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Title:
DIRECT MOUNT FLEXIBLE JOINT FOR WATERCRAFT NAVIGATION LIGHT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/041930
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A flexible joint 10 for securing directly to a pre-existing electrical socket 16 provided on a watercraft wherein the flexible joint 10 supports a light pole 18 such that the flexible joint 10 is positioned between the watercraft and a light source of the light pole 18.

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Inventors:
EBBENGA MARK (US)
POPA NICHOLAS (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/048568
Publication Date:
March 04, 2021
Filing Date:
August 28, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
EBBENGA MARK (US)
International Classes:
B63B45/04; B60Q1/26; F21V21/13; F21W103/10
Foreign References:
US1870687A1932-08-09
US5486987A1996-01-23
US6176601B12001-01-23
RU32082U12003-09-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PROSE, Amanda et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A flexible joint for securing directly to a pre-existing electrical socket provided on a watercraft wherein the flexible joint supports a light pole such that the flexible joint is positioned between the watercraft and a light source of the light pole.

2. The flexible joint of claim 1 wherein the flexible joint has a first end comprising an electrical connector for direction connection with the electrical socket of the watercraft.

3. The flexible joint of claim 2 wherein the flexible joint is separable from the light pole and the light pole is directly connectable to the flexible joint by way of mating electrical connections.

4. The flexible joint of claim 2 wherein the flexible joint is fixed to the light pole such that the structure is an integral structure for directly connecting to the electrical socket provided on the watercraft or is a monolithic structure for directly connecting to the electrical socket provided on the watercraft.

5. The flexible joint of claim 2 comprising a spring wherein opposing terminal ends of the spring each comprise or support an electrical connector for connecting the flexible joint to the watercraft socket and the light pole respectively.

6. The flexible joint of claim 2 comprising a spring wherein a first terminal end of the spring comprises or supports an electrical connector for connecting the flexible joint to the watercraft socket and the second terminal end of the spring is fixedly connected to a light pole terminating in a light source.

7. A method of providing a flexible joint to a light pole for a watercraft, the method comprising: inserting a first end of the flexible joint into an electrical socket of the watercraft; attaching a removable, independent light pole to a second opposing end of the flexible joint; allowing electricity from the watercraft to illuminate a light source on the light pole attached to the flexible joint which is attached to the watercraft.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the light pole is a pre-existing light pole and the method further comprises first removing the pre-existing light pole from connection with the electrical socket of the watercraft.

10. A flexible joint removably connectable on a first end to an electrical socket and removable connectable to a light source on a second opposing end of the flexible joint and wherein the flexible joint allows for the transmission of electricity from the electrical socket to the light source when connected therebetween.

11. The flexible joint of claim 10 wherein the flexible joint has a length comprising a spring configured to allow for multi-directional flexing along the length of the flexible joint.

12. The flexible joint of claim 10 wherein the first end comprises a male or female end for electrically coupling to a reciprocal female or male electrical socket when the first end is physically connected to the electrical socket.

13. The flexible joint of claim 10 wherein the second end comprises a male or female end for electrically coupling to a reciprocal female or male electrical connector of the light source when the second end is physically coupled to the light source.

Description:
DIRECT MOUNT FLEXIBLE JOINT FOR WATERCRAFT NAVIGATION LIGHT

BACKGROUND

[0001] Boats and other watercraft generally require navigation lights, which in some instances include light poles which are vertically mounted to the highest point on the boat. These lights include a static pole that is mounted to the boat directly and having a light at the top of the pole.

[0002] When traversing under bridges or moving a boat into a boat lift for storage, the pole and/or light at the top of the pole are at a high risk of breakage from contacting the bottom of a bridge or the frame of a boat lift cover when the boat moves there below. Because the lights are generally held in a plastic shell on a fixedly mounted pole, the lights are easily broken and the pole can be broken off its mount.

[0003] Some navigation lights include a hinge at the base of the pole, allowing a boat operator to fold down the light manually when passing below a structure without enough clearance for the light. However, the user must remember to fold down the light before passing under a low clearance structure and must also remember to place the light back in the navigation position once back to open water.

SUMMARY

[0004] An aspect of the present disclosure relates to a flexible joint for securing directly to a pre-existing electrical socket provided on a watercraft wherein the flexible joint supports a light pole such that the flexible joint is positioned between the watercraft and a light source of the light pole.

[0005] In one or more embodiments, the flexible joint has a first end comprising an electrical connector for direction connection with the electrical socket of the watercraft.

[0006] In one or more embodiments, the flexible joint is separable from the light pole and the light pole is directly connectable to the flexible joint by way of mating electrical connections.

[0007] In one or more embodiments, the flexible joint comprises a spring wherein opposing terminal ends of the spring each comprise or support an electrical connector for connecting the flexible joint to the watercraft socket and the light pole respectively.

[0008] Another aspect of the present disclosure relates to the flexible joint fixed to the light pole such that the structure is an integral structure for directly connecting to the electrical socket provided on the watercraft or is a monolithic structure for directly connecting to the electrical socket provided on the watercraft.

[0009] The flexible joint comprises a spring wherein a first terminal end of the spring comprises or supports an electrical connector for connecting the flexible joint to the watercraft socket and the second terminal end of the spring is fixedly connected to a light pole terminating in a light source.

[0010] Another aspect of the present disclosure relates to a method of providing a flexible joint to a light pole for a watercraft. The method comprises inserting a first end of the flexible joint into an electrical socket of the watercraft; attaching a removable, independent light pole to a second opposing end of the flexible joint; and allowing electricity from the watercraft to illuminate a light source on the light pole attached to the flexible joint which is attached to the watercraft.

[0011] In one or more embodiments, the light pole is a pre-existing light pole and the method further comprises first removing the pre-existing light pole from connection with the electrical socket of the watercraft.

[0012] Yet another aspect of the present disclosure relates to a flexible joint removably connectable on a first end to an electrical socket and removable connectable to a light source on a second opposing end of the flexible joint and wherein the flexible joint allows for the transmission of electricity from the electrical socket to the light source when connected therebetween.

[0013] In one or more embodiments, the flexible joint has a length comprising a spring configured to allow for multi-directional flexing along the length of the flexible joint. [0014] In one or more embodiments, the first end comprises a male or female end for electrically coupling to a reciprocal female or male electrical socket when the first end is physically connected to the electrical socket.

[0015] In one or more embodiments, the second end comprises a male or female end for electrically coupling to a reciprocal female or male electrical connector of the light source when the second end is physically coupled to the light source.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0016] FIG. 1 illustrates a fixed mount navigation light of the prior art.

[0017] FIG. 2 illustrates a flexible mounting assembly for direct connection to a watercraft of the present disclosure.

[0018] FIG. 3 illustrates a method of connecting the flexible mounting assembly directly to an electrical connection mounting on a watercraft. [0019] FIG. 4 illustrates the flexible mounting assembly connected directly to an electrical connection port provided on the watercraft.

[0020] FIG. 5 illustrates the flexible mounting assembly in a flexed or bent position while connected directly to the electrical connection port provided on the watercraft.

[0021] FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the flexible mounting assembly showing the connection point for connecting the flexible mounting assembly to the watercraft.

[0022] FIG. 7 is a top view of the flexible mounting assembly showing the connection point for connecting a preexisting light pole to the flexible mounting assembly.

[0023] FIG. 8 illustrates the light pole operably connected to the flexible mounting assembly which is also electrically and physically connected directly to a pre-existing port on a watercraft and the flexible mounting assembly in a vertical mounting position.

[0024] FIG. 9 illustrates the light pole operably connected to the flexible mounting assembly which is also electrically and physically connected directly to a pre-existing port on a watercraft and the flexible mounting assembly in a protection position where the flexible joint is resiliently bent.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0025] A mounting assembly having a flexible joint is connectable directly to a light base provided on a watercraft. The light pole can then be connected to the mounting assembly having the flexible joint, thus providing a flexible joint to a light pole for a boat to prevent breaking of the light and/or light pole from impact. The mounting assembly described herein is directly connectable to OEM bases and other bases for removable light poles provided on watercraft.

[0026] The mounting assembly with flexible joint is configured with an electrical connection on a first end that operably connects directly to the electrical connection provided on the watercraft and does not require an additional mounting or securing mechanism. An opposing end of the mounting assembly has another electrical connection configured to operably connect with the light pole that is otherwise generally connected directly to the watercraft. Thus, the light pole can be removed from connection with the watercraft, the mounting assembly with flexible joint connected to the watercraft and the light pole then connected to the mounting assembly. This provides a flexible joint to the light pole for watercraft navigation that is otherwise rigidly mounted to the watercraft.

[0027] In the prior art, the light pole generally must be manually removed from the watercraft electrical connection to prevent damage to the light pole from impacts or other conditions. However, when the mounting assembly is used to connect the light pole to the watercraft the mounting assembly provides a flexible joint such that an impact that would otherwise damage the light or light pole instead causes the light pole to fold down about the flexible connection automatically and automatically pop back up when the impact or other force is removed. That is, the flexible joint is a resilient joint that automatically bends and then returns to its unbent position.

[0028] The flexible joint allows the pole to take one or more positions at an angle with respect to the base and thus the watercraft when external force is applied to any portion of the pole and/or light. That is, one or more protection positions include positions where the light pole attached thereto extends non-vertically from the mounting on the watercraft, the angle being provided and measured at the flexible joint. For example, the flexible joint may be a resilient joint that allows the light pole to automatically fold or bend with respect to a direction of impact to a degree proportional to the impact, and then automatically resumes the previous position, the mounting position, thereafter.

[0029] The flexible joint is also resilient, meaning if the watercraft keeps moving until passing under the low clearance structure, once cleared, the flexible joint will return to a first position which is a generally linear or vertical position and thus the light pole and lighted tip will return to the vertical mounting position for use. The flexibility also allows for 360 degree movement of the light pole secured thereto as the flexible joint is preferably configured to flex or bend in any direction.

[0030] The mounting assembly with flexible joint is a flexible joint having a first connection end and a second connection end. The mounting assembly is thus a flexible joint for connecting directly to a pre-existing electrical port provided on a watercraft and connecting directly to a pre-existing light pole, such as a navigation light pole, for the watercraft. The flexible joint allows for 360 degree bending or flexing of the attached light pole about the joint.

[0031] The flexible joint may comprise a spring. Examples of flexible joints include but are not limited to a cantilever spring, a coil spring, a helical spring including tension or extension springs, or a flat spring. The flexible joint may comprise a rubber joint or other resilient joint and/or the joint may have a rubber coating for protection. The flexible joint is configured to provide resilient bending between the two electrical connections (the first electrical connection being configured for mating with the electrical connection port of the watercraft and the second electrical connection configured for mating with the electrical connection provided on an end of the light pole) and also supporting the attached light pole in an upright and vertical position when not flexed or bent. [0032] The mounting assembly and flexible joint electrically connect a pre-existing light pole to a power supply of the watercraft for illumination. The mounting assembly and thus flexible joint is directly connectable to watercraft via OEM ports on the watercraft where the light pole is otherwise removably connected directly thereto. The light pole is then connected directly to the mounting assembly with flexible joint, the connected to the power supply of the watercraft through the mounting assembly with flexible joint.

[0033] The embodiment illustrated herein shows a mounting assembly that is directly connectable to a light socket or electrical socket provided on a watercraft as these sockets are standard to watercraft. The embodiment illustrated herein shows a mounting assembly that is connectable to a light pole for watercraft navigation and can thus be removably connected to lights of different sizes, styles, colors etc.

[0034] In another embodiment, the mounting assembly can be fixedly connected to or otherwise integrally formed with a light pole extending from an end of the mounting assembly opposite the end for connecting to the watercraft socket. That is, it is within the scope of this disclosure to otherwise provide a light pole for watercraft navigation of varying sizes, styles etc. where the flexible joint is integrated with the light pole.

[0035] Moreover, the flexible joint may be provided at any one or more locations along a length of the light pole, whether the flexible joint is provide at or near the connection of the assembly to the watercraft or is provided at another location along the length of the light pole. Thus, this disclosure is directed to various arrangements wherein a general watercraft navigation light pole has a flexible joint between the lighted tip and its connection with the electrical socket of the watercraft. While the light pole may be removable separable from the flexible joint that light pole may also be integral or otherwise provided fixedly secured to the flexible joint or the flexible joint and light pole may be a monolithic structure. [0036] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-9, a flexible joint 10 has a first end

12 and a second end 14. The first end 12 is configured for physical and electrical connection with a pre-existing electrical connector 16 on a watercraft. The second end 14 is configured for physical and electrical connection with a light pole 18. Thus, the flexible joint 10 has a flexible length 20 that can be inserted between a removable light pole 18 and a boat connector 16 in order to provide an after-market flexible joint to a standard watercraft light pole. The first end 12 of the flexible joint 10 has a length 22 that is inserted into the connector 16 where this length 22 terminates in an “inlet end” where the electrical connection is position and configured to mate with the connector 16 of the watercraft to allow electrical flow from the watercraft though wiring in the joint 10 to the second end 14 of the flexible joint 14. The second end 14 has an “outlet end” where the second end 14 terminates in a connection end 24 that mates electrically with the light pole 18.

[0037] The flexible joint 10 may have a spring 26 along its length to provide for the

360 degree directional bending along the length 20 of the flexible connection where the degree of bending is between 0 degrees and about 90 degrees in any direction.

[0038] Although the present disclosure has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure.