Title:
Motor electrical connector employing liquid immersion protection
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A discharge head having an internal electrical receptor for receiving and supporting an electrical connector, preferably for submersible turbine pumps. The electrical connector is protected by liquid immersion. The electrical connector is inserted into an internal electrical receptor within the discharge head. The electrical connector electrically couples a motor, which is attached to the discharge head, to control electronics via wiring coupled to the electrical connector. A liquid inlet is formed at the base of the discharge head between an outer wall of the discharge head and the inner electrical receptor that supports the electrical connector. One or more supporting structures in the form of ribs connect the outer wall to the electrical receptor forming a plurality of orifices that receive liquid from the motor. The support structures contain indentations to form an annular ring flow path that allows liquid to completely surround the electrical connector and/or electrical receptor.



Inventors:
Ewing, Dale (Hollidaysburg, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/297945
Publication Date:
06/07/2007
Filing Date:
12/06/2005
Assignee:
VEEDER-ROOT COMPANY (Simsbury, CT, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F04B17/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BAYOU, AMENE SETEGNE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP (Charlotte, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A discharge head for receiving liquid from a motor housing and providing a liquid flow path to discharge the liquid to a piping assembly and that receives an electrical connector from the piping assembly for coupling to a motor to control the motor, wherein the electrical connector is immersed by the liquid, comprising: an outlet consisting of an orifice for receiving the piping assembly and the electrical connector; a main liquid flow path that is fluidly coupled to the orifice and to the piping assembly when installed in the orifice; an inlet fluidly coupled to the main liquid flow path, and comprised of an outer wall surrounding an inner electrical receptor coupled to the orifice, such that the electrical connector is supported by the electrical receptor when the electrical connector is inserted into the orifice, whereby a liquid inlet is formed between the outer wall and the electrical receptor; and at least one supporting structure coupling the electrical receptor to the outer wall at ends of the at least one supporting structure and containing at least one indentation there between, wherein the at least one supporting structure divides the liquid inlet into a plurality of inlet orifices that are fluidly coupled to the main liquid flow path, thereby forming an annular liquid flow path coupled to the main liquid flow path that completely surrounds the electrical receptor.

2. The discharge head of claim 1, wherein the at least one supporting structure is comprised of at least one rib.

3. The discharge head of claim 1, wherein the at least one indentation is at least one groove.

4. The discharge head of claim 1, further comprising at least one mounting screw orifice that is adapted to receive a mounting screw to firmly attached the discharge head to the motor housing.

5. The discharge head of claim 1, wherein the annular liquid flow path is a circular flow path.

6. The discharge head of claim 1, wherein the orifice for receiving the piping assembly is threaded for receiving a threaded end of the piping assembly to connect the piping assembly to the discharge head.

7. The discharge head of claim 1, further comprising a threaded throat that is connected to the electrical receptor on one end and is threaded on its other end to receive an electrical conduit containing the electrical connector.

8. The discharge head of claim 1, further comprising a receptacle formed in the outer wall on the liquid inlet side of the discharge head for receiving the motor housing.

9. The discharge head of claim 1, further comprising an alignment pin orifice that is adapted to receive an alignment pin from the motor housing to align the connection of the discharge head to the motor housing.

10. A motor housing assembly for driving a pump to pump liquid from a storage tank, comprising a motor inside a motor housing that is adapted to be coupled to a discharge head to discharge the liquid to a piping assembly and for coupling a discharge head electrical connector to the motor to electrically control the motor, comprising: a motor housing containing a motor that electrically drives the pump; an outer housing surrounding the motor housing, and forming a liquid flow path between the outside of the motor housing and the inside of the outer housing, wherein the outer housing comprises a liquid inlet coupled to the liquid flow path and the liquid in the storage tank and a liquid outlet, and wherein the outer housing contains the pump that pumps liquid from the tank into the liquid flow path; the motor housing, comprising: at one end, an outer wall surrounding an inner motor housing electrical receptor, wherein the motor housing electrical receptor contains a motor housing electrical connector that is coupled to the motor to electrically control the motor, wherein the discharge head electrical connector is coupled to the electrical connector when the discharge head is coupled to the motor housing; and at least one supporting structure coupling the motor housing electrical receptor to the outer wall at ends of the at least one supporting structure and containing at least one indentation there between, wherein the at least one supporting structure divides the liquid outlet into a plurality of liquid outlet orifices that are fluidly coupled to the liquid flow path, thereby forming an annular liquid flow path coupled to the liquid flow path that completely surrounds the motor housing electrical receptor.

11. The motor housing assembly of claim 10, wherein the at least one supporting structure is comprised of at least one rib.

12. The motor housing assembly of claim 10, wherein the at least one indentation is at least one groove.

13. The motor housing assembly of claim 10, further comprising at least one mounting screw orifice that is adapted to receive a mounting screw to firmly attached the discharge head to the motor housing.

14. The motor housing assembly of claim 10, wherein the annular liquid flow path is a circular flow path.

15. The motor housing assembly of claim 10, further comprising a receptacle formed in the outer wall on the liquid outlet side of the motor housing for receiving the discharge head.

16. The motor housing assembly of claim 10, wherein the motor housing further comprises an alignment pin that is adapted to be inserted into an alignment pin orifice in the discharge head to align the connection of the discharge head to the motor housing.

17. A gasket for providing a sealed connection between a motor housing and a discharge head, comprising: a liquid inlet coupled to a liquid flow path and a liquid outlet; an outer wall surrounding an electrical receptor ring forming an electrical receptor orifice inside the electrical receptor ring; at least one supporting structure coupling the electrical receptor ring to the outer wall at ends of the at least one supporting structure and containing at least one indentation there between, wherein the at least one supporting structure divides the liquid outlet into a plurality of liquid outlet orifices that are fluidly coupled to the liquid flow path, thereby forming an annular liquid flow path coupled to the liquid flow path that completely surrounds the electrical receptor ring.

18. The gasket of claim 17, wherein the at least one supporting structure is comprised of at least one rib.

19. The gasket of claim 17, wherein the at least one indentation is at least one groove.

20. The gasket of claim 17, further comprising at least one mounting screw orifice in the outer wall that is adapted to align with a mounting screw orifice in the discharge head and receive a mounting screw that is connected to the motor housing to attached the discharge head to the motor housing.

21. The gasket of claim 17, wherein the annular liquid flow path is a circular flow path.

22. The gasket of claim 17, further comprising an alignment pin orifice in the outer wall that is adapted to receive an alignment pin from the motor housing and to be inserted into an alignment pin orifice in the discharge head to align the connection of the discharge head to the motor housing.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a motor electrical connector and/or electrical receptor within a discharge head or motor housing wherein the electrical connector and/or electrical receptor is protected by liquid immersion as a safety measure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In service station environments, fuel is delivered to fuel dispensers from underground storage tanks (USTs), sometimes referred to as fuel storage tanks. USTs are large containers typically located beneath the ground that contain fuel. A separate UST is provided for each fuel type, such as low-octane gasoline, high-octane gasoline, and diesel fuel. In order to deliver the fuel from the USTs to the fuel dispensers, a pump, which is typically a submersible turbine pump (STP), is provided that pumps the fuel out of the USTs and delivers the fuel to the fuel dispensers through a main fuel piping conduit running beneath the ground in the service station area.

FIG. 1 illustrates a fuel delivery system in a typical retail service station environment in the prior art. A fuel dispenser 10 delivers fuel 22 from an underground storage tank (UST) 20 to a vehicle (not shown). The fuel dispenser 10 is comprised of a fuel dispenser housing 12 that typically contains a control system 13 and a display 14. The fuel dispenser 10 contains valves and meters (not shown) to allow the fuel 22 to be received from underground piping and delivered under control through a hose and nozzle (not shown).

There may be a plurality of USTs 20 in a service station environment if more than one type of fuel 22 is to be delivered by the fuel dispensers 10 in the service station. For example, one UST 20 may contain a high octane of gasoline, another UST 20 may contain a low octane of gasoline, and yet another UST 20 may contain diesel. The UST 20 is typically a double-walled tank comprised of an inner vessel 23 that holds the fuel 22 surrounded by an outer casing 25. The outer encasing 25 provides an added measure of protection to prevent any leaked fuel 22 from the inner vessel 23 from reaching the ground. Any fuel 22 leaked from a leak in the inner vessel 23 will be captured in an annular or interstitial space 27 that is formed between the inner vessel 23 and the outer casing 25.

A submersible turbine pump (STP) 30 is provided to pump the fuel 22 from the UST 20 and deliver the fuel 22 to the fuel dispensers 10. An example of a STP 30 is The Red Jacket® pump manufactured and sold by the Veeder-Root Company and disclosed at http://www.rediacket.com. Another example of a STP 30 is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,126,409, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. The STP 30 is comprised of a STP housing 36 that incorporates electronics (not shown), and is typically located inside a leak containment sump 32.

The STP 30 is connected to a riser pipe 38 that is mounted using a mount 40 connected to the top of the UST 20. The riser pipe 38 extends down from the STP 30 and out of the STP housing 36. A fuel supply pipe (not shown) is coupled to the STP 30 and is located inside the riser pipe 38. The fuel supply pipe extends down into the UST 20 in the form of a boom or piping assembly 42, which is connected to a motor (not illustrated in FIG. 1) inside an outer housing 44.

The piping assembly 42 is typically connected a discharge head 70, which is in turn connected to the outer housing 44 that contains the pump (not illustrated in FIG. 1) for pumping the fuel 22 out of the UST 20. Most outer housings 44 contain a turbine pump in the form of a turbine rotor (not shown) and motor, wherein the motor is powered to cause the turbine to rotate and create a pressure differential between the UST 20 and a motor housing 87 (illustrated in FIG. 3), contained within the outer housing 44, to draw the fuel 22 out of the UST 20, as is well known. The fuel 22 is drawn through the outer housing 44 and through the discharge head 70 coupled to the piping assembly 42 to be delivered to the fuel dispensers 10 via the STP 30. The discharge head 70 provides a convenient method to support a fluid connection between the piping assembly 42 and the motor housing 87, and an electrical connection between the STP 30 and the motor inside the outer housing 44.

The STP 30 may be electrically coupled to a tank monitor 62, such as the Veeder-Root Company TLS-350™ monitor, or a site controller 64, such as the Gilbarco G-Site® or Passport® point-of-sale system, via a communication link 66, so that the STP 30 can be controlled to deliver the fuel 22 to one or more fuel dispensers 10 when a fuel dispenser 10 requests a fueling transaction.

When one or more fuel dispensers 10 in the service station are activated to dispense fuel 22, the STP 30 electronics are activated, and the STP 30, via electrical communications through the electrical connector in the discharge head 70, causes the motor to rotate the turbine inside the outer housing 44 to pump the fuel 22 into a pump inlet 46 and through the discharge head 70 into the piping assembly 42. The fuel 22 is drawn through the piping assembly 42 and into the STP housing 36 and delivered to a main fuel piping conduit 48. The main fuel piping conduit 48 is coupled to the fuel dispensers 10 in the service station whereby the fuel 22 is delivered to a vehicle (not shown).

FIG. 2 illustrates a bottom view of the discharge head 70 of a design in the prior art. As illustrated in FIG. 2, an electrical connector 72 is shown as extending through a receptor 74 formed as a receptor orifice 75 in the casting of the discharge head 70 having a certain thickness. The electrical connector 72, in the form of conductive pins (not shown), is coupled to electrical wires or pins 76 inside an electrical conduit (not shown) inside the piping assembly 42 that is coupled to the STP 30 electronics. The electrical connector 72 is in turn connected to a female pin connector in the motor housing 87 (illustrated FIG. 7) to provide power and operational signals from the STP 30 to the motor inside the outer housing 44. The motor also contains a reciprocal receptor (not shown) that couples to the receptor 74 of the discharge head 70 to provide an aligned fitting between the motor housing 87 and the discharge head 70. In this manner, the discharge head 70 provides electrical connectivity between the STP 30 and the motor inside the outer housing 44, and a fluid connection between the piping assembly 42 and the motor housing 87.

Also as illustrated in FIG. 2, the bottom of the discharge head 70 contains a cylindrically-shaped outer housing 78 have a thickness surrounding a cylindrically-shaped inner wall 80 that is provided as part of the casting of the discharge head 70. Four rib or arm-like support structures 82 extend between the inner wall 80 and the outer housing 78 to support the electrical connector 72 and the receptor 74. The ribs 82 are used to provide this support in lieu of a solid surface area encompassing the entire bottom of the discharge head 70 that surrounds the electrical connector 72 and receptor 74, such that orifices 84 are formed to provide a liquid flow path through the discharge head 70. As the fuel 22 leaves the motor housing 87, it enters into the bottom of the discharge head 70 and flows through the orifices 84, eventually coupling to the piping assembly 42 above and then on to the STP 30 for delivery at the fuel dispensers 10. Note that less than four rib structures 82 may be employed and provide less orifices 84 as desired, and still provide the desired support.

As is common with fuel handling devices and components, safety and regulatory requirements are issues that affect design and must be taken into consideration. For instance, the STP 30 is installed in an area of the fueling environment classified as a “Zone 0” area, meaning that there is a continuous presence of fuel vapors above the level of fuel 22. Certifications in this area require that the energized motor electrical connectors must be continuously submersed in liquid fuel so that explosive vapors are not present in the connector area. Since the liquid fuel 22 from the UST 20 flows through the turbine inside the outer housing 44 and past the electrical connector 72 inside the discharge head 70 (of FIG. 2) through the orifices 84, the fuel 22 does not totally surround or immerse the electrical connector 72. This is because the ribs 82 provide non-liquid areas or solid sections 86 around the electrical connector 72 and receptor 74 such that the electrical connector 72 is not totally surrounded or immersed by the fuel 22.

Thus, there exists a need to provide a motor, connector, and/or discharge head that allows a motor to be electrically and fluidly connected to a discharge head so that liquid, such as fuel, drawn as a result of the motor operation, can be delivered through the discharge head and into the piping assembly like that illustrated in FIG. 2. However, it is also desired to provide for the electrical connector to be immersed or surrounded completely by the liquid to comply with any regulations and/or prevent safety issues that may be present, which has not been implemented prior to the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an improved design for coupling a motor housing to a discharge head, wherein an electrical connector, that is supported by an electrical receptor within the discharge head or motor housing and that electrically couples the motor to the STP, is completely surrounded or immersed by liquid for safety and regulatory requirement issues.

In one embodiment, the discharge head receives liquid from an outer housing containing a motor that drives a pump to draw fluid or liquid and discharge the fluid into an inlet of the discharge head. The discharge head provides an internal main liquid flow path to discharge the liquid received from the motor housing to a piping assembly coupled through an orifice on the top of the discharge head. The discharge head also provides an orifice and an electrical receptor for receiving an electrical connector to couple to the motor in the outer housing to control the motor. The electrical connector is formed as an end of an electrical conduit that is located inside the piping assembly. The electrical connector is placed inside the receptor of the discharge head which is formed as part of the inside casting of the discharge housing and securely attached thereto.

Indented or grooved supporting structures are provided in the discharge head to connect an outer wall of the discharge head to the electrical receptor provided inside the discharge head for support such that the base of the discharge head has at least one inlet orifice for receiving the fluid from the motor housing. Inlet orifices are formed by support ribs to provide a liquid flow path for liquid exiting the motor housing to be delivered through a main liquid flow path in the discharge head and coupled to a liquid flow path of the piping assembly. At least one indentation is provided in the supporting structures to provide an annular ring flow path completely surrounding or immersing the electrical receptor and/or electrical connector so that the liquid received from the motor housing completely surrounds or immerses the electrical receptor and/or electrical connector.

In one embodiment, the supporting structures may be one or more ribs creating one or more fluid inlet orifices in the base of the discharge head. The indentations may be grooves having either sharp or smoothed bends.

The discharge head may contain one or more mounting screw orifices that are adapted to receive a mounting screw to firmly attached the discharge head to the motor housing. The discharge head may also contain an alignment pin orifice that is adapted to receive an alignment pin from the motor housing to align the connection of the discharge head to the motor housing.

The piping assembly and/or electrical conduit may be connected to the discharge head via threaded orifices. The discharge head may contain a thread throat that is connected to the electrical receptor on one end and is threaded on its other end to receive an electrical conduit containing the electrical connector on its end.

In other embodiments of the present invention, the indented supporting structures may be provided as part of the motor housing or as part of a gasket that fits in between the motor housing and the discharge head when connected. In the embodiment of the gasket having grooved or indented rib supporting structures, the gasket must have enough thickness and rigidity to provide grooved ribs which allow the liquid to completely immerse or surround the electrical connector in the flow path formed by the annular flow path ring without being completely compressed between the motor housing and the discharge head when the two are securely connected to each other.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate the scope of the present invention and realize additional aspects thereof after reading the following detailed description of the invention in association with the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawing figures incorporated in and forming a part of this specification illustrate several aspects of the invention, and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is an underground storage tank, submersible turbine pump and fuel dispenser system in a service station environment;

FIG. 2 is a bottom view illustration of the discharge head in the prior art, which illustrates the rib support structures between the electrical connector and the outer housing of the discharge head.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a submersible turbine pump motor separated from a motor electrical connector in a discharge head, where the discharge head and motor housing is shown in a cross-sectional view;

FIG. 4 is a bottom view illustration of the discharge head according to one embodiment of the present invention, which illustrates the grooved ribbed support structures connectors between the electrical connector/receptor and the discharge head so that the electrical connector is completely surrounded or immersed by liquid;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the discharge head showing the grooves in the rib support structures therein forming an annular ring flow path around the electrical receptor/connector such that it is completely surrounded or immersed by liquid;

FIG. 6 is another perspective illustration of the discharge head;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment where the motor housing contains the grooves in the rib support structures therein forming an annular ring flow path around the electrical receptor/connector such that it is completely surrounded or immersed by liquid; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective illustration of an alternative embodiment where the gasket that forms a seal between the discharge head and the motor housing contains the grooves in the rib support structures therein forming an annular ring flow path around the electrical receptor/connector such that it is completely surrounded or immersed by liquid.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The embodiments set forth below represent the necessary information to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention and illustrate the best mode of practicing the invention. Upon reading the following description in light of the accompanying drawing figures, those skilled in the art will understand the concepts of the invention and will recognize applications of these concepts not particularly addressed herein. It should be understood that these concepts and applications fall within the scope of the disclosure and the accompanying claims.

The present invention is an improved design for coupling a motor housing to a discharge head, wherein the electrical connector, that is supported by an electrical receptor within the discharge head and that electrically couples the motor to the STP is completely surrounded or immersed by liquid for safety and regulatory requirement issues. The prior art designs, including the prior art design illustrated in FIG. 2 and described in the “Background of the Invention” section above, do not provide for complete immersion or surrounding of the electrical connector with liquid.

In one embodiment of the present invention, grooved or indented ribs are provided in the discharge head as support structures between an outer wall of the discharge head and an electrical receptor provided inside the discharge head, to provide a liquid flow path around the electrical receptor and thus allow immersion of the electrical connector. The electrical receptor provides an orifice for receiving and supporting the electrical connector. Inlet orifices are formed by the support structures to provide a liquid flow path for liquid exiting the motor housing to be delivered through a main liquid flow path in the discharge head and coupled to a liquid flow path of the piping assembly. Indentations or grooves in the support structures provide an annular ring flow path completely surrounding or immersing the electrical connector so that the liquid completely surrounds or immerses the electrical receptor and/or electrical connector.

In other embodiments of the present invention, the grooved support structures may be provided as part of the motor housing, or as part of a gasket or multiple seals that fit in between the motor housing and the discharge head. In the embodiment of the gasket having grooved or indented rib supporting structures, the gasket must have enough thickness and rigidity to provide grooved ribs to allow the fluid to completely immerse or surround the electrical connector in the flow path formed by the annular flow path ring without being completely compressed between the motor housing and the discharge head when the two are securely connected to each other.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross sectional view of the discharge head 70 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The motor housing 87 is shown as connecting to the discharge head 70 to provide a flow path for fuel 22 drawn from the UST 20. The motor housing 87 is shown in a partial cross-sectional view.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the outer housing 44 contains the pump inlet 46 whereby liquid, such as the fuel 22 from the UST 20 (not shown) for example, flows into the outer housing 44 where the turbine pump (not shown) is located. As the liquid is drawn up through the outer housing 44 past the turbine pump therein, it is eventually discharged into the bottom of the discharge head 70. The discharge head 70 is connected to the motor housing 87 via a receptacle 88 that is adapted to connect to a receptacle 90 at the top of the motor housing 87. A gasket or other sealing material 92 may be placed in between the receptacles 88, 90 to facilitate a sealed and/or leak proof connection.

The discharge head 70 contains four mounting screw orifices 94 that receive mounting screws 96 to secure the discharge head and motor housing receptacles 88, 90 firmly together. The motor housing 87 contains female threaded orifices (not shown) to receive the mounting screws 96 for a secure fit. In FIG. 3, only one mounting screw orifice 94 and mounting screw 96 are shown, but all four mounting orifices 94 are subsequently shown in FIG. 4 below. The present invention is not limited to any particular mounting or connection structure, or technique between the discharge head 70 and the motor housing 87.

An alignment pin orifice 98 is provided internally in the casting of the discharge head 70 to receive an alignment pin 100. The alignment pin 100 is part of the motor housing 87 and extends upward from the receptacle 90 of the motor housing 87 to fit inside the alignment pin orifice 98. This alignment pin orifice 98 is provided so that that electrical connector 72 of the discharge head 70 aligns properly with the electrical connector 72 inside the motor housing 87, since the fitting between the discharge head 70 and the motor housing 87 is a concentric fitting that could be easily fitted together incorrectly if an alignment aid(s) is not provided. However, the present invention does not specifically require an alignment pin structure or any alignment aid fitting structure.

The cross-sectional view of the discharge head 70 shows the inner wall 80 of the receptor 74 that surrounds the receptor 74 where the electrical connector 72 is provided. An outlet orifice 101 is provided at the top of the discharge head 70 for receiving the piping assembly 42. The discharge head 70 contains an outer wall 102 formed by the outlet orifice 101 in part having a thickness designed to support the piping assembly 42, the internal components of the discharge head 70, the mounting screw orifices 94, and the alignment pin orifice 98. Liquid inlets 103 are formed at the base of the discharge head 70 from the space between an outer wall 102 and the electrical receptor 74, so that fluid from the motor housing 87 can flow into the discharge head 70. The discharge head 70 contains a main liquid flow path 104 that is fluidly coupled to the liquid inlet 103 and the piping assembly 42 when connected to the discharge head 70 so that liquid can flow from the motor housing 87 into the liquid inlet 103, through the main liquid flow path 104, and out through the piping assembly 42 to eventually be delivered to the fuel dispensers 10.

The piping assembly 42 is a conduit or pipe, which may be 1 ½ inches in diameter for example, that contains a threaded end 105 and screws into a threaded orifice 106 formed as part of the discharge head 70 to form a secure fit between the piping assembly 42 and the discharge head 70. In this manner, a liquid flow path 107 inside the piping assembly 42 is fluidly coupled to the main liquid flow path 104 to deliver liquid up the piping assembly 42 to the STP 30.

The piping assembly 42 contains an inner electrical conduit 113 that extends downward through an electrical conduit orifice 114 formed as part of the discharge head 70. The electrical conduit 113 contains a threaded end 116 that screws into a threaded throat 118 provided within the internal casting of the discharge head 70 such that the electrical connector 72 on the end of the inner electrical conduit 113 rests inside and is supported by the electrical receptor 74. The electrical conduit 113 contains electrical pins (not shown) that are coupled to electrical wires 112 carried in the electrical conduit 113 from the STP 30 that couple to the motor via the motor housing 87 as discussed above.

An important feature of the present invention is that the space between the outer wall 102 and the electrical connector 72 forms the liquid inlets 103 as part of the discharge head 70 that allows liquid discharged from the motor housing 87 to totally surround or immerse the electrical connector 72 and/or the electrical receptor 74. In one embodiment of the present invention, the ribs 82 are used to connect the electrical receptor 74 to the outer wall 102 for support. The ribs 82 form part of the casting of the discharge head 70 and are grooved to allow liquid to totally surround or immerse the electrical connector 72 and receptor 74. FIG. 4, discussed below, illustrates an alternative view of the discharge head 70, which more clearly illustrates the grooved rib supporting structures and how the electrical connector 72 and receptor 74 are completed surrounded or immersed by liquid as a function thereof. Before turning to FIG. 4 illustrating the grooved rib support structure, the description of FIG. 3 is finalized below.

After the liquid flows into the main liquid flow path 104 of the discharge head 70, as indicated by the arrows pointing upward, the liquid flows into the liquid flow path 107 provided in a hollow portion of the piping assembly 42 that surrounds the electrical conduit 113 and is coupled to the main liquid flow path 104 of the discharge head 70 as previously discussed. The liquid flows upward to the STP 30 for eventual delivery to the fuel dispensers 10.

FIG. 4 illustrates a bottom view of the discharge head 70 illustrated in FIG. 3, that shows the grooved ribshaped supporting structures to allow immersion of the electrical connector 72 in more detail for one embodiment of the present invention. The receptacle 88 is shown, which provides an edge or groove for fitting the discharge head 70 to the motor housing 87, as previously discussed. The four mounting screw orifices 94 are shown as integrated and formed into the casting of the discharge head 70. The alignment pin orifice 98 ensures that the motor housing 87 is connected to the discharge head 70 with the correct concentric orientation as previously discussed.

The electrical connector 72 is illustrated as containing a rubber grommet 119 surrounding wire connection pins 120. The electrical connector 72 is part of the base of the electrical conduit 113 and not the casting of the discharge head 70. The wire connection pins 120 are inserted through the orifice (not shown) that forms the receptor 74, wherein the electrical connector 72 is attached into the discharge head 70. The wire connection pins 120 connect to motor wiring connections 138 (illustrated in FIG. 7) inside the motor housing 87 to provide electrical connectivity of the electrical wires 112 from the STP 30 to the motor as previously discussed above. The grommet 119 contains an indexed tab 122 that radially locates the electrical connector 72 inside the discharge head 70 so that the electrical pins 120 align with the motor wiring connections 138 in the motor housing 87.

Four ribs or arm-like support structures 124 are provided as part of the discharge head 70 casting that connect the electrical receptor 74 to the outer wall 102 of the discharge head 70. The outer wall 102 is an outer portion of the discharge head 70 that provides an overall support structure for the piping assembly 42, the internal components and castings of the discharge head 70, as well as for the mounting screw orifices 94 and the alignment pin orifice 98, as previously discussed above.

Because it is necessary to provide the main liquid flow path 104 (illustrated in FIG. 3) inside the discharge head 70 so that liquid can flow there through to the piping assembly 42, the liquid inlet 103 must be provided in the base of the discharge head 70 and coupled to the main liquid flow path 104 (illustrated in FIG. 3) for eventually coupling to the liquid flow path 107 of the piping assembly 42 (also illustrated in FIG. 3). However, a support structure of some type must be made between the electrical receptor 74 and the outer wall 102 of the discharge head 70 to support the receptor 74 and the electrical connector 72 within the center of the discharge head 70 for alignment and support purposes. The preferred embodiment employs ribs or arm-like support structures 124 to accomplish this feature.

The ribs 124 form the liquid inlets or orifices 103 between the ribs 124 and their outer connection points 130 to the outer wall 102 and the electrical receptor 74 that receive liquid from the motor housing 87. Note that other supporting structures may be employed, including more or less support ribs 124 than four, or different structures, and the present invention is not limited to any particular type of supporting structure.

In the present invention and unlike the prior systems, like that described and illustrated in FIG. 2 above, the ribs 124 are provided with grooves or indentations 128 formed into the ribs 124. The grooves or indentions 128 in the ribs 124 are provided so that a portion of the rib 124 between its outer connection points 130 to the receptor 74 and the outer wall 102 extend upward into the discharge head 70 in a plane ‘A’ that is located above the plane ‘B’ of the bottom of the discharge head 70, as illustrated in FIG. 5.

The grooves or indentations 128 in the ribs 124 create an annular ring 134 or annular flow path ring 134 inside the discharge head 70 where liquid will completely surround the electrical connector 72 and/or electrical receptor 74. In this manner, the liquid flowing from the motor housing 87 into the discharge head 70 will flow into the orifices 103 of the discharge head 70 and onto the main liquid flow path 104 as normal. But, the liquid will also flow through the grooves 128 of the ribs 124 and pass between different liquid inlets/orifices 103 created by the ribs 124 into the annular flow path ring 134 formed by the grooves 128 such that the liquid will completely surround the electrical connector 72 and/or electrical receptor 74. The grooves or indentations 128 in the ribs 124 may be any type of indentation or groove, having smooth or rigid edges and/or turns so long as a portion of the rib 124 is located in a plane above the plane of the bottom of the discharge head 70 (plane ‘B’) such that a N annular flow path ring is formed to allow liquid to flow around and inside the annular flow path ring 134 to completely surround or immerse the electrical connector 72.

FIG. 6 shows yet another illustration of the discharge head 70 illustrated in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, but from a perspective view to more fully illustrate in three-dimensions the base of the discharge head 70 showing the grooved ribs 124 and how their orientation creates an annular flow path ring 134 around the electrical connector 72 and receptor 74. The receptor 74 and the receptor orifice 75 provided as part of the discharge head 70 casting are also shown in more detail in FIG. 6.

Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 7, ribs 142 and indentations or grooves 144, like that provided in the discharge head 70 to create an annular flow path ring 134 around the receptor 74, and the electrical connector 72 may be provided as part of the motor housing 87 in lieu of the discharge head 70. In this embodiment, the electrical connector 72 of the discharge head 70 is a female connection, and thus connector pins 120 may extend below the base 132 of the discharge head 70 and connect to a complementary male connector pins 138 inside the motor housing 87, as opposed to inside the discharge head 70. The motor housing 87 comprises an outer wall 140 that surrounds the motor housing receptor 136. The outer wall 140 is connected to the motor housing receptor 136 with ribs 142 containing indentations or grooves 144, similar to that described previously for the discharge head 70, that support the motor housing electrical receptor 136 and connector 138 inside the motor housing 87. The electrical connector 138 connects to the motor (not shown) inside the motor housing 87 to control the operation of the motor, which in turn controls the pump inside the outer housing 44. The ribs 142 create liquid outlet orifices 146 between the motor housing receptor 136 and the outer wall 140. Thus, the liquid flowing from the motor housing 87 will travel around the ribs 142 and in between the grooves 144 before exiting the motor housing 87 through the liquid outlet orifices 146 and into the main liquid flow path 104 of the discharge head 70. Thus, the electrical connector 72 extending into the motor housing 87 will be completely surrounded or immersed by the liquid.

In yet another alternative embodiment of the present invention as illustrated in FIG. 8, the gasket 92 itself may be designed to contain grooves or indentations 148 that are formed in a receptor ring 150, thereby forming a motor housing electrical receptor orifice 152 designed to surround the electrical connector of the discharge housing 72, or the electrical connector of the motor housing 138. Referring to FIGS. 3 and 7, either the electrical receptor of the motor housing 136 or the receptor of the discharge head 72 is inserted into the electrical receptor orifice 152 when the gasket 92 is put in place between the discharge head 70 and the outer housing 44 to assist in forming a seal between the two.

The indentations 148 are formed between the receptor ring 150 and gasket material 154 that forms the gasket 92, as one integral piece. Liquid flow orifices 156 are provided in the gasket 92 between the indentations 148 such that the liquid flow orifices 156 are fluidly coupled to each other as a result, forming an annular flow path ring 158. Thus, the liquid flowing from the motor housing 87 will travel through the liquid flow orifices 156 and in between the indentations 148 inside the annular flow path ring 158 before exiting the motor housing 87 and into the main liquid flow path 104 of the discharge head 70. Thus, the electrical connectors of the discharge head/motor housing 72, 136 will be completely surrounded or immersed by the liquid when using the gasket 92.

The gasket 92 must be made of a flexible and/or rigid material, having a certain specified thickness, so the annular flow path ring 158 formed by indentations or grooves 148 form an annular ring flow path 158 in a manner that it does not compress on itself when the outer housing 44 is attached to the discharge head 70. Otherwise, the compression of the gasket 92 would cut off or block the annular flow path ring 158 around the receptor ring 150 when the gasket 92 is fitted and compressed between the discharge head 70 and the outer housing 44 defeating the intent of the present invention. Examples of materials that may be used to form the gasket 92 are cellulose fiber, cork, graphite, or rubber, all with or without a metal insert, as needed or desired. The gasket 92 may have a thickness of at least 1.5 millimeters. Two or more gaskets or seals 92 may be employed as needed or desired to individually seal the inside and outside walls of the annular flow path ring 158 and liquid flow orifices 156.

Those skilled in the art will recognize improvements and modifications to the preferred embodiments of the present invention. All such improvements and modifications are considered within the scope of the concepts disclosed herein and the claims that follow. Note that the terms “surrounded” or “immersed” means a path for liquid where the discharge head and motor housing are connected. The present invention may be used with any motor or motor housing and discharge head or discharge receiver devices where it is desired that an electrical connector inside the motor housing and/or discharge head be surrounded or immersed by liquid contained inside the motor housing and/or discharge head. The electrical connector of the discharge head and the motor may be either a female or male connection, or any type of connection where an electrical connection is made.