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Publication numberUS20060016001 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/899,276
Publication dateJan 26, 2006
Filing dateJul 26, 2004
Priority dateJul 26, 2004
Publication number10899276, 899276, US 2006/0016001 A1, US 2006/016001 A1, US 20060016001 A1, US 20060016001A1, US 2006016001 A1, US 2006016001A1, US-A1-20060016001, US-A1-2006016001, US2006/0016001A1, US2006/016001A1, US20060016001 A1, US20060016001A1, US2006016001 A1, US2006016001A1
InventorsWei Zhao
Original AssigneeZhao Wei D
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ceramic diverter for tub spout
US 20060016001 A1
Abstract
A water diverter comprising, in combination, a tub spout having an inlet port and an outlet port. The device further includes a cartridge for installation at the outlet port of the tub spout. The cartridge includes a first ceramic disc with orifices, and a second ceramic disc with orifices. The first and second ceramic discs are rotatable relative to each other. Particularly, the discs are movable between a first position in which their respective orifices are substantially aligned to permit flow of the water to the outlet port of the tub spout, and a second position in which their orifices are substantially non-aligned to prevent the flow of the water to the outlet port of the tub spout, and instead divert the flow of water to a showerhead.
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Claims(6)
1. A water diverter comprising, in combination:
a tub spout having an inlet port and an outlet port; and
a cartridge for installation at the outlet port of the tub spout, said cartridge including a first ceramic disc with orifices and a second ceramic disc with orifices, said first and second ceramic discs being rotatable relative to each other, and said discs being movable between a first position in which their respective orifices are substantially aligned to permit flow of the water to the outlet port of the tub spout, to a second position in which their orifices are substantially non-aligned to substantially prevent the flow of the water to the outlet port of the tub spout, and instead divert the flow of water to a showerhead.
2. A water diverter for diverting water between a tub spout having an inlet port and an outlet port, and a shower head, said water diverter comprising:
a cartridge for installation at the outlet port of the tub spout;
a first ceramic disc with orifices, and a second ceramic disc with orifices, both the first and second ceramic discs being positioned within the cartridge;
the first and second ceramic discs being rotatable relative to each other, and the discs being movable between a first position in which their respective orifices are substantially aligned to permit flow of the water to the outlet port of the tub spout, to a second position in which their orifices are substantially non-aligned to substantially prevent the flow of the water to the outlet port of the tub spout, and instead divert the flow of water to the showerhead.
3. The water diverter of claim 1, wherein the first ceramic disc is stationary and the second ceramic disc is rotatable in a single plane relative to the first ceramic disc.
4. The water diverter of claim 6, wherein the discs are rotated relative to each other between their first and second positions, and wherein that rotation totals approximately 90 degrees.
5. A water diverter comprising, in combination:
a tub spout having an inlet port and an outlet port; and
a cartridge for installation at the outlet port of the tub spout, said cartridge comprising:
a first ceramic disc with a pair of segmented orifices, each of said segmented orifices providing an opening of approximately one-quarter of a circle;
a second ceramic disc with a pair of segmented orifices, each of said segmented orifices providing an opening of approximately one-quarter of a circle;
said first and second ceramic discs being rotatable relative to each other, and being rotatable between:
a first position in which the segmented orifices of the first ceramic disc are substantially aligned with the segmented orifices of the second ceramic disc, said first position permitting flow of the water to the outlet port of the tub spout; and
a second position, in which the segmented orifices of the first ceramic disc in not aligned with the segmented orifices of the second ceramic disc, causing diversion of the flow of water to a showerhead.
6. The device of claim 5, wherein the second ceramic disc is rotatable in a single plane relative to the first ceramic disc.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates generally to a diverter for a tub spout. More particularly, this invention relates to a diverter for diverting water from a tub spout to a showerhead, and particularly uses a pair of relatively rotating ceramic discs for diverting that water.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bathtubs are common features of full residential bathrooms. However, due to considerations including but not limited to time, many persons frequently prefer instead to bathe in showers. In homes with larger bathrooms, a separate shower stall may be provided. However, many smaller homes do not have the space for a separate shower stall. In such homes, the area adjacent the tub includes a tub spout, a showerhead, and both a hot and a cold water handle. A single hot and cold water handle open corresponding hot and cold water valves to provide water to both the tub spout and the shower head. To accomplish this with a single hot and cold water handle, however, it is necessary to provide a means for diverting water from the tub spout to the shower head, and then back to the tub spout.

Commonly, a single diverter valve is provided for this purpose. Such a diverter valve includes a stem that is mounted through an orifice in the top of the tub spout. The stem is vertically movable between a raised and a lowered position. When the user wishes to bathe in the bathtub, the stem is placed in its normal, lowered position. When the stem is in this position, mixed cold and hot water move into an axial water channel that is disposed within the tub spout. That water then exits the tub spout through its discharge end, and fills the tub.

In contrast, when the user wishes to shower, the stem is pulled upwardly into its raised position. When the stem is moved into this raised position, a valve attached to the stem is moved into contact with a valve seat. The pressure of the water entering the tub spout forcibly maintains contact between the valve and the valve seat. This contact between the valve and the valve seat closes off the water channel within the tub spout. As a result, the water is diverted to a flow path that leads to the shower head.

While such diverter valves are generally suitable, they do exhibit certain shortcomings. Particularly, for example, in their raised position, some of these prior art stem-type diverter valves fail to completely seal off the flow of water through the tub spout. As a result, while the great majority of the mixed hot and cold water flows through the shower head, a small amount of that water leaks through the valve and valve seal, and flows out of the discharge end of the tub spout. This is undesirable, as it results in the waste of some of the water, and of some of the energy used to heat and transport that water.

Diverter valves and conventional water valves including ceramic discs are described in many prior art patents. These patents include U.S. Pat. No. 5,775,373. At column 3, lines 17-21, of this patent, the diverter valve is described as including a movable ceramic valve disc and a fixed ceramic valve disc. Column 4, lines 39-53 appears to disclose that the movement of this ceramic valve disc causes water to be diverted from the tub spout to the showerhead. Another relevant patent is U.S. Pat. No. 5,904,336. At column 7, beginning at line 60, this patent includes a description of a water valve including a movable ceramic disc, and a stationary ceramic disc. In addition, this patent appears to describe, at column 1, lines 36-52, the structures of three additional prior art water valves that are said to include relatively rotating ceramic discs. These three additional patents are U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,780,758, 3,831,621, and 5,174,324.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,752,541 is directed to a diverter valve. At column 2, lines 52-55, this patent discloses a valve of a ceramic disc type. This valve seems to be of a conventional lift style (column 2, lines 53-55), operated with a stem.

U.S. Reissue Pat. No. 37,888, and U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,328,830, 6,575,196, 5,983,938, and 6,183,636 describe water valves with two ceramic discs ('888 patent, col. 4, lines 19-20) ('830 patent, column 3, lines 19-25) ('196 patent, column 8, lines 37-47 and 59-69) ('938 patent, col. 12, lines 49-59) ('636 patent, column 3, lines 50-64). These ceramic discs appear to be used in connection with valves for conventional lavatory faucets, or in connection with lavatory faucets with spray heads, without any diverter valves.

Further related patents include U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,405,756, 6,517,720 and 6,634,380.

In view of the shortcomings of the prior art, it would thus be desirable to provide a diverter valve that completely seals off the flow of water through a tub spout.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the invention is a water diverter. The water diverter comprises, in combination, a tub spout having an inlet port and an outlet port.

The water diverter also includes a cartridge for installation at the outlet port of the tub spout. The cartridge includes both a first ceramic disc with orifices, and a second ceramic disc with orifices. These first and second ceramic discs are rotatable relative to each other.

The first and second ceramic discs are movable between a first position and a second position. In this first position, the orifices of the first and second ceramic discs are substantially aligned. When the orifices of the first and second discs are aligned, those orifices permit flow of the water to the outlet port of the tub spout.

In the second position, the orifices of the first and second ceramic discs are substantially non-aligned. When the orifices of the first and second discs are substantially non-aligned, the non-alignment of the orifices prevents the flow of the water to the outlet port of the tub spout. Instead, the water is diverted to a shower head.

In yet another aspect of the invention, the first and second ceramic discs are positioned, i.e., fully contained within, the cartridge. The cartridge is installed at the outlet port of the tub spout.

In yet another aspect of the invention, the first disc is stationary, and the second disc rotates relative to the first disc.

In a still further aspect of the invention, the second disc is rotatable in a single plane relative to the first disc.

In yet another aspect of the invention, the rotation of the first disc relative to the second disc totals approximately 90 degrees.

In another aspect of the invention, the orifices of the first ceramic disc comprise a pair of segmented orifices. Each of the two segmented orifices preferably has a shape and creates an opening approximately equal to one-quarter of a circle.

Similarly, in yet another aspect of the invention, the orifices of the second ceramic disc comprise a pair of segmented orifices. Each of the two segmented orifices in the second ceramic disc also preferably has a shape and creates an opening approximately equal to one-quarter of a circle. As a result, the total opening through the nozzle created by the two segmented orifices comprises about one-half of a circle.

Other objects, advantages, and aspects of the present invention will become apparent upon reading the following description of the drawings and detailed description of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the assembled water diverter assembly of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the water diverter assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of the water diverter of FIGS. 1 and 2, including the handle, stator, and first (stationary) disc;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another portion of the water diverter of FIGS. 1 and 2, including the bascule and the second (movable) disc;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge of the invention, and showing the first and second discs in their so-called first position;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge of the invention, and showing the first and second discs in their so-called second position;

FIG. 7 is a partial sectional view of the cartridge of the water diverter assembly, taken along section lines 7-7 of FIG. 5, and showing the first and second discs in their so-called first position.

FIG. 8 a partial sectional view of the cartridge of the water diverter assembly, taken along section lines 8-8 of FIG. 6, and showing the first and second discs in their so-called second position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

This invention may be made in many different forms. The following drawings and description describe a preferred embodiment of the invention. It will be understood that the description is to be considered as but one example of the principles of the invention. The description is not intended to limit the broadest aspect of the invention to the illustrated embodiment.

As may be seen in FIG. 1, the invention is a water diverter 10. In this embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the water diverter 10 includes a tub spout 12. The tub spout has an outlet port 14. The outlet port 14 is the distal end of the tub spout 12 from which water passing through the tub spout 12 is discharged into the tub. The tub spout 12 also has an inlet port 16. The inlet port 16 is at the opposite distal end of the tub spout 12, and is the point at which municipal or other supply water enters the tub spout 12.

In one aspect of the invention, the water diverter 10 may comprise, in combination, the tub spout 12 having an inlet port 16 and an outlet port 14.

The water diverter 10 also includes a separate, discrete cartridge 18 for installation at the outlet port 14 of the tub spout 12. The cartridge 18 has a main body portion, or handle 20. Preferably, the handle 20 includes a pair of tabs 22 and 24. These tabs 22 and 24 are integrally formed on the exterior surface of the handle 20. The tabs 22 and 24 may be grasped by the consumer, and such grasping facilitates the turning of the handle 20, in a manner and for a purpose to be described later.

The handle 20 has threads 26 formed on its upper, exterior surface. These threads 26 are mated to complementary threads (not shown) within the interior surface at the outlet port 14 of the tub spout 12. In this way, the cartridge 18 may be firmly—and removably—secured to the outlet port 14 of the tub spout 12.

The cartridge 18 includes at least two ceramic flakes 28 and 30, also known as discs 28 and 30. The discs 28 and 30 are, in this embodiment, virtually identical in size, shape, and configuration to each other. In this embodiment, each of the discs 28 and 30 has a diameter of approximately ⅝ inch (0.625 inch), and a thickness of approximately ⅛ inch (0.125 inch).

Each of these ceramic discs 28 and 30 include orifices. Particularly, first ceramic disc 28 includes an orifice 32 and an orifice 34. Second ceramic disc 30 includes an orifice 36 and an orifice 38.

These first 28 and second ceramic discs 30 have relatively smooth surfaces. Moreover, as may be seen in FIG. 2, the first 28 and second ceramic discs 30 are positioned adjacent to each other. The first ceramic disc 28 is rotatably movable relative to the second ceramic disc 30. Low friction is created by such relative, rotatable movement, primarily because of the relatively smooth surfaces of the first 28 and second ceramic discs 30.

Upon such relative rotatable movement, the first ceramic disc 28 and second ceramic disc 30 are movable between a first position and a second position. In this first position, as may be seen in FIGS. 5 and 7, the orifices 32 and 34 of the first ceramic disc 28 are substantially aligned with the orifices 36 and 38 of the second ceramic disc 30. Moreover, when the orifices 32 and 34 of the first ceramic disc 28 are aligned with the orifices 36 and 38 of the second ceramic disc 30, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, those orifices permit full and free flow of the water to the outlet port 14 of the tub spout 12.

The second position of discs 28 and 30 is shown in FIGS. 6 and 8. The second position is attained by grasping the tabs 22 and 24 of the handle 20, and rotating the handle 20 approximately 90 degrees. In this second position, as may be seen in FIGS. 6 and 8, the orifices 32 and 34 of the first ceramic disc 28 are substantially non-aligned with the orifices 36 and 38 of the second ceramic disc 30. When the orifices 32, 34 of the first ceramic disc 28 are substantially non-aligned with the orifices 36, 38 of the second ceramic disc 30, such non-alignment of the orifices 32, 34 with orifices 36, 38 prevents the flow of the water to the outlet port 14 of the tub spout 12. Instead, the water is diverted to a shower head (not shown). Such diversion of the water from the spout to the shower head, using prior art diverters, is a process that is well-known in the art.

It will be understood that in the embodiment shown in the FIGURES, including FIGS. 2 and 3, the first 28 and the second 30 ceramic discs are positioned, i.e., fully contained within, the cartridge 18. In particular, the first ceramic disc 28 is retained within a stator 40. The stator 40 is positioned and securely held within the top of the main body portion or handle 20.

As may best be seen in FIG. 4, the second ceramic disc 30 is retained within a bascule 42. The bascule 42 is positioned and securely held within the bottom of the main body portion or handle 20.

Normally, the first 28 and second ceramic discs 30 are in their so-called first position, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7. When in this first position, water that enters the inlet port 16 of the tub spout 12 is discharged through both the outlet port 14 and cartridge 18, and into the tub.

However, when the user grasps the tabs 22 and 24, and turns the handle 20 one-quarter turn, the bascule 42 rotates with the handle 20 a full quarter turn, or 90 degrees. As a result, the second ceramic disc 30 is also moved a full 90 degrees. While the handle 20, the bascule, and the second ceramic disc 30 move this full quarter turn, the stator 40 and the first ceramic disc 28 remain stationary. As a result, the first ceramic disc 28 and the second ceramic disc 30 move to their second position, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 8.

From the above description, it will be understood that in this embodiment, the first ceramic disc 28 is stationary, and the second ceramic disc 30 rotates relative to the first disc 28. It will be understood, however, that all that is necessary is that the first 28 and second ceramic discs 30 be rotatable relative to each other. Accordingly, it is also possible that the first ceramic disc 28 may be movable, and that the second ceramic disc 30 be stationary.

As may best be seen in FIG. 1, the cartridge 18 is installed at the outlet port 14 of the tub spout 12.

In this embodiment, the ceramic discs 28 and 30 are coaxial. In other words, the discs 28 and 30 are disposed substantially parallel to each other. As a result of this orientation, the second ceramic disc 30 is rotatable in a single plane relative to the first ceramic disc 28.

Referring again to FIGS. 5 and 6, and to the ceramic discs 28 and 30, and their orifices 32, 34, 36, and 38, it may be seen that the pair of orifices 32 and 34 of the first ceramic disc 28 are segmented orifices. Each of the two segmented orifices 32 and 34 preferably has a shape of, and creates an opening approximately equal to, one-quarter of a circle.

Similarly, the segmented orifices 36 and 38 of the second ceramic disc 30 also preferably have the shape of, and create an opening approximately equal to, one-quarter of a circle. As a result, when the discs 28 and 30 are in their first position, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, a total opening of somewhat less than one-half of a circle is created by the two segmented orifices 28 and 30.

Included as additional components of the water diverter 10 and the cartridge 18 are a pair of substantially identical elastomeric washers 44 and 46. These washers 44 and 46 assist in preventing leakage within the cartridge 18.

The cartridge 18 can include a rectifier 48 and a nut 50. The rectifier 48 includes a screen-like element, and provides for a smoother flow of water from the outlet port 14 and into the tub. The first nut 50 includes threads on its exterior. These threads on the nut 50 engage complementary threads (not shown) on the bottom, interior walls of the handle 20. In this way, the nut 50 and rectifier 48 serve another function, i.e., they together aid in keeping all of the components of the cartridge 18 within that cartridge 18.

A metal washer 52 seals the connection between the outlet port 14 of the tub spout 12 and the cartridge 18.

Finally, a second nut 54 is secured to the top of the cartridge 18, and particularly the top of the handle 20. This second nut 54 also includes threads upon its exterior. These threads on the exterior of the second nut 54 engage complementary threads (not shown) on the upper, interior walls of the handle 20.

While specific embodiments have been illustrated and described, numerous modifications are possible without departing from the spirit of the invention, and the scope of protection is only limited by the scope of the accompanying claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7762479Mar 27, 2008Jul 27, 2010Xiamen Lota International Co., Ltd.Adjustable showerhead with ceramic disk assembly
US8109449Jul 13, 2007Feb 7, 2012Neoperl GmbhOutlet nozzle
US8327882Nov 15, 2007Dec 11, 2012Xiamen Lota International Co., Ltd.Water faucet with joystick cartridge
US8430342Dec 30, 2011Apr 30, 2013Neoperl GmbhOutlet nozzle
US8689830 *Jul 20, 2011Apr 8, 2014Chuan Wei Metal Co., Ltd.Spin controlled faucet outlet structure
US20130019975 *Jul 20, 2011Jan 24, 2013Chi-Chuan ChenSpin controlled faucet outlet structure
CN101490343BJul 13, 2007Mar 7, 2012纽珀有限公司Outlet nozzle
WO2008009390A1Jul 13, 2007Jan 24, 2008Neoperl GmbhOutlet nozzle
Classifications
U.S. Classification4/675
International ClassificationE03C1/04, E03B1/00
Cooperative ClassificationE03C1/08, F16K11/072, E03C1/0404, F16K3/085, E03C2201/30
European ClassificationE03C1/04D, E03C1/08, F16K11/072, F16K3/08B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 7, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: XIAMEN LOTA INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD., CHINA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ZHAO, WEI DONG;REEL/FRAME:015226/0719
Effective date: 20040723