(19)
(11)EP 3 235 937 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
09.06.2021 Bulletin 2021/23

(21)Application number: 17166746.2

(22)Date of filing:  18.04.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
D06F 37/30(2020.01)
D06F 39/08(2006.01)
H02P 21/05(2006.01)
D06F 33/00(2020.01)

(54)

DRAIN PUMP DRIVING APPARATUS AND LAUNDRY TREATMENT MACHINE INCLUDING THE SAME

ENTLEERUNGSPUMPENANTRIEBSVORRICHTUNG UND WÄSCHEBEHANDLUNGSMASCHINE DAMIT

APPAREIL D'ENTRAÎNEMENT DE POMPE DE VIDANGE ET MACHINE DE TRAITEMENT DU LINGE LE COMPRENANT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 18.04.2016 KR 20160047128

(43)Date of publication of application:
25.10.2017 Bulletin 2017/43

(73)Proprietor: LG Electronics Inc.
Yeongdeungpo-gu Seoul 07336 (KR)

(72)Inventors:
  • JE, Jungmoon
    Seoul 08592 (KR)
  • LEE, Chungill
    Seoul 08592 (KR)
  • LEE, Kiwook
    Seoul 08592 (KR)

(74)Representative: Ter Meer Steinmeister & Partner 
Patentanwälte mbB Nymphenburger Straße 4
80335 München
80335 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 1 045 062
JP-A- 2008 000 501
DE-A1-102011 000 729
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] This application claims the priority benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 10-2016-0047128, filed on, 18 April 2016 in the Korean Intellectual Property Office.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    1. Field of the invention



    [0002] The present invention relates to a drain pump driving apparatus and a laundry treatment machine including the same, and more particularly, to a drain pump driving apparatus capable of reducing noise during drainage and a laundry treatment machine including the same.

    2. Description of the Related Art



    [0003] Generally, a laundry treatment machine performs washing by using friction force between laundry and a washing tub that is rotated by a driving force of a motor transmitted thereto with a detergent, wash water and laundry put in a drum or inner tub. The laundry treatment machine can produce a laundry washing effect with little damage to the laundry and no tangled laundry.

    [0004] A drain pump is used to drain residual water from the washing tub in the laundry treatment machine, and various methods for stable operation of the drain pump are being discussed.

    [0005] EP 1 045 062 A2 describes a controller of a washing machine which detects an imbalanced load from the ripple current in the AC supply to the washing machine and the voltage of the AC supply.

    [0006] The speed of the motor, driving the machine's drum, is controlled in dependence on the detected imbalance.

    [0007] DE 10 2011 000729 A1 describes a laundry treating appliance for treating laundry according to a cycle of operation, comprising: a treating chamber configured to receive the laundry for treatment; a dispensing system fluidly coupled to the treating chamber and configured to dispense at least one treating chemistry to the treating chamber; a drain pump fluidly coupled to the treating chamber to drain the treating chemistry from the treating chamber; and a controller operably coupled to the drain pump and configured to turn off the drain pump when the change in electrical current supplied to the drain pump satisfies a first threshold and the change in the electrical voltage supplied to the drain pump satisfies a second threshold.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0008] Therefore, the present invention has been made in view of the above problems, and it is an object of the present invention to provide a drain pump driving apparatus capable of reducing noise during drainage and a laundry treatment machine including the same.

    [0009] The object is solved by the features of the independent claims. Preferred embodiments are provided in the dependent claims.

    [0010] In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, the above and other objects can be accomplished by the provision of a drain pump driving apparatus according to claim

    [0011] Preferably, the controller controls the speed of the motor to decrease sequentially or stepwise as the calculated motor speed ripple increases.

    [0012] Preferably, the controller calculates a lift corresponding to a difference between a water level of a water introduction part flowing into the drain pump and a water level of a water discharge part discharged from the drain pump, based on the output current.

    [0013] Preferably, the controller performs a control operation based on the calculated lift to change a rotational speed of the motor.

    [0014] Preferably, the controller controls the motor to rotate at a first speed, wherein, when the speed of the motor calculated based on the output current is a second speed during control of the rotation at the first speed, the controller calculates the lift as a first level based on the second speed.

    [0015] Preferably, the controller controls the motor to rotate at the first speed, wherein, when the speed of the motor calculated based on the output current is a third speed lower than the second speed during control of the rotation at the first speed, the controller calculates the lift as a second level higher than the first level.

    [0016] Preferably, the controller calculates a lower level of the lift as the calculated speed of the motor is lowered.

    [0017] Preferably, the controller performs a control operation based on the calculated lift to change a rotational speed of the motor such that the speed of the motor decreases as the water level of the water introduction part is lowered.

    [0018] Preferably, the motor comprises a brushless DC motor.

    [0019] Preferably, the drain pump driving apparatus may further comprise a DC link capacitor disposed on a DC link to store the DC power.

    [0020] Preferably, the output current detector is disposed between the DC link capacitor and the inverter.

    [0021] Preferably, the controller comprises a power calculator (321) to calculate a power or load of the motor based on the output current.

    [0022] Preferably, the controller comprises a speed command generator to generate a speed command value based on the calculated power.

    [0023] Preferably, the controller comprises a current command generator to generate a current command value based on the speed command value and the calculated speed of the motor.

    [0024] Preferably, the controller comprises a voltage command generator to generate a voltage command value based on the current command value and the output current;

    [0025] Preferably, the controller comprises a switching control signal output unit to output, based on the voltage command value, a switching control signal for driving the inverter.

    [0026] Preferably, the controller may further comprises a speed calculator to calculate the speed of the motor based on the output current.

    [0027] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a laundry treatment machine including a washing tub, a driving unit to drive the washing tub, a drain pump, and a drain pump driving apparatus according to independent claim 1.

    [0028] According to the invention, in performing a washing process and a dewatering process without a rinsing process, the controller calculates the speed ripple of the motor based on the output current and performs the control operation based on the calculated speed ripple of the motor to change the speed of the motor.

    [0029] Preferably, the controller controls the speed of the motor to decrease sequentially or stepwise as the calculated motor speed ripple increases.

    [0030] Preferably, the controller calculates a lift corresponding to a difference between a water level of a water introduction part flowing into the drain pump and a water level of a water discharge part discharged from the drain pump, based on the output current.

    [0031] Preferably, the controller performs a control operation based on the calculated lift to change a rotational speed of the motor.

    [0032] Preferably, the controller controls the motor to rotate at a first speed, wherein, when the speed of the motor calculated based on the output current is a second speed during control of the rotation at the first speed, the controller calculates the lift as a first level based on the second speed.

    [0033] Preferably, the controller performs a control operation based on the calculated lift to change a rotational speed of the motor such that the speed of the motor decreases as the water level of the water introduction part is lowered.

    [0034] Preferably, the controller comprises: a power calculator to calculate a power or load of the motor based on the output current; and/or a speed command generator to generate a speed command value based on the calculated power; and/or a current command generator to generate a current command value based on the speed command value and the calculated speed of the motor; and/or a voltage command generator to generate a voltage command value based on the current command value and the output current; and/or a switching control signal output unit to output, based on the voltage command value, a switching control signal for driving the inverter.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0035] The above and other objects, features and other advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

    FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a laundry treatment machine according to an embodiment of the present invention;

    FIG. 2 is a side cross-sectional view illustrating the laundry treatment machine of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 3 is an internal block diagram of the laundry treatment machine of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 4 is an exemplary internal block diagram of the drain pump driving apparatus of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 5 is an exemplary internal circuit diagram of the drain pump driving apparatus of FIG. 4;

    FIG. 6 is an internal block diagram of the inverter controller of FIG. 5;

    FIGS. 7A to 7B are views showing various examples of a drain pipe connected to the drain pump of the laundry treatment machine of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing an exemplary operation method for a drain pump driving apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention, and FIGS. 9A to 10 illustrate the operation method of FIG. 8;

    FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing another operation method of a drain pump driving apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention;

    FIGS. 12A to 14B illustrate the operation method of FIG. 11;

    FIG. 15 is a flowchart illustrating an operation method for a laundry treatment machine according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

    FIGS. 16 to 18C illustrate the operation method of FIG. 15.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS



    [0036] Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

    [0037] As used herein, the suffixes "module" and "unit" are added or used interchangeably to facilitate preparation of this specification and are not intended to suggest distinct meanings or functions.

    [0038] Accordingly, the terms "module" and "unit" may be used interchangeably.

    [0039] FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a laundry treatment machine according to an embodiment of the present invention, and FIG. 2 is a side cross-sectional view illustrating the laundry treatment machine of FIG. 1.

    [0040] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the laundry treatment machine 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention conceptually includes a washing machine having fabric inserted therein for performing washing, rinsing and dewatering, or a dryer having wet fabric inserted therein. The washing machine will be mainly described below.

    [0041] The washing machine 100 includes a casing 110 forming an outer appearance, operation keys for receiving various control commands from a user, and a control panel 115 equipped with a display for displaying information on the operating state of the washing machine 100 to provide a user interface, and a door 113 rotatably installed in the casing 110 to open and close an entrance hole through which the laundry enters and exits.

    [0042] The casing 110 includes a body 111 for defining a space in which various components of the washing machine 100 can be accommodated and a top cover 112 provided at an upper side of the body 111 and forming a fabric entrance hole to allow the laundry to be introduced into an inner tub 122 therethrough. Alternatively, for a drum type washing machine having a drum rotated by a horizontal axis, the fabric entrance hole is formed at the front portion of the casing.

    [0043] The casing 110 is described as including the body 111 and the top cover 112, but the casing 110 is not limited thereto as long as it forms the appearance of the washing machine 100.

    [0044] A support rod 135 is coupled to the top cover 112 which is one of the constituent elements of the casing 110. However, the support rod 135 is not limited thereto and may be coupled to any part of the fixed portion of the casing 110.

    [0045] The control panel 115 includes an input unit, preferably including operation keys 117 or a touch panel for controlling an operation state of the laundry treatment machine 100 and a display 118 (not shown) disposed on one side of the input unit 117 to display the operation state of the laundry treatment machine 100.

    [0046] The door 113 opens and closes a fabric entrance hole (not shown) formed in the top cover 112/front portion (not shown) and may include a transparent member such as reinforced glass to allow the inside of the body 111 to be seen.

    [0047] The washing machine 100 may include a washing tub 120. The washing tub 120 may include an outer tub 124 containing wash water and an inner tub 122 rotatably installed in the outer tub 124 to accommodate laundry. A balancer 134 may be provided at the upper portion of the washing tub 120 to compensate for unbalance amount generated when the washing tub 120 rotates.

    [0048] Meanwhile, the washing machine 100 may include a pulsator 133 rotatably provided at a lower portion of the washing tub 120.

    [0049] The driving apparatus 138 serves to provide a driving force for rotating the inner tub 122 and/or the pulsator 133. A clutch (not shown) for selectively transmitting the driving force of the driving apparatus 138 may be provided such that only the inner tub 122 is rotated, only the pulsator 133 is rotated, or the inner tub 122 and the pulsator 133 are rotated at the same time.

    [0050] The driving apparatus 138 is operated by a driving unit 220 of FIG. 3, that is, a driving circuit. This will be described later with reference to FIG. 3 and other drawings.

    [0051] A detergent box 114 for accommodating various additives such as a laundry detergent, a fabric softener, and/or a bleaching agent is retrievably provided to the top cover 112, and the wash water supplied through a water supply channel 123 flows into the inner tub 122 via the detergent box.

    [0052] A plurality of holes (not shown) is formed in the inner tub 122. Thereby, the wash water supplied to the inner tub 122 flows to the outer tub 124 through the plurality of holes. A water supply valve 125 for regulating the water supply channel 123 may be provided.

    [0053] The wash water is drained from the outer tub 124 through a drain channel 143. A drain valve 1395 for regulating the drain channel 143 and a drain pump 141 for pumping the wash water may be provided.

    [0054] The support rod 135 is provided to hang the outer tub 124 in the casing 110. One end of the support rod 135 is connected to the casing 110 and the other end of the support rod 135 is connected to the outer tub 124 by a suspension 150.

    [0055] The suspension 150 attenuates vibration of the outer tub 124 during the operation of the washing machine 100. For example, the outer tub 124 may be vibrated by vibration generated as the inner tub 122 rotates. While the inner tub 122 rotates, the vibration caused by various factors such as unbalance laundry amount contained in the inner tub 122, the rotational speed of the inner tub 122 or the resonance characteristics of the inner tub 122 can be attenuated.

    [0056] FIG. 3 is an internal block diagram of the laundry treatment machine of FIG. 1.

    [0057] Referring to FIG. 3, in the laundry treatment machine 100, the driving unit 220 is controlled by the controller 210, and the driving unit 220 drives the motor 230. Thereby, the washing tub 120 is rotated by the motor 230.

    [0058] The laundry treatment machine 100 may include a motor 630 (drain pump motor) for driving the drain pump 141 and a drain pump driving unit 620 for controlling the motor 630. The drain pump driving unit 620 can be controlled by the controller 210.

    [0059] In this specification, the drain pump driving unit 620 may be referred to as a drain pump driving apparatus 620.

    [0060] The controller 210 operates according to an operation signal received from an input unit 117.

    [0061] Thereby, washing, rinsing, and dewatering may be performed.

    [0062] In addition, the controller 210 may control the display 118 to display a wash course, a wash time, a dewatering time, a rinsing time, or a current operation state.

    [0063] Meanwhile, the controller 210 controls the driving unit 220 to operate the motor 230 (tub driving motor). For example, based on a current detector 225 for detecting the output current flowing through the motor 230 and a position sensor 235 for sensing the position of the motor 230, the controller 210 may control the driving unit 220 to rotate the motor 230. While the detected current and the sensed position signal are illustrated in FIG. 3 as being input to the driving unit 220, embodiments of the present invention are not limited thereto. The detected current and the sensed position signal may be applied to either the controller 210 or the controller 210 and the driving unit 220.

    [0064] The driving unit 220, which serves to drive the motor 230, may include an inverter (not shown) and an inverter controller (not shown). Further, the driving unit 220 may further include a converter or the like for supplying DC power input to the inverter (not shown).

    [0065] For example, when the inverter controller (not shown) outputs a switching control signal (Sic in FIG. 5) of a pulse width modulation (PWM) scheme to the inverter (not shown), the inverter (not shown) may supply AC power of a predetermined frequency to the motor 230 through high-speed switching.

    [0066] The controller 210 may calculate the laundry amount based on the current io detected by the current detector 225 or the position signal H sensed by the position sensor 235. For example, while the washing tub 120 rotates, the laundry amount may be calculated based on the current value io of the motor 230.

    [0067] The controller 210 may calculate the unbalance amount of the washing tub 120, that is, the unbalance (UB) of the washing tub 120. Such unbalance amount calculation may be performed based on the ripple component of the current io detected by the current detector 225 or the amount of change in rotational speed of the washing tub 120.

    [0068] FIG. 4 is an exemplary internal block diagram of the drain pump driving apparatus of FIG. 1, and FIG. 5 is an exemplary internal circuit diagram of the drain pump driving apparatus of FIG. 4.

    [0069] Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, the drain pump driving apparatus 620 according to an embodiment serves to drive the motor 630 in a sensorless manner and includes an inverter 420 and an inverter controller 430.

    [0070] According to an embodiment, the drain pump driving apparatus 620 may include a converter 410, a DC terminal voltage detector B, a smoothing capacitor C, and an output current detector E. The drain pump driving apparatus 620 may further include an input current detector A and a reactor L.

    [0071] Hereinafter, the operation of each constituent unit in the drain pump driving apparatus 620 of FIGS. 4 and 5 will be described.

    [0072] The reactor L is disposed between a commercial AC power source 405 and the converter 410, and performs a power factor correction operation or a boost operation. The reactor L may also function to limit the harmonic current resulting from high-speed switching of the converter 410.

    [0073] The input current detector A may detect an input current is input from the commercial AC power source 405. To this end, a current transformer (CT), a shunt resistor, or the like may be used as the input current detector A. The detected input current is may be input to the inverter controller 430 as a discrete signal in the form of a pulse.

    [0074] The converter 410 converts the commercial AC power 405 having passed through the reactor L into DC power and outputs the DC power. Although the commercial AC power source 405 is shown as a single-phase AC power source in FIG. 5, it may be a 3-phase AC power source. The internal structure of the converter 410 depends on the type of the commercial AC power source 405.

    [0075] Meanwhile, the converter 410 may be configured with diodes or the like without a switching device, and may perform a rectification operation without a separate switching operation.

    [0076] For example, in the case of a single-phase AC power source, four diodes may be used in the form of a bridge. In the case of a 3-phase AC power source, six diodes may be used in the form of a bridge.

    [0077] As the converter 410, a half-bridge type converter having two switching devices and four diodes connected to each other may be used. In the case of a 3-phase AC power source, six switching devices and six diodes may be used for the converter.

    [0078] When the converter 410 is provided with a switching device, the boost operation, the power factor correction, and the DC power conversion may be performed by the switching operation of the switching device.

    [0079] The smoothing capacitor C smooths the input power and stores the same. In FIG. 5, one element is exemplified as the smoothing capacitor C, but a plurality of elements may be provided to secure element stability.

    [0080] While the smoothing capacitor C is illustrated in FIG. 5 as being connected to the output terminal of the converter 410, embodiments of the present invention are not limited thereto. The DC power may be input directly to the smoothing capacitor C. For example, the DC power from a solar cell may be input directly to the smoothing capacitor C or may be DC-to-DC converted and input to the smoothing capacitor C. Hereinafter, the parts illustrated in the drawings will be mainly described.

    [0081] Both ends of the smoothing capacitor C are referred to as DC terminals or DC links because the DC power is stored.

    [0082] The DC terminal voltage detector B may detect the DC terminal voltage Vdc between both ends of the smoothing capacitor C. To this end, the DC terminal voltage detector B may include a resistance element and an amplifier. The detected DC terminal voltage Vdc may be input to the inverter controller 430 as a discrete signal in the form of a pulse.

    [0083] The inverter 420 may include a plurality of inverter switching devices. The inverter 420 may convert the smoothed DC power Vdc into 3-phase AC powers va, vb and vc having predetermined frequencies by the on/off operation of the switching device, and output the same to a 3-phase synchronous motor 630.

    [0084] The inverter 420 includes upper switching devices Sa, Sb and Sc and lower switching devices S'a, S'b and S'c. Each of the upper switching devices Sa, Sb, Sc and a corresponding lower switching device S'a, S'b, S'c are connected in series to form a pair. Three pairs of upper and lower switching devices Sa and S'a, Sb and S'b, and Sc and S'c are connected in parallel. Each of the switching devices Sa, S'a, Sb, S'b, Sc and S'c is connected with a diode in anti-parallel.

    [0085] Each of the switching devices in the inverter 420 is turned on/off based on an inverter switching control signal Sic from the inverter controller 430. Thereby, 3-phase AC power having a predetermined frequency is output to the 3-phase synchronous motor 630.

    [0086] The inverter controller 430 may control the switching operation of the inverter 420 in a sensorless manner. To this end, the inverter controller 430 may receive an output current idc detected by the output current detector E.

    [0087] In order to control the switching operation of the inverter 420, the inverter controller 430 outputs the inverter switching control signal Sic to the inverter 420. The inverter switching control signal Sic is a pulse width modulated (PWM) switching control signal. The inverter switching control signal Sic is generated and output based on the output current idc detected by the output current detector E. The operation of outputting the inverter switching control signal Sic from the inverter controller 430 will be described in detail with reference to FIG. 6 later in this specification.

    [0088] The output current detector E may detect the output current idc flowing between the inverter and the 3-phase motor 630.

    [0089] The output current detector E may be disposed between the DC link capacitor C and the inverter 420 to detect an output current flowing to the motor.

    [0090] In particular, the output current detector E may include one shunt resistance element Rs.

    [0091] The output current detector E may use one shunt resistor element Rs to detect a phase current which is the output current idc flowing to the motor 630 in time division manner when the lower switching devices of the inverter 420 are turned on.

    [0092] The detected output current idc, which is a discrete signal in the form of a pulse, may be applied to the inverter controller 430, and the inverter switching control signal Sic is generated based on the detected output current idc. Hereinafter, it is assumed that the detected output current idc includes 3-phase output currents ia, ib and ic.

    [0093] The 3-phase motor 630 includes a stator and a rotor. The rotor rotates when the AC power of each phase of a predetermined frequency is applied to the coil of a corresponding phase (of phases a, b and c) of the stator.

    [0094] Such motor 630 may include a brushless DC (BLDC) motor.

    [0095] The motor 630 may include, for example, a Surface-Mounted Permanent-Magnet Synchronous Motor (SMPMSM), an Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (IPMSM), and a Synchronous Reluctance Motor (SynRM). The SMPMSM and the IPMSM are Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors (PMSM) employing permanent magnets, while the SynRM does not have a permanent magnet.

    [0096] FIG. 6 is an internal block diagram of the inverter controller of FIG. 5.

    [0097] Referring to FIG. 6, the inverter controller 430 may include an axis transformation unit 510, a speed calculator 520, a power calculator 321, a speed command generator 323, a current command generator 530, a voltage command generator 540, an axis transformation unit 550, and a switching control signal output unit 560.

    [0098] The axis transformation unit 510 may extract the respective phase currents ia, ib and ic from the output current idc detected by the output current detector E and transform the extracted phase currents ia, ib and ic, into 2-phase currents (iα, iβ) in the stationary coordinate system.

    [0099] The axis transformation unit 510 may transform the 2-phase currents (iα, iβ) of the stationary coordinate system into 2-phase current (id, iq) of the routing coordinate system.

    [0100] The speed calculator 520 may estimate the position θ̂r based on the output current idc detected by the output current detector E and calculate the speed ω̂r by differentiating the estimated position.

    [0101] The power calculator 321 may calculate the power or load of the motor 630 based on the output current idc detected by the output current detector E.

    [0102] The speed command generator 323 generates a speed command value ω*r based on the power P calculated by the power calculator 321 and a power command value P*r. For example, the speed command generator 323 may perform PI control in the PI controller 325 based on the difference between the calculated power P and the power command value P*r, and generate a speed command value ω*r.

    [0103] The current command generator 530 generates a current command value i*q based on the calculated speed ω̂r and a speed command value ω*r. For example, the current command generator 530 may perform PI control in a PI controller 535 and generate the current command value i*q based on the difference between the calculated speed ω̂r and the speed command value ω*r.

    [0104] While FIG. 6 illustrates a q-axis current command value i*q as a current command value, a d-axis current command value i*d may also be generated. The d-axis current command value i*d may be set to 0.

    [0105] The current command generator 530 may further include a limiter (not shown) for limiting the level of the current command value i*q such that the current command value i*q does not exceed an allowable range.

    [0106] Next, the voltage command generator 540 generates d-axis and q-axis voltage command values v*d and v*q based on the d-axis and q-axis currents id and iq which are transformed into currents in the 2-phase rotating coordinate system by the axis transformation unit and the current command values i*d and i*q from the current command generator 530. For example, the voltage command generator 540 may perform PI control in a PI controller 544 and generate a q-axis voltage command value v*q based on the difference between the q-axis current iq and the q-axis current command value i*q. In addition, the voltage command generator 540 may perform PI control in a PI controller 548 and generate the d-axis voltage command value v*d based on the difference between the d-axis current id and the d-axis current command value i*d. The voltage command generator 540 may further include a limiter (not shown) for limiting the levels of the d-axis and q-axis voltage command values v*d and v*q such that the d-axis and q-axis voltage command values v*d and v*q do not exceed an allowable range.

    [0107] The generated d-axis and q-axis voltage command values v*d and v*q are input to the axis transformation unit 550.

    [0108] The axis transformation unit 550 receives the position θ̂r calculated by the speed calculator 520 and the d-axis and q-axis voltage command values v*d and v*q and performs coordinate system transformation.

    [0109] The axis transformation unit 550 transforms a 2-phase rotating coordinate system into a 2-phase stationary coordinate system. The transformation may be performed using the position θ̂r calculated by the speed calculator 520.

    [0110] The axis transformation unit 550 may also transform the 2-phase stationary coordinate system into the 3-phase stationary coordinate system. Through such transformation, the axis transformation unit 550 outputs 3-phase output voltage command values v*a, v*b, and v*c.

    [0111] The switching control signal output unit 560 outputs a PWM inverter switching control signal Sic based on the 3-phase output voltage command values v*a, v*b, and v*c.

    [0112] The output inverter switching control signal Sic is transformed into a gate drive signal in a gate driving unit (not shown) and is then input to the gate of each switching device in the inverter 420.

    [0113] Thereby, the switching devices Sa, S'a, Sb, S'b, Sc, and S'c in the inverter 420 perform the switching operation.

    [0114] FIGS. 7A to 7B are views showing various examples of a drain pipe connected to the drain pump of the laundry treatment machine of FIG. 1.

    [0115] FIG. 7A illustrates a case where the difference in height between the drain pump 141 and the drain pipe 199a is ha. FIG. 7B illustrates a case where the difference in height between the drain pump 141 and the drain pipe 199a is hb, which is greater than ha.

    [0116] For example, ha may be approximately 0.9 m and hb may be approximately 2.4 m.

    [0117] If the laundry treatment machine 100 is installed in a basement, the drain pipe 199a should extend to the ground for draining, and therefore, as shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B, it should extend to a position substantially higher than the drain pump 141.

    [0118] In this case, if the drain pump is implemented using a solenoid, drainage will not be performed smoothly due to the low pumping power.

    [0119] Accordingly, a motor is preferably used to drive the drain pump. Conventionally, an AC motor has been employed and driven at a constant speed of approximately 3000 rpm or 3600 rpm using an AC power of 50 Hz or 60 Hz.

    [0120] In this case, since the motor is driven at a constant speed irrespective of the height of the drain pump, noise is generated by movement of the residual water remaining in the drain pipe 199a.

    [0121] It is assumed in the present invention that a motor 630 capable of varying the speed is used in order to solve the problem above.

    [0122] That is, according to an embodiment of the present invention, the motor 630 for driving the drain pump 141 may include a brushless DC (BLDC) motor 630. This will be described with reference to FIG. 8.

    [0123] Further, in the present invention, a lift, which is a difference between the water level of a water introduction part through which water flows into the drain pump 141 and the water level of a water discharge part for discharging water from the drain pump 141 is calculated, and the rotational speed of the motor 630 is varied based on the calculated lift.

    [0124] According to this configuration, the lift may be accurately calculated without using any water pressure sensor or water level sensor. Therefore, manufacturing costs may be reduced.

    [0125] As the rotational speed of the motor 630 is controlled to be varied based on the calculated lift, drainage may be performed smoothly, and power consumption may be reduced. Details will be described with reference to FIG. 11 and subsequent figures.

    [0126] FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing an exemplary operation method for a drain pump driving apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention, and FIGS. 9A to 10 illustrate the operation method of FIG. 8.

    [0127] Referring to FIG. 8, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine controls the motor 630 to rotate at a first speed (S710).

    [0128] Next, the output current detector E of the drain pump driving unit 620 detects the output current Idc flowing to the motor 630 (S720).

    [0129] Next, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine calculates the speed and speed ripple of the motor 630 based on the detected output current Idc (S730).

    [0130] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus may calculate the motor speed based on the detected output current Idc as described with reference to FIG. 6.

    [0131] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus may calculate a ripple that indicates a change in the calculated speed.

    [0132] Next, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine performs a control operation based on the calculated motor speed ripple to change the motor speed (S740).

    [0133] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry processing device may control the speed of the motor to be decreased sequentially or stepwise as the calculated motor speed ripple increases.

    [0134] Accordingly, the noise generated by the residual water may be reduced when the laundry treatment machine 100 is drained.

    [0135] Particularly, when the laundry treatment machine 100 performs the dewatering process without the washing process and the rinsing process, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may calculate the speed ripple of the motor based on the output current Idc, and perform a control operation based on the calculated motor speed ripple to change the speed of the motor. Thereby, noise caused by residual water remaining in the drain pipe and the BLDC may be reduced.

    [0136] FIG. 9A illustrates rotating the motor 630 at a speed of ωk.

    [0137] When the motor rotates at the speed of ωk, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may calculate the speed and speed ripple on the basis of the output current Idc detected by the output current detector E.

    [0138] For example, a speed ripple corresponding to the speed ripple waveform shown in FIG. 9C may be calculated.

    [0139] This speed ripple may be caused by residual water 198a and 198b moving in the drain pipe 199a as shown in FIG. 9B.

    [0140] For example, when the motor 630 of the drain pump 141 is operated at the speed of ωk, the residual water 198a and 198b may reciprocate between the drain pump 141 and the drain pipe 199a.

    [0141] Particularly, when the water moves toward the drain pump 141, the movement affects the motor 630 rotating at the speed of ωk, and thus ripples are generated in the motor 630. Thereby, noise is generated.

    [0142] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may perform a control operation based on the speed ripple ωri of FIG. 9C to change the speed of the motor so as to reduce noise.

    [0143] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may control the speed of the motor to sequentially decrease as shown in FIG. 9D as the calculated motor speed ripple increases.

    [0144] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may control the speed of the motor to decrease stepwise as shown in FIG. 9E as the calculated motor speed ripple increases.

    [0145] FIG. 10(a) illustrates an output current waveform Idc1 and a motor speed waveform Vcd1 obtained when the driving method of FIG. 8 is not used, and FIG. 10(b) illustrates an output current waveform Idc2 and a motor speed waveform Vcd2 obtained when the driving method of FIG. 8 is used.

    [0146] Referring to FIG. 10, it can be seen that, when the driving method of FIG. 8 is not used, a significant ripple component occurs in the motor speed waveform Vcd1 during the period Pm3. As a result, significant noise is generated.

    [0147] On the other hand, when the driving method of FIG. 8 is used, the ripple component is significantly reduced in the motor speed waveform Vcd2 during all periods including the period Pm3.

    [0148] Thereby, noise may be significantly reduced, and the motor 630 of the drain pump 141 may be stably driven.

    [0149] FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing another operation method of a drain pump driving apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention, and FIGS. 12A to 14B illustrate the operation method of FIG. 11.

    [0150] Referring to FIG. 11, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine controls the motor 630 to rotate at a first speed (S810).

    [0151] Next, the output current detector E of the drain pump driving unit 620 detects the output current Idc flowing through the motor 630 (S820).

    [0152] Next, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine calculates the speed of the motor 630 based on the detected output current Idc (S830).

    [0153] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus may calculate the motor speed based on the detected output current Idc as described with reference to FIG. 6.

    [0154] Next, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine calculates a lift based on the calculated motor speed (S840).

    [0155] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may calculate the lift, which is a difference between the water level of a water introduction part through which water flows into the drain pump 141 and the water level of a water discharge part for discharging water from the drain pump 141.

    [0156] For example, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may calculate the difference between the bottom surface of the washing tub 120 and the final height of the drain pipe 199a as the lift.

    [0157] As another example, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may calculate the difference between the position of the drain pump 141, which is lower than the bottom surface of the washing tub 120, and the final position of the drain pipe 199a as the lift.

    [0158] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may control the motor 630 to rotate at a first speed. When rotation at the first speed is controlled, if the speed of the motor 630 calculated based on the output current Idc is a second speed, the lift may be calculated as a first level based on the second speed.

    [0159] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may control the motor 630 to rotate at a first speed. When rotation at the first speed is controlled, if the speed of the motor 630 calculated based on the output current Idc is a third speed lower than the second speed, the lift may be calculated as a second level higher than the first level.

    [0160] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may calculate a lower level of the lift as the calculated speed of the motor 630 is lowered.

    [0161] Next, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine varies the motor speed based on the calculated lift (S850).

    [0162] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may control the rotational speed of the motor 630 to be varied based on the calculated lift such that the speed of the motor 630 decreases as the water level of the water introduction part is lowered.

    [0163] FIG. 12A depicts a case where the motor 630 rotates at a speed of ω1 during the period Pa, and gradually slows down during the period Pb, which is a transition period, and then rotates at a speed of co2 lower than ω1 during the period Pc.

    [0164] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine controls the motor 630 to rotate at the actual speed command value ω1. If the speed of the motor 630 calculated based on the output current is ω2, the lift may be calculated based on the difference between ω1 and ω2.

    [0165] For example, as shown in FIG. 12B, the lift, which is the difference between the position of the drain pump 141 and the final height of the drain pipe 199a, may be calculated as hb.

    [0166] The data on the lift for the speed difference may be a value preset by an experiment, and may be pre-stored in a lookup table or memory.

    [0167] FIG. 12A depicts a case where the motor 630 rotates at a speed of ω1 during the period Pa, and gradually slows down during the period Pb, which is a transition period, and then rotates at a speed of co3 lower than ω1 during the period Pc.

    [0168] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine controls the motor 630 to rotate at the actual speed command value ω1. If the speed of the motor 630 calculated based on the output current is ω3, the lift may be calculated based on the difference between ω1 and ω3.

    [0169] Here, co3 may be less than ω2.

    [0170] Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 12D, the lift, which is the difference between the position of the drain pump 141 and the final height of the drain pipe 199a, may be calculated as ha.

    [0171] That is, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may calculate a lower level of the lift as the calculated speed of the motor 630 is lowered.

    [0172] Since the level of the lift can be calculated on the basis of the speed of the motor 630 calculated based on the output current as described above, the lift may be accurately calculated without using any separate water pressure sensor or water level sensor.

    [0173] FIG. 13A illustrates that the water level in the washing tub 120 is sequentially lowered.

    [0174] In particular, FIG. 13A corresponds to FIG. 7B in terms of the position of the drain pipe 199a.

    [0175] FIG. 13A(a) illustrates a case where the difference between the water level of the washing tub and the height of the drain pipe 199a is hb1, FIG. 13A(b) illustrates a case where the difference between the water level of the washing tub and the height of the drain pipe 199a is hb2, and FIG. 13A(c) illustrates a case where the water level of the washing tub is zero.

    [0176] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may control the rotational speed of the motor 630 to be varied based on the calculated lift such that the speed of the motor 630 decreases as the water level of the water introduction part is lowered, as described above.

    [0177] FIG. 13B illustrates decrease in the driving speed of the motor 630 from ωaa to ωab to ωac when the water level of the washing tub is sequentially lowered as shown in FIG. 13A.

    [0178] The driving speed ωaa may correspond to hb1 which is the difference between the water level of the washing tub and the drain pipe 199a in FIG. 13A(a), ωab may correspond to hb2 which is the difference between the water level of the washing tub and the drain pipe 199a in FIG. 13A(b), and ω ac may correspond to hb in FIG. 13A(c).

    [0179] FIG. 14A illustrates sequential lowering of the water level in the washing tub 120.

    [0180] In particular, FIG. 14A corresponds to FIG. 7A in terms of the position of the drain pipe 199a.

    [0181] FIG. 14A(a) illustrates a case where the difference between the water level of the washing tub and the height of the drain pipe 199a is hb1, FIG. 14A(b) illustrates a case where the difference between the water level of the washing tub and the height of the drain pipe 199a is hb2, and FIG. 14A(c) illustrates a case where the water level of the washing tub is zero.

    [0182] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may control the rotational speed of the motor 630 to be varied based on the calculated lift such that the speed of the motor 630 decreases as the water level of the water introduction part is lowered, as described above.

    [0183] FIG. 14B illustrates decrease in the driving speed of the motor 630 from ωba to ωbb to ωbc when the water level of the washing tub is sequentially lowered as shown in FIG. 14A.

    [0184] The driving speed ωba may correspond to ha1, which is the difference between the water level of the washing tub and the drain pipe 199a in FIG. 14A(a), ωbb may correspond to ha2, which is the difference between the water level of the washing tub and the drain pipe 199a in FIG. 14A(b), and ω bc may correspond to ha in FIG. 14A(c).

    [0185] The value of ωba may be less than ωaa of FIG. 13B. That is, as the level of the lift is lowered, the speed of the motor 630 may decrease.

    [0186] FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrate a lift calculation method based on the output current. Similarly, it is also possible to calculate the lift based on the power calculated in the power calculator of FIG. 6.

    [0187] The inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may calculate a lower level of the lift as the calculated power or load is lowered.

    [0188] FIG. 15 is a flowchart illustrating an operation method for a laundry treatment machine according to an embodiment of the present invention, and FIGS. 17 to 18C illustrate the operation method of FIG. 15.

    [0189] Referring to FIG. 15, the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine primarily calculates the laundry amount in the washing tub (S1505).

    [0190] Various methods may be used to calculate the laundry amount.

    [0191] For example, as a method of sensing the laundry amount according to an embodiment of the present invention, the laundry amount in the washing tub may be calculated based on based on a current command value for driving the motor during an acceleration period and a current command value for driving the motor during a constant speed period. Further, the counter electromotive force generated from the motor during the constant speed period may be calculated, and the calculated counter electromotive force may be reflected in sensing the amount laundry. Thereby, calculating of the laundry amount may be more accurate.

    [0192] As another example of sensing the laundry amount, rotation of the washing tub may be accelerated, and the laundry amount in the washing tub may be calculated based on a current command value for driving the motor for rotating the washing tub during the acceleration period or an output current flowing to the motor.

    [0193] Next, the controller 210 determines whether the calculated laundry amount is greater than or equal to a reference value (S1510). If the calculated laundry amount is less than the reference value, the controller performs step S1565, determining that the laundry is dry. If the calculated laundry amount is greater than or equal to the reference value, the controller performs step S1515 and subsequent steps.

    [0194] The controller 210 determines that the laundry is dry if the calculated laundry amount is less than the reference value. If the calculated laundry amount is greater than or equal to the reference value, the controller 210 performs step S1515 and subsequent steps in consideration of a possibility that the laundry is wet.

    [0195] Next, the controller 210 controls water to be supplied to in the washing tub up to a first water level (S1515). Then, the controller 210 controls the motor for rotating the washing tub to rotate in the normal and reverse directions (S1520). Then, the controller 210 calculates the water level in the washing tub (S1525).

    [0196] FIG. 18A illustrates supply of water into the outer tub 124 of the washing tub up to a first water level. To this end, the controller 210 may control the water supply valve 125 for regulating the water supply channel 123. That is, the controller 210 may control the water supply valve 125 so as to supply water up to the first water level.

    [0197] Next, FIG. 18B illustrates that the motor for rotating the washing tub rotates in the normal and reverse directions. This operation is intended to completely soak the laundry in the water in the washing tub after the water is supplied. It is also possible to rotate the motor forward or backward for a predetermined time.

    [0198] Next, FIG. 18C illustrates lowering of the water level with the laundry containing the supplied water on the basis of forward and reverse rotations of the motor of FIG. 18B.

    [0199] Measurement of the water level may be performed through a water level sensor. For example, the water level frequency at the zero water level may be 28 KHz, H1 may be a water level frequency of 25.9 KHz, and H2 may be a water level frequency of about 26.5 KHz. The water level frequency, that is, the water level value may be inversely proportional to the water level in the washing tub.

    [0200] In an embodiment of the present invention, the water level frequency may be used to determine dry laundry/wet laundry and to calculate the amount of wet laundry. For details, refer to step S1550.

    [0201] Next, the controller 210 determines whether the first water level is higher than the calculated water level (S1530), and if so, controls water to be resupplied up to the first water level (S1535).

    [0202] To this end, the controller 210 may control the water supply valve 125 for regulating the water supply channel 123. That is, the controller 210 may control the water supply valve 125 so as to resupply water up to the first water level.

    [0203] Next, the controller 210 secondarily calculates the laundry amount in the washing tub (S1540).

    [0204] Next, the controller 210 determines whether the laundry is dry or wet using the primarily calculated laundry amount, the secondarily calculated laundry amount, and the calculated water level value (S1550).

    [0205] As described in step S1505, the secondary sensing of the laundry amount may be performed using various methods.

    [0206] The controller 210 determines that the laundry is wet as the primarily calculated laundry amount increases or the calculated water level value decreases.

    [0207] That is, the controller 210 determines that the laundry is wet as the primarily calculated laundry amount decreases or the calculated water level value increases.

    [0208] Alternatively, as the difference between the calculated water level value and the first water level value increases, the controller 210 determines that the laundry is wet.

    [0209] In the case of wet laundry, step S1550 is performed. In the case of dry laundry, step S1565 is performed.

    [0210] That is, in the case of wet laundry, the controller 210 calculates the wet laundry amount based on the primarily calculated laundry amount value, the secondarily calculated laundry amount value, and the calculated water level value (S1550). Here, the wet laundry amount refers to an original laundry amount that does not contain moisture.

    [0211] Calculation of the wet laundry amount may be performed by subtracting the amount of water from the amount of the water and laundry. That is, this operation may mean calculating the original laundry amount.

    [0212] Increase in the difference between the secondarily calculated laundry amount value and the primarily calculated laundry amount value means wet laundry having a smaller amount of water.

    [0213] Decrease in the difference between the secondarily calculated laundry amount value and the primarily calculated laundry amount value means wet laundry having a larger amount of water.

    [0214] Meanwhile, increase in the water level frequency of the calculated water level means wet laundry having a larger amount of water, and decrease in the water level frequency of the calculated water level means wet laundry having a smaller amount of water.

    [0215] Accordingly, as the difference between the secondarily calculated laundry amount value and the primarily calculated laundry amount value increases, or the water level frequency of the calculated water level decreases, the wet laundry amount may increase. Alternatively, as the difference between the calculated water level value and the first water level value decreases, the wet laundry amount may increase.

    [0216] That is, the wet laundry amount may decrease as the difference between the secondarily calculated laundry amount value and the primarily calculated laundry amount value decreases, or the water level frequency of the calculated water level increases. Alternatively, the wet laundry amount may decrease as the difference between the calculated water level value and the first water level value increases.

    [0217] As described above, according to an embodiment of the present invention, laundry can be treated in accordance with its own weight by sensing the original laundry amount that does not contain moisture. Thereby, the washing time may be shortened, and the amount of water used may be reduced. As a result, the energy consumed in the laundry treatment machine may be reduced.

    [0218] In the case of dry laundry, the controller 210 calculates the dry laundry amount based on the primarily calculated laundry amount value (S1565).

    [0219] Based on the primarily calculated laundry amount value, the controller 210 may determine that the dry laundry amount increases as the primarily calculated laundry amount value increases.

    [0220] It is possible to output the dry laundry amount through the table 1200 in FIG. 12. A current command value between the acceleration period and the constant speed period may be divided into a plurality of periods Se1, ..., Se10 and the dry laundry amount may be output based on each corresponding current command value, that is, a calculated value. That is, anyone of L1 to L10 may be output as the dry laundry amount.

    [0221] In order to calculate the laundry amount in the laundry treatment machine, the driving unit 220 first aligns the motor 230 that rotates the washing tub 120. That is, the driving unit 220 controls the motor 230 so as to fix the rotor of the motor 230 at a predetermined position. That is, a predetermined current is applied to the motor 230.

    [0222] Such a motor alignment period may correspond to the period Ta in FIG. 15.

    [0223] For example, it is possible to apply a current having a predetermined magnitude to the motor 230 during the motor alignment period Ta. Thereby, the rotor of the motor 230 is moved to a predetermined position.

    [0224] As another example, it is also possible to apply currents of different magnitudes during the motor alignment period Ta. This operation is intended to calculate a motor constant which may be used in calculating the counter electromotive force in a constant-speed rotation period Tc, which will be described later. Here, the motor constant may mean, for example, the equivalent resistance value Rs of the motor 230 or the like.

    [0225] FIG. 16 illustrates that, in the motor alignment period Ta, a current IB1 of a first magnitude flows to the motor 230 during a first period Ta1 and a current IB2 of a second magnitude flows to the motor 230 during the second period Ta2.

    [0226] Here, the length of the first period Ta1 may be equal to that of the second period Ta2, and the second magnitude of the current IB2 may be twice the first magnitude of the current IB1.

    [0227] Next, the driving unit 220 accelerates rotation of the motor 230 for rotating the washing tub 120.

    [0228] Specifically, the driving unit 220 may accelerate rotation of the motor 230 from the stationary state to a first speed ω1. To accelerate the rotation, the current command value applied to the motor 230 may be sequentially increased.

    [0229] The first speed ω1 is a speed at which the resonance band of the washing tub 120 can be avoided, and may be between about 40 rpm and 50 rpm.

    [0230] Such a motor accelerating rotation period may correspond to period Tb in FIG. 15.

    [0231] Then, the driving unit 220 rotates the motor 230, which serves to rotate the washing tub 120, at a constant speed. Specifically, after rotation of the motor 230 reaches the first speed ω1 through acceleration, the driving unit 220 may rotate the motor 230 at a constant speed, which is a second speed ω2. For constant-speed rotation, the current command value applied to the motor 230 may be constant.

    [0232] The second speed ω2 may be lower than the first speed ω1 and may be between about 25 rpm and about 35 rpm.

    [0233] Such a motor constant-speed rotation period may correspond to period Tc in FIG. 15.

    [0234] The controller 210 may perform laundry amount sensing based on the difference between the average value of the current command values for rotating the motor 230 during the acceleration period and the average value of the current command values for rotating the motor 230 during the constant-speed period. Thereby, the laundry amount may be efficiently calculated.

    [0235] The current command value for rotating the motor 230 in the acceleration period means a current command value in which the inertia component and the frictional force component are combined and the current command value for rotating the motor 230 in the constant-speed period may mean a current command value corresponding to the frictional force component without the inertia component corresponding to the acceleration.

    [0236] The laundry amount sensing described in FIGS. 15 to 18C may be performed in each of the washing, rinsing, and dewatering processes.

    [0237] Then, after the laundry amount is calculated, the introduced water may be drained. At this time, the drain pump driving apparatus 620 described in FIGS. 1 to 14 may operate.

    [0238] According to the invention, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus 620 or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine calculates the speed ripple of the motor based on the output current Idc, and performs a control operation based on the calculated motor speed ripple to change the speed of the motor. Thereby, noise caused by residual water remaining in the drain pipe may be reduced.

    [0239] Meanwhile, the inverter controller 430 of the drain pump driving apparatus 620 or the controller 210 of the laundry treatment machine may calculate the speed of the motor based on the output current, and calculate a lift, which is a difference between the water level of a water introduction part through which water flows into the drain pump and the water level of a water discharge part for discharging water from the drain pump based on the calculated motor speed. Accordingly, the lift may be accurately calculated without using a water pressure sensor and a water level sensor.

    [0240] Therefore, manufacturing costs may be reduced.

    [0241] While FIG. 1 illustrates a top loading type machine as a laundry treatment machine, the drain pump driving apparatus 620 according to an embodiment of the present invention may also be applied to a front-loading washing machine, that is, a drum type washing machine.

    [0242] The drain pump driving apparatus and the laundry treatment machine having the same according to embodiments of the present invention are not limited to the configuration and method of the embodiments described above. Variations may be made to the embodiments described above by selectively combining all or some of the embodiments.

    [0243] A method for operating the drain pump driving apparatus and the laundry treatment machine of the present invention is implementable by code readable a processor provided to each of the drain pump driving apparatus, on a recording medium readable by the processor. The recording medium readable by the processor includes all kinds of recording devices for storing data which can be read by the processor.

    [0244] As is apparent from the above description, the present invention has the following effects.

    [0245] A drain pump driving apparatus and a laundry treatment machine including the same according to embodiments of the present invention include a motor to operate the drain pump and an inverter for converting DC power into AC power through a switching operation and outputting the converted AC power to the motor, an output current detector to detect an output current flowing to the motor, and a controller to control the inverter. The controller may calculate speed ripple of the motor based on the output current, and vary the speed of the motor based on the calculated speed ripple of the motor. As a result, noise produced during drainage may be reduced.

    [0246] Particularly, as the calculated speed ripple of the motor becomes larger, the speed of the motor is controlled so as to be reduced gradually or stepwise. Thereby, noise produced during drainage may be reduced.

    [0247] The controller may calculate the speed of the motor based on the output current, and calculate a lift, which is a difference between the water level of a water introduction part through which water flows into the drain pump and the water level of a water discharge part for discharging water from the drain pump based on the calculated motor speed. Accordingly, the lift may be accurately calculated without using a water pressure sensor and a water level sensor. Therefore, manufacturing costs may be reduced.

    [0248] In addition, by controlling the rotational speed of the motor to be varied based on the calculated lift, drainage may be performed smoothly, and power consumption may be reduced.

    [0249] Although the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed for illustrative purposes, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications, additions and substitutions are possible, without departing from the scope of the invention as disclosed in the accompanying claims.


    Claims

    1. A drain pump driving apparatus (620) comprising:

    a motor (630) to operate the drain pump (141);

    an inverter (420) to convert a direct current (DC) power to an alternating current (AC) power;

    an output current detector (E) to detect an output current (idc) flowing to the motor (630); and

    a controller (430) to control the inverter (420), wherein the controller (430) is adapted to calculate a speed of the motor (630) based on the output current (idc), to calculate a speed ripple of the motor (630) indicating a change in the calculated speed of the motor (630), and to perform a control operation based on the calculated speed ripple of the motor (630) to change the speed of the motor (630).


     
    2. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to claim 1, wherein the controller (430) is adapted to control the speed of the motor (630) to decrease the speed of the motor (630) sequentially or stepwise as the calculated motor speed ripple increases.
     
    3. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the controller (430) is adapted to calculate a lift, which is a difference between a water level of a water introduction part flowing into the drain pump (141) and a water level of a water discharge part discharged from the drain pump (141), based on the output current (idc).
     
    4. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to claim 3, wherein the controller (430) is adapted to perform a control operation based on the calculated lift to change a rotational speed of the motor (630).
     
    5. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the controller (430) is adapted to control the motor (630) to rotate at a first speed, wherein, when the speed of the motor (630) calculated based on the output current (idc) is a second speed during control of the rotation at the first speed, the controller (430) calculates the lift as a first level based on the second speed.
     
    6. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to claim 5, wherein the controller (430) is adapted to control the motor (630) to rotate at the first speed, wherein, when the speed of the motor (630) calculated based on the output current (idc) is a third speed lower than the second speed during control of the rotation at the first speed, the controller (430) calculates the lift as a second level higher than the first level.
     
    7. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to any one of claims 3-6, wherein the controller (430) is adapted to calculate a lower level of the lift as the calculated speed of the motor (630) is lowered.
     
    8. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to any one of the preceding claims 3-7, wherein the controller (430) is adapted to perform a control operation based on the calculated lift to change a rotational speed of the motor (630) such that the speed of the motor (630) decreases as the water level of the water introduction part is lowered.
     
    9. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the motor (630) comprises a brushless DC motor.
     
    10. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a DC link capacitor (C) disposed on a DC link to store the DC power, wherein the output current detector (E) is disposed between the DC link capacitor (C) and the inverter (420).
     
    11. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the controller (430) comprises:

    a power calculator (321) to calculate a power or load of the motor (630) based on the output current (idc);

    a speed command generator (323) to generate a speed command value (ω*r) based on the calculated power;

    a current command generator (530) to generate a current command value (i*q) based on the speed command value (ω*r) and the calculated speed of the motor (630);

    a voltage command generator (540) to generate a voltage command value (v*q) based on the current command value (i*q) and the output current (idc); and

    a switching control signal output unit (560) to output, based on the voltage command value (v*q), a switching control signal (Sic) for driving the inverter (420).


     
    12. The drain pump driving apparatus (620) according to claim 11, wherein the controller (430) further comprises a speed calculator (520) to calculate the speed of the motor (630) based on the output current (idc).
     
    13. A laundry treatment machine (100) comprising:

    a washing tub (120);

    a driving unit (200) to drive the washing tub (120);

    a drain pump (141); and

    the drain pump driving apparatus (620) of any one of claims 1 to 12 to drive the drain pump (141).


     
    14. The laundry treatment machine (100) according to claim 13, wherein, in performing a washing process and a dewatering process without a rinsing process, the controller (430) is adapted to calculate the speed ripple of the motor (630) based on the output current (idc) and to perform the control operation based on the calculated speed ripple of the motor (630) to change the speed of the motor (630).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620), die Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Motor (630) zum Betreiben der Ablaufpumpe (141);

    einen Wechselrichter (420), um eine Gleichstromleistung (DC) in eine Wechselstromleistung (AC) umzusetzen;

    einen Ausgangsstromdetektor (E) zum Detektieren eines Ausgangsstroms (idc), der zum Motor (630) fließt; und

    eine Steuerung (430) zum Steuern des Wechselrichters (420), wobei die Steuerung (430) ausgelegt ist, eine Drehzahl des Motors (630) auf der Basis des Ausgangsstroms (idc) zu berechnen, eine Drehzahl-Welligkeit des Motors (630) zu berechnen, die eine Änderung der berechneten Drehzahl des Motors (630) anzeigt, und einen Steuervorgang auf der Basis der berechneten Drehzahl-Welligkeit des Motors (630) durchzuführen, um die Drehzahl des Motors (630) zu ändern.


     
    2. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Steuerung (430) ausgelegt ist, die Drehzahl des Motors (630) zu steuern, um die Drehzahl des Motors (630) fortlaufend oder schrittweise zu verringern, wenn die berechnete Motordrehzahl-Welligkeit zunimmt.
     
    3. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei die Steuerung (430) ausgelegt ist, einen Anstieg, der eine Differenz zwischen einem Wasserpegel in einem Element zum Einleiten von Wasser, das in die Ablaufpumpe (141) strömt, und einem Wasseregel in einem Element zum Abführen von Wasser, das aus der Ablaufpumpe (141) abgeführt wird, ist, auf der Basis des Ausgangsstroms (idc) zu berechnen.
     
    4. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach Anspruch 3, wobei die Steuerung (430) ausgelegt ist, einen Steuervorgang auf der Basis des berechneten Anstiegs durchzuführen, um eine Drehzahl des Motors (630) zu ändern.
     
    5. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Steuerung (430) ausgelegt ist, den Motor (630) so zu steuern, dass er sich mit einer ersten Drehzahl dreht, wobei dann, wenn die Drehzahl des Motors (630), die auf der Basis des Ausgangsstroms (idc) berechnet wird, eine zweite Drehzahl während der Steuerung der Drehung mit der ersten Drehzahl ist, die Steuerung (430) den Anstieg als eine erste Höhe auf der Basis der zweiten Drehzahl berechnet.
     
    6. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Steuerung (430) ausgelegt ist, den Motor (630) so zu steuern, dass er sich mit der ersten Drehzahl dreht, wobei dann, wenn die Drehzahl des Motors (630), die auf der Basis des Ausgangsstroms (idc) berechnet wird, eine dritte Drehzahl ist, die niedriger als die zweite Drehzahl während der Steuerung der Drehung mit der ersten Drehzahl ist, die Steuerung (430) den Anstieg als eine zweite Höhe berechnet, die höher als die erste Höhe ist.
     
    7. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach einem der Ansprüche 3-6, wobei die Steuerung (430) ausgelegt ist, eine geringere Höhe des Anstiegs zu berechnen, falls die berechnete Drehzahl des Motors (630) niedriger ist.
     
    8. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche 3-7, wobei die Steuerung (430) ausgelegt ist, einen Steuervorgang auf der Basis des berechneten Anstiegs durchzuführen, um eine Drehzahl des Motors (630) so zu ändern, dass die Drehzahl des Motors (630) abnimmt, wenn die Wasserhöhe im Element zum Einleiten von Wasser niedriger ist.
     
    9. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Motor (630) einen bürstenlosen Gleichstrommotor umfasst.
     
    10. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, die ferner einen Zwischenkreiskondensator (C) umfasst, der bei einem Zwischenkreis angeordnet ist, um die Gleichspannungsleistung zu speichern, wobei der Ausgangsstromdetektor (E) zwischen dem Zwischenkreiskondensator (C) und dem Wechselrichter (420) angeordnet ist.
     
    11. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Steuerung (430) Folgendes umfasst:

    ein Leistungsberechnungselement (321), um eine Leistung oder eine Last des Motors (630) auf der Basis des Ausgangsstroms (idc) zu berechnen;

    einen Drehzahlbefehl-Generator (323), um einen Drehzahlbefehlswert (ω*r) auf der Basis der berechneten Leistung zu erzeugen;

    einen Strombefehl-Generator (530), um einen Strombefehlswert (i*q) auf der Basis des Drehzahlbefehlswerts (ω*r) und der berechneten Drehzahl des Motors (630) zu erzeugen;

    einen Spannungsbefehl-Generator (540) zum Erzeugen eines Spannungsbefehlswerts (v*q) auf der Basis des Strombefehlswerts (i*q) und des Ausgangsstroms (idc); und

    eine Umschaltsteuersignal-Ausgabeeinheit (560), um auf der Basis des Spannungsbefehlswerts (v*q) ein Umschaltsteuersignal (Sic) zum Antreiben des Wechselrichters (420) auszugeben.


     
    12. Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach Anspruch 11, wobei die Steuerung (430) ferner ein Drehzahl-Berechnungselement (520) umfasst, um die Drehzahl des Motors (630) auf der Basis des Ausgangsstroms (idc) zu berechnen.
     
    13. Wäschebehandlungsmaschine (100), die Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Waschbottich (120);

    eine Antriebseinheit (200) zum Antreiben des Waschbottichs (120);

    eine Ablaufpumpe (141); und

    die Ablaufpumpen-Antriebsvorrichtung (620) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12 zum Antreiben der Ablaufpumpe (141).


     
    14. Wäschebehandlungsmaschine (100) nach Anspruch 13, wobei beim Durchführen eines Waschvorgangs und eines Entwässerungsvorgangs ohne Spülvorgang die Steuerung (430) ausgelegt ist, die Drehzahl-Welligkeit des Motors (630) auf der Basis des Ausgangsstroms (idc) zu berechnen und den Steuervorgang auf der Basis der berechneten Drehzahl-Welligkeit des Motors (630) durchzuführen, um die Drehzahl des Motors (630) zu ändern.
     


    Revendications

    1. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) comportant :

    un moteur (630) pour faire fonctionner la pompe de vidange (141) ;

    un onduleur (420) pour convertir une alimentation en courant continu (DC) en alimentation en courant alternatif (AC) ;

    un détecteur de courant de sortie (E) pour détecter un courant de sortie (idc) circulant jusqu'au moteur (630) ; et

    une commande (430) pour commander l'onduleur (420), dans lequel la commande (430) est adaptée pour calculer une vitesse du moteur (630) sur la base du courant de sortie (idc), pour calculer une ondulation de vitesse du moteur (630) indiquant une variation de la vitesse calculée du moteur (630), et pour exécuter une opération de commande basée sur l'ondulation de vitesse du moteur (630) pour changer la vitesse du moteur (630).


     
    2. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la commande (430) est adaptée pour commander la vitesse du moteur (630) afin de réduire la vitesse du moteur (630) de manière séquentielle ou par paliers lorsque l'ondulation de vitesse de moteur calculée augmente.
     
    3. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel la commande (430) est adaptée pour calculer une hauteur de refoulement, qui est une différence entre un niveau d'eau d'une partie d'introduction d'eau s'écoulant dans la pompe de vidange (141) et un niveau d'eau d'une partie d'évacuation d'eau évacuée de la pompe de vidange (141), sur la base du courant de sortie (idc).
     
    4. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon la revendication 3, dans lequel la commande (430) est adaptée pour exécuter une opération de commande basée sur la hauteur de refoulement calculée pour changer une vitesse de rotation du moteur (630).
     
    5. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la commande (430) est adaptée pour commander le moteur (630) de manière à tourner à une première vitesse, dans lequel, lorsque la vitesse du moteur (630) calculée sur la base du courant de sortie (idc) est une deuxième vitesse pendant une commande de la rotation à la première vitesse, la commande (430) calcule la hauteur de refoulement comme un premier niveau, sur la base de la deuxième vitesse.
     
    6. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon la revendication 5, dans lequel la commande (430) est adaptée pour commander le moteur (630) de manière à tourner à la première vitesse, dans lequel, lorsque la vitesse du moteur (630) calculée sur la base du courant de sortie (idc) est une troisième vitesse inférieure à la deuxième vitesse pendant la commande de la rotation à la première vitesse, la commande (430) calcule la hauteur de refoulement comme un second niveau plus haut que le premier niveau.
     
    7. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 3 à 6, dans lequel la commande (430) est adaptée pour calculer un niveau plus bas de la hauteur de refoulement lorsque la vitesse calculée du moteur (630) est abaissée.
     
    8. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 3 à 7 précédentes, dans lequel la commande (430) est adaptée pour exécuter une opération de commande sur la base de la hauteur de refoulement calculée afin de changer une vitesse de rotation du moteur (630) de telle sorte que la vitesse du moteur (630) diminue lorsque le niveau d'eau de la partie d'introduction d'eau est abaissé.
     
    9. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le moteur (630) comporte un moteur DC sans balai.
     
    10. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comportant en outre un condensateur de liaison DC (C) disposé sur une liaison DC pour stocker l'énergie DC, dans lequel le détecteur de courant de sortie (E) est disposé entre le condensateur de liaison DC (C) et l'onduleur (420).
     
    11. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la commande (430) comporte :

    un calculateur de puissance (321) pour calculer une puissance ou une charge du moteur (630) sur la base du courant de sortie (idc) ;

    un générateur de commande de vitesse (323) pour générer une valeur de commande de vitesse (ω*r) basée sur la puissance calculée ;

    un générateur de commande de courant (530) pour générer une valeur de commande de courant (i*q) basée sur la valeur de commande de vitesse (ω*r) et la vitesse calculée du moteur (630) ;

    un générateur de commande de tension (540) pour générer une valeur de commande de tension (v*q) basée sur la valeur de commande de courant (i*q) et le courant de sortie (idc) ; et

    une unité de sortie de signal de commande de commutation (560) pour délivrer en sortie, sur la base de la valeur de commande de tension (v*q), un signal de commande de commutation (Sic) pour piloter l'onduleur (420).


     
    12. Appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon la revendication 11, dans lequel la commande (430) comporte en outre un calculateur de vitesse (520) pour calculer la vitesse du moteur (630) sur la base du courant de sortie (idc).
     
    13. Machine de traitement de linge (100) comportant :

    une cuve de lavage (120) ;

    une unité d'entraînement (200) pour entraîner la cuve de lavage (120) ;

    une pompe de vidange (141) ; et

    l'appareil d'entraînement de pompe de vidange (620) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12 pour entraîner la pompe de vidange (141).


     
    14. Machine de traitement de linge (100) selon la revendication 13, dans laquelle, en exécutant un processus de lavage et un processus d'essorage sans un processus de rinçage, la commande (430) est adaptée pour calculer l'ondulation de vitesse du moteur (630) sur la base du courant de sortie (idc) et pour exécuter l'opération de commande basée sur l'ondulation de vitesse calculée du moteur (630) afin de changer la vitesse du moteur (630).
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description