Title:
Live well cooling apparatus for fishing vessels
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to an apparatus for cooling and maintaining the water temperature in the live wells of fishing vessels. This twelve volt singular device is applied through the live well wall, and through use of thermoelectric technology the ambient water temperature within the live well is decreased. The importance of cooler water is that holds more oxygen and lowers metabolism in fish, which in turn increases the survival rate of captive fish. This invention is targeted for use by sports fisherman for use in tournaments to avoid penalties for dead fish and to promote the conservation of fish for ecological purposes.



Inventors:
Totman, Travis (Sorrento, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/231647
Publication Date:
03/19/2009
Filing Date:
09/04/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/240, 62/455
International Classes:
F25B21/02; B63B25/00; F25D19/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DUKE, EMMANUEL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Travis Totman (Sorrento, FL, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus that, when attached through the wall of a fishing vessels live well, decreases the water temperature through means of a thermoelectric device, said apparatus lowers water temperatures for the purpose of increasing the survival rate of captive fish for use primarily by tournament fisherman to avoid penalties for “weighing in” expired fish and to promote ecological conservation.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, is a singular twelve volt unit that mounts, by the use of a probe, directly through the wall of the live well.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, comprises of the mounting probe that also functions as the cold sink for the thermoelectric device.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, further comprises of a thermoelectric device, that is compressed between the cold sink and heat sink, that cools the water by transferring heat from the probe to the heat sink.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, further comprises of a heat sink that is constructed of an aluminum housing that features cooling fins which assist in drawing heat toward a water resistant fan

6. The apparatus of claim 5, further comprises of a water resistant fan that functions to aid in the cooling of the heat sink to assure reliable performance of the entire unit.

7. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein said entire unit is powered by a twelve volt power source which allows for easy installment and use on a fishing vessel which utilizes a twelve volt system.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISK APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to increasing the survival rate of fish in live wells by maintaining a healthy water temperature; via an apparatus that decreases water temperatures when applied to a fishing vessel's live well. It is widely known, within the fishing industry, that high water temperatures are the leading cause of fish death in live wells. As water sits in a live well, even if it's circulated, the temperature increases which makes it almost impossible to hold oxygen. There are various options available to assist with live well oxygenation and circulation, but this simple one-piece device decreases the water temperature, which in turn increases the oxygenation.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,134,293 to Rabal discloses a cooling and aerating live well system in the form of a device that pumps water out of the live well into a separate cooling chamber, where a thermoelectric device cools the water, and then pumps it back into the live well. It is evident that this system is poorly designed for use in a boat due to its size, complexity, and energy requirements.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is a device that, once installed in the live well of a fishing vessel, functions to slightly decrease and maintain the current water temperature that is held in the live well. The device is comprised of several components which include a cooling probe, which is cooled through thermoelectric technology. The thermoelectric device transfers heat from the probe to the cooling fins which are located on the back of the device. A twelve volt powered water resistant fan is mounted directly to the back of the unit to assist in cooling the device. The advantages of this invention over the prior art include: its' compact size and simple complexity, which allows for easy installment and use; its' one piece construction is highly energy efficient; it cools the water within the live well without actually removing the water for cooling, which eliminates the extra attached equipment such as pumps, hoses, and controlling devices.

It is the object of this invention to lower water temperatures in live wells to decrease mortality rates of fish during fishing tournaments to avoid penalties.

It is another object of this invention to decrease water temperatures in live wells to promote fish conservation for ecological reasons.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view with portions removed (to simplify the figure) of the cooling apparatus under operating circumstances.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a portion of the cooling apparatus shown in FIG. 1 with some components omitted to simplify the figure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1, an apparatus 10 according to the invention is shown. A wall 12 of a live well 14 has the apparatus 10 incorporated through it. The apparatus 10 is designed to be used through the wall 12 because direct contact between the apparatus 10 and the water 16 is pertinent for cooling. The apparatus 10 has a cold sink 18 for producing a reduced temperature to cool the water 16. The cold sink 18 has a probe 20 made of a highly thermally conductive material such as aluminum, copper, and stainless steel.

As shown in FIG. 2, the probe 20 has a threaded portion 22 and a base 24. The base 24 is shaped to connect fully with a thermoelectric device 26. Preferably, the base 24 and the thermoelectric device 26 are significantly identical to minimize energy loss. The thermoelectric device 26 is a commercially available device which produces a reduced temperature on one side and an increased temperature on the other side when a direct voltage is applied to the device.

The thermoelectric device 26 is arranged so that in FIG. 1 cold side is facing the water 16 and hot side is facing a heat sink 32. The heat sink 32 engages the thermoelectric device 26 fully so that heat produced by the thermoelectric device can be removed efficiently and effectively. It is imperative to achieve firm contact between the thermoelectric device 26 and both the cold sink 18 and the heat sink 32 to prevent water leakage. A feature of the invention which prevents potential leakage is the compression of the thermoelectric device 26 between the heat sink 32 and the cold sink 18 by the connecting tabs 34. The connecting tabs 34, which are located on the base 24, are bolted to the heat sink 32.

An electrically non-conductive, thermally insulating body 36 has a cut-out 38 to allow it to be positioned so that one flat surface contacts the base 24 so that the contact between the base 24 and the thermoelectric device 26 is insulated against external temperature influences. In addition, the insulating body 36 provides a relatively soft surface for contact with the outside surface of the wall 12.

The probe 20 extends through a hole in the wall 12 into the water 16 and is maintained in its position by a nut 40 which screws onto the threaded portion 22 and has a washer 42 pressing against the outside surface of the wall 12. The washer 42 can be made of silicone, PVC or some other suitable material and seals the hole in the wall 12 against leakage.

It is preferable to position the washer 42 on the outside surface of the wall 12 to form a reliable seal against leakage rather than positioning the washer 42 on the inside surface because the threaded portion 22 would not interact with the washer 42 to distort it into a shape forming a satisfactory seal. The washer 42 has a shape in which the surface against the base 24 is substantially flat, while the surface abutting against the wall 12 is slightly curved so that pressure during the tightening of the nut 40 distorts the washer 42 to form a very reliable seal.

The heat sink 32 is a conventional thermally conductive material with fins 44 for dissipating heat. A commercially available water resistant fan 46 is arranged behind the heat sink 32. The wires 48 are for the input of twelve volt electrical power into the water resistant fan 46. The water resistant fan 46 blows air to cool the fins 44 because the cooling of the thermoelectric device 26 is diminished if the hot side is too hot. The heat sink 32 is matched to the water resistant fan 46 to maximize the heat transfer away from the thermoelectric device 26. The water resistant fan 46 and thermoelectric device 26 are connected to a twelve volt power supply 50.