Title:
ICEBOX WITH EXTERNAL CONTROLS AND TEMPERATURE DISPLAY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An icebox with external controls. The icebox includes an insulated container having one or more compartments. One or more temperature sensors take temperature measurements of the one or more compartments. An externally visible panel displays the temperature measurements and coldness settings corresponding to the temperature measurements. A control mechanism controls a cooling mechanism so as to maintain the temperature of the compartments at a predetermined temperature corresponding to the coldness setting. An externally accessible input allows selective changes of the coldness setting.



Inventors:
Wasserman, Sam (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/966367
Publication Date:
07/02/2009
Filing Date:
12/28/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/223
International Classes:
F25B49/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BRADFORD, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG VOIT & MAYER, LTD (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. An icebox, comprising: an insulated container comprising one or more compartments, each compartment having an internal temperature; one or more temperature sensors, each temperature sensor located inside one of the one or more compartments; a cooling mechanism for cooling the one or more compartments; an externally visible first display in communication with the one or more temperature sensors, the first display for receiving and displaying temperature measurements from the temperature sensors; an externally visible second display for displaying a coldness setting corresponding to a predetermined internal temperature for each compartment; an externally accessible input in communication with the second display, the input for selectively changing the coldness setting displayed on the second display; and a control mechanism for operating the cooling mechanism so as to maintain each compartment at a temperature approximately equal to its corresponding predetermined internal temperature.

2. The icebox of claim 1, further comprising a door for providing access to one or more of the compartments, the door having an exterior side on which the first display, the second display, and the input are located.

3. The icebox of claim 1, wherein the one or more compartments includes a freezer compartment, a refrigerator compartment, and a vegetable box.

4. The icebox of claim 3, wherein the internal temperature of the vegetable box is visible on the first display.

5. The icebox of claim 1, wherein the first display, the second display, and the input comprise a single unit.

6. The icebox of claim 1, further comprising a mechanism for wireless communication of temperature measurements between the one or more temperature sensors and the first display.

7. An icebox, comprising: an insulated compartment comprising an interior and an exterior, the interior having an internal temperature; a temperature sensor located in the interior of the insulated compartment, the temperature sensor for measuring the internal temperature; a cooling mechanism for cooling the interior of the insulated compartment; a first display on the exterior of the insulated compartment for displaying a coldness setting, the coldness setting corresponding to a predetermined internal temperature; an input on the exterior of the insulated compartment for selectively changing the coldness setting; and a control mechanism in wireless communication with the temperature sensor, the control mechanism for operating the cooling mechanism to maintain the interior temperature of insulated compartment at the predetermined temperature.

8. The icebox of claim 7, further comprising a second display for displaying the predetermined internal temperature corresponding to the coldness setting displayed on the first display.

9. The icebox of claim 7, further comprising a second display in communication with the temperature sensor, the second display for displaying the internal temperature.

10. The icebox of claim 7, wherein the insulated compartment comprises a freezer compartment, a refrigerator compartment, and a vegetable box.

11. The icebox of claim 7, further comprising a vegetable box having a vegetable box interior in the insulated compartment and a second temperature sensor for providing temperature measurements of the vegetable box interior, and wherein the cooling mechanism is configured to selectively cool the vegetable box, the first display is further configured to display a vegetable box coldness setting corresponding to a predetermined vegetable box temperature, the input is further configured to selectively change the vegetable box coldness setting displayed by the first display, and wherein the control mechanism is further configured to maintain the vegetable box interior at a temperature approximately equal to the predetermined vegetable box temperature

12. The icebox of claim 11, further comprising a second display for displaying the internal temperature corresponding to the vegetable box coldness setting displayed by the first display.

13. The icebox of claim 7, further comprising a door for selectively accessing contents stored in the interior and wherein the first display comprises a panel mounted on the door.

14. An icebox, comprising: an insulated compartment comprising an interior, the interior having an internal temperature; a temperature sensor at a first location, the temperature sensor for taking measurements of the internal temperature; a cooling mechanism for maintaining the interior approximately at a predetermined temperature; an externally visible display in communication with the temperature sensor and at a second location different from the first location, the display for displaying the internal temperature; and an externally accessible input for selecting the predetermined temperature.

15. The icebox of claim 14, further comprising a mechanism for wireless communication between the temperature sensor and display.

16. The icebox of claim 15, further comprising a panel at a fourth location and on which the display and input are located.

17. The icebox of claim 16, further comprising an externally accessible second input at a fourth location different from the third location, the second input for selecting the predetermined temperature.

18. The icebox of claim 14, further comprising an externally accessible second input, the second input for selecting a coldness setting from a plurality of coldness settings, each coldness setting corresponding to a predetermined temperature.

19. The icebox of claim 18, further comprising an externally visible second display for displaying the coldness setting selected by the second input.

20. The icebox of claim 18, wherein the first input is at a fifth location and the second input is at a sixth location different from the fifth location.

21. A kit for retrofitting an icebox with an external temperature display, comprising: one or more temperature sensors, each of the temperature sensors for measuring a temperature and transmitting a wireless signal corresponding to the temperature; and a display panel comprising a mechanism for mounting to the exterior of the icebox and, for each of the one or more temperature sensors, the display panel configured to receive the wireless signal and display the temperature corresponding to the wireless signal.

22. The kit of claim 21, wherein the mechanism for mounting to the exterior of the icebox is selected from the group consisting of one or more magnets, one or more screws, adhesive tape, and one or more hooks.

23. The kit of claim 21, wherein the display panel is also configured to display, for each of the temperature sensors, a coldness setting corresponding to the temperature corresponding to the wireless signal.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

An icebox is an insulated container having a cooling mechanism, such as a compressor or a thermoelectric device, for cooling its interior. Iceboxes often have a single compartment or two or more compartments. For example, an icebox may have a freezer compartment, the interior maintained at a temperature below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a refrigerator compartment, the interior of which is maintained at a temperature above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The refrigerator compartment may include one or more vegetable boxes, which are typically compartments at the bottom of the refrigerator compartment used for storing fruits and vegetables. The interiors of vegetable boxes often are maintained at a different temperature or humidity than the remainder refrigerator compartment in order to store fruits and vegetables in ideal conditions, which may vary from conditions ideal for other items.

Each compartment of an icebox may be cooled by a separate cooling mechanism or one or more compartments may be cooled by separate cooling mechanisms. Iceboxes typically contain control mechanisms for controlling one or more cooling mechanisms. In general, control mechanisms work together with one or more temperature sensors in the compartments of the icebox to determine whether to operate a cooling mechanism in order to reduce the temperature of a compartment of the icebox. Typically, the control mechanism receives the temperature of a compartment from a temperature sensor and compares the temperature to a predetermined temperature. If the temperature is higher than the predetermined temperature by a set amount, such as one degree Fahrenheit, than the control mechanism operates the cooling mechanism until the temperature of the compartment reaches the predetermined temperature. If the temperature is lower than the predetermined temperature, the control mechanism will not operate the cooling mechanism, but allow the compartment to absorb heat. The absorption of heat may be facilitated by vents, fans, heaters, or other mechanisms for exchanging cold air from inside the icebox with warmer air from outside the ice box, or by heating the air inside the icebox.

Typically an icebox with a refrigerator compartment and freezer compartment has one coldness control for controlling the temperature inside of the refrigerator compartment. The freezer is maintained at some temperature below the freezing point of water and the coldness setting of the coldness control determines the size of a passageway between the freezer compartment and the refrigerator compartment. The larger the passageway, the more cold air from the freezer compartment passes to the refrigerator compartment and, therefore the colder the refrigerator compartment gets. Likewise, typically the temperature inside a vegetable box in the refrigerator compartment is controlled by changing, often manually, the size of a passageway between the vegetable box and the refrigerator compartment.

However, often iceboxes include one or more coldness controls, which is typically a dial having markings of a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 corresponding to a first temperature, 1 corresponding to a second temperature lower than the first temperature, and the markings between 1 and 10 corresponding to temperatures between the first and second temperature. The operation of the control mechanism may be determined by the coldness control, as described above. Often the coldness control is located somewhere in the interior of the icebox such as in a convenient location in a refrigerator portion of an icebox. One coldness control may affect the temperature of the freezer compartment and the refrigerator compartment together or each compartment may have a separate coldness control. Because coldness controls are most often located on the interior of iceboxes, it is necessary to open the icebox in order to adjust the coldness settings. Unnecessarily opening the icebox causes cold air to escape from the icebox and therefore the energy spent cooling that air to be wasted. In addition, opening the icebox to adjust coldness settings is inconvenient, especially when any controls for adjusting the coldness settings are located in the back of the interior of the icebox.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An icebox is provided in accordance with an embodiment. The icebox comprises an insulated compartment, a temperature sensor in the insulated compartment, a cooling mechanism for cooling the interior of the insulated compartment, and a control mechanism for controlling the cooling mechanism. The icebox also includes a first and second display on the exterior of the insulated compartment, the first display for displaying the temperature of the insulated compartment and the second display for displaying the coldness setting of the insulated compartment. An input is provided to allow a user to selectively change the coldness setting to cause a control mechanism to operate the cooling mechanism until the interior of the insulated compartment achieves a temperature corresponding to the selected coldness setting.

In accordance with another embodiment, an icebox is provided. The icebox comprises an insulated compartment, a temperature sensor in the insulated compartment, a cooling mechanism for cooling the interior of the insulated compartment, and a control mechanism for controlling the cooling mechanism. The icebox includes a display for displaying a coldness setting on the exterior of the insulated container, and an input for selectively changing the coldness setting of the display and causing the control mechanism to operate the cooling mechanism until the interior of the insulated container achieves a temperature corresponding to the selected coldness setting.

In accordance with another embodiment, an icebox is provided, the icebox comprises an insulated compartment, a temperature sensor in the insulated compartment, and a cooling mechanism for cooling the interior of the insulated compartment until the internal temperature reaches a predetermined temperature. An input on the exterior of the insulated container allows selection of the predetermined temperature which is displayed on the exterior of the insulated container by a display.

In accordance with yet another embodiment, a kit for retrofitting an icebox with an external temperature display is included. The kit includes a temperature display mountable on an external surface of the icebox. A plurality of temperature sensors in wireless communication with the temperature display are located in various compartments of the icebox. The temperature display displays the temperature as recorded by each temperature sensor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

FIG. 1 shows a front perspective view of an icebox with its doors opened in accordance with an embodiment;

FIG. 2 shows a front perspective view of the icebox of FIG. 1 with its doors closed;

FIG. 3 shows a front view of a control panel of the icebox of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 shows a front perspective view of an icebox with its doors open in accordance with an embodiment;

FIG. 5 shows a front perspective view of the icebox of FIG. 4 with its doors closed; and

FIG. 6 shows a front view of a control panel of the icebox of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows an icebox 100 in accordance with an embodiment. The icebox 100 includes a freezer compartment 102, a refrigerator compartment 104, and a vegetable box 106, although it may have more or less than three compartments. In an embodiment, the freezer compartment 102 and refrigerator compartment 104 are rectangular insulated chambers connected at their sides and the vegetable box 106 is a subcompartment of the refrigerator compartment 104 located inside the refrigerator compartment 104 at the bottom of the refrigerator compartment 104. The icebox 100 can have alternative configurations such as a configuration with either the freezer compartment 102 or the refrigerator compartment 104 located atop the other.

In an embodiment, the interior of the vegetable box 106 is separated from the remainder of the interior of the refrigerator compartment 104 so that the interior of the vegetable box 106 may be maintained at a different temperature or humidity. The vegetable box 106 includes a door for accessing items stored in the interior of the vegetable box 106. Alternatively, the vegetable box 106 may be slid out from the refrigerator compartment 104 in order to expose an opening into the vegetable box 106 to allow access to contents stored in the vegetable box 106. In this alternate embodiment, vents can be provided at the rear of the vegetable box 106 in order to receive cold air from the cooling mechanism into the interior of the vegetable box 106.

A freezer door 107 is hingedly attached to the icebox 100 so as to selectively provide access to the freezer compartment 102. Similarly, a refrigerator door 108 is hingedly attached to the icebox 100 so as to selectively provide access to the interior of the refrigerator compartment 104. A magnetic strip or other fastener secures the freezer door 107 and refrigerator door 108 to the freezer compartment 102 and refrigerator compartment 104, respectively, although other mechanisms for maintaining the freezer door 107 and refrigerator door 108 in a closed configuration can be used.

In an embodiment, a freezer temperature sensor 110 is located on the interior of the freezer compartment 102. Freezer temperature sensors are known in the art and in general are devices capable of measuring the temperature of surrounding air. In an embodiment, the freezer temperature sensor is located at the top interior surface of the freezer compartment 102, but it can be located in any portion of the freezer compartment 102 or on a portion of the freezer door 107 oriented towards the freezer compartment 102 when the freezer door 107 is closed, or in any location suitable for measuring the interior of the freezer compartment 102. The freezer temperature sensor 110 may include features such as a display for displaying current temperature measurements.

In an embodiment, a refrigerator temperature sensor 120, which may be similar to the freezer temperature sensor 110, is located on the interior of the refrigerator compartment 104 or in any location suitable for measuring the interior of the refrigerator compartment 104, such as on a portion of the refrigerator door 108 oriented towards the interior of the refrigerator compartment 104 when the refrigerator door 108 is closed. A vegetable box temperature sensor 130, which may be similar to the freezer temperature sensor 110, is located on the interior of the vegetable box 106 or in any location suitable for measuring the interior of the vegetable box 106.

Referring to FIG. 2, the icebox 100 includes a control panel 210 located on an exterior surface of the icebox 100, such as on an exterior surface of the freezer door 107. In an embodiment, the control panel 210 is in communication with the temperature sensors 110, 120, and 130. For example, the temperature sensors 110, 120, 130 can be directly or indirectly wired to the control panel 210 or they can communicate with the control panel 210 wirelessly, for example, through a wireless communication using the Bluetooth® wireless connectivity standard, or other wireless standards. If the temperature sensors 110, 120, 130 are wired directly to the control panel 210, the wire can pass from the icebox 100 to the control panel 210 via the hinge of the freezer door 107, where there is little movement of the freezer door 107 relative to the icebox 107 and where a wire would not interfere with opening or closing the door 107. Alternate mechanisms for wireless communications between devices may also be used. For instance, each temperature sensor 110, 120, 130 can include a transmitter for transmitting signals using a particular radio frequency and the control panel 210 may include one or more receivers tuned to receive the signals transmitted by the temperature sensors 110, 120, 130.

FIG. 3 shows the control panel 210 in greater detail. In an embodiment, the control panel 210 comprises a freezer subpanel 310, a refrigerator subpanel 320, and a vegetable box subpanel 330. The freezer subpanel 310 includes a freezer coldness display 340 and a freezer temperature display 342. In an embodiment, the freezer coldness display 340 is liquid crystal display that digitally displays a coldness setting of 1 through 10 digitally and the freezer temperature display 342 may display one of ten temperatures corresponding to each of the possible values for the freezer coldness display.

In an embodiment, the freezer subpanel 310 includes a freezer warmer button 344 and a freezer colder button 346. Pressing the freezer warmer button 344 causes the freezer coldness display 340 to increase by one, unless the freezer coldness display 340 is at a predetermined upper limit, such as 10, in which case pressing the freezer warmer button 244 does not cause a change of the freezer coldness display 340. Similarly, pressing the freezer colder button 346 causes the freezer coldness display to decrease by one, unless the freezer coldness display 340 is already at a predetermined lower limit, such as 1, in which case pressing the freezer colder button does not cause a change of the freezer coldness display 240.

When the freezer coldness display 340 changes from one setting to a lower setting, a control mechanism, which can be located in the control panel 210 or may be in another location, but in communication with the control panel 210, causes a cooling mechanism to cool the freezer compartment 102 until the temperature of the interior of the freezer compartment 102 reaches a temperature corresponding to the new coldness setting displayed by the freezer coldness display 340. For example, if a coldness setting of 2 corresponds to a predetermined temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit and a coldness setting of 1 corresponds to a predetermined temperature of 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and the interior of the freezer compartment 102 was 26 degrees Fahrenheit, pressing the freezer colder button 346 once causes the freezer coldness display to change to 1, which causes the control mechanism to operate the cooling mechanism until the interior of the freezer compartment 102 reaches 25 degrees Fahrenheit. If 1 is a lower limit for the freezer coldness display 340, pressing the freezer colder button 346 an additional time does not cause freezer coldness display 340 to change or the control mechanism to operate the cooling mechanism.

When the freezer coldness display 340 changes from one setting to a higher setting, the control mechanism will not operate the cooling mechanism until the freezer compartment 102 has absorbed enough heat such that the interior of the freezer compartment 102 rises to a temperature of a predetermined amount, such as one degree Fahrenheit, above a temperature corresponding to the higher setting. Continuing with the previous example, if the freezer coldness display 340 changes from 2 to 3, and 3 corresponds to 27 degrees Fahrenheit, pressing the freezer warmer button 344 causes the freezer coldness display to display “3” and the control mechanism will not operate the cooling mechanism until the freezer compartment 102 reaches exceeds a temperature above 27 degrees Fahrenheit, such as by reaching 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

If neither the freezer warmer button 344 nor freezer colder button 346 is pressed, the control mechanism operates in an automatic state in which it maintains the interior of the freezer compartment at a temperature corresponding to the currently displayed coldness setting on the freezer coldness display 340. Specifically, the control mechanism may periodically receive a temperature of the interior of the freezer compartment 102 from the freezer temperature sensor 110 and, if the temperature of the interior compartment 102 rises to a predetermined amount, such as one degree Fahrenheit above the temperature corresponding to the current coldness setting displayed on the freezer coldness display, the control mechanism will operate the cooling mechanism until the interior of the freezer compartment 102 reaches the temperature corresponding to the coldness setting displayed on the freezer coldness display. Continuing with the previous example, if the freezer coldness display 340 displays 3, the control mechanism will receive temperature measurements from the temperature sensor 110 until the interior of the freezer compartment 102 reaches a temperature a set amount above 27 degrees. For instance, the control mechanism, in an embodiment, receives temperature measurements from the temperature sensor 110 until the control mechanism receives a measurement indicating that the interior of the freezer compartment has reached 28 degrees Fahrenheit or more. At this point, the control mechanism operates the cooling device until the control mechanism receives a measurement from the temperature sensor indicating that the temperature of the interior of the freezer compartment 102 has reached a desired level, such as 27 degrees Fahrenheit.

In accordance with an embodiment, the freezer temperature display 342 displays the temperature corresponding to the coldness setting displayed by the freezer coldness display 340. As in the previous example, if the freezer coldness display 340 shows a coldness setting of 2, the freezer temperature display 342 will display 26 degrees Fahrenheit. If the freezer warmer button 344 is pressed, the freezer coldness display 340 will display a setting of 3 and the freezer temperature display will display a temperature of 27 degrees Fahrenheit.

In an embodiment, the refrigerator subpanel 320 and vegetable box subpanel 330 of the control panel 210 operate similarly to the freezer subpanel 310. The refrigerator subpanel 320 includes a refrigerator coldness display 350, a refrigerator temperature display 352, a refrigerator warmer button 354, and a refrigerator colder button 356, which operate similarly to the freezer coldness display 340, the freezer temperature display 242, the freezer warmer button 244, and the freezer colder button 246, respectively. Likewise, in an embodiment the vegetable box subpanel includes a vegetable box coldness display 360, a vegetable box temperature display 362, and a vegetable box warmer button 364 which operate similarly to the freezer coldness display 340, the freezer temperature display 242, the freezer warmer button 244, and the freezer colder button 246, respectively.

In an embodiment, the refrigerator subpanel 320 determines the operation of the control mechanism with respect to the refrigerator compartment 104 in accordance with the manner in which the freezer subpanel 310 determines the operation of the control mechanism with respect to the freezer compartment 102, as described above. In particular, a user can use the refrigerator warmer button 354 and the refrigerator colder button 356 in order to select the coldness setting displayed on the refrigerator coldness display 350. The refrigerator temperature display 352 can display the current temperature of the interior of the refrigerator compartment 104, or the temperature corresponding to the current coldness setting displayed by the refrigerator coldness display 350. The control mechanism operates the cooling device so as to maintain the temperature of the interior of the refrigerator compartment 104 in a manner similar to the manner in which the control mechanism operates the cooling device so as to maintain the temperature of the interior of the freezer compartment 102, as described above.

Likewise, in an embodiment, the vegetable box subpanel 330 determines the operation of the control mechanism with respect to the vegetable box 106 in accordance with the manner in which the freezer subpanel 310 determines the operation of the control mechanism with respect to the freezer compartment 102, as described above. In particular, a user can use the vegetable box warmer button 364 and the vegetable box colder button 356 in order to select the coldness setting displayed on the vegetable box coldness display 360. The vegetable box temperature display 352 can display the current temperature of the interior of the interior of the vegetable box 106, or the temperature corresponding to the current coldness setting displayed by the vegetable box coldness display 360. The control mechanism operates the cooling device so as to maintain the temperature of the interior of the vegetable box compartment 106 in a manner similar to the manner in which the control mechanism operates the cooling device so as to maintain the temperature of the interior of the freezer compartment 102, as described above.

FIG. 4 shows an icebox 400 in accordance with another embodiment. The icebox 400 can be configured similarly to the icebox 100 shown in FIG. 1 and can include a freezer compartment 402, a refrigerator compartment 404, and a vegetable box 406 configured similarly to the freezer compartment 102, the refrigerator compartment 104, and the vegetable box 106, respectively. In addition, the icebox 400 includes a freezer door 407, similar to the freezer door 107 and a refrigerator door 408 similar to the refrigerator door 108. Also, the icebox 400 includes a freezer temperature sensor 410 similar to the freezer temperature sensor 110, a refrigerator temperature sensor 420 similar to the refrigerator temperature sensor 120, and a vegetable box temperature sensor 430 similar to the vegetable box temperature sensor 130.

In accordance with an embodiment, the icebox 400 includes a control knob 440, which can be located at a bottom portion of the icebox 400 below the freezer door 407, or in any suitable location on the exterior of the icebox 400, such as on the freezer door 407. In an embodiment, the angular orientation of the control knob 400 determines the coldness setting of the freezer compartment 402, the refrigerator compartment 404, and the vegetable box 406. The control knob 440 may be rotatable about a central pivot point and may have markings of a coldness scale, such as 1 to 10, located near the perimeter of the control knob 440. In an alternate embodiment, the icebox 400 includes a separate control knob similar to the control knob 440 for the freezer compartment 402, the refrigerator compartment 404, and the vegetable box 404. In general, any number of control knobs can be used, each control knob for controlling any number of compartments of an icebox.

Referring to FIG. 5, the icebox 400 includes a display panel 510 located on an exterior surface of the icebox 400. As shown in FIG. 6, in an embodiment, the display panel 510 is divided into a freezer display subpanel 610, a refrigerator display subpanel 620, and a vegetable box display subpanel 630. The freezer display subpanel 620 includes a freezer coldness display 640 and a freezer temperature display 642, the refrigerator display subpanel 630 includes a refrigerator coldness display 650 and a refrigerator temperature display 652, and the vegetable box subpanel 630 includes a vegetable box coldness display 660 and a vegetable box temperature display 662. The coldness displays 640, 650, and 660 display the coldness setting determined by the control knob 640. If more than one control knob is included, in an embodiment, each coldness display 640, 650, 660 displays the coldness setting determined by its respective control knob.

In accordance with an embodiment, the temperature displays 642, 652, 662 each display a temperature corresponding to the coldness setting determined by the control knob 640, or by a respective control knob if multiple control knobs are included. For example, if the control knob 640 is rotated so as to select a coldness setting of 3, the freezer temperature display 642 can display 27 degrees Fahrenheit, the refrigerator temperature display 652 can display 34 degrees Fahrenheit, and the vegetable box temperature display 662 can display 35 degrees Fahrenheit, where 27 degrees Fahrenheit, 34 degrees Fahrenheit, and 35 degrees Fahrenheit correspond to coldness settings for the freezer compartment 402, refrigerator compartment 404, and vegetable box 406, respectively, and are the temperatures around which the control mechanism maintains the interiors of the freezer compartment 402, refrigerator compartment 404, and vegetable box 406, respectively, when the control knob indicates a setting of 3.

In an alternate embodiment, the temperature displays 642, 652, and 662 display the temperatures of the interiors of the freezer compartment 402, refrigerator compartment 404, and vegetable box 406, as communicated by the temperature sensors 410, 420, and 430, respectively.

In yet another alternate embodiment, the temperature sensors 410, 420, and 430 are in wireless communication with the display panel 510 and the display panel 510 is externally mountable on the icebox 400. In an embodiment, the display panel 510 is removably mounted on the icebox 400 by magnets. Other mechanisms, such as adhesive tape, screws, hooks configured to hang from a door, handle, or other structure of the icebox 400, and other mechanisms can be used as an alternative to or in addition to magnets. In this embodiment, the coldness settings 640, 650, 660 be absent or the coldness settings 640, 650, 660 can display coldness settings corresponding to predefined temperatures. In this manner, the display panel 510 and temperature sensors 410, 420, 430 can be sold as a kit to retrofit iceboxes with an external temperature display.

All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents, cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.

The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. The terms “comprising,” “having,” “including,” and “containing” are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning “including, but not limited to,”) unless otherwise noted. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.

Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Variations of those preferred embodiments may become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.





 
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