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Publication numberUS20090126123 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/137,336
Publication dateMay 21, 2009
Filing dateJun 11, 2008
Priority dateJun 13, 2007
Also published asDE102008028253A1
Publication number12137336, 137336, US 2009/0126123 A1, US 2009/126123 A1, US 20090126123 A1, US 20090126123A1, US 2009126123 A1, US 2009126123A1, US-A1-20090126123, US-A1-2009126123, US2009/0126123A1, US2009/126123A1, US20090126123 A1, US20090126123A1, US2009126123 A1, US2009126123A1
InventorsJoo Yeon KIM, Kyung Ah CHOI
Original AssigneeKim Joo Yeon, Choi Kyung Ah
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Washing machine and method for controlling the same
US 20090126123 A1
Abstract
A washing machine, in which a washing operation is set according to obtained washing data to perform washing of laundry, and a method for controlling the same. The washing machine includes a main body having a washing unit to contain laundry and perform washing of the laundry; a weight measuring unit to measure the weight of the laundry contained in the washing unit; a detergent storing unit provided at one side of the main body to contain a liquid detergent and supply a proper amount of the liquid detergent to the washing unit; a reading unit to receive a signal from a data tag and obtain data stored in the data tag; and a control unit to control the amount of the detergent supplied to the main body using the data obtained by the reading unit.
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Claims(18)
1. A washing machine comprising:
a main body having a washing unit to contain laundry and perform washing of the laundry;
a detergent storing unit provided at one side of the main body to contain a liquid detergent and supply a proper amount of the liquid detergent to the washing unit;
a reading unit to receive a signal from a data tag and obtain data stored in the data tag; and
a control unit to control the amount of the detergent supplied to the main body using the data obtained by the reading unit.
2. The washing machine according to claim 1, further comprising a weight measuring unit to measure the weight of the laundry contained in the washing unit.
3. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the detergent storing unit is provided at the lower part of the main body.
4. The washing machine according to claim 3, wherein the detergent storing unit is a drawer slidably inserted into the front surface of the main body.
5. The washing machine according to claim 1, further comprising a sensor to sense the clogging of the channel of a detergent supply pipe, through which the liquid detergent is supplied, by foreign substances and the coagulated liquid detergent.
6. The washing machine according to claim 5, wherein the detergent supply pipe is detachably installed.
7. The washing machine according to claim 5, wherein the detergent supply pipe is connected to a water supply pipe.
8. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the data tag is a detergent data tag including data regarding the detergent.
9. The washing machine according to claim 8, wherein the detergent data tag includes data regarding the kind of the detergent.
10. The washing machine according to claim 9, further comprising a storing unit, in which data regarding proper amounts of detergents according to kinds of the detergents and weights of laundry are stored in advance,
wherein the control unit obtains a corresponding amount of the detergent from the data regarding the amounts of the detergents, stored in the storing unit, according to the data regarding the kind of the detergent obtained from the detergent data tag and the data regarding the weight of the laundry measured by the weight measuring unit, and allows the amount of the detergent to be put into the washing unit.
11. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the detergent data tag includes data regarding the proper amount of a designated detergent according to the weight of the laundry.
12. The washing machine according to claim 11, wherein the control unit obtains the data regarding the amount of the detergent from the detergent data tag, obtains an amount of the detergent corresponding to the data regarding the amount of the detergent according to the data regarding the weight of the laundry measured by the weight measuring unit, and allows the amount of the detergent to be put into the washing unit.
13. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the data tag is a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, and the reading unit exchanges a signal with the RFID tag to obtain data from the RFID tag.
14. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the data tag is a barcode tag, and the reading unit obtains data from the barcode tag.
15. The washing machine according to claim 1, wherein the data tag is a tag transmitted through a portable phone, and the reading unit receives data from a signal transmitted from the portable phone.
16. The washing machine according to claim 1, further comprising a contamination degree sensor to sense the contamination degree of the laundry.
17. A method for controlling a washing machine comprising:
obtaining data regarding a detergent through a reading unit;
extracting a recommendation value of a proper amount of the detergent from a storing unit based on the obtained data; and
supplying the proper amount of the detergent to the washing machine according to the extracted data.
18. A method for controlling a washing machine comprising:
obtaining data regarding a detergent through a reading unit;
supplying a proper amount of the detergent to the washing machine based on the obtained data; and
storing the obtained data into a memory unit such that the obtained data are stored and, in case that the same detergent is used, the amount of the detergent is controlled based on the stored data.
Description

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 10-2007-57877, filed Jun. 13, 2007, which is hereby incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a washing machine and a method for controlling the same, and more particularly, to a washing machine, in which a washing operation is set according to obtained washing data to perform washing of laundry, and a method for controlling the same.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Generally, washing machines are apparatuses, which remove various contaminants attached to clothing and bedding using emulsification of a detergent and friction between water and laundry. Recent washing machines continuously carry out a series of processes, i.e., washing, rinsing, and dehydrating processes.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional washing machine having a detergent box.

As shown in FIG. 1, a conventional washing machine 1 includes a cabinet 2 forming the external appearance of the washing machine 1, a tub (not shown) horizontally installed in the cabinet 2 to contain washing water, and a drum 4 rotatably installed in the tub to wash laundry put into the drum 4. A plurality of lifters 6, which lifts the laundry such that the laundry at a designated height can fall by gravity, is installed on the inner surface of the drum 4. Further, a motor (not shown) generating rotary force of the drum 4 is installed at the rear of the tub.

A cabinet cover 8 provided with a laundry entrance H, through which the laundry is put into and taken out of the washing machine 1, is mounted on the front surface of the cabinet 2, and a control panel 10 including a manipulation unit 10 a for manipulating the operation of the washing machine 1 and a display unit 10 b for displaying the operation of the washing machine 1 is mounted on the front surface of the cabinet 2 above the cabinet cover 8.

A door 12 for opening and closing the laundry entrance H is rotatably installed on the cabinet cover 8, and a top plate 14 is mounted on the upper surface of the cabinet 2.

A receipt unit 10 c is formed at one side of the control panel 10, and a detergent box 20 for putting a main detergent or a subsidiary detergent into the washing machine 1 is detachably inserted into the receipt unit 10 c.

The detergent box 20 is disposed on a water supply channel of the washing machine 1 such that the main detergent and the subsidiary detergent together with supplied water can be fed into the tub.

The detergent box 20 has a hexahedral structure, the upper surface of which is opened, and includes an internal space, into which the detergents are put.

That is, the internal space of the detergent box 20 is divided into a main detergent storing unit, in which a powdery detergent is stored such that the detergent together with water is supplied during main-washing, and a subsidiary detergent storing unit, in which a liquid detergent, such as a softening agent or a bleaching agent, is stored.

Hereafter, an operation of the above conventional washing machine will be described.

Laundry is put into the drum 4, and proper amounts of a powdery detergent and a liquid detergent are respectively put into the main detergent storing unit and the subsidiary detergent storing unit of the detergent box 20.

When power is applied to the washing machine 1, water is supplied to the tub, the detergents in the detergent box 20 are washed by the sprayed water and are supplied to the tub. Then, the drum 4 is rotated by the motor, and thus washing, rinsing, and dehydrating of the laundry is carried out.

However, since a user directly measures the amounts of the detergents and puts the detergents into the detergent box 20, the conventional washing machine causes a difficulty in putting the proper amounts of the detergents into the detergent box 20 according to the kinds of the detergents, the weight of the laundry, or the contamination degree of the laundry.

Further, since designated amounts of the detergents required to perform the washing of the laundry one time must be put into the detergent box 20, the conventional washing machine causes inconvenience of supplying the detergents to the inside of the detergent box 20 whenever a user wants to wash laundry.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a washing machine and a method for controlling the same.

One object of the present invention is to provide a washing machine, which determines a proper amount of a detergent according to the kind of the detergent and the weight of laundry, and thus allows the proper amount of the detergent to be automatically put into the washing machine, and a method for controlling the same.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a washing machine, which contains a large amount of a detergent at one time, and then allows a proper amount of the detergent, required by washing, to be supplied to the washing machine whenever the washing of laundry is carried out, and a method for controlling the same.

To achieve this object and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, a washing machine includes a main body having a washing unit to contain laundry and perform washing of the laundry; a weight measuring unit to measure the weight of the laundry contained in the washing unit; a detergent storing unit provided at one side of the main body to contain a liquid detergent and supply a proper amount of the liquid detergent to the washing unit; a reading unit to receive a signal from a data tag and obtain data stored in the data tag; and a control unit to control the amount of the detergent supplied to the main body using the data obtained by the reading unit.

The detergent storing unit is preferably provided at the lower part of the main body, and may be a drawer slidably inserted into the front surface of the main body.

The detergent storing unit may include a main detergent storing unit to store a detergent, and a subsidiary detergent storing unit to store a softening agent.

The data tag may be a detergent data tag including data regarding the detergent. Further, the detergent data tag may include data regarding the kind of the detergent.

The washing machine may further include a storing unit, in which data regarding proper amounts of detergents according to kinds of the detergents and weights of laundry are stored in advance, and the control unit may obtain a corresponding amount of the detergent from the data regarding the amounts of the detergents, stored in the storing unit, according to the data regarding the kind of the detergent obtained from the detergent data tag and the data regarding the weight of the laundry measured by the weight measuring unit, and allows the amount of the detergent to be put into the washing unit.

Preferably, the detergent data tag includes data regarding the proper amount of a designated detergent according to the weight of the laundry.

The control unit may obtain the data regarding the amount of the detergent from the detergent data tag, obtain an amount of the detergent corresponding to the data regarding the amount of the detergent according to the data regarding the weight of the laundry measured by the weight measuring unit, and allow the amount of the detergent to be put into the washing unit.

The data tag may be a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, and the reading unit may exchange a signal with the RFID tag to obtain data from the RFID tag.

The data tag may be a barcode tag, and the reading unit may obtain data from the barcode tag. Further, the data tag may be a tag transmitted through a portable phone, and the reading unit may receive data from a signal transmitted from the portable phone.

The washing machine may further include a contamination degree sensor to sense the contamination degree of the laundry.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description of the present invention are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this application, illustrate embodiment(s) of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principle of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional washing machine having a detergent box;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a washing machine having a detergent storing unit in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating the relation among respective components of the washing machine in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram illustrating an automatic washing process of a detergent supply pipe of the washing machine in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a flow chart for schematically illustrating a process for controlling a washing machine in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a washing machine in accordance with the present invention, FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating the relation among respective components of the washing machine in accordance with the present invention, and FIG. 4 is a circuit diagram illustrating channels formed among a water supply unit, a detergent storing unit, and a washing unit.

As shown in FIGS. 2 to 4, a washing machine 100 in accordance with the present invention includes a main body 110 having a washing unit 111 containing laundry and performing the washing of the laundry, a weight measuring unit 140 measuring the weight of the laundry contained in the washing unit 111, a detergent storing unit 120 provided at one side of the main body 110, containing a liquid detergent and supplying a proper amount of the liquid detergent to the washing unit 111, a reading unit 130 receiving a signal from a data tag to obtain data stored in the data tag, and a control unit 160 controlling the amount of the detergent supplied to the main body 110 using the data obtained by the reading unit 130.

The main body 110 forms the external appearance of the washing machine 100, and the washing unit 111, in which the laundry is washed, is provided in the main body 110. The washing unit 111 includes a tub 112 to store washing water, and a drum 113 provided in the tub 112 to receive and rotate laundry.

The weight measuring unit 140 includes a sensor to measure the weight of the laundry contained in the washing unit 111. The control unit 160 controls the amount of the detergent supplied to the washing unit 111 according to the weight of the laundry measured by the sensor.

The detergent storing unit 120 is preferably formed at the bottom of the main body 110. Further, the detergent storing unit 120 is a drawer type, which is slidably inserted into the front surface of the main body 110.

The detergent storing unit 120 is divided into a main detergent storing unit 121 to store a liquid detergent supplied to the washing unit 111 during washing, and a subsidiary detergent storing unit 122 to store a softening agent, etc., which is used during rinsing.

The detergent storing unit 120 contains a large amount of the liquid detergent, and a proper amount of the detergent stored in the detergent storing unit 120 is supplied to the washing unit 111 whenever a user operates the washing machine 100.

The reading unit 130 is provided on the upper portion of the front surface of the main body 110, and reads data stored in the data tag.

Further, the reading unit 130 varies according to kinds of data tags.

In case that the data tag is a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, the reading unit 130 is configured such that the reading unit 130 can exchange a signal with the RFID tag to receive the signal from the RFID tag.

Here, the RFID tag has a designated memory region such that the RFID tag can store various data, and various data are recorded in the memory region. Further, it is possible to record additional data in the memory region.

The data tag may be a barcode tag, and in this case, the reading unit 130 is configured such that the reading unit 130 can obtain data from the barcode tag.

Further, the data tag may be a data tag transmitted through a portable phone, and in this case, the reading unit 130 is configured such that the reading unit 130 can obtain data from the data tag transmitted from the portable phone.

The data tag and the reading unit 130 may have various structures, which can exchange data by other non-contact methods.

The washing machine 100 further includes a display unit 132 at one side of the main body 110. Thus, data obtained by the reading unit 130 and various sensors are displayed through the display unit 132. Here, the display unit 132 may be an LCD or other display devices.

The washing machine 100 further includes an input unit 131 at one side of the main body 110. A user selects various items or inputs additional data through the input unit 131. The input unit 131 may include general buttons or a keypad.

Hereafter, the data tag will be described in detail.

The data tag is a detergent data tag including data regarding the kind of a detergent. Generally, a proper amount of a detergent to be supplied to the washing unit 11 varies according to kinds of detergents. Thus, in case that a user uses a new detergent, a proper amount of the detergent to be supplied to the washing unit 111 is automatically recognized through the above data tag, and then is supplied to the washing unit 111.

Preferably, the washing machine 100 further includes a storing unit 170, in which data regarding proper amounts of detergents according to kinds of detergents and weights of laundry are input in advance. The control unit 160 picks out a proper amount of the detergent from a detergent amount table stored in the storing unit 170, according to the data regarding the kind of the detergent obtained from the detergent data tag and the weight data of the laundry measured by the weight measuring unit 140, and allows the proper amount of the detergent to be put into the washing unit 111.

Further, the detergent data tag may include data regarding the proper amount of a designated detergent according to the weight of the laundry.

The washing machine 100 of the present invention further includes a contamination degree sensor 150 to sense the contamination degree of the laundry.

Thus, it is possible to supply a proper amount of the detergent to the washing unit 111 according to data obtained by the contamination degree sensor 150 as well as the data obtained from the detergent data tag and the data regarding the weight of the laundry.

Preferably, the control unit 160 receives data input from the reading unit 130, the weight measuring unit 140, and the contamination degree sensor 150, calculates a proper amount of the detergent based on the input data, and adjusts the amount of the detergent supplied to the washing unit 111.

As shown in FIG. 4, a detergent supply pipe 210, through which the detergent is supplied, is provided between the detergent storing unit 120 and the washing unit 111. A pump 220 to pump the detergent stored in the detergent storing unit 120 to the washing unit 111 is provided on the detergent supply pipe 210. The pump 220 is controlled by the control unit 160. The control unit 160 controls the number of rotations of the pump 220, and thus controls the amount of the detergent supplied to the washing unit 111.

A water supply pipe 240, through which washing water is supplied, is provided between a water supply unit 230 and the washing unit 111.

In case that the detergent storing unit 120 stores a large amount of the detergent, as described above, such that a designated amount of the detergent can be used as occasion demands, when the washing machine 100 does not perform the washing of laundry for a long time, the detergent remaining in the detergent supply pipe 210 may be coagulated, and thus the channel of the detergent supply pipe 210 may be clogged by foreign substances.

Thus, it is preferable that the washing machine 100 further includes a sensor 225 to sense the clogging of the channel of the detergent supply pipe 210.

The sensor 225 is preferably provided on the detergent supply pipe 210, and, in case that the supply of the detergent to the washing unit 111 is stopped, a user can recognize the stoppage of the supply of the detergent through the display unit 132 or an alarm.

The detergent supply pipe 210 is detachably installed such that the user can wash the detergent supply pipe 210.

In case that the channel of the detergent supply pipe 210 is clogged, the detergent supply pipe 210 may be automatically washed.

FIG. 4 illustrates channels of the detergent supply pipe 210 and the water supply pipe 240, which are automatically washed when the supply of the detergent is stopped or the channels are clogged.

With reference to FIG. 4, the detergent supply pipe 210 to supply a detergent from the detergent storing unit 120 to the washing unit 111 and the water supply pipe 240 to supply washing water from the water supply unit 230 to the washing unit 111 are interconnected.

In order to interconnect the water supply pipe 240 and the detergent supply pipe 210, as described above, a bypass pipe 250 bypassing the water supply pipe 240 is provided. A pump 251 and a first valve V1 are provided on the bypass pipe 250.

Further, a second valve V2 and a third valve V3 are provided on the detergent supply pipe 210, and a fourth valve V4 is provided on the water supply pipe 240.

One end of the bypass pipe 250 is connected to the detergent supply pipe 210 between the second valve V2 and the third valve V3.

Thereafter, an operation for washing the channel of the detergent supply pipe 210, in case that the detergent supply pipe 210 is clogged, will be described.

Generally, in case that washing water is supplied to the washing unit 111, the fourth valve V4 is opened on condition that the first valve V1 is closed and thus the washing water is supplied from the water supply unit 230 to the washing unit 111, and in case that a detergent is put into the tub 112, the first valve V1 is closed, the second and third valves V2 and V3 are opened, the pump 220 is driven, and thus the detergent is supplied from the detergent storing unit 120 to the washing unit 111.

However, in case that the detergent supply pipe 210 is clogged, the second and fourth valves V2 and V4 are closed and the first and third valves V1 and V3 are opened, and thus the washing water is supplied from the water supply unit 230 to the detergent supply pipe 20 through the bypass pipe 250, thereby washing the detergent supply pipe 210.

Hereinafter, with reference to FIG. 5, a method for controlling the above washing machine 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention will be described in more detail.

First, in case that a new detergent is used, the reading unit 130 obtains data regarding the corresponding detergent from the data tag (S100).

Herein, the data regarding the detergent include data regarding the kind of the detergent.

Concurrently, the weight measuring unit 140 detects data regarding the weight of laundry to be washed (S110).

Further, the contamination degree sensor 150 detects the contamination degree of the laundry to be washed (S120).

The control unit 160 extracts a proper amount of the detergent based on the data obtained from the data tag, the weight measuring unit 140, and the contamination degree sensor 150, and allows a user to confirm the extracted data through the display unit 132 (S130).

In case that the data tag is a data tag including the data regarding the kind of the detergent, a corresponding data is extracted from the storing unit 170, in which data regarding proper amounts of detergents according to kinds of the detergents and weights of laundry are stored, during the above extracting process.

Thereafter, the washing machine supplies the proper amount of the detergent to the washing unit 111 based on the extracted data (S140).

Thereafter, the data regarding the detergent are automatically stored in the storing unit 170, and thus in case that the same detergent is used, a washing operation is carried out according the stored data (S150).

The washing machine of the present invention recognizes a proper amount of a liquid detergent according to the kind of the detergent and the weight of laundry to be washed, and allows the proper amount of the liquid detergent to be put into the washing unit 111.

The washing machine of the present invention contains a large amount of the detergent, and thus reduces the trouble of supplying the detergent whenever a washing operation is carried out.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the inventions. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Patent Citations
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US6035472 *Jul 13, 1998Mar 14, 2000U.N.X. IncMethod of dispensing chemicals
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US20050028298 *Apr 22, 2004Feb 10, 2005Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.Drum washing machine and method of controlling the same
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7737839 *Jan 24, 2008Jun 15, 2010Sprint Communications Company L.P.System and method for protecting pocket-portable electronic devices
US20100101030 *Oct 29, 2009Apr 29, 2010Daewoo Electronics CorporationControl method of washing machine with liquid detergent supply device
US20120159998 *Jun 15, 2010Jun 28, 2012Bsh Bosch Und Siemens Hausgerate GmbhAutomatically controlled washing machine having a detergent inlet device
WO2013106549A1 *Jan 10, 2013Jul 18, 2013Burgess RonaldSystem for dispensing substances into a washing machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification8/137, 68/12.02, 68/12.04, 68/12.18
International ClassificationD06F33/02, D06F39/02
Cooperative ClassificationD06F2202/10, D06F39/02, D06F2204/02, D06F2202/02, D06F33/02
European ClassificationD06F39/02, D06F33/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 22, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: LG ELECTRONICS INC., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:KIM, JOO YEON;CHOI, KYUNG AH;REEL/FRAME:022140/0940;SIGNING DATES FROM 20090116 TO 20090119