FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART
The present invention relates to a vacuum cleaner and more particularly the present invention relates to a vacuum cleaner with a variable speed brushroll.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Vacuum cleaners are frequently used for cleaning non-carpeted floors and carpets placed on floors. These vacuum cleaners often contain a brushroll that provides an agitation and sweeping action. The rotating brushroll has a single speed. Because carpets and non-carpeted floors exist in many different styles, such as deep pile carpet, low pile carpet, grouted tile and vinyl, a brushroll rotating at a single speed is not equally effective at cleaning all types of carpets and floors. Therefore, a vacuum cleaner with a variable speed brushroll would be useful to clean a variety of carpet and floor types.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Disclosed herein is a vacuum cleaner for cleaning several floor types. The vacuum cleaner includes a rotational brush roll for interfacing with the several floor types, a variable speed motor for driving the brush roll, a speed control mechanism for controlling the speed of the variable speed motor, and an input mechanism whereby a user selects a speed of the variable speed motor.
FIG. 1 is a function block diagram of an example vacuum cleaner according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of an example vacuum cleaner according to the present invention; and
DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 3 is a flowchart demonstrating an example process of using a vacuum cleaner according to the present invention.
According to an example embodiment of the present invention, disclosed is a vacuum cleaner with a variable speed brushroll. The variable speed brushroll is especially adapted for the efficient and thorough cleaning of several floor types. Included within the several floor types are several types of carpet, such as deep pile, low pile, sculpted, closed loop, twisted, shag, etc., and non-carpeted floor.
An example of a vacuum cleaner 100 usable with the variable speed brushroll of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. According to this example, the vacuum cleaner 100 includes a body 124, a handle 128 and a brushroll housing 120 a, 120 b, etc. The body 124 has a top end 126 a and a bottom end 126 b. Attached to the bottom end 126 b is the brushroll housing 120 a, 120 b (e.g., upper and lower portions.) According to this example, the body 124 houses a vacuum motor 130, a dust/dirt receptacle 132 and electronic circuitry, etc. The vacuum motor 130 provides a vacuum source necessary for the operation of the vacuum cleaner 100. The receptacle 132 provides an enclosure for retaining dust and dirt removed from the carpeted or non-carpeted floor by the vacuum cleaner 100. It is understood that the receptacle 132 may be one of a number of alternative forms, such as disposable bags, a removable cup, etc.
The electronic circuitry includes all electronics necessary for the operation of the vacuum cleaner 100. Also, the electronic circuitry includes at least a power cord 134 for coupling the vacuum cleaner 100 to an electricity source.
The example vacuum cleaner 100 includes a handle 128. The handle 128 may be attached to the top end 126 a of the body 124. The handle 128 provides a member that may be grasped by a user and provides a mechanism by which the user may guide and direct the vacuum cleaner 100.
It is to be understood that it is envisioned that the present invention may be utilized within various other example embodiments and alternative arrangements for the vacuum cleaner 100 and the body 124. For example, the vacuum cleaner 100 may not include a body 124. Within such an example, all necessary components could be incorporated in or attached to the brushroll housing 120 a, 120 b. As another example, the handle 128 may be of a configuration other than depicted in FIG. 2. Further, the vacuum cleaner 100 may not even include a handle 128.
With specific reference to FIG. 2, the brushroll housing 120 a, 120 b is attached to the bottom end 126 b of the body 124. The brushroll housing 120 a, 120 b is the part of the vacuum cleaner 100 that directly communicates with the carpeted or non-carpeted floor.
Further according to the example embodiment, the brushroll housing 120 a, 120 b contains a rotatable brushroll 106, a brushroll variable speed motor 105, an opening 136 and one or more rollers 138. The brushroll 106 is typically a cylindrical member and contains bristles, and/or beater bars, and/or the like on the surface of the brushroll 106 that project radially outward from the surface. The brushroll 106 is attached to a member or means that causes the brushroll to rotate. Thus, as the brushroll 106 rotates, the bristles, etc. may contact the carpeted floor or non-carpeted floor to provide for agitation and/or sweeping action. As the agitation and/or sweeping occurs, the vacuum source causes dust and dirt thereby moved to be captured and brought into the dust receptacle 132. It is to be appreciated that different constructions, configurations, etc. of the brushroll 106 are contemplated.
The member for rotating the brushroll 106 within the present example is the variable speed brushroll motor 105, as seen in FIG. 2. The variable speed motor 105 is coupled to the brushroll 106 by a belt 122 to transfer rotational force to the brushroll 106.
The variable speed motor 105 is capable of rotating the brushroll 106 at a number of different speeds. For example, the variable speed motor is capable of rotating the brushroll 106 at three or more different speeds. Also, in one example, the different speeds are different speed levels. The ability of the brushroll 106 to rotate at a plurality of discrete speeds enables the vacuum cleaner 100 to more efficiently clean a plurality of different carpeted and non-carpeted floor types.
The speed of the variable speed motor 105 can be controlled by a multiple-select brushroll switch 102 (FIG. 1). The multiple-select brushroll switch 102 may be any of alternative arrangements, such as a user-controlled switch. In one example, the multiple-select brushroll switch 102 is a slidable switch. In another example, the switch 102 is a turnable dial-like switch. According to the slidable switch example embodiment, the switch 102 will have a number of user-selectable positions, each of which corresponds to a different speed of the brushroll motor 105. For example, a first setting may correspond to a low or slow speed of the brushroll motor 105. A second setting may correspond to a slightly faster speed than is associated with the first setting. Similarly, each subsequent setting will correspond to a successively higher speed until the highest speed attainable by the brushroll motor 105 at a last setting.
The multiple-select brushroll switch 102 may be located anywhere on the vacuum cleaner 100 that may satisfy convenience or practicality considerations. For example, the switch 102 may be placed near the top end of the body 126 a at a location easily accessible to the user. In another example, the switch 102 may be located on the brushroll housing 120 a.
In the disclosed example, the multiple-select brushroll switch 102 is an electrical switch that is in electrical communication with the brushroll motor 105. The electrical communication will be any form convenient and practical and may contain such devices as a triac and a potentiometer.
Additionally, the lower portion 120 b of the brushroll housing may contain an opening 136. The opening 136 is located below the brushroll 106 such that the brushroll 106 is able to communicate (e.g., contact and agitate and/or sweep) the carpeted or non-carpeted floor through the opening 136. The opening 136 may take any suitable form.
The brushroll housing 120 a, 120 b may further contain one or more rollers 138 that facilitate the moving of the vacuum cleaner 100. The rollers 138 may be located on a side of the brushroll housing 120 a, 120 b that is closest to the floor when the vacuum cleaner 100 is in use. It is to be appreciated, however, that the rollers 138 may be located anywhere on the vacuum cleaner 100 convenient and practical. Further, the vacuum cleaner 100 may include only one roller 138 or no rollers.
Although the vacuum cleaner 100 has been thusly described, it is understood that the vacuum cleaner 100 may include additional components. With reference to FIG. 1, the vacuum cleaner 100 may also include protective circuitry 103 and power conditioning devices 104. The protective circuitry 103 may include a thermal cutoff device and/or any other devices that assist in protecting the electronic circuitry of the vacuum cleaner 100 from harmful conditions. The power conditioning devices 104 may include a rectifier and/or other components.
The present invention contemplates that only one brushroll 106 will be used by the vacuum cleaner 100. For example, according to the present invention, it is not necessary to use a different brushroll at different speeds. The brushroll 106 provided herein is suitable for use at any of the various brushroll speeds contemplated hereby.
The vacuum cleaner 100 of the present invention is usable on a variety of floor types. The variety of floor types include carpeted and non-carpeted floor types. For example, the vacuum cleaner 100 may be used to clean low nap carpet, deep nap carpet, fine carpet, bare floors, etc. Each type of carpet or floor is most efficiently cleaned by the brushroll 106 rotating at a different speed. For example, a quickly rotating brushroll may be best suited to clean low nap carpets and bare floors, while a slowly rotating brushroll may be best suited to clean deep nap style carpets.
Further provided according to the present invention is an example method 140 (FIG. 3) for cleaning different types of carpeted or non-carpeted floor with the vacuum cleaner 100. At step 150, the user evaluates the type of floor to be cleaned. This step involves, inter alia, the user observing the type of floor (e.g., carpet) to be cleaned and determining whether the style of carpeted or non-carpeted floor to be cleaned requires the brushroll 106 to be rotating at a fast speed, the brushroll 106 to be rotating at a slow speed or at one of an intermediate set of speeds. Once the user has observed the floor type and determines which speed setting is appropriate, the user, at step 155, selects the brushroll speed based on the type of carpeted or non-carpeted floor to be cleaned. After selecting the appropriate brushroll speed, the user will proceed to begin using the vacuum cleaner 100 to clean the carpet or floor. At step 160, the user evaluates whether an appropriate level of cleaning is being provided by the speed of the brushroll 106. If the user determines that a satisfactory cleaning is being provided, the user proceeds to step 165 and continues to and finishes the cleaning of the carpet or floor. If the user determines, at step 160, that an adequate level of cleaning is not being provided, the user returns to step 155 and selects a different brushroll speed setting. As previously mentioned, a number of different speed settings are provided on the brushroll speed switch 102 so that an appropriate speed setting is available for any carpet or floor type.
From the above description of the invention, those skilled in art will perceive improvements, changes and modifications. Such improvements, changes and modifications within the skill of the art are intended to be covered by the appended claims.