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Publication numberUS20070056617 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/224,780
Publication dateMar 15, 2007
Filing dateSep 12, 2005
Priority dateSep 12, 2005
Publication number11224780, 224780, US 2007/0056617 A1, US 2007/056617 A1, US 20070056617 A1, US 20070056617A1, US 2007056617 A1, US 2007056617A1, US-A1-20070056617, US-A1-2007056617, US2007/0056617A1, US2007/056617A1, US20070056617 A1, US20070056617A1, US2007056617 A1, US2007056617A1
InventorsWanda Li
Original AssigneeLi Wanda Y
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Solar energy collection system for outdoor umbrella
US 20070056617 A1
Abstract
An outdoor umbrella includes an awning, an umbrella frame, an illumination system, and a solar energy collection system. The solar energy collection system includes a supporting adjustor and a solar energy collector. The supporting adjustor has an upper pivot portion, and a lower retention portion detachably mounted on the top portion of the supporting post. The solar energy collector, which is electrically connected with the illumination system, is pivotally mounted on the pivot portion of the supporting adjustor at a position above the awning, wherein the solar energy collector is adapted to selectively adjust a tilt angle with respect to the supporting post for directly facing towards sunlight to maximize solar energy collection so as to supply electrical power to the illumination system.
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Claims(20)
1. An outdoor umbrella, comprising:
an awning;
an umbrella frame comprising an upward supporting post, and an awning supporting frame which is detachably coupled with a top portion of said supporting post and radially extended to support said awning to define a shading area thereunder;
an illumination system provided on said umbrella frame for illuminating said shading area of said awning; and
a solar energy collection system, which comprises:
a supporting adjustor having an upper pivot portion and a lower retention portion detachably mounted on said top portion of said supporting post, and
a solar energy collector which is electrically connected with said illumination system and is pivotally mounted on said pivot portion of said supporting adjustor at a position above said awning, wherein said solar energy collector is adapted to selectively adjust a tilt angle with respect to said supporting post for directly facing towards sunlight to maximize solar energy collection so as to supply electrical power to said illumination system.
2. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 1, wherein said solar energy collection system further comprises a connector cap, having a retention slot for said retention portion of said supporting adjustor slidably inserting thereinto, detachably mounted on said top portion of said supporting post to retain said solar energy collector in position.
3. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 2, wherein said connector cap has an inner threaded portion provided on a surrounding wall of said retention slot and said supporting adjustor has an outer threaded portion provided on an outer wall of said retention portion and arranged to rotatably engage with said inner threaded portion of said connector cap to securely mount said supporting adjustor to said connector cap.
4. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 1, said supporting adjustor further comprises an adjusting locker provided between said upper pivot portion and said lower retention portion for selectively locking said solar energy collector at said tilt angle in a tool-less manner.
5. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 3, said supporting adjustor further comprises an adjusting locker provided between said upper pivot portion and said lower retention portion for selectively locking said solar energy collector at said tilt angle in a tool-less manner.
6. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 2, wherein said solar energy collector comprises a collector housing, a rechargeable battery received in said collector housing to electrically connect to said illumination system, and a plurality of solar energy collection panels securely mounted on top of said collector housing for collecting said solar energy, so as to store in said rechargeable battery.
7. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 3, wherein said solar energy collector comprises a collector housing, a rechargeable battery received in said collector housing to electrically connect to said illumination system, and a plurality of solar energy collection panels securely mounted on top of said collector housing for collecting said solar energy, so as to store in said rechargeable battery.
8. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 5, wherein said solar energy collector comprises a collector housing, a rechargeable battery received in said collector housing to electrically connect to said illumination system, and a plurality of solar energy collection panels securely mounted on top of said collector housing for collecting said solar energy, so as to store in said rechargeable battery.
9. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 6, wherein said illumination system further comprises a power distribution system disposed at said top portion of said supporting post to electrically connect to said rechargeable battery, and a plurality of illuminators which are electrically coupled to said power distribution system and are spacedly mounted to said awning supporting frame for illuminating said shading area of said awning.
10. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 7, wherein said illumination system further comprises a power distribution system disposed at said top portion of said supporting post to electrically connect to said rechargeable battery, and a plurality of illuminators which are electrically coupled to said power distribution system and are spacedly mounted to said awning supporting frame for illuminating said shading area of said awning.
11. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 8, wherein said illumination system further comprises a power distribution system disposed at said top portion of said supporting post to electrically connect to said rechargeable battery, and a plurality of illuminators which are electrically coupled to said power distribution system and are spacedly mounted to said awning supporting frame for illuminating said shading area of said awning.
12. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 9, wherein said solar energy collector further comprises a wiring socket electrically extended from said power distribution system and a wiring plug which is electrically extended from said rechargeable battery and is slidably extended through said connector cap to detachably connect to said wiring socket within said top portion of said supporting post so as to electrically connect said rechargeable battery to said power distribution system.
13. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 10, wherein said solar energy collector further comprises a wiring socket electrically extended from said power distribution system and a wiring plug which is electrically extended from said rechargeable battery and is slidably extended through said connector cap to detachably connect to said wiring socket within said top portion of said supporting post so as to electrically connect said rechargeable battery to said power distribution system.
14. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 11, wherein said solar energy collector further comprises a wiring socket electrically extended from said power distribution system and a wiring plug which is electrically extended from said rechargeable battery and is slidably extended through said connector cap to detachably connect to said wiring socket within said top portion of said supporting post so as to electrically connect said rechargeable battery to said power distribution system.
15. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 9, wherein said umbrella frame further comprises an upper housing receiving said power distribution system, wherein a lower portion of said upper housing is detachably and rotatably mounted to said top portion of said supporting post and an upper portion of said upper housing detachably mounted to said connector cap to sandwich a central portion of said awning between said upper housing and said connector cap.
16. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 11, wherein said umbrella frame further comprises an upper housing receiving said power distribution system, wherein a lower portion of said upper housing is detachably and rotatably mounted to said top portion of said supporting post and an upper portion of said upper housing detachably mounted to said connector cap to sandwich a central portion of said awning between said upper housing and said connector cap.
17. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 14, wherein said umbrella frame further comprises an upper housing receiving said power distribution system, wherein a lower portion of said upper housing is detachably and rotatably mounted to said top portion of said supporting post and an upper portion of said upper housing detachably mounted to said connector cap to sandwich a central portion of said awning between said upper housing and said connector cap.
18. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 15, wherein said awning supporting frame comprises a plurality of awning arms radially and pivotally extended from said upper housing to support said awning thereon, wherein said illuminators are spacedly mounted along each of said awning arms to electrically connect to said rechargeable battery of said solar energy collector through said power distribution system, so as to provide illumination to said shading area under said awning.
19. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 16, wherein said awning supporting frame comprises a plurality of awning arms radially and pivotally extended from said upper housing to support said awning thereon, wherein said illuminators are spacedly mounted along each of said awning arms to electrically connect to said rechargeable battery of said solar energy collector through said power distribution system, so as to provide illumination to said shading area under said awning.
20. The outdoor umbrella, as recited in claim 17, wherein said awning supporting frame comprises a plurality of awning arms radially and pivotally extended from said upper housing to support said awning thereon, wherein said illuminators are spacedly mounted along each of said awning arms to electrically connect to said rechargeable battery of said solar energy collector through said power distribution system, so as to provide illumination to said shading area under said awning.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to an outdoor umbrella, and more particularly to a detachable solar energy collection system for an outdoor umbrella, wherein the solar energy collection system is adjustable for collecting solar energy at an optimal tilt angle.

2. Description of Related Arts

A conventional outdoor umbrella usually comprises an awning, a main supporting frame comprising an awning frame and a central post frame, and an illumination system supported on the main supporting frame for providing illumination towards an underneath of the awning. In order to provide electricity to the illumination system, the outdoor umbrella further comprises a power system mounted on the main supporting frame to electrically connect with the illumination system. The power system may be embodied as one of the followings: first, the power system may comprise a battery unit (which is usually rechargeable) mounted on the main supporting frame for providing electricity to the illumination system; second, the power system may comprise a solar energy collection system supported on the main supporting frame for collecting solar energy and converting the solar energy into electrically energy which is then transmitted to the illumination.

For the first power system, the main problem is that the battery unit needed to be recharged or even replaced regularly in order to provide continuous supply of adequate electricity for the illumination system. If the user forgets to recharge or replace the battery unit, the illumination system will not function properly and the activity with the outdoor umbrella may be forced to cancel.

For the second power system, the solar energy collection system usually comprises a solar energy collection panel mounted on top of the main supporting frame of the outdoor umbrella for collecting solar energy. The problem in association with this type of solar energy collection system is that the solar energy collection panel is usually permanently mounted on the main supporting frame in such a manner that the solar energy collection panel is both not adjustable and not detachable. As a result, the solar energy collection system may not be capable of adsorbing or collecting solar energy in an efficient manner so that it may not collect adequate solar energy for operating the illumination system for a desirable period of time.

Moreover, since virtually all of the solar energy collection panels mounted on the outdoor umbrella, there is nothing a user can do in repairing or cleaning the solar energy collection panel when it becomes dirty or out of order. Since the solar energy collection panel is usually mounted on an upper housing, which is usually mounted on the central post frame of the outdoor umbrella in a non-detachable manner, therefore, in order to replace or repair the solar energy collection system, there will emerge a great deal of trouble as to how to detach the solar energy collection system from the main supporting frame. Ultimately, the user may simply choose not to fix or clean the solar energy collection system and this directly affect the operation of the illumination system. Obviously, the user may purchase a new outdoor umbrella, but this inevitably induces the user unnecessary expenditure.

Apart from maintenance problem, conventional solar energy collection system is not adjustable. As a result, the solar energy collection panel may not be set up in such an efficient manner to absorb the maximum amount of solar energy. As a result, associated problems arise. For example, the solar energy collection system may not be capable of absorbing an adequate amount of solar energy so that the illumination system may not work properly.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

A main object of the present invention is to provide an outdoor umbrella comprising a solar energy collection system which allows a solar energy collection panel to be adjusted at an optimal tilt angle for collecting a maximum amount of solar energy.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an outdoor umbrella comprising a solar energy collection system which is detachable from a main frame of the outdoor umbrella in order to accommodate easy and convenient maintenance of the solar energy collection system.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an outdoor umbrella comprising a solar energy collection system, wherein the solar energy collection system is adjustable and detachable from the main frame of the outdoor umbrella while allowing sound electrical connection between the solar energy collection system and an illumination system provided on the outdoor umbrella.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an outdoor umbrella comprising a solar energy collection system, which does not involve complicated mechanical or electrical components so as to minimize the manufacturing cost and the ultimate selling price of the present invention.

Accordingly, in order to accomplish the above objects, the present invention provides an outdoor umbrella, comprising:

an awning;

an umbrella frame comprising an upward supporting post, and an awning supporting frame radially extended from a top portion of the supporting post to support the awning to define a shading area thereunder;

an illumination system provided on the umbrella frame for illuminating the shading area of the awning; and

a solar energy collection system, which comprises:

a supporting adjustor having an upper pivot portion and a lower retention portion detachably mounted on the top portion of the supporting post, and

a solar energy collector which is electrically connected with the illumination and is pivotally mounted on the pivot portion of the supporting adjustor at a position above the awning, wherein the solar energy collector is adapted to selectively adjust a tilt angle with respect to the supporting post for directly facing towards sunlight to maximize solar energy collection so as to supply electrical power to the illumination system.

These and other objectives, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of an outdoor umbrella according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B are schematic diagrams of the illumination system according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a power distribution system according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a sectional side view of the upper power hub according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a sectional side view of the lower power hub according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B are sectional side views of the solar energy collection system according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7A to FIG. 7D are schematic diagrams of the solar energy collection system according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention,, illustrating the detachable and adjustable connection between the solar energy collection system and the umbrella frame.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the illumination wiring arrangement according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9A and FIG. 9B are sectional views of the rechargeable battery unit according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10A and 10B are first alternative mode of the outdoor umbrella according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention, illustrating the connection between the illumination system and the umbrella frame.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the illumination wiring arrangement according to the first alternative mode of the present invention.

FIG. 12A and FIG. 12B are second alternative mode of the outdoor umbrella according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention, illustrating the connection between the illumination system and the umbrella frame.

FIG. 13A and FIG. 13B are third alternative mode of the outdoor umbrella according to the above preferred embodiment of the present invention, illustrating the connection between the illumination system and the umbrella frame.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, FIG. 6A, FIG. 6B and FIG. 7A to FIG. 7D of the drawings, an outdoor umbrella according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated. According to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the outdoor umbrella comprises an awning 10, an umbrella frame 20, an illumination system 30, and a solar energy collection system 40.

The umbrella frame 20 comprises an upward supporting post 21, and an awning supporting frame 22 radially extended from a top portion of the supporting post 21 to support the awning 10 to define a shading area thereunder.

The illumination system 30 is provided on the umbrella frame 20 for illuminating the shading area of the awning 10. On the other hand, the solar energy collection system 40 comprises a supporting adjustor 41 and a solar energy collector 42.

The supporting adjustor 41 has an upper pivot portion 411 and a lower retention portion 412 detachably mounted on the top portion of the supporting post 21.

The solar energy collector 42 is electrically connected with the illumination system 30 and is pivotally mounted on the pivot portion 411 of the supporting adjustor 41 at a position above the awning 10, wherein the solar energy collector 42 is adapted to selectively adjust a tilt angle with respect to the supporting post 21 for directly facing towards sunlight to maximize solar energy collection so as to supply electrical power to the illumination system 30.

Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the awning supporting frame 22 comprises an upper housing 221 affixed on top of supporting post 21, a lower housing 222 slidably connected to the supporting post 21 at a position underneath the upper housing 221, a plurality of awning arms 223 radially and pivotally extended from the upper housing 221 to support the awning 10 thereon, and a plurality of awning ribs 224 pivotally connecting the lower housing 222 with the awing arms 223 respectively in such a manner that when the lower housing 222 is slid along the supporting post 21 towards the upper housing 221, the awning arms 223 are pivotally driven by the awning ribs 224 to foldably and radially extend from the upper housing 221 so as to provide the shading area under the awning 10.

The illumination system 30 comprises a plurality of illuminators 31 preferably embodied as Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) mounted on the awning supporting frame 22 for providing illumination to the shading area. Referring to FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B of the drawings, the illumination system 30 further comprises a plurality of connection wires 32, each having a positive and a negative end terminal 321, mounted along the awning arms 223 and the awning ribs 224 of the awning supporting frame 22 respectively, wherein the illuminators 31 are spacedly supported by and electrically connected with the connection wires 32 on the awning arms 223 and the awning ribs 224 for providing illumination along the awning arms 223 and the awning ribs 224 so as to light up the shading area underneath the awning 10.

Referring FIG. 3 to FIG. 5 of the drawings, the illumination system 30 further comprises a power distribution system 50 disposed at the top portion of the supporting post 21 to electrically connect to the solar energy collection system 40, wherein the plurality of illuminators 31 are electrically coupled to the power distribution system 50 and are spacedly mounted to the awning supporting frame 22 for illuminating the shading area of the awning 10.

The power distribution system 50 comprises an upper power hub 51 and a lower power hub 52 provided on the upper housing 221 and the lower housing 222 respectively for electrically connecting between the illumination system 30 and the solar energy collection system 40 in such a manner that electrical power gathered by the solar energy collection system 40 is conducted to the illumination system 30 via the upper power hub 51 and the lower power hub 52.

Each of the upper power hub 51 and the lower power hub 52 comprises a plurality of positive terminal connectors 53 and a plurality of negative terminal connectors 54 each of which is electrically connected to the corresponding positive end terminal 321 and the negative end terminal 321 of the corresponding connection wire 32 of the illumination system 30 respectively, wherein the upper power hub 51 and the lower power hub 52 are electrically connected with the solar energy collection system 40 so that the solar energy collected thereby can be transmitted to the connection wires 32 via the upper and the lower power hub 51, 52 for lighting up the illuminators 31.

According to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the connection wires 32 mounting the illuminators 31 on the awning ribs 224 are electrically connected with the lower power hub 52 whereas the connection wires 32 mounting the illuminators 31 on the awning arms 223 are electrically connected with the upper power hub 51.

Referring to FIG. 6A, FIG. 6B and FIG. 7A to FIG. 7D of the drawings, the solar energy collection system 40 further comprises a connector cap 43 supported on top of the upper housing 221, wherein the connector cap 43 has a retention slot 433 for the retention portion 412 of the supporting adjustor 41 slidably inserting thereinto, and detachably mounted on the top portion of the supporting post 21 to retain the solar energy collector 42 in position.

The connector cap 43 has an inner threaded portion 434 provided on a surrounding wall of the retention slot 433 and the supporting adjustor 41 has an outer threaded portion 414 provided on an outer wall of the retention portion 412 and arranged to rotatably engage with the inner threaded portion 434 of the connector cap 43 to securely mount the supporting adjustor 41 to the connector cap 43.

Thus, a lower portion of the upper housing 221 is rotatably mounted to the top portion of the supporting post 21 and an upper portion of the upper housing 221 is detachably mounted to the connector cap 43 to sandwich a central portion of the awning 10 between the upper housing 221 and the connector cap 43.

More specifically, the upper housing 221 further has a bored post connection slot 2212 whereas the tubular first post 211 has an upper threaded portion 2111 which is adapted to connect with the bored connection slot 2212 of the upper housing 221 for detachably connecting the upper housing 221 with the tubular first post 211.

As shown in FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B of the drawings, the connector cap 43 has a transverse member 431 and a longitudinal member 432 integrally and downwardly extended from the transverse member 431 to form a T-shaped cross section. According to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the lower retention portion 412 of the supporting adjustor 41 is rotatably connected with the transverse member 431 of the connector cap 43 whereas the longitudinal member 432 of the connector cap 43 is rotatably and detachably mounted on the upper housing 221 so as to rotatably and detachably mount the supporting adjustor 41 and the solar energy collector 42 on top of the supporting post 21.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 7A and FIG. 7B of the drawings, connector cap 43 may detachably attach on the upper housing 221 for detachably connecting the solar energy collector 42 with the supporting post 21.

As a slight alternative, referring to FIG. 7C to FIG. 7D of the drawings, the tubular first post 211 may be detachably attached with the upper housing 221 by means of a plurality of screwing members 2214 mounting the tubular first post 211 and the upper housing 221 in a cross manner. As a result, the upper housing 221 has a coupling portion 2213 downwardly extended therefrom, and the first post 211 has an upper contracted portion 2113 having a diameter smaller than a diameter of the coupling portion 2213 of the upper housing 221 in such a manner that the contracted portion 2113 is arranged to insert into the coupling portion 2213 and fastened with the contracted portion 2113 by the plurality of screwing members 2214 via two pairs fastening holes 2215 so as to detachably attach the upper housing 221 with the tubular first post 211. Thus, each pair of the fastening holes 2215 are aligned with each other to allow the respective screwing member 2214 passing therethrough.

On the other hand, the solar energy collector 42 comprises a collector housing 421, a rechargeable battery 424 received in the collector housing 421 to electrically connect to the illumination system 30, and a plurality of solar energy collection panels 422 securely mounted on top of the collector housing 421 and are arranged to be exposed to sunlight for collecting an optimal amount of solar energy and stored in the rechargeable battery 424. As an alternative, there can be only one single solar energy collection panel 422 mounted on top of the collector housing 421 for collecting solar energy.

The supporting adjustor 41 further comprises an adjusting locker 413 provided between the upper pivot portion 411 and the lower retention portion 412 for selectively locking and unlocking a pivotal movement of the solar energy collector 42 at the tile-angle in a tool-less manner. As such, a user is able to selectively adjust the adjusting locker 413 for pivotally moving the solar energy collector 42 about the supporting adjustor 41 so as to pivotally adjust the optimal tilt angle of the solar energy collection panel 422.

According to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the solar energy collector 42 further comprises a wiring socket 423 provided on the collector housing 421 for outputting electrical energy as converted from the solar energy collected by the solar energy collector 42. In other words, the wiring socket 423 is electrically extended from the power distribution system 50 and a wiring plug 425 which is electrically extended from the rechargeable battery 424 and is slidably extended through the connector cap 43 to detachably connect to the wiring socket 423 within the top portion of the supporting post 21 so as to electrically connect the rechargeable battery 424 to the power distribution system 50.

Moreover, the upper housing 221 has a bored cap connection hole 2211 formed on a top surface of the upper housing 221, wherein the connector cap 43 has a threaded outer surface arranged to be screwed into the bored cap connection hole 2211 of the upper housing 221 so as to detachably attach the solar energy collection system 40 with the upper housing 221.

It is thus important to mention that the tubular first post 211 is detachably attached with the upper housing 221 for convenient disassembling of the outdoors umbrella.

Referring to FIG. 1 and FIG. 8 of the drawings, the supporting post 21 comprises a tubular first post 211 having a first connector end 212, a tubular second post 213 having a second connector end 214 detachably coupling with the first connector end 212 of the first post 21 in an end-to-end manner.

The outdoor umbrella further comprises a rechargeable battery unit 70 provided on the umbrella frame 20 and electrically connected with the illumination system 30 for providing supplementary electricity to the illumination system 30 when the solar energy collection system 40 fails to collect sufficient amount of electricity for lighting up the illumination system 30. According to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the rechargeable battery unit 70 is mounted on the tubular first post 211 underneath the lower housing 222. The rechargeable battery unit 70 can be recharged by electrically connecting with external power source.

Accordingly, the outdoor umbrella further comprises an illumination wiring arrangement 60 comprises a first wiring unit 61 and a second wiring unit 62, wherein the first wiring unit 61 comprises a power socket 611 provided at the first connector end 212 of the first post 211 to electrically connect to the illumination system 30.

On the other hand, the second wiring unit 62 comprises a connector plug 621 which is electrically extended from a power source and is extended through the second post 213 at the second connector end 214 thereof to electrically connect to the power socket 611, wherein when the first post 211 is coupled with the second post 213, the connector plug 621 is free to move within the second post 213 to keep an electrical connection between the connector plug 621 and the power socket 611 intact. Consequently, the rechargeable battery unit 70 is capable of connecting with the external power source via the first and the second wiring unit 61, 62.

Referring to FIG. 9A to FIG. 9B of the drawings, the rechargeable battery unit 70 comprises a rechargeable battery station 71 mounted at the first post 211 and electrically connected with the illumination system 30, and a battery control housing 72, adapted for receiving a plurality of rechargeable batteries 721, detachably and electrically coupled with the rechargeable battery station 71 in such a manner that the rechargeable batteries 721 are arranged to provide supplementary electricity to the illumination system 30 when the solar energy collection system 40 fails to collect sufficient amount of solar energy for operating the illumination system 30.

More specifically, the rechargeable battery station 71 comprises an outer casing 711 which has two spacedly apart securing slots 712 formed therein, wherein each of the securing slots 712 is defined by two sidewalls 713 formed in the outer casing 711. The outer casing 711 further has an actuation portion 714 transversely and integrally extended from the sidewalls 713 of the securing slots 712, wherein a resilient element 715 is mounted at the actuation portion 714 for normally exerting an urging force thereto. The rechargeable battery station 71 further has a plurality of engaging teeth 716 formed on the sidewalls 713 of the securing slots 712 for engaging with the battery control housing 72.

On the other hand, the battery control housing 72 comprises a recharging plug 722 and two engaging members 723 shaped and sized to correspond with the securing slots 712 of the rechargeable battery station 71, wherein the engaging members 723 are arranged to detachably insert into the securing slots 712 respectively so as to detachably attach the battery control housing 72 to the rechargeable battery station 71. The battery control housing 72 further has a plurality of attachment teeth 724 formed on the engaging members 723 in such a manner that when the engaging members 723 are inserted into the securing slots 712 respectively, the attachment teeth 724 is adapted to engage with the engaging teeth 716 so that the battery control housing 72 is detachably attached to the rechargeable battery station 71.

It is worth mentioning that the resilient element 715 normally exerts an urging force to the sidewalls 713 of the securing slots 712 for biasing against the engaging members 723 for ensuring a sound engagement between the battery control housing 72 and the rechargeable battery station 71. In order to detach the battery control housing 72 from the rechargeable battery station 71, the actuation portion 714 should be slightly and depressed inwardly so that the securing slots 712 are slightly pulled to distort for disengaging the attachment teeth 724 from the engaging teeth 716. Accordingly, the battery control housing 72 is capable of detaching from the rechargeable battery station 71.

It is worth mentioning that the rechargeable battery unit 70 is electrically connected with an external power source via the first and the second wiring unit 61, 62 for being charged up to provide supplementary electricity to the illumination system 30.

Referring to FIG. 8 of the drawings, the first wiring unit 61 further comprises a power outlet 612 provided on an outer peripheral side of the first post 211 for electrically connecting to the external power source, and an electric wire 613 electrically extended from the power outlet 612 to the power socket 611 through an interior of the first post 211 such that the power socket 611 is freely slid within the interior of the first post 211 to electrically connect to the connector plug 621.

As a result, the electric wire 623 has a predetermined length longer than a distance between the power socket 611 and the second connector end 214 of the second post 22 so as to allow the power socket 611 pulling out from the first connector end 212 of the first post 211 to electrically connect to the connector plug 621.

Referring to FIG. 10A, FIG. 10B, and FIG. 11 of the drawings, a first alternative mode of the outdoor umbrella according to the above preferred embodiment is illustrated. The first alternative mode is similar to the preferred embodiment except the illumination wiring arrangement 60′ and the illumination system 30′. According to the first alternative mode, the illumination wiring arrangement 60′ comprises a first wiring unit 61′ and a second wiring unit 62′, wherein the first wiring unit 61′ comprises a power socket 611′ provided at the first connector end 212′ of the first post 211′ to electrically connect to the illumination system 30′.

The illumination wiring arrangement 60′ further comprises a supporting seat 614′ securely mounted at the first connector end 212′ of the first post 211′, and a suspension element 615′ substantially supported at the supporting seat 614′ for applying an urging force against the power socket 611′ towards connector plug 621′ for not only absorbing vibration induced at the power socket 611′ but also ensuring the power socket 611′ being electrically connected with the connector plug 621′.

Moreover, the suspension element 615′ comprises a compression spring, which is coaxially supported within the first post 211′, having two ends substantially biasing against the supporting seat 614′ and the power socket 611′ such that the compression spring not only acts as a vibration absorber for substantially absorbing the vibration induced at the power socket 611′ when any vibration occurs at the umbrella frame 20′, but also ensures that the power socket 611′ being electrically connected with the connector plug 621′ when the compression spring pushes the power socket 611′ towards the connector plug 621′.

The illumination wiring arrangement 60′ further comprises a socket holder 616′ securely holding the power socket 611′ at a position that the suspension element 615′ is disposed between the supporting seat 614′ and the socket holder 616′ such that when the first connector end 212′ of the first post 211′ is connected to the second connector end 214′ of the second post 213′, the suspension element 615′ is compressed between the supporting seat 614′ and the socket holder 616′ for pushing the power socket 611′ towards the connector plug 621′.

The illumination wiring arrangement 60′ further comprises a plug holder 622′ substantially mounted at the second connector end 214′ of the second post 213′ to securely retain the connector plug 612′ thereat to electrically connect to the power socket 611′.

Referring to FIG. 10A and FIG. 10B of the drawings, the illumination system 30′ comprises a protective light tube 34′ mounted on the awning arms 223′ and the awning ribs 224′ respectively, a plurality of connection wires 32′, each having a positive and a negative end terminal 321′, mounted within the respective protective light tube 34′, wherein the illuminators 31′ are spacedly mounted along the connection wires 32′ on the within the respective protective light tube 34′ for providing illumination along the awning arms 223′ and the awning ribs 224′ so as to light up the shading area underneath the awning 10′.

In order to achieve secure mounting of the protective light tubes 34′, each of the awning arms 223′ and the awning ribs 224′ has a mounting slot 23′ indently formed alone the awning arm 223′ or the awning rib 224′ wherein the protective light tubes 34′ are securely mounted in the mounting slots 23′ respectively so as to mount the illuminators 31′ on the awning arms 223′ or the awning ribs 224′.

Referring FIG. 12A and FIG. 12B of the drawings, a second alternative mode of the outdoor umbrella according to the above preferred embodiment is illustrated. The second alternative mode is similar to the preferred embodiment except the illumination system 30″. According to the second alternative mode, the illumination system 30″ further comprises a plurality of connection wires 32″, each having a positive and a negative end terminal 321″, mounted along the awning arms 223″ and the awning ribs 224″ of the awning supporting frame 22 respectively, wherein the illuminators 31″ are spacedly supported by and electrically connected with the connection wires 32″ on the awning arms 223″ and the awning ribs 224″ for providing illumination along the awning arms 223″ and the awning ribs 224″ so as to light up the shading area underneath the awning 10″.

In order to achieve secure mounting of the connection wires 32″, each of the awning arms 223″ and the awning ribs 224″ has an elongated mounting slot 23″ indently formed alone the awning arm 223″ or the awning rib 224″ wherein the connection wires 32″ are securely mounted within the mounting slots 23″ respectively so as to mount the illuminators 31″ on the awning arms 223″ or the awning ribs 224″.

Referring FIG. 13A and FIG. 13B of the drawings, a third alternative mode of the outdoor umbrella according to the above preferred embodiment is illustrated. The third alternative mode is similar to the preferred embodiment except the illumination system 30A. According to the third alternative mode, the illumination system 30A comprises a plurality of connection wires 32A, each having a positive and a negative end terminal 321A, mounted along the awning arms 223A and the awning ribs 224A of the awning supporting frame 22A respectively, wherein the illuminators 31A are spacedly supported by and electrically connected with the connection wires 32A on the awning arms 223A and the awning ribs 224A for providing illumination along the awning arms 223A and the awning ribs 224A so as to light up the shading area underneath the awning 10A.

The illumination system 30A further comprises a plurality of elongated supporting holders 35A, and a plurality of illuminators housings 36A, wherein each of the supporting holders 35A has a plurality of terminal connectors 351A adapted for electrically connected with the power distribution system 50 of the outdoor umbrella. The illuminators housings 36A are mounted on the supporting holders 35A respectively, whereas the supporting holders 35A are mounted on the awning arms 223A and the awning ribs 224A respectively. Accordingly, the illuminators 31A are mounted within the illuminators housings 36A respectively to electrically connect with the respective terminal connector 351A so as to electrically connect with the power distribution system 50. As a result, each of the illuminators 31A are mounted on the awning arms 223A or the awning ribs 224A and electrically connected with the powering system 50 via the respective supporting holder 35A and the illuminators housing 36A.

One skilled in the art will understand that the embodiment of the present invention as shown in the drawings and described above is exemplary only and not intended to be limiting.

It will thus be seen that the objects of the present invention have been fully and effectively accomplished. It embodiments have been shown and described for the purposes of illustrating the functional and structural principles of the present invention and is subject to change without departure from such principles. Therefore, this invention includes all modifications encompassed within the spirit and scope of the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7422343 *Sep 12, 2005Sep 9, 2008Wanda Ying LiIllumination wiring arrangement for outdoor umbrella
US7753546Oct 21, 2008Jul 13, 2010World Factory, Inc.Umbrella apparatus
US8314324Dec 19, 2008Nov 20, 2012Shadeplex, LlcLaminated thin film photovoltaic systems
WO2013071315A2 *Nov 13, 2012May 16, 2013Samuels Davian ASolar energy collectors and methods for capturing solar energy
Classifications
U.S. Classification135/91
International ClassificationE04H15/10
Cooperative ClassificationF21S9/035, Y02E10/47, A45B3/04, F21V33/006, Y02E10/50, F24J2/523, A45B3/00, H01L31/0422, A45B2200/1027
European ClassificationF24J2/52A8, F21S9/03S, A45B3/04, A45B3/00, F21V33/00B, H01L31/042B