Liquid Level Patents (Class 361/284)
  • Patent number: 10520349
    Abstract: A circuit for simulating a capacitance fuel probe, the circuit comprising: an input for receiving an alternating current (AC) excitation signal; an output for outputting an output signal representing a capacitance of the simulated fuel probe; a single reference capacitance; a first amplifier connected to the reference capacitance, the first amplifier being configured to cause a current flow through the reference capacitance; a second, variable gain, amplifier, the second, variable gain amplifier being configured to output an AC signal representing a multiple of the current flow through the reference capacitance, wherein the AC signal output by the second amplifier is used to generate the output signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: Ultra Electronics Limited
    Inventor: Andrew Ceri Davis
  • Patent number: 10325567
    Abstract: The present disclosure provides a vehicle and method for controlling the vehicle, which relates to a technology for reconstructing a screen to be displayed in a display area based on a display area of an external device held in a holding groove inside the vehicle. The vehicle includes: a holding groove configured to hold an external device when the external device is inserted thereto; an electrode positioned in the holding groove that is configured to transmit a frequency signal to the external device; a controller configured to generate image data to reconstruct a screen to be displayed on the external device according to information about a display area of the external device set up by the external device based on the frequency signal; and a communicator configured to transmit the image data to the external device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 21, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2019
    Assignees: HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY, KIA MOTORS CORPORATION
    Inventors: Jong Hyuck Heo, Gideok Kwon, Jong Bok Lee
  • Patent number: 10175086
    Abstract: A measurement device has two electrodes in the liquid forming a capacitor the capacitance of which depends on the height of the liquid, a microcontroller connected to an electrode and having a capacitance determination circuit for determining first and second values of the capacitance of the capacitor respectively during charging and discharging of the capacitor, an oscillator circuit for generating signals at a reference frequency when the electrodes are not connected to the microcontroller, then at a variable frequency dependent on the height of the liquid when the electrodes are connected to the microcontroller. The microcontroller further includes a programmable logic device configured into a comparator circuit, and a frequency determination circuit connected to the programmable logic device so as to determine the variable frequency from the reference frequency and from the signals of the programmable logic device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 8, 2019
    Assignee: AKWEL SA
    Inventor: Régis Munoz
  • Patent number: 10145717
    Abstract: A method for determining a filling level of a fluid tank in a motor vehicle, enables both a detection of an ascent or a descent of the motor vehicle with the aid of multiple pieces of position data ascertained in succession via a position determination system, and a plausibility check of the measuring value of the filling level sensor, in that a grade of an associated route section is ascertained for the ascertained position data, a selection of at least two route sections having different grades is carried out, and a measuring value of the filling level sensor to be expected is ascertained for each of them, and a comparison of the measuring values to be expected with the measured measuring values is carried out.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignee: ROBERT BOSCH GMBH
    Inventors: Christian Romstoeck, Andreas Feldges
  • Patent number: 10114139
    Abstract: A multi-capacitor liquid detection device and method(s) of use is described. Embodiments of the multi-capacitor liquid detection device can include at least two capacitors being separated by a predetermined height. The multi-capacitor liquid detection device can be implemented to detect and differentiate between different types of immiscible liquids by measuring and comparing a dielectric constant between two or more capacitors. The multi-capacitor liquid detection device can be implemented to determine if a false detection of a liquid has been made by one of the capacitors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 30, 2018
    Inventor: Seyedmohammad Mirisharif
  • Patent number: 10099243
    Abstract: An adhesive dispensing device includes a heater unit for melting adhesive, a fill system communicating with a receiving space for feeding the heater unit, and a reservoir for receiving melted adhesive from the heater unit. The dispensing device also includes a capacitive level sensor located along a sidewall of the receiving space such that the level of adhesive in the receiving space can be detected by sensing the difference in dielectric capacitance where the adhesive is located compared to where air acts as the dielectric. The size of the driven electrode produces a broader sensing window capable of generating multiple control signals corresponding to different fill levels of adhesive. The receiving space and reservoir are minimized in size so that adhesive is not held at elevated temperatures long enough to char or degrade.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 16, 2018
    Assignee: Nordson Corporation
    Inventors: Justin A. Clark, Steven Clark, Peter W. Estelle, Jeffrey E. Owen, Robert J. Woodlief, David R. Jeter
  • Patent number: 10072960
    Abstract: A capacitive level gauge assembly for a pressurized or liquefied gas container comprises a body with a base capable of being fitted in an opening of said container and an electrical circuit arranged in the body; electrode-carrying means are fitted in leakproof manner in said body and connected to said electrical circuit, said electrode-carrying means being configured to support two electrodes fixedly with an annular measurement space therebetween. The electrode-carrying means comprise a metallic support fitted in leakproof manner in the valve body and electrically insulated therefrom, the first electrode being fixed to said metallic support, and the metallic support being connected to the electrical circuit. The metallic support comprises at its free end a coupling means for the first electrode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2013
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2018
    Assignee: LUXEMBOURG PATENT COMPANY S.A.
    Inventors: Paul Muzzo, Isabelle Schmitz
  • Patent number: 10025323
    Abstract: An apparatus for detecting an oil level and a method for controlling the same, an apparatus for detecting oil flow and a method for controlling the same, and a method for controlling oil return using the detected oil level and the detected oil flow are disclosed. The level of oil stored in a compressor is measured at two or more positions. The frequency comparison scheme using two electrodes can correctly detect the level of oil stored in the compressor, a refrigerant state, and the level of mixed oils, and can determine an internal state of the compressor and a normal or abnormal state of the oil return system, such that the oil return control can be actively controlled. The flow of oil in the oil return pipe is detected so as to determine whether the oil is normally supplied in real time, such that a malfunction of the compressor is prevented and a valve state can be checked.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 19, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2018
    Assignee: SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Yong Hee Jang, Hyo Sang Lee, Hyung Mo Koo, Suk Ho Lee, Byoung Guk Lim, Il Yong Cho, Byung Ik Choi, Jeong Su Han
  • Patent number: 9911306
    Abstract: Systems and methods for providing a smart hydration container or bottle which accurately tracks a user's liquid intake. The smart hydration container utilizes a new capacitive sensing technology which does not require a complicated design for capacitive conductive surfaces and provides accurate capacitive measurements which map to volume measurements. Through the use of calibrated data, the smart hydration container accurately measures capacitance “as a whole” of the entire container's contents even when the container is not resting upright. In some implementations, the smart hydration container utilizes a combination of capacitive sensing, motion sensing, position sensing, and/or temperature sensing to provide an accurate measure of liquid volume in the container. The capacitive sensor may be electrically shielded by a passive conductive sensor shield, a grounded conductive sensor shield, or an active conductive sensor shield.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2018
    Assignee: MAGICAL BY DESIGN, LLC
    Inventors: Bukasa Tshilombo, Kandarp Jani, David Winkler
  • Patent number: 9823149
    Abstract: A slew rate detection circuit connected to a sensor detects when an analog electrical signal from the sensor indicates a slew rate that exceeds a threshold value, and generates an interrupt electrical signal when the slew rate is detected as exceeding the threshold value. A control circuit determines a measurement value of the physical property in response to receiving the interrupt signal. The control circuit is connected to an A/D converter, which converts the analog electrical signal into a digital electrical signal, and performs a plurality of sensing system operations including determining the measurement value of the physical property as a function of the digital electrical signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2017
    Assignee: Schneider Electric Systems USA, Inc.
    Inventor: William M. Slechta
  • Patent number: 9520710
    Abstract: A thermal trip assembly for use with a busbar includes a fastener, an insulating sleeve, a temperature sensor structured to sense a temperature of the busbar, and a thermal trip circuit structured to output a trip signal based on the sensed temperature. A portion of the insulating sleeve is disposed between the temperature sensor and the busbar. The fastener couples the insulating sleeve and the temperature sensor to the busbar with the insulating sleeve being in direct contact with a portion of the busbar.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 13, 2016
    Assignee: EATON CORPORATION
    Inventors: Xin Zhou, Gerald Zheng, Olina Ouyang, Bruce Wu, Jack Gu
  • Patent number: 9395349
    Abstract: An electrode structure and apparatus for use in measuring oil-water constituents. The electrode structure comprises a first electrode (1) and a second electrode (2). The first electrode (1) has wrapped on the exterior thereof an insulating layer (104). The first electrode (1) and the second electrode (2) are fixed and insulatively connected via a supporting connector body (3). The first electrode (1) comprises multiple tubular conductive segment sub-electrodes (101) arranged along a first direction. Every two adjacent segment sub-electrodes (101) have formed therebetween a first gap. The second electrode (2) is arranged around the first electrode (1), and both are electrically connected to a signal and data processing unit (5).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 9, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 19, 2016
    Assignee: WEIHAI HAIHER TECHNOLOGY CO.
    Inventors: Qiming Wang, Guoyong Cheng
  • Patent number: 9234783
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for connecting a tube coaxially arranged around a measuring probe in a measuring probe unit of a fill-level measuring device comprising: a cable- or rod-shaped measuring probe and a tube coaxially surrounding the measuring probe. The measuring probe unit is connected to the container by means of a process connection element, wherein the measuring probe and the tube arranged coaxially around the measuring probe for the measuring probe unit are connected releasably to the process connection element. The coaxially arranged tube is connected releasably to the process connection element via a shape interlocking, threaded connection in a defined connection region, and the releasable, shape-interlocking, threaded connection of the coaxially arranged tube to the process connection element is secured by means of a radially directed deformation of the coaxially arranged tube in the defined connection region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2011
    Date of Patent: January 12, 2016
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co. KG
    Inventor: Dirk Oβwald
  • Patent number: 9228831
    Abstract: A container for holding a volume of fluid and having a housing defining an interior for retaining the volume of fluid; at least one in-tank tilt sensor connected to a controller and disposed inside the housing for generating a signal corresponding to a level of fluid inside the housing; and a support material attached to the housing and connected to the at least one in-tank tilt sensor to mechanically support the at least one in-tank tilt sensor such that the at least one in-tank tilt sensor is not in direct contact with the fluid inside the housing. The in-tank tilt sensor detects a change in fluid level which may only be caused by tilting of the imaging device. When tilting is registered, protective action is taken to prevent fluid from leaking.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 27, 2013
    Date of Patent: January 5, 2016
    Assignee: Lexmark International, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert H Muyskens, Gregory T Webb, Trevor D Gray, Jason T McReynolds
  • Patent number: 9008590
    Abstract: A radio circuit includes a front-end module, a board, a liquid MEMS component, and a coupling component. The front-end module is implemented on at least one integrated circuit (IC) die and includes a variable circuit. The variable circuit is adjustable to facilitate an operational adjustment of the front-end module for a given operational condition of the radio circuit. The board supports the liquid MEMS component and supports, at least indirectly, the at least one IC. The coupling component electrical couples the liquid MEMS component to the variable circuit, wherein, based on a control signal, one or more characteristics of the liquid MEMS component is changed, which adjusts the variable circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2015
    Assignee: Broadcom Corporation
    Inventor: Ahmadreza Rofougaran
  • Patent number: 8760032
    Abstract: An energy recovery device including: at least one capacitor with variable capacitance, the capacitor including a fixed electrode, a dielectric layer, and a liquid electrode; and a mechanism to inject an electric charge into the capacitor and to remove the electric charge therefrom, including a charge injection electrode forming a portion of the second face positioned upstream from the fixed electrode in the direction of displacement of the liquid electrode, and a charge removal electrode forming a portion of the second face positioned downstream from the fixed electrode in the direction of displacement of the liquid electrode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2008
    Date of Patent: June 24, 2014
    Assignee: Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
    Inventors: Ghislain Despesse, Yves Fouillet
  • Publication number: 20140071584
    Abstract: A liquid micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) capacitor includes a first capacitor plate, a second capacitor plate, a channel, a dielectric doped droplet, and a droplet activating module. The channel is implemented or embedded in one or more layers of a board and the dielectric doped droplet is contained in the channel. The droplet activating module operable to change the dielectric doped droplet with respect to the first and second capacitive plates, which are proximal to the channel and at a distance from each other, thereby changing a dielectric property of the liquid MEMS capacitor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 31, 2012
    Publication date: March 13, 2014
    Applicant: BROADCOM CORPORATION
    Inventor: Ahmadreza Rofougaran
  • Patent number: 8434211
    Abstract: A method for manufacturing a measuring apparatus for capacitive determining and/or monitoring of at least the fill level of a medium. The measuring apparatus has a probe unit and an electronics unit. During a measurement, the electronics unit supplies the probe unit with an exciter signal and receives from the probe unit a received signal, from which the electronics unit ascertains a capacitance value. The probe unit is coated with an insulation layer, the coated probe unit is connected with the electronics unit and inserted into a container containing a calibration medium, the coated probe unit is covered completely by the calibration medium and an associated received signal is gained, and, with the associated received signal, at least one adjustable component of the electronics unit is set.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 12, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2013
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co. KG
    Inventors: Volker Dreyer, Armin Wernet
  • Patent number: 8432083
    Abstract: An energy recovery device including: at least one capacitor with variable capacitance, the capacitor including a fixed electrode, a dielectric layer, and a liquid electrode; and a mechanism to inject an electric charge into the capacitor and to remove the electric charge therefrom, including a charge injection electrode forming a portion of the second face positioned upstream from the fixed electrode in the direction of displacement of the liquid electrode, and a charge removal electrode forming a portion of the second face positioned downstream from the fixed electrode in the direction of displacement of the liquid electrode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 30, 2013
    Assignee: Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
    Inventors: Ghislain Despesse, Yves Fouillet
  • Patent number: 8098476
    Abstract: One embodiment of the present invention relates to a variable capacitor that operates without moving mechanical parts. In this capacitor electrically conductive electrodes are separated by an enclosed chamber filled with an electrically conductive material. The electrically conductive material can freely vary its position within the chamber. The capacitance of the device will vary as position of the conductive material changes due to external mechanical motion (ex: rotation, vibration, etc.) of the device. Other embodiments of this device are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2012
    Assignee: Infineon Technologies AG
    Inventors: Markus Loehndorf, Terje Kvisteroey, Horst Theuss, Bjoern Blixhaven
  • Patent number: 8050010
    Abstract: A method is provided that includes, but is not limited to the steps of driving in an on-off manner in a period of time an electronic switch in series with a respective glow plug between the terminals of a d.c. voltage supply, sensing the glow plug voltage and the glow plug current, generating analogue sense signals representative of the time integral of the glow plug voltage and current, generating analogue reference signals corresponding to the digital values of corresponding control words, comparing the sense signals to the respective reference signals and modifying the corresponding control words so as to minimize the difference between the sense signals and the reference signals, calculating the average values of the sensed voltage and current on the basis of the values of the control words at the beginning and at the end of the “on” time of the electronic switch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 2009
    Date of Patent: November 1, 2011
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Paolo Casasso, Angelo Argento, Stefano Nieddu
  • Patent number: 7796371
    Abstract: A micro fluidic device and method for capacitive sensing. The device includes a fluid channel including an inlet at a first end and an outlet at a second end, a cavity region coupled to the fluid channel, and a polymer based membrane coupled between the fluid channel and the cavity region. Additionally, the device includes a first capacitor electrode coupled to the membrane, a second capacitor electrode coupled to the cavity region and physically separated from the first capacitor electrode by at least the cavity region, and an electrical power source coupled between the first capacitor electrode and the second capacitor electrode and causing an electric field at least within the cavity region. The polymer based membrane includes a polymer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 14, 2010
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Jun Xie, Jason Shih, Yu-Chong Tai
  • Publication number: 20090301189
    Abstract: A capacitive sensor assembly for measuring a level of fluent material in a container includes an electronics section for receiving and processing signals and an antenna probe operably associated with the electronics section. The antenna probe has an electrical conductor and an insulating layer that covers at least a portion of the electrical conductor. The electrical conductor is connected to the electronics section. An enlarged measurement portion is in turn connected to the electrical conductor for detecting the presence or absence of the fluent material. The enlarged measurement portion has a surface area that is larger than a surface area of the electrical conductor over an equivalent height or length to function as a first plate of the capacitive sensor assembly, with the fluent material to be measured functioning as a second capacitive plate. In this manner, a change in detected capacitance of the antenna probe is reflective of a level condition of the fluent material.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 9, 2008
    Publication date: December 10, 2009
    Applicant: ROCHESTER GAUGES, INC.
    Inventors: Herbert G. Ross, JR., Gagik Farmanyan
  • Publication number: 20080223128
    Abstract: Capacitive gauge comprising interdigital electrodes on an insulating substrate having the form of a hollow cylinder having an internal surface and an external surface, the interdigital electrodes being disposed on the internal surface of this cylinder.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 17, 2006
    Publication date: September 18, 2008
    Applicant: Inergy Automotive Systems Research
    Inventor: Volodia Naydenov
  • Patent number: 7254008
    Abstract: A microfluidic device and method for capacitive sensing. The device includes a fluid channel including an inlet at a first end and an outlet at a second end, a cavity region coupled to the fluid channel, and a polymer based membrane coupled between the fluid channel and the cavity region. Additionally, the device includes a first capacitor electrode coupled to the membrane, a second capacitor electrode coupled to the cavity region and physically separated from the first capacitor electrode by at least the cavity region, and an electrical power source coupled between the first capacitor electrode and the second capacitor electrode and causing an electric field at least within the cavity region. The polymer based membrane includes a polymer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 2005
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2007
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Jun Xie, Jason Shih, Yu-Chong Tai
  • Patent number: 7088567
    Abstract: Capacitors (10,20,40,50,70,80) having a fluid dielectric material that is transported or undergoes a phase change are disclosed. The dielectric medium change results in a change in the total dielectric constant of the material between the electrodes (12, 14, 72, 74, 81, 82), thus changing the capacitance of the capacitors. Transporting or phase changing the dielectric fluids into and out of a the electric field of the capacitor, changes the effective dielectric constant and the capacitance of the capacitor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 18, 2002
    Date of Patent: August 8, 2006
    Assignee: nGimat, Co.
    Inventors: Andrew T. Hunt, Mark G. Allen
  • Patent number: 6823730
    Abstract: A capacitive fill level measurement device with a fill level sensor having a plurality of sensor fields, electrical wires for electrically connecting the plurality of sensor fields to a multipole side of a selector switch, and a power supply and evaluation circuit electrically connected to a monopole side of the selector switch. The capacitive fill level measurement device can be made with simple production technology and thus economically for a host of different applications using a matrix of printed conductors which extend vertically and horizontally such that each horizontally extending printed conductor on one side is connected to one sensor field and on the other side connected to a vertically extending printed conductor. Each horizontally extending printed conductor is connected with a respective vertically extending printed conductor to form an electrical line or a part of an electrical line.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 22, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 30, 2004
    Assignee: i f m electronic GmbH
    Inventors: Bernd Buck, Jochen Gundlach, Jaromir Palata
  • Patent number: 6799458
    Abstract: An oil level/condition sensor includes a first level sensing tube, a common tube, and a second level sensing tube. The tubes are concentric to each other around a central axis. Moreover, the tubes are separated by plastic spacers which insulate the level sensing tubes from the common tube and maintain the concentricity of the tubes. Installed in the end of the first level sensing tube is a coupling/plug and disposed around the coupling/plug is a first condition sensing tube. The coupling/plug insulates the first level sensing tube from the first condition sensing tube and prevents fluid communication therebetween. A second condition sensing tube is attached to the second level sensing tube around the common tube and the first condition sensing tube. A ring-shaped insulator electrically isolates the second condition sensing tube from the second level sensing tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 5, 2004
    Assignee: Delphi Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Keith N. Ismail, Oscar Alfonso Lecea, Steven Douglas Thomson
  • Patent number: 6776900
    Abstract: An interceptor for removing grease from an effluent stream containing grease and water may be queried remotely to check it status. An output signal indicative of the amount of grease is transmitted over a telephone line to a telephone or computer or other remote station, or wirelessly to a remote receiver. The status is preferably also indicated locally with visual and/or audible signals. The grease depth level sensor is preferably a capacitive level sensor operative to sense the amount of water in the body of effluent thereby to determine the amount of grease in the body of effluent. The interceptor may include electric circuitry for effecting manual or automatic calibration of the sensor. The sensor may be adapted to be retrofitted to an existing tank made from either metal or plastic.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2002
    Date of Patent: August 17, 2004
    Assignee: Josam Company
    Inventors: Niel Mazurek, B. Scott Holloway, Charles Tevis
  • Patent number: 6542350
    Abstract: Reservoir volume in a drug delivery device is sensed by providing a capacitor, the capacitance of which varies with bellows position or, alternatively, with the amount of propellant liquid absorbed in a dielectric material. In one embodiment, a capacitance is provided between a surface of the bellows, which acts as a first capacitor plate, and a conductive surface disposed proximate the bellows, which acts as a second capacitor plate. As the bellows moves from its extended full position to its collapsed empty position, the area of overlap, and therefore the capacitance between the first and second plates varies from a maximum value to a minimum value. In another embodiment, a variable capacitor is provided with an absorbent material. The absorbent material absorbs the liquid phase of the propellant in the pump housing and acts as a dielectric between two stationary conductive plates provided in the housing. The amount of liquid propellant absorbed in the absorbent material varies with the reservoir volume.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 1, 2003
    Assignee: Medtronic, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles R. Rogers
  • Patent number: 6490920
    Abstract: A fringing-field capacitive liquid level sensor comprising an electrically insulating substrate, having a first and a second pattern of conductive capacitance plates plated on the substrate. Each pattern constitutes a fringing-field capacitor having a capacitance the value of which is both dependent on the liquid level and dependent on the dielectric constant of the liquid. The ratio of the two capacitances, however, is proportional to the liquid level and independent of the dielectric constant of the liquid. The fringing-field capacitive liquid level sensor may be used for measurement of liquids of substantially any dielectric constant without requiring full-scale calibration or knowledge of, and calibration for, dielectric constant of the liquid to be measured. Compensation for tilt angle can be provided through the addition of a second level sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 25, 2000
    Date of Patent: December 10, 2002
    Assignee: Millennium Sensors Ltd.
    Inventor: Yishay Netzer
  • Patent number: 6423213
    Abstract: An automatic draw-off grease interceptor 10 includes a separation tank 12 defining a chamber 40. An inlet 24 delivers an effluent stream of grease and water into the chamber which separates into a thicken layer of grease atop a water layer. A pump 70 is included for pumping grease from the chamber when the grease has reached a predetermined level 120. A conductive probe 90 extends vertically in the separation tank 12 from a location above the upper surface of the effluent to a location below the predetermined level 120. An R/C oscillator circuit 112 continuously measures the amount of water in the chamber by measuring the capacitance between the probe and a wall of the tank. A controller 116 actuates the pump in response to the R/C oscillator circuit measuring a capacitance corresponding to an amount of water in the tank when the grease layer reaches the predetermined level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 28, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2002
    Assignee: Josam Company
    Inventor: Niel Mazurek
  • Patent number: 6318172
    Abstract: The subject matter of the present invention is the optimization of a capacitive liquid level sensor which is suitable, in particular, for determining the location of a boundary layer 12 between water 10 and oil 11 in a separator tank. The known sensor principle is based on measuring the environmentally dependent capacitance between neighboring electrodes 13, 4; 4, 5; 5, 6 of a rod-shaped probe 1. According to the invention, the probe 1 is designed such that large ionic double-layer capacitors occur on the electrodes 4, 5, 6, 13 in the more conductive medium 10, and small capacitors occur between electrodes 4, 5, 6, 13 in the insulating medium 11. For this purpose, the electrode height h is selected to be large, the ratio of the electrode height h to the electrode spacing a is preferably selected to be in the range of 1<h/a<6 and, in particular, the measuring frequency f is selected to be in the dielectric cut-off frequencies of the media 10, 11.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2000
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2001
    Assignee: ABB Research Ltd.
    Inventors: John Anthony Byatt, Thomas Christen, Thomas Kleiner, Daniel Matter, Walter Ruegg
  • Patent number: 6295869
    Abstract: Capacitive measurement probe (6) for measuring the level of a liquid in a tank (1), of the type comprising a body (7) for mounting the probe and a first plate (8) which is supported by the body and is intended, together with a second plate (41), to form a measurement capacitor intended to be connected to an electrical voltage supply, which plates are intended to be partially immersed in the liquid and to define, between them, a space for receiving the liquid. The first plate (8) is mounted on the body so that it can be adjusted between at least a high measurement position and a low measurement position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2001
    Assignee: L'Air Liquide, Societe Anonyme pour l'Etude et l'Exploitation des Procedes Georges Claude
    Inventor: Daniel Delatte
  • Patent number: 6293144
    Abstract: In order to monitor the consumption of a normally electrically conductive product contained in a storage chamber of a reservoir made of electrically non-conductive material, the storage chamber is disposed in a capacitive arrangement and a measurement procedure is defined, according to which, in response to an excitation signal applied to the capacitive arrangement, a measurement signal is obtained (at 122), one characteristic of which has an amplitude which varies substantially with the quantity of product contained in the storage chamber. Before deducing the value of information representing the quantity of product available in the reservoir from this amplitude, the measurement signal has filtering applied to it, according to which it is multiplied by a reference signal of frequency at least approximately equal to that of the excitation signal (at 121) and the multiplied signal is applied to a low-pass filter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 25, 2001
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Marie-Helene Froger, Pascal Coudray, Mickael Lorgeoux
  • Patent number: 6278381
    Abstract: A fault protective device (48) for limiting the maximum current and voltage applicable to electronic components and wiring (26, 30) located in the fuel tank (10) of an aircraft. Particularly, a fuel gauging system circuit (18) extends from a generator (20) located outside the tank to at least one probe (14) located in the tank and from the probe to instrumentation (24) outside the tank. The device is electrically coupled to the circuit at the tank wall (28) and includes a voltage clamp (50) and series inductor-capacitor resonant circuit (46), so that the resonant circuit provides a low series impedance when applied with a signal at the operating frequency of the input signal applied by the generator but provides a high series impedance when experiencing a signal of a different frequency indicative of a system fault.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2001
    Assignee: Smiths Aerospace, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles E. Bogert
  • Patent number: 6250152
    Abstract: A sensor arrangement determines a condition and level of a liquid in a container. A first sensor has first electrodes forming a first measuring chamber communicating with the liquid and supplies a signal for determining an impedance of the first sensor and a condition of the liquid in the container. A second sensor has second electrodes forming a second measuring chamber communicating with the liquid via the first measuring chamber and supplies a signal for determining an impedance of the second sensor and a level of the liquid in the container. Electronic devices are coupled to the first and second sensors, and determine the impedance of the first and second sensors and the condition and level of the liquid in the container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2001
    Assignee: DaimlerChrysler AG
    Inventors: Manfred Klein, Anton Knoll, Klaus Land, Rudolf Thom, Harald Ott
  • Patent number: 6247363
    Abstract: Determination of the quantity of consumable product present in a reservoir, for example the quantity of ink present in the reservoir of an inkjet printing device. According to the invention, the movable reservoir can be engaged in the dielectric space of a capacitor consisting of two plates, a signal generator applies a signal to the capacitor and the reservoir is moved, a comparator changes state when a threshold is reached and the distance travelled by the reservoir makes it possible to determine the quantity of product situated therein.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 19, 2001
    Assignee: Canon Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Marie- Hélàne Froger, Pascal Coudray
  • Patent number: 6178818
    Abstract: A capacitive filling level sensor has a first capacitive sensor element arranged close to a fluid whose filling level is to be detected, a second capacitive sensor element arranged close to a fluid whose filling level is to be detected, and a switched-capacitor measuring circuit, which is connected to the first and second capacitive sensor elements and which detects the capacitance values thereof. The switched-capacitor measuring circuit produces in response to the detected capacitance values a signal indicative of the filling level. The first capacitive sensor element and the second capacitive sensor element are each defined by two wires of a ribbon cable having at least five wires, the fifth wire extending between the wires which define the capacitive sensor elements, and being connected to ground.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 30, 2001
    Inventor: Heinz Plöchinger
  • Patent number: 5917264
    Abstract: The present invention provides an electrostatic capacitance type transducer and a method for producing the same, with the ensured sufficient connecting strength and insulation between a movable electrode and a fixed electrode and smooth production. In the electrostatic capacitance type transducer having: a substrate; a movable electrode placed on the opposite side of a space from the substrate and having displacement in relation to the substrate; and a fixed electrode formed on a detecting face of the substrate which is opposite to the movable electrode, an insulation film is formed on the approximately whole surface, including the fixed electrode, of the detecting face of the substrate, in which the substrate and the movable electrode are connected through the insulation film to each other by means of the anode-contact.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 3, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 29, 1999
    Inventors: Naohiko Maruno, Seiichi Yokoyama, Hiroji Ito, Fumio Kaise, Yukimitsu Sekimori
  • Patent number: 5790422
    Abstract: A sensor apparatus is described that detects and indicates the quantity of cryogenic liquid in a Dewar container independent of the spatial orientation and physical motions acting on the Dewar container. The sensor apparatus comprises a first conductor, preferably positioned adjacent to the container inner shell wall and a second conductor comprising a plurality of axially spaced and concentric conductor bands mounted inside the container in a proximately spaced and a parallel relationship with respect to the first conductor. The second conductor bands divide the first conductor into zones that provide a plurality of distinct and separate capacitors. A computer measures the capacitance of each capacitor and compares the individual capacitance measurements to reference capacitance values corresponding to a known quantity of cryogenic fluid filled in the container at known angles of inclination. The sensor apparatus is also useful as a motion detector.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 4, 1998
    Assignee: Figgie International Inc.
    Inventors: Wendy Power, Michael A. Reed, Dominick J. Frustaci
  • Patent number: 5740594
    Abstract: A capacitive fluid pressure transducer is shown formed of a monolithic ceramic body (10) having a cavity located between a diaphragm portion (12) and a base portion (14). Opposed capacitor plates (22, 24) are disposed on opposed surfaces of the diaphragm portion and the base portion. The capacitor plates (22, 24) are formed of palladium oxide/silver having a ratio selected to create a fluid pressure level in the cavity as a result of oxygen evolution incident to the reduction of palladium oxide during the sintering cycle to offset the tendency of the diaphragm to bow inwardly due to shrinkage mismatch of the metal and ceramic materials.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 21, 1998
    Assignee: Texas Instruments Incorporated
    Inventors: Stanley J. Lukasiewicz, Vishwa N. Shukla, Allan J. Siuzdak
  • Patent number: 5726908
    Abstract: A sensor apparatus is described that detects and indicates the quantity of cryogenic liquid in a Dewar container, independent of the spatial orientation and the physical motions acting on the container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 10, 1998
    Assignee: Figgie International Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas Prince Hosmer, Izrail Tsals, Wendy Power, Michael A. Reed
  • Patent number: 5668478
    Abstract: The invention concerns rainwater sensors for windshields. In one embodiment, a first, inner, conductive film is applied to the inner surface of the windshield, and a second film, of same size and shape as the first, is applied to the outer surface. However, a narrow strip is removed from the second film, forming a gap which divides the second film into parts 1 and 2. The resulting structure forms two capacitors, namely: (1) inner film plus part 1, and (2) inner film plus part 2. The impedance of one capacitor is monitored. When rain occurs, it falls into the gap between parts 1 and 2, and acts as a resistor, bridging part 1 to part 2. This bridging adds a new impedance in parallel with the first capacitor, thereby changing the effective impedance. This change indicates the presence of rain.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 16, 1997
    Assignee: ITT Automotive Electrical Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Jeffrey J. Buschur
  • Patent number: 5546005
    Abstract: A continuous liquid level measuring system having a guarded capacitance probe and related drive circuit for providing accurate level measurements, even when measuring the level of ionic and highly viscous fluids. The capacitance probe has two parallel electrodes, each constructed of a half-tube section, that are separated from each other by an insulated guard wire. The probe is excited by a 1 MHz excitation signal applied across the electrodes. The current through the electrodes is a function of the capacitance between the electrodes, which is affected by the relative permitivity of the surrounding liquid. The effects of highly viscous ionic liquids that adhere to the probe are reduced by exciting the guard wire with a guard signal that is 180.degree. out of phase from the probe's excitation signal. The guard signal changes the electric field existing in the space adjacent the junctions of the two electrodes to reduce any liquid coating effects on the level measurement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 9, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 13, 1996
    Assignee: Flowline Inc.
    Inventor: George P. Rauchwerger
  • Patent number: 5477727
    Abstract: A main sensor electrode part 3 and a reference sensor electrode part 4 are deposited in patterns over the surface of a support member 10. A lead-out part 4b of the reference sensor electrode part 4 is extended through an unplated passage 11 of the main sensor electrode part 3 to the upper edge of the support member 10 to form there a terminal part 4a. A portion of the main sensor electrode part 3 is also extended to the upper edge of the support member 10 to form there a terminal part 3a. The support member 10 is deposited all over its surface with an insulating film 12 covering the both sensor electrode parts 3 and 4.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 1994
    Date of Patent: December 26, 1995
    Assignee: Japan Aviation Electronics Industry Limited
    Inventor: Sadamichi Koga
  • Patent number: 5440455
    Abstract: The innovation pertains to a device for fastening the housing of a data sensing element which encloses electronic circuits and connecting elements. Data sensing elements of this type are fastened in the wall which encloses the medium to be measured by means of a screw insert. Depending on their function, these data sensing elements may assume a position in which the connection of the connecting lines leading to a control room which is situated at a distance from the measuring point is only possible with great difficulties. This is the reason why the housing should be adjustable axially symmetrically relative to the screw insert. According to the solution suggested, the separable connection between the housing and the screw insert is formed by only one easily accessible screw which penetrates through a clamping disk and by projections which penetrate into a groove of the screw insert.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 1, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 8, 1995
    Assignee: Endress + Hauser GmbH + Co.
    Inventor: Werner Rottmar
  • Patent number: 5315872
    Abstract: Apparatus for measuring the volume of an electrically conductive liquid held in a confined area includes a tank constructed of electrically conductive, fiber-reinforced composite material having an inside surface and an outside surface. An electrically insulative liner is disposed in the tank against the inside surface thereof to receive and hold the liquid. A voltage source supplies an electrical charge to the tank walls, with ground potential being supplied to the liquid, to thereby develop a capacitance between the tank walls and the liquid. The capacitance varies with variation in the volume of liquid and thus by measuring the capacitance, a measure can be made of the volume of liquid in the tank.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 1993
    Date of Patent: May 31, 1994
    Assignee: Edo Corporation, Fiber Science Division
    Inventor: Daniel J. Moser
  • Patent number: 5307678
    Abstract: A level measuring probe in which all potential leakage paths are closed by concentrically shrinking the outmost diametrical surface of the probe by some mechanical means such as a crimper or rotary swager to provide sufficient force to substantially uniformly deform the ground, guard, and active elements and insulators around the circumference of the probe such that multiple seals are created. A circumferential notch is preferably provided in the active probe element at the point of the crimping or swaging to provide "blowout protection" whereby the active probe electrode is held in place when used in a high pressure vessel. A pressure seal between the electrodes and insulation material is also maintained by using an elastomeric insulator which returns to its original shape after heating or a thin electrode which "gives" a little when the insulator expands radially during heating. The arrangement of the invention thus eliminates the need for costly machined parts and bushings to provide pressure seals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 1993
    Date of Patent: May 3, 1994
    Assignee: Drexelbrook Engineering Co.
    Inventor: Evan Cost
  • Patent number: RE34601
    Abstract: A capacitive level gauge for placement in a container (12) determines the level of substance (14) in the container (12). The gauge (10) includes a measurement capacitor (C1) for measuring level and a reference capacitor (C2) for determining dielectric constant of the substance (14). A controller (34) is responsive to the capacitors (C1, C2) for producing a level signal which simultaneously indicated the level and dielectric constant of the material. The level signal includes a frequency which is representative of dielectric constant and a pulse width representative of level. The gauge (10) supports a first pair of parallel conductive members (26, 28) to establish the measurement capacitor (C1) and a second pair of parallel conductive members (28, 32) spaced along the gauge and below the measurement capacitor (C1) to establish the reference capacitor (C2).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 29, 1992
    Date of Patent: May 10, 1994
    Inventor: Peter A. Hochstein