US 3164971 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
E. W. GENTZ Jan. 12, 1965 AUTO COOLER Filed June 29, 1962 E m B 0 w T U A INVENTOR 0. G'E/VTZ BY% mmwey 3,164,971 AUTO COOLER Edward W. Gentz, 116 Rugeley Road, Western Springs, Ill.
Filed June 29, 1962, Ser. No. 206,430 3 Claims. (Cl. 62-241) This invention relates to auto coolers and more particularly to low cost, easily installed coolers.
Heretofore autos have been cooled in a number of ways. The best way is, of course, to provide conventional air conditioning units driven by power taken from an auto engine. However, these units are very expensive and diflicult to install;-therefore, few autos are equipped with them. Certainly it would be difficult to rent them for short periods of time. An alternative to air conditioning is the so-called evaporative-type cooler. This device has limited cooling capacity and, since it is usually window mounted, obscures vision. Usually its use is limited to dry climates.
Accordingly, an object of the invention is to provide new and improved auto coolers. A more particular object is to provide low cost, easily installed coolers having relatively great cooling capacity. In this connection an object is to provide coolers especiallyalthough not exclusivelyadapted for temporary installations as rental units.
Another object of the invention is to provide low cost air coolers, the cooling effects of which may be controlled or directed about an auto to suit a users needs. Here an object isto increase or decrease the cooling effects through the use of controls built into the auto. A further object is to provide cooling units arranged to function in conjunction with any of a number of adapter units, thus allowing great flexibility of use and operation.
Yet another object is to provide auto coolers adapted to mass production on general purpose machine tools. Another object is to accomplish these ends and yet have a design of such simplicity that a cooler may be constructed by an untrained handyman either from a knock down kit or through the use of simple hand tools.
In accordance with one aspect of this invention, an auto cooler is provided with an ice chamber having at least one side made of a high thermal conductive material. An air duct partially surrounds the ice chamber, encompassing the thermal conductive material. Thermally attached to the conductive material are a number of fins for transferring heat from an air stream in the duct to the ice chambers. surrounding the ice chamber to the vents of an auto. This way the controls in the auto vents control the volume and velocity of the air stream in the duct.
The above mentioned and other features of this invention and the manner of obtaining them will become more apparent, and the invention itself will be best understood by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 isa perspective view, with a cut away section, of a cooler made in accordance with this invention; and
' FIG. 2 is a part perspective and part schematic view of a cooler installed in an automobile and connected to the ventilating system thereof.
As shown in FIG. 1, an exemplary auto cooler includes an outer housing, an ice chamber 11, an air duct 12 which partially surrounds the ice chamber, and
a means 13, in form of a flexible duct, for directing a stream of air through the air duct 12.
The cooler 10, which may take various forms, is here shown as enclosed in a housing of a generally rectangular box-like form. A port 14 is formed in one side or end of the housing. When the cooler is sold in kit form for as- A flexible duct connects the air duct.
3,164,971 Patented Jan. 12, 1965' sembly by handy men, this box is preferably an insulated chest of the type sold for use as picnic iceboxes. The insulation keeps condensation from forming on the outside of the cooler; thus its use is not limited to areas of low humidity. V
When manufactured for sale as a completed unit, the box may be molded plastic, or may be assembled from die cut fiber board panels, or other suitable material. At least the bottom portion of the box should be water proof, and a drain 15 should be provided for the housing 10.
This will allow condensation, collection, and draining of 'water or other liquid.- If the cooler is permanently.
mounted in an auto, the drain 15 may be connected to a tube leading to the exterior of the auto.
The ice chamber 11 is a box like structure having at least one side made of a thermal conductive material. For example, the bottom 16 and back 17 maybe made of aluminum. On the top is preferably an insulated,
gasketed door 18 connected to the cooler housing by hinges 19, 20 and held in place by a latch -or clamp, not shown. If desired, a drain 15a may be provided for the chamber 11. It too may be connected to the exterior of the auto.
One cooler which produced excellent results had an ice chamber with interior dimensions of approximately 10" x 11" x 5". The housing 10 had external dimensions of approximately 20" x12" x 10". These dimensions were judged best for use with a fifteen pound block of Dry Ice. However, larger ice chambers may be provided for storing food or drink in addition to ice or Dry Ice.
Alternatively the space in front of theice chamber 11 and above the air duct 12 may store food and drink. It
should be understood that otherdimensions may be pro vided without departing from the invention.
The remaining portion of the interior of the housing, which is not occupied by the ice chamber 11, forms the air duct 12. By inspection of the drawing, it will be apparent that this air duct partially surrounds and encompasses the thermal conductive sides 16, 17 of the ice chamber 11. Thus, an air stream (indicated by the arrows A) forced through the port 14 passes through the air duct 12, is cooled, and emitted into the interior of the auto passenger compartment (as indicated by the arrows B).
To increase the transfer of heat from the air stream to the ice chamber 11, and thereby aid cooling, a plurality of fins are thermally attached to the heat conductive material of the bottom and back 16, 17. For example, one such fin is shown at 21. These fins increase the thermal transfer and, therefore, the cooling of the air stream.
At the exhaust end of the duct 12 and athwart the air stream are grilles, louvers or vanes 22 for deflecting the air. These vanes may be pivotally mounted. Or, the louvers may be removable or rotatable. In any event, the vanes will deflect the cooled air, represented by the arrow B, to any desired part of the car.
The air stream may be forced through the air duct 12 in several different ways. One Way is to connect the port 14 to the vent in an auto by a flexible duct 13. This duct may be the type very often included in auto heating systems or used to vent clothes dryers. This flexible duct leading to an auto vent connection offers many advantages. First, the forward motion of the auto forces the air stream through the air duct 12, past the fins 21, and out into the passenger compartment of the auto. Second, the controls already in the auto vent may control the volume and velocity of the air stream.
A number of different flexible ducts and duct assemblies provides many adapters which may be combined with the cooler to increase its flexibility. For example, a great variety of flange plates may be designed to fit the various models and makes of autos and a simple spring collar or adapter clamp 23 may snap the duct 13 onto the flange.
Preferably the flange plates will be held in position over the exit of the auto vent by Spring or friction forces. However, in some models, it may be better to replace existing vent covers with the flange plate. Another adapter may comprise a flexible duct containing a fan 25. For temporary installation the fan is preferably driven by electrical power supplies from an auto cigar lighter socket through a plug 26 and power cord 27. In still other adapters, a fan controlling thermostat may be connected into cord 27. Control valves may also be provided in the flexible duct 13. Moreover, air re-circulation ports may reintroduce some already cooled air into the air duct 12. The duct may be made long so that the cooler rests on a seat, short so that the cooler rests on the floor, S or other shape so that the cooler rests on the transmission hump or elsewhere. In fact, a somewhat flattened duct 13 may be slipped under the front seat so that the cooler rests in the back seat.
From this it is apparent that the cooler provides a Wide range of options extending from an extremely low cost unit made of molded plastic foam up to relative expensive, electrically operated devices. Moreover, the ease and simplicity of installation make the cooler well suited for rental or other temporary usage. For example, the coolers may be rented on one edge of a desert and returned on an opposite edge. Still other uses and advantages will 'occur to those skilled in the art.
It is to be understood that the foregoing description of a specific example of the invention is not to be considered as a limitation on its scope.
1. A cooler for temporary installation in an automobile having at least one air vent comprising; a box having four sides and a bottom made from insulating material, said box being proportioned to rest inside an automobile, an entrance port formed in one side of said box, a top for said box also comprising an insulating material and having a louvered exit port at one end thereof, said exit port being situated at the side of said box whichis opposite to said entrance port when said top is in position and closing said box, a chamber having a depth which is less than the depth of said box with a plurality of fins integral with and depending from the bottom of said chamber, said chamber and said fins being made from a material having good heat conducting characteristics, the upper edges of said chamber being supported at the upper edges of the two opposing walls of said box and situated adjacent said louvered port, whereby the entrance port, bottom of said chamber, and the exit port form a duct for conveying an air stream through said box, means for continuously draining said chamber and said box, said fins being oriented to lie parallel to the flow of said stream of air, and a flexible duct for coupling the air vents in an automobile ventilating system to the entrance port in said box, whereby an air stream may be forced through said duct by forward motion of said automobile and controlled by controls in said ventilating system.
2. The cooler of claim 1, wherein said flexible duct includes adapter means for facilitating the coupling of said ducts to said air vents.
3. The cooler of claim 1 including an electric fan in said flexible duct adapted to run off a cigar lighter socket and positioned to force said air stream through said air duct.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,196,169 8/16 Stillman 62-424 2,060,482 3/36 Ballman 62425 2,196,310 4/40 Kalin 62406 2,512,198 6/50 Davidson 62-424 2,557,004 6/51 Lepper 62426 2,867,238 1/59 Wilfert 98-2.4 2,959,032 11/60 Davis 62-424 2,992,604 7/61 Trotman 98-2 3,030,145 4/ 62 Kottemann 98-2 3,043,116 7/ 62 Fuller 62-420 ROBERT A. OLEARY, Primary Examiner. WILLIAM J. WYE, Examiner.