CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This application is a Continuation-in-Part application of U.S. Ser. No. 11/257,011, entitled “Water Spray Gun”, filed Oct. 25, 2005.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a water gun with a water-driven generator module for providing electric power.
2. Description of the Related Art
A toy water gun (i.e. pump-action water gun) with a reservoir or container is very popular. To increase the amusement effect, an audio and/or a light generator is mounted on the toy water gun. When a child presses an actuator or button, the sound or light will be generated and water will be ejected simultaneously. Such a design can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 6,412,594 “Water gun with sound effects module”, U.S. Pat. No. 6,280,277 “Combination water gun and self-propelled water toy”, U.S. Pat. No. 6,959,838 “Toy water gun with distributor wheel”, U.S. Pat. No. 4,239,129 “Water pistol and/or flashlight structure”, U.S. Pat. No. 5,893,562 “Shooter and target water gun game”, U.S. Publication number U.S. 2002/0132557 “toy water gun” and US Publication number U.S. 2007/0012721 “Squirt guns”.
However, the audio and or light generators mentioned in the above prior arts are all driven by batteries. Therefore, it is necessary to change the batteries from time to time. Further, because the batteries must be sealed in a waterproof case, it is very inconvenient to replace the batteries. In addition, since the environment in which toy water guns are used is very damp, the act of replacing the batteries presents danger for the user.
Another type of a water gun, called a water spray gun, is used for gardening or in car washes. A hose is connected with a faucet, and the water spray gun does not need a reservoir or container. Although the water spray gun has been available for more than 50 years, none of the current water spray guns comprise an audio and/or a light generator. To stimulate children to help with household chores, it should be a good idea to have an audio generator mounted on the water spray gun.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Therefore, it is desirable to provide a water spray gun to mitigate and/or obviate the aforementioned problem.
A main objective of the present invention is to provide a water-driven generator module for a water toy gun. The water-driven generator module can provide electric power for an audio generator so that batteries are not required.
Another objective of the present invention is to provide a water-driven generator module and an audio generator for a water spray gun without a water reservoir. Since the water spray gun has a continuous supply of water through a hose connected with a faucet, the water-driven generator module can produce power for the one audio generator. The water-driven generator module applied in the water spray gun is superior to that applied in the water toy gun, for the water spray gun is supplied with water from the faucet through the hose. The flow of water is almost endless and should have higher pressure than the flow of water provided by a pump-action gun (i.e., the toy water gun).
A further objective of the present invention is to generate different output scales of an audio effect by using the water-driven generator module. When the water flow rate is high (e.g., when the button is depressed hard, or depressed to the limit), the water-driven generator module can generate more electric power, thus increasing the volume of the audio effect. On the other hand, when the water flow rate is low, the audio effect will be lower. Furthermore, in prior arts, a switch (to control whether to provide electricity for the audio generator) actuated by a pressing button is required. However, such switch is no longer needed in the present invention. When the button is pressed, water will pass through a water wheel of the water-driven generator module, and the water-driven generator module will then generate electricity; the water-driven generator module itself can thus act as a switch.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, the water gun of the present invention comprises a water gun body, wherein the water gun body comprises a water channel, a nozzle, and a button for controlling water passing through the nozzle. The characteristic portion of the present invention is that the water gun further comprises an electronic device with at least one audio generator, and a water-driven generator module connected with the water channel for providing electric power for the electronic device.
According this embodiment, the water-driven generator module comprises a sealed case and a water wheel sealed within the sealed case. When water passes through the water wheel, the water wheel will rotate and thus drive the generator to generate electricity.
The water-driven generator module can be applied in either a water toy gun (i.e. pump-action water gun with a reservoir) or a water spray gun (i.e. one without a reservoir, one in which water is supplied by a faucet through a connected hose, usually used for gardening or in car washes).
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Other objects, advantages, and novel features of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 illustrates a water gun in a first embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional drawing of a first embodiment of a water gun of the present invention.
FIG. 3 illustrates a water gun in a second embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 illustrates a water gun of a third embodiment, with an exploded perspective view of a water-driven generator module of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view regarding a water-driven generator module of a third embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional drawing of a third embodiment of a water gun of the present invention.
FIG. 7 is a functional block drawing of an electronic device of a third embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 illustrates a water gun in a fourth embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional drawing of a fourth embodiment of a water gun of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
FIG. 10 illustrates a water gun in a fifth embodiment of the present invention.
Please refer to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2. A water gun 10 of the present invention comprises a water gun body 20 and an electronic device 30. The water gun body 20 may be a standard water gun body, capable of connecting to a hose 90 to spray water, but the water gun body 20 preferably has the shape of a toy gun. The water gun body 20 comprises a water inlet 21, a nozzle 22, a water channel 23, a button 25, a handle 27, and an inlet valve 26. The hose 90 may be connected to the water inlet 21, and the button 25 is used to control the inlet valve 26 to control the flow of water through the water channel 23 and the nozzle 22. Since the water gun body 20 is a very well-known technology, it requires no further description.
A characteristic of the present invention is that the water gun 10 further comprises an electronic device 30 and a power source 40 (such as a battery 40 a, or a generator powered by flowing water which will be introduced in other embodiments), and the electronic device 30 is mounted in the water gun body 20. The electronic device 30 is used to provide audio effects and lighting effects for the amusement of users, particularly children. The electronic device 30 comprises an audio chip 33, one or more function keys 36, one or more illumination generators 37, a vibrator 39 (e.g. a bias motor, such as the type used in a cell phone, a toy gun, etc), and at least one audio generator 38 (e.g. a speaker). The audio chip 33 is not necessary, but may provide more interesting audio effects. The audio chip 33 may store more than one type of audio effect, and a user can select different audio effects with the function key or keys 36 (it will be understood that even a single button may be used to switch among different audio effects). Because the water gun 10 is typically used during daylight hours and outdoors, the audio generator 38 is more important than the illumination generator 37. As many toy guns on the market have electronic devices that provide audio and lighting effects, no further detailed description of the electronic devices is required.
The audio generator 38 provides audio effects when the user presses the button 25; the electronic device 30 further comprises a trigger switch 34 that is located near the button 25. When the button 25 is pressed, the trigger switch 34 is also activated to cause the audio generator 38 to provide audio effects, or to cause the illumination generator 37 to flash. The electronic device 30 preferably has a primary switch 35 so that a user (such as a parent instead of a child) can switch off the power source 40 to disable the audio generator 38 or the illumination generator 37.
Please refer to FIG. 3. FIG. 3 shows a water gun in a second embodiment according to the present invention. In this embodiment, the water gun body 20 a of the water gun 10 a has not only the back handle 27, but also a front handle 28 so that a user may hold the water gun 10 a with two hands. The nozzle 22 of the water gun body 20 a is an adjustable nozzle 22 a so that the water gun 10 a can spray water in different ways. The adjustable nozzle 22 a is a well-known technology, examples of which may be found, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,501,400.
Because the water gun works with water, the electronic device 30 should have water-proofing to shield the electronic device 30 from water; such water-proofing is also a well-known technology, and thus requires no further description.
Please refer to FIG. 4˜FIG. 7 regarding the third embodiment. The water gun 10 b is also a water spray gun which is capable of connection to a hose 90 for spraying water. The major difference is the power source 40 b of the water gun 10 b is a water-driven generator module 40 b.
The water-driven generator module 40 b comprises a water wheel 41, a sealed case 42, a generator 43, and an axle 44. The water wheel 41 is sealed in the sealed case 42. The sealed case 42 has an inlet 421 and an outlet 422 which is respectively connected with the water channel 23 and the nozzle 22/adjustable nozzle 22 a. The water passes through the water channel 23 and enters the sealed case 42 from the inlet 421. Then the water drives the water wheel 41 to rotate and leaves the sealed case 42 from the outlet 422. Finally, the water is ejected from the nozzle 22. The axle 44 is mounted with the water wheel 41 and the generator 43 such that the generator 43 can generate electricity through receiving the rotation power from the water wheel 41. Since the water-driven generator module 40 b is a very well known technology, it requires no further description.
Please refer to FIG. 7 regarding more details of the electronic device 30 b. The electronic device 30 b comprises three major modules, a rectifier filter module 51, a voltage regulator 52, and an amplifier module 53. The rectifier filter module 51 converts the alternating current generated by the water-driven generator module 40 b to a direct current. The constant voltage regulator 52 uses a voltage regulator chip 521 and several capacitors 522 to provide a relatively smooth voltage. The electricity generated by the water-driven generator module 40 b can be provided to the illumination generators 37 (e.g. LED), the audio generator 38, and the vibrator 39. The amplifier module 53 is usually required for the audio generator/speaker 38. Furthermore, to provide greater amusement, the function keys 36 b are used to switch among the sound effects which are built into the audio chip 33.
Please refer to FIG. 8˜FIG. 9 regarding the fourth embodiment. The major difference between the third and the fourth embodiments is that the water gun 10 c is a toy water gun with a water barrel 24 connected with the water channel 23 c for storing water. The water gun body 20 c also comprises a nozzle 22/adjustable nozzle 22 a, a button 25 c, and a handle 27. The button 25 c is used to pump the water in the water barrel 24 such that it flows through the water channel 23 c and the nozzle 22. Most toy water guns are pump-action water guns. When a user presses the button 25 c, the user provides power to pump the water in the water barrel 24 so that the water can be ejected from the nozzle 22. Because the pumping mechanism (not shown) is a very well-known technology, it requires no further description.
The same as the third embodiment, the water gun 10 c has a water-driven generator module 40 b and an electronic device 30 b. Please refer the third embodiment for the water-driven generator module 40 b and the electronic device 30.
Please refer to FIG. 10 regarding the fifth embodiment. The major difference between the fourth and the fifth embodiments is that the water gun 10 d has not only the back handle 27 but also a front handle 28 so that a user may hold the water gun 10 d with two hands.
- PARTS LIST
Although the present invention has been explained in relation to its preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that many other possible modifications and variations can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as hereinafter claimed.
- water gun 10, 10 a, 10 b, 10 c, 10 d
- water gun body 20, 20 a, 20 c
- water inlet 21
- nozzle 22
- adjustable nozzle 22 a
- water channel 23
- water barrel 24
- button 25, 25 c
- inlet valve 26 (front)
- handle 27
- front handle 28
- electronic device 30, 30 b
- control circuit 32
- audio chip 33
- trigger switch 34
- primary switch 35
- function keys 36, 36 b
- illumination generator 37
- audio generator 38
- vibrator 39
- power source 40
- battery 40 a
- water-driven generator module 40 b
- water wheel 41
- sealed case 42
- inlet 421
- outlet 422
- generator 43
- axle 44
- hose 90