Vacuum cleaner and control method thereof

  • US 5,841,259 A
  • Filed: 04/17/1996
  • Issued: 11/24/1998
  • Est. Priority Date: 08/07/1993
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. A method of controlling a self-propelled, self-directed vacuum cleaner, and maintaining a substantially constant tension on an electric power supply cord of the vacuum cleaner as the power cord is extended from and retracted onto a reel, the method comprising the steps of:

  • A) actuating an object detecting mechanism disposed on the vacuum cleaner for detecting a reference surface in a room being cleaned and for detecting obstacles in a path of travel of the vacuum cleaner;

    B) driving drive wheels disposed on the vacuum cleaner to advance the vacuum cleaner along a path spaced at a substantially constant distance from the reference surface in the absence of detected obstacles in the path of travel;

    C) selectively driving the drive wheels to steer the vacuum cleaner away from detected obstacles;

    D) connecting an outer end of a spiral plate spring to the reel, so that during steps B and C the outer portion of the plate spring is wound up during extension of the cord from the reel and is unwound during retraction of the cord onto the reel;

    E) connecting an inner end of the plate spring to a reversible motor;

    F) sensing the rotation direction of the reel; and

    G) actuating the motor in the same direction as the reel to unwind the inner portion of the spring during extension of the cord and wind up the inner portion of the plate spring during retraction of the cord.

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