US 3890662 A
An attachment means to interconnect a tank of pressurized gas to a gas pressure cartridge to refill the same wherein the cartridge includes a valve means movable between an open and a closed position, the attachment means including a yoke to connect such in a gas-tight manner to the tank source, screw thread connecting means formed within the attachment means to connect the attachment means in a gas-tight manner to the cartridge, gas passage means formed within the attachment means for conducting pressurized gas from the tank source into the cartridge.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 Roberts 5] June 24, 1975 REFILLABLE PRESSURIZED GAS CARTRIDGE AND ATTACHMENT MEANS FOR REFILLING SAME V  Inventor: Robert E. Roberts, Carson, Calif.
 Assignee: Under Sea Industries, Inc., Compton, Calif. e
 Filed: Nov. 5, 1973  Appl. No.: 413,187
 US. Cl 9/313; 141/383  Int. Cl. B63c 9/00  Field of Search 141/2, 18, 383-386;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,680,546 6/1954 Seaberg 141/384 18 liq- I 64 3,731,718 5/1973 Gramig 141/384 Primary Examiner-Houston S. Bell, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or FirmFlam & Flam  ABSTRACT An attachment means to interconnect a tank of pres H surized gas to a gas pressure cartridge to refill the same wherein the cartridge includes a valve means movable between an open and a closed position, the attachment means including a yoke to connect such in a gastight manner to the tank source, screw thread connecting means formed within the attachment means to connect the attachment means in a gas-tight manner to the cartridge, gas passage means formed within the attachment means for conducting pressurized gas from the tank source into the cartridge.
3 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUN 24 1915 SHEET REFILLABLE PRESSURIZED GAS CARTRIDGE AND ATTACHMENT MEANS FOR REFILLING SAME BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Buoyancy compensators are common devices used by divers. Basically, a buoyancy compensator comprises an inflatable life vest which is worn around the neck of the diver and is positioned against the chest area of the diver. The desirable condition for the diver is to be maintained buoyantly neutral. When the diver enters the water he makes himself buoyantly neutral by the addition of weights. As the diver moves within the water and the diver picks up game, artifacts, or other articles, the diver becomes heavy within the water and tends to sink to the bottom. The buoyancy compensator is then inflated a desired amount to reestablish the buoyantly neutral condition.
A common type of buoyancy compensator had to be blown up by the divers mouth. lnflating by the mouth is a time consuming procedure, and also can be a tiring procedure under water. Additionally, it is desirable that the buoyancy compensator be employed as a safety vest to move an unconscious or a tired diver to the surface. The buoyancy compensator which can only be inflated orally cannot function as a safety vest.
There are buoyancy compensators which do function as safety vests which employ the use of detonators which opens a small pressurized gas cartridge which thereupon inflates the vest. These cartridge inflation vests are desirable since the inflation does not require any activity on the part of the diver except for the detonating of the cartridge. Once the cartridge is to function solely as a safety vest and is not used as a buoyancy compensator. The buoyancy compensator feature of the vest is provided through the use of a separate oral inflation tube.
Another disadvantage of the previous cartridge type inflation vest is that the cartridges, when detonated, are not reusable. The cartridges are pressurized and sealed and when opened are completely emptied and then discarded.
It would be desirable to design a buoyancy compensator which uses a cartridge to control the amount of vest inflation so that the vest can function as a buoyancy compensator. Further, it would be desirable to employ the use ofa cartridge which is refillable and can be used over and over again.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The apparatus of this invention relates to a combination of parts to obtain a vest which can function as a buoyancy compensator and a safety life vest which is inflatable by a cartridge and that cartridge being refillable. The cartridge includes a valve which is movable from a normally closed position to an open position. The valve is capable of movement in small increments to regulate the volume of gas emitted from the cartridge and supplied within the vest. Once the cartridge is empty the cartridge is removed from the vest and connected to an attachment means in a gas-tight manner. The attachment means includes gas passages which is to connect to the outlet gas passage of the diver's air supply tank. The attachment means includes a yoke means to facilitate the connecting in a gas-tight manner of the attachment means to the air supply tank. It is to be understood that this refilling of the cartridge is accomplished when the diver is out of the water. Since the diver can use his own air tank to refill the cartridge, the diver can refill the cartridge at his convenience. The volume of gas contained within a cartridge is extremely small compared to the volume of the gas contained within the air supply tank. Therefore, only a negligible amount of breathing air is lost from the air supply tank in the refilling of the cartridge. The normal maximum pressure within the cartridge is two thousand pounds per square inch where the pressure within the air supply tank can be as high as three thousand pounds per square inch. To avoid excess pressure within the cartridge, the attachment means includes appropriate air pressure reduction means such as a bleed orifice.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A detailed description of the invention will be made with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein like numerals designate corresponding parts in the several figures. These drawings, unless described as diagrammatic, or unless otherwise indicated, are to scale.
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the attachment means included within this invention which is to interconnect the refillable cartridge to the air supply tank to refill the cartridge with pressurized gas;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view through the attachment means showing the connection of the air supply tank to the cartridge;
FIG. 3 is a frontal view of the buoyancy compensating vest upon which the cartridge is to be employed; and
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the cartridge and its connecting detonator which is to activate the valve located within the cartridge.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE SHOWN EMBODIMENT The following detailed description is of the best presentedly contemplated mode of carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention, since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.
Referring particularly to FIG. 3 of the drawings there is shown an inflatable vest 10 which is formed of a waterproof fabric, rubber or plastic material. The vest 10 includes a aperture 12 which is to cooperate about the neck of the wearer. The vest 10 includes a relief valve assembly 14 which is to prevent the vest 10 from over inflating. The construction of the vest 10 as well as the construction of the relief valve 14 is deemed to be conventional and forms no direct part of this invention. The description of the vest 10 is only for purposes of environment as this invention could be employed upon any type of vest.
Attached to the vest 10 is an air inflation cartridge 16 and a detonating assembly 18. The cartridge 16 is to contain a small volume of compressed air (or any other gas) under a pressure of approximately two thousand pounds per square inch.
Within the neck 17 of the cartridge 16 is mounted a valve assembly basically constructed of a sleeve 20 and a valve stem 22. The sleeve 20 is press fitted within or otherwise secured within the neck opening 24 of the cartridge 16. Within the sleeve 20 is formed a tapered opening 26. The valve stem 22 cooperates within the tapered opening 26 and is also tapered in a mating manner.
The' valve stem 22 includes an actuating end 28 which extends exteriorly of the opening 26. By applying a force against the actuating end 28 tending to move the valve stem to within the cartridge 16, the valve assembly is considered to be in the open position and pressurized gas located within the cartridge 16 is per mitted to pass between the valve stem 22 and the sleeve 20 exteriorly of the cartridge 16. When there is no force applied against the valve stem 22, the pressure of the gas within the cartridge 16 is applied against the valve stem 22 and maintains such in continuous contact with the sleeve 20 and thereby the valve assembly is closed.
When the cartridge 16 is connected to the vest 10, it is screw threadingly received in a gas-tight manner within a sleeve 30. The sleeve 30 is screw threadingly received within a nut 32. The nut 32 is screw threadingly received within a detonator housing 24. The nut 32 includes an inward annular extension 36, the end of which is to be in tight contact with a sealing washer 38. The sealing washer 38 is located within an annular recess 40 formed within the detonator housing 34. The end of the sleeve 30 is to also be in tight contact with the sealing washer 38. A central opening 42 is formed within the sleeve 30 and is in alignment with the center opening 44 formed in the sealing washer 38.
The detonator housing 34 includes a first air passage 46 which connects with a second air passage 48. The longitudinal dimension of the passage 48 is transverse or at aright angle to the longitudinal dimension of the air passage 46. The air passage 48 is to supply the air to within the vest 10. r
A detonator rod 50 is slidably mounted within opening 52 formed in the detonator housing 34. The inner end of the detonating rod 50 is adapted to come into contact with the actuating end 28 of the valve stem 22. The outer end of the detonator rod 50 is enlarged to form a camming end 54. The camming end 54 is slidably mounted within an enlarged cylindrical shaped opening 56 formed in the detonator housing 34. A sea] 58 is located about the rod 50 and positioned within the opening 56 and is to prevent leakage of gas exteriorly of the detonator housing 34 by being conducted through openings 52 and 56.
A detonator lever 60 is pivotally mounted by pivot pin 62 to the detonator housing 34. A ring 64 is mounted through opening 66 formed in the outer end of the lever 60. The inner end of the lever 60 is formed into a camming surface 68 which is adapted to come into physical contact with the camming end 54 of the detonator rod 50.
When the ring 64 is pulled the detonator lever 60 pivots which causes the end 54 and the detonator rod 50 to be moved inwardly due to the coaction between end 54 and the camming surface 68. Upon the inner end of the rod 50 contacting the actuating end 28 of the stem 22, the stem 22 is unseated and thereby permits gas to pass between the stem 22 and the sleeve 20. The gas is conducted through openings 42, 44, first passage 46, second passsage 48 and into the vest 10. It is to be noted that by pulling on the ring 64 continuously the vest 10 can be fully inflated. However, if it is only desired to partially inflate the vest 10, the ring 64 can be jerked spasmodically thereby causing partial inflation of the vest 10.
Referring particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, there is shown a device which can be generally referred to as an attachment 70 which is to facilitate the refilling of the cartridge 16 upon the cartridge becoming empty. The attachment 70 is to refill the cartridge 16 from the large volume of air contained within the scuba divers air tank 72. The attachment means 70 is formed basically into a housing 74, a yoke 76 and threaded fastener 78. The threaded fastener 78 is screw threadingly received within opening 80 which is formed within outer end of yoke 76. The end yoke 76 is connected to an annular ring 82. The annular ring 82 is positioned in a loose fitting manner against the housing 74. A nut 84 cooperates with externally threaded boss 86 to prevent disengagement of the annular ring 82 out of disassociation from the housing 74.
The outlet air passage 88 of the air tank 72 is formed within the connecting end 90 of the tank 72. The connecting end 90 is to be positioned within the confines of the yoke 76 so that the air passage 88 cooperates with the interior enlarged opening 92 formed within the threaded boss 86. With such so positioned, the threaded fastener 78 is tightened thereby securing in a gas-tight manner the connecting end 90 and the housing 74.
Located within enlarged opening 92 is a filtering assembly 94. The filtering assembly 94 is to prevent the entry of foreign material within the first passage 96 formed within the housing 74. A second passage 98 is also formed within the housing 74 and it is tobe noted that the passage 98 is substantially larger in diameter than the passage 96. A smaller diametered orifice 100 interconnects the passages 96 and 98.
Passage 98 connects with threaded opening 102 formed within the housing 74. The threaded neck 17 of the cartridge 16 is to cooperate within the threaded opening 102. A sealing ring 104 is to be positioned within the inner end of the opening 102 and about the entrance to the passage 98.
When the neck 17 of the cartridge 16 is tightened,
the annular sealing element 104 is compressed against the housing 74. A bleed orifice 106 is formed within the housing 74 and cooperates with opening 102 adjacent the sealing ring 104. If the pressure exceeds the desired maximum pressure which has been preselected by the type of sealing element 104, the pressure will be relieved by gas being conducted through the bleed orifice 106.
Once the attachment means 70 is connected as shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings, the pressurized air from the tank 72 is caused to be admitted within passage 88 and hence into enlarged opening 92, and into passage 96 through orifice 100, and into passage 98 and hence into the cartridge 16. The pressure itself will effect opening of the valve stem 22 located within the neck 17 of the cartridge. Normally the pressure within the tank 72 is at a level higher than what the cartridge 16 is designed. As the pressure from the tank passes through orifice 100 and then into enlarged opening 98, there is a pressure reduction. In other words. the pressure within opening 98 will be less than the pressure within passage 96. In this way the pressure within the cartridge 16 is controlled so that cartridge 16 will not be over pressurized. Also. if the pressure exceeds a certain level, the gas will tend to bleed out through bleed orifice 106.
Intending to claim all novel, useful and unobvious features shown or described, the following claims are hereby made.
1. In scuba diving equipment:
a. a buoyancy compensator having provisions for attachment to the upper torso of a diver;
b. said buoyancy compensator having an airinflatable chamber to increase the positive buoyancy of the diver or to counterbalance the negative buoyancy of the diver;
c. a detonator housing fitted to, and carried by, the
d. said detonator housing having passage means communicating at one end with said chamber;
e. a gas cartridge having a neck;
f. a normally closed valve mounted in the cartridge neck and having a valve actuator accessible at the neck that is movable inwardly to open the valve;
g. said detonator housing and said cartridge having means detachably coupling the cartridge neck to the other end of said passage means to establish communication between said passage means and the interior of said cartridge via said valve;
h. a detonator rod slidably mounted on said detonator cartridge and movable from a retracted position to an advanced position in which said valve actuator is engaged to open said valve; and
i. a detonator lever manipulable for operating said detonator rod.
2. The combination as set forth in claim 1 in which said valve has a part exposed at the neck which is subject to application of fluid pressure at the neck for movement of the valve to open position in response to a preponderant fluid pressure whereby said cartridge may be refilled.
3. The combination as set forth in claim 2 together with an adapter having passage means; said adapter having coupling means matching those of said detonator housing for detachable connection of said cartridge to establish communication between said passage means and said adapter passage means; said adapter also having second coupling means for detachable connection of the other end of said adapter passage means to a conventional scuba diving air bottle for refilling of said cartridge thereby.
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