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Publication numberUS3545217 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 8, 1970
Filing dateApr 10, 1969
Priority dateApr 10, 1969
Publication numberUS 3545217 A, US 3545217A, US-A-3545217, US3545217 A, US3545217A
InventorsLinstromberg William J
Original AssigneeWhirlpool Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sensing arm mechanism for icemaker
US 3545217 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 8, 1970 Filed April l0, 1969 W. J. LINSTROMBERG SENSING ARM MECHANISM FOR ICEMAKER 2A Sheets-Sheet 1 Dec. 8, 1970 w. J. I INSTROMBERG 3,545,217

SENSING ARM MECHNISM FOR ICEMAKER 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April lO, 1969 OPEN United States Patent Oliice 3,545,217I Patented Dec. 8, 1970 3,545,217 SENSING ARM MECHANISM FOR ICEMAKER William J. Linstromberg, Evansville, Ind., assignor to Whirlpool Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Filed Apr. 10, 1969, Ser. No. 814,902 Int. Cl. F25c 5/18 U.S. Cl. 62-137 13 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A refrigeration apparatus having an automatic icemaker including a collecting bin mounted on the door of the refrigeration apparatus cabinet. The icemaker includes a sensing mechanism having an arm adapted to swing into the collecting bin to sense the level of collected ice bodies therein. The mechanism further includes apparatus for automatically withdrawing the sensing arm from the collecting bin when the door is opened thereby preventing damage to the sensing arm and or raking of the ice bodies from the bin by such movement. The mechansm includes improved means for biasing the arm responsive to the door position to effect an improved selective withdrawal of the sensing arm.

BACKGROUND oF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention relates to refrigeration apparatus and, more particularly, to mechanisms for sensing the level of collected ice bodies in automatic icemakers.

Description of the prior art In applicants U.S. Letters Patent 3,280,578, issued Oct. 25, 1966, for an Ice Body Maker with Bin Control and owned by the assignee hereof, anice body maker is shown and described providing an improved automatic forming and collecting of ice bodies. The ice body maker includes a bin control for sensing the level of the ice bodies in the collecting bin and controlling the further forming of ice bodies as a function of the level of the ice bodies so sensed. In said patent, the collecting bin is disclosed as being disposed within the freezer space of the refrigeration apparatus 10.

In a further known form of ice body maker, the collecting bin is carried on the door selectively closing the freezer space while the ice forming mechanism is carried by the cabinet within the freezer space. The means for sensing the level of ice bodies in such door mounted co1- lecting bin structures heretofore provided have not proven completely satisfactory. The present invention is directed to the provision of an improved control mechanism for use in such an ice body maker eliminating the disadvantages of such known ice body maker controls wherein the collecting bin is mounted on the door.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention comprehends an improved refrigeration apparatus automatically forming and collecting ice bodies wherein the ice 'body collecting bin is carried on the cabinet door. The apparatus includes an improved control mechanism providing automatic operation and having improved means for effecting automatic withdrawal of the sensing arm from the collecting bin when the door is moved from the closed position. The mechanism further provides improved means for restoring the sensing arm into sensing disposition when the door is returned to the closed position. The mechanism is arranged to prevent operation of the ice body forming apparatus during such movement of the door.

More specifically, the invention comprehends providing,

in a refrigeration apparatus having wall means defining a refrigearted space having an opening thereto, a door selectively closing the opening, means in the refrigerated space for forming ice bodies, and a bin carried on the door for receiving and storing ice bodies delivered from the forming means, an improved control mechanism including a sensing arm, mechanism carried by the wall means including means for mounting the arm to move selectively into and outwardly from said door mounted bin for cyclically sensing the level of ice bodies therein, means biasing the sensing arm into the bin, and means responsive to opening movement of the door to swing the sensing arm outwardly of the bin thereby to preclude interference with the door opening by the sensing arm.

Further more specifically, the inevntion comphehends such refrigeration apparatus wherein the means responsive to the removal of the door from the closed position includes a member opeartively associated with the mechanism biased to permit free movement of the sensing arm when the door is in the closing position and to urge the sensing arm to outwardly of the bin as the door is opened.

The invention furthermore specifically comprehends the provision in such a refrigeration apparatus of means for decreasing the biasing force of the biasing means concurrently with the swinging of the sensing arm outwardly from the bin.

Further, the control mechanism of the present invention is extremely economical of construction, while yet providing long, trouble-free life.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following descriptions taken in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a refrigeration apparatus provided with a control mechanism embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary enlarged vertical section thereof taken substantially alone the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

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

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary enlarged vertical section taken substantially along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a tranverse vertical section taken substantially along the line 5-5 of FIG. l;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary enlarged vertical section illustrating a portion of the control as shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary vertical section taken substantially along the line 7-7 of FIG. 6; and

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary transverse section similar to that of FIG. 6 but with the sensing arm in a shutoff position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the exemplary embodiment of the invention as disclosed in the drawing, a refrigeration apparatus generally designated 1t) is shown to comprise a Wall means, or cabinet, 11 dening a refrigerated space 12 having a front access opening 13 thereto. The space 12 may comprise a freezer space wherein the temperature is below freezing. Opening 13 is selectively closed by a door 14 hingedly carried on the cabinet 11.

The refrigeration apparatus 10 includes an ice body maker generally designated 15 including an ice body forming mechanism 16 carried on the cabinet 1:1 within the freezer space 1'2, and a collecting bin 17 carried on the door 14 for receiving and collecting ice bodies delivered from the ice forming mechanism 16. The forming mechanism 16 includes a sensing arm 2S which is controlled automatically by mechanism 16 to move down- 3 wardly into the collecting bin 17 at a preselected time in the automatic operation of the mechanism 16 to sense the level of ice bodies collected in bin 17 and to automatically terminate the operation of the forming mechanism when the level reaches a preselected level therein.

An excellent example of such an ice body maker and bin level control is that shown and described in my above mentioned U.S. Letters Patent 3,280,578. The present invention comprehends a modification of the ice body maker and bin control disclosed in my said Letters Patent 3,280,578 in further providing means for withdrawing the sensing arm 25 from the collecting bin 17 as an incident of movement of the door away from the closed position thereof. In my said Letters Patent, the collecting bin is carried by the cabinet within the freezer space. In the present invention, as the collecting bin 17 is carried by the door 14, the above indicated additional means are provided to prevent damage to the sensing arm 25 and undesired removal of ice bodies from the bin which could occur if the sensing arm was not automatically withdrawn from the bin as the door 14 is swung from the closed position.

Referring now, more specifically, to FIGS. 2-4, the mechanism 16 includes a control device 18 in the form of an L-shaped arm having a lower leg `18a adapted to bear against the rear wall 19 of the collecting bin 17 when the door 14 is in the closed position as shown in FIG. 2. The control device 18 further includes a rearwardly turned upper leg 18b which is yfixed to a pivot pin 20 rotatably mounted in a pair of journals 21. The pivot pin 20 is biased in a clockwise direction as seen in FIG. 2 by a coil spring 22 (FIG. 3) having one end 22a fixed to the pivot pin and an opposite end 22h (FIG. 4) fixed to a stationary support 23 which may be the housing for the control portion of mechanism 16. As shown in FIG. 3, the spring 22 is concentrically disposed about the pivot pin 20.

An arm 24 (FIG. 4) is fxedly secured to the pivot pin 20 and thus is concurrently biased in a counterclockwise direction, as seen in FIG. 4, by the spring 22. The sensing arm 25 includes a lower portion 25a which is selectively movable into the collecting bin to sense the level of ice bodies therein. The sensing arm further includes an upper portion 25h extending generally horizontally parallel to the axis of pivot pin 20. A coil spring 26 is carried on the horizontal arm portion 25h having one end 26a fixedly retained in hooked association with the arm portion 25b and an opposite end 26h slidably received in an upset tab 27 on arm 24. Thus, spring 26 normally biases the sensing arm 25 in a clockwise direction as seen in FIG. 4 to urge the lower end 25a downwardly into the collecting bin (FIG. 2).

In its normal operation, the sensing arm 25 is swung upwardly and downwardly from and into the collecting bin 17 by the mechanism 16 while the door is disposed in the closed position of FIG. 2. As shown in FIGS. 5-8, the movement of the sensing arm in the normal bin level sensing operation is effected by a control 39. The sensing arm further includes a turned portion 264 which passes through an opening 265 in a rear wall 199 of the housing 200 of the control 130. The upper portion 2512 of the sensing arm defines a U-shaped actuating portion generally designated 268 extending between the turned portion 264 and distal end 266 of portion 251). The U-shaped portion 268 includes an outer portion 269 extending downwardly from turned portion 264, a bight portion 270 extending transversely from the lower end of the outer portion 269, and an upturned portion 271 extending from the bight portion to distal end portion 266.

Spring 26 includes a coil portion 273 wrapped around the distal end 266 rearwardly of plate 215. Spring 26 is under compression to provide a biasing force urging the sensing arm 25 rearwardly, or to the right as seen in FIG. 7, and to urge the outer portion 269 against the rear wall 199 of the housing 200. As shown in FIG. 7,

the rear wall 199 is provided with a forwardly projecting boss 281 which lies in the path of movement of rear leg 269 as it moves along the wall 199. The boss 28-1 is preferably provided with an inclined, camming side surface which as shown in FIG. 7 is defined by a rounded profile for camming the U-shaped actuating portion 268 away from the wall 199 when the leg 269 is moved against the boss.

The bight 270 of the U-shaped portion 268 is lmovably received in a slot 282 of a crank 283 which includes a cam follower 284 (FIG. 5) engaging a rearward cam section 285 of the cam portion 220 of shaft 203. The crank is pivotally mounted on a boss 286 projecting forwardly from the rear wall 199 of the housing 200 by means of a pivot screw 287. As shown in FIG. 5, pivoting of the crank 283 about the pivot 287 is effected by the rotation of cam section 285 as follower 284 is urged thereagainst by the spring 26.

The crank 283 is provided with a tab 288 which engages an actuator 289 of a shut-off switch 290 secured to the rear wall 199 by a pair of screws 291. The pivotal movement of the crank 283 thusly operates the switch 290 and concurrently acts through the actuating portion 268 of the sensing arm 25 to move the outer sensing portion 25a of the sensing arm between a lowermost sensing position shown in dotted lines in FIG. 6 to an upper sensing position shown in full lines therein. Further, the user may move the sensing arm 25 to an uppermost latched shut-off position as shown in broken lines in FIG. 5, which, as illustrated in FIG. 8, moves the leg portion 268 of the sensing arm in a counter-clockwise direction beyond the boss 281. The portion 26a of the coil spring 26 forces the leg 269 of the U-shaped actuating portion against the wall 199 with a second force which is transverse to the force generated by the spring 26 through the portion 278 bearing against the leg 271 of the actuating portion. The relative magnitude of these transverse forces is coordinated with the slope of the boss 281 providing the camming of leg 269 away from wall 199 so as to assure the retention of the leg 269 behind the boss against the force developed between spring end 278 and leg 271 tending to move the leg 269 back past the boss 281. Thus, the leg 269 is effectively retained by the boss 281 With the sensing arm in the upper position of FIG. 8 wherein tab 288 is spaced from the switch actuator 289 to thereby preclude further operation of the icemaker. The resilient resistance of spring 26 may be readily overcome, however, when it is desired to return the sensing arm to the lower position of FIG. 6 by manipulation by the user. Thus, to return the sensing arm 25 to the operating position, the user merely moves the control arm against the compressional bias of spring 272 past the boss 281 in a clockwise direction, whereupon normal operation of the sensing arm with portion 278 biasing the actuating portion 268 in a clockwise direction as shown in FIG. 5 may again occur.

As best seen in FIG. 3, the control device 18 includes an upright mid-portion 18o provided with a cutout 18d for accommodating a mid-portion 25e of the sensing arm 25.

When the apparatus 10 is in the full line disposition of FIG. 2 wherein the door 14 is in the closed position, the lower portion 25a of the sensing arm extends to within the collecting bin 17 to automatically sense the level of ice bodies collected therein. As seen, the sensing arm is spaced slightly upwardly from the rear wall 19 adjacent mid-portion 25C. Bin wall 19 bears against the control device leg 18a whereby the control device is swung downwardly (in a counterclockwise direction) with the midportion 25C of the sensing arm extending freely through the cut out portion 18d of the control device portion 18C. Thus, the sensing arm may move upwardly from, and downwardly into, the collecting bin in the normal cycle of sensing under the control of mechanism 16.

When, however, the door 14 is moved away from the closed position, coil spring 22 causes leg 18a of the control device 18 to move forwardly following the collecting bin, such as to the dotted position shown in FIG. 2. At the same time, a shoulder 18e at the lower end of the control device cut out 18d moves upwardly against the sensing arm portion 25e to swing it upwardly (in a clockwise direction as seen in FIG. 2) against the biasing action of spring 26. Thus, in the preferred embodiment, coil spring 22 is stronger than coil spring 26 to effect the desired raising of the sensing arm. Further, as the arm 24 also moves in a clockwise direction at this time, the slidable connection of spring end 26b moves in a clockwise direction thereby reducing the counterclockwise torque exerted by the spring 26 on sensing arm 25, and thereby permitting the coil spring 22 to effect the joint raising of the control device 18 and sensing arm 25.

The ice forming mechanism 16 is preferably of conventional construction wherein the raising of the sensing arm 25 temporarily suspends operation of the mechanism 16. The operation of the control device 18 assures a clearance between the upward end of wall 19 and the sensing arm 25 at all times during the movement of the door 14 thereby preventing damage to the sensing arm and raking of ice bodies from the collecting bin 17 as could occur if the sensing arm were not so raised. As shown in FIG. 2, the upward movement of the sensing arm 25 may be limited as by engagement with a wall 28 of the cabinet 11.

When the door 14 is returned to the closed position, the wall 19 of the collecting bin 17 firstly engages the lower leg 18a of the control device to swing the control device in a counterclockwise direction, as seen in FIG. 2, away from the dotted position toward the full line position which is reached when the door is fully closed. As the shoulder 18e moves away from the sensing arm 25, the spring 26 on the sensing arm biases the sensing arm back downwardly into the collecting bin until the sensing arm is in the fully returned position as shown in full line in FIG. 2.

As shown in FIG. 2, the collecting bin 17 may be removably carried on a support 29 of the door 14 permitting the entire collecting bin to be removed as desired by the user. At such time, the sensing arm is automatically maintained in the upper dotted position in FIG. 2, thus obviating the need for latching devices and the like to permit such selective removal of the collecting bin. Should the bin be inadvertently omitted in re-closing the door 14, the leg portion 18a will not be engaged whereby the sensing arm is maintained in the upper position preventing operation of the ice forming apparatus until such time as the bin is again in place.

Thus, broadly the invention comprehends an improved sensing apparatus for use in an automatic ice maker including a sensing arm 25 having a mounting portion including upper leg 25b, and a sensing portion 25a. The mounting portion is movably mounted whereby the sensing portion moves selectively in a preselected path normally into and outwardly from the collecting bin 17. Spring 26 defines means for biasing the sensing arm in a first direction along the path and more specifically, in a direction into the collecting bin. The control device 18 includes a mounting portion 18b and a force receiving portion 18a. It should be noted that the force receiving portion 18a is effective Whether the door 14 is hinged on the right side as shown in FIG. 1, or on the left side. A force applying portion is defined by shoulder 18e. The control device 18 is movably biased by the spring 22 to urge the force applying shoulder 18e against the sensing arm 25. The control device thusly moves the sensing portion 25a of the sensing arm in a direction opposite to the direction of its bias by spring 26. The rear lwall 19 of the collecting bin effectively defines means -selectively applythe sensing arm in said opposite direction outwardly from the collecting bin. In the illustrated embodiment, the axis of pin 20 and sensing arm portion 25b are parallel. The slidable connection of the spring end 261; and the tab 27 effectively defines means for varying the biasing force of the sensing arm bias spring 2.6 as a function of the operation of the apparatus.

The control effected by device 18 is extremely simple while yet providing an improved positive movement of the sensing arm between the operative and withdrawn positions. While I have described one embodiment of the invention, it is obvious that it is capable of many modifications within the inventive scope thereof. The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. In a refrigeration apparatus having wall means defining a refrigerated space having an opening thereto, a door selectively closing said opening, means in said space for forming ice bodies, and a bin on said door for receiving and storing ice bodies delivered from said forming means, control mechanism comprising:

a 'sensing arm;

mechanism carried by said wall means including means for mounting the arm to move selectively into and outwardly from said door-mounted bin for cyclically sensing the level of ice bodies therein;

means biasing the sensing arm into said bin; and

means responsive to a removal of said door from the position thereof wherein said door closes said opening to swing the sensing arm to a retracted position outwardly of said bin, thereby to preclude interference with said door removal by said sensing arm, said last named means being arranged to maintain the sensing arm in said retracted position notwithstanding a return of the door to closing position in the event said bin is removed from the door.

2. In a refrigeration apparatus having wall means defining a refrigerated space having an opening thereto, a door selectively closing said opening, means in said space for forming ice bodies, and a bin on said door to receiving and storing ice bodies delivered from said forming means,

. control mechanism comprising:

ing force to the force receiving portion 18a of the cona sensing arm;

mechanism carried by said wall means including means for mounting the arm to move selectively into and outwardly from said door-mounted bin for cyclically sensing the level of ice bodies therein;

means biasing the sensing arm into said bin; and

means responsive to a removal of said door from the position thereof wherein said door closes said opening to swing the sensing arm to outwardly of said bin, thereby to preclude interference with said door removal by said sensing arm, said last named means including means decreasing the biasing force of said biasing means concurrently with the swinging of the sensing arm outwardly of said bin by said last named means.

3. The refrigeration apparatus of claim 2 wherein said last named means includes a member operatively associated with said mechanism biased to permit free movement of said sensing arm when said door is in said closing position and to urge said sensing arm to outwardly of said bin as said door is moved from said closing position.

4. The refrigeration apparatus of claim 2 wherein said last named means includes a member for engaging said door-mounted bin to permit free movement of said sensing arm when said door is in said closing position and for urging said sensing arm to outwardly of said bin as said door is moved from said closing position.

5. The refrigeration apparatus of claim 2 wherein said arm mounting means comprise pivotal mounting means.

6. The refrigeration apparatus of claim 2 wherein said last named means comprises a pivotally mounted member selectively engageable with said sensing arm.

7. Sensing apparatus comprising:

a sensing arm having a mounting portion and a sensing portion;

means movably mounting said mounting portion to move said sensing portion selectively in a prescribed path;

means biasing said sensing arm in a irst direction along said prescribed path;

a control device having a mounting portion, a force receiving portion, and a force applying portion; means movably mounting said control device mounting portion;

means biasing said control device to urge said force applying portion against said sensing arm to move said arm sensing portion in a direction opposite said first direction; and

means selectively applying a force to said force receiving portion to counteract said control device biasing means to prevent said force applying portion from moving said arm sensing portion in said opposite direction.

8. The sensing apparatus of claim 7 wherein said sensing arm biasing means comprises a spring secured to said sensing arm and slidably connected to said control device.

9. The sensing apparatus of claim 7 wherein said means mounting said control device mounting portion comprises pivotal mounting means, said control device further includes a pivotally movable connecting arm, and said sensing arm biasing means comprises a spring secured to said sensing arm and slidably connected to said connecting arm.

10. The sensing apparatus of claim 7 wherein said sensing arm biasing means comprises a spring secured to said sensing arm and slidably connected to said control device, wherein said control device biasing means comprises a joint portion and a spring having a ixed end and an opposite end secured to said pivot portion.

111. The sensing apparatus of claim 7 including means for varying the biasing force of said sensing arm biasing means as a function of the position of said control device.

12. The sensing apparatus of claim 7 wherein said rst named means pivotally mounts said sensing arm mounting portion to swing said sensing portion about a first axis in an arcuate path and said means movably mounting said control device mounting portion pivotally mounts the same to swing `said force applying portion about a second axis in an arcuate path.

13. The sensing apparatus of claim 12 wherein said rst and second axes are parallel.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,280,578 10/ 1966 Linstromberg 62-137 3,308,632 3/ 1967 Winfield 62-344X WILLIAM E. WAYNER, Primary Examiner U.S. C1. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3280578 *Jun 24, 1965Oct 25, 1966 Ice body maker with bin control
US3308632 *Dec 28, 1964Mar 14, 1967Gen Motors CorpIce maker with door mounted bin
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3926007 *Jul 22, 1974Dec 16, 1975Gen Motors CorpIce level sensing arm retractor
US4100761 *Dec 10, 1976Jul 18, 1978Whirlpool CorporationMovable ice receptacle
US4209999 *Jun 12, 1978Jul 1, 1980General Electric CompanyHousehold refrigerator with through-the-door ice service
US4492017 *Jun 16, 1982Jan 8, 1985General Electric CompanyMethod of assembling a rigid wire for driven rotational movement
US4872318 *Nov 18, 1988Oct 10, 1989Amana Refrigeration, Inc.Shut-off mechanism for ice maker
US5619858 *Feb 12, 1996Apr 15, 1997White Consolidated Industries, Inc.Ice bucket depth sensor
US6050097 *Dec 28, 1998Apr 18, 2000Whirlpool CorporationIce making and storage system for a refrigerator
US6082130 *Dec 28, 1998Jul 4, 2000Whirlpool CorporationIce delivery system for a refrigerator
US6148624 *Dec 28, 1998Nov 21, 2000Whirlpool CorporationIce making system for a refrigerator
US6286324Jan 12, 2000Sep 11, 2001Whirlpool CorporationIce level sensing system for an ice maker
US6314745Jan 12, 2000Nov 13, 2001Whirlpool CorporationRefrigerator having an ice maker and a control system therefor
US6334319Oct 18, 2000Jan 1, 2002Maytag CorporationIce level sensing assembly
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US7188479Oct 26, 2004Mar 13, 2007Whirlpool CorporationIce and water dispenser on refrigerator compartment door
US7426838Aug 17, 2000Sep 23, 2008General Electric CompanyIcemaker assembly
US7469553Nov 21, 2005Dec 30, 2008Whirlpool CorporationTilt-out ice bin for a refrigerator
US7493777May 17, 2007Feb 24, 2009Lg Electronics, Inc.Cold air guide structure of ice-making chamber of cold chamber door
US7610772Mar 6, 2006Nov 3, 2009Whirlpool CorporationIce level sensing system for a bottom freezer refrigerator
US7712322Feb 15, 2006May 11, 2010Maytag CorporationIce level sensing device for an automatic ice maker in a refrigerator
US8627679Jan 6, 2011Jan 14, 2014Whirlpool CorporationIce making and dispensing system
US8720221Sep 10, 2012May 13, 2014Whirlpool CorporationIn the door ice maker
US20100257889 *Apr 12, 2010Oct 14, 2010Lg Electronics Inc.Refrigerator
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Classifications
U.S. Classification62/137, 62/377, 200/61.2
International ClassificationF25C5/00, F25C5/18
Cooperative ClassificationF25C5/187
European ClassificationF25C5/18B4