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Title:
SENSOR FOR DETECTING PRESENCE OF WATER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/072420
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A sensor (100) for detecting presence of water, for example within a submersible pump, includes a sleeve (102) that houses a contact element (204). A sensor (100) head is partially housed inside the sleeve (102), and encloses the contact element (204). The sensor head (104) includes a sensor contact (300) and a sensor head body (302) such that the sensor contact (300) and the sensor head body (302) are integral components of the sensor head (104). The sensor (100) includes a cable (202) coupled to the contact element (204). The sensor (100) is characterized in that the sensor head (104) is made of a conductive silicone material.

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Inventors:
LORENZ, Michaela (Gutenbergstrasse 36, Laupheim, 88471, DE)
Application Number:
EP2018/053802
Publication Date:
April 18, 2019
Filing Date:
February 15, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HUSQVARNA AB (Drottninggatan 2, Huskvarna, 56182, SE)
International Classes:
G01N27/07; F04D15/00; G01M3/00
Foreign References:
US20090278699A12009-11-12
JPH1038705A1998-02-13
JPH1038704A1998-02-13
US3949389A1976-04-06
US6364620B12002-04-02
JP2007071042A2007-03-22
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FINKELE, Rolf (Hans-Lorenser-Strasse 40, Ulm, 89079, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A sensor (100) for detecting presence of water, the sensor (100) comprising:

a sleeve (102);

a contact element (204) housed inside the sleeve (102);

a sensor head (104) partially housed inside the sleeve (102), and enclosing the contact element (204), the sensor head (104) comprising a sensor contact (300) and a sensor head body (302) such that the sensor contact (300) and the sensor head body (302) are integral components of the sensor head (104);

a cable (202) coupled to the contact element (204);

characterized in that:

the sensor head (104) is made of a silicone material.

2. The sensor (100) of claim 1, wherein the silicone material is electrically conducting.

3. The sensor (100) of claim 1 and 2, wherein the sensor (100) is configured to detect presence of water in a submersible pump.

4. The sensor (100) of claim 3, wherein the sensor (100) further includes a control unit configured with the sensor (100) to evaluate a sensor output from the sensor (100) for activation or deactivation of the submersible pump.

5. The sensor (100) of claim 1 to 4, wherein the cable (202) is configured to carry data indicative of electrical conductivity between the contact element (204) and the sensor head (104).

1

6. The sensor (100) of claim 1 to 5, wherein the sleeve (102) includes a first portion (106) housing the cable (202), and a second portion (108) housing the sensor head (104).

7. The sensor (100) of claim 1 to 6, wherein the cable (202) is made of a conducting material.

8. The sensor (100) of claim 1 to 7, wherein the contact element (204) is made of a metal material.

9. The sensor (100) of claim 1 to 8, wherein the sleeve (102) is made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).

10. The sensor (100) of claim 1 to 9, wherein the sensor (100) further includes an electrode arrangement that includes a first electrode and a second electrode, wherein the second electrode is height adjustable in relation to the first electrode.

11. The sensor (100) of claim 10, wherein the activation of the pump is based on the sensor output being greater than a threshold value of water present.

12. The sensor (100) of claim 10, wherein the deactivation of the pump is based on the sensor output being less than a threshold value of water present.

2

Description:
SENSOR FOR DETECTING PRESENCE OF WATER

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to water detection for submersible pumps. More specifically, the present disclosure relates to a sensor means for detecting presence of water in the submersible pumps.

BACKGROUND

Water presence sensors are used in a variety of applications and environments. One example of such an application area may be a submersible pump. The water presence sensors may be used to detect presence of water at specific locations of interest with respect to the submersible pump body. Typically, such a sensor arrangement uses a pair of electrodes, and an associated control system which detects electrical conductivity between the pair of electrodes. Presence of water is detected based on the electrical conductivity values, and the submersible pump may be activated/de-activated based on this information.

The sensor may include a sensor head, also called as a carrier element. Typically, the sensor head is made of a metal material. With continued usage over time, the sensor head may corrode, or develop any other such defects as the sensor head stays in contact with water. Thus, an improved sensor arrangement is required.

SUMMARY

In view of the above, it is an objective of the present invention to solve or at least reduce the drawbacks discussed above. The objective is at least partially achieved by a sensor for detecting presence of water. The sensor includes a sleeve that houses a contact element. The sensor includes a sensor head partially housed inside the sleeve, and enclosing the contact element. The sensor head includes a sensor contact and a sensor head body such that the sensor contact and the sensor head body are integral components of the sensor head. The sensor includes a cable coupled to the contact element. The sensor is characterized in that the sensor head is made of silicone material. The silicone material is electrically conducting due to benefits that would become apparent hereinafter. The sensor is configured to detect presence of water in a submersible pump.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the cable is configured to carry data indicative of electrical conductivity between the contact element and the sensor head element. Presence of the sleeve prevents interference of the data indicative of the electrical conductivity with outside environment including a user. Also, cleanability and life of the sensor head is enhanced as compared to the metal material used in the prior art.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the sleeve includes a first portion and a second portion that house the cable and the sensor head respectively. Notably, the sleeve is made of PVC from aesthetical and technical considerations.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the cable is made of a conducting material. Any conducting material may be selected in accordance with considerations such as electrical conductivity, service life etc.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the contact element is made of a metal material. Herein, the metal may be selected taking into account sensitivity requirements to detect presence of water and like liquids.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the sensor further includes a control unit configured with the sensor to evaluate a sensor output from the sensor for activation or deactivation of the submersible pump. The control unit allows the user to manually select any one or a combination of features thereof.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the sensor further includes an electrode arrangement that includes a first electrode and a second electrode. The second electrode is height adjustable in relation to the first electrode. This allows catering to conditions with different heights while detecting water by the sensor.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the activation of the pump is based on the sensor output being greater than a threshold value of water present and/or a combination of preferences by a user. Further, the activation may be manually disabled, if required, by the user. According to an embodiment of the present invention, the deactivation of the pump is based on the sensor output being less than a threshold value of water present and/or a combination of preferences by a user. Thus, this allows saving of vital resources in case of desired status (i.e. absence) of water.

Other features and aspects of this invention will be apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be described in more detail with reference to the enclosed drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a sensor, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a side cross-sectional view of a sensor used in prior art;

FIG. 3 shows a side cross-sectional view of the sensor, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 shows a side view of the sensor, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

The present invention will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which example embodiments of the invention incorporating one or more aspects of the present invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. For example, one or more aspects of the present invention can be utilized in other embodiments and even other types of structures and/or methods. In the drawings, like numbers refer to like elements.

Certain terminology is used herein for convenience only and is not to be taken as a limitation on the invention. For example, "upper", "lower", "front", "rear", "side", "longitudinal", "lateral", "transverse", "upwards", "downwards", "forward", "backward", "sideward", "left," "right," "horizontal," "vertical," "upward", "inner", "outer", "inward", "outward", "top", "bottom", "higher", "above", "below", "central", "middle", "intermediate", "between", "end", "adjacent", "proximate", "near", "distal", "remote", "radial", "circumferential", or the like, merely describe the configuration shown in the Figures. Indeed, the components may be oriented in any direction and the terminology, therefore, should be understood as encompassing such variations unless specified otherwise.

In the drawings and specification, there have been disclosed preferred embodiments and examples of the invention and, although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for the purpose of limitation of the scope of the invention being set forth in the following claims.

FIG. 1 illustrates a sensor 100 for application with pumps such as submersible pumps. The sensor 100 includes a sleeve 102 and a sensor head 104. Further, the sleeve 102 has a first portion 106 and a second portion 108. The sleeve 102 houses a contact element 204 (illustrated in FIGS. 2 & 3). The sensor head 104 is partially housed inside the sleeve 102, and encloses the contact element 204. The sleeve 102 of the sensor 100 has a cable 202 (shown in FIGS. 2 & 3) coupled to the contact element 204.

The sleeve 102, as illustrated herein, includes the first portion 106 and the second portion 108 which house the cable 202 and the sensor head 104 respectively. Moreover, the first portion 106 and the second portion 108 may be detachably secured to each other so as to have access, if desired to the cable 202 and/or the sensor head 104 among other components housed therein. Preferably, the sleeve 102 is made of for example, but not by a way of limitation, of PVC.

The first portion 106 and the second portion 108, although elaborated as detachably secured, can readily be replaced by a single unit taking into account user preferences among other factors such as health/sensitivity of sensor head 104 and/or contact element 204.

The sensor head 104 is housed partially inside the sleeve 102 (i.e. the first potion 106 of the sleeve 102). This may prove beneficial in accordance with implementation of the present disclosure, for water detection by the sensor head 104. Moreover, part of the sensor head 104 outside of the sleeve 102 may be controlled by varying configurations of any or a combination of the cable 202, the sleeve 102, or the contact element 204.

FIG. 2 illustrates a prior art sensor 100 with similar arrangements for the cable 202, the sleeve 102 and the sensor head 104. But, the sensor 100 has a provision of a contact 206 that remains housed inside the sensor head 104 with at least a part remaining outside. This leads to wastage of space and resource among other shortcomings.

The contact 206, as illustrated, is configured with the contact element 204 while being housed inside the sensor head 104. The sensor head 104 is housed inside the first portion 106 of the sleeve 102. However, length of the contact 206 outside of the sensor head 104 creates implementation and safety challenges. In an embodiment, the contact element 204 may be made of a metal material.

The cable 202 is configured to carry data indicative of electrical conductivity between the contact element 204 and the sensor head 104. From similar considerations, the cable 202 is made of a conductive material. The cable 202 serves as the link between the first portion 106 and the second portion 108 of the sleeve 102 and may be suitably removed therefrom, if required.

FIG. 3 illustrates the sensor 100 in accordance with the present disclosure. The sensor head 104 is made of an electrically conductive silicone material. Preferably, the sensor head 104 is made of silicone rubber which is desirable to be of electrically conducting nature. The sensor head 104 includes a sensor contact 300 and a sensor head body 302. The sensor contact 300 and the sensor head body 302 are integral components of the sensor head 104, and are provided as a single component i.e. the sensor head 104. The sensor contact 300 and the sensor head body 302 are both made of electrically conducting silicone material. The sensor 100 is configured to detect presence of water in a submersible pump or similar systems that are well within the scope of the present disclosure. The electrical conducting silicone provides benefits such as improved life of the sensor 100. Further, it also has properties that keep it free of external impurities and the like improving cleanability of the sensor 100. In an embodiment, the sensor 100 may further include a control unit (not shown) configured with the sensor 100 to evaluate an output from the sensor 100 for activation or deactivation of the submersible pump. The activation of the submersible pump may be based on the sensor output being greater than a threshold value of water present and/or a combination of preferences by a user. Alternatively, the deactivation of the submersible pump may be based on the sensor output being less than a threshold value of water present and/or a combination of preferences by a user.

FIG. 4 illustrates a side view to appreciate some aspects of the sensor 100 from another angle. This view illustrates the sleeve 102, the first portion 106 and the second portion 108, along with the sensor head 104. The sensor 100 may further include an electrode arrangement that has a first electrode and a second electrode. The second electrode may be height adjustable in relation to the first electrode. Thus, this feature allows catering to different dynamic height levels during implementation of the sensor 100.

In the drawings and specification, there have been disclosed preferred embodiments and examples of the invention and, although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for the purpose of limitation of the scope of the invention being set forth in the following claims.

LIST OF ELEMENTS

100 Sensor

102 Sleeve

104 Sensor head

106 First Portion

108 Second Portion

202 Cable

204 Contact Element

206 Contact

300 Sensor contact

302 Sensor head body