(19)
(11)EP 2 984 736 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 14771075.0

(22)Date of filing:  14.03.2014
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H02J 50/00  (2016.01)
H04B 7/24  (2006.01)
H04B 5/00  (2006.01)
H03F 3/217  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2014/026952
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/152103 (25.09.2014 Gazette  2014/39)

(54)

RESONANT WIRELESS POWER DRIVER WITH ADJUSTABLE POWER

DRAHTLOSER RESONANTER LEISTUNGSTREIBER MIT EINSTELLBARER LEISTUNG

CIRCUIT DE COMMANDE DE TRANSFERT D'ÉNERGIE SANS FIL PAR RÉSONANCE À PUISSANCE RÉGLABLE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 14.03.2013 US 201361782604 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
17.02.2016 Bulletin 2016/07

(73)Proprietor: MediaTek Singapore Pte. Ltd.
Singapore 138628 (SG)

(72)Inventors:
  • RIEHL, Patrick, Stanley
    Cambridge, MA 02140 (US)
  • SATYAMOORTHY, Anand
    Somerville, MA 02144 (US)
  • YEN, Yung-Chih
    Tainan City 709 (TW)

(74)Representative: Gilani, Anwar 
Venner Shipley LLP Byron House Cambridge Business Park Cowley Road
Cambridge CB4 0WZ
Cambridge CB4 0WZ (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A2-2012/111969
US-A1- 2010 176 659
US-A1- 2010 184 371
US-A1- 2013 033 118
US-A1- 2004 080 364
US-A1- 2010 184 371
US-A1- 2012 228 959
US-A1- 2014 035 384
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The invention is related to the field of resonant wireless power (RWP), and in particular to a RWP driver with adjustable power output.

    [0002] Wireless power (WP) transfer systems use the mutual inductance between two magnetic coils to transfer power through magnetic induction. These systems are commonly classified as either "inductive" or "resonant". In a purely inductive wireless power transfer system, the source coil, which functions as the primary winding of a transformer, is driven by a voltage or current source. The receive coil, which functions as the secondary winding, is connected to a bridge rectifier, either directly or through an accoupling capacitor. The voltages and currents in the two windings can be determined by the relations commonly used to describe transformers.

    [0003] In a resonant wireless power (RWP) transfer system, the source and receiver coils are connected to capacitors to form electrical resonators. From a circuit-design standpoint, the function of the capacitors is to cancel some of the reactive impedance of the inductors, allowing more power to be transferred at a given voltage. The impedance of the inductors and capacitors varies in opposite directions with operating frequency, so the cancellation is only effective over a small range of frequencies. In other words, resonant wireless power systems utilize circuits tuned to a specific frequency at which power is to be transferred. They typically do not allow power transfer at other frequencies.

    [0004] In order to operate a RWP system at high efficiency over a wide range of loading conditions, the power output from the wireless power source must be adjustable. Operating the source at too low of a power level may result in insufficient power to supply the receiver devices. Operating it at too high of a power level may result in excess circulating currents, causing wasted energy.

    [0005] For MHz-frequency RWP sources, a Class-E amplifier is often used to convert dc power to ac. The Class-E amplifier is only efficient at one particular duty cycle, so it is not possible to use duty cycle control to modulate power. Nor is it typically possible to vary frequency, as the receiver devices are all tuned to a specific frequency. The best-known methodology for adjusting power level is to introduce a dc-dc converter between the input dc power supply and the Class-E amplifier. However, this dc-dc converter will introduce some efficiency loss as well as adding complexity to the design of the source electronics.

    [0006] Documents US 2010/184371 A1 and WO 2012/111969 A2 disclose such Class-E amplifier structures.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0007] According to one aspect of the invention, there is provided a resonant wireless power (RWP) system. The RWP system includes a signal generator arranged to provide an input signal waveform; amplifier structure that amplifies signals for transmissions to a receiver. The amplifier structure is arranged to be powered from a fixed DC voltage supply and arranged to use the input signal waveform as a phase and frequency reference signal. The amplifier structure is arranged to be independently operated: a) with the amplifier structure comprising a plurality of component amplifiers operated as a differential or as a single-ended amplifiers to provide two different output power levels, or b) using a capacitor in a matching network that is adjusted to provide a range of output power levels.

    [0008] According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of controlling the power of a resonant wireless power (RWP) system. The method includes providing a signal generator that provides an input signal waveform; and providing an amplifier structure that is powered from a fixed DC voltage supply and using the input signal waveform as a phase and frequency reference signal, wherein the amplifier structure is arranged to be operated: a) with the amplifier structure comprising a plurality of component amplifiers operated as a differential or single-ended amplifiers to provide two different output power levels, or b) using a capacitor in a matching network that is adjusted to provide a range of output power levels.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0009] 

    FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram illustrating a typical RWP transmitter;

    FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating one embodiment of the invention for varying the output power of the amplifier;

    FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating a second embodiment of the invention for varying the source output power;

    FIG. 4 is a graph illustrating properties of the burst mode;

    FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram illustrating a third embodiment of the invention for adjusting amplifier output power;

    FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram illustrating a simplified source circuit used in accordance with the invention;

    FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram illustrating a matched impedance control scheme used in accordance with the invention; and

    FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram illustrating a RWP system focusing on the differential Class-E amplifier used in accordance with the invention.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0010] The invention relates to circuits and methods for controlling the power from the Class-E amplifier without using duty-cycle control, frequency variation or a dc-dc converter.

    [0011] FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a typical RWP transmitter 2. A fixed dc voltage 12 provides the power input to the transmitter. A dc/dc converter 4 transforms this fixed dc voltage 12 to the voltage level required by an amplifier 8. A signal generator 6 provides the phase and frequency reference signals to the amplifier input.

    [0012] In a typical embodiment of an RWP transmitter 2, these signals consist of two square waves of continuous fixed frequency with opposite phase. The amplifier 8 produces output power drawn from the dc/dc output at the frequency of the signal generator 6. The output power of the amplifier 8 is conveyed through a matching network 10 into the source coil L1. The matching network 10 provides an impedance match between the amplifier 8 and source coil L1, ensuring an efficient delivery of power to the source coil L1. When a matched receiver coil is coupled to the source coil L1, it may receive power wirelessly through the magnetic coupling.

    [0013] Depending on the conditions of operation of the wireless power system, the power required from the source may vary over some range. In the system of FIG. 1, the conventional method to vary the amplifier output power is to vary the voltage at the amplifier input. The dc/dc converter 4 is only required because of the need to vary amplifier output power. If output power can be varied using a fixed voltage supply 12, the dc/dc converter 4 can be eliminated, thus improving efficiency and reducing system complexity. Although frequency and duty-cycle modulation have been used in inductive charging systems to vary source power, these techniques are not suitable to highly resonant systems. Note the amplifier 8 can include any class of amplifier, such Class-D, E, F amplifiers.

    [0014] FIG. 2 shows one embodiment 20 of the invention for varying the output power of the amplifier 8 without using input voltage, frequency or duty-cycle modulation. In this block diagram the amplifier 8 is powered directly from the fixed dc voltage 12 -there is no dc-dc converter. The amplifier 8 shown is typically operated as a differential amplifier, producing equal and opposite output voltages. In fact, the amplifier 8 is composed of two component amplifiers 22, 24. If the signal generator 6 disables one of its frequency reference outputs, the corresponding component amplifier 24 can be made inactive. As a result, the output power from the amplifier 8 can be reduced by half. This provides two levels of output power adjustment, which may be sufficient for some basic wireless power systems.

    [0015] FIG. 3 shows another embodiment 30 for varying the source output power. As in the technique described in FIG. 2, the amplifier 8 is powered from a fixed dc voltage 12. In this method, the frequency reference provided by the signal generator 6 is not a continuous square wave, but rather a sequence of bursts of pulses at the operation frequency, interleaved with periods of inactivity. An example of this burst-mode operation is shown in FIG. 4. The waveforms Vg1 and Vg2 represent the frequency references supplied to the top and bottom side of the differential amplifier, respectively. In the section of the figure labeled "4/8 Duty Cycle", there is a burst of four pulses followed by an idle period. The overall pattern repeats with a period of eight pulse periods. During the burst, the inductor current IL ramps up as power is injected into the resonant circuit. During the idle period, power ramps down. The average current in the inductor IL is lower than it would be for a continuous pulse train. In the section of the figure labeled "2/8 Duty Cycle", only two pulses are injected during a period of eight pulse periods. Since the ramp-up time of the inductor current is smaller, the average inductor current is lower than in the first case. In general, the higher the ratio of pulses to idle time, the higher the average inductor current. Thus the output power, which is proportional to inductor current, can be controlled by adjusting the pulse density.

    [0016] FIG. 5 shows another embodiment 34 of the invention for adjusting amplifier 8 output power. In this method, the amplifier input voltage is a fixed dc voltage 12 and the frequency reference is a continuous, fixed-frequency square wave. In this method, there are variable impedance elements 36 in the matching network 10. Varying these elements allows the power to the source coil L1 to be adjusted. In order to better understand this variable matching network technique, FIG. 6 shows the amplifier abstracted to an ac voltage source 48.

    [0017] In particular, FIG. 6 also shows the components Rref and Xref, the reflected resistance and reactance. These elements are taken from transformer theory to model the effect of a receiver coil coupled to the source coil. Rref represents power delivered to the receiver coil, and Xref represents power reflected from the receiver coil. If the circuit 44 is perfectly matched, the impedance at the input of the matching network 50 will be exactly the real value of the equivalent source impedance with no imaginary (reactive) component. This ensures that the source can transfer maximum power to the load. However, since the input impedance to the matching network 50 is necessarily dependent on the reflected impedance, it is not possible to achieve perfect matching over all load conditions with a fixed matching network 50. The matching network 50 can also transform the real part of the reflected impedance to a larger or smaller value, depending on the topology used. This effect is used in this invention to vary the power delivered to the load via the VAC 48. The VAC is power by a DC source 46.

    [0018] FIG. 7 illustrates a simplified block diagram of one such matched impedance control circuit 52. Vac represents the amplifier output voltage. The matching network consists of the combination of a series reactance Xs and a parallel capacitance Cp. Under certain Q factor conditions, the combination of Cp, Ls and Rs is transformed into an equivalent circuit that can be represented by LM and RM. LM and RM can be calculated using equation 1 and 2 below, where ω refers to the operating frequency and ωg is the resonant frequency of the parallel combination of Cp and Ls.





    From Eq. 3, one can calculate the value of Cp necessary to present an appropriate value of RM at the fixed AC voltage VAC. From Eq. 1, one can calculate the value of XS necessary to cancel the reactance presented by LM.

    [0019] It can be observed that the value of the equivalent resistance RM and inductance Lm can be varied by changing Xs and Cp. If both are varied, the amplifier can deliver varying amounts of power in a perfectly matched condition. If only one or the other is varied, perfect matching may not be maintained, but the output power can be modulated.

    [0020] FIG. 8 shows a schematic of a RWP system 62, in which a differential Class-E amplifier is used. The techniques described above are particularly well-suited to RWP systems including differential Class-E amplifiers. Class-E amplifiers are often used in RWP systems because they offer high efficiency and low equivalent output resistance. A description of the circuit is as follows: A signal generator 64 produces two frequency references with fixed frequency and duty cycle and opposite phase. Driver stages 66 and 68 amplify the frequency references with sufficient drive strength to control the gates of the power FETs M1 and M2. The FETs are arranged with a conventional Class-E matching network consisting of choke inductors LS1 and capacitors CS1 and CS2. The amplifier produces a sinusoidal circulating current in L1, the source coil. This generates a magnetic field that induces a voltage in the receiver coil L2. This induced voltage can be used to transfer energy to the receiver load, represented as resistor Rl. A matching network 70 provides maximum power transfer between the source or RF energy and its load.


    Claims

    1. A resonant wireless power ,RWP, system (20) comprising:

    a signal generator (6) arranged to provide an input signal waveform; and

    an amplifier structure (8) arranged to be powered from a fixed DC voltage supply (12), and arranged to use the input signal waveform as a phase and frequency reference signal,

    characterised in that the amplifier structure (8) is arranged to be independently operated:

    a) with the amplifier structure comprising a plurality of component amplifiers operated as a differential amplifier or as a single ended amplifier to provide two different output power levels, or

    b) using a capacitor in a matching network that is adjusted to provide a range of output power levels.


     
    2. The RWP system (20) of claim 1, wherein the amplifier structure (8) has the effect of varying the power levels to a load.
     
    3. The RWP system (20) of claim 1, wherein amplifier structure (8) comprises Class-D, E, or F amplifiers.
     
    4. The RWP system (20) of claim 1, wherein the amplifier structure (8) does not include a dc-dc converter.
     
    5. A method of controlling the power of a resonant wireless power ,RWP, system (20) comprising:

    providing a signal generator (6) that provides an input signal waveform; and

    providing an amplifier structure (8) that is powered from a fixed DC voltage supply (12), and using the input signal waveform as a phase and frequency reference signal, wherein the amplifier structure (8) is characterised in that it is arranged to be operated:

    a) with the amplifier structure comprising a plurality of component amplifiers operated as a differential amplifier or as a single ended amplifier to provide two different output power levels,
    or

    b) using a capacitor in a matching network that is adjusted to provide a range of output power levels.


     
    6. The method of claim 5, wherein the amplifier structure (8) has the effect of varying the power levels to a load.
     
    7. The method of claim 5, wherein amplifier structure (8) comprises Class-D, E, or F amplifiers.
     
    8. The method of claim 5, wherein the amplifier structure (8) does not include a dc-dc converter.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Drahtloses resonantes Leistungs-(DRL)-System (20), umfassend:

    einen Signalgenerator (6), der angeordnet ist, um eine Eingangssignalwellenform bereitzustellen;

    und eine Verstärkerstruktur (8), die angeordnet ist, um von einer festen GS-Spannungszufuhr (12) mit Leistung versorgt zu werden, und angeordnet ist, um die Eingangssignalwellenform als ein Phasen- und Frequenzreferenzsignal zu verwenden, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Verstärkerstruktur (8) angeordnet ist, um unabhängig betrieben zu werden:

    a) mit der Verstärkerstruktur, die eine Vielzahl von Komponentenverstärkern umfasst, die als Differentialverstärker oder als Single-Ended-Verstärker betrieben werden, um zwei Ausgangsleistungspegel bereitzustellen, oder

    b) mithilfe eines Kondensators in einem Anpassungsnetzwerk, das angepasst ist, um einen Bereich von Ausgangsleistungspegeln bereitzustellen.


     
    2. DRL-System (20) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Verstärkerstruktur (8) die Wirkung hat, die Leistungspegel an eine Last zu variieren.
     
    3. DRL-System (20) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Verstärkerstruktur (8) Verstärker der Klasse D, E oder F umfasst.
     
    4. DRL-System (20) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Verstärkerstruktur (8) keinen GS/GS-Konverter enthält.
     
    5. Verfahren zum Steuern der Leistung eines resonanten Leistungs-(DRL)-Systems (20), umfassend:
    ein Bereitstellen eines Signalgenerators (6), der eine Eingangssignalwellenform bereitstellt, und ein Bereitstellen einer Verstärkerstruktur (8), die von einer festen GS-Spannungszufuhr (12) mit Leistung versorgt wird; und ein Verwenden der Eingangssignalwellenform als ein Phasen- und Frequenzreferenzsignal, wobei die Verstärkerstruktur (8) dadurch gekennzeichnet ist, dass sie angeordnet ist, um betrieben zu werden:

    a) mit der Verstärkerstruktur, die eine Vielzahl von Komponentenverstärkern umfasst, die als Differentialverstärker oder als Single-Ended-Verstärker betrieben werden, um zwei Ausgangsleistungspegel bereitzustellen, oder

    b) mithilfe eines Kondensators in einem Anpassungsnetzwerks, das angepasst ist, um einen Bereich von Ausgangsleistungspegeln bereitzustellen.


     
    6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Verstärkerstruktur (8) die Wirkung hat, die Leistungspegel an eine Last zu variieren.
     
    7. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Verstärkerstruktur (8) Verstärker der Klasse D, E oder F umfasst.
     
    8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Verstärkerstruktur (8) keinen GS/GS-Konverter enthält.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système de transmission d'énergie sans fil par résonance, RWP, (20) comprenant :
    un générateur de signal (6) conçu pour délivrer une forme d'onde de signal d'entrée ; et une structure amplificatrice (8) conçue pour être alimentée depuis une alimentation à tension CC fixe (12), et conçue pour utiliser la forme d'onde de signal d'entrée comme un signal de référence de phase et fréquence, caractérisé en ce que la structure amplificatrice (8) est conçue pour être actionnée indépendamment :

    a) avec la structure amplificatrice comprenant une pluralité d'amplificateurs de composant actionnés comme un amplificateur différentiel ou un amplificateur à sortie unique pour délivrer deux niveaux de puissance en sortie différents, ou

    b) en utilisant un condensateur dans un réseau d'adaptation qui est ajusté pour délivrer une plage de niveaux de puissance en sortie.


     
    2. Système RWP (20) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la structure amplificatrice (8) a l'effet de faire varier les niveaux de puissance selon une charge.
     
    3. Système RWP (20) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la structure amplificatrice (8) comprend des amplificateurs de classe D, E, ou F.
     
    4. Système RWP (20) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la structure amplificatrice (8) n'inclut pas de convertisseur CC-CC.
     
    5. Procédé de commande de la transmission d'énergie d'un système de transmission d'énergie sans fil par résonance, RWP, (20) comprenant :
    la fourniture d'un générateur de signal (6) qui délivre une forme d'onde de signal d'entrée ; et la fourniture d'une structure amplificatrice (8) qui est alimentée depuis une alimentation à tension CC fixe (12), et utilisant la forme d'onde de signal d'entrée comme un signal de référence de phase et fréquence, dans lequel la structure amplificatrice (8) est caractérisée en ce qu'elle est conçue pour être actionnée :

    a) avec la structure amplificatrice comprenant une pluralité d'amplificateurs de composant actionnés comme un amplificateur différentiel ou un amplificateur à sortie unique pour délivrer deux niveaux de puissance en sortie différents, ou

    b) en utilisant un condensateur dans un réseau d'adaptation qui est ajusté pour délivrer une plage de niveaux de puissance en sortie.


     
    6. Procédé selon la revendication 5, dans lequel la structure amplificatrice (8) a l'effet de faire varier les niveaux de puissance selon une charge.
     
    7. Procédé selon la revendication 5, dans lequel la structure amplificatrice (8) comprend des amplificateurs de classe D, E, ou F.
     
    8. Procédé selon la revendication 5, dans lequel la structure amplificatrice (8) n'inclut pas de convertisseur CC-CC.
     




    Drawing



























    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description