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Publication numberUS20090049849 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/181,959
Publication dateFeb 26, 2009
Filing dateJul 29, 2008
Priority dateAug 22, 2007
Publication number12181959, 181959, US 2009/0049849 A1, US 2009/049849 A1, US 20090049849 A1, US 20090049849A1, US 2009049849 A1, US 2009049849A1, US-A1-20090049849, US-A1-2009049849, US2009/0049849A1, US2009/049849A1, US20090049849 A1, US20090049849A1, US2009049849 A1, US2009049849A1
InventorsHyung Yul KIM
Original AssigneeLg Electronics Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Control method for refrigerator
US 20090049849 A1
Abstract
A control method for a refrigerator is provided. In the method, operating conditions of a compressor are determined through a defrost sensor mounted to an evaporator to reduce power consumption. Because the operating conditions of the compressor are determined according to the temperature of the evaporator, cooling efficiency of the refrigerator can be improved, and power consumption can be reduced.
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Claims(8)
1. A control method for a refrigerator, comprising:
measuring a temperature of an evaporator with a temperature sensor provided at a side of the evaporator;
comparing the measured temperature of the evaporator to a reference temperature; and
determining operating conditions of a compressor according to result of the comparison of the temperatures.
2. The control method according to claim 1, wherein the operating condition of the compressor is varied according to the result of the comparison of the temperatures.
3. The control method according to claim 1, wherein the operating condition of the compressor, according to the result of the comparing of the temperatures, comprises at least two modes.
4. The control method according to claim 1, wherein the temperature sensor is a defrost sensor.
5. The control method according to claim 1, wherein the operating condition of the compressor comprises:
a first operating mode performed when the temperature of the evaporator exceeds a set temperature range;
a second operating mode performed when the temperature of the evaporator lies within the set temperature range; and
a third operating mode performed when the temperature of the evaporator is below the set temperature range.
6. The control method according to claim 5, wherein
the compressor is operated with 100% input power in the first operating mode,
the compressor is operated with 80% input power in the second operating mode, and
the compressor is operated with 60% input power in the third operating mode.
7. The control method according to claim 1, wherein the operating condition of the compressor comprises modes determined through controlling input power to the compressor.
8. The control method according to claim 1, wherein operation of the compressor is stopped when a temperature within the refrigerator reaches a set temperature.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119 and 35 U.S.C. 365 to Korean Patent Application No. 10-2007-0084391 (filed on Aug. 22, 2007), which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

The present disclosure relates to a control method for a refrigerator that measures the temperature of an evaporator through a defrost sensor mounted to the evaporator, and controls the operating capacity of a compressor according to the temperature of the evaporator, in order to improve the efficiency of the compressor.

In general, a refrigerator is an apparatus for storing foods at low temperature, and is configured to store foods according to type in frozen or refrigerated states.

Refrigerators can be categorized into top mounted refrigerators with a freezer compartment provided above a refrigeration compartment, bottom freezer refrigerators with a freezer compartment provided below a refrigeration compartment, and side-by-side refrigerators with a freezer compartment and a refrigeration compartment partitioned to the left and right of one another.

Due to a modern trend of enlarging and providing multifunctional refrigerators, brought about by diversifying user preferences and changing eating habits, a wide range of products with different configurations is being marketed.

The inside of a refrigerator is cooled by continually supplied cold air generated through heat exchange of refrigerant in a repeating compression-condensation-expansion-evaporation cycle.

Evaporation of refrigerant is performed by an evaporator provided within the refrigerator, and cold air formed with the evaporator is uniformly circulated throughout the inside of the refrigerant by means of convection currents, to enable food to be stored in the refrigerator at a desired temperature.

That is, temperatures within a refrigerator are maintained through performing or deactivating a cooling cycle according to temperatures sensed by temperature sensors provided in the freezer compartment and refrigeration compartment.

Also, a defrost sensor is mounted at a side of the evaporator, and it is determined from the temperature of the evaporator sensed by the defrost sensor whether or not to implement defrosting.

However, in a refrigerator according to the related art configured as described above, the following limitations are inherent.

Because operation of a related art refrigerator is controlled based primarily on data from the temperature sensors provided in the freezer compartment and refrigeration compartment, and a compressor that compresses refrigerant is always driven at full capacity while the refrigerator operates, the efficiency of the refrigerator is compromised.

Additionally, because the compressor is driven at full capacity, power consumption of the refrigerator is unfavorable.

Furthermore, because a related art defrost sensor is used only for defrosting operation, its utility is restricted.

SUMMARY

Embodiments provide a control method of a refrigerator that controls operating conditions of a compressor through a defrost sensor mounted to an evaporator, instead of through temperature sensors in a freezer compartment and a refrigeration compartment.

Embodiments also provide a control method of a refrigerator that uses a defrost sensor mounted to an evaporator to adjust the operating capacity (or operating conditions) of a compressor, to reduce power consumption of the refrigerator.

In one embodiment, a control method of a refrigerator includes: measuring a temperature of an evaporator with a temperature sensor provided at a side of the evaporator; comparing the measured temperature of the evaporator to a reference temperature; and determining operating condition of a compressor according to results of the comparison of the temperatures.

According to a control method for a refrigerator according to the present disclosure, because the operating capacity of the compressor can be controlled according to the temperature of the evaporator, cooling efficiency of the refrigerator can be increased.

Also, because the compressor is not always operated at full capacity, power consumption of the refrigerator can be reduced. In other words, even if the cooling cycle is being performed due to the temperatures in the freezer compartment and the refrigeration compartment being higher than set temperatures, the operating conditions of the compressor are determined based on the temperature of the evaporator sensed by the defrost sensor, so that the compressor does not always have to be operated at maximum capacity. Accordingly, power consumption of the refrigerator can be reduced to economically benefit the consumer of the refrigerator and increase product satisfaction.

Moreover, operating noise of the compressor can be reduced, thus providing the added advantage of reducing dissatisfaction arising from excessive noise.

The details of one or more embodiments are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a frontal perspective view showing the inside of a refrigerator, to which the control method for a refrigerator according to embodiments of the present disclosure is applied.

FIG. 2 is a side sectional view of the refrigerator in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a graph showing a process for controlling pressure of a compressor according to the temperature of an evaporator in a refrigerator according to embodiments of the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 is a flowchart showing a control method for a refrigerator according to embodiments of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the present disclosure, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While a side-by-side refrigerator is described as an example of a refrigerator for the sake of descriptive convenience, it should be noted that the present disclosure may be applied to all types of refrigerators.

FIG. 1 is a frontal perspective view showing the inside of a refrigerator, to which the control method for a refrigerator according to embodiments of the present disclosure is applied, and FIG. 2 is a side sectional view of the refrigerator in FIG. 1.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a refrigerator 10 according to embodiments of the present disclosure includes a main body 100 partitioned into a freezer compartment 300 and a refrigeration compartment 200 by a barrier 120, a freezer compartment door 320 pivotably provided at the front of the freezer compartment 300, and a refrigeration compartment door 220 pivotably provided at the front of the refrigeration compartment 200.

According to the type of product, the refrigeration compartment door 220 may be provided with a home bar 240, and the freezer compartment door 320 may be provided with a dispenser 340.

In addition, a plurality of door baskets 160 may be provided on the rear surfaces of the refrigeration compartment door 220 and the freezer compartment door 320 to store a wide range of foods by type.

The freezer compartment 300 and the refrigeration compartment 200 may be divided into a plurality of levels by means of a plurality of shelves 140, and a plurality of storage containers 150 for storing food by type may be provided on the divided levels.

The storage containers 150 may be divided into a vegetable box for storing vegetables, and drawers defining multipurpose storage spaces, and the vegetable box and drawers may be mounted within the freezer compartment 300 and/or refrigeration compartment 200, configured to be withdrawn by being slid forward.

An evaporation chamber 400 is defined at the rear of the freezer compartment 300. The evaporation chamber 400 is defined between the main body 100 and the rear wall 410 of the freezer compartment 300. In detail, a plurality of cold air discharge holes 412 is defined in the rear wall 410 of the freezer compartment, to discharge cold air generated in the evaporation chamber 400 into the freezer compartment 300.

An evaporator 420 for generating cold air through heat exchanging of refrigerant is provided in the evaporation chamber 400. In detail, the cold air generated by the evaporator 420 is forcefully circulated by a cooling fan 402 provided above the evaporator 420, to be discharged through the cold air discharging holes 412 into the freezer compartment 300.

The cold air circulating inside the freezer compartment 300 returns to the evaporation chamber 400 through a cold air return duct 414 defined at the lower portion of the main body 100.

The cold air that returns through the cold air return duct 414 exchanges heat again in the evaporation chamber 400, and is discharged again by the cooling fan 402 into the freezer compartment 300. This circulation process is performed repeatedly to cool the freezer compartment 300 to a predetermined temperature. The cold air supplied into the freezer compartment 300 is also supplied to the refrigeration compartment 200 through a connecting passage (not shown) defined in the barrier 120. In another method, the evaporation chamber 400 extends to behind the rear wall of the refrigeration compartment 200, and cold air discharge holes are also defined in the rear wall of the refrigeration compartment 200, so that cold air can be directly supplied from the evaporation chamber 400 to the refrigeration compartment 200.

A defrost heater 440 for removing frost forming on the evaporator 420 is provided below the evaporator 420. The defrost heater 440 radiates heat at predetermined intervals to remove frost, and is configured with a defrost sensor 460 provided at the top of the evaporator 420 to selectively shut off power to the defrost heater 440.

The defrost sensor 460 is fixed firmly against the surface of the evaporator 420 to measure the temperature at the surface of the evaporator 420, in order to determine whether or not to perform defrosting according to the surface temperature of the evaporator 420. Also, in the present disclosure, the operating conditions (capacity) of the compressor 120 are determined according to the temperature of the evaporator 420 measured by the defrost sensor 460.

The compressor 120 for compressing refrigerant to a high temperature and pressure is disposed at the lower portion to the outside of the freezer compartment 300 (as shown in FIG. 2), that is, at the rear surface and the bottom of the main body 100. The compressor 120 provided may be a linear compressor or an inverter compressor, whose operating conditions are controlled by input power.

The compressor 120 is connected through a pipe to the evaporator 420, has its operating conditions controlled according to the temperature sensed by the defrost sensor 460 provided at the top, side surface of the evaporator 420, and is switched ON/OFF by means of a temperature sensor (not shown) provided in the freezer compartment 300.

Below, a detailed description will be given of a control method for a refrigerator configured as above according to the present disclosure, with reference to FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 3 is a graph showing a process for controlling pressure of a compressor according to the temperature of an evaporator in a refrigerator according to embodiments of the present disclosure, and FIG. 4 is a flowchart showing a control method for a refrigerator according to embodiments of the present disclosure.

Referring to FIG. 3, when the refrigerator operates, the defrost sensor temperature (or, the temperature of the evaporator) gradually falls, and the inside of the refrigerator is cooled correspondingly to the temperature of the defrost sensor. Here, the operating conditions of the compressor are controlled through controlling the input power to the compressor in a plurality of levels according to the temperature of the evaporator.

Specifically, when the temperature at the defrost sensor exceeds a temperature T1, the input power to the compressor may be 100% to drive the compressor at full capacity. When the temperature at the defrost sensor is less than a temperature T2, the input power to the compressor may be 60% to drive the compressor at minimum capacity. When the temperature at the defrost sensor is between temperatures T1 and T2, the input power to the compressor may be 80% to drive the compressor at medium capacity.

Referring to FIG. 4, after the refrigerator is operated, the defrost sensor is used to perform a measurement of the evaporator temperature in operation S100. Then, in operation S200, a comparison is performed of the evaporator temperature measured in operation S100 with reference temperatures T1 and T2.

Operation S200 is performed a plurality of times, and a compressor controlling operation S300 is performed many times to control the operating conditions of the compressor according to the results of the temperature comparison in operation S200.

In detail, when it is determined in operation S210 that the evaporator temperature exceeds T1, an input power of 100% is applied to the compressor to drive it at full capacity in a first mode in operation S310 to quickly cool the inside of the refrigerator.

When it is determined in operation S220 that the evaporator temperature is greater than T2 and less than T1, an input power of 80% that is less than that applied in operation S310 is applied to the compressor to drive it in a second mode in operation S320. Then, when it is determined in operation S230 that the evaporator temperature is less than T2, an input power of 60% that is less than that applied in operation S320 is applied to the compressor to drive it at minimum capacity in a third mode in operation S330. When it is determined through the temperature sensors mounted in the freezer compartment and the refrigeration compartment that the temperatures inside the refrigerator have reached adequate levels, the compressor is turned off. When it is determined that the temperatures within the refrigerator are not within a set temperature range, the compressor is reactivated, and operations S100 to S300 are performed again.

Any reference in this specification to “one embodiment,” “an embodiment,” “exemplary embodiment,” etc., means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the disclosure. The appearances of such phrases in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Further, when a particular feature, structure, or characteristic is described in connection with any embodiment, it is submitted that it is within the purview of one skilled in the art to affect such feature, structure, or characteristic in connection with others of the embodiments.

Although embodiments have been described with reference to a number of illustrative embodiments thereof, it should be understood that numerous other modifications and embodiments can be devised by those skilled in the art that will fall within the spirit and scope of the principles of this disclosure. More particularly, various variations and modifications are possible in the component parts and/or arrangements of the subject combination arrangement within the scope of the disclosure, the drawings and the appended claims. In addition to variations and modifications in the component parts and/or arrangements, alternative uses will also be apparent to those skilled in the art.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7984617 *Oct 29, 2003Jul 26, 2011Lg Electronics Inc.Method of controlling compressor for refrigerator and apparatus thereof
EP2631572A2 *Jan 16, 2013Aug 28, 2013Whirlpool CorporationDual capillary tube / heat exchanger in combination with cycle priming for reducing charge migration
EP2631578A2 *Jan 16, 2013Aug 28, 2013Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerator with variable capacity compressor and cycle priming action through capacity control and associated methods
Classifications
U.S. Classification62/156, 62/228.1
International ClassificationF25D21/06, F25B1/00
Cooperative ClassificationF25D29/00, F25B2700/2117, F25B49/022, F25B2600/02, F25B2700/11, F25B2600/0251
European ClassificationF25B49/02B, F25D29/00