US 3590397 A
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United States' Patent [72) Inventors Hiroo Akarnatsu;
Saburo Takechi; Masuo Ichlmori, all 01 Kyoto, Japan  Appl. No. 835,156  Filed June 20, 1969  Patented July 6, 1971  Assignee Omron Tatels'l Electronics Co.
Kyoto, Japan  AUTOMATIC FLUSHING DEVICE FOR TOILET FACILITIES 6 Claims, 5 Drawing Figs. I52] U.S.Cl 4/100, 4/249  Int. Cl. ..E03d 1 3/ 100  Field of Search 4/64, 130, 144, 67,l00,10,126, 238, 249,101, DIG. 3; ZOO/61.62
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,875,983 9/1932 Bourdet 4/249 1,892,073 12/1932 Nicholas ZOO/61.62 2,813,274 11/1957 Lewis etal 4/64 MUNUSTABLE Haut 2,816,972 12/1957 ZOO/61.62 2,881,450 4/1959 Tubbs.... 4/67 3,056,143 10/1962 Foster 4/249 3,060,450 10/1962 Rupert 4/30 3,161,742 12/1964 Bagno ZOO/61.62 3,314,081 4/1967 Atkins et al... 4/100 3,333,160 7/1967 Gorski 4/166 3,415,278 12/1968 Yamamoto et a1. 4/166 3,426,166 2/1969 Caneeill ZOO/61.62 3,487,477 l/1970 Classen 4/166 FOREIGN PATENTS 54,807 6/1890 Germany 4/126 1,161,183 l/l964 Germany ZOO/61.62
Primary Examiner-Henry K. Artis AnarneyChristensen & Sanbom ABSTRACT: An automatic flushing device for a toilet, wherein the flushing of water is controlled by a switch so disposed as to be actuated by a lid mounted on the toilet bowl so that when the lid is opened for use of the toilet, a control circuit opens a flush valve for a predetemiined period of time to flush the toilet prior to use, and when the lid is closed after use, the control circuit again opens the valve for a predetermined period of time to flush the toilet again.
w MULTIVIBRATUR AMPLIFI R 21 U'FFERENWUR 0R cmcun RELAY MUNDSTABLE MULITIVIBRATUR 137 74G AUTOMATIC FLUSIIING DEVICE FOR TOILET FACILITIES This invention relates to an automatic flushing device for toilet facilities. In known automatic flushing devices, the arrangement is generally such that the control of flushing water depends on the detection of the body of the user of the toilet. For example, a foot switch is provided in the floor-in front of the toilet bowl so as to be stepped on by the users of the toilet, or a switch is provided beneath the seat on the top of the toilet bowl so that it is depressed by a user sitting on the seat. With such arrangements, however, when the toilet bowl or the floor thereabout is cleaned, the switch may inadvertently be operated to flush water into the toilet bowl unnecessarily and uneconomically. Moreover, the switch placed on the floor or attached to the toilet bowl are not only bad in appearance but i also obstructive when cleaning the toilet so that the toilet bowl, its attachment or the floor is apt to become dirty and insanitary.
The primary object of the invention is to provide an automatic flushing device for toilet facilities, wherein the flushing of 'water is automatically controlled'by a switch operable depending upon the opening and closing of a lid provided on the toilet bowl.
Another object of the invention is to provide an automatic flushing device for a toilet having a lid and a stopper for supporting the lid in an open position, wherein the flushing of water is automatically controlled by a switch so disposed as to operate in response to the contacting relation between the lid of the toilet bowl and the stopper.
Another object of the invention is to provide an automatic flushing device for a toilet having a lid and a stopper for supporting the lid in an open position, wherein the flushing of water is controlled by a switch so disposed as to operate depending upon the contacting relation between the lid and the stopper in such a manner that when the lid is opened into contact with the stopper to be supported thereby for use of the toilet, the toilet is flushed for a predetermined period of time, and when the lid is closed after use, the toilet is again flushed for a predetermined period of time.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an automatic flushing device for a toilet having a lid and a stopper for supporting the lid when it is opened to such a position as to enable use of the toilet, wherein a switch is provided on the stopper so that when the lid is opened to said open position, the switch is actuated to cause water to flush into the toilet bowl for a predetermined period of time.
In accordance with the invention, the flushing of water is controlled not by detecting the body of the user, but by means of a switch so arranged as to be actuated by the lid of the toilet bowl which must be opened when the toilet is used. In one embodiment of the invention, the switch is mounted on the outer end of a stopper for supporting the lid of the toilet bowl at an open position while the toilet is being used. Such a stopper is generally positioned considerably far above the toilet bowl so that the switch on the stopper is seldom touched by the person who is cleaning the toilet to flush water unnecessarily. Since ordinary toilets are generally provided with such a lid stopper, the device of the invention can be easily applied to such conventional toilets without very much modifying or altering their structure.
The invention will be better understood from the following description of preferred embodiments thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein the same reference numerals denote corresponding parts in different figures, and wherein:
F IG. 1 is a side view of a toilet embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged sectional view of the outer end of the stopper provided with a switch adapted to be actuated by the lid of the toilet bowl in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an electrical control circuit of the device of the invention;
' FIG. 4 is a time chart of different pulses produced in the circuit of FIG. 3, illustrating the operation of the device of the invention; and
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but showing another embodiment of the invention.
Referring in detail to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 a toilet bowl 10 having a lid 11 hinged thereto as at 12 so as to be opened and closed. A pipe 13 supplies flushing water from a suitable source of water, not shown, into the inside of the bowl 10 through an electromagnetic valve 14 inserted in the pipe 13, As will be described in detail later, when the valve 14 is energized, water is introduced into the toilet bowl 10. In this respect,'the device of the invention is not different from conventional toilet facilities.
A stopper or support generally designated by 16 is provided projecting forwardly from a wall or the like 15. When the lid 11 is opened to the position shown by the dotted line in FIG. 1, it is stopped by the stopper 16 and kept open at that position. With reference to FIG. 2, the stopper 16 comprises a stem 16, at the outer end of which there is provideda switch operable depending upon the contacting relation between the lid 11 and the stopper 16. In the illustrated embodiment, the switch takes the form of a reed switch 21 enclosed within a housing 22 of a suitable plastic material screwed to the outer end of the stem 16'. A pair of conductors 23 connected to the switch 21 extend through the stem 16 to be connected to a control circuit to be described hereinafter.
A cap 24 made of, say, rubber covers the outer end of the housing 22 for protection against shock by the lid, and intrusion of water and dirt into the housing 22. The lid 11 is provided with a permanent magnet 25 just where the lid 11 contacts the cap 24 of the stopper housing 22 when the lid is opened.
When a user opens the lid 11 to lean it against the stopper 16, the magnet 25 closes the reed switch 21. When the user is through using the toilet and closes the lid, the switch 21 is restored to its normally open position. The opening and closing of the switch 21 is utilized to control the flushing of water in the following manner. Turning to FIG. 3, when the switch 21 is closed, a signal as shown in FIG. 4A is produced and continues while the switch 21 is kept closed. This signal is applied to a differentiator 31, which produces a positive output pulse P, when the switch 21 is closed and a negative output pulse P when the switch is opened, as shown in FIG. 4B. The positive pulse P, triggers a monostable multivibrator 32, which produces an output in the form of a square wave as shown in FIG. 4C. This signal lasts for a predetermined period of time T, as determined by the time constant previously set in the circuit 32. This signal is applied through an OR circuit 33 to an amplifier, the output from which energizes a relay 35. The relay 35 has a contact 35a inserted in a circuit connecting the electromagnet 14a of the valve 14 and a source of electricity 36. Therefore, when the relay 35 is energized, the relay contact 35a is closed to energize the magnet 14a, whereupon the valve 14 opens the supply pipe 13 for the predetermined period of time T, to flush the toilet bowl 10. When the user closes the lid 11 after use, the switch 21 is opened, whereupon the pulse P is produced to trigger a monostable multivibrator 37. This causes the square wave pulse as shown in FIG. 4D to be produced for a period of time T, as determined by the time constant set in the circuit 37. This signal is amplified by the amplifier 34 to energize the relay 35, whereupon the relay contact 35a is again closed to open the electromagnetic valve 14 for the period of time T to flush the toilet again after use.
In the above arrangement, the toilet is flushed both before and after use. If it is desired to flush the toilet after use only, the monostable multivibrator 32 is omitted as well as the 0R element 33 and the monostable multivibrator 37 alone remains in the circuit.
FIG. 5 shows a different embodiment of the invention, wherein the rodlike stopper 16 of FIG. I is replaced by a housing 41 which encloses the control circuit of FIG. 3 as at 38. The electromagnetic valve 14 may also be enclosed in the housing 41, if desired. The reed switch 21 used in FIG. 1 may be replaced by any other suitable switch, such as a microswitch; In FIG. 5 a metal-actuated proximity switch 42 is employed instead of the reed switch 21 in FIG. 1. To actuate the switch 42, a metallic piece 43 is attached to the outer surface of the lid 1] just where the piece 43 contacts or is positioned near the switch 42 when the lid 11 is opened for use of the toilet. The housing 41 is made of such a suitable material as not to actuate the proximity switch 42.
On the metallic piece 43 there may be printed how to flush the toilet or the name of the manufacturer of the toilet. It will be easily seen that when the user raises the lid'll to lean it against the front wall of the housing 41 as shown by the dotted line in FIG. 5, the metallic piece 43 actuates the proximity switch 42 to produce the signal as shown in FIG. 4A, and that when the lid 11 is closed after use, the piece 43 moves away from the switch 42, so that the signal disappears. The operation of the control circuit is the same as in the previous embodiment shown in FIG. 1, so that no further explanation will be required.
What we claim is:
1. An automatic flushing device for a toilet having a bowl, a
lid hinged to the bowl for selective opening and closing, means for supporting the lid when open, and means for flushing water into the bowl, comprising:
A. a proximity switch which is mounted on the supporting means, said proximity switch being normally restored and adapted to be actuated when a metallic object is brought adjacent thereto;
B. a metallic piece located on the lid and positioned to actuate said proximity switch when the lid is open;
C. a control circuit connected to said proximity switch which operates the flushing means of the toilet for a predeterminedperiod of time after the lid is closed and said proximity switch has been restored.
2. .An automatic flushing device as recited in claim 1, wherein said control circuit also includes means which operates the flushing means for a predetermined period of time after the lid is opened and said proximity switch is actuated.
3. An automatic flushing device as recited in claim 2, wherein said control circuit comprises:
A. means providing a first pulse when said proximity switch is actuated and a second pulse when said proximity switch is restored;
B. means furnishing a first control signal having a duration equal to that of said first predetermined time period in response to said first pulse,
C. means furnishing a second control signal having a duration equal to that of said second predetermined time period in response to said second pulse, and
D. means actuating the flushing means in response to either of said first or said second control signals.
4. An automatic flushing device as recited in claim 3 wherein said first and second pulse providing means comprises a differentiator, and said first and second control signal furnishing means each comprises a monostable multivibrator.
5. An automatic flushing device as recited in claim 2 wherein said proximity switch comprises a magnetically actuated reed switch, and said metallic piece comprises a permanent magnet.
6. An automatic flushing device as recited in claim 1, wherein said proximity switch comprises a magnetically actuated reed switch, and said metallic piece comprises a permanent magnet.