US 3820351 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Baker, Jr.
3,820,351 June 28, 1974' AIR CONDITIONER GRILLE ASSEMBLY  Inventor: Walter Baker, Jr., Louisville, Ky. Examiner-William Wye  Assignee: General Electric Company,
Attorney, Agent, or FirmFrancis H. Boos  ABSTRACT A room air conditioner front assembly having a slidably arranged panel operable from an open position exposing the air inlet and afiording access to the air Louisville, Ky.
July 27, 1973 Appl. No.: 383,077
conditioning controls, to a closed position providing a decorative face by shutting the air inlet and hiding the controls. Operation of the air conditioner controls to an ON position provides an effective interlock which 2W7 6 6 mm 2 6. 5 7 2 6 2 2 6 n 2 "n 6 mm mm "Nam q d S M U'mF NH 555 prevents the panel from moving to close the air inlet References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS -whenthe controls are in the ON position and the air conditioner is operating.
3,323,319 Graser 62/262 3,481,153 12/1969 62/267 3 Claims, 5 Drawing Flgures 1 AIR CONDITIONER GRILLE ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an air conditioner front grille design and more specifically to a front panel operable from an open position for allowing the circulation of air and movable to a closed position only when the air conditioner is in an inoperative position.
Air conditioning units of the type normally mounted in a window or other wall openings have in the past been provided with door or covers for concealing their controls. It has also been common to provide a front grille assembly that could be covered to provide various decorative designs that could, for example, blend with the furniture and/or surroundings in the enclosure to be air conditioned. US. Pat. No. 3,277,663 to Ulich is one example of prior attempts to. provide air. conditioners with decorative panels that would cover the front of the air conditioners including the controls. In providing decorative covers it is critical that the air flow is not blocked during operation .of the air conditioner. To this end, the above-cited patent and US. Pat. No. 3,320,871 Wegman provides air passageways on the peripheral edges of the frame. In this instance, the frame must extend forward of the unit a distance sufficient to provide the necessary air passages. Other prior attempts such as that disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,354,809 to Orr disclose closure devices in which the air passages may be either completely sealed from or exposed to the room atmosphere. In the event that air flow is cut off or restricted beyond the design requirements of the air conditioner during operation of the unit serious damage may occur to the unit. 2
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to an air conditioner for conditioning air from an enclosure including an air outlet and an air inlet. In the present embodiment, an improved closure system is provided in the air inlet and includes a stationary panel having air passageways and a movable panel slidably arranged relative to the stationary panel including segments dimensioned to substantially close the air passageways when the movable panel is in a closed position. A multi-position button switch for operating the air conditioner is so located relative to the movable panel that if any of the buttons are in their operative position, the OFF button is positioned to interfer with the operation of the movable panel. In effect, the switch for operating the air conditioner provides an interlock to prevent closure of the air passages if the air conditioner is operating.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an interlock system that prevents restriction or cut off of the air inlet passages to the air conditioner during operation thereof.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along lines 55 of FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT an air intake or inlet area generally indicated by the numeral 8.
The air inlet area 8, of a generally rectangular configuration, is defined by opposite side walls 10 and 12, a top wall 14, and a bottom wall 16. These four walls define the inlet area 8 and as will hereinafter be described provide the principal support for the inlet panel or grille assembly 18 which forms a part of the presentinvention. The grille inlet assembly 18 is formed by a pair of panels 20 and 22 and as will be hereinafter described is removably mounted in the front frame 4. In accordance with the present invention and with reference to the illustrated embodiment as best seen in FIG. 1, the panel 22 provides the air inlet or passageway 24 to the air conditioner. To this end, the panel 22 is provided with vertical disposed and parallel spaced segments 26 with the space between them forming the air intake passageway 24. This inner or stationary panel 22 is dimensioned to fit substantially between the side walls 10 and 12 so as to prevent horizontal movement thereof with relation to the frame 4. The outer or movable panel 20 is similar in construction to panel 22 in that a segment 28 is provided for each of the passageways or openings 24 between the segments 26 of the stationary panel 22. The panel 20 is dimensioned horizontally to allow movement relative to the stationary panel 22. The panel 22 moves horizontally and generally in a plane parallel to the panel 20 so that the segments 28 of the movable panel 20 may alternately be moved between a first or air passageway 24 open position where the segments are aligned and the passageway 24 are open, to a closed position where the segments 28 of the movable panel 20 are aligned with the air intake passages 24 of the stationary panel 22. As can readily be seen with reference to FIG. 3 the panel assembly 20 in its closed position presents a decorative face to the viewer.
Means are provided in the present embodiment to allow movement of panel 20 relative to the stationary panel 22. To this end the outer or movable panel 20, as best seen in FIG. 4, is provided at its upper and lower edges with tabs 30. The tabs 30 are U-shaped or bent towards each other to form an effective holding or guiding'slot to receive the corresponding upper and lower edges of the inner or stationary panel 22. With this arrangement, the outer panel 20 is-permitted to move horizontally relative to the inner panel 22 which, as was herebefore mentioned, is held against horizontal movement by the side walls 10 and 12. With reference to FIG. 3 it will be seen that the grille assembly 18 and more particularly the panels 20 and 22 move relative to each other to provide a decorative face. The assembly 18 is removably located in channel or grooves 32 and 34 provided in the upper and lower walls 14 and 16 respectively thatare dimensioned to allow the grille assembly 18 to-be removed from the inlet area 8 to allow access to filter 33 and for repair or removal of any of the controls. The vertical dimension of the grille assembly 18 as seen in FIG. 2 allows the assembly to be raised into the channel 32 located in the upperwall 14 a sufficient distance to clear the lower edges of the wall 16 so that the lower edge of the panel assembly 18 may be swung away from the frame 4 and out of the upper channel 32. i
As best seen in FIGS. ,1 and 2, a control section or panel 34 of the air conditioning unit is mounted on the casing 2 and is located as shown so as to be accessible when the panels 20 and 22 are in their open position. The control section includes a multi-button switch 36 which is located so thatthe buttons project between two of the segments 26 of the stationary panel 22 and is therefore accessible when the movable or front panel 20 is in an open position with the segments of each panel in alignment (as shown in FIG. 2).
While it is one of the functions of the sliding or movable panel 20 to present to the viewer a closed and decorative surface, it is in effect an air valve that shuts off or substantially restricts the flowof air to theunit. The lack of air flowor restriction may cause serious problems such as freezing of the refrigerant system and possible motor and/or compressor burn out if the air passages to the unit were to be cut off during the operation of the air conditioner. i
In accordance with the present invention, an interlock is provided which would prevent movement of the panel 20 and closure of the air intake passageways 24 during operation of the air conditioner.
To this extent the switch 36 is of the push button type which includes a plurality of manual push buttons which may be depressed to control the operation of several circuits operating through the switch. The switch used in conjunction with the present embodiment is similar to the switch disclosed in US. Pat. No. 2,431,904 Andrews, assigned to General Electric Co., the assignee of the present invention. Actuation or depression of one push button simultaneously through internal mechanism will raise the previously depressed button. Once a push button is depressed it can be moved out only upon actuation of another button. With reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, it will be noted that the switch as shown in the present embodiment has three buttons 38 that may be depressed to control different circuits and operating modes of the air conditioner and an OFF button 40 that is effective in turning off the air conditioner.
Referring to FIG. 5 which shows the switch in its inoperative position with the OFF button 40 in its off or depressed position, it will be seen that the top of buttons 38 are aligned with the top of button 40. In effect all the buttons project the same distance from the surface of casing 2 when the OFF button 40 is depressed. The top of the switch buttons 38 and 40 in this position are positioned out of the path of the vertical plane in which the panel 20 moves so that the panel 20 is free to move to theclosed position shown in FIG. 3. Referring to FIGS. 2 and 4 the panel 20 is shown in the open position with the switch buttons exposed and in its operative position with one of the buttons 38 (FIG. 4) depressed to start operation of the air conditioner. As mentioned above the depression of any one of the ON buttons 38 raises the previously depressed button which would be OFF button 40 if the unit was not running. The OFF button 40 is dimensioned to project be switch 36 and passageways 24 only when the air conditioner is not running. Accordingly, an effective interlock system is provided and the desired result of preventing the closure of the air passageways during operation of the air'conditioner has been accomplished by the present invention by utilizing the switch that controls the operation of the air conditioning unit.
While in the embodiment shown the interlock feature of the present invention is accomplished by a push button type switch it will be understood that any type switching means may be used that in effect would prevent movement of the panel 20 or closure of the air inlet passageways.
It should be apparent to those skilled in the art that while what has been described is considered at the present to be the preferred embodiment of this invention, in accordance with the Patent Statutes, changes may be made in the disclosed grille assembly and interlock system without departing from the true spirit and scope of this invention.
What is claimed as new and is desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. An air conditioner operative for conditioning air from an enclosure including an air outlet opening and v an air inlet opening comprising:
frame means defining one of said openings;
a first panel mounted in said frame including a plurality of parallel segments spaced to provide air inlet passages between said segments;
a second panel mounted in said frame means for horizontal movement relative to said first panel and including a plurality of spaced parallel segments;
said second panel being moveable from an open position when said second panel segments are aligned with said first panel segments for allowing air flow through the said inlet passages to a closed position where said second panel segments are aligned with said air inlet passages to close said passages;
a plurality of switch means positioned to be accessible between two of said second panel segments when said second panel is in its open position;
at least one of said switch means projecting betweensaid second panel segments when said switch is in an operative position to prevent horizontal movement of said second panel and closure of said air inlet passages when any other of said switch means are in an operative position. i
2. The invention according to claim 1 wherein the switch means are push buttons.
3. The invention according to claim 2 wherein the switch means include an off button which extends through said first panel segments when anyother of said switch means are in an operative position.
4. The invention according to claim 3 wherein the push buttons'are movable in a plane perpendicularv to.
the plane of movement of said movable panel/ 5. An air conditioner operative for conditioning air from an enclosure including an air outlet opening and an air inlet opening comprising:
frame means defining said air inlet opening;
a rear panel mounted in said frame including a plurality of parallel segments spaced to provide air inlet passages between said segments;
a front panel mounted in said frame means for horizontal movement relative to said rear panel and including a plurality of spaced parallel segments, corresponding in number and substantially in size to said inlet passageways;
said front panel being movable from an open position when said front panel segments are aligned with said rear panel segments for allowing air flow through said inlet passages to a closed position where said front panel segments are aligned with said inlet passages to close said inlet passages;
a plurality of switch means positioned to be accessible between two of said front panel segments when said front panel is in its open position;
at least one of said switch means projecting between said front panel segments when said switch is in an operative position to prevent horizontal movement of said front panel and closure of said air inlet pas- 5 sages when any other of said switch means are in an operative position. 6. The invention according to claim 5 wherein the switch means are push buttons.
7. The invention according to claim 6 wherein the 10 switch means include an off button which extends through said front panel segments when any other of said switch means are in an operative position.
8. The invention according to claim 7 wherein the [5 push buttons are movable in a plane perpendicular the plane of movement of said movable panel.