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Publication numberUS20050092888 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/970,464
Publication dateMay 5, 2005
Filing dateOct 22, 2004
Priority dateNov 3, 2003
Also published asWO2005043045A2, WO2005043045A3
Publication number10970464, 970464, US 2005/0092888 A1, US 2005/092888 A1, US 20050092888 A1, US 20050092888A1, US 2005092888 A1, US 2005092888A1, US-A1-20050092888, US-A1-2005092888, US2005/0092888A1, US2005/092888A1, US20050092888 A1, US20050092888A1, US2005092888 A1, US2005092888A1
InventorsKen Gonce
Original AssigneeGonce Ken R.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Suspended ceiling fan
US 20050092888 A1
Abstract
The suspended ceiling fan generates a sustained flow of air, which can be aimed at one spot, such as a person's face. In one embodiment, the suspended ceiling fan has an elongated member, a track connector, a swivel, and a fan unit. The elongated member has first and second opposing ends. The track connector is attached to the first end, and is adapted for attachment to an existing track, such as a track lighting system, or other support for a suspended lighting system. In one mode of operation the connector snaps into the track. In another embodiment, the ceiling fan comprises an adjustable arm having a hinged joint. The fan may be moved along the track and pivoted on the swivel to direct airflow in any desired direction.
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Claims(20)
1. A suspended ceiling fan, comprising:
an elongated member having a first end and an opposing second end;
a track connector adapted for attachment to a ceiling track, the track connector being attached to the first end of the elongated member;
a swivel having a first end and an opposing second end, the first end of the swivel being attached to the second end of the elongated member; and
a fan unit attached to the second end of the swivel;
whereby the elongated fan is movable along the track and the fan unit is pivotal on the swivel in order to direct airflow to a desired location.
2. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 1, wherein the fan unit comprises a mini-fan.
3. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 1, wherein the elongated member is a hollow tube.
4. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 3, further comprising electric wiring connected to the fan unit and extending through the elongated member, the wiring being adapted for attachment to a power source.
5. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 1, wherein the elongated member is a flexible gooseneck shaft.
6. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 5, wherein the gooseneck shaft is hollow and further comprises electric wiring extending through the shaft and connected to the fan unit, the wiring being adapted for attachment to a power source.
7. A suspended ceiling fan, comprising:
an adjustable arm having a first end, an opposing second end, and a hinged joint pivotally connecting the first and second ends;
a track lighting connector attached to the first opposite end of the adjustable arm, the track lighting being adapted for attachment to a ceiling track;
a swivel attached to the second end of the adjustable arm; and
a fan unit attached to the swivel;
whereby the elongated fan is movable along the track and the fan unit is pivotal on the swivel in order to direct airflow to a desired location.
8. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 7, wherein the fan unit is a mini-fan.
9. A suspended ceiling fan, comprising:
a fan unit; and
mounting means for pivotally and slidably mounting the fan unit to a track of ceiling mounted track lighting system;
whereby the elongated fan is slidable along the track and the fan unit is pivotal in order to direct airflow to a desired location.
10. The suspended ceiling fan kit according to claim 9, wherein the fan unit is a mini-fan.
11. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 9, wherein the track is a pair of rails defining a channel, said mounting means comprising:
a track connector adapted for slidable mounting in the channel;
an elongated rod extending from the track connector; and
a swivel attached to the rod, the fan unit being attached to the swivel.
12. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 11, further comprising a second swivel pivotally attaching the rod to the track connector.
13. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 11, wherein said rod comprises an articulated arm.
14. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 9, wherein the track is twin bars, said mounting means comprising:
a sliding bar having opposite ends adapted for sliding on the twin bars; and
an elongated member depending from the sliding bar.
15. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 14, wherein said elongated member comprises a gooseneck shaft, said fan unit being attached to the gooseneck shaft.
16. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 9, wherein the track is twin cables, said mounting means comprising a gimbal having a ring and spars extending from opposite sides of the ring, the spars being slidably mounted on the cables, the ring sliding between the cables, the fan unit being pivotally mounted in the ring on and axis of rotation parallel to the cables.
17. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 9, wherein the track is a monorail, said mounting means comprising a bracket having a loop adapted for sliding on the monorail and a pair of arms depending from the loop, the fan unit being pivotally mounted between the two arms.
18. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 9, wherein said fan unit comprises a 120-volt AC motor.
19. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 9, wherein said fan unit comprises a motor having a low voltage rating and a step-down transformer electrically connected to the motor for stepping down AC voltage from an AC power mains to the voltage rating of the motor.
20. The suspended ceiling fan according to claim 9, wherein said fan unit further comprises a battery power source.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/516,268, filed Nov. 3, 2003.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates generally to ceiling fans. More specifically, the invention is a suspended ceiling fan configured to attach to a track attached to a ceiling.
  • [0004]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0005]
    Traditional ceiling fans are good at providing an omnidirectional flow of moving air. The operator or user of traditional ceiling fans can only decide the operating status of the ceiling fan. For example, once the traditional ceiling fan is installed, the operator can switch the device on or off, and may be able to set the speed of the device, but the operator has little, if any, control over the direction of airflow produced by the device. Also, traditional ceiling fans are typically complex in construction and suffer from high loads, leading to stress on moving parts. In addition, traditional ceiling fans are designed to be located in one spot and cannot be moved to a different part of a ceiling. Thus, there is a need for a fan of simple construction that can be attached to a ceiling, which can be easily moved to a different location in a room by a user, and which can provide a sustained vectored flow of air that can be aimed at one spot, such as a person's face.
  • [0006]
    U.S. application Ser. No. 2003/0082062, published May 1, 2003 and applied for by Chen, describes a multi-rotor ceiling fan comprising a ceiling fan body and a rack body. The ceiling fan body includes a rotatable disk suspended from a support rod. The rack includes a pair of rods extending from opposite sides of the disk, each pair of rods supporting a fan. The fans are positioned so that the airflow generated by the fans causes the disk to rotate. A plurality of electrical contacts about the periphery of the disk maintains electrical power through each pair of rods to drive the two fan motors.
  • [0007]
    The Chen '062 device requires at least two rotor fans (and supporting rods) to operate. In addition, the separate rods supporting the rotor fans must be of sufficient strength and durability to support the dynamic weight of the rotor fans and to cope with the rotation forces imposed on the rack body. Further, a user cannot easily move the Chen '062 device to a different location. Still further, short of jamming the rack body the Chen '062 device is unable to produce a sustained flow of air directed at one spot such as a person's face. Also, the burden of requiring at least two rotor fans and sufficiently strong supporting rods adds considerably to the manufacturing cost of the Chen '062 device.
  • [0008]
    U.S. Pat. No. 6,364,638, issued Apr. 2, 2002 to Liu, describes a ceiling fan structure that includes a central shaft, a rotary disk having a pivot disk and a pivot base, a support bracket having two pairs of support bars each secured to the pivot base and two locking rings each mounted between two support bars for securing a hanging fan, a conducting power set having a conducting bushing secured on the central shaft, a support base secured on the rotary disk, a plurality of conductors each secured on the support base and each electrically contacting with the conducting bushing for supplying electric power to the hanging fan, a rotation retaining set having a gear secured on the central shaft, a U-shaped support bracket secured on the rotary disk, a support axle mounted in the support bracket, a reduction gear mounted on the support axle and meshing with the gear, a rubbing block mounted on the support axle and urged between the reduction gear and the upper support plate of the support bracket, and a spring mounted on the support axle and having a first end urged on the reduction gear and a second end urged on the lower support plate of the support bracket. Like the Chen '062 device, the Liu '638 device is expensive to manufacture and is unable to produce a sustained flow of air directed at one spot such as a person's face. Further, the Liu '638 device cannot be easily moved to a different location.
  • [0009]
    U.S. Pat. No. 5,222,864, issued Jun. 29, 1993 to Pearce, describes a ceiling fan that comprises an electric motor with separate stationary and rotating members. The Pearce '864 device is unable to produce a sustained flow of air directed at one spot such as a person's face and cannot be easily moved to a different location.
  • [0010]
    None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed. Thus a suspended ceiling fan solving the aforementioned problems is desired.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0011]
    The suspended ceiling fan generates a sustained flow of air, which can be aimed at one spot, such as a person's face. In one embodiment, the suspended ceiling fan comprises an elongated member, a track connector, a swivel, and a fan unit. The elongated member has first and second opposing ends. The track connector is attached to the first end, and is adapted for attachment to an existing track, such as a track lighting system, or other support for a suspended lighting system. In one mode of operation the connector snaps into the track. In another embodiment, the ceiling fan comprises an adjustable arm having a hinged joint. The fan may be moved along the track and pivoted on the swivel to direct airflow in any desired direction.
  • [0012]
    Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a suspended ceiling fan.
  • [0013]
    It is another object of the invention to provide a suspended ceiling fan configured to attach to a track on a ceiling.
  • [0014]
    It is a further object of the invention to provide a suspended ceiling fan that can be easily moved by a person to a different location.
  • [0015]
    Still another object of the invention is to provide a suspended ceiling fan that can provide a sustained vectored flow of air that can be aimed at one spot such as a person's face.
  • [0016]
    A further object of the invention is to provide a suspended ceiling fan that can provide sustained directed airflow to one spot in an energy efficient manner.
  • [0017]
    It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.
  • [0018]
    These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0019]
    FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a suspended ceiling fan according to the present invention.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a suspended ceiling fan according to one embodiment of the invention.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 2B is a perspective view of the suspended ceiling fan of FIG. 2A fitted with a step down transformer.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a suspended ceiling fan according to the invention.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a suspended ceiling fan with an adjustable arm according to the invention.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a suspended ceiling fan fitted with an elongated adjustable flexible member.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a suspended ceiling fan attached to a twin cable track system.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a suspended ceiling fan attached to a monorail track system.
  • [0027]
    Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0028]
    The present invention relates generally to ceiling fans. More specifically, the invention is a ceiling fan configured to attach to a track attached to a ceiling. The track could be a conventional lighting track currently known in the art.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 1 is an environmental perspective view of two embodiments of ceiling fan 100 a and 100 b, respectively, according to the present invention. The suspended ceiling fans 100 a and 100 b are being used by two users 120 a and 120 b, respectively, to separately direct airflow from the fans 100 a and 100 b while engaged in the pastime of watching a television 130. Specifically, the users 120 a and 120 b are using the suspended ceiling fans 100 a and 100 b to apply sustained directed air flow to their faces 140 a and 140 b, respectively. When fitted with an integral battery or other suitable power source the suspended ceiling fans 100 a and 100 b can be moved to a convenient location in a room 180 by a user, thereby obviating the need to rely on higher energy consuming, omnidirectional suspended ceiling fans, which, at best, produce a diffuse and less focused airflow than a suspended ceiling fan of the present invention.
  • [0030]
    In more detail, the ceiling fans 100 a and 100 b are attached to a ceiling track, shown as a standard lighting track 160. A user 120 can independently move any one of the ceiling fans 100 a and 100 b about the track 160 and apply sustained airflow aimed at a user-desired spot in a room 180. Thus, either user 120 a or 120 b can use the suspended ceiling fan 100 a or 100 b to direct airflow to a specific spot in a room 180.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 2A shows a suspended ceiling fan 100 c according to one embodiment of the invention. The suspended ceiling fan 100 c is configured to provide a sustained flow of air that can be aimed at one spot such as a person's face 140. The suspended ceiling fan 100 c comprises an elongated member 190, a track connector 200, a swivel 220, and a fan unit 240. The elongated member 190 has opposing first 260 and second 280 ends. The track connector 200 is attached to the first end 260, and is adapted to attach to a track 160.
  • [0032]
    In one mode of operation, the connector 200 snaps into the track 160. Thus, the ceiling fan 100 can be moved about a room by snapping the ceiling fan 100 into a different part of the track 160.
  • [0033]
    Still referring to FIG. 2A, the swivel 220 has first 300 and second 320 opposite ends. The first end 300 of the swivel 220 is attached to the second end 280 of the elongated member 190. The fan unit 240 is attached to the second end 320 of the swivel 220. The swivel 220 enables a user 120 to orientate the fan unit 240 and thereby provide a sustained flow of air that can be aimed at one spot, such as a person's face 140 a. The fan 240 may be a mini-fan, which is compact and lightweight.
  • [0034]
    In another embodiment of the invention, the fan 240 is a mini-fan driven by a 12-volt motor 322 (shown in outline) attached directly to a fan 324; the motor 322 can be driven by any suitable any suitable battery 326 (shown in phantom in FIG. 2A), and may be a rechargeable battery. Such a small power requirement is possible because the suspended ceiling fan 100 c directs airflow to the limited area where it is needed, e.g., a person's face 140 a. Alternatively, a transformer 327 (shown in FIG. 2B) can be used to step down a high voltage power supply (such as a 120-volt power supply supplied by a standard lighting track 160) to drive a low voltage motor 322. However, the motor may be a high voltage (120V) motor 322 b, as shown in FIG. 3, and therefore not require a transformer to step down the voltage of the electrical power supply.
  • [0035]
    It is envisaged that more than one ceiling fan may be connected to a ceiling track 160 as shown in FIG. 1. When not in use, the ceiling fans 100 a and 100 b can be pushed along the track 160 and parked at a convenient location on the track 160. The exact form of the ceiling track 160 can vary and may also run along a wall or other surface.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of a suspended ceiling fan 100 d according to the invention. In this embodiment an additional swivel 340 is disposed between the first end 260 of the elongated member 190 and the track connector 200. The elongated member 190 can be a hollow tube to accommodate an electric supply line 195 to supply electric power to the fan unit 240. In one embodiment, the line 195 is active when the suspended ceiling fans 100 are moved to a particular location on the track 160 to allow the battery 326 to be recharged. The main advantage of the suspended ceiling fan 100 d is that a person 120 can easily adjust the position of the fan unit 240 and direct airflow to a particular point, such as a person's face 140 a.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 4 shows a further embodiment of a suspended ceiling fan 100 e according to the invention. In this embodiment the suspended ceiling fan 100 e comprises an adjustable arm 360 having opposing first 380 and second 400 ends, wherein the arm 360 comprises a hinged joint 420 located between the first 380 and second 400 ends. The suspended ceiling fan 100 e provides enhanced adjustment capability in facilitating a user 120 to point the fan unit 240 at a desired location. The adjustability of the suspended ceiling fan 100 e, combined with the ability to move the suspended ceiling fan 100 e about a track 160, provides a ceiling fan that can direct airflow to most points in a room 180. It should be understood that the suspended ceiling fan 100 of the present invention could be used in any type of building or part thereof that has a ceiling track 160 or its functional equivalent.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of a suspended ceiling fan 100 g according to the invention. The suspended ceiling fan 100 g comprises a flexible, but stiff, gooseneck form of elongated member 190 b. The gooseneck member 190 b allows a person to move the fan unit 240 to a desired position and hold the fan unit 240 at the desired position because of the stiffness properties inherent in the elongated member 190 b. The suspended ceiling fan 100 g is shown attached to a twin bar track 160 b.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 6 shows an additional embodiment of a suspended ceiling fan 100 i according to the invention. The suspended ceiling fan 100 i comprises a fan unit 240 mounted in a gimbal assembly 190 c. The gimbal assembly 190 c allows a person 120 to move the fan unit 240 to a desired position and hold the fan unit 240 at the desired position. The suspended ceiling fan 100 i is shown attached to a cable system 160 c.
  • [0040]
    FIG. 7 shows another embodiment of a suspended ceiling fan 100 j according to the invention. The suspended ceiling fan 100 j comprises a fan unit 240 mounted in a bracket 190 d. The bracket 190 d allows a person 120 to move the fan unit 240 to a desired position and hold the fan unit 240 at the desired position. The suspended ceiling fan 100 j is shown attached to a monorail system 160 d.
  • [0041]
    It should be understood that the that the ceiling track could supply any suitable power level to drive the fan motor, such as a high voltage (e.g., a 120-volt supply) to power motor 322 b or low voltage (e.g., a 12-volt supply) to power motor 322. The standard track 160 and twin track 160 b supply electrical current rated at 120 volts and 12 volts, respectively, to power motors 322 and 322 b, respectively. The lower voltage lighting tracks, such as the twin-track 160 c and cable lighting track 160 d, may have an independent step-down transformer attached to the track to provide a low voltage supply.
  • [0042]
    It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.
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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification248/324
International ClassificationA47H1/10, F24F
Cooperative ClassificationF04D25/088
European ClassificationF04D25/08D