Title:
Detachable rope and bonding wire apparatus and methods for pool covers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Detachable rope apparatus is provided for extending a pool cover over a swimming pool having a guide track on a side of the pool, using a rope coupled to a pool cover motor. A bracket member is coupled to a front edge of the pool cover. An attachment device detachably couples an end of the rope to the bracket member to pull the pool cover. A bonding wire may replace a bead rope section embedded in the edge of the pool cover to form an elongated guide bead. A method is provided for forming a pool cover to enable the cover to be pulled over a swimming pool having a guide track on a side of the pool, using a rope coupled to a pool cover motor. A bracket member is coupled to a front edge of the pool cover, and an end of the rope is detachably coupled to the bracket member to pull the pool cover.



Inventors:
Smith, Lanny R. (Alpine, UT, US)
Application Number:
10/700602
Publication Date:
05/05/2005
Filing Date:
11/03/2003
Assignee:
SMITH LANNY R.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/10; (IPC1-7): E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HUYNH, KHOA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FISHMAN STEWART PLLC (39533 WOODWARD AVENUE SUITE 140, BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI, 48304-0610, US)
Claims:
1. Apparatus for extending and retracting a pool cover over a swimming pool having a guide track on a side of the pool, using a pulling rope coupled to a pool cover motor, comprising: (a) a bracket member for coupling to a front edge of the pool cover, and (b) an attachment device for detachably coupling an end of the pulling rope to the bracket member to pull the pool cover.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the attachment device comprises a flexible piece attached to an end of the pulling rope and a removable mounting member for removably attaching the flexible piece to the bracket member.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the flexible member is wrapped around the pulling rope end and extends to attach to the mounting member.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the flexible member is coupled to the pulling rope end to form an elongated bead adapted to slide in the guide track.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a bead rope separate from the pulling rope and coupled along the longitudinal edges of the pool cover to form an elongated bead adapted to slide in the guide track and guide the extension and retraction of the pool cover.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a leading edge bar associated with the pool cover, wherein the bracket member is adapted to be coupled to the leading edge bar.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a bonding wire section coupled along longitudinal edges of the pool cover to form an elongated bead adapted to slide in the guide track and guide the extension and retraction of the pool cover.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the pool cover has a lining extending along an edge of the pool cover and wherein the bonding wire section is embedded in the lining to form the elongated bead.

9. The apparatus of claim 7, further comprising a leading edge bar coupled to the front of the pool cover, wherein the bonding wire section is coupled between the leading edge bar and an electrical ground.

10. Apparatus for pulling a pool cover to extend over a swimming pool with an edge of the pool cover sliding along a track in a side of a swimming pool, comprising: (a) an elongated bead section integral with the pool cover to guide the cover along the track, (b) a detachable rope section coupled to the pool cover motor and separate from the elongated bead section, and (c) a coupling member for detachably coupling the detachable rope portion to the front of the pool cover to pull the pool cover over the swimming pool independently of the elongated bead section.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the pool cover has a lining extending along the edge of the pool cover, and wherein the elongated bead section is coupled to the lining to form a first elongated bead for sliding along the track.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the coupling member includes a flexible cover member coupling to an end of the detachable rope portion to form a second elongated bead for sliding along the track independent of the first elongated bead.

13. The apparatus of claim 10, further comprising a leading edge bar coupled to the front of the pool cover, wherein the coupling member includes a bar attachment for coupling the leading edge bar to the coupling member.

14. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the elongated bead section is formed from a rope section independent of the detachable rope section.

15. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the elongated bead section is formed from a bonding wire independent of the detachable rope section.

16. The apparatus of claim 15, further comprising a leading edge bar coupled to the front of the pool cover, wherein the bonding wire is coupled from the leading edge bar to an electrical ground.

17. Apparatus for extending a pool cover over a swimming pool having a guide track on a side of the pool, using a pulling rope coupled to a pool cover motor, comprising an elongated bead section separate from the pulling rope and integral with the pool cover to guide the cover along the track, wherein the bead section comprises a bonding wire.

18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the pool cover includes a lining running along an edge of the pool cover and wherein the bonding wire is integral with the lining to form the elongated bead section.

19. The apparatus of claim 17, further comprising a leading edge bar coupled a front edge of the pool cover, wherein the bonding wire is coupled between the leading edge bar and an electrical ground.

20. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the bonding wire is flexible to enable the elongated bead to be wound up with the pool cover.

21. A method for extending a pool cover over a swimming pool having a guide track on a side of the pool, comprising: (a) coupling a rope to a pool cover motor; (b) coupling a bracket member to a front edge of the pool cover; and (c) detachably coupling an end of the rope to the bracket member to pull the pool cover.

22. The method of claim 21, comprising attaching a flexible piece to the end of the rope and removably attaching the flexible piece to the bracket member.

23. The method of claim 22, comprising wrapping the flexible member around the rope end and extending a portion of the flexible member to attach to the bracket member.

24. The method of claim 23, comprising coupling the flexible member to the rope end to form an elongated bead adapted to slide in the guide track.

25. The method of claim 21, further comprising coupling a bead rope along longitudinal edges of the pool cover to form an elongated bead adapted to slide in the guide track and to guide the extension and retraction of the pool cover over the swimming pool.

26. The method of claim 21, further comprising coupling a leading edge bar to the pool cover, and coupling the bracket member to the leading edge bar.

27. The method of claim 21, further comprising coupling a bonding wire section along longitudinal edges of the pool cover to form an elongated bead adapted to slide in the guide track and thereby guide extending and retracting the pool cover.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein the pool cover has a lining extending along an edge of the pool cover and including the step of embedding the bonding wire section in the lining to form the elongated bead.

29. The method of claim 27, further comprising coupling a leading edge bar to the front of the pool cover, and coupling the bonding wire section between the leading edge bar and an electrical ground.

30. A method for forming a pool cover to enable the pool cover to be pulled along a track in a side of a swimming pool, comprising: (a) disposing an elongated bead section integral with the pool cover to guide the cover along the track, (b) coupling a detachable rope section to the pool cover motor, the detachable rope section being separate from the elongated bead section, and (c) detachably coupling the detachable rope section to the front of the pool cover to pull the pool cover across the swimming pool independent of the elongated bead section.

31. The method of claim 30, comprising embedding the elongated bead section in a lining running along an edge of the pool cover to form a first elongated bead for sliding along the track.

32. The method of claim 30, comprising coupling a flexible cover member to an end of the detachable rope section to form a second elongated bead for sliding along the track independent of the first elongated bead.

33. The method of claim 30, further comprising coupling a leading edge bar to the front of the pool cover, and attaching the coupling member to the leading edge bar.

34. The method claim 30, wherein the elongated bead section is formed from a rope section independent of the detachable rope section.

35. The method of claim 30, wherein the elongated bead section is a bonding wire independent of the detachable rope section.

36. The method of claim 35, further comprising coupling a leading edge bar to the front of the pool cover, and coupling the bonding wire from the leading edge bar to an electrical ground.

37. A method for forming a pool cover to enable the cover to be pulled over a swimming pool having a guide track on a side of the pool, using a pulling rope coupled to a pool cover motor, comprising forming an elongated bead section separate from the pulling rope and integral with the pool cover to guide the cover along the track, wherein the elongated bead section is formed by a bonding wire.

38. The method of claim 37, wherein the pool cover includes a lining running along an edge of the pool cover, and comprising embedding the bonding wire in the lining to form the elongated bead section.

39. The apparatus of claim 37, further comprising coupling a leading edge bar to the front of the pool cover, and coupling the bonding wire between the leading edge bar and an electrical ground.

40. The apparatus of claim 37, wherein the elongated bead section is formed be a flexible bonding wire to enable the elongated bead to be wound up with the pool cover.

Description:

FIELD

The present disclosure relates to swimming pool covers, and, more particularly, to apparatus and methods for detachable rope and bonding wire attachment for pool covers.

BACKGROUND

Swimming pools are commonly covered to prevent debris from entering the pool, to preserve chemical treatments in the water and to heat the pool in the case of a solar cover. Typically, a pool cover will extend over the entire surface of the pool during periods of non-use and then be retracted during periods of use. The cover may be extended and retracted by mechanical or automatic means. In either case, a track assembly is usually coupled to or built into the walls for guiding the edges of the cover as it traverses the pool. The pool cover typically has some means coupled along the edge of the cover interacting with the track assembly to facilitate movement of the pool cover.

Pool covers are often fabricated from some type of dacron material coated with vinyl. Such covers may include a webbing along the cover edge, made of a durable material such as canvas, to withstand the stress applied as the cover is moved along the pool. Many prior art pool covers have a rope sewn into the lining or webbing along both longitudinal edges of the cover. The ropes are pulled by a motor through a system of pulleys to enable the cover to be extended over the swimming pool. The ropes sewn into the pool cover lining form beads that fit into tracks or guides along the sides of the pool, thereby guiding the pool cover as it extends and retracts. The pool cover may be retracted by a rotating tube or cylinder. The ropes are released by the pulley system as the cover is retracted.

Prior art swimming pool covers usually include a leading edge bar that connects to the front of the pool cover. The leading edge bar provides a means for keeping the cover out of the water and guiding the cover as it extends and retracts. Some prior art systems include a slider attached between the leading edge bar and the rope sewn into the cover lining which can also slide in tracks along the side of the pool. An example is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,939,798 granted to Last on Jul. 10, 1990.

One problem with such systems is that the ropes cause a strain on the front corners of the pool cover. If the rope system jams or becomes twisted, the force of the motor pulling the ropes could tear the front corners of the cover, necessitating costly repairs on the cover.

It is also common for the ropes pulling the cover to wear out or break due to exposure and/or mechanical strain. Because the rope is sewn into the cover lining, it is difficult and expensive to make the necessary rope repairs. The lining must be unstitched, a new rope inserted and then the lining must be sewn back.

Some repair kits provide for the new rope to be sewn into the front of the cover or to be fastened with screws into a slider. These repairs do not alleviate the problems of undue strain and tearing of the front edge of the cover or wear and tear on the rope. Moreover, the screws holding new rope sections to the slider tend to wear through and damage the slider or the associated track.

Another problem arises with respect to static electricity that may build up in the leading edge bar, which is usually made of some type of metal, such as aluminum. National codes require that the bar be bonded, i.e. grounded, to prevent shock and damage to person or property. Prior art systems have often attached braided flat cable to the leading edge bar, which is then sewn into an edge of the pool cover to extend along the cover to the equipment pad. Although flat, the bonding cable tends to add substantial bulk to one side of the pool cover. This additional bulk tends to cause the cover to wind unevenly on the roll-up cylinder, resulting in stresses and problems with the system. Moreover, braided flat cable on the edge of a pool cover tends to wear out or catch on objects as the pool cover is retracted or extended.

Attempts at correcting the bonding wire bulk problem have been unsatisfactory. In some cases, cable has been strung along both sides of the cover to even up the bulk, resulting in increased costs and overall increased bulk in the rolled up cover. Compensator brackets have also been used to adjust the effective diameter of portions of the roll-up cylinder. Again, such brackets add to the cost and complexity of the pool cover system.

SUMMARY

In one implementation of the present disclosure, apparatus is provided for extending a pool cover over a swimming pool having a guide track on a side of the pool, using a rope coupled to a pool cover motor. A bracket member is coupled to a front edge of the pool cover. An attachment device detachably couples an end of the rope to the bracket member to pull the pool cover.

In another implementation of the present disclosure, a method is provided for extending a pool cover over a swimming pool having a guide track on a side of the pool, using a rope coupled to a pool cover motor. A bracket member is coupled to a front edge of the pool cover, and an end of the rope is detachably coupled to the bracket member to pull the pool cover.

In another implementation, apparatus is provided for forming a pool cover to enable the cover to be pulled over a swimming pool having a guide track on a side of the pool, using a pulling rope coupled to a pool cover motor. The apparatus includes an elongated bead section separate from the pulling rope and integral with the pool cover to guide the cover along the track, wherein the bead section is formed by a bonding wire.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above-mentioned and other features and advantages of this disclosure, and the manner of attaining them, will become more apparent and the disclosure will be better understood by reference to the following description of an example taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a pool showing a pool cover guided by a tracking assembly in the pool walls, wherein the cover is pulled by a rope and pulley system;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are perspective views showing the detachable rope implementation of the present disclosure;

FIGS. 4-6 are perspective views showing the detachable rope implementation of FIGS. 2 and 3 utilizing an elongated guide track; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing another detachable rope implementation together with a bonding wire according to the present disclosure.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplification set out herein illustrates one example, in one form, and such exemplification is not to be construed as limiting the scope of the disclosure in any manner.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a generalized schematic view of a pool cover system 10 for a rectangular swimming pool 12. An automatic pool cover 14 extends over a portion of pool 12 from a pool cover wind-up reel 16 in a cover assembly box (not shown) disposed at one end of the pool 12. A leading edge bar 18 at the front edge of the pool cover 14 rides in a track assembly 20 along the interior walls of the pool 12.

A left-hand pool cover motor system 22 is used to retract and extend the pool cover 14. Motor system 22 includes a motor 23, having a drive shaft 25 extending through a gear box 24 and dual side-by-side reels 26, 27 to wind-up reel 16. Reels 26, 27 collect ropes thereon from each of the two sides of the pool cover 14. As used herein, the term “rope” includes rope, cable, line, lead, twine, thread, wire, and other material that is sufficiently strong to exert a pulling force from a pool cover motor to pull a pool cover over a swimming pool.

Reel 26 collects rope from rope sections 30a, 30b and 30c. Rope section 30a extends from reel 26 over an end pulley 28 to a pulley 32 near the motor system then to a pulley 34 at the far front side of the pool 12. Rope section 30b then extends along the right side 36 of pool cover 14 and pool 12 to a pulley 38 at the far back right corner of pool 12. From there, rope section 30c extends back along the inside of right side 36 of the pool 12 to the front of pool cover 14. Rope section 30c then transitions to a rope section 31 which is sewn into the lining or webbing (not shown) of pool cover 14. As rope section 31 is pulled toward pulley 38 at the back part of pool 12, it pulls cover 14 to extend further across pool 12.

Reel 27 collects rope from rope sections 40a, 40b and 40c. Rope section 40a extends from reel 27 over an end pulley 29 to pulleys 42 and 44 near the motor system 22. Rope section 40b then extends along the left side 46 of pool 12 to a pulley 48 at the far back left corner of pool 12. Then section 40c then extends back along the inside of left side 46 of pool 12 to the front of pool cover 14. Rope section 40c then transitions to a rope section 41 which is sewn into the lining or webbing (not shown) of pool cover 14. As rope section 41 is pulled toward pulley 48 at the back part of pool 12, in concert with rope section 31, it pulls cover 14 to extend further across pool 12.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show an implementation of the present disclosure in the form of a detachable rope assembly 50 coupled to a front portion 52 of a pool cover 54. A webbing or lining 56 runs along the side of pool cover 54, wrapping around a rope section 58 to form an elongated bead 60. Bead 60 is formed to slide in a track running along the side of a swimming pool (not shown) to guide the pool cover 54 as it is extended and retracted. Bead 60 ends at rope end cap 62 at the front portion 52 of pool cover 54.

Pool cover 54 ends in a loop 64 around a leading edge bar 66 running along the front of pool cover 54. Loop 64 is coupled back to cover 54 in a secure manner, such as by being sewn or bonded. Detachable rope assembly 50 includes a rope section 70 that runs back to a reel that is driven by a pool cover motor (not shown). Rope section 70 is coupled to a flexible tab 74 that is wrapped around the end 72 of rope section 70 to form a bead 76. Flexible tab 74 includes a flat portion 78 extending from bead 76 to couple to a mounting plate 80. A plurality of screws 82 extend through mounting plate 80 to fasten plate 80 and flat portion 78 to a slider bracket 84. A keeper plate 86 includes two screws 88 that couple the slider bracket 84 to the front portion 52 of the pool cover 54.

In FIG. 3, portions of detachable rope assembly 50 are shown in an exploded perspective view. Mounting plate 80 is shown above holes 81 therein for accepting screws 82, as shown. Corresponding holes 79 are shown in the flat portion 78 of flexible tab 74. Corresponding holes 85 are shown in slider bracket 84. Leading edge bar 66 is fastened to an L-shaped bracket 90 which extends adjacent to slider bracket 84. A screw 92 at the base of L-shaped bracket 90 fastens bracket 90 to slider bracket 84.

In prior art systems, the rope portion 70 would have extended to and been an integral part of the rope portion 58 forming the bead 60. Thus, a pulling force on rope portion 70 would have translated to a pulling force on rope portion 58 and therefore onto the bead 60. Continued pulling force and stress on bead 60 often resulted in broken ropes and tearing of the corner of pool cover 54 near front portion 52.

With the detachable rope assembly 50 of the present disclosure, rope portion 70 translates the pulling force and stress from the motor reel (not shown) to the entire front portion 52 of pool cover 54 by means of slider bracket 84 and leading edge bar 66. The detachable rope assembly 50 is coupled to slider bracket 84, which in turn is secured to the front portion 52 of pool cover 54. Slider bracket 84 is also secured to leading edge bar 66 by means of L-shaped bracket 90. Thus, as rope portion 70 is pulled by the reel from the pool cover motor (not shown) the pulling force is translated directly to the front 52 of the pool cover 54 by means of the keeper plate 86 and the leading edge bar 66.

In addition, the detachable rope assembly 50 enables rapid repair and replacement of broken ropes in rope section 70. If such a break occurs, the rope section 70, together with the flexible tab 74 are disassembled from slider bracket 84, as shown in FIG. 3. A new rope section 70 with a flexible tab 74 coupled thereto is attached to slider bracket 84 and the repair is quickly completed.

FIGS. 4, 5, and 6 show the detachable rope assembly 50 in conjunction with a track 100 running along the edge of a swimming pool (not shown). As discussed in connection with FIGS. 2 and 3, pool cover 54 includes a bead 60 running along the edge of a lining 56 in cover 54, the bead 60 being formed from a rope section 58 (see FIGS. 2 and 3) secured to lining 56, such as by sewing. The swimming pool (not shown) includes an elongated track 100 along the sides of the pool for guiding the pool cover 54. As the pool cover 54 is retracted and extended over a swimming pool, bead 60 slides along an elongated channel 102 in elongated track 100.

Also, as previously discussed, separate rope section 70 is coupled to flexible tab 74 to form a bead 76. Flexible tab 74 is coupled by flat portion 78 to a slider bracket 84 by a mounting plate 80. As best seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, as rope section 70 is pulled by a reel attached to a pool cover motor (not shown), the bead 76 also slides along channel 102. Flexible tab 76 is preferably made of a strong, yet flexible material, such as nylon, so that the bead 76 will not bind or wear out as it slides in channel 102.

Accordingly, the detachable rope implementation of the present disclosure provides several advantages. The detachable rope assembly 50 is attached to pool cover 54 by way of slider bracket 84 and keeper plate 86 directly to the front portion 52 of pool cover 84. Detachable rope assembly 50 is also attached to the leading edge bar 66 by means of the L-shaped bracket 90 which is coupled to slider bracket 84. As a result, the pulling force from the rope section is applied across the entire front portion 52 of pool cover 54, thereby distributing the pulling force evenly and minimizing shearing and tearing at the corner of cover 54. Moreover, in the event that the rope in section 70 is broken and must be replaced, such repair can be accomplished by easily removing the flexible tab 74 from the slider bracket 84 and replacing it. In addition, the rope section 58 that is embedded in the lining 56 on pool cover 54 is not likely to be broken, since rope section 70 to which the pulling force is applied, is separate and apart from rope section 58.

As discussed in connection with the prior art, there is a need for attaching a bonding (grounding) wire to the leading edge bar in order to provide a ground path from the bar to the swimming pool equipment pad (not shown). As discussed with respect to FIGS. 2-6, the rope section 58 embedded in pool cover 54 is not subject to the pulling force applied to rope section 70. The sole function of rope section 58 is to provide bulk to form bead 60 to serve as a guide in track 102.

Looking now at FIG. 7, a partial cut-away perspective view is provided, in which a further improvement is shown. The rope section 58 in FIGS. 2-6 is replaced by a bonding wire section 110 embedded in the lining 56a of pool cover 54a to form a bead 60a. Detachable rope assembly 50a and leading edge bar 66a are similar to assembly 50 and leading edge bar 66, shown in FIGS. 2-6. Bonding wire section 110 ends in a bonding wire coupler 112 adjacent to, but not coupled to, bead 76a of assembly 50a. A solid bonding wire 114 is coupled between bonding wire coupler 112 and a fastener 116 attached to leading edge bar 66a. The end 118 of bonding wire section 110 is extended back to the swimming pool equipment pad, where it can be properly grounded.

Bonding wire section 110, embedded in liner 56a is preferably flexible so that it can be rolled up on a wind-up reel, such as reel 16 shown in FIG. 1. Solid bonding wire 114 may be stiff to provide a solid connection between bonding wire coupler 112 and fastener 116. As used herein, the term “bonding wire” means any type of wire that provides suitable electrical conductance. Typically bonding wire is not strong enough to support a substantial pulling force sufficient to pull a pool cover, and no such function is needed here. Both bonding wire section 110 and bonding wire 114 may be made of copper or other suitably electrical conducting material.

Accordingly, the bonding wire implementation shown in FIG. 7 provides several advantages. The bonding wire implementation provides an effective grounding path from the lead bar to the equipment pad. More importantly, since the bonding wire section replaces the rope section to form the guide bead along one side of the pool cover, the bulk of the bonding wire section is essentially the same as the bulk of a rope section forming a guide bead on the opposite edge of the pool cover (not shown).

Accordingly, a pool cover having the bonding wire implementation shown herein may be wound evenly onto a pool cover reel or cylinder without encountering binding or skewing of the cover. In addition, since the bonding wire section replaces a rope section previously embedded in the pool cover lining, there is a savings in the cost of the replaced rope section.

While this disclosure has been described as having selected implementations, the present disclosure can be further modified within the spirit and scope of this disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the disclosure using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this disclosure pertains and which fall within the limits of the appended claims.