US 3698419 A
A device for use in the servicing of a sealed fluid system, such as a refrigeration or air conditioning system, comprising a plier-like tool, preferably of the Vice-grip type, one jaw having a cradle for receiving a part of the peripheral wall of a tube in the system, and the other jaw having a piercing needle for piercing a hole in the wall portion of the tube opposite to that being cradled. A resilient bushing seal surrounds the piercing needle and is compressed between the jaw carrying the needle and the tube wall surrounding the pierced hole to prevent leakage of fluid during the piercing operation. A lever is provided for pivotal connection to the pliers tool for squeezing the tubing closed at either side of the pierced hole so that the tool may be removed without loss of fluid from the system.
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United States Patent Tura  DEVICES FOR PIERCING TUBES IN CLOSED PRESSURE SYSTEMS  Inventor: Natale G. Tura, 343 Griswold Street, N.E., Warren, Ohio 44483  .U.S. Cl ..137/3l8  Int. Cl. ..F16e 41/04, B23b 41/08  Field of Search...137/3l7, 318; 72/410; 81/421,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Hamel ..137/318 Mullins ..137/318 51 Oct. 17, 1972 Primary Examiner-M. Cary Nelson Assistant Examiner-David R. Matthews Attorney-Michael Williams 57 ABSTRACT A device for use in'the servicing of a sealed fluid system, such as a refrigeration or air conditioning system, comprising a plier-like tool, preferably of the Vice-grip type, one jaw having a cradle for receiving a part of the peripheral wall of a tube in the system, and the other jaw having a piercing needle for piercing a hole in the wall portion of the tube opposite to that being cradled. A resilient bushing seal surrounds the piercing needle and is compressed between the jaw carrying the needle and the tube wall surrounding the pierced hole to prevent leakage of fluid during the piercing operation. A lever is provided for pivotal connection to the pliers tool for squeezing the tubing closed at either side of the pierced hole so that the tool may be removed without loss of fluid from the system.
14 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PATENTEDum 17 m2 SHEET 1 [1F 4 INVENTOR.
NATALE G-ITURA BY A Tram/47 PATENTEDnm 17 I972 SHEET 2 BF 4 1mg QM :m 9 mm mm mm 2 mm 9 INVENTOR. NAT/\LE 6. Tu RA BY A 7 TOP/V57 PATENTED \7 I973 3,698,419
' sum 3 OF 4 INVENTOR. NATALE GLTURA BY ZMM/Mw A TTOR/Vtf SHEU U UF 4 PATENTEDum 11 1912 INVENTOR. NATALE G I UFZA BY Zr%l/ BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY Piercing valves for servicing refrigeration systems are known, but their use, as far as I am aware, have not been wide spread because they are complicated, difficult to use in theclose quarters usually found in modern, compact refrigeration and air conditioning systems, and expensive not only in their unit cost but alsobecause of their inability to be reused.
My invention provides a simple tool, preferable in the form of a Vice-Grip pliers, that may be reached into hitherto inaccessible places, and which will instantly clamp onto the tube of a refrigeration system to enable a check of the pressure of the system to be made, or to enable the exhaustion of gas and/or moisture from the system to be made, and to enable subsequent recharging of the system. The tool may then be removed for subsequent reuse. My invention includes novel means for pinching off and closing the tubing on either side of the hole pierced therein, so that no gas is lost from the system when the tool is removed from the refrigeration tube.
Accordingly, it is a principal object of my invention to provide a new and improved tool for servicing refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings accompanying this description and forming a part of this specification, there are shown, for purpose of illustration, several embodiments which my invention may assume, and in these drawings:
FIG. 1 is a small scale perspective view of a refrigerant compressor used in commercial and residential refrigeration and air conditioning systems,
FIG. 2 is a side view of my improved tool showing it in position just prior to piercing a hole in a refrigerant tube, parts being shown in section,
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2, with the tool in hole piercing position, and with a charginghose shown in phantom lines,
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the tool shown in FIG. 3,
FIG. 5 is an end view of the tool shown in FIG. 3,
FIG. 6 is an enlarged sectional view corresponding generally to the line 6-6 of FIG. 2, but with the charging hose shown in removed relation,
FIG. 7 is a side view of a tube pinching lever before its assembly with the tool,
FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the tool, with the tube pinch-off lever, in operating position,
FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 5 but showing the tube pinch-off lever in tube pinching position,
FIG. 10 is a side view of a tool showing another embodiment, and
FIG. 11 is a bottom plan view of the tool shown in FIG. 9.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The embodiment of my invention shown in FIGS. 1 through 9 comprises a pair of levers 15 and 16 which are pivotally related. Preferably, the tool is of the Vice- 2 Grip type, although any similar clamping device may be used, with the lever 16 consisting of two members 17 and 18, pivoted together at 19, and with the member 18 pivoted to the lever 15 at 20.
The lever 15 provides a handle portion 21 and a jaw portion 22, on opposite sides of thepivot 20. Thelever member 17 provides a handle'portion and the. lever 1 member 18 provides a jaw portion 23. A spring 24 is 3 connected between the handle portion 21 and the lever v member 18 to urge the jaws 22, shown in FIG. 2.
In the usual Vice-Grip type tool, a dog 25 is pivoted to the handle portion 17, as at 26, and has an end 27 engageable with the end of an adjusting screw 28 which is threadedly connected to the handle portion 21 to limit the amount the jaws 22, 23 may be closed on each' other and to hold the jaws in such closed position. A release lever 30 is pivoted to the handle 17, as at 31, and has an end 32 engageable with a bump 33 on the dog 25 to release the jaws so that the spring 24 will separate them. The lower jaw 23 is elongated widthwise to provide a central portion 35 (see FIGS. 4 and 5) in line with the movement of the upper jaw 22, and two side portions 36-36 which are off-set with respect to movement of the jaw 22. The central portion 35 is formed with aVV- shaped groove 37 to provide a cradle for receiving a peripheral portion of the tube Slots 38, 38, are
23 to the open position formed in respective side portions 36 and these slots are deeper than the groove 37, for a purpose to appear.
As best seen in FIG. 6, an injection needle 40 is carried by the upper jaw 22 with its point 41 directed toward the jaw 23. The needle 40 is threaded into the jaw 22 and has a body portion 42 outwardly of the jaw 22 and of greater diameter to form a stop shoulder 43. The body portion 42 has a central opening 44 in which a valve core 45 is threaded. The valve core is preferably of the type used in automobile tires and normally blocks flow of fluid through the opening 44. The usual valve operating plunger 46 extends upwardly from the valve core, and when pressed in a direction inwardly of the opening 44 will cause the valve to permit fluid flow through the opening 44. 1
Surrounding the injection needle 40 is a sleeve seal 50 of resilient material, such as Neoprene, having a I to the part fitting within the cradle formed by the V- shaped groove 37 in the jaw 23.
A hose is adapted to be connected to the body portion 42 and has an interiorly threaded swivel sleeve 56 at its end to fit the exterior threads on the portion 42. When the sleeve 56 has been threaded home on the body portion 42, a fluid-tight connection results and further the valve plunger 46 is pressed inwardly of the opening 44 to unseat the valve core 45 and thus provide for fluid flow through the opening. To seal the connection, the sleeve 56 may have a gasket 57 engageable with the outer end of the body portion 42, and to unseat the valve core the sleeve may have an abutment 58 engaging and depressing the valve operating plunger 46.
The injection needle 40 is formed with a longitudinal opening 48 which extends from the needle point 41 to communication with the body portion opening 44. Preferably, the opening 48 is off-center so that it opens at a side of the point 41 and therefore is not obstructed when the point pierces the tube wall.
Referring to FIG. 1, the compressor C is of the type usually found in refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The compressor has the usual suction line 60 and discharge line 61. In most cases the compressor has a service or charging tube 62 for the convenience of a service man, and in some cases this tube is quite short and inaccessible. This is no problem in the use of my invention. The free end of the tube 62 is either squeezed flat to close it, or it is soldered closed, or both.
The operation of the tool thus far described is as follows: With the tool in its open position as seen in FIG. 2, a portion of the service tube 62 (tube T) is cradled in the jaw 23. At this time the hose 55 may or may not be connected to the body portion 42. The service man then applies gripping pressure on the handle portion 21 and the lever member 17 and this causes the jaws 22 and 23 to move toward each other to a degree wherein the rubber seal 50 engages the wall of the tube T and is compressed between this wall and the jaw 22 to seal around the injection point 41. The injection point then enters the wall of the tube T to form a hole therein, with the point sufficiently within the tube so that the needle opening 48 is in communication with the interior of the tube. No gas will leak around the injection needle because of the compressed rubber sleeve seal 50.
With the injection point within the tube, and with gas under some pressure in the refrigeration system, gas may flow from the interior of the tube T through the needle opening 48 and to the body portion opening 44. If the hose 55 is not connected to the body portion 42, no gas will escape because the valve core 45 is closed. If the hose 55 is connected, the valve core will be open and gas may flow through the hose.
The hose 55 may be connected to a vacuum source to evacuate gas and/or moisture from the system. Or, the hose may be connected to a source of gas under pressure to charge the system. A pressure gauge (not shown) may be carried by the hose, for communication with the latters interior, so that a service man will be able to check for pressure or to charge the system to the recommended pressure.
As best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, the lever member 18 has a stud 54 fixed thereto and extending crosswise thereof, with portions 52, 53 extending from opposite sides. FIG. 7 shows a lever 63, providing a handle 64 and a pinch-off blade 65, the latter being of a thickness to freely fit within either one of the slots 38 of the jaw 23, as seen in FIG. 9. An opening 66 is formed through the lever and is adapted to receive either one of the stud portions 52 or 53. The lever is disposed on the side of the tool between the pierced hole and the compressor and after the system has been charged, the service man applies gripping pressure on the handle 64 and handle 21, so that the pinch-off blade 65 deforms the tube T into the selected slot 38 and flattens it to close it against fluid passage. The tool may now be instantly withdrawn from the tube, and if desired, the pierced hole may be soldered shut to further insure against gas leakage.
My improved tool may be adjusted for tubing of various diameters and to insure a proper setting of the tool, the handle portion 21 may have a series of indicator lines 67 thereon to match with an indicator line 68 on the dog 25. Each of the lines 67 may be marked with a tube size, as shown in FIG. 4, and to set the tool for a selected tube, the screw 28 may be adjusted so that the line 68 will align with the line of the series 67 which represents the selected tube size. This insures that the piercing point will enter the tube a proper amount.
DESCRIPTION OF FURTHER EMBODIMENT In some cases it is desirable to install a valve on the tube T, or on the suction tube 60, and in that case the embodiment shown in FIGS. 10 and 1 1 may be used. In this embodiment, the injection needle 40a, as before, has a body portion 42a which is exteriorly threaded to receive a coupling sleeve, such as the sleeve 56 hereinbefore described. Within the body portion 42a is a valve core having an operating stem 46a.
The injection needle is threaded through an interiorly threaded body 70 so that its piercing point 41a is disposed at the underside of the body. The body 70 has a pair of integral legs 71-71 extending therefrom, each leg being of U-formation, as seen in FIG. 10, and curved as seen in FIG. 11. The free ends of the legs are spaced to pass the tube T and the body may then be rotated to grip the legs around the tube to hold the body 70 against movement in a direction away from the tube. The piercing sleeve may then be threaded toward the tube so that its point 41a engages and pierces the tube wall. The close fit between the tapered surface of the piercing point 41a and tube wall surrounding the pierced hole is sufficient to prevent any appreciable leakage of gas. However, it is preferred that a fused connection 72, such as by soldering or brazing, be made around the injection needle and the exterior wall of the tube surrounding the pierced hole, to insure against leakage. The legs 71-71 may also be connected to the tube T by fused joints 73. Instead of the fore going, a hole may be pierced in the tube by use of the needle 40 of the tool shown in FIGS. 1 through 9, and all gas exhausted from the system. Then, when the needle 40a is screwed down into the tube, it may be soldered or fused thereto to insure a leak-proof seal. Thereafter, the embodiment of FIGS. 10 and 11 may be used for recharging, checking or exhausting the system.
1. A device for forming an opening in the wall of a tube, comprising a pair of levers in pivotal relation to form a pair of opposed handle portions and a pair of opposed jaws, a cradle formed in one of said jaws for receiving a part of the peripheral wall of said tube, an injection needle carried by the other jaw and having a pointed end for piercing a hole in the wall of the tube opposed to that within said cradle when said jaws are moved toward each other by application of force on said handle portions, said injection needle having a longitudinal opening establishing communication between the pointed end and a valve housing, a valve in said housing for normally blocking fluid flow through said injection needle, and a bushing seal also carried by said other jaw, said seal being formed of resilient material and surrounding said injection needle and movable therewith, an end of said seal engaging said tube wall before said pointed end pierces said tube wall, said seal being compressed between said other jaw and said tube wall when said pointed end pierces said tube wall to form an annular seal around said pointed end.
2. The construction of claim 1 wherein means is provided to lock said levers in position whereby said injection needle is retained in piercing relation with said tube.
3. The construction of claim 1 wherein said valve may be moved from fluid blocking position.
4. The construction of claim 1 wherein said housing is adapted to receive the end of a hose in fluid tight relation, said hose when connected to said housing automatically moving said valve from fluid blocking position whereby fluid flow is provided from the interior of said tube, through said injection needle, said housing and to said hose.
5. The construction of claim 1 wherein said valve is of the tire valve type and is normally urged to seating relation to block fluid flow, said valve having an operating stern accessible from the open end of said housing, pressure on said stem in a direction inwardly of said housing unseating said valve and permitting flow of fluid from the interior of said tube, through said injection needle and outwardly of said housing.
6. The construction of claim 1 and including a further lever pivoted to at least one of said first named levers and having a jaw cooperable with the jaw providing said cradle for squeezing the tube closed at one side of the pierced hole.
7. The construction of claim 1 wherein the longitudinal opening in said injection needle is off-center and said pointed end is on-center, whereby said opening is at the side of said pointed end and unaffected by the piercing operation.
8. A device for use with sealed fluid units, such as a refrigeration system, having a fluid conducting tube, comprising a body for piercing a hole in the wall of said tube, and means carried by said body for squeezing a tube portion adjacent to said hole to close said tube thereat.
9. The device of claim 8 including a plier-like body having a pair of pivotally related levers, the jaw of one lever having a cradle for receiving a part of the peripheral wall of said tube and the jaw of the other lever having a piercing point for piercing a hole in the wall of the tube opposed to that within said cradle when said jaws are moved together, and a further lever pivoted to at least one of the pair of levers and having a jaw cooperable with the jaw having said cradle to squeeze said tube closed.
10. The construction of claim 9 wherein said further lever may be disposed on either side of said pair of levers to squeeze said tube on either side of the pierced opening. Y
11. The construction of claim 10 wherein said cradle has seats on opposite sides thereof, a selected seat being cooperable with the jaw of said further lever when the latter is disposed on a selected side of said pair of levers.
12. A device for use with sealed fluid units, such as a refrigeration system, having a fluid circulation tube, comprising a body having a pair of Ushaped arms extending therefrom, the free ends of said arms being spaced to ass said tube and said body being rotatable arms to grip around said on said tu e to cause said tube, said body having an interiorly threaded opening to receive an exteriorly threaded injection needle adapted to be threaded toward the tube gripped by said arms so that its pointed end forms or enters a hole in the wall of said tube, said injection needle having a longitudinal opening extending from said pointed end to a valve chamber, and a valve in said chamber for normally blocking fluid flow through said injection needle.
13. The construction of claim 12 wherein said valve chamber is formed in an exteriorly threaded enlargement which is integral with said injection needle, an interiorly threaded sleeve at the end of a fluid hose adapted to be threaded on said enlargement, said sleeve including means engaging said valve when the sleeve is screwed home on said enlargement to automatically shift said valve to position permitting fluid flow through said injection needle.
14. The construction of claim 12 and including a fused sealing connection around said needle and the exterior wall of said tube surrounding the hole to seal the opening.
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