Title:
DETERGENT BOX OPENING AND CLOSING DETECTING APPARATUS OF WASHING MACHINE AND METHOD FOR CONTROLLING WASHING MACHINE HAVING THE SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A detergent box opening and closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine includes: a detergent box to which a detergent is introduced; a detergent box installation part formed at a main body of the washing machine and allowing the detergent box to be installed therein; and a detergent box opening/closing detecting member that detects whether or not the detergent box installed in the detergent box installation part is opened or closed.



Inventors:
Kim, Hyo-jin (Changwon, KR)
Jang, Ho-sung (Changwon, KR)
Lyu, Jae-cheol (Changwon, KR)
Cho, Han-ki (Changwon, KR)
Son, Chang-woo (Changwon, KR)
Application Number:
12/105336
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
04/18/2008
Assignee:
LG Electronics Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
68/12.02, 68/17R
International Classes:
D06F39/02
View Patent Images:



Foreign References:
KR20050093872A
Other References:
English Machine Translation of KR10-2005-0093872 to Park
Primary Examiner:
RIGGLEMAN, JASON PAUL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KED & ASSOCIATES, LLP (P.O. Box 8638, Reston, VA, 20195, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A detergent box opening and closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine, comprising: a detergent box to which a detergent is introduced; a detergent box installation part formed at a main body of the washing machine and allowing the detergent box to be installed therein; and a detergent box opening/closing detecting member that detects whether or not the detergent box installed in the detergent box installation part is opened or closed, the detergent box opening/closing detecting member comprises a lead switch and a magnet, wherein the lead switch is installed at the detergent box installation part, and the magnet is installed at the detergent box such that it faces the lead switch.

2. A detergent box opening and closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine, comprising: a detergent box movably installed in a main body of the washing machine and receives a detergent; a detergent box opening/closing detecting member that detects whether or not the detergent box is opened or closed; and a controller that controls water supply to the detergent box depending on whether opening or closing of the detergent box is detected by the detergent box opening/closing detecting member, wherein if the detergent box opening/closing detecting member detects that the detergent box is opened, the controller stops water supply to the detergent box.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein if the detergent box opening/closing detecting member detects that the opened detergent box is closed, water supplied to the detergent box is resumed.

4. The apparatus of claim 2, further comprising; a display unit that displays whether the detergent box has been opened or closed as detected by the detergent box opening/closing detecting member.

5. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the detergent box opening/closing detecting member comprises a lead switch and a magnet.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein a detergent box installation part is formed at the main body of the washing machine to allow the detergent box to be inserted therein.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the lead switch is installed at the detergent box installation part, and the magnet is installed at the detergent box such that it faces the lead switch.

8. A method for controlling a washing machine, comprising: supplying water to a detergent box to provide a detergent introduced in the detergent box to the laundry; controlling water supply to the detergent box according to whether or not the detergent box is opened or closed as detected by the detergent box opening/closing detecting member; and stopping water supply to the detergent box if the detergent box is detected to be open in the step of controlling water supply to the detergent box.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein if the detergent box opening/closing detecting member detects that the opened detergent box is closed, water supply to the detergent box is resumed.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising: determining whether or not water supplied to the detergent box has reached a required water level after water supply resumed.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising: stopping water supply to the detergent box, if water supplied to the detergent box has reached the required water level.

12. The method of claim 10, further comprising: continuing supplying water to the detergent box, if water supplied to the detergent box has not reached the required water level.

13. The method of claim 8, further comprising: determining whether or not water supplied to the detergent box has reached the required water level when the detergent box is detected to be closed in the step of controlling water supply to the detergent box.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising: stopping water supply to the detergent box, if water supplied to the detergent box has reached the required water level.

15. The method of claim 13, further comprising: continuing supplying water to the detergent box, if water supplied to the detergent box has not reached the required water level.

16. The method of claim 8, further comprising: displaying whether or not the detergent box is opened or closed as detected by the detergent box opening/closing detecting member.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a washing machine and, more particularly, to a detergent box opening and closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine and a method for controlling a washing machine having the same.

2. Description of the Related Art

A washing machine is a device for washing the laundry by performing washing, rinsing and draining by rotating a container within the laundry placed therein. In order to perform washing on the laundry in the washing machine, a detergent is introduced into a detergent box and water is supplied.

However, in the related art washing machine, although the detergent box is opened by a user in a water supply process, water is still supplied. Thus, a softening agent, a bleaching agent, etc., introduced in the detergent box may be improperly introduced at an early stage. In addition, a detergent in the detergent box may splash to outside to contaminate the surroundings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, in order to address the above matters the various features described herein have been conceived. One aspect of the exemplary embodiments is to provide detergent box opening and closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine having such a structure that water supply can be controlled depending on whether or not a detergent box is opened or closed in a water supply process, and a method for controlling a washing machine having the same.

This specification provides a detergent box opening and closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine, including: a detergent box to which a detergent is introduced; a detergent box installation part formed at a main body of the washing machine and allowing the detergent box to be installed therein; and a detergent box opening/closing detecting member that detects whether or not the detergent box installed in the detergent box installation part is opened or closed, the detergent box opening/closing detecting member comprises a lead switch and a magnet, wherein the lead switch is installed at the detergent box installation part, and the magnet is installed at the detergent box such that it faces the lead switch.

This specification also provides a detergent box opening and closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine, including: a detergent box movably installed in a main body of the washing machine and receives a detergent; a detergent box opening/closing detecting member that detects whether or not the detergent box is opened or closed; and a controller that controls water supply to the detergent box depending on whether opening or closing of the detergent box is detected by the detergent box opening/closing detecting member, wherein if the detergent box opening/closing detecting member detects that the detergent box is opened, the controller stops water supply to the detergent box.

This specification also provides a method for controlling a washing machine, including: supplying water to a detergent box to provide a detergent introduced in the detergent box to the laundry; and stopping water supply to the detergent box if the detergent opening/closing detecting member detects that the detergent box is open.

This specification also provides a method for controlling a washing machine, including: supplying water to a detergent box to provide detergent introduced in the detergent box to the laundry; controlling water supply to the detergent box according to whether or not the detergent box is opened or closed as detected by the detergent box opening/closing detecting member; and stopping water supply to the detergent box if the detergent box is detected to be open in the step of controlling water supply to the detergent box.

Therefore, the detergent box opening and closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine and a method for controlling a washing machine having the same have the following advantages.

If the detergent box is opened in the water supply process, the water supply can be stopped. Thus, a softening agent or a bleaching agent cannot be improperly supplied at an early stage, and thus, the detergent introduced in the interior of the detergent box cannot splash to the outside to contaminate the surroundings.

In addition, in a state that the water supply is stopped as the detergent box is opened in the water supply process, if the opened detergent box is closed, water supply to the detergent box can be automatically resumed. Thus, user convenience with respect to the washing machine employing the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus.

The foregoing and other objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the present invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a washing machine employing a detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus of the washing machine according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram showing the configuration of the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus of the washing machine according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating the processes of a method for controlling the washing machine including the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine and a method for controlling a washing machine including the same according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the following description, the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine and a method for controlling a washing machine including the same are applied to a drum type washing machine, but it is merely an example and the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine and a method for controlling a washing machine including the same can be also applicable to an automatic washing machine.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a washing machine employing a detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

As shown in FIG. 1, a drum (not shown) is rotatably inserted in a main body 101 of a washing machine according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. A front panel 102 and a top cover 104 are installed on front and upper surfaces of the main body 101. A control panel 103 is installed between the front panel 102 and the top cover 104 and includes various manipulation keys, a display unit, etc.

Reference numeral 106 is a door which is rotatably hinge-combined to the main body 101 and opens and closes the drum.

A detergent box installation part 107 is formed at one side of the control panel 103 of the main body 101 of the washing machine. A detergent box 110 is insertedly positioned in the detergent box installation part 107 such that it can be movable in an inward/outward direction.

In the washing machine 100 constructed as described above, washing may be performed on the laundry received in the drum as a motor (not shown) installed in the washing machine is rotated.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus of the washing machine according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

With reference to FIG. 2, the detergent box 110 is positioned in the detergent box installation part 107 of the main body 110 of the washing machine. For the convenience of explanation, the detergent box 110 as shown in FIG. 2 is partially inserted in the detergent box installation part 107.

In the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a lead switch 120 is installed in the detergent box installation part 107, and a permanent magnet 130 is installed in the detergent box 110, the lead switch 120 and the permanent magnet 130 are installed at positions such that they face each other.

When the permanent magnet 130 approaches the lead switch 120 as the detergent box 110 is closed, the lead switch detects the closing of the detergent box 110, and when the permanent magnet 130 becomes away from the lead switch 120 as the detergent box 110 is opened, the lead switch 120 detects the opening of the detergent box 110.

Because the lead switch 120 and the permanent magnet 130 detect the opening and closing of the detergent box 110 installed at the detergent box installation part 107, they can be defined as a detergent box opening/closing detecting member.

FIG. 3 is a schematic block diagram showing the configuration of the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus of the washing machine according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

With reference to FIG. 3, the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus according to the present exemplary embodiment of the present invention may include the detergent box opening/closing detecting member 200, a controller 210, a display unit 220, and an actuator 230.

The detergent box opening/closing detecting member 200 detects opening and closing of the detergent box 110 and may include the lead switch 120 and the permanent magnet 130 as mentioned above. The detergent box opening/closing detecting member 200 detects whether the detergent box 110 is opened or closed and transmits corresponding information to the controller 210.

The controller 210 may display whether the detergent box 110 is opened or closed which has been sensed by the detergent box opening/closing detecting member 20 on the display unit 220 and transmit a proper control signal to the actuator 230.

In detail, when the information indicating that the detergent 110 is detected to be opened is received from the detergent box opening/closing detecting member 200, the controller 210 may transit a signal for stopping water supply to the detergent box 110.

Here, the water supply to the detergent box 110 is to liquefy the detergent which has been introduced into the detergent box 110, in order to perform a washing stroke on the laundry placed in the washing machine 100.

If information indicating that the detergent box 110 is detected to be closed is received from the detergent opening/closing detecting member 200, the controller 210 may transmit a signal for resuming water supply to the detergent box 110.

The signal for stopping water supply to the detergent box 110 or the signal for resuming water supply to the detergent box 110 is transferred to the actuator 230. Upon receiving the signal, the actuator 230 properly opens or closes a flow path (not shown) of the water supply to the detergent box 110 according to the signals.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating the processes of a method for controlling the washing machine including the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

The method for controlling the washing machine according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to FIG. 4.

First, in order to performing washing on the laundry received in the drum, water is supplied to the detergent box 110 to liquefy the detergent in the detergent box 110 (S300).

In the water supply process, if the detergent box 110 is detected to be opened by a user by the detergent opening/closing detecting member 200 (S310), the controller 210 stops water supply to the detergent box 110 (S320).

If the detergent box 110 is maintained in a closed state, not being opened, in the water supply process, it is determined whether or not supplying of a proper amount of water required for the detergent box 110 has been completed (S360).

If supplying of the proper amount of water required for the detergent box 110 has been completed, water supply is stopped (S350). If, however, supplying of the proper amount of water required for the detergent box 110 has not bee completed, water is continuously supplied (S300).

Because the water supply to the detergent box 110 can be stopped by the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus when the detergent box 110 is opened in the water supply process with respect to the detergent box 110, a softening agent, a bleaching agent, etc., cannot be introduced improperly at an early stage, and thus, the detergent at the interior of the detergent box 110 cannot splash to the outside to contaminate the surroundings.

When the water supply to the detergent box 110 is stopped because the detergent box 110 has been detected to be opened, the detergent box opening/closing detecting member 200 detects whether or not the detergent box 110 in the opened state is closed (S330).

When the opened detergent box 110 is detected to be closed, the controller 110 checks whether a proper amount of water required for the detergent box 110 has been completely supplied (S340).

If it is determined that supplying of a proper amount of water required for the detergent box 110 has been completed, water supply is stopped (S350). If it is determined that supplying of a proper amount of water required for the detergent box 110 has not been completed, the controller transmits a signal to the actuator 230 to resume supplying of water to the detergent box 110.

If the detergent box 110 is detected to be still open by the detergent box opening/closing detecting member 200, rather than being closed, the controller 110 keeps stopping water supply to the detergent box 110 (S320).

In this manner, when the opened detergent box 110 is closed in a state that water supply to the detergent box 110 has been stopped, water supply to the detergent box 110 is automatically resumed by the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus. Thus, user convenience with respect to the washing machine 100 employing the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus can be improved.

As so far described, the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus of a washing machine and a method for controlling a washing machine employing the same have the following advantages.

That is, if the detergent box is opened in the water supply process, water supply to the detergent box can be stopped, whereby a softening agent, a bleaching agent, etc., cannot be improperly introduced at an early stage, and thus, the detergent introduced in the interior of the detergent box cannot splash to the outside to contaminate the surroundings.

In addition, when the detergent box is closed in a state that water supply to the detergent box 110 has been stopped because the detergent box was opened, water supply to the detergent box 110 can be automatically resumed by the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus. Thus, user convenience with respect to the washing machine 100 employing the detergent box opening/closing detecting apparatus can be improved.

As the present invention may be embodied in several forms without departing from the characteristics thereof, it should also be understood that the above-described embodiments are not limited by any of the details of the foregoing description, unless otherwise specified, but rather should be construed broadly within its scope as defined in the appended claims, and therefore all changes and modifications that fall within the metes and bounds of the claims, or equivalents of such metes and bounds are therefore intended to be embraced by the appended claims.