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Publication numberUS3396552 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 13, 1968
Filing dateAug 23, 1967
Priority dateAug 23, 1967
Publication numberUS 3396552 A, US 3396552A, US-A-3396552, US3396552 A, US3396552A
InventorsWilliam J Buchser
Original AssigneeWhirlpool Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable water level control for ice maker
US 3396552 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 13, 1968 w. J. BUCHSER' 3,396,552

ADJUSTABLE WATER LEVEL CONTROL FOR ICE MAKER Filed Aug. 23, 1967 United States Patent "ice 3,396,552 ADJUSTABLE WATER LEVEL CONTROL FOR ICE MAKER William .I. Buchser, Evansville, Ind., assignor to Whirlpool Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Filed Aug. 23, 1967, Ser. No. 662,777 14 Claims. (Cl. 62233) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An adjustable water level control for domestic ice makers wherein water is delivered to the mold through a solenoid valve which is controlled by a switch to provide a desired quantity of water in the mold. The switch is mounted in adjustable relationship to a timing cam to provide adjustability of the amount of water delivered to the mold. A readjustment lever is provided which is accessible from exteriorly of the housing enclosing the control for permitting the use-r to readjust over a limited extent the amount of water delivered to the mold so as to vary the size of the ice bodies made in the mold or accommodate the apparatus to local abnormal conditions, such as high or low water pressure.

This invention relates to ice makers and in particular to means for controlling the quantity of water delivered to an ice maker mold.

In one known form of ice maker, ice bodies are formed in a suitable mold and delivered into a collecting bin. Upon completion of the delivery operation, the mold is refilled automatically by a water supply means having a solenoid valve controlled by the control mechanism of the ice maker to deliver a preselected quantity of water to the mold. Because of manufacturing tolerances and the like, it has been customary to provide means for adjusting the period of delivery of the water to the mold. This adjustment is conventionally made by the manufacturer who tests the apparatus under the expected operating conditions and adjusts the control to provide a preselected quantity of water in the mold to provide ice bodies of the normally desired volume. Illustratively, in one conventional ice body maker, the factory control is set to provide approximately 100 to 140 cubic centimeters of water to the mold.

It has been found that at times the factory adjustment is not quite correct for the actual installation condition such as abnormal pressure conditions in the water supply. Further, at times the user wishes to have ice bodies of a size different from those provided by the normal supply of water to the mold. The present invention comprehends a new and improved means for controlling the delivery of water to an ice body maker mold which permits the user to effect a desirable readjustment in the water delivery volume selected by the manufacturer thereby to obtain ice bodies of the desired size.

Thus, a principal feature of the present invention is the provision of a new and improved ice body maker.

Another feature of the invention is the provision of such an ice body maker having new and improved means for controlling the delivery of water to the mold thereof.

A further feature of the invention is the provision of such an ice body maker having new and improved water delivery control means including means permitting the ultimate user to readjust the control for effecting a desired readjustment of the quantity of water delivered to the mold upon installation of the ice body maker.

A yet further feature of the invention is the provision of such an ice body maker having a mold and means for delivering water to the mold and including control means for controlling the time of delivery to the mold for 3,396,552 Patented Aug. 13, 1968 providing a preselected level of water therein including a switch means, movable means for actuating the switch means for a eriod of time as an incident of movement thereof, means for adjusting the relationship between the switch means and the actuating means for adjusting the period of actuation of the switch means, a housing enclosing the control means, and means accessible from exteriorly of the housing for readjusting the relationship between the switch means and actuating means through a range of adjustment less than that of the adjusting means.

Another feature of the invention is the provision of such an ice body maker where-in the readjusting means comprises an improved simplified structure providing a mechanical advantage for facilitated readjustment of the water delivery by the user.

A yet further feature of the invention is the provision of such an ice body maker having new and improved means permitting the user to select the size of the ice bodies as desired.

Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a refrigeration apparatus having an ice body maker embodying the invention;

FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary enlarged perspective view of the control means of the ice body maker with portions broken away to facilitate illustration thereof;

FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary vertical section taken substantially along the line 3-3 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary vertical section taken substantially along the line 44 of FIGURE 3;

FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary front elevation view of a portion of the ice body maker control housing illustrating the ice body volume selection lever and volume indicia on the front of the housing; and

FIGURE 6 is a schematic wiring diagram of the water fill circuit of the ice body maker.

In the exemplary embodiment of the invention as disclosed in the drawing, a refrigeration apparatus generally designated 10 is shown to include an ice body maker generally designated 11 having a mold 12, a collecting bin 13, a water delivery means generally designated 14, and a control 15 within a housing having a removable cover 15a. The ice body maker 11 is disposed within a refrigerated chamber 16 defined by a conventional refrigeration apparatus cabinet 17 and having a door 18. As shown in FIGURE 1, the control 15 is disposed within a housing at the front of the chamber 16 and includes a manually operable volume selection lever 19 for controlling adjustably the amount of water delivered to the mold 12 from the water supply means 14 and thereby the volume of the ice body, as will be brought out in greater detail hereinafter.

In the illustrated embodiment, the water supply means 14 includes a solenoid valve 20 for controlling delivery of water from a suitable source of pressurized water (not shown) through a duct 21 to the mold 12. As shown schematically in FIGURE 1, a pair of wires 22 are connected to the solenoid 20. These wires are connected to a suitable switch 23 in the control 15 so that when switch 23 is closed, the solenoid will be energized to permit water to flow into the mold 12. Control 15 provides a control of switch 23 to effect the desired delivery of the water by maintaining the switch 23 closed for an adjustable preselected period of time. More specifically, as shown in FIGURES 2 and 6, the switch 23 includes a plunger-type operator 24 which rides against a cam 25. The switch 23 is arranged to be held open when the operator 24 is on a high portion 26 of the cam and to close when the operator 24 enters a low V-shaped portion 27 of the cam. The cam is carried on a shaft 28 which is suitably driven by a motor 9 to rotate the cam at a substantially fixed rate. The time during which switch 23 is closed is a function of the rate of rotation of the cam and the disposition of the switch relative to the cam whereby the operator 24 is more or less quickly switched as the operator rides down into and upwardly from the low V-shaped portion 27 of cam 25. Switch 23 is closed once during each ice maker cycle to refill mold 12 after the ice bodies have been ejected. A cycle of operation is initiated by the closing of a thermally responsive switch 8. For a more detailed description of the operation of the ice maker control reference may be made to US. Patent No. 3,299,656 issued to William J. Linstromberg et al. on Jan. 24, 1967, and assigned to the applicants assignee.

To provide an adjustment of the time of water delivery to the mold 12, the switch 23 is mounted on a carrier 29 (see FIGURE 4) which is pivotally mounted by a pivot pin 31 on a transverse wall 51 within a housing for the control 15. The lever 19 includes an outer portion 52 projecting through an opening 53 in the side wall 54 of the housing 30, a mid-portion 33 (see FIG- URE 2), and an inner portion 34 movably connected to the carrier 29 by a pin and slot connection including a pin 35 on the carrier 29 and a slot 36 in the inner portion 34 of the lever 19. The mid-portion 33 of lever 19 is pivotally connected by a suitable pivot 37 to a second lever 38 pivotally mounted on wall 51 by a pivot 39. The distal end 40 of the lever 38 is provided with a turned flange 41 carrying a screw 42 which is threaded through a turned flange 43 on wall 51. Threaded adjustment of screw 42 causes a corresponding pivoting of the lever 38 about the pivot 39. The adjustment effected by the screw 42 may be fixed by a nut 44 thereon abutting the flange 41.

The slot 36 is eccentric relative to the axis of pivot 37 and, thus, pivotal movement of the lever 19 about the pivot 37 causes a movement of pin 35 selectively to the left or to the right, as seen in FIGURE 2, thereby selectively readjusting the position of carrier 29 in a counterclockwise, or clockwise, direction. The setting of the lever 19 may be maintained releasably by means of a friction washer 45, of rubber or the like, which as shown in FIGURE 3 may be disposed between lever 19 and lever 38. Suitable indicia such as the words Larger and Smaller at opposite ends of the path of travel of lever 19 and indicated at 46 may be provided on the control housing front cover 15a to indicate to the user the direction of adjustment for increasing or decreasing the quantity of water delivered to the mold and thereby the volume of the ice body as effected by adjustment of volume selection lever 19.

The position of switch 23 as mounted on carrier 29 is adjusted at the factory by a suitable threaded adjustment of screw 42, for example, with the use of hand tools, with the lever 19 disposed in a preselected index position such as the approximate mid-position shown in FIGURE 2 as indicated by an index mark 7 on lever portion 34. Illustratively, the screw 42 may be adjusted so that during the cycling of the cam 25 an average quantity of water, such as approximately 130 to 140 cubic centimeters, will be delivered to mold 12 from a water supply of conventional home water supply pressure. The adjustment of screw 42 effects the adjustment of the switch 23 disposition relative to the cam 25 by means of the connection of pivot pin 37 to the carrier pin 35 through the lever portion 34. An adjustment of the screw 42 tending to pivot the lever 38 in a counterclockwise direction, as seen in FIGURE 2, correspondingly pivots the carrier 29 in a counterclockwise direction about its pivot 31 by the action of the edges of slot 36 against the pin 35. Alternatively, where the screw adjustment causes a clockwise pivoting of the lever 38 about pivot pin 39, the pin 35 is urged in a clockwise direction about the axis of pin 31 to move the switch 23 away from the cam 25.

Upon installation of the refrigeration apparatus, for example, in a home, the ultimate user may readjust the water delivery and thereby the size of the ice body or cube by manipulation of the projecting portion 52 of lever 19 by hand, without removing the housing cover and without the use of hand tools. If the user wishes to increase the quantity of water delivered to the mold, the lever portion 52 is raised thereby causing the pin to be received in a portion of the slot 36 closer to the pivot 37 and correspondingly pivoting the carrier 29 in a clockwise direction (FIGURE 2) about pivot 31 to move the switch 23 away from the cam 25. Alternatively, if a smaller quantity of water is desired in the mold 12, the user merely readjusts the lever downwardly, thereby disposing the pin 35 in a portion of the slot 36 spaced further from the axis of pin 37 and correspondingly pivoting the carrier 29 in a counterclockwise direction about the pin 31 to dispose the switch 23 closer to the cam 25. The amount of readjustment eltected by lever 19 is preselected to be less than the adjustment effected by the screw 42 so that the user may not over-adjust the water delivery, as may occur where the user is required to effect any desired adjustment by utilizing the screw 42. Further, by providing an accessible portion of the lever 19, the user may make the adjustment readily, as desired without interfering with the closed or sealed condition of the control housing, and without the use of hand tools, and may vary the adjustment from time to time, as desired. The user may readily vary the size of the ice bodies made by the ice maker 11 as well as adjust the water delivery to the local conditions.

In using domestic ice makers, experience has shown that at different times the user may have a desire or need for ice bodies or cubes of diiferent sizes. Assuming equal total cube volumes, relatively small cubes will expose more cold surface area to a substance to be chilled than will relatively large cubes and, therefore, small cubes will more quickly cool a beverage than will the same volume of ice in the form of relatively large cubes. Also in the illustrated ice maker, smaller ice bodies will separate easier during the harvesting portion of the cycle. On the other hand, the ice bodies or ice cubes when used to chill beverages or food will take longer to melt if they are relatively large in size. Therefore, at diflerent times there may be sound reasons for adjusting the ice maker to select a different size of ice body or ice cube. To this end the present invention makes it possible for the user of a domestic ice maker to select any desired cube size within the range which is practical for the ice maker. Merely by manually moving the cube size selection lever to the desired index position the user of the ice maker can obtain ice cubes of the desired size.

The present invention has another advantage from the service standpoint which may not be recognized at first glance. In refrigerators equipped with domestic ice makers experience has shown that frequently the ice cubes produced by the ice maker on initial operation in the users home are not of the proper size. This off-size characteristic is frequently due to inadequate water pressure in the home. On the other hand, the mold may overfill due to excess water pressure or variations in parts, or a combination'of these two conditions causing icicles to form on the mold due to capillary action. If the ice bodies or cubes are not of proper size, the user customarily will request a service call to correct the situation. Such service calls can be a substantial expense. However, with the present invention, if the user determines that the cubes are not of the desired size, he may easily adjust the cube size without disassembly of the ice maker and without use of tools merely by movement of the cube selection lever to the desired index position. Thus the expense of a service call can be avoided.

In the illustrated embodiment, the lever 19 is arranged to provide for an increase in the delivery of the water of approximately 5 to 15 percent from the middle portion of the lever 19 and a decrease of approximately 25 percent of the total quantity of water normally delivered as set by the adjustment of the screw 42 at the factory. Thus, the overall adjustment effected by lever 19 may be approximately one-third the total quantity of water delivered at the normal factory-set condition.

Thus, the present invention comprehends an improved ice body maker providing to the user improved facility in the use thereof in adjusting the water delivery to compensate for variations in local conditions without requiring a service call and, further, to permit ready selection of the size of the ice bodies made by the ice body maker as desired. The ice body maker 11 is extremely simple and economical of construction, and the adjustment thereof is extremely simple and may be readily made by relatively unskilled persons, while yet providing accurate control of the water delivery as desired. Dual adjustment means are provided, comprising first adjustment means internally of the control housing and adjustable at the factory by the use of hand tools, and second adjustment means or readjustment means accessible from exteriorly of the control housing and adjustable by the user without the use of tools.

While I have shown and described one embodiment of my invention, it is to be understood that it is capable of many modifications. Changes, therefore, in the construction and arrangement may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. In an ice body maker having a mold and means for delivering water to the mold, a water level control comprising:

a control means including switch means for controlling the time of water delivery to the mold to provide a preselected level of water therein, movable means for actuating said switch means for a period of time as an incident of movement thereof;

first adjustment means for adjusting the relationship between said switch means and said movable means for adjusting the period of actuation of said switch means;

a housing enclosing said control means; and

second adjustment means movable independently of at least one portion of said first adjustment means and accessible from exteriorly of the housing for changing said relationship between said switch means and said movable means through a range of adjustment less than that of said first adjustment means thereby to obtain ice bodies of a desired volume.

2. The ice body maker structure of claim 1 wherein said movable means comprises a cam.

3. The ice body maker structure of claim 1 wherein said second adjustment means comprises a lever and means providing a mechanical advantage connecting the lever to said switch means for providing a small adjustment thereof as a result of a relatively large repositioning of said lever.

4. The ice body maker structure of claim 1 wherein said second adjustment means comprises a lever carried by said first adjustment means.

5. The ice body maker structure of claim 1 further including means for releasably retaining the second adjustment means in different adjusting dispositions.

6. The ice body maker structure of claim 1 wherein said second adjustment means is arranged to provide a readjustment of the Water delivery of approximately onethird of the total adjustment provided by said first adjustment means.

7. The ice body maker structure of claim 1 wherein said second adjustment means is arranged to provide a readjustment of the water delivery to increase the total delivery approximately 5 to 15 percent.

8. The ice body maker structure of claim 1 wherein said second adjustment means is arranged to provide a readjustment of the water delivery to decrease the total delivery approximately 25 percent.

9. The ice body maker structure of claim 1 wherein said first adjustment means is contained within said housing and is adjustable by the use of tools; wherein said second adjustment means includes a manually operable portion accessible from exteriorly of said housing for manually selecting ice bodies of a desired volume; and wherein said housing is provided with indicia adjacent said manually operable portion of said second adjustment means for indicating to a user the direction of adjustment to increase or decrease the volume of said ice bodies.

10. The ice body maker structure of claim 1 wherein said first adjustment means comprises a carrier, means for movably mounting the carrier in said housing, means for mounting said switch means on said carrier, and means for adjustably positioning the carrier to adjustably dispose said switch means relative to said movable means, and said second adjustment means comprises means for readjusting the disposition of said carrier.

11. The ice body maker structure of claim 10 wherein pin and slot means are provided interconnecting said second adjustment means and said carrier.

12. The ice body maker structure of claim 10 wherein said means for adjustably positioning the carrier comprises a lever pivotally carried in said housing, and means in said housing for adjustably positioning the lever, said readjusting means having a portion connecting said lever to said carrier.

13. The ice body maker structure of claim 10 wherein said means for adjustably positioning the carrier comprises a first lever pivotally carried in said housing, and means in said housing for adjustably positioning the first lever, said readjusting means comprising a manually operable second lever carried by said first lever and having a portion connected to said carrier.

14. The ice body maker structure of claim 10 wherein said second adjustment means is provided with indexing means for establishing a preselected relationship between said second adjustment means and said carrier during adjustment of said first adjustment means.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,299,656 6/1965 Linstromberg et al. 62353 X ROBERT A. OLEARY, Primary Examiner.

W. E. WAYNER, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3299656 *Jun 24, 1965Jan 24, 1967Whirlpool CoIce maker apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4787216 *Oct 15, 1987Nov 29, 1988Whirlpool CorporationAdjustable ice maker control
US5596182 *Jan 28, 1994Jan 21, 1997France/Scott Fetzer CompanyIcemaker
US5718121 *Sep 24, 1996Feb 17, 1998France/Scott Fetzer CompanyIcemaker
US5889243 *Jun 20, 1997Mar 30, 1999France/Scott Fetzer CompanyTime switch with clutch mechanism and cam operated contacts
US6092374 *Dec 9, 1997Jul 25, 2000Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.Refrigerator ice-maker water supply apparatus and method thereof
US6188030Oct 2, 1998Feb 13, 2001France/Scott Fetzer CompanyAdjustment apparatus for a cam
US6705091Nov 18, 2002Mar 16, 2004Lg Electronics Inc.System and method for controlling ice size of ice maker
US7013654Jul 21, 2004Mar 21, 2006Emerson Electric CompanyMethod and device for eliminating connecting webs between ice cubes
US7032391Jul 21, 2004Apr 25, 2006Emerson Electric Co.Method and device for stirring water during icemaking
US7131280 *Oct 26, 2004Nov 7, 2006Whirlpool CorporationMethod for making ice in a compact ice maker
US8336327Jul 21, 2004Dec 25, 2012Nidec Motor CorporationMethod and device for producing ice having a harvest-facilitating shape
Classifications
U.S. Classification62/233, 137/624.17, 62/353
International ClassificationF25C1/22, F25C1/04
Cooperative ClassificationF25C1/225, F25C1/04, F25C2400/14
European ClassificationF25C1/22B, F25C1/04