Title:
Equipped balancing jacket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An equipped balancing jacket comprising a stiff back housing (1), a first stage pressure (101) reducer connected to at least one compressed air tank, said first stage pressure reducer being in turn connected by means of a low pressure hose (LP) to a first distributor (3) (12), said first distributor being in turn connected by lines coming out from said first distributor with a plurality of outlets (13, 14) characterized in that the stiff back housing has a cavity, the internal surface of the cavity has a grooved guide (15) and the distributor (12) is engaged with this guide and in use moves trough it.



Inventors:
Canella, Gabriele (Rapallo, IT)
Application Number:
11/000169
Publication Date:
06/09/2005
Filing Date:
11/30/2004
Assignee:
CANELLA GABRIELE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/185
International Classes:
B63C11/00; B63C11/02; B63C11/22; (IPC1-7): B63C11/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LEE, JONG SUK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LORUSSO LOUD & KELLY LLP (Portsmouth, NH, US)
Claims:
1. An equipped balancing jacket comprising a stiff back housing (1), a first stage pressure (101) reducer connected to at least one compressed air tank, said first stage pressure reducer being in turn connected by means of a low pressure hose (LP) to a first distributor (3) (12), said first distributor being in turn connected by lines coming out from said first distributor with a plurality of outlets (13, 14) characterized in that the stiff back housing has a cavity, the internal surface of the cavity has a grooved guide (15) and the distributor (12) is engaged with this guide and in use moves trough it.

2. The balancing jacket according to claim 1, wherein the guide is vertical and the distributor (12) has a protrusion (16) of profile corresponding to the groove of the guide (15) such as to allow only the vertical movement.

3. The balancing jacket according to claim 2, wherein the inside of the guide (15) has in his lower part a protrusion (17) and below the protrusion (17) the guide continues on a vertical stripe (18) attached to the lower part of the stiff back (5).

4. The balancing jacket according to claim 3, wherein on the external upper part of the stripe (18), corresponding to the docking station of the air tank, there is a protuberance (20).

5. The balancing jacket according to claim 4, wherein the length of the hose (10) is such that no bending is present with the reducer in transportation position and the reducer hooked to the protrusion (17).

6. The balancing jacket according to claim 5, wherein the length of the hose (10) and the length between of the guide (15) between the lower end (C) and the upper end (D) is such that the hose is sufficiently to connect the reducer to the air-tank.

7. The balancing jacket according to claim 6, wherein the low pressure hove is made of flexible thermoplastic material.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,287,053 filed on Feb. 23, 1999 and issued on Sep. 11, 2001 to the same Assignee, an equipped balancing jacket is described including a stiff back containing a first stage reducer, connected by lines to a high and low pressure distributor, which are connected by hose connections to various equipment. The jacket further includes exhaust valves with pneumatic or mechanical control, a manual emergency control and a mouth inflation device.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,749,369, filed on Jan. 31, 2002 and published on Jun. 15, 2004 to the same Assignee, some improvements to the device forming the object of the above mentioned patent are described, which more particularly relate to a new simplified circuit for the feeding of air at low and high pressure. Such equipped balancing jacket foresees two embodiments, one involving the use of an intermediate low pressure dispenser, while in the other the intermediate dispenser is eliminated. In both embodiments, the high pressure air does not pass through the intermediate dispenser as in U.S. Pat. No. 6,287,053, but instead is connected directly to the usage. The first dispenser, which is a low pressure dispenser, is fasten at and is housed in the internal cavity of the jacket stiff-back, whereas the connection between the first stage reducer which is connected to the bottle and the first dispenser of the low pressure line is made by a flexible hose.

The equipped balancing jackets are tailored for holding air-bottle of different sizes either in height or in diameter. The length of the flexible hose which connects the first distributor of the low pressure line to the first stage reducer has to have different lengths for better adapting to the sizes of the air-bottle hold on the jacket stiff-back.

By recovering the jacket when the reducer not connected to the air-bottle, it is advisable to protect the reducer by recovering and fastening it into a jacket docking slot and by housing the low pressure hose inside the cavity shaped inside the jacket stiff-back in order to reduce the damages to the reducer during transportation. To this extent the connecting hose his putted away into the cavity shaped inside the jacket stiff back. This procedure results more difficult as a function of the stiffness of the hose material. For this reason some hoses made of material which although are flexible show plastic deformation at particularly low curve-radius have been cast off.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has as object some improvements to the device forming the object of the above mentioned patents, which solve the problems posed. More particularly, the present invention relates to a new simplified fixing system engaging the low pressure distributor and the back of the equipped balancing jacket. The equipped balancing jacket comprising a stiff back housing, a first stage pressure reducer connected to at least one compressed air tank or bottle, said first stage pressure reducer being in turn connected by means of a low pressure hose (LP) to a first distributor, said first distributor being in turn connected by lines coming out of said first distributor with a plurality of outlets characterized in that the stiff back housing has a cavity, the internal surface of the cavity has a grooved guide and the distributor is engaged with this guide and in use moves through it.

Other preferred embodiments of the invention are described in the dependent claims. Due to this features the whole system balancing jacket including the stiff back and first stage reducer show more flexibility especially when the system is put away.

These features and advantages of the present invention

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be now better described with reference to the enclosed drawings, where:

FIG. 1 is a front view of an operative form of the equipped balancing jacket according to the prior art;

FIG. 2 is a side internal view of the external shell of the stiff-back of the equipped balancing jacket according to the first embodiment with the reducer on the rest position and the distributor on the lower dead end position.

FIG. 2a is the section of the side elevational view.

FIG. 3 is a side internal view of the external shell of the stiff-back of equipped balancing jacket according to the first embodiment with the reducer mounted on the air-bottle and the distributor on the upper dead end position.

FIG. 3a is the section of the side elevational view.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to the drawings and with particular reference to FIG. 1, the illustrated balancing jacket includes a stiff-back 1 and one part of textile material similar to the material of known jackets. At the upper part of the back 1 there is the first stage reducer 101 (not shown). On the lower part of the back 1 there is the first dispenser 201, which is the low pressure (LP) dispenser. The dispenser 201 is fixed to the back and the control group 41 and outlets are connected through lines. The first stage reducer 101 is inside the foreseen housing when the jacket is put away.

The stiff-back comprises a hollow part made by coupling two shells, one so-called internal, which adapts to the shoulders of the diver, and one so-called external where the air-bottle is fixed on his external convex seat.

The connecting hose between the first-stage reducer and the distributor is housed within the hollow part made inside the stiff-back of the jacket. The FIG. 1 schematically shows, according to the prior art, the small radius necessary to bend the hose in order to house it inside the hollow part. The jacket according to the prior art contains a second dispenser 3, from which project the hoses for the second stage 103 and the emergency second stage 203. From the reducer 101 projects a high pressure line, with a manometer or a computer 51. On the shoulders of the jacket are moreover visible the manual emergency control 61 and the mouth inflation tube 106. Cap 71 provides for air exhaustion from the jacket.

FIG. 2 shows an embodiment according the present invention. The back 1 is made by an external shell of stiff material, preferably thermoplastic, especially shaped on the external convex surface (19), FIG. 2A, to house an air-bottle for divers. The shell (5) matches the internal shell (not shown), the external surface of the internal shell is shaped to conform the back of the diver. The internal and external shells jointed by a pivot pin on prearranged places build the stiff-back of the jacket and create the internal hollow part of the jacket stiff-back. On the internal side of the shell there are particularly shaped projections (6, 7, 8 and 9), which coupled to the corresponding parts of the internal shell create the cavities and internal divisions where the high pressure hose (not shown) and the low pressure hose LP (10) are inserted. The projection (9) builds a separation on the upper part of the jacket-back where the high pressure hose (not shown) and the low pressure hose LP (10) are placed in. The low pressure hose (LP) is connected to a three or more ways distributor (12), where according to the present embodiment depart the second stage hose (13) and feeding (14) hose to the low pressure inflator of the jacket. On the internal side of the shell (5), and materially joint to the shell, there is a grooved guide (15) of given shape, which departing centrally from the lower part (C) of the shell continues centrally towards the path created by the projections 7 and 9 until the point (D) which is located at the height of the pivot pin (11). The distributor has on the side against the shell a protrusion (16) of profile corresponding to the groove of the guide (15). The distributor owing to the coupling grooved guide-protrusion is allowed to move, inside the hollow part of the jacket stiff-back made by the external shell (5) and internal shell, from the lower position (C) to the upper position (D) and opposite, by respectively pulling or pushing the hose (10). FIG. 2A shows a sectional view of the jacket stiff-back of FIG. 2, where the shaped protrusion (16) of the distributor is more visible. The internal part of the guide (15) has in his lower part a protrusion (17), below the protrusion (17) the guide continues on a vertical stripe (18) attached to the lower part of the stiff back (5). The external upper part of the stripe (18), corresponding to the docking station of the air tank, has a protuberance (20).

When the distributor (12) is at the lower dead end, the protrusion (16) of the distributor and the protrusion (17) on the guide are engaged each other, see FIG. 2A. The engagement distributor-protrusion is due to the elastic movement towards outside of the stripe (18) on the lower part (C) of the jacket stiff-back caused by the protrusion (16) of the distributor.

The stripe (18) has to be pushed, therefore lowered, to allow the releasing of the distributor which otherwise could not shift towards the upper part of the cavivity. Further, the stripe (18) sticks out from the matching area (19) of the jacket-back on the air bottle such that in the case the diver forgives to release the distributor (12) before mounting the jacket on the air bottle, the distributor is automatically released, because the stripe which sticks out from the external surface of the back is pushed during the fixing of the air-bottle on the stiff-back of the jacket.

In FIGS. 2 and 2A the distributor is at the lower dead end (C). The hose (10) is connected to the first stage reducer (not shown) which is fixed in his rest position, the hose 10 has a length such to avoid the formation of bending inside the hollow parts of the back.

FIG. 3 shows the same stiff-back (4) of FIG. 2, where the distributor has traveled inside the back of the jacket along the guide (15) to the upper dead end (D), where the distributor is stopped by the matching protuberance (21) on the guide.

The functioning of the apparatus is as follows: with reference to FIG. 2, during transportation the distributor is engaged with the protuberance (17) at the lower dead end of the guide, the first stage reducer (not shown) is inside the foreseen transportation dock and the low pressure hose connects the reducer and the distributor without creating bending. In use the diver's air-bottle is fixed on the stiff-back of jacket. The bottle pushes the protuberance (20) on the stripe towards inside and releases automatically the distributor (12) before the mounting of jacket air-bottle, because the protruding stripe is pushed during the fixing of the air bottle on the jacket stiff back. The distributor's (12) release could be affected manually by pushing the stripe (18) and pulling out the LP hose, The first stage reducer is extracted from his docking station and connected to the air-bottle by pulling out the hose sufficiently to effect the connection, the released distributor (12) travels from the lower dead end throughout the guide (15) up to the position sufficient to allow a connecting of the first stage reducer at the other end of the hose (10) to the connection with the air-bottle.

Accordingly to the embodiments of FIGS. 2 and 3, the bending on the hose has been avoided either in the rest position or during use. The LP hose (10) can advantageously be made of a material which allows some flexibility but does not have to twist for generating bends of 360° and lower radius. Advantageously either traditional rubber hose or thermoplastic hose can be used. In use the hose for the various outlets (13, 14) can be placed in as much as necessary inside the stiff back of the jacket as result of the upper movement of the distributor.