(19)
(11)EP 3 650 966 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 19217700.4

(22)Date of filing:  28.07.2016
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G05B 19/042  (2006.01)
G08C 19/02  (2006.01)
H04B 3/54  (2006.01)
(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: 30.07.2015 IT UB20152680

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
16754329.7 / 3329333

(71)Applicant: Pellini S.p.A.
26845 Codogno (Lodi) (IT)

(72)Inventors:
  • PELLINI, Alessandro
    26845 Codogno LO (IT)
  • PASSONI, Marco
    27010 Copiano PV (IT)

(74)Representative: Perani & Partners S.p.A. 
Piazza Armando Diaz, 7
20123 Milano
20123 Milano (IT)

 
Remarks:
This application was filed on 18-12-2019 as a divisional application to the application mentioned under INID code 62.
 


(54)METHOD FOR CONTROLLING AN ELECTRIC MOTOR OF A VENETIAN BLIND


(57) The present disclosure concerns a method for controlling an electric motor of a Venetian blind (5) comprising the steps of connecting, via a two-wire power line (4), first electronic means (7), configured to generate a drive signal (S1) for driving said electric motor (6) for actuating the movement of said Venetian blind (5), with second electronic means (10) of a control unit (3) having drive means (8) for driving the movement of said Venetian blind (5); supply with a current signal (I) via said two-wire power line (4) said electric motor (6) by said second electronic means (10). The method is characterized by comprising the steps of generating a first data signal (S2) identifying the state of said electric motor (6) by said first electronic means (7); detecting said current signal (I) in said two-wire power line (4) identifying the current value absorbed by said electric motor (6); receiving said first data signal (S2) and to filter it against said current signal (I) by said second electronic means (10); processing said first data signal (S2) and said current signal (I) by said second electronic means (10) to thereby generate a second data signal (S3); receiving said second data signal (S3), to filter it against said current signal (I) and to process it to thereby generate said drive signal (S1).




Description

Field of the invention



[0001] The present disclosure relates to a method for controlling an electric motor of a Venetian blind as defined in the preamble of claim 1.

[0002] Venetian blind driving systems are known, which may be used, for example, for outdoor Venetian blinds, indoor Venetian blinds or Venetian blinds interposed between the glass panes of a window (so-called Venetian blinds in insulating glazing).

[0003] Preferably but without limitation, the present invention relates to Venetian blind driving systems that may be integrated between the glass panes of a window.

Discussion of the related art



[0004] Prior art Venetian blind driving systems usually comprise a blind assembly and a drive unit which is external or separated from the blind assembly but is connected to the blind assembly via a two-wire (or conductor) power line.

[0005] Particularly, the blind assembly comprises a Venetian blind, an electric motor for actuating the movement of the Venetian blind, and an electric circuitry for controlling said electric motor, whereas the control unit comprises drive means for driving the movement of the Venetian blind, a power source and an additional electric circuitry for controlling the power source.

[0006] In these Venetian blind driving systems DC motors controlled through the power line are conventionally used in the blind assembly. By changing poles through the electric circuitry in the aforementioned control unit the direction of rotation of the motor may be reversed and the Venetian blind may be moved, and such pole change is recognized by the electronic circuitry of the blind assembly which accordingly drives the rotation of the motor in either direction.

Prior art problem



[0007] Nevertheless, in the above discussed prior art systems, in order to implement drive controls that are more complex than simple blind movement and speed drive controls, the control unit must be also equipped with additional electronic devices, both on the blind assembly side and on the control unit side. Particularly, these additional electronic devices require one or more additional electric connection wires between the drive unit and the blind assembly, in addition to the two wires that are already provided for supplying power to the electric motor of the blind.

[0008] The addition of one or more wires clearly involves the need for an additional electric connection in the blind assembly and, as a result, for an additional processing step for accommodating such additional wire in the blind assembly.

[0009] Such processing step requires longer times and costs if the Venetian blind is installed in an insulated glazing. In this case an additional hole has to be formed in the frame, with obvious and expectable consequences.

[0010] Furthermore, the addition of a wire will also lead to a more problematic installation by the electrician, who will have to consider an additional controller, in addition to the classical two wires.

[0011] US 6,069,465 discloses a system with a two-wire line for controlling a blind. Nevertheless, the system as disclosed therein uses a circuit configuration that is complex and expensive for its technological context.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0012] The object of the present invention is to provide a method for controlling an electric motor of a Venetian blind that can improve prior art drive systems and particularly can ensure a more flexible and scalable use thereof.

[0013] This object is fulfilled according to the invention by a method as defined in claim 1.

Advantages of the invention



[0014] In one embodiment, a method for controlling an electric motor of a Venetian blind is provided, which can implement more complex drive controls, such as controlling the slat angle for Sun Tracking purposes, receiving blind state information or updating the firmware of the blind assembly circuitry, without requiring the provision of additional connection wires between the blind assembly and the control unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0015] The characteristics and advantages of the present disclosure will appear from the following detailed description of a possible practical embodiment, illustrated as a nonlimiting example in the set of drawings, in which:
  • Figure 1 shows a block diagram of the system for driving a Venetian blind according to the present invention;
  • Figure 2 shows a wiring block diagram of a control unit of the system for driving a Venetian blind of Figure 1;
  • Figure 3 shows a wiring block diagram of a blind assembly of the system for driving a Venetian blind of Figure 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION



[0016] Referring to the accompanying figures, numeral 1 generally designates a system for driving a Venetian blind.

[0017] The system for driving a Venetian blind 1 comprises a blind assembly 2 and a control unit 3, which are in signal communication with each other via a two-wire power line 4.

[0018] Particularly:
  • the blind assembly 2 comprises a Venetian blind 5, an electric motor 6 for actuating the movement of the Venetian blind 5 and first electronic means 7 configured to generate a drive signal S1 for driving the electric motor 6;
  • the control unit 3 comprises drive means 8 for driving the movement of said Venetian blind 5, a power source 9 for generating a Vdc signal to power the electric motor 6 and second electronic means 10 that are in signal communication the said drive means 8 and with said power source 9 for controlling said electric motor 6.


[0019] It shall be noted that the drive means 8 may be realized by digital inputs such as pushbuttons, analog inputs such as potentiometers or communication buses.

[0020] The power source 9 is mains powered with power supplies having a DC or AC voltage output; alternatively, the power source 9 may be realized as battery-powered systems with or without solar panels. Preferably, the power source is an AC/DC power source.

[0021] Particularly, also referring to the specific embodiment as shown in the accompanying figures, the power source 9 receives a mains voltage Valim to generate a DC voltage Vdc, e.g, 24 V, that can supply the electric motor 6 with a current I via the two-wire power line 4.

[0022] In order to transmit simple actuation controls, such as up or down movement, speed of such movement, etc. to the motor 6 of the blind 5 through the drive means 8, the first electronic means 7 are in signal communication with the second electronic means 10 via the two wires of the power line 4.

[0023] In a peculiar aspect of the present disclosure, in order to control/drive the electric motor 6 of the blind 5 with more complex drive controls, the signal communication between the first electronic means 7 and the second electronic means 10 only takes place via the two wires of the power line 4, i.e. does not require any additional wires for communication between said first and second electronic means 7, 10.

[0024] In one aspect of the present disclosure, the first electronic means 7 are designed to generate a first data signal S2, identifying the state of the electric motor 6, in the two-wire power line 4, and to detect the current signal I in the two-wire power line 4.

[0025] Particularly, the data signal S2 is indicative of the conditions of the blind 5, and hence the electric motor 6, whereas the current signal I is indicative of the change in the current value on the line 4.

[0026] In other words, the current signal I represents the change in the current absorbed by the electric motor 6 during its operation and, in particular, the current signal I changes in response to the change in the resistant torque generated by the blind 5 during its up/down movement / slat positioning / jamming, etc.

[0027] The second electronic means 10 are configured to receive the first data signal S2 and to detect the current signal I and are configured to condition such first data signal S2 and the current signal I to thereby generate a second data signal S3.

[0028] It shall be noted that the data signal S3 represents the result of the conditioning and processing performed by the second electronic means 10 according to the value of the first data signal S2 and/or any additional drive controls that may be input by the user through the drive means 8 and/or any sensors (not shown) that may detect physical environmental parameters, such as temperature, brightness, etc.

[0029] Such data signal S3 is in turn transferred to the first electronic means 7 which are configured to receive and condition it in addition to the aforementioned current signal I, to generate the drive signal S1 as a function of the second data signal S3, i.e. its information contents.

[0030] Thus, a two-way communication is established between said first electronic means 7 and said second electronic means 10, with the signals S2, S3 and I being superimposed on the two-wire power line 4.

[0031] It shall be noted that a signal (not shown) may be sent from the second electronic means 10 to the first electronic means 7. Such signal is configured to enable the first electronic means 7 to generate the data signal S2 so as to configure the system 1 to operate for the transmission of more complex drive controls for handling the blind 5.

[0032] In one aspect of the present disclosure, the data signal S2 and the data signal S3 have their own frequency value, differing from a frequency value of the current signal I.

[0033] Particularly, for proper processing of such signals S2, S3 and I by the electronic means 7 and 10:
  • the electronic means 7 comprise a first conditioning block 12 and
  • the second electronic means 10 comprise a second conditioning block 17,
  • the first and second conditioning blocks 12, 17 are configured to selectively condition the first data signal and the second data signal S2, S3, as well as the current signal I according to their respective frequencies.


[0034] In other words, the conditioning block 12 selectively conditions the data signal 3 and the current signal I, whereas the conditioning block 17 selectively conditions the data signal S2 and the current signal I.

[0035] For instance, the frequency value of the data signal S2 or the data signal S3 can change from a few to some tens of kiloHertz whereas the frequency value of the current signal I can change from a few to some tens of Hertz.

[0036] It shall be noted that the frequency value of the current signal can change slowly from the few to some tens of Hertz, as the change in the resistant torque from the electric motor 6 can also change slowly.

[0037] More particularly, also referring to Figure 1, the first electronic means 7 comprise a first conditioning block 12 and the second electronic means 10 also comprise a conditioning block 17.

[0038] In order to selectively condition the data signals S2, S3 and the current signal I, the conditioning block 12 comprises a first filter 12' and a first comparator 12" and likewise the second conditioning block 17 comprises a second filter 17' and a second comparator 17".

[0039] Preferably, the first or second filter 12', 17' is configured to be a filter of the first or second order, e.g. a low-pass filter, whereas the first or second comparator 12", 17" is configured to be a differential hysteresis comparator.

[0040] Particularly, in one aspect of the present disclosure, the first or second filter 12', 17' has such a cutoff frequency that such current signal I is filtered whereas the first data signal S2 and the second data signal S3 are allowed to pass, i.e. is not filtered.

[0041] Thus, a two-way asynchronous serial communication is established between the electronic means 7 of the blind assembly 2 and the electronic means 10 of the control unit 3.

[0042] The possibility of filtering the current signal I against the data signals S2, S3 affords the following features:
  • receiving information about the state of the blind;
  • updating the firmware of the electronic means 7 of the blind 5;
  • sending "simple" movement actuation controls, generated by the drive means 8, to the blind 5, via the power line 4;
  • sending "complex" movement actuation controls (e.g. for Sun Tracking), still via the power line 4.


[0043] With the aforementioned frequency values, i.e. a frequency of the data signals S2, S3 of the order of ten KHertz, and a frequency of the current signal I ranging from a few to some tens of Hertz, and assuming a cutoff frequency of the filters 12' and 17 of about 40 Hz (i.e. considering a time constant of 3.6 msec of the conditioning blocks 12, 17) the data signals S2, S3 may be properly separated and routed with respect to the signal I.

[0044] It shall be noted, also referring to figures 1 and 3 that, for the conditioning process to be completed, in one embodiment of the present disclosure, the following is provided:
  • the first electronic means 7 comprise a first microcontroller 11 in signal communication with the conditioning block 12, with the electric motor 6 and with an amplifier 13;
  • the second electronic means 10 comprise a microcontroller 16 in signal communication with the conditioning block 17, with a pole-changing switch 21 and with an amplifier 18.


[0045] Particularly, the microcontroller 11 is configured to receive, through the conditioning block 12, a first processed signal Rx' which is a function of the data signal S3, to process it and generate a control signal Tx' which is provided at the input of the first amplifier 13, the latter being configured to generate the first data signal S2.

[0046] Particularly, the microcontroller 16 is configured to receive, through the conditioning block 17, a second processed signal Rx", which is a function of the data signal S3, to process it and generate a second control signal Tx" which is in turn provided at the input of the amplifier 18, the latter being configured to generate the data signal S3.

[0047] The electronic means 7 comprise a drive 15 which is configured to actuate the electric motor 6, such drive 15 being connected on one side with the microcontroller 11 to receive the drive signal S1 from the latter and on the other side with the electric motor 6.

[0048] The electronic means 7 comprise a rectifier 19 which is electrically connected on one side with the two-wire power line 4 and on the other side with the first conditioning block 12.

[0049] The electronic means 7 comprise a voltage regulator 20 which is electrically connected on one side with the rectifier 19 and on the other side with the drive 15.

[0050] In the specific embodiment of Figure 3, which is given as a possible embodiment of circuit arrangement for the blind assembly 2, it is noted that:
  • the microcontroller 11 is supplied with a DC supply voltage, e.g. 5V, where the amplifier 13 comprises a BJT transistor Q3, whose base is connected with the microcontroller to receive the signal Tx' from the microcontroller 11, and whose emitter has a load resistor R22 and is connected with the conditioning block 12 and with the power line 4 and the collector is also connected with the power line 4;
  • the filter 12' has a capacitor C5 and a resistor R23, appropriately sized for the aforementioned filtering purposes;
  • the comparator 12" is a differential hysteresis comparator supplied with a predetermined DV voltage, e.g. 5V;
  • the rectifier 19 is implemented using a series of two diodes for each positive/negative pole of the two wires of the power line 4 (and hence for four diodes in diodes);
  • the voltage regulator 20 uses an integrated circuit, which is also supplied with a predetermined direct voltage, e.g. 5V.


[0051] In the specific embodiment as shown in Figure 2 it is noted that:
  • the microcontroller 16 is supplied with a supply voltage, e.g. 5VDC, where the amplifier 18 comprises a BJT transistor Q2, whose base is connected with the microcontroller 16 to receive the data signal Tx", and whose emitter has a load resistor R15 and the collector is connected with the power line 4;
  • the filter 17' has a capacitor C4 and a resistor R14, appropriately sized for the aforementioned filtering purposes;
  • the comparator 17" is a differential hysteresis comparator supplied with a predetermined DV voltage, e.g. 5V;
  • the voltage regulator 22 uses an integrated circuit, which is also supplied with a predetermined direct voltage, e.g. 5V.


[0052] According to the operation principle of the two-way communication between the first electronic means 7 of the blind assembly 2 and those of the control unit 3, the amplifier 13 in the blind assembly 2 receives the signal Tx' to be transmitted to the electronic means 10 from the microcontroller 11, and generates the corresponding data signal S2 which is diverted by the filter 12' to the power line 4. The filter 17' of the control unit 3 receives this data signal S2 and the current signal I. Due to the settings of the conditioning block 17, the data signal S2 is allowed to pass, whereas the current signal I is conditioned by the filter 17', and after the passage through the comparator 17", the signal Tx" is generated and is in turn sent to the microcontroller 16.

[0053] Particularly, in the two-way transmission from the blind assembly 2 to the control unit 3, also referring to the circuit arrangement as shown in Figures 2 and 3, the microcontroller 11 transmits the Tx' data with logic levels, e.g. equal to 0-5V at the base of the BJT Q3. The circuit formed by R22 and Q3 converts the signal Tx' into the current data signal S2 that flows through the same R22-Q3 branch. This current data signal S2 splits between R23 and the power line 4, and also flows through the resistor in the controller R14. Since the resistor R23 is set to the same value of the resistor R14, the signal is equally split, whereby both the digital current data signal S2 corresponding to the signal Tx' and the current signal I are sent to the control unit 3. The resistance of R14 converts this current data signal S2 into a voltage signal which is sent to the conditioning block 17 to obtain the signal Rx" with levels, e.g. equal to 0-5V to be sent to the microcontroller 16 of the control unit 2. Since the conditioning block 17 comprises the filter 17 and the comparator 17", the data signal S2 passes through the filter, whereas the signal Tx" associated with the operation current of the motor 6 is filtered, because it changes slowly.

[0054] The same mechanism applies to the transmission from the control unit 3 to the blind assembly 2, where the amplifier 18 receives the signal Tx" to be transmitted to the electronic means 7 of the blind assembly, from the microcontroller 16. For this purpose, the microcontroller 16 generates the corresponding data signal S3 which is diverted by the filter 17' to the power line 4, with the current signal I. The filter 12' receives the data signal S3 and the current signal I, conditions them in accordance with the rules of the filter 12' and the comparator 12", and outputs the data Rx' received from the control unit 3, which is sent to the microcontroller 11 of the blind assembly 2.

[0055] Particularly, also referring to the circuit arrangements of Figures 2 and 3, the microcontroller 16 transmits the Tx" data to the amplifier 18 with logic levels, e.g. equal to 0-5V at the base of the BJT Q2. The circuit formed by R15 and Q2 converts the signal Tx" into the current data signal S3 that flows through the same R15-Q2 branch. This current control signal S3 splits between the resistor R14 and the power line 4, and also flows through the resistor R23 in the blind assembly 2. Since the resistor R23 is set to the same value of the resistor R14, the signal is equally split, whereby both the digital current data signal S3 corresponding to the data signal Tx" of the microcontroller 16 of the control unit 3 is sent to the blind assembly 2. The resistor R23 converts this signal into the voltage signal that is sent to the comparator block 12 to obtain the signal Rx' with levels, e.g. equal to 0-5V to be sent to the microcontroller 11 of the blind assembly 2.

[0056] Those skilled in the art will obviously appreciate that a number of changes and variants as described above may be made to fulfill particular requirements, without departure from the scope of the invention, as defined in the following claims.


Claims

1. Method for controlling an electric motor of a Venetian blind (5) comprising the steps of:

- connecting, via a two-wire power line (4), first electronic means (7), configured to generate a drive signal (S1) for driving said electric motor (6) for actuating the movement of said Venetian blind (5), with second electronic means (10) of a control unit (3) having drive means (8) for driving the movement of said Venetian blind (5);

- supply with a current signal (I) via said two-wire power line (4) said electric motor (6) by said second electronic means (10);

characterized by comprising the steps of:

- generating a first data signal (S2) identifying the state of said electric motor (6) by said first electronic means (7);

- detecting said current signal (I) in said two-wire power line (4) identifying the current value absorbed by said electric motor (6);

- receiving said first data signal (S2) and to filter it against said current signal (I) by said second electronic means (10);

- processing said first data signal (S2) and said current signal (I) by said second electronic means (10) to thereby generate a second data signal (S3);

- receiving said second data signal (S3), to filter it against said current signal (I) and to process it to thereby generate said drive signal (S1).


 
2. Method for actuating an electric motor of a Venetian blind (5) as claimed in claim 1, comprising the step of selectively conditioning said first data signal and said second data signal (S2, S3) and said current signal (I) according to their respective frequency value.
 
3. Method for actuating an electric motor of a Venetian blind (5) as claimed in claim 2, wherein said frequency value of said first data signal and said second data signal (S2, S3) ranges from a few to some tens of kiloHertz whereas the frequency value of said current signal (I) ranges from a few to some tens of Hertz.
 




Drawing




















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