Title:
Activation device for sump pumps
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An activation device for use with a sump or other type pump is provided. The device includes a switched outlet into which the electrical plug of a pump is plugged. The switched outlet is connected to a switching means that is activated by conditions related to the rising and falling of water in the area about a pump, such as the sump of a home or other building. The activation means has an electrical micro-switch associated with a lever attached to a float rod and float; biasing means, locking the switch into an on position until the occurrence of a predetermined event, are provided. As the float rises the switch is activated allowing electricity to flow to the pump. The biasing means permits the pump to continue to operate as the water level in the sump falls. When the water level falls to a desired low level, the activation means is triggered to cut electricity off to the pump, and return to a standby state.



Inventors:
Liu, Simple (Taipei, TW)
Application Number:
11/350661
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
02/09/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F04B49/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COMLEY, ALEXANDER BRYANT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Welsh & Katz, Ltd. (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A pump activation structure, for use with a pump, comprising: a housing; a float rod; a switch, within the housing; an actuating member operably connected to the switch and being operably connected to the float rod, such that a variation in water level moves the float rod and the actuating member and toggles the switch, wherein the actuating member is a lever pivotably mounted within the switch housing such that the lever toggles between on and off positions; and at least one retaining ball mounted within the switch housing adjacent to the lever, to temporarily retain the lever in a switch activation position, wherein the at least one retaining ball is biased against a ball holding structure such that upon the toggling of the switch to the on position, the at least one ball is biased into the holding structure preventing the switch from toggling to the off position until the lever is subsequently pulled with sufficient force, at a desired time, to overcome the bias.

2. The pump activation structure of claim 1, wherein the housing is water tight and the switch is protected from environmental conditions.

3. The pump activation structure of claim 1, wherein the at least one ball is biased by a spring.

4. The pump activation structure of claim 3, wherein the spring is a coil spring.

5. The pump activation structure of claim 3, wherein the spring biases the ball outwardly against a holding structure until a float on the float rod sinks to a desired water level, designated by a stop affixed to the float rod, the float pushing on the stop to provide sufficient force to overcome the biasing spring and releasing the at least one ball from the holding structure.

6. The pump activation device of claim 1, including a holding structure responsive to a first and second retaining ball, the retaining balls each being located at the ends of a T-shaped lever, each ball being biased outwardly so as to contact and bias against a first and second ball holding structure.

7. A pump activation structure, for use with a pump, comprising: A water resistant housing; a float rod having a first stop affixed near the distal end of the rod and a second stop affixed near the proximal end of the rod; a float freely traversing the length of the float rod between the first and second stops; the float held on the rod by the stops, the float and rod located in a pump well; a switch, within the housing; an actuating member operably connected to the switch and being operably connected to the float rod, such that a variation in water level results in the float rod and the actuating member moving to toggle the switch, wherein the actuating member is a lever pivotably mounted within the switch housing such that the lever toggles between on and off positions; and a retaining ball mounted within the switch housing adjacent to the lever, to temporarily retain the lever in a switch activation position, wherein the retaining ball is biased by a spring such that upon the toggling of the switch to the on position, the retaining ball is pushed into the retaining structure preventing the switch from toggling to the off position until the lever is pulled with sufficient force, at a desired time, to overcome the biasing spring and retaining ball.

8. The pump activation structure of claim 7, wherein the housing is water tight and the switch is protected from environmental conditions.

9. The pump activation structure of claim 7, wherein the float rod and lever are hingedly connected.

10. The pump activation structure of claim 8, wherein the float rod is caused to rise when the float rises in the pump well, as the water in the well rises, and strikes the second stop fixed to the rod.

11. The pump activation structure of claim 7, wherein the biasing spring holds the switch in the toggled on position until the float on the float rod sinks to a desired water level, designated by the first stop, pulling the float rod down to provide sufficient force to overcome the biasing spring pressure.

12. The pump activation device of claim 7, including a holding structure responsive to a first and second retaining ball, the retaining balls each being located at the ends of a T-shaped lever, each ball being biased outwardly so as to contact and bias against a first and second ball holding structure.

13. The pump activation device of claim 7, wherein the retaining structure is shaped as a backwards “3” and the ball on the lever is biased into the upper element of the “3” in a first pump off position and into the lower element of the “3” in a second pump on position.

14. The pump activation device of claim 7, wherein once activated the pump remains powered on throughout the float motion between the first and second stop.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention concerns a switch for activating a sump pump in the presence of rising water. More particularly the present invention concerns a vertical float switch that causes the activation of a sump pump when an appropriate amount of water has entered a sump and causes a pump to continue to operate until sufficient water has been pumped out to cause the pump to cease operation. The pump is maintained in operation by a spring-loaded switch that is designed to stop the operation of the pump at a desired water level. The switch can be used to operate any pump and is not dependent on use with a particular or designated pump.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

With the need to protect homes from water damage due to the natural rise of the water table the use of sump pumps has become commonplace in many homes, especially those in known flood areas. Sump pumps are typically located in a sump or pit that is excavated at or about the lowest point of the house. Sump pumps are often of the submersible-type, meaning that they operate within a pool of water; which has the added effect of keeping the pump motor cool while running.

While a pump would be able to draw the water out of the sump and into either the waste water system or to an ejection point away from the foundation of the structure, the pump must either be set to run continuously or activated by some means that can detect the presence and rising of water. A pump running continuously wastes energy and runs the risk of burning out from constant action and its activity of removing water in the sump can cause burnout by the removal of all of its surrounding cooling pool of water. It is preferable, therefore, to have a means to detect the presence of water and activate the pump thereafter. Ideally the system permits the pump to draw the water down to a safe point and then deactivate the pump.

The sump is typically below floor level and water rises therein. Sump pumps typically are placed into operation and left alone to operate only on those rare occasions when water enters into a foundation area. Oftentimes a pump can be inactive during an entire dry season; further the pump and switch are typically located in areas of the structure that are dirty, damp or otherwise not conducive to the maintenance of electrical switches, particularly sophisticated switches designed to operate only upon the arising of a designated event (such as the rise of the water table).

Typically, sump pumps are sold as a unit with both the pump and the switch; as such a particular pump manufacturer that makes superb pumps may adopt a type of switch that is poor. Purchasers of pumps typically have no choice in the switch and vice-versa. Often times the manufacturer of an excellent pump will provide a substandard switch, and vice-versa, such that the user has one or both inadequate elements of a pumping and protective system.

Many switches and activation mechanisms are available that permit the activation of a pump at appropriate times during a rising water event. Included in presently available switches are floating switches that trigger the activation of a pump upon rising to a certain level and shutting off the pump upon sinking back to a safer level; or switches floating within a tethered float. Tethered floats typically have a mercury-type switch that is activated and deactivated by the change in angle of the float, returning to a shut off position upon the return of the tethered float to its at rest position.

These switches, while effective, have flaws that can lead to a pump not activating when it is most needed. In particular, the former type of switch is most effected by the dirty conditions of its location as well as has the flaw of often-times shutting the pump off too soon in its cycle of rising and falling. The tether-type switch, because of its more free moving action, can be blocked as it pivots up to its activation level, thus failing to activate the pump. While tethered switches are often sealed away from dirt and dust, they have the same problem of shutting a pump down too quickly as the water recedes as a result of pump activity.

When a pump is shut down too quickly there is a tendency to have the pump activate and shut down often particularly in a rapid water rise cycle, such that the switch and pump are activated and deactivated too often. If the pump is shut down too early the level of water remains high enough that a small influx of water subsequent reactivates the pump quickly, the pump then removes a small amount of water again before it is deactivated again. This cycle is deleterious to the pump and switch mechanism; the nominal state being the activation and appropriate running of the pump to well drain the sump so as to provide an adequate time span before the next cycle. It is well known that pump and switch systems have a certain number of cycles in the life of the system and constant activation and deactivation causing early failure of the system by exhaustion of the life of the system.

There are other pump switches known in the art, however, there is only one other free-standing submersible float switch mechanism on the market that is known. It will be understood by persons having ordinary skill in the art that, free-standing, with respect to sump pump switches, means that the switch can be used on any sump pump and is not designed for a particular sump pump of any manufacturer. The one known free-standing switch is by SJE Rhombus of Detroit Lakes, Minn., also known as S. J. Electro. The SJ Electro switch employs magnets to keep the switch in an “on” (closed circuit) position as water is pumped from the pit. The present invention comprises an alternative design offering benefits not available before.

It would therefore be desirable to have a switch system that is better equipped to withstand the ambient conditions in a sump location and provide a means to delay the shutting off of the pump until the sump is substantially emptied. Such a switch should also address the issue of not running the pump for too long such that the pump is removed from its cooling water surroundings so that the danger of pump burn out is lessened. It is desirable to permit the owner of a pump to purchase a switch separate from the pump, so that a desired pump and switch can both be purchased rather than depending on a secondary switch provided with an excellent pump.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A switch having a watertight housing is provided for use with a sump pump to turn the pump, particularly a submersible pump, on and off automatically. The particular nature of a vertical float switch is that the float assembly moves up and down in a defined path so that very little space is required—it can be used in big sump pits or small sump pits. It will be understood that the switch of the present invention is of the type that when activated permits the flow of electricity to a pump. The activation of the pump, therefore, is determined by conditions that permit electricity to flow from an outlet into a pump ready to work. Such pumps as so called sump-pumps and other self priming pumps of types well known to persons having skill in the art can be used in association with the device of the present invention.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a pump activation structure, for use with a pump, or other electrical device, is provided. The activation structure includes a housing for maintaining electronic equipment, conceptions and their various activation means in clean and dry conditions for effective activation and working. A float rod is provided having a floating activator riding thereon; the float activator designed to rise and fall depending on the level of water in, for example, a sump. Within the housing, the device includes a switch, capable of being activated and running until a given event or the elapsing of a designated period of time. It will be understood that any number of available switches can be used in the present invention, but that a switch having low power capabilities is preferred. A reed-type switch as often found in present day sump-pump switching-systems is an effective switch for the device of the present invention.

The present invention further includes an actuating member, between the float and float rod and switch. The actuating member operably connects the switch and the float rod, such that a variation in water level moves the float rod and the actuating member and toggles the switch. In a preferred embodiment, the actuating member is a lever pivotably mounted within the switch housing such that the lever toggles between on and off positions. In one embodiment, the switch includes a dead-man type activation means, wherein the switch is activated only when the lever causes a button or pedal to be depressed. Subsequently, upon release of the button or pedal the switch is turned off, causing the pump to turn off. In the device of the present invention, the lever is pushed into position by the rising of the water and thereafter is pulled out of position, at a desired condition, by the pulling caused by the fall of the water, the float and with the means discussed below.

The pump activation device includes means to permit the switch to remain in the on position as the water level falls, so as to permit the accompanying pump to work to drain the sump. In the preferred embodiment, the means includes a spring-biased retaining ball mounted within the switch housing adjacent to the lever, to temporarily retain the lever in a switch activation position. In a preferred embodiment, the retaining ball is biased by a spring against a holding structure such that upon the toggling of the switch to the on position, the ball is pushed into the holding structure preventing the switch from toggling to the off position. The switch remains in the on position until the lever is pulled with sufficient force, at a desired time, to overcome the biasing spring, and permit the lever to be pulled off of the switch activating button.

In a preferred embodiment, the housing is water-tight and the switch is protected from environmental conditions found in a sump location. Further, in one embodiment the biasing spring holds the switch in the toggled on position until a float on the float rod sinks to a desired water level pulling the float rod down to provide sufficient force to overcome the biasing spring pressure. The float rod includes stops at a set high level and a set low level, with a float suspended there between. In an at rest position, the float rests on top of the lower stop and in the presence of some water the float rises off of the lower stop.

In the operation of a device made in accordance with the teachings of the present invention, when water rises in the sump, the float rises until it reaches the upper stop and then begins to push on the stop causing the float rod to be pushed up. The rising of the float against the first stop pushes the rod within the float housing such that the lever is moved towards the activation button or pedal. The continued rising of water causes the float rod to push the lever to the activation position, activating the pump while simultaneously permitting the retaining ball into the holding structure; the ball being held in the holding structure by the biasing spring. As the water falls, in response to the activity of the pump, the float is permitted to fall with the level of the water. The biasing spring, however, retains the ball in the holding structure such that the lever is not pulled off of the activation button or pedal, permitting the pump to continue to run. Only upon the draining of sufficient water out of the pump, that is until the float is pushing down onto the lower stop with sufficient force to overcome the biasing spring and pull the ball out of the holding member, will the lever be pulled off of the activation switch causing the pump to cease operation. Power is cut off to the pump placing the pump in its at rest position to await the next rising water situation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of an activation device for a pump of the present invention, showing the pump at rest; water is shown at a low level and the switch is in an open circuit, “off” position.

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of an activation device and pump of FIG. 1 in an intermittent position with water at a risen level, as demonstrated by the position of the float, while the switch remains in an open circuit, “off” position.

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of an activation device and pump of FIG. 1; water is shown at a high level, the float has caused a lever arm to move the switch, the switch is in a closed circuit, “on” position.

FIG. 3A is a close-up schematic representation of the switch elements of the activation device as shown in FIG. 1, showing the open circuit position, of FIGS. 1 and 2, where the pump is not activated.

FIG. 3B is a close-up schematic representation of the switch elements of the device as shown in FIG. 3, showing the closed circuit position of FIGS. 3 and 4, where the pump is turned on.

FIG. 3C is a close-up schematic representation of an embodiment of the switch holding element of the device as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of an activation device and pump of FIG. 1 as they continue to work; water is being pumped out of the sump and the float is falling with the level of the water, the switch remains in a closed circuit, “on” position.

FIG. 5 is a schematic representation of a second embodiment of an activation device and pump at an at rest position; water is shown at a low level and the switch is in an open circuit, “off” position.

FIG. 5A is a schematic representation of an activation device and pump of FIG. 5 with the switch moved to an open position as water rises to its high level and is pumped from the sump; water is being pumped out of the sump and the float is falling with the level of the water, the switch remains in a closed circuit, “on” position.

FIG. 5B is a schematic representation of an activation device and pump of FIG. 5A, showing the continued action of the pump as the water recedes within the sump.

FIG. 6 is a cut-away perspective view of the housing and internal elements of the activation device shown in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT

While the present invention is susceptible of embodiment in various forms, there is shown in the drawings a number of presently preferred embodiments that are discussed in greater detail hereafter. It should be understood that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the present invention, and is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiments illustrated. It should be further understood that the title of this section of this application (“Detailed Description of the Illustrative Embodiment”) relates to a requirement of the United States Patent Office, and should not be found to limit the subject matter disclosed herein.

Referring to FIG. 1, it will be seen that a pump 10 is provided in a sump structure 12, in such a way as is commonly found in many houses and other buildings and which is well known. The pump 10 includes a cord 13 and plug 14 to permit the pump to be connected to an electrical outlet 18. Pump 10 includes all necessary and well known elements of pumps of this type, including a motor 10 m, an impeller (not shown), a water discharge tube 10d and a base 10b. It will be understood by persons having ordinary skill in the art that were the pump 10 to be directly connected to outlet 18, pump 10 would begin to work to remove any water in the sump. It is clear however, that a means to activate the pump at a necessary time such as in the presence of water 5, without constant supervision by a person, is desirable.

The pump, of the present invention, is therefore advantageously used in association with an activation device 20. As illustrated, the activation device 20 includes an electrical cord 21 and plug 22, having a first side 22a that is plugged into outlet 18 and a second side 22b that provides a switched outlet 22s into which the plug 14 of the pump maybe inserted. Switched outlet 22s permits the flow of electricity into pump 10 only upon the arising of a given condition, as will be described below. In this way the pump 10 is activated only when needed as determined by the conditions present in the sump 12.

Activation device 20 comprises a housing 30 having a water resistant case 32 for keeping an electrical switch 34 in a clean and dry environment; it will be understood by persons having ordinary skill in the art that a sump is often a damp and dirty environment and that an electrical device will require protection within such an environment. Water resistant case can be made of any structurally capable material molded or formed to surround and protect the inner workings of activation device 20. Such materials as plastic, rubber and various metals can be utilized without departing from the novel scope of the present invention. Water resistance within housing 30 can be improved by the use of protective sheeting materials and/or O-rings or other gaskets as are known to persons having ordinary skill in the art.

In a preferred embodiment of the device of the present invention, a low powered micro-switch 34 is provided in housing 30. Persons having skill in the art will understand that any type of switch can be utilized in the activation of the switch electrical connector of the device of the present invention, without departing from the novel scope of the present invention. In the preferred embodiment a low powered micro-switch has been chosen as ideal for this situation. Micro-switch 34 includes an activation button, or plunger, 36 having a first on position, wherein that position an electrical circuit is completed allowing electricity to flow through switched outlet 22s and an off position wherein electricity is stopped from flowing. These positions are represented, respectively by plunger 36 being in a pressed or inward position for “on” and an outwardly projecting position for “off” (as shown respectively in FIG. 3 and FIG. 1). Housing 30 further includes an ingress 39 for a float rod 40, which is operably connected to a lever 42 that is held adjacent to activation button 36 and is operable to depress plunger 36 as needed. A float 41 rides about float rod 40 and can freely float between a lower stop 401 and an upper stop 40u. Float 41 is constructed in a manner well known in the art and can be made of any number of materials such as plastic, metals or wood and sealed in a protective coating, without departing from the novel scope of the present invention. The illustrated float comprises a generally cylindrical or barrel shaped device defining an opening along its long axis through which float rod 40 traverses. In a preferred embodiment, the opening though float 41 is generally centered such that the action of float 41 along float rod 40 is balanced and smooth as the float rises and falls along rod 40.

Lever 42 as shown, is pivoted on a fulcrum point 43 and has an extended end 42e having a locking structure 45 for use in association with a holding structure 60 (FIGS. 3A, 3B and 3C), which will be discussed in greater detail below.

In the operation of the pump activation device of the present invention, referring to FIG. 1, the pump 10 is shown at rest, and the water 5 in the sump 12 is at the low point 51. The micro switch, inside the switch body, is open circuit (“off”), and the pump is off. The float is resting on the lower stop 401 of the rod while the rod passes through a gasket in the switch body and connects to a lever. The micro switch 34 is normally in an open circuit position because of a small spring (not shown) inside of the switch 34 biasing the plunger 36 into an open switch position.

Referring to FIG. 2. The water 5 rises in the sump pit 12, and the float 41 moves freely up the rod 40 without moving the rod. The micro switch 34 remains in the open circuit position, and the pump 10 is still off.

Referring to FIG. 3. The water 5 rises to a high point 5h so that the float 41 hits the upper stop 40u, a point fixed on the rod 40. The rod 40 now moves up about 0.25 inches and pushes the lever 42 such that it pivots about fulcrum point 43 and pushes plunger 36 down activating micro switch 34 to the closed circuit position. This will be described in greater detail below. The pump 10 turns on and begins to discharge water through tube 10d.

Referring to FIG. 4. As the water 5 is discharged, the float 41 moves down the rod 40 without moving the rod 40 itself, lever 42 remains in its on position, pushing plunger 36 down; micro switch 36 remains in its on position. The micro switch remains in the closed circuit position, and the pump is still on. It will be understood that as the water 5 continues to drain from the sump 12 as a result of the action of the pump 10, float 41 will continue to drop until it hits lower stop 401. As the water continues to fall, float 41 pushes stop 401, which as it is attached to rod 40, causes rod 40 to be pulled down with the action of the float 41. As rod 40 is pulled down it causes lever 42 to disengage from plunger 36 until the switch 34 is returned to its off position. As the switch 34 turns off power to cord 21 and plug 22 is switched off, causing pump 10 to cease operation. The activation device and pump return to the first at rest position.

Referring now to FIGS. 3A, 3B and 3C, the operation of ball bearing 52 and biasing means 56 can be seen in greater detail. FIGS. 3A and 3b show one embodiment of a float rod 40 and lever 42 in association with micro switch 34. FIG. 3A shows the device in an open circuit position and FIG. 3B shows the device in a closed circuit position.

Switch 34 includes a plunger 36 which when depressed activates switch 34 and the concomitantly activation device 20. Lever 42 is pivoted about pin 43 allowing its extended end 42e to pivot down when rod 40 rises. In the illustrative embodiment, lever 42 includes a locking structure 45, which comprises a tube 52 forming a T with lever 42. A biasing means 56 and balls 52 are maintained within tube 52, in a manner well known to persons in the art. It will be understood that the biasing means 56 provide sufficient force to push balls 52 to a partially exposed position outside of each end of tube 52. In the illustrative embodiment, biasing means 56 is a coil spring, however it will be understood that any manner of biasing balls 56 to the positions shown can be used without departing from the novel scope of the present invention.

Housing 30, of activation device 20, further includes holding structure 60, which is designed to hold one or more balls 52. By holding balls 52, locking structure 60 prevents lever 42 from becoming disengaged from plunger 36 prematurely, that is before sufficient water 5 has been removed from sump 12. In one embodiment, shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the holding structure includes ball-retaining tubes 54 and a spring 56 for biasing balls 52 into retaining tube 60. The spring 56 provides sufficient pressure to lock balls 52 into tube 60 and thereby maintain lever 42 in position to hold activation plunger 36 in the power on position, that is button 36 is maintained in a depressed condition.

In the illustrative embodiment, holding structure 60 comprises tubular members located adjacent the position that tube 52 will come to at the high water 5h position of the sump pump cycle. In that position, holding structures 60 will be in position to capture balls 56, within openings 50, and lock lever 42 in position engaging plunger 36 such that switch 34 is in its on position and pump 10 is powered. It will be understood that lever 42 cannot be released, so as to deactivate the pump 10, until a downward force on rod 40 is generated sufficient to overcome the outward force of the biasing means 56 so that balls 52 are released from holding structures 60. While a device having two balls 52 is shown and described it will be understood that a device having a single ball and a single locking means, can be constructed without departing from the novel scope of the present invention.

As shown in FIG. 1, which is equally illustrative of the beginning and the end of the water pumping cycle, when the water 5 is pumped out to a low point 51 so that the float hits the lower stop 401, and the force of gravity of the heavy float 41 pulls the rod 40 down about 0.25 inches, the lever 42 pivots, and the plunger 36 of micro switch 34 is free to return to its normally open circuit position. The pump 10 is powered off.

In FIG. 3, particularly FIGS. 3A and 3B, the lever 42 pivots, depresses the plunger 36 on the micro switch 34, and then stays in position. It holds its position because of a spring and ball bearing mechanism built inside the lever itself. The lever has a cavity within tube 54 that holds a spring 56 across its width, which in one preferred embodiment is about 0.500 inches, and pushes against two tiny ball bearings 52 at the end 54e of the tube 54. The ball bearings 52 are held in position by small plastic bearings so that the balls do not fall out of the tube 54. Such bearings are of a type well known to persons having skill in the art. At rest, the spring 56 pushes the ball bearings 52 so that the entire width of the lever 42 with ball bearings is, in a preferred embodiment, about 0.600 inches wide.

As the lever 42 moves into position (closed circuit), the ball bearings 52 pass over a post hole 50 that is molded into the housing 30 of activation means 20. In one preferred embodiment, at its most narrow point, outer edge 42e of the lever is about 0.600 inches in width. That is, outer edge 42e, who's width is determined by measuring from the outer tangent surface 52t of one ball bearing 52, through tube 54 and to the outer tangent surface 52t of the second ball bearing 52, is 0.600 inches. This width is, by action of float bar 40, lever 42 and fulcrum 43, caused to pass through a zone Z that is only 0.525 inches wide. Those having ordinary skill in the art will understand that the balls 52 must be pushed inwardly, into tube 54 and the spring 56 must be compressed to accomplish this. Once the balls have passed over the lip of the post hole 60e, the balls are biased into the cavity of the post hole 50, by the force of spring 56, and stay in position until the force of the falling float 41 overcomes the force of the balls 52 and spring 56 within post hole 50. In a preferred embodiment, the outer edge 42e of lever 42 has a width of about 0.590 inches at its widest. The tension of the spring 56 creates sufficient friction so that the lever will not move out of position but will stay fixed.

Referring to FIG. 3C, another embodiment of the end 42e of lever 42 is shown. In this embodiment, a more compact end portion 42e is shown. While the operation of this embodiment is identical to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, it will be seen that a more compact head unit allows less flex in the particular elements (especially tube 54 in FIGS. 3A and 3B) giving a more predictable fit for the head ends 54e and holding tube ends 60e. Balls 52 and spring 56 tending to operate as described above.

As the float 41 moves down the rod 40 and subsequently pushes on lower stop 401 the force of gravity acts on the rod; this gravitational force, and the weight of float 40, will be greater than the frictional forces holding the ball bearings 52 in place, and the balls 52 will give way. The lever 42 will move back to its original position, releasing plunger 36. The micro switch 34 will return to its normally open circuit, power off position.

Further, referring to FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C, FIG. 3A shows the open circuit position, which is the same position depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 (where the pump is not activated). FIG. 3B shows the closed circuit position, the same as FIG. 3 and 4 where the pump 10 is turned on. The rod 40 has moved up, pivoted the lever 42 so that the lever 42 has moved down and depressed the plunger 36. The spring 56 and ball bearings 52 inside the lever 42 have moved about parallel with the stop hole 50 (one on either side of the switch 34 in assembly housing 30 although only one is shown in the Figures) so that the spring 56 has pushed the ball bearing 52 into the stop holes 50 and the lever 42 is fixed in the on position.

It will be understood by persons having skill in the art that the dimensions stated are not actual but are instead merely representative to show how the mechanism fits together. Variations in sizes, materials and tolerances are considered to be within the novel scope of the present invention.

In a further preferred embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIGS. 5, 5A and 5B wherein like elements are given like numbers, as the float 241 freely moves up the rod 240, it hits a stop 240u on the rod and pushes the entire rod 240 up. Referring to FIG. 6, showing the interior of the housing 230 of the device of the present invention, the rod 240 then pushes the lever 242 which pivots, at fulcrum point 243, and presses down upon a plunger 236 on a micro switch 234, moving the switch from an open position “off” to a closed position “on”. The lever 242 stays fixed in place because a spring loaded ball 252 bearing inside the lever 242 applies pressure against a holding element 250. In the present embodiment, holding element 250 is shapes as a backwards “3”. Holding element 250 is attached to housing structure 230 of activation device 220. As can be seen, holding structure 250 comprises an upper and lower holding element, that is each element of the backwards “3”, such that the element holds lever 242 in place in both an on and an off position, making the working of the pump and the stopping of action of the pump a more regulated event. The holding structure 250 is situated such that the lever 242 will not move from its stationary position until the action of the float 241 falling onto a lower stop 2401 as water drains from the sump (through the action of the pump 210) pulls rod 240 with sufficient force to overcome the force of the biased ball 252 in holding structure 250; in a manner similar to that discussed above.

In the activation of the pump, as shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B and as in a manner similar to that discussed above, water enters the sump 212 causing float 241 to rise on rod 240. As the water rises float 241 rises until it hits stop 240u, then as stop 240u is affixed to rod 240, both the rod 240 and float 241 continue to rise as the water 5 rises in the sump 212. As shown in FIG. 5B, as the float reaches a predetermined point coinciding with the high water point 5h, lever 242 is pivoted, about fulcrum 243, by sufficient force to overcome the force of ball 252 within holding structure 250, and plunger 236 on switch 234 is depressed. The switch 234 turns on, the pump 210 is activated and removes water 5 from the pump reservoir (or sump well) 212. The removal of water 5 causes the float 240 to begin to move back down the rod 240. The float 240 subsequently hits lower stop 2401 on rod 240 and pulls the entire rod downward. When the force of the falling float exceeds the biasing force holding the ball bearing 252 in position in the holding structure 250, the lever 242 pivots within holding structure 250 into the open position thereby deactivating the pump. It will be understood by persons having skill in the art that the cycle illustrated is repetitive and that the continued and variable influx of water into the sump or well will change the time period of the cycle.

While many of the elements shown are created using molding techniques, using plastics, it will be understood that elements of the device of the present invention can be made using techniques known to persons having ordinary skill in the art without departing from the novel scope of the present invention.

It will be apparent that one difference between the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-4 and FIGS. 5, 5A and 5B is that first illustrative embodiment shows a “hammer-head” type design with two ball bearings while the design of the second illustrative embodiment shows only one ball bearing and is fixed in position by the holding members shaped as a backward number 3. In addition, as will be known by persons having ordinary skill in the art, the entire assembly in both embodiments can be made water tight using gaskets and other elements known to persons having ordinary skill in the art including the use of molded switch body halves, water resistant cables power cable, and water resistant rod interfaces.

Persons having ordinary skill in the art will understand that various modifications can be made to these two designs without departing from the novel scope of the present invention.