US 3630413 A
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United States Patent Inventors Orville L. Beckes Washington; Sherman E. Dare, Wheathnd, both of Ind. Appl. No. 24,574 Filed Apr. 1, 1970 Patented Dec. 28, 1971 Assignee The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy DEVICE FOR MANUALLY OR AUTOMATICALLY INFLATING A LIFE PRESERVE]! FORElGN PATENTS 110,668 11/1917 Great Britain 690,245 6/1930 France 6/3 Primary Examiner-Stanley l-l. Tollberg Assistant Examiner-Francis J. Bartuska AttorneysRt S. Sciascia, H. H. Losche and Paul S. Collignon ABSTRACT: A device for manually or automatically puncturing one or more carbon dioxide cartridges for use in inflating a life preserver. A water-soluble disk is used to prevent movement of a spring-biased piston, and upon dissolving of this water-soluble disk, the spring-biased cylinder moves to withdraw a stop thereby permitting actuation of toggle linkage to drive one or more plungers which puncture one or more carbon dioxide cartridges. A one-way valve which is actuated by water pressure is provided to prevent high humidity or water spray from dissolving the water-soluble disk. A cable is also provided which can be used to actuate the toggle linkage to puncture the carbon dioxide cartridges.
Pafented Dec. 28, 1971 mm mm DEVICE FOR MANUALLY OR AUTOMATICALLY INFLATING A LIFE PRESERVER STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION releases carbon dioxide to inflate the jacket. The only disadvantage to these presently available devices is that, if the wearer of the life preserver is a small child, the child may not be able to actuate the device particularly if the child suddenly falls into the water and is frightened, and also adults, such as military personnel, may be injured or unconscious, and may not be capable of operating a manual device.
Various devices have been providedto permit automatic inflation of a life preserver upon entering water. In U.S. Pat. No. 2,964,050, which issued Dec. 13, 1960, to Joseph F. Novak, a container of compressed air is provided with a spring loaded valve which, when depressed, permits flow of the gas from the container to an inflatable body. A plunger which is loaded by a coiled spring is provided to depress the valve, but is prevented from movement by a liquid disintegrable body composed of aspirin or the like. Upon entering the water, the disintegrable body dissolves, and the plunger is driven by a spring against the valve to permit passage of compressed air from the container into the inflatable body.
Another automatically inflatable life preserver is shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,127,624, which issued Apr. 7, 1964, to Ted J. Kubit and William S. Stanton. In this patented device, a puncturing needle is stationarily mounted in a housing, and a carbon dioxide cartridge is positioned so that it can be moved against the puncturing needle by a cam attached to a pivotal element. A spring mechanism is provided to move the pivotal element but is restrained by a stop mechanism which includes a sugar cube. Upon entering water, the sugar cube dissolves and the spring mechanism moves the cartridge against the puncturing needle. A cable is provided so that the pivotal element can also be manually actuated.
The main disadvantage to most heretofore available actuating devices is that there is no protection from water spray or high humidity and the device can be triggered without entering water.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an inflatable device for life 'preservers which can be manually actuated by pulling a cable and which will automatically actuate when a wearer of the life preserver enters water. A pair of gas cartridges are threadedly attached to a housing and first and second puncturing elements are provided for puncturing these gas cartridges. A toggle mechanism, which is spring drivable, is provided to actuate the first and second puncturing elements, but a latch is provided to retain the toggle mechanism in a cocked position. A spring-drivable piston is provided as a release mechanism for the latch, but movement of the piston is prevented by a soluble disk positioned in a cylinder containing the piston. A one way valve is provided to prevent water spray from entering into the cylinder containing the soluble disk. A cable is provided to actuate the toggle mechanism by pulling.
It is therefore a general object of the present invention to provide a device which will automatically inflate a life preserver when immersed in water.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. I is a plan view, partially in section and partially broken away, showing a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a latching bar;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of slidable stop; and
FIG. 4 is a plan view of a bifurcated plunger.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing, there is shown a housing 11 to which first and second gas cartridges l2 and 13 are threadedly attached. Although a pair of cartridges are shown, it should be understood that a single cartridge could be utilized when the item to be inflated is of small capacity. A fastening hole 14 and an inflation hole 15 are provided to facilitate the securing of the present invention to a life preserver (not shown). A plunger 16 is provided for each gas cartridge and each plunger is slidable in a bore 17 and biased away from the end of the gas cartridge by a spring 18. A sealing ring 19 is provided around the periphery of plunger 16 to prevent excessive loss of gas when the gas cartridges are punctured. Upon puncturing of the gas cartridges, gas passes through hole 21 and then through inflation hole 15 to which an inflatable device is attached.
A pressure bar 22 is provided to move plungers l6 and pushing pads 23 and 24 are pivotally attached to driving bar 22 by means of pins 25 and 26, respectively. Pushing pads 23 and 24 are curved to fit the curvature of the heads 27 of plungers 16. A toggle mechanism, comprised of yoke 28 and links 31 and 32 is provided to actuate pressure bar 22. One end of link 31 is pivotally attached to housing 11 by means of pin 33 while one end of link 32 is pivotally attached to pressure bar 22 by means of pin 34. The other ends of links 31 and 32 are attached to yoke 28 by means of pin 35. Yoke 28 is slidably mounted in bore 36 in housing 11 and a spring 37 is provided which furnishes the driving force for movement of the toggle mechanism.
A latch 38 is pivotally attached to housing 11 by means of pin 40 and the toggle mechanism is connected to latch 38 by link 29 which has one end attached to latch 38 by means of pin 30 and the other end connected to pin 35. One end of latch 38 is engageable with latching bar 39 which is rotatably mounted to housing 11, and is normally prevented from rotation by slidable stop 41. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawing, a tang 42 and a slot 43 are provided on latching bar 39. Tang 42 is engageable with slidable stop 41 and latch 38 is engageable in slot 43. Slidable stop 41 is connected to piston 44 by means of pin 45 which passes through an elongated hole 46 in slidable stop 41. As will be more fully hereinafter explained, elongated hole 46 permits movement of slidable stop 41 while piston 44 remains stationary, thereby pennitting manual operation of the device of the present invention. A spring 47 is provided in a bore 48 in slidable stop 41 and spring 47 biases piston 44 and slidable stop 41 as far apart as elongated hole 46 pennits.
Piston 44 is slidably mounted in cylinder 49 and a piston spring 51 is provided to move piston 44. A soluble disk 52 of suitable material is provided to prevent movement of piston 44 until the mechanism is immersed in water, such as occasioned by a person falling off a boat. A valve mechanism 53, which is kept closed with a very weak spring 54-is provided to prevent water spray or rain from affecting soluble disk 52. A threaded cap 55 closes cylinder 49 and cap 55 is provided with a plurality of holes 56 that permit water to enter cylinder 49 when the water pressure is sufficient to depress spring 54 and open valve 53.
A release lever 57 is pivotally attached to housing 11 by pin 58, and release lever 47 is connected to slidable stop 41 by means of pin 59 which passes through hole 61 in slidable stop 41 and elongated slot 62 in release lever 57. One end of cable 63 is attached to release lever 57 and the other end of cable 63 is attached to a small ring 64 through which cable 65 passes. A bifurcated plunger 66 is attached to latch 38 by pin 67 and a connected to one end of cable 65 to facilitate pulling of cable 65 and the other end of cable 65 is attached to bifurcated plunger 66.
OPERATION Assuming the inflation device is in a cocked position, as shown in P16. 1 of the drawing, upon entering water by a person wearing the device, water enters through holes 56 in cap 55 and water pressure opens valve 53 to pennit entry of water into cylinder 49. Soluble disk 52 is dissolved by the water in cylinder 49 whereupon spring 51 moves piston 44 which, in turn, pulls slidable stop 41 a sufficient distance to be clear of tang 42 on latching bar 39. Latch 38 applies a pushing force on latching bar 39 due to the force applied by spring 68 to bifurcated plunger 66. Upon tang 42 being clear from slidable stop 41, latch 38 is rotated about pin 40 and latching bar 39 is rotated to free latch 38. As latch 38 rotates, pin 30 is raised which, in turn, raises link 29 thereby permitting spring 37 to operate the toggle mechanism comprised of links 31 and 32 and yoke 28. The toggle mechanism moves pressure bar 22 thereby causing pushing pads 23 and 24 to move plungers 16- thereby puncturing gas cartridges l2 and 13. Gas from the punctured cartridges passes through hole 21 and into inflation hole to which an inflatable device is attached.
Assuming again that the inflation device is in a cocked position as shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing, and a manual release is desired, pulling of handle 71 causes cable 63 to pivot release lever 57 about pin 58 and this pivoting causes pin 59 to move slidable stop 41 to the rear a sufficient distance to permit tang 42 on latching bar 39 to clear slidable stop 41. When tang 42 becomes free to rotate, the mechanism operates in the same manner as that described for automatic operation, with the difference between automatic and manual operation being in the manner in which slidable stop 41 is withdrawn from contact with tang 42.
1. A device for automatically inflating a life preserver comp g a housing adaptable for attaching an inflatable life preserver and at least one gas cartridge thereto,
at least one puncturing element slidably mounted in said housing and adaptable for engaging the end of a gas cartridge attached to said housing,
a toggle mechanism pivotally attached to said housing for actuating said at least one puncturing element,
a latch pivotally attached to said housing and connected to said toggle mechanism,
a latching bar rotatably mounted to said housing and engageable with said latch to lock said latch in a cocked position,
a slidable stop,
means including a water soluble disk for biasing said slidable stop in engagement with said latching bar,
a release lever pivotally attached to said housing for disengaging said slidable stop from said latching bar,
and a spring connected to said toggle mechanism for actuating said toggle mechanism upon disengagement of said latch from aid latching bar.
2. A device for automatically inflating a life preserver as set forth in claim 1 having a spring biasing said latch into engagement with said latching bar whereupon disengagement of said slidable stop from said latching bar said latch rotates said latching bar thereby causing disengagement between said latch and said latching bar.
3. A device for automatically inflating a life preserver as set forth in claim 1 wherein said means including a water soluble disk for biasing said slidable stop in engagement with said latching bar comprises a cylinder in said housing, a piston slidably mounted in said cylinder and a spring biasing said cylinder ainst said soluble disk, said piston being connected to said sh able stop whereby water en enng said cylinder dissolves said soluble disk whereupon said spring moves said piston to disengage said slidable stop from said latching bar.
4. A device for automatically inflating a life preserver as set forth in claim 3 wherein said cylinder has an opening for the entrance of water and a spring-biased valve closing said entrance.