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Publication numberUS20030012563 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/902,149
Publication dateJan 16, 2003
Filing dateJul 10, 2001
Priority dateJul 10, 2001
Publication number09902149, 902149, US 2003/0012563 A1, US 2003/012563 A1, US 20030012563 A1, US 20030012563A1, US 2003012563 A1, US 2003012563A1, US-A1-20030012563, US-A1-2003012563, US2003/0012563A1, US2003/012563A1, US20030012563 A1, US20030012563A1, US2003012563 A1, US2003012563A1
InventorsDarrell Neugebauer, Jerald Ashton
Original AssigneeDarrell Neugebauer, Ashton Jerald W.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Space heater with remote control
US 20030012563 A1
Abstract
A space heater remote control system according to the present invention includes a remote control device and a base unit attached to a gas- or electricity-powered space heater. The remote control device may include a case, a display, an RF transmitter, electronic circuitry, a microprocessor and a power supply connection. The base unit and space heater may include a container, an RF receiver, a variable flow control circuit, a status detection circuit, heater connection circuitry, electronic circuitry, a microprocessor, power supply, and heating elements. The remote control device transmits command controls to the base unit, and the base unit modulates the quantity of gas or electric current flowing through the space heater in accordance with the command controls.
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Claims(22)
What is claimed is:
1. A remote controlled space heater comprising:
a remote control device, the remote control device including
a remote microcontroller,
a keypad coupled to the remote microcontroller,
a remote power supply connection coupled to the remote microcontroller and electrically connectable to a remote power source,
a remote RF transmitter coupled to the remote microcontroller, and
a remote case housing the remote microcontroller, the keypad, the remote power supply connection, and the remote RF transmitter;
a base unit, the base unit including:
a base microcontroller,
a base power supply connection coupled to the base microcontroller and being electrically connectable to a base power source, and
a base RF receiver coupled to the base microcontroller; and,
a portable space heater, the portable space heater including:
a heating element
a heater power supply connection coupled to the heating element and to the base microcontroller and being connectable to a heater power source.
2. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1, the remote control device further comprising a remote thermometer coupled to the remote microcontroller and housed in the remote case, and the remote microcontroller executing an adjustment algorithm;
wherein the remote thermometer measures a remote ambient temperature proximate to the remote control device, the remote microcontroller calculates an adjustment command control based on the adjustment algorithm in light of the remote ambient temperature and the primary command controls, the remote microcontroller communicates the adjustment command control to the base microcontroller, and the base microcontroller controls the heater power flowing to the heating element in accordance with the adjustment command control in light of the primary command controls.
3. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1, the base unit further comprising a base thermometer coupled to the base microcontroller, and the base microcontroller executing an adjustment algorithm;
wherein the base thermometer measures a base ambient temperature proximate to the base unit, the base microcontroller calculates an adjustment command control based on the adjustment algorithm in light of the base ambient temperature and the primary command controls, and the base microcontroller controls the heater power flowing to the heating element in accordance with the adjustment command control in light of the primary command controls.
4. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1, the remote control device further comprising a display and a remote RF receiver, the display and the remote RF receiver being coupled to the remote microcontroller and housed in the remote case, the primary commands being represented on the display; and the base unit further comprising a base RF transmitter coupled to the base microcontroller;
wherein the remote RF receiver receives status information transmitted by the base RF transmitter, the remote RF receiver communicates the status information to the remote microcontroller, and the remote microcontroller presents a user-relevant portion of the status information on the display.
5. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1, wherein the remote microcontroller interfaces primary command controls with the remote RF transmitter, the remote RF transmitter transmits the primary command controls to the base RF receiver, the base RF receiver interfaces the primary command controls with the base microcontroller, and the base microcontroller controls the heater power flowing to the heating element in accordance with the primary command controls received from the remote control device.
6. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1, wherein:
the base power source and the heater power source include an electrical outlet,
a power cord is coupled to the base power supply connection and to the heater power supply connection and is removably coupleable to the electrical outlet, and
the base power supply connection includes an AC/DC converter coupled to the base microcontroller.
7. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1, wherein:
the base power source includes a battery removably housed within the base unit and removably coupled to the base power supply connection,
the heater power source includes a gas canister removably housed within the portable space heater and removably coupled to the heater power supply connection, and
the heater power supply connection includes a gas regulator valve to increase or decrease a flow of gas to the heating elements and an electric ignition system to ignite gas flowing from the gas canister to the heating elements.
8. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1, the remote control device further comprising a remote antenna coupled to the remote RF transmitter, and the base unit further comprising a base antenna coupled to the base RF receiver.
9. The remote controlled space heater of claim 4, the remote control device further comprising a remote antenna coupled to the remote RF transmitter and to the remote RF receiver, and the base unit farther comprising a base antenna coupled to the base RF receiver and to the base RF transmitter.
10. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1, wherein the remote microcontroller includes a display coupled to the remote microcontroller, a remote central processing unit, remote read-only memory, remote random-access memory, a remote input port, a remote output port, and a display driver, the remote input port interfacing the keypad with the remote central processing unit, the remote output port interfacing the remote RF transmitter with the remote central processing unit, and the display driver interfacing the display with the remote central processing unit.
11. The remote controlled space heater of claim 6, the base unit further comprising
a variable flow control circuit coupled to the base microcontroller and regulating the heater power supply connection, and
a status detection circuit coupled to the base microcontroller;
wherein the variable flow control circuit controls the electric current received via the base power supply connection for transfer to the portable space heater via the heater power supply connection in accordance with instructions received from the base microcontroller, and the status detection circuit monitors the electric current passing through the portable space heater and notifies the base microcontroller of heater conditions.
12. The remote controlled space heater of claim 7, the base unit further comprising
a variable flow control circuit coupled to the base microcontroller and regulating the heater power supply connection, and
a status detection circuit coupled to the base microcontroller;
wherein the variable flow control circuit regulates a flow of gas from the heater power source to the heating elements via the heater power supply connection in accordance with instructions received from the base microcontroller, and the status detection circuit monitors the portable space heater and notifies the base microcontroller of heater irregularities.
13. The remote controlled space heater of claim 11 wherein the base microcontroller includes a base central processing unit, base read-only memory, base random-access memory, and a base input port, a base output port, the base input port interfacing the base RF transmitter and the status detection circuit with the base central processing unit, the base output port interfacing the variable flow control circuit with the base central processing unit.
14. The remote controlled space heater of claim 4, wherein the remote control device further includes a display coupled to the remote microcontroller, wherein the base power source comprises a battery removably coupled to the base microcontroller, wherein the base unit communicates the status information to the remote control device, and wherein the remote control device represents the user-relevant portion of the status information on the display even when the heater power supply connection is not connected to the heater power source.
15. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1 further comprising one of a LED indicator coupled to the base microcontroller and a display coupled to the base microcontroller, wherein the LED indicator luminesces or the display depicts when the portable space heater is operating.
16. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1 further comprising a sound generator coupled to the base microcontroller, wherein the sound generator makes an audible sound when the base unit receives a command control from the remote control device.
17. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1, wherein the remote control device further includes a display coupled to the remote microcontroller, the keypad includes an LED keypad backlight coupled to the keypad and housed in the remote case, the display includes an LED display backlight coupled to the display and housed in the remote case, and the LED keypad backlight and the LED display backlight luminesce when the user uses the keypad.
18. The remote controlled space heater of claim 1 further comprising one of an electric light and a gas-powered light.
19. The remote controlled space heater of claim 7 further comprising a parasol heater.
20. A remotely controlled portable space heater system, the system comprising:
a portable space heater coupled to a power source;
a remote control device having a remote RF transceiver; and
a base unit having a base RF transceiver, being coupled to the portable space heater, and having regulating means to regulate a flow a power to the portable space heater from the power source;
wherein the remote RF transceiver transmits command controls to and receives status information from the base RF transceiver, whereupon the base unit regulates the flow of power flowing from the power source to the space heater in accordance with the command controls received from the remote control device.
21. A method of remotely controlling a portable space heater, the method comprising:
coupling a remote power supply connection of a RF remote control device to a remote power source,
coupling a base power supply connection of a base unit to a base power source,
coupling a heater power supply connection of the portable space heater to a heater power source,
using a keypad on the RF remote control device to generate primary command controls, the primary command controls then being represented on a display on the remote control device and communicated to a remote microcontroller on the remote control device, the remote microcontroller interfacing the primary command controls with a remote RF transmitter on the remote control device, the remote RF transmitter transmitting the primary command controls to a base RF receiver on the base unit, the base RF receiver interfacing the primary command controls with a base microcontroller on the base unit, and the base microcontroller regulating a flow of power flowing from the heater power source to the portable space heater in accordance with the primary command controls received from the remote control device.
22. A method of remotely controlling a portable space heater, the method comprising:
using a keypad on a remote control device to generate primary command controls,
displaying the primary command controls on a display on the remote control device
communicating the primary control commands to a remote microcontroller on the remote control device,
interfacing the primary command controls with a remote RF transmitter on the remote control device,
transmitting the primary command controls to a base RF receiver on a base unit,
interfacing the primary command controls with a base microcontroller on the base unit, and
regulating a flow of power flowing through a heater power supply connection to the portable space heater in accordance with the primary command controls received from the remote control device.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to space heater control devices, and more specifically to a RF-signal, space heater remote control system.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

[0002] The fundamental aspects of space heaters are well-known in the art. A space heater typically generates heat in one of two ways: either flammable gas is combusted or electricity passes through resistive wiring. A typical heater assembly may house a source of heat, i.e., a heating device, a power source or a connection to a power source, and a control device. A fan integral to the heater may be used to circulate air in a room past the heating elements. An electrical heater, for example, may include electrical heating elements, an electrical cord, an electrical fan and a power switch. After connecting the electrical cord to a wall outlet, engaging the power switch may activate the electrical fan and the electrical heating elements. The fan may force air past the heating elements, heating the air by convection.

[0003] A parasol heater is a particular variety of space heater that typically is a portable gas combustion heater commonly used for patios and other outdoor venues. A parasol heater commonly includes a trunk containing a gas tank, a pillar extending above the trunk, and an inverted burner assembly atop the pillar that combusts gas flowing through the pillar from the tank. Heating controls are often located on the trunk or the pillar. Parasol heaters are used to heat the preselected area surrounding the heater insofar as the burning assembly generally has a circular, umbrella-like shape that radiates heat down and around the heater.

[0004] Whether using a gas heater or an electric heater, the amount of heat generated depends on many factors, but two primary variables are the amount of gas or electricity allowed to flow through the heater, affecting the intensity of the heat, and the duration of the flow. Typically, a control device is used to regulate the intensity and duration of heat generated. The duration of heat generation generally is dependent on the time during which the heater is turned on.

[0005] A simple ON/OFF power switch is a basic control device, in that a presumably fixed amount of gas or electricity passes through the heater while the control device is in the ON state, generating a relatively constant intensity of heat. In a gas heater, igniting the reactants normally starts the reaction. Ignition usually requires a flame (e.g., a pilot light) or a spark, which may be induced, for example, by an electrical ignition combined with the power switch. Apart from residual heat dissipation, no heat is generated in the OFF state. More sophisticated control devices have used timers to alternate between the ON and OFF states, effectively regulating relative heat generation by controlling the duration of heat generation, without altering the amount of gas or electricity passing through the heater while in the ON state.

[0006] Another means of controlling the relative heat generation while the heater is turned on is to marginally adjust the flow of gas or electricity within the heater through the use of a variable flow control, analogous to a dimmer switch. Increments of gaseous or electric flow adjustment may be coarse, such as with control settings of Low and High, or relatively fine, such as with settings of 1 to 10, with 1 corresponding to the lowest intensity of heat and 10 corresponding to the highest intensity of heat. Relative heat generation in this context is dependent on energy consumption, independent of the ambient temperature near the heater.

[0007] Space heater control devices may also regulate heat generation by means of a thermostat in conjunction with a variable flow control device. Whereas a simple variable flow control device operating by itself may maintain a constant gaseous or electric flow in the heater, a thermostat may use a variable flow control to maintain a constant heater temperature by varying the gaseous or electric flow in the heater. Ambient temperatures around the heater will affect the heater temperature as heat is exchanged between them. The use of a fan for air circulation will also affect the exchange of heat. As ambient temperatures rise or fall, the thermostat may decrease or increase, respectively, the flow of gas or electricity to the heater to maintain a desired temperature.

[0008] Remote control systems are also well-known in the art. Two popular methods of remote control involve infrared (IR) signals and radio frequency (RF) signals. Infrared signals are easily absorbed by objects in their path, so IR remote control devices require a direct, unobstructed line-of-sight between the IR remote control device and the base IR receiver. Most television remote control systems, for example, use IR remote control devices.

[0009] Remote control systems that do not use IR signaling typically may use other RF signals that are not easily absorbed by objects in their path. RF remote control devices generally do not require a direct, unobstructed line-of-sight between the RF remote control and the base RF receiver. Therefore, an RF remote control may be operated to control a base unit from almost any location within the effective range of the RF transmission. The effective range of the RF transmission will depend largely on the strength and frequency of the signal. Garage door openers, for example, typically use RF remote control systems.

[0010] Therefore, it would be advantageous to design a portable space heater having a remote control system that incorporates many of the benefits of previous space heater control devices in a remote control system using RF signaling.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] The present invention relates to a portable space heater having a remote control device, and more specifically to a RF-signal, space heater remote control system having a display. A space heater remote control system according to the present invention may include a remote control device and a base unit. The remote control device may include a case, a display, an RF transmitter or transceiver, electronic circuitry, a thermostat, a microprocessor and a battery power supply connection. The base unit may include a container, an RF receiver or transceiver, a variable flow control circuit, a status detection circuit, heater connection circuitry or valve, electronic circuitry, a microprocessor, a power supply, and possibly an electric ignition.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] FIGS. 1A-1C show block diagrams of a space heater remote control device, an electric space heater base unit and a gas space heater base unit, respectively, according to exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

[0013]FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of a space heater remote control device according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[0014]FIG. 3 shows a plan view of the space heater remote control device of FIG. 2.

[0015]FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a gas-operated parasol-style space heater base unit according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[0016]FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a gas-operated catalytic-style space heater base unit according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[0017] Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description of the exemplary embodiments thereof, and from the claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] A space heater remote control system according to the present invention may include a remote control device 100 and a base unit 200 coupled to space heater 300. Referring to the figures, FIG. 1A shows a block diagram of a space heater remote control device 100 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The remote control device 100 may include a case 110 (shown in FIGS. 2 and 3), a keypad 120, an RF interface assembly 140, electronic circuitry 150, a microcontroller 160 and a power supply 170. The remote control device 100 also may include an optional display 130.

[0019] As shown in FIG. 1A, the microcontroller 160 may be coupled to each of the keypad 120, the display 130, the RF interface assembly 140, and the power supply 170. The microcontroller 160 may include, for example, a central processing unit (CPU) 161, read-only memory (ROM) 162, random-access memory (RAM) 163, an input port 164, an output port 165, and a display driver 166. Furthermore, the input port 164 interfaces the keypad 120 with the CPU 161, the output port interfaces the RF interface assembly 140 with the CPU 161, and the display driver 166 interfaces the display 130 with the CPU 161.

[0020] The keypad 120 may include a backlight 122. Likewise, the display 130 may include a backlight 132. The backlight 132 may be implemented, for example, with LED or LCD displays. The RF interface assembly 140 may include an RF transmitter 141 connected to an antenna 142. The power supply 170 may include, for example, a battery bay to hold 2 “AAA” sized batteries. Alternatively, the power supply 170 may include a rechargeable power cell that is recharged by a separate recharger assembly, which could be attached by a detachable recharger cord.

[0021] Although not shown in FIG. 1A, the remote control 100 also may include a thermostat having a thermometer with which remote control 100 measures the ambient temperature. The remote control 100 therefore may display the ambient temperature on the optional display 130. Furthermore, the system may use the ambient temperature instead of the heater temperature as a variable in adjusting the heat intensity level applied by the base unit 200. Thus, the thermostat may compensate the heater heat level for the ambient room temperature. First, the thermometer may measure the ambient temperature, and second, the thermostat may apply temperature compensation to the heat level commands sent to the base unit 200 to maintain constant heater temperature as the ambient temperature varies. An algorithm stored in the remote control 100 may calculate how much to adjust the heat level relative to the ambient temperature to maintain a desired heater temperature.

[0022] Likewise, the thermostat, thermometer, and the algorithm may be located on the base unit 200 instead of on the remote control device 100, but this would require that the remote control device 100 be able to receive data transmitted by the base unit 200 in order for the display 130 of the remote control device 100 to show the ambient temperature measured at the base unit 200. Such a configuration would require the use of RF transceivers in both the remote control device 100 and base unit 200, as discussed in detail below. If RF transceivers are used, the thermometer may be separated from the thermostat and the algorithm, allowing for the ambient temperature data to be compiled at one place and transmitted to another place. Alternatively, the display 132 on the remote control device 100 may show the temperature at the remote and not at the heater 300. The base unit 200 may include the thermostat while the remote control 100 sends the base unit 200 desired temperature settings to adjust the thermostat.

[0023] By comparison, FIGS. 1B and 1C show block diagrams of a space heater base unit 200 coupled to a space heater 300 according to exemplary embodiments of the present invention. The base unit 200 and the space heater 300 may be housed together or separately. The base unit 200 may include an RF interface assembly 210, a microcontroller 220, electronic circuitry 230, power supply 240, heater connection circuitry 250, a status detection circuit 260, and a variable flow control circuit 270. The space heater 300 may include, among other things, heating elements 310 and a fan 320. In particular, the space heater 300 may employ either only an electric power supply 242, as shown in FIG. 1B, to power both the electronics and the heating elements 310, or an electric power supply 242 in combination with a gas power supply 243, as shown in FIG. 1C, the electric power supply 242 to power the electronics and the gas power supply 243 to power the heating elements 310.

[0024] In any event, electric power is necessary to operate the electronic components of the base unit 200. This electric power may come from either a power line connection, such as electric power supply 242 as shown in FIG. 1B, or a battery 244, as shown in FIG. 1C. In the event that a power line connection is used, the space heater 300 must remain within reach of an electrical outlet to be used, and the heating elements 310 just as well may use electric power. Use of a battery 244 to power the electronics lends itself to using a gas power supply 243 so as to facilitate increased portability of the space heater 300.

[0025] As shown in FIGS. 1B and 1C, the microcontroller 220 may be coupled via the electronic circuitry 230 to each of the RF interface assembly 210, the power supply 240, the heater connection circuitry 250, the status detection circuit 260, and the variable flow control circuit 270. The microcontroller 220 may include, for example, a central processing unit (CPU) 221, read-only memory (ROM) 222, random-access memory (RAM) 223, input ports 224, and an output port 225. Furthermore, the input ports 224 interface the RF interface assembly 210 and the status detection circuit 260 with the CPU 221, and the output port 225 interfaces the variable flow control circuit 270 with the CPU 221.

[0026] The RF interface assembly 210 may include an RF receiver 211 connected to an antenna 212. As in FIG. 1B, the power supply 240 may include an alternating current-to-direct current (AC/DC) converter 241 and a power cord 242 adapted to plug into a power outlet. The AC/DC converter 241 supplies a direct current to the microcontroller 220. In the event of an electric space heater 300, the power supply 240 may provide 120V AC to the variable flow control circuit 270 that regulates electricity to the heating elements 310 and fan 320 via the heater connection circuitry 250 which couples the base unit 200 to the heater 300. For easier disassembly and storage, power cord 242 may attach and detach from the base unit 200 and the heater 300.

[0027] The variable flow control circuit 270 interfaces the power supply 240 with the heater connection circuitry 250. In an electric heater 300, the variable flow control circuit 270 may modulate the duty cycle of the power supplied to the heater 300. In a gas heater 300, the variable flow control circuit 270 electronically controls an electric gas control assembly 330. The electric gas control assembly 330 may include an electric ignition 331 to ignite the gas, thereby turning on the heater, and a gas regulator valve 332 to increase or decrease the flow of gas to the heating elements 310, thereby adjusting the power supplied to the heater 300. By remotely activating the electric ignition 331, the user may remotely turn on the heater 300. Likewise, by remotely deactivating the gas regulator valve 332, the user may remotely turn off the heater 300. Marginal or incremental adjustments of the gas flow made from either the remote 100 or the base unit 200 may permit the user to better control heat output of the heater to conform to the desired comfort of the user.

[0028] The status detection circuit 260 may monitor heater sensors (not shown) or it may simply monitor the electrical feed-back from the power supplied by the variable flow control circuit 270. If for example the status detection circuit 260 detects a drop in resistance that may indicate a local short circuit, the status detection circuit 260 may inform the microcontroller 220 which in turn may deactivate the heater 300. Also, the status detection circuit 260 may monitor, for example, the gas pressure inside the gas canister 243 and warn the user if the pressure is too low or too high.

[0029] In the event that the remote control system intends to have the remote control device 100 receive data transmitted from the base unit 200 as well as have the base unit 200 receive data transmitted from the remote control device 100, RF transmitter 141 of FIG. 1A and RF receiver 211 of FIGS. 1B and 1C may be replaced with RF transceivers (not shown) coupled to both the input and output ports, respectively 164, 165 and 224, 225. The use of RF transceivers would permit the base unit 200 to communicate the status of the heater 300 to the remote control device 100.

[0030] For example, base unit 200 could inform the remote control device 100 that the heater 300 is not coupled to the base unit 200, preventing the execution of any instructions received from the remote control device 100. Similarly, for example, if a battery were coupled to the base unit 200, the base unit 200 would have power to inform the remote control 100 that the power supply 240 is not available, either because power cord 242 is unplugged or because gas canister 243 is detached or empty. The base unit 200 could also relay intermediate status information to the remote control device 100. For example, the heater 300 may include a heater thermometer coupled to the status detection circuit 260, allowing the base unit 200 to transmit the current heater temperature compared to the programmed heater temperature. Similarly, the status detection circuit 260 may measure the electrical resistance of the heater 300, and the microcontroller 220 may calculate the current heater temperature using a temperature algorithm dependent on the measured electrical resistance of the heater 300 relative to the electrical power supplied to the heater 300.

[0031]FIGS. 2 and 3 respectively show a perspective view and a plan view of a space heater remote control device 100 according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The case 110 may house the keypad 120, the display 130, the RF interface assembly 140 (shown in FIG. 1A), the electronic circuitry 150 (shown in FIG. 1A), the microcontroller 160 (shown in FIG. 1A) and the power supply 170 (shown in FIG. 1A). The keypad 120 may include buttons 121 and a keypad backlight 122 (shown in FIG. 1A) to illuminate the buttons 121. The display 130 may include a multifunctional, digital LCD 131 and a display backlight 132 (shown in FIG. 1A).

[0032]FIG. 4 shows a partial cut-away perspective view of a heater base unit 200 housed in a gas-operated parasol-style space heater 300′ according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. The parasol heater 300′ as shown includes a trunk 350 containing a gas tank 351, a pillar 360 extending above the trunk 350, and an inverted burner assembly 370 atop the pillar 360 that combusts gas flowing through the pillar 360 from the tank 351. Heating controls are often located on the trunk 350 or the pillar 360, shown here within the container 280 the houses the base unit 200. The parasol heater 300′ also may include a light 380, such as an electric light 381 or a gas light 382, that also may be controlled by the remote control 100 via the base unit 200.

[0033] As also shown in FIG. 5, the container 280 may house the RF interface assembly 210, the microcontroller 220, electronic circuitry 230, the power supply 240, the heater connection circuitry 250, the status detection circuit 260 (shown in FIG. 1C), and the variable flow control circuit 270 (shown in FIG. 1C). By comparison, FIG. 5 shows a partial cut-away perspective view of a space heater base unit 200 housed in a gas-operated catalytic-style space heater 300″ according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

[0034] Shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the base unit 200 also may include one or more LED indicators 281 and a sound generator 282, both of which are coupled to microcontroller 220. In the event that the base unit 200 separately controls the heater elements 310 and the fan 320, two LED indicators 281 may indicate the independent activation of the heater elements 310 or the fan 320. The LED indicator 281 may luminesce when the associated space heater 300 is activated. The sound generator 282 may beep or chirp to acknowledge reception of instructions from the remote control 100 or to sound an alarm signaled by the status detection circuit 260. The sound generator 282 may comprise a loudspeaker, a piezoelectric element, or the like.

[0035] Given the intelligence of microcontrollers 160 and 220, the remote control system may perform a wide variety of functions. Generally, each function will have an associated field on the display 130. The LCD 131 may have fixed fields 133 and variable fields 134 that are activated when the associated function is being programmed and displayed. For example, a preheat function may be displayed by a fixed field 133 to indicate that the preheat function is active or being programmed. Conversely, a clock function requires a variable field 134 to display the passage of time. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, an exemplary LCD 131 may display information regarding the status of, among others, the power (On/Off/Auto), heating level, the time, heating times, and the heating duration.

[0036] As discussed, a space heater control device may employ several different methods to regulate the heating of the heater 300. In conjunction with the microcontroller 160 of the remote control 100, the microcontroller 220 of the base unit 200 may regulate the heating of a heater 300 coupled to the base unit 200. A user may input a desired heating regime into the remote control 100, and the remote control 100 may program the base unit 200 accordingly. Alternatively, all the programming may reside in the remote control 100. The base unit 200 may regulate the heating of a heater 300 by varying start and stop times, the duration of the heating, the intensity level of the heat, and the desired temperature of the heater 300.

[0037] By combining two or more of these variables, the base unit 200, for example, may preheat a heater 300 quickly to a desired temperature or level by applying the maximum heat for a short period until the desired status is reached and then reducing the heat to maintain the desired status. Similarly, the base unit 200 may intermittently heat the heater 300 over a longer period, possibly to conserve power and maintain a desired temperature. Intermittent ramping of heat may generate heat more efficiently with less excess, avoid overheating the heater 300, and prolong the life of the heater 300.

[0038] A number of embodiments of the present invention have been described above. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. It is also understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described and all statements regarding the scope of the invention.

Referenced by
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US6624394 *Jan 28, 2002Sep 23, 2003Hp Intellectual Corp.System for obtaining a uniform air temperature in a discrete space
US7222634 *Jan 20, 2004May 29, 2007Daniel G. HessScent elimination system for hunters
US7347099 *Jul 16, 2004Mar 25, 2008Rosemount Inc.Pressure transducer with external heater
US7411515 *Apr 17, 2003Aug 12, 2008Thomson LicensingRemote control with low battery indication
US7679033Sep 29, 2005Mar 16, 2010Rosemount Inc.Process field device temperature control
CN102064812A *Dec 30, 2010May 18, 2011广东盈科电子有限公司Inducing device for distinguishing person or object at close distance
EP1489357A1 *Jun 20, 2003Dec 22, 2004Thermic Investments S.A.Remote controlled liquid fuel heating device
EP2063160A1 *Nov 21, 2007May 27, 2009O'Reilly, EdwardA valve assembly and control system
WO2004113793A1 *Jun 4, 2004Dec 29, 2004Rudy CyrisCombustible liquid heating device and remote controller
Classifications
U.S. Classification392/365, 219/509, 340/13.25
International ClassificationF24D19/10, G05D23/19
Cooperative ClassificationF24H9/2064, G05D23/1905, Y02B30/108
European ClassificationG05D23/19B4, F24D19/10
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 19, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: COLEMAN COMPANY, INC., THE, KANSAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:NEUGEBAUER, DARRELL;ASHTON, JERALD W.;REEL/FRAME:012628/0021
Effective date: 20011004