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1. (WO2019040967) IMPROVEMENTS IN OR IN RELATION TO BATTERY CHARGING AND POWER MANAGEMENT
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IMPROVEMENTS IN OR IN RELATION TO BATTERY

CHARGING AND POWER MANAGEMENT

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] THIS INVENTION relates to battery charging and power management of input charging supply to and output from battery power supplies and in particular but not limited to

management of portable rechargeable battery power supplies used for supplying power in circumstances employing a temporary or relocatable power supply. The invention has more particular application in situations involving a battery employed in a mobile or static and remote situations, mobile including as in air, land, and sea vehicles and at least one extra battery.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Batteries are well known and where a rechargeable storage and fairly high current is required, the most common battery used is the common 12V lead acid car battery or equivalent. Any battery may be used with the present invention, the battery itself not being part of the invention and these may include "deep cycle" lead acid batteries and lithium batteries.

[0003] In the case of electrical appliances being used in connection with recreational vehicles, as long as the vehicle is running, most appliances can be run with power take off from the existing engine alternator without any difficulty. When the engine is not running these appliances can quickly drain the battery. For example, an existing car battery may be seconded to run a small 12V refrigerator via the common 12V "cigarette" sockets. Some recreational vehicles, including 4WD vehicles, have an ignition switched socket at the front and a

permanently energised socket in the rear. Care must be taken to make sure any appliance connected to the permanently energised socket is monitored, otherwise drain on the battery may result in there not being enough power to start the engine.

[0004] It has been proposed to provide an extra battery. This extra battery can be charged while the vehicle is running and its power used when the vehicle is not running, thus preserving the main battery. The extra battery can also be recharged or topped up using suitably

conditioned mains AC supply when convenient. These extra batteries can be hardwired into the vehicle electronics. It has also been proposed to have a portable lead acid battery, boxed so that it can be "added" so that it is charged via a cigarette socket. Appliances may be plugged into it. These arrangements are effectively dual battery systems.

[0005] These types of arrangements have been around for many years. All manner of arrangements for managing the dual battery system have been proposed.

[0006] Quite apart from dual battery systems for recreational vehicles, these systems fit within the much wider art of battery charging, generally ranging from car battery start booster batteries, through to portable power tool supplies also carrying a rechargeable main battery. All these usually have the option of vehicular or mains supply recharge.

[0007] By way of non-exhaustive examples, the use of rechargeable lead acid batteries or equivalent in some form of mobile pack is given in the following patents.

US2991376A; US4791347A; US6204645; US6799993B2; US6803678; US7573229B2;

US8030880; US9166422; US9345156B2; US20010043052; US2012313431A1 ;

WO2008010801A2.

[0008] A PCT Article 15/5 International Type Search by the Australian Patent Office in respect of Applicants provisional patent application No. AU2017903530 revealed the following patent documents:

US9166422B2; US8030880B2; US6799993B2; US20120313431A1 ; US20100116570A1 ;

US20140361536A1 ; JP2016182012A; US20150349562A1.

[0009] Since the batteries and the need to charge them have been around for many years, the art could be described as "crowded" and applicant notes that there is no particular problem or need that could be said to have been "extant" at the priority date of the present application. While present systems operate within their operating parameters and do so quite well, the present applicant has devised some alternatives which it considers to be improvements with the object of at least providing consumers with an alternative choice to products currently available.

[0010] It is well known that over discharging of a battery can destroy it. An audible alarm is unsatisfactory because it relies on human intervention. In the case of automatic switch arrangements, these tend to be power hungry or can interact with other circuits in an adverse manner. For example, there is a risk that destructive transients can arise where low voltage battery protection is being employed and a battery is either wrongly connected or used with on/off switches on the input current side to an associated inverter.

[0011 ] In the case of vehicle based charging of dual battery setups, to date, there has not been any reliable and economical rapid charge option that also optimises battery charge and battery life nor has there been a solution that caters for the different car alternator types that are now prevalent.

[0012] In the case of portable camping and general recreational charging there has not to date been any reliable, robust, portable unit that has fully integrated multiple input and output options as well as integrated lighting.

[0013] Interchangeable battery types require provision for selection of different charging protocols. This can lead to incorrect setup. In existing systems there is also the prospect of incorrect connection of terminals. Electronic push button or touch screen setup can be inadvertently changed.

[0014] In present dual battery systems isolation of the main battery is undertaken using various methods and while these are satisfactory, the present applicant has devised an alternative which it considers to be an improvement.

[0015] Where an integrated inverter is employed applicant has devised a startup and shutdown buffer between switch on or switch off in order to protect the inverter.

[0016] It will be appreciated from the above that Applicant has devised a number of improvements which may be used independently and also in combination. Applicant considers

each of these to be an invention and subject to the outcome of the Patent Office search, Applicant reserves the right to divide the present application to claim any improvement or combination of those improvements. Many other advantages of the present inventions will become apparent from the following description.

OUTLINE

[0017] In a battery charge management system comprising capacity for multiple recharge source inputs, at least one outlet and a preselected installed battery type from different battery types, the improvement comprising, a low voltage cutoff circuit having a sensor for reading at least one variable indicative of a predetermined low voltage cut off for an installed battery and shutting off load to the battery upon reading said low voltage cut off, and providing an indication of the need to recharge.

[0018] Preferably, when a source is connected, the circuit reconnects a load after a predetermined time delay. Preferably the time delay is selected according to the power source.

[0019] In a battery charge management s stem comprising capacity for multiple recharge source inputs, at least one outlet and a preselected installed battery type, the improvement comprising an inverter providing AC output, a manual on/off switch used to initiate operation of the inverter, and a processor for switching on the inverter after operation of the on/off switch and after a predetermined check sequences used to approve operation of the inverter.

[0020] In a battery charge management system, the improvement comprising, in conjunction with a running vehicle, a battery charging sequence for a second battery connected to the vehicle and being chargeable via two available charging paths, a relatively low current path and a relatively high current path sensing charging current and switching current paths depending on sensed current and/or voltage. Preferably the switching is from a high current path to the low current path when the battery is almost fully charged.

[0021] In a battery charge management s stem, the improvement comprising, in conjunction with a running vehicle, a second battery and an inverter connected to and downstream of the

second battery, the second battery being adapted to supply the inverter when not connected to the vehicle or the vehicle is not running, a circuit detecting the running vehicle and as a consequence supplying power from the vehicle to the inverter, the circuit verifying that the vehicle is running and continuing to supply power to the inverter from the running vehicle.

[0022] In a portable box having a battery charge management system and a battery housing, the improvement comprising, multiple inlet source connections and at least one outlet the Improvement comprising an elongated light source extending along a side of the box.

Preferably in the elongated battery source comprises spaced LED light sources.

[0023] In a battery management system, the improvement comprising, a battery terminal connection circuit blocking current in the case of reverse polarity connection to a battery, the circuit comprising, a diode, a latching relay used to make current available to an outlet, a signal relay to control the latching relay and a capacitor, upon correct connection of the battery terminals, current flows through the diode, charges the capacitor and thereby switches the latching relay to ON, a control signal may be applied to the signal relay which then uses the charge on the capacitor to switch the latching relay to OFF. Alternatively a small onboard battery can be used in lieu of the capacitor.

[0024] In a battery charge management system, a box layout for connection to an external battery, the box having battery connectors, source input connectors and at least one outlet, an Inverter located in an inverter air flow through passage inside the box, an inverter cooling fan drawing cooling air into the box through an inlet, through the flow through passage across the Inverter to an inlet to the fan.

[0025] A box holding a battery charge management system adapted to manage batteries of different types having different charging requirements and having a cavity adapted to hold a battery being one of the said batteries of different types, and being connectable to the battery charge management system, a battery type selector and battery type selection being operatively blocked when a battery is operatively located within the cavity. Preferably, the battery type selection may be operatively blocked electronically or mechanically or a

combination being electromechanical in nature. Preferably, the selection is blocked by the

battery blocking, either directly or indirectly, physical access to a selection switch,

[0026] In one preferred form there is provided, in a microprocessor controlled battery charge management system, a low voltage cutoff circuit having a sensor for reading at least one variable indicative of a predetermined low voltage cut off for an installed battery, and shutting off load to the battery upon reading said low voltage cut off, and providing an indication of the need to recharge, an inverter providing AC output, a manual on/off switch used to initiate operation of the inverter after a predetermined check sequence,

[0027] In another preferred form there Is provided, in a microprocessor controlled battery charge management system capable of being connected to a vehicle engine alternator, a low voltage cutoff circuit having a sensor for reading at least one variable indicative of a

predetermined low voltage cut off for an installed battery, and shutting off load to the battery upon reading said low voltage cut off. and providing an indication of the need to recharge, an inverter providing AC output, an on/off switch used to initiate operation of the inverter after a predetermined check sequence, a running vehicle AC output mode of operation whereby the inverter is supplied directly from a running vehicle afternator and a running vehicle charge mode of operation whereby the installed battery is charged directly from a running vehicle alternator, the modes being initiated only upon the microprocessor determining that the vehicle is running and its alternator connected. Preferably, the running vehicle modes include detection of the running vehicle using a connection to a DC input from an ignition switched socket on the vehicle

[0028] In an especially preferred form there is provided, in a microprocessor controlled battery charge management system, capable of being connected to a vehicle engine alternator, a low voltage cutoff circuit to shut off load to a battery, an inverter providing AC output from power supplied by the battery while above said low voltage cutoff, or from a running vehicle during an AC output mode of operation whereby the inverter is supplied directly from a running vehicle alternator, the battery being chargeable from a DC supply or during a running vehicle charge mode of operation whereby the battery is charged directly from a running vehicle alternator, the modes being initiated only upon the microprocessor determining that the vehicle is running and Its alternator connected.

[0029] A box holding a microprocessor controlled battery charge management system and battery connected to the management system, the box having lid and a base, the base having a cavity adapted to hold a battery, the lid holding the management system, leads extending from the lid into the base, a manually operable battery type selection switch being located in the cavity such that operation of the switch is inhibited upon a battery being located in the cavity.

[0030] In a microprocessor controlled battery charge management system in combination, a low voltage cutoff circuit for an installed battery, an inverter, a running vehicle mode of operation to supply the inverter or charge the battery from a running vehicle, and a reverse battery connection prevention circuit blocking current flow from the battery if wrongly connected, multiple inputs comprising at least two DC inputs and a Mains AC input, multiple outputs comprising at least one AC output from the inverter and at least one DC output and a latching relay controlled by the microprocessor to enable the outputs in response to predetermined inputs or switching on of the inverter. Preferably, the inverter is switched on by a manual on/off switch which initiates a check sequence before switching the inverter on. Preferably, the check sequence checks one or more of the following, low voltage detection on the battery, overload detection and over temperature detection or that an "on" timer for the inverter has been set and once these checks have been verified an "on" signal is sent to switch the inverter on. In addition to the manual switch it is preferable that the inverter have a manual timer set for its on time.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0031] In order that the present improvements may be more readily understood and put into practical effect reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings which illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention and wherein:-

Figure 1 is an overall block diagram showing a management system according to the the invention connected to a range of peripherals;

Figure 2 is a drawing similar to Figure 1 but listing the types of peripherals that may be employed with the management system;

Figures 3A and 3B together is a block diagram of a management system in a package

employing a 600W inverter to provide AC output amongst other outputs;

Figures 4A and 4B together is a block diagram similar to Figures 3A and 3B but employ a

1000W inverter;

Figure 5A is a schematic block diagram of a battery voltage current and sensing circuit used for low voltage shut off;

Figures 5B and 5C are flow diagrams showing the micro-process controlled charging and shut off for different battery types using the arrangement of Figure 5A.

Figure 6A is a block diagram schematic of a circuit arrangement for micro-process control of inverter switch on/off; employing a manual switch;

Figure 6B is an example of the micro-process control upon the manual switch being depressed; Figure 7A is a schematic block diagram of a circuit employing two charging modes;

Figures 7B and 7C together illustrates control of charging using the arrangement of Figure 7A; Figure 8A is a schematic circuit diagram of a dead battery arrangement providing an AC output via an inverter;

Figure 8B is a flow diagram illustrates AC power from the vehicle alternator using the arrangement of Figure 8A;

Figure 9 is a select block diagram of LED lighting;

Figures 10A and 10B illustrate typically display outputs;

Figures 11 -13 are displays used for timer control;

Figures 14A-14C are diagrams that concern the connection of a battery to system and illustrate protection against reverse connection and to ensure that the system only operates while the battery is connected properly;

Figure 15 is a schematic illustrating application of the present invention to a vehicle;

Figures 16A - 16D illustrate a boxed version of the invention that may serve as a panel mounted unit in the example of Figure 15 or may be used as an integrated mobile unit with a boxed battery (see Figures 18A-18C);

Figure 17 is another example of a panel mounted unit;

Figure 19 is another example of a panel mounted unit;

Figures 18A - 18C are drawings illustrating stand alone portable unit that carries the boxed version of Figures 16A-16B and carries a battery in its base;

Figures 19A, a circuit schematic, and 19B, a battery loading sequence show the use of the key switch shown in Figures 20B and 20C to enable manual selection of battery type before wiring up to the battery; and

Figures 20A -20C are drawings concerning the addition of a second and external battery.

METHOD OF PERFORMANCE

[0032] Referring to the drawings and initially to Figure 1 there is illustrated in a block diagram a connected arrangement 10 being a combination including a management system 11 according to the present invention. As shown there are connected with the system 10, energy storage devices 12. The energy storage device is typically at least one lead acid battery. There are input connections for power at 13, which can be used to charge the energy storage devices 12 and/or supply power from the input connections directly to output devices at 14.

[0033] These blocks in Figure 1 represent the preferred integrated connected setup of the system 11 in use with peripheral devices and connections. The system ma be integrated into a vehicle, it may be as a stand alone system that has battery leads for connection or it may be built into a portable box holding a battery. The system in each case has input and output sockets and connectors and battery connections

[0034] Thus the the output devices 14 may be powered from the energy storage devices 12 when there are no connections at 13 or direct when there are. Direct connections may be from a AC mains or power sourced from a running vehicle's alternator.

[0035] All that is required to make the system work are a range of possible connections and simple manual switches or controlled relays and appropriate wiring.

[0036] However, in order to manage and control the overall system in the present example, there is a user interface arrangement at 15 which may be any form of input switches including but not limited to a touch screen display. In addition to the display the system may rely on one or more manual inputs as in switches including button or rotary switches where selection between options may be desirable.

[0037] The connected arrangement 10 may also include connections to the management

system from various other input/output modules shown in the block diagram at 16.

[0038] The input output will depend on the environment in which the management system 11 is employed. The input/output modules may include various sensors which values or indicative information is displayed through the user interface and/or signals may interact through the management system with the other elements 12, 13, 14 and 15 or with the user.

[0039] The management system may trigger certain events depending upon what is or is not connected or sensed.

[0040] Thus the lines connecting the blocks 11 -16 in Figure 1 represent, in the present example of Figure 1 , available connections to the management system for temporary or permanent connection. As will be described below, as an example of a permanent option, three elements that are integrated into the one box are preferably, the management system 11 , the user interface controllers 15, and its display (if it has one), as well as an inverter for AC output via an AC socket.

[0041] While the management system 11 may be employed in any connected arrangement wherever it is desirable to utilise one or more of the connected elements 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 to be interconnected and interrelated and managed, the system 11 used in the following embodiments relate use of the management system in a typical mobile environment A mobile environment may be occasioned where the management system is utilised in relation to a mobile setup as might be hard wired into a vehicle as in for example a recreational vehicle or in other embodiment illustrated herein as a mobile unit optionally with an incorporated battery pack.

[0042] Thus Figure 2 illustrates application of the management system 11 In this case the block diagram shows, as it might be connectable in a vehicle type environment where the external input/output modules at 16 concerns various possible condition monitoring and control capabilities as concerns sensors carried in a vehicle. These range depending on the vehicle including a caravan or other type of recreational vehicle, motor home or a 4 WD vehicle or vehicle that have undergone conversion to include the need for at least one extra battery.

[0043] Illustrated in embodiment of Figure 2 items 13 and 14, in this case, include within their ambit various input sockets of standardised type including six DC input sockets at 17 and an AC input socket at 18 The output again has multiple connections at 14 include standard DC outputs shown at 19 and an AC output socket at 20. One or more batteries are shown at 21. In the illustrated embodiment an AC-DC charger 22 is available to charge the battery 21 from AC input at 18 and is boxed in with the system 11 as also is an inverter at 23 for AC output. Different output currents are provided for at 24 depending on the source being used for the input at 13.

[0044] Referring now to Figures 3A-4B, two embodiments are described as applied to a 600W and 1000W inverter respectively. In Figures 3A and 3B there is illustrated an arrangement 25 applied to a 600W inverter 26 while Figures 4A and 4B is a similar arrangement 27 applied to a 1 ,000W inverter 28. Both systems utilise a microprocessor PIC 18F66K22 from Microchip Technology Incorporated employed in accordance with the manufacturer's specification and direction for its use. What is common and what is different to the arrangements will be readily apparent from the drawings and from the following description and where appropriate like numerals refer to like features.

[0045] The following table is a listing of abbreviations and acronyms used in the following Figures and description.

Integrated Management System IMS

Input/Output I/O

User Interface Controller UIC

Printed Circuit Board PCB

Direct Current DC

Alternating Current AC

Voltage V, Volts

Ampere A, Amp, Amps

Ampere/Hour A/hr, Ah

Watts W

Liquid Crystal Display LCD

Cigarette Socket CIG

Maximum Power Point Tracking MPPT

Normally Open no

Normally Closed nc

Right Hand Side RHS

Left Hand Side LHS

Light Emitting Diode LED

Circuit Breaker C/B

Universal Serial Bus USB

Negative Temperature Coefficient ntc

User Interface Ul

Communications Comms

Relay R

Hybrid Bypass HBP

Voltage Battery VBatt

Default DFLT

Reverse battery protection RBP

[0046] The systems 25 and 27 are assembled as two PCBs. a charger PCB 29. 30 and a control PCB 31 , 32 with the control PCB carrying the microprocessor 33.

[0047] The input connection 13 comprises mains AC plug connector 34, and DC options being a four pin MIC plug car/solar 35, a 2 pin MIC plug 36 and an Anderson connector 37. A normally open relay 38 is normally connected to the DC inputs The Anderson connector 37 is employed for a high current bypass option direct to inverter 28 from a running vehicle.

[0048] The inverter in each case is located inside an air cooled housing 39 illustrated in Figure 16D where DC blower fan 40 draws air through the inverter housing from inlet 41 to expel hot air at outlet 42. The DC blower fan is attached to one end face of the inverter housing 39. It sucks air through the inverter to cool the electronic components. The whole assembly may be located inside another box The opposite end of the inverter housing has air holes so that the air inside and in any adjacent cavity can be sucked into the inverter housing 39. Outside air is sucked into the an adjacent cavity through the inlet 41 The DC Blower Fan expels the hot air through outlet 42. The Fan is variable speed controlled by the Microprocessor.

[0049] A temperature sensor 43 is attached to the outside wall of the inverter housing. The inverter housing is extruded aluminium. The temperature sensor is located on the outside of the inverter in direct close proximity to the inverter's hot FETs that are attached to its inside wall. The FETs temperature is directly related to the process of converting DC voltage into AC voltage, and the higher the power required, the hotter the FETs become. The extruded aluminium housing transfers the heat from the FETs, and the T1 sensor measures the temperature in this area. This temperature is one factor taken into account in Figure 6B when deciding whether or not to switch the inverter on

[0050] In the 600W version of Figures 3A and 3B 34 is a standard 3 pin socket, typically used for mains power leads, this is connected to a 240 VAC 2A - 12VDC 10A Mains Charger 44. 35 is a socket which can accept charging current from a car accessory socket (such as a CIG socket), and from a solar PV source. In the present case it is one or the other, but not both at the same time. The input section with voltage and current sensors 45 have the sensors on the PCB, so that the charger PCB 30 can determine what type of input power source from the current and voltage measured. The relay 38, R1 relay, is normally open to the output of the built-in mams AC-DC charger, which means it is normally closed to the car/solar 4 pin MIC sockets 35 and 36. This means that if solar or a car CIG connection is made it is already connected and will immediately accept charging input. However, when Mains is connected, it powers R1 relay to switch, and allows the Mains power to "override" the car/solar connection. Therefore if Mains and car/solar is connected at the same time - Mains power charging has

priority. The R4 Relay 46 is normally open to the charger PCB 30. When the charger PCB has charging power available from Mains or car/solar charging inputs it sends a signal via the control & feedback circuitry 47 on its PCB to the Microprocessor on the control PCB 32. The microprocessor then sends a signal to R4 to close, thereby allowing charging current to flow from the charger PCB to the battery 49 Note: the control PCB will only switch the R4 Relay if it is safe to do so - i.e. if it is not in over temperature protection mode. Sensor T2 at 48 is a ntc thermistor. It is a temperature sensor that is connected to the negative terminal of the battery 49. It measures the battery temperature and provides temperature compensation feedback for the charger to modulate the charging current rate. If temperature is outside predefined safety limits the charger PCB 30 will disable charging and report the fault back to the control PCB 32. To this end the charger PCB - output section with voltage, current and temperature sensors 50 reads the T2 and uses this reading before, and during, charging to ensure that charging current is only given to the battery 49 if it is within safe temperature limits. An over temperature alarm is triggered using T2.

[0051] In the 1000W version of Figures 4A and 4B there are many similarities and like numerals illustrate like features. The socket 35 is solely for charging current from a car accessory socket (such as a CIG socket). This is also used as a "CAR ignition" to detect when to switch to a bulk bypass charging mode. A dedicated socket 36 is provided for solar. V2 is a voltage sensor 51 that measures the voltage coming from the car accessory charging socket 35. It is connected into the control PCB - hybrid bypass circuitry and acts as a "voltage sense" to determine and advise the microprocessor that the car is running. The R2 Relay 53 is normally open to the car CIG input 35 and normally closed to the solar input 36. This means as soon as solar charging is present, relay 53 is already open to accept charging current. When car CIG charging power is connected, it powers the Relay 53 to switch, and allows car CIG power to "override" the solar connection. Therefore if car CIG and solar is connected at the same time - car CIG power charging has priority.

[0052] The connector 37 is to allow a direct connection to a car battery. This is an alternate method of charging the battery. Sensor V1 is a voltage sensor 54 that measures the voltage coming from the Anderson socket (Car Battery). It is connected into the Control PCB - Hybrid ByPass (HBP) circuitry and acts as a "voltage sense" to determine and advise the

microprocessor that there is a live connection to the car battery (not shown). Relay 55 R3 is normally open to the Anderson Connector - no Charging current can pass through until the relay receives a signal to change state. C1 at 56 is a "Hall Effect" current sensor that is connected into the Control PCB - HBP circuitry. It measures current coming from the car battery (not shown). A 100A fuse 57 protects the battery 49.

[0053] With V2 51 detecting voltage from the car CIG socket to advise that the car is running, and with mains power OFF, the Relay R4 at 46 will allow charging current to the battery 49. The microprocessor is preset with "if the current is > than 8.5A continuous charging through the Car CIG", and V1 measuring current from the direct car battery connection advising that this connection had been made, then the Microprocessor will signal R3 to activate thereby allowing current to come through from the car battery to charge the battery 49, at the same time R4 will be signalled to activate to switch to stop the car CIG current from the charger PCB. This state will stay during a battery BULK charging mode, the C1 Hall Effect sensor continues to be monitored, and when the Current is <13Amps, this indicates to the Microprocessor that the BULK charging stage is almost complete, and it signals to the R3 and R4 to activate change state. This stops current from the car battery, and allows current from the car CIG for the final battery charging stages.

[0054] If at any time the car CIG plug 35 is pulled out, the voltage sensor V2 51 will sense this, and the HBP at 52 will switch off the bulk charging with relays R3 and R4 activating. If at any time the voltage V1 exceeds the safe charging value for the battery type, the microprocessor will switch off R3, and R4 back on.

[0055] When R3 is closed to allow charging current direct from the car battery, and the latching relay 58 is ON allowing power connections to all outlets 60,61 , current can "bypass" the battery and pass through the latching relay 58 (and Shunt 62) directly to the inverter 28 with the inverter switched on via the on/off switch 64. With the car in idle mode, running, then this provides unlimited powering of the 1000W Inverter 28. Under normal operating conditions, the

Microprocessor 33 has the latching relay 58 ON. This allows the battery power to pass through the latching relay to provide power to all the outlets.

[0056] The shunt 62 is a two wire connection to a known value resistance attached to the output of the latching relay 58. By reading the two wires attached to the shunt, the Control PCB -Voltage, current and temperature sensors 63 can read how much current is entering or leaving the battery, and the voltage of the battery. By reading the 2 wires attached to the shunt, the Control PCB - Voltage, current and temperature sensors 63 can identify if the battery 49 voltage is low and reaching the preset low voltage safety shutdown value for each type of battery. The Control PCB - Voltage, current and temperature sensors 63 can also measure the current through the shunt 62 so that this can also be used (with the battery voltage) to determine when the shut-off the latching relay is initiated to protect the battery 49 from damage caused by low voltage operation.

[0057] The status LED 65 is green unless there is a high temperatures are sensed at the inverter 28 or battery 49 sensors T1 , and/or T2 43 and 48, the microprocessor will change the status LED 65 from green to red and in this case it will be pulsed. This can also be indicated on the touchscreen 66

[0058] The inverter on/off LED 67 will be green when the inverter 26,28 has been turned on and there is sufficient voltage available from the battery to power the Inverter. The fault LED 68 shines red when there is an internal fault within the inverter. The inverter has a built-in temperature sensor so that it can stop working if the inside temperature gets too hot. The inverter also has an internal current sensor that will prevent an over-current condition.

[0059] Both arrangements also include protection against the battery 49 being connected incorrectly and this is connected through the main switch 69 to the battery 49 as shown. In the event the polarity is accidentally reversed the control PCB 32 has a reverse battery protection circuit RBP 70 that will be described below.

[0060] Since the arrangements may be used with different types of batteries having different characteristics, where the battery and system is housed in a portable box, the present circuit uses a battery concealed switch 71 , this switch is used to select the battery type before the battery is installed in the box. The switch is not accessible or is rendered inoperative as result of installation of the battery in the box. This inhibits inadvertent change of the battery type so this is a safety feature.

[0061] Another feature is an LED strip 72 which extends along a substantial length of any box or housing, usually adjacent a top margin above any inlets, outlets and screens so that the LED strip may be switched on at night to provide lighting.

[0062] Figures 3A through 4B illustrate the overall operation of the two embodiments described. Various sensors and process carried out by the microprocessor are not disclosed in those drawings, for clarity, but those parts and elements and their presence will become readily apparent from the schematics and process description to follow herein in relation to the drawing Figures 5A through 14C.

[0063] Referring now to Figures 5A and 5B (like numerals illustrate like features), there is illustrated in in the context of Figure 5A, the latching relay is on, and power is being supplied to the load outlets 60, 61 and from the battery. There are no inputs charging the battery and accordingly the battery is starting to drain, the microprocessor continuously monitors the voltage and current sensors at the battery and the microprocessor has, via the concealed key switch, adopted the low voltage cut off values set out in the table in Figure 5B depending on the type of battery. Once the low voltage cut off limit is reached the microprocessor sends a signal to switch the latching relay off and power is then shut off to all load out connections protecting the battery from any further discharge. The microprocessor then sends a signal to the liquid crystal display at 66, the display showing as at 73 in Figure 5B is typical asking the user to commence charging the battery. As shown in Figure 5C the microprocessor then waits until power is available. Once charging becomes available the microprocessor commences a timer, on completion of the timer sends a signal activating the latching relay on. The timer limits is selected according to what type of input is connected, being longer for solar compared to a car or Mains supply, the end result being that so power is resupplied to the output load connections with normal operation.

[0064] Referring now to Figures 6A and 6B there is illustrated in 6A a circuit schematic based on each of the arrangements of Figures 3A through 4B for control of the inverter. Like numerals illustrated like features. So the master switch 69 is on and there could be supply to any of the inputs, there could be loads on any of the outputs and it is desirable to connect an AC appliance to the output socket of the inverter. User then turns the inverter push button on so that the system goes from idle to check sequence to validate that the inverter can be turned on when, the push button is pushed at 74.

[0065] Figure 6B is a diagram illustrating the software process used to manage and control the inverter 28, 26. Once the inverter on/off push button is pushed to switch the inverter on this triggers the microprocessor to initiate a system validation sequence at 75. This in turn processes each of the validation checks that are set cut at 76 in the diagram of Figure 6B namely, low voltage detection on the battery 49, overload detection and over temperature detection on the inverter or that the !'on" timer for the inverter has been set. Once this validation check has been verified an "on" signal is sent to switch the inverter on and this is represented by arrow 77. The user can preset the timer at 78 which sets the duration that the inverter is to be on. In the event a new charging input is detected and this is represented along line 79 this initiates another system validation check in case that input is a mains supply in which case the present arrangement will turn the inverter off thereby prompting the user to utilise the available main supply. The validation sequence will ensure that the inverter is not switched directly on but that the preconditions of suitable timer set, there being sufficient battery voltage available and any of the other operating conditions of the system as a whole, in terms of threshold values, and preconditions are met, then the inverter may be turned on.

[0066] Figure 7 A is a circuit schematic illustrating that part of the arrangements of Figures 4A and 4B involving battery charging direct from a vehicle battery following detection of the vehicle running and then subsequently finalising the battery charging from the car CIG plug. Like numerals illustrate like features, the process sequence is illustrated in Figures 7B and 7C where an input is attached to an ignition controlled outlet at 80 usually via the 4 pin MIC plug 35 and the vehicle battery is attached at 81 usually via the Anderson connector 37. The user then turns the ignition on to start the vehicle so that the vehicle is running. The microprocessor 33 continues to read the voltage sensor and identifies that power is available through the socket 35 and the DC to DC charger is activated "on" by the microprocessor so the battery may be charged via that route or alternatively if power is available via the vehicle alternator as at 82 through the normally open relay R3 at 55 in Figure 4A then that will be used. The

microprocessor will recognise that the vehicle battery is attached to the Anderson connector 37 by routing voltage and current sensors at 83. In the present case, if the current is greater than 8.5 Amps then the microprocessor will turn off the DC/DC charging and switch the relay R3, R4 at 46 to commence bulk charging, runs a 30 second test at 84 and commences bulk charging while turning off the DC/DC charging relay at 85. All this time it will be keeping check that the vehicle is still running by the presence of the DC connection. The microprocessor continues to check the charging at 86 and if the current drops to less than 11 Amps then turns on the DC/DC charger and relays at 87. turns off the bulk charging at 88 and can use the DC/DC charge to finally top up the battery. The microprocessor then reads the voltage and current sensors again at 89 and the microprocessor shuts off all relays DC/DC charge when the battery is full at 90. Thus the present invention is able to utilise a rapid charge at high current function to bring the battery quick to full charge or near full charge and may then top up that charge at a lower current using the DC/DC charger.

[0067] Referring now to Figure 8 A there is illustrated a circuit schematic similar to the arrangement of Figure 7 A similarly in this case an ignition controlled switch is used to identify that the vehicle is running, the vehicle battery is connected and rather than utilising a bulk charge to the battery, power from the vehicle alternator is passed straight through to the inverter and then to an AC output device

[0068] Figure 8B shows the control sequence. The vehicle 4 pin plug 35 is connected at 91 and the vehicle battery attached to the Anderson connector 37 at 92 and the vehicle is started at 93. The microprocessor identifies that the alternator is attached and the vehicle is running through 94 by reason of power being available through the CIG socket 35. Power is available for the alternator by reason of the vehicle battery being attached through the Anderson connector. The microprocessor identifies that power is available directly for the inverter at 94 and turns on the relays 55 at 96 and power is directed directly from the vehicle alternator to the inverter 28. Now the inverter has to be turned on as well and the process for turning on the inverter has already been described in relation to Figures 6A and 6B.

[0069] Referring now to Figures 9A and 10B there is illustrated in Figure 9 the setup of the LED strip 72 which is controlled via the microprocessor powered by the battery and user input via the liquid crystal display and touch screen 56. Figure 10A and 10B illustrate typical displays where the mode of operation from the home page provide for touch screen entry at 97 to turn the LEDs on and the screen display illustrated in Figure 10B makes provision for adjusting the brightness of the LEDs as shown at 98 In the boxed version and in the example shown in Figures 16A through 16D the LED strip 72 is located along the top inner edge (see Figure 16A) so that it extends right along the length of the box providing suitable lighting when required.

[0070] Referring now Figures 11 through to Figure 13, Figures 11 and 12 illustrates the timer setting for the inverter "on" time with Figure 11 being the screen prior to the screen in Figure 12 where the timer is "off' at 99. One hour is initially selected from 100 and then using the plus or minus buttons at 101 and 102 the minutes may be set. The screen in Figure 13 shows the general status of the timer as it is starting to count down at 103. Thus one can check on the operation of the inverter, the battery voltage and at the same time these are being monitored by the microprocessor.

[0071] Referring now to Figures 1 A, 14B and 14C the reverse battery protection arrangement 70 will now be described relative to its application to control of the latching relay 58. If the battery is not connected correctly then the latching relay does not operate As can be seen in Figure 14A a signal relay 104 operates in conjunction with a diode 105 so that when there is a correct connection to the battery at 106 the diode conducts and this in turn charges the capacitor 107 and this turns the latching relay 58 on as illustrated in Figure 14B. A control signal from the microprocessor at 108 switches the signal relay and the capacitor is then used to turn the latching relay to the off state as illustrated in Figure 14C. So as long as the battery is connected properly and there is sufficient charge, then the latching relay will be turned on and held on by the microprocessor and capacitor When the battery terminals are incorrectl attached, the diode stops any current from passing through. The capacitor does not charge, and the latching relay is not switched on. All electronics and the battery are protected by the diode 105.

[0072] That now completes the description of the electronics, the remainder of the description now deals with the mechanical application of the present invention in terms of box layout and other physical and mechanical constructions applicable to the preferred embodiments herein.

[0073] Figure 15 is a drawing illustrating the management system 10 showing various sensor connections and wireless connections that may be applicable at 109 and there is also an example to a car and a caravan 110 with all manner of sensors utilised in such an arrangement These can be sources for data and input into the present management system 0 while at the same time managing the charge on a second battery and also managing available input sources both to charge that battery or to directly supply output to appliances through the management system according to the present invention. In terms of boxing, the unit in the present illustration may be boxed in three particular ways. The first is as a panel mount version which is illustrated in Figures 16A through 16C. the second a stand alone version which is illustrated in Figures 17A through 17B and then a version which is boxed with a battery, which is illustrated in Figures 18A through 18C.

[0074] Referring to Figures 16A through 16D there is illustrated a box version that has a front face 112 so it may be mounted flush with a panel which may be on the exterior of a vehicle, the front panel includes the various manually operable parts including the AC outlet 113, master on/off switch

[0075] The stand alone version illustrated in Figure 17A includes the battery leads 116 and the thermistor 117, liquid crystal display screen, main on/off switch, input charging connectors at 118, external input/output connectors at 119 and a wireless comms at 111. Output connectors are at 120.

[0076] Referring now to Figures 18A through 18C and Figures 19A and 19B there is illustrated a boxed version 121 having a battery compartment 122 holding a battery 49 with the terminals shown wired up in Figure 18C, the battery being omitted in Figure 18B but what can be seen in Figure 18B is the key switch. In this case it is a four way key switch as shown in Figure 19A and by the process documented in Figure 19B. the type of battery might be selected using the key switch 71 and then the battery is inserted into the battery cavity 122 The key switch is no longer accessible

[0077] The box includes a base 123 and a lid 124, the lid houses all the electronics apart from the battery and the key switch, the lid 124 is hinged to the base along hinge line 126. Side clips are used to close the lid into the closed position illustrated in Figure 18A. There are side handles recessed on opposite ends at 127 to make it easy to carry. All of the inlet and outlet connectors are carried by the front face 28 Anderson sockets are covered by dust covers at 129, DC the two pin and 4 pin sockets at 132 and 133 with outlets are at 61 , AC inlet socket at 130, AC outlet at 131. the inverter is located within the housing with cooling air inlet 40 outlet 41 as for the previous embodiment.

[0078] Figures 20 A through 20C show connection of another battery 134 to one of the

Anderson connectors, as soon as a battery is connected the display shows the option to select the capacity of the battery as shown in Figures 20B and 20C in order for the system to optimise charging if this extra battery.

[0079] Whilst the above has been given by way of illustrative example many variations and modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the broad ambit and scope of the invention herein set out in the appended claims.