US005440972A
United States Patent [191
[11]
[45]
English
[54] PORTABLE BEVERAGE BREWING DEVICE
[76] Inventor:
Philip H. English, PO. Box 1605,
Avon, Colo. 81620
Patent Number:
Date of Patent:
5,440,972
Aug. 15, 1995
Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Oldham, Oldham & Wilson
Co.
[57]
ABSTRACI‘
[21] Appl. No.: 259,960
A portable beverage brewing device for brewing a
[22] Filed:
an automobile, boat, van, or other vehicle without dis
[63]
single cup or other individual portion of a beverage in
Jun. 14, 1994
tracting attention from driving or operating responsibil
Related US. Application Data
Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 103,860, Aug. 9, 1993,
ities. An anchored mounting base, a leveling plate and a
clamp together support a coffee maker body in level
abandoned, which is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No.
[51]
Int. c1.6 ............................................ .. A47J 31/22
position. The body includes a water reservoir, a brew
ing chamber, a drinking cup, and a drip cup or cup
holder. A brewing chamber holds a prepackaged ?lter
[52]
US. Cl. ...................................... .. 99/282; 99/305;
containing beverage precursor particles. A water reser
739,311, Aug. 1, 1991, Pat. No. 5,233,914.
99/283
voir is removable and resealable. A positive displace
[58]
Field of Search ............... .. 99/280, 281, 282, 283,
ment pump, driven by a permanent magnet motor
pumps water from the water reservoir through an elec
[56]
99/307, 279, 295, 306, 304, 305, 312, 316
References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
2,661,015 12/1953
3,231,713 l/1966
Allred et al. ...................... .. 137/353
.. 219/202
4,151,790 5/1979
99/281
4,382,402 5/1983
99/295
number of revolutions have been counted and corre
spondingly a predetermined volume of water corre
99/283
sponding to an individual portion of brewed beverage
4,875,408 10/1989
.
tric heater to the brewing chamber. Operation of the
motor and the pump commences only when water has
been heated to a predetermined brewing temperature.
An encoder counts the number of revolutions of the
motor and shuts off the device when a predetermined
5,233,914
8/1993
English ............................... .. 99/282
has been pumped.
Primary Examiner—-David A. Scherbel
Assistant Examiner—Reginald L. Alexander
27 Claims, 3 Drawing Sheets
/64
26
CUP DETECT
42/
CONTROL
LOGIC
I]: START
74
COUNTER
59
US. Patent
Aug. 15, 1995
Sheet 1 of 3
5,440,972
US. Patent
Aug. 15, 1995
Sheet 2 of 3
5,440,972
US. Patent
Aug. 15, 1995
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5,440,972
PORTABLE BEVERAGE BREWING DEVICE
2
meable material. And a drinking cup is provided with a
removable cover actuatable by a movable cup handle,
and when the cup is inserted into the beverage maker
CROSS REFERENCE TO PREVIOUSLY FILED
APPLICATIONS
system the cup handle opens the cover and simulta
neously starts a water heater and controls ?ow of
This application is a continuation-in-part of applica
tion Ser. No. 08/103,860, ?led Aug. 9, 1993, now aban
doned, which in turn is a continuation-in-part of appli
heated water to the beverage brewing chamber.
However, the disclosures contained in each of the
foregoing patents have been found to be unsatisfactory
in many respects, among others, that the prior coffee
cation Ser. No. 07/739,311, ?led Aug. 1, 1991, now US.
Pat. No. 5,233,914, issued Aug. 10, 1993, and entitled 10 makers were not adapted to be anchored against move
In-Car Co?‘ee Maker.
ment to avoid the effects of motion and vibration, were
not adapted to be leveled upon an uneven ?oor or sur
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
face, and were not sufficiently sturdy.
Additionally, the water reservoir or other water con
This invention relates to an improved, downsized,
lightweight, portable device for brewing coffee or other 15 tainer in the prior art automotive beverage makers were
not capable of being removed from the brewing device
beverages in vehicles, boats, motel/hotel rooms or simi
lar locations where brewed beverages are not customar
for cleaning or re?lling. Also, many in-car brewers
ily available. More speci?cally, the device is completely
were not fully automated, were too large and not rela
self-contained, and it is designed to be anchored and
tively sizeable or compact for bene?cial use in a motor
leveled on an uneven surface, then actuated for auto 20 vehicle, and the components were too expensive and
matically brewing a cup or other individual portion of a
not commercially feasible.
beverage. Safety features include a safety switch mech
OBJECTS OF THIS INVENTION
anism, which prevents commencement of the brew
cycle unless a splashproof drinking cup is applied
In view of various drawbacks and de?ciencies in the
against the main body of the coffee maker, for avoid 25 prior art coffee makers, it is a general object of the
ance of driver distraction and spills.
present invention to provide an anchoring means to
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
stabilize the coffee maker on the floor of a motor vehi
cle.
Numerous brewing devices for use in motor vehicles
A further object is to provide a means to level the
have been disclosed in the past. Some of the former 30 coffee maker upon an uneven surface or floor of a
devices are completely portable as that disclosed in US.
motor vehicle.
Pat. No. 4,382,402, to Donald E. Alvarez, wherein a
Another object of the invention is to provide a coffee
portable coffee maker in a moving vehicle brews one
maker having a removable and resealable water reser
cup of coffee at a time to avoid distracting the driver.
Other prior art prior beverage makers for motor vehi 35 voir, whereby the reservoir can be removed from the
device, cleaned and re?lled, and replaced in the coffee
cles had components which were integral to the motor
maker, the resealability thereby preventing spillage of
vehicle itself. For example, in US. Pat. No. 2,661,015,
water due to motion or vibration of the motor vehicle.
to W.R. Allred, et al, a hot water tank is disposed in the
Another object of the invention is to automatically
engine compartment of the vehicle and a water heating
coil within the tank is connection into the hot water 40 heat a volume of liquid substantially equal to a single
portion of a brewed beverage and dispense it to a brew
system of the vehicle.
ing chamber, where the hot liquid flows through a pre
U.S. Pat. No. 3,231,713 to A. Menuto, likewise dis
packaged ?lter containing particles of coffee or other
closes an apparatus for heating water and the like for
beverage precursor, whereupon the brewed beverage
domestic purposes in automotive vehicles. The water
supply and heating tanks are located within the engine 45 flows by gravity from the brewing chamber to a drink
ing cup.
compartment and there is a faucet and sink in the pas
senger compartment.
An important objective of this invention is to provide
an interlock mechanism associated with a drinking cup,
US. Pat. No. 4,151,790 to David J. Spirk, discloses a
so that if the drinking cup is not in proper position
coffee maker having a built-in reservoir and thermostat
ically controlled shut-off means to shut off power to the 50 adjacent the coffee maker, then the brewing cycle can
not commence.
coffee maker when the heating chamber is at an exces
Yet another object of the invention is to provide a
sive temperature.
signaling means to notify the user when a brewing cycle
In the patent to Spirk, No. 4,151,790, the water reser
is concluded and the brewed cup may be removed.
voir is not removable, thereby requiring that the entire
These and other objects and advantages of the pres
coffee maker be turned upside down to drain the reser 55
ent invention will be made more apparent as the speci?
voir. The Spirk invention does not have a cup interlock
cation proceeds.
to ensure that the drinking cup is in place as the cycle
activates. Also, the Spirk patent ’790 does not have
anchoring or leveling means or a display to signal the
user at the end of the cycle to remove the brewed cup.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,875,408 to McGee discloses a bever
age maker for use in vehicles having a brewing chamber
made functional by temperature sensitive shape mem
ory alloys for raising and lowering the brewing cham
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The portable beverage maker of this invention pro
vides a means for accurately measuring and heating a
predetermined volume of water corresponding to a
desired portion size of brewed beverage. A small posi
tive displacement pump powered by a permanent mag
ber. There is a disposable brew basket formed of a ?lter 65 net motor and a pump diaphragm effectively controls
liquid volume transfer from a reservoir to a heater. An
like pouch or bag containing ground, instant or granular
encoder counts revolutions of the motor and shuts
coffee, or other beverage making material, sealed
down the coffee maker when a predetermined count,
within the brew basket by cover sheets of vapor imper
3
5,440,972
corresponding to a predetermined volume of water for
brewing, has been reached. A temperature sensor, e. g. a
thermistor, measures output temperature to control
4
the mounting plate 13, so that the swivel plate 13 and
coffee maker body 14 are adjusted as a unit to assure
level positioning of the coffee maker body.
Body 14 is preferably essentially oval-shaped as
pump motor speed and prevent overheating by increas
ing liquid displacement. The portable beverage maker
shown in FIG. 2. That is, it is shaped like a racetrack,
of this invention further includes an adjustable mount
having a base and a leveling plate adapted to be secured
when the device maker is leveled. Carpet anchors are
having two opposite parallel sides and two opposite
semi-circular ends. Body 14 is of essentially uniform size
and shape over its entire height, as seen in FIG. 1.
positioned around the periphery of the base for anchor
Body portion 14 includes a liquid reservoir 26, which
is removably supported on bottom plate 18. Reservoir
26 has two opposite parallel and vertical sides, a third
vertical side which is perpendicular to the ?rst two (and
ing the base, thereby effectively anchoring the beverage
maker.
The beverage maker includes a body having a bottom
portion, a center partition, and a top. The body or hous
ing retains a brewing chamber in position above a drink
ing cup, the chamber dimensioned to receive and hold a
which forms one end of the reservoir), and a semi-circu
lar vertical end wall (at the second end of the reservoir),
as best seen in FIG. 2. The ?rst two side walls and the
?lter packet containing beverage precursor particles. A
semi-circular end wall form exterior wall surfaces of the
liquid container or reservoir is removable for cleaning
and re?lling, then reinsertion and rescaling in the de
body portion 14. Liquid reservoir 26 has a top opening
(or ?rst opening) 28 to permit pouring of a liquid (usu
vice.
ally water) into the reservoir, and a cap 30 to close and
An electronic safety control switch prevents the de 20 reseal the top opening 28. Reservoir 26 also has a ‘sec
vice from operating if a drinking cup is not in place.
ond opening 31 at the reservoir bottom. This opening is
Stamped and formed copper plate pieces form a heat
scalable by means of a one-way reservoir outlet valve
ing cavity. A nickel-chromium resistance wire wrapped
31a. Opening 31 is adapted to receive one end of a liquid
over a mica insulator strip is positioned within the heat
ing cavity to form the heater element.
connector or tube 32. Valve 310 has a lip seal which
25 seals around the tube 32 when such tube is inserted into
opening 31 and to close opening 31 to prevent water
from leaking from reservoir 26 when no tube is inserted.
FIG. 1 is a longitudinal vertical sectional view of the
A liquid connector or tube 32 is sealingly connected
body portion of the beverage maker assembly of the
to the reservoir outlet valve 31a which controls the
subject invention in assembled, operative array;
30 reservoir outlet opening 31. Outlet valve 31a is closed
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the bottom of the body
whenever reservoir 26 is not in place in the coffee
portion of the assembly;
maker. When reservoir 26 is assembled in place, outlet
FIG. 3 is a schematic electrical diagram of the bever
valve 31a is automatically opened, but functions as a
age brewing assembly of this invention.
check valve to prevent back ?ow of water.
35
Water withdrawn from the reservoir 26 is directed
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
through connector 32, thence through a pump and a
INVENTION
heater (both to be described in detail subsequently). The
This invention will be described in detail with partic
heated liquid is then directed through a hot water tube
ular reference to a preferred embodiment thereof. A
34 to a brewing chamber or basket 36 where the heated
preferred use of the portable beverage brewing assem 40 liquid mixes with beverage precursor particles (not
bly of this invention is as a portable coffee maker for
shown) contained in a pre-packaged ?lter (not shown).
automobiles and other vehicles.
The pre-packaged ?lter can be in the form of a disc.
Referring now to the drawings and especially to
Brewing chamber 36 is removable to permit cleaning
FIGS. 1 and 2 thereof, the device of this invention is a
and changing of beverage precursor particles.
portable beverage brewing assembly 10 comprising a 45 Brewing chamber 36 is of circular cross-sectional
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
mounting for base (or swivel base) 12, a leveling plate
(or swivel plate) 13, and a generally oval-shaped body
360 and a lower outlet or discharge opening 36b, both of
14 which is releasably secured to the leveling plate 13.
Body 14 comprises a two-piece top 16 having a reser
brewing chamber 36). Water flows from hot water tube
shape (see FIG. 2) and includes an upper inlet opening
which are centrally located (i.e. on the central area of
voir cover 16a and a cover 16b for a brew basket to be 50
34 into brewing chamber 36 through inlet opening 36a,
described, a one-piece oval-shaped bottom plate 18, and
and brewed beverage is discharged into a drinking cup
an essentially vertical housing or centerpiece 20 which
extends from the bottom plate 18 to the top 16, and from
side to side in the center portion of the body 14.
40 through outlet opening 36b.
Housing 20 comprises a pair of parallel vertical walls
20a extending in the longitudinal direction of body 14,
an essentially ?at vertical transverse partition 20b, and a
transversely extending arcuate vertical wall 200.
Base 12 is adapted to be removably anchored to a
carpeted portion of a motor vehicle as will be described
hereinafter in greater detail. Leveling plate 13 is releas
ably and adjustably secured to the base 12 in level posi
A drinking cup 38 having a lid 38a is positioned
below the brewing chamber to receive the brewed bev
55 erage. A cup interlock actuator 39 is provided so that
the electrical system will operate only when cup 38 is in
place. A cupholder or drip cup 40 is also provided for
positioning below the drinking cup for any excess hot
liquid or beverage which might escape the drinking
cup. Cupholder 40 also catches any drip from brewing
chamber 36 when drinking cup is not in place, and
serves as storage for used discs which have been used
tion as will be hereinafter described in further detail,
for brewing. Both drinking cup 38 and drip cup (or
and permits the coffee maker body 14 to be installed in
cupholder) 40 are removable.
level position even when the base 12 is not level, due to 65
Drinking cup 38 may have any desired capacity,
irregularities in the vehicle carpet or other vehicle an
usually from one to eight cups. A cup may be de?ned in
choring member. The bottom 18 of the brewing assem
terms of a standard coffee cup having a volume of about
bly (or coffee maker) body 14 is removably secured to
5.5 to about 6 ounces.
5
5,440,972
Housing or centerpiece 20 is situated between the
6
ment may comprise a heater inlet assembly and a heater
reservoir 26 on the one hand and the brewing chamber
outlet assembly. An O-ring may be provided to form a
(or brew basket) 36, drinking cup 38 and drip cup 40 on
the other. Brewing chamber 36, drinking cup 38, and
seal and a passageway for water through the inlet and
drip cup 40 are axially aligned. Reservoir 26 is at one
The heater element is preferably formed of copper
and, more preferably, the copper forming the heater
element may be furnace brazed copper. The copper
surface may be ?ackened to improve radiant heating
and overall ef?ciency. The resistance wire is preferably
end of coffee maker body 14 in the longitudinal direc
tion. The brewing chamber 36, drinking cup 38, and
drip cup (or cupholder) 40 are at the other end in the
longitudinal direction; and centerpiece of housing 20 is
outlet assemblies.
_
in the middle.
10 constructed of a nickel chromium alloy which is known
A power circuit 42 controls power supply to the
as NICHROME ®. NICHROME is a registered trade
coffee maker. Except for internal connections (e.g. a
mark of Driver-Harris Company, Harrison, New Jer
start actuator button and a connection to a power
sey, and covers resistance alloys and resistance wires.
NICHROME is an alloy which, according to The Con
source), the components of power circuit 42 are housed
in housing 20. The electronic components are prefera
bly contained on a vertical printed circuit (PC) board 43
which is inside housing 20.
Power circuit 42 includes a motor 44 which actuates
a pump 46. Pump 46 pumps water from the reservoir 26
to the brewing chamber 36. This will be described in
detail subsequently with reference to FIG. 3.
densed Chemical Dictionary, 10th ed., 1981, published by
VanNostrand Reinhold Company, contains 60% nickel,
24% iron, 16% chromium, and 0.1% carbon and is used
principally for electric resistance purposes.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the
resistance wire is wrapped over an insulator effectively
preventing contact between the wire and metallic
Downsizing of this beverage brewing device required
pieces forming the heating element. A mica strip or
that the motor 44, connected into the power circuit, be
board has been found to be preferable for use as such
as small as possible. A permanent magnet motor 44 has
been found most preferable for ful?lling this require
ment.
The motor 44 drives an eccentric cam 48 which is
insulator. Two additional mica strips insulate the resis
25 tance wire from mating copper surfaces, so that heat is
distributed evenly and hot spots are avoided. Such hot
spots could result in ?ash boiling of water.
rotatably mounted on the motor shaft to be rotated by
Also, in the preferred embodiment, heating cavities
the motor is in a preferred embodiment. The axes of
(not shown) are formed in the metallic pieces as nar
motor 44 and eccentric cam 48 are parallel and 0.015 30 rowed tubules or tubing portions which traverse the
inch apart. Eccentric cam 48 in turn drives a connecting
heater element, the tubing portions making at least one
rod 50, which in turn drives pump 46. A ?rst end of
pass through the element for rapid heating of the liquid
connecting rod 50 is mounted on the cam 48. A second
in the element. Water is directed through the tubules
end of connecting rod 50 is connected to a diaphragm
which forms part of positive displacement pump 46.
Pump 46 is a variable volume positive displacement
pump that is adapted for expansion and contraction.
Preferably pump 46 is a diaphragm pump. However,
positioned on both sides of the resistance wire. A three
pass system of tubules, wherein the water enters the
element, makes two passes on one side of the resistance
wire, and then travels to the opposite side of the element
to make a ?nal pass and traverse across the area adja
any pump that pumps a volume of water which is pro
cent the resistance wire before exiting the element. The
portional to the number of revolutions of motor 44 can 40 mica insulator with NICHROME ® resistance wire
be used. Such pumps are known as controlled volume
wrapped within the insulator is positioned within each
pumps, metering pumps, or proportioning pumps.
of the cavities of the heater element.
Pump 46 may have a therein a reciprocable diaphragm
It will be understood that the foregoing description of
heater 52 is by way of illustration and that other heater
(not shown) which provides a variable volume cham
ber. Connecting rod 50 controls actuation of the dia 45 structures which meet both the space limitations and the
phragm. An inlet port and an outlet port, both of which
are provided with check valves (which may be reed
valves), communicate with the pump chamber. These
heating output requirements of this invention can be
used.
The device heats a liquid to a temperature in a range
from about 195° to about 205° within about ?ve minutes
admitting and ejecting liquid from the pump concomi 50 with reduced power usage. The coffee maker utilizes
tant with back and forth movement of the diaphragm.
approximately 150 to 160 watts power by use of the
valves are adapted to open and close automatically for
The inlet port receives water from the connector 32.
Reciprocation of the diaphragm with movement of the
connecting rod 50 effectively expands and contracts the
heater element disclosed herein.
The use of copper for construction of the heater ele
ment has been found preferable over aluminum and
volume of the pump chamber causing water to be
other materials. Copper has a thermal conductivity
pumped from reservoir 26 through connector 32, pump
46, ?exible tubing 51, heater 52, and hot water tube 34
essentially twice that of aluminum, and although copper
to brewing chamber 36, as shown in FIG. 1. Heater 52
is mounted above pump 46, in an elevated position rela
sults in only a signal difference in overall weight.
tive to pump 46 and to bottom 18 of the coffee maker
heater 52 are housed in housing 20. Heater 52 may be
mounted on a surface of partition 2%.
body 14, so that water must be pumped upwardly from
the outlet of reservoir 26 to the hot water tube 34 and
brewing chamber 36.
The heater 52 may comprise a heater element (or
is somewhat heavier‘, the small size of the element re
In a preferred embodiment, motor 44, pump 46, and
The volume of liquid to be brewed is controlled by
means of an encoder 53 (shown in FIG. 3). The encoder
53 may include a notched and flattened disc 54 mounted
resistance heater assembly) constructed of one or more 65 on the motor 46 for rotation therewith. The disc in
metallic pieces which form one or more enclosed heat
cludes one or more small apertures, e.g. notches or
ing cavities for passage of the liquid through the cavity
and concomitant heating of the liquid. The heater ele
holes, (not shown) through it so that light is permitted
through the disc while it rotates. A light emitter 56
7
5,440,972
8
clamp which holds the base 12 and the leveling plate 13
(which may be infrared or IR) is mounted on one side of
the disc 54 and positioned to emit light through a notch
together. Base 12 also has a latching lever 12b that locks
in the disc; and a light detector 58 is mounted near the
leveling plate 13 in place once any required adjustment
opposite side of the disc and is positioned to detect the
of the leveling plate 13 and a coffee maker body 14
secured thereto has been made.
light emitted through the one or more disc notches. The
light emitter and light detector work in conjunction
Leveling plate 13 has a centrally located spherically
curved protrusion 13a which is adapted to be ?tted into
with a counter 59 for counting revolutions of the disc,
concomitant strokes of the connecting rod, and conse
quently to measure and control the volume of water
pumped.
10
No measuring chamber for water is necessary in the
coffee maker of this invention, because the volume of
water pumped is directly proportional to the number of
revolutions of the disc and motor 44.
The brewing assembly includes a means for control
ling temperature of the heater element which means is
associated with the heater element. The preferable
central aperture which is adapted to coincide with a
similarly central aperture in the spherically curved por
tion 120 of base 12. The coffee maker body 14 may be
removably secured to leveling plate 13 by means of a
tongue and groove mounting structure which is gener
ally similar to that shown and described in applicant’s
U.S. Pat. No. 5,233,914.
A clamp 13b holds base 12 and leveling plate 13 to
means for controlling temperature is an electronic tem
perature sensor 82 positioned at the outlet end of heater
52 to sense liquid temperature output from the heater.
The motor speed increases, and consequently pump
speed increases, for bringing more liquid to the heater
element when the liquid temperature exceeds a prede
termined temperature. Similarly, motor speed and
pump speed are decreased if the liquid temperature
drops below a predetermined temperature. The pre
ferred temperature sensor for this beverage making
assembly is a thermistor.
and rotatably mounted upon the corresponding spheri
cally shaped depression 12a in the base 12. The spheri
cally curved protrusion 13a of leveling plate 13 has a
gether in desired position. Clamp 13b includes a spheri
cally curved portion which engages a top surface of
spherically curved portion a 13a of leveling plate 13,
thereby frictionally clamping the spherically curved
25
portion 13a of leveling plate 13 in place against the
spherically curved portion 12a of base 12. Clamp 131)
further includes an axially disposed depending portion
that extends downwardly from the spherically curved
portion of the clamp. This depending portion extends
through the central apertures in the spherical portions
The preferred means for removably anchoring the
120 and 13a of the mounting base 12 and leveling (or
base 12 comprises a plurality of carpet anchors which 30 mounting) plate 13, respectively. Latching lever 12b
interconnect the base with the carpeted portion of a
engages the depending portion of clamp 13b and locks
motor vehicle. Those anchors are insertable in the base
an assembly comprising base 12, leveling plate 13 and
which has a plurality of apertures on its periphery. Each
body 14 in place. In the preferred embodiment, the
of the carpet anchors is generally L-shaped, with a
leveling plate 13 has a peripheral portion 13b of gener
threaded leg portion suitable for insertion in apertures 35 ally square shape surrounding the central spherically
of the base; while a pointed foot portion of each anchor
curved portion 13a. In this embodiment, there is a
is adapted for insertion through carpeting of a motor
grooved section formed on the lower surface of the
vehicle. Thumb nuts are included to secure the threaded
bottom plate 18 of the coffee maker. The sides of the
leg portions of each of the carpet anchors tightly to the
grooved section are spaced apart to receive the leveling
base. The apertures are preferably at each of the four 40 plate. The leveling plate is designed to slide into the
corners of the mounting base 12. Base 12 is typically
grooves in the bottom plate 18 of the coffee maker main
essentially square or rectangular. Thumb nuts may be
body 14. The bottom plate 18 of body 14 may be releas
comprised of nylon or a metallic material, but prefera
ably secured to the leveling plate 13 by any desired
bly are comprised of polycarbonate material. The car
means, as for example, a latch (not shown) which re
pet anchors may be plastic or metallic, preferably steel. 45 tains the bottom plate 18 of the coffee maker in position
The carpet anchors and thumb nuts, and the means for
on the leveling plate 13.
anchoring base 12 to a vehicle ?oor, may be similar to
these described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,233,914.
Power for power circuit 42 may be supplied from a
power source by means of an electrical connector (not
Base 12 and leveling plate 13 have complimentary
shown), which may be conventional. The electrical
spherically curved portions of similar radius of curva
connector has two ends, the ?rst end connecting to the
ture which permit the leveling plate 13 and an attached
coffee maker and the second end of the connector
coffee maker body 14 to be mounted in level position
adapted to be plugged into the cigarette lighter of a
even when the base 12 is not level. The mating spheri
motor vehicle for providing electricity to the device.
cally curved portions from a joint of the ball and socket
The coffee maker may have a conventional two-prong
type. The spherically curved portions of base 12 and 55 plug in which one prong serves as a hot wire and the
leveling plate 13 have center axes which may be aligned
other serves as a ground wire. The power source may
or deposed at an acute angle relative to one another, as
be an automotive vehicle battery, which is typically a
required to mount coffee maker body 14 in level posi
l2-volt DC (direct current) source.
'
tion. In a preferred embodiment, the acute angle be
Power circuit 42 will now be described in detail with
tween the respective axes may range up to 12°. A rubber 60 reference to FIG. 3. Power circuit 42 includes a motor
washer (not shown) may be af?xed to the spherically
44 for driving pump 46, and resistance heating elements
curved surface of base 12 to improve friction while
which are components of heater 52, as described earlier.
reducing clamping forces.
The electrical circuits for motor 44 and for heater 52 are _
Referring to FIG. 1, base 12 has a raised central por
in parallel as shown in FIG. 3.
tion. There is a centrally located spherically curved 65
An encoder 53 and a counter 59 associated therewith
depression 12a within the area of and in the raised por
have been described previously. A signal representing a
tion. An opening or aperture in the center of the hemi
count of revolutions of motor 44 is supplied by counter
spherical depression is provided for the receipt of a
59 to control logic 60. When the count reaches a prede~
5,440,972
10
termined volume of water to be pumped, control logic
60 supplies a signal via diode 62 to motor 44, shutting
down the motor and terminating a brewing cycle. Con
trol logic 60 resets counter 59 simultaneously. Control
reservoir 26 will be at an angle to the ?ll line. Thus user
levels the coffee maker body. When a water-?lled reser
logic 60 is connected to a DC power source +V.
The power circuit 42 further includes a heater circuit
power supply circuit 42 (i.e., a coffee maker plug) and
64, which is in operation at full line voltage (+V)
throughout a brewing cycle. Heater circuit 64 includes
a terminal +V for receiving power from a power
source and a ground GND (terminal +V and ground
GND may be the ‘hot wire prong and the ground wire
prong, respectively, of a coffee maker plug). Heater
circuit 64 further includes a relay 66 which is connected
to control logic 60. Relay 66 is energized so that the
voir 26 is put in place, reservoir outlet valve 31a opens.
Next, a connector is connected to terminals of the
to a power source, e.g., an automobile cigarette lighter,
which is connected to an automobile battery.
Operation of the coffee maker is then initiated by
pushing push button switch 74. An indicator lamp turns
on, showing that the electrical system is in operation.
Electric current ?ows through the heating elements of
heater 52, so that heating of water commences. Motor
44 and pump 46 are actuated by control logic 60 to
cause the motor to turn a predetermined number of
heater circuit 64 is closed and heater 52 is turned on
revolutions (say 200 strokes) which pumps into a heat
ing jacket of heater 52 a predetermined volume of water
An on-off push button switch 74 initiates operation of
suf?cient to ?ll the heating jacket. The motor 44 and
the coffee maker. This push button may be located on
pump 46 are then shut down by control logic 60 while
top of the coffee maker, i.e., on cover 16 as shown in
the heater 52 continues to heat water. When the therm
FIG. 1.
20 istor 82 signals that a desired operating or brewing
An electronic safety control switch 76 provides a
temperature (say 205° F.) has been reached, motor 44 is
safety interlock so that a brewing cycle cannot com
started. This drives pump 46. Water is pumped from
mence if a drinking cup 38 is not in place. Power circuit
reservoir 26 through connector 32 and pump 46 into
42 further includes a temperature sensor 82, e.g., a
heater 52, where it is heated to operating temperature
thermistor, which senses water temperature at the out 25 (e.g., 205° F.). Hot water ?ows from heater 52 through
let of heater 52 (and which has been mentioned previ
hot water tube 34 and into brewing chamber 36, where
ously), and a temperature control circuit 84 which acts
a beverage, e.g., coffee, is brewed. Coffee flows by
in response to a signal generated by temperature sensor
gravity from brewing chamber 36 into drinking cup 38.
82, to control the speed of motor 44 in accordance with
If the water temperature at the outlet of heater 52
whenever the power circuit 42 is in operation.
water temperature at the heater outlet. Temperature
control circuit 84 includes a pair of ampli?ers 86 and 88.
Both ampli?ers receive a sign from temperature sensor
82 and both are connected to control logic 60. The ?rst
ampli?er 86 shuts down the electrical system in the
goes above the maximum normal operating temperature
(e.g., above 205° F.), motor 44 speeds up. If the water
temperature at the heater outlet goes above over tem
perature, i.e., a maximum safe temperature (say 210° F.)
the entire power circuit 42 is shut down.
event that hot water temperature exceeds a safe limit,
Revolutions of motor 44 are counted as the motor
say 210° F. (99° C.). This ampli?er has a ?rst reference
turns. This may be done, for example, by means of a
rotating disc 54 having a hole, a light emitter 56 and a
light detector 58 as previously described. The count is
voltage VRERI applied to it, compares signal voltage
from temperature sensor 82 with this ?rst reference
voltage, and sends an output signal to control logic 60
fed to encoder 53 and revolution counter 59. There is a
to shut down heater 52 by causing relay 66 to open in 40 direct correlation between the number of revolutions of
the event this safe limit is exceeded. The second ampli
motor 44 and the volume of water pumped, since pump
?er 88 has a second reference voltage VR 151.1 2 applied to
46 is a positive displacement pump. When a predeter
it, compares signal voltage from temperature sensor 82
mined number of motor revolutions has been counted,
with this second reference voltage, and sends an output
corresponding to a predetermined volume of water
signal to control logic 60 to speed up motor 44 and 45 (e.g., one to eight cups) pumped, the brewing cycle is
thereby pump water through heater 52 faster, in the
complete and the power circuit 42 is shut down (e.g., by
event the hot water temperature at the outlet of heater
opening control switch 78). Both motor 44 and heater
52 exceeds a desired maximum operating temperature,
52 cease to operate. The indicator lamp is extinguished,
showing that the brewing cycle is complete.
say 205° F. (96° C.) but does not exceed the safe limit
(say 210° F.). When the hot water temperature at the
After brewing cycle is complete and before the next
outlet of heater 52 is in normal brewing temperature
brewing cycle takes place, the reservoir 26, brewing
range, i.e., at or below the desired maximum operating
chamber 36 and cup 38 may be removed and cleaned.
temperature (say 205° F.) which actuates the second
While this invention has been described in detail with
ampli?er 88, the motor 44 rotates at its normal speed,
reference to the best mode and preferred embodiment
causing pump 46 to pump water through heater 52 at a
normal ?ow rate.
A visual indicator, e.g., a light emitting diode (LED)
thereof, variations and modi?cations can be made with
out departing from the scope of this invention.
What is claimed is:
or other indicator lamp, may be provided. Such visual
1. A portable beverage brewing assembly of the type
indicator is illuminated when the power circuit 42 is in
having a coffee maker containing a base, a body portion
operation. Circuitry which will cause the LED to ?ash
comprising a top, a bottom, and a centerpiece, the body
upon completion of a brew cycle may be provided.
portion being removably connected to the base; a liquid
Operation of the coffee maker will now be described.
reservoir removable from the body portion; a heater
communicating with the reservoir for receiving from
First, the coffee maker body 14 is leveled if necessary.
the reservoir and heating said liquid; a brewing chamber
Then all removable parts are assembled in place. When
drinking cup 38 is in place, safety switch 76 is closed. 65 communicating with the heater for admixture of a
Reservoir 26 is ?lled with water and then put in place.
heated liquid with a prepackaged ?lter containing bev
Reservoir 26 preferably has a fill line marked thereon. If
erage precursor particles; a drinking cup positioned
below the brewing chamber to receive the brewed bev
the coffee maker body 14 is not level, the water level in
11
5,440,972
erage; a power circuit to control power supply to the
12
a resistance wire associated with each said at least one
coffee maker, and a thermostatically controlled shut-off
cavity of the element for heating the liquid in the at
means; the beverage brewing assembly further compris
least one cavity.
6. The brewing assembly of claim 5, wherein the
ing:
a motor means connected on the power circuit;
heater element is formed of copper.
a pumping means actuated by the motor means and
7. The brewing assembly of claim 6, wherein the
copper forming the heater element is furnace brazed
communicating with the heater; and
means for shutting down said pumping means and
copper.
8. The brewing assembly of claim 7, wherein the
heater means when a predetermined volume of
liquid has been pumped.
2. A portable beverage brewing assembly of the type
10 resistance wire is a nickel chromium alloy.
9. The brewing assembly of claim 5, further compris
having a coffee maker containing a base, a body portion
comprising a top, bottom, and a centerpiece having a
ing an insulator and said resistance wire is wrapped
within the insulator.
10. The brewing assembly of claim 9, wherein the
insulator comprises a mica strip.
11. The brewing assembly of claim 9, further com
surface, the body portion removably connected to the
base; a liquid reservoir removable from the body por
tion; a heater means communicating with the reservoir
for receiving liquid from the reservoir and heating said
liquid; a brewing chamber communicating with the
prising narrowed tubing portions formed within each at
least one metallic piece forming the heating element, the
tubing portions making at least one pass through the
element for rapid heating of the liquid in the element.
12. The brewing assembly of claim 11, wherein the
insulator and the enclosed resistance wire is positioned
heater means for admixture of a heated liquid with a
prepackaged ?lter containing beverage precursor parti
cles; a drinking cup positioned below the brewing
chamber to receive the brewed beverage; a power cir
cuit including control switches in series to control
power supply to the coffee maker, and a thermostati
within each said at least one cavity of the heater ele
ment.
cally controlled shut-off means; the beverage brewing
13. The brewing .assembly of claim 12, wherein the
heater element is mounted in said centerpiece in ele
vated position relative to the bottom of said body por
tion.
14. The brewing assembly of claim 3, further com
prising a means for controlling a volume of liquid to be
assembly further comprising:
a permanent magnet motor connected on the power
circuit; and
a pumping means actuated by the motor and commu
nicating with the heater means.
3. A portable beverage brewing assembly of the type
having a coffee maker containing a base, body portion
brewed.
15. The brewing assembly of claim 14, wherein means
for controlling the volume brewed comprises an en
coder.
comprising a top, bottom, and a centerpiece, the body
portion being removably connected to the base; a liquid
reservoir removable from the body portion; a heater
16. The brewing assembly of claim 15, wherein the
communicating with the reservoir for receiving liquid
from the reservoir and heating said liquid; a brewing
encoder comprises a ?attened disc rotatably mounted
chamber communicating with the heater means for
admixture of a heated liquid with a prepackaged ?lter
thereby, the disc having ?rst and second sides and at
least one aperture therein;
containing beverage precursor particles; a drinking cup
positioned below the brewing chamber to receive the
a light emitter means mounted near the ?rst side of
brewed beverage; a power circuit to control power
supply to the coffee maker, and a thermostatically con
least one aperture;
a light detector means mounted near the second side
trolled shut-off means; the beverage brewing assembly
further comprising:
on the motor means, coaxial with said cam, for rotation
the disc and positioned to emit light through said at
45
a motor means connected on the power circuit;
a pumping means actuated by the motor means and
communicating with the heater means;
an eccentric cam rotatably mounted on the motor
of the disc and positioned to detect the light emit
ted through said at least one aperture; said light
emitter means and light detector means adapted for
counting revolutions of the disc, concomitant
strokes of the connecting rod, and consequent vol
ume of water pumped.
means for rotation thereby; and
a connecting rod having ?rst and second ends, the
?rst end being mounted on the cam.
17. The brewing assembly of claim 15, further com
prising a means for controlling temperature of the
heater element, said means for controlling temperature
4. The brewing assembly of claim 3, wherein the
being associated with the heater element.
pumping means comprises a pump with ?rst and second 55
18. The beverage assembly of claim 17, wherein the
ends and a pump cavity having a volume; the pump
means for controlling temperature is an electronic tem
adapted for expansion and contraction; the ?rst pump
perature sensor positioned to sense liquid temperature
end articulating with the second end of the connecting
output from the heater element, the means for control
ling adapted to increase motor speed, and consequent
rod;
an elastic diaphragm positioned at the second end of 60 pump speed, for bringing more liquid to the heater
the pump; the diaphragm effectively expanding
element when said liquid temperature exceeds a prede
and contracting pump volume by back and forth
termined temperature.
movement of the diaphragm reciprocating with
19. The beverage assembly of claim 18, wherein the
movement of the rod on the eccentric cam.
5. The brewing assembly of claim 4, wherein the 65
heater comprises a heater element formed of at least one
metallic piece with at least one enclosed heating cavity
for passage of the liquid therethrough; and,
temperature sensor is a thermistor.
20. The brewing assembly of claim 4, wherein the
pumping means is a positive displacement pump.
21. The brewing assembly of claim 20, further com
prising check valves associated with the pump.
13
5,440,972
14
25. The brewing assembly of claim 24, wherein said
22. The brewing assembly of claim 21, wherein said
check valves are adapted to open and close automati
means for removably anchoring the base comprises a
cally for admitting and ejecting liquid from the pump
plurality of carpet anchors interconnecting said base
concomitant with back and forth movement of the dia
with a carpeted portion of a motor vehicle.
26. The brewing assembly of claim 25, further com
phragm.
prising:
23. The brewing assembly of claim 22, further com
said base having a plurality of apertures on the pe
prising a liquid connector for conveying liquid from
riphery thereof;
said reservoir to said pump; and,
a reservoir valve positioned at the bottom of the
reservoir to sealingly receive the liquid connector. 10
24. The brewing assembly of claim 5, further com
prising:
each of said plurality of carpet anchors having an
L-shape, with a threaded leg portion suitable for
insertion in said apertures and a pointed foot por
tion for insertion through carpeting of a motor
vehicle;
a means for removably anchoring the base in a motor
a plurality of thumb nuts adapted for securing said
threaded leg portion of each of the plurality of
carpet anchors tightly to the base.
27. The brewing assembly of claim 24, wherein said
means for releasably securing said holder on the base in
vehicle;
the coffee maker bottom having interior and exterior
surfaces and adapted for removal from the base; a
grooved section formed on the exterior surface of
the coffee maker bottom;
a leveling plate pivotally mounted on said base for
pivoting said plate in relation to the base to a level
said level position, comprises:
said base having a raised section toward a central
portion of the base and a spherically shaped depres
position; said plate adapted to slidably inter?t into
said grooved section of the bottom;
sion within the raised section, and a centralized
a means for releasably securing said leveling plate on
the base in said level position;
25
a means for removably fastening said coffee maker
bottom to said leveling plate for removal and use of
the coffee maker independent of said holder or
aperture located in the depression, said spherically
shaped depression being adapted to inter?t with a
corresponding hemispheric shaped portion of the
leveling plate having a corresponding centrally
located aperture in said holder; and, a clamp insert
able through said corresponding apertures to fric
tionally tighten the holder against the base when
base; and,
a means for preventing inadvertent actuation of the 30
coffee maker.
35
45
55
65
the coffee maker is pivoted to a level position.
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