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Title:
LIGHTING ASSEMBLIES PRINCIPALLY FOR SWIMMING POOLS AND SPAS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/071085
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Nicheless lighting assemblies principally for swimming pools and spa are detailed. The lighting assemblies include features configured to dissipate heat. The assemblies additionally are designed to reduce possibility of water intrusion.

Inventors:
ARPIN, Jonathan (2620 Commerce WayVista, California, 92081, US)
HENG, Hwa (2620 Commerce WayVista, California, 92081, US)
LU, Barton (2620 Commerce WayVista, California, 92081, US)
ACKEMA, Evan (2620 Commerce WayVista, California, 92081, US)
Application Number:
US2018/054541
Publication Date:
April 11, 2019
Filing Date:
October 05, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ZODIAC POOL SYSTEMS LLC (2620 Commerce Way, Vista, California, 92081, US)
ARPIN, Jonathan (2620 Commerce WayVista, California, 92081, US)
HENG, Hwa (2620 Commerce WayVista, California, 92081, US)
LU, Barton (2620 Commerce WayVista, California, 92081, US)
ACKEMA, Evan (2620 Commerce WayVista, California, 92081, US)
International Classes:
F21V31/00; F21V23/00; F21V29/70; F21V29/89; F21W131/401; F21Y115/10
Foreign References:
US20150092416A12015-04-02
US8172434B12012-05-08
US20130039043A12013-02-14
US20130100651A12013-04-25
US20150124435A12015-05-07
US6971760B22005-12-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RUSSELL, Dean W. (Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, Mailstop: IP Docketing - 22Suite 2800, 1100 Peachtree Street N, Atlanta Georgia, 30309-4528, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A lighting assembly comprising:

a. a light source;

b. a lens;

c. a heat spreader; and

d. a thermally-conductive plastic overmolded onto at least one of the lens or the heat spreader.

2. A lighting assembly comprising:

a. a first printed circuit board assembly containing at least one light-emitting diode;

b. a second printed circuit board assembly containing drive electronics;

c. a heat sink (i) to which the first printed circuit board assembly is attached and (ii) defining a central hole; and

d. electrical or optical wiring connected to the second printed board assembly.

3. A lighting assembly comprising:

a. a first subassembly comprising first and second printed circuit board assemblies and a heat sink;

b. a second subassembly (i) into which the first subassembly is configured to be fitted and (ii) comprising a lens, a heat spreader, and thermally -conductive plastic (A) overmolded onto at least one of the lens or the head spreader and (B) defining an opening; and

c. potting material introduced through the opening.

4. A nicheless lighting assembly for a swimming pool or spa comprising a light source and at least one of the following features:

a. thermally-conductive plastic overmolded onto a component other than the light source;

b. a single joint;

c. two or more printed circuit board assemblies;

d. a heat sink having a central hole;

e. a first subassembly which may be slid or otherwise fitted into a second subassembly;

f. an opening through which potting material may be introduced; g. a shield configured to safeguard the light source from volatile organic compounds;

h. a removable protective cover;

i. a cover comprising either or both of stand-off ribs or grooves; j. an end cap comprising flexible fingers; or

k. any feature described or illustrated in this application.

Description:
LIGHTING ASSEMBLIES PRINCIPALLY

FOR SWIMMING POOLS AND SPAS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This application claims the benefit of and priority to (1) U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/569,199, filed October 6, 2017, and having the same title as appears above, and (2) U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 62/703,241, filed July 25, 2018, and having the same title as appears above, the entire contents of both of which applications (collectively, the "Provisional Applications") are hereby incorporated herein by this reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to immersed lighting assemblies principally for swimming pools and spas and more particularly, but not necessarily exclusively, to nicheless lighting having improved heat-dissipation properties.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

U.S. Patent No. 6,971,760 to Archer, et al., whose contents are incorporated herein in their entirety by this reference, describes exemplary nicheless lighting systems for water-containing vessels such as swimming pools. As illustrated in Figs. 4-5 of the Archer patent, a lens may cover an array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) protruding through a perforated white or reflective plate. See Archer, col. 6, 11. 3-4 and 12-14. A fiber optic bundle may connect to the LEDs on a side of the plate opposite the lens, and control circuitry may be "located at a remote location outside of the pool." See id., 11. 23-25. Because nicheless lights typically are smaller than traditional niched lights, they comprise less surface area over which to dissipate heat. To reduce risk of electrical shock, nicheless lights also should be free of metallic surfaces in contact with water of pools. This absence of external, thermally-conductive metallic surfaces further decreases ability of nicheless lights to dissipate heat.

Recognized by the Archer patent is that LEDs of these lighting assemblies indeed generate significant heat. Some versions of the lighting assemblies omit any lens and employ white plates and long, thick electrical leads as approaches to dissipating the generated heat. See id., col. 3, 11. 54-63. Pool water itself may also be used for this purpose. See id., col. 6, 11. 7-1 1.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides different mechanisms for dissipating heat in lighting assemblies. The mechanisms may include metallic heat sinks and spreaders. Rather than omitting lenses, moreover, the lighting assemblies may include lenses and overmold thermally-conductive plastic material onto them and the heat spreaders. In particular, the present invention allows use of metals such as aluminum, which has good thermal conductivity, but maintains external surfaces of plastic materials which are not normally electrically conductive.

Also furnished by the present invention are lighting assemblies having only a single joint required to be sealed to prevent water intrusion. This characteristic reduces the risk of water intrusion over conventional assemblies, which include two or more such joints. It also may improve production assembly speeds. Embodiments of the innovative lighting assemblies may include two printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs). One of the board assemblies may contain the LEDs, while the other may include the drive electronics. Because of its need for heat dissipating, the PCBA containing the LEDs may be attached to the heat sink. Further, the heat sink may have a hole in its center, which may be advantageous as heat is dissipated principally at the perimeter of the board.

It thus is an optional, non-exclusive object of the present invention to provide lighting assemblies.

It is also an optional, non-exclusive object of the present invention to provide lighting assemblies having improved heat-dissipation properties, water-intrusion- resistance properties, or both.

It is another optional, non-exclusive object of the present invention to provide nicheless lighting assemblies principally for use in swimming pools and spas.

Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to persons skilled in the relevant art with reference to the remaining text and the drawings of this application.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a view of components of an exemplary lighting assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 2 are additional views of portions of the lighting assembly of FIG. 1. FIG. 3 are additional views of portions of the lighting assembly of FIG. 1 together with views of a pool fitting into which the lighting assembly may be installed.

FIG. 4 are additional views of portions of the lighting assembly of FIG. 1. FIGS. 1 A, 2A, 3A, 4A-B, 5A, 6A, 7A, 8A, 9A, and 10A are views of another exemplary lighting assembly of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Certain features of the present invention are illustrated in the appended FIGS. 1-4. Depicted in an exploded view in FIG. 1 are components of an exemplary lighting assembly 10 consistent with the present invention. Assembly 10 may comprise, among other constituent parts, lens 14, heat spreader 18, heat sink 22, first PCBA 26, and second PCBA 30. Both heat spreader 18 and heat sink 22 preferably are formed of aluminum, although other metals or materials with high thermal conductivity may be used instead. As illustrated, heat sink 22 is generally annular, with a central hole (as discussed above), and heat spreader 18 preferably is generally tubular in shape. If desired, lens 14 may contain a diffusing fill so as to appear "foggy."

FIGS. 1-2 show a thermally-conductive plastic 34 such as (but not necessarily) a composite material formed of polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) and graphite. As detailed especially in FIG. 2, plastic 34 may be overmolded onto heat spreader 18 and lens 14. Doing so prevents metallic heat spreader 18 from being exposed (to, for example, pool water) while maintaining ability to employ its good thermal conductivity to help dissipate heat from within assembly 10.

FIGS. 1 and 3 depict gasket 38 which may be included as part of lighting assembly 10. Gasket 38 may be made of silicone, for example, and function to seal against a fitting of a pool.

FIG. 4, finally, details some actions beneficial in assembling lighting assembly 10. Electrical or optical wiring 42 (which may include suitable strain relief 46) may be connected to second PCBA 30, and a first subassembly including second PCBA 30, heat sink 22, and first PCBA 26 may be slid into a second subassembly comprising plastic 34, lens 14, and heat spreader 18. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, plastic 34 may define at least one opening 50 through which potting material 54 may be introduced from outside of assembly 10. Introducing potting material 54 preferably is a (or the) final step in assembling assembly 10, as material 54 functions not only to fix position of wiring 42 within the assembly 10, but also to seal the single seam present in the assembly 10.

Appended FIGS. 1A-10A and 4B illustrate further features of the present invention. As shown therein, exemplary lighting assembly 1 10 optionally may comprise, among other constituent parts, lens 1 14, heat spreader 1 18, heat sink 122, first PCBA 126, second PCBA 130 (see FIG. 2 A), and gasket 138. Additionally depicted is a thermally- conductive plastic 134 that may be overmolded onto heat spreader 1 18 and lens 1 14. Each of these components may, but need not necessarily, be similar or identical to, or function like, corresponding components of assembly 10 as depicted in FIGS. 1-4. In particular, assembly 1 10 may be designed so that plastic 134 is exposed to pool water whereas metallic heat spreader 1 18 is not.

Opening 150 appears as well in FIG. 1A. Like opening 50, opening 150 allows potting material to be introduced into assembly 1 10 from outside thereof. Opening 150 advantageously may be positioned closer to a rear, or bottom 200 of assembly 1 10 than to a front, or top 204 of the assembly 1 10. As shown in FIG. 2A, electrical or optical wiring 142 (which may include suitable strain relief 146) may be connected to second PCBA 130, and a first subassembly including second PCBA 130, heat sink 122, and first PCBA 126 may be slid into a second subassembly comprising plastic 134, lens 1 14, and heat spreader 1 18. The first subassembly beneficially is inserted into the second subassembly at bottom 200, as overmolded plastic 134 generally inhibits insertion from top 204.

FIG. 3 A illustrates an exemplary first PCBA 126. First PCBA 126 may include LEDs 208, nine of which (marked W1-W9) are depicted in FIG. 3 A. Persons skilled in the art will, of course, recognize that more or fewer than nine LEDs 208 may be employed instead.

Shown too in FIG. 3 A is shield 212. Shield 212 may cover connector 216 utilized to connect first PCBA 126 to second PCBA 130. Shield 212 advantageously safeguards LEDs 208 from being adversely affected by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from, e.g., second PCBA 130 as heating occurs. Thermal grease 220 also may be employed between heat spreader 1 18 and heat sink 122 in order to dissipate heat that otherwise might adversely impact LEDs 208.

A cross-sectional view of heat spreader 1 18 is included as FIG. 4A. Heat spreader 1 18 preferably includes grooves 224 both above and below opening 150A. The grooves 224 may be filled with potting material introduced through opening 150A so as to provide water-tight seals protecting the internal remainder of assembly 1 10.

Opening 150 A of heat spreader 1 18 and a corresponding opening 150B of plastic 134 (see FIG. 10A) collectively may form opening 150 through which potting material may be introduced. Heat spreader 1 18 and plastic 134 thus may be configured so that openings 150A and 150B align when assembly 1 10 is assembled. Such alignment is illustrated in, e.g., FIG. 4B.

FIG. 5A shows protective cover 228 that may be used in connection with assembly 1 10. Protective cover 228 is intended to provide temporary protection for at least lens 1 14 during, for example, installation of assembly 1 10 in a pool or spa.

Protective cover 228 may be removable when assembly 1 10 is ready for use.

Cover 232 appears in FIG. 6A. By contrast with protective cover 228, cover 232 preferably is not temporary but rather remains in place when assembly 1 10 is installed. Cover 232 may include attachment means such as snap hooks 236 and alignment ribs 240. Standoff ribs 244, further, may allow pool water to interact with covered portions of lens 1 14 for cooling purposes.

As shown in FIG. 7 A, lens 1 14 may be seated within recess 244 of heat spreader 1 18. Such seating supports lens 1 14 within assembly 1 10, helping distribute impact forces potentially experienced by the lens 1 14.

End cap 248 may be present at bottom 200 of assembly 1 10. Illustrates in FIG. 8A is that end cap 248 may include flexible fingers 252 to allow potting material introduced through opening 50 to reach bottom 200. Groove 256 of end cap 248 further receives potting material to create a seal when assembly 1 10 is potted.

Heat spreader 1 18 desirably may terminate short of the outermost portion of end cap 248, as shown in FIG. 9A. This termination further reduces the likelihood of heat spreader 1 18 coming into contact with pool water in use. Cover 232, finally, may include grooves 260 (see FIG. 10A). Together with grooves 264 of plastic 134, grooves 260 facilitate installation of assembly 1 10. Grooves 260 and 264 also permit water flow into threads 268 for cooling purposes.

The foregoing is provided for purposes of illustrating, explaining, and describing embodiments of the present invention. Modifications and adaptations to these embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art and may be made without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.