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Publication numberUS3849700 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 19, 1974
Filing dateOct 18, 1972
Priority dateOct 18, 1972
Publication numberUS 3849700 A, US 3849700A, US-A-3849700, US3849700 A, US3849700A
InventorsJohnson B
Original AssigneeJohnson B
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Non-corrosive aquarium lamp assembly
US 3849700 A
A novel lamp assembly and method of production therefor which provides a waterproof, omni-directional, and non-corrosive means for illuminating a terrarium or aquarium. The lamp assembly is particularly suited for use in combination with salt water aquariums owing to its non-corrosive quality. The lamp is constructed using a novel sealing process which encapsulates all electrical connections and any starting apparatus within a waterproof sealant contiguous with the ends of a conventional fluorescent lighting tube. The resulting one-piece construction produces a safe, inexpensive, and disposable lighting apparatus.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [19 Johnson Nov. 19, 1974 NON-CORROSIVE AQUARIUM LAMP ASSEMBLY [76] Inventor: Boyd R. Johnson, 2034 Ashton Cir.,

Salt Lake City, Utah 84109 22 Filed: Oct. 18, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 298,722

[52] U.S. Cl 315/72, 339/50 S, 339/94 L,

339/102 L, 339/116 R [51] Int. Cl. H0lj 7/44 [58] Field of Search 315/DIG.5, 72; 313/109;

316/1; 339/50 R, 50 C, 50 S, 52 R, 60 R, 60 M, 54 L, 54 R, 102 R, 102 L, 116 R [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,732,530 l/1956 Dahlhaus et al. 339/94 L X 3,005,971 10/1961 3,018,187 1/1962 Boyce et al. 313/109X 3,168,987 2/1965 l-leisler 339/50 S X 3,213,272 10/1965 Lohkemper et a1. 339/50 S X 3,426,234 2/1969 Hayasaka et a1 313/109 X 3,482,141 12/1969 Greber 315/49 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,069,157 2/1954 France 339/52 K Primary Examiner-Herman Karl Saalbach Assistant Examiner.lames B. Mullins Attorney, Agent, or Firm-H. Ross Workman [5 7] ABSTRACT 4 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENT-EL 1 9 74 FIG.

FIG. 3


' FIG. 5

FIG. 4

NON-CORROSIVE AQUARIUM LAMP ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND 1. Field of Invention This invention relates to aquarium lighting apparatus and more particularly to non-corrosive omnidirectional aquarium lamps with improved waterproof characteristics.

2. Prior Art Aquariums and terrariums have long been a popular piece of furniture in many homes and offices. For example, see my copending patent application, Ser. No. 276,994, now US. Pat. No. 3,769,935, filed Aug. 1, 1972. An important aspect of showing aquarium or terrarium apparatus for a decorative purpose is the manner in which the unit is illuminated. In general, the illumination is conventionally accomplished through the use of a metal reflector hood which contains appropriate electrical sockets, starters and switches for the type of bulb and power supply used. 1

The use of the hood-type lamp is accompanied by at least two problems each one dependent upon the type of light bulb used. If a conventional fluorescent tube is used, there are at least four electrical connections which cannot be soldered and which are highly subject to corrosion and dust accumulation in the humid environment of an aquarium or terrarium. If a less expensive, starter-type fluorescent tube is used, there are six electrical contacts which are highly subject to corrosion. In thehumid environment of a terrarium or fresh water aquarium, corrosion and resulting malfunction of the lamp are highly probable, but in the case of a salt water aquarium, corrosion is near certainty.

The second type of lighting hood uses incandescent bulbs. Incandescent type lamps are not as susceptible to malfunction from corrosion as the fluorescent type since the electrical contacts are enclosed within a threaded socket. The incandescent aquarium lamp, however, generates a substantial amount of heat which is undesirable in many animal and plant life settings. The conventional incandescent lamp also radiates light that is not believed to be as healthful for plant life as the fluorescent lamp which produces light nearer the ultra-violet spectrum. However, it is the heat problem of the incandescent lamp which makesthe use of the fluorescent bulb more desirable or even mandatory in many situations, even though the fluorescent bulb is more highly susceptible to corrosion.

Another problem associated with either type of conventional lamp is the distracting and unsightly appearance of the hood which holds the sockets for connection of the appropriate bulb.

For the above described reasons it is desirable to use a non-corrosive encapsulated aquarium or terrarium lamp which is not subject to the many problems causing malfunction in prior art devices. It is further desirable to achieve a one-piece compact construction to reduce the objectionable appearance of previously known light hoods.

BRIEF SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION ratus and method of construction therefor. The invention is capable of producing desirable illumination without the usual accompanying problems of corrosion or excessive heat. Furthermore, the invention presents a compact encapsulated form which may easily be concealed within a lid or other low profile structure above the aquarium.

It, therefore, is a primary object of this invention to provide an improved non-corrosive and waterproof aquarium or terrarium lamp assembly which produces fluorescent illumination.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a novel method of constructing a non-corrosive water-proof aquarium or terrarium lamp.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an easily concealable, compact lamp for use in illuminating aquariums or terrariums.

These and other objects and features of the invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a presently preferred embodiment of the invention with internally concealed wiring shown in broken lines.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective illustration of a fluorescent tube and associated electrical wiring prior to the application of sealant.

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective illustration of the tube and wiring of FIG. 2 after the first application of sealant.

FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of the final presently preferred encapsulating step of the invention.

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective illustration of one encapsulated end of the fluorescent tube.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS General Although the invention illustrated in FIG. 1 may be used for illumination in a wide variety of situations including terrariums, botanical gardens, or other enclosed exhibits, the present invention will be described, for simplicity, in connection with its use with an aquarium. In this specification, aquarium lamp assembly is defined to mean aquarium, terrarium, botanical garden lamp assembly.

With the recent entry into the aquarium market of aquariums capable of maintaining a salt water environment, the need for a safe, non-corrosive, waterproof source of illumination has been accentuated. Until the present invention, the illumination of aquariums and particularly of salt walter aquariums has proven to be a source of persistent problems.

One distinct disadvantage of traditional fluorescent illumination which has been eliminated by the present invention is the problem of corrosion of the many electrical contacts. Conventional fluorescent tubes require two separate connectors on each end of the tube. In addition to the four tube connections, one common variety of fluorescent tube requires a bimetallic starter which includes two more electrical connectors if it is to be replaceable. These mechanical, metallic connectors are particularly subject to corrosion in a humid, or salt water, environment. This invention provides, in addition toother advantageous features, a non-corrosive encapsulation for all of the metallic connectors used with a fluorescent lamp. Encapsulation is defined herein to mean embedment in a closed, solid mass of sealant.

As will be more fully described hereafter, the invention provides for a one-piece lamp assembly centered around the body of a fluorescent tube without elaborate fixtures, sockets and wiring conventionally associated with fluorescent illumination.

The Lamp Assembly According to the presently preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in FIG. 1, a noncorrosive aquarium lamp assembly 20 is provided. A fluorescent bulb 22 forms the body of the lamp assembly 20. The bulb 22 may be one of a wide variety of conventionally available fluorescent tubes. Of the many available types there are two major electrical configurations. The least expensive is the fluorescent tube which requires an external bimetallic starter to disconnect the filaments of the bulb after the internal gas has been preheated. Another well-known variety does not require a starter since the filaments remain connected throughout the entire operative time. The lamp shown in the accompanying figures uses the starter-type fluorescent bulb. Of course, it will be readily apparent that the inclusion of a starter is determined by the type of bulb used and does not limit the scope of this invention as either type bulb may be used.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, two electrical connectors 24 and 26, 28 and 30 extend from each corresponding end 40 and 42, respectively, of the bulb 22. In some suitable lamp embodiments the pins are not attached and the connectors 24, 26, 28 and 30 are wires recessed within the ends of the tube 22. One of the connectors 26 on the end 40 is electrically connected to one lead of a bimetallic starter 32. The remaining starter lead 38 is connected to one conductor of the two conductor connecting wire 34. The remaining pin 24 on the end 40 of the fluorescent tube is connected with the remaining conductor of the connecting wire 34.

Connecting wire 34 traverses the length of the fluorescent tube 22 to the end 42. The conductor of wire 34 that is connected to starter lead 38 is connected to pin 28 on the end of 42 of the tube. It should be recognized that it makes no difference which pin of end 42 is connected to conductor of wire 34 that is connected to starter lead 38. It can also be noted starter leads can be reversed. The remaining conductor of wire 34 is connected to one conductor of the two conductor power supply cord 36. Pin 30 on end 42 of the fluorescent tube is connected to the remaining conductor of the power supply cord 36.

All of the electrical connections may be made by any suitable means including soldering, wrapping or twisting. Since the connections will be encapsulated and thereby protected, insulation need not be applied to the connections individually. As shown in FIG. 1, each end of the previously described assembly is embedded in a sealant material. The sealant material must be electrically non-conductive in order to insulate all of the electrical connections from one another. The sealant should also be non-corrosive itself and waterproof in order to protect all metallic connections from the corrosive action of water vapor and/or salt. One type of sealant found to be suitable is Silicone Seal" manufactured by General Electric Company.

The sealant encapsulation 44 on end 40 of the tube 22 encloses the connections to pins 24 and 26, the starter 32 and the connections associated with the starter. The sealant encapsulation 44 is smoothed exteriorly and encloses the entire end 40 of the tube 22 so as to form a waterproof seal with the glass of the tube 22. Also, where the ends of the tube 22 are recessed, the sealant may be used to fill the recess.

In a similar manner, sealant encapsulation 46 on end 42 of the fluorescent tube 22 embeds all electrical connections on end 42. The sealant is smoothed exteriorly and embeds the entire end 42 of the tube 22 thereby fonning a waterproof seal with the glass of the tube.

The power supply cord 36 emerges from the encapsulation 46 and is coupled in a conventional manner to a suitable source of electric power. Preferably, the power supply cord is provided with a conventional removable male plug (not shown). The removability feature of the plug facilitates insertion of the power supply cord 36 through a suitable channel as described in my copending patent application, Ser. No. 276,994, filed Aug. 1, I972. Voltage and current parameters of the power source are determined by factors relating to the type of bulb used in the invention. In the case of a conventional fluorescent tube, with or without a starter, an autotransformer or ballast is required for operation from a standard line voltage. It should be recognized, however, that other fluorescent tubes or special conditions may dictate other power supply requirements.

The apparatus as decribed in accordance with FIG. 1 is not subject to corrosion through the action of water vapor or salt. It is a one-piece, non-corrosive, waterproof lamp assembly which is suitably constructed to operate effectively in an ordinarily unfavorable environment.

The Method of Construction In the construction of the lamp assembly 20, a suitable fluorescent tube 22 is selected according to the circumstances surrounding the anticipated use. Some of the factors involved in the selection of a proper tube are color and shading of the light, power supply parameters, on-off duration and rate, length of the tube, wattage, and operating temperatures. The factors of operating temperature, power supply and on-off duration will determine whether a starter-less bulb is necessary or desirable.

The method of construction as illustrated in FIGS. 2-5 shows the process only as it relates to end 40 of the lamp 22. The same procedure is used to encapsulate end 42 of the invention and for simplicity and clarity, the process will hereinafter be described with reference only to end 40 as shown in FIG. 1.

All necessary electrical connections are made to pins 24 and 26 and to the starter 32, if used. Pin 24 and starter lead 38 are connected to the connecting wire 34. If a starter-less bulb is used, pin 26 would be connected to the conductor of wire 34 which is shown in FIG. 2 connected to the starter. On the other end of the tube the previously indicated connections are made.

Continuing in the method, FIG. 3 shows the application of a preliminary layer of sealant 48 which holds the starter 32, connecting wire 34 and tube 22 in proper physical relation in preparation for the encapsulation step. In addition to mechanical positioning, the sealant 48 also insures that the pin and starter connections are doubly protected from corrosive elements which may pass through or beneath the outer layer.

With further reference to FIG. 4, the entire end of tube 22 is immersed in the encapsulation sealant 50 contained in a suitable bath. Wire 34 is held parallel with the tube 22 by the connections on the other end of the tube. The encapsulation sealant may be the same material used in the preliminary layer or may be a different composition having suitable encapsulation properties.

Of course, it should be recognized that the final coating of sealant may be made by direct application rather than immersion. Immersion has, however, proven to be the most expedient manner in which to finally seal the ends of the lamp.

Upon removal from the encapsulation sealant 50, end 40 (see FIG. 1) of the non-corrosive lamp appears as shown in FIG. 5. The sealant is then smoothed along the juncture with the tube to insure a waterproof seal with the glass tube.

A suitable electrical connector is attached to power supply cord 36 as described above and the lamp is in condition for use.

The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive and the scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

What is claimed and desired to be secured by United States Letters Patent is:

l. A non-corrosive lamp assembly comprising in a one-piece, non-corrosive waterproof lamp assembly:

a fluorescent lighting tube presenting electrical connection terminals;

conduction means permanently affixed to the terminals of the tube and operable to supply proper electrical current to the tube;

non-corrosive sealant means comprising a closed mass applied in fluid form and hardening, thereby adhering to the fluorescent lighting tube in a sealing relationship by encapsulating the ends of the tube and corresponding electrical connections, the sealant maintaining the tube and corresponding electrical connections in a waterproof condition; and

power supply means connected to the conduction means energizing the lamp.

2. A non-corrosive aquarium lamp as defined in claim 1 wherein said conduction means comprises a bistable switching element disconnecting certain of the power supply circuits at a predetermined time.

3. A non-corrosive aquarium lamp comprising:

a glass envelope;

a gaseous discharge medium within the glass envelope which produces radiation upon exposure to electrical excitation;

a coating of fluorescent material on the inside of the glass envelope which emits visible light upon being exposed to the radiation produced by the gaseous discharge medium;

excitation means capable of producing electrical excitation within the glass envelope;

conducting means permanently connected to the excitation means providing a circuit for supplying electrical current to the excitation means;

first encapsulation means comprising a closed mass of sealant to hold the connections between the conducting means andthe excitation means in preset physical relation;

second encapsulation means comprising a closed mass adhering to the glass envelope in a sealing relationship to seal the end of the envelope and first encapsulating means in waterproof condition;

power supply means connected to the second conducting means energizing the lamp.

4. A non-corrosive aquarium lamp as defined in claim 3 wherein said conducting means comprises a bistable switching element disconnecting certain of the power supply circuits at a predetermined time.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2732530 *Sep 25, 1952Jan 24, 1956 dahlhaus etal
US3005971 *Dec 10, 1957Oct 24, 1961Bryant Electric CoWeatherproof lamp holders for fluorescent lamps
US3018187 *Mar 20, 1959Jan 23, 1962Westinghouse Electric CorpMethod of coating a fluorescent type tube and the coated article
US3168987 *Jan 17, 1963Feb 9, 1965Raymond A HeislerFixture for fluorescent lights and the like
US3213272 *Feb 5, 1963Oct 19, 1965N J Thermex Company IncLamp structure
US3426234 *May 16, 1966Feb 4, 1969Aiden KkExplosion-proof fluorescent lamp apparatus
US3482141 *Dec 7, 1967Dec 2, 1969Greber HenryGas discharge lamp with a movable baffle adjacent one electrode
FR1069157A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5165778 *Nov 5, 1990Nov 24, 1992Universal Fiber Optics, Inc.Aquarium lighting system
WO1991007641A1 *Nov 9, 1990May 30, 1991Universal Fiber Optics, Inc.Aquarium lighting system
U.S. Classification315/72, 439/230
International ClassificationH01J61/54, F21V31/00, A01K63/06
Cooperative ClassificationF21V31/00, H01J61/544, A01K63/06
European ClassificationH01J61/54A2, F21V31/00, A01K63/06