US 3771723 A
A rotary sprinkler head for underground installation with pop-up nozzle and improved ball-impact type of motor including a high-buoyancy plastic motor chamber having a hemispherically curved ball race to fit substantially a half or the hemisphere of the driving ball for maximal and uniform drive and wear. A novel throttle means permits adjustment by screw-driver turning of the nozzle without removal or entry into the head, and means is provided whereby the nozzle can be freed from stuck condition by similar turning of the nozzle. Self-scavenging means is provided for the shrouded type of nozzle to continuously flush out sand and sludge. Novel water jet means provides a pulsed spray.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Ray [451 Nov. 13, 1973  ROTARY SPRINKLER HEAD Primary Examiner-Robert S. Ward, Jr.  Inventor: Harry Edward Ray, 3244 Mel Ave., Attorney-Canard Llvmgswn A21. 0 Le.Y, LNsv-i 0  Filed: June 22, 1972  ABSTRACT  A N 265,348 A rotary sprinkler head for underground installation with pop-up nozzle and improved ball-impact type of motor including a high-buoyancy plastic motor cham- 52 us. c1 239/206, 239/230 her having a hemispherically curved ball race to i 51 1111. C1 B05b 3/04, B05b 15/10 Substantially a half or the hemisphere of the driving  Field of Search 239/204, 205, 206, ball for maximal and uniform drive and wear- A novel 239/230 203 throttle means permits adjustment by screw-driver turning of the nozzle without removal or entry into the head, and means is provided whereby the nozzle can  References C'ted be freed from stuck condition by similar turning of the UNITED STATES PATENTS nozzle. Self-scavenging means is provided for the 3,463,401 8/1969 Cobigo 239/206 x Shrouded y of nozzle to Continuously flush out Sand 3,627,205 12/1971 Hea1y..... 239/230 X and sludge. Novel water jet means provides a pulsed 3,666,181 5/1972 Healy 239/230 X spray.
19 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures ROTARY SPRINKLER HEAD Sprinkler heads of the class described utilize a variety of pressure-reactive and impact motor arrangements to cause rotation or oscillation of a nozzle, and numbers of these devices employ an impact ball driven by movement of the water toward the nozzle to supply an intermittent thrust jogging the nozzle'means in rotary action.
A critical problem with such devices is motor failure and malfunction due, for example, to loss of driving power, jamming and fouling resulting from. corrosion and abrasion caused by grit, sediments, mud and chemical action and general exposure to the elements in the environment in which'such devices must operate at all times, and particularly during seasonal lay-up periods.
The structural nature of such sprinkler heads commonly requires removal of the entire unit from the ground, or at the least removal of a cover or housing member, in order to gain access to the motor components or to effect speed adjustments or free. a stalled motor.
The improvements afforded by the present disclosures are especially characterized in that the movable nozzle component is formed as an integral part of the motor unit from a non-metallic moldable plastic material, and rotates within a similarly molded head body or housing, the motor body being shiftable along a vertical axis and' also rotatable about such axis, the interior of the motor structure being conformed to provide a circular chamber defining a circuitous wide-arc ball raceway which initially has the same radius of curvature as the ball and tends to wear in a manner to maintain this curvature with resultant elimination of one of the causes of loss of driving power and uniform motion.
Another feature of improvement is the provision of a water by-passing throttle means which is adjustable to change the motor speed by use of a screw driver applied externally to the tip of the nozzleat ground level, thus obviating entry into, or removal of the head for such purposes. v i
Still another'feature is the simplification which eliminates complex moving parts and heavy constructions of a type which have characterized prior devices of this class with the result that an expendible motor is provided such that when inevitable wear requires replacementor comparable servicing, the, entire plastic nozzle and motor unit can be thrown away and economically replaced by a new motor, the disclosed constructions further making it possible in this connection to utilize the advantages of the motor also with" removable bronze or like metal nozzles where these are desired.
Yet another feature is the provision in the shrouded form of nozzle of self-scavenging means for washing out sand and like contaminants which cause jamming.
The water motor is of such simplified character and utility as to be adaptable to numerous other applications.
Further objects and aspects of novelty and utility will appear from the following description of a preferred embodiment of the devicetaken in view of the annexed drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view, to reduced scale, showing a complete head unit;
FIG. 2 is a vertical cross section of one form of the head with parts shown in elevation;
FIG. 2-A is a perspective detail of a removable nozzle and shroud assembly; FIG. 2-B is a cross-section of the same;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged section of the motor unit for use with removable nozzles;
FIG. 4 is a plan view looking down toward the bottom and floor of the motor chamber, the scale being reduced over FIG. 3;
FIG. 4-A is a perspective detail of the control vane or throttle;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the motor unit of FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the throttle holding means looking down onto the bottom and floor of the outer housing body; and
FIG. 7 is a vertical section like that of FIG. 2 depicting amodified form of nozzle as an integral conformation of part of the motor structure.
As depicted in FIG. 1, the sprinkler head comprises a molded plastic outer body or housing 10 adapted to be buried with its top cover plate 11 substantially flush with the ground, said plate having a central opening for emergence, as in dotted lines, of a nozzle structure 12. An internally threaded pipe-coupling nipple 13 is formed at the bottom of the housing (FIG. 2 also) for connection with the usual water distributing network employed in lawn sprinkling and ground watering installations.
The head cover plate is removably seated upon and secured to the top flange on. the housing by screws 15, and is provided with a Nylon or like bushing 16 in the central opening which guides the nozzle means 12 in its vertical shifting and rotative movements, said nozzle means having a screw slot 18 formed across its upper end.
In the construction of FIG. 2 the nozzle is removably carried by the motor and is of the metallic type, preferably brass, having a threaded foot 12F engaging in the internally threaded nipple 38A of a plastic cover plate 38 for the chamber of the motor unit, this type of rotating nozzle being intended to throw a full 360 spray pat-v tern from orifices 17 adjacent its upper end, in contrast to the zoned nozzle depicted in FIG. 2-A which additionally includes a stationary hood ,or shroud tube 19 loosely fitting about, and captured in;knowri manner with the nozzle element 12 but prevented from turning with the latter by the known means of a verticallyextending outer keyway 19A thereon which will engage a bushing which will be substituted for the bushing 16. A window 213 of desired angular extent at the top of "the stationary shroud confines the spray to desired zone ranges of 45, 60, etc. Thus, the motor unit of FIGS. 2 and-3 can accept desired types of removable nozzle adapted for threaded mounting.
As depicted in FIG. 28, the shrouded or baffled nozzle means is provided with selflscavenging means including the formation in the mid-region of the nozzle body of an area of reduced outer diameter tocreate a flushing zone 24, theremaining opposite end portions of the nozzle body which are of the original diameter forming spaced peripheral bearing areas 25 with clearance to the shroud tub e sufficient to permit the pistonlike rise of'the nozzle therein in pop-up'action due to the pressure in the water line. The scavenging means is completed by provision of a flushing slot 26 in the upper bearing surface communicating from the flushing zone back to the sprayend of the nozzle, the action being such that, as the nozzle rotates within the shroud tube, a certain amount of water continually works back into the reduced-diameter flushing zone 24, and creates sufficient agitation and current to continually wash sand and other sludge-forming contaminants out through the slot 26 for ejection with the sprayed water.
Nozzles of the zoned sprayor shrouded-type are particularly prone to seizure and sticking due to mud and gritty, silty material in the water, or collecting in the head body from the surrounding ground during idle periods, and the described scavenging means affords an effective remedy for preventing seizure from both causes. a
As viewed in FIG. 3, the motor housing comprises a non-metallic body 30 of circular configuration providing an open-topped chamber 31; formed along the conjunction of its bottom wall and floor 32 with the surrounding side wall 33, is a circular ball race 34 for the driving ball 35 which will have a particular desired diameter, for example, 7/16ths inch, it beinga characteristic of this race that it has an extensive angular or rounded cross section with a radius of curvature at 34 which is initially (i.e., in production) the same as that of the driving ball so that the ball tends to nest closely over a maximal arc of contact on its surface with the contour of the race and thereby afford a good driving seal for minimal by-passing of the incoming water jet current entering at one side of the chamber above this race, as will appear.
The motor body or chamber 31 and its cover structure 38 are molded from a synthetic material such as Nylon which will afford good bearing and abrasionresistive qualities, it being understood that such ball impact motors, including those having bronze bodies, suffer inevitable wear in the ball track due to abrasive content of the water from the service mains and environmental grit which works into the heads constantly with the experience that prior types of ball impact motor soon lose efficiency, stall easily or fail altogether as the result of wear along the usual ball course, with consequent increasing by-passing of the water and decrease in driving force a conditionwhich is largely alleviated by the disclosed arcuate widetrack construction which not only provides increased drive, but tends to maintain a good wide-arc sealing track for the life of the material of which the ball chamber is made.
Situated along the ball race at an elevation above the floor is an impact structure or anvil means 40, FIG. 4, consisting of an elongated and slightly arcuate length of steel which may be hardened at the impact end and is provided at this point with a bevel 41 conformably to the curvature of the ball by which it is intermittently struck, the anvil strip being spaced from the side wall of the chamber by an integral land 42 projecting therefrom and formed to provide a seating notch 42A such that the anvil strip can be held by a single rivet 43 with its impact end projecting beyond and spaced from the wall for impact by the ball at a point close to the entry of the water by the jet means to be described.
Means effecting intermittent jet-type drive of the nozzle-carrying ball chamber includes the provision of a jet orifice 45, FIG..5, situated in the angled face 46 of an integrally molded projection of the top of the cover plate 38 such that water entering the housing or head body under pressure from the head inlet nipple 13 is directed into the motor chamber with a downward pitch emerging at a point overlying the ball race, preferably just above the impact end 41 of the anvil strip, to flow in the direction of movement of the ball (counterclockwise, FIG. 4). This contrivance results in optimized drive and spray-pulsing action because the ball hesitates momentarily on striking the anvil at 41 and blocks the driving water entering from orifice 45 briefly until the motor housing turns as the result of the impact, thus desirably pulsing or modulating the spray in addition to advancing the entire motor and nozzle assembly. The cover 38 is formed to fit tight with the rim of 39, motor chamber and is secured by a single screw 35, FIG. 5.
A feature of importance seen in FIG. 3 particularly (and included in the modified construction of FIG. 7) is a pendant baffle extension 21 or 21X of the nozzle nipple to provide an anti-stall means extending downwardly into the chamber a considerable distance to a level approximately at the equator of the ball to prevent the latter from being pulled into blocking relationship to the current entering the nozzle, the molding of the cover structure for both the removable and integrally conformed types of nozzle being particularly economical and advantageous in this connection.
Situated diametrically across the inlet to the nozzle passage in the pendant ball baffle, FIG. 3, is a thin antiturbulence web 14 which may be an insert or an integrally molded component and serves to prevent undesirable turbulence in the flow.
The cadence and throw of the spray can be sensi tively controlled by means of a lightweight throttle vane 50, preferably of thin brass stock having a curvilinear configuration such as depicted in dotted lines in FIG. 4 and in perspective in FIG. 4-A, with a pivot bore 51 turning about an integral pivot stud 52, FIG. 3, depending centrally from the bottom of the ball chamber against which it is frictionally held by a small cinch washer 53, FIG. 4, seized upon the stud. A stop finger 54 projects from one side of the vane for range-limiting movement between a pair of stop bosses 55 also integrally depending from said chamber bottom eccentrically of the pivot stud so as to limit the arcuate travel of the vane between fully open and fully closed throttle positions with respect to a throttle by-pass hole 58 in the bottom of the chamber, the fully-closed condition being shown in FIG. 4. A smaller relief passage 59 is also provided in the chamber floor adjacent the throttle opening and is always open to relieve back pressure conditions within the chamber, prevent stalling of the ball at slowest speeds, and for drainage during lay-up.
Means making it possible to adjust the throttle exteriorly of the head by simply turning the nozzle comprises the provision of a circular array of stud-like holding bosses 60, FIGS. 2, and 6, projecting upwardly toward the bottom of the motor chamber from the inlet in the outer housing body and preferably formed as part of the head body at the upper end of the water inlet nipple, FIGS. 6 and 7. The small pendant coupling lug 56, FIGS. 3, 4-A and 7, is struck down from an edge of the throttle vane 50 in a manner to lie in between any pair of the holding bosses 60 when the motor unit or chamber is in lowered condition, as in FIGS. 2 and 7, so that exertion of a turning force, as by application of a screwdriver to the nozzle slot 18, will turn the entire motor unit relative to the throttle vane since the latter is held stationary by the lug and boss means 56, 60.
The installation and operation of the described devices in the usual sprinkling system is such that each unit is buried in the ground with the top plate and nozzle opening of the housing substantially at the ground level, suitable connections (not illustrated) being made withthe usual water distributing network. When the water is turned off, the entire motor unit 30 drops to the floor of the cavity of the housing body to the fullline position shown in FIG. 2; but when the pressure is turned on, the water rising in the housing from inlet 13 easily elevates the buoyantly constructed motor, a small volume of water entering the chamber via the throttle and relief holes 58 and 59 and the remainder entering the jet orifice 45 to fill the chamber and rise into the nozzle, which will afford a sufficient resistance to maintain a current in the chamber from the jet orifice so that the ball is continuously driven forward with each jogging advance of the motor housing by impact of the ball with the anvil.
In addition to other described advantages, therelatively slight mass of the plastic motor structure plus the closed-chamber construction, affords a high degree of buoyancy which facilitates quick elevation of the motor and the nozzle unit and practically eliminates hang-up when the water pressure drops from the expected average pressures in the mains or when sludge and grit have seized the nozzle a condition which the power of the improved ball drive will generally relieve when the line pressure is normal, but which can be very easily relieved in any event by one or two turns on the nozzle by the screwdriver manipulation described, so that servicing entries into the head are infrequently required and to replace a worn out motor it is merely necessary to remove the cover plate and drop in a new unit.
As a further utility, the modified motor unit shown in P16. 7 provides astill more economical construction wherein expensively machined metal nozzle components are replaced by a nozzle 12X which is integrally conformed with the plastic cover structure 38X in alignment with a pendant throat or ball baffie extension 21X. The upper end of the integral nozzle is closed except for a small relief passage 22X (similar to a like passage 22, FIG. 2), communicating through the screwdriver slot 18X, together with suitable spray orifices 17X, as in theconstruction of FIG. 2. in addition, the
cover plate 11X may also'be a molded plastic component, with either a separate or integral nozzle bushing 16X, the separate form being shown.
In all other respects the construction and operation of the modified embodiment is identical to that previously described, including the throttle means, ball chamber and anvil means, the advantages of expendability beingfurther enhanced in that it is unnecessary to remove any metal nozzle parts for throw-away purposes, it being understood that the satisfactory operating life of such devices will be eventually terminated by inevitable wear from the harsh abrasive and environmental factors inherent in the operation of such systems, it beingthe experience, for example, that impact balls will ultimately wear through bronze bodies if the units do not fail from other causes long before that condition is reached, as by loss of driving power due to irregular tracking wear in ball-type motors, as constrasted with the self-compensating tracking wear which characterizes the present improvements.
1. In a sprinkler head of the type having a head body adapted for connection with a source of water under pressure and a spray nozzle rotatable and shiftable through the top thereof, together with water powered motor means for rotating and shifting the nozzle, improvements comprising, namely: a motor body adapted to rotate and shift vertically relative to an axis through the top of the head body and having a bottom and surrounding side wall and top portions defining a substantially closed motor chamber; a driving ball of predetermined diameter in said chamber; nozzle means carried by said top portion and communicating into a central region of said chamber; means in the top of said head body guiding said nozzle means in rotative and shifting action relative to the axis aforesaid; said chamber having a ball race circumambient of said central region and of curvilinear cross-section which has substantially the same radius of curvature as the ball; means providing a water jet inlet to said chamber through said top portion of the motor body serving to create therein a balldriving current of the water passing therethrough from the head body into and through the nozzle means and effective to travel the 'ball in said race; and impact means situated at a position relative to said race to be struck by the travelled ball and thereby effect rotative advance of the motor body with consequent rotative displacement of the nozzle means carried thereby.
2. A construction according to claim 1 wherein said nozzle means is an elongated cylindrical member integrally'conformed with said top portion of the motor V 3. A construction according to claim 1 wherein said nozzle means includes a shroud removably carried by said top portion of the motor body and having a bore within which a nozzle body is rotatable about and shiftable along said axis within the shroud and has a discharge end communicating through the shroud.
4. Improvements according to claim 3.wherein the nozzle means is self-scavenging, the said nozzle body having near opposite inlet and discharge end portions thereof circumambient bearing areas rotatably and shiftably fitting with the said interior bore of the shroud for movement as aforesaid, and said nozzle body has between said bearing areas a circumambientareaof reduced diameter constituting a flushing zone, together with a flushing passage communicating through that one of the bearing areas which is closest to the discharge end portions of the. nozzle body. 7
5. A sprinkler head according to claim 1 wherein said motor body is formed of synthetic plastic material, said top portion thereof is removably attached thereto as a closure for said chamber, and said nozzle means is integrally conformed with said top portion.
6. Sprinkler head apparatus according to claim 1 further characterized by the provision of throttle means including a throttle passage through said bottom of the motor body from said chamber, a throttle member mounted on said bottom for movement relative to said passage to close and open the same; first coupling means on a bottom portion of said head body in juxta position with said throttle member, second coupling means on the throttle member cooperative with said first coupling means in a predetermined shifted condition of the motor body such that rotative movement of said body in that condition in opposite directions will correspondingly effect opening or closing movement of the throttle member.
7. Apparatus according to claim 6 wherein said first coupling means is arranged concentrically about said axis and said second coupling means is situated relative to said axis such that rotative effort applied to the discharge end of said nozzle means will effect rotative movement of the motor'body in said predetermined shifted condition thereof whereby to effect opening and closing movement of the throttle member, said discharge end of the nozzle means being provided with a tool-receiving formation substantially aligned with said axis to facilitate application of rotative effort as and for the purpose aforesaid.
8. Sprinkler head apparatus as set out in claim 1 further characterized in that said jet passage has a discharge outlet situated above and in such close proximity to said ball race that said current will be interrupted by the ball in travel as aforesaid whereby to effect a pulsed modulation of the water spray from the nozzle means.
9. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said ball race is formed to extend from said bottom into said side wall and top portions along an arc which is very nearly coextensive with the arc of the hemisphere of the ball, the radius of curvature of said race arc being slightly lengthened at the terminal end thereof which is contiguous with said top portion of the motor body such that said ball can fit closely into the race without being trapped therein against sidewise displacement therefrom as on striking said impact means.
10. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein the arc of said ball race extends upwardly along said sidewall portion from said bottom to a terminal point closely proximate to said jet discharge outlet, the ball being free to move sidewise from the race at all points therealong.
11. A sprinkler head according to claim 1 wherein said impact means includes an anvil member situated along the race and having an impact end portion disposed inwardly of the chamber away from said side wall portion at an elevation to be struck by the ball travelled in the race as aforesid.
12. A construction according to claim 11 wherein said anvil is a metallic strip secured to the side wall portion of the chamber in the situation aforesaid, anend portion of said strip constituting said impact end and being provided with a ball-engaging bevel angled to deflect the ball sidewise from the race generally toward said axis.
13. A sprinkler head according to claim 1 wherein said nozzle means has an inlet in a pendant foot portion thereof extending centrally down into said chamber to a level spaced from said bottom a distance substantially less than the diameter of said ball and constituting a baffle preventing the ball from being drawn into blocking relationship to said inlet.
14. In a rotary sprinkling head driven by water pressure: a head body having a motor cavity with water inlet means; means providing a nozzle passage aligned with a vertical axis through a top portion of such body; a motor body fitting freely into said cavity for rotation about and reciprocation along said axis, and having a chamber with an inlet receiving water under pressure from said cavity, together with nozzle means carried by the motor body and movable relative to said nozzle passage inwardly and outwardly of the head cavity responsive to water pressure acting therein on said motor body, water from the cavity passing through said motor body and being discharged through said nozzle means; motor means in the motor body reactive to water movement therein between said inlet and nozzle means whereby to impart rotative movement to the motor body and nozzle means carried thereby; and throttle means comprising a throttle passage through said motor body; a throttle member movable relative to said throttle passage to open and close the same; first coupling means operatively associated with said throttle means; second coupling means operatively associated with said head body; the said coupling means being disposed in mutual coupling relation when the motor body is disposed in a predetermined shifted position along said axis such that a turning movement applied to the motor body in such position will impart opening or closing movement to the throttle member depending upon the direction of turning of the motor body.
15. A sprinkling device according to claim 14 wherein said first and second coupling means are arranged and constructed in relation to said axis such that the required turning moment can be applied to said nozzle means to impart throttle-adjusting movement to the throttle member.
16. The construction of claim 15 further characterized in that an end portion of said nozzle means exposed through said nozzle passage is provided with a screw-driver slot to facilitate the application of turning moment for throttle adjustment as aforesaid.
17. In a water-pressure motor device, outer and inner body members each having a water chamber, said inner body member being disposed to rotate within said outer body member; means admitting water under pressure to the chamber of the outer body member; means admitting water from the chamber of the outer body member into the chamber of the inner body member; means providing a water discharge path from the chamber of the inner body member to the exterior of the outer body member; the chamber of the inner body member having a ball race extending circuitously about the axis of rotation of the inner body member; a driving ball of given diameter adapted to travel along said race responsive to water flow through the appertaining chamber, said race having a curvilinear profile substantially coextensive with the hemispherical arc of said ball so that the ball fits closely therein; and impact means situated at a point along said race to be struck by the ball and deflect the latter for continuing circulation and repetitious impacting whereby to impart intermittent turning force to rotate the inner body.
18. The device of claim 17 further characterized by the provision of throttle means for regulating the flow of water through the chamber of the inner body member, said means comprising a throttle member movable relative to the means for admitting water to said lastmentioned chamber to govern the amount of water admitted thereby, together with relatively stationary means carried by the outer body member coupling with said throttle member in a certain position of the inner body member such that rotative motion imparted to the inner body member will cause a corresponding regulatory movement of the throttle member.
19. In a water-driven device of the ball impact type, motor means including a body having means for inlet and egress of water under pressure to create a balldriving current therethrough; said body including a circuitous ball race; a driving ball adapted to travel in said race responsive to said current; impact means disposed along said race to be struck by the travelled ball to produce a motor reaction; said race having a curvilinear cross section of substantially the same radius of curvature as the ball and extending through an arc which is around the ball while permitting the ball to move in a substantially equal to the length of the hemispherical direction laterally out of the race under certain condiarc of the ball so that the ball fits into said race closely tions.
whereby to reduce by-passing of said driving current UNITED sums PATENT OFFICE CER'1]IICATE 0F commoner:
Patent NO. 3, 771, 72 Dated November 13; 1973 Inventor Harry Edward Ray It is certified that error appears in the aboveidentified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby eerrected as shown below:
Column L line 11, "39, should read --the--; line 12, 35" should. read --39 Column 5, 11116 1m, "11x" should read .--38X--; and lines 1 62, "constrasted" should read.
Signed and sealed this 23rd day of April 19m.
LEDI'JARD 1" FLETGHER,JR. C, MARSHALL DANN Commissioner. of. Patents.