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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
METHOD FOR SPEED CONTROL OF COMPRESSOR AND CONTROL ARRANGEMENT USING THE METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1998/015790
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention concerns a method for speed control of a compressor, particularly a refrigeration compressor, and a control arrangement using this method. The speed control is effected in that a control arrangement varies the speed of an electric motor in dependence of simple ON/OFF signals from a thermostat placed in the surroundings to be cooled. The method according to the invention is characterised in that the starting speed of the compressor in a following ON period is reduced in relation to the final speed in the previous ON period. A continuous reduction of the starting speed of each ON period results in a self-regulating control giving long compressor operation times and an averagely low speed resulting in energy savings. A control arrangement using this method is also described.

Inventors:
Harvest, Nils-ole (Skovtoften 11, Havnbjerg, Nordborg, DK-6430, DK)
Aarestrup, Jan (Poul Due Jensens Vej 18, Bjerringbro, DK-8850, DK)
Application Number:
PCT/DK1997/000434
Publication Date:
April 16, 1998
Filing Date:
October 08, 1997
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
DANFOSS COMPRESSORS GMBH (Mads-Clausen Strasse 6, Flensburg, D-24939, DE)
Harvest, Nils-ole (Skovtoften 11, Havnbjerg, Nordborg, DK-6430, DK)
Aarestrup, Jan (Poul Due Jensens Vej 18, Bjerringbro, DK-8850, DK)
International Classes:
F24F11/00; F25B49/02; G05D13/62; (IPC1-7): F25B49/02; F24F11/00
Foreign References:
US5410230A1995-04-25
US4831313A1989-05-16
EP0270474A11988-06-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Danfoss, A/s (Patent Dept, Nordborg, DK-6430, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Patent Claims
1. Method for controlling the motor speed in a compressor with an electronic control arrangement, which, from a thermostat with the states ON or OFF, receives a signal depending on the temperature in the room to be cooled, characterised in that the starting speed in a following ON period is reduced in relation to the final speed in a previous ON period by making the control arrangement (11) subtract a predetermined speed from the final speed in the previous ON period and letting the result of this calculation be the starting speed in the fol¬ lowing ON period, through which the speed is either in¬ creased or kept constant.
2. Method according to claim 1, characterised in that the control arrangement stores the final speed from the previous ON period in a memory and measures the com¬ pressor speed during an actual ON period, deciding on the basis of a comparison of these two speeds, what the speed has to be in the actual or the following ON pe¬ riod.
3. Method according to claim 1, characterised in that the predetermined speed subtracted has a constant value, so that the starting speed in the following ON period is lower than the starting speed in the previous ON pe¬ riod, if the thermostat delivers an OFF signal before the actual compressor speed is equal to the final speed in the previous ON period.
4. Method according to claim 1, characterised in that the speed during an ON period is set at maximum, if the speed change during this ON period exceeds a predeter mined limit value.
5. Method according to claim 1, characterised in that the speed during an ON period is set at maximum, if the to¬ tal operation time exceeds a fixed limit value.
6. Method according to claim 1, characterised in that the speed is increased at a first time tl and then again at a second time tl.
7. Method according to claim 6, characterised in that the speed is kept constant at a first speed until the time tl, whereafter the speed is raised and kept constant at a second speed until the time t2, after which the speed is increased according to a ramp.
8. Variable speed control for regulating the motor speed in a refrigeration compressor, in which the variable speed control is carried out by an electronic control arrangement receiving a temperature signal from a ther¬ mostat placed in a room to be cooled, and in which the thermostat has the states ON or OFF, characterised in that the control arrangement reduces the starting speed of the motor in the following ON period in relation to the final speed in the previous ON period by subtract¬ ing a predetermined speed from the final speed in the previous ON period, and letting the result of this cal¬ culation be the starting speed in the following ON pe¬ riod, through which the speed is either increased or kept constant.
9. Method for speed control of the motor in a compressor by means of an electronic control arrangement receiving a temperature signal from a thermostat with the states ON or OFF, and in which the speed determined by the control arrangement is a function of the duration of the ON and/or OFF period, characterised in that the control arrangement reduces the motor speed, if the thermostat breaks before a first time tl, that the mo¬ tor speed is maintained, if the thermostat breaks after the first time tl but before the second time t2, and that the motor speed is increased, if the thermostat has not broken when reaching the time t2.
10. Method according to claim 8, characterised in that the motor speed is kept constant in the actual ON period and that the change of the motor speed is effected in the following ON period.
Description:
Method for speed control of compressor and control arrangement using the method

The invention concerns a method for speed control of a compressor, particularly a refrigeration compressor, and a control arrangement using this method. The speed control is effected in that a control arrangement varies the speed of an electric motor in dependence of simple ON/OFF signals from a thermostat placed in the surroundings to be cooled.

The task on which the application is based, is the develop¬ ment of a control method and a control arrangement for a variable speed compressor, which is simple compared with the state of the art, and which can be fitted into existing constructions, e.g. refrigerators, which normally operated at fixed speed, but which can be changed to operation with variable speed by a quick intervention of a service techni¬ cian. It is known to control the speed of compressors in dependence of the pressure conditions in the refrigeration system or in dependence of electronic temperature signals, but a common feature of these solutions is that they re¬ quire relatively expensive pressure and temperature meters, and can only in rare cases directly replace existing solu¬ tions.

US 5,410,230 describes a compressor control with an ON/OFF thermostat controlling the motor speed on the basis of the cyclic parameter, i.e. the duty cycle. The ON and OFF times of the thermostat are measured, and the duty cycle is cal¬ culated. If the duty cycle is lower than a predetermined value, the starting speed in the next cycle is reduced, and if it is higher, the starting speed is increased. When the thermostat is closed and the compressor operates, the motor speed is ramped upwards during the ON period, and corre-

CONFIRMAΠQN COPY

spondingly the motor speed is ramped downwards during the

OFF period of the thermostat.

The control described in US 5,410,230 is developed with a view to sawing a control component, e.g. a temperature controlling microprocessor, and in stead of having a price increasing component like a microprocessor measure and treat a temperature signal from an electronic thermostat, US 5,410,230 uses a cheaper solution with an ON/OFF thermo¬ stat. However, the control method described is relatively complicated, as both ON and OFF times are measured, and at least three speed calculations are made during an ON/OFF cycle, viz. a first calculation of the starting speed, then a second continuous calculation of the speed in the ON period and a third calculation of the speed in the OFF period. Besides, the described method involving speed con¬ trol during both the ON and the OFF period causes a rela¬ tively large energy consumption.

One of the purposes is thus to develop a control method and a control arrangement for a compressor having a lower en¬ ergy consumption than the controls known from the state of the art.

Another purpose of the invention is to make a control method and a control arrangement for a compressor, which can be directly integrated in existing constructions, by which existing elements, such as an ON/OFF thermostat, are used for compressor speed control.

According to claim 1 of the invention, this is done by letting the conventional ON/OFF thermostat, which are al¬ ready available in large numbers in the refrigerators, control the compressor speed so that the starting speed in a following ON period is reduced in relation to the final speed in a previous ON period by making the control ar-

rangement subtract a predetermined speed from the final speed in the previous ON period and letting the result of this calculation be the starting speed in the following ON period, through which the speed is either increased or kept constant.

Using this control method enables an adaptive control, which automatically lets the motor operate at the speed required, which results in the refrigeration compressor working with averagely low speeds during long operation periods, which gives a low energy consumption. The opera¬ tion or ON time is a function of the size of the subtracted rpm and the time it takes to increase the motor speed.

Claim 2 of the invention describes in a first embodiment, how the speed in an actual ON period is measured, and com¬ pared by the control arrangement with the stored final speed from the previous ON period. If the actually measured speed is higher than the stored speed, the result of the comparison could be that the speed is increased faster than earlier.

To secure that the average motor speed is decreasing, claim 3 suggests a reduction of the starting speed of the follow¬ ing ON period by a fixed value. It is possible to make the value to be subtracted variable, e.g. to fix it in depend¬ ence of the duration of the ON period, but a particularly simple solution is obtained by keeping the subtrahend con¬ stant from ON period to ON period. If, in the actual ON period, the thermostat breaks before the registered final speed of the previous ON period is reached, the starting speed in the following ON period will be lower than the starting speed in the actual ON period. If, however, the thermostat breaks after that the actual speed has exceeded the registered final speed of the previous ON period, the

starting speed of the following ON period will be higher than the starting speed of the actual ON period.

Claims 4 and 5 describe how a suddenly occurring refrigera¬ tion demand can be satisfied by setting the compressor motor speed at maximum, when a certain limit value is ex¬ ceeded. This limit can be either an operation time or a speed change.

Another embodiment according to the invention is described in claims 6 and 7, in which a first time tl and a second time t2 are introduced in addition to the fixed speed sub¬ traction, at which times the control arrangement changes the compressor motor speed.

Claim 8 describes a variable speed control using the method described in claim 1. The variable speed control is charac¬ terised in that a control arrangement subtracts a predeter¬ mined speed from the final speed of a previous ON period and makes the result of this subtraction the starting speed in a following ON period, through which the speed is either increased or kept constant.

Claims 9 and 10 describe a control method, in which the ON time is measured and compared with the two times, tl and t2, and the control arrangement reduces the motor speed, if the thermostat breaks before a first time tl, maintains the motor speed, if the thermostat breaks after the first time tl but before a second time t2, but increases the motor speed, if the thermostat has not broken until the time t2.

In the following the invention is described on the basis of the following figures:

Fig. 1 shows a principal sketch of a compressor control arrangement

Fig. 2 shows a speed/time diagram of a first embodiment

Fig. 3 shows a speed/time diagram of a second embodiment

Fig. 4 shows a speed/time diagram of a third embodiment

The control arrangement shown in fig. 1 is advantageously fitted on the compressor unit 8 itself. As control and compressor unit are thus integrated, replacement of a fixed speed compressor by an electronically controlled variable speed compressor can easily be made.

In a room 1 to be cooled, a thermostat 2 is fitted, which breaks or makes the thermostat contact set 3 in dependence of the room temperature. The thermostat 2 is inserted in series with the supply mains. The power part of the control arrangement consists of the components 4, 5 and 6. A recti¬ fier 4 converts the AC voltage of the mains to a DC voltage supplied to the intermediary circuit 5 containing an inter¬ mediary circuit capacitor 7. The inverter part 6 converts, in a known way, the DC voltage via pulse width modulation to an AC voltage supplied to the motor compressor unit 8, which comprises an electric motor 9 and a compressor 10. The compressor circulates refrigerant through a capacitor and an evaporator in a not shown refrigeration circuit with the purpose of controlling the temperature in room 1. A control arrangement 11 controls and monitors the mo¬ tor/compressor unit control. The rectifier is controlled via the connection 17, so that the intermediary circuit voltage amplitude can vary. The inverter 6 is operated via the connection 18, comprising, in a known way, six wires connected to the switches in the inverter. On the three motor wires the back-EMF, produced in each phase on rota¬ tion of the permanent-magnetic rotor of the motor, are measured. The back-EMF signals are sent via the wires 14,

15, 16 to the control arrangement and used for determining the commutation times.

A temperature sensor 13 is arranged on the inverter cooling plate, and via connection 20 the signal is led to the con¬ trol arrangement disconnecting the motor at a temperature of 100 degrees centigrade. A current measuring resistor 12 is inserted in the minus conductor of the intermediary circuit. Via connection 19 the control arrangement measures the current amplitude, and, in case of a too high ampli¬ tude, disconnects the motor. Via an AC-DC converter 23 and the connections 21 and 22 the control arrangement 11 is supplied with energy from the supply mains. A switch 24 has a first position, in which the control is self-regulating (AEO) , and a second position enabling external speed con¬ trol via a frequency signal (n ref ) .

In the following it is assumed that via the switch 24 the control is in the Automatic Energy Optimisation (AEO) mode. The control works as follows, described on the basis of a first embodiment.

A user has set the thermostat 2 at a desired temperature. On refrigeration demand the thermostat switch 3 makes. Making and breaking of the thermostat are detected by the control arrangement 11 by monitoring the mains voltage on conductors 25 and 26. In the first ON period the control arrangement lets the motor start at 2600 rpm, which is in the lower end of the working range 2000 to 3500 rpm. The speed is increased during the ON period, either continu¬ ously or in steps as shown in fig. 2, until the thermostat breaks. During the period PI the compressor has reached a final speed of 2900 rpm. When the thermostat breaks (OFF) , the system is idle until the thermostat makes (ON) again. In the next period P the compressor starts at a speed, which is lower than the final speed of the previous period,

because a speed of e.g. 400 rpm has been subtracted from the final speed. With a starting speed of 2500 rpm the compressor is ramped up during the rest of the ON period, increasing the speed by 15 rpm each minute (in fig. 2 the steps are shown larger to make the case clear) . The speed is increased until the thermostat breaks or until the maxi¬ mum speed of 3500 rpm is reached, which will happen after nearly 67 minutes operation. Then the speed is kept at 3500 rpm. If, during the ON period a limit value is exceeded, e.g. if the speed change during the ON period is higher than 800 rpm, without the thermostat breaking, the compres¬ sor motor is set at maximum speed. Thus a large refrigera¬ tion demand suddenly occurring is taken into consideration. The final speed of period P2 is 2800 rpm, so the starting speed of the next period P3 is 2400 rpm. Fig. 2 shows a situation with decreasing refrigeration demand, i.e. both final speed and starting speed are lower, when compared with the previous ON period. The inventive control auto¬ matically finds a working point with an averagely low speed and low energy consumption.

The speed ramp is described as a step ramp, but other ramp profiles are possible. E.g. the actually measured speed during the ON period can be compared with the final speed of the previous period, assuming that this speed is stored in a memory. If the actually measured speed exceeds the final speed of the previous period, the slope of the ramp in the actual ON period can be increased. On the basis of a comparison between the stored speed and the actually meas¬ ured speed, it can be decided what the starting speed for the following ON period shall be and how the speed profile for the actual or the following period shall look.

In a second embodiment, shown in fig. 3, a fixed speed is also subtracted at the beginning of each ON period. Fig. 3 shows the speed reference signal reaching the rectifier via

the connection 17 (fig. 1), controlling the intermediary circuit voltage to the desired level. In relation to the first embodiment, threshold values have been introduced in the ON period, in the form of two times tl and t2, which can be fixed or proportional to the duration of the latest OFF period. The duration of the latest OFF period holds information about the time constant in the refrigeration system, and the times tl and t2 can thus be expressed by a number of OFF periods.

A speed is subtracted from the latest generated speed ref¬ erence, i.e. the final speed of the previous ON period, after which the compressor operates at a first speed. The control arrangement 11 comprises a counter counting towards a first time tl. The times are stored in a memory in the control arrangement. If the thermostat has not broken at the time tl, the speed is increased by a adding a predeter¬ mined value. If the thermostat has still not broken at the time t2, the speed is increased further, and this can hap¬ pen stepwise through the remaining ON period or with one single speed step, after which a constant speed is main¬ tained for the rest of the period. In the following period P2 the starting speed is again reduced by an amount, and it can be seen that the thermostat breaks before the time tl, which means decreasing refrigeration requirement. In the period P3 the starting speed in accordance with the inven¬ tion is decreased in relation to the final speed in P2.

Reducing the starting speed for each ON period causes the compressor to run in long operation periods with a speed, which is on an average substantially lower than that of conventionally ON/OFF operated compressors, and this re¬ sults in energy savings.

Fig. 4 illustrates a control strategy similar to that of the second embodiment, also using two threshold values tl

and t2. The control arrangement reduces the motor starting speed in the following ON period, if the thermostat breaks before the first time tl, but increases the compressor speed, if the thermostat breaks after the time t2. If, however, the thermostat breaks between the times tl and t2, the speed is unchanged. In the period PI the compressor has just started, and therefore has an operation time exceeding the upper time limit t2. This means that the speed is in¬ creased from the start of the next period P2. As shown in the figure, the speed can be increased by one contribution from the start of the cycle, after which it is kept con¬ stant during the rest of the ON period, or the speed can be changed stepwise during the whole ON period. In period P2 the thermostat does not break until after the time tl but before the time 2, therefore the starting speed in the following ON period is unchanged. In the period P3 the thermostat breaks before the time tl, and thus indicates reduced refrigeration requirement causing the starting speed in P4 to be reduced by an amount, which could be 400 rpm. As shown, the speed change does not take place until the following ON period, but of course the change can also be made in the actual ON period, as shown in embodiment 2.