US 3470521 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 30, 1969 F. DOWNEY 3, 7
CURRENT CONDUC G ROTATABLE AIRFLOW COUPLING FOR A VACUUM CLEANER Filed Sept. 22, 19s? 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 I INVENTOR.
' Dav/0 i. Down/5y bt. '30 1969 o. F. DOWNEY I I 3 .470, 52 1 CURRENT CONDUCTING ROTATABLE AIRFLOW COUPLING FOR A VACUUM CLEANER Fil ed Sept. 22, 1967 3 Sheets-Sheet v INVENTOR. DH v10 F Downs) m5 [ATTORNEY Sept. 30, 1969 o. F. 'DOWNEY- 3,470,521
CURRENT CONDUCTING ROTATABLE AIRFLOW COUPLING FOR A VACUUM CLEANER Filed Sept. 22, 1967 r 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 IN VEN'TOR.
' Hm ATTORNEYS United States Patent US. Cl. 339-8 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A coupling for connecting a vacuum cleaner hose with a vacuum cleaner which provides an airflow passage as well as electric coupling between conductors on the hose and a source of EMF in the cleaner and allows the hose to swivel relative to the cleaner. The hose conductors are coupled with the source of EMF via slip rings in the cleaner to provide for swivel action of the hose.
Background of the invention A coupling for establishing an electrical connection between the suction inlet of a vacuum cleaner and a vacuum cleaner hose, so that the hose is free to swivel relative to the cleaner to prevent kinking and in addition, when the hose is removed from the cleaner, the live contacts are not exposed or accessible to children or the person using the cleaner. A coupling having these features is disclosed in application Ser. No. 423,269, filed an. 4, 1965, now Patent No. 3,339,168 issued Aug. 29, 1967. According to said application the current conducting slip rings and swivel portion of the coupling are integral with the hose, while the front cover of the cleaner, having the suction inlet, is provided with a pivotal disc to cover the live contacts when the hose is removed from the cleaner. The airflow current conducting non-swiveling coupling of application Ser. No. 648,653, filed June 26, 1967, now Patent No. 3,434,092, is adapted for use with a second current conducting rotatable coupling provided at the bent end tube or hose handle remote from the cleaner as is disclosed in application Ser. No. 592,827, fiied Nov. 8, 1966, now Patent No. 3,407,373 issued Oct. 22, 1968.
Each of the above-identified applications is assigned to the assignee hereof.
Summary of the invention The coupling according to this invention provides an airflow electric swivel coupling incorporated in the front cover of a vacuum cleaner for optimum protection against damage, ease of assembly and a long useful life. When an airflow electric swivel coupling is incorporated in the vacuum cleaner hose it is more vulnerable to damage thereby increasing service and replacement problems. According to the subject invention assembly is facilitated by placing major components of the coupling in the front cover of the cleaner because space is not as limited in this location as it is on the hose and the parts can be made more massive for longer service life and the increased weight is not as critical for the cleaner as it is for the hose. Finally the cost of replacing a hose, which has a shorter useful life than the cleaner, is materally reduced since the hose has no coupling to be replaced when the hose wears out.
An object of the invention therefore is to provide an improved current conducting, rotatable airflow coupling for vacuum cleaner apparatus.
A further object of the invention is to provide a coupling of the type described comprising a minimum number of components of simple design, of inexpensive manu- 3,470,521 Patented Sept. 30, 1969 ICC facture and requiring a minimum of assembly operations and/ or time for assembly.
A further object of the invention is to provide a coupling of the type described in which live contacts are not exposed or readily accessible when the coupling is disconnected,
Further objects and advantages of this invention as well as the foregoing objects will become apparent from the following detailed description of presently preferred embodiments illustrated in the accompanying drawing.
Brief description of the drawing FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of the front cover of a vacuum cleaner showing a first embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken generally on section line 2, of FIG. 1 and showing the end of a vacuum cleaner hose positioned for connection with the front cover.
FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view showing details of a sub-assembly illustrated in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 2 showfor a second embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a sub-assembly illustrated in FIG. 4.
I FIG. 6 is a broken away perspective view of a third embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of the third embodiment according to FIG. 6.
FIG. 8 is a side elevation of a push connector for the coupling of FIGS. 6 and 7.
FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic view partly in section showing engagement of the blades of the push connector of FIG. 8 with the slip rings of the inlet conduit shown in FIG. 7.
Detailed description of preferred embodiments The vacuum cleaner shown in FIG. 1 comprises a body portion 10 housing a filter bag compartment and motor blower unit as is well known. A front cover 11 is hinged (not shown) on the body 10' for removing and replacing filter bags as is also well known. The suction inlet and associated components of the cleaner, generally desig nated 12 are incorporated in the front cover 11 as seen in FIG. 2.
As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 the suction inlet 12 includes a cover plate 13 and a rotating ring 14 including an electric receptacle 15 which may be made integral with the ring 14. The receptacle-ring assembly 14, 15 is freely rotatable about the suction inlet conduit 16 between the outer flanged end 16a thereof and the cover plate 13 as best seen in FIG. 2. The suction inlet conduit 16 is constituted of molded polymer material which is configured internally for receiving the conventional push connector 30 attached to the end of the hose 31. The inlet conduit 16 is provided on its exterior surface with a pair of slip rings 17 which are electrically coupled in known manner to a current source within the cleaner (not shown). The slip rings 17 encircle the conduit 16 and are held in place on the inlet conduit in any suitable manner. As best seen in FIG. 3, a pair of spring contacts 18, carried by an inner body 19 of insulating material, engage the slip rings and electrically couple the slip rings 17 with the sleeve contacts 20 of the female receptacle 15 via a pair of short lengths of wire 21.
From the above description of FIGS. 1-3 it will be apparent that the rotatable parts include the ring 14, female receptacle 15 including the projection or spacer 15b extending axially beyond the ring 14 and also the pair of reinforcing blades 15a. The blades 15a are received in the slots 19a of the inner body 19 during assembly and the inner body is placed in the inner body container 23. The inner body 19 is removably fastened in the container 23 in any suitable manner, for example a self-threading screw such as indicated in FIG. 3.
When the inner body 19 is placed on the blades 15a and the blades 15a and body 19 are lowered into the container 23 and secured together by means of the screw, the sub-assembly of FIG. 3 is sufliciently rigid in the longitudinal plane to minimize flexure in use. Any flexing which may be encountered under extreme conditions can be compensated by the contacts 18 which are spring biased and free to move radially relative to the inner body 19. Thus, even if the inner body flexed away from the slip rings 17 the contacts 18 would remain in contact with the slip rings. As indicated in the drawing the receptacle 15, ring 14, spacer 15b and blades 15a may be molded as an integral unit as is well known in the molding art.
The cover plate 13 may be provided with an inwardly extending cylindrical portion 13a to provide a large supporting or bearing surface for the spacer 15b, the inner surface of which is spaced from the adjacent surface of the inlet conduit 16.
Assembly is accomplished by placing the receptacle 15 and the elements integral therewith (14, 15a, 15b) onto an inlet conduit 16 (separated from the front cover) and after the slip rings 17 have been attached. The cover plate 13 is then slipped over the inlet conduit from the right hand end as seen in FIG. 1. This sub-assembly is then inserted into the opening in the front cover 11 from the front, or left side of FIG. 1. The inner body 19 is then attached to the blades 15a and the container 23 assembled from the rear of the front cover. An insulator retaining ring 24 is then fastened in place to suitable fittings or posts 25 integral with the front cover casting as is well known.
In operation, the push connector 30 on the end of the hose 31 (FIG. 2) is inserted into the suction inlet conduit 16 and the collar 32 including a male plug portion having blades 32a makes electric contact with the sleeves 20 of the receptacle 15. The hose conductors (not shown) are thereby coupled with a source of EMF within the cleaner 10 via the sub-assembly shown in FIG. 3 and the slip rings 17. If the hose is rotated relative to the cleaner the sub-assembly (FIG. 3) rotates about the suction inlet without disturbing the flow of electric current through the coupling. When the hose is removed the live contacts or sleeves 20 are recessed in the receptacle 20 thereby preventing accidental contact by the user or small children.
Another embodiment FIGS. 4 and relate to another embodiment of a current conducting rotatable airflow coupling for a vacuum cleaner in which the rotatable parts are all located in a recess 112 of the front cover of the cleaner 111, opening outwardly or to the exterior rather than having some of these parts inside the front cover as described above. In this embodiment the suction inlet is defined by the inlet conduit 116 which projects through an appropriate opening in the front cover 111 into the recess 112 defined by the concave walls of the front cover. The outer edge of the conduit '116 is substantially in the plane of the foremost surface of the front cover or plane AA shown in FIG. 4. The conduit 116 is attached to the front cover in any suitable way such as by means of a lock nut 124 and associated threaded portion of the conduit whereby the conduit is clamped in place. A pair of slip rings 117 encircle the conduit 116 and are connected with a source of EMF by known means. The slip rings 117 in this embodiment are placed in a recess for increased insulation purposes. A ring 114 and female receptacle 115 may consist of a single molded piece containing spring contacts 118 and sleeve contacts 120 electrically interconnected by conductors 121, or these rotatable parts may consist of built-up parts as described in connection with 4 FIG. 3. In either case the ring 114 is rotatable on the outer end of the suction conduit 116 between an insulation washer 127 and the flange 116a.
The embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5 is assembled by slipping the sub-assembly shown in FIG. 5 over a suction conduit 116 separated from the front cover, the spring contacts 118 being held in retracted position by means of a suitable tool as is well known. The conduit 116, carrying the ring 114 and receptacle 115, is inserted in the opening of the front cover from left to right as viewed in FIG. 4 and fixed in place by the lock nut 126. The lock nut 126 draws a shoulder of the conduit against the washer 1-27 thereby clamping the suction conduit 116 onto the cover 111.
Operation of the device is the same as indicated above, i.e., when the hose 31 and collar 32 rotate the ring 114 and receptacle also rotate about the conduit 116 while maintaining the current connections between the blades 32a and sleeve contacts 120 of receptacle 115 and the source of EMF within the cleaner. Rotation of the push connector 30 within the conduit 116 is provided in the well known manner and is therefore not shown in the drawing.
Another embodiment A further embodiment of a current conducting, rotatable airflow coupling is illustrated in FIGS. 6 to 8 which is substantially completely enclosed in the front cover 211 of a vacuum cleaner. In this embodiment the conventional male and female electric coupling is replaced by the electric coupling described in copending application Ser. No. 648,653 wherein the end of hose 231 (FIG. 8) having the push connector 230 is provided with a pair of radially projecting contact blades 240 which pass into the axially extending slots 241 in a rotatable portion 216a of the suction inlet conduit 216, and engage the slip rings 217 (FIG. 9). The suction inlet portion 216a is rotatably supported in any suitable manner between the fixed portion 216 of the suction inlet conduit and the retaining plate 242 which is held in position by spacers 244. The retaining ring 243, which engages the latch of the push connector so that the hose is held in place is well known, rotates with the rotatable suction conduit portion 216a. A pair of spring contacts 218 supported on an insulating block 245 which may be integral with the flange 242 of the inlet 216, slidably engage the slip rings 217 and are connected to a source of EMF by the wires shown in FIG. 6. The spring contacts 218 may continuously engage the slip rings 217 as indicated in FIGS. 6 and 7, however it is also contemplated that block 245 may be pivotally attached to the flange 242 of the suction conduit 216 so that the block moves the contacts 218 onto the slip rings 217 only when the push connector is in the suction inlet circuit, for example by means of a lever (not shown) connected to the block and extending into the suction inlet for engagement with the push connector. When the push connector is removed the spring contacts are lifted from the slip rings by a spring biased hinge (not shown) connecting the block 245 to flange 242. A known mechanical or magnetic arrangement may be utilized to move the contact block 245 for engaging and disengaging contacts 218 and slip rings 217.
It will be apparent from the foregoing description that various arrangements may be utilized in carrying out the invention in practice and that certain of the various details described may be altered.
What is claimed is:
1. In a current conducting rotatable airflow coupling for a vacuum cleaner, the improvement comprising a suction inlet conduit on said vacuum cleaner; a first collector means including a pair of slip rings connected with said suction inlet conduit and .a spring contact engaging each said slip ring, a rotatable body connected with one of said collector means for providing relative rotational movement between said slip rings and said spring contacts, conductor means for connecting one of said collector means with a source of EMF within said vacuum cleaner, a vacuum cleaner hose means receivable in said suction inlet conduit, and second means for electrically connecting said hose conductors with said source of EMF via said slip rings and spring contacts.
2. In a current conducting rotatable airflow coupling according to claim 1 wherein said suction inlet conduit has one end extending axially beyond said cleaner spaced from said slip rings; said rotatable body comprises a ring encircling said suction inlet conduit adjacent said axially extending end, said rotatable body also having an axially extending member connected with said ring and movably overlying said slip rings; said member having said spring contacts connected therewith for engaging said slip rings, said second means comprising a male plug terminal for said hose conductors and a female receptacle connected with said ring and projecting axially beyond said suction inlet conduit for electrically coupling said hose conductors with said spring contacts.
3. In a current conducting rotatable airflow coupling according to claim 1 wherein said suction inlet conduit has one end extending axially beyond said cleaner and said slip rings are connected on the axially extending end of said suction inlet conduit; said rotatable body comprises an annulus rotatably overlying said slip rings, said annulus having said spring contacts connected therewith for engaging said slip rings; said second means comprising a female receptacle connected with said ring, said receptacle extending axially beyond the end of said suction inlet conduit, and a male plug terminal for said 6 hose conductors for electrically coupling said hose conductors with said female receptacle.
4. In a current conducting rotatable airflow coupling according to claim 1 wherein saidrotatable body comprises a generally cylindrical member defining a coaxial portion of said suction inlet conduit, means for rotatably supporting said cylindrical member as a portion of said suction inlet conduit; said slip rings being connected with said cylindrical portion, said spring contacts being coupled with said source of EMF and supported on said fixed portion of said suction inlet conduit, and a pair of axially extending slots in said cylindrical portion terminating in an opening in said suction inlet closed by said slip rings; said second means comprising a pair of radially extending contact blades thereon coupled with said hose conductors, said contact blades geing received in said slots for engaging said slip rings whereby said hose conductors are electrically coupled with said source of EMF.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,072,690 3/1937 Smellie 33916 X, 3,034,085 5/1962 Pauler et al. 339--l6 3,339,168 8/1967 Belicka et al 339l5 X RICHARD E. MOORE, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.