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Publication numberUS20030101523 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/970,721
Publication dateJun 5, 2003
Filing dateOct 4, 2001
Priority dateOct 4, 2000
Publication number09970721, 970721, US 2003/0101523 A1, US 2003/101523 A1, US 20030101523 A1, US 20030101523A1, US 2003101523 A1, US 2003101523A1, US-A1-20030101523, US-A1-2003101523, US2003/0101523A1, US2003/101523A1, US20030101523 A1, US20030101523A1, US2003101523 A1, US2003101523A1
InventorsJohn Lepley
Original AssigneeLepley John Alden
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hot tub and spa cleaner
US 20030101523 A1
Abstract
A portable battery operated water vacuum intended for cleaning debris from the bottom of a hot tub, spa or shallow pool. A device handle houses the standard dry cell batteries, motor and on/off switch. A rigid tube connects the handle to the pump assembly. The rigid tube is sufficiently long to keep the handle assembly out of the liquid while the pump assembly is submerged, during use. The pump assembly comprises: a pump housing, impeller, inlet and outlet port. The impeller is located inside the pump housing and is connected to the motor by a shaft supported coaxially within the rigid tube. An inlet tip is connected to the inlet port and a removable filter bag is attached to the outlet port. When the unit is switched on, the impeller pulls water from the inlet tip and pushes it to the outlet port, trapping any debris in the filter bag.
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Claims(1)
I claim:
1. A battery operated cleaning device for cleaning debris from the bottom of a hot tub, spa, shallow pool or similar enclosure comprising:
an elongated tubular handle with a cap end and an drive end;
an electric motor mounted in said handle, said electric motor oriented with the output shaft pointing toward the drive end of said handle;
battery means for supplying power, said battery means disposed in said handle;
a switch means for connecting said battery means to said electric motor;
a pump comprising: a pump housing, impeller, inlet port and outlet port;
a substantially rigid tube connecting said handle to said pump, said rigid connecting tube shall be long enough to keep the handle above the water level while the pump is submerged to the floor surface of a hot tub, spa or shallow pool;
a shaft located coaxially within the rigid connecting tube coupling the motor shaft to the impeller;
an intake tip for coupling to said inlet port, said intake tip should be configured for movement along a surface under water to allow debris to enter the inlet port upon operation of the impeller;
a filter positioned proximate said outlet port to remove debris from said water when passing through said outlet port.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is entitled to the benefit of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/238,097 filed Oct. 4, 2000.

BACKGROUND

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] This invention relates to hot tubs, spas and shallow pools. Specifically, the invention provides a battery powered cleaning device for the removal of debris which collects on the bottom surfaces of hot tubs, spas and pools.

[0004] 2. Description of Prior Art

[0005] Pools, spas and hot tubs provide pleasurable leisure time activities for users. A common problem is the removal of debris that collects on the bottom surfaces of these vessels. The debris is usually in the form of sand, small stones, plant fibers and the like. Prior art shows a number of ways to accomplish the removal of debris in hot tubs, spas and shallow pools.

[0006] These include:

[0007] 1. An apparatus designed to attach to a garden hose. As water is forced into the apparatus, the water forces particles into a screen which traps the particles.

[0008] This particular system has the following disadvantages:

[0009] a. Each cleaning requires the addition of cold water into the heated system. This creates a need for additional heating which translates into increased energy consumption and expense.

[0010] b. Each cleaning requires attachment to a garden hose before use. This is an inconvenience and at times, may not be possible.

[0011] c. Use of this apparatus in an indoor setting is not desirable.

[0012] 2. A second method to remove these particles makes use of a hand-operated pumping apparatus.

[0013] The following disadvantages are found within this system:

[0014] a. Each pump covers a limited area.

[0015] b. The users physical stamina will be tested as continuous pumping is required to maintain suction.

[0016] c. The user must be strong to pump with enough force to create the strong suction needed to remove particles.

[0017] 3. The third method used to remove these particles enlists the use of hydrostatic pressure. The tube-like cylinder requires trapping air within the tube, lowering the tube into the water, then releasing the trapped air. This creates a suction which pulls water and particles into the tube.

[0018] The following disadvantages are found within this system:

[0019] a. Suction power is limited

[0020] b. Suction time is limited

[0021] c. Weight of apparatus when filled with water is cumbersome and heavy to lift out of vessel.

[0022] 4. The fourth method used to remove these particles describes a submersible electric vacuum.

[0023] The submersible vacuum is switched on and the debris is vacuumed into a filter chamber.

[0024] The following disadvantages are found within this system:

[0025] a. Costly to manufacture

[0026] b. Difficult to clean the filter chamber

[0027] c. Rechargeable batteries are difficult to replace and must be charged frequently

[0028] 5. The fifth method used to remove these particles is a hand operated squeeze bulb device. The user squeezes the bulb and places the inlet of the device near the debris and releases the bulb. The resulting vacuum will pick up the debris, which is then caught in a filter screen.

[0029] The following disadvantages are found within this system:

[0030] a. The user must be inside the pool, hot tub or spa

[0031] b. Suction time is limited to each squeeze

[0032] c. User stamina will be tested as continuous squeezing and releasing is required

[0033] As such, it may be appreciated that there continues to be a need for a new cleaning apparatus to remove the debris from the bottom surfaces of pools, spas and hot tubs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0034] The present invention overcomes many of the limitations of the known devices. This invention is a portable battery operated water vacuum intended for cleaning debris from the bottom of a hot tub, spa or shallow pool. A device handle houses the standard dry cell batteries, motor and on/off switch. A rigid tube connects the handle to the pump assembly. The rigid tube is sufficiently long to keep the handle assembly out of the liquid while the pump assembly is submerged, during normal use. The pump assembly comprises: a pump housing, impeller, inlet and outlet ports. The impeller is located inside the pump housing and is connected to the motor by a shaft supported coaxially within the rigid tube. An inlet tip is connected to the inlet port and a removable filter bag is attached to the outlet port. When the unit is switched on, the impeller pulls water from the inlet tip and pushes it to the outlet port, trapping any debris in the filter bag.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

[0035] Accordingly, several objects and advantages of the invention are:

[0036] (a) to provide a low cost, efficient, easy to use, battery operated device to remove debris from hot tubs, spas and shallow pools.

[0037] (b) to provide a battery operated device that requires minimal effort to change batteries.

[0038] (c) to provide a battery operated device that does not require charging of the batteries.

[0039] (d) to provide a battery operated cleaner that does not require the motor to be submerged in water.

[0040] (e) to provide a device with a re-useable filter that can be easily removed for cleaning.

[0041] (f) to provide a device which does not require the addition or removal of water in the vessel in order to be operational

[0042] (g) to provide a device which does not require connection of a hose to function.

[0043] (h) to provide a device which does not require pumping or physical strength to operate.

[0044] (i) to provide a system which will provide cleaning action for an extended length of time.

[0045] (j) to provide a cleaning device which can be operated from within the vessel.

[0046] (k) to provide a cleaning device which can be operated from outside the vessel.

[0047] (l) to provide a cleaning device which can be used in an indoor or outdoor environment.

[0048] (m) to provide a system which can be operated without modifying or removing parts from the spa or hot tub.

[0049] Still further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0050] The preferred embodiments of the hot tub and spa cleaning device are illustrated in the drawings, wherein:

[0051]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a spa, hot tub or shallow pool, showing the preferred embodiment of the hot tub and spa cleaner positioned for use.

[0052]FIG. 2 is a front view of the preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0053]FIG. 3 is an enlarged cutaway view showing the main components of the invention.

[0054]FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of the pump assembly and filter.

[0055]FIG. 5A is a front view of the inlet tip of the preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0056]FIG. 5B is a side view of the inlet tip of the preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0057]FIG. 6 is an isometric view of an alternate tip design.

REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS

[0058]

10: handle 11: batteries
12: motor 13: handle Cap
14: on/off switch 15: button
16: spring 17: contact plate
18: negative contact ring 19: wire
20: positive contact 21: negative battery connection
22: output shaft 23: rigid connecting tube
24: coupling 25: shaft stabilizer
26: Pump Housing 27: impeller
28: impeller backplate washer 29: inlet port
30: inlet washer 31: outlet port
32: inlet tip 33: filter

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0059] Referring to FIG. 1 the Hot Tub and Spa cleaning device according to the preferred embodiment of the invention. It can be seen that the invention is portable, without need of external connections of any kind.

[0060] Referring now to FIG. 2 the main elements of the invention are shown. The main elements are the Handle assembly 10, the rigid connecting tube 23, the Shaft 22, the Pump assembly 26, the inlet tip 32 and the filter 33.

[0061] The enlarged cutaway view of FIG. 3 shows the individual components that make up the main elements of the preferred embodiment of the invention. The Handle 10 is an elongated tubular handle with a cap end and a drive end. The handle is configured to hold the batteries 11 and the motor 12. Motor 12 is mounted in the handle oriented with the output shaft pointing toward the drive end of the handle. Positive contact 20 is connected to the motor positive terminal. The batteries 11 are installed in series, with the positive electrode of the first battery abutting positive contact 20. The cap end of handle 10 has negative contact ring 18 pressed on its circumference, making connection with wire 19 which is routed to the negative terminal of motor 12. Additionally, the cap end of handle 10 has external threads to accept handle cap 13, which has mating internal threads. The on/off switch 14 comprised of button 15, spring 16 and contact plate 17 is mounted to the inside surface of handle cap 13. The handle cap 13 is screwed onto handle 10 to secure the batteries and abut contact plate 17 with negative contact ring 18. In normal operation, button 15 is pressed which compresses spring 16 causing an electrical connection between contact plate 17 and negative battery connection 21 whereby the motor will operate.

[0062] The drive end of handle 10 connects to pump 26 via rigid connecting tube 23. The rigid connecting tube is sufficiently long so as to keep the handle 10 out of the water while the pump is fully submerged during the cleaning process. Output shaft 22 is located coaxially within the rigid connecting tube coupling the motor 12 to the impeller 27. The motor 12 is connected to output shaft 22 by coupling 24. The output shaft 22 is supported in the center of the rigid connecting tube by at least one shaft stabilizer 25. The shaft stabilizer 25 is configured as a bushing with the inside diameter slightly larger than the output shaft 22 and the outside diameter slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the rigid connecting tube 23, such that it can be slid into the rigid tube firmly and fixed in place.

[0063] Referring now to FIG. 4, a further enlarged view of the pump is shown. The output shaft 22 is supported at the pump 26 by the impeller backplate washer 28. The impeller backplate washer 28 provides a bearing and seal for the output shaft 22. The impeller 27 is fixed to the output shaft below the impeller backplate washer 28, suspended in the pump housing 26 adjacent to the outlet port. Inlet washer 30 is configured to stop debris from entering inlet port 29 that is too large to pass between the impeller 27 and the pump outlet port 31. The inlet tip 32 is configured for movement along a surface under water to allow debris to enter the inlet port. FIG. 5A and FIG. 5B show the inlet tip configuration according to the preferred embodiment of the invention. FIG. 6 shows but one of many alternate tip configurations. Referring to FIG. 4, the filter 33 constructed of a re-useable fine mesh material, is fitted onto the outlet port 31 by elastic or other removable means.

OPERATION

[0064] After placing the pump end of the device into a hot tub, spa or shallow pool the user pushes the on/off button 15 to activate the motor 12. Holding the handle 10 the user simply guides the inlet tip 32 to areas with debris to be removed. The motor drives the output shaft 22, which in turn drives the impeller 27. As the impeller turns, a vacuum is created pulling fluid from the inlet tip 32, into the pump inlet port 29, through impeller input washer 30 and into pump housing 26. The fluid is then directed to the outlet port 31. The fluid is then directed to the outlet port 31. As fluid exits the outlet port, any debris being carried by the fluid is collected by filter 33. The outside edge of outlet port 24 has a lip to hold the filter in place until cleaning of the filter is needed. The re-useable filter has an elastic opening for easy removal from the pump outlet port 31. Cleaning of the filter is accomplished by turning inside out and flushing with tap water.

CONCLUSION

[0065] Accordingly, the reader will see that the cleaning apparatus provides a low cost, fast, efficient, easy-to-operate system to remove unwanted debris from hot tubs, spas and shallow pools.

[0066] Furthermore, the cleaning apparatus has the additional advantages in that:

[0067] it can be operated from within the spa or hot tub;

[0068] it can be operated while outside the spa or hot tub;

[0069] it does not require a connection of a hose of any type;

[0070] it can be operated by any spa or hot tub user, regardless of physical strength, size or stamina.

[0071] Although the description above contains specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the preferred embodiments of this invention. For example, the inlet tip may include a variety of vacuum tools. The filter may be a bag type as the preferred embodiment or an easy to remove cartridge.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7178188 *Sep 2, 2004Feb 20, 2007Richard JaakolaBattery operated spa vacuum
US7378026 *Dec 19, 2005May 27, 2008Thompson Bruce Aused for removing particles from liquids contained in vessels, comprising hand held drill motors connected to flexible drive shafts, pumps in housings having a handles, hoses having valves and filters; cleaning aquariums, spas, fountains or pools
US7465392 *Aug 2, 2007Dec 16, 2008Eiko Electric Products Corp.Weeder for pond
WO2007120865A2 *Apr 16, 2007Oct 25, 2007Bode Technology Group IncLow pressure sample collection apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification15/1.7
International ClassificationE04H4/16
Cooperative ClassificationE04H4/1636
European ClassificationE04H4/16B2