Title:
Portable diagnostic instrument protective boot
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective cover for an electronic diagnostic instrument that is integrally molded unit having respective first and second oppositely disposed laterally spaced apart sections with one such section being a mirror image of the other. Each section has an upper elongate portion, a lower portion that is offset from the upper portion and a further portion interconnecting the upper and lower portions. The upper portion, the lower portion and portion interconnecting the same having a contiguous inner face with flanges along respective opposite marginal edges thereof. The flanges overlap marginal edge portions of a diagnostic instrument inserted between the spaced apart pair of sections. A pair of straps, located approximately mid length of the lower elongate portions, interconnect the pair of sections providing handles. Lips project inwardly toward one another at the upper and lower ends of the unit serving to retain the instrument in the protective cover. Slots are formed therein for holding portable memory card type devices.



Inventors:
Long III, William Glenn (Louisville, KY, US)
Powers, Brandon Emerson (Louisville, KY, US)
Application Number:
11/120131
Publication Date:
11/16/2006
Filing Date:
05/02/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David W. Carrithers (Louisville, KY, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A protective cover for an electronic diagnostic instrument, said cover comprising respective first and second oppositely disposed laterally spaced apart sections each of which comprises an upper and a lower portion offset from one another with a further portion interconnecting said upper and lower portions, said upper and lower portions and portion interconnecting the same on the respective sections having an inner face, said upper and lower portions having flanges along respective opposite marginal edges of the inner face associated therewith, said flanges on one such section projecting therefrom in a direction toward the other of said first and second sections, and a first and second spaced apart pair of straps interconnecting said first and second sections.

2. The protective cover as defined in claim 1 wherein each of said upper and lower portions are elongate members.

3. The protective cover as defined in claim 2 wherein said elongate members are disposed substantially parallel to one another.

4. The protective cover as defined in claim 3 wherein said upper and lower elongate members are offset from one another an amount corresponding to the length of said further portion interconnecting such portions.

5. The protective cover as defined in claim 1 wherein each said first and second sections is an integrally molded member.

6. The protective cover as defined in claim 1 wherein said first and second sections are disposed between a pair of spaced apart imaginary planes and wherein said first and second sections project onto such planes as a mirror image of one another.

7. The protective cover as defined in claim 6 wherein said imaginary planes are parallel to one another.

8. The protective cover for an electronic diagnostic instrument, said cover comprising an integrally molded unit including respective first and second oppositely disposed laterally spaced apart sections, each said section having an upper elongate portion, a lower elongate portion offset from said upper portion and a further portion interconnecting said upper and lower portions, said upper and lower portions and portion interconnecting the same having a contiguous inner face and wherein such faces on the upper and lower portions of the respective sections are disposed in face-to-face relation, said upper and lower portions having flanges along respective opposite marginal edges of the inner face associated therewith, said flanges on one such section projecting therefrom in a direction toward the other of said first and second sections, and a first and second spaced apart pair of straps interconnecting said first and second sections.

9. The protective cover as defined in claim 8 wherein said lower elongate portions are of greater length than said upper elongate portions.

10. The protective cover as defined in claim 9 wherein said pair of straps interconnect the lower portions of said respective first and second sections.

11. The protective cover as defined in claim 10 wherein said straps are located approximately mid-length of said lower elongate portions.

12. The protective cover as defined in claim 8 wherein said upper elongate portion of each section terminates in a lip portion projecting therefrom and wherein said lip on one of said pair of sections projects in a direction toward the other of said pair of sections.

13. The protective cover as defined in claim 2 wherein at least one of said sections has a reinforcing gusset interconnected at opposite ends thereof respectively to said upper and lower elongate portions.

14. The protective cover as defined in claim 13 wherein each of said sections has a reinforcing gusset and wherein said gussets provide a pair of handles.

15. The protective cover as defined in claim 8 wherein said cover is made of rubber or a rubber like polymer material.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to a protective cover, referred to herein as a boot, for removably receiving therein a motor vehicle portable diagnostic instrument and to a combination of the same.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Portable diagnostic instruments are commonly used to check various computerized motor vehicle functions. One common instrument has a principal unit that includes a readout section and a module that removably plugs into the principal unit. A wiring harness plugs at one end thereof into the module and at the other end into a socket, on the motor vehicle, having leads therefrom to the computer unit of the motor vehicle. Since not all vehicle are identical there are a number of different modules and also there are software cards with information embedded therein that are used one at a time in association with the diagnostic instrument during a diagnostic procedure.

The diagnostic instrument is a delicate precision piece of equipment used in a harsh environment. Accordingly it is desirable to have protection for the same while at the same time not obscuring from view the information read out portion of the instrument.

During use the diagnostic instrument is usually placed on a surface of the vehicle nearest at hand which often is a portion of the painted (most often slippery) surface of the vehicle and thus it is useful to have a high frictional surface material between the instrument and the surface of the vehicle. Moreover, it is important that the finish on the automobile not be damaged and that he diagnostic instrument not slide off of the vehicle and be damaged upon falling on the ground.

A complete diagnostic instrument has a number of different components associated therewith only a few of which are used at any one given moment depending upon the particular vehicle and or analysis of a particular component(s) of a vehicle. Accordantly it is desirable to have storage for pieces associated with the diagnostic instrument that are not in use but maybe used during a diagnostic assessment of a particular vehicle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

There is provided in accordance with the present invention a protective cover for an electronic diagnostic instrument and associated software cards or modules. In a preferred embodiment, the cover comprises respective first and second oppositely disposed laterally spaced apart sections. Each the section comprises an upper and a lower portion offset from one another and a further portion interconnecting the portions. The upper and lower portions and the portion interconnecting the same, have an inner face, with the face on one section disposed in face to face relation with that on the other section. The upper and lower portions have flanges along respective opposite marginal edges of the inner face associated therewith. The flanges on one such section project therefrom in a direction toward the other of the first and second sections. A first and second spaced apart pair of straps interconnect the first and second sections.

There is also provided in accordance with the present invention a protective cover for an electronic diagnostic instrument and software module. The cover comprises an integrally molded unit including respective first and second oppositely disposed laterally spaced apart sections. Each section has an upper elongate portion, a lower portion offset from the upper portion and a further portion interconnecting the upper and lower portions. The upper and lower portions and portion interconnecting the same have a contiguous inner face. The upper and lower portions have flanges along respective opposite marginal edges of the inner face associated therewith. The flanges on one such section project therefrom in a direction toward the other of the first and second sections. A first and second spaced apart pair of straps interconnect the laterally spaced apart first and second sections.

Other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent with the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings showing a preferred embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A better understanding of the present invention will be had upon reference to the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views and wherein:

FIG. 1 is an oblique view of a diagnostic instrument protective boot provided in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the protective boot;

FIG. 3 is a rear elevational views of the protective boot;

FIG. 4 is a right hand side end elevational view;

FIG. 5 is a left hand side end elevational view;

FIG. 6 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the embodiment of FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 is an oblique view of a diagnostic instrument that is removably insertable into the boot; and

FIG. 9 is a front oblique view of a portion of the instrument of FIG. 8 inserted into the boot illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 7 is a soft resiliently flexible boot 10 made of an elastomer, STYROFOAM, a polymer compound, or rubber like moldable material to removably receive and provide protection for a portable diagnostic instrument 50 such as is illustrated in FIG. 8. The boot is preferably a molded monolithic unit but could, if desired, be composed of multiple sections suitably interconnected.

The instant device can be used to protect any electrical instrument used in service or shop areas by technicians and the like to test electrical and computer components of equipment. It is anticipated that the device would be usable in vehicle shops or in aerospace, marine industries, or military installations and the like to protect hand held analytical instruments. In one preferred embodiment, an instrument 50 is used to diagnose various functions of a motorized vehicle having a computer module controlling unit. The diagnostic instrument 50 comprises a principal unit 51 that fits into a first principal portion of the boot and a module 52 that slip fits into a minor lower portion of the boot. The module 52 detachably connects to the principal unit 51. There are numerous different modules correlated to the various different makes and models of vehicles. A wiring harness 53 detachably connects at one end thereof to the module and at the other end to a socket on the motor vehicle (normally in the motor compartment) having leads therefrom to the vehicle's computer. FIG. 9 illustrates the principal unit 51 of the diagnostic instrument in the protective boot 10. In FIG. 1, the diagnostic instrument 50, (components 51, 52) is shown in broken line in the protective boot.

The boot 10 has respective upper and lower ends 11, 12 and respective front and rear faces 13 and 14. The faces 13, 14 are disposed in respective ones of two imaginary spaced apart parallel planes. The boot provides a protective cover around a major portion of the periphery of the instrument disposed between and offset inwardly from such spaced apart imaginary parallel planes. The amount of offset is defined, as will become apparent hereinafter, by the thickness of flanges that overlap peripheral edge portions of the instrument 50 and retain the same captive in the boot. The overlapped portions not only serve to hold the instrument but to protect the vehicle from scratch or scuff marks if the user places the boot and instrument onto the vehicle surface.

The protective cover, i.e. boot 10, comprises first and second sections 15 and 16 that are mirror images of one another on opposite sides of a plane perpendicular to the aforementioned imaginary parallel planes. The first and second sections 15, 16 are interconnected by first and second spaced apart parallel straps 17, 18.

The boot sections 15, 16 each have respective upper and lower elongate portions 19 and 20 that are offset from one another and interconnected by an intermediate portion 21. At the upper end there is an end lip portion 22. These portions 19, 20, 21, and 22 have a contiguous surface 23 disposed between respective front and rear flanges 24, 25. These flanges captively retain the instrument in the boot and the outer surfaces thereof define the aforementioned respective front and rear faces 13, 14. The thickness of the flanges determines the amount of the previously referred to offset of the face of the instrument relative to the aforementioned imaginary spaced apart parallel planes. Adjacent the lower end 12 the surface 23 slopes toward a lip 26 that terminates at the lower end of the boot. Proximate this lip the flanges 23, 24 have respective notched portions 27, 28.

The diagnostic instrument principal unit 51 is ‘T’ shaped having a stem portion 54 and a cross portion 55 that fit respectively into the boot portions 20 and 19. The lip 22 overlaps an upper end portion of the cross portion 55 of the instrument and locks the same in the boot, the lower portion being disposed in abutting relation with the boot portion 21. The lower end 56 of the stem portion 54 is located below the straps 17, 18.

Each boot section 15, 16 has a reinforcing gusset 29 that extends from the juncture of portions 19, 21 to the lower end of the portion 20. The pair of reinforcing gussets 29 are elongate members with a rounded outline configuration in cross-section and provide handles 60 that can readily be grasped or hooked onto a suitable object to support the boot 10 and instrument during a diagnostic procedure. The outer surface of the gusset and portion 19 of the respective sections 15, 16 is gently curved and together with the outer surface of end portion 22 constitutes the outer periphery of the boot. The straps are narrowed down compared with to the remainder of the portions as best shown in FIGS. 4-7, providing for a comfortable grip on the handle 60 and a handle 60 that is readily finger engageable when the boot 10 is lying flat on a support surface such as a vehicle hood.

The upper portion 19 has means for holding a portable memory device, more particularly, comprising at least one slot 40 or pocket to receive a card or cards conventionally associated with the diagnostic instrument. A plurality of slots of different sizes can be provided to accommodate different types of memory card devices. Indentations 41 on opposite sides of the slot provide a finger receiving area to facilitate gripping a card in the slot to remove the same therefrom. The slot is formed or cut into the elastomeric or rubber boot and is therefor pliable yet resilient providing a good grip to the memory device. The slot 40 in the boot section 15 opens into a notch 45 in the rear face 14 of the boot section 15 while the slot 40 in boot section 16 is open only on the front face 13. The slot 40 may hold cards which plug into computer serial ports, thumb drives, memory stick, memory cards such are used in cameras, mini CD discs, or any portable memory devices for storing information and transferring same to an instrument and/or computer. Since not all vehicles are identical there are a number of different modules can be used. There are software cards with information embedded therein that are used one at a time in association with the diagnostic instrument during a diagnostic procedure.

The instrument portion 51 is readily insertable into the boot by spreading apart the end portions 22 of the boot sections. The location and flexibility of the straps 17, 18 facilitates such spreading. During this operation the lower part of portions 20 move toward one another. When the module 52 is inserted the instrument 50 such movement toward one another is prevented and thus the instrument 50 is effectively locked within the boot 10.

The foregoing detailed description is given primarily for clearness of understanding and no unnecessary limitations are to be understood therefrom, for modifications will become obvious to those skilled in the art based upon more recent disclosures and may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention and scope of the appended claims.