Patent number 8643322 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "It is important to reduce the power consumed by these devices in the periods when the actuator is not executing a movement command. In practice, these movements are generally of a short duration (for example less than 2 minutes per day for a roller blind) and the power absorbed by the motor represents a low energy compared to the energy that can be dissipated by the control devices. For a power absorbed from the mains by the motor that is assumed to be equal to 90 watts, the consumption over a day is: 90.times.2/60=3 watt hours, and therefore a little over 1 KWh per year. If the average consumption of the control devices is assumed to be equal to 1 watt when they are awaiting a movement command, it is then 24 watt hours that are consumed per day, and therefore close to 10 KWh per year. This discrepancy is unacceptable. Furthermore, both the current and future standards stipulate that the consumption of control devices should be drastically reduced when they are in a standby mode, for example awaiting a movement command."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The aim of the invention is therefore to reduce the consumption in standby mode, and in certain operating phases, of a home automation actuator comprising a power supply converter, simply called 'converter'. The converter is used to power a number of elements situated downstream of the converter, in particular electronic actuator control and/or switching and/or radio reception means. The consumed power concerned is not the power consumed by the converter itself but the power consumed by the elements situated downstream of this converter. In particular, a reduction of this power in standby mode is obtained by reducing the output voltage of the converter, value by which the various standby currents are multiplied to determine the power consumed in standby mode.
"Similarly, the invention makes it possible to reduce the power consumed by the actuator during certain operating phases by dynamically adapting the output voltage of the converter to the nature or to the state of the elements situated downstream of the converter.
"For economic and technical reasons, a single AC/DC converter is used to transform the AC voltage of the AC mains into a substantially DC voltage of low value which can be used by the different control devices. However, these devices do not all have the same operating voltage. For example, an economical relay requires a winding voltage equal to 12 V (and therefore requires a lower current than a relay with a lower nominal voltage), whereas a Hall effect position sensor operates between 4 and 18 volts, a radiofrequency receiver requires 3 volts, while a microcontroller can even operate at 2 volts.
"These values are obviously subject to change depending on the component families and technological advances. Moreover, it is often problematic to directly power a radiofrequency receiver by a switched-mode AC/DC converter: this is reflected in a loss of sensitivity of the receiver. There is then a benefit to be obtained in inserting a linear regulator, acting as a buffer, between the converter and the radiofrequency receiver. The thrust for the technical-economical optimum is therefore generally to have a voltage regulator at the output of an AC/DC converter. Upstream of the regulator, the switching member and the sensor are powered, and downstream of the regulator, the command receiver and the microcontroller are powered.
"It is therefore more often than not the switching member which determines the output voltage of the converter, and therefore the value by which the various standby currents are multiplied to determine the power consumed in standby mode. It is obvious that a high nominal voltage for the switching member greatly penalizes this power, which is all the more regrettable since the switching member itself consumes nothing in standby mode.
"The invention enhances the devices of the prior art in that it uses a power supply and control circuit with one or two reduced voltage levels. This circuit is obtained by adding a single component or two components to a converter of the prior art, which makes it possible to very simply modify existing actuator ranges in order to obtain optimized operation in standby mode.
"The home automation actuator according to the invention comprises a motor for maneuvering a mobile element in a building, a command receiver, a control unit, a single output converter, and at least one switching member intended to supply power to the motor. It is characterized in that the switching member and the input of a regulator are directly connected to the output of the converter whereas the control unit and the command receiver are connected to the output of the regulator and in that it comprises a control means for controlling a first reduced level of the output voltage of the converter, which can be activated by the control unit, this first reduced level being lower than a minimum voltage for activating the switching member.
"The home automation actuator according to the invention may comprise a control means for controlling a second reduced level of the output voltage of the converter, this second reduced level being lower than the first reduced level.
"According to the invention, the control means for controlling a reduced level may link the anode of a Zener diode, the cathode of which is connected to a control input of the converter, to an electric ground of the converter.
"The home automation actuator according to the invention may comprise a means for short-circuiting the regulator between its input and its output.
"According to the invention, the first reduced level may be equal to or greater than the threshold voltage of the regulator.
"According to the invention, the second reduced level may be lower than the threshold voltage of the regulator.
"The control unit according to the invention may include a timer, an operating voltage of which is lower than a nominal voltage of the command receiver.
"According to the invention, the second reduced level may be equal to the minimum operating voltage of the timer.
"According to the invention, an output of the timer may constitute the control means for controlling the second reduced level of the output voltage of the converter.
"According to the invention, the converter may be of AC-DC step-down type.
"According to the invention, the converter may be of DC-DC type.
"According to the invention, the switching member may comprise a relay or a triac if the motor is of AC induction type and the switching member may comprise an inverter if the motor is of brushless permanent magnet type.
"According to the invention, the method for powering and controlling a home automation actuator as defined previously comprises a dynamic adaptation of the output voltage level of the converter to a state of the actuator.
"The method according to the invention may comprise, in succession, a sleep step, a listening step and an operating step if a control signal is detected during the listening step, each step defining a state of the actuator, and in which the output voltage of the converter may be equal to a voltage allowing for the activation of the switching member during the operating step.
"In the method according to the invention, during the sleep step, at least one of the following operations may take place: powering the control method with a power supply voltage lower than the minimum power supply voltage of the command receiver; and not powering a position sensor of the actuator."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Tranchand, Alain; Lambersend, Bruno. Power Supply with Adapted Output Voltage. U.S. Patent Number 8643322, filed
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