WO2002023744A2 - System and method for remotely controlling home appliances - Google Patents

System and method for remotely controlling home appliances Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2002023744A2
WO2002023744A2 PCT/US2001/028445 US0128445W WO0223744A2 WO 2002023744 A2 WO2002023744 A2 WO 2002023744A2 US 0128445 W US0128445 W US 0128445W WO 0223744 A2 WO0223744 A2 WO 0223744A2
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WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
appliance
controller
controlling
appliance controller
room
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PCT/US2001/028445
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French (fr)
Other versions
WO2002023744A3 (en
Inventor
George N. Beck
Original Assignee
General Innovations, Llc
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Publication date
Priority to US66251700A priority Critical
Priority to US09/662,517 priority
Application filed by General Innovations, Llc filed Critical General Innovations, Llc
Publication of WO2002023744A2 publication Critical patent/WO2002023744A2/en
Publication of WO2002023744A3 publication Critical patent/WO2002023744A3/en

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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04BTRANSMISSION
    • H04B10/00Transmission systems employing electromagnetic waves other than radio-waves, e.g. infrared, visible or ultraviolet light, or employing corpuscular radiation, e.g. quantum communication
    • H04B10/11Arrangements specific to free-space transmission, i.e. transmission through air or vacuum
    • H04B10/114Indoor or close-range type systems
    • H04B10/1141One-way transmission

Abstract

A system for remotely controlling the operation of home appliances. The system includes a remote controller (12) for transmitting commands to one or more home appliance controllers (22, 20, 18, 16) are also programmed to respond only to a specific remote control having a unique serial number. The remote controller (12) transmits commands to the home appliance controllers (22, 20, 18, 16) that include the remote control serial number, the room number, the appliance number, and the required action to be carrier out by the particular appliance controller assigned to the specific room and appliance number.

Description

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR REMOTELY CONTROLLING HOME APPLIANCES

Background

This invention relates generally to automatic control systems, and in particular to a system and method for remotely controlling home appliances.

Home and office automation has become increasing popular with the advancement of electrical and wireless technologies. Conventional systems for remotely controlling home appliances use a remote controller to transmit command signals to one or more appliance controllers. These systems allow one or more users to turn appliances such as a light or fan on and off from remote locations. The appliances are assigned serial numbers which can be uniquely identified by a control device such as a handheld remote. By pressing one or more buttons on the handheld remote associated with the serial number, the appliance identified by the serial number can be controlled. As such, these systems offer many obvious conveniences and are desirable for many traditional, and non- traditional applications.

However, these conventional systems suffer from a number of serious drawbacks. For example, the systems do not permit all of the lights within a household to be simultaneously turned on or off. In addition, in order to program operating parameters such as, for example, the system serial number into the appliance controllers, manual devices such as dip switches are commonly employed that are difficult to reprogram.

Furthermore, conventional systems do not permit a single remote control to control a plurality of appliance controllers assigned to a plurality of rooms within the household. Moreover, conventional systems do not permit the remote control to be cloned thereby permitting a user to use a plurality of remote controls. In addition, conventional systems do not include features such as security mode of operation of lights, automatic turning on of lights at preset times, and delayed turning off of lights.

The present invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the limitations of existing systems for remotely controlling home appliances.

Summary

The present invention overcomes these drawbacks, and provides additional benefits, by providing a unique system and method for remotely controlling home appliances. In one embodiment, the system may work in a household having a plurality of rooms. Each room may include one or more appliance controllers for controlling the operation of corresponding home appliances. Each appliance controller is assigned to a specific room within the household, so that a remote control can control the operation of the appliance controllers according to the assigned room and/or other identification number.

In one embodiment, the remote control includes one or more pushbuttons for permitting a user to select various input commands, and an indicator for indicating the selection of input commands by the user. The remote control also includes a radio frequency transmitter for transmitting the selected commands to the appliance controllers, a non-volatile memory for storing data, an infrared transmitter for transmitting data from the remote control to another remote control, an infrared receiver for receiving data from another remote control, and a controller for controlling the operation of the pushbuttons, the indicator, the radio frequency transmitter, the nonvolatile memory, the infrared transmitter, and the infrared receiver.

In some embodiments, the remote control includes a unique 16-bit serial number and thereby provides 65,356 unique serial numbers for use. In this manner, the duplication of serial number by adjacent households is virtually impossible thereby preventing the inadvertent use of identical serial number by adjacent households.

In one embodiment, the appliance controller controls the operation of a wall switch for supplying power to a light bulb. This appliance controller includes a power supply control circuit for controlling the flow of current to the light bulb, a light bulb detector circuit for sensing the presence or absence of the light bulb, a radio frequency receiver for receiving commands for execution by the appliance controller, a non-volatile memory for storing data, and a controller for controlling the operation of the power supply control circuit, the light bulb detector circuit; the radio frequency receiver, and the non-volatile memory.

In another embodiment, the appliance controller controls the operation of a lighting appliance for supplying power to a light bulb. This appliance controller includes a power supply control circuit for controlling the flow of current to the light bulb, a zero crossing sensing circuit for sensing the zero crossing of the current, a light bulb detector circuit for sensing the presence or absence of the light bulb, a radio frequency receiver for receiving commands for execution by the appliance controller, a non- volatile memory for storing data, and a controller for controlling the operation of the power supply control circuit, the zero crossing sensing circuit, the light bulb detector circuit, the radio frequency receiver, and the non-volatile memory.

In another embodiment, the appliance controller controls the operation of a lighting appliance for supplying power to first and second light bulbs. This appliance controller includes a first power supply control circuit for controlling the flow of current to the first light bulb, a second power supply control circuit for controlling the flow of current to the second light bulb, a zero crossing sensing circuit for sensing the zero crossing of the current, a light bulb detector circuit for sensing the presence or absence of one of the light bulbs, a radio frequency receiver for receiving commands for execution by the appliance controller, a non- volatile memory for storing data, and a controller for controlling the operation of the first and second power supply control circuits, the zero crossing sensing circuit, the light bulb detector circuit, the radio frequency receiver, and the non-volatile memory.

In another embodiment, the appliance controller controls the operation of a ceiling fan appliance for supplying power to a ceiling fan motor and a light bulb. This appliance controller includes a lighting power supply control circuit for controlling the flow of current to the light bulb, a ceiling fan power supply control circuit for controlling the flow of current to the ceiling fan motor, a zero crossing sensing circuit for sensing the zero crossing of the current, a light bulb detector circuit for sensing the presence or absence of the light bulb, a radio frequency receiver for receiving commands for execution by the appliance controller, a non- volatile memory for storing data, and a controller for controlling the operation of the lighting and ceiling fan power supply control circuits, the zero crossing sensing circuit, the light bulb detector circuit, the radio frequency receiver, and the non-volatile memory.

In some embodiments, the identity information for the appliance controllers is stored in non- volatile memory, thereby avoiding the need to manually program the identity information. In addition, other operational parameters such as preset lighting levels and thermostat levels are also maintained within the non- volatile memory.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, a method for remotely controlling the operation of home appliances in a household is provided. The method divides the household into a plurality of numbered rooms and assigns each home appliance to a specific one of the numbered rooms. Each home appliance can thereby be identified according to a specific numbered room assigned to each, and/or using an appliance number. The method can thereby transmit commands (that include the room number and appliance number) to the appliances that will execute the command.

According to different embodiments, the method may control the operation of lights within the household by selecting the room number for the lights and selecting the appliance number. The appliance controller assigned to the selected room can be activated accordingly. This similarly works for ceiling fans (with or without lights), HVACs, and other appliances. According to another embodiment of the present invention, a method of controlling the operation of lights within a household that are controlled by corresponding appliance controllers that are in turn controlled by a remote control, is provided. The method divides the household into a plurality of numbered rooms and assigns each appliance controller to a specific one of the numbered rooms. Each appliance controller is assigned to a specific numbered room using an appliance number. The remote control can select the room number and the appliance number, and adjust the lighting level of the corresponding light. The lighting level of the corresponding light can also be recorded in the appliance controller for later use.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, a method of copying the operational information within a first remote control into a second remote control is provided. The method includes placing the remote controls proximate to one another, transmitting the operational information from the first remote to the second remote, and storing the transmitted operational information into the second remote. In this manner, remote controls can be cloned thereby permitting a plurality of remote controls to be used to control appliances within a household.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, a method of programming identity information into an appliance controller is provided. The method includes dividing the household into a plurality of numbered rooms, assigning each appliance controller to a specific one of the numbered rooms, and identifying each appliance controller assigned to a specific numbered room using an appliance number. The power supply for a specific appliance controller is then cycled on and off. The appliance controller is then associated with a selected room number and appliance number to designate the identity information for the specific appliance controller. If the identity information is received by the specific appliance controller within a predetermined time period after cycling the power supply for the specific appliance controller, the identity information is stored in the specific appliance controller.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, a method of programming identity information into an appliance controller is provided. The method includes dividing the household into a plurality of numbered rooms, assigning each appliance controller to a specific one of the numbered rooms, and identifying each appliance controller assigned to a specific numbered room using an appliance number. Commands and identity information can then be transmitted to a selected appliance controller. If the identity information is received by the specific appliance controller within a predetermined time period after transmitting the identity information to the specific appliance controller, the selected appliance controller can then store the identity information for later use. According to another embodiment of the present invention, a method of controlling pre-set thermostat levels of HVAC controllers in various rooms in the house is provided. The method includes dividing the household into a plurality of numbered rooms, assigning each HVAC controller to a specific one of the numbered rooms, selecting the room number for a selected HVAC controller, using the selected HVAC controller, adjusting the thermostat level for the corresponding HVAC, and programming the thermostat level into the selected HVAC controller.

The present disclosure provides many benefits over conventional systems. In addition to the benefits already discussed above, the appliance controllers may be programmed without having to manually program the controllers using dip switches. In this manner, the maintenance and use of the system is greatly enhanced. Furthermore, all of the lights within a household may be turned on or off simultaneously. Finally, selected lights within the household may be placed in a security mode of operation. In this manner, the safety of the household is greatly improved.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Fig. 1 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of a system for remotely controlling home appliances within a household.

Figs. 2a and 2b are a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the remote control of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 3 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the wall switch controller of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 4 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the single lighting controller of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 5 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the multiple lighting controller of the system of Fig. 1.

Figs. 6a and 6b are a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the ceiling fan/light controller of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 7 is a graphical illustration of the use of the system of Fig. 1 in a household.

Figs. 7a and 7b are illustrations of an embodiment of the control architecture of the system of Fig. 1.

Figs. 7c and 7d are a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the control of lights in the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 7e is an illustration of an embodiment of the commands transmitted by the remote control to the appliance controllers in the system of Fig. 1. Figs. 8a and 8b are a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the control of the ceiling fan/lights and HVACs of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 9 is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the control of all of the lights and the alarm device of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 10 is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the security mode of operation of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 11 is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the time based control of the lights of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 12 is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the delay timer based control of the lights of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 13 is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the programming of preset lighting levels for the lights of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 14 is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the cloning of the remote control of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 14a is a schematic illustration of the relative positioning of a pair of remote controls during the cloning process of Fig. 14.

Fig. 14b is a schematic illustration of the storage of the remote control serial number within the non- volatile random access memory of the remote control of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 15a is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the programming of identity information into the wall switch controller of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 15b is a schematic illustration of an embodiment the identity information stored within the non- volatile random access memory of a wall switch controller in the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 16a is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the programming of identity information into the single lighting, multiple lighting, and ceiling fan/light controllers in the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 16b is a schematic illustration of an embodiment the identity information stored within the non- volatile random access memory of a single lighting controller in the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 16c is a schematic illustration of an embodiment the identity information stored within the non- volatile random access memory of a multiple lighting controller in the system of Fig. 1. Fig. 17a is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the programming of identity information into the alarm device, the ceiling fan/light controller, and the HVAC controller in the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 17b is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the identity information stored within the alarm device of the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 17c is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the identity information stored within the non- volatile random access memory of a ceiling fan/light controller in the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 17d is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of the identity information stored within the non- volatile random access memory of an HVAC controller in the system of Fig. 1.

Fig. 18 is a flow chart illustration of an embodiment of the programming of the preset comfort and economy thermostat levels into the HVAC controllers of the system of Fig. 1.

Description of the Preferred Embodiments

The present invention provides a new and unique system and method for remotely controlling appliances such as, for example, lights, ceiling fans, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and alarm systems in an environment such as a home. It is understood, however, that the following disclosure provides many different embodiments, or examples, for implementing different features of the invention. Specific examples of components and arrangements are described below to simplify the present disclosure. These are, of course, merely examples and are not intended to limit the invention from that described in the claims.

Referring to Figs. 1, 2a, 2b, 3, 4, 5, 6a, and 6b, the reference numeral 10 refers, in general, to a system for remotely controlling home appliances that includes a remote control 12 for remotely controlling the operation of an alarm device 14, one or more wall switch controllers 16, one or more single lighting controllers 18, one or more multiple lighting controllers 20, one or more ceiling fan/light controllers 22, and one or more HVAC controllers 24.

The remote control 12 includes push buttons REPEAT TIMER, DELAY TIMER, CLONE, SET PIN, ALL ON, ALL OFF, SECURITY, ALARM, ECONOMY, COMFORT, WARMER, COOLER, FAN UP, FAN DOWN, FLITE UP, FLITE DWN, ROOM1, ROOM2, ROOM3, ROOM4, ROOM5, ROOM6, ROOM7, ROOM8, OFF, LOW, MED, HIGH, LITE1, LITE2, LITE3, LITE4, LITE5, LITE6, LITE7, and LITE8, generally designated with the numeral 12b. The buttons 12b are operably coupled to a programmable controller Ul that permit a user of the remote control to select and control the various operational modes of the system 10 as will be described below. A clock CRl is also operably coupled to the controller Ul for providing a clock signal to the controller.

An LED circuit 26 that includes a resistor Rl and a light emitting diode LED1 is also operably coupled to the controller Ul that provides the user of the remote control 12 with a visual indication of the depression of the push buttons. An amplitude shift keying (ASK) transmitter circuit 28 that includes a programmable controller U3, resistors R2, R3, capacitors Cl, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9, inductor LI, oscillator XTALl, and antenna 30 is also operably coupled to the controller Ul that transmits an ASK signal from the remote control 12 to the alarm device 14, wall switch controller 16, the single lighting controller 18, the multiple lighting controller 20, and the ceiling fan/light controller 22 in a conventional manner.

A non volatile memory circuit 32 that includes a nonvolatile random access memory (NVRAM) U2 and a capacitor CIO is also operably coupled to the controller Ul for storing non- volatile data. An infra-red LED transmitter circuit 34 that includes an infra-red LED IRLED, and a resistor R4 is also operably coupled to the controller Ul that transmits data from the controller 12 to another controller. An infra-red LED receiving circuit 36 that includes an infra-red phototransistor IRPT, and a resistor R5 is also operably coupled to the controller Ul that receives data transmissions into the controller 12 from another controller. A power supply +3V is also provided that provides electrical power to the various components of the remote control 12.

The alarm device 14 includes an antenna 38 for receiving ASK transmissions from the controller 12. The alarm device 14 may be any conventional commercially available alarm device capable of remote activation and control.

Each wall switch controller 16 is operably coupled to an alternating current source 40 that includes power supply nodes ACH and ACL. A first wall switch power supply line LI is operably coupled to the power supply node ACH and a second wall switch power supply line L2A is operably coupled to the power supply node ACL. The power supply lines LI and L2A are in turn operably coupled to a conventional wall switch 42 that controls the operation of a light or other home appliance.

A varistor MOV2 is operably coupled between the power supply lines LI and L2A that provides voltage surge protection for the wall switch controller 16. A power supply circuit 42 that includes resistors R6 and R7, capacitors Cll and C12, a diode Dl, and zener diodes Zl and Z2 is operably coupled to the power supply line LI that generates a DC power supply for the wall switch controller 16 in a conventional manner. A programmable controller U4 is operably coupled to the power supply circuit 42 that controls the operation of the wall switch controller 16. A clock circuit CR2 is operably coupled to the programmable controller Ul that provides clock signals to the controller. An ASK receiver circuit 44 that includes a programmable controller U5, a resistor R8, capacitors C13, C14, C15, C16, C17, C18, C19, C20, C21, and C22, inductors LI and L2, an oscillator XTAL2, and an antenna 46 is coupled to the controller U4 that receives ASK transmissions from the remote control 12 in a conventional manner.

A non-volatile memory circuit 48 that includes a NVRAM U6, and a capacitor C23 is also coupled to the controller U4 that stores non- volatile data. A zero-crossing sensing circuit 50 that includes a transistor Ql, a diode D2, and a resistor R9 is operably coupled to the power supply line LI and the controller U4 that senses when the current within the power supply line LI crosses zero in a conventional manner. A power control circuit 52 that includes a triac TR1, a transistor Q2, and resistors RIO and Rll is coupled to the controller U4 and the power supply line L2A for controlling the flow of current through the power supply line L2A in a conventional manner. Pushbuttons DIM UP and DIM DWN are also operably coupled to the controller U4 for permitting a user of the wall switch controller 16 to manually customize the light dimming operations of the wall switch controller 16 to permit dimming in an increasing or decreasing manner.

Each single lighting controller 18 is also operably coupled to the alternating current source 40 that includes the power supply nodes ACH and ACL. A first light power supply line SL1 is operably coupled to the power supply node ACH and a second light power supply line SL2A is operably coupled to the power supply node ACL. The power supply lines SL1 and SL2A are in turn operably coupled to a conventional light bulb 54 for controlling the operation of the light bulb.

A varistor MOV3 is operably coupled between the power supply lines SL1 and SL2A that provides voltage surge protection for the single lighting controller 18. A power supply circuit 56 that includes resistors R12 and R13, capacitors C24 and C25, a diode D3, and zener diodes Z3 and Z4 is operably coupled to the power supply line SL1 that generates a DC power supply for the single lighting controller 18 in a conventional manner.

A programmable controller U7 is operably coupled to the power supply circuit 56 that controls the operation of the single lighting controller 18. A clock circuit CR3 is operably coupled to the programmable controller U7 that provides clock signals to the controller. An ASK receiver circuit 58 that includes a programmable controller U8, a resistor R14, capacitors C26, C27, C28, C29, C30, C31, C32, C33, C34, C35, inductors L3 and L4, an oscillator XTAL3, and an antenna 60 is coupled to the controller U7 that receives ASK transmissions from the remote control 12 in a conventional manner.

A non-volatile memory circuit 62 that includes a NVRAM U9, and a capacitor C36 is also coupled to the controller Ul that stores non- volatile data. A power control circuit 64 that includes a triac TR2, a transistor Q3, and resistors R15 and R16 is coupled to the controller U7 and the power supply line SL2A for controlling the flow of current through the power supply line FL2A in a conventional manner. A zero-crossing sensing circuit 66 that includes a transistor Q4, a diode D4, and a resistor R17 is operably coupled to the power supply line SL1 and the controller U7 that senses when the current within the power supply line SL1 crosses zero in a conventional manner. A light bulb sensing circuit 68 that includes a transistor Q5, a diode D5, and a resistor R18 is operably coupled to the power supply line SL2A and the controller U7 that senses the presence or absence of the light bulb 54.

Each multiple lighting controller 20 is also operably coupled to the alternating current source 40 that includes the power supply nodes ACH and ACL. A first light power supply line MLl is operably coupled to the power supply node ACH, and a second light power supply line ML2A and a third light power supply line ML2B are operably coupled to the power supply node ACL. The power supply lines MLl and ML2A are in turn operably coupled to a first conventional light bulb 70 for controlling the operation of the first light bulb 70, and the power supply lines ML2A and ML2B are in turn operably connected to a second conventional light bulb 72 for controlling the operation of the second light bulb 72.

A varistor MOV4 is operably coupled between the power supply lines MLl and ML2A and ML2B that provides voltage surge protection for the multiple lighting controller 20. A power supply circuit 74 that includes resistors R19 and R20, capacitors C37 and C38, a diode D6, and zener diodes Z5 and Z6 is operably coupled to the power supply line MLl that generates a DC power supply for the multiple lighting controller 20 in a conventional manner.

A programmable controller U10 is operably coupled to the power supply circuit 74 that controls the operation of the single lighting controller 20. A clock circuit CR4 is operably coupled to the programmable controller U10 that provides clock signals to the controller. An ASK receiver circuit 76 that includes a programmable controller Ull, a resistor R21, capacitors C39, C40, C41, C42, C43, C44, C45, C46, C47, and C48, inductors L5 and L6, an oscillator XTAL4, and an antenna 78 is coupled to the controller U10 that receives ASK transmissions from the remote control 12 in a conventional manner. A non-volatile memory circuit 80 that includes a NVRAM U12, and a capacitor C49 is also coupled to the controller U10 that stores non- volatile data. A first power control circuit 82 that includes a triac TR3, a transistor Q6, and resistors R22 and R23 is coupled to the controller U10 and the power supply line ML2A that controls the flow of current through the power supply line ML2A in a conventional manner. A second power control circuit 84 that includes a triac TR4, a transistor Q7, and resistors R24 and R25 is coupled to the controller U10 and the power supply line ML2B that controls the flow of current through the power supply line ML2B in a conventional manner.

A zero-crossing sensing circuit 86 that includes a transistor Q8, a diode D7, and a resistor R26 is operably coupled to the power supply line MLl and the controller Ul that senses when the current within the power supply line MLl crosses zero. A light bulb sensing circuit 88 that includes a transistor Q9, a diode D8, and a resistor R27 is operably coupled to the power supply line ML2A and the controller U10 that senses the presence or absence of the light bulbs 70 and 72 in a conventional manner.

Each ceiling fan/light controller 22 is also operably coupled to the alternating current source 40 that includes the power supply nodes ACH and ACL. A power supply line PLITEl is operably coupled to the power supply node ACH, and a power supply line LITE2 is operably coupled to the power supply node ACL. The power supply lines PLITEl and LITE2 are in turn operably coupled to a conventional ceiling fan light bulb 90 for controlling the operation of the light bulb; and a conventional ceiling fan motor 92 for controlling the operation of the ceiling fan motor.

A varistor MOV5 is operably coupled between the power supply lines PLITEl and LITE2 that provides voltage surge protection for the ceiling fan/light controller 22. A power supply circuit 94 that includes resistors R28 and R29, capacitors C50 and C51, a diode D9, and zener diodes Z7 and Z8 is operably coupled to the power supply line PLITEl that generates a DC power supply for the ceiling fan/light controller 22 in a conventional manner.

A programmable controller U13 is operably coupled to the power supply circuit 94 that controls the operation of the ceiling fan/light controller 20. A clock circuit CR5 is operably coupled to the programmable controller U13 that provides clock signals to the controller. An ASK receiver circuit 96 that includes a programmable controller U14, a resistor R30, capacitors C52, C53, C54, C55, C56, C57, C58, C59, C60, and C61, inductors L7 and L8, an oscillator XTAL5, and an antenna 98 is coupled to the controller U13 that receives ASK transmissions from the remote control 12 in a conventional manner. A non-volatile memory circuit 100 that includes a NVRAM U15, and a capacitor

C62 is also coupled to the controller U13 that stores non-volatile data. A lighting power control circuit 102 that includes a triac TR5, a transistor Q10, and resistors R31 and R32 is coupled to the controller U13 and the power supply line LITE2 that controls the flow of current through the power supply line LITE2 in a conventional manner. A ceiling fan motor control circuit 104 that includes a triacs TR6, TR7, TR8, transistors Qll, Q12, Q13, Q14, Q15, Q16, and Q17, resistors R32, R33, R34, R35, R36, R37, R38, R39, R40, and R41, and capacitors C63, C64, and C65 is coupled to the controller U13 and the power supply line LITE2 that controls the flow of current from the power supply line LITE2 to the ceiling fan motor 92 in a conventional manner.

A zero-crossing sensing circuit 106 that includes a transistor Q18, a diode D10, and a resistor R42 is operably coupled to the power supply line PLITEl and the controller Ul that senses when the current within the power supply line LITE 1 crosses zero in a conventional manner. A light bulb sensing circuit 108 that includes a transistor Q19, a diode Dll, and a resistor R43 is operably coupled to the power supply line LITE2 and the controller Ul that senses the presence or absence of the light bulb 90 in a conventional manner.

Each HVAC controller 24 includes an antenna 110 for receiving commands from the remote control 12. The HVAC controller 24 is further coupled to a conventional HVAC 112. The HVAC controller 24 may be any conventional commercially available remotely controllable HVAC controller.

In an exemplary embodiment, the various components of the remote control 12, and the controllers 16, 18, 20 and 22 have the following component values and/or part numbers and/or manufacturers indicated in the following table:

Figure imgf000014_0001
Figure imgf000015_0001
Figure imgf000016_0001
Figure imgf000017_0001
Figure imgf000018_0001
Figure imgf000019_0001

Referring to Fig. 7, in an exemplary embodiment, the system 10 is implemented in a household 110 that is divided into various rooms 111 and each room may include one or more home appliances. For example, the room Ilia may include the alarm device 14 and the wall switch 42, the room 111b may include the light 54 and the lights 70 and 72, the room 111c may include the ceiling fan light and motor, 90 and 92, and the room 11 Id may include the HVAC 112. The user may then use the remote control 12 to control the operation of these home appliances by transmitting commands to the corresponding appliance controllers as described below. Referring to Figs. 7a and 7b, in an exemplary embodiment, during operation of the system 10, the remote control 12 can control the operation of a single alarm device 14 and controllers 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 that are distributed within the household 110 that is divided up into 8 rooms 111. Furthermore, within each room 111 of the household 110, the remote control 12 can control the operation of up to a total of 8 of the controllers 16, 18, and 20, in any combination, a ceiling fan/light controller 22, and an HVAC controller 24. In this manner, the remote control 12 can control the operation of a plurality of home appliances distributed in 8 rooms of the household, and, within each room, control the operation of up to 8 lights, a ceiling fan/light, and an HVAC.

Referring to Figs. 7c-7d, a user may control the operation of lights within the household 110 by using the remote control 12 to implement a lighting control process 112 for controlling lights within the household that are controlled by controllers 16, 18, and/or 20. Initially, the user can select the room number in step 114. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may select the room number by depressing one of the push buttons ROOM1, ROOM2, ROOM3, ROOM4, ROOM5, ROOM6, ROOM7 or ROOM8. If the user double-selects the room number in step 116, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 to the controllers 16, 18, and/or 20 assigned to the selected room number directing that all of the lights controlled by the controllers be turned on in step 120.

In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 7e, the control signal 118 generated and transmitted by the remote control 12 includes the remote control serial number, the room number, the appliance number, a data word, a product code, an instruction number, and a check sum. The remote control serial number identifies the particular remote control 12 that is transmitting the control signal. In this manner, only those controllers 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 assigned to the remote control 12 will respond to the control signal. In an exemplary embodiment, the remote control 12 can have up to 65,536 different serial numbers. The room number and appliance number identify the room number and appliance number of the appliance controller that will execute the instructions included in the control signal 118. In this manner, only the controller assigned to the particular room number and appliance number will respond to the control signal. In the case of control signals 118 directed to a group of controllers, a wild card designator is used for the room number and/or the appliance number to indicate the specific grouping of the controllers that will execute the instruction. The data word includes data such as for example, the lighting level or fan speed. The product code includes special instructions for operating specific appliances. The instruction number includes the instruction to be executed by the controller. The check sum is used by the controllers to ensure the integrity of the transmitted control signal 118.

The user may then either select a light number in step 122 or select and hold a light number in step 124. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may select a light number or select and hold a light number by selecting or selecting and holding one of the push buttons LITE1, LITE2, LITE3, LITE4, LITE5, LITE6, LITE7 or LITE8.

If the user selects a light number in step 122, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 directing the corresponding controller to turn on or turn off the selected light in the selected room number step 126. In this manner, the user may toggle the selected light on or off. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 3, 4, and 5, the controllers 16, 18 and 20 may turn on or turn off the wall switch 42, and lights 54, 70, and 72, respectively, by controlling the operation of the triacs TR1, TR2, TR3 and TR4, respectively, using the power control circuits 52, 64, 82, and 84, respectively, to permit or block the flow of current through the power supply lines L2A, SL2A, ML2A, and ML2B, respectively, in a conventional manner.

If the user selects and holds a light number in step 124, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 directing the corresponding controller to dim the selected light in the selected room in step 128. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 3, 4, and 5, the controllers 16, 18, and 20, may dim the light connected to the wall switch 42, and the lights 54, 70, and 72, respectively, by controlling the operation of the triacs TR1, TR2, TR3, and TR4, respectively, using the power control circuits 52, 64, 82, and 84, respectively, and the zero-crossing sensing circuits 50, 66, and 86, respectively, to sense the zero crossings and controllably limit the number of positive or negative cycles of the current passing through the power supply lines L2A, SL2A, ML2A, and ML2B, respectively, in a conventional manner. In an exemplary embodiment, the longer that the user holds the selected light number in step 124, the fewer the number of positive or negative cycles of current are permitted to pass through the corresponding power supply lines. In this manner, the longer the user holds the selected light number in step 124, the dimmer the selected light will become.

If the user elects to turn the selected light on to a preset level or turn it off in step 130, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 directing the corresponding controller to turn the selected light off or turn it on to a preset level in step 132. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may turn the selected light on to a preset level or turn it off by depressing the push button OFF, LOW, MED or HIGH. If the user depresses the push button OFF, then the current to the selected light will be blocked by the corresponding controller. On the other hand, if the user depresses the push button LOW, MED, or HIGH, then the number of positive or negative cycles of current supplied to the selected light will be set to the corresponding preset levels programmed into the corresponding controller.

In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 3, 4, and 5, the controllers 16, 18, and 20, may set the lighting level of the light connected to the wall switch 42, and' the lights 54, 70, and 72, respectively, by controlling the operation of the triacs TR1, TR2, TR3, and TR4, respectively, using the power control circuits 52, 64, 82, and 84, respectively, and the zero-crossing sensing circuits 50, 66, and 86, respectively, to sense the zero crossings and controllably set the number of positive or negative cycles of the current passing through the power supply lines L2A, SL2A, ML2A, and ML2B, respectively, equal to the preset lighting level values stored in the NVRAM U6, U9, and U12 of the controllers 16, 18, and 20.

Referring to Figs. 8a-8b, a user may control the operation of ceiling fan/lights and/or HVACs within the household 110 by using the remote control 12 to implement a ceiling fan/light and HVAC control process 134 for controlling ceiling fan/lights and HVACs within the household that are controlled by controllers 22 and/or 24. Initially, the user can select the room number in step 136. If the user then elects to change the speed of the ceiling fan assigned to the selected room number in step 138, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 directing the corresponding ceiling fan/light controller 22 to increase or decrease the speed of the ceiling fan assigned to selected room number in step 140. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may increase or decrease the speed of a ceiling fan by depressing one of the push buttons FAN UP or FAN DWN. In an exemplary embodiment, depressing the FAN UP button increases the ceiling fan speed by one level, and depressing the FAN DWN button decreases the ceiling fan speed by one level. In this manner, the user may incrementally cycle the ceiling fan speed from low speed to medium speed to high speed to off.

In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 6a and 6b, the ceiling fan/light controller 22 increases or decreases the speed of the ceiling fan motor 92 by using the ceiling fan motor control circuit 104 to control the operation of the triacs TR6, TR7, and TR8 to provide on/off control, low speed, medium speed, and high speed operation of the ceiling fan motor 92 in a well known manner. In an exemplary embodiment, low speed operation of the of the fan motor 92 is provided by permitting current flow through the triac TR6 and blocking the flow of current through the triacs TR7 and TR8, medium speed operation of the fan motor 92 is provided by permitting current flow through the triac TR7 and blocking the flow of current through the triacs TR6 and TR8, and high speed operation of the fan motor 92 is provided by permitting current flow through the triac TR8 and blocking the flow of current through the triacs TR6 and TR7. The fan motor 92 is turned off by blocking the flow of current through the triacs TR6, TR7 and TR8.

If the user then elects to turn the ceiling fan light for the ceiling fan assigned to the selected room number on or off in step 142, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 directing the corresponding ceiling fan/light controller 22 to turn the ceiling fan light on or off in step 144. In this manner, the user may toggle the ceiling fan light assigned to the selected room number on and off. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may turn a ceiling fan light on or off by depressing the push buttons FLITE UP or FLITE DWN, respectively. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 6a and 6b, the ceiling fan/light controller 22 can turn the ceiling fan light 90 on or off by using the lighting power control circuit 102 to control the operation of the triac TR5 to permit or block the flow of current through the power supply line PLITE2 in a well known manner.

If the user then elects to adust the lighting level of the ceiling fan light for the ceiling fan assigned to the selected room number on or off in step 146, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 directing the corresponding ceiling fan/light controller 22 to adjust the lighting level of the ceiling fan light in step 148. In this manner, the user may increase or decrease the lighting level of the ceiling fan light assigned to the selected room number. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may adjust the level of the ceiling fan light up or down by depressing and holding the push buttons FLITE UP or FLITE DWN, respectively. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 6a and 6b, the ceiling fan/light controller 22 can increase or decrease the lighting level of the ceiling fan light 90 by using the lighting power control circuit 102 and the zero crossing sensing circuit 106 to control the operation of the triac TR5 to control the number of positive or negative cycles of current that flow through the power supply line PLITE2 in a well known manner. In an exemplary embodiment, as long as the user depresses and holds the push buttons FLITE UP or FLITE DWN the number of positive or negative cycles of current passing through the power supply line PLITE2 is increased or decreased.

If the user then elects to raise or lower the thermostat level of the HVAC assigned to selected room number in step 150, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 to the corresponding HVAC controller 24 directing that the thermostat setting be raised or lowered in step 152. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may raise or lower the thermostat level by depressing the push buttons WARMER or COOLER, respectively. The HVAC controller 24 will then raise or lower the thermostat level for the HVAC assigned to the selected room number in a conventional manner.

If the user then elects to set the thermostat level of the HVAC assigned to selected room number to the economy setting in step 154, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 to the corresponding HVAC controller 24 directing that the thermostat set be set to the economy setting in step 156. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may set the thermostat level to the economy level by depressing the push button ECONOMY. The HVAC controller 24 will then set the thermostat level for the HVAC assigned to the selected room number to the economy level in a conventional manner.

If the user then elects to set the thermostat level of the HVAC assigned to selected room number to the comfort setting in step 158, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 to the corresponding HVAC controller 24 directing that the thermostat set be set to the comfort setting in step 160. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may set the thermostat level to the comfort level by depressing the push button COMFORT. The HVAC controller 24 will then set the thermostat level for the HVAC assigned to the selected room number to the comfort level in a conventional manner.

Referring to Fig. 9, a user may control the operation of all of the lights within the household 110 and/or the alarm device 14 assigned to the remote control 12 by using the remote control to implement a household lighting and alarm control process 162 for controlling all lights within the household that are controlled by controllers 16, 18, 20, and/or 22 and for controlling the alarm device 14. Initially, the user can elect to turn on all of the lights assigned to the particular remote control 12 in step 164. If the user elects to turn on all of the lights assigned to the particular remote control 12, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal to the controllers 16, 18, 20 and/or 22 assigned to the remote control 12 to turn on all lights in step 166. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may turn on all of the lights assigned to the remote control 12 by depressing the push button ALL ON.

If the user elects to turn off all of the lights assigned to the remote control 12 in step 168, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 to the controllers 16, 18, 20 and/or 22 assigned to the remote control 12 to turn off all lights in step 170. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may turn off all of the lights assigned to the remote control 12 by depressing the push button ALL OFF.

If the user elects to turn on the alarm device 14 in step 172, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal 118 turning on the alarm device in step 174. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may turn on the alarm device 14 by depressing the push button ALARM.

Referring to Fig. 10, a user may set one or more of the lights within the household 110 in a security mode of operation by using the remote control 12 to implement a software routine 176. Initially, the user selects the room number and light number in steps 178 and 180. If the user elects to place the selected light in a security mode of operation in step 182, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal to the controllers 16, 18, or 20 assigned to the selected light to place the selected light in a security mode of operation in step 184. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may select the security mode of operation by depressing the push button SECURITY. In an exemplary embodiment, when placed in the security mode of operation, the controller assigned to the particular light controllably turns the light on and off in a random fashion. In this manner, it appears to an outside observer as if someone is present in the household 110. The user can then continue placing additional lights within the household 110 in the security mode of operation in step 186.

Referring to Fig. 11, a user may set one or more of the lights within the household 110 to turn on at the same time every day by using the remote control 12 to implement a timing process 188. Initially, the user selects the room number and light number in steps 190 and 192. If the user elects to control the selected light to turn on at the same time every day in step 194, then the remote control 12 transmits a control signal to the controllers 16, 18, or 20 assigned to the selected light to turn on the selected light at the same time every day in step 184. In an exemplary embodiment, the time selected is the same as the time of transmission of the control signal 118 to the corresponding controller 16, 18 or 20. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may turn on a selected light at the same time every day by depressing the push button REPEAT TIMER.

Referring to Fig. 12, a user may set one or more of the lights within the household 110 to turn off after an elapsed time period by using the remote control 12 to implement a delay timer process 200. Initially, the user selects the room number and light number in steps 202 and 204. If the user elects to turn off the selected light after an elapsed time period in step 206, then the user enters the number of hours after which the selected light will be turned off in step 208 and the remote control 12 transmits a control signal to the controllers 16, 18, or 20 assigned to the selected light to turn off the selected light after the passage of the time period entered by the user in step 210. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 2a, the user may turn off a selected light after an elapsed time period by depressing the push button DELAY TIMER and then depressing one of the numbered push button LITE1, LITE2, LITE3, LITE4, LITE5, LITE6, LITE7 or LITE8 to select the corresponding number of hours.

Referring to Fig. 13, a user may program preset lighting levels for the lights of the household 110 by using the remote control 12 to implement a preset lighting level programming process 214. Initially, the user selects the room number and the light number in steps 216 and 218. The user may then adjust the lighting level of the selected light in step 220. If the user then elects to program a preset lighting level for the selected light in step 222, then the user then enters the corresponding lighting level, low, medium or high, and the remote control 12 then transmits a control signal 118 directing the controller 16, 18 or 20 assigned to the selected light to program the lighting level. In an exemplary embodiment, the lighting level of the light at the time of the programming will correspond to the level that will be provided when selected by the user using the remote. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 2a and 2b, the user may program a lighting level for a selected light by depressing and holding the corresponding push button LOW, MED or HIGH. Thus, a low, medium or high lighting level is programmed by first adjusting the selected lights lighting level to the desired level and then depressing and holding the push button for the desired preset lighting level.

Referring to Figs. 14, 14a, and 14b, a user of the system 10 can clone a first remote ' control 12a by implementing a remote control cloning process 230. In this manner, the user can create a second remote control 12b having the same serial number and including the same operating parameters in memory as the first remote control 12a. If the user elects to clone the first remote control 12a in step 232, then the user places the first remote control 12a end-to-end with the second remote control 12b and then clones the serial number and operating parameters of the first remote control 12a into the second remote control 12b in step 234. In an exemplary embodiment, the serial number and operating parameter information is communicated from the first remote 12a to the second remote 12b using the transmitters 34a and 34b and receivers 36a and 36b. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 2a and 2b, the user may clone a remote control by depressing the push button CLONE. The user may then clone additional remote controls in step 236.

Referring to Figs. 2a, 2b, 3, 15a and 15b, an embodiment of a method 238 for programming identity information into the wall switch controller 16 includes a user depressing one of the push buttons DIM UP or DIM DWN and cycling the power supply to the wall switch controller in steps 240, 242 and 244. The user may then select the room number and light number to be assigned to the wall switch controllers 16 using the remote control 12 in step 246. The user may then transmit the identity information to wall switch controller 16 by depressing the push button SET PIN using the remote control 12 in step 248. If the programming command is received by the wall switch controller 16 within 60 seconds of cycling the power to the wall switch controller, then the identity information is programmed into the NVRAM U6 of the wall switch controller 16 in steps 250 and 252. Furthermore, if the identity information has been programmed into the wall switch controller 16, or if 60 seconds have elapsed since cycling the power to the wall switch controller, then the identity information can no longer be programmed into the wall switch controller 16 as provided in steps 252 and 254. In an exemplary embodiment, the identity information stored in the NVRAM U6 of the wall switch controller 16 includes the remote control serial number, the room number, and the light number assigned to the wall switch controller. The NVRAM U6 of the wall switch controller 16 may also store the preset lighting levels for the wall switch controller.

Referring to Figs. 16a, 16b, 16c, and 17c, a user may program the identity of the appliance controllers 18, 20 or 22 by implementing a controller identity programming process 256. Initially, the user turns off the power supply to the controller 18, 20 or 22 that will be programmed in step 258. The user then turns the power back on to the controller 18, 20 or 22 that will be programmed in step 260. The user then removes one of the light bulbs from the lighting appliance that is being controlled by the controller 18, 20 or 22 in step 262. The controller 18, 20 or 22 then senses the absence of the light bulb in step 264. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 4, 5, 6a and 6b, the controllers 18, 20 and 22 sense the absence of a light bulb by using the light bulb sensing circuits 68, 88, and 108 to sense the absence of a light bulb in a conventional manner by sensing the increased impedance when a light bulb is removed. The user then transmits the identity information to the controller 18, 20, and 22 using the remote control 12 in step 266. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 2a and 2b, the user transmits the identity information to the controller 18, 20 or 22 by, as applicable, depressing the desired room number and light number and then depressing the SET PIN push button using the remote control 12. If the identity information is received by the controller 18, 20 or 22 within 60 seconds of sensing the absence of the light bulb, then the identity information is programmed into the controller 18, 20 or 22 in steps 268 and 270. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 16b, 16c, and 17c, the identity information programmed into the controllers 18, 20 and 22 includes, as applicable, the remote control serial number, the room number, and the light number assigned to the controller. In addition, the preset lighting levels may also be stored within the controllers 18 and 20. If 60 seconds have elapsed since the light bulb's absence was detected, or if the identity information has been programmed, then the controller 18, 20 or 22 can no longer be programmed with identity information as provided in steps 270 and 272.

Referring to Fig. 17a, 17b, 17c, and 17d, a user may program the identity of the appliance controllers 14, 22, or 24 by implementing a controller identity programming process 274. Initially, if applicable, the user may select the appliance controller to be programmed by selecting the room number to be assigned to the controller 14, 22 or 24 using the pushbuttons provided on the remote control 12 in step 276. The user may then select and transmit a specific command to the selected appliance controller 14, 22 or 24 using one or more of the pushbuttons provided on the remote control 12 in steps 278 and 280. If the command is received by the selected appliance controller 14, 22 or 24 within 60 seconds, then the identity of the selected appliance controller 14, 22 or 24 is set in steps 282 and 284. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in Figs. 17b, 17c, and 17d, the identity information programmed into the controllers 14, 22 and 24 includes the remote control serial number, and, if applicable, the room number assigned to the controller. In addition, the last fan speed and last lighting level may be stored in the NVRAM U15 of the ceiling fan/light controllers 22, and the economy thermostat level, comfort thermostat level and the last thermostat level may be stored in the HVAC controller 24. If the identity information has been programmed or if 60 seconds elapse after transmission of the command, then the identity information can no longer be programmed into the appliance controllers 14, 22 or 24 in steps 284 and 286.

Referring to Fig. 18, a user may program the preset comfort and economy thermostat levels into an HVAC controller 24 by implementing an HVAC preset thermostat level programming process 288. Initially, the user selects the room number assigned to the HVAC controller 24 in step 290. The user then adjusts the thermostat level of the HVAC controller 24 to the desired level in step 292. If the user then elects to program the selected thermostat level in step 294, then the user selects whether the programmed level is the comfort or the economy level and programs the level into the HVAC controller 24 in steps 296 and 298. In an exemplary embodiment, as illustrated in

Fig. 2a and 2b, the user selects and programs the preset level by depressing and holding the ECONOMY or the COMFORT push buttons using the remote control 12. The user may then program additional preset thermostat levels in step 300.

The present embodiments of the invention provide a number of advantages. For example, the remote control includes a unique 16-bit serial number and thereby provides 65,356 unique serial numbers for use. In this manner, the duplication of serial number by adjacent households is virtually impossible thereby preventing the inadvertent use of identical serial number by adjacent households. Furthermore, the identity information for the appliance controllers is stored in non- volatile memory thereby avoiding the need to manually program the identity information. In addition, other operational parameters such as preset lighting levels and thermostat levels are also maintained within the nonvolatile memory. Moreover, remote controls can be cloned thereby permitting a plurality of remote controls to be used to control appliances within a household. In addition, the appliance controllers may be programmed without having to manually program the controllers using dip switches. In this manner, the maintenance and use of the system is greatly enhanced. Furthermore, all of the lights within a household may be turned on or off simultaneously. Finally, selected lights within the household may be placed in a security mode of operation. In this manner, the safety of the household is greatly improved.

It is understood that variations may be made in the foregoing without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the number of rooms and lights, HVACs and ceiling fan/light controllers controllable within a given room may be increased or decreased.

Although illustrative embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, a wide range of modification, changes and substitution is contemplated in the foregoing disclosure. In some instances, some features of the present invention may be employed without a corresponding use of the other features. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the invention.

Claims

ClaimsWhat is claimed is:
1. A system for remotely controlling the operation of home appliances within a household including a plurality of rooms, comprising: one or more appliance controllers for controlling the operation of corresponding home appliances; and a remote control for remotely controlling the operation of the appliance controllers; wherein the household is divided up into a plurality of numbered rooms; and wherein each appliance controller is assigned to a specific numbered room within the household.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein each appliance controller assigned to a specific numbered room within the household is assigned a specific appliance number.
3. A remote control for controlling the operation of one or more appliance controllers, the appliance controllers controlling the operation of corresponding home appliances, comprising: one or more pushbuttons for permitting a user to select various input commands; an indicator for indicating the selection of input commands by the user; a radio frequency transmitter for transmitting the selected commands to the appliance controllers; a non- volatile memory for storing data; an infrared transmitter for transmitting data from the remote control to another remote control; an infrared receiver for receiving data from another remote control; and a controller for controlling the operation of the pushbuttons, the indicator, the radio frequency transmitter, the non-volatile memory, the infrared transmitter, and the infrared receiver.
4. An appliance controller for controlling the operation of a home appliance, comprising: a power supply control circuit for controlling the flow of current to the home appliance; a radio frequency receiver for receiving commands for execution by the appliance controller; a non- volatile memory for storing data; and a controller for controlling the operation of the power supply control circuit, the radio frequency receiver, and the non-volatile memory.
5. The appliance controller of claim 4, wherein the power supply control circuit includes: a power supply control circuit for controlling the flow of current to one or more light bulbs.
6. The appliance controller of claim 4, wherein the power supply control circuit includes: a ceiling fan power supply control circuit for controlling the flow of current to a ceiling fan motor.
7. The appliance controller of claim 4, further including: a zero crossing sensing circuit for sensing the zero crossing of the current; and wherein the controller controls the operation of the zero crossing sensing circuit.
8. The appliance controller of claim 4, further including: a light bulb detector circuit for sensing the presence or absence of a light bulb; and wherein the controller controls the operation of the light bulb detector circuit.
9. A system for remotely controlling the operation of home appliances within a household including a plurality of rooms, comprising: one or more means for controlling the operation of corresponding home appliances; and means for remotely controlling the operation of the appliance controllers; wherein the household is divided up into a plurality of numbered rooms; and wherein each means for controlling the operation of corresponding home appliances is assigned to a specific numbered room within the household.
10. The system of claim 9, wherein each means for controlling the operation of corresponding home appliance assigned to a specific numbered room within the household is assigned a specific appliance number.
11. A remote control for controlling the operation of one or more appliance controllers, the appliance controllers controlling the operation of corresponding home appliances, comprising: means for permitting a user to select various input commands; means for indicating the selection of input commands by the user; means for transmitting the selected commands to the appliance controllers; means for storing data; means for transmitting data from the remote control to another remote control; means for receiving data from another remote control; and means for controlling the operation of the remote control.
12. An appliance controller for controlling the operation of a home appliance, comprising: means for controlling the flow of current to the home appliance; means for receiving commands for execution by the appliance controller; means for storing data; and means for controlling the operation of the appliance controller.
13. The appliance controller of claim 12, wherein the means for controlling the flow of current to the home appliance includes: means for controlling the flow of current to one or more light bulbs.
14. The appliance controller of claim 12, wherein the means for controlling the flow of current to the home appliance includes: means for controlling the flow of current to a ceiling fan motor.
15. The appliance controller of claim 12, further including: means for sensing the zero crossing of the current.
16. The appliance controller of claim 12, further including: means for sensing the presence or absence of a light bulb.
17. A method of operating a system for remotely controlling the operation of home appliances in a household using corresponding home appliance controllers, comprising: dividing the household into a plurality of numbered rooms; assigning each home appliance controller to a specific one of the numbered rooms; identifying each home appliance controller assigned to a specific numbered room using an appliance number; and transmitting commands to the home appliance controllers that include the room number and appliance number of the appliance controller that will execute the command.
18. The method of claim 17, further including: prior to transmitting commands, selecting the room number and appliance number; and after transmitting commands, the appliance controller assigned to the selected room and appliance numbers turning on one or more corresponding lights.
19. The method of claim 17, further including: prior to transmitting commands, selecting the room number; and after transmitting commands, the appliance controller assigned to the selected room controlling the operation of a corresponding ceiling fan.
20. The method of claim 17, further including: prior to transmitting commands, selecting the room number; and after transmitting commands, the appliance controller assigned to the selected room controlling the operation of a corresponding HVAC.
21. The method of claim 17, further including: the appliance controllers turning on all lights within the household.
22. The method of claim 17, further including: prior to transmitting commands, selecting the room and appliance number; after transmitting commands, the appliance controller assigned to the selected room and appliance numbers randomly turning on a corresponding light.
23. The method of claim 17, further including: prior to transmitting commands, selecting the room and appliance number; and after transmitting commands, the appliance controller assigned to the selected room and appliance numbers turning on a corresponding light at the same time every day.
24. The method of claim 17, further including: prior to transmitting commands, selecting the room and appliance number; after transmitting commands, the appliance controller assigned to the selected room and appliance numbers adjusting the lighting level of a corresponding light; and recording the lighting level of the corresponding light into the assigned appliance controller.
25. A method of copying the operational information within a first remote control into a second remote control, the remote controls used for remotely controlling appliance controllers, comprising: placing the remote controls proximate to one another; transmitting the operational information from the first remote to the second remote; and storing the transmitted operational information into the second remote.
26. A method of programming identity information into an appliance controller for use in a system for remotely controlling appliance controllers in a household using a remote control, comprising: dividing the household into a plurality of numbered rooms; assigning each appliance controller to a specific one of the numbered rooms; identifying each appliance controller assigned to a specific numbered room using an appliance number; cycling the power supply for a specific appliance controller; selecting the room number for the specific appliance controller; selecting the appliance number for the specific appliance controller; transmitting the identity information to the specific appliance controller; and if the identity information is received by the specific appliance controller within a predetermined time period after cycling the power supply for the specific appliance controller, then storing the identity information in the specific appliance controller.
27. A method of programming identity information into an appliance controller for controlling the operation of a light bulb for use in a system for remotely controlling appliance controllers in a household using a remote control, comprising: dividing the household into a plurality of numbered rooms; assigning each appliance controller to a specific one of the numbered rooms; identifying each appliance controller assigned to a specific numbered room using an appliance number; cycling the power supply for a selected appliance controller; removing the light bulb controlled by the selected appliance controller; selecting the room number for the specific appliance controller; selecting the appliance number for the specific appliance controller; transmitting the identity information to the specific appliance controller; and if the identity information is received by the specific appliance controller within a predetermined time period after removing the light bulb controlled by the selected appliance controller, then storing the identity information in the selected appliance controller.
28. A method of programming identity information into an appliance controller for use in a system for remotely controlling appliance controllers in a household using a remote control, comprising: dividing the household into a plurality of numbered rooms; assigning each appliance controller to a specific one of the numbered rooms; identifying each appliance controller assigned to a specific numbered room using an appliance number; transmitting a command to a selected appliance controller; and if the identity information is received by the specific appliance controller within a predetermined time period after transmitting the identity information to the specific appliance controller, then storing the identity information in the selected appliance controller.
29. A method of programming pre-set thermostat levels into an HVAC controller for controlling the operation of an HVAC in a system for remotely controlling HVAC controllers in a household using a remote control, comprising: dividing the household into a plurality of numbered rooms; assigning each HVAC controller to a specific one of the numbered rooms; selecting the room number for a selected HVAC controller; using the selected HVAC controller, adjusting the thermostat level for the corresponding HVAC; and programming the thermostat level into the selected HVAC controller.
PCT/US2001/028445 2000-09-14 2001-09-13 System and method for remotely controlling home appliances WO2002023744A2 (en)

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US9683749B2 (en) 2014-07-11 2017-06-20 Honeywell International Inc. Multiple heatsink cooling system for a line voltage thermostat
US9806705B2 (en) 2013-04-23 2017-10-31 Honeywell International Inc. Active triac triggering circuit
US9857091B2 (en) 2013-11-22 2018-01-02 Honeywell International Inc. Thermostat circuitry to control power usage
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US10452084B2 (en) 2012-03-14 2019-10-22 Ademco Inc. Operation of building control via remote device
US10635119B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2020-04-28 Ademco Inc. Method and system for configuring wireless sensors in an HVAC system
US9971364B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2018-05-15 Honeywell International Inc. Method and system for configuring wireless sensors in an HVAC system
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US10613555B2 (en) 2012-07-26 2020-04-07 Ademco Inc. HVAC controller with wireless network based occupancy detection and control
US10133283B2 (en) 2012-07-26 2018-11-20 Honeywell International Inc. HVAC controller with wireless network based occupancy detection and control
US10094585B2 (en) 2013-01-25 2018-10-09 Honeywell International Inc. Auto test for delta T diagnostics in an HVAC system
US9584119B2 (en) 2013-04-23 2017-02-28 Honeywell International Inc. Triac or bypass circuit and MOSFET power steal combination
US10396770B2 (en) 2013-04-23 2019-08-27 Ademco Inc. Active triac triggering circuit
US10404253B2 (en) 2013-04-23 2019-09-03 Ademco Inc. Triac or bypass circuit and MOSFET power steal combination
US9806705B2 (en) 2013-04-23 2017-10-31 Honeywell International Inc. Active triac triggering circuit
US9983244B2 (en) 2013-06-28 2018-05-29 Honeywell International Inc. Power transformation system with characterization
US9857091B2 (en) 2013-11-22 2018-01-02 Honeywell International Inc. Thermostat circuitry to control power usage
US9673811B2 (en) 2013-11-22 2017-06-06 Honeywell International Inc. Low power consumption AC load switches
US10649418B2 (en) 2013-12-11 2020-05-12 Ademco Inc. Building automation controller with configurable audio/visual cues
US10534331B2 (en) 2013-12-11 2020-01-14 Ademco Inc. Building automation system with geo-fencing
US10353411B2 (en) 2014-06-19 2019-07-16 Ademco Inc. Bypass switch for in-line power steal
US9628074B2 (en) 2014-06-19 2017-04-18 Honeywell International Inc. Bypass switch for in-line power steal
US10088174B2 (en) 2014-07-11 2018-10-02 Honeywell International Inc. Multiple heatsink cooling system for a line voltage thermostat
US9683749B2 (en) 2014-07-11 2017-06-20 Honeywell International Inc. Multiple heatsink cooling system for a line voltage thermostat
US10488062B2 (en) 2016-07-22 2019-11-26 Ademco Inc. Geofence plus schedule for a building controller

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