US20120030898A1 - Hand-held vacuum cleaner with resilient rubber flap valve - Google Patents

Hand-held vacuum cleaner with resilient rubber flap valve Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120030898A1
US20120030898A1 US13/040,561 US201113040561A US2012030898A1 US 20120030898 A1 US20120030898 A1 US 20120030898A1 US 201113040561 A US201113040561 A US 201113040561A US 2012030898 A1 US2012030898 A1 US 2012030898A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
vacuum cleaner
suction
housing
flap valve
connector
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
Application number
US13/040,561
Inventor
James Todd Crouch
Shawn M. Smith
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Panasonic Corp of North America
Original Assignee
Panasonic Corp of North America
Priority date (The priority date 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 date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US37089710P priority Critical
Application filed by Panasonic Corp of North America filed Critical Panasonic Corp of North America
Priority to US13/040,561 priority patent/US20120030898A1/en
Assigned to PANASONIC CORPORATION OF NORTH AMERICA reassignment PANASONIC CORPORATION OF NORTH AMERICA ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: CROUCH, JAMES TODD, SMITH, SHAWN M.
Publication of US20120030898A1 publication Critical patent/US20120030898A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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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
    • 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
    • A47L5/30Suction cleaners with handles and nozzles fixed on the casings, e.g. wheeled suction cleaners with steering handle with driven dust-loosening tools, e.g. rotating brushes
    • 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
    • A47L5/36Suction cleaners with hose between nozzle and casing; Suction cleaners for fixing on staircases; Suction cleaners for carrying on the back
    • 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
    • A47L9/0009Storing devices ; Supports, stands or holders
    • A47L9/0018Storing devices ; Supports, stands or holders integrated in or removably mounted upon the suction cleaner for storing parts of said suction cleaner
    • 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
    • A47L9/0009Storing devices ; Supports, stands or holders
    • A47L9/0054Stands or the like for temporary interruption of work
    • 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
    • A47L9/22Mountings for motor fan assemblies
    • 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
    • A47L9/24Hoses or pipes; Hose or pipe couplings
    • A47L9/242Hose or pipe couplings
    • A47L9/246Hose or pipe couplings with electrical connectors
    • 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
    • A47L9/28Installation of the electric equipment, e.g. adaptation or attachment to the suction cleaner; Controlling suction cleaners by electric means
    • A47L9/2836Installation of the electric equipment, e.g. adaptation or attachment to the suction cleaner; Controlling suction cleaners by electric means characterised by the parts which are controlled
    • A47L9/2847Surface treating elements
    • 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
    • A47L9/28Installation of the electric equipment, e.g. adaptation or attachment to the suction cleaner; Controlling suction cleaners by electric means
    • A47L9/2857User input or output elements for control, e.g. buttons, switches or displays

Abstract

A hand-held vacuum cleaner has a housing that carries a suction generator, a dirt collection vessel, a suction inlet and a first connector. The first connector is adapted for securing the suction inlet in fluid communication with a first cleaning attachment. The housing includes a suction conduit extending from the dirt collection vessel through the first connector. The dirt collection vessel includes an inlet in fluid communication with one end of the suction conduit. The inlet of the dirt collection vessel includes a resilient flap valve that is normally closed to seal in and maintain dirt and debris in the dirt collection vessel but swings open when the suction generator is energized to allow dirt and debris to be sucked into the dirt collection vessel.

Description

  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/370,897 filed on 5 Aug. 2010, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD AND INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to the cleaning appliance field and more particularly to a hand-held and stick conversion vacuum cleaner incorporating a lightweight, inexpensive and reliable flap valve on a dirt collection vessel of the vacuum cleaner.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Hand-held vacuum cleaners are well known in the art. Hand-held vacuum cleaners are generally compact and lightweight. They are meant to be held in one hand and easily maneuvered to complete simple quick cleanup of limited areas or for specialty purposes such as when vacuuming an upholstered chair.
  • The present invention relates to a hand-held vacuum cleaner incorporating a flap valve over the inlet of the dirt collection vessel of the vacuum cleaner. The flap valve is made of lightweight, resilient material that is mounted to the vacuum cleaner so as to have a bend to provide the necessary biasing to maintain the valve in a normally closed position when the vacuum cleaner is not in use thereby sealing the inlet and maintaining dirt and debris in the dirt collection vessel.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with the purposes of the present invention as described herein, a hand-held vacuum cleaner is provided including a housing with a suction generator, a dirt collection vessel, a suction inlet and a first connector all carried on that housing. The first connector is adapted for securing the suction inlet in fluid communication with a first cleaning attachment. In addition, the housing includes a suction conduit extending from the dirt collection vessel through the first connector. The dirt collection vessel includes an inlet in fluid communication with one end of the suction conduit and that inlet includes a resilient flap valve.
  • More specifically, the flap valve includes an integrally molded mounting lug. The mounting lug engages the dirt cup and secures the flap valve over the dirt cup inlet. More specifically, the mounting lug is captured in a channel on the dirt cup so as to form a bend in the flap valve of between about 40 and about 50 degrees. That bend provides the resilient flap valve with a biasing force sufficient to maintain the flap valve in a normally closed position but allows the flap valve to move to a normally open position when the suction generator is energized to perform vacuum cleaning. The flap valve is made from a resilient material having a durometer of between about 70 to about 75 shore-A.
  • In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, a flap valve is provided for a vacuum cleaner. The flap valve comprises a resilient rubber body having an integral mounting lug and including a bend adjacent that mounting lug to provide biasing of the flap valve into a closed position.
  • In the following description there is shown and described several different embodiments of the invention, simply by way of illustration of some of the modes best suited to carry out the invention. As it will be realized, the invention is capable of other different embodiments and its several details are capable of modification in various, obvious aspects all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions will be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying drawings incorporated herein and forming a part of the specification, illustrate several aspects of the present invention and together with the description serve to explain certain principles of the invention. In the drawings:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the vacuum cleaner of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the vacuum cleaner;
  • FIG. 2 a is an exploded perspective view of the dirt collection vessel of the vacuum cleaner;
  • FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the vacuum cleaner;
  • FIG. 4 a is a rear perspective view of the open dirt cup illustrating the inlet port and flap valve with the flap valve in an open position;
  • FIG. 4 b is a detailed view of the flap valve in a closed position;
  • FIGS. 5 a and 5 b are respective perspective and end elevational views of the flap valve; and
  • FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of the vacuum cleaner and a state-of-the-art wand and nozzle assembly equipped with a female mechanical connector.
  • Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiment of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • Reference is now made to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 illustrating the hand-held and conversion vacuum cleaner 10 of the present invention. The vacuum cleaner 10 includes a housing 12 having a body 14, an integral control handle 16 and two support members 18, 20. The main body 14 of the housing 12 defines a compartment 22 receiving a suction generator 24. As illustrated, the suction generator 24 is positioned beneath the control handle 16 as well as above and between the support members 18, 20. This is done for balance and ease of operation as will be described in greater detail below.
  • The vacuum cleaner 10 is powered from a standard electrical wall outlet by means of an electric cord and plug (not shown). Unlike battery powered hand held vacuum cleaners, the vacuum cleaner 10 of the present invention provides high performance cleaning suction that is sustainable indefinitely as required for virtually any cleaning application. When not in use, the cord may be wrapped around and conveniently stored on the support members 18, 20. Significantly, the feet 27, 29 of the support members 18, 20 not only provide a steady platform to support the vacuum cleaner 10 on a flat surface, they also provide stops that hold the wrapped cord in place.
  • A dirt collection vessel, generally designated by reference numeral 26, is received and carried on the housing 12 (see also FIG. 2 a). The dirt collection vessel 26 includes a dirt cup body 28 having an inlet port 30 and an opened end 32 which is closed by a removable wall 34 having an outlet port 36. A seal 35 carried on the wall 34 insures proper sealing between the wall and the dirt cup body 28. A frustoconically shaped filter support 38 received and releaseably held in the outlet port 36 supports a filter media 40 that maintains dirt and debris in the dirt collection vessel 26 but allows clean air to be drawn toward the suction generator 24.
  • As further illustrated in the drawing figures, the housing 12 includes a spine section 42 that receives and holds a first or male mechanical connector 44. A substantially S-shaped suction conduit 46 extends through the first connector 44 and the spine section 42 from the suction inlet 48 to the side-discharge, suction outlet 50.
  • The dirt collection vessel 26 includes a saddle portion 52 that is sized and shaped to be received over the spine section 42. A channel 54 in the front wall of the dirt cup body 28 receives a locating flange 56 on the spine section 42. A spring-loaded locking lever 58 engages an intrically molded latch (not shown) provided on the body 14 to lock the dirt collection vessel 26 on the housing 12 in the fully seated, operating position.
  • An actuator button 62 may be depressed to release the locking lever 58 and allow the dirt collection vessel 26 to be removed from the housing 12 for emptying. Specifically, spaced projections 64 on the removable wall 34 at opposite sides of the outlet port 36 are engaged by the fingers to remove the wall and open the dirt cup body 28 for emptying of dirt and debris. After emptying, the removable wall 34 is repositioned in the open end 32 of the dirt cup body 28 and the dirt collection vessel 26 is then repositioned in the fully seated position on the spine section 42 of the housing 12. There, the dirt collection vessel 26 is once again locked in position by the locking lever 58 for vacuum cleaning.
  • It should be appreciated that when the dirt collection vessel 26 is properly seated and locked in position on the housing 12, the suction outlet 50 of the suction conduit 46 is aligned with the inlet port 30 of the dirt collection vessel 26. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 a and 4 b, a resilient rubber flap valve 66 normally closes the inlet port 30. For example, the flap valve 66 may be made from, but not limited to, engineering polymers, natural rubber, synthetic rubber and mixtures thereof. However, when the suction generator is energized and air entrained with dirt and debris is being drawn into the vacuum cleaner 10, the flap valve 66 is pulled open to allow passage of the air stream from the suction conduit 46 into the dirt collection vessel 26 (see FIG. 4 a).
  • As illustrated, the flap valve 66 includes a normally planar resilient rubber valve body 67, an integrally molded mounting lug 68 and a stepped bend line 73 between the valve body and the mounting lug (see also FIGS. 5 a and 5 b). The mounting lug 68 is received and captured in a mounting channel 70 provided in the interior wall of the dirt cup body 28 adjacent the inlet port 30. In the normally closed position illustrated in FIG. 4 b, the channel 70 holds the flap valve 66 so as to provide a bend at the bend line 73 of between about 40 and about 50 degrees (note bend line angle A illustrated in FIG. 5 b). The resulting bend 73 in the normally planar flap valve 66 functions with the durometor of the resilient flap valve material (between about 70 and about 75 Shore A) to provide the necessary biasing force for the flap valve 66 to partially close the inlet port 30 whenever the suction generator 24 is de-energized. In contrast, when the suction generator 24 is energized, a partial vacuum is generated in the dirt collection vessel 26 and the valve body 67 is bent over the rounded edge 69 of the arcuate channel wall 71 thereby opening the inlet port 30 to allow passage of an airstream with entrained dirt and debris. Specifically, the arcuate channel wall 71 has a radius of curvature adjacent the edge 69 of between about 0.5 mm and about 1.5 mm. In one useful embodiment, the valve body 67 has a surface area of between about 900 mm2 and about 1100 mm2, the flap valve 66 has a thickness of between about 1.2 mm and about 2.1 mm and the fold line 73 has a length of between about 35 mm and about 37 mm. The flap valve 66 insures that dirt and debris are maintained in the dirt cup body 28 and prevented from entering the suction conduit 46 when the suction generator 24 is not energized. Further, dirt and debris are prevented from exiting the dirt cup body 28 through the inlet port 30 when the dirt collection vessel 26 is removed from the housing 12 for emptying.
  • A nose tool 72 may be received over the first or male mechanical connector 44. The nose tool 72 includes a suction opening 74 having a flared sidewall 75 with a continuously variable radius. More specifically, the sidewall 75 defines a suction opening 74 that transitions smoothly from a substantially oval shape to a circular shape. The nose tool 72 allows one to perform various types of cleaning at different angles of attack while minimizing the possibility of the suction opening 74 completely sealing with the surface being cleaned.
  • The nose tool 72 may be easily installed onto the first or male connector 44 by sliding it on over the connector until a spring loaded detent 76 carried on the connector 44 is received in a cooperating aperture 78 provided in the nose tool 72. Once aligned, the detent 76 is biased into the aperture 78 to provide a positive connection. The nose tool 72 also carries an actuator 80 that may be depressed to force the detent 76 from the aperture 78 and thereby unlock the nose tool 72 for removal from the first or male connector 44 when desired. This is done, for example, when it is desired to connect the vacuum cleaner 10 to a cleaning attachment 100 such as a wand and nozzle assembly from a state of the art canister vacuum cleaner.
  • As best illustrated in FIG. 6, such a state of the art wand and nozzle assembly 100 includes a nozzle assembly 102 having an agitator cavity 104 holding a rotary agitator 106 including bristle tufts 108 or other cleaning projections. The rotary agitator 106 is driven at high speeds during the cleaning operation in order to beat dirt and debris from the nap of an underlying carpet being cleaned. Typically the rotary agitator 106 is driven by an agitator drive motor 110 carried on the nozzle assembly 102. An elongated extension wand 112 is pivotally connected to the nozzle assembly 102. The agitator cavity 104 is provided in fluid communication with a suction inlet 114 in the nozzle assembly 102. The suction inlet 114 is in turn connected in fluid communication with an interior suction passageway 116 that extends through the length of the wand 112. A combined mechanical and electrical connector 118 connects one end of the wand 112 to a cooperating mechanical and electrical connector 120 carried by the nozzle assembly 102. A second mechanical and electrical connector 122 is provided at the end of the wand 112 opposite the nozzle assembly 102.
  • In one embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 6, the connector 122 provides for female mechanical connection. In this embodiment the vacuum cleaner 10 may be connected directly to the connector 122 of the cleaning attachment 100. In order to do this, the nose tool 72 is removed and the male mechanical connector 44 is plugged directly into the mechanical and electrical connector 122. The male mechanical connector 44 also includes an electric terminal 45 that is aligned with and engages the electric terminal 124 of the connector 122. When the connectors 44, 122 and terminals 45, 124 are fully connected, the spring loaded detent 76 engages in a cooperating locking aperture (not shown) provided on the connector 122. Accordingly, the vacuum cleaner 10 is securely locked to the cleaning attachment 100.
  • When the vacuum cleaner 10 is locked in this position, the operator can use the control handle 16 to manipulate the cleaning attachment 100. Further, the vacuum cleaner 10 provides complete control of the rotary agitator 106 of the cleaning attachment 100. More specifically, a three position switch 200 is provided on the control handle 16 of the vacuum cleaner 10. In the first, off position, all electrical systems are de-energized. In the second or bare floor cleaning position, electrical power is provided only to the suction generator 24. No electrical power is provided to the rotary agitator drive motor 110. Accordingly, the rotary agitator 106 remains stationary to allow for enhanced bare-floor cleaning as the operator uses the control handle 16 to manipulate the cleaning attachment 100 back and forth across the floor being cleaned.
  • In the third position, the actuator switch 200 energizes both the suction generator 24 of the vacuum cleaner 10 and the agitator drive motor 110 of the cleaning attachment 100. Thus, in this position the rotary agitator 106 is driven to beat dirt and debris from the nap of an underlying carpet being cleaned. That dirt and debris is then drawn into the vacuum cleaner 10 by the negative pressure produced by the suction generator 24. More specifically, an air stream is drawn through the agitator cavity 104 into the suction inlet 114 of the nozzle assembly 102. From there, the air stream, with entrained dirt and debris, is drawn through the suction passageway 116 in the extension wand 112 and then through the suction conduit 46 of the vacuum cleaner 10. Next the air moves through the inlet port 30 past the open flap valve 66 into the dirt cup body 28 of the dirt collection vessel 26. Dirt and debris are trapped inside the dirt cup body 28 while relatively clean air is drawn through the filter media 40 on the filter support 38 mounted in the outlet port 36. The air stream then passes through a secondary filter (not shown) before being drawn into the suction generator 24. Next the airstream passes through the compartment 22 before being exhausted into the environment through the exhaust ports 204.
  • After completing the cleaning application, the vacuum cleaner 10 may be detached from the cleaning attachment 100 by depressing a release button 130 provided on the connector 122. More specifically, the release button 130 forces the spring loaded detent 76 from the locking aperture in order to allow disconnection.
  • In summary, numerous benefits result from employing the concepts of the present invention. The vacuum cleaner 10 functions as a high-powered hand-held vacuum cleaner with strong suction power between about 63.5 and about 74.5 inches of water. Since the vacuum cleaner 10 is plugged into and runs on electrical power from a standard wall outlet, the power is sustainable for extended periods of operating time versus typical battery powered hand-held units.
  • Not only is the vacuum cleaner 10 a stand alone unit but it may be attached to various cleaning attachments including, but not limited to, wand and nozzle assemblies 100, of state-of-the-art canister vacuum cleaners. This includes vacuum cleaners currently in production as well as many of those produced in the past. Thus, the vacuum cleaner 10 may be retrofit to a wand and nozzle assembly of a state-of-the-art canister vacuum cleaner in order to provide a stick-type vacuum for various cleaning operations. Accordingly, the vacuum cleaner 10 of the present invention provides tremendous versatility and enhances the functionality of older, previously purchased equipment.
  • The suction conduit 46, including the suction inlet 48 and side-discharge outlet 50, and the suction generator 24 are not mounted on a common centerline. The suction generator 24 is mounted below the centerline A so as to be offset toward the support member 18, 20. Further, as noted above, the suction conduit 46 is substantially S-shaped. This allows the vacuum cleaner 10 to be made more compact. It also provides for better weight distribution that effectively improves: (1) the stability of the vacuum cleaner 10 when supported on the support members 18, 20; (2) the balance of the vacuum cleaner when it is manipulated during cleaning; and (3) the stability of the combined vacuum cleaner and wand and nozzle assembly 100 when the wand is in the upright or storage position. Further, the flexible flap valve 66 provides a simple, lightweight valve construction that provides reliable, carefree operation over an extended service life.
  • The foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Obvious modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiments were chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the invention as determined by the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally and equitably entitled. The drawings and preferred embodiments do not and are not intended to limit the ordinary meaning of the claims in their fair and broad interpretation in any way.

Claims (20)

1. A hand-held and conversion vacuum cleaner, comprising:
a housing;
a suction generator carried on said housing;
a dirt collection vessel carried on said housing;
a suction inlet carried on said housing;
a first connector carried on said housing; said first connector adapted for securing said suction inlet in fluid communication with a first cleaning attachment;
said housing including a suction conduit extending from said dirt collection vessel through said first connector;
said dirt collection vessel including an inlet PORT in fluid communication with one end of said suction conduit; and
a resilient flap valve opening and closing said inlet port.
2. The vacuum cleaner of claim 1, wherein said flap valve includes in integrally molded mounting lug.
3. The vacuum cleaner of claim 2, wherein said mounting lug engages said dirt cup and secures said flap valve over said inlet.
4. The vacuum cleaner of claim 3, wherein said mounting lug is captured in a channel on said dirt cup, said channel including a channel wall about which said flap valve bends when said inlet port is opened.
5. The vacuum cleaner of claim 4, wherein said flap valve is a preloaded rubber door made from a rubber material having a durometer of between about 70 and about 75 Shore A.
6. The vacuum cleaner of claim 4, wherein said channel wall has a rounded edge over which said flap valve is bent when open.
7. The vacuum cleaner of claim 6, wherein said channel wall is arcuate.
8. The vacuum cleaner of claim 7, wherein said arcuate channel wall has a radius of curvature of between about 0.5 mm and about 1.5 mm.
9. The vacuum cleaner of claim 1, further including a nose tool connected to said first connector.
10. The vacuum cleaner of claim 9, wherein said nose tool includes a suction opening having a flared sidewall with a continuously variable radius.
11. The vacuum cleaner of claim 10, wherein said sidewall defines said suction opening so that said suction opening transitions from a substantially oval shape to a circular shape.
12. The vacuum cleaner of claim 1, wherein said vacuum cleaner includes a centerline A, said suction generator being mounted in said housing offset from said centerline A so as to provide better weight distribution.
13. The vacuum cleaner of claim 12, further including a control handle connected to said housing on a first side of said centerline A and a pair of support members connected to said housing on a second, opposite side of said centerline A.
14. The vacuum cleaner of claim 13, wherein said suction generator is offset from said centerline A toward said support members.
15. The vacuum cleaner of claim 1, wherein said housing includes a three position electrical switch for (a) selectively energizing said suction generator alone, (b) selectively energizing said suction generator and any electrical component carried on said first or second cleaning attachment and (c) selectively de-energizing said suction generator and any electrical component carried on said first or second cleaning attachment.
16. A flap valve for a vacuum cleaner, comprising:
a normally planar resilient rubber valve body, an integral mounting lug and a stepped bend line between said valve body and said mounting lug.
17. The vacuum cleaner of claim 16, wherein said flap valve is made from a rubber material having a durometer of between about 70 and about 75 Shore A.
18. A hand-held and conversion vacuum cleaner, comprising:
a housing;
a suction generator carried on said housing;
a dirt collection vessel carried on said housing;
a suction inlet carried on said housing;
a first connector carried on said housing; said first connector adapted for securing said suction inlet in fluid communication with a first cleaning attachment; and
a detachable nose tool connected to said first connector.
19. The vacuum cleaner of claim 18, wherein said nose tool includes a suction opening having a flared sidewall with a continuously variable radius.
20. The vacuum cleaner of claim 19, wherein said sidewall defines said suction opening so that said suction opening transitions from a substantially oval shape to a circular shape.
US13/040,561 2010-08-05 2011-03-04 Hand-held vacuum cleaner with resilient rubber flap valve Abandoned US20120030898A1 (en)

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US37089710P true 2010-08-05 2010-08-05
US13/040,561 US20120030898A1 (en) 2010-08-05 2011-03-04 Hand-held vacuum cleaner with resilient rubber flap valve

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US13/040,561 US20120030898A1 (en) 2010-08-05 2011-03-04 Hand-held vacuum cleaner with resilient rubber flap valve

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US13/040,561 Abandoned US20120030898A1 (en) 2010-08-05 2011-03-04 Hand-held vacuum cleaner with resilient rubber flap valve
US13/040,551 Expired - Fee Related US8769764B2 (en) 2010-08-05 2011-03-04 Hand-held and conversion vacuum cleaner with adapter

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US20120030896A1 (en) 2012-02-09
CA2746233A1 (en) 2012-02-05

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