US 3327493 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 1967 D. w. JACOBUS 3,327,493
HOUSEHOLD REFRIGERATOR INCLUDING AUTOMATIC ICE MAKER AND CONTROL MEANS THEREFOR Filed Nov. 21, 1966 INVENTOR. DWlGHT W. J'ACOBUS HlS ATTORNEY HOUSEHOLD nnnnrcnna ron INCLUDING AUTG- MATH: HIE MAKER AND GNTROL MEANS THEREFOR Dwight W. .iacohus, Louisvilie, K n, assignor to Generai Electric Company, a corporation of New York Fiied Nov. 21, 1966, Ser. No. %,988 2 Claims. (Cl. 62-137) The present invention relates to household refrigerators including an automatic ice maker and is particularly concerned with an improved means for controlling the operation of the refrigerator to assure maximum ice making capacity.
Many modern refrigerators include a freezer compartment, a fresh food storage compartment and refrigerated air supply means for supplying streams of below freezing air to both of the compartments, the proportions of air supplied to the two compartments being regulated to provide the desired below and above freezing temperatures in the respective compartments. Some of these refrigerators also feature an automatic ice maker disposed in the freezer compartment and designed to produce ice pieces until a predetermined amount of ice has accumulated in a storage bin positioned to receive and store the ice pieces produced by the ice maker. For maximum enjoyment of the advantages of an automatic ice maker, it is desirable that the ice maker be operated continuously for the production of ice pieces whenever the storage receptacle is not full and regardless of the refrigeration requirements of the fresh food storage compartment.
It is a primary object of the present invention to provide a combination refrigerator of the above-described type including an automatic ice maker in the freezer compartment and refrigerated air supply means designed to deliver a continuous supply of refrigerated air to the freezer compartment so long as the accumulated ice produced by the automatic ice maker is below a predetermined maximum.
A further object of the invention is to provide a combination refrigerator including refrigerated air supply and control means controlled by the cooling requirements of the ice maker when the production of ice is called for and by the cooling requirements of the fresh food compartment when the stored ice reaches a predetermined maximum amount.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent as the following description proceeds and the features of novelty which characterize the invention will be pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming part of this specification.
In accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a combination household refrigerator including a freezer compartment containing any automatic ice maker, a fresh food compartment and refrigerated air supply means including an evaporator contained in a chamber separate from both of the storage compartments and air circulating means for supplying below freezing air to the two compartments. The air circulating means includes a fan operable whenever condensed refrigerant is being supplied to the evaporator. The air supply means also includes a fiuidic air switch having a main inlet for receiving part of the refrigerated air from the fan, a freezer air outlet communicating with the freezer compartment and a fresh food outlet com- 3,327,493 Patented June 27, 1967 ice municating with the fresh food compartment. A control port and port control means for controlling the flow of air through the port is provided for directing the flow of air through the air switch to the freezer air outlet or to the fresh food compartment outlet. The electrical control circuitry for controlling the operation of the refrigerated air supply means comprises a double throw switch means which in one position continuously energizes the refrigerated air supply means so long as the ice in the ice maker storage receptacle is below a predetermined amount and in a second position transfers the control of the refrigerated air supply means to the control of a thermal switch means responsive to the temperature of the fresh food compartment. Additional control circuitry designed to maintain the temperature within the fresh food compartment within the desired temperature range during operation of the ice maker is designed to operate the fiuidic air switch through the port control means to divert the flow of air through the air switch from the freezer air outlet to the fresh food outlet whenever the fresh food compartment thermal switch means calls for refrigeration.
For a more detailed description of the invention, ref erence may be had to the accompanying drawing in which:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view, in section, of a combination refrigerator incorporating the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a sectional view taken generally along line 22 of FIGURE 1; and
FIGURE 3 is a schematic diagram of that part of a refrigerator control circuitry designed to attain the objects of the present invention.
The illustrated refrigerator comprises insulated walls defining a freezer compartment I intended to operate at a temperature below freezing and a fresh food compartment 2 adapted to operate at a. temperature above freezing as, for example, 35 to 40 F. The two compartments are separated by a horizontal insulating partition 3 which also includes refrigerated air supply means including an evaporator chamber 4 containing an evaporator 5 and a fan 6 for circulating air from the two compartments 1 and 2 through the chamber 4. More specifically, air is withdrawn from the freezer compartment 1 through a passage 8 connecting the freezer compartment with the front end of the chamber 4 and refrigerated air supplied to the freezer compartment through an air passage 9. Air is withdrawn from the fresh food compart ment 2 through a passage 10 and refrigerated air from the chamber 4 is supplied to the fresh food compartment through a passage 11 extending through the bottom of the partition 3. The refrigerator also includes a refrigerant condensing means including a compressor 12 (FIGURE 3) for supplying liquid refrigerant to the evaporator 5.
An automatic ice maker of any of the well known types designed for the automatic production of ice pieces is disposed in the freezer compartment 1. The illustrated ice maker, generally indicated by the numeral 14, is of the type described and claimed in Harle Patent 2,970,453 issued Feb. '7, 1961 and assigned to the General Electric Company. Such an ice maker in addition to control means for controlling the periodic introduction of water into the ice maker and the periodic discharge of ice pieces from the mold includes a feeler arm 15 designed to sense the accumulation of ice pieces in a receptacle 16 and to stop the operation of the ice maker when the amount of ice collected in the receptacle 16 reaches a predetermined I maximum. To this end the fee-ler arm has associated therewith a switch mechanism 17 which, in accordance with the present invention, not only controls the operation of the ice maker but also controls the operation of the additional components of the refrigeration system in cluding the fan 6 and compressor 12 under certain conditions.
The ice production rate for an automatic ice maker disposed in the freezer compartment of a household refrigerator is a function of the, temperature of the freezer compartment. In other words for maximum ice rate, the temperature within the freezer compartment should be as low as possible.
In accordance with the present invention means are provided for assuring a continuous supply of below freezing air to the freezer compartment 1 whenever the receptacle 16 is only partially filled with ice so that regardless of the refrigeration requirements of the remaining portions of the components of the refrigerator, a maximum ice production rate will be assured.
To this end, there is provided between the fan 6 and the freeze-r and fresh food air supply passages 9 and 11 a fiuidic air switch 18 including an inlet 19 for receiving a portion of the refrigerated air discharged by the fan 6, a freezer air outlet 20 for directing air from the air switch to the freezer compartment 1 and a fresh food air outlet 21 for conveying air from the air switch to the passage 11 communicating with the fresh food compartment 2. The air switch 18 also includes a control port 22 having its outlet 23 opening into the inlet end 19 of the air switch and its inlet 24 communicating with the freezer air supply passage rearwardly from the fan 6. A bimetal valve 25 within the control port 22 is designed to be closed by the operation of a heater 26 so that the absence of a flow of air through the control port 22 will serve to shift the flow of air from the freezer outlet 24 to the fresh food compartment outlet 21.
The fluid air switch 20 is operated in such a manner that the refrigerated air flowing therethrough is supplied to the freezer compartment through the air outlet 29 whenever the-re is a call for ice production by the ice maker 14 and diverted to the fresh food compartment through the outlet 21 whenever the fresh food compartment requires refrigeration or the feeler arm 15 senses a full volume of ice in the receptacle 16.
More specifically, the electrical control circuitry for controlling the operation of the air supply means including compressor 12 and the fan 6 and the ice maker 14, as is shown in FIGURE 3 of the drawing, includes a pair of supply lines 30 and 31 for supplying electrical power to the refrigerator. In addition to the ice sensing switch 17, the control circuitry includes a thermostat 32 responsive to the temperature in the fresh food compartment and operable to maintain that temperature within a predetermined range. The switch 17 is a double throw switch movable between a first operating position when the amount of ice in the receptacle or bin 16 is below a predetermined amount and a second operating position when the ice in the the bin is above that amount.
More specifically, the switch 1'7 includes a pair of interconnected switch arms 34 and 35 which in one position are designed to connect both the ice .maker 14 and the fan 6 and compressor 12 across the supply lines 30, 31 through contacts 36 and 37 respectively engaged by the arms 34 and 35. In this position the compressor 12 and the fan 6 connected in parallel with the compressor operate continuously to supply refrigerated air to the freezer compartment through the main opening 9 and from the air switch outlet 20 and the ice maker 14 is continuously energized for the automatic production of ice pieces. If during this period of operation, there is a call for refrigeration of the fresh food compartment by the thermostat 32, its contact 38 is closed to energize the air switch heater 26 which heats the thermal bimetal port means 25 to close the port and divert the flow of air through the air switch from the freezer outlet 20 to the fresh food outlet 21, After the required amount of refrigeration has been provided for the fresh food compartment 2, operation of the thermostat 32 de-energizes the heater 26 and returns the air switch air flow to the outlet 20.
Upon the accumulation of a predetermined amount of ice in the receptacle 16, the ice sensing arm 15 operates switch 17 to a position in which the switch arm 34, disengages the contact 36 thereby de-energizing the ice maker 14 and the switch arm 35 engages contact 39 thereby connecting the fan 6 and the compressor 12 'acrossthe supply lines 36, 31 through the thermostat 32. Thereafter,- and until such time as the amount of ice in the bin 16 is decreased, thermostat 32 controls the operation of the fan 6, the compressor 12 and the heater 26 to effect energization of the refrigerated air supply means including the fan 6 and the compressor 12 and the flow of air through the air switch outlet 21 to the fresh food compartment whenever the thermostat senses a need for refrigeration of the fresh food compartment 2.
From the above it will be seen that the compressor and fan are operated continuously whenever the automatic ice maker 14 requires cooling in order to produce maximum ice rates regardless of the refri eration requirements of the fresh food compartment 2. The fluidic air switch provides an effective means for diverting the flow of some of the refrigerated air to the fresh food compartment only when needed and for supplying all of the refrigerated air to the feezer compartment at other times. Thus the fresh food compartment temperature cannot go below freezing during the continuous operation of the compressor for satisfying the ice maker cooling requirements. It will be understood that the air switch may be esigned either to direct the flow of air to the freezer compartment when the control port is open or when it is closed and that the heating or cooling of the port control means by the heater 26 will be suchthat upon a call for refrigeration of the fresh food compartment air will flow from the air switch to that compartment. It will be obvious, of course, that only a relatively small amount of the refrigerated air 6 is handled by the air switch 18, the main portion of the refrigerated air being supplied through the passage 9 directly to the freezer compartment,
While there has been shown and described a specific embodiment of the invention it will be understood that it is not limited thereto and is intended by the appended.
claims to cover all such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. In a refrigerator comprising a freezer compartment, a fresh food compartment, and an ice maker in said freezer compartment including a storage bin for receiving and storing ice pieces produced by said ice maker;
air supply means for supplying streams of below freezing air to both of said compartments including refrigerating and air circulating means and a fluidic air switch having a main inlet for receiving below freezing air from said air circulating means, a freezer air outlet communicating with said freezer compartment, a fresh food air outlet communicating with said fresh food compartment, and a control port and port control means for controlling the flow of air through said port to divert the flow of air through said air switch from said freezer air outlet to said fresh food outlet, electrical control means for controlling the operation of said air supply means comprising a first switch means movable between a first operating position when the ice in said bin is below a predetermined amount and a second operating position when the ice in said bin is above said amount, a first circuit including thermal switch means responsive to the temperature in said fresh food compart- 5 6 ment for controlling the operation of said port control means comprises a bimetal valve and a resistance trol means in response to a change in temperature heater for heating said bimetal valve controlled by said of said fresh food compartment, thermal switch means. a second circuit including said first switch in its first position for continuously energizing said air supply 5 References Cited means and said ice maker when the ice in said bin UNITED STATES PATENTS 15 below Bald predetermmed ammmt 3,055,186 9/1962 Linstromberg et a1. 62344 X and a third circuit including said thermal switch means and said first switch means in its second pOSitiOn for placing said air suply means, and a control port means 10 g under control of said thermal switch means when the ROBERT O LEARY Pumary Examiner ice in said bin is above said predetermined amount. W. E. WAYNER, Assistant Examiner.
2. The refrigerator of claim 1 in which said port con- 3,280,584 10/1966 Grimm et al 62344