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Numéro de publicationUS20050164630 A1
Type de publicationDemande
Numéro de demandeUS 11/078,576
Date de publication28 juil. 2005
Date de dépôt11 mars 2005
Date de priorité19 nov. 2003
Autre référence de publicationCA2599896A1, CN101288210A, EP1864356A1, US7460006, US20060220835, US20080094189, US20090184810, WO2006098833A1
Numéro de publication078576, 11078576, US 2005/0164630 A1, US 2005/164630 A1, US 20050164630 A1, US 20050164630A1, US 2005164630 A1, US 2005164630A1, US-A1-20050164630, US-A1-2005164630, US2005/0164630A1, US2005/164630A1, US20050164630 A1, US20050164630A1, US2005164630 A1, US2005164630A1
InventeursLawrence Kates
Cessionnaire d'origineLawrence Kates
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Repeater unit with flourescent ballast
US 20050164630 A1
Résumé
A signal repeater for receiving and re-transmitting signals from environmental transducers and the like, and for mechanically and electrically cooperating with existing electrically powered fixtures is described. In one embodiment, the repeater is configured to be mechanically and electrically coupling to a standard power fixture such as, for example, a screw-in lamp base (two-way, three-way, and the like), a wall outlet, etc. In one embodiment, the repeater unit includes fluorescent lamp ballast for driving one or more fluorescent lamps.
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Revendications(14)
1. A repeater for mounting to an electrically powered fixture:
a rechargeable power source configured to be charged by electrical power received from said electrically powered fixture;
a repeater module configured to receive power from said rechargeable power source; and
a fluorescent lamp ballast configured to receive electrical power from said electrically powered fixture.
2. The repeater in accordance with claim 1, wherein said electrically powered fixture comprises a screw-in lamp base.
3. The repeater in accordance with claim 1, wherein said electrically powered fixture comprises a two-way lamp base.
4. The repeater in accordance with claim 1, wherein said electrically powered fixture comprises a three-way lamp base.
5. The repeater in accordance with claim 1, further comprising a power supply configured to convert electrical power received from said electrically powered fixture to a current and voltage suitable for recharging said rechargeable power source.
6. The repeater in accordance with claim 1, wherein further comprising a mating structure for maintaining said electrically powered fixture functionality.
7. The repeater in accordance with claim 1, wherein said rechargeable power source comprises one or more rechargeable batteries.
8. The repeater in accordance with claim 1, further comprising a connector for connecting to a fluorescent lamp.
9. The repeater in accordance with claim 1, further comprising a communication path between said ballast and said repeater module.
10. The repeater in accordance with claim 9, wherein said repeater module is configured to receive commands to control said ballast.
11. The repeater in accordance with claim 9, wherein said repeater module is configured to receive status information from said ballast.
12. The repeater in accordance with claim 9, wherein said repeater module receives a signal from at least one transducer and re-transmits said signal to a base station.
13. The repeater in accordance with claim 9, wherein said repeater module is configured to control said ballast to produce a desired brightness of a fluorescent lamp driven by the ballast.
14. The repeater in accordance with claim 9, further comprising a housing unit configured to insert into an exit sign.
Description
REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/718,374 titled “REPEATER UNIT”, which was filed Nov. 19, 2003, the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to radio frequency wireless signaling systems, and more particularly to an improved repeater system which can be incorporated into electrically powered fixtures for supplying power to common electrical devices such as light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, circuit outlets and switches, or other electrical appliances.

2. Description of the Related Art

Known systems employ remote transducers to signal various observations to a base station, but can lack power to reach the destination, such as a centrally located station. One or more repeaters intercept the signal, amplify it and retransmit it until the destination is reached. For example, a transducer at a remote location can detect and signal smoke, temperature, humidity, wind speed and other important environmental parameters. Other transducers can provide signals representative of the state or the physical condition of an object or physical location.

Most buildings, including dwellings, are now equipped with transducers or sensors combined in a detector to monitor the performance and efficiency of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment. Other sensors incorporated in a smoke detector are used to monitor atmospheric parameters such as smoke level or temperature condition that warn of a fire. Still other sensors are used to signal a security breach, or other hazardous or dangerous condition.

For the most part, such detectors issue an audible or visible alarm, but not necessarily a signal that can be received in a centrally located station where someone can call for assistance. A repeater circuit associated with a transducer such as a smoke detectors or other fire sensors, if equipped with a wireless transmitter to broadcast a signal that includes the location of the sensor and the conditions being monitored could, if operated in conjunction with repeaters between the sensor and the base station, alert the base station to the change in conditions that can be interpreted as a fire.

But providing a power supply to such a repeater is troublesome because electrical outlets can not be readily available. Usually, within relatively close range of a detector are installed powered devices such as light fixtures or power outlets to which power is applied from a central location for predetermined and finite periods of time. For example, in a large residential complex such as an apartment building, area lights are illuminated during the hours of darkness and are not powered during the times when adequate ambient light is provided from natural sources.

SUMMARY

These and other problems are solved by the repeater configured to mate to an electrical power connection and to act as a repeater to receive and retransmit signals. In one embodiment, the repeater can be installed in an existing electrical receptacle so that signals from nearby detectors that need monitoring can be stored, amplified, and broadcast to a centrally located station or other repeaters. The repeater can be compacts and provide relatively continuous operation, even when electrical power from the receptacle is unavailable. In one embodiment, a rechargeable power supply, such as, for example capacitors, rechargeable batteries, etc., is provided. The rechargeable power supply is charged when power is provided to the repeater unit and is used to power the repeater unit when other power is not available or insufficient. The recharging of the rechargeable power supply facilitates relatively uninterrupted communication by the transceiver.

In one embodiment, the repeater unit is designed to mate with an existing light bulb socket so that it can be interposed between a light bulb and the socket. Since the repeater unit also includes a light bulb socket, that must be done to install the repeater unit is remove the light bulb from the socket, insert the repeater unit and return the light bulb to the socket of the repeater unit. During daylight hours, while the light bulb is not being powered-on, the rechargeable batteries permit operation of the repeater unit to relay sensor information to the central location such as a base station. In the evening, when the lights are powered-on, the repeater unit is also powered-on and the batteries are recharged. Thereby, the repeater unit provides continuous operation even when electrical power from a light bulb socket or other receptacle is unavailable.

In other embodiments, the repeater unit is installed in a fluorescent light fixture and connected to the power lines. In additional embodiments, the repeater unit could be installed in EXIT signs or even switches. In yet other embodiments, the repeater unit can be incorporated in outlet receptacles where power is provided to the unit and the batteries provide a back up in the event of a loss of power to the premises.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the below referenced accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a side, partially sectioned view of repeater incorporated in a lamp base.

FIGS. 2A, 2B are block diagrams of the circuits for a repeater in a lamp base as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows the repeater incorporated into an R30 light fixture.

FIG. 4A shows the repeater is incorporated with a light bulb.

FIG. 4B shows the repeater is a light bulb shaped fixture that cooperates with a light bulb.

FIGS. 5A and 5B shows the repeater is incorporated with a fluorescent light fixture.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing a repeater is incorporated into an electrical outlet.

FIG. 7 partly sectional, partly phantom view of outlet of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 shows a repeater that includes a repeater module and a fluorescent lamp ballast.

FIG. 9 is a block diagram of the repeater unit shown in FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 shows a repeater adapted to be installed into an electrical light socket 14. In FIG. 1, the repeater 10 includes a housing unit 12 fitted with a first mating structure 16 which is adapted to mechanically and to electrically cooperate with the electrical light socket 14. The repeater unit 10 further includes a first power supply 22 to provide power to the repeater unit 10. In one embodiment, the electrical light socket 14 is a candelabra socket and the first mating structure 16 is adapted to fit the candelabra socket. It should be noted that the electric light socket 14 is electrically connected to the second power supply 48 that provides electrical power. In one embodiment, the electrical light socket 14 maintains its existing functionality when repeater unit 10 is installed. Further, in this embodiment, the first mating structure 16 is a standard candelabra base that mechanically and electrically cooperates with the candelabra socket. Additionally, it should be noted that the first mating structure 16 can be any mechanical structure that mates with an electrical receptacle. Electrical light socket 14 can be an electrical outlet, an electrical receptacle, an electrical fixture, a power supply fixture, an existing fixture, an electrically powered fixture, a fixture or a fixture that is associated with a second power supply 48.

The housing unit 12 can further include a heat shield 11. The heat shield 11 acts as a reflector for light when a light bulb 18 is powered-on. However, it should be noted that even though the light bulb 18 is depicted in the figure as an incandescent flood light bulb, a repeater designed to cooperate with other light fixtures such as a fluorescent light, a fluorescent tube, a neon light, a neon tube, other light sources or common electrical devices come within the spirit and the scope of the present invention. In addition, the housing unit 12 includes a housing interior wall 20, wherein the first power supply 22 is mounted between the housing interior wall 20 and the heat shield 11, the first power supply 22. Mounted to the housing unit 12 is an antenna 24 which transmits and receives wireless signals. The antenna 24 is depicted as a monopole antenna but can be any device that will receive and transmit wireless signals. The antenna 24 is shown external to the housing, but one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the antenna 24 can also configured to be conformal with the housing and/or internal to the housing. A repeater module 26 is located at the base of the housing interior while a second circuit board 34 is connected to a second mating structure 17 that is adapted to insert a light source such as a light bulb 18. Further, the second mating structure 17 is electrically connected to the second power source 48. In one embodiment, the repeater module 26 includes a transceiver circuit 28. In addition, the first power supply 22, which can include a rechargeable power storage module, comprising a rechargeable power storage cell and a power recharger, to provide energizing power to set the desired operating point for the transceiver circuit 28.

Referring to FIGS. 2A and 2B, block diagrams of the repeater module 26 is shown. In one embodiment, the first power supply 22 is a rechargeable battery module including a rechargeable battery 27 and a battery charger 46. It should be noted that the first power supply 22 can be any electrical storage device such as a nickel cadmium battery, a lithium-ion battery, a rechargeable power storage module, or any device that provides electrical energy. It should also be noted that a power recharger can be any device that charges a rechargeable power storage cell such as a solar panel array, transformer, electrical circuit board or other electrical circuit. The second power supply 48 is a source of energy from the electrical light socket 14. The second power supply 48 furnishes electrical energy to the battery charger 46. The battery charger 46, in turn, powers the transceiver circuit 28 and recharges the rechargeable battery 27 when power from the second power supply 48 is available, i.e., powered-on. When the second power supply 48 is not available, not being supplied, or powered-off to the mating structure 16, the first power supply 22 powers the repeater unit 10.

The repeater module 26 further includes a first system and a second system. The first system includes the transceiver circuit 28, a received signal strength indicator 31 and a display 38. The second system includes a micro-controller unit 40, a memory storage unit 32 and a data communication port 42. In one embodiment, the transceiver circuit 28 is a Texas Instruments, part No. TRF6901 RF transceiver circuit. However, the transceiver circuit 28 can be any similar transmit/receive circuit that will receive and transmit electrical signals. In this embodiment, the transceiver circuit 28 receives at least one electrical signal from the antenna 24. The signal is a Radio Frequency (RF), a microwave or millimeter wave signal. The signal originates at a transducer 23, which can by example be located in a building, such as an apartment or office building, which measures environmental parameters such as smoke index, particulate matter, moisture, humidity, pressure or temperature. By way of other examples, the transducer 23 can be located in an exit sign, a fire alarm, an air-conditioning unit, or other locations where a user desires to monitor the environmental parameters and to send this information to another location, such as a repeater or a base station.

After the transceiver circuit 28 receives and processes the signal representing the measured environmental parameter, the signal is electrically coupled to the micro-controller 40. In one embodiment, the micro-controller is a Xilinix, Part No. XE2S100E. Generally, the micro-controller evaluates the signal, then categorizes and maps the signal into representative values for storage within the memory storage unit 32. In one embodiment, the memory storage unit 32 is a Microchip, Part No. #93AA56A, but, other memory storage devices can be substituted and are also included. Following, the micro-controller 40 can send the representative values back through the transceiver circuit 26 for re-transmission through the antenna 24 to a centrally located station, a centralized database station, another repeater unit, or other destination.

The data communication port 42 provides control and data signals to the micro-controller unit 40. Such control and data signals used to program, to reprogram, to enter data, or to remove data which can be stored internally within the micro-controller unit 40 or externally within the memory storage unit 32. In one mode, the control and data signals program the micro-controller unit 40 to determine which of the signals received by the antenna 24 is to be processed further by the transceiver circuit 28. In another mode, the control and data signals program the micro-controller 40 to store such signals in the memory storage unit 32. In another mode, the control signals program the micro-controller unit 40 to select which of the stored signals is to be retrieved from the memory storage unit 32, and which of them are to be transmitted from the transceiver unit 28 through the antenna 24, to the next repeater unit, the base station, centrally located station, or centralized database station.

The repeaters described in the following paragraphs are not hard-wired, but rather plug into an existing socket. Additionally, the repeaters described below can include sockets for use with other electrical appliances in the same way that the first embodiment includes sockets for the light bulb that was removed to install the repeater.

FIG. 3 shows the repeater 10 configured to allow insertion of an R30-type light bulb and fits into an R30-type light fixture. This embodiment includes the repeater board 26, the antenna 24 and the first power supply 22 and other circuitry (not shown) but described functionally in FIGS. 2A and 2B. The major difference from the FIG. 1 embodiment is that this embodiment fits into an R30 light fixture.

FIG. 4A shows the repeater 10 packaged within a light bulb. This embodiment includes the repeater board 26, the antenna 24, and the first power supply 22 and other circuitry (not shown) but described functionally in FIGS. 2A and 2B. The major difference from the FIG. 1 embodiment is that in this alternative embodiment, the repeater unit 10 looks like a light bulb.

FIG. 4B shows the repeater 10 as a light bulb shaped fixture that cooperates with another light bulb. This embodiment includes the repeater board 26, the antenna 24, and the first power supply 22 and other circuitry (not shown) but described functionally in FIGS. 2A and 2B. The major difference from the FIG. 1 embodiment is that in this alternative embodiment, the repeater unit 10 looks like a light bulb and cooperates with another light bulb.

FIGS. 5A, 5B show the repeater 10 incorporated with a fluorescent light fixture 13 that includes a ballast 9. This embodiment includes the repeater board 26, the antenna 24, and the first power supply 22 and other circuitry (not shown) but described functionally in FIGS. 2A and 2B. The major difference from the FIG. 1 embodiment is that this alternative embodiment repeater unit 10 plus a first fluorescent light bulb 21 replaces a standard fluorescent light bulb. The repeater unit 10 includes a plug 19 that fits into a fluorescent light fixture socket (not shown) and is mechanically adapted to accept a first fluorescent bulb 21 so that the functionality of the fluorescent light fixture 13 is maintained. Moreover, a second fluorescent bulb 15 also fits into the fluorescent light fixture 13 to permit more light. The repeater described in the next two paragraphs is not hard-wired, but rather plugs into an existing socket. Additionally, the repeaters described below include sockets for use with other electrical appliances in the same way that the first embodiment includes sockets for the light bulb that was removed to install the repeater. Finally, installation can be described as described above.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a repeater incorporated into a service outlet 62. A service outlet 62 is an electric outlet but can be any outlet that provides a source of electrical energy. In particular, a service outlet repeater unit 60 (not shown) is installed into the plastic housing 58. Further, the service outlet repeater unit 60 (not shown) includes outlet repeater antennas 56 to receive and to transmit electric signals to and from repeaters, base stations, or other destinations such as a centrally located data center. However, the major difference from other embodiments discussed elsewhere in this specification is that this alternative embodiment is plugged into an existing electrical outlet or socket instead of inserted into an electrical light receptacle.

FIG. 7 is a partly sectional, partly phantom view of the service outlet 62 of FIG. 6. This alternative embodiment houses the service outlet repeater unit 60 within the service outlet 62 and has the similar functional aspects and building blocks as shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B. In particular, the service outlet repeater unit 60 includes the following components: the plastic housing 58 (as shown in FIG. 3); the service outlet 62 (functionally equivalent to the second power supply 48); outlet batteries 64 (functionally equivalent to the first power supply 22); a transceiver/repeater printed circuit board 66 (functionally equivalent to the RF circuit board 26); and outlet repeater service antennas 56 (functionally equivalent to the antenna 24). The service outlet repeater unit 60 draws power from the outlet batteries 64 during periods of time the service outlet 62 is not powered, e.g., blown fuse or when power is unavailable. The service outlet repeater unit 60 recharges the outlet batteries 64 and powers the service outlet repeater unit 60 during periods when the service outlet 62 is energized, i.e., powered-on. It should be noticed that the choice for components are only exemplary in nature including: the plastic housing which can be any housing unit, a service outlet which can be any wired electrical receptacle, and the outlet batteries, which can be any rechargeable storage device.

Further, in another embodiment of FIG. 6, the repeater can further be hard-wired into an existing electrical outlet. In this embodiment, the component functionality is the same as discussed in the above embodiments, however, the installation would be different such as requiring partial or full removal of existing wall outlet plug, and electrical connection of the repeater to existing wires disconnected from an existing wall outlet and mounting to the surface associated with an existing wall outlet.

Further, in another embodiment of FIG. 6, the repeater is adapted to replace a building accouterment while maintaining said functionality of said building accouterment. The building accouterment is by way of example, a ceiling tile, a heating and ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) grill, a ceiling speaker, a ceiling speaker tile, and a speaker grill or speaker attached to the wall of the building or the like. In this embodiment, a first power supply can be the sole source of electrical power for the repeater unit. An alternative of this embodiment, both a first power supply and a second power supply can supply power to the repeater unit. Further, in this embodiment, the installation would be different than FIG. 6 above, including removal of the building accouterment which is well known in the art, and installation of the repeater unit adapted to replace a building accouterment.

FIG. 8 shows the repeater 800 incorporated in to a screw-in lamp fixture and including fluorescent lamp ballast 801 module. The repeater unit 800 includes the repeater module 26, the antenna 24, and the power supply 22. A connector 802 is provided for connecting to a fluorescent lamp 810. A lamp 810 is shown in FIG. 8 by way of example and not by way of limitation. The repeater unit 800 mates to electrical power through a mating structure 16. In one embodiment, the mating structure 16 is configured to mate with a two-way screw-in lamp base. In one embodiment, the mating structure 16 is configured to mate with a three-way screw-in lamp base. In one embodiment, the mating structure 16 is configured to mate with an electrical outlet.

FIG. 9 is a block diagram 900 of the repeater unit 800. Input power is provided from the mating structure 16 to an optional surge protector 901. Output power from the surge protector 901 is provided to the ballast 801 and to the repeater module 26. If the surge protector 901 is omitted, then input power from the mating structure 16 is provided to the ballast 801 and to the repeater module 26. Output power from the ballast 801 is provided through connector 802 to the lamp 810. One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the ballast 801 and the repeater module 26 are shown as separate modules for purposes of explanation and not by way of limitation. A power supply 905 is provided to provide power from the mating structure 16 to the rechargeable supply 22. Power from the rechargeable supply 22 is provided to the repeater module 26.

In one embodiment, the ballast 801 and the repeater module 26 are be combined into a single unit.

In one embodiment, the ballast 801 and the repeater module 26 share some common functionality. For example, in one embodiment, a low-voltage common low-voltage power supply is provided to power portions of the ballast 801 and the repeater module 26. In one embodiment, an optional communication path 902 is provided between the ballast 801 and the repeater module 26. In one embodiment, a processor that controls functions of the repeater module 26 uses the control path 902 to also control and monitor selected functions of the ballast 801. In one embodiment, the ballast 801 uses the control path 902 to provide status and operational information to the repeater module 26 such that the repeater module 26 can transmit ballast status information (e.g., ballast failed, lamp failed, etc.) to a monitoring system. In one embodiment, the repeater module 26 is configured to use the communication path 902 to control one or more operational functions of the ballast 801 (e.g., on/off functions, dimmer functions, etc.). In one embodiment, the repeater module 26 controls the ballast 801 according to commands received by the repeater module 26 by radio frequency communications.

In one embodiment, the mating structure 16 is configured to mate with a three-way lamp base having a common lead, a “high” lead, and a “low” lead. The repeater 26 is configured to draw power from either the high lead, the low lead, or both. The ballast 801 is configured to provide relatively brighter light from the lamp 810 when the high lead is activated and relatively dimmer light form the lamp 810 with only the low lead is activated.

The lamp control described in connection with the block diagram 900 can also be provided in connection with the repeater unit shown in FIGS. 1-7. In such case, the ballast 801 can be replaced with one or more relays or electronic switches (e.g., dimmer circuits) controlled by the repeater module 26 to provide switched power to the connector 17.

The invention is not limited to the specific embodiment described in the above disclosure. Thus, the scope of the invention is limited only the by claims that follow and equivalents thereto.

Référencé par
Brevet citant Date de dépôt Date de publication Déposant Titre
US8774707 *16 déc. 20118 juil. 2014Silver Spring Networks, Inc.Utility grid wireless node with powered emergency device
US20130157559 *16 déc. 201120 juin 2013George Flammer, IIIUtility grid wireless node with powered emergency device
Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis455/11.1, 455/10
Classification internationaleG08B25/00, G08B17/10, G08B25/10, H05B37/02
Classification coopérativeG08B7/06, H01R33/945, G08B25/009, G08C2201/40, H01R33/942, G08B25/10, H05B37/0272, G08B1/08
Classification européenneH01R33/94F, G08B25/00S, H05B37/02B6R, G08B25/10, G08B1/08, G08B7/06
Événements juridiques
DateCodeÉvénementDescription
19 août 2014ASAssignment
Owner name: GOOGLE INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NEST LABS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:033568/0693
Effective date: 20140207
29 juil. 2014ASAssignment
Effective date: 20130927
Owner name: NEST LABS, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE INADVERTENT PATENT NO. 8,101,892 TO BE REMOVED PREVIOUSLY RECORDED AT REEL: 031658 FRAME: 0179. ASSIGNOR(S) HEREBY CONFIRMS THE ASSIGNMENT;ASSIGNOR:KATES, LAWRENCE;REEL/FRAME:033452/0413
28 juil. 2014ASAssignment
Owner name: NEST LABS, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE INADVERTENT ADDITION OF U.S.PATENT NO. 8,101,892 TO THE LIST. ALL OTHER NUMBERS REMAIN AS PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 031658 FRAME 0093. ASSIGNOR(S) HEREBY CONFIRMS THE U.S. PATENT NO. 8,101,892 IS TO BE REMOVED;ASSIGNOR:KNOBBE, MARTENS, OLSON & BEAR LLP;REEL/FRAME:033429/0848
Effective date: 20130927
18 nov. 2013ASAssignment
Owner name: NEST LABS, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KATES, LAWRENCE;REEL/FRAME:031658/0179
Effective date: 20130927
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:KNOBBE, MARTENS, OLSON & BEAR LLP;REEL/FRAME:031658/0093