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1. (WO2018160761) APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR TRIPLE CHARGE SOLAR POWER SUPPLY
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APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR TRIPLE CHARGE SOLAR POWER SUPPLY

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/465,743 entitled "Apparatus and Method for Triple Charge Solar Power Supply," filed March 01, 2017, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present invention relates to methods, devices, and systems for improved solar power supply that provides a plurality of charging methods within one device. More specifically, the present invention relates to methods, devices and systems for an improved solar power supply with interchangeable or modular rechargeable batteries.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Currently, no portable solar power supply (e.g., portable solar chargers) products exist that contain a triple-charge solar power supply system for consumers or a replaceable rechargeable battery. The current or traditional portable solar power supply products have many disadvantages.

[0004] Traditional solar battery chargers are over-powered. Since auxiliary electronics are required for the commercially available solar cells, the solar chargers require excess voltage and current to power the auxiliary electronics. For example, if a consumer purchased a typical 12-volt PV module to charge a 12-volt battery, the 12-volt PV module provides approximately 17.7 to 20.8-volts output and 8 to 9 amps by using 32 or 36 individual cells respectively connected in a series arrangement (see one example with a Kyocera KD140GX-LFBS 140 Watt 12 Volt Solar Module). The output voltage and current SIGNIFICANTLY EXCEEDS requirements of the 12- volt battery, and requires derating, conditioning or modulation of the PV power output to safely recharge a 12-volt battery. Consumers or manufacturers must integrate ancillary

circuitry /electronics within the PV module to improve the performance of the PV modules to prevent the battery from damage due to the fluctuations observed under different lighting conditions.

[0005] Traditional solar battery chargers have low-life expectancy or product longevity. Since solar battery chargers incorporate a variety of auxiliary electronics to derate, condition or modulate the power output to safely recharge electronic devices, the life expectancy of the solar battery charger is based on the life expectancy of the auxiliary electronics. The auxiliary electronics can fail before the solar cells will fail, requiring increased replacement or repair.

[0006] Traditional solar battery chargers have low compatibility with various electronic devices. Most solar battery chargers are only compatible with specific electronic devices.

Consumers are required to conduct proper research to determine whether the solar charger they would be potentially purchasing would be compatible with their specific electronic device. They would be forced to purchase several different solar panel chargers for each specific make and model of portable electronic devices and/or small appliances a consumer owns.

[0007] Traditional solar battery chargers always require physical electrical connectors. Physical electrical connectors and cables inherently include various disadvantages, including: (1) restrictive length and/or movement while charging; (2) complexity with carrying or having multiple detachable, interchangeable physical cables, and (3) unreliability or damage of the physical electrical connector or cable may prevent use of the solar panel charger.

[0008] Traditional solar battery chargers have only single or dual charge capabilities.

Traditional solar battery chargers include only direct charging to the solar panel or direct charging from the integrated, rechargeable battery. Usually, the traditional solar battery charger purchased by consumers do not provide the option to directly charge from the solar module itself, forcing the consumer to charge only from the battery.

[0009] Traditional solar battery chargers have integrated rechargeable batteries, traditional solar battery chargers have integrated rechargeable batteries, rather than interchangeable.

Consumers are required to purchase more expensive Solar Battery Chargers with increased power storage capacities, which also means that the Solar Panels have larger surface area dimensions. In other words, if consumers want more storage capacity, the consumers are forced to get a larger or bigger solar panel - the larger solar panel is usually overpowered for the consumer's need.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[00010] As a result, there is a need for an improved power supply system that can overcome the disadvantages of traditional, portable solar chargers. A small, compact solar power supply system that allows for flexible charging arrangements and improve the product life expectancy.

[00011] In one exemplary embodiment, the improved solar power supply system comprising: a plurality of solar tiles, each of the plurality of solar tiles having a desired tile surface area which produces a tile current that approximates an electronic device charging current range; each of the plurality of solar tiles strung together with at least one interconnection, the at least one interconnection producing a total output voltage that falls within an electronic device charging voltage range , the strung together plurality of solar tiles being laminated to create a laminated plurality of tiles with a laminated thickness; a rechargeable battery pack; a first rigid frame and a second rigid frame, the first rigid frame and the second rigid frame being pivotally connected; the first and the second rigid protective frames each having a frame thickness greater than the first laminated thickness, the first rigid protective frame having a front face and a back face; the back face having at least one recess; the at least one recess sized and configured to receive a rechargeable battery pack; a first electrical connector and a second electrical connector; the first electrical connector or the second electrical connector being connected to at least one of the first and second interconnections; the first electrical connector being positioned within the at least one recess, the second electrical connector proximate to the first laminated plurality of solar tiles; and the rechargeable battery pack being removably coupled to the first electrical connector.

[00012] In another exemplary embodiment, the improved solar power supply comprising: a first solar array and a second solar array, the first and second solar array being ratably connected to each other; a rechargeable battery pack; a rigid protective frame; the rigid protective frame surrounding a first perimeter of the first solar array and a second perimeter of the second solar array; the rigid protective frame having a front surface and a back surface; the back surface having at least one recess; the at least one recess sized and configured to receive a rechargeable battery pack; a first electrical connector; the first electrical connector being positioned within the at least one recess, the rechargeable battery pack being removably coupled to the first electrical connector; and a second electrical connector disposed within the rigid protective frame.

[00013] In another exemplary embodiment, the improved solar power supply system, comprises: a rechargeable battery pack; at least two power-conditioned solar modules, the power-conditioned solar module comprise the steps of identifying a charging voltage range and a charging current that can be accepted by an electronic device to initiate a charging sequence in the electronic device; selecting at least one solar cell, the at least one solar cell having an output voltage and a current per unit area; quantifying a minimum number of tiles to be cut from the at least one solar cell, the quantified minimum number of tiles creating a solar module output voltage that falls within the charging voltage range; calculating a desired surface area for each tile, wherein each tile generates a tile current that approximates the charging current; cutting a plurality of tiles from the at least one solar cell, each of the plurality of tiles having a tile surface area that approximates the desired surface area; stringing together the plurality of tiles to have an output voltage that falls within the charging voltage range and an output current that approximates the charging current; encapsulating the strung plurality of tiles between at least a first material layer and at least a second material layer; attaching an output connection to the strung plurality of tiles, the output connection directly connecting to the electronic device; and providing a rigid protective frame to surround a periphery of the encapsulated strung plurality of tiles, the rigid protective frame having a front face and a back face; the back face having at least one recess; the at least one recess sized and configured to receive a rechargeable battery pack wherein the at least two power-conditioned solar modules are rotatably connected; and a first electrical connector and a second electrical connector; the first electrical connector or the second electrical connector being coupled to the at least one interconnection; the first electrical connector being positioned within the at least one recess, the second electrical connector proximate to the laminated plurality of solar tiles; and the rechargeable battery pack is capable of being removably coupled to the first electrical connector.

[00014] In another exemplary embodiment, the improved solar power supply system comprises: a first plurality of solar tiles, each of the first plurality of solar tiles having a desired first tile surface area which produces a first tile current that approximates an electronic device charging current range; each of the first plurality of solar tiles strung together with at least a first interconnection, the at least a first interconnection producing a total first output voltage that falls within an electronic device charging voltage range , the strung together first plurality of solar tiles being laminated to create a first laminated plurality of tiles with a first laminated thickness; a second plurality of solar tiles, each of the second plurality of solar tiles having a desired second tile surface area which produces a second tile current that approximates an electronic device charging current range; each of the second plurality of solar tiles strung together with at least a second interconnection, the at least a second interconnection producing a total second output voltage that falls within an electronic device charging voltage range , the strung together second plurality of solar tiles being laminated to create a second laminated plurality of tiles with a second laminated thickness; a rechargeable battery pack; a first rigid frame and a second rigid frame, the first rigid frame and the second rigid frame being pivotally connected; the first and the second rigid protective frames each having a frame thickness greater than the first laminated thickness, the first rigid protective frame having a front face and a back face; the back face having at least one recess; the at least one recess sized and configured to receive a rechargeable battery pack; a first electrical connector and a second electrical connector; the first electrical connector or the second electrical connector being connected to at least one of the first and second

interconnections; the first electrical connector being positioned within the at least one recess, the second electrical connector proximate to the first laminated plurality of solar tiles; and the rechargeable battery pack being removably coupled to the first electrical connector.

[00015] In another exemplary embodiment, the improved triple charging solar power supply system, comprising: a plurality of solar tiles, each of the plurality of solar tiles having a desired tile surface area, the desired tile surface area producing a tile current that approximates an electronic device charging current range; each of the plurality of solar tiles strung together with at least one interconnection, the at least one interconnection having a total output voltage that falls within the electronic device charging voltage range and the charging current range, the strung together plurality of solar tiles being laminated to create a laminated plurality of tiles with a laminated thickness; a rechargeable battery pack; the rechargeable battery pack having an inductive transmitter mechanism; the inductive transmitter mechanism integrated within the rechargeable battery pack; a first rigid frame and a second rigid frame, the first rigid frame and the second rigid frame being pivotally connected; the first and the second rigid protective frame having a frame thickness greater than the laminated thickness, the first rigid protective frame having a front face and a back face; the back face having at least one recess; the at least one recess sized and configured to receive a rechargeable battery pack; a first electrical connector and a

second electrical connector; at least one of the first and second electrical connectors being connected to the at least one interconnection; the first electrical connector being positioned within the at least one recess, the second electrical connector proximate to the laminated plurality of solar tiles; and the rechargeable battery pack being removably coupled to the first electrical connector.

[00016] In another exemplary embodiment, the improved triple charging solar power supply system comprises: a first solar array and a second solar array, the first and second solar array being ratably connected to each other; a rechargeable battery pack; the rechargeable battery pack having an inductive transmitter mechanism; a rigid protective frame; the rigid protective frame surrounding a perimeter of the first and second solar array; the rigid protective frame having a front surface and a back surface; the back surface having at least one recess; the at least one recess sized and configured to receive a rechargeable battery pack; a first electrical connector; the first electrical connector being positioned within the at least one recess, the rechargeable battery pack being removably coupled to the first electrical connector; and a second electrical connector disposed within the rigid protective frame.

[00017] In another exemplary embodiment, the improved triple charging solar power supply system comprises: a rechargeable battery pack, the rechargeable battery pack having an inductive transmitter mechanism; at least two power-conditioned solar modules, the power-conditioned solar modules assembled in the steps of identifying a charging voltage range and a charging current that can be accepted by the electronic device to initiate a charging sequence; selecting at least one solar cell, the at least one solar cell having an output voltage and a current per unit area; quantifying a minimum number of tiles to be cut from the at least one solar cell, the quantified minimum number of tiles creates a solar module output voltage that falls within the charging voltage range; using the current per unit area to calculate a desired surface area for each tile, wherein each tile generates a tile current that approximates the charging current; cutting a plurality of tiles from the at least one solar cell, each of the plurality of tiles having a tile surface area that approximates the desired surface area; stringing together the plurality of tiles to have an output voltage that falls within the charging voltage range and an output current that approximates the charging current; encapsulating the strung plurality of tiles between at least a first material layer and at least a second material layer; attaching an output connection to the strung plurality of tiles, the output connection directly connecting to the electronic device; and providing a rigid protective frame surrounding the encapsulated strung plurality of tiles, the rigid protective frame having a front face and a back face; the back face having at least one recess; the at least one recess sized and configured to receive a rechargeable battery pack, wherein the at least two power-conditioned solar modules are rotatably connected; a first electrical connector and a second electrical connector; at least one of the first and second electrical connectors being coupled to the at least one interconnection; the first electrical connector being positioned within the at least one recess, the second electrical connector proximate to the laminated plurality of solar tiles; and the rechargeable battery pack being removably coupled to the first electrical connector.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[00018] FIGS. 1A-1B illustrate various embodiments of improved solar power supply;

[00019] FIGS. 2A-2B illustrate one embodiment of a 1 Amp improved solar power supply with interchangeable battery pack(s);

[00020] FIGS. 3 A-3D illustrate the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 2A-2B in the open and closed position;

[00021] FIG. 4 illustrate one embodiment of a 2 Amp improved solar power supply with interchangeable battery pack(s);

[00022] FIG. 5 depict various embodiments of the improved solar power supply with one or more interchangeable battery packs;

[00023] FIGS. 6A-6B depicts various perspective views of one embodiment of an improved solar power supply without interchangeable battery pack(s) in an open position;

[00024] FIGS. 7A-7B depicts various front views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 6A-6B;

[00025] FIGS. 8A-8B depicts various back views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 6A-6B;

[00026] FIGS. 9A-9B depicts various side views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 6A-6B;

[00027] FIGS. 10A depicts a perspective view of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 6A-6B in a closed position;

[00028] FIGS. lOB-IOC depicts the top and bottom views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 6A-6B in a closed position;

[00029] FIGS. 11 A-l ID depicts various views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 6A-6B in a closed position;

[00030] FIGS. 12A-12B depicts various perspective views of one embodiment of an improved solar power supply with interchangeable battery pack(s) in an open position;

[00031] FIGS. 13A-13B depicts various front views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 12A-12B;

[00032] FIGS. 14A-14B depicts various back views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 12A-12B;

[00033] FIGS. 15A-15B depicts various side views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 12A-12B;

[00034] FIGS. 16A depicts a perspective view of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 12A-12B in a closed position;

[00035] FIGS. 16B-16C depicts a perspective view of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 12A-12B in a closed position;

[00036] FIGS. 17A-17D depicts various views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 6A-6B in a closed position;

[00037] FIGS. 18 depicts a back-perspective view of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 12A-12B showing insertion of an interchangeable battery pack;

[00038] FIGS. 19A-19B depicts various perspective views of one embodiment of an improved solar power supply with interchangeable battery pack(s) in an open position;

[00039] FIGS. 20A-20B depicts various front views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 19A-19B;

[00040] FIGS. 21A-21B depicts various back views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 19A-19B;

[00041] FIGS. 22A-22B depicts various side views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 19A-19B;

[00042] FIGS. 23 A depicts a perspective view of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 19A-19B in a closed position;

[00043] FIGS. 23B-23C depicts a perspective view of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 19A-19B in a closed position;

[00044] FIGS. 24A-24D depicts various views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 19A-19B in a closed position;

[00045] FIGS. 25A-25B depicts a back-perspective view of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 12A-12B showing insertion of an interchangeable battery pack(s);

[00046] FIGS. 26A-26B depicts various perspective views of one embodiment of an improved solar power supply with interchangeable battery pack(s) in an open position;

[00047] FIGS. 27A-27B depicts various front and back views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 26A-26B;

[00048] FIGS. 28A-28C depicts various additional perspective views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 26A-26B;

[00049] FIGS. 29A-29C depicts various additional front and back views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 26A-26B;

[00050] FIGS. 30A-30B depicts various side views of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 26A-26B;

[00051] FIGS. 31 A-3 IB depicts a front and back-perspective view of the improved solar power supply of FIGS. 26A-26B showing insertion of an interchangeable battery pack(s);

[00052] FIG. 32 depicts a perspective view of one embodiment of an improved solar power supply with interchangeable battery pack(s) in an open position;

[00053] FIGS. 33A-33B depicts various front and back views of the improved solar power supply of FIG. 32;

[00054] FIGS. 34A-34B depicts various top and bottom views of the improved solar power supply of FIG. 32; and

[00055] FIGS. 35A-35B depicts various side views of the improved solar power supply of FIG. 32;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As a result, there is a need for an improved solar power supply system that can overcome the disadvantages of traditional, portable solar chargers. A small, compact solar power supply system that allows for flexible charging arrangements and improve the product life expectancy. The improved solar power supply system may be available in different amperage specifications (from a minimum of 1/3 Amp to greater) and sizes as shown in FIG. 1 A to 5. There are many advantages of the improved solar power supply system over the traditional solar chargers. These advantages are the following:

[00056] The improved solar power supply has solid, impact resistant design. The polymers and the fin structural supports used for the solar panel frame for the improved solar chargers provides enhanced impact resistance. It's a rugged design, compact size, and waterproof. Easy portability for the consumers to hold in-hand and carry. The thickness 60 of the improved solar power supply may also be minimal for easy storage as shown in FIG. 3C, whether it's in the folded position or the stand-alone model. The thickness 60 may vary from 0.5 inches to 2 inches.

[00057] The improved solar power supply may have a clamshell construction 20 or single stand-alone 10 design as shown in FIGS. 1 A to 2B. Having a rigid, clamshell or flip-top polymer construction to have 50% reduction in size to ease of carrying, but still allow for maximum power output by having solar panel modules on each side. If the clamshell construction may have a hinge 80. The hinge 80 may include a pivoting hinge or friction or locking hinge that allow different tilt angles (see FIG. 3D and FIG. 4). Such tilting angles may be from 0 to 60 degrees tilting. Alternatively, the tilting angles may be from 0 to 180 degrees tilting 70 (see FIG. 3C).

[00058] The improved solar power supply system may comprise of power-conditioned solar cells or commercially -available solar cells: The solar module comprises the solar array and the rigid protective frame(s). The solar array may be assembled or manufactured using a power- conditioned solar cell array or standard, commercially available solar cell arrays. The power- conditioned solar cell array method of assembly is described in Patent Application No.

14/803,784 entitled "A Power Conditioned Solar Charger for Directly Coupling to Portable Electronic Devices, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[00059] The improved solar power supply system may provide great compatibility to various electronic devices. The electronic devices may include feature and smart phones, laptops, tablets, portable media players, personal digital assistants (PDA), game devices/accessories, cameras, GPS units, radios, lights, fans, portable medical equipment, 12v to 21-volt (rechargeable) tools, 12v coolers, 12v refrigerators, related rechargeable batteries, and/any combination thereof, etc. ANY electronic device that can be charged through a USB connection and/or inductive charging.

[00060] The improved solar power supply system has a potential to include a dual or triple-charge power supply capability. The improved solar power supply may optionally have three charging mechanisms: it may have a direct USB port on power-conditioned panel to recharge electronic devices from the sun; it has an in-line charging/discharging capability on the rechargeable battery attery pack; it has an inductive charging transmitter mechanism to charge electronic devices without physical cables. Conversely, you may have at least one of it may have a direct USB port on power-conditioned panel to recharge electronic devices from the sun; it has an in-line charging/discharging capability on the rechargeable battery attery pack; it has an inductive charging transmitter mechanism to charge electronic devices without physical cables. Such triple-charge capabilities may further increase charging compatibilities with other electronic devices.

[00061] The improved solar power supply system includes interchangeable rechargeable batteries attery pack. The improved solar power supply system will include at least one recessed docking station 30 embedded within the frame allowing at least one interchangeable battery packs 40 as shown in FIG. 2A. Consumers can switch out rechargeable batteries/battery back with proper requirements for charging all desired electronic devices or switch out with rechargeable batteries attery pack for charging specific types or models of devices (i.e., laptops, portable media players, etc). The rechargeable battery packs may include at least two USB ports, light indicators, a micro USB port 50 (coupling to solar module or allowing AC adaptor charging while not connected to the solar module). The improved solar power supply may include 1 to 4 recesses that will hold 1 to 4 interchangeable batteries (see FIG. 5).

[00062] The improved solar power supply may include an optional inductive charging mechanism. The rechargeable batteries/battery pack or the improved solar power supply may come equipped with an inductive and/or resonance transmitter allowing electronic devices to be charged. Inductive and/or resonance wireless coupling allows power transfer from the rechargeable battery and/or the over relatively short range (inductive) distances or longer-range distances (resonance). Such inductive or resonant wireless transmitter may be a commercially available wireless transmitter or may be a custom wireless transmitter.

[00063] The improved solar power supply may come equipped with a variety of other consumer friendly features. Such consumer-friendly features include a beer/bottle opener (not shown); at least one eye-hole or through-hole making attachment to items easier (not shown), at least one LED light indicator 90, a switch 100 (to switch from at least one of direct charging to battery, direct charging to wireless transmitter, battery to wireless) and/or any combination thereof.

[00064] Commercially Available or Power-Conditioned Solar Module

[00065] The solar module comprises the solar array, electrical connectors and a rigid protective frame(s). The solar array may be assembled or manufactured using a power-conditioned solar cell array or standard, commercially available solar cell arrays. The power-conditioned solar cell array or the standard, commercially available solar cell array may be available at a minimum of 1/3 Amps or greater.

[00066] In one embodiment, the improved solar power supply system may comprise "power-conditioned" solar arrays and/or modules as described in Patent Application No. 14/803,784 entitled "A Power Conditioned Solar Charger for Directly Coupling to Portable Electronic Devices, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[00067] A "power-conditioned" solar array and/or module can include an optimized solar panel array that uses a voltage and amperage algorithm-matching decision-making process to (1) particularize a solar array voltage and current to fall within, match or substantially match the total desired input voltage and/or total desired input current of an electric device for powering or recharging, and (2) be a BC 1.2 compliant charging port. Each manufacturer typically specifies the input voltage and input current for each rechargeable battery and/or electric device they provide for a variety of reasons, which could include for proprietary and/or safety reasons, and many such electric devices may incorporate on-board Universal Energy Management Systems (UEMS) or other features to monitor and/or protect the electric device/battery from overcharging or overpowering the electric devices. Such matching or substantially matching the total input voltage and/or total input current of an electric device allows the "power-conditioned" solar array to provide an optimized power, and may also allow the panel to "communicate" with the electric device in various fashions to leverage the functionality from the electric device's on-board Universal Energy Management System (UEMS) to prevent overcharging and/or overpowering and/or optimizing the charging or powering process.

[00068] Assembling the power-conditioned solar array requires the use of solar tiles or solar subcells. Solar tiles may be acquired by a secondary cutting process. The secondary cutting process may be accomplished by cutting a single, inexpensive commercially available solar cell into a series of individual solar tiles or subcells, with each solar tile having a similar finger and busbar arrangement on its face and desirably having similar height and width characteristics as each other solar tile. The commercially available solar cell may be any shape and/or configurations, such as square, square round, hexagonal, etc. Furthermore, the commercially available solar cell may include a single, double or triple (not shown) busbars. Alternatively, the series of individual solar tiles or subcells may be of different configurations, where each individual solar tile or subcell includes at least a minimum optimized surface area (e.g., may be different sizes, but should have the same minimum calculated optimized surface area) that is matched or substantially matched to the input current requirements of an electric device. In other alternative embodiment, cells of different sizes, including one or more cells having surface areas lower than the desired "minimum surface area," may be used.

[00069] In one embodiment, the method for assembling a power-conditioned solar system including a plurality of tiles for charging a smart-enabled electronic device via a Universal Serial Bus ("USB") port, the smart-enabled electronic device having at least one signal carrying data line for identifying the USB port type, comprising: identifying a charging voltage range to initiate a charging sequence and a charging current that can be accepted by the smart-enabled electronic device; selecting at least one solar cell, the at least one solar cell having an output voltage and a current per unit area; quantifying a minimum number of tiles formed from the at least one solar cell necessary to create an output voltage for the plurality of tiles that falls within the charging voltage range; using the current per unit area to calculate a desired surface area for each of the plurality of tiles such that each of the plurality of tiles generates a tile current that approximates the charging current; cutting the plurality of tiles from the at least one solar cell, each of the plurality of tiles having a tile surface area that approximates the desired surface area; stringing together the plurality of tiles to have the output voltage for the plurality of tiles that falls within the charging voltage range and an output current for the plurality of tiles that approximates the charging current; encapsulating the strung plurality of tiles between at least a first material layer and at least a second material layer; attaching an output connection to the strung plurality of tiles, the output connection including a USB connector suitable for directly connecting to the USB port of the smart-enabled electronic device; identifying at least one signal for the at least one signal carrying data line that permits the smart-enabled electronic device to accept the charging current; and providing the at least one signal to the at least one signal carrying data line.

[00070] In another embodiment, a method of assembling a power conditioned photovoltaic system from a plurality of tiles for directly connecting to an electronic device, comprising steps of: identifying a charging voltage range and a charging current that can be accepted by the electronic device to initiate a charging sequence; selecting at least one solar cell, the at least one solar cell having an output voltage and a current per unit area; quantifying a minimum number of tiles to be cut from the at least one solar cell, the quantified minimum number of tiles creates a solar module output voltage that falls within the charging voltage range; using the current per unit area to calculate a desired surface area for each tile, the each tile generates a tile current that approximates the charging current; cutting a plurality of tiles from the at least one solar cell, each of the plurality of tiles having a tile surface area that approximates the desired surface area; stringing together the plurality of tiles to have an output voltage that falls within the charging voltage range and an output current that approximates the charging current; encapsulating the strung plurality of tiles between at least a first material layer and at least a second material layer; and attaching an output connection to the strung plurality of tiles, the output connection is suitable for directly connecting to the electronic device.

[00071] In another embodiment, method of assembling a power conditioned photovoltaic system comprises the steps of: identifying a charging voltage range and a charging current parameter that can be accepted by the portable electronic device to initiate a charging sequence; selecting at least one solar cell, the at least one solar cell having an output voltage and a current per unit area; quantifying a minimum number of the at least one solar cell necessary to create a solar module output voltage that falls within the charging voltage range; using the current per unit area to calculate a desired surface area for the tile such that the tile generates a tile current that approximates the charging current parameter; and cutting a plurality of the tiles from the at least one solar cell, each tile having a tile surface area that approximates the desired surface area.

[00072] In another embodiment, a method of assembling a power-conditioned solar panel for charging a portable electronic device, comprising the steps of: selecting at least one commercially available solar cell; calculating a number of solar subcells required to be strung together to substantially reach between 4.75 volts and 5.25 volts; cutting the number of solar subcells from the at least one commercially available solar cell; framing the number of subcells; providing an output connection to the number of solar subcells.

[00073] In another exemplary embodiment, a power-conditioned solar array may be assembled to include features that make the module appear to an electric device as other alternative BC 1.2 compliant charging ports, such as Standard Downstream Port (SDP), Downstream Port (CDP), Divider 1 Dedicated Charging Port (Dl DCP), Divider 2 Dedicated Charging Port (D2 DCP), Divider 3 Dedicated Charging Port (D3 DCP), ACA-Dock, ACA (standard or micro), APPLE charger, SONY charger, and/or any combination thereof. Should the power-conditioned solar array be assembled to appear as other alternative BC 1.2 compliant charging ports, the electronic device may initiate its charger port detection and/or identification process. Desirably, the electric device will first sense whether the Vbus or the substantially matched or matched voltage is present. The Vbus and the GND (ground) pins on the electrical connector may be made longer than the data lines (the D+/D- lines) in various embodiments, to ensure that they make contact first with the electronic device.

[00074] The Table below outline samples of the various types of compliant charging ports, the required voltages allowed current and/or data line enumeration that could be emulated by the power-conditioned solar module described herein.

BC 1.2 Compliant Charging Ports


[00075] In another embodiment, the improved solar power supply system may comprise one or more commercially available solar arrays. Currently, commercially available solar panel arrays are available on the open market and may include a prepackaged assembly of linked solar cells. Commercially available solar panel arrays produce energy outputs that are usually expressed in Watts, which represents the power that the solar panel module produces under ideal lab conditions.

[00076] Many commercially available solar panel modules will come equipped with embedded auxiliary electronics and/or a storage battery to improve module performance. Such embedded electronics (i.e., diodes, charge controllers, microcontrollers, power boosters, power regulators, inverters, etc.) utilize some portion of the power generated by the array, which compels a consumer to choose a commercially available solar module that generates a greater amount of power than required to recharge or power an electric device, with some portion of the generated energy "siphoned off to power the electronics, with the remainder of the generated energy becoming the "output" of the solar panel module. For example, if a consumer wishes to purchase a typical commercially available solar module to charge a 12V rechargeable battery, the consumer could purchase a Strongway 12V monocrystalline Solar Panel (commercially available from Northern Tool & Equipment, Inc. of 2800 Southcross Drive West, Burnsville, Minnesota, USA - www.northerntool.com) that provides approximately 17.25 Volts, 10 Watts and 580 mA module. Such a commercially available solar module weighs approximately 4.4 pounds and has

dimensions approximately 13 3/35" L x 11 ½" H. Such power requirements far exceed the input requirements to power or recharge an electric device.

[00077] In another embodiment, the solar cell array interconnection may be coupled to at least one electrical connector. The at least one electrical connector may include any type of USB connector, including standard, micro, or mini-USB, 1.0 or 1.1 (full-speed), 2.0 (high-speed), 3.0 USB (super-speed), or 3.1 or 3.2 (super-speed plus), Type A, Type B, Type C, as well as other USB connection types currently existing and/or developed in the future, and/or any combination thereof. There are many other non-USB cables that can connect to electrical devices where the origin of the power source includes Direct Current (DC). These include such connectors as 3.5 mm headphone jacks or TSR connectors, mini audio jacks, digital connectors, audio connectors, VGA connectors, S- Video connectors, DVI connectors, HDMI connectors, RCA connectors, data cables, networking related cables, or any type of bayoneted plug, coaxial power connector jacks and/or receptacles, and/or any combination thereof.

[00078] In another embodiment, the at least one electrical connector may also be fixed or removable within the housing or framing. If an electrical connector is fixed, the electrical connector may be assembled integrally within the frame or housing within the at least one recess. The fixed configuration can desirably prevent users from tampering with the connector, and may also provide additional protection and/or shielding from mechanical stress or over use. However, if desired the electrical connector may be designed with a modular or easily removable electrical connector to allow a consumer a greater flexibility in replacing broken/worn out components or changing to new electrical connectors or new types of connectors.

[00079] In another embodiment, a power-conditioned solar panel may come equipped with a plurality of electrical connectors, including electrical connectors that could allow multi-port connection. One electrical connection may be used to couple directly to a first electric device for powering and/or recharging, and the other electrical connections may be coupled other electric devices and/or to other accessories such as a wireless transmitter to allow charging of other electrical devices simultaneously. Such coupling of a wireless transmitter to an electrical connection could allow the wireless transmitter to be positioned externally to the framing or housing without any protrusions, and might be easily removed when not needed.

[00080] In another embodiment, a rigid protective frame may be provided that surrounds the periphery of the solar cell array, making a solar module. Once the solar array is fully encapsulated, in one embodiment, the designer can include a rigid, protective frame that surrounds the edge or the periphery. The rigid protective frame will desirably further optimize the strength and durability of the solar array, and will also desirably impart significant impact and/or "bumper" resistance to protect the relatively delicate solar subcells and/or other components of the array from impact or compression damage. Desirably, the frame will include structural features that fully surround the periphery of the solar array, and the frame may also desirably extend in front of or behind the solar array to a certain degree. In one embodiment, the PV module or array may use a conventional aluminum frame. Alternative materials could include various polymers, metals or hybrid materials for the frame. The aluminum frame could include a power coat, anodized, colored white, or textured surface to provide better thermal resistance and handling ability for the user or when in use.

[00081] In another embodiment, the frame could have structural designs and/or features within the frame that could assist with structural stability, holding and/or cooling the frame during use. For example, the frame that may incorporate an ergonomic "U" shaped finger groove extending around the entire frame. The "U-shaped groove may be an advantageous ergonomic feature that assists a user in handling the frame easier. The groove may be designed to accommodate any one of the fingers or hands of the user. In addition, the frame may also incorporate some heat sink features to help with thermal resistance (not shown). The heat sink features in the frame (not shown) may be shaped similar to fins and the fin design may be incorporated into the design process. In another embodiment, the frame may incorporate a plurality of trusses to help with structural stability. The plurality of trusses may protect the solar module with tensile and compressive forces.

[00082] In another embodiment, the frame can incorporate a pocket. The pocket may be sized and configured to receive a variety of tools, such as a bottle opener, a compass, an electronic device.

[00083] In another embodiment, the frame will incorporate at least one recess. The at least one recess can be sized and configured to a rechargeable battery. The at least one recess may also incorporate an electrical connector, where the rechargeable battery may be removably connected, and replaced with alternative rechargeable battery packs. The frame could have one to four recesses sized and configured to a rechargeable battery, where each recess is proximately positioned to each other.

[00084] Replaceable, Rechargeable Battery

[00085] The improved solar power supply system may incorporate removably connected or fully integrated rechargeable battery packs to allow the solar module to recharge the rechargeable battery pack or to charge the electronic device directly. The rechargeable battery packs may be commercially, available battery packs, or may be customized with different types of power (i.e., 2600 mAh, 4000 mAh, 10,000 mAh. The rechargeable battery packs inserted into the at least one recess of the frame and may removably connected to the solar module. The rechargeable battery pack may include at least two electrical connectors. One of the connectors may be an input electrical connector that is coupled to the solar module to allow a removable connection, and recharging from the solar array. The input electrical connector may allow recharging from the solar module and allow wall-plug (AC) adapter charging. The remaining connector may be

coupled to the electronic device to allow recharging. However, the rechargeable battery pack may have two to four different input/output electrical connectors.

[00086] The at least two electrical connectors may include any USB connector or non-USB connector. The USB connectors may include standard, micro, or mini-USB, 1.0 or 1.1 (full-speed), 2.0 (high-speed), 3.0 USB (super-speed), or 3.1 or 3.2 (super-speed plus), Type A, Type B, Type C, as well as other USB connection types currently existing and/or developed in the future, and/or any combination thereof. There are many other non-USB cables that can connect to electrical devices where the origin of the power source includes Direct Current (DC). These include such connectors as 3.5 mm headphone jacks or TSR connectors, mini audio jacks, digital connectors, audio connectors, VGA connectors, S- Video connectors, DVI connectors, HDMI connectors, RCA connectors, data cables, networking related cables, or any type of bayoneted plug, coaxial power connector jacks and/or receptacles, and/or any combination thereof.

[00087] The rechargeable battery pack may include other features to help the consumer while charging/discharging. The rechargeable battery pack may have lights or LED lights or switches to determine remaining charge or discharge strength or whether an electrical device is currently connected to the rechargeable battery pack.

[00088] Wireless Mechanism

[00089] The rechargeable battery pack may further incorporate a wireless transmitter mechanism. The wireless transmitter mechanism may be disposed within the rechargeable battery pack or be provided as a removable wireless transmitter mechanism that may be connected to the at least two electrical connectors. In one embodiment, a power-conditioned solar module and/or a commercially available solar module may be coupled to an inductive or resonant wireless transmitter. Inductive coupling works by creating an alternating magnetic field (flux) in a transmitter coil and converting that flux into an electrical current in the receiver coil. Such inductive coupling currently allows power transfer over relatively short range distances, may include off resonant coupling, and may emit electricity in multi-directional paths. A resonant wireless transmitter uses inductive coupling principles, but may improve the power transfer transmission over large distances because the alternating magnetic fields (flux) emitted from the transmitter coil typically resonates at the same frequency with the assistance of a capacitor as the wireless receiver. Such inductive or resonant wireless transmitter may be a commercially available wireless transmitter or may be a custom wireless transmitter.

[00090] One example of a commercially available inductive and resonant wireless transmitter suitable for use with the various inventions described herein may include a copper wire induction coil and control circuitry (see Zycoil Induction Coil, Wireless transmitter, ZYCoil Electronic Co., Ltd., and the LTC 4125 5W Full Bridge AutoResonant Transmitter IC, Linear Technology Corp.). Such commercially available wireless transmitter may be coupled to the power-conditioned solar module and/or commercially available solar module and/or disposed within the housing and/or

frame and/or placed in a housing and/or frame protrusion as shown in FIG. 17. Alternatively, the commercially available wireless transmitter may include only the copper wire induction coil (see Qi wireless charger coil, ZYCoil Electronic Co., Ltd.) and may be available in square or round shapes or other desired configurations.

[00091] In another embodiment, the power-conditioned solar module and/or a commercially available solar module may be coupled to two or more commercially available inductive or resonant wireless transmitters. Using two or more commercially available inductive or resonant wireless transmitters (or a plurality of commercially available inductive or resonant wireless transmitters) may improve the horizontal (X,Y) freedom of positioning by covering larger areas for charging, it may help localize the magnetic flux and reduce electromagnetic emissions, and/or make it possible to charge multiple electronic devices concurrently. Each of the plurality of commercially available wireless transmitters may overlap or have non-overlapping

configurations. One example of a commercially available overlapping multi-wireless transmitter induction coil is the ZyCoil 3 coils wireless charger coil by ZYCoil Electronics Co., Ltd.

[00092] In another embodiment, the power-conditioned solar module and/or a commercially available solar module may be coupled to single custom resonant or inductive wireless transmitter. Providing a custom wireless transmitter potentially allow an optimized solution to improve performance and overall success. The custom resonant or inductive wireless transmitter may potentially improve the power transfer efficiency between the wireless transmitter and wireless receiver and/or improve electromagnetic emissions quality. FIGS. 21A-21B illustrate exemplary effects of various different wireless transmitter configurations. The efficiency of the power transfer can depend on the coupling (k) between the resonant or inductive wireless transmitter and the resonant or inductive wireless receiver and the coupling may be varied to produce desired results. The coupling factors may be determined by the distance (z) between the inductors (the wireless transmitter and the wireless receiver), the ratio of the diameters (D) of the coiled inductors, the shape of the coils, the diameter of the coil wire, and/the angle between the inductors. For example, tightly coupled inductors may improve the transfer efficiency, and these inductors tend to produce less heat and/or wasted energy. In contrast, loosely coupled inductors may emit higher electromagnetic emissions, but can come with a trade-off in larger distance and lower power transfer efficiency. Therefore, designing the various resonant or inductive wireless transmitter configurations by modifying the coupling factors can produce desired results for the intended electric device. Table below describes the summary of potential inductive or resonant wireless transmitter configurations.


[00093] Such resonant and/or inductive wireless transmitters may be integrated or disposed within the housing or framing of a power-conditioned solar module and/or a commercially available solar power module. Alternatively, FIG. 20 depicts an alternative embodiment that couples the resonant and/or wireless transmitters to an existing electrical connector on the power-conditioned and/or commercially available solar module. The resonant and/or inductive wireless transmitters may be inserted within a protrusion container that may be coupled to the frame or housing and have the flexibility to be removed should the transmitter fails operation, as well as potentially being plugged directly into the electrical connection port or charging socket of the power-conditioned solar module and/or a commercially available solar power module and be coupled external to the housing and/or frame of the electric device without protrusion. Furthermore, the resonant and/or inductive wireless transmitters may be attached to an after-market accessory for use with the electric device, such as a shell, case, or cover of the electric device.

[00094] Control Mechanisms

[00095] In another exemplary embodiment, a commercially available or power-conditioned solar module and/or the electric device may be coupled to various control mechanisms. Such control mechanisms may include indicator lights, switches, resistors, current dividers, voltage dividers, and/or any combination thereof.

[00096] For example, a switch may be disposed within the solar module. The switch may provide the ability for the consumer to toggle between the acquiring power direct from the solar array or from the at least one rechargeable battery pack. The switch may activate indicator lights to visually inform the consumer that the toggle has been properly performed.

[00097] In another example, a current divider may be used. The current divider may allow the current from the solar array to be diverted to at least one rechargeable battery pack. The current divider may be used to charge one to four rechargeable battery packs at the same time.

Alternatively, the switch and/or current divider may be used to selectively charge different rechargeable battery packs.