|Publication number||US3635043 A|
|Publication date||Jan 18, 1972|
|Filing date||Mar 16, 1970|
|Priority date||Mar 16, 1970|
|Publication number||US 3635043 A, US 3635043A, US-A-3635043, US3635043 A, US3635043A|
|Inventors||Sterling John E|
|Original Assignee||Gen Electric|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (27), Classifications (9)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
i] ite 1 ii,
Sterling States Patent 3,537,273 11/1970 Alvarez ..62/344X Primary Examiner-William E. Wayner Attorney-Walter E. Rule, F. H. Boos, Jr., Joseph B. Forman, Oscar B. Waddell and Frank L. Neuhauser 5 7] ABSTRACT A refrigerator comprising a compartment having an access opening, a door for closing the opening, an ice storage receptacle mounted on the door for storing ice pieces and an automatic ice maker supported within the compartment. The ice maker is controlled for periodic operation through a harvesting cycle during which ice pieces are discharged to the receptacle and a fresh charge of water is thereafter supplied to the ice maker. The power supply for the ice maker comprises a first supply circuit including means for interrupting the power supply when the receptacle is not positioned to receive ice pieces discharged by the icemaker and a second supply circuit for assuring the supply of power to the ice maker in the event that the rod is supply circuit is opened during the water supply portion of the harvesting cycle.
4 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEU M38872 3,635,043
SHEET 1 OF 2 FIG.
ms ATTORNEY PATENIEnJumm 3.635.043
sum 2 or 2 71 INVENTOR.
JOHN E. STERUNG PIC-L7 %WZZ H\S ATTORNEY HOUSEHOLD REFRIGERATOR INCLUDING AUTOMATIC ICEMAKER AND DOOR MOUNTED ICE STORAGE RECEPTACLE CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION The present application is a continuation of my application Ser. No. 826,541 filed May 21, 1969 and now abandoned. As indicated in the copending application Ser. No. 866,832 filed Oct. 16, 1969 by Philip J. Drieci, entitled Refrigerator Including Through-the-Door Ice Service, and assigned to the assignee of the present invention, my parent application Ser.
No. 826,541 and hence this application incorporated within the subject matter thereof the earlier invented ice service of Philip J. Drieci.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A number of automatic icemakers featured in household refrigerators include means for periodically initiating and controlling the operation of the icemaker through a harvesting cycle which comprises discharging the ice pieces from the icemaker mold to a storage receptacle and refilling the mold with another charge of water.
There are a number of advantages in being able to mount the ice storage receptacle on a refrigerator door or drawer front and the icemaker in a stationary position within the freezer compartment of the refrigerator as described in the aforementioned Drieci application. A refrigerator including an ice service of this type and photoelectric control means for the icemaker is described and claimed in the copending application Ser. No. 20,120 filed March 16, 1970 as a continuation of Ser. No. 812,992 filed Apr. 3, 1969, and now abandoned, in the name of William M. Webb and Daniel N. Toma and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention. In that service, the receptacle is removably supported on a door so that it is in the proper position to receive ice pieces from the icemaker when it is on the door and the door is closed. To avoid a possible discharge of ice pieces from the icemaker during a time when the door is open or the receptacle is not positioned on the door to receive these ice pieces, the service described in the aforementioned Webb et al. service includes switch means for interrupting the power supply to the icemaker whenever the door is open or the receptacle has been removed. While this interruption of power to the icemaker will prevent ice pieces from being discharged from the icemaker under conditions in which the receptacle is out of position to receive the discharged ice pieces, at times the power to the icemaker may be cut during the water fill portion of the harvesting cycle. It has been found that if this period of inactivation is prolonged, as for example when the receptacle has been removed from the door, freezing of a partial water charge may cause flooding of the icemaker upon reenergization thereof.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to and has as its general object the provision of a power supply control means designed to eliminate the aforementioned freezing and flooding problem in the operation of a household refrigerator ice service of the above-described type.
More specifically, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the invention, there is provided a household refrigerator including an automatic icemaker mounted in a freezer compartment, a storage receptacle mounted on the freezer door and two parallel power supply circuits for the icemaker adapted to continue the operation of the icemaker through any water fill period of a harvesting cycle in the event the receptacle is moved from its ice receiving position during this period.
More specifically, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the invention, there is provided a household refrigerator containing in the freezer compartment thereof an icemaker comprising discharge means including an element movable from a first position to a second position following discharge of ice pieces from the mold and control means for controlling the operation of the icemaker through a harvesting cycle including successive steps of discharging ice pieces from the mold and supplying a new charge of water to the mold. The icemaker includes a motor for operating the discharge means and sequential switch means for controlling the harvesting cycle operation of the icemakers. The power supply means for supplying electrical power to the icemaker motor includes a first circuit containing switch means for interrupting the power supply through the circuit when the receptacle is not in position to receive ice pieces discharged by the icemaker and a second circuit including switch means operable by the discharge means for supplying power to the icemaker if a harvesting cycle has been initiated at the time the first circuit is opened and has progressed past the point where ice pieces have been discharged from the icemaker. Thus the second circuit assures energization of the icemaker motor through the water fill step or portion of the harvesting cycle.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the accompanying drawing:
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view, partly in section, of a portion of a household refrigerator including the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a horizontal sectional view taken generally along line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a rear elevational view of part of the automatic icemaker component of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is an end view of the icemaker of FIG. 3 illustrating certain operational components thereof involved in the harvesting cycle control of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a partial view similar to FIG. 4 illustrating these components during a subsequent stage in the harvesting cycle operation of the icemaker;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken generally along line 66 of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of a portion of the electrical control circuitry for controlling the automatic operation of the icemaker.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference generally to FIGS. 1 and 3 of the accompanying drawing, there is illustrated a household refrigerator cabinet including a freezer compartment 1 having an access opening at the front thereof closed by a closure member in the form of a door 2. The access opening is generally defined by a rectangular breaker frame 3 extending about the four sides of the opening and hence including opposed side portions 4 and 5 on opposite sides of the door 2. Also in accordance with the usual practice, the inner surface of the door 2 is formed to include inwardly and vertically extending projections 7 and 8 overlapping the frame sides 4 and 5 and forming a storage recess on the interior surface of the door 2.
An ice storage receptacle 9 is supported within this recess between the projections 7 and 8 and an automatic icemaker 11 is stationarily supported within the freezer compartment I above the receptacle 9 in a position such that ice pieces manufactured by the icemaker 11 can be conveyed by a chute or delivery means l2 to the receptacle 9.
The main freezer door 2 is preferably constructed to provide means for obtaining access to the ice pieces stored in the receptacle 9 without opening the main door 2. To this end, the door 2 is provided with a relatively small secondary access opening or passage 14 extending through the door 2 at about countertop height and framed in part by the projections 7 and 8 and a horizontal projection 15. This passage I4 is normally closed by a secondary or ice service door 17 hingedly supported at its lower edge on the main door for tilting movement about the hinge axis from its normally closed position to a tilted open position.
The ice storage receptacle 9 is removably supported on the inner surface of this auxiliary or secondary door 17, as for example on hooks 10, to receive ice pieces from the chute 12 when both the main and secondary doors are closed. When the door 17 is tilted to its open position or when the door 2 is opened, the ice stored in the receptacle can be obtained through the open top 20 of the receptacle.
It will be understood that the icemaker may be any of a number of well-known types presently used in household refrigerators modified for operation in accordance with the present invention. The illustrated icemaker is the type disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,331,215 Shaw modified by the substitution of a photoelectric ice level control means for the feeler arm ice level sensing mechanism of the Shaw structure as taught by the Webb et al. application and by the incorporation of power supply control means in accordance with the present invention.
Certain components of the Shaw icemaker as modified for the practice of the present invention are illustrated in FIGS. 3-6 of the drawing. The icemaker comprises a mold 21 including a plurality of cylindrical cavities 23 spaced along the length of the mold 21 and separated from one another by walls 24 each of which includes a vertical passage 25 (FIG. 6) for the flow of water from one cavity to another during the mold filling operation. A plurality of pads or pistons 26, which to a substantial extent form the bottoms of the cavities 23, are interconnected by a bar 27 received within the passages 25. Movement of these pads to a position adjacent the tops of the cavities serves to eject the ice pieces from the cavities. Power and control means for operating the icemaker are generally contained within the housing 29 secured to one end of the mold 21. This mechanism includes a motor 30 (FIG. 7). The motor is connected through transmission gearing (not shown, a cam means 31 and a pin 32 to a lever 33 which operates the pads 26.
A sweep element 35 is pivotally supported on the mold above the cavities 23 for pivotal movement about its pivot pins or shafts 36 from a normal position to the rear side of the cavities 23 into engagement with the ice pieces 37 at the time that they are raised to their upper position by the pads 26 and then part way across the tops of the cavities as shown in FIG. 5 for the purpose of sweeping the ice pieces from the top of the mold and into the delivery chute 12. This sweep element 35 is operated by means of a leer 38 pivoted on a pin 38a on the one side of the housing 29 with the opposite end of the lever 38 connected through a rod 39 to an arm or bellcrank 40 secured to the pivot pin 36 of the sweep element 35 As shown in FIG. 3 of the drawing, a midportion of the lever 38 engages a surface of the cam 31 so that it is driven by the cam 31 to provide the desired sweep movement during a harvesting cycle operation of the icemaker.
The icemaker also includes a plurality of switches generally indicated in FIG. 3 by the numeral 42, a switch timing cam 43 associated with cam means 31 and driven by motor 30 for operating the switches 42 during an ice harvesting cycle, a solenoid water valve 45, a thermostatic switch 46 and a mold heater 47.
When the thermostatic switch 46 associated with the mold 21 senses a predetermined below-freezing mold temperature, it closes and connects both the motor 30 and the mold heater 47 across the supply lines 49 and 50 to initiate a harvesting cycle. During initial operation of the motor, the switch-timing cam 43 closes a first switch 51 bypassing the thermostat 46 to assure continuous operation of the motor and the mold heater after the heater has warmed the mold to a point where the thermostatic switch 46 opens. Following discharge of ice pieces from the mold, the cam 43 closes a second switch 52 for energization of the solenoid-controlled water valve 45 for a time sufficient to supply a fresh charge of water to the mold. Further rotation of the cam opens both switches 51 and 52 thereby deenergizing both the motor and the mold heater which remain deenergized until the thermostat 46 again senses a below freezing temperature in the mold.
During the first part of the harvesting cycle and as soon as heater 47 has thawed the bond between the ice pieces and the walls of the cavities 23, pads 26 are raised to position the released ice pieces above the surface of the mold 21. At'this point, lever 37 is moved by cam 31 to operate the sweep element 35 through crank 40 so that the sweep element moves from its normal position forwardly across the top of the mold sweeping the ice pieces into the delivery chute 12. At about the time that element 35 is in its foremost or forward position, switch 52 closes to open valve 45 for supplying a timed quanti ty of water to the mold as described hereinbefore. The water is introduced into the mold during the time the sweep element and ejector pads are returning to their normal positions.
Photoelectric means are illustrated for interrupting this automatic operation of the ice-making cycle when the ice accumulated in the receptacle 9 has reached a predetennined level. This means, forming part of the subject matter of the aforementioned Webb et al. application, comprises (FIG. 1) a light source in the form of a small lamp 54 mounted in the breaker frame component 4 to one side of the receptacle 9 for directing a beam of light through the receptacle 9 to a light sensitive means, such as a photocell 55, mounted on the opposite frame member 5. When the components 54 and 55 are at an elevation below the top 20 of the receptacle 9, aligned windows, in the form of slots or apertures 56 are provided in the opposite sidewalls of the receptacle so that the light beam may be directed through the receptacle at a predetermined maximum level of ice in the receptacle 9. If, as in the illustrated embodiment, the door projections 7 and 8 are also in the path of the beam, similar windows or light passages may be provided in these projections.
This photoelectric control means which forms part of the control circuitry schematically illustrated in FIG. 7 of the drawing also includes means for energizing a thermostat heater 59 positioned adjacent the thermostatic switch 46 to thereby open switch 46 and prevent operation of the motor 30 and heater 47 whenever the light beam to the photocell 55 is interrupted.
The light source is connected directly across power supply lines 49, 50. The photocell 55 is part of a control circuit including a DC regulated power supply comprising a voltage regulator zener diode 57 and a dropping resistor 58 well adapted to supply a low DC voltage from the lines 49, 50 to a positive line or terminal 60 and a negative line or terminal 61. The heater 59 is connected through a silicon-controlled rectifier 62 across the lines 49 and 50.
A transistor 63 is connected across the lines 60, 61 in series with a resistance 64, the resistance being connected between the emitter of the transistor and the negative terminal 61. The gate of the silicon-controlled rectifier is connected to the junction between the emitter of the transistor 63 and the resistance 64, the resistance 64 being of such a value that when the transistor 63 is conducting, a gating signal is supplied to the silicon-controlled rectifier to turn that element on. The photocell 55 connected in series with a resistor 65 across the lines 60, 61 in the form of a resistance bridge controls the gating of the transistor and hence the operation of the siliconcontrolled rectifier 62. The base of the transistor is connected to the point between the resistor 65 and the photocell 55, the photocell being connected to the negative line 61.
So long as the photocell senses the beam of light from the lamp 54, the transistor 63 is oIT. When the light beam is interrupted by the accumulation of ice in the receptacle 9, the photocell resistance increases to a value which is high enough to turn the transistor on and thereby gate the silicon-controlled rectifier 62. Conduction of the silicon-controlled rectifier energizes the thermostat heater 59 thereby warming and opening the mold thermostat 46 to step further operation of the icemaker.
Means are also provided for preventing operation of the icemaker whenever either of the doors 2 or 17 is closed or these doors are closed and the ice receptacle 9 is not in its position on the door 17. In accordance with the teachings of aforementioned Webb et al. application, this means comprises a power supply line 71) connecting line 50 to the ice maker through thermostatic switch 46 and switch means 42. The line 50 includes a plunger switch 71 mounted in a sidewall of the compartment 1 adjacent the door 2. This switch 71, as shown in the FIG. 7, interrupts the power supply to the icemaker 11 when open. It is designed to be closed whenever its plunger is depressed.
For closing the switch 71 during all times that the doors 2 and 17 are closed and the receptacle 9 is in its proper position, there is provided resilient switch-actuating arm 72 having one end secured to the inner surface of the projection 7 and extending inwardly between the inner surface of that projection and the adjacent sidewall of the receptacle 9. Its free end 73 is operatively positioned with reference to the plunger of switch 71. When the doors 2 and 17 are closed and the receptacle is in its normal position, the switch-operating member 72 occupies its full-line position as shown in FIG. 2 of the drawing whereby its free end depresses the switch plunger to close the switch 71. it is also held in this position by a projection engaged by a sidewall of the receptacle 9. It is designed to flex to its dotted line position shown in FIG. 2 of the drawing to open switch 71 whenever the closure member 17 is opened or the receptacle 9 is not in its normal position. Also since member 72 is carried by the door 2, opening of the door 2 disengages it from the switch plunger to deenergize the icemaker.
Control components thus far described are disclosed in the aforementioned Shaw patent or Webb et al. application. In the operation thereof, the interruption of the power supplied to the icemaker by opening of switch 71 will prevent discharge of ice pieces from the icemaker 11 at any time that the receptacle 9 is not positioned to receive these ice pieces. However in some instances, the switch 71 may be opened during a water fill portion of a harvesting cycle when the ejector pads 26 are in the process of being lowered to their normal position at the bottom of the cavities causing freezing and flooding of the icemaker upon reenergization thereof. This results from the fact that opening of switch 71 also deenergizes and closes water valve 45 even though the switch 52 for operating this valve is closed at this point. Mold heater 47 is also deenergized so that if part of the water charge has been introduced into the mold, this water can freeze and stall the ejector pad mechanism if switch 71 remains open for too long a time. In this case, motor 311 is prevented from operating the switch means 52 upon subsequent closing of switch 71 until the heater has melted the stalling ice. As a result, switch 52 remains closed for a longer period of time resulting in flooding of the mold and overflow of water into the freezer compartment and the chute 12.
In accordance with the present invention, power supply control means are provided for preventing deenergization of the icemaker by door opening or removal of the receptacle during a water fill period of operation. This means comprises the provision of two parallel power supply circuits or more specifically, a second power supply circuit in parallel with the power supply line 70 and switch 71. This added circuit 75 connects line 50 to the switch means 43 through a switch 76 operated by a component of the icemaker mechanism which will assure supply of power to the icemaker for completing a harvesting cycle if switch 71 is opened during a water fill period. In other words, the second circuit switch 76 is operated to supply power to the icemaker during the water fill operation regardless of the position of switch 71. Movable components of the harvesting mechanism which can be used to operate the switch 76 include the cam means 31, the lever 33 and its associated mechanism and the sweep element 35 and the mechanism for driving this element all of which change positions during the water fill operation.
Preferably, as shown in the illustrated embodiment of the invention, the operation of switch 76 is controlled by the position of the sweep element 35. To this end, arm or bellcrank 40 which operates the sweep element 35 is connected through a rod 77 to a pivoted free link 78 which engages the leaf 79 operating switch 76 as shown particularly in FIGS. 4 and 5 of the drawing. Rod 77 is adapted to slide in slot in link 78 providing a lost-motion connection therewith. The link 78 is frictionally pivoted on pin 82 so that it will remain in any position to which it is moved by rod 77. When the element 35 is in its normal position as shown in FIG. d, the rod 77 positions link 78 to engage spring leaf 79 and open switch 76 by depressing switch button 81. During a harvesting cycle, the bellcrank 40 rotates counterclockwise in moving sweep element 35 forwardly. The rod 77 also slides along slot 80 to the opposite end thereof and swings link 78 to a position for closing switch 76. The lost motion provided by slot 80 leaves the link 78 in this position so that switch 76 remains closed until the harvesting mechanism has returned the sweep to its normal position at which point link 78 is returned to its normal position and switch 76 is opened. Thus, switch 76 is closed during that part of the harvesting cycle required for completion of a water fill operation. It is open at all other times including the initial or ice-ejecting portion of the harvesting cycle so that the power supply to the motor 30 is then controlled only by switch 71. Thus, any movement of receptacle 9 from its ice-receiving position will stop the icemaker opera tion to prevent discharge of ice pieces while the receptacle is out of position but the circuit 75 and switch 76 will prevent freezing and flooding the icemaker in the event the receptacle is moved after discharge of ice pieces and during a water fill portion of a harvesting cycle.
While there has been shown and described a specific embodiment of the present invention it is to be understood that it is not limited thereto and it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such modifications as fall within the scope thereof.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. In a refrigerator comprising a storage compartment having an access opening and a closure member for closing said access opening;
an automatic icemaker including a mold and delivery means for delivering ice pieces contained in said compartment;
an ice storage receptacle and means for mounting said receptacle on said closure member in a position for receiving ice pieces from said delivery means when said closure member is closed;
said icemaker comprising discharge means for discharging ice pieces from said mold and including an element movable from a first position to a second position following discharge of said ice pieces, valve means for supplying water to said mold, control means for periodically controlling the operation of said icemaker through a harvesting cycle including successive steps of discharging said ice pieces from said mold and supplying water to said mold during movement of said element to said second position, a motor for operating said discharge means and said control means; 1 power supply means for supplying electrical power to said icemaker including a first circuit containing switch means associated with said receptacle for interrupting said power supply whenever said receptacle is not in position to receive ice pieces from said delivery means, and a second circuit ineluding switch means operable by said element for supplying power to said icemaker during said water supply step whereby if a harvesting cycle has been initiated and ice pieces have been discharged from said mold when said first power circuit is interrupted, said second circuit will supply power for continuing the operation of said icemaker through said water supply step.
2. In a refrigerator comprising a storage compartment having an access opening, a closure member for closing said access opening and an ice storage receptacle mounted on said closure member;
an automatic icemaker including a mold and delivery means for delivering ice pieces from said icemaker to said receptacle, said icemaker and delivery means being supported in said compartment;
said icemaker comprising a mold heater for heating said mold, discharge means including an element movable from a first position to a second position following discharge of ice pieces to said delivery means, an electrically operated valve for supplying water to said mold, control means for controlling the operation of said icemaker through a harvesting cycle including successive steps of heating said mold, discharging said ice pieces from said mold, and supplying water to said mold during movement of said element to said second position, a motor for operating said discharge means and said control means, a thermostat switch means responsive to the freezing of water in said mold for energizing said mold heater and said motor to initiate a harvesting cycle operation of said icemaker;
icemaker stopping means including a thermostat heater for said thermostat switch means and ice sensing means associated with said receptacle for energizing said thermostat heater to prevent harvesting operation of said icemaker upon the accumulation of a predetermined quantity of ice in said receptacle;
power supply means for supplying electrical power to said icemaker and including first and second parallel supply circuits, said first supply circuit containing first switch means for interrupting the power supply through said first circuit only when said receptacle is not in position to receive ice pieces from said delivery means, said second supply circuit including second switch means operably connected to said element for supplying power to said icemaker through said second circuit only during that portion of a harvesting cycle following discharge of ice pieces from said mold.
3. In a refrigerator comprising a storage compartment havfor delivering ice pieces from said icemaker to said receptacle when said closure member is closed, said icemaker and delivery means being supported in said compartment;
said icemaker comprising a mold heater for heating said mold, discharge means including means for ejecting ice pieces from said mold and a sweep element movable across the top of said mold from a first position to a second position for sweeping ejected ice pieces into said delivery means, an electrically operated valve for supplying water to said mold control means for controlling the operation of said ice maker through a harvesting cycle including successive steps of heating said mold, discharging said ice pieces from said mold, and supplying water to said mold during movement of said element from said second position to said first position, a motor for operating said discharge means and said control means, a thermostat switch means responsive to the freezing of water in said mold for energizing said mold heater and said motor to initiate a harvesting cycle of said icemaker;
power supply means for supplying electrical power to said icemaker;
said power supply means including first and second parallel supply circuits, said first supply circuit containing first switch means for interrupting the power supply through said first circuit when said receptacle is not in position to receive ice pieces from said delivery means, said second supply circuit including second switch means operable by said sweep element for supplying power to said icemaker through said second circuit during the step of supplying water to said mold.
4. The refrigerator of claim 3 in which said connection of said sweep element to said second switch means includes lost motion connecting means for closing said second switch ing an access opening, a closure member for closing said access opening, an ice storage receptacle and means for mounting said receptacle on said closure member;
an automatic icemaker including a mold and delivery means
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|U.S. Classification||62/137, 62/178, 62/233|
|International Classification||F25C5/18, F25C5/00|
|Cooperative Classification||F25C5/187, F25C5/005|
|European Classification||F25C5/00B2, F25C5/18B4|