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Publication numberUS3742768 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 3, 1973
Filing dateMar 2, 1972
Priority dateMar 2, 1972
Also published asDE2310189A1, DE2310189C2
Publication numberUS 3742768 A, US 3742768A, US-A-3742768, US3742768 A, US3742768A
InventorsFleckenstein A, Mitchell H
Original AssigneeFleckenstein A J, Mitchell H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Timing motor drive mechanism for water softener valves
US 3742768 A
Abstract
A water softener valve timing mechanism utilizing a timing motor to shift the valve through the various operating and softening stages. A linkage is operated periodically to shift a drive gear for the valve into engagement with a pinion of the timing motor. An adjustable cam controls a brine line valve for variably controlling the amount of water filled in the brine tank of the system to thereby control salt usage.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 F-leckenstein et-al.

TIMING MOTOR DRIVE MECHANISM FOR WATER SOFTENER VALVES Inventors: Andrew J. Fleckenstein, 2880 Santa Marin Drive, Brookfield, Wis. 53005; Herman C. Mitchell, 4159 S. 65th St., Greenfield, Wis. 53220 Filed: Mar. 2, 1972 Appl. No.: 231,145

US. Cl. 74/3.52, 200/35 R, 200/38 R Int. Cl G05g 17/00 Field of-Search 74/3.5, 3.52, 3.54;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,302,467 2/1967 Prosser 74 35 [111 3,742,768 [451 July 3, 1973 6/1969 Tischler 74/3.5 3,457,792

7/ l 969 Fleckenstein 74/3 .52

Primary Examiner-Milton Kaufman Attorney Robert C. Brown, J r., Malcolm S. Brodway et al.

[ 5 7 ABSTRACT A water softener valve timing mechanism utilizing a timing motor to shift the valve through the various operating and softening stages. A linkage is operated periodically to shift a drive gear for the valve into engagement with a pinion of the timing motor. An adjustable cam controls a brine line valve for variably controlling the amount of water filled in the brine tank of the system to thereby control salt usage.

12 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures Jill" suatnnra viii! TIMING MOTOR DRIVE MECHANISM FOR WATER SOFTENER VALVES The invention is directed to new and useful improvements in control valves for water softeners and is particularly concerned with improvements in a drive between a piston operated valve and a timing motor which is used to operate the valve in a preselected periodic fashion.

The present invention is directed to improvements in timing motor and valve actuating mechanisms of the type illustrated in Fleckenstein U.S. Pat. No. 3,616,820, issued Nov. 2, 1971.

The principal purposes of the present invention are to provide improved and more economical mechanism fo effecting a drive between a continuously operating timing motor'and a linkage which drives the operating piston of a water softener valve, to arrange such a mechanism so as to reduce the operating forces necessary to bring about engagement between a timing motor and the drive linkage for the valve, and to arrange such a drive system with mechanism which provides a predetermined and adjustable period of brine tank filling time in the softener system while effecting a positive shut-off of the brine tank line when either a brining or brine tank filling operation is not needed.

These and other purposes will appear from time to time in the course of the following specification when taken with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a typical water softener system provided with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the water softener control illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a rear view of the control mechanism illus trated in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a view of the brine tank valve control illustrated in FIG. 3 while illustrating a different position of the operating parts;

FIG. 5 is a view of the control illustrated in FIG. 3 while illustrating a different operative position of the parts; and

FIG. 6 is a detail view of certain operating elements illustrated in FIG. 2.

Like elements are designated by like characters through-out the specification and drawings.

With particular reference to the drawings and in the first instance to FIG. I, the numeral 10 generally designates a typical water softening tank having a control valve 11 fixed to the top thereof so as to selectively direct hard water through an inlet passage to the valve (not shown) and through an inlet space 12in the valve for flow through an outlet 13 in the top of the water softener tank. Water then flows downwardly through the tank where it is softened and then upwardly through an outlet pipe 14, which, in the service position illustrated in FIG. 1, communicates with an outlet space 15 in the valve.

The valve has an aspirator assembly 16 which is connected with a line through a shut-off valve 18 to a brine tank 19. A control generally designated at 20 is fixed to the top of the valve and is adapted to drive the piston of the valve at selected time intervals through a slowly moving and uninterrupted reciprocating cycle. As the piston moves, the various passages of the valve are connected for control of regenerative operations such as backwashing, brin'ing, slow rinsing, rapid rinsing, and brine tank filling, respectively, before the valve returns to the service position.

The valve illustrated in FIG. 1 is generally representative of that disclosed in Fleckenstein U.S. Pat. No. 3,616,820.

The control of the present invention utilizes an upstanding support plate 21 which is fixed to the top of the valve by a lateral flange 21a. Thesupport plate 21 supports a time-of-day wheel 22, a skip-day wheel 23, a drive pinion 24 for the time-of-day wheel, an actuating element in the form of a pin 25 projecting outwardly from the time-of-day wheel 22, and an actuating arm 26 which is pivotally mounted as at 27 on the upstanding support plate 21, all as generally disclosed in the aforesaid U.S. Pat. No. 3,616,820. The skip-day wheel 23 includes a plurality of circumferentially spaced lugs 28 which are adapted to be engaged by the actuating element 25 once each day so as to shift the skip-day wheel 23 through an arc corresponding to the spacing between adjacent lugs. The movement may be 30 with the 12 lugs illustrated. The lugs 28 carry small bolts 29 which are adapted to engage actuating arm 26 and move it angularly in periodic fashion. As disclosed in said patent, a timing motor 30 is arranged to drive time-of-day wheel 22 through a full revolution each day I so as to bring actuating element 25 into engagement with a lug 28 and shift actuating arm 26. By removing a bolt 29 from its associated lug 28, shifting of the skipday wheel 23 in response to contact with the actuating element 25 will simply move the lug 28 adjacent to the actuating arm 26 past the arm without moving it.

Gear 24 may be mounted for axial shifting movement to disengage it from the gear teeth of time-of-day wheel 22 and thus allow setting of the time-of-day wheel for the correct time.

Timing motor 30 is fixed to a mounting lever 31 and includes a drive pinion 32. Pinion 32 is part of a gear train for the motor shaft. The pinion is adapted for engagement with an intermediate gear 33 which is fixed for movement with the pinion 24 to drive the time-ofday wheel. The motor drive pinion 32 is also adapted to periodically drive a gear 34 to actuate the piston of the control valve. Gear 34 includes a hub 35 formed thereon which acts as a crank for a connecting rod or lever 36. Lever 36 is connected to the piston rod 36a of the piston in the valve. Gear 34 includes a cut-away portion 37 in its periphery so that when this cut-away portion is opposed to pinion 32 no drive is effected between the pinion 32 and gear 34.

The mounting plate or lever 31 for motor 30 is pivotally mounted as at 38 so that the mounting plate may swing about the axis of the gear 33. Such swinging movement is limited as byv means of a slot 39 in the mounting lever. A bolt or pin 40 is fixed to the plate 21 and rides in this slot 39 so as to limit swinging movement of the. motor mounting plate in a counterclockwise direction as seen in FIG. 3 to approximately 5 to 15. A spring 41 extends between the pin 40 and a flange 42 of the mounting plate so as to bias the motor mounting lever in a clockwise direction and toward the normal position illustrated in FIG. 3. This mounting arrangement allows the motor and its mounting plate to swing counterclockwise to the position illustrated in FIG. 5 wherein drive pinion 32 is still engaged with gear 33 but spaced from gap 37. In this position, pinion 32 cannot engage gear 34 even if the gear 34 is rotated to move gap 37 away from the position illustrated in FIG.

Motor mounting plate 31 includes an extension 43 presenting a cam surface 44 to camming pin 45 carried by an extension 46 of actuating arm 26. When actuating arm 26 is moved counterclockwise in FIG. 3, it then cams motor mounting plate counterclockwise as seen in FIG.

A pin 47 may be carried by plate 21 and ride in a slot 48 in the extended end of the motor mounting plate so as to provide stability for the same.

Connecting rod 36 is extended on both sides of its pivotal connecton 49 with the crank or hub 35. The extension on the side opposite to the connection with the piston rod 36a is connected with a spring 50. Spring 50 has one end fixed to the support plate 21 as at 51 so that the spring 50 exerts a biasing force on the connecting rod 36 in a clockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 3.

Gear 34 carries an outwardly projecting latching pin 52 on the surface thereof. This latching pin, when the position of the elements is as illustrated in FIG. 3, is adapted to seatwithin a recess 53 in an upper edge of the mounting plate.

- A knob 54 may be fixed to the connecting rod 36 so as to enable manual rotation of the parts for purposes of inspection or repair.

The shut-off valve 18 for the brine line 17 includes an actuating stem 55 for the valve closing element. Stem 55 is biased by a spring 56 towards an upper position wherein the valve is closed.

In order to periodically open this valve and afford communication between the brine tank line 17 and the aspirating passage from time to time, a gear 57 is mounted for rotation on plate 21 and is driven by gear 34 whenever the drive is effective between the pinion 32 and gear 34. Gear 57 carries a first cam 58 having an arcuate surface which is adapted to contact stem 55 and depress the same for a periodic time interval corresponding to the time interval whenit is desired to pass brine fromtank 19 to the softener tank to regenerate same. The cam may include a stem actuating arcuate surface 59 of sufficient length to hold the brine line open for a period of time until all brine has been exhausted from the brine tank 19, after which the valve 11 causes hard water to flow to the softening tank to effect a slow rinsing of the same. The valve 18 is then closed. The valve 11 then causes hard water to flow upward in the softening tank to effect a rapid rinsing of the same. Since the valve 18 is then closed, there is no possibility of the rinsing water, which may carry some resin therein, passing to the brine tank.

Gear 57 carries a second valve actuating cam 60 which is pivotally mounted on the gear 57 'on an axis, defined by a mounting screw 61. This axis is offset from the axis of gear 57,- as defined by the mounting screw 62. The arcuate cam surface 63 of the cam 60 may be angularly adjusted about axis 61 to thus set a selected amount of time that the cam surface 63 will contact and depress stem 55. By adjusting the position of this cam surface about axis 61, the time of engagement with the valve stem 55 may be adjusted between a few minutes and around 30 to 40 minutes, depending upon the length of the cam surface.

. Cam 60 is positioned on the gear 57 in spaced relation to cam 58 so that during rotation of gear 57, cam 58 will first engage stem 55 to open the brine valve 18 during the regeneration period. When the cam surface 59 passes over the stem, the valve 18 is again closed until gear 57 rotates sufficiently to bring cam surface 63 into engagement with the valve stem 55. Opening of the brine valve 18 at this period of time affords communication between the hard water inlet passage in the valve and the brine tank by means of the' passage through the aspirator. This allows filling of the brine tank with makeup water. The period of time that the brine valve 18 is held open at this stage of the regenera- I tive operation thus controls the amount of makeup water whichis supplied to the brine tank 19. This, in turn, controls the amount of brine which eventually is available for regenerating the softening tank.

The operation of the timing and drive mechanism is as follows:

Timing motor 30 runs continously so that its drive pinion 32 continually rotates the time-of-day wheel 22 through the gears 24 and 33. During thetime of day wherein the normal water softening operation takes place, valve drive gear 34 is disengaged from the drive pinion 32 of the motor by reason of the gap 37 of the drive gear being opposed to the drive pinion 32.

At predetermined time intervals, as, for example,

once every 24 hours, the actuating element 25 on the time-of-day wheel 22 moves into a position where it contacts a lug 28 on the skip-day wheel 23. This engagement causes the skip-day wheel to move throug a partial revolution and in turn causes an element 29 on the skip-day wheel to contact actuating arm 26 and partially rotate it. Actuating arm 26 then cams motor mounting plate 31 counterclockwise as is seen in FIG. 3, and this moves the mounting plate away from the element 52 on the valve drive gear 34 so as to unlatch this element from the recess 53. Spring 50 then biases valve connecting rod 36 clockwise as seen in FIG. 3, and this produces a few degrees of movement of the valve driving gear 34 sufficient to move thegap of the valve drive gear away from the motor pinion 32. At this time the motor mounting plate is in the position of FIG. 5 until the element 29 on the skip-day wheel 23 passes over the end of arm 26. Spring 41 then returns the motor mounting plate to the position of FIG. 3. This brings about engagement between the motor pinion 32 and the teeth of the valve drive gear 34.

The timing motor then rotates valve drive gear34 through the remainder of a complete revolution and this in turn shifts the valve piston through the various stages of movement required for the regenerative operations. The movement is continuous and uninterrupted even at the bottom dead center position of the hub 35 and connecting lever 36.

Whenthe valve drive gear has rotated to a position wherein the gap 37 is again opposed to the drive pinion 32 of the motor, the motion is interrupted. At this point the valve connecting lever 36 is substantially attop dead center position. It is preferred that this point of stopping occur when the connecting rod is several degrees beyond the exact top dead center position t allow easier starting of the drive. i

As the valve driving gear 34 and connecting lever 36 approach the top dead center position, latching pin 52 on the drive gear 34 drops into the latching recess 53.

Pin 52 is held in firm contact with the lower'edge of latching recess 53 by means of spring 50 acting through lever 36, hubs 35 and gear 34.

The spring bias for the motor mounting lever 31 allows the motor drive pinion 32 to move slightly in the event that gears in the drive pinion 32 and valve drive gear 34 do not engage properly at the start of the operation (as by teeth of the gears exactly opposing one another). An additional small increment of movement of the pinion will then allow the teeth to engage smoothly.

Actuating arm 26 may be moved manually to shift motor mounting plate 31 and thus allow manual rotation of gear 34 through actuation of knob 54. This is desireable for purposes of inspection and/or repair.

Also, the valve operating mechanism as disclosed herein may be made manually starting as by dispensing with time-of-day wheel 22, skip-day wheel 23, and drive pinion 24. Regeneration of the softener system is then started through manual shifting of actuating arm 26. Upon release of the actuating arm 26, spring 41 then biases the motor mounting plate and pinion 32 to a position where the pinion 32 may engage the teeth of gear 34 and slowly rotate this gear through the remainder of a complete revolution until gap 37 is again opposed to pinion 32. This provides a full regeneration cycle. The drive is then stopped.

We claim:

1. A timing motor timing and actuating mechanism for water softener valves including a water softener valve having a movable control element for controlling various stages of normal softening operation and regeneration in a water softener system, a timing motor adapted to run continuously and a drive gear adapted to be operatively rotated thereby, means providing a driving connection between said drive gear and said control element for translating rotation of said gear into movement of said element, said drive gear having a gap in the periphery thereof, said gap being adapted to be moved into opposition to a drive pinion of said timing motor to prevent engagement between said pinion and said gear, said pinion being adapted to drive said drive gear when said gap is moved away from said pinion, resilient means interconnected with said drive gear so as to bias said drive gear away from a position wherein said gap is opposed to said pinion, latching means for holding said drive gear in a position wherein said gap is opposed to said drive pinion, and means for unlatching said latching means to allow said resilient means to move said connecting rod and gear to bring about engagement between said gear and said pinion and thereby commence movement of said control element.

2. The structureof claim 1 wherein said motor and drive pinion are mounted for swinging movement toward and away from said drive gear, and spring means bias said motor and pinion toward a position adjacent said drive gear.

3. The structure of claim 2 wherein said unlatching means includes means periodically operated by said timing motor.

4. The structure of claim 1 wherein said resilient means interconnected with said gear include a spring connected to a lever connected with a hub of said gear.

5. The structure of claim 1 wherein said motor and said pinion are mounted for swinging movement toward and away from said drive gear, and means bias said motor and pinion toward said drive gear, said latching means including an element carried by said drive gear and engageable with a recess in a motor mounting lever whereby swinging movement of said motor, pinion, and mounting lever disengages said element from said recess to allow rotation of said drive gear.

6. The structure of claim 1 wherein said motor and pinion are supported by a lever which is swingably mounted to allow movement of said motor and pinion toward and away from said drive gear, and means bias said motor and pinion toward said drive gear, said latching means including an element carried by said drive gear and engageable with said lever when said motor and pinion are positioned for a driving enegagement with said drive gear, said unlatching means including a movable actuating arm engageable with said lever and adapted upon movement thereof to cause swinging movement of said lever, motor and pinion away from said drive gear, said unlatching means further including mechanism driven by said timing motor for periodically moving said actuating arm.

7. The structure of claim 1 wherein said driving connection means includes a connecting rod connected to said control element and connected to said drive gear at a point eccentric to the axis of rotation of said drive gear, said resilient means including a spring connected to an extension of said connecting rod.

8. In a time controlled drive of the type using a motor driven drive pinion periodically and selectively engageable with a rotatable drive gear for operating apparatus and wherein said drive gear includes a gap in its periphery to interrupt the drive when said pinion is opposed to said gap, the improvement comprising means movably mounting said motor and drive pinion for swinging movement toward and away from a position adapted for selective engagement with said drive gear and disengagement with said drive gear nesting withinsaid gap, means biasing said motor and pinion toward said position, resilient means for partially rotating said drive gear to thereby move said gap away from said nested position wherein said gap is opposed to said pinion, means for causing swinging movement of said motor and pinion away from said gap, and latching means for holding said motor and pinion in a position wherein said pinion is within said gap, said latching means being unlatched by said swinging movement causing means to thereby permit said resilient means to partially rotate said drive gear away said position and bring about engagement between said drive gear and said pinion.

9. The drive of claim 8 wherein said latching means is defined by an element carried by said drive gear and engageable in a recess in a lever movable with said motor.

10. The drive of claim 9 wherein said lever is fixed to said motor for movement therewith.

11. The drive of claim 10 wherein a mechanism periodically actuated by said motor actuates said means for causing swinging movement of said motor and pinion and engagement between said pinion and gear.

12. The system of claim 1 1 wherein said spring biases said motor and pinion toward a position wherein said pinion may engage said gear, with said gap circumferentially spaced from said nested position.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3302467 *Mar 31, 1965Feb 7, 1967Autotrol CorpTiming control
US3448625 *Nov 1, 1967Jun 10, 1969Union Tank Car CoTimer
US3457792 *Sep 29, 1967Jul 29, 1969Fleckenstein A JTiming motor mechanism for control valves and the like
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4313825 *Feb 23, 1981Feb 2, 1982L. W. Fleckenstein, Inc.Control system for meter actuated regeneration in a water treatment system
US5879559 *Oct 7, 1996Mar 9, 1999Erie Manufacturing CompanyValve controller for water conditioning system
EP0028049A1 *Oct 24, 1980May 6, 1981L.W. FLECKENSTEIN, INC., Société diteOperating device for a water conditioning system
Classifications
U.S. Classification74/3.52, 200/35.00R, 200/38.00R
International ClassificationF16K31/44, F16K31/48
Cooperative ClassificationF16K31/48
European ClassificationF16K31/48
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 27, 1988AS01Change of name
Owner name: FLECK CONTROLS, INC.
Owner name: L.W. FLECKENSTEIN, INC.
Effective date: 19880614
Jun 27, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: FLECK CONTROLS, INC.
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:L.W. FLECKENSTEIN, INC.;REEL/FRAME:004925/0251
Effective date: 19880614
Dec 18, 1984ASAssignment
Owner name: L. W. FLECKENSTEIN, INC., BROOKFIELD, WI A CORP O
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:MITCHELL, HERMAN C.;REEL/FRAME:004346/0640
Effective date: 19841203
Dec 18, 1984AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: L. W. FLECKENSTEIN, INC., BROOKFIELD, WI A CORP OF
Effective date: 19841203
Owner name: MITCHELL, HERMAN C.