Title:
System for remotely controlling spas and hot tubs
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for remotely controlling jet pump, lighting, and air blower settings in a spa or hot tub through an integrated audio system. A wireless remote control sends signals to the integrated audio system, where the signals are interpreted, and communicated to the spa through an interface.



Inventors:
Scarlata, Stephen J. (Jupiter, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/865534
Publication Date:
12/23/2004
Filing Date:
06/10/2004
Assignee:
SCARLATA STEPHEN J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61H33/00; (IPC1-7): A47K3/00; A47K3/10
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Primary Examiner:
PAUL, DISLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brian M. Dingman, Esq. (Westborough, MA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A remotely-operated control system for spas or hot tubs having one or more of pumps, blowers and lights, comprising: an integrated audio system comprising an audio controller that drives one or more loudspeakers; a wireless remote control device that transmits wireless control signals under user control; one or more sensor modules for receiving wireless control signals from the remote control device; an electronic logic element, operatively coupled to the sensor modules, for creating, in response to the wireless control signals received by the sensor modules, appropriate control instructions for the audio system and for the pumps, blowers, and lights; means for providing control instructions to the controller; and means for providing control instructions to the pumps, blowers and lights.

2. The control system of claim 1 wherein the spa or hot tub has a spa system controller for controlling the pumps, blowers and lights, and wherein the means for providing control instructions to the pumps, blowers and lights comprises means for providing control instructions to the spa system controller.

3. The control system of claim 2, wherein the means for providing control instructions to the spa system controller and the means for providing control instructions to the audio controller are combined into a single control module connected to both the audio controller and the spa system controller.

4. The control system of claim 3, wherein the single control module further accomplishes the electronic logic element.

5. The control system of claim 1, wherein the remote control device is waterproof and floats.

6. The control system of claim 1, wherein the sensor modules are integrated into the audio system loudspeakers.

7. A remotely-operated control system for spas or hot tubs having one or more of pumps, blowers and lights and a spa system controller for controlling the pumps, blowers and lights, and an integrated audio system comprising an audio controller that drives one or more loudspeakers, the system comprising: a wireless remote control device that transmits wireless control signals under user control; one or more sensor modules integrated into one or more of the loudspeakers, for receiving wireless control signals from the remote control device; and an electronic logic element, operatively coupled to the sensor modules, for creating, in response to the wireless control signals received by the sensor modules, appropriate control instructions for the audio system and for the pumps, blowers, and lights, and providing the control instructions to the audio controller and the spa system controller.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority of Provisional application Ser. No. 60/480,050 filed on Jun. 20, 2003.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to the remote control of a spa system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Most spas or hot tubs (hereinafter together termed “spas”) commonly include various user-controllable settings to enhance the comfort and therapeutic qualities of the bathing experience. These may include one or more water pumps which circulate the water through various jets, air pumps which mix pressurized air into the flowing water, and various under water and above water lighting options. In recent years integrated audio systems have become common on many spa models. Some spa audio systems include provision for remote control. The most common configuration for spa audio systems includes two or more loudspeakers mounted on or near the top surface of the spa, and an audio head unit mounted on the outer side of the spa.

[0004] As part of the spa bathing experience, a user will need to frequently adjust the pumps, air, lighting, and audio system while bathing. Access to the control panels, which are fixed-mounted to the spa, is often very cumbersome and inconvenient for the user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The primary object of the invention is to provide a system for remotely operating the controls on a spa.

[0006] Another object of the invention is to utilize an integrated audio system as the interface between a remote control and the spa controls.

[0007] Another object of the invention is to provide a lower cost remote control solution by sharing components common to audio and spa control.

[0008] This invention may be accomplished in a system in which the operation of the various pumps, blowers, and lighting of a spa system are controlled by sharing a remote control which is designed to operate an integrated audio system. An electronic interface, connected between the audio system and the spa controller, translates the remote control signals from the audio system and sends signals to the spa controller.

[0009] This invention features a remotely-operated control system for spas or hot tubs having one or more of pumps, blowers and lights, comprising an integrated audio system comprising an audio controller that drives one or more loudspeakers, a wireless remote control device that transmits wireless control signals under user control, one or more sensor modules for receiving wireless control signals from the remote control device, and an electronic logic element, operatively coupled to the sensor modules, for creating, in response to the wireless control signals received by the sensor modules, appropriate control instructions for the audio system and for the pumps, blowers, and lights. There are means for providing control instructions to the controller, and means for providing control instructions to the pumps, blowers and lights.

[0010] The spa or hot tub may have a spa system controller for controlling the pumps, blowers and lights, in which case the means for providing control instructions to the pumps, blowers and lights may comprise means for providing control instructions to the spa system controller. The means for providing control instructions to the spa system controller and the means for providing control instructions to the audio controller are preferably combined into a single control module connected to both the audio controller and the spa system controller. The single control module preferably further accomplishes the electronic logic element. The remote control device may be waterproof and may float. The sensor modules may be integrated into the audio system loudspeakers.

[0011] Also featured in the invention is a remotely-operated control system for spas or hot tubs having one or more of pumps, blowers and lights and a spa system controller for controlling the pumps, blowers and lights, and an integrated audio system comprising an audio controller that drives one or more loudspeakers, the system comprising a wireless remote control device that transmits wireless control signals under user control, one or more sensor modules integrated into one or more of the loudspeakers, for receiving wireless control signals from the remote control device, and an electronic logic element, operatively coupled to the sensor modules, for creating, in response to the wireless control signals received by the sensor modules, appropriate control instructions for the audio system and for the pumps, blowers, and lights, and providing the control instructions to the audio controller and the spa system controller.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following descriptions, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein, by way of illustration and example, an embodiment of the present invention is disclosed.

[0013] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the primary components of the preferred embodiment of the system of the invention; and

[0014] FIG. 2 is a more detailed block diagram of the preferred signals and processing logic of the system of FIG. 1.

[0015] The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments to the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. It is to be understood that in some instances various aspect of the invention may be shown exaggerated or enlarged to facilitate an understanding of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0016] Detailed descriptions of the preferred embodiment are provided herein. It is to be understood, however, that the present invention may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but rather as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed system, structure or manner.

[0017] Turning to FIG. 1 there is shown a block diagram of the primary components of the preferred embodiment of the system 12 of the invention. A spa audio system is typically comprised of at least two loudspeakers 7. The loudspeakers are fitted with infra-red sensors 8 which convey control information back to the interface processor 1. The spa interface processor 1 interfaces to audio controller 4 via a controller interface bus 2, and to a spa controller 3. Spa controller 3 comprises the main control electronics for the spa. Remote control 5 has buttons programmed to send control information for all of the audio functions for the audio system. In addition, there are several buttons programmed to send codes that are reserved for control of the spa functions. Remote control 5 is preferably made waterproof, and configured to float, so that it can be used by people immersed in the water. Spa interface processor 1 contains a microprocessor responsible for interpreting the custom spa remote codes, converting them, and sending the information along to spa controller 3.

[0018] FIG. 2 is a more detailed view of one manner of partitioning system 12 of the invention. Signals from remote control 5 arrive at remote sensor module(s) 8. This module can be designed to accept Infra-Red (IR) data, Radio Frequency (RF) data, or other forms of wirelessly transmitted data. Interface processor 1 is an electronic logic element that has the ability to buffer the remote control data, decode the signals, and provide appropriate instruction (meeting the particular requirements of the spa into which the invention is integrated) to the spa system controller 3, and audio system controller 4. Thus, the system of the invention can be accomplished by adding to spas with electronic spa controllers and an audio head unit, one or more remote sensor modules, and an electronic logic element that receives signals from the sensor module(s) and in response provides appropriate spa system control signals to the spa controller and the audio head unit.

[0019] While the invention has been described in connection with a preferred embodiment, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular form set forth, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.