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Title:
TOILET FLUSHING MECHANISM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/090493
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A flushing mechanism for a toilet with cistern (1) comprising a mechanical flushing device with an activating device (2), and also comprising a contact-free sensor connected to an electronic circuit (5). The flushing mechanism substantially consists of an electrically operated solenoid valve (3, 3') with an inlet (7) and an outlet (8), which inlet (7) is connected to a water inlet pipe to the cistern and the outlet (8) is connected to an activating mechanism (4) which is further functionally connected to teh fluxhing device's activating device (2) via a mechanical connection (9), and which solenoid valve (3, 3') is connected to the electronic circuit (5).

Inventors:
PEDERSEN VIGGO WAHL (NO)
Application Number:
PCT/NO2001/000216
Publication Date:
November 29, 2001
Filing Date:
May 23, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PEDERSEN VIGGO WAHL (NO)
International Classes:
E03D5/02; E03D5/10; (IPC1-7): E03D5/10
Domestic Patent References:
WO1993014338A11993-07-22
Foreign References:
US2858546A1958-11-04
US4756031A1988-07-12
US2717396A1955-09-13
FR2681891A11993-04-02
US5313674A1994-05-24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Onsagers AS. (P.O. Box 265 Sentrum Oslo, NO)
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Claims:
PATENT CLAIMS
1. A flushing mechanism for a toilet with cistern (1) comprising a mechanical flushing device with an activating device (2), and also comprising a contactfree sensor connected to an electronic circuit (5), characterized in that the flushing mechanism substantially consists of an electrically operated solenoid valve (3,3') with an inlet (7) and an outlet (8), which inlet (7) is connected to a water inlet pipe to the cistern and the outlet (8) is connected to an activating mechanism (4) which is further functionally connected to the flushing device's activating device (2) via a mechanical connection (9), and which solenoid valve (3,3') is connected to the electronic circuit (5) via the cable connection (6).
2. A flushing mechanism according to claim 1, characterized in that the activating mechanism (4) consists of a housing with an inlet provided with a nozzle oriented in a flushing device inside the housing together with one or more outlets, and a flap (13) rotatably mounted in the housing on a rotating shaft (14), arranged perpendicularly relative to the flushing direction where the water from the nozzle strikes the rotatably mounted flap (13) eccentrically relative to the rotating shaft (14).
3. A flushing mechanism according to claims 12, characterized in that the rotatably mounted flap (13) mounted on the rotating shaft (14) is provided with a rotating disc (17) which in turn is connected to the flushing device's activating device (2) via a strut (9).
4. A flushing mechanism according to claims 13, characterized in that the electronic circuit (5) is connected to a mounted electrical energy source, such as a battery via a cable connection.
5. A flushing mechanism according to claims 13, characterized in that the electronic circuit (5) is connected to a supply of electrical energy via a transformer.
Description:
Toilet flushing mechanism The present invention relates to a flushing mechanism for a toilet with cistern, which flushing mechanism is mounted internally in the toilet cistern, or in connection therewith, and where the toilet cistern further includes a mechanical flushing device with an activating device, together with a contact- free sensor connected to an electronic circuit. The flushing mechanism according to the present invention employs the water inlet to the cistern as the motive power for activating the flushing device, which in turn is operated by the contact-free sensor in connection with the toilet cistern.

The flushing mechanism according to the present invention forms part of a further improvement of previously known contact-free solutions related to sanitary material. On account of new information on the spread of infection via public contact points as well as legislation and requirements concerning sanitary material, particularly in public places, contact-free solutions of this kind have received increasing attention from both producers of sanitary material and consumers. One of the objects is to reduce the number of contact points for a person in a public place, e. g. a public toilet or the like.

It is particularly in connection with public toilets that the majority of users are in contact with sanitary material, such as the operating device for a toilet flusher. This may be designed in various ways, including as a push button, a mechanism which has to be pulled up, a handle which has to be turned, a handle which has to be pulled down or to the side or the like. The operation of the toilet flusher thereby becomes a contact point for most users and is therefore a significant source of infection from bacteria etc. Recent legislation and HMS regulations, however, require the number of contact points where there is a risk of contagion to be restricted to a minimum, such as toilet seats and toilet flushing operation. Many different solutions may be envisaged for reducing the contact between a user and the toilet flushing operation, but the best solution is the complete absence of contact.

Amongst previous solutions related to the problem area are contact-free sensors which are connected in various ways with the toilet flushing device.

The sensor may, for example, initiate flushing of urinals or the like when persons approach or more away from sanitary equipment, or the sensor may be placed in a suitable location where the user, e. g. , has to block a sensor for

longer than a specified period in order thereby to activate the toilet flushing mechanism.

Amongst previously known solutions, reference may be made to the following patent publications: GB 2260998-A, EP 0453702, US 4941215, US 5062453, US 5313674 and US 5432959. We refer particularly to the said US patent 5062453 describing a contact-free flushing device which employs ingoing water pressure to the cistern in order to activate the cistern's flushing mechanism.

We further refer to the applicant's patent application NO 19985945 describing a contact-free toilet flushing device which is mounted in a toilet cistern and where a contact-free sensor is connected to an electronic circuit which in turn drives the toilet flushing mechanism via an electric servomotor or the like.

The disadvantage of a majority of the above-mentioned technical solutions is, amongst other things, that the contact-free sensor activates the toilet flushing mechanism via an electrically operated device such as a servomotor, a solenoid which moves a mechanical mechanism or the like, all of which solutions have the common feature that the power consumption is relatively high, viewed over an extended period such as two or more years. If the electronic circuit and the sensor are connected to an external energy source, e. g. the mains or another stable energy supply, the energy consumption essentially does not involve any problems apart, of course, from the fact that it is desirable that the consumption of electrical energy when employing the solution is as low as possible. If, however, it is desirable to employ stored energy in the form of batteries, the power consumption will naturally be of interest, since it has a direct effect on the life of the battery.

From this point of view it is desirable to use electrical energy only for operating necessary elements, and moreover to employ another energy source for operating the actual toilet flushing device.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a flushing mechanism for a toilet with cistern, where one or more contact-free sensors are connected with the flushing mechanism's activating device, and where the flushing mechanism is operated by a different energy source from the available electrical energy source.

It is a further object of the flushing mechanism in the present invention that the electrical component or components must have a power consumption which is so low that a normal battery (standard size and capacity) can keep the flushing mechanism operative during a period of time adapted to the mechanism's normal life otherwise.

The flushing mechanism according to the present invention is further specified in the introductory part of the following claim 1, with characterising features as set forth in the characterising part of independent claim 1. Further embodiments of the flushing mechanism are further specified in the claims below.

Various designs and alternative embodiments of a flushing mechanism according to the present invention are further set forth in the following, detailed description with reference to the attached figures, in which: fig. 1 illustrates in cross section from above a toilet cistern containing an embodiment of the flushing mechanism according to the present invention; fig. 2 illustrates in cross section from in front the cistern in fig. 1, with an embodiment of the flushing mechanism according to the present invention; fig. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the activating mechanism employed in the preferred embodiment according to the present invention.

Fig. 1 of the drawings illustrates in section from above through a toilet cistern an embodiment of a flushing mechanism according to the present invention.

The flushing mechanism substantially consists of an electrically operated solenoid valve 3 with a valve housing 3'. The valve housing 3'has an inlet and an outlet, which inlet is connected with a water supply 7 which may, for example, be a branch of the water supply to the toilet cistern. In other embodiments the solenoid valve 3 may be replaced by various kinds of electrically or electronically operated valve devices such as, for example, magnetic valves. The solenoid valve 3 in the embodiment illustrated in fig. 1 is further connected to an electronic control circuit 5 via a cable connection 6.

The electronic circuit 5 is further connected to an electrical energy supply via the cable connection 16. The energy supply may be a stored electrical energy source, such as a battery or the energy supply may be an electrical network where the supply preferably takes place via a transformer in order to achieve

the correct voltage level. Alternatively, the supply may be a low voltage network where a transformer is not required.

The electronic circuit 5 is further connected to a contact-free sensor (not shown) of a commonly known type which is activated by the toilet user. This sensor may, for example, be an infrared or other type of sensor which, for example, is activated by holding the palm of the hand within a certain distance for a short period, thus activating the solenoid valve 3 via the electronic circuit 5. In the preferred embodiment the solenoid valve 3 thereby opens for a specific period (controlled by the electronic circuit 5).

The valve housing 3'is furthermore connected to an activating mechanism 4 via a connecting pipe 8. In an alternative embodiment the valve housing 3 and the activating mechanism 4 may be provided in integrated form or they may be connected via an very simple connection 8, such as a threaded pipe socket, a simple hose connection or the like.

The activating mechanism 4 is operated by the water jet from the outlet of the valve housing 3, and therefore in the preferred embodiment, in the transition between the valve housing 3 and the activating mechanism 4, or in the inlet to the activating mechanism 4 there is provided a nozzle which is directed towards an activating element in the activating mechanism 4. The provision of the nozzle is preferred since it provides a greater capability of influencing the water flow into the activating mechanism beyond the period during which the solenoid valve keeps the valve in the valve housing 3'open. Thus the discharge velocity and the cross-sectional diameter of the water jet into the activating mechanism 4 are adjusted by the nozzles. In addition, the direction of the water jet into the activating mechanism's housing 4 can be more easily adjusted by providing a nozzle, for example on a ball joint or with a flexible pipe connection. An embodiment of an activating mechanism is furthermore indicated in figs. 2 and 3, where a flap 13 is rotatably mounted in the housing 4 about a fulcrum 14. The rotatably mounted flap 13 is mounted perpendicularly relative to the flushing direction from the nozzle at the inlet to the activating mechanism 4 and the nozzle is further adjusted in such a manner that the water jet strikes the flap 13 at a distance from the centre of rotation 14, with the result that the water jet exerts a torque about the fulcrum 14.

Under the influence of the water jet from the nozzle at the inlet to the housing 4, the flap 13 will thereby rotate as indicated in figs. 2 and 3. This rotating movement is exploited, for example, by a rotating disc on the side of the

housing 4 being connected to the centre of rotation 14, with the result that the rotating disc follows the rotating movement of the flap 13 under the influence of the water jet from the nozzle at the inlet to the housing 4. Furthermore, the rotating disc 17 according to the present invention is connected via a connecting device 9 (a rigid strut or the like) with the toilet cistern's flushing device and essentially with its activating device, substantially marked 2 in figs.

1 and 2.

If the toilet cistern's activating device for the flushing device has to be moved down in the toilet cistern, it will be natural for the connecting device 9 to be attached to the rotating disc 17 on the corresponding side as illustrated in fig.

2. If, however, the activating device 2 for the flushing device in the toilet cistern has to be moved up in the cistern, it will be natural to attach the connecting device 9 on the opposite side of the rotating disc 17 relative to the fulcrum 14 and the flap's 13 normal starting position. The rotating movement of the rotating disc 17 will thereby give an upwardly directed movement as opposed to that illustrated in fig. 2. Alternatively, the nozzle's flushing direction in the housing 4 can be altered so that it exerts a force on the flap 13 on the opposite side of the fulcrum 14.

The fulcrum 14 of the flap 13 may, for example, be a shaft attached on each side of the housing 4 or a kind of elastic attachment of the flap 13 on each side against the walls of the housing 4.

The housing of the activating mechanism 4, moreover, is provided with drainage holes for draining the water flushed through the solenoid valve 3. In this connection a drainage hole 11 is provided downstream relative to the flap 13 for draining the water passing the flap 13 when water is flushed against it.

Furthermore, upstream of the housing, relative to the flap 13, there is provided a drainage hole 12 for draining the water which is flushed against the flap 13 and does not pass the flap. Both sides of the flap 13 in the housing of the activating mechanism 4 will thereby be able to be drained. The drainage continues down into the rest of the cistern's water reservoir.

In figs. 1 and 2, moreover, a container 10 is illustrated for sanitary fluid which is flushed as required through an aperture 15 down into the cistern. This discharge of sanitary fluid from the container 10 may, for example, also be controlled by the electronic circuit 5, as indicated in previously filed patent application no. 19985945.

The flushing mechanism according to the present invention can be installed in a closed unit which is only connected with the water inlet 7 and is further connected with the toilet cistern's activating device for the flushing device 2, and where below the flushing device are drainage holes 11 and 12 which drain the water from the housing of the discharge mechanism 4. The flushing mechanism can thereby be placed in a watertight container which also contains the necessary power supply in the form of a battery. If the flushing mechanism's electronic control 5 has to be connected to an external power source, this may be implemented via a watertight passage of a cable connection 16 which is passed on through a suitable opening in the toilet cistern to an external connection for electrical power.

In the above description, the flushing mechanism according to the present invention is set forth in the form of exemplified solutions and it will, of course, be possible for a person skilled in the art to provide obvious modifications and adaptations in relation to the individual toilet cisterns where the flushing mechanism is to be used. Such adaptations should still be considered to fall within the scope of the invention which is further specified in the following patent claims.