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Publication numberUS20010013767 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/781,135
Publication dateAug 16, 2001
Filing dateFeb 12, 2001
Priority dateFeb 14, 2000
Also published asUS6377027
Publication number09781135, 781135, US 2001/0013767 A1, US 2001/013767 A1, US 20010013767 A1, US 20010013767A1, US 2001013767 A1, US 2001013767A1, US-A1-20010013767, US-A1-2001013767, US2001/0013767A1, US2001/013767A1, US20010013767 A1, US20010013767A1, US2001013767 A1, US2001013767A1
InventorsTsuyoshi Takemoto
Original AssigneeTsuyoshi Takemoto
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Discharge circuit and duty ratio setting method
US 20010013767 A1
Abstract
A battery controller 6 is connected to a DC/DC converter 3. The battery controller 6 checks the capacities of a battery 4 and a battery 5, calculates a duty ratio between the battery 4 and the battery 5 based on the capacities to determine a switching timing in which a plurality of switching elements are to be switched, and sets the duty ratio in the DC/DC converter 3.
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Claims(7)
What is claimed is:
1. A discharge circuit comprising at least two batteries, a plurality of switching elements connected to said batteries, and a DC/DC converter controlling ON/OFF states of said plurality of switching elements,
wherein a duty ratio setting unit is connected to said DC/DC converter,
said duty ratio setting unit checking capacities of said batteries, calculating a duty ratio based on a battery capacity ratio calculated from the capacities of said batteries to determine a switching timing in which said plurality of switching elements are to be switched, and setting the duty ratio in said DC/DC converter.
2. The discharge circuit as defined by
claim 1
, wherein said duty ratio setting unit checks remaining capacities of said batteries, calculates a new duty ratio based on the battery capacity ratio calculated from the remaining capacities, and updates the duty ratio set in said DC/DC converter.
3. A duty ratio setting method comprising the steps of:
checking capacities of at least two batteries;
calculating a battery capacity ratio from the battery capacities and, based on the battery capacity ratio, calculating a duty ratio which determines a switching timing in which a plurality of switching elements connected to said batteries are to be switched; and
transmitting the duty ratio to a DC/DC converter as a signal to set the duty ratio in a DC/DC converter.
4. The duty ratio setting method as defined by
claim 3
, further comprising the steps of:
checking remaining capacities of said batteries when the battery capacity ratio varies caused by discharge of the batteries;
calculating a remaining capacity ratio between said batteries based on the remaining capacities of said batteries to calculate a new duty ratio from the remaining capacity ratio of the batteries; and
transmitting the calculated new duty ratio to the DC/DC converter as a signal to change the duty ratio that is set in the DC/DC converter.
5. A computer readable program product which sets a duty ratio, said program causing a processor to execute the steps of:
checking capacities of at least two batteries;
calculating a duty ratio which determines a switching timing in which a plurality of switching elements connected to said batteries are to be switched; and
transmitting the duty ratio to a DC/DC converter as a signal to set the duty ratio in the DC/DC converter.
6. The program product, further comprising the steps of:
checking remaining capacities of said batteries when the battery capacity ratio varies caused by discharge of the batteries; and
calculating a remaining capacity ratio between said batteries based on the remaining capacities of said batteries to calculate a new duty ratio from the remaining capacity ratio of the batteries.
7. A medium carrying thereon said program as defined by
claim 5
.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a discharge circuit and a duty ratio setting method.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Conventionally, a multiple-battery power supply method used for a data processing apparatus (or unit) supplies power simultaneously from a plurality of batteries with the same characteristics.

[0003] Referring to FIG. 4, a discharge circuit using the conventional power supply method will be described.

[0004] The conventional discharge circuits shown in FIG. 4 comprises a battery 4 and a battery 5, which have the same characteristics, and a data processing apparatus 8 which comprises a DC/DC converter 3, a switching element 9 connected to the DC/DC converter 3, and a unit load 7.

[0005] Turning on the switching element of the conventional discharge circuit with the configuration described above causes the battery 4 and the battery 5 to discharge simultaneously, this configuration can decrease the discharge rate of each battery and increase battery efficiency.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0006] However, various problems have been encountered in the art in the course of investigations toward the present invention. That is, if a plurality of batteries, each with its own characteristics, is connected to the conventional discharge circuit described above, the battery with the highest voltage discharges first. Therefore, the discharge ratio between the battery 4 and the battery 5 depends on the voltage characteristics. That is, the battery 4 or the battery 5, whichever is higher in voltage, discharges first. As a result, the problem with the conventional circuit is that the battery with the highest voltage loses its capacity first and, after that, the battery with the lowest voltage is subjected to discharge alone.

[0007] Therefore, the conventional discharge circuit does not make the best use of simultaneous discharging, and during discharging, the remaining battery capacity varies among batteries.

[0008] The present invention seeks to solve the problems associated with the prior art described above. It is an object of the present invention to provide a discharge circuit and a control method of discharging that allow a plurality of batteries a simultaneous discharging regardless of their battery voltages. Other objects of the present invention will become apparent from the entire disclosure.

[0009] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a discharge circuit comprising at least two batteries, a plurality of switching elements connected to the batteries, and a DC/DC (Direct Current/Direct Current) converter controlling ON/OFF states of the plurality of switching elements, wherein a duty ratio setting unit is connected to the DC/DC converter, the duty ratio setting unit checking capacities of the batteries, calculating a duty ratio based on a battery capacity ratio calculated from the capacities of the batteries to determine a switching timing in which the plurality of switching elements are to be switched, and setting the duty ratio in the DC/DC converter.

[0010] The discharge circuit with this configuration sets the duty ratio in the DC/DC converter based on the battery capacity ratio calculated from the capacities of the batteries. Therefore, the batteries are simultaneously discharged regardless of their voltages, and the plurality of batteries may be used up at the same time.

[0011] According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a discharge circuit, wherein the duty ratio setting unit checks remaining capacities of the batteries, calculates a new duty ratio based on the battery capacity ratio calculated from the remaining capacities, and updates the duty ratio set in the DC/DC converter.

[0012] In accordance with the second aspect, the duty ratio may be changed based on the capacity ratio. Therefore, it is assured that the batteries are simultaneously discharged regardless of their voltages, and the plurality of batteries may be used up at the same time.

[0013] According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provide a duty ratio setting method comprising the steps of: detecting capacities of at least two batteries; calculating a battery capacity ratio from the battery capacities followed by calculating, based on the battery capacity ratio, a duty ratio which determines a switching timing in which a plurality of switching elements connected to the batteries are to be switched; and transmitting the duty ratio to a DC/DC converter as a signal to set the duty ratio in the DC/DC converter.

[0014] In accordance with the duty ratio setting method comprising those steps, the duty ratio based on the battery capacity ratio calculated from the capacities of the batteries may be set (and undated) in the DC/DC converter. Therefore, the batteries may be simultaneously discharged regardless of their voltages, and the plurality of batteries may be used up at the same time.

[0015] According to fourth aspect of the present invention, the duty ratio setting method further comprises the steps of: checking remaining capacities of the batteries when the battery capacity ratio varies caused by discharge of the batteries; calculating a remaining capacity ratio between the batteries based on the remaining capacities of the batteries to calculate a new duty ratio from the remaining capacity ratio of the batteries; and transmitting the calculated new duty ratio to the DC/DC converter as a signal to change the duty ratio that is set in the DC/DC converter.

[0016] In accordance with the duty ratio setting method of the fourth aspect, the new duty ratio based on the remaining capacity ratio calculated from the capacities of the batteries is set in the DC/DC converter to change (update) the old duty ratio. Therefore, the batteries may be simultaneously discharged regardless of their voltages, and the plurality of batteries may be used up at the same time.

[0017] According to a fifth aspect, there is provided a computer readable program product which sets a duty ratio, the program causing a processor to check capacities of at least two batteries; calculate a duty ratio which determines a switching timing in which a plurality of switching elements connected to the batteries are to be switched; and send the duty ratio to a DC/DC converter as a signal to set the duty ratio in the DC/DC converter.

[0018] The duty ratio setting program comprising those steps sets the duty ratio, which is based on the capacity ratio of the batteries calculated from the capacities of the batteries, in the DC/DC converter. Therefore, the batteries may be simultaneously discharged regardless of their voltages, and the plurality of batteries may be used up at the same time.

[0019] The program product is carried by a medium, typically a recording medium, which, however, includes a static/non-static or dynamic medium, also including a carrier wave carrying the program via transmission lines or networks.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020]FIG. 1 is a diagram showing the configuration of a first embodiment of a discharge circuit according to the Present invention.

[0021]FIG. 2 is a diagram showing a timing in which a DC/DC converter in the first embodiment of the present invention controls switching operation.

[0022]FIG. 3 is a diagram showing the configuration of another embodiment of the first embodiment of the discharge circuit according to the present invention.

[0023]FIG. 4 is a diagram showing the configuration of a conventional discharge circuit.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0024] A simultaneous discharge circuit and a simultaneous battery discharge method according to an embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to the attached drawings.

[0025]FIG. 1 is a diagram showing the configuration of a discharge circuit used in a first embodiment of the present invention.

[0026] The discharge circuit used in the fist embodiment of the present invention has a data processing apparatus 8 comprising a DC/DC converter 3 controlling a switching element 1 and a switching element 2 to convert the DC voltage, a battery controller 6 connected to the DC/DC converter 3 and to a battery 4 and a battery 5, and a unit load 7. The battery 4 and the battery 5 supply power to the data processing apparatus 8. The battery 4 is connected to the switching element 1 and the battery 5 to the switching element 2.

[0027] The duties of the switching element 1 the switching element 2, which control the ON/OFF state of those switching elements, are set in the DC/DC converter 3. The duty is defined as a ratio between the period of time during which a switching element is on and the period of time during which the switching element is off.

[0028] In addition, a duty ratio that determines a timing in which the switching element 1 and the switching element 2 are switched is also set in the DC/DC converter 3. In other words, the duty ratio is a ratio between a duty of the switching element 1 connected to the battery 4 and a duty of the switching element 2 connected to the battery 5.

[0029] The battery controller 6 checks (i.e., periodically detects) the capacities of the battery 4 and the battery 5 and, based on the ratio between the capacity of the battery 4 and that of the battery 5, calculates the duty ratio ensuring an optimum discharge of the battery 4 and the battery 5. The optimum discharge refers to the discharge of the battery 4 and the battery 5 such that both batteries will be exhausted at the same time.

[0030] The calculated duty ratio is input to the DC/DC converter 3 as a duty ratio control signal. The duty ratio entered as the duty ratio control signal is used to set the duty ratio in the DC/DC converter 3.

[0031] The duty ratio control signal may be input as an analog signal or a digital signal.

[0032] Next, the operation of the battery simultaneous discharge circuit and the battery simultaneous discharge method in the first embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0033]FIG. 2 is a diagram showing the control timing of the switching element 1 and the switching element 2, which are controlled by the DC/DC converter 3.

[0034] It is assumed, in the following discussion, that the duty ratio of the operation of the battery simultaneous discharge circuit and the battery simultaneous discharge method in the first embodiment of the present invention is 1:2.

[0035] A period of time starting from period A to period D shown in FIG. 2 represents a cycle period of the DC/DC converter 3, while a period of time from period A to period C is a control timing period of the switching element 1 and the switching element 2. The period lengths are even.

[0036] Referring to FIG. 1, the battery controller 6 checks (periodically detects) the capacities of the battery 4 and the battery 5 and calculates the capacity ratio between the battery 4 and the battery 5. Based on the calculated capacity ratio, the controller calculates a duty ratio and generates a duty ratio control signal indicating the duty ratio. The generated duty ratio control signal is output to the DC/DC converter 3. Then, the DC/DC converter 3 sets the duty ratio based on the received duty ratio control signal to control the switching element 1 and the switching element 2 according to the duty ratio. To control the switching element 1 and the switching element 2 is to control the ON/OFF states of the switching element 1 and the switching element 2.

[0037] Next, the control timing of the switching element 1 and the switching element 2 will be described with reference to FIG. 2.

[0038] The DC/DC converter 3 enables the switching element 1 during period A and remains ON while the corresponding battery is used for the power source. The switching element 1 is disabled during periods B and C and is enabled again by the DC/DC converter 3 during period D. The disabled state, which refers to the state in which the switching element 1 is not enabled by the DC/DC converter 3, is usually the OFF state.

[0039] On the other hand, the DC/DC converter 3 during period A disables the switching element 2, unlike the switching element 1. The DC/DC converter 3 enables it during periods B and C and maintains ON while the corresponding battery is used for the power source. The switching element 2 is disabled again during period D.

[0040] As described above, the switching element 1 and the switching element 2 repeat the operation, from period A to period D, under control of the DC/DC converter 3.

[0041] If the battery 4 and the battery 5 are exhausted during operation and, as a result, the capacity ratio between the battery 4 and the battery 5 changes, the battery controller 6 immediately calculates the remaining capacity ratio from the remaining capacities of the battery 4 and the battery 5. The battery controller calculates a new duty ratio based on the ratio of the remaining capacities and sends the new duty ratio to the DC/DC converter 3. In this way, the old duty ratio set in the DC/DC converter 3 is replaced (undated) by the new duty ratio.

[0042] The DC/DC converter 3 may be of a synchronous rectifier type converter shown in FIG. 3, a step-up converter (not shown), or a linear regulator (not shown).

[0043] Although the battery 4 and the battery 5, i.e., two batteries are used for the battery simultaneous discharge circuit in this embodiment, three or more batteries may also be used. When three or more batteries are used, a switching element is connected to each battery. The duty ratio, which is set in the DC/DC converter 3 for controlling each of these switching elements, is determined by the ratio of battery capacities of those three or more batteries. The capacity ratio may also be used as the duty ratio.

[0044] The meritorious effects of the present invention are summarized as follows.

[0045] The discharge circuit and the duty ratio setting method according to the present invention can perform simultaneous discharge regardless of the battery voltages, allowing a plurality of batteries to be exhausted at the same time.

[0046] It should be noted that other objects, features and aspects of the present invention will become apparent in the entire disclosure and that modifications may be done without departing the gist and scope of the present invention as disclosed herein and claimed as appended herewith.

[0047] Also it should be noted that any combination of the disclosed and/or claimed elements, matters and/or items might fall under the modifications aforementioned.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7151364Feb 2, 2005Dec 19, 2006Honda Motor Co., Ltd.DC/DC converter and program
US7414381Jun 20, 2006Aug 19, 2008O2Micro International LimitedCharging circuit for parallel charging in multiple battery systems
US7734317Feb 10, 2004Jun 8, 2010Qualcomm IncorporatedBattery management
US7791314Mar 25, 2008Sep 7, 2010O2Micro International LimitedPower management topologies to control power between a DC power source and one or more batteries to a system load
US7898109Jan 29, 2007Mar 1, 2011Agere Systems Inc.Switching power supply controller with built-in supply switching
US7956494Aug 18, 2009Jun 7, 2011Agere Systems Inc.Versatile and intelligent power controller
US8120312Sep 7, 2010Feb 21, 201202Micro International LimitedPower management topologies to control power between a DC power source and one or more batteries to a system load
US8350534Jul 19, 2009Jan 8, 2013O2Micro International, Ltd.Method and electronic circuit for efficient battery wake up charging
EP1562278A2 *Feb 1, 2005Aug 10, 2005HONDA MOTOR CO., Ltd.DC/DC converter and program
EP1642374A2 *Apr 2, 2004Apr 5, 2006O2Micro, Inc.Selector circuit for power management in multiple battery systems
EP1723483A2 *Feb 17, 2005Nov 22, 2006Agere Systems, Inc.Switching power supply controller with built-in supply switching
WO2004084374A1 *Mar 17, 2004Sep 30, 2004Qualcomm IncBattery management
Classifications
U.S. Classification320/132
International ClassificationH01M10/44, H02J7/00, H02M3/158, H01M6/50
Cooperative ClassificationH02M3/158, H02J2007/0067, H02J7/0013, H02J7/0065
European ClassificationH02M3/158, H02J7/00C, H02J7/00K1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 10, 2014FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20140423
Apr 23, 2014LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Nov 29, 2013REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Aug 1, 2013ASAssignment
Owner name: HTC CORPORATION, TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:RPX CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:030935/0943
Effective date: 20130718
May 2, 2012ASAssignment
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OAR ISLAND LLC;REEL/FRAME:028146/0023
Effective date: 20120420
Owner name: RPX CORPORATION, CALIFORNIA
Sep 23, 2009FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Aug 21, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: CRESCENT MOON, LLC, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NEC CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:023129/0374
Effective date: 20090616
Sep 30, 2005FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Feb 12, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: NEC CORPORATION, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:TAKEMOTO, TSUYOSHI;REEL/FRAME:011557/0095
Effective date: 20010202
Owner name: NEC CORPORATION 7-1, SHIBA 5-CHOME MINATO-KU, TOKY
Owner name: NEC CORPORATION 7-1, SHIBA 5-CHOMEMINATO-KU, TOKYO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:TAKEMOTO, TSUYOSHI /AR;REEL/FRAME:011557/0095