US20090301125A1 - Temperature controlled container - Google Patents

Temperature controlled container Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090301125A1
US20090301125A1 US12/300,575 US30057507A US2009301125A1 US 20090301125 A1 US20090301125 A1 US 20090301125A1 US 30057507 A US30057507 A US 30057507A US 2009301125 A1 US2009301125 A1 US 2009301125A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
container
fluid
chamber
heat transfer
device
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12/300,575
Inventor
Justin E. Myles
Daniel Eamon Reddin
Glen Gallant
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
1252110 ALBERTA Ltd
ALLEN-VANGUARD TECHNOLOGIES Inc
Allen Vanguard Tech Inc
Original Assignee
Allen Vanguard Tech Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US79966406P priority Critical
Application filed by Allen Vanguard Tech Inc filed Critical Allen Vanguard Tech Inc
Priority to US12/300,575 priority patent/US20090301125A1/en
Priority to PCT/CA2007/000858 priority patent/WO2007131355A1/en
Assigned to 1252110 ALBERTA LTD. reassignment 1252110 ALBERTA LTD. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: GALLANT, GLEN, MYLES, JUSTIN E., REDDIN, DANIEL EAMON
Assigned to ALLEN-VANGUARD TECHNOLOGIES INC. reassignment ALLEN-VANGUARD TECHNOLOGIES INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: 1252110 ALBERTA LTD.
Publication of US20090301125A1 publication Critical patent/US20090301125A1/en
Assigned to ALLEN-VANGUARD CORPORATION reassignment ALLEN-VANGUARD CORPORATION ARTICLES OF AMALGAMATION Assignors: ALLEN-VANGUARD TECHNOLOGIES INC.
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05KPRINTED CIRCUITS; CASINGS OR CONSTRUCTIONAL DETAILS OF ELECTRIC APPARATUS; MANUFACTURE OF ASSEMBLAGES OF ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS
    • H05K7/00Constructional details common to different types of electric apparatus
    • H05K7/20Modifications to facilitate cooling, ventilating, or heating
    • H05K7/20845Modifications to facilitate cooling, ventilating, or heating for vehicle electronic casings
    • H05K7/20881Liquid coolant with phase change
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60HARRANGEMENTS OR ADAPTATIONS OF HEATING, COOLING, VENTILATING, OR OTHER AIR-TREATING DEVICES SPECIALLY FOR PASSENGER OR GOODS SPACES OF VEHICLES
    • B60H1/00Heating, cooling or ventilating [HVAC] devices
    • B60H1/00271HVAC devices specially adapted for particular vehicle parts or components and being connected to the vehicle HVAC unit
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60HARRANGEMENTS OR ADAPTATIONS OF HEATING, COOLING, VENTILATING, OR OTHER AIR-TREATING DEVICES SPECIALLY FOR PASSENGER OR GOODS SPACES OF VEHICLES
    • B60H1/00Heating, cooling or ventilating [HVAC] devices
    • B60H1/00357Air-conditioning arrangements specially adapted for particular vehicles
    • B60H1/00414Air-conditioning arrangements specially adapted for particular vehicles for military, emergency, safety or security vehicles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60HARRANGEMENTS OR ADAPTATIONS OF HEATING, COOLING, VENTILATING, OR OTHER AIR-TREATING DEVICES SPECIALLY FOR PASSENGER OR GOODS SPACES OF VEHICLES
    • B60H1/00Heating, cooling or ventilating [HVAC] devices
    • B60H1/32Cooling devices
    • B60H1/3204Cooling devices using compression
    • B60H1/3232Cooling devices using compression particularly adapted for load transporting vehicles
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D11/00Self-contained movable devices, e.g. domestic refrigerators
    • F25D11/003Transport containers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H05ELECTRIC TECHNIQUES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H05KPRINTED CIRCUITS; CASINGS OR CONSTRUCTIONAL DETAILS OF ELECTRIC APPARATUS; MANUFACTURE OF ASSEMBLAGES OF ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS
    • H05K7/00Constructional details common to different types of electric apparatus
    • H05K7/20Modifications to facilitate cooling, ventilating, or heating
    • H05K7/2029Modifications to facilitate cooling, ventilating, or heating using a liquid coolant with phase change in electronic enclosures
    • H05K7/20354Refrigerating circuit comprising a compressor
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2327/00Refrigeration system using an engine for driving a compressor
    • F25B2327/001Refrigeration system using an engine for driving a compressor of the internal combustion type
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2400/00General features or devices for refrigeration machines, plants or systems, combined heating and refrigeration systems or heat-pump systems, i.e. not limited to a particular subgroup of F25B
    • F25B2400/07Details of compressors or related parts
    • F25B2400/075Details of compressors or related parts with parallel compressors
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B25/00Machines, plant, or systems, using a combination of modes of operation covered by two or more of the groups F25B1/00 - F25B23/00
    • F25B25/005Machines, plant, or systems, using a combination of modes of operation covered by two or more of the groups F25B1/00 - F25B23/00 using primary and secondary systems
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B5/00Compression machines, plant, or systems, with several evaporator circuits, e.g. for varying refrigerating capacity
    • F25B5/02Compression machines, plant, or systems, with several evaporator circuits, e.g. for varying refrigerating capacity arranged in parallel
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D15/00Devices not covered by group F25D11/00 or F25D13/00, e.g. non-self-contained movable devices
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D17/00Arrangements for circulating cooling fluids; Arrangements for circulating gas, e.g. air, within refrigerated spaces
    • F25D17/04Arrangements for circulating cooling fluids; Arrangements for circulating gas, e.g. air, within refrigerated spaces for circulating air, e.g. by convection
    • F25D17/06Arrangements for circulating cooling fluids; Arrangements for circulating gas, e.g. air, within refrigerated spaces for circulating air, e.g. by convection by forced circulation
    • F25D17/067Evaporator fan units

Abstract

A container comprises a chamber for accommodating one or more components whose temperature is to be controlled, and a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of the chamber. The chamber has a fluid inlet for introducing a second fluid into the chamber and a fluid inlet permitting the second fluid to exit from the chamber. A fluid impeller is provided for causing the second fluid to flow in heat: exchange relationship with the heat transfer device and into the chamber through the fluid inlet to cool one or more components in the chamber. A fluid coupling is provided for coupling the heat transfer device to a fluid temperature conditioning system installed in a vehicle.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to temperature controlled containers, and in particular but not limited to containers or housings for electronic or other temperature sensitive equipment.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • A known storage container includes an integrated cooling system which is based on the Peltier effect. A drawback of this system is that it uses a relatively large amount of electrical power, and therefore the containers can only be used in locations where sufficient electrical power is available. Where controlled climate conditions are required for mobile applications, the electrical energy available for cooling is often limited, particularly if the vehicle carries other equipment which requires substantial electrical power to operate. As a result, such cooling systems are unable to provide sufficient cooling power. Another drawback of these systems is that they are typically bulky and heavy.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a container comprising a chamber for accommodating one or more components, and a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber.
  • The chamber may be adapted to house electrical equipment which generates heat and whose temperature is to be controlled. Maintaining the equipment within a predetermined temperature range may be critical to its proper operation. By providing a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid, the heat transfer device can be connected to an external fluid conditioning system for conditioning the temperature of the heat transfer fluid. The fluid conditioning system may enable the component(s) within the chamber to be cooled with greater energy efficiency than in other systems. The transfer fluid conditioning system may for example comprise a refrigeration system. In some embodiments, the refrigeration system may be installed in a vehicle. For example, the refrigeration system may comprise one or more components of an air conditioning system installed in the vehicle or a dedicated refrigeration system installed in the vehicle. In either case, the refrigeration system may comprise a compressor which is driven by the engine of the vehicle or by another motor, for example an electric motor.
  • In some embodiments, the chamber has a fluid inlet for introducing a second fluid into the chamber and a fluid outlet for permitting the second fluid to exit the chamber. This arrangement allows a second fluid to be drawn into the chamber, absorb heat from one or more components installed therein and for the heated fluid to be drawn from the chamber.
  • In some embodiments, the container comprises means defining a fluid path for the second fluid, wherein the fluid path includes the chamber, wherein the heat transfer device is in the fluid path. In this embodiment, the heat transfer device is arranged to absorb heat from the second fluid.
  • In some embodiments, the container further comprises means defining a return path for the second fluid, the return path being positioned between the fluid outlet and the fluid inlet for returning second fluid from the fluid outlet to the fluid inlet of the chamber. This arrangement allows the second fluid to at least partially recirculate through the chamber.
  • In some embodiments, the flow path is substantially closed to or substantially sealed from the ambient. A benefit of this arrangement is that the second fluid can be circulated continuously between the outlet and the inlet of the chamber, removing the need for external air, for example, and filters that may be required to filter particle and other contaminants from the air before passing into the chamber.
  • In some embodiments, the container comprises a displacer for generating a flow of the second fluid in heat exchange relationship with the heat transfer device and for causing the flow of the second fluid, conditioned by the heat transfer device to flow into the chamber through the fluid inlet. The displacer may comprise a fan or other fluid impeller.
  • In some embodiments, the container excludes one or more components of a heat transfer fluid conditioning system, for example a condenser and/or a compressor of a heat transfer conditioning system. Beneficially, this enables the container to be considerably lighter and more compact.
  • In some embodiments, the container comprises a fluid coupler for releasably coupling the heat transfer device to at least one of a source of heat transfer fluid and a receiver for receiving heat transfer fluid from the heat transfer device.
  • In some embodiments, the fluid coupler includes a closure for closing off at least one of a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet of the heat transfer device. The closure may be adapted to automatically close off the respective fluid inlet or fluid outlet of the heat transfer device on decoupling of the coupler.
  • In some embodiments, the container is capable of providing a closed volume within the container.
  • In some embodiments, the container comprises one or more releasable closures for releasably closing the volume contained within the container.
  • In some embodiments, the container comprises a plurality of parts, each defining an external wall portion of the container, each part being separable from a part adjacent thereto.
  • In some embodiments, the parts include first and second closures for closing opposite ends of the container.
  • In some embodiments, the container comprises a plurality of parts each defining an external wall portion of the container, and wherein the heat transfer device is mounted on at least one of the parts.
  • In some embodiments, the container comprises a plurality of parts, each defining an external wall portion of the container, and wherein the container includes a displacer for generating a flow of second fluid in heat exchange relationship with the heat transfer device and for causing the flow of the second fluid to flow in the chamber, and wherein the displacer is mounted on at least one of the parts.
  • In some embodiments, the part on which the heat transfer device and/or the displacer is mounted comprises an end part of the container. In some embodiments, the end part may also define an end portion of the chamber.
  • In some embodiments, the container further comprises electrically operated equipment in the chamber. The equipment may for example comprise any one or more of a radio transmitter, a radio receiver, a radio transceiver, a communication device, a data processing device, an integrated circuit, an amplifier, for example a power amplifier, and a controller for controlling operation of a device.
  • In some embodiments, the container further comprises an interface for at least one of carrying electrical signals from a position external of the chamber to a device within the chamber and carrying electrical signals from a device installed within the chamber to a position external of the chamber. In some embodiments, the container further comprises an interface for carrying electrical power from a position external of the container to provide electrical power to a device to be housed within the chamber.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a container comprising a chamber for accommodating one or more components whose temperature is to be controlled, a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber, said chamber having a fluid inlet for introducing a second fluid into said chamber and a fluid outlet for permitting said second fluid to exit said chamber.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a container comprising a chamber for accommodating one or more components whose temperature is to be controlled, a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber, and a displacer for generating a flow of a second fluid in heat exchange relationship with said device, and for causing said flow of said second fluid to flow in said chamber.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a container comprising a chamber for accommodating a heat generating signal conditioning device whose temperature is to be controlled, a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber, and an interface for at least one of (a) passing signals to be conditioned by said device from a position external of said container to said device when installed in said chamber and (b) passing signals from said device when installed in said chamber to a position external of said container.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a part of a container defining an external wall of said container and forming a closure for a chamber internal of said container for closing said chamber to the ambient, said part having an interface for releasably engaging with another part of said container, wherein said part includes a heat transfer device mounted thereto for controlling the temperature of a device within the chamber when said part is connected to said other part of said container.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a container comprising a chamber for accommodating one or more components whose temperature is to be controlled, a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber, and a fluid coupler for coupling said device to a heat transfer fluid temperature conditioning system detached or remote from said container.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a vehicle comprising a first engine-driven compressor, a condenser for receiving refrigerant from said compressor, and a second compressor for compressing refrigerant and adapted to be driven by a motor other than the engine of said vehicle, and switching means for switchably coupling a supply of refrigerant to one of said first and second compressors.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a vehicle comprising a fluid temperature conditioning system including compressor, and a condenser connected to said compressor and a fluid coupling system installed in one of a passenger compartment of said vehicle and a storage compartment other than an engine compartment of said vehicle for releasably coupling the fluid conditioning system to a heat transfer device.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided the use of a container comprising a chamber for accommodating one or more components, a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber, for controlling the temperature of said one or more components when installed in said chamber.
  • According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a housing having a chamber for accommodating one or more components, a heat transfer device for receiving a first fluid, and a displacer for generating a flow of a second fluid and for causing the second fluid to flow in heat exchange relationship with the first fluid in the device and the flow of second fluid from the device to flow in said chamber.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Examples of embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the drawings, in which:
  • FIG. 1 shows a schematic diagram of a temperature controlled container and cooling system according to a first embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 shows a schematic diagram of a temperature controlled container and cooling system according to a second embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 shows a schematic diagram of a temperature controlled container and cooling system according to a third embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional side view through a temperature controlled container according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 5 shows a cross-sectional view through a temperature controlled container transverse to its length, according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 shows a cross-sectional view of the container shown in FIG. 5 along its length;
  • FIG. 7 shows a perspective rear, exploded view of a container according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 8 shows another perspective rear view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 7;
  • FIG. 9 shows a perspective front view of the container shown in FIGS. 7 and 8;
  • FIG. 10 shows a temperature controlled unit according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 11 shows a perspective view of the temperature controlled unit shown in FIG. 10 with the upper casing removed;
  • FIG. 12 shows a cross-sectional side view of a container according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 13 shows a graph of the temperature of different power amplifiers using different cooling systems according to embodiments of the present invention;
  • FIG. 14 shows a graph of the temperature difference between temperature of different power amplifiers and ambient temperature using different cooling systems according to embodiments of the present invention;
  • FIG. 15 shows a front view of a thermally controlled container according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 16 shows a cross-sectional side view of the container shown in FIG. 15 and
  • FIG. 17 shows a cooling system according to an embodiment of the present invention installed in a vehicle.
  • DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a temperature controlled container 1 according to an embodiment of the present invention comprises opposed outer walls 3,5, opposed end walls 7,9 and an internal chamber 11 for accommodating equipment 13,15,17 whose temperature is to be controlled, the chamber having a fluid inlet 12 and a fluid outlet 14. The container 1 includes a climate conditioning system 19 for controlling the temperature of equipment within the chamber 11. In this embodiment, the climate conditioning system comprises an expander 21 (e.g. an expansion valve or other device) for receiving refrigerant from a refrigerant conditioning system 23, an evaporator 25 and a displacer 27 for generating a flow of air (or other fluid) across the evaporator 25 and for causing air (or other fluid) from the evaporator to flow in the chamber 11. The displacer 27 can be any suitable device for generating an airflow in the chamber, such as a fan or blower, or any other suitable fluid impeller.
  • In this embodiment, the components of the climate conditioning system 19 are positioned towards the rear end 7 of the container. In other embodiments, the climate conditioning system may be located at any other position, for example at or towards the front end or anywhere between the front and rear ends. The container 1 also includes internal walls 29,31 spaced apart from the external walls 3,5 and which define a flow path therebetween for directing the airflow from the exit side 33 of the displacer 27 towards the front end 9 of the container, where the airflow reverses direction and flows through the inlet 12 into the internal chamber 11 in thermal contact with equipment housed therein, through the fluid outlet 14 and back through the evaporator 25 for cooling and recirculation.
  • The refrigerant conditioning system 23 comprises a first compressor 37 driven by a first motor 39, an optional second compressor 41 driven by an optional second motor 43 (or by the first motor 39), a condenser 45, an optional accumulator 47, an optional first switch 49 for switchably coupling refrigerant from the climate conditioning system to the input of one of the first and second compressors 37,41 and an optional second switch 51 for switchably coupling refrigerant from the output of one of the first and second compressors 37,41 to the condenser 45.
  • In operation, the outlet 48 of the condenser 45 is connected to the expander 21 and the outlet 28 of the evaporator 25 is connected to the inlet 38,42 of one of the compressors 37,41 via the optional accumulator 47 and the optional first switch 49. The climate control system 19 may either be permanently connected to the refrigerant conditioning system 23 or connectors 55,57 may be provided for releasably connecting the evaporator to a compressor and the condenser so that the climate controlled container can be connected and disconnected to and from the refrigerant conditioning system as and when required.
  • In one application, the refrigerant conditioning system 23 is installed in a vehicle. The first compressor 37 may comprise a compressor which is part of the vehicle's air conditioning system, or may be a separate compressor. In either case, the motor 39 driving the first compressor may be the engine of the vehicle or a separate motor from the engine. The optional second compressor 41 may be provided to enable the climate controlled container to provide temperature control when the engine of the vehicle is not operating, for example, if the first motor is the engine. The optional second motor 43 may comprise an electrically driven motor for driving the compressor 41 from an electrical power source, for example, from an electrical energy storage system carried by the vehicle. The first and second switches 49,51 enable the first and second compressors to be alternately coupled into the refrigerant conditioning system. In some embodiments, the switches may be configured to switchably enable refrigerant to flow through both compressors at the same time.
  • The condenser 45 may comprise a condenser for the vehicle's air conditioning system, or a separate condenser. Using the same condenser as the vehicle's air conditioning system may assist in saving space and also cost.
  • An example of operation of the climate conditioning system is described below. Refrigerant delivered to the input of the compressor 37,41 is compressed by the compressor and the hot high pressure refrigerant is then passed to the condenser 45 for cooling and condensing from gas to liquid. Liquid refrigerant from the condenser is passed to the expander 21, which allows the gas to expand and cool, and the cool liquid from the expander is passed to the input 26 of the evaporator 25 where it absorbs heat from air circulating in the container 3. The refrigerant then exits the evaporator through the outlet port 28 and is returned to the compressor via the optional accumulator 47. In the climate controlled container, relatively hot air from the internal chamber 11 is drawn through and cooled by the evaporator 25, passes through the exit side of the displacer 27 towards to rear end 7 of the container, where the flow is reversed, and the cool air flows along the flow paths 32,34 between the internal and external walls of the container towards the front end 9, where the flow is reversed again, and cool air passes into the internal chamber 11 to cool equipment contained therein. Heat from the equipment is absorbed by the air, and the absorbed heat is transferred to the refrigerant and thereby transferred outside the container. In this manner, air can be continuously circulated within the chamber to provide cooling for as long as required.
  • In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the container 11 is closed so that the air (or other fluid) within the container flows in a closed circuit. Advantageously, this helps prevent the air from becoming contaminated with dust, other particulate matter, such as sand, and other contaminants, and thereby preserves the integrity of the cooling system, and at the same time protects equipment within the container from contamination. This closed circuit system also removes the need for filter(s), their associated expense and the work involved in replacing or cleaning them. The presence of filters can also lead to a reduction in the performance of the cooling system as the filters begin to trap contaminants, increasing the airflow impedance and possibly reducing the flow of air within the chamber or increasing the power required to drive the air flow. Furthermore, where the container is to be used in extreme ambient temperature conditions, a closed circuit system may be more effective than an open circuit system, in which air is continuously drawn from the ambient, since the highest temperature reached in a closed circuit system, which is typically the air inlet temperature to the evaporator, may be lower than the ambient temperature. However, in other embodiments, the container may be adapted as an open circuit system, in which ambient air is drawn into and expelled from the container. A hybrid system is also possible where cooling air is partially drawn from the ambient and also from recirculated air within the container. In either embodiment, one or more suitable air filters may be provided to reduce or prevent contaminants entering the container.
  • In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the climate conditioning system components may be contained within a housing formed, for example, by an end part of the container and may be detachable from the main body of the container enclosing the internal chamber 11. The housing may be detachable from the main body of the container to facilitate access to either or both the climate conditioning system and the internal chamber 11 and any equipment housed therein. Advantageously, this also allows the climate conditioning system to be removed from the main body of the container and replaced, as necessary, for example, if the climate conditioning system requires servicing or experiences a fault or failure. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the climate conditioning components are housed in the rear end part 8, which may be detachable from the middle part 2 of the container at an interface 10, for example. The end part 8 may be secured to the middle part using any suitable releasable fastener(s). A seal (not shown) may be provided at the interface 10 for forming a seal between the end and middle parts of the container to prevent the ingress of ambient air, moisture, and contaminants into the container.
  • The front end 9 of the container may also be detachable from the main body of the container to allow access to the internal chamber for installing, manipulating or removing equipment. In one embodiment, the front end 9 includes one or more windows 26 to enable equipment housed in the container to be visually inspected or to allow visual access to any visual indicators provided on the equipment, such as gages, or lights, or other user interface device(s). The front end 9 may be secured to the middle section 2 of the container by any suitable releasable fastener(s). A seal (not shown) may be provided to form a seal between the front end 9 and the middle section to prevent the ingress of ambient air, moisture and contaminants into the container.
  • The connectors for connecting the climate conditioning system 19 to the refrigerant conditioning system 23 may comprise special connectors which prevent leakage of refrigerant from the system or the ingress of ambient air or contaminants into the system when being connected or disconnected, and an example is available from Staubli, France. The connectors may be quick release connectors.
  • In the system, heat from the container is ultimately rejected by the condenser into the ambient, and as the container can be spaced well away from the condenser, the container can be thermally isolated from the rejected heat. In addition, as the condenser need not be mounted on the container, the container can be significantly lighter than other arrangements. Similar benefits can be obtained as the compressor also need not be mounted on the container.
  • In some embodiments, the container may include one or more electrical connectors 61 to enable electrical power to be supplied to equipment housed within the container. The electrical power connector(s) may be located on any part of the container, for example, the rear part, as shown in FIG. 1, or on the middle or front part.
  • In some embodiments, the container may be adapted to enable electrical signals, for example RF signals, data and/or control signals to be exchanged between the interior and exterior of the container. For example, the container wall may include one or more through holes or ducts for cable(s), and/or an interface for passing signals through the container wall, and which may be adapted to connect with equipment housed in the container, and equipment outside the container. An example of an interface 62 is shown in FIG. 1.
  • Examples of electrically operated equipment that may be housed in the container include, but are not limited to, communication equipment, such as radio transmitters, radio receivers, transceivers, computer and other data processing devices, global positioning systems, object detection systems such as radar, electronic control equipment for controlling operational systems associated with the vehicle or any other electrical, electronic or non-electrical devices or equipment. In one embodiment, the electrical equipment includes one or more radio transmitter(s), e.g. 13 connected to one or more external antenna(s) 64 via the interface 62.
  • FIG. 2 shows another embodiment of a temperature controlled container and refrigerant conditioning system. The container and conditioning system are similar in some respects to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, and like parts are designated by the same reference numerals. In addition, the description of the embodiment of FIG. 1 applies equally to that shown in FIG. 2 except for the following differences. The main difference between the container shown in FIG. 1 and that shown in FIG. 2 is that the refrigerant expansion device is part of the refrigerant conditioning system 23 rather than mounted on the container 1. The main difference between the refrigerant conditioning system of FIG. 2 and that shown in FIG. 1 is that the refrigerant conditioning system includes an expansion device 71 and an evaporator 73. The evaporator 73 forms part of a second cooling system for providing cooling where required. For example, the second cooling system may be used to cool fluid pumped through one or more cooling garments for cooling personnel, or for any other purpose. The refrigerant conditioning system of FIG. 2 includes a fluid circuit 75 including a pump 77 and an object to be cooled such as a heat transfer garment 79, and the cooling fluid is pumped through the evaporator 73 for heat transfer therewith. Part of the refrigerant from the expansion device 71 is delivered through delivery line 81 to the evaporator 25 of the container, and refrigerant from the evaporator 25 is returned through line 83 to the refrigerant conditioning system 23.
  • In other embodiments, the refrigerant conditioning system may comprise any number of evaporators for providing cooling, where needed. The refrigerant conditioning system may comprise any number of refrigerant input/output connectors for connecting to any number of climate controlled containers, which may for example, be similar to the container 1 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of a climate controlled container and refrigeration system according to another embodiment of the present invention. In some respects, the container and refrigeration system are similar to those shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and like parts are designated by the same reference numerals. In addition, the description of the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 2 applies equally to that shown in FIG. 3 except for the following differences. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the evaporator of FIGS. 1 and 2 is replaced by a heat exchanger for carrying heat transfer fluid (i.e. coolant) therethrough for cooling air within the container. The refrigerant conditioning system 23 includes an expansion device 71 connected to the output 48 of the condenser 45 and an evaporator 85 connected between the expansion device 71 and the compressor 37. A circuit 87 is provided for circulating coolant between the evaporator 85 and the heat exchanger 84 and includes a pump 89 for pumping coolant around the circuit 87. One or more additional heat exchangers 91 may optionally be provided which also receive coolant cooled by the evaporator 85 (or in other embodiments, by one or more other evaporators). The additional heat exchanger(s) may be used to cool other objects or articles such as cooling garments for cooling personnel, or for cooling equipment or any other objects or articles. Any additional heat exchangers 91 may be connected to the same circuit 87 that cools the or each temperature controlled container 1, and if so, may be switchably connected through one or more optional switchable fluid coupling switch(es) 93, 95. In other embodiments, any additional heat exchanger(s) may be connected to a coolant circuit which is separate from the cooling circuit used to circulate coolant through the or each container 1, and each circuit may have its own pump.
  • FIGS. 4 to 9 show various views of a temperature controlled container in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The container is similar to that shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, and like parts are designated by the same reference numerals. The container 1 comprises opposed outer walls 3, 5 and opposed rear and front ends 7, 9. The container 1 comprises essentially three container parts, a rear end part 20, a middle part 22 and a front end part 24, the front and rear end parts being separable from the middle part so that the container can be opened at both ends. In this embodiment, the rear end part 20 houses an evaporator or heat exchanger 25, 84 and a displacer 27, such as a fan or other impeller for generating an airflow within the container. The container 1 includes suitable fastening means for fastening the front and rear end portions to the middle portion (for example screws, bolts, quick-release or snap fastener(s)), and the container may be adapted to provide sealing 10 between the middle part and at least one of the front and rear end portions to prevent the ingress or egress of air into or from the container, so that the internal volume of the container is effectively sealed from the ambient. In this embodiment, the front end part 24 includes an optional window 26 to allow visual access to the interior of the container. In this embodiment, the container includes opposed internal chamber walls 29, 31 spaced from the external walls 3, 5 to provide a space therebetween for the passage of air between the front and rear ends of the container. A chamber 11 is provided between the internal walls 29, 31, 50, 52 for storing equipment 13, 15, 17, 18 therein. As shown in FIG. 5, airflow passages 30, 32, 34 and 36 are provided at the top, opposite sides and bottom of the container, although in other embodiments, one or more of these airflow passages may be omitted. In other embodiments, airflow passages may be provided by any other means and may be disposed either within the container, or externally of the outer container walls. Also referring to FIG. 5, the container includes one or more supports 40, 42, 44, 46 for supporting the internal walls or panels 29, 31, 50, 52 enclosing the inner chamber 11. FIG. 5 shows a number of components 13, 15, 17, 18 mounted within the chamber 11, and these components could be any components, and non-limiting examples of which include a plurality of circuit boards or circuit cards carrying electrical and/or electronic circuits, for example RF transmitter(s), RF receiver(s) or RF transceiver circuit(s).
  • In the embodiments of FIGS. 1 to 9, the fluid displacer is depicted as operating to cause a flow of cool air from the rear of the container through the outer flow paths 30, 32, 34, 36 towards the front end of the container, where the flow is reversed and air flows through the chamber 11 back towards the rear of the container. This particular flow direction may be chosen to correspond with the direction of flow caused by any additional impellers in equipment which is housed in the container. For example, the equipment may include one or more additional fans which also blow air in a direction from the front to the rear end of the container. However, in other embodiments, the direction of the airflow may be reversed so that, for example, air from the heat exchanger is directed into the chamber towards the front end of the container and thereafter flows back towards the rear end of the container, for example, through flow paths 30, 32, 34, 36, or any other suitable flow path that may be provided.
  • In other embodiments, the evaporator or heat exchanger and displacer may be disposed at any other suitable location within the container. In any embodiments of the container, specific means for defining one or more particular flow path(s) may be omitted altogether, so that the container does not have any internal partitions for separating airflows so that the container (in the absence of any equipment stored therein) comprises a continuous free volume. In other embodiments of the container, a displacer may be omitted altogether, and the evaporator or heat exchanger may be provided on its own. Portions of the evaporator or heat exchanger may extend into the internal volume of the chamber to enable equipment to be stored therein to be closer to the evaporator element(s) to improve heat transfer between the two.
  • In some embodiments, the inlet port or ports of the flow path which introduce air flow into the chamber and the outlet port or ports of the flow path through which the airflow exits from the chamber are spaced apart to provide an airflow within the chamber between the inlet and outlet ports. The space between the ports may correspond with a space adapted for at least partially accommodating equipment whose temperature is to be controlled, so that the flow travels adjacent the equipment and between spaced apart portions thereof. In the embodiments of FIGS. 1 to 9, the airflow inlet and outlet ports are positioned adjacent opposite ends of the chamber 11 with the panels 29, 31, for example, extending from the rear to the front of the chamber. Thus, the airflow in the chamber travels along substantially the entire length of the chamber and consequently along substantially the entire length of equipment housed in the chamber, as for example shown in FIGS. 1 to 4 and 6. In other embodiments, an inlet (or outlet) port may be positioned closer to the outlet (or inlet) port so that the airflow is introduced into the chamber (and/or) exits from the chamber at an intermediate position between the opposite ends of the chamber. In this case, the airflow may be directed specifically over a limited portion of equipment in the chamber, rather than over its full extent. For example, referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, one or more panels 29, 31, 50, 52 may extend to a position P, spaced a distance D from the rear of the chamber 11, with the front edge of the panel being set back from position 54, to position 54′, behind the front 56 of the chamber.
  • In other embodiments, the flow path may provide a plurality of air inlet (or air outlet) ports at different positions along the chamber.
  • Although in the embodiments of FIGS. 1 to 6, equipment is installed in the chamber 11, defined between a plurality of inner panels, in other embodiments, equipment may alternatively or additionally be installed in the space between one or more inner panel(s) and the container wall. Some embodiments may comprise a plurality of separate chambers for housing equipment, and the airflow paths through the chambers may be arranged in parallel or in series and air may be caused to flow through the chambers in the same or different directions.
  • In some embodiments, a portion of or the entire container may include thermal insulation means for thermally insulating the interior of the container from the ambient. The thermal insulating means may comprise a thermal insulating material, e.g. positioned on the inside and/or the outside of the container wall or forming the container wall, and/or an evacuated space between the outer wall and interior of the container. An example of an insulating layer is shown as layer 58 in FIG. 6.
  • In any embodiment, the container may be sized to be accommodated in the interior of a vehicle, for example in a passenger compartment thereof. The container may be of a portable size, and may be portable.
  • In any embodiment, the container may include one or more equipment mountings for mounting equipment in the container, for example mountings 68 in FIG. 5. The mounting(s) may be adapted to limit movement of the equipment, or to secure or fasten the equipment in place.
  • FIGS. 10, 11 and 12 show another embodiment of a temperature controlled container according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 10 shows a perspective view of the container which comprises upper and lower casings 103, 105, and FIG. 11 shows another view of the container 101 with the upper casing removed, and the container connected to a refrigerant or coolant conditioning system 107. FIG. 12 shows a cross-sectional side view through the container. Referring to these figures, the lower casing 105 provides a housing for equipment, for example electrical components, which in this embodiment are components of a radio transmitter that includes a signal generating portion 109 and one or more power amplifiers 111. The container includes a heat transfer device 113 such as a heat exchanger or an evaporator, which in this embodiment is positioned within the upper casing 103, although in other embodiments, the heat transfer device 113 may be located at any other suitable position. The container includes a fluid displacer 115 for generating a flow of circulating air within the container. In this embodiment, the fluid displacer 115 is located in the lower casing 105 and in front of the power amplifier(s) 111. However, in other embodiments, the fluid displacer 115 may be located at any other suitable position. Connectors 117 are provided for releasably connecting inlet and outlet ports of the heat transfer device 113 to a coolant or refrigerant conditioning system 107. The refrigerant or coolant conditioning system 107 may comprise any of the systems described above with reference to FIGS. 1 to 9, for example or any other suitable system.
  • In operation, refrigerant or coolant is supplied to the heat transfer device 113 and the fluid displacer 115 is operated to drive a circulating airflow through the power amplifier(s) to effect cooling thereof. The relatively hot air exiting the rear of the power amplifier(s) is returned to the heat transfer device 113, which cools the airflow before being returned for cooling the power amplifier(s) 111. In this arrangement, the power amplifier(s) 111 are positioned towards the rear of the container or housing and air is circulated in a direction from the front to the rear of the housing through the power amplifier(s) (as shown by the arrows in FIG. 12) so that the heat emitted from the amplifier(s) and extracted by the airflow is not transferred to other components, for example, components of the electronic system. However, in other embodiments, the airflow could be reversed.
  • In this embodiment, the upper and lower casings 103, 105 may provide a sealed housing to prevent ambient air, that may be contaminated with particulate matter, from entering the housing from the ambient and which could otherwise compromise the operation and performance of components within the housing and also operation of the cooling system.
  • The connectors 117 may comprise special fluid connectors which enable the container to be released from the external refrigerant or coolant conditioning system 107, preferably without loss of fluid from the cooling circuit or exposing the cooling fluid or internal parts of the cooling circuit to contaminants from the ambient. An example of a suitable connector is described above and is available from Staubli, France.
  • Once the portion of the cooling system within the container is charged with coolant or refrigerant, the container can be connected and disconnected to the external coolant or refrigerant conditioning system as and when required and the cooling system is then ready to operate straight away.
  • FIGS. 13 and 14 show graphs of the temperature of each of four power amplifiers contained in a container such as that shown in FIGS. 10 to 12, comparing a system in which the power amplifiers are air cooled, simply by passing ambient air through the power amplifiers and a system based on FIGS. 10 to 12 in which liquid is used to cool the power amplifiers. As illustrated by these graphs, using a liquid cooling system is significantly more effective in cooling the power amplifiers than using ambient air.
  • FIGS. 15 and 16 show a temperature controlled container according to another embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 15 shows a front view of the container, and FIG. 16 shows a cross-sectional side view through the container. The container 201 comprises an outer wall 203 enclosing a chamber 205, which includes a component support structure 207 having a plurality of supports, e.g. shelves 209, 211, 213, 214 and a base 215, each for supporting equipment such as electrically operated equipment 217, 219, 221, 223. The container includes a heat transfer device 225, such as a heat exchanger or evaporator, and a fluid displacer 227 for generating a flow of air (or other fluid) within the container. In this particular embodiment, the heat transfer device and fluid displacer are mounted in the upper section 229 of the support structure 207, although they may be mounted at any other suitable location, for example, in one of the lower sections or externally of the support structure (e.g. between the support structure 207 and the front, rear or base of the container).
  • The container 201 further comprises front and rear end portions 229, 231 which are spaced from the respective front and rear end portions 233, 235 of the support structure to provide a space 237, 239 therebetween for the passage of air. In operation, air is drawn through the displacer 227 across the heat transfer device 225, through the front air passage 239, through each equipment compartment 243, 245, 247, 249, towards the rear of each compartment and into the return air passage 241 to return to the displacer 227.
  • The heat transfer device may be connected to any suitable refrigerant or coolant conditioning system, examples of which are described above and shown in FIGS. 1 to 3. Releasable fluid connectors/couplers may be provided for releasably coupling the heat transfer device 225 to the refrigerant/coolant conditioning system, so that the container 201 can be connected to and disconnected from the refrigerant/coolant conditioning system, as and when required.
  • In this embodiment, the cooling fluid (e.g. air) is circulated in a closed path and the container may be substantially sealed to avoid ingress of external contaminants. Providing a closed fluid path also has the other benefits identified above, such as removing the need for air filters and possibly reducing the peak temperature of air within the unit by not sourcing cooling air from the ambient, which may be hotter than air returned to the heat exchanger in a closed cycle system. However, in other embodiments, the container may be adapted to draw cooling air from the ambient and expel the air from the container to the ambient once heat is absorbed, as for an open cycle system. In other embodiments, the container may be adapted for partial recirculation of air and partial intake of air from the ambient.
  • In other embodiments, the circulating air may be reversed from that shown by the arrows in FIG. 16 so that air flows from the back to the front of the container through the support structure compartments 243, 245, 247, 249.
  • The support structure 207 can be supported within the container by any suitable support system, for example supports 251, 253, if required which in this particular embodiment act as spacers for spacing the top and bottom of the support structure from the external top and bottom walls of the container. In other embodiments, no or little spacing may be provided between the outer walls and the top and/or bottom of the support structure.
  • FIG. 17 shows an example of a temperature controlled container and refrigerant conditioning system according to an embodiment of the present invention, installed in a vehicle. In this embodiment, the refrigerant conditioning system comprises a compressor 303, a condenser 305 and an expansion device 307, for example an expansion valve, e.g. a thermally controlled expansion valve. The compressor 303 may be adapted to be driven by the engine of the vehicle and may for example comprise the compressor of the engine's air conditioning system, or a separate compressor. Alternatively, the compressor may be driven by an electric motor, so that thermal conditioning can be affected when the vehicle engine is not running. In some embodiments, the vehicle may be equipped with compressors driven by different motors, as for example, described above with reference to FIGS. 1 to 3. In this embodiment, the vehicle is equipped with a cooling system for cooling personnel within the vehicle, the cooling system comprising a cooling unit or chiller 309 connected to the expansion device 307 for conditioning the temperature of a coolant, and one or more cooling garments 311, 313, 315, 317, 319 to be worn by personnel within the vehicle. In one embodiment, the cooling garments include a conduit for carrying fluid adjacent a person's body to effect cooling thereof. The cooling unit may include an evaporator for receiving refrigerant from the expansion device 307 and for exchanging heat with a liquid coolant which is fed, for example, by a pump to one or more heat transfer garments connected to the heat transfer unit 309.
  • An evaporator 321 is connected between the heat transfer unit and the compressor 303, and which may provide cooling for air for the interior of the vehicle as part of the vehicle's air conditioning system.
  • In this embodiment, a temperature controlled container 323 having a heat transfer unit 325 such as an evaporator is connected to the cooling system, and in this embodiment, the evaporator 325 receives refrigerant from the heat transfer unit 309 and returns refrigerant to the compressor 303. Fluid couplers 327, 329 may be provided to enable the evaporator 325 to be connected and disconnected to and from the cooling system, as required, so that the container 323 can be installed in and removed from the vehicle, as and when required. In other embodiments, any number of fluid couplers may be provided to enable any number of temperature controlled containers to be installed in the vehicle.
  • Embodiments of the temperature controlled container provide a unit that can be readily plugged into a separate, external refrigerant/coolant conditioning system. Advantageously, as the container does not include a condenser or compressor, the container can be more compact and lighter than if a complete refrigeration system was mounted to the container. This also potentially increases the amount of available space within the container for storing or housing equipment to be cooled.
  • Other aspects and embodiments of the invention comprise any feature disclosed herein in combination with any one or more other features disclosed herein, a variant or equivalent thereof. In any aspects of the invention or embodiments described above, any one or more features may be omitted altogether or substituted by an equivalent or variant thereof.
  • Numerous modifications and changes to the embodiments described above will be apparent to those skilled in the art.

Claims (64)

1. A container comprising a chamber for accommodating one or more components whose temperature is to be controlled, a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber, said chamber having a fluid inlet for introducing a second fluid into said chamber and a fluid outlet for permitting said second fluid to exit said chamber.
2. A container as claimed in claim 1, comprising means defining a fluid path for said second fluid, wherein said fluid path includes said chamber, and said heat transfer device is in said fluid path.
3. A container as claimed in claim 1, further comprising return path defining means defining a path for said second fluid between said fluid outlet and said fluid inlet for returning second fluid from said fluid outlet to said fluid inlet.
4. A container as claimed in claim 3, wherein said flow path is substantially closed to or sealed from the ambient.
5. A container as claimed in claim 1, comprising a space in said chamber between said fluid inlet and said fluid outlet, and mounting means for at least one of supporting and securing a component at a position within said space.
6. A container as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a displacer for generating a flow of said second fluid in heat exchange relationship with said device, and for causing said flow of said second fluid conditioned by said device to flow into said chamber through said fluid inlet.
7. A container as claimed in claim 6, wherein said displacer comprises a fan or other fluid impeller.
8. A container as claimed in claim 1, excluding at least one of a condenser and a compressor for conditioning said heat transfer fluid.
9. A container as claimed in claim 1 excluding mounting means for mounting at least one of a compressor and a condenser to said container.
10. A container as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a fluid coupler for releasably coupling said device to at least one of a source of heat transfer fluid and a receiver for receiving heat transfer fluid from said device.
11. A container as claimed in claim 10, wherein said coupler includes a closure for closing off at least one of a fluid inlet and fluid outlet of said device.
12. A container claimed in claim 11, wherein said closure is adapted to automatically close off said fluid inlet or fluid outlet of said device on decoupling of said coupler.
13. A container comprising a chamber for accommodating one or more components whose temperature is to be controlled, a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber, and a displacer for generating a flow of a second fluid in heat exchange relationship with said device, and for causing said flow of said second fluid to flow in said chamber.
14. A container as claimed in claim 13, wherein said displacer comprises a fan or other fluid impeller.
15. A container as claimed in claim 13, excluding at least one of a condenser and a compressor for conditioning said heat transfer fluid for said device.
16. A container as claimed in claim 13, excluding mounting means for mounting at least one of a compressor and a condenser to said container.
17. A container as claimed in claim 13, further comprising a fluid coupler for releasably coupling said device to at least one of a source of heat transfer fluid and a receiver for receiving heat transfer fluid from said device.
18. A container as claimed in claim 17, wherein said coupler includes a closure for closing off at least one of a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet of said device.
19. A container as claimed in claim 18, wherein said closure is adapted to automatically close off said fluid inlet or said fluid outlet of said device on decoupling of said coupler.
20. A container as claimed in claim 1, wherein said one or more components comprises a heat generating, signal conditioning device and said container comprises an interface for at least one of (a) passing signals to be conditioned by said device from a position external of said container to said device when positioned in said container and (b) passing signals from said device to a position external of said container when said device is installed in said chamber.
21. A container as claimed in claim 20, wherein said interface is configured for carrying at least one of RF signals, digital communication signals, data signals, digital control signals and signals other than temperature control signals for controlling the temperature of said chamber.
22. A container as claimed in claim 1, further comprising an interface for carrying electrical power from a position external of said container to provide electrical power to an electrical component to be housed within said chamber.
23. A container as claimed in claim 20, further comprising a connector for releasably connecting said interface to said component(s).
24. A container comprising a chamber for accommodating a heat generating signal conditioning device whose temperature is to be controlled, a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber, and an interface for at least one of (a) passing signals to be conditioned by said device from a position external of said container to said device when installed in said chamber and (b) passing signals from said device when installed in said chamber to a position external of said container.
25. A container as claimed in claim 24, wherein said interface is configured for carrying at least one of RF signals, digital communication signals, data signals, digital control signals and signals other than temperature control signals for controlling the temperature of said chamber.
26. A container as claimed in claim 24, further comprising an interface for carrying electrical power from a position external of said container to provide electrical power to an electrical component to be housed within said chamber.
27. A container as claimed in claim 24, further comprising a connector for releasably connecting said interface to said device.
28. A container as claimed in claim , wherein said heat transfer device comprises at least one of an evaporator and a heat exchanger.
29. A container as claimed in claim 1, further comprising at least one of (1) a support for supporting one or more components within the container and (2) retaining means for securing one or more components within said chamber.
30. (canceled)
31. A container as claimed in claim 1, configured to provide a closed volume within the container.
32. A container as claimed in claim 1, further comprising one or more releasable closures for releasably closing the volume contained within the container.
33. A container as claimed in claim 1, wherein said container comprises a plurality of parts, each defining an external wall portion of said container, each part being separable from a part adjacent thereto.
34. A container as claimed in claim 33, wherein said parts include first and second closures for closing opposite ends of said container.
35. A container as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a plurality of parts each defining an external wall portion of said container, and wherein said heat transfer device is mounted on at least one of said parts.
36. A container as claimed in claim 1, comprising a plurality of parts, each defining an external wall portion of said container, and wherein said container includes a displacer for generating a flow of a second fluid in heat exchange relationship with said device, and for causing said flow of said second fluid to flow in said chamber, and wherein said displacer is mounted on at least one of said parts.
37. A container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said chamber comprises a plurality of separable parts, and at least one of said heat transfer device and a displacer for generating a flow of said second fluid in heat exchange relationship with said heat transfer device is mounted on one of said parts of said chamber.
38. A container as claimed in claim 37, wherein at least one of said parts comprises an end part and said at least one of said heat transfer device and said displacer is mounted on said end part.
39. A container as claimed in claim 1, comprising a plurality of parts, each defining a wall part of said container, and fastening means for releasably fastening said parts together.
40. A container as claimed in claim 39, further comprising sealing means for sealing the junction between at least two adjacent parts.
41. A container as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least part of a wall of the container is transparent to enable visual communication with the inside of said container.
42. A container as claimed in claim 1, further comprising means for providing a flow path in said container, said flow path including said heat transfer device, a displacer for generating a flow of fluid in said chamber, said chamber, and another path for returning fluid to said chamber.
43. A container as claimed in claim 42, wherein said flow path is closed to the ambient.
44. A container as claimed in claim 42, wherein said flow path is endless.
45. A container as claimed in claim 42, wherein said flow path includes a path separate from said chamber, said path extending substantially the length of said chamber.
46. A container as claimed in claim 1, further comprising electrically operated equipment in said chamber.
47. A container as claimed in claim 46, wherein said equipment includes any one or more of a radio transmitter, a radio receiver, a radio transceiver, a communication device, a data processing device, an amplifier, an integrated circuit and a controller for controlling operation of a device.
48. A container as claimed in claim 1, wherein said heat transfer device comprises an evaporator for receiving refrigerant, and an expansion device for expanding refrigerant and being connected to an inlet of said evaporator.
49. A part of a container defining an external wall of said container and forming a closure for a chamber internal of said container for closing said chamber to the ambient, said part having an interface for releasably engaging with another part of said container, wherein said part includes a heat transfer device mounted thereto for controlling the temperature of a device within the chamber when said part is connected to said other part of said container.
50. A part as claimed in claim 49, further comprising a fluid displacer mounted to said part.
51. A part as claimed in claim 49, further comprising an expansion device coupled to an inlet port of said heat transfer device.
52. (canceled)
53. A container as claimed in claim 1, wherein the container is sized to be at least one of portable and installed in the interior of a vehicle.
54. A container as claimed in claim 1, wherein said heat transfer device is coupled to receive heat transfer fluid from a fluid temperature conditioning system installed in a vehicle.
55. A container comprising a chamber for accommodating one or more components whose temperature is to be controlled, a heat transfer device for receiving heat transfer fluid for controlling the temperature of said chamber, and a fluid coupler for coupling said device to a heat transfer fluid temperature conditioning system detached or remote from said container.
56. A container as claimed in claim 55, wherein said coupler comprises a releasable coupler.
57. (canceled)
58. A vehicle comprising a first engine-driven compressor, a condenser for receiving refrigerant from said compressor, and a second compressor for compressing refrigerant and adapted to be driven by a motor other than the engine of said vehicle, and switching means for switchably coupling a supply of refrigerant to one of said first and second compressors.
59. (canceled)
60. A vehicle comprising a fluid temperature conditioning system including a compressor and a condenser connected to said compressor and a fluid coupling system installed in one of a passenger compartment of said vehicle and a storage compartment other than an engine compartment of said vehicle for releasably coupling the fluid conditioning system to a heat transfer device.
61. A vehicle as claimed in claim 60, wherein said coupling system comprises a closure for closing off fluid from the ambient.
62. A vehicle as claimed in claim 61, wherein said closure is configured to automatically close off fluid from the ambient when the coupling system decouples said fluid conditioning system from said heat transfer device.
63. A vehicle as claimed in claim 60, further comprising a container for housing equipment, said container including said heat transfer device for releasably coupling to said fluid coupling system.
64-66. (canceled)
US12/300,575 2006-05-12 2007-05-14 Temperature controlled container Abandoned US20090301125A1 (en)

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WO2007131355A1 (en) 2007-11-22

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