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Publication numberUS3331215 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 18, 1967
Filing dateApr 28, 1966
Priority dateApr 28, 1966
Publication numberUS 3331215 A, US 3331215A, US-A-3331215, US3331215 A, US3331215A
InventorsShaw Lyle F
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ice maker with bin sensing mechanism
US 3331215 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 18, 1967 L. F. SHAW 3,331,215

ICE MAKER WITH BIN SENSING MECHANISM Filed April 28, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 6 INVENTOR Z VIE/C. SHAW HEATER 1 85 34), M 7 ATTORNEY July 18, 1967 F. SHAW ICE MAKER WITH BIN SENSING MECHANISM 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April 28, 1966 INVENTOR LYLE/T SHAW ATT NE July 18, 1967 SHAW 3,331,215

ICE MAKER WITH BIN SENSING MECHANISM Filed April 28, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR LVLE/F'SH/IW BY 41, W

.. HMATTORNEY July 18, 1967 L. F. SHAW 3,331,215

' ICE MAKER WITH BIN SENSING MECHANISM Filed April 28, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR LYLE E SHAW ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,331,215 ICE MAKER WITH BIN SENSING MECHANISM Lyle F. Shaw, Fort Smith, Ark, assignor, by mesne assignments, to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Apr. 28, 1966, Ser. No. 546,016 14 Claims. (Cl. 62-137) This invention relates to an ice maker and more particularly to an automatic ice cube maker of the type adapted to be installed in a refrigerator.

The invention relates generally to the type of ice maker including an ice-cube forming mold structure having cavities in which water is frozen, heating means for freeing ice cubes in the mold cavities, means for removing ice cubes from the mold cavities comprising one or more ejector pistons forming the bottoms of the mold ice-cube cavities and mechanically connected for simultaneously raising and ejecting the ice cubes from the mold, and water supply means for providing water to the mold cavities for a subsequent ice cube-forming and ejection operation, the described operations of the ice maker being consecutively performed by cam mechanism controlled by, and controlling, an electric switch means. In addition, the ice maker is provided with means for terminating operation, when an associated ice bin is filled with the ice cubes, in the form of a feeler arm mechanism movable, after each ice cube delivery to the bin, to sense the ice cube accumulation in the bin. An ice maker of this type is described and claimed in US. Patent 3,163,- 017, issued Dec. 29, 1964, in the names of Clyde F. Baker, Romeo Bougie, and Lyle F. Shaw.

The present invention has as its principal object the provision of improved control means for stopping the operation of an ice maker when a desired quantity of ice has been accumulated.-

A specific object of the invention is to provide an improved mechanical control means for operating electric control switch means, to discontinue operation of the ice maker, only when a desired quantity of ice has been accumulated.

Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description, reference being made to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a partial front elevational view of a refrigerator provided with an automatic ice maker embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the automatic ice maker;

FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the ice maker illustrating the ice cube-forming mold structure, the ice cube-raising and ejector mechanism, cam control mechanism, bin control feeler mechanism, and the fluid supply, together with electrical components for operation of the mechanisms and fluid supply, the mold structure being shown in section to more clearly show the ice-cube raising and ejector mechanism;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the ice maker showing the cam mechanism, and switch means operative thereby, said section being taken on line 44 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on line 66 of FIG. 5;

FIGS. 7-9 are enlarged views of the ice-accumulation feeler mechanism, and ice maker control stop switch operative thereby, FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrating respectively the feeler mechanism and switch prior to initiation, and at the termination, of the ice-ejecting operation, and FIG. 9 illustrates the feeler mechanism and switch in positions taken when the ice bin is filled with ice cubes;

FIG. 10 is a schematic diagram of the electrical control arrangement for the ice maker.

Briefly, the ice maker illustrated in the drawings, comprises an ice cube-forming mold structure having a plurality of pistons, defining the bottoms of the ice cubeforming cavities in the mold structure, operated by a lever arrangement to eject the ice cubes from the mold upon heating of the mold by a heater to free the ice cubes from the mold, the pistons being simultaneously actuated by a lever mechanism controlled by a cam mechanism operated by an electric motor energizable by a thermostat responsive to the freezing temperature of the ice mold, the cam mechanism also being instrumental to cause motion of a raker to sweep the ice cubes from their raised positions into a receptacle and being further effective to control fluid supply to the molds for ice cube formation, all of these various functions of the ice maker being thermostatically, electrically, and cam controlled, as disclosed in the aforesaid US. Patent 3,163,017.

Referring to FIG. 1, the refrigerator illustrated is of a well-known type and comprises a thermally insulated cabinet 10 having a frozen food compartment 11 provided with an evaporator or a cooling unit in the form of cooling refrigerant passages 12 (FIG. 2) in the liner 13 of the compartment to cool the air within the compartment 11 and thereby to freeze foods and water placed in the compartment. As it will be observed, the automatic ice cube maker of the invention, generally indicated at 15, is mounted in the compartment 11 in a manner to be described.

Details of the construction of the ice cube maker are more clearly shown in FIGS. 2-6, inclusive. The ice cube maker comprises an aluminum mold block or structure 16 of rectangular box-like configuration having one side secured by bolts 17 passing through the mold and the liner 13 into the cabinet 10 to support the ice maker on the refrigerator as shown in FIG. 2 and for intimate heat exchanging contact with the liner 13 for thermal conduction relation to themold structure 16 to insure freezing of water within the mold structure by the absorption of heat therefrom by the vaporizable refrigerants circulated through the evaporator passages 12 of the liner 13.

As seen in FIG. 2, the flat side Wall 18 of the ice mold structure or block is spaced from the liner by a pair of spaced thermal-conductive pads 19 and also three thermalinsulating pads 20, disposed between the pads 19 and at opposite ends of the pads 19, the pads being engaged with the aluminum mold structure to space the mold structure from the liner. This arrangement is important as the thermal-conducting pads are located to conduct heat from the central cavity or mold 21 and the adjacent cavities or molds 22 and 23 to cause freezing of the fluid in these cavities into cubes prior to conducting heat from the end molds 24 and 25 to form ice cubes in the end molds, i.e. fluid in the central and its adjacent molds 21, 22, and 23 will freeze into ice cubes prior to the freezing of the water in the end molds 24 and 25 so that ice cubes will be formed in all of the molds to close a thermostatic switch, located in proximity to the mold to energize a motor and a heater as will later be described. It will be seen that pads 19 are positioned between the block and the liner and disposed in parallel vertical planes respectively extending between the central mold 21 and two molds 22 and 23 so that the adjacency of the heat-conducting pads to these molds will cause the water to be frozen into ice cubes prior to the ice cubes being formed in the end molds 24 and 25.

. This safety factor insures the thermostatic switch closing only when all of the ice cubes are formed in the molds.

As seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the mold structure 16 is provided with each of its ice cube-forming molds being provided by vertical cylindrical pockets with each pocket being enlarged diametrically in cross-section from the bottom to the top thereof to provide the individual molds with an inverted frusto-conical shape for forming an ice cube of maximum size while permitting easy ejection of the cubes from the molds. As seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the walls 27 between and separating adjacent molds are interrupted by aligned vertical passages 28 for permitting fluid entering the mold from a trough 29 mounted on the right end of the mold structure, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the fluid flowing into the mold 25 and thence through the connecting passages 28 consecutively to the molds 23, 21, 22, and 24. The entry of water into the molds is controlled by a valve 30 having a solenoid 31 which, when energized, opens the valve to permit fluid to enter the trough and the molds.

As shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 6, the molds 22, 23, 24, and 25 have their bottoms closed by a plurality of piston-like plates 32 formed integral with the top of a thin elongate horizontal bar 33 received within the passages 28 of the mold structure and an elongate slot 34 in the block, and the central mold has its bottom closed by a solid piston 35 formed integral with the bar, so that the molds 21-25 and passages 28 are closed at their bottom ends. It may be noted that the passages 28 not only provide for the consecutive filling of the molds from right to left from the trough but also provide guides for the vertical movement of the bar 33 during raising and lowering of the iceeube ejector assembly comprising the bar 33 and the pistons 32 and 35. As seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the piston 35 of the ejector assembly has an opening extending vertically therethrough for receiving the reduced end 36 of the upper portion of a cylindrical pilot rod 37 of the ejector assembly, the rod having a shoulder abutting the bottom of the piston 35 for supporting the pistons and bar for conjoint movement, the top of the rod 37 being flattened to provide a rivet 38 to secure the rod 37 to the piston 35. The rod extends through and is slidably supported in a cylindrical opening 39 in the mold structure and through a boss 40 extending downwardly of the mold, the upper end of the opening 39 being enlarged to receive a seal assembly 41 surrounding and slidably engaging the rod 37.

It will be apparent that, in the position of the ejector assembly shown in FIG. 3, water entering from the trough 29 will flow into the mold 25 and consecutively into the molds 23, 21, 22 and 24 until the molds are filled with a predetermined quantity of fluid for freezing into ice cubes by the heat exchange relation of the mold and the liner 11 and that, when the ice cubes are formed, movement of the rod 37 upwardly will raise the bar 33 and its pistons 32 and 35 to eject the ice cubes from the molds.

A lever mechanism is provided for raising and lowering the ejector assembly and comprises a lever 42 having an arm 43 received within a slot 44 in the pilot rod 37 as shown in FIG. 3, the lever 42 being pivoted intermediate its ends by a pin 45 positioned on and extending through parallel cars 46, 46 of an end wall 47 of the casing 48 supporting the lever mechanism. The lever is adapted to rotate about the pin 45 by having its arm 49 operated by a cam mechanism, generally indicated at 50, effective to control such movement of the lever to raise the ejector assembly to raise the ice cubes and to thereafter lower the ejector assembly.

The cam mechanism is instrumental in controlling, with a thermostatic control, the various functions of the ice cube maker. More particularly, the cam mechanism comprises a rotatable cam 51 connected to the driven shaft 52 of transmission gearing (not shown) which, in turn, is connected to the shaft of an electric motor 53 mounted on plate 54 connected by screws 55 and 56 to the casing walls 57 and 47, the gearing being adapted to provide a ratio of 340021 for rotating the shaft 52. As seen in FIG. 4, a headed threaded pin 58 secured to one side of the cam in spaced relation to the rotational axis of the cam extends within an elongate slot 59 in the arm 49 of the lever 42 so that rotation of the cam will cause the pin 58 to travel along the slot 59 on the lever to move the lever about its pivot pin 45 to raise and lower the ejector assembly.

Referring to FIG. 6, the mold block 16 has grooves 60 formed in the bottom thereof for receiving the legs of a U-shaped aluminum sheathed electrical coil 61 capable of 300 watts at 115 volts to provide a heater for heating the body of the mold block so that heat conducted through the mold block to the ice cubes will melt the frozen bond between the ice cubes and the walls of the molds. As shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 6, the ends of the coil extend through and are supported by, as at 62, the wall 47 of the casing.

Upon application of heat to the mold block by the heater coil, the heat will be conducted uniformly to all of the molds 21 to 25 to substantially simultaneously free the cubes from the mold and, due to the location of the thermal-insulating pads 20, very little heat will flow to and be conducted through the small area of the thermalconductive pads 19 to the linear 13. Accordingly, it will require very little exertion or action by the ejector and cam mechanism and the motor to raise the cubes out of the mold.

Referring again to the cam mechanism, the cam mechanism also comprises means for actuating a lever 63 having one end pivoted by a pin 64 on the plate 54 of the casing and having its other end provided with an opening for receiving the lower laterally projecting end of a rod 65 extending vertically upwardly and having its upper end also laterally offset to extend within an opening in the arm 66 of a lever 67. The body of the lever 67 is also provided with an opening for receiving one end 68 of an elongate rake or sweep 69, the cylindrical end 68 of the rake being knurled to conform to and tightly fit into the opening in the lever body to insure that rotation of lever will also rotate the rake. The end 68 and the other end 71) of the rake 69 are offset from the body of the rake and extend respectively within openings in the wall 47 of the casing 48 and the wall 71 of the trough 29 to position the rake body in radially spaced relation to the pivotal axis of the rake as provided by the opposite mounted ends of the rake, to thus position the rake above and to one side of the mold so that the rake will not interfere with the upper ejecting movement of the ice cubes from the molds but the rake can rotate to sweep the raised cubes from the mold and into the basket 72 shown in FIG. 1.

The lever 63 is adapted to be rotated in a counterclockwise direction about its pivotal support 64 by a pin 73 (FIG. 6) projecting from the side of the cam and engaging a semi-circular surface 74 of the lever being concentric to the axis of rotation of the lever and terminating at one end in a flat chordal surface 75 of a projecting portion 76 of the lever, the surface 75 being spaced from the axis of the semi-circular surface and tangential to an arc struck from said axis, the other end of the surface 75 being in spaced relation to the adjacent end of the surface 74 to define an opening between the projecting portion 76 of the lever and the body of the lever. It will be apparent, upon rotation of the cam, that the pin 73 will ride along the surface 74 of the lever with-out actuating the lever but, upon the pin 73 engaging the surface 75, the pin will raise the lever to move the rod 65 to rotate the lever 67 in a clockwise direction (FIG. 5) and thereby the rake to cause the body of the rake to pivot about its end to sweep the raised cubes from the molds.

FIGS. 5-9, inclusive, illustrate the control means of the present invention and its mechanism for stopping the operation of the ice maker when the ice bin is filled with a desired quantity of ice cubes. More particularly, the lever 67 has an arm 78 disposed substantially at a right angle to the rake-operating arm 66, the arm 78 having an opening for receiving the offset end 79a of an actuating rod 79 so that rotation of the lever 67 by rod 65 will actuate rod 79. The other end 79b of the rod 79 is also offset for reception within a slot 80 in an arm 81 of a lever 82. The lever 82 has an opening receiving the knurled end 83 of a feeler 84 for conjoint movement of the feeler and lever, the end 83 extending through and being rotatably mounted, as shown in FIG. 2, in the wall 47 of the casing 48. The offset end 7901 of the rod 79 is normally maintained centrally of the slot 89 in lever 82, as shown in FIG. 7, by a tension spring .85 having one end connected to the other offset end 79a of the rod 79, the other end of the spring being connected to a downwardly extending crank pin 86 of the lever 82, the crank pin being radially offset from the rotational axis of the lever. In FIG. 7, the feeler 84 contacts the casing to prevent rotation of the lever 82 by the spring 86. The feeler 84 is bent vertically downwardly from its arm 83 from its rotative mounting in the casing wall 47 and is further bent horizontally at its lower extremity to provide a feeler arm 87 extending above the ice cube-receiving receptacle or basket.

A switch 89 is mounted on and secured to the wall 47 of the casing and is provided with a pushbutton operative to open normally-closed contacts of the switch. The switch 89 is provided with a leaf-type spring 88 overlying and normally spaced from the pushbutton, but movable toward the pushbutton to open the contacts of the switch. As shown in FIG. 7, the spring 88 has its lower end anchored to the switch, and has an upper arcuately-shaped portion 88a located above the switch button and engageable with the anglarly offset end 79a of the rod 79, extending through the slot 80 in the arm 81 of lever 82, and which, as will be presently described, moves the spring portion 88a to operate the pushbutton to open the switch contacts. Referring now particularly to the shape of the slot 80 in the arm 81 of lever 82, the slot is formed to provide arcuate portions 80a and 80b reversely curved to provide cam surfaces 81a and 8111 on the arm 81 engageable with the end 79a of the rod 79, as will now be described.

Referring now to FIGS. 7-9 inclusive, FIG. 7 illustrates the positions of the cam-operated feeler mechanism, and the switch 89 and its operating spring 88 during the ice-cube forming operation of the ice maker, the electric motor 53 being deenergized to inactivate the cam mech anism. Assuming initiation of the operation of the ice maker with the bin empty, the feeler 84 is in its lowermost position and engaging the casing 48. The switchoperating end 7% of rod 79 is shown in engagement with the cam surface 81a of lever 82 and the switch spring 88, the switch contacts being in their normally-open position.

FIG. 8 illustrates the position of the above control components during actuation of the energized cam mechanism to provide the ice-cube ejection operation. At this time, and referring also to FIG. 6, the cam mechanism is operative to rotate cam 63 to engage its pin 73 with the fiat surface 75 of the lever 76 to rotate the lever upwardly to raise the rod 65 to rotate lever 67 counterclockwise from the FIG. 7 to the FIG. 8 position. Arm 78 of lever 67 will move rod 79 to rotate and position the feeler arm 87 above the basket or bin, so that, the cubes, swept from the mold structure, can freely fall into the basket without being impeded by the feeler arm 87. More particularly, the end 7% of the rod 79 moves along the arcuate cam portion 81a of the lever 82 and to the left end of the slot, away from switch spring 88, to rotate and raise the feeler 84 to position the arm 87 thereof above the basket. After the ice-ejection operation, further rotation of lever 63 causes cam pin 73 to ride off of the flat surface 75 of the lever 63 to cause the rod 65 to descend thereby returning the lever 82, lever 67 and rod 79 to the FIG. 6 position, the tension spring 85 operating to assist the lowering and return of the feeler 84- to the FIG. 7 position.

The above feeler operation continues until the bin is filled with a sufiicient quantity of ice cubes to contact the arm 87 of the feeler 84 during its return movement from its raised position shown in FIG. 8 to its normal position shown in FIG. 7. FIG. 9 illustrates the feeler 84 in its 6 ice-restrained position and it will be noted, as the lever 67 rotates clockwise from the FIG. 8 to the FIG. 9 position, the rod 79 will be moved to the right to cause its end 7% to travel along the slot 80 in lever 82 and the cam portion 81b thereof to engage and move the leaf spring portion 88a to actuate the pushbutton to open the contacts of the switch 89 as shown in FIG. 9. The switch 89 is in the electrical control circuit of the ice maker and, upon opening its contacts, is effective to interrupt operation of the ice maker when the electric motor returns the cam mechanism and ice-ejecting plungers to their initial positions shown in FIGS. 3 and 6, as will be later described.

Upon removal of ice cubes from the ice bin, the feeler rotates downwardly to the position of FIG. 7. As a result, the end 79b of the rod 79 travels along the slot 801] in the lever 82, and the actuating portion 880 of spring 88 moves to the left to effect closing of the contacts of switch 89 to complete a circuit to energize the electric motor for continuing operation of the ice maker.

I1 the event it is desired to discontinue operation of the ice maker for servicing, the feeler may be raised manually and held in its raised position by a spring clip or other retaining means. Such movement causes the lever 82 to rotate to cause the offset end 79b of lever 82 to move along the cam surfaces 81a and 81b of lever 82 and to engage the spring 88 operating the switch pushbutton to open the contacts of the switch 89.

Referring to FIG. 6, the cam control mechanism is further instrumental in sequentially actuating switches 90 and 91, the switch 90 being effective to control an energizing circuit for the electric motor, and the switch 91 being operative to control energization of the solenoid 31 of the water-fill valve 30. More particularly, the switches 90 and 91 are consecutively closed during rotation of the earn, the switches being provided by a plurality of contacts formed as an assembly generally indicated 92 mounted on the wall 54 of the housing, two of the contacts of respective switches being connected by an insulating stud 94 for unitary movement to engage the other contacts of the switches, as shown in FIG. 6. A flexible actuator arm 96 of the assembly is connected by an insulating pin to the stud 94 and extends downwardly therebeyond for reception within a recess 95 of the cam (FIG. 6). The end of arm 96 is adapted to move out from the cam recess to engage the side of the recess-defining portion of the cam and to ride upon the concentric periphery of the cam to close switch 90 to energize the motor. The cam periphery is also provided with a tab projecting outwardly therefrom to engage the arm 96 to additionally close switch 91 to energize solenoid 31 of valve 39 during rotation of the cam. As seen in FIG. 4, the tab 100 is adjustably positioned on the cam by a screw extending through an elongate slot in the tab and permitting adjustment of the tab on the cam to a position determinative of the time of occurrence of the energization of the water fill solenoid. It will be noted that the tab 100 of the cam, when the cam is rotated in counterclockwise direction (FIG. 6), will engage the arm 96 just prior to its entry into the recess 95 of the cam so that, when the tab 100 closes switch 91, the ice cubes will have been previously ejected from the molds and the ejector assembly returned to the bottom of the molds to insure the molds being filled with water during operation of the tab to close switch 91 to energize solenoid 31 of valve 30. After the arm 96 has released its engagement with the tab 100, the motor-energizing switch 99 remains closed to rotate the cam until the arm 96 is positioned within recess 95 of the cam when both switches are opened to stop operation of the ice maker until the water in the molds form ice cubes. At this time, the motor is energized to operate the cam and lever mechanism to effect ejection of the cubes from the molds and into the basket. For this purpose, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 6, the mold is provided with a thermostatic switch 101 located in a cavity 102 in the end of the mold adjacent to but spaced from the mold 24 by a comparatively thin wall 103, defining a portion of the end mold 24 of the mold structure. The switch 101 is held with its thermostatically-responsive, contact-closing portion in engagement with this wall by a spring 104 compressed between the thermostatic switch and the wall 47 of casing 43. The switch contacts are adapted to open at 30 F. and to close at F. The control thermostatic switch 101 is in a circuit to control energization of the electric motor in a manner to be later described.

As a safety factor, a thermostatic switch 105 is mounted on the wall 47 of the casing 48 so that should an undesirable high temperature of the aluminum mold structure and wall 47 be had, during abnormal heating by the heater coil 61 in the event of malfunctioning of the control thermostatic switch 101, the switch will open its contacts to interrupt all circuits, including the heater coil circuit. The thermostat is effective to close its contacts below, and at 40 F. and to open its contacts at a temperature rise to 60 F. This function of the switch 105 will be amplified in the description of the operation of the ice maker.

In the operation of the ice cubemaker, it will be assumed that the mechanical and electrical components of the ice cube maker are in the positions shown in FIGS. 1-7 and also referring to the electrical control diagram of FIG. 10. In addition, it will be assumed the molds have been filled with water and the water frozen into ice cubes conforming to the frusto-conical shape of the molds. At this time, the contacts of the safety thermostatic switch 105 are closed and, as the temperature of the wall 47 of the casing is at or below 5 F., the contacts of the control thermostatic switch 101 have closed to provide a circuit to simultaneously energize the motor 53 and also the heater coil 61 so that the motor rotates the cam to cause arm 96 of the switch assembly 92 to close switch 90 to establish a circuit to maintain the motor energized, upon opening of the contacts of the control switch 101 at or above 30 F. by heat conducted to the mold structure and easing wall 47 by energization of the heater.

Referring to the electrical control diagram of FIG. 10, it will be apparent that a circuit is completed including line L1, closed contacts of the safety switch 105, the closed contacts of the control switch 101, conductor C1, closed contacts of the stop switch 89, conductors C2 and C3, winding of the motor 53, conductor C4, to line L2. A circuit is simultaneously established to energize the heater coil 61 including conductors C2 and C5, the heater coil 61, conductor C4 to line L2.

As the heat penetrates the mold block, the control switch 101 opens its contacts at or above 30 F. but, at this time, the cam has been rotated by the mot-or to actuate arm 96 of the switch assembly 92 to close switch 90 to continue establishment of circuits to maintain the motor and electric coil energized during the entire operation of the machine. The motor-energizing circuit includes line L1, closed contacts of switch 105, conductor C6, closed contacts of switch 90, conductors C7, C2, C3, winding of motor 53, conductor C4 to line L2. At the same time, the switch '90 also establishes a circuit to the heater coil including line L1, conductor C6, switch 90, conductor C7, conductor C2, conductor C5, heater coil 61, conductor C4 to line L2.

Due to the frozen bond between the ice cubes and the sides of the molds, operation of the ejector mechanism does not occur and, accordingly, the motor will stall until a predetermined period of time has elapsed during which the temperature of the block rises to free the ice cubes from their bond with the molds. At this time, the motor renews operation to cause the cam to rotate to move pin 58 along the slot 59 in lever 49 to slowly move the lever in a clockwise direction (FIG. 6) about its pivot pin 45 to raise the arm 42 of the lever and thereby the pilot rod 37 and thereby the pistons upwardly to remove the loosened ice cubes from the molds. This movement of the cubes takes a 50 second time period, and the cubes are held in their raised position for approximately 15 to 20 seconds so that water on the outer surfaces of the cubes will be frozen to prevent congealing connections of the cubes to each other when they are swept into the basket by the rake 69.

At the conclusion of this time, the motor rotates the cam to the position in which its pin 73 is engaged with the flat chordal surface 75 of the lever 63 so as to raise the free end of the lever, by rotation of the lever in a counterclockwise direction, to move the rod 65 to rotate lever 67 to cause the body of the rake to pivot about its ends to sweep the ice cubes from the mold structure and into the basket.

During actuation of the rake and prior to engagement of the rake with the cubes, the lever 67 operates rod 79 which, in turn, rotates lever 82 to move the feeler 84, from its normal position to a position above and over the basket, so that the ice cubes may fall freely into the basket when the raker is operative to remove the raised ice cubes from the mold structure. When the pin 73 of the cam is positioned within the space between the portion 37 and the body of the lever, the pin 58 of the cam has been effective to rotate lever 42 to move the ejector mechanism, including the piston, their supporting bar, and the pilot rod, to the lowered positions and to return the feeler arm to its normal position.

As the cam continues to rotate, the tab 100, projecting outwardly of the periphery of the cam, will engage arm 96 of the switch assembly 92 to continue closing the contacts of switch for energizing the motor and, in addition, will close the contacts of switch 91 to effect energization of the solenoid 31 of the water valve 30 to cause water to flow into trough 29 and into the molds for an amount of time determined by the engagement of the tab with the arm 96 to fill the molds with water. As the tab 100 of the cam releases its engagement with the arm 96 of the switch assembly, the arm 96 of this assembly will continue to engage the periphery of the cam 43 to continue energization of the motor and heater coil until the arm 96 is positioned within the recess in the cam to open the switch 90 and thereby effect deenergization of the motor and the heater coil. The motor for energizing the water valve solenoid 31 includes line L1, the closed contacts of the safety thermostat switch, conductor C6, closed contacts of switch 90, closed contacts of switch 91, conductor C3, the winding of the water valve solenoid 31, conductor C4 to line L2.

In the event the receptable should be filled with ice cubes to an extent that he feeler fails to return from its raised position to its lowered position above and over the basket, the contacts of the stop switch 39 will be opened, as previously described, so that, at the end of the normal cycle of operation of the machine when the switch 90 is opened, freezing of the ice cubes and closing of contacts of thermostatic switch 101 will not establish a circuit to the motor and heater coil as this circuit requires the contacts of the stop switch 89 to be closed.

An additional safety factor has been previously mentioned in the :form of the safety thermostatic switch 105 which, as shown in FIG. 10, is directly connected to the line L1 so that in the event of the temperature rise during the heating of the mold block 16 by the heater coil 61, the safety switch will operate to open its contacts to immediately interrupt any circuits energizing the motor or any of the electrical components of the machine. This safety factor is of considerable value in preventing con tinued operation of the heater coil, for example, when the temperature of the mold rises to an extent that any ice cubes in the molds may be substantially melted, or the water in the molds may be vaporized.

While we have described a specific embodiment of the ice cube maker forming the invention, it is to be clearly 9 understood that modifications may be made which fall within the scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. In an ice maker having a support, an ice mold on said support, means for ejecting ice from said mold, a recepacle :for ice ejected from said mold and located at one side of said mold, the improvement residing in an electrical control circuit for energizing said ice-ejecting means including a normally-closed switch having an operating element for opening said switch; means for sensing when the receptacle is filled with ice comprising a feeler member pivotally mounted on said support and having a first position at one side of said receptacle, means for rotating said feeler member from said first position to a second position above said receptacle and including an actuating member connected to and operable by said iceejecting means and located adjacent to said switch-operating element, and lost motion means connecting said actuating member and said feeler member for precluding actuation of said switch-operating element by said actuating member during movement of said feeler member by said actuating member from said first position to said second position,- and for moving said actuating member relative to said feeler member only when said lfeeler member is restraining from movement to said first position by ice in the receptacle, to engage and actuate said switch-operating element to open said switch.

2. In an ice maker as defined in claim 1 in which the switch-operating element is a spring operable by said actuating member to open the switch.

3. In an ice maker as defined in claim 1 in which a spring connects said actuating member and said feeler member and is operative to move the feeler member from its second position to its first position.

4. In an ice maker as set forth in claim 1 in which the connecting means operable between said actuating member and said feeler member is a lost motion connection which comprises a slot in one of said members and re ceiving the other member, the portion of said one member, defining the end of said slot, being engageable with said other member to operate said feeler member from said first position to said second position, said switch-actuating element being disposed in the path of travel of said other member when said feeler member is in its ice-restrained position.

5. In an ice maker asset forth in claim 4 in which said slot is in said feeler member, and said actuating member extends within said slot.

6. In an ice maker as defined in claim 4 in which the slot in said one member is defined by an arcuate cam surface engaging said other member to control movement of said feeler member.

7. In an ice maker as defined in claim 6 in which the slot is in said feeler member, and said actuating member extends within said slot, and said cam surface engages said actuating member between the ends of said slot and is operative to control movement of said actuating member during movement of said feeler member between said first and second positions, said switch-operating element being disposed in the path of travel of said actuating member and engageable thereby to open said switch when said feeler member movement is restrained by the ice in said receptacle.

8. In an ice maker as set forth in claim 7 in which said actuating member is movable along said cam surface and engages a portion of said feeler member, defining one end of said slot, to move said feeler member from its first to its second position.

9. In an ice maker as set rforth in claim 1 in which said feeler member is manually raisable to position the feeler member above said receptacle to provide movement of said actuating member relative to said feeler member by said operable means to engage said actuating member with said switch-operating element to open said switch.

10.In an ice maker, a freezer mold provided with an ice piece-forming cavity therein; an ejector member extending into said cavity and closing the bottom of said cavity and being reciprocable in said cavity; a support; means for reciprocating said ejector member to raise the ice piece above the top of said mold and to return said ejector member to its cavity bottom-closing position including a first lever pivotally connected to said ejector member; a receptacle for ice pieces; a raker member for effecting movement of said raised ice piece from the top of said mold into said receptacle and having a second lever connected thereto; a feeler element pivoally connected to said support and having a normal first position at one side of said receptacle and rotatable to a second position above said receptacle prior to movement of said ice pieces into said receptacle; a third lever fixed to said feeler element and provided with an arm movable to rotate said feeler element from its first position to its second position; an electric motor; cam means actuatable by said motor and including a rotatable cam connected to said first lever and thereby said ejector member to raise said ice piece to the top of said mold, said cam being connected to said second lever to move said second lever in a first direction to operate said raker element; for movement of said ice piece into said receptacle; and electric control circuit for said motor and including a normally-closed switch having an operating element for opening said switch; and means for controlling operation of said feeler element and said switch-operating element and including means operable between said second lever and the arm of said third lever and precluding actuation of said switch-operating element during operation of said third lever and movement of said feeler element from said first position to said second position, said operable means being effective, during rotation of said second lever in a second direction, to actuate said switch-operating element to open said switch when the ice pieces in the receptacle impede movement of the feeler element from its second position to its first position,

11. In an ice maker as defined in claim 10 wherein said operable means between said second lever and the arm of said third lever includes a lost motion connection between said second lever and the arm of said third lever and provided by a link having one end connected to said second lever and having its other end received within a slot in said third lever arm and in spaced relation to said switch-operating element, rotation of said second lever in one direction operating said link to move said third lever to position the feeler element over said receptacle and to move said link away from said switch-operating element,

said link being movable in said slot and relative to said third lever arm, during rotation of said second lever in a second direction, to actuate said switch-operating element to open said switch when the ice pieces in the receptacle impede movement of the feeler element from its second position to its first position.

12. In an ice maker as defined in claim 11 wherein said third lever arm is provided with a slot-defining cam surface engaging said link to control movement of said third lever and thereby said feeler element between said first and second positions.

13. In an ice maker as defined in claim 12 wherein an end of said links extends through said slot and is disposed to actuate said switch-operating element.

14. In an ice maker as defined in claim 10 wherein said feeler element is manually movable to position the feeler element above said receptacle to provide movement of (References on following page) 1 l 1 2 said operable means to actuate said switch-operating ele- 3,163,018 12/1964 Shaw 62--137 ment to open said switch. 3,188,827 6/1965 Bauerlein 62137 3,208,233 9/1965 Linstromberg 62137 References Clted UNITED STATES PATENTS 5 ROBERT A. OLEARY, Prima'ry Examiner. 3,064,442 11/1962 Bougie et a1. 62353 X W. E. WAYNER, Assistant Examiner.

3,144,078 8/1964 Morton et a1. 62344 X

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3485058 *Apr 10, 1968Dec 23, 1969Westinghouse Electric CorpBin sensing mechanism
US3529430 *Feb 5, 1968Sep 22, 1970Dole Valve CoBelt driven ice maker
US5619858 *Feb 12, 1996Apr 15, 1997White Consolidated Industries, Inc.Ice bucket depth sensor
US7266957May 27, 2005Sep 11, 2007Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerator with tilted icemaker
US7266973Jun 2, 2006Sep 11, 2007Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerator with improved icemaker having air flow control
US7284392Jun 2, 2006Oct 23, 2007Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerator icemaker with wiring hooks
US7712322Feb 15, 2006May 11, 2010Maytag CorporationIce level sensing device for an automatic ice maker in a refrigerator
Classifications
U.S. Classification62/137, 62/344
International ClassificationF25C5/00, F25C1/04, F25C5/18
Cooperative ClassificationF25C1/04, F25C5/187
European ClassificationF25C5/18B4, F25C1/04