US 3571822 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 2,677,830 5/1954' Allen et al. 4/214 FOREIGN PATENTS 12,683 9/1884 Great Britain 4/217 Primary ExaminerAllan D. Hermann Attorney-Jones & Lockwood ABSTRACT: A toilet facility ventilating system for preventing objectionable odors from escaping into the room in which the facility is located by introducing a negative pressure into the system while the facility is in use and during the flushing operation. The facility includes a bowl for receiving the waste mounted in a holding tank housing which stores the waste after the flushing operation and a ventilating system which will keep a negative pressure in the facility during use and the flushing operation. The ventilating system is activated by a seat switch for ventilation during use, and a flushing handle switch for ventilation during the flushing operation.
Pmimanmzslsn 357L822 8 I INVENTOR y 3 I 20 HUGH E. SHAMJR.
ATTORNEYS TOHJET FACllLlTY VE l BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a toilet facility for preventing objectionable odors from escaping into a room where the toilet facility is located wherein a ventilating system introduces a negative pressure into a bowl during use and into a holding tank housing during a flushing operation.
The most obvious objection to the present day portable toilet facilities in trailer houses and the like is that it is very difficult to prevent offensive odors from escaping into the room where the facility is located when the facility is in use and when the flushing operation takes place.
Two ways in which this problem has been dealt with in the past are ineffective or impractical. The principal method of overcoming the problem is by putting chemicals into the holding tank which will dissolve the solids and neutralize the objectionable odors. These chemicals are very expensive, and the chemical odor which will replace the objectionable odors may also be very unpleasant. The objectionable odors are only reduced during the flushing operation, and since the holding tank in which the chemicals are contained does not communicate with the room where the facility is located when the facility is in use, the chemicals added to the holding tank have no effect on the problem during the time the facility is in use.
Another method of dealing with the odor problem during the flushing operation is by providing a water block between the holding tank and the bowl. This is the conventional method of accomplishing the object of my invention in a permanent type toilet facility which is connected to a sewer system or septic tank. The biggest drawback to this method is the amount of water which is necessary to accomplish a flushing operation and provide a water block for continuing use. The water block method is impractical in a portable toilet facility because of the enormous amount of water which would have to be carried in the trailer if the facility is to be used away from a water source for any length of time or if the facility is used often.
Neither the chemical method nor the water block method provides for the removal of gases or odors during use. The prior art does suggest the use of a ventilating system to ventilate a bowl in a stationary toilet facility while it is in use; however, the unique manner in which my invention removes objectionable odors from the bowl and the removal of objectionable odor from the holding tank housing during the flushing operation is not shown or suggested by the prior art.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Therefore, the elimination of objectionable odors from the toilet bowl during use and from the holding tank housing during the flushing operation are the primary objects of my invention.
A further object of the invention is to provide a valve system that prevents holding tank odors from entering the room when the toilet is not in use.
Another object of the invention is to provide a ventilating system which is capable of operating at different speeds under different conditions, thereby to provide adequate, but gentle, air currents to purge the bowl arealwhile the toilet is in use and to provide the stronger air currents necessary during the flushing operation when the holding tank communicates with the room in which it is located.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved method of collecting gases in the bowl by providing means for keeping the seat of the toilet out of direct contact with the holding tank housing.
Another object of the invention is to provide a time delay system which will keep the ventilating system operating during the time interval between use of the-toilet and the flushing operation.
Another object of the invention is to provide means for automatically activating a ventilating system which will make it unnecessary for the user to perform a separate operation to activate it.
Still another object is to provide an improved method of cleaning the holding tank housing without the necessity of entering the room in which the facility is located.
Still another object is to provide a device which will accomplish the primary objects without the excessive recurring expenses of buying chemicals or the necessity of transporting large amounts of water within the facility.
These objects are accomplished in the present invention by providing a toilet facility which includes a bowl for receiving waste, and means for ventilating the bowl by applying a negative pressure to a holding tank housing which is in communication with the bowl, the negative pressure being generated by an exhaust fan open to the atmosphere. The fan is normally off, but is activated by the user during the normal use of the facility, and held in its energized condition by a latching relay. A solenoid energized during this use maintains the communication between the bowl and holding tank housing until the flushing operation begins. A flushing handle is provided to remove a bowl ball valve which allows the waste to pass into the holding tank housing, and, at the same time, to depress a flushing handle switch, which energizes a release relay to deenergize the latching relay for the fan. This switch also increases the energization of the exhaust fan to increase the negative pressure on the holding tank housing during the flushing operation. If desired, a time delay switch may be used to keep the exhaust fan operative for a predetermined period of time after energization.
The holding tank is provided with a cleaning inlet and an outlet for emptying the tank, whereby the tank can be cleaned from outside the facility. In prior portable toilet facilities, cleaning has been effected by dumping water into the tank through the toilet bowl, an unsatisfactory arrangement at best, which usually results in water being spilled on the floor. Further, such an arrangement does not permit thorough cleaning with high pressure water, an operation which the cleaning inlet of the present invention permits.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The foregoing and additional objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof, taken with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view taken through a room equipped with a toilet facility made in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a detailed cross-sectional view taken through the holding tank housing of the facility of FIG. l; and
H6. 3 is a schematic of the electrical circuit employed in the facility shown in FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring more particularly to the drawings, FIG. 1 illus trates a portable toilet facility indicated generally at 8 and located within a room having a roof 3, a wall 4 and floor 5. The room will be located within a trailer, bus, or the like, and the indicated wall, floor and roof may be a part of the trailer. e.g., or may be separate units within the trailer. It will be apparent, however, that the present invention is not limited to such applications, but may be used in any portable type facility which utilizes a holding tank of some type.
The toilet facility has a vent duct 10 allowing communication between the atmosphere and a holding tank housing 15, illustrated in FIG. 1 as having a top l6, a bottom l7 and sides 18 and 19. An exhaust fan 20 is located within a fan housing 22, which is connected to the exterior portion or atmosphere end 23 of the vent duct 10 which extends through the roof 3. The holding tank housing i5 is used as a storage area for waste and can be separate from the rest of the facility and connected thereto by a suitable length of soil pipe; however, in the illustrated embodiment the bowl and other parts ofthe facility are mounted on and within the housing itself to provide a compact structure suitable for use in the limited space of trailers and the like. A bowl 28 is secured within the housing with an opening through the top 16 of the housing to allow communication between the bowl 28 and the outside of the tank. A cover attachment 34 with an aperture 36 approximately the size of the opening 30 and aligned therewith is attached to the top of the housing 15 and is sufficiently larger than the opening 30 to provide for a passage 38 between the top of the housing 15 an the cover attachment 34.
A curved vent pipe 40 located within the housing 15 extends through the top of housing 15 to connect with passage 38, thereby permitting communication between the bowl 228 and the holding tank housing 15. A closure ball valve 44 rests on the open end 45 of the pipe 40 within the housing 15. A ball lifting solenoid 46 is located on the top 16 of housing 15 above the closure valve 44, with the solenoid armature 48 being connected either directly or through a suitable linkage whereby the valve 44 will be removed from the end of the pipe 40 when the solenoid is activated.
A seat switch 50 is provided to control the energization of solenoid 46, the switch preferably being disposed above the housing 15 by support 52. This seat switch is also connected in circuit with the ventilating fan 22 to operate it at a slow speed, as will be described hereinbelow, so that simultaneously with the opening of valve 44, the fan 22 turns on. This draws air from the room in which the toilet facility is located past bowl 28 and into pipe 40. The slow speed of the fan draws the air gently, yet at a rate sufficient to remove all objectionable odors. The switch 50 may also operate a latching relay, which may include a timer to limit the length of its energization, which keeps the fan on and valve 44 open even if the seat 56 is returned to a vertical position. The switch is operated by a seat tab 54 which extends from a seat 56, the seat being secured to the cover attachment 34 by a pivotal supporting joint 58. The seat 56 is movable between vertical and horizontal positions, and when horizontal, the tab 54 engages switch 50 to activate the ball-lifting solenoid 46. Seat 56 includes an opening 60 aligned over openings 30 and 36, which provides communication between the bowl 28 and the outside when the seat 56 is in the horizontal position. A stop 62 rests on cover attachment 34 to keep the seat approximately parallel to and spaced from cover attachment 34 when it is lowered. This spacer, together with supporting joint 58, keeps the seat off the cover attachment to allow air to flow into the bowl area.
A flushing handle extends through the cover 16 of housing 15 in a vertical position preferably at a location adjacent seat 56 to operate the flushing mechanism. The end of the handle within the housing 15 is attached to a bar 72 at a pivotal connection 74. A support rod 76 parallel to the handle 70 is attached at its upper end to the housing 15 and extends within the housing. the other end of the rod being attached to, and thus supporting, one end of bar 72 at rotating connection 78. A bowl ball valve 80 is secured to the other end of bar 72 and fits into an outlet 82 which forms a valve seat at the lower end of the bowl 28. A spring 84 is attached between the bar 72 and the top 16 of housing 15 to keep the ball valve 80 in its closed position until the flushing mechanism is operated.
When the flushing handle 70 is pressed down to remove ball 80 from outlet 82, a handle tab 86 depresses a flushing handle switch 88, which deactivates solenoid 46 to release ball valve 44 and opens the latching relay for the exhaust fan 20. The switch 88 also closes a second circuit to the fan to keep it energized during the flushing operation, this time at full speed.
in order to clean the holding tank without having to dump water through bowl 28, an inlet water pipe 90 is provided through the housing side 18 and outside wall 4, thereby providing an external access pipe which permits water to be introduced into the holding tank housing 15 to clean the facility. The outside end of the pipe 90 may include a threaded fitting which will allow a water hose to be attached thereto for pressure cleaning of the tank. A cap 92 covers the end of the water pipe until it is to be used. A suitable fluid such as water is held in the housing 15 to help dissolve solid waste and dilute liquid waste. The liquid along with the waste can be released from the holding tank when drain plug 98 is removed during tank cleaning.
A plurality of spray units 99 may be secured within the bowl to facilitate the cleaning of the bowl during a flushing operation. The spray can be controlled by a valve located in a water line leading from a water supply (not shown), which valve may be manually operated or linked to the flushing handle for automatic operation.
FIG. 3 shows schematically the electrical circuitry of the invention. The seat switch 50, which is activated when the seat 56 is depressed, closes a series circuit which includes a power supply 100, such as a battery, the ball lifting solenoid 46 and the motor of exhaust fan 20. The series arrangement causes the solenoid to act as a resistor to limit current to the fan causing a reduction of' the fan motor speed. Energization of the solenoid 46 also lifts the ball valve 44 from the vent pipe 40.
A latching relay 104 is energized by the closure of switch 50, the coil 106 of the relay closing a normally-open switch contact 108 to bypass switch 50 and keeping the functions activated by switch 50 in operation, even when the seat 56, and switch 50 is released. This latching relay may be a time delay relay, releasing after a preset period, but preferably will remain latched until the circuit is opened by switch 88.
The flushing handle switch 88, which is activated during the flushing operation, energizes a release relay 110 to deenergize latching relay 104. The release relay includes a coil 112 connected in series with switch 88 across the power supply, and energization of this coil opens normally-closed contacts l 14, thereby opening the bypass across switch 50. This serves to deenergize solenoid 46, allowing ball valve 44 again to cover vent 40. Closure of switch 88 maintains the energization of exhaust fan 20 by placing it directly across power source 100, by way of line 116. This removes the resistance of solenoid coil 46 from the circuit, causing the fan to run at full speed and providing sufficient air flow to maintain a negative pressure in the system during the flushing operation. An indicator lamp 118 which is connected across battery in series with switch 50, will, of course, be extinguished when release relay deenergizes latching relay 104.
The invention operates in the following manner: Before use, the seat 56 is in a position other than horizontal, closure valve 44 rests on the open end 45 of pipe 40, the bowl ball valve 80 is positioned in the bowl outlet and exhaust fan 20 is not operating. This arrangement of valves provides an efficient and effective means for tightly sealing the storage tank housing to prevent the escape of gas and odor from the tank into the room where the facility is located. When the seat 56 is depressed by the user, it pivots about pivotal supporting joint 58 to the horizontal position, causing seat tab 54 to depress seat switch 50. This activates ball lifting solenoid 46, latching relay 104, indicator 118, and exhaust fan 20. When the solenoid is activated, it lifts ball valve 44 out of vent pipe 40, against the biasing effect of gravity or of a suitable spring means such as a coil spring positioned between the ball valve 44 and the cover 16 of the housing 15. When the fan 20 is activated, air flows from the room into and across bowl 28 through the space between seat 56 and cover attachment 34 provided by pivotal joint 58 and stop 62. The air then flows through passage 38 into vent pipe 40, through the housing 15, and through the vent duct 10 to the atmosphere. The exhaust fan, having blades designed in such a way as to pull air out of the holding tank housing 15, is activated at a slow speed because of the series circuit which causes solenoid 46 to act as a resistor. However, the air is pulled out at a rate sufficient to generate a negative pressure in the housing.
When the user releases the seat, the circuit remains energized, because of the latching relay, until the flushing handle 70 is depressed. If desired, the latching relay may be omitted so that release of the seat deenergizes the exhaust fan, or the relay may be replaced by a time delay which keeps the fan energized for a predetermined period of time after release of the seat. When the handle 70 is depressed, the flushing handle switch 88 is pushed, energizing release relay I10 and causing latching relay 104 to be deenergized. This deenergizes solenoid 46, allowing ball valve 44 to return to its original position in vent pipe 40 and ending the flow of air through passageway 38. The indicator light 118 is extinguished and the current ceases to flow to the motor of exhaust fan through. the switch 50 circuit. The exhaust fan is caused to run at a higher speed, instead of stopping, however, by reason of the closure of the switch 88 circuit, and the fan remains energized as long as switch 88 is held closed.
Depressing the flushing handle 70'also causes bowl ball valve 80 to be removed from outlet 82 by the operation of bar 72. Waste and flushing water fromspray units 99 pass from the bowl into the holding tank housing 15. Bowl 28 can be completely cleaned by a small amount of water from the permanently installed spray units 99. The flushing handle 70 is then released, disengaging handle switch 88, and replacing the bowl valve 80 in the outlet 82. A small amount of water will remain in the bowl from the spray units because the ball valve 80 will close before all the water drains from the bowl. This will facilitate a later flushing operation and will check the seal between bowl valve 80 and bowl 28.
This invention can be used in a trailer, bus or the like as stated above, but is not limited to use in a portable facility and may be modified to operate in a permanent facility. As a portable facility, the invention can be used in remote areas for long periods of time without the necessity of cleaning often or having a large water supply for flushing and for providing water blocks. Further, when the facility is to be cleaned and the holding tank emptied, the cleaning inlet pipe makes the task considerably easier than with prior arrangements. There is no need to enter the room to empty the tank, and no odors will be released into the room during this operation. All that is required is to attach a high pressure water hose to the inlet pipe and open the drain; the high pressure water flushes the tank. No chemicals, soap or additives are needed for operating and cleaning the toilet facility of the present invention, for odors can never enter the room during use, flushing or cleanmg.
ltshould be noted that the ventilating system, including the exhaust fan, must be of sufficient capacity to insure a negative pressure in the tank and bowl areas at all times. During a flushing operation this is particularly critical, for the injection of waste into the tank can cause a momentary increase in pressure within the tank. This can cause gasses to flow out of the tank into the room if the exhaust system is inadequate to maintain a negative pressure. 1 J
Although the invention has been described in detail with respect to a preferred embodiment, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the device as described 'could be modified in numerous ways. For example, it is within the skill of the art to change the shape of the valves from the preferable ball valves, and to use other mechanisms for operating the valves. Further, the bowl and holding tank may be separate units, rather than being joined in the unitary form illustrated. The various activating switches for the ventilating system may be located elsewhere, and may be manually operable if this is deemed desirable. it will also be apparent that where the facility is used in a trailer or other'moving vehicle, the negative pressure which is generated in the system by the exhaust fan can be generated by a properly designed vent on the outside of the vehicle to pull air through the system. The specific arrangement of the various parts need not be as shown, for this is for clarity in illustration. These and other variations and changes can be made in the invention as above described and illustrated without departing from the true spirit and scope thereof as defined in the following claims.
1. A toilet facility comprising a bowl for receiving waste; flushing means for passing said waste into a storage area dur- -ing a flushing operation; a holding tank housing for said storage area; ventilating means for removing objectionable odors from. said toilet facility by a negative pressure within said toilet facility bowl and holding tank housing; and activating means for said ventilating means to provide a first negative pressure within said holding tank housing during use of the facility and a second. greater negative pressure within the holding tank housing during said flushing operation.
. 2. The toilet facility of claim 1, further including switch means responsive to the use of said toilet facility for activating said ventilating means, and means for maintaining activation of said ventilating means for a predetermined period after completion of said use.
3. The toilet facility of claim I, further including means for cleaning said toilet facility, said last-named means including a water pipe extending through the holding tank housing and adapted to receive a water supply, whereby high pressure water may be directed into said holding tank housing without requiring access to said bowl, and a drain in said holding tank housing.
4. The toilet facility of claim 1, wherein said ventilating means includes normally closed vent pipe means which permits communication between said bowl and said holding tank housing, and means of opening said vent pipe means during use of said facility, whereby air will be drawn into said holding tank housing from the atmosphere and said bowl.
5. The toilet facility of claim 4, wherein said ventilating means further includes a vent duct between said holding tank housing and atmosphere, and fan means for drawing air out of said holding tank housing, said activating means driving said fan at a first speed to provide said first negative pressure and at a second, higher, speed to provide said second negative pressure.
6. The toilet facility of claim 5, said activating means further including first switch means for opening said vent pipe and energizing said fan to operate at said first speed, and second switch means responsive to said flushing means for allowing said vent pipe to close and for energizing said fan to operate at said second speed during said flushing operation, said fan being deenergized upon completion of said flushing operation.
7. The toilet facility of claim 6, further including latching means for said first switch means to maintain operation of said fan at said first speed, said second switch means disabling said latching means when said fan is energized to operate at said second speed.
8. The toilet facility of claim 7, further including seat means pivotable to a horizontal position spaced from said holding tank housing, said first switchmeansbeing responsive to the position of said seat means. v
9. The toilet facility of claim 7, wherein said latching means comprises a time delay relay.
10. The toilet facility of claim 8, further including closure valve means for closing said vent pipe, said means for opening said vent pipe comprising a solenoid connected to said closure valve means, said solenoid being energized by said first switch means and deenergized by said second switch means.
11. The toilet facility of claim 10, further including an indicator lamp energized by said first switch means to indicate when said toilet facility is in use.
12. The toilet facility of claim 1, wherein said ventilating means includes vent pipe means which permits communication between said bowl and said holding tank housing, blocking means for closing said vent pipe when said toilet facility is not in use and during said flushing operation, and a vent duct providing communication between said holding tank housing and the atmosphere and including means for producing said negative pressure in said holding tank housing whereby air is prevented from flowing out of said holding tank housing.
13. The toilet facility of claim 12, wherein said blocking means includes a closure valve sealing one end of said vent pipe, and a solenoid responsive to said activating means for removing said closure valve from the end of said vent pipe.
14. The toilet facility of claim 12, wherein said means for producing said negative pressure in said holding tank includes an exhaust fan within said vent duct, said activating means including first and second switch means for energizing said fan.
15. The toilet facility of claim 14, further including a seat pivotable to a horizontal position during use of said facility; said first switch means being responsive to the position of said seat to energize said fan to provide said first negative pressure.
16. The toilet facility of claim 15, wherein said second switch means is responsive to said flushing means for energizing said fan to provide said second negative pressure.
17. A toilet facility comprising a bowl for receiving waste; a holding tank housing for a storage area; a bowl outlet valve; a flushing handle connected to said bowl outlet valve and operable to open said bowl outlet valve to allow waste to pass from