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Publication numberUS20060032076 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/094,000
Publication dateFeb 16, 2006
Filing dateMar 30, 2005
Priority dateAug 10, 2004
Also published asCA2576509A1, CN101001550A, EP1781136A2, WO2006022871A2, WO2006022871A3
Publication number094000, 11094000, US 2006/0032076 A1, US 2006/032076 A1, US 20060032076 A1, US 20060032076A1, US 2006032076 A1, US 2006032076A1, US-A1-20060032076, US-A1-2006032076, US2006/0032076A1, US2006/032076A1, US20060032076 A1, US20060032076A1, US2006032076 A1, US2006032076A1
InventorsWalter Evanyk, Tim Long
Original AssigneePowerpulse Technologies, L.P.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable energy consuming device
US 20060032076 A1
Abstract
An improved portable energy consuming device that uses an external power source to store kinetic energy in the device until a desired level is reached and then the external power source is disconnected from the device to form a portable device and an internal power source is automatically used to maintain the desired kinetic energy level. Thus, the external power source causes at least one device load to reach a desired operating level such as temperature and then, when the device is removed from a base on which it is mounted, the external power source is disconnected and an internal power source is automatically connected to the at least one device load to cause it to just maintain the desired operating level. A control circuit is coupled between the internal power source and its associated internal load to cause only sufficient power to be supplied to the load to maintain the desired operating level.
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Claims(53)
1. A method of creating a portable energy consuming device comprising the steps of:
forming a body portion with an energy consuming load associated therewith, the load having system power losses;
causing the energy consuming load to achieve a desired operating level using a power source located externally of the body portion;
removing the external power source from the energy consuming load when the desired operating level is reached; and
maintaining the desired operating level of the energy consuming load using a power source located internally of the body portion to offset system power losses thereby creating a portable energy consuming device.
2. The method of claim 1 further comprising the steps of:
associating at least one heating element with the body portion as the energy consuming load;
causing the at least one heating element to obtain a desired temperature representing the desired operating level by connecting the externally located power source thereto;
removing the external power source from the at least one heating element when the at least one heating element has reached the desired temperature; and
automatically causing the internally located power source to be connected to the at least one heating element to provide sufficient power to maintain the desired temperature only upon disconnecting the first power source.
3. The method of claim 2 further comprising the steps of:
using alternating current (ac) as the externally located power source; and
using batteries (dc) as the internally located power source.
4. The method of claim 3 wherein the step of associating at least one heating element with the body portion further comprises the steps of:
removably connecting the externally located ac power source to an ac heating element associated with the body portion to cause the ac heating element to heat to the desired temperature; and
automatically associating a dc heating element with the body portion for heating by the internal batteries to provide sufficient power to maintain the desired temperature only when the external ac power source is removed from the ac heating element.
5. The method of claim 2 further comprising the steps of:
using direct current (dc) as the externally located power source; and
using batteries (dc) as the internally located power source.
6. The method of claim 5 wherein the step of associating at least one heating element with the body portion further comprises the steps of:
forming a single dc heating element in the body portion;
rectifying an external ac power supply output to obtain a dc output that is applied to the single dc heating element to obtain the desired temperature; and
automatically connecting the internally located batteries to the single dc heating element to provide only sufficient power to maintain the desired temperature only when the single heating element is disconnected from the dc output of the rectified external ac power supply.
7. The method of claim 1 further including the steps of:
placing a normally closed electrical switch between the at least one energy consuming load and the internally located second power source; and
automatically opening the electrical switch when the external power source is connected to the at least one energy consuming load to prevent the internally located power source from being connected to the at least one energy consuming load.
8. The method of claim 7 further including the steps of:
providing an electrical plug to insert into a receptacle associated with the body portion of the energy consuming device to connect the external power source to the energy consuming load; and
using the electrical plug, when inserted in the receptacle, to automatically open the electrical switch and prevent the internally located power source from being connected to the at least one energy consuming load.
9. The method of claim 8 further comprising the step of:
automatically charging the internally located power source whenever the external ac power source is connected to the energy consuming load.
10. The method of claim 6 further including the steps of:
placing an electrical switch between the single dc heating element and the internally located batteries; and
automatically opening the electrical switch when the dc output of the external power source is connected to the single dc heating element to prevent the internally located batteries from being connected to the single dc heating element.
11. The method of claim 10 further comprising the steps of:
providing an electrical connector to insert into a receptacle associated with the body portion of the energy consuming device to connect the external power source to the single dc heating element; and
using the electrical connector, when inserted into the receptacle, to automatically open the electrical switch and prevent the internally located batteries from being connected to the single dc heating element.
12. The method of claim 11 further comprising the step of:
automatically charging the internally located batteries whenever the external power source is connected to the single dc heating element.
13. The method of claim 1 further comprising the steps of:
coupling a control circuit between the internal power source and the energy consuming load only when the device is portable to automatically maintain the desired operating level thereby conserving the internally located power source as well as prolonging the life of the energy consuming load.
14. The method of claim 13 further comprising the steps of:
generating a feedback signal with the control circuit representing instantaneous load operating levels; and
using the generated feedback signal to reduce the power input applied to the energy consuming load by the internal power source to an amount sufficient only to replace system losses thereby conserving electrical power by maintaining a desired load operating level with reduced power input.
15. The method of claim 14 further comprising the steps of:
coupling an electronic power switch between the energy consuming load and the internal power source; and
turning the electronic power switch ON and OFF with Pulse Time Modulation signals to reduce the power input such that only sufficient power is supplied to the energy consuming load to maintain the desired operating level.
16. The method of claim 1 further including the step of using the heating element of a selected one of a hair management device and a flat clothes iron device as the energy consuming load.
17. The method of claim 16 further comprising the steps of:
forming a base unit on which to place a selected one of the hair management device and the flat clothes iron device when not being used as a portable device; and
placing at least one electrical connector on the base unit for connecting the external power supply to the heating element to preheat the heating element to a desired operating level prior to the selected one of the devices being used as a portable energy consuming device
18. The method of claim 17 further comprising the steps of:
placing additional electrical connectors on and associating additional electronic circuits with the base unit for providing a charging voltage to the internal power source only when the heating element of the selected one of the devices placed on the base unit is receiving power from the external power source.
19. The method of claim 12 further comprising the steps of:
forming a base unit on which to place the body portion of the energy consuming device when not being used as a portable device; and
inserting at least one of the additional electrical connectors associated with the base unit for insertion in at least one receptacle associated with the body portion for connecting the external power source to the single dc heating element to preheat the heating element to a desired operating level.
20. The method of claim 4 further comprising the steps of:
using a first wound resistance strip in the form of a coil as the ac heating element; and
using a second wound resistance strip in the form of a coil interspaced with, and electrically insulated from, the first wound resistance strip as the dc heating element.
21. The method of claim 4 further comprising the steps of:
using a first flat conductor resistance as the ac heating element; and
superimposing a second flat conductor resistance on, and electrically insulated from, the first flat conductor resistance as the dc heating element.
22. The method of claim 16 further comprising the steps of:
forming a portion of the selected one of the hair management device and the flat clothes iron device as a handle; and
placing the power source within the handle of the selected device.
23. The method of claim 22 further comprising the step of:
inserting a stick type battery within the handle of the selected device as the internal power source.
24. The method of claim 22 further comprising the step of:
inserting a plurality of individual battery cells in series within the handle of the selected device as the internal power source.
25. The method of claim 1 further comprising the steps of:
utilizing batteries as the power source located internally of the body portion;
providing a fixture to hold the body portion with the energy consuming device associated therewith;
associating at least one first electrical connector with the fixture to couple the external power source to the energy consuming device to cause the energy consuming device to reach the desired operating level; and
associating at least one second electrical connector with the fixture to enable an external dc power source to be used to charge the internally located batteries only when the energy consuming device is attached to the fixture such that when the desired operating level of the device is reached, the device can be removed from the fixture thereby disconnecting the external power source from the device and making the device portable by using the internally located batteries.
26. A method of creating a portable temperature generating device comprising the steps of:
forming a body portion with a heating element therein;
bringing the heating element to a desired temperature using a first, fixed location power supply;
disconnecting the heating element from the first power supply when the desired temperature is reached to create a portable temperature generating device; and
maintaining the desired temperature of the heating element with a second D.C. power supply located within the portable temperature generating device.
27. A method of operating a portable energy consuming device comprising the steps of:
storing kinetic energy in the device with the use of a power source located externally of the device;
simultaneously storing electrical energy in a power supply located internally of the device only during the storage of the kinetic energy in the device such that when the external power source is separated from the device, the internal power source provides the energy to maintain the stored kinetic energy; and
cooling and extending the life of the internal power supply by blowing external air over the internal power source only when the internal power source is being used to maintain the stored kinetic energy thereby maximizing the amount of energy available from the power supply.
28. The method of claim 14 further comprising the steps of:
coupling an electronic switch, comprising either one of a FET and a relay, between the energy consuming load and the internal power source for controlling power to the energy consuming load with Pulse Time Modulation Signals.
29. A portable energy consuming device comprising:
a body portion with an energy consuming load associated therewith, the load having system power losses;
a power source located externally of the body portion and removably coupled to the energy consuming load associated with the body portion for causing the energy consuming load to achieve a desired operating level; and
a power source located internally of the body portion and coupled to the energy consuming load only when the energy consuming load has reached the desired operating level and the external power source is removed therefrom to offset system power losses and to maintain the desired operating level of the energy consuming load.
30. The device of claim 29 further comprising:
at least one heating element associated with the body portion as the energy consuming load for obtaining a desired temperature when removably connected to the external power source; and
the at least one heating element being automatically connected to the internal power source only when the external power source is removed from the device, the internal power source providing sufficient power to maintain the desired temperature obtained with the external power source.
31. The device of claim 30 wherein:
the external power source is an alternating current (ac) source; and
the internal power source is a direct current (dc) source.
32. The device of claim 31 wherein the at least one heating element comprises:
an ac heating element removably connected to the external power source for heating the device to the desired temperature; and
a dc heating element for automatic connection to the internal power supply maintain the desired temperature of the device only when the external power source is disconnected from the ac heating element.
33. The device of claim 30 wherein:
the external power source is a dc power source; and
the internal power source is also a dc power source.
34. The device of claim 33 further comprising:
a single dc heating element in the body portion;
an externally located ac power supply having a rectified output to provide a dc output that is applied to the single dc heating element to obtain the desired temperature; and
the internally located dc power supply being automatically connected to the single dc heating element to provide sufficient power to maintain the desired temperature only when the single dc heating element is disconnected from the dc output of the rectified external ac power source.
35. The device of claim 29 further comprising:
a normally closed electrical switch placed between and coupling the at least one energy consuming load to the internally located power supply; and
a connector associated with the external power source for automatically opening the normally closed electrical switch whenever the external power source is connected to the at least one energy consuming load to prevent the internally located power source from being connected to the at least one energy consuming load.
36. The device of claim 35 wherein the connector comprises:
an electrical plug for insertion into a receptacle associated with the body portion of the energy consuming device to connect the external power supply to the at least one energy consuming load; and
the electrical plug, when inserted into the receptacle, automatically opening the electrical switch and preventing the internally located power source from being connected to the at least one energy consuming load.
37. The device as in claim 36 further comprising:
a dc charging circuit associated with the external power source for automatically charging the internally located power source whenever the external power source is connected to the energy consuming load associated with the device.
38. The device of claim 29 further comprising:
a control circuit coupled between the internal power source and the energy consuming load to automatically maintain the desired operating level only when the device is portable thereby conserving the internally located power source as well as prolonging the life of the energy consuming load.
39. The device of claim 38 further comprising:
a feedback device for generating a signal representing the instantaneous load operating level; and
the control circuit using the feedback signal to reduce power input applied to the energy consuming load by the internal power source to an amount sufficient only replace system losses thereby conserving electrical power by maintaining a desired load operating level with reduced power input.
40. The device of claim 39 further comprising:
an electronic power switch, formed of either one of a FET and a relay, coupled between the energy consuming load and the internal power source; and
the control circuit turning the electronic power switch ON and OFF with Pulse Time Modulation signals to reduce the power input such that only sufficient power is supplied to the energy consuming load to maintain the desired operating level.
41. The device of claim 29 further comprising:
a selected one of a hair management device and a flat clothes iron device being the energy consuming device; and
a heating element in the selected one of a hair management device and a flat clothes iron device being used as the energy consuming load.
42. The device of claim 41 further comprising:
a base unit for receiving the selected one of the hair management device and the flat clothes iron device; and
at least one electrical connector on the base unit for connecting the external power source to the heating element to preheat the heating element to a desired operating level prior to the selected one of the devices being used as a portable energy consuming device.
43. The device of claim 42 further comprising:
additional electrical connectors and circuits being associated with the base unit for providing a charging voltage to the internal power source only when the heating element of the selected device placed on the base unit is receiving power from the external source
44. The device of claim 37 further comprising:
a base unit on which to place the body portion of the energy consuming device when not being used as a portable unit; and
the at least one electrical plug forming part of the base unit for insertion in the at least one receptacle associated with the body portion for connecting the external power supply to the single dc heating element to preheat the heating element to a desired operating level.
45. The device of claim 32 further comprising:
a first wound resistance strip in the form of a coil as the ac heating element; and
a second wound resistance strip in the form of a coil interspaced with and electrically insulated from the first wound resistance strip as the dc heating element.
46. The device of claim 32 further comprising:
a first flat resistance conductor as the as the ac heating element; and
a second flat resistance conductor on, and electrically insulated from, the first flat resistance conductor as the dc heating element.
47. The device of claim 41 further comprising:
a handle forming a portion of the selected one of the hair management device and the flat clothes iron device; and
the internal power source being placed in the handle of the device.
48. The device of claim 47 wherein the internal power source placed in the handle of the device comprises:
a stick type battery.
49. The device of claim 47 wherein the internal power source placed in the handle of the device comprises:
a plurality of individual series coupled battery cells.
50. A portable temperature generating device comprising:
a body portion with a heating element therein;
an external power source removably coupled to the body portion for bringing the heating element to a desired temperature and then being disconnected from the body portion to form a portable device; and
an internal power supply selectively coupled to the heating element to maintain the desired temperature of the heating element in the portable device.
51. An improved portable energy consuming device comprising:
a power source external to the device for storing kinetic energy in the device at a desired level;
the external power source being disconnected from the device to make the device a portable device when the stored kinetic energy reaches the desired level; and
a power source internal to the device for maintaining the desired level of the kinetic energy when the external power source is disconnected therefrom.
52. The device of claim 51 wherein:
the stored kinetic energy is in the form of temperature.
53. The device of claim 51 wherein:
the stored kinetic energy is in the form of mass rotation.
Description

This application claims the benefit of Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/600,208, filed Aug. 10, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates in general to portable energy consuming devices and, in its broadest sense, the novel invention utilizes an external power source to store kinetic energy in a portable energy device and simultaneously store electrical energy in an internal power source in the device only during the storing of the kinetic energy such that when the external power source is separated from the device, the internal power source is used to maintain the stored kinetic energy. In particular, the novel invention relates to improved portable energy consuming devices such as hair management devices and flat clothes iron devices that are brought to a desired operating level, such as temperature, with an external power source and then the external power source is disconnected and an internal power supply, e.g. batteries, maintains only the desired operating level thereby extending the life of the internal power supply as well as the life of the energy consuming device, e.g. heating elements.

2. Description of Related Art

There are many portable energy consuming devices. There are hair management devices such as hair curlers or blow dryers that use batteries to supply the necessary heat.

These devices cause a large current drain on the batteries and shorten the useful span of the batteries. In commonly assigned U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,449,870 and 6,718,651, circuits are disclosed for manually controlling a desired set temperature of the energy consuming device. In commonly assigned co-pending provisional patent applications Ser. No. 60/545,783; and Ser. No. 60/573,716; and in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 6,732,447, circuits are disclosed for automatically providing input power, Pin, in an amount equal to the power losses, P1, (e.g. cooling and system losses) of the portable device so that the power output, Po, is equal to the residual power, Pr, (e.g. kinetic energy such as heat, mass rotation, and the like). Thus, at a desired operating level, such as a desired temperature, the input power supplied is simply equal to the power losses and the residual power is equal to the output power of the device.

While these devices function well, there is an immense current drain on the batteries to get the portable device to obtain a desired operating level. For instance, where a mass is required to be heated to a particular temperature, it takes a great deal of battery current to heat the mass (such as the metal mass of a hair curling iron) to the desired temperature. By controlling the current drain on the batteries as disclosed in the co-pending provisional patent applications, the remaining life of the batteries can indeed be extended.

However, it would desirable to use an external power source to cause the mass to reach the desired temperature and then disconnect the external power source and enable the internal power supply, i.e. the batteries, to only maintain the desired temperature of the novel portable energy consuming device. In this novel system, the battery life is extended much further because very little current drain from the batteries is used UNTIL the desired operating level is already reached and the device is then used as a portable device with the internal power source simply maintaining that desired operating level (e.g. temperature). Should the internal power supply fail for any reason, the energy consuming device can be directly connected to the external power supply and used in a conventional manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

With the present invention, the energy consuming device (e.g. hair curling iron, soldering guns, hot glue guns, flat clothes irons, mass rotors, and the like) is brought to a desired operating level (e.g. temperature, rotational speed, and the like) by a power source external to the energy consuming device such as an alternating current (ac) source or an external direct current (dc) source. Once the device reaches the desired operating level, the external power source is disconnected from the device and an internal power source automatically begins to supply power to the energy consuming device in an amount only sufficient to maintain the desired operating level. In other words, it supplies just enough energy to compensate for power and system losses in the device thereby enabling the residual energy (e.g. temperature, mass rotation, and the like) to be maintained equal to the desired output power.

The external power source may be ac, dc, RF energy, magnetically coupled energy, and the like. Hereafter, for simplicity, the external power source will be identified as simply ac or dc. The energy consuming device, when a temperature controlled device, may have either a single heating element for accepting an external dc power source output for preheating as well as the internal power source (batteries) output to maintain the desired operating level or an ac heating element for connection to an ac external power source to obtain the desired operating level and a dc heating element for connection to the internal power source to maintain the desired operating level.

When both an ac heating element and a dc heating element is used, the resistive heating elements may be of several types such as ribbon type resistances arranged in different relationships such as electrically insulated coils wound together in adjacent interposed relationship with each other or in superimposed, electrically insulated, fashion. The resistive elements may also be of any known type such as wire wound, ceramic, and the like.

A switch may be arranged internally of the energy consuming device that disconnects the internal power source from the load (e.g. resistive heating element) when, and only when, the external power source is connected to the energy consuming device. Thus, when a connector (plug) connects the energy consuming device to the external power source, the connector engages and opens a switch so that the internal power source cannot supply current to the load.

However, when the device reaches the desired operating level and the external power source is disconnected from the device by removing the connector from engagement with the device, the switch in the device is closed thereby enabling the internal power source to maintain the desired operating level with the use of signals that control an electronic switch (such as a power FET) that couples the internal power source to the load.

When the energy consuming device is a flat clothes iron, it is mounted on a base that has connectors that engage corresponding mating connectors on the flat clothes iron.

Again, either a single dc heating element or both a dc heating element and an ac heating element may be used as the heating element in the flat iron. In either case, the proper power source is coupled to the corresponding connectors on the flat iron to first bring it to the desired operating temperature and then the flat iron is removed from the base and becomes a portable flat iron. The internal power source then maintains the desired operating temperature using the control signals.

If desired, the flat iron may have no heating element for an external power source but would have the internal power source that can be coupled to an internal heating element.

In such case, the flat iron is mounted on a base unit having a flat heating surface that is powered by an external power source. The heat is transferred by conduction, metal to metal, to the flat iron until the flat iron reaches the proper desired operating temperature. Connectors on the base unit again engage corresponding connectors on the flat iron to prevent the internal power supply from supplying power to the heating element until the flat iron is removed from the base unit. The removed connectors then allow an internal switch to close and connect the internal power supply to the internal heating element to only maintain the desired heat.

In such case, it is clear that the internal power supply may consist of the batteries without the novel pulsing circuit disclosed herein. Thus, the unit is heated to the desired temperature with the external power source and then, when the unit is removed from the external power source, the internal power supply, the batteries alone, may be connected to the heating element to maintain the desired heat as long as the batteries last. The internal batteries will not last as long as when the novel pulsing circuit is used to pulse battery power to the load but they will last longer than a portable unit that uses the batteries alone to not only bring the unit to the desired temperature but also to maintain the desired temperature.

It is to be understood that with an internal power source, the power source must be insulated from the heat generated in the device. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. With a hair curling iron, the power supply (e.g. batteries) can be placed in the handle thereof which is on the opposite end of the curling iron from the heating element. The power source may consist of a plurality of series connected battery cells, a stick type battery, or other type power source (hereafter “power source”) that can simply be inserted in or removed from the handle as necessary.

With a flat clothes iron, the batteries can again be placed in the handle of the flat iron which is already heat insulated from the ironing surface to enable a user to hold the iron by the handle. Again, the batteries may consist of a plurality of series connected battery cells or a stick type power source assembly that can simply be inserted in or removed from the handle as necessary. The internal power source, as stated earlier, may be charged when the energy consuming device is placed on a base unit.

Thus, it is an object of the present invention to provide a portable energy consuming device that uses an external power source to enable a desired operating level to be achieved and an internal power source to only maintain the desired operating level once the device is disconnected from the external power source to make it portable.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a single dc load in the portable energy consuming device for both bringing the device to the desired operating level with an external dc power source and to maintain the desired operating level with the internal dc power source when the device is disconnected from the external power source and becomes portable.

It is also another object of the present invention to provide a first ac load for bringing the energy consuming device to a desired operating level with an external power source and a second dc load for maintaining the desired operating level with an internal power source when the device is disconnected from the external power source and the device becomes portable.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a base unit on which the energy consuming device may be placed; the base unit having an external power source to enable the energy consuming device to be brought to a desired operating level and, optionally, for charging the internal power source in the energy consuming device only during the time that the external power source is supplying power to the energy consuming device.

It is yet another object of the present invention to couple a control circuit between the internal power source and the energy consuming load to automatically maintain the desired operating level thereby conserving the internally located power source as well as prolonging the life of the energy consuming load.

Thus the present invention relates to a method of creating a portable energy consuming device comprising the steps of forming a body portion with an energy consuming load associated therewith; causing the energy consuming load to achieve a desired operating level using a power source located externally of the body portion; removing externally supplied energy from the energy consuming load when the desired operating level is reached; and only maintaining the desired operating level of the energy consuming load using a power source located internally of the body portion thereby creating a portable energy consuming device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other objects of the present invention will be more fully disclosed when taken in conjunction with the following DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS in which like numerals represent like elements and in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating the use of an external power source only to bring an energy consuming device (device) to a desired operating level and then using an internal power source to just maintain the desired operating level and further illustrating the option of using the external power source to charge the internal power source (batteries) during the time that the device is connected to the external power source;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating the external power source connected to a device for bringing the device to a desired operating level while simultaneously charging the internal batteries of the device and, further, illustrating the mechanical connector that disconnects the internal power source (batteries, in this instance) from the load while the device is coupled to the external power source;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating the energy consuming device in its portable state with a control circuit operating an electronic power switch to provide pulse time modulated power to the load to only maintain the desired operating level of the device.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating a base unit on which a flat clothes iron is placed and illustrating the electrical connections from the external power source to connectors on the base unit for engaging corresponding connectors on the flat clothes iron to both bring the flat clothes iron to a desired temperature (operating level) while simultaneously charging the internal batteries associated with the flat clothes iron;

FIG. 5 illustrates a base unit that has an AC/DC converter associated therewith for generating a dc power signal to bring an energy consuming device to a desired operating level while simultaneously generating a dc signal for charging the internal batteries in the energy consuming device;

FIG. 6A illustrates an ac resistive heating element and a dc resistive heating element in the form of two flat resistive metal strips wound in interposed, electrically insulated relationship, about a common support;

FIG. 6B illustrates an ac resistive heating element and a dc resistive heating element in the form of two flat resistive elements placed in superimposed, electrically insulated relationship, for placement in an energy consuming device:

FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram illustrating an energy consuming device such as a hair curling iron mounted in a base unit and illustrating the external electrical connections for both preheating the device while simultaneously charging the device internal batteries;

FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of a handle for a flat clothes iron or other energy consuming device illustrating the internal power source, i.e. batteries, in the form of either a plurality of series connected individual cells or a stick-type battery that can be removed from the handle and replaced with another power source when and if needed;

FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic illustration of a flat clothes iron with the internal power source (batteries) in the handle that connects to a first heating element and a second, separate, heating element for connection to an external power source;

FIG. 10 is a diagrammatic illustration of a flat clothes iron that is heated by conduction from a plate on the base unit that is heated by the external power source and illustrating the connectors on the base that engage a switch in the flat clothes iron to prevent the internal power source from providing power to just maintain the desired operating temperature; and

FIG. 11 illustrates a control circuit shown in commonly assigned co-pending provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/573,716 that can advantageously be used with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

It is well known that devices that require significant power to enable them to reach a desired operating level or condition are difficult to make into portable devices because of the size of the batteries or internal power source that are (is) required to just get the device to the desired operating level. By the time the desired operating level is reached, the internal power source (e.g. batteries) is (are) so depleted of energy that there is little internal power source energy remaining to use to just maintain the desired operating level.

If the device could be brought to the desired operating level or condition with the use of an external power source and then the device was made portable by disconnecting the external power supply, an internal power supply could then be used to just maintain the desired operating level. The device would then be truly portable and could be used without the physical interference of an ac cord.

The present invention meets these requirements by using an external power source to store kinetic energy (such as temperature or a rotating mass) in a selected energy consuming device until a desired operating level is reached and then the external power source is disconnected from the device to make the device portable. An internal power source is then automatically used to just maintain the kinetic energy at the desired operating level.

Such a device is disclosed in FIG. 1 wherein is shown a block diagram 10 illustrating a generic embodiment of the present invention. As can be seen, an energy consuming device 12 (hereinafter called “device”) has an external power source 14 removably coupled to the device 12 by means of conductors 16 to a load element 18 located within the device to cause the device 12 to reach a desired operating level. Then, when the desired operating level is reached, the external power source 14 is disconnected from the device 12, device 12 becomes portable, and an internal power supply 20 is coupled to its own load element 22 to just maintain the desired operating level of the device 12.

The internal power source 20 may, as stated earlier, consist of internal batteries only and, in such case, the external power source 14 brings the device to the proper operating temperature and then it is disconnected and the internal batteries, alone, are connected to the device to maintain the temperature of the device. The batteries or power source 14 will not last as long as when used with the pulsing circuit disclosed herein but will last longer than a device that uses the internal batteries to both heat the device to a desired temperature and then maintain that desired temperature.

Of course, the internal power source 20 may consist of the internal batteries and a pulsing circuit as will shown hereafter to pulse the power of the internal batteries to the load. In such case, the life of the internal batteries is extended even longer as will be disclosed hereafter.

Consider, as an example only, a hair curling iron. The iron has a metal mass serving as the heated surface and it must be raised to a sufficiently high temperature to enable it to be used. This is accomplished in the prior art by the use of alternating current (ac) and it takes several minutes to bring the metal mass to a temperature sufficient for use in curling hair. Then when it is used, the ac cord must remain attached to keep the iron hot.

It is highly desirable to make the curling iron portable and eliminate the physical interference of the ac cord. However, if the curling iron is made portable, no cord is attached and no ac is used. Thus, the internal power source must be placed under a severe power drain to bring the device to the desired operating level (in this example, temperature).

Thus, it can be seen with the block diagram of FIG. 1 that if the device 12 is a hair curling iron, it can be heated to the desired operating level or temperature with the external ac power source 14. When the mass of the curling iron reaches the desired operating level, or temperature, the ac cord 16 is disconnected from the hair curling iron 12 in a well know manner as by means, for example, of unplugging ac connectors from the device 12. An internal power source, as will be shown hereafter, is then automatically utilized to just maintain the desired operating level or temperature.

In the generalized embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the external ac power source utilizes and is connected to its own ac heating element located within the device 12.

Once the accord is disconnected from the device 12, the internal power source 20 is automatically connected to its own dc heating element 22, as will be explained hereafter, to cause the device 12 to maintain its desired temperature.

Also, as shown in FIG. 1, the external power source 14 may be used to charge the internal power source 20 by means of a second conductor 24, shown as a phantom line, whenever the device 12 is mounted in a base unit as will be shown hereafter.

Of course, the device 12 illustrated generally in FIG. 1 could, in addition to a hair curling iron, represent any hair management device, such as a blow dryer, that requires large amounts of energy to get the device to the proper temperature. Device 12 in FIG. 1 could also represent a flat clothes iron, a soldering gun, a glue gun, a rotating mass, and the like.

Further, when a blow dryer represents the hair management device, the life of the batteries can be further extended by causing the air generated by the blower fan to pass over the batteries and cool them. It is well known that as batteries are used continuously over an extended time period, the internal resistance of the batteries increases. This increased resistance causes the batteries to heat as well as to decrease their external output voltage. If the batteries are then cooled, the output voltage returns to a higher level. Thus, this unique method of using the blower fan to cool the batteries extends the life of the batteries during a given RUN cycle as well as extending the entire life of the battery. Such improvement is a valuable asset to the use of portable devices.

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of a device 12 and illustrating a generalized version of the electronics associated therewith. The internal power source 20 in FIG. 2 is coupled, through switch 28, to a dc heating element 22. When the device 12 is to be brought to a desired operating level, such a temperature, an external ac source 14 and connected power cord 16 has on the end thereof an elongated connector 26 of any well-known type in the art that is inserted in a mating receptacle (not shown) in the device 12 in a well-known manner to connect the external power source to an internally located ac load such as heating element 18, for example only, on lines 32 and 34.

At the same time, if desired, the ac input can be connected to an ac/dc converter 30, either internal or external (shown here as internal) that can be used to charge the internal batteries 20 in a conventional manner.

When the ac heating element 18 causes the device 12, here a temperature device, to reach the desired operating level (temperature in this case), the connector 26 is withdrawn from the mating receptacle to make the device portable. When that happens, switch 28 returns to its normally closed position thereby connecting internal power source 20 to its own dc load 22 on line 36. As will be shown hereafter in relation to FIG. 3 and FIG. 11, a control circuit 38 provides just sufficient energy from the internal power source 20 to cause the device 12 to only maintain the desired operating level.

The circuit shown schematically in FIG. 3 includes control circuit 38 that is powered by the internal power source 20. When connector 26 (here represented by a phantom line) is disconnected from the device 12, switch 28 closes as explained earlier.

An electronic switch 40, such as a power FET, is opened and closed by the control circuit 38 with the use of Pulse Time Modulated signals to modulate the power signal to load 22 from the internal power source 20. A light emitting diode (LED) 42 may be utilized, if desired, to let the user know that the control circuit 38 is functioning.

The novel invention works well with any load requiring heavy current to bring it to a desired operating level as explained earlier. FIG. 4 illustrates a flat clothes iron 46 mounted on a base unit 44 shown in cross-section. The flat iron 46 has a handle 47 that is sufficiently temperature insulated from the heated body portion of flat iron 46 to enable a user to pick up and use the heated flat iron 46.

It will be noted in FIG. 4 that an external power source 14 is coupled through cord 16 to a connector that is plugged into the base unit in a well-known manner as explained previously. In this example, external ac power is connected directly to connector 52 by conductor 50 to preheat the iron when a switch on the base (not shown here) is operated by a user when the user desires to use the flat iron. At the same time, if desired, the internal power source can be charged by the output from an ac/dc converter 48 on connector 26. When the iron reaches the desired temperature as may be shown in a well-known manner by an LED 76 shown in FIG. 10, the iron may be removed from base unit 44 and thus becomes a portable iron. It should be noted that while the ac/dc converter 48 is shown to be a part of the base unit 44, it can be external to the base unit 44 if desired. Thus, the flat iron 46 shown in FIG. 4 utilizes first and second heating elements located internally of the flat iron 46. One heating element is an ac heating element (to be used by the external power source) and the other is a dc heating element (to be used by the internal power source).

The flat iron 46 could, if desired, have only one heating element and that is a dc heating element that would be used first during the preheating on the base unit 44 and then, when the flat iron 46 is disconnected from the base unit 44 to make the flat iron portable, the single dc heating element would be connected to the internal power source 20 to just maintain the desired temperature. As shown in FIG. 5, the base unit 44 has an ac/dc converter 48 associated therewith, either internal (as shown) or external to the base unit 44. The device, then, uses the dc power source for preheating a single dc heating element and when the device is disconnected from the base unit 44 to make the device portable, the internal dc source is coupled to the same single dc heating element. Such a connection would be obvious to one skilled in the art given the assignment of creating such connection and therefore is neither shown nor explained here.

When two heating elements, an ac and a dc element, are desired to be used, they may be formed in any desired manner. For example, if the device is a hair curling iron, the resistive heating elements may be wound in a circular fashion about a non-electrically conductive cylinder 17 as shown in FIG. 6A. The two resistive elements 18 and 22 are wound about non-electrically conductive cylinder 17 in an interposed, spaced, non-electrical conducting relationship as shown. Of course, one skilled in the art would know how to create other types of arrangements such as a side-by-side relationship.

If the heating elements are of the flat resistive types, one may be superimposed over the other in a non-electrical conducting relationship as shown in FIG. 6B where a flat ac heating element 18 has superimposed thereon and electrically insulated therefrom by insulator 54 a flat dc heating element 22. One skilled in the art would know of other fashions in which the two heating elements 18 and 22 could be advantageously arranged.

FIG. 7 illustrates a base unit 44 on which a hair curling iron 64 (shown in phantom lines) could be mounted for preheating and charging of its internal power supply. The internal power supply may be batteries as is well known in the art. Again, an ac power source, represented by electrical plug 14, is connected by cord 16 to a connector 56 on the base unit 44 as explained earlier. Also as explained earlier, the hair curling iron 64 could have a single heating element for both preheating and portable operation. As shown, however, a first heating element is used for preheating with the external ac power source and a second heating element is used for portable operation with the internal dc power source.

The ac input from the external power source is connected directly to connector 62 on the base unit 44 while the dc power for simultaneously charging the internal power source comes from an ac/dc converter 58 whose dc output is coupled to connector 60.

The power cord 16 terminates at the base unit 44 with a connector 56. Advantageously, connector 56 is identical to the connector 62 on base unit 44. If, for any reason, the portable operation of the device 64 is prohibited, the ac connector 56 can be plugged directly into the device 64 where power is normally supplied by connector 62. In such case, the hair curling iron 64 may advantageously continue to be used as a conventional cord attached, non-portable hair curling device.

In any use of batteries with a heating device, the batteries must not be subject to heating from the heating elements. In a hair curling iron, the batteries may be placed in a heat insulated handle as is well-known in the art and which is heat insulated from the heating element.

When the novel invention is used with a flat clothes iron, the batteries must be especially protected from the heat maintained by the large metal mass. One such way of heat insulating the batteries is shown in FIG. 8. As shown, the batteries may be separate battery cells 20 or a well known battery “stick” 66 that can be inserted in well known fashion into the handle 47. With battery “stick” 66, the battery is simply slid into and out of the handle to replace it or to charge it externally of the flat clothes iron in a well known fashion. In like manner, the top of the handle 47 could be a hinged plate (not shown) that could be opened and closed in a well known manner to remove and insert batteries. One skilled in the art would understand other methods of mounting, and insulating, the batteries to protect them from the heat.

FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic depiction of a portable flat clothes iron 46 having a handle 47 with batteries 20 (internal power source) located therein. The batteries are diagrammatically shown to be connected to a dc load 22 such as a dc heating element while an ac load such as an ac heating element 18 is shown connected to at least one receptacle 50 for receiving power from an external power source while preheating.

FIG. 10 illustrates schematically an alternate embodiment of the invention.

In this embodiment, the flat clothes iron 46 has no internal heating element for preheating. In this embodiment, the base unit 68 has an upper plate 70 that is preheated by the external power source represented by wall plug 14 through cord 16. The flat clothes iron 46 simply sits on the heated plate 70 in metal to metal contact to preheat the flat iron 46. When the flat iron 46 is preheated, as may be indicated in a well known fashion by LED 76, it is made portable by removing it from the base unit upper plate 70. At least one connector 72 has prevented the internal power source 20 from powering the dc heating element during preheating. When the flat iron 46 is removed from the base unit 68, the at least one connector 72 is removed from a corresponding receptacle that enables the portable, internal power, operation as explained previously with respect to FIG. 2.

Of course, in all of the embodiments described above, a switch 74 diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. 10 can be used to prevent the device 12 from preheating while it is placed on the base unit.

FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram of the electronic control circuit for the novel invention herein that supplies only sufficient Pulse Time Modulated energy to the device to replace only load losses and to maintain the desired power output and thereby conserve battery energy that would otherwise be wasted. This diagram has been explained in detail in co-pending commonly assigned provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/573,716.

Briefly, however, unit 78 is a detector that senses the desired operating level (e.g. a temperature sensor 80 as shown in FIG. 11). Oscillator 94 generates, in this case, a sawtooth wave output on line 96 that is coupled, along with the amplified detector 78 signal on line 90 to a comparator 92. As long as the amplitude of the amplified output of detector 78 on line 90 is greater than the amplitude of the oscillator 94 output on line 96, there is a constant output from the comparator 92 through resistor 100. This signal is coupled through switch 28 to the gate of power FET 102 causing it to conduct and apply maximum power to the load 22.

However, as explained earlier, to save the internal batteries, the device has, in this instance, an ac heating element 18 that is heated to bring the device to the desired operating temperature. As can be seen in FIG. 11, the device is first heated to the desired operating temperature with an external ac power supply 44. The external power supply 44 is coupled to the energy consuming device by means of, in this case, a male connector 26 that makes contact with points 75 and 76 (on line 16) to provide power to the ac load 18 in the device. Switch 74 is a double pole, single throw switch that first couples the external ac source to the ac load heating element 18. In addition, the other half of switch 74 couples the internal power supply (batteries) to the control circuit described above. Because the control circuit uses such little power, little drain is placed on the internal batteries during the time the external power supply is bringing the device to the desired operating temperature. As explained earlier, the male connector, represented by phantom line 26, physically opens switch 28 thus preventing the FET from receiving any signal from the control circuit of the device. Thus no power is being supplied to the dc load 22 during the time that the external ac power source is heating the device to the desired operating temperature with the use of ac heating element 18. When the ac heating element or load 18 causes the device to reach the desired temperature (which can be indicated in a well known manner by illumination of an LED), the device is removed from its base and the male connector 26 is removed from the device closing switch 28 and allowing the signal from the comparator 92 of the control circuit to be connected to the power FET 102 which begins to apply power to the dc load 22. Because dc load 22 is in physical proximity to the metal mass that has been heated by the external power source 44, the dc load 22 is already heated to the approximate desired operating temperature and the power FET 102 now is Pulse Time Modulated by the control circuit to provide just enough energy to dc load 22 to maintain the desired operating temperature of the device.

An LED 103, if desired, may be coupled across FET 102 and pulses with the pulsing of the FET to indicate to the user that the control circuit is functioning.

Thus, there has been disclosed a novel improved portable energy consuming device that uses an external power source to cause the device to reach a desired operating level and then when the device is removed from its base, the external power source is disconnected from the device and the internal power supply is then automatically connected to a dc load to maintain the desired operating level of the device. A control circuit is coupled between the internal power source and the dc load to Pulse Time Modulate the signal applied thereto to replace only load losses and to just maintain the desired operating level. As explained earlier, the desired operating level is intended to mean a desired operating temperature, a desired operating rpm, or any other type of load operating condition that has kinetic energy that will maintain the desired operating condition if sufficient energy is provided to just replace the device losses.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown and described in detail, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications of the present invention, in its various embodiments, may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Other elements, steps, methods, and techniques that are insubstantially different from those described herein are also within the scope of the invention. Thus, the scope of the invention should not be limited by the particular embodiments described herein but should be defined by the appended claims and equivalents thereof.

It is to be understood that the term “electronic switch” as used herein is intended to cover suitable switch that can be controlled to intermittently supply power to a load including mechanically operated switches such as a relay or a solid state switch such as a Field Effect Transistor (FET) as discussed herein previously.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7761718 *May 31, 2006Jul 20, 2010Fujitsu LimitedPower controller, server, and power control method
US8766644 *Oct 7, 2009Jul 1, 2014Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.Apparatus and method for compensating for voltage drop in portable terminal
US9099892 *Mar 28, 2012Aug 4, 2015Humless, LlcPortable power systems
US20100102836 *Oct 7, 2009Apr 29, 2010Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.Apparatus and method for compensating for voltage drop in portable terminal
Classifications
U.S. Classification34/96, 34/101
International ClassificationA45D1/04, A45D20/12
Cooperative ClassificationH01M10/4207, D06F79/026, A45D20/30, D06F75/24, A45D1/04
European ClassificationA45D1/04, D06F75/24, H01M10/42B, D06F79/02B2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 19, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: POWERPULSE TECHNOLOGIES, L.P., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:EVANYK, MR. WALTER R.;LONG, MR. TIM;REEL/FRAME:015919/0688
Effective date: 20050307
Jun 19, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: P2 TECHNOLOGIES, L.P., TEXAS
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:POWERPULSE TECHNOLOGIES, L.P.;REEL/FRAME:019447/0480
Effective date: 20070226