US20150100163A1 - Ir translator providing demand-control for ductless split hvac systems - Google Patents

Ir translator providing demand-control for ductless split hvac systems Download PDF

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Publication number
US20150100163A1
US20150100163A1 US14/046,106 US201314046106A US2015100163A1 US 20150100163 A1 US20150100163 A1 US 20150100163A1 US 201314046106 A US201314046106 A US 201314046106A US 2015100163 A1 US2015100163 A1 US 2015100163A1
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Prior art keywords
infrared
load
communications module
control
long
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Abandoned
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US14/046,106
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Kevin C. Allmaras
Ryan F. Brager
Roger W. Rognli
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Cooper Technologies Co
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Cooper Technologies Co
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Assigned to COOPER TECHNOLOGIES COMPANY reassignment COOPER TECHNOLOGIES COMPANY ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BRAGER, RYAN F., ROGNLI, ROGER W., ALLMARAS, KEVIN C.
Publication of US20150100163A1 publication Critical patent/US20150100163A1/en
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    • F24F11/0009
    • 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
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B19/00Programme-control systems
    • G05B19/02Programme-control systems electric
    • G05B19/04Programme control other than numerical control, i.e. in sequence controllers or logic controllers
    • G05B19/042Programme control other than numerical control, i.e. in sequence controllers or logic controllers using digital processors
    • G05B19/0423Input/output
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08CTRANSMISSION SYSTEMS FOR MEASURED VALUES, CONTROL OR SIMILAR SIGNALS
    • G08C17/00Arrangements for transmitting signals characterised by the use of a wireless electrical link
    • G08C17/02Arrangements for transmitting signals characterised by the use of a wireless electrical link using a radio link
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08CTRANSMISSION SYSTEMS FOR MEASURED VALUES, CONTROL OR SIMILAR SIGNALS
    • G08C23/00Non-electrical signal transmission systems, e.g. optical systems
    • G08C23/04Non-electrical signal transmission systems, e.g. optical systems using light waves, e.g. infra-red
    • 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
    • F24F11/50Control or safety arrangements characterised by user interfaces or communication
    • F24F11/56Remote control
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/20Pc systems
    • G05B2219/26Pc applications
    • G05B2219/2614HVAC, heating, ventillation, climate control
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08CTRANSMISSION SYSTEMS FOR MEASURED VALUES, CONTROL OR SIMILAR SIGNALS
    • G08C2201/00Transmission systems of control signals via wireless link
    • G08C2201/40Remote control systems using repeaters, converters, gateways
    • G08C2201/42Transmitting or receiving remote control signals via a network
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08CTRANSMISSION SYSTEMS FOR MEASURED VALUES, CONTROL OR SIMILAR SIGNALS
    • G08C2201/00Transmission systems of control signals via wireless link
    • G08C2201/90Additional features
    • G08C2201/93Remote control using other portable devices, e.g. mobile phone, PDA, laptop

Abstract

An infrared translator device for controlling a control unit of a ductless split heating, ventilating, and/or air conditioning (HVAC) system. The IRT device includes a long-distance communications module and includes at least one local communications module. The IRT device also includes a processor in electrical communication with the long-distance communications module and the local communications module.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The application relates generally to management and control of electrical loads. More particularly, this application relates to management and control of electrical loads of ductless split heating, ventilating and/or air conditioning (HVAC) systems, or ductless split heating ventilating and/or air conditioning systems, using an infrared translator or an infrared translator having an infrared disk placed over the infrared (IR) receive eye of the wall unit. The infrared translator receives messages from a master controller, a local area network, or a remote control unit, retransmits or modifies the messages as appropriate, and transmits the messages to the split system to perform control of the system.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Utilities need to match generation to load, or supply to demand. Traditionally, this is done on the supply side using Automation Generation Control (AGC). As loads are added to an electricity grid and demand rises, utilities increase output of existing generators to solve increases in demand. To solve the issue of continuing long-term demand, utilities invest in additional generators and plants to match rising demand. As load levels fall, generator output, to a certain extent, may be reduced or taken off line to match falling demand. Although such techniques are still used, and to a certain extent, still address the problem of matching supply with demand, as the overall demand for electricity grows the cost to add power plants and generation equipment that serve only to fill peak demand makes these techniques extremely costly. Further, the time required to increase generator output or to take generators online and take generators offline creates a time lag, and a subsequent mismatch between supply and demand.
  • In response to the limitations of AGC, electric utility companies have developed solutions and incentives aimed at reducing both commercial and residential demand for electricity. In the case of office buildings, factories and other commercial buildings having relatively large-scale individual loads, utilities incentivize owners with differential electricity rates to install locally-controlled load-management systems that reduce on-site demand. Reduction of any individual large scale loads by such a load-management systems may significantly impact overall demand on its connected grid.
  • In the case of individual residences having relatively small-scale electrical loads, utilities incentivize some consumers to allow the utility companies to install demand-control or demand-response technology at the residence to control high-usage appliances such as air-conditioning (AC) compressors, water heaters, pool heaters, and so on. Such technology aids the utilities in easing demand during sustained periods of peak usage.
  • Traditional demand-control technologies used to manage thermostatically-controlled loads such as AC compressors typically consist of a demand-control thermostat or a load-control relay (LCR) device. Such demand-control devices traditionally receive commands over a long-distance communications network for controlling the electrical load. A demand-control thermostat generally controls operation of a load by manipulating space temperature or other settings to control operation. An LCR device is wired into the power supply line of the AC compressor or other electrical load, and interrupts power to the load when the load is to be controlled.
  • Such demand-control or demand-response thermostats, LCR devices, and other known demand-control devices are designed to be used with a wide variety of ducted, thermostatically-controlled HVAC systems as commonly used in single-family residences in the United States. Typical ducted HVAC systems in the United States utilize distinct and separate thermostat devices, circulation fan controls, electrical contactors, switches, and so on, that are easily accessible for connection to demand-control devices. Further, most control logic relies on analog control voltages for operation. For example, 24 VAC is commonly used for thermostatic control. As such, demand-control devices are designed to operate with such systems, and may be installed into most ducted, thermostatically-controlled HVAC systems.
  • For a variety of reasons, however, these kinds of demand-control or demand-response technologies are not readily adapted to ductless split HVAC systems. Ductless split HVAC systems, such as mini-split and multi-split systems, are often installed in residences including multi-unit apartment buildings that do not have basements or attics to accommodate air-handling ducts, and are typically used to cool relatively small spaces, such as a single room. Such compact mini-split and multi-split systems can include, for example, an outdoor condensing unit with an AC compressor coupled to an indoor, often wall-mounted, evaporating unit with a fan. Operation of the mini-split and multi-split units are generally controlled locally by a user operating a handheld infrared remote controller. The unit may or may not include a temperature sensor or thermostatic device.
  • Because of the compact nature of ductless split HVAC systems, as well as the variety of digital control schemes employed by different manufacturers, traditional demand-control devices cannot be used with these kinds of ductless split HVAC systems. Consequently, in regions where ductless split HVAC systems are commonly used, electrical utilities cannot provide demand-control devices to their customers, and cannot implement programs to match energy demand and supply.
  • SUMMARY
  • In an embodiment, the present disclosure comprises an infrared translator (IRT) for controlling an infrared-responsive control unit of a ductless split HVAC system or of a ductless split heating ventilating and/or air-conditioning system (split system). The IRT includes a long-distance communications module including a long-distance receiver, the long-distance communications module providing a network connection to a long-distance communications network transmitting a load-control message for controlling an electrical load of a split system at a premise. The IRT includes a first local communications module in communication with a customer operated remote control device. The IRT includes a second local communications module in two-way communication with a local area network. The IRT also includes a processor in electrical communication with the long-distance communications module, the first local communications module, and the second local communications module. The processor is also in electrical communication with an infrared transmitter in communication with a split wall unit.
  • In an embodiment, an infrared translator device is disclosed for controlling an infrared-responsive control unit of a ductless, split air-conditioning system, the infrared translator device comprising a long-distance communications module including a long-distance transceiver, the long-distance communications module providing a network connection to master controller via a long-distance communications network transmitting a load-control message for controlling an electrical load of a ductless, split air-conditioning system at a premise. In an embodiment, a processor can be in electrical communication with the long-distance communications module. An infrared transmitter module can be in electrical communication with the processor, where the infrared transmitter module can transmit an infrared signal to an infrared-responsive control unit of the ductless, split air-conditioning system to control operation of the electrical load, the infrared signal can be a command associated with the received load-control message. In an embodiment, the load control messages can be formatted according to Expresscom® protocol.
  • In an embodiment, the infrared translator device further comprises a first local communications module that can be in electrical communication with the processor, wherein the first local-communications module can include an infrared receiver for receiving infrared signals from a remote control unit and a transceiver transmitting a command associated with the received message to the processor.
  • In an embodiment, the infrared translator device can further comprise a second local communications module in electrical communication with the processor. The second local-communications module can facilitate short-range, local two-way communications and the second local-communications module can include a receiver and a transceiver for receiving and transmitting wireless signals.
  • In an embodiment, a system is provided for controlling a plurality of ductless, split air-conditioning units. The system can be comprised of a master controller, a regional controller in communication with the master controller via a long-distance communications network. The long-distance communications network can transmit a load-control message for controlling an electrical load of the plurality of ductless, split air-conditioning systems at a premise. A plurality of infrared translator devices can be in communication with a plurality of ductless, split air-conditioning system wherein each infrared translator device can be in communication with at least one of the plurality of ductless, split air-conditioning systems. Each of the plurality of infrared translator device can comprise a long-distance communications module including a long-distance transceiver, the long-distance communications module providing a network connection to the regional controller via a long-distance communications network transmitting a load-control message for controlling an electrical load of a ductless, split air-conditioning system at a premise, a processor in electrical communication with the long-distance communications module, and an infrared transmitter module in electrical communication with the processor, the infrared transmitter module transmitting an infrared signal to an infrared-responsive control unit of the ductless, split air-conditioning system to control operation of the electrical load, the infrared signal being a command associated with the received load-control message.
  • In an embodiment, the system provided for controlling a plurality of ductless, split air-conditioning units can comprise a first local communications module in electrical communication with the processor. The first local-communications module can include an infrared receiver for receiving infrared signals from a remote control unit and a transceiver transmitting a command associated with the received message to the processor.
  • In an embodiment, each of the plurality of infrared translator devices can comprise a second local communications module in electrical communication with the processor, the second local-communications module facilitating short-range, local two-way communications, the second local-communications module including a receiver and a transceiver for receiving and transmitting wireless signals.
  • In an embodiment, a method is provided that controls an electrical load of a ductless, split air-conditioning system outside a premise and controlled by an infrared translator device located inside the premise. An infrared translator device having a long-distance communications module and a local communications module can be mounted over an infrared receiving eye of an infrared-responsive control unit inside the premise, the long-distance communications module configured to interface with a long-distance communications network and the local communications module configured to communicate with a remote control unit of a ductless, split air-conditioning system at the premise having an outside unit with an electrical load. A load-control message can be transmitted over the long-distance communications network to the long-distance communications module of the infrared translator device located inside the premise, the load-control message causing infrared translator device to transmit a load-control command to the inside control unit of the indoor portion of the ductless, split air-conditioning unit, thereby controlling power to the electrical load.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Embodiments disclosed herein may be more completely understood in consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a diagram of a demand-control system having a master controller communicating over a long-distance communications network to an infrared translator on a wall unit, a local communications network communicating over a local network to an infrared translator on a wall unit, and a user operated remote control communicating to an infrared translator on a wall unit according to an embodiment.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an infrared translator device having an optional infrared disk according to an embodiment.
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a local demand-control system communicating with the master controller through intermediate or regional controllers, according to an embodiment.
  • FIG. 4 is a load-control message formatted according to an Expresscom® protocol according to an embodiment.
  • FIG. 5 depicts an example of a thermostat setpoint control payload according to an embodiment.
  • FIG. 6 is a flowchart depicting the configuration and operation of the infrared translator device according to an embodiment.
  • While the subject matter hereof is amenable to various modifications and alternative forms, specifics thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the intention is not to limit the subject matter hereof to the particular embodiments described. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the subject matter hereof.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring to FIG. 1, depicted is an embodiment of a demand-control system 100 for controlling a ductless split HVAC system (split system). In embodiments, the ductless system can be a heating ventilating system and/or an air-conditioning system. System 100 includes an infrared translator (IRT) 101, where IRT 101, or an infrared disk connected to the IRT 101, is mounted over the infrared receiving eye of split wall unit 103 of the split system 110 at a premise. The IRT 101 receives messages from various devices via communication links and either retransmits the messages to the system or modifies the message to facilitate demand-control of the system. The IRT 101 is provided with one-way and two-way communications options. While the inside unit 103 is described as a wall unit 103, it is understood that the inside unit 103 can be floor or ceiling mounted as well.
  • Each premise can include a remote-control unit 108 controlling a split system 110. Remote-control 108 is the original, manufacturer-provided wireless remote-controller 108, providing customer inputted control features over communications network 114 to the IRT 101. Each premise can include a long-distance communications network having a master controller 102 communicating over communications network 104 to IRT 101. Each premise can further include a local customer owned network (one such example being a WiFi system) 109 communicating over local communications network 115 to IRT 101. Power supply 122 provides power to IRT 101.
  • Each split system 110 can include outside condensing unit 112 electrically and mechanically connected 116 to inside evaporating unit (wall unit) 103, as will be understood by those skilled-in-the-art. In one embodiment, split system 110 comprises a ductless, mini-split air-conditioning system. In other embodiments, split system 110 may comprise a ductless, multi-split heating ventilating and/or cooling system, a mini-split air-conditioning system, a heat pump, or other similar ductless, split heating and/or cooling systems. It is to be understood that “split system” as used herein refers to any type and configuration of HVAC or heating or air-conditioning unit as is known in the art.
  • Some premises may include multiple split (multi-split) systems 110 in a single premise, with one or more remote control devices 108. Further, in some embodiments, system 100 may include premises including known demand-control devices for controlling traditional HVAC systems, rather than ductless heating or cooling systems. In such embodiments, master controller 102 may communicate with both known demand-control devices and IRT's 101 of the embodiments herein.
  • The split system 110 can be located in premises that may include single-family residences, buildings with multiple units, or any other type of building or structure housing ductless split HVAC systems. The embodiments are discussed with reference to a split system 110 and split wall units 103, however, it is known to those skilled in the art that the embodiments equally apply to multi-split systems 110 and wall units 103.
  • The remote control unit 108 communicates with split system 110 over an infrared communications link 114 with one-way transmission of data. Remote control unit 108 is used to modify the settings of the split system 110 by the customer. Settings able to be modified can include, but are not necessarily limited to, turning split system 110 on and off, raising and lowering temperature, setting temperature, controlling fan operations, setting a time display, programming operation, and other such known control features. The remote control unit 108 will not have the functionality to change the configurations of the demand-control system 100. In another embodiment, remote control unit 108 communicates with split system 110 over an infrared communications link 114 with two-way transmission of data.
  • Master controller 102 may be located at a centrally-located electrical utility control location substation or other location. One master controller 102 can communicate with numerous IRTs 101 where the IRTs 101 can be located in numerous, separate locations and premises. In general, and as described further below, master controller 102 communicates with IRT 101 over communications network 104 in order to control the demand-control system 100. Communications network 104 is a long-distance communications network facilitating one-way transmission of data from master controller 102 to IRT 101. In another embodiment, communications network 104 is a long-distance communications network facilitating two-way transmission of data between master controller 102 and IRT 101. Data, often in the form of load-control messages or commands, is transmitted using a variety of known wireless communication interfaces and protocols including power line communication (PLC), radio frequency (RF) communication, cellular communication, and others. In an embodiment wherein communications network 104 comprises an RF communications network, network 104 can be implemented with various communication interfaces including, for example, 900 MHz Flex paging, VHF POCSAG paging, or Radio Data System (RDS).
  • Master controller 102 transmits load-control messages to IRT 101. IRT 101 acts upon the received load-control messages by transmitting commands to the infrared receiver of the wall unit 103 to manipulate operation of split system 110. Load control messages may include, but are limited to, for example, commands to turn split system 110 on or off, or to raise or lower a space temperature.
  • Load-control messages over communications network 104 may be formatted according to a variety of networking technologies and protocols. In one embodiment, load-control messages may be formatted according to standard Yukon web based programming protocol. In one embodiment, load-control messages may be formatted according to a proprietary protocol, such as an Expresscom® protocol as is described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,702,424 and U.S. Pat. No. 7,869,904, both entitled “Utility Load Control Management Communications Protocol”, assigned to the assignees of the present application, and herein incorporated by reference other than the claims or express definitions.
  • Implementation of one such protocol includes the steps of: selecting at least one target for load control and assigning the at least one target at least one target address; using a control system of a utility provider to form a single variable length load control message according to a communication protocol. The load control message includes the at least one target address and a plurality of unique concatenated command messages as part of the single variable length load control message. Each of the plurality of unique concatenated command messages is selected from the set consisting of a command message having a predetermined message type and a fixed length message defined for the predetermined message type and a command message having a predetermined message type and a variable length message corresponding to values in a command message control flag field defined for the predetermined message type. The single variable length load control message is transmitted via long-distance communication network 104, or other networks as disclosed herein, to the at least one target for execution of the variable length load control message. The at least one target can comprise an individual IRT 101 and the at least one target address comprises a device-level address.
  • In an embodiment, a local customer owned network (such as a WiFi system) 109 communicates over local two-way communications network 115 to IRT 101. Network 109 can be configured to be accessed by the utility company in order to control the demand-control system 100. In addition, the customer can remotely access network 109 to modify certain controls. For example, the customer can remotely, from a cellular telephone, turn the split system 110 on or off or adjust the temperature, as permitted, so that the temperature is at a comfortable level when the customer arrives at the premise.
  • The system 100 IRT 101 supports two-way communications, for example, Zigbee®, Zwave®, WiFi, etc. By encompassing two-way communications, the system 100 may benefit from additional operational and maintenance values as derived from other Yukon supported two-way demand-control devices. In an embodiment, runtime data of the system 110 can be captured for, for example, TrueCycle control or M&V logging. As such, information from the split system 110 can be transmitted to the utility via the network 109. Such information can include, but is not limited to, local-condition information, run-time data, and data relating to the operational state of the wall unit 103.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, an embodiment of IRT 101 is depicted. In this embodiment, IRT 101 includes long-distance communications module 130, first local-communications module 132, optional second local-communications module 134, infrared transmitter 136, processor 138, and optional display 140. It will be understood that IRT 101 may also include other appropriate electronic components and circuitry such as memory devices, power supply, and conditioning circuits, and so on. The various components of IRT 101 are enclosed by housing 142, which in an embodiment comprises a size and shape appropriate for being mounted and attached over the infrared receiver of wall unit 103.
  • Further depicted in FIG. 2, is an optional infrared disk 152 electrically connected to infrared transmitter 136 via wiring 154. The infrared disk 152 and a portion of the wiring 154, are outside of housing 142. The infrared disk 152 transmits/receives messages from/to the infrared transmitter 136 to/from the wall unit 103 and comprises a size and shape appropriate for being mounted and attached over the infrared receiver of wall unit 103 while the housing 142 containing the other components is mounted adjacent the wall unit 103.
  • Long-distance communications module 130 includes various hardware and software components enabling IRT 101 to connect to, and receive communications from long-distance communications network 104, including communications from master controller 102. As such, long-distance communications module 130 provides a network interface to any of the long-distance communication network 104 types described above, including PLC, RF, including cellular and paging, and so on. Communications are one-way over long-distance communications network 104. In another embodiment, communications are two-way over long-distance communications network 104.
  • In an embodiment, components of long-distance communications module 130 include receiver 146, antenna 148, and other components such as memory devices storing computer software programs, and other electronic circuitry. In the embodiment of a two-way communications network, long-distance communications module 130 would include a transceiver. Receiver 146 facilitates one-way communications, or in the case of a transceiver, two-way communications. Long-distance communications module 130 can also include a protocol software stack for decoding and encoding. Such a software stack may comprise a commercially-available stack, or a proprietary stack, such as one used for the proprietary Expresscom® protocol discussed above. Long-distance communications module 130 is in electrical communication with the processor 138. In an embodiment, processor 138 includes the protocol software stack for decoding and encoding.
  • First local-communications module 132 enables the remote-control device 108 to communicate locally, and wirelessly, via infrared communication link 114 with split system 110 via the IRT 101. In an embodiment, first local-communications module 132 includes various hardware components and software programs for locally receiving wireless signals and then transmitting signals to the wall unit 103 via the processor 138 and infrared transmitter 136 or optional infrared disk 152. Module 132 may include receiver 150, and in some embodiments, a transceiver, and other components such as memory devices storing computer software and other electronic circuitry.
  • In one embodiment, first local-communications module 132 comprises an infrared (IR) module, receiving IR signals. In such an embodiment, receiver 150 of first local-communications module 132 may include an infrared-sensitive phototransistor for receiving signals. In another embodiment, first local-communications module 132 may include an infrared-sensitive phototransistor transceiver for transmitting and receiving signals. In this embodiment, the first local-communications module 132 includes an infrared light-emitting diode (LED) for transmitting signals.
  • First local-communications module 132 can also include a protocol software stack. First local-communications module 132 is in electrical communication with the processor 138. In an embodiment, processor 138 may also include a protocol software stack.
  • IRT 101 may also include second local-communications module 134. Second local-communications module 134 facilitates short-range, local two-way communications at a premise 106. In an embodiment, second local communications module 134 also includes various hardware components and software programs for locally receiving and transmitting wireless signals. Module 134 may include a transceiver 150 and other components such as memory devices storing computer software and other electronic circuitry.
  • Such a stack may comprise a proprietary stack, but in an embodiment, may comprise one of various commercially-available, and known, software stacks. Such known, third-party stacks may include an infrared, IrDA stack as provided by, for example, Embedmet, a commercially-available WiFi 802.11 stack, a commercially-available ZigBee® stack, and so on. Second local-communications module 134 comprises an RF module that operates according to any of a variety of short-range wireless protocols, including ZigBee®, ZWave®, WiFi, or other radio protocols. In such an embodiment, transceiver 150 may comprise a radio transceiver or receiver and a radio antenna. Second local-communications module 134 is in electrical communication with the processor 138. In an embodiment, processor 138 may also include a protocol software stack.
  • In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, first local-communications module 132 comprises an IR module for receiving and then transmitting one-way commands to a wall unit 103 of split system 110, while second local-communications module 134 comprises a module that facilitates one-way or two-way wireless communications with a wireless access point or local area network (for example, WiFi). It will be understood that any combination of short-range, wireless communication technologies, including those discussed above, may be implemented in modules 132 and 134. Further, although depicted as two physically distinct and separate modules, local communication modules 132 and 134 may be integrated into a single package.
  • Within the IRT 101, processor 138 is electrically and communicatively coupled to long-distance communications module 130, first local communications module 132, second communications module 134, IR transmitter 136, and optional display 140. In certain embodiments, processor 138 may be a central processing unit, microprocessor, microcontroller, microcomputer, or other such known computer processor. Processor 138 may also include, or be coupled to a memory device comprising any of a variety of volatile memory, including RAM, DRAM, SRAM, and so on, as well as non-volatile memory, including ROM, PROM, EPROM, EEPROM, Flash, and so on. Such memory devices may store programs, software, and instructions relating to the operation of IRT 101.
  • Infrared transmitter 136 receives commands or messages from the processor 138 and transmits the commands or messages to the control unit of the wall unit 103. Unless IRT 101 is in demand-control control mode, the messages received are primarily passed through unaltered, for example, messages from the remote control 108. Demand-control messages from the utility, received via the communications module 130 or the second communications module 134, which may have been modified by the processor 138 are passed through the infrared transmitter 136 to the control unit of the wall unit 103. Infrared transmitter 136 further receives messages from the control unit of the wall unit 103 and transmits such messages to the processor to be acted on.
  • Optional display 140, coupled to processor 138, displays information to a user, such as set-point temperature, space temperature, time, energy cost, demand-control mode, load control status, and other such information. In some embodiments, display 140 may be an LED.
  • In some embodiments, IRT 101 may also include temperature sensor (not depicted). In other embodiments, IRT 101 monitors and uses the temperature sensor within the wall unit 103. Temperature sensor may be used to implement temperature-based load-control or demand-control programs. Further, when IRT 101 includes or uses temperature sensor, IRT 101 may also include programmable thermostatic functionality, similar to a standard programmable thermostat. Such additional functionality includes the ability to program IRT 101 to raise or lower a setpoint temperature for different times of day, different days of the week, and other such functionality as associated with known programmable thermostats.
  • In some embodiments, IRT 101 may also include a humidity sensor (not depicted). In other embodiments, IRT 101 monitors and uses the humidity sensor within the wall unit 103. Humidity sensor may be used to implement humidity-based load-control or demand-control programs. In other embodiments, the humidity sensor can be linked to the temperature sensor to determine an optimal comfort level and implement the load-control or demand-control program based on historical comfort levels. Further, when IRT 101 includes or uses humidity sensor, IRT 101 may also include programmable functionality that includes the ability to program IRT 101 to raise or lower a comfortable humidity level for different times of day, different days of the week, and other such functionality as associated with known programmable humidity controls.
  • In another embodiment, IRT 101 may also include an occupancy sensor (not depicted). As understood by those skilled in the art, an occupancy sensor generally senses the presence of an individual in a space, such as a room, based on detected motion via IR or acoustical signals. In the case of IRT 101, the addition of an occupancy sensor enhances the energy-saving capability of the system.
  • In an embodiment, IRT 101 includes an occupancy sensor and automatically initiates some kind of control over split system 110. Such control might include turning on split system 110 to begin cooling a room immediately upon someone entering, or going to a specified temperature or turning off split system 110 after a predetermined time period following the room or space becoming unoccupied.
  • Such control might also, or alternatively, include enabling a setpoint temperature to drift by a predetermined number of degrees. In one such embodiment that includes programmable thermostat capability in IRT 101 or in split system 110, in addition to setting temperature set points and parameters relating to wake, leave, return, and sleep times, a user sets an additional parameter for unoccupied spaces. In an embodiment, an unoccupied space temperature could be set to adjust by an offset number of degrees (drift), for example, two degrees, such that if a space is unoccupied, the customer-provided set points are modified by the predetermined drift or offset. In an embodiment, a user sets a morning wake temperature to, for example, 74 degrees Fahrenheit, but if the user does not get up and move around by the preset wake time, as sensed by the occupancy sensor, the wake temperature is allowed to drift upwards by an offset, such as up to 76 degrees.
  • In an embodiment, if the utility generation mix is such that renewable generation would need to be curtailed by the utility, the utility could instead adjust the drift in order to turn a load on in order to match the load to the available capacity.
  • In a premise 106 having multiple split systems 110, such as a hotel or multi-room residence, occupancy sensors could be used in each room or space to monitor the absence or presence of persons, and send stored commands from IRTs 101 to split systems 110 for controlling systems 110 based on occupancy.
  • Occupancy sensors and status may also be used to send out stored commands to other devices on the local communications system. For example, if an occupancy sensor detects that a space is unoccupied, IRT 101 may send a wireless signal via second local-communications module 134 to turn off select wall-plug devices in order to control phantom loads, or other non-critical loads, and when sensing that the space is again occupied, may turn these devices back on, or stagger them back on, in a specified order.
  • In another embodiment, another function may include disrupting a demand-control, or load-control event when a person enters a room. Further, occupancy data may be gathered and analyzed to refine, revise, or reschedule future load-control events based on patterns of occupancy.
  • IRT 101 is powered by power supply 122. In one embodiment, power supply 122 is a “wall wart” style power supply, comprising a box-like housing that plugs directly into a wall-mounted electrical supply socket. In another embodiment, IRT 101 can be hardwired to a power supply internal to wall unit 103. Power supply 122 and wall wart may be adapted to operate with various electrical supply voltage and frequency characteristics, such as 110-120V/60 Hz as commonly used in the United States, 220-240V/50 Hz as commonly used in Europe and Asia, as well as others. In an embodiment, IRT 101 is powered by a 5V DC power supply 122.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, local demand-control system 170 operating in communication with master controller 102 over a long-distance communications network 104 is depicted. In the embodiment depicted, system 170 communicates with master controller 102 through intermediate or regional controllers 172. Such intermediate controllers 172 may include a controller at a substation, a neighborhood controller, a business-wide controller, or other such intermediate-level controller. In related embodiments, intermediate controller 172 may be enabled to communicate regionally with system 170 without the benefit of master controller 102.
  • Local demand-control system 170 includes one or more IRTs 101, one or more inside units 103 of split system 110, and one or more outside units 112 of split system 110. In operation, master controller 102, transmits a load-control message over long-distance communications network 104 to multiple premises, via the intermediate controller 172 as depicted in FIG. 3.
  • The load-control message may include a variety of different commands related to controlling an electrical load, which may be an AC compressor, of split system 110. In one load-control scheme, a runtime of split system 110 is limited, sometimes configured as a duty-cycle percentage. For example, during peak energy usage, split system 110 may only be allowed to operate for 45 minutes of each hour, or a 75% duty cycle.
  • In another load-control scheme, IRT 101 senses local space temperature, or receives temperature data, and either turns off split system 110, allowing the space temperature to rise, or alternatively, for split systems 110 having thermostatic capability, sends a command to split system 110 requesting that a space temperature set point be increased, so as to decrease the amount of time that split system 110 operates.
  • In an embodiment wherein IRT 101 includes temperature sensor, IRT 101 controls space temperature under normal conditions and during a load-control event by cycling split system 110 on and off. Such cycling would be accomplished by IRT 101 sensing space temperature, then sending an appropriate on or off command to inside unit 114 and its control unit. Other related commands may include a run fan command following the end of a run cycle of a load-control event. In dry regions, this added fan run time at the end of a cooling cycle would allow the re-evaporation of condensate on the heat exchanger, allowing the benefit of evaporative cooling where practical. In such embodiments, a user might be prompted to initialize split system 110 to be fully on or fully off prior to turning temperature control over to IRT 101.
  • Load-control messages are received over long-distance communications network 104 by long-distance communications module 130 of IRT 101. In another embodiment, load-control messages are sent from the master controller 102 via the internet and are received by a premise-based local area network (for example, WiFi) and are subsequently transmitted to the second local-communications module 134 of IRT 101. In another embodiment, the long-distance communications module 130 can be configured to communicate with the premise-based local area network so that communications and load-control messages can be transmitted to and received from the master controller 102 sent via the internet. These load-control messages may include messages such as timed-control messages, cycling-control messages, restore-control messages, and thermostat set-point control messages, some of which are described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,702,424 and U.S. Pat. No. 7,869,904 as described and cited above. Other load-control messages may request return data such as confirmation of messages received, energy usage data, local condition data, and so on, via the second local communications module 134. In another embodiment, return data such as confirmation of messages received, energy usage data, local condition data, and so on, can be transmitted via a two-way link between the long-distance communications module 130 and the master controller 102.
  • In an embodiment, IRT 101 implements a load-control scheme based on critical or peak pricing received over long-distance communications network 104. A peak-price command may be stored in IRT 101 for implementation when received pricing information indicates energy prices rising above a critical price point. In an embodiment, a control command may automatically be implemented, such as setting the critical price point or determining the command, such as raise the temperature, or turn off split system 110. In systems having more than one split system 110, received pricing information may cause different split systems 110 to implement different commands, depending on preprogrammed settings.
  • Processor 138 receives the load-control messages and their data payload including load-control commands. Processor 138 analyzes the data and determines appropriate commands to transmit. Processor 138 may also translate the load-control messages or commands to a format or protocol usable by the split system 110. However, in some embodiments, any necessary protocol translation may be made in full or in part by one or all of communications modules 130, 132, or 134.
  • As discussed above, in an embodiment, load-control messages may be formatted according to a proprietary protocol, such as an Expresscom® protocol. An Expresscom® message 200 is provided as a whole number of bytes and the length is provided by the transport layer. As depicted in FIG. 4, the message 200 can include an addressing field 202 and one or more payload fields 204, 206, 208. Each field 202, 204, 206, 208 is at least one byte in length, but the length of each field can be more than one byte. The number of fields is unknown until that particular field is parsed. After parsing, any remaining bytes are included in the next field. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 4, three payload fields 204, 206, 208 are shown. However, it is known to those with skill in the art that the number of payload fields is not limited to three and that more or less payload fields can be provided.
  • FIG. 5 depicts an example of a thermostat setpoint control payload 204. Control payload can have the following segments: payload type 222, control flags 224, 226, time delay to implement 228, change in temperature 230, and amount of time to maintain the temperature 232. The following details the segments and byte field definitions:
      • 0x0B=setpoint payload type
      • 0x0106=control flags (delta temperatures, Fahrenheit, applies for cool mode only, segments D and E included)
      • 0x00=TD (embodiment as depicted in FIG. 5 denotes the time as 0 minutes such that the change is implemented immediately with no ramp)
      • 0x04=ΔD (embodiment as depicted in FIG. 5 denotes an increase of 4°)
      • 0xF0=TE (embodiment as depicted in FIG. 5 denotes a 240 minute plateau time)
  • In the embodiment shown, it is desired to raise the cooling temperature setpoint by 4° for four hours. In this embodiment, segment 230 is chosen to raise the temperature setpoint as this coincides with FIG. 4, however, other segments could work equally well. In segments 228, 230, the temperature is raised by 4° in 0 minutes (immediately with no delay) and the temperature is maintained for 240 minutes in segment 232. At the end of 240 minutes, the temperature setpoint is returned to its uncontrolled point.
  • In embodiments, IRT 101 can provide universal control of any manufacturer or universal control of specific units. Control can be provided by having a look-up table corresponding to split systems 110 provided by various manufacturers or specific units. In embodiments, updates to the look-up tables can be provided via communications links. In embodiments, updates include revised or new data for revised or new manufacturer models.
  • Processor 138 may also communicate information regarding the implementation, status, or conditions relating to control of split system 110 to display 140 for a user to view.
  • Demand-control operational commands to control split system 110 are transmitted from communications module 130 or 134 to a wall unit 103 of split system 110, via the processor 138 and infrared transmitter 136 or optional infrared disk 152. These demand-control operational commands are associated with a load-control message received from master controller 102 or the utility for implementation of a load-control scheme, for example, “turn off” split system 110. However, a typical wall unit 103 is not modified for demand-control schemes, nor equipped with specialized demand-control hardware or software and the factory-provided sensor is configured to receive user operational commands from the originally-supplied, handheld remote-controller 108. Such sensors are generally IR-responsive control units with phototransistors for receiving IR signals and respond to input from a user during normal operation of split system 110, such as a user operating remote-control device 108 to simply turn split system 110 on to cool the premise. Thus, operation of the demand-control system 100 provides that the sensor receives and the wall unit 103 responds to commands or messages received from the IR transmitter 136 housed within the IRT 101, where the IRT 101 differentiates between command signals communicated by a master controller 102 or utility providing load-control or demand-control messages to IRT 101 and commands from a user providing user operational commands to remote-control device 108.
  • Because split system 110 may be controlled by a user operating remote-control device 108 for normal, non-demand-control control of split system 110 and may also be controlled by a master controller 102 for load-control purposes, conflicts may arise. IRT 101 may be configured by a utility to include conflict rules that determine how split system 110 is to be controlled in the event of a conflict.
  • In an embodiment, the utility may choose to program IRT 101 to follow load-control messages transmitted by the utility without considering input from a user during a load-control event. Such an arrangement would prohibit a user from overriding the utility's control of split system 110. In such an arrangement, and if a temperature sensor is present in split system 110 or remote-control device 108, the space temperature at the premise may be allowed to rise during a load-control event to a maximum set-point temperature. Such an arrangement might be appropriate for voluntary programs that include the utility rebating fees on a regular basis, perhaps monthly, to a user merely based on participation in the program.
  • In another embodiment, a user may always be able to override control of split system 110 using remote-control device 108. In such an arrangement, a user may receive program fee credit, or billing reduction, based on allowing the utility to control split system 110, and not overriding operation of IRT 101 during load-control events.
  • In some embodiments, IRT 101 can be configured by a utility to include tamper detection systems (not shown) to monitor security and compliance with the demand-control program. In one embodiment, IRT 101 or infrared disk 152 may be provided with a pressure switch that opens (or closes) if the IRT 101 or infrared disk 152 is removed from the wall unit 103. A status change in the circuit results in a tamper message being transmitted to the master controller 102 or transmitted and stored in the IRT 101 processor 138 for future retrieval. In other embodiments, tamper detection systems can monitor power status of the system 100 or attempts to override the software controls.
  • In some embodiments, prior to, and during, a load-control event, display 140 may advise a user of the control status of split system 110, including whether a load-control event is imminent, taking place, or next scheduled. Other details may also be exhibited to a user regarding load-control information, energy usage, energy costs, and other such energy and load-control information.
  • In an embodiment, display 140 can be configured to allow a user to input relevant data into IRT 101 and monitor the activities of split system 110. Although data input by a user may be relevant to local conditions at premise, such as requesting an increase in temperature or turning split system 110 on and off, in an embodiment that includes two-way communication over communications network 115, a user may provide information directly to the utility. Such information may include local-condition information, run-time data, local supply voltage, local supply frequency, participation in a utility-sponsored demand-control program, and so on. In some embodiments, such information may also include information received from inside wall unit 103, including data relating to the operational state of unit 103, confirmation of connection to inside unit 103, or other such data and information.
  • Referring also to FIG. 6, a flowchart summarizing the operating properties of IRT 101 is depicted. At step 180, a user inputs a command into the remote control 108. At step 182, IRT 101 intercepts the message from the remote control 108. At step 184, the message is processed within the IRT 101, which processing could take place in the processor 138 or in the first communications module 132. If it is determined that the message is not related to temperature, the message, in the form of a command, is transmitted to the infrared transmitter 136 which transmits the command to the split system 110 to be acted on at step 190. If at step 184, it is determined that the message is related to temperature, then at step 186 a query is initiated as to whether the utility issued a demand-control event. If no demand-control event has been issued, then the system moves to step 190. If a demand-control control event has been issued, then the system moves to step 188 where the IRT 101 issues a command to modify the temperature in the event the user input a temperature increase or to maintain the temperature if the user input a temperature decrease. The command is transmitted to the infrared transmitter 136 which then transmits the command to the split system 110 to be acted on.
  • In the embodiment depicted, at step 188, if wall unit 103 includes a thermostat, temperature setpoints and offsets may be used to implement temperature-based load-control schemes. If wall unit 103 is not equipped with a thermostat, on/off control of wall unit 103 may be used to implement a load-control scheme, such as a load-control scheme based on duty-cycle time. A duty-cycle may be determined in a number of ways, as discussed with respect to particular load-control schemes. Although a simple timer-based duty-cycle implementation of a load-control scheme can be configured, it will be understood that any load-control scheme that turns inside unit on and off as part of a load-control scheme is encompassed by disclosed embodiments. Further, in some embodiments, even if wall unit 103 does not have a thermostat, if IRT 101 includes a temperature sensor, a temperature setpoint or offset type of control may be used at step 188, implemented through on/off control of wall unit 103.
  • When a temperature setpoint or offset control is used, a load control command is received. An appropriate command or control code is transmitted from IRT 101 to wall unit 103. The transmitted control code may command wall unit 103 to raise (or lower) the temperature setpoint by a predetermined number of degrees, set the temperature to a predetermined set point, and so on.
  • If the load-control event is completed, and IRT 101 no longer is actively controlling or commanding wall unit 103, control of wall unit 103 is returned to a user. At that point, a user may operate remote-control device 108 to control wall unit 103 as desired.
  • In some embodiments, a user may also be able to override the implementation of a load-control event. In other embodiments, control may only be returned to a user when the event is concluded, when a critical temperature is reached, or under other predetermined circumstances.
  • If wall unit 103 does not include a thermostat, wall unit 103 may be cycled on and off as a means of implementing a load-control event. A load-control command is received that requires on/off control of wall unit 103 for implementation, such as a duty-cycle-based load control command as discussed above. In the embodiment depicted, the load-control command implements a timer-based duty-cycle-based load control command or set of commands.
  • In one such embodiment that relies on a timer, a timer is started, followed by transmission of a command code to turn on or off wall unit 103, such that wall unit 103 is on or off for preset periods of time. In an embodiment, a duty cycle may be 50%, such that wall unit 103 is turned off for 30 minutes every hour. In this timer-based embodiment, if time has not expired, wall unit 103 continues to cycle on or off, or if time has expired, control of wall unit 103 is turned over to a user and/or to a control unit of wall unit 103.
  • Multiple IRTs 101 may be used in premises having more than one split system 110 and each split system 110 may be associated with its own IRT 101. In a multi-unit building with distinct residences or billing units, master controller 102 may communicate directly with each individual IRT 101, and no operational distinction may exist between any one unit having one split system 110 as compared to a stand-alone, single-unit premise. In such a system, each IRT 101 may be operated independently during load-control events by a master controller 102, another controlling device, or otherwise by a user.
  • However, in another embodiment, it may be beneficial to coordinate operation of multiple split systems 110 at a single premise during a load-control event. For example, a demand-control system at a first premise includes first split system 110 with outside unit 112 and wall unit 103, as well as a second split system 110 with a second outside unit 112 and a second wall unit 103. In this embodiment, master controller 102 transmits individual communication signals to first split system 110 and second split system 110. Each IRT of each system 110 includes communication modules 130 for receiving communication signals from master controller 102 to their respective split systems 110.
  • In an embodiment, master controller 102 transmits an RF paging signal using a proprietary communications protocol to communications module 130; and IRTs 101 of first and second split systems 110 each transmit an IR command signal to control units of first and second split systems 110, respectively.
  • Second local communications module 134, if so provided, transmits real-time data, or logged data, to the utility. Data received at the utility may then be saved in memory and logged. Logged data from may be analyzed by a utility to determine or refine a load-control scheme. In an embodiment, an average duty cycle of outside unit 112 is determined based on sensed data. That data may then be used to determine a time interval for controlling the load of outside unit 112, including determining a time interval for removing power to the electrical load. Such analysis may take place remotely at a utility.
  • Such data is also useful for verifying that split system 110 is being controlled by IRT 101 as intended. If a user overrides IRT 101, or a wireless signal commanding control of a load of split system 110 is not received by the control unit of split system 110, data can be analyzed to verify the success or failure of the load control event. Other embodiments may include other analytical techniques for providing feedback to a utility on the implementation of a load-control event.
  • Such data also enables advanced load-control schemes such as those described in the U.S. patents cited above and incorporated by reference.
  • In other embodiments, system 100 may also include additional electrical loads and/or monitoring devices in communication with master controller 102. Additional electrical loads may include hot water heaters, electric heaters, fans, appliances, and other such devices having electrical loads. Each of these additional loads may include a processor and local-communications module.
  • It is anticipated and understood that various one-way and two-way communications schemes can be employed with the system 100 as described herein. Each of the communications links 104, 114, 115 can be configured to be one-way or two-way and be provided with the appropriate protocols, software, and hardware. In addition, it is anticipated that the remote control device 108 can be replaced so that it is capable of two-way communications.
  • Although the subject matter has been described with respect to the various embodiments, it will be understood that numerous insubstantial changes in configuration, arrangement, or appearance of the elements of the subject matter can be made without departing from the intended scope of the subject matter. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of the subject matter be determined by the claims as set forth.
  • For purposes of interpreting the claims for the present subject matter, it is expressly intended that the provisions of Section 112, sixth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. are not to be invoked unless the specific terms “means for” or “step for” are recited in a claim.

Claims (20)

1. An infrared translator device for controlling an infrared-responsive control unit of a ductless, split air-conditioning system, the infrared translator device comprising:
a long-distance communications module including a long-distance transceiver, the long-distance communications module providing a network connection to a master controller via a long-distance communications network transmitting a load-control message for controlling an electrical load of a ductless, split air-conditioning system at a premise;
a processor in electrical communication with the long-distance communications module;
an infrared transmitter module in electrical communication with the processor, the infrared transmitter module transmitting an infrared signal to an infrared-responsive control unit of the ductless, split air-conditioning system to control operation of the electrical load, the infrared signal being a command associated with the received load-control message received by the long distance communications module.
2. The infrared translator device of claim 1, further comprising a housing enclosing the long-distance communications module, the processor and the infrared transmitter module, the housing configured to be mounted over an infrared receiving eye of the infrared-responsive control unit.
3. The infrared translator device of claim 2, further comprising a display in electrical communication with the processor and visible external to the housing.
4. The infrared translator device of claim 1, further comprising a first local communications module in electrical communication with the processor, the first local-communications module including an infrared receiver that receives infrared signals from a remote control unit and a transceiver that transmits a command associated with the received infrared signals to the processor.
5. The infrared translator device of claim 1, further comprising a second local communications module in electrical communication with the processor, the second local-communications module facilitating short-range, local two-way communications, the second local-communications module including a receiver and a transceiver that receives and transmits wireless signals.
6. The infrared translator device of claim 5, the second local communications module communicating with devices other than the control unit of the ductless, split air-conditioning system.
7. The infrared translator device of claim 5, further comprising a power sensor adapted to sense power at the electrical load, and to communicate data associated with the power at the electrical load to the second local communications module.
8. The infrared translator device of claim 1, further comprising a power supply and monitor device in communication with the processor and providing data associated with a power quality of an electrical power supply to the infrared translator device.
9. The infrared translator device of claim 1, further comprising an infrared disk in electrical communication with the infrared transmitter, the infrared disk configured to be mounted over the infrared receiving eye of the infrared-responsive control unit.
10. The infrared translator device of claim 2, further comprising an occupancy sensor.
11. The infrared translator device of claim 2, further comprising a temperature sensor.
12. The infrared translator device of claim 2, further comprising a humidity sensor.
13. The infrared translator device of claim 1, wherein the load control messages are formatted according to an Expresscom protocol.
14. A system for controlling a plurality of ductless, split air-conditioning units, the system comprising:
a master controller;
a regional controller wherein the master controller is in communication with the regional controller via a long-distance communications network, the long-distance communications network transmitting a load-control message for controlling an electrical load of the plurality of ductless, split air-conditioning systems at a premise;
a plurality of infrared translator devices in communication with the plurality of ductless, split air-conditioning system wherein each infrared translator device is in communication with one of the plurality of ductless, split air-conditioning systems;
wherein each of the plurality of infrared translator device comprises:
a long-distance communications module including a long-distance transceiver, the long-distance communications module providing a network connection to the regional controller via a long-distance communications network transmitting a load-control message for controlling an electrical load of a ductless, split air-conditioning system at a premise;
a processor in electrical communication with the long-distance communications module;
an infrared transmitter module in electrical communication with the processor, the infrared transmitter module transmitting an infrared signal to an infrared-responsive control unit of the ductless, split air-conditioning system to control operation of the electrical load, the infrared signal being a command associated with the load-control message received by the long-distance communications module.
15. The infrared translator device of claim 14, wherein each of the plurality of infrared translator devices further comprise a first local communications module in electrical communication with the processor, the first local-communications module including an infrared receiver that receives infrared signals from a remote control unit and a transceiver that transmits a command associated with the received infrared signals to the processor.
16. The infrared translator device of claim 14, wherein each of the plurality of infrared translator devices further comprise a second local communications module in electrical communication with the processor, the second local-communications module facilitating short-range, local two-way communications, the second local-communications module including a receiver and a transceiver that receive and transmit wireless signals.
17. A method of controlling an electrical load of a ductless, split air-conditioning system outside a premise and controlled by an infrared translator device located inside the premise, the method comprising:
causing an infrared translator device having a long-distance communications module and a local communications module to be mounted over an infrared receiving eye of an infrared-responsive control unit inside the premise, the long-distance communications module configured to interface with a long-distance communications network and the local communications module configured to communicate with a remote control unit of a ductless, split air-conditioning system at the premise having an outside unit with an electrical load;
transmitting a load-control message over the long-distance communications network to the long-distance communications module of the infrared translator device located inside the premise, the load-control message causing the infrared translator device to transmit a load-control command to an inside control unit of an indoor portion of the ductless, split air-conditioning unit, thereby controlling power to the outside unit with the electrical load.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein transmitting a load-control message over the long-distance communications network comprises transmitting a load-control message over a radio-frequency (RF) long-distance communications network.
19. The method of claim 17, wherein the infrared translator device is configured to transmit the load-control command to the inside control unit of the indoor portion of the ductless, split air-conditioning unit using an infrared (IR) signal.
20. The method of claim 17, further comprising receiving data over the long-distance communication network, the data associated with energy usage of the electrical load as transmitted from the remote-control device.
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AU2014329873A AU2014329873B2 (en) 2013-10-04 2014-09-25 IR translator providing demand-control for ductless split HVAC systems
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CA2926177A1 (en) 2015-04-09
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AU2014329873B2 (en) 2018-07-26
WO2015050768A1 (en) 2015-04-09

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