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 numberUS20060152121 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/168,385
Publication dateJul 13, 2006
Filing dateJun 29, 2005
Priority dateJan 11, 2005
Also published asCN1804520A
Publication number11168385, 168385, US 2006/0152121 A1, US 2006/152121 A1, US 20060152121 A1, US 20060152121A1, US 2006152121 A1, US 2006152121A1, US-A1-20060152121, US-A1-2006152121, US2006/0152121A1, US2006/152121A1, US20060152121 A1, US20060152121A1, US2006152121 A1, US2006152121A1
InventorsSeok-jun Son, Gi-Hyeong Lee
Original AssigneeSamsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Refrigerator
US 20060152121 A1
Abstract
A refrigerator includes a main body cabinet formed with a storage compartment, and a door coupled to the main body cabinet and opening/closing the storage compartment. A terminal installation part is provided to at least one of the main body cabinet and the door, and a terminal is detachably coupled to the terminal installation part and communicatable with other household appliances. A slide plate is provided with a holding part interposed between the terminal and the terminal installation part and maintains the terminal so as to be held to the terminal installation part. A driving part is connected with the slide plate and slides the slide plate for the terminal to be released from the terminal installation part. Thus, the present invention provides a refrigerator allowing a terminal to be detachably mounted thereon without difficulty, thereby enhancing the user's convenience and making an external appearance thereof good.
Images(10)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(11)
1. A refrigerator comprising a main body cabinet formed with a storage compartment, and a door coupled to the main body cabinet and opening/closing the storage compartment, further comprising:
a terminal installation part provided to at least one of the main body cabinet and the door;
a terminal detachably coupled to the terminal installation part and adapted to communicate with other household appliances;
a slide plate provided with a holding part interposed between the terminal and the terminal installation part and which maintains the terminal so as to be held to the terminal installation part; and
a driving part connected with the slide plate and which slides the slide plate for the terminal to be released from the terminal installation part.
2. The refrigerator according to claim 1, further comprising a lever unit provided to a first side of the terminal installation part and which pushes the terminal along a separating direction as the terminal is released from the terminal installation part by the driving part.
3. The refrigerator according to claim 2, wherein the driving part comprises a driving motor supplying a rotating force, a pinion gear connected with the driving motor, and a rack gear formed in the slide plate and engaged with the pinion gear.
4. The refrigerator according to claim 3, wherein the lever unit comprises a turning shaft coupled to the terminal installation part, a lever integrally coupled to the turning shaft and pressing the terminal along the separating direction, and a lever turning part turning the turning shaft and the lever.
5. The refrigerator according to claim 4, wherein the slide plate comprises a first slide plate formed with the rack gear and slid by the driving motor, and a second slide plate distanced from the first slide plate and slid by a rotating force of the driving motor through the turning shaft.
6. The refrigerator according to claim 5, wherein the lever turning part comprises a first lever gear coupled to a first end portion of the turning shaft, and a first auxiliary rack gear formed in the first slide plate and engaged with the first lever gear.
7. The refrigerator according to claim 5, further comprising a second lever gear coupled to a second end portion of the turning shaft, and a second auxiliary rack gear formed in the second slide plate and engaged with the second lever gear.
8. The refrigerator according to claim 3, further comprising an entrance opening formed to at least one of the main body cabinet and the door and leading to the terminal installation part for the terminal to go in and out, and a cover plate movably provided to the terminal installation part and opening/closing the entrance opening.
9. The refrigerator according to claim 8, further comprising a transferring part which transfers the cover plate along an opening/closing direction for the cover plate to open/close the entrance opening.
10. The refrigerator according to claim 9, wherein the transferring part comprises a guide pin coupled with the cover plate, a guiding bracket interposed between the cover plate and the slide plate and formed with a first guiding groove guiding the guide pin along an opening/closing direction of the cover plate, and a second guiding groove formed in the slide plate and guiding the guide pin for the cover plate to move along the first guiding groove as the slide plate is slid by the driving part.
11. The refrigerator according to claim 2, further comprising a supporting member provided to a second side of the terminal installation part to support an end portion of the terminal and rotating between an installing state and a separating state of the terminal.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from Korean Patent Application No. 2005-0002601, filed on Jan. 11, 2005, in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a refrigerator and, more particularly, to a refrigerator allowing a terminal to be detachably mounted thereon without difficulty and enhancing the user's convenience.

2. Description of the Related Art

Generally, a refrigerator is a cooling apparatus preserving the temperature of food deposited therein pertinently by using a cooling cycle.

In recent years to satisfy variable desires of a consumer, a household appliance with application in a home networking system and having multiple functions such as a function of communicating between household appliances, Internet access function, or the like are becoming more popular.

It is proper and often happens that the refrigerator takes the role of a main server of the home networking system, because the refrigerator is usually on all day long. For example, a micro computing device is provided to a main body of the refrigerator, and a display device of a touch screen type is provided and detachably mounted thereto, thereby a user may connect to the Internet and search information such as a menu, a recipe, or the like therewith. Also, the micro computing device may inform the user of an operating condition or use manual of various household appliances applied to a house.

The conventional refrigerator disclosed in Korean Patent Application No. 2003-0006585 comprises a main body cabinet divided right and left into a freezing compartment and a refrigerating compartment, and a freezing compartment door and a refrigerating compartment door provided to the main body cabinet and opening/closing the freezing compartment and the refrigerating compartment, respectively.

In the refrigerating compartment door is formed an accommodating portion of a predetermined thickness to which a web pad serving as a terminal for communication is installed, and to a side of the accommodating portion is provided a refrigerator contacting part contacting with a web pad contacting part of the web pad.

The refrigerator contacting part senses the installation state of the web pad according to contact with the web pad contacting part. An electromagnet is provided to fix the web pad installed to the accommodating portion.

With this configuration, the web pad may be fixed to the refrigerating compartment door accordingly as the electromagnet operates.

However, there are the following problems in the conventional refrigerator. Since the user must grasp and pull the web pad to separate the web pad therefrom, the web pad needs to be protruded from a front surface of the refrigerating compartment door so that the user may grasp it, or the accommodating portion to which the web pad is installed needs to be widened more so that the user may insert his or her hand therethrough. Thereby, it makes an external appearance thereof undesirable and brings about difficult problems in separating the web pad therefrom.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an aspect of the present invention to provide a refrigerator allowing a terminal to be detachably mounted thereon without difficulty, thereby enhancing the user's convenience and making an external appearance thereof good.

Additional aspects and/or advantages of the present invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the present invention.

The foregoing and/or other aspects of the present invention are also achieved by providing a refrigerator comprising a main body cabinet formed with a storage compartment, and a door coupled to the main body cabinet and opening/closing the storage compartment, further comprising a terminal installation part provided to at least one of the main body cabinet and the door; a terminal detachably coupled to the terminal installation part and adapted to communicate with other household appliances; a slide plate provided with a holding part interposed between the terminal and the terminal installation part and which maintains the terminal so as to be held to the terminal installation part; and a driving part connected with the slide plate and which slides the slide plate for the terminals to be released from the terminal installation part.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the refrigerator further comprises a lever unit provided to a first side of the terminal installation part and pushing the terminal along a separating direction as the terminal is released from the terminal installation part by the driving part.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the driving part comprises a driving motor supplying a rotating force, a pinion gear connected with the driving motor, and a rack gear formed in the slide plate and engaged with the pinion gear.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the lever unit comprises a turning shaft coupled to the terminal installation part, a lever integrally coupled to the turning shaft and pressing the terminal along the separating direction, and a lever turning part turning the turning shaft and the lever.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the slide plate comprises a first slide plate formed with the rack gear and slid by the driving motor, and a second slide plate distanced from the first slide plate and slid by a rotating force of the driving motor through the turning shaft.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the lever turning part comprises a first lever gear coupled to a first end portion of the turning shaft, and a first auxiliary rack gear formed in the first slide plate and engaged with the first lever gear.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the refrigerator further comprises a second lever gear coupled to a second end portion of the turning shaft, and a second auxiliary rack gear formed in the second slide plate and engaged with the second lever gear.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the refrigerator further comprises an entrance opening formed to at least one of the main body cabinet and the door and leading to the terminal installation part for the terminal to go in and out, and a cover plate movably provided to the terminal installation part and opening/closing the entrance opening.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the refrigerator further comprises a transferring part transferring the cover plate along an opening/closing direction for the cover plate to open/close the entrance opening.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the transferring part comprises a guide pin coupled with the cover plate, a guiding bracket interposed between the cover plate and the slide plate and formed with a first guiding groove guiding the guide pin along an opening/closing direction of the cover plate, and a second guiding groove formed in the slide plate and guiding the guide pin for the cover plate to move along the first guiding groove as the slide plate is slid by the driving part.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the refrigerator further comprises a supporting member provided to a second side of the terminal installation part to support an end portion of the terminal and rotating between an installing state and a separating state of the terminal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and/or other aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the exemplary embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view illustrating a state that a terminal of a refrigerator according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention is installed to a terminal installation part;

FIG. 2 is a front view illustrating the state that the terminal of the refrigerator according to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention is installed to the terminal installation part;

FIG. 3 is a principal perspective view illustrating a state before a first slide plate in FIG. 2 moves upward;

FIG. 4 is a principal perspective view illustrating a state that a terminal is out of hold as a first slide plate in FIG. 3 moves upward;

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view illustrating a state that a terminal of a refrigerator according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention is tilted at a predetermined angle from a terminal installation part;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view illustrating a state that a terminal in FIG. 4 is separated from a terminal installation part;

FIGS. 7 and 8 are perspective views illustrating a process that a cover plate in FIG. 6 is moving forward to close an entrance opening; and

FIG. 9 is a front perspective view illustrating a state that a cover plate of a refrigerator according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention closes the entrance opening.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE, NON-LIMITING EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the illustrative, non-limiting embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout.

As shown in FIGS. 1 through 5, a refrigerator 1 according to the present invention comprises a main body cabinet 10 divided on the right and left into a pair of storage compartments (not shown) by a middle partition (not shown), and a pair of doors 20 rotatably mounted to the main body 10 and opening/closing a pair of front openings (not shown). Also, the refrigerator 1 comprises a terminal 40 detachably mounted to the door 20 and capable of communicating with other household appliances, a terminal installation part 30 provided to the door 20 and installed with the terminal 40, a slide plate 50 provided with a holding part 53, 56 interposed between the terminal 40 and terminal installation part 30 and maintaining the terminal 40 to be held by the terminal installation part 30, and a driving part 60 slidingly driving the slide plate 50 so that the terminal 40 may be out of retention from the terminal installation part 30.

The terminal 40 is capable of exchanging information between household appliances on the basis of a home networking system and accessing to the Internet. Herein, preferably, but not necessarily, the terminal 40 is a flat panel displayer flush with a plate surface of the door 20, and the terminal 40 comprises a touch screen type interface for convenience.

The door 20 is formed with an entrance opening 21 in the plate surface thereof. The entrance opening 21 leads to the terminal installation part 30, and the terminal 40 goes in and out therethrough. Also, the door 20 is provided with an operating button 22 operating the driving part 60 so that a user may detachably install the terminal 40 to the terminal installation part 30.

The terminal installation part 30 is accommodated in the entrance opening 21, and various parts including the terminal installation part 30, the slide plate 50, the driving part 60, etc., are mounted therein. The terminal installation part 30 is provided with a couple of guide rods 31, 32 guiding the slide plate 50 to slidingly move, and an installation frame 33, 34 to which the guide rod 31, 32 are mounted respectively, in the opposite inner sides thereof. Also, the terminal installation part 30 is provided with a supporting member 80 supporting a bottom portion of the terminal 40 and rotating between an installing state and a separating state of the terminal 40 in a bottom area thereof.

A rotation shaft 81 is mounted to bottom opposite sides of the supporting member 80, and is rotatably supported by a rotation shaft supporter 37 provided to the terminal installation part 30. Also, a spring 82 is provided to a bottom portion of the supporting member 80 and supplies an elastic force to the supporting member 80.

The slide plate 50 comprises a first slide plate 51 and a second slide plate 52, which are provided to opposite sides of the terminal 40. A connecting member 35, 36 is interposed between the guide rod 31, 32 and the slide plate 51, 52 and connects the slide plate 51, 52 with the guide rod 31, 32.

As the slide plate 51, 52 ascends and descends, the connecting member 35, 36 may ascend and descend integrally therewith relative to the guide rod 31, 32.

The holding part 53, 56 is provided to each top portion of the first slide plate 51 and the second slide plate 52.

A first auxiliary rack gear 55 is formed in an upper side of the first slide plate 51. Below the first auxiliary rack gear 55 is formed a rack gear 54 engaged with a pinion gear 62. Also, in an inner plate surface of the first slide plate 51 is formed an ascending groove 51 a along an up and down direction guiding a guide pin 91 as the first slide plate 51 ascends and descends, and from the ascending groove 51 a along a declined direction is prolonged a second guiding groove 51 b guiding the guide pin 91 as a cover plate 85 moves forward along a first guiding groove 94 b in FIG. 6.

A second auxiliary rack gear 57 is formed in an upper side of the second slide plate 52. Also, in an inner plate surface of the second slide plate 52 is formed an ascending groove 52 a along an up and down direction guiding a guide pin 92 as the second slide plate 52 ascends and descends, and from the ascending groove 52 a along a declined direction is prolonged a second guiding groove 52 b guiding the guide pin 92 as the cover plate 85 moves forward along the first guiding groove 94 b in FIG. 6.

The holding part 53, 56 comprises a holding projection 53 a, 56 a holding a top portion of the terminal 40, and a holding spring 53 b, 56 b elastically pressing the holding projection 53 a, 56 a. With correspondence thereto in the top portion of the terminal 40 is formed a projection container 40 a, 41 a (see FIG. 4) containing the holding projection 53 a, 56 a. Hence, the holding projection 53 a, 56 a may be inserted into the projection container 40 a, 41 a, thereby the terminal 40 may be maintained to be held by the terminal installation part 30.

The driving part 60 comprises a driving motor 61 provided to the installation frame 33 and supplying a rotating force, the pinion gear 62 connected with the driving motor 61, and the rack gear 54 formed in the first slide plate 51 and engaged with the pinion gear 62.

The driving motor 61 is provided to a side of the first slide plate 51, and a driving gear 61 a is provided to a shaft thereof.

Since the driving gear 61 a is engaged with the pinion gear 62, the driving gear 61 a rotates counterclockwise while the pinion gear 62 rotates clockwise. Hence, the first slide plate 51 provided with the rack gear 54 may move straight upward by a rotating force of the pinion gear 62. Herein, because of being provided with the ascending groove 51 a, the first slide plate 51 may move upward without interference of the guide pin 91.

Herein, it is preferable, but not necessary, that a lever unit 70 may be provided to a top area of the terminal installation part 30. The lever unit 70 pushes the terminal 40 along a separating direction as the terminal 40 is out of hold by the driving part 60. Thereby, the user may separate the terminal 40 from the terminal installation part 30 without difficulty because the terminal 40 is in a pushed state along the separating direction.

The lever unit 70 comprises a turning shaft 71 coupled to the terminal installation part 30, a lever 72 integrally coupled to the turning shaft 71 and pressing the terminal 40 along the separating direction, and a lever turning part 73 turning the turning shaft 71 and the lever 72.

The turning shaft 71 is rotatably coupled to a turning supporting part 38 provided to the terminal installation part 30.

The lever 72 is coupled to the turning shaft 71, contacts with a rear surface of the terminal 40, and integrally turns with the turning shaft 71. Hence, the lever 72 may push the terminal 40 forward accordingly as the turning shaft 71 and the lever 72 turn clockwise.

The lever turning part 73 comprises a first lever gear 74 coupled to a first end portion of the turning shaft 71, and the first auxiliary rack gear 55 formed in the upper side of the first slide plate 51 and engaged with the first lever gear 74. As the first slide plate 51 slidingly moves upward by driving of the driving motor 61, the first auxiliary rack gear 55 turns the first lever gear 74 clockwise, thereby the turning shaft 71 and the lever 72 may integrally turn in a turning direction of the first lever gear 74.

Also, a second lever gear 75 is coupled to a second end portion of the turning shaft 71, and the second auxiliary rack gear 57 is formed in the second slide plate 52 engaged with the second lever gear 75. Hence, a turning force of the first lever gear 74 is delivered to the turning shaft 71 and the second lever gear 75, thereby the second lever gear 75 moves the second slide plate 52 slidingly upward. Hence, the rotating force of the single driving motor 61 makes it possible that the first slide plate 51 slidingly moves upward, the turning shaft 71 turns, the lever 72 and the second lever gear 75 turns, and the second slide plate 52 also slidingly moves upward. Herein, as formed with the ascending groove 52 a, the second slide plate 52 may move upward without interference of the guide pin 92. Thereby, each holding part 53, 56 of the first slide plate 51 and the second slide plate 52 releases the terminal 40, and simultaneously the lever 72 presses the terminal 40 along the separating direction. As a result, the terminal 40 is tilted forward with a predetermined angle on the rotation shaft 81 of the supporting member 80, thereby getting in a state that the user may separate the terminal without difficulty.

Herein, as shown in FIGS. 6 through 9, preferably, but not necessarily, the refrigerator 1 may further comprise the cover plate 85 movably provided to the terminal installation part 30 and opening/closing the entrance opening 21, and a transferring part 90, 95 transferring the cover plate 85 along an opening/closing direction to open/close the entrance opening 21. Hence, the cover plate 85 may close the entrance opening 21 after the terminal 40 is separated from the entrance opening 21, which serves to provide the refrigerator 1 with a good external appearance.

It is preferable, but not necessary, that the cover plate 85 is disposed behind the terminal 40 and formed to correspond with a configuration of the entrance opening 21.

The transferring part 90, 95 forms a pair to be symmetrically disposed at opposite sides of the cover plate 85, and only the transferring part 95 of a left side of the second slide plate 52 will be described for convenience.

The transferring part 95 comprises the guide pin 92 coupled to the cover plate 85, a guiding bracket 94 interposed between the cover plate 85 and the second slide plate 52 and formed with the first guiding groove 94 b guiding the guide pin 92 along the opening/closing direction of the cover plate 85, and the second guiding groove 52 b formed in the second slide plate 52 and guiding the guide pin 92 so that the cover plate 85 moves along the first guiding groove 94 b as the second slide plate 52 slidingly moves by the driving motor 61. Namely, as the second slide plate 52 slidingly moves upward thereby, the guide pin 92 moves forward along the first guiding groove 94 b by an ascending force of the second slide plate 52. Hence, the cover plate 85 may slidingly move forward integrally with the guide pin 92 and close the entrance opening 21.

Hereinafter, a process will be described wherein the terminal 40 is being separated from the entrance opening 21 in the refrigerator 1 according to the present invention.

As shown in FIGS. 2 through 5, at first, the terminal 40 is held to the terminal installation part 30 by the holding part 53, 56. After that, if the user pushes the operating button 22 to separate the terminal 40, the driving motor 61 operates to rotate the driving gear 61 a counterclockwise. Also, the pinion gear 62 engaged with the driving gear 61 a rotates clockwise and delivers a force to the rack gear 54. Also, the first slide plate 51 slidingly moves upward to turn the first lever gear 74 engaged with the first auxiliary rack gear 55. The holding part 53 of the first slide plate 51 releases the terminal 40. Also, as the turning force of the first lever gear 74 is delivered to the turning shaft 71 and the lever 72, the lever 72 pushes the terminal 40 forward with a predetermined angle and the second lever gear 75 moves the second slide plate 52 slidingly upward turning in the same direction as the first lever gear 74 turns. At this time, the guide pins 91, 92 coupled to the first slide plate 51 and the second slide plate 52 may be guided along the each ascending groove 51 a, 52 a. With this process, the terminal 40 may be tilted forward with a predetermined angle on the rotation shaft 81 of the supporting member 80, and the user may separate the terminal 40 from the terminal installation part 30 without difficulty.

Hereinafter, a process will be described wherein the cover plate 85 is closing the entrance opening 21 in the refrigerator 1 according to the present invention.

As shown in FIGS. 6 through 9, as the terminal 40 is separated from the terminal 40, the driving motor 61 operates again after a predetermined time. Then, the first slide plate 51 and the second slide plate 52 keep slidingly moving upward, and the guide pins 91, 92 are pressed forward by the second guiding groove 51 b, 52 b, respectively. Accordingly, the cover plate 85 coupled with the guide pins 91, 92 slidingly moves forward along the first guiding grooves 94 b of the guiding brackets 93, 94 and closes the entrance opening 21. With this process, the entrance opening 21 from which the terminal 40 is separated is closed by the cover plate 85, which serves to enhance the beauty of an external appearance of the refrigerator 1.

In the foregoing embodiment, the terminal is installed to the door, but the terminal may be installed to the main body cabinet, or to both the door and the main body cabinet.

In the foregoing embodiment, the single driving part is provided to operate both the first slide plate and the second slide plate, but a plurality of driving parts may be provided to operate the first slide plate and the second slide plate, respectively.

In the foregoing embodiment, the single operating button is provided for both installing and separating of the terminal, but a plurality of operating buttons may be provided for installing and separating of the terminal, respectively.

Although a few exemplary embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the appended claims and their equivalents.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7967404 *Dec 23, 2005Jun 28, 2011Lg Electronics Inc.Display unit installing structure for refrigerator
US8123313 *Apr 21, 2009Feb 28, 2012Illinois Tool Works Inc.Door motion dampening system
US8250489 *Dec 12, 2006Aug 21, 2012Lg Electronics Inc.Control unit for refrigerator and method controlling the same
US8287061 *Aug 3, 2007Oct 16, 2012Lg Electronics Inc.Refrigerator and control method thereof
US8393694 *Nov 19, 2008Mar 12, 2013Lg Electronics Inc.Refrigerator with vertically moving member attached to home bar door
US8408664 *Mar 16, 2006Apr 2, 2013Lg Electronics Inc.Damper embedded in a home bar door of a refrigerator and method for manufacturing same
EP2037196A2 *Sep 10, 2008Mar 18, 2009Whirlpool CorporationDocking station for a refrigerator
Classifications
U.S. Classification312/405
International ClassificationA47B96/00
Cooperative ClassificationF25D29/005, F25D2400/361, F25D23/02, F25D23/12
European ClassificationF25D29/00D, F25D23/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 29, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SON, SEOK-JUN;LEE, GI-HYEONG;REEL/FRAME:016743/0014
Effective date: 20050613