Title:
Submersible motor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pool cover driving system for rolling up and unrolling a pool cover encased in a protective sealed case but easily attached and detached from a power controller without breaking the seal. A method of installing the pool cover driving system wherein pool cover driving system remains in a sealed state throughout installation process. A method of replacing the pool cover driving system wherein multiple pool cover driving systems each remain in a sealed state throughout process of removal of one pool cover driving system and replacement with another pool cover driving system. A method of operating the pool cover driving system where, in addition to connection to an electrical power controller, electrical input to pool cover driving system is controlled. A method of assembling the pool cover driving system wherein potting compound provides a sealed case by substantially occupying all of interior of case besides electrical motor.



Inventors:
Shebek, Michael J. (Carmel, IN, US)
Jaensson, Michael R. (Noblesville, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/326857
Publication Date:
07/06/2006
Filing Date:
01/06/2006
Assignee:
Automatic Pool Covers, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOUNKINS, KAREN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FAEGRE DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH LLP (INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US)
Claims:
1. A pool cover driving system for driving a cover drum, said pool cover driving system comprising: a case, said case having at least one wall, said wall enclosing and sealing a motor and electrical components of said motor; a drive shaft operably coupled to the cover drum, said drive shaft extending outside of the cover drum and configured to operably couple to said motor; and at least one electrical coupler associated with said case and configured to attach to a source of electricity for said motor while maintaining said case in a sealed state.

2. The pool cover driving system of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of electrical conductors, wherein at least one of said plurality of electrical conductors is at least partially enclosed within said case.

3. The pool cover driving system of claim 2, in which one of said plurality of said electrical conductors couples said motor to said electrical coupler.

4. The pool cover driving system of claim 2, wherein said electrical coupler operably couples to one of said plurality of said electrical conductors, one of said plurality of said electrical conductors coupling said electrical coupler to a power controller.

5. The pool cover driving system of claim 2, wherein all electrical connections made between interior of said case and exterior of said case are made by coupling at least one of said plurality of electrical conductors to at least one electrical coupler.

6. The pool cover driving system of claim 2, wherein one of said plurality of electrical conductors is exterior to said case and wherein one of said plurality of electrical conductors is interior to said case and wherein said one of said plurality of electrical conductors exterior to said case is separate from said one of said plurality of electrical conductors interior to said case.

7. The pool cover driving system of claim 1, wherein said at least one electrical coupler includes a quick disconnect coupler.

8. The pool cover driving system of claim 1, further comprising a potting compound at least partially disposed within said wall and occupying substantially all interior of said wall besides said motor and electrical components of said motor.

9. The pool cover driving system of claim 8, wherein said potting compound substantially encases said motor and electrical components of said motor.

10. The pool cover driving system of claim 9, wherein said potting compound is a polymeric resin.

11. The pool cover driving system of claim 9, wherein said potting compound is cement based.

12. The pool cover driving system of claim 9, further comprising a first side of an electrical coupler abutting said potting compound and a second side of said electrical coupler extending through said potting compound.

13. The pool cover driving system of claim 12, wherein said electrical coupler is sized and shaped to receive a plug.

14. A pool cover driving system for driving a cover drum, said pool cover driving system comprising: a motor including associated electrical components; a case, said case having at least one wall; said wall defining an interior enclosing said motor and said electrical components of said motor; and a potting compound at least partially disposed within said wall and occupying substantially all interior of said wall besides said motor and electrical components of said motor.

15. The pool cover driving system of claim 14, wherein said potting compound substantially encases said motor and electrical components of said motor.

16. The pool cover driving system of claim 14, wherein said potting compound is a polymeric resin.

17. The pool cover driving system of claim 14, wherein said potting compound is cement based.

18. The pool cover driving system of claim 14, further comprising a plurality of electrical conductors, wherein at least one said electrical conductor is at least partially enclosed within said case.

19. The pool cover driving system of claim 18, in which one of said plurality of said electrical conductors couples said motor to at least one electrical coupler.

20. The pool cover driving system of claim 18, wherein said at least one of said electrical couplers operably couples to one of said plurality of said electrical conductors, said one of said plurality of said electrical conductors coupling said at least one of said electrical coupler to a power controller.

21. The pool cover driving system of claim 19, wherein all electrical connections made between interior of said case and exterior of said case are made by coupling at least one of said plurality of said electrical conductors to at least one said electrical couplers.

22. A method of installing a pool cover driving system including the steps of: providing a motor and electrical components of said motor sealingly enclosed within a wall of a case; and electrically coupling said motor to a power controller, wherein enclosure of the pool cover driving system is maintained in a sealed state throughout coupling step.

23. The method of claim 22 including the steps of: detaching a drive mechanism before providing said motor and electrical components of said motor sealingly enclosed within said wall of said case.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein providing said motor and electrical components of said motor includes at least one electrical coupler associated with said case and configured to selectively couple said motor to said power controller while maintaining said case in a sealed state.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein providing said motor and electrical components of said motor includes at least one electrical conductor at least partially enclosed within said case.

26. A method of assembling a pool cover driving system including the steps of: providing a case; said case having at least one wall defining a housing; applying potting compound to said case; and sealing said case by placing a motor and electrical components of said motor inside said housing wherein said potting compound occupies substantially all said housing besides said motor and electrical components of said motor.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein said potting compound is allowed to at least partially solidify around said motor and electrical components of said motor.

Description:

BACKGROUND AND FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to swimming pools and more particularly to the pool cover driving system.

Swimming pool covers are used to prevent debris from entering the pool, and to maintain water temperature of a heated pool. An automatic pool cover system allows the pool cover to be easily extended over the pool when the pool is closed, or retracted when the pool is open. A typical automatic pool cover system usually includes a pool cover made of a synthetic material such as a durable plastic, and a reel positioned at one end of the pool for winding the pool cover on a cover drum, a pool cover driving system for driving the reel and cover drum, and a power controller for supplying electricity to the pool cover driving system. Further included in the automatic pool cover system may be a pair of tracks extending along each sidewall of the pool and coping, which is a formed material disposed along the periphery of the pool and above the water level. The tracks may be top-mounted to the surface deck or under-mounted to the coping.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an electrical motor for driving a pool cover where the electrical motor is enclosed by a sealed case which allows easy connection or disconnection to a power controller while maintaining the protective seal. With the present invention, the case is sealed by application of potting compound which substantially occupies the outside of the case besides the motor.

The present invention may be used in conjunction with electrical couplers and wires enclosed with the sealed case. By using such a sealed case, installation or replacement of the pool cover driving system will not expose the electrical motor to the outside environment. In addition, the seal can be configured to short out the electronic components before the motor, saving the consumer the cost of replacing a more expensive motor instead of a relatively inexpensive electrical component.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above-mentioned and other features and objects of this invention, and the manner of attaining them, will become more apparent and the invention itself will be better understood by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing a pool cover assembly;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a motor and cover drum of the cover assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is perspective view of the motor of FIG. 2 with potting material and connectors;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the unpotted assembled motor of FIG. 3; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the casting used for potting the motor and connectors of FIG. 3.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplifications set out herein illustrate embodiments of the invention. Such exemplifications are not intended to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The embodiments disclosed below are not intended to be exhaustive or limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed in the following detailed description. Rather, the embodiments are chosen and described so that others skilled in the art may utilize its teachings.

As illustrated in the diagram of FIG. 1, pool cover system 10 for use with a swimming pool generally includes pool cover assembly 11. System 10 may also include power controller 40 connected to pool cover assembly 11 for controlling the operation of pool cover assembly 1. Power controller 40 may be set to “on” position or “off” position, and it is also possible in alternative embodiments (not shown) to include other positions representing alternative modes of operation (for example, a stand-by mode or an error mode for internal errors or external blockage) Co-Pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/884,897, filed on Jul. 6, 2004, entitled SELF MONITORING POOL COVER SYSTEM, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference, discloses some possible alterative modes. When a pool operator desires to activate the operation of pool cover assembly 11, or open or close the pool cover, power controller 40 may be set to “on” position, when the pool operator desires to terminate the operation of pool cover assembly 11, power controller 40 may be set to “off” position.

Pool cover assembly 11 includes pool cover 21, cover drum 22 connected to pool cover 21, and pool cover driving system 23 operably connected to rope reel or cover drum 22 (collectively refered to as cover drum 22). Power controller 40 is coupled to pool cover driving system 23 for supplying electricity to operate pool cover driving system 23 by power source 25. Pool cover driving system 23 drives cover drum 22 to extend or retract pool cover 21. Cover drum 22 unwinds cover 21 to extend cover 21 over the pool when the pool is being closed. Other components of pool cover assembly 11 may include a pair of tracks 27 and coping 28, the function of which are well known in the art.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the exemplary embodiment has pool cover driving system 23 which includes an electrical motor 30, a circuit board 32, housing 34 and two electrical interfaces 36, 38. Motor 30 is a conventional motor (as shown in FIG. 4) capable of receiving electrical power and providing a rotating shaft 42 in response thereto. As a conventional motor, all motor functions are contained within the motor housing. Circuit board 32 receives input from power controller 40 and in response thereto provides electrical input to motor 30 to control the rotation of shaft 42. As shown in FIG. 5, housing 34 includes two substantially similar halves 50, 52. In an alternative embodiment, not shown, the halves are not similar. The halves 50, 52 of the present embodiment each include a wall 44 and are coupled together, via bolts in the present embodiment, to define motor bay 45. Other non-pictured embodiments are envisioned including housing or potting material that is transparent or translucent. Wall 44 on half 50 includes two apertures 46, 48 sized and shaped to receive electrical interfaces 36, 38 therein, respectively. Electrical interfaces 36, 38 may each have a different electrical socket interface such that only mating plugs can be received thereby. Other non-pictured embodiments are envisioned including electrical coupling or electrical inductive coupling.

As also shown in FIG. 5, half 50 further defines threaded apertures 53, 54 therein. To attach housing 34 to motor block 60, half 50 is first placed to align threaded apertures 53, 54 with apertures 56, 58, respectively, defined in motor block 60 (shown in FIG. 3). Bolts 62 (shown in FIG. 2) are inserted into apertures 56, 58 then extend therefrom and threadably engage aligned threaded apertures 53, 54, respectively. Such engagement of threaded apertures 53, 54 secures half 50 to motor block 60. Half 52 of housing 34 is then secured to half 50 via bolts 55 to define motor bay 45. Accordingly, housing 34 attaches to motor block 60.

Housing 34 also seals to motor block 60. Sealing is provided through the use of a waterproof potting compound/encapsulant 35. Encapsulants and potting compounds suitable may include resins or adhesives used to encapsulate circuit boards and semiconductor devices, fill a container of electronic components, or infiltrate electrical coils, in order to provide environmental protection and electrical insulation. Encapsulants and potting compounds have further useful properties of impact absorption, shock absorption, and protection from chemicals, such as chorine used in most pools. Encapsulants and potting compounds also have the useful property of being a flame retardant. Depending on the particular circumstances of the pool cover, these various properties may have some or no usefulness.

Most potting compounds are based on polymeric resins or adhesives, although ceramic or inorganic cement based potting compounds are available for high temperature applications. Some potting compounds or encapsulant materials are designed to form a thermally conductive layer on between components or within a finished product. Thermally conductive resins, thermoplastics, adhesives and greases are often used between a heat-generating electrical device and a heat sink to improve heat dissipation, and may be used in the present invention to assist in dissipating heat from motor 30.

Once placed within housing 34, potting compound 35 fills open space therein and is allowed to at least partially solidify around electrical components to form a contiguous solid barrier to moisture penetration and thereby seal out water. FIG. 3 also shows potting compound 35 solidified and housing 34 removed. FIG. 3 also shows potting compound 35 encapsulating outside of motor 30. The sealing of housing 34 to block 60 along with the sealing of electrical interfaces 36, 38 within apertures 46, 48 create watertight motor bay 45 in which motor 30 resides. Such a watertight configuration provides only electrical interfaces 36, 38 as exposed electrical conductors. An alternative mode, not shown here, involves placing potting compound 35 both outside of housing 34 and at least partially disposed within housing 34 to form a contiguous solid barrier to moisture penetration and thereby seal out water.

Accordingly, once power controller 40 and power source 25 are routed to an installation site and cover drum 22 is in place, pool cover driving system 23 is easily attached to power controller 40 and to cover drum 22. As shown in FIG. 2, pool cover driving system 23 is coupled to cover drum 22 via rotating shaft 42. Rotating shaft 42 is inserted through aperture 65 of frame 64 in order to operably couple rotating shaft 42 to cover drum 22. Furthermore, motor block 60 is coupled to frame 64 of cover drum 22 via bolts 66 (See FIG. 2) although other types of coupling, e.g., welding or interference fit, may alternatively be used. Wire leads from power controller 40 are terminated in plugs configured to mate with electrical interfaces 36, 38. Thus, cover system 10 provides a physical and electrical quick disconnect for pool cover driving system 23.

The present invention further provides a method for replacing faulty pool cover driving systems 23. The physical and electrical quick disconnect properties of pool cover driving system 23 allow easy and fast replacement thereof. To replace pool cover driving system 23, a technician unplugs the leads from power controller 40 at electrical interfaces 36, 38 and loosens bolts 66. The technician then lifts out faulty pool cover driving system 23 and attaches a new and working pool cover driving system 23. Furthermore, the design of the leads from power controller 40 that have plug terminations allow the pool cover driving system 23 replacement to be performed without having to shut off electricity thereto and without having to reset an electrical breaker thereafter because bare wires are not exposed during the replacement. Thus, installation time is reduced.

While this invention has been described as having an exemplary design, the present invention may be further modified within the spirit and scope of this disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains.