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Title:
ELECTRIC CIRCUIT OVERLOAD PROTECTING DEVICE WITH INTEGRATED ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION METER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/176629
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The purpose of the invention is to create a switch, which should be suitable for integration into each disposable electric circuit, upon which it should on the one hand enable protection of the circuit against electric overloads, and on the other hand also measuring of energy or power consumption of each load integrated within said circuit. To this aim, a device is proposed, in which an induction unit (11) of an actuating mechanism (1) is integrated within a phase conductor (L) and is moreover adapted to cooperate with a thermal interrupter (12) and a triggering needle (13) suitable for actuating a switch (S), and in addition to a primary coil (112) also comprises a secondary coil (115), which is suitable for detecting each current intensity within said phase conductor (L) and is arranged adjacent to said primary coil (1 12) and electrically connected with a neutral conductor (N), wherein said device also comprises an electric power consumption meter, which is electrically connected to the second coil (1 15) and jointly therewith also to the neutral conductor (N).

Inventors:
JANC, Domen (Cesta zmage 10, Zagorje ob Savi, SI-1410, SI)
STREHAR, Matija (Gora pri Pecah 29, Moravce, SI-1251, SI)
KOPRIVSEK, Mitja (Medijske toplice 29, Izlake, SI-1411, SI)
Application Number:
SI2013/000018
Publication Date:
November 28, 2013
Filing Date:
April 02, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NELA RAZVOJNI CENTER ZA ELEKTROINDUSTRIJO IN ELEKTRONIKO D.O.O. (Na Plavzu 79, Zelezniki, SI-4228, SI)
International Classes:
H01H71/12; H01H71/28; H01H71/40; H01H83/22
Domestic Patent References:
Foreign References:
EP1614203A1
EP1495477A1
US20030235021A1
DE10120189A1
DE19721591A1
US5323288A
FR2812965A1
EP2249368A1
DE3637275C1
EP2154539A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BORSTAR, Dusan (Nova ulica 11, Domzale, SI-1230, SI)
Download PDF:
Claims:
PATENT CLAIMS

1. Electric circuit overload protecting device with integrated electricity consumption meter (2), wherein such device is suitable for integrating into an alternative electric circuit, which in addition to at least one load or user comprises an active pole with a phase conductor (L) and a neutral pole with a neutral conductor (N) as well as at least one switch (S) which is suitable for interrupting of said circuit either manually or automatically depending on each pre-determined conditions, and wherein said device, in addition to said switch (S), further comprises an actuating mechanism (1) consisting of an induction unit (1 1), which is capable for protecting said circuit against the short-circuit current, of a thermal interrupter (12), which is suitable for protecting the circuit against the excessive current, as well as of a triggering needle (13), which is suitable for cooperating with said switch (S) for the purposes of interrupting said circuit, and wherein such device is optionally furnished with a differential transformer (14), which is suitable for detecting a difference between the current in the phase conductor (L) and the current in the neutral conductor (N),

and wherein said induction unit (11) comprises a casing (111), a primary coil (112) which is electrically connected within said circuit and substantially represents a part of the phase conductor (L), as well as an anchor (1 13), which is mechanically interconnected with said actuating needle (13),

and wherein said thermal interrupter (12) is placed closely to said induction unit (11) and in thermal conductive relationship therewith, and comprises a bimetallic membrane (1 14), which is mechanically interconnected with said triggering needle (13), so that the shape of said membrane (114) is changed by means of the heat generated by the excessive current in the circuit, by which the triggering needle (13) is displaced towards the switch (S) for the purposes of interrupting the electric circuit,

and wherein the differential transformer (14), when available, is capable to interrupt the electric circuit by means of an electronically controlled switch (142) and an actuator (141) operating on the basis of a pre-set threshold, when a current difference occurs in the electronic circuit (140);

so that the actuating mechanism (1) is generally capable to react on various electric overloads by displacing said triggering needle (13) towards said switch (S), by which the electric circuit is then interrupted,

characterized in that

said induction unit (11) of the actuating mechanism (1), in addition to said primary coil (1 12) which is integrated in the phase conductor (L), also comprises a secondary coil (115), which is electrically connected with the neutral conductor (N) and electrically insulated with respect to said primary coil (1 12), and is for the purposes of functioning as a sensor for detecting of each current intensity within the phase conductor (L) located closely to said primary coil (1 12),

and in that said device also comprises an electric energy or power consumption meter (2), which is electrically connected with the secondary coil (1 15) and is together with the last connected to the neutral conductor (N).

2. Device according to Claim 1, characterized in that the secondary coil (115) is wound around i.e. over a plastic cartridge, which is placed around the primary coil (1 12).

3. Device according to Claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the consumption meter (2) is via an electronic interrupting circuit (140) electrically interconnected with the secondary coil (115).

4. Device according to Claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the consumption meter (2) is via an electronic interrupting circuit (140) electrically interconnected with the secondary coil (115), and is at the same time galvanically separated therefrom.

5. Device according to Claim 3, characterized in that the electronic interrupting circuit (140) comprises

- an actuator (141) operating on the basis of a pre-set threshold the output value of the differential transformer (14),

- an electronically controlled output switch (143), which is suitable for interrupting the electric circuit throughout the phase conductor (L),

- an electronically controlled switch (144), which is suitable for interrupting the electric circuit throughout the consumption meter (2),

wherein said output switches (143, 144) are synchronized with each other and are adapted to operate alternatively and depending on output values on differential transformer (14), so that by activating the first switch (143) the second switch (144) is automatically deactivated, or vice versa.

6. Device according to Claim 4, characterized in that the secondary coil (115) is via the electronic interrupting circuit (140) electrically connected with a galvanic separating element (22), which is suitable for separation of the consumption meter (2) and by which said consumption meter (2) is to be separated, wherein said electronic interrupting circuit (140) comprises an actuator (141) operating, on the basis of a pre-set threshold as well as an electronically controlled output switch (142), which is open i.e. deactivated during regular operation of the electric circuit, namely before anyone of electric overloads has occurred.

Description:
Electric circuit overload protecting device with

integrated electricity consumption meter

The present invention belongs to electricity, particularly to basic electric elements, namely to electric switches and details of protective switches, which are actuated by means ofa combination of an electro-thermal and magnetic mechanism and controlled by means of appropriate lever. On the other hand, such invention can also belong to physics, namely to measuring of electric variables, in particular of electric power or energy.

The purpose of the invention is to create a switch, which should upon integration into each disposable electric circuit on the one hand assure protection of the electric circuit against electric overload, and on the other hand also enable measuring of consumption of the electric energy or power by each load, and in addition to that, such switch should be similarly the majority of known switches suitable for mounting into a standardized casing, which is adjusted for attachment on a standardized rail in usual electric switchboards. The aim of the invention is therefore either to further improve an existing switch for protecting electric circuits against overloading in order to enable measuring of electricity consumption, or vice versa, to improve an electricity consumption meter, which should also ensure corresponding protection of the electric circuit against overloading.

In the context of the aforementioned problem, the overload protection means protection of an electric circuit at least against a short-circuit current, against a durable excessive current and/or against excessive voltage strokes, as well as against the so-called differential current, namely a difference between the current in a phase conductor and the neutral conductor, which may occur in the case of irregularities within the circuit.

A casing, into which the previously mentioned switch is to be mounted, is designed e.g. in accordance with the standard IEC 60898, and is adapted for mounting onto a standardized rail, which is available in appropriate switchboard, wherein the width of such casing is usually 18 mm, or optionally a double or triple value of said dimension.

A switch is described in DE 36 37 275 Al, which is suitable for protection against current overloads i.e. against excessive current. Such switch comprises an electromagnetic core, which is inserted within a tubular casing and furnished with a central passage, through which a triggering needle is inserted, which is axially displaceable along said core and protrudes towards the interrupting member, which is capable either to maintain each electric circuit established, or to promptly and reliably interrupt the circuit, when the end portion of said triggering needle abuts said member. Said casing is wrapped with an electrically conductive wire, which forms an electric winding i.e. a coil. In addition to said coil, an electromagnetic yoke is also foreseen on the external surface of the casing, and the coil is surrounded by said yoke. The triggering needle is furnished with a thicker portion, which is located apart from said core, wherein said core is located on the one side of said thicker portion, and the electromagnetic anchor is located on the opposite side of said thicker portion. Between the last and the core there is a compression spring, by which the triggering needle is surrounded. The triggering needle is inserted through the core and also through said anchor, but the anchor is fixed on the needle and cannot be axially displaced along the needle. The triggering needle extends through said anchor and protrudes towards a bimetallic membrane, which is at the room temperature located apart from the corresponding end portion of the triggering needle and is moreover deflected away from said anchor and said core, but by increasing of temperature it becomes deflected in the opposite direction i.e. towards the anchor and the core, and is moreover rest on the corresponding end portion of the triggering needle protruding towards it.

When such switch is integrated within an electric circuit, one end portion of the triggering needle is located apart from said bimetallic membrane, and the other end portion of said needle is located apart from the interrupting member, so that the electric circuit is established. When a short-circuit current is generated within the circuit, the excessive current generates a magnetic field, by which the anchor is displaced towards the core and the interrupting member, by which it abuts the thicker portion of the triggering needle and pushes the needle towards the interrupting member, by which the electric circuit is interrupted.

When a durable excessive current or voltage occurs, heat is generated within electric conductors, and due to such released heat the bimetallic membrane is then deflected towards the triggering needle, which is axially displaced towards the interrupting member, by which the circuit is interrupted. In this, the spring between the anchor and the core is compressed. As soon as said current overload is eliminated, the temperature in the area of said bimetallic membrane is decreasing, and said membrane is deflected back to its initial position, while the spring pushes the anchor and the triggering needle beck to their initial positions apart from the membrane, by which said interrupting member is capable to re-establish the electric circuit and regular operation thereof.

On the other hand, numerous appliances are also known in the prior art, which enable measuring of electric energy or electric power consumption.

An electric energy consumption meter is described in EP 2 154 539, which is furnished with a magnetic field detector. Such device comprises a measuring circuit as well as an calculating circuit, which are both energized via a feeding unit, by which a detecting coil is cooperating, which is capable to detect a magnetic field, which is generated due to said feeding unit. Said detecting coil is namely located closely to the inductive member, in particular a transformer in said feeding unit. Said magnetic field detector is capable to detect any changes of the electric signal received from said coil, which is then via a control circuit transmitted to said measuring circuit and calculating circuit. Such device enables measuring of energy consumption, but not also protecting of the electric circuit, in which it is integrated, against the electric overloads.

Still further, an electricity consumption meter is known from WO/201 1/025345 Al i.e. PCT/LT201 1/000001, and is suitable for use in one-phase or three-phase electric circuits and is intended to detect illegal electricity consumers. Such apparatus is relatively complex and consists of numerous components, which are electrically interconnected with each other, namely of a voltmeter, transformers with two primary windings, an automatic switch, a bridge, a capacitor as well as of an electro-mechanic actuator, which shall in accordance with the previously mentioned source serve for cooperation with components for protection against at least certain electric overloads, namely against the excessive current or voltage and against the short-circuit current. However, the protecting components as such are neither described nor presented in the drawings, and can therefore only be anticipated, that known and commercially available appliances or components for protecting the circuit against each particular overloads or irregularities are used to this aim. It is also stated that this known device can be integrated into its own casing, which could by person skilled in the art also be anticipated as a standardized casing.

If therefore an user would like to efficiently protect an electric circuit by means of the appliance according to DE 36 37 275 Al, and to measure simultaneously the electricity consumption with the appliance according to WO/201 1/025345 Al, bot appliances would have on the one hand be integrated within the same electric circuit, and on the other hand each of them, within its separate casing, would have to be mounted into each disposable electric switchboard. Both appliances are namely each per se much too complex to be integrated into a single casing, which could also meet the previously mentioned requirements. Such approach is therefore inappropriate both in view of costs and also in view of the required space within the electric switchboard.

The present invention refers to an electric circuit overload protecting device with integrated electricity consumption meter. Such device is suitable for integrating into an alternative electric circuit, which in addition to at least one load or user comprises an active pole with a phase conductor and a neutral pole with a neutral conductor, as well as at least one switch which is suitable for interrupting of said circuit either manually or automatically depending on each pre-determined conditions. Said device further comprises, in addition to said switch, an actuating mechanism consisting of an induction unit, which is capable for protecting said circuit against the short-circuit current, of a thermal interrupter, which is suitable for protecting the circuit against the excessive current, as well as of a triggering needle, which is suitable for cooperating with said switch for the purposes of interrupting said circuit, wherein such device can optionally also be furnished with a differential transformer, which is suitable for detecting a difference between the current in the phase conductor and the current in the neutral conductor. Said induction unit comprises a casing, a primary coil, which is electrically connected within said circuit and substantially represents a part of the phase conductor, as well as an anchor, which is mechanically interconnected with said actuating needle. Said thermal interrupter is placed closely to said induction unit and in thermal conductive relationship therewith, and comprises a bimetallic membrane, which is mechanically interconnected with said triggering needle, so that the shape of said membrane is changed by means of the heat generated by the excessive current in the circuit, by which the triggering needle is displaced towards the switch for the purposes of interrupting the electric circuit. Such device may optionally also comprise a differential transformer, which is capable to interrupt the electric circuit by means of an electronically controlled switch and an actuator operating on the basis of a pre-set threshold, when a current difference occurs in the electronic circuit. Consequently, the actuating mechanism is generally capable to react on various electric overloads by displacing said triggering needle towards said switch, by which the electric circuit is then interrupted. The device according to the invention is characterized in that said induction unit of the actuating mechanism, in addition to said primary coil which is integrated in the phase conductor, also comprises a secondary coil, which is electrically connected with the neutral conductor and electrically insulated with respect to said primary coil, and is for the purposes of functioning as a sensor for detecting of each current intensity within the phase conductor located closely to said primary coil, and at the same time said device also comprises an electric energy or power consumption meter, which is electrically connected with the secondary coil and is together with the last connected to the neutral conductor.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, said secondary coil is wound around i.e. over a plastic cartridge, which is placed around the primary coil, wherein in one of possible embodiments the consumption meter is via an electronic interrupting circuit electrically interconnected with the secondary coil, while another embodiment of the invention provides the consumption meter is galvanically separated from said secondary coil.

With regard to the firstly mentioned embodiment of the invention, the electronic interrupting circuit comprises an actuator, which is suitable for operating on the basis of a pre-set threshold the output value of the differential transformer, an electronically controlled output switch, which is suitable for interrupting the electric circuit throughout the phase conductor, as well as an electronically controlled switch, which is suitable for interrupting the electric circuit throughout the consumption meter, wherein said output switches are synchronized with each other and are adapted to operate alternatively and depending on output values on differential transformer, so that by activating the first switch the second switch is automatically deactivated, or vice versa. With regard to a further embodiment of the invention, in which the consumption meter is galvanically separated from the secondary coil, the secondary coil is via the electronic interrupting circuit electrically connected with a galvanic separating element, which is suitable for separation of the consumption meter and by which said consumption meter is to be separated, wherein said electronic interrupting circuit comprises an actuator, which is suitable for operating on the basis of a preset threshold as well as an electronically controlled output switch, which is open i.e. deactivated during regular operation of the electric circuit, namely before anyone of electric overloads has occurred.

The invention will be described in more detail by means of two embodiments of an electric circuit overload protecting device with integrated electricity consumption meter, which are presented in the attached drawings, wherein

Fig. 1 is the first embodiment during regular functioning of an electric circuit with simultaneously measuring of electricity consumption;

Fig. 2 is the embodiment according to Fig. 1 upon a current difference has occurred in the circuit, wherein the device according to the invention with integrated electricity consumption meter is capable to protect the circuit against overload;

Fig. 3 is a further embodiment during regular functioning of an electric circuit with simultaneously measuring of electricity consumption; and

Fig. 4 is the embodiment according to Fig. 3 upon a current difference has occurred in the circuit, wherein the device according to the invention with integrated electricity consumption meter is capable to protect the circuit against overload. An electric circuit is schematically presented in Figs 1 - 4 and includes an electric load, which is not separately shown in the drawings. Such electric circuit is essentially formed of an active pole with a phase conductor L and a neutral pole with a neutral conductor N, as well as of a switch S, which is intended to interrupt said circuit either manually by each user or automatically in accordance with each predetermined conditions.

In order to protect said circuit against electric overloading, an actuating mechanism 1 is integrated within said circuit in addition to said switch S, and comprises an induction unit 1 1, a thermal interrupter 12 and a triggering needle 13 which is adapted for cooperation with said switch S. Whenever an electric overload occurs, the actuating mechanism 1 is capable to react by means of shifting said triggering needle 13 towards the switch S, by which the electric circuit is promptly interrupted.

Said induction unit 1 1 consists of a casing 111, a coil 1 12 which is electrically integrated within said circuit and is in the shown embodiment conceived as a part of the phase conductor L, as well as of an anchor 113 which is mechanically interconnected with said triggering needle 13. Whenever a short-circuit current occurs within such circuit, adequate magnetic field is induced within the coil 112, by which the anchor is displaced the relative to the casing 1 11 and the actuating needle 13 is moved towards the switch S in order to interrupt the circuit.

Said thermal interrupter 12 is located closely to said induction unit 11 and in thermal conductive relationship therewith, and is moreover furnished with a bimetallic membrane 121, which is mechanically interconnected with the actuating needle 13. Whenever an excessive current i.e. an over-current occurs within the circuit, adequate heat is generated in the area of said coil 1 12, by which the shape of said bimetallic membrane 121 is changed, which results in displacement of the triggering needle 13 towards the switch S and interruption of the circuit.

Whenever the circuit shall be protected against the differential circuit, i.e. against a false current due to difference between the current within the phase conductor L and the neutral conductor N, a differential transformer 14 should also be integrated within said circuit in addition to said induction unit 1 1 and thermal interrupter 12 in order to interrupt the circuit via appropriate electronic circuit 140 on the basis of a pre-set threshold.

The invention provides that the induction unit 11 in addition to said first coil 112 also includes a second coil 115, which is electrically insulated with regard to the first coil 1 12 and by means of which an electricity consumption meter 2 (in Figs 1 - 4 also marked with abbreviation EM) is integrated within said electric circuit, which is optionally availably as an electric power consumption meter (in Figs 1 - 4 also marked with abbreviation W-m) and which comprises an output unit 21 in form of a display and/or emitter or any other electric component or circuit suitable either for displaying and/or transmission and/or notification and/or storage of data related to electric energy and/or power consumption.

Said primary coil 1 12 is functioning as a primary winding and is integrated in the phase conductor L, while the secondary coil 115 is located closely to said primary coil 112 and is preferably placed around a plastic cartridge surrounding said primary coil 1 12, and is therefore functioning as a secondary winding integrated within the neutral conductor N, wherein thanks to such concept said secondary coil 115 is actually used as a sensor for detecting of each current intensity in the phase conductor L.

Said secondary coil 1 15 is via the electronic circuit 140 connected with the electricity consumption meter 2, which is on the other hand electrically connected to the neutral conductor N. Said electronic circuit 140 comprises a switch 142, 144 for disconnecting said consumption meter 2. When also said differential transformer 14 (Fig. 1 and 2) is integrated within the electric circuit, said electronic circuit 140, in addition to said switch 144, also comprises a switch 143 for switching-on the voltage U L in the case of different current, wherein in such case the switches 143 and 144 should operate in a synchronized manner.

When such electric circuit (Fig. 1) together with the primary coil 112 of the induction unit 11 is supplied with alternative electric current I L , alternative voltage Uj is induced within said coil 112 due to alternatively changing magnetic field, the value of which is in linear relationship with the alternative current I L in the phase conductor L and the primary coil 1 12 and may therefore be used for the purposes of measuring of current intensity, or by means of multiplying the current and voltage also for measuring of electric power consumption, In such case, the current IL is available within each electric load due to the voltage UL between the phase conductor L with integrated primary coil 112 and the neutral conductor N. Another voltage Uj is induced within the secondary coil 115, and this second coil 1 15 via the activated i.e. connected switch 144 is electrically interconnected with the consumption meter 2, which is further connected to the neutral conductor N. As mentioned, operation of said switches 134, 144 is synchronized and switches 143, 144 operate alternatively, so that the other switch 143 of the interrupting circuit 140 towards the differential transformer 14 is deactivated i.e. disconnected. The consumption meter 2, namely an electric power consumption meter according to Fig. 2, is protected by means of synchronized electronically controlled and alternatively operating output switches 143 and 144. Whenever a differential current occurs within such electric circuit, namely a difference between the current II in the phase conductor L and the current ¾ in the neutral conductor N, such difference is detected by the differential transformer 14, upon which the actuator 141 operating on the basis of a pre-set threshold triggers activation i.e. connection of the electronically controlled switch 143, by which the voltage UL is transferred to the secondary coil 1 15, but simultaneously deactivating i.e. disconnecting the electronically controlled switch 144 results in interruption of the electric connection between the consumption meter 2 and the induction unit 1 1 of the actuating mechanism 1.

A further embodiment of the switch with integrated consumption meter 2 according to the invention is shown in Fig. 3, wherein said consumption meter 2 is separated apart from the conductors N, L and the induction unit 11 by means of a galvanic separating unit 22. Consequently, said consumption meter 2 is prevented from being exposed directly to the nominal voltage U L in the circuit. In such case the electronic circuit 140 san be essentially simplified and comprises just an actuator 141 operating on the basis of a pre-set threshold as well as an output switch 142, which is during the regular operation of the electric circuit deactivated, and is activated only when a short-circuit current occurs (Fig. 4).

When the current difference occurs, namely the difference between the electric current I L in the phase conductor L and the current I N in the neutral conductor N, such difference is detected by the differential transformer 14, upon which the actuator 141 operating on the basis of a pre-set threshold activates the electronically controlled switch 142, by which the voltage U L is transferred to the secondary coil 115, by which said galvanic separator is exposed to the voltage UL, but not also the consumption meter 2, which is by means of the last galvanically separated there-from.