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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
POWERED GOLF TROLLEY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/078907
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A powered golf trolley including an operation controller, wherein the operation controller includes a push button and an annular ring surrounding the push button, wherein the operation controller is supported by a wall having an outwardly facing surface; and the annular ring projects from the surface by a distance that is greater than or equal to the distance that the push button projects from the surface such that the push button is recessed within the annular ring.

Inventors:
THOMPSON ANDREW (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2020/079828
Publication Date:
April 29, 2021
Filing Date:
October 22, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
POWAKADDY INTERNATIONAL LTD (GB)
International Classes:
A63B55/60
Foreign References:
DE202007005290U12007-06-21
DE20307742U12003-07-31
EP2644232A12013-10-02
US20180208226A12018-07-26
KR20160101220A2016-08-25
US9469322B22016-10-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRIDLE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LIMITED (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A powered golf trolley including an operation controller, wherein the operation controller includes a push button and an annular ring surrounding the push button, wherein the operation controller is supported by a wall having an outwardly facing surface; and the annular ring projects from the surface by a distance that is greater than or equal to the distance that the push button projects from the surface such that the push button is recessed within the annular ring.

2. A powered golf trolley according to Claim 1, wherein the trolley further includes an electrical power supply and at least one electric motor; and wherein the push button selectively connects the electrical power supply to the or each electric motor or disconnects the electrical power supply from the or each electric motor.

3. A powered golf trolley according to Claim 1 or Claim 2, wherein the annular ring is a rotatable annular ring which rotates relative to the surface about a rotational axis defined at its centre.

4. A powered golf trolley according to Claim 3, wherein the rotatable annular ring is operatively connected to a speed controller and rotation of the rotatable annular ring varies the speed of the golf trolley.

5. A powered golf trolley according to Claim 3 or Claim 4, wherein the annular ring is axially fixed.

6. A powered golf trolley according to any of Claims 3 to 5, wherein the operation controller includes a shaft which defines a longitudinal axis, wherein the shaft rotates about its longitudinal axis and is axially displaceable between a pair of opposed stops; the shaft forms part of the push button and includes an upwardly facing user contact surface; and the rotatable annular ring is operatively coupled to the shaft such that the shaft rotates about its longitudinal axis when the rotatable annular ring is rotated.

7. A powered golf trolley according to any of Claims 1 to 6, wherein the push button has a first configuration in which it is spaced from the surface by a first distance, and a second configuration in which it is spaced from the surface by a second distance, wherein the first distance is greater than the second distance and the button is biased towards the first configuration.

8. A powered golf trolley according to any of Claims 1 to 7, wherein the wall covers a cavity within a handle portion of the trolley; at least a portion of the operation controller passes through the wall and extends into the cavity; and the operation controller includes one or more seals to resist or prevent water ingress into the cavity.

9. A powered golf trolley according to any of Claims 1 to 8, wherein the operation controller includes a flexible polymeric cover which covers both the push button and the annular ring.

10. A powered golf trolley according to Claim 9, wherein the flexible polymeric cover covers the entirety of the area defined within the annular ring.

11. A powered golf trolley according to Claim 9 or Claim 10, wherein the annular ring is rotatable; the operation controller includes a shaft which defines a longitudinal axis, wherein the shaft rotates about its longitudinal axis and is axially displaceable between a pair of opposed stops; the shaft forms part of the push button and includes an upwardly facing user contact surface; and the rotatable annular ring is operatively coupled to the shaft such that the shaft rotates about its longitudinal axis when the rotatable annular ring is rotated; and wherein the flexible polymeric cover is coupled to both the upwardly facing user contact surface of the shaft and the rotatable annular ring.

Description:
Powered Golf Trolley

The present invention relates to powered golf trolleys, and in particular to powered golf trolleys including an operation controller.

Certain powered golf trolleys include a master power button which either connects the electrical power source to at least one electrical motor via a control arrangement or disconnects the electrical power source from the at least one electrical motor. Additionally, most electrically powered golf trolleys include a speed controller which controls the speed of the trolley in use. Such buttons and speed controllers are typically located on a handle portion of the trolley.

The inventors of the present invention have identified a hitherto unknown problem, which can arise when a golf club or other object is dropped or makes unintentional contact with the handle portion of the trolley - the master power button may be unintentionally moved to an active position. If the speed controller is set to a certain speed when this happens, the trolley may start moving when this is not desired. This may result in damage to the trolley or injury to the user or other people nearby.

The present invention aims to address the problem discussed above.

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a powered golf trolley including an operation controller, wherein the operation controller includes a push button and an annular ring, wherein the annular ring surrounds the push button; the operation controller is supported by a wall having an outwardly facing surface; and the annular ring projects from the surface by a distance that is greater than or equal to the distance that the push button projects from the surface such that the push button is recessed within the annular ring.

By recessing the push button within the annular ring, the annular ring prevents unintentional operation of the push button. Thus, any object which unintentionally hits the operation controller would be prevented from depressing the push button by the annular ring. In order to intentionally depress the push button, a user must place a digit or similar apparatus upon the button within the annular ring and exert a downward force upon the button. In an embodiment of the invention, the trolley further includes an electrical power supply and at least one electric drive motor; and wherein the push button selectively connects the electrical power supply to the or each electric drive motor or disconnects the electrical power supply from the or each electric drive motor. Thus, the push button acts as a master power button which is difficult to operate unintentionally.

It will be appreciated in the context of the present invention that the electrical power supply may be connected to the or each electric drive motor via a control assembly which regulates the electrical energy supplied to the or each motor. Thus, the electrical energy may be supplied to the or each electric drive motor directly or indirectly.

In a further embodiment of the invention, the annular ring is a rotatable annular ring which rotates relative to the surface of the wall about a rotational axis defined at its centre. According to this embodiment, the annular ring may have a secondary function, in addition to its protective function in relation to the push button. For example, the rotatable annular ring may be operatively connected to a speed controller and rotation of the rotatable annular ring may vary the speed of the golf trolley. In such an embodiment, the single operation controller component may function as both a master power button and a speed controller, wherein the speed controller also functions to protect the master power button.

In such embodiments, while the annular ring is rotatable about a central rotational axis, it is suitably axially fixed. In other words, the height of the annular ring from the outwardly facing surface of the wall is substantially constant.

Suitably, the push button may have a first configuration in which it is spaced from the outwardly facing surface of the wall by a first distance, and a second configuration in which it is spaced from the surface by a second distance, wherein the first distance is greater than the second distance and the button is biased towards the first configuration. Thus, when the push button is depressed, it is moved to its second configuration where it causes a first action to be triggered (e.g. switching on the trolley and allowing electrical power to be transmitted to the or each electric drive motor) and then, when the depressing force is removed, it returns to its first configuration. When it is next depressed, it is once again moved to its second configuration, where a second action is triggered (e.g. isolating the or each electric motor from the electrical power source. Each subsequent depression of the push button causes the alternate action to occur.

Alternatively, the push button may include a latching mechanism wherein it may be latched in its second configuration. In such embodiments, the first configuration may represent an "off" configuration in which the or each electric drive motor is isolated from the electrical energy source and the second configuration may represent an "on" configuration in which the or each electric drive motor is connected to the electrical energy source.

As noted above, the electrical connection between the electrical power source and the or each drive motor may be a direct connection or an indirect connection, e.g. via an electrical control assembly.

In an embodiment of the invention, the operation controller includes a shaft which defines a longitudinal axis, wherein the shaft rotates about its longitudinal axis and is axially displaceable between a pair of opposed stops. The ability of the shaft to be axially displaced between opposed stops permits it to form a part of the push button. For example, a bottom portion of the shaft may include or define a first electrical contact, a second electrical contact may be provided axially below the shaft, which forms one of the opposed stops, and contact of the first electrical contact with the second electrical contact may close an electrical circuit. Additionally, when the first electrical contact is spaced from the second electrical contact, the circuit may be open.

As the axially displaceable shaft may form a part of the push button, a top portion of the shaft may define an upwardly facing user contact surface. In other words a surface upon which a downward force may be applied in order to operate the push button.

Furthermore, as the shaft is rotatable about its longitudinal axis, the shaft may be operatively coupled to the rotatable annular ring such that rotation of the annular ring causes a corresponding rotation of the shaft.

Thus, the shaft may be used to control two functions of the operation controller, for example a master power on/off push button and a rotatable speed controller. It will be appreciated that operation controllers for powered golf trolleys are typically located on or in a handle portion of the trolley for ease of use. In an embodiment of the invention, the wall covers a cavity within a handle portion of the trolley; at least a portion of the operation controller passes through the wall and extends into the cavity; and the operation controller includes one or more seals to resist or prevent water ingress into the cavity. Thus, the manually operable portions of the operation controller (at least a part of the push button and at least a part of the annular ring) may be located outside of the cavity, but further components of the operation controller (e.g. wiring and/or circuit boards) may be located within the cavity. In such embodiments, it is desired to maintain the internal components of the operation controller in a substantially dry environment. Accordingly, the gap between the axially displaceable button and the annular ring may include a first seal and/or the aperture in the wall through which a portion of the operation controller passes may include a second seal.

In order to prevent contamination (e.g. dust or dirt) or precipitation entering the cavity between the push button and the surrounding annular wall, the operation controller may include a flexible polymeric cover which covers both the push button and the annular ring. Suitably, the flexible polymeric cover covers the entirety of the area defined within the annular ring. In other words, the cover may totally cover an area which is equal to or greater than the area defined by the diameter of the annular ring. The cover is suitably coupled to the annular ring.

In such embodiments, the flexible polymeric cover may be spaced from the push button. In such embodiments, the flexible polymeric cover may be elastic, such that a user may depress the push button by deflecting the polymeric cover downwards. In this way, the annular ring, together with the cover may be rotated without a corresponding rotation of the push button.

Alternatively, the flexible polymeric cover may be coupled to both a rotatable portion of the push button and to the rotatable annular ring, such that rotation of the annular ring results in a corresponding rotation of the cover and the rotatable portion of the push button.

For example, in an embodiment of the invention, the annular ring is rotatable; the operation controller includes a shaft which defines a longitudinal axis, wherein the shaft rotates about its longitudinal axis and is axially displaceable between a pair of opposed stops; the shaft forms part of the push button and includes an upwardly facing user contact surface; and the rotatable annular ring is operatively coupled to the shaft such that the shaft rotates about its longitudinal axis when the rotatable annular ring is rotated; and wherein the flexible polymeric cover is coupled to both the upwardly facing user contact surface of the shaft and the rotatable annular ring.

The flexible polymeric cover may include a first set of engagement elements which engage with corresponding engagement elements defined by or carried by the annular ring. Similarly, the flexible polymeric cover may include a second set of engagement elements which engage with corresponding engagement elements defined by or carried by the rotatable portion of the push button. The engagement elements may comprise one or more ribs and corresponding channels which receive the or each rib.

Additionally or alternatively, the flexible polymeric cover element may be adhered or otherwise fixed to the annular ring and/or the push button.

Accordingly, the cavity may include a seal located between the wall and a portion of the operation controller which passes through the wall to prevent the ingress of water and/or contaminants into the cavity between the operation controller and the wall; and it may include a cover which covers the area defined within the annular ring to prevent the ingress of water and/or contaminants into the cavity between the annular wall and the push button.

The skilled person will appreciate that the features described and defined in connection with the aspects of the invention and the embodiments thereof may be combined in any combination, regardless of whether the specific combination is expressly mentioned herein. Thus, all such combinations are considered to be made available to the skilled person.

An embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 shows a perspective view of an operation controller according to the invention; Figure 2 shows a cross-section through the operation controller shown in Figure 1;

Figure 3 shows a perspective view of an annular ring which forms part of the operation controller shown in Figure 1;

Figure 4 shows a perspective view from the underneath of an over-moulded substrate which forms part of the operation controller shown in Figure 1; Figure 5 shows a retaining spring washer which forms part of the operation controller; Figure 6 shows the annular ring and retaining spring washer shown in Figure 5 secured in place on a golf trolley handle with a rotary encoder;

Figure 7 shows a cross-section through the operation controller located on the handle of a golf trolley; and

Figure 8 shows an electrically powered golf trolley including the operation controller shown in Figure 1.

For the avoidance of doubt, the skilled person will appreciate that in this specification, the terms "up", "down", "front", "rear", "upper", "lower", "width", etc. refer to the orientation of the components as found in the example when installed for normal use as shown in the Figures.

Figure 1 shows an operation controller 2 according to the invention. The operation controller 2 includes an outer annular ring component 4 and a depressible core component 6.

As shown in Figures 2 and 4, the core component 6 comprises rigid polymeric central cylindrical portion 8 which is over-moulded with a flexible polymeric sheath 10. The central portion 8 defines a central aperture 12, which is shaped and sized to receive therein a head portion 14 of a standard rotary encoder 16 (shown in more detail in Figures 6 and 7). The relationship between the operation controller 2 and the rotary encoder 16 is described below.

The sheath 10 of the core component 6 defines an inner cylindrical portion 18 which is fixed, via an over-moulding process, to the outer cylindrical surface of the rigid central portion 8, an outer annular portion 20 and an intermediate curved portion 22. This arrangement permits the inner cylindrical portion 18 of the sheath 10 and the attached rigid central portion 8 to move axially (i.e. parallel to the central axis defined by the cylindrical central portion 8) relative to the outer annular portion 20 and biases a top wall 6a of the core component 6 away from the head portion 14 of the rotary encoder 16 in use.

The outer annular portion 20 of the core component 6 includes a plurality of projections 24, which correspond with notches 26 defined by the outer annular ring component 4. When the core component 6 is secured to the outer annular ring component 4, as shown in Figure 2, the outer annular portion 20 forms a sealing fit with an inwardly facing wall 28 of the ring component 4 to prevent water ingress between the ring component 4 and the core component 6, and the projections 24 are located within respective ones of the notches 26, such that the core component 6 is keyed to the annular ring component 4. This means that rotation of the annular ring component 4 results in a corresponding rotation of the core component 6.

Furthermore, the central aperture 12 of the central portion 8 includes splines which engage with corresponding splines 14a defined by the head portion 14 of the rotary encoder 16. In this way, the head portion 14 is rotatably locked relative to the central portion 8 of the core component 6, such that rotation of the core component as a result of the rotation by a user of the outer ring component, causes a corresponding rotation of the rotary encoder 16. In addition, the engaged splines permit the central portion 8 to move axially relative to the rotary encoder 16, which permits the top wall 6a of the core component 6 to contact the top surface of the rotary encoder 16. The skilled person will appreciate that axial displacement of the rotary encoder 16 may be used to function as an "on/off" switch and rotation of the rotary encoder can function to increase or decrease a parameter, such as the speed of a motor.

The outer ring component 4 of the controller 2 further defines a series of teeth 30 on an upwardly facing annular surface towards the bottom of the outer ring component 4.

As seen in Figure 5, a sprung washer 32 is provided which includes a central body 34 and, extending from the central body 34, three spring arms 36. The central body 34 defines at its centre an aperture 38.

As shown in Figure 6, the sprung washer 32 fits within the outer annular ring component 4, with each of the three spring arms 36 engaging the teeth 30 defined by the outer ring component 4. The rotary encoder 16 projects from a handle portion 40 of a golf trolley 50 (shown in more detail in Figure 8). The rotary encoder passes through the central aperture 38 of the sprung washer 32. The rotary encoder 16 includes a nut 42 which retains in place the sprung washer 32 by engaging the central body portion 34 of the washer 32. As the nut 42 retains the sprung washer 32, and the spring arms 36 of the sprung washer 32 engage the teeth 30 of the outer ring component 4, the outer ring component 4 is permitted to rotate relative to the handle portion 40, but is prevented from axial displacement relative to the handle portion 40.

Figure 7 shows a cross-sectional view of the operation controller 2 located on a handle portion 40 of a golf trolley. As noted above, the outer ring component 4 is rotatably coupled to the handle portion 40 of the trolley handle via the sprung washer 32 and nut 42. This permits the outer ring component 4 to be rotated by a user relative to the handle portion 40. As the core component 6 is rotatably fixed to the outer ring component 4, rotation of the outer ring component 4 results in a corresponding rotation of the core component 6. As the central portion 8 of the core component 6 is coupled to the head portion 14 of the rotary encoder 16 via the engagement of the splines, rotation of the central portion 8 of the core component 6 causes a corresponding rotation of the head portion 14 of the rotary encoder 16.

As the core component 6 is axially displaceable relative to the outer ring component 4 and can engage a top surface of the rotary encoder 16, the core component 6 can operate as an "on/off" button. However, as the outer ring component 4 is formed from a rigid material, a downward force must be exerted specifically on the top wall 6a to operate the "on/off" function. This prevents the undesired activation of the "on/off" function via a force exerted generically on the operation controller 2.

Figure 8 shows an electrically powered golf trolley 50 which includes the operation controller 2. The golf trolley 50 includes the handle portion 40 discussed above. As can be seen from Figure 8, the handle 40 includes a pair of outwardly extending arms 52a, 52b and a display screen 54, which displays data relating to the trolley, such as remaining battery power, speed settings and such like.

Usefully, the handle 40 further includes a closable compartment 56.

The handle 40 is connected to upper frame members 58a, 58b, which are conventional components of electrically powered golf trolleys.