Bag-full indicator mechanism

  • US 5,950,408 A
  • Filed: 08/07/1997
  • Issued: 09/14/1999
  • Est. Priority Date: 07/25/1997
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. A bag-full indicator mechanism for use on a mower, the mower having a body, an engine with an intake manifold, and an engine pulley, a mower deck having a mower deck pulley that rotates cutting blades for cutting associated vegetation, a belt selectively operatively connecting the engine pulley to the mower deck pulley with the use of an idler pulley a bag for collecting cut vegetation and a chute communicating the mower deck with the bag, the chute having an aperture, said bag-full indicator mechanism comprising:

  • (1) a vacuum actuator having(a) a connection port and(b) a first side, said first side moving inwardly with respect to said vacuum actuator as a vacuum is established inside said vacuum actuator, said first side moving outwardly with respect to said vacuum actuator as the vacuum is removed from inside said vacuum actuator;

    (2) vacuum means for providing a vacuum to said vacuum actuator, the intake manifold providing said vacuum means;

    (3) sensing means for sensing that the bag is full, said sensing means having a membrane covering the aperture in the chute, said membrane including(a) a rigid portion and(b) a flexible portion, said flexible portion being fixedly attached to the chute, said flexible portion selectively permitting said rigid portion to move in an inward direction with respect to said chute, said flexible portion also selectively permitting said rigid portion to move in an outward direction with respect to said chute;

    (4) activating means for selectively activating said vacuum actuator, said activating means having(a) switching means, said switching means selectively initiating said vacuum actuator,(b) a vacuum source line, said vacuum source line communicating a vacuum from the intake manifold to said switching means,(c) a vacuum line, said vacuum line selectively communicating a vacuum from said switching means to said vacuum actuator,(d) a lever having first and second ends, said second end of said lever being pivotably connected to a pivot member that is fixedly connected to the chute,(e) a lever extension for operative contact with said rigid portion of said membrane, said lever extension being fixedly connected to said lever, said membrane selectively pivoting said lever as said rigid portion of said membrane moves in said outward direction with respect to the chute,(f) a spring having first and second ends, said first end of said spring being pivotably connected to said first end of said lever, said spring biasing said lever against said rigid portion of said membrane,(g) a spring extension member, said spring extension member being fixedly connected to the chute, said second end of said spring being pivotably connected to said spring extension member and(h) a reset button for resetting said membrane, said reset button being fixedly connected to said lever, said reset button selectively pivoting said lever, said reset button selectively moving said rigid portion of said membrane in said inward direction with respect to the chute; and

    ,(5) indicating means for indicating that the bag is full, said indicating means having(a) a connector link, said connector link being operatively connected to said first side of said vacuum actuator, and(b) a brake member having first and second ends and a pivot point, said first end of said brake member being pivotably connected to said connector link and to the idler pulley,(c) a spring having first and second ends for biasing the belt in a disengaged condition, said first end of said spring being pivotably connected to said first end of said brake member, said second end of said spring being pivotably connected to the body of the mower and(d) a brake puck for use in stopping the rotation of the mower deck pulley, said brake puck being fixedly connected to said second end of said brake member.

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