((T \\ T T“
US 20050272372A1
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2005/0272372 A1
Rodriguez
(43) Pub. Date:
Dec. 8, 2005
(54)
REMOTELY ACTIVATED BRIDGE DEVICE
FOR USE WITH A HOME NETWORK AND
METHODS FOR PROGRAMMING AND
Publication Classi?cation
7
(51)
Int. Cl.
............................ .. H04B 7/00; H04B 1/02;
(52)
US. Cl. ....................... .. 455/661; 455/344; 340/510
USING THE SAME
H04B 1/06; H05K 11/00
(75) Inventor: Yan Rodriguez, Canton, OH (US)
(57)
cof?fspondence Address:
Phllhp L‘ Kenner
RENNER, KENNER, GREIVE,
BOBAK, TAYLOR & WEBER
FiI‘St NHtiOIlHl TOWEI‘, FOHI‘th F1001‘
Akron, OH 44308-1456 (US)
ABSTRACT
A bridge device linking transmitters to a home network
includes a transmitter signal receiver adapted to receive
transmitter signals in a transmitter format from at least one
transmitter and a network signal transceiver adapted to
transmit and receive netWork signals in a netWork format to
and from a home netWork. Abridge controller is connected
to the transmitter signal receiver and the netWork signal
(73) Assignee: WAYNE-DALTON CORP.
transceiver for the purpose of converting the signals betWeen
the formats. The bridge device is able to learn various
transmitter type for conversion to a learned home netWork
(21) Appl. No.:
10/859,806
standard. A master controller may be used to assign speci?c
transmitter button actuations to control speci?c appliance
(22) Filed:
Jun. 2, 2004
functions.
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Patent Application Publication Dec. 8, 2005 Sheet 1 0f 6
US 2005/0272372 A1
10
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Patent Application Publication Dec. 8, 2005 Sheet 3 0f 6
US 2005/0272372 A1
TEACH FUNCTION
TRANSMITTER OPERATION
.
‘’
ENABLE
LEARNING
TRANS M ITTER
/-101
}
II
LEARN/TEACH SWITCH flog
ACTIVATION, START TIMER
II
sYsTEM'PowER UP VIA /"104
BATTERY SYSTEM
II
‘
REAO CODE POINTER
/106
NON—VOLAT|LE MEMORY
II
GENERATE NEW CODE AND/‘108
UPDATE CODE POINTER
I,
RESET TIMER
FIG-4
/
11o
112\TRANSMIT CODE VIA TEACH
FUNCTION TRANSMITTER
114
116
uTTON STILL
II
I POWER DOWN I
HAS TIMER
EXPIRED’?
YES
118
Patent Application Publication Dec. 8, 2005 Sheet 5 0f 6
US 2005/0272372 A1
BRIDGE OPERATION
FROM FIG-5
300
II
POWER UP VIA EXTERNAL /-302
POWER SUPPLY
V
DEACTIVATE TEACH FUNCTION
FIG-6
TRANSMITTER AND TURN ON RF /—304
RECEIVER AND NETWORK
TRANSCEIVER
II
:
RESET BUTTON
/—306
:
PRESS TIMER
II
310
30s
/
RETURN TO
STEP 200
/_ 320
.
CHECK
CODE
AGAINST
312
'
\
STORED CODES
CONFIRM
IN NON
vOLATILE
MEMORY
SIGNAL
RECEIVED?
PERFORM
REQUESTED
FUNCTION 0N
POWER OUTLET
CONTROL
316/
CONvERT COOE
TO NETWORK
PROTOCOL AND
TRANSMIT SIGNAL
vIA NETWORK
.
TRANSCEIVER
326
SIGNAL
.
RECEIvE ELSE
SEND AGAIN
II
Patent Application Publication Dec. 8, 2005 Sheet 6 0f 6
US 2005/0272372 A1
400
ENABLE MASTER CONTROLLER /'_4O2
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
41D
FIG-'7
Dec. 8, 2005
US 2005/0272372 A1
REMOTELY ACTIVATED BRIDGE DEVICE FOR
USE WITH A HOME NETWORK AND METHODS
FOR PROGRAMMING AND USING THE SAME
devices maintained in the garage or barriers that are acces
TECHNICAL FIELD
goal of the home netWork is to connect all devices together
and to offer consumers easy-to-use interfaces, it is necessary
sible by the operator controlling the barrier, but the com
munication standards utiliZed by the garage door operator
and the home netWork are not at all compatible. Since the
[0001] The present invention is generally related to a
home network. In particular, the present invention is related
to develop interfaces capable of “bridging” devices utiliZing
to a home netWork that alloWs for communications betWeen
incompatible communication protocols.
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.
BACKGROUND ART
[0002] The home netWorking ?eld has been increasing in
popularity 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
as alarm clocks, stereo equipment, televisions and kitchen
appliances. For example, after an alarm clock has sounded
and the netWork detects activity in the bathroom in the
morning, then the netWork can alert the coffee maker in the
kitchen to begin preparation of a pot of coffee. Or, the
bathroom scale can be continually monitored and provide
input data upon each Weighing to exercise softWare on a
home computer linked to home exercise equipment.
[0003] Manufacturers from a Wide variety of industries
have been developing “netWorked” products to meet this
emerging market. Due to lack of industry standards, manu
facturers have engaged in developing their oWn proprietary
netWork protocols and hardWare in order to connect devices.
As a response to the netWork incompatibility issue, some
industry groups have been formed in order to create “stan
dards” so that manufacturers folloWing these standards are
able to create compatible devices adhering to a speci?c
protocol in softWare and hardWare.
[0004] Groups such as WI-FI, Which adhere to the 802.11x
IEEE standards, are producing products today to alloW fast
connection 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
groups have formed standards such as HomeRF.
[0005] When fast data rates are required, the aforemen
tioned standards Work very Well. HoWever, in cases Where
simple control signals such as “on\off” and status are
required, a fast data netWork becomes “overkill” for these
simple applications. Manufacturers requiring a simpler type
of netWork for control applications have developed stan
dards such as “Zigbee” and “Z-Wave” in an effort to keep
their overall systems 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 addition, different standards are
[0006] One example of a home netWork system is dis
closed in US. Pat. No. 6,481,013 to DinWiddie, et al. This
patent discloses an apparatus for distributing radio fre
quency (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
radio frequency (RF) modulated signals over a single con
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
nals over a loW bandWidth single conductor coaxial cable.
[0007] Another example of an interface device is provided
by US. Pat. No. 6,155,160 to Hochbrueckner Which dis
closes an electronic control for a grill, providing enhanced
functionality and safety features. One of the features is a
hydrocarbon detector system that provides an intermittently
operated electro-optic device emitting photons at a Wave
length Which selectively interacts With hydrocarbon as com
pared to air, associated With a detector for detecting the
selective interaction and an alarm monitor for detecting an
alarm state. Another feature is a food temperature sensor that
is employed to proportionately control combustible fuel ?oW
rate, and thereby control a food temperature pro?le. Still
another feature is a communications netWork interface is
provided to alloW remote control and monitoring. In one
embodiment, the electronic systems include a netWorking
device, for example a TCP/IP based communications inter
face, for communicating With other devices in the environ
ment, or remotely. For example, the microprocessor may
include a so-called embedded “Web server” to communicate
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
electronics systems and communicate thereWith. Various
knoWn physical link layers may be employed, such as 10
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.,
being developed Which presumably link the internet and cell
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
phone communications systems With the home netWork. It is
also believed that the home netWork may be extended into
active mode Wherein the communications latencies are
short, and a loW poWer mode Wherein the communications
Dec. 8, 2005
US 2005/0272372 A1
are shut doWn or operated With long latencies. The system
[0017]
may switch betWeen modes automatically or on external
bridge device employed in conjunction With transmitters
command.
utiliZed to move a barrier and initiate commands imple
[0008] Although the aforementioned devices are effective
in their stated purpose, they do not address the incompat
ibility of different non-netWork components. In other Words,
there is a need in the art for a device that facilitates
communication betWeen remote transmitters or transmitters
mented by the home netWork;
[0018] FIG. 4 is an operational ?oW chart illustrating the
steps implemented in teaching a bridge device to one type of
transmitter;
that control the operation of the movable barrier, or the like,
With the appliances controlled by a home netWork.
[0019]
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
[0020]
[0009]
Therefore, there is a need in the art for remotely
activated bridge device for use With a home netWork and
FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of the exemplary
FIG. 5 is an operational ?oW chart illustrating the
steps implemented to learn other transmitters and a home
netWork to the bridge device;
FIG. 6 is an operational ?oW chart illustrating the
operational steps of the bridge device so as to alloW com
munication betWeen transmitters or the like and the home
methods for programming and using the same
netWork; and
[0010] Another object of the present invention, Which
[0021] FIG. 7 is an operational ?oW chart illustrating the
operational steps for assigning functions in the home net
shall become apparent as the detailed description proceeds,
is achieved by a bridge device linking transmitters to a home
netWork, comprising: a transmitter signal receiver adapted to
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
and from a netWork; a controller connected to the transmitter
signal receiver and the netWork signal transceiver, the con
troller converting the signals betWeen the formats.
[0011] A further object of the invention is to provide a
method for enabling a home netWork bridge device, includ
ing providing a controller linked to a transmitter signal
receiver, a netWork signal transceiver, and a poWer supply
Work to a transmitter.
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE
INVENTION
[0022]
Referring noW to the draWings and in particular to
FIG. 1 it can be seen that a bridge device implemented
Within a home netWork scheme is designated generally by
the 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, or other related device, and a home netWork
designated generally by the numeral 12. It Will be appreci
system; detecting a type of poWer source connected to the
ated that the home netWork 12 refers to any appliance type
poWer supply system; and selectively enabling a teach
netWork maintained in a building, Warehouse or similar
structure. The bridge device 10, as Will become apparent as
function module connected to the controller depending upon
the type of poWer source detected.
[0012] Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a
method for operating appliances connected to a home net
Work system, including providing a bridge controller linked
to a transmitter signal receiver and a netWork signal trans
ceiver; receiving a transmitter signal in a transmitter format;
converting the transmitter signal into a netWork signal in a
netWork mode format; and emitting the netWork signal from
the netWork signal transceiver for receipt by the home
netWork system Which controls operation of at least one
appliance.
[0013] These and other objects of the present invention, as
Well as the advantages thereof over existing prior art forms,
Which Will become apparent from the description to folloW,
are accomplished by the improvements hereinafter
described and claimed.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0014] For a complete understanding of the objects, tech
niques and structure of the invention, reference should be
made to the folloWing detailed description and accompany
ing draWings, Wherein:
[0015]
FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a home netWork
employing a bridge device in accordance With the concepts
of the present invention;
[0016] FIG. 2 is a perspective vieW of an exemplary
bridge device made in accordance With the concepts of the
present invention;
the description proceeds, receives signals and communicates
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
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
code to the home netWork. Indeed, the transmitters may have
more than one button Wherein each button is assigned a
speci?c function in the home netWork. And the bridge device
may be con?gured to process transmitter codes solely for the
operator or solely for the home netWork, or for both the
operator and the home netWork. The transmitter may employ
?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
proximity or direction of travel of the transmitter With
respect to the garage door operator and/or the bridge device
10.
[0023] The home netWork 12 is connected either via Wires
or by Wireless communication devices to appliances 18 such
as air conditioners, furnaces, lights contained throughout the
facility, entertainment systems, refrigerators, scales, per
sonal computers, plumbing ?xtures and the like. And the
home netWork 12 may be linked to other home netWorks
contained Within a community or Within a facility. Control
Dec. 8, 2005
US 2005/0272372 A1
of the home network may be implemented by a personal
computer—designated as PC in the draWing—or a personal
digital assistant, either of Which may be referred to as a
“master controller.”
predetermined distance of the bridge device. For example, if
the handheld transmitter is a hands-free device and moves a
distance of 300 feet to 100 feet from the operator it Will be
presumed that the device is moving toWard the garage and
causes the operator to move the barrier from a closed
[0024]
Referring noW to FIG. 2, it can be seen that the
bridge device 10 includes a housing designated generally by
the 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
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.
such as 120V AC or it may receive poWer from any
[0028]
transformed poWer source that is grounded and complies
mounted transmitter designated generally by the numeral
With the appropriate safety standards. The housing 20 pro
11C. The transmitter 11C is provided With a controller 32C
that has the necessary hardWare, softWare and memory for
vides at least one 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 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 component to be associated With the bridge
device.
[0025]
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
Another type of transmitter may be a vehicle
implementing the concepts of the present invention. The
controller 32C is connected to an antenna 34C for emitting
a radio frequency signal 36C as deemed appropriate. A
button 38C is connected to the controller 32C for emitting an
appropriate signal When actuated to control operation of the
garage door and bridge device. The vehicle mounted trans
mitter 11C includes a learning function selector sWitch
designated generally by the numeral 40. The sWitch 40
alloWs the user to set the controller 32C to the garage door
operator’s manufacturer’s code. In other Words, a plurality
designated generally by the numeral 12.
of manufacturer’s codes are pre-stored in the controller 32C
and selected by positioning of the sWitch as needed. This
alloWs the vehicle mounted transmitter to speci?cally com
municate With both the garage door opener and the bridge
[0026] Various types of transmitters may be employed in
the interface system, although it is believed that in the
device. Accordingly, the bridge device is compatible With
virtually all types of transmitters used With movable barri
preferred embodiment the transmitters are associated With a
garage door operator that moves a barrier betWeen prede
termined limit positions. The transmitters are designated
generally by the numeral 11, Wherein each different type of
transmitter is provided With a different alphabetic suf?X.
Likewise, each component With a particular transmitter is
provided With corresponding alphabetic suf?Xes. Accord
ingly, a permanently affixed transmitter is designated gen
erally by the numeral 11A and is attached to a Wall or other
surface and is commonly referred to in the art as a Wall
station or sometimes as a keyless entry device. The trans
mitter 11A includes a controller 32A Which provides the
necessary hardWare, softWare and memory needed to com
municate 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 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 employed and, it Will be appreciated that the
permanently af?Xed transmitter may transmit or receive
signals via a Wired connection.
[0027] A handheld transmitter 11B may also be employed
in the 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
the necessary hardWare, softWare and memory for commu
nicating With the bridge device. The handheld transmitter
may be in the form of a “hands-free” transmitter Wherein the
ers.
[0029]
Still another type of transmitter is a learning trans
mitter designated generally by the numeral 11D. The trans
mitter 11D includes a controller 32D that has the necessary
hardWare, 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
learning function is embodied in the HomeLinkTM system
provided by Johnson Controls, Inc. and Which is incorpo
rated in some automobiles. Such a system alloWs for the user
to program the HomeLinkTM button contained Within their
automobile to control and operate the garage door opener.
This eliminates the need for keeping a handheld remote
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
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.
[0030] The bridge device 10 includes the plug 22 that is
mateable With any standard electrical outlet providing resi
dential or facility poWer. And the device 10 also includes the
learn/teach sWitch 24, the status light 26 and an appropriate
poWer outlet control 28.
signals received by the bridge device and garage door
[0031]
operator system may be initiated When the automobile or
like movable object carrying the transmitter moves Within a
troller and memory system designated generally by the
The bridge device 10 also includes a bridge con
numeral 50. The controller 50 is connected to all of the
Dec. 8, 2005
US 2005/0272372 A1
components mentioned above such as the plug 22, the switch
24, the status light 26 and the poWer receptacle 28. The
controller and memory system 50 includes the necessary
hardWare, softWare and memory to facilitate communica
tions betWeen the bridge’s internal components and to
facilitate communications 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 transmitters for transfer to an
appropriate receiver 54. The receiver 54 is connected to the
controller and receives at least signals 36A-D. The signals
received by the receiver 54 are submitted to the controller
and memory system 50 for validation and con?rmation.
operation is designated generally by the numeral 100. The
bridge device 10 is preferably shipped from a factory
Without any transmitter codes programmed into the control
ler’s memory. In other Words, the bridge device is a “clean
slate” and requires the programming of transmitters in order
to function With the home netWork. This particular mode is
speci?cally utiliZed to teach a code generated by the teach
function module 62 to the learning transmitter 11D. In other
Words, for this mode, the end-user teaches a factory preset
code from the bridge to the learning transmitter. In order to
implement this operation, the user must place an
unplugged—no external poWer supply present—bridge
device in close proximity to the transmitter unit 11D.
[0032] 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. The battery 56 is connected to a poWer supply
control system 58 Which is directly linked to the controller
50. Also connected to the poWer supply system is the plug
button 38D or With other steps indicated in the user manual
22 Which receives external AC/DC poWer 60 Which may
either be 120V line or transformer output regulated poWer.
The controller and memory system 50 defaults to the exter
nal poWer source 60 if connected. It Will be appreciated as
is poWered at step 104 via the internal battery 56. At step
106, the controller 50 reads a code pointer provided in the
controller’s non-volatile memory. At step 108, the controller
generates a neW code and updates the code pointer. At step
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
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
bridge.
generated in step 108 for receipt by the learning transmitter
[0033] A teach function module 62 is connected to the
11D. At step 114 it is determined Whether the learn/teach
button is still being pressed and the controller investigates as
controller 50 and undertakes various functions upon actua
tion of the learn/teach sWitch 24 and depending upon the
poWer supply utiliZed by the controller 50. As Will become
apparent as the detailed description proceeds, actuation of
the learn teach sWitch causes the controller and the teach
function module to generate a code that is emitted by an
antenna 64 preferably in the form of a radio frequency code
66. This code 66 may be received by the learning transmitter
11D as required by the end use.
[0034] A netWork transceiver, designated generally by the
numeral 70, is connected to the controller and memory
system 50 and functions to communicate directly With the
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
ceiver 70 to alloW for direct communications to the netWork
World 12.
[0035] 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 battery 56. The second mode of operation is active as
[0037]
The process is initiated at step 101 When the user
places the transmitter 11D in its’ learn state by actuating the
of the learning transmitter. Next, at step 102, the user
activates the learn/teach sWitch 24 provided by the bridge
device 10 Which starts a timer. At this time, the controller 50
to Whether the timer has expired or not. If it has, then the
process proceeds to step 118 and the bridge is poWered
doWn. HoWever, if the timer has not expired at step 116 the
process returns to step 112. In any event, the code generated
by the controller 50 is transmitted by the teach function
module and is received and stored by the learning transmit
ter 11D. Subsequent activations of the learning transmitter
result in the transmission of the original code generated by
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
learning transmitter may employ a rolling or ?xed code if
required.
[0038] Referring noW to FIG. 5, a second mode of opera
tion for the purpose of learning other types of transmitters
(11A, 11B and 11C) and the netWork (12) to the bridge
device is designated generally by the numeral 200. In this
mode, the bridge device 10 is connected to the external
supply 60 at step 202. FolloWing this, at step 204, the
controller 50 deactivates the teach function module and
soon as the device is plugged into the external source of
turns on the RF receiver 54 and the netWork transceiver 72.
poWer 60. And the third mode of operation is activated
Next, at step 206, a reset button timer is actuated. FolloWing
this, the 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
Whenever poWer is received from the external poWer source
and a valid 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 appropriately programmed to communi
cate With the bridge device and converts signals received
from these transmitters into a format that is acceptable by the
netWork. This mode also alloWs receipt of signals from the
netWork 12.
[0036] Referring noW to FIG. 4, an operational ?oW chart
illustrating the steps implemented in the ?rst mode of
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.
[0039] Returning noW to step 208, if the learn/teach button
24 is activated, then the controller 50 determines Whether the
Dec. 8, 2005
US 2005/0272372 A1
button 24 has been actuated once or more than once. If the
button has only been actuated once, preferably Within a time
period of four seconds, then at step 214 the receiver 54
ever, at step 308 there is not a learn/teach button activation,
then at step 312 the controller determines Whether a radio
frequency signal is being received or not. If a signal is not
monitors for a valid transmitter code for the neXt 30 seconds.
Of course other durations could be employed for the 4 and
being received from the any of the transmitters 11, then the
30 second periods of time. In any event, at step 216, the
controller determines Whether the radio frequency signal
memory at step 218 and the process is then returned to step
Work signal is being 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 may generate signals that are received by
the bridge device to toggle on and off any appliance that is
206. Accordingly, steps 212-218 are employed for learning
connected to the output control 28. In this manner, added
received from any of the transmitters 11 is valid or not. If the
signal is invalid, then the process automatically returns to
step 206. If the radio frequency signal is valid, then the radio
frequency code is stored in the controller’s non-volatile
process continues to step 314 to determine Whether a net
the transmitters 11A-C to the bridge device.
functionality is provided by the bridge device.
[0040] 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
[0044]
the presence of a transmitter RF signal, then the process
determine Whether there have been tWo button activations
Within four seconds. If this is the case, then the process
continues to step 222 and the netWork transceiver 70 gen
erates a netWork join command at step 222. This signal is
received by the netWork World 12 and alloWs for commu
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
Returning noW to step 312, if the receiver detects
continues to step 320 and the received signal is analyZed to
determine its particular code and is checked against stored
is reinitiated. If, hoWever, at step 322 it is determined that
the received code is valid, then at step 324 the transmitter
nication of the bridge device to join With the netWork World
12 and, in turn, any of the transmitters programmed to the
code is converted to a netWork code protocol or proper
bridge device. Upon completion of step 222, the process
format and this signal is transmitted via the netWork trans
ceiver 70 to the netWork World 12. It Will be appreciated that
returns to step 206.
the transmitter codes are stored in the controller’s memory
[0041]
If there is ever a need to delete all of the codes
and assigned a particular netWork code. As Will be discussed
maintained by the bridge device, then the process at step 220
in further detail, the master controller assigns speci?c func
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
is held in for a predetermined period of time such as 10
tions to each netWork code and thus each transmitter button.
The netWork transceiver then at step 326, aWaits a con?r
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
controller 50 in the bridge device erases all stored transmit
ter codes and the process returns to step 202.
[0042] In summary, by pressing the teach/learn sWitch
device 24 Within a short predetermined period of time such
as four seconds, the bridge device is linked to the transmit
ters that are normally used for moving movable barriers. The
netWork transceiver 70 is linked to the netWork 12 via the
antenna 72 by emitting or receiving a radio frequency signal
mation signal from the netWork, and if received the process
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
a predetermined period of time, the process eventually
returns to step 306.
[0045]
The normal mode of operation alloWs for the
bridge to become active Whenever a valid code is received
through the built-in radio frequency receiver. In this mode,
the bridge device is plugged into a permanent eXternal
poWer supply and the controller continuously monitors the
RF receiver for signals. Whenever a valid signal is received,
either, from the permanently af?Xed transmitter, a handheld
transmitter, a vehicle mounted transmitter or a learning
74 or by a Wired interface 76 Which may utiliZe an ethernet
transmitter, then the bridge device converts this received
transmitter code into a netWork code compatible With the
connection 76.
home netWork protocol provided by the netWork World 12
[0043] 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 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 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 another. The user perceives the
action of pressing a transmitter 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.
and turns on the RF transceiver and the netWork transceiver.
[0046] From the foregoing it Will be appreciated that the
code generated by the bridge device in the ?rst mode of
FolloWing this, at step 306, the reset button press timer is
initiated. At step 308 the methodology determines Whether
operation is used to teach learning transmitters, such as a
HomeLinkTM device, and can be eXtended to teach multiple
the learn/teach button 24 has been activated or not. If so,
then the process is returned to step 200 at step 310 and the
learning transmitters. Accordingly, With every press of the
learn/teach sWitch, the bridge device 10 generates a unique
methodology described in FIG. 5 is implemented. If, hoW
code. By sending out a different code With every key or
Dec. 8, 2005
US 2005/0272372 A1
button actuation in this mode, the system 10 ensures that
every learning transmitter learns a unique code. These
unique codes may then be passed through the bridge device
to the netWork during the normal mode of operation. More
over, by transmitting unique codes, the master controller or
netWork administrator, Which may be implemented on a
personal computer that coordinates the operations for the
home network, may set up different functions for different
transmitters. For example, a ?rst transmitter may open a
door and 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 transmitters. 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 poWer outlet control. As such, the bridge
device may also function to directly control an appliance on
the netWork.
[0047] 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
transmitter or a HomeLinkTM transceiver is programmed
into the 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
“turn on all devices in my group.” The group is assigned by
the device identi?ed as a “master controller.” This device
may be a hand held remote control With a small LCD
display, such as a personal digital assistant or even a
properly 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
to full on, scene 2, etc).
[0048]
Referring noW to FIG. 7, it can be seen that a
methodology for assigning particular functions to a trans
mitter is 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 step 402. The bridge device then “dumps” all
the id codes of all the transmitters currently programmed
into the bridge at 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
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.
[0049] Whenever a transmitter signal is received by the
bridge device 10, the poWer outlet may be energiZed thus
turning on any appliance connected to the sWitch outlet. The
netWork 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 trans
mitter 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
to the controller, the poWer outlet can be controlled to
perform the speci?c functions.
[0050] 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 teach transmitters to the bridge device and also for
the bridge 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 transmitter Without the need for a third handheld
transmitter. As such, HomeLink devices, Which are prima
rily utiliZed for opening and closing garage doors, Wherein
the garage door operators are receptive to HomeLink sig
nals, can also be employed to directly communicate With the
bridge device. Yet another advantage of the present inven
tion is that the bridge 10 can generate a multitude of unique
coded signals so that a unique code can be taught to every
transmitter joining the netWork. Additionally, the teaching of
the learning transmitter to the bridge device enables the
learning of standard transmitters such as those found in
association With garage door openers, thus making the
system compatible With more devices.
[0051] Still yet another advantage of the present invention
is that bridge device is capable of recogniZing a multitude of
modes 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 non-netWork devices automatically Without
user intervention, thus, making the non-netWork devices act
as if they Were a part of the netWork. The bridge device is
With the netWork 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
also advantageous in that it may be programmed out of the
factory to respond to speci?c types of transmitter codes such
a different function. For example, a user may program tWo
be equipped to respond to speci?c types of coded netWork
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
“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
as those found in garage door openers. The bridge may also
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
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.
assignment step(s) are complete, the process is exited at step
[0052] Thus, it can be seen that the objects of the invention
have been satis?ed by the structure and its method for use
presented above. While in accordance With the Patent Stat
410. The bridge device Will not have master controller
utes, only the best mode and preferred embodiment has been
pressing menu buttons on the master controller. When the
Dec. 8, 2005
US 2005/0272372 A1
invention, reference should be made to the following claims.
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:
What is claimed is:
1. A bridge device linking at least one transmitter to a
a learn/teach sWitch connected to said bridge controller,
Wherein actuation of said learn/teach sWitch generates
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
home netWork, comprising:
a transmitter signal receiver adapted to receive transmitter
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
from the netWork; and
a bridge controller connected to said transmitter signal
receiver and said netWork signal transceiver, said
bridge controller converting said signals betWeen said
a join netWork signal by said netWork signal transceiver
Which is receivable by the home netWork.
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.
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
formats.
2. The device according to claim 1, further comprising:
controller in a join netWork mode Which enables com
munication betWeen said controller and the home net
Work.
a poWer supply system connected to said bridge control
ler; and
11. The device according to claim 10, Wherein said
an internal poWer source connected to said poWer supply
netWork transceiver is linked to the home netWork and
system, said poWer supply system adapted to preferably
facilitates association of the transmitters With appliances
receive poWer from an external poWer source; and
connected to the home netWork.
said bridge controller implementing different modes
depending upon said poWer supply system’s source of
12. The device according to claim 1, further comprising:
a master controller in communication With said bridge
poWer.
controller, said master controller linking speci?c trans
mitter signals to speci?c netWork signals.
3. The device according to claim 2, further comprising:
a teach function module connected to said bridge con
troller, said teach function module disabled When said
poWer supply receives poWer from the external poWer
source;
a learn/teach sWitch connected to said bridge controller,
Wherein actuation of said learn/teach sWitch When said
13. A method for enabling a home netWork bridge device,
comprising:
providing a controller linked to a transmitter signal
receiver, a netWork signal transceiver, and a poWer
supply system;
detecting a type of poWer source connected to said poWer
teach function module is enabled causes said module to
generate a code receivable by the at least one trans
mitter Which is a learning transmitter Which is adapted
to receive and store said code.
supply system; and
selectively enabling a teach function module connected to
said controller depending upon said type of poWer
source detected.
4. The device according to claim 3, Wherein the learning
transmitter is adapted to emit said code upon receipt of a
predesignated stimulus, and said code is received by said
transmitter signal receiver.
5. The device according to claim 4, Wherein said predes
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:
14. The method according to claim 13, further compris
ing:
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;
actuating a learn/teach sWitch connected to said controller
While said transmitter learn state is active;
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:
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
generating a code by said teach function module; and
receiving and storing said code in the transmitter.
15. The method according to claim 13, further compris
ing:
disabling said teach function module if an external poWer
source is detected by said controller;
actuating a learn/teach sWitch Which is connected to said
Wherein generation of said transmitter signal by the at
controller and Which enables said transmitter signal
least one transmitter While said bridge controller is in
receiver;
Dec. 8, 2005
US 2005/0272372 A1
receiving a transmitter signal generated by at least one
type of transmitter, said transmitter signal containing a
code associated With the at least one transmitter; and
storing said code in said controller.
16. The method according to claim 13, further compris
ing:
disabling said teach function module if an external poWer
source is detected by said controller;
actuating a learn/teach sWitch Which is connected to said
controller and Which enables said netWork signal trans
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.
21. The method according to claim 18, further compris
ing:
providing a poWer outlet control connected to said con
troller; and
enabling said netWork signal to control operation of said
poWer outlet control.
ceiver; and
generating a netWork join signal that is formatted to be
received by a home netWork.
17. The method according to claim 13, further compris
ing:
disabling said teach function module if an external poWer
source is detected by said controller;
actuating a learn/teach sWitch Which is connected to said
controller;
determining a number of actuations of said learn/teach
sWitch in a predetermined period of time;
enabling said transmitter signal receiver if only a single
actuation of said learn/teach sWitch in said predeter
22. The method according to claim 18, further compris
ing:
providing a poWer outlet control connected to said con
troller; and
enabling said transmitter signal to control operation of
said poWer outlet control.
23. A method for operating appliances connected to a
home netWork system, comprising:
providing a bridge controller linked to a transmitter signal
receiver and a netWork signal transceiver;
receiving a transmitter signal in a transmitter format;
converting said transmitter signal into a netWork signal in
a netWork mode format; and
mined period of time so as to enter a transmitter learn
mode;
enabling said netWork signal transceiver if more than one
actuation of said learn/teach sWitch in said predeter
mined period of time is detected so as to enter a
netWork join mode;
receiving transmitter signals if in said transmitter learn
mode and storing a code contained Within said trans
mitter signal; and
emitting said netWork signal from said netWork signal
transceiver for receipt by the home netWork system
Which controls operation of at least one appliance.
24. The method according to claim 23, further compris
ing:
learning said transmitter signal to said bridge controller;
and
learning said netWork signal transceiver to the home
netWork, Wherein said learning steps occur prior to said
generating a netWork join signal by said netWork signal
transceiver if in said netWork join mode.
18. The method according to claim 17, further compris
ing:
converting step.
25. The method according to claim 24, further compris
ing:
sWitching a poWer outlet control betWeen on and off states
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
upon receipt of said transmitter signal.
26. The method according to claim 24, further compris
ing:
sWitching a poWer outlet control betWeen on and off states
upon receipt of
a netWork command signal received by said netWork
signal transceiver.
emitting said netWork signal via said netWork signal
transceiver.
19. The method according to claim 18, further compris
ing:
ing:
linking a master controller to said bridge controller; and
enabling said netWork signal to control operation of at
least one appliance.
20. The method according to claim 18, further compris
ing:
27. The method according to claim 23, further compris
assigning said transmitter signals to speci?c said netWork
signals.
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