WO2021168302A1 - Battery charging device - Google Patents

Battery charging device Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2021168302A1
WO2021168302A1 PCT/US2021/018852 US2021018852W WO2021168302A1 WO 2021168302 A1 WO2021168302 A1 WO 2021168302A1 US 2021018852 W US2021018852 W US 2021018852W WO 2021168302 A1 WO2021168302 A1 WO 2021168302A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
planar surface
housing
recess
photovoltaic array
hinge
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2021/018852
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
William Thomas May
Simon Enever
Paul Koh
Maxwell WOOD-LEE
John Dey
Jonathan FRATTI
Original Assignee
Quip NYC 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 US202062978556P priority Critical
Priority to US62/978,556 priority
Application filed by Quip NYC Inc. filed Critical Quip NYC Inc.
Publication of WO2021168302A1 publication Critical patent/WO2021168302A1/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
    • H02J7/0042Circuit arrangements for charging or depolarising batteries or for supplying loads from batteries characterised by the mechanical construction
    • 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
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02SGENERATION OF ELECTRIC POWER BY CONVERSION OF INFRA-RED RADIATION, VISIBLE LIGHT OR ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT, e.g. USING PHOTOVOLTAIC [PV] MODULES
    • H02S10/00PV power plants; Combinations of PV energy systems with other systems for the generation of electric power
    • H02S10/40Mobile PV generator systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02SGENERATION OF ELECTRIC POWER BY CONVERSION OF INFRA-RED RADIATION, VISIBLE LIGHT OR ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT, e.g. USING PHOTOVOLTAIC [PV] MODULES
    • H02S40/00Components or accessories in combination with PV modules, not provided for in groups H02S10/00 - H02S30/00
    • H02S40/30Electrical components
    • H02S40/38Energy storage means, e.g. batteries, structurally associated with PV modules
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E10/00Energy generation through renewable energy sources
    • Y02E10/50Photovoltaic [PV] energy
    • Y02E10/56Power conversion systems, e.g. maximum power point trackers
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E70/00Other energy conversion or management systems reducing GHG emissions
    • Y02E70/30Systems combining energy storage with energy generation of non-fossil origin

Abstract

A device for battery charging includes a housing, a photovoltaic array, a set of charging contacts, and a hinge. A first portion of the housing may include a first planar surface. A second portion of the housing may include a second planar surface and define a recess having an opening along the second planar surface. The set of charging contacts may be disposed in the recess and connectable in electrical communication with the photovoltaic array. The hinge may couple the first portion and the second portion of the housing to one another with the first planar surface and the second planar surface parallel to one another throughout rotation relative to one another about the hinge to selectively cover the opening of the recess with the first planar surface.

Description

BATTERY CHARGING DEVICE
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
[0001] This application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/978,556, filed on February 19, 2020, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND
[0002] To ensure uninterrupted operation, many items depend on a continuous supply of electrical power. Some items (e.g., household appliances, lights, etc.) rely on being connected to an electrical grid for operation while others (e.g., smartphones, electric toothbrushes, etc.) include a battery that powers various circuits and components. In the latter devices, batteries periodically need to be replaced or recharged.
[0003] Batteries can be non-rechargeable or rechargeable. Some examples of non- rechargeable batteries include alkaline batteries that come in a variety of standardized sizes and shapes, e.g., AA batteries, AAA batteries, C batteries, etc. Once depleted of charge, such non- rechargeable batteries need to be discarded and replaced with new batteries, thus generating waste. However, rechargeable batteries (e.g., aluminum-ion batteries, lithium-ion batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, nickel metal hydride, etc.) may be recharged once charge from these batteries is depleted. Because recharging can be performed multiple times, rechargeable batteries offer the potential for reduced waste as compared to non-rechargeable batteries.
[0004] While rechargeable batteries can be charged using a charger connected to the electrical grid, this can be impractical - if not entirely impossible - in many settings and can nevertheless be associated with its own waste to the extent the electrical grid sources energy from pollutant-emitting resources. Accordingly, there remains a need for conveniently charging rechargeable batteries using a renewable energy source.
SUMMARY
[0005] According to an aspect, a device for battery charging may include a housing including a first portion and a second portion, the first portion including a first planar surface, the second portion including a second planar surface, and the second portion defining a recess having an opening along the second planar surface, a photovoltaic array supported on the first portion of the housing, a set of charging contacts disposed in the recess and connectable in electrical communication with the photovoltaic array, and a hinge coupling the first portion and the second portion of the housing to one another with the first planar surface and the second planar surface parallel to one another throughout rotation relative to one another about the hinge to selectively cover the opening of the recess with the first planar surface.
[0006] In certain implementations, the set of charging contacts and the photovoltaic array may be connectable in electrical communication via the hinge. Additionally, or alternatively, the hinge may be circumscribed by the first planar surface and by the second planar surface.
[0007] In some implementations, the first planar surface and the second planar surface may be rotatable relative to one another about the hinge by about 90 degrees.
[0008] In certain implementations, the photovoltaic array may be supported on the first portion of the housing away from the first planar surface of the first portion of the housing. For example, the photovoltaic array may be planar. Additionally, or alternatively, the photovoltaic array may be parallel to the first planar surface. Further, or instead, a total surface area of the photovoltaic array may be less than a total surface area of the first planar surface. In some instances, the second portion of the housing may be stably positionable on a horizontal surface with the second planar surface facing away from the horizontal surface. For example, the second portion of the housing may be stably positionable on the horizontal surface with the photovoltaic array at an angle greater than about 30 degrees and less than about 60 degrees (e.g., about 45 degrees) relative to horizontal with the second portion of the housing positioned on a horizontal surface. Further, or instead, the second portion of the housing may include a circumferential surface and a central surface extending in a direction away from the circumferential surface and away from the second planar surface.
[0009] In some implementations, the first portion of the housing may include a first magnetic section, the second portion of the housing may include a second magnetic section, and the first magnetic section and the second magnetic section magnetically couple the first portion and the second portion of the housing to one another with one another with the first planar surface in a position covering the opening of the recess.
[0010] In certain implementations, the first planar surface and the second planar surface are coextensive with one another with the first planar surface in a position covering the opening of the recess. [0011] In some implementations, the hinge may be off-center along the second planar surface.
[0012] In certain implementations, the device may further include circuitry including a controller and a switch, wherein the switch is supported along the second planar surface, the switch is configured to detect the first planar surface in a position covering the opening of the recess along the second planar surface, the switch is in electrical communication with the controller, and the controller is configured to control electrical communication between the photovoltaic array and the set of charging contacts based at least on a signal from the switch indicative of a position of the first planar surface relative to the opening of the recess along the second planar surface as detected by the switch.
[0013] In some implementations, the device may further include a connection port supported along the second portion of the housing, wherein the connection port is connectable to an external power source, and the connection port is configured to direct electrical power to charge a battery positioned between the set of charging contacts in the recess. For example, the connection port may be disposed along the second planar surface, and the connection port is selectively accessible via rotation of the first planar surface and the second planar surface relative to one another.
[0014] In certain implementations, the device may further include an indicator supported along the second planar surface, wherein the indicator is configured to provide an indication of a state of charge of a battery positioned between the set of charging contacts in the recess. For example, the indicator is selectively visible to a user according to a position of the first planar surface relative to the opening of the recess.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
[0015] FIG. 1A is a front perspective view of a device for battery charging, the device shown with a first portion of a housing and a second portion of a housing in a closed position.
[0016] FIG. IB is a rear perspective view of the device of FIG. 1A, shown with the first portion and the second portion of the housing in the closed position.
[0017] FIG. 1C is a front perspective view of the device of FIG. 1 A, shown with the first portion and the second portion of the housing in an open position. [0018] FIG. ID is a rear perspective view of the device of FIG. 1 A, shown with the first portion and the second portion of the housing in an open position.
[0019] FIG. IE is an end-view of a cross-section of the device taken along line IE- IE in FIG. 1A.
[0020] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an example circuitry of a device for charging a rechargeable battery.
[0021] FIG. 3 is a block diagram of another example of circuitry of a device for charging a rechargeable battery.
[0022] Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
[0023] Embodiments will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying figures, in which exemplary embodiments are shown. The foregoing may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the exemplary embodiments set forth herein.
[0024] All documents mentioned herein are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety. References to items in the singular should be understood to include items in the plural, and vice versa, unless explicitly stated otherwise or clear from the text. Grammatical conjunctions are intended to express any and all disjunctive and conjunctive combinations of conjoined clauses, sentences, words, and the like, unless otherwise stated or clear from the context. Thus, the term “or” should generally be understood to mean “and/or,” and the term “and” should generally be understood to mean “and/or.”
[0025] Recitation of ranges of values herein are not intended to be limiting, referring instead individually to any and all values falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value within such a range is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. The words “about,” “approximately,” or the like, when accompanying a numerical value, are to be construed as including any deviation as would be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art to operate satisfactorily for an intended purpose. Ranges of values and/or numeric values are provided herein as examples only, and do not constitute a limitation on the scope of the described embodiments. The use of any and all examples or exemplary language (“e.g.,” “such as,” or the like) is intended merely to better illuminate the embodiments and does not pose a limitation on the scope of those embodiments. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any unclaimed element as essential to the practice of the disclosed embodiments.
[0026] The present disclosure is generally directed to battery charging devices operable to charge one or more rechargeable batteries, with at least one mode of charging including conversion of solar power to electrical energy. As compared to recharging solutions based on the electrical grid, the battery charging devices of the present disclosure have the potential to reduce pollution associated with battery recharging while offering a measure of portability that is not tied to the presence of power outlets. For the sake of clear and efficient description, the discussion that follows describes such battery charging devices in the context of charging a single rechargeable battery. Unless otherwise specified or made clear from the context, however, it shall be understood that any one or more of the implementations of battery charging devices described herein may be arranged to charge more than one rechargeable battery.
[0027] As used herein, the term “solar power” and variants thereof shall be understood to refer to any manner and form of photovoltaic conversion of light energy into electrical energy. It shall be appreciated that this is for the sake of clear and efficient description. Thus, more specifically, while the term solar power shall be understood to be inclusive of photovoltaic conversion of energy from natural sunlight into electrical energy, the term solar power shall also be understood to include photovoltaic conversion of light energy from artificial sources of light into electrical energy, unless otherwise specified or made clear from the context.
[0028] Further, as used herein, the term “planar” shall be understood to refer to a flat surface, with allowances for small deviations from an ideal planar surface, as is typical with surfaces of consumer devices formed plastic and/or metal. Further, a given surface shall be understood to be planar, even if certain features accessible from the planar surface are recessed from the given planar surface, provided that the planar surface is movable in sliding contact with a mating planar surface using only manual manipulation (e.g., without the use of a tool).
[0029] Referring now to FIGS. 1A-1E, a device 100 for battery charging may include a housing 102, a photovoltaic array 104, a set of charging contacts 106, and a hinge 108. The housing may include a first portion 110 and a second portion 112. The first portion 110 may include a first planar surface 114, and the second portion 112 may include a second planar surface 116. Additionally, or alternatively, the second portion 112 of the housing 102 may define a recess 120 having an opening 122 along the second planar surface 116. The set of charging contacts 106 may be disposed in the recess 120 such that a rechargeable battery 123 may be releasably secured between the set of charging contacts 106 in the recess 120 for charging with electricity derived from solar power collected by the photovoltaic array 104 on the first portion 110 of the housing 102. As described in greater detail below, the hinge 108 may couple the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 to one another with the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 parallel to one another through rotation relative to one another about the hinge 108 to selectively cover the opening 122 of the recess 120 with the first planar surface 114. That is, the relative motion between the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 may occur in approximately the same plane, with allowance for some amount of separation to allow the surfaces to slide relative to one another.
[0030] In use, as also described in greater detail below, a user may swing the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 relative to one another about the hinge 108, the first planar surface 114 may slide along the second planar surface 116 in a swinging motion to cover and uncover the opening 122 of the recess 120, as necessary or desirable to access one or more features (e.g., the recess 120) accessible along the second planar surface 116. Thus, as may be appreciated from such operability, the first portion 110 of the housing 102 may support the photovoltaic array 104 while also being positionable to provide a degree of protection for the rechargeable battery 123 and the set of charging contacts 106 in the recess 120. This may be useful in consumer settings, where conditions may not be well controlled and/or the device 100 may be moved through a variety of settings. Further, or instead, as compared to the use of a separate cover, the first portion 110 of the housing 102 may advantageously facilitate achieving a form factor of the device 100 suitable for use in space-constrained settings, such as on a windowsill and directed toward the sun. Additionally, or alternatively, as compared to other types of relative motion (e.g., a clamshell opening), the sliding motion between the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 to cover and uncover the recess 120 may reduce the likelihood of damaging one or more components through excessive opening or closing force while facilitating single-handed, toolless access to the recess 120 for placing or removing the rechargeable battery 123.
[0031] In general, the hinge 108 may include any one or more of various different pivot arrangements about which the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 may slide relative to one another in a swinging motion large enough to restrict movement of the rechargeable battery 123 from the recess 120 in a first position (a closed position) and permit removal of the rechargeable battery 123 in a second position (an open position). For example, in the closed position, the first planar surface 114 may completely cover the opening 122 of the recess 120 to reduce the likelihood that the rechargeable battery 123 may become inadvertently dislodged as the device 100 is repositioned toward sunlight during use. Additionally, or alternatively, in the open position, the first planar surface 114 may be completely away from the opening 122 of the recess 120 to facilitate moving the rechargeable battery 123 into and out of the recess 120 as necessary for each charging cycle.
[0032] As a specific example, the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 may be rotatable relative to one another about the hinge 108 by an angle of about 90 degrees. Such a relative amount of movement provides an intuitive stopping point for users. Additionally, or alternatively, with the surfaces rotated relative to one another by about 90 degrees, each one of the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 may be graspable by a user, thus facilitating manipulation of the device 100 to place and/or remove the rechargeable battery 123.
[0033] In some implementations, the hinge 108 may be off-center along the second planar surface 116. For example, in instances in which the second planar surface 116 is elongate, the hinge 108 may be positioned along one end of the elongate shape. Continuing with this example, a user holding the second portion 112 of the housing 102 near the hinge 108 may open or close the device 100 by using a finger (e.g., a thumb) to push the first portion 110 of the housing 102 relative to the second portion 112 of the housing 102. More generally, as may be appreciated from the foregoing, the off-center placement of the hinge 108 relative to the second planar surface 116 may provide leverage that facilitates opening and closing the device 100. Further, or instead, positioning the hinge 108 off-center with respect to the second planar surface 116 may facilitate positioning various different components (e.g., one or more of the components described in greater detail below) away from the hinge 108 such that the components may be accessible through movement of the first portion 110 of the housing 102 along only a portion of a full range of motion. For example, in instances with the hinge 108 off-center with respect to the second planar surface 116, a state of charge of the rechargeable battery 123 may be checked by swinging the first portion 110 of the housing 102 only a few degrees until an indicator (as described below) is visible.
[0034] In certain implementations, the hinge 108 may be circumscribed by the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116. That is, the hinge 108 may be inboard relative to the outer surfaces of the housing 102. In such a position, the outer surfaces of the housing 102 may be formed with little or no disruption or accommodation associated with placement of the hinge 108. Thus, as compared a hinge arrangement on an outer portion of a housing, the hinge 108 circumscribed by the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 may facilitate forming the housing 102 with surfaces that are more easily graspable by a user. Further, or instead, in instances in which the hinge 108 is circumscribed by the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116, the hinge 108 may be less susceptible to damage and/or degraded performance over time, as compared to a hinge exposed on an outer portion of a housing.
[0035] In certain instances, electrical communication between components in the first portion 110 of the housing 102 and components in the second portion 112 of the housing 102 may include electrical communication extending through the hinge 108. Such electrical communication via the hinge 108 may be particularly useful for achieving and/or maintaining robust electrical communication between components in the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the given that the overall position of the hinge 108 remains fixed as the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 are swung relative to one another in use. Further, electrical communication via the hinge 108 may remain protected away from an environment outside of the device 100, even as the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 rotate about the hinge 108. In certain instances, electrical communication extending through the hinge 108 may be include a connection that remains in place as the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 are rotated relative to one another such that circuitry in each portion of the housing 102 remains in electrical communication. Additionally, or alternatively, electrical communication extending through the hinge 108 may be established once the first planar surface 114 is in place over the opening 122 to the recess 120 and, conversely, such electrical communication may be interrupted when the opening 122 to the recess 120 is uncovered by the first planar surface 144. Such interruption in electrical communication at the hinge 108 may be, among other things, a useful safety feature since it may be used as a physical switch to interrupt power moving from the photovoltaic array 104 to the set of charging contacts 106 when the device 100 is open.
[0036] In general, the first portion 110 of the housing 102 may be of any one or more of various different shapes and sizes useful for supporting the photovoltaic array 104 sized to charge the rechargeable battery 123 (e.g., such that light/solar energy received by the photovoltaic array 104 is converted into maximum charging power for the rechargeable battery 123). Additionally, or alternatively, the first portion 110 of the housing 102 may be sized to be a manually manipulable and slidable interface with the second portion 112 of the housing 102 to facilitate opening and closing according to any one or more of the various different techniques described herein. Further, or instead, the first portion 110 of the housing 102 may be sized to contain at least a portion of the circuitry described herein and, at least, a portion of the circuitry associated with electrical communication between the photovoltaic array 104 and the set of charging contacts 106 disposed in the recess 120 of the second portion 112 of the housing 102.
[0037] For example, the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 may be coextensive with one another with the first planar surface 114 in a position covering the opening 122 of the recess 120. That is, in such instances, the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 may form a seam, extending about the housing 102, having little or no impact on graspability of the device 100 by a user. Further, or instead, the coextension of the first planar surface 114 relative to the second planar surface 116 may reduce the likelihood of edges that may inadvertently scratch or otherwise damage surfaces (e.g., windowsills) along which the device 100 may be positioned and repositioned during use.
[0038] Additionally, or alternatively, the photovoltaic array 104 may be supported on the first portion 110 of the housing 102 away from the first planar surface 114 of the first portion 110 of the housing 102. With the photovoltaic array 104 facing away from the first planar surface 114, it shall be appreciated that the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 of the housing 102 may be slidable relative to one another without disruption to the photovoltaic array 104. Thus, in some instances, the photovoltaic array 104 may be formed with a fixed geometry, offering advantages with respect to ease of use and maintenance (e.g., cleaning) by an end-user and robustness through a variety of conditions.
[0039] In certain instances, the photovoltaic array 104 may be planar. Such a planar surface is a common form factor of photovoltaic arrays and, therefore, may be cost-effectively sourced. Further, or instead, a planar form of the photovoltaic array 104 may offer advantages with respect to collecting the largest amount of light/solar energy in a given orientation facing a light source. As a more specific example, the photovoltaic array 104 may be parallel to the first planar surface 114. Such an orientation may be particularly advantageous, for example, for forming the first portion 110 of the housing 102 with a flat form factor that may be intuitively used by a user as cover for the opening 122 along the second planar surface 116.
[0040] While it may be generally desirable for the photovoltaic array 104 to have the same extent as the first planar surface 114 such that the photovoltaic array 104 may have largest possible surface area along the first portion 110 of the housing 102, it shall be appreciated that there may be practical limits to the size of the photovoltaic array 104 relative to the first planar surface 114. Stated differently, a total surface area of the photovoltaic array 104 may be less than a total surface area of the first planar surface 114. For example, in some instances, the first portion 110 of the housing 102 may include a rim 124 disposed about the photovoltaic array 104 to form a border about the first portion 110 of the housing 102 while also forming a portion of the first planar surface 114. The rim 124 may, for example, protect the photovoltaic array 104 from damage and/or dislodgement as a result of lateral forces experienced by the first portion 110 of the housing 102 during use.
[0041] In general, the second portion 112 of the housing 102 may be used to support the photovoltaic array 104 toward a light source. For example, the second portion 112 of the housing 102 may be stably positionable on a horizontal surface (e.g., a windowsill) with the second planar surface 116 facing away from the horizontal surface. It shall be understood that, wit the second planar surface 116 facing away from the horizontal surface, the photovoltaic array 104 also faces away from the horizontal surface and, thus, may be positioned toward a light source. Accordingly, through moving the second portion 112 of the housing 102 relative to the horizontal surface (e.g., by moving and/or rotating the second portion 112 of the housing 102), the user may adjust the amount of light receivable by the photovoltaic array 104 to charge the rechargeable battery 123.
[0042] In certain implementations, the second portion 112 of the housing 102 may include a circumferential surface 126 and a central surface 128. For example, the central surface 128 may extend in a direction away from the circumferential surface 126 and away from the second planar surface 116. Continuing with this example, the central surface 128 may be narrow with respect to the circumferential surface 126 such that the central surface 128 and the circumferential surface 126, collectively, form a prismoidal and/or wedge-like shape with rounded edges. This shape may facilitate angular orientation (e.g., at 30°, 45°, 60°, etc.) of the photovoltaic array 104 relative to a light source. Such angular orientation may be particularly advantageous for indoor use of the device 100, where the light source is not directly overhead. That is, with the second portion 112 of the housing 102 positioned on a horizontal surface, the circumferential surface 126 and the central surface 128 may collectively form a wedge-like shape positioning the photovoltaic array 104 of greater than about 30° and less than about 60° (e.g., about 45°) with respect to the horizontal surface to facilitate collecting a maximum amount of light energy on the photovoltaic array 104 from an indirect light source (e.g., through a window that is not directly facing the sun).
[0043] While the circumferential surface 126 and the central surface 128 may be fixed relative to one another in some instances, it shall be appreciated that the central surface 128 may be movable relative to the circumferential surface 126 in some instances to provide an additional degree of freedom with respect to positioning the photovoltaic array 104 toward a source of light. That is, a combination of shape and orientation of the second portion 112 of the housing 102 may be adjustable to facilitate achieving optimal or near-optimal light collection at the photovoltaic array 104. Additionally, or alternatively, adjustability of the orientation of the central surface 128 relative to the circumferential surface 126 may facilitate positioning the second portion 112 of the housing 102 stably on an uneven surface.
[0044] In certain implementations, the device 100 may include a locking mechanism incorporated into the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 to facilitate, among other things, properly aligning the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 relative to one another such that the first portion 110 covers the opening 122 of the recess 120 while the rechargeable battery 123 is recharged. As an example, the first portion 110 of the housing 102 may include a first magnetic section 130a, and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 may include a second magnetic section 130b. Continuing with this example, the first magnetic section 130a and the second magnetic section 130b may magnetically couple the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 to one another with the first planar surface in a position covering the opening 122 of the recess 120. [0045] In general, the recess 120 may be deep enough to reduce the likelihood that the rechargeable battery 123 positioned between the set of charging contacts 106 in the recess 120 interferes with swinging the first planar surface 114 along the second planar surface 116 to cover and uncover the opening 122 in the recess 120. Additionally, or alternatively, recess 120 may accommodate positioning and charging any one or more of various different types of rechargeable batteries placed in contact between the set of charging contacts 106 in the recess. For example, if the rechargeable battery 123 is AA-sized, a depth of the recess 120 away from the second planar surface 116 may be such that when the battery is positioned into the recess 120, the second planar surface 116 is substantially uninterrupted by the rechargeable battery 123. This way smooth rotation of the first planar surface 114 over the second planar surface 116 may be performed while the rechargeable battery 123 is positioned inside the recess 120. In accordance with the relative sizing of the recess 120 with respect to the size of the rechargeable battery 123, it shall be understood that the set of charging contacts 106 may be spaced relative to one another to accommodate terminals of the rechargeable battery 123 therebetween such that electrical power may be delivered to the rechargeable battery 123 via circuitry as described herein.
[0046] While the collection of light/solar energy in the device 100 to charge the rechargeable battery 123 offers certain advantages with respect to portability and pollution reduction, it shall be appreciated that light/solar energy is generally intermittent. A certain amount of fluctuation in available energy associated with such intermittency may be addressed by storing some collected light/solar energy (e.g., in a battery carried on the device 100) for later use in charging the rechargeable battery 123. Additionally, or alternatively, the device 100 may include a connection port 132 supported along the second portion 112 of the housing 102 and connectable to an external power source such as the electrical grid (e.g., household circuits), computers (e.g., via a universal serial bus (USB)), wireless (e.g., inductive) charging systems, other batteries (e.g., car batteries or other charging circuits). As described in greater detail below, circuitry of the device 100 may be configured to detect that the device 100 has been connected to an external power source via the connection port 132 and adjust charging, monitoring, etc. operations accordingly. The device 100 may be connectable to an external power source (e.g., via a wire and/or wirelessly) via the connection port 132 when it is necessary or desirable to charge the rechargeable battery 123 using an energy source in addition to or other than the light collected by the photovoltaic array 104. This may be the case, for example, when it is desirable to charge the rechargeable battery 123 on a rainy day and/or when it is desirable to charge the rechargeable battery 123 at a faster rate than the rate achievable using the photovoltaic array 104.
[0047] The connection port 132 may generally be supported along any section of the second portion 112 of the housing 102 generally accessible by the user without the use of tools. For example, the connection port 132 may be disposed along the second planar surface 116, and the connection port 132 may be selectively accessible via rotation of the first planar surface 114 and the second planar surface 116 relative to one another. That is, the first portion 110 of the housing 102 may cover and uncover the connection port 132 to provide a degree of protection to the connection port 132 such that the connection port 132 may be relatively free of debris when it is desirable to connect the connection port 132 to an external power source. Further, or instead, providing access to the connection port 132 using the same movement of components associated with providing access to the recess 120 reduces the need for additional manual manipulation of the device 100 based on the mode of charging required. This in turn, may facilitate intuitive use of the device 100 by users of various degrees of technical sophistication.
[0048] In certain implementations, the device 100 may include a switch 134 supported on the housing 102 in an orientation to detect the first planar surface 114 in a position covering the opening 122 of the recess 120. For example, the switch 134 may be supported along the second planar surface 116 at a position near the opening 122 of the recess 120 such that detection of the first planar surface 114 by the switch 134 is a proxy for the first planar surface 114 being in a position covering the opening 122 of the recess 120. If the switch 134 detects that the device 100 is closed (with the first planar surface 114 covering the opening 122 of the recess 120), the switch 134 may transmit a signal, as described in greater detail below, to begin procedures associated with detecting that the rechargeable battery 123 has been placed into the recess 120, determining health of the rechargeable battery 123, charging the rechargeable battery 123, etc.
[0049] In certain implementations, the switch 134 may be a portion of a locking mechanism that resists movement of the first portion 110 and the second portion 112 of the housing 102 relative to one another. For example, the switch 134 may extend from the second planar surface 116, and the first planar surface 114 may define a receptacle 136 into which the switch 134 is positionable when the first planar surface 114 is properly aligned with the second planar surface 116 to cover the opening 122 of the recess 120.
[0050] The device 100, in some cases, may include an indicator 138 actuatable to provide a user with an alert indicative of a state of charge of the rechargeable battery 123 positioned between the set of charging contacts 106 in the recess 120. For example, the indicator 138 may include a plurality of LEDs actuatable to provide the user with a visual indication that the rechargeable battery 123 is fully charged and ready to be removed from the recess 120. Further, or instead, the indicator 138 may be selectively visible to a user according to a position of the first planar surface 114 relative to the opening 122 of the recess 120. That is, as the first planar surface 114 is moved to the side to uncover the opening 122 of the recess 120, the indicator 138 may also be uncovered to provide the user with an indication of the state of charge of the rechargeable battery 123. Thus, as with other components along the second planar surface 116, the first planar surface 114 may be slidable to cover the indicator 138 and, in doing so, provide a measure of protection for the indicator 138 in a variety of environments.
[0051] Additionally, or alternatively, the indicator 138 may facilitate positioning the photovoltaic array 104 in a useful position to receive light. For example, the indicator 138 may generate an alert indicative of the photovoltaic array 104 not receiving maximum available light and prompt adjustment of the position of the device 100 on a horizontal surface to facilitate receiving maximum available light power at the photovoltaic array.
[0052] Having described aspects of user-facing features of the charging device 100, attention is now directed to description of various aspects of circuitry useful for carrying out various operations associated with charging the rechargeable battery 123. For the sake of clear and efficient description, elements having numbers in FIGS. 2 and 3 having the same last two digits as elements numbers in FIGS. 1A-1E shall be understood to be analogous to or interchangeable with one another, unless otherwise explicitly made clear from the context, and, therefore, are not described separately from one another, except to not differences or to emphasize certain features. Thus, for example, the rechargeable battery 123 in FIG. 1C shall be understood to be analogous to or interchangeable with the rechargeable battery 223 in FIG. 2 and with the rechargeable battery 323 in FIG. 3. Further, it shall be generally understood that the circuitry shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 may be combinable with one another, unless otherwise indicated or made clear from the context. Further still, unless a contrary intent is expressed, any one or more aspects of the circuitry may be distributed across the first portion 110 of the housing 102, the second portion 112 of the housing 102, and/or the hinge 108 of the device 100 of FIGS. 1A-1E.
[0053] In general, the device 100 may include circuitry that detects orientation of the device 100, detects locking of the switch 134 in the receptacle 136, detects positioning of the rechargeable battery 123 in the recess 120, detect health of the rechargeable battery 123 positioned in the recess 120, convert light energy collected by the photovoltaic array 104 into electrical current, perform charging of the rechargeable battery 123 using converted solar power, monitor charging of the rechargeable battery 123, generate various alerts relating to any of the foregoing, measure capacity of the rechargeable battery 123 positioned into the recess 120 and/or perform any other functions. Additionally, the device 100 may include circuitry including various communication capabilities (e.g., via one or more wireless and/or wired interfaces) that may connect the device 100 to one or more communication devices (e.g., smartphones, tablet computers, personal computers, laptops, smart toothbrushes, etc.).
[0054] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an example of circuitry 240 that may be used to charge a rechargeable battery 223, according to some implementations of the current subject matter. For example, the circuitry 240 may be incorporated into the charging device 100 shown in FIGS. 1A-1E.
[0055] The circuitry 240 may include a controller 242 (e.g., microcontroller unit (MCU) circuits). The controller 242 may include a processor 244, a storage device 246, a memory 248, and an input/output (I/O) device 250. Each of the components 244, 246, 248, and 250 may be interconnected using a system bus 252. Computer-readable instructions stored on the memory 248 and/or on the storage device 246 may cause the processor 244 to carry out any one or more of the various different steps described below, including receiving or sending information through the input/output (I/O) device 250. In some implementations, the processor 244 may be a single-threaded processor. In alternate implementations, the memory 248 may be a volatile memory unit. In certain implementations, the memory 248 may be a non-volatile memory unit. The storage device 246 may be capable of providing mass storage for the controller 242. In some implementations, the storage device 246 may be a computer-readable medium. In alternate implementations, the storage device 246 may be a floppy disk device, a hard disk device, an optical disk device, a tape device, non-volatile solid state memory, or any other type of storage device. The input/output (I/O) device 250 may be configured to provide input/output operations for the controller 242. In some implementations, the input/output (I/O) device 250 may include a button, a touch screen, a keyboard, etc. In alternate implementations, the input/output (I/O) device 250 may include a display unit for displaying graphical user interfaces.
[0056] The memory 248 and/or the storage device 246 may have stored thereon computer-executable instructions for causing the controller 242 to execute one or more functions that may be performed in connection with detection of orientation of the device 100 (FIGS. 1A- 1E), detection of locking, detection of proper positioning of a rechargeable battery 223, detection of health of the rechargeable battery 223, conversion of solar energy into electrical current, performing charging of the rechargeable battery 223 using converted solar power, monitoring charging of the rechargeable battery 223, generating various alerts relating to any of the foregoing, measuring capacity of the rechargeable battery 223 positioned into the battery cavity and/or performing any other functions. In some implementations, the controller 242 may be coupled with various elements of the circuitry 240 for performing the foregoing and other functions.
[0057] The rechargeable battery 223 rechargeable by the circuitry 240 may be of any one or more of various different types, shapes, and/or sizes (e.g., NiMH battery, and/or any other rechargeable battery having any size and/or shape and/or original capacity). In some implementations, upon a switch 234 indicating the device 100 (FIGS. 1A-1E) is in the closed position, the controller 242 may be configured to perform various functions that may be associated with monitoring, charging, etc. of the rechargeable battery 223. The controller 242 may be configured to perform various functions even without the switch 234 providing an indication of the device 100 (FIGS. 1A-1E) being closed.
[0058] In some implementations, the switch 234 may be in electrical communication with the controller 242. The controller 242 may control electrical communication between a photovoltaic array 204 and a set of charging contacts 206 based at least on a signal from the switch 234 indicative of a position of the first planar surface 114 relative to the opening 122 of the recess 120 of the device 100 in FIGS. 1A-1E. Upon connection of the rechargeable battery 223 to the circuitry 240 and the switch 234 indicating a closed position, the controller 242 may instruct a battery discharge voltage check circuit 254 to determine health of the rechargeable battery 223. The controller 242 and/or the battery discharge voltage check circuit 254 may be configured to continuously, periodically, and/or manually check health of the rechargeable battery 223 (e.g., level of charging, capacity, chargeability, etc.) during the charging process.
The health of the rechargeable battery 223 may be checked prior to the initiation of the charging process, during the charging process, at the completion of the charging process, and/or at any other time. The controller 242 may utilize an indicator 238 to generate signals indicative of the health of the rechargeable battery 223 as well as status of any of its processes.
[0059] Once the rechargeable battery 223 is determined to be rechargeable, the controller 242 may instruct the circuitry 240 to commence charging the battery, assuming the device 100 (FIGS. 1A-1E) is properly positioned and receiving light/solar energy, as may be determined by the circuitry 240. During the charging process, the controller 242 may also control an amount of current that is being supplied to the rechargeable battery 223 using a constant current supply circuit 256. In some implementations, a voltage boosting circuit 258 may be used during charging of the rechargeable battery 223 for boosting voltage. Further, the controller 242 may be connected to a lockup hardware protection circuit 260 to ensure continuous operation of the controller 242.
[0060] In some exemplary implementations, the circuitry 240 may be configured to include a connection port 232 that may allow charging of the rechargeable battery 223 from an external power source that is other than the photovoltaic array 204. The charging may be via a wired connection and/or a wireless connection (e.g., near-field, etc.). The connection port 232 may be connected to the controller 242 as well as other components for performing charging.
The connection port 232 may include a port that may be connected to the external electrical source, where the connection port 232 may include a USB port, and/or any other type of port.
[0061] In certain implementations, the circuitry 240 may control a supply of charging current to the rechargeable battery 223 to ensure that the charging is performed in accordance with a predetermined charging mode. For example, the circuitry 240 may be configured to charge the battery in a fast charge mode, a normal charging mode, a slow charging mode, and/or any other mode. The controller 242 may automatically select the charging mode and/or the charging mode may be manually requested by a user. Moreover, the charging mode may be selected based on the available light/solar power at the time of charging. By way of a non limiting example, a slow charging mode may be selected during cloudy days when relatively little light is available. A fast charging mode may be selected when abundant sunlight is available. During each of the charging modes, a different amount of current may be supplied by the circuitry 240 to the rechargeable battery 223. By way of a non-limiting example, the supplied current may be less than 40 milliamperes (mA) (e.g., 38 mA) at a predetermined voltage (e.g., at 1.4- 1.6 volts (V)). The circuitry 240 may ensure that current that may damage the rechargeable battery 223 is not supplied during charging. Further, the circuitry 240 prevent occurrence of power surges. In some exemplary implementations, the circuitry 240 may charge the battery using trickle charging (e.g., a single 800 mAh NiMh battery may be charged during a period of several days). Additionally, or alternatively, the circuitry 240 may accumulate and store electrical power for later use. As such, the charging modes may be selected based on any electrical power that may have been accumulated and stored by circuitry 240.
[0062] FIG. 3 is a block diagram of example of circuitry 340 that may be used to charge a rechargeable battery 323 placed into the charging device 100 (FIGS. 1A-1E). In particular, the exemplary circuitry 340 may charge the rechargeable battery 323 using only solar power. It shall be appreciated that, for sake of clear and efficient description, elements having the same last two digits as elements numbers in FIGS. 1A-1E and/or FIG. 2 shall be understood to be analogous to or interchangeable with one another, unless otherwise explicitly made clear from the context, and, therefore, are not described separately from one another, except to not differences or to emphasize certain features. Thus, for example, it shall be appreciated that a controller 342 of the exemplary circuitry 340 is analogous to the controller 242 described above with respect to FIG. 2 and, thus, a processor 344, a storage device 246, a memory 248, and an input/output (I/O) device 350 of the controller 342 are not described separately and shall be understood to be analogous to counterparts in FIG. 2.
[0063] Closing the device 100 of FIGS. 1A-1E may close switches 234 to connect connecting a photovoltaic array 304 to the rechargeable battery 323 (via a current limiting resistor 522, for example). Opening the device 100 of FIGS. 1A-1E may open the switches 234, to disconnect electrical communication between the photovoltaic array 304 and the rechargeable battery 323.
[0064] Additionally, or in the alternatively, the circuitry 340 may include a push button 364 that may be pushed in/out depending on the closing/opening of the device 100 (FIGS. 1A- 1E), respectively. When the device 100 (FIGS. 1A-1E) is open, the push button 364 may connect the rechargeable battery 323 to the remaining components of the circuitry 340. [0065] In some implementations, upon connection of the rechargeable battery 323 to the circuitry 340 and closing of the switches 234 and the push button 364, the controller 342 may instruct a battery discharge voltage check circuit 354 to determine health of the rechargeable battery 323. The controller 342 and/or the circuitry 340 may continuously, periodically, and/or manually check health of the rechargeable battery 323 (e.g., level of charging, capacity, chargeability, etc.) during the charging process. The health of the rechargeable battery 323 may be checked prior to the initiation of the charging process, during the charging process, at the completion of the charging process, and/or at any other time. One or more instances of an indicator 338 may be used to indicative health of the rechargeable battery 323 as well as status of any of its processes, where the controller 342 may be configured to generate appropriate signals to power the one or more instances of the indicator 338.
[0066] During the charging process, the controller 342 may also control an amount of current that is being supplied to the rechargeable battery 323 using the circuitry 340 (e.g., constant current supply circuit). In some implementations, a voltage boosting circuit 358 may be used during charging of the rechargeable battery 323 for boosting voltage.
[0067] All statements herein reciting principles, aspects, and embodiments of the invention, as well as specific examples thereof, are intended to encompass both structural and functional equivalents thereof. Additionally, it is intended that such equivalents include both currently known equivalents as well as equivalents developed in the future (i.e., any elements developed that perform the same function, regardless of structure). Thus, for example, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the block diagrams presented herein represent conceptual views of illustrative system components and/or circuitry embodying the principles of the invention. Similarly, it will be appreciated that any flow charts, flow diagrams and the like represent various processes which may be substantially represented in computer readable storage media and so executed by a computer or processor, whether or not such computer or processor is explicitly shown.
[0068] It is to be appreciated that the use of any of the following “/”, “and/or”, and “at least one of’, for example, in the cases of “A/B”, “A and/or B” and “at least one of A and B”, is intended to encompass the selection of the first listed option (A) only, or the selection of the second listed option (B) only, or the selection of both options (A and B). As a further example, in the cases of “A, B, and/or C” and “at least one of A, B, and C”, such phrasing is intended to encompass the selection of the first listed option (A) only, or the selection of the second listed option (B) only, or the selection of the third listed option (C) only, or the selection of the first and the second listed options (A and B) only, or the selection of the first and third listed options (A and C) only, or the selection of the second and third listed options (B and C) only, or the selection of all three options (A and B and C). This may be extended, as readily apparent by one of ordinary skill in this and related arts, for as many items listed. It will also be understood that when an element is referred to as being “connected” or “coupled” to another element, it can be directly connected or coupled to the other element or intervening elements may be present.
[0069] As stated above, the systems and methods disclosed herein can be embodied in various forms including, for example, a data processor, such as a computer that also includes a database, digital electronic circuitry, firmware, software, or in combinations of them. Moreover, the above-noted features and other aspects and principles of the present disclosed implementations can be implemented in various environments. Such environments and related applications can be specially constructed for performing the various processes and operations according to the disclosed implementations or they can include a general-purpose computer or computing platform selectively activated or reconfigured by code to provide the necessary functionality. The processes disclosed herein are not inherently related to any particular computer, network, architecture, environment, or other apparatus, and can be implemented by a suitable combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware. For example, various general- purpose machines can be used with programs written in accordance with teachings of the disclosed implementations, or it can be more convenient to construct a specialized apparatus or system to perform the required methods and techniques.
[0070] Although ordinal numbers such as first, second, and the like can, in some situations, relate to an order; as used in this document ordinal numbers do not necessarily imply an order. For example, ordinal numbers can be merely used to distinguish one item from another. For example, to distinguish a first event from a second event, but need not imply any chronological ordering or a fixed reference system (such that a first event in one paragraph of the description can be different from a first event in another paragraph of the description).
[0071] The foregoing description is intended to illustrate but not to limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the scope of the appended claims. Other implementations are within the scope of the following claims. [0072] These computer programs, which can also be referred to programs, software, software applications, applications, components, or code, include machine instructions for a programmable processor, and can be implemented in a high-level procedural and/or object- oriented programming language, and/or in assembly /machine language. As used herein, the term “machine-readable medium” refers to any computer program product, apparatus and/or device, such as for example magnetic discs, optical disks, memory, and Programmable Logic Devices (PLDs), used to provide machine instructions and/or data to a programmable processor, including a machine-readable medium that receives machine instructions as a machine-readable signal. The term “machine-readable signal” refers to any signal used to provide machine instructions and/or data to a programmable processor. The machine-readable medium can store such machine instructions non-transitorily, such as for example as would a non-transient solid state memory or a magnetic hard drive or any equivalent storage medium. The machine-readable medium can alternatively or additionally store such machine instructions in a transient manner, such as for example as would a processor cache or other random access memory associated with one or more physical processor cores.
[0073] To provide for interaction with a user, the subject matter described herein can be implemented on a computer having a display device, such as for example a cathode ray tube (CRT) or a liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor for displaying information to the user and a keyboard and a pointing device, such as for example a mouse or a trackball, by which the user can provide input to the computer. Other kinds of devices can be used to provide for interaction with a user as well. For example, feedback provided to the user can be any form of sensory feedback, such as for example visual feedback, auditory feedback, or tactile feedback; and input from the user can be received in any form, including, but not limited to, acoustic, speech, or tactile input.
[0074] The subject matter described herein can be implemented in a computing system that includes a back-end component, such as for example one or more data servers, or that includes a middleware component, such as for example one or more application servers, or that includes a front-end component, such as for example one or more client computers having a graphical user interface or a Web browser through which a user can interact with an implementation of the subject matter described herein, or any combination of such back-end, middleware, or front-end components. The components of the system can be interconnected by any form or medium of digital data communication, such as for example a communication network. Examples of communication networks include, but are not limited to, a local area network (“LAN”), a wide area network (“WAN”), and the Internet.
[0075] The computing system can include clients and servers. A client and server are generally, but not exclusively, remote from each other and typically interact through a communication network. The relationship of client and server arises by virtue of computer programs running on the respective computers and having a client-server relationship to each other.
[0076] The implementations set forth in the foregoing description do not represent all implementations consistent with the subject matter described herein. Instead, they are merely some examples consistent with aspects related to the described subject matter. Although a few variations have been described in detail above, other modifications or additions are possible. In particular, further features and/or variations can be provided in addition to those set forth herein. For example, the implementations described above can be directed to various combinations and sub-combinations of the disclosed features and/or combinations and sub-combinations of several further features disclosed above. In addition, the logic flows depicted in the accompanying figures and/or described herein do not necessarily require the particular order shown, or sequential order, to achieve desirable results. Other implementations can be within the scope of the following claims.

Claims

What is claimed:
1. A device for battery charging, the device comprising: a housing including a first portion and a second portion, the first portion including a first planar surface, the second portion including a second planar surface, and the second portion defining a recess having an opening along the second planar surface; a photovoltaic array supported on the first portion of the housing; a set of charging contacts disposed in the recess and connectable in electrical communication with the photovoltaic array; and a hinge coupling the first portion and the second portion of the housing to one another with the first planar surface and the second planar surface parallel to one another throughout rotation relative to one another about the hinge to selectively cover the opening of the recess with the first planar surface.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the set of charging contacts and the photovoltaic array are connectable in electrical communication via the hinge.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein the hinge is circumscribed by the first planar surface and by the second planar surface.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein the first planar surface and the second planar surface are rotatable relative to one another about the hinge by about 90 degrees.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein the photovoltaic array is supported on the first portion of the housing away from the first planar surface of the first portion of the housing.
6. The device of claim 5, wherein the photovoltaic array is planar.
7. The device of claim 6, wherein the photovoltaic array is parallel to the first planar surface.
8. The device of claim 7, wherein a total surface area of the photovoltaic array is less than a total surface area of the first planar surface.
9. The device of claim 6, wherein the second portion of the housing is stably positionable on a horizontal surface with the second planar surface facing away from the horizontal surface.
10. The device of claim 9, wherein the second portion of the housing is stably positionable on the horizontal surface with the photovoltaic array at an angle greater than about 30 degrees and less than about 60 degrees relative to horizontal with the second portion of the housing positioned on a horizontal surface.
11. The device of claim 10, wherein the angle is about 45 degrees.
12. The device of claim 9, wherein the second portion of the housing includes a circumferential surface and a central surface extending in a direction away from the circumferential surface and away from the second planar surface.
13. The device of claim 1, wherein the first portion of the housing includes a first magnetic section, the second portion of the housing includes a second magnetic section, and the first magnetic section and the second magnetic section magnetically couple the first portion and the second portion of the housing to one another with one another with the first planar surface in a position covering the opening of the recess.
14. The device of claim 1, wherein the first planar surface and the second planar surface are coextensive with one another with the first planar surface in a position covering the opening of the recess.
15. The device of claim 1, wherein the hinge is off-center along the second planar surface.
16. The device of claim 1, further comprising circuitry including a controller and a switch, wherein the switch is supported along the second planar surface, the switch is configured to detect the first planar surface in a position covering the opening of the recess along the second planar surface, the switch is in electrical communication with the controller, and the controller is configured to control electrical communication between the photovoltaic array and the set of charging contacts based at least on a signal from the switch indicative of a position of the first planar surface relative to the opening of the recess along the second planar surface as detected by the switch.
17. The device of claim 1, further comprising a connection port supported along the second portion of the housing, wherein the connection port is connectable to an external power source, and the connection port is configured to direct electrical power to charge a battery positioned between the set of charging contacts in the recess.
18. The device of claim 17, wherein the connection port is disposed along the second planar surface, and the connection port is selectively accessible via rotation of the first planar surface and the second planar surface relative to one another.
19. The device of claim 1, further comprising an indicator supported along the second planar surface, wherein the indicator is configured to provide an indication of a state of charge of a battery positioned between the set of charging contacts in the recess.
20. The device of claim 19, wherein the indicator is selectively visible to a user according to a position of the first planar surface relative to the opening of the recess.
PCT/US2021/018852 2020-02-19 2021-02-19 Battery charging device WO2021168302A1 (en)

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Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20090039827A1 (en) * 2007-08-08 2009-02-12 David Fowler Solar-Powered Charger With Heat-Dissipating Surface
WO2017137797A2 (en) * 2015-12-31 2017-08-17 Clicka Holdings, Inc. Portable solar charger

Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20090039827A1 (en) * 2007-08-08 2009-02-12 David Fowler Solar-Powered Charger With Heat-Dissipating Surface
WO2017137797A2 (en) * 2015-12-31 2017-08-17 Clicka Holdings, Inc. Portable solar charger

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