US 20060208573 A1
A Universal Power Supply (UPS) protects audio/visual (A/V) components from damage that may occur due to a sudden power loss by first, providing back up power via a battery, and then initiating the normal, that is powered, shut down of the protected component via an infrared control signal. The infrared control signal is learned from the A/V components remote control unit.
1. A UPS comprising,
a) a battery,
b) a power input port,
c) a power output port, operatively connected to said power input port, and to said battery when power at said power input point drops below a predetermined level,
d) an IR signal output port,
e) an IR signal input port,
f) means to learn a signal pattern received at the IR input port,
g) means to send the learned signal via the IR output port when power at said power input point drops below the predetermined level for a predetermined duration.
2. A UPS according to
3. A UPS according to
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8. A UPS according to
9. A UPS device according to
10. A UPS device according to
11. A method of protecting A/V equipment from sudden loss of power or unsafe power condition, the method comprising the steps of:
a) providing a UPS device having an IR input port, an IR output port with means to train the device to transmit a previously entered signal at the IR output port in response to detecting the battery back-up operation of the UPS to power the A/V equipment,
b) providing an A/V device with an IR remote control port and a remote control device,
c) powering the A/V equipment via UPS,
d) training the UPS by exposing the output port of remote control to the IR input port of UPS,
e) directing IR beam from the UPS in the line of sight with IR input port of A/V equipment.
12. The method of
13. The method of
14. A UPS comprising,
a) a battery,
b) a power input port,
c) a power output port, operatively connected to said power input port, and to said battery when power at said power input point drops below a predetermined level for a predetermined duration,
d) an IR signal output port,
e) an IR signal input port,
f) a microprocessor operative to learn a signal pattern received at the IR input port,
g) wherein the microprocessor is further operative to send the learned signal via the IR output port in response to a loss in power at the power input port.
15. A UPS according to
16. A UPS according to
17. A UPS according to
18. A UPS according to
19. A UPS according to
20. A UPS according to
a) send the learned signal via the IR output port when power at said power input point drops below a predetermined level for a predetermined duration, and
b) transmit the previously entered signal at the IR output port in response to detecting a predetermined low back-up battery power level after the battery back-up operation of the UPS to power the A/V equipment.
The present invention relates to a method of protecting audio-visual electronic equipment from damage to power loss, and in particular when such method utilizes an uninterrupted power supply (UPS)
Uninterrupted power supplies are frequently deployed for protecting computers from the loss of sensitive data that would be otherwise lost in a power failure. The UPS includes a back up battery coupled to a transformer to deliver the line voltage to the protected electronic equipment in the event that the direct line voltage is lost. As the battery has a finite life, during which the return of power can never be assured, the UPS also provides means to either alert the user that the equipment should be shut down as soon as can be safely done so, or automatically controls the equipment.
Prior methods of notifying the user or prompting an automatic shut down sequence require a sophisticated electronic interface between the UPS and the protected equipment.
Technical advances in audio/visual (A/V) equipment systems, and in particular in sophisticated home theater systems, have resulted in the deployment of visual displays and other equipment that can be damaged if power is turned off abruptly. Also of significance is the application of computer systems and home entertainment systems have become intertwined with the advent of digital recording technology and the ability of consumers to edit video for creating there own DVD's there is increasing need to prevent power losses to A/V equipment to avoid data loss.
While UPS systems have been developed that can automatically interface with the dominant operating systems used in personal computers, this is not the case for A/V equipment, as a larger number of OEM's each utilize largely proprietary firmware and software, generally without providing an interface for external control.
It is therefore a first object of the present invention to provide for the protection of A/V equipment susceptible to damage from an uncontrolled loss of power.
It is yet another object to provide such a UPS with a flexible response time
It is a further object to provide for such a UPS that can protect multiple A/V components.
In achieving the present invention, the inventor came to appreciate that while A/V equipment frequently lacks any or a universal electronic communication means to interface with a UPS, most A/V equipment comes equipped with a remote control system. This led to the realization that it should be possible to meet the unfulfilled needs of providing UPS technology to A/V systems by utilizing the remote control system as the interface between the UPS and the protected equipment. It further became apparent that although such remote control systems utilize proprietary infrared (IR) signal to communicate between the device and the controller, the recording, learning and mimicking of these signal could provide a practical control means if integrated into the functionality of the UPS device.
Therefore the first object of the invention has been achieved by providing a UPS device that comprises a battery, a power input port, a power output port, IR signal output port, IR signal input port, means to learn a signal pattern received at the IR input port, and means to send the learned IR signal via the output port in response to a loss in power at the power input port.
A second aspect of the invention is characterized in the UPS device includes means to send the learned signal via the output port in response to a low battery in the UPS.
The above and other objects, effects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following description of the embodiments thereof taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
In accordance with the present invention,
However, when UPS device 100 senses a loss in power at the power input port 120, via a failure or transient in the main power supply that feeds wall socket 175, a switching circuit 112 is operative to convert the DC output of the battery 110, via transformer 111, to AC power at the same voltage as required by device 170, which is switched to supply power output port 130.
As the battery 110 has limited charge and hence back up duration, it is then desirable that the power is either restored, during which time the battery is re-charged, or the display 170 is powered down in the normal mode of operation. Specifically, in one embodiment of the invention, display 170 is powered down by an IR remote control signal it receives at its IR input port 172. By shutting down display 170 via the remote control, subcomponents of display 170 that require power to safely turn off or protect other subcomponents during a shut down, are turned off when such power is still available from battery 110 of UPS device 100. For example in a Digital Light Projector (DLP) the lamp must be cooled by a fan after the lamp is turned off to prevent overheating. Thus, in operation the UPS device 100, would provide the back up power to the fan motor after its mimicking of the remote control powering down of the DLP such that the lamp can be cooled for the proper amount of time.
Accordingly, upon a loss or transient in the AC power into UPS device 100, in addition to providing battery back up, UPS 100 provides the requite IR remote control signal from IR output port 511. An IR emitting LED 140 is connected to IR output port 140 by signal cable 150. UPS device 100 may include a second IR output port 521. An IR emitting LED 141 is connected to IR output port 521 by signal cable 151.
It should be apparent that the UPS device 100, in order to provide the aforementioned function with a variety of display or A/V devices from different manufactures, must be able to generate IR remote control signals with the proper digital characteristics to be recognized by the display 100. That is, as UPS device 100 must act like of mimic the remote control for display 170.
Accordingly, in preferred embodiments UPS device 100 can not only provide protection to A/V components susceptible to damage from an uncontrolled loss of power, but is universality applicable to all types A/V components with remote controls
Further, UPS device 100 preferably has multiple, independently programmable IR output ports so it can be used to protect multiple A/V components. The IR output ports are optionally a receptacle for providing power to a light emitting diode (LED) with an IR signal output, which would be connected via a cable to reach the separate IR input port of the protected A/V components Alternatively, such light emitting diode can be directly connected via a cable to UPS device 100. The cable is optionally a fiber optic cable when the actual LED device is within the case of the UPS device 100, or an electrical signal cable to power a remote IR generating LED. It should be understood that other devices and components that can generate the requisite IR signals are intended to be equivalent to an LED, although their technical characteristics of operation may be subject to characterization as other than a diode, such as lamps, lasers and the like.
Alternatively, additional security may be provided by the redundancy of having the different IR output ports supply the same IR signal to the device in succession in case the first signal is not properly delivered or read by the display device 170.
In the more preferred embodiments of the invention, both t2 and t3 are totally programmable with respect from initiating event t1. For example, it may be desirable to increase t2 such that very short transients, which may properly trip the UPS device 100, do not initiate the shut down of display 170 unless and until they either last a specified duration, or the battery is drained to a minimum critical level. This provides the ability to “ridethrough” brief power outages without sending a shut-down signal to the connected device. Accordingly, depending on the application and nature of the protected A/V components it is desirable to pre-select the output delay or time between t1 and t2 or between t1 and t3 Generally, appropriate selectable times for t2 and t3, with respect to the battery back up initiating event at t1, are a delay of from about 30 second to about 5 minute.
UPS device 100 also preferably includes a training mode to program the IR output signal to mimic the remote control associated with display device 170. The activation and set-up of the training mode is preferably operated by a switch on control panel 500, according to the method illustrated in logic diagram/flow chart of
As previously described, the output delay can be continuous controllable or discrete. However, in the embodiment shown in
The user can independently train each of the first and second IR signals to mimic different device remote controls by depressing program mode/test switch 514 or 524 for greater than 2 seconds. This initiates the programming of the microprocessor 620 (shown in
Thus, on the panel 500 shown in
As an alternative to entering the training mode by depressing switch 513/523, the same switches may be depressed for less that 2 seconds to immediately send the last learned or programmed IR signal via the respective IR output ports. Thus, according to the logic diagram/flow chart of
UPS device 100 continuously monitors the status of both the IR1 program mode/test switch 513, step 305 and the IR2 program mode/test switch 523 in step 325, such that if no power failure occurs the IR2 response signal is likewise programmed by depressing switch 523 for more than 2 seconds.
When programming steps 310, 315, 330 and 335 are completed, the device is operative to monitor for a power failure in step 345. If a power failure occurs the UPS device 100 is further operative to protect the A/v component or display 170 according to the logic diagram/flow chart of
Next, control eventually passes to step 430. When the flag 2 remains at zero, as measured at step 430, control switches to step 435. Step 435 tests if the elapsed time is greater than the IR delay programmed via switch 521. If so (yes), the control passes to step 440 in which the IR2 signal is output on both IR output ports 511 and 521. This also assures that the A/V devices will turned off even if the user has inadvertently switched the two LED's that communicate directly with the protected A/V devices. In the same step 440, Flag 2 is set to 1 and LED2 is turned off. If the time is less than the present IR delay then control passes to step 445, in which the LED2 flashes every second. This indicates to the user that the UPS has detected a power loss and is supplying energy to the protected device via the battery, and that the protected A/V device will be shut down if the power outage continues.
Next, control eventually passes to step 450. If the power failure has ceased then LED 1 and LED2 are turned off, and control returns to the main device menu, 300 in
Microprocessor 610 is operative to provide power to the base of switching transistor 621, which in turns controls current flow to the IR output port 510. In a separate output trace, microprocessor 610 is operative to provide power to the base of switching transistor 622, which in turns controls current flow to the jack or IR output port 520. Further, microprocessor 610 is connected to operatively control the red and green LED's associate with status indicator 512 and 522.
In other embodiments of the invention it is desirable to pre-select a critical low battery shutoff threshold. This sets the battery capacity level at the point where the non-critical load outlets are turned off and all remaining battery power is reserved for equipment plugged into critical load outlets. This value is preferably stored internally in microprocessor 610 of the UPS.
While the invention has been described in connection with various preferred embodiments, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular form set forth, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.