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Bidirectional Communication Techniques for Wireless Battery Charging Systems & Portable Consumer Electronics

W.P. Choi 1,2, W.C.Ho 1, X. Liu 1 and S.Y.R. Hui 2, Fellow IEEE
R&D Group Convenientpower HK Ltd. Hong Kong Email:

Center for Power Electronics City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong Email:


Abstract Simultaneous power and signal transfer in a wireless/contactless system is an emerging technology for portable electronics. This paper aims at exploring simple and cost effective ways for such applications for a wide range of the portable consumer electronic devices such as mobile phones. Frequency-shift keying (FSK) and amplitude-shift keying (ASK) techniques for an inductive battery charging platform have been successfully implemented for simultaneous power and signal transfer in an 10W wireless charging system. The proposed techniques provide effective bidirectional communication between the charging platform and the loads and form the basis for load identification and battery monitoring in wireless charging system. Considerations of these methods for compatibility among a wide range of portable products are discussed.

such as frequency-shift keying or amplitude-shift keying remain the most effective ways to develop a simple bidirectional communication in the contactless battery charging platform. This is the focus of this paper, which presents a solution that meets a range of regulatory requirements being set by the international Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) [13] for a wireless charging system as shown in Fig.1.



Wireless or contactless power transfer systems have been reported in many applications. Examples include electrical transmission system [1], industrial automation and control systems such as robotics and factory automation [2], and the electric vehicle battery system [3]. Recently, more developments of wireless/contacless battery charging systems have been reported [4-8] for portable devices such as mobile phones, games and toys, etc. Without direct electrical contact, indirect detection of system status such as voltage, current and temperature of the secondary device without interrupting power transfer becomes a challenge. To have a robust and closed loop control of the system, it is necessary to have a bidirectional communication mechanism so that load identification and load monitoring can become possible. Some previous methods involve radio frequency communication in the wireless power system [2], using inductive and capacitive signal coupling for communication [9] and overlapping highfrequency signal on power line [10]. Others use separate power and information coils [11] or used separate power and communication circuitries for two-way communication [12]. However, for low-cost objective, power and signal transfer over only one coil with the simple communication techniques

Fig.1 Wireless charging system for portable electronic products. II.


Simple bi-directional communication techniques for wireless charging systems include at least (1) FSK, (2) ASK and (3) a combination of FSK and ASK. In this section, the basic principles of FSK and ASK are first summarized in the context of a wireless bi-directional communication for the wireless charging system shown in Fig.1. In the Section III, practical implementations of method (1) and (3) are used to demonstrate the feasibility of these methods. A. Frequency-Shift Keying Modulation The FSK technique involves the modulation of a carrier and a signal. Fig.2 shows a schematic of a wireless charging system using this principle. The handshaking communication of this

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wireless charging platform acquires the frequency shift key (FSK) technique by using one demodulator at transmitter, and one modulator/demodulator at receiver. No modulator is needed on the transmitter communication board as the modulation will be performed by modulating inverters PWM frequencies for achieving signal transmission. The experimental setup has been built up based on the block diagram shown in Figure 2. The modulating technique modulates the inverter switching frequency (fs) with a modulating frequency (fm) as shown in the following equation: f S = fC f M (1) When fs=fc+fm, the signal represents 0, whilst fs=fc-fm represents 1. These 1 and 0 signals can be demodulated from the switching frequency fs as shown in Fig.3. This handshaking application is capable of bidirectional data communication by means of frequency-shift keying (FSK) modulation and demodulation. In this application the primary modulation is directly performed by signals (0 or 1) outputting from a control unit or MCU. The time sequence can be set to be 10ms for primary signal and power transmission and 10ms for secondary signal transmission having ceased power transmission. While primary is transmitting signal, secondary board has to disable signal transmission at the same time, vice and versa. All these functions can be done by the MCU programming.

Fig.3 Typical waveforms of the FSK modulation

B. Amplitude Shift Key Modulation The handshaking communication of this wireless charging platform can use the amplitude shift key (ASK) technique by using one sensing resistor and two low speed comparators in the transmitter circuit, and one loading resistor and one comparator in the MCU in the receiver circuit. The block diagram of the experimental setup is shown in Fig. 4. (i). Communication from Transmitter to Receiver: 1.) Data are transferred by varying the dc input voltage VT1 (Fig.4 and Fig.5) to the high frequency inverter (controlled by MCU in transmitter) 2.) Close the switch S1 in the receiver which is controlled by MCU in the receiver. 3.) Compare VS1 with the internal voltage reference in receivers MCU. 4.) After comparison, data (D1) as shown in Fig.5 can be read by the receivers MCU. (ii). Communication from Receiver to Transmitter 1.) Set the DC-DC converter in Fig.4 to fully turn-on, so that dc input voltage to the high frequency invert (VT1 in Fig. 4) is constant.

D -AChigh C frequency inverter

C harging protection circuit

Third coil at prim for ary signal transm ission

FS D odulator K em

C ontrol Unit

FS D odulator K em

Control U nit

FSKM odulator

2.) Data are transferred by the switching (on or off) actions of switch S1 in the receiver (Fig.4 and Fig.6) as shown. 3.) Signal from the sensing resistor RS is amplified. 4.) The amplified signal from amplifier C1 is filtered by one low pass filter F1, and a high pass filter F2, so that two signals VFL and VFH as in Fig.6 can be obtained. 5.) Signals VFL and VFH are further compared by comparator C2 so that the data D2 can be obtained.

Am plification Units

Fig.2 Schematic of a wireless charging system using FSK for bi-directional communication between primary (charging) and secondary (load) circuits.




C2 C1



F2 INPUT Vin FILTER DC-DC Converter Controlled by MCU VT1

F1 High Frequency Inverter VS1 Output On/Off Control C1 S1 RS

Fig.4 shows a block diagram of the ASK data communication concept


On/Off Signal to S1


Voltage Reference





Fig 5 Operating signals for ASK communication from the transmitter to the receiver

Fig.6 Operating signals for ASK communication from the receiver to the transmitter.




Bidirectional communication in the wireless charging system based on (1) the FSK method and (2) a combination of FSK and ASK methods have been implemented and tested. A. FSK method (i) Signal from the Receiver (Rx) to the Transmitter (Tx) Fig.7 shows the implementation of the receiver-totransmitter communication using the FSK technique. A receiver (Rx) signal of about 4 kHz generated from the receiver MCU modulates the 460 kHz carrier after the modulator and is injected into the tertiary winding as shown in Figs. 8(a) and 8(b). With the transmitter stops transferring power for several tens of millisecond, the modulated signal can then be detected at the primary coil as shown in Fig. 8(c). The demodulator in the transmitter demodulates the detected signal as displayed in Fig.8(d). The transmitter MCU completely receives the receiver signal and performs the predefined instructions accordingly.
DC-AC inverter Charging circuit

Modulated Rx (fc-fm) signal

Rx signal

Fig.8(b) Receiver and modulated Rx (fc-fm) signals

Modulated signal at transmitter winding

Fig 8(c) Fig 8(a) and (b)

Control Unit FSK Demodulator FSK Demodulator

Control Unit

Demodulated Rx signal in transmitter

Fig.8(c) Modulated and demodulated Rx signals in the transmitter

FSK Modulator

Fig 8(d)

Amplification units

Fig.7 FSK signal transmission from the receiver to the transmitter

Demodulated Rx signal (inverted)

Modulated Rx (fc+fm) signal

Rx signal

Rx signal
Fig.8(d) Receiver Rx and Demodulated Rx signals

Fig.8(a) Receiver and modulated receiver Rx (fc+fm) signals


(ii) Signal from the Transmitter (Tx) to the Receiver (Rx) Fig.9 shows the implementation of the transmitter-to-receiver communication using the same approach as in Fig.7. However, there is no need to have a modulator in the transmitter circuit. The transmitter MCU itself modulates the operating frequency around 440 kHz +/- 10 kHz as in Figs. 104(a) to 10(c) and directly drives the inverter to transfer the power to the secondary winding, and also the modulated signal to the tertiary winding. The demodulator in the receiver then demodulates the transmitter signal as in Fig. 10(d) and inputs the signal to the receiver MCU.

Modulated Tx (fc+fm) signal

Tx signal

Fig 10(a)
DC-AC inverter Charging circuit

Fig. 10(b) Transmitter Tx and Modulated Tx (fc+fm) signals

Fig 10(d)
Control Unit FSK Demodulator FSK Demodulator

Modulated Tx (fc-fm) signal

Control Unit

FSK Modulator

Amplification units

Tx signal

Fig..9 FSK signal transmission from the transmitter to the receiver

Fig. 10(c) Transmitter Tx and Modulated Tx (fc-fm) signals

Demodulated Tx signal in receiver Modulated Tx signal

Tx signal
Fig. 10(a) Transmitter Tx and modulated Tx signals

Tx signal
Fig. 10(d) Transmitter Tx signal and the demodulated Tx signal in the receiver


B. Combined use of FSK and ASK In this test, communication from the transmitter to the receiver was done by using frequency-shift keying (FSK) and communication from the receiver to the transmitter was done by using amplitude-shift keying (ASK). Fig.11 shows the block diagram of the system. In this system, it should be noted that by using FSK from transmitter to the receiver and ASK from receiver to transmitter, the receiver only requires a simple FSK demodulation circuit and a simple switch and a resistor for ASK communication. The advantage is that no extra coils in the receiver are needed. This makes the receiver design very simple and minimizes the cost involved. For mobile phone applications, extra cost and space requirements are very critical and not favorable. For communication from the transmitter to the receiver, a FSK modulating signal is generated from the transmitter MCU. A FSK demodulation circuit is used to demodulate the signal from the same receiver coil which is used to transfer power as

well.. FSK results of from the transmitter to the receiver have been recorded previously in Figs.10 (a)-(d), and will not be repeated here. For communication from the receiver to the transmitter, an ASK modulating signal is provided by the receiver MCU together with a simple transistor switch S1 and the resistor. The same demodulating circuit described in section II-B is used to demodulate the signal in the transmitter. ASK results of from the receiver to the transmitter are shown in Fig.12. An Rx signal (green signal in Fig.12) from the receiver MCU controls the switching of S1 in Fig.11. The signal is sensed by RS in Transmitter and amplified by amplifier C1. The amplified signal is then filtered by a low pass filter F1 and a high pass filter F2. The measured waveforms (VFL, VFH Pink and Purple signal) are shown in Fig.12. VFL and VFH are then compared by comparator C2 and the final demodulated signal D2 can be obtained. The details of these waveforms are expanded in Fig.12(b).

FSK demodulating circuit C3



FSK Modulating signal F2 DC-DC Converter Controlle d by MCU




VT1 High Frequency Inverter


Output On/Off Control




Fig.11 Block diagram of the test FSK from transmitter to receiver and ASK from receiver to transmitter.

Rx Signal




Fig. 12(a) Receiver Rx signal and demodulated signal in Fig. 12(b) Magnified view of Fig. 12(a) Transmitter Tx





This paper presents simple and yet effective bidirectional communication techniques suitable for wireless battery charging pads and portable consumer products. Based on the FSK and ASK techniques, bidirectional signal transfer between the primary charging system and the secondary load has been achieved successfully. The use of FSK technique and also a combination of FSK and ASK techniques for such application have been demonstrated. These techniques provide useful tools for load identification, compatibility check and load condition monitoring for wireless charging systems. ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors are grateful to the Hong Kong Research Grant Council for its support for project CityU 114708. The support from Convenientpower HK Ltd. is also acknowledged. REFERENCES
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