US 3817279 A
Hydraulic discharge system having a pressurizable water tank with an inlet for supplying water under pressure to the tank and a water discharge port with a piston valve to control the opening and closing of the port. An hydraulic chamber is located within the tank and receives the piston valve which is reciprocably movable in the chamber under the influence of differential pressure acting thereon to open and close the discharge port. Conduits interconnect the hydraulic chamber with a water inlet to pressurize the chamber and to fill the tank and with a vent communicating with the discharge port to relieve the pressure in the chamber. The system also includes an actuator mechanism including a plunger movable between one position interconnecting the chamber with the water inlet and to another position interconnecting the chamber with the vent and having a dashpot for time controlled return of the plunger from its second to its first position whereby a predetermined quantity of water is directed through said vent to the discharge port.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Larson [11.] 3,817,279 June 18, 1974 FLUID CONTROL MECHANISM  Inventor: Wesley S. Larson, Enfield, Conn.  Assignee: Water Control Products, Inc., New
 Filed: Aug. 17, 1972 ] Appl. No.: 281,350
 US. Cl 137/572, 137/206, 251/144, 4/26  Int. Cl E03d 3/04  Field of Search 251/144, 48, 54, 55; 137/172, 251, 206; 4/26, 29, 31, 47,48, 62
 References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 2,502,262 3/1950 Labiche 4/26 3,376,013 4/1968 Mallett 251/55' 3,628,195 12/1971 Skoosgaard 4/26 3,677,294 7/1972 Gibbs et a1 137/572 Primary Examiner-Wi1liam R. Cline 1 ABSTRACT Hydraulic discharge system having a pressurizable water tank with an inlet for supplying water under pressure to the tank and a water discharge port with a piston valve to control the opening and closing of the port. An hydraulic chamber is located within the tank and receives the piston valve which is reciprocably movable in the chamber under the influence of differential pressure acting thereon to open and close the discharge port. Conduits interconnect the hydraulic chamber with a water inlet to pressurize the chamber and to till the tank and with a vent communicating with the discharge port to relieve the pressure in the chamber. The system also includes an actuator mechanism including a plunger movable between one position interconnecting the chamber with the water inlet and to another position interconnecting the chamber with the vent and having a dashpo t for time controlled return of the plunger from its second to its first position whereby a predetermined quantity of water is directed through said vent to the discharge port.
4 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures FLUID CONTROL MECHANISM BACKGROUND While most hydraulic discharge systems, such as currently available for toilet flushing devices, are dependent upon gravity water flow from a storage tank, there have been a number of devices disclosed in recent patents which contemplate pressurized toilet flushing. One such device is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,677,294 wherein the flush tank water is discharged forcefully under pressure so thateffective flushing is achieved with a much smaller volume of water than used in the conventional gravity systems.
This invention relates to a liquid discharge system which is controlled by differential hydraulic pressure acting on an hydraulic piston. The system has wide applications varying from industrial use of supplying liquid additives to various liquid systems to home toilet flushing devices. The instant invention provides an improved hydraulic discharge system, particularly with respect to the so-called dribble flow by which the vessel or bowl into which the system discharges is refilled with water to a predetermined level after the flushing phase of the cycle.
The principal object of this invention is to provide an improved hydraulic discharge system having a pressurized water discharge characterized by an effective time controlled refill of the flushed vessel whereby a predetermined quantity of water is supplied to refill the ves sel subsequent to the pressurized discharge of the water supply tank and prior to refill of the supply tank.
A further object of this invention is to provide an improved hydraulic discharge system of the above type which is of simple construction, effective in operation and in which parts subject to wear can be readily replaced by the average homeowner without requiring the services of a trained technician.
Another object of this invention is to provide an im- "proved hydraulic discharge system of the above type in which a control valve includes a dashpot for timed operation of at least a portion of the valve cycle.
The above and other objects and advantages of this invention will be more readily apparent from the following description and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an overall elevational view showing a water flushing discharge tank assembly embodying the present invention;
FIGS. 2 to 4 are cross sectional elevational views of the discharge system illustrating various stages of the operation of the system; and
FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view of a portion of the control plunger.
Referring in detail to the drawings, in FIG. 1 is shown a pressurizable water tank 6 which may be fabricated of any suitable material, such as ABS resin. A water inlet fitting 14 and a discharge opening 8 are provided which may be connected to discharge into a suitable fluid receiving vessel, such as a toilet bowl (not shown). An external control mechanism indicated generally at 10, is disposed at the top of the tank and includes an actuator button 12. The control mechanism may also be molded of a suitable synthetic plastic, such as an ABS resin. The sealed tank is charged by water under household pressure on the order of pounds per square inch, supplied to the tank by inlet 14, and pressure in the entire system is balanced relative to the pressure of the supply water. In general, when the plunger 12 is depressed the pressurized water in the tank is forcefully discharged through the opening 8 into the receiving vessel or bowl. Thereafter, the bowl is refilled to the desired level generally with about two quarts of water and then the tank is recharged through the water inlet 14 usually with about 2 gallons of water. This is less than half the amount of water employed by the conventional gravity tank system. As the tank is filled, air in the tank is compressed until the tank pres sure equals the water line pressure.
Referring in detail to FIG. 2, the construction of the hydraulic discharge system of this invention comprises at the discharge opening a valve seat member 18 formed of any suitable material, such asABS resin. As shown, the valve seat member 18 is screwed onto a threaded collar 20 attached to a cylindrical ring 22 appropriately affixed to the inner surface of the tank discharge opening.
Cooperating with the valve seat to close and open the discharge port is a piston valve 24 which at its lower end includes a generally conical surface to mate in surface-to-surface engagement with the valve seat to seal the discharge opening. The piston is preferably made of a generally resilient material, such as neoprene or other suitable elastomeric material to provide an effective seal against the valve seat. Alternatively, the plunger body may be a more rigid material to which is removably fitted an elastic sealing ring. The piston is'operated as hereinafter described by differential hydraulic pressure acting in one directionon its upper surface 26 and in the opposite direction on the relatively much smaller surface area of its shoulder 28. The piston 24 includes a central bore 38 which fits about a vent tube 40. A larger diameter sheath or tube 42 is disposed coaxially about vent tube and extends through opening 44 in the top of the tank opposite the tank discharge opening 8. The outer diameter 46 of the plunger fits loosely within the tube 42 so that when the tank is to be dis charged the piston rises easily within the outer tube 42 guided by the vent tube 40. The lower edge of the tube 42 isprovided with inwardly staked fingers to assist in holding the piston valve in the tube when the latter is retracted through the top of the tank for repairs. The bore 38 in the piston, as shown, includes a pair of spaced O-rings 48 to provide a seal between the piston and the vent tube 40, so that the pressurized water on top of the piston is not released into the vent line. No seal is provided between the outer diameter of the piston and the inner surface of the tube 42 to allow for refilling of the tank around the piston. The inner surface of the tube 42 includes an annular shoulder 50 which provides a stop for the upward stroke of the plunger and also serves to arrest water flow about the outer diameter of piston 24 while it is in its upper position. A spider 52 across the inner end of the bore 38 provides means for returning the piston to its closed position, if for any reason it remains open. If this should occur, a slender rod may be inserted into the vent conduit and engage the spider to return the valve to its closed position. An externally threaded ring 54 is secured to the peripheral edge portion of the opening 43 through the tank and provides the means by which the control mechanism 10 is simply screwed into place on the tank. In this connection the control mechanism includes an internally threaded hub 56.
The control mechanism 10 is in the form of a unitary body generally disposed parallel to the top of the tank and having the radially extending hub portion 58 onto which fits snugly the upper end portion of the tube 42. A seal which may be in the form of an O-ring 60, seals the connection between the control mechanism and the tube 42.
The body of the control mechanism includes a bore 62 which opens through one end of the control mechanism and is closed at its other end. This bore accommodates the longitudinal stroke of the slide valve or plunger 64. A number of radially extending conduits extend from the bore 62. Approximately through the central section of the control mechanism conduit 66 receives the upper end of vent tube 40, and serves to vent the bowl and tank when the latter is about to be recharged with water. A plug 68 is threaded into the upper end of the conduit 66 and includes a sealing ball to prevent water discharging through the vent port. A second conduit 70 axially offset from the vent conduit 66 extends radially through the hub portion 58 of the valve body and provides communication between the longitudinally extending bore 62 and the annular hydraulic chamber 72 provided between the inner wall of the tube 42 and the outer wall of the vent tube 40. The lower end of chamber 72 is defined by the upper surface 26 of the valve plunger 24. When the tank is pressurized, the water pressure in chamber 72 equals the tank pressure and the piston valve is held closed because of the greater area of surface 26 relative to surface 28. Conduit 74 is axially offset from conduit 70 and provides water under household pressure to the bore 62. Adjacent the inner end of the valve control mechanism, an opening is provided into which is fitted a threaded air bleed adjusting screw 76 which provides controlled air leakage into the outer end of the bore 62. A check valve 78 is also provided in a small passage which communicates with the bore 62 of the valve body and permits air to be rapidly exhausted from the bore on the inward stroke of plunger 64.
Small bypass leakage ports 80 and 82 extend radially outward from bore 62 and then longitudinally to vent conduit 66. It will be noted that the outer ends of these leakage ports 80 and 82 are disposed outwardly of rings 84 and 86, respectively, which provide hermetic sealing between the valve body and plunger 64. O-ring 88 also serves the same purpose. 4
Control plunger or slide valve 64 is slidably fitted into the bore 62 of the control mechanism and includes a generally cylindrical stem which extends outwardly from the outer end of the valve body. The plunger is held in the bore by the threaded sleeve 89 and prevented from rotating the bore by keyway 91. lnwardly of the stem, the plunger has a flow control section 92 of substantially smaller outer diameter than the inner diameter of the bore 62. The flow control section 92 which, depending upon its longitudinal position, provides communication between the various conduits, has an axial length somewhat greater than the axial center-to-center spacing between the inlet port 14 and the vent tube 40. The flow control section 92, as shown, has an inclined vane 94 (FIG. which extends through the center of the plunger whereby water entering the conduit 74 is preferentially directed into the vent tube during the dribble flow phase of the flush cycle (FIG. 4) as will hereinafter be more fully described. At this position of the plunger, some input water will also flow into chamber 72 by way of conduit 70.
lnwardly of the flow control section the plunger is provided with a land 96 which fits closely within the bore 62. lnwardly of the land 96, the plunger has a hole 98 extending diametrically therethrough of approximately the same diameter as the conduit 66 and vent tube 40.
lnwardly of the hole 98, the plunger diameter is the same as land 96 and with the O-ring 84 and 88 hermetically seals the vent conduit 66 from the flow control section 92 and dashpot chamber 101. The inner end portion of the plunger is tubular to receive one end of a coil spring 102, the other end of which is telescoped over a rod 104 which projects from the end wall of the bore. The other end of the spring is seated against the end wall of the bore surrounding the rod 104. The spring serves as a return spring for the plunger, after it is manually actuated and moved to the left for a flushing cycle. A recess 106 is provided in the end wall of the tubularportion of the plunger to accommodate the end of rod 104 when the plunger is at the end of its flushing stroke. The plunger and the inner end of the bore 62 define the dashpot chamber 101 whereby the return stroke of the plunger with expansion of the coil spring 102 is at a controlled rate. When the plunger is manually actuated toward the left, a substantial volume of air is exhausted from the dashpot chamber 101 through check valve 78. When the spring commences the return movement of the plunger to the right, a partial vacuum develops in the dashpot chamber 101 which slows the return rate of the plunger until atmospheric pressure is gradually restored in the dashpot chamber. As the plunger moves slowly to the right, air is fed into the chamber through the bleed port controlled by adjusting screw 76. In this way, the plunger return stroke can be readily controlled to provide sufficient time for the toilet bowl or other receiving vessel to be refilled to the predetermined water level.
OPERATION In FIG. 2, the tank 6 is shown charged with water under pressure. The control plunger 64 is urged to its rest position by spring 102 whereby the water inlet conduit 74 is in communication with the annular chamber 72 by way of the flow control channel section 92 and conduit 70. Pressure in chamber 72 holds the piston 24 closed and the toilet bowl is vented to the atmosphere by vent tube 40, bore 66 and hole 98, through the plunger 64.
To actuate the systems the plunger is merely moved against spring 102 from its FIG. 2 to its FIG. 3 position. As land 96 uncovers conduit 66, connected to the vent tube 40, pressure in the annular chamber 72 is released by the interconnection of the conduit to the vent 40 via flow control section 92. When this occurs the pressure on the upper surface 26 of the piston valve 24 is reduced so that the pressure on the valve shoulder 28 lifts the valve from the valve seat and raises it until its upper surface engages the annular shoulder 50. When this occurs the pressurized water within the tank is quickly and forcibly discharged in the form of a slug whereby the bowl is quickly and effectively flushed. As the tank is being discharged, it is vented to the atmosphere through the vent tube 40, bore 66 and plunger control section 92. This insures breaking any vacuum condition which might occur in the system. As previously described, during the flush stroke air is exhausted from the dashpot chamber 101 through the check valve 78 whereby a partial vacuum is developed in the dashpot chamber. Under the influence of the coil spring 102, the return of the plunger is controlled at a relatively slow rate because atmospheric pressure is restored only gradually to the dashpot chamber about the bleed adjustment screw 76.
As shown in FIG. 4, the flow control channel section 92, including vane 94, between the land 96 and the handle portion of the plunger provides communication between the water inlet conduit 74 and the vent tube 40. As a result of the controlled rate of the return of the plunger achieved by adjustment of the bleed screw 76, this flow channel is maintained for sufficient time to enable the toilet bowl to be refilled to the desired level. When the land section 96 subsequently closes off the vent conduit 66, all the inlet water is directed into the conduit 70 whereby the annular chamber 72 is rapidly tilled with water to force the piston valve 24 back into sealing engagement with the valve seat 22. The several components have now returned to their FIG. 2 relationship, and inlet water continues to flow into the annular chamber 72 around theouter diameter of the piston valve 24 until the pressure within the tank equals the water pressure of the inlet water at which point the tank 6 and chamber 72 are recharged and repressurized, ready for the next flush cycle.
Should any mechanical difficulties develop with the operation of the piston valve or the slide valve, one or both of these parts can be readily removed and replaced. This may be accomplished by simply unscrewing the control mechanism from the threaded collar 54 and lifting the entire mechanism, including the hydraulic tube 42, vent tube 40 and piston valve 24. The piston valve can then be readily replaced.
Components of the control mechanism can also be replaced by simply unscrewing the threaded sleeve 89 and removing the plunger and spring 102. It will thus be appreciated that no special skill or technical training is needed to replace or repair the elements of this mechanism subject to wear.
Having thus disclosed my invention, what is claimed 1. Hydraulic system for controlling the discharge of liquid into a receiving vessel comprising a pressurizable tank having an inlet for supplying liquid under pressure into said tank, and a liquid discharge port for releasing liquid under pressure from said tank, an hydraulicchamber having one end thereof affixed to said inlet and the other end thereof spaced above said discharge port, a reciprocable piston valve movable in said chamber in response to differentialpressure acting thereon for opening and closing said discharge port, vent means disposed within said chamber for venting said chamber, an actuator means for selectively interconnecting said chamber with a filling liquid under pressure and with said vent means to relieve the pressure in said chamber. whereby said piston valve is opened and closed, said actuator being reciprocably movable and including dashpot means adjustably controlling the rate of movement thereof substantially independent of fluctuations of inlet pressure in one direction to enable sufficient flow from the inlet into said vent for filling said vessel to a predetermined level.
2. Hydraulic system for controlling the discharge into a receiving vessel as set forth in claim 1 in which said dashpot means for controlling the rate of movement of said actuator comprises a dashpot including valve means to permit air to be exhausted therefrom upon movement of the actuator in one direction and means for restricting the flow of air into said dashpot upon movement of said actuator in the opposite direction.
3. Hydraulic system for controlling the discharge into a receiving vessel as set forth in claim 1 in which said dashpot means for controlling the rate of movement of the actuator comprises a dashpot, and in which said actuator includes a plunger having a. liquid flow control section with a deflecting vane for preferentially directing flow of inlet liquid into said vent for the filling of said vessel to a predetermined level.
4. Hydraulic system for controlling the discharge into a receiving vessel as set forth in claim 3 in which said hydraulic chamber comprises a tubular member extending into said tank and includes an annular shoulder therein to restrict the reciprocable movement of said piston.