A vehicle level and measuring and display device for use especially in recreational vehicles or the like for ensuring that the vehicle is in a gravitationally level position comprising a sensing unit remotely connected to a display unit. The display unit includes a plurality of incremental individual optical indicators disposed along a first line representative of the level position of the vehicle and a second line representing the level position of the vehicle whereby the individual LED optical elements can incrementally and individually display the particular level position of that line. The device includes at least two scales having both a rough and fine adjustment for the LED indicators.
1. Field of the Design
This design relates to a vehicle level measuring and display device, and in particular to an electronically actuated level measuring and display device especially suited for a recreational vehicle in which the display is remotely displaced from the level sensing unit, which includes a display of increased indicators for enhanced refined level measurement.
2. Description of the Prior Art
The use of devices for determining when a vehicle such as a recreational vehicle is gravitationally level is known in the prior art. It is also well known that it is very important a recreational vehicle or other vehicles be positioned in a gravitationally level position for occupancy and use because of the employment of specific equipment onboard such as gas stoves, refrigerators and for sleeping.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,760,649 issued to Preston, Aug. 2, 1988, shows a solid state electronic position indicating device which provides two indicators showing whether the vehicle is level or not through a pair of lights. U.S. Pat. No. 4,658,508 shows an electronic level measuring system for truck trailers which has an analog dial displaying the level position of the truck.
Other devices are shown that use a pendulum to measure vehicle curve speed as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,798,593, issued to Sartor, Mar. 19, 1974 and an overload indicator for cranes shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,346,066, issued to Conrad, Apr. 4, 1944. One of the problems with the devices shown in the prior art is the lack of refinement in measuring particular level positions which make the leveling operation more difficult for the user.
The present design overcomes the problems of the prior art by providing a very highly sensitive display which can switch scales to provide both a rough first measurement and a fine second measurement from the same display indicator using a plurality of optical indicators to aid in expediting the leveling operation.
A vehicle gravitational level measuring and display device comprising a gravitational level sensing unit attached to a specific strategic location in the vehicle, a display unit located near the vehicle operator to provide the level position indicators, a D.C. power supply provided by the vehicle (12 volt) and a remote cable connection between the sensing unit and the display unit.
The sensing unit is comprised of a pair of pendulum actuated potentiometers, individually oriented along a first line and a second line so that the lines represent a plane which when level will provide a level position for the vehicle. A conversion circuit is coupled to the output of each of the potentiometers into a plurality of comparators and resistors, each of which is connected to a different light emitting diode such that the voltage to the operational amplifier and resistor circuit from each potentiometer will illuminate only one of the light emitting diode in a particular bank.
A first bank of level indicators (preferably ten light emitting diodes) is coupled to a first potentiometer and a second bank of light emitting diodes, preferably ten, is connected to a second potentiometer. Each potentiometer functions independently to provide a voltage output representative of a pendulum position relative to the potentiometer designated along a particular line of orientation of the pendulum.
Based on the relative orientations of the first potentiometer relative to the second potentiometer along two lines essentially crossing at a predetermined angle defines the plane which when both potentiometers register will define a gravitationally level plane.
The gravitational level display unit also includes circuitry for changing the scale of degrees of relative inclination represented by the light emitting diodes electronically such that in the ROUGH mode of operation an LED represents two degrees of inclination along the particular line relative to a gravitationally level position while in the FINE mode each LED may represent 0.5 degrees of inclination.
The display unit contains the LED's arranged in a diagonal linear array of ten in each bank of the diagonal display representing the level line for each bank. In addition the display includes another LED located in the exact center which is illuminated when both lines indicate a level position for the vehicle.
This is achieved through the use of an AND circuit element connected to both banks. The display unit also includes an on/off switch and the rough-fine switch for actuating the particular scale to be used.
The entire unit may be powered by a conventional 12 volt vehicle power supply positioned and wired appropriately. In operation, the sensing unit is mounted in a predetermined position in the vehicle such that the pendulum actuated potentiometers will accurately measure the diagonal lines representing a plane which is the plane of the vehicle when it is level.
The sensing unit is permanently mounted in this position. A cable connecting the sensing unit along the display unit is then run from the sensing unit to the display unit which is preferably mounted in a position for observation by the vehicle driver. This unit is then connected into the 12 volt power system of the vehicle.
To operate the device, with the power switch on, the driver will position the vehicle in accordance with the individual indications from each bank of the LEDs on the display face. The objective is to have none of the LEDs illuminated in each bank, but to have the center LED illuminated indicating a level position.
The LEDs in each bank determining the level position along the line can be calculated to indicate either a high position or a low position relative to center so that the vehicle operator will move the vehicle in such a direction to reduce the high or low position along each line. The system may also be used in a vehicle in which hydraulic jacks are utilized to raise portions of the vehicle to achieve a level position by determining from each LED bank that is illuminated whether the vehicle is too low in that particular line.
The operator starts using the ROUGH adjustment scale which in this case may indicate a two degree inbalance until an apparent level position is achieved and then switch to the FINE scale mode. It is an object of this design to provide an improved vehicle measuring and display device having increased sensitivity for expediting the leveling operation.
It is another object of this design to provide a vehicle gravitational level positioning and display device in which the display includes incremental optical indications for increased refinement in determining a level position of the vehicle.
Yet still another object of this design is to provide a vehicle leveling display device having a plurality of optical instruments presenting level positions and a first and second scale of operation for rough and fine leveling indications in terms of relative degrees of level.
In accordance with these and other objects which will be apparent hereinafter, the instant design will now be described with particular reference to the accompanying drawings.
Referring now to the drawings and in particular FIG. 1, the present design is shown generally at 10 comprised of a display unit 12 having a display face 14 connected to power supply 18 representing a 12 volt vehicle power supply through connecting wires 22. A separate remote sensing unit 16 is provided and is connected to the display 12 through a connecting cable 20.
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