US 3433237 A
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March 18, 1969 R. J. GELINAS 3,433,237
POOL CLEANER EMBODYING COMBINATION JET SUCTION, SELF-UNDULATING HOSE Filed Sept. 5, 1967 Sheet of 2 INVENTOR. PALPH J GEL/HA5 ATTORNEY R. J. GELINAS POOL CLEANER EMBODYING COMBINATION JET March 18, 1969 SUCTION, SELF-UNDULATING HOSE Sheet 2 of2 Filed Sept. 5, 1967 031'," 4 I ll W nn-gm INVENTOR.
PALPH JGEL/NAS A 7'7'0lP/VZY- United States Patent Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A pool-cleaner consisting essentially of a dual flexible hose embodying a tube for delivering a jet of water from a free end thereof which is thereby caused to undulate over the bottom of the pool with a writhing movement, and a suction tube having an inlet adjacent said free end of the hose, adapted to draw ofl a mixture of water and sediment stirred up by the jet issuing from the jet tube. The hose is encircled by spaced bearing collars, to avoid abrasive deterioration and to control the writhing action. The hose depends from a float.
Background of the invention The use of a tethered hose carrying a stream of water under pressure, discharging it from its free end to provide a jet having a scouring action upon sedimentary coating on the bottom of a pool, and eflecting a writhing action under the reaction to the jet discharge, has been used for some time in pool cleaners wherein the hose is carried around a swimming pool adjacent its periphery by a travelling float.
Such cleaners are shown in patents to Pansini, Nos. 2,975,791 and 3,032,044, and Blumenfeld, No. 2,919,027. Objections to such apparatus are the complexity of the mechanism for transporting the hose around the pool, and its unsightliness. Proposals to utilize such an undulating hose with a fixed anchorage at its tethered end, have also been made, but have not proved satisfactory because of incomplete coverage of the area of the pool bottom, or because of unsightliness or obstruction of the pool for use during cleaning. Such devices are disclosed in patents to St. Clair, No. 2,979,733; Garaway, No. 2,982,971; Varian, No. 3,074,078; and Winston, No. 3,170,180. A pool cleaner with both pressure and suction lines embodied in a plurality of flexible hose units tethered to a supply pipe extending the full length of the pool along its longitudinal axis is disclosed in Berg, Patent No. 3,168,896, but the specific apparatus shown therein has not been found suitable for commercial use.
Rsum of invention The present invention provides a pool cleaning apparatus utilizing a jet-suction cleaning hose unit, tethered to a side of a pool, and which may depend from a float which is adjustably connected by a tether portion of hose. In one form of the invention, a quick-disconnect coupling may be utilized for this connection. The hose unit, composed of jet and suction tubing respectively, comprises a guide section depending from the tethered float, and a sweep section for travel on the pool floor. A natural curvature of the longitudinal axes of the two ttl'bings is utilized in arranging the guide section with the plane of its natural curvature in a vertical plane transverse to the side of the pool, and displaced from the plane of natural curvature of the sweep section by rotatable orientation, either right or left, around the axis of the joint between the two sections. Bearing collars are secured to the sweep section of the hose unit spaced along the length thereof 3,433,237 Patented Mar. 18, 1969 with a variable spacing which controls the writhing or flailing pattern to a predetermined substantial uniformity of pattern with only minor variations, and such that full cleaning coverage of a pool is attained.
A single complete hose unit as outlined above, therefore does travel under such control, completely covering the area of a swimming pool from one end to the other, including both floor and walls thereof, without the need for additional aid or extra manual or mechanical assist; and where this major uniformity of control is producible in volume production due to its unique construction, duplication being an economical, desirable feature. Thus a single hose unit is a practical independent unit operable to clean a swimming pool, although additional hose units may be placed strategically in various pools for independent area or cooperative cleaning operation.
Consistent with the foregoing, the object of the invention is to provide primarily a single pool cleaner apparatus of the jet-suction flexible hose type:
(a) Utilizing a fixedly-tethered hose unit that need not be towed around the pool or moved bodily across the pool;
(b) Having a substantially uniform sweep pattern throughout repeated circuits of its sweep area;
(c) Utilizing a combination of single or multiple tether anchorage positions located along the pool rim substantially midway between the ends of the pool, or at spaced intervals along the side (depending on the number of units installed) combined with an angular orientation between the planes of natural curvature of guide and sweep sections of the hose unit, and bearing collars of variable spacing, such that the sweep pattern will be repeated with substantial uniformity.
(d) Adapted to vacuum oif the mixture of sediment and water 'stirred up by the scouring action of the water jet.
(e) Using a cleaning head adapted to draw in the sediment mixture in an area of 360 or less around its circumference.
(f) Having an attachment to the pool wall which may be a quick-disconnect coupling.
g) Having a means for control of the guide hose unit which means in one embodiment thereof may be a longitudinal spine providing a flexible stitfening action;
(h) Wherein such spine may provide a spring action tending always to gently urged the guide hose to a neutral position (a median position between areas of sweep on respective sides thereof);
(i) Having swivel means connecting the jet hose to the vacuum head sleeve so as to permit relative rotation between the hose and sleeve, avoiding kinking of the jet hose.
(1') Which may utilize a float supporting the upper end of the guide hose unit adjacent but spaced from the pool rim, and which float may be adjustable as to position.
These and other objects will become apparent in the following description, taken with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Description FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view of a swimming pool equipped with a pair of cleaning units which can be utilized as one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a schematic plan view of one end of the pool, including a diagram illustrating approximately a path of movement of the free end of a hose unit possible of execution in repeated cycles with only minor variations therein, which path may be determined by a selected adjustment of the hose unit, through adjustments made available by its construction;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of one end of the pool showing the hose unit of my invention in side-elevational view;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the guide section of the hose unit;
FIG. 5 is a detail section view of one of the poolside coupling sockets which may be utilized as one means for anchoring the cleaning unit to the pool wall, the socket being shown in axial section, and the coupling end of a hose unit being shown inserted in the socket;
FIG. 6 is a detail axial sectional view of one means for coupling the guide and sweep hose sections; and
FIG. 7 is a detail axial sectional view of one embodiment of the jet-suction head.
Referring now to the drawings in detail, and in particular to FIG. 1, I have shown therein, schematically, as an example of one form in which the invention may be embodied, a swimming pool A equipped with a pair of hose units each comprising a guide section B and an undulatory sweep section C having a free end constituted by a combined scouring and jet-suction nozzle D. Guide sections B of the two units are coupled to respective ends of a manifold E which is connected into the pool circulatory system H Each of the hose sections B and C (FIGS. 3-7) comprises a pair of tubes 10 and 11 (jet hose and suction tube respectively) assembled one within the other so as to jointly constitute, in the operative assembly, a dual flexible hose extending from a tether section (constituted by a length of rather flexible hose 12 and which may utilize an adjustable float 13) to the cleaning head D at its free end. The jet hose 10 terminates in a jet nozzle 14 and the suction tube 11 terminates in a suction jacket 15 having a plurality of relatively small mouths 17 for drawing in silt and the like around a circumference which may be varied from 0 to 360. Months 17 may be combined with a group of relatively large mouths 17A for receiving leaves and other items of larger dimensions, said mouths being disposed circumferentially at 0 to 360 spacing around the circumference of the jacket 15. The arrangement of mouths may be varied in accordance with varying average conditions of pool sediment for various pools.
The invention utilizes tubing 11 of considerably larger diameter than hose 10, and locates hose 10 inside tubing 11. Thus the vacuum and jet unions have a superior and better control in the most simplified way, and kinking of the jet hose is eliminated by permitting it to rotate within the vacuum hose, a swivel connection being utilized to make this possible. Tether hose section 12 is composed of lengths of suction tubing 11 and jet hose 10, which may be integral continuations of these elements in guide hose B, extending through float 13, which is of sleeve form and is adjustable by sliding it on tubing 11. Float 13 may be of foamed cellular plastic material, of low density so as to have adequate flotation property.
Attached to sweep section C, in encircling relation thereto, is a plurality of bearing collars 16 having minimum weight but abrasion-resistant properties. Collars 16 are arranged in groups designated 1, 2 and 3 respectively, the collars of group 3 adjacent the free end of the hose unit being closer together than those of middle group 2 and the collars of group 2 being closer together than those of group 1. Group 3 provides drive for the writhing or flailing action. Group 2 provides control over the flailing action. Group 1 provides (a) lift, and (b) flexibility of travel on both sides of the median vertical plane of the guide hose unit.
Suction tubing 11 and jet hose 10 are of tubings having parallel natural longitudinal curvatures to which they tend to return if forcibly flexed to a different configuration. Such a natural curvature normally arises from the process of manufacture wherein heated (e.g. plastic) material is extruded into the tubular form and is wound into a coil before it has cooled and taken a set; or can be imparted to the hose and tubing sections (as by reheat softening and coil-setting preliminary to assembly of the hose section). This natural curvature, in conjunction with the bearing collars, is utilized in attaining controlled movement of the hose unit, as follows. The sections of jet hose and suction tubing 1 of which guide section B is composed, are arranged with their longitudinal axes of natural curvature disposed parallel in a common vertical plane substantially normal to the pool wall at the tether point, when the hose unit is coupled to manifold E. The sweep section C, in one embodiment thereof, is composed of separate sections of tubing 10 and 11 coupled to those of guide section B by suitable hose unions (FIG. 6) and has its tube sections 10 and 11 likewise arranged with their longitudinal curvature axes lying in a common plane which is angularly displaced (by rotatable orientation) from that of guide unit B. For some installations the two planes may be displaced apart, to right or left, whereas in others, the displacement may be less than 90. This can be achieved in the coupling of FIG. 6, care being taken to first determine the plane of natural curvature of each section of tubing and tothen rotate one section about the axis of the connecting coupling (either right or left, depending on the particular installation) from the plane of natural curvature of the tube section to which it is being coupled; and then to fix the sections together to preserve the selected orientation.
Float 13 is attached to the rim of pool A by the horizontal tether section 12 of dual tubing extending through float B at one end and attached to the pool rim at its other end. Quick disconnect attachment of the tether section 12 to the pool wall is attained by coupling the end of tublng 11 into a socket constituting the outer end of one of two spaced coupling receptacles 18 of manifold E, and by coupling hose 10 at its tether end, to a jet supply plpe 19 which is connected to the inner end of manifold coupling and receptacle 18 and projects into the socket. Couphng receptacles 18 are located in the side wall of the pool, preferably at a level such as to locate the tether sections 12 somewhat below, although approximately at the normal level of the pool surface.
From the float 13, the dual tubing 10, 11 extends downwardly in a broad curve, at 20, and a substantially vertically descending reversely curved portion 21, from WhlCh the freely movable sweep section C extends, generally along the bottom of the pool, resting thereon. The downward curvature 20 is reversely curved with respect to the natural curvature of the tubing, preloading the guide section with a moderate lifting action, while the curvature of portion 21 is substantially its natural curvature (curved in the same direction) and thus provides the lower end of guide section B with freedom of lateral swinging movement, from side to side, forwardly, up, or back, along the pool bottom, controlling any tendency of this lower end to be pushed upwardly by reaction forces transmitted from sweep section C, utilizing the radial adjustments available in the connection of the sweep section to the guide hose. Thus the sweep section C is constrained to move back and forth along the pool bottom and up and down the pool walls under such control that it is restrained from emerging from the pool surface.
The sweep section C lies with its plane of natural curvature tending to assume a position generally parallel to the pool bottom and when unstressed will tend to assume a position curved away from the vertical plane of guide section B to one side or the other (it can be either). I find that it is thus possible to aim the sweep section to one side (or the other) of the median normal plane of guide section B. This is especially useful where the natural curvature is utilized to preload the sweep section in a direction up the incline fromthe deep end to the shallow end of the pool. In this respect the invention solves a problem that has consistently baflled all previous attempts to satisfactorily operate a writhing hose type of pool cleaner. Such aiming of the sweep section assists its travel up the incline and opposes its tendency to slide by gravity down the incline, thus tending to give it equal eifectiveness of travel in both directions. This also contributes to the approximate uniformity of the pattern of movement of sweep section C against the pool bottom with a tendency to maintain constant contact therewith, and with substantial uniformity of travel path, in repeated cycles of travel.
Manifold E is fabricated of suitable tubing, embedded in the ground beneath pool rim 23 and deck 24. It comprises (FIG. 1) a suction header 25 and a jet header 26, extending in parallel relation to the filter system, to one or more coupling receptacles 18, with the header 25 comrnunicating with the suction interiors of receptacles 18, and with the jet header 26 (at a lower level than header 25) communicating through elbow connections 27 with jet supply tubes 19 within respective receptacles 18. Suction and jet lines 28 and 29 extend from the inlet and (115- charge respectively of a conventional pool circulation pump 30 to the headers 25 and 26 respectively, as branches of the conventional suction and delivery lines 31 and 32 of the pool circulatory system P, which can include the conventional filter unit 33 and heater 34, all shown schematically in FIG. 1. A valve in each of the branches of the suction and delivery lines can be adjusted to force suction and pressure away from existing lines into cleaner receptacles 18.
The receptacles 18 (FIG. 5) embody respective coupling sockets 45 permanently exposed in the pool wall and substantially flush with the surface thereof so as to present no objectionable appearance or obstruction to the use of the pool. The cleaning units B, C are coupled to sockets 45 by means of respective sleeves 46 secured to the ends of tubings 11 and carrying O-rings 47 for sealing into the sockets 45. Jet tubes are correspondingly connected to respective coupling nipples 48 each mounted in a holding spider 49 in a respective sleeve 46 and having a gasketed head 50 to couple into a socket 51 on the outer end of jet supply pipe 19. The coupling and uncoupling of the cleaning units can thus be accomplished quickly and without difliculty. When the pool is not being cleaned, the hose units are removed, leaving the pool completely unencumbered for maximum enjoyment of its use.
Guide hose section B includes in the suction tubing portion thereof, a flexible spine 35 of a spring material (cg. stainless steel) which (FIG. 3) in one form embodies a fiat ribbon with its width extending chordally across the cross'section of tubing 11 in a horizontal direction and its thickness extending radially and vertically so as to provide maximum flexibility in a vertical plane and minimum flexibility (maximum stiffness) in a lateral, horizontal direction. This stiffness provides control over the movement of the guide section as explained more fully hereafter. The spine 35 is attached to the wall of guide hose tubing 11 on the inside thereof as shown and terminates just short of the two ends of guide section B.
Jet nozzle 14 (FIG. 6) and hose 10 have a freely rotatable mounting 37 in jacket of cleaning head D. Nozzle 14 has a slightly flared, flattened tip 38, parallel to the axis of nozzle D, adapted to direct a jet in a preferably fan-spreading path.
The tubes 11 and 10 are preferably of fairly lightweight structure (e.g. polyethylene and vinyl tubing respectively). Bearing collars 16 may be of rubber or nylon or other plastic material, and of minimum weight (though of density sufiicient to avoid floating).
Operation In the operation of the apparatus, with suction and pressurized water delivery being provided by a conventional pool pump, either in the existing circulatory system of the pool, or a separate pump for pressure to the jet, utilizing the suction phase of the existing system, or a separate pump and separate filter system substituted for the existing circulatory system, with the dimensional and weight proportioning being approximately as stated above, the undulatory portion 22 of the hose unit B or C will travel at adjustable speed slowly through respective circuits of closed figure 8 loop form, in which the hose portion 22 will be bodily translated with a generally fanning movement, back and forth on respective sides of the vertical tether plane, front and behind, while simultaneously undergoing an undulating or writhing movement which is increasingly sweeping toward the free end of the hose unit, the entire unit moving from one end of the pool to the other and back, etc. These writhing movements traverse the general path 40 of progress of undulatory portion 22 around its circuit, so that the scouring jet issuing from the end of the hose unit will sweep all portions of pool area, alternately sweeping over the pool bottom, climbing the side walls, and then returning to the bottom, the free end of the hose travelling an undulatory path approximately as indicated by the broken line 41 with arrows (the latter designating direction of receding movement of the hose tip as it is pushed by the reaction force developed from the issuing water jet). Therefore, the stirred-up sediment is picked up, preferably around the full 360 circumference of the head D.
All of the collars 16 are adapted to have minimum or very light sliding bearing engagement with the pool floor and side wall, the free end group 3 having more drag than those of either other group, and group 2 having more drag than group 1. By utilizing the above-described orientation of the planes of natural curvature of sections B and C rotatably displaced around the axis of their coupling connection, and by arranging the collars in more concentrated array at the free end and less concentrated array toward the tethered end, I find it possible to provide built-in control over the movement pattern such that the successive circuits of movement of the hose unit will be of substantially the same pattern, and the pattern can be caused to sweep substantially the entire surface of the bottom and side walls of an entire pool area. Thus, in a pool of ordinary proportions (e.g., an 18 x 36 pool, oval or kidney or square or deviations of such forms) the two halves of the pool area at the respective ends of the pool and connective areas, can be fully swept by a single hose unit or by two of the hose units, or more, if desired. The graduated writhing constraint of collar groups 1, 2 and 3 provide graduated, controlled movement of the corresponding three sections of length of undulatory hose section C, maximum freedom being in the section that is coupled to guide hose B and successively restricted freedom being provided in middle section 2 and in the free end section 3.
The close spacing of collars at the free end of the sweep section restrains the writhing action where it tends to be the most violent and uncontrolled; the wider spacing of the intermediate group of collars exerts a milder restraint in the normally lesser flailing portion of the sweep section, straightening out its path nf travel; and the still more widely spaced collars of the group adjacent the guide hose provide only minimum restraint in the that portion of the sweep hose, supplementing the restraint separately provided by the guide section B. This graduated freedom of movement is correlated with the restricted flexibility of guide section B, imposed by spine 35, so as to attain the pattern control, with freedom of side to side and front to back movement, with the guide hose gently and generally seeking the neutral position.
1. Pool cleaning apparatus comprising:
a dual flexible hose embodying respective suction and water jet delivery tubes;
said hose having a free end provided with a jet delivery nozzle and a suction mouth;
means supporting the other end of said hose in substantially fixed, tethered relation approximately at the normal level of the surface of the water in the pool and adjacent the pool rim;
said hose having a curved pendant guide section extending downwardly from said supporting means sub stantially to the pool bottom;
and an undulatory sweep section extending along the pool bottom from the lower end of said pendant section to said free end;
means for delivery of Water under pressure to said jet delivery tube at the tethered end of the hose;
means for applying suction to said suction tube at said tethered end;
and a plurality of bearing collars encircling said sweep section, said collars being spaced along the length thereof with a spacing such as to control the movements of said sweep section so as to ultimately sweep substantially the entire surface of a substantial area of the pool.
2. Pool-cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, where in said guide section has a plane of natural curvature substantially coinciding with the plane of pendant curvature thereof, and said sweep section has a plane of natural curvature angularly displaced from said first mentioned plane around the axis of the joint connecting said sections.
3. Pool-cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 2, wherein said upper portion of said guide section is flexed so that said pendent curvature thereof is curved reversely to said natural curvature of said upper portion.
4. Pool-cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said sweep section has a natural curvature preloading it for assisting its movement up the incline from the deep end of a pool toward its shallow end, and opposing its travel down said incline.
5. Pool-cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said collars are more closely spaced near the free end and more widely spaced near the tethered end of said undulatory portion.
6. Pool-cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, including a flexible spine embedded in the wall of said guide section of said hose and adding thereto a flexible stillness which tethers and controls said sweep section, imparting thereto a tendency to return to a neutral position yet readily yieldable to jet reaction forces urging it toward respective sides of said neutral position.
7. Pool-cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, including a coupling receptacle in the wall of the pool, said receptacle having a forward end communicating with the pool and embodying a socket for coupling the suction tube of said hose thereto at its tethered end, and having at its rear end a socket of reduced diameter communicating with a source of water under pressure and adapted for coupling the end of said jet tube thereto, said receptacle having an intermediate connection to a source of suction.
8. Pool-cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said supporting means comprises a horizontal tether section of said dual hose extending from said guide section to said pool rim and attached to the pool; and a float adjustably mounted on and supporting said tether section of the hose at a distance from the pool rim equal to a minor portion of the width of the pool.
9. Pool-cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, including a swivel mounting said jet delivery nozzle and its attached jet hose in said suction jacket so as to permit free rotation of said jet hose relative said suction tube at said free end thereof, whereby to relieve kinking of said jet hose.
10. Pool-cleaning apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said free end of the hose embodies, a cleaning head including a suction jacket having suction mouth means for receiving debris around its circumference.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,932,971 5/1961 Garaway 15 1.7 XR 3,073,993 2/1963 Blumenfeld 210 169 3,109,293 10/1963 Gelinas 15 1.7 3,146,783 9/1964 Aultman 15--1.7XR 3,168,896 2/1965 Berg 134-167 3,191,296 6/1965 Hamel 15-1.7 3,233,549 3/1966 Burlin et al 15 1.7 3,261,371 7/1966 Vernon 15-17 XR ROBERT L. BLEUTGE, Primary Examiner.