Title:
Solar powered umbrella
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A self-contained, maintenance free, rechargeable, and portable device with a photovoltaic canopy that provides electricity to a variety of electrical devices while under direct sunlight and in the absence of sunlight. The system operates and functions accordingly in the absence of a direct power source. By utilizing solar energy, the system is free of electrical cords, thereby making it usable in a variety of applications where electrical outlets are either not readily accessible or may present a safety concern.



Inventors:
Reyes, Arian (Sunrise, FL, US)
Wimbush, Kluis Jermaine (Davie, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/487274
Publication Date:
12/13/2007
Filing Date:
10/17/2006
Assignee:
Enlightened Innovations (Davie, FL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
136/248, 320/101
International Classes:
A45B3/04
View Patent Images:
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20070295380PavilionDecember, 2007Glaeser



Primary Examiner:
DUNN, DAVID R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GLENN E. GOLD, P.A. (Jupiter, FL, US)
Claims:
1. I am asking to be protected an umbrella comprising of photovoltaic material, rechargeable batteries, whether Lithium-ion, NiCad, etc, an electrical outlet, diodes, inverter, converters, electric solenoid switch(s), dc bypass, dc electrical current splitter, static inverter(s), static inverter with a built-in solenoid switch, circuit breaker(s), fuse(s), and solid and/or stranded electrical wires fit for one or different size gauge sizes, which have these components connected together in no particular series and transfers electrical current collected by the sun's radiation and chemical reaction form the photovoltaic solar panel(s) to provide electricity at any time of day, which is referred to as the “solar powered umbrella” in this patent.

2. I am asking to be protected the solar powered umbrella with the intent to use at any random location that protects against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays and at the same time provide a user with a portable source of electricity to power up and/or charge small electrical appliances, among the many there are cell phones, laptops, televisions, CD players, radios, portable DVD/TV combination players, electric grills, electric coolers, cell phones, PDAs, string of lights, etc.

3. I am asking to be protected a portable electricity source attached to some sort of canopy, pole or stem with all of claim 1 and 2 electronic components built in, that has the capabilities to bring electrical current to electrical appliances as a power outlet.

4. I am asking to be protected a cigarette lighter outlet and household electrical outlet connected to all electrical components found in claim 1 and 2 that fit within a portable housing station while collecting solar rays be means of photovoltaic panels.

5. I am asking to be protected a solar powered self contained apparatus which delivers electricity to a variety of different electrical components.

Description:
Conventionally, beach and table umbrellas are used to provide protection from the high temperature or vigorous sunlight. On the other hand, an umbrella outfitted with photovoltaic material, rechargeable batteries, an electrical outlet, and wires connecting the components together, which transfer electrical current, provide electricity at any time of day. Examples of what can be powered by the aforementioned device are the following: an electric grill, electric ice cooler, radio, television, DVD player, I-Pod, portable video game console, fan, possible heater and air conditioning unit can be individually attached to the side of the umbrella. The solar powered umbrella may either fit on a patio table with a stand, dug into the sand at the beach, or placed outside any given area that requires its need. During dusk, nighttime hours or during periods where there is insufficient sunlight, the umbrella can power up electrical appliances by means of rechargeable batteries. Electrical components may typically be attached to the pole of the umbrella and are powered by a standard electrical outlet. The need for an external power source increases the effectiveness of this umbrella under certain situations, such as in a crowded outdoor restaurant where multiple extension cords may be a safety hazard, or in secluded areas where access to an electrical outlet may be difficult or impossible.

Furthermore, the wiring are mounted on the ribs of the conventional models of the umbrella canopies, they are trapped within the ribs and the hard surfaces of these ribs serve as support mechanisms when closing or lowering the fabric canopy.

Therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a self-contained, maintenance-free, rechargeable electricity providing system in combination with an umbrella, this system is suitable during periods of insufficient sunlight, without the necessity of external wires or cords. This invention finds application in a variety of locations, such as beaches, patios, decks, backyards, kiosks, outdoor dining areas, and queue lines.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an electrical device charger umbrella assembly, including a canopy, a support member supporting the canopy between an open position and a closed position, and a rechargeable battery system including one or more photovoltaic solar materials, and an energy storage component associated with the one or more photovoltaic solar collectors.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide an electrical device charger umbrella assembly within minimal or no wiring in the vicinity of the umbrella ribs, and that utilizes an electrical outlet that is positioned a safe distance away from the hard surfaces of the umbrella canopy.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an umbrella kit including the aforementioned components, along with instructions for assembling the same umbrella with the components.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A Solar Umbrella that provides a self-contained electrical device charger system in combination with an umbrella. The solar umbrella charger system includes one or more outlet sources, which preferably are mounted on the pole of the umbrella and are powered by an energy storage component such as one or more batteries. The energy storage component is preferably housed in close proximity to the umbrella stand, and is recharged by energy received from a solar collector preferably attached to the outer surface of the canopy. The system also comprises a power manager, which directs energy from the solar collector to the energy storage component during periods of sunlight, and draws energy from the energy storage component to power electrical appliances during periods of sunlight and insufficient sunlight.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of the present invention with the canopy in the open position;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the present invention with the canopy in the closed position;

FIG. 3 is a front and back view of the present invention in greater detail;

FIG. 4 is an inside and aerial view of the present invention without the canopy;

FIG. 5 is an electrical diagram that can be used in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a front view of the present invention with an alternate energy storage assembly location and a semi-permanent installation; and

FIG. 7 is a view of the present invention with an external conduit and orientation key locations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Examining FIG. 1, detailed picture is a solar encapsulating transportable umbrella adapted with photovoltaic fabric, an electrical outlet and rechargeable batteries. The solar umbrella may be applied to an outdoor table and used as a beach umbrella. REF. 1 The solar encapsulating transportable umbrella has a canopy and numerous photovoltaic solar panels attached to the canopy; the photovoltaic material is highly flexible, weather durable and tested for reliability, an example is Powerfilm made by www.iowathinfilm.com. REF. 2 A material or mesh may be placed over the photovoltaic material as to camouflage the umbrella's true nature; such a material, which allows the sun's rays to penetrate through at maximum SPF, Microsol made by a company named www.tanthrough.com. REF. 3 The rechargeable batteries serve as a method of charging after a product has been charged or after the sun has set; the power manager is Lithium Ion rechargeable battery pack and is made by Voltaic.com. REF. 4 A series of electrical outlets, such as those found in hardware stores, would be placed on, within, or over the supporting member, shaft, or pole in order to deliver electrical current to a desired device. REF. 5 The canopy may be made up of one, several or a different pieces of material such as synthetic, cotton, vinyl or a blend of different materials. If possible, the material may be water-resistant or retardant. REF. 6 The solar umbrella's supporting member, the shaft, pole, or conduit, may be made of, but not limited to, a metal alloy, metal such as aluminum or stainless steel, fiberglass, carbon fiber or plastic. REF. 7 The solar umbrella has hollow ribs that serve as a conduit for passing copper wiring. The solar umbrella may be built of a material of satisfactory weight, or built to be filled with a material of sufficient weight, for example water or stones, and help serve as a counterweight or a secure holder for the canopy and pole. The size and shape of the canopy is not predominantly restricted and depends partly of the particular application preferred. The support member, the shaft, pole, or conduit, is sized suitably so that the sunshade cover, in its opened form, is of the preferred height. The solar umbrella should be hollow to house wiring as written about below.

Examining FIG. 2, REF. 1 The present invention has one or more solar collectors attached to the canopy of the umbrella which are capable of receiving energy from the sun. Suitable solar collectors are readily and commercially available through several companies, such as Iowa Thin Film. The solar collector(s) are placed so that when the canopy is in the open position as shown in FIG. 1, the solar collector is thus tilted toward the sun. Hence, this facilitates it to encapsulate sufficient and if possible optimal amount of solar energy. REF. 2 The present invention also comprises a power manager and a storage assembly, such as one or more batteries, both preferably mounted on or within the pole of the umbrella in order to reduce the invasiveness and obviousness of these devices. REF. 3 The present invention also comprises of an electrical outlet, such as the one shown here. REF. 4 The solar umbrella would possibly need a stand at the bottom of the supporting member as to maintain the umbrella in the erect position.

Examining FIG. 3, REF. 1 The solar powered umbrella is incorporated with a power manager that is favorably a solid state device that has a wattage/power meter, an on and off switch, a switch that allows the user to alternate between voltages and electrical wires that travel to an outlet. This power manager is readily and commercially available through several companies, such as Voltaic. REF. 2 The pole has a voltage meter where an individual sees and reads the amount of current left in the battery pack. REF. 3 Although not a necessary, there may be a ventilation window with the possibility of a mesh of some sort that allows the batteries and the power manager breath or release heat from the pole. REF. 4 The enlarged view of the backside of the supporting member, pole or shaft shows the possible shape of the ventilation area and the screws or rivets that hold the two doors in place. The doors can also snap on depending which application is required.

Examining FIG. 4, This artistic depiction of the innards of a solar powered umbrella has REF. 1 the copper wiring from the photovoltaic, REF. 2 a clear view of the rechargeable batteries and REF. 3 an electrical box outlet.

Examining FIG. 5, REF. 1 The figure of two ribs out of the possible 2, 4, 6, 8, or more ribs are showing the depiction of the umbrella in the closed position. REF. 2 The photovoltaic fabric does not fold, instead it bends or rolls halfway.

Examining FIG. 6, REF. 1 Shown are 4 photovoltaic panels that are attached through REF. 2 wiring to REF. 3 an electrical current collector and distribution panel in which goes on the REF. 4 rechargeable batteries, REF. 5 possible current splitter, and lastly, the REF. 6 electrical outlet.

Examining FIG. 7 This is a pictorial illustration of a zoomed-in section of the pole or shaft from the Solar Powered Umbrella, which is the exterior close up of an alternate door shown as a sliding or movable door for the electrical outlet. In Ref. 1, the pictorial pictures the slide door in the open position, hence Ref. 3 the opening and forth exposing Ref. 2 the electrical outlet housed within Ref. 4 the solar powered umbrella's pole, shaft or housing. Further, Ref. 5 represents door stopping, or door withholding, mechanism that may maintain of the moving cover either at an open or shut position, whereas Ref. 6 shows running tracks for Ref. 8 the slide door and Ref. 9 the movable cover that may be manually operated by the use of Ref. 10 a lift gate of decent appendix size where someone may use his or her thumb or any finger, all of which are located within Ref. 7 the pole or shaft of the Solar Powered Umbrella.

The manager uses the sun's power produced during periods of daylight hours to distribute electricity to electrical devices.

The solar photovoltaic panels should be kept free of any items that may reduce the available sunlight rays from reaching the photovoltaic panels. Not limited to a “slot and key” arrangement, a roll up, or a push up design to open the solar umbrella may be applied in the supporting member to open and close the canopy.

If needed to exchange the power manager controller, unscrew or pop open the door to replace it. When the battery uses all of its available power, the electrical power manager will be turned off. When voltage is reinstated to the battery by the sun's energy being collected from the photovoltaic panels and the power manager will resume operation.

The present invention may be provided in the form of a kit, whereas one or more solar collectors, the energy storage component, the power manager, and suitable wiring are provided for either retrofitting with an existing umbrella, or are included with an umbrella. Instructions for assembly of the solar powered, illuminated, stand-alone umbrella are inc