Title:
Air conditioning system and method for controlling the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A an air conditioning system and a method for controlling the same are disclosed which are capable of achieving linked operations of a plurality of cooling/heating devices and a plurality of ventilation systems. The air conditioning system includes a plurality of cooling/heating devices each including at least one indoor unit, and an outdoor unit connected to the indoor unit such that they communicate with each other, to enable the outdoor unit to control the indoor unit, a plurality of ventilation systems each including at least one ventilation unit, and a controller connected to the ventilation unit such that they communicate with each other, to enable the controller to control the ventilation unit, and a central control unit connected to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems such that they communicate with each other, to control linked operations of the cooling/heating devices and ventilation systems. The air conditioning system can achieve central control of the linked operations of the cooling/heating devices and ventilation systems, to enhance the quality of indoor air, and thus, to maximize the air conditioning efficiency of the air conditioning system.



Inventors:
Lee, Ju Youn (Seoul, KR)
Kim, Ho Jung (Bupyeong-gu, KR)
Yum, Kwan Ho (Seoul, KR)
Application Number:
11/412138
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
04/27/2006
Assignee:
LG Electronics Inc. (Seoul, KR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/186, 165/205
International Classes:
F24F7/00; F24F3/00; F25D17/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
COX, ALEXIS K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dentons US LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. An air conditioning system comprising: at least one cooling/heating device respectively installed in at least one zone, and adapted to perform a cooling/heating function for the at least one zone; at least one ventilation system respectively installed in the at least one zone, and adapted to perform a ventilation function for the at least one zone; and a central control unit connected to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system, and adapted to control the cooling/heating function and the ventilation function in a linked state on a zone basis through sharing of information with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system.

2. The air conditioning system according to claim 1, wherein the cooling/heating device of each zone includes: at least one indoor unit; and an outdoor unit connected to the at least one indoor unit via a power line functioning as a communication line such that the outdoor unit controls operations of the at least one indoor unit.

3. The air conditioning system according to claim 1, wherein the cooling/heating device of each zone includes: at least one indoor unit; and an outdoor unit connected to the at least one indoor unit via a power line functioning as a communication line such that the outdoor unit controls operations of the at least one indoor unit, wherein the outdoor unit communicates with the central control unit, to control the at least one indoor unit in accordance with a control signal from the central control unit.

4. The air conditioning system according to claim 1, wherein the ventilation system of each zone includes: at least one ventilation unit; and a controller connected to the at least one indoor unit via a power line functioning as a communication line such that the controller controls operations of the at least one ventilation unit.

5. The air conditioning system according to claim 1, wherein the ventilation system of each zone includes: at least one ventilation unit; and a controller connected to the at least one indoor unit via a power line functioning as a communication line such that the controller controls operations of the at least one ventilation unit. wherein the controller communicates with the central control unit, to control the at least one ventilation unit in accordance with a control signal from the central control unit.

6. The air conditioning system according to claim 1, wherein the central control unit is connected with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system via a network communication line such that the central control unit performs data transmission and reception with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system.

7. The air conditioning system according to claim 1, wherein the central control unit includes: a simple central controller connected to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system via a network communication line, and adapted to control operations of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system in a linked state on a zone basis.

8. The air conditioning system according to claim 1, wherein the central control unit includes: a power integrating system for integrating electric power consumed by the at least one cooling/heating device and electric power consumed by the at least one ventilation system; and a simple central controller connected to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system via a network communication line, and adapted to control operations of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system in a linked state on a zone basis, and to control the consumption of electric power of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system, based on the electric power integrated by the power integrating system.

9. The air conditioning system according to claim 1, wherein the central control unit includes: a high-grade central controller operatively connected to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system via a communication network, and adapted to remote-control operations of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system on a zone basis; and a gateway for connecting the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system to the high-grade central controller via the communication network.

10. The air conditioning system according to claim 1, wherein the central control unit includes: a power integrating system for integrating electric power consumed by the at least one cooling/heating device and electric power consumed by the at least one ventilation system; a high-grade central controller operatively connected to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system via a communication network, and adapted to remote-control operations of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system on a zone basis, and to control the consumption of electric power of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system, based on the electric power integrated by the power integrating system; and a gateway for connecting the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system to the high-grade central controller via the communication network.

11. The air conditioning system according to claim 9, wherein the communication network is an Ethernet.

12. An air conditioning system comprising: cooling/heating devices respectively installed in different zones, and adapted to perform a cooling/heating function for the zones, the cooling/heating devices being divided into at least one group; ventilation systems respectively installed in the zones, and adapted to perform a ventilation function for the zones, each of the ventilation systems being designated by the same group as an associated one of the cooling/heating devices; and a central control unit connected to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, and adapted to control the cooling/heating function and the ventilation function in a linked state on a group basis through sharing of information with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems.

13. The air conditioning system according to claim 12, wherein each of the cooling/heating devices of each group includes: at least one indoor unit designated by the same group; and an outdoor unit connected to the at least one indoor unit via a power line functioning as a communication line such that the outdoor unit controls operations of the at least one indoor unit.

14. The air conditioning system according to claim 12, wherein each of the cooling/heating devices of each group includes: at least one indoor unit designated by the same group; and an outdoor unit connected to the at least one indoor unit via a power line functioning as a communication line such that the outdoor unit controls operations of the at least one indoor unit, wherein the outdoor unit communicates with the central control unit, to control the at least one indoor unit of the same group in accordance with a control signal from the central control unit.

15. The air conditioning system according to claim 12, wherein each of the ventilation systems of each group includes: at least one ventilation unit designated by the same group; and a controller connected to the at least one indoor unit via a power line functioning as a communication line such that the controller controls operations of the at least one ventilation unit.

16. The air conditioning system according to claim 12, wherein each of the ventilation systems of each group includes: at least one ventilation unit; and a controller connected to the at least one indoor unit via a power line functioning as a communication line such that the controller controls operations of the at least one ventilation unit. wherein the controller communicates with the central control unit, to control the at least one ventilation unit of the same group in accordance with a control signal from the central control unit.

17. The air conditioning system according to claim 12, wherein the central control unit is connected with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems via a network communication line such that the central control unit performs data transmission and reception with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems.

18. The air conditioning system according to claim 12, wherein the central control unit includes: a simple central controller connected to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems via a network communication line, and adapted to control operations of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems in a linked state on a group basis.

19. The air conditioning system according to claim 12, wherein the central control unit includes: a power integrating system for integrating electric power consumed by the cooling/heating device and electric power consumed by the ventilation system; and a simple central controller connected to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems via a network communication line, and adapted to control operations of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems in a linked state on a group basis, and to control the consumption of electric power of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, based on the electric power integrated by the power integrating system.

20. The air conditioning system according to claim 12, wherein the central control unit includes: a high-grade central controller operatively connected to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems via a communication network, and adapted to remote-control operations of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems on a group basis; and a gateway for connecting the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems to the high-grade central controller via the communication network.

21. The air conditioning system according to claim 12, wherein the central control unit includes: a power integrating system for integrating electric power consumed by the cooling/heating devices and electric power consumed by the ventilation systems; a high-grade central controller operatively connected to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems via a communication network, and adapted to remote-control operations of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems on a group basis, and to control the consumption of electric power of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, based on the electric power integrated by the power integrating system; and a gateway for connecting the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems to the high-grade central controller via the communication network.

22. The air conditioning system according to claim 20, wherein the communication network is an Ethernet.

23. A method for controlling an air conditioning system including at least one cooling/heating device respectively installed in at least one zone, at least one ventilation system respectively installed in the at least one zone, and a central control unit connected to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system such that the central control unit performs data transmission and reception with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system, comprising the steps of: (a) enabling the central control unit to share information with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system through data communication of the central control unit with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system, and setting operation conditions of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system on a zone basis by the central control unit, based on the shared information; and (b) controlling operations of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system in a linked state on a zone basis in accordance with the operation conditions set by the central control unit.

24. The method according to claim 23, wherein the data communication of the central control unit with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system at the step (a) is carried out between the central control unit and the at least one cooling/heating device and between the central control unit and the at least one ventilation system in accordance with a communication protocol associated with a network communication line connecting the central control unit to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system.

25. The method according to claim 23, wherein the data communication of the central control unit with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system at the step (a) is carried out between the central control unit and the at least one cooling/heating device and between the central control unit and the at least one ventilation system in accordance with a communication protocol associated with a communication network connecting the central control unit to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system.

26. The method according to claim 23, wherein the step of setting the operation conditions of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system on a zone basis at the step (a) comprises the steps of: receiving information about an outdoor temperature and information about an indoor temperature from the cooling/heating device of each zone; and determining a wind mode of the cooling/heating device and a wind mode of the ventilation system associated with the cooling/heating device on a zone basis, taking into consideration the received information.

27. The method according to claim 23, wherein the step of controlling linked operations of the cooling/heating device and ventilation system of each zone at the step (b) comprises the steps of: receiving, by the cooling/heating device and the ventilation system, associated ones of the operation conditions set by the central control unit, respectively; recognizing, by the cooling/heating device and the ventilation system, the operation conditions associated with by the cooling/heating device and the ventilation system, respectively; and controlling the cooling/heating function of the cooling/heating device and the ventilation function of the ventilation system in accordance with the recognized operation conditions, respectively.

28. The method according to claim 23, further comprising the step of: (c) calculating, by the central control unit, integrated electric power consumed by the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system, and controlling power consumption of the at least one cooling/heating device and power consumption of the at least one ventilation system, based on the calculated integrated electric power.

29. A method for controlling an air conditioning system including cooling/heating devices respectively installed in different zones, and divided into at least one group, ventilation systems respectively installed in the zones, each of the ventilation systems being designated by the same group as an associated one of the cooling/heating devices, a central control unit connected to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems such that the central control unit performs data transmission and reception with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, comprising the steps of: (a) enabling the central control unit to share information with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems through data communication of the central control unit with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, and setting operation conditions of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems on a group basis by the central control unit, based on the shared information; and (b) controlling operations of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems in a linked state on a group basis in accordance with the operation conditions set by the central control unit.

30. The method according to claim 29, wherein the data communication of the central control unit with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems at the step (a) is carried out between the central control unit and the cooling/heating devices and between the central control unit and the ventilation systems in accordance with a communication protocol associated with a network communication line connecting the central control unit to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems.

31. The method according to claim 29, wherein the data communication of the central control unit with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems at the step (a) is carried out between the central control unit and the cooling/heating devices and between the central control unit and the ventilation systems in accordance with a communication protocol associated with a communication network connecting the central control unit to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems.

32. The method according to claim 29, wherein the step of setting the operation conditions of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems on a group basis at the step (a) comprises the steps of: receiving information about an outdoor temperature and information about an indoor temperature from each cooling/heating device of each group; and determining a wind mode of the cooling/heating device and a wind mode of the ventilation system associated with the cooling/heating device on a group basis, taking into consideration the received information.

33. The method according to claim 29, wherein the step of controlling linked operations of the cooling/heating devices and ventilation systems of each group at the step (b) comprises the steps of: receiving, by the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, associated ones of the operation conditions set by the central control unit, respectively; recognizing, by the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, the operation conditions associated with by the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, respectively; and controlling the cooling/heating functions of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation functions of the ventilation systems in accordance with the recognized operation conditions, respectively.

34. The method according to claim 29, further comprising the step of: (c) calculating, by the central control unit, integrated electric power consumed by the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, and controlling power consumption of the cooling/heating devices and power consumption of the ventilation systems, based on the calculated integrated electric power.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 2005-0035637, filed on Apr. 28, 2006, which is hereby incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an air conditioning system, and more particularly, to an air conditioning system and a method for controlling the same which are capable of achieving linked operations of a plurality of cooling/heating devices and a plurality of ventilation devices.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Generally, cooling/heating devices are used to cool or heat room spaces such as dwelling spaces or office rooms.

Recently, in pace with increased construction of multi-household houses and large and high buildings, research and development of air conditioning systems for managing air conditioning environments for such buildings have been actively conducted. An example of such air conditioning system is a multi-type air conditioner. Use of such a multi-type air conditioner is being increased.

Such a multi-type air conditioner includes a single outdoor unit, and a plurality of indoor units connected to the outdoor unit, and respectively installed in rooms.

That is, in the multi-type air conditioner, the outdoor unit is used in common for the indoor units, and each of the indoor units is selectively used as a cooler or heater, to perform air conditioning for the associated room space.

Meanwhile, air present in a confined space has a carbon dioxide content increased with the lapse of time in accordance with repeated respiration of living beings in the space. In particular, in a limited space where a large number of people are present, such as an office room or a bus, a ventilation device is mainly used in order to replace contaminated air in the space with fresh outdoor air.

Such a ventilation device includes a ventilation duct which connects a room to the outdoor, and a blowing fan installed in the ventilation duct, and adapted to forcibly blow indoor air and outdoor air. The ventilation device repeats procedures for discharging contaminated indoor air to the outdoor, and sucking fresh outdoor air into the room.

However, when both the cooling and ventilating operations are carried out in the room, cooled indoor air is outwardly discharged, and hot outdoor air is sucked into the room. For this reason, a degradation in cooling efficiency occurs because the temperature of indoor air is increased, relatively to the cooling temperature.

Similarly, when both the heating and ventilating operations are carried out in the room, a degradation in heating efficiency occurs because the temperature of indoor air is lower than the heating temperature as cold outdoor air is sucked into the room.

In a conventional air conditioning system consisting of the above-mentioned cooling/heating device and ventilation device, there is a problem of a degradation in energy consumption efficiency and room air conditioning effect because the room heating/cooling function and room ventilation function of the system are separately controlled without being linked.

This problem may be solved by providing an air conditioning system in which the user controller for the cooling/heating device and the user controller for the ventilation device are connected using a communication cable, to enable linked operations of the cooling/heating device and ventilation device through transmission and reception of information between the user controllers.

Here, “linked operations” means operations for determining the point of time when the ventilation device should begin to operate, taking into consideration the point of time when the cooling/heating device begins to operate, or determining the point of time when the cooling/heating device should begin to operate, taking into consideration the point of time when the ventilation device begins to operate, based on information shared in the cooling/heating device and ventilation device. In accordance with such linked operations, it is possible to achieve optimal ventilation and cooling/heating operations.

In an air conditioning system consisting of a single cooling/heating device and a single ventilation device, there is no problem in constructing a link system for enabling linked operations of the cooling/heating device and ventilation device. In an air conditioning system consisting of a plurality of cooling/heating devices and a plurality of ventilation devices, however, there is a limitation in constructing a link system due to a complexity in control operations and a complexity in communication.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to an air conditioning system and a method for controlling the same that substantially obviates one or more problems due to limitations and disadvantages of the related art.

An object of the present invention is to construct an air conditioning system which enables linked operations of a plurality of cooling/heating devices and a plurality of ventilation devices, to achieve optimal room air conditioning effects.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an air conditioning system and a method for controlling the same which enable control of various groups of cooling/heating devices and ventilation devices during linked operations of the cooling/heating devices and ventilation devices.

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, an air conditioning system comprises: at least one cooling/heating device respectively installed in at least one zone, and adapted to perform a cooling/heating function for the at least one zone; at least one ventilation system respectively installed in the at least one zone, and adapted to perform a ventilation function for the at least one zone; and a central control unit connected to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system, and adapted to control the cooling/heating function and the ventilation function in a linked state on a zone basis through sharing of information with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system.

In another aspect of the present invention, an air conditioning system comprises: cooling/heating devices respectively installed in different zones, and adapted to perform a cooling/heating function for the zones, the cooling/heating devices being divided into at least one group; ventilation systems respectively installed in the zones, and adapted to perform a ventilation function for the zones, each of the ventilation systems being designated by the same group as an associated one of the cooling/heating devices; and a central control unit connected to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, and adapted to control the cooling/heating function and the ventilation function in a linked state on a group basis through sharing of information with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method for controlling an air conditioning system including at least one cooling/heating device respectively installed in at least one zone, at least one ventilation system respectively installed in the at least one zone, and a central control unit connected to the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system such that the central control unit performs data transmission and reception with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system, comprises the steps of: (a) enabling the central control unit to share information with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system through data communication of the central control unit with the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system, and setting operation conditions of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system on a zone basis by the central control unit, based on the shared information; and (b) controlling operations of the at least one cooling/heating device and the at least one ventilation system in a linked state on a zone basis in accordance with the operation conditions set by the central control unit.

In still another aspect of the present invention, a method for controlling an air conditioning system including cooling/heating devices respectively installed in different zones, and divided into at least one group, ventilation systems respectively installed in the zones, each of the ventilation systems being designated by the same group as an associated one of the cooling/heating devices, a central control unit connected to the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems such that the central control unit performs data transmission and reception with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, comprises the steps of: (a) enabling the central control unit to share information with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems through data communication of the central control unit with the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems, and setting operation conditions of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems on a group basis by the central control unit, based on the shared information; and (b) controlling operations of the cooling/heating devices and the ventilation systems in a linked state on a group basis in accordance with the operation conditions set by the central control unit.

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 is a block diagram conceptually illustrating an air conditioning system constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating configurations of cooling/heating devices and ventilation systems included in the air conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a method for controlling linked operations of a cooling function and a ventilation function in the air conditioning system; and

FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating a method for controlling linked operations of a heating function and a ventilation function in the air conditioning system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention associated with an air conditioning system and a method for controlling the same, 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.

FIGS. 1 and 2 are block diagrams illustrating an air conditioning system constructed in accordance with the present invention. Hereinafter, the air conditioning system according to the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the air conditioning system according to the present invention includes a plurality of cooling/heating devices 100, and a plurality of ventilation systems 200, and a central control unit 300. The cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 are connected to the central control unit 300 via a network communication line. The air conditioning system is configured to control linked operations of the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 by the central control unit 300.

In detail, the air conditioning system according to the present invention includes a plurality of cooling/heating devices 100, each of which includes at least one indoor unit 110 and a single outdoor unit 130. In each cooling/heating device 100, each indoor unit 110 is connected to the outdoor unit 130 such that they communicate with each other. The outdoor unit 130 is configured to control each indoor unit 110. The air conditioning system also includes a plurality of ventilation systems 200, each of which includes at least one ventilation unit 210 and a single controller. The controller may include a main controller 250 and group controllers 230 connected to the main controller 250. Alternatively, the controller may include at least one individual controller 250′. In each ventilation system 200, each ventilation unit 210 is connected to the controller via a communication line 260 such that they communicate with each other. The controller is configured to control each ventilation unit 210.

Where the cooling/heating device 100 is of a multi-unit type or a multi-compressor type, it has an arrangement in which a plurality of indoor units are connected to a single outdoor unit.

On the other hand, where the cooling/heating device 100 is of a package air conditioner (PAC) type or a room air conditioner (RAC) type, it may have an arrangement in which outdoor units and indoor units are connected one by one.

The indoor units 110 or indoor unit 110 and outdoor unit 130 of each cooling/heating device 100 are connected via a power line 150 such that they can perform data transmission and reception therebetween. That is, the power line 150 is used as a communication line.

In accordance with the above-described arrangement, the outdoor unit 130 shares indoor information of the associated indoor units 110 or indoor unit 110 connected to the outdoor unit 130. The outdoor unit 130 transmits the shared indoor information to the central control unit 300, and controls the associated indoor units 110 or indoor unit 110 in accordance with operation control signals output from the central control unit 300, respectively.

Each ventilation system 200 includes group controllers 230 for controlling associated groups of the ventilation units 210 included in the ventilation system 200, respectively, and a main controller 250 for performing data transfer with the group controllers 230.

Alternatively, where the ventilation units 210 of the ventilation system 200 are individually controlled, the ventilation system 200 includes individual controllers 250′ for controlling the ventilation units 210, respectively.

Connection between each group controller 230 and the ventilation units 210 associated with the group controller 230, connection between the group controllers 230 and the main controller 250, and connection between each ventilation unit 210 and the associated individual controller 250′ are achieved using power lines 260 which function as communication lines. Accordingly, data transmission and reception between the ventilation units 210 and the controller (the group controllers 230 and main controller 250, or individual controllers 250′) in each ventilation system 200 can be carried out.

In accordance with the above-described arrangement, each of the group controllers 230, main controller 250, and individual controllers 250′ shares information of the associated ventilation units 210 or ventilation unit 210 connected thereto, transmits the shared indoor information to the central control unit 300, and controls the associated ventilation units 210 or ventilation unit 210 in accordance with associated operation control signals output from the central control unit 300, respectively, or in accordance with an associated operation control signal output from the central control unit 300.

Data transmission/reception between the central control unit 300 and each cooling/heating device 100, and data transmission/reception between the central control unit 300 and each ventilation system 200 can be achieved using a network communication line 500, connected to a network, in accordance with a communication protocol of the network.

That is, the central control unit 300 receives information about the indoor units 110 from the outdoor units 130 of the cooling/heating devices 100, and information about the ventilation units 210 from the controllers 230, 250, and 250′ of the ventilation systems 200, to share the received information. Based on the shared information, the central control unit 300 can control linked operations of the indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210.

Since at least one indoor unit 110 and at least one ventilation unit 210 are installed in the same zone, the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 may be operated in a linked state on a zone basis in such a manner that the indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210 installed in each zone are linked. Alternatively, the indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210 are grouped, to be operated in a linked state on a group basis in such a manner that the indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210 of the same group are linked.

When the indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210 are operated in a linked state on a zone or group basis, it is possible to effectively enhance the quality of indoor air.

The central control unit 300 includes a high-grade central controller 310 operatively connected with the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 via an Ethernet 311, and adapted to remote-control linked operations of the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200. The central control unit 300 also includes an Ethernet gateway 313 connected to the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200, and adapted to connect the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 to the high-grade central controller 310 via the Ethernet 311.

Alternatively, the central control unit 300 may include a simple central controller 330 simply connected to the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 via the network communication line 500, and adapted to control operations of the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200.

For example, for an outdoor unit which shares information about indoor units respectively installed in 16 rooms, the indoor units of the 16 rooms can be controlled using a 16-room-controlling simple central controller.

The central control unit 300 may further include a power integrating system 350 for checking total electric power consumed by the indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210 connected to the central control unit 300 such that they can communicate with each other, and controlling the power consumption of the indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210 based on the results of the checking.

In accordance with this configuration, the central control unit 300 can centrally control the power consumption of all indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210 through the network communication of the central control unit 300 with the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200.

Hereinafter, an embodiment of a method for controlling linked operations of the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 in the air conditioning system having the above-described arrangement according to the present invention will be described.

FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a method for controlling linked operations carried out in the air conditioning system in the summer season.

The central control unit 300 of the air conditioning system according to the present invention is connected with the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 via the network communication line 500 such that they can communication with each other.

As shown in FIG. 3, the central control unit 300 periodically receives information about a current outdoor temperature from each of the outdoor units 130, and periodically receives information about an indoor temperature from the indoor unit 110 or each indoor unit 110 installed in each zone via the associated outdoor unit 130 (S10).

Based on the outdoor temperature and indoor temperature received from each outdoor unit 130, the central control unit 300 outputs an operation control signal for controlling linked operations of the associated indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210.

Thereafter, the operation control signal output from the central control unit 300 is sent to the outdoor unit 130 of the cooling/heating device 100 and the controllers 230 and 250 or controller 250′ of the ventilation system 200 which are associated with the operation control signal. In accordance with the operation control signal sent from the central control unit 300, the associated outdoor unit 130 and controllers 230 and 250 or controller 250′ controls the associated indoor units 110 or indoor unit 110, and the associated ventilation units 210 or ventilation unit 210, respectively.

In detail, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the current outdoor temperature received from the outdoor unit 130 is not lower than a first predetermined outdoor temperature T1 (S12). When the current outdoor temperature is not lower than the first predetermined outdoor temperature T1, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the indoor temperature received from the indoor unit 110 in subject is higher than a first predetermined indoor temperature C1 (S14).

When the indoor temperature of the zone where the indoor unit 110 in subject is installed is higher than the first predetermined indoor temperature C1 under the condition in which the current outdoor temperature is not lower than the first predetermined outdoor temperature T1, that is, when it is determined at step S14 that the indoor temperature is higher than the first predetermined indoor temperature C1, the central control unit 300 stops the associated ventilation unit 210, and sets the wind mode (cooling wind mode) of the indoor unit 110 to a “strong wind” mode, in order to rapidly decrease the indoor temperature of the zone (S16).

On the other hand, when it is determined at step S14 that the indoor temperature is not higher than the first predetermined indoor temperature C1, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the indoor temperature is higher than a second predetermined indoor temperature C2 (S18). When it is determined at step S18 that the indoor temperature is higher than the second predetermined indoor temperature C2, the central control unit 300 sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “weak wind” mode, and sets the wind mode of the indoor unit 110 to a “medium wind” mode (S20).

On the other hand, when it is determined at step S18 that the indoor temperature is not higher than the second predetermined indoor temperature C2, the central control unit 300 sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “medium wind” mode, and sets the wind mode of the indoor unit 110 to a “weak wind” mode (S22)

Meanwhile, when it is determined at step S12 that the current outdoor temperature is lower than the first predetermined outdoor temperature T1, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the current outdoor temperature is not lower than a second predetermined outdoor temperature T2 (S24). When the current outdoor temperature is lower than the first predetermined outdoor temperature T1, but is not lower than a second predetermined outdoor temperature T2, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the indoor temperature is higher than the second predetermined indoor temperature C2 (S26). When it is determined at step S26 that the indoor temperature is higher than the second predetermined indoor temperature C2, the central control unit 300 sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “weak wind” mode, and sets the wind mode of the indoor unit 110 to a “medium wind” mode (S28).

When it is determined at step S26 that the indoor temperature is not higher than the second predetermined indoor temperature C2, the central control unit 300 sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “medium wind” mode, and sets the wind mode of the indoor unit 110 to a “weak wind” mode (S30).

On the other hand, when it is determined at step S24 that the current outdoor temperature is lower than the second predetermined outdoor temperature T2, the central control unit 300 stops the indoor unit 110, and sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “strong wind” mode, in order to maintain the current indoor temperature associated with the indoor unit 110 in subject (S32).

Thus, in order to control the linked operations of the ventilation units 210 and indoor units 110 in the summer season, the central control unit 300 periodically receives information about the current outdoor temperature from all outdoor units 130 and information about indoor temperatures from all indoor units 110, and periodically sets the operation conditions of the ventilation units 210 and indoor units 110, based on the received information.

The control of linked operations can be achieved on a zone basis by respectively assigning different intrinsic codes to the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200, which are installed in different zones, such that the central control unit 300 performs data transmission and reception with the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 using the assigned intrinsic codes. Thus, it is possible to achieve a control of linked operations associated with a cooling/heating function and a ventilation function.

Meanwhile, the linked operation of the indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210 can be carried out on a group basis by dividing the zones, where the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 are installed, into one or more groups.

In this case, different intrinsic codes are assigned to different groups of the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200, in order to achieve a control of linked operations of the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 on a group basis using the assigned intrinsic codes.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating a method for controlling linked operations carried out in the air conditioning system in the winter season.

As shown in FIG. 4, the central control unit 300 periodically receives information about a current outdoor temperature from each of the outdoor units 130, and periodically receives information about an indoor temperature from the indoor unit 110 or each indoor unit 110 installed in each zone via the associated outdoor unit 130 (S50).

Based on the outdoor temperature and indoor temperature received from each outdoor unit 130, the central control unit 300 outputs an operation control signal for controlling linked operations of the associated indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210.

Thereafter, the operation control signal output from the central control unit 300 is sent to the outdoor unit 130 of the cooling/heating device 100 and the controllers 230 and 250 or controller 250′ of the ventilation system 200 which are associated with the operation control signal. In accordance with the operation control signal sent from the central control unit 300, the associated outdoor unit 130 and controllers 230 and 250 or controller 250′ controls the associated indoor units 110 or indoor unit 110, and the associated ventilation units 210 or ventilation unit 210, respectively.

In detail, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the current outdoor temperature received from the outdoor unit 130 is not higher than a first predetermined outdoor temperature T11 (S52). When the current outdoor temperature is not higher than the first predetermined outdoor temperature T11, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the indoor temperature received from the indoor unit 110 in subject is lower than a first predetermined indoor temperature H1 (S54).

When the indoor temperature of the zone where the indoor unit 110 in subject is installed is lower than the first predetermined indoor temperature H1 under the condition in which the current outdoor temperature is not higher than the first predetermined outdoor temperature T11, that is, when it is determined at step S54 that the indoor temperature is lower than the first predetermined indoor temperature H1, the central control unit 300 stops the associated ventilation unit 210, and sets the wind mode (heating wind mode) of the indoor unit 110 to a “strong wind” mode, in order to rapidly increase the indoor temperature of the zone (S56).

On the other hand, when it is determined at step S54 that the indoor temperature is not lower than the first predetermined indoor temperature H1, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the indoor temperature is lower than a second predetermined indoor temperature H2 (S58). When it is determined at step S58 that the indoor temperature is lower than the second predetermined indoor temperature H2, the central control unit 300 sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “weak wind” mode, and sets the wind mode of the indoor unit 110 to a “medium wind” mode (S60).

On the other hand, when it is determined at step S58 that the indoor temperature is not lower than the second predetermined indoor temperature C2, the central control unit 300 sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “medium wind” mode, and sets the wind mode of the indoor unit 110 to a “weak wind” mode (S62).

Meanwhile, when it is determined at step S52 that the current outdoor temperature is higher than the first predetermined outdoor temperature T11, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the current outdoor temperature is not higher than a second predetermined outdoor temperature T22 (S64). When the current outdoor temperature is higher than the first predetermined outdoor temperature T11, but is not higher than a second predetermined outdoor temperature T22, the central control unit 300 determines whether or not the indoor temperature is lower than the second predetermined indoor temperature H2 (S66). When it is determined at step S66 that the indoor temperature is lower than the second predetermined indoor temperature H2, the central control unit 300 sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “weak wind” mode, and sets the wind mode of the indoor unit 110 to a “medium wind” mode (S68).

When it is determined at step S66 that the indoor temperature is not lower than the second predetermined indoor temperature H2, the central control unit 300 sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “medium wind” mode, and sets the wind mode of the indoor unit 110 to a “weak wind” mode (S70).

On the other hand, when it is determined at step S64 that the current outdoor temperature is higher than the second predetermined outdoor temperature T22, the central control unit 300 stops the indoor unit 110, and sets the wind mode of the ventilation unit 210 to a “strong wind” mode, in order to maintain the current indoor temperature associated with the indoor unit 110 in subject (S72).

Thus, in order to control the linked operations of the ventilation units 210 and indoor units 110 in the winter season, the central control unit 300 periodically receives information about the current outdoor temperature from all outdoor units 130 and information about indoor temperatures from all indoor units 110, and periodically sets the operation conditions of the ventilation units 210 and indoor units 110, based on the received information.

The control of linked operations can be achieved on a zone basis by respectively assigning different intrinsic codes to the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200, which are installed in different zones, such that the central control unit 300 performs data transmission and reception with the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 using the assigned intrinsic codes. Thus, it is possible to achieve a control of linked operations associated with a cooling/heating function and a ventilation function.

Meanwhile, the linked operation of the indoor units 110 and ventilation units 210 can be carried out on a group basis by dividing the zones, where the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 are installed, into one or more groups.

In this case, different intrinsic codes are assigned to different groups of the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200, in order to achieve a control of linked operations of the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 on a group basis using the assigned intrinsic codes.

Thus, in accordance with the present invention, it is possible to control the linked operations of the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 by the central control unit 300 by connecting the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 to the central control unit 300 via the network communication line 500.

Since the central control unit 300 can perform data transmission and reception with the outdoor units 130 each having information about a plurality of indoor units 110 associated with the outdoor unit 130 in subject, the controllers 230 and 250 each having information about a plurality of ventilation units 210 associated with the controllers 230 and 250, and the controllers 250′ each having information about the associated ventilation unit 210, it is possible to control the cooling/heating devices 100 and ventilation systems 200 on a group basis or on an individual basis.

As apparent from the above description, the above-described air conditioning system and method for controlling the same according to the present invention have various effects.

First, it is possible to implement an air conditioning system capable of centrally controlling linked operations of a plurality of cooling/heating devices and a plurality of ventilation systems.

Second, it is possible to enhance the quality of indoor air in accordance with the linked operations of the cooling/heating device and ventilation system installed in each zone, and thus, to maximize the air conditioning efficiency of the air conditioning system.

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.