Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20010035887 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/792,980
Publication dateNov 1, 2001
Filing dateFeb 26, 2001
Priority dateDec 14, 1995
Also published asCA2185602A1, CA2185602C, DE69615323D1, DE69615323T2, EP0779156A1, EP0779156B1, US5997121, US6234603, US6409302
Publication number09792980, 792980, US 2001/0035887 A1, US 2001/035887 A1, US 20010035887 A1, US 20010035887A1, US 2001035887 A1, US 2001035887A1, US-A1-20010035887, US-A1-2001035887, US2001/0035887A1, US2001/035887A1, US20010035887 A1, US20010035887A1, US2001035887 A1, US2001035887A1
InventorsKenneth Altfather, Michael Carlotta, Steven Dietl, Donald Stevens, Fred Hubble
Original AssigneeXerox Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sensing system for detecting presence of an ink container and level of ink therein
US 20010035887 A1
Abstract
A low ink sensing system is combined with an ink cartridge detection system to enable a more efficient ink jet printer. An ink container which supplies ink to an associated printhead is modified by the incorporation of two light directing elements, in the preferred embodiment, a faceted prism and a roof mirror, into a transparent wall of the container housing. The cartridge, comprising the ink container and associated printhead, is mounted on a scan carriage. Periodically, the carriage is conveyed to a sensing station comprising a pair of light sources and a commonly used photosensor. A first light source is energized and a beam of light is directed to a location where the roof mirror, would be positioned if the cartridge is present. If the cartridge is absent, lack of a reflected return signal is sensed, indicating a cartridge has not been inserted. Print operation is halted until a cartridge is inserted. If a cartridge is properly inserted, the roof mirror returns most of the incident light to the photosensor which generates a signal indicating the presence of the cartridge. A second light source is then energized and directed towards the faceted prism, which is either immersed in ink or exposed to air within the interior of the container. If the latter, light is internally reflected by the prism facets back to the photosensor. If a print operation has been in progress, and the ink level has fallen, the common photosensor detects either a strong or weak redirected light component and initiates a status check and generates appropriate displays of low ink level or out of ink warnings.
Images(10)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(26)
What is claimed is:
1. A sensing system for detecting the presence of an ink container and the level of ink therein comprising:
first light directing means operatively connected to said container,
a first light source having output beams directed toward said light directing means when in a container detect mode,
photosensor means for detecting the presence or absence of light directed from said light directing means and for generating an output signal indicative thereof,
second light directing means operatively connected to said container,
a second light source having output beams directed toward said second light directing means when in a low ink level detect mode and
photosensor means for detecting light directed from said second light directing means, the level of detected light and hence the level of the photosensor output being representative of the presence or absence of ink adjacent the interior surface of the second light directing means.
2. The sensing system of
claim 1
wherein said first light directing means is a roof mirror.
3. The sensing system of
claim 1
wherein said second light directing means is a prism with a plurality of facets.
4. The sensing system of
claim 3
wherein said prism is constructed of a plurality of multiple narrow facet sections.
5. The sensing system of
claim 1
wherein said photosensor means commonly and sequentially detects light reflected from both said first and second light directing means.
6. The sensing system of
claim 1
wherein said first and second light directing means are formed integrally in a container wall.
7. The system of
claim 3
wherein the container is filled with ink to a depth at least covering said prism causing the light incident on the prism facets to be almost wholly transmitted into the ink resulting in a low amount of light being reflected to said photosensor, said photosensor generating a signal indicative of an ink level higher than a predetermined low level.
8. The system of
claim 3
wherein light is totally internally reflected along the prism facets when the ink level falls below the prism resulting in an increased amount of light being reflected into said photosensor, said photosensor generating a low ink level signal.
9. The system of
claim 1
wherein said first light directing means is a light pipe.
10. A sensing system for detecting the presence of an ink container comprising:
light directing means operatively connected to said container,
a light source having output beams directed toward said light directing means when in a container detect mode and
photosensor means for detecting the presence or absence of light from said light directing means and for generating an output signal indicative thereof.
11. The sensing system of
claim 10
wherein the light directing means is a reflective member.
12. The sensing system of
claim 10
wherein the light directing means is a light pipe.
13. The sensing system of
claim 10
wherein the support for the light directing means is formed integrally in a wall of said container.
14. The sensing system of
claim 13
wherein the container has a wall with at least a portion of said wall being transparent and wherein said reflective member is located in the interior of said container whereby said light beams from said light source are directed onto the reflective member through said transmissive portion of said container wall.
15. The system of
claim 11
wherein the reflective member is a roof mirror.
16. A system for sensing the presence or absence of an ink cartridge in an ink recording device, said cartridge including a printhead and an ink container for supplying ink to said printhead, said system including:
at least one printhead for printing each of a first color onto a recording medium,
an associated ink supply container for providing ink of said first color to said printhead, said container having at least a partially transparent section of a wall, said wall having at least a reflective member associated therewith,
means for moving said cartridge along a scan path,
an optical sensing station located along said scan path and comprising a light source and a photosensor,
means for moving said cartridge into said station so that, if said cartridge is physically present the reflective member is opposite said light source output and
means for energizing said light source, said photosensor either sensing a light source output beam reflected from said reflective member thereby indicating the presence of a cartridge or sensing lack of an reflected light indicating the absence of a cartridge.
17. The system of
claim 16
further including an optical means mounted beneath said reflective means, said cartridge detection station further comprising a second light source aligned so as to direct a beam of light against said optical means, said light source energizing means sequentially energizing said light source with said photosensor generating signals representing the presence or absence of a cartridge followed sequentially by a ink level signal, the optical means, when covered with ink, providing a high ink level signal, and when exposed to air, providing a low ink level signal.
18. A method for detecting the presence or absence of a cartridge mounted on a movable carriage and used in an ink jet printer including the steps of:
directing a beam of light into an optical sensing station,
moving said carriage into said optical sensing station so that a portion of said cartridge, if present, intercepts said light beam,
sensing the presence or absence of light redirected back from said portion and
generating a signal representative of the presence or absence of a cartridge.
19. The method of
claim 18
wherein said directed light is redirected from a reflective portion of the cartridge.
20. The method of
claim 18
wherein said directed light is transmitted back from a transmissive portion of said cartridge.
21. An ink supply container comprising:
a housing defining an interior space and having an air outlet located at a first position and an ink outlet located at a second position, at least one wall of said container at least partially constructed of a light transmissive material and
a reflector integrally formed within said transparent wall and having at least two reflective facet surfaces extending away from said wall and into the interior of the housing and angled toward each other.
22. The ink cartridge of
claim 21
further including a second reflector integrally formed within said wall and having at least two light transmissive facet surfaces extending away from said wall and into the interior of the housing, said transmissive surfaces angled toward each other.
23. A cartridge detecting device for detecting the presence of an ink cartridge in an ink printer comprising:
an ink container having a reflective element installed in one wall of the container,
a light-emitting source for emitting light along a path intercepted by said reflective element and
a sensor for detecting the presence of light reflected from said reflective element and for generating an output signal representative of said detection.
24. A sensing system for detecting the presence of an ink container and the level of ink therein comprising:
first light directing means operatively connected to said container,
a light source having output beams directed toward said first light directing means when in a container detect mode,
first photosensor means for detecting the presence or absence of light directed from said light directing means and for generating an output signal indicative thereof,
second light directing means operatively connected to said container,
said light source having output beams directed toward said second light directing means when in a low ink level detect mode and
second photosensor means for detecting light directed from said second light directing means, the level of detected light and hence the level of the photosensor output being representative of the presence or absence of ink adjacent the interior surface of the second light directing means.
25. An ink detecting system for monitoring the level of ink in an ink container from which ink is gradually withdrawn, comprising:
a multi-faceted prism positioned in the container so as to be initially covered by the ink contained therein but to be gradually uncovered as the ink is withdrawn from the container,
a light source having output beams directed toward said prism and incident on said facets, the light almost wholly transmitted into the ink when said prism is covered by said ink and totally internally reflected along the prism facets when the prism is uncovered,
a photosensor positioned so as to detect light reflected from said prism, said photosensor generating a low ink level output signal when detecting said totally internally reflected light,
means for monitoring the quantity of ink being withdrawn following generation of said low ink level detection signal and
means for defining an out of ink status for the container.
26. The system of
claim 25
wherein said ink container supplies ink to a printhead of an ink recording device and wherein said ink monitoring means include counter means for counting the number of drops ejected from the printhead and for generating an output indicative thereof and
logic means for monitoring the output of the counter means and for disabling the recording device when a pre-established number of drops have been counted by said counter means.
Description
    BACKGROUND AND MATERIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to ink jet recording devices and, more particularly, to a system for detecting the presence of an ink supply container and also for detecting when the level of ink in the container is at or below a predetermined level.
  • [0002]
    Ink jet recording devices eject ink onto a print medium such as paper in controlled patterns of closely spaced dots. To form color images, multiple groupings of ink jets are used, with each group being supplied with ink of a different color from an associated ink container.
  • [0003]
    Thermal ink jet printing systems use thermal energy selectively produced by resistors located in capillary filled ink channels near channel terminating nozzles or orifices to vaporize momentarily the ink and form bubbles on demand. Each temporary bubble expels an ink droplet and propels it toward a recording medium. The printing system may be incorporated in either a carriage type printer or a pagewidth type printer. A carriage type printer generally has a relatively small printhead containing the ink channels and nozzles. The printhead is usually sealingly attached to an ink supply container and the combined printhead and container form a cartridge assembly which is reciprocated to print one swath of information at a time on a stationarily held recording medium, such as paper. After the swath is printed, the paper is stepped a distance equal to the height of the printed swath, so that the next printed swath will be contiguous therewith. The procedure is repeated until the entire page is printed. In contrast, the pagewidth printer has a stationary printhead having a length equal to or greater than the width of the paper. The paper is continually moved past the pagewidth printhead in a direction normal to the printhead length at a constant speed during the printing process. Moving carriage type ink jet printers must either carry the ink container along with the printhead or provide a flexible ink supply line between the moving printhead and a stationary ink container. Pagewidth printers have an ink supply container located outside the print zone and directly connected to the printbar ink channels.
  • [0004]
    For either a partial width printhead on a moving carriage or for a pagewidth printbar, it is desirable to have a low ink level warning to alert a user to replace or refill the ink container so that the ink does not run out during a print job. Presently, for some applications (such as plotting), some users choose to install new print containers prior to starting an extensive printing job because it is less costly to replace a questionable container rather than lose one or more colors in the output prints. It is also important to ensure that the ink supply container is in the proper location; e.g., fluidly connected to the associated printhead. In some instances, an out of ink container may be removed but a replacement container neglected to be inserted. Printer operation with the container removed could potentially damage the associated printhead.
  • [0005]
    Various prior art methods and devices are known for detecting reduced levels of ink in an ink supply container. U.S. Pat. No. 4,342,042 discloses an ink sensing system which includes output from an LED sensor reflected from a flexible membrane which serves as the upper surface of an ink supply reservoir. The membrane contracts as the ink level is depleted, and the LED sensor detects the contraction and generates a low ink level signal.
  • [0006]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,079,570 provides a method for detecting ink levels in an ink cartridge where the ink is supplied from a foam reservoir. A binary fluidic indicator is fluidly coupled with the foam reservoir and is triggered when the fluid level in the foam reaches a certain prescribed level.
  • [0007]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,289,211 discloses a low ink detecting system which includes a pair of electrodes immersed in the ink impregnated foam reservoir. The electrodes are connected to a bridge circuit which measures the electrical resistance of the ink between the two electrodes.
  • [0008]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,414,452 uses a logic circuit which counts the number of drops expelled and compares the instant number with the maximum number of drops equivalent to a known value of ink in the ink reservoir.
  • [0009]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,434,603 discloses a visual indicator system where sidewalls of the reservoir retreat inwardly during ink depletion changing the orientation of indicator stripes and modifying the color visible to an observer through a window.
  • [0010]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,386,224 places a level sensing probe into the ink supply and senses electrical conductivity changes of the ink.
  • [0011]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,136,305 discloses a low ink detecting system wherein a thermistor is placed in the ink supply and periodically energized. The temperature rise of the ink is measured and compared with pre-established values to determine the ink depletion state of the reservoir.
  • [0012]
    U.S. Pat. No. 4,639,738 discloses a detection system which incorporates detection ports in the cartridge for detecting pressure conditions in the top and bottom of the cartridge. The ports are coupled to a pressure differential sensor that signals a refill condition.
  • [0013]
    Japanese publication 5-332812 describes a low ink detection system wherein the cartridge has a transparent optical path member installed in an opening of a surface of an ink storage tank. An LED emits a beam of light which is guided into the ink tank and reflected back to a sensor to provide an indication of low ink levels.
  • [0014]
    Some of the prior art references are relatively expensive relying on measurement and detection of ink conductivity or drop detecting circuitry. Further, none of the prior art references includes means for insuring that the ink tank is in proper position before beginning the ink level sensing operation.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0015]
    It is, therefore, one object of the present invention to provide a detection system which confirms the proper installation of an ink container supplying ink to an associated printhead.
  • [0016]
    It is another object to present a detection system for detecting a low level of ink in the ink container and for providing a low ink level warning signal.
  • [0017]
    Another object of the invention is to provide an ink supply container which is constructed so as to enable an inexpensive optical detection system which performs both the ink container detection as well as the low ink level detection function.
  • [0018]
    In the present invention, and in an exemplary embodiment, a thermal printer is disclosed which includes a printhead for printing on a recording medium in response to image drive signals. Ink is supplied to the printhead from an ink container which is fluidly connected to the printhead. The printhead and container are mounted on a scanning carriage which moves back and forth across a print zone, the printhead ejecting ink droplets from nozzles to form an image on the recording medium. An optical system comprising two light sources and a light detector is fixedly located along the path of travel of the carriage and positioned so that light from the light source is directed into the ink container as it is positioned opposite the optical system. The ink container has optical light directing elements formed in a transmissive wall. Light from the light sources are directed into and onto the container through the transparent wall and, sequentially, onto the optical elements. In one embodiment, the light directing elements are reflective prisms; reflections of light from these elements, or lack thereof, is sensed by a common photosensor to provide signals representing the presence or absence of the container and the level of ink remaining in the container.
  • [0019]
    More particularly, the present invention relates to a sensing system for detecting the presence of an ink container and the level of ink therein comprising:
  • [0020]
    first light directing means operatively connected to said container,
  • [0021]
    a first light source having output beams directed toward said light directing means when in a container detect mode,
  • [0022]
    photosensor means for detecting the presence or absence of light directed from said light directing means and for generating an output signal indicative thereof,
  • [0023]
    second light directing means operatively connected to said container,
  • [0024]
    a second light source having output beams directed toward said second light directing means when in a low ink level detect mode and
  • [0025]
    photosensor means for detecting light directed from said second light directing means, the level of detected light and hence the level of the photosensor output being representative of the presence or absence of ink adjacent the interior surface of the second light directing means.
  • [0026]
    Further, the present invention relates to a method for detecting the presence or absence of a cartridge mounted on a movable carriage and used in an ink jet printer and the level of ink in an ink container associated with said cartridge including the steps of:
  • [0027]
    directing a beam of light into an optical sensing station,
  • [0028]
    moving said carriage into said optical sensing station so that a portion of said cartridge, if present, intercepts said light beam,
  • [0029]
    sensing the presence or absence of light redirected back from said portion and
  • [0030]
    generating a signal representative of the presence or absence of a cartridge.
  • [0031]
    The invention also relates to a system for sensing the presence or absence of an ink cartridge in an ink recording device, said cartridge including a printhead and an ink container for supplying ink to said printhead, said system including:
  • [0032]
    at least one printhead for printing each of a first color onto a recording medium,
  • [0033]
    an associated ink supply container for providing ink of said first color to said printhead, said container having at least a partially transparent section of a wall, said wall having at least a reflective member associated therewith,
  • [0034]
    means for moving said cartridge along a scan path,
  • [0035]
    an optical sensing station located along said scan path and comprising a light source and a photosensor,
  • [0036]
    means for moving said cartridge into said station so that, if said cartridge is physically present the reflective member is opposite said light source output and
  • [0037]
    means for energizing said light source, said photosensor either sensing a light source output beam reflected from said reflective member thereby indicating the presence of a cartridge or sensing lack of an reflected light indicating the absence of a cartridge.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0038]
    [0038]FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an ink jet printer which incorporates the ink container and low ink level sensing system of the present invention.
  • [0039]
    [0039]FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view through the ink cartridge shown in FIG. 1.
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 3 is an algorithm which is used to sequence the checks to determine presence or absence of a container as well as level of ink within the container.
  • [0041]
    [0041]FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the control circuitry for controlling operation of the sensing system.
  • [0042]
    [0042]FIG. 5A is a cross-section of a prism-shaped reflective element within the cartridge showing the prism container with a sufficient level of ink.
  • [0043]
    [0043]FIG. 5B is a cross-section of the prism of FIG. 5A showing the reflection path in a low ink environment.
  • [0044]
    [0044]FIG. 6 is a plot of low ink sensing output signals versus volume of ink depleted from a cartridge.
  • [0045]
    [0045]FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of a full color ink jet printer which incorporates the ink containers and low ink level sensing system of the present invention.
  • [0046]
    [0046]FIG. 8 is an algorithm for the FIG. 7 embodiment which is used to sequence the presence or absence of a container and the low ink sensing sequentially.
  • [0047]
    [0047]FIG. 9 is an alternate embodiment of a cartridge detection system incorporating a light pipe.
  • [0048]
    [0048]FIG. 10 is an alternate embodiment of the optical assembly shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0049]
    [0049]FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a thermal ink jet printer 8 which incorporates a preferred embodiment of the ink container and low ink detection system of the present invention. Printer 8 is exemplary only. The invention can be practiced in other types of thermal ink jet printers as well as other reproduction devices such as piezoelectric printers, dot matrix printers and ink jet printers driven by signals from a document Raster Input Scanner. Printer 8 includes an ink jet printhead cartridge 10 mounted on a carriage 12 supported by carriage rails 14. The carriage rails are supported by a frame 15 of the ink jet printer 8. The printhead cartridge 10 includes a container 16 shown in detail in FIG. 2, containing ink for supply to a thermal ink jet printhead 18 which selectively expels droplets of ink under control of electrical signals received from a controller 50 (FIG. 4) of the printer 8 through an electrical cable 20. Container 16 comprises a housing 17 having a wall 17A seating reflective elements 21 and 22, shown in further detail in FIG. 2. Container 16 is fluidly, but detachably connected, to printhead 18 and can be replaced when the ink is depleted therefrom. Alternatively, the entire cartridge can be replaced upon each depletion depending upon the particular system requirements. The printhead 18 contains a plurality of ink channels which carry ink from the container 16 to respective ink ejecting orifices or nozzles. When printing, the carriage 12 reciprocates back and forth along the carriage rails 14 in the direction of the arrow 23, the entire width traverse constitutes a scanning path. The actual printing zone is contained within the scanning path. As the printhead cartridge 10 reciprocates back and forth along a print path and past a recording medium 24, such as a sheet of paper or a transparency, droplets of ink are expelled from selected ones of the printhead nozzles towards the sheet of paper. Typically, during each pass of the carriage 12 the recording medium 24 is held stationary. At the end of each pass, the recording medium 24 is stepped in the direction of the arrow 26. For a more detailed explanation of the operation of printer 8, reference is hereby made to U.S. Pat. No. 4,571,599 and U.S. Pat. No. Reissue 32,572, which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0050]
    Also shown in FIG. 1 is an optical sensing assembly 30. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, assembly 30 includes a housing 31 within which are mounted a first light source 34, a second light source 36 and a photosensor 38 located between the two light sources and commonly used therewith as will be seen. The light sources are electrically connected to a power source while the photosensor 38 output is electrically connected into the system controller circuits as will be seen. Container 16, in a preferred embodiment, is designed as a two compartment unit. Assembly 30 is mounted in the carriage path so that, as container housing wall 17A moves into a position opposite the assembly 30, the light from light source 34 is directed toward light directing element 21, and light from light source 36 is directed toward light directing element 22 Photosensor 38 is positioned to detect light directed from either element 21 or element 22 in the manner described in further detail below.
  • [0051]
    [0051]FIG. 2 includes a cross-sectional view of the printhead cartridge 10 along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1 and shows the housing 17 and the printhead 18 attached to the container. The printhead 18 is fluidly but detachably connected to the container 16. The housing 17 is made of a lightweight but durable plastic, which in a preferred embodiment, is polypropylene. Housing 17 has an air inlet 32 and an ink outlet 34 formed within wall 17B. The air inlet 32 provides for the transfer of air between the interior of housing 17 and the ambient. Ink outlet 34 provides for fluid transfer of ink contained in the ink container 16 from the interior of the housing 17 to the ink jet printhead 18. Manifold 37 directs filtered ink from the ink outlet 34 into printhead 18 and to the ink ejecting orifices for ejecting ink onto the recording medium 24.
  • [0052]
    Housing 17 defines an interior space partitioned into a first chamber 40 and a second chamber 42 by a dividing member 44. The dividing member 44 extends from one side wall of the housing 17 to an opposite side wall of the housing and essentially divides the housing into the first chamber 40 and the second chamber 42 such that the second chamber 42 is larger than the first chamber 40.
  • [0053]
    The first chamber 40 contains an ink retaining member 46 typically made of a foam material to hold liquid ink. Liquid ink 48, stored in the second chamber 42, is transferred from the second chamber 42, which is substantially free of ink retaining material, to the ink retaining material 46 through an ink inlet 41 defined by the dividing member 44. A fill port 49 allows for filling the cartridge with ink.
  • [0054]
    The ink 48 passes into the ink retaining material 46 through the ink inlet 41 and ink is released through ink outlet 34 as necessary to supply the printhead 18 with ink for printing. To maintain a proper amount of ink in the ink retaining material 46 for supply to the printhead 18, the housing 17 includes a mechanism for transferring ink from the second chamber 42 to the first chamber 40 by maintaining a proper amount of air pressure above the liquid ink 48 for filling the material 46 with ink when necessary. This mechanism includes a directing member 60, which defines, with the dividing member 44, an air transfer passageway 62 having a vent inlet 64 coupled to a vent outlet 66 for pressurizing the second chamber 42 to a static (no flow) condition. The directing member 60 does not extend from one sidewall to an opposite sidewall as does the dividing member 44, but instead forms a vent tube.
  • [0055]
    The construction of the container 16 compartments as described to this point is exemplary. There are other known ways of constructing an ink supply container with dividing sections while maintaining an appropriate back pressure to the printhead nozzle. See for example, the container described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,138,332 and in co-pending application Ser. No. ______ (D/94372), both of which are incorporated by reference. For purposes of the present invention, it is understood that the container is constructed so that, during operation, ink moves from chamber 42 to chamber 40 through the passageway between the two compartments under pressure conditions established by techniques well known to those skilled in the art. Of interest to the present invention is the modification made to the ink container 16 by introducing the prism member 21 and roof mirror 22 to the wall 17A defining the rear of chamber 42.
  • [0056]
    Referring particularly to FIG. 2, in a preferred embodiment, light directing element 21 is a reflector integrally formed in the bottom half of wall 17A and made of the same light transmissive material as the wall; e.g. polypropylene, in a preferred embodiment. Polypropylene, or other hydrophilic materials are preferred. The prism is constructed with facet surfaces 21A, 21B extending into the interior of compartment 48 and angled toward each other at an approximately 82° angle. The prism has a truncated pyramidal shape with surfaces 21A, 21B connected by facet surface 21C. The prism may be constructed of multiple narrow facet sections to avoid sink commonly encountered when injection molding large sections and also to provide enhanced light pipings.
  • [0057]
    Light directing element 22 is also formed as part of wall 17A. In the preferred embodiment, element 22 is a prism having two facet surfaces 22A, 22B extending into the interior of compartment 48 and angled towards each other and connected by surface 22C. Element 22 is formed into a roof mirror by placing reflective films, foils or tapes 22D, 22E on surfaces 22A, 22B, respectively.
  • [0058]
    It will be appreciated from the above that only a portion of wall 17A need be transmissive; e.g., the portion accommodating reflective element 21. Further, while the preferred embodiment has the reflective elements constructed integrally with the housing wall, the elements could be separately positioned adjacent the interior surface of wall 17A.
  • Operation of Sensing System
  • [0059]
    The sensing system of the present invention, which is considered to comprise the combination of reflective elements 21, 22 and the optical assembly 30, is designed to be enabled to perform an ink container presence and a low ink level check following a specific events such as the start of a print job or after the printing of a certain amount of prints. To perform the checks, the printer follows an algorithm that requires the ink container to be positioned adjacent assembly 30 and then sequenced through a series of detection steps. FIG. 3 is one embodiment of an algorithm that can be used. FIG. 4 shows control circuitry for implementing the ink container and ink level sensing system. A main controller 50 conventionally includes a CPU, a ROM for storing complete programs and a RAM. Controller 50 controls the movement of carriage 12 as well as other printer functions described below.
  • [0060]
    When a line recording operation is performed, each resistor associated with a jet in printhead 18 is driven selectively in accordance with image data from a personal computer P/C 52 or other data source sent into controller 50. Controller 50 sends drive signals to the printhead heater resistors causing ink droplets to be ejected from the jets associated with the heated resistor thus forming a line of recording on the surface of the recording medium 24. With continued operation of the printhead, ink contained in chamber 42 of container 16 gradually becomes depleted until a level is reached which has been predetermined to constitute a low ink level.
  • [0061]
    For purposes of description, the sensing system will be considered as being activated, first at the beginning of a print job, and at a later time following a preset period of printer operation.
  • Operation at Start of Print Job
  • [0062]
    Referring to FIGS. 1-4, image signals from the P/C 52 to controller 50 initiate a start print sequence. Carriage 12 is moved to sensing station 41 so as to position housing wall 17A of container 16 adjacent and facing the optical assembly 30. Under control of controller 50, a power source 56 first energizes light source 36. Source 36, in a preferred embodiment, is an LED with a peak wavelength in the range of 880 to 940 nm. A beam of light is directed towards housing wall 17A and, if a container is present, light is reflected from reflective surfaces 22D, 22E of roof mirror 22 and redirected so as to impinge on photosensor 38. The two reflections allow the beam to be stepped vertically downward to avoid a higher than acceptable angle of incidence at the detector. The output signal from photosensor 38 is sent to logic circuitry within controller 50 which determines that the signal is within a preset range. The controller then sequences to power the second light source 34.
  • [0063]
    If a container 16 is not present, the light output of source 36 will not be reflected back to photosensor 38. The lack of output from the photosensor will be recognized in the computer as a “container missing” status. The printer will be disabled, and a warning display will be activated at P/C Display 55 informing the user that a) printing of the color associated with the missing tank will be prevented and b) the correct container should be installed to prevent potential damage to the printhead.
  • [0064]
    In a preferred embodiment, light source 34 is also an LED with characteristics similar to source 36. Source 34 emits a beam of light which is transmitted through wall 17A and is incident on facet 21A of prism 21. FIG. 5A is a cross section of prism 21 and a schematic reproduction of the assembly 30 showing the path of the light beam when the prism is still immersed in ink and, hence, the level of ink exceeds a preset low level.
  • [0065]
    The low ink detection is enabled by application of the principle of total internal reflection. Total internal reflection occurs when a ray, passing from a higher to a lower index of refraction (from N to N′), has an angle of incidence whose sine equals or exceeds N′/N. The critical angle Ic is expressed by the equation:
  • I c=arc sin N′/N   (1)
  • [0066]
    As shown in FIG. 5A, the output beam of LED 34 passes through wall 17A which, being polypropylene and with an index of refraction of approximately 1.492, is almost completely transparent to the light, allowing approximately 96% of the light incident thereon to pass through and be incident on facet surface 21A at an angle of incidence of about 45°. Since the back side of surface 21A is immersed in ink with an index of refraction of about 1.33, and the critical angle is not reached, approximately 99% of the incident light will be transmitted into the ink and at an angle of refraction of about 51.4° and only approximately <1% will be reflected to facet 21B. Since the interior facing side of facet 21B is also immersed in ink, >99% of the 1% will also be transmitted into the ink. Only a very small amount (approximately 0.01%) of the original incident energy will be reflected towards the photosensor 38. The output signal from the photosensor at controller 50 will register a low light level falling outside a low ink level preset range set in controller memory. The controller will compare this signal to a previous status signal to determine whether a container, previously identified as being in a low ink situation, has been replaced or refilled. A status log is then set, or reset, to a “not empty” level, and the printhead drive circuit 61 in controller 50 is enabled to send drive signals to the printhead to initiate a print sequence. The low ink level threshold for this embodiment has been set at 20% of the container 16 fill level.
  • [0067]
    To summarize the operation of the sensing system thus far, the presence of an ink container is confirmed. Further, it has been confirmed that the ink within the container is above preset levels, and therefore, a print job can be started. The ink level sensing system operation will now be described at a second time set to occur following some predetermined operational time.
  • Operation During Printing Job
  • [0068]
    As printer 8 begins to print a print job corresponding to image input signals from P/C 52, ink is drawn from the foam in compartment 40 (FIG. 2) thereby reducing the saturation of the foam. A flow path is created that allows ink from compartment 42 to replenish the foam. Thus, the level of ink in compartment 42 gradually falls during usage of the printer. A low ink check can be initiated at the end of each print job or after some predetermined number of pixels, e.g., 7×106 pixels printed for any one color since the last check For purposes of illustration, it will be assumed that a print job has been concluded drawing down the ink level in compartment 42 to a point below a predetermined trip point level represented by dotted line 80. A low ink level sensing procedure is initiated at this point.
  • [0069]
    Continued printing is interrupted and, as previously described, carriage 12 is moved to a position so that the housing wall 17A and prism 21 is opposite the sensing assembly 30. The controller again sequences through energization of light sources 34, 36 (the container detection may be omitted). FIG. 5B shows the effect of the low ink level on the light beam. Light from source 34 passes through wall 17A and is incident on facet 21A at about 45°. Since the ink level has dropped below the 20% fill level, ink is no longer in contact with the back surface of facet 21A which is now exposed to air with an index of refraction of 1.0. The critical angle of 42.9° is exceeded by the incident light on the facet; therefore, none of the incident light is transmitted through the surface. The rays are totally reflected back into the denser media resulting in total internal reflection (TIR) of the beam. All of the incident energy is reflected towards facet 21B. Since the back of that facet is also exposed in air, all of the energy is now directed back towards photosensor 38. About 92% of the incident energy (minus any absorption) is returned to impinge on photosensor 38. The output signal from the photosensor is recognized by controller logic as being within a preset low ink level range. The controller performs a status check to see if the change from a previous station status is from “not empty” to “empty”. Since this is the case for the instant example, the status log memory in controller 50 is set to “empty” status and a low ink level signal is generated and displayed at P/C display 55. The low ink signal can be used, depending on the system requirements, to merely display a low ink level to an operator, to halt print operation until a cartridge refill or replacement is performed or, in the preferred embodiment, to allow operation to continue but with a modified “low ink” status. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the controller sends a signal to P/C 52 which displays an appropriate warning defining the ink container that has just been checked is low on ink. Each ink container contains a remaining quantity of ink which can be correlated into a number of pixels (or drops) remaining. This number may be different for each ink color. The low ink signal generated in the controller logic enables counter 60 to begin counting the number of pixels (drops) ejected from the printhead jets and the drawing down of ink within the ink tank. When the pre-established number of pixels have been counted, the ink tank is defined as out of ink, and printing is automatically disabled. The termination occurs before the tank is completely exhausted (level of about 2-5%) in order to insure that the printhead and its ink channel lines are not emptied, a condition which would jeopardize the reliability of the printhead. During the time between the first detection of low ink and declaration of out of ink, increasingly urgent messages may be displayed at the P/C display. It is understood that the pixel value of the remaining ink is dependent upon the frequency of the low ink checks.
  • [0070]
    The above scenario posited a condition wherein prism 21 was either completely immersed in ink or completely free of ink. In between these two cases is a transition represented by a monotonically increasing light level to the signal from LED 34 as the ink level gradually exposes more and more of facet 21A to air. FIG. 6 shows a plot of ink, in milliliters (ml), delivered to the printhead against sensor output in volts. For the first 70% of ink delivered, the sensor current is low, and the voltage output across a comparison circuit in controller 50 is high. Between 70 and 75% depletion, a rapid transition occurs as the LED 34 output beam begins to be totally internally reflected from facets 21A and 21B of prism 21 thus increasing the output current from sensor 38 and causing a rapid voltage drop in the circuit.
  • [0071]
    The invention may be used in other types of ink jet printing systems including full color printers. FIG. 7 shows a full color scanning type of printer. Referring to FIG. 7, a thermal ink jet printer 70 is shown. Several ink supply cartridges 72, 73, 74, 75, each with an integrally attached thermal printhead 76 to 79, are mounted on a translatable carriage 77. During the printing mode, the carriage 77 reciprocates back and forth on guide rails 78 in the direction of arrow 81. A recording medium 80, such as, for example, paper, is held stationary while the carriage is moving in one direction and, prior to the carriage moving in a reverse direction, the recording medium is stepped a distance equal to the height of the stripe of data printed on the recording medium by the thermal printheads. Each printhead has a linear array of nozzles which are aligned in a direction perpendicular to the reciprocating direction of the carriage. The thermal printheads propel the ink droplets 82 toward the recording medium whenever droplets are required, during the traverse of the carriage, to print information. The signal-carrying ribbon cables attached to terminals of the printheads have been omitted for clarity. The printer 70 can print in multiple colors, wherein each cartridge 72 to 75 contains a different color ink supply. For a representative color printer and additional control details, see for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,833,491, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0072]
    According to the invention, each of the ink containers forming part of cartridges 72-75 are of the same construction as the cartridge shown in FIG. 2, and for the purposes of the invention, each cartridge has an ink container having two prism reflectors formed in the wall facing outward. One reflector is associated with cartridge presence detection and the other with low ink detection. Cartridge 72 is shown having an ink container 80 with reflective members 82, 84. Cartridges 73-75 have similar containers and reflective members not specifically called out for ease of description. As in the single cartridge embodiment, a sensing assembly 90 includes a housing 92 within which are mounted a first light source 94 and a second light source 96 and a photosensor 98 located between the two light sources.
  • [0073]
    In operation and referring to FIGS. 4, 7 and 8, image signals from P/C 52 to controller 50 initiate a start print sequence. Carriage 77 is moved so as to position the cartridge 72 with first ink container 80 opposite the sensing assembly 90. Under control of controller 50, power source 54 is caused to sequentially energize light sources 94, 96 while measuring the output of photosensor 98. The sequencing and detection operation for cartridge 72 is the same as that previously described for cartridge 10. Source 96 is first energized to check that the cartridge is present (reflections from roof mirror 84 to the photosensor is within range), source 94 is turned on, and the ink level in the container system is determined after making comparisons with the previous status. (Reflections from prism 82 front surface are sensed by photosensor 98). Once cartridge 72 is serviced, carriage 77 is moved to position the next cartridge 73 in position to be sensed. The preceding process is enabled for each cartridge until all cartridges have been confirmed as being in place and all ink levels in the assembly ink containers are either within the acceptable levels or appropriate low ink level warnings have been displayed at the P/C.
  • [0074]
    While the embodiment disclosed herein is preferred, it will be appreciated from this teaching that various alternative modifications, variations or improvements therein may be made by those skilled in the art. For example, the detection of the presence or absence of the ink container can be accomplished by using other light directing elements. One example is a light pipe shown in FIG. 9. FIG. 9 shows a portion of a container 16′ with an optical element 22′ positioned on the outside of the housing wall 17A′. Element 22′ is a light pipe curved so as to redirect light entering end 22′A and exiting end 22′B onto photosensor 38′. Optical element 22′ may alternately be an optical fiber. With either embodiment, the same function is performed as reflective element 22 in FIG. 2. If the container is present, a high current is generated in photosensor 38′.
  • [0075]
    The light transmission embodiments may be preferred for some systems since the reflective foil or tape used to form the roof mirror 22 for the FIG. 2 embodiment may not adhere well to the prism facet surfaces.
  • [0076]
    And while the optical assembly 30 of the FIG. 1 embodiment is believed optimum, other arrangements of the light sources and photosensors of the assembly are possible consistent with the invention. One example is shown in FIG. 10 which uses one light source and two photosensors. As shown, an optical assembly 100 which includes a first and second photosensor 102, 104 and whose output is read by the controller. An LED light source 106 is connected to a power source. The operation for detecting the container is the same as the preceding description. The light level will be sensed at photosensor 104 with an appropriate signal sent to the controller. Correspondingly, the low ink reading is made at sensor 102. In this embodiment, the LED may be either operated continuously or intermittently (pulsed).
  • [0077]
    Another less efficient arrangement is possible (not shown) where a light source and sensor are associated with each reflective element 21, 22 in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • [0078]
    As another example, while the FIG. 1 and FIG. 7 embodiments show the ink container mounted on a scanning carriage which is periodically moved to a detection station, the ink containers may be positioned in a fixed location and connected to the scanning printhead via a flexible ink supply line. For the FIG. 1 embodiment, container 16 would be fixed in position opposite optical assembly 30 and connected to printhead 18 via a flexible tube. For the FIG. 7 embodiment, four optical assemblies would be located outside the print zone opposite from an associated ink container, each of the ink containers connected to the respective printhead cartridge via flexible ink couplings. For the case of a full width array printhead of the type disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,221,397, a remote ink container is connected to an ink manifold which connects ink with the plurality of input modules which are butted together to form the full width array. One or more optical assemblies would be located opposite the modified ink container.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6719197Nov 30, 2001Apr 13, 2004Seiko Epson CorporationSystem, apparatus, and method for issuing receipts and providing advertising
US6848776Feb 14, 2003Feb 1, 2005Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
US6869158Mar 25, 2003Mar 22, 2005Canon Kabushiki KaishaLiquid container with identifying means and method for detecting state of mount of liquid container
US6962399Dec 30, 2002Nov 8, 2005Lexmark International, Inc.Method of warning a user of end of life of a consumable for an ink jet printer
US7029106Jan 31, 2005Apr 18, 2006Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
US7030972Feb 12, 2002Apr 18, 2006Xerox CorporationSystem and method for identifying objects
US7055926Aug 19, 2003Jun 6, 2006Canon Kabushiki KaishaLiquid container, method for detecting liquid amount in liquid container, and liquid ejection recording apparatus
US7234787Sep 7, 2004Jun 26, 2007Eastman Kodak CompanyLiquid level detection method and apparatus
US7252377Apr 10, 2006Aug 7, 2007Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
US7258411May 5, 2005Aug 21, 2007Lexmark International, Inc.Method of informing a user of end of life of a consumable for an ink jet printer
US7385628 *Sep 20, 2004Jun 10, 2008Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCamera and print unit with detachable interface
US7385629 *Sep 20, 2004Jun 10, 2008Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCamera having socket for receiving detachable printer unit
US7385630 *Sep 20, 2004Jun 10, 2008Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCamera and detachable printer unit
US7400346 *Sep 20, 2004Jul 15, 2008Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCamera and printer having slidably detachable interface
US7460153 *Sep 20, 2004Dec 2, 2008Silverbrook Research Pty LtdPaper cartridge for camera having detachable printer unit
US7513614Aug 2, 2007Apr 7, 2009Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
US7722176Feb 20, 2009May 25, 2010Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
US7773891Oct 8, 2007Aug 10, 2010Dell Products L.P.System and method for determining volume of an imaging medium in a cartridge
US7786457Jun 28, 2006Aug 31, 2010Alcon, Inc.Systems and methods of non-invasive level sensing for a surgical cassette
US7862143Oct 7, 2008Jan 4, 2011Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCompact printer with static page width printhead
US7862161 *Oct 29, 2007Jan 4, 2011Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.Ink detector viewable with the human eye
US7956341Jun 7, 2011Alcon, Inc.System and method of non-invasive continuous level sensing using a linear sensor array
US8303542 *Nov 6, 2012Bausch & Lomb IncorporatedOphthalmic surgical cassette and system
US8333461Jun 9, 2010Dec 18, 2012Zhuhai Ninestar Management Co., Ltd.Ink cartridge for inkjet printer
US8337001Dec 25, 2012Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCompact printer with static page width printhead
US8348363 *Apr 17, 2009Jan 8, 2013Canon Kabushiki KaishaInk tank that enables ink remaining amount to be detected progressively
US8382221Jun 30, 2008Feb 26, 2013Xerox CorporationFluid level sensing system and method
US8408687Apr 22, 2010Apr 2, 2013Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
US8512014Jul 2, 2012Aug 20, 2013Bausch & Lomb IncorporatedOphthalmic surgical cassette and system
US8579396Oct 31, 2012Nov 12, 2013Xerox CorporationFluid level sensing system and method
US8690300Mar 5, 2013Apr 8, 2014Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
US8760637Aug 24, 2011Jun 24, 2014Alcon Research, Ltd.Optical sensing system including electronically switched optical magnification
US8789939Sep 4, 2011Jul 29, 2014Google Inc.Print media cartridge with ink supply manifold
US8823823Sep 15, 2012Sep 2, 2014Google Inc.Portable imaging device with multi-core processor and orientation sensor
US8836809Sep 15, 2012Sep 16, 2014Google Inc.Quad-core image processor for facial detection
US8866923Aug 5, 2010Oct 21, 2014Google Inc.Modular camera and printer
US8866926Sep 15, 2012Oct 21, 2014Google Inc.Multi-core processor for hand-held, image capture device
US8896720Sep 15, 2012Nov 25, 2014Google Inc.Hand held image capture device with multi-core processor for facial detection
US8896724May 4, 2008Nov 25, 2014Google Inc.Camera system to facilitate a cascade of imaging effects
US8902324Sep 15, 2012Dec 2, 2014Google Inc.Quad-core image processor for device with image display
US8902333Nov 8, 2010Dec 2, 2014Google Inc.Image processing method using sensed eye position
US8902340Sep 15, 2012Dec 2, 2014Google Inc.Multi-core image processor for portable device
US8902357Sep 15, 2012Dec 2, 2014Google Inc.Quad-core image processor
US8908051Sep 15, 2012Dec 9, 2014Google Inc.Handheld imaging device with system-on-chip microcontroller incorporating on shared wafer image processor and image sensor
US8908069Sep 15, 2012Dec 9, 2014Google Inc.Handheld imaging device with quad-core image processor integrating image sensor interface
US8908075Apr 19, 2007Dec 9, 2014Google Inc.Image capture and processing integrated circuit for a camera
US8913137Sep 15, 2012Dec 16, 2014Google Inc.Handheld imaging device with multi-core image processor integrating image sensor interface
US8913151Sep 15, 2012Dec 16, 2014Google Inc.Digital camera with quad core processor
US8913182Sep 15, 2012Dec 16, 2014Google Inc.Portable hand-held device having networked quad core processor
US8922670Sep 15, 2012Dec 30, 2014Google Inc.Portable hand-held device having stereoscopic image camera
US8922791Sep 15, 2012Dec 30, 2014Google Inc.Camera system with color display and processor for Reed-Solomon decoding
US8928897Sep 15, 2012Jan 6, 2015Google Inc.Portable handheld device with multi-core image processor
US8934027Sep 15, 2012Jan 13, 2015Google Inc.Portable device with image sensors and multi-core processor
US8934053Sep 15, 2012Jan 13, 2015Google Inc.Hand-held quad core processing apparatus
US8936196Dec 11, 2012Jan 20, 2015Google Inc.Camera unit incorporating program script scanner
US8937727Sep 15, 2012Jan 20, 2015Google Inc.Portable handheld device with multi-core image processor
US8947592Sep 15, 2012Feb 3, 2015Google Inc.Handheld imaging device with image processor provided with multiple parallel processing units
US8947679Sep 15, 2012Feb 3, 2015Google Inc.Portable handheld device with multi-core microcoded image processor
US8953060Sep 15, 2012Feb 10, 2015Google Inc.Hand held image capture device with multi-core processor and wireless interface to input device
US8953061Sep 15, 2012Feb 10, 2015Google Inc.Image capture device with linked multi-core processor and orientation sensor
US8953178Sep 15, 2012Feb 10, 2015Google Inc.Camera system with color display and processor for reed-solomon decoding
US9055221Sep 15, 2012Jun 9, 2015Google Inc.Portable hand-held device for deblurring sensed images
US9060128Sep 15, 2012Jun 16, 2015Google Inc.Portable hand-held device for manipulating images
US9083829Sep 15, 2012Jul 14, 2015Google Inc.Portable hand-held device for displaying oriented images
US9083830Sep 15, 2012Jul 14, 2015Google Inc.Portable device with image sensor and quad-core processor for multi-point focus image capture
US9088675Jul 3, 2012Jul 21, 2015Google Inc.Image sensing and printing device
US9100516Sep 15, 2012Aug 4, 2015Google Inc.Portable imaging device with multi-core processor
US9106775Sep 15, 2012Aug 11, 2015Google Inc.Multi-core processor for portable device with dual image sensors
US9124736Sep 15, 2012Sep 1, 2015Google Inc.Portable hand-held device for displaying oriented images
US9124737Sep 15, 2012Sep 1, 2015Google Inc.Portable device with image sensor and quad-core processor for multi-point focus image capture
US9131083Sep 15, 2012Sep 8, 2015Google Inc.Portable imaging device with multi-core processor
US9137397Jul 3, 2012Sep 15, 2015Google Inc.Image sensing and printing device
US9137398Sep 15, 2012Sep 15, 2015Google Inc.Multi-core processor for portable device with dual image sensors
US9143635Sep 15, 2012Sep 22, 2015Google Inc.Camera with linked parallel processor cores
US9143636Sep 15, 2012Sep 22, 2015Google Inc.Portable device with dual image sensors and quad-core processor
US9148530Sep 15, 2012Sep 29, 2015Google Inc.Handheld imaging device with multi-core image processor integrating common bus interface and dedicated image sensor interface
US9167109Apr 4, 2013Oct 20, 2015Google Inc.Digital camera having image processor and printer
US9168761Dec 11, 2012Oct 27, 2015Google Inc.Disposable digital camera with printing assembly
US9179020Sep 15, 2012Nov 3, 2015Google Inc.Handheld imaging device with integrated chip incorporating on shared wafer image processor and central processor
US9185246Sep 15, 2012Nov 10, 2015Google Inc.Camera system comprising color display and processor for decoding data blocks in printed coding pattern
US9185247Sep 15, 2012Nov 10, 2015Google Inc.Central processor with multiple programmable processor units
US9191529Sep 15, 2012Nov 17, 2015Google IncQuad-core camera processor
US9191530Sep 15, 2012Nov 17, 2015Google Inc.Portable hand-held device having quad core image processor
US9197767Apr 4, 2013Nov 24, 2015Google Inc.Digital camera having image processor and printer
US9219832Sep 15, 2012Dec 22, 2015Google Inc.Portable handheld device with multi-core image processor
US9237244Sep 15, 2012Jan 12, 2016Google Inc.Handheld digital camera device with orientation sensing and decoding capabilities
US9338312Sep 15, 2012May 10, 2016Google Inc.Portable handheld device with multi-core image processor
US20030151734 *Feb 12, 2002Aug 14, 2003Xerox CorporationSystem and method for identifying objects
US20040017445 *Mar 25, 2003Jan 29, 2004Canon Kabushiki KaishaLiquid container with identifying means and method for detecting state of mount of liquid container
US20040125160 *Dec 30, 2002Jul 1, 2004Anderson Frank EdwardMethod of warning a user of end of life of a consumable for an ink jet printer
US20050041104 *Sep 20, 2004Feb 24, 2005King Tobin AllenCamera and print unit with detachable interface
US20050041105 *Sep 20, 2004Feb 24, 2005King Tobin AllenCamera having socket for receiving detachable printer unit
US20050041106 *Sep 20, 2004Feb 24, 2005King Tobin AllenCamera and printer having slidably detachable interface
US20050041107 *Sep 20, 2004Feb 24, 2005King Tobin AllenCamera and detachable printer unit
US20050041967 *Sep 20, 2004Feb 24, 2005King Tobin AllenPaper cartridge for camera having detachable printer unit
US20050128263 *Jan 31, 2005Jun 16, 2005Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
US20050151764 *Sep 7, 2004Jul 14, 2005Eastman Kodak CompanyLiquid level detection method and apparatus
US20060176348 *Apr 10, 2006Aug 10, 2006Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
US20070287959 *Jun 5, 2007Dec 13, 2007Walter Jonathan TOphthalmic Surgical Cassette and System
US20080036829 *Aug 2, 2007Feb 14, 2008Seiko Epson CorporationInk Tank and Ink Jet Printer
US20080066542 *Jun 28, 2006Mar 20, 2008Gao Shawn XSystem and method of non-invasive continuous level sensing
US20090027441 *Oct 7, 2008Jan 29, 2009Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCompact printer with static page width printhead
US20090090878 *Oct 8, 2007Apr 9, 2009Dell Products L.P.System and Method for Determining Volume of an Imaging Medium in a Cartridge
US20090109252 *Oct 29, 2007Apr 30, 2009Ogle Holli CInk detector viewable with the human eye
US20090160888 *Feb 20, 2009Jun 25, 2009Seiko Epson CorporationInk Tank and Ink Jet Printer
US20090207199 *Apr 17, 2009Aug 20, 2009Canon Kabushiki KaishaLiquid tank and ink jet printing apparatus
US20090322807 *Jun 30, 2008Dec 31, 2009Xerox CorporationFluid level sensing system and method
US20100192699 *Apr 14, 2010Aug 5, 2010Gao Shawn XSystem and Method of Non-Invasive Continuous Level Sensing
US20100201763 *Apr 22, 2010Aug 12, 2010Seiko Epson CorporationInk Tank and Ink Jet Printer
US20100265305 *Oct 21, 2010Zhuhai Ninestar Technology Co., Ltd.Ink cartridge for inkjet printer
US20110090266 *Apr 21, 2011Silverbrook Research Pty LtdCompact printer with static page width printhead
CN103660595A *Sep 12, 2013Mar 26, 2014精工爱普生株式会社Liquid container
DE102013102928A1 *Mar 21, 2013Sep 25, 2014Finetek Co., Ltd.Selbstabgleichendes Füllstandsmessgerät
DE102013102928B4 *Mar 21, 2013Jan 8, 2015Finetek Co., Ltd.Selbstabgleichendes Füllstandsmessgerät
EP1336498A1 *Feb 13, 2003Aug 20, 2003Seiko Epson CorporationInk tank and ink jet printer
EP1348560A2 *Mar 27, 2003Oct 1, 2003Canon Kabushiki KaishaLiquid container with identifying means and method for detecting state of mount of liquid container
EP1391306A2 *Aug 19, 2003Feb 25, 2004Canon Kabushiki KaishaLiquid container, method for detecting liquid amount in liquid container and liquid ejection recording apparatus
EP1435215A1 *Nov 7, 2003Jul 7, 2004Markus GerayApparatus for the recognition of accessories, wear parts or spare parts of a device
EP1873501A1 *Jun 19, 2007Jan 2, 2008Alcon Inc.System and method of non-invasive continuous level sensing
Classifications
U.S. Classification347/7, 347/19
International ClassificationB41J2/125, G01F23/28, G01F23/292, B41J2/175
Cooperative ClassificationB41J2/17566, B41J2002/17569, G01F23/2922, B41J2002/17573, G01F23/2927, B41J2/17513, B41J2/17546, B41J2/17553
European ClassificationB41J2/175C7E, G01F23/292B2, B41J2/175L, B41J2/175C2, G01F23/292B2D2, B41J2/175C8
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 30, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: BANK ONE, NA, AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT, ILLINOIS
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:XEROX CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:013111/0001
Effective date: 20020621
Owner name: BANK ONE, NA, AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT,ILLINOIS
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:XEROX CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:013111/0001
Effective date: 20020621
Oct 31, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, AS COLLATERAL AGENT, TEXAS
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:XEROX CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:015134/0476
Effective date: 20030625
Owner name: JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, AS COLLATERAL AGENT,TEXAS
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:XEROX CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:015134/0476
Effective date: 20030625
Feb 18, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:XEROX CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:015687/0884
Effective date: 20050113
Apr 1, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: XEROX CORPORATION, CONNECTICUT
Free format text: RELEASE OF PATENTS;ASSIGNOR:JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.;REEL/FRAME:016408/0016
Effective date: 20050330
Dec 2, 2005FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Nov 25, 2009FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Dec 13, 2013FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Jun 30, 2014ASAssignment
Owner name: XEROX CORPORATION, NEW YORK
Free format text: RELEASE OF SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BANK ONE, NA;REEL/FRAME:033255/0621
Effective date: 20030625
Dec 1, 2014ASAssignment
Owner name: XEROX CORPORATION, NEW YORK
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.;REEL/FRAME:034500/0674
Effective date: 20061204