01-20 Qioptiq Limited Weapon accessory bracket
US9383167B1 (en) 2015-02-05 2016-07-05 Raytheon Canada Limited Powered sight mount
WO2017127298A1 (en) * 2016-01-18 2017-07-27 Wilcox Industries Corp. Modular powered platform for weapon

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