US20130098576A1 - Air conditioner - Google Patents

Air conditioner Download PDF

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Publication number
US20130098576A1
US20130098576A1 US13/807,105 US201113807105A US2013098576A1 US 20130098576 A1 US20130098576 A1 US 20130098576A1 US 201113807105 A US201113807105 A US 201113807105A US 2013098576 A1 US2013098576 A1 US 2013098576A1
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Prior art keywords
refrigerant
air conditioner
refrigerant leakage
detecting
air
Prior art date
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US13/807,105
Inventor
Akira Fujitaka
Yoshikazu Kawabe
Kazuhiko Marumoto
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Panasonic Intellectual Property Management Co Ltd
Original Assignee
Panasonic Corp
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to JP2010-151770 priority Critical
Priority to JP2010151770A priority patent/JP2012013348A/en
Application filed by Panasonic Corp filed Critical Panasonic Corp
Priority to PCT/JP2011/001979 priority patent/WO2012001847A1/en
Assigned to PANASONIC CORPORATION reassignment PANASONIC CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: FUJITAKA, AKIRA, KAWABE, YOSHIKAZU, MARUMOTO, KAZUHIKO
Publication of US20130098576A1 publication Critical patent/US20130098576A1/en
Assigned to PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD. reassignment PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: PANASONIC CORPORATION
Assigned to PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD. reassignment PANASONIC INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO., LTD. CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE ERRONEOUSLY FILED APPLICATION NUMBERS 13/384239, 13/498734, 14/116681 AND 14/301144 PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 034194 FRAME 0143. ASSIGNOR(S) HEREBY CONFIRMS THE ASSIGNMENT. Assignors: PANASONIC CORPORATION
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28FDETAILS OF HEAT-EXCHANGE AND HEAT-TRANSFER APPARATUS, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F28F27/00Control arrangements or safety devices specially adapted for heat-exchange or heat-transfer apparatus
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F1/00Room units for air-conditioning, e.g. separate or self-contained units or units receiving primary air from a central station
    • F24F1/0007Indoor units, e.g. fan coil units
    • F24F1/009Indoor units, e.g. fan coil units characterised by heating arrangements
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/30Control or safety arrangements for purposes related to the operation of the system, e.g. for safety or monitoring
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/30Control or safety arrangements for purposes related to the operation of the system, e.g. for safety or monitoring
    • F24F11/32Responding to malfunctions or emergencies
    • F24F11/36Responding to malfunctions or emergencies to leakage of heat-exchange fluid
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/70Control systems characterised by their outputs; Constructional details thereof
    • F24F11/72Control systems characterised by their outputs; Constructional details thereof for controlling the supply of treated air, e.g. its pressure
    • F24F11/79Control systems characterised by their outputs; Constructional details thereof for controlling the supply of treated air, e.g. its pressure for controlling the direction of the supplied air
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/89Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F2110/00Control inputs relating to air properties
    • F24F2110/10Temperature

Abstract

An air conditioner of the present invention includes temperature distribution detecting means 12 for detecting a temperature distribution in a room 1, refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 for detecting refrigerant leakage, air-blowing means 14, air-blowing control means 17 c for controlling air-blowing means 14, and wind-direction control means 17 d for controlling a wind direction of the air-blowing means 14. When the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 detects refrigerant leakage, the air-blowing control means 17 c and/or the wind-direction control means 17 d disperses a leaked refrigerant in a direction different from inhabitants 3 and a heat source apparatus 4 detected by the temperature distribution detecting means 12 thereby enhancing the energy efficiency and safety when a flammable refrigerant is used as a refrigerant.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates to an air conditioner capable of enhancing energy efficiency and safety.
  • BACKGROUND TECHNIQUE
  • At present, an HFC-based flon refrigerant which does not destroy the ozone layer is used as a refrigerant for an air conditioner. However, the HFC-based refrigerant has extremely high global warming potential, and to prevent global warming, emission of the HFC-based refrigerant is restricted. Hence, it is considered to use a natural refrigerant such as a HFC-based refrigerant and a hydrocarbon-based refrigerant having low global warming potential as a refrigerant for a refrigeration air conditioner. However, among the hydrocarbon-based refrigerant and the HFC-based refrigerant, a refrigerant such as R32 having relatively small influence on global warming is flammable as its properties. Therefore, for hazard prevention when the refrigerant leaks, a primary cycle using a flammable refrigerant and a secondary cycle using a brine are used (see patent document 1 for example).
  • PRIOR ART DOCUMENT Patent Document
  • [Patent Document 1] Japanese Patent Application Laid-open No. H10-35266
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Problem to be Solved by the Invention
  • However, the conventional air conditioner includes the primary cycle using the flammable refrigerant and the secondary cycle using the brine, and energy efficiency is not taken into consideration. Especially, electric input of a brine circulation pump is increased, and there is a problem that the energy efficiency is deteriorated.
  • Hence, it is an object of the present invention to provide an air conditioner capable of enhancing the energy efficiency and safety when a flammable refrigerant is used as a refrigerant.
  • Means for Solving the Problem
  • To solve the conventional problem, the present invention provides an air conditioner comprising temperature distribution detecting means for detecting a temperature distribution in a room, refrigerant leakage detecting means for detecting refrigerant leakage, air-blowing means, air-blowing control means for controlling the air-blowing means, and wind-direction control means for controlling a wind direction of the air-blowing means, wherein when the refrigerant leakage detecting means detects refrigerant leakage, the air-blowing control means and/or the wind-direction control means disperses a leaked refrigerant.
  • According to this configuration, when a refrigerant leaks, the temperature distribution detecting means detects inhabitants and a heat source apparatus, and it is possible to disperse the refrigerant in a direction different from the inhabitants and the heat source apparatus.
  • Effect of the Invention
  • According to the present invention, it is possible to realize an air conditioner having high energy efficiency, and to enhance safety.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is an installation diagram showing an example of installation of an air conditioner according to a first embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram for realizing refrigerant leakage control of the air conditioner of the embodiment;
  • FIG. 3 is a flowchart showing a refrigerant leakage detecting operation of the air conditioner of the embodiment;
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram for realizing refrigerant leakage control of an air conditioner of a second embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing a refrigerant leakage detecting operation of the air conditioner of the embodiment;
  • FIG. 6 is a block diagram for realizing refrigerant leakage control of an air conditioner of a third embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing a refrigerant leakage detecting operation of the air conditioner of the embodiment;
  • FIG. 8 is a block diagram for realizing refrigerant leakage control of an air conditioner of a fourth embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing a refrigerant leakage detecting operation of the air conditioner of the embodiment; and
  • FIG. 10 is a diagram showing a relation between a refrigerant mixing ratio and a global warming potential in the embodiment of the invention.
  • EXPLANATION OF SYMBOLS
    • 1 room
    • 3 inhabitants
    • 4 heat source apparatus
    • 10 air conditioner
    • 11 refrigerant leakage alarm means
    • 11 a alarm sound generating means
    • 11 b alarm light generating means
    • 12 temperature distribution detecting means
    • 13 refrigerant leakage detecting means
    • 16 communication means
    • 17 control means
    • 17 a determination circuit
    • 17 b output circuit
    • 17 c air-blowing control means
    • 17 d wind-direction control means
    • 17 e storing circuit
    • 18 operation switch
    • 19 energization circuit
    • 19 a body power source
    • 19 b storage battery
    • 19 c energization-verification circuit
    • 19 d power source determination circuit
    • 19 e power source-supply circuit
    • 19 f control means power source operating means
    • 21 ventilator (another device) including communication means
    • 22 electric fan (another device) including communication means
    • 23 alarm device (another device) including communication means
    MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
  • A first aspect of the invention provides an air conditioner comprising temperature distribution detecting means for detecting a temperature distribution in a room, refrigerant leakage detecting means for detecting refrigerant leakage, air-blowing means, air-blowing control means for controlling the air-blowing means, and wind-direction control means for controlling a wind direction of the air-blowing means, wherein when the refrigerant leakage detecting means detects refrigerant leakage, the air-blowing control means and/or the wind-direction control means disperses a leaked refrigerant. According to this aspect, the air conditioner can disperse the refrigerant in a direction different from the inhabitants, and it is possible to prevent the refrigerant from staying in the vicinity of the inhabitants. Further, it is possible to prevent a refrigerant from being decomposed by a stay of the refrigerant or a heat source apparatus.
  • According to a second aspect of the invention, in the first aspect, the air conditioner further includes refrigerant leakage alarm means which gives an alarm when the refrigerant leakage detecting means detects refrigerant leakage, and the refrigerant leakage alarm means gives an alarm by means of sound and/or light. Hence, it is possible to inform inhabitants of abnormality and to avoid danger.
  • According to a third aspect of the invention, in the first or second aspect, the air conditioner further includes communication means for communicating with other devices, and operations of the other devices are controlled. Hence, it is possible to operate a ventilator or an electric fan having communication means, to disperse the leaked refrigerant in a direction different from inhabitants or the heat source apparatus, to stop the heat source apparatus having the communication means, and to prevent a refrigerant from being decomposed by a stay of the refrigerant or the heat source apparatus. Further, it is possible to give an alarm from an alarm device connected to another apparatus through the communication means, to inform inhabitants of abnormality and to avoid danger.
  • According to a fourth aspect of the invention, in the second or third aspect, the air conditioner further includes a storage battery provided in parallel to a body power source of the air conditioner as a power source for the refrigerant leakage detecting means and the refrigerant leakage alarm means, an energization-verification circuit for verifying energization of the air conditioner, and a power source determination circuit for selecting a power source device of the refrigerant leakage detecting means and the refrigerant leakage alarm means by a signal of the energization-verification circuit. Hence, if leakage of a refrigerant is detected when the operation of the air conditioner is stopped or power is cut, power can be supplied by the storage battery to give an alarm, and this is extremely effective for avoiding danger.
  • According to a fifth aspect of the invention, in any one of the first to fourth aspects, the air conditioner further includes control means for controlling operation of at least one of the refrigerant leakage alarm means, the air-blowing control means, the wind-direction control means and the communication means in accordance with refrigerant concentration detected by the refrigerant leakage detecting means. Hence, even if the concentration is lower than a concentration set value which is provided for preventing erroneous detection of the refrigerant leakage, it is possible to operate the refrigerant leakage alarm means, the air-blowing control means, the wind-direction control means and the communication means, to inform inhabitants of abnormality and to avoid danger.
  • According to a sixth aspect of the invention, in any one of the first to fifth aspects, a flammable refrigerant is used. Hence, when the flammable refrigerant leaks, it is possible to dispose the flammable refrigerant in a direction different from inhabitants or a heat source apparatus, and it is possible to avoid a case where the flammable refrigerant is ignited by a stay of the refrigerant or the heat source apparatus.
  • According to a seventh aspect of the invention, in the sixth aspect, the flammable refrigerant is a single refrigerant of a HFC-based refrigerant, a single refrigerant of a hydrogen fluoride-based refrigerant having double bond of carbon, or a mixture refrigerant having the single refrigerant as a main ingredient. Hence, when the flammable refrigerant leaks, it is possible to dispose the flammable refrigerant in a direction different from inhabitants or a heat source apparatus, and it is possible to avoid a case where the flammable refrigerant is ignited by a stay of the refrigerant or the heat source apparatus. Further, influence on global warming can be reduced.
  • According to an eighth aspect of the invention, in the sixth aspect, the flammable refrigerant is a single refrigerant of hydrocarbon or a mixture refrigerant including the single refrigerant of hydrocarbon as a main ingredient. Hence, when the flammable refrigerant leaks, it is possible to dispose the flammable refrigerant in a direction different from inhabitants or a heat source apparatus, and it is possible to avoid a case where the flammable refrigerant is ignited by a stay of the refrigerant or the heat source apparatus. Further, influence on global warming can be reduced.
  • According to a ninth aspect of the invention, in the seventh or eighth aspect, the single refrigerant or a refrigerant in which two or three ingredients are mixed such that global warming potential becomes 5 or more and 750 or less, preferably 350 or less and more preferably 150 or less is used as the flammable refrigerant. Hence, when the flammable refrigerant leaks, it is possible to dispose the flammable refrigerant in a direction different from inhabitants or a heat source apparatus, and it is possible to avoid a case where the flammable refrigerant is ignited by a stay of the refrigerant or the heat source apparatus. Further, it is possible to contribute to prevention of global warming.
  • According to a tenth aspect of the invention, in any one of the first to ninth aspects, synthetic oil containing any of the following oxygenated compound, as main ingredient, polyoxyalkylene glycol, polyvinyl ether, poly (oxy) alkylene glycol or copolymer of monoether and polyvinyl ether thereof, polyol ester and polycarbonate; synthetic oil containing, as main ingredient, alkylbenzene or α olefin; or mineral oil is used as the refrigeration oil. Hence, it is possible to prevent the flammable refrigerant from being ignited. Further, it is possible to contribute to enhancement of reliability of the air conditioner.
  • An embodiment of an air conditioner of the present invention will be described below. The invention is not limited to the embodiment.
  • FIG. 1 is an installation diagram showing an example of installation of an air conditioner according to a first embodiment of the present invention.
  • In FIG. 1, the air conditioner 10 is installed on a wall of a room 1. The air conditioner 10 includes a refrigeration cycle circuit composed of a compressor, an indoor heat exchanger, a decompressor and an outdoor heat exchanger. An HFC-based refrigerant such as R32, R152a and R161 which is a flammable refrigerant, or a fluorocarbon-based refrigerant having double bond of carbon such as HFO-1234yf, HFO-1234ze and HFO-1243zf is charged into the refrigeration cycle circuit.
  • Provided in the air conditioner 10 are alarm sound generating means 11 a such as a buzzer which outputs alarm sound, alarm light generating means 11 b which emits alarm light, and temperature distribution detecting means 12 which detects a temperature distribution in the room 1 when a refrigerant leaks from a body of the air conditioner 10 or a refrigerant pipe (not shown) .
  • The temperature distribution detecting means 12 detects the temperature distribution in the room 1 using a sensor composed of a pyroelectric element which reacts with an article having a high temperature and a Fresnel lens which widens a range of a field of view detecting infrared radiation, or using an infrared radiation image sensor which detects a heat image in the room 1 by arranging a large number of pyroelectric elements.
  • An inhabitant 3, a heat source apparatus 4 such as a stove or a portable furnace, a ventilator 21 and an electric fan 22 exist in the room 1. An alarm device 23 is disposed outside the room 1, e.g., in another room.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram for realizing refrigerant leakage control of the air conditioner of the embodiment.
  • In addition to the temperature distribution detecting means 12, the air conditioner 10 also includes refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 which detects refrigerant leakage. The air conditioner 10 includes refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, air-blowing means 14 which blows air into the room 1, wind direction-changing blade drive motor 15 which vertically and laterally changes an air-blowing direction of air sent from the air-blowing means 14, and communication means 16 which outputs a signal to outside. The refrigerant leakage alarm means 11 is composed of the alarm sound generating means 11 a and/or the alarm light generating means 11 b. The air-blowing means 14 is composed of a fan such as a cross-flow fan and a turbofan, and a motor which drives the fan.
  • The air conditioner 10 includes control means 17. Signals from the temperature distribution detecting means 12 and the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 are input to the control means 17, and the control means 17 outputs signals to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the air-blowing means 14, the wind direction-changing blade drive motor 15 and the communication means 16.
  • The control means 17 includes a determination circuit 17 a which determines refrigerant leakage by output signals from the temperature distribution detecting means 12 and the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, an output circuit 17 b which outputs an operation signal by a signal from the determination circuit 17 a, and air-blowing control means 17 c and wind-direction control means 17 d which are operated by a signal from the output circuit 17 b. The control means 17 also includes a storing circuit 17 e in which necessary information for determination of the determination circuit 17 a and output information after the determination are stored. That is, a concentration set value is stored in the storing circuit 17 e as information which is necessary for determination. Examples of the concentration set values stored in the storing circuit 17 e are a normal refrigerant concentration set value for determining that a refrigerant leaks, and low refrigerant concentration set value used for determination when the temperature distribution detecting means 12 detects the heat source apparatus 4.
  • Examples of the output information after the determination stored in the storing circuit 17 e are output contents in the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, control contents in the air-blowing control means 17 c and the wind-direction control means 17 d, and output contents in the communication means 16.
  • The output circuit 17 b outputs signals also to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11 and the communication means 16. The air-blowing control means 17 c receives a signal from the output circuit 17 b and a signal from the temperature distribution detecting means 12, and controls the operation, the stop and the number of rotations of the air-blowing means 14. The wind-direction control means 17 d receives a signal from the output circuit 17 b and a signal from the temperature distribution detecting means 12, operates the wind direction-changing blade drive motor 15, and vertically and laterally changes a direction of wind sent out from the air-blowing means 14.
  • An operation switch 18 operates a refrigerant leakage alarm function but the operation switch 18 maybe in association with an operation switch which operates a normal air conditioning function, or the operation switch 18 may be the same switch as the operation switch which operates the normal air conditioning function.
  • The heat source apparatus 4 includes communication means 4 a which receives a signal from the communication means 16, and operation control means 4 b which stops an operation when the communication means 4 a receives a refrigerant leakage signal. The ventilator 21 includes communication means 21 a which receives a signal from the communication means 16, and operation control means 21 b which carries out a refrigerant leakage operation if the communication means 21 a receives a refrigerant leakage signal. The electric fan 22 includes communication means 22 a which receives a signal from the communication means 16, and operation control means 22 b which carries out a refrigerant leakage operation if the communication means 22 a receives a refrigerant leakage signal. The alarm device 23 includes communication means 23 a which receives a signal from the communication means 16, and alarm means 23 b which gives a refrigerant leakage alarm if the communication means 23 a receives a refrigerant leakage signal.
  • Next, an operation will be described.
  • FIG. 3 is a flowchart showing a refrigerant leakage detecting operation of the air conditioner of the first embodiment.
  • In step 1, if an operating action is instructed by the operation switch 18, a detecting operation of refrigerant leakage is started by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 in step 2. If the operation switch 18 is associated with or is the same as a switch which operates a normal air conditioning function, driving operations of the compressor and the air-blowing means 14 are started, and the operation of the refrigeration cycle is started.
  • A signal output from the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is compared with a refrigerant concentration set value stored in the storing circuit 17 e, and refrigerant leakage is determined by the determination circuit 17 a (steps 3 and 4). The determination in step 3 is compared with a refrigerant concentration set value of low concentration, and the determination in step 4 is compared with a refrigerant concentration set value of normal concentration.
  • In step 3, if the detection value in the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is lower than the low concentration set value, it is determined that a refrigerant does not leak, the procedure is returned to step 2, and detection of the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is continued.
  • In step 3, if the detection value in the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is higher than the low concentration set value, it is determined in step 4 whether the concentration is equal to or higher than the normal concentration.
  • If it is determined in step 4 that the concentration is equal to or higher than the normal concentration, a refrigerant leakage alarm is given by the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, and operation instructing signals are sent to other devices (step 5).
  • If it is determined in step 4 that the concentration is lower than the normal concentration, the temperature distribution detecting means 12 measures a temperature distribution in the room 1 (step 6).
  • Based on detection in step 6, the determination circuit 17 a determines whether the inhabitant 3 exists or the heat source apparatus 4 is operated (step 7).
  • In step 7, if the determination circuit 17 a detects that the inhabitant 3 exists or the heat source apparatus 4 is operated, the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11 gives a refrigerant leakage alarm in step 5, sends operation instructing signals to other devices, and air blowing and output of a wind direction in step 8 are determined.
  • In the determination circuit 17 a in step 7, a position of the inhabitant 3 and a position of the operated heat source apparatus 4 are determined. In the output circuit 17 b in step 8, based on a determination result in determination circuit 17 a, output is determined to blow air from a blowoff port of the air conditioner 10 in a direction different from the inhabitant 3 and the heat source apparatus 4 with a predetermined wind amount.
  • Based on the output determined in step 8, the air-blowing control means 17 c and the wind-direction control means 17 d are controlled, and the air-blowing means 14 and the wind direction-changing blade drive motor 15 are operated by signals from the air-blowing control means 17 c and the wind-direction control means 17 d (step 9).
  • In step 7, if the determination circuit 17 a detects that the inhabitant 3 does not exist and the heat source apparatus 4 is not operated, in step 5, the refrigerant leakage alarm means gives a refrigerant leakage alarm and sends operation instructing signals to other devices.
  • As the refrigerant leakage alarm given by the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11 in step 5, the alarm sound generating means 11 a outputs an alarm sound, and LEDs of the alarm light generating means 11 b flash. When a refrigerant leaks from the air conditioner 10 or the refrigerant pipe in this manner, the inhabitant 3 is informed of danger of refrigerant leakage.
  • The alarm sound from the alarm sound generating means 11 a or flash of the LEDs of the alarm light generating means 11 b become different outputs between normal refrigerant leakage in step 4, low concentration refrigerant leakage in which it is determined in step 7 that there is the inhabitant 3 or the heat source, and low concentration refrigerant leakage in which it is determined in step 7 that there is no inhabitant 3 or heat source.
  • When the signals are sent to other devices in step 5, the operation of the heat source apparatus 4 having the communication means 4 a such as a stove and a portable furnace is stopped or its power source is turned OFF by the communication means 16 (step 10).
  • Further, when the signals are sent to the other devices in step 5, the electric fan 22 having the communication means 22 a and the ventilator 21 having the communication means 21 a are operated by the communication means 16, a leaked refrigerant is dispersed in a direction different from the inhabitant 3 and the heat source apparatus 4, and the refrigerant is prevented from being decomposed by a stay of the refrigerant or the heat source apparatus 4, and a flammable refrigerant is prevented from being ignited (step 11).
  • Further, when the signals are sent to the other devices in step 5, the alarm device 23 disposed in another room and having the communication means 23 a is made to give an alarm by the communication means 16, and even when the inhabitant 3 is in a room which is different the room 1 where a refrigerant leaks, the inhabitant 3 existing in the other room is informed of the abnormality to prevent danger (step 12).
  • According to the embodiment, it is possible to realize the air conditioner 10 having high energy efficiency, and when a refrigerant leaks, the temperature distribution detecting means 12 detects the inhabitant 3 and the heat source apparatus 4, disperses the refrigerant in a direction different from the inhabitant 3 and the heat source apparatus 4, and it is possible to prevent the refrigerant from being decomposed by a stay of the refrigerant and the heat source apparatus 4. When the refrigerant is a flammable refrigerant, it is possible to avoid a case where the flammable refrigerant is ignited by the heat source apparatus 4.
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram for realizing refrigerant leakage control of an air conditioner of a second embodiment of the invention. In the second embodiment, the same symbols are allocated to the same configurations as those of the first embodiment, and explanation thereof will be omitted.
  • The air conditioner 10 shown in FIG. 4 is provided with a storage battery 19 b disposed in parallel to a body power source 19 a. An energization circuit 19 of the embodiment includes an energization-verification circuit 19 c which verifies an energized state of the air conditioner 10, a power source determination circuit 19 d which selects one of the body power source 19 a and the storage battery 19 b based on a signal from the energization-verification circuit 19 c, and a power source-supply circuit 19 e which supplies a power source using the body power source 19 a or the storage battery 19 b selected by the power source determination circuit 19 d.
  • In a state where the body power source 19 a is not supplied, electric power is supplied from the storage battery 19 b to the energization circuit 19 or the energization-verification circuit 19 c. Here, the state where the body power source 19 a is not supplied is a state where the air conditioner 10 is not connected to a plug socket of a commercial power source or a state where electric power is not supplied to the commercial power source such as a power failure.
  • Electric power of the storage battery 19 b is supplied to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, the communication means 16 and the control means 17 by the power source-supply circuit 19 e.
  • The operation switch 18 in this embodiment is the same as a switch which carries out an operation of the refrigerant leakage alarming function and an operation of a normal air conditioning function in association with each other, or the same as an operation switch which carries out the normal air conditioning function.
  • Next, operations will be described.
  • FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing a refrigerant leakage detecting operation of the air conditioner of the second embodiment. In the second embodiment, the same step numbers are allocated to the same operations as those of the first embodiment, and explanation thereof will be omitted.
  • The energization-verification circuit 19 c always verifies the energized state of the air conditioner 10 (step 21). The energized state is verified in step 21 in such a manner that supply of electric power from the body power source 19 a is detected, and a state where the air conditioner 10 is not connected to a plug socket of the commercial power source or a state where electric power is not supplied to the commercial power source due to a power failure are detected.
  • In step 22, the energization-verification circuit 19 c determines whether energization from the body power source 19 a is carried out.
  • If it is determined in step 22 that energization from the body power source 19 a is carried out, instructions at the operation switch 18 are verified (step 23).
  • If the operation of the operation switch 18 is instructed in step 23, the operation is started (step 1). That is, driving operations of the compressor and the air-blowing means 14 are started, and the operation of the refrigeration cycle is started. If the operation is not instructed by the operation switch 18 in step 23, the procedure is proceeded to step 2, and detection of refrigerant leakage is started by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13.
  • If it is determined in step 22 that energization from the body power source 19 a is not carried out, supply of electric power by the storage battery 19 b is carried out by the power source-supply circuit 19 e (step 24).
  • Electric power is supplied in step 24 to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, the communication means 16 and the control means 17 from the storage battery 19 b.
  • If electric power is supplied from the storage battery 19 b in step 24, the operation of the storage battery is started (step 25).
  • If the operation of the storage battery in step 25 is started, detection of refrigerant leakage is started by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 in step 26.
  • A signal output from the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is compared with a refrigerant concentration set value stored in the storing circuit 17 e, and the determination circuit 17 a determines the refrigerant leakage (step 27).
  • If a value detected by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is lower than the concentration set value in step 27, it is determined that a refrigerant does not leak, the procedure is returned to step 26, and detection by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is continued.
  • If the value detected by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is higher than the concentration set value in step 27, the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11 gives a refrigerant leakage alarm and operation instructing signals are sent to other devices (step 5).
  • According to this embodiment, since the storage battery 19 b is provided in parallel to the body power source 19 a, when the power source of the air conditioner 10 is not turned ON or power fails, the storage battery 19 b is operated and the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the communication means 16 and the control means 17 are operated, and it is possible to inform the inhabitant 3 of danger of refrigerant leakage.
  • According to this embodiment, also when the operation is not instructed by the operation switch 18, it is possible to detect the refrigerant leakage and to give an alarm.
  • Also when energization from the body power source 19 a is not carried out, it is possible to detect the refrigerant leakage and to give an alarm using the storage battery 19 b.
  • Next, an air conditioner according to a third embodiment of the invention will be described.
  • FIG. 6 is a block diagram for realizing refrigerant leakage control of the air conditioner of the third embodiment of the invention. FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing a refrigerant leakage detecting operation of the air conditioner of the third embodiment. In the third embodiment, the same symbols are allocated to the same configurations as those of the above described embodiments, and explanation thereof will be omitted. In the third embodiment, the same step numbers are allocated to the same operations as those of the above described embodiments, and explanation thereof will be omitted.
  • As shown in FIG. 6, this embodiment includes control means power source operating means 19 f. In this embodiment, electricity of the storage battery 19 b is supplied by the power source-supply circuit 19 e not only to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, the communication means 16 and the control means 17, but also to the temperature distribution detecting means 12, the air-blowing means 14 and the wind direction-changing blade drive motor 15. That is, electricity of the storage battery 19 b is supplied to the air conditioner 10 by the power source-supply circuit 19 e.
  • Next, operation will be described.
  • If it is determined in step 22 that energization from the body power source 19 a is carried out, instructions at the operation switch 18 are confirmed (step 23).
  • If the operation is instructed at the operation switch 18 in step 23, the operation is started (step 1). If the operation is not instructed at the operation switch 18 in step 31, the procedure is proceeded to step 2, and detection of refrigerant leakage is started by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13.
  • If electricity is supplied from the storage battery 19 b in step 24, the control means 17 and the like are operated by the control means power source operating means 19 f (step 25).
  • Electricity is supplied in step 24 from the storage battery 19 b to the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 and the control means 17.
  • In step 25, if the control means 17 and the like are operated by the control means power source operating means 19 f, detection of the refrigerant leakage is started by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 in step 26.
  • In step 27, if a detection value at the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is higher than a concentration set value, storage battery operation in which electricity is supplied from the storage battery 19 b to the indoor unit or the air conditioner 10 is started (step 28), and the procedure is proceeded to step 4.
  • In this embodiment, even if the operation is not instructed by the operation switch 18, the refrigerant leakage can be detected and alarm can be given.
  • Especially, when energization from the body power source 19 a is not carried out, electricity is supplied only to the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 and the control means 17, and the refrigerant leakage is detected. Therefore, electricity of the limited storage battery 19 b is not consumed uselessly. That is, electricity is supplied from the storage battery 19 b to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, the communication means 16 and the control means 17 and thus, operation can be carried out for a long time using limited electricity.
  • Further, when the refrigerant leakage is detected, electricity is supplied to the indoor unit or the air conditioner 10, and a refrigerant can be dispersed to a direction different from the inhabitants 3 or the heat source apparatus 4 by the air-blowing means 14 and the wind direction-changing blade drive motor 15.
  • Next, an air conditioner in a fourth embodiment of the present invention will be described.
  • FIG. 8 is a block diagram for realizing refrigerant leakage control of the air conditioner of the fourth embodiment of the invention, and FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing a refrigerant leakage detecting operation of the air conditioner of the embodiment. The same symbols are allocated to the same functions as those of the previously described embodiments, and explanation thereof will be omitted. The same step numbers are allocated to the same operations as those of the previously described embodiments, and explanation thereof will be omitted.
  • As shown in FIG. 8, this embodiment includes control means power source operating means 19 f. In this embodiment, electricity of the storage battery 19 b is supplied by the power source-supply circuit 19 e also to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, the communication means 16 and the control means 17.
  • Next, operation will be described.
  • If it is determined in step 22 that energization from the body power source 19 a is carried out, instructions at the operation switch 18 are confirmed (step 31).
  • In step 31, if the operation is instructed by the operation switch 18, the operation is started (step 1). If the operation is not instructed by the operation switch 18 in step 31, the control means 17 and the like are operated by the control means power source operating means 19 f (step 41). At this time, electricity is supplied to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, the communication means 16 and the control means 17.
  • In step 41, if the control means 17 and the like are operated by the control means power source operating means 19 f, detection of the refrigerant leakage is started by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 in step 2.
  • Electricity is supplied by the storage battery 19 b in step 24 to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, the communication means 16 and the control means 17.
  • If electricity is supplied from the storage battery 19 b in step 24, the operation of the storage battery is started (step 25).
  • In this embodiment, also when the operation is not instructed by the operation switch 18, the refrigerant leakage can be detected and alarm can be given.
  • Especially, also when energization from the body power source 19 a is not carried out, the refrigerant leakage can be detected and alarm can be given using the storage battery 19 b.
  • Electricity is supplied from the body power source 19 a to the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13, the communication means 16 and the control means 17. According to this configuration, standby electricity can be reduced.
  • Usually, the storing circuit 17 e is provided with a constant refrigerant concentration set value for preventing erroneous detection of refrigerant leakage. When refrigerant concentration higher than the set value is detected, the output circuit 17 b operates the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the air-blowing control means 17 c, the wind-direction control means 17 d and the communication means 16. Alternatively, the storing circuit 17 e may be provided with a plurality of refrigerant concentration set values, and operation of any one of the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the air-blowing control means 17 c, the wind-direction control means 17 d and the communication means 16 may be controlled in accordance with the detected concentration. For example, when the heat source apparatus 4 is detected by the temperature distribution detecting means 12, even if refrigerant concentration detected by the refrigerant leakage detecting means 13 is lower than a normal refrigerant concentration set value, it is possible to inform inhabitants 3 of abnormality and to avoid danger by operating the refrigerant leakage alarm means 11, the air-blowing control means 17 c, the wind-direction control means 17 d and the communication means 16.
  • The alarm sound generating means 11 a is not limited to a signal sound such as buzzer sound and if a word stored in a memory of the storing circuit 17 e is generated by means of voice of speech synthesis, it is possible to obtain a higher danger preventing effect. A word that inhabitants 3 consider effect may freely be selected from a plurality of previously stored words.
  • Even when a refrigerant containing hydrocarbon such as propane and isobutane is used as a main ingredient, the same effect can be obtained. It is possible to use: a HFC-based refrigerant such as R32, R152a and R161; a fluorocarbon refrigerant having double bond of carbon such as HFO-1234yf, HFO-1234ze and HFO-1243zf; and a refrigerant in which a hydrocarbon refrigerant such as propane and isobutane is mixed.
  • For example, it is possible to use refrigerant in which R32 and two or three ingredients are mixed in basic ingredient of HFO-1234yf such that global warming potential (GWP) becomes 5 or more and 750 or less, preferably 5 or more and 350 or less, and more preferably 150 or less.
  • FIG. 10 is a characteristic diagram showing global warming potential of a refrigerant mixing ratio of two ingredients of HFO-1234yf and R32. For example, in order to mix HFO-1234yf and R32 to bring the GWP to 300 or less, R32 is mixed within a range of 51 wt % or less. To bring the GWP to 150 or less, R32 is mixed within a range of 21 wt % or less.
  • When a single refrigerant of HFO-1234yf is used, GWP becomes 4 and this shows extremely excellent value. However, this refrigerant has large specific volume as compared with a refrigerant in which HFC-based refrigerant is mixed, and since refrigerating ability is deteriorated, there is that the air conditioner 10 is increased in size. In other words, if a refrigerant including, as basic ingredient, a fluorocarbon refrigerant having double bond between carbon and carbon and in which a HFC-based refrigerant having no double bond is used, as compared with a single refrigerant of a fluorocarbon refrigerant having double bond between carbon and carbon, it is possible to enhance predetermined characteristics such as refrigerating ability and to make it easy to use it as refrigerant. Therefore, in a refrigerant to be charged, a rate of a HFC-based refrigerant including a single refrigerant may appropriately be selected in accordance with conditions such as limitation of GWP.
  • For a compressor (not shown) constituting the refrigeration cycle of the air conditioner 10, the following refrigeration oil is used as the refrigeration oil: synthetic oil containing any of the following oxygenated compound, as main ingredient, polyoxyalkylene glycol, polyvinyl ether, poly (oxy) alkylene glycol or copolymer of monoether and polyvinyl ether thereof, polyol ester and polycarbonate; synthetic oil containing, as main ingredient, alkylbenzene or a olefin; and mineral oil. The reliability of the air conditioner 10 can be enhanced.
  • INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
  • According to the present invention, an air conditioner having a temperature distribution detecting function is inexpensively and easily provided with refrigerant leakage alarm means, the air conditioner can be mounted in various devices having a refrigeration cycle using a refrigerant such as a dehumidifier and a refrigerator, and it is possible to avoid danger.

Claims (10)

1. An air conditioner comprising temperature distribution detecting means for detecting a temperature distribution in a room, refrigerant leakage detecting means for detecting refrigerant leakage, air-blowing means, air-blowing control means for controlling the air-blowing means, and wind-direction control means for controlling a wind direction of the air-blowing means, wherein when the refrigerant leakage detecting means detects refrigerant leakage, the air-blowing control means and/or the wind-direction control means disperses a leaked refrigerant.
2. The air conditioner according to claim 1, further comprising refrigerant leakage alarm means which gives an alarm when the refrigerant leakage detecting means detects refrigerant leakage, wherein the refrigerant leakage alarm means gives an alarm by means of sound and/or light.
3. The air conditioner according to claim 1, further comprising communication means for communicating with other devices, wherein operations of the other devices are controlled.
4. The air conditioner according to claim 2, further comprising a storage battery provided in parallel to a body power source of the air conditioner as a power source for the refrigerant leakage detecting means and the refrigerant leakage alarm means, an energization-verification circuit for verifying energization of the air conditioner, and a power source determination circuit for selecting a power source device of the refrigerant leakage detecting means and the refrigerant leakage alarm means by a signal of the energization-verification circuit.
5. The air conditioner according to claim 1, further comprising control means for controlling operation of at least one of the refrigerant leakage alarm means, the air-blowing control means, the wind-direction control means and the communication means in accordance with refrigerant concentration detected by the refrigerant leakage detecting means.
6. The air conditioner according to claim 1, wherein a flammable refrigerant is used.
7. The air conditioner according to according to claim 6, wherein the flammable refrigerant is a single refrigerant of a HFC-based refrigerant, a single refrigerant of a hydrogen fluoride-based refrigerant having double bond of carbon, or a mixture refrigerant having the single refrigerant as a main ingredient.
8. The air conditioner according to claim 6, wherein the flammable refrigerant is a single refrigerant of hydrocarbon or a mixture refrigerant including the single refrigerant of hydrocarbon as a main ingredient.
9. The air conditioner according to claim 7, wherein the single refrigerant or a refrigerant in which two or three ingredients are mixed such that global warming potential becomes 5 or more and 750 or less, preferably 350 or less and more preferably 150 or less is used as the flammable refrigerant.
10. The air conditioner according to claim 1, wherein synthetic oil containing any of the following oxygenated compound, as main ingredient, polyoxyalkylene glycol, polyvinyl ether, poly (oxy) alkylene glycol or copolymer of monoether and polyvinyl ether thereof, polyol ester and polycarbonate; synthetic oil containing, as main ingredient, alkylbenzene or a olefin; or mineral oil is used as the refrigeration oil.
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AU2011272701B2 (en) 2016-11-17
AU2011272701A1 (en) 2013-01-24
EP2589900B1 (en) 2018-08-08
CN102971596B (en) 2015-06-24
WO2012001847A1 (en) 2012-01-05
JP2012013348A (en) 2012-01-19
EP2589900A4 (en) 2014-09-17
EP2589900A1 (en) 2013-05-08

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