\ AFIXED 36A 2o_\ /— 22 /_

\ AFIXED 36A 2o_\ /— 22 /_

US007266344B2

(12) United States Patent

Rodriguez

(10) Patent N0.: US 7,266,344 B2

(45) Date of Patent: Sep. 4, 2007

(54) REMOTELY

USING THE SAME

_ .

(75) Inventor‘ Ya“ Rodnguez’ Canton’ OH (Us)

.

(73) Asslgn?’Z wayne'Dalton Corp-a Mt- Hope’ OH

(Us)

(*) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, theterm Ofthis patent is extended or adjusted under 35

U.S.C. 154(b) by 409 days,

(21) Appl. No.2 10/859,806

6,481,013 B1 11/2002 Dinwiddie et a1. ......... .. 725/80

7,027,945 B2 * 4/2006 Kelly ....................... .. 702/107

7,183,940 B2* 2/2007 Chuey

2003/0210126 A1* 11/2003 KanaZawa .

2004/0002367 A1* 1/2004 Chanut .... ..

.. 340/825.69

340/5.5

455/574

2004/0198251 A1 10/2004 FitZgibbon .

2004/0203387 A1* 10/2004 Grannan

455/91

.... .. 455/412

2004/0239496 A1 12/2004 F't 'bb .

2005/0026603 A9* 2/2005 Rlajzziiamo? ..... ..

340/539.1

455/419

2005/0245245 A1* 11/2005 Sorvari et a1. .... .. 455/418

2006/0181428 A1* 8/2006 Blaker et a1. . 340/82522

2006/0187034 A1 8/2006 Styers et a1. ........... .. 340/5451

2006/0192685 A1* 8/2006 Chuey ................. .. 340/825.72

2006/0217850 A1* 9/2006 Geerlings et a1. ............ .. 701/2

* . .

“ted by exammer

Primary ExamineriEdward F. Urban

Assistant ExamineriBlane J. Jackson

(74) Attorney, Agent, or FirmiRenner Kenner Greive

Bobak Taylor & Weber

(22) Filed:

(65)

Jun- 2-1 2004

_ _ _

Prior Publication Data

US 2005/0272372 A1 Dec. 8, 2005

(57) ABSTRACT

(51) Int‘ Cl‘

H04B 7/00 (2006.01)

_ _ _

A bridge device linking transmitters to a home network

. . . . . includes a transmitter signal receiver adapted to receive

(52) US. Cl. ................ .. 455/41.3, 455/343.1, 455/344, transmitter Signals in a transmitter format from at least one

340/825'69’ 340/5'71 transmitter and a network signal transceiver adapted to

(58) Field of Classi?cation Search ............. .. 455/41.1, transmit and receive network Signals in a network format to

455/412’ 418> 413’ 88’ 66-1’ 344> 343-1’ and from a home network. A

_ _ 4556435; 340/825-69s 5-71 to the transmitter signal receiver and the network signal

See aPPhCaUOn ?le for Complete Search hlstory- transceiver for the purpose of converting the signals between

(56) References Cited the formats. The bridge device is able to learn various transmitter type for conversion to a learned home network

U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS

6,120,262 A 9/2000 McDonough et a1. 417/4241

6,155,160 A 12/2000 Hochbrueckner .......... .. 99/331 transmitter button actuations to control speci?c appliance fu t. nc 1on5

6,243,000 B1 6/2001 Tsui ............. .. 340/521

6,374,079 B1 * 4/2002 Hsu ........................ .. 455/11.1 28 Claims, 6 Drawing Sheets

111* PERMANENTLY 10 30

TRANSMHTER %

CONTROLLER \

1

38A 32A 34A

POWER

26 W

SYSTEM

EXTERNAL POWER

(120V LINE 0R

TRANSFORMER 60

OUTPUT) /'

11B 36B \

\ HAND HELD K :

56 \5B

([ CONTROLLER ‘4% LEARN/

mm ,

32B 34B

CONTROLLER/

_| Mia/318m

MAJ SYSTEM

11c 40

\ VEH'CLE 36c

POWER

OUTLET -

mm

INTERFACE

(ETHERNET)

76

54 TRANSMITTER ~<

\

sec 320

11D

34c

( LEARNING ‘23D

CONTROLLER \

RF

RECEIVER

1

72 25

\ AFFIXED 36A 2o_\ /— 22 /_

52

TEACH

FUNCTION

MODULE

64-

,A/ k

65

I

32D 301) 34D

U.S. Patent Sep. 4, 2007 Sheet 1 0f 6 US 7,266,344 B2

10

§ 18

/

_

_

frT \\T T\\

GDOIBRIDGEI A —’|A|

(‘T

HOME

NETWORK

IE1

\

U.S. Patent Sep. 4, 2007 Sheet 3 0f 6 US 7,266,344 B2

TEACH FUNCTION

TRANSMITTER OPERATION

II

ENABLE LEARNING /'-101

TRANSMITTER

II

LEARN/TEACH SWITCH /-102

AOTIvATION, START TIMER

II

SYSTEM POWER UP VIA /"104

BATTERY SYSTEM

II

READ CODE POINTER IN /"1O6

NON-VOLATILE MEMORY

II

GENERATE NEw CODE AND/'108

UPDATE CODE POINTER

V

110

RESET TIMER /—

100

FIG-4

112\TRANSMIT CODE VIA TEACH

FUNCTION TRANSMITTER

114

uTTON STILL YES

HAS TIMER

EXPIRED?

116

II

I POWER DOWN I

118

U.S. Patent Sep. 4, 2007 Sheet 5 0f 6 US 7,266,344 B2

BRIDGE OPERATION

FROM FIG-5

U

PowER uP vIA EXTERNAL /-3O2

POWER SUPPLY

I

DEACTIvATE TEACH FUNCTION

TRANSMITTER AND TURN ON RF /-304

RECEIvER AND NETWORK

TRANSCEIVER

300

FIG-6

II /—306

_ RESET BuTToN :

T PRESS TIMER

310

30a

RETURN To

STEP 200

II

313

314

NETWORK

SIGNAL

RECEIVED?

322

CHECK CoDE

ACAINST

STORED CODES

IN NON

VOLATILE

MEMORY

NO

PERFORM

REQUESTED

FUNCTION ON

POWER OUTLET

CONTROL

316/

YES /-324

CoNvERT CoDE

To NETWORK

PROTOCOL AND

TRANSMIT SIGNAL

vIA NETWORK

TRANSCEIVER

\

CoNPIRM

SIGNAL

RECEIvE ELSE

SEND AGAIN

U.S. Patent Sep. 4, 2007 Sheet 6 0f 6 US 7,266,344 B2

400

ENABLE MASTER CONTROLLER /_402

LINK TO BRIDGE DEVICE

I

IDENTIFY TRANSMITTER /_404

BUTTON CODES IN BRIDGE

I

IDENTIFY NETWORK APPLIANCES /—406

IN BRIDGE DEVICE AND THEIR

SPECIFIC FUNCTIONS

I

ASSIGN TRANSMITTER BUTTON /—408

CODES TO NETWORK

APPLIANCE FUNCTIONS

FIG-'7

410

US 7,266,344 B2

1 2

utiliZed by the garage door operator and the home network are not at all compatible. Since the goal of the home network is to connect all devices together and to offer consumers

USING THE SAME

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention is generally related to a home network. In particular, the present invention is related to a home network that allows for communications between non-network transmitters and home appliances which may or may not be controlled by a personal computer. Speci? cally, the present invention is related to a bridge device that allows for transfer of signals between various electronic transmitters not normally part of a home network, such as those used for garage door openers, and a home network. easy-to-use interfaces, it is necessary to develop interfaces

capable of “bridging” devices utiliZing incompatible com munication protocols.

One example of a home network system is disclosed in

US. Pat. No. 6,481,013 to Dinwiddie, et al. This patent discloses an apparatus for distributing radio frequency (RF) modulated broadcast television signals from a broadcast signal source to networked appliances connected to the source through a plurality of single conductor coaxial

cables, simultaneously with distributing un-modulated digi

tal signals and RF modulated video signals exchanged between the networked appliances over the same network coaxial cables. The apparatus provides bi-directional signal transmission over a single conductor coaxial cable and a network capable of conducting simultaneous bi-directional

signal transmission of un-modulated digital signals, and

The home networking ?eld has been increasing in popu

20 radio frequency (RF) modulated signals over a single con larity the last few years. The “digital home,” as referred to by industry insiders, will supposedly enable consumers to network and interface various types of appliances and devices throughout the home. For example, it is believed that the network will allow linking of such home appliances

25 ductor coaxial cable. The apparatus also provides a network

capable of providing bi-directional signal transmission of

broadband, baseband and infrared signals over a single conductor coaxial cable. And the apparatus provides bi directional transmission of high bandwidth broadband sig as alarm clocks, stereo equipment, televisions and kitchen appliances. For example, after an alarm clock has sounded nals over a low bandwidth single conductor coaxial cable.

Another example of an interface device is provided by and the network detects activity in the bathroom in the

US. Pat. No. 6,155,160 to Hochbrueckner which discloses morning, then the network can alert the coffee maker in the an electronic control for a grill, providing enhanced func kitchen to begin preparation of a pot of coffee. Or, the

30 bathroom scale can be continually monitored and provide tionality and safety features. One of the features is a hydro carbon detector system that provides an intermittently oper input data upon each weighing to exercise software on a

ated electro-optic device emitting photons at a wavelength

home computer linked to home exercise equipment. which selectively interacts with hydrocarbon as compared to

Manufacturers from a wide variety of industries have air, associated with a detector for detecting the selective been developing “networked” products to meet this emerg

35 interaction and an alarm monitor for detecting an alarm ing market. Due to lack of industry standards, manufacturers state. Another feature is a food temperature sensor that is have engaged in developing their own proprietary network employed to proportionately control combustible fuel ?ow protocols and hardware in order to connect devices. As a rate, and thereby control a food temperature pro?le. Still response to the network incompatibility issue, some industry another feature is a communications network interface is groups have been formed in order to create “standards” so

40 that manufacturers following these standards are able to provided to allow remote control and monitoring. In one embodiment, the electronic systems include a networking create compatible devices adhering to a speci?c protocol in software and hardware. device, for example a TCP/IP based communications inter face, for communicating with other devices in the environ

Groups such as WI-FI, which adhere to the 802.11><IEEE standards, are producing products today to allow fast con

45 ment, or remotely. For example, the microprocessor may include a so-called embedded “web server” to communicate nection between computer and multi-media systems. This particular standard is designed for transferring a large amount of data across a wireless network. Other groups such as the “Powerline” group have developed fast data transfer networks using the existing home electrical wiring. Yet other

50 sensed conditions and to respond to received commands or requests for information. Of course, the controller need not itself implement these protocols, and may communicate with a translation or bridge device using another protocol.

Therefore, the device may be integrated with other domestic groups have formed standards such as HomeRF.

When fast data rates are required, the aforementioned electronics systems and communicate therewith. Various known physical link layers may be employed, such as 10 standards work very well. However, in cases where simple control signals such as “on\o?°’ and status are required, a fast data network becomes “overkill” for these simple applica tions. Manufacturers requiring a simpler type of network for

55 control applications have developed standards such as “Zig bee” and “Z-wave” in an effort to keep their overall systems

Base T, 10 Base 2, phone-line networking, AC power line networking, RF communications (e.g., 24 MHZ, 49 MHZ,

900 MHZ or 2.4 GHZ), infrared communications (e.g.,

IRdA), acoustic communications, or the like. In order to reduce power consumption, a wireless communication sys tem preferably provides at least two modes of operation, an active mode wherein the communications latencies are price competitive. These “control” networks add yet another level of complexity to the home integrator whose job is to make all of these systems work together seamlessly. In

60 short, and a low power mode wherein the communications are shut down or operated with long latencies. The system addition, different standards are being developed which presumably link the intemet and cell phone communications systems with the home network. It is also believed that the home network may be extended into devices maintained in

65 the garage or barriers that are accessible by the operator may switch between modes automatically or on external command.

Although the aforementioned devices are effective in their stated purpose, they do not address the incompatibility of different non-network components. In other words, there is controlling the barrier, but the communication standards a need in the art for a device that facilitates communication

US 7,266,344 B2

3 between remote transmitters or transmitters that control the operation of the movable barrier, or the like, With the appliances controlled by a home network.

4

FIG. 6 is an operational ?oW chart illustrating the opera tional steps of the bridge device so as to alloW communi cation betWeen transmitters or the like and the home net

Work; and

FIG. 7 is an operational ?oW chart illustrating the opera tional steps for assigning functions in the home netWork to

Therefore, there is a need in the art for remotely activated bridge device for use With a home netWork and methods for a transmitter. programming and using the same

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE

INVENTION

Another object of the present invention, Which shall become apparent as the detailed description proceeds, is

Referring noW to the draWings and in particular to FIG. 1 achieved by a bridge device linking transmitters to a home netWork, comprising: a transmitter signal receiver adapted to it can be seen that a bridge device implemented Within a home netWork scheme is designated generally by the receive transmitter signals in a transmitter format from at least one transmitter; a netWork signal transceiver adapted to transmit and receive netWork signals in a netWork format to to the controller depending upon the type of poWer source detected. numeral 10. Generally, the bridge device 10 functions as an interface betWeen a transmitter 11 employed in the opening and closing of movable barriers such as a garage door, gate, and from a netWork; a controller connected to the transmitter type of poWer source connected to the poWer supply system; and selectively enabling a teach function module connected

25 or other related device, and a home netWork designated signal receiver and the netWork signal transceiver, the con troller converting the signals betWeen the formats.

enabling a home netWork bridge device, including providing

20 home netWork 12 refers to any appliance type netWork maintained in a building, Warehouse or similar structure. a controller linked to a transmitter signal receiver, a netWork

The bridge device 10, as Will become apparent as the

description proceeds, receives signals and communicates

signal transceiver, and a poWer supply system; detecting a generally by the numeral 12. It Will be appreciated that the

With at least one transmitter 11, designated as a T in the draWing, Which may be carried by an automobile or other moving object. The transmitter is typically utiliZed With a garage door operator designated as “GDO” in FIG. 1, but could be some other type of Wired or Wireless transmitter. In

Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a method for operating appliances connected to a home netWork

30 system, including providing a bridge controller linked to a transmitter signal receiver and a netWork signal transceiver; other Words, actuation of a button on the transmitter 11 generates a code that is received by both the garage door operator to control movement of the door and related

features, and by the bridge device Which passes along the

receiving a transmitter signal in a transmitter format; con verting the transmitter signal into a netWork signal in a code to the home netWork. Indeed, the transmitters may have more than one button Wherein each button is assigned a netWork mode format; and emitting the netWork signal from the netWork signal transceiver for receipt by the home

35 speci?c function in the home netWork. And the bridge device may be con?gured to process transmitter codes solely for the netWork system Which controls operation of at least one

appliance.

operator or solely for the home netWork, or for both the operator and the home netWork. The transmitter may employ

These and other objects of the present invention, as Well as the advantages thereof over existing prior art forms,

40

Which Will become apparent from the description to folloW, are accomplished by the improvements hereinafter

?xed or rolling codes in order to provide security features related to the opening and closing of the garage door and the netWork. Any one of the transmitters may be a “hands-free” transmitter Which initiates a preset command based upon the described and claimed. proximity or direction of travel of the transmitter With

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

45 respect to the garage door operator and/or the bridge device

10.

The home netWork 12 is connected either via Wires or by

For a complete understanding of the objects, techniques and structure of the invention, reference should be made to

the folloWing detailed description and accompanying draW ings, Wherein:

50

Wireless communication devices to appliances 18 such as air

conditioners, fumaces, lights contained throughout the facil ity, entertainment systems, refrigerators, scales, personal

computers, plumbing ?xtures and the like. And the home

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a home netWork employ ing a bridge device in accordance With the concepts of the netWork 12 may be linked to other home netWorks contained

Within a community or Within a facility. Control of the home netWork may be implemented by a personal computeri

present invention;

designated as PC in the draWing4or a personal digital

FIG. 2 is a perspective vieW of an exemplary bridge device made in accordance With the concepts of the present assistant, either of Which may be referred to as a “master controller.”

invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of the exemplary bridge device employed in conjunction With transmitters utiliZed to

Referring noW to FIG. 2, it can be seen that the bridge device 10 includes a housing designated generally by the move a barrier and initiate commands implemented by the

60 home netWork; numeral 20. The housing provides a standard poWer outlet plug 22 that ?ts in any receptacle. The plug may receive poWer directly from the residential poWer source such as

FIG. 4 is an operational ?oW chart illustrating the steps implemented in teaching a bridge device to one type of

transmitter;

120V AC or it may receive poWer from any transformed poWer source that is grounded and complies With the appro priate safety standards. The housing 20 provides at least one

FIG. 5 is an operational ?oW chart illustrating the steps implemented to learn other transmitters and a home netWork

65 to the bridge device; learn sWitch 24 that is used to learn various components

Within the home netWork and the transmitter. The housing 20 also provides a status light 26 Which may facilitate the

US 7,266,344 B2

5

6 learning of the bridge device with components within the home network and the transmitters. The housing 20 may also provide a power receptacle 28 which allows for a switched set the controller 32C to the garage door operator’s manu facturer’ s code. In other words, a plurality of manufacturer’ s codes are pre-stored in the controller 32C and selected by component to be associated with the bridge device.

Referring now to FIG. 3, it can be seen that an interface system is designated generally by the numeral 30. The interface system includes the bridge device 10 and at least one transmitter designated generally by the numeral 11. Also included within the system is the home network designated generally by the numeral 12.

Various types of transmitters may be employed in the interface system, although it is believed that in the preferred positioning of the switch as needed. This allows the vehicle mounted transmitter to speci?cally communicate with both the garage door opener and the bridge device. Accordingly, the bridge device is compatible with virtually all types of transmitters used with movable barriers.

Still another type of transmitter is a learning transmitter designated generally by the numeral 11D. The transmitter

11D includes a controller 32D that has the necessary hard embodiment the transmitters are associated with a garage door operator that moves a barrier between predetermined limit positions. The transmitters are designated generally by the numeral 11, wherein each different type of transmitter is provided with a different alphabetic su?ix. Likewise, each component with a particular transmitter is provided with ware, software and memory for operation in the system 30.

The controller 32D is also operatively connected to an antenna 34D which emits an RF signal 36D. And the controller generates an RF signal when actuated. In some instances though, actuation of the button 38D places the transmitter in a learn mode so that an RF signal can be received, learned and stored by the controller. Such a corresponding alphabetic su?ixes. Accordingly, a perma

nently a?ixed transmitter is designated generally by the

learning function is embodied in the HomeLinkTM system

20

provided by Johnson Controls, Inc. and which is incorpo

numeral 11A and is attached to a wall or other surface and rated in some automobiles. Such a system allows for the user is commonly referred to in the art as a wall station or sometimes as a keyless entry device. The transmitter 11A to program the HomeLinkTM button contained within their automobile to control and operate the garage door opener. includes a controller 32A which provides the necessary This eliminates the need for keeping a handheld remote hardware, software and memory needed to communicate

25 with the garage door operator and the bridge device 10. The controller 32A is connected to an antenna 34A for the purpose of transmitting and receiving a radio frequency transmitter within the automobile. It will be appreciated that other types of transmitter devices may be usable with the bridge device. In other words, any transmitting device that does not directly communicate with appliances in the home

signal designed generally by the numeral 36A. These signals

may be generated upon actuation of a button 38A that is connected to the controller 32A. Although it is preferred that

a radio frequency signal be employed it will be appreciated

that other signals such as an infrared signal may be

30 network, may be associated with the bridge device which can receive signals generated by the transmitter for conver sion to the necessary format and convey the appropriate instructions to the network world 12.

The bridge device 10 includes the plug 22 that is mateable

employed and, it will be appreciated that the permanently

with any standard electrical outlet providing residential or af?xed transmitter may transmit or receive signals via a

35 wired connection. facility power. And the device 10 also includes the learn/ teach switch 24, the status light 26 and an appropriate power outlet control 28. present invention and it includes a controller 32B that generates signals that are transmitted by an antenna 34B upon actuation of a button 38B. The controller 32B includes

40

The bridge device 10 also includes a bridge controller and memory system designated generally by the numeral 50. The controller 50 is connected to all of the components men the necessary hardware, software and memory for commu nicating with the bridge device. The handheld transmitter tioned above such as the plug 22, the switch 24, the status light 26 and the power receptacle 28. The controller and may be in the form of a “hands -free” transmitter wherein the signals received by the bridge device and garage door memory system 50 includes the necessary hardware, soft ware and memory to facilitate communications between the operator system may be initiated when the automobile or

45 bridge’s internal components and to facilitate communica like movable object carrying the transmitter moves within a predetermined distance of the bridge device. For example, if the handheld transmitter is a hands-free device and moves a tions between the transmitters 11 and the network world 12.

The bridge includes an antenna 52 that receives radio frequency or other types of wireless signals generated by the distance of 300 feet to 100 feet from the operator it will be causes the operator to move the barrier from a closed transmitters for transfer to an appropriate receiver 54. The presumed that the device is moving toward the garage and

50 receiver 54 is connected to the controller and receives at least signals 36A-D. The signals received by the receiver 54 position to an open position. Other related movements of the transmitter may also effect the operation of the garage door operator and/or the components connected to the home network as programmed by the end-user.

Another type of transmitter may be a vehicle mounted

55 are submitted to the controller and memory system 50 for validation and con?rmation.

Contained within the housing 20 is an internal battery 56 which is preferably a long-life battery of about 3 volts. Of course, other battery voltages could be used if appropriate. transmitter designated generally by the numeral 11C. The transmitter 11C is provided with a controller 32C that has the

The battery 56 is connected to a power supply control system 58 which is directly linked to the controller 50. Also necessary hardware, software and memory for implementing connected to the power supply system is the plug 22 which the concepts of the present invention. The controller 32C is connected to an antenna 34C for emitting a radio frequency

60 receives external AC/DC power 60 which may either be

120V line or transformer output regulated power. The con signal 36C as deemed appropriate. A button 38C is con nected to the controller 32C for emitting an appropriate signal when actuated to control operation of the garage door and bridge device. The vehicle mounted transmitter 11C

65 includes a learning function selector switch designated gen erally by the numeral 40. The switch 40 allows the user to troller and memory system 50 defaults to the external power source 60 if connected. It will be appreciated as the detailed

description proceeds that the type of power employed by the

bridge device dictates the bridge’s mode of operation which is employed for the learning of the various devices to the

bridge and for the general operation of the bridge.

US 7,266,344 B2

7

8 process returns to step 112. In any event, the code generated

50 and undertakes various functions upon actuation of the by the controller 50 is transmitted by the teach function learn/teach switch 24 and depending upon the power supply module and is received and stored by the learning transmit utiliZed by the controller 50. As will become apparent as the detailed description proceeds, actuation of the learn teach

The process is initiated at step 101 when the user places the transmitter 11D in its’ learn state by actuating the button

5 ter 11D. Subsequent activations of the learning transmitter result in the transmission of the original code generated by switch causes the controller and the teach function module to generate a code that is emitted by an antenna 64 prefer ably in the form of a radio frequency code 66. This code 66 device in close proximity to the transmitter unit 11D. the bridge device. Accordingly, the bridge device 10 now

automatically recogniZes any transmissions generated by the

learning transmitter 11D. It will be appreciated that the may be received by the learning transmitter 11D as required by the end use. learning transmitter may employ a rolling or ?xed code if

required.

A network transceiver, designated generally by the

numeral 70, is connected to the controller and memory trating the steps implemented in the ?rst mode of operation

is designated generally by the numeral 100. The bridge

35

Referring now to FIG. 5, a second mode of operation for system 50 and functions to communicate directly with the appropriately programmed to communicate with the bridge device and converts signals received from these transmitters

30 the purpose of learning other types of transmitters (11A, 11B and 11C) and the network (12) to the bridge device is network world 12 by generating a network radio frequency signal 74 that is emitted by an antenna 72. Alternatively, a wired interface 76 may be connected to the network trans designated generally by the numeral 200. In this mode, the bridge device 10 is connected to the external supply 60 at ceiver 70 to allow for direct communications to the network power is received from the external power source and a valid

25 code is received from a non-network transmitter or device.

In other words, the third mode is the normal operation mode wherein the bridge device receives signals from a transmitter step 202. Following this, at step 204, the controller 50 world 12.

And the third mode of operation is activated whenever deactivates the teach function module and turns on the RF receiver 54 and the network transceiver 72. Next, at step

The bridge device has three modes of operation. The ?rst mode of operation is active whenever the external power is not connected and as such the device is powered by the

20

206, a reset button timer is actuated. Following this, the battery 56. The second mode of operation is active as soon as the device is plugged into the external source of power 60. controller awaits actuation of the learn/teach button 24. If the button is not activated at step 208, then the process continues on to step 210 to await receipt of a radio frequency signal. If no signal is received within the timer period, then the process returns to step 206 and step 208 is repeated accordingly. If, however, at step 210 a radio frequency signal is received, then the process continues for the bridge opera tion mode which is designated generally by the numeral 300 and shown in FIG. 6.

Returning now to step 208, if the learn/teach button 24 is into a format that is acceptable by the network. This mode activated, then the controller 50 determines whether the also allows receipt of signals from the network 12. button 24 has been actuated once or more than once. If the

Referring now to FIG. 4, an operational ?ow chart illus button has only been actuated once, preferably within a time period of four seconds, then at step 214 the receiver 54 monitors for a valid transmitter code for the next 30 seconds.

Of course other durations could be employed for the 4 and device 10 is preferably shipped from a factory without any transmitter codes programmed into the controller’s memory.

30 second periods of time. In any event, at step 216, the controller determines whether the radio frequency signal

In other words, the bridge device is a “clean slate” and received from any of the transmitters 11 is valid or not. If the requires the programming of transmitters in order to func tion with the home network. This particular mode is spe

40 signal is invalid, then the process automatically returns to step 206. If the radio frequency signal is valid, then the radio ci?cally utiliZed to teach a code generated by the teach function module 62 to the learning transmitter 11D. In other frequency code is stored in the controller’s non-volatile memory at step 218 and the process is then returned to step words, for this mode, the end-user teaches a factory preset

206. Accordingly, steps 212-218 are employed for learning code from the bridge to the learning transmitter. In order to the transmitters 11A-C to the bridge device. implement this operation, the user must place an

unpluggedino external power supply presentibridge

Returning to step 212, if there is more than one button activation within the predetermined period of time of four seconds, then the process proceeds to step 220 to determine whether there have been two button activations within four

38D or with other steps indicated in the user manual of the

50 seconds. If this is the case, then the process continues to step

222 and the network transceiver 70 generates a network join learning transmitter. Next, at step 102, the user activates the learn/teach switch 24 provided by the bridge device 10 command at step 222. This signal is received by the network which starts a timer. At this time, the controller 50 is world 12 and allows for communication of the bridge device powered at step 104 via the internal battery 56. At step 106, to join with the network world 12 and, in turn, any of the the controller 50 reads a code pointer provided in the

55 controller’s non-volatile memory. At step 108, the controller transmitters programmed to the bridge device. Upon completion of step 222, the process returns to step 206. generates a new code and updates the code pointer. At step

If there is ever a need to delete all of the codes maintained

110, the timer, which was started upon actuation of the switch at step 102, is reset. In the preferred embodiment, the timer has a predetermined time period of 40 seconds. Next, at step 112 the teach function module 62 transmits the code

60 by the bridge device, then the process at step 220 allows for this occurrence. In particular, if there is more than two button actuations within four seconds, then the process continues to step 224 to determine if the teach/learn switch

generated in step 108 for receipt by the learning transmitter

is held in for a predetermined period of time such as 10

11D. At step 114 it is determined whether the learn/teach button is still being pressed and the controller investigates as to whether the timer has expired or not. If it has, then the

65 process proceeds to step 118 and the bridge is powered down. However, if the timer has not expired at step 116 the seconds. If for some reason the button is released before the

10 second time period then the process continues to step 226 and the process is reset at step 228 and continues to step 202.

If, however, it is determined that the teach/learn button 24 is held for at least 10 seconds at step 224, then at step 228 the

US 7,266,344 B2

10 controller 50 in the bridge device erases all stored transmit ter codes and the process returns to step 202.

In summary, by pressing the teach/leam sWitch device 24 signals. Whenever a valid signal is received, either, from the permanently af?xed transmitter, a handheld transmitter, a vehicle mounted transmitter or a learning transmitter, then

Within a short predetermined period of time such as four seconds, the bridge device is linked to the transmitters that are normally used for moving movable barriers. The net

Work transceiver 70 is linked to the netWork 12 via the antenna 72 by emitting or receiving a radio frequency signal the bridge device converts this received transmitter code into a netWork code compatible With the home netWork protocol provided by the netWork World 12 and this signal is output via the netWork transceiver. In essence, the bridge device 10 is transparent to the user and simply functions as a “pipe” passing information through the system from one format to

74 or by a Wired interface 76 Which may utiliZe an ethernet connection 76. another. The user perceives the action of pressing a trans

Once all of the appropriate transmitters have been learned to the bridge device and the bridge device has been linked

With the home netWork, the normal operation of the bridge may be implemented. Accordingly, referring noW to FIG. 6, it can be seen that a method of operation is designated generally by the numeral 300. In this mode of operation the mitter button With the reaction of a netWork function such as the opening of a door, turning lights on or off, the unlocking of a door, the activating or deactivating of an alarm system and the like.

From the foregoing it Will be appreciated that the code generated by the bridge device in the ?rst mode of operation bridge device is required to receive poWer from the external poWer source at step 302. And at step 304, the controller 50 deactivates the teach function module 62 and turns on the RF transceiver and the netWork transceiver. Following this, at

20 step 306, the reset button press timer is initiated. At step 308 the methodology determines Whether the learn/teach button

24 has been activated or not. If so, then the process is is used to teach learning transmitters, such as a HomeLinkTM device, and can be extended to teach multiple learning transmitters. Accordingly, With every press of the learn/teach sWitch, the bridge device 10 generates a unique code. By sending out a different code With every key or button actuation in this mode, the system 10 ensures that every learning transmitter learns a unique code. These unique returned to step 200 at step 310 and the methodology described in FIG. 5 is implemented. If, hoWever, at step 308

25 there is not a learn/teach button activation, then at step 312 codes may then be passed through the bridge device to the

netWork during the normal mode of operation. Moreover, by

transmitting unique codes, the master controller or netWork the controller determines Whether a radio frequency signal is being received or not. If a signal is not being received from administrator, Which may be implemented on a personal computer that coordinates the operations for the home the any of the transmitters 11, then the process continues to netWork, may set up different functions for different trans step 314 to determine Whether a netWork signal is being

30 mitters. For example, a ?rst transmitter may open a door and received via the transceiver 70. If not, then the process is automatically returned to step 306. If, however, at step 314 a signal 74 generated by the netWork 12 is received and the requested function is performed by the poWer outlet control

28. Thus, it Will be appreciated that the netWork World 12

35 may generate signals that are received by the bridge device to toggle on and off any appliance that is connected to the turn on the lights in the home While a second transmitter may be assigned to open a door and deactivate an alarm. The poWer outlet control 28 can be programmed to Work directly from valid coded signals generated by non-netWork trans mitters. In other Words, the netWork may send signals directly to the bridge device so as to alloW for sWitching on of an appliance or other poWered device connected to the output control 28. In this manner, added functionality is

provided by the bridge device.

Returning noW to step 312, if the receiver detects the

40 poWer outlet control. As such, the bridge device may also function to directly control an appliance on the netWork. presence of a transmitter RF signal, then the process con tinues to step 320 and the received signal is analyZed to determine its particular code and is checked against stored

As noted previously, the netWork administrator may set up different functions for different transmitters With the use of a “master controller.” By default, once a hand held trans mitter or a HomeLinkTM transceiver is programmed into the codes in the non-volatile memory maintained by the con troller 50. At step 322 if it is determined that the code is invalid then the process is returned to step 306 and the timer

45

bridge device, the bridge device simply con?rms the valid

transmitter signal and re-transmits the signal using the home netWork protocol. In this case the signal alWays says “tum is reinitiated. If, hoWever, at step 322 it is determined that the received code is valid, then at step 324 the transmitter on all devices in my group.” The group is assigned by the device identi?ed as a “master controller.” This device may code is converted to a netWork code protocol or proper format and this signal is transmitted via the netWork trans be a hand held remote control With a small LCD display,

50 such as a personal digital assistant or even a properly ceiver 70 to the netWork World 12. It Will be appreciated that the transmitter codes are stored in the controller’s memory and assigned a particular netWork code. As Will be discussed in further detail, the master controller assigns speci?c func programmed cell phone. With this device a user can set multiple groups (a series of controllable devices such as lights) and scenes Within the group (set all lights in group to

50% scene one; set half of the lights off and the other half tions to each netWork code and thus each transmitter button.

55

The netWork transceiver then at step 326, aWaits a con?r mation signal from the netWork, and if received the process to full on, scene 2, etc).

Referring noW to FIG. 7, it can be seen that a methodol ogy for assigning particular functions to a transmitter is returns to step 306. If the con?rmation signal is not received, then the netWork code signal is re-generated. It Will be appreciated that if a con?rmation signal is not received after

60 a predetermined period of time, the process eventually designated generally by the numeral 400. Once a series of transmitters are programmed into the bridge, a user With a master controller incorporates the bridge device into a group by pressing the acquire button on the master controller at returns to step 306.

The normal mode of operation alloWs for the bridge to step 402. The bridge device then “dumps” all the id codes of all the transmitters currently programmed into the bridge at become active Whenever a valid code is received through the built-in radio frequency receiver. In this mode, the bridge

65 device is plugged into a permanent external poWer supply and the controller continuously monitors the RF receiver for step 404. At step 406, the master controller identi?es all the

netWork appliances associated With the bridge device, and,

if available, any particular functionality associated With the appliance. For example, lights associated With the netWork

US 7,266,344 B2

11 12

may have different lighting levels. In any event, the user may, at step 408, re-con?gure the default “turn all on” command for each ID code stored and re-assign a different standards. Accordingly, the devices are adaptable for use

With different types of home netWork standards as they are adopted by the industry. When the device is used With the function. For example, a user may program tWo buttons from his HomeLinkTM vehicle into the bridge. Then he acquires the button ID’s from the bridge device into his master controller. At that point he may set one of his

HomeLinkTM buttons to “lock house” Which Will turn all lights off in the house, set the alarm system on, and close the garage door. The second button can then be assigned to proper transmitters and netWork codes, the interfacing con version are automatically performed by the bridge device

Without the need to perform any additional acts, or inter facing programming functions by the user.

Thus, it can be seen that the objects of the invention have been satis?ed by the structure and its method for use

“open house” Which Will open the garage door, turn on the lights in the garage, deactivate the burglar alarm, and unlock the front door. All of the manipulations are preformed by presented above. While in accordance With the Patent Stat utes, only the best mode and preferred embodiment has been presented and described in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited thereto or thereby. Accordingly, for an appreciation of the true scope and breadth of the pressing menu buttons on the master controller. When the assignment step(s) are complete, the process is exited at step

410. The bridge device Will not have master controller invention, reference should be made to the folloWing claims.

What is claimed is: functions, but it has the capability of transmitting the proper signal to the netWork once the master controller assigns neW functions for each ID code. tion, thus, making the non-netWork devices act as if they

Were a part of the netWork. The bridge device is also

home netWork, comprising:

a transmitter signal receiver adapted to receive transmitter

Whenever a transmitter signal is received by the bridge

20 device 10, the poWer outlet may be energiZed thus turning on any appliance connected to the sWitch outlet. The netWork signals in a transmitter format from the at least one

transmitter;

a netWork signal transceiver adapted to transmit and receive netWork signals in a netWork format to and user may choose to provide a “scene” controlled to the poWer outlet thus assigning the function it Will do With a speci?c transmitter code. In this embodiment, one transmit

25 ter may turn on the poWer outlet and another may turn the poWer on for ?ve minutes, and yet another transmitter may do nothing at all. It Will further be appreciated that the same functions can be performed backwards from the netWork

World. In other Words, since the netWork devices have access

30 from the netWork; a bridge controller connected to said transmitter signal receiver and said netWork signal transceiver, said

bridge controller converting said signals betWeen said formats;

a poWer supply system connected to said bridge control ler; and a teach function module connected to said bridge con to the controller, the poWer outlet can be controlled to

perform the speci?c functions.

Based upon the foregoing, the advantages of the invention over the knoWn prior art are readily apparent. The bridge device contains all the circuit elements required to learn and

35 teach transmitters to the bridge device and also for the bridge troller, said teach function module disabled When said poWer supply receives poWer from an external poWer source.

2. The device according to claim 1, further comprising: device to join a home netWork or any netWork connected to a plurality of appliances or electronic devices. The bridge device has a built-in, battery-operated transmitter Which has the sole purpose of teaching a coded signal to a learning

40 transmitter Without the need for a third handheld transmitter. an internal poWer source connected to said poWer supply system; and said bridge controller implementing different modes depending upon said poWer supply system’s source of poWer.

3. The device according to claim 2, further comprising:

As such, HomeLink devices, Which are primarily utiliZed for opening and closing garage doors, Wherein the garage door a learn/teach sWitch connected to said bridge controller,

Wherein actuation of said learn/teach sWitch When said teach function module is enabled causes said module to operators are receptive to HomeLink signals, can also be employed to directly communicate With the bridge device.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is that the

45 bridge 10 can generate a multitude of unique coded signals generate a code receivable by the at least one trans mitter Which is a learning transmitter Which is adapted so that a unique code can be taught to every transmitter to receive and store said code.

4. The device according to claim 3, Wherein the learning joining the netWork. Additionally, the teaching of the leam ing transmitter to the bridge device enables the learning of

50 transmitter is adapted to emit said code upon receipt of a predesignated stimulus, and said code is received by said standard transmitters such as those found in association With garage door openers, thus making the system compatible transmitter signal receiver.

5. The device according to claim 4, Wherein said predes

With more devices.

Still yet another advantage of the present invention is that bridge device is capable of recogniZing a multitude of modes

55 by monitoring the external poWer supply and the learn/teach button thus simplifying the user interface. Still yet another advantage of the present invention is that the bridge device is equipped With all the elements necessary to join a home netWork. Accordingly, it can convert signals received from

60 non-netWork devices automatically Without user interven ignated stimulus is one of a button actuation on the at least one learning transmitter, and entry of the at least one learning transmitter into a proximity range With respect to said transmitter signal receiver.

6. The device according to claim 2, further comprising: a teach function module connected to said bridge con troller, Wherein said teach function module is disabled, and said transmitter signal receiver and said netWork signal receiver are enabled When said poWer supply system is connected to said external poWer source.

7. The device according to claim 6, further comprising: advantageous in that it may be programmed out of the factory to respond to speci?c types of transmitter codes such

65 as those found in garage door openers. The bridge may also be equipped to respond to speci?c types of coded netWork a learn/teach sWitch connected to said bridge controller,

Wherein actuation of said learn/teach sWitch places said bridge controller in a transmitter learn mode, and

Wherein generation of said transmitter signal by the at

US 7,266,344 B2

13

14

least one transmitter While said bridge controller is in said transmitter learn mode enables storing of said transmitter code contained Within said transmitter sig nal in said controller.

8. The device according to claim 6, further comprising:

mode;

enabling said netWork signal transceiver if more than one actuation of said learn/teach sWitch in said predeter a learn/teach sWitch connected to said bridge controller,

Wherein actuation of said learn/teach sWitch generates a join netWork signal by said netWork signal transceiver

Which is receivable by the home network. mined period of time is detected so as to enter a

netWork join mode;

receiving transmitter signals if in said transmitter learn

9. The device according to claim 8, Wherein said join netWork signal is generated upon multiple actuations of said learn/teach sWitch in a predetermined period of time. mode and storing a code contained Within said trans mitter signal; and

generating a netWork join signal by said netWork signal

transceiver if in said netWork join mode.

10. The device according to claim 6, further comprises: a learn/teach sWitch connected to said bridge controller,

Wherein a solitary actuation of said learn/teach sWitch places said bridge controller in a transmitter learn mode, Which stores subsequently received transmitter signals in said controller, and Wherein multiple actua tions of said learn/teach sWitch places said bridge

20 controller in a join netWork mode Which enables com

17. The method according to claim 16, further compris

ing:

entering a normal mode of operation after said netWork join mode and said transmitter learn mode have lapsed; receiving said code in said transmitter signal receiver; transferring said code to said controller; converting said code into a netWork signal; and emitting said netWork signal via said netWork signal munication betWeen said controller and the home net

Work.

11. The device according to claim 10, Wherein said netWork transceiver is linked to the home netWork and transceiver.

18. The method according to claim 17, further compris

ing:

enabling said netWork signal to control operation of at least one appliance. facilitates association of the transmitters With appliances connected to the home netWork.

12. The device according to claim 1, further comprising: a master controller in communication With said bridge controller, said master controller linking speci?c trans

30

mitter signals to speci?c netWork signals. comprising:

19. The method according to claim 17, further compris

ing:

assigning a unique code to each said transmitter signal learned by said controller; and converting each said unique code into a unique netWork

signal controlling operation of at least one appliance

With said unique netWork signal.

providing a controller linked to a transmitter signal receiver, a netWork signal transceiver, and a poWer

supply system;

35

20. The method according to claim 17, further compris

ing:

detecting a type of poWer source connected to said poWer

supply system;

providing a poWer outlet control connected to said con troller; and enabling said netWork signal to control operation of said selectively enabling a teach function module connected to said controller depending upon said type of poWer

40 source detected; and disabling said teach function module if an external poWer poWer outlet control.

21. The method according to claim 17, further compris

ing:

providing a poWer outlet control connected to said con source is detected by said controller.

14. The method according to claim 13, further compris

ing:

actuating a learn/teach sWitch Which is connected to said controller and Which enables said transmitter signal troller; and enabling said transmitter signal to control operation of said poWer outlet control.

22. The method according to claim 13, further compris

ing:

actuating a learn/teach sWitch that is connected to said

receiver;

receiving a transmitter signal generated by at least one

50 type of transmitter, said transmitter signal containing a code associated With the at least one transmitter; and controller; and enabling said netWork signal transceiver to enter a net

Work join mode if more than one actuation of said learn/teach sWitch in said predetermined period of time storing said code in said controller. is detected so as to enable the netWork bridge to join a netWork.

15. The method according to claim 13, further compris

ing:

enabling said transmitter signal receiver if only a single actuation of said learn/teach sWitch in said predeter mined period of time so as to enter a transmitter learn

comprising:

providing a controller linked to a transmitter signal actuating a learn/teach sWitch Which is connected to said controller and Which enables said netWork signal trans ceiver; and generating a netWork join signal that is formatted to be

60 received by a home netWork.

16. The method according to claim 13, further compris

ing:

actuating a learn/teach sWitch Which is connected to said

controller;

determining a number of actuations of said learn/teach

65 sWitch in a predetermined period of time; receiver, a netWork signal transceiver, and a poWer

supply system;

detecting a type of poWer source connected to said poWer supply system; selectively enabling a teach function module connected to said controller depending upon said type of poWer source detected; enabling said teach function module if an internal poWer source is detected by said controller; activating a learn state for a transmitter to be associated

With the bridge device;

US 7,266,344 B2

15 16 actuating a learn/teach switch connected to said controller while said transmitter learn state is active; learning said transmitter signal to said bridge controller; and generating a Code by Said teach function module; and learning said network signal transceiver to the home receiving and Storing Said Code in the transmitten

24. A method for operating appliances connected to a 5 network, wherein said learning steps occur prior to said

Converting Step home network system, comprising: providing a bridge controller linked to a transmitter signal

26. The method according to claim 25, further compris

ing:

receiver and a network signal transceiver; receiving a transmitter signal in a transmitter format, said switching a power outlet control between on and off states transmitter signal sent from a non-network transmitter; 10 upon receipt of said transmitter signal. converting said transmitter signal into a network signal in _ 27- The method according to Claim 25, further Compris a network mode format; emitting said network signal from said network signal transceiver for receipt

111g? switching a power outlet control between on and off states upon receipt of by the home network system which controls operation of 15 a network Command Signal received by Said network at least one appliance; linking a master controller to said bridge controller; signal transceiver. dumping at least one button ID code associated with said

28. The method according to claim 24, further compris

ing:

non-network transmitter to said master controller;

learning said transmitter signal to said bridge controller;

identifying at least two functions maintained by said at 20 least one appliance; and and reassigning said at least one button ID code identi?ed at said dumping step with one of said at least two func- tions identi?ed at said identifying step. learning Said network Signal transceiver t0 the home nelWOrk, wherein Said Converting Step Occurs PriOr to

Sald learnlng steps.

25. The method according to claim 24, further compris- 25 ing: * * * * *

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