Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
MULTIFUNCTIONAL AIR PUMP
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/064553
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A multifunctional air pump is disclosed including an air pump assembly, a control module, and a remote user input for inflating and deflating an inflatable product. The air pump may be operated remotely for convenience. The air pump may also operate automatically to maintain the pressure of the inflatable product.

Inventors:
LIN, Hua Hslang (Xinyang Industrial Zone, No. 858 Wengjiao RoadHaican, Xiamen Fujian 2, 36102, CN)
HSU, Yaw Yuan (Xinyang Industrial Zone, No. 858 Wengjiao RoadHaican, Xiamen Fujian 2, 36102, CN)
Application Number:
IB2016/001484
Publication Date:
April 20, 2017
Filing Date:
October 14, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
INTEX MARKETING LTD. (Wickham's Cay, P.O. Box 662Road Town, Tortola 1110, British Virgin Islands, VG)
LIN, Hua Hslang (Xinyang Industrial Zone, No. 858 Wengjiao RoadHaican, Xiamen Fujian 2, 36102, CN)
HSU, Yaw Yuan (Xinyang Industrial Zone, No. 858 Wengjiao RoadHaican, Xiamen Fujian 2, 36102, CN)
International Classes:
F04D17/10; F04D25/08; F04D27/00
Foreign References:
CN105952663A2016-09-21
CN201090463Y2008-07-23
CN201273290Y2009-07-15
CN2746161Y2005-12-14
CN2750081Y2006-01-04
JP2013127206A2013-06-27
US20110284108A12011-11-24
Other References:
See also references of EP 3362688A4
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1 . A multifunctional air pump comprising:

an air pump assembly comprising:

a first opening in fluid communication with a surrounding atmosphere;

a second opening in fluid communication with an inflatable product;

a pump having an inlet and an outlet; and

an air passageway having:

a first position in which the inlet of the pump communicates with the first opening and the outlet of the pump communicates with the second opening;

a second position in which the inlet of the pump communicates with the second opening and the outlet of the pump communicates with the first opening; and

a control module in electrical communication with the air pump assembly, the control module having at least one communication module that is configured to communicate with a remote user input.

2. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , wherein the control module is configured to operate the air pump assembly in:

an inflation mode with the pump on and the air passageway positioned in the first position; and

a deflation mode with the pump on and the air passageway positioned in the second position. 3. The multifunctional air pump of claim 2, wherein the control module is configured to operate the air pump assembly in an adjustment mode with the pump off and the air passageway positioned in the second position.

The multifunctional air pump of claim 3, wherein the remote user input includes:

an inflation button corresponding to the inflation mode;

a deflation button corresponding to the deflation mode; and an adjustment button corresponding to the adjustment mode.

5. The multifunctional air pump of claim 2, wherein the control module is configured to operate the air pump assembly in a pressure maintenance mode with the pump on at a lower speed than the inflation mode and the air passageway positioned in the first position.

6. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , wherein the control module operates a driving device that automatically rotates the air passageway between the first and second positions. 7. The multifunctional air pump of claim 6, wherein the air passageway is located within a core, and wherein the driving device rotates the core by moving a rack having a geared relationship with the core.

8. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , further comprising a hand wheel configured to manually rotate the air passageway between the first and second positions.

9. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , wherein the control module controls operation of the pump based on at least one of a timer, a pressure detector, and a current detector. 10. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , further comprising a valve located in the second opening, wherein the valve is biased closed when the air passageway is in the first position and is forced open when the air passageway is in the second position.

1 1 . The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , wherein, when the air passageway is in the second position, the air passageway is offset from a central axis of the pump.

12. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , wherein the at least one communication module includes a WIFI chip, a Bluetooth chip, or an infrared chip.

1 3. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , wherein the remote user input is one of smartphone, a tablet, and a computer.

14. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , wherein the remote user input is a dedicated remote control. 1 5. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , wherein the air pump assembly is built into the inflatable product.

16. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 , wherein the inflatable product is a mattress. 17. A multifunctional air pump comprising:

an air pump assembly including an air pump in fluid communication with an inflatable product and a surrounding atmosphere, wherein the air pump assembly is operable in:

an inflation mode in which the air pump assembly inflates the inflatable product by operating the air pump and directing air from the surrounding atmosphere to the inflatable product;

a deflation mode in which the air pump assembly deflates the inflatable product by operating the air pump and directing air from the inflatable product to the surrounding atmosphere; and

an adjustment mode in which the air pump assembly gradually deflates the inflatable product by allowing air to travel from the inflatable product to the surrounding atmosphere without operating the air pump; and

a control module in electrical communication with the air pump assembly, the control module being configu ed to receive a user command and to operate the air pump assembly in one of the inflation, deflation, and adjustment modes based on the user command.

18. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 7, wherein the air pump assembly includes a moveable air passageway having a first position in the inflation mode and a second position in the deflation and adjustment modes. 19. The multifunctional air pump of claim 1 8, wherein the control module automatically moves the air passageway between the first and second positions.

20. A multifunctional air pump comprising:

an air pump assembly including an air pump in fluid communication with an inflatable product and a surrounding atmosphere, wherein the air pump assembly is operable in:

an inflation mode in which the air pump assembly inflates the inflatable product by operating the air pump at a first speed and directing air from the suiTOunding atmosphere to the inflatable product;

a deflation mode in which the air pump assembly deflates the inflatable product by operating the air pump and directing air from the inflatable product to the surrounding atmosphere; and

a maintenance mode in which the air pump assembly maintains inflation of the inflatable product by operating the air pump at a second speed lower than the first speed and directing air from the surrounding atmosphere to the inflatable product; and

a control module in electrical communication with the air pump assembly, the control module being configured to receive a user command and to operate the air pump assembly in one of the inflation, deflation, and maintenance modes based on the user command.

2 1 . The multifunctional air pump of claim 20, wherein the control module communicates with at least one of a timer, a pressure detector, and a current detector in the maintenance mode.

22. The multifunctional air pump of claim 20, wherein the control module stops operating the air pump in the maintenance mode when the inflatable product reaches a predetermined pressure. 23. The multifunctional air pump of claim 22, wherein the predetermined pressure is adjustable by a user.

24. The multifunctional air pump of claim 20, wherein the air pump is coupled to an air admission valve that closes in the inflation and deflation modes and opens in the maintenance mode.

25. The multifunctional air pump of claim 24, wherein the air pump is coupled to the air admission valve via a one-way bearing.

Description:
MULTIFUNCTIONAL AIR PUMP CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to the following Chinese patent applications, the disclosures of which are hereby expressly incorporated by reference herein in their entirety:

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE [0002] The present disclosure relates to a multifunctional air pump. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a multifunctional air pump for inflating and deflating an inflatable product, such as an inflatable mattress, and to a method for using the same.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0003] The convenience of inflatable products has led to their adoption in a variety of household products, such as inflatable mattresses, inflatable pools and spas, inflatable furniture, and other inflatable products. However, over time, such inflatable products are susceptible to air leakage due to material defonnation and/or long-term stress, which affects the user ' s comfort. With respect to an inflatable mattress, for example, the user may fill the bed to an initial pressure to achieve a desired hardness, but the mattress may leak air over time and become softer and softer. SUMMARY

[0004] The present disclosure provides a multifunctional air pump for inflating and deflating an inflatable product. The multifunctional air pump includes an air pump assembly, a control module, and a remote user input. The air pump may be operated remotely for convenience. The air pump may also operate automatically to maintain the pressure of the inflatable product.

[0005] According to an embodiment of the present disclosure, a multifunctional air pump is provided including an air pump assembly and a control module. The air pump assembly includes a first opening in fluid communication with a surrounding atmosphere, a second opening in fluid communication with an inflatable product, a pump having an inlet and an outlet, and an air passageway having a first position in which the inlet of the pump communicates with the first opening and the outlet of the pump communicates with the second opening and a second position in which the inlet of the pump communicates with the second opening and the outlet of the pump communicates with the first opening. The control module is in electrical

communication with the air pump assembly and has at least one communication module that is configured to communicate with a remote user input.

[0006] In certain embodiments, the control module is configured to operate the air pump assembly in an inflation mode with the pump on and the air passageway positioned in the first position and a deflation mode with the pump on and the air passageway positioned in the second position.

[0007] In certain embodiments, the control module is configured to operate the air pump assembly in an adjustment mode with the pump off and the air passageway positioned in the second position.

[0008] In certain embodiments, the remote user input includes an inflation button corresponding to the inflation mode, a deflation button corresponding to the deflation mode, and an adjustment button corresponding to the adjustment mode.

[0009] In certain embodiments, the control module is configured to operate the air pump assembly in a pressure maintenance mode with the pump on at a lower speed than the inflation mode and the air passageway positioned in the first position. [0010] In certain embodiments, the control module operates a driving device that automatically rotates the air passageway between the first and second positions.

[0011] In certain embodiments, the air passageway is located within a core, and the driving device rotates the core by moving a rack having a geared relationship with the core. [0012] In certain embodiments, a hand wheel is provided to manually rotate the air passageway between the first and second positions.

[0013] In certain embodiments, the control module controls operation of the pump based on at least one of a timer, a pressure detector, and a current detector.

[0014] In certain embodiments, a valve is located in the second opening, wherein the valve is biased closed when the air passageway is in the first position and is forced open when the air passageway is in the second position.

[0015] In certain embodiments, when the air passageway is in the second position, the air passageway is offset from a central axis of the pump.

[0016] In certain embodiments, the at least one communication module includes a WIFI chip, a Bluetooth chip, or an infrared chip.

[0017] In certain embodiments, the remote user input is one of a smartphone, a tablet, and a computer.

[0018] In certain embodiments, the remote user input is a dedicated remote control.

[0019] In certain embodiments, the air pump assembly is built into the inflatable product. [0020] In certain embodiments, the inflatable product is a mattress.

[0021 ] According to another embodiment of the present disclosure, a multifunctional air pump is provided including an air pump assembly and a control module. The air pump assembly includes an air pump in fluid communication with an inflatable product and a surrounding atmosphere, wherein the air pump assembly is operable in an inflation mode in which the air pump assembly inflates the inflatable product by operating the air pump and directing air from the surrounding atmosphere to the inflatable product, a deflation mode in which the air pump assembly deflates the inflatable product by operating the air pump and directing air from the inflatable product to the surrounding atmosphere, and an adjustment mode in which the air pump assembly gradually deflates the inflatable product by allowing air to travel from the inflatable product to the surrounding atmosphere without operating the air pump. The control module is in electrical communication with the air pump assembly, the control module being configured to receive a user command and to operate the air pump assembly in one of the inflation, deflation, and adjustment modes based on the user command.

[0022] In certain embodiments, the air pump assembly includes a moveable air passageway having a first position in the inflation mode and a second position in the deflation and adjustment modes.

[0023] In certain embodiments, the control module automatically moves the air passageway between the first and second positions.

[0024] According to yet another embodiment of the present disclosure, a multifunctional air pump is provided including an air pump assembly and a control module. The air pump assembly includes an air pump in fluid communication with an inflatable product and a surrounding atmosphere, wherein the air pump assembly is operable in an inflation mode in which the air pump assembly inflates the inflatable product by operating the air pump at a first speed and directing air from the surrounding atmosphere to the inflatable product, a deflation mode in which the air pump assembly deflates the inflatable product by operating the air pump and directing air from the inflatable product to the surrounding atmosphere, and a maintenance mode in which the air pump assembly maintains inflation of the inflatable product by operating the air pump at a second speed lower than the first speed and directing air from the surrounding atmosphere to the inflatable product. The control module is in electrical communication with the air pump assembly, the control module being configured to receive a user command and to operate the air pump assembly in one of the inflation, deflation, and maintenance modes based on the user command. [0025] In certain embodiments, the control module communicates with at least one of a timer, a pressure detector, and a current detector in the maintenance mode.

[0026] In certain embodiments, the control module stops operating the air pump in the maintenance mode when the inflatable product reaches a predetermined pressure.

[0027] In certain embodiments, the predetermined pressure is adjustable by a user. [0028| In certain embodiments, the air pump is coupled to an air admission valve that closes in the inflation and deflation modes and opens in the maintenance mode.

[0029] In certain embodiments, the air pump is coupled to the air admission valve via a one-way bearing. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0030] The above-mentioned and other features and advantages of this disclosure, and the manner of attaining them, will become more apparent and will be better understood by reference to the following description of embodiments of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein: [0031] FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a multifunctional air pump for inflating and deflating an inflatable product, the multifunctional air pump including an air pump assembly, a control module, and a remote user input;

[0032] FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of the control module;

[0033] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a first air pump assembly of the present disclosure; [0034] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the first air pump assembly of FIG. 3, wherein the first air pump assembly is shown in an inflation mode;

[0035] FIG. 5 is another cross-sectional view of the first air pump assembly of FIG. 3, wherein the first air pump assembly is shown in a deflation mode;

[0036] FIG. 6 is a flow chart for operating the first air pump assembly in the inflation mode of FIG. 4;

[0037] FIG. 7 is a flow chart for operating the first air pump assembly in the deflation mode of FIG. 5 ;

[0038] FIG. 8 is a flow chart for operating the first air pump assembly in an adjustment mode; [0039] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a second air pump assembly of the present disclosure;

[0040] FIG. 1 0 is a top plan view of the second air pump assembly of FIG. 9; [0041 ] FIG. 1 1 is a cross-sectional view of the second air pump assembly of FIG. 9;

[0042] FIG. 1 1 A is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 1 1 showing an alternative embodiment of the second air pump assembly;

[0043] FIG. 12 is another cross-sectional view of the second air pump assembly of FIG. 9, wherein the second air pump assembly is shown in an inflation mode;

[0044] FIG. 13 is another cross-sectional view of the second air pump assembly of FIG.

9, wherein the second air pump assembly is shown in a deflation mode;

[0045] FIG. 14 is a flow chart for operating the second air pump assembly in the inflation mode of FIG. 12 and/or the deflation mode of FIG. 1 3; [0046] FIG. 15 is a flow chart for operating the second air pump assembly in a pressure maintenance mode;

[0047] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a third air pump assembly of the present disclosure;

[0048] FIG. 17 is a top plan view of the third air pump assembly of FIG. 16; [0049] FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional view of the third air pump assembly of FIG. 16, wherein the third air pump assembly is shown in an inflation mode;

[0050] FIG. 19 is another cross-sectional view of the third air pump assembly of FIG. 16, wherein the third air pump assembly is shown in a deflation mode; and

[0051 ] FIG. 20 is another cross-sectional view of the third air pump assembly of FIG. 16, wherein the third air pump assembly is shown in a pressure maintenance mode.

[0052] Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplifications set out herein illustrate exemplary embodiments of the invention and such exemplifications are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

|0053| Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a multifunctional air pump is disclosed including an air pump assembly A, a control module B, and a remote user input C. The air pump assembly A communicates with an inflatable product D, such as an inflatable mattress, an inflatable pool or spa, an inflatable furniture item, or another inflatable product. In certain embodiments, the air pump assembly A is built into or otherwise coupled to the inflatable product D. The control module B is electrically coupled to the air pump assembly A and is wirelessly coupled to the remote user input C for communication therewith. The communication between the control module B and the remote user input C may be one-way or two-way.

(0054) As shown in FIG. 2, the illustrative control module B includes at least one communication module, such as a WIFI chip B l , a Bluetooth chip B2, and/or an infrared chip B3. The control module B also includes a central processing unit (CPU) B4 connected to and configured to control the communication modules B l , B2, B3. The CPU B4 is also connected to and configured to control a nightlight B5, a backlight B6, at least one button B7, and a USB port B8. As discussed further below, air pump assembly A may have various modes of operation. The backlight B6 may be used for communicating the working state of air pump assembly A to the user, and the button B7 may be used for selecting the desired mode of operation. The USB port B8 is configured to receive, power, and/or operate a USB-enabled device, such as a cell phone or a music player. The control module B is coupled to a power supply (not shown). The power supply may be an internal battery or an external power source, such as a standard electrical outlet.

(0055J Referring still to FIG. 2, the illustrative remote user input C is configured to receive user commands and communicate those commands to the air pump assembly A via the control module B. An exemplary remote user input C includes a remote control that is sold with and dedicated to the control module B. Other exemplary terminals C include smartphones, tablets, or computers, for example, having software installed thereon to communicate with the control module B. The remote user input C may include a plurality of user inputs, such as an inflation button C I , a deflation button C2, and/or an adjustment button C3.

(0056] In operation, the user may input commands to the remote user input C to control operation of the air pump assembly A via one or more communication modules of the control module B, such as the WIFI chip B l , the Bluetooth chip B2, and/or the infrared chip B3 of the control module B. For example, if the user presses the inflation button C I on the remote user input C, the command may be sent to an appropriate communication module B l , B2, B3, of the control module B and then to the CPU B4 of the control module B to operate the air pump assembly A in an inflation mode.

[0057) Referring next to FIGS. 3-8, a first embodiment of the air pump assembly A is shown and includes a seat or housing 1 , an air pump 2 located within the housing 1 , a moveable air core 3, and an automatic operation mechanism 4.

[0058| The housing 1 may be built into an inflatable chamber of the inflatable product D

(FIG. 1 ). The housing 1 includes a cover panel 1 1 with a first opening 1 1 1 in fluid

communication with the surrounding atmosphere. The housing 1 also includes a second opening or vent 12 in fluid communication with the inflatable product. The vent 12 is controlled by a one-way check valve 13 that is biased closed. In addition, the cover panel 1 1 includes an inflation switch or button 1 12, a deflation switch or button 1 1 3, an adjustment switch or button 1 14, and an indicator light 1 1 5 for displaying whether the system is operational, as described further below.

[0059] The air pump 2 includes a body 21 , a blade 22, and a motor 23 that drives the blade 22. The body 21 defines an air inlet 21 1 and air outlet 212, wherein the air inlet 21 1 is arranged along the central axis of the blade 22 and the air outlet 212 is arranged tangent to the blade 22. The blade 22 is received within the body 21 and may include a single blade or multiple blade groups. In operation, the blade 22 draws air into the air inlet 21 1 and exhausts air through the air outlet 212. [0060] The air core 3 has an internal passageway 31 in fluid communication with the opening 1 1 1 of the housing 1 on one end (i.e., the top end in FIG. 3) and in selective fluid communication with the air pump 2 on the other end (i.e., the bottom end in FIG. 3). The air core 3 is configured to rotate, swing, or otherwise move to selectively communicate with the air inlet 2 1 1 or the air outlet 21 2 of the air pump 2. In certain embodiments, the internal passageway 3 1 of the air core 3 may have a horn shape and may extend along or eccentric to a central axis of the air pump 2. The one-way valve 13 may be opened using the automatic operation mechanism 4, as discussed further below. In other embodiments, the external surface of the air core 3 may have an eccentric setting such that the air core 3 forms a cam surface that is configured to selectively push the one-way valve 1 3 and open the vent 1 2. [0061] The automatic operation mechanism 4 is configured to move the air core 3 to place the internal passageway 3 1 in fluid communication with the air inlet 21 1 or the air outlet 212 of the air pump 2. As shown in FIG. 3, the operation mechanism 4 includes a driving device 41 , illustratively a magnetic valve, a circuit board 42 that powers the driving device 41 and has a timer (not shown), a rack 43 mechanically driven by the driving device 41 , and a gear 44 on the air core 3 for engaging with the rack 43 to rotate the air core 3. Other suitable driving devices 41 include electric motors, for example.

[0062] Although described above with respect to the air pump assembly A, some of these elements may be considered part of the control module B (FIGS. 1 and 2). For example, the circuit board 42 may correspond to the CPU B4 of the control module B, the buttons 1 12, 1 13, may correspond to the button B7 of the control module B, and the light 1 1 5 may correspond to one of the lights B5, B6 of the control module B.

[0063] As shown in FIGS. 3-5, the air pump 2 includes a lever or push rod 21 3 that is pivotally coupled to the body 21 , such as via a pivot pin (not shown). The operation mechanism 4 includes a con-esponding finger or pull rod 43 1 coupled to a free end of the rack 43. When the rack 43 is extended, as shown in FIG. 4, the one-way valve 13 may remain closed. By contrast, when the rack 43 is retracted by the driving device 41 , as shown in FIG. 5, the pull rod 43 1 contacts and pivots the push rod 213 into engagement with the one-way valve 1 3, thereby forcing the one-way valve 13 open. [0064] Returning to FIG. 3, an upper pump cover 5 may be provided to support and couple the components inside the housing 1 , such as the air pump 2, the air core 3, and the operation mechanism 4.

[0065] The multifunctional air pump is configured to operate in an inflation mode, a deflation mode, and an adjustment mode. The indicator light 1 1 5 may illuminate in one or more modes of operation whenever the motor 23 is running. Each mode of operation is described further below.

[0066] The inflation mode is shown in FIGS. 4 and 6. In this inflation mode, the passageway 3 1 of the air core 3 communicates with the air inlet 21 1 of the air pump 2. In this arrangement, the air inlet 2 1 1 of the air pump 2 communicates with the surrounding atmosphere via the passageway 3 1 and the opening 1 1 1 , while the air outlet 2 12 of the air pump 2 communicates with the inflatable product via the vent 12. When the user operates the inflation button 1 12, the motor 23 of the air pump 2 begins to operate. The one-way valve 1 3 opens under the air pressure from the air pump 2 to allow air to enter and inflate the inflatable product via the open vent 12. Operating the inflation button 1 12 also causes the timer on the circuit board 42 to start timing. If the user operates the inflation button 1 12 a second time, the motor 23 of the air pump 2 will stop operating. Thus, the user is able to interrupt the inflation mode by operating the inflation button 1 1 2 a second time. Otherwise, the motor 23 will continue operating until the timer expires after a predetermined time period. According to an exemplary embodiment, this time period is selected and programmed to ensure that the corresponding inflatable product is fully inflated when the timer expires. When the inflatable product is a mattress, the

predetermined time may be about 3 to 8 minutes, more specifically about 5 to 6 minutes. When the motor 23 stops operating, the one-way valve 1 3 returns to its normally closed position to close the vent 12 and maintain the pressure of the inflatable product.

[0067] The deflation mode is shown in FIGS. 5 and 7. When the user operates the deflation button 1 13, the motor 23 of the air pump 2 and the driving device 41 of the operation mechanism 4 both begin to operate simultaneously. The driving device 41 retracts the rack 43, and the rack 43 rotates the air core 3 so that the passageway 3 1 moves from the air inlet 21 1 of the air pump 2 to the air outlet 212 of the air pump 2. In this arrangement, the air inlet 21 1 of the air pump 2 communicates with the inflatable product via the vent 12, while the air outlet 2 12 of the air pump 2 communicates with the surrounding atmosphere via the passageway 3 1 and the opening 1 1 1 . At the same time, the pull rod 431 of the rack 43 contacts and pivots the push rod 21 3 into engagement with the one-way valve 1 3, thereby forcing the one-way valve 13 open. With the motor 23 running, the air inlet 21 1 of the air pump 2 draws air out of and deflates the inflatable product via the open vent 1 2. Operating the deflation button 1 13 also causes the timer on the circuit board 42 to start timing. If the user operates the deflation button 1 1 3 a second time, both the motor 23 of the air pump 2 and the driving device 41 of the operation mechanism 4 will stop operating. Thus, the user is able to interrupt the deflation mode by operating the deflation button 1 1 3 a second time. Otherwise, the motor 23 and the driving device 41 wil l continue operating until the timer expires after a predetermined time period. According to an exemplary embodiment, this time period is selected and programmed to ensure that the corresponding inflatable product is ful ly deflated when the timer expires. When the inflatable product is a mattress, the predetermined time may be about 3 to 8 minutes, more specifically about 5 to 6 minutes. When the driving device 41 stops operating, the rack 43 returns to the extended position shown in FIG. 4, thereby releasing the push rod 21 3 and allowing the one-way valve 1 3 to close. [0068J The adjustment mode is shown in FIG. 8. When the user operates the adjustment button 1 14, the driving device 41 operates and retracts the rack 43 to the retracted position shown in FIG. 5. In this retracted position, the pull rod 43 1 of the rack 43 contacts and pivots the push rod 213 into engagement with the one-way valve 13, thereby forcing the one-way valve 13 open. Although the motor 23 of the air pump 2 may not be operating, air from the inflatable product may gradually leak out of and deflate the inflatable product via the open vent 1 2. Thus, the user may use the adjustment mode when the inflatable product is too hard and requires a slight or gradual pressure adjustment. When the user releases the adjustment button 1 14, the driving device 41 stops operating, and the rack 43 returns to the extended position shown in FIG. 4. In this extended position, the pull rod 43 1 of the rack 43 releases the push rod 21 3 and allows the one-way valve 1 3 to close.

[0069] The air pump assembly A may be controlled remotely using the remote user input

C, as discussed above with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2. The air pump assembly A may also be controlled directly at the air pump assembly A. For example, the control module B may enter: ( 1 ) the inflation mode when the user presses the inflation button C I on the remote user input C or the inflation button 1 12 located on the air pump assembly A; (2) the deflation mode when the user presses the deflation button C2 on the remote user input C or the deflation button 1 13 located on the air pump assembly A; and (3) the adjustment mode when the user presses the adjustment button C3 on the remote user input C or the adjustment button 1 14 located on the air pump assembly A. [0070| Referring next to FIGS. 9- 1 5, a second embodiment of the air pump assembly A * is shown. The second air pump assembly A' includes a seat or housing 1 " , an air pump 2 ' located within the housing 1 \ and various other features in common with the first air pump assembly A, except as described below. Some of the elements discussed below may be considered part of the control module B (FIGS. 1 and 2). [0071 ] The housing 1 ' may be built into an inflatable chamber of the inflatable product D

(FIG. 1 ). The housing 1 ' includes an opening 1 in fluid communication with the surrounding atmosphere. The housing Γ also includes an opening or vent 1 2 ' in fluid communication with the inflatable product. The vent 12 ' is controlled by a one-way check valve 1 3 ' that is biased closed. The housing 1 ' also includes a timer 3 ' and a cuirent detector 4' . The housing 1 ' may include a first chamber for the air pump 2 ' and a separate chamber for the timer 3 ' and the cuirent detector 4' such that the air pump 2' is at least partially separated from the timer 3 ' and the cuirent detector 4 ' .

[0072| As shown in FIGS. 1 1 - 13, the second air pump assembly A' also includes an air core 1 5 ' rotatably coupled to a hand wheel 14' . It is also within the scope of the present disclosure that the air core 15 ' may be rotated automatically using the automatic operation mechanism 4 of FIGS. 3-8 or another suitable mechanism. The opening 1 1 ' may extend through the hand wheel 14' . The air core 1 5 ' includes an internal passageway 1 5 in fluid

communication with the opening 1 1 ' on one end (i.e., the top end in FIG. 1 1 ) and in selective fluid communication with the air pump 2' on the other end (i.e., the bottom end in FIG. 1 1 ). The illustrative internal passageway 151 ' has a horn shape and extends eccentric to a central axis of the air pump 2' . The external surface of the air core 1 5 ' has an eccentric setting such that the air core 15' includes a cam 1 52' that is configured to selectively push the one-way valve 13 ' and open the vent 12' . [0073] The air pump 2' includes a body 23 ', a blade 22', and a motor 21 ' that drives the blade 22' . The body 23 " of the air pump 2' includes an air inlet 231 ' and an air outlet 232' , wherein the air inlet 23 1 ' is arranged along the central axis of the blade 22' and the air outlet 232' is arranged tangent to the blade 22' . In operation, the blade 22' draws air into the air inlet 231 ' and exhausts air through the air outlet 232' . [0074] The motor 2 Γ of the air pump 2' is a two-speed motor having a high-speed rotary gear and a low-speed rotary gear. As shown in FIGS. 9 and 1 0, the motor 2 is controlled via a gear switch 16' that is located adjacent to the hand wheel 14' for access by the user. The gear switch 16' may have a neutral state (e.g., "0"), a high-speed state (e.g., " " ), and a low-speed state (e.g., "2"). The i llustrative gear switch 1 6 " is a 3-position rocker switch, but it is also within the scope of the present disclosure that the gear switch 1 6 ' may have buttons corresponding to each state. When the gear switch 1 6' is in the neutral state or position, the motor 21 ' is turned off. When the gear switch 16' is in the high-speed state or position, the motor 2 operates in the high-speed gear. When the gear switch 16' is in the low-speed state or position, the motor 21 ' operates in the low-speed gear. In this embodiment, the motor 2 , the timer 3 ', the current detector 4', the gear switch 1 6 " , and the power supply form an electrical circuit of the air pump assembly A ' .

[0075) The air pump assembly A ' is configured to operate in an inflation mode, a deflation mode, and a pressure maintenance mode. Each mode of operation is described further below. [0076] The inflation mode is shown in FIGS. 12 and 14. In this inflation mode, the user turns the hand wheel 14' to align the passageway 1 5 1 ' of the air core 1 5 ' with the air inlet 23 of the air pump 2' . In this arrangement, the air inlet 23 1 ' of the air pump 2' communicates with the surrounding atmosphere via the passageway 1 5 Γ and the opening 1 1 ', while the air outlet 232' of the air pump 2' communicates with the inflatable product via the vent 12' . When the user moves the gear switch 16' to the high-speed position (e.g., " 1 "), the motor 21 ' of the air pump 2' begins to operate in the high-speed gear. The one-way valve 13 ' opens under the air pressure from the air pump 2' to allow air to enter and inflate the inflatable product via the open vent 12' . Pressing the gear switch 16' to the high-speed position also causes the timer 3 ' to start timing. If the user moves the gear switch 16' back to the neutral position (e.g., "0"), the motor 21 ' of the air pump 2' will stop operating. Thus, the user is able to interrupt the inflation mode by operating the gear switch 16 ' . Otherwise, the motor 21 ' will continue operating until the timer expires after a predetermined time period. According to an exemplary embodiment, this time period is selected and programmed to ensure that the corresponding inflatable product is fully inflated when the timer expires. When the inflatable product is a mattress, the

predetermined time may be about 3 to 8 minutes, more specifically about 5 to 6 minutes. When the motor 2 1 ' stops operating, the one-way valve 1 3 ' returns to its normally closed position to close the vent 12' and maintain the pressure of the inflatable product.

[0077] The deflation mode is shown in FIGS. 1 3 and 14. In this deflation mode, the user turns the hand wheel 14' to align the passageway 1 5 Γ of the air core 1 5 ' with the air outlet 232 ' of the air pump 2 " . In this arrangement, the air inlet 23 1 ' of the air pump 2 ' communicates with the inflatable product via the vent 1 2', while the air outlet 232' of the air pump 2' communicates with the surrounding atmosphere via the passageway 1 51 ' and the opening 1 1 " . At the same time, the cam 1 52' of the air core 1 5 ' contacts and forces the one-way valve 1 3 ' open. When the user moves the gear switch 16' to the high-speed position (e.g., " 1 "), the motor 2 of the air pump 2 ' begins to operate in the high-speed gear. With the motor 21 ' running, the air inlet 23 1 ' of the air pump 2' draws air out of and deflates the inflatable product via the open vent 1 2' . Pressing the gear switch 16' to the high-speed position also causes the timer 3 ' to start timing. If the user moves the gear switch 1 6' back to the neutral position (e.g., "0"), the motor 21 ' of the air pump 2 ' will stop operating. Thus, the user is able to interrupt the deflation mode by operating the gear switch 16 ' . Otherwise, the motor 2 will continue operating until the timer expires after a predetermined time period. According to an exemplary embodiment, this time period is selected and programmed to ensure that the corresponding inflatable product is fully deflated when the timer expires. When the inflatable product is a mattress, the predetermined time may be about 3 to 8 minutes, more specifically about 5 to 6 minutes. [0078] The pressure maintenance mode is shown in FIG. 1 5. In this maintenance mode, the user turns the hand wheel 14' to align the passageway 1 5 of the air core 1 5' with the air inlet 23 1 ' of the air pump 2', like the inflation mode of FIG. 12. When the user moves the gear switch 1 6' to the low-speed position (e.g., "2"), the motor 21 ' of the air pump 2 ' begins to operate in the low-speed gear. The one-way valve 1 3 ' opens under the air pressure from the air pump 2' to allow air to enter and inflate the inflatable product via the open vent 12' . Pressing the gear switch 16' to the low-speed position also causes the current detector 4' to start operating. As the pressure in the inflatable product gradually increases, the current of the motor 21 ' increases, and this increasing current is detected by the current detector 4' . The motor 2 1 ' continues its low-speed operation until the detected current reaches a predetermined set point. According to an exemplary embodiment, this set point is selected and programmed to ensure that the corresponding inflatable product is fully inflated. Then, the motor 21 * stops operating, and the timer 3 " starts timing. When the timer 3 ' expires, such as after about 1 to 1 0 minutes, the process automatical ly repeats to continue maintaining the pressure of the inflatable product and ensuring the inflatable product's normal use and comfort. The user can interrupt the pressure maintenance mode and stop the motor 21 ' by moving the gear switch 16 ' back to the neutral position (e.g., 'Ό ' '). [0079] In an alternative embodiment, rather than using the current detector 4' to monitor the current of the motor 2 , an electronic pressure detector 6' is provided to monitor the pressure inside the inflatable product. An exemplary pressure detector 6' is shown in FIG. 1 1 A and includes a detection hole 6 in fluid communication with the inflatable product and a tube 62 ' extending between the detection hole 6 Γ and the pressure detector 6 * . With the motor 2 Γ running, the pressure in the inflatable product gradually increases. This increasing pressure is detected by the pressure detector 6 " through the detection hole 61 ' and the tube 62 ' . The motor 2 Γ continues its low-speed operation until the detected pressure reaches a predetermined set point. According to an exemplary embodiment, this set point is selected and programmed to ensure that the corresponding inflatable product is fully inflated. When the inflatable product is a mattress, for example, the pressure set point may be about 0. 1 psi, 0.2 psi, 0.3 psi, 0.4 psi, or more. The pressure maintenance mode may continue according to FIG. 1 5.

[0080] The above modes of operation are summarized in Table 1 .

Table 1

[0081] The air pump assembly A' may be controlled remotely using the remote user input C, as discussed above with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the user may press buttons on the remote user input C corresponding to the gear switch 16' on the air pump assembly A' . The air pump assembly A' may also be controlled directly by pressing the gear switch 16 ' on the air pump assembly A' .

[0082] Referring next to FIGS. 16-20, a third embodiment of the air pump assembly A" is shown. The third air pump assembly A" includes a seat or housing 1 "' , an air pump 2" located within the housing 1 ", and various other features in common with the first and second air pump assemblies A, A', except as described below. Some of the elements discussed below may be considered part of the control module B (FIGS. 1 and 2).

[0083] The housing 1 ' ' may be built into an inflatable chamber of the inflatable product D

(FIG. 1 ). The housing 1 " includes an opening 1 1 " in fluid communication with the surrounding atmosphere. The housing 1 " also includes an opening or vent 12" in fluid communication with the inflatable product. The vent 1 2" is controlled by a one-way check valve 1 3" that is biased closed. The housing 1 " also includes a cover panel 10" with an indicator light 101 " and a digital display 102". The housing 1 " further includes a detection hole 17" in fluid communication with the inflatable product, an electronic pressure detector 1 8", and a tube 19" extending between the detection hole 1 7" and the pressure detector 1 8".

[0084] As shown in FIGS. 1 8 and 19, the air pump assembly A" also includes an air core

1 5 " rotatably coupled to a hand wheel 14". It is also within the scope of the present disclosure that the air core 15" may be rotated automatically using the automatic operation mechanism 4 of FIGS. 3-8 or another suitable mechanism. The opening 1 1 " may extend through the hand wheel 14". The air core 1 5" includes an internal passageway 1 5 1 " in fluid communication with the opening 1 1 " on one end (i.e., the top end in FIG. 1 8) and in selective fluid communication with the air pump 2" on the other end (i.e., the bottom end in FIG. 1 8). The illustrative internal passageway 1 51 " has a horn shape and extends eccentric to a central axis of the air pump 2". The external surface of the air core 1 " has an eccentric setting such that the air core 1 5" includes a cam 1 52" that is configured to selectively push the one-way valve 1 3" and open the vent 12".

[0085] The air pump 2 " includes a body 23", a blade 22", and a motor 21 " that drives the blade 22". The body 23" of the air pump 2 * includes an air inlet 23 1 " and an air outlet 232", wherein the air inlet 23 Γ " is arranged along the central axis of the blade 22" and the air outlet 232" is arranged tangent to the blade 22". In operation, the blade 22" draws air into the air inlet 231 " and exhausts air through the air outlet 232 " .

[0086] The motor 2 1 of the air pump 2 " is a two-speed motor having a high-speed rotary gear and a low-speed rotary gear. As shown in FIGS. 16 and 1 7, the motor 21 " is controlled via a gear switch 1 6 " that is located adjacent to the hand wheel 14" on the cover panel 10" of the housing 1 " for access by the user. The gear switch 16" may have a high-speed state corresponding to a high-speed button 161 ", a low-speed state corresponding to a low-speed button 1 62", and an otherwise neutral state. It is also within the scope of the present disclosure that the gear switch 16" may be a 3-position rocker switch like gear switch 16' of FIGS. 9 and 10. When the gear switch 16" is in the neutral state, the motor 21 " is turned off. When the gear switch 1 6 " is in the high-speed state, the motor 21 " operates in the high-speed gear. When the gear switch 1 6" is in the low-speed state, the motor 21 " operates in the low-speed gear. In this embodiment, the motor 2 1 ", the pressure detector 1 8", the gear switch 16", and the power supply form an electrical circuit of the air pump assembly A".

[0087] The air pump assembly A" further includes a supplemental air admission system 3" located at the bottom of the housing 1 " in FIGS. 1 8 and 19. The air admission system 3" includes an air admission hole 31 " selectively sealed by an air admission valve 32", which is coupled to the motor 21 " via a connecting rod 33" and a one-way bearing 34 " . The motor 21 " may rotate the connecting rod 33" in a first direction in the high-speed gear and in an opposite, second direction in the low-speed gear. The connecting rod 33" may engage the one-way bearing 34" in the second direction such that the one-way bearing 34" allows the motor 21 " to drive the air admission valve 32" in the low-speed gear without driving the air admission valve 32" in the high-speed gear.

[0088] The air pump assembly A" is configured to operate in an inflation mode, a deflation mode, and a pressure maintenance mode. The indicator light 101 " may illuminate in one or more modes of operation whenever motor 21 " is running. Each mode of operation is described further below.

[0089] The inflation mode is shown in FIG. 1 8. In this inflation mode, the user turns the hand wheel 14" to align the passageway 151 " of the air core 15" with the air inlet 23 1 " of the air pump 2". In this arrangement, the air inlet 231 " of the air pump 2" communicates with the surrounding atmosphere via the passageway 1 5 1 " and the opening 1 1 " , while the air outlet 232" of the air pump 2 " communicates with the inflatable product via the vent 1 2". When the user presses the high-speed button 161 " of the gear switch 16", the motor 21 " of the air pump 2" begins to operate in the high-speed gear. The one-way valve 1 3 " opens under the air pressure from the air pump 2" to allow air to enter and inflate the inflatable product via the open vent 1 2". When the user presses the high-speed button 161 " of the gear switch 16 " a second time, the motor 21 " of the air pump 2" stops. When the motor 21 " stops operating, the one-way valve 1 3" returns to its normally closed position to close the vent 12" and maintain the pressure of the inflatable product.

[0090] The deflation mode is shown in FIG. 19. In this deflation mode, the user turns the hand wheel 14" to align the passageway 1 51 " of the air core 1 5" with the air outlet 232" of the air pump 2". In this arrangement, the air inlet 23 1 " of the air pump 2" communicates with the inflatable product via the vent 12 " , while the air outlet 232" of the air pump 2" communicates with the surrounding atmosphere via the passageway 1 51 " and the opening 1 1 ". At the same time, the cam 1 52" of the air core 1 5" contacts and forces the one-way valve 1 3" open. When the user presses the high-speed button 161 " of the gear switch 16", the motor 21 " of the air pump 2" begins to operate in the high-speed gear. With the motor 21 " running, the air inlet 23 1 " of the air pump 2" draws air out of and deflates the inflatable product via the open vent 1 2". When the user presses the high-speed button 161 " of the gear switch 1 6" a second time, the motor 21 " of the air pump 2" stops. [0091] The pressure maintenance mode is shown in FIG. 20. In this maintenance mode, the user turns the hand wheel 14" to align the passageway 1 51 " of the air core 1 5" with the air inlet 23 1 " of the air pump 2", like the inflation mode of FIG. 18. When the user presses the low- speed button 162" of the gear switch 16", the pressure detector 18" begins operating. The pressure detector 1 8" may determine the pressure inside the inflatable product via the detection hole 1 7" and the tube 19". As long as the pressure inside the inflatable product is below a predetermined minimum set point, the pressure detector 1 8" may close the electrical circuit to the motor 21 ", and the motor 21 " may begin operating the in the low-speed mode. The low- speed motor 21 " opens the air admission valve 32" of the supplemental air admission system 3", which allows air to enter and inflate the inflatable product through the open admission hole 3 1 ". In this way, the supplemental air admission system 3" maintains the pressure of the inflatable product to ensure the inflatable product ' s normal use and comfort. The pressure detector 1 8" may open the electrical circuit and stop the motor 2 1 " when the pressure inside the inflatable product reaches a predetermined maximum set point.

[0092] According to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure, the minimum and maximum pressure set points may be adjusted by the user, such as by pressing the low-speed button 1 62 " of the gear switch 16 " multiple times. Exemplary pressure set points are provided in Table 2 below, but these set points may vary to accommodate different inflatable products and user preferences.

Table 2

[0093] Pressing the low-speed button 162" of the gear switch 16" another time may repeat the cycle set forth in Table 2 above.

[0094] The air pump assembly A" may be controlled remotely using the remote user input C, as discussed above with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the user may press buttons on the remote user input C corresponding to the high-speed button 161 " and the low- speed button 162" of the gear switch 16" on the air pump assembly A". The air pump assembly A" may also be controlled directly by pressing high-speed button 161 " and the low-speed button 162" of the gear switch 16" on the air pump assembly A".

[0095] While this invention has been described as having exemplary designs, the present invention can be further modified within the spirit and scope of this disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains and which fall within the limits of the appended claims.