|Publication number||US20120048955 A1|
|Application number||US 12/856,773|
|Publication date||1 Mar 2012|
|Filing date||27 Aug 2010|
|Priority date||27 Aug 2010|
|Also published as||CN102401449A|
|Publication number||12856773, 856773, US 2012/0048955 A1, US 2012/048955 A1, US 20120048955 A1, US 20120048955A1, US 2012048955 A1, US 2012048955A1, US-A1-20120048955, US-A1-2012048955, US2012/0048955A1, US2012/048955A1, US20120048955 A1, US20120048955A1, US2012048955 A1, US2012048955A1|
|Inventors||Andy Lin, Erich Schroeder, Nicole Moody|
|Original Assignee||Hunter Fan Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (1), Classifications (7), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to thermostats, and specifically to programmable electronic thermostats.
Thermostats have existed for many years. Recently, programmable thermostats have been designed to include programmable capabilities that include multiple “time periods” associated with each day so that a user may select different times to start and stop each “time period” and different temperatures (both heating and cooling) associated with each “time period”. The thermostat then controls a heating and/or cooling system (HVAC system) according to the programmed times and temperatures for each “time period” throughout the day. The use of these select “time periods” decrease the energy expenses associated with the running of the HVAC system by running the system at different temperatures when the homeowner is “away” from the home, i.e., the thermostat is programmed to operate the heating system at a cooler temperature setting and operates the cooling system at a higher temperature setting when the owner is suppose to be “away” according to the day and time programmed in the thermostat.
However, the programming of each of the multiple “time periods” can become very tedious. Furthermore, it may be possible to program the thermostat so that an overlapping of time occurs between two concurrent time periods.
Accordingly, it is seen that a need remains for a thermostat that is capable of reducing the number of entries a person must manually operate when programming a thermostat. It is to the provision of such therefore that the present invention is primarily directed.
In a preferred form of the invention a programmable thermostat for controlling space conditioning equipment comprises a temperature sensor, a display panel, a clock, a processor, and memory coupled to the processor for receiving a schedule program set for at least one of a heating and cooling mode. The schedule program set including a first schedule time period, a second schedule time period, and a third schedule time period. The first schedule time period includes a first time value set which includes a first start time setting and a first end time setting, and a first temperature setting. The second schedule time period includes a second time value set which includes a second start time setting and a second end time setting, and a second temperature setting. The third schedule time period includes at least one third time value set which includes a third start time setting and a third end time setting, and at least one third temperature setting. The processor automatically enters a time value into memory for the third time value set in response to the manual entry of a time value into memory for either the first time value set or the second time value set.
With reference next to the drawings, there is shown a thermostat 10 embodying principles of the invention in a preferred form. The thermostat 10 includes a housing 11 having a control panel 13 with a plurality of manually selectable input elements or input keys 15 and a display panel 17 for displaying various functions of the programmable thermostat, as depicted schematically in
Programmable thermostats that include the present invention may be pre-programmed to enable the operator or user of the thermostat to create or program the thermostat to provide a default program set in the working memory, in accordance with an instruction manual that the user receives with the thermostat or in accordance with prompts that are displayed on the display panel 17. Alternatively, the default program set may be stored in the permanent memory by the thermostat manufacturer and this default program set may be automatically transferred into the working memory upon initialization of the thermostat.
The control panel 13 includes a plus “+” input key 24, a minus “−” input key 25, a “schedule” input key 26, a “home” input key 27, a “cancel” input key 28, a “back” input key 29, a “next” input key 30, a “done” input key 31 and a “menu” input key 32. The “schedule” input key 26 is associated with an “Away” input key 38, and “Asleep” input key 39, and an “At home” input key 40. The “Away” input key 38 is intended to be associated with a “schedule time period” during which the operator/homeowner is away from the home. The “Asleep” input key 39 is intended to be associated with a “schedule time period” during which the operator is asleep within the home. The “At home” input indicator 40 is intended to be associated with a “schedule time period” during which the operator is awake and in the home. While only three “schedule time periods” are shown in the preferred embodiment, it should be understood that the thermostat may include any number of multiple schedule time periods associated with each day. The control panel 13 also includes a “cool” indicator 33, a “heat” indicator 35, a “copy whole day.”, and an “energy saving” bar graph indicator 37. The thermostat may also includes unshown conventionally known cool/heat/auto switches or button and refresh/auto/on switches or button to control the function of the thermostat. The functions of most of these keys and indicators are conventional and well known in the art.
The display panel 17 of the control panel 13 includes a number of display indicia that appears at different times upon the display, as best illustrated in the drawings and description of the programming method described herein. The display indicia includes a days of the week display 41, temperature display 42, time period start time display 43, time period end time display 44, and operating and programming instructions display 46. Additional indicia that can be displayed are current temperature, current time, fan symbols, and other commonly used nomenclature associated with thermostats.
In use, the system is initially set up by entering the day, date and time by utilizing the “+” input key 24 or “−” input key 25 until the appropriate date and time appear. If the user initially skips the schedule set-up process, then the default program set (pre-programmed) or schedule will go into effect. The default schedule provides for a fairly standard time schedule with temperature settings which provide comfort yet are high enough on the cool setting (cooling mode) and low enough on the heat setting (heating mode) to provide a very efficient mode of operation of the HVAC unit.
If the user wishes to program the thermostat with his or her own schedule (a desired program set) the user presses the Schedule input key 26, as shown in
The thermostat preferably commences with the “Away” time period as indicated by the triangle adjacent the Away input key 38. The thermostat automatically displays the “Away” time period pre-selected time (08:00 AM) and temperature (60 F) associated with the start time display 43, end time display 44 and temperature display 42. Again, the user may then utilize the “+” and “−” input keys 24 and 25 to change the value or setting entered into the desired start time for the “Away” time period to a desired time, as shown by the change to 08:15 AM in
Next, the thermostat displays a pre-selected temperature value associated with the heat mode of operation on the temperature display 42. Again, the user may then utilize the “+” and “−” input keys 24 and 25 to change the desired temperature value for the “Away” mode to a desired temperature value. The heat mode temperature value is entered with the depression of the “next” input key. The thermostat then displays a pre-selected temperature value associated with the cool mode of operation on the temperature display 42. Once again, the user uses input keys 24 and 25 to change the temperature value to a desired temperature setting and enters such with the depression of the “next” input key 30, thus concluding the customizing of the time and temperature settings of the “Away” time period.
The thermostat then automatically moves the programming sequence to the “Asleep” time period, as indicated by the highlighting of the Asleep input indicator 39 shown in
Next, the thermostat displays a pre-selected temperature value associated with the heat mode of operation on the temperature display 42. Again, the user may then utilize the “+” and “−” input keys 24 and 25 to change the desired temperature value for the “Asleep” mode to a desired temperature. The heat mode temperature value is entered with the depression of the “next” input key. The thermostat then displays a pre-selected temperature value associated with the cool mode of operation on the temperature display 42. Once again, the user uses input keys 24 and 25 to change the temperature value to a desired temperature setting or value and enters such with the depression of the “next” input key 30, thus concluding the customizing of the time and temperature settings of the “Asleep” time period.
The thermostat then automatically moves the programming sequence to the “At home” time period, which is the last of the three time periods, as indicated by the highlighting of the “At home” input indicator 40 in
The reason the thermostat does not display the start and end times associated with the “At home” time period is that the “Away” time period and “Asleep” time period have already been entered, and their corresponding start and end times. Through the selection of the start and end times of these sequentially prior or later schedule time periods the remaining times or time frames of the complete day are automatically assigned to the “At home” time period, i.e., the remaining time or times (time period(s)) are already established as being the time remaining between the already entered “Away” and “Asleep” time periods. For example, should the “Away” time period have a start time of 8:15 a.m. and an end time of 4 p.m. and the “Asleep” time period have a start time of 11 p.m. and an end time of 6:30 a.m., then this establishes two separate “At home” time periods (two sub-schedule time periods). The first “At home” time period has a start time of 4 p.m. and an end time of 11 p.m. The second “At home” time period has a start time of 6:30 a.m. and an end time of 8:15 a.m. Thus, any time outside the time spans associated with the already programmed time periods of “Away” time period and “Asleep” time period, automatically are designated time periods associated with the remaining “At home” time period. The “Away” and “Asleep” time periods in this example may be thought of as first and second schedule time periods while the “At home” time, period is thought of as a third schedule time period having two sub-schedule time periods.
The elimination or reduction of having to physically set time periods associated with multiple time period thermostats greatly improves the ease of programming. Additionally, one can automatically establish multiple time periods and the temperature associated with such, through programming other time periods, i.e., by separating the “Away” and “Asleep” time periods one automatically creates two different “At home” time periods (sub-periods). As such, the thermostat not only reduces the four commonly associated time periods associated with thermostats (“Asleep”, “Away”, “At home” and Return) to only three time periods (“Asleep”, “Away” and “At home”) and the programming associated with each, but the thermostat also reduces the physical programming of the start time and end time to only those associated with two of the time periods (“Asleep” and “Away”). This eliminates fifty percent of the programming steps when compared to four time periods each having a separate start time and end time, thus greatly decreasing the time and frustration associated with programming thermostats.
It should be understood that the present invention may include more schedule time periods than that shown in the preferred embodiment. For example, the thermostat may include four named schedule time periods, rather than the three previously described, wherein the “At home” schedule time period may be automatically programmed in the same manner through the programming of the other three schedule time periods.
It thus is seen that a thermostat is now provided which overcomes problems with those of the prior art. While this invention has been described in detail with particular references to the preferred embodiments thereof, it should be understood that many modifications, additions and deletions, in addition to those expressly recited, may be made thereto without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention as described by the following claims.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US4460125 *||27 Aug 1982||17 Jul 1984||Robertshaw Controls Company||Wall thermostat and the like|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8965585 *||10 Jan 2012||24 Feb 2015||Ecobee Inc.||HVAC controller with device scheduling program|
|Cooperative Classification||F23N5/203, F23N2025/12, F24F2011/0072, F24F11/0012, G05D23/1904|
|16 Aug 2010||AS||Assignment|
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LIN, ANDY;SCHROEDER, ERICH;MOODY, NICOLE;REEL/FRAME:024839/0798
Effective date: 20100813
Owner name: HUNTER FAN COMPANY, TENNESSEE
|12 Feb 2013||AS||Assignment|
Free format text: PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT (FIRST LIEN);ASSIGNOR:HUNTER FAN COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:029795/0222
Owner name: GENERAL ELECTRIC CAPITAL CORPORATION, CONNECTICUT
Effective date: 20121220
Free format text: PATENT SECURITY AGREEMENT (SECOND LIEN);ASSIGNOR:HUNTER FAN COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:029795/0405
Effective date: 20121220
Owner name: GUGGENHEIM CORPORATE FUNDING, LLC, NEW YORK