Dulaney et al.
A battery compartment for portable electrical equipment such as computers, tape recorders, VCR recorders, camera flash equipment and other such devices has an internal configuration and appropriate electrical connections to receive at least two different types of battery cells which may be of different dimensions. These can include standard drycell batteries and re-chargeable NiCad batteries, for example. The power pickup from the two types of cells is different, so that non-rechargeable dry cells can be isolated from charge when external power is attached to the portable device, while rechargeable cells are not isolated from the charge. The different dimensions are accommodated by orientation of the one type of cell-receiving spaces atright angles to the other type of cell-receiving spaces so that incorrect placement of the cell types is prevented.
17 Oaims, 3 Drawíng Sheets
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to battery powered electrical equipment, and in particular the invention is concerned with a battery compartment for a battery poweredelectrical device that accommodates difTerent types of battery cells, which may be standard dry cells on the one hand, and rechargeable cells on the other hand.
Portable electrical or electronic devices such as camera flashes, tape recorders, games and computers usually can be powered with standard dry cell batteries, such as alkaline type battery cells of standard dimensions. lí is often desiredto use rechargeable battery cells with these portable devices, and these have been available in several forms.
One type of rechargeable battery cell follows the same dimensions as the aíkaline battery cells, so that these cells can be used interchangeably with the throwaway dry cells. Some of these are NiCad rechargeable cells.
However, another and in some ways superior rechargeable battery inwide use comprises NiCad rechargeable cells in difTerent dimensions, shorter in length and larger in diameter than the standard alkaline dry cells. The larger-diameter NiCad cells have greater capacity and generally are bound together and electrically connected into a unitary battery. The battery of NiCad cells is placed as a unit into a battery pack designed for this type of cells, with twooutput termináis of the battery engaged with appropriately placed conductors in the battery pack. When low, the NiCad battery is charged as a unit.
It has been a limitation of many conventional battery compartments and battery packs and of portable electrical devices in general, that a particular battery compartment could be served only with battery cells of one configuration, for example either thelarge-diameter NiCad cells or cells having íhe conventional dry cell dimensions.
Some portable devices such as video cassette recorder cameras have had provisión for the use of either rechargeable or non-rechargeable battery cells. This has been accomplished in some cases by the use of two difFerent battery packs for the VCR camera—one removable pack which may be sealed and which includes arechargeable battery such as NiCad cells; and another removable pack which can be opened to insert alkaline type dry cells. In theory this can allow the user to purchase alkaline cells on an emergency basis, if the rechargeable battery pack goes too low in charge when the camera is being used. However, in practice it requires the user to anticípate this problem and thus to have the alternate batterypack casing on hand. The user often does not anticipate this situation. The user ordinarily plans on using only the rechargeable pack, does not bring the alkaline cell case, and thus is unable to use alkaline cells when the rechargeable battery pack has lost its charge
It would therefore be desirable in a great number of portable devices for a battery pack to be capable of receiving either a...