US 20050108849 A1
A water filtration vacuum cleaner that has a modular construction. A motor module fits deep into a central opening of a water tank module so that the center of gravity of the vacuum cleaner is lowered. The water tank module is then placed on top of a trolley module, which has a rotatable arm. When rotated into a substantially vertical position, the arm secures the water tank module and motor module to the trolley module. A vacuum hose connects into the water tank from above. The air path from the hose into the water tank module extends through an upper surface of the water tank module that incorporates the motor module. When activated, motor cooling air is drawn in through the bottom of a central opening in the trolley module.
1. A water filtration vacuum cleaner of the kind including a hose and canister; the canister comprising:
(a) a liquid container module having a bottom and an exterior upstanding wall;
(b) the exterior upstanding wall of the liquid container module forming the major exterior surface of the canister;
(c) the exterior upstanding wall of the liquid container module being transparent or translucent to permit visual observation of the level of liquid in the liquid container module;
(d) the exterior upstanding wall of the liquid container sloping inwardly and merging with a top wall of the liquid container module;
(e) the top wall of the liquid container module sloping downwardly centrally of the liquid container module to merge with an upstanding central wall surrounding a central opening through the liquid container module;
(f) a suction opening into the interior of the liquid container module adapted to receive a suction hose;
(g) the suction opening into the interior of the liquid container module opening through an upwardly facing exterior surface portion of the liquid container module through the one of a sloping inwardly location of the exterior upstanding wall and the top wall of the liquid container module;
(h) an air exhaust opening from the liquid container module;
(i) a motor module;
(j) the motor module being at least partially recessed within the central opening through the liquid container module;
(k) the motor module having an outer casing forming a minor exterior surface of the canister; and
(l) a fan carried by a shaft of a motor housed in the motor module.
2. The water filtration vacuum cleaner according to
3. The water filtration vacuum cleaner according to
4. The water filtration vacuum cleaner according to
wherein the attachment has a retractable brush mounted on a rocker plate supported pivotally within the attachment.
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12. A method of water filtration vacuum cleaning, comprising:
(a) providing a motor module having a motor connected to a fan via a shaft;
(b) providing a liquid container module having an exterior, a hollow interior adapted to accommodate a liquid, and an air filtration pathway, wherein the air filtration pathway travels from an air inlet located on the exterior of the liquid container, through the hollow interior, and passes through an air exhaust opening located on the exterior of the liquid container;
(c) providing a trolley module having a bottom surface, sidewalls and a handle pivotally connected to the sidewalls, wherein the bottom surface and sidewalls define a cradle member;
(d) placing the motor module into an opening of the liquid container module so that a lower portion of the motor module is recessed in the liquid container module;
(e) placing the liquid container module in the cradle member of the trolley;
(f) releasably securing the liquid container module to the trolley module by moving the handle into a locked position;
(g) inserting a liquid into the liquid container module;
(h) placing at least one air filter along the air filtration pathway between the air inlet and the exhaust opening;
(i) providing at least one baffle located in the hollow interior along the air filtration pathway;
(j) drawing air through the inlet nozzle and along the air filtration pathway when the motor module is powered; and
(k) causing at least some of the air to travel through the liquid, the air filter and through the exhaust opening.
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20. A water filtration vacuum cleaner comprising:
tank means for holding a reservoir of liquid, wherein the tank means includes a plurality of baffle means for improving the circulation of air through the reservoir of liquid;
filter means for filtering the air that circulated through the reservoir of liquid;
transport means for moving the vacuum cleaner;
handle means for removably securing the tank means to the transport means; and
motor means for providing motive power to circulate air through the vacuum cleaner.
21. The water filtration vacuum cleaner of
22. The water filtration vacuum cleaner of
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24. The water filtration vacuum cleaner of
25. A modular water filtration vacuum cleaner having a tank module, a motor module, a trolley module and an air intake hose, the tank module having an outer surface forming a major portion of the vacuum cleaner, the tank module having a central opening therethrough receiving the motor module and the trolley module having an upper surface seating the tank module and a central opening, the motor module carrying a flow in moving communication with the interior of the tank module, the hank module having an intake opening adapted for connection with the hose and an air outlet, the fan being located to move air in through the hose to the interior of the tank module, through water contained in the tank module, through a filter and out through the air outlet, the motor module having an air moving impeller in communication with the central openings of the trolley module and tank module for moving motor-cooling air through the central opening of the trolley module into the central opening of the tank module and into cooling relation with a motor in the motor module.
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This application claims priority from the provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/525,399 filed Nov. 26, 2003 in the name of Raymond (Hoi-Tak) Lam entitled “Water Filtration Vacuum Cleaner,” incorporated herein by reference.
This invention relates to vacuum cleaners and more particularly to water filtration vacuum cleaners.
Water filtration vacuum cleaners have been sold that have a canister with an outer, “main” housing enclosing the motor, blower, motor cooling fan and water pan in that main housing that forms the exterior of the canister.
In some canister-type water filtration vacuum cleaners the liquid tank is small because the allocation of space in the housing does not allow for a larger tank. This requires more frequent emptying and refilling than does a larger tank.
Another shortcoming of some water filtration vacuum cleaners described in the art is that they are top-heavy. Their high center of gravity can lead to accidental tipping. Some designs appear to have dealt with this problem by spreading the wheels out farther on projecting wheel supports, but this increases the footprint of the vacuum cleaner. Furthermore, such designs are unattractive.
In some canister-type water filtration vacuum cleaners described in the art, the vacuum hose inconveniently connects into an opening in the side of the canister rather than an upward facing surface where the interconnection of hose and canister is easier to see.
In accordance with the present invention a canister-type water filtration vacuum cleaner is provided that forgoes the “main housing” construction approach and instead adopts a modular construction. The water tank is large and provides the major portion of the exterior of the canister.
A motor unit nests deep into a central opening through the tank so that the center of gravity of the canister is lowered. Motor cooling air is drawn in through the bottom of the central opening. Conveniently, the vacuum hose connects into the water tank from above. The air path from the hose into the tank extends through an upper surface of the module that incorporates the motor.
The three modules of the canister of the vacuum cleaner in accordance with the invention are the motor module, the tank module and a wheeled trolley into which the tank module fits. A single generally U-shaped arm is pivotally connected at its two arm ends to the trolley. Pivoted upward it engages the top of the motor module seated in its recess in the tank. To separate the modules the U-shaped arm is swung to a substantially horizontal position and the motor module is lifted out of its seat in the central opening in the tank. The tank is then lifted off of the trolley for emptying and refilling. A convenient handle spans the central opening through the tank, sliding from a lower, rest position to an upper position where it can be grasped to lift the tank.
The vacuum hose has, at one end, a tubular quick connect fitting. It includes a groove into which fits a raised connector projection molded into the opening in the upward-facing motor module surface. A quarter turn or less of the fitting wedges the boss within the groove for a secure connection.
At its other end the hose carries another tubular fitting. It has a pair of integrally molded resilient fingers with raised tips. The tips snap into confirming openings in a tubular intermediate mate that fits over the tubular fitting. The mate is joined to a metal nozzle by a third tubular connector part and a special resilient plastic C-clamp. The third tubular part slips over the remaining end of the mate. Openings in the third part align with a groove encircling the mate. Radially inward projections on the resilient C-clamp protrude through the openings into the aligned groove to lock the mate to the third part. The nozzle can be disconnected from the hose by pressing inward the projections on the resilient fingers of the tubular fitting and sliding the tubular fitting from within its mate. The remote end of the nozzle is tapered slightly so as to be press fit in an extensible tube. A floor and rug cleaning tool, crevice cleaning tool or other tool is then pressed onto the further end of the extensible tool.
The floor and rug cleaning tool or attachment of the vacuum cleaner of the invention includes a retractable brush. The brush is mounted on a rocker plate supported pivotally within the tool. A manually depressible actuator extends through an opening in the upper surface of the tool to push the rocker, against the action of biasing springs, from its brush retracted position to its brush projected position.
The above and further objects and advantages of the invention will be better understood by reference to the following detailed description of one or more preferred, exemplary embodiments taken in consideration with the accompanying drawings.
FIGS. 11A-D are exploded views of the vacuum cleaner canister of
As seen in
Centrally, the trolley 22 defines an opening 36 (
As shown in
A slidable handle 48 shown in
As seen in
Water is introduced into the tank 24 through an opening 58 formed in a substantially horizontal, recessed land 58′ integrally molded into tank upper portion. Minimum and maximum filling levels are marked on the side of the tank 24 at 57 and 59. The tank is transparent, tinted transparent or translucent so that the water level is visible. A second opening 60 into the tank 24 is formed in a second substantially horizontal recessed land 60′ molded into the tank upper portion. The opening 60 accommodates a foam filter and safety float unit 62. The unit 62 has a floating stopper 64, a downward projecting basket 66 in which the stopper 64 is free to slide and a centrally open rear support seal 68. A sock-like sponge filter 70 covers the exterior of the basket 66. It is through the filter 70, the basket 66 and the rear support seal 4 that air is withdrawn from the interior of the tank 24. Extreme overfilling of the tank 24 when replenishing the water supply or by vacuuming water and debris into the tank floats the stopper 5 up into substantially airtight engagement with the support seal 4. This cuts off the withdrawal of air from the tank 24 which thereby denies the reduced air pressure (i.e. suction) within the tank 24 needed to draw air, water and/or dirt into the tank to continue vacuum cleaning.
A removable suction tube 72 extends into the opening 58. This suction tube has a support plate 74 that rests on the surface of the tank 24 surrounding the opening 58. A conforming front support seal 76 may seal the periphery of the plate 74 against the undersurface of the motor unit 26 when the three modules are assembled. A flexible hose 77 shown in
At its further end the flexible hose 77 has a fixed inlet nozzle 100 as shown in
The manner of attachment of the inlet nozzle 100 to the flexible hose 77 is better illustrated in
The enclosure formed by the joining of the two enclosure portions 93 and 94 of the motor unit 26 encloses a variable speed motor 140 (FIGS. 11D and 16-19). A motor shaft (not shown) extends from each end of the motor. At its lower end the motor shaft carries an impeller 142 for drawing motor cooling air into the lower portion 97 of the motor enclosure. At its upper end, the motor shaft drives a fan 144 that draws air in through a central opening 146 and expels air radially outward through louvers 148 in a fan cover 150. The motor 140 sits within the lower portion 97 of the motor enclosure 97. A motor cover 152 is secured to the lower enclosure portion 97 above the motor by suitable fasteners such as small self-threading screws. A central opening 154 in the cover 152 aligns with a duct cover 156 that is secured, similarly, to the top of the cover 152. The motor cover 152 and the duct cover 156 cooperate to define a duct 157. This duct communicates between the central opening 146 into the fan 144 to the top of the foam filter and safety float unit. The fan 140 thus draws air through the filter and the duct cover 156 reducing the pressure in the tank 24.
The upper portion 89 of the motor enclosure supports within it a push button power switch 160 (
As seen in
As illustrated in
Suction is delivered to the tool 104 from the hose 77 and tube 102 through a short tubular fitting 228 rotatably connected to a mating fitting 230. The fitting 230 connects to a pivotal plate 232. The interior of the fitting 230 communicates with a rectangular in cross-section vacuum coupling 234, a small part of which is visible in
A brush actuator, shown in
At the actuator 246 a pair of plates 258 and 260 closes the opening 262 through which the actuator extends when the actuator is pivoted to one or the other end of its limited pivotal movement. The shaft 248 is pivotally supported at its ends in a pair of integrally molded, thin, flexible leaf springs 264. The shaft 248 includes an offset central section 266 so as to extend the pivotal movement of the actuator 246 across the duct 236 to the cam 252. Wheels 270 are provided to help move the tool 104 across the floor or rug.
While one or more specific preferred embodiments have been described herein, those skilled in the art will readily recognize modifications, variations and equivalents that do not depart from the spirit and scope of the subject invention, as herein claimed.