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1. WO2012175901 - SPEED CONTROL FOR POWER TOOLS

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CLAIMS

1. A power tool, comprising: a driven element, an electric motor coupled to the driven element so as to drive the driven element, an electric power source electrically coupled to the motor so as to supply electric current to the motor and a control circuit arranged to control the supply of electric current to the motor from the power source, and a current sensor operable to output a current signal indicative of the current flowing through the motor;

in which the control circuit has a high speed mode and a low speed mode, the control circuit being arranged so that:

when it is in the high speed mode, the control circuit supplies electric current to the motor so as to attempt to drive the driven element at a first desired speed;

when it is in the low speed mode, the control circuit supplies electric current to the motor so as to attempt to drive the driven element at a second desired speed which is lower than the first desired speed; and

the control circuit switches between the high speed mode and the low speed mode dependent on the current signal.

2. The tool of claim 1 , being a battery-operated power tool, where the power source comprises a battery.

3. The tool of claim 1 or claim 2, in which the control circuit is arranged so as to switch to the high speed mode when the current signal indicates increasing current and to switch to the low speed mode when the current signal indicates lessening current.

4. The tool of any preceding claim, in which the control circuit is arranged so as to switch from the low speed mode to the high speed mode when the current signal indicates a current exceeding a first threshold, and to switch from the high speed mode to the low speed mode when the current signal indicates a current below a second threshold.

5. The tool of any preceding claim, in which the control circuit is arranged so that, when it switches from the high speed mode to the low speed mode or from the

low speed mode to the high speed mode, it will not switch back into the other mode for a predetermined period of time.

6. The tool of any preceding claim, being a lawnmower, with the driven element being a grass-cutting blade.

7. The tool of claim 6, in which the first desired speed is between 2900 to 3300 revolutions per minute (rpm) (typically between 3000 to 3200 rpm) and the second desired speed is between 2500 to 2900 rpm (typically between 2600 to 2800 rpm).

8. The tool of any preceding claim in which the control circuit is arranged to control the motor, when in the high speed mode, over a range of loadings of the driven element, such that the motor runs at a speed such that the driven element is driven at the first desired speed and, when in the low speed mode, over a range of loadings of the driven element, such that the motor runs at a speed such that the driven element is driven at the second desired speed.

9. A method of controlling a power tool, the power tool comprising a driven element, an electric motor coupled to the driven element so as to drive the driven element and a control circuit arranged to control the supply of electric current to the motor from the power source;

the method comprising the control circuit driving the electric motor in a high speed mode so as to attempt to drive the driven element at a first desired speed; and in the low speed mode so as to attempt to drive the driven element at a second desired speed which is lower than the first desired speed;

in which the method comprises the control circuit switching between the high speed mode and the low speed mode dependent on the current flowing through the motor.

10. The method of claim 9, comprising switching to the high speed mode when the current increases and switching to the low speed mode when the current lessens.

1 1. The method of claim 9 or claim 10, comprising switching from the low speed mode to the high speed mode when the current exceeds a first threshold, and switching from the high speed mode to the low speed mode when the current falls below a second threshold.

12. The method of any of claims 9 to 1 1 , comprising, after switching from the high speed mode to the low speed mode or from the low speed mode to the high speed mode, not switching back into the other mode for a predetermined period of time.

13. The method of any of claims 9 to 12, in which the tool is a lawnmower, with the driven element being a grass-cutting blade.

14. The method of claim 13, in which the first desired speed is between 2900 to 3300 revolutions per minute (rpm) (typically between 3000 to 3200 rpm) and the second desired speed is between 2500 to 2900 rpm (typically between 2600 to 2800 rpm).

15. The method of any of claims 9 to 14, comprising controlling the motor to run, when in the high speed mode, over a range of loadings of the driven element, at a speed such that the driven element is driven at the first desired speed and, when in the low speed mode, over a range of loadings of the driven element, at a speed such that the driven element is driven at the second desired speed.