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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
VEHICLE AIR CONDITIONER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/143393
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An air-conditioner, adapted to be fitted to a roof/wall of a vehicle, comprises: an external unit containing a compressor and at least one heat exchanger element and having air channels respectively for supplying conditioned air and for receiving return air through an opening in a roof or wall of the vehicle, the opening being either of two types of different sizes; a frame to be installed in the opening and between the external unit and the roof/wall and having locating elements, on each of two opposite sides of the frame, configured to locate the frame in the opening and to locate the frame in the external unit, wherein the frame is to be installed with the first side facing the roof or wall for the first type of opening and is to be installed with the first side facing the external unit for the second type of opening.

Inventors:
WILLIAMSON, Jarrod (15 Olinda Crescent, Olinda, Victoria 3788, 3788, AU)
LIU, Louis (JinHu Road 18, SanZao Town JinWa, Zhuhai Guangdong 0, 519040, CN)
Application Number:
AU2017/050153
Publication Date:
August 31, 2017
Filing Date:
February 22, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
DOMETIC SWEDEN AB (Hemvarnsgatan 15, Solna, SE-174 54, SE)
WILLIAMSON, Jarrod (15 Olinda Crescent, Olinda, Victoria 3788, 3788, AU)
International Classes:
B60H1/00; F24F13/02
Domestic Patent References:
2015-09-11
Foreign References:
US20160033185A12016-02-04
US6339934B12002-01-22
CN204923367U2015-12-30
Other References:
TRUMA, AVENTA COMFORT ( AUSTRALIA ) OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS, 21 October 2013 (2013-10-21), pages 1 - 16, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20170406]
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHELSTON IP PTY LTD (Level 21, 60 Margaret StreetSydney, New South Wales 2000, 2000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . An air-conditioner adapted to be fitted to a vehicle, the air conditioner comprising:

an external unit containing a compressor and at least one heat exchanger element and having at least one air channel positioned for supplying conditioned air and at least one air channel position for receiving return air through an opening in a roof or wall of the vehicle, wherein the opening is either a first type or a second type having a different size from the first type;

a frame adapted to be installed in the opening and between the external unit and the roof or wall and having locating elements on each of a first side and an opposite second side of the frame, the locating elements being configured together to locate the frame in the opening and to locate the frame in the external unit;

wherein the locating elements in the frame are positioned so that:

if the opening is the first type, the frame is adapted to be installed with the first side facing the roof or wall, and if the opening is the second type, the frame is adapted to be installed with the first side facing the external unit.

2. The air-conditioner of claim 1 wherein the locating elements on the first side of the frame comprise a projection adapted to engage with a side of the opening of the first type, and one of the locating elements on the second side is adapted to engage with a locating element in the external unit, when the first side is facing the roof or wall.

3. The air-conditioner of claim 1 , wherein the locating elements on the first side of the frame comprise a first side projection adapted to engage with a side of the opening of the first type when the first side is facing the roof or wall, and the locating elements on the second side of the frame comprise a second side projection adapted to engage with a first external unit locating element in the external unit, when the first side is facing the roof or wall; and

the second side projection is adapted to engage with the side of the opening of the second type when the first side is facing the external unit, and the first side projection is adapted to engage with a second external unit locating element in the external unit when the first side is facing the external unit.

4. The air-conditioner of claim 3, wherein one or more of the first side projection, second side projection, first external unit locating element and second external unit locating element comprise ridges engaging the sides of the opening.

5. The air-conditioner of claim 4, wherein the ridges are tapered to facilitate location with the side of the opening or the external unit.

6. The air-conditioner of claim 1 wherein one or more of the locating elements in the frame is a recess or hole adapted to engage with a projection in the external unit.

7. The air-conditioner of claim 1 wherein the frame comprises a duct insert adapted to be installed in the frame in either of two orientations appropriate to installation in the first type or second type of opening respectively, the duct insert providing a duct for directing the supply air into indoor componentry of the air-conditioner.

8. The air-conditioner of claim 7 further comprising a telescopic duct size adjuster adapted to slidingly engage with the duct insert and to be fitted into the indoor componentry so as to telescopically adjust an operational length of the duct to accommodate different roof or wall thicknesses.

9. The air-conditioner of claim 7 or 8 wherein the duct is heat insulated to reduce heat to transfer between the supply air and the return air.

10. The air-conditioner of claim 1 further comprising a ceiling plate adapted to be installed in an interior of the vehicle on the ceiling over the opening and fixed through the opening with bolts into the external unit.

1 1 . The air-conditioner of claim 10 further comprising a fascia cover adapted to be installed on the ceiling plate.

12. A frame adapted to be installed in an opening in a roof or wall of a vehicle between an external unit of an air-conditioner and the roof or wall, the opening being either a first type or a second type having a different size from the first type, the external unit containing a compressor and at least one heat exchanger element and having at least one air channel positioned for supplying conditioned air and at least one air channel position for receiving return air through the opening;

wherein:

the frame has locating elements on each of a first side and an opposite second side of the frame, the locating elements being configured together to locate the frame in the opening and to locate the frame in the external unit; and the locating elements in the frame are positioned so that if the opening is the first type, the frame is adapted to be installed with the first side facing the roof or wall, and if the opening is the second type, the frame is adapted to be installed with the first side facing the external unit.

13. The frame of claim 12 wherein the locating elements on the first side of the frame comprise a projection adapted to engage with a side of the opening of the first type, and one of the locating elements on the second side is adapted to engage with a locating element in the external unit, when the first side is facing the roof or wall.

14. The frame of claim 12 wherein the locating elements on the first side of the frame comprise a first side projection adapted to engage with a side of the opening of the first type when the first side is facing the roof or wall, and the locating elements on the second side of the frame comprise a second side projection adapted to engage with a first external unit locating element in the external unit, when the first side is facing the roof or wall; and

the second side projection is adapted to engage with the side of the opening of the second type when the first side is facing the external unit, and the first side projection is adapted to engage with a second external unit locating element in the external unit when the first side is facing the external unit.

15. The frame of claim 14, wherein one or more of the first side projection, second side projection, first external unit locating element and second external unit locating element comprise ridges engaging the sides of the opening.

16. The frame of claim 15, wherein the ridges are tapered to facilitate location with the side of the opening or the external unit.

17. The frame of claim 12 wherein one or more of the locating elements in the frame is a recess or hole adapted to engage with a projection in the external unit.

18. The frame of claim 12 adapted to receive a duct insert to be installed in the frame in either of two orientations appropriate to installation in the first type or second type of opening respectively, the duct insert providing a duct for directing the supply air into indoor componentry of the air-conditioner.

19. A method of installing the air conditioner of claim 1 in a roof or wall of a vehicle, the method comprising the steps of:

(i) revealing or constructing an opening in the roof or wall of the vehicle, wherein the opening is either a first type or a second type having a different size from the first type;

(ii) fitting the frame into the opening, if the opening is the first type, the frame is installed with the first side facing the roof or wall, and if the opening is the second type, the frame is installed with the second side facing the roof or wall;

(iii) fitting a duct insert into a supply aperture of the frame;

(iv) fitting the external unit onto the frame over the opening using the locating elements;

(v) fitting a telescopic duct size adjuster into the duct insert; and

(vi) fitting a ceiling plate to the external unit from inside the vehicle.

20. The method of installing the air conditioner of claim 19, wherein step (iii) and/or step (v) are completed prior to fitting the frame in the opening in step (ii).

Description:
VEHICLE AIR CONDITIONER

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001 ] The present invention relates to air conditioners for vehicles including but not limited to recreational road vehicles such as caravans, mobile homes and the like, and in particular to an air-conditioner with an improved system of attachment to the vehicle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] There are a number of manufacturers of air-conditioners for recreational vehicles who supply air-conditioners which must be fitted to a range of recreational vehicles of different sizes. Many recreational vehicles are manufactured with square openings or cut-out sections in the roof ready for installation of an air-conditioner, which are typically one of two sizes- a square 360 mm on each side or 400 mm on each side. This presents a problem to the manufacturer of air-conditioners on how to adapt installation to 2 different opening sizes, at the same time as keeping manufacture and parts numbers at a minimum.

[0003] It is an object of the present invention to overcome or ameliorate at least one of the disadvantages of the prior art, or to provide a useful alternative.

[0004] It is an object of the invention, in at least one preferred form, to provide an improved air-conditioner to overcome the above disadvantage, applicable to recreational and other vehicles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] According to a first broad aspect of the invention there is provided an air- conditioner adapted to be fitted to a vehicle, the air conditioner comprising:

an external unit containing a compressor and at least one heat exchanger element and having at least one air channel positioned for supplying conditioned air and at least one air channel positioned for receiving return air through an opening in a roof or wall of the vehicle, wherein the opening is either a first type or a second type having a different size from the first type;

a frame adapted to be installed in the opening and between the external unit and the roof or wall and having locating elements on each of a first side and an opposite second side of the frame, the locating elements being configured together to locate the frame in the opening and to locate the frame in the external unit; wherein the locating elements in the frame are positioned so that: if the opening is the first type, the frame is adapted to be installed with the first side facing the roof or wall, and if the opening is the second time, the frame is adapted to be installed with the first side facing the external unit.

[0006] In one embodiment, the locating elements on the first side of the frame comprise a projection adapted to engage with a side of the opening of the first type, and one of the locating elements on the second side is adapted to engage with a locating element in the external unit, when first side is facing the roof or wall.

[0007] In one embodiment, the locating elements on the first side of the frame comprise a first side projection adapted to engage with a side of the opening of the first type when the first side is facing the roof or wall, and the locating elements on the second side of the frame comprise a second side projection adapted to engage with a first external unit locating element in the external unit, when the first side is facing the roof or wall; and

the second side projection is adapted to engage with the side of the opening of the second type when the first side is facing the external unit, and the first side projection is adapted to engage with a second external unit locating element in the external unit when the first side is facing the external unit.

[0008] One or more of the first side projection, second side projection, first external unit locating element and second external unit locating element may comprise ridges engaging the sides of the opening. The ridges may be tapered to facilitate location with the sides of the opening or the external unit.

[0009] In one embodiment, one or more of the locating elements in the frame is a recess or hole adapted to engage with a projection in the external unit.

[0010] In one embodiment, the frame comprises a duct insert adapted to be installed in the frame in either of two orientations appropriate to installation in the first type or second type of opening respectively, the duct insert providing a duct for directing the supply air into indoor componentry of the air-conditioner. Also included may be a telescopic duct size adjuster adapted to slidingly engage with the duct insert and to be fitted into the indoor componentry so as to telescopically adjust an operational length of the duct to accommodate different roof or wall thicknesses. The duct may be heat insulated to reduce heat to transfer between the supply air and the return air. [001 1 ] In one embodiment, also included is a ceiling plate adapted to be installed in an interior of the vehicle on the ceiling over the opening and fixed through the opening with bolts into the external unit. A fascia cover may be included which is adapted to be installed on the ceiling plate.

[0012] According to a second broad aspect of the invention there is provided a frame adapted to be installed in an opening in a roof or wall of a vehicle between an external unit of an air-conditioner and the roof or wall, the opening being either a first type or a second type having a different size from the first type, the external unit containing a compressor and at least one heat exchanger element and having at least one air channel positioned for supplying conditioned air and at least one air channel position for receiving return air through the opening;

wherein:

the frame has locating elements on each of a first side and an opposite second side of the frame, the locating elements being configured together to locate the frame in the opening and to locate the frame in the external unit; and

the locating elements in the frame are positioned so that if the opening is the first type, the frame is adapted to be installed with the first side facing the roof or wall, and if the opening is the second type, the frame is adapted to be installed with the first side facing the external unit.

[0013] According to a third aspect, the present invention provides a method of installing the air conditioner of t in a roof or wall of a vehicle, the method comprising the steps of:

(i) revealing or constructing an opening in the roof or wall of the vehicle, wherein the opening is either a first type or a second type having a different size from the first type;

(ii) fitting the frame into the opening, if the opening is the first type, the frame is installed with the first side facing the roof or wall, and if the opening is the second type, the frame is installed with the second side facing the roof or wall;

(iii) fitting a duct insert into a supply aperture of the frame;

(iv) fitting the external unit onto the frame over the opening using the locating elements;

(v) fitting a telescopic duct size adjuster into the duct insert; and

(vi) fitting a ceiling plate to the external unit from inside the vehicle. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0014] Figure 1 A and 1 B are side and end views respectively of an air-conditioner of an embodiment of the current invention installed in a roof of a recreational vehicle;

[0015] Figure 2 is a perspective view of an external unit of an air-conditioner of the embodiment of Figure 1 being installed on a roof of a recreational vehicle;

[0016] Figure 3 is a perspective view of key separate components of the embodiment of Figure 1 ;

[0017] Figure 4 is a perspective view of the installation procedure of the embodiment of Figure 1 ;

[0018] Figure 5A and 5B is a perspective view of first and second sides of a frame component of the embodiment of Figure 1 ;

[0019] Figure 6A and 6B are cross sectional views showing the principle of operation of the frame component of the invention;

[0020] Figure 7 A and 7B are cross sectional views of an alternative embodiment; and

[0021 ] Figure 8 is a perspective view of an underside of a base of an external unit of the embodiment of Figure 1 ;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0022] Exemplary embodiments of the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, the same elements are denoted by the same reference numerals throughout. In the following description, detailed descriptions of known functions and configurations incorporated herein have been omitted for conciseness and clarity.

[0023] Referring first to Figure 1 A and 1 B, side and end views respectively are shown of an external unit 10 installed on a roof 1 of a recreational vehicle, with indoor componentry 3 attached from below ceiling 2. External unit 10 contains a compressor and heat exchanger elements and has a base (Figure 8) with air channels positioned for supplying conditioned air and receiving return air through an opening in a roof of the recreational vehicle. [0024] Referring to Figure 2, external unit 10 is shown in process of installation onto opening 70 in roof 1 . Opening 70 may be a pre-manufactured opening, typically either of a first type having a smaller standard size of about 360 mm x 360 mm, or of a second type having a larger standard size of about 400 mm x 400 mm. Alternatively, opening 70 may be cut and formed in an intact roof to a first type dimension or a second type dimension according to methods known in the art.

[0025] Referring now to Figure 3, key components of the external unit 10 are shown in separated form, including frame 20, duct insert 30, ceiling plate 40, fascia cover 50, telescopic duct size adjuster 31 , and bolt 60. The components are typically manufactured primarily in plastic of the appropriate characteristics as is known in the art.

[0026] Referring now to Figure 4, an exploded perspective view is shown depicting part of the installation procedure. After revealing or constructing opening 70, shown disposed in roof 1 which is represented as transparent for purposes of description, frame 20 is oriented with first or second side facing down toward the roof as described below appropriate to the size of opening 70 and is located into opening 70. It should be appreciated that opening 70 will located in a position on the roof that can support the static weight of the external unit 10 and the loads of the air conditioner when the vehicle is in motion. In this regard, the vehicle manufacturer may have already provided points where the opening for the installation of the roof air conditioner can be made without any risk of weakening the construction or cutting power cables. Alternatively, a flat and sufficiently level area at the centre of the vehicle roof should be selected and ideally the roof inclination of the installation surface should not exceed 10°. In Figure 4, opening 70 is of the smaller standard size. Duct insert 30 is fitted from above into supply aperture 24 before or after location of frame 20 in opening 70.

External unit 10 is fitted onto frame 20 over opening 70 using locating elements to be described below. Weatherproof sealant may be used. Telescopic duct size adjuster 31 is fitted onto duct insert 30 from below, either before or after location of frame 20 in opening 70 and fitment of external unit 10. Telescopic duct size adjuster 31 is adapted to slidingly engage with duct insert 30 and to be fitted into the indoor componentry consisting of ceiling plate 40 which is manoeuvred from below ceiling into place beneath opening 70. Duct insert 30 and telescopic duct size adjuster 31 are covered in insulating foam material in order to reduce heat transfer between the supply air in the duct and the return air which surrounds the duct. Ceiling plate 40 is fixed to external unit 10 using appropriately dimensioned bolts 60. Fascia cover 50 containing supply and return louvers and control and communication functions is then screwed onto ceiling plate 40 (not shown). [0027] Referring now to figures 5A and 5B, first side 21 and opposite second side 25 respectively of frame 20 are shown in perspective view as if from below oriented as intended for use in an opening of the smaller standard size and the larger standard size respectively. Frame 20 comprises supply air aperture 24 (shown in both figures with duct insert 30 installed from above) and return air aperture 23. Referring in particular to Figure 5A, extending around supply air aperture 24 and return air aperture 23 is a generally square ridge 22 disposed as a projection out of first side 21 . Ridge 22 is generally parallel to sides of opening 70 and sized to fit snugly within opening 70 of the smaller standard size and performs the function of a locating element to locate frame 20 in opening 70 of the smaller standard size. Referring in particular to Figure 5B, extending around supply air aperture 24 and return air aperture 23 is a similar generally square ridge 26 disposed as a projection out of second side 25. Ridge 26 is generally parallel to sides of opening 70 and sized to fit snugly within opening 70 of the larger standard size and performs the function of a locating element to locate frame 20 in opening 70 of the larger standard size.

[0028] When opening 70 is the larger standard size, first side 21 is disposed upwards in installation and ridge 22 serves as a locating element to locate frame 20 into unit 10, while ridge 26 serves as a locating element to locate frame 20 into opening 70. When opening 70 is the smaller standard size, second side 25 is disposed upwards in installation and ridge 25 serves as a locating element to locate frame 20 into unit 10 while ridge 22 serves as a locating element to locate frame 20 into opening 70.

[0029] Referring now to Figure 8, where a base of the external unit 10 is seen from below, there are generally square ridges 1 1 , 12, 13 provided which surround supply air fan outlet 15 and return air inlet 16. Also seen is a receiving channel 17 corresponding with duct insert 30.

[0030] Referring now to Figure 6A and 6B, the principle of operation of frame 20 is depicted. Referring first to Figure 6A, which corresponds to the situation of Figure 5A installing in an opening 70 of the smaller standard size, first side 21 is facing down toward the roof and projection 22 locates frame 20 against the roof 1 in the opening 70 and projection 26 locates the frame 20 in the base of the external unit against projection 12. Projections 22 and 26 in the frame 20 and projections 12 and 13 in the base of the external unit 10 are tapered to assist in the location process. Referring to Figure 6B, which

corresponds to the situation of Figure 5B installing in an opening 70 of the larger standard size, first side 21 is facing upwards towards external unit 10 and projection 26 locates frame 20 against the roof 1 in the opening 70, while projection 22 locates frame 20 in the base of the external unit 10 against projection 13. [0031 ] Referring now to figures 7A and 7B, an alternative embodiment is shown illustrating that different configurations are possible within the broadest scope of the invention. In particular, there can be provided matching protection 27 on second side 25 opposite projection 22 on first side 21 , enabling projection 13 in the base of the external unit 10 to provide a common location point for both larger and smaller standard opening sizes, thereby providing the first external unit locating element and the second external unit locating element of the claims.

[0032] By providing a frame element for installation which can be used for two types of opening using different orientations, the invention simplifies manufacture and installation flexibly suited to two different market standards.

[0033] Persons skilled in the art will also appreciate that many variations may be made to the invention without departing from the scopes of the invention, which is determined from the broadest scope and claims.

[0034] For example, while the locating elements shown above are all ridges, it will be appreciated that many other geometries are possible within the broadest scope of the invention. For example, incomplete ridges or multiple locating lugs not extending significantly in the third dimension are within the scope, as are recesses or holes in frame 20 shaped to engage with corresponding projections in the base of the external unit 10, and vice versa.

[0035] Further, while the example above applies to installation in a roof of a vehicle, the invention extends in its broadest aspects to installation in a wall.

[0036] Further also, the openings may be any shape and the claimed "different size" of the second type of opening compared to the first type of opening encompasses any different dimensional size of the opening. For example, in relation to rectangular openings the first and second types include different lengths, different widths or different lengths and widths.

[0037] In the claims which follow and in the preceding description of the invention, except where the context requires otherwise due to express language or necessary implication, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising" is used in an inclusive sense, i.e. to specify the presence of the stated features but not to preclude the presence or addition of further features in various embodiments of the invention. Further, any method steps recited are not necessarily intended to be performed temporally in the sequence written, or to be performed without pause once started, unless the context requires it [0038] Although the invention has been described with reference to specific examples, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied in many other forms.

[0039] It is to be understood that, if any prior art publication is referred to herein, such reference does not constitute an admission that the publication forms a part of the common general knowledge in the art, in Australia or any other country.