System for charging a rechargeable battery of a portable unit in a rack

  • US 5,367,242 A
  • Filed: 09/18/1992
  • Issued: 11/22/1994
  • Est. Priority Date: 09/20/1991
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. In a system including a rack and a portable unit that includes a rechargeable battery, an apparatus for charging the rechargeable battery comprising:

  • a supply circuit located in the rack and having an input connected to a power source and an output, the supply circuit supplying energy alternatively at least at a normal rate or at a higher than normal rate in response to a control signal;

    a detection circuit located in the rack and coupled to the supply circuit for detecting the presence of the portable unit in the rack and generating a signal indicative thereof;

    transfer means for communicating messages between the portable unit and the rack;

    a rack control circuit coupled to receive the signal from the detection circuit and the messages from the transfer means, and generating the control signal at an output that is connected to a control input of the supply circuit;

    a charging circuit located in the portable unit and connected to the rechargeable battery to supply energy thereto during a rechargeable operation; and

    transmission circuit in the portable unit and connected to the rechargeable battery and to the transfer means for transmitting a message to the rack control circuit indicative of the presence of the portable unit in the rack;

    wherein said transfer means, connected to the supply circuit in the rack and to the charging circuit in the portable unit, conveys energy from the supply circuit to charging circuit, comprising a first coil located in the rack and coupled to receive energy from the supply circuit, and a second coil located in the portable unit and coupled to convey energy to the charging circuit, the first and second coils forming an inductive coupling after placement of the portable unit in the rack;

    wherein, if the rack control circuit does not receive said message from the portable unit after receiving the signal indicative of the presence of the portable unit in the rack, the rack control circuit generates the control signal which causes the supply circuit to supply energy at the higher than normal rate.

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