Title:
Air pump with air flow control
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An air pump includes a housing, a motor, an impeller and an air flow controller. The housing confines a receiving space, and has a first end portion formed with a first port unit, an opposite second end portion formed with a second port unit, and an intermediate portion between the first and second end portions and formed with a third port unit. The motor is mounted in the receiving space. The impeller is coupled to and driven rotatably by the motor, and includes a base plate and first and second blade sets provided respectively on opposite sides of the base plate. The first and second blade sets face toward the first and second port units, respectively. The air flow controller is mounted on the second end portion of the housing, and is operable so as to block selectively fluid communication between the second port unit and the receiving space.



Inventors:
Wu, Hsin-tsai (Taipei City, TW)
Application Number:
11/141385
Publication Date:
09/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/01/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F04B17/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WEINSTEIN, LEONARD J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DICKINSON WRIGHT PLLC (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An air pump comprising: a housing confining a receiving space, and having a first end portion formed with a first port unit, a second end portion opposite to said first end portion and formed with a second port unit, and an intermediate portion between said first and second end portions and formed with a third port unit, each of said first and third port units being in fluid communication with said receiving space; a motor mounted in said receiving space; an impeller coupled to and driven rotatably by said motor, said impeller including a base plate and first and second blade sets provided respectively on opposite sides of said base plate, each of said first and second blade sets facing toward a corresponding one of said first and second port units; and an air flow controller mounted movably on said second end portion of said housing and operable so as to block selectively fluid communication between said second port unit and said receiving space.

2. The air pump as claimed in claim 1, wherein said air pump is operable in one of first and second modes, when said air pump is operated in the first mode, said air flow controller is operated to permit fluid communication between said second port unit and said receiving space, and said motor is operated to drive rotation of said impeller such that air is drawn into said receiving space through said first and second port units and such that air exits said receiving space through said third port unit, and when said air pump is operated in the second mode, said air flow controller is operated to block fluid communication between said second port unit and said receiving space, and said motor is operated to drive rotation of said impeller such that air is drawn into said receiving space through said first port unit and such that air exits said receiving space through said third port unit.

3. The air pump as claimed in claim 1, wherein said second end portion of said housing is formed with a plurality of vent holes that serve as said second port unit, said air flow controller including a rotary disc disposed in said receiving space, formed with a plurality of openings, retained rotatably at and disposed to abut against said second end portion of said housing, and operable so as to rotate in said receiving space between a first position, where said openings in said rotary disc are registered with said vent holes in said second end portion of said housing to permit fluid communication between said second port unit and said receiving space, and a second position, where said openings in said rotary disc are offset from said vent holes in said second end portion of said housing to block fluid communication between said second port unit and said receiving space.

4. The air pump as claimed in claim 3, wherein said air flow controller further includes: a rotary knob disposed outwardly of said receiving space; and first and second engaging members provided respectively on said rotary disc and said rotary knob, said first and second engaging members being interconnected to retain rotatably said rotary disc and said rotary knob at said second end portion of said housing.

5. The air pump as claimed in claim 4, wherein said first engaging member is a post that extends from the respective one of said rotary disc and said rotary knob and through said second end portion of said housing, and said second engaging member is a socket that is formed in the respective one of said rotary disc and said rotary knob and that engages said post.

6. The air pump as claimed in claim 3, wherein said rotary disc is formed with a positioning stud that is extendable removably into one of said vent holes in said second end portion of said housing to position releasably said rotary disc is at one of the first and second positions.

7. The air pump as claimed in claim 1, wherein said first port unit is formed as an air duct that extends from said first end portion of said housing and that is formed with a plurality of vent holes.

8. The air pump as claimed in claim 1, wherein said third port unit is formed as an air duct that extends from said intermediate portion of said housing at a location proximate to said impeller.

9. The air pump as claimed in claim 1, wherein said impeller is disposed proximate to said third port unit in said receiving space.

10. The air pump as claimed in claim 1, wherein said housing includes a first housing part for mounting said motor therein and formed with said first port unit, and a second housing part for closing said first housing part and formed with said second port unit 11. The air pump as claimed in claim 10, wherein each of said first and second housing parts has a surrounding wall formed with a respective peripheral extension, said peripheral extensions of said first and second housing parts cooperating to define an air duct that serves as said third port unit.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of Chinese Application No. 200520039912.6, filed on Mar. 2, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to an air pump, more particularly to an air pump suitable for inflating and deflating articles and provided with an air flow controller to promote efficiency when deflating an article.

2. Description of the Related Art

Referring to FIG. 1, a conventional air pump 1 for inflating and deflating articles is shown to include a housing 11, a motor 12 mounted in the housing 12, an impeller 13 that is coupled to and driven rotatably by the motor 12 and that includes first and second blade sets 131, 132, and a housing cap 14 for covering an open end of the housing 11. The housing 11 has an end wall formed with a plurality of first vent holes 111, and a surrounding wall mounted with a switch 112 for controlling motor operation. After assembly, the housing 11 and the housing cap 14 cooperate to define an air duct 15. Moreover, the housing cap 14 is formed with a plurality of second vent holes 141. To pump air into an article (not shown), the air duct 15 is connected to the article, and the motor 12 is operated to drive rotation of the impeller 13 such that ambient air is drawn into the housing 11 through the first and second vent holes 111, 141, and such that the air is subsequently supplied into the article through the air duct 15. On the other hand, to pump air out of the article, the housing 11 is connected to the article such that air flows out of the article and into the housing 11 via the first vent holes 111 for subsequent venting through the air duct 15 when the impeller 13 is driven by the motor 12 to rotate.

However, since the conventional air pump 1 has both the first and second vent holes 111, 141, when pumping air out of the article, ambient air is also drawn into the housing 11 via the second vent holes 141 upon rotation of the impeller 13. This results in air turbulence in the housing 11, which has an adverse affect on the air pumping efficiency during an article deflating operation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide an air pump with an air flow controller so as to overcome the aforesaid drawback of the prior art.

Accordingly, the air pump of this invention comprises a housing, a motor, an impeller, and an air flow controller. The housing confines a receiving space, and has a first end portion formed with a first port unit, a second end portion opposite to the first end portion and formed with a second port unit, and an intermediate portion between the first and second end portions and formed with a third port unit. Each of the first and third port units is in fluid communication with the receiving space. The motor is mounted in the receiving space. The impeller is coupled to and driven rotatably by the motor, and includes a base plate and first and second blade sets provided respectively on opposite sides of the base plate. Each of the first and second blade sets faces toward a corresponding one of the first and second port units. The air flow controller is mounted movably on the second end portion of the housing, and is operable so as to block selectively fluid communication between the second port unit and the receiving space.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a conventional air pump;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the preferred embodiment of an air pump according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a partly sectional, schematic side view of the preferred embodiment for illustrating a first operating mode of the preferred embodiment; and

FIG. 4 is a partly sectional, schematic side view of the preferred embodiment for illustrating a second operating mode of the preferred embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 2, the preferred embodiment of an air pump 3 according to the present invention is shown to comprise a housing 31, a motor 32, an impeller 33, and an air flow controller 34.

The housing 31 confines a receiving space 310, and has a first end portion 311 formed with a first port end portion 311 and formed with a second port unit 314, and an intermediate portion between the first and second end portions 311, 312 and formed with a third port unit 316. In this embodiment, the housing 31 includes a first housing part (31A) for mounting the motor 32 therein and formed with the first port unit 313, and a second housing part (31B) for closing the first housing part (31A) and formed with the second port unit 314. The first port unit 313 is formed as an air duct that extends from the first end portion 311 of the housing 31 and that is formed with a plurality of vent holes 3130. The second end portion 312 of the housing 31 is formed with a plurality of vent holes 3140 that serve as the second port unit 314. The third port unit 316 is formed as an air duct that extends from the intermediate portion of the housing 31. In particular, each of the first and second housing parts (31A, 31B) of the housing 31 has a surrounding wall (311A, 311B) formed with a respective peripheral extension 3160. The peripheral extensions 3160 of the first and second housing parts (31A, 31B) cooperate to define the air duct that serves as the third port unit 316. Each of the first and third port units 313, 316 is in fluid communication with the receiving space 310. A control switch 315 is mounted on the first housing part (31A) for controlling motor operation in a conventional manner.

The motor 32 is mounted in the receiving spare 310, and has an output shaft 321.

The impeller 33 is coupled to the output shaft 321 of the motor 32, and is driven rotatably by the motor 32. The impeller 33 includes a base plate 331 and first and second blade sets 332, 333 provided respectively on opposite sides of the base plate 331. Each of the first and second blade sets 332, 333 faces toward a corresponding one of the first and second port units 313, 314. The impeller 33 is further formed with a coupling tube 334 for coupling with the output shaft 321 of the motor 32. As best shown in FIG. 3, the impeller 33 is disposed proximate to the third port unit 316 in the receiving space 310.

The air flow controller 34 is mounted movably on the second end portion 312 of the housing 31, and is operable so as to block selectively fluid communication between the second port unit 314 and the receiving space 310. In this embodiment, the air flow controller 34 includes a rotary disc 341 disposed in the receiving space 310, formed with a plurality of openings 345, retained rotatably at and disposed to abut against the second end portion 312 of the housing 31 (see FIG. 3), and operable so as to rotate in the receiving space 310 between a first position, where the openings 345 in the rotary disc 341 are registered with the vent holes 3140 in the second end portion 312 of the housing 31 to permit fluid communication between the second port unit 314 and the receiving space 310 (see FIG. 3), and a second position, where the openings 345 in the rotary disc 341 are offset from the vent holes 3140 in the second end portion 312 of the housing 31 to block fluid communication between the second port unit 314 and the receiving space 310 (see FIG. 4). The air flow controller 34 further includes a rotary knob 343 disposed outwardly of the receiving space 310, and first and second engaging members 342, 344 that are provided respectively on the rotary disc 341 and the rotary knob 343 and that are interconnected to retain rotatably the rotary disc 341 and the rotary knob 343 at the second end portion 312 of the housing 31, thus permitting rotation control of the rotary disc 341 through the rotary knob 343. In this embodiment, the first engaging member 342 is a post that extends from the rotary disc 341 and through the second end portion 312 of the housing 31, and the second engaging member 344 is a socket that is formed in the rotary knob 343 and that engages the post. In practice, it possible to switch the positions of the post and the socket on the rotary disc 341 and the rotary knob 343. The rotary disc 341 is further formed with a positioning stud 346 that is extendable removably into one of the vent holes 3140 in the second end portion 312 of the housing 31 to position releasably the rotary disc 341 at one of the first and second positions, as In use, the air pump 3 is operable in one of first and second modes to inflate or deflate an article, such as an inflatable bed, an inflatable toy, etc. As shown in FIG. 3, to inflate an article 4, the air pump 3 is operated in the first mode. In the first mode, the third port unit 316 is connected to the article 4, and the rotary knob 343 of the air flow controller 34 is operated to rotate the rotary disc 31 to the first position, thereby permitting fluid communication between the second port unit 314 and the receiving space 310 through the openings 345 in the rotary disc 31. The control switch 315 (see FIG. 2) is then operated to turn on the motor 32 for driving rotation of the impeller 33 such that ambient air is drawn into the receiving space 310 through the first and second port units 313, 314, and such that air exits the receiving space 310 and is supplied to the article 4 through the third port unit 316. At the end of the article inflating operation, the control switch 315 is operated to turn off the motor 32.

As shown in FIG. 4, to deflate the article 4, the air pump 3 is operated in the second mode. In the second mode, the first port unit 313 is connected to the article 4, and the rotary knob 343 of the air flow controller 34 is operated to rotate the rotary disc 31 to the second position, thereby blocking fluid communication between the second port unit 314 and the receiving space 310. The control switch 315 (see FIG. 2) is then operated to turn on the motor 32 for driving rotation of the impeller 33 such that air in the article 4 is drawn into the receiving space 310 through the first port unit 313, and such that air exits the receiving space 310 through the third port unit 316. At the end of the article deflating operation, the control switch 315 is operated to turn off the motor 32.

It has thus been shown that the air pump 3 of this invention is suitable for inflating and deflating articles without the need to reassemble components thereof. Moreover, when the air pump 3 is used to deflate an article, the air flow controller 34 can be operated to block air flow through the second port unit 314. As a result, air turbulence in the receiving space 310 during an article deflating operation can be minimized to promote the air pumping efficiency.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiment but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.