Title:
Recessed refrigerator
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A recessed refrigerator having a unit to bias the cover of a machine room to be opened or closed depending on the position of the cover. The recessed refrigerator includes a cabinet having a storage compartment, and a machine room with an opening at a front surface positioned above the storage compartment. A cover is hingedly coupled to the cabinet to selectively open and dose the front opening of the machine room, and a biasing unit causes the cover to be automatically opened and closed depending on the location of the cover. Thus, the cover is opened and closed easily with even a small application of force.



Inventors:
Hwang, Ji-sick (Yangsan-City, KR)
Application Number:
10/739296
Publication Date:
09/30/2004
Filing Date:
12/19/2003
Assignee:
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (Suwon-si, KR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/440, 312/401
International Classes:
F25D23/02; F25D23/00; E05D5/06; E05F1/10; F25D19/00; F25D23/10; (IPC1-7): F25D11/00; A47B96/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ABDUR RAHIM, AZIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STAAS & HALSEY LLP (SUITE 700 1201 NEW YORK AVENUE, N.W., WASHINGTON, DC, 20005, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A recessed refrigerator comprising: a cabinet having a storage compartment, and a machine room positioned on the storage compartment and opening at a front surface thereof; a cover hingedly coupled to the cabinet to selectively open the front opening of the machine room; and a biasing unit to cause the cover to be biased open and closed depending on a location of the cover.

2. The recessed refrigerator as set forth in claim 1, wherein the biasing unit includes a gas spring comprising a cylinder filled with gas and hingedly connected to one of the cover and the cabinet, and a piston inserted at one end thereof into the cylinder and moved back and forth by compression of the gas, the other end of the piston being hingedly connected to the remaining one of the cover and the cabinet.

3. The recessed refrigerator as set forth in claim 1, wherein the cabinet includes a first hinge bracket protruded from a top surface of the cabinet, and the cover includes a second hinge bracket hingedly coupled to the first hinge bracket, the second hinge bracket being bent into a general “U” shape to pass through the machine room and the top panel of the cabinet.

4. The recessed refrigerator as set forth in claim 3, wherein a point, wherein the first hinge brackets and the second hinge brackets are coupled, is a cover hinge point, and a point, wherein the biasing unit is hingedly coupled to the cover, is a first hinge point, and a point, where the biasing unit is hingedly coupled to the cabinet, is a second hinge point, the cover is opened by the biasing unit when the first hinge point is located outside a line connecting the second hinge point to the cover hinge point, while the cover is closed by the biasing unit when the first hinge point is located inside a line connecting the second hinge point to the cover hinge point.

5. A refrigerator comprising: a cabinet housing a machine room disposed above a storage compartment wherein the machine room includes a movable cover, and a biasing unit for opening and dosing the machine room cover depending on the location of the cover.

6. The refrigerator as in claim 5, further comprising a “U” shaped hinge bracket coupling the cover to a hinge bracket protruding from the top of the cabinet.

7. The refrigerator as in claim 6, wherein the “U” shaped hinge bracket rearwardly protrudes from a rear surface of the cover.

8. The refrigerator as in claim 6, wherein the cover is opened when the cover is moved to a position where the coupling point of the biasing unit to the cover is outside the line between the coupling point of the “U” shaped hinge bracket and the coupling point of the biasing unit to the cabinet; and where the cover is closed when the cover is moved to a position where the coupling point of the biasing unit to the cover is inside the line between the coupling point of the “U” shaped hinge bracket and the coupling point of the biasing unit to the cabinet.

9. The refrigerator as in claim 5, wherein the biasing unit includes a gas filled cylinder pivotally coupled at one end to one of the cover or the cabinet and at the opposite end to one end of a piston, and the opposite end of the piston is pivotally coupled to the other one of the cover or cabinet.

10. The refrigerator as in claim 9, wherein the cover is opened once the cover is moved in the opening direction to a position outside a predetermined point; and where the cover is closed once the cover is moved in the dosing direction to a position inside a predetermined point.

11. The refrigerator as in claim 5, wherein the cover is above the top of the cabinet when the cover is opened.

12. A refrigerator comprising: a cabinet; a storage compartment, adapted to be climate controlled, housed in the cabinet; a machine room, with a movable cover, housed in the cabinet and disposed above the storage compartment, wherein said machine room includes a plurality of refrigeration cycle components for controlling the climate in the storage compartment; a biasing unit for providing opening and dosing assistance to the machine room cover depending on the location of the cover.

13. The refrigerator as in claim 12, wherein the biasing unit opens the cover once the cover is moved in the opening direction to a position outside a predetermined point; and where the biasing unit doses the cover once the cover is moved in the dosing direction to a position inside a predetermined point.

14. The refrigerator as in claim 12, wherein the biasing unit includes at least one gas filled cylinder pivotally coupled at one end to one of the cover or the cabinet and at the opposite end to one end of a piston, and the opposite end of the piston is pivotally coupled to the other one of the cover or cabinet.

15. The refrigerator as in claim 14, further comprising at least one curved hinge bracket coupling the cover to a hinge bracket attached to the cabinet.

16. The refrigerator as in claim 15, wherein the cover is opened when the cover is moved to a position where the coupling point of the biasing unit to the cover is outside the line between the coupling point of the curved hinge bracket and the coupling point of the biasing unit to the cabinet; and where the cover is closed when the cover is moved to a position where the coupling point of the biasing unit to the cover is inside the line between the coupling point of the curved hinge bracket and the coupling point of the biasing unit to the cabinet.

17. The refrigerator as in claim 16, wherein the cover is above the top of the cabinet when the cover is opened.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of Korean Application No. 2003-19468, filed Mar. 28, 2003, in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disdosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a recessed refrigerator installed in a wall-recessed manner, and more particularly, to a recessed refrigerator, which allows internal components to be easily repaired and replaced.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] Generally, a refrigerator generates cool air by a refrigerating cycle to maintain the freshness of stored food for a desired lengthy period of time.

[0006] Because a recessed refrigerator is usually taller than a typical refrigerator, it is often difficult for a user to make use of an upper space of the storage compartment of a recessed refrigerator.

[0007] Accordingly, in these years, components constituting a refrigerating cycle, such as an evaporator and a condenser, are installed in the hard to reach upper space of a refrigerator, so as to more efficiently utilize the storage space of the refrigerator.

[0008] The recessed refrigerator includes a cabinet that defines an external appearance. The cabinet is provided at an upper part thereof with a machine room, which houses electrical components, such as a condenser, a compressor and a blower fan. The machine room opens at its front face, to allow the electrical components in the machine room to be repaired and replaced. The machine room is provided with an access cover at the front open face, to allow the machine room to be opened when necessary.

[0009] In a conventional recessed refrigerator, where it is necessary to repair or replace electrical components in the machine room because of use for a long period, the components must be repaired or replaced while the cover of the machine room is raised.

[0010] However, since the cover to dose the front open face of the machine room is usually provided with decorative elements, the cover of the machine room is heavy, thereby causing the opening or dosing operation of the cover to be difficult.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] Accordingly, it is an aspect of the present invention to provide a recessed refrigerator including a cover, which can be easily opened and closed.

[0012] Additional aspects and/or advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and, in part, will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention.

[0013] The above and/or other aspects are achieved by providing a recessed refrigerator including a cabinet having a storage compartment, and a machine room positioned on the storage compartment and opening at a front surface thereof, a cover hingedly coupled to the cabinet to selectively open the front opening of the machine room, and a biasing unit to cause the cover to be automatically opened and closed depending on a location of the cover.

[0014] The biasing unit may include a gas spring comprising a cylinder filled with gas and hingedly connected to either the cover or the cabinet, and a piston inserted at one end thereof into the cylinder and moved back and forth by compression of the gas. The other end of the piston is hingedly connected to the remaining one of the cover and the cabinet.

[0015] The cabinet may include a first pair of hinge brackets protruded from a top surface of the cabinet, and the cover may include a second pair of hinge brackets hingedly coupled to the first hinge brackets. The second hinge brackets are bent into a general “U” shape to pass through the machine room and the top panel of the cabinet.

[0016] Assuming that a point, where the first pair of hinge brackets and the second pair of hinge brackets are coupled, is designated as a cover hinge point, and a point, where the biasing unit is hingedly coupled to the cover, is designated as a first hinge point, and a point, where the biasing unit is hingedly coupled to the cabinet, is designated as a second hinge point, then the cover may be opened by the compression of the biasing unit when the first hinge point is located inside a line connecting the second hinge point to the cover hinge point, while the cover may be closed by the compression of the biasing unit when the first hinge point is located outside a line connecting the second hinge point to the cover hinge point.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] These and/or other aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent and more readily appreciated from the following description of the preferred embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of which:

[0018] FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a recessed refrigerator in accordance with the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a recessed refrigerator according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a biasing unit of the recessed refrigerator shown in FIG. 2, in which a cover is closed by the biasing unit; and

[0021] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the biasing unit shown in FIG. 3, in which the cover is opened by the biasing unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

[0022] Reference will now be made in detail to the present embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout.

[0023] As shown in FIG. 1, a refrigerator according to an embodiment of the present invention includes a cabinet 10 defining an external appearance of the refrigerator. The cabinet 10 has a food storage compartment, partitioned by an intermediate partition wall 13 into left and right storage compartments with openings on the front surfaces thereof. One of the storage compartments forms a refrigerator compartment 12 to store food in a cool state, while the other storage compartment forms a freezer compartment 11 to store food in a frozen state. In an embodiment of the present invention the refrigerator is of a recessed type, though the invention may be applied to any refrigerator with a top mounted machine room.

[0024] A freezer compartment door 14 is hinged to an open front of the freezer compartment 11, and a refrigerator compartment door 15 is hinged to an open front of the refrigerator compartment 12. Thus, the two compartments 11 and 12 are independently closed and opened by the two doors 14 and 15. A plurality of racks 16 or shelves are installed in each of the two compartments 11 and 12, and on an inner surface of each of the two doors 14 and 15 to store food.

[0025] In the recessed refrigerator, the top of the cabinet 10 is provided at a rear side with an air cooling compartment (not shown), which is laterally extended and houses the components constituting the refrigerating cycle, such as an evaporator (not shown) and a cool air-circulating fan (not shown). The top of the cabinet 10 is further provided with a machine room 20, in which components constituting the refrigerating cycle, such as a compressor 21, the condenser 22, and a cooling fan 23 are installed.

[0026] The front surface of the machine room 20 opens to allow the old or worn-out components to be repaired or replaced. The front surface of the machine room 20 is provided with a cover 30 to allow the machine room 20 to be selectively opened and closed as necessary.

[0027] As shown in FIG. 2, the cover 30 of the machine room 20 is hingedly coupled at the upper end to the front side of the top of the cabinet 10. That is, the cover 30 is rotatably coupled to the front side of the top of the machine room 20 to selectively open or dose the machine room 20. Accordingly, the cover 30 normally doses the front opening of the machine room 20 to shield the electrical components in the machine room 20 from the outside. Where the electrical components in the machine room 20 are required to be repaired or replaced, the lower side of the cover 30 is raised forward to open the machine room 20, thereby allowing the electrical components to be accessed.

[0028] The top panel of the cabinet 10 is provided at both sides of a front end with a pair of first hinge brackets 17, and the cover 30 is provided at both sides of an upper end with a pair of second hinge brackets 31. Each of the second hinge brackets 31 are hingedly coupled to each of the respective first hinge brackets 17, as more dearly shown in a detail of one end of the cabinet 10 in FIGS. 3 and 4. Consequently, the cover 30 is openably coupled to the front opening of the machine room 20 by the hinged connection between the first hinge brackets 17 and the second hinge brackets 31. In this specification, the hinge point where the first hinge brackets 17 and the second hinge brackets 31 are coupled, is referred to as a cover hinge point H0.

[0029] In FIGS. 3 and 4, reference numeral 50, which has not been described heretofore, designates a ceiling of a building or furniture positioned above the recessed refrigerator according to the present invention.

[0030] In this embodiment, the cover hinge point H0 is positioned at a front side of the top of the cabinet 10, so that the cover 30 is positioned at a higher level than the top surface of the cabinet 10 when the cover 30 is opened. Therefore, the front opening of the machine room 20 is completely accessible without even partial obstruction to the front opening of the machine room 20, thereby permitting the electrical and refrigeration components in the machine room 20 to be easily repaired and replaced through the front opening.

[0031] The second hinge brackets 31 are rearwardly protruded from a rear surface of the cover 30. The second hinge brackets 31 are bent into a general “U” shape, such that ends of the second hinge brackets 31 are hingedly coupled H0 to the first hinge brackets 17 through the machine room 20 and the top panel of the cabinet 10. If the second hinge brackets 31 are protruded upward from the cover 30 and thus exposed to the visual field of an observer in the front of the cabinet 10, the aesthetic appearance of the refrigerator would deteriorate.

[0032] The recessed refrigerator according to this embodiment of the present invention further includes a biasing unit, which enables the cover 30 to be opened and closed easily by even a small application of force.

[0033] As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the open-dose unit is comprised of a gas spring 40 that includes a gas filled cylinder 41 hingedly coupled at one end to the cover 30 and, and a piston 42 slidably inserted at one end into the cylinder 41 and coupled at the other end to an inner side of the machine room 20. In this specification, a hinge point, where the biasing unit 40 is hingedly coupled to the cover 30, is referred to as a first hinge point H1, while the other hinge point, where the biasing unit 40 is hingedly coupled to the inner side of the machine room 20, is referred to as a second hinge point H2. In another aspect of the present invention, the gas spring 40 may be oriented in a reverse orientation, with the cylinder 41 coupled to the machine room 20 and the piston 42 slidably inserted at one end into the cylinder 41 and coupled to the cover 30 at the other end.

[0034] When the cover 30 is closed, the first hinge point H1. is located inside a line L connecting the second hinge point H2 to the cover hinge point H0. Consequently, the compression of the gas spring 40 serves to open the cover 30 when the first hinge point H1. is located outside the line L connecting the second hinge point H2 to the cover hinge point H0, while the compression of the gas spring 40 serves to dose the cover 30 when the first hinge point H1 is located inside the line L connecting the second hinge point H2 to the cover hinge point H0.

[0035] Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 3, when the cover 30 is in a state of dosing the front opening of the machine room 20, the cover 30 is forced to be maintained in the closed state. When the first hinge point H1 is moved by a user opening the cover 30 outside the line L connecting the second hinge point H2 to the cover hinge point H0, the compression of the gas spring 40 serves to open the cover 30 automatically.

[0036] The operations and functions of the recessed refrigerator according to this embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to the drawings.

[0037] When the cover 30 of the machine room 20 is in the process of being closed, compression of the gas spring 40 is used to dose the cover 30 once the first hinge point H1 is moved inside the line L connecting the second hinge point H2 to the cover hinge point H0, as shown in FIG. 3. Therefore, the cover 30 is maintained in a state of dosing the front opening of the machine room 20.

[0038] On the other hand, when the first hinge point H1 is move d outside the line L connecting the second hinge point H2 to the cover hinge point H0 by a user, the compression of the gas spring 40 is used to raise the cover 30, as shown in FIG. 4. Therefore, the cover 30 is biased open by the compression of the gas spring 40 after the first hinge point H1. is moved outside the line L connecting the second hinge point H2 to the cover hinge point H0.

[0039] As is apparent from the above description, the present invention provides a recessed refrigerator, which includes a biasing unit to cause a cover of a machine room of the recessed refrigerator to be opened or closed depending on the position of the cover, thereby allowing the cover to be opened and closed easily by even small applications of force.

[0040] Although an embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined in the claims and their equivalents.