West Virginia Patent of the Month – December 2022

When machines carry high voltages, they are often designed with a “lockout” feature which limits power delivery to the circuit, locking the breaker in an open (i.e. disengaged) position. This helps to reduce the likelihood of human error and human danger. Unfortunately, it’s not always enough. The lockout itself is not immune to failure, and neither are many of the components within the circuit. This means there is always a chance for the system to still be transmitting power when it’s not meant to be.

Automatic Timing & Controls, Inc. has designed an ultra-low leakage test verification system. By testing for any leakage, even very low leakage, the risk harm is greatly reduced. The circuit is designed to verify the proper operation of the tested circuit. The verification circuit is made of an N-channel MOSFET to switch On and Off the test verification circuit during a power outage, and a voltage source that provides an input voltage to the MOSFET from a conserved power supply. It then evaluates whether the tested circuit has been (a) de-energized or (b) remains energized. 

The design uses an N-channel MOSFET instead of a P-Channel MOSFET since it offers a much lower Off state leakage current. Automatic Timing & Controls are industry experts in the design of rugged and reliable solutions for use in process engineering and machine design.

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