US006610941B2
(12> Ulllted States Patent
(10) Patent N0.:
Pfeiffer
(54)
(45) Date of Patent:
Aug. 26, 2003
BATTERY SIZE DETECTOR FOR A
4,101,818 A *
7/1978 Kelly et al. ............... .. 320/110
BATTERY CHARGER
4,403,182 A
9/1983 Yeh
4,766,361 A
(75) Inventor: J. David Pfei?'er, Hudson Heights (CA)
'
.
-
(
Notice:
*
47816735 A
5,543,702 A
5,606,238 A
)
US'C~ 154(k)) by 0 days'
Pusateri .................... .. 320/110
10/1991 Felegyhazi, Sr.
*
5,686,811 A
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
8/1988
3/1989 Cook et a1;
5,057,761 A
~
(73) Assignee. J8: Innovations Inc., Hudson Heights
(*)
US 6,610,941 B2
8/1996
Pfeiffer ..................... .. 320/110
2/1997 spellman et a1‘
11/1997 Bushong et al.
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
DE
1940911
2/1970
........... .. H02J/7/02
* cited by examiner
(21) Appl. No.: 09/968,513
(22)
(65)
F11e d :
0 ct . 2 , 2001
Primary Examiner—Michael Friedhofer
Prior Publication Data
Renault
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm—James Anglehart; Ogilvy
US 2003/0062251 A1 Apr. 3, 2003
(57)
(51)
(52)
Int. Cl.7 ................................................ .. H01H 9/00
U.S. Cl. ........................... .. 200/6158 R; 200/17 R;
The battery charger provides a current to a battery depending
on its IYPQ The type of the battery is determined using, a
200/18; 320/110
tWo-pronged fork and a pusher slider assembly Which may
(58)
Field of Search ............................... .. 200/17 R, 18,
actuate two switches using a Spring leaf- The two switches
200/6158 R; 320/2_6, 15_18, 31, 32, 110
enable to provide a current depending on the type of battery.
(56)
References Cited
ABSTRACT
AAA-type, AA-type, C-type and D-type batteries may be
used. The battery charger also enables to easily position the
battery in the battery charger.
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
3,579,075 A *
5/1971 Floyd ....................... .. 320/110
16 Claims, 8 Drawing Sheets
U.S. Patent
Aug. 26, 2003
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Vcc
20
2212
220
\/~\CHARGING
CIRCUIT
BATTERY
‘TO BE
CHARGED
U.S. Patent
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US 6,610,941 B2
1
2
BATTERY SIZE DETECTOR FOR A
BATTERY CHARGER
of the battery charger, said posts being spaced to guide the
battery therebetWeen to be centrally positioned on the sup
port surface and be depressed depending on a siZe of the
battery.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
This invention pertains to the ?eld of battery chargers.
More precisely, this invention enables a battery charger to
provide automatically the current needed by a battery
depending on its siZe.
The invention Will be better understood by Way of the
folloWing description of the preferred embodiment, together
10
FIG. 1 is a top vieW of a portion of the battery charger;
FIG. 2A is a sectional vieW of the battery charger of FIG.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
A battery charger is a very convenient tool; it enables
1 taken along line 2—2, the battery charger handles in this
con?guration a AA-type battery;
people to reuse their batteries and to be therefore able to use
ef?ciently their preferred electronic devices. From the envi
With the accompanying draWings, in Which:
15
ronmental point of vieW, a battery charger helps ?ght against
the pollution by reducing the number of batteries required.
FIG. 2B is a sectional vieW of the battery charger of FIG.
1 taken along line 2—2, the battery charger handles in this
con?guration a C-type battery;
Preferably, a battery charger is intended to be as universal
FIG. 2C is a sectional vieW of the battery charger of FIG.
as possible, meaning that a user could decide to use the
1 taken along line 2—2, the battery charger handles in this
con?guration a D-type battery;
battery charger to charge a battery of any siZe from AAA
type to D-type. Unfortunately, batteries With different siZes
have different charging current needs. Alarge battery such as
FIG. 2D is a vieW of the second contact.
FIG. 3A is a sectional vieW of the battery charger of FIG.
a D-type battery Will require more current than an AA-type
1 taken along line 3—3;
battery or AAA-type battery. Detecting automatically the
siZe of a battery inserted in the battery charger is highly
25
FIG. 3B is a sectional vieW of the battery charger of FIG.
1 taken along line 4—4;
desirable in order to provide a suitable current.
Various battery chargers have been disclosed in the past;
FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram Which shoWs the battery
for instance US. Pat. No. 5,543,702 discloses an alkaline
siZe determining arrangement according to the invention
battery charging method and a battery charger.
Which automatically connects selected resistance into a
constant current circuit corresponding to the siZe of the
In the ’702 patent, the battery siZe detection is made by a
slide With a V-shape ?tting against the radius of curvature of
the battery’s case, and moving out radially. The movement
closes a series of three different sWitches. When an AAA
type battery is inserted or When no battery is inserted, no
sWitch is closed. When an AA-type battery is inserted, a ?rst
sWitch is closed. A second sWitch is further closed When a
C-type battery is inserted and a third sWitch is further closed
When a D-type battery is inserted. These sWitches are used
to vary the amount of resistance in the emitter leg of an
emitter folloWer constant current charging source, causing
the current to increase With decreasing resistance. The
35
disclosed charger achieves the goal of providing automati
cally a current that depends on the physical siZe of the
battery, hoWever the radial motion of a V-shaped slide is
extremely dif?cult to implement When the available space is
ment of the invention.
FIG. 8B is another perspective vieW of the preferred
limited. Furthermore, the charger in the ’702 patent requires
embodiment of the invention.
a steady member for electrical contact With each battery and
the V-shape slide. Both construction of the charger and use
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
EMBODIMENT
are someWhat complicated. There is therefore a need for
detecting automatically the siZe of a battery that Will over
come the above-mentioned draWbacks.
AAA-type, AA-type, C-type and D-type battery denomi
nation Will be used in the folloWing description. HoWever,
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the invention to provide a method and
apparatus to recharge batteries of various siZes, such as
battery connected to the battery holder for that constant
current circuit;
FIG. 5 is a sectional vieW of another embodiment of the
invention.
FIG. 6A shoWs another embodiment of the invention
Where the tWo-pronged fork pivots around an aXis; an
AA-type battery is inserted in this embodiment.
FIG. 6B shoWs another embodiment of the invention
Where the tWo-pronged fork pivots around an aXis; a C-type
battery is inserted in this embodiment.
FIG. 7 is a perspective vieW of the tWo-pronged fork
Which pivots around an aXis.
FIG. 8A is a perspective vieW of the preferred embodi
55
AAA, AA, C and D.
It is an object to provide a battery charger that makes
battery positioning With respect to terminal contacts easier
those skilled in the art Will note that LR03, LR6, LR14, and
LR20 as Well as UM4, UM3, UM2, and UMl could alter
natively be used to designate a type of battery.
NoW referring to FIG. 1, there is shoWn a battery charger
in the preferred embodiment of the invention. The battery
charger may hold up to four batteries. In this embodiment of
and more secure.
the invention, the battery charger may detect automatically
According to one object of the invention, there is provided
a battery charger receiving at least one battery horiZontally
the siZe of each of the four batteries 10 using a pusher slider
assembly 24 and a tWo-pronged fork 14. A set of LED 16
may indicate the status of charge for each of the four
batteries.
NoW referring to FIG. 2A, there is shoWn a sectional vieW
of the charger unit. In this sectional vieW, an AA-type battery
is inserted.
on a support surface and having at least one sWitch detecting
a variable battery siZe and a charging circuit responsive to
said at least one sWitch, characteriZed in that said sWitch 65
comprises a ?rst pair of depressible posts, the ?rst pair of
depressible posts biased With respect to the support surface
US 6,610,941 B2
4
3
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the pusher
A tWo-pronged fork 14 may be pushed doWn When a
battery With a diameter greater than the distance betWeen the
prongs is inserted in the charger. In the preferred embodi
ment of the invention, the tWo prongs of the tWo-pronged
slider assembly 24 comprises a curved ?nger recess 35 for
its manual operation. In the preferred embodiment, the
radius of the curved ?nger recess 35 is 0.218 inch (0.55372
cm).
fork 14 are spaced so that a AA-type battery or a smaller
diameter battery Will pass betWeen the prongs With
clearance, While a larger diameter Will urge the tWo-pronged
fork 14 to move doWnWard. In the preferred embodiment,
the distance betWeen the prongs is 0.584 inch (1.48336 cm).
A ?exible leaf spring 22 provides an upWard force on the
tWo-pronged fork 14. The ?exible leaf spring 22 pushes a
The second end of the ?exible leaf spring 22 is pushed
doWnWard When the pusher 24 moves beyond a certain
10
?rst loW force tactile sWitch 18 and a second loW force
tactile sWitch 20 located beneath the ?exible leaf spring 22
Whenever the ?rst end or the second end of the ?exible leaf
spring 22 is pushed doWnWard.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the ?rst and
15
the second tactile sWitches are similar in siZe and function to
the Panasonic sWitches EVQ-PAD04M, actuated by a force
of betWeen 0.28 to 0.50 pounds (1.25 to 2.28 NeWtons).
The ?rst, right end of the ?exible leaf spring 22 is pushed
doWnWard When the tWo-pronged fork 14 moves doWnWard.
tWo-pronged fork 14 is in its upWard position, pushed by the
?exible leaf spring 22. Furthermore, the pusher slider assem
bly 24 is positioned far enough toWard the right so that the
left side of the ?exible leaf spring 22 is not de?ected. In this
con?guration no sWitches are actuated. In this con?guration,
20
Apusher slider assembly 24 may move horiZontally. The
pusher slider assembly 24 comprises a contact 26 for elec
the tWo-pronged fork 14 guides the battery in a resting
position, as the battery is inserted betWeen the tWo prongs of
the tWo-pronged fork.
NoW referring to FIG. 2B, there is shoWn a con?guration
Where a C-type battery is inserted. In this con?guration, the
trically contacting the negative end of the battery.
A second contact 28 located on the battery charger is
intended for electrically contacting the positive end of the
battery. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the
distance. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the
second end of the ?exible leaf spring 22 is pushed doWnWard
When a battery longer than a C-type battery is inserted. Still
referring to FIG. 2A, the draWing shoWs a con?guration
Where an AA-type battery is inserted. This con?guration is
similar to the con?guration Where an AAA-type battery is
inserted in the battery charger. In these con?gurations, the
25
tWo-pronged fork 14 is pushed doWn, causing the right end
side-projecting ?anges 37, 39, 0.430 inch (1.0922 cm) Wide,
of the ?exible leaf spring 22 to de?ect and actuate the sWitch
18 located underneath. HoWever, as the length of a C-type
battery is similar to that of an AA-type battery, the sWitch 20
is therefore not actuated. In this con?guration, the tWo
pronged fork 14 guides the battery in an at rest position. The
battery is placed over the tWo prongs of the tWo-pronged
fork 14. The tWo prongs help to center the battery. Then the
that guide the contact in its socket 40 and hold it in place.
The narroW tip is further reduced to 0.054 inch (0.13716 cm)
battery, because of its diameter, pushes doWn the tWo
pronged fork 14; at this time, the battery is placed in a
second contact 28 has an inWardly curved surface Which
maintains the positive button of the battery in a central
position. In the preferred embodiment, the inWardly curved
surface has a radius of 0.5 inch (1.27 cm). In the preferred
30
embodiment of the invention, the second contact 28 has tWo
Width, and this 0.054><0.010 inch (0.13716><0.0254 cm)
piece goes through a hole 27 in the printed circuit board and
35
NoW referring to FIG. 2C, there is shoWn a con?guration
Where a D-type battery is inserted. In this con?guration, the
is soldered to its printed circuit conductor on the loWer side
of the printed circuit board; the second contact 28 may then
be removed from the pocket in the case Without unsoldering,
by pulling the printed circuit board assembly straight doWn
until the second contact 28 is out of the pocket.
tWo-pronged fork 14 is pushed doWn, causing the right end
of the ?exible leaf spring 22 to de?ect and actuate the sWitch
40
18 located underneath. Furthermore, the pusher slider
assembly 24 moves to the left due to the length of a D-type
A tension spring 30, Which pulls the pusher slider assem
bly 24 against the second contact maintains the battery
betWeen the ?rst contact 26 and the second contact 28 and
creates an electric contact betWeen the positive end of the
Well-centered position.
battery, causing the left part of the ?exible leaf spring 22 to
be pushed doWn, tripping the sWitch 20. In this
con?guration, the tWo-pronged fork 14 guides the battery in
battery and the second contact 28 as Well as an electric
an at rest position. The battery is placed over the tWo prongs
of the tWo-pronged fork 14. The tWo prongs help to center
contact betWeen the negative end of the battery and the ?rst
contact 26. It Will be appreciated by someone skilled in the
art that the inWardly curved surface Which maintains the
the battery. Then the battery, because of its diameter, pushes
doWn the tWo-pronged fork 14; at this time, the battery is
45
placed in a Well-centered position.
It Will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, that
sWitches 18 and 20 may be actuated by the operator during
positive button of the battery enables the battery to stay in
a stable horiZontal position.
The ?rst contact 26 comprises tWo dimples to press
the process of inserting a neW battery, for instance if the
operator moves the pusher slider assembly 24 to the left far
against the negative end of the battery. The loWer dimple
contact is active for AA-type batteries and AAA-type
batteries, While the upper dimple is used With C-type bat
teries and D-type batteries.
enough in order to insert the battery. HoWever, the only
55
A 180-degree bend at the top of the contact anchors it to
the pusher slider assembly 24 by ?tting into a pocket
moulded into the top of the pusher slider assembly 24. A
Wider plate at the base stabiliZes the pusher slider assembly
against tilting backWard When the tension spring 30 pulls it
60
of the pusher slider assembly 24. A ?exible Wire loop
connects contact 26 to the printed circuit board 9.
24 comprises ?rst and second halves Which are fastened
together using a screW 25.
battery is making contact With both the negative contact
(?rst contact 26) and the positive contact (second contact
28). The desired current determined by a con?guration of the
sWitches 18 and 20 is only provided to the inserted battery
When electrical contacts are set-up, i.e. When the appropriate
sWitch con?guration is set.
NoW referring to FIG. 3A, there is shoWn a sectional vieW
forWard. It also acts as a slot cover for the forWard section
In the preferred embodiment, the pusher slider assembly
sWitches that Will affect the current Which Will ?oW through
the battery are those sWitches Which remain closed When the
65
of the battery charger, the four batteries of the battery
charger rest, in the preferred embodiment of the invention,
in shalloW gutters, de?ned by tWo 10-degree angles, With the
positive contacts located in the vertical front Wall of the unit.
US 6,610,941 B2
5
6
NoW referring to FIG. 3B, there is shown a sectional vieW
of one of the locations Where a battery rests. In this sectional
of the tWo single posts being connected to a sWitch.
HoWever, the tWo single posts may be less interesting to use
as the tWo-pronged fork provides a guide for positioning the
vieW, the tWo-pronged fork 14 is superimposed, and the
outlines of various battery siZes are draWn in. In the pre
battery.
ferred embodiment of the invention, When a D-type battery
pushes doWn the tWo-pronged fork 14, the notch at the
fork 14 used in the alternative embodiment described in
bottom of the tWo-pronged fork 14 moves to a distance of
FIGS. 6A and,
NoW referring to FIG. 7, there is shoWn the tWo-pronged
FIG. 8A and FIG. 8B shoW a perspective vieW the
0.425 inch (1.0795 cm). The C-type battery moves the notch
to a distance of 0.390 inch (0.9906 cm) While an AA-type or
an AAA-type battery does not move the notch beyond its rest
preferred embodiment of the battery charger.
10
Zontally on a support surface and having at least one sWitch
Aschematic diagram is shoWn in FIG. 4. In this diagram,
there is shoWn hoW sWitches 18 and 20 in?uence the current
provided. When sWitches 18 and 20 are open ie when no
battery, or When an AA-type battery is inserted or When an
detecting a variable battery siZe and a charging circuit
responsive to said at least one sWitch, characteriZed in that:
15
AAA-type battery is inserted, the resistance provided is
519. When the tWo-pronged fork 14 makes the sWitch 18
close, a resistance of 229 is added in parallel to the
resistance of 519, resulting in an equivalent resistance of
15.379; this is the case When a C-type battery is inserted.
When sWitch 20 is also actuated, a resistance of 229 is
added in parallel to the resistance of 519 and to the
resistance of 229, resulting in an equivalent resistance of
9.059; this is the case When a D-type battery is inserted. In
the preferred embodiment, a circuit equivalent to the one
presented in Us. Pat. No. 5,543,702 is used to provide the
current. The current provided, in response to the equivalent
resistance, Will depend upon the emitter folloWer character
istics of the circuit presented in the above-mentioned patent.
HoWever, a 16 mA current Will be approximately provided
positioned on the support surface and be depressed
depending on a siZe of the battery.
20
?rst pair of depressible posts is provided by a tWo-pronged
depressed.
25
30
4. The battery charger as claimed in claim 3, Wherein said
tWo-pronged fork pivots about a ?xed axis, moving rota
tively in a substantially vertical plane, to actuate said ?rst
sWitch.
5. The battery charger as claimed in claim 1, further
comprising a second sWitch, the second sWitch being actu
ated by a moveable part, the moveable part maintaining said
35
battery electrically connected With said battery charger.
40
6. The battery charger as claimed in claim 5, Wherein said
second sWitch is being actuated using a spring leaf, the
spring leaf being connected to the second sWitch and to the
moveable part, the moveable part making the spring leaf
pivot and actuating said second sWitch When the moveable
ment of the invention. In this embodiment, a second fork 32
may be pushed doWn, causing the left end of the ?exible leaf
part reach a certain position.
7. The battery charger as claimed in claim 6, Wherein said
?rst sWitch discriminates betWeen a AAA-type battery or a
depressible post; in such embodiment the single depressible
AA-type battery and a C-type battery, further Wherein said
post is located at a distance larger than the length of a C-type
battery from the second contact. The tWo tWo-pronged forks
can thus be positioned, preferably, at opposed ends of an
AA-type battery so as to help center batteries being posi
second sWitch discriminates betWeen a C-type battery and a
D-type battery.
8. The battery charger as claimed in claim 1, further
comprising a second pair of depressible posts actuating a
tioned thereon or therebetWeen.
second sWitch of the at least one sWitch if a battery larger
In another alternative embodiment, another tWo-pronged
fork may be used, in this alternative embodiment, the
than the distance betWeen the second pair of depressible
posts is inserted in the battery charger, the distance betWeen
said ?rst pair of depressible posts and said distance betWeen
distance betWeen the tWo prongs of the tWo-pronged fork is
larger than the diameter of a C-type battery. The ?rst
tWo-pronged fork helps to discriminate betWeen an AAA
type battery or an AA-type battery and a C-type battery,
While the second tWo-pronged fork helps discriminate
betWeen a C-type battery and a D-type battery.
said second pair of depressible posts being substantially
different in order to discriminate at least three types of
batteries.
9. The battery charger as claimed in claim 8, Wherein said
second pair of depressible posts is provided by a second
NoW referring to FIG. 6A, there is shoWn an alternative
tWo-pronged fork, the second tWo-pronged fork actuating
said second sWitch.
60
than an AA-type or an AAA-type battery. In this con?gu
ration an AA-type battery is inserted; the fork is not pushed
doWn.
In FIG. 6B, a C-type battery is inserted causing the fork
to be pushed doWn.
It Will be appreciated, by those skilled in the art, that tWo
single posts may be used instead of a tWo-pronged fork. One
3. The battery charger as claimed in claim 2, Wherein said
tWo-pronged fork moves in a vertical plane to said support
surface to actuate said ?rst sWitch.
battery.
embodiment in Which the tWo-pronged fork 14 pivots
around an axis 34 When it is pushed doWn by a battery larger
2. The battery charger as claimed in claim 1, Wherein the
fork, the tWo-pronged fork actuating a ?rst sWitch and a
biasing action of the fork helping to center the battery When
to an AA-type or an AAA-type battery, a 53 mA current Will
spring 22 to de?ect and actuate the sWitch 20 located
underneath. In this embodiment, the second fork 32 is
located at a distance larger than the length of a C-type
battery from the second contact. In another alternative
embodiment, the second fork 32 may also be a single
said sWitch comprises a ?rst pair of depressible posts, the
?rst pair of depressible posts biased With respect to the
support surface of the battery charger, said posts being
spaced to guide the battery therebetWeen to be centrally
be approximately provided to a C-type battery and a current
of 90 mA Will be approximately provided to a D-type
NoW referring to FIG. 5, there is shoWn another embodi
What is claimed is:
1. A battery charger receiving at least one battery hori
position of 0.200 inch (0.508 cm).
65
10. The battery charger as claimed in claim 1, further
comprising another depressible post located on said support
surface, the other depressible post actuating a second sWitch
if a battery is inserted over it, the other depressible post
being located at a predetermined distance from said ?rst pair
of depressible posts, the predetermined distance enabling to
discriminate betWeen tWo types of batteries, Wherein at least
three types of batteries may be discriminated.
US 6,610,941 B2
8
7
11. The battery charger as claimed in claim 10 Wherein
said at least three types of batteries comprise AA-type
15. The battery charger as claimed in claim 1, Wherein a
non-moveable conductive element connected to a terminal
battery or AAA-type battery, C-type battery and D-type
of the battery eXtends perpendicularly to the printed circuit
board, the conductive element being connected to the
printed circuit board by bonding to it in an electrically
battery.
12. The battery charger as claimed in claim 9, Wherein
said second tWo-pronged fork moves in a vertical plane to
said support surface to actuate said second sWitch.
13. The battery charger as claimed in claim 12, Wherein
said second tWo-pronged fork pivots about a ?xed axis,
moving rotatively in a substantially vertical plane, to actuate
said second sWitch.
14. The battery charger as claimed in claim 1, Wherein a
sWitch of the at least one sWitch is a tactile switch.
conductive joint.
16. The battery charger as claimed in claim 15, Wherein
said non-moveable conductive element connected to a ter
10
minal of the battery has an inWardly curved surface in order
to center the battery.
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