WO2017137797A2 - Portable solar charger - Google Patents

Portable solar charger Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2017137797A2
WO2017137797A2 PCT/IB2016/001824 IB2016001824W WO2017137797A2 WO 2017137797 A2 WO2017137797 A2 WO 2017137797A2 IB 2016001824 W IB2016001824 W IB 2016001824W WO 2017137797 A2 WO2017137797 A2 WO 2017137797A2
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
solar panel
charger
camera
solar
portable
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2016/001824
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2017137797A3 (en
Inventor
Chong Woen LEE
Donghun KIM.
Jae Wan KIM
Young Soo Yoon
Original Assignee
Clicka Holdings, Inc.
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
Priority to US201562274070P priority Critical
Priority to US62/274,070 priority
Priority to US29/557,401 priority
Priority to US201629557401 priority
Priority to US62/428,471 priority
Priority to US201662428471P priority
Application filed by Clicka Holdings, Inc. filed Critical Clicka Holdings, Inc.
Publication of WO2017137797A2 publication Critical patent/WO2017137797A2/en
Publication of WO2017137797A3 publication Critical patent/WO2017137797A3/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02JCIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS OR SYSTEMS FOR SUPPLYING OR DISTRIBUTING ELECTRIC POWER; SYSTEMS FOR STORING ELECTRIC ENERGY
    • H02J7/00Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries
    • H02J7/34Parallel operation in networks using both storage and other dc sources, e.g. providing buffering
    • H02J7/35Parallel operation in networks using both storage and other dc sources, e.g. providing buffering with light sensitive cells

Abstract

A portable solar charger (102, 500, 600) comprising a body (104, 502, 602) having a first side (114); a charger battery (304) positioned within the body (104); a first solar panel (112, 512, 612) pivotally coupled to the body, wherein in a rest position the first solar panel lays adjacent to and substantially overlaps the first side and in an open position the first solar panel does not substantially overlap the first side; a second solar panel (108, 508, 608) pivotally coupled to the body (104); and a power management circuit, wherein the first solar panel and the second solar panel are electrically coupled to charge the charger battery, and wherein the power management circuit is structured to transfer electrical energy from the charger battery to an electrical load responsive to the charge command signal.

Description

PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This international patent application claims priority from U.S. Patent

Application No. 62/428,471, filed on November 30, 2016, U.S. Patent Application No. 29/557,401, filed on March 8, 2016, and U.S. Patent Application No. 62/274,070, filed on December 31, 2015, which are incorporated in their entirety herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] This disclosure relates to portable electronic devices with rechargeable batteries, and more particularly to portable solar chargers and electronic devices operable with portable solar chargers.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0003] Action cameras are designed for filming while performing activities. Because they can be carried by the person performing the activity, it is desirable that the camera be small, unobtrusive, and easy to use. Action cameras generally include protective housings. Mounting adapters are generally used to attach the protective housing to a helmet, skate board, harness, or other equipment worn by the user while performing the activity. Activities associated with the use of action cameras include, among others, extreme sports, such as base jumping and wingsuit flying, bicycle and motorcycle riding, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

[0004] Due to often extended use in remote locations, action cameras may become discharged. It may not be practical to carry enough replacement batteries for an action camera during those situations. For example during backpacking trips, where weight reduction is essential, carrying multiple batteries is undesirable.

[0005] There is a need for a lightweight and small apparatus and a method of charging an action camera quickly without reliance on the power grid.

[0006] The background to the disclosure is described herein to explain the context of the present invention. This is not to be taken as an admission or a suggestion that any of the material referred to was published, known or part of the common general knowledge in the art to which the present invention pertains, in the United States or in any other country, as at the priority date of any of the claims.

SUMMARY OF DISCLOSED EMBODIMENTS

[0007] A portable solar charger, a system including a portable solar charger and a camera, and a method of charging a camera are disclosed. In some embodiments, the portable solar charger comprises a body having a first side; a charger battery positioned within the body; a first solar panel pivotally coupled to the body, wherein in a rest position the first solar panel lays adjacent to and substantially overlaps the first side and in an open position the first solar panel does not substantially overlap the first side; a second solar panel pivotally coupled to the body; and a power management circuit, wherein the first solar panel and the second solar panel are electrically coupled to charge the charger battery, and wherein the power management circuit is structured to transfer electrical energy from the charger battery to an electrical load.

[0008] In some embodiments, the portable solar charger comprises a body having a first side; a charger battery positioned within the body; a touch control element supported by the body and configured to generate a charge command signal; a first solar panel pivotally coupled to the body, wherein in a rest position the first solar panel lays adjacent to and substantially overlaps the first side and in an open position the first solar panel does not substantially overlap the first side; a second solar panel pivotally coupled to the body; and a power management circuit communicatively coupled to the touch control element, wherein the first solar panel and the second solar panel are electrically coupled to charge the charger battery, and wherein the power management circuit is structured to transfer electrical energy from the charger battery to an electrical load responsive to the charge command signal.

[0009] In some embodiments, the portable solar charger comprises a body having a first side; a charger battery positioned within the body; a first solar panel pivotally coupled to the body, wherein in a rest position the first solar panel lays adjacent to and substantially overlaps the first side and in an open position the first solar panel does not substantially overlap the first side; a second solar panel pivotally coupled to the body; and a power management circuit, wherein the first solar panel and the second solar panel are electrically coupled to charge the charger battery, and wherein the power management circuit is structured to transfer electrical energy from the charger battery to an electrical load, wherein the body further comprises a plurality of walls perpendicular to the first side and defining a cavity therebetween, wherein the cavity is configured to receive therein a camera.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The above-mentioned and other disclosed features, the manner of attaining them, and advantages of the invention will become more apparent and will be better understood by reference to the following detailed description of disclosed embodiments of the invention when viewed in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a front side perspective view illustration of an embodiment of a solar charging system including a portable solar charger and a camera operable with the portable solar charger, wfth a panel support of the portable solar charger shown in an open position;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a front side plan view illustration of the solar charging system of

FIG. 1 showing the camera positioned in the portable solar charger;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a front side perspective view illustration of the portable solar charger depicted in FIG. 1, with the panel of the portable solar charger shown in a closed position;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustration of the camera depicted in FIG. 1 ;

[0015] FIGS. 5, 6, and 7 are left, back, and bottom plan view illustrations of the camera depicted in FIG. 1 ;

[0016] FIG. 8 is a perspective view illustration of another embodiment of a camera operable with the portable solar charger depicted in FIG. 1 ;

[0017] FIGS. 9, 10, and 11 are perspective view illustrations of additional embodiments of a camera operable with the portable solar charger depicted in FIG. 1 ;

[0018] FIG. 12 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a charging circuit;

[0019] FIG. 13 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a camera topology; [0020] FIGS. 14 to 17 are perspective view illustrations of another embodiment of a portable solar charger, shown with solar panels In closed and open positions;

[0021] FIGS. 18 and 19 are perspective view illustrations of another embodiment of a portable solar charger, shown with solar panels in closed and open positions, respectively;

[0022] FIG. 20 is a perspective view Illustration of another embodiment of a camera; and

[0023] FIGS. 21 to 24 are back, left, right, and bottom view illustrations of the embodiment of the camera depicted in FIG. 20.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DISCLOSED EMBODIMENTS

[0001] For the purpose of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings, which are described below. The embodiments disclosed below are not intended to be exhaustive or limit the invention to the precise form disclosed in the following detailed description. Rather, the embodiments are chosen and described so that others skilled in the art may utilize their teachings. It will be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. The invention includes any alterations and further modifications in the illustrated devices and described methods and further applications of the principles of the invention which would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.

[0024] Where the terms "comprising" or "including" or "having", or any analogues thereof are used in the specification (including the claims), they are to be interpreted as specifying the presence of the stated features, integers, steps or components, but not precluding the presence of one or more other features, integers, steps or components, or group thereto.

[0025] Where the terms "right" or "left", or any analogues thereof, are used in the specification (including the claims), they are to be interpreted as specifying, respectively, the right and left sides of a respective object from the perspective of a person viewing the object Thus, the right side of the person corresponds to the right side of the object, and the left side of the person corresponds to the left side of the object.

[0026] The terms "first," "second," "third," "fourth," and the like in the description and in the claims, if any, are used for distinguishing between similar elements and not necessarily for describing a particular sequential or chronological order, it is to be understood that any terms so used are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances such that the embodiments described herein are, for example, capable of operation in sequences other than those illustrated or otherwise described herein. Similarly, if a method is described herein as comprising a series of steps, the order of such steps as presented herein is not necessarily the only order in which such steps may be performed, and certain of the stated steps may possibly be omitted and/or certain other steps not described herein may possibly be added to the method.

[0027] Occurrences of the phrase "in one embodiment," or "in one aspect," herein do not necessarily all refer to the same embodiment or aspect.

[0028] As used herein, a plurality of items, structural elements, compositional elements, and/or materials may be presented in a common list for convenience. However, these lists should be construed as though each member of the list is individually identified as a separate and unique member. Thus, no individual member of such list should be construed as a de facto equivalent of any other member of the same list solely based on their presentation in a common group without indications to the contrary.

[0029] FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 illustrate an embodiment of a solar charging system, denoted by numeral 100, comprising a camera 150 including a camera battery 424 (shown in FIG. 13) and charging contacts 164, 166 (shown in FIG. 7), and a portable solar charger 102. Portable solar charger 102 includes a body 104 defining a cavity 116 therein adapted to receive camera 150, body 104 having a first side 114 and a second side 118 opposite first side 114, wherein cavity 116 is accessible from at least first side 114 to position camera 150 therein. Portable solar charger 102 further includes first and second panel supports 110, 106, pivotably coupled to body 104 from its first and second sides, and solar panels 112, 108 supported thereby and substantially coextensive with planar surfaces of first and second panel supports 110, 106. First and second panel supports 110, 106 include hinges 130, 131 (shown in FIGS. 2 and 3), pivotally coupled to body 104. First and second panel supports 110, 106 are operable in an open position to collect solar energy and in a closed position to enclose camera 150 in cavity 116. Thusly solar charger 102 provides a protective enclosure for camera 150 and, together, they provide a compact camera and solar charger solution.

[0030] Portable solar charger 102 also includes electric contacts 124, 126 (shown in FIG. 7) accessible from cavity 116 and configured to touch charging contacts 164, 166 of camera 150 when camera 150 is positioned in cavity 116, a charger battery (304) positioned in body 104, and a power management circuit 290 positioned in body 104. An embodiment of a power management circuit is described with reference to FIGS. 12 and 13. The power management circuit is configured to charge the charger battery with electric energy generated by solar panels 112, 108 and to transfer the electric energy from the charter battery of portable solar charger 102 to the camera battery through charging contacts 124, 126.

[0031] In one variation, portable solar charger 102 further comprises a touch control element (TCE) 122 (shown in FIGS. 2 and 3) coupled to the power management circuit, wherein the power management circuit is configured to detect a charge command from a user received via touch control element 122, to charge the camera battery responsive to the charge command, and to prevent charging of the camera battery from the battery of portable solar charger 102 otherwise.

[0032] In a variation of the present embodiment, portable solar charger 102 does not include second panel support 106 and solar panel 108.

[0033] In a further variation of the present embodiment, portable solar charger 102 further comprises a universal serial bus (USB) connector 128. Portable solar charger 102 may be connected via USB connector 128 to a power source to charge its battery, for example when solar energy is insufficient to charge the battery, or to do so quickly.

[0034] In another embodiment, USB connector 128 is configured to be connected to enable charging of another electronic device electrically coupled to portable solar charger 102 by a USB cable.

[0035] Referring now to FIGS. 4 to 7, camera 150 comprises a frame 152, a front side 160, a back side 170, a projection 174 supporting in part a first TCE 176, a second TCE 178, a convex cover 180, a right side 182, a left side 184, a top side 186, a bottom side 188, and a display screen 190. Camera 150 also includes a lens 194, shown in FIG. 9, protruding from a front face 192 of frame 152. Additionally, camera 150 comprises a threaded cylindrical cavity 162 configured to receive a mating screw connected to a tripod or other support structure.

[0036] FIGS. 8 to 11 illustrate additional embodiments of cameras similar to camera 150 in function. FIG. 8 illustrates a camera 150' in which convex cover 180 is substituted by a convex cover 180' which has a reflective surface, illustrated by a reflected image thereon. Convex cover 180, 180' may comprise a light filter. FIG. 8 also shows a battery cover 154 of cameras 150, 150'. Except for convex cover 180', cameras 150 and 150' are identical. Convex cover 180, 180' is secured to frame 152 of cameras 150, 150' in a sealed manner providing moisture and dust protection for lens 194. Convex cover 180, 180' may be replaced when it becomes dirty or damaged, or to change the filter effect, for example to apply a different light filter, e.g. ultraviolet, colored, or polarized filter. In FIG. 9, camera 150 is shown with convex cover 180 removed.

[0037] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a camera, denoted by numeral 200, including a convex cover 202. In other respects camera 202 is the same as camera 150. Like convex cover 180, convex cover 202 is sealed to frame 152 but, unlike camera 150, convex cover 202 comprises an aperture coextensive with lens 194. In a variation of the present embodiment, a circular filter may be attached to convex cover 202 to sealingly cover lens 194. Unlike convex cover 180, which is convex over lens 194 and therefore may distort, even slightly, the images captured through the lens, the circular filter is substantially flat to prevent such distortions. In one example, convex cover 202 includes the circular filter, which is affixed to cover the aperture. Thus convex cover 202, including the circular filter attached thereto, provides a sealed environment for lens 194 which is free of distortions caused by curvature.

[0038] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a yet further embodiment of a camera, denoted by numeral 210, including a flat cover 212. In other respects camera 210 is the same as camera 150. Like convex cover 180, flat cover 212 is sealed to frame 152 but, unlike convex cover 180, which is convex at its center and therefore may distort, even slightly, the images captured through the lens, flat cover 212 does not cause image distortions. The cover disclosed herein (180, 202, 212) may be made of glass, polymers, and combinations thereof, to provide translucent protection for lens 194.

[0039] User interfaces and methods of operating camera 150 are described in commonly-owned U.S. Patent Application No. 14/986,368 (the "GUI Patent Application"), filed on December 31, 2015, which is incorporated in its entirety herein by reference. As described therein, first TCE 176 and second TCE 178 may be used with control logic including navigation logic to access a plurality of mode, program, and settings menus to configure camera 150. The term "logic" as used herein includes software and/or firmware executing on one or more programmable processors, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), field-programmable gate array (FPGA), digital signal processor (DSP), hardwired logic, or combinations thereof. Therefore, various logic may be implemented in any appropriate fashion and would remain in accordance with the embodiments herein disclosed. As described below with reference to FiG. 13, in one example navigation logic is embedded in a non-volatile computer readable storage medium as firmware and is implemented when executed by a processor. In another example, navigation logic is comprised in an ASIC. In a further example, navigation logic is implemented in an FPGA. The ASIC, FPGA, and firmware may additionally comprise image processing logic and other logic needed to scale the images for presentation on the display screen, as is well known in the art.

[0040] As disclosed previously, portable solar charger 102 is configured to charge solar camera 150, 150', 200, 210. FIG. 12 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a power management circuit 290 of portable solar charger 102. Power management circuit 290 includes a quick-charge controller (QCC) 300 and a solar charger 302. Solar charger 302 may comprise maximum power point logic configured to extract maximum power from solar panel 112 regardless of the level of insolation, applying any method known in the art, and charging logic to charge battery 304 in a suitable manner. QCC 300 detects a signal from enable logic 310 based on activation of TCE 122, with may comprise a capacrtive switch. Upon detection of contact from a user, QCC 300 engages a power switch 314, e.g. a MOSFET switch, to enable transfer of electrical energy from battery 304 to electrical contact 164. QCC 300 may also receive electrical energy from USB port 128 and supply the electrical energy to battery 304 to recharge it. QCC 300 also controls a power switch 311 to energize a light emitting diode 312 positioned around TCE 122 to provide feedback to the user indicating that camera 150 is being charged.

[0041] In one variation, QCC 300 prevents charging of camera battery 424 (shown in FIG. 13) unless the user activates QCC 300 by pressing TCE 122 for a suitable amount of time. This prevents inadvertent drainage of battery 304.

[0042] Camera sensor 320 may also be provided in another embodiment to detect the presence of the camera and begin charging the camera responsive to such detection, without requiring activation by the user. Examples of camera sensors include magnetic sensors, infrared sensors, and contact switches.

[0043] In another embodiment, when the camera is positioned in the portable solar charger, energy from the solar panels Is cut-off by QCC 300, so that battery 304 is not charged while the camera is positioned in cavity 116. Portable solar charger 102 may comprise a camera sensor 320 to detect camera 150, for example a sensor including a voltage/current sensor to sense voltage on connectors 124, 126 or current flowing therethrough. Camera sensor 320 may also comprise a contact switch or an infrared sensor configured to detect the camera in the camera cavity.

[0044] FIG. 13. Illustrates a block diagram 350 depicting components of camera 150, 150', 200, 210 including an image sensor 352 comprising a pixel array 354, timing and control (T&C) logic 356, and digital signal processing (DSP) logic 358. Pixel array 354 receives light through lens 194 and, responsive to signals from T&C logic 356, transfers digital information corresponding to the light captured by each pixel of the array to DSP logic 358. DSP logic 358 applies effects to the digital information, which may include color filters, white balance, and others. Image sensor 352 then outputs digital images corresponding to photos or frames of a captured video to a camera controller 360 for further processing and subsequent storage in a memory card inserted in memory socket 386, presentation by display screen 190, and/or streaming or uploading by a wireless transceiver 382 and an antenna 384 to a smart device or cloud storage. Example image sensors include the IMX206CQC back-illuminated color CMOS integrated circuit marketed by Sony Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, and the OV4689 color CMOS integrated circuit marketed by OmniVision Technologies, Inc., Santa Clara, California, USA. Example smart devices include a smart phone, a computing tablet, and any device capable of communicating wirelessly and including a user interface with which a user may command transfers of content. As used herein, cloud storage comprises memory managed through a website. Cloud storage may comprise memory allocated to a user, for example via a subscription service, and may also comprise memory managed by social media websites to share the content with other users. Cloud storage typically comprises one or more content servers including a hard disk configured to store the content.

[0045] Camera controller 360 comprises a sensor controller 370 structured to provide control signals to image sensor 352 to configure image sensor 352 features such as filters, ISO, white balance, shutter speed and others. Camera controller 360 also comprises a media controller 380 structured to provide control signals to control operation of media including the media card in memory socket 386 and wireless transceiver 382, a video controller 390 configured to control display screen 190, general purpose I/O ports (GPIOS) 412 to control various input and output logic including first and second touch control element 176, 178, a central processing unit (CPU) 400, and navigation logic 406, which may be embedded in a memory 404. CPU 400 executes instructions embedded in camera controller 360 and also navigation logic 406 to operate the various controllers described hereinabove, and GPIOS 412. Example camera controllers include the SPCA 5330, 6330, and 6350 integrated circuits marketed by iCatch Technology, Inc., Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan. Navigation logic 406 comprises logic instructions configured to implement the embodiments of the navigation method described in the GUI Patent Application.

[0046] Camera controller 360 is powered by a multi-channel DC/DC regulator/converter 420 comprising a plurality of DC outputs compatible with camera controller 360. DC/DC converter 420 is powered by a camera battery 424 connected to charging contacts 164, 166 and receiving electrical energy therefrom. Camera battery 424 is a quick-charge battery and can charge, for example, at 5 volts and 2.1 amperes to reach 75% charge in 25 minutes and a full charge, 3,000 mA-Hr, in 30 minutes. [0047] The solar charge station can advantageously be used to store and carry the camera thereby minimizing the combined mass of the portable solar charger, the camera, and alternative packing arrangements. While the portable solar charger is described above with reference to a camera, the portable solar charger can be used with any battery powered electronic device by configuring the cavity to match the volume of the electronic device.

[0048] Battery 304 may comprise one or more batteries. In one example, the charging circuit, except the batteries, is positioned adjacent the bottom side of the portable solar charger and batteries are positioned adjacent the right and left sides of the portable solar charger, thereby distributing the components around the cavity where the electronic device or camera will be positioned.

[0049] In use, the panel supports are placed in the close position to reduce the volume of the solar charging system. In one embodiment, when charging is desired the panel supports are placed in the open position to capture a maximum amount of available light and a thermal sensor 322 coupled to QCC 300 cuts off charging if the camera is in the cavity and the temperature reaches a predetermined threshold.

[0060] FIGS. .14 to 17 are perspective view illustrations of another embodiment of a portable solar charger, denoted by numeral 500, shown with panel supports in closed and open positions. Portable solar charger 500 comprises a body 502 defining a camera cavity 516 and solar panels 508, 512 supported by panel supports 506, 510. Camera cavity 516 exhibits an optional cable compartment 518 where cables may be stored, for example USB cables for use as described above. Portable solar charger 500 includes hinges 524 pivotably coupling panel supports 506, 510 to frame 512. Panel supports 506, 510 include planar portions coextensive with the solar panels and extension elements 520, 522 which, when panel supports 506, 510 are opened, provide a mutual pivot stop to each other to prevent overextension (e.g. pivoting too far thus stressing hinges 524) of panel supports 506, 510. Light emitting diodes (shown in FIG. 17) are provided behind an illumination feature in TCE 122 to indicate when portable solar charger 500 is charging camera 150. The illumination feature may comprise areas of transparent polymer, for example orthogonal lines as shown, slots, or any means to enable light to pass through the illumination feature but not through surrounding areas, thereby creating an illumination contrast. The illumination feature may be provided in any of the portable solar chargers and TCEs described herein.

[0051] FIGS. 18 and 19 are perspective view illustrations of another embodiment of a portable solar charger, denoted by numeral 600, shown with solar panels in closed and open positions, respectively. Portable solar charger 600 comprises a frame 602, a solar panel on frame 602, solar panels 608, 612 supported by panel supports 606, 610. and a TCE 628 including an illumination feature. Panel supports 606, 610 and frame 602 are rotatably coupled and structured to rotate about a line perpendicular thereto and passing through a pivot point 632, such that in a closed position the solar panels overlap and in an open position any overlap between the solar panels may be minimized to maximize insolation exposure. In a preferred open position, the solar panels are positioned 120 degrees relative to each other. In the open position shown in FIG. 19 solar panels 608, 612 are positioned 180 degrees from each other and 90 and 270 degrees, respectively, relative to the solar panel on frame. On a side 622 of frame 602 are located two electrical ports, 640 and 642, provided to receive and discharge power. Portable solar charger 600 may include a charging circuit as described with reference to FIG. 12, wherein TCE 122 corresponds to TCE 628 and LED 312 illuminates the illumination feature. As shown, electrical port 642 is a USB receptacle into which a corresponding connector of a USB cable may be plugged. The opposite end of the USB cable may have a mini or micro USB connector or any other suitable connector adapted to connect with an electronic device, to thereby enable charging of the electronic device. As shown, electrical port 640 is mini or micro-USB receptacle into which a corresponding connector of a USB cable may be plugged. The opposite end of the USB cable may have a USB connector suitable for connection into a charger connected to a power source to charge the battery (e.g. battery 304 shown in FIG. 12) of the portable solar charger which is located within frame 602. Electrical connectors 164, 166 are in this example omitted from portable solar charger 600.

[0052] FIGS. 20 to 24 illustrate another embodiment of a camera, denoted by numeral 650. Camera 650 comprises a frame having a front side 660, a back side 670, a first TCE 676 surrounded by an illumination feature 686, a second TCE 678 surrounded by an illumination feature 688, a lens 694, a plurality of microphone openings 664 on a top thereby creating an illumination contrast. The illumination feature may be provided in any of the portable solar chargers and TCEs described herein.

[0051] FIGS. 18 and 19 are perspective view illustrations of another embodiment of a portable solar charger, denoted by numeral 600, shown with solar panels in closed and open positions, respectively. Portable solar charger 600 comprises a frame 602, a solar panel on frame 602, solar panels 608, 612 supported by panel supports 606, 610, and a TCE 628 including an illumination feature. Panel supports 606, 610 and frame 602 are rotatably coupled and structured to rotate about a line perpendicular thereto and passing through a pivot point 632, such that in a closed position the solar panels overlap and in an open position any overlap between the solar panels may be minimized to maximize insolation exposure. In a preferred open position, the solar panels are positioned 120 degrees relative to each other. In the open position shown in FIG. 19 solar panels 608, 612 are positioned 180 degrees from each other and 90 and 270 degrees, respectively, relative to the solar panel on frame. On a side 622 of frame 602 are located two electrical ports, 640 and 642, provided to receive and discharge power. Portable solar charger 600 may include a charging circuit as described with reference to FIG. 12, wherein TCE 122 corresponds to TCE 628 and LED 312 illuminates the illumination feature. As shown, electrical port 642 is a USB receptacle into which a corresponding connector of a USB cable may be plugged. The opposite end of the USB cable may have a mini or micro USB connector or any other suitable connector adapted to connect with an electronic device, to thereby enable charging of the electronic device. As shown, electrical port 640 is mini or micro-USB receptacle into which a corresponding connector of a USB cable may be plugged. The opposite end of the USB cable may have a USB connector suitable for connection into a charger connected to a power source to charge the battery (e.g. battery 304 shown in FIG. 12) of the portable solar charger which is located within frame 602. Electrical connectors 164, 166 are in this example omitted from portable solar charger 600.

[0052] FIGS. 20 to 24 illustrate another embodiment of a camera, denoted by numeral 650. Camera 650 comprises a frame having a front side 660, a back side 670, a first TCE 676 surrounded by an illumination feature 686, a second TCE 678 surrounded by an illumination feature 688, a iens 694, a plurality of microphone openings 664 on a top side 662, a USB port 654, an HDMI port 656, a memory card slot 652, a display screen 690 on back side 670, a plurality of speaker openings 700 on the left side of the camera, and a plurality of ventilation openings 702, 704 on a bottom side 666 of the camera.

[0053] Additional examples of the foregoing embodiments and variations thereof are provided below:

[0054] In a first example, a system comprises: a camera including a camera battery and a charging contact; and a portable solar charger including a body defining a cavity therein adapted to receive the camera, the body having a first side and a second side opposite the first side, wherein the cavity is accessible from at least the first side to position the camera therein; an electric contact accessible from the cavity and configured to touch the charging contact of the camera when the camera is positioned in the cavity; a solar panel attached to the body; a battery positioned in the body; and a power management circuit positioned in the body and coupled to the battery, the solar panel, and the electric contact, the power management circuit configured to charge the battery with an electric energy generated by the solar panel and to transfer the electric energy from the battery to the camera battery through the charging contact.

[0055] In a variation of the first example, the portable solar charger further comprises a touch control element coupled to the power management circuit, wherein the power management circuit is configured to detect a charge command from a user received via the touch control element and to charge the camera battery responsive to the charge command, and to prevent charging of the camera battery from the battery of the portable solar charger otherwise.

[0056] In another variation of the first example, the portable solar charger further comprises a panel support substantially coextensive with the solar panel and pivotally coupled to the body, the panel support supporting the solar panel and positlonable in an open position to enable placement of the camera in the cavity and in a close position to block placement of the camera in the cavity.

[0057] In a second example, a solar charging system comprises a portable solar charger including: body defining a cavity therein adapted to receive an electronic device, the body having a first side and a second side opposite the first side, wherein the cavity is accessible from at least the first side to position the electronic device therein; an electric contact accessible from the cavity and adapted to touch a corresponding electronic device contact when the electronic device is positioned in the cavity; a solar panel attached to the body; a battery positioned in the body; a power management circuit positioned in the body and coupled to the battery, the solar panel, and the electric contact, the power management circuit configured to charge the battery with an electric energy generated by the solar panel and to transfer the electric energy from the battery to the electric contact to charge the electronic device positioned in the cavity.

[0058] In a variation of the second example, the solar charging system further comprising the electronic device, the electronic device sized to fit in the cavity of the portable solar charger and comprising the electronic device contact and a device battery, wherein the device battery is charged by the electric energy from the battery of the portable solar charger through a connection made by contact between the electric contact and the electronic device contact. The electronic device may comprise a camera.

[0059] In another variation of the second example, the portable solar charger further comprises a touch control element coupled to power management circuit, wherein the power management circuit is configured to detect a charge command from a user received via the touch control element and to charge the device battery responsive to the charge command, and to prevent charging of the device battery from the battery of the portable solar charger otherwise.

[0060] In another variation of the second example, the portable solar charger further comprising a panel support substantially coextensive with the solar panel and pivotally coupled to the body, the panel support supporting the solar panel and positionable in an open position to enable placement of the electronic device in the cavity and in a close position to block placement of the electronic device in the cavity.

[0061] While various embodiments of the disclosure have been shown and described, it is understood that these embodiments are not limited thereto. The embodiments may be changed, modified and further applied by those skilled in the art. Therefore, these embodiments are not limited to the detail shown and described previously, but also include all such changes and modifications.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A portable solar charger (102, 500, 600) comprising:
a body (104, 502, 602) having a first side (114);
a charger battery (304) positioned within the body (104);
a touch control element (122, 628) supported by the body and configured to generate a charge command signal;
a first solar panel (112, 512, 612) pivotally coupled to the body, wherein in a rest position the first solar panel lays adjacent to and substantially overlaps the first side and in an open position the first solar panel does not substantially overlap the first side;
a second solar panel (108, 508, 608) pivotally coupled to the body (104); and
a power management circuit (290) communicatively coupled to the touch control element,
wherein the first solar panel and the second solar panel are electrically coupled to charge the charger battery, and
wherein the power management circuit is structured to transfer electrical energy from the charger battery to an electrical load responsive to the charge command signal.
2. The portable solar charger of claim 1 , wherein the body further comprises a plurality of walls perpendicular to the first side and defining a cavity (116, 516) therebetween, wherein the cavity (116, 516) is configured to receive therein a camera (150).
3. The portable solar charger of claim 2, wherein the camera (150) comprises the electrical load.
4. The portable solar charger of claim 2, wherein the body (104) comprises electric contacts (124, 126), the camera (150) comprises electric contacts (164, 166), and upon placement of the camera (150) in the cavity (116) the electric contacts (164, 166) of the camera (150) electrically couple the electric contacts (124, 126) of the body (104).
5. The portable solar charger of claim 2, further comprising a camera sensor (320) configured to detect the presence of the camera in the cavity.
6. The portable solar charger of claim 5, wherein the power management circuit is configured to transfer the electrical energy to the camera responsive to the camera sensor indicating the presence of the camera in the cavity.
7. The portable solar charger of claim 2, further comprising a thermal sensor (322), wherein the power management circuit is configured to discontinue transfer of the electrical energy to the camera responsive to the thermal sensor indicating a
temperature above a high temperature limit.
8. The portable solar charger of claim 1 , wherein in the open position the first solar panel (112, 512) and the second solar panel (108, 508) lie on a common plane.
9. The portable solar charger of claim 1 , wherein the body comprises a second side (118) opposite the first side (114), the cavity is positioned between the first side and the second side, and in the rest position the first solar panel is parallel and adjacent to the first side and the second solar panel is parallel and adjacent to the second side.
10. The portable solar charger of claim 1 , wherein in the closed position the body, the first solar panel, and the second solar panel fully enclose the cavity.
11. The portable solar charger of claim 1 , further comprising a third solar panel (614), wherein the first solar panel (612), the second solar panel (608), and the third solar panel (614) are pivotally coupled to the body (602) to pivot about a common axis.
12. The portable solar charger of claim 11 , wherein in the closed position the first solar panel (612), the second solar panel (608), and the third solar panel (614) overlap each other.
13. The portable solar charger of claim 12, wherein the third solar panel (614) is affixed to the body (602).
14. The portable solar charger of claim 1 , wherein the portable solar charger (102) comprises a first hinge (130) pivotably coupling the first solar panel to the body and a second hinge (131, 524) pivotably coupling the second solar panel to the body.
15. The portable solar charger of claim 14, wherein the first hinge is parallel to and spaced apart from the second hinge.
16. The portable solar charger of claim 15, wherein the portable solar charger (102) comprises extension elements (520, 522) coupling the first hinge to the first solar panel and the second hinge to the second solar panel, and wherein in the open position the extension elements (520, 522) abut each other.
17. The portable solar charger of claim 1 , wherein the touch control element (122, 628) comprises an illumination feature configured to indicate the transfer of electrical energy from the charger battery to the electrical load.
18. The portable solar charger of claim 17, wherein the illumination feature comprises areas of translucent polymer to enable light to pass therethrough but not through areas surrounding the illumination feature.
19. A solar charging system comprising a portable solar charger (102, 500, 600) as in any one of claims 1-18 and a camera (150).
20. A portable solar charger (102, 500) comprising:
a body (104, 502) having a first side (114), a second side (118) opposite the first side, and a plurality of walls perpendicular to the first side and defining a cavity (116) therebetween, wherein the cavity (116) is configured to receive therein a camera (150);
a charger battery (304) positioned within the body (104);
a first solar panel (112, 512) ptvotally coupled to the body, wherein in a rest position the first solar panel lays adjacent to and overlaps the first side; a second solar panel (108, 508) pivotally coupled to the body (104), wherein in a rest position the second solar panel lays adjacent to and overlaps the second side, wherein in an open position the first solar panel (112, 512) and the second solar panel (108, 508) lie on a common plane; and
a power management circuit (290),
wherein the first solar panel and the second solar panel are electrically coupled to charge the charger battery, and
wherein the power management circuit is structured to transfer electrical energy from the charger battery to the camera.
21. The portable solar charger of claim 20, wherein the body (104) comprises electric contacts (124, 126), the camera (150) comprises electric contacts (164, 166), and upon placement of the camera (150) in the cavity (116) the electric contacts (164, 166) of the camera (150) electrically couple the electric contacts (124, 126) of the body (104).
22. The portable solar charger of claim 20, further comprising a camera sensor (320) configured to detect the presence of the camera in the cavity.
23. The portable solar charger of claim 22, wherein the power management circuit is configured to transfer the electrical energy to the camera responsive to the camera sensor indicating the presence of the camera in the cavity.
24. The portable solar charger of claim 20, further comprising a thermal sensor (322), wherein the power management circuit is configured to discontinue transfer of the electrical energy to the camera responsive to the thermal sensor indicating a
temperature above a high temperature limit.
25. The portable solar charger of claim 20, wherein the body comprises a second side (118) opposite the first side (114), the cavity is positioned between the first side and the second side, and in the rest position the first solar panel is parallel and adjacent to the first side and the second solar panel is parallel and adjacent to the second side.
26. The portable solar charger of claim 20, wherein in the closed position the body, the first solar panel, and the second solar panel fully enclose the cavity.
27. A method of charging a camera battery, the method comprising:
charging a portable solar charger comprising:
a body (104, 502) having a first side (114) and a plurality of walls perpendicular to the first side and defining a cavity (116) therebetween;
a charger battery (304) positioned within the body (104);
a first solar panel (112, 512) pivotally coupled to the body, wherein in a rest position the first solar panel lays adjacent to and overlaps the first side;
a second solar panel (108, 508) pivotally coupled to the body (104), wherein in a rest position the second solar panel lays adjacent to and overlaps the second side, wherein in an open position the first solar panel (112, 512) and the second solar panel (108, 508) lie on a common plane, wherein the first solar panel and the second solar panel are electrically coupled to charge the charger battery; and
a power management circuit (290); and
inserting a camera including a camera battery into the cavity of a portable solar charger.
28. The method of claim 27, further comprising:
engaging a touch control element (122) supported by the body and configured to generate a charge command signal responsive to said engaging, wherein the power management circuit is structured to transfer electrical energy from the charger battery to the camera battery responsive to the charge command signal.
29. The method of claim 27, wherein the body comprises a camera sensor (320) configured to detect Insertion of the camera and initiate charging of the camera battery.
PCT/IB2016/001824 2015-12-31 2016-12-31 Portable solar charger WO2017137797A2 (en)

Priority Applications (6)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US201562274070P true 2015-12-31 2015-12-31
US62/274,070 2015-12-31
US29/557,401 2016-03-08
US201629557401 2016-03-08
US201662428471P true 2016-11-30 2016-11-30
US62/428,471 2016-11-30

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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE19533760A1 (en) * 1994-09-19 1996-05-09 Fuji Photo Film Co Ltd Camera case for recharge of rechargeable battery used for camera
US8111034B2 (en) * 2007-08-08 2012-02-07 Better Energy Systems, Inc. Solar-powered charger with heat-dissipating surface
CN101581955A (en) * 2009-06-25 2009-11-18 罗劲 Solar notebook computer
US8432124B2 (en) * 2010-02-24 2013-04-30 A&D Concepts, Llc Portable electronic device carrier with charging system
US9046281B2 (en) * 2011-06-10 2015-06-02 University Of Houston Portable, self-sustained solar deployment
US9800084B2 (en) * 2014-03-10 2017-10-24 Joachim Rybkiewicz Solar powered case for charging electronic devices

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