Title:
PROGRAMMABLE AIR REGISTER KIT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kit for identifying and controlling an air register in response to a user-set program is disclosed. The kit contains at least one of a remote control programmable air register capable of vent open, vent close, partial open, wake, leave, arrive, sleep and revert 24 hours settings and memory operations. The kit contains at least one of a remote control device that communicates commands to the programmable air register.



Inventors:
Stewart, Dane (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/942585
Publication Date:
05/22/2008
Filing Date:
11/19/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24F13/08
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DECKER, PHILLIP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GEORGE R. REARDON (LAWRENCVILLE, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A programmable air register kit comprising: at least one of a programmable air register assembly; and at least one of a digital remote control, wherein the programmable air register assembly comprising a vent front element, a vent sliding element, a vent rear element, a circuit board, a battery, a holder and a vent control assembly; the vent front element comprising a vent front element body having vent openings, a circuit board interface opening, a battery interface opening, and a manual switch slot; the vent sliding element comprising a vent sliding element body having an array of vent sliding element air flow openings and a manual switch; the vent rear element comprising a vent rear element body having a corresponding array of vent rear element air flow openings and a vent control plate opening; the vent control assembly comprised a vent control bar which is affixed to the inside of the vent rear element, a vent control engine affixed to the vent control bar and operably connected to a vent control plate by a vent control rod; the vent control rod operably connects the vent control plate to the vent control engine for back and forth movement of the vent control plate; the vent control plate is positioned to engage the vent sliding element through the vent control plate opening for slidedly positioning the array of vent sliding element air flow openings with respect to the corresponding array of vent rear element air flow openings from an open configuration to a closed configuration, or a partially closed configuration.

2. The programmable air register kit of claim 1 wherein activation of the vent control engine is governed by a setting stored in the circuit board by the digital remote control.

3. The programmable air register kit of claim 2 wherein the digital remote control is comprised of a case having a display and a digital remote control assembly.

4. The programmable air register kit of claim 3 wherein the control assembly is comprised of a digital remote control battery operably connected to a communications and display assembly.

5. The programmable air register kit of claim 4, wherein the digital remote control assembly comprising a menu-set interface element, a forward interface element and a backward interface element for identifying and communicating with each programmable air register assembly.

6. The programmable air register kit of claim 5 wherein the digital remote control assembly is further operable for selecting and setting timed events for each identified programmable air register assembly.

7. A method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register comprising: providing a programmable air register; providing a digital remote control configured to program the programmable air register; assigning a unique identification to the programmable air register using the digital remote control; and programming a first event into the programmable air register using the unique identification number;

8. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of claim 7, further comprising programming a second event into the programmable air register using the unique identification number.

9. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of claim 8, further comprising programming a third event into the programmable air register using the unique identification number.

10. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of claim 9, further comprising programming a fourth event into the programmable air register using the unique identification number.

11. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of claim 10, wherein the first event is associated with waking, the second event is associated with leaving, the third event is associated with arriving, and the fourth event is associated with sleeping.

12. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of claim 11, wherein a percentage of an air flow is assigned to the first event, the second event, the third event and the fourth event.

13. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of claim 7 wherein the first event is an open vent for 24 hours.

14. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of claim 7 wherein the first event is a closed vent for 24 hours.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/866,432 filed on Nov. 19, 2006, which is incorporated herein in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The technology disclosed herein pertains to the automatic opening and closing of a programmable air register in response to user defined settings.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A ventilation system plays a main role for all modern buildings such as office and home to be well ventilated in order to provide a comfortable indoor climate condition for the residents. For example, the resident is able to turn on the air conditioning during the summer time and the heater during the wintertime, so as to set an acceptable indoor climate condition. Generally speaking, the ventilation system generates a flow of cool or warm air to each room of the building through a ventilation outlet mounted on a ceiling, wall, or roof of each room of the building.

However, such a ventilating configuration has a major drawback in that when the system is switched on, the ventilation system must generate sufficient cool or warm air flowing towards all the rooms even though some of the rooms are not occupied. In other words, once the user turns on the air conditioning, the system must generate enough air flowing to each single room, which is a waste of energy.

The most common and easiest way to stop the air flowing to the unoccupied room is to close the ventilation outlet thereof. However, since many of the ventilation outlets are mounted at the ceiling of the room, it is quite inconvenience for the user to climb up to the ceiling of the room in order to close the ventilation outlet.

Additionally, in a home environment while some users keep all air vents open all the time, some users may prefer to open and close some registers in some rooms on a regular schedule, e.g. to close selected registers when a user is at work, to open selected registers just prior to the expected time a user returns from work, to open selected registers during the weekend.

Some users may wish to keep some registers in some rooms closed when the rooms are not in use, e.g. guest rooms when there are no guests. Some users may wish to close some registers when no one is at home for an extended period, e.g. during a vacation or a business trip.

Past solutions to this problem have focused on the manual/automatic setting of a central thermostat and/or the manual opening/closing of registers.

Related art that addresses the above problems includes the following patents.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,273,283, issued to Edwards on Jun. 16, 1982, discloses a self-regulating air register which includes a housing, louvres in the housing for closing and opening a flow path for air, a crank arm connected to the louvres which can, upon rotation, adjust the degree of closure, a shaft extending through the housing means, and a bi-metallic element connected at one end to the shaft and to a control knob at the other end. The control knob is mounted on the housing and is capable of selective adjustment in terms of angle. The bi-metallic element is thus adapted to regulate the angular orientation of the shaft with respect to the housing means, with an additional adjustment by the control knob. A lever is mounted on the shaft and extends perpendicularly from it. In the lever is a slot in which part of the crank arm is captive. At least part of the slot includes a portion disposed such that when part of the crank arm is located in the portion, the crank arm is caused to rotate as the lever rotates. On the control knob is at least one projection which extends perpendicularly through the plane of rotation of the lever but is located to one side thereof, whereby rotation of the control knob in one sense can bring the projection into contact with the lever and thus retain the lever in a position for which the louvre means is in an extreme condition.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,417,687, issued to Grant on Nov. 29, 1983, discloses an automatically controlled multi-blade damper device for use in air registers installed over furnace duct boots terminating in recesses of floors, ceilings, or walls of dwellings; said boots being part of a central heating and/or air conditioning system. The several damper blades are attached to a gear train and pivotably mounted in a damper housing assembly; said blades being rotatable between open and closed positions by motor driven damper blade attached to gear means and motor means; said motor means, electrically connected to furnace control means and to individual room thermostat, cooperate to maintain the preferred temperature environment in subject room.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,824,012, issued to Tate on Apr. 25, 1989, discloses an air flow control system for the dampers of the individual offices or rooms in a group of offices or rooms sharing a common air supply duct with a thermostatic control in but a single one of the offices or rooms. The system includes a motor operated damper in each room or office, the motor being controlled to shut the damper when a signal from a remote transmitter is received by a receiver in a control circuit with the motor. The transmitter is selectively actuated by the individual occupying the particular room or office. The control circuit is activated when the signal is received by the receiver, and after a delay period automatically sends a signal to drive the motor to reopen the damper. The occupant may thus control the closing of the damper when the temperature of the air through the supply duct causes the room to be uncomfortable, and need not be concerned about reopening the damper.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,942,348, issued to Nilssen on Jul. 17, 1990, discloses a self-contained electronic air register controller can easily be mounted directly onto the outside of an air register. When so mounted, the controller engages the register's actuating lever and permits automatic opening and closing of the air register by way of simple programming instructions and/or by way of a temperature sensor. The controller comprises a small battery, a miniature electric motor with a gear/linkage mechanism operable to engage with and to move the register's actuating lever between its OPEN and SHUT positions, and a quartz-clock-based programming means.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,833,134, issued to Ho on Nov. 10, 1998, discloses a wireless remote temperature sensing and control thermostat system for regulating air ducted air conditioning systems incorporating a normal mode and a remote control mode, including a combination thermostat and radio-frequency receiver unit, a radio-frequency transmitter, and an adjustable register. In the normal mode, a reference temperature is set by the thermostat for the temperature throughout the entire air conditioned structure. In the remote control mode, the local temperature sensing and control functions of the thermostat are disabled and the transmitter unit will take over the temperature sensing at the remote site which, in turn, then will control the thermostat unit. As a result, the users will be able to more accurately control their own personal environment.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,338,677 B1, issued to White on Jan. 15, 2002, discloses a system for controlling the opening and closing of vents within a structure. The system includes a plurality of vents positioned around the structure and a control panel is centrally positioned in a readily accessible position within the structure. The vents each include a cover plate having a recess extending therethrough a plurality of louvers positioned in spaced parallel relationship within the recess and a device for automatically pivoting the plurality of louvers between an open position and closed position. The control panel includes a plurality of control buttons, each control button controlling pivoting a respective one of the plurality of louvers between the open and closed positions. A lever connects the plurality of louvers within each vent together causing the louvers to move together. The pivoting device for each vent includes first and second solenoids and a latch and spring device connected between both the first and second solenoids and the lever. The first and second solenoids are each controlled by a respective one of the control buttons to rotate causing the latch and spring device to exert a force on the lever such that the lever pivots the plurality of louvers into one of the open or closed positions. Each of the vents further includes a manually operated lever for moving the louvers between the open and closed positions.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,692,349 B1, issued to Brinkerhoff et al. on Feb. 17, 2004, discloses a computer-controlled air vent and methods of using the same are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, the computer-controlled air vent includes: a top plate; a base connected to the top plate; a component housing connected to the top plate and to the base; a plurality of louvers rotatably positioned within the base; a force generating means connected to the louvers to rotate them between an open position and a closed position; a temperature sensor to sense an indoor temperature; a computer processor; a memory; a wireless transceiver; a bus to connect the processor and the memory; and a remote control device to control the opening and closing of the louvers.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,837,786, issued to Linde on Jan. 4, 2005, discloses a programmable remote-control motion vent outlet includes an air vent arrangement and a control device. The air vent arrangement includes a ventilating guide adapted for mounting at a ventilating air outlet, wherein the ventilating guide has a ventilating slot for guiding an airflow passing from the ventilating air outlet to outside, a plurality of vent blades rotatably mounted to the ventilating guide for selectively allowing the airflow passing through the ventilating slot. The control device is adapted for remotely switching the vent blades between an air passage position and an air blockage position. In which, at the air passage position, the vent blades are rotated to open the ventilating slot respectively for allowing the airflow passing therethrough, and at the air blockage position, the vent blades are rotated to close the ventilating slot respectively for blocking the airflow passing through.

While these patents and other previous methods have attempted to solve the problems that they addressed, none have utilized or disclosed a kit containing a remote control programmable air register capable of vent open, vent close, partial open, wake, leave arrive, sleep and revert settings and memory operations, as does embodiments of the technology disclosed herein.

Therefore, a need exists for a programmable air register kit with these attributes and functionalities. The programmable air register kit according to embodiments of the technology described herein substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art. It can be appreciated that there exists a continuing need for a new and improved programmable air register kit which can be used commercially. In this regard, the technology disclosed herein substantially fulfills these objectives.

The foregoing patent and other information reflect the state of the art of which the inventors are aware and are tendered with a view toward discharging the inventor's acknowledged duty of candor in disclosing information that may be pertinent to the patentability of the technology disclosed herein. It is respectfully stipulated, however, that the foregoing patent and other information do not teach or render obvious, singly or when considered in combination, the inventor's claimed invention.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Generally speaking, the technology disclosed herein provides a kit containing a programmable air register assembly for the automatic opening and closing of an air register and a digital remote control for the timed opening and closing of the programmable air register assembly. The programmable air register assembly can also be programmed directly without the need for a digital remote control.

Elements of the kit include at least one of a programmable air register assembly and at least one of a digital remote control. The programmable air register assembly has a vent assembly that is opened or closed by a small servo-mechanism or motor, e.g. a piston-like device or engine. The servo-mechanism is controlled by instructions in a digital controller circuit board. The instructions are user entered settings, either from a digital remote control or by instructions directly input from an interface on the programmable air register assembly. The user-controlled settings include, but are not limited to, wake, leave, arrive, sleep, revert 24 hours, 100% open, 100% closed, a user-defined percent open, via a digital remote control that is included in the kit.

The digital remote control is capable of assigning a vent identification, e.g. a number, to each programmable air register assembly and the programmable air register assembly is capable of retaining that vent number and communicating and responding to that vent number to the digital remote control via the digital controller.

The preferred sources of power for both the digital remote control and the programmable air register assembly are batteries.

The digital controller has a display screen and a control interface.

An additional element of the programmable air register assembly is a manual switch for manually opening or closing the register.

When a user receives a programmable air register kit the user removes a programmable air register assembly vent and a digital remote control from the packaging and installs the included batteries. The conventional air vent is removed from the wall, ceiling or floor. The programmable air vent assembly is placed within the space previously occupied by the conventional air vent.

The user can then program the programmable air vent assembly, either by using the digital remote control or the interface at the front of the programmable air vent assembly. The user sets the internal clock in the programmable air vent assembly, then sets the program desired, e.g., the time of day for Wake, Leave, Arrive and Sleep. For example, a vent in the living room us programmed as follows:

1st Go to Wake on the remote control and set it to open at 7 a.m.
2nd Go to Leave on the remote and set the vent to close 10 a.m.
3rd Go to Arrive on the remote and set the vent to open to 50% at 4 p.m.
4th Go to Sleep on the remote and set the vent to close at 8:30 p.m.
After the digital remote control has been set, the user points the remote control at the vent and sends the programmed information towards the vent. The “Programmed” Light blinks when the information from the remote is received. The vent is now set and ready for daily use.

The digital remote control has a setting called revert. This setting overrides the program in the vent for a 24 hour period. To use this setting, a user simply points the digital remote control at the target vent and selects the revert setting. This opens the vent for a 24 hour period. After 24 hours has expired the vent returns to its original programmed setting.

One aspect of the technology disclosed herein is that it gives a user options for controlling air flow from a register.

Another aspect of the technology disclosed herein is to provide a register control system that will overcome the shortcomings of prior art devices.

Another aspect of the technology disclosed herein is to provide a programmable remote-control register kit, where the user is able to selectively open the register for allowing the ventilating air flowing into the corresponding room and close the register for blocking the ventilating air flowing therethrough by means of a remote control, so as to ensure efficient operation of air condition system.

Another aspect of the technology disclosed herein is to provide a programmable remote-control register that can be easily installed by one person.

Another aspect of the technology disclosed herein is that it may be made economically.

Another aspect of the technology disclosed herein is that it may be made from readily available materials.

These and other features and advantages of the technology disclosed herein will be presented in more detail in the following specification of the invention and the accompanying figures, which illustrate by way of example the principles of the invention.

There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the technology disclosed herein. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the technology disclosed herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention, together with further advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a front perspective view of a programmable air register kit, according to an embodiment of the technology disclosed herein.

FIG. 2 illustrates a front perspective view of a programmable air register assembly, according to an embodiment of the technology disclosed herein.

FIG. 3 illustrates a rear perspective view of a programmable air register assembly in the closed position, according to an embodiment of the technology disclosed herein.

FIG. 4 illustrates a detailed view of the rear of a programmable air register assembly in the closed position, according to an embodiment of the technology disclosed herein.

FIG. 5 illustrates a rear perspective view of a programmable air register assembly in the open position, according to an embodiment of the technology disclosed herein.

FIG. 6 illustrates a detailed view of the rear of a programmable air register assembly in the open position, according to an embodiment of the technology disclosed herein.

FIG. 7 illustrates a front exploded view of a programmable air register assembly, according to an embodiment of the technology disclosed herein.

FIG. 8 illustrates a rear exploded view of a programmable air register assembly, according to an embodiment of the technology disclosed herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The technology disclosed herein will now be described in detail with reference to a few preferred embodiments thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the technology disclosed herein. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the technology disclosed herein may be practiced without some or all of these specific details. In other instances, well known operations have not been described in detail so not to unnecessarily obscure the technology disclosed herein.

Referring now to FIG. 1 through FIG. 8, in one embodiment a programmable air register kit 010 is comprised of at least one of a programmable air register assembly 100 and at least one of a digital remote control 200.

The programmable air register assembly 100 is comprised of a vent front element 110, a vent sliding element 120, a vent rear element 130, a circuit board 140, a battery 150, a holder 160 and a vent control assembly 170.

The vent front element 110 is comprised of a vent front element body having vent openings. The vent front element 110 is further comprised of a circuit board interface opening 111, a battery interface opening 112, and a manual switch slot 113.

The vent sliding element 120 is comprised of a vent sliding element body having an array of vent sliding element air flow openings. The vent sliding element 120 is further comprised of a manual switch 121. The vent sliding element 120 is further comprised of a manual circuit board interface, for use when the user does not want to use the digital remote control 200, or has misplaced it.

The vent rear element 130 is comprised of a vent rear element body having a corresponding array of vent rear element air flow openings. The vent rear element 130 is further comprised of a vent control plate opening 131.

The vent sliding element 120 is positioned between the vent front element 110 and the vent rear element 130.

The vent control assembly 170 is further comprised of vent bar 171, a vent control engine 172, a vent control rod 173 and a vent control plate 174. The vent bar 171 is affixed to the inside of the vent rear element 130. The vent control engine 172 is affixed to the vent control bar. The vent control rod operably connects the vent control plate 174 to the vent control engine 172 for back and forth movement of the vent control plate 174, based on the settings in the circuit board 140. The vent control plate 174 is positioned to engage the vent sliding element 120 through the vent control plate opening 131 for slidedly positioning the array of vent sliding element air flow openings with respect to the corresponding array of vent rear element air flow openings from an open configuration to a closed configuration, or a partially closed configuration.

The settings stored in the circuit board 140 by the digital remote control 200 govern the activation of the vent control engine 172.

The digital remote control 200 is comprised of a case 210 having a display 220 and a digital remote control assembly. The control assembly is comprised of a digital remote control battery operably connected to a communications and display assembly. The digital remote control assembly is comprised of a menu-set interface element 231, a forward interface element 232 and a backward interface element 233 for identifying and communicating with each programmable air register assembly 100, as well as selecting and setting timed events for each identified programmable air register assembly 100.

The programmable air register kit is also described by the following items:

    • 1. A programmable air register kit comprises:
      • at least one of a programmable air register assembly; and
      • at least one of a digital remote control,
      • where the programmable air register assembly comprises a vent front element, a vent sliding element, a vent rear element, a circuit board, a battery, a holder and a vent control assembly;
      • the vent front element comprises a vent front element body having vent openings, a circuit board interface opening, a battery interface opening, and a manual switch slot;
      • the vent sliding element comprises a vent sliding element body having an array of vent sliding element air flow openings and a manual switch;
      • the vent rear element comprises a vent rear element body having a corresponding array of vent rear element air flow openings and a vent control plate opening;
      • the vent control assembly comprised a vent control bar which is affixed to the inside of the vent rear element, a vent control engine affixed to the vent control bar and operably connected to a vent control plate by a vent control rod;
      • the vent control rod operably connects the vent control plate to the vent control engine for back and forth movement of the vent control plate;
      • the vent control plate is positioned to engage the vent sliding element through the vent control plate opening for slidedly positioning the array of vent sliding element air flow openings with respect to the corresponding array of vent rear element air flow openings from an open configuration to a closed configuration, or a partially closed configuration.
    • 2. The programmable air register kit of item 1 where activation of the vent control engine is governed by a setting stored in the circuit board by the digital remote control.
    • 3. The programmable air register kit of item 2 where the digital remote control is comprised of a case having a display and a digital remote control assembly.
    • 4. The programmable air register kit of item 3 where the control assembly is comprised of a digital remote control battery operably connected to a communications and display assembly.
    • 5. The programmable air register kit of item 4, where the digital remote control assembly comprises a menu-set interface element, a forward interface element and a backward interface element for identifying and communicating with each programmable air register assembly.
    • 6. The programmable air register kit of item 5 where the digital remote control assembly is further operable for selecting and setting timed events for each identified programmable air register assembly.
    • 7. A method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register comprising:
      • providing a programmable air register;
      • providing a digital remote control configured to program the programmable air register;
      • assigning a unique identification to the programmable air register using the digital remote control; and
      • programming a first event into the programmable air register using the unique identification number;
    • 8. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of item 7, further comprising programming a second event into the programmable air register using the unique identification number.
    • 9. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of item 8, further comprising programming a third event into the programmable air register using the unique identification number.
    • 10. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of item 9, further comprising programming a fourth event into the programmable air register using the unique identification number.
    • 11. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of item 10, where the first event is associated with waking, the second event is associated with leaving, the third event is associated with arriving, and the fourth event is associated with sleeping.
    • 12. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of item 11, where a percentage of an air flow is assigned to the first event, the second event, the third event and the fourth event.
    • 13. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of item 7 where the first event is an open vent for 24 hours.
    • 14. The method of controlling air flow through a programmable air register of item 7 where the first event is a closed vent for 24 hours.

From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that, although specific embodiments of the technology described herein have been described herein for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the technology described herein. For example, many of the features and components described above in the context of a particular programmable air register kit configuration can be incorporated into other configurations in accordance with other embodiments of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except by the appended claims.