Using LEDs to indicate the opertaion and status of robotic swimming pool cleaners
Publication Date: 2010-Nov-11
The IP.com Prior Art Database
This article examines the application of LEDs in robotic swimming pool cleaners, both in the traditional indication of power on/off and for displaying the status of the cleaners' operation. The decorative use of LED illumination in swimming pool cleaners is also discussed.
Using LEDs to indicate the operation and status of robotic swimming pool cleaners
Modern LED technology has progressed to the point where low power, high brightness LEDs can be incorporated into a variety of consumer goods at very low cost. The high-brightness LEDs are readily visible even in bright sunlight and available in a range of colors. They are therefore suitable for use in equipment designed for outdoor use.
This article examines the application of LEDs in robotic swimming pool cleaners, both in the traditional indication of power on/off and for displaying the status of the cleaners' operation.
Robotic pool cleaners in common use both in residential backyard swimming pools and in large public pools. Typically, they comprise a power supply, a floating cable connecting the power supply to the cleaner, and a submergible cleaner which travels over the floor of the swimming pool. The pool cleaner includes one or more pumps which draw water through a filter in which dirt and debris is entrapped, and one or more motors which propel the cleaner over the floor of the pool.
Such pool cleaners are designed to operate in a completely autonomous manner. However, various external factors can impair the efficiency of the cleaner. One such factor can be excessive clogging of the filter, causing reduced suction and excess power consumption. Another factor can be entrapment of obstacles in the cleaners' drive train, which can prevent the robot from travelling a pre-programmed course, or can prevent it from moving altogether. In such cases, the cleaner requires attention if it is to continue cleaning the pool.
Pool cleaners currently on the market have no reliable method of signaling that they are in trouble. Some models activate an indicator light or display an error code on the power supply, but as they are designed to operate robotically, there is usually no one in the vicinity who will notice. Since these cleaners commonly operate for a fixed time period, it is quite possible for a robot to operate for nearly a whole cycle without actually cleaning anything.
3. Current solutions
Pool cleaners typically include micro-controller circuits which monitor the operation of the pump and drive motors by measuring the current consumption of the individual motors, the motor drive pulse width modulation ratio, the RPM speed of the motors, and other parameters. The software controlling the pool cleaner can use this information to determine what the robot is doing throughout the cleaning cycle. For example, tilt switches are commonly used to detect when the robot encounters a wall of the pool and begins tilts up against it. This signal is used to cause the robot to change direction. If more than a few minutes pass with no such signal being detected, it is probable that the robot is stuck and cannot reach any of the pool walls. The robot needs help.
Excessive current consumption of the pump motor usually means that the filter...