Title:
Submersible Water Pump Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A submersible water pump device is provided. The submersible water pump device includes a housing that contains a stator and windings and a control circuit. A rotor with curved impeller blades, which is contained within the stator attached to the windings, is inserted into the proximal end of the housing. A filter and volute, which cover the curved impeller blades of the rotor, are removably attached to the housing. The control circuit detects the polarity of the magnetic field of the rotor to control when to turn the motor on, so that the rotor only runs in one direction to increase the pump's efficiency using the curved impeller blades.



Inventors:
He, Wen Hua (Zhongshan, CN)
Application Number:
12/579917
Publication Date:
04/22/2010
Filing Date:
10/15/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
417/44.11, 417/423.3
International Classes:
F04D27/00; F04D29/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COMLEY, ALEXANDER BRYANT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Corby Bell, Dorman Bell, LLP (Irving, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A submersible water pump device, comprising: a motor, wherein the motor includes a stator and a rotor positioned within the stator on a shaft, and wherein the stator is connected to windings that energize the stator to produce a rotating magnetic field that produces a torque on the rotor causing rotation of the rotor; an impeller with curved blades connected to an end of the rotor on the shaft, wherein the impeller with curved blades is used to increase an amount of water discharged from the submersible water pump device; and a control circuit that includes a motor control circuit to control running of the motor in the submersible water pump device, wherein the motor control circuit includes control logic for determining when and when not to run the motor.

2. The submersible water pump device of claim 1, wherein the motor control circuit detects a polarity of the rotating magnetic field around the rotor to determine when to turn the motor on.

3. The submersible water pump device of claim 1, wherein the motor control circuit controls the rotation of the rotor by detecting the polarity of the rotating magnetic field around the rotor to determine when to turn the motor on so that the rotation of the rotor is unidirectional in order to utilize the impeller with curved blades.

4. The submersible water pump device of claim 1, wherein the control circuit includes a water sensor circuit for detecting a low water level entering the submersible water pump device.

5. The submersible water pump device of claim 4, wherein the water sensor circuit directs the motor control circuit to stop the motor from running in response to detecting the low water level entering the submersible water pump device to prevent damage caused by abrasion, and wherein the water sensor circuit directs the motor control circuit to start the motor in response to detecting that the low water level entering the submersible water pump device no longer exists.

6. The submersible water pump device of claim 1, wherein the motor control circuit detects when the rotor is struggling to rotate, and wherein the motor control circuit automatically shuts down a power supply to the motor in response to the rotor struggling to rotate to prevent an electrical current buildup and then restarts the power supply after a predetermined time interval.

7. The submersible water pump device of claim 4, wherein a water level sensor is included on the control circuit, and wherein the water level sensor is electrically connected to the water sensor circuit.

8. The submersible water pump device of claim 4, wherein the control circuit includes a voltage regulator circuit to regulate voltage from a power source to the motor control circuit and the water sensor circuit.

9. A submersible water pump device, comprising: a motor, wherein the motor includes a stator and a rotor positioned within the stator on a shaft, and wherein the stator is connected to windings that energize the stator to produce a rotating magnetic field that produces a torque on the rotor causing rotation of the rotor; an impeller with curved blades connected to an end of the rotor on the shaft, wherein the impeller with curved blades is used to increase an amount of water discharged from the submersible water pump device; and a control circuit that includes a motor control circuit to control running of the motor in the submersible water pump device, wherein the motor control circuit controls the rotation of the rotor by detecting the polarity of the rotating magnetic field around the rotor to determine when to turn the motor on so that the rotation of the rotor is unidirectional in order to utilize the impeller with curved blades, and wherein the control circuit includes a water sensor circuit for detecting a low water level entering the submersible water pump device, wherein the water sensor circuit directs the motor control circuit to stop the motor from running in response to detecting the low water level entering the submersible water pump device to prevent damage caused by abrasion, and wherein the water sensor circuit directs the motor control circuit to start the motor in response to detecting that the low water level entering the submersible water pump device no longer exists, and wherein the motor control circuit detects when the rotor is struggling to rotate, and wherein the motor control circuit automatically shuts down a power supply to the motor in response to the rotor struggling to rotate to prevent an electrical current buildup and then restarts the power supply after a predetermined time interval.

10. The submersible water pump device of claim 9, wherein a water level sensor is included on the control circuit, and wherein the water level sensor is electrically connected to the water sensor circuit.

11. The submersible water pump device of claim 4, wherein the control circuit includes a voltage regulator circuit to regulate voltage from a power source to the motor control circuit and the water sensor circuit.

12. A method for assembling a submersible water pump device, the method comprising: connecting an impeller having curved blades to a proximal end of a rotor; positioning the rotor connected to the impeller having curved blades on a shaft; inserting the shaft and a distal end of the rotor into a stator connected to windings to form a motor, wherein the windings energize the stator to produce a rotating magnetic field that produces a torque on the rotor causing rotation of the rotor; connecting the motor electrically to a control circuit that includes a motor control circuit and a water sensor circuit, wherein the motor control circuit controls running of the motor and includes control logic for determining when and when not to run the motor. and wherein the water sensor circuit detects a low water level entering the submersible water pump device; placing the motor and the control circuit into a housing so that the impeller with curved blades extends out of the housing; and attaching a volute to the housing over the impeller having curved blades that extends from the housing.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the motor control circuit detects a polarity of the rotating magnetic field around the rotor to determine when to turn the motor on.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein the motor control circuit controls the rotation of the rotor by detecting the polarity of the rotating magnetic field around the rotor to determine when to turn the motor on so that the rotation of the rotor is unidirectional in order to utilize the impeller with curved blades.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein the water sensor circuit directs the motor control circuit to stop the motor from running in response to detecting the low water level entering the submersible water pump device to prevent damage caused by abrasion, and wherein the water sensor circuit directs the motor control circuit to start the motor in response to detecting that the low water level entering the submersible water pump device no longer exists.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein the motor control circuit detects when the rotor is struggling to rotate, and wherein the motor control circuit automatically shuts down a power supply to the motor in response to the rotor struggling to rotate to prevent an electrical current buildup and then restarts the power supply after a predetermined time interval.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein a water level sensor is included on the control circuit, and wherein the water level sensor is electrically connected to the water sensor circuit.

18. The method of claim 12, wherein the control circuit includes a voltage regulator circuit to regulate voltage from a power source to the motor control circuit and the water sensor circuit.

Description:

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. Section 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/106,383 filed on Oct. 17, 2008 in the United States Patent and Trademark Office entitled “Submersible Water Pump.”

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a water pump device and in particular to an improved submersible water pump device, which may he used, for example, in a decorative fountain, an aquarium, a garden pool, and the like.

Within the homeowner industry, and in particular within the landscaping market, a demand exists to provide water pump devices that increase the aesthetics of fountains, garden pools, aquariums, and the like. Conventionally, water pump devices are used for a variety of different applications, such as to create indoor and outdoor water falls in fountains, to aerate aquariums, and to create a variety of water works in garden pools. Generally, these water pump devices are submersible and draw water from a lower reservoir into an inlet of the pump in order to transfer the water up to an elevated surface which causes the water to cascade back down to the lower reservoir.

Submersible water pump devices are electrically driven and usually require either a manual activation or a separate automatic timer device to activate the water pump during the desired hours of operation. Submersible water pump devices may be electrically powered by alternating-current (AC) or direct-current (DC).

Even though submersible water pump devices powered by permanent magnet AC synchronous motors are proven to be reliable, these devices are generally more costly to manufacture and must meet more stringent electrical shielding and/or insulation requirements to protect users and the devices themselves while operating in an aqueous environment. In addition, an AC power cord for a submersible water pump device may detract from the aesthetics of a display and, due to the limited length of the power cord, may limit the position of the display.

Further, the rotor of a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor runs in random directions. As a result, all impeller blades connected to the rotor must be configured in a straight vertical direction in order to pump water into the water outlet regardless of which direction the impeller is turning. This straight vertical configuration of impeller blades makes it difficult to improve the water flow of a pump, increase the efficiency of the pump, increase the durability of the pump and its motor, and improve stability of the water flow of the pump. Moreover, when the water level decreases to a point that causes harm to the pump, the pump does not stop running. This continued running when the water is below normal operational levels may reduce the lifetime of the pump because abrasion increases between the rotor and the shaft due to the lack of water, which lubricates the rotor. Furthermore, this continued running also increases the pump temperature, which may cause further damage to the motor.

Submersible water pump devices that are powered by DC pumps are generally cheaper to manufacture and, because these DC pumps operate on DC power, they do not have the aesthetic disadvantages of the AC powered pumps. However, DC powered pumps tend to require increased maintenance because of the constant need to maintain the electrical source of the pump.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Illustrative embodiments provide an improved submersible water pump device. The problems presented in known submersible water pump devices are solved by the improved submersible water pump device of the present invention. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a submersible water pump device is provided that includes a housing containing a stator and windings and a control circuit. A rotor that includes an impeller with curved blades is inserted into the proximal end of the housing. The rotor is contained within the stator, which is attached to the windings, all contained within the housing. This is accomplished by inserting a shaft that runs from the control circuit through the stator to the proximal end of the housing. When the rotor is inserted into the housing, the rotor is inserted onto the shaft.

When assembled, the curved impeller blades protrude from the proximal end of the housing. An o-ring is attached to the housing around the rotor. The submersible water pump device also includes a filter and volute. The filter and volute are removably attached over the protruding curved impeller blades of the rotor onto the proximal end of the housing against the o-ring. The submersible water pump device also includes a power cord strain relief sleeve, which is fitted on the distal end of the housing. The power cord runs through the strain relief sleeve from a power source to the control circuit. The electrical wires within the power cord supply the electrical power, such as, for example, AC power or DC power, to the submersible water pump device. Further, the submersible water pump device includes a sealant, which is applied to the distal end of the housing. A back cover is then placed over the sealant.

In accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention, the control circuit contained within the housing is capable of detecting the polarity of the magnetic field in the motor. The control circuit uses this capability to control when to turn the motor on so that the rotor only turns in one direction. This unidirectional turning of the rotor allows illustrative embodiments of the present invention to use curved blades on the impeller, which is attached to the rotor, to increase the efficiency and lift of the submersible water pump device and stabilize water flow.

In accordance with another illustrative embodiment of the present invention, the control circuit also contains a water level sensor, which is capable of detecting no water or a low water level entering the submersible water pump device. When the water level sensor detects no water or a low water level entering the submersible water pump device, the control circuit stops the pump's motor from running. When the water level sensor detects a sufficient level of water entering the submersible water pump device so that no damage to the submersible water pump device may occur, the control circuit allows the pump's motor to start running again. The submersible water pump device uses the water as a natural lubricant between the shaft and the rotor. When the water level is low, abrasion occurs, which is caused by the lack of water between the shaft and the rotor, causing damage to the pump and decreasing the life expectance of the pump. Thus, the water level sensor contained in the control circuit helps to increase life expectance of submersible water pump devices and decrease concerns about continued maintenance.

In accordance with another illustrative embodiment of the present invention, the control circuit is also capable of detecting when the rotor is struggling to rotate within the motor. This capability by the control circuit provides rotation-clogging protection. Rotation-clogging protection automatically shuts down the power supply to the pump's motor when the rotor is struggling to rotate. After several seconds, the rotation-clogging protection then restarts the power supply to the pump's motor. This shutting down and restarting of the motor's power supply prevents the motor from being damaged by a large electrical current buildup that may occur when the motor becomes clogged or stops.

Other objects, features, and advantages of illustrative embodiments of the present invention will become apparent with reference to the drawings and the detailed descriptions of those drawings, which follow below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a pictorial representation of an exploded perspective view of a submersible water pump device in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a pictorial representation of a side sectional view of an assembled submersible water pump device in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an exemplary illustration of the electrical principles of a submersible water pump device in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary process for assembling a submersible water pump device in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

All references cited herein are incorporated by reference to the maximum extent allowable by law. To the extent a reference may not be fully incorporated herein, it is incorporated by reference for background purposes and indicative of the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art.

In the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments of the present invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific illustrative embodiments in which the present invention may be practiced. These illustrative embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the present invention, and it is understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that logical mechanical and electrical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. To avoid detail not necessary to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, the detailed description may omit certain information known to those skilled in the art. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined only by the appended claims.

With reference now to the figures and in particular with reference to FIGS. 1-2, exemplary pictorial illustrations of a submersible water pump device are provided in which illustrative embodiments may be implemented. It should be appreciated that FIGS. 1-2 are only exemplary and are not intended to assert or imply any limitation with regard to different illustrative embodiments. Many modifications to the depicted submersible water pump device may be made.

FIG. 1 is a pictorial representation of an exploded perspective view of a submersible water pump device in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention. Submersible water pump device 100 is a water pump device capable of operating in a submerged aqueous environment, such as in a waterfall display or an aquarium. Submersible water pump device 100 includes housing 102, which contains stator 104, windings 106, and control circuit 108.

Rotor 110 includes impeller with curved blades 112. Rotor 110 is inserted into the proximal end of housing 102 and contained within stator 104, which is attached to windings 106. Stator 104, windings 106, control circuit 108, and rotor 110 are all contained within housing 102. This is accomplished by inserting shaft 114, which runs from control circuit 108, through stator 104, to the proximal end of housing 102. When rotor 110 is inserted into the proximal end of housing 102, rotor 110 is inserted onto shalt 114. When assembled, impeller with curved blades 112 protrudes from the proximal end of housing 102. Impeller with curved blades 112 is used to efficiently discharge fluid from submersible water pump device 100. O-ring 116 is attached to housing 102 around rotor 110. O-ring 116 may, for example, be made of rubber and used for waterproofing housing 102.

The motor of submersible water pump device 100 includes stator 104, windings 106, and rotor 110. Stator 104 is a stationary part in the motor and acts as an electromagnet. Windings 106, which may be referred to a field winding or a field coil, energizes stator 104 to produce the electromagnet, which creates a rotating magnetic field. As discussed above, rotor 110, which is inserted on shaft 114 and connected to impeller with curved blades 112, is positioned within stator 104. The rotating magnetic field within stator 104 provides a torque to rotor 110 for rotating rotor 110.

Submersible water pump device 100 also includes filter 118 and volute 120. Filter 118 and volute 120 are removably attached onto the proximal end of housing 102 against o-ring 116 over impeller with curved blades 112 of rotor 110. Removably attached means that filter 118 and volute 120 may be easily attached or removed from housing 102 by, for example, “snapping on” or “snapping off” filter 118 or volute 120 from housing 102. Submersible water pump device 100 uses filter 118 to filter particulates out of the water entering submersible water pump device 100. Submersible water pump device 100 uses volute 120 as a water discharge port for submersible water pump device 100.

Further, submersible water pump device 100 also includes strain relief sleeve 122, which is fitted on the distal end of housing 102. Strain relief sleeve 122 provides relief of strain for a power cord, not shown, entering submersible water pump device 100. The power cord includes electrical wires that run through strain relief sleeve 122 to control circuit 108. The electrical wires are used to supply electrical power to submersible water pump device 100 via control circuit 108.

Furthermore, submersible water pump 100 also includes sealant 124. Sealant 124 is used to provide waterproofing for submersible water pump device 100. Sealant 124 may, for example, be an epoxy resin or a PU compound. Sealant 124 is applied to the distal end of housing 102. Back cover 126 is then placed over sealant 124 on the distal end of housing 102.

Moreover, submersible water pump device 100 also includes feet 128 to stabilize submersible water pump device 100. Feet 128 are removably attached to the bottom of housing 102. In this exemplary illustration, two feet 128 are depicted. However, it should be noted that more or fewer feet 128 may be used by illustrative embodiments. Feet 128 are attached to the underside of housing 102 to help mount submersible water pump device 100 to a contact interface to improve the stability of submersible water pump device 100. This improved stability of submersible water pump device 100 provides less vibration and noise. Feet 128 may, for example, be rubber suction cups, however one skilled in the art will appreciate that feet 128 may be made from a variety of materials to accomplish the same purpose.

Submersible water pump device 100 has the ability to control the direction of rotation of rotor 110 to increase the efficiency of submersible water pump device 100. This ability to control the rotational direction of rotor 110 allows submersible water pump device 100 to use curved blades on the impeller, rather than using only vertical blades on the impeller. Using impeller with curved blades 112 not only increases the lift of submersible water pump device 100, but also stabilizes the water flow through submersible water pump device 100.

Further, submersible water pump device 100 uses control circuit 108 to detect a low water level entering the pump to shut off the pump's motor to minimize damage to submersible water pump device 100. Control circuit 108 utilizes water level sensor 130 to detect the low water level. Water level sensor 130 is included on control circuit 108.

With reference now to FIG. 2, a pictorial representation of a side sectional view of an assembled submersible water pump device is depicted in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention. Submersible water pump device 200 may, for example, be submersible water pump device 100 in FIG. 1. Submersible water pump device 200 includes housing 202, stator 204, windings 206, control circuit 208, rotor 210, impeller 212, shaft 214, o-ring 216, filter 218, volute 220, strain relief sleeve 222, sealant 224, back cover 226, and feet 228, such as, for example, housing 102, stator 104, windings 106, control circuit 108, rotor 110, impeller with curved blades 112, shaft 114, o-ring 116, filter 118, volute 120, strain relief sleeve 122, sealant 124, back cover 126, and feet 128 in FIG. 1.

With reference now to FIG. 3, an exemplary illustration of the electrical principles of a submersible water pump device is depicted in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention. Control circuit 300 provides electrical circuitry to control the functioning of a submersible water pump device, such as submersible water pump device 100 in Figurer 1. Control circuit 300 may, for example, be control circuit 108 in FIG. 1. Control circuit 300 is contained within the housing of the submersible water pump device, such as housing 102 in FIG. 1.

Control circuit 300 includes motor control circuit IC1 302, water sensor circuit IC2 304, and voltage regulator circuit 306. Power input 308 is the electrical power supply to components of control circuit 300. Control circuit 300 accepts eleven to thirteen volts of AC or DC power to motor control circuit IC1 302 and water sensor circuit IC2 304. Control circuit 300 uses voltage regulator circuit 306 to regulate the incoming electrical power.

Control circuit 300 uses motor control circuit IC1 302 to detect the polarity of the rotating magnetic field around a rotor, such as rotor 110 in FIG. 1. Motor control circuit IC1 302 uses this polarity detection to control when to turn the motor on so that the rotor has unidirectional rotation or only rotates in one direction. Motor control circuit IC1 302 utilizes control logic 310 to make the determination as to when to turn the motor on and off. This unidirectional rotation of the rotor allows curved blades to be used on the impeller, such as impeller 112 in FIG. 1, which is connected to the rotor. Using curved blades on the impeller increases the efficiency and lift of the submersible water pump device and stabilizes the water flow through the submersible water pump device.

Control circuit 300 uses water sensor circuit IC2 304 to detect no water or a low water level entering the submersible water pump device. Water sensor circuit IC2 304 utilizes water level sensor 312, such as water level sensor 130 in FIG. 1, to detect the no water or the low level water state. When water level sensor 312 detects no water or a low level of water, water sensor circuit IC2 304 directs motor control circuit IC1 302 to stop the pump's motor from running. Subsequently, when water level sensor 312 detects that the water level has risen to a sufficient level that will not cause damage to the submersible water pump device, water sensor circuit IC2 304 directs motor control circuit IC1 302 to again allow the motor to run.

The submersible water pump device uses water as a natural lubricant between the rotor and a shaft, such as shaft 114 in FIG. 1. When the water level is low, abrasion caused by the lack of water lubricant occurs between the rotor and the shaft causing damage to the submersible water pump device and decreasing its lifespan. Thus, water sensor circuit IC2 394 helps to increase the life of the submersible water pump device and decrease concerns about continuing maintenance.

Control circuit 300 also uses motor control circuit IC1 302 to detect when the rotor is struggling to rotate. After detecting that the rotor is struggling to rotate, motor control circuit IC1 302 utilizes control logic 310 to automatically shut down the power supply to the motor. Then, after a predetermined time interval, such as, for example, several seconds, control logic 310 restarts the power supply to the motor. Thus, control logic 310 provides rotation-clogging protection by preventing the submersible water pump device from being damaged from a large electrical current buildup, which may be caused by the motor becoming clogged. Consequently, control logic 310 increases the safety of the submersible water pump device.

With reference now to FIG. 4, a flowchart illustrating an exemplary process for assembling a submersible water pump device is shown in accordance with an illustrative embodiment of the present invention. The submersible water pump device may, for example, be submersible water pump device 100 in FIG. 1.

The process begins when an assembler connects an impeller having curved blades, such as impeller with curved blades 112 in FIG. 1, to a proximal end of a rotor, such as rotor 110 in FIG. 1 (step 402). The assembler then positions the rotor connected to the impeller having curved blades on a shaft, such as shaft 114 in FIG. 1 (step 404). Afterward, the assembler inserts the shaft and a distal end of the rotor into a stator, such as stator 104 in FIG. 1, connected to windings, such as windings 106 in FIG. 1, for form a motor (step 406).

Subsequently, the assembler connects the motor electrically to a control circuit, such as control circuit 108 in FIG. 1, that includes a motor control circuit and a water sensor circuit, such as motor control circuit IC1 302 and water sensor circuit IC2 304 in FIG. 3 (step 408). Then, the assembler places the motor and the control circuit into a housing, such as housing 102 in FIG. 1, so that the impeller with curved blades extends out of the housing (step 410). In addition, the assembler attaches a volute, such as volute 120 in FIG. 1, to the housing over the impeller with curved blades that extends from the housing (step 412). The process terminates thereafter. However, it should be noted that the assembler may perform the steps in any order and may perform two or more steps concurrently. Also, it should be noted that the assembler may add additional parts and components to the submersible water pump device at any time during the assembly process.

Thus, illustrative embodiments provide a method and apparatus for an improved submersible water pump device. The circuit as described above is part of the design for an integrated circuit chip. The chip design is created in a graphical computer programming language, and stored in a computer storage medium (such as a disk, tape, physical hard drive, or virtual hard drive such as in a storage access network). If the designer does not fabricate chips or the photolithographic masks used to fabricate chips, the designer transmits the resulting design by physical means (e.g., by providing a copy of the storage medium storing the design) or electronically (e.g., through the Internet) to such entities, directly or indirectly. The stored design is then converted into the appropriate format (e.g., GDSII) for the fabrication of photolithographic masks, which typically include multiple copies of the chip design in question that are to be formed on a wafer. The photolithographic masks are utilized to define areas of the wafer (and/or the layers thereon) to be etched or otherwise processed.

The description of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, and is not intended to he exhaustive or limited to the invention in the form disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. The embodiment was chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention, the practical application, and to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the invention For various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.





 
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