Title:
Illuminated Headgear Cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cover for helmets, hardhats, caps and other gear worn on the head, (collectively called headgear) with electro-luminescent (EL) lighted wire/s array or a plurality of light emitting diodes (LED's) attached to the cover to provide enhanced visibility and safety for the wearer at night or in dark areas. The cover can be made of the EL wire/s itself, the LED connecting wires, fabric, expandable cloth, netting, mesh, latex, silicon, other expandable materials and hard or pliable plastic. The cover can be temporarily attached to headgear by means of an elastic or rubber band, drawstring, clips, wire or Velcro and/or permanently attached with adhesives. Batteries attached to the headgear cover power the EL light wire/s and/or LED's. The EL wire/s and/or LED's are attached to the headgear cover by cloth thread, clear thread, plastic thread, fishing line, glue, staples, clips, Velcro, zip ties, twist ties or other device.



Inventors:
Mcfall, Daniel (Round Rock, TX, US)
Application Number:
13/348450
Publication Date:
07/11/2013
Filing Date:
01/11/2012
Assignee:
MCFALL DANIEL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HADEN, SALLY CLINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Craig Jepson (Austin, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cover for helmets, hardhats, hats, caps and other gear worn on the head, (collectively called headgear), comprising: a temporary or permanently attached headgear cover; battery operated electro-luminescent (EL) wire/wires array and/or light emitting diodes (LED's) with connecting wire/wires attached to the headgear cover; a mechanism to attach the cover to the headgear; a mechanism to attach the EL and/or LED wires to the headgear cover; a mechanism to attach the power pack/battery case to the headgear cover.

2. A cover for headgear as in claim 1 wherein said cover is constructed of fabric, expandable or nonexpendable cloth, reflective or non-reflective material, netting, mesh, latex, silicon, other expandable or nonexpendable materials, an electro-luminescent (EL) wire itself, the light emitting diodes (LED's) connecting wires, and hard or pliable plastic.

3. A cover for headgear as in claim 1 wherein said cover is removable and temporarily attached to headgear by means of by an elastic or rubber band, a drawstring, hooks, clips, wire, compression, VELCRO and/or is self adhering.

4. A cover for headgear as in claim 1 wherein said cover can be permanently attached to headgear by means of glue or other adhesives.

5. A cover for headgear as in claim 1 wherein said cover has a light source/s consisting of EL wire/wires array and/or a plurality of LED's attached to the cover.

6. A cover for headgear as in claim 5 wherein said EL wire/wires array and/or a plurality of LED's is attached to the cover by means of cloth thread, clear thread, plastic, plastic thread, fishing line, glue, staples, clips, Velcro, zip ties, twist ties, other device or compression.

7. A cover for headgear as in claim 5 wherein said EL wire/wires array and/or a plurality of LED's that are battery operated and attached to a power pack/battery case.

8. A cover for headgear as in claim 1 wherein said cover has a pocket, cloth thread, clear thread, plastic, plastic thread, fishing line, glue, staples, clips, Velcro, zip ties, twist ties or other device that holds the power pack/battery case that powers the EL wire/wires array and/or a plurality of LED's onto the headgear cover.

9. A cover for headgear as in claim 6 wherein said attached EL wire/wires array and/or a plurality of LED's traverses the cover back and forth side to side multiple times or back and forth front to back multiple times or in other varieties of patterns.

10. A cover for headgear as in claim 6 wherein the EL or LED wires are attached on either the inside or outside of the cover.

11. A cover for headgear as in claim 1 wherein said cover comes in multiple shapes, colors and sizes to fit different applications for Bicycle-helmets, Firefighting-helmets, Military-helmets, Skateboard-helmets, Snowboard-helmets, Ski-helmets, Scuba-helmets, Emergency Medical Personnel hats, Police hats, Construction hardhats, Mining helmet and hats, Running caps, and any other type of headgear.

12. A cover for headgear as in claims 1 thought 11 that can be worn directly on the head.

13. a cover for headgear as in claim 1 wherein the cover be a fully or partially cover the headgear.

Description:

REFERENCES CITED:

U.S. Pat. No.DateInventorCurrent US Class
1,363,408December 1920Guinzburg 2/68
1,754,114April 1930Manos 2/46
2,176,953October 1939Bloom   2/175.6
2,424,414July 1946Oppenheimer   2/175.6
3,015,104March 1960Crosson 2/171
3,155,981February 1963McKissick 2/422
4,106,124August 1978Green 2/422
D299,180January 1989GentesD29/122
5,357,409October 1994Glatt362/105
5,408,393April 1995Becker362/105
5,479,325December 1995Chien362/105
5,638,544June 1997Sump  2/6.6
6,061,836May 2000Peters   2/175.6
6,113,244September 2000Baumgartner362/106
6,244,721June 2001Rodriguez362/106
6,256,799July 2001McGlasson 2/422
7,234,831June 2007Hanley362/106
7,364,315April 2008Chien362/84 
8,025,432September 2011Wainright362/394

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention generally relates to helmets, hardhats, caps and other types of headgear covers and more specifically to any type of lighted headgear cover.

BACKGROUND

Throughout the world adults and children alike, work and play outdoors when it's dark outside or at night. During the winter months in many parts of the world the sun goes down in the early evening and it becomes dark while there are still many hours for productive work and play left in a normal day. The fact that a sizable portion of the global population is engaged in either work or recreation when it's dark outside suggests that a product that helps these people be “Seen” by vehicle traffic or others would be of great benefit. In addition, the use of helmets, hardhats, caps and other headgear in industry and recreation has been increasing in number and expanding in scope for the last 30 years. The idea that if these people are wearing headgear already and are working or recreating when it's dark, then an illuminated headgear cover would add an additional safety element by making these people easy to be seen by others.

A few examples of activities in which being seen when it's dark or getting dark outside would be beneficial are; bicyclists, skateboard riders, roller-bladders, policeman, firemen or emergency medical service technicians, construction and road workers, members of the military, joggers or runners, people walking their pets, skiers and snowboarders—just about anyone performing their job or recreating at night or in dark areas needs to be seen in order to be safe. This invention is an inexpensive mass-market solution that can retrofit any helmet, hat or other headgear into a lighted safety device that can be seen from a considerable distance.

There are several types and styles of lighted safety helmets, hardhats, caps and other headgear that have been patented and are available to consumers today. However, very few have the potential to be used as an inexpensive “add-ons” to non-illuminated headgear. Currently, no product under US patent protection is a simple self-contained lighted headgear cover that is long lasting, easy to use and is visible from a distance in the dark, like the invention described herein. The drawings and description of the illuminated headgear cover herein have made various attempts to provide for the uniqueness of this invention. To follow is brief discussion of each of patents the inventor researched, none of which would be infringed upon by the illuminated headgear cover herein.

Now, regarding what is “new” in the illuminated headgear cover discussed herein. The mechanism for holding a headgear cover to headgear is not new to this illuminated headgear cover. The inventor has examined the following methods of attaching headgear covers to headgear to determine if any patent infringement exists. Examples are: Guinzburg, (U.S. Pat. No. 1,363,408—December, 1920) describes an expandable bathing/shower cap with rubber or elastic around the bottom opening portion that goes around the head. One of the embodiments of the illuminated headgear cover discussed herein also uses an elastic or rubber band to hold the headgear cover to the headgear. The hat and or helmet covers described in and Bloom, (U.S. Pat. No. 2,176,953—October 1939), Crosson, (U.S. Pat. No. 3,015,104—March 1960), McKissick, (U.S. Pat. No. 3,155,981—February, 1963), Green, (U.S. Pat. No. 4,106,124—August 1978), Gentes, (U.S. Pat. No. D299,180—January, 1989), Sump, (U.S. Pat. No. 5,638,544—June, 1997) are examples of patents issued for headgear covers that use an elastic or rubber band to hold the headgear cover to the headgear.

The patents issued to Manos, (U.S. Pat. No. 1,754,114—April 1930) and Oppenheimer, (U.S. Pat. No. 2,424,414—July, 1946) describe hat covers that use a pocket that causes compression or friction to hold the headgear cover to the headgear. One of the embodiments of the illuminated headgear cover discussed herein also uses compression to hold the headgear cover to the headgear. All of the above patents have expired and indicate that there is nothing new in this form of attaching a headgear cover to headgear.

Newer and more sophisticated headgear covers have been patented in recent years. Two of these new types of headgear covers were researched by the inventor follow. Peters, (U.S. Pat. No. 6,061,836—May 2000) was issued a patent for a slip-on elastic, fabric cover for hardhats and “the like”. It is made of an elastic material with at least one stiffened segment designed for logos, company name or other visual media. McGlasson, (U.S. Pat. No. 6,256,799—July, 2001) was issued a patent for helmet covers. These covers are designed to fit on top of protective helmets. The covers are padded, removable and are outfitted with the characteristics animals, sea creatures and other designs, such as teeth, fins, antlers, horns, claws, logos and other designs.

None of the helmet covers researched by the inventor indicated any conflict with the illuminated headgear cover described herein.

There have been many patents issued for LED and EL illuminated headgear and headgear attachments. The inventor has examined the following LED and EL illuminated headgear to determine if any patent infringement exists. Glatt, (U.S. Pat. No. 5,357,409—October, 1994), was issued a patent for an illuminated safety helmet with LED's housed within the helmet and that protrude out of the helmets core so the light can be seen on the outside of the helmet. Baumgatner, (U.S. Pat. No. 6,007,213 December, 1999 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,113,244—September, 2000), was issued patents for illuminated helmets that use LED's as the light source and use fiber optic cable or wire loop to transmit the light. Wainright, (U.S. Pat. No. 8,025,432—September, 2011) was issued a patent for a miniature, battery operated air tight light emitting module having LED's that project at least two different frequencies of light energy. The LED's are attached to a thin elastic band allowing a module or series of modules to be attached to the exterior surface of various types of hardhats and helmets.

Chien, (U.S. Pat. No. 5,479,325 December, 1995 and U.S. Pat. No. 7,364,315 April, 2008) was issued a patent for a headgear with an EL (electro-luminescent) light strip and a tubular EL (electro-luminescent) panel(s) light device, respectfully . The first of these patents, for the EL light strip, concentrates on the electrical design and placement of the EL lights inside a transparent enclosure, which is then attached to the headgear, but does not cover the headgear. The second of these patents, for the tubular EL panels, describes a bendable flat EL panel that has a much narrower width than a EL light wire and can be manipulated into various shapes and applications.

Rodriguez, (U.S. Pat. No. 6,244,721—June, 2001) was issued a patent for an illuminated helmet device. This patent centers around the light on the helmet being automatically activated by a pressure switch within the helmet that turns on the light the helmet is placed on the head. There is also discussion about using a photovoltaic panel to recharge the power supply.

Hanley, (U.S. Pat. No. 6,733,150—May, 2004; U.S. Pat. No. 7,086,831—August, 2006 and U.S. Pat. No. 7,234,831—June 2007) was issued a patent for a headgear with forward illumination. This patent deals with a type of headgear that is intended to help the wearer see in no or low light situations by forward pointing LED's that are built into the front of the headgear to illuminate an area in front of the wearer. Becker, (U.S. Pat. No. 5,408,393—April, 1995) was issued a patent for a U-shaped helmet light. Becker's patent is similar to Hanley's in that it is designed to help the wearer see forward. However, in Becker's design a U-shaped housing holds the lights and it is attached to the intended headgear, rather than being built into the headgear.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides various illuminated headgear covers and methods for their use. The cover is provided for use with helmets, hardhats, caps and other types of headgear. The cover comprises a flexible or rigid cover material in various sizes, shapes and colors. The cover described herein is designed to fit around, on top of and to cover all or part of existing helmets, hardhats, caps and other types of headgear not intended to be included in this patent. When placed on the human head, around or over any headgear, the invention transforms that head or headgear into an easy to be seen illuminated visual safety device that is designed to be used by the wearer to increase their visibility at night or in dark place.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective top view of the illuminated headgear cover with EL wire on a helmet.

FIG. 2 is a perspective side view of the illuminated headgear cover with EL wire on a helmet.

FIG. 3 is a perspective bottom view of the illuminated headgear cover with EL wire on a helmet.

FIG. 4 is a perspective top view of the illuminated headgear cover with LED's and connecting wires on a helmet.

FIG. 5 is a perspective top view of the illuminated headgear cover with EL wire not on a helmet.

FIG. 6 is a perspective top view of the illuminated headgear cover with LED's and connecting wires not on a helmet.

FIG. 7 is a perspective bottom view of the illuminated headgear cover with LED's and connecting wires not on a helmet.

FIG. 8 is a perspective side view of the illuminated headgear cover with LED's and connection wires on a helmet.

FIG. 9 is a perspective side view of the illuminated headgear cover with LED's and connection wires not on a helmet.

FIG. 10 is a perspective side view of the illuminated headgear cover with EL wire not on a helmet.

FIG. 11 is a perspective top view of the illuminated headgear cover with the EL wire itself acting as the cover on a helmet.

FIG. 12 is a perspective top view of the illuminated headgear cover with the LED's and the LED wires themselves acting as the cover on a helmet.

FIG. 13 is a perspective bottom view of the illuminated headgear cover with the EL wire itself acting as the cover on a helmet.

FIG. 14 is a perspective side view of the illuminated headgear cover LED's and connecting wire/s on a hardhat or cap style headgear.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Although specific terms are used in the description to follow for the purpose of clarity, these terms are intended to refer only to the particular structure of the invention selected for illustration in the drawings, and are not intended to define or limit the scope of the invention.

The invention provides various covers that may be attached too a wide variety of headgear. The headgear that may be used with the invention typically consists of a hard shell protective exterior, however the invention can be used with caps, hats and other soft and/or other pliable headgear or used directly on the head. The headgear cover may be constructed of a flexible material that may be placed about the exterior of the headgear. The covers may be manipulated so that they generally conform to the shape of the headgear. However, in some cases, the covers may be constructed to have different overall shapes to be fitted to various different types of headgear. In some cases the covers may be constructed of a rigid material or may be constructed of the EL and/or LED connecting wires themselves.

Referring now to FIG. 1, embodiment one of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with EL wire/s in a top view on a type of headgear. The headgear cover 1 is made of an expandable material that conforms roughly to the shape of 2 the headgear and the headgear cover 1 is covering 2 the headgear. 3 shows the EL wire/s attached to 1 the headgear cover. The lead wire 4 runs from the power pack/battery case 5 to the EL wire/s to power the lights on 1, the headgear cover.

Referring now to FIG. 2, embodiment one of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with EL wire/s in a side view on a type of headgear. The headgear cover 1, is partially covering 2 the headgear. 3 shows the EL wire/s attached to 1 the headgear cover. The power pack/battery case 5 is attached to 1 by means of a pocket, VELCRO, wire, elastic, rubber or other device that allows the wearer to remove 5, the battery pack to replace the batteries. An elastic or rubber band 12 is shown below 5 and is attaching the headgear cover 1 to the headgear 2. The visible headgear 9, is partially shown below the elastic or rubber band 12. The headgear cover 1 does not fully cover the headgear 2, however 1, the headgear cover may fully cover the headgear.

Referring now to FIG. 3, embodiment one of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with EL wire/s in a bottom or underneath view on a type of headgear. The headgear cover 1 is covering 3 the headgear. This headgear is shown with a visor 8, that is partially covered by 1. 9 is the protective core of the headgear and 10 are protective pads for the top of the head inside the headgear. 5 is the battery pack and 11 is the attachment mechanism that connects 5 the battery pack to 1 the headgear cover. The attachment mechanism 11, may be a pocket, cloth thread, clear thread, plastic, plastic thread, fishing line, glue, staples, clips, Velcro, zip ties, twist ties or other device that holds the battery-pack to the headgear cover. 12 is an elastic or rubber band, drawstring, wire or VELCRO that attaches 1 the headgear cover to 3 the headgear.

Referring now to FIG. 4, embodiment two of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with LED's and connecting wires in a top view on a type of headgear. The headgear cover 1 is made of an expandable material that conforms roughly to the shape of 2 the headgear and the headgear cover 1 is covering 2 the headgear. The lead wire 4 runs from the power pack/battery case 5 to the EL wire/s to power the lights on 1, the headgear cover. The LED connecting wires 13, are run under 1, the headgear cover, and above 2 the headgear in way that the wires are not seen, with 14, the LED's themselves protruding through small openings in 1, the headgear cover, in such a way as to be exposed above and visible outside 1, the headgear cover.

Referring now to FIG. 5, embodiment one of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with EL wire/s in a top view without being placed on any headgear. The headgear cover 1 is made of an expandable material that conforms roughly to the shape of the headgear it is intended to cover. When 1 is off of any headgear, 1 the headgear cover, deforms into an irregular compressed shape. The EL wire/s 3, have also compressed their shape and are attached to 1 the headgear cover. The lead wire 4 runs from the power pack/battery case 5 to the EL wire/s to power the lights on 1, the headgear cover.

Referring now to FIG. 6, embodiment two of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with LED's and connecting wire/s in a top view without being placed on any headgear. The headgear cover 1 is made of an expandable material that conforms roughly to the shape of the headgear it is intended to cover. When 1 is off of any headgear, 1 the headgear cover, deforms into an irregular compressed shape. The lead wire 4 runs from the power pack/battery case 5 to the EL wire/s to power the lights on 1, the headgear cover. LED connecting wire/s 13, are run under, 1 the headgear cover and above 2 the headgear in way that the wires are not seen when the headgear cover it on the headgear. The LED's, 14, are coming through small openings in 1, the headgear cover, in such a way as to be exposed above and visible outside 1, the headgear cover.

Referring now to FIG. 7, embodiment two of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with LED's and connecting wire/s in a bottom or underneath view without being placed on any headgear. The headgear cover 1 is made of an expandable material that conforms roughly to the shape of the headgear it is intended to cover. When 1 is off of any headgear, 1 the headgear cover, deforms into an irregular compressed shape. The lead wire 4 runs from the power pack/battery case 5 to the LED wire/s to power the lights on 1, the headgear cover. LED connecting wire/s 13, are run under or inside 1, the headgear cover, in way that the wires can only be seen, from the underneath view, with 14, the LED's coming through small openings in 1, the headgear cover, in such a way as to be exposed above and visible on the outside of 1, the headgear cover. The power pack/battery case 5, is attached to 1 by means of a pocket, VELCRO, wire, elastic, rubber or other device that allows the wearer to remove 5, the power pack/battery case, to replace the batteries. 12, is an elastic or rubber band, drawstring, wire and/or VELCRO that attaches or holds 1, the headgear cover onto the headgear.

Referring now to FIG. 8, embodiment two of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with LED's and connecting wire/s in a side view on the headgear. The headgear cover 1, is partially covering 2 the headgear. The LED's, 14 are attached to 1, the headgear cover, the LED connecting wire/s 13 are shown inside or under the surface of 1, the headgear cover. The power pack/battery case 5 is attached to 1 by means of a pocket, VELCRO, wire, elastic, rubber or other device that allows the wearer to remove 5 to replace the batteries. An elastic or rubber band, 12, is shown below 5 and is attaching 1, the headgear cover to 2, the headgear. The exposed or non-covered portion of the headgear 9, is partially visible below the elastic or rubber band 12. The headgear cover, 1 can fully or partially cover 2, the headgear.

Referring now to FIG. 9, embodiment two of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with LED's and connecting wire/s in a side or frontal view without being placed on any headgear. The headgear cover 1 is made of an expandable material that conforms roughly to the shape of the headgear it is intended to cover. When 1 is off of any headgear, 1 the headgear cover, deforms into an irregular compressed shape. The lead wire 4 runs from the power pack/battery case 5 to the LED wire/s to power the lights on 1, the headgear cover. LED connecting wire/s 13, are run under, 1 the headgear cover or inside 1, the headgear cover in way that the wires can only be seen, from the underneath view with 14, the LED's coming through small openings in 1, the headgear cover, in such a way as to be exposed above and visible on the outside of 1, the headgear cover. The power pack/battery case 5, is attached to 1 by means of a pocket, VELCRO, wire, elastic, rubber or other device that allows the wearer to remove 5 to replace the batteries. 12, is an elastic or rubber band, drawstring, wire and/or VELCRO that attaches or holds 1, the headgear cover onto the headgear.

Referring now to FIG. 10, embodiment one of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with EL wire/s in a side or frontal view without being placed on any headgear. The headgear cover 1 is made of an expandable material that conforms roughly to the shape of the headgear it is intended to cover. When 1 is off of any headgear, 1 the headgear cover, deforms into an irregular compressed shape. The power pack/battery case 5, is connected to the El wire/s 3. EL wire/s 3, is run on the outer surface or the top of 1, the headgear cover, in way that the wires can be seen on the outside 1, the headgear cover. The power pack/battery case 5, is attached to 1 by means of a pocket, VELCRO, wire, elastic, rubber or other device that allows the wearer to remove 5 to replace the batteries. 12, is an elastic or rubber band, drawstring, wire and/or VELCRO that attaches or holds 1, the headgear cover onto the headgear.

Referring now to FIG. 11, embodiment three of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with EL wire/s in a top view on 2, a type of headgear. In this embodiment of the headgear cover, the EL wire/s 3, form the headgear cover without any underlying material, by being connected together in a flexible mesh or netting type of pattern. This pattern is connected to itself 15, by either cloth thread, clear thread, plastic, plastic thread, fishing line, glue, staples, clips, Velcro, zip ties, twist ties, knots in the EL wire itself or other device. When connected together, the EL wire/s 3 becomes the illuminated headgear cover that fits around and under 7, the edge of the headgear, and over 2 the headgear. The lead wire 4 runs from the power pack/battery case 5 to the EL wire/s to power the lights on 1, the headgear cover. The power pack/battery case 5 is attached to 1 by means of a pocket, VELCRO, wire, elastic or rubber band, glue or other device that allows the wearer to remove 5 to replace the batteries.

Referring now to FIG. 12, embodiment four of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with LED's and connecting wire/s in a top view on 2, a type of headgear. In this embodiment of the headgear cover, the LED's 14 and connecting wire/s 13, form the headgear cover without any underlying material, by being connected together in a flexible mesh or netting type of pattern. This pattern is connected to itself 15, by either cloth thread, clear thread, plastic, plastic thread, fishing line, glue, staples, clips, Velcro, zip ties, twist ties, knots in the LED connecting wire itself or other device. When connected together, the LED connecting wire/s 13 becomes the illuminated headgear cover that fits around and under 7, the edge of the headgear, and over 2 the headgear. The lead wire 4 runs from the power pack/battery case 5 to the EL wire/s to power the lights on 1, the headgear cover. The power pack/battery case 5 is attached to 1 by means of a pocket, VELCRO, wire, elastic or rubber band, glue or other device that allows the wearer to remove 5 to replace the batteries.

Referring now to FIG. 13, embodiments three and four of the illuminated headgear cover are shown with EL wire/s and/or LED's and connecting wire/s in a bottom or underneath view on a type of headgear. The headgear cover 3, is made out of the EL wire/s or LED's and connecting wire/s themselves and is covering 7, the outer shell of the headgear. This headgear is shown with a visor 8, that is partially covered by 3, the headgear cover. 9 is the protective core of the headgear and 10 are protective pads for the top of the head inside the headgear. The lead wire 4 runs from the power pack/battery case 5 to the EL wire/s and/or the LED's and connecting wire/s to power the lights on 3, the headgear cover. 12 is an elastic or rubber band, drawstring, wire or VELCRO or other device that attaches 3 the headgear around and under 7, the edge of the headgear.

Referring now to FIG. 14, embodiment one, two, three or four of the illuminated headgear cover is shown with in a side view on a hard hat or other type of cap style headgear, in this example the cover is using LED's and connecting wire/s . The headgear cover 1, is fully covering 2 the outside of the headgear. The LED's 14 are attached to 1, the headgear cover. The LED connecting wire/s 13 are shown inside or under the surface of 1, the headgear cover. The power pack/battery case 5 is attached to 1 by means of a pocket, VELCRO, wire, elastic, rubber or other device that allows the wearer to remove 5 to replace the batteries.