Electrochromic mirror for vehicles

  • US 5,610,756 A
  • Filed: 05/17/1995
  • Issued: 03/11/1997
  • Est. Priority Date: 11/26/1990
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. An exterior rearview mirror having a manually activated heating system for a vehicle comprising:

  • an electrochromic reflective element having an electrochromically active area, said electrochromic reflective element including a first glass plate having a front and rear surface, a second glass plate having a front and rear surface, and an electrochromic medium disposed between the rear surface of said first glass plate and the front surface of said second glass plate;

    said from surface of said first glass plate being subject to frosting when exposed to an outdoor environment at a temperature of 0°

    C. or lower;

    electrical means to achieve an electrochromic function for supplying a signal to said reflective element in order to establish the reflectance level of said reflective element;

    heating means to achieve a defrosting function on a surface of said second glass plate for heating said surface of said second glass plate in order to enhance coloration and bleaching of said electrochromic reflective element during low temperature operation and to defrost said front surface of said first glass plate, wherein said heating means includes one of a positive temperature coefficient material, a metal layer, and a transparent conductor layer;

    said heating means being electrically insulated from said electrochromic medium;

    manually activated control means for applying energy in the form of direct current from an automobile power system to said heating means wherein said control means includes a defrost initiate means that is manually actuated when frost is present on said front surface of said first glass plate; and

    wherein said defrost initiate means applies energy to said heating means independently of said electrical means in a manner that enables independent control over both the defrosting function and the electrochromic function and includes timing means for removing energy from said heating means after a predetermined time following actuation of said defrost initiate means.

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