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Title:
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR SENSING A DC OR AC ELECTRICAL RECEPTACLE AND LINE TO LOAD SWITCHING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/200280
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus includes switch that has a first input coupled to an AC electrical power source, a second input coupled to a DC electrical power source, and an output coupled to an electrical power termination point. The apparatus further includes a control module coupled to the switch, and in communication with the electrical power termination point or an electrical power load coupled to the electrical power termination point to receive an indication that the load operates on or according to one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power. The control module transmits a signal to the switch to cause the switch to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source and the DC electrical power source and transmit the received electrical power to the electrical power termination point, responsive to the received indication.

Inventors:
BRATHWAITE, Nicholas (2494 Sand Hill Road Building 7, Suite 100Menlo Park, CA, 94025, US)
YUVENTI, Jumie (2494 Sand Hill Road Building 7, Suite 100Menlo Park, CA, 94025, US)
SHARIFIPOUR, Bahman (2494 Sand Hill Road Building 7, Suite 100Menlo Park, CA, 94025, US)
THOMAS, Mark (21771 Steven's Canyon Boulevard, Suite 100Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
Application Number:
US2019/027264
Publication Date:
October 17, 2019
Filing Date:
April 12, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KATERRA, INC. (2494 Sand Hill Road, Building 7 Suite 10, Menlo Park CA, 94025, US)
BRATHWAITE, Nicholas (2494 Sand Hill Road Building 7, Suite 100Menlo Park, CA, 94025, US)
YUVENTI, Jumie (2494 Sand Hill Road Building 7, Suite 100Menlo Park, CA, 94025, US)
SHARIFIPOUR, Bahman (2494 Sand Hill Road Building 7, Suite 100Menlo Park, CA, 94025, US)
THOMAS, Mark (21771 Steven's Canyon Boulevard, Suite 100Cupertino, CA, 95014, US)
International Classes:
H02J4/00
Foreign References:
US5563782A1996-10-08
KR101098429B12011-12-23
KR20050120512A2005-12-22
US20140103721A12014-04-17
US6160728A2000-12-12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CALDWELL, Gregory, D. (Elliott, Ostrander & Preston P.C.,707 Sw Washington Street, Suite 150, Portland OR, 97205, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus, comprising:

a switch having a first input coupled to an AC electrical power source, a second input coupled to a DC electrical power source, and an output coupled to an electrical power termination point; and

a control module coupled to the switch, and in communication with the electrical power termination point or an electrical power load coupled to the electrical power termination point to receive from the electrical power termination point or the electrical power load an indication that the electrical power load operates on or according to one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, the control module to transmit a signal to the switch to cause the switch to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source and the DC electrical power source and transmit the received electrical power to the electrical power termination point, responsive to the received indication.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the control module further is in communication with the electrical power termination point or the electrical power load to transmit a signal to the electrical power termination point or the electrical power load to query whether the electrical power load operates on one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, and wherein the control module to receive from the electrical power termination point or the electrical power load the indication that the electrical power load operates on one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power is in response to the transmission by the control module of the signal to the electrical power termination point or the electrical power load to query whether the electrical power load operates on one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the electrical power termination point is

selected from a group of electrical power termination points consisting of: an electrical receptacle, a disconnect switch, a circuit breaker, a junction box, and a branch circuit.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the control module comprises an Internet of

Things (loT) interface via which to communicate with a corresponding respective loT interface for the electrical termination point or electrical power load.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the control module further to receive from the electrical power termination point or the electrical power load a specification for line voltage associated with the electrical power load.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the AC electrical power source is one of an electrical power grid-based AC electrical power source and an AC electrical power output of an electrical power distribution system, and wherein the DC electrical power source comprises a DC electrical power output of an electrical power distribution system.

7. An apparatus, comprising:

a plurality of switches having a respective first input coupled to one or more AC electrical power sources, a respective second input coupled to one or more DC electrical power sources, and an output coupled to one or more electrical power termination points; and

a control module coupled to each of the plurality of switches, and in communication with the one or more electrical power termination points or one or more electrical power loads coupled to a respective one of the one or more electrical power termination points to receive from the one or more electrical power termination points or the one or more electrical power loads an respective indication that the one or more electrical power loads operates on or according to one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, the control module to transmit a respective signal to a respective one of the plurality of switches to cause the switch to receive electrical power from one of the one or more AC electrical power sources and the one or more DC electrical power sources and transmit the received electrical power to the one or more electrical power termination points, responsive to the respective received indications.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the control module comprises a controller and a signal transceiver coupled to the controller, wherein the controller controls the signal transceiver to transmit respective signals to the plurality of electrical power termination points or power loads to determine whether the electrical power loads operate according to AC electrical power or DC electrical power; and

wherein the signal transceiver of the control module receives from the one or more electrical power termination points or the one or more electrical power loads the respective indication that the one or more electrical power loads operates on or according to one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, and the controller of the control module receives the respective indications from the signal transceiver and transmits the respective signal to the respective one of the plurality of switches to cause the switch to receive electrical power from one of the one or more AC electrical power sources and the one or more DC electrical power sources and transmit the received electrical power to the one or more electrical power termination points, responsive to the respective received indications.

9. An alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) electrical receptacle, to be connected to an energized electrical circuit, comprising:

an AC and DC current-carrying female contact;

an AC current-carrying female contact;

a DC current-carrying female contact; and

a ground female contact.

10. The AC and DC electrical receptacle of claim 9 wherein the AC and DC current- carrying female contact is connected to a neutral side of the electrical circuit, and wherein the AC current-carrying female contact is connected to a line side of the electrical circuit.

11. The AC and DC electrical receptacle of claim 10, further comprising two DC

electrical contacts which are in an open state when no AC or DC plug is coupled to the receptacle, or when an AC plug is coupled to the receptacle, and when a DC plug is coupled to the receptacle, DC current flows across the two DC electrical contacts.

12. The AC and DC electrical receptacle of claim 10, further comprising a switch coupled between the two DC electrical contacts and the DC current-carrying female contact that closes in response to insertion of a DC electrical plug for a DC appliance or load into the receptacle which creates a circuit between the two DC electrical contacts, and DC electrical power is thereby allowed to pass to the DC current-carrying female contact of the receptacle.

13. The AC and DC electrical receptacle of claim 11 , further comprising two AC

electrical contacts which are in an open state when no AC or DC plug is coupled to the receptacle, or when a DC plug is coupled to the receptacle, and when an AC plug is coupled to the receptacle, AC current flows across the two AC electrical contacts.

14. The AC and DC electrical receptacle of claim 13, further comprising a switch coupled between the two AC electrical contacts and the AC current-carrying female contact that closes in response to insertion of an AC electrical plug for a AC appliance or load into the receptacle which creates a circuit between the two AC electrical contacts, and AC electrical power is thereby allowed to pass to the AC current-carrying female contact of the receptacle.

15. The AC and DC electrical receptacle of claim 13 wherein the two AC electrical contacts and the two DC electrical contacts are situated on a face of the receptacle within an area defined by two or more of the AC and DC current- carrying female contact, the AC current-carrying female contact, the DC current-carrying female contact, and the ground female contact, so that when an electrical plug is plugged into the receptacle, the contacts are inaccessible to a human.

Description:
Method and Apparatus for

Sensing a DC or AC Electrical Receptacle

and Line to Load Switching

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application number 62/656937, filed April 12, 2018, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] Embodiments of the present invention relate to electrical power distribution systems and methods. In particular, embodiments of the invention route power between an alternating current (AC) power source, a direct current (DC) power source, and a plurality of AC electrical power loads and/or plurality of DC electrical power loads.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Today, a building site may obtain AC electrical power from the public utility grid, or simply,“grid” and/or alternative energy sources (AES) to the grid, for example photovoltaic (PV) solar, wind, geothermal, etc., and/or other DC power sources.

[0004] An electrical power distribution device can connect to the AC grid and/or a plurality of AC or DC power sources to produce, convert, distribute, and store power for or to a building site.

[0005] Prior art building sites include a main AC circuit to a building’s main distribution panel and then a number of branch AC circuits throughout the building site further connect to the main distribution panel to receive and distribute AC power supplied via the electrical power distribution device. It is contemplated that the electrical power distribution device can also supply DC electrical power in addition to AC electrical power. It is further envisioned that branch circuits in the building site could be wired and configured to receive and distribute AC electrical power or DC electrical power. What is needed is a way to determine whether a branch circuit or load in a building site is a DC electrical circuit or an AC electrical circuit and supply appropriate electrical power to the branch circuit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] Embodiments are illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, and can be more fully understood with reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the figures in which:

[0007] Figure 1 illustrates an electrical power distribution system in which an embodiment of the invention may operate;

[0008] Figure 2 illustrates an embodiment of the invention with access to an AC electrical power supply and a DC electrical power supply;

[0009] Figure 3 illustrates an embodiment of the invention with access to an AC electrical power grid and a DC electrical power supply;

[0010] Figure 4 illustrates an embodiment of the invention with access to an electrical power distribution system providing AC electrical power, and a DC electrical power supply; [0011] Figure 5 illustrates an embodiment of the invention with access to an electrical power distribution system providing an AC electrical power supply and a DC electrical power supply;

[0012] Figure 6 illustrates an embodiment of the invention as

implemented in an electrical power distribution system;

[0013] Figure 7 illustrates another embodiment of the invention as implemented in an electrical power distribution system;

[0014] Figure 8 illustrates yet another embodiment of the invention as implemented in an electrical power distribution system;

[0015] Figure 9 illustrates an embodiment of the invention implemented in an electrical power distribution system and a plurality of electrical power termination points;

[0016] Figure 10 illustrates another embodiment of the invention implemented in an electrical power distribution system and a plurality of electrical power termination points;

[0017] Figure 11 illustrates an embodiment of the invention implemented in an electrical power distribution system and a circuit breaker panel;

[0018] Figure 12 illustrates an embodiment of the invention with access to an AC electrical power supply and a DC electrical power supply;

[0019] Figure 13 illustrates an electrical receptacle in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

[0020] Figure 14 illustrates an electrical block diagram of the electrical receptacle illustrated in Figure 13 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; [0021] Figure 15 is a flow diagram of a method in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

[0022] Figure 16 is a flow diagram of a method in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0023] Figure 17 is a flow diagram of a method in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;

[0024] Figure 18 is a flow diagram of a method in accordance with the embodiment described with reference to Figs. 12-14.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0025] With reference to Figure 1 , an electrical power distribution system 100 comprises a central electrical power switch or router that receives DC electrical power from or to one or more electrical power sources and transmits the DC electrical power to one or more electrical power loads. In one

embodiment, a DC bus 105 receives and transmits electrical power at a first fixed DC voltage level, for example, 800 volts, from one or more electrical power sources to one or more electrical power loads. The embodiment further includes a number of DC power output ports 130 to transmit electrical power at a second fixed DC voltage level to a corresponding number of DC power loads 145. For example, in one embodiment, the second fixed DC voltage level is 60 volts. In one embodiment, each output port 130 connects the electrical power distribution system to an individual unit in a building site, for example, a single family dwelling. There may also be other output ports connected to an electrical load in common or shared among the individual units, such as building site lighting or a control panel for a fire alarm system. [0026] A like number of current and voltage sensors 140 respectively monitor current and voltage usage for each of the DC power output ports 130. These sensors and associated circuitry, among other things, detect an amount of DC transmitted by the DC power output ports 130 to the DC power loads 145. It is contemplated that the sensors 140 may be hierarchically arranged, wherein one sensor 140 communicates with the other sensors 140 and aggregates information or data about the current and/or voltage usage of the DC power loads and communicates on behalf of all the sensors 140 with a controller such as controller 101 described herein below. Alternatively, each sensor 140 may communicate individually with controller 101.

[0027] In one embodiment, a DC power output adapter 135 couples the DC bus 105 to the DC power output ports 130 to provide DC power to the DC power loads 145. The DC power output adapter comprises an input bus interface 136 that couples the DC power output adapter 135 to the DC bus, and an output interface 137 that couples the DC power output adapter to the DC power output ports 130. A DC-to-DC (DC/DC) converter 116 is coupled to the input bus interface 136 and the output interface 137 to receive and convert the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus at the first fixed DC voltage level to electrical power at the second fixed DC voltage level for transmission to the DC power output ports 130. In one embodiment, the DC/DC converter is a 10kW DC/DC converter.

[0028] The embodiment further includes a number of alternating current (AC) power output ports 120 to transmit electrical power at a first fixed AC voltage level to a corresponding number of AC power loads 125. For example, in one embodiment, the first fixed AC voltage level is 240 volts AC (Vac). In one embodiment, each output port 120 connects the electrical power distribution system to an individual unit in the building site, for example, a single family dwelling. As in the case of output ports 130, there may be other output ports 120 connected to an electrical load in common or shared among the individual units.

[0029] A like number of current and voltage sensors 146 respectively monitor the current and voltage usage for each of the AC power output ports 120. These sensors and associated circuitry, similar to sensors 140, detect an amount of AC transmitted by the AC power output ports 120 to the AC power loads 125. It is contemplated that the sensors 146 may be hierarchically arranged, wherein one sensor 146 communicates with the other sensors 146 and aggregates information or data about the current and/or voltage usage of the AC power loads and communicates on behalf of all the sensors 146 with a controller such as controller 101. Alternatively, each sensor 146 may

communicate individually with controller 101.

[0030] In one embodiment, an AC power input/output (I/O) adapter 110 couples the DC bus 105 to the AC power output ports 120 to provide AC power to the AC power loads 125. The AC power I/O adapter comprises an input/output bus interface 112 that couples the AC power I/O adapter 110 to the DC bus, and an input/output interface 111 that couples the AC power I/O adapter to the AC power output ports 120. A bidirectional AC-to-DC converter 115 is coupled to the input/output bus interface 112 and the input/output interface 111 to receive and convert the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus at the first fixed DC voltage level to electrical power at the first fixed AC voltage level for transmission to the AC power output ports 120. In one embodiment, the bidirectional AC/DC converter is a 50kW bidirectional AC/DC converter.

[0031] The AC power I/O adapter 110 further is to couple to an AC power grid (e.g., a public utility grid) to receive and convert electrical power transmitted from the AC power grid at a second fixed AC voltage level to the electrical power at the first fixed AC voltage level for transmission to the AC power output ports 120. In one embodiment, the second fixed AC voltage level is 277 volts AC (Vac). The AC power I/O adapter 110 comprises an input/output interface 111 that couples the AC power I/O adapter to the AC power grid (or AC power grid distribution panel, or simply, AC distribution panel, 121 connected therewith). In one embodiment, the bidirectional AC/DC converter 115 is coupled to the input/output interface 111 to receive and convert electrical power transmitted from the AC power grid at the second fixed AC voltage level to the electrical power at the first fixed DC voltage level for transmission to the DC bus via input/output interface 112, and to receive and convert the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus at the first fixed DC voltage level to the electrical power at the second fixed AC voltage level for transmission to the AC power grid. In other words, the electrical power distribution system 100 can feed back electrical power from the system to the grid, as conditions warrant.

[0032] In one embodiment, the bidirectional AC/DC converter 115 is coupled to the input/output interface 111 to receive and convert electrical power transmitted from the AC power grid at the second fixed AC voltage level to the electrical power at the first fixed AC voltage level for transmission to the AC power output ports 120 via input/output interface 111. [0033] In one embodiment, an AC power output adapter 190 couples the DC bus 105 and to the plurality of AC power output ports 120 to provide AC power to the AC power loads 125. The AC power output adapter comprises an input bus interface 191 that couples the AC power output adapter to the DC bus, and an output interface 193 that couples the AC power output adapter to the AC power output ports 120. A DC-to-AC (DC/AC) converter 192 is coupled to the input bus interface 191 and the output interface 193 to receive and convert the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus at the first fixed DC voltage level to the electrical power at the first fixed AC voltage level for transmission to the AC power output ports. In an alternative embodiment, the bidirectional AC/DC converter 115 in the AC I/O power adapter 110 could provide the same functionality as DC/AC converter 192, but it would not provide the redundancy and failsafe functionality of having this functionality provided by DC/AC converter 192 located in the separate adapter 190.

[0034] In one embodiment, an DC power output adapter 195 couples the DC bus 105 and to DC power output port 175 to provide DC power to a DC power load, such an electric vehicle charging station. The DC power output adapter comprises an input bus interface 196 that couples the DC power output adapter to the DC bus, and an output interface 197 that couples the DC power output adapter to the DC power output port 175. A DC-to-DC (DC/DC) converter 198 is coupled to the input bus interface 196 and the output interface 197 to receive and convert the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus at the first fixed DC voltage level to electrical power a fixed DC voltage level for

transmission to the DC power output port 175. [0035] In one embodiment, with reference to Figure 1 , a controller 101 is coupled to the DC power output adapter 135, the current and voltage sensors 140 to control an amount of the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus 105 at the first fixed DC voltage level that the DC power output adapter 135 is to receive and convert to the electrical power at the second fixed DC voltage level for transmission to the DC power output ports 130, based on the amount of DC transmitted by the DC power output ports to the DC power loads as detected by the current and voltage sensors 140.

[0036] In one embodiment, controller 101 is coupled to the AC power I/O adapter 110, and the current and voltage sensors 146, to control an amount of the electrical power transmitted from the AC power grid at the second fixed AC voltage level that the AC power I/O adapter 110 is to receive and convert to the electrical power at the first fixed AC voltage level for transmission to the AC power output ports 120, based on the amount of AC transmitted by the AC power output ports 120 to the AC power loads 125 as detected by current and voltage sensors 146.

[0037] In one embodiment, controller 101 is coupled to the DC power output adapter 135, the current and voltage sensors 140, and the AC power I/O adapter 110, to control an amount of the electrical power transmitted from the AC power grid at the second fixed AC voltage that the AC power I/O adapter 110 is to receive and convert to the electrical power at the first fixed DC voltage level for transmission to the DC bus 105, based on the amount of DC transmitted by the DC power output ports 130 to the DC power loads 145 detected by current and voltage sensors 140. [0038] In one embodiment, controller 101 is coupled to the AC power output adapter 190 and the current and sensors 146, to control an amount of the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus 105 at the first fixed DC voltage level that the AC power output adapter 190 is to receive and convert to the electrical power at the first fixed AC voltage level for transmission to the AC power output ports 120, based on the amount of AC transmitted by the AC power output ports to the AC power loads as detected by the current and sensors 146.

[0039] In one embodiment, controller 101 is to control the amount of the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus 105 at the first fixed DC voltage level that the AC power I/O adapter 110 is to receive and convert to the electrical power at the second fixed AC voltage level for transmission to the AC power grid, based on one or more of the amount of DC transmitted by the plurality of DC power output ports 130 to the plurality of DC power loads 145 as detected by the first circuitry, the amount of AC transmitted by the plurality of AC power output ports 120 to the plurality of AC power loads 125 as detected by the second circuitry, the state of the DC power source, and the state of the DC power storage device.

[0040] In one embodiment, the electrical power distribution system further comprises a DC power input adapter 150 coupled to the DC bus 105 and to couple to a DC power source 155 to provide DC power to the electrical power distribution system. In one embodiment, the DC power source is an alternative energy source, such as a PV solar power source. The DC power input adapter includes an input interface 151 that couples the DC power input adapter 150 to the DC power source 155, and an output bus interface 152 that couples the DC power input adapter to the DC bus 105. A DC-to-DC (DC/DC) converter 177 is coupled to the input interface 151 and the output bus interface 152 to receive and convert electrical power transmitted by the DC power source at a third fixed DC voltage level to the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus at first fixed DC voltage level. In one embodiment, the third fixed DC voltage level is 1000 volts. In one embodiment, the DC/DC converter is a 1000 volt to 800 volt DC/DC converter.

[0041] Controller 101 further is coupled to the DC power input adapter 150 to control an amount of the electrical power at the third fixed DC voltage level that the DC power input adapter 150 is to receive and convert to electrical power at the first fixed DC voltage level for transmission on the DC bus 105.

[0042] The controller, in one embodiment, controls the amount of the electrical power at the third fixed DC voltage level that the DC power input adapter 150 is to receive and convert to electrical power at the first fixed DC voltage level for transmission on the DC bus 105, based on one or more of the amount of DC transmitted by the DC power output ports 130 to the DC power loads 145 as detected by the current and voltage sensors 140, the amount of AC transmitted by the AC power output ports 120 to the AC power loads 125 as detected by the current and voltage sensors 146, and the desirability of or the priority assigned to the electrical power transmitted from the AC power grid at the second fixed AC voltage level relative to the desirability of or priority assigned to the electrical power transmitted by the DC power source 155 at a third fixed DC voltage level. The desirability of or priority assigned to the electrical power transmitted from the AC power grid at the second fixed AC voltage level relative to the desirability of or priority assigned to the electrical power transmitted by the DC power source 155 at a third fixed DC voltage level may be based on, for example, one or more of unit price, environmental impact, availability, quality, stability, capacity, transmission or delivery efficiency, location or distance of a source, etc.

[0043] In one embodiment, DC power input adapter 150 includes parameter sensor 180 to detect a state of the DC power source 155. In such case, the controller 101 may control the amount of the electrical power at the third fixed DC voltage level that the DC power source 155 is to receive and convert to electrical power at the first fixed DC voltage level for transmission on the DC bus 105 based on the state of the DC power source, or environmental factors that impact the state of the DC power source, such as, in the case where the DC power source is a PV solar power source, the temperature, wind, intensity and/or angle of incidence of sunlight to the DC power source, time of day, season, etc. In one embodiment, DC power input adapter 150 further includes a controller 186 in communication with DC power source 155 by which DC power input adapter 150 can control functionality of the DC power source 155.

[0044] The electrical power distribution system, in one embodiment, comprises a DC power input/output (I/O) adapter 160 coupled to the DC bus 105 and further to couple to a DC power storage device 165. The DC power I/O adapter includes an input/output interface 161 that couples the DC power I/O adapter to DC power storage device 165, and an input/output bus interface 162 that couples the DC power I/O adapter to the DC bus 105. A bi-directional DC/DC converter 183 is coupled to the input/output interface 161 and the input/output bus interface 162 to receive and convert the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus 105 at the first fixed DC voltage level to an electrical power transmitted to the DC power storage device 165 at a fourth fixed DC voltage level, and to receive and convert the electrical power transmitted from the DC power storage device 165 at the fourth fixed DC voltage level to the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus 105 at the first fixed DC voltage level. In one embodiment, the fourth fixed DC voltage level is 400 volts. In one embodiment, the DC/DC converter is a 400 volt to 800 volt DC/DC converter. In one embodiment, the DC power storage device is a Lithium-ion battery, and may include a battery management system.

[0045] In one embodiment, the controller 101 further is coupled to the DC power I/O adapter 160 to control an amount of the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus 105 at the first fixed DC voltage level that the DC power I/O adapter is to receive and convert to electrical power at the fourth fixed DC voltage level for transmission to the DC power storage device 165. In one embodiment, the amount of the electrical power transmitted on the DC bus 105 at the first fixed DC voltage level that the DC power I/O adapter 160 is to receive and convert to electrical power at the fourth fixed DC voltage level for

transmission to the DC power storage device 165 is based on one or more of the amount of DC transmitted by the DC power output ports 130 to the DC loads 145 as detected by the current sensors 140, the amount of AC transmitted by the AC power output ports 120 to the AC loads 125 as detected by the current sensors 146, and the amount of the electrical power transmitted by the DC power I/O adapter 160 at the third fixed DC voltage level.

[0046] In another embodiment, the controller further is to control an amount of the electrical power at the fourth fixed DC voltage level that the DC power I/O adapter 160 is to receive and convert for transmission on the DC bus 105 at the first fixed DC voltage level. The controller may do so based on one or more of the amount of DC transmitted by the DC power output ports 130 to the DC loads 145 as detected by the current sensors 140, the amount of AC transmitted by the AC power output ports 120 to the AC loads 125 as detected by the current sensors 146, the amount of the electrical power transmitted by the DC power source 155 at the third fixed DC voltage level, the desirability of or priority assigned to the electrical power transmitted from the AC power grid 121 at the second fixed AC voltage level relative to the desirability of or priority assigned to the electrical power transmitted by the DC power storage device 165 at the fourth fixed DC voltage level, and the desirability of or priority assigned to the electrical power transmitted from the DC power source 155 at the third fixed DC voltage level relative to the desirability of or priority assigned to the electrical power transmitted by the DC power storage device 165 at the fourth fixed DC voltage level. In these embodiments, desirability of or priority assigned to a particular electrical power source may be based on, for example, one or more of unit price, environmental impact, availability, quality, stability, capacity, transmission or delivery efficiency, location or distance of a source, etc.

[0047] In one embodiment, DC power I/O adapter 160 includes parameter sensor 181 to detect a state of the DC power storage device 165. In such case, the controller 101 may control the amount of the electrical power at the fourth fixed DC voltage level that the DC power I/O adapter 160 is to receive and convert to electrical power at the first fixed DC voltage level for transmission on the DC bus 105 based on the state of the DC power storage device, or factors that impact the state of the DC power storage device. In one

embodiment, DC power I/O adapter 160 further includes a controller 184 in communication with DC power storage device 165 by which DC power I/O adapter 160 can control functionality of the DC power storage device 165.

[0048] In one embodiment, controller 101 is a central controller located within the electrical power distribution system and communicates with a microcontroller or the like located in each component it controls, for example, microcontrollers 180 and 181 respectively located in adapters 150 and 160. In another embodiment, the controller may be a distributed controller system, wherein each component described herein as being in communication with the controller may in fact incorporate or communicate with its own controller or a controller shared with a subset of the components in the electrical power distribution system. The controllers in such case communicate with each other as needed in order to perform the functions described herein. In all cases, the controller(s) may be hardwired in communication with the components and/or may be wirelessly in communication with the components. In another embodiment, an external controller 170 communicates with the controller(s). Controller 170 may be a part of a cloud-computing based energy management system and connect to controller 101 via the Internet, for example.

[0049] Embodiments of the invention can further be described as an electrical power distribution system 100 that includes an electrical power router. The power router has a number of input ports and a number of output ports, and distributes an electrical signal received on one or more of the input ports to one or more of the output ports. In one embodiment, the electrical power router is a common direct current (DC) bus with a number of bus interfaces. In such an embodiment, an electrical input adapter, e.g., DC power input adapter 150, is coupled to one of the electrical power router’s input ports and further to couple to an electrical power source, e.g., DC power source 155. The electrical input adapter receives and converts an electrical signal input from the electrical power source to the electrical signal distributed by the power router. The electrical input adapter in such an embodiment includes an interface, e.g., interface 151 , with the electrical power source that has electrical and mechanical characteristics that match those of the electrical power source, and an interface, e.g., interface 152, with the electrical power router that has electrical and mechanical characteristics that match those of the electrical power router.

[0050] Further in such an embodiment, an electrical output adapter, e.g., DC power output adapter 135, is coupled to one of the output ports and further to couple to an electrical power load, e.g., DC power loads 145. The electrical output adapter receives and converts the electrical signal distributed by the power router from the one of the output ports to an electrical signal output to the electrical power load. The electrical output adapter includes an interface, e.g., interface 137, with the electrical power load that has electrical and mechanical characteristics that match those of the electrical power load, and an interface, e.g., interface 136, with the electrical power router that has electrical and mechanical characteristics that match those of the electrical power router.

[0051] The embodiment further includes a controller 101 coupled to the electrical input adapter, the electrical output adapter, and the electrical power router, to control transmission of the electrical signal from the electrical input adapter to the electrical output adapter through the electrical power router. A subset of the bus interfaces have an electrical circuit coupled to the DC bus and to couple to a DC voltage output of an AC to DC converter or DC to DC converter of the electrical input adapter. The subset of the bus interfaces control an amount of current provided in the electrical signal to be distributed by the power router.

[0052] In one embodiment of the electrical distribution system, the subset of bus interfaces control the amount of current provided in the electrical signal to be distributed by the power router by performing one or more of the functions of: current direction control, current limit control, current magnitude control, current sensing, voltage sensing and voltage control on an input to the electrical circuit, voltage sensing and voltage control on an output of the electrical circuit.

[0053] In this embodiment, a second subset of the bus interfaces includes an electrical circuit coupled to the DC bus and to couple to a DC voltage input of a DC to DC converter or DC to AC converter of the electrical output adapter. The second subset of the bus interfaces control an amount of current received from the electrical signal distributed by the power router.

[0054] In one embodiment, the second subject of bus interfaces controls the amount of current received from the electrical signal distributed by the power router by performing one or more of the functions of: current direction control, current limit control, current magnitude control, current sensing, voltage sensing and voltage control on the input to the electrical circuit, voltage sensing and voltage control on the output of the electric circuit.

[0055] According to an embodiment of the invention, a switch has a first input to couple to an AC electrical power source, a second input to couple to a DC electrical power source, and an output to couple to an electrical power load.

A control module transmits a signal to the electrical power load to determine whether the electrical power load uses AC electrical power or DC electrical power, and receives in response thereto an indication that the electrical power load uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power. The control module then transmits a signal to the switch to configure the switch to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source and the DC electrical power source and transmit the received electrical power to the electrical power load, responsive to the received indication.

[0056] With reference to Fig. 2, one embodiment 200 of the invention includes a switch 205A having a first input 210A to couple to an AC electrical power supply or source 215A, a second input 220A to couple to a DC electrical power supply or source 225, and an output 230A to couple to an electrical power load 236A. In various embodiments, the electrical power load is directly connected to an electrical circuit termination point 235A. In such embodiments, the output 230A to couple to an electrical power load 236A is connected to the electrical power termination point 235A, which, in turn, is connected to the electrical power load 236A. An electrical power termination point consists of, but is not limited to, one of: an electrical receptacle, a disconnect switch, a circuit breaker, a junction box, and a branch circuit.

[0057] In the embodiment 200, a control module 240 transmits a signal 245A, e.g., a query, prompt, interrogation, or request signal, to the electrical power load 236A, or to a device acting on behalf of the electrical power load, such as the electrical circuit termination point 235A, to determine whether the electrical power load uses AC electrical power or DC electrical power. The control module 240 receives from the electrical power load 236A, or a device acting on behalf of the electrical power load, such as the electrical circuit termination point 235A, a signal providing an indication 250A that the electrical power load 236A uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the transmitted request signal 245A. In the embodiment, the physical transmission medium over which signals 245A and 250A are

transmitted could be any conventional wired- or wireless transmission medium, using any conventional wired- or wireless signaling or communication protocol.

In response to receiving such an indication, the control module 240 transmits a signal 255A to switch 205A to cause or configure the switch 205A to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source 215 and the DC electrical power source 225 and transmit the received electrical power to the electrical power load 236A, responsive to the received indication 250A. For example, in one embodiment, the switch 205A is a single pole multiple throw (SPMT) switch that can at least switch between receiving electrical power from AC electrical power source 215, and receiving electrical power from DC electrical power source 225. In one embodiment, the electrical power load is connected to an electrical circuit termination point 235A, which handles communication with control module 240 on behalf of the electrical power load. In one embodiment, electrical circuit termination point 235A has its own Internet of Things (loT) interface 233A, via which to communicate with loT interface 243 of control module 240. Likewise, the electrical power load may have its own loT interface (not shown) via which to communicate with the loT interface of control module.

[0058] With reference to Figs. 2 and 7, in one embodiment, the control module 240 comprises an Internet of Things (loT) interface 243, 743 via which to transmit the signal 245A to the electrical power load 236A to determine whether the electrical power load uses AC electrical power or DC electrical power, and to receive the indication 250A that the electrical power load 236A uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the transmitted signal 245A. Any one or more of a number of protocols may be employed according to current, de facto, or proposed standards promoted or used by loT

communications for communicating the signals 245A/250A between control module 240 and the electrical power load, including protocols at various layers of the loT communications model, including infrastructure protocols, identification protocols, transport protocols, discovery protocols, data protocols, device management protocols, etc., as outlined briefly below.

[0059] In one embodiment, the loT interfaces for electrical loads or appliances and/or electrical circuit termination points allow for the appliances to be interrogated through a control line or wireless interface, and information disclosed by such interrogation may include specifications on line voltage, beyond simply whether the appliance operates according to AC electrical power or DC electrical power.

[0060] With reference to Figs. 3 and 4, in one embodiment, the AC electrical power source is an electrical power grid-based AC electrical power source 315. In another embodiment, an electrical power distribution system provides AC electrical power source 415. In yet another embodiment, with reference to Fig. 5, the AC electrical power source comprises an AC electrical power output 515 of an electrical power distribution system 500 and the DC electrical power source comprises a DC electrical power output 525 of the electrical power distribution system 500.

[0061] The embodiments described thus far illustrate a single switch 205A capable of being coupled to the AC electrical power source and the DC electrical power source 225, the switch in turn capable of being coupled to a single electrical power load. However, other embodiments of the invention contemplate multiple switches each of which can be connected to one or more AC electrical power sources and/or one or more DC electrical power sources, and further connected to a respective one or more electrical power loads through one or more electrical circuit termination circuits. With such an embodiment in mind, and with reference to Fig. 6, an electrical power distribution system 600 comprises a plurality of switches 205A-205n, each having a respective first input 210A-210n to couple to one or more of an AC electrical power source 215, a respective second input 220A-220n to couple to one or more of a DC electrical power source 225, and a respective output 230A-230n to couple to a respective one or more of a plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n. A single control module 240 transmits a respective signal 245A-245n to each of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n, or respective electrical circuit termination points 235A-235n to which the electrical power loads are connected, to determine whether the respective electrical power load uses AC electrical power or DC electrical power.

[0062] The control module 240 in such an embodiment receives from each of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n a respective indication 250A-250n that the electrical power load uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the transmitted signal 245A-245n. The control module 240 then causes, by way of respective transmitted control signals 255a-255n, each of the plurality of switches 205A-205n to receive electrical power from one of the one or more AC electrical power sources 215 and the one or more DC electrical power sources 225 and transmit the received electrical power to the respective ones of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n, in response to the respective received indications 250A-250n.

[0063] With reference to Fig. 7, the electrical power distribution system 600, in one embodiment, includes a control module 240 that comprises a controller 741 and a signal transceiver 742 coupled to the controller. In such an embodiment, the controller 741 controls the signal transceiver 742 to transmit the signals 245A-245n to the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n to determine whether the electrical power loads use AC electrical power or DC electrical power.

[0064] The signal transceiver 742 receives from each of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n a respective indication 250A-250n that the electrical power load uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the transmitted signal 245A-245n. The controller 741 , in turn, receives the indication 250A-250n from the signal transceiver and causes each of the plurality of switches 205A-205n to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source 215 and the DC electrical power source 225 and transmit the received electrical power to the respective one of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n, in response to the respective received indication 250A-250n.

[0065] With reference to Fig. 8, the electrical power distribution system 600, in one embodiment, includes a plurality of current sensors 805A-805n each coupled in-line, that is, to the electrical transmission wiring, between a respective one of the plurality of switches 205A-205n and a corresponding one of the plurality of electrical power loads (or a corresponding one of the electrical circuit termination points 235A-235n front-ending the loads). In such an embodiment, the control module 240 causes each switch 205A-205n (e.g., by way of respective signals generated by signal generator/transceiver 742 and provided as indicated at lines 255A-255n to each switch) to transmit an electrical signal to each electrical power load over respective lines 230A-230n, and receives a respective indication 250A-250n from a respective current sensor 805A-805n that the corresponding electrical power load 236A-236n uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the transmitted signal.

In particular, the respective current sensor 805A-805n senses current flow or the absence thereof in response to transmission of the electrical signal, which indicates the corresponding electrical power load 236A-236n uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power and transmits the respective indication 250A-250n to the control module 240 in response thereto. A common bus, or single line, 250 is illustrated in Fig. 8. Thus, in one embodiment, for control module 240 to identify from which current sensor 805A-805n a particular one of the indications 250A-250n is transmitted, an addressing scheme may be employed whereby the source of the indication is identified by an address. In another embodiment, multiple, separate, control lines, each dedicated to a different current sensor and coupled to different inputs on the control module 240, may be used so that the source of the indication is essentially hard-wired.

[0066] While some of the embodiments of the invention described herein perform an electrical load detection algorithm using pulses from a signal generator, it is appreciated by those skilled in the art that the signal generator may produce alternative interrogative waveforms. Furthermore, the signal generator may be realized and/or integrated via various forms of digital and/or analog circuitry including a microprocessor or microcontroller. Furthermore, the signal generator may have current limiting capability to protect the electrical loads against breakdown from applying excessive, and in particular, excessive negative, voltages.

[0067] Fig. 9 illustrates an embodiment of the invention in which a plurality of electrical power termination points 235A-235n each have a respective switch 205A-205n. In each case, the switch has a first input 210 to couple to the AC electrical power source 215, a second input 220 to couple to the DC electrical power source 225, and an output 230 to couple to a respective one of a plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n. A separate electrical power distribution system 900 includes the AC electrical power source 215, the DC electrical power source 225, and the control module 240 to transmit a respective signal 245A-245n to each of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n to determine whether the electrical power load uses AC electrical power or DC electrical power. In such an embodiment, the control module 240 receives from each of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n a respective indication 250A-250n that the electrical power load uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the transmitted signal 245A-245n, and causes each of the plurality of switches 205A-205n to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source 215 and the DC electrical power source 225 and transmit the received electrical power to the respective one of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n, responsive to the respective received indication 250A-250n.

[0068] This embodiment also includes a plurality of current sensors 805A-805n each coupled in-line, that is, to the electrical transmission wiring, between a respective one of the plurality of switches 205A-205n and a corresponding one of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n. In such an embodiment, the control module 240 causes each switch 205A-205n to transmit an electrical signal to each electrical power load over respective lines 230A-230n, and receives a respective indication from a respective current sensor 805A-805n that the corresponding electrical power load 236A-236n uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the

transmitted signal. In particular, the respective current sensor 805A-805n senses current flow or the absence thereof in response to transmission of the electrical signal, which indicates the corresponding electrical power load 236A-236n uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power and transmits the respective indication through switch 205A-205n to the control module 240 via 250A-250n in response thereto. A common bus, or single line, 250 is illustrated in Fig. 9. Thus, in one embodiment, for control module 240 to identify from which electrical termination point 235a-235n/current sensor 805A-805n a particular one of the indications 250A-250n is transmitted, an addressing scheme may be employed whereby the source of the indication is identified by an address. In another embodiment, multiple, separate, control lines, each dedicated to a different electrical termination point/current sensor and coupled to different inputs on the control module 240, may be used so that the source of the indication is essentially hard-wired.

[0069] With reference to Fig. 10, one embodiment of the invention contemplates each of the plurality of electrical power termination points 235A- 235n including a respective switch 205A-205n, with respective first inputs 210A- 21 On to couple to the AC electrical power source 215, respective second inputs 220A-220n to couple to the DC electrical power source 225, and respective outputs 230 to couple to a respective one of a plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n. In such an embodiment, each electrical power termination point includes a respective control module 240A-240n to transmit a respective signal 245A-245n to the respective one of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A to determine whether the electrical power load uses AC electrical power or DC electrical power. The control module receives from each of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n a respective indication 250A-250n that the electrical power load uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the transmitted signal 245A-245n, and causes the respective switch 205A-205n to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source 215 and the DC electrical power source 225 and transmit the received electrical power to the respective one of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n, responsive to the respective received indication 250A-250n. In this embodiment, an electrical power distribution system 1000 may include the AC electrical power source 215 and the DC electrical power source 225.

[0070] This embodiment also includes a plurality of current sensors 805A-805n each coupled in-line, that is, to the electrical transmission wiring, between a respective one of the plurality of switches 205A-205n and a corresponding one of the plurality of electrical power loads 236A-236n. In such an embodiment, the control module 240 causes each switch 205A-205n to transmit an electrical signal to each electrical power load over respective lines 230A-230n, and receives a respective indication from a respective current sensor 805A-805n that the corresponding electrical power load 236A-236n uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the transmitted signal. In particular, the respective current sensor 805A-805n senses current flow or the absence thereof in response to transmission of the electrical signal, which indicates the corresponding electrical power load 236A-236n uses one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power and transmits the respective indication through switch 205A-205n to the control module 240 via 250A-250n in response thereto. In this embodiment, multiple, separate, control lines 250a- 250n, each dedicated to a different electrical termination point/current sensor is used.

[0071] Figure 11 illustrates an embodiment in which an electrical circuit breaker panel 1110 houses the switches, the control module 240, and current sensors 805A-805n. In one embodiment, a respective circuit breaker 1105A- 1105n is coupled between respective switches 205A-205n and current sensors 805A-805n. The embodiment may optionally couple to an electrical power distribution system 1100 that provides an AC electrical power source 215 and a DC electrical power source 225.

[0072] With reference to Figures 12-14, one embodiment of the invention comprises a switch 205A having a first input 210A to couple to an AC electrical power source 215A, a second input 220A to couple to a DC electrical power source 225, and an output 230A to couple to an electrical receptacle 1235A. A control module 240 transmits a signal 255A to the switch 205A to cause the switch to alternate between receiving AC electrical power and DC electrical power from the respective AC electrical power source and DC electrical power source and transmit the received AC electrical power and DC electrical power to the electrical receptacle. The control module 240 receives an indication 1250 that an electrical power load 236A is coupled to the electrical receptacle, for example, when a person plugs in an electrical appliance or load, while the switch is transmitting one of the AC electrical power and DC electrical power to the electrical receptacle.

[0073] The indication informs the control module whether the electrical appliance or load is an AC electrical power load or a DC electrical power load, and based on such, the control module transmits a signal 255A to the switch to cause the switch to continue to receive and transmit either AC electrical power or DC electrical power, responsive to the received indication.

[0074] For example, in one embodiment, when a DC electrical power load 236A is coupled to electrical receptacle 1235A, current sensor 805A detects current flow over electrical line 230A and transmits an indication 1250 to control module 240. Receiver 1242 in control module 240 receives the indication, notifies controller 741 , which, in turn, sends signal 255A to switch 205A to lock into position to receive DC electrical power from DC electrical power source 225. In one embodiment, operation continues, that is, DC electrical power continues to flow through switch 205A, circuit breaker 1105A, current sensor 805A, over line 230A through electrical receptacle 1235A to electrical power load 236A, until electrical power load 236A is removed, that is, when a person decouples or unplugs the DC electrical appliance or load 236A from electrical receptacle 1235A.

[0075] As another example, in one embodiment, when an AC electrical power load 236A is coupled to electrical receptacle 1235A, current sensor 805A detects current flow over electrical line 230A and transmits an indication 1250 to control module 240. Receiver 1242 in control module 240 receives the indication, notifies controller 741 , which, in turn, sends signal 255A to switch 205A to lock into position to receive AC electrical power from AC electrical power source 215. In one embodiment, operation continues, that is, AC electrical power continues to flow through switch 205A, circuit breaker 1105A, current sensor 805A, over line 230A through electrical receptacle 1235A to electrical power load 236A until electrical power load 236A is removed, that is, when a person decouples or unplugs the AC electrical appliance or load 236A from electrical receptacle 1235A.

[0076] While the above described embodiment refers to a single switch, electrical receptacle, and electrical power load, other embodiments comprise a plurality of switches 205A-205n, each having a respective first input 210A-210n to couple to the AC electrical power source 215, a respective second input 220A-220n to couple to the DC electrical power source 225, and a respective output 230A-230n to couple to a respective electrical receptacle 1235A-1235n. The control module 240 transmits a respective signal 255A-255n to respective switch 205A-205n to cause each switch to alternate between receiving AC electrical power and DC electrical power from the AC electrical power source and DC electrical power source and transmit the received AC electrical power and DC electrical power to a respective electrical receptacle. The control module 240 receives a respective indication 1250 from a respective current sensor 805A-805n that an associated electrical power load 236A has been coupled to the respective electrical receptacle, for example, when a person plugs in an electrical appliance or load, while the respective switch is transmitting one of the AC electrical power and DC electrical power to the electrical receptacle.

[0077] The respective indication informs the control module whether the associated electrical appliance or load is an AC electrical power load or a DC electrical power load, and based on such, the control module transmits a corresponding respective signal 255A-255n to the respective switch 205A-205n to cause the switch to continue to receive and transmit either AC electrical power or DC electrical power, responsive to the received indication.

[0078] With reference to Figure 13, one embodiment of the invention contemplates modifying existing or prior art AC electrical receptacles, or sockets, hereafter, electrical receptacles, to receive a correspondingly modified electrical plug from either an AC electrical appliance or a DC electrical appliance. In the embodiment, receptacle 1235 includes a first current-carrying female contact, wherein according to one embodiment the current provided or carried by the first contact, when the receptacle is connected to an energized electrical circuit, is relatively close to earth potential, such as the traditional AC neutral female contact, or socket, 1305 connected to the neutral side of the electrical circuit; a second current-carrying female contact, wherein according to one embodiment the current provided on the second contact has significant potential with respect to earth, such as the AC hot, or line, female contact, or socket, 1310 connected to the line side the electrical circuit; and a ground female contact, or socket,

1320, for connection to earth, wherein the current provided on the ground contact has little or no potential with respect to earth. In another embodiment, the receptacle’s two current-carrying female contacts are coupled to circuit conductors that have a significant potential with respect to earth and thus a ground female contact may not be used, connected to ground, or present. The AC neutral female socket also operates as a DC neutral female socket 1305 when a plug for a DC appliance or load is connected to the receptacle. Likewise, the ground female socket 1305 operates as a ground female socket when a plug for a DC appliance or load is connected to the receptacle. A new current- carrying female socket, such as a DC hot female socket 1315, is capable to receive a DC hot male prong or pin or post or blade on a DC plug attached to DC appliance or load.

[0079] Embodiments of the AC and DC receptacle may or may not include shutters on the socket to prevent foreign objects from contacting live contacts, or polarized contacts such that a corresponding plug only fits one way into the socket.

[0080] The receptacle 1235 further includes one or more DC contacts 1325 which are in an open state when no AC or DC plug is coupled to the receptacle, or when an AC plug is coupled to the receptacle. However, when a DC plug is coupled to the receptacle, the DC plug includes properly situated means for contacting and closing the circuit between the one or more DC contacts (e.g., an uninsulated or bare metal, electrically conductive, wire or plate) thereby causing DC current to flow across the one or more contacts, as further described below. Likewise, the receptacle 1235 further includes one or more AC contacts 1330 which are in an open state when no AC or DC plug is coupled to the receptacle, or when a DC plug is coupled to the receptacle.

However, when an AC plug is coupled to the receptacle, the plug includes properly situated means for contacting and closing the circuit between the one or more AC contacts, thereby causing AC current to flow across the one or more contacts, as further described below. In one embodiment, the AC and DC contacts are situated on the face of the receptacle within an area defined by the female plugs 1305, 1310, 1315 and 1320, so that when the electrical plug for an electrical appliance is plugged into the receptacle, the contacts are inaccessible. For example, the one or more AC contacts and the one or more DC contacts may be situated on the face of the receptacle within an area defined by two or more of the AC and DC current-carrying female contact, the AC current-carrying female contact, the DC current-carrying female contact, and the ground female contact, so that when an electrical plug is plugged into the receptacle, the contacts are inaccessible to a human. In other embodiments, the contacts could be located in such a manner that one or more of the contacts may be visible, or otherwise accessible when the electrical plug for the electrical appliance is plugged into the receptacle.

[0081] Embodiments of the receptacle described herein and the AC or DC electrical power plugs that may be inserted to the receptacle allow electrically operated equipment to be connected to either a primary alternating current (AC) power supply in a building or a primary direct current (DC) power supply in a building. It is appreciated that electrical plugs and receptacles may differ in voltage and current rating, shape, size and type of connectors from the embodiment described herein without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, it is contemplated that the types of receptacles used in each country are or will be set by national standards, e.g., such as those listed in IEC technical report TR 60083, Plugs and socket-outlets for domestic and similar general use standardized in member countries of IEC.

[0082] Embodiments of the invention recognize the electrical receptacle must connect the correct line voltage (AC or DC) to the correct load or appliance. Hence the physical characteristics of the embodiment of the receptacle described herein. It is further contemplated that integration of an loT interface in the receptacle will further improve reliability of the receptacle in terms of ensuring the correct line voltage is applied to a load or appliance once connected to the receptacle.

[0083] Figure 14 is an electrical schematic of receptacle 1235. The receptacle receives AC or DC electrical power, for example, via line 230A. In one embodiment, with reference to Figures 2 and 12, control module 240 oscillates the switch 205A via control 255A so that the power supplied at 230A to receptacle 1235 alternates or toggles between AC electrical power received via line 210 and DC electrical power received via line 220. If no electrical plug is inserted into a receptacle 1235, the electrical signal present on line 230A continues to oscillate between an AC electrical power signal and a DC electrical power signal. In one embodiment, a DC electrical plug for a DC appliance or load is plugged into a receptacle 1235. Insertion of the plug causes closing of the circuit between the pair of DC electrical contacts 1325, causing DC current to flow to ground at circuit 1425. Current sensor 805A detects this current flow, sends a signal 1250 to control module 240, which in turn sends a signal via control line 255A to cause switch 205A to maintain the supply of power from DC electrical power source 225. Inside receptacle 1235, switch 1405 closes in response to control line 1415 going high (an“on” state), and the DC electrical power is thereby allowed to pass to the DC hot socket 1315 of receptacle 1235. Corresponding DC hot prong of the DC electrical plug receives the DC electrical power which is passed through to the corresponding attached DC electrical appliance or load. In one embodiment, if the DC electrical plug for the appliance is pulled from the receptacle, the circuit between DC electrical contacts 1325 is opened, causing the control line 1415 to go low, which in turn causes switch 1405 to shut off current flow to the receptacle. [0084] In one embodiment, an AC electrical plug for an AC electrical appliance or load is plugged into a receptacle 1235. Insertion of the plug causes closing of the circuit between the pair of AC contacts 1330, causing current to flow to ground through peak detector circuit 1430. Current sensor 805 detects this current flow, sends a signal 1250 to control module 240, which in turn sends a signal via control line 255 to cause switch 205 to maintain the supply of power from AC electrical power source 215. Inside receptacle 1235, switch 1410 closes in response to control line 1420 going high, and AC electrical power is thereby allowed to pass to the AC hot socket 1310 of receptacle 1235.

Corresponding AC hot prong of the AC plug receives the AC electrical power which is passed through to the corresponding attached AC appliance or load. In one embodiment, if the AC plug for the appliance is pulled from the receptacle, the circuit between AC contacts 1330 is opened, causing the control line 1420 to go low, which in turn, causes switch 1410 to shut off current flow to the receptacle.

[0085] One advantage of the circuit illustrated in Figure 14 is that once an electrical plug (whether AC or DC) is inserted into receptacle 1235, power is ready to be used. In contrast, if loads were connected directly to the continuity contacts then the system would not be able to establish the voltage prior to turning on the load device. Furthermore, every time the device was turned off, it would have to reestablish its load type identity upon being turned on.

[0086] With reference to Figure 15, a method of operation in accordance with an embodiment of the invention 1500 is described. The embodiment involves interrogating at 1505 the electrical load or the electrical circuit termination point to determine whether the load uses or requires AC electrical power or DC electrical power for normal operation. The load may be from a single receptacle/electrical circuit termination point or from a circuit feeding a plurality of electrical termination points. In the situation where it is a circuit then it is presumed that all of the loads on that circuit are of the same type, e.g., either all AC electrical loads or all DC electrical loads. Many of the embodiments described herein assume that there are only two choices for line voltage: one VDC line and one VAC line. It is appreciated by those skilled in the art, however, that there may be more than two choices available. At 1510, the embodiment receives an indication in response to the interrogation as to whether the load uses AC or DC electrical power, and then connects at 1515 the electrical load to the correct power supply - either an AC electrical power supply or source, or a DC electrical power supply or source, responsive to the received indication, at the required voltage and phases. Note that the line voltage may be provided by an electrical power distribution system, an electrical power router system, or the AC line voltage from an AC power grid.

[0087] In particular, and with reference to Figure 16, in one embodiment 1600, the control module 240 transmits a signal 245A to the electrical power load 236A to determine whether the electrical power load uses AC electrical power or DC electrical power by transmitting a plurality of positive voltage pulses at 1605, and a plurality of negative voltage pulses at 1610, to the electrical load. Current sensors 805 measure the current flow in each instance, and the process repeats, after increasing the voltage level of the pulses at 1615, until Vmax or at minimum voltage threshold is reached at 1620. After the series of pulses have been transmitted and the corresponding measurements have been made, the embodiment compares the measured currents for the negative and positive voltage pulses and determines, based on such, whether the electrical load is a DC electrical load or an AC electrical load at 1625. In one embodiment, if the currents measured during the positive voltage pulses are asymmetric (or substantially asymmetric) relative to the currents measured during the negative voltage pulses, then the embodiment concludes the electrical load is a DC electrical load. On the other hand, if the currents measured during the positive voltage pulses are symmetric (or substantially symmetric) relative to the currents measured during the negative voltage pulses, then the embodiment concludes the electrical load is an AC electrical load.

[0088] In one embodiment, the control module starts the process 1600 by sending a series of small positive pulses, e.g., at 0.1 volts amplitude for a short duration of time, e.g., 10msec, at intervals of, for example, 100msec, and the current flow is measured, either during the pulses or as an average. The embodiment then sends a series of small negative pulses, e.g., at 0.1 volts amplitude for a short duration of time, e.g., 10msec, at intervals of, for example, 100msec, and the current flow is measured, either during the pulses or as an average. This process can be repeated after increasing the voltage, for example, in increments of 0.1 volts, until a maximum voltage, Vmax, is reached, where Vmax is, for example, a predetermined maximum voltage tolerable for DC electrical loads, most notably for the case of applying a negative Vmax to a DC load. The embodiment then compares the measured currents for the negative pulses and the positive pulses, and if they are symmetric, or substantially so, with respect to each other, then the load is considered an AC electrical load. However, if the measured currents for the negative pulses and the positive pulses are asymmetric, or substantially so, with respect to each other, then the load is considered to be a DC electrical load.

[0089] In another embodiment 1700, with reference to Figure 17, the control module 240 transmits a plurality of positive voltage pulses at 1705 to the electrical load. Current sensor 805 measures the current flow in each instance, and the process repeats, after increasing the voltage level of the pulses at 1710, until Vmax or a minimum voltage threshold is reached at 1715. After the series of pulses have been transmitted and the corresponding measurements have been made, the embodiment checks at 1720 the current response as a function of the applied voltage pluses and, based on such, detects whether the electrical load is a DC electrical load or an AC electrical load. In one embodiment, the current response to positive pulses as a function of pulse amplitude is nonlinear, that is, the current flow in response to a DC electrical load will be low or nearly zero at low voltage amplitudes and will increase, abruptly, once the applied voltage is above a minimum voltage threshold.

[0090] In one embodiment, the control module starts by sending a series of small positive pulses, e.g., at 0.1 volts amplitude for a short duration of time, e.g., 10msec, at intervals of, for example, 100msec, and the current flow is measured, either during the pulses or as an average. This process can be repeated after increasing the voltage, for example, in increments of 0.1 volts until a maximum voltage, Vmax, is reached, where Vmax is, for example, a

predetermined maximum voltage tolerable for DC electrical loads. The

embodiment then reviews the current response as a function of the applied voltage pulses, and if the current response shows a nonlinear signature, e.g., little or no current is detected at low voltages followed by an abrupt or significant increase in current over a threshold voltage, then the embodiment considers the electrical load to be a DC electrical load. However, if the current response shows a linear signature, or substantially so, then the embodiment considers the electrical load to be an AC electrical load.

[0091] Figure 18 describes a method according to one embodiment of the invention 1800 in connection with the receptacles described in Figures 12- 14. In particular, the embodiment involves at 1805 toggling between transmitting AC electrical power and DC electrical power over lines 230 to each electrical receptacle 1235. The embodiment then detects at 1810 the type of electrical load being connected to an electrical receptacle when current begins to flow over line 230 during transmission of the DC electrical power if a DC electrical load is connected to the electrical receptacle, and likewise when current begins to flow over line 230 during transmission of the AC electrical power if an AC electrical load is connected to the electrical receptacle. If the embodiment detects the type of electrical load being connected to an electrical receptacle is a DC electrical load, then the embodiment at 1820 continues to transmit DC electrical power to the load. Similarly, if the embodiment detects the type of electrical load being connected to an electrical receptacle is an AC electrical load, then the embodiment at 1825 continues to transmit AC electrical power to the load. In either case, when the electrical load is decoupled or otherwise disconnected from the electrical receptacle 1830, the embodiment begins again at 1805 toggling between transmitting AC electrical power and DC electrical power over lines 230 to the electrical receptacle.

[0092] The Internet of Things (loT) protocols that interfaces 233A-233N, 243, and 273 may use legacy, new, and emerging communication protocols that allow devices (e.g., 235A-235n) and servers (e.g., control module 240) to communicate. Such protocols may be categorized into the following layers:

Infrastructure (ex: 6LowPAN, IPv4/IPv6, RPL);

Identification (ex: EPC, uCode, IPv6, URIs);

Comms / Transport (ex: Wifi, Bluetooth, LPWAN);

Discovery (ex: Physical Web, mDNS, DNS-SD);

Data Protocols (ex: MQTT, CoAP, AMQP, Websocket, Node);

Device Management (ex: TR-069, OMA-DM);

Semantic (ex: JSON-LD, Web Thing Model);

Multi-layer Frameworks (ex: Alljoyn, loTivity, Weave, Homekit);

Security; and

Industry Vertical (Connected Home, Industrial, etc).

Infrastructure

[0093] IPv6 - an Internet Layer protocol for packet-switched

internetworking and provides end-to-end datagram transmission across multiple IP networks.

[0094] 6L0WPAN - an acronym of IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks. It is an adaption layer for IPv6 over IEEE802.15.4 links. This protocol operates only in the 2.4 GHz frequency range with 250 kbps transfer rate.

[0095] UDP (User Datagram Protocol) - A simple OSI transport layer protocol for client/server network applications based on Internet Protocol (IP).

[0096] - QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections, pronounced quick) supports a set of multiplexed connections between two endpoints over User Datagram Protocol (UDP), and was designed to provide security protection equivalent to TLS/SSL, along with reduced connection and transport latency, and bandwidth estimation in each direction to avoid congestion.

[0097] - Aeron - Efficient reliable UDP unicast, UDP multicast, and IPC message transport.

[0098] ulP - an open source TCP/IP stack capable of being used with tiny 8- and 16-bit microcontrollers, licensed under a BSD style license, and further developed by a wide group of developers.

[0099] DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer) - The DTLS protocol provides communications privacy for datagram protocols. The protocol allows

client/server applications to communicate in a way that is designed to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, or message forgery. The DTLS protocol is based on the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol and provides equivalent security guarantees.

[00100] ROLL / RPL - (IPv6 routing for low power/lossy networks)

[00101] NanolP - nano Internet Protocol, provides Internet-like

networking services to embedded and sensor devices, without the overhead of TCP/IP. NanolP was designed with minimal overheads, wireless networking, and local addressing.

[00102] Content-Centric Networking (CCN) - directly routes and delivers named pieces of content at the packet level of the network, enabling automatic and application-neutral caching in memory wherever it’s located in the network.

[00103] Time Synchronized Mesh Protocol (TSMP) - a communications protocol for self-organizing networks of wireless devices called motes. TSMP devices stay synchronized to each other and communicate in timeslots, similar to other TDM (time-division multiplexing) systems.

Discovery

[00104] mDNS (multicast Domain Name System) - Resolves host names to IP addresses within small networks that do not include a local name server.

[00105] Physical Web - The Physical Web enables one to view a list of URLs being broadcast by objects in the environment around you with a

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon.

[00106] HyperCat - An open, lightweight JSON-based hypermedia catalogue format for exposing collections of URIs.

[00107] UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) - a set of networking protocols that permits networked devices to seamlessly discover each other's presence on the network and establish functional network services for data sharing, communications, and entertainment.

Data Protocols

[00108] MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) - enables a publish/subscribe messaging model in a lightweight way. It is useful for connections with remote locations where a small code footprint is required and/or network bandwidth is at a premium.

[00109] CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) - an application layer protocol that is intended for use in resource-constrained internet devices, such as WSN nodes. CoAP is designed to translate to HTTP for integration with the web, while also meeting requirements such as multicast support, low overhead, and simplicity. The CoRE group has proposed the following features for CoAP: RESTful protocol design minimizing the complexity of mapping with HTTP, low header overhead and parsing complexity, URI and content-type support, support for the discovery of resources provided by known CoAP services. Simple subscription for a resource, and resulting push notifications, Simple caching based on max-age.

[00110] SMCP— A C-based CoAP stack which is suitable for embedded environments. Features include support draft-ietf-core-coap-13, fully

asynchronous I/O, supports both BSD sockets and UIP.

[00111] STOMP - The Simple Text Oriented Messaging Protocol.

[00112] XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) - an open technology for real-time communication, which powers applications including instant messaging, presence, multi-party chat, voice and video calls,

collaboration, lightweight middleware, content syndication, and generalized routing of XML data.

[00113] Mihini/M3DA - Mihini agent is a software component that acts as a mediator between an M2M server and the applications running on an embedded gateway. M3DA is a protocol optimized for the transport of binary M2M data. It is made available in the Mihini project both for means of device management, by easing the manipulation and synchronization of a device's data model, and for means of asset management, by allowing user applications to exchange typed data/commands back and forth with an M2M server, in a way that optimizes the use of bandwidth.

[00114] AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) - an open standard application layer protocol for message-oriented middleware. The defining features of AMQP are message orientation, queuing, routing (including point-to-point and publish-and-subscribe), reliability and security. [00115] LLAP (lightweight local automation protocol) - a short message that is sent between intelligent objects using normal text. LLAP can run over any communication medium.

[00116] LWM2M (Lightweight M2M) - Lightweight M2M (LWM2M) is a system standard in the Open Mobile Alliance. It includes DTLS, CoAP, Block, Observe, SenML and Resource Directory and weaves them into a device-server interface along with an Object structure.

[00117] SSI (Simple Sensor Interface) - a simple communications protocol designed for data transfer between computers or user terminals and smart sensors.

[00118] Reactive Streams - a standard for asynchronous stream processing with non-blocking back pressure on the JVM.

[00119] ONS 2.0

[00120] REST (Representational state transfer) - RESTful HTTP

Communication / Transport layer

[00121] Ethernet.

[00122] WirelessHart - provides a robust wireless protocol for the full range of process measurement, control, and asset management applications.

[00123] DigiMesh - a proprietary peer-to-peer networking topology for use in wireless end-point connectivity solutions.

[00124] ISA100.11 a - a wireless networking technology standard developed by the International Society of Automation (ISA). The official description is "Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Application" [00125] IEEE 802.15.4 - a standard which specifies the physical layer and media access control for low-rate wireless personal area networks (LR- WPANs). It is maintained by the IEEE 802.15 working group. It is the basis for the ZigBee,ISA100.11a, Wireless HART, and MiWi specifications, each of which further extends the standard by developing the upper layers which are not defined in IEEE 802.15.4. Alternatively, it can be used with 6L0WPAN and standard Internet protocols to build a wireless embedded Internet.

[00126] NFC - based on the standard ISO/IEC 18092:2004, using inductive coupled devices at a center frequency of13.56 MHz. The data rate is up to 424 kbps and the range is with a few meters short compared to the wireless sensor networks.

[00127] ANT - a proprietary wireless sensor network technology featuring a wireless communications protocol stack that enables semiconductor radios operating in the 2.4 GHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical allocation of the RF spectrum ("ISM band") to communicate by establishing standard rules for co- existence, data representation, signaling, authentication and error detection.

[00128] Bluetooth - works in the 2.4 GHz ISM band and uses frequency hopping. With a data rate up to 3 Mbps and maximum range of 100m. Each application type which can use Bluetooth has its own profile.

[00129] Eddystone - a protocol specification that defines a Bluetooth low energy (BLE) message format for proximity beacon messages.

[00130] ZigBee - uses the 802.15.4 standard and operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency range with 250 kbps. The maximum number of nodes in the network is 1024 with a range up to 200 meter. ZigBee can use 128 bit AES encryption. [00131] EnOcean - EnOcean is a an energy harvesting wireless technology which works in the frequencies of 868 MHz for Europe and 315 MHz for North America. The transmit range goes up to 30 meter in buildings and up to 300 meter outdoors.

[00132] WiFi.

[00133] WiMax - based on the standard IEEE 802.16 and is intended for wireless metropolitan area networks. The range is different for fixed stations, where it can go up to 50 km and mobile devices with 5 to 15 km. WiMAx operates at frequencies between 2.5 GHz to 5.8 GHz with a transfer rate of 40 Mbps.

[00134] LPWAN

[00135] Weightless - a proposed proprietary open wireless technology standard for exchanging data between a base station and thousands of machines around it (using wavelength radio transmissions in unoccupied TV transmission channels) with high levels of security.

[00136] NB-loT (Narrow-Band loT) - technology being standardized by the 3GPP standards body.

[00137] LTE-MTC (LTE-Machine Type Communication) - standards- based family of technologies supports several technology categories, such as Cat-1 and CatM1 , suitable for the loT.

[00138] EC-GSM-loT (Extended Coverage-GSM-loT) - enables new capabilities of existing cellular networks for LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) loT applications. EC-GSM-loT can be activated through new software deployed over a very large GSM footprint, adding even more coverage to serve loT devices. [00139] LoRaWAN - Network protocol intended for wireless battery operated Things in regional, national or global network.

[00140] RPMA (Random phase multiple access) A technology

communication system employing direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) with multiple access.

[00141] Cellular - GPRS/2G/3G/4G cellular.

Semantic

[00142] IOTDB - JSON / Linked Data standards for describing the Internet of Things.

[00143] SensorML - provides standard models and an XML encoding for describing sensors and measurement processes.

[00144] Semantic Sensor Net Ontology - W3C - describes sensors and observations, and related concepts. It does not describe domain concepts, time, locations, etc. these are intended to be included from other ontologies via OWL imports.

[00145] Wolfram Language - Connected Devices -A symbolic

representation of each device. Then there are a standard set of Wolfram

Language functions like DeviceRead, DeviceExecute, DeviceReadBuffer and DeviceReadTimeSeries that perform operations related to the device.

[00146] RAML (RESTful API Modeling Language) - makes it easy to manage the whole API lifecycle from design to sharing.

[00147] SENML (Media Types for Sensor Markup Language) - A simple sensor, such as a temperature sensor, could use this media type in protocols such as HTTP or CoAP to transport the measurements of the sensor or to be configured. [00148] LsDL (Lemonbeat smart Device Language) - XML-based device language for service oriented devices

Multi-layer Frameworks

[00149] Alljoyn - An open source software framework that makes it easy for devices and apps to discover and communicate with each other.

[00150] loTivity is an open source project hosted by the Linux

Foundation, and sponsored by the OIC.

[00151] IEEE P2413 - Standard for an Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things (loT)

[00152] Thread - Built on open standards and IPv6 technology with 6L0WPAN as its foundation.

[00153] IPSO Application Framework - defines sets of REST interfaces that may be used by a smart object to represent its available resources, interact with other smart objects and backend services. This framework is designed to be complementary to existing Web profiles including SEP2 and oBIX.

[00154] OMA LightweightM2M v1.0 - fast deployable client-server specification to provide machine to machine service. A device management protocol, designed to be able to extend to meet the requirements of applications. LightweightM2M is not restricted to device management, it should be able transfer service / application data.

[00155] Weave - A communications platform for loT devices that enables device setup, phone-to-device-to-cloud communication, and user interaction from mobile devices and the web.

[00156] Telehash - JSON+UDP+DHT=Freedom - a secure wire protocol powering a decentralized overlay network for apps and devices. Securitv

[00157] Open Trust Protocol (OTrP) - A protocol to install, update, and delete applications and to manage security configuration in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).

[00158] X.509 - Standard for public key infrastructure (PKI) to manage digital certificates and public-key encryption. A key part of the Transport Layer Security protocol used to secure web and email communication.

Vertical Specific

[00159] IEEE 1451 - a family of Smart Transducer Interface Standards, describes a set of open, common, network-independent communication interfaces for connecting transducers (sensors or actuators) to microprocessors, instrumentation systems, and control/field networks.

[00160] IEEE 1888.3-2013 - IEEE Standard for Ubiquitous Green Community Control Network: Security.

[00161] IEEE 1905.1 -2013 - IEEE Standard for a Convergent Digital Home Network for Heterogeneous Technologies.

[00162] IEEE 802.16p-2012 - IEEE Standard for Air Interface for

Broadband Wireless Access Systems.

[00163] IEEE 1377-2012 - IEEE Standard for Utility Industry Metering Communication Protocol Application Layer.

[00164] IEEE P1828 - Standard for Systems With Virtual Components.

[00165] IEEE P1856 - Standard Framework for Prognostics and Health Management of Electronic Systems. Conclusion

[00166] Although the invention has been described and illustrated in the foregoing illustrative embodiments, it is understood that the present disclosure has been made only by way of example, and that numerous changes in the details of implementation of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, which is only limited by the claims that follow. Features of the disclosed embodiments can be combined and rearranged in various ways. For example, one embodiment comprises a switch having a first input coupled to an AC electrical power source, a second input coupled to a DC electrical power source, and an output coupled to an electrical power termination point via electrical transmission wiring; an electrical current sensor coupled to the electrical transmission wiring between the switch and the electrical circuit termination point; and, a control module coupled to the switch that transmits a control signal to the switch to cause the switch to transmit an electrical signal to the electrical termination point and receive in response thereto an indication from the electrical current sensor that an electrical power load coupled to the electrical termination point operates on or according to one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, the control module to transmit a signal to the switch to cause the switch to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source and the DC electrical power source and transmit the received electrical power to the electrical power termination point, responsive to the received indication. Such an embodiment may be housed in an electrical circuit breaker panel.

[00167] As another example, one embodiment comprises a plurality of electrical power termination points each comprising a respective switch, wherein each switch has a first input coupled to an AC electrical power source, a second input coupled to a DC electrical power source, and an output coupled to a respective one of a plurality of electrical power loads; an electrical power distribution system comprising the AC electrical power source, the DC electrical power source, and a control module to transmit a respective signal to each of the plurality of electrical power termination points to determine whether a respective electrical power load coupled thereto operates on according to AC electrical power or DC electrical power. In this embodiment, the control module receives from each of the plurality of electrical power termination points a respective indication that the respective electrical power load coupled thereto operates according to one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, and causes each of the plurality of switches to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source and the DC electrical power source and transmit the received electrical power to the respective one of the plurality of electrical power loads, responsive to the respective received indication.

[00168] In yet another example, one embodiment comprises a plurality of electrical power termination points each comprising a switch, wherein each switch has a first input coupled to an AC electrical power source, a second input coupled to a DC electrical power source, and an output coupled to a respective one of a plurality of electrical power loads; and a control module coupled to the switch to transmit a signal to an electrical power load coupled to the electrical termination point to determine whether the electrical power load operates on or according to AC electrical power or DC electrical power, the control module to receive from the electrical power load an indication that the electrical power load operates according to one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, in response to the transmitted signal, and cause the switch to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source and the DC electrical power source and transmit the received electrical power to the electrical power load responsive to the received indication.

[00169] Finally, one embodiment contemplates an electrical circuit breaker panel comprising a plurality of switches, each having a first input coupled to an AC electrical power source, a second input coupled to a DC electrical power source, and an output coupled to an electrical receptacle via electrical transmission wiring; a respective plurality of electrical current sensors each coupled to the electrical transmission wiring between a switch and corresponding electrical receptacle; and a control module coupled to each switch to transmit a control signal to the switch to cause the switch to transmit an electrical signal to the electrical receptacle and receive in response thereto an indication from the respective electrical current sensor that an electrical power load coupled to the electrical receptacle operates on or according to one of AC electrical power and DC electrical power, the control module to transmit a signal to the respective switch to cause the switch to receive electrical power from one of the AC electrical power source and the DC electrical power source and transmit the received electrical power to the corresponding electrical receptacle, responsive to the received indication. Such an embodiment may further comprise a respective plurality of circuit breakers coupled between respective switches and current sensors.