US20180106059A1 - Alternating Paddle Mechanism for Pool Cleaner - Google Patents

Alternating Paddle Mechanism for Pool Cleaner Download PDF

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Publication number
US20180106059A1
US20180106059A1 US15/842,497 US201715842497A US2018106059A1 US 20180106059 A1 US20180106059 A1 US 20180106059A1 US 201715842497 A US201715842497 A US 201715842497A US 2018106059 A1 US2018106059 A1 US 2018106059A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
paddle wheel
blade
base
width
pool cleaner
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Abandoned
Application number
US15/842,497
Inventor
Satheesh Kumar
Narendra Pratap Singh
Suresh C. Gopalan
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Pentair Water Pool and SPA Inc
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Pentair Water Pool and SPA Inc
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US201361780481P priority Critical
Priority to US14/209,876 priority patent/US9850672B2/en
Application filed by Pentair Water Pool and SPA Inc filed Critical Pentair Water Pool and SPA Inc
Priority to US15/842,497 priority patent/US20180106059A1/en
Publication of US20180106059A1 publication Critical patent/US20180106059A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H4/00Swimming or splash baths or pools
    • E04H4/14Parts, details or accessories not otherwise provided for
    • E04H4/16Parts, details or accessories not otherwise provided for specially adapted for cleaning
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H4/00Swimming or splash baths or pools
    • E04H4/14Parts, details or accessories not otherwise provided for
    • E04H4/16Parts, details or accessories not otherwise provided for specially adapted for cleaning
    • E04H4/1654Self-propelled cleaners

Abstract

A paddle wheel mechanism for a pool cleaner is provided. The paddle wheel mechanism includes a housing, a paddle wheel shaft, and a paddle wheel. The housing includes an internal flow area and the paddle wheel shaft is supported by the housing. The paddle wheel is supported by the paddle wheel shaft and includes a paddle wheel base extending along a base width, a first-type blade, and a second-type blade. The first-type blade extends radially outward from the paddle wheel base and includes a first blade portion extending from a first side of the paddle wheel base for a first blade width less than the base width. The second-type blade extends radially outward from the paddle wheel base and includes a second blade portion extending from a second, opposite side of the paddle wheel base for a second blade width less than the base width.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/209,876 filed on Mar. 13, 2014, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/780,481 filed on Mar. 13, 2013, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Mechanical pool cleaners are typically classified as pressure-side cleaners or suction-side cleaners based on their connection to a pool pump. More specifically, suction-side pool cleaners are connected to a suction or inlet port of the pump, while pressure-side pool cleaners are connected to a pressure or outlet port of the pump. In both types, water is drawn or forced through the cleaner and mechanisms are provided to attempt to harvest energy from water movement through the cleaner in order to operate one or more functions of the cleaner (e.g., vacuuming, steering, etc.).
  • With respect to suction-side pool cleaners, a turbine or paddle wheel may be provided within a water flow passage to harvest energy from the water flow. Generally, design aspects of the paddle wheel are based on a tradeoff between performance and efficiency. For example, reducing the clearances between blades of the paddle wheel and the walls of the flow passage may increase efficiency by allowing the paddle wheel to harness more kinetic energy from the fluid flow. However, reduced clearance may detrimentally affect paddle wheel performance because debris may not be allowed to pass through the water flow passage, and/or may impede rotation of the paddle wheel. On the other hand, increasing the clearances may improve performance by allowing debris to pass through the passage without impeding the paddle wheel. In this instance, however, more fluid may flow through the larger clearances without providing kinetic energy to the paddle wheel, which may result in reduced efficiency.
  • One known pool cleaning system includes a number of paddle wheel blades that are pivotably mounted to the paddle wheel. When the blades pivot with respect to the paddle wheel, the clearance between the blades and the housing in which they rotate may change, which may allow larger debris to pass between the blades and the housing. The use of pivoting blades, however, may contribute to increased drag or reduced efficiency, or may increase the complexity of manufacturing or assembly of the cleaning system.
  • Another known pool cleaning system includes a paddle having a number of blades that collectively revolve around a central axis, but are each mounted, independently, on a rotating shaft extending radially outward from the central axis. The separate rotating shafts allow the individual blades to pivot with respect to their bulk movement around the central axis, which may allow debris to move past the individual blades. Such an arrangement, however, may significantly increase the complexity of manufacturing and assembly of the cleaning system, and may also decrease overall efficiency.
  • Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a pool cleaner that addresses one or more of the above deficiencies. For example, it would be desirable to have a pool cleaner with a paddle wheel mechanism that allows debris to pass in a manner that does not clog or otherwise obstruct the pool cleaner, while also providing an efficient pool cleaner with relatively low complexity of manufacturing, assembly, or maintenance.
  • SUMMARY
  • Some embodiments provide a pool cleaner including a turbine paddle wheel with paddle wheel blades that are offset from each other in an alternating manner. Debris in the fluid flow is able to pass the paddle wheel without excessively choking or clogging the paddle wheel while still efficiently utilizing kinetic energy from the fluid flow.
  • In some embodiments, a paddle wheel mechanism for a pool cleaner is provided. The paddle wheel mechanism includes a housing, a paddle wheel shaft, and a paddle wheel. The housing includes an internal flow area and the paddle wheel shaft is supported by the housing. The paddle wheel is supported by the paddle wheel shaft and includes a paddle wheel base extending along a base width, a first-type blade, and a second-type blade. The first-type blade extends radially outward from the paddle wheel base and includes a first blade portion extending from a first side of the paddle wheel base for a first blade width less than the base width. The second-type blade extends radially outward from the paddle wheel base and includes a second blade portion extending from a second, opposite side of the paddle wheel base for a second blade width less than the base width.
  • In some embodiments, a pool cleaner is provided. The pool cleaner includes a pool cleaner housing defining an internal fluid path and a paddle wheel mechanism positioned within the internal fluid path. The paddle wheel mechanism includes a housing, a paddle wheel shaft supported by the housing, and a paddle wheel. The paddle wheel is supported by the paddle wheel shaft and includes a paddle wheel base extending along a base width, a first-type blade, and a second-type blade. The first-type blade extends radially outward from the paddle wheel base and includes a first blade portion extending from a first side of the paddle wheel base for a first blade width less than the base width. The second-type blade extends radially outward from the paddle wheel base and includes a second blade portion extending from a second, opposite side of the paddle wheel base for a second blade width less than the base width.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B are isometric views of a pool cleaner for use with a paddle mechanism;
  • FIG. 2 is an isometric view of an example paddle wheel mechanism for the pool cleaner of FIGS. 1A and 1B;
  • FIG. 3 is an exploded isometric view of the paddle wheel mechanism of FIG. 2;
  • FIG. 4 is an isometric view of a paddle wheel and a paddle wheel shaft of the paddle wheel mechanism of FIG. 2; and
  • FIG. 5 is an isometric view of the paddle wheel and paddle wheel shaft of FIG. 4, with example fluid and debris paths depicted.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Before any embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of “including,” “comprising,” or “having” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. Unless specified or limited otherwise, the terms “mounted,” “connected,” “supported,” and “coupled” and variations thereof are used broadly and encompass both direct and indirect mountings, connections, supports, and couplings. Further, “connected” and “coupled” are not restricted to physical or mechanical connections or couplings.
  • The following discussion is presented to enable a person skilled in the art to make and use embodiments of the invention. Various modifications to the illustrated embodiments will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the generic principles herein can be applied to other embodiments and applications without departing from embodiments of the invention. Thus, embodiments of the invention are not intended to be limited to embodiments shown, but are to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and features disclosed herein. The following detailed description is to be read with reference to the figures, in which like elements in different figures have like reference numerals. The figures, which are not necessarily to scale, depict selected embodiments and are not intended to limit the scope of embodiments of the invention. Skilled artisans will recognize the examples provided herein have many useful alternatives and fall within the scope of embodiments of the invention.
  • Various types of suction-side (or other) swimming pool cleaners are operated using energy harvested from the flow of fluid drawn through them. More specifically, suction-side pool cleaners are connected to a suction side of a pool pump that causes fluid to be drawn along a fluid path within the pool cleaner. A paddle wheel mechanism positioned within the fluid path may accordingly be utilized to harvest energy from the fluid flow along the fluid path.
  • As noted above, it may be useful to provide a paddle wheel mechanism that balances concerns of efficiency with other performance considerations. For example, it may be useful to provide a paddle wheel mechanism that harnesses kinetic energy from a fluid flow with relatively high efficiency, while also preventing debris from excessively interfering with performance of the system. In certain embodiments, such a paddle wheel mechanism may include a paddle wheel with two different types of paddle wheel blades arranged in an alternating fashion around the wheel. For example, one type of paddle wheel blade may extend from a first side of a paddle wheel base (and a first side of the cavity in which the paddle wheel is housed) part, but not all, of the way toward the other (second) side of the paddle wheel base (and the other side of the cavity in which the paddle wheel is housed). In contrast, another type of paddle wheel blade may extend from the other (second) side of the paddle wheel base part, but not all, of the way toward the first side of the paddle wheel base. With these two blade types arranged in an alternating configuration around the paddle wheel, the blades may accordingly harvest a substantial portion of kinetic energy of a fluid flow across the paddle wheel, while at the same time still providing a path for debris to travel past the paddle wheel without becoming lodged on the wheel or otherwise impeding its rotation (i.e., a path traveling toward the second side of the paddle wheel base to clear the first-type blade, back toward the first side of the paddle wheel base to clear the second-type blade, and so on).
  • Referring now to FIG. 1, an example pool cleaner 10 is depicted, which may utilize a paddle wheel mechanism 12 (see, e.g., FIG. 2) to harvest kinetic energy of fluid moving through the pool cleaner 10. The pool cleaner 10 may be configured as a suction-side pool cleaner, or as various other types of pool cleaners (e.g., a pressure-side pool cleaner) known in the art. The pool cleaner 10 generally includes a housing 14, which is designed to retain a paddle wheel mechanism 12. The pool cleaner 10 further includes in an inlet (not shown) disposed on a lower surface of the pool cleaner that allows for fluid and debris to enter into the pool cleaner 10. The pool cleaner 10 also includes an outlet 14 a provided in the form of a cylindrical connection extending from an upper portion of the housing 14, which is designed to interact with a hose (not shown) that transports debris and/or water to a pool filtering mechanism and/or collection device. In certain embodiments, a paddle wheel mechanism 12 may provide kinetic energy for the wheels 16 and 18, or for various other features of components.
  • Referring also to FIGS. 2 and 3, paddle wheel mechanism 12 is depicted, for optimizing debris handling and energy harvesting within the suction-side swimming pool cleaner 10. The paddle wheel mechanism 12 includes a paddle wheel housing 30 (shown with an upper housing portion removed), and a paddle wheel 34 supported by a paddle wheel shaft 36. The housing 30 defines an internal paddle wheel cavity 32 surrounding the paddle wheel 34, and includes an inlet fluid path opening 38, and an outlet fluid path opening (not shown) on the opposing side of the paddle wheel 34 from the opening 38. During operation of the cleaner 10, accordingly, fluid may flow into the cavity 32 via the opening 38 and out of the cavity 32 via the outlet opening (not shown), such that the cavity 32 defines, at least in part, an internal fluid flow area for housing 30.
  • As shown in FIG. 3, the housing 30 also includes shaft supports 40, each of which receive a shaft bearing 42 through which the paddle wheel shaft 36 extends. The shaft bearings 42 accordingly allow the paddle wheel shaft 36, and thus the paddle wheel 34, to rotate freely within the cavity 32 of the housing 30. It will be understood, that in other embodiments, the paddle wheel 34 may be mounted within the housing 30 for rotation in a variety of other known ways. For example, the shaft 36 may be rotatably mounted directly to the housing 30, may be fixedly mounted to the housing 30 with the paddle wheel 34 rotating around the shaft 36, or may extend through the housing 30 to mounting points removed from the housing 30. Similarly, the shaft 36 may be a single-body shaft, may include two half-shafts, or may take a variety of other configurations.
  • The cavity 32 of the housing 30 is defined, at least in part, by a curved inner surface 56, which may be designed to generally provide relatively small clearance for the rotation of paddle wheel 34. For example, the inner surface 56 may be generally curved to follow the path traced by the radially outermost (or other) portions of the blades 52 of the paddle wheel 34 (as discussed in greater detail below), the inner surface 56 generally defining a relatively small clearance between those outermost blade (or other) portions and the surface 56. In certain embodiments, relatively larger clearance may be provided for paddle wheel 34 over a surface portion 56 a corresponding, for example, to a region in which fluid flows from the opening 38 into the cavity 34. The cavity 34 is also defined by internal surfaces (e.g., side walls) 78 and 80, which may be designed to provide relatively small clearances between lateral features of the paddle wheel 34 (e.g., sides 70 and 72 of paddle wheel base 50), lateral edges of blades of the paddle wheel 34, or other components (e.g., a flange 20 on the paddle wheel shaft 36).
  • Referring also to FIG. 4, in one embodiment, the paddle wheel 34 includes a paddle wheel base 50 surrounding the paddle wheel shaft 36. A plurality of paddle wheel blades 52 protrude radially outwardly from the base 50 into the cavity 32 and, thereby, into a flow path of fluid entering the cavity 32 via the inlet opening 38. In the embodiment depicted, the paddle wheel blades 52 include a generally curved profile over the majority of their extension away from the base 50, in order to effectively harvest kinetic energy from passing fluid. It will be understood, however, that other configurations are possible.
  • In the embodiment depicted, two types of blades 52 extend from the paddle wheel 34 and are characterized by first-type blades 60 and second-type blades 90, although other embodiments may include a different number of blade types (e.g., three or more different blade types). Similarly, the two types of blades 52 depicted may be generally viewed as similarly shaped, but differently oriented. However, other embodiments may include various blade types that are less similar in shape. Likewise, although the depicted embodiment includes six total blades 52, with three blades of each blade type, various other numbers of blades (and respective blade types) may be utilized.
  • As shown in FIG. 4, first-type blades 60 include curved blade portions 62 extending radially away from the paddle wheel base 50. The blade portions 62 are each defined by curved body portions 64 that extend outwardly and terminate at rounded distal tips 66 at the radially outermost end of the body portions 64. The distal tips 66 are configured to be generally thicker than the body portions 64, and may travel along inner surfaces 56 of the cavity 32 with a relatively small clearance.
  • Generally, the blade portions 62 of first-type blades 60 extend along the width 54 of the paddle wheel base 50 (e.g., axially along the base 50) from exterior edges 68 at a first side 70 of the base 50 toward a second, opposite side 72 of the base 50, but do not extend the entire length of the width 54 to reach the second side 72. Rather, each blade portion 62 terminates at an interior edge 74, which is spaced interiorly from the second side 72. In certain embodiments, for example, the width 76 of the blade portion 62 may be between about 30% and about 60% of the width 54 of the base 50. In this way, the blade portions 62 may provide a close clearance between the edges 68 and the surface 78 of the internal cavity 32, but a substantially larger clearance between the edges 74 and the surface 80 of the internal cavity 32.
  • Still referring to FIG. 4, in certain embodiments, first-type blades 60 further include elongate base portions 82, which may extend along the paddle wheel base 50 toward the second side 72 further than blade portions 62. This may, for example, provide additional area to harvest kinetic energy from passing fluid, as well as providing additional support and stability to the blade portions 62. In certain embodiments, the base portions 82 may extend across substantially all of the width of the internal cavity 32. In other embodiments, the width 76 of the blade portion 62 is about half of the width of the base portion 82. In a further embodiment, the width 76 of the blade portion 62 is about a third of the width of the base portion 82. In still a further embodiment, the width 76 of the blade portion 62 is less than half of the width of the base portion 82. As depicted in the various figures, the base portions 82 also extend radially away from the paddle wheel base 50, but to a lesser extent than the blade portions 62. In certain embodiments, the base portions 82 may include a shoulder 86, such that a part of the base portion 82 that attaches to the blade portion 62 extends farther away from the paddle wheel base 50 than does a part of the base portion 82 that does not attach to the blade portion 62. In certain embodiments, the shoulder 86 may be mirrored by a similar shoulder 88 in the paddle wheel base 50, which in turn may correspond to one or more shoulders 36 a on paddle wheel shaft 36 (see FIG. 3). This may, for example, allow the paddle wheel base 50 to be slid fully onto the paddle wheel shaft 36 only in one direction. The base portions 82 may be formed integrally with the base 50, or may be otherwise attached to the base 50 using a variety of known attachment means.
  • In certain embodiments, and as depicted in the various figures, the blade portions 62 are detachable from the base portions 82 at an attachment joint 84. For example, the blade portions 62 may be attached to the base portions 82 with snap-fit or other separable attachment means at the joint 84. In this way, the blade portions 62 may be removed and reattached to allow for relatively simple repair and maintenance of the paddle wheel 34, as well as to provide customizability through the use of different numbers or orientations of blades, or the use of blade portions 62 with various profiles, thicknesses, types of tips 66, blade widths 76, and so on.
  • As discussed above, the paddle wheel 34 also includes one or more second-type blades 90. Each second-type blade 90 includes curved blade portions 92 extending radially away from the paddle wheel base 50. The blade portions 92 include body portions 94 that curve outwardly and terminate at distal tips 96 at the radially outermost end of the body portions 94. The distal tips 96 are configured to be generally thicker than the body portions 94, and may travel along the inner surfaces 56 of the cavity 32 with relatively small clearance.
  • Generally, the blade portions 92 of second-type blades 90 extend along the width 54 of the paddle wheel base 50 (e.g., axially along the base 50) from exterior edges 98 at the second side 72 of the base 50 toward a first side 70 of the base 50, but do not extend the entire length of the width 54 to reach the first side 70. Rather, each blade portion 92 terminates at an interior edge 100, which is spaced interiorly from the first side 70. In certain embodiments, for example, the width 102 of the blade portion 92 may be between about 30% and about 60% of the width 54 of the base 50. In this way, the blade portions 92 may provide a close clearance between the edges 98 and the surface 80 of the internal cavity 32, but a substantially larger clearance between the edges 100 and the surface 78 of the internal cavity 32.
  • Still referring to FIG. 4, in certain embodiments, second-type blades 90 further include elongate base portions 104, which may extend along the paddle wheel base 50 toward the first side 70 further than the blade portions 92. This may, for example, provide additional area to harvest kinetic energy from passing fluid, as well as providing additional support and stability to the blade portions 92. In certain embodiments, the base portions 104 may extend across substantially all of the width of the internal cavity 32. In other embodiments, the width 102 of the blade portion 92 is about half of the width of the base portion 104. In a further embodiment, the width 102 of the blade portion 92 is about a third of the width of the base portion 104. In still a further embodiment, the width 102 of the blade portion 92 is less than half of the width of the base portion 92. As depicted in the various figures, the base portions 104 also extend radially away from the paddle wheel base 50, but to a lesser extent than the blade portions 92. In certain embodiments, the base portions 104 may include a shoulder 108, such that a part of the base portion 104 that attaches to the blade portion 92 extends further away from the paddle wheel base 50 than does a part of the base portion that does not attach to the blade portion 92. In certain embodiments, the shoulder 104 may be mirrored by the shoulder 88 in the paddle wheel base 50, which in turn may correspond to one or more shoulders 36 a on paddle wheel shaft 36 (see FIG. 3). The base portions 104 may be formed integrally with the base 50, or may be otherwise attached to the base 50 using a variety of known attachment means.
  • In certain embodiments, and as depicted in the various figures, the blade portions 92 are detachable from the base portions 104 at an attachment joint 106. For example, the blade portions 92 may be attached to the base portions 104 with snap-fit or other separable attachment means at a joint 106. In this way, the blade portions 92 may be removed and reattached to allow for relatively simple repair and maintenance of the paddle wheel 34, as well as to provide customizability through the of different numbers or orientations of blades, or use of the blade portions 92 with various profiles, thicknesses, types of tips 96, blade widths 102, and so on. Where the blade portions 62 and 92 are similar (e.g., as in the embodiment depicted in the various figures), this detachable configuration may sometimes allow for the manufacturing of a single type of blade portion, which may be connected to either of the base portions 62 or 82 to complete, respectively, first-type blades 60 or second-type blades 90.
  • As noted above, and as depicted in the various figures, first-type blades 60 and second-type blades 90 may be oriented in an alternating arrangement around the paddle wheel 34. For example, three first-type blades 60 may be provided, extending radially away from the paddle wheel base 50 in an alternating configuration with three second-type blades 92. It will be understood that various other configurations may be possible, including configurations having additional blade types, different numbers of one or both of first-type blades 60 and second-type blades 90, and so on. For example, one embodiment may include two offirst-type blades 60 and three of second-type blades 90. Another embodiment may include two of first-type blades 90 and three of second-type blades 60. Still another embodiment may include two of first-type blades 60, two of second-type blades 90, and two of a third-type blade (not shown) with a different blade width (or other geometry) than first-type blades 60 and second-type blades 90. Yet another embodiment may include two or four of first-type blades 60 and two or four of second-type blades 90.
  • In certain embodiments, the paddle wheel base width 54 may be approximately equal to the width of the internal cavity 32. In this way, for example, where the exterior edges 68 of first-type blades 60 are generally adjacent to the side 70 of the paddle wheel base 50, the edges 68 may pass near the surface 78 of the cavity 32 with relatively small clearance, while the interior edges 74 may provide relatively large clearances with respect to the surface 80 of the cavity 32. Similarly, the exterior edges 98 of second-type blades 90 are generally adjacent to the side 72 of the paddle wheel base 50 causing the edges 98 to pass near the surface 80 of the cavity 32 with relatively small clearance, while the interior edges 100 may provide relatively large clearances with respect to the surface 78 of the cavity 32.
  • As noted above, the paddle wheel mechanism 12 is positioned within a fluid path of the pool cleaner 10, within the flow area provided by the internal cavity 32 so that fluid flow through the housing 30 (i.e., into the housing 30 through the inlet opening 38, across the paddle wheel 34, and out of the housing 30 through the outlet opening 14 a causes rotation of the paddle wheel 34 and the paddle wheel shaft 36. In other words, kinetic energy of fluid flow across the paddle wheel 34 can be harvested through rotation of the paddle wheel 34 and the paddle wheel shaft 36. In certain embodiments, the paddle wheel shaft 36 may be further connected to other components of the pool cleaner, such as steering or drive systems, so that the energy harvested by the paddle wheel 34 can provide the power to operate such components.
  • In this light, the alternating-blade design of the paddle wheel mechanism 12 may help to prevent the paddle wheel 34 from becoming clogged or otherwise restricted by debris being carried along the noted fluid path. Conventionally, for example, a relatively large radial clearance between the distal tips 66 and 96 and the surfaces 56 of cavity 32 would be required in order to allow debris to pass through the cavity 32 without clogging or otherwise impeding the paddle wheel 34. The alternating configuration of first-type blades 60 and second-type blades 90, however, reduces (and may even remove) the need for such a large radial clearance because debris may pass through the axial clearances between the inner edges 74 and 100 and, respectively, the surfaces 78 and 80 of the housing 30.
  • Referring also to FIG. 5, a portion of fluid (e.g., water) moving through the cavity 32 may travel along fluid paths 110 and 112 to impact the first-type blade 60 and the second-type blade 90 and thereby transfer a portion of its kinetic energy to the paddle wheel 34. At the same time, debris may be carried along a debris path 114 around the blade portions 62 and 92 of the blades 60 and 90 and thereby pass through and out of the cavity 32. Accordingly, as one beneficial result, the alternating-blade design of the paddle wheel mechanism 12 may provide both relatively high performance characterized by a low incidence of clogging, and relatively high efficiency.
  • In certain embodiments, various aspects of the geometries of first-type and second-type blades 60 and 90 (or other blade types) may be varied depending on the expected operating conditions of a particular cleaner 10. For example, the blade widths 76 and 100 may be selected based upon expected debris sizes in a particular cleaning application. Likewise, in certain embodiments (not shown), the blade portions 62 or 92 may exhibit non-uniform widths over the length of their extension away from the paddle wheel base 50. For example, the blade portion 62 may exhibit a first width at joint 84, various different widths along the body portion 64, and a different width still at the distal tip 66.
  • It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that while the invention has been described above in connection with particular embodiments and examples, the invention is not necessarily so limited, and that numerous other embodiments, examples, uses, modifications and departures from the embodiments, examples and uses are intended to be encompassed by the claims attached hereto. The entire disclosure of each patent and publication cited herein is incorporated by reference, as if each such patent or publication were individually incorporated by reference herein. Various features and advantages of the invention are set forth in the following claims.

Claims (20)

1. A paddle wheel mechanism for a pool cleaner, the paddle wheel mechanism comprising:
a housing with an internal flow area;
a paddle wheel shaft supported by the housing; and
a paddle wheel supported by the paddle wheel shaft, the paddle wheel including
a paddle wheel base extending along a base width,
a first-type blade extending radially outward from the paddle wheel base and including a first blade portion extending from a first side of the paddle wheel base for a first blade width less than the base width, and
a second-type blade extending radially outward from the paddle wheel base and including a second blade portion extending from a second, opposite side of the paddle wheel base for a second blade width less than the base width.
2. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 1, wherein a plurality of the first-type blades and a plurality of the second-type blades are arranged around the paddle wheel base in an alternating manner.
3. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first-type blade and the second-type blade includes a curved blade profile.
4. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 1, wherein the housing includes a fluid path opening configured to direct fluid from a fluid path of the pool cleaner across the paddle wheel.
5. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 1, wherein the first blade width and the second blade width are each between 30 percent and 60 percent of the base width.
6. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 1, wherein the first-type blade includes a first base portion extending substantially along an entirety of the base width, the first blade portion extending outwardly from the first base portion.
7. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 6, wherein the second-type blade includes a second base portion extending substantially along an entirety of the base width, the second blade portion extending outwardly from the second base portion.
8. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 6, wherein the first base portion includes a first part from which the first blade portion extends, and a second part; and the second part extends away from the paddle wheel base to a lesser extent than the first part.
9. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 8, wherein the first part and the second part are separated by a shoulder.
10. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 6, wherein the first blade portion is removably coupled to the first base portion.
11. The paddle wheel mechanism of claim 1, wherein the paddle wheel base includes a shoulder that aligns with a shoulder on the paddle wheel shaft when the paddle wheel is arranged over the paddle wheel shaft.
12. A pool cleaner comprising:
a pool cleaner housing defining an internal fluid path; and
a paddle wheel mechanism positioned within the internal fluid path, the paddle wheel mechanism including:
a housing;
a paddle wheel shaft supported by the housing; and
a paddle wheel supported by the paddle wheel shaft, the paddle wheel including:
a paddle wheel base extending along a base width,
a first-type blade extending radially outward from the paddle wheel base and including a first blade portion extending from a first side of the paddle wheel base for a first blade width less than the base width, and
a second-type blade extending radially outward from the paddle wheel base and including a second blade portion extending from a second, opposite side of the paddle wheel base for a second blade width less than the base width.
13. The pool cleaner of claim 12, wherein the housing includes a fluid path opening configured to direct fluid from the internal fluid path across the paddle wheel.
14. The pool cleaner of claim 12, wherein a plurality of the first-type blades and a plurality of the second-type blades are arranged around the paddle wheel base in an alternating manner.
15. The pool cleaner of claim 12 and further comprising at least one wheel, wherein the paddle wheel mechanism is configured to provide kinetic energy to drive the at least one wheel.
16. The pool cleaner of claim 12, wherein the paddle wheel shaft is coupled to one of a steering system and a drive system and the paddle wheel mechanism is configured to provide kinetic energy to power one the steering system and the drive system.
17. The pool cleaner of claim 12, wherein the first-type blade and the second-type blade are fixed relative to each other to maintain a first axial clearance between an inner edge of the first blade portion and a first inner surface of the housing, and a second axial clearance between an inner edge of the second blade portion and a second inner surface of the housing.
18. The pool cleaner of claim 12, wherein the first-type blade includes a first base portion, and the first blade portion is coupled to the first base portion at a joint and extends outwardly from the first base portion.
19. The pool cleaner of claim 18, wherein the first blade width of the first blade portion varies from the joint to a distal tip of the first blade portion.
20. The pool cleaner of claim 18, wherein the first blade width of the first blade portion is uniform from the joint to a distal tip of the first blade portion.
US15/842,497 2013-03-13 2017-12-14 Alternating Paddle Mechanism for Pool Cleaner Abandoned US20180106059A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US201361780481P true 2013-03-13 2013-03-13
US14/209,876 US9850672B2 (en) 2013-03-13 2014-03-13 Alternating paddle mechanism for pool cleaner
US15/842,497 US20180106059A1 (en) 2013-03-13 2017-12-14 Alternating Paddle Mechanism for Pool Cleaner

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US15/842,497 US20180106059A1 (en) 2013-03-13 2017-12-14 Alternating Paddle Mechanism for Pool Cleaner

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AU2017268632A1 (en) 2017-12-21
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US20140271175A1 (en) 2014-09-18
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