Title:
Packable ice level sensing architecture
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A packable ice level sensing architecture, mounted on an ice maker, for detecting an ice amount of the ice maker is disclosed. The packable ice level sensing architecture includes a sensing component and a limit structure linked to the sensing component. The sensing component is mounted at one side of the ice maker through a pivot, wherein the sensing component is foldable toward the ice maker through taking the pivot as an axle, so that the sensing component can have a sensing position and a packed position corresponding to the ice maker. The limit structure has a limit component linked to the pivot for limiting the sensing component at the sensing position or the packed position, and the sensing component can produce a pulling stroke, corresponding to the ice maker, for releasing a limiting relationship between the limit component and the pivot.



Inventors:
Su, Tsui-jung (Taipei Hsien, TW)
Hsu, Chia-hsin (Taipei Hsien, TW)
Liu, Chun-chuan (Taipei Hsien, TW)
Application Number:
11/882300
Publication Date:
02/05/2009
Filing Date:
07/31/2007
Assignee:
ZIPPY TECHNOLOGY CORP.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25C1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ROGERS, LAKIYA G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, P.C. (4000 Legato Road Suite 310, Fairfax, VA, 22033, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A packable ice level sensing architecture, mounted on an ice maker, for detecting an ice amount of the ice maker, comprising: a sensing component, mounted at one side of the ice maker through a pivot, wherein the sensing component is foldable toward the ice maker through taking the pivot as an axle, so that the sensing component has a sensing position and a packed position corresponding to the ice maker; and a limit structure, having a limit component linked to the pivot for limiting the sensing component at the sensing position or the packed position.

2. The sensing architecture as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ice maker has a clip for clipping the pivot of the sensing component so as to mount the sensing component at one side of the ice maker.

3. The sensing architecture as claimed in claim 2, wherein the clip has an internal diameter larger than the pivot, so as to provide the sensing component, corresponding to the ice maker, a pulling stroke for releasing a limiting relationship between the limit component and the pivot.

4. The sensing architecture as claimed in claim 1, wherein the pivot and the limit component respectively have corresponding engaging structures and at the contacting ends thereof for mutual engagement.

5. The sensing architecture as claimed in claim 4, wherein the engaging structure of the pivot is a convex edge and the engaging structure of the limit component is a concave edge corresponding to the convex edge.

6. The sensing architecture as claimed in claim 1, wherein the sensing component at least has a sensing blade.

7. The sensing architecture as claimed in claim 1, wherein the pivot has at least a pulling region thereon for limiting the pulling stroke.

8. The sensing architecture as claimed in claim 7, wherein a first rejecting portion is further included in the pulling region and a first flexible element is located between the first rejecting portion and the clip.

9. The sensing architecture as claimed in claim 7, wherein the limit structure further includes a releasing component, whose one end is penetrated through a through hole on the limit component and then connected to the pivot.

10. The sensing architecture as claimed in claim 1, wherein the releasing component has a second rejecting portion mounted at the other end thereof, and between the second rejecting portion and the releasing component, a second flexible element is further mounted.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is related to a sensing architecture for sensing an ice amount in an ice maker, and more particularly to a packable ice level sensing architecture.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Generally, in an auto ice making system, the ice maker will continuously make ice and store the ice in an ice box. However, if the ice amount exceeds the capacity of the ice box, the excess ice might move out of the ice box and wet the surroundings or might accumulate too much so as to disable the ice sweep device and damage the structure. Therefore, an ice level detecting architecture in the ice maker, as shown in FIG. 1, is disclosed. The ice level detecting architecture is installed on the ice maker 1 for detecting the real ice level of the ice stored in an ice storage 2 and includes a detecting frame mounted above the ice storage 2, wherein the detecting frame has, mounted thereon, a transmission shaft 3, a detecting portion 4 connected to the transmission shaft 3, an electric motor 5 and a linkage mechanism 6. The electric motor 5 is installed inside the ice maker 1 and the linkage mechanism 6 is located between the electric motor 5 and the transmission shaft 3, thereby the linkage mechanism 6 may conduct the electric motor 5 to output power to move the transmission shaft 3 so as to drive the detecting portion 4 to produce a detecting stroke, which is located inside the ice storage 2 and has a return position and a sensing position, so that the detecting portion 4 can accurately decide the real ice level of the ice stored in the ice storage. Within the moving range of the linkage mechanism 6, a turn on/off switch is mounted, so that when the detecting portion 4 detects an excess ice amount, the linkage mechanism 6 may drive the transmission shaft 3 to interrupt the ice maker 1, so as to prevent the ice from accumulating in the ice storage 2.

However, the detecting portion 4 is a structure upwardly protruded on the ice maker 1, so that when the detecting architecture is assembled on the ice maker 1 and packaged, this protruded structure will increase the package volume, or might easily be damaged owing to an accidental collision during transportation so as to raise the defective rate. Besides, since the detecting architecture can be regarded as an extending design of the power on/off switch, when there is no need to detect the ice level, an error contact to the detecting portion 4 by the user still might erroneously actuate the ice making device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is to avoid the detecting architecture mounted on the ice maker from being damaged by accidental collision during manufacturing or transportation, and on the other hand, to prevent an erroneous contact to the ice making device, which is linked to the power on/off switch, when there is no need to detect the ice level.

For achieving the object described above, the present invention provides a packable ice level sensing architecture, mounted on an ice maker, for detecting an ice amount of the ice maker. The packable ice level sensing architecture includes a sensing component and a limit structure linked to the sensing component. The sensing component is mounted at one side of the ice maker through a pivot and at least has a sensing blade, wherein the sensing component is foldable toward the ice maker through taking the pivot as an axle, so that the sensing component can have a sensing position and a packed position corresponding to the ice maker. The limit structure has a limit component linked to the pivot, and the pivot and the limit component respectively have corresponding engaging structures at the contacting ends thereof for mutual engagement, so as to limit the sensing component at the sensing position or the packed position. Moreover, the pivot of the sensing component is connected to the ice maker through a clip on the ice maker, wherein the clip has an internal diameter larger than the pivot, so as to provide the sensing component, corresponding to the ice maker, a pulling stroke for releasing a limiting relationship between the limit component and the pivot, and the pivot has at least a pulling region thereon for limiting the pulling stroke. Furthermore, a first rejecting portion is further included in the pulling region and a first flexible element is located between the first rejecting portion and the clip, so that through the first flexible element, the pivot can be tightly jointed with the limit component without force applying so as to stabilize the position of the sensing component.

In the present invention, the originally protruded ice level sensing architecture on the ice maker can be folded to reduce the occupied volume, as under the non-detecting state, so as to avoid the damage caused from erroneous collision or the error power on/off caused by user's erroneous contact.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will be more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view showing a three-dimensional appearance of a conventional ice level detecting architecture;

FIG. 2 is a schematic view showing a three-dimensional appearance of an ice maker with a packable ice level sensing architecture in a preferred embodiment according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic view showing the structural decomposition of an ice maker with a packable ice level sensing architecture in a preferred embodiment according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a schematic view showing the partial magnification of a pair of corresponding engaging structures in a packable ice level sensing device of an ice maker according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a schematic view showing the section of an ice maker with a packable ice level sensing architecture in a preferred embodiment according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a schematic view showing the decomposition of an ice maker with a packable ice level sensing architecture in another preferred embodiment according to the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a schematic view showing the section of an ice maker with a packable ice level sensing architecture in another preferred embodiment according to the present invention; and

FIGS. 8A and 8B are schematic views showing moving actions of an ice maker with a packable ice level sensing architecture according to the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Please refer to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, which are respectively a three-dimensional appearance drawing and a structural decomposition drawing of a preferred embodiment according to the present invention. As shown, the present invention provides a packable ice level sensing architecture, mounted on the ice maker for detecting the ice amount made by the ice maker. The ice maker include an ice tray 11 for freezing the water in ice cubes, and an ice blade 12 mounted on the ice tray 11 for sweeping off the ice cubes. Moreover, a control structure 13 is mounted at one side of the ice tray 11 for driving the ice blade 12, and, inside the control structure 13, an electric motor 14 and a linkage device 15 located between the electric motor 14 and the ice blade 12 are further included, wherein the linkage device 15 can drive the ice blade 12 to actuate an ice sweeping stroke. Furthermore, the packable ice level sensing architecture according to the present invention has a sensing component 20, which is mounted aside the ice maker through a pivot 21, and is mounted onto the ice tray 11 through the pivot 21 being clipped by a clip 16, which is located on the ice tray 11. Here, the position of the pivot 21 is not limited. The sensing component 20 has at least a sensing blade 22, which can be driven by the pivot 21 linked to the linkage device 15 to generate a detecting stroke for detecting the ice level. The sensing component 20 and the ice blade 12 can detect the abnormal condition and control the power on/off of the ice maker through the linkage device 15.

The packable ice level sensing architecture further includes a limit structure 30 having a limit component 30, which is linked to the linkage device 15 and is connected with the pivot 21, wherein the pivot 21 and the limit component 31 respectively have corresponding engaging structures 212 and 311 at the contacting ends thereof for mutual engagement. As shown in FIG. 4, for example, the engaging structure 212 of the pivot 21 can be a convex edge and the engaging structure 311 of the limit component 31 can be a concave edge corresponding thereto, so that the convex edge of the engaging structure 212 can be embedded into the concave edge of the engaging structure 311, thereby engaging the pivot 21 of the sensing component on the limit component 31. Besides, the clip 16 has an internal diameter larger than the pivot 21, so that it can provide the sensing component 21, corresponding to the ice tray 11 of the ice maker, a pulling stroke for releasing the limiting relationship between the limit component 31 and the pivot 21, wherein the pivot 21 has at least a pulling region 211 for limiting the pulling stroke thereon, so as prevent the sensing component from coming off the clip 16.

For stabilizing the engagement between the sensing component 20 and the limit component 31, as shown in FIG. 5, which is a sectional drawing showing a preferred embodiment according to the present invention, the pivot 21 further includes a first rejecting portion 213 in the pulling region 211 and a first flexible element 42 is located between the first rejecting portion 213 and the clip 16, wherein the first flexible element 42 can provide the sensing component 20 a tight engagement with the limit component 31, so that the sensing component 20 can be stabilized at a sensing portion or a packed position, thereby preventing the sensing component from easily coming off the limit component 31 owing to a mechanical shock or artificial contact, and thus, the sensing component 20 can be moved between the sensing portion and the packed position randomly.

In another embodiment, as shown in FIG. 6 and FIG. 7, which are respectively a decomposition drawing and a sectional drawing of a preferred embodiment according to the present invention, the limit structure 30 further includes a releasing component 32, whose one end is penetrated through a through hole 312 on the limit component 31 and then connected to the pivot 21. When the sensing component 20 enters the pulling stroke, the limiting relationship between the limit component 31 and the pivot 21 has to be released by disengaging the engaging structures 212 and 311. Under releasing, the sensing component 20 can be rotated to move to the sensing position and the packed position, and for avoiding the sensing component 20 from randomly coming off the limit component 31, the releasing component 32 has a second rejecting portion 321 mounted at the other end thereof, and between the second rejecting portion 321 and the releasing component 32, a second flexible element 41 is further mounted, so that even without forcing, the pivot 21 of the sensing component 20 also can be tightly engaged with the limit component 31 and located at the sensing position or the packed position.

Followings describe the detailed moving actions of the ice level sensing architecture according to the present invention. Please refer to FIG. 5, FIG. 8A and FIG. 8B, which are schematic views showing decomposed moving actions according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. When the sensing component 20 is positioned at the sensing position, as shown in FIG. 5, the sensing blade 22 of the sensing component 20 which is linked to the control structure 13 may execute the ice level sensing. When it doesn't need the function of ice level sensing and wants to locate the sensing component 20 to the packed position, a force in a direction opposite to flexibility direction of the first flexible element 42 (or in another embodiment, a force in a direction opposite to flexibility direction of the second flexible element 41) should be applied to the sensing component 20, and then, the sensing component 20 will enter the pulling stroke so as to depart from the limit component 31, as shown in FIG. 8A. The sensing component 20 departed from the limit component 31 can be folded and moved toward the ice maker so as to locate at the packed position, as shown in FIG. 8B. When finishing the folding of the sensing component and removing the applied force, the engaging structure 212 of the pivot 21 will again engage with the engaging structure 311, so as to stabilize the sensing component 20 at the packed position and also prevent the sensing component 20 from randomly moving between the packed position and the sensing position. As the sensing component 20 is folded to locate at the packed position, the volume of the sensing blade 22 protruded out of the ice maker can be significantly reduced, so that the accidental collision or contact from the user which might damage or erroneously actuate the sensing component can be avoided.

In the aforesaid, the packable ice level sensing architecture according to the present invention utilizes the pivot 21 of the sensing component 20 to enter a pulling stroke, corresponding to the limit component 31 of the limit structure 30, for departing therefrom, so as to fold back the sensing blade 22 protruded out of the ice maker. The sensing component 20 can be selected to stabilize at the sensing position or the packed position. When it needs to detect the ice level, the sensing component 20 is adjusted to the sensing position for performing the ice-sensing function, and if there is no need to sense the ice level, the sensing component 20 can be adjusted to locate at the packed position, so that the occupied volume can be reduced during transportation or the damage caused from erroneous collision can be avoided. Besides, locating the sensing component at the packed position also can reduce the possibility that the user erroneously contacts the sensing blade 22 which will move the linkage device 15 so as to erroneously actuate the ice maker.

It is to be understood, however, that even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the present invention have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with details of the structure and function of the invention, the disclosure is illustrative only, and changes may be made in detail, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of parts within the principles of the invention to the full extent indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms in which the appended claims are expressed.