US 20050040682 A1
A method of controlling an electric heating system for a motor vehicle seat, in which a target time (tsoll) for a heating duration is varied as a function of a difference between a measured outside temperature (TA) and a measured inside temperature (TI). A control device for a heating mechanism (20) is also provided having an outside temperature (10) and an inside temperature sensor or seat temperature sensor (12), and having a control circuit for preassigning and/or varying a target time (tsoll) for a heat duration, as a function of a difference between a measured outside temperature (TA) and a measured inside or seat temperature (TI or TS).
1. A method of controlling a heating mechanism for a vehicle seat comprising:
receiving an outside temperature value (TA) indicative of the ambient temperature outside the vehicle;
receiving an inside temperature value (TI) indicative of the vehicle interior temperature;
determining a target time (tsoll) for a heat duration as a function of a difference between said outside and inside temperature values; and
operating said heating mechanism for said target time.
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15. A control system for vehicle seat heating element (20) comprising:
an outside temperature input for receiving an outside temperature value (TA) from an outside temperature sensor (10);
an inside temperature input for receiving an inside temperature value (TI) from an inside temperature sensor (12);
a control circuit (14) programmed to vary a target time (tsoll) for a heating duration of the heating element (20) as a function of a difference between said outside and inside temperature values (TA, TI).
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20. A vehicle seat system comprising:
a heating element (20) disposed in at least one cushion of the vehicle seat;
an outside temperature sensor (12) providing an outside temperature value (TA);
an inside temperature sensor (11) providing an inside temperature value (TI);
a control circuit (14) communicating within said inside and outside temperature sensors, said control circuit programmed to provide a target time (tsoll) for a heating duration of said heating element as a function of a difference between said outside and inside temperature values (TA, TI).
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The invention relates to a heating system and a method of controlling a heating system. The heating system may be advantageously used as part of a vehicle seat heating system.
There are known methods and systems for controlling electric seat heaters in which the heating mechanism is operated by a control of temperature as a function of a user input. Such control systems are suitable for setting an optimal comfort temperature, but respecting their control they require a comparatively large structural outlay. There are also simpler controls based on a timer function. Here, at the start of seat heating, a target time is assigned, after transgression of which the seat heating is switched off. The disadvantage of such a timer based control is that the timer times are either not variable, or comprise a variability only to the effect that the on-duration depends on the seat temperature.
DE 101 06 152 A1 discloses a method of controlling a stationary ventilator in a motor vehicle. A timer assigns a target time for an on-duration of the ventilator when the inside temperature exceeds a preassigned limit. The ventilator is switched on and off with an on-duration and an on-frequency so long as the inside temperature is above the preassigned limit. On-duration and on-frequency of the ventilator are determined as a function of the inside temperature of the vehicle.
DE 100 58 434 A1 describes a method and device for control of the heating of an outside mirror, the heating output being controlled as a function of a variation of the outside temperature per unit time.
JP 58194612 A, lastly, describes a control device for a vehicle heater that is part of a vehicle air conditioning system. To control the seat heating, various input quantities, such as an outside temperature, a battery voltage and a water temperature of a vehicle cooling system are processed.
Accordingly, there exists a need for an improved vehicle seat heating system and a control method for the same.
The present invention provides a simple method of controlling a heating mechanism, and a control device of simple structure for a heating mechanism, in which a demand control of the heat output is made possible.
In one embodiment, a method of controlling a heating mechanism, in particular an electric seat heater for a motor vehicle, provides a variation of a target time for a duration of heating as a function of a difference between a measured outside temperature and a measured inside temperature. The inside temperature may be a measured temperature in or on a seat of a motor vehicle. The method according to this embodiment has the advantage of a very low circuitry and structural outlay, yet a demand control of the heat output is made possible. This is accomplished in that for variation of a target time for an on-duration of the heater, not only is the outside temperature taken into account, but in like manner the inner or seat temperature influences the on-time of the heating. According to measured seat temperatures, a shorter or longer heat duration may be appropriate. The known methods, in contrast, take only an outside temperature to preassign or vary on on-duration or output of the heater.
The difference of the outside temperature (TA) and inside temperature (TI) may in particular be derived by determination of a quantity called the sensory temperature (TE) and calculated. The sensory temperature may be derived from a function of the outside temperature and the difference between the outside temperature and the seat or inside temperature, and may be represented in principle by the following formula:
One embodiment of the method according to the invention provides at least two fixedly set heating stages, each with a different target time, referred in each instance to one and the same difference between an inside and an outside temperature, or to the same sensory temperature. Alternatively, however, a plurality of heating stages may be provided. Further, an additional variation of the heat output, stepwise or continuous, may be provided.
The outside temperature may advantageously be queried and determined by way of a data bus. Normally, in a conventional vehicle outfit, the outside temperature is already available, so that the values of the outside temperature sensor can be queried by way of central control electronics or by way of a data bus in the vehicle (e.g. “CAN-Bus”). The inside temperature, or seat temperature, can then be queried by way of an inside temperature sensor or by way of a seat temperature sensor. For this purpose, in particular, a negative temperature coefficient (NTC) sensor may be used. The inside or seat temperature may be queried likewise by way of an inside temperature sensor used as part of an air conditioning system of the vehicle. The signal for the inside temperature can likewise be made available by way of the same data bus as the outside temperature.
The preassigned target time for the duration of heat may be converted according to the selected heat stage into a corresponding correction factor, so that for a greater adjusted heating stage, a different correction of the target time for the on-duration of the heating is assigned than for a smaller adjusted heating stage.
The target times for the heat duration and their corrections may be derived in particular from a vehicle-specific and/or a seat-specific characteristic. For example, the seat may include a fan which may dictate a different heating profile than a non-ventilated seat. In this way, an optimal coordination of various sensory temperatures with corresponding target times for the on-duration can be set up. The heat output for the heating mechanism may in particular be adjusted by variation of voltages and/or by way of a pulse-width modulated signal. The characteristic curves may be stored, according to vehicle type or seat variant, as play-back software in the control unit or in the control circuit. In this way, like control circuits may be employed for the several vehicle and seat variants. The characteristic curves may be played back e.g. by way of so-called “flashes.” Here, the control unit is suitably programmed by playing the correspondingly provided software over programmable memory circuits.
A heating system according to the invention for a heating mechanism, in particular for an electric heating device of a vehicle seat, provides an outside temperature sensor and an inside or seat temperature sensor as well as a way of preassigning and/or varying a target time for a heating duration as a function of a difference between a measured outside temperature and a measured inside temperature. The heating mechanism may in particular comprise at least two fixedly adjusted heating stages, each with a different target time, referred in each instance to a like difference between inside and outside temperature.
Other features, embodiments and advantages of the control device according to the invention have already been mentioned in terms of the several variants of the method previously described.
The present invention itself, together with further objects and attendant advantages, will be best understood by reference to the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
For a more complete understanding of this invention reference should now be had to the embodiments illustrated in greater detail in the accompanying figures and described below by way of examples of the invention wherein:
In the following figures, the same reference numerals will be used to refer to the same components. While the present invention is described with respect to an apparatus for a vehicle seat heating system, the present invention may be adapted and applied to various systems including: electrical systems, heating systems, seating systems, vehicle systems, or other systems known in the art.
In the following description, various operating parameters and components are described for one constructed embodiment. These specific parameters and components are included as examples and are not meant to be limiting.
The heating mechanism 20 may be a resistive heating element comprising conductive wires, filaments or fabric. It can be an areal heating element, for example, disposed proximate a vehicle seat cushion surface such as the seating surface or back rest. Other types of heating elements may also be employed.
The controller 14 may be implemented in hardware or software. For example, it can be a control circuit or it can be implemented in a controller comprising a CPU, inputs, outputs and associated memory. The controller can be stand-alone controller or be part of another vehicle controller such as the HVAC system controller. Also, although the controller 14 and target time transmitter 16 are shown as separate components, they could be integrated into a single unit.
The outside temperature TA may be part of an existing vehicle sensor outfit, so that the sensory value is already available in a data bus of the vehicle (for example, CAN-Bus 18). For example, many vehicle HVAC systems include or make use of an outside temperature sensor for vehicle interior climate control.
The seat temperature sensor 12 may in particular be an NTC sensor on or near the seat. For example, it may be located underneath the seating surface to provide a seat surface temperature. It could also be located underneath the seat or near a surface away from the occupant to provide an ambient temperature output. Alternatively, or in addition to seat sensor 12, an inside temperature sensor 11 may be employed to provide a temperature signal indicative of the ambient vehicle interior temperature (TI). Again, such inside temperature sensors 11 are typically employed in vehicle HVAC systems. In such a case, its data signal may be made available to the controller 14 by way of a vehicle data bus 18.
From the diagram, it becomes clear that with increasing sensory temperature (TE), a continuous decrease of the on-time of the heating mechanism is provided. This decrease in on-time takes account of the fact that when the seat is already warmer, a shorter heating time of the seat is required to reach a given temperature. For a correspondingly colder seat, a longer heating time is desirable.
The anterior portion of the curves represents a maximum on-time for both heating stages. The sensory temperature TE-0 is lowest here, and in the example of the sketch is equal to −40° C. The on-time tsoll-1 at the lower heating stage (“Low”) may here for example be about 10 minutes. The on-time tsoll-2 at the higher heat stage (“High”) may for example be about 20 minutes.
The intermediate range of the curves represents an intermediate on-time for both heating stages. The sensory temperature TE-1 is located at the so-called working point, and in the embodiment sketched by way of example is 0° C. The on-time tsoll-1 at the lower heat stage (“Low”) may here for example be about 4 to 5 minutes. The on-time tsoll-2 at the higher heating stage (“High”) may for example be about 8 to 10 minutes.
The posterior range of the curve represents a minimal on-time for both stages. The sensory temperature TE-2 is here greatest, and in the example of the sketch is about +40° C. The on-time tsoll-1 at the lower heat stage (“Low”) may here be about 1 to 2 minutes. The on-time tsoll-2 at the higher heat stage (“High”) may here be about 3 to 5 minutes.
Intermediate values can be determined by continuous shifts of the given values for the temperatures. The characteristic field of
It is contemplated further that a time sequence of a plurality of different heat stages may be provided. For example, with very low outside temperature, this may be first a stage with short, vigorous heating, following by a longer lasting stage with reduced heating. On the other hand, if the outside temperature is not so low, for example a heating stage with intense heating may be followed first by a pause and then by a shorter heating stage with reduced heating compared to the warm-up phase.
While the invention has been described in connection with one or more embodiments, it is to be understood that the specific mechanisms and techniques which have been described are merely illustrative of the principles of the invention, numerous modifications may be made to the apparatus described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.