Title:
Rechargeable AC/DC pump
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pump uses a power source to deliver power to a second power source while driving a fluid displacement device. The pump includes a fluid displacement device and a circuit coupled to a first power source and a second power source. The first power source may draw a first current from the second power source. The second power source supplies power to the fluid displacement device



Inventors:
Austen, Timothy F. (Glencoe, IL, US)
Sen, Wen Ta (Taipei City, TW)
Application Number:
11/239998
Publication Date:
04/05/2007
Filing Date:
09/30/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
318/441, 417/411
International Classes:
F04B35/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KASTURE, DNYANESH G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BGL (P.O. BOX 10395, CHICAGO, IL, 60610, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A pump, comprising: a fluid displacement device; and a circuit coupled to the fluid displacement device that drives the fluid displacement device; where the circuit routes a first current to a first power source, while a second current from the second power source is routed to drive the fluid displacement device.

2. The pump of claim 1, where the fluid displacement device is driven at a substantially synchronous rate.

3. The pump of claim 2, where the first current comprises a portion of current from the second power source.

4. The pump of claim 3, where the circuit is configured to be coupled to an alternating current and a direct current source.

5. The pump of claim 4, further comprising a converter that transforms the alternating current source into a direct current.

6. The pump of claim 5, where the second power source comprises an alternating current source.

7. The pump of claim 5, where the second power source comprises a direct current source.

8. The pump of claim 5, where the first power source and the second power source comprise a direct current source.

9. The pump of claim 5, further comprising a controller to break a current path.

10. The pump of claim 9, further comprising a device coupled to the first power source that substantially restricts a third current flow in one direction.

11. The pump of claim 10, where the pump inflates an inflatable object.

12. A pump, comprising: a fluid displacement device; and a circuit coupled to the fluid displacement device that drives the fluid displacement device; where the circuit is configured to receive a first power source or a second power source to route a first current to a third power source, while routing a second current to drive the fluid displacement device.

13. The pump of claim 12, where the third power source comprises a direct current source.

14. The pump of claim 13, where the first power source comprises an alternating current source.

15. The pump of claim 14, where the first current comprise a portion of current from the first power source.

16. The pump of claim 15, where the second power source comprises a direct current source.

17. The pump of claim 16, where the first current comprises a portion of current from the second power source.

18. A method of driving a pump, comprising providing a fluid displacement device; providing a circuit coupled to the fluid displacement device, the circuit comprising a first power source; coupling a second power source to the circuit; routing a first current to the first power source while routing a second current to the fluid displacement device.

19. The method of claim 18, where the first current comprises a portion of current from the second power source.

20. The method of claim 19, where second power source comprises an alternating current source.

21. The method of claim 19, where the second power source comprises a direct current source.

22. The method of claim 19, where the first power source and the second power source comprise a direct current source.

23. The method of claim 19, further comprising the step of coupling a controller to the pump to break a current path.

24. A pump, comprising: means for displacing a fluid; and means for routing a first current to a first power source while routing a second current from a second power source to the fluid displacement means.

25. A pump, comprising: means for displacing a fluid; and means for routing a first current to a third power source while routing a second current from a first or second power source to the fluid displacement means.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

This application relates to pumps, and more particularly to a portable pump that may be controlled by multiple power sources.

2. Related Art

Portable pumps may be used to inflate objects. Some pumps may be powered by rechargeable batteries. After the batteries discharge, the pump may be connected to an external power source to recharge the batteries. The charging period may last for an extended period of time, during which the pump is inoperable.

Some pumps resolve this problem by providing a connection to an external power source that recharges the batteries in a shorter time period. While these pumps reduce charging time, the pump remains inoperable during the recharging period.

Therefore, there is a need for a portable pump that operates during a recharging process.

SUMMARY

A pump uses a power source to deliver power to a second power source while driving a fluid displacement device. The pump includes a fluid displacement device and a circuit coupled to a first power source and a second power source. The first power source may draw a first current from the second power source. The second power source supplies power to the fluid displacement device.

An alternate pump includes a fluid displacement device and a circuit coupled to a first or a second power source while coupled to a third power source. The first or second power source provides a charging current to the third power source while delivering current to the fluid displacement device.

Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be, or will become, apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings and description. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like referenced numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an inflatable object.

FIG. 2 is a partial block diagram of a pump coupled to a power source.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a pump.

FIG. 4 is a partial schematic of circuitry interfacing the pump.

FIG. 5 is an alternative schematic of alternative circuitry interfacing the pump.

FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of logic that may control the pump.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A pump may fill inflatable objects with air or gas. The pump, which may include one or more electromechanical pumps, may interface circuits that route a portion of a current to a power source while delivering another portion of the current to a fluid displacement device. By sharing current with the fluid displacement device, the pump may compress or transfer fluids during a recharging process.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an inflatable object 100. The inflatable object 100 may comprise an inflatable mattress 102. Any inflatable object may be used, including objects and devices designed to be filled with air, gas, or fluids before use. The inflatable mattress 102 may include a top wall 104, a bottom wall 103, and a side gusset 106. A portable pump may be coupled to the inflatable mattress 102 at a valve 108 to receive a fluid or gas.

FIG. 2 is a diagram of a pump 200 coupled to charging circuitry. The pump 200 may interface a circuit 202 that includes a first power source 204 in series or parallel with a second power source 206. The pump 200 may also include modules that displace a fluid 208, (e.g., a continuous substance such as air) from one chamber to another. Alternatively, modules that convert electrical energy into mechanical energy may be used.

An exemplary pump 200 may comprise a motor that has a metal frame, an armature, a commutator, and brushes. A magnetic device may be mounted on an interior surface of the frame that generates a natural or induced attraction. The armature may comprise one or more ferromagnetic cores wrapped in a coil that produces a magnetic field when current passes through it. Armature coils may be electrically coupled to a power source and mechanically coupled to a shaft. A commutator may be coupled to the shaft. The commutator may vary the poles of the armature as the armature rotates. As a current passes through the armature coils, the attraction of opposite poles and repulsion of like poles between the armature and the magnetic device (such as one or more field magnets) may create a torque that rotates the armature.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of an exemplary pump 200. A housing may include upper portion 300 and lower portion 302. The housing may have a generally cylindrical shape comprising an open end to receive a pump and/or circuitry. The periphery of upper portion 300, along the open end, may include a lip slightly recessed from the outer surface of upper portion 300. The lip may be inserted into a corresponding grove of lower portion 302 to permit the mating pieces to fit together. The periphery of upper portion 300 may be notched to receive receptacle 314. The side of upper portion 300 opposite the open end may include a circular inlet port 304 that may protrude from the upper portion 300 with a smaller diameter than that of upper portion 300. A fluid may be drawn through inlet port 304 and propelled by a fluid displacement device, such as a motor 306 and/or an impeller 308, through an outlet port 318.

Impeller 308 may comprise a generally circular shaped base with raised arc shaped fins that may draw in and/or propel the fluid drawn in through inlet port 304. The raised arc shaped fins may have proximate and distal ends. The proximate ends of adjacent fins may be separated by a varying distance or varying gauge. The separation may increase from the proximal to distal ends. In some pumps, the separation between the distal ends of the fins is greater than the separation between the proximate ends.

A first generally star shaped bracket 305 may include a hole or opening passing through a raised cylindrical area having beveled edges through which the shaft of motor 306 may be received. The first bracket 305 may be positioned between impeller 308 and motor 306 and act to maintain motor 306 (cylindrical in shape) concentrically within upper portion 300. The first bracket 305 may be configured to permit fluid propelled by impeller 308 to flow along the periphery that separate the arms of the first bracket 305 and through an annular shaped cavity. Guides or flanges extending up from the arms may support the impeller 308, while the guides or flanges extending down may help support the motor 306.

An internal power source 310 may be configured in a semi-circular shape to fit within the annular shaped area formed around the concentricity of motor 306 within upper portion 300. An inner and outer peripheral area around the internal power source 310 permits fluid to flow around the internal power source (e.g., two channels). In some pumps, an inner annulus bounded by the motor 306 and internal power source 310 is substantially wider than an outer annulus bounded by the inner surface of the upper portion 300 and the internal power source 310. Additionally, a circuit device 312 that burns out or breaks when current passing through it exceeds a certain level may be coupled to and located proximate the internal power source 310. In other pumps, a circuit breaker may perform the same function as the circuit device 312.

Upper portion 300 may be configured to partially receive a second generally star shaped bracket 307. The second bracket 307 may have a first and a second side. The first side may comprise a plurality of guides or flanges that hold motor 306 and internal power source 310 in place. The second bracket 307 may be configured to permit fluid to flow along the periphery that separate the arms of the second bracket 307 after being positioned in the pump. The second bracket 307 may also comprise a rectangular shaped opening configured to receive a control device, such as a switch 316. The switch 316 may protrude away from the second side of the second bracket 307 into the lower portion 302.

Lower portion 302 may have a general disk shape (e.g., its height is substantially less that the height of upper portion 300) with a diameter about the same as upper portion 300. Lower portion 302 has a first and a second side. A plurality of rigid protrusions may extend from the first side of lower portion 302. These protrusions may abut the second side of the second bracket 307 when lower portion 302 is positioned on upper portion 300 and receives the lip of upper portion 300. Additionally, lower portion 302 may include a flange extending from the second side of lower portion 302. This flange may be circular shaped and may have a diameter about the same size as inlet port 304. Two inclined protrusions following the curvature of the flange may extend in a radial direction on opposite sides of the flange. A stop may extend downward in a vertical direction on one end of one of the inclined protrusions. A similar stop may be position on the opposite end of the other inclined protrusion. Together, the inclined protrusions and stops may be used to attach pump 200 to an inflatable object. In some pumps 200, the flange may form a substantially airtight seal with a receiving inlet. Alternatively, the flange may be configured to attach to the inflatable object through clips, stitching, adhesive, or mechanical structures.

In FIG. 3, the switch 316 may be used to control the fluid displacement device, and is located within the flange, under one of the inclined protrusions, so that the fluid displacement device operates when the pump 200 couples an inflatable object. A cover 309 may be provided to cover outlet port 318. This cover 309 may be completely removable or may be attached by a retaining arm 311 to the upper portion 300, lower portion 302, or both to ensure it is not lost during operation of the pump. The retaining arm 311 may also include a nubbin that may be inserted into receptacle 314 to protect the receptacle when it is not in use.

The first power source 204 and the fluid displacement device 208, shown in FIG. 2, may be enclosed in the protective housing, shown in FIG. 3, remote from the second power source 206. The first power source 204 may drive the fluid displacement device 208 when the second power source 206 is depleted or not used. The first power source 204 may be positioned within the housing and may comprise a rechargeable battery pack. The rechargeable battery pack may comprise a plurality of rechargeable cells. Some cells may include approximately 1.2V cells, connected in series and/or parallel. The rechargeable batteries may include Nickel Cadmium (“Ni-Cad”) cells and/or Nickel Metal Hydride (“Ni-MH”) cells, Lithium-Ion (“Li-Ion”) cells, or other rechargeable power sources.

When the second power source 206 is coupled to the pump 200 a portion of its current may be supplied to the first power source 204 and a portion may be supplied to the fluid displacement device 208. The portion of current supplied to the first power source 204 may be delivered at a continuous rate such that each cell is brought to a re-charged level. Once the cells of the first power source 204 are at a substantially re-charged level, some or all of the current previously supplied to the first power source 204 may be re-routed to the fluid displacement device 208. While the second power source 206 is supplying current to the first power source 204, the second power source 206 may also supply current to the fluid displacement device 208. The second power source 206 may be an alternating current (“AC”) source or a direct current (“DC”) source. A cable may couple pump 200 to second power source 206. When second power source 206 is an AC source, the cable may comprise a transformer and rectifier that transforms an AC input into a DC output. The transforming device may transfer a constant or variable electric energy from one current to another.

Alternatively, when the second power source 206 comprises a DC source, a DC input may be coupled to a DC source such as a vehicle battery. A current regulator may couple the vehicle battery to the second power source. In some devices the current regulator comprises a fuse or a circuit breaker.

FIG. 4 is a partial schematic of circuitry interfacing pump 200. The schematic includes a fluid displacement device 208, a current regulator 312, a first power source 204, a receptacle 314, a second power source 206, a plurality of diodes 400, and a control device such as a switch 316. The fluid displacement device 208 may comprise a motor 402, such as a direct current motor coupled to an impeller (not shown) which may propel a fluid. The motor may be rated at approximately 12V . If a fluid displacement device 208 includes a motor 402, a device that stores electrical energy, such as a capacitor 404, or a free wheeling diode, may be coupled across the motor's terminals to reduce radio interference or to suppress electrical transients. If a capacitor is used, some pumps use about a 0.01 microfarad capacitor. Other internal electrical storage devices may be coupled between each motor terminal and the motor case to further reduce interference. A current regulator 312 that burns out or opens when current passing through it exceeds a certain level may be coupled to the fluid displacement device 208. In some pumps a fuse or circuit breaker may be used. The fuse or circuit breaker may be rated to a predetermined current, such as about 12 amps and about 250V.

The first power source 204 may drive the fluid displacement device 208 or may receive a portion of the current from the second power source 206. The second power source 206 may be coupled to the pump 200 through receptacle 314. When the second power source 206 is coupled to the pump 200, node “a” may be coupled to node “c” through a plug that completes the circuit.

Two terminal semiconductor devices that restrict current flow chiefly in one direction couple the first power source 204. The semiconductor devices may comprise diodes. The plurality of diodes 400, shown in FIG. 4, restricts the current flow in one channel of the circuit. The plurality of diodes 400 provide a return path for the current supplied to the first power source 204. The plurality of diodes 400 may include a first diode rated with an average forward current of about 2.0 amps with a peak reverse voltage of about 20-about 60V, and a second diode rated with an average forward current of about 2.0 amps with a peak reverse voltage of about 50-about 1000V.

A controller or switch 316 may be coupled to the fluid displacement device 208. The switch 316 may be a solid state, electromechanical, or mechanical device or an automated device. The switch 316 may be located within the flange that couples the pump 200 to the inflatable object 100, and may be operated automatically when the pump 200 is coupled to the inflatable object 100. Alternatively, the switch 316 may be located in other paths of the current and may be manually operated. When the second power source 206 is coupled to the pump 200, and switch 316 is open, some or all of the current from the second power source 206 may be routed to the first power source 204. Alternatively, when switch 316 is closed, some or all of the current from the second power source 206 may be routed to the first power source 204, while some or all of the current from the second power source 206 may be routed to the fluid displacement device 208 at a substantially synchronous rate.

FIG. 5 is a partial circuit diagram of an alternate embodiment. The circuit may be configured to receive a first power source 500 or a second power source 502. Additionally, the circuit may include a fluid displacement device 208, a current regulator 312, a receptacle 314, a first plurality of diodes 400, a device that restricts current flow 504, a third power source 506, and a controller or switch 316. The pump 200 may be configured to receive the first power source 500, the second power source 502, or drive the fluid displacement device 208 with the third power source 506 if one of the first 500 or second 502 power sources is unavailable. When the first 500 or second 502 power source is not present, the receptacle 314 may couple node “a” to node “b” driving the fluid displacement device 208 with current supplied from the third power source 506. The third power source 506 may comprise a a plurality of cells connected in series and/or parallel. The cells may comprise Ni-Cad cells and/or Ni-MH cells, Li-Ion cells, or other rechargeable power sources. The current driving the fluid displacement device 208 may flow through switch 316 and a device that restricts current flow 504.

The pump 200 may couple either the first power source 500 or the second power source 502 through a cable. The first power source 500 may comprise an AC power source, and the second power source 502 may comprise a DC power source, such as a battery. When the first 500 or second 502 power source is coupled to pump 200 the receptacle 314 may couple node “a” to node “c” through a plug to complete the circuit.

FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of a pump. At act 600, an exemplary method of driving the pump begins when a second power source is detected. In this method, a switch located within a receptacle may couple the second power source to the fluid displacement device. When the second power source is detected, the switch may couple the second power source to the fluid displacement device. When the second power source is not detected, the switch may couple the first power source to the fluid displacement device. If a control switch is open at act 602, the method returns to its starting point. Alternatively, if the control switch is closed at act 602, the first power source may drive the fluid displacement device at act 604 until: (1) the first power source fails to produce a current necessary to drive the fluid displacement device, (2) the control switch opens, or (3) the pump automatically shuts-off. The control switch may close upon actuation, such as when the pump is coupled to an inflatable object and a substantially airtight seal is formed.

If the second power source is present, and the control switch is open, at act 606, the second power source may route some current to the first power source at act 608. The current provided to the first power source may be provided to the first power source at a continuous rate. The first power source may include a plurality of rechargeable cells that may be joined in parallel and/or series. The current provided to the rechargeable cells may bring the cells to a substantially re-charged level. After the cells have reached a substantially re-charged level, some of the current from the second power source may continue to be supplied to the cells to keep them charged.

When the control switch is closed, at act 606, some of the current from the second power source may be routed to the first power source at act 610. Additionally, some of the current from the second power source may be routed, at act 612, to the fluid displacement device. The amount of current routed to the first power source and to the fluid displacement device need not be equal. If the pump is still operating when the first power source has been substantially re-charged, some of the current routed to the first power source may be re-routed to the fluid displacement device. In some cases, current may be routed to the first power source to keep the cells re-charged.

Alternatively, if the control switch is opened (e.g., the pump is uncoupled from the inflatable device) and the first power source have not yet reached a charged level, some of the current previously routed to the fluid displacement device may be re-routed to the first power source. Current may continue to flow until the first power source reaches a charged level. After reaching a charged level, some of the current from the second power source may continue to be supplied to the first power source to minimize parasitic loss.

While various embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be restricted except in light of the attached claims and their equivalents.