US 20050109104 A1
A liquid level measuring device includes an elongate handle and an elongate frame arranged in telescoping relationship. The frame is movable between a collapsed position for storage and an extended position for usage. A float is movable lengthwise along the elongate frame. A control rod extends lengthwise in the elongate frame and through a passage in the float. The control rod controls movement of the float relative to the elongate frame. An actuator actuates the control arm to move the float from the locked position to the unlocked position in response to a downward pressure between a lower end of the elongate frame and a bottom surface of the container so that the float is free to seek the liquid level in the container and to move the float from the unlocked position back to the locked position when the downward pressure is released.
1. A liquid level measuring device for measuring liquid levels in containers, comprising:
an elongate handle;
an elongate frame arranged in telescoping relationship with the elongate handle, the elongate frame being movable between a collapsed position for storage and an extended position for usage;
a float arranged to be movable lengthwise along the elongate frame, the float having a passage therethrough;
a control rod arranged to extend lengthwise in the elongate frame and to extend through the passage in the float, the control rod being movable between a locked position in which the float is constrained against movement relative to the elongate frame and an unlocked position in which the float is free to move relative to the elongate frame; and
an actuator arranged to actuate the control arm to move the float from the locked position to the unlocked position in response to a downward pressure between a lower end of the elongate frame and a bottom surface of the container so that the float is free to seek the liquid level in the container and to move the float from the unlocked position back to the locked position when the downward pressure is released.
2. The liquid level measuring device of
Applicants claim priority for this application based upon U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/510,044.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to the measurement of the depth of a quantity of liquid in a tank, container or the like, and, more particularly, to an improved liquid depth measurement device having a water level indicator and a fluid sampling device.
2. Description of the Prior Art
There are many instances in which it is desirable or essential to be able to measure the depth of a fluid in large under ground and above ground storage tanks, container, or the like to determine the volume of the fluid contained therein. Large underground or above-ground bulk storage tanks are typically situated at gasoline service stations, convenience stores, factories, office buildings, truck stops, etc. In addition, the same requirements apply to numerous smaller tanks and containers. Dipsticks are commonly used primarily as back up to automated leak detection and inventory control systems that are mandatory for the large bulk storage tanks or as the primary method for the measurement of smaller tanks and containers.
The most frequently used device for this purpose is the common wooden dip stick which is inserted into the tank, container or the like until its lower end strikes the bottom after which the gauge is raised up and the fluid depth is determined by noting the upper extent of the wetted portion on the pole (wet line). A typical dipstick has lines of demarcation marked off along its length so that the liquid depth can be determined after the dipstick is withdrawn from the tank so that the location of the wet line can be seen.
Wooden gauge dipsticks suffer from many deficiencies that make them less than satisfactory for accuracy, durability or dependability. They do not meet current stringent requirements for accountability for tank leakage and product inventory control. For example, scales are neither precise nor protected and thus are subject to wear and tear with repeated use. The unprotected blunt end of the wood sticks damage the bottom of the tanks through pinning action and cause eventual erosion of the tank bottoms. Wood sticks are subject to splintering, breakage and warping requiring frequent replacement. The reliance on the wet line as the indicator of product level is inaccurate and at best is an approximate reading. The wet line is the result of residual fluid deposited on the scale at the time of stick submersion and withdrawal from the tank and is subject to rapid evaporation. The scales are difficult to read in wet weather conditions and night tank readings. These conditions require the need for multiple readings and are time consuming. Wood sticks when inserted in tanks rapidly are subject to splashing that may result in inaccurate measurements.
The present invention relates to a telescopic mechanized device for the measurement of fluid products contained in below-ground and above-ground tanks and containers. An attachment is provided for measuring the amount of water in the tanks or containers. A handle member forming the upper portion of the device within which an enclosed tubular housing having a plurality of openings in it side walls providing ready fluid communication from the out side to the tubular central space. A control bar extends along the inner cavity of the tubular housing and is pivotally mounted to swing from a first position extending laterally along a diameter of the housing to a second position closely adjacent to the housing interior wall. A float of outer diameter less than the internal diameter of the tubular housing has a longitudinal slot center to the float which over the control member and is relatively free for movement longitudinally within the housing when the control bar is in the first position and becomes wedged against the control bar preventing it's movement when the bar is in it's second position. The control bar is secured to the frame section by actuators at both ends of the housing and controls the movement of the control bar between its first and second positions. Markings inscribed on the surfaces the lower fame indicate the respective distance of the float from the bottom or interval end of the frame housing, and in that way serves as a direct measurement of the fluid level within the tank or container.
The invention also includes an attachment to the collapsible liquid measuring device that may be used as an alternative to the paste method for measuring water that collects at the bottom of the tank or container. The attachment is identical in construction and function in a short length version without the handle for mounting on the frame of the full-size-measuring device. With the measuring device in the fully extended mode and the water sampling device attached, the entire unit is lowered into the tank or container. The downward pressure on the device actuates the water attachment unit thus providing the desired measurement of water contents in the tank or container. A further enhancement of the liquid measuring device is a product sampler secured to the lower end portion of the frame section. The product sampler includes an open-end tube with a valve on its lower end. The valve is activated on contract with the tank or container bottom to admit fluid. End caps are threaded onto the sampler tube to maintain the sampled fluid for storage and shipment.
Turning now to the drawings and particularly to
The liquid level measuring device 10 according to the invention may be advantageously employed for measuring fluids of great variety in containers and tanks such as, for example, containers for domestic heating oil, industrial fluid storage tanks, military storage facilities, gasoline stations, and the like. It is also considered within the spirit of this invention to make the measurement device small-sized for such uses as measuring depth in drums, barrels, vehicle tanks, aircraft tanks, and recreational power boat tanks, for example.
The control bar 17 is pivotally secured to the frame section 11 top section by an actuator 36 that controls the movement of the control bar 17 in conjunction with a slave piston assembly 73 attached to the lower end of the frame section 11.
The means for selectively adjusting the control bar 17 position will now be described. A housing has a cylindrical end with an open bottom of such dimensions as to pemmit shaft 34 move in an upward or downward motion easily therein. A lever pin 30 is embodied in the shaft 34 and is free to move within a guide slot 30A provided in the wall of the housing 36. A collar 35 is attached to the end of the shaft 34 to provide seating for the upper end 17A of the control bar 17. A coil spring 33 inserted over the shaft 34 presses upwards against the top end of the housing body 36A with the bottom of the spring 33 being held in position by the snap ring 33A.
The slave piston means 73 affixed to the bottom end of the lower shaft section 11 serves as the other component for adjusting the control bar 17 position. Guide slots 11A, and 11B, are provided in the bottom side wall of the frame section 11 whereby the slave piston 73 is secured to the frame by mating the piston 26 to the back plate 71 with rivets 15A, and 15B, and spacers 24A, and 24B. In use, the liquid level measuring device 10 is extended from the collapsed to fully extended mode (
Reference is now made to
In the withdrawal of the device 10 from the container, the downward pressure is released to decompress the coil spring 33 causing the control bar 17 and the slave piston 26 to move downwards until restricted by slots 11A and 11B, and to lock the control bar and the float 16 against the interior side of the frame section and lock into position (Reference
Reference is now made to
A plug 82 sealingly fits into the plug housing 82. A circular valve seat 92 located on the tube 80 side of the plug housing 82 interconnecting stem 95 which passes through opening 88 to terminate below the tube 80 end in an enlarged head 91. A coil spring 89 received about stem 93 exerts a resilient force against an internal shoulder on the plug housing 82 urging the valve seat 92 into sealing relation against an O-ring 84 on the inwardly facing surface of the of the plug housing 82. A cover plate 85 is secured to the outer end of the threaded tube 80 and includes opening 83 communicating with plug circular seat 92.
In the rest position with the circular seat plug 92 not exposed to depression forces, the valve seat 92 remains closed through the action of spring 89 preventing fluid flow into or out of tube 80.
In assembly, the sampler 90 is removably secured to the lower end portion of the fluid depth-measuring device 10, with the lower ends of each being generally coextensive. Now referring to
Referring now to figure
When a sample is to be taken, the caps 81 and 83 are removed and the entire assembly 90 is inserted into the tank so that the interconnecting stem 95 bears against the tank or container bottom, allowing fluid from the tank or container to move into the tube 90 (arrows) by releasing trap air in the tube 90 trough vent hole 9S in the collar 81A. On lifting the measuring device 10 away from the tank or container bottom, the spring 89 causes the circular seat 92 to close against O-ring 84 seated in the top of the plug housing 82 maintaining a sample of the fluid within the tube 90. A second cap 83 is then threaded onto the lower end of the tube 90 and the cap 81 is replaced on the top of the tube 90 to secure the fluid sample against accidental removal and to enable shipment and storage of the sample in the sampler 90. This arrangement is especially advantageous where the sampled fluid is flammable making it undesirable and dangerous to retransfer the fluid to another container. Moreover, the end caps 81 and 83 are provided with seals 81A and 83B, respectively, in order to prevent leakage of the sample fluid and in that way insure safety.