Title:
PUMP FOR INFLATABLE OBJECTS WITH INTEGRATED LIGHT SOURCE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pump for inflatable objects having a housing including an air inlet and an air outlet, a motor positioned within said housing, an impeller positioned within the housing for moving air, a light source defined on an exterior of the housing; and a reflector disposed on the housing proximate the light source.



Inventors:
Sen, Wen Ta (Taipei City, TW)
Austen, Timothy F. (Glencoe, IL, US)
Coleman, Brian (Hawthorn Woods, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/116574
Publication Date:
11/20/2008
Filing Date:
05/07/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
417/313
International Classes:
F04D29/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KASTURE, DNYANESH G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BGL (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pump for inflatable objects, said pump comprising: a housing including an air inlet and an air outlet; a motor positioned within said housing; an impeller positioned within said housing for moving air; at least one light source defined on an exterior of said housing; and at least one reflector disposed on said housing proximate said light source.

2. The pump of claim 1, wherein said light source comprises at least one light emitting diode.

3. The pump of claim 1, further comprising a battery compartment defined in the housing.

4. The pump of claim 1, further comprising a connection for an external power source defined on said housing.

5. The pump of claim 1, wherein said housing further comprises a handle portion.

6. The pump of claim 5, further comprising a lens disposed on said housing.

7. The pump of claim 6, wherein said reflector and said lens are positioned such that said reflector directs light from said at least one light source through said lens in a first direction.

8. The pump of claim 6, wherein said reflector directs light from said at least one light source in a second direction.

9. The pump of claim 7, wherein said at least one light source, said reflector and said lens are defined on said handle portion.

10. The pump of claim 1, further comprising a second light source defined on said housing proximate said air outlet.

11. The pump of claim 10, further comprising a second lens and a second reflector, said second reflector positioned such that said second reflector directs light from said second light source through said second lens.

12. The pump of claim 1, further comprising at least one switch assembly defined on said housing, said switch assembly being able to control the operation of said motor and said at least one light source.

13. The pump of claim 1, further comprising at least first and second switch assemblies, said first switch assembly being able to control the operation of said motor and said second switch assembly being able to control the operation of said at least one light source.

14. The pump of claim 1, wherein said motor automatically activates upon the attachment of said pump to a valve on an inflatable object.

15. The pump of claim 14, further comprising at least one switch assembly, said at least one switch assembly being able to control the operation of said at least one light source.

16. A pump for inflatable objects, said pump comprising: a housing including an air inlet and an air outlet; a motor positioned within said housing; an impeller positioned within said housing for moving air; a lamp assembly integrated into said housing.

17. The pump of claim 16, wherein said lamp assembly comprises at least one light source, a lens, and a reflector.

18. The pump of claim 17, wherein said housing further comprises a handle portion, and said lamp assembly is integrated into said handle portion.

19. The pump of claim 18, further comprising a second lamp assembly integrated into said housing proximate said air outlet, said second lamp assembly comprising at least one light source, a lens and a reflector.

20. The pump of claim 19, wherein said second lamp assembly provides illumination of an inlet port of an inflatable object during inflation of said inflatable object through the operation of said pump.

21. A pump for inflatable objects, said pump comprising: a housing having a first end, a second end, an air inlet, an air outlet and a battery compartment defined therein; a motor positioned within said housing; an impeller positioned within said housing for moving air; and at least one light source and a reflector defined on said first end of said housing.

22. The pump of claim 21, wherein said air outlet is defined on a side of said housing and said air inlet is defined on said first end of said housing.

23. The pump of claim 21, wherein said pump can inflate an inflatable object having a valve by attaching said pump to said valve at said air outlet.

24. The pump of claim 23, wherein said pump can deflate an inflatable object having a valve by attaching said pump to said valve at said air inlet.

25. The pump of claim 24, wherein said first light source and said reflector are defined on said second end of said housing.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present patent document claims the benefit of the filing date under 35 U.S.C. ยง119(e) of Provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/930,317, filed May 15, 2007, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of pumps for inflatable objects such as air mattresses and chairs. More specifically, the present invention relates to a pump for inflatable objects that includes an integrated light source.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Air pumps are commonly used on camping trips to inflate items such as chairs and air mattresses. Typically, such air pumps are battery powered and tend to be heavy, due to the weight of the batteries. For example, an air pump could require four D-cell batteries in order to provide enough power to inflate an object at a reasonable rate.

Couplings that connect the pump to the inflatable object often need to be mated carefully to avoid leaks, and during situations where inflation is required, it may be dark and difficult to properly mate the pump with the inflatable object.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A solution to this problem is to provide an air pump that can inflate various inflatable objects and also includes a light source. Furthermore, since air pumps are commonly used on camping trips where light can be scarce, it is also desirable to integrate a light source positioned such that a user could illuminate the valve on the inflatable object during inflation or deflation.

Disclosed herein is a pump for inflatable objects having a housing including an air inlet and an air outlet, a motor positioned within said housing, an impeller positioned within the housing for moving air, a light source defined on an exterior of the housing; and a reflector disposed on the housing proximate the light source.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. These drawings illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pump embodiment including a light source;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view from the opposite side of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a rear planar view with the cover removed showing a battery compartment of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternative pump embodiment including both a first light source and a second light source;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative pump embodiment including a light source;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative pump embodiment including a light source; and

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pump embodiment. The pump 10 includes a housing 12 with a first end 14 and a second end 16. The housing 12 contains the inner workings of a common pump for the inflation of an inflatable object, such as a motor 46 (shown in FIG. 3) and an impeller (not shown). The construction of a typical handheld pump is described, for example, in commonly owned U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,822 to Robert M. Feldman which is herein incorporated by reference. Furthermore, the housing 12 includes an air inlet 18 defined on the first end 14 of the housing 12 and an air outlet 20 defined on the side 22 of the housing 12. The illustrated embodiment also includes a handle portion 24.

The pump embodiment also includes an integrated lamp assembly 26 defined on the handle portion 24. The lamp assembly 26 includes a lens 28, an array of light emitting diodes 30 (LEDs) and corresponding reflectors 32. Additionally, referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the pump embodiment includes a battery compartment 34 capable of holding one or more batteries 40 to supply the motor 46 with power. Alternatively, the housing 12 could include a connection for an external power source. The pump embodiment also includes a first switch assembly 36, and may also include a second switch assembly 38 for controlling the motor of the pump 10 and/or the LEDs 30.

The present invention provides a single unit that can inflate and/or deflate an inflatable object and function as a flashlight. In operation, a user connects the air outlet 20 of the pump 10 to a valve on an inflatable object such as the valve disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,367,726 to Robert B. Chaffee, which is herein incorporated by reference. Alternatively, the pump 10 can be attached to any air inlet on an inflatable object utilizing universal adaptors such as those disclosed in commonly owned U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,882 to Robert M. Feldman, which is herein incorporated by reference. The pump 10 attaches to the valve at the air outlet 20 defined on the side of the housing 12. The first switch assembly 36 is actuated to energize the motor 46 which drives the impeller (not shown). The rotation of the impeller draws air through the air inlet 18 defined on the first end 14 of the housing 12, routes it through the interior of the housing 12 and out through the air outlet 20 into the inflatable object. The first switch assembly 36 is then actuated to deactivate the motor 46 and stop further inflation.

The pump 10, in an alternative embodiment, could also be used to deflate an inflatable object. In the deflation configuration, the air inlet 18 of the pump 10 is attached to the valve of the inflatable object, and the first switch assembly 36 is activated. Air is drawn out of the inflatable object through the air inlet 18 of the pump 10, routed through the interior of the housing 12 and out through the air outlet 20 into the atmosphere. Alternatively, the motor 46 could be reversible so that it could drive the impeller in the opposite direction, allowing both inflation and deflation from one configuration.

In an alternative embodiment, the air outlet 20 can include a sensor that senses when the pump is connected to a valve such as the sensing arrangement described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,263,363 to Robert B. Chaffee, which is herein incorporated by reference. Such a sensing arrangement could comprise a lever combined with electrical contacts. Upon connection to the valve of the inflatable object, the lever is biased into a position where it completes a circuit and activates the motor 46. This allows auto-activation of the motor 46 when the air outlet 20 is connected to a valve of the inflatable object. In this embodiment, only a first switch assembly 36 is required, and the first switch assembly 36 allows a user to turn the LEDs 30 on or off.

The integrated lamp assembly 26 is preferably disposed on the housing 12 on or near the handle portion 24 as shown in the illustrated embodiments. This allows the user to comfortably hold the pump 10 in one hand and direct it like a traditional flashlight. Alternatively, the integrated lamp assembly 26 may be molded directly into the housing 12. The integrated lamp assembly 26 preferably includes at least one LED 30, a lens 28 and a reflector 32. In the illustrated embodiments, an array of three LEDs 30 is provided, each with a corresponding reflector 32. In operation, a user actuates a second switch 38 to energize the LEDs 30. Light emitted from the LEDs is reflected by the reflectors 32 out through the lens 28. A typical lamp assembly incorporating LEDs and the necessary circuitry is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,309,147 to Richard W. Martin, which is herein incorporated by reference, but any suitable lamp assembly known in the art could be used in the present invention, including incandescent or fluorescent bulbs and associated circuitry to provide power and switchability thereto. The reflectors 32 may be constructed from any suitable reflective material such as plastic with reflective coating, or polished aluminum. Other reflective materials may also be used. Furthermore, while white LEDs 30 are preferred because of their high luminescence, other colored LEDs could also be incorporated. Moreover, a single LED 30 could be used, or the LED array could include any number of LEDs 30.

The pump 10 of the present invention may be powered by any means commonly known in the art. As shown in FIG. 3, four D-cell batteries 40 located in the battery compartment 42 of the housing 12 power the pump. Depending on the power requirements of the motor 46 and the LEDs 30, larger or smaller numbers of batteries could be utilized. One set of batteries 40 could power both the motor 46 and the LEDs 30, or one set of batteries could provide power for the motor 46 while a second set of batteries provides power to the LEDs 30. Alternatively, the pump 10 could be a rechargeable AC/DC pump, such as that disclosed in commonly owned U.S. Patent Publication No. 2007/0077153 to Timothy F. Austen et al., which is herein incorporated by reference. The circuit disclosed in the Austen publication could be adjusted to also power the LEDs 30.

In an alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 4, a second lamp assembly 44 is integrated into the side 22 of the housing 12 proximate the air inlet 18. The second lamp assembly 44 comprises at least one LED 30, a lens 28 and reflectors 32, constructed in the same fashion as the previously described lamp assembly 26. The positioning of the second lamp assembly 44 proximate the air inlet 18 provides illumination of an inlet port of an inflatable object in low light situations. The LEDs 30 of the second lamp assembly 44 can be activated by a user through the actuation of the first switch assembly 36, or through the actuation of a third switch assembly (not pictured).

Also, the lamp assembly 26 can have a power source that is separable and detachable from the pump, with an area on the housing 12 that would allow for attachment of the lamp assembly 26.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 5, in an embodiment where three LEDs 30 are shown, the two most lateral LEDs 30, lens 28, and reflectors 32 on the lamp assembly 26 may be positioned at an angle relative to the medial LED 30, lens 28, and reflector 32 such that the spectrum of light emitted by the lamp assembly is broader than the lamp assembly shown in FIG. 4.

In FIG. 6, the lamp assembly 26 is shown with LED 30, lens 28, and reflector 32. Cut-out 48 may be integrated into the lamp assembly such that light from the lamp assembly 26 may be emitted to the side of the pump 10. The cut-out 48 may be a clear piece of plastic or configured in a way such that light may be emitted in a first direction to the front of the pump 10 and in a second direction to the side of the pump 10.

In yet another embodiment, the lamp assembly 26 could be mounted on a swivel (not shown), a ball joint (not shown), or a flexible gooseneck (not shown) which is in turn mounted on the housing 12. This would allow for independent movement of the lamp assembly 26.

It should be noted that there could be a wide range of changes made to the present embodiments without departing from the scope of the claimed invention. The first lamp assembly 26 could be repositioned to the second end 16 of the housing 12, or any other location on the housing 12. It is therefore intended that the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting, and that it be understood that it is the following claims, including all equivalents, that are intended to define the spirit and scope of this invention.