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Publication numberUS3379023 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 23, 1968
Filing dateMar 3, 1967
Priority dateMar 3, 1967
Publication numberUS 3379023 A, US 3379023A, US-A-3379023, US3379023 A, US3379023A
InventorsRalph Crose
Original AssigneeKim Enterprise Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Underwater diving apparatus
US 3379023 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 23, 1968 R. cROsE UNDERWATER DIVING APPARATUS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 5, 1967 INVENTOR. RALPH cnosz f ATTORNEY April 23, 1968 R. cRosE UNDERWATER DIVING APPARATUS Filed March 3, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. RALPH 6/9055 ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,379,023 UNDERWATER DIVING APPARATUS Ralph Crose, Woodstock, ilk, assignor to Kim Enterprise, he, a corporation of Illinois Filed Mar. 3, 1967, Ser. No. 620,523 7 Claims. (Cl. 61-70) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A scuba diver equalizer in the form of two balance tanks which are adapted to be removably aflixed to the divers air tank and which are adapted to be filled and depleted of water, by displacing it with air. Air is supplied to the balance tanks in a controlled manner, directly from the divers air tank or, alternatively, from an auxiliary air tank which is afiixed to one of the balance tanks.

This invention relates to underwater diving equipment and in particular to improved equipment for effectively controlling and varying the weight carried by a diver, to overcome the buoyancy of himself and his equipment.

In the past, divers have generally used weight belts, that is, slotted lead blocks carried on a belt, about their waist to overcome their buoyancy so that they could submerge. While such Weight belts effectively sink the diver, they are not altogether practical and safe. For example, the weight can be varied only by jettisoning some of the lead blocks, or the entire weight belt, in which case they are generally lost and not recoverable. Also, the diver must overcome the effect of the weight belt While surfacing, unless he first jettisons it. The fact that the weight is generally fixed, in the sense that additional weight cannot be added once the diver is submerged or has jettisoned some of the lead blocks, also renders the weight belts ineffective to establish and maintain the diver at several different depths during one dive, as explained more fully below.

In US. Patent 3,269,129, there is disclosed a weighted back pack for divers air tanks which includes a pair of tubes in which weights are slidably and releasa bly retained. The tubes also contain ejector means for expelling the weights when a pin or key is removed from the ends of the tubes. While the disclosed weighted back pack is a substantial improvement over weight belts, it can be seen that it suffers the same disadvantages outlined above. The weights must still be jettisoned to eliminate their added weight, and the weight cannot be varied to establish and maintain a diver at a desired depth or depths. Accordingly, this back pack also is ineffective to establish and maintain the diver at several different depths during one dive, by adding to and subtracting from the weight carried by him, for this purpose Divers often wear wet suits of neoprene and the like, which suits have floatation ability. These wet suits are compressed during deep dives and, as a result, they lose some of this floatation. This loss of floatation effectively increases the divers Weight, making it more difficult for him to surface.

During deep dives, there is also the problem of the pressure from above pushing the diver deeper. Accordingly, not only does a diver have to overcome the added weight resulting from the loss of floatation of his wet suit upon surfacing, he also has to overcome the pressure from above which tends to push or hold him down.

The equipment of the present invention, hereinafter referred to as a scuba diving equalizer or simply an equalizer, permits a diver to add and subtract weight, at will, to overcome the buoyancy of himself and his equipment. A diver therefore can establish and maintain himself at "ice any desired depth or depths underwater, and can eliminate the weight altogether, if desired, so that he can easily ascend to the surface. In addition, the equalizer can function to provide sufficient floatation ability, to overcome the loss of the same by a divers Wet suit and to overcome the pressure from above which tends to push or hold him down.

The equalizer includes, generally, a pair of tanks which can be easily and quickly removably affixed to a divers air tank and which can be filled with water to add sufficient, or the necessary, weight for a diver to overcome his buoyancy and that of his equipment to permit him to submerge and maintain himself at a desired depth. The tanks are further adapted to be depleted, partially or completely, of the water by blowing air into them to vary the weight of the water in the tanks. Accordingly, a diver can take on or eliminate weight, as desired, and as often as he wants to, within limits, during a single dive.

Air is supplied to the tanks, from the divers air tank or, alternatively, from an auxiliary air tank carried solely for this purpose. Control valves included in the coupling between the air tanks and the water-fillable tanks permit easy operation and control of the water flow into and out of the latter.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide improved underwater diving equipment.

Another object is to provide improved underwater diving equipment for effectively controlling and varying the added weight carried by a diver, for overcoming his buoyancy and that of his equipment.

Still another object is to provide improved underwater diving equipment which does not include lead blocks for weight. In this respect, it is contemplated that water he used for weight, the water being retained within and expelled from a pair of tanks.

Another object is to provide improved underwater diving equipment of the above-described type which uses air to expel and to control the amount of water within the pair of tanks.

Another object is to provide improved underwater diving equipment of the above type which can be used as a floatation device.

A still further object is to provide improved underwater diving equipment of the above-described type which can be easily and quickly removably affixed to a divers air tank.

A still further object is to provide improved underwater diving equipment for equalizing the buoyancy of a diver and his equipment.

A still further object is to provide improved underwater diving equipment for equalizing the buoyancy of a diver and his equipment which is easy and economical to manufracture and of a construction which is highly effective and dependable in operation.

The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of par-ts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an equalizer exemplary of a first embodiment of the invention, illustrating the manner in which it is removably aflixed to a divers air tank;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a partial front plan view of the top upper portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a front plan view of an equalizer exemplary of a second embodiment of the invention, and further illustrating the manner in which it is removably aflixed to a divers air tank;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a partial bottom plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 5; and

FIG. 8 is a sectional view taken transversely through one of the equalizers tanks, illustrating the manner in which air is blown into the tanks to expel the water therein through apertures in the bottoms of the tanks.

Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

Referring now to the drawings, in FIGS. 1-4 there is illustrated an elongated cylindrical air tank 10 which has compressed air in it and which is of the type generally used by scuba divers and the like. A suitable harness and/or rack (not shown) is generally affixed to the air tank 10, so that a diver can strap the air tank on his back. A pressure control valve 12 is afiixed to the outlet 14 of the air tank 10 and is operable to control the supply of air coupled to the divers breathing apparatus (not shown), via the flexible hose 16, in the well-known fashion.

An equalizer including a pair of balance tanks 21 and 22 and the coupling described below is removably and fixedly secured to the air tank 10, by means of a pair of adjustable straps 24 and 26 which may be tightened to securely clamp about the air tank. The straps 24 and 26 may be affixed to the balance tanks 21 and 22 in any suitable fashion, such as by extending them through brackets 27 (FIG. 4) afiixed to the balance tanks. If the straps 24 and 26 are of metal, they can be welded directly to the balance tanks, if desired, to provide a substantial integral construction.

The balance tanks 21 and 22 are of an elongated cylindrical construction and have openings 28 and 29 (FIG. 3) formed in the bottom walls thereof, respectively. The balance tanks are preferably of a relatively lightweight material, such as aluminum, and also are preferably substantially smaller in diameter and length than the air tank 10. With this construction, the weight of the air tank will not be substantially increased with the equalizer 20 afiixed to it, and the overall assembly will not be excessively bulky or clumsy to handle.

Each of the balance tanks 21 and 22 has a threaded opening in its side wall near the top thereof, for threadably receiving a hose coupler 31. A hose 32 having a T-coupler 34 centrally disposed therein is coupled between the two hose couplers 31, to couple the balance tanks to one another. Another hose 36 has one end thereof connected to the T-coupler 34, and its opposite end is coupled to a control valve 38, preferably by means of a quick-release coupler 40. The control valve 38 is connected to a hose 42 which is, in turn, coupled to the pressure control valve 12 affixed to the air tank 10. The hoses 32, 36 and 42 may be flexible, low pressure hoses, and the hoses 36 and 42 preferably are of sufficient length to extend around the divers chest so that the control valve 38 can be positioned in front of the diver, for convenience and ease of operating it.

The equalizer 20 is easily and quickly removably affixed to the air tank 10, by merely slipping the latter through the straps 24 and 26 and tightening them to securely clamp them about the air tank. The balance tanks 21 and 22 preferably are equally spaced about the periphery of the air tank 10, so that the balance of the diver is not upset when the balance tanks are filled with water. Accordingly, the balance tanks 21 and 22 advantageously are fixedly secured together in spaced relation, in some suitable manner, for example, by welding the straps 24 and 26 to them, so that they are pre-established in proper spaced relation. A diver, upon aflixing the equalizer 20 to the air tank 10, need not therefore positionably adjust the balance tanks each time.

After affixing the balance tanks 21 and 22 to the air 4 tank 10, the end of the hose 42 is coupled to the pressure control valve 12.

In operation, the bottom walls of the balance tanks 21 and 22 function as battles to trap air in the balance tanks when the diver is on the surface and in a horizontal position. In this respect, the balance tanks function as floatation devices and, accordingly, assist the diver in staying on the surface. If he positions himself vertically in the water thereafter, some air remains trapped in the balance tanks so that they still provide some buoyancy to remain on the surface.

Upon diving, and with the bottoms of the balance tanks 21 and 22 extending vertically upward, the air trapped in the balance tanks is slowly replaced by water, thereby adding weight to the diver to assist him in descending, by equalizing or overcoming his own buoyancy and that of his equipment.

For a more rapid descent, either head or feet first, the hose 36 can be dis-connected by means of the quick-release coupler 40. The air trapped in the balance tanks 21 and 22 will be displaced or expelled through the hoses 32 and 36, so that the balance tanks will fill more rapidy and, in turn, add weight to the diver more rapidy.

When the diver has reached a desired depth, he can establish himself in equilibrium at that depth, by expelling a sufficient amount of water from the balance tanks 21 and 22 so as to equalize his buoyancy in the water. This is accomplished by operating the control valve 38 to permit air from the air tank 10 to enter the balance tanks 21 and 22, via the hose 42, the control valve 38 and the hoses 36 and 32. Equal amounts of air simultaneously enter each of the balance tanks 21 and 22, thereby causing an equl amount of water to be expelled from each of them, through the openings 28 and 29 in their bottoms, as illustrated in FIG. 8. The balance or weight of the two balance tanks therefore remains the same so that the balance of the diver is not upset.

If the diver wants to ascend to a lesser depth, he merely operates the control valve 38 to again blow more air into the balance tanks 21 and 22. When a sufficient amount of water has been expelled from the balance tanks to reach the desired depth, the diver then closes the control valve 38 to shut-off the supply of air to them. If he wants he now descend to a greater depth, the hose 36 is disconnected, using the quick-release coupler 40, to permit water to enter the balance tanks 21 and 22. The air within the balance tanks is expelled through the hose 36. When sufficient water, or weight, has been added to carry the diver to the desired depth, the hose 36 is again connected to the control valve 38. This will prevent any more air from being expelled which action, in turn, prevents any more water from entering the balance tanks. It can therefore be seen that a diver can easily descend, ascend and establish himself in equilibrium at any desired depth, by merely controlling the amount of water taken into or expelled from the balance tanks 21 and 22.

If a diver is at a depth such that the pressure of the water above him tends to push him deeper in the water, he can blow sufficient air into the balance tanks to provide himself enough buoyancy to counter-act this effect. Accordingly, the need for a diver to physically exert himself to overcome the pressure pushing him down is completely eliminated.

A diver also can gradually blow and maintain a sufficient amount of air in the balance tanks 21 and 22 to equalize his buoyancy and the weight of his equipment so that he can easily ascend to the surface. In this fashion, his rate of ascent can be easily controlled so that he does not surface too quickly. In this case also, the diver can ascend to the surface without physically exerting himself.

In FIGS. 5-7, there is shown an equalizer 50 which is like the equalizer 20 only it has its own source of air, supplied from an auxiliary air tank 52.

In this case, the auxiliary air tank 52 is clamped to aavaszs one of the two balance tanks 21 and 22, by means of adjustable straps 54 and 56. The auxiliary air tank 52 is substantially smaller than the air tank 10 and the balance tanks 21 and 22, and is preferably mounted near the lower end of the balance tank. The auxiliary air tank also is preferably mounted in an inverted position so that its pressure control valve 58 extends downward and is readily accessible to the diver. The hose 36 is coupled directly to the pressure control valve 58, by means of the quick-release coupler 49. If desired, the base 36 can be arranged to extend across the chest of the diver and a control valve included in it. Such an arrangement would eliminate the need for the diver to reach behind himself to operate the pressure control valve 58.

The equalizer 50 operates in the same manner as the equalizer 24 but its air is supplied from the auxiliary air tank 52 rather than the air tank 10. This arrangement has the advantage that the divers source of air is independent of that of the equalizer. Accordingly, it will not be depleted as quickly as in the case of the equalizer 20. It has the disadvantage of being more bulky and slightly heavier, however.

It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention, which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.

Now that the invention has been described, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

1. Underwater diving apparatus for equalizing the buoyancy of a diver and/or his equipment comprising: at least one tubular balance tank having an air inlet opening therein for permitting air to be blown into it and a single continually open water inlet and outlet therein through which water can enter said balance tank and be expelled; a source of air coupled to said balance tank; control valve means included in the coupling between said source of air and said balance tank for controlling the supply of air to said balance tank whereby air entering said tank expels water through said continually opened inlet and outlet; and means for afiixing said apparatus to a diver.

2. Underwater diving apparatus, as claimed in claim 1, further including disconnect means in the coupling between said balance tank and said control valve means.

3. Underwater diving apparatus, as claimed in claim 2, wherein said disconnect means comprises a quickrelease coupler.

4. Underwater diving apparatus, as claimed in claim 2, wherein said source of air coupled to said balance tank comprises the air tank generally used by a diver for his source of air.

5. Underwater diving apparatus, as claimed in claim 4, wherein said balance tank is adapted to be removably aflixed to said air tank.

6. Underwater diving apparatus, as claimed in claim 2, wherein said balance tank is adapted to be removably aflixed to the air tank generally used by a diver for his source of air, said source of air coupled to said balance tank comprising an auxiliary air tank which is independent of said air tank used by said diver for his source of air and which is adapted to be removably affixed to said balance tank.

7. Underwater diving apparatus, as claimed in claim 2, including a pair of said balance tanks adapted to be removably affixed about the peripheral surface of the air tank generally used by a diver for his source of air, said source of air being coupled to both said balance tanks and adapted to couple equal amounts of air to them.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,161,028 12/1964 Odum et al 6169 3,269,129 8/1966 Zambrano.

FOREIGN PATENTS 532,205 11/ 1921 France.

8,156 2/ 1923 Netherlands.

DAVID J. WILLIAMOWSKY, Primary Examiner.

J. KARL BELL, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3161028 *Jun 13, 1961Dec 15, 1964Banks Robert HBuoyancy adjusting device for swimmers
US3269129 *Jun 29, 1965Aug 30, 1966Rodolfo C ZambranoBack pack for divers' air tanks
FR532205A * Title not available
NL8156C * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3495413 *Oct 11, 1968Feb 17, 1970Pinto Olympio FControllable ballast for underwater diving equipment
US3695048 *Feb 6, 1970Oct 3, 1972Royal H DimickBuoyance regulating apparatus for underwater swimming
US3964266 *Jul 21, 1975Jun 22, 1976Bartlett Ronald DBuoyancy compensating back pack assembly
US4009583 *Oct 7, 1975Mar 1, 1977Buckle Brian LBuoyancy control apparatus for divers
US4016616 *Jun 12, 1975Apr 12, 1977Lawrence S. ScottDiver flotation apparatus
US4114389 *Jul 1, 1977Sep 19, 1978Dacor CorporationConstant volume buoyancy compensator
US5199820 *Apr 22, 1991Apr 6, 1993Nicklo Joseph JAttitude adjusting apparatus for scuba divers
US5570688 *Nov 17, 1993Nov 5, 1996Cochran Consulting, Inc.Advanced dive computer for use with a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
US20060120808 *Nov 17, 2005Jun 8, 2006Roseborough Trevor EControlled volume buoyancy compensating device
US20070248419 *Apr 21, 2006Oct 25, 2007Scuba Developments, Inc.Buoyancy control apparatus for underwater swimming
Classifications
U.S. Classification405/186
International ClassificationB63C11/30, B63C11/02
Cooperative ClassificationB63C11/30
European ClassificationB63C11/30