Gao, Yun Hua (No. 37, Qiyi Road Xu Chang, Henan, CN)
ONE WORLD TECHNOLOGIES, INC. (1428 Pearman Dairy Road, Anderson, SC, 29625, US)
Minalga, Philip F. (317 Sleepy Hollow, Pendleton, SC, 29670, US)
Gao, Yun Hua (No. 37, Qiyi Road Xu Chang, Henan, CN)
|1.||A batteryoperated power tool comprising: a. a housing; b. a motor disposed in the housing; c. a battery; d. a light source; e. a driver circuit including a transistor configured as a switch connecting the battery to the light source, the driver circuit further including a capacitor arranged to form a timer such that the momentary charging of the capacitor causes the transistor switch to close and to remain closed for a predetermined period of time while the capacitor at least partially discharges; f. a first physical switch arranged such that assertion of the first physical switch charges the capacitor; and g. a second physical switch that is separate from the first physical switch, the second physical switch being arranged such that assertion of the second physical switch connects the battery to the motor.|
|2.||The power tool of claim 1 further comprising: a. a zener diode arranged such that the zener diode voltage drives the light source.|
|3.||The power tool of claim 1 wherein the transistor is a bipolar junction transistor.|
|4.||The power tool of claim 3 wherein the light source is connected at the emitter of the bipolar junction transistor.|
|5.||A batteryoperated power tool comprising: a. a housing; b. a motor disposed in the housing; c. a battery; d. a light source; e. a driver circuit including a npn bipolar junction transistor configured as a switch connecting the battery to the light source, the driver circuit further including a capacitor connected to the transistor base such that the momentary charging of the capacitor causes the transistor switch to close and to remain closed for a predetermined period of time while the capacitor at least partially discharges; f. a first physical switch arranged such that assertion of the first physical switch charges the capacitor; and g. a second physical switch that is separate from the first physical switch, the second physical switch being arranged such that assertion of the second physical switch connects the battery to the motor.|
|6.||The power tool of claim 5 further comprising: a. a zener diode arranged such that the zener diode voltage drives the light source.|
|7.||The power tool of claim 5 wherein the light source is connected at the emitter of the bipolar junction transistor.|
 The present invention relates to battery-operated power tools having light sources for illuminating the work area.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION  The use of battery-operated power tools has become widespread. Some of these tools are provided with a light source for illuminating the work area. One approach for providing the light source is to provide a simple switch for turning the light source on and off. Another approach is to provide a momentary contact switch in conjunction with a timer circuit so that the momentary assertion of the switch causes the light to turn on and remain on until the expiration of a predetermined time delay. Most timer circuits that use a time delay device such as a 555 integrated circuit timer require the battery voltage to be powering the device before and after the desired time delay has been activated. The power on the timer will constantly drain the battery whether the time delay circuit has been activated or not. After sufficient time, the battery will become totally discharged resulting in total battery failure.
 Some background information may be found in U. S. Patent Nos.
6,318, 874,5, 473,519, 5,179, 325, and 5,169, 225. U. S. Patent No. 6,318, 874 describes a power tool having a lighting device. In that patent, a single switch causes the motor and the light to operate at substantially the same time and there is no way to turn on the light without actuating the motor.
 For the foregoing reasons, there is a need for a battery-operated power tool with a light source that avoids the problem of constant drain on the battery, and avoids limitations associated with other existing designs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION  It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an improved battery-operated power tool utilizing a driver circuit for implementing time delay turn off of a light source.
 In carrying out the above object, a battery-operated power tool is provided. The power tool comprises a housing, a motor disposed in the housing, a battery, a light source, a driver circuit, and first and second physical switches. The
driver circuit includes a transistor configured as a switch connecting the battery to the light source. The driver circuit further includes a capacitor arranged to form a timer. The momentary charging of the capacitor causes the transistor switch to close and to remain closed for a predetermined period of time while the capacitor at least partially discharges. The first physical switch is arranged such that assertion of the first physical switch charges the capacitor. The second physical switch is separate from the first physical switch. The second physical switch is arranged such that assertion of the second physical switch connects the battery to the motor.
 It is appreciated that the light source may be a light emitting diode (LED) or other suitable light source. It is appreciated that the driver circuit transistor may be a bipolar junction transistor (BJT), a field effect transistor (FET) or any other suitable transistor. It is appreciated that the capacitor may be arranged to form the timer in a variety of ways, for example, having the capacitor discharge through the transistor, through a resistor, or through both the transistor and a resistor. It is appreciated that the momentary charging and subsequent discharging of the capacitor may take place in a variety of ways depending on the transistor configuration (for example, npn BJT, pnp BJT, n-channel FET, or p- channel FET).
 At a more detailed level, the invention comprehends a zener diode arranged such that the zener diode voltage drives the light source. This provides a constant drive on the light source and near constant light intensity level.
In the preferred embodiment, the transistor is a bipolar junction transistor (BJT).
More preferably, the light source is connected at the emitter of the bipolar junction transistor (BJT) as opposed to other possible connections such as at the collector.
 The above object and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention are readily apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS  FIG. 1 illustrates a battery-operated power tool made in accordance with the present invention.
 FIG. 2 illustrates a preferred implementation of the driver circuit for connecting the battery to the light source.
 FIG. 3 illustrates a simple circuit for connecting the battery to the motor.
 FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram for connecting a monostable circuit between a power source and a light source.
 FIG. 5 is a schematic showing the preferred embodiment for a power tool with a monostable circuit controlling power to a light source.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION  A battery-operated power tool is generally indicated at 10. Power tool 10 includes a housing 12 and battery 14. Power tool 10 further includes light source 16, first switch 18 for activating light source 16, and second switch 20 for activating the motor 22.
 The driver circuit for connecting battery 14 to light source 16 is shown at a detailed level in Figure 2, while the motor drive circuit for connecting battery 14 to motor 22 is shown in Figure 3. First switch 18 includes circuit level switch element SW1. Light source 16 includes white light emitting diode (LED) L1.
Second switch 20 includes circuit level switch element SW2. Light source 16 is located adjacent to battery 14 in Figure 1 to direct light toward the working region of the tool. Alternatively, light source 16 may be provided on another region of housing 12 of power tool 10 or multiple lights may be used to reduce shadows.
 With continuing reference to Figure 2, switch SW1 is a single pole, single throw, and momentary type switch. Switch SW1 is biased to the unasserted condition and the momentary assertion of switch SW1 momentarily closes/activates the switch to charge capacitor C1 to the battery voltage B+ (for example, 14.4 volts dc). This voltage will drive transistor Q1 on. The illustrated Darlington configuration is preferred but not required. The emitter voltage of transistor Q1 will drive the zener Z1 biased by resistor R2. The zener voltage (for example, 5.1 volts dc) will drive the LED L1 through resistor R3. The zener Z1 will maintain a constant drive on LED L1 keeping the light intensity at a near constant level.
 When switch SW1 is released, the capacitor C1 will immediately begin to discharge through resistor R1 and the base of transistor Q1. Even though
the switch SW1 has been released, the LED will remain at a constant illumination for a period of time until the zener voltage begins to fall below its zener level.
 When the capacitor C1 voltage has been discharged sufficiently, transistor Q1 will no longer drive the zener Z1 and the LED will extinguish entirely.
When the LED has been extinguished, the time delay circuit does not require or draw power from the battery, thereby preventing battery discharge and battery failure.
 In operation, a user momentarily asserts switch 18 (Figure 1) causing switch element SW1 to momentarily close resulting in LED L1 being driven for a period of time to direct light toward the working region of the tool with light 16 and alternatively with light 16. Trigger switch 20 is then asserted to power the tool.
 Referring now to FIGs. 4 and 5, the timed operation of an LED for providing light to illuminate a work area for a power tool is shown. In FIG. 4, power is applied to an LED 401 when a trigger circuitry/element 402 allows power to pass to the monostable circuit 403 which then locks in the power through the switch/circuitry element 404 to the LED 401 for a predetermined amount of time allowing the power to remain in an ON state to the voltage regulator 405. As long as the voltage regulator 405 has power, an LED 401 will remain illuminated. The time the LED 401 remains illuminated after the operator releases the trigger circuitry/element 402 manual switch is dependent upon the time constant of an RC network within the monostable circuit 403.
 Referring to FIG. 5, power is initially applied to the LED 501 when switch SW1 is closed. The battery power B+ is applied to the LED 501 through resistor R38 to a Zener diode ZD1 that determines the voltage that may be applied to the combination of the current limiting resistor R39 and the LED 501. The combination of resistors R38 and R39 and Zener diode ZD1 make up the voltage regulator circuitry for the LED 501.
 When switch SW1 is opened, the LED 501 will remain illuminated as long as the timer or monostable circuitry 510 will allow transistor Q3, the transistor in parallel with switch SW1, to remain in an activated state thus applying battery voltage B+ through transistor Q3 to the combination made up of resistors R38 and R39, the Zener diode ZD1, and the LED 501.
 Transistor Q3 will remain in an ON condition as long as the base 506 of transistor Q3 has a low voltage applied to it, keeping transistor Q3 in a biased state. The low voltage is applied to the base 506 of transistor Q3 from the collector 507 of transistor Q1. This low signal will remain as long as transistor Q1 remains in the ON state. The low voltage is applied from the B-voltage on the emitter 508 of transistor Q1. The monostable circuit 510 output OUT 3 applies a high voltage, a voltage approximately a few tenths of a volt less than the B+ voltage, to the base 509 of transistor Q1 through resistor RL in order to maintain Q1 in an ON state. When the monostable circuit output 3 changes to a low value, Q1 may deactivate, and a high voltage may result at the base 506 of transistor Q3, turning off transistor Q3 and the battery voltage B+ which provides the current source to the combination of resistors R38 and R39, the Zener diode ZD1, and the LED 501. The LED 501 will no longer illuminate. Also since battery power B+ is supplied to the monostable circuit 510 through transistor Q3, power will be turned off to the monostable circuit 510 when transistor Q3 is deactivated and there will be no draw on battery power. This is known as the zero standby function of the device as the battery is not being drained during the time that the LED is not illuminated.
 The operation of the monostable circuit 510 is that of an astable multivibrator. As long as switch SW1 remains closed, the operation of the monostable circuit 510 will have no effect on the overall operation of the power device. However, even during that time in which the switch SW1 remains closed, the output OUT 3 of the monostable circuit 510 will oscillate between an ON and OFF state, or a high and a low signal. The time period for such switching is determined by the RC time constant in the combination of resistors RA and RB and the capacitor CT. When switch SW1 is first placed in the ON position, battery power B+ is supplied to the monostable circuit 510. Upon application of battery power B+ to the monostable circuit 510, the output OUT 3 goes high applying that signal to the base of transistor Q1. Turning on transistor Q1 allows a low voltage approximately the value of B-, to be placed on the base 506 of transistor Q3, turning on transistor Q3 and locking in the battery power B+ to the monostable circuit 510 and the LED 501. Once power is applied, the timing circuit for the LED
501 begins to time. Should the switch SW1 be turned off immediately, the LED will remain on until the timer times out.
 The time for the first low signal, turning off transistor Q1 and ultimately transistor Q3, that may be occur at OUT 3 of the monostable circuit 510 is directly related to the combination of circuit elements forming the RC network with resistors, RA and RB, and capacitor CT. When capacitor CT is charged to a pre-determined threshold voltage, the monostable circuit 510 is triggered and a low signal occurs at OUT 3. This low signal is applied to the base 509 of transistor Q1, turning off transistor Q1 and may allow a high signal to develop at the base 506 of Q3, turning off transistor Q3. In the event that SW1 is still closed, meaning the operator is still applying power to the tool, then power may still be applied to the LED 501 allowing it to remain illuminated.
 During the time the output of the monostable circuit 510 at OUT 3 remains in a low state, a circuit within the monostable circuit 510 discharges the capacitor CT through resistor RB to a predetermined value where the monostable circuit 510 then switches states from low to high at OUT 3. Then, capacitor CT charges once again through the combination of resistors RA and RB until the threshold voltage is reached again causing the monostable circuit 510 to switch from high to low at OUT 3. The pattern will repeat itself until the switch SW1 is released. When the switch SW1 is released, the cycling may terminate when a high signal is applied to the base 506 of Q3, meaning a low signal was placed at the base 509 of transistor Q1. At this time, the'LED will no longer illuminate.
 As mentioned above, the time required for charging the capacitor CT to the threshold voltage is directly related to the combination of resistances for resistors RA and RB with capacitor CT. In order to have a low signal of short duration at OUT 3 of the monostable circuit 510, it may be desired that resistor RB have a small value. In order to have a long period of time where the light source (LED) 501 remains illuminated after switch SW1 is placed in the open or off position, it would then be desirable to have resistor RA with a large value. This resistor RA would proportionally set the longest time for determining the time that the LED 501 would remain illuminated. Further, the proportionality of time for the ON to the OFF states of the monostable circuit is directly determined by the proportionality of resistances between resistors RA to RB.
 Embodiments of the present invention have several advantages.
First, the time delay circuit avoids the problem of constant drain on the battery.
Further, first and second separate physical switches are used for the light source and the motor. In this way, the light source can be operated independently of the motor, and can be turned on without activating the motor at the same time.
 While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
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