US20100175217A1 - Cyclonic surface cleaning apparatus with externally positioned dirt chamber - Google Patents

Cyclonic surface cleaning apparatus with externally positioned dirt chamber Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100175217A1
US20100175217A1 US12728687 US72868710A US20100175217A1 US 20100175217 A1 US20100175217 A1 US 20100175217A1 US 12728687 US12728687 US 12728687 US 72868710 A US72868710 A US 72868710A US 20100175217 A1 US20100175217 A1 US 20100175217A1
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
cyclone
cleaning
dirt
surface
chamber
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US12728687
Inventor
Wayne Ernest Conrad
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Omachron Intellectual Property Inc
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G B D Corp
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/10Filters; Dust separators; Dust removal; Automatic exchange of filters
    • A47L9/16Arrangement or disposition of cyclones or other devices with centrifugal action
    • A47L9/1608Cyclonic chamber constructions
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L5/00Structural features of suction cleaners
    • A47L5/12Structural features of suction cleaners with power-driven air-pumps or air-compressors, e.g. driven by motor vehicle engine vacuum
    • A47L5/22Structural features of suction cleaners with power-driven air-pumps or air-compressors, e.g. driven by motor vehicle engine vacuum with rotary fans
    • A47L5/225Convertible suction cleaners, i.e. convertible between different types thereof, e.g. from upright suction cleaners to sledge-type suction cleaners
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L5/00Structural features of suction cleaners
    • A47L5/12Structural features of suction cleaners with power-driven air-pumps or air-compressors, e.g. driven by motor vehicle engine vacuum
    • A47L5/22Structural features of suction cleaners with power-driven air-pumps or air-compressors, e.g. driven by motor vehicle engine vacuum with rotary fans
    • A47L5/24Hand-supported suction cleaners
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L5/00Structural features of suction cleaners
    • A47L5/12Structural features of suction cleaners with power-driven air-pumps or air-compressors, e.g. driven by motor vehicle engine vacuum
    • A47L5/22Structural features of suction cleaners with power-driven air-pumps or air-compressors, e.g. driven by motor vehicle engine vacuum with rotary fans
    • A47L5/28Suction cleaners with handles and nozzles fixed on the casings, e.g. wheeled suction cleaners with steering handle
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/10Filters; Dust separators; Dust removal; Automatic exchange of filters
    • A47L9/16Arrangement or disposition of cyclones or other devices with centrifugal action
    • A47L9/1616Multiple arrangement thereof
    • A47L9/1625Multiple arrangement thereof for series flow
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/10Filters; Dust separators; Dust removal; Automatic exchange of filters
    • A47L9/16Arrangement or disposition of cyclones or other devices with centrifugal action
    • A47L9/1683Dust collecting chambers; Dust collecting receptacles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/32Handles
    • A47L9/322Handles for hand-supported suction cleaners

Abstract

A surface cleaning apparatus comprises a floor cleaning unit and an upright section comprising a handle drivingly connected to the surface cleaning head. The surface cleaning apparatus also comprises a cyclone mounted on the upright section and positioned in the air flow passage. The cyclone is inverted and/or has an external dirt collection chamber.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation in part of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/675,540, filed Feb. 26, 2010, which is a national phase entry of International Application PCT/CA2008/001530, filed Aug. 28, 2008 and now published as WO 2009/026709, which claims priority to Canadian patent application 2,599,303, filed Aug. 29, 2007, and also claims the benefit of 35 USC 119 based on the priority of co-pending Canadian patent application 2,659,212, filed Mar. 20, 2009, each of those applications being incorporated herein in their entirety by reference.
  • FIELD
  • [0002]
    This application relates to surface cleaning apparatus, such as vacuum cleaners. In a preferred embodiment, the specification relates to a cyclone unit that comprises a cyclone and a dirt chamber that is external the cyclone and is removably mounted to the surface cleaning apparatus and, preferably, operable when removed from the surface cleaning apparatus. In another embodiment, the specification relates to a cyclone unit that comprises a cyclone and a dirt chamber that is external the cyclone wherein the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber are removable as a closed unit and concurrently openable.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0003]
    The use of a cyclone, or multiple cyclones connected in parallel or series, is known to be advantageous in the separation of particulate matter from a fluid stream. Currently, many vacuum cleaners, which are sold for residential applications, utilize at least one cyclone as part of the air filtration mechanism.
  • [0004]
    U.S. Pat. No. 4,373,228 (Dyson) and 4,826,515 (Dyson) each discloses a cyclonic vacuum cleaner having two cyclonic stages, namely a first stage for separating larger particulate matter from an air stream and a second stage for separating finer particulate matter from the same air stream. Each cyclonic stage comprises a single cyclone having an associated dirt collection region.
  • [0005]
    A difficulty experienced with cyclonic separators is the re-entrainment of the separated particulate matter back into the outgoing fluid flow. Deposited particles exposed to a high-speed cyclonic flow have a tendency to be re-entrained. One approach to resolve this issue is to use a plate positioned in a cyclone container to divide the cyclone container into an upper cyclone chamber, which is positioned above the plate, and a lower dirt collection chamber, which is positioned below the plate. See for example Conrad (U.S. Pat. No. 6,221,134). Accordingly, the portion of the cyclone casing below the plate functions as a dirt collection chamber wherein re-entrainment of separated particulate matter is impeded.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0006]
    The following introduction is provided to introduce the reader to the more detailed discussion to follow. The introduction is not intended to limit or define the claims.
  • [0007]
    In accordance with a broad aspect of this invention, a filtration apparatus for a surface cleaning apparatus comprises a cyclone and a dirt collection chamber for the cyclone that is separate from the cyclone, and preferably external to the cyclone chamber. The dirt collection chamber is openable and, when opened, material collected therein may be removed. Similarly, the cyclone is openable. When opened, the cyclone chamber preferably has an absence of any member having a larger diameter than the vortex finder. Therefore, when the cyclone is opened, material collected therein may be also removed. For example, a vortex finder with a large diameter shroud, or a deflector disc positioned around a vortex finder or air outlet, are preferably not located in the cyclone when it is opened and therefore do not create an impediment to dirt falling out of the cyclone when a cyclone is opened and positioned with the opening over a garbage can. Preferably, both the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber are openable at the same time. Preferably, the vortex finder is also removed from the cyclone chamber when the cyclone is opened. Preferably the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber are closed when removed from the surface cleaning apparatus such as for emptying.
  • [0008]
    An advantage of this design is that, from time to time, material may accumulate in a cyclone. In some embodiments, the cyclone may be configured such that heavier material is collected in the cyclone itself. For example, the cyclone may be inverted and have an upper dirt outlet. Material that is too heavy to be entrained in an air stream and carried upwardly through the cyclone and through the dirt outlet will accumulate in the cyclone. Accordingly, the interior of the cyclone could be used as a dirt collection chamber. By opening the cyclone, material that collects in the cyclone may be removed, e.g., the opened portion of the cyclone may be held over a garbage can and the accumulated material in the cyclone may be poured out.
  • [0009]
    If the dirt collection chamber associated with the cyclone is not the bottom of the cyclone casing, but a separate exterior chamber, then by opening the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber during the same emptying operation, e.g., concurrently or sequentially and preferably concurrently, material that collects both may be removed, e.g., the opened portion of the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber may be held over a garbage can and the accumulated material in the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber may be poured out
  • [0010]
    According to another broad aspect, a surface cleaning apparatus is provided that comprises an inverted first stage cyclone mounted to an upright section of an upright surface cleaning apparatus, and preferably of a stick vacuum cleaner. When the surface cleaning apparatus is in use, dirt is entrained in an air stream that is drawn into the cyclone, separated by the cyclonic action of the cyclone and then deposited in a dirt chamber. Preferably the dirt chamber is external cyclone so that the accumulation of dirt within the dirt collection chamber may not affect the performance of the cyclone. In a preferred embodiment, the cyclone may have a cylindrical housing or perimeter wall with an upward facing dirt outlet that is surrounded by, e.g., a generally annular shaped dirt collection chamber. In this embodiment, dirt that is separated from the air stream may be ejected from the dirt outlet of the cyclone and fall into, and collect within, the surrounding dirt collection chamber.
  • [0011]
    Typically, cyclones have an efficiency to separate particulate matter having a targeted size range. By using the interior of the cyclone as a dirt collection chamber, the cyclone may be designed to separate particulate matter having a smaller targeted size range. The material that is dis-entrained from the airflow by the cyclone and which exits the cyclone dirt outlet may accumulate in a separate dirt collection chamber in flow communication with the cyclone dirt outlet. For example, in a preferred embodiment, the cyclone or the cyclonic cleaning stages combined, may achieve a separation efficiency for IEC dirt as specified as IEC 60312, which is representative of household dirt, of 98% of particles that are from 3 to 5 microns and at least 96.5% of particles that are from 1-2 microns. Such a cyclone, while using a relatively high fluid velocity, may result in heavier or larger material remaining in the cyclone.
  • [0012]
    Accordingly, for example, a surface cleaning apparatus may include an inverted cyclone having a floor and an upper dirt outlet. A lower air inlet is provided and an air outlet is provided through the floor or a sidewall of the cyclone. In operation, air will enter through the air inlet and cyclone upwardly. Some of the dirt will exit upwardly through the dirt outlet. The air will then travel downwardly and exit the cyclone through the cyclone outlet (e.g., a vortex finder). Some of the dirt will accumulate on the floor of the cyclone. The dirt collection chamber may surround at least a portion of the cyclone and, preferably, all of the cyclone. The dirt collection chamber has a floor on which dirt entering the dirt collection chamber will accumulate. The floor of the cyclone and the floor of the dirt collection chamber, or the top of each, may concurrently or sequentially open so that the dirt collected in the cyclone and the dirt collected in the dirt collection chamber are emptied concurrently. An advantage of this design is that fewer steps are required for a user to empty the dirt collection areas of the vacuum cleaner.
  • [0013]
    In some embodiments, the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber are removable when closed, e.g., an openable floor is closed. Accordingly, when the dirt collection chamber is to be emptied, the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber may be removed from the surface cleaning apparatus, e.g., an upright surface cleaning apparatus, and then emptied.0
  • [0014]
    In some embodiments, a vortex finder may be provided on the portion of the cyclone that opens. For example, if the cyclone is inverted, the vortex finder may be positioned on the bottom opening floor of the cyclone. Accordingly, when the cyclone is opened, the vortex finder is removed from the cyclone leaving an open cyclone chamber.
  • [0015]
    Alternately, or in addition, in some other embodiments, the cyclone may have an interior shroud or screen that may need cleaning from time to time. Accordingly a consumer may use a single step to open the cyclone to access a shroud, filter or screen that requires cleaning or replacement and, at the same time, have access to the dirt collection chamber so as to empty the dirt collection chamber.
  • [0016]
    In any embodiment, an upright surface cleaning apparatus may comprise:
      • (a) a floor cleaning unit comprising a surface cleaning head having a dirty air inlet, a cleaning head air outlet and an upright section comprising a handle drivingly connected to the surface cleaning head;
      • (b) a cyclone unit positioned in the air flow passage, the cyclone unit comprising a cyclone having an air inlet located at a lower end of the cyclone and an air outlet and a dirt outlet provided at an upper end of the cyclone, and a dirt collection chamber exterior to the cyclone and surrounding at least a portion of the cyclone;
      • (c) a suction motor positioned in the air flow path; and,
      • (d) a surface cleaning unit removably mounted to the handle wherein the surface cleaning unit comprises the cyclone unit and the suction motor.
  • [0021]
    In some embodiments, the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber are concurrently openable.
  • [0022]
    In some embodiments, the cyclone is positioned interior of the dirt collection chamber.
  • [0023]
    In some embodiments, the surface cleaning apparatus further comprises a plate facing the dirt outlet. Preferably, the plate is mounted to an upper end of the cyclone unit.
  • [0024]
    In some embodiments, the cyclone is an inverted cyclone having an air inlet and an air outlet at a lower end of the cyclone.
  • [0025]
    In some embodiments, the surface cleaning apparatus further comprises a vortex finder that is provided on an openable door of the cyclone.
  • [0026]
    In some embodiments, the handle comprises a portion of the air flow path.
  • [0027]
    In any embodiment, an upright surface cleaning apparatus may alternately comprise:
      • (a) a floor cleaning unit comprising a surface cleaning head having a dirty air inlet, a cleaning head air outlet and an upright section comprising a handle drivingly connected to the surface cleaning head;
      • (b) a cyclone unit mounted on the upright section and positioned in the air flow passage, the cyclone unit comprising a cyclone having an air inlet located at a lower end of the cyclone and an air outlet and a dirt outlet provided at an upper end of the cyclone, and a dirt collection chamber exterior to the cyclone and surrounding at least a portion of the cyclone wherein the cyclone unit is removable in a closed configuration; and,
      • (c) a suction motor positioned in the air flow path.
  • [0031]
    In some embodiments, the surface cleaning apparatus further comprises a surface cleaning unit removably mounted to the handle wherein the surface cleaning unit comprises the cyclone unit and the suction motor.
  • [0032]
    In some embodiments, the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber are concurrently openable.
  • [0033]
    In some embodiments, the cyclone is positioned interior of the dirt collection chamber.
  • [0034]
    In some embodiments, the surface cleaning apparatus further comprises a plate facing the dirt outlet. Preferably the plate is mounted to an upper end of the cyclone unit.
  • [0035]
    In some embodiments, the cyclone is an inverted cyclone having an air inlet and an air outlet at a lower end of the cyclone.
  • [0036]
    In some embodiments, the surface cleaning apparatus further comprises a vortex finder that is provided on an openable door of the cyclone.
  • [0037]
    It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that any of these alternate embodiments may be used individually or in combination in a single surface cleaning apparatus, as exemplified in a preferred embodiment described herein, or in any particular sub-combination. Accordingly, any two or more alternate embodiments may be used in a single surface cleaning apparatus.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0038]
    These and other advantages of the instant invention will be more fully and completely understood in conjunction with the following description of the preferred embodiments of the invention in which:
  • [0039]
    FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a preferred embodiment of a vacuum cleaner in accordance with this design wherein the outer casing surrounding the cyclone and forming an outer wall of a dirt collection chamber is optionally transparent;
  • [0040]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view from the front and the right side of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 1;
  • [0041]
    FIG. 3 is a cross-section along the line 3-3 in FIG. 2;
  • [0042]
    FIG. 4 is a schematic drawing of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 1 showing the airflow passage therethrough;
  • [0043]
    FIG. 5 is a perspective view from the bottom of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 1 wherein the bottom of the first and second housings is open;
  • [0044]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the bottom of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 1 wherein the first and second housings are closed but an access door is open;
  • [0045]
    FIG. 7 is a longitudinal section through an alternate embodiment of a vacuum cleaner in accordance with this invention;
  • [0046]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective end view of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 8 wherein the dirt collection chamber and the cyclone are open;
  • [0047]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective cross-section view of a further alternate embodiment of a cyclone and dirt collection chamber in accordance with this invention;
  • [0048]
    FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of the alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 9; and,
  • [0049]
    FIG. 11 is a perspective view from the bottom of the cyclone and dirt collection chamber shown in FIG. 9 wherein the bottom panel is open;
  • [0050]
    FIG. 12 is a cross-section through a further alternate embodiment of a cyclone and dirt collection chamber in accordance with this invention;
  • [0051]
    FIG. 13 is a cross-section through the alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 12 wherein the cyclone floor and dirt collection chamber floor are open;
  • [0052]
    FIG. 14 is a front elevation view of an example of a vacuum cleaner;
  • [0053]
    FIG. 15 is a back perspective view of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 14 with a portable surface cleaning apparatus mounted to a support structure;
  • [0054]
    FIG. 16 a is a back perspective view of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 14 with the portable surface cleaning apparatus removed from the support structure and in a position in which it may be carried by hand;
  • [0055]
    FIG. 16 b is a side elevation view of the portable surface cleaning apparatus of FIG. 16 a wherein the portable surface cleaning apparatus has been removed from the support structure and is in a position in which it may be carried by hand with flexible hose detached from the surface cleaning head;
  • [0056]
    FIG. 17 is a partially exploded side perspective view of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 14 with the portable surface cleaning apparatus removed from air flow communication with the floor cleaning unit;
  • [0057]
    FIG. 18 is a front isometric view of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 14 with the portable surface cleaning apparatus removed;
  • [0058]
    FIG. 19 is side elevation view of a hand vacuum cleaner;
  • [0059]
    FIG. 20 is a front elevation view of the hand vacuum cleaner of FIG. 19;
  • [0060]
    FIG. 21 is a bottom isometric view the hand vacuum cleaner of FIG. 19;
  • [0061]
    FIG. 22 is a bottom isometric view of the hand vacuum cleaner and an attachment member;
  • [0062]
    FIG. 23 is a partially exploded bottom isometric view of the hand vacuum cleaner and an attachment member of FIG. 22;
  • [0063]
    FIG. 24 is a side isometric view of the attachment member of FIG. 22;
  • [0064]
    FIG. 25 is a front elevation view of the attachment member of FIG. 24;
  • [0065]
    FIG. 26 is a side isometric view of the attachment member of FIG. 24;
  • [0066]
    FIG. 27 is a partially exploded isometric view of the attachment member of FIG. 24;
  • [0067]
    FIG. 28 is a front isometric view of an alternate example of a vacuum cleaner with a portable surface cleaning apparatus mounted thereto;
  • [0068]
    FIG. 29 is a partial rear isometric view of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 28;
  • [0069]
    FIG. 30 is a rear isometric view of an alternate example of a vacuum cleaner with a portable surface cleaning apparatus mounted thereto;
  • [0070]
    FIG. 31 is a partial front isometric view of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 30 with the portable surface cleaning apparatus removed;
  • [0071]
    FIG. 32 is a partial top view of the surface cleaning head of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 30;
  • [0072]
    FIG. 33 is a side elevation view of a portable surface cleaning apparatus having a partially transparent dirt chamber;
  • [0073]
    FIG. 34 is an isometric view of the portable surface cleaning apparatus of FIG. 33 with the dirt chamber door removed;
  • [0074]
    FIG. 35 is a section view of the portable surface cleaning apparatus of FIG. 33;
  • [0075]
    FIG. 36 is a front isometric view of another embodiment of a surface cleaning apparatus;
  • [0076]
    FIG. 37 is a front isometric view of the surface cleaning apparatus of FIG. 36 with the portable surface apparatus removed in a first configuration; and
  • [0077]
    FIG. 38 is a front isometric view of the surface cleaning apparatus of FIG. 36 with the portable surface apparatus removed in a second configuration.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0078]
    As shown in FIGS. 1-6, a surface cleaning apparatus comprises a vacuum cleaner 10 having at least one cyclone and a dirt collection chamber in communication with the cyclone dirt outlet. The filtration apparatus may be of any design or configuration. As exemplified, surface cleaning apparatus 10 has a first housing 12 and a second housing 14. First housing 12 comprises at least one cyclone 16 and a dirt collection chamber 18 and second housing 14 houses the filtration members and the suction motor. As shown in FIG. 7, a surface cleaning apparatus 10 has a first cyclonic cleaning stage comprising a single cyclone 150 having a dirt collection chamber 152 and a second cyclonic cleaning stage comprising a plurality of second stage cyclones 154 in parallel.
  • [0079]
    As exemplified in FIGS. 1-6, vacuum cleaner 10 comprises a hand held vacuum cleaner. Accordingly, vacuum cleaner 10 may be provided with handle 54, which is affixed to lid 32 and lid 58 of second housing 14. Handle 54 may alternately be affixed to any other portion or portions of vacuum cleaner 10 as is known in the art. Optionally, as exemplified, on/off switch 56 may be provided on handle 54. On/off switch 56 may alternately be provided on any other portion of vacuum cleaner 10. As exemplified in FIG. 3, suction motor 26 may be positioned in second housing 14, preferably with a suction fan provided below the electric motor. Clean air outlet 60 is provided downstream from suction motor 26. An optional post-motor filter may be provided downstream from suction motor 26, such as in post-motor filter housing 62, which may be accessible via post motor filter housing door 64, which could be pivotally mounted to second housing 14.
  • [0080]
    It will be appreciated that, surface cleaning apparatus may be a vacuum cleaner, a carpet extractor, a bare floor cleaner or the like. As exemplified, the surface cleaning apparatus is hand held. However the surface cleaning apparatus may be configured as an upright vacuum cleaner, a stick vacuum cleaner, a canister vacuum cleaner, a backpack or shoulder strap vacuum cleaner or other configuration known in the art. The surface cleaning apparatus may have a single cyclonic cleaning stage, which may be of any construction known in the art, or a plurality of cyclonic cleaning stages, each of which may be of any construction known in the art, e.g. they may comprise a single cyclone or a plurality of cyclones in parallel. For example, as exemplified in FIGS. 14-35, vacuum cleaner 100 comprises a hand held vacuum cleaner removably mounted on an upright vacuum cleaner.
  • [0081]
    In accordance with one aspect of this invention, an openable dirt collection chamber 18 is provided that is in communication with the dirt outlet 28. Dirt collection chamber 18 has an openable end portion that comprises a wall that is intersected by the longitudinally extending axis of the cyclone. For example, the openable end portion may be floor 44 of cyclone 16 as exemplified in FIGS. 1-6, impingement member 30 and the floor of dirt collection chamber 18 to which impingement member 30 may be mounted as exemplified in FIGS. 7-8 or opposed wall 164 of dirt collection chamber 18 of FIGS. 12-13 or bottom 66 comprising cyclone floor 42 and dirt collection chamber floor 44 of FIGS. 9-11. When the end portion is in an open position as exemplified in FIGS. 5, 8 and 11 and 13, the cyclone chamber preferably has an absence of any member having a larger diameter than the vortex finder (i.e., the vortex finder and any shroud or screen surrounding the vortex finder) whereby dirt collection chamber 18 and the cyclone 16 may be concurrently emptyable with dirt collection chamber 18.
  • [0082]
    A first embodiment of this invention is shown in FIGS. 1-6, which exemplifies the use of an inverted cyclone. However, as shown in other embodiments, it will be appreciated that the cyclone 16 may be of any configuration and orientation and need not be inverted (e.g., cyclone 16 may be a horizontally mounted cyclone or a vertically mounted upright cyclone with an upper air inlet, an upper air out and a lower dirt outlet). Accordingly, the reference to “upper” and “lower” and “floor” are for convenience in the following discussion and relate to a preferred embodiment.
  • [0083]
    Referring to FIGS. 1-6, cyclone 16 has a dirt outlet 28 and an impingement surface 30 in dirt collection chamber 18 spaced from and facing dirt outlet 28. As shown in FIG. 3, optional impingement surface 30 is preferably spaced a distance D from outlet 28 wherein distance D may be up to 50 mm, preferably from 8 to 30 millimeters and, and more preferably from 12 to 25 millimeters. It will be appreciated that impingement member 30 may be mounted to lid 32 of dirt collection chamber 18 as exemplified. Alternately, impingement member may be mounted to a sidewall of dirt collection chamber 18 and/or cyclone 16. It will be appreciated that cyclone 16 may be in any particular orientation and/or any particular configuration. As exemplified in FIG. 7, cyclone 150 may have a longitudinally extending axis A that extends generally horizontally when the surface cleaning apparatus is in use. In such a case, impingement surface 30 may be positioned facing dirt outlet 28 and accordingly, in use, extends generally vertically, (i.e. transverse to longitudinal axis A). Alternately, as shown in FIGS. 12 to 13, an impingement surface may not be provided.
  • [0084]
    As exemplified in FIG. 3, cyclone 16 is an inverted cyclone. Accordingly, cyclone 16 has a lower air inlet 34 and a lower air outlet 36. Air inlet 34 is positioned downstream from dirty air inlet 38 of surface cleaning nozzle 40. Surface cleaning nozzle 40 may be any surface cleaning nozzle known in the art. Air inlet 34 of cyclone 16 may be in airflow communication with surface cleaning nozzle 40 in any manner known in the art. The exact structure of surface cleaning nozzle 40 and the communication passage between surface cleaning nozzle 40 and air inlet 34 will vary depending if the surface cleaning apparatus is an upright vacuum cleaner, canister vacuum cleaner or, as exemplified, a portable hand held vacuum cleaner. In operation, air will enter cyclone 16 through inlet 34 and travel upwardly, as exemplified in FIG. 4. The air will then travel downwardly to exit cyclone 16 via outlet 36. As shown in FIG. 4 by the hatched arrows, dirt will exit upwardly through outlet 28 and deposit on dirt collection chamber floor 42. In addition, some of the heavier particulate matter may not be entrained in the air stream and may be deposited on cyclone floor 44.
  • [0085]
    In this embodiment, cyclone 16 has a longitudinally extending axis that extends through the centre of cyclone 16. The longitudinal axis is aligned with, and extends through, air outlet 36 and accordingly intersects floor 44 and door 82. In an alternate embodiment, it will be appreciated that cyclone 16 need not be inverted but may be of any configuration or orientation. As exemplified in FIGS. 7 and 8, cyclones 150, 154 may be oriented such that longitudinal axis A of the cyclones extends horizontally when the surface cleaning apparatus is in use. As exemplified in FIG. 7, cyclone 150 has an impingement member 30 that is generally vertical and faces dirt outlet 28 and is intersected by longitudinal axis A. Alternately, the cyclone may be an upright cyclone (see for example FIGS. 12 to 13) or a cyclone having a single direction of travel of the air. As exemplified in FIGS. 12 and 13, cyclone 16 has a longitudinal axis that intersects dirt collection chamber floor 42 and cyclone floor 44. As exemplified in FIGS. 9-11, cyclone 16 has a longitudinal axis that intersects cyclone floor 44.
  • [0086]
    As exemplified, cyclone 16 is a frustoconical cyclone having cylindrical portion 46 and frustoconical portion 48. Alternately, or in addition to the orientation of cyclone 16, it will be appreciated that cyclone 16 may be cylindrical, entirely frustoconical or any other shape known in the art. As shown in FIGS. 9-13, cyclone 16 may be closed, i.e. have a portion that closes the dirt outlet end of the cyclone chamber, and is provided with at least one dirt outlet 28. The dirt exit end may be bowl shaped, e.g., rounded.
  • [0087]
    As exemplified in FIG. 3, outlet 36 of cyclone 16 comprises a vortex finder that extends inwardly into the cyclone chamber defined by cyclone 16. Outlet 36 preferably comprises a generally cylindrical passage having an inlet 50 and an outlet 52. It will be appreciated that, in an alternate embodiment any outlet or vortex finder known in the art for cyclones may be utilized.
  • [0088]
    In any embodiment, inlet 50 may be covered by a screen, shroud or filter as is known in the art. However, it is preferred that vortex finder 36 is unobstructed, i.e., no screen, shroud or filter is provided on inlet 50. Accordingly, as exemplified in FIG. 3, vortex finder 36 is not surrounded by a screen, shroud or filter and no physical separation member is positioned in the cyclone chamber of cyclone 16. Accordingly, no filtration or screen member interior of cyclone 16 requires cleaning. Elongate material such as hair or fibre can become adhered to a shroud, requiring the shroud to be manually cleaned. Preferably, a screen is positioned downstream from cyclone 16 and upstream from the pre-motor filter. For example, a screen 78 is preferably provided (see for example FIG. 3). The material that would otherwise clog a screen or shroud that surrounds inlet 50 may be retained by optional screen 78 which may be larger than a screen in a cyclone chamber.
  • [0089]
    While the use of the impingement member is exemplified in a surface cleaning apparatus having side-by-side housings 12, 14, it will be appreciated that this design may be used in any vacuum cleaner configuration, such as shown in FIG. 7. In other embodiments, an impingement member may not be provided. For example, in the example of FIGS. 1-6, an impingement member may not be provided. See also FIGS. 9-13 wherein an impingement member is not provided.
  • [0090]
    In accordance with a preferred embodiment of this invention, dirt collection chamber 18 surrounds at least a portion of and, as exemplified, preferably all of cyclone 16 and is preferably external to the cyclone chamber defined by cyclone 16. Accordingly, cyclone 16 may be positioned in dirt collection chamber 18 and, preferably, generally centrally therein. An advantage of this design is that the bottom of cyclone 16 (e.g., floor 44) may be continuous with the bottom of dirt collection chamber 18 (e.g., floor 44) so that a simplified construction is provided that permits both cyclone 16 and dirt collection chamber 18 to be opened at the same time.
  • [0091]
    The following description refers to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-6 wherein the openable end of the dirt collection camber is the dirt collection surface (floor 42). However, in an alternate embodiment, it will be appreciated that the openable portion need not be the dirt collection surface. For example, if cyclone 16 is mounted horizontally, then the openable portion may be opposed wall 164 of dirt collection chamber 18 facing dirt outlet 28 to which impingement member 30 is attached. In such a case, the dirt collection surface will be a sidewall of dirt collection chamber 18. Alternately, a lid may be openable.
  • [0092]
    In accordance with the preferred embodiment of FIGS. 1-6, vacuum cleaner 10 is preferably configured such that floor 44 forms an openable end portion of cyclone 16 and floor 42 forms an openable end portion of dirt collection chamber 18. Floor 44 is a moveable cyclone dirt collection surface and floor 42 is a moveable dirt collection chamber surface. The openable portion of cyclone 16 is accordingly opened when the openable portion of dirt collection chamber 18 is opened. Accordingly, dirt collected on floor 44 of cyclone 16 is emptied at the same time as dirt collected on floor 42 of dirt collection chamber 18. Accordingly, floor 42 and floor 44 are both moveable and connected to each other whereby both floor 42 and 44 are concurrently moveable such that dirt collection chamber 18 and cyclone 16 are concurrently emptied.
  • [0093]
    As exemplified in FIG. 5, floors 42 and 44 comprise a wall intersecting the longitudinally extending axis of the dirt collection chamber 18 and cyclone 16. Floors 42 and 44 may comprise a pivoting bottom or end portion of first housing 12 and, alternately, of the filtration apparatus (e.g. housings 12 and 14 of this embodiment). It will be appreciated that in other embodiments, floors 42 and 44 may be otherwise openable and may be removably mounted. For example, they may be slidably, translatably or removably mounted (e.g., by a screw mount, a bayonet mount or a snap fit) to cyclone 16 and dirt collection chamber 18.
  • [0094]
    As exemplified in FIG. 5, outlet 36 is in some embodiments preferably provided as part of floor 42, and is preferably integrally molded therewith. Accordingly, when floors 42 and 44 are in the open position, vortex finder 36, and any shroud or the like mounted thereon, is removed from cyclone 16. Accordingly, the cyclone chamber has an absence of any member having a larger diameter than the vortex finder therein. Accordingly, the dirt will fall out of collection chamber 16 and cyclone 16 and will fall downwardly off of floors 42 and 44.
  • [0095]
    Accordingly, as seen in FIG. 5, both cyclone 16 and dirt collection chamber 18 are openable and may be emptied concurrently when floors 42 and 44 are in the open position by holding vacuum cleaner 10 in the upright position (as shown in FIG. 1).
  • [0096]
    It will be appreciated that dirt collection chamber 18 may be spaced from cyclone 16 provided dirt outlet 28 is in communication with dirt collection chamber 18 so that dirt which is disentrained from the fluid flow in cyclone 16 is conveyed to dirt collection chamber 18. It will be appreciated that floor 42 may open separately from floor 44, such that cyclone 16 and dirt collection chamber 18 may be individually opened.
  • [0097]
    As shown in FIG. 5, housings 12 and 14 may have a pivoting bottom 66, which is secured to each of housings 12 and 14 by a pivot 68. In the closed position exemplified in FIGS. 1 and 4, pivoting bottom 66 is secured in position by latch 70. Latch 70 may have a button 72 which, when pressed, causes arm 74 to move outwardly thereby disengaging a flange provided on the bottom end of arm 74 from flange 76 provided on pivoting bottom 66. A gasket or other sealing member may be provided at the interface of housings 12 and 14 and pivoting bottom 66 to provide an air tight or fluid tight seal. It will be appreciated that bottom 66 may be moveable in any other direction by any other means known in the art and may optionally be removable from housings 12, 14. Further, bottom 66 may be moveably secured in position by any other means known in the art and need not be connected to surface cleaning apparatus 10 for relative motion thereto.
  • [0098]
    In an alternate embodiment of FIGS. 1-6, it will be appreciated that only floors 42 and 44 may be pivotally mounted to housing 12. In such an embodiment, foam filter 20 may remain sealed when cyclone 16 and dirt collection chamber 18 are emptied. In an alternate embodiment, a side-by-side housing design as exemplified in FIG. 1 need not be utilized. In such a case, floor 42 and floor 44 may comprise the entire floor of the filtration assembly, see for example, FIGS. 9-11.
  • [0099]
    If bottom 66 opens both housings 12 and 14, then it will be appreciated that dirt positioned on the upstream surface of filter 20 will be emptied when bottom 66 is opened.
  • [0100]
    In the alternate embodiment of FIGS. 7 and 8, impingement member 30 is removed from the vicinity of dirt outlet 28 when opposed wall is opened, e.g., by pivoting about pivot pin 66. As exemplified, impingement member 30 is mounted to support 166 that is preferably mounted to opposed wall 164. It will be appreciated that impingement member 30 may be otherwise moveably mounted. When opposed wall is opened, the cyclone chamber is opened and both cyclone 150 and dirt collection chamber 152 may be concurrently emptied. In this embodiment, vortex finder 36 remains in position in the cyclone chamber. While a screen may be positioned to overlie inlet end 50 of vortex finder 36, it will be appreciated that a member having a diameter larger than vortex finder 36 is absent from the interior of cyclone 150 thereby permitting dirt to be unimpeded when cyclone 150 is held open over a garbage can.
  • [0101]
    In the alternate embodiment of FIGS. 9-11, cyclone 16 has a closed end and is opened at the closed dirt outlet end for emptying. As exemplified, in FIGS. 9-11, cyclone 16 has tangential passage 172 that is in airflow communication with a surface cleaning nozzle (not shown). Tangential passage 172 is connected to air inlet 34 of cyclone 16. Cyclone 16 has a clean air outlet 36 in floor 44, similar to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-6. Cyclone 16 has a closed end wall 174 with at least one dirt outlet 28 in a side wall thereof. Dirt outlet 28 opens to dirt collection chamber 18. The outer walls of dirt collection chamber 18 are formed from sidewall 186 and end wall 188. Bottom wall 182 comprises floors 44 and 42. A gasket 180 may be provided at the interface of dirt collection chamber 18, cyclone 16 and bottom panel 182 to provide an air tight or fluid tight seal.
  • [0102]
    In operation, dirty air enters cyclone 16 tangentially via air inlet 34 and swirls upwardly. Heavier dirt particles fall out of the air stream and are deposited on floor 44 of bottom panel 182. Some dirt particles will exit cyclone 16 via dirt outlet 28, fall downwardly in dirt collection chamber 18 and deposit on floor 42 of bottom panel 182.
  • [0103]
    As exemplified in FIGS. 9-11, bottom panel 182 comprises a wall intersecting the longitudinally extending axis A of dirt collection chamber 18 and cyclone 16. Accordingly, bottom panel 182 forms the end portion of dirt collection chamber 18 and cyclone 16. Bottom panel 182 may have a flange 184 connected to a flange 190 on sidewall 186. Accordingly, bottom panel 182 is rotatably moveable such that cyclone 16 and dirt collection chamber 18 may be opened to empty deposited dirt particles. When bottom panel 182 is in the open position, the cyclone chamber has an absence of any member having a larger diameter than the vortex finder.
  • [0104]
    In the alternate embodiment of FIGS. 12-13, floors 42 and 44 comprise the openable end portion. Cyclone floor 44 is mounted to dirt collection chamber 18, such as by support 176. Accordingly, when dirt collection chamber 18 is opened, such as by rotating about pivot 170, cyclone 16 is also opened.
  • [0105]
    In any embodiment as exemplified in FIGS. 1-6, a filtration member may be provided adjacent outlet 36 and, preferably, in sealing engagement with outlet 52. Referring to FIG. 3, filtration member 78 may be positioned on rear surface 84 of floor 44 and overlies outlet 52. Accordingly, air that exits outlet 36 travels through filtration member 78. The air then travels through filtration chamber 80 and travels laterally to outlet 86, which is in air flow communication with headspace 88 below filter 20. An advantage of such an embodiment is that a screen, shroud or filter need not be provided inside cyclone 16 overlying inlet 52 of vortex finder 36. Accordingly, if a vortex finder remains in cyclone 16 when it is opened, such as in FIGS. 7-8 and 12-13, then a large diameter member that may impede dirt from falling out need not be provided in cyclone 16.
  • [0106]
    Preferably, filtration member 78 preferably comprises a screen, such as an open mesh screen, e.g., a wire mesh screen or, alternately, a plastic mesh screen.
  • [0107]
    An access door 82 may be provided to permit access to filtration member 78 such that filtration member 78 may be cleaned. Access door may be any door that is movably mounted in overlying relationship to filtration chamber 80. As exemplified in FIG. 6, access door 82 is pivotally mounted by pivot 90 to pivoting bottom 66, and is secured in position by a latch 120. Latch 120, for example, may have a button 122 which, when pressed, causes arm 124 to move outwardly thereby disengaging a flange on the bottom end of arm 124 from flange 92 provided on the front end of access door 82. A sealing gasket or other sealing member known in the art may be utilized to provide an air tight or fluid tight seal for filtration chamber 80. Any other securing member known in the art may be used. Further, door 82 may be removable and need not be connected to surface cleaning apparatus 10 for relative motion thereto.
  • [0108]
    Preferably, filtration member 78 is mounted and, more preferably, movably mounted and, most preferably, removably mounted to access door 82. As shown in FIG. 6, filtration member 78 is pivotally mounted to the inner surface of access door 82. Accordingly, when a user desires to clean filtration member 78, it may be pivoted in the direction shown by arrow A in FIG. 6 to an open or cleaning position. It will be noticed that access door 82 may be opened independently of pivoting bottom 66. In an alternate embodiment, it will be appreciated that a pivoting bottom 66 need not be provided.
  • [0109]
    Preferably, at least a portion of and, more preferably, all of access door 82 is transparent. Accordingly, a user may lift the vacuum cleaner, invert the vacuum cleaner or tilt the vacuum cleaner on its side to view filtration member 78 and determine whether filtration 78 requires cleaning or, alternately, replacement.
  • [0110]
    In accordance with any embodiment of this invention, a series of screening and filtration members may be used in series downstream from the cyclone chamber of cyclone 16. In accordance with this preferred embodiment, the screening and filtration members comprise a screen 78, which is preferably positioned adjacent outlet 36, a foam filter 22 downstream from screen 78, a felt filter 22 downstream from foam 20 and a HEPA filter 24 downstream from felt filter 22. Preferably, all of these filters are positioned upstream from suction motor 26. Alternately, one or more of these filters may be positioned downstream from suction motor 26. In particular HEPA filter 24 may be downstream from suction motor 26. Accordingly, a plurality of screening and filtration members, each of which have a finer filtration capacity (e.g. smaller pores) are provided in series in the downstream direction. Optionally, a shroud (e.g. a perforated or apertured plastic cover) may be provided surrounding or overlying inlet 50 of outlet 36.
  • [0111]
    It will be appreciated that the end portion may be openable by any means known in the art. For example, it may be translatable, slidable or removably mounted, such as by a screw or bayonet mount or a snap fit. Preferably, it is not removably mounted, but remains affixed to the filtration housing when opened, such as by being pivotally mounted as exemplified.
  • [0112]
    It will be appreciated that the end portion may be oriented such that it is the lower portion of the dirt collection chamber 18 (e.g. FIGS. 1-6 and 9-13) and accordingly comprises a dirt collection surface. However, it need not be, provided that it intersects the longitudinal axis of the cyclone (e.g. FIGS. 7-8).
  • [0113]
    It will be appreciated that the end portion may be distal to dirt outlet 28 (e.g., FIGS. 1-6 and 9-11) or may face dirt outlet 28 (e.g., FIGS. 7-10).
  • [0114]
    FIGS. 14-18 exemplify an upright vacuum cleaner optionally having a removably mounted portable surface cleaning apparatus, optionally a hand vacuum cleaner, wherein the portable surface cleaning apparatus preferably has a nozzle having an open sided air flow chamber. It will be appreciated that the portable surface cleaning apparatus may be of any construction (e.g., a hand vacuum cleaner) and may use any particular air treatment member (e.g., one or more cyclones comprising one or more cyclonic cleaning stages and one or more filters). It will also be appreciated that the upright structure to which the portable surface cleaning apparatus is removably attached may be of any particular design. Further, the floor cleaning unit may alternately, or in addition, use an open sided nozzle and may selectively receive an auxiliary cleaning tool.
  • [0115]
    Referring to FIGS. 14 to 18, a first example of a surface cleaning apparatus 100 is shown. The surface cleaning apparatus 100 is a vacuum cleaner that comprises a floor cleaning unit 200 comprising a surface cleaning head 300 having a support structure 210 pivotally mounted thereto and a portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 that is removably mounted to support structure 210. Support structure 210 may also be referred to as a handle, a backbone or an upright section.
  • [0116]
    In the example shown, the handle 210 has an upper portion 214 and a lower portion 216 that are optionally pivotally connected by a hinge 218. The handle 210 is attached to the surface cleaning head 300 and a user can move the surface cleaning head 300 along a surface to be cleaned by gripping and maneuvering the handle 210. Optionally, the lower portion 216 of the handle 210 can be hingedly or pivotally attached to the surface cleaning head 300, so that the lower portion 216 of the handle 210 can move relative to the surface cleaning head 300 during use. This may enable the user to move the surface cleaning head 300 beneath cabinets, furniture or other obstacles.
  • [0117]
    The upper portion 214 of the handle optionally includes a grip 212 that is shaped to be gripped by a user. In the example shown, the grip 212 is at the top, or upper end of the upper portion 214 of the handle 210 and is formed in a closed loop-type shape having surfaces that are rounded to increase user comfort. In other examples, the grip 212 may be of a different configuration or may be located at a different position on the upper portion 214 of the handle 210.
  • [0118]
    In addition to the grip 212, the upper portion 214 of the handle 210 optionally includes a bracket 113 that supports an auxiliary, or accessory or supplemental cleaning tool 112. In the example shown, the bracket 113 is configured to hold a single auxiliary cleaning tool 112, but in other examples the bracket 113 may be configured to hold more than one auxiliary cleaning tool 112. Also, while shown attached to the upper portion 214, it is understood that the bracket 113 may be attached to other locations on the surface cleaning apparatus, including the lower portion 216, the surface cleaning head 300 and/or the hand vacuum 400.
  • [0119]
    In the example shown, the upper and lower portions 214, 216 have a generally cylindrical or tube-like shape. However, in other examples, the upper and lower portions 214, 216 may any other type of thin support members having suitable cross-sectional shape including square, rectangular or polygonal. In addition, the upper and lower portions 214, 216 may be solid or hollow and may be formed from any suitable material, including plastic and metal. In other embodiments, it will be appreciated that handle may be a single unit, e.g., a support rod such that upper and lower portions 214, 216 are part of the same element. Alternately, upright section 210 may comprise a frame for removably receiving a portable surface cleaning apparatus.
  • [0120]
    The upper and lower portions 214, 216 of the handle 210 are optionally pivotally joined by hinge 218. When the hinge 218 is in a first position, as shown in FIGS. 14, 15, 17 and 18 the upper and lower portions 214, 216 of the handle 210 are generally aligned with each other. The hinge 218 is retained in this first position by a biasing or locking means so that first portion 214 of the handle 210 remains in a generally vertical aligned with lower portion 216 when not in use and so that movements of the first portion 214 of the handle 210 can be translated to the second portion 216. In use, the hinge 218 can be unlocked, or released from the first position and can move into a second position, wherein the grip 212 is preferably rotated forwardly.
  • [0121]
    In the example shown, the grip 212 comprises a hinge release 213 that can be activated by a user during use of vacuum cleaner 100 to unlock the hinge 218. When a user activates the hinge release 213, the retaining or locking means used to secure the hinge 218 in the first position is disengaged, allowing the hinge 218 to rotate or pivot, as shown in FIG. 16 a. As the hinge 218 rotates, the first portion 214 of the handle 210 can be moved into a plurality of angular positions relative to the second portion 216 handle 210. Optionally, the hinge 218 may rotate between, and lock into, a given number of set or indexed angular positions. Alternatively, the rotation of the hinge 218 may be continuously variable, after being initially unlocked, allowing for the first portion 214 to be moved into an indefinite number of angular positions relative to the second portion 216 (e.g., freely rotatable).
  • [0122]
    In the example of the vacuum cleaner 100 shown, the lower portion 214 of the handle 210 extends from the hinge 218 to the surface cleaning head 300 and optionally comprises the portable surface cleaning apparatus mount 220 for receiving and supporting the hand vacuum 400. The lower portion 216 also optionally comprises a hose guide 230 for keeping the flexible hose 125 in close proximity to the backbone 200. When the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 is detached or removed from the backbone 200 the flexible hose 125 may be removed from the hose guide 230, as shown in FIG. 16 a.
  • [0123]
    The surface cleaning head 300 serves as a base portion of the vacuum cleaner 100 and is preferably in rolling contact with the surface to be cleaned. When the vacuum cleaner is 100 in an upright position (as exemplified in FIGS. 14, 15, 17 and 18) the surface cleaning head 300 is supported by optional main or rear wheels 320 and/or optional front wheels (not shown). However, when the vacuum cleaner 100 is moved into an angled position during use (as exemplified in FIG. 16 a) additional optional support wheel 321 that is provided on upright section 210 may also roll across the surface to be cleaned. In other examples of the vacuum cleaner 100 the surface cleaning head 300 may include a greater or fewer number of wheels.
  • [0124]
    The surface cleaning head 300 also comprises a dirty air inlet 310 that is connected in fluid communication with a dirty air outlet 312 by one or more dirty air conduits (not shown). Preferably, the dirty air conduit is an air flow chamber wherein at least a portion of the lower side is open.
  • [0125]
    If the upright section includes a suction motor and/or an air treatment unit, then the dirty air outlet 312 may, in turn, be coupled, optionally removably coupled, to the upstream end of the conduit, preferably a flexible hose 125, that extends from the dirty air outlet 312 of the surface cleaning head 300 to the upright section, such as the attachment member air inlet 126. The fluid pathway may continue through the attachment member passageway 128, which terminates in attachment portion air outlet 127, and through attachment portion air outlet 127 which mates with the opening 438 of the portable cleaning apparatus 400. The connection between the attachment portion 120 and the portable cleaning apparatus 400 is discussed in greater detail below.
  • [0126]
    Mount 220 is preferably configured to removably receive a portion of the portable surface cleaning apparatus and/or an attachment member removably mounted to the portable surface cleaning apparatus. The mount is preferably configured to retain portable surface cleaning apparatus therein under the influence of gravity. Accordingly, a mechanical lock need not be used. In particular, a user may lift the portable surface cleaning apparatus off of upright section 210 without having to press a button or otherwise release a mechanical lock.
  • [0127]
    As exemplified in FIGS. 14-18 the mount 220 may be generally U-shaped and may be sized to receive collar 140 or other mounting portion of the attachment member 120. The inner surface of the mount 220 comprises a protrusion 222 that extends outward from the inner surface of the mount 220 and removably seats within the generally U-shaped channel 144 of the collar 140. It will be appreciated that mount 220 may comprise more than one member, as exemplified in FIGS. 27-28.
  • [0128]
    The mount 220 may be located in a variety of locations along the length of the second portion 216. Preferably, the mount 220 is positioned at approximately the waist height of the intended user (e.g., 2.5-3.5 feet above the floor) so that the user can attached or detach the hand vacuum 400 from the backbone 200 without bending over. This may decrease the stress and strain experienced by the user when the user removes the hand vacuum 400 from the backbone 200.
  • [0129]
    When attached to the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 and seated in the mount 220 (as shown in FIGS. 14 and 15), the attachment member 120 transfers all or a portion of the load (i.e. the weight) of the hand vacuum 400 to the mount 220. Another portion of the load of the hand vacuum 400 may be supported by an additional mounting bracket, such as mount bracket 224, which receives and supports optional rear wheel 480 of the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400. The surface of the mount bracket 224 may be complimentary to the curved shape of the optional rear wheel 480 so that the optional rear wheel 480 can at least partially nest within mount bracket 224. In addition to supporting the weight of the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400, the attachment portion 120 also preferably serves as a fluid conduit establishing a fluid flow connection between the hand vacuum 400 and the airflow conduit 110, which is preferably a flexible hose 125.
  • [0130]
    Loads placed on the mount 220 (via both the U-shaped opening and/or the mount bracket 224) are in turn transferred via the lower portion 216 of the handle 210 to the surface cleaning head 300 and ultimately to the floor or other type of surface being cleaned. The mount 220 may be made from any material that can support the weight of the hand vacuum 400, including plastic and metal.
  • [0131]
    In the example of the vacuum cleaner 100 shown, the optional rear wheel 480 of hand vacuum 400 and the attachment member 121 are each preferably freely received by the mount 220 and held in place by gravity. The protrusion 222 that seats within the channel 144 of the attachment member 121 also provides a degree of lateral support, restraining the movement of the attachment member 121 (and therefore the hand vacuum 400) when the handle 210 is moved from a vertical position to an angled position when in use. Further protrusion 222 may comprise a cam surface to assist in guiding protrusion 222 into channel 144 as the portable surface cleaning apparatus is lowered onto mount 220. Accordingly, the attachment member 121 and the optional rear wheel 480 are preferably not held in place by clips, straps or any other type of mechanical fastening means.
  • [0132]
    The absence of mechanical fasters allows for simple, one-handed removal of the attachment member 121 and the hand vacuum 400 from the mount 220, without the need to unlock or undo any fasteners. One-handed detachment of the hand vacuum 400 may be advantageous as it allows a user to control and maneuver the backbone 200 with one hand while simultaneously removing the hand vacuum 400 from the mount 220 with the other hand. In use, this may allow a user to frequently attach and detach the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 from the mount 220 in response to the user's needs, for example navigating around furniture, stairs or other obstacles on the surface to be cleaned.
  • [0133]
    While in the preferred example described above the mount 220 is free of fasteners, in another example the mount 220 may be outfitted with fastening devices for retaining the attachment member 121 and the additional wheel 480. Examples of possible fasteners include clips, snaps, and straps. Magnets may alternately or in addition be used. An advantage of using magnets may assist in holding the portable surface cleaning apparatus on the backbone but still permit one handed removal as no lock need be released.
  • [0134]
    Optionally, instead of removing the attachment portion 121 from the mount 220, the hand vacuum 400 may be decoupled from the attachment portion while the attachment portion is positioned in mount 220, as shown in FIG. 18. In an embodiment, it will be appreciated that attachment member 121 may not be removable from mount 220.
  • [0135]
    Referring to FIGS. 28-32 and 36-38, other examples of the vacuum cleaner 100 are shown. These figures exemplify features of a surface cleaning apparatus that may be used with any embodiment disclosed in herein, either individually or in any particular combination or sub-combination. The features exemplified in these figures include a surface cleaning head, a support structure for an upright or stick vacuum cleaner, and a handle mount for a surface cleaning apparatus.
  • [0136]
    In this description, alternate structures for supporting an air treatment unit and/or a suction motor are provided. In one embodiment, as exemplified in FIGS. 28-32, the second portion 216 may include a generally upside down U-shaped wishbone portion 250. The wishbone 250 is optionally provided with a hinge 218 at the centre of an upper portion of the wishbone 252, and each prong 254 of the wishbone extends downward, and connects to a rib 256. The ribs 256 are preferably substantially parallel and cooperate to define an optional mount for receiving a removable surface cleaning unit, such as the split saddle configuration that is exemplified. Optionally, the ribs 256 may be integrally formed with the prongs 254 of the wishbone portion 250, or they may be separate tubes or rods fastened to the prongs 254 of the wishbone 250, as shown.
  • [0137]
    A preferred mount comprises a pair of generally opposing saddle flanges 280 (one on each rib) that cooperate to provide a mount or a mounting location for the attachment member 121 that is connected to the hand vacuum 400. Due to the spacing of the ribs 256 and the general curvature of the hand vacuum 400, the hand vacuum 400 is preferably positioned in front of ribs 256. The attachment member 121 extends rearward of hand vacuum 400 and may be received on split saddle flanges 280 in a similar manner to mount 220. Alternately, it will be appreciated that hand vacuum 400 may be partially nest between, or be received between, the ribs 256.
  • [0138]
    As exemplified, to supportingly engage the attachment member 121, each saddle flange 280 preferably includes a projection or protrusion (not shown) that is received within the channel 142 of the collar 140 (as described in more detail with reference to FIGS. 24-27 below). The generally curved profile of the collar 140 and channel 142 may enable the attachment member 121 (and the associated hand vacuum 400) to generally self-level or self-register between the ribs 256 when the user initially places the attachment member 121 on the saddle flanges 280. Like the mount 220 described above, the saddle flanges 280 may include magnets or other fastening devices to secure or retain the attachment member 121. Optionally, the mount 220 or any other suitable type of mounting hardware may replace the saddle flanges 280 in this example.
  • [0139]
    The lower ends of the ribs 256 may be attached to a bracket 260 having a generally opposite configuration than the wishbone. That is, the bracket may include two, upward facing projections 262, for attaching to the ribs 256, that are connected by a cross-member 264 to provide a single downward facing coupling point 266. The spaced apart ribs provide two mounting points. Various such structures may be used.
  • [0140]
    Preferably, lower portion 216 is rotatably mounted to the cleaning head. Accordingly, a user may rotate grip 212 clockwise or counterclockwise to assist in steering the cleaning head. Accordingly an advantage of providing a single, downward facing coupling point may be the fact that a single coupling point can be pivotally and rotationally connected to the surface cleaning head 300. Another advantage is that a narrower rear end may be utilized for the floor cleaning unit.
  • [0141]
    Accordingly, as exemplified, the bracket 260 preferably also includes a housing 268, which is preferably hollow, having a lower opening 270 that connects to the surface cleaning head 300. As exemplified, housing 268 may be pivotally mounted to surface cleaning head, preferably at about the location of rear wheels 320, such as by having a portion pivotally mounted to the axle of rear wheels 320. Optionally, the connection between the lower opening 270 and the surface cleaning head 300 can be a rotatable and pivotal connection. The hollow housing 268 may extend from the lower opening 270, through the cross-member 264 to define an upper collar 272.
  • [0142]
    Optionally, as in this example, the surface cleaning head 300 includes a hollow conduit member 330 and a second air conduit 334. As exemplified in FIGS. 30-32, one example of the second air conduit 334 is a second flexible hose 335. In the preferred arrangement shown, the dirty air outlet 312 of the surface cleaning head 300 is connected to the second or upstream flexible hose 335 and the second flexible hose 335 extends from the dirty air outlet 312, through the hollow conduit member 330, through the hollow housing 268 to the upper collar 272. The downstream end of the second flexible hose 335 may be fixedly connected to the upper collar 272, or it may have a fitting that seats upon a surface of the upper collar 272 preventing the second flexible hose 335 from retracting within the hollow housing 268 while leaving the downstream end of the second flexible hose 335 free to extend upward, away from the upper collar 272.
  • [0143]
    The second flexible hose 335 forms part of the continuous airflow passageway that connects the dirty air outlet 312 of the surface cleaning head 300 to the opening 438 on the hand vacuum 400. To establish the continuous airflow passageway, the downstream end of the second upstream flexible hose 335 may be connected to the upstream end of the downstream flexible hose 125. The connection between the flexible hose 125 and the downstream end of the second flexible hose 335 is preferably a detachable connection so that the flexible hose 125 can be detached from the surface cleaning head 300 as described above.
  • [0144]
    Optionally, the second flexible hose 335 is also an extensible, or stretchable, hose that can extend when pulled on by the user. In some examples, the second flexible hose 335 is a stretch hose and may have a stretched length to non-stretched length ratio of between 2:1-6:1. In examples where the second flexible hose 335 is not stretchable, when a user removes the hand vacuum 400 from its mount during use, the maximum distance that the hand vacuum 400 can be separated from the backbone 200 and the surface cleaning head 300 is determined by the length of the flexible hose 125. However, in some instances, a user may wish to move the hand vacuum 400 a greater distance from the backbone 200, for example to pass the surface cleaning head 300 under a bed or other large piece of furniture. When a stretchable second flexible hose 335 is used, the downstream end of the second flexible hose 335 can unseat from the upper collar 272 and extend away from the bracket 260, whereby some of hose 335 may pass through housing 268 thereby lengthening the airflow conduit connecting the hand vacuum 400 to the surface cleaning head 300 and allowing the hand vacuum 400 to be moved further from the backbone 200 in use. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that some or all of the conduit that may be extended to provide additional length for an air flow passage may be stored on the surface cleaning head 300.
  • [0145]
    It will be appreciated that lower section 216 may be rotatably mounted on cleaning head 300 without hose 335 extending through a housing 268. Further, a housing 268 may be used even if lower section 216 is not rotatably mounted to cleaning head 300. Such a housing need not be pivotally mounted to surface cleaning head.
  • [0146]
    Preferably, the second flexible hose 335 is also resilient so that it will return to its original, un-stretched length when it is released by the user. The resilience of the second flexible hose 335 may tend to retract the second flexible hose 335 through the hollow housing 268 and the hollow conduit member 330 and may serve to re-seat the downstream end of the second flexible hose 335 on the upper collar 272. In this example, the second flexible hose 335 functions as a variable length air conduit and may reduce the need for a user to add extra hoses or conduit members to the vacuum 100 during use.
  • [0147]
    To allow for easy and repeated extension of the second flexible hose 335, the second flexible hose 335 may be sized to freely pass through both the hollow conduit member 330 of the surface cleaning head 300 and the hollow housing 268 of the bracket 260.
  • [0148]
    In the example shown in FIG. 28-32, the hollow housing 268 is integral the bracket 260 and also serves as the coupling means that connects the lower portion 216 to the surface cleaning head 300. As shown, the coupling between the lower portion 216 and the surface cleaning head 300 may be the telescoping or overlapping engagement of the lower opening 270 over the surface cleaning head 300 hollow conduit member 330. In other examples, the coupling or attachment between the lower portion 216 and the surface cleaning head 300 may be any type of connection including a threaded connection, clamps or tabs. The connection between the lower portion 216 and the surface cleaning head 300 may be fixed or selectively releasable. An advantage of providing a single, downward facing coupling point 266 may be the fact that a single coupling point 266 can be pivotally and rotationally connected to the surface cleaning head 300. Further, the hollow conduit member 330 may be pivotally connected to the surface cleaning head 300, as exemplified in FIGS. 28-32, and in other examples, the hollow conduit member 330 may be fixedly connected to the surface cleaning head 300, or integrally formed therewith.
  • [0149]
    As shown, the hollow housing 268 may be integral with the bracket 260 and provide both a hollow passageway and an attachment point. However, in other examples, the hollow housing 268 may be external the bracket 260 and may be formed from a separate conduit. Similarly, the air flow conduit 110 connecting the attachment member 121 to the second flexible hose 335 may be the flexible hose 125 or any other suitable conduit, including flexible conduits, rigid conduits, conduits integral with the handle and conduits external the handle.
  • [0150]
    Optionally, the ribs 256 (or another portion of the second portion 216) may be surrounded by a housing or shell. The housing may provide structural strength to the second portion 216 or it may merely provide an improved aesthetic appearance of the vacuum 100, or both. If a housing is formed around a section of the second portion 216 (or any other section of the handle 210 or backbone 200) the mount for supporting the hand vacuum (for example the mount 220 or the saddle flanges 260) may be within a recess in the housing. Providing a recess in the housing for receiving the hand vacuum may create a more integrated or seamless visual appearance when the hand vacuum is mounted to the backbone 200; it may also improve the rigidity of the backbone 200.
  • [0151]
    As exemplified, wishbone portion 250 preferably extends forwardly and provides a mount for upper portion 214 (i.e. the handle) at a forward point of the backbone. Further, passageway 268 extends rearwardly. Accordingly, when hand vacuum 400 is mounted to the backbone, the centre of gravity of the backbone and hand vacuum 400 combined is below a plane P extending from the axle of rear wheel 320 to the upper end of upper portion 214 (as exemplified in FIG. 30), thereby improving maneuverability of surface cleaning head 300. It will be appreciated that other constructions, such as that exemplified in FIGS. 14-18, may be used to position the centre of gravity behind the plane. In the example shown (best exemplified in FIG. 18), the lower portion 216 includes an upper end, that is connected to the hinge 218 such that the upper portion 214 is drivingly connected to the surface cleaning head 300. In this construction the lower end includes a step-back or kinked-back portion 215. The step-back portion 215 enables the mount 220 to be positioned sufficiently behind the rear wheels 320 such that the centre of gravity of the combination of the backbone 200 and the hand vacuum 400 is below the plane P. As a result of this configuration, the vacuum 100 may be more stable when rotated and maneuvered by the user, especially when upper portion 214 is rotated about hinge 218. Specifically, locating the centre of gravity of the combination of the hand vacuum 400 and the backbone 200 below the plane P may tend to reduce the over rotation of the backbone 200 or over-steer of the vacuum 100 in use, and may reduce the strain on a user's arm and wrist.
  • [0152]
    It will be appreciated that the dual hose construction (i.e. the flexible hose 125 and the second flexible hose 335 of FIG. 28-32) may be used in combination with any example disclosed herein or by itself in a surface cleaning apparatus. Similarly, the positioning of a removably mounted portable surface cleaning apparatus with a low centre of gravity may be used in combination with any example disclosed herein or by itself in a surface cleaning apparatus.
  • [0153]
    Referring now to FIGS. 36-38, another embodiment of a vacuum cleaner 100 includes a portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 removably mounted to the backbone 200, which in this embodiment includes the upper portion 214 and the lower portion 216. Backbone 200 is pivotally connected to the surface cleaning head 300, which includes the dirty air inlet 310 and is rolling supported above the floor by rear wheels 320.
  • [0154]
    The portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 is fluidly connected to the surface cleaning head 300 by the air conduit 110 that comprises the substantially rigid upper and lower portions 214, 216 and the flexible hose 125. In this configuration, the vacuum cleaner 100 can be operated in a floor cleaning mode as an upright vacuum cleaner.
  • [0155]
    Optionally, as described in detail above, a user can detach the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 from the backbone 200, as shown in FIGS. 37 and 38, so that the user can hold the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400, or rest it on the ground, separately from the backbone 200 and surface cleaning head 300. To configure the vacuum cleaner 100 in this manner, a user can remove the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 from the mount portion 220 of the backbone 200.
  • [0156]
    In this example, as exemplified in FIG. 37, the mount portion 220 is a generally tubular section 216 a of the lower portion 216 that is received within a corresponding slot or aperture in the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400. In some examples, the corresponding slot is a generally complimentary, tubular or cylindrical opening in a lower portion of the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 that is sized and configured to removably receive the tubular section 216 a. Optionally, as exemplified, both the tubular section 216 a and the corresponding slot can form part of the air flow passage 110 that communicably links the dirty air inlet 310 to the portable surface cleaning apparatus 100. Accordingly, the connection between the tubular section 216 a and the slot in the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 can also include a releasable sealing member, for example a rubber o-ring, to provide a generally air-tight connection between the lower portion 216 and the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400.
  • [0157]
    In some examples the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 is held on the tubular section 216 a by gravity, and is free from any locking or latching mechanisms. In other examples, the connection between the tubular section 216 a and the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 can include a user operable lock or latching mechanism to securely hold the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 in place when the vacuum cleaner 100 is in use as an upright vacuum cleaning.
  • [0158]
    As exemplified in FIGS. 36-38, the vacuum cleaner 100 can be operated in at least two operating modes when the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 is removed from the backbone 200. In one configuration, as exemplified in FIG. 37, the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 can be removed from fluid communication with the surface cleaning head 300 and can be operated as an above floor cleaning apparatus. In this configuration the upper portion 214 can be released from portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 and serve as an auxiliary cleaning tool. Optionally, the upper portion 214 can include a rigid cleaning wand portion 214 a that can be used to extend the cleaning reach of a user. The cleaning wand portion 214 a can also be configured to receive additional auxiliary cleaning tools 112 as described above. In some examples, the cleaning wand portion 214 a can be detached from the grip portion 212, which can then be used to clean surfaces directly, or to support auxiliary cleaning tools 112.
  • [0159]
    In another configuration, as exemplified in FIG. 38, when the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 is detached from the backbone 200 the upper portion 214 and be re-connected to the lower portion 216 (for example by sliding over the tubular mount section 216 a), so that the detached portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 can remain in fluid communication with the surface cleaning head 300. In this configuration, the backbone 200 of the vacuum cleaner 100 can be maneuvered as an upright vacuum cleaner without the added weight and bulk of the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400, as explained in greater detail with respect to the previous example with reference to FIG. 16 a.
  • [0160]
    In the previous example the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 could optionally be detached from the backbone 200 without interrupting the air flow connection between the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 and the surface cleaning head 300. In the present example (exemplified in FIGS. 36-38), detaching the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400 from the backbone 200 temporarily interrupts the air flow passage from the surface cleaning head 300 to the portable surface cleaning apparatus 400, but the air flow passage can be reestablished by re-configuring the upper and lower portions 214, 216 as described above.
  • [0161]
    Referring now to FIGS. 19-27, examples of the portable cleaning apparatus 400 and the attachment member 121 of the vacuum 100 are shown in more detail. It will be appreciated that any portable surface cleaning apparatus may be used. Preferably, the portable surface cleaning apparatus uses cyclonic separation. More preferably, the portable surface cleaning apparatus is a hand vacuum cleaner.
  • [0162]
    The hand vacuum 400 can be operated as the vacuum suction supply for the vacuum 100 and it can be operated as a stand alone hand vacuum cleaner, that is movable along a surface to be cleaned by gripping and maneuvering handle 402, when it is removed from, or detached from the backbone 200. The hand vacuum 400 includes an upper portion 404, a lower portion 406, a front 408, and a rear 410. In the example shown, maneuvering handle 402 is provided at the upper portion 404. In alternate examples, maneuvering handle 402 may be provided elsewhere on the vacuum cleaner 400, for example at the rear 410.
  • [0163]
    In the example shown, the hand vacuum 400 comprises a nozzle 412 and a cyclone unit 414, which together preferably form a cleaning head portion 416 of the hand vacuum 400. In the example shown, the cleaning head portion 416 is provided at the front 408 of the hand vacuum 400.
  • [0164]
    Nozzle 412 comprises a dirty air inlet 418, through which dirty air is drawn into the portable cleaning apparatus 400, and when used as a hand vacuum cleaner the nozzle 412 directly engages a surface to be cleaned. An airflow passage extends from the dirty air inlet 418 to a clean air outlet 420 of the hand vacuum 400. In the example shown, clean air outlet 420 is at the rear 410 of the hand vacuum 400. It will be appreciated that clean air outlet may optionally be connected to a fluid conduit provided in the floor cleaning unit.
  • [0165]
    Cyclone unit 414 is provided in the airflow passage, downstream of the dirty air inlet 418. In the example shown, the cyclone unit 414 comprises one cyclone 422, and one dirt chamber 424. In alternate examples, the cyclone unit 410 may include more than one cyclone, and more than one dirt chamber. Further, the cyclones chambers may be arranged in stages, and may be provided in parallel or in sequence. Alternately, or in addition, one or more filters or other dirt separation members may be used.
  • [0166]
    In a preferred embodiment, cyclone unit 414 is the first cyclonic cleaning stage of an upright vacuum cleaner and one or more additional cyclonic stages may optionally be provided. Cyclone unit 414 preferably comprises an inverted cyclone and/or a dirt collection chamber that partially or completely surrounds a cyclone chamber.
  • [0167]
    Referring to FIGS. 33 and 34, an example of a cyclone unit 414 is shown in more detail. Within the cyclone unit 414, the cyclone 422 may be of any configuration and orientation. Preferably, cyclone 422 comprises a chamber wall 442, which in the example shown, is cylindrical. The cyclone chamber is located inside chamber wall 442. The cyclone 422 has an air inlet and an air outlet, which, preferably are at the same end of cyclone 422. Preferably the air inlet and the air outlet are distal to front end of the hand vacuum 400. The cyclone air inlet and cyclone air outlet may be of any configuration known in the art and the cyclone air outlet may be covered by a screen or shroud or filter as is known in the art.
  • [0168]
    The air travels in a cyclonic path in the cyclone, and dirt in the air is separated from the air. The air exits the cyclone via an outlet passage 444. As exemplified in FIG. 34, a plate 474 may be provided adjacent outlet passage 444, spaced from and facing the outlet passage 444. As exemplified in FIG. 35, the cyclone outlet passage 444 may comprise a vortex finder 482, upstream from and in communication with the dirt outlet 446. As exemplified, the vortex finder is a cylindrical conduit, having an inlet facing the dirt outlet 446.
  • [0169]
    In the example shown, plate 474, legs 478 and a wire mesh surrounding legs 478 form a shroud 484 that is optionally removably mounted in cyclone 422.
  • [0170]
    Preferably, the shroud 484 is positioned such that air must pass through the openings in the shroud prior to traveling to a downstream component (e.g., a further cyclonic stage or a suction motor). As exemplified, the shroud surrounds the cyclone air outlet, or outlet passage 444. The shroud 484 may serve to prevent elongate material and larger, lighter dirt from passing through dirt outlet 446. As exemplified, the shroud 484 surrounds the vortex finder 482. Legs 478 extend from plate 474, along vortex finder 482. As exemplified, the shroud 484 also comprises a ring 485 that is integral with legs 478 and surrounds vortex finder 482. The ring and legs provide a mount for plate 474. Optionally, a screen extends from plate 474, around legs 478, to ring 485. Accordingly, the screen is positioned in the air flow path of air exiting the cyclone chamber and entering the vortex finder 482. It will be appreciated that in alternate embodiments, the shroud may be any other suitable configuration. For example, a plate need not be provided. In another example, the plate may be provided as part of the vortex finder. The shroud screen may be made of a wire mesh. Alternately, shroud 484 may be a molded plastic covering vortex finder 482 and may have a plurality of apertures therein.
  • [0171]
    Optionally, the dirt chamber may be internal or external to the cyclone chamber. Preferably, as exemplified in FIGS. 33-35, the dirt chamber 424 is external the outer cyclone housing 442, and the dirt that is separated from the air exits the outer cyclone housing 442 via dirt outlet 446, and enters dirt chamber 424. In the example shown, the dirt chamber 424 has an outer wall 415 that comprises a first portion 425 and a second portion 427. The second portion 427 may also be referred to as a door or outlet end wall. Together, the first and second portions 425, 427 cooperate to define a sealed dirt chamber 424. As exemplified, the first and second portions 425, 427 of the dirt chamber outer wall 415 may also form the outer housing, casing or unit wall of the cyclone unit 414, and more generally of the cleaning head portion 416 of the hand vacuum 400. In other examples, the first and second portions 425, 427 of the dirt chamber outer wall, or portions thereof, may be surrounded by a separate housing, casing or wall structure that defines the outer surface of the cyclone unit 414 and the cleaning head portion 416 of the hand vacuum 400. Also, the dirt chamber 424 may be in communication with the cyclone chamber by any means known in the art. Accordingly, one or more dirt outlets may be provided. Preferably, the dirt outlet is at the end opposed to the air inlet and, preferably, the dirt outlet is at the front end of the hand vacuum 400.
  • [0172]
    In the example shown, the dirt chamber 424 comprises two volumes. A first volume 448 is provided immediately adjacent the dirt outlet 446, and above the top of the outer cyclone housing 442, when the hand vacuum 400 is mounted on the backbone 200. A second volume 450 is the generally annular space formed between the outer cyclone housing 442 and the first portion 425 of the dirt chamber outer wall 415.
  • [0173]
    A separation plate 454 may be provided in the dirt chamber 424, adjacent the dirt outlet 446. The separation plate 454 aids in preventing dirt in dirt chamber 424 from re-entering cyclone 422. Preferably, plate 454 is spaced from dirt outlet 446 and faces dirt outlet 446. Plate 454 may be mounted by any means to any component in cyclone unit 414. As exemplified, the separation plate is mounted on an arm, which extends from an inner surface of the front wall 458 of the hand vacuum 400.
  • [0174]
    When the vacuum 100 is used to clean a surface the dirt separated from the dirty air is collected in and retained in the dirt chamber 424. When the hand vacuum 400 is mounted on the backbone 200, gravity will urge the dirt toward the bottom the dirt chamber 424 as exemplified in FIG. 33 (that is, toward the air outlet 420 and away from the second portion 427 of the dirt chamber outer wall 415). As a result of ongoing or extended use of the vacuum 100, the amount of dirt collected within dirt chamber 424 will increase. As the amount of dirt contained within the dirt chamber 424 increases, the level of dirt within the dirt chamber 424 will rise, relative to the bottom of the dirt chamber 424 as exemplified in FIG. 33. Over time, the level of dirt within the dirt chamber 424 will approach an optional designated fill line F indicated on at least one side of the first portion 425 of the dirt chamber outer wall 415.
  • [0175]
    The position of the fill line F may be based on the performance characteristics of the cyclone 422 including the height of the cyclone outer surface 442 or other suitable factors. As exemplified in FIG. 33, the location of the fill line F may be below the top of the cyclone outer housing 442 and the dirt outlet 446 (when the hand vacuum 400 is vertically mounted on the backbone 200). Locating the fill line F below the dirt outlet 446 may reduce the likelihood of dirt re-entering the outer cyclone housing 442 and fouling the cyclone 422 or otherwise interfering with the operation of the hand vacuum 400. Optionally, the fill line F may be defined by the edge of the second portion 427 of the dirt chamber wall 415, instead of a line on the first portion 425.
  • [0176]
    In the example shown in FIGS. 33 and 34, the first portion 425 of the dirt chamber outer wall 415 is transparent (or at least substantially transparent) to allow a user to see the amount of dirt contained within the dirt chamber 424 without having to open or otherwise access the dirt chamber 424. When the hand vacuum is mounted on the backbone 200, a user looking into the dirt chamber 424 may be able to compare the height of the dirt in the dirt chamber 424 to the position of the fill line F to determine if the dirt chamber 424 is “full”. Being able to see the amount of dirt in the dirt chamber 424 may enable a user to determine how much capacity remains within the dirt chamber 424, and accordingly anticipate how much additional cleaning can be completed before the dirt chamber 424 needs to be emptied. While the first portion 425 of the dirt chamber outer wall 415 is preferably transparent to allow a user to see inside the dirt chamber 424, the outer cyclone housing 442 is preferably opaque to conceal the cyclone 422 and to provide a contrasting background to allow the user to accurately determine the height of the dirt within the dirt chamber 424.
  • [0177]
    Due to the operation of the cyclone 422 and configuration of the dirt outlet 446, it may impede the operation of the vacuum 100 (and the hand vacuum 400) if the dirt outlet 446 is substantially blocked or occluded by the accumulated dirt in the dirt chamber 424. To reduce the chances of the dirt outlet 446 being blocked by dirt the fill line F may be located below the dirt outlet 446 as exemplified. The position of the fill line F may also be based on a maximum volume of the dirt chamber below the fill line F so that when the hand vacuum 400 is operated on its side, as a hand vacuum, the dirt in the dirt chamber 424 will not completely submerge the cyclone outer housing 442 and the dirt outlet 446. Optionally, the first portion 425 of the dirt chamber outer wall 415 may include a second fill line that is oriented to be read when the hand vacuum 400 is in a sideways orientation. The dirt chamber 424 may also include a plurality of additional indicator lines, such as a half-full line and a quarter-full line.
  • [0178]
    Despite the presence of the fill line F indicating the maximum intended capacity of the dirt chamber 424, a user may be tempted to continue to operate the vacuum 100 to collect additional dirt, particularly if it appears that there is additional dirt storage capacity within the dirt chamber 424 above the fill line F, for example dirt chamber volume 448. As described above, filling the dirt chamber 424 above the fill line F can impede the operation of the vacuum 100. Therefore, to deter users from over-filling the dirt chamber 424 (i.e. filling above the fill line F), the second portion 427 of the cyclone unit wall 415 is preferably opaque (or at least substantially opaque) to visually obscure portions of the dirt chamber 424 from the user, as exemplified in FIG. 33. Optionally, the first portion 425 may be partially translucent and partially opaque to further conceal the interior of the dirt chamber 424.
  • [0179]
    The second portion 427 of the dirt chamber outer wall 415 abuts the first portion 425 at a joint or juncture. The position of the juncture may be such that the lowest portion of the juncture (when the hand vacuum 400 is vertically mounted on the backbone 200) is proximate the fill line F. Configuring the dirt chamber 424 in this manner may further deter the user from over-filling the dirt chamber 424 because the opaque second portion 427 may create the illusion that the dirt chamber 424 does not extend much above the fill line F.
  • [0180]
    This embodiment is particularly preferred. When a user approaches the vacuum cleaner, they may approach it from the front, as seen in FIG. 14. In this orientation, the shortest portion of first portion 425 is visible. Accordingly, if second portion is an openable lip, and is made from a plastic that is less translucent then first portion 415, a user may determine to empty the dirt collection chamber prior to using the vacuum cleaner if the dirt collection appears to be full due to dirt extending all the way up to the lowest portion of lid 427. It will be appreciated that a fill line need not be marked on the dirt collection chamber itself.
  • [0181]
    Cyclone unit 414 may be emptied by any means known in the art. For example, one of the ends of the cyclone unit 414 may be openable. The second portion 427 may be a pivotally mounted door to the first portion 425 of the cyclone unit wall 415, such that cyclone unit 414 may be opened, and dirt chamber 424 may be emptied. When second portion 427 is pivoted away from the remainder of the cyclone unit 414, separation plate 454 also preferably pivots away from the remainder of the cyclone unit 414. A securing member such as a latch 459, a screw mount or the like may be provided, which secures second portion 427 to the first portion 425 of the wall 415. In alternate examples, second portion 427 may be removable from cyclone unit wall 415 (As exemplified in FIG. 34) or the opposed end of the cyclone unit 414 may be openable.
  • [0182]
    In the example shown, the nozzle 412 is positioned at the lower portion 406 of the portable cleaning apparatus 400. More preferably, as in the example shown, nozzle 412 is positioned at the bottom of the portable cleaning apparatus 400, and is preferably beneath the cyclone unit 414 when used as a hand vacuum cleaner and is between the cyclone unit 414 and the mount 220 when attached to the backbone 200. Further, as in the example shown, the nozzle 412 is preferably fixedly positioned at the lower portion 406 of the portable cleaning apparatus 400. That is, the nozzle 412 is not movable with respect to the remainder of the portable cleaning apparatus 400, and is fixed at the lower portion 106 of the portable cleaning apparatus 400. As shown in FIGS. 20 and 21, nozzle 412 has a width WN and, as shown in FIG. 24, coupling plate 123 has a width Wp that is generally the same as width WN.
  • [0183]
    Nozzle 112 exemplifies a particular design for an open sided nozzle. Open sided nozzle 112 has an open side that faces the surface to be cleaned when the nozzle is placed against a surface to be cleaned. Accordingly, nozzle 112 defines an air flow chamber that has an open lower side. In operation, air will flow longitudinally through the air flow chamber to an air exit. It will be appreciated that only part of the nozzle may have an open lower side. Alternately, all of the nozzle, from an air inlet end to the air outlet, may have an open lower side. It will be appreciated that various other design may be used.
  • [0184]
    Referring now to FIGS. 21-27, nozzle 412 comprises an upper nozzle wall 426. In the example shown, the upper nozzle wall 426 comprises a portion 419 of a wall 415 of the cyclone unit. Nozzle 412 further preferably comprises a depending wall 428 extending downwardly from the upper nozzle wall 426. The depending wall 428 is generally U-shaped. The height of the depending wall may vary. The open end of the U-shape defines an open side wall 430 of the nozzle 414, and forms the dirty air inlet 418 of the portable cleaning apparatus 400. In the example shown, the open side wall 430 is provided at the front of the nozzle 414 and forms a portion of a flow passage that is in communication with the opening 438. When in use as a hand vacuum, optional wheels 435 are in contact with a surface and the open side wall 430 sits above and is adjacent a hard surface to be cleaned. It will be appreciated that depending wall 428 may be positioned only rearward of opening 438. Alternately, or in addition, depending wall 428 may be provided adjacent the lateral sides of opening 438. The depending walls may be discrete walls or they may be joined together as exemplified. The walls may be continuous or discontinuous.
  • [0185]
    In the example shown, the lower end 432 of the depending wall 428 defines an open lower end 434 of the nozzle 414. The open lower end 434 extends to the front 408 of the hand vacuum 400, and merges with the open side 430. In use, the open lower end 434 faces a surface to be cleaned. In the example shown, a plurality of wheels 435 are mounted to the depending wall 428, and extend below the lower end 432 of the depending wall 428. Accordingly, when in use as a hand vacuum, when wheels 435 are in contact with a surface, the lower end 432 of the depending wall 428 is spaced from a surface to be cleaned, and the space between the lower end of the depending wall 428 and the surface to be cleaned form a secondary dirty air inlet to the portable cleaning apparatus 400 when used as a hand vacuum.
  • [0186]
    The upper nozzle wall 426, depending wall 428, and open lower end 434 of the nozzle 412 define an airflow chamber 436 of the nozzle. An opening 438 is preferably provided in the upper nozzle wall 426, and is in communication with the airflow chamber 436. When in use as a hand vacuum, the wheels 435 are in contact with a surface, the opening 438 faces a surface to be cleaned, air enters the dirty air inlet 418, passes horizontally through the airflow chamber 436, and passes into the opening 438. Opening 438 is in communication with a cyclone inlet passage 439, which is in communication with a cyclone air inlet 440 of cyclone 422. In some embodiments, opening 438 need not be in upper wall 426.
  • [0187]
    Nozzle 412 and attachment member 121 are configured such that attachment member 121 may form part of the air flow conduit to opening 438 when attachment member 121 is mounted to hand vacuum 400. For example, when the portable cleaning apparatus 400 is used in combination with the backbone 200 and the surface cleaning head 300, the opening 438 in the nozzle 412 is in sealed, fluid communication with the air outlet 127 of the attachment member 121. By way of this connection, a continuous fluid pathway is established between the dirty air input 310 of the surface cleaning head 300 and the opening 438.
  • [0188]
    It will be appreciated that attachment member 121 may be removably mounted to nozzle 412 by any engagement means known in the connecting arts. Further, attachment member may be of any configuration. Attachment member may be part of, or may be connected to, an accessory cleaning tool by any means, such as a flexible hose. The flexible hose may be hose 110 if hose 110 is removably mounted to the floor cleaning unit.
  • [0189]
    As exemplified, attachment member 121 is removably engaged with nozzle 412 by the engagement of pivoting arms in slots provided on nozzle 412. Accordingly, for example, nozzle 412 may also include a slot 490 defining a recess in the depending wall 428 that is adjacent the upper nozzle wall 426. The slot 490 preferably extends continuously along the U-shaped portion of the nozzle depending wall 428 and may be bounded at each end by corners 492. The attachment member 121 includes two arms 151 each having a shoulder 154 and being pivotally connected to the coupling plate 123 using pins 156 (alternatively, the arms 151 could be resilient). FIG. 27 is a partially exploded view of the attachment member 121, illustrating one example of the rotational connection between the coupling 142 and the collar 140. In the example shown, the coupling 142 comprises a cylindrical body wall that passes through an opening in the collar 140. Once the coupling 142 had been inserted into the collar 140 it is retained using fastening clip 143. The combination of the coupling plate 123 and the arms 151 may also be described as connecting portion, mounting portion or nozzle mounting portion of the attachment member 121.
  • [0190]
    In order to assemble the mount on nozzle 412, coupling plate 123 may be slid into the open end of airflow chamber 436. Accordingly, when the coupling plate 123 of the attachment portion 121 is slid into the airflow chamber 436, the arms 151 are pressed together by the nozzle 412 walls until the point when arms 151 are aligned with slot 490 (i.e. when the shoulders 154 are advanced past the corners 492). When the arms 151 are aligned with the slot 490, the attachment member 121 is “clicked-in” or locked in place when the arms 151 spread apart and the shoulders 154 of the arms 151 become lodged behind the corners 192 of slot 490. The arms 151 may be manually separated or the attachment member may include a biasing means (not shown) that biases the arms 151 apart. With the arms 151 in the spread configuration the attachment member 121 cannot be slidingly removed from the nozzle 412. When a user wishes to detach the attachment means 121 from the nozzle 412 the user may squeeze upstanding tabs 153 together thereby allowing the shoulders 154 to slide past the corners 192. The mount may alternately be inserted by squeezing upstanding tabs 153 together so that plate 123 may be inserted in chamber 436.
  • [0191]
    When the hand vacuum 400 is coupled to the attachment member 121 the airflow chamber 436 may receive, and be partially filled with the coupling plate 123 of the attachment portion 121. The coupling plate 123 is preferably shaped to be slidingly received within the airflow chamber 436.
  • [0192]
    Insertion of the coupling plate 123 into the airflow chamber 436 serves to register the air outlet 127 with the nozzle opening 438. As shown, the air outlet 127 has a width Wo and a length Lo that are preferably the same as the width Wo and a length Lo of the opening 438. A sealing gasket 123 may provided at the juncture of the openings.
  • [0193]
    The attachment member 121 and the nozzle 412 may also include a plurality of magnets 158 that magnetically couple the attachment member 121 to the nozzle 412 to improve the connection between them and ensure that air outlet 127 is properly registered with opening 438. It will be appreciated that, in an alternate embodiment, only magnets may be used. Other mounting means may be used. For example, a plurality of latches may be used or air outlet 127 may extend into opening 438.
  • [0194]
    Optionally, when the attachment member 121 is coupled to the portable cleaning apparatus 400, the upstream end of the air conduit 110 (for example hose 125) can be detached from the surface cleaning head 300 and the combination of the attachment member 120 and the flexible hose 125 (decoupled from the surface cleaning head 300) can serve as an auxiliary or accessory cleaning tool. The free end of the hose 125 may be maneuvered by the user to clean objects and surfaces that cannot be cleaned using the surface cleaning head 300. In some examples, the upstream end of the flexible hose 125 may be connected to the auxiliary cleaning tool 112. Alternatively, the flexible hose 125 may be removed from the attachment member 120 and the auxiliary cleaning tool 112 may be mounted directly to the air inlet 126 of the attachment member 120. It will be appreciated that tool 112 may have a plate 123 and arms 151 provided at the coupling end thereof.
  • [0195]
    Optionally, the attachment member 120 may be removed from the nozzle 412 and the auxiliary cleaning tool 112 may be fitted directly to the nozzle 412, without the use of a flexible hose 125 or other type intermediate air conduit. In addition to the auxiliary or accessory cleaning tool 112, the nozzle 412 may be directly connected to any one of a number of cleaning tools that have been provided with the an appropriate attachment member, including wands, brushes, crevasse tools and other hoses.
  • [0196]
    Clean air outlet 420 is provided downstream of the cyclone unit 414, suction motor and optional post-motor filter contained optionally within the cleaner body 460. Clean air outlet 420 may comprise a plurality of apertures formed in housing 461. The cleaner body 460 may also contain one or more of a separation plate, a dirt chamber a pre-motor filter and a plurality of connecting fluid conduits or passageways.
  • [0197]
    In the example shown, cleaner body 460 is removably mounted to head portion 416. For example, cleaner body 460 may be entirely removable from head portion 416, or pivotably mounted to head portion 416. Accordingly, cleaner body 460 and head portion 416 may be separated in order to provide access to the interior of cleaner body 460 or head portion 416. This may allow a pre-motor filter to be cleaned, changed, or serviced, or the motor to be cleaned, changed or serviced. Alternately, head portion 416 may be cleaned or serviced. For example, any dirt stuck in the enclosed passages portable cleaning apparatus 400 may be removed. Alternately, a replacement cleaner body 460 or head portion 416 may be provided, and may be mounted to an existing head portion 416 or cleaner body 460, respectively.
  • [0198]
    One or more additional rear wheels 480 may be mounted to housing 461 at lower portion 406, and may be used in conjunction with wheels 435 when the portable cleaning apparatus 400 is used as a hand vacuum. When the portable cleaning apparatus 400 is attached to the backbone 200 the additional wheel 480 preferably engages with the mount bracket 224 and partially supports the portable cleaning apparatus 400 on the handle 210 as described above.
  • [0199]
    Preferably, as exemplified, the portion of the attachment member 120 that is used to mount the attachment member to the backbone may also comprise part of the air flow path from surface cleaning head 300 to hand vacuum cleaner 400. For example, the attachment member 120 may include a mounting portion or collar 140 that includes a coupling 142 and defines a channel 144. The collar 140 is connected to the airflow passageway 128, or alternatively may be connected directly to the air conduit 110. Optionally, the coupling 142 is a rotatable coupling that allows the airflow passageway 128 to rotate relative to the collar 140. The upstream end of the airflow passageway 128 defines the air inlet 126. In operation, the air inlet 126 is preferably coupled to the airflow conduit 110 that extends to the surface cleaning head 300 (the flexible air hose 125 in the example shown). The air inlet 126 is releasably coupled to the flexible air hose by clips 160. Downstream of the coupling 142 an enclosed airflow passage connects the airflow passage 128 to the air outlet 127. It will be appreciated that the attachment member 120 need not comprise part of the air flow passage. For example, coupling 142 may be located out of the flow path defined by passageway 128. Alternately, plate 123 need not have opening 127. Accordingly, attachment member may have a first part that is secured to hand vacuum 400 and a second distinct part that completes that air flow passage from surface cleaning head 300 to opening 438.
  • [0200]
    The airflow passageway 128 may be flexible or rigid and may be generally straight or may have a curved shape, as shown. Preferably, the curved airflow passageway 128 subtends fewer than 45 degrees.
  • [0201]
    It will be appreciated that a construction that uses a dirt collection chamber that partially or completely surrounds a cyclone in an upright surface cleaning apparatus may be used by itself or with any other feature disclosed herein. It will be appreciated that an inverted first stage cyclone in an upright surface cleaning apparatus may be used by itself or with any other feature disclosed herein. In addition, any of the features disclosed herein may be used by themselves, or with any other feature, and may include the construction of the dirt collection chamber to denote a fill line.
  • [0202]
    It will also be appreciated that any of the aforementioned embodiments may be used singly or in any particular combination or sub-combination of the remaining features listed above.
  • [0203]
    Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, if is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims. In addition, citation or identification of any reference in this application shall not be construed as an admission that such reference is available as prior art to the present invention.

Claims (16)

  1. 1. An upright surface cleaning apparatus comprising:
    (a) a floor cleaning unit comprising a surface cleaning head having a dirty air inlet, a cleaning head air outlet and an upright section comprising a handle drivingly connected to the surface cleaning head;
    (b) a cyclone unit positioned in the air flow passage, the cyclone unit comprising a cyclone having an air inlet located at a lower end of the cyclone and an air outlet and a dirt outlet provided at an upper end of the cyclone, and a dirt collection chamber exterior to the cyclone and surrounding at least a portion of the cyclone;
    (c) a suction motor positioned in the air flow path; and,
    (d) a surface cleaning unit removably mounted to the handle wherein the surface cleaning unit comprises the cyclone unit and the suction motor.
  2. 2. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 1 wherein the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber are concurrently openable.
  3. 3. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 1 wherein the cyclone is positioned interior of the dirt collection chamber.
  4. 4. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a plate facing the dirt outlet.
  5. 5. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 4 wherein the plate is mounted to an upper end of the cyclone unit.
  6. 6. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 5 wherein the cyclone is an inverted cyclone having an air inlet and an air outlet at a lower end of the cyclone.
  7. 7. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a vortex finder that is provided on an openable door of the cyclone.
  8. 8. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 1 wherein the handle comprises a portion of the air flow path.
  9. 9. An upright surface cleaning apparatus comprising:
    (a) a floor cleaning unit comprising a surface cleaning head having a dirty air inlet, a cleaning head air outlet and an upright section comprising a handle drivingly connected to the surface cleaning head;
    (b) a cyclone unit mounted on the upright section and positioned in the air flow passage, the cyclone unit comprising a cyclone having an air inlet located at a lower end of the cyclone and an air outlet and a dirt outlet provided at an upper end of the cyclone, and a dirt collection chamber exterior to the cyclone and surrounding at least a portion of the cyclone wherein the cyclone unit is removable in a closed configuration; and,
    (c) a suction motor positioned in the air flow path.
  10. 10. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a surface cleaning unit removably mounted to the handle wherein the surface cleaning unit comprises the cyclone unit and the suction motor.
  11. 11. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 9 wherein the cyclone and the dirt collection chamber are concurrently openable.
  12. 12. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 9 wherein the cyclone is positioned interior of the dirt collection chamber.
  13. 13. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a plate facing the dirt outlet.
  14. 14. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 13 wherein the plate is mounted to an upper end of the cyclone unit.
  15. 15. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 14 wherein the cyclone is an inverted cyclone having an air inlet and an air outlet at a lower end of the cyclone.
  16. 16. The surface cleaning apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a vortex finder that is provided on an openable door of the cyclone.
US12728687 2007-08-29 2010-03-22 Cyclonic surface cleaning apparatus with externally positioned dirt chamber Abandoned US20100175217A1 (en)

Priority Applications (8)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
CA 2599303 CA2599303A1 (en) 2007-08-29 2007-08-29 Surface cleaning apparatus
CA2599303 2007-08-29
PCT/CA2008/001530 WO2009026709A1 (en) 2007-08-29 2008-08-28 Cyclonic surface cleaning apparatus with externally positioned dirt chamber
CAPCT/CA2008/001530 2008-08-28
CA 2659212 CA2659212A1 (en) 2009-03-20 2009-03-20 Surface cleaning apparatus
CA2659212 2009-03-20
US67554010 true 2010-02-26 2010-02-26
US12728687 US20100175217A1 (en) 2007-08-29 2010-03-22 Cyclonic surface cleaning apparatus with externally positioned dirt chamber

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

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US12728687 US20100175217A1 (en) 2007-08-29 2010-03-22 Cyclonic surface cleaning apparatus with externally positioned dirt chamber

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US12675540 Continuation-In-Part

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