Oregon Patent of the Month – January 2021

Traffic lights tend to dictate our lives. Whether or not we make it to work on time, or what time we can make it to the grocery store, or even if we make it home alive. A faulty or down traffic light can mean life or death. Traffic lights are powered by local electrical companies through circuitry in a nearby power cabinet. To avoid unsafe driving conditions during power outages, some traffic cabinets are backed up with Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) or a Battery Backup System (BBS). However, UPS and BBS systems use very large lead-acid batteries that require a second cabinet to store. This extra cabinetry is very costly to purchase and install, so many local governments do not add them. Lead-acid batteries also require frequent maintenance and do not yield a capacity high enough to power traffic lights during an outage for a long period of time. So, ZincFive, LLC have developed a backup battery system that can be easily installed into existing cabinets to save on costs and mitigate unsafe driving environments due to power failures. 

ZincFive’s backup battery system comprises a battery panel with multiple rechargeable batteries. The batteries are small, measuring only two inches thick, and can be lithium or another non-lead-acid battery type, meaning they require less maintenance and manpower. Since they’re rechargeable, there is no need to replace them every time they’re empty, making them much less wasteful. The panel is coupled to an electronic controller to transmit the power from the battery panel to the traffic cabinet to power the light during a power outage. The backup battery system can also be controlled remotely via the cloud. The battery panel and controller are small enough to fit within the existing traffic power cabinet. With ZincFive, we can trust the green light and make it home by five. 

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