US20160187046A1 - Cooler with integrated audio system and power station - Google Patents

Cooler with integrated audio system and power station Download PDF

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Publication number
US20160187046A1
US20160187046A1 US14/587,139 US201414587139A US2016187046A1 US 20160187046 A1 US20160187046 A1 US 20160187046A1 US 201414587139 A US201414587139 A US 201414587139A US 2016187046 A1 US2016187046 A1 US 2016187046A1
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Prior art keywords
cooler
lid
dimensioned
audio
compartment
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Abandoned
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US14/587,139
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Jeremy Chen
Jun Chen
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Jeremy Chen
Jun Chen
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Priority to US14/587,139 priority Critical patent/US20160187046A1/en
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Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D3/00Devices using other cold materials; Devices using cold-storage bodies
    • F25D3/02Devices using other cold materials; Devices using cold-storage bodies using ice, e.g. ice-boxes
    • F25D3/06Movable containers
    • F25D3/08Movable containers portable, i.e. adapted to be carried personally
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45CPURSES; LUGGAGE; HAND CARRIED BAGS
    • A45C11/00Receptacles for purposes not provided for in groups A45C1/00 - A45C9/00
    • A45C11/20Lunch or picnic boxes or the like
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A45HAND OR TRAVELLING ARTICLES
    • A45CPURSES; LUGGAGE; HAND CARRIED BAGS
    • A45C15/00Purses, bags, luggage or other receptacles covered by groups A45C1/00 - A45C11/00, combined with other objects or articles
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D27/00Lighting arrangements
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25DREFRIGERATORS; COLD ROOMS; ICE-BOXES; COOLING OR FREEZING APPARATUS NOT COVERED BY ANY OTHER SUBCLASS
    • F25D2400/00General features of, or devices for refrigerators, cold rooms, ice-boxes, or for cooling or freezing apparatus not covered by any other subclass

Abstract

A cooler is divided into distinct, watertight compartments. A first, lower compartment is defined within a main housing section and receives items to be insulated from an ambient environment. The lower compartment is covered by a hinged lid that defines a second, upper compartment for receiving portable electronic devices and the like. A third compartment, disposed forward of the lower compartment, is defined between an exterior surface of the main housing section and a removable module. An audio system comprising an audio player, amplifier, and speakers are retained within the third compartment. In some embodiments, the removable module includes a power station configured to supply sufficient power to supply the audio system and operate and/or charge ancillary devices. In an embodiment, the audio system further includes a wireless interface and/or one or more input ports for receiving signals from such ancillary devices as an MP3 player or an electric guitar.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • Embodiments of the present invention generally relate to containers having an insulated compartment for maintaining consumable items at a depressed or elevated temperature relative to an ambient temperature, and more particularly, to the integration of additional features to enhance the utility and convenience of such containers.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • It has long been known that an insulated container will isolate consumable food and beverage items from an external ambient temperature so that long after these items are removed from a refrigerating or heating appliance, they can be consumed and enjoyed. Collectively known as “coolers”, these containers have become a fixture at outdoor parties, parks, beaches, stadium parking lots, and even out on the ocean.
  • To enhance their convenience and/or entertainment value at recreational venues, it has been proposed to integrate other functions into coolers. Complementary functions such as ice grinders and refrigeration units, as well as ancillary ones such as built in radios, have been proposed. For one reason or another, such systems have not met with any significant degree of commercial success.
  • A continuing need, however, exists for coolers which are adapted to provide enhanced convenience and entertainment without compromising their utility or introducing complexity into their design.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.
  • In embodiments consistent with the present disclosure, a cooler is divided into three distinct compartments. A first or lower compartment is defined within a main housing section and receives items to be insulated from an ambient environment external to the lower compartment. The lower compartment is covered by a hinged lid that defines a second, upper compartment for receiving portable electronic devices and the like. A third compartment, disposed forward of the lower compartment, is defined between an exterior surface of the main housing section and a removable module. An audio system comprising an audio player, amplifier, and speakers are retained within the third compartment. In some embodiments, the removable module includes a power station configured to supply sufficient power to supply the audio system and operate and/or charge ancillary devices. In an embodiment, the audio player of the audio system comprises an FM, AM/FM or even satellite signal receiver, a digital media player for playing digital media files stored in, for example, the well known MP3 and/or WMA formats, as well as a wireless interface and/or one or more input ports for receiving signals from such external ancillary devices as a portable digital media player or an electric guitar.
  • In some embodiments, a multi-compartmented cooler having an integrated audio system and power station according to embodiments of the present disclosure includes at least one handle having a bottle opener defined therein. In an embodiment, the handle defines a through opening into which is molded, formed, or otherwise placed, a structure dimensioned and arranged to engage the lip and cap of a bottle and to remove the latter when the bottle is tilted relative to the opener.
  • In some embodiments, a removable module of a multi-compartmented cooler according to embodiments of the present disclosure incorporates components of an integrated audio system and power station. The incorporated components include a plurality of speakers. At least a first pair of the plurality of speakers are secured to the removable module so as to be positioned at an obtuse angle relative to an underlying cooler support surface wherein sound waves are directed upwardly (away from the underlying support surface) and toward one or more listeners. The speakers are recessed within the removable module and protected by a cover integral to the removal cover and having substantially vertical slots defined therein to enable water entering as rain or splashing activity to drain quickly and without deleterious effects upon the speakers. In some embodiments, each cover is integrally formed as part of the removable module.
  • In another embodiment, an insulated cooler comprises a main housing defining a first interior compartment, an upper opening aligned with the first interior compartment, and a plurality of insulated sidewalls. The insulated cooler further comprises a cooler compartment lid assembly which includes a first lid pivotably connected to the main housing by a hinge. The first lid is dimensioned and arranged to provide an upper surface of the first interior compartment when the first lid is in a closed position and to enable access to the first interior compartment when the first lid is in an open position. The first lid also defines a second interior compartment dimensioned and arranged to receive and store at least one portable electronic device and an access opening aligned with the second interior compartment. The lid assembly further comprises a second lid pivotably securable to the first lid and dimensioned and arranged to provide an upper surface of the second interior compartment when the second lid is in a closed position and to enable access to the second interior compartment when second lid is in an open position, and a removable module having a plurality of audio system components secured thereto and defining a peripheral lip dimensioned and arranged to overlie a first exterior surface region of the main housing, the removable module being manipulable between a position of attachment to the main housing and a position of detachment from the main housing, While the removable module is in the position of attachment, the peripheral lip overlies the first exterior surface region and a third compartment dimensioned and arranged to enclose the audio system components is defined by a second exterior surface of the main housing and respective interior surfaces of the removable module. The audio system components include an audio player device which, in some embodiments, comprise at least one of an audio receiver or a digital audio player, a plurality of speakers electrically coupled to the audio player device, and an amplifier having an audio input source line for receiving an audio signal from at least one of the audio player device or an electric guitar.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a cooler having an integrated audio system and power station according to embodiments consistent with the present disclosure;
  • FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the cooler depicted in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a rear elevation view of the cooler depicted in FIG. 1;
  • FIGS. 4A and 4B are left and right side elevation views, respectively, of the cooler depicted in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 5 is a partial cutaway elevation view taken from the left side of a cooler and constructed in accordance with one or more embodiments of the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the cooler depicted in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of the cooler depicted in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 8 is a front elevation view of a device interface panel in accordance with one or more embodiments;
  • FIGS. 9A, 9B, and 9C are top, front and left side elevation views, respectively, of a main housing of a cooler constructed in accordance with one or more embodiments;
  • FIGS. 10A through 10E are front elevation, front perspective, rear perspective, bottom plan, and left hand views of a removable panel of a cooler constructed in accordance with one or more embodiments;
  • FIGS. 11A and 11B are top plan and front elevation views of a first lid dimensioned and arranged to cover an opening in the main housing depicted in FIG. 9A and thereby define an insulated compartment according to one or more embodiments;
  • FIG. 11C is a bottom plan view of the first lid depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B;
  • FIGS. 12A, 12B and 12C are front elevation, top plan and side elevation views of a second lid constructed in accordance with one or more embodiments;
  • FIG. 12D depicts the second lid of FIGS. 12A-12C in an open configuration relative to a cooler constructed according to FIGS. 1-6 and consistent with one or more embodiments consistent with the present disclosure;
  • FIGS. 13A to 13C are front elevation, side elevation and a top plan view of a pivotable cover dimensioned and arranged to protect the user interface portion of an audio system disposed within a compartment of a cooler, according to one or more embodiments consistent with the present disclosure;
  • FIGS. 14A to 14C depict an insert for mounting an audio system and device panel interface within a compartment of a cooler, in accordance with one or more embodiments;
  • FIGS. 15A and 15B depict front and side elevation views of a handle graspable by a user to carry a cooler to which the handle is attached, the handle having molded therein a bottle opening insert according to one or more embodiments; and
  • FIG. 16 is a wiring schematic, in block diagram form, depicting the electrical connections of functional blocks comprising an audio system and power station mounted within a cooler in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.
  • While the method and apparatus is described herein by way of example for several embodiments and illustrative drawings, those skilled in the art will recognize that coolers having an integrated audio system and power station are not limited to the embodiments or drawings described. It should be understood, that the drawings and detailed description thereto are not intended to limit embodiments to the particular form disclosed. Rather, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of coolers having an integrated audio system and power station as defined by the appended claims. Any headings used herein are for organizational purposes only and are not meant to limit the scope of the description or the claims. As used herein, the word “may” is used in a permissive sense (i.e., meaning having the potential to), rather than the mandatory sense (i.e., meaning must). Similarly, the words “include”, “including”, and “includes” mean including, but not limited to.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
  • Embodiments of a cooler consistent with the present disclosure include an insulated compartment which is covered by a lid and used like any conventional cooler. However, the lid itself further defines a water-resistant second compartment which is also covered by a lid and dimensioned and arranged to receive one or more electronic components such, for example, as tablet computers, smart phones, digital audio (e.g., MP3) players, or the like. The insulated compartment is formed within a main housing which defines a bottom wall suitable for placement on an underlying support surface, a pair of lateral sidewalls, a rear wall and a front wall. While the lateral, bottom and rear walls of the main housing define respective exterior surfaces which are exposed to the internal environment, however, the exterior surface defined by the front wall is concealed by a removable module.
  • In some embodiments consistent with the present disclosure, the front wall exterior surface and removable module collectively define a third compartment which houses the components of an audio system and a power station for both operating the audio system and charging and/or operating one or more external devices. The latter are electrically coupled to ports of the power station. When not in use, these ports are covered by a unitary cover which, in some embodiments includes a plurality of discrete plugs which are respectively connected to a common rail so that each may be selectively and independently removed from a seated position to expose one or more selected ports as required to connect an auxiliary device.
  • Various embodiments of cooler having an integrated audio system and power station are described. In the following detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of claimed subject matter. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that claimed subject matter may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, methods, apparatuses or systems that would be known by one of ordinary skill have not been described in detail so as not to obscure claimed subject matter.
  • FIGS. 1-7 depict the assembled components of an illustrative embodiment of a cooler consistent with the present disclosure. In FIG. 1, a perspective view is provided of a cooler 100 formed by a main housing section 110 and a removable module 150. Pivotably coupled to the lateral sidewalls of main housing section 110 are respective handles indicated at reference numeral 112 and 114, respectively. The main housing section 110 of cooler 100 defines an insulated internal compartment (not shown in FIG. 1), which is covered by a lid assembly 116 that includes a first lid 118 and a second lid 120. The first lid 118 is positioned over the insulated internal compartment, but further defines a second interior compartment (also not shown in FIG. 1) which is covered by the second lid 120.
  • A pair of channels 122 and 124 are defined in the upper surface of first lid 118, and these extend between the rear of edge of first lid 118 and a recess 126 in the upper surface of first lid 110. Recess 126 which surrounds the second lid 112 and, in some embodiments, has a depth corresponding to that of second lid 120 so that the upper surface of first lid 118 and the upper surface of second lid 120 are co-planar and present the aesthetic appearance of a continuous, uniform surface interrupted only by the drain channels 122 and 124, recess 126 and, in some embodiments, one or more cup holder recesses as recesses 128 and 130.
  • Channels 122 and 1124 allow water in the vicinity of second lid 120—as may otherwise accumulate as the result of rainfall or splashing from an ocean, lake, pond, pool or any other body of water onto cooler 100—to drain quickly rather than enter into the second compartment. Typically, the second internal compartment is not insulated, and is best suited for contents which a user desires to conceal and/or protect from the rain or other forms of precipitation. Such devices may include mobile phones, tablet computers, and/or MP3 players and the like. In some embodiments, the second internal compartment is divided by one or more divider walls (not shown) into discrete sections—e.g., one dimensioned to accommodate a standard tablet computer and the other to receive and store one or more mobile phone(s). The depth of the second internal compartment is typically on the order of 2.50 cm, but may be more or less, depending upon the nominal thickness of the first lid 110 and the degree to which the first lid must resist the transfer of heat into (or out of) the first internal compartment, as the case may be.
  • FIGS. 2 and 3 are front and rear elevation views of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1, while FIGS. 4A and 4B are left and right side elevation views, respectively. FIG. 5 is a side elevation view taken in partial cross section to show the arrangement of the interior compartments 502 and 504 within main housing 110, and first lid 118, respectively. FIGS. 6 and 7 are top and bottom plan views, respectively. In the illustrative embodiment of FIGS. 1-7, removable module 150 is separable from main housing section 110 and defines an exterior front surface 152 (FIG. 2) which has the same nominal height H and width W as the rear exterior surface 132 (FIG. 3) of main housing section 110. Exterior front surface 152 also has the same nominal height H as the lateral exterior surfaces 134 and 136 of main housing section 110 shown in FIGS. 4A and 4B, respectively.
  • In embodiments consistent with the present disclosure, and as will soon become apparent, surfaces of the main housing section 110 and the removable module 150 collectively define a third interior compartment 506 (FIG. 5) within which are disposed the components of an audio system which includes, inter alia, an audio player 160, a power station which includes a power supply (not shown in FIGS. 1-7), and a device interface panel 170 defining a plurality of charging and/or device input ports which, in FIGS. 1, 2 and 8 are collectively covered by a plug assembly 171 comprising a corresponding plurality of friction-fitting cover plugs as plugs 172 a through 172 f of FIG. 8.
  • Within continuing reference to FIG. 8, there is shown a covering plug assembly 171 constructed according to embodiments consistent with the present disclosure. In the embodiment of FIG. 8, the individual plugs 172 a through 172 f are formed of a resilient, elastomeric material dimensioned and arranged to form a water tight seal when inserted into a connector-receiving opening of the device interface panel 170. Each of the plugs 172 a through 172 f is connected to a common rail 174 by a respective web of flexible material (173 a-173 f). A separate resilient cap 175 is mounted over power switch 177. The rail, webs, and plugs of the covering plug assembly 171 are typically molded in a common fabrication process, the choice of a flexible material serving not only to resiliently and reliably seal each device panel port from egress of moisture during periods of non use but also, via the respective flexible connections to the common rail, any of these may be independently and selectively moved out of a sealing position to enable a connector to an auxiliary device to be inserted into a corresponding port of device panel 170 when use of such port is required. The inventors herein have also found that the use of a common rail substantially reduces the risk of covering plug loss.
  • Returning to FIG. 1, it will be seen that the front exterior surface 152 of removable module 150 defines an upper pair of integrally formed speaker covers, indicated generally at reference numerals 154 a and 154 b, and a lower pair of integrally formed speaker covers, indicated generally at reference numerals 156 a and 156 b, respectively. At least the lower pair of speaker covers 156 a and 156 b define a plurality of parallel, vertical slots 158. The vertical slots 158 enable propagation of sound waves from the corresponding speakers within the third compartment during operation of the audio system. At the same time, however, any water which may enter the speaker covers, as by rainfall or splashing, to drain harmlessly without any damaging interactions with the components disposed within the third compartment.
  • As best seen in FIGS. 2-5, transport of the cooler 100 is made easier, especially on relatively planar surfaces, by the inclusion of a pair of wheels 180 and 182, and a handle 184 which is extensibly coupled to the main housing section 110 by pairs of telescoping sections indicated generally at 186 a and 186 b, respectively. Cooler 100 may be tilted up by lifting the handle 184 so that the cooler rests on external wheels 180 and 182 and may be rolled on the wheels until such time as either the terrain no longer permits or the user has reached a desired location for cooler 100. With particular reference to FIG. 7, it will be seen that wheels 180 and 182 are connected by a single axle 181, though in other embodiments, each of wheels 180 and 182 are supported by its own independent axle or bearing surface. It will be further seen that to accommodate the stable placement and carrying—upon the surface of lid 118 and lid 120—of bulky, ancillary items such as blanket(s), bags, and/or other articles (not shown), respective pairs of integrally molded tie-down hooks as hook pairs 190 a, 190 b, and 190 c can be provided.
  • FIGS. 9A, 9B, and 9C are top, front and left side elevation views, respectively, of a main housing of a cooler constructed in accordance with one or more embodiments. Main housing 110 defines an interior cavity 502 bounded by insulated left and right sidewalls 922 and 924, as well as rear and front walls, 920 and 926. These walls, in turn, collectively, define a continuous, upper peripheral edge surface indicated generally at reference numeral 906 a and surrounding a compartment opening having a length L1 and width W1. A lip extension portion, indicated generally at 904, extends from the peripheral edge surface and defines a plurality of apertures, as aperture 902, for securing the removable module 150 (FIGS. 10A-10E). As best seen in FIG. 9C, the lip extension portion 904 extends away from the front facing surface of front wall 920 of the main housing. The lip extension portion 904 also defines a downwardly facing, lower peripheral edge surface which forms an interface with complementary surface portion(s) of the removable module 150. In some embodiments, a wheel well is defined as a recess in each of the main housing sidewalls, as recess 950 defined in side wall 924 of FIG. 9C. One or more mounting flanges, as mounting flange 952 of FIG. 9C, provides a suitable substrate for mounting a wheel supporting axle (not shown). Likewise, a mounting collar structure 930 permits the installation of a telescoping handle assembly as 184, 186 a and 186 b of FIGS. 1-6.
  • FIGS. 10A through 10E are front elevation, front perspective, rear perspective, bottom plan, and left hand views of a removable panel 150 of a cooler constructed in accordance with one or more embodiments. In the embodiment of a removable panel depicted in FIGS. 10A-10E, a number of mounting pins 1006 alignable with apertures 902 of FIG. 9A, are provided to facilitate the insertion of threaded fasteners or otherwise effect the attachment of removable module 150 to main housing 110. The face of module 150 defines two discrete openings, the first is indicated generally at reference numeral 1004 and is dimensioned and arranged to provide access to the user interface (not shown) of the audio system disposed within the compartment formed between surfaces 1032, 1034, and 1036 of removable module 150 and the forward facing surface of front wall 920 of main housing 110. A second opening, indicated generally at reference numeral 1005, is provides access to a storage cavity to be described shortly. A plurality of parallel supports 1009 are defined in the bottom flange 1020 of removable module 150, these being dimensioned and arranged for alignment with identically dimensioned supports on the lower surface of main housing 110 (FIG. 7).
  • A pair of rounded shoulders indicated generally at 1002 a and 1002 b in FIGS. 10A, 10B and 10D, are designed to cover the front corners of main housing 112 and provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance. The cavities 1008 a and 1008 b formed by shoulders 1002 a and 1002 b are dimensioned and arranged to rest upon correspondingly shaped structures on main housing 110, forming a water-resistant seal.
  • FIGS. 11A and 11B are top plan and front elevation views of a lid as first lid 118 of FIGS. 1-7, the lid 118 being dimensioned and arranged to cover the opening (L1×W1) in the main housing depicted in FIG. 9A and to thereby define an insulated compartment according to one or more embodiments. A recess 1142 circumscribes an opening formed between front, rear, and lateral sidewalls 1144. Between these sidewalls are a pair of cavities or recesses indicated generally at reference numerals 1130 and 1132, respectively and separated by a dividing wall 1134. Collectively, the cavities have a length of L2 and a width of W2. The sidewalls 1144 extend upwardly from the upwardly facing surface of recess 1142, parallel to the sidewall 1146 which defines the recess 1142. A latching recess 1162 is dimensioned and arranged to frictionally engage a corresponding latch structure of a second lid (e.g. lid 120 of FIGS. 1-7 and FIGS. 12A to 12C). In some embodiments, a measuring guide 1150 is defined on the exterior, upwardly facing surface of lid 118. Where the lid 118 is formed of molded plastic, measuring guide 1150 may be formed during the same mold-forming process. A second latch structure, indicated generally at 1160, is provided at the center of the front facing surface of lid 118, the latch structure being dimensioned and arranged, in some embodiments, to frictionally engage a corresponding latch forming part of removable module 150.
  • FIG. 110 is a bottom plan view of the first lid depicted in FIGS. 11A and 11B. In some embodiments, the downward facing surface 1141 of lid 118 defines a raised region having dimensions D3×W3 which are selected to form a reasonably tight seal to minimize heat transfer from the compartment defined within main housing 110. Defined within this raised region are also a first recess 1170 for receiving a first battery operated light or other structure (not shown). The structure received and mounted within the first recess 1170 may be affixed, secured or otherwise mounted via mechanical fastener(s), adhesive bonding, hook-and-loop fasteners, or via any other conventional expedient. A second recess 1172 is also defined on surface 1141.
  • According to some embodiments, a ferrous plate (not shown) is molded into or otherwise secured to lid 118 in a position of alignment with the second recess 1172. In such embodiments, a second light, which comprises a housing, internal battery, light emitting diode or other source of illumination, and an an/off switch is retained within second recess 1172 by one or more magnets mounted within the base of the housing. When a source of light external to the cooler is needed, a user need only grasp the light and pull with sufficient force to overcome the magnetic attraction forces. Likewise, when finished using the light, it may be readily returned to recess 1172. By molding the ferrous plate (not shown) within the cooler lid, oxidation of the plate surfaces is avoided.
  • It should be noted however, that the use of a ferrous plate is merely illustrative. Alternative embodiments include parallel grooves defined on the interior surface of recess 1172 and correspondingly dimensioned tabs or other structures extending from opposing surfaces of the light or other structure and alignable with the grooves (neither of which are shown) such that the light may be mounted by insertion of the light carrying structure into the recess and sliding of the structure in a first direction. Likewise, the structure may be removed by sliding it in a second direction opposite the first direction and pulling the structure out of the recess. A still further alternative includes the use of complementary hook and loop fasteners attached to the base of recess 1172 and the base of the structure, respectively.
  • FIGS. 12A, 12B and 12C are front elevation, top plan and side elevation views of a second lid 120 constructed in accordance with one or more embodiments. Second lid 122 defines an upper surface 1222 which is dimensioned and arranged for co-planar alignment with surface 1140 (FIGS. 11A and 11B) of lid 118. A frangible latch 1230 is dimensioned and arranged for friction fitting, releasable engagement with the latching structure 1162 shown in FIG. 11A. In some embodiments, the bottom surface 1224 of second lid 120 is provided with downwardly depending walls which are dimensioned and arranged to surround or rest upon the wall 1146 (FIG. 11 A) which extends upwardly from recessed surface 1142 and defines the cavities 1130 and 1132 (each, also shown in FIG. 11A). FIG. 12D depicts the second lid 120 of FIGS. 12A-12C in an open configuration relative to a cavity defined in the upper surface of the lid 118 of cooler 100 of FIGS. 1-7.
  • FIGS. 13A to 13C are front elevation, side elevation and a top plan view of a pivotable, translucent cover 1300 dimensioned and arranged to protect the user interface portion of an audio system disposed within the compartment of a cooler, as compartment 406 (FIG. 5) according to one or more embodiments consistent with the present disclosure. The translucent cover defines a pair of oppositely extending hinge pins indicated generally at reference numerals 1302 and 1304 and a protuberance 1306 dimensioned and arranged to enable a user to use a single finger from one hand to upwardly pivot and the cover about an axis defined by the pivot pins and thereby expose the user interface of the audio system for manipulation of the former and operation of the latter. In some embodiments, the audio system includes pushbuttons, toggle switches, and other mechanical structures for energizing the audio system, for initiating one or more modes of operation, and for terminating operation in such modes.
  • FIGS. 14A to 14C depict an insert 1400 for mounting a receiver of an audio system (FIG. 16) and ports of a device panel interface within a compartment of a cooler, in accordance with one or more embodiments. The insert 1400 is optional, and in alternative embodiments, the molded material(s) from which the removable module is fabricated are of sufficient hardness, toughness and resilience that they can provide a stable substrate for receiving and supporting an attached audio system. In this regard, the removable module 150 may comprise molded plastic inserts or sub-modules of differing material properties such as compressive, tensile and bending strength, with those portions of the removable module 150 exposed to the application of higher stresses (e.g., points of attachment to the audio system housing) being made, for example, of tougher and less brittle materials than other portions of the removable module 150. Likewise, the openings defining each connector port can be defined directly in one or more such plastic inserts or sub-modules.
  • In some embodiments, the audio system includes an audio receiver (FIG. 16) which is securely mounted to removable module 150. While a direct form of attachment as described above is contemplated, the embodiment of FIGS. 14A to 14C includes a stamped insert 1400, of steel or the like, as an alternate structure for securely attaching the audio system, as well as to define connector ports comprising the device interface panel 170 (FIG. 2), insert 1400 includes a first mounting flange 1404 and a second mounting flange 1408. The latter mounting flange defines a plurality of openings which correspond to the aforementioned connector ports as ports 172 a-172 f of FIG. 8. In some embodiments, the front face of insert 1400 is provided with indicia respectively aligned with each connector port and identifying the corresponding function of such ports.
  • Where the audio system includes mechanical operators such as buttons, additional apertures are formed through the face of insert 1400. To enable a user to view the display of the audio system during operation, a cutout 1406 is also defined through the face of insert 1400. To accommodate the hinge pins 1302 and 1304 of translucent cover 1300 (respectively shown in FIG. 13), a pair of mounting flanges 1414 a and 1414 b define respective apertures aligned with one another and dimensioned and arranged to permit rotation of the cover about the horizontal axis passing through the hinge pins.
  • Also provided is a recess 1412 for receiving and securing the common rail 174 of snap cover assembly 171. To this end, recess 1412 defines a plurality of spaced apertures for receiving corresponding pegs (not shown) projecting rearwardly from rail 174. Each of the pegs are dimensioned and arranged for friction fitting insertion and retention within a respective one of the apertures in recess 1412.
  • FIGS. 15A and 15B depict front and side elevation views of a handle 1500 graspable by a user to carry a cooler to which the handle is attached, the handle having molded therein a bottle opening insert according to one or more embodiments. As best seen in FIG. 15, the handle 1500 includes a transverse hinge pin structure 1505, as well as a U-shaped structure comprising a graspable handle portion 1502 and a pair of parallel extensions 1503 a and 1503 b. To accommodate removal of closures from beverage-containing bottles, handle 1500 further defines a through aperature. Aligned with this aperture is a metal bottle opening plate, typically installed during the same plastic molding process as used to fabricate the U-shaped handle structure itself.
  • FIG. 16 is a wiring schematic, in block diagram form, depicting the electrical connections and functional blocks of a system 1600 comprising an audio system 1610 and power station 1630 mounted within a cooler in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure. The audio system 1610 includes an audio receiver 1612 which, in addition to conventional FM or AM/FM receiver circuitry and/or satellite signal receiver, preferably includes a digital audio player configured to access audio files in a format such, for example, as the ubiquitous MP3 format. To this end, the audio system may include one or more card reader slots for accessing media files stored on a portable media. Optionally, a wireless interface such, for example, as a Bluetooth™ interface enables the receiver to receive and process auxiliary input such, for example, as a smart phone interface or the like. Audio system 1610 further includes a multi-channel amplifier indicated generally at reference numeral 1614, which, in turn, is coupled to upper speakers 1616 and 1622 and lower speakers 1618 and 1620.
  • Power for operating the various components of the audio system 1610 is provided by power supply 1632 of power station 1630. In some embodiments, the power supply 1632 comprises a 12V DC battery, which may be lithium ion or lead acid battery, and a circuit protector module 1624 which may include, for example, a replaceable fuse, a fusible link, or a circuit breaker. Power station 1630 further includes a power block 1636 which distributes the power received from the battery to the receiver 1612 and/or to one or more power output ports of device panel 1640. The power output ports include a 12V DC output port 1644 and a 5V DC output port 1646. Other functions performed by power block 1636 can include power regulation, rectification, and/or impedance matching, as well as distribution of power received from an alternate power source via DC input port 1642. Device panel 1640 further includes auxiliary input ports such as a microphone input port 1648, an auxiliary device input port 1650, and an instrument input port 1652. By way of illustrative example, the instrument port 1652 may comprise an input port for connection to an electric guitar.
  • The foregoing description, for purpose of explanation, has been described with reference to specific embodiments. However, the illustrative discussions above are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in view of the above teachings. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the present disclosure and its practical applications, to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention and various embodiments with various modifications as may be suited to the particular use contemplated.
  • The methods described herein may be implemented in software, hardware, or a combination thereof, in different embodiments. In addition, the order of methods may be changed, and various elements may be added, reordered, combined, omitted, modified, etc. All examples described herein are presented in a non-limiting manner. Various modifications and changes may be made as would be obvious to a person skilled in the art having benefit of this disclosure. Realizations in accordance with embodiments have been described in the context of particular embodiments. These embodiments are meant to be illustrative and not limiting. Many variations, modifications, additions, and improvements are possible. Accordingly, plural instances may be provided for components described herein as a single instance. Boundaries between various components, operations and data stores are somewhat arbitrary, and particular operations are illustrated in the context of specific illustrative configurations. Other allocations of functionality are envisioned and may fall within the scope of claims that follow. Finally, structures and functionality presented as discrete components in the example configurations may be implemented as a combined structure or component. These and other variations, modifications, additions, and improvements may fall within the scope of embodiments as defined in the claims that follow.

Claims (23)

1. An insulated cooler, comprising:
a main housing defining a first interior compartment, an upper opening aligned with the first interior compartment, and a plurality of insulated sidewalls;
a cooler compartment lid assembly including a first lid pivotably connected to the main housing by a hinge,
wherein the first lid is dimensioned and arranged to provide an upper surface of the first interior compartment when the first lid is in a closed position and to enable access to the first interior compartment when the first lid is in an open position, and
wherein the first lid defines a second interior compartment dimensioned and arranged to receive and store at least one portable electronic device and an access opening aligned with the second interior compartment, and
a second lid pivotably securable to the first lid and dimensioned and arranged to provide an upper surface of the second interior compartment when the second lid is in a closed position and to enable access to the second interior compartment when second lid is in an open position; and
a removable module having a power station and a plurality of audio system components secured thereto and defining a peripheral lip dimensioned and arranged to overlie a first exterior surface region of the main housing, the removable module being manipulable between a position of attachment to the main housing and a position of detachment from the main housing,
wherein while the removable module is in the position of attachment, the peripheral lip overlies the first exterior surface region and a third compartment dimensioned and arranged to enclose the audio system components is defined by a second exterior surface of the main housing and respective interior surfaces of the removable module; and
wherein the audio system components include an audio player device comprising at least one of an audio receiver or a digital audio player, a plurality of speakers electrically coupled to the audio player device, and an amplifier having an audio input source line for receiving an audio signal from at least one of the audio player device or an electric guitar.
2. The cooler according to claim 1, wherein the removable module is dimensioned and arranged to support a first pair of the plurality of speakers at an obtuse angle relative to an underlying support surface to thereby direct acoustic energy upwardly and away from the underlying support surface.
3. The cooler according to claim 2, wherein the first pair of speakers is a lower pair of speakers and wherein the removable module is further dimensioned and arranged to support a second, upper pair of speakers at an angle different than the obtuse angle.
4. The cooler according to claim 1, further comprising a pair of handles respectively movable angularly relative to corresponding exterior sidewalls of the main housing, wherein at least one of the handles has a bottle opener formed therein.
5. The cooler according to claim 4, wherein each of the handles includes a transverse graspable portion of molded plastic, each graspable portion defining an aperture and having a bottle cap removing insert aligned with the aperture.
6. The cooler according to claim 1, wherein the first lid defines a first upwardly facing surface and a second upwardly facing surface recessed from the first upwardly facing surface, wherein the access opening to the second compartment is defined in the second upwardly facing surface, and wherein the first upwardly facing surface defines an opening aligned with the access opening.
7. The cooler according to claim 6, wherein the first lid further defines a peripheral lip extending upwardly from the second upwardly facing surface and surrounding the access opening, the peripheral lip being dimensioned and arranged to substantially prevent water accumulating on the second upwardly facing surface from entering the second compartment.
8. The cooler according to claim 7, wherein the second lid further defines a lower surface alignable with the second compartment and a second peripheral lip extending downwardly from the lower surface, the second peripheral lip being dimensioned and arranged to at least one of surround, overlie or frictionally engage with the peripheral lip defined by the first lid to further inhibit entry of water into the second compartment.
9. The cooler according to claim 1, wherein the main housing defines a forward wall defining the second exterior surface and a rear wall defining a third exterior surface, the cooler further comprising:
a handle; and
a pair of external wheels mounted near the rear wall such that the cooler may be tilted up by lifting the handle so that the cooler rests on the pair of external wheels and may be rolled on the wheels.
10. The cooler according to claim 1, wherein the audio player comprises a user interface including a display and wherein the removable module defines an opening dimensioned and arranged to enable a user to view the display and operate the user interface.
11. The cooler according to claim 10, further including a removable translucent panel dimensioned and arranged to cover the display and to restrict impingement of rain or splashed water while permitting the display to be viewed, the panel being manipulable between an open position for operation of the user interface and a closed position for protecting the display.
12. The cooler according to claim 11, wherein the removable module further comprises a shelf dimensioned and arranged to receive a portable electronic device, the cover being further dimensioned and arranged to cover the shelf and any contents disposed thereon.
13. The cooler according to claim 1, wherein the power station comprises a power supply including a battery, and wherein the cooler further comprises a plurality of device ports, at least a first of the ports being dimensioned and arranged to receive a male connector and being electrically coupled to the power supply to at least one of recharge or energize a portable electronic device using battery power.
14. The cooler according to claim 13, wherein the first of the ports is a USB port.
15. The cooler according to claim 13, wherein the first of the ports is a 12V port for receiving a cigarette-lighter style connector.
16. The cooler according to claim 13, wherein one of the plurality of device ports is an amplifier port dimensioned and arranged to receive input from an electric guitar, the amplifier port being electrically coupled to the amplifier.
17. The cooler according to claim 13, further including a plurality of covering plugs respectively connected to a common rail and dimensioned and arranged for frictional engagement with a corresponding one of the device ports, whereby each covering plug may be selectively and independently removed from a seated position to expose a corresponding device port and thereby permit insertion of an auxiliary device connector into the corresponding device port.
18. The cooler according to claim 17, wherein at least one of the plurality of covering plugs and the common rail are fabricated from an elastomeric material.
19. The cooler according to claim 1, wherein the audio player further includes a wireless interface.
20. The cooler according to claim 1, further including a plurality of covering plugs respectively connected to a common rail and dimensioned and arranged for frictional engagement with a corresponding one of a plurality of device ports associated with the power station, whereby each covering plug may be selectively and independently removed from a seated position to expose a corresponding device port and thereby permit insertion of an auxiliary device connector into the corresponding device port.
21. An insulated cooler, comprising:
a main housing defining a first interior compartment, an upper opening aligned with the first interior compartment, and a plurality of insulated sidewalls;
a cooler compartment lid assembly including a first lid pivotably connected to the main housing by a hinge,
wherein the first lid is dimensioned and arranged to provide an upper surface of the first interior compartment when the first lid is in a closed position and to enable access to the first interior compartment when the first lid is in an open position, and
wherein the first lid defines a second interior compartment dimensioned and arranged to receive and store at least one portable electronic device and an access opening aligned with the second interior compartment, and
a second lid pivotably securable to the first lid and dimensioned and arranged to provide an upper surface of the second interior compartment when the second lid is in a closed position and to enable access to the second interior compartment when second lid is in an open position;
a power station comprising a battery and a plurality of device ports for at least one of energizing, charging or receiving input from respective auxiliary devices;
a plurality of audio system components; and
a removable module manipulable between a position of attachment to the main housing and a position of detachment from the main housing,
wherein while the removable module is in the position of attachment, a third compartment dimensioned and arranged to enclose the audio system components and power station is defined by a second exterior surface of the main housing and respective interior surfaces of the removable module; and
wherein the audio system components include an audio player device comprising at least one of an audio receiver or a digital audio player, a plurality of speakers electrically coupled to the audio player device, and an amplifier having an audio input source line for receiving an audio signal from at least one of the audio player device or an electric guitar.
22. The cooler according to claim 21, further including a plurality of covering plugs respectively connected to a common rail and dimensioned and arranged for frictional engagement with a corresponding one of the device ports, whereby each covering plug may be selectively and independently removed from a seated position to expose a corresponding device port and thereby permit insertion of an auxiliary device connector into the corresponding device port.
23. The cooler according to claim 22, wherein at least one of the plurality of covering plugs and the common rail are fabricated from an elastomeric material.
US14/587,139 2014-12-31 2014-12-31 Cooler with integrated audio system and power station Abandoned US20160187046A1 (en)

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US20170101301A1 (en) * 2015-10-08 2017-04-13 Dee Volin Unique self-pressurizing, self-cooling beverage system, having impact-and-vibration-absorbing systems, anti-shaking anti-rolling clamping system, root-beer-float system, beverage-dispensing system, and multi-height spigot system
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US9927837B2 (en) 2013-07-03 2018-03-27 Pucline, Llc Electrical power supplying system having an electrical power supplying docking station with a multi-function module for use in diverse environments
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USD850217S1 (en) * 2018-04-13 2019-06-04 Russel Harry Kittel, III Wheeled cooler
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USD884434S1 (en) * 2018-12-05 2020-05-19 Kevin Merlino Cooler with umbrella holder
USD884433S1 (en) * 2018-12-05 2020-05-19 Kevin Merlino Cooler with umbrella holder
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US10739035B2 (en) 2018-07-06 2020-08-11 Airwirl, LLC Personal ambient air temperature modification, filtration, and purification system
US10760312B2 (en) * 2017-01-27 2020-09-01 Johnson Controls Technology Company Refrigeration control unit with three-axis hinge assembly
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US9912154B2 (en) 2009-09-25 2018-03-06 Pucline, Llc Electrical power supplying device having a central power-receptacle assembly with a penisula-like housing structure supplying electrical power to power plugs, adaptors and modules while concealed from view during power supplying operations
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US20170101301A1 (en) * 2015-10-08 2017-04-13 Dee Volin Unique self-pressurizing, self-cooling beverage system, having impact-and-vibration-absorbing systems, anti-shaking anti-rolling clamping system, root-beer-float system, beverage-dispensing system, and multi-height spigot system
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WO2019227267A1 (en) * 2018-05-28 2019-12-05 Hui 'an Huicheng Hand-Bags Co., Ltd. Welded thermoplastic hybrid cooler and method of manufacturing same
US10739035B2 (en) 2018-07-06 2020-08-11 Airwirl, LLC Personal ambient air temperature modification, filtration, and purification system
USD884433S1 (en) * 2018-12-05 2020-05-19 Kevin Merlino Cooler with umbrella holder
USD884434S1 (en) * 2018-12-05 2020-05-19 Kevin Merlino Cooler with umbrella holder
DE102019200063A1 (en) * 2019-01-04 2020-07-09 Dometic Sweden Ab Mobile cool box with user interface module
DE102019200063B4 (en) * 2019-01-04 2020-11-12 Dometic Sweden Ab Mobile cool box with user interface module

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