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Publication numberUS3874412 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 1, 1975
Filing dateApr 29, 1974
Priority dateApr 29, 1974
Publication numberUS 3874412 A, US 3874412A, US-A-3874412, US3874412 A, US3874412A
InventorsFleckenstein Andrew J, Mitchell Herman C
Original AssigneeFleckenstein A J, Mitchell Herman C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Timing motor drive mechanism for water softener valves
US 3874412 A
A water softener valve timing mechanism utilizing a timing motor to shift the valve through the various operating and softening stages. A linkage is operated periodically to shift a drive gear for the valve into engagement with a pinion of the timing motor. An adjustable cam controls a brine line valve for variably controlling the amount of water filled in the brine tank of the system to thereby control salt usage.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Fleckenstein et al.

Apr. 1, 1975 Primary Examiner-Alan Cohan Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Mann, Brown, McWilliams & Bradway 57] ABSTRACT A water softener valve timing mechanism utilizing a timing motor to shift the valve through the various operating and softening stages. A linkage is operated periodically to shift a drive gear for the valve into engagement with a pinion of the timing motor. An adjustable cam controls a brine line valve for variably controlling the amount of water filled in the brine tank of the system to thereby control salt usage.

2 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures flit in- PATENTEB saw 2 a; 3

TIMING MOTOR DRIVE MECHANISM FOR WATER SOFTENER VALVES The present invention is directed to new and useful improvements in control valves for water softeners and is particularly concerned with improvements in a drive between a piston operated valve and a timing motor which is used to operate the valve in a preselected periodic fashion.

The present invention is directed to improvements in timing motor and valve actuating mechanisms of the type illustrated in Fleckenstein, U.S. Pat. No. 3,616,820. issued Nov. 2, 1971, and our U.S. Pat. No. 3,742,768. issued July 3, 1973.

In our prior U.S. Pat. No. 3,742,768 we disclose a single motor drive in which the timing mechanism for the water conditioning system is operative to engage a direct drive from the timing motor with the drive for the valve of the system when regeneration is needed. In this prior patent. the timing motor is mounted upon a movably mounted plate. and the timing mechanism acts at periodic intervals, when regeneration is required. to move the plate from an unlatched and inoperative position to a position allowing engagement between a pinion drive from the timing motor and a gear which is coupled to the valve through a crank'like connection. In this construction the motor mounting and latching plate are one and the same and move the motor bodily away from a position opposed to the valve drive gear, whereupon a spring rotates the valve drive gear through a fraction ofa revolution and, upon return of the pinion of the timing motor drive to the position juxtaposed with the drive gear, the pinion and drive gear engage to thus cause movement of the operating element of the valve through a regenerating cycle. This arrangement provides an advantageous valve drive from the timing motor so that the timing motor performs the function of timing as well as a valve driving function when required. Movement of the parts in mechanism of this type is quite slow and the mechanism holds the plate in the disengaged position until the timing mechanism advances sufficiently far so as to re lease it. Hence. forcibly moving the pinion drive and timing motor away from the valve drive gear causes a loss of time between the time in which regeneration is actually desired and the time at which the motor moves back to a position where the pinion drive can engage the valve drive gear and initiate regeneration In some cases this lost time can be substantial and can amount to 30-40 minutes. Also. in this type of mechanism, movement of the pinion toward and away from the valve drive gear each time regeneration is started causes frictional wear in the teeth of the gears.

With the foregoing in mind. the major purpose of the present invention is to provide timing motor drive mechanism of the same general type disclosed in our prior patent and at the same time improve the mechanism so as to minimize lost time between the time desired for regeneration and the time that regeneration actually starts. to reduce wear on the drive gears of the system. and to so arrange the system that the forces required to cause an unlatching movement of the mechanism and subsequent engagement between the timing motor and valve drive may be lessened.

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

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

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

Fig. 3 is a rear view of the control mechanism illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a view of the control illustrated in FIG. 3 while illustrating a different operative position of the parts, and

FIG. 5 is a detail side view of certain operating elements illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4.

Like elements are designated by like characters throughout the specification and drawings.

With particular reference to the drawings. an operating mechanism which is similar to that disclosed in our U.S. Pat. No. 3,742,768 is disclosed. For example, the numeral 10 generally designates a typical water softening tank having a control valve II fixed to the top thereof, an inlet space 12 in the valve for flow through an outlet 13 in the top of the water softener tank, an outlet pipe 14, and an outlet space 15 in the valve. The valve has an aspirator assembly 16 which is connected with a line through a shut-off valve 18 to a brine tank 19. A control generally designated at 20 is fixed to the top of the valve and is adapted to drive the piston of the valve at selected time intervals through a slowly moving and uninterrupted reciprocating cycle. As the piston moves, the various passages of the valve are connected for control of regenerative operations.

The valve illustrated in FIG. 1 is generally representative of that disclosed in Fleckenstein. U.S. Pat. No. 3,6l6.820.

As in our aforementioned U.S. Pat. No. 3,742,768. an upstanding support plate 2] is fixed to the top of the valve by a flange 21a. The support plate 21 supports a time-of-day wheel 22, a skip-day wheel 23, a drive pinion 24 for the time-of-day wheel, an actuating element in the form of a pin 25 projecting outwardly from the time-of-day wheel 22, and an actuating arm 26 which is pivotally mounted as at 27 on the upstanding support plate 21, all as generally disclosed in the aforesaid U.S. Pat. No. 3,616,820. The skip-day wheel 23 includes a plurality of circumferentially spaced lugs 28 which are adapted to be engaged by the actuating element 25 once each day so as to shift the skip-day wheel 23 through an arc corresponding to the spacing between adjacent lugs. The movement may be 30 with the twelve lugs illustrated. The lugs 28 carry small bolts 29 which are adapted to engage actuating arm 26 and move it angularly in periodic fashion. As disclosed in said patent, a timing motor 30 is arranged to drive timeof-day wheel 22 through a full revolution each day so as to bring actuating element 25 into engagement with a lug 28 and shift actuating arm 26.

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

The mounting plate 31 for motor is pivotally mounted as at 38 so that the mounting plate may swing about the axis of the gear 33. Such swinging movement is limited as by means of a slot 39 in the mounting plate. A bolt or pin 40 is fixed to the plate 21 and rides in this slot 39 so as to limit swinging movement of the motor mounting plate in a counterclockwise direction to approximately 5 to IS". A spring 41 extends between a pin 42 and a flange 42a of the mounting plate so as to bias the motor mounting plate in a clockwise direction and toward the normal position illustrated in FIG. 3. This mounting arrangement allows the motor and its mounting plate to swing counterclockwise to disengage the pinion 32 from gear 34. This yieldability compensates for any binding of the gears 33 and 34, when gear teeth are directly opposed rather than engaged.

A second plate 43, which acts as a latching plate, includes an extension 43a, presenting a cam surface 44 to camming roller 45 carried by an extension 46 of actuating arm 26. Plate 43 is also pivotally mounted on pivot 38 but pivots independently of motor plate 31. When actuating arm 26 is moved counterclockwise in FIG. 3, it then cams latching plate counterclockwise as seen in FIG. 5. Plate 43 is biased toward the latched position (FIG. 3) by a spring 4312 between pin 40 and a flange 43c on the plate. Pinion 32 extends through a circular hole 32a in plate 42 to allow the movement of motor mounting plate 31, as aforesaid, independently of plate 43. Plate 43 may undergo its unlatching movement, as aforesaid, independently of plate 31.

Pin 42 rides in a slot 48 in the extended end of the latching plate so as to provide stability for the same.

As in our US. Pat. No. 3,742,768, connecting rod 36 is extended on both sides of its pivotal connection 49 with the crank or hub 35. The extension on the side opposite to the connection with the piston rod 36a is connected with a spring 50. Spring 50 has one end fixed to the support plate 2] as at 51 so that the spring 50 exerts a biasing force on the connecting rod 36 in a clockwise direction as illustrated in H0. 3. Gear 34 carries an outwardly projecting latching pin 52 on the surface thereof. This latching pin, when the position of the ele ments is as illustrated in H6. 3, is adapted to seat within a recess 53 in an upper edge of the latching plate. A knob 54 may be fixed to the connecting rod 36 so as to enable manual rotation of the parts for par poses of inspection or repair.

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

As in our US. Pat. No. 3,742,768, timing motor 30 runs continuously so that its drive pinion 32 continually rotates the time-of-day wheel 22 through the gears 24 and 33. During the time of day wherein the normal water softening operation takes place, valve drive gear 34 is disengaged from the drive pinion 32 of the motor by reason of the gap 37 of the drive gear being opposed to the drive pinion 32.

At predetermined time intervals. as, for example, once every 24 hours, the mechanism causes movement of arm 26. Actuating arm 26 then cams latching plate 43 counterclockwise as is seen in FIG. 3, and this moves it away from the element 52 on the valve drive gear 34 so as to unlatch this element from the recess 53. Spring 50 then biases valve connecting rod 36 clockwise as seen in FIG. 3, and this produces a few degrees of movement of the valve driving gear 34 sufficient to move the gap of the valve drive gear away from the motor pinion 32.

This action occurs in the same fashion disclosed in our previous patent. In the present invention, however, the motor mounting plate 31, and hence the pinion drive 32 of the timing motor, remain in position, despite movement of the latching lever. The shift in the gap in the valve drive gear allows engagement between the teeth of the valve drive gear and the teeth of the pinion substantially immediately. If any binding of gears occurs, the spring mounting of the timing motor, as provided by biasing spring 41, allows the motor mounting plate, and hence the motor and drive pinion 32, to yield away from the teeth of the valve drive gear until a proper engagement can be made. In many cases, such yielding movement is unnecessary.

Since the actuating lever 26 is required only to move latching lever 43 away from the latched position, the spring force required to bias latching lever 43 to the latched position may be relatively light. The biasing spring for the latching lever plays no part in holding the teeth of the drive pinion 32 and the teeth of the valve drive gear together.

The timing motor then rotates valve drive gear 34 through the remainder of a complete revolution and this in turn shifts the valve piston through the various stages of movement required for the regenerative operations. The movement is continuous and uninterrupted.

When the valve drive gear has rotated to a position wherein the gap 37 is again opposed to the drive pinion 32 of the motor, the motion is interrupted. At this point the valve connecting lever 36 is substantially at top dead center position. Also, latching pin 52 on the drive gear 34 drops into the latching recess 53.

Flange 420 may be moved manually to shift motor mounting plate 31 and thus allow manual rotation of gear 34 through actuation of knob 54. This is desirable for purposes of inspection and/or repair.

We claim:

1. A timing motor timing and actuating mechanism for water softener valves including a water softener valve having a movable control element for controlling various stages of normal softening operation and regeneration in a water softener system, a timing motor adapted to run continuously and a drive gear adapted to be operatively rotated thereby, means providing a driving connection between said drive gear and said control element for translating rotation of said gear into movement of said element, said drive gear having a gap in the periphery thereof, said gap being adapted to be moved into opposition to a drive pinion of said timing motor to prevent engagement between said pinion and said gear, said pinion being adapted to drive said drive gear when said gap is moved away from said pinion, resilient means interconnected with said drive gear so as to bias said drive gear away from a position wherein said gap is opposed to said pinion, and a latching plate movably mounted on a support and having means engageable with said drive gear to hold the gap in said drive gear opposed to said pinion, mechanism for disengaging said latching plate from said gear to allow said resilient means to move said drive gear, said gear and pinion being movably mounted on a support independently of said latching plate, and means biasing said pinion toward an engaged position with said drive gear.

3,8 74,4 l 2 5 6 2. The structure of claim I wherein said pinion and and separate springs bias said latching plate toward the timing motor are pivotally mounted on a support and latched position and said motor plate toward a gear ensaid latching plate is pivotally mounted on the same gaging position.

support. said motor and pinion being carried by a plate

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3616820 *Feb 13, 1970Nov 2, 1971Fleckenstein A JSoftener valve
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4290451 *Oct 30, 1979Sep 22, 1981L. W. Fleckenstein, Inc.Water conditioning system controls
US4313825 *Feb 23, 1981Feb 2, 1982L. W. Fleckenstein, Inc.Control system for meter actuated regeneration in a water treatment system
US4385357 *Apr 14, 1978May 24, 1983Water Refining Company, Inc.Water treatment system and control therefor
US4568465 *Mar 25, 1985Feb 4, 1986Water Refining Company, Inc.Water treatment system and control therefor
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US5590687 *Jun 7, 1995Jan 7, 1997Fleck Controls, Inc.Control mechanism for a water conditioning system
US6176258 *Apr 30, 1998Jan 23, 2001United States Filter CorporationDual cam drive for water conditioner valve
US6354172Jan 31, 2000Mar 12, 2002Aquion Partners Limited PartnershipMechanical timer mechanism for valve control
US6402944Sep 21, 2000Jun 11, 2002Clack CorporationWater softener control valve with removable seal stack
US6444127Sep 21, 2000Sep 3, 2002Clack CorportionWater conditioning unit control valve
US7004200Jan 21, 2005Feb 28, 2006General Electric CompanyConstant flow valve for a water softener control assembly
US8141848Jan 24, 2005Mar 27, 2012Pentair Residential Filtration, LlcPiston with integral seals for a water softener control valve
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US8671985 *Oct 27, 2011Mar 18, 2014Pentair Residential Filtration, LlcControl valve assembly
US9010361 *Oct 27, 2011Apr 21, 2015Pentair Residential Filtration, LlcControl valve assembly
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US20130105322 *Oct 27, 2011May 2, 2013David J. AverbeckControl Valve Assembly
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CN101846204A *Jun 4, 2010Sep 29, 2010赵洪东Magnetic gas timing valve
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U.S. Classification137/624.13, 137/624.18, 137/625.29, 74/3.52, 210/140
International ClassificationF16K31/48, C02F1/42, F16K31/44
Cooperative ClassificationC02F1/42, F16K31/48
European ClassificationF16K31/48, C02F1/42
Legal Events
Jun 27, 1988AS01Change of name
Effective date: 19880614
Jun 27, 1988ASAssignment
Effective date: 19880614