Title:
Refrigerator With Sign Panel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A refrigerator that includes an enclosure that is adapted to store and cool down food, a refrigeration circuit that cools down the inside of the enclosure, a power supply that supplies power to the refrigeration circuit, a control circuit that controls the operation of the refrigeration circuit and a sign panel that is attached on the outside of the enclosure. The sign panel is controlled by the control circuit, and is powered by the power supply. The sign panel includes a series of letter panels, and each of the letter panels includes a plurality of dot elements. The series of letter panels are controlled to display a streaming message. The sign panel is attached on an easily noticeable location on the enclosure.



Inventors:
Kim, Brian S. (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/865655
Publication Date:
04/02/2009
Filing Date:
10/01/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/463
International Classes:
F25D11/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BAUER, CASSEY D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PARK LAW FIRM (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A refrigerator comprising: a) an enclosure that is adapted to store and cool down food; b) a refrigeration circuit that cools down the inside of the enclosure; c) a power supply that supplies power to the refrigeration circuit; d) a control circuit that controls the operation of the refrigeration circuit; and e) a sign panel that is attached on the outside of the enclosure.

2. The refrigerator of claim 1, wherein the sign panel is controlled by the control circuit.

3. The refrigerator of claim 1, wherein the sign panel is powered by the power supply.

4. The refrigerator of claim 1, wherein the sign panel comprises a series of letter panels.

5. The refrigerator of claim 4, wherein each of the letter panels comprises a plurality of dot elements.

6. The refrigerator of claim 5, wherein the series of letter panels are controlled to display a streaming message.

7. The refrigerator of claim 1, wherein the enclosure has a rectangular shape and comprises a top panel, a bottom panel, a front panel, a rear panel, two side panels, and one or more access doors that are adapted to provide access to the inside of the enclosure.

8. The refrigerator of claim 7, wherein the sign panel is attached on the front panel and near or adjacent to the top panel.

9. The refrigerator of claim 7, wherein the sign panel is attached on the side panel.

10. The refrigerator of claim 9, wherein the sign panel is attached near or adjacent to the top panel.

11. The refrigerator of claim 1, further comprising a sign panel controller that controls the display contents of the sign panel.

12. The refrigerator of claim 11, wherein the sign panel controller comprises a memory that stores contents to be displayed.

13. The refrigerator of claim 12, wherein the sign panel comprises a series of letter panels, wherein the sign panel controller comprises a processor and an interface that control the series of letter panels.

14. The refrigerator of claim 13, wherein the sign panel controller is integrated with the control circuit.

15. The refrigerator of claim 13, wherein the letter panels are powered by the power supply.

16. The refrigerator of claim 15, wherein each of the letter panels comprises a plurality of dot elements.

17. The refrigerator of claim 16, wherein the series of letter panels are controlled to display a streaming message.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a refrigerator with a sign panel. More particularly, this invention relates to a refrigerator that is equipped with a transition sign panel that displays various information related to the use of the refrigerator.

A refrigerator is an essential part of a grocery store. A refrigerator is also equipped in a public place like a school or company in which many people gather around for refreshment or accessing stored food. A refrigerator is naturally a must-visit facility in everyday life.

There is information that is essential or very useful in everyday life such as schedule and frequently used telephone numbers. Also, there is information that is to be known to public such as public notices and advertisements. A sign panel is usually used to provide such simple basic information to people.

Accordingly, a need for a refrigerator with a sign panel has been present for a long time considering the usage of refrigerators everywhere and the need for providing information useful in everyday life. This invention is directed to satisfy the long-felt need and to solve some related problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention contrives to solve a problem that has not been addressed by the prior art.

An object of the invention is to provide a refrigerator with a transition sign panel.

Another object of the invention is to provide a refrigerator equipped with a transition sign panel that is integrated with the structure and electric circuit of the refrigerator.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a refrigerator equipped with a transition sign panel that has roles of posting information and advertising.

To achieve the above objects, the present invention provides a refrigerator that includes an enclosure that is adapted to store and cool down food, a refrigeration circuit that cools down the inside of the enclosure, a power supply that supplies power to the refrigeration circuit, a control circuit that controls the operation of the refrigeration circuit and sign panel that is attached on the outside of the enclosure.

The sign panel is controlled by the control circuit, and is powered by the power supply.

The sign panel includes a series of letter panels, and each of the letter panels includes a plurality of dot elements. The letter panels are powered by the power supply.

The series of letter panels are controlled to display a streaming message.

The enclosure has a rectangular shape and includes a top panel, a bottom panel, a front panel, a rear panel, two side panels, and one or more access doors that are adapted to provide access to the inside of the enclosure.

The sign panel is attached on the front panel and near or adjacent to the top panel, or the sign panel is attached on the side panel.

The refrigerator may further include a sign panel controller that controls the display contents of the sign panel, which is preferably integrated with the control circuit.

The sign panel controller includes a memory, which stores contents to be displayed, a processor and an interface that control the series of letter panels.

The advantages of the present invention are: (1) the refrigerator maximizes advertising effect of advertisements displayed by the sign panel since people routinely gather around the refrigerator and the sign panel is therefore naturally attracting; (2) the refrigerator reduces manufacturing and maintenance cost for the sign panel; (3) Users are conveniently guided to products that they are searching.

Although the present invention is briefly summarized, the fuller understanding of the invention can be obtained by the following drawings, detailed description and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing a refrigerator with a transition sign panel according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevation view showing a transition sign panel;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an enclosure viewed from the front side;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the enclosure viewed from the rear side; and

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of a sign panel controller.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 schematically shows the structure of a refrigerator 10 that includes an enclosure 12 that is adapted to store and cool down food, a refrigeration circuit 14 that cools down the inside of the enclosure 12, a power supply 16 that supplies power to the refrigeration circuit 14, a control circuit 18 that controls the operation of the refrigeration circuit 14 and a sign panel 20 that is attached on the outside of the enclosure 12.

FIG. 2 shows that the sign panel 20 is controlled by the control circuit 18, and is powered by the power supply 16. By sharing the components in this way, the sign panel can be incorporated with a refrigerator economically, and the operation is more stable.

The sign panel 20 includes a series of letter panels 22, and each of the letter panels 22 includes a plurality of dot elements 24. The number of dot elements are chosen to suitably represent the contents displayed by the sign panel 20 including letters and symbols. Specifically, the letter panels 22 are powered by the power supply 16.

The series of letter panels 22 are controlled to display a streaming message. That is, by displaying letters sequentially in each of the letter panels 22 or in each column of the dot elements 24, and by synchronizing them, a streaming message is displayed.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show that the enclosure 12 has a rectangular shape and includes a top panel 26, a bottom panel 28, a front panel 30, a rear panel 32, two side panels 34, and one or more access doors 35 that are adapted to provide access to the inside of the enclosure 12.

The sign panel 20 is attached on the front panel 30 and near or adjacent to the top panel 26 and above the access doors 35 as shown in FIG. 3, or the sign panel 20 is attached on the side panel 34, as shown in FIG. 4. This arrangement attracts user's sight and does not interfere with functions of the refrigerator 10.

The refrigerator 10 further includes a sign panel controller 36 (shown in FIG. 5) that controls the display contents of the sign panel 20, which is preferably integrated with the control circuit 18, as shown in FIG. 2.

The sign panel controller 36 includes a memory 38, which stores contents to be displayed, a processor 40 and an interface 42 that control the series of letter panels 22. The processor 40 generates signals according to the contents to be displayed, displaying time, and displaying method. The interface 42 drives the dot elements 24 of the letter panels 22 according to signals sent by the processor 40.

While the invention has been shown and described with reference to different embodiments thereof, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that variations in form, detail, compositions and operation may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the accompanying claims.