Title:
HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEM FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A heating and air-conditioning system for a motor vehicle, having at least one running-state system having a heat exchanger and a blower to supply an air flow across the heat exchanger; and a stop-state system having a heat carrier loop connected to the running-state heat exchanger, wherein coolant within the heat carrier loop can stream through the running-state heating heat exchanger. The system can include a housing having a stop-state coolant heater or cooler, a pump to move a coolant through the heat carrier loop, a controller to control the pump and the running-state blower (including the use of a temperature sensor), a power supply, which is available in a stopped state, and a blower to supply an air flow across the running-state heat exchanger. The housing can have a connection interface corresponding to running-state air ducts, whereby retroactive installation of the system is facilitated.



Inventors:
Miller, Gerard (Leonard, MI, US)
Kraemer, Wolfgang (Munich, DE)
Application Number:
12/493805
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
06/29/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/434
International Classes:
F25B29/00; F25D17/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GONZALEZ, PAOLO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FITCH EVEN TABIN & FLANNERY, LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A heating and air-conditioning system for a motor vehicle, comprising: at least one running-state system having a heat exchanger and a blower to supply an air flow across the heat exchanger; and a stop-state system having a heat carrier loop connected to the running-state heat exchanger, wherein coolant within the heat carrier loop can stream through the running-state heating heat exchanger.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the running-state system has a heat carrier loop connected to the heat exchanger.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the stop-state system heat carrier loop has a coolant heater, a pump to move a coolant through the heat carrier loop, a controller to control the pump and the running-state blower, and a power supply, which is available in a stopped state.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the stop-state system heat carrier loop has a coolant heater and a coolant cooler, a pump to move a coolant through the heat carrier loop, a controller to control the pump and the running-state blower, and a power supply, which is available in a stopped state.

5. The system of claim 3, wherein the stop-state coolant heater and pump are contained within a housing located in a rear region of the vehicle cabin interior.

6. The system of claim 3, wherein the stop-state coolant heater and pump and a stop-state blower to supply an air flow across the running-state heat exchanger are contained within a housing located in a rear region of the vehicle cabin interior.

7. The system of claim 3, further comprising a temperature sensor connected to the controller.

8. The system of claim 6, wherein the running-state system further comprises ducts to direct the flow of air across a running-state heat exchanger and into a vehicle cabin interior.

9. The system of claim 8, further comprising an air vent at the distal end of the ducts.

10. The system of claim 8, wherein the housing has a connection interface corresponding to the configuration of running-state ducts, whereby retroactive installation of the system is facilitated.

11. A heating and air-conditioning system for a motor vehicle, comprising: at least one running-state system having a blower to supply an air flow across at least the running-state heat exchanger and through at least one air duct terminating in a vehicle cabin; a stop-state system having a heating loop with water heater to provide heat to heat cooling water streaming into a second heating heat exchanger; and the running-state blower further supplying a flow of air across the second heat exchanger.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the stop state system can further comprise a module to house the heating loop.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the module is suitable for mounting inside the rear of a vehicle cabin.

14. The system of claim 11, further comprising a running-state blower to supply a flow of air across the second heat exchanger and through at least one air duct terminating in a vehicle cabin.

Description:

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

The present application is a continuation in part of, and claims priority to, currently pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/571,698 filed on Nov. 29, 2006, which is a 35 USC 371 National stage entry of PCT/EP2005/003973 filed Apr. 15, 2005, which claims priority to German Patent Application No. 10 2004 019 607.9 filed Apr. 22, 2004; the entire contents of each are herein incorporated by reference for all purposes.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a heating and air-conditioning system for the cabin of a motor vehicle, in particular a utility vehicle, that can heat and cool the cabin of a motor vehicle during both a running and stopped state (engine-on/engine-off) in a configuration that allows efficient and cost effective manufacturing and installation times, while allowing a broader range of application flexibility and in a smaller overall unit package size suitable for “after market” installations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In utility vehicles, trucks in particular, specific requirements are made on cabin heating and cooling. The inside cabin of these types of vehicles is generally divided into a front region and a rear region. The front region typically can include driver and co-driver seats which are occupied during the running-state (engine on) of the vehicle. The rear region typically has a sleeper-cab, which is typically used when the vehicle is in the stop-state (preferably engine-off). It is thus desirable to provide the ability to heat and cool the sleeper-cab when the vehicle is in the stop-state.

In the art, some concepts have proposed to combine the front system climate control with the rear system and, in particular, to drive a common compressor of the air-conditioning system also when the vehicle is in the stop-state (engine-idling) to cool the rear region of the vehicle. The disadvantages of this concept are high fuel consumption, wear and tear of the engine when the vehicle is in the stop-state (engine-idling), and additional emissions such as pollutants and noise due to the operation of the engine.

There have been attempts in the art to address these disadvantages by providing two exclusive systems. A front system can be used exclusively during the running-state of the vehicle and a second self-sufficient system during stop state (engine-off) status. The second stop-state system can operate with, for example, an electrically or mechanically driveable compressor that is supplied with power by an auxiliary motor or an auxiliary battery. These configurations show advances in the art by addressing some of these disadvantages in that it can lower fuel consumption, decrease engine wear, and result in fewer emissions. Nevertheless, the systems can be complex and expensive.

Despite these advances, there remains a desire and a need in the art to integrate a stop-state system to a running-state HVAC system. Such a system should have a compact design to provide flexibility to accommodate a variety of truck platforms and vehicle cabin configurations, while allowing efficient and cost effective manufacturing and installation. By developing such a stop-state system, improved profitability is achieved through reduced lead times for manufacturing and lower inventory costs. Further, such system should be able to integrate into existing OEM HVAC systems retroactively. This further improves efficiency and system cost in that OEM (original equipment manufacturer) systems can be utilized wherever possible.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a heating and air-conditioning system for the cabin of a motor vehicle, in particular a utility vehicle, that can heat and cool the cabin of a motor vehicle during a both a running and stopped state (engine-on/engine-off) in a configuration that allows efficient and cost effective manufacturing and installation times, while allowing a broader range of application flexibility and in a smaller overall unit package size suitable for “after market” installations.

One embodiment of the present invention is a heating and air-conditioning system for a motor vehicle, having at least one running-state system having a heat exchanger and a blower to supply an air flow across the heat exchanger; and a stop-state system having a heat carrier loop connected to the running-state heat exchanger, wherein coolant within the heat carrier loop can stream through the running-state heating heat exchanger. The running-state system can also have a heat carrier loop connected to the heat exchanger.

Additional features of the present invention can include within the heat carrier loop a coolant heater or cooler or both, a pump to move a coolant through the heat carrier loop, a controller to control the pump and the running-state blower (including the use of a temperature sensor), and a power supply, which is available in a stopped state. These additional components can be packaged in a separate housing configured to be place within the vehicle interior, such as under the sleeper bed in the rearward region.

Additional features can also include a blower within the housing to supply an air flow across the running-state heat exchanger are contained within a housing located in a rear region of the vehicle cabin interior. The running-state system can also have ducts and air vents to direct the flow of air across a running-state heat exchanger and into a vehicle cabin interior. The housing can have a connection interface corresponding to the running-state ducts, whereby retroactive installation of the system is facilitated.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an inside of the motor vehicle is divided into a front region and a rear region, which can be heated and cooled separately. The heating and air-conditioning system comprises a front system for heating and cooling the front region during the running-state of the motor vehicle, a rear system for heating and cooling the rear region during the running-state of the motor vehicle, and a stop-state (engine-on and engine-off) system which is used to heat and cool at least the rear region when the motor vehicle is in the stop-state.

Another embodiment of the present provides a heating and air-conditioning system for a motor vehicle, which includes at least one running-state system having a blower to supply an air flow across at least the running-state heat exchanger and through at least one air duct terminating in a vehicle cabin; a stop-state system having a heating loop with water heater to provide heat to heat cooling water streaming into a second heating heat exchanger. Here, the running-state blower further supplies a flow of air across the second heat exchanger. This embodiment can also be housed in a suitable for mounting inside the rear of a vehicle cabin. The module can also include its own blower to allow further aftermarket application.

Other features of the present invention will become more apparent to persons having ordinary skill in the art to which the present invention pertains from the following description and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

The foregoing features, as well as other features, will become apparent with reference to the description and figure below, in which like numerals represent elements (note: reference numerals are two digits, and a whole numbered multiple of 100 are added to each element indicating identical or similar components, with the first digit indicating the Figure number), and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic diagram of a first implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows two explanatory illustrations of possible geometric arrangements of components of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 shows a schematic diagram of a second implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 shows a schematic diagram of a third implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 shows a schematic diagram of a fourth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows a schematic diagram of a fifth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 7 shows a schematic diagram of a sixth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 shows a schematic diagram of a seventh implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 9 shows a schematic diagram of an eighth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 10 shows a schematic diagram of a ninth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention;

FIG. 11 shows a schematic diagram of a tenth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention; and

FIG. 12 shows a schematic diagram of an eleventh implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention.

FIG. 13 shows a schematic diagram of a twelfth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention.

FIG. 14 shows a housing module of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention.

FIG. 15 shows a schematic diagram of a thirteenth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention.

FIG. 16 shows alternate module air outlets of a removable wall of a housing module of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention.

FIG. 17 shows a basic prior art OEM HVAC system schematic.

FIGS. 18-21 show the various possible introductions of a heat exchanger and air filter according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a heating and air-conditioning system for the cabin of a motor vehicle, in particular a utility vehicle, that can heat and cool the cabin of a motor vehicle during a both a running and stopped state (engine-on/engine-off) in a configuration that allows efficient and cost effective manufacturing and installation times, while allowing a broader range of application flexibility and in a smaller overall unit package size suitable for “after market” installations.

The invention is an advancement in the art in that a stop-state system is integrated into a rear system. Thus, the overall arrangement of the system is more efficient, since the stop-state system and the rear system have common components.

In particular, it is intended that the stop-state system has a cooling heat exchanger and a cold accumulator and, in so doing that the cooling heat exchanger, a heating heat exchanger of the rear system, and an evaporator of the rear system are supplied with an air flow by the same blower. The cold accumulator of the stop-state system is charged by an evaporation process in the region of the cold accumulator during the running-state of the motor vehicle. The integration of the stop-state system into the rear system is realizable in this case by supplying a cooling heat exchanger which communicates with the cold accumulator with air from the same blower as the evaporator and the heating heat exchanger of the rear system.

With this solution, it is further especially beneficial that the cooling heat exchanger of the stop-state system and the cold accumulator of the stop-state system are arranged in a heat carrier circuit through which a heat carrier is conveyed by a pump. The heat carrier medium can thus withdraw cold stored in the cold accumulator and transport the cool heat carrier medium to the cooling heat exchanger through power of an electrically driven pump. There, air coming from the blower acts upon the cool heat carrier medium, which is then enabled to flow into the rear region of the vehicle as cooled air.

Further, it is especially beneficial that an evaporator of the front system, an evaporator of the rear system, and a cold accumulator of the stop-state system communicate with the same condenser, and that a compressor is provided for the entire heating and air-conditioning system. It is thus sufficient to provide a single condenser and a single compressor for operating the entire system. The cooling agent that is liquidized within the condenser can reach the evaporator of the front system, the evaporator of the rear system, and the cold accumulator of the stop-state system in a valve controlled manner. From these components, the cooling agent is returned to the solitary compressor of the arrangement.

However, it is also possible that an evaporator of the front system and an evaporator of the rear system communicate with the same condenser, and that the stop-state system comprises its own condenser and its own compressor. By doing so, the adaptive complexity compared to the implementation format having only a single compressor and only a single condenser is increased; but there is, however, a benefit in flexibility when integrating the stop-state air-conditioning system. By equipping the stop-state air-conditioning system with a separate condenser and a separate compressor, it is possible to fill the stop-state air-conditioning system separately with cooling agent and add it to the entire system.

Further, it can be set up such that an evaporator of the rear system and a cold accumulator of the stop-state system communicate with the same condenser, and that the front system comprises its own condenser and its own compressor. By doing so, the front system is decoupled from the combined rear stop-state air-conditioning system. The load of the front system is thereby reduced; no long cooling agent conduits are necessary between the front region and the rear region, and the rear stop-state air-conditioning system can be integrated in a flexible manner without considering the front system. The compressor of the combined rear stop-state system can be driven mechanically or electrically. In the stop-state of the motor vehicle, generally no operation of the compressor is required, since the cold accumulator provides the necessary cold for the stop-state air-conditioning.

Alternatively, it may be beneficial that the rear system and the stop-state system comprise a common compressor which is operable in the stop-state. In this implementation format, a cold accumulator is dispensable. In the stop-state, the compressor is operable mechanically or electrically. The power required for this can, for example, be derived from a sufficiently charged auxiliary battery or a fuel cell.

The invention is, moreover, beneficially further developed in that the stop-state system comprises a cold accumulator, and in that the stop-state system and the rear system comprise a common cooling heat exchanger which is communicating with the cold accumulator via a pump. By this means, a separate evaporator for the running-state air-conditioning assigned to the rear system is dispensable, rather than having air-conditioning of the rear region be conducted during the running-state by interposition of the cold accumulator.

Furthermore, it may be set up such that that the stop-state system and the rear system comprise a common accumulator-evaporator-heat-exchanger-unit. The cold accumulator thus serves for storing cold, as a heat exchanger supplied with air from the blower during the stop-state and as a heat exchanger supplied with air from the blower during the running-state.

The invention further concerns a method for heating and air-conditioning of a motor vehicle with the heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention and a motor vehicle with the heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. By this means, the advantages and special features of the heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention are also implemented within the scope of a method and a motor vehicle.

The invention is based on the conclusion that, due to integration of the stop-state system into the rear system, additional possibilities for rationalization with regard to the overall system can be accomplished. Furthermore, this integration provides the prerequisite for lowering energy consumption and emissions, as well as for reducing wear and tear of the components that are involved in comparison with systems with the present state of technology.

Turning now to the figures, in the following detailed description of the preferred implementation format of the present invention, identical reference numerals (modulo 100) identify identical or similar components.

FIG. 1 shows a schematic diagram of a first implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. FIG. 2 shows two explanatory illustrations of possible geometric arrangements of components of the heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. The heating and air-conditioning system 10 comprises a front system 12, a rear system 14, and a stop-state system 16 wherein the mentioned systems are combined with each other. This shows, in particular, that a common compressor 36, a common condenser 34, and a common accumulator 42 communicate with the evaporator 32 of the front system 12, the evaporator 24 of the rear system 14, and the cold accumulator 20 of the stop-state system 16, and in that an air flow of the same blower 26 acts upon the heating heat exchanger 22 of the rear system 14, the cooling heat exchanger 18 of the stop-state system 16, and the evaporator 24 of the rear system 14, which acts as a cooling heat exchanger of the rear system 14 as shown in FIG. 2. Besides the already mentioned components, the heating and air-conditioning system 10 comprises a heating heat exchanger 44 for the front system 12 which can be supplied with cooling water 47, an expansion element 46 assigned to an evaporator 32 of the front system 12, an expansion element 48 assigned to the evaporator 24 of the rear system 14, and an expansion element 50 assigned to a cold accumulator 20. Besides the already mentioned blower 26, an additional blower 52 is provided which is able to supply an air flow to the evaporator 32 of the front system 12 and the heating heat exchanger 44 of the front system 12. Further, a blower 54 is provided for supplying the condenser 34 with an air flow. Moreover, electrically operable magnetic valves 56, 58, and 60 are provided. In an opened state of the magnetic valves 56, the evaporator 32 of the front system 12 is supplied with cooling agent, whereas this is prohibited in a closed state of the magnetic valve 56. In an opened state of the magnetic valve 58, the evaporator 24 of the rear system 14 is supplied with cooling agent, whereas this is prohibited in a closed state of the magnetic valve 58. In an opened state of the magnetic valve 60, the cold accumulator 20 is supplied with cooling agent, whereas this is prohibited in a closed state of the magnetic valve 60. Further, a check valve 62 is provided which prevents reverse flow of cooling agent in the direction towards the cold accumulator 20. The cold accumulator 20 and the cooling heat exchanger 18 are connected with each other via a heat carrier circuit 28, wherein a pump 30 for conveying a heat carrier medium through the components is provided. Further, a water heater 64 is provided which is able to heat cooling water 66 streaming into the heating heat exchanger 22 of the rear system 14 in order to enable a stop-state heating operation.

In the running-state, the compressor 36 is driven by the engine of the motor vehicle such that the condenser 34 is supplied with compressed cooling agent. This is then supplied to the evaporator 32, 24 of the front system 12 and the rear system 14 and to the cold accumulator 20 via the accumulator 42, dependent on the state of the magnetic valves 56, 58, and 60. In particular, the cold accumulator 20 can be charged in this manner with the magnetic valve 60 being opened. In the stop-state of the vehicle (that is, when the engine is at rest), the cooling energy can then be withdrawn from the cold accumulator 20 by operating the pump 30. This cooling energy can be fed to the rear region of the vehicle in the form of a cooled air flow via the cooling heat exchanger 18 through an air flow 26 acting upon the same (see FIG. 2).

FIG. 3 shows a schematic diagram of a second implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. In this implementation format of the heating and air-conditioning system 10 according to the present invention, the front system 12 and the rear system 14 are designed in a comparable manner, in particular regarding the operation in the running-state, as the heating and air-conditioning system 10 according to FIG. 1. No valves are provided for enabling a selective operation of the front system 12 and the rear system 14 during the running-state. Of course, this is possible by arranging magnetic valves prior to the expansion elements 346 and 348.

The stop-state system 16 is integrated in a different manner into the heating and air-conditioning system 10 as described in connection with FIG. 1. The stop-state system comprises an additional compressor 340, which is preferably electrically drivable by, for example, electric power directly from the generator, from a battery (preferably an auxiliary battery), or by electric power from a fuel cell. Compressed cooling agent is fed into an additional condenser 338 that is cooled by an additional blower 370. The compressed cooling agent is then fed to the cold accumulator 320 via an additional accumulator 348 and an expansion element 350. The thus conducted charging process of the cold accumulator 320 is preferably conducted during the running-state of the vehicle because then sufficient power for operating the compressor 340 is available. However it is also possible to conduct a charging process in the stop-state of the vehicle if a sufficient amount of electric power is available. The discharging of the cold accumulator 320 is then effected as in the implementation format according to FIG. 1.

In the present implementation format according to FIG. 3, the integration of the stop-state system 16 into the rear system 14 is also characterized, in particular, in that an air flow from a common blower 326 acts upon the components of the heating heat exchanger 322 of the rear system 14, the cooling heat exchanger 318 of the stop-state system 16, and the evaporator 324 of the rear system 14 as illustrated in connection with FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 shows a schematic diagram of a third implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. In this illustrated implementation format of the heating and air-conditioning system 10, a compressor 436 and a condenser 434 are provided for the operation of the front system 12, and a compressor 440 and a condenser 438 are provided for the operation of the rear system 14 and the operation of the stop-state system 16. The front system 12 and the combination of rear system 14 and stop-state system 16 are thus completely decoupled. The compressor 440, which is in particular electrically driven, operates preferably in the running-state in order to provide a running-state air-conditioning of the rear region through the evaporator 424 and in order to charge the cold accumulator 420. A discharging is effected again via the heat carrier circuit 428 by operating the pump 430. Again, it is to be noted, as already mentioned in connection with FIG. 3, that an operation of the compressor 440 by all means may also be considered during the stop-state. Then, a direct cooling of the rear region via the evaporator 424 with the magnetic valves 458 being opened is possible and/or a charging of the cold accumulator 420 is possible with the magnetic valve 460 being opened in order to withdraw this cooling energy later on from the cold accumulator 420. Again, as shown in FIG. 2, an air flow from the same blower 426 acts on the heating heat exchanger 422, the cooling heat exchanger 418, and the evaporator 424.

FIG. 5 shows a schematic diagram of a fourth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. Here, too, a complete decoupling of the front system 12 on the one hand and combination of the rear system 14 and the stop-state system 16 on the other hand is present. The front system 12 corresponds to that of FIG. 5. In contrast to the solution according to FIG. 4, the combination of rear system 14 and stop-state system 16 does not comprise a cold accumulator. Hence, even in the stop-state air-conditioning, the compressor 540 has to be operated in order to be able to generate cold within the evaporator 524. Therefore, it is recommendable to use a compressor that is electrically or mechanically drivable by an auxiliary motor for the compressor 540 because this one can be operated by a battery, in particular an auxiliary battery, or by electric power from a fuel cell during the stop-state of the vehicle. The heating heat exchanger 522 is fed with cooling water 566 so, for example, according to FIG. 4, wherein this can also be achieved for the purpose of heating during the stop-state by a water heater.

FIG. 6 shows a schematic diagram of a fifth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. The present example of the heating and air-conditioning system 10 corresponds in a wide extent to the one which was described in connection with FIG. 5. Differences can be noted only with respect to the heating means of the front system 12 and the combination of rear system 14 and stop-state system 16. The front system 12 comprises an air heater 672 that is fed with air by the blower 652, preferably by bypassing the evaporator 632. Such an air heater can be configured as, for example, a conventional fuel-operated auxiliary air heating device. The combination of rear system 14 and stop-state system 16 comprises an electric heater 674. This is fed with electric power from a vehicle battery, in particular an auxiliary battery, a fuel cell, or a generator. The electrical heater 674 is also preferably supplied with an air flow by the blower 626 by bypassing the evaporator 624.

FIG. 7 shows a schematic diagram of a sixth implementation format of the heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. Again, an example is illustrated in which the front system 12 on the one hand and a combination of rear system 14 and stop-state system 16 on the other hand are decoupled completely from each other. The front system 12 is constructed in a conventional manner. In contrast to the implementation format according to FIG. 4, the combination of rear system 14 and stop-state system 16 lacks a separate evaporator. On the contrary, only the cold accumulator 720 is provided as an evaporator of the cooling circuit. Consequently, also in the running-state if a cooling of the rear region of the vehicle is desired, the cold required for cooling is withdrawn from the cold accumulator 720 via the cooling heat exchanger 718 by the pump 730 via the heat carrier circuit 728.

FIG. 8 shows a schematic diagram of a seventh implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. This corresponds in a large extent to the implementation format according to FIG. 7. There are differences with respect to the heater in the combination of the rear system and stop-state system. In the current example, an air heater 876 is provided which is supplied with air by a blower 826, preferably by bypassing the cooling heat exchanger 818. Such an air heater can be configured as, for example, a conventional fuel-operated auxiliary air heating device.

FIG. 9 shows a schematic diagram of an eighth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. The implementation format illustrated here of the heating and air-conditioning system 10 according to the present invention corresponds to a large extent to the implementation format according to FIG. 8. In the combination of rear system 14 and stop-state system 16, however, a separate cooling heat exchanger is omitted. On the contrary, the cold accumulator is designed as an accumulator-evaporator-heat-exchanger-unit 920 which can directly be fed with air by the blower 926 for transmitting cold into the interior of the vehicle. A heating device (not shown) can also be provided by, for example, a heating heat exchanger through which cooling water passes, such as, for example, described in connection with FIG. 7, an air auxiliary heating device, such as, for example, described in connection with FIG. 8, or an electric heater, as for example described in connection with FIG. 6.

FIG. 10 shows a schematic diagram of a ninth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. Here, two separate cooling circuits, 1084 and 1086, are provided. Both cooling circuits 1084 and 1086 are connected with the same evaporator 1076, wherein no mixture of the material flowing separately through the evaporator 1076 occurs within the evaporator 1076. The cooling circuit 1086 comprises a compressor 1040 which is drivable by an auxiliary motor 1080 or an auxiliary battery 1080. Operation of the auxiliary motor can be effected as in other implementation formats of the present invention directly mechanically or in that the auxiliary motor directly drives the compressor 1040 via a generator or with interposing a battery that is charged by the generator. The second cooling circuit 1086 is otherwise complete in the sense that it has its own condenser 1038, its own accumulator 1082, and its own expansion element 1078. During the running-state of the vehicle, the compressor 1036 is generally operated, whereas the compressor 1040 is not operated. In the stop-state of the motor vehicle, stop-state air-conditioning is conducted due to the compressor 1040 being operated.

FIG. 11 shows a schematic diagram of a tenth implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. This one corresponds to a large extent with the implementation format according to FIG. 10. In contrast to FIG. 10, no completely separated cooling circuits are provided. The proper operation of the system with the compressor 1136 being operated, as well as with the compressor 1140 being operated, is ensured by the arrangement of check valves 1188, 1190, and 1192. During operation of the compressor 1036 and during stopping of the compressor 1140, the check valve 1192 ensures that no flow of cooling agent occurs via the conduit which bypasses the expansion element 1148, but that the entire flow proceeds through the expansion element 1148. The compressor 1140 prevents the flow of cooling agent towards the condenser 1138. During stopping of the compressor 1136 and during operating the compressor 1140, the check valve 1190 ensures that the flow through the expansion element 1178 proceeds towards the evaporator 1176. The check valve 1188 ensures that no flow occurs through the evaporator 1132. The compressor 1136 is responsible for avoiding undesired flows of cooling agent occurring in the direction towards the condenser 1134.

FIG. 12 shows a schematic diagram of an eleventh implementation format of a heating and air-conditioning system according to the present invention. This one corresponds to a large extent with the implementation format according to FIG. 10. In contrast to FIG. 10, however, separate evaporators are provided for the running-state and the stop-state; namely, the evaporator 1224 for the running-state and the evaporator 1270 for the stop-state. An integration of the stop-state system 16 into the rear system 14 again shows in particular how the heating heat exchanger 1222 of the rear system 14, the evaporator 1224 of the rear system 14, and the evaporator 1270 of the stop-state system 16 are supplied with an air flow by the same blower 1226, thus comprising, for example, an arrangement as shown in connection with FIG. 2, that has already been discussed several times. The cooling heat exchanger 18 according to FIG. 2 is then merely replaced by the evaporator 1276 according to FIG. 12.

All the illustrative configurations described above can be built into a system design for the utility vehicle by the vehicle manufacturer and installed as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) equipment. A greater challenge exists when these system configurations are installed after the vehicle has left the manufacturer. The addition of non-factory parts, accessories, and upgrades to a motor vehicle (known in the art as “after market” installations) are desirable for manufacturers of systems of the instant technology to expand their market and for vehicle operators that are under increasing regulation to reduce and/or eliminate engine idle time.

In the art, it is known that OEM applications frequently are not efficiently transferable to other vehicle platforms or after market installations. The present system provides this efficiency by utilizing some existing OEM systems and designing additional units for installation that can still provide the desired heat and coolant output in ever-increasingly smaller available spaces of vehicle design. Many current vehicle cab designs (particularly the rear sleeper compartment) are trending to smaller sizes to increase fuel efficiency.

The current invention provides a system and method that maintains the same or lower cost of conventional systems; adequate heating and cooling to an occupant during engine-off vehicle status; reduction of installation times; reduction in manufacture assembly times; and an overall smaller package size.

Key components of one embodiment of the present invention can include a heat exchanger (evaporator, chiller, or heating heat exchanger) with a housing having an air inlet and air outlet and a control system. Control of the vehicle HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system can be achieved by supplying a separate engine-off controller to supply air flow to external add on heat exchangers. This controller can be used only when a warm coolant loop is supplied to the existing HVAC unit via a coolant heater installed in series with the vehicle's coolant system.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a supplemental heat exchanger is placed in line to the vehicle's existing ducting or HVAC unit air inlet. The heat exchanger is configured to accept a variety of interchangeable air inlet and air outlet connections.

Turning back to FIG. 4, water heater 464 is a part of a heat exchanger assembly that is in-line with an existing HVAC Module and can be independently mounted and housed (for example, in a vehicle sleeper cab) so that heat may be transferred to or from the motor vehicle interior in the stop state engine-off status (“engine-off”). As shown in FIG. 4 and with more detail in FIG. 13, a rear system loop 14 could be powered in engine-off status by an existing vehicle power source, such as a battery, generator, fuel cell, and the like (though external land-based power is also possible). Control during engine-off status can also be accomplished by providing this engine-off power source to energize circuits normally without power in the engine-off state. This allows utilization of existing temperature control and blower speed control. Blower 26 and ducting can be the existing OEM HVAC module and assembly or by adding a heat exchanger and housing in the ducting system or connected to the existing HVAC module return air.

To illustrate one embodiment of the engine-off heating system of the present invention, FIG. 13 adds detail to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4. As shown in FIG. 13, rear system 1314 can have a stop state system 1316 having a heating loop 1383 that has water heater 1364 to provide heat to heat cooling water 1366 streaming into heating heat exchanger 1322. Water heater 1364 can be housed in a module 1371 that is suitable for mounting inside the rear of a vehicle cabin. Module 1371 can also be mounted at various other vehicle locations and only limited by sound engineering practices and space availability that would allow operation of the unit. Module 1371 can also have a pump 1373 and temperature sensor 1381. Pump 1373 can be activated to move water or other coolant composition throughout loop 1383. Blower fan 1326 and module 1371 can be powered by power source 1380, for example, a vehicle battery, alternator or auxiliary motor. It is noted that other such system configurations are possible within the scope of the invention. For example, use of a vehicle heat exchanger and blower can include any existing heat exchanger and blower, such as those configured for running state or stopped state use.

For example, water heater 1364 can be controlled during an engine-off status to adjust blower and temperature using the vehicle control panel used during engine-on status. The panel could then be energized to activate of the circuits in an engine-off status. Power can be taken from existing vehicle low voltage source (e.g., a battery) and cycled off when not in use to reduce energy usage. For example, a thermostat could be utilized to cycle a blower on and off at a predetermined set point. Module 1371 could be tied into the vehicle control area network or other similar control systems that controls rear system 1314. Module 1371 can be configured to use the vehicle control system to regulate blower 1326 speed, pump 1373 speed, and heater 1364. Existing vehicle HVAC controls used during engine-on state can convert to these engine-off controls for heat and blower speed. This would allow seamless operation for a vehicle cabin occupant. Blower 1326 can direct air from air intake 1377 into the vehicle's existing ductwork 1363 and air filtration systems 1385, exiting into the vehicle cabin at vent 1379 via a module air outlet 1387 which is configured to tie into the vehicle's ductwork.

Turning now to FIG. 14, there is shown an exploded view of an embodiment of a heating module 71 (shown as module 1371 in FIG. 13) to house water heater 64. Module 71 housing must be configured to adapt to various vehicle requirements and environments including, but not limited to, vehicle size and space availability. In the illustrated embodiment, a water heater is shown, though it is understood that a cooling or a combination of heating and cooling devices can be employed within module 71 to address heating and/or cooling needs of a vehicle's occupant. Adaptability to motor vehicle heating requirement and cooling requirement loads must be configured to adapt to variances in vehicle sizes and insulation properties. Mounting of module 71 can accommodate different heights found from the floor of a motor vehicle cabin to bottom of the sleeper bed (height typically varies from 28 centimeters to 36 centimeters) and location of existing ducting. Therefore, module 71 must anticipate these variances and restrictions. Also, ducting diameters and shapes are different from the OEMs; therefore, the attachment points of module 71 to the existing ductwork also should account for these variances as well. Module mounts 75 can secure module 70 to the vehicle.

Module 71 can have a removable wall 65 or removable wall 67 for embodiments where entrance to module 71 is needed from the top or side respectively. It is noted, though, that the design of the present invention is not limited to which wall is removed. A removable wall is needed when connecting the system to a vehicle's existing HVAC systems. Access to inside of module 71 is necessary to mount and seal ducts. As shown, water heater (or cooler) 64 has coolant or refrigerant connections 69 coming out of a side of module 71, though it is possible to feed these connections to exit through a bottom of the module and through the vehicle floor (not shown).

FIG. 15 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention wherein the stop state system can provide 1514 can have module 71 (here shown as 1571), which provides and houses blower 1526, heat exchanger 1522, as well as air intake 1577, air filtration 1585, and a module air outlet 1587 which is optionally configured to tie into the vehicle's ductwork 1563. This embodiment eliminates the need to control the vehicle's blower and/or heat exchanger. Also in this embodiment, module 1571 is configured for air-inlet and air-outlet universal connection variances found in the motor vehicle industry and/or an air inlet and outlet specific to a vehicle's existing ducting (air distribution arrangement). Air intake 1577 and air outlet 1587 can be on either side of housing of module 1571.

FIG. 16 illustrates some anticipated air outlet 1587 configurations corresponding to known OEM vehicle ducting configurations and shown as 1587a-d, which can be part of removable wall 1567. Note that the air outlet example 1587d is configured to conduct air directly into a vehicle cabin without being incorporated into the vehicle's HVAC system. This embodiment would essentially operate then as a stand alone heating and/or cooling system.

Other optional features can be included in the system of the present invention. As illustrated throughout and specifically to FIG. 4, the present invention can also be part of the overall HVAC system that features integrating the control loop through the cold accumulator 20. Air mixing vanes (not shown though known in the art) also may be part of the enclosure interior to insure air flow across the heat exchanger. Air intake 77 (1377 in FIG. 13) can be configured to draw air from the inside the cabin or outside the cabin. A drain hole (not shown) in the bottom or side of the module 71 housing could be added for removal of condensation during cooling cycles.

Various system configurations are possible as to the location of the heat exchanger 22 (1322 in FIG. 3). For example, FIG. 17 shows a basic prior art OEM HVAC system schematic including air blower 26, vehicle vents 79, vehicle ductwork 63, air intake 77. Also shown are an air mixing blade 97 to direct air across the engine-on heat exchanger 95 and cold exchanger 96. Mixing blade 97 is adjusted based on predetermine heating and cooling needs or occupant control. FIGS. 18-21 show the various possible introduction of heat exchanger 22 and air filter 85 of the present invention.

While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, the present invention attempts to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations that fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.