Title of Invention

SYSTEM FOR CONTROLLING THE CHARGING OF A SECONDARY BATTERY.

Abstract N/A
Full Text FORM 2
THE PATENTS ACT 1970
[39 OF 1970]
COMPLETE SPECIFICATION
[See Section 10]
“SYSTEM FOR CONTROLLING CHARGING OF SECONDARY BATTERY”
HONDA GIKEN KOGYO KABUSHIKI KAISHA, a corporation of Japan, « having a place of business at 1-1, Minamiaoyama 2-chome, Minato-ku, j~ Tokyo, Japan,

The following specification particularly describes the nature of the invention and the manner in which it is to be performed:-


[Detailed Description of the Invention]
[0001]
[Technical Field to Which the Invention Pertains]
The present invention relates to a system for controlling the charging of a secondary battery, and particularly to a system for controlling the charging of a secondary battery, which is suitable for enhancing the durability of the secondary battery, that is, keeping an initial charging/discharging performance of the secondary battery for a long-period of time.
2

[0002]
[Prior Art]
In the case of charging a secondary battery using nickel oxide as the material of a cathode (positive electrode), for example, a nickel-cadmium battery or a nickel-hydrogen battery, as the battery is charged to a full-charge level, oxygen gas is generated at the positive electrode. If the generation of the oxygen gas is continued, the inner pressure of the secondary battery is raised, and accordingly, the oxygen gas thus generated is required to be consumed by local cell reaction on the surface of an anode (negative electrode). In general, taking into account the gradual reduction in capacity of the negative electrode by the local cell reaction, the capacity of the negative electrode is set to be larger than that of the positive electrode. For example, a ratio (NP ratio) of the capacity of the negative electrode to that of the positive electrode is set to a value in a range of about 1.65 to 2.0. However, since the charging capacity of the battery is increased with the positive electrode taken as a rate-limiting factor, the increased capacity of the negative electrode brings enlargement of the secondary battery but does not contribute to the increase in charging capacity of the battery.
3

[0003]
A charging method capable of suppressing the generation of oxygen gas by stopping the charging at a charge level less than a full-charge level, for example, 97% of the full-charge level has been proposed in Japanese Patent Laid-open No. Hei 5-111175. This charging method is advantageous in that since the generation of oxygen gas is suppressed, the reduction in capacity of a negative electrode by local cell reaction can be prevented, with a result that it is possible to reduce the capacity of the negative electrode, and hence to miniaturize the secondary battery, that is, increase the charging capacity.
[0004]
[Problem to be Solved by the Invention]
As described above, the stopping of the charging at a charge level less than a full-charge level is desirable from the viewpoint of durability of a secondary battery; however, since a voltage reference value (cut-off voltage) representative of a reference charge amount for stopping the charging is dependent on a battery temperature and an environmental temperature and also on the degree of deterioration corresponding to the service period, it is not easy to accurately detect that the
4

voltage of the secondary battery reaches the cut-off voltage. In other words, it is not expected to accurately control the charging of the secondary battery only on the basis of the cut-off voltage.
[0005]
In view of the foregoing, the present invention has been made, and an object of the present invention is to provide a system for controlling the charging of a secondary battery, which is capable of setting a cut-off voltage to a value being as close to a full-charge level as possible in consideration of an environmental temperature and a deterioration with elapsed time.
[0006]
[Means for Solving the Problem]
To achieve the above object, according to a first feature of the present invention, there is provided a system for controlling the charging of a secondary battery, including: charging control means for stopping the charging when a charging voltage reaches a specific cut-off voltage corresponding to a charge capacity less than a full-charge level; and temperature correcting means for correcting the cut-off voltage on the basis of a deviation between a present environmental temperature and a reference environmental temperature. With this
5

first feature, the cut-off voltage, which is varied depending on an environmental temperature, can be optimally corrected.
[0007]
According to a second feature of the present invention, the system described in the first feature of the present invention further includes: second charging control means for stopping the charging at a charge level more than a full-charge level; charging voltage storing means for storing a charging voltage at the time of termination of a plurality of times of the charging by the second charging control means; and deterioration correcting means for correcting the cut-off voltage on the basis of the value of the charging voltage stored in the charging voltage storing means.
[0008]
As the battery is deteriorated, the charge capacity at the time of termination of the charging becomes smaller than the charge capacity at the time of stopping of the charging on the basis of the initially set cut-off voltage. According to the second feature, the charging voltage at the time of termination of a plurality of times of the charging to a charge level more than a full-charge level is stored, and the cut-off voltage is
6

corrected so as to be increased in consideration of a deteriorated proportion of the battery detected on the basis of the stored value of the charging voltage.
[0009]
According to a third feature of the present invention, the system described in the second feature of the present invention further includes battery temperature storing means for storing a temperature of the secondary battery at the time of termination of a plurality of times of the charging by the second charging control means; wherein the deterioration correcting means further corrects the cut-off voltage on the basis of the value of the battery temperature stored in the battery temperature storing means. If the secondary battery is deteriorated, the temperature of the secondary battery at the time of termination of charging is changed. With the third feature, the deteriorated proportion of the battery can be corrected in consideration of both a battery temperature and an environmental temperature.

[0010]
[Mode for Carrying Out the Invention]
Hereinafter, one embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings
7

[Brief Description of the Drawings] [FIG. 1]
FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing a system configuration of a motor-driven vehicle including a battery charging control system according to one embodiment of the present invention... [FIG. 2]
FIG. 2 is a flow chart showing a first essential process of ordinary charging. [FIG. 3]
FIG. 3 is a flow chart showing a second essential portion of the ordinary charging. [FIG. 4]
FIG. 4 is a flow chart showing a first essential process of refresh charging.








8

[FIG. 5]
FIG. 5 is a flow chart showing a second essential process of the refresh charging.
[FIG. 6]
FIG. 6 is a diagram showing changes in battery voltage and battery temperature with an elapse of a charging time upon refresh charging. [FIG. 7]
FIG. 7 is a diagram showing a relationship between the number of times of the ordinary charging and a change in charge amount.
[FIG. 8]
FIG. 8 is a diagram showing a relationship between an environmental temperature and a charging termination voltage.
[FIG. 9]
FIG. 9 is a diagram showing a battery discharge curve.
[FIG. 10]
FIG. 10 is a front view of a remaining capacity displaying portion before deterioration of the battery. [FIG. 11]
FIG. 11 is a front view of the remaining capacity displaying portion after deterioration of the battery.

[FIG. 12]
FIG. 12 is a view showing a segment display example of the battery remaining capacity before deterioration. [FIG. 13]
FIG. 13 is a view showing the segment display example of the battery remaining capacity after deterioration.
[FIG. 14]
FIG. 14 is a block diagram showing a first essential function of the embodiment of the present invention.
[Fig. 15]
FIG. 15 is a block diagram showing a second essential function of the embodiment of the present invention.
10

FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing a system configuration of a motor-driven vehicle including a secondary battery (hereinafter, referred to simply as a "battery") and a charger therefor. Referring to this figure, there are shown configurations of a battery unit 1, a charger 2, and a vehicular body 4. The battery unit 1 includes a battery 11, a battery temperature detecting portion 12, a battery capacity calculating portion 13, and a memory 14. The charger 2 includes an environmental temperature detecting portion 21, a charging current detecting portion 22, a charging voltage detecting portion 23, a discharger 24, a charging control portion
25, an AC/DC converter 26, a display portion 27, and an
ECU 28 including a microcomputer. A current is supplied
from a power source 3, for example, a household power
source (100 V) to the charger 2 via the AC/DC converter
26. The vehicular body 4 includes a motor 41 for
generating a motive power for the vehicular body, a motor
driver 42 for controlling the motor 41, and a remaining
capacity displaying portion 43 for displaying a remaining
capacity of the battery 11. A current is supplied from
the battery 11 to the motor driver 42.
[0011]
The battery 11 is exemplified by a battery having a

voltage/capacity of 24V/5Ah, which can be obtained by collection of, for example, 20 pieces of 1.2 V type Ni-MH (Ni-Metal Hydride) cells. These Ni-MH cells, each of which has a C-size and an NP ratio of about 1.2, are capable of attaining a battery capacity of 5 Ah (ampereX hr), and therefore, realizing a compact battery having a high energy density.
[0012]
The arrangement of respective components of the above-described system is not limited to that shown in FIG. 1 but may be modified depending on the configuration of the motor-driven vehicle or the like. For example, the charging current detecting portion 22, the charging voltage detecting portion 23, the charging control portion 25, and the ECU 2 8 may be arranged not in the charger 2 but in the battery unit 1; and the remaining capacity displaying portion 43 may be arranged not in the vehicular body 4 but in the battery unit 1, or two of the remaining capacity displaying portions 43 may be arranged in both the vehicular body 4 and the battery unit 1. [0013]
The charging control of the battery 11 in the above-described system includes both a first charging control (hereinafter, referred to as "ordinary charging")
12

and a second charging control (hereinafter, referred to as "refresh charging"). The ordinary charging of the battery 11 is characterized by stopping the charging at a charge level, which is close to and less than a full-charge level (equivalent to 100% of a rating capacity of the battery), for example, at a charge level of 97% of the full-charge level. The refresh charging of the battery is characterized by stopping the charging at a charge level, which is more than the full-charge level by a specific amount. In general, the refresh charging of the battery is performed after the ordinary charging of the battery is repeated by a plurality of times. To be more specific, the refresh charging is performed each time the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging has become a specific number or a random number made to occur for each ordinary charging corresponds to a specific value.
[0014]
The charging control of the battery 11 will be described in detail with reference to flow charts shown in FIGS. 2 to 5. FIG. 2 is a flow chart showing a first essential process of the ordinary charging. In steps SlOl to S108, a procedure for deciding a temperature before charging is executed. In step SlOl, an attention signal
13

"On Charging" is displayed on the display portion 27. In step S102, a battery temperature TBO is detected by the battery temperature detecting portion 12. In step S103, it is decided whether or not the battery temperature TBO is equal to or less than a predetermined charging starting temperature Tmax, which is set to, for example,
a value in a range of 40 to 50°C. The processing in step S103 is repeated every specific resting time until the answer in step S103 becomes affirmative (YES). If the answer in step S103 becomes affirmative (YES), the process goes on to step S104. In step S104, an environmental temperature TAO is detected by the environmental temperature detecting portion 21. In step S105, the value of a counter Nl for counting the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging is incremented by 1 (Nl —* Nl+1) . The total number of times of the repeated ordinary charging of the battery 11 can be detected from the value of the counter Nl. In step S106, it is decided whether or not a difference between the environmental temperature TAO and the battery temperature TBO is equal to or less than a predetermined charging starting temperature difference ∆TOK, which is set to, for example, a value in a range of 0 to 10°C.
[0015]
14

If the difference between the environmental temperature TAO and the battery temperature TBO becomes equal to or less than the charging starting temperature difference ∆TOK, the process goes on to step S109. In step S109, it is decided whether or not the value of a counter N2 is equal to or more than a reference value Nref. The counter N2 is different from the counter Nl for counting the total number of times of the repeated ordinary charging of the battery 11, and is used for counting the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging between one refresh charging and the next refresh charging. Accordingly, each time the refresh charging has been terminated, the counter N2 is reset to "1" (see step S138).
[0016]
If the value of the counter N2 is equal to or more than the reference value Nref, the process goes on step S121 (shown in FIG. 4), to start the refresh charging procedure. Meanwhile, if the value of the counter N2 is less than the reference value Nref, the process goes on from step S109 to step S113 (shown in FIG. 3), to start the ordinary charging procedure. In this way, if the number of times of the ordinary charging repeated after the previous refresh charging becomes a specific number

or more, the refresh charging is selected. The reference value Nref may be set to a value less than 20, preferably, 10. The reason for this will be described later with reference to FIG. 7.
[0017]
It is to be noted that the selection of the charging mode is not necessarily based on the value of the counter N2 but may be, for example, based on the decision of whether or not a random number Nran made to occur for each ordinary charging corresponds to the reference value Nref. In the case where it is intended to perform the refresh charging each time the ordinary charging has been repeated by 10 times, the reference value Nref may be predetermined at either of 0 to 9, and a random number may occur in such a manner as to be randomly selected from 0 to 9. With this setting, if the random number Nran corresponds to the reference value Nref, the process goes on to step S121 (see FIG. 4), so that the refresh charging is selected each time the ordinary charging has been repeated by about 10 times.
[0018]
If the difference between the environmental temperature TA0 and the battery temperature TB0 is more than the charging starting temperature difference ∆TOK,

the process goes on to step S107. In step S107, it is decided whether or not an indication "Rapid Charging" has been given. The rapid charging of the battery is a special mode for meeting a requirement to terminate the charging for a short period of time, and is characterized by stopping the charging at a charge level lower than a reference charge level. The reference charge level is the above-described charge level at which the ordinary charging is to be stopped, and is set to be slightly less than the full-charge level. For example, a rapid charging switch may be provided on the charger 2, and in this case, the answer in step S107 is determined on the basis of whether the switch is turned on or off. It is to be noted that the provision of the rapid charging mode is optional. [0019]
The charge level as the decision reference on the basis of which the rapid charging is to be stopped may be represented by a rate of temperature rise of the battery 11. To be more specific, a reference rate of temperature rise corresponding to the charge level as the decision reference may be previously set, and if a rate of temperature rise of the battery 11, which corresponds to the reference rate of temperature rise, is detected, the rapid charging may be stopped (see step S12 0).
17
[0020]
If the rapid charging has been selected, the answer in step S107 becomes affirmative (YES), and the process goes on to step S110. In step S110, it is decided whether or not the value of the counter N2 is equal to or more than the reference value Nref. It is to be noted that the counter N2 is, as described above, for counting the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging between one refresh charging and the next refresh charging. If the value of the counter N2 is less than the reference value Nref, the process goes on from step S110 to step S112 (shown in FIG. 3), to start the rapid charging procedure. Meanwhile, if the value of the counter N is equal to or more than the reference value Nref, the process goes on to step Sill. In step Sill, an attention signal "Rapid Charging to be Prohibited" is displayed on the display portion 27, and then the process goes on to step S121 (shown in FIG. 4), to start the refresh charging procedure. It is to be noted that, like the decision function in step S109, the decision function in step S110 may be replaced with the decision function based on the comparison of a random number with a predetermined reference value.
[0021]
18

If the answer in step S107 is denied (NO), that is, if the rapid charging has not been selected, the process goes on to step S108. In step S108, it is decided whether or not the difference between the environmental temperature TAO and the battery temperature TBO is equal to or less than the predetermined charging starting
temperature difference ∆TOK. If the answer in step S108 is denied (NO), the decision in step S108 is repeated every specific resting time, and if the answer in step S108 is affirmative (YES), the process goes on to step S109.
[0022]
FIG. 3 is a flow chart showing a second essential process of the ordinary charging. In step S113, a cut-off voltage Vc is calculated on the basis of the following calculation equation.
Vc = V0 - (TAO - 25) X a + /3 (1)
It is to be noted that the equation (1) for calculating the cut-off voltage will be described in detail later. In step S114, the ordinary charging is started. The ordinary charging is performed by supplying a constant charging current, for example, 1.6 amperes. [0023]
In step S115, it is decided whether or not the

battery voltage V is equal to or more than the cut-off voltage Vc. If the battery voltage V is equal to or more than the cut-off voltage, it is decided that the battery is charged to a charge level equivalent to a specific ratio, for example, 97% of the full-charge level, and in this case, the process goes on to step S116, in which the ordinary charging is stopped. In step S117, the value of
the counter N2 is incremented by 1 (N2 —* N2 + 1) . In the case where the decision in each of steps S109 and S110 is performed on the basis of comparison of a random number with a predetermined reference value, the processing of step S117 can be omitted. The process goes on to step
5118, in which an attention signal "Termination of
Charging" is displayed on the display portion 27.
[0024]
If the answer in step S115 is denied, that is, if it is decided that the battery is not charged to the specific charge level yet, the process goes on to step
5119. In step S119, it is decided whether or not the
difference between the environmental temperature TAO and
the battery temperature TBO is equal to or less than the
predetermined charging starting temperature difference A TOK. If the difference between the environmental temperature TAO and the battery temperature TBO is equal
20

to or less than the predetermined charging starting
temperature difference ∆TOK, the process is goes back to step S115, in which it is again decided whether or not the battery voltage V is equal to or more than the cutoff voltage Vc. Meanwhile, if the difference between the environmental temperature TAO and the battery temperature TBO is more than the predetermined charging starting
temperature difference ∆TOK, the process goes on to step S120. In step S120, it is decided whether or not a
battery temperature change rate AT/At is equal to or more than a specific value, which is set to, for example, l°C/min. As the charge level becomes 90 to 95% of the full-charge level, the rate of temperature rise of the battery becomes rapidly large. Accordingly, it can be decided whether or not the charge level becomes 90% or more of the full-charge level, by checking whether or not the rate of temperature rise of the battery becomes a specific value or more. If the answer in step S120 is affirmative (YES), it is decided that the charge level sufficient for the rapid charging is obtained, and the process goes on to step S116, in which the rapid charging is stopped. [
0025]
In this embodiment, it is decided, on the basis of

the rate of temperature rise of the battery, whether or not the charge level sufficient for the rapid charging is obtained; however, the reference for deciding the charge level sufficient for the rapid charging is not limited thereto but may be replaced with a charging cut-off voltage specialized for the rapid charging. To be more specific, two kinds of charging cut-off voltages may be set, wherein the lower cut-off voltage be used as the reference for deciding termination of the rapid charging, and the higher cut-off voltage be used as the reference for deciding termination of the ordinary charging other than the rapid charging.
[0026]
The refresh charging process will be described below with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5. FIG. 4 is a flow chart showing a first essential process of the refresh charging. In step S121, a remaining capacity C of the battery 11 is detected by the capacity calculating portion 13. In step S122, it is decided whether or not the remaining capacity C is equal to or less than a
discharge reference remaining capacity Ac. By repeating the ordinary charging, the charge level at a specific charging voltage is decreased due to the "charging memory effect" and also a discharge capacity is decreased. For

this reason, the remaining capacity of the battery is detected prior to the refresh charging. In this case, if the remaining capacity of the battery is equal to or less
than the discharge reference capacity Ac, a discharge curve of the battery 11 is restored to the original state by discharging the battery.
[0027]
If the answer in step S122 is affirmative (YES), the process goes on to step S123, to start additional discharging, that is, "refresh discharging". In step S124, it is decided whether or not the battery voltage V is equal to or less than a specific discharge cut-off voltage Vd. If the battery voltage V is equal to or less than the specific cut-off voltage Vd, the process goes on to step S125, in which it is decided whether or not the battery temperature TBO is equal to or less than the predetermined charging starting temperature Tmax. The reason for executing the processing in step S125 is that since the battery temperature is raised by discharging the battery, the discharging operation must be shifted to the charging operation after the battery temperature is lowered to the specific charging starting temperature.
[0028]
If it is decided that the battery temperature
23

becomes equal to or less than the predetermined charging starting temperature Tmax, the process goes on to step S126, in which a counter N3 is reset to "1". The counter N3 is provided for deciding the number of times of the repeated refresh charging after the refresh discharging. [0029]
If the answer in step S122 is denied, the process goes on to step S127. In step S127, it is decided whether or not the value of the counter N3 is equal to or less than a discharge reference counter number Ndis. If the answer in step S127 is denied (NO), the process goes to step S123. That is to say, in the case where the number of times of the repeated refresh discharging does not exceeds the specific number Ndis, the refresh discharging is performed even if the remaining capacity C of. the battery 11 is more than the discharge reference remaining
capacity Ac. [0030]
If the answer in step S127 is affirmative (YES), the process goes on to step S128, in which the value of the counter N3 is incremented by 1 (N3 —> N3 + 1) . After the refresh discharging is terminated, a capacity indication data "0" is outputted for correcting the zero indication of the remaining capacity in the remaining

capacity displaying portion 43.
[0031]
FIG. 5 is a flow chart showing a second essential process of the refresh charging. The process goes on from step S128 shown in FIG. 4 to step S129 shown in FIG. 5. In step S129, the cut-off voltage Vc is calculated on the basis of the equation (1), and in step S130, the refresh charging procedure is started. The refresh charging is performed in two-stages at two different charging currents. The reason for this will be described in detail with reference to FIG. 6. The first stage charging is started at a higher current, for example, 2.5 amperes. In step S131, it is decided whether or not the battery voltage V is equal to or more than the cut-off voltage Vc. If the battery voltage V is equal to or more than the cut-off voltage Vc, it is decided that the battery is charged to a charge level of a specific ratio, for example, 97% of the full-charge level, and in this case, the process goes on to step S132, in which the first stage refresh charging is stopped. In step S133, the second refresh charging is started at a current lower than the charging current for the first stage refresh charging, for example, 1.0 ampere.
[0032]
25

In step S134, it is decided whether or not a voltage change Vdrp of the battery 11 is a reference drop
voltage -Av or more. The reference drop voltage -Av is a voltage change in a period of a specific processing time dt, and is set to, for example, -50 mV. In other words, in step S134, it is decided whether or not the battery voltage becomes a trailing state. If the battery voltage becomes the trailing state, it is decided that the charge level saturates or exceeds the full-charge level, and in this case, the process goes on to step S135, in which the refresh charging is stopped.
[0033]
In step S13 6, a maximum battery voltage Vmax(n) and a maximum battery temperature Tmax(n) during refresh charging are recorded. After the battery voltage and the battery temperature are recorded, that is, after the refresh charging is terminated, a capacity indication data "100" is outputted for correcting the full-charge indication of the remaining capacity in the remaining capacity displaying portion 43.
[0034]
In step S137, a battery deterioration coefficient β of the cut-off voltage is calculated. Since the battery 11 is deteriorated, the charge amount cannot be
26

accurately controlled if the cut-off voltage is left as fixed, that is, not corrected. A calculation equation for correction will be described later together with the equation (1). In step S138, the counter N2 is reset to "1" (N2 = 1). In the case where the decision in each of steps S109 and S110 is performed on the basis of comparison of a random number with a predetermined reference value, the processing of step S138 can be omitted. The process goes on to step S13 9, in which an attention signal "Termination of Charging" is displayed on the display portion 27.
[0035]
FIG. 6 is a diagram showing changes in battery voltage V and battery temperature TBI with an elapse of a charging time upon refresh charging, wherein data for the above-described two-stage refresh charging at two currents are compared with data for one-stage refresh charging at a constant current. The battery voltage V upon the two-stage refresh charging is shown by a line V(2) and the battery voltage V upon the one-stage refresh charging is shown by a line V(l), and the battery temperature TBI upon the two-stage refresh charging is shown by a line T(2) and the battery temperature TBI upon one-stage refresh charging is shown by a line T(l).

[0036]
As shown in FIG. 6, in the two-stage refresh charging, since the first stage refresh charging is performed at a higher current (2.5 amperes), the battery can be charged to a charge level close to the full-charge level, more concretely, 97% of the full-charge level for a relatively short period of time. As a result, although the first stage refresh charging is shifted to the second stage refresh charging performed at a lower current (1.0 ampere), the battery can be eventually charged to a charge level more than the full-charge level for a short period of time as a whole.
[0037]
In the one-stage refresh charging, since the refresh charging is performed at the same current as that used for the ordinary charging (1.6 amperes), the total time required for completion of the one-stage refresh charging becomes significantly longer than the total time required for completion of the two-stage refresh charging. In addition, as shown in FIG. 6, a temperature difference
At occurs between the battery temperature TBI upon the one-stage refresh charging which takes a longer time and the battery temperature TBI upon the two-stage refresh charging which takes a shorter time.

[0038]
According to the above-described two-step refresh charging method, the refresh charging of the battery to a charge level over the full-charge level takes only a short time nearly equal to that required for the ordinary charging. As a result, the refresh charging does not give any feeling, of incompatibility with the ordinary charging due to a difference in charging time therebetween to a user who is unconscious of a difference between the ordinary charging and refresh charging. In addition, since the rising degree of the battery temperature TBI is small, it is possible to improve the durability of the battery.
[0039]
FIG. 7 is a diagram showing a relationship between the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging and a change in charge amount. In an initial state that the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging is equal to or less than 10 (see line A), the charge amount increases to a large value along an initial charging characteristic curve. However, as the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging becomes larger than 10, there occurs a change in charging characteristic, with a result that a charge amount comparable to that obtained

in the initial state cannot be obtained even at a battery voltage V corresponding to the full-charge level. In a state that the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging is equal to or less than 20 (see line B), the charge amount at the battery voltage V becomes a value 5 Ah, which is smaller than that in the initial state but keeps a nearly practical level. In a state that the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging is equal to or more than 25 (see line C), the charge amount at the battery voltage V is reduced to a value 4.7 Ah, which is an undesirable value from the practical viewpoint. According to this embodiment, since the reference value Nref to be compared with the value of the counter N2 is set to 10, even if the rapid charging is frequently performed, at least one refresh charging, is performed until the charging is repeated by 10 times. [0040]
FIG. 8 is a diagram showing a relationship between an environmental temperature TA0 and a charging termination voltage VI. As shown in this diagram, the charging termination voltage VI is changed depending on the environmental temperature TA0. Specifically, as the environmental temperature TA0 becomes high, the charging termination voltage VI becomes low. Accordingly, like the

charging termination voltage VI, the cut-off voltage Vc used as the reference for deciding whether or not the charging should be terminated may be changed depending on the environmental temperature TAO. The above-described equation (1) is determined on the basis of such a characteristic of the charging termination voltage VI. [0041]
In FIG. 8, the charging termination voltage at an
environmental temperature of 25°C is taken as a reference voltage VO, which is set to, for example, 29.6 V. If the
environmental temperature is deviated from 25°C, the charging termination voltage VI is changed in proportional to the deviated amount of the environmental temperature. Accordingly, as shown in the following equation (la), the cut-off voltage Vc corresponding to the environmental temperature TAO can be obtained by subtracting, from the reference voltage VO, a value obtained by multiplying a difference between the environmental temperature TAO and the reference environmental temperature 25°C by a correction coefficient a (for example, 0.01).
Vc = VO - (TAO - 25) X a (la)
[0042]
The above-described equation (1) is given by adding

a coefficient β to the cut-off voltage Vc calculated on the basis of the equation (la) . The coefficient β is a deterioration coefficient, which takes into account the battery characteristic deteriorated each time the charging is repeated. The calculation of the deterioration coefficient β in step S137 is performed on the following equation:
β = {(Vmax(l)/Vmax(R)) - (Tmax(l)-25) X y } -
{(Vmax(n)/Vmax(R)) - (Tmax(n)-25)X y } (2) [0043]
In the equation (2), Vmax is a battery maximum voltage (full-charge voltage) at each charging, and Tmax is a battery maximum temperature at each charging; and character " (1)" denotes an initial value, that is, a value at the initial charging, character "(n)" denotes the present value, and character "(R)" denotes a reference value at the reference environmental temperature 25°C. Because of the deterioration of the battery, in the equation (2), the battery voltage Vmax(n) is lower than the battery voltage Vmax(l), and the battery temperature Tmax(n) is higher than the battery temperature Tmax(l). Accordingly, as the number of times of the repeated charging becomes large, the coefficient β becomes large, to thereby set the cut-off voltage Vc at a

higher value for compensating for the deterioration of the battery. It is to be noted that y denotes a coefficient of the temperature compensation.
[0044]
A method of displaying the remaining capacity of the battery 11 by using the remaining capacity displaying portion 43 will be described below. FIG. 9 is a diagram showing a battery discharge curve. As shown in this diagram, the discharge capacity at a specific battery voltage V0 in the initial state of the battery is taken as a discharge capacity AH1. As the battery is deteriorated, the discharge capacity at the specific battery voltage V0 becomes a discharge capacity AH2 ( 33

indicate the mark "Empty". As shown in FIG. 9, the empty level of the remaining capacity of the battery in the deteriorated state is shifted from that in the initial state. In this case, if a user does not recognize the deterioration of the battery, he or she would erroneously recognize that the capacity of the battery remains yet, although the remaining capacity of the battery be actually empty.
[0045]
To cope with such an inconvenience, according to this embodiment, if the discharge capacity corresponding to a specific voltage value becomes small as a result of deterioration of the battery, the scale of the remaining capacity displaying portion 43 is set to become correspondingly narrow.
[0046]
FIG. 10 is a front view of the remaining capacity displaying portion 43 before deterioration of the battery, and FIG. 11 is a front view of the remaining capacity displaying portion 43 after deterioration of the battery. In each of FIGS. 10 and 11, a display area of the remaining capacity displaying portion 43 is composed of a remaining capacity display area 431 and a warning area 432. A remaining capacity pointer 433 is moved over the
34

whole area including the remaining capacity display area 431 and the warning area 432, to indicate a position corresponding to the remaining capacity of the battery. A sector plate 50, which is a partial disk for displaying the warning area 432, has the same curvature as that of a partial circular window 51 for displaying the remaining capacity displaying area. The sector plate 50 is allowed to be displaced, along the curvature of the partial circular window 51, up to a position at which it is overlapped to the partial circular window 51. The sector plate 50 includes a first coloring portion 501 and a second coloring portion 502. The first coloring portion 501 indicates the warning area 432. The second coloring portion 502 is provided with a mark indicating a position at which the remaining capacity is half of the full-charge level and a character representation "1/2". The boundary between the coloring portions 501 and 502 is provided with a mark indicating a position at which the remaining capacity is at the empty level and a character representation "E". The remaining capacity display area 431 is provided with a mark indicating a position at which the remaining capacity is at the full-charge level and a character representation "F".
[0047]

According to the remaining capacity displaying portion 43 having the above-described configuration, in the non-deteriorated state of the battery, as shown in FIG. 10, the sector plate 50 having the same turning center as that of the remaining capacity pointer 433 is displaced at a position on the counterclockwise side in the figure. In this state, the character representation "E" and the mark indicating the empty level are positioned at the left end of the partial circular window 51, and accordingly, the character representation "1/2" and the mark indicating the half level are positioned at the center of the partial circular window 51.
[0048]
In the deteriorated state of the battery, as shown in FIG. 11, the sector plate 50 is displaced clockwise by an amount corresponding to the deterioration of the battery. To be more specific, a ratio of a full-charge capacity (relative capacity) detected upon the refresh charging to the absolute capacity of the battery is calculated, and the sector plate 50 is displaced clockwise by an amount corresponding to the calculated ratio of the relative capacity/absolute capacity of the battery. Accordingly, in this state, the character representation "E" and the mark indicating the empty
36

level are shifted from the left end to the center of the partial circular window 51. As a result, the remaining capacity display area 431 becomes narrow due to the shift of the warning area 432 to cover a low remaining capacity range of the remaining capacity display area 431. In other words, the display scale is reduced. Although the display scale is reduced due to the shift of the warning area 432 to cover the low remaining capacity range of the remaining capacity display area 431, the size of the warning area 432 itself is not changed. As a result, in the deteriorated state of the battery 11, the remaining capacity displaying portion 43 with the reduced display scale makes it possible to inform a user of the deterioration of the battery 11 while keeping the function, for giving the user a warning about the empty of the battery 11, of the warning area 432.
[0049]
In this way, by shifting the character representation "E", which represents the empty of the battery, and the mark indicating the empty level, to reduce the display scale, it is possible for a user to easily recognize the deterioration of the battery and the degree thereof. In addition, the reduction of the display scale, which is realized by shifting the position of

representation "E" in this embodiment, may be realized by shifting the position of representation "F", which represents the full-charge level of the battery, on the empty side.
[0050]
In the example shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the remaining capacity displaying portion 43, in which the display scale is reduced on the basis of the degree of deterioration of the battery, adopts an analogue display manner; however, it can adopt a digital segment display manner. FIGS. 12 and 13 show a digital segment display manner of the remaining capacity displaying portion 43, wherein the remaining capacity of the battery in the non-deteriorated state is displayed by using segments in FIG. 12, and the remaining capacity of the battery in the deteriorated state is displayed by using the segments in FIG. 13. In the non-deteriorated state, as shown in FIG. 12, a remaining capacity display range is set by an area formed by ten pieces of the segments. On the other hand, in the deteriorated state, as shown in FIG. 13, the remaining capacity display range is reduced to an area formed by eight pieces of the segments, with the remaining two segments used as a warning area.
[0051]
38

FIG. 14 is a block diagram showing a first essential function of this embodiment. An ordinary-charging portion 6 performs a first charging control to stop the charging at a charge level less than a full-charge level, and a refresh charging portion 7 performs a second charging control to stop the charging at a charge level over the full-charge level by a specific amount. A current supplied from the power source 3 is supplied to the battery 11 via either the ordinary charging portion 6 or the refresh charging portion 7. A switching portion 8 is provided for selecting either the ordinary charging portion 6 or the refresh charging portion 7. To be more specific, when a value N2 of a counter 9 for counting the number of times of the repeated ordinary charging becomes a specific value (preferably, in a range of less than 20) , the switching portion 8 is operated to select the refresh charging portion 7. When the charging by the refresh charging portion 7 is terminated, the counter 9 is reset. [0052]
The function of the counter 9 can be replaced with a function which instructs, if a random number generated from a random number generator is a specific value, the switching portion 8 to select the refresh charging portion 7. The use of such a function allows the

selection of the charging portion only by processing based on a program stored in a microcomputer, to reduce the number of hardware parts.
[0053]
The ordinary charging portion 6 allows the rapid charging performed for a shortened time, that is, the shortened charging. For such a function, two kinds of cut-off voltages as charging stop references are set in the ordinary charging portion 6. One of the cut-off voltages is a first cut-off voltage calculated by a cutoff voltage calculating portion 15, and the other is a second cut-off voltage, lower than the first cut-off voltage, which is set by a shortened cut-off voltage setting portion 16. With the use of the second cut-off voltage, the rapid charging can be terminated for a relatively short time. Although the time point at which the rapid charging should be terminated is based on the specific voltage in this embodiment, it may be based on a rising rate of the battery temperature. In this case, when the rising rate of the battery temperature exceeds a specific value, the rapid charging may be terminated. [0054]
The rapid charging may be performed when a rapid charging switch (not shown) is operated to designate the

above-described second cut-off voltage by a cut-off voltage designating portion 17. In this case, if the counter 9 is counted-up, the refresh charging by the refresh charging portion 7 is selected, with a result that an attention signal, for example, "Rapid Charging to be Prohibited" is displayed on a shortened charging prohibition displaying portion 18 as one function of the display portion 27. [
0055]
The cut-off voltage used for each of the ordinary charging portion 6 and the refresh charging portion 7 is determined by correcting a reference voltage V0 with an environmental temperature TAO detected by an environmental temperature detecting portion 21. The deterioration of the battery 11 is corrected on the basis of a reference full-charge voltage, an initial full-charge voltage Vmax(l), a present full-charge voltage Vmax(n), an initial maximum battery temperature Tmax(l), and a present maximum battery temperature Tmax(n). The initial full-charge voltage Vmax(l) and the present full-charge voltage Vmax(n) are detected by a charging voltage detecting portion 23, and the initial maximum battery temperature Tmax(l) and the present maximum battery temperature Tmax(n) are detected by a battery temperature

detecting portion 12. [0056]
A voltage drop detecting portion 29 detects that during charging, the increasing tendency of the battery voltage is shift to the dropping tendency thereof. If the increasing tendency of the battery is shifted to the dropping tendency thereof, it is decided that the battery capacity is saturated, and accordingly, the refresh charging is stopped. In this way, the refresh charging is not terminated when the battery voltage reaches a specific cut-off voltage but is stopped when it is detected that the battery capacity is saturated.
[0057]
FIG. 15 is a block diagram showing a second essential function of this embodiment. The refresh charging is performed under a specific condition after the discharge for refresh is performed. A refresh discharging portion 32 as one function of the charger 24 is operated to restore the discharging characteristic of the battery 11. A remaining capacity deciding portion 33 decides whether or not the remaining capacity of the battery 11 is equal to or less than a reference remaining capacity and outputs, if the remaining capacity is equal to or less than the reference remaining capacity, a

discharge command to the refresh discharging portion 32. If the refresh discharging command is not outputted as a result of the decision of the remaining capacity deciding portion 33, a counter 34 is incremented. That is to say, the value of the counter 34 is representative of a gap between one refresh discharging and the next refresh discharging. If the value of the counter 34 reaches a predetermined reference value for decision of the refresh discharging, the counter 34 is counted-up. Even if the remaining capacity of the battery 11 is more than the reference remaining capacity, the refresh discharging portion 32 performs discharge for refreshing the battery 1.1 in response to the count-up of the counter 34.
[0058]
[Effect of the Invention]
As is apparent from the above description, according to the invention described in claim 1, since the cut-off voltage can be corrected in consideration of an environmental temperature, it is possible to accurately stop the charging at a charge voltage close to a full-charge level, and hence to charge the battery to a charge level close to the full-charge level in consideration of the durability of the battery.
[0059]
43

According to the invention described in each of claims 2 and 3, since the deterioration of the battery with elapsed time can be" corrected on the basis of the . charging voltage at the time of termination of the charging and a battery temperature, it is possible to charge, even for a long-period of service, the battery to a charge level close to a full-charge level in consideration of the durability of the battery.
44

[Explanation of Reference Numerals]
1: battery unit, 2: charger, 3: power source, 4: vehicular body, 6: ordinary charging portion, 7: refresh charging portion, 8: switching portion, 9: counter, 11: battery,- 12: battery temperature detecting portion, 15: cut-off voltage detecting portion, 17: cut-off voltage designating portion, 18: shortened charging prohibition displaying portion, 21: environmental temperature detecting portion, 23: charging voltage detecting portion,
27: display portion, 28: ECU, 29: voltage drop detecting portion, 32: refresh discharging-..portion.
45

4. A system for controlling the charging of a secondary battery substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Dated this 27th day of December, 2002.


46

We Claim
(What is claimed is)
[Claim 1] A system for controlling the charging of a secondary battery, comprising:
charging control means for stopping the charging when a charging voltage reaches a specific cut-off voltage corresponding to a charge capacity less than a full-charge level; and
temperature correcting means for correcting said cut-off voltage on the basis of a deviation between a present environmental temperature and a reference environmental temperature.
[Claim 2] A system for controlling the charging of a secondary battery according to claim 1, further comprising:
second charging control means for stopping the charging at a charge level more than a full-charge level;
charging voltage storing means for storing a charging voltage at the time of termination of a plurality of times of the charging by said second charging control means; and
deterioration correcting means for correcting said
46

cut-off voltage on the basis of the value of the charging voltage stored in said charging voltage storing means. [Claim 3] A system for controlling the charging of a secondary battery according to claim 2, further comprising:
battery temperature storing means for storing a temperature of said secondary battery at the time of termination of a plurality of times of the charging by said second charging control means;
wherein said deterioration correcting means further corrects said cut-off voltage on the basis of the value of the battery temperature stored in said battery temperature storing means.
47

Documents:

1165-MUM-2002-ABSTRACT(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-abstract(complete)-(30-12-2002).pdf

1165-mum-2002-abstract(granted)-(31-3-2010).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-CANCELLED PAGES(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-CLAIMS(27-7-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-CLAIMS(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-claims(complete)-(30-12-2002).pdf

1165-mum-2002-claims(granted)-(31-3-2010).pdf

1165-mum-2002-claims.doc

1165-mum-2002-claims.pdf

1165-mum-2002-correspondence(24-7-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-CORRESPONDENCE(27-7-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-CORRESPONDENCE(28-5-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-CORRESPONDENCE(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-CORRESPONDENCE(30-9-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-correspondence(ipo)-(1-4-2010).pdf

1165-mum-2002-correspondence-received-ver-070203.pdf

1165-mum-2002-correspondence-received-ver-211204.pdf

1165-mum-2002-correspondence-received-ver-230404.pdf

1165-mum-2002-correspondence-received.pdf

1165-mum-2002-description (complete).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-DESCRIPTION(COMPLETE)-(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-description(complete)-(30-12-2002).pdf

1165-mum-2002-description(granted)-(31-3-2010).pdf

1165-mum-2002-drawing(20-7-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-DRAWING(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-drawing(granted)-(31-3-2010).pdf

1165-mum-2002-drawings.pdf

1165-mum-2002-form 1(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-FORM 1(30-12-2002).pdf

1165-mum-2002-form 13(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-form 18(1-11-2006).pdf

1165-mum-2002-form 2(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-form 2(complete)-(30-12-2002).pdf

1165-mum-2002-form 2(granted)-(31-3-2010).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-FORM 2(TITLE PAGE)-(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-form 2(title page)-(complete)-(30-12-2002).pdf

1165-mum-2002-form 2(title page)-(granted)-(31-3-2010).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-FORM 3(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-form-1.pdf

1165-mum-2002-form-2.doc

1165-mum-2002-form-3-ver-271202.pdf

1165-mum-2002-form-3.pdf

1165-mum-2002-form-5.pdf

1165-MUM-2002-FORM1(30-9-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-OTHER DOCUMENT(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-PETITION UNDER RULE 137(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-petition under rule 138(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-power of authority(20-7-2009).pdf

1165-MUM-2002-POWER OF AUTHORITY(3-4-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-retyped(claims)-(20-7-2009).pdf

1165-mum-2002-specification(amended)-(3-4-2009).pdf

abstract1.jpg


Patent Number 239792
Indian Patent Application Number 1165/MUM/2002
PG Journal Number 15/2010
Publication Date 09-Apr-2010
Grant Date 31-Mar-2010
Date of Filing 30-Dec-2002
Name of Patentee HONDA GIKEN KOGYO KABUSHIKI KAISHA
Applicant Address 1-1 MINAMIAOYAMA 2-CHOME MINATO-KU TOKYO
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 KYOICHI ARIGA C/O HONDA GIKEN KOGYO KABUSHIKI KAISHA 1-1 MINAMIAOYAMA 2-CHOME MINATO-KU TOKYO
2 TAKASHI SONE C/O HONDA GIKEN KOGYO KABUSHIKI KAISHA 1-1 MINAMIAOYAMA 2-CHOME MINATO-KU TOKYO
PCT International Classification Number H02J7/00
PCT International Application Number N/A
PCT International Filing date
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 2002-008961 2002-01-17 Japan