Title:
Washer and vacuum system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A washer and vacuum system having a vacuum unit that discharges and intakes gas, usually air. A washer unit discharges liquid, usually water. A tube selection system within a tube arrangement extending from said vacuum unit enables the vacuum unit to selectively intake air, or discharge air. The washer unit is indirectly connected to a water discharge hose. The water discharge hose has a portion that is disposed within said vacuum hose. The water discharge hose extends through said vacuum hose, having a distal end disposed outside of said vacuum hose. The water discharge hose has a distal end for the removable connection of various accessories. The vacuum hose has a distal end for the removable connection of various accessories. The washer and vacuum unit can be disposed in a casing for easy transport. Or it can be hard wired into a vehicle, such as a boat.



Inventors:
Mein, Gary (Kalamazoo, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/787587
Publication Date:
08/25/2005
Filing Date:
02/25/2004
Assignee:
MEIN GARY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/330
International Classes:
A47L5/00; A47L7/00; A47L9/00; B63B59/06; (IPC1-7): A47L5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SNIDER, THERESA T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT J. SAYFIE, P.C. (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
1. A washer and vacuum system comprising: a vacuum unit that selectively either discharges or intakes gas, said vacuum unit fixedly disposed in a casing; a washer unit that discharges liquid, said washer unit fixedly disposed in said casing; a tube arrangement having a vacuum tube and a blower tube, said tube arrangement fixedly disposed in said casing, said vacuum tube extending from said vacuum unit, said blower tube extending from said vacuum unit, said vacuum tube and said blower tube intersecting at an intersection point, hereby forming a single vacuum-blower tube, said vacuum-blower tube extending from within said casing, through an aperture in a bottom front casing wall, to terminate outside of said casing; a tube selection system coacting with said tube arrangement; a washer liquid discharge tube extending from said washer unit, through a bottom right side casing wall, to terminate outside of said casing; and a controller to selectively activate said washer unit, said vacuum unit, and to further activate said tube selection system, whereby said tube selection system can be selected to enable said vacuum unit to either intake gas, or discharge gas through said vacuum-blower tube.

2. The washer and vacuum system of claim 1, further comprising: a tube selection system being a tube selection junction box.

3. The washer and vacuum system of claim 1, further comprising: a first valve openably and closably disposed within said vacuum tube between the vacuum unit and said intersection point; a second valve openably and closably disposed within said vacuum tube between said first valve and said intersection point; a third valve openably and closably disposed within said blower tube between said vacuum unit and said intersection point; and a fourth valve openably and closably disposed within said blower tube between said third valve and said intersection point, whereby said controller can be selected to open said first valve and said third valve, and close said second valve and said fourth valve to enable said vacuum unit to intake gas through said intake tube, and said controller can be selected to open said second valve and said fourth valve, and close said first valve and said third valve to enable said vacuum unit to discharge gas through said blower tube.

4. The washer and vacuum system of claim 1 further comprising: a vacuum water discharge member extending from the vacuum unit through a casing wall.

5. The washer and vacuum system of claim 1, further comprising: a caster disposed on the outside of said casing; and a handle disposed on the outside of the casing, whereby the handle can be gripped while walking, and said caster rollingly supports said casing off of the ground.

6. The washer and vacuum system of claim 1, further comprising: said casing having a top part, and a bottom part; and a hinge member attached so that said casing can be opened and closed.

7. The washer and vacuum system of claim 1, further comprising: an electrical plug connected to said washer unit and said vacuum unit, whereby said electrical plug is adapted so as to enable said washer unit and said vacuum unit to be powered by electricity.

8. The washer and vacuum system of claim 1, further comprising: said vacuum-blower tube terminating in a vacuum-blower hook-up outside of said casing; said washer water discharge tube terminating in a water discharge connection outside of said casing; a washer water discharge hose is removably connected to said water discharge connection; and a vacuum hose is removably connected to said vacuum-blower hook-up.

9. The washer and vacuum system of claim 8, further comprising: said water discharge hose extends from said washer water discharge connection, a portion of said washer water discharge hose is disposed within said vacuum hose.

10. A washer and vacuum system of claim 1, wherein said tube selection system being a tube selection junction box fixedly disposed to said tube arrangement between said intersection point and said vacuum unit, said tube selection junction box comprising: a bottom panel fixedly disposed to the casing bottom; a first wall extending upwardly from and fixedly secured to said bottom panel; said first wall having a first wall upper chamber opening and a first wall lower chamber opening; a second wall extending upwardly from and fixedly secured to said bottom panel substantially parallel to said first wall; a third wall extending upwardly from and fixedly secured to said bottom panel, said third wall disposed perpendicular to said bottom panel, said first wall, and said second wall; a fourth wall extending upwardly from and fixedly secured to said bottom panel substantially parallel to said third wall; a top panel fixedly disposed to the first wall, second wall, third wall, and fourth wall, and substantially parallel to said bottom panel, whereby said first wall, said second wall, said third wall, said fourth wall, said bottom panel, and said top panel define an enclosed cube; said second wall having an inner face that faces said first wall; said second wall has a second wall vacuuming operation discharge hole disposed between a top panel and a second wall vacuuming operation intake hole, said second wall also has a second wall blowing operation discharge hole between said top panel and a second wall blowing operation intake hole; said third wall and said fourth wall each having a plate slot aligned with the other; a tube selection plate that horizontally biases through said plate slots; said tube selection plate having a tube selection plate discharge hole and a tube selection plate intake hole disposed vertically below said tube selection plate discharge hole; a center divider fixedly disposed to said first wall, extending toward said tube selection plate, whereby said enclosed cube is divided into an upper chamber and a lower chamber, each of said chambers having substantially equal volumes; a solenoid that is fixedly secured to the casing bottom, and having an arm that is fixedly secured to the tube selection plate, whereby the solenoid can be selected to bias the tube selection plate so as too enable said vacuum unit to either intake gas, or discharge gas through said vacuum-blower tube; whereby when said solenoid arm is extended away from said solenoid, the vacuum unit can be used to intake air through said vacuum blower tube and said second wall vacuuming operation intake hose, and when said solenoid arm is retracted toward said solenoid, the vacuum unit can be used to discharge air through said vacuum blower tube and said second wall blowing operation discharge hole.

11. A washer and vacuum system of claim 10, further comprising: said vacuum tube extending from said vacuum unit to said first wall lower chamber opening; said blower tube extending from said vacuum unit to said first wall upper chamber opening; a vacuuming operation discharge tube having a first end connected to said second wall vacuuming operation discharge hole and a second end that extends out said casing; a vacuuming operation intake tube having a first end connected to said second wall vacuuming operation intake hole and extending from said first end to said intersection point; a blowing operation intake tube having a first end connected to said second wall blowing operation intake hole and extending to said intersection point, to intersect with said vacuuming operation intake tube, thereby forming said single vacuum-blower tube; and a blowing operation discharge tube having a first end connected to said second wall blowing operation discharge hole, and having a second end extending out of said casing.

12. A washer and vacuum system comprising: a vacuum unit that coacts with an impeller to selectively discharge or intake gas, said vacuum unit fixedly disposed in a casing; a washer unit that discharges liquid, said washer unit fixedly disposed in said casing; a tube arrangement having a single vacuum-blower tube, said vacuum-blower tube extending from within said casing, through an aperture in a bottom front casing wall, to terminate outside of said casing; a washer water discharge tube extending from said washer unit, through a bottom right side casing wall, to terminate outside of said casing; and a controller to selectively activate either said washer unit, or said vacuum unit, and to further activate said valve, whereby said valve can be selected to enable said vacuum unit to either intake gas, or discharge gas through said vacuum-blower tube; said vacuum-blower tube terminating in a vacuum-blower hook-up outside of said casing; said washer water discharge tube terminating in a washer water discharge connection outside of said casing; a washer water discharge hose at its proximal end is removably connected to said washer water discharge connection; a vacuum hose has a proximal end that is removably connected to said vacuum-blower hook-up, said washer water discharge hose extends from said washer water discharge connection, a portion of said washer water discharge hose is disposed within said vacuum hose; and said washer water discharge hose extending from within said vacuum hose through a wall of said vacuum hose, terminating at a sprayer connection at its distal end; and said vacuum hose terminating at a distal end to removably receive vacuum accessories; whereby, when said impeller rotates in a first direction, said vacuum-blower tube intakes air, and when said impeller rotates in a second direction, said vacuum-blower tube discharges air.

13. The washer and vacuum system of claim 1, further comprising: a vacuum accessory removably attached to said distal end of said vacuum hose.

14. The washer and vacuum system of claim 1, further comprising: a sprayer accessory removably attached to said sprayer connection.

15. The washer and vacuum system of claim 13, further comprising: said vacuum accessory being arcuate in shape, whereby it can be used to clean cylindrical shaped objects.

16. The washer and vacuum system of claim 13, further comprising: said vacuum accessory being squeegee in shape, whereby it can be used to clean flat shaped objects.

17. The washer and vacuum system of claim 15, further comprising: said sprayer accessory having a brush movably mounted on said sprayer accessory, said brush movement powered by water pressure.

18. A washer and vacuum system that is installed in a vehicle comprising: a vacuum unit that selectively discharges or intakes gas, said vacuum unit fixedly disposed in the vehicle; a washer unit that discharges liquid, said washer unit fixedly disposed in said vehicle; a tube arrangement having a vacuum tube and a blower tube, said tube arrangement fixedly disposed in the vehicle, said vacuum tube extending from said vacuum unit, said blower tube extending from said vacuum unit, said vacuum tube and said blower tube intersecting at an intersection point, hereby forming a single vacuum-blower tube, said vacuum-blower tube extending from within said vehicle, through an aperture in a console, to terminate outside of said console; a valve disposed in said tube arrangement; a washer water discharge tube extending from said washer unit, through a console, to terminate outside of said console; and a controller to selectively activate either said washer unit, or said vacuum unit, and to further activate said valve, whereby said valve can be selected to enable said vacuum unit to either intake gas, or discharge gas through said vacuum-blower tube.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a washer and vacuum system with capability for forward and reverse air flow, and more particularly, to a unified and compact power washer and vacuum system that is portable, or that can be hard-wired and fixed within a vehicle, such as a boat or recreational vehicle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Boaters maintain their boats by regular washing and vacuuming. This is true for the exterior and interior of the boat. For example, in the morning, it is common to have dew, insects, and other debris on a boat cover, or on the boat exterior, which includes the windows and hull. To remove the dew, insects, and other debris, boaters commonly wipe them off with a rag or brush. Alternatively, removal can be performed by spraying the cover or boat with water from a spicket and hose at a dock, if the boat is docked and the dock has such facilities. Then the water must be wiped off to dry the cover or boat. However the boat is usually in the water. Thus, climbing over the boat, and reaching down to wipe and spray the cover or boat is impractical, inefficient, and dangerous. Also, cleaning of the rails and other accessories on a boat also require wiping down and cleaning by spraying, or with a separate rag or towel. A vacuum is also used to vacuum debris.

Conventional means for cleaning the interior of a boat also include the use of a vacuum or a water sprayer. But it is impractical to carry or transport both the vacuum and water sprayer with an accompanying hose. The water sprayer can be a power washer.

The washer and vacuum system of this invention has capabilities of positive and negative air pressure, or in other words, forward and reverse air pressure. Thus the washer and vacuum system includes: (1) a water power washer assembly; (2) an assembly that can discharge air by positive air pressure, also referred to as forward air pressure, which occurs during the blowing operation; and (3) an assembly that can intake air by negative air pressure, also referred to as reverse air pressure, which occurs during the vacuuming operation.

The system can be portable, and supported by wheels for easily transporting the washer and vacuum system. The system is powered by electricity. For example, 120 volts in North America, or 110 volts in Europe, and the Middle East.

In a different embodiment the washer and vacuum system can be mounted and hard-wired within the vehicle, having hose hook-ups located on a console.

Multiple embodiments of the washer and vacuum system are disclosed herein. It will be understood that other objects and purposes of the invention, and variations thereof, will be apparent upon reading the following specification and inspecting the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention solves the problems of inconvenient cleaning practices that are presently employed with boats, vehicles, or household use. Use of the applicant's invention enables a person to clear debris and wash a vehicle with a single compact system.

Alternatively, the unit can be permanently or removably installed within a vehicle. If the system is installed in the vehicle, then the system would have conveniently located hook-ups or connections for the vacuum (including the hook-ups for positive and negative airflow) and fluid washing members. The hook-ups or connections would be disposed on a console.

The system can be used not only in conjunction with boats, but also for household use or with other vehicles. Such as recreational vehicles, commercial cruisers and vessels, submarines, airplanes, and spacecraft. Further, the system can be used at camp sites, military installations, or similar remote areas.

This invention comprises a vacuum unit, a washer unit, and a fluid displacement assembly. The vacuum unit and washer unit can be one single unit, capable of performing both tasks.

The washer and vacuum system, if in a portable case, can be carried or rolled onto the boat or dock, and plugged into an electrical socket located on either the boat or dock. Then, the appropriate hose, sprayer, or accessory is attached for appropriate washing, blowing, or vacuuming. The system can be powered from a switch located on the portable case, or located at a distal end of the vacuum hose near the handle of the sprayer or accessory.

If the washer and vacuum system is installed in a vehicle, then the electrical system will be hard-wired into an electrical or other power system of the vehicle. The user then attaches the appropriate vacuum or water hose, or accessory to a hook-up or connection located on a console. The unit can be powered from a switch on the console or at a distal end of the hose, washer, or accessory.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of a washer and vacuum system.

FIG. 1A is a sectional view of a valve, taken along the section line 1A-1A of FIG. 1.

FIG. 2 is a pictorial view of a vacuum hose with a sprayer, and optional vacuum attachments.

FIG. 3 is a schematic of the valve system during the vacuuming operation.

FIG. 4 is a schematic of the valve system during the air blowing operation.

FIG. 5 is a pictorial view of a second embodiment of the washer and vacuum system.

FIG. 6 is a pictorial view of a portion of a tube arrangement of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of a tube selection junction box of FIG. 5 during the vacuuming operation.

FIG. 7A is a sectional view of a portion of FIG. 7 taken along section line 7A.

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of a tube selection junction box of FIG. 5 during the blowing operation.

FIG. 8A is a sectional view of a portion of FIG. 8 taken along section line 8A.

Certain terminology will be used in the following description for convenience and reference only, and will not be limiting. For example, the words “upwardly,” “downwardly,” “rightwardly,” and “leftwardly” will refer to directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words “inwardly” and “outwardly” will refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of the system and designated parts. Said terminology will include the words specifically mentioned, derivatives, and similar words.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a washer and vacuum system 20 of the first embodiment is illustrated and includes an openable and closeable substantially rigid rectangular cube-shaped casing 22 that has a substantially flat bottom 24, a substantially flat bottom front wall 26 extending upwardly from said bottom 24, substantially flat bottom side walls 28 extending upwardly from said bottom and perpendicular to the bottom front wall 26, and a substantially flat bottom rear wall 30 extending upwardly from said bottom 24 and parallel with the bottom front wall 26. The casing 22 has a substantially flat top 32 that is oriented essentially parallel with the flat bottom 24 when the casing 22 is closed. The casing 22 also has a substantially flat top front wall 34, substantially flat top side walls 36, and a substantially flat top rear wall 38 to enclose the washer and vacuum system 20 when the casing 20 is closed. The substantially flat bottom rear wall 30 is hingedly connected to the substantially flat top rear wall 38 via a hinge 31 having one side fixed to an inside edge of the top rear wall 38 and the other side of the hinge 31 fixed to a corresponding inside edge of the bottom rear wall 30. Alternatively, the hinge 31 can be disposed on corresponding outside edges. A bottom locking member 40 is fixed to an outside surface of the substantially flat bottom front wall 26, and engages with a top locking member 42 fixed to the top front wall 34, to disengagably close the casing 22. The substantially flat bottom rear wall 30 has vents 44 within the casing 22. The vents 44 can be used to release heat or to equalize pressure, among other things. The substantially flat bottom sidewalls 28 have a power supply aperture 46, a water intake aperture 48, and a vacuum water discharge aperture 50. The substantially flat bottom front wall 26 has a power washer discharge aperture 52, a vacuum-blower aperture 54, a power socket 56, and a master power switch 58. The substantially flat top front wall 34 has a carrying handle 60 secured thereon.

Other embodiments of the casing 22 suggest that the casing 22 has more or less venting as described above. Also, the apertures 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, can be disposed anywhere in the casing 22. It is also suggested that a single aperture can replace some of the above described apertures. For example, one aperture can be used for both a power supply and a water intake. It is also suggested that the on-off switch can be replaced with a switch that can power the wash and vacuum system 20 as a whole, or can separately be selected to power only a vacuum unit 62, or a washer unit 124. It is further suggested that the bottom locking member 40 and top locking member 42 can be replaced with other locking arrangements, such as the use of magnetic forces, or spring forces.

The system of the preferred embodiment is powered by electricity. For example, in North America, 120 volts power the system. In Europe and the Middle East, 110 volts power the system.

The vacuum unit 62 is fixed in the casing 22 to the substantially flat bottom 24 adjacent a right bottom side wall 28. A tube arrangement 64 comprises two tubes that are secured at one end to the vacuum unit 62, which extend from the vacuum unit 62. The first tube is a vacuum intake tube 66 to intake debris into the vacuum unit 62. The second tube is the blower tube 68 to discharge air from the vacuum unit 62. The tubes 66 and 68 intersect at an intersection point 70, forming a single vacuum-blower tube 120. The vacuum-blower tube 120 extends forwardly through the vacuum-blower aperture 54, which also supports the tube arrangement 64.

The vacuum unit 62 can intake liquids, solids, or gasses.

The tube arrangement 64 is comprised of tubes that are circular in diameter, rigid, and have an inside diameter of about 2.54 cm (1 inch).

Both tubes 66, 68 intersect, thereby defining a tube intersection point 70. The intersection point is located within the casing 22.

The tube arrangement 64 includes a tube selection system, which in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 comprises four valves discussed below.

The vacuum intake tube 66 has a first valve 72 disposed between a second valve 74 and the vacuum unit 62. Thus the second valve 74 is disposed between the first valve 72 and the tube intersection point 70.

As seen in FIG. 1A, each valve 72, 74 is a circular butterfly valve having a shape that is substantially the same as the inside diameter of the vacuum intake tube 66. Thus preventing fluid flow when the valve 72 is closed. Each valve 72, 74 is fixedly mounted to a first and second rotatably vertically oriented valve pin 76, 78. Thus the respective pin 76, 78 and valve 72, 74 rotate in unison.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, a first horizontally oriented valve lever 84 has a first end that is fixedly secured at a top of the first valve pin 76. A first valve solenoid 86 is fixed to the casing bottom 24. The first valve solenoid 86 has a linearly movable actuating arm pivotally and forwardly secured to the first valve lever 84 at an opposed second end, to rotate the first valve pin 76, and thereby open and close the first valve 72. When the valve 72 is open, fluid e.g. air, can flow through. When the valve 72 is closed, fluid e.g. air can not flow through. A first valve spring 88 is tensionally, fixedly, and rearwardly mounted to the second end and the vacuum unit 62 to assist the first valve solenoid 86 to close the first valve 72, or to maintain a closed position. In other words one end of the spring 88 is connected to the second end, and the other end of the spring 88 is fixed to the tube arrangement 64 or casing 22. And being so fixed, the spring 88 is in tension. The spring 88 is aligned substantially coaxial and parallel to the solenoid's 86 motion of travel.

A second horizontally oriented valve lever 90 is fixedly disposed at a top of the second valve, pin 78 at one end. A second valve solenoid 92 is fixed to the casing 22. The second valve solenoid 92 having a linearly movable actuating arm pivotally and rearwardly secured to the second valve pin lever 90 at an opposed end, to rotate the second valve pin 78, and thereby open and close the second valve 74. When the valve 74 is open, fluid e.g. air, can flow through. When the valve 74 is closed, fluid e.g. air, can not flow through. A second valve spring 94 is tensionally, fixedly, and forwardly mounted to the opposed end and the wall 26 to assist the second valve solenoid 92 to close the second valve 74, or to maintain a closed position. In other words, one end of the spring 94 is attached to the opposed end, and the other end of the spring 94 is attached to the wall 26. Here, the spring 94 is in tension.

The blower tube 68 has a third valve 96 disposed between a fourth valve 98 and the vacuum unit 62. Thus the fourth valve 98 is disposed between the third valve 96 and the tube intersection point 70. Each valve 96, 98 is a circular butterfly valve having a shape that is substantially the same as the inside diameter of the blower tube 68. Each valve 96, 98 is fixedly mounted to a third and fourth valve pin 100, 102. Thus the respective pin 100, 102 and valve 96, 98 rotate in unison.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, a third horizontally oriented valve lever 108 is fixedly connected between its ends on a top portion of the third valve pin 100. A third valve solenoid 110 is fixed to the casing bottom 24. The third valve solenoid 110 has a linearly movable actuating arm pivotally secured and disposed rearwardly of a rightward end of the third valve lever 108, to rotate the third valve pin 100, and thereby open and close the third valve 96. When the valve 96 is open, fluid e.g. air, can flow through. When the valve 96 is closed, fluid e.g. air, can not flow through. A third valve spring 112 is tensionally, fixedly, and rearwardly connected to the leftward end of the third valve lever 108 and the blower tube 68 to assist the third valve solenoid 110 to close the third valve 96, or to maintain a closed position. In other words, one end of the spring 112 is connected to the leftward end, and the other end of the spring 112 is fixed to the casing 22 or the tube arrangement 64. Here the spring 112 is held in tension. The spring 112 is aligned leftwardly transverse from, and substantially parallel to the solenoid's 110 motion of travel.

A fourth horizontally oriented valve lever 114 is fixedly connected between its ends on a top of the fourth valve pin 102. A fourth valve solenoid 116 is fixed to the casing bottom 24. The fourth valve solenoid has a linearly movable actuating arm pivotally and rightwardly connected to a front end of the fourth valve lever 114, to rotate the fourth valve pin 102, and thereby open and close the fourth valve 98. When the valve 98 is open, fluid e.g. air, can flow through. When the valve 98 is closed, fluid e.g. air can not flow through. A fourth valve spring 118 is tensionally, fixedly, and rearwardly connected to a rear end of the fourth valve lever 114 and either the casing 22 or the tube arrangement 64 to assist the fourth valve solenoid 116 to close the fourth valve 98, or to maintain a closed position. In other words, one end of the spring 118 is fixedly connected to the most rear end of the fourth valve lever 114, and the other end of the spring 118 is fixed to, for example, the casing 22 or the tube arrangement 64. The spring 118 is aligned rearwardly transverse from and substantially parallel to the solenoid's 116 motion of travel.

In a further embodiment, each solenoid 86, 92, 110, 116 is fixedly secured to at least either the vacuum intake tube 66, the blower tube 68, a portion of the casing 22, or a frame or platform fixed to the casing 22. Therefore, when the solenoid 86, 92, 110, 116 is activated, it moves the respective valve lever, 84, 90, 108, 114, which repositions e.g. opens and closes the respective valve 72, 74, 96, 98. Each solenoid has specifications that include 110 volts, 60 kilohertz, and has about a 2.54 cm (1 inch) length of travel. Dayton Electrical Co. of Dayton, Ohio sells one such solenoid.

Extending rightwardly from the vacuum unit 62 is a vacuum water discharge member 51, which extends out of casing 22 and through the vacuum water discharge aperture 50. If the vacuum unit 62 intakes liquid, the liquid is discharged through member 51. This can be performed by a pump fixedly disposed in the vacuum unit 62.

As stated above, the vacuum intake tube 66 and blower tube 68 intersect at the tube intersection point 70. This intersection of the vacuum intake tube 66 and the blower tube 68 form a vacuum-blower tube 120. The vacuum-blower tube extends forwardly from the tube intersection point 70, and through the vacuum-blower aperture 54, terminating at a vacuum-blower hook-up 122.

Referring to FIG. 2, the vacuum-blower hook-up 122 (as shown in FIG. 1) removably holds, via a force fit or snap fit connection, an elongate flexible fluid displacement assembly 136 at the assembly's 136 proximal end 137.

In one embodiment, the vacuum unit 62 has a five (5) horse power motor. In a further embodiment the vacuum unit has a one (1) horse power motor.

As seen in FIG. 1, a washer unit 124 is fixedly disposed to the casing bottom 24, leftwardly of the vacuum unit 62. The washer unit 124 has a fan that displaces air rearwardly towards and through vertically oriented vent slots 44.

The washer unit 124 has a water supply intake tube 128 extending leftwardly through the water intake aperture 48, terminating in a water intake connection 130. A conventional hose can be connected to the water intake connection 130 to supply water from a water source, such as a spicket. The washer unit 124 has a washer water discharge tube 132 extending forwardly through the water discharge aperture 50, terminating in a washer water discharge connection 134.

In one embodiment the washer pumps water out at about 1.2 gallons per minute at 1300 psi.

The elongate flexible fluid displacement assembly 136 comprises a vacuum hose 138, a washer water discharge hose 140, and a wiring harness 142. The washer water discharge hose 140, at its proximal end 141, removably engages with the washer water discharge connection 134 via a snap-fit connection. Extending from the proximal end 141 of the washer water discharge hose 140, the washer water discharge hose 140 becomes disposed within the vacuum hose 138, having a distal end that extends outside the vacuum hose 138, terminating in a sprayer connection 144, as shown in FIG. 2.

Here, a sprayer 146 is removably connected to the sprayer connection 144. The wiring harness 142, at its proximal end has male connectors 148 to removably plug into the power socket 56. The wiring harness is disposed and extends within the vacuum hose 138, and at its distal end, is connected to a distal switch 150. The distal switch 150 is fixed to the distal end of the vacuum hose 138.

The wiring harness 142 and all other wiring include approved wiring such as 14-gage wire in one embodiment.

In one embodiment the water discharge hose 140 has an inside diameter of about 0.635 cm (0.25 inch).

As illustrated in FIG. 2, a designated middle portion of the vacuum hose 138 is flexible. The proximal end and distal end of the vacuum hose 138 is each rigid. The vacuum hose distal end terminates in a vacuum-blower accessory connection 152.

Referring to FIG. 3, the tube arrangement 64 and the first 72, second 74, third 96, and fourth valve 98, are shown during the vacuuming operation. When vacuuming, instead of blowing, the second 74 and third 96 valves are open, and the first 72 and fourth 98 valves are closed.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the tube arrangement 64 and the first 72, second 74, third 96, and fourth valve 98, are shown during the blowing operation. When blowing, instead of vacuuming, the first 72 and fourth 98 valves are open, and the second 74 and third 96 valves are closed.

Referring to FIG. 2, accessories removably connect to the vacuum-blower accessory connection 152. Accessories include a rail accessory 154, for vacuuming or blowing air through rail apertures 156, while placing the rail accessory 154 adjacent to rails of boats or other vehicles. Another accessory includes a flat surface accessory 158. The flat surface accessory 158 used for vacuuming or blowing while placing the flat surface accessory 158 adjacent a flat surface, such as a window. Or a common vacuum accessory 157 can be attached.

To operate the wash and vacuum system 20, the master power switch 58 is turned on. To use the washer, the sprayer 146 is connected to the sprayer connection 144. The distal switch 150 is set to activate the washer unit 124. Water enters the water supply intake tube 128 via a conventional hose that is removable secured to the water intake connection 130. The washer unit 124 pumps water out through the water discharge tube 132, through the water discharge hose 140, and then through the sprayer 146. The washer can be turned off from the distal switch 150.

Next, for vacuuming, the desired accessory is attached to the vacuum-blower accessory connection 152. The distal switch 150 is moved to a position to activate the vacuum unit 62, and arrange the valves as shown in FIG. 3. If the vacuum unit 62 takes in liquid, the liquid is discharged out of the vacuum discharge member 51.

For blowing, the desired accessory is attached to the vacuum-blower accessory connection 152. The distal switch 150 is moved to a position to activate the vacuum unit 62, and arrange the valves as shown in FIG. 4.

In one embodiment, the entire portable unit of the wash and vacuum system 20 weighs about 11.34 kg (25 pounds). The height, length, and width dimensions are about 76.2 cm×45.72 cm×25.4 cm (2.5 ft×1.5 ft×10 inches).

It is also suggested that a ground fault breaker be incorporated because of the wash and vacuum system's use near water.

It is also suggested that a variable pressure valve and controller be employed to vary the pressure that water is pumped from the washer unit 124. Similarly, the vacuum unit's 62 vacuum and blower air pressure can be varied.

In a further embodiment, the vacuum unit 62 and washer unit 124 are disposed within the vehicle body, such as a boat hull. In this case each unit 62, 124 is hard-wired into the vehicles electrical system. All of the hook-ups or connections are conveniently located on a console. The power can be activated by simply engaging a hose with a hook-up or connection. Or an appropriate controller or switch can be located on the console and on the distal end of the fluid displacement assembly 136.

In other embodiments the units 62, 124 are disposed within other vehicles such as recreational vehicles, or spacecraft.

In a further embodiment, the vacuum unit 62 and washer unit 124 can be combined, so a single vacuum-washer unit can perform the same functions as the separate units 62, 124.

In a further embodiment, the vacuum unit 62 and washer unit 124 can be combined, so a single vacuum-washer unit can perform the same functions.

In one embodiment, a soap dispenser is adapted so as to dispose soap from the sprayer 146. The soap dispenser could be either within the casing 22, or outside of casing 22. The soap dispenser would a venturi pump system to dispense soap within the water.

In one embodiment a rotating or aggitatingly movable brush is movably connected at a distal end of the sprayer 146. This brush is powered by water pressure. The brush can be used to clean roughly textured, and difficult to reach surfaces.

The preferred embodiment is disclosed in FIG. 5. Like reference numerals above correspond to like elements. In this embodiment the tube selection system comprises a tube selection junction box 216, which is defined by a substantially vertically oriented square first wall 228, a substantially vertically oriented square second wall 232, a substantially horizontally oriented rectangular top panel 236, a substantially horizontally oriented rectangular bottom panel 240 (shown in FIGS. 7A, 8A), a substantially vertically oriented rectangular third wall 244 (shown in FIG. 6), a substantially vertically oriented rectangular fourth wall 248, and a substantially horizontally oriented rectangular center divider 252 (shown in FIGS. 7A, 8A).

Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, the second wall 232 has an inner face 234 that faces the first wall 228. The bottom panel 240 is fixedly secured to the casing bottom 24.

The third wall 244 and opposed fourth wall 248 each have a slot 249 aligned with the other. The slot 249 is about 8.89 cm (3.50 inch) high by about 0.64 cm (0.25 inch) wide.

A rectangular tube selection plate 272 is fixedly connected to an arm 304 of a solenoid 300; so as to be moveably disposed within said slots 249 adjacent the inner face 234 in the horizontal direction. The tube selection plate 272 has a tube selection plate discharge hole 276. The tube selection plate 272 has a tube selection plate intake hole 280 aligned vertically below the tube selection plate discharge hole 276.

The first wall 228 and the second wall 232 are fixedly disposed to and between the top panel 236 and the bottom panel 240. Also, the first wall 228 and the second wall 232 are fixedly disposed to and between the third wall 244 and the fourth wall 248.

Referring to FIGS. 7A and 8A, the center divider 252 is fixedly secured to the first wall 228, extending toward the tube selection plate 272, and is disposed between the top panel 236 and the bottom panel 240, to define an upper chamber 256, and a lower chamber 260 of the junction box 216, as seen in FIGS. 7A and 8A.

As shown in FIGS. 7A and 8A, the first wall 228 has a first wall upper chamber opening 264 in the left-upper quadrant (as seen in FIGS. 7A and 8A), and a first wall lower chamber opening 268 in the right-lower chamber (as seen in FIGS. 7A and 8A).

As shown in FIGS. 7A and 8A, the second wall 232 has four holes, a second wall vacuuming operation discharge hole 284 is disposed in the right-upper quadrant, or in other words, between the top panel 236 and a second wall vacuuming operation intake hole 288. Thus hole 284 provides access to the upper chamber 256 via the second wall 232. And the hole 288 disposed substantially vertically below the hole 284, provides access to the lower chamber 260 via the second wall 232. Further, the second wall vacuuming operation intake hole 288 is between the second wall vacuuming operation discharge hole 284 and the bottom panel 240. A second wall blowing operation discharge hole 292 is disposed in the left-upper quadrant, or in other words, between the top panel 236 and a second wall blowing operation intake hole 296. Thus hole 292 provides access to the upper chamber 256 via the second wall 232. And hole 296 provides access to the lower chamber 260 via the second wall 232. Further, the second wall blowing operation intake hole 296 is disposed in the left-lower quadrant, or in other words, between the second wall blowing operation discharge hole 292 and the bottom panel 240.

Hole 292 is adjacent both top panel 236 and the fourth wall 248. Hole 284 is adjacent both the top panel 236 and the third wall 244. Hole 296 is adjacent the bottom panel 240 and the fourth wall 248. Hole 288 is adjacent the bottom panel and the third wall 244.

Referring to FIG. 5, a blower tube, also called an air discharge tube 200, has a first end 208 that is connected to the vacuum unit 62, and a second end 212 that is connected to the first wall top chamber opening 264 (as seen in FIGS. 7 and 8). Air is discharged from the vacuum unit 62 by the air discharge tube 200. A vacuum tube, also called an air intake tube 204 has a first end 220 that is connected to the vacuum unit 62, and a second end 224 that is connected to the first wall bottom chamber opening 268 (as seen in FIGS. 7 and 8). Air is drawn into the vacuum unit 62 by the air intake tube 204.

Except for any tube openings, each chamber 256, 260 is sealed from the other, and from the ambient. In a further embodiment each chamber 256, 260, except for any tube openings, is hermetically sealed.

As seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, a vacuuming operation discharge tube 308 has a first end that is connected to the second wall vacuuming operation discharge hole 284, and a second end that extends out of the bottom rear wall 30 of the casing 22, via a vacuuming operation discharge tube aperture 324 (FIG. 5). When air is drawn into the vacuum unit 62, air is expelled from the vacuum unit 62 through the discharge tube 308.

Referring to FIG. 6, a vacuuming operation intake tube 312 has a first end that is connected to the second wall vacuuming operation intake hole 288 and extends to the intersection point 70.

A blowing operation intake tube 320 has a first end that is connected to the second wall blowing operation intake hole 296 and extends out of casing 22, to intake air, as seen in FIG. 5.

A blowing operation discharge tube 316 has a first end that is connected to the second wall blowing operation discharge hole 292 and extends to the intersection point 70 to intersect with the vacuuming operation intake tube 312. And, like the earlier embodiment, from the intersection point 70, the tube extends through the vacuum-blower aperture 54 to the vacuum-blower hook-up 122.

The fourth wall 248 and third wall 244 each have a plate slot 249 to moveably receive the tube selection plate 272.

A solenoid 300 is fixedly mounted to the casing bottom 24. The solenoid 300 has a horizontally displaceable arm 304 fixed to the tube selection plate 272. Thus the solenoid 300 can be selected to align the tube selection plate discharge hole 276 and tube selection plate intake hole 280 for either the vacuuming or blowing operation.

Referring to FIG. 7, when the arm 304 is in the extended or at-rest position for the vacuuming operation, the selection plate holes 276, 280 are aligned concentric with the second wall vacuuming operation discharge hole 284 and the second wall vacuuming operation intake hole 288, respectively.

Referring to FIG. 8, when the arm 304 is in the retracted or actuated position for the blowing operation, the selection plate holes 276, 280 are aligned concentric with the second wall blowing operation discharge hole 292 and the second wall blowing operation intake hole 296, respectively.

A solenoid arm extension spring 332 is tensionally mounted with one end fixed to the solenoid arm 304, and the other end fixed to the second wall 332 to maintain the arm 304 in the extended position when at-rest, as shown in FIG. 7.

As shown in FIGS. 5, 6, 7, 7A, 8, and 8A, the preferred embodiment uses only one solenoid 300, instead of the four solenoids 86, 92, 110, 116 described earlier. Also, there are no valves 72, 74, 96, 98.

In one embodiment, the solenoid arm 304 has a 2.54 cm (1 inch) length of travel. Thus the second wall vacuuming operation discharge hole 284 and the second wall vacuuming operation intake hole 288 are horizontally separated by about 2.54 cm (1 inch). Similarly, the second wall blowing operation discharge hole 292 is horizontally displaced about 2.54 cm (1 inch) from the blowing operation intake hole 296.

In one embodiment, the tube selection junction box first wall 228 and second wall 232 are about 10.16 cm×10.16 cm (4×4 inches) in height and width. And the thickness of the firs wall 228 and second wall 232 are both about 1.27 cm (0.5 inch). The thickness of the tube selection plate 272 is about 0.16 cm (0.06 inch). With these dimensions, both the upper chamber 256 and lower chamber 260 have about the same volume, which is about 23.16 cm3 or 1.41 inch3.

In one embodiment, the system 20 uses wireless technology to eliminate wiring. Other suggestions include the use of ground fault breakers to prevent electrocution, or check valves in any of the tubes or hoses.

In a further embodiment, either the air discharge tube 200 or the air intake tube 204 can be eliminated. An impeller would be integrated into the vacuum unit 62. The impeller would rotate in a first direction to blow air out from the vacuum unit 62 and the blower tube 120. The impeller would also rotate in an opposite direction to intake air into the vacuum unit 61 and into the blower tube 120.

Although a particular preferred embodiment of the invention has been disclosed in detail for illustrative purposes, it will be recognized that variations or modifications of the disclosed apparatus, including the rearrangement of parts, changes in sizes and dimensions, variances of voltages, kilohertz and horse power lie within the scope of the present invention.