Title:
Washer and method of determining load weight for same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A washer and a method of determining a load weight are disclosed. The washer includes a tub which stores clothes to be washed, and a motor which rotates the tub. It further includes a microprocessor which measures an acceleration time during which the motor rotates up to a certain speed, and a deceleration time during which the motor comes from another certain speed to a full stop. Then, the microprocessor determines the load weight by using at least one of the acceleration and the deceleration times.



Inventors:
Hyeong, Do Ki (Changwon-si, KR)
Application Number:
10/855929
Publication Date:
03/03/2005
Filing Date:
05/28/2004
Assignee:
HYEONG DO KI
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
68/12.01, 68/12.04
International Classes:
D06F33/02; D06F39/00; (IPC1-7): D06F33/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BOZADJIAN, GEORGE D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dentons US LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A method of determining a load weight in a washer including a motor rotating a tub containing clothes, the method comprising: measuring at least one of a first time and a second time, wherein the first time denotes a time during which the motor rotates up to a first speed, and the second time denotes a time during which the motor comes from a second speed to a full stop; and determining the load weight in the washer by using the at least one of the first and the second measured times.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the determining the load weight is carried out before water is supplied into the tub.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the washer is a drum type washer and the tub is a drum type tub.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the first and the second speeds are identical.

5. A method of determining a load weight in a washer including a motor rotating a tub containing clothes, the method comprising: measuring a first time during which the motor rotates up to a first speed; measuring a second time during which the motor comes from the first speed to a full stop; and determining the load weight in the washer by using the first and the second measured times.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the determining the load weight comprises; calculating a look-up value by using the first and the second measured times; and selecting one of a plurality of load weight values in a look-up table, corresponding to the look-up value.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein the plurality of the load weight values in the look-up table is proportional to its corresponding look-up values.

8. The method of claim 6, wherein the calculating a look-up value comprises; calculating N*T1, wherein N is an integer and T1 denotes the first time; adding T2 to N*T1, wherein T2 denotes the second time; and dividing N*T1+T2 by 2 in order to obtain a weighted average value of T1 and T2.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein N is equal to or greater than 2.

10. The method of claim 5, wherein the determining the load weight is carried out before water is supplied into the tub to determine the amount of the supplied water and other washing operation parameters such as time intervals of washing, rinsing and dehydrating cycles, and a temperature of the supplied water.

11. The method of claim 5, wherein the determining the load weight is carried out when a user initiates a washing operation.

12. A washer comprising: a tub containing clothes; a motor rotating the tub; and a microprocessor measuring a first and a second times, and determining a load weight by using at least one of the first and second times, wherein the first time represents a time during which the motor rotates to a first speed, and the second time represents a time during which the motor comes from a second speed to a full stop.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the a microprocessor determining a load weight comprises: calculating a look-up value by look-up value=(N*T1+T2)/2, where N denotes an integer, T1 denotes the first time and T2 denotes the second time; and selecting one of a plurality of load weight values in a look-up table, corresponding to the look-up value

14. The method of claim 13, wherein N is equal to or greater than 2.

15. A computer software product, comprising: A computer-readable medium storing program code for controlling operations of a washer, the program code, when executed by the microprocessor, causing the microprocessor to perform: measuring a first time during which a motor rotates to a first speed; measuring a second time during which the motor comes from a second speed to a full stop; calculating a look-up value in order to determine a load weight by using the first and the second measured times; and selecting one of a plurality of load weight values in a look-up table, corresponding to the look-up value, wherein the look-up value is calculated from (N*T1+T2)/2, where N is an integer and equal to or greater than 2, T1 denotes the first time and T2 denotes the second time.

16. The software product of claim 15, the computer-readable medium storing program code for controlling operations of a washer comprises a memory.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of Korean Application No. P2003-59805, filed on Aug. 26, 2003, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a washer, and more particularly, to a drum washer and a method of determining a load weight in the washer.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Generally, a washer performs a washing operation by executing washing, rinsing, and dehydrating cycles. Washers may be categorized into a pulsator, an agitator, a drum type, and the like based on how the washing cycle performs.

Referring to FIG. 1, a body 1 includes a tub 2 inside of the body 1, which is connected by a damper (not shown in FIG. 1). Dirty clothes to be washed are placed in the tub 2, and a driving force of a motor 10 is transmitted through a belt 11, which rotates a drum 3. In the mean time, water is added through an inlet pipe 6 while a thermometer 4 (e.g., thermistor) measures a temperature. The water is drained by a drain pump 8 through a drain pipe 7, which is connected between the tub 2 and the pump 8. Finally, the water exits to the outside through a drain hose 9, attached from the pump 8 to the outside.

Utilizing the washer illustrated previously, a user opens the door provided (not shown in the FIG. 1) on the front side of the body 1. After inserting the dirty clothes into the tub 2, the user initiates a washing operation by selecting a washing option on the control panel displayed on the washer. As a controller in the washer senses a load weight and determines an amount of water, the water is supplied with a detergent from the detergent box 5, flows through the inlet pipe 6, and reaches the inside of the tub 2.

When a level of the water in the drum 3 reaches a desired level, the motor 10 starts to rotate so that the drum 3 spins. After the washing cycle, the pump 8 is turned on to drain the supplied water from the tub 2. The water flows through the drain pipe 7 and the drain hose 9, and exits to the outside. After this washing cycle, the rinsing and dehydrating cycles are executed. Finally, the washing operation is completed.

According to the principles of the related art, as the water is supplied, the level of the water in the drum 3 elevates. Dependent upon fabric types of the clothes, the amount of the supplied water soaked into the clothes varies. As the controller senses the level of the water time to time and refills the water, if needed, to compensate the loss of the water from soaking, a number of refilling is counted and the load weight is determined based on the number of refilling. In other words, the more the water is refilled, the heavier is the load weight.

However, the related art's method of determining the load weight has caused a significant problem in determining proper washing parameters such as time intervals of the washing, rinsing and dehydrating cycles, and a temperature of the supplied water, thus resulted in descending the performance of washers. It is due to the fact that the amount of the water soaked into the clothes varies dependent upon the fabric types of the clothes. For example, the same weight of wool and nylon will weigh at two different weights by the related art's method because the wool tends to soak in more moisture.

On the other hand, according to the principles of the present invention, the method of determining the load weight before the water is supplied to the clothes resolves the related art's problem.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a washer and a method of determining a load weight that substantially obviates one or more problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.

An object of the present invention is to provide a more accurate amount of water which is supplied to a washer and more precise washing parameters such as time intervals of washing, rinsing and dehydrating cycles, and a temperature of the supplied water so that the performance of the washer can be improved.

Additional advantages, objects, and features of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows and in part will become apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon examination of the following or may be learned from practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

To achieve these objects and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, a method of determining a load weight in a washer according to the present invention may include measuring at least one of an acceleration time during which a motor rotates up to a certain speed, and a deceleration time during which a motor comes from another certain speed to a complete stop. A unit of the speeds dealt with the acceleration and the deceleration times may be RPM (revolution per minute). It may also include determining the load weight in the washer by using at least one of the acceleration and the deceleration times.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method of determining the load weight in the washer may include at least one of an acceleration time during which a motor rotates up to a certain speed, and a deceleration time during which a motor comes from the certain speed to a complete stop. A unit of the speeds dealt with the acceleration and the deceleration times may be RPM (revolution per minute). It may also include calculating a look-up value and selecting one of a plurality of load weight values in a look-up table, corresponding to the look-up value in order to determine the load weight. The look-up value may be obtained by calculating a weighted value of the acceleration and the deceleration times.

In another aspect of the present invention, an apparatus of a washer includes a tub which stores clothes to be washed, and a motor which rotates the tub. According to the present invention, it also includes a microprocessor which measures an acceleration time during which the motor rotates up to a certain speed, and a deceleration time during which the motor comes from another speed to a full stop. A unit of the speeds dealt with the acceleration and the deceleration times may be RPM (revolution per minute). Then, the microprocessor determines a load weight by using at least one of the acceleration and the deceleration times.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description of the present invention are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this application, illustrate embodiment(s) of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principle of the invention. In the drawings;

FIG. 1 illustrates the front view of an existing drum washer;

FIG. 2 illustrates a schematic block diagram for the drum washer in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a method of determining a load weight in a washer according to the present invention; and

FIG. 4 illustrates a graph showing how each of T1 and T2 varies in terms of the load weight in the washer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

FIG. 2 illustrates a schematic block diagram of a drum washer in accordance with the present invention. The drum washer includes a key input unit 101 which receives an user's command for a washing operation, and a microprocessor 105, which determines a load weight by using the time, T1, during which a motor 106 rotates up to a pre-determined speed, and T2 during which the motor 106 comes to a full stop after the motor 106 is powered off. Then, the microprocessor 105 decides washing operation parameters such as time intervals of washing, rinsing and dehydrating cycles, and a temperature of the supplied water according to the determined load weight.

The washer also includes a water level sensor 103 which senses a level of water in a tub 2, and a temperature sensor 104 which adjusts temperature in the tub 2, according to the control signals from the microprocessor 105. The washer further includes a power supply unit 102 which supplies the power throughout the system, a motor driving unit 107 which drives a motor 106, and a heater driving unit 109 which adjusts a heater 108, by means of receiving the control signals from the microprocessor 105.

According to the washer with the present invention, when a user initiates a washing operation by inputting a washing option displayed on the control panel on the washer, the microprocessor 105 determines the load weight before the water is supplied into the tub 2. The method of determining the load weight is to measure the time, T1 and T2; T1 is a time during which the motor 106 rotates to a pre-determined speed. Then, the motor 106 is powered off. T2 is a time during which the motor 106 comes to a complete stop after it is powered off. A unit of the speed dealt with T1 may be RPM (revolution per minute). Now, the load weight is determined by using the times, T1 and T2.

FIG. 4 illustrates a graph showing how each time of T1 and T2 varies in terms of the load weight in the tub 2. Referring to FIG. 4, it is recognized that T1 initially increases and eventually settles down at a certain time as the load weight increases, whereas T2 proportionally increases as the load weight increases. The load weight is determined by selecting one of a plurality of load weight values in a look-up table, corresponding to a look-up value. The look-up value is calculated by applying T1 and T2 to the following equation: Look-up_value=((T1×3)+T22,
where T1 denotes a time during which the motor 106 rotates to the pre-determined speed, and T2 denotes a time during which the motor 106 comes to a complete stop after it is powered off.

FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a method of determining the load weight. Referring to FIG. 3, the microprocessor 105 determines whether the washer is powered on (S11). If the power is on, the microprocessor 105 receives a command for a washing operation from a user (S12). Then, the microprocessor 105 signals the motor driving unit 107 to drive the motor 106 and measures the time, T1, during which the motor 106 rotates up to the pre-determined speed (S13). The microprocessor 105 powers off the motor 106 when it reaches the pre-determined speed.

Subsequently, the microprocessor 105 measures the time, T2, during which the motor 106 comes to a complete stop (S14), and determines the load weight by using T1 and T2 (S15). The microprocessor 105 supplies the appropriate amount of the supplied water into the tub 2 dependent upon the load weight determined in the previous step (S16). The microprocessor signals the water level sensor 103 to determine whether the appropriate amount of water is supplied (S17). If the amount of water satisfies the water level sensor 103, the microprocessor 105 executes a washing operation (S18) and assures that the washing operation is properly completed (S19). Accordingly, the present invention makes it possible that the load weight is determined before the step of filling the water in the washer is executed so that the more accurate amount of the water can be supplied to the tub 2.

Therefore, according to the principles of the present invention, the more accurate load weight can be determined regardless of fabric types because it is determined before the water is soaked into the clothes. In addition, a performance of the washer can be improved for the more appropriate washing parameters such as time intervals of the washing, rinsing and dehydrating cycles, and a temperature of the supplied water are selected according to the more accurate weight load. Consequently, users can be more satisfied with the improved performance of their washers.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the inventions. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.