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Title:
REFRIGERANT LEAK DETECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/060121
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A refrigerant leak detection system is herein disclosed. The system can detect the existence of a slow leak based on the refrigerant level and the system data. They system uses data models, either stored or dynamically created, to calculate an expected refrigerant level. Based on the expected refrigerant level and the actual refrigerant level and statistical process control data, a leak can be identified.

Inventors:
CLARK, E. Todd (4327 Sentinel Place, Kennesaw, Georgia, 30144, US)
Application Number:
US2010/056315
Publication Date:
May 19, 2011
Filing Date:
November 11, 2010
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
EMERSON RETAIL SERVICES, INC. (1640 Airport Road, Kennesaw, Georgia, 30144, US)
CLARK, E. Todd (4327 Sentinel Place, Kennesaw, Georgia, 30144, US)
Foreign References:
US5564280A1996-10-15
US20070089438A12007-04-26
US20050056031A12005-03-17
US20020139128A12002-10-03
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOERR, Michael P. et al. (Harness, Dickey & Pierce P.L.C.,P.O. Box 82, Bloomfield Hills Michigan, 48303, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1 . A system for detecting refrigerant leak in a refrigeration system comprising:

a refrigerant level sensor that senses a level of refrigerant in the refrigeration system and generates refrigerant level data based on the level of refrigerant;

a plurality of system sensors that sense conditions corresponding to the refrigeration system and generate system data based on the sensed conditions;

a model database that stores a plurality of models defining expected refrigerant levels based on previously recorded system data, wherein each of the models has an upper control limit and a lower control limit associated therewith;

a model selecting module that selects a model from the model database based on the system data and the previously recorded system data;

a refrigerant level prediction module that generates an expected refrigerant level based on the system data and the selected model; and a notification module that generates a notification when a difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is one of greater than an upper control limit and less than a lower control limit in at least one consecutive reading.

2. The system of claim 2 further comprising a model creation module that creates a model based on the refrigerant level data and the system data. 3. The system of claim 2 wherein the model created by the model creation module is further dependent on hours of the day at which the refrigerant level data and the system data were sampled.

4. The system of claim 2 wherein the model creation module performs a linear regression to determine a non-compensated linear combination of the system data that estimates the refrigerant level.

5. The system of claim 4 wherein the results of the linear regression are used to determine an error table having entries corresponding to a difference between the estimate of the refrigerant level and the refrigerant level data at a particular hour of the day.

6. The system of claim 5 wherein the model creation module generates a table storing an hour effect indicating amount of effect an hour of the day has on the refrigerant level data for each hour of the day.

7. The system of claim 6 wherein the model creation module performs an effect of an hour compensated linear regression to determine a linear combination of the system data and the hour effect to estimate the refrigerant level.

8. The system of claim 1 wherein the notification module generates a notification that refrigerant was added from the system when the difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is greater than the upper control limit in a predetermined number of consecutive readings.

9. The system of claim 1 wherein the notification module generates a notification that refrigerant is leaking from the system when the difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is less than the lower control limit in a predetermined number of consecutive readings.

10. The system of claim 1 wherein the system data includes an ambient temperature reading, a condenser temperature reading and a discharge pressure reading.

1 1 . A method for detecting refrigerant leak in a refrigeration system comprising:

sensing a level of refrigerant in the refrigeration system;

generating refrigerant level data based on the level of refrigerant; sensing conditions corresponding to the refrigeration system;

generating system data based on the sensed conditions;

storing, in a model database, a plurality of models that define expected refrigerant levels based on previously recorded system data, wherein each of the models has an upper control limit and a lower control limit associated therewith;

selecting a model from the model database based on the system data and the previously recorded system data;

generating an expected refrigerant level based on the system data and the selected model; and

generating a notification when a difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is one of greater than an upper control limit and less than a lower control limit in at least one consecutive reading.

12. The method of claim 1 1 further comprising creating a model based on the refrigerant level data and the system data.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the created model is further dependant on hours of the day at which the refrigerant level data and the system data were sampled.

14. The method of claim 12 further comprising performing a linear regression on the system data and the refrigerant level data to determine a non-compensated linear combination of the system data that estimates the refrigerant level.

15. The method of claim 14 further comprising determining an error table having entries corresponding to a difference between the estimate of the refrigerant level and the refrigerant level data at a particular hour of the day based on a result of the linear regression.

16. The method of claim 15 further comprising generating a table storing an hour effect indicating an amount of effect an hour of a particular day has on the refrigerant level data for each hour of the particular day.

17. The method of claim 16 further comprising performing an effect of an hour compensated linear regression to determine a linear combination of the system data and the hour effect to estimate the refrigerant level.

18. The method of claim 1 1 wherein the generated notification indicates that refrigerant was added to the refrigeration system when the difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is greater than the upper control limit in a predetermined number of consecutive readings.

19. The method of claim 1 1 wherein the generated notification indicates that refrigerant is leaking from the system when the difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is less than the lower control limit in a predetermined number of consecutive readings.

20. The method of claim 1 1 wherein the system data includes an ambient temperature reading, a condenser temperature reading and a discharge pressure reading.

Description:
REFRIGERANT LEAK DETECTION SYSTEM AND METHOD

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Application No. 12/943,626, filed on November 10, 2010, and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61 /260,222, filed on November 1 1 , 2009. The entire disclosure of the above applications are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates to refrigeration systems and, more specifically, to monitoring refrigerant levels in a refrigeration system.

BACKGROUND

[0003] This section provides background information related to the present disclosure which is not necessarily prior art.

[0004] Refrigeration systems may be essential to many businesses. For example, food retailers may rely on refrigerators to ensure quality and safety of food products. Many other businesses may have products or materials that must be refrigerated or maintained at a lowered temperature. HVAC systems allow people to remain comfortable where they shop, work or live. Any breakdown in these or other refrigeration systems or variation in performance of refrigeration systems can affect health, safety and profitability. Thus, it may be important to monitor and maintain the equipment of the refrigeration system to ensure its operation at expected levels.

[0005] It may be in the best interests of refrigeration system users to closely monitor the performance of the refrigeration systems to maximize efficiency and reduce operational costs. Generally speaking, users may lack the expertise to accurately analyze system performance data and relate that data to quality, safety and profitability, as well as the expertise to monitor the refrigeration system for performance, maintenance and efficiency. SUMMARY

[0006] This section provides a general summary of the disclosure, and is not a comprehensive disclosure of its full scope or all of its features.

[0007] A system for detecting refrigerant leak in a refrigeration system is described herein. The system includes a refrigerant level sensor that senses a level of refrigerant in the refrigeration apparatus and generates refrigerant level data based on the level of refrigerant and a plurality of system sensors that sense conditions corresponding to the refrigeration apparatus and generate system data based on the sensed conditions. The system further comprises a model database that stores a plurality of models defining expected refrigerant levels based on previously recorded system data, wherein each of the models has an upper control limit and a lower control limit associated therewith and a model selecting module that selects a model from the model database based on the system data and the previously recorded system data. The system also comprises a refrigerant level prediction module that generates an expected refrigerant level based on the system data and the selected model and a notification module that generates an notification when a difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is one of greater than an upper control limit and less than a lower control limit in at least one consecutive reading.

[0008] In a feature of system the system may further comprise a model creation module that creates a model based on the refrigerant level data and the system data.

[0009] In another feature of system the model created by the model creation module is further dependent on hours of the day at which the refrigerant level data and the system data were sampled.

[0010] In another feature of system the model creation module performs a linear regression to determine a non-compensated linear combination of the system data that estimates the refrigerant level.

[0011] In another feature of system the results of the linear regression are used to determine an error table having entries corresponding to a difference between the estimate of the refrigerant level and the refrigerant level data at a particular hour of the day.

[0012] In another feature of the system the model creation module generates a table storing an hour effect indicating amount of effect an hour of the day has on the refrigerant level data for each hour of the day.

[0013] In another feature of the system the model creation module performs an effect of an hour compensated linear regression to determine a linear combination of the system data and the hour effect to estimate the refrigerant level.

[0014] In another feature of the system the notification module generates a notification that refrigerant was added from the system when the difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is greater than the upper control limit in a predetermined number of consecutive readings.

[0015] In another feature of the system the notification module generates a notification that refrigerant is leaking from the system when the difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is less than the lower control limit in a predetermined number of consecutive readings.

[0016] In another feature of the system the system data includes an ambient temperature reading, a condenser temperature reading and a discharge pressure reading.

[0017] In another aspect of the disclosure, a method for detecting refrigerant leak in a refrigeration system is disclosed. The method comprises sensing a level of refrigerant in the refrigeration system and generating refrigerant level data based on the level of refrigerant. The method further comprises sensing conditions corresponding to the refrigeration system and generating system data based on the sensed conditions. The method also includes storing, in a model database, a plurality of models that define expected refrigerant levels based on previously recorded system data. Each of the models has an upper control limit and a lower control limit associated therewith. The method further comprises selecting a model from the model database based on the system data and the previously recorded system data and generating an expected refrigerant level based on the system data and the selected model. The method further comprises generating a notification when a difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is one of greater than an upper control limit and less than a lower control limit in at least one consecutive reading.

[0018] In another feature of the method, the method further comprises creating a model based on the refrigerant level data and the system data.

[0019] In another feature of the method the created model is further dependant on hours of the day at which the refrigerant level data and the system data were sampled.

[0020] In another feature of the method, the method further comprises performing a linear regression on the system data and the refrigerant level data to determine a non-compensated linear combination of the system data that estimates the refrigerant level.

[0021] In another feature of the method, the method further comprises determining an error table having entries corresponding to a difference between the estimate of the refrigerant level and the refrigerant level data at a particular hour of the day based on a result of the linear regression.

[0022] In another feature of the method, the method further comprises generating a table storing an hour effect indicating an amount of effect an hour of a particular day has on the refrigerant level data for each hour of the particular day.

[0023] In another feature of the method, the method further comprises performing an effect of an hour compensated linear regression to determine a linear combination of the system data and the hour effect to estimate the refrigerant level.

[0024] In another feature of the method, the generated notification indicates that refrigerant was added to the refrigeration system when the difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is greater than the upper control limit in a predetermined number of consecutive readings. [0025] In another feature of the method, the generated notification indicates that refrigerant is leaking from the system when the difference between the expected refrigerant level and the refrigerant level reading is less than the lower control limit in a predetermined number of consecutive readings.

[0026] In another feature of the method, the system data includes an ambient temperature reading, a condenser temperature reading and a discharge pressure reading.

[0027] Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. The description and specific examples in this summary are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

DRAWINGS

[0028] The drawings described herein are for illustrative purposes only of selected embodiments and not all possible implementations, and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

[0029] Figure 1 illustrates an exemplary refrigerant system;

[0030] Figure 2 illustrates an overview of an exemplary components of the refrigeration leak detection system;

[0031] Figure 3 illustrates an overview of an method performed by the refrigeration leak detection system;

[0032] Figure 4 illustrates an block diagram of exemplary components used to determine a leak status;

[0033] Figure 5 illustrates an exemplary method for determining a leak status;

[0034] Figure 6 illustrates a block diagram of exemplary components used to clean data;

[0035] Figure 7 illustrates an exemplary method to clean data;

[0036] Figure 8 illustrates a block diagram of exemplary components to validate data;

[0037] Figure 9 illustrates an exemplary method to validate data; [0038] Figure 10 illustrates a block diagram of exemplary components to select a data model;

[0039] Figure 1 1 illustrates an exemplary method to select a data model;

[0040] Figure 12 illustrates a block diagram of exemplary components to create a data model;

[0041] Figure 13 illustrates an exemplary method to create a model;

[0042] Figure 14 illustrates a block diagram of exemplary components of a learning machine; and

[0043] Figure 15 illustrates an exemplary method executed by the learning machine to create a data model.

[0044] Corresponding reference numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0045] Example embodiments will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings.

[0046] With reference to Figure 1 , an exemplary refrigeration system 100 is shown. The exemplary refrigeration system 100 includes a plurality of compressors 104 piped together with a common suction manifold 106 and a discharge header 108 all positioned within a compressor rack 1 10. A discharge output of each compressor 104 can include a respective temperature sensor 1 14. A pressure sensor can be used in addition to, or in place of, the temperature sensor 1 14. An input to the suction manifold 106 can include both a pressure sensor 1 18 and a temperature sensor 120. Further, a discharge outlet of the discharge header 108 can include an associated pressure sensor 124. As described in further detail below, various sensors can be implemented for monitoring refrigerant level in the refrigeration system 100.

[0047] The exemplary compressor rack 1 10 compresses refrigerant vapor that is delivered to a condenser 126 where the refrigerant vapor is liquefied at high pressure. The condenser 126 can include an associated ambient temperature sensor 128 and an outlet pressure sensor 130. This high-pressure liquid refrigerant may be delivered to a receiver 144. Refrigerant from the receiver 144 is then delivered to an evaporator 136. For example, evaporator 136 may be in a food refrigeration case.

[0048] A controller 140 can be used and configured or programmed to control the operation of the refrigeration system 100. In an exemplary embodimeht, the refrigeration controller 140 is an Einstein Area Controller, or E2 Controller, offered by CPC, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia. It is appreciated that any other type of programmable controller that may be programmed can be used as well. A computer readable medium 141 is accessible to the controller 140 for storing executable code to be executed by controller 140.

[0049] Refrigerant level within the refrigeration system 100 can be a function of system load, ambient temperature, defrost status, heat reclaim status and refrigerant charge. A refrigerant level indicator 142 reads the refrigerant level within the refrigeration system 100 and provides a refrigerant level (RL) output signal. In some embodiments, the refrigerant level indicator 142 is an ultrasonic sensor that detects refrigerant level based on an ultrasonic beam. It is envisioned that other types of sensors such as float sensors or capacitive sensors may also be used as the refrigerant level indicators. The refrigerant level indicator 142 can be located at any location of the refrigeration system at which a refrigerant level may be determined. For example, refrigerant level indicator may be located at the receiver 144.

[0050] A refrigerant loss detection algorithm utilizes the refrigerant level data, along with other measured parameters, such as ambient temperature (T a ), discharge temperature (T d ) and discharge pressure (Pd), to determine whether there is refrigerant leakage in the refrigeration system 100. In addition, other system parameters may be used to determine whether there is leakage in the refrigeration system.

[0051] Refrigerant leak may be characterized as slow or fast. A fast leak is readily recognizable because the refrigerant level will drop to a predetermined level, e.g. zero or approximately zero, in a very short period of time. A slow leak, however, can be more difficult to recognize. One reason is that refrigerant levels in the receiver can vary widely throughout a given day. For example, defrost cycles throughout the refrigeration system result in the refrigerant levels in the receiver to vary. Similarly, changes in the ambient temperature cause the refrigerant levels to vary. To extract meaningful information, refrigerant levels can be measured and then averaged at predetermined intervals. For example, refrigerant levels may be averaged hourly (RLHR).

[0052] If refrigerant is not present in the receiver, then it may be present in the condenser 128. The volume of refrigerant in the condenser is typically proportional to the temperature difference between the ambient air temperature and the condenser 128 temperature. Generally, refrigerant has the tendency to move to the cooler location of the condenser and the receiver in amount proportional to the temperature difference between the ambient air temperature and the condenser 128 temperature. Refrigerant loss may be detected, in part, by collectively monitoring these parameters.

[0053] Figures 2 and 3 illustrate a refrigerant leak detection system and a method for identifying a refrigerant leak, respectively. Referring to Figure 2, a block diagram illustrates an overview of the refrigerant leak detection system. Refrigerant leak detection module 304 receives measured data 302, which may include RL data and system data. The system data may include, but is not limited to, ambient temperature (T a ), condenser temperature (T d ) and discharge pressure (P d ). The system data and the RL data can be received directly from the sensors or can be retrieved from a measured data database 303 storing the various sensor data. It is envisioned that leak detection can run multiple times in a day, daily, or every few days. Thus, measured data database 303 stores recent RL data and system data for later analysis.

[0054] Refrigerant leak detection module 304 can also receive system parameters as input. The system parameters may be stored in a system parameter data store 306 accessible by refrigerant leak detection module 304. The system parameters can include, but are not limited to, statistical process control (SPC) data and SPC limits. The SPC data and SPC limits are statistics relating to the refrigerant level. Refrigerant leak detection module 304 can also access a model database 305 storing a plurality of data models. Data models can be in the form of a data structure containing data samples of previously recorded system data, i.e. training data, defining the behavior of a refrigerant level over a given period of time. As will be discussed, the refrigerant level canbe expressed as a linear combination of the system data, which may or may not be hourly compensated. It is envisioned, however, that other ways of representing the models can be implemented.

[0055] Refrigerant leak detection module 304 can output a leak status and/or a system notification to a user, indicating the same. Refrigerant leak detection module 304 uses the measured RL data, the measured system data, the system parameters and the data models to identify the existence of a refrigerant leak. By utilizing the models and the system data, refrigerant leak detection module 304 can determine expected RL data, and can determine the existence of a leak if the measured RL data is regularly below the expected RL data. If the system is in a leak state, the system can also generate a notification to a technician.

[0056] Figure 3 illustrates a flow diagram of a general method that the system can execute to identify a leak state. At step 402, the measured data is read from a controller. As mentioned previously, the measured data 302 may be stored in a measured data database 303, or may be received directly from the sensors. The measured data 302 may include T a , T d , Pd and RL data. Some or all of the data can be represented as hourly averages indicating the average values throughout a particular day (T aH R, T dH R, PdHR and RL H R).

[0057] At step 404, the system data can be analyzed to acquire an appropriate model for analysis against the RL data. The model can be retrieved from the model database 305, or can be created in the absence of an appropriate model. Greater detail on the retrieval and creation of models is provided below. In general, however, refrigeration systems are operated under varied conditions and in varied applications. System conditions such as refrigeration load, ambient temperatures, defrost status, heat reclaim status and a refrigerant charge model may influence the refrigerant levels and the behavior thereof. Also, the temperature and pressure in the condenser, as well as, the daily defrost schedule may also influence the refrigerant level. The models, whether retrieved or created, are defined so as to consider all relevant factors that have bearing on refrigerant levels.

[0058] Once a model is acquired, the system may determine the existence of a leak state at step 406 using the measured RL data, the system data and the acquired model. As can be appreciated from the amount of parameters influencing refrigerant levels and the amount of samplings that may occur over time, the received and stored system and RL data provide for rich data sets. Rich data sets allow the system to run various different types of machine learning algorithms and statistical process control methods to recognize the existence of a slow leak condition. At step 408 the data and results from steps 402 and 406 are stored and notifications can be generated, if necessary, regarding the refrigerant status. At step 410, the system waits for a predetermined amount of time before running again. The system can continue to monitor the various sensor data and store the sensor data for later analysis. It is envisioned that the system may run daily, but may run more or less frequently.

[0059] Figure 4 illustrates in greater detail an exemplary embodiment of refrigerant leak detection module 304. As mentioned, refrigerant leak detection module 304 receives system data and RL data as input. A data cleaning module 504 can be configured to receive the raw system data and RL data and may process the system can RL data so that refrigerant leak detection module 304 may be able to analyze and process the measured data. Further, data cleaning module 504 can discard any data that it determines to be unreliable. The raw data can be pre-processed so that it is at least in hourly averages. In some embodiments, each hour of the day will have an hourly average corresponding to the hour of the day. Modeling module 508 can communicate with the system parameter database 306 to receive the SPC data and limits as well as the model data. Modeling module 508 can retrieve a stored data model from a plurality of data models from the model database 305 or can create a data model for storage, in the event an appropriate model does not exist. The term model and data model can be used interchangeably.

[0060] The cleaned data and the acquired data models are communicated to an SPC module 504. SPC module 504 further uses the SPC data, including X bar (mean), R (range), upper control limits (UCL) and lower control limits (LCL) to determine a state of the refrigerant level error. The SPC data and limits may be calculated from previously recorded system data and the measured refrigerant level data. Further, each model may have its own SPC data and limits.

[0061 ] Xbar is an average error value between the actual refrigerant level hourly averages and the expected refrigerant level hourly averages over a predetermined amount of hours. Xbar can be calculated as follows: y RL M, - RL hAVG i )

n

where RL M is the expected hourly average of hour i, RL MVGi is the hourly average of hour I, and where n is the amount of hours in a subgroup. R is the range of error values over the predetermined amount of hours. Once X bar and R are calculated for the subgroups, the standard deviation can be calculated according to the following:

where n is the total number of instances used to calculate the mean and where x, is the refrigerant level reading at the ith instance. Using the standard deviation and the mean, the UCL may be defined as Xbar + 3σ and the LCL may be defined as Xbar - 3σ.

[0062] The SPC module 504 may output an error indicating that the refrigerant level is too high (runOverUCLError), too low (runUnderLCLError), or in a leaking state (run UnderMean Error). Further detail on the calculation of the SPC data, and the subsequent error indications are provided in greater detail below.

[0063] Figure 5 illustrates an exemplary process that may be executed by refrigerant leak detection module 304. At step 602, the RL data and the system data, T d , T a , and Pd are received and may be processed by data cleaning module 504. As mentioned, the RL data can be received as raw data from the refrigerant level indicator 142. Sensors can provide unreliable or "bad" data from time to time. Thus, data cleaning module 402 can identify which readings are unreliable and remove those readings from the RL data and/or the system data. Details of data cleaning are provided in greater detail below.

[0064] At step 604, the cleaned data can be stored in the measured data database 303 or can be communicated to SPC module 512 directly. At step 606, the system accesses the data for a particular day for leak detection analysis. The system may not run continously, and thus, the data of a previous day or previous sensor reading may be analyzed, as opposed to the most recently measured data.

[0065] At step 608, the data corresponding to the day being analyzed is used to select an appropriate model. The modeling module 608 can first attempt to choose a stored model from the system parameter data store using the system data. As will be described, the models define the behavior of refrigerant type based on various data, including the system data, T d , T a , and P d. At step 610, the selected model is assessed in order to determine whether the model is suitable. To determine the reliability of a model, the absolute error value of the model against the training data, e.g. previously stored data, can be compared against a predetermined threshold, e.g. 50%. If the absolute error value of the model is less than the predetermined threshold, the model can be considered suitable. If the model is suitable, the process steps to step 618, else it steps to step 612.

[0066] At step 618, the selected data model and the RL data are analyzed. The RL data is input into the data model to generate an expected RL, or RL M . The result of the analysis is used to generate the SPC data as well as the SPC errors. At step 620, the SPC errors are analyzed. The analysis can include generating SPC charts using known SPC charting algorithms. The SPC algorithm can create Xbar (mean) and R (range) charts for both the RL M data and the RL H R data. For each hour, the RL M data may be compared to the RL d HR data to determine a refrigerant level error RL error . For example, for each hour's data, the error can be calculated as RL error = RL M -RL dH R. The RL dH R data can be divided into subgroups. For example, if the data is hourly, as in this case, and there is 24 hours worth of data, three subgroups of eight hours a piece can be generated for each day. For each subgroup, the hourly averages of the RL error data may be averaged. The result of this average is the X bar value for the subgroup. The range of the RL error data is also calculated to determine R. These charts may then be compared to determine whether the RL error data falls within upper control limits (UCL) and lower control limits (LCL) related to RL M . As described above, UCL and LCL may be calculated as plus and minus three standard deviations from X bar - An SPC counter is incremented with each consecutive time that the RL data falls outside of the UCL or LCL. Based on the SPC counter value, the existence of an error may be determined. For instance, if the RL H R data is measured below the LCL in seven consecutive readings, an error notification, runUnderLCLError, can be generated. If the RL H R data is measured above the UCL in seven consecutive readings, an error notification, runOverLCLError, can be generated. If the calculated X bar is continually decreasing for seven iterations, then a run UnderMean Error notification can be generated. Other variations of notification generating rules can be implemented. For example, if a number less than seven is selected, the system can identify more errors. Conversely, selecting a number greater than seven would increase the error identification robustness, but at the cost of correctly identifying errors. Also, it is envisioned that an error could be identified if the error conditions are substantially consecutive. For example, if six out of seven readings are above the UCL, a runOverLCLError can still be generated.

[0067] At step 620, the SPC error notifications are interpreted. A runOverUCLError notification can indicate that refrigerant has been added to the refrigeration system. Technically speaking, the runOverUCLError may not be an error per se, but may also indicate that refrigerant was added to the system. The system can create a notification that refrigerant has been added to the system.

[0068] A runUnderLCLError or run UnderMean Error indicates that refrigerant is leaking from the refrigeration system. The algorithm may create a notification of a refrigerant leak.

[0069] As mentioned, if at step 610 an appropriate model was not retrieved, the process steps to step 612. At step 614, the system may determine if the reason for rejecting the model was due to too much variance in the model. If so then a notification is generated thereby notifying a technician that the model creation methods may need to be refined.

[0070] At step 616, the system determines if there is more data to be analyzed, i.e. whether more RL data needs to be analyzed. If so, the system steps to the next day of RL data to be analyzed at step 622. If not, the system steps to 624, where the results are assembled and stored. It is envisioned that the notifications generated at step 618 and interpreted at 620 may be stored in an error database or communicated to a technician. Further, the system can include visual or audio indicators to warn operators or technicians of the refrigerant status in the refrigerant system.

[0071 ] The following sections will describe various modules and details that may be implemented in the refrigerant leak detection system. The examples provided are in no way intended to be limiting, but rather to provide greater detail in possible embodiments of the refrigerant leak detection system.

[0072] As previously mentioned, in some embodiments the measured data may need to be cleaned. Figures 6 and 7 depict a data cleaning module and a method that may be executed by the data cleaning module, respectively. Referring now to Figure 6, an exemplary data cleaning module 504 is depicted. The data cleaning module 504 receives the measured RL data and the measured system data, T aH R, T d HR, and PdHR- It is envisioned, however, that the data cleaning module 504 may receive raw system data, e.g. T a , T d , and P d and compute the hourly averages therefrom. Data cleaning module 504 may also received previously stored data 706. Stored data 706 may include existing data in a predetermined data structure, organized by date. The data cleaning module 504 may output a data table 708 which may include cleaned hourly data RL H R, TaHR, T dH R, and P dH R data arranged by day.

[0073] Figure 7 illustrates an exemplary method for cleaning data. The following method may be executed by data cleaning module 504, described above. It is noted that certain sensor types, such as ultrasonic sensors, may further necessitate data cleaning, as opposed to other sensor types, such as float sensors, which may not output data that requires cleaning. At step 802 the measured RL data and system data are grouped by date. At step 804, RL data for a particular date may be retrieved. Step 806 may determine whether the data is raw sensor data or in an hourly data format. If the data is in hourly average format RL d HR, the data is determined to be clean and joined with system data for the day T aHR , T dH R, and P dH R at step 818.

[0074] If the data is raw data from a sensor, step 808 may check the sensor data to determine if it is reliable and may create notifications indicating whether the sensor is operating properly. Greater detail of determining the reliability of the data is provided below. Step 810 may skip the filtering and calculating steps if step 808 determines that the sensor data is not "believable." In this situation, that unreliable data is discarded and the system retrieves the next set of data. If the data is determined to be reliable, step 820 may determine whether there are more days to process, and if so, step 822 may select the next day for data to be cleaned in step 804. The algorithm may run until there is no longer any RL data to clean.

[0075] Figure 8 illustrates exemplary components of data cleaning module that verify the reliability of the measured RL data. A sensor validation module 904 receives the RL data. The data can be represented in an hourly average format or in a raw format. The sensor validation module 904 can execute one or more of an empty filter test, a bad filter test, a misaligned filter test and a good filter test. The filter tests can be stored as executable instructions on a computer readable memory associated with the system 906. A sensor barometer module 908 can access a sensor barometer 910, based on the results of the filter tests. The sensor barometer 910 can be a counter that has its value modified based on the current and past sensor readings. For example, in an exemplary embodiment, the counter can be incremented after every instance the process determines that the sensor data is reliable and decremented when the sensor data is determined to be unreliable.

[0076] Figure 9 provides the steps in determining whether sensor data is reliable. As previously discussed, the system may not require a validation of the sensor data, depending on the sensor type. An ultrasonic sensor may necessitate the data validation, but other types of sensors may not. As mentioned, the RL data may be run through filters embodied as machine executable instructions stored on a computer readable medium. The filters can include, but are not limited to: an empty filter 1002, a bad filter 1008, a misaligned filter 1014 and a good filter 1020. It is understood that the filters can be run in any order, and do not need to be run in the order described above. The filters may be based on extracting features from the RL data and applying rules based on the results.

[0077] The empty filter 1002 may be any filter that determines whether the sensor data is empty or substantially empty. For example, in one embodiment empty filter 1002 can process RL data to determine the amount of data samples having a value, i.e. a y-value, below a predetermined value, e.g. 2. If the percentage of data samples with a y-value that is less than the predetermined value is greater than a predetermined percentage threshold, e.g. 50%, the RL data may be considered empty in step 1004 and marked as empty is step 1006. After step 1006 the sensor barometer may be decremented in step 1026. If the RL data is not determined to be empty, the algorithm may continue to the bad filter 1008. The following is an example pseudo code algorithm that may be executed in the empty filter:

total points = 0;

empty points = 0;

i=1 ;

while (RLj != NULL)

if (RLj < predetermined_value)

empty points = empty points + 1 ;

total points = total points + 1 ;

if((empty points/total points) < percentage threshold)

RL = empty;

sensor barometer = sensor barometer -2;

else

goto Bad FilterQ;

[0078] The bad filter 1008 can be any filter that determines whether the sensor data is unreliable. For example, an exemplary bad filter 1008 detects whether the hourly RL data is in a near-straight line state. A near-straight line state can be thought of as a state when a curve representing the hourly RL data is in a straight-line shape or nearly a straight-line shape. The filter 1008 selects a starting point to asses a portion of the data. The filter 1008 designates the starting point either at the first point of the portion of the curve being analyzed or at the end point of the previous near-straight line. The starting point is stored and the next point on the curve is read from the table storing the measure RL data. If the difference between the y-value of the next point and the y-value of the first point is greater than a predetermined threshold, e.g. e=0.3, then the next point is the ending point of the current line. If the y-value difference is less than e, the scanning process is repeated until a y-value difference between a next point and the first point exceeds e for the ending point of the current line. For each near-straight line, the length and average y-value average of the line may be calculated. If the length of the near-straight line is greater than a length threshold, e.g. a=20, and the average y-value is greater than a average value threshold, e.g. £>=10, then the near-straight line may be classified as a qualified line. If the number of qualified lines in a data set exceeds a cumulative lines threshold, e.g. c=3, or if the number of points involved in all of the qualified lines exceeds a cumulative length threshold, e.g. c/=60, then the data represented by the curve is classified as unreliable. If the RL data is unreliable in step 1010 the data is marked as unreliable in step 1012 and the sensor barometer is decremented in step 1026. If the RL data is not unreliable, the algorithm continues to the misaligned filter 1014. The following is an example pseudo code algorithm that may be run in Bad Filter 1008.

i=2;

start=1

qualified lines = 0;

cumulative length = 0;

For all data points in the curve RL:

RLtot= RLstart

length = 0;

While (I R tart-RLil < e)

length = length + 1 ;

i = i + 1 ;;

RLtot= RLtot + RLi!

if (length > 20 && (((RL, ot /(i-start))

increment qualified lines; cumulative length = cumulative length +length;

start = i ;

i = i + 1 ;

if(qualified length > c OR cumulative length > d)

curve RL = bad;

sensor barometer = sensor barometer - 2;

else

goto Misaligned Filter() [0079] The Misaligned Filter 1014 may be any filter that determines whether the sensor is misaligned. For example, an exemplary Misaligned Filter 1014 addresses six cases that can lead to the conclusion that the filter is misaligned.

[0080] A first case may analyze the RL data to determine whether the curve has too much variation of RL values, i.e. y-values, from point to point. An absolute difference value between y-values may be calculated for each pair of adjacent data points. For example, the following may be used:

An average of the calculated absolute difference values may then be calculated, using, for example:

_ DV l 2 + DV 2 3 + ... + DV i i+l + ...DV n _ l n

n

where DV avg is the average difference value and DV iii+ is the absolute difference between the RL value of Ah reading and the (/ ' + 7)th reading, and where there are n total readings. Each calculated absolute difference value is then compared against the sum of the average absolute difference value and a predetermined value, e.g. k=15, and a counter may be incremented for every instance where the absolute difference value exceeds the average absolute difference value. The process will then determine if the amount of difference values exceeding the sum of the average difference value and the predetermined value is too high. One way to determine if this condition exists is to multiply the amount of data points, n, by a second predetermined value, e.g. b=.2. The following represents pseudo code for one possible implementation of the foregoing case:

Start

CASE 1 :

Calculate all DVs; Calculate DV avg ;

For(all DV values)

I F(DV U+1 > DV aV g + k)

increment counter;

if (counter > n*b) ->

curve = maligned;

sensor barometer decremented; else

goto case 2;

[0081 ] In a second case, the misaligned filter 1 014 examines whether a percentage of points having a y-value below a threshold, e.g. 2 is greater than a percentage threshold, e.g. 55%. If so, the curve is misaligned. If not, the filter steps to the next case.

[0082] In a third case, the exemplary misaligned filter 1 014 determines if a certain percentage of points fall within qualified lines. The determination is similar to that of the bad filter 1 008, but the parameters can be adjusted, and the behavior of the curve constituting a misaligned curve is slightly different. The third case of the misaligned filter 1 014 labels a segment of data points as a qualified line if the length is greater than a short qualified line threshold, e.g. 5. The third case will then calculate the number of data points falling in qualified lines versus the total number of data points in the data curve. If the percentage of points falling in qualified lines is greater than a percentage threshold, e.g. 55%, then the curve is labeled as misaligned.

[0083] In a fourth case, the misaligned filter 1 014 examines pit vectors extrapolated from the original data curve. Once the pit vector is extrapolated/generated from the original data curve, the points of the pit vector are analyzed with respect to neighboring points on the pit vector. A similar analysis to the third filter is made, such that the misaligned filter 1 014 will determine how many points in the pit vector fall within qualified lines. If the amount of points in the pit vector falling within qualified lines versus the amount of points in the pit vector exceeds a pit vector percentage threshold, e.g. 40%, then the data curve is labeled as misaligned. It is envisioned that the length of a qualified length in the fourth case does not need to be equal to the length of the qualified line in the third case. For example, in the third case a qualified line was characterized as having a length of five points, the fourth case may label a qualified line in the pit vector as spanning four points.

[0084] In a fifth case, the misaligned filter 1014 examines the peak vector extrapolated from the original data curve. The steps undertaken in analyzing the peak vector are essentially the same as the steps taken to analyze the pit vector. Namely, the misaligned filter 1014 will extrapolate/generate a peak vector from the data curve. Once the peak vector is extrapolated/generated from the original data curve, the points of the peak vector are analyzed with respect to neighboring points on the peak vector. A similar analysis to the third and fourth filters is made, such that the misaligned filter 1014 will determine how many points in the peak vector fall within qualified lines. If the amount of points in the peak vector falling within qualified lines versus the amount of points in the peak vector exceeds a peak vector percentage threshold, e.g. 50%, then the data curve is labeled as misaligned. It is envisioned that the length of a qualified length in the fifth case does not need to be equal to the length of the qualified line in the third case or the fourth case. For example, in the third case a qualified line was characterized as having a length of five points and in the fourth case the qualified line length was four points. In the fifth case, a qualified line may have a length of three points.

[0085] In the sixth case, the distribution of the points in the data curve is analyzed. The sixth case of the exemplary misaligned filter 1014 determines if too many of the data points are within a small range, thereby indicating misaligned data. The misaligned filter 1014 will separate the data curve into segments of equal length, e.g. three units per segment, referred to as ranges. The misaligned filter 1014 will then calculate the number of points falling within each range. The range having the greatest amount of points is labeled as LRange. A point counter will be set to the number of points falling in LRange and a range counter will be set to one. The misaligned filter 1014 will then analyze the ranges with respect to each other.

[0086] The following will run iteratively until the point counter is greater than or equal to 60% of the amount of total points in the curve or until there are no more ranges to analyze. The misaligned filter will compare LRange with the next most populated range, labeled as NRange. If the amount of points in NRange is equal to or greater than 20% of the amount of points in LRange then the point counter will be incremented by the amount of points in NRange and the range counter is incremented. Else, neither counter is incremented. LRange is then set equal to NRange, and NRange is the next most populated range. This loop will iterate until there are no more ranges to analyze or the point counter is greater than or equal to 60% of the amount of total points in the curve.

[0087] After exiting the loop, the misaligned filter will check i) whether the point counter is greater than or equal to 60% of the amount of total points in the curve and ii) whether the value of the range counter is greater than or equal to a range threshold, e.g. 2. If both i) and ii) are false, then the misaligned filter 1014 classifies the data as misaligned and unreliable. The sensor barometer can also be decremented.

[0088] If the Misaligned Filter 1014 finds that the sensor is misaligned, at step 1016 the Misaligned Filter 1014 may indicate that the sensor is misaligned and the RL data curve may be marked as misaligned in step 1018. If not, the sequence may continue to the Good Filter 1020. If the Good Filter 1020 finds that the RL data is good step 1022 may indicate that the data is good and the RL data curve may be marked as good in step 1024. If the data is not good step 1022 may indicate that the data is not good and the RL data curve may be marked as unknown in step 1024.

[0089] In some embodiments a sensor barometer 908 may be used as a means to determine the reliability of the sensor data. If the reading on the sensor barometer 308 exceeds a predetermined threshold, the data is determined to be reliable, else the data is considered unreliable. As described above, when one of the data filters determines a status of the data curve, the counter may be incremented or decremented based on the status. If after filtering, the data is determined to be reliable, and step 1030 is reached, the barometer may be incremented by an integer value such as 1 . If the filters determine that the data is empty, bad, or misaligned, and step 1026 is reached, the barometer may be decremented by an integer value such as 2. The sensor barometer can be initially set to a predetermined value such as 4 and has a maximum value such as 8. The barometer may be used to indicate that the data has reached a warning limit, e.g. 4, or that an alarm limit has been reached, e.g. 1 . With these example predetermined values, two straight days of decrementing may result in a warning and 4 straight days may always result in an alarm. When the barometer is incremented in step 1030, the next step may check whether the barometer is in a warning state. If so, the return value as to whether the data should be used may be set to not OK in step 1036. Only after a sufficient number of good sensor readings have been received, so as to remove the warning state label from the data, will the return value be set to OK in step 1034. When the barometer is decremented the return value may be set to not OK in step 1036. In step 1038 it may be determined whether the barometer is in an alarm state. If so, an alarm notification is generated in step 1040.

[0090] The following explains exemplary components and methods for selecting and creating models. Previously measured data may be used as training data to create the data models. The training may be supervised or unsupervised.

[0091 ] Referring now to Figures 10 and 1 1 , model selection of an existing model from the model database 305 is depicted. In Figure 10, data to be analyzed 1 102, including RL H R, TaHRj TdHRj and PdHRj can be received or accessed from measured data database 303 by existing model module 1 104. Model data 1 106 can be accessed from the model database 305by existing model module 1 104 and can include existing model data and existing model hypercube boundary data. The hypercube boundary data is compared with the measured system data by existing model module 1 104 to determine if the corresponding model is a match. The existing model module 1 106 may use the data to be analyzed 1 102, e.g. the measured data, and model data 1 106 to create the output of a selected model 1 108. The output of a selected model is the expected refrigerant level, RL M . RL M may be compared with the RL H R data by the SPC module, described above, to determine a leak status.

[0092] Referring to Figure 1 1 , the steps depict a method for selecting an existing model using data corresponding to a particular day. At step 1202 an existing model can be accessed. Each model may have a defined hypercube boundary for comparison with the day's hourly data RL H R, T AH R, T DH R, and P DH R. The hypercube may define the limits for T AH R, T DH R, and P D HR, so that an appropriate model can be selected. For example, the hypercube can include data representing T aH iGH, T dH iGH, and PCJHIGH and T aL ow, T dL ow, and P d i_ow- At step 1204 the system may calculate the percentage of the hourly data, T AH R, T DH R, and P DH R , that falls within the hypercube boundary of the selected existing model. At step 1206, the system may determine whether the percentage of the hourly data falling within the hypercube boundary is greater than a predetermined percentage, e.g. 80%. If the percentage of hourly data falling within the hypercube boundary does not exceed the predetermined threshold, at step 1210 weather there are more existing models to be selected is determined, and if there are more models to be selected, step 1212 may move to the next model. This may continue until all models are tested, i.e. step 1210=no, or a valid model is found, i.e. step 1206=yes. When a valid model is found, the valid model may be set to the selected existing model at step 1208. At step 1214, the system determines whether an existing model has been selected. If so, the model selection process is complete. Else, the steps depicted in Figure 13 may be executed by the components of Figure 12 to select a model for each set of data.

[0093] Figures 12 and 13 illustrate the components and method used to generate a model, respectively. As discussed, a model will be generated when no preexisting models exist that are reliable given the measured system data and the hypercube data of the plurality of data models.

[0094] In Figure 12, a model configuration module 1308 is in communication with a model barometer module 1312 and a data creation module 1306. The data creation module 1306 receives the data to be analyzed and the previously recorded data and updates the training data by appending the data to be analyzed recorded data to the model data. Using the updated data, i.e. the previously recorded data and the data to be analyzed, a new model is created by model configuration module 1308. Model configuration module 1306 accesses various machine learning procedures embodied as computer executable instructions on the computer readable medium. The output of model configuration module 1308 is a new model. A model barometer may be incremented every time a valid model is used and decremented every time a invalid model is created. When the model barometer reaches a predetermined model barometer threshold, the model barometer module 1312 will determine that the models have too much variance and generate a notification. Greater detail on model creation is provided below.

[0095] Figure 13 illustrates an exemplary process that may be executed by the leak detection system to create a new model. At step 1416, the measured data for the day to append is set to be analyzed. At step 1418, the process checks whether the day index of the data to be amended is a valid data set, and if not, the system steps to step 1426. If the day index is valid, the process steps to step 1420, which determines the amount of RL entries in the model creation data. In an exemplary embodiment, 3 days data, or 72 hours of data, may be used to create a model. At step 1420, the process checks whether the number of non-NULL entries in the model creation data is less than 72 (or 3 days of entries), if not, the process steps to step 1426. If the model creation data has less than 72 hours worth of data, then the current date's data, including aHR, d HR, and P d HR is amended to the model creation data. The index counter is incremented at step 1424. This portion of the process repeats until there is either more than 72 valid RL entries in the model creation data, or until there is no more valid data to be appended. At step 1426, the process determines whether there is enough data to create a model. If there is not enough data, the process ends and no model is created. If there is enough data, however, the process steps to step 1428, at which time a new model is created using, for instance, an hour compensated linear regression. The output is a new model.

[0096] The new model is then validated at step 1430. If the model is valid, then it is set to the selected model at 1432, stored in the model database 305 at 1442, and the model barometer is incremented. If the model is not valid, the model barometer is decremented at 1436. The model barometer is then read to determine if it is in an alarm state, i.e. is the barometer reading less than the predetermined model barometer threshold. If the model barometer is in an alarm state, then too much variance in the data is assumed. Greater detail on the actual creation of the model is provided below.

[0097] Figures 1 4 and 1 5 illustrate the components and method used to build a model. This approach of modeling system behavior assumes a programmed defrost schedule in a commercial refrigeration system. Other approaches may be used depending on the type of refrigeration system, e.g. hour compensation may not be necessary if the type of refrigeration system does not include a defrost schedule. An hour effect may be learned which is a proxy for the changing load profile. It is also be possible to calculate the load with more sensors via a mass and energy balance. If the load is calculated, the load from the current hour and previous hour could be used with T AH R, T D HR, PCJHR with a variety of learning machines such as linear regression, neural networks, M5 trees and similar methods. Although this invention generally uses units of hours, it should be recognized that the steps described or depicted could use different time intervals. It should be recognized that a number of classifiers such as the linear regression learning machines used here could have been applied. It should also be recognized that a variety of clustering algorithms such as K- means clustering could be applied.

[0098] In figure 1 4 an hour compensated linear regression machine module 1 504 may access model creation data 1 502 including RL H R, T AH R, T D HR, and P D HR data from a computer-readable medium. Data transformation procedures data store 1 506 may include, but is not limited to multiple linear regression, K-means clustering and hour effect algorithms, which can be accessed from a computer-readable medium also. The hour compensated linear regression learning machine module 1 504 can output new model data 1 508 including the new model and new model boundaries.

[0099] Figure 1 5 illustrates the steps taken to create a model. Generally speaking, the steps include running a classification algorithm on the training data, e.g. previously recorded data in step, at 1 602, an error table is built using the results of the classification at 1 604, a clustering algorithm is run on the training data at 1 606, the effect of the time of the day is determined at 1 608, and a second classification algorithm is run at 1 61 0, the second classification algorithm takes into account the time of the day. These steps results in a learning machine capable of learning the effect of the day.

[00100] In an exemplary embodiment, the model creation data is analyzed by a multiple linear regression learning machine at 1 602. The multiple linear regression learning machine performs a linear regression using the measured RL data and measured system data. An exemplary linear regression attempts to choose the optimal weights for expressing the output value. Thus, in the present application, a linear regression can be used to find the optimal weights such that RL is expressed as a linear combination of T aH R, T dH R, and PdHR- Thus, the RL can be written in the following format:

RL = w 0 + w-i ai + w 2 a 2 + w 3 a 3 (3) where a1 is T a HR, a2 is TdHR; cind a3 is PdHR- The previously collected data, i.e., training data is used to optimize the weight selection. Each instance of data, i.e. the RL data and system data pertaining to a particular hour, is represented according to equation (3). Thus, the first instance may be represented as:

Rl = w 0 + w l (4)

or where a 0 is equal to 1 . The expression above is an expression that can be used to predict the level of refrigerant, given the system data. The difference between the predicted values and the actual values of the refrigerant level may be used to optimize the selection of the weights. The goal of the regression is to minimize the error for the entire set of training data. Thus, if there are n instances in the training data, the sum of the squares of the differences may be represented by the following expression :

where i is the instance and x is the actual refrigerant level for that instance. By selecting the coefficients w 0 ...w k that minimize the error, a model can be defined to best predict the refrigerant level. It is envisioned that other regression techniques may be performed. Further, it is envisioned that other types of classification algorithms may be used in place of a regression. The foregoing was provided as an example of a linear regression.

[00101] At step 1604, an error table is built using the results of the regression, i.e. the model, and the measured RL data and the system data. For each hour, the system data is run through the model to determine an expected refrigerant level, i.e. RL M . For each hour, the error table may be populated with the refrigerant level error, i.e. RL M -RL d HR- Thus, the end result may be an error table with 25 columns and 24 rows, one column for each hour of the day, where each row corresponds to a different hour. For example, The 25 th column is the data for a particular day. The 25 th column may include an error amount for the hour corresponding to the row. Further, the error values may be normalized between -1 and 1 . The following is an example of two rows of an error table:

As can be seen from the table, at hour 1 , a normalized error of .25 was measured and at hour 2 a normalized error of -.25 was measured. By representing the table in the following format, the Euclidean distance between each hour of the day is equal.

[00102] At step 1606, a clustering algorithm may be run on the table of error values. In some embodiments, the clustering algorithm is a k-means clustering. The first step in clustering is defining how many clusters are being sought, i.e. k. Although not required, 4-8 clusters may be used. Next, k points may be chosen at random as cluster centers. Then for each instance, the Euclidean distance from each cluster center may be calculated, and each instance is assigned to the cluster that it is closest to. Once all of the points are assigned to a cluster, a new center is chosen, and the data is run clustered again. This step may repeat until there are two consecutive rounds where the all or substantially of the data instances are assigned to the same cluster.

[00103] Applying this concept to the current task, each hour may have a distribution of errors associated therewith. The k-means clustering algorithm may cluster the samples, i.e. the hours, by their associated error distributions. The result of this cluster is a map where the keys are the hours and the entries corresponding to the keys are arrays that have a sum of the distributions for the hour and the cluster that the hour belongs to. Then for each hour of the day, a vector is constructed which contains the average distribution for the cluster at that hour of the day. Next, an hour list can be built based on the cluster that the hour belongs to. Thus, each hour is assigned to its nearest cluster based on the average distributions of the hour. The results of the second clustering is a second map that has the k clusters as keys, and the entries of the map are the hours of the day that belong to the corresponding cluster. Thus, if there are seven clusters, the first clusters may have, for example, hours 1 , 4 and 1 1 belonging thereto. Thus, at the end of the clustering, each hour of the day will belong to one of the k clusters. The clusters are based on the error distributions corresponding to the hour of the day.

[00104] At step 1608, the effect of the hour of the day will be determined based on the results of the clustering. For each cluster, the error distributions of the hour corresponding to the cluster are analyzed. For each cluster, all of the calculated errors are averaged. Thus, from the example above, the errors for hours 1 , 4 and 1 1 may be averaged together. Next, a new map is built that is an hour effect map. The keys of the map are the clusters and the entries corresponding to the keys are the average error of the refrigerant level for the corresponding cluster. The error average for each cluster can then be normalized. From the resulting normalized map, an hour effect table may be built. The hour effect table is indexed by the hour of the day, and the value corresponding to the hour of the day is the normalized error effect for that particular hour, which corresponds to the cluster to which the hour of the day belongs. The following is an example of a portion of the hour effect table, keeping in mind that hours 1 and 4 belong to the same cluster:

Hour Effect

01 -.3

02 .4

03 .2

04 -.3 [00105] The error effect table can be used in the hour compensated linear regression, which is performed at step 1610. In the regression, the model creation data for each hour may be treated as an instance. Referring back to equation (3), the hour of the day effect can be incorporated into the linear combination. Thus, the expected RL readings may be expressed as:

RL = w 0 + w a + w 2 a 2 + w 3 a 3 +w 4 a 4

where a 4 is the hour effect for a particular hour and w 4 is the weight of the error effect. Similar to as was described above, the expected RL may be expressed as: ±( Wj a))

The expression above is an expression that can be used to predict the level of refrigerant, given the system data and the hour of the day effect. The difference between the predicted values and the actual values of the refrigerant level may be used to optimize the selection of the weights. Thus, if there are n instances in the training data, the sum of the squares of the differences may be represented by the following expression:

where i is the instance and x is the actual refrigerant level for that instance. By selecting the coefficients w 0 ...w k that minimize the error, a model can be defined to best predict the refrigerant level. It is envisioned that other regression techniques may be performed that take into account the additional hour of the day effect. The result of the regression is an hour compensated data model.

[00106] At step 1612 the boundaries of a valid hypercube space for the model may be calculated. The various system data used to create the model are statistically analyzed to determine a mean and standard deviation. Thus, the hypercube boundaries may be defined as the narrower of the range and the mean plus or minus 3 standard deviations for each input feature T aH R, T dH R and PdHR- Once the hypercube boundaries are added to the model, the model creation may be complete. [00107] Attached hereto as an appendix is a sample of source code used to perform model creation.

[00108] As used herein, the term module may refer to, be part of, or include an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC); an electronic circuit; a combinational logic circuit; a field programmable gate array (FPGA); a processor (shared, dedicated, or group) that executes code; other suitable components that provide the described functionality; or a combination of some or all of the above, such as in a system-on-chip. The term module may include memory (shared, dedicated, or group) that stores code executed by the processor.

[00109] The term code, as used above, may include software, firmware, and/or microcode, and may refer to programs, routines, functions, classes, and/or objects. The term shared, as used above, means that some or all code from multiple modules may be executed using a single (shared) processor. In addition, some or all code from multiple modules may be stored by a single (shared) memory. The term group, as used above, means that some or all code from a single module may be executed using a group of processors. In addition, some or all code from a single module may be stored using a group of memories.

[00110] The apparatuses and methods described herein may be implemented by one or more computer programs executed by one or more processors. The computer programs include processor-executable instructions that are stored on a non-transitory tangible computer readable medium. The computer programs may also include stored data. Non-limiting examples of the non-transitory tangible computer readable medium are nonvolatile memory, magnetic storage, and optical storage.

[00111] This description is merely exemplary in nature, and thus variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the teachings.

[00112] The foregoing description of the embodiments has been provided for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention. Individual elements or features of a particular embodiment are generally not limited to that particular embodiment, but, where applicable, are interchangeable and can be used in a selected embodiment, even if not specifically shown or described. The same may also be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the invention, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the invention.