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Publication numberUS3860518 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 14, 1975
Filing dateDec 4, 1972
Priority dateAug 27, 1971
Publication numberUS 3860518 A, US 3860518A, US-A-3860518, US3860518 A, US3860518A
InventorsHenricksen Evan R
Original AssigneeHenricksen Evan R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus and method for cleaning swimming pools
US 3860518 A
Abstract
Apparatus and method for cleaning swimming pools, including the water surface and submerged surfaces, utilizing pressurized water to propel a buoyant skimmer and to activate one or more water whips to flush settled material from submerged surfaces. Surface debris is trapped in a perforated collector propelled selectively in either direction along the perimeter as well as in loops centrally of the pool at other times. Settled foreign matter is flushed toward the pool drain by water whips and withdrawn to a place of disposal or to a filter after which the clean water is pressurized and returned to the skimmer. The apparatus preferably includes a relatively long, sluggish whip operating to flush settled material from the pool bottom and a shorter, livelier whip which flushes the wall, steps and the like surfaces.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Henricksen 1 1 Jan. 14, 1975 [76] Inventor: Evan R. Henricksen, 817 E. Othello St., Arcadia, Calif. 91006 [22] Filed: Dec. 4, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 312,053

Related U.S. Application Data [63] Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 173,497, Aug. 27,

1971, abandoned.

[52] U.S. Cl ..210/65,15/1.7,210/169, 210/242 [51] Int. Cl B0ld 37/00 [58] Field of Search 210/242, 169, 65; 15/1.7

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,261,371 7/1966 Vernon l5/l.7

3,268,081 8/1966 Mcnkee et al. 210/242 3,291,145 12/1966 Arneson l5/l.7 X

3,551,930 l/l97l Myers l5/1.7

3,676,885 7/1972 Wule l5/l.7

3,701,427 10/1972 Howard 1. 210/169 3,758,276 9/1973 Bond et al. 210/242 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 590,252 1/1960 Canada 210/169 Primary Examiner-Theodore A. Granger Attorney, Agent, or FirmSellers and Brace [57] ABSTRACT Apparatus and method for cleaning swimming pools, including the water surface and submerged surfaces, utilizing pressurized water to propel a buoyant skimmer and to activate one or more water whips to flush settled material from submerged surfaces. Surface debris is trapped in a perforated collector propelled selectively in either direction along the perimeter as well as in loops centrally of the pool at other times. Settled foreign matter is flushed toward the pool drain by water whips and withdrawn to a place of disposalor to a filter after which the clean water is pressurized and returned to the skimmer. The apparatus preferably includes a relatively long, sluggish whip operating to flush settled material from the pool bottom and a shorter, livelier whip which flushes the wall, steps and the like surfaces.

38 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTED JAN 1 41975 SHEET 10F 2 L II I A APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CLEANING SWIMMING POOLS This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application for United States Letters Patent Ser. No. 173,497, filed Aug. 27, 1971, entitled SELF- PROPELLED FLOATING DEBRIS SKIMMER, now abandoned.

This invention relates to swimming pool cleaning devices and more particularly to a self-propelled, buoyant skimmer powered by pressurized water and including at least one and preferably a plurality of water whips for sweeping submerged surfaces.

The collection and removal of foreign material from swimming pools continues to present vexatious problems the solution of which has thwarted the efforts of many designers. Foreign material, leaves and trash carried into the swimming pool by air currents collects in considerable volume and has proven difficult and time consuming to remove. Various schemes have been advanced for dealing with the problem and these have varying degress of effectiveness leaving much to be desired. A wide variety of surface skimmers have been proposed designed for location in the coping along the sides of the pools. Attempts have also been made to provide floating debris collectors utilizing both motor driven and water operated entraining devices as well as devices located along the coping and operated to induce migration of surface layers and floating debris into collector baskets located in pockets along the coping. However, these proposals as made heretofore have limited effective ranges and are easily thwarted by unfavorable conditions, adverse wind currents, and other conditions. Excessive water flow rates are usually required necessitating the use of large motor driven pumps to circulate the water. Other proposals have been made for utilizing both hand manipulated and power driven suction devices operating over submerged surfaces and intended to entrain settled debris in a stream of rapidly flowing water. These devices use motor driven pumps located on the collection apparatus and require costly waterproofed motors and power leads. Nevertheless, such equipment is hazardous both as respects the equipment and operating personnel owing to the risk of arcing, grounding and short circuits. Furthermore, this type of skimmer is objectionably large, heavy, costly and must be lowered into and lifted out of the pool by hand.

The foregoing and other serious shortcomings of prior skimming expedients are avoided by the present invention which is simply constructed from lightweight components and designed to be buoyantly supported on the surface of the pool. The skimmer is propelled in an ever-changing path of travel and at a lively pace by pressurized water jet means. A wide area water inlet crosswise of the forward end opens into a large area reticulated or perforated debris collector from which the water escapes below the pool surface thereby ensuring wetting of any floating fines not held captive by the collector. Once wetted, these fines then settle to the pool bottom from which they are flushed into the drain by water whips attached to and trailing behind the skimmer. The water whips include a relatively long sluggish whip having its outlet disposed to flush the pool bottom as well as a shorter lighter whip operating near, above and below the pool surface and effective to sweep the sidewalls as well as steps, under water seats and the like.

The jet propelling the skimmer is preferably located off-center and therefore tends to urge the skimmer to travel toward and along the pool perimeter. The propelling means includes adjusting means for varying the sidewise deflection of the skimmer as well as means for aiding movement of the skimmer about obstacles and around corners. Additionally, a sensor projecting from the forward end of the skimmer operates upon impact with an obstacle to impart a deflective movement to the forward end of the skimmer to facilitate the continued forward movement of the skimmer past the obstacle.

Another feature of the invention is the provision of automatic closure of weir means for the water inlet which opens to admit debris in response to forward propulsion and which closes automatically as propulsion ceases thereby to trap collected debris. In the illustrative embodiment, this closure comprises a pivoting panel crosswise of the inlet which is depressed by the weight of inflowing water. The closure is sufficiently buoyant to return to an upright closed position instantly that water ceases to enter. Preferably the main body of the skimmer is formed of molded plastic and includes flotation chambers along the opposite sides of the debris collector, the latter being readily removable for emptying. Y

The propelling jet means for the skimmer is readily invertable and securable to the skimmer to propel the latter in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction as found most expedient and effective in a particular pool construction.

Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved highly efficient and effective self-propelled pool cleaning apparatus and method powered solely by pressurized water.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a water jet propelled and activated pool cleaning method operating to skim and collect floating debris while flushing settled debris into the pool drain for disposal.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a floating debris collector powered by pressurized water and utilizing water whip means arranged to direct the skimmer through an ever-changing meandering path of travel both along the perimeter and centrally of the pool.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a self-propelled floating pool skimmer having closure means for its water inlet which remains open so long as the skimmer is propelled and which automatically closes when it is not propelled.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a self-propelled floating skimmer with means effective when encountering a pool corner or other obstacle to divert it into a different path of travel.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a self-propelled pool skimmer supplied with pressurized water through a floating flexible hose and including a trailing water whip which from time to time passes across the pressurized hose thereby imparting offcenter drag forces on the skimmer effective to divert the skimmer from loop-like paths of travel to travel along the perimeter of the pool.

These and other more specific objects will appear upon reading the following specification and claims and upon considering in connection therewith the attached drawing to which they relate.

Referring now to the drawing in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated:

FIG. 1 is a generally diagramatic top plan view of an illustrative embodiment of the invention skimmer in use in a conventional pool and indicating typical portions of its characteristic ever-changing path of travel;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged top plan view of the skimmer per se with portions broken away to show details of its construction;

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 on FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 55 on FIG. 2; and

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view of the right hand corner of FIG. 1 showing one of the water whips sweeping the steps.

Referring initially more particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown an illustrative embodiment of the invention pool cleaning and skimming apparatus designated generally 10. The skimmer proper 11 is attached to a source of pressurized water at poolside by a floating flexible hose 12 equipped with a pair of swivels 13,13 between its opposite ends. Trailing from the rear portion of skimmer 11 are one or more water whips including a relatively long sluggish whip 16 and a relatively short lively whip 17. Whip 16 has a length approximately two-thirds the longer length of the pool to be cleaned, whereas whip 17 is much more flexible and has a length typically 6 to 8 feet long. These whips and their functions will be described in greater detail presently.

As herein shown, skimmer 11 has a molded plastic main body of generally rectangular configuration provided with a pair of long narrow flotation chambers 20,20 (FIGS. 2 and 5) along either side interconnected crosswise of their opposite ends by bottom plates 21,22 (FIG. 3). The rectangular area between the two flotation chambers and between plates 21,22 is cut out to provide a water outlet opening 23 and the area rearward of plate 22 is likewise cutout to provide the water outlet 24. The forward end of skimmer 11 is provided with a wide water inlet 26 best shown in FIG. 4. This inlet has a width extending from the adjacent inner sidewalls of the flotation chambers 20,20 and a height coextensive therewith. A closure plate or weir 27 has its lower forward edge hinged to the bottom of inlet 26 by a hinge 28. When the skimmer is not in the water closure plate or weir 27 pivots downwardly against the top surface of bottom plate 21 of the main body. As herein shown, closure 27 comprises a rigid plaque of sheet plastic and is provided with buoyancy means 29 effective to support the closure in an upwardly and rearwardly inclined position, such as that indicated in dot and dash lines in FIG. 4 when the skimmer is stationary and floating in the water. The buoyancy could be provided by a hollow chamber extending along the trailing edge of the closure member. The flotation means 29 is so designed that a flow of water rearwardly along the inclined closure during forward propulsion of the skimmer suffices to depress and hold the closure open as in the full line position shown in FIG. 4. A typical position of the skimmer relative to the water level is indicated in FIG. 4 by the dot and dash line 30 representing the surface of the water in the pool.

A reticulated or perforated debris collecting basket 32 is supported loosely on portions 33 of the bottom plate projecting inwardly from the inner sidewalls of the flotation chambers 20 (FIG. 5). This basket has an open forward end aligned with the rear end of the water inlet 26. The sidewalls and rear end wall of basket 32 may have inturned rim edges at 34 to strengthen the basket. The basket is normally covered by a removable cover plaque 35 held in place by thumb nuts 36. When this cover is detached basket 32 along with any collected debris is readily lifted from the skimmer for disposal of its contents. It will be noted that the rear end of the skimmer body is closed by a sidewall 37 having its lower edge normally submerged for a purpose to be explained more fully presently. As is best shown in FIG. 2, collector 32 is held against sidewise and lengthwise movement by a pair of flanges projecting laterally from its sidewalls and seating between a pair of ribs 40,40 projecting inwardly from the sidewalls of the flotation chambers 20,20.

The propulsion unit 45 of the skimmer will now be described by reference to FIGS. 3-5. This tubular unit is generally U-shaped and is held releasably and adjustable in place against the bottom of the skimmer by clips 46 and thumb nuts 47. When the latter are loosened, clips 46 can be shifted to different positions lengthwise of the skimmer or rotated out of holding position permitting unit 45 to be detached and inverted. When inverted, the unit operates to propel the skimmer over the pool surface in the opposite direction, it being understood that the direction of travel is controlled by the side of the skimmer to which the supply hose 12 is attached. Thus, when attached to the right hand side as shown in FIG. 1, the skimmer travels clockwise around the pool 48 whereas if unit 45 is inverted so that hose 12 extends from the left hand side, the skimmer will travel counterclockwise about the pool.

Movement of the skimmer along the pool wall and about obstacles is facilitated by a pair of rollers 50,50 detachably held in place by shouldered bolts 51. These rollers are located at the corners remote from the side of the skimmer to which hose 12 is connected. Referring to FIG. 2 it will be noted that each corner of the main body is provided with holes 52 in which the rollers 50 and supporting bolts 51 are mountable. The rollers bear against the sidewall of the pool and aid materially in guiding the skimmer around corners, obstacles and the like.

Propulsion unit 45 is provided with a main water jet 55 discharging rearwardly adjacent one rear corner of the skimmer and preferably against an adjustable deflector 56. This deflector is mounted on a shaft 57 extending upwardly through the main body of the skimmer to an adjusting thumb nut 58 which may be rotated to rotate deflector 56. The water issuing from jet 55 provides a propulsion force urging the skimmer forwardly. Likewise, the issuing water jet strikes the adjustable rudder 56 and imparts a deflecting force to the rear end of the skimmer. Accordingly, the combined effect of these forces is to propel the skimmer forwardly and laterally into contact with the sidewall of the swimming pool. Since this lateral urging force is applied to the rear comer, there is a component having a tendency to urge the forward end to the right as viewed in FIG. 1. This aids materially in maneuvering the skimmer around corners and obstacles. When the propulsion unit 45 is inverted it will be understood that the adjustable rudder 56 is transferred to the mounted holes therefor in the other rear comer of the skimmer,

it being noted that the rudder is always on the same side of the skimmer as supply hose 12.

Additional forward movement may be imparted to the skimmer by the provision of a supplemental water jet opening 58 centrally of the bight portion 59 of the propulsion unit. Water issuing from this jet also preferably strikes an adjustable rudder 60 although this rudder may be omitted if desired.

The propulsion unit preferably includes means for automatically imparting a laterally-directed turning impulse to the forward end of the skimmer upon contact with an obstacle. One suitable means for this purpose comprises a jetting valve 63 in communication with the interior of the propulsion unit and having a normally closed jet orifice in fitting 64 which is directed outwardly from one side of the skimmer. Valve 63 is opened to issue a jet of water through fitting 64 for a brief period if and when the sensing plunger 65 strikes an obstacle. When this occurs valve 63 is opened for a brief period, as -15 seconds, before its spring mechanism closes it. So long as open, water issues from the jetting fitting 64 and provides a force effective to rotate the forward end of the skimmer counterclockwise as viewed in FIG. 3. A slow-closing valve of the type indicated at 63 is well known in public washrooms and remains open for a brief period after an operating plunger or button is depressed.

Referring to FIG. 3 it is pointed out that the water whips 16,17 are connected to fittings mounted in the second leg of the U-shaped propulsion unit 45. The connection of each of these whips to the skimmer will be observed as offset to one side of the longitudinal center line of the skimmer.

The operation of the skimmer will be readily apparent from the foregoing description of its construction. In a typical installation, the inlet of the supply hose 12 is connected in circuit with the pool water purification system. Normally, water is withdrawn from the drain underlying the debris catcher 70 at the deep end of the pool through a conduit 71 leading into a filter indicated at 72, and via pipe 73, into the inlet of a pressurizing booster pump 74 having a capacity of l015 gpm at a pressure of about 45 to 60 psi. The clean pressurized water issuing from this pump flows through duct 75 to a fitting 76 to which supply hose 12 can be coupled. Preferably the connection to hose 12 is located below the water level in the pool in order that the adjacent end of hose 12 will not interfere with the movement of the skimmer about the entire perimeter of the pool.

The clean, pressurized water supplied through the floating hose 12 enters the propulsion unit 45. A portion of this water discharges through propulsion nozzle 55 and against rudder 56. Another portion issues through the jetting orifice 58, and other portions supplied to each of the water whips 16,17, issues from nozzles of well-known construction at the ends of each of these whips. Whip I6 is relatively long and heavy with the result that major portions of this hose are submerged with a length of its free end resting against the bottom of the pool. In consequence, the water jet issuing from its nozzle causes this end to whip back and forth crosswise of the bottom of the pool as the water jet flushes settled debris and foreign matter toward the deeper end of the pool and into the drain inlet. The movement of the skimmer about the pool and this rather sluggish whipping action enables whip 16 to sweep all portions of the pool bottom.

Before skimmer ll completes its first circuit about the perimeter of the pool, whip 16 will normally underlie supply hose 12 which has sufficient buoyancy to float on the surface of the pool. As the skimmer advances clockwise along the pool wall, the drag imposed by supply hose l2 diverts the skimmer into a clockwise loop thereby causing whip 16 to be dragged across the top of hose 12. The skimmer may resume its travel along the pool wall or it may make another loop. Under certain conditions this drag force does not alter the course of the skimmer, but at other times the drag force imparted by whip 16 as it crosses supply hose 12 is sufficiently great to divert the skimmer into a different path temporarily. Typical paths of travel are indicated by the arrows 80 in FIG. 1. The skimmer may travel in overlapping loops briefly before returning to its closed loop circuit closely adjacent the pool sidewall. The path taken can be varied by adjusting unit 45 lengthwise of the bottom of the skimmer after loosening clamps 46, as well as by adjusting deflectors 56 and/or 60 and weight 88.

As will be recognized from aconsideration of FIG. 3, the reaction of the water issuing from the jet will tend to rotate the skimmer about a vertical axis through the center of gravity of the skimmer. By varying the size and length of jet 55, or by varying the distance thereof from the center of gravity, one changes the effective reaction force or the length of the arm through which it acts with a resulting change in the path along which the skimmer is propelled.

During propulsion of the skimmer, water enters the wide inlet 26 at the front of the skimmer and rides up onto closure plate 27 forcing the latter to pivot downwardly against the bottom of the water inlet. So long as the skimmer is being propelled forwardly the weight of water flowing over closure 27 holds the latter depressed to the full line position shown in FIG. 4. Under these circumstances quantities of water along with any floating debris flows into the collector basket 32 and exits through the perforations distributed throughout this basket.

All except very fine floating material is retained by the basket and collects at its far end. Any small particulate which can pass through the perforations in the basket must flow downwardly and about the lower rim edges of the main body. This assures that any floating matter which has not previously become fully wetted will now be wet, whereupon such material settles to the bottom of the pool and into the path of the water from whip l6 sweeping settled dirt and the like into the pool drain.

Water whip 17 comprises a small diameter very flexible hose which is sufficiently light and short that it is extremely lively. These characteristics, taken with the action of the water jet issuing from the nozzle at its tip, causes this whip to thrash and flail about very actively and lively. Substantially all action is located above the pool bottom and at times the outer end of the whip emerges above the water surface. This lively action of whip 17 renders it very effective in flushing the sidewalls of the pool and in particular the surfaces of the steps 81 customarily present at the shallower end of the pool as shown in FIG. 6. The foreign matter flushed from these steps settles against the bottom of the pool and gravitates and is flushed toward the drain outlet by whip l6.

Should the skimmer strike an obstacle, sensing plunger 65 projecting from the forward corner of the skimmer is depressed to open valve 63 to jet water from fitting 64. This waterjet, taken with the cooperative action of the jets issuing from nozzle 58 and 55, quickly and effectively diverts the skimmer around the obstacle so that it resumes its forward movement.

If the delay in forward movement is more than momentary, the closure plate 27 for the water inlet pivots to its closed position as shown in dotted line in FIG. 4 thereby blocking any possibility of collected debris escaping from basket 32. The moment that the skimmer resumes forward movement the water rising along the inclined surface of the closure member depresses this member permitting water and any floating debris therein to overflow the plate and collect at the rear of the basket. As the water escapes through the multiplicity of perforations the inflowing water continues to retain the debris collected in the rearmost corner of the basket thereby avoiding blocking the perforations except in this end.

The described skimmer is extremely simple in construction, without moving parts or electrical connections. The movement of the skimmer along or close to the pool wall produces a wake which impinges on the side walls and wipes away leaves, foreign matter and litter which may have become attached to the wall. The detached debris is then carried out into the pool and into the path of the skimmer on subsequent passages into that area. It is completely self-powered and inherently proceeds over an ever-changing random path repeatedly covering all portions of the pool and effectively cleaning all surfaces and collects both floating and settled foreign material.

Other features of the skimmer include a bumper 85 of rounded contour extending beyond the forward end of cover 35. This bumper serves to cam the skimmer around corners and to divert it past obstacles in the path of travel.

Another feature found most useful is a weight 88 (FIG. 1) having a snug but adjustable fit about supply hose 12. This weight may be a collar or a split ring having a close fit about the hose as to retain any adjusted position therealong. This weight and its location on the hose with respect to the connection of this hose to the water inlet has several functions. Thus its adjustment permits a supply hose of standard length to be used satisfactorily with the skimmer in pools of different contours and sizes. Another advantage is that its adjustment along the hose has a pronounced effect on the path of travel. For example, the hose may be somewhat longer than desirable in a smaller pool. In this case, weight 88 is usually found to compensate for the excess length if the weight is shifted outwardly away from the pool wall. Likewise, a similar adjustment usually causes the skimmer to loop more frequently or in smaller diameter loops. The location of the weight close to the pool wall facilitates changes in the adjustment untila sign herein shown other than as defined in the appended claims.

I claim:

l. A jet-propelled meandering swimming pool skimmer comprising: buoyant means including a perforated debris collecting receptacle having a forwardly facing wide shallow water and debris inlet having its lower edge submerged when said skimmer is buoyantly supported in a swimming pool, and means, including at least one flexible water whip, carried by said skimmer and adapted to be connected via a flexible hose to a stationary source of pressurized water for jetting a plurality of streams of pressurized water rearwardly and effective to propel said skimmer forwardly in a generally meandering path over the surface of a pool of water with said water and debris inlet facing forwardly in the direction of travel to collect floating debris entering said collecting receptacle through said water and debris inlet.

2. A meandering pool skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in that said means for jetting a plurality of streams of water are effective at times to advance said skimmer along the sidewall of the pool, and the drag forces imposed on said skimmer by said flexible hose as the skimmer advances sufficiently to drag a longer length of said flexible hose being temporarily effective to divert said skimmer into a looping path of travel away from the pool sidewall and over surface areas spaced inwardly from said sidewall.

3. A meandering pool skimmer as defined in claim 2 characterized in that said flexible water whip is sufficiently long that the free end thereof rests on and whips crosswise of a pool bottom and is thereby effective to impart variable and changing drag forces on said skimmer.

4. A meandering pool skimmer as defined in claim 3 characterized in that said flexible water-powered whip thereon effective to direct a water jet against submerged surfaces of a pool to displace foreign matter lying thereagainst.

5. A meandering pool skimmer as defined in claim 2 characterized in that said flexible whip is effective to sweep settled debris on the pool bottom toward a drain outlet in the deepest area of the pool.

6. A meandering pool skimmer as defined in claim 2 characterized in the provision of a second flexible water-powered whip means trailing behind said skimmer and effective to whip vigorously as the skimmer advances thereby to flush away debris settled on submerged steps adjacent a perimeter area of a pool.

7. A meandering pool skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in the provision of a plurality of flexible water-powdered whip means trailing behind said skimmer including a relatively long sluggish whip having its free end adapted to rest in part on the bottom of a swimming pool being skimmed and a relatively short lively whip which has a zone of activity both below and above the water surface of the pool whereby said whip means is effective to flush the pool side walls and the submerged steps when present in a pool undergoing skimming.

8. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in the provision of closure means crosswise of said water inlet operable to permit flow into said skimmer through said water inlet and for substantially preventing all flow outwardly therethrough thereby to trap collected debris within said skimmer.

9. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in the provision of closure means for closing said water inlet comprising a weir extending crosswise of said inlet and pivotable about a horizontal axis through the lower edge portion thereof and provided with buoyancy means along the upper edge thereof effective to hold said closure means closed unless said skimmer is being propelled forwardly.

10. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in that one of said water jet means includes adjustable means cooperating with water discharging therethrough for varying the path of travel of said skimmer.

11. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in that said water jet means includes means for securing said water jet means to said skimmer selectively in first and second positions whereby said water jet means is effective to propel said skimmer optionally and selectively in a clockwise and in a counterclockwise direction about a pool.

12. A skimmer as defined in claim 11 characterized in that said waterjet means includes means for securing the same to said skimmer selectively in different positions lengthwise of the skimmer thereby to vary the path of travel thereof.

13. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in the provision of normally inactive water jet means on said skimmer operable when activated to divert said skimmer laterally, and sensor means at the forward end of said skimmer operable to activate said last mentioned water jet means briefly upon contacting an obstacle in the path of travel of said skimmer.

14. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in the provision thereon of means for diverting said skimmer laterally of its path of travel upon contact with an obstacle in the path of travel thereof.

15. A skimmer as defined in claim 14 characterized in that said diverting means includes spring pressed means held normally extended in position to engage an obstacle in the path of travel and operable in response to said contact to operate means for imparting a thrust to one end of said skimmer thereby to change the path of travel.

16. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in the provision of curved bumper means on the forward end thereof effective to cam said skimmer laterally thereby to travel past obstacles.

17. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in the provision of barrier means effective to cause water entering said water and debris inlet to escape from said skimmer in a submerged path whereby any floating debris escaping from said skimmer is assured of being wet on all surfaces and sinks to the bottom of the pool.

18. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in the provision of readily adjusted means on said supply hose means and shiftable therealong to change the path of travel taken by the skimmer.

19. A skimmer as defined in claim 18 characterized in that said adjustable means is attached to said supply hose means adjacent the end thereof in communication with a source of pressurized water.

20. A skimmer as defined in claim 18 characterized in that said adjustable means comprises a weight mounted on said hose means and adjustable lengthwise along said hose means.

21. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in the provision of means for adjusting the position of said water jet means relative to the center of gravity of said skimmer thereby to vary the effective lever arm of said water .jet means tending to rotate said skimmer about a vertical axis through said center of gravity.

22. A skimmer as defined in claim 8 characterized in that the lower leading edge of said closure means is hinged to the bottom of said water inlet below the water surface with its trailing upper edge inclined rearwardly into said collector whereby the entrance of water into said collector during the propulsion of said skimmer is effective to hinge said closure means rearwardly and downwardly and to hold the same depressed so long as said skimmer is being propelled.

23. A skimmer as defined in claim 1 characterized in that said debris collecting receptacle is readily detachable from said buoyant means and includes a multiplicity of perforations in the bottom and sidewalls thereof.-

24. A skimmer as defined in claim 23 characterized in that said buoyant means is formed of plastic material and provides a support frame for said debris collecting receptacle.

25. A swimming pool skimmer comprising an elongated plastic main body designed to float and having forward and rearward transverse ends, floating flexible hose means for supplying pressurized water to said skimmer, a perforated debris collector supported on said main body having a wide shallow water inlet across said forward end of said main body, waterwhip means connected to and trailing behind said skimmer, water jet means on said main body cooperable with said water whipe means to propel said skimmer in a meandering path over the pool surface with said water inlet foremost and including means for connecting said jet means and said water whip means to said floating flexible hose means.

26. A skimmer as defined in claim 25 characterized in that said main body has a large area opening underlying the bottom of said debris collector through which water leaving said collector escapes.

27. A skimmer as defined in claim 26 characterized in the provision of adjustable means operatively associated with said water jet means for changing the path of travel of said skimmer.

28. A self-propelled buoyant swimming pool skimmer having debris collector means having a wide shallow water inlet facing forwardly, means on said skimmer for propelling the same forwardly in a meandering path over the surface of a pool including a floating flexible pressurized water supply hose cooperating with a relatively long sluggish whip having its outlet end resting against a pool bottom and effective to flush settled debris toward the pool drain and a relatively short lively whip effective to flush debris from the pool sidewalls and submerged steps, seats and the like surfaces customarily present in a swimming pool, buoyant flexible water supply hose means having one end connected to a source of pressurized water and its other end connected to said propelling means and to said water whip means, and the longer one of said whips being positioned to periodically pass over and impose a drag force on said water supply hose means while being dragged thereacross whereby said skimmer is diverted into a different path of travel and generally toward areas of the pool spaced near the perimeter thereof.

29. A skimmer as defined in claim 28 characterized in that said skimmer includes water jet means in communication with said supply of pressurized water and disposed to propel said skimmer over the surface of the pool and along a path of travel which at times crosses said supply hose means.

30. A skimmer as defined in claim 29 characterized in that said water jet means is disposed to urge said skimmer to travel closely along the perimeter of a pool when said longer whip is imposing a drag force on said skimmer in a direction tending to divert the same toward the perimeter of the pool.

31. A skimmer as defined in claim 28 characterized in the provision of bumper means across the forward end thereof effective to aid in camming said skimmer around corners and about obstacles.

32. That method of cleaning a swimming pool which comprises recirculating water from a pool through a filter and returning clean pressurized water to the pool at least in part via .water jet propulsion means mounted on buoyant debris collector and debris storage means attached to said propulsion means utilizing said water jet means to propel said collector means over the pool surface to entrap floating debris therein, and utilizing other portions of said pressurized water to operate water whip means trailing behind said debris collector means and effective to flush submerged surfaces free of settled debris and into the pool drain.

33. That method defined in claim 32 characterized in the step of withdrawing water from the bottom of the pool along with settled debris dislodged by said whip means and filtering out the debris carried thereby.

34. That method defined in claim 32 characterized in utilizing said water whip means and means returning pressurized water to water jet propulsion means to maneuver said buoyant collector means in loops over the central portion of the pool to expedite the skimming and removal of debris from the pool.

35. That method defined in claim 32 characterized in the steps of propelling said buoyant collector means along the periphery of the pool at times followed by other periods in which said collector means is propelled in loops centrally of the pool by the cooperating drag effect of the said water whip means and of flexible hose means supplying pressurized water to said collector means.

36. That method defined in claim 32 characterized in the steps of utilizing at least one long relatively sluggish water whip means to flush settled debris from the bottom of the pool and at least one relatively short lively water whip means operating near the pool surface and effective to flush debris from the pool wall and submerged steps and the like surfaces.

37. That method defined in claim 35 characterized in the step of dragging said water whip means at times over a floating water supply line for said collector means thereby to apply an off-center drag force on said collector means causing it to travel toward the pool walls.

38. A skimmer as defined in claim 32 characterized in the steps of supplying water to said buoyant debris collector means at a pressure in the range of 45 to psi and at a rate of 10 to 15 gpm.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification210/776, 210/242.1, 210/167.15, 15/1.7, 134/24, 134/34, 210/806, 4/490
International ClassificationB01D21/24, E04H4/16, E04H4/00
Cooperative ClassificationB01D21/2433, E04H4/1681
European ClassificationB01D21/24D, E04H4/16D