CogniPower Patent Summary

CogniPower Patent Summary
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CogniPower Patents - Summary Technical Description
Updated March, 2016
Patent 7642758, filed 11/6/2006 in the Patent and Trademark office in Washington, D.C.;
issued 1/5/2010. Power Conversion Regulator with Predictive Energy Balancing. An international
patent application in the European Union, EP1920532, is in the process of issuing. A Korean patent
issued as 10-1333218 on 11/20/2013.
The first patent application covers predictive energy balancing for switched mode power converter
(SMPC) control. The principle of energy prediction is covered in the broadest possible terms in the
allowed claims. In essence, the inductor is energized until it holds enough energy to balance the energy
deficit at the load. The regulation decision, made during an individual control cycle, is based on the
predicted state at the end of that control cycle. In so doing, the filter pole created by the output filter
capacitor is effectively removed from the feedback loop. That removes the tendency toward oscillation
shown by conventional controls, and eliminates the need to compromise between stability and
responsiveness. Controllers according to this invention can be built as analog or digital circuitry. The
main advantage enabled by prediction is intrinsic stability, which leads to superior agility, flexibility,
transient response, efficiency, and reliability. The broadest claims were allowed in the first issued
patent. We refiled for the disallowed claims and they issued in their entirety as patent 7965064 on June
21, 2011.
Patent 7492221, filed 11/6/2006 in the Patent and Trademark Office, Washington, D.C.; issued
2/17/2009. Power Conversion Regulator with Exponentiating Feedback Loop
This patent covers analogous improvements in analog circuits. It applies to analog power regulators
and to amplifiers, in general. These devices can be made faster and more stable without increasing their
cost by using exponential feedback. Shaping feedback to match the energy equations instead of
according to linear voltage differences allows faster settling at a given gain. Using this technique,
amplifier compensation becomes a much easier task. In addition to three-terminal regulators, power
amplifiers, buffers and drivers can be improved using this technique. The principle is general and the
claims are broad.
Patent 7786709, filed 3/5/07 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.; issued
8/31/10. Bi-polar Bi-directional Energy Balancing Power-Conversion Engine.
The third patent includes a number of related inventions. It was split by the Patent Office into five
patents. The broadest 15 claims are included in the first issued patent. The first divisional of the four
split patents issued as Patent 8698462 on 4/15/2014. A continuation for the rest of the IP has been filed
as 14/185144. This group of patents covers means to build and control bi-directional, bipolar SMPCs.
These define a new product category. Also covered here are several novel topologies for better SMPCs,
and novel control strategies, some not requiring prediction. This work was done in anticipation of
possible future attempts to circumvent the advantages protected in the first CogniPower patent. Other
claims in this patent cover improved SMPC circuit protection methods, improved ways to control
SMPCs that cross from discontinuous to continuous mode, adaptive control techniques that increase
efficiency, and means for using recirculation in a switched inductor to aid regulation. Some of these
novel converters can recover reactive energy from the load in order to achieve even greater efficiency.
Patent 8004344, filed 12/15/08 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.; issued
8/23/2011. Gate Charge Retaining Switch
The fourth patent covers improved controls for the switches used in SMPCs. Faster, more precise
control of switches is possible using the novel technique covered here. The bistable nature of a FET or
IGBT is used to aid in faster switching with more precise timing. The gate of a power switch can be
allowed to float for a brief period before being switched to the other state. Taking advantage of that
bistability during the crucial periods enables lower latency and faster switch transitions, enabling
higher efficiency. These improved switch controls can be used to advantage in any power switching
application. We have built and tested five generations of these devices. The most basic claims were
found to have been anticipated in the prior art, but claims covering important details required for
implementation were granted.
Patent 8134347 B2, filed 1/24/2008 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.;
issued 3/13/2012. Apparatus and Method for Recycling the Energy from Load Capacitance
This patent covers the basic principle of recovering reactive energy from a load when cycling power. Its
main application is seen to be computer power supplies, though the technique could eventually migrate
to almost any power converter. The basis for energy savings here is that circuitry need only be fully
powered for the actual time that it is performing useful work. With capacitive energy recovery, circuitry
can be turned off or powered at a minimum level for state preservation without unproductively
dissipating the energy stored in filter and load capacitance.
Inrush currents are high during power-up because filter and load capacitance needs to be charged, and a
significant amount of energy is required. The normal way to deal with inrush currents is to slowly ramp
voltage at power-up. That requirement limits the possibilities for saving energy by powering-up on
demand, and powering-down during idle periods. Instead, a POL converter with local storage can
supply energy at power-up to charge filter and load capacitance quickly from its local storage reservoir.
At power-down, such a POL converter can draw that filter and load capacitive energy back into local
storage. Circuitry that is now left ON constantly, but is only sometimes used, could be efficiently
powered up and down as needed. Substantial amounts of power can be saved in the process. At the
cost of the ability to handle higher peak currents, much lower average power can be achieved. The
small additional POL cost can be mitigated by reducing the size of heat sinks and fans.
Patent 8698540, filed 4/3/08 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.; issued
4/15/2014. DC Common Mode Level Shifter
The sixth patent application covers CogniPower's improved method of monitoring current in SMPCs.
The technique allows fast and accurate measurement of current even in the difficult electrical
environment found inside SMPCs. The same principle can be applied to amplifiers, particularly those
that must tolerate extreme voltages. Other applications include high-energy physics, power generation
and smart grid monitoring. CogniPower's CP10 Current Probe is based on this patent. The underlying
principle is to use a commutated common mode choke to level-shift a small differential signal in the
presence of large, fast-slewing common mode voltages. The special value of this method is that its
common mode rejection increases with common mode frequency, while conventional differential
amplifiers rapidly loose CMR at higher frequencies.
The use of a common mode choke as a level shifter has many unexplored applications. One application
that we have explored is for driving high-side switches. Patent 8, below, covers that particular case.
Patent 8570008 filed 11/18/10 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.; issued
This patent covers simple ways to add predictive energy balancing control to conventional buck
converters. These controllers can be based on volt-time product, eliminating the need for fast and
accurate current sensing. Predictive controls can recover more smoothly from disruptions and avoid the
tendency toward destructive runaway.
8. Patent 8823420 filed 11/23/10 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.; issued
September 2, 2014, SWITCH WITH COMMON-MODE CHOKE; publication date, May 26, 2011
This application application has been allowed, and the issue fees have been paid. It combines Patents 4
and 6 to make a new class of switch driver. This method of driving a FET or IGBT switch allows
superior timing, in particular, for the high side switch in a totem pole. It is faster and more precise than
prior art methods. Dead time can be held to a few nS without the need for closed-loop adaptive dead
time control. CogniPower's APEC 2010 Presentation describes this method in detail.
Patent 8552697 filed 1/28/11 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.; Issued
This patent shows how extensions of the first and third patents can be used to move power efficiently
between multiple ports by making choices on a cycle by cycle basis. The minimum topology requires
six switches and includes an input port, an output port and a storage port. Because the current in a
switched inductor cannot change instantaneously, to be completely opportunistic, a power converter
must be able to perform any energy transfer with any magnitude and polarity of switched inductor
current flowing at the start of a chopping cycle. The addition of a few extra switches enables complete
flexibility. Once such a set of rules is in place, energy need only move from the best source to the best
destination during any given cycle, with no limitations imposed by previous behavior or past
Another benefit of such a structure and set of controls is that multiple control loops can be closed
through the same switched inductor using time multiplexing. In the power factor correction (PFC) case,
the input current is regulated independently of the output voltage. A slower, non-critical loop controls
the average energy moved into or out of storage. One cycle's worth of energy for storage capacity is
sufficient for PFC applications. By incorporating larger storage capacity, UPS functionality is achieved.
A conventional AC to DC system would include a bridge rectifier, a boost PFC converter, a buck
converter, and an additional switching stage to incorporate the storage. All of the above can be replaced
with a single stage converter according to this invention, using only one switched inductor, and fewer
switching elements than the usual combination of conventional stages. Since the inefficiencies of
series-connected power stages multiply, employing only a single power conversion stage provides
substantial efficiency gains.
10. Patent 9036376 filed 11/14/11 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.;
EU Patent EP2748918. EU issue date, March 4, 2015. US issue date, May 19, 2015.
These are the enabling patents for a new topology family of PFC switched mode power converters.
Conventionally, converters for these applications use two stages of power conversion in series. The
compound converter moves power through only one stage of power conversion where possible, and
uses a second supplemental power conversion stage when necessary and/or desirable. This topology
offers advantages for regulation, efficiency, flexibility, size and cost. It lends itself to more efficient
Power Factor Correction, to uninterruptible power supply applications, and to applications requiring
redundancy for reliability. This topology adapts to multi-output supplies, bipolar supplies, to AC-AC
conversion and to power amplifiers. Applications include laptop-style AC-DC converters, LED
lighting, and bus converters. While disruptive in some ways, this patent is directed at drop-in
replacement power supplies for AC-to-DC conversion. Recently, we have found applications for this
technology in DC/DC converters that benefit from input current regulation.
11. Patent 8493893 B2 filed 12/29/11 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.;
A new method for sending bidirectional digital information through a single transformer isolator is
described. This technique was developed for IGBT switch drivers where status information must be
sent back across an isolation barrier from the IGBT to the controller. Existing products can send
information in both directions, but not at the same time. The conventional method requires "collision
avoidance" logic and forces blind periods when information can not be transmitted. This new method
allows data to pass simultaneously in opposite directions through the same transformer. Commercial
digital isolators for the purpose use two transformers, one for each direction of data flow. By
eliminating one transformer, coupling capacitance across the isolation barrier is minimized. Size and
cost also benefit.
12. Patent 9071152 filed 7/3/12 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C.; POWER
This patent describes a new form of AC-DC converter control particularly suited for wall adapters or
battery chargers. It is adapted for low cost, small size, and better efficiency. Improved feedback for
regulation does not require an optocoupler. Filter capacitors can be much smaller than those needed in
conventional converters, allowing the use of ceramic capacitors instead of bulky electrolytic capacitors
or expensive tantalum capacitors. Unloaded wall adapter power consumption has been reduced to just a
few milliwatts. The same control approach provides benefits in much higher power supplies, as well.
13. Patent Application US2014/011206 filed 1/14/13 in the Patent and Trademark Office in
WO/2014/110474, publication date, July 17, 2014
Bidirectional Predictive Energy Balancing Flyback Converters suited for power amplifiers and audio
amplifiers are described here. These are Predictive Energy Balancing power converters reduced to their
simplest form. Topologies that have been of little value in the past become capable when equipped with
agile controls. One particular target application is a cell phone audio amplifier for piezo speakers. AC
motor drive is another application. The first 10 claims of this application have been ruled allowable.
14. Patent Application 14/598582 filed 2/18/14 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington,
D.C.; EFFICIENT INDUCTORLESS AC/DC CONVERTER. This patent is in the process of
This patent application shows an inductorless AC/DC technique capable of 98% efficiency. It is well
suited for producing a mains side regulated power supply in isolated AC/DC converters. That supply
might power control circuitry and switch drive circuits. This technique could also be valuable for LED
lighting applications, as well as for other low power applications where cost is paramount.
15. Patent Application 14/711869 filed 7/28/14 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington,
International applications are pending.
This patent application shows a family of new topologies for single-stage power converters with PFC.
Output is well-regulated DC or AC. Outputs can be bipolar and/or bidirectional. The uniting principle
is an extension of the Compound Converter, #10 above, and can also take advantage of elements of #1,
2, 9, 12, & 13. These topologies are simple, yet flexible. More function is obtained from fewer circuit
elements for better efficiency and lower cost. Forward and blended Forward/Flyback forms are scalable
to arbitrarily high power levels.
16. Provisional Patent Application filed 7/1/15 in the Patent and Trademark Office in Washington,
This patent application covers a new technique to speed the settling of amplifiers and buffers driving
capacitive or inductive loads.
As of March 2015 there are 16 patents issued, 2 issuing and with 7 more pending.
The intellectual property described here is owned by CogniPower, LLC.
CogniPower, LLC
3217 Phoenixville Pike
Malvern, PA 19355
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