FIELD OF THE INVENTION
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The present disclosure relates generally to controlling the operation of a dishwasher appliance and more particularly to controlling the operation of a dishwasher appliance based on one or more monitored voltage signals.
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OF THE INVENTION
Modern dishwashing appliances (e.g. dishwashers) typically include a tub defining a wash chamber where, for instance, detergent, water, and heat can be applied in order to clean food and/or other materials from dishes and other articles being washed. Various cycles may be included as part of the overall cleaning process. For example, a typical, user-selected cleaning option may include a wash cycle and rinse cycle (referred to collectively as a wet cycle), as well as a drying cycle. A pre-wash cycle may also be included as part of the wet cycle, and may be automatic or an option for particularly soiled dishes.
It is common to provide dishwashers with rod-type, resistive heating elements in order to supply heat within the wash chamber during one or more of the dishwasher cycles (e.g. during the drying cycle). Generally, these heating elements include an electric resistance-type wire that is encased in a magnesium oxide-filled, metallic sheath.
A supply voltage may be applied to the heating element to facilitate the operation of the heating element. The magnitude of supply voltage can vary significantly between dishwashing appliance installations. The magnitude of supply voltage provided to the heating element can affect performance of the dishwashing appliance. As an example, an 800 watt heating element may lose about 65 watts of output power per 5 volt reduction in supply voltage. In addition, supply voltages having a large magnitude can cause damage to the dishwashing appliance and/or any contents within the dishwashing appliance (e.g. dishes, glasses, utensils, etc.) when applied to a heating element.
Thus, there is a need for a dishwashing appliance that can provide a consistent, safe performance by compensating for variations in supply voltage.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Aspects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the following description, or may be obvious from the description, or may be learned through practice of the invention.
One example aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a dishwashing appliance including a tub defining a wash chamber. The dishwashing appliance further includes a rack assembly disposed within the wash chamber for the tub. The rack assembly is configured for supporting articles for washing within the wash chamber of the tub. The dishwashing appliance further includes a resistive heating element located in the wash chamber. The dishwashing appliance further includes one or more control devices configured to control operation of the dishwashing appliance based at least in part on the determined supply voltage by detecting a supply voltage associated with the heating element, determining whether the supply voltage is within an acceptable operating supply voltage range, and adjusting at least one operational cycle of the dishwashing appliance when it is determined that the supply voltage is outside of the acceptable operating supply voltage range.
Another example aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a method of controlling a dishwashing appliance. The method includes determining a supply voltage based at least in part on one or more monitored signals. The supply voltage is associated with a heating element located in a dishwashing appliance. The method further includes determining whether the supply voltage is within an acceptable operating range of supply voltages. The method further includes controlling one or more operations of the dishwashing appliance based at least in part on whether the supply voltage is within the acceptable operating range. When it is determined that the supply voltage is not within the acceptable operating range, controlling the one or more operations of the dishwashing appliance comprises adjusting a time during which the heating element is active during one or more operational cycles based at least in part on the supply voltage.
Variations and modifications can be made to these example embodiments of the present disclosure.
These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description and appended claims. The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
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A full and enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof, directed to one of ordinary skill in the art, is set forth in the specification, which makes reference to the appended figures, in which:
FIG. 1 depicts a front view of an example dishwashing appliance according to example embodiments of the present disclosure;
FIG. 2 depicts a cross-sectional view of the example dishwashing appliance according to example embodiments of the present disclosure;
FIG. 3 depicts a block diagram of an example system for controlling one or more operations of a dishwashing appliance according to example embodiments of the present disclosure; and
FIG. 4 depicts a flow diagram of an example method of controlling one or more operations of a dishwashing appliance.
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OF THE INVENTION
Reference now will be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the drawings. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the invention, not limitation of the invention. In fact, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. For instance, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used with another embodiment to yield a still further embodiment. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.
Example aspects of the present disclosure are directed to controlling the operation of a dishwashing appliance. In particular, a dishwashing appliance can include a voltage detection circuit configured to monitor one or more signals associated with the dishwashing appliance and to determine a supply voltage based at least in part on the one or more monitored signals. The supply voltage can be a voltage applied to a heating element of the dishwashing appliance. The determined supply voltage can be compared to an acceptable operating supply voltage range to determine whether the supply voltage falls outside of the acceptable operating range.
If the determined supply voltage does fall outside of the acceptable operating range, the operation of the dishwashing appliance and/or heating element can be controlled to compensate for the supply voltage. For instance, if the determined supply voltage is less than the acceptable operating range, the operation of the dishwashing appliance can be controlled by increasing an amount of time during which power is supplied to the heating element (e.g. increasing a time during which the heating element is active) during one or more operational cycles based at least in part on the determined supply voltage. In example embodiments, this can include increasing the duration of one or more operational cycles of the dishwashing appliance and/or increasing the number of operational cycles of the dishwashing appliance. If the determined supply voltage is greater than the acceptable operating range, the operation of the dishwashing appliance can be controlled by decreasing an amount of time during which power is supplied to the heating element during one or more operational cycles based at least in part on the determined supply voltage. In example embodiments, this can include decreasing the duration of one or more operational cycles of the dishwashing appliance and/or decreasing the number of operational cycles of the dishwashing appliance.
In example embodiments, if the determined supply voltage is greater than the acceptable operating range by a significant margin, the operation of the heating element and/or the entire dishwashing appliance can be ceased. For instance, if the determined supply voltage is greater than a threshold value, operation of the heating element and/or the dishwashing appliance can be ceased. The threshold value can correspond to a voltage wherein, when applied to the heating element, may cause the heating element to provide an amount of heat energy that causes damage to the dishwashing appliance and/or the contents of the dishwashing appliance.
Turing now to the figures, FIGS. 1 and 2 depict one embodiment of a domestic dishwashing appliance 100 that may be configured in accordance with aspects of the present disclosure. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the dishwashing appliance 100 may include a cabinet 102 having a tub 104 therein defining a wash chamber 106. The tub 104 may generally include a front opening (not shown) and a door 108 hinged at its bottom 110 for movement between a normally closed vertical position (shown in FIGS. 1 and 2), wherein the wash chamber 106 is sealed shut for washing operation, and a horizontal open position for loading and unloading of articles from the dishwasher. As shown in FIG. 1, a latch 112 may be used to lock and unlock the door 108 for access to the chamber 106.
As is understood, the tub 104 may generally have a rectangular cross-section defined by various wall panels and/or walls. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, the tub 104 may include a top wall 160 and a bottom wall 162 spaced apart from one another along a vertical direction V of the dishwashing appliance 100. Additionally, the tub 104 may include a plurality of sidewalls 164 (e.g., four sidewalls) extending between the top and bottom walls 160, 162. It should be appreciated that the tub 104 may generally be formed from any suitable material. However, in several embodiments, the tub 104 may be formed from a ferritic material, such as stainless steel.
As particularly shown in FIG. 2, upper and lower guide rails 114, 116 may be mounted on opposing side walls 164 of the tub 104 and may be configured to accommodate roller-equipped rack assemblies 120 and 122 configured for supporting articles for washing within the wash chamber of the tub. Each of the rack assemblies 120, 122 may be fabricated into lattice structures including a plurality of elongated members 124 (for clarity of illustration, not all elongated members making up assemblies 120 and 122 are shown in FIG. 2). Additionally, each rack 120, 122 may be adapted for movement between an extended loading position (not shown) in which the rack is substantially positioned outside the wash chamber 106, and a retracted position (shown in FIGS. 1 and 2) in which the rack is located inside the wash chamber 106. This may be facilitated by rollers 126 and 128, for example, mounted onto racks 120 and 122, respectively. As is generally understood, a silverware basket (not shown) may be removably attached to rack assembly 122 for placement of silverware, utensils, and the like, that are otherwise too small to be accommodated by the racks 120, 122.
Additionally, the dishwashing appliance 100 may also include a lower spray-arm assembly 130 that is configured to be rotatably mounted within a lower region 132 of the wash chamber 106 directly above the bottom wall 162 of the tub 104 so as to rotate in relatively close proximity to the rack assembly 122. As shown in FIG. 2, a mid-level spray-arm assembly 136 may be located in an upper region of the wash chamber 106, such as by being located in close proximity to the upper rack 120. Moreover, an upper spray assembly 138 may be located above the upper rack 120.
As is generally understood, the lower and mid-level spray-arm assemblies 130, 136 and the upper spray assembly 138 may generally form part of a fluid circulation assembly 140 for circulating water and dishwasher fluid within the tub 104. As shown in FIG. 2, the fluid circulation assembly 140 may also include a pump 142 located in a machinery compartment 144 located below the bottom wall 162 of the tub 104, as is generally recognized in the art. Additionally, each spray-arm assembly 130, 136 may include an arrangement of discharge ports or orifices for directing washing liquid onto dishes or other articles located in rack assemblies 120 and 122, which may provide a rotational force by virtue of washing fluid flowing through the discharge ports. The resultant rotation of the lower spray-arm assembly 130 provides coverage of dishes and other dishwasher contents with a washing spray.
The dishwashing appliance 100 may be further equipped with a controller 146 configured to regulate operation of the dishwasher 100. The controller 146 can include any number of control devices and can generally include one or more memory devices and one or more processors, such as one or more general or special purpose microprocessors operable to execute programming instructions or micro-control code associated with a cleaning cycle. The processors and/or memory devices can be configured to perform a variety of computer-implemented functions and/or instructions (e.g. performing the methods, steps, calculations and the like and storing relevant data as disclosed herein). The instructions when executed by the processor(s) can cause the processor(s) to perform operations, including providing control commands to various aspects of dishwashing appliance 100.
As used herein, the term “processor” refers not only to integrated circuits referred to in the art as being included in a computer, but also refers to a controller, a microcontroller, a microcomputer, a programmable logic controller (PLC), an application specific integrated circuit, and other programmable circuits. The processor is also configured to compute advanced control algorithms and communicate to a variety of Ethernet or serial-based protocols (Modbus, OPC, CAN, etc.). Additionally, the memory device(s) may generally comprise memory element(s) including, but not limited to, computer readable medium (e.g. random access memory (RAM)), computer readable non-volatile medium (e.g. read-only memory, or a flash memory), a floppy disk, a compact disc-read only memory (CD-ROM), a magneto-optical disk (MOD), a digital versatile disc (DVD) and/or other suitable memory elements. Such memory device(s) may generally be configured to store suitable computer-readable instructions that, when implemented by the processor(s), configure controller 104 to perform the various functions as described herein. The memory may be a separate component from the processor or may be included onboard within the processor.
The controller 146 may be positioned in a variety of locations throughout dishwashing appliance 100. In the illustrated embodiment, the controller 146 is located within a control panel area 148 of the door 108, as shown in FIG. 1. In such an embodiment, input/output (“I/O”) signals may be routed between the control system and various operational components of dishwashing appliance 100 along wiring harnesses that may be routed through the bottom 110 of the door 108.