|Publication number||USRE39287 E1|
|Application number||US 09/908,488|
|Publication date||Sep 19, 2006|
|Filing date||Jul 19, 2001|
|Priority date||Jul 1, 1997|
|Also published as||US5924289|
|Publication number||09908488, 908488, US RE39287 E1, US RE39287E1, US-E1-RE39287, USRE39287 E1, USRE39287E1|
|Inventors||A. Bishop II Robert|
|Original Assignee||Medical Products, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (32), Non-Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (4), Classifications (12), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Technical Field
The present invention pertains to a temperature control system for installation within cabinets to control temperature within those cabinets. In particular, the present invention pertains to a temperature control system for installation within cabinets of ambulances or other medical vehicles to maintain cabinet interiors at appropriate temperatures for storing drugs and/or intravenous (i.e., I.V.) solution.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Ambulances and other medical vehicles typically include cabinets to store medical items, such as drugs or intravenous (I.V.) solution, for use by medical personnel. Generally, drugs and I.V. solution are required to be maintained at specific temperatures. In particular, I.V. solution, typically contained within I.V. bags, needs to be maintained at approximately body temperature in order to avoid thermal shock and injury to a patient. Similarly, certain drugs are required to be maintained at particular temperatures in order to lengthen their active life and/or be safely administered to patients. However, existing cabinets utilized in ambulance and other medical vehicles typically do not provide a temperature controlled environment, but rather merely store medical items. Thus, drugs or I.V. solutions that are initially thermally treated to have temperatures within their appropriate utilization temperature range may quickly attain temperatures outside that range when stored in cabinets lacking temperature control capability, thereby risking injury to the patient.
Although temperature controlled cabinets may exist in other contexts, those cabinets typically require A.C. (i.e., alternating current) voltage to maintain the cabinet interior at a desired temperature and are not suited for use within ambulances or other medical vehicles since only D.C. (i.e., direct current) voltage is available in these vehicles. Further, there is no provision for incorporating temperature control capability into cabinets previously disposed in ambulances and other medical vehicles. Thus, there exists a need in the art for a temperature control system for installation within ambulance and other medical vehicle cabinets to maintain medical items, such as drugs and I.V. solution, at appropriate temperatures to avoid injury when the medical items are administered to a patient. In addition, there exists a need in the art for the temperature control system to utilize D.C. voltage in order to be compatible with vehicle electrical systems.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to control temperature within ambulance or other medical vehicle cabinets to maintain medical items (i.e., drugs, I.V. solution) at their appropriate temperatures.
It is another object of the present invention to retrofit ambulance or other medical vehicle cabinets with temperature control capability to maintain medical items at their prescribed temperature.
Yet another object of the present invention is to employ a temperature control system within vehicle cabinets and utilize voltage supplied by that vehicle to power the temperature control system.
The aforesaid objects are achieved individually and in combination, and it is not intended that the present invention be construed as requiring two or more of the objects to be combined unless expressly required by the claims attached hereto.
According to the present invention, a temperature control system for maintaining a cabinet or other storage structure interior at a desired temperature includes two heat pumps disposed within a cabinet wall, a controller assembly for providing a user interface and controlling system operation and a temperature sensor for measuring cabinet interior temperature. The heat pumps heat or cool the cabinet interior to maintain the cabinet interior at the desired temperature. Alternatively, a single larger heat pump may be utilized to heat or cool the cabinet interior. The system is preferably directed toward cabinets disposed in ambulances and other medical vehicles in order to maintain medical items, such as drugs or intravenous solution, contained within the cabinet at their appropriate temperature (i.e., 21° C. -26° C. for drugs, 35° C.-40° C. for I.V. solution). The system may be installed by ambulance or other medical vehicle manufacturers in cabinets within new vehicles as an option or on remounts. Further, the system may be retrofit into an existing cabinet within an ambulance by any ambulance or medical emergency vehicle user. The system may utilize D.C. voltage supplied by the vehicle electrical system and with the use of a vehicle converter, the vehicle battery may be protected while the vehicle is connected to stationary power outlets. The system may convert an insulated cabinet having a maximum approximate volume of 6,000 cubic inches to a temperature controlled cabinet.
The heat pumps typically include a pair of heat sinks surrounding a solid state thermoelectric device ;(i.e., a Peltier chip). The heat sinks are typically constructed of thermally conductive material and include fins to enable air to circulate and transfer thermal energy from the heat sinks to the surrounding environment. Further, fans are disposed adjacent each heat sink to circulate air and enhance heat pump efficiency. The thermoelectric device causes one heat sink to absorb thermal energy (i.e., thereby cooling the surrounding environment), while enabling the other heat sink to expel thermal energy (i.e., heat the surrounding environment) based on the direction of current or voltage polarity directed to the device. Since the heat pumps utilize a solid state thermoelectric device, the heat pumps have no moving parts, except for the fans, and are extremely reliable. The heat pumps are installed in the cabinet such that one heat sink is typically disposed exteriorly of the cabinet while the other heat sink is disposed within the cabinet interior.
The controller assembly includes a control console having a display and other user interface devices, such as a power switch and buttons for entering information into the system, and a programmable digital controller and associated circuit board containing switching circuitry that, in combination, transmit control signals to the heat pumps via a wye and wiring harness (i.e., a wye harness is utilized with a wiring harness when connecting two heat pumps to the controller assembly, while only the wiring harness is utilized when connecting a single heat pump to the controller assembly) based on the cabinet interior temperature measured by the temperature sensor. The wiring harness may vary in length such that the controller assembly may be installed separate from the cabinet within an ambulance action wall (i.e., ambulance wall containing switches, controls and equipment) or other appropriate location within the ambulance or other medical vehicle. In response to a temperature signal from the temperature sensor, the controller directs voltages, via the switching circuitry, to the thermoelectric device to heat or cool the cabinet interior in order to maintain the desired temperature. A desired cabinet interior temperature may be entered into the system via buttons disposed on the control console display. The solid state digital controller permits preferred temperatures to be programmed and maintained, even though the ambient temperature in the ambulance or other medical vehicle may be either above or below the programmed temperature.
It is to be understood that the present invention includes several features and advantages, some of which include: solid state thermoelectric heat pumps that heat or cool a cabinet interior; a programmable digital controller with preferred temperature setting (i.e., lock in) capability; heat pumps having no moving parts, except for fans, thereby providing inherent reliability; temperature sensor input from an RTD thermocouple; maintaining a constant desired temperature within a cabinet for storage of medical items at their prescribed temperature; system operation powered by 12 V DC supplied from the ambulance or other medical vehicle; cools or warms drugs to manufacturers recommended storage temperatures; and warms I.V. solutions to temperatures of 35° C.-40° C. (i.e. body temperature.
The above and still further objects, feature and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description of a specific embodiment thereof, particularly when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals in the various figures are utilized to designate like components.
An exemplary cabinet of the type employed by the present invention for use in ambulance or other medical vehicles to contain medical items (e.g., drugs or intravenous solution contained with I.V. bags) is illustrated in FIG. 1. Specifically, cabinet 18, typically disposed along with a plurality of other cabinets within an ambulance or other medical vehicle interior, is similar in shape to a substantially rectangular box and includes top and bottom walls 20, 22 side walls 24, 26 and rear wall 30. The cabinet front typically includes doors 32, 34, preferably disposed between top and bottom walls 20, 22 and side walls 24, 26. Each wall is substantially rectangular wherein top and bottom walls 20, 22 include substantially similar dimensions, while side walls 24, 26 also include substantially similar dimensions. Rear wall 30 is disposed between top and bottom walls 20, 22 and side walls 24, 26 such that the cabinet walls and doors collectively define a cabinet interior. It is to be understood that the terms “front”, “rear”, “top”, “bottom”, “side”, “lower” and “upper” are used herein only to indicate points of reference and do not limit the cabinet or present invention to a specific configuration or orientation. Doors 32, 34 are typically disposed at the front of the cabinet to enable placement and removal of medical items, such as drugs or intravenous solution bags, from the cabinet interior. By way of example only, cabinet 18 includes two substantially rectangular sliding doors 32, 34, however, the cabinet may include any quantity or type of doors that open and close in any manner or direction. Further, the cabinet doors may be of any shape, while the cabinet interior may include shelves to contain the medical items.
Doors 32, 34 are each typically substantially rectangular having substantially similar dimension wherein the height of each door is slightly less than the distance between top wall 20 and bottom wall 22, while the width of each door is approximately one-half the width of the cabinet. Doors 32, 34 are typically disposed one in front of the other to permit the doors to slide between the cabinet side walls and enable access to the cabinet interior. By way of example only, door 34 is disposed in front of door 32 such that door 32 is slightly recessed toward the cabinet interior, while door 34 is substantially flush with the top, bottom and side wall edges. However, the doors may be disposed on the cabinet in any manner capable of permitting the doors to slide between the side walls. Alternatively, doors 32, 34 may be attached to cabinet 18 via hinges such that the doors may pivot to an open or closed position. Doors 32, 34 are typically secured to cabinet 18 via rails or tracks (not shown) disposed on the interior surface of top wall 20 and/or bottom wall 22 wherein the doors engage the tracks to slide between the cabinet side walls. Doors 32, 34 each include a know or handle 38 disposed toward the middle portion of each door 32, 34 adjacent a vertical door edge closest to respective cabinet side walls 24, 26. Knobs 38 may be any conventional knobs, handles or recesses within the doors and may be disposed anywhere on the doors in any fashion. For example, knobs 38 may be implemented by a handle having a substantially circular gripping portion attached to an elongated stem (e.g., as illustrated in
The cabinet described above in relation to
Controller assembly 42 includes a control console described below having switches and a display for entering a desired temperature and displaying the current temperature of the cabinet interior. The controller assembly generates signals in a manner described below to control heat pumps 54 in response to a particular reading from sensor 44. In other words, when the cabinet interior temperature exceeds a desired temperature, controller assembly 42 directs heat pumps 54 to cool the interior, while directing heat pumps 54 to heat the cabinet interior when the cabinet interior temperature is less than a desired temperature. Wires connecting controller assembly 42 and heat pumps 54 to wye and wiring harnesses 48, 49 are color coded to ensure proper connections. Temperature control system 40 may be incorporated into a new cabinets during manufacture, or may be retrofit into cabinets lacking temperature control capability to form a temperature controlled cabinet.
The configuration of each heat pump 54 is illustrated in FIG. 3. Specifically, heat pumps 54, preferably implemented by a model ST 3457 manufactured by Marlow Industries, Inc. of Dalls, Tex. modified structurally to accommodate the present invention, includes an exterior heat sink 88 with corresponding axial face 90, an interior heat sink 92 with corresponding axial fan 94, and an insulating layer 95 and Peltier chip 96 (i.e., thermoelectric device) disposed between the exterior and interior heat sinks. Exterior heat sink 88 typically has larger dimensions than interior heat sink 92. Power and other signals for fans 90, 92 and Peltier chip 96 are received via wires 17. Wires 17 are color coded and connected to plug type connector 98, typically having four pins for connection to wye harness 48 (FIG. 2). Heat pumps 54 are inserted into a cabinet wall with insulation 95 and Peltier chip 96 substantially coincident the wall, exterior heat sink 88 disposed exterior of the cabinet, and interior heat sink 92 disposed within the cabinet interior as described below.
Heat sinks 88, 92 for transferring thermal energy to the surrounding environment are illustrated in
Fans 90 and 94 (
Heat pumps 54 utilize Peltier chip 96 (i.e., a solid state thermoelectric device) to heat and cool heat sinks 88 and 92. This type of thermoelectric device typically includes an array of thermocouples that operate in accordance with the Peltier effect. Basically, the thermoelectric device obeys the laws of the therodynamics in a similar manner as mechanical heat pumps, refrigerators or other devices used to transfer heat energy, except that this device includes solid state electrical components instead of mechanical/fluid heating and cooling components. Specifically, when D.C. (i.e. direct current) electrical power is applied to a thermoelectric device having an array of thermocouples, head is absorbed on a cold side of the thermocouples wherein the heat passes through the thermocouples to be dissipated on the hot side of the thermocouples. Heat sinks are typically disposed on the hot and cold sides of the thermocouples to respectively aid in the dissipating heat to, or removing heat from, the adjacent environment. Whether the heat sinks absorb or dissipate heat is determined by the direction of current flow through, or voltage polarity applied to, the device in accordance with the Peltier effect.
Peltier chip 96 enables heat sinks 88 and 92 to dissipate and absorb heat based on the voltage polarity applied to that chip. An particular, the Peltier effect stipulates that when current passes across a junction between two different metals, heat is either absorbed or dissipated based on current flow in relation to junction voltage direction. Current opposing the voltage direction causes heating of the junction, wile current flowing with the voltage causes junction cooling. For example, an electric current driven in a bimetallic circuit maintained at uniform temperature causes heat to be dissipated at one circuit junction and absorbed at the other junction. This phenomenon occurs since an isothermal electric current in a metal is accompanied by a thermal current. Since the electric current is uniform and the thermal currents vary between metals, the difference in thermal currents is dissipated at one junction and absorbed at the other junction to maintain uniform temperature. In other words, it is necessary to supply heat at one junction and extract heat at the other junction to maintain uniform temperature in a bimetallic circuit. Peltier chip 96 functions in a similar manner to dissipate heat to interior heat sink 92, while absorbing heat (i.e., cooling) from exterior heat sink 88 based on the direction of current flow or voltage polarity received by the chip. When the current flow or voltage polarity is reversed, the interior heat sink 92 absorbs heat, while exterior heat sink 88 dissipates heat. For further details on thermoelectric devices and their operation, reference is made to U.S. Pat. No. 5,315,830, incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
Preparation of heat pumps 54 for installation within a cabinet side or other wall is illustrated in FIG. 7. This is typically accomplished by modifying assembled heat pumps, such a msodel ST 3457 manufactured by Marlow Industries, Inc. of Dallas, Tex. Specifically, heat pumps 54 are prepared for installation by initially removing a fan motor 53 having a rotor 57 and stator 51, wherein a corresponding shaft extends from the rotor and stator. The shaft connected to motor stator 51 (i.e., shown in phantom in
Controller assembly 42 controls system operation and includes a faceplate or control console 56 as illustrated in FIG. 8. Specifically, control console 56 is substantially rectangular and includes a power (i.e., ON/OFF) switch 58, fuse holder 60, preferably including a fifteen amp fuse 62, and a controller display 64. Fuse holder 60 is generally disposed between power switch 58 and display 64 toward an upper portion of control console 56, however, the control console may be of any shape with the power switch, fuse holder and display arranged on the control console in any fashion. Power switch 58 may be implemented by any conventional power switch, and by way of example only, is implemented by a substantially rectangular switch wherein depressing an end of the switch associated with “ON” or “OFF” attains the desired power distribution to the system. Fuse holder 60 may be implemented by any conventional fuse holder and is preferably implemented by a panel mount fuse holder typically suited to contain a fifteen amp fuse. Display 64 is associated with a controller described below and includes a light emitting diode (LED) or liquid crystal (LCD) display 66 for displaying the temperature of the cabinet interior. Display 64 is generally configured to display four digits, however, the display may be implemented to display any number of digits.
Display 64 further includes cooling mode and heating mode indicator lights 68, 69, preferably green, disposed diagonally opposite each other to indicate when the interior cabinet temperature has shifted out of a desired temperature range. In particular, cooling mode indicator light 68 is disposed toward the bottom portion of display 66 and indicates a cabinet interior temperature above the desired temperature range, while heating mode indicator light 69 is disposed toward the top portion of display 66 and indicates a cabinet interior temperature below the desired temperature range. User interface buttons 70, 72 and 74 are disposed below display 66 and enable programming of the controller and entry of a desired cabinet temperature. Buttons 70, 72 and 74 are labeled with various indicia (e.g., a star, down arrow and up arrow) to distinguish the buttons and indicate button functions. Generally, button 70 labeled with a star is used for selection, while buttons 72 and 74 are used for manipulating data to be entered. The buttons may be arranged in any manner on display 64 and may include any indicia uniquely identifying each button. Control console 56 is typically red having approximate dimensions of seven inches by five inches. The control console is typically constructed of metal, however, the control panel may have other dimensions, may be constructed of other sufficiently sturdy material and may of any color.
The underlying circuitry of controller assembly 42 is illustrated in FIG. 9. Specifically, the controller assembly circuitry is mounted on the back of control console 56 and includes power switch 58 and fuse holder 60 with fuse 62 as described above, a programmable controller 76 and switching circuitry 78 disposed on a circuit board 59. Power switch 58 is connected to a 12 V 15A power lead from a battery (not shown), and controls distribution of power through fuse 62 to circuit board 59. The negative terminal of the battery is also connected to circuit board 59 as described below. Controller 76 is typically implemented by a Cal3200 12 V DC programmable controller. The controller typically includes a plurality of circuit board mounted screw terminals 1c-8c for distributing and receiving signals from switching circuitry 78, however, any other mechanisms may be utilized for distributing and receiving signals. In particular, terminals 1c and 2c receive signals, via circuit board 59, from temperature sensor 44 (
Switching circuitry 78 is preferably disposed on circuit board 59 having a plurality of solder terminals 1-8 and screw terminals 9-16, however, the solder and screw terminals may be implemented and arranged in any fashion to receive and distribute signals. Generally, solder terminals 1-8 are disposed toward the upper portion of the circuit board to respectively connect to terminals 1c-8c of controller 76. Terminals 9 and 10 form a two terminal block that is color coded for proper hook-up. Terminals 9 and 10 are typically disposed at an intermediate portion of the circuit board, one above the other adjacent and below terminal 1 toward a circuit board side, and face the back of the controller assembly. Terminal 9 is typically coded red and is connected via fuse 60 to power switch 58, while terminal 10, typically coded black, is connected to the negative terminal of a battery (not shown) or ground. Two three terminal blocks respectively including terminals 11-13 and 14-16 are disposed toward the bottom portion of the circuit board. The terminals are color coded wherein terminals 11-16 are coded brown, green, blue, yellow, red and black, respectively. Receptacle 47 of wiring harness 49 (
Switching circuitry 78 for controlling heat pumps 54 in accordance with controller 76 is illustrated in FIG. 10. Specifically, circuit board 59 containing circuitry 78 includes terminals 1-16 described above. Terminal 9 is connected to a 12 V DC power lead of a battery (not shown), while terminal 10 is connected to the negative battery terminal as described above. Terminals 11 and 12 are connected to temperature sensor 44, and are connected to terminals 1 and 2 to convey temperature sensor signals to controller 76 (
Terminals 3-5 and 13-14 are utilized to distribute signals that control operation of heat pumps 54. Briefly, heat pumps 54 include a pair of heat sinks wherein one heat sink is cooled, while the other is heated as described above. The particular heat sink cooled and/or heated is dependent upon the polarity of voltage (i.e., direction of current flow) received by the heat pump as described above. Terminals 13 and 14 are manipulated by switching circuitry 78 such that one terminal supplies a 12 V DC power signal, while the other terminal supplies a −12 V DC power signal to the heat pumps, thereby controlling voltage polarity or current flow. During normal operation, terminals 13 and 14 each include a −12 V DC power signal, thereby inhibiting heat pump operation. In other words, switching circuitry 78 basically provides a 12 V DC power signal on either terminal 13 or 14 to control heat pump operation depending upon the interior cabinet temperature and control signals received from controller 76. Switches S1, S2 and S3, controlled by relays C1, C2, C3, place appropriate voltages on terminals 13 and 14 in response to control signals received from controller 76 to control heat pumps 54.
Accordingly, terminals 3 and 4 are utilized to enable heat pumps 54 to cool the cabinet interior. These terminals receive a 5 V DC power signal from terminals 3c and 4c (
In response to a cabinet interior temperature decreasing below the desired temperature range, controller 76 does not apply 5 V DC power signals to terminals 3 and 4, thereby maintaining switch S3 to provide a −12 V DC power signal on terminal 13. However, controller 76 does apply a 12 V DC power signal onto terminal 5 to enable heat pumps 54 to heat the cabinet interior. Specifically, terminal 5 is connected to relay C2, preferably a 12 V DC relay, manipulating corresponding switch S2 between contacts 84 and 86 wherein contact 84 is connected to terminal 9 and provides a 12 V DC power signal, while contact 86 is connected to terminal 10 and provides a −12 V DC power signal as described above for switch S3. Switch S2 is connected to terminal 14 supplying signals to control heat pumps 54, and is normally set to contract 86 to provide a −12 V DC power signal on terminal 14. When controller 76 desires to heat the cabinet interior, the controller places a 12 V DC power signal onto terminal 5, thereby energizing only relay C2. Switch S2 subsequently switches from contact 86 to contact 84 to provide a 12 V DC power signal onto terminal 14, while terminal 13 provides a −12 V DC power signal since relays C1 and C3 are not energized. Thus, a different voltage polarity (i.e., different current flow direction) is directed to heat pumps 54, thereby causing the interior heat pump heat sinks to dissipate heat and warm the cabinet interior. Therefore, by controlling signals on terminals 3, 4 and 5, controller 76 may control temperature within the cabinet interior based on temperature sensed by the temperature sensor.
Circuit board 59 containing the switching circuitry may be constructed in various ways. By way of example only, the components and wire are soldered on the top side of the board with screw terminals 9-16 soldered first followed by relays C1, C2 and C3. Subsequently, eight, approximately seven inch, eighteen gauge wire leads from terminals 1-8 are soldered to the board, and after all components are in place, excess wire is trimmed from the board bottom. Screw terminals 9-16 are subsequently marked, preferably via color markers. Faceplate 56 (
Wiring harness 49 for connecting heat pumps 54 to controller assembly 42 via wye harness 48 is illustrated in FIG. 11. Specifically, wiring harness 49 may be cut to a length of either approximately five or twenty-five feet, wherein the harness includes a sheath 43 covering a multi-colored (e.g., black, red, yellow, blue, green and brown) six conductor wire 45. Sheath 43 is stripped approximately three inches at each wire end. One end of each wire is striped approximately one-quarter inch and tinned to create a uniform wire end. The other end of each wire includes a metal pin wherein a four position receptacle 47 of wiring harness 49 receives the respective ends of the black, red, yellow and blue wires, while the respective ends of the green and brown wires are inserted into a two position receptacle 46.
Wye harness 48 for connecting controller assembly 42 to heat pumps 54 via wiring harness 49 is illustrated in FIG. 12. Specifically, wye harness 48 includes plug type connectors 50 and receptacle type connectors 52. The wye harness typically includes eight color coded wires 41, preferably two each of black, red, yellow and blue, that are separated into four pairs of the same color. The wires are connected in pairs at one end and attached to a four position plastic male plug 50. The remaining ends are separated into two four wire groups, each having a set of four different colors (i.e., black, red, yellow and blue) that are attached to respective four-position female receptacles 52. The color coded wires are typically stripped to approximately fourteen inches and are implemented by fourteen gauge wires stripped approximately one-half inch on one end and one-quarter inch on the other end. The one-half inch stripped ends of each wire pair are joined, crimped and soldered to a single metal pin, preferably male. Each one-quarter inch end is crimped and soldered to a single metal pin, preferably female. The male pins are inserted into connector 50, while the female pins are separated into two groups, each having different color wires as described above, and are inserted into respective connectors 52.
Temperature sensor 44 measures the cabinet interior temperature and is illustrated in FIG. 13. Specifically, temperature sensor 44 includes an RTD thermocouple, type sensor with two twenty gauge wires 73, each approximately thirty-six inches in length. Heat shrink tubing 71, preferably having approximate dimensions of one-eight inch by thirty-three inches, is utilized to protect the wires, wherein wires 73 are inserted through the tubing until the wires meet metal sensor 75. Wires 73 are then inserted one-eighth inch more and heated to provide a continuous sheath 71. A two position male plug 37, preferably plastic, attaches to wires 73 for connection to the controller assembly as described above. The wire ends are soldered to two pins, preferably male, that are inserted into male plug 37.
Installation of system 40 within a cabinet is illustrated in
Once the system has been installed into a cabinet, the system is initially started and tested as illustrated in
Operation of the temperature control system is described with reference to
In response to the temperature exceeding the desired temperature range, cooling mode indicator light 68 in the lower portion of the display flashes. Controller 76 places a 5 V power signal on terminals 3c and 4c, thereby actuating switches S1 and S3 to provide a 12 V DC power signal on terminal 13 of circuit board 59, while terminal 14 remains negative as described above. The forward bias of terminals 13 and 14 cause Peltier chip 96 to enable interior heat sink 92 to cool the cabinet interior as described above. Conversely, when the cabinet interior temperature falls below the desired temperature range, heating mode indicator light 69 disposed in the upper portion of the display flashes. Controller 76 places a 12 V DC power signal on terminal 5c to actuate switch S2 of switching circuitry 78, thereby providing a 12 V DC power signal on terminal 14 of circuit board 59, while terminal 13 remains negative as described above. The reverse bias of terminals 13 and 14 cause Peltier chip 96 to enable heat transfer from the exterior heat sink to the interior heat sink to heat the cabinet interior. This process continues as described above to maintain the cabinet temperature within the desired temperature range.
By way of example, system operation for storing drugs and 1.V. solution is described. Drugs are stored within the cabinet wherein the controller is programmed to a set point of 21° C. as described above. Temeprature sensor 44 inputs a converted signal to controller 76 representing the cabinet interior temperature. When the cabinet interior temperature is greater than or equal to 26.5° C. (i.e., 21° C. combined with 5° C. variance and 0.5° C. hysteresis), cooling mode indicator light 68 flashes, and controller 76 provides 5 V DC power signals as described above to enable heat pumps 54 to cool the cabinet interior. Controller 76 provides the 5 V DC power signals until the cabinet temperature is equal to or less than 25.5° C. (i.e., the largest temperature within the desired temperature range combined with hysteresis) wherein the 5 V DC power signals and cooling mode indicator light are disabled. Conversely, when the temperature signal indicates a cabinet temperature less than or equal to 20.5° C. (i.e., 21° C. combined with 0.5° C. hysteresis), heating mode indicator light 69 flashes and controller 76 provides a 12 V DC power signal as described above to enable heat pumps 54 to heat the cabinet interior. Controller 76 provides the 12 V DC power signal until the cabinet interior temperature is equal to or greater than 21.5° C. (i.e., the lowest temperature within the desired temperature range combined with hysteresis) wherein the 12 V DC power signal and heating mode indicator light 69 are disabled.
Similarly, I.V. solution may be stored in the cabinet with the controller programmed to a set point of 35° C. as described above. Temperature sensor 44 inputs a converted signal to controller 76 representing the cabinet interior temperature. When the cabinet interior temperature is greater than or equal to 40.5° C. (i.e., 35° C. combined with 5° C. variance and 0.5° C. Hysteresis), cooling mode indicator light 68 flashes and controller 76 provides 5 V DC power signals as described above to enable heat pumps 54 to cool the cabinet interior. Controller 76 provides the 5 V DC power signals until the cabinet interior temperature is equal to or less than 39.5° C. (i.e., the largest temperature within the desired temperature range combined with hysteresis) wherein the 5 V DC power signals and cooling mode indicator light are disabled. Conversely, when the temperature signal indicates a cabinet temperature less than or equal to 34.5° C. (i.e., 35° C. combined with 0.5° C. hysteresis), heating mode indicator light 69 flashes and controller 76 provides a 12 V DC power signal as described above to enable heat pumps 54 to heat the cabinet interior. Controller 76 provides the 12 V DC power signal until the cabinet temperature is equal to or greater than 35.5° C. (i.e., the lowest temperature within the desired temperature range combined with hysteresis) wherein the 12 V DC power signal and heating mode indicator light 69 are disabled.
Alternatively, temperature control system 40 may be implemented using a single large heat pump 55 is substantially the same manner described above as illustrated in FIG. 17. Specifically, system 40 includes controller assembly 42, temperature sensor 44 and wiring harness 49 as described above, and a heat pump 55 wherein the heat pump and temperature sensor are connected to the controller assembly via wiring harness 49 in substantially the same manner described above for the dual heat pump system. The system is substantially similar to, and functions in substantially the same manner as, the dual heat pump system described above except that a single heat pump is utilized and may be connected to the controller assembly with the wiring harness (i.e., the wye harness is not required).
Heat pump 55 includes a configuration similar to that described above in
Installation of system 40 with a single heat pump 55 within cabinet 18 is illustrated in FIG. 19. Specifically, system 40 and heat pump 55 are installed in cabinet side wall 26 in substantially the same manner described above for the system having heat pumps 54 except that the large interior hat sink is disposed within the cabinet interior, while the small exterior heat sink is disposed on the circuit exterior. An opening 61 for heat pump 55 within cabinet side wall 26 is required to have approximate dimensions of five and one-half inches by five and three-quarter inches in order to accommodate the heat pump. The orientation of the heat pump for better air flow is determined prior to constructing opening 61. Once heat pump 55 is installed within the cabinet side wall, it is connected to harness 49 via receptacle 47, while temperature sensor 44 is connected to receptacle 46 in substantially the same manner as described above except that the plug from heat pump 55 described above is directly connected to receptacle 47 since a wye harness is not required when utilizing a single heat pump. Wiring harness 49 is also connected to controller assembly circuit board 59 (
It is to be understood that the temperature control system of the present invention may be placed in various cabinets or other storage structures, preferably having a maximum volume of approximately 6,000 cubic inches. The invention typically includes a preset temperature range of 21° C.-26° C. or 35° C.-40° C., however, any temperature or range may be programmed into the system to maintain the cabinet interior at a suitable temperature for storing various medical or other items.
It will be appreciated that the embodiments described above and illustrated in the drawings represent only a few of the many ways of implementing a controlled temperature cabinet system.
The cabinet may be any type of enclosed structure, preferably utilized in ambulances or other medical vehicles, and may include any quantity of various sized drawers, shelves or other storage arrangements wherein cabinets having shelves may include any number of doors opening in any direction. The wye and wiring harness may utilize any wiring capable of conveying signals, while the plug and receptacle type connectors may be implemented by any type of conventional connectors capable of establishing connections. The heat pumps may be implemented by any conventional or other heat pump type devices wherein the heat sinks may be implemented by any sufficiently thermally conductive material of any size capable of being mounted in a cabinet wall. The heat sinks may be of any shape and may include any quantity of fins wherein the fins may be of any shape and extend in any manner across any heat sink surface. The Peltier chip may be implemented by any circuitry or other thermoelectric or electromechanical devices having thermodynamic characteristics capable of transferring thermal energy between the heat sinks. The insulation layer may include any conventional insulation, such as foam. The fans may be implemented by any conventional fans or other devices capable of circulating air. The temperature sensor may be implemented by an RTD thermocouple or any other temperature sensor capable of providing temperature signals to the controller.
The control console may include any conventional switches or buttons for the power switch, and may include any conventional fuse holder and fuse to protect the circuit. The display may be on LED or LCD display, or any other mechanism for indicating temperature and the system mode. The indicator lights, display and console may be of any color, wherein the console may be constructed of metal or other suitable sturdy material. Further, the display may include any type of buttons or data entry devices to program the controller in any manner for a desired temperature. The controller may be implemented by conventional controllers, microprocessors or any other analog or digital circuitry capable of pressing the temperature signal and generating control signals for the heat pumps. The controller may be programmed to main the cabinet interior at any desired temperature, or within any desired temperature range having a desired hysteresis.
The switching circuitry may include any number of conventional or solid state switches (e.g., transistors, etc.) and relays, or other circuitry or components that are capable of supplying control signals to the heat pumps, arranged in any fashion to provide the proper signals to the heat pumps. The circuit board and circuitry may include any quantity of terminals and may be formed in any manner wherein the terminals may be soldered, screwed or be of other terminal types capable of receiving the wires. The terminals may be arranged and cooled in any manner to provide connections for single in any fashion capable of proper system operation.
The heat pumps may be installed at any location on the cabinet capable of heating and cooling the cabinet interior. Similarly, the controller assembly be installed at any appropriate location within the vehicle capable of operating the system. Further, any number of heat pumps, temperature sensors or other devices may be utilized by expanding the wye and wiring harness with additional connectors and/or wires to accommodate the additional components. The heat pumps may be installed within the cabinet at any orientation to provide enhanced air flow. Further, the heat sinks may be disposed within the heat pump at any orientation to enhance air flow and heat pump efficiency.
The system may be installed in new vehicle cabinets (e.g., new vehicles) as an option, or mounted in existing cabinets lacking temperature control capability. The system may be initially tested by placing the temperature sensor within sufficiently warm and cold environments and verifying proper heat pump operation as described above. The system may be factor set to various temperatures, however, any temperature may be programmed into the system as described above. The heat pumps may be assembled using any types of fasteners to secure components.
From the foregoing description it will be appreciated that the invention makes available a novel controlled temperature cabinet system and method wherein the system is installed within cabinets disposed in ambulances and other medical vehicles to maintain medical items stored in those cabinets at desired temperatures.
Having described preferred embodiments of a new and improved controlled temperature cabinet system and method, it is believed that other modifications, variations and changes will be suggested to those skilled in the art in view of the teachings set forth herein. It is therefore to be understood that all such variations, modifications and changes are believed to fall within the scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||62/3.61, 62/3.7|
|International Classification||G05D23/19, F25B21/02, F25D11/00, F25B21/04|
|Cooperative Classification||F25B2321/0212, F25D11/003, G05D23/1917, F25B21/04|
|European Classification||G05D23/19D, F25B21/04|
|Dec 29, 2006||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jan 30, 2007||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Dec 22, 2010||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12