Title:
Airbed with built-in air pump
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An airbed is having a built-in pump. The pump is removably received within a receptacle. When the pump is placed in the receptacle, an outlet port for the pump is in fluid communication with a valve. The valve is operated via a solenoid. In an embodiment, the valve is opened while the pump is operating to inflate the airbed. The valve is also opened to deflate the airbed. In accordance with an embodiment, the pump utilizes a dual fan configuration, having two sets of fan blades on opposite sides of a disc. Air inlets are provided for the fan housing of the pump on both the top and the bottom so that each set of blades may draw air into the pump.



Inventors:
Metzger, Andrew T. (Belle Plaine, KS, US)
Application Number:
10/940901
Publication Date:
03/16/2006
Filing Date:
09/13/2004
Assignee:
The Coleman Company, Inc. (Wichita, KS, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C27/08
View Patent Images:
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20030221260Moving pressure supportDecember, 2003Mcgrath
20040055091Ergonomic seatMarch, 2004Sedan
20080223891BABY BAG CONVERTIBLE INTO BASSINETSeptember, 2008Pistiolis et al.
20070234480Air mattress for bed with step deckOctober, 2007Crousore et al.
20060101579Breast feeding support deviceMay, 2006Albers
20030159217Neck napperAugust, 2003Clemons



Primary Examiner:
SPAHN, GAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG, VOIT & MAYER, LTD. (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An airbed, comprising: an air chamber; a receptacle attached to the air chamber and configured to receive a pump, the receptacle comprising an opening in fluid communication with the air chamber and configured and arranged to be in fluid communication with a pump installed in the receptacle; a valve located inside the air chamber and positioned to close the opening; and a solenoid positioned inside the air chamber and connected to the valve, the solenoid being arranged and configured to move the valve between a first position in which the opening is closed by the valve and a second position in which the opening is not closed by the valve.

2. The airbed of claim 1, wherein the opening is connected to the receptacle by a conduit, and wherein the conduit extends out the receptacle and turns to extend along the receptacle.

3. The airbed of claim 1, further comprising an electrical circuit extending from the solenoid to an interior of the receptacle, the circuit for supplying a signal to the solenoid for operation.

4. The airbed of claim 3, wherein the electrical circuit supplies power to the solenoid.

5. The airbed of claim 3, wherein the electrical circuit connects to a pump in the receptacle, and wherein at least a portion of the operation of the solenoid and the pump is controlled by the same controller.

6. An airbed, comprising: an air chamber; a pump; a receptacle attached to the air chamber and configured to receive the pump, the receptacle comprising an opening in fluid communication with the air chamber and configured and arranged to be in fluid communication with the pump when the pump is installed in the receptacle; a valve located inside the air chamber and positioned to close the opening; and a solenoid positioned inside the air chamber and connected to the valve, the solenoid being arranged and configured to move the valve between a first position in which the opening is closed by the valve and a second position in which the opening is not closed by the valve.

7. The airbed of claim 6, wherein the opening is connected to the receptacle by a conduit, and wherein the conduit extends out the receptacle and turns to extend along the receptacle.

8. The airbed of claim 6, further comprising an electrical circuit extending from the solenoid to an interior of the receptacle, the circuit for supplying a signal to the solenoid for operation.

9. The airbed of claim 8, wherein the electrical circuit supplies power to the solenoid.

10. The airbed of claim 8, wherein the electrical circuit connects to the pump when the pump is in the receptacle, and wherein at least a portion of the operation of the solenoid and the pump is controlled by the same controller.

11. The airbed of claim 6, wherein the pump comprises a fan comprising two sets of blades.

12. The airbed of claim 11, wherein the fan comprises a disk with the two sets of blades positioned on opposite sides of the disk.

13. The airbed of claim 12, wherein the two sets of blades are backwardly curved.

14. The airbed of claim 12, wherein the two sets of blades comprise first and second sets of blades, and further comprising a fan housing for receiving the fan and directing air to the opening, the fan housing comprising first and second sets of vents for drawing air into the first and second sets of blades, respectively.

15. The airbed of claim 11, wherein the two sets of blades comprise first and second sets of blades, and further comprising a fan housing for receiving the fan and directing air to the opening, the fan housing comprising first and second sets of vents for drawing air into the first and second sets of blades, respectively.

16. An airbed, comprising: an air chamber; a pump comprising a fan comprising two sets of blades; and a receptacle attached to the air chamber and configured to receive the pump, the receptacle comprising an opening in fluid communication with the air chamber and configured and arranged to be in fluid communication with the pump when the pump is installed in the receptacle; wherein the pump, the fan, and the two sets of blades are arranged and configured so that the two sets of blades direct a fluid toward the opening when the pump is operating.

17. The airbed of claim 16, wherein the fluid is air.

18. The airbed of claim 16, wherein the fan comprises a disk with the two sets of blades positioned on opposite sides of the disk.

19. The airbed of claim 18, wherein the two sets of blades are backwardly curved.

20. The airbed of claim 18, wherein the two sets of blades comprise first and second sets of blades, and further comprising a fan housing for receiving the fan and directing air to the opening, the fan housing comprising first and second sets of vents for drawing air into the first and second sets of blades, respectively.

21. The airbed of claim 16, wherein the two sets of blades comprise first and second sets of blades, and further comprising a fan housing for receiving the fan and directing air to the opening, the fan housing comprising first and second sets of vents for drawing air into the first and second sets of blades, respectively.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to inflatable products, and more specifically to airbeds.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

An airbed is a large rectangular rubber or plastic (e.g., vinyl) bag that is filled with air so that it may be used as a bed. Airbeds are well known in the art and have proven themselves to be very useful. On the one hand, an inflatable airbed may be deflated and folded to store the airbed in a closet or basement. On the other hand, when guests arrive or when the owner of the airbed takes a trip to a place where there is no bed, the airbed may be inflated and may be used as a bed.

One thing airbeds have in common is that they must be inflated for use. To this end, a valve or valves are supplied on an airbed for a user to provide air or another gas into the airbed. The user may utilize his or her breath, i.e., by blowing into a valve or valves, may utilize a manual or electric pump, or may use an air compressor, as examples.

More recently, some manufacturers have begun incorporating pumps into airbeds. Examples can be seen in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,224,706,. 5,588,811, and 6,543,073. Incorporating the pump into the airbed or airbed frame provides a convenient location for storage of the pump, and may provide better fitting of the pump to the airbed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The following presents a simplified summary of some embodiments of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of the invention. This summary is not an extensive overview of the invention. It is not intended to identify key/critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. Its sole purpose is to present some embodiments of the invention in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

In accordance with an embodiment, an airbed is provided having a built-in pump. The pump is removably received within a receptacle.

In accordance with an embodiment, when the pump is placed in the receptacle, an outlet port for the pump is in fluid communication with a valve. The valve is operated via a solenoid. In an embodiment, the valve is opened while the pump is operating to inflate the airbed. The valve is also opened to deflate the airbed.

In accordance with an embodiment, the pump utilizes a dual fan configuration, having two sets of fan blades on opposite sides of a disc. Air inlets are provided for the fan housing of the pump on both the top and the bottom so that each set of blades may draw air into the pump.

Other features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of an airbed incorporating a built-in pump in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a detail view of the built-in pump and a receptacle for the pump of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the pump of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of a valve assembly for the airbed of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view showing the pump of FIG. 2 installed in the receptacle of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram showing a circuit that may be used with the pump and valve assembly of FIGS. 2 and 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, various embodiments of the present invention will be described. For purposes of explanation, specific configurations and details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments. However, it will also be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without the specific details. Furthermore, well-known features may be omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the embodiment being described. In addition, to the extent orientations are given, such as “upper,” “lower,” “right,” “left,” “top,” “bottom,” and the like, such orientations are given for ease of reference only.

Referring now to the drawings, in which like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the several views, FIG. 1 shows an airbed 20 that may utilize aspects of the present invention. In the embodiment shown, the airbed 20 includes a receptacle 22 for receiving a pump 24. In the embodiment shown, the pump 24 is removably received within the receptacle 22. However, to the extent that the pump 24 may be attached to the airbed 20 and may remain attached thereto so as to be stored in that manner, the pump 24 is “built in” to the airbed 20.

Details of the pump 24 can best be seen in FIG. 2 (assembled) and FIG. 3 (exploded). The pump 24 shown in the drawings is generally cylindrical in shape but may be configured in another manner. The pump 24 includes a port 26 for the output of air. A motor housing 28 is situated below a fan housing 30 in the orientation shown in FIG. 2. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the motor housing 28 includes a lower shell 32 and an upper spacer 34.

A motor 39 is mounted within the motor housing 28. The motor 39 preferably utilizes AC power, put alternatively may utilize a rechargeable battery, or one or more non-rechargeable dry cell batteries. Motors and/or their components, such as the motor 39, are known in the art, and further detail will not be given here.

The fan housing 30 includes a lower fan housing 40 that mounts over the spacer 34. Alternatively, the lower fan housing 40 may be formed integral with the spacer 34. The lower fan housing 40 includes vents 42 at a lower, central portion and a shaft opening 36 located centrally in its bottom portion. The lower fan housing 40 additionally includes molded therein a lower portion 44 of the port 26.

The fan housing 30 also includes an upper fan housing 46 that is configured and arranged to attach to the top of the lower fan housing 40. The upper fan housing 46 includes an upper vent 48, in the embodiment shown located centrally on the upper fan housing 46 and radiating outward. The upper fan housing 46 also includes an upper portion 48 of the port 26 molded therein.

A fan 50 is mounted between the lower fan housing 40 and the upper fan housing 46. The fan 50 mounts on a shaft 51 that extends out of the motor 39. The shaft 51 extends through the shaft opening 36.

As can best be seen in FIG. 3, the fan 50 includes a central disc 52. Backwardly curved fan blades 54 extend from both sides of the disc 52.

When the pump 24 is operating, the motor 39, or other power source, if relevant, rotates the shaft 51, causing the fan 50.to rotate. For the lower side of the fan 50, air is drawn through a port 53 (best shown in FIG. 5) at a lower portion of the pump 24. The air flows around the motor 39 and through the vents 42 on the bottom of the lower fan housing 40. The lower air flow not only provides air for the fan, but also provides cooling for the motor 39.

For the upper side of the fan 50, air is drawn through the upper vent 48 of the upper fan housing 46. The upper vent 48 and the vents 42 in the lower fan housing 40 are preferably arranged so that they may draw in a sufficient amount of air, but do not cause a significant drop in air pressure for the pump 24. The upper vent 48 is arranged in a backwardly curved manner, such as the backwardly curved fan blades 54, although another arrangement may be provided.

Air blown from the upper and lower fan blades 54 is blown out of the port 26 for the pump 24. The use of two sets of fan blades provides increased air flow than a fan having a single set of blades and utilizing the same motor 39. In addition, if a more powerful motor 39 is used, the dual fan blade system provides increased air pressure.

The receptacle 22 is arranged and configured so that it can receive the pump 24. To this end, the pump 24 and the receptacle 22 may include guides (not shown) for directing the pump 24 into proper alignment with the receptacle 22. In addition, the receptacle 22 includes a flange 60 to which side walls or a side wall of the airbed 20 are attached.

The receptacle 22 includes a rear opening 62 (e.g., FIG. 2) for receiving the port 26 of the pump 24. In addition, in accordance with an embodiment, contacts 64 are provided in the receptacle 22 for connecting with and making a circuit with contacts 56 positioned on the outside of the pump 24, for example on the lower shell 32 of the motor housing 28. The purpose of the contacts 64, 56 is described below.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the receptacle 22 includes a valve assembly 65 mounted on a back portion of the receptacle 22, and that is installed inside the airbed 20. The valve assembly 65 shown in the drawings includes an elbow 66 extending from the rear opening 62 to a valve seat 68 (best shown in FIG. 5). An O-ring 80 (FIG. 5) may be provided to seal the elbow 66 to the rear opening 62. Air vents or openings 70 are positioned around and just below the valve seat 68.

A solenoid 72 is mounted as part of the valve assembly 65. A collar 74 is attached to the solenoid 72, and a stem 76 is slidingly received therein. A valve 78 is attached to the end of the stem 76. This valve 78 is positioned to engage the valve seat 68 when the solenoid 72 is in a normal, or non-actuated, position. In an embodiment, the valve 78 is formed of rubber or another sealable material. Alternatively, a sealing structure, such as an O-ring, may be provided.

A circuit 90 that may be utilized to operate the pump 24 and the valve assembly 65 is shown in FIG. 6. In an embodiment, wires 92 (FIG. 5) extend from the solenoid 72 to the receptacle 22. These wires 92 may connect, for example, to the contacts 64. The contacts 64, in turn, connect to the contacts 56 when the pump 24 is inserted into the receptacle 22. In this manner, wiring for the solenoid 72 is connected to the pump 24, so that operation of the solenoid may be controlled by a switch or other control that is located in or otherwise is associated with the pump 24. To this end, the switch or other control may be mounted on the pump 24, or may be alternatively mounted on the receptacle 22, such as on the flange 60. In addition, if desired, a wireless or wired remote may be provided for operation of the pump 24 and/or the valve assembly 65.

In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the contacts 56, 64 are positioned so that they connect at the back of the receptacle, away from the rear opening 62. However, the contacts may be located near or may be associated with the rear opening 62, or may be otherwise suitably positioned.

In the circuit 90 shown in FIG. 6, a power cord 94 or other power source is wired to the pump 24 and the solenoid 72. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, a double pole, double throw switch 96 having an off position is used to alternatively cut and supply power to the pump 24 and the solenoid 72. Alternatively, the function of the double pole, double throw switch 96 may be provided by more than one switch, such as an on/off switch and a two-way switch, or may be provided by another suitable mechanism or mechanisms.

In accordance with an embodiment, the double pole, double throw switch 96 may be positioned in an off position, an inflate position, or a deflate position. In either the inflate or the deflate positions, in accordance with an embodiment, the solenoid 72 is provided power and thus is actuated. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, actuation of the solenoid 72 causes the valve 78 to move from the position against the valve seat 68 shown in phantom in FIG. 5 to the position removed from the valve seat 68, shown just to the left of the phantom position in FIG. 5. This opening of the valve 78 permits air to flow through the elbow 66, out the valve seat 68, around the face of the valve 78 and out the air openings 70.

The flow thus described is airflow when the pump 24 is on and the airbed 20 is being inflated. In the inflate position of the double pole, double throw switch 96, the pump 24 is provided power, and blows air into the airbed 20 while the valve 78 is held into an open position by the solenoid 72.

Airflow is opposite this direction if the airbed 20 is being deflated. As described above, when the two-way switch 98 is in the deflate position, the solenoid 72 opens the valve 78, and air is free to flow through the elbow 66 and out of the airbed 20. In this flow, the air flows into the port 26 and out of the vents 42, 48 for the fan housing 30.

Alternatives may be provided. For example, if desired, the solenoid 72 may include a separate power source so that it may be actuated without the pump 24 in position so that the airbed 20 may be deflated with the pump 24 removed. In addition, as another alternative, the pump 24 may be reversible, and a circuit may be provided wherein in a deflate mode, the pump operates in a reverse direction to draw air out of the airbed 20.

Other variations are within the spirit of the present invention. Thus, while the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, a certain illustrated embodiment thereof is shown in the drawings and has been described above in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific form or forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.

All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents, cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.

The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. The terms “comprising,” “having,” “including,” and “containing” are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning “including, but not limited to,”) unless otherwise noted. The term “connected” is to be construed as partly or wholly contained within, attached to, or joined together, even if there is something intervening. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate embodiments of the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.

Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Variations of those preferred embodiments may become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.