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Número de publicaciónUS3916814 A
Tipo de publicaciónConcesión
Fecha de publicación4 Nov 1975
Fecha de presentación4 Sep 1974
Fecha de prioridad29 Jun 1972
Número de publicaciónUS 3916814 A, US 3916814A, US-A-3916814, US3916814 A, US3916814A
InventoresBardoni Thomas J, Markarian William, Richardson Kenneth O
Cesionario originalBardoni Thomas J, Markarian William, Richardson Kenneth O
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Underwater propulsion devices
US 3916814 A
Resumen
A propulsion device for propelling an object on or through a liquid medium includes an impact-resistant housing having a single chamber defined therein, a power supply unit disposed in the housing and a motor-driven impeller connected to the power supply unit and disposed within the housing. The device further includes a hand-operable switch assembly and adjustable clamping device for securing the device onto a breathing apparatus of a human user, where so desired.
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i United States Patent [191 Bardoni et a1.

UNDERWATER PROPULSION DEVICES Inventors: Thomas J. Bardoni, 1605 Tenth,

Wyandotte, Mich. 48192; William Markarian, 5970 Weddel, Taylor, Mich. 48180; Kenneth 0. Richardson, 15223 Thomas, Allen Park, Mich. 48101 Filed: Sept. 4, 1974 Appl. No.: 503,053

Related US. Application Data Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 267,679, June 29, 1972, abandoned.

US. Cl. ll5/6.l Int. Cl. A638 35/ 11 Field of Search .4 115/61, 42, 18 E;

114/145 A, 16 G; 61/69 R References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2/1951 Varney 1l5/6.1

[ Nov. 4, 1975 2,722,021 11/1955 Keogh-Dwyer 115/39 X 3,014,448 12/1961 Fogerty et al 115/6.1 X 3,034,467 5/1962 Pestrank ll5/6.l 3,745,961 7/1973 Laughmann 115/61 Primary Examiner-Trygve M. Blix Assistant Examiner-Gregory W. OConnor Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Basile and Weintraub [57] ABSTRACT A propulsion device for propelling an object on or through a liquid medium includes an impact-resistant housing having a single chamber defined therein, a power supply unit disposed in the housing and a motor-driven impeller connected to the power supply unit and disposed within the housing. The device further includes a hand-operable switch assembly and adjustable clamping device for securing the device onto a breathing apparatus of a human user, where so desired.

14 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures Sheet 1 0f 3 U8. Patent Nov. 4, 19 75 US. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet 3 of3 3,916,814

Fig-l0 UNDERWATER PROPULSION DEVICES filed June 29, 1972 entitled UNDERWATER PRO- PULSION DEVICES now abandoned, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention pertains to propulsion devices for propelling an object on or through a liquid medium. More particularly, the present invention relates to propulsion devices for use by individuals on or through water.

2. Prior Art The ever increasing popularity of underwater research and activities both on and in such media, such as swimming, scuba diving or the like, has given rise to the development of a multitude of appliances, accessories and the like particularly adapted for such activities. One of the more keenly explored aspects of such activities is individual propulsion units for facilitating travel on or through this medium.

As a result thereof there has been developed combined breathing unit and propulsion devices, such as disclosed in US. Pat. Nos. 3,048,140; 3,430,602; 3,128,739 and the like. Other heretofore known propulsion units of this type either provide associated buoyancy means, US. Pat. No. 2,722,021; include an oxygen source therewith, US. Pat. No. 3,014,448; or are integrally formed with the oxygen tank, US. Pat. No. 3,034,467.

Such prior art devices suffer from inherent defects. Combined breathing units are either too inefficient or simply do not work; integrally formed units are hazardous to the user because of the location of the prop and power unit near the legs of the user. Other units are too cumbersome and heavy to be effectively employed. Moreover, such prior art units require internal sealing means to prevent saline attack upon the power supply source for such devices. This inhibits the ability to invert the device, lest there be acid leak within the sealed chamber storing the power supply. Also, important is that these units are fixed and back mounted in'ftheir position on the user, thus, not providing for individual idiosyncrasies of the user who prefer to position such appliances to their own individual choice.

The present invention, on the other hand, eliminates all the problems encountered with the prior art by providing a safe, lightweight, propulsion unit which can be adjustably mountable on breathing apparatus, is hand regulatable, and which does not require internal sealing of the power supply unit to prevent saline attack. Moreover, the present device can be disengaged from its mounting and utilized as a hand-held unit. Further, the present device can be inverted or otherwise turned without impairing the power supply.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention there is provided a propulsion device for propelling an object on or through a liquid medium. The device is adapted to be 2 adjustably detachably mounted on a breathing unit worn on the back of an underwater swimmer.

The present device generally comprises an impactresistant housing defining a single chamber having a power supply and a motor-driven prop or impeller disposed therein. The device further includes detachable clamping means for adjustably securing the device to a tank unit or the like. The device also includes a handoperable regulator or switch assembly for controlling the speed of the impeller. Incorporated within the regulator is an overriding quick disconnect means for electrically disenabling the device in case of malfunction or other hazardous encounters necessitating such action. The present invention can be utilized independent of its mounting by means for hand-holding the device incorporated therewith.

For a complete understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following detailed description and accompanying drawing. In the drawing, like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the propulsion device of the present invention shown as mounted on a breathing unit;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the underwater propulsion device of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the clamping means of the underwaterpropulsio'n device of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a pictorial representation of the hand regulator and quick disconnect mechanism of the. underwater propulsion device of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a circuit diagram of the hand regulator and quick disconnect mechanism of the underwater propulsion device of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 shows another alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of a further alternate embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a partial perspective view of the clamping means of the embodiment of FIG. 8, and

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the device of the embodiment of FIG. 8 in a clamped position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS With reference to the drawing, the present invention, generally indicated at 10, includes an impact-resistant housing 12, having a power supply 14 connected to a motor 16 which drives an impeller or a prop 18. The present invention further includes adjustable clamping means, generally denoted at 20, and a hand regulator, generally indicated at 22, for regulatory control of the propulsion device 10.

With more particularity and with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 the present invention 10 comprises an impactresistant housing 12. The housing 12 includes a base number 24 having both top and bottom surfaces 26 and 28, respectively. The base member 24 is manufactured by molding or the like from any suitable lightweight impact-resistant material such as a phenolic resin, polyurethane, polyvinyl, polyurea, polypropylene and the like. Although other materials of construction can be employed, synthetic plastic resins are preferred since they do not impart any great weight to the device. 7

The top surface 26 of the base member 24 is preferably molded to include two side shoulders or wings '29 and 30 and a centrally located arcuate or semi-C'ylindri cal portion 31. The portion 31 is configured to afford easy mountability of the device to a breathing unit. The bottom surface of the base member 24 carries adjustable clamping means 20. The housing 12 further includes a cover member 32, manufactured analogously to the base member 24 by bolts, threaded connections or the like (not shown).

It is thus seen that the cover member and the base member cooperate to define a single chamber or plenum 34 in which is disposed the power supply and prop-connected motor. The use of a single chamber provides a distinct improvement over the art, which, by virtue of heretofore known power supplies, requires a separate sealed chamber therefor. However, the present power supply system, as contemplated, and as described subsequently, eliminatesthis need and itsdisadvantages.

Moreover, the use of the present power supply provides a plurality of advantages. Foremost, among the advantages is that there is no concern for acid leak. Secondly, with the present power supply, the device can be utilized in any convenient position, i.e., inserted, rotated, inclined or the like. l-Ieretofore known devices could not be solutilized. I

The power supply 14 contemplated for use herein comprises a completely sealed, rechargable, nonhydrogen emitting battery. A battery of the type herein contemplated generally comprises a sealed lead-lead dioxide battery having a gelled electrolyte therewithin. These batteries are commercially available products. Representative thereof is the Gelyte battery sold by Gould, Inc. Another representative type of power cell is that sold by the Globe Battery division of Globe Union, Inc. under the name Gel/Cell. It is to be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited specifically to this power supply, but rather, contemplates any completely sealed, non-hydrogen emitting, gelled electrolyte, rechargeable battery which permits the use of a single-chambered housing.

Referring, to FIGS. 1 and 2, the power supply 14 is mounted on the base member 24 and is connected to a motor 16 fixed on the base member 24, also.

The motor 16 is a conventional variable speed electrical power driven motor. These motors, as is well known, have built thereinto means which permit the output thereof to be varied between high and low speeds by the switching thereof therebetween via suitable switching means. These variable speed motors are well known and commercially available. Representative thereof is the Shakespeare Model 6 l2motor. The only criterion attached to the variable speed motor is that it generate sufficient power to propel the user through the water. Generally, a motor capable of having an output of one-quarter horsepower will be sufficient to rotate the prop at sufficient rpms to achieve this purpose.

Mounted on the motor 16 through a sealed shaft is the impeller or prop 18. In order to prevent saline attack the motor is sealed through the shaft. The hereinbefore noted commercially available motor is so sealed. It is preferred, also, in order to prevent, saline attack that all connecting wires, bracket wires and the like deploy plug-in clips.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the present underwater propulsion device also includes a slidably adjustable clamping means 20. The clamping means is adapted to envelop abreathing unit 36 worn on the back of a user. Further the clamping means 20 renders the device slidably adjustable on the unit 36 such that the user can deploy the device either high or low on the back depending on the users' desires.

The clamping'means 20 generally comprises a first band section 38 having one end thereof rigidly connected to the bottom surface 28 of the base 24 proximate the shoulder 29. The other or free end of the first band section 38 has a flange 40 integrally formed therewith. The flange 40 is provided with an aperture 42 which receives a locking means 44 such as a bolt, wingnut or the like. The clamping means also includes a second band section 46 having one end thereof provided ,with a flange 48. The flange 48 has an aperture 50 which registers withthe aperture 42 for receiving the locking means 44 to secure the two sections 38 and 46 together. The other end of the section 46 has an acute angled flange 52 provided thereon and integrally formed therewith. A locking wedge is utilized to slidingly clamp the second band section 46 to the base member 24 as detailed hereinafter. At least one aperture 56 extends through the flange.52 and the wedge 54.

A C-clamp 58 is fixedly attached to thebottom surface 28 on the arcuate portion 31 thereof, as shown, such that the legs of the C-clamp define an accessible channel 60. Disposed within the channel 60 is an internally threaded aperture locking block 62. The block 62 can be integrally formed with or otherwise premanently slidably disposed in the channel 60. The block 62 is of sufiicient width such that there is still sufficient clearance for the locking wedge 52 to be slidable within the channel 60. v

The second section 46 is clamped to the base member 24'by sliding the wedge 54 in the channel unit the aperture 56 thereof is in registry with the aperture of the block 62. A locking means, such as a belt or wingnut 64 can then threadably connect the wedge 54 in the channel until the aperture 56 thereof is in registry with the aperture of the block 62. A locking means, such as abolt or wing-nut 64 can then threadably connect the wedge and the block thereby clamping the second section to the base member.

.It is apparent from the preceding that in accordance with the present invention, the device can be positioned anywhere along the breathing unit by so positioning the band sections and by sliding the block 62. Moreover, the device, per se, can bedisengaged from the unit without any disruption by merely unclamping the block from the wedge.

With reference now to FIGS. 4 and 5, as hereinbefore noted, the present invention also provides for a handoperated regulator for controlling the speed of the prop. The regulator 22 "comprises an on-off switch 66 disposed in the palm of the hand of the user, as shown, via a strap 68 orthe like. The switch 66 is connected to a wrist-mounted speed selector 70, through connecting wires 72, 74. The connecting wire 72 is the ground wire and the wire 74 is connected to the negative terminal of the power supply.

The speed selector includes a rotatable switching blade 76 for regulating the speed of the impeller 18 between aflow speedand high speed through connecting wires 78 and"80,"respectively, connected to the means incorporated into the motor which permits the variance of the speed. Switching between the speeds is effected via a terminal strip 82 interposed between the speed selector and the user in a manner well known. The circuit is completed by the connection 84 between the positive terminal of the power supply 14 and the motor 16.

An overriding safety quick disconnect plug 86 which can comprise any type of male-female connector is interposed between the speed regulator and the motor. Preferably the disconnect plug 86 is disposed proximate the speed regulator or switching means for easy access in case of malfunction, hazardous encounters or the like.

It is to be understood that all connecting wires are encased in either the housing, where applicable, or in non-saline reactive casings or insulation material, such as rubber, tetrafluorethylene and the like. Further, it is to be understood that the circuitry described herein is illustrative rather than limitative of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, the present invention further contemplates external means for recharging the power supply 14 such as plug-in jack 88 or other suitable means. Further, it is contemplated that accessory jacks 90 be included which can divert power from the power supply to accessories such as lighting means and the like (not shown).

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7 there is depicted therein alternate preferred embodiments of the present invention. The embodiments depict different dispositions of the power supply and motor. In FIG. 6 the power supply 114 comprises a plurality of batteries 116 connected in parallel. In this configuration, the motor 118 is disposed between each bank of batteries, as shown.

In FIG. 7, the power supply 214 comprises a rectangular unit having a slot 216 formed therein. In this embodiment the motor 218 is disposed in the slot and mounted to the base, as shown. This configuration provides a more compact unit than previously set forth. However, as with all other embodiments, the operation of the device and the concepts of a single chamber and clamping means remains the same.

Referring now to FIGS. 8-10 there is shown therein still another preferred embodiment of the instant invention. In accordance herewith the base member 324 has top and bottom surfaces 326 and 328, respectively. The wings or shoulders 329 and 330 each have an aperture or hand-holding means 331 and 332 provided therein.

The bottom surface 328 has a centrally located locking channel or recess 334 formed therein. The channel or recess has a first vertical side wall 335 having a plurality of apertures or throughholes 336 provided therealong. The other or second sidewall 338is acute-angled or chamfered, as shown, to matingly and wedgingly engage the clamping means 320 in dovetail-fashion as described hereinafter.

The clamping means 320 comprises a band section 340 having inter-connectable apertured flanges 342, 344 integrally formed therewith. Locking means, such as, a nut and bolt or the like, can be used to threadably connect the band around a breathing unit, as shown.

Integrally formed with or otherwise secured to the band section 340 is a slidable locking portion 346. The

locking portion includes a first vertical upstanding wall 348 having a plurality of apertures 350 disposed therealong.

The second vertical wall 352 is chamfered or obliquely angled to be complementary with the wall '6 338 of the channel 334. The bottom surface 354 of the locking portion 346 is arcuate in configuration to engage a breathing unit, where desired.

The slidable locking portion 356 is adapted to be slidable within the channel 334 or vice versa, with their respective sidewalls matingly engaging. The angled, respective, sidewalls provide a wedging action for a more secure engagement with the locking portion in the channel.

A locking means such as a ring pin 356 which can be permanently retained on the housing or band, locks the locking portion in the channel. This is achieved by sliding the locking portion or the base member to any desired position and inserting the ring pin through any pair of registering apertures 336, 350.

It is apparent that with this embodiment of the invention that the propulsion device can be quickly and easily disengaged from the breathing unit by merely disengaging the ring pin 356 from the locking portion and channel sidewall. This is extremely advantageous where the user finds that it is necessary to loose himself from the device.

Moreover, the hand-holding means enables the device to be employed independent of the breathing unit. This is extremely advantageous in those instances where the user must disengage himself from the breathing unit for any reason, or where it is desired to propel on the surface of the liquid medium and the like.

It is to be further noted with regard to all embodiments that although the clamping means has been described with respect to a single breathing unit it is equally within the scope of the present invention that twin units can be employed by slight modification of the clamping means. Furthermore, a guard can be included with the housing to prevent inadvertent contact with the impeller thereby obviating user injury.

Having thus described the invention what is claimed l. A propulsion device submerged in a liquid medium for propelling an object on or through the liquid medium and adapted for use with a breathing unit comprising in combination:

a. a sealed, non-hydrogen emitting, rechargeable,

power supply having a gelled electrolyte therewithin, the power supply exposed to the liquid medium, whereby the need for disposing the power supply in a separate water-proof chamber is eliminated and the weight of the device is reduced,

b. a variable speed motor operatively connected to the power supply, the motor being exposed to the liquid medium,

0. an impeller connected to the motor,

d. means for slidably adjustably clamping the device onto the unit, and

e. means for regulating the speed of the motor.

2. The device of claim 1 which further includes an impactresistant housing defining a single chamber.

3. The device of claim 2 wherein the housing comprises a base member and a cover member, the base member and the cover member defining the single chamber and having the power supply, motor and impeller disposed therein.

4. The device of claim 2 wherein the means for clamping comprises in combination:

a. a first band section having one end thereof affixed to the housing;

b. a second band section having one end thereof connectable to the first band section at its other end;

7 c. a locking wedge carried on the other end 'ofthe second band section, and d. a locking block disposed on the housing, the locking block being'connectable to the locking wedge. 5. The device of claim 4 which further includes a C- clamp mounted on the housing, the locking block being disposed in the C-clamp. I

6. The device of claim 2 wherein the clamping means comprises:

a. a channel formed in the housing, b. a band section mountable on the unit, c. a locking portion carried on the band section and being slidable within the channel, and d. means for interlocking the locking portion in the channel. 7. The device of claim 1 wherein the means for regulating the speed of the motor comprises:

a. an on-otf switch disposed in the hand of the user, and in electrical communication with the power pp y; b. a speed selector in electrical communication with v the switch and the motor, and

c. a safety quick disconnect plug interposed between the motor and the speed selector. 8. The device of claim I which further includes a safety quick disconnect plug.

'9." The device of claim 1 which further includes means for recharging-the power supply.

10. -A device submerged-in a liquid medium for propelling an object on or through the liquid medium comprising in combination:

a. a sealed,- non-hydrogen emitting, rechargeable electrical power supply having a gelled electrolyte therewithin, whereby the need for disposing the power supply in a separate water-proof chamber is eliminated and the weight of the device is reduced,

b. a motor operatively connected to the power supc. an impeller operatively connected to the motor, and wherein the power supply, motor and impeller are exposed to the liquid medium.

1 l. The device of claim 10 wherein the power supply, the motor and the impeller are encasedin a housing, the housing defining a single chamber.

12. The device of claim 10 which further includes means for hand regulating the speed of the motor.

13. The device of claim 10 which further includes means for slidably clamping the device to a breathing unit.

14. The device of claim 10 which further includes means for hand-holding the device.

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Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.114/315, D21/810, 440/6
Clasificación internacionalA63B35/00, A63B35/12
Clasificación cooperativaA63B35/12
Clasificación europeaA63B35/12