Title:
Washing fluid pump integrated with level sensor for vehicle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus includes a washing fluid pump, including a pump housing; a contact member in the pump housing; and a pump terminal, disposed on the pump housing and configured to receive electric power. The apparatus also includes a washing fluid level sensor, including a sensor terminal inserted into the contact member and electrically connected to the pump terminal. The contact member may include two opposing guide grooves. The sensor terminal may include two projections for insertion into the guide grooves. One end of each guide groove may be open and the other end may be closed. The pump may also include a cover to house the sensor terminal. The cover may be foldable, or rotatable about a hinge.



Inventors:
Jeon, Hyun Min (Hwaseong-si, KR)
Application Number:
11/784350
Publication Date:
06/12/2008
Filing Date:
04/06/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
417/36
International Classes:
F04B49/00
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Primary Examiner:
BERTHEAUD, PETER JOHN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP (SF) (San Francisco, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus, comprising: a washing fluid pump, comprising: a pump housing; a contact member disposed in the pump housing; and a pump terminal, disposed on the pump housing and configured to receive electric power; and a washing fluid level sensor, comprising: a sensor terminal configured to be inserted in the contact member and to be electrically connected to the pump terminal.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the contact member comprises two opposing guide grooves, and the sensor terminal comprises two projections configured for insertion into respective ones of the guide grooves.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein a first end of each guide groove is open and a second end of each guide groove is closed.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pump further comprises a cover configured to house the sensor terminal.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the cover is foldable.

6. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the cover is rotatable about a hinge.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to and the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 10-2006-0123071 filed in the Korean Intellectual Property Office on Dec. 6, 2006, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(a) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a washing fluid pump integrated with a washing fluid level sensor, and more particularly to a washing fluid pump integrated with a washing fluid level sensor in which a sliding contact member is provided to a pump terminal of the pump, into which a sensor terminal of the level sensor is inserted. Vertical position of the level sensor can thus be varied according to the shape of a washing fluid reservoir.

(b) Description of the Related Art

Typically, a washing fluid pump sprays washing fluid from a reservoir onto a windshield. A level sensor, which is electrically connected to a float, detects the amount of washing fluid stored in the reservoir in response to the vertical position of the float. The level sensor is typically provided at a side of the reservoir. Electric power sources are typically connected separately to the pump and the level sensor.

The pump and the level sensor are mounted to specific positions on the reservoir. There is therefore no design freedom with respect to the shape of the reservoir. That is, the shape of the reservoir varies according to the layout of the vehicle, and accordingly the position of the level sensor also varies with vehicle type. Accordingly, the level sensor has to be designed separately for each vehicle type.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An apparatus according to exemplary embodiments of the present invention includes a washing fluid pump, including a pump housing; a contact member in the pump housing; and a pump terminal, disposed on the pump housing and configured to receive electric power. The apparatus also includes a washing fluid level sensor, including a sensor terminal inserted into the contact member and electrically connected to the pump terminal.

The contact member may include two opposing guide grooves. The sensor terminal may include two projections for insertion into the guide grooves. One end of each guide groove may be open and the other end may be closed.

The pump may also include a cover to house the sensor terminal. The cover may be foldable, or rotatable about a hinge.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a washing fluid pump integrated with a washing fluid level sensor according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the pump and level sensor of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view illustrating an open state of a first exemplary embodiment of a cover of the pump and sensor of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3B is a perspective view illustrating a closed state of the cover of FIG. 3A.

FIG. 4A is a perspective view illustrating an open state of a second exemplary embodiment of a cover of the pump and sensor of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4B is a perspective view illustrating a closed state of the cover of FIG. 4A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

An exemplary embodiment of the present invention will hereinafter be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

In an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a washing fluid pump 10 and a level sensor 20, which are integrated in one body, are mounted to a washing fluid reservoir (not shown). The pump 10 and sensor 20 may be mounted at any suitable position on the reservoir in any suitable manner, as may be implemented by a person of ordinary skill in the art based on the teachings herein.

To provide power to the level sensor 20, a contact member 12 is provided on a pump terminal 11 of the washing fluid pump 10, and a sensor terminal 21 of the level sensor 20 is connected to the contact member 12, so that electric power of an electric power supplier can be supplied to the sensor terminal 21 of the level sensor 20 via the pump terminal 11 of the washing fluid pump 10.

The contact member 12 has a guide structure, such that the position of the level sensor 20 relative to the washing fluid pump 10 is changeable in a vertical direction.

Since the mount position of the level sensor 20 is changeable in a vertical direction, a detection level of the washing fluid can be selected regardless of the shape of the washing fluid reservoir, so that one level sensor 20 can be used for all kinds of vehicles.

The guide structure of the contact member 12 may include a guide groove 13. In the illustrated embodiment, two guide grooves 13 are disposed to face one another, and the sensor terminal 21 is plate-shaped, and slides into the guide grooves 13.

A terminal 13a, which is connected to the pump terminal 11, may be provided on an inner surface of the guide groove 13, so that electric power can be supplied regardless of the vertical position of the sensor terminal 21.

There is a possibility that an upper part of the sliding contact member 12 will be exposed. Therefore, to prevent corrosion of the contact member 12, a cover 30 may be coupled to an upper end of the washing fluid pump 10. The cover 30 may be, for example, a foldable cover 31 (FIGS. 3A and 3B) or a rotatable cover 32 (FIGS. 4A and 4B), both of which can be designed and implemented by a person of ordinary skill in the art based on the teachings herein.

Referring to FIGS. 3A and 3B, a foldable cover 31 is coupled to an upper end of the washing fluid pump 10. The foldable cover 31 is operable in a vertical direction with a guiding part 31a, and also includes a cover part 31b, configured to cover an upper part of the sliding contact member 12.

That is, as shown in FIG. 3A, the level sensor 20 is mounted to the sliding contact member 12 of the washing fluid pump 10, and then the foldable cover 31 is folded down to prevent the washing fluid from flowing into the sliding contact member 12.

Referring to FIGS. 4A and 4B, a rotatable cover 32 is coupled to an upper end of the washing fluid pump 10, and a cover part 32b is rotated around a hinge part 32a to cover an upper side of the contact member 12.

While exemplary covers 30 have been shown and described for illustrative purposes, the cover 30 may be formed with any structure of capable of preventing washing fluid from flowing into the sliding contact member 12. The exposed contact member 12 may be molded with insulating plastic resin or the like, since once the pump 10 and the level sensor 20 have been mounted to the washing fluid reservoir, its position is fixed.

As described above, in a washing fluid pump integrated with a level sensor for a vehicle according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, since the sliding contact part is mounted to the pump terminal of the washing fluid pump and connected to the sensor terminal of the level sensor, the vertical position of the level sensor can be varied according to the shape of the washing fluid reservoir. Auxiliary parts, such as separate wires or connectors, are not necessary. Cost is therefore reduced and the manufacturing process is simplified.

Furthermore, design freedom of the mount position of the level sensor is enhanced, so that there is no limit in change of the shape of the washing fluid reservoir. Still further, one level sensor can be used for all kinds of vehicles.

While this invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be practical exemplary embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but, on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.