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Title:
DRIVE SYSTEM FOR WINDOW COVERING SYSTEM WITH CONTINUOUS CORD LOOP
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/070279
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A motor-operated drive system for a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail to spread and retract the window covering, and a continuous cord loop extending below the headrail for actuating the mechanism to spread and retract the window covering. The drive system includes a motor, a driven wheel that engages and advances the continuous cord loop, and a coupling mechanism for coupling the driven wheel to a rotating output shaft of the motor for rotation of the driven wheel. The drive system includes a channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel, or other mechanism for configuring the drive system so that continuous cord loop extends in a substantially vertical orientation. The coupling mechanism includes an engaged configuration in which rotation of the output shaft of the motor causes rotation of the driven wheel, and a disengaged configuration.

Inventors:
PHAM TRUNG DUC (CA)
CHENG ALAN WING HOR (CA)
BISHARA MARC RASHAD (CA)
Application Number:
PCT/CA2015/051140
Publication Date:
May 12, 2016
Filing Date:
November 04, 2015
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
AXIS LABS INC (CA)
International Classes:
E06B9/68; A47H5/02; E06B9/322
Foreign References:
US20140008028A12014-01-09
US4958112A1990-09-18
US4819708A1989-04-11
US4610294A1986-09-09
US3561520A1971-02-09
Other References:
See also references of EP 3215702A4
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAUGEN, Jay (2900 Manulife Place-101 Street N, Edmonton Alberta T5J3V5, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop extending below the headrail for actuating the mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting the window covering, the drive system comprising:

a motor configured to rotate an output shaft of the motor;

a driven wheel;

a coupling mechanism coupling the driven wheel to the output shaft of the motor configured to rotate the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop being engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel; and

a housing for the drive system including at least one opening, the continuous cord loop being routed from the driven wheel to the at least one opening in the housing, and the continuous cord loop extending below the headrail of the window covering system to the at least one opening in the housing;

wherein the coupling mechanism includes an engaged configuration in which rotation of the output shaft of the motor causes rotation of the driven wheel, and a disengaged configuration in which the driven wheel is not rotated by the output shaft of the motor.

2. The system as defined in claim 1 , wherein the coupling mechanism includes a clutch.

3. The system as defined in claim 2, wherein the coupling mechanism includes a gear assembly driven by the output shaft of the motor, and wherein in the engaged configuration of the coupling mechanism the clutch couples the gear assembly to the driven wheel.

4. The system as defined in claim 1 , wherein rotation of the driven wheel in a first direction causes the mechanism associated with the headrail to advance the continuous cord loop to raise the window covering, and rotation of the driven wheel in a second direction causes the mechanism associated with the headrail to advance the continuous cord loop to lower the window covering.

5. The system as defined in claim 1 , further comprising a channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel.

6. The system as defined in claim 1 , wherein the at least one opening in the housing comprises at least one first opening at a first location of the housing and at least one second opening at a second location of the housing, wherein in a first configuration of the drive system the continuous cord loop extends from the at least one first opening, and in a second configuration of the drive system the continuous cord loop extends from the at least one second opening.

7. The system as defined in claim 1 , further comprising an adjustable mounting of the drive system, the adjustable mounting of the drive system including a first mounting configuration, and a second mounting configuration in which the drive system is orthogonal to the first mounting configuration.

8. The system as defined in claim 1 , wherein the continuous cord loop is a beaded chain, and the driven wheel is a sprocket.

9. The system as defined in claim 1 , wherein the continuous cord loop is a rope, and the driven wheel is a pulley.

10. The system as defined in claim 1 , wherein the continuous cord loop includes a first segment that extends below the headrail in a substantially vertical orientation, and a second segment that extends along the headrail in a substantially horizontal orientation.

1 1. The system as defined in claim 1 , wherein the continuous cord loop extends extends below the headrail in a substantially vertical orientation between a first loop end at the headrail and a second loop end at the a second loop end engaged by the driven wheel.

12. A drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a mechanism for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop extending below the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering, the drive system comprising:

a motor configured to operate under electrical power to rotate an output shaft of the motor;

a driven wheel;

an electrically powered coupling mechanism coupling the driven wheel to the output shaft of the motor configured for rotation in the drive system, wherein the continuous cord loop is engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel; and

a controller for the motor and the electrically powered coupling mechanism, wherein at given times during operation of the drive system, the controller may be in one of a machine-control state, a user-control state, and a manual-operation state; wherein the electrically powered coupling mechanism includes an engaged configuration in which rotation of the output shaft of the motor causes rotation of the driven wheel, and a disengaged configuration in which the driven wheel is not rotated by the output shaft of the motor; wherein the electrically powered coupling mechanism is in the engaged configuration when the controller is in the machine-control state or when the controller is in the user-control state; and wherein the electrically powered coupling mechanism is in the disengaged configuration when the controller is in the manual- operation state.

13. The system as defined in claim 12, wherein the electrically powered coupling mechanism is in the disengaged configuration when the motor that operates under electrical power and the electrically powered coupling mechanism do not receive electrical power.

14. The system as defined in claim 12, further comprising a temperature sensor providing a temperature sensor output, and a light sensor providing a light sensor output, wherein the controller receives and processes the temperature sensor output and light sensor output to control operation of the drive system in the machine-control state.

15. The system as defined in claim 14, further comprising a motion sensor providing a motion sensor output, wherein the controller receives and processes the motion sensor output to control operation of the drive system in the machine-control state.

16. The system as defined in claim 12, wherein the controller receives and processes one or more of the following to control operation of the drive system in the machine-control state: a command from a building automation system; a command from a hub; a command from a smart device; data from the building automation system, data from the hub; and data from the smart device.

17. A drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting a window covering and including a first clutch, and a continuous cord loop for actuating the mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting the window covering, the continuous cord loop having a first loop end adjacent the first clutch, the drive system comprising:

a motor configured to rotate an output shaft of the motor;

a driven wheel; and

a coupling mechanism coupling the driven wheel to the output shaft of the motor configured to rotate the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop extending below the headrail in a substantially vertical orientation and having a second loop end engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel;

wherein the coupling mechanism includes an engaged configuration in which rotation of the output shaft of the motor causes rotation of the driven wheel, and a disengaged configuration in which the driven wheel is not rotated by the output shaft of the motor.

18. The system as defined in claim 17, wherein the coupling mechanism includes a second clutch.

19. The system as defined in claim 18, wherein the coupling mechanism includes a gear system driven by the output shaft of the motor, and wherein in the engaged configuration of the coupling mechanism the second clutch couples the gear system to the driven wheel.

20. The system as defined in claim 17, further comprising a channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop having the second loop end engaged by the driven wheel.

21. A drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop extending below the headrail for actuating the mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting the window covering, the drive system comprising:

a motor configured to rotate an output shaft of the motor;

a driven wheel coupled to the output shaft of the motor for rotation of the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop being engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel; and

a housing for the drive system, the continuous cord loop extending from the housing to the headrail of the window covering system; wherein the drive system is configured so that continuous cord loop extends below the headrail in a substantially vertical orientation.

22. The system as defined in claim 21 , further comprising a channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel.

23. The system as defined in claim 22, wherein the channel system redirects the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel to at least one opening in the housing.

24. The system as defined in claim 23, wherein the channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel comprises a detachable extension of the housing including the at least one opening in the housing.

25. The system as defined in claim 23, wherein the channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel comprises a detachable extension of the housing having a first configuration in which the at least one opening of the housing is located at a first side of the housing, and a second configuration in which the at least one opening of the housing is located at a second side of the housing.

26. The system as defined in claim 22, wherein the channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel includes ribs defining an interior channel for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel.

27. The system as defined in claim 22, wherein the channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel includes at least one redirecting wheel, wherein the continuous cord loop is routed between the driven wheel and the redirecting wheel and is redirected by the at least one redirecting wheel.

28. The system as defined in claim 22, wherein the channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel comprises a pivotally mounted member having a first configuration in which the continuous cord loop extends from a first side of the drive system, and a second configuration in which the continuous cord loop extends from a second side of the drive system.

29. The system as defined in claim 28, wherein the pivotally mounted member includes at least one redirecting wheel, wherein the continuous cord loop is routed between the driven wheel and the redirecting wheel and is redirected by the at least one redirecting wheel.

30. The system as defined in claim 21 , further comprising a gear assembly coupled to the output shaft of the motor and coupled to the driven wheel for rotation of the driven wheel in the drive system.

31. The system as defined in claim 21 , wherein the drive system has first and second configurations, wherein in the first configuration the continuous cord loop extends from at least one first opening at a first location of the housing, and in the second

configuration the continuous cord loop extends from at least one second opening at a second location of the housing.

32. The system as defined in claim 21 , wherein rotation of the driven wheel in a first direction causes the mechanism associated with the headrail to advance the continuous cord loop to raise the window covering, and rotation of the driven wheel in a second direction causes the mechanism associated with the headrail to advance the continuous cord loop to lower the window covering.

33. The system as defined in claim 21 , wherein the drive system is configured so that continuous cord loop extends below the headrail in a substantially vertical orientation by an adjustable mounting of the housing for the drive system, the adjustable mounting of the housing for the drive system including a first mounting configuration, and a second mounting configuration in which the drive system is orthogonal to the first mounting configuration.

34. A drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a mechanism for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop that extends below the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering, the drive system comprising:

a motor configured for rotating an output shaft of the motor;

a driven wheel;

a gear assembly coupling the driven wheel to the output shaft of the motor configured for rotation of the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop being engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel;

a housing for the drive system, the continuous cord loop extending from the housing to the mechanism configured for spreading and retracting the window covering; and

a channel system configured for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel.

35. The system as defined in claim 34, wherein the channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel comprises a detachable extension of the housing including the at least one opening, wherein the continuous cord loop extends from the at least one opening to the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering.

36. The system as defined in claim 34, wherein the channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel comprises a detachable extension of the housing having a first configuration in which the continuous cord loop extends from a first side of the housing to the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering, and a second configuration in which the continuous cord loop extends from a second side of the housing to the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering.

37. The system as defined in claim 34, wherein the channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel comprises a pivotally mounted member having a first configuration in which the continuous cord loop extends from a first side of the drive system to the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering, and a second configuration in which the continuous cord loop extends from a second side of the drive system to the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering.

38. The system as defined in claim 34, wherein the channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel includes at least one redirecting wheel, wherein the continuous cord loop is routed between the driven wheel and the redirecting wheel and is redirected by the at least one redirecting wheel.

39. A drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop extending below the headrail for actuating the mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting the window covering, the drive system comprising:

a motor configured for rotating an output shaft of the motor;

a driven wheel coupled to the output shaft of the motor for rotation of the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop being engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel;

a housing for the drive system, the housing having a channel configured for routing the continuous cord loop to the driven wheel; and

a mechanism configured for locking the continuous cord loop into the driven wheel, wherein the continuous cord loop is routed through the channel in the housing to the driven wheel.

40. The system as defined in claim 39, wherein the mechanism configured for locking the continuous cord loop into the driven wheel is a mechanism for tensioning the continuous cord loop routed through the channel in the housing to the driven wheel.

Description:
DRIVE SYSTEM FOR WINDOW COVERING SYSTEM

WITH CONTINUOUS CORD LOOP

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0000] This application claims priority of Canadian patent application no. 2,870,983 filed 6 November 2014, and of United States provisional patent application no. 62/166,484 filed 26 May 2015, both of which are incorporated by reference into this application in their entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates to a system for spreading and retracting window coverings that use continuous cord loops.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Systems for spreading and retracting coverings for architectural openings such as windows, archways and the like are commonplace. Systems for spreading and retracting such retractable coverings, may operate for example by raising and lowering the coverings, or by laterally opening and closing the coverings. Such window covering systems typically include a headrail, in which the working components for the covering are primarily confined. In some versions, the window covering system includes a bottom rail extending parallel to the headrail, and some form of shade material which might be fabric or shade or blind material, interconnecting the headrail and bottom rail. The shade or blind material is movable with the bottom rail between spread and retracted positions relative to the headrail. For example, as the bottom rail is lowered or raised relative to the headrail, the fabric or other material is spread away from the headrail or retracted toward the headrail so it can be accumulated either adjacent to or within the headrail. Such mechanisms can include various control devices, such as pull cords that hang from one or both ends of the headrail. The pull cord may hang linearly, or in the type of window covering systems addressed by the present invention, the pull cord may assume the form of a closed loop of flexible material such as a rope, cord, or beaded chain, herein referred to as a continuous cord loop. [0003] In some instances, window covering systems have incorporated a motor that actuates the mechanism for spreading and retracting the blind or shade material, and controlling electronics. Most commonly, the motor and controlling electronics has been mounted within the headrail avoiding the need for pull cords such as a continuous cord loop. Using such motor-operated systems or devices, the shade or blind material can be spread or retracted by user actuation or by automated operation e.g., triggered by a switch or photocell.

[0004] However generally such motor-operated devices have been designed to replace the normal mechanisms that come installed with the window covering system. For homeowners who already have window blinds, installation of such motor-operated device requires the installer to remove the current blinds, retrofit it with the motors, then reinstall the blind. Such motor-operated devices are extremely burdensome or simply impractical for a typical homeowner to install, instead requiring installation by a trained service professional. This increases the cost of such devices.

[0005] Although it is known to design motor-operated devices for window covering systems for installation apart from the headrail, such system designs have been inadequate to permit installation by a typical homeowner. Installing such a motor- operated device requires mounting the device within or adjacent the architectural opening, and as architectural openings and existing window covering systems installations vary widely in configuration, the installation requires careful planning. Furthermore, such devices must work in coordination with the mechanisms at the headrail for spreading and retracting such retractable coverings, and remote mechanisms for operating such systems such as pull cords can easily fail due to misalignment, tangling, binding and the like. For these reasons, prior motor-operated device designs of this type also generally require installation by a trained service professional.

[0006] Another consideration in the operation of motor-operated devices for window covering systems is that it is desirable to permit manual operation of the window covering system, for example in the event that the motor-operated device loses power. [0007] For the foregoing reasons, there is a need for motor-operated devices designed for operation with existing window covering systems over a variety of architectural opening settings. There is a need for motor-operated devices of this type that can be installed without requiring a trained service professional. Further, there is a need for motor-operated devices that permit manual operation of the window covering system, for example in the event that the motor-operated device loses power.

SUMMARY

[0008] The embodiments described herein include a motor-operated drive system for a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop extending below the headrail for actuating the mechanism to spread and retract the window covering. The drive system includes a motor, a driven wheel that engages and advances the continuous cord loop, and a coupling mechanism for coupling the driven wheel to a rotating output shaft of the motor for rotation of the driven wheel.

[0009] In an embodiment, the drive system includes a housing, and the continuous cord loop extends from the housing to the headrail of the window covering system. The drive system includes a mechanism for configuring the drive system so that continuous cord loop extends below the headrail in a substantially vertical orientation. In one aspect of this embodiment, the mechanism for configuring the drive system is a channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel.

[0010] In another embodiment, the coupling mechanism includes an engaged configuration in which rotation of the output shaft of the motor causes rotation of the driven wheel, and a disengaged configuration in which the driven wheel is not rotated by the output shaft of the motor. In another embodiment, the coupling mechanism is electrically powered, under control of a controller for the motor and the electrically powered coupling mechanism. The electrically powered coupling mechanism is in an engaged configuration when the controller is in a machine-control state or when the controller is in a user-control state. The electrically powered coupling mechanism is in a disengaged configuration when the controller is in a manual-operation state. [0011] In one embodiment, a drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop extending below the headrail for actuating the mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting the window covering; comprises a motor configured to rotate an output shaft of the motor; a driven wheel; a coupling mechanism coupling the driven wheel to the output shaft of the motor configured to rotate the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop being engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel; and a housing for the drive system including at least one opening, the continuous cord loop being routed from the driven wheel to the at least one opening in the housing, and the continuous cord loop extending below the headrail of the window covering system to the at least one opening in the housing; wherein the coupling mechanism includes an engaged configuration in which rotation of the output shaft of the motor causes rotation of the driven wheel, and a disengaged configuration in which the driven wheel is not rotated by the output shaft of the motor.

[0012] In another embodiment, a drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a mechanism for spreading and retracting a window covering and a continuous cord loop extending below the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering, comprises a motor configured to operate under electrical power to rotate an output shaft of the motor; a driven wheel; an electrically powered coupling mechanism for coupling the driven wheel to the output shaft of the motor for rotation in the drive system, wherein the continuous cord loop is engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel; and a controller for the motor and the electrically powered coupling mechanism, wherein at given times during operation of the drive system, the controller may be in one of a machine-control state, a user-control state, and a manual-operation state; wherein the electrically powered coupling mechanism includes an engaged configuration in which rotation of the output shaft of the motor causes rotation of the driven wheel, and a disengaged configuration in which the driven wheel is not rotated by the output shaft of the motor; wherein the electrically powered coupling mechanism is in the engaged configuration when the controller is in the machine-control state or when the controller is in the user-control state; and wherein the electrically powered coupling mechanism is in the disengaged configuration when the controller is in the manual-operation state.

[0013] In another embodiment, a drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting a window covering and including a first clutch, and a continuous cord loop for actuating the mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting the window covering, the continuous cord loop having a first loop end adjacent the first clutch, comprises a motor configured to rotate an output shaft of the motor; a driven wheel; and a coupling mechanism coupling the driven wheel to the output shaft of the motor configured to rotate the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop extending below the headrail in a substantially vertical orientation and having a second loop end engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel; wherein the coupling mechanism includes an engaged configuration in which rotation of the output shaft of the motor causes rotation of the driven wheel, and a disengaged configuration in which the driven wheel is not rotated by the output shaft of the motor.

[0014] In another embodiment, a drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop extending below the headrail for actuating the mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting the window covering; comprises a motor configured to rotate an output shaft of the motor; a driven wheel coupled to the output shaft of the motor for rotation of the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop being engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel; and a housing for the drive system, the continuous cord loop extending from the housing to the headrail of the window covering system; wherein the drive system is configured so that continuous cord loop extends below the headrail in a substantially vertical orientation. [0015] In yet another embodiment, a drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a mechanism for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop that extends below the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering, comprises a motor, for rotating the output shaft of the motor; a driven wheel; a gear assembly coupling the driven wheel to the output shaft of the motor for rotation of the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop being engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel; a housing for the drive system, the continuous cord loop extending from the housing to the mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering; and a channel system for redirecting the continuous cord loop engaged by the driven wheel.

[0016] In a further embodiment, a drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system including a headrail, a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting a window covering, and a continuous cord loop extending below the headrail for actuating the mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting the window covering; comprises a motor configured for rotating an output shaft of the motor; a driven wheel coupled to the output shaft of the motor for rotation of the driven wheel in the drive system, the continuous cord loop being engaged by the driven wheel to advance the continuous cord loop during rotation of the driven wheel; a housing for the drive system, the housing having a channel configured for routing the continuous cord loop to the driven wheel; and a mechanism configured for locking the continuous cord loop into the driven wheel, wherein the continuous cord loop is routed through the channel in the housing to the driven wheel.

[0017] Additional features and advantages of an embodiment will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description. The objectives and other advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the exemplary embodiments in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings. [0018] It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] Non-limiting embodiments of the present disclosure are described by way of example with reference to the accompanying figures which are schematic and are not intended to be drawn to scale. Unless indicated as representing the background art, the figures represent aspects of the disclosure.

[0020] FIG. 1 is an exterior perspective view of a drive system for a window covering system, according to an embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 2 is an exterior perspective view of a drive system for a window covering system, according to another embodiment.

[0022] FIG. 3 is an interior elevation view of a drive system for a window covering system, according to the embodiment of FIG. 2.

[0023] FIG. 4 is an interior elevation view of a drive system for a window covering system, according to an embodiment.

[0024] FIG. 5A is a perspective view of disassembled assemblies of a drive system for a window covering system, according to an embodiment.

[0025] FIG. 5B is a perspective view of the inner face of channel system lid, according to the embodiment of FIG. 5A.

[0026] FIG. 6 is an exploded view of continuous cord loop drive system components, according to an embodiment.

[0027] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of disassembled assemblies of a drive system for a window covering system, according to an embodiment. [0028] FIG. 8 is a composite of perspective views of components of a drive system for a window covering system, and close-up perspective views of teeth in these components, according to an embodiment.

[0029] FIG. 9 is an interior perspective view of components of a drive system for a window covering system during installation of the drive system, according to the embodiment of FIG. 8.

[0030] FIG. 10 is an elevation view of disassembled assemblies of a drive system for a window covering system, according to the embodiment of FIG. 6.

[0031] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a window covering system with a drive system installed on a flat wall, according to an embodiment.

[0032] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an installed drive system for a window covering system, according to the embodiment of FIG. 11.

[0033] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an installed drive system for a window covering system in a narrow recess wall frame installation, according to an embodiment.

[0034] FIG. 14 is a phantom perspective view of an installed drive system from the interior of a narrow recess wall frame installation of a window covering system, according to the embodiment of FIG. 13.

[0035] FIG. 15 is a perspective view of an installed drive system for a window covering system in a medium-depth recess wall frame installation, according to an embodiment.

[0036] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a window covering system with installed drive system in a wide recess wall frame installation, according to an embodiment.

[0037] FIG. 17 is a phantom perspective view of an installed drive system from the interior of a wide recess wall frame installation of a window covering system, according to the embodiment of FIG. 16. [0038] FIG. 18 is an elevation view of a drive system for a window covering system, according to a further embodiment.

[0039] FIG. 19 is a block diagram of a control system architecture of a drive system for a window covering system, according to an embodiment.

[0040] FIG. 20 is a schematic diagram of monitored and controlled variables of a drive system controller for a window covering system, according to an embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0041] The present disclosure is here described in detail with reference to embodiments illustrated in the drawings, which form a part here. Other embodiments may be used and/or other changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the present disclosure. The illustrative embodiments described in the detailed description are not meant to be limiting of the subject matter presented here. Furthermore, the various components and embodiments described herein may be combined to form additional embodiments not expressly described, without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.

[0042] Reference will now be made to the exemplary embodiments illustrated in the drawings, and specific language will be used here to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. Alterations and further modifications of the inventive features illustrated here, and additional applications of the principles of the inventions as illustrated here, which would occur to one skilled in the relevant art and having possession of this disclosure, are to be considered within the scope of the invention.

[0043] The present disclosure describes various embodiments of a motor- operated drive system, for use in combination with a window covering system. As used in the present disclosure, "window covering system" is a system for spreading and retracting a window covering. In an embodiment, the window covering system includes a headrail, and a mechanism associated with the headrail (i.e., a mechanism within the headrail or adjacent the headrail) for spreading and retracting a window covering. In an embodiment, the window covering system includes a continuous cord loop extending below the headrail for actuating the mechanism associated with the headrail, to spread and retract the window covering. As used in the present disclosure, "headrail" is a broad term for the structure of a window covering system including a mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering.

[0044] In the present disclosure, "window covering" includes any covering material that may be spread and retracted to cover a window or other architectural opening using a system continuous cord loop system (i.e., system with a mechanism for spreading and retracting the window covering using a continuous cord loop). Such windows coverings include most shades and blinds as well as other covering materials, such as: roller shades; honeycomb shades; horizontal sheer shades, pleated shades, woven wood shades, Roman shades, Venetian blinds, Pirouette® shades (Pirouette is a trademark of Hunter Douglas N.V., Rotterdam, Germany), and certain systems for opening and closing curtains and drapery. Window covering embodiments described herein refer to blind or blinds, it being understood that these embodiments are illustrative of other forms of window coverings.

[0045] As used in the present disclosure, a "continuous cord loop" is an endless loop of flexible material, such as a rope, cord, beaded chain and ball chain. Continuous cord loops in the form of loops of cord are available in various types and ranges of diameter including for example D-30 (1 1/8" - 1 1/4"), C-30 (1 3/16" - 1 7/16"), D-40 (1 3/16" - 1 7/16"), and K-35 (1 1/4" - 1 1/2"). Additionally, various types of beaded chain and ball chain are commonly used as continuous cord loops for window covering systems. A typical ball chain diameter is 5 mm (0.2 inch). In a common window covering system design, the continuous cord loop includes a first loop end at the headrail engaging a mechanism associated with the headrail for spreading and retracting the window covering, and includes a second loop end remote from the headrail. Continuous cord loops come in different cord loop lengths, i.e., the length between the first loop end and the second loop end, sometimes rounded off to the nearest foot. In one embodiment, e.g., in a roller blinds system, the continuous cord loop extends between the headrail and the second loop end, but does not extend across the headrail. In this embodiment, the first loop end may wrap around a clutch that is part of the mechanism spreading and retracting the blind. In another embodiment, e.g., in a vertical blinds system, a segment of the continuous cord loop extends across the headrail.

[0046] The continuous cord loop system may spread and retract the window covering by raising and lowering, laterally opening and closing, or other movements that spread the window covering to cover the architectural opening and that retract the window covering to uncover the architectural opening. Embodiments described herein refer to raising and lowering blinds, it being understood that that these embodiments are illustrative of other motions for spreading and retracting window coverings. In one embodiment of continuous cord loop system, the continuous cord loop includes a rear cord and a front cord, and pulling down the rear cord lowers (spreads) the blind. In this embodiment, pulling down the front cord raises (retracts) the blind. As used in the present disclosure, to "advance" the continuous cord loop means to move the continuous cord loop in either direction (e.g., to pull down a front cord of a continuous cord loop or to pull down a back cord of a continuous cord loop). In an embodiment, the blind automatically stops and locks in position when the continuous cord loop is released. In an embodiment, when at the bottom of the blind, the rear cord of the continuous cord loop can be used to open any vanes in the blind, while the front cord can be used to close these vanes.

[0047] In an embodiment, the continuous cord loop extends below the headrail in a substantially vertical orientation. As used in the present disclosure, "substantially vertical orientation" does not require that the continuous cord loop be precisely vertical. Orientations of the continuous cord loop that significantly deviate from vertical can cause added friction in operation and have been observed to cause mechanical problems in the continuous cord loop system such as tangling, binding, and excessive wear or breakage. In addition, extreme deviations from vertical orientation of the continuous cord loop may present a safety hazard.

[0048] Turning to FIG. 1 , as seen in an exterior perspective view a drive system 100 includes a housing 102 with a lower housing 104 and an upper housing 106. A power switch 107 is located at the upper housing 106. The top side 116 of housing 102 has channel apertures including a first channel aperture 110 and a second channel aperture 112, located at the far edge of top side 116. Each of these channel apertures is an opening in the housing 102 through which a continuous cord loop, not seen in this view, may extend. Housing 102 further includes a bracket 108 mounted on side 114 of the lower housing 104. (As used in the present disclosure, a "side" of the housing means a face or surface, which may include e.g., flat faces of housings in the form of polyhedra such as the housing 102, and curved surfaces of housings in the form of non- polyhedra). The drive system 100 provides an example of various mounting configurations and continuous cord loop routing configurations, in accordance with the present technology. In this embodiment, the channel apertures 110, 112 are located at the top, far edge of the housing, while the mounting bracket is located at a lower housing on a different vertical side 114 of the housing than the far side (not seen) that borders on the channel apertures.

[0049] FIG. 2 is an exterior perspective view of another drive system configuration 121 , viewed from a side 118 that borders in channel apertures 110, 112. Drive system 121 includes at side 118 a first channel 120 (terminating at channel aperture 110) and a second channel 122 (terminating at channel aperture 112). Other features at side 118 include a centrally located tension adjustment slot 125, a first mounting slot 124, and a second mounting slot 126. In this configuration, the drive system 121 includes a bracket 128 at a lower portion of the upper housing, this bracket including four bracket apertures 129. Drive system configuration 121 also includes a channel system 130 attached to the lower housing. The channel system 130 includes a first channel aperture 132 and a second channel aperture 134. As used in the present disclosure, the channel system includes one or more channels that guide the continuous cord loop within the drive system. In an embodiment, the one or more channels of the channel system are defined by the drive system housing. In an embodiment, the one or more channels of the channel system terminate at one or more channel apertures. In an embodiment, the channel system redirects the continuous cord loop.

[0050] FIG. 3 is an interior elevation view of the drive system 121 of FIG. 2, with a continuous cord loop (beaded chain 148) secured within the channel system 130. A lid of channel system 130 has been removed to reveal driven wheel 146, and an interior structure of channel system 130. Ribs 144 of channel system 130 define interior channels for routing continuous cord loop 148. In this configuration, the continuous cord loop or beaded chain 148 passes through a first channel 136, which terminates at channel aperture 132 (FIG. 2) and a second channel 138, which terminates at channel aperture 134. The interior channels of channel system 130 redirect the continuous cord loop 148 engaged by driven wheel 146. Thus, while driven wheel 146 is centrally located within the main body of housing 102 (FIG. 1), the channel system 130 redirects the continuous cord loop 148 so that, as seen in this view, it extends upwardly to the right of housing 102. FIG. 3 may be compared with other drive system configurations such as the drive system configuration 151 shown in FIG. 7, in which the continuous cord loop 148 once mounted, would be routed upwardly through channels 120, 122 to extend directly above the main housing 102.

[0051] As used in the present disclosure, the drive system may "redirect" the continuous cord loop by changing the direction of the continuous cord loop within a given embodiment, as in the change in direction seen in FIG. 3. Alternatively or in addition, the drive system may "redirect" the continuous cord loop by changing the direction in which the continuous cord loop extends from the drive system. In one embodiment, the user may change the direction in which the continuous cord loop extends from the drive system housing by changing the configuration of the drive system housing without changing the basic orientation of the housing; e.g., changing the configuration from that of FIG. 3 to that of FIG. 7. In another embodiment, the user may the user may change the direction in which the continuous cord loop extends from the drive system by changing the basic orientation of the housing. For example, the user may change the orientation from that of FIG. 7, in which the continuous cord loop extends from the top of the housing, by turning the housing on its side so that the continuous cord loop extends from one or more opening at a side of the housing (not shown in FIG. 7). In another example, the user may change the orientation from that of FIG. 7, by vertically inverting the housing so that the continuous cord loop extends from one or more opening at the bottom of the housing (not shown in FIG. 7). [0052] FIG. 4 shows an interior elevation view of a further alternative drive system configuration 135 including the channel system 130. In configuration 131 , channel system 130 has been inverted 180┬░ and attached to main housing 102 to extend to the left of the housing rather than to the right of the housing. In this configuration, continuous cord loop (beaded chain) 148 is routed through channels 140 and 142 rather than channels 136, 138. In this configuration, the channel system 130 redirects the continuous cord loop 148 so that, as seen in this view, it extends upwardly to the left side of housing 102.

[0053] FIG. 5A is a perspective view of disassembled assemblies of a drive system 151 generally corresponding to the configuration of drive system 121 in FIGS. 2, 3. An upper drive assembly 152 of drive system 151 includes a driven wheel section 154 that includes driven wheel 146. Channel system 130 is here shown as a three dimensional structure including a driven wheel redirect casing 156 and an inner channel section 158. The driven wheel redirect casing 156 is a bilaterally symmetric case designed to fit around the driven wheel section 154 of upper drive assembly 152. By virtue of its symmetric design, the driven wheel redirect casing 156 may be inverted 180┬░ and fitted around driven wheel section 154 with inner channel section 158 either facing to the right, or facing to the left. A channel system cover 160 is joined to channel system 130 to cover the interior channels. The assembled driven wheel section 154, inner channel section 158, and channel system cover 160 collectively define the inner channels of channel system 130.

[0054] FIG. 5B is a perspective view of the inner face of channel system lid 160 from the drive system 151 of FIG. 5A. Channel system lid 160 includes a driven wheel redirect rim 162 that serves as one of the structures defining and protecting the inner channels of channel system 130. In the fully assembled drive system 151 , channel system redirect rim 162 surrounds the driven wheel 146 and the continuous cord loop 148 engaged by driven wheel 146 (cf. FIG. 3).

[0055] FIG. 6 is an exploded view of components of a drive system 171 , including structural parts and components of the motor drive system. Structural components include female body 164, male body 168, and hat 170. Female body 164 includes a driven wheel aperture to receive driven wheel 166. Female body 164 may be configured similarly to upper drive assembly 152 (FIG. 5A) and may be fitted to channel system 130 and channel system lid 160 as previously described. Female body 164 also may include the various features and structures described above for the drive system 121 of FIG. 2, such as mounting bracket 128. In an embodiment, female body 164, male body 168, and hat 170 are fitted together to surround and protect the various working components of the drive system 171 , with hat 170 covering these structures from above.

[0056] Working components of a motor drive train from the drive system 171 of FIG. 6 include in sequence a DC motor 178, planetary gear 180, hypoid pinion 176, face gear 172, clutch 174, and driven wheel 146. Other operational components of the drive system include circuit board 182 and batteries 184.

[0057] FIG. 10 is an elevation view of structural components and assembled working components from the drive system 171 of FIG. 6, as seen from one side. Male body 168 and female body 164 are configured to envelop the drive train and other operational components of drive system 171 , but are here shown separated from these components. DC motor 178, under power and control from circuit board 182 and batteries 184, has a rotating output shaft. Batteries 184 may for example be nickel- metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, or lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) batteries. A multi-stage gear assembly includes planetary gear 180 and hypoid gear 176 in line with the motor output shaft, and face gear 172 driven by hypoid gear 176. Face gear 172 is coupled to driven wheel 146 by clutch 174. Clutch 174 is a coupling mechanism that includes an engaged configuration in which rotation of the output shaft of the motor 178 (as transmitted by the multi-stage gear assembly) causes rotation of the driven wheel 146; and a disengaged configuration in which the driven wheel 146 is not rotated by the output shaft of the motor. In an embodiment, clutch 174 is an electrically operated device that transmits torque mechanically, such as an electromagnetic clutch. In another embodiment, clutch 174 is a mechanical-only clutch that does not operate under electrical power. [0058] The drive train components of drive system 171 in FIGS. 6 and 10 are merely illustrative, and a wide variety of other driving components and power- transmission components may employed in the present drive system. For example, the gear assembly may include helical gears, work drives (including worm gears), hypoid gears, face gears, and crown gears, including various combinations of these and other power transmission components. A face gear coupled to driven wheel 146 may be employed, for example, in combination with a spur, helical, or conical pinion.

[0059] In lieu of clutch 174, other mechanisms may be employed for engaging and disengaging the electrical motor drive and the driven wheel. Various power transmission mechanisms, such as cam mechanisms, are known alternatives to clutches for selectively engaging and disengaging a rotating input device (motor drive system) and a driven output device (driven wheel). Additional power transmission mechanisms (which may in some cases be considered clutch mechanisms) for engaging and disengaging the electrical motor drive and the driven wheel include, for example, micro-motors, solenoids, and synchromesh mechanisms.

[0060] FIG. 7 shows in perspective parts of a drive system 181 including upper drive assembly 152 and base casing 186. Base casing 186 surrounds and protects the driven wheel section 154, including driven wheel 146, of upper drive assembly 152. However, in contrast to the embodiment of FIG. 5A, base casing 186 does not serve as a channel system to redirect a continuous cord loop to one side or the other of drive system 181. Rather, drive system 181 is configured so that a continuous cord loop (not shown) engaged by driven wheel 146 is routed through the first channel 120 and second channel 122 to extend vertically directly above the drive system 181.

[0061] FIGS. 8 and 9 show selected components of a drive system (such as the drive system 181) during an exemplary procedure for installing of the drive system. In a first step the user selects a suitable mounting bracket for the particular installation (as discussed below with reference to FIGS. 11-17). In the embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9, the user selects bracket 128, which is configured to be attached to female body 164 (see FIG. 6). The user mounts bracket 128 to a desired wall or window wall frame location, while allowing the screws 135 to protrude slightly from the bracket, as seen at the right side of the composite view of FIG. 8.

[0062] The user also may select structural components of the drive system appropriate to a desired configuration of the continuous cord loop. In the embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9 the user selects the drive system configuration 181 of FIG. 7, in which the installed continuous cord loop extends vertically directly above the drive system. The user inserts the ball chain 165 through first and second channels 120, 122 and attaches the ball chain to the driven wheel 146 (not seen in FIGS. 8 and 9). The user then slidably attaches the base casing 186 (FIG. 7) to the upper drive assembly including female body 164, to secure the ball chain. Alternatively, if the user were to select a channel system 130 for one of the configurations of FIGS. 3 and 4, at this step the user would install the ball chain through the channels in channel system 130, rather than through female body 164.

[0063] At the next step, the user mounts the drive system device onto the bracket 164. As seen in the left view of FIG. 8, first mounting slot 124 includes keyways 123, and second mounting slot 126 includes keyways 127. The user inserts the heads of screws 135 (protruding from bracket 128) into keyways 123, 127 to enter female body

164. The user then pulls down the drive system device to apply tension to the ball chain

165, causing threads of screws 135 to travel upwardly within mounting slots 124, 126, as seen in an interior view of female body 164 in FIG. 9. Bracket 128 includes a rectangular bar 137, which is inserted into tension adjustment slot 125 at the center of female body 164 when the user insert screws 135 into female body 186. Tension adjustment slot 125 includes teeth 133 at its inner walls, and bracket 128 includes complementary teeth 139. The close-up view at the center of FIG. 8 shows the tension adjustment slot teeth 133 from two different perspectives. As the user pulls down, bracket teeth 139 click into tension adjustment slot teeth 133. This ratchet mechanism prevents the drive system device from rising back, and ultimately locks or secures the ball chain 165 within the device at a desired tension.

[0064] Thus, during installation, the user may lock the continuous cord loop into the drive system while providing an appropriate tension of the continuous cord loop. Other locking mechanisms may be employed in the drive system to prevent the continuous cord loop from moving out of place during operation of the drive system. In an embodiment, not illustrated here, the device includes a user-activated release mechanism to disengage the locking mechanism. Activation of this release mechanism would loosen the tension of the continuous cord loop, permitting the device to be moved in a reversal of the installation process, and removed from the mounting bracket.

[0065] Securing the continuous cord loop within the present motor drive system promotes safety, by preventing strangulation of small children and pets.

[0066] The embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9 provides one example of a procedure for installing a continuous cord loop in a drive system in accordance with the present disclosure. Numerous variations of this installation procedure are possible, e.g., in the configuration of the drive system, in the mounting of the drive system adjacent the architectural opening, in the path of the continuous cord loop both internal and external to the device, in the designs of continuous cord loop and driven wheel, and in the mechanism for locking the continuous cord loop to the driven wheel.

[0067] FIGS. 11 - 17 show various drive system installations for use in combination with an installed window covering system including continuous cord loop control. The drive system may be installed for use with a previously installed window covering system, or the drive system and window covering system may be installed together. These figures illustrate the flexible design of the present motor drive system, which may be installed in different configurations of the motor drive system, and mounted in different locations and orientations, depending on the layout of a particular architectural opening. In an embodiment, the flexible mounting arrangements enable the user to mount the motor drive system to a desired wall or window wall frame location with continuous cord loop extending below the headrail of a window covering system in a substantially vertical orientation. In an embodiment in which the continuous cord loop includes a rear cord and a front cord extending below the window covering system, the flexible mounting arrangements ensure that when mounting the drive system, the motor drive system will receive the continuous cord loop in that same orientation. Additionally, the drive system can be mounted with the continuous cord loop at a distance from the wall and from the blinds fabric or other window covering, as are generally desirable.

[0068] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a window covering system installation 200 with drive system mounted on a flat wall. Drive system 202 is mounted to the flat wall 210 at the right side, bottom of window 212. Continuous cord loop 204 extends substantially vertically below the headrail 206 of a window covering system to the drive system 202. The window covering system 200 is shown with the window covering, fabric 208, in a spread or lowered configuration.

[0069] FIG. 12 shows in perspective the drive system 202 of window covering system 200. Housing 215 includes an upper housing 216 and lower housing 218, including screws 222 mounting the system to flat wall 210. In an embodiment, the drive system may be mounted to the flat wall using a mounting bracket 108 in the configuration shown at 100 in FIG. 1. Drive system 202 includes at its top side, first channel aperture 213 and second channel aperture 214. Front and rear cords of ball chain 220 extend vertically above housing 215 through channel apertures 213, 214. In an embodiment, drive system 202 may have an internal configuration as shown in FIG. 7.

[0070] In a variation of the embodiment of FIGS. 11 and 12 not shown, the drive system is mounted at the flat wall 210 at the left side, bottom of window 212 rather than the right side, and the mounting configuration shown in FIG. 12 is reversed so that the channel apertures 213, 214 face to the right side, rather than the left side, of the device.

[0071] FIG. 13 shows in perspective a drive system 226 installed in a narrow recess wall frame, including outer wall 240 and inner wall (or inner wall frame) 242. In this configuration, the drive system housing 228 includes an upper housing 232 and lower housing 234, to which is attached channel system 234. Ball chain 230 extends from first channel aperture 236 (the front cord of the ball chain) and second channel aperture 238 (the rear cord of the ball chain). In an embodiment, the configuration of drive system 226 with channel system 234 enables the continuous cord loop (ball chain 230) to extend substantially vertically in the narrow recess wall frame installation. In an embodiment, drive system 226 may have an internal configuration as shown in FIG. 4.

[0072] FIG. 14 shows the drive system 226 as viewed from an interior perspective of the narrow recess wall frame installation, seen in phantom. Because of the narrow width of the inner wall (or inner wall frame) 242, drive system 226 is mounted on the outer wall 240 using screws 244 at lower housing 234. Drive system is mounted to outer wall 240. In another embodiment, the drive system 226 may be mounted to the flat wall using a mounting bracket (cf. FIG. 1) at lower housing 234.

[0073] FIG. 15 shows in perspective a drive system 250 installed in a medium- depth recess wall frame 264. Housing 252 includes upper housing 254 and lower housing 256. Channel system 266 is attached to lower housing 256. A ball chain 258 extends from first channel aperture and second channel aperture 260 of channel system 266. In an embodiment, drive system 250 may have an internal configuration as shown in FIG. 3. In an embodiment, drive system 250 is mounted to medium-depth recess inner wall frame 264 using screws at two of the four mounting apertures 250 seen in FIG. 3, i.e., the two right-hand mounting locations.

[0074] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a roller blind installation 270 with drive system mounted on a wide recess wall frame installation. Drive system 272 is mounted to the wide recess wall frame 282 at the right side, bottom of the window adjacent flat wall 280. Continuous cord loop 274 extends substantially vertically below the headrail 276 of a roller blind assembly to the drive system 272. The roller blind installation 270 is shown with the window covering, fabric 278, in a spread or lowered configuration.

[0075] FIG. 17 shows the drive system 272 as viewed from an interior perspective of the wide recess wall frame installation, seen in phantom. Housing 284 includes attached channel system 286. Ball chain 274 extends vertically above first channel aperture 288 (the front cord of the ball chain) and second channel aperture 290 (the rear cord of the ball chain) of channel system 286. In an embodiment, drive system 272 is mounted to wide recess wall frame 282 using four mounting screws 294. In an embodiment, drive system 272 may have an internal configuration as shown in FIG. 3. The drive system 272 of FIG. 17 includes a channel system 286 that is relatively thin relative to the width of the housing 284, and that is located close to the inner wall. This is also true of other inner wall mounting configurations; see FIG. 13, channel system 234; and FIG. 15, channel system 266. In these inner wall mounting configurations, having the continuous cord loop extend from the channel system close to the inner wall, rather than from the main housing that protrudes from the inner wall, creates a desirable separation or gap between the continuous cord loop and the fabric or other window covering. The channel system is located in the gap between the fabric or other window covering and the inner wall, which prevents the fabric or other window covering from hitting or interfering with the drive system housing.

[0076] FIG. 18 shows in an elevation view the operational components of a further drive system embodiment 300. A drive assembly 304 of drive system 300 includes motor 308 coupled to planetary gear set 314 by adapter plate 316. Planetary gear set 314 is coupled to pinion 318, which may be a helical pinion, worm pinion, or hypoid pinion. Pinion drives gear 320, which may be a face gear, worm gear, or helical gear. Gear 320 is coupled to driven wheel 324 by clutch 322. In an embodiment, clutch 322 is an electrically operated device that transmits torque mechanically, such as an electromagnetic clutch. Driven wheel 324 may be a sprocket, pulley, or other rotary structure, depending on the nature of the continuous cord loop to be engaged by the driven wheel. Other drive components of drive assembly 304 include batteries 310 and printed circuit board 312.

[0077] The housing 302 of drive system 300 houses the drive assembly, and a channel system 306. Channel system 306 redirects a continuous cord loop (not shown) engaged by the driven wheel 324, and includes a channel support 326. In an embodiment, channel support 326 is a plate or other member that is pivotally mounted at or near the driven wheel 324. Channel support 326 may pivot between the position seen in FIG. 18, to a position in which channel support 326 extends vertically above housing 302, and to a third position in which channel support 326 extends to the left of housing 302. [0078] Channel system 306 includes three redirecting wheels including first wheel 328, second wheel 330, and third wheel 332. These redirecting wheels may be sprockets or pulleys, depending on the nature of the continuous cord loop to be engaged by one or more of the redirecting wheels. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 18, one cord of the continuous cord loop can be redirected around the redirecting wheel 328, and the other cord of the continuous cord loop can be redirected around the redirecting wheel 330, in both cases extending vertically from the redirecting wheel. In a configuration in which the channel support 326 extends to the left side of housing 302, one cord of the continuous cord loop can be redirected around the redirecting wheel 328, and the other cord of the continuous cord loop can be redirected around the redirecting wheel 332, in both cases extending vertically from the redirecting wheel. In a configuration in which the channel support 326 extends vertically above the housing 302, one cord of the continuous cord loop can extend vertically between the redirecting wheel 328 and the redirecting wheel 330, optionally engaging the redirecting wheel 330 without being substantially redirected by this wheel. In this configuration, the other cord of the continuous cord loop can extend vertically between the redirecting wheel 328 and the redirecting wheel 332, optionally engaging the redirecting wheel 332 without being substantially redirected by this wheel.

[0079] FIG. 19 is a diagram of a motor drive control system 400 for continuous cord loop driven window covering systems. Control system 400 includes DC motor 402, gear assembly 404, and clutch 406. DC motor 402 and clutch 406 are both electrically powered by motor controller 408. Power sources include battery pack 412. Users may recharge battery pack 412 via power circuit 414 using a charging port 416, or a solar cell array 418. The central control element of control system 400 is microcontroller 410, which monitors and controls power circuit 414 and motor controller. Inputs to microcontroller 410 include motor encoder 422, and sensors 424. In an embodiment, sensors 424 include one or more temperature sensor, light sensor, and motion sensor. In addition, microcontroller 410 may have wireless network communication with various RF modules via radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) 430. RFIC 430 controls two way wireless network communication by the control system 400. Wireless networks and communication devices can include local area network (LAN) which may include a user remote control device, wide area network (WAN), wireless mesh network (WMN), "smart home" systems and devices such as hubs and smart thermostats, among numerous other types of communication device or system. Control system 400 may employ standard wireless communication protocols such as Bluetooth, Wifi, Z-Wave, Zigbee and THREAD.

[0080] In an embodiment, control system 400 regulates lighting, controls room temperature, and limits glare, and controls other window covering functions such as privacy.

[0081] In an embodiment, control system 400 monitors various modes of system operation and engages or disengages the clutch 406 depending on the operational state of system 400. In one embodiment, when DC motor 402 is rotating its output shaft under user (operator) control, or under automatic control by microcontroller 410, clutch 406 is engaged thereby advancing continuous cord loop 420. When microcontroller 410 is not processing an operator command or automated function to advance the continuous cord loop, clutch 406 is disengaged, and a user may advance continuous cord loop manually to operate the windows covering system. In the event of power failure, clutch 406 will be disengaged, allowing manual operation of the windows covering system.

[0082] FIG. 20 is an input/output (black box) diagram of a continuous cord loop windows blind drive control system 450.

[0083] Monitored variables (inputs) of drive control system 450 include:

[0084] 452 - user input command for blind control (e.g., string packet containing command)

[0085] 454 - distance of current position from top of blind (e.g., in meters)

[0086] 456 - rolling speed of the blind (e.g., in meters per second)

[0087] 458 - current charge level of battery (e.g., in mV)

[0088] 460 - temperature sensor output (e.g., in mV) [0089] 462 - light sensor output (e.g., in mV) [0090] 464 - motion sensor output (e.g., in mV)

[0091] 466 - smart-home hub command (e.g., string packet containing command)

[0092] 468 - smart-home data (e.g., thermostat temperature value in degrees Celsius)

[0093] Controlled variables (outputs) of drive control system 450 include:

[0094] 470 - intended rolling speed of the blind at a given time (e.g., in meters per second)

[0095] 472 - intended displacement from current position at a given time (e.g., in meters)

[0096] 474 - feedback command from the device for user (e.g., string packet containing command)

[0097] 476 - clutch engage/disengage command at a given time

[0098] 478 - output data to smart-home hub (e.g., temperature value in degrees Celsius corresponding to temperature sensor output 460)

[0099] In an embodiment, drive control system 450 sends data (such as sensor outputs 460, 462, and 464) to a third party home automation control system or device. The third party system or device can act upon this data to control other home automation functions. Third party home automation devices include for example "smart thermostats" such as the Honeywell Smart Thermostat (Honeywell International Inc., Morristown, New Jersey); Nest Learning Thermostat (Nest Labs, Palo Alto, California); Venstar programmable thermostat (Venstar, Inc., Chatsworth, California); and Lux programmable thermostat (Lux Products, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Other home automation devices include HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems, and smart ventilation systems. [0100] In another embodiment, drive control system 450 accepts commands, as well as data, from third party systems and devices and acts upon these commands and data to control the windows covering system.

[0101] In an embodiment, the drive control system 450 schedules operation of the windows covering system via user-programmed schedules.

[0102] In another embodiment, drive control system 450 controls the windows covering system based upon monitored sensor outputs. For example, based upon light sensor output 462, the window covering system may automatically open or close based upon specific lighting conditions such as opening blinds at sunrise. In another example, based upon motion sensor output 464, the system may automatically open blinds upon detecting a user entering a room. In a further example, based upon temperature sensor output 460, the system may automatically open blinds during daylight to warm a cold room. Additionally, the system may store temperature sensor data to send to other devices.

[0103] In a further embodiment drive control system 450 controls multiple windows covering systems, and may group window covering systems to be controlled together (e.g., for windows facing in a certain direction, or windows located on a given story of a building).

[0104] While various aspects and embodiments have been disclosed, other aspects and embodiments are contemplated. The various aspects and embodiments disclosed are for purposes of illustration and are not intended to be limiting, with the true scope and spirit being indicated by the following claims.

[0105] The foregoing method descriptions and the interface configuration are provided merely as illustrative examples and are not intended to require or imply that the steps of the various embodiments must be performed in the order presented. As will be appreciated by one of skill in the art the steps in the foregoing embodiments may be performed in any order. Words such as "then," "next," etc. are not intended to limit the order of the steps; these words are simply used to guide the reader through the description of the methods. Although process flow diagrams may describe the operations as a sequential process, many of the operations can be performed in parallel or concurrently. In addition, the order of the operations may be re-arranged. A process may correspond to a method, a function, a procedure, a subroutine, a subprogram, etc. When a process corresponds to a function, its termination may correspond to a return of the function to the calling function or the main function.

[0106] The various illustrative logical blocks, modules, circuits, and algorithm steps described in connection with the embodiments disclosed here may be implemented as electronic hardware, computer software, or combinations of both. To clearly illustrate this interchangeability of hardware and software, various illustrative components, blocks, modules, circuits, and steps have been described above generally in terms of their functionality. Whether such functionality is implemented as hardware or software depends upon the particular application and design constraints imposed on the overall system. Skilled artisans may implement the described functionality in varying ways for each particular application, but such implementation decisions should not be interpreted as causing a departure from the scope of the present invention.

[0107] Embodiments implemented in computer software may be implemented in software, firmware, middleware, microcode, hardware description languages, or any combination thereof. A code segment or machine-executable instructions may represent a procedure, a function, a subprogram, a program, a routine, a subroutine, a module, a software package, a class, or any combination of instructions, data structures, or program statements. A code segment may be coupled to another code segment or a hardware circuit by passing and/or receiving information, data, arguments, parameters, or memory contents. Information, arguments, parameters, data, etc. may be passed, forwarded, or transmitted via any suitable means including memory sharing, message passing, token passing, network transmission, etc.

[0108] The actual software code or specialized control hardware used to implement these systems and methods is not limiting of the invention. Thus, the operation and behavior of the systems and methods were described without reference to the specific software code being understood that software and control hardware can be designed to implement the systems and methods based on the description here. [0109] When implemented in software, the functions may be stored as one or more instructions or code on a non-transitory computer-readable or processor-readable storage medium. The steps of a method or algorithm disclosed here may be embodied in a processor-executable software module which may reside on a computer-readable or processor-readable storage medium. A non-transitory computer-readable or processor-readable media includes both computer storage media and tangible storage media that facilitate transfer of a computer program from one place to another. A non- transitory processor-readable storage media may be any available media that may be accessed by a computer. By way of example, and not limitation, such non-transitory processor-readable media may comprise RAM, ROM, EEPROM, CD-ROM or other optical disk storage, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other tangible storage medium that may be used to store desired program code in the form of instructions or data structures and that may be accessed by a computer or processor. Disk and disc, as used here, include compact disc (CD), laser disc, optical disc, digital versatile disc (DVD), floppy disk, and Blu-ray disc where disks usually reproduce data magnetically, while discs reproduce data optically with lasers. Combinations of the above should also be included within the scope of computer- readable media. Additionally, the operations of a method or algorithm may reside as one or any combination or set of codes and/or instructions on a non-transitory processor-readable medium and/or computer-readable medium, which may be incorporated into a computer program product.

[0110] Although a few embodiments have been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made to these embodiments without changing or departing from their scope, intent or functionality. The terms and expressions used in the preceding specification have been used herein as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof, it being recognized that the invention is defined and limited only by the claims that follow.