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Publication numberUS20040080244 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/282,887
Publication dateApr 29, 2004
Filing dateOct 28, 2002
Priority dateOct 28, 2002
Also published asUS6857711
Publication number10282887, 282887, US 2004/0080244 A1, US 2004/080244 A1, US 20040080244 A1, US 20040080244A1, US 2004080244 A1, US 2004080244A1, US-A1-20040080244, US-A1-2004080244, US2004/0080244A1, US2004/080244A1, US20040080244 A1, US20040080244A1, US2004080244 A1, US2004080244A1
InventorsRobert Lowther, Arthur Whelan, William Santucci, Albert Strauss
Original AssigneeLowther Robert J., Whelan Arthur J., Santucci William S., Strauss Albert E.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Expandable server cabinet
US 20040080244 A1
Abstract
An expandable cabinet allows for the storing and positioning of electrical component boxes of different lengths. One or more expansion brackets are capable of being secured by one or more brace guides at fixed positions relative to a rear corner post or posts and the back portion of the cabinet fame. An expanded space is formed between a back door and back portion of the cabinet frame when the expansion brackets are extended in a rearward direction from the rear corner post or posts, enabling the expansion cabinet to accommodate electrical component boxes that are too large to fit within the cabinet frame. One or more box mounts are also installed within the cabinet at or near the rear corner posts and near the expanded space. Each box mount engages and positions a component box with respect to the back portion of the cabinet frame.
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Claims(86)
1. An expandable cabinet for storing and positioning electrical component boxes of different lengths, said expandable cabinet comprising:
a cabinet having a cabinet frame, said cabinet frame having a front portion, a back portion, a top, a base and rear corner posts positioned at about said back portion of said cabinet frame, said rear corner posts extending from about said base, at least one of said rear corner posts having at least one brace guide;
an expansion bracket mounted on said at least one said brace guide, each expansion bracket having a protruding end extending in a rearward direction from a rear corner post, at least one of said expansion brackets capable of being secured in at least one of a plurality of positions relative to said rear corner post;
a door hinge mounted behind said back portion of said cabinet frame in a manner so as to move with at least one said expansion bracket, a back door mounted on said door hinge in a position to extend across said back portion of said cabinet frame to form an expanded space of said expandable cabinet when said at least one expansion bracket is extended in a rearward direction from said rear corner post; and
at least one box mount positioned in a horizontal position with respect to at least one of said rear corner posts, each said at least one box mount configured to engage an electrical component box and position the box in at least one of a plurality of positions within said expandable cabinet.
2. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a door frame connected to each said protruding end of each said expansion bracket; and
said door being mounted with said door hinge on said protruding end of at least one of said expansion brackets, said door having a top brace, a bottom brace, and two side rails, each said side rail extending from said top brace to said bottom brace.
3. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a door frame connected to each said protruding end of each said expansion bracket; and
said door further comprising a top brace, a bottom brace, and two side rails, each said side rail extending from said top brace to said bottom brace, one of said side rails of said door being pivotally mounted with said hinge on at least one of said expansion brackets.
4. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a door frame mounted to each said protruding end of each said expansion bracket, said door having a top brace, a bottom brace, and two side rails, each said side rail extending from said top brace to said bottom brace, one of said side rails being pivotally mounted to said door hinge; and
a door grille, said door grille extending between said top brace and said bottom brace of said door, said door grille being sufficiently perforated to allow cooling air to pass through said door.
5. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a cover, said cover having a main section positioned at said top of said cabinet frame and a free member;
a pair of channels extending into said main section of said cover, each of said channels opening at about said back portion of said cabinet frame; and
a pair of alignment legs, each of said alignment legs being positioned in a manner so as to move with said free member of said cover, each of said alignment legs extending into one of said channels of said main section of said cover, said alignment legs being configured to reciprocate within said channels.
6. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a cover, said cover having a main section positioned at said top of said cabinet frame and a free member;
a pair of channels extending into said main section of said cover, each of said channels opening at about said back portion of said cabinet frame;
a pair of alignment legs, each of said alignment legs being positioned in a manner so as to move with said free member of said cover, each of said alignment legs extending into one of said channels of said main section of said cover, said alignment legs being configured to reciprocate within said channels; and
a cover expansion gap being defined as the clearance between said main section and said free member of said cover when said main section and said free member are moved apart from each other.
7. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a lower pair of expansion brackets slidably mounted on said brace guides at a location that is proximate said base of said cabinet frame;
a top pair of expansion brackets slidably mounted on said brace guides at a location that is proximate said cover of said cabinet frame; and
a midpoint pair of expansion brackets slidably mounted on said brace guides at a location that is between said pair of lower expansion brackets and said pair of top expansion brackets, said midpoint expansion brackets having locking notches for locking said door frame at predetermined positions relative to said brace guide, thereby locating said lower expansion brackets, said midpoint expansion brackets, and said top expansion brackets in positions relative to said rear corner posts.
8. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising a door frame mounted to each said protruding end of each said expansion bracket wherein said door frame causes each of said expansion brackets to move in unison during expansion or contraction of said cabinet.
9. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising a door frame mounted to each said protruding end of each said expansion bracket, said door frame having a slip joint positioned to
allow for alignment of said expansion brackets during expansion or contraction of said cabinet.
10. The expansion cabinet of claim 1 further comprising side panels positioned along either side of said cabinet and extending from about said front portion to about said back portion of said cabinet and also extending from about said base to about said top of said cabinet.
11. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising filler panels extending from about said back portion of said cabinet to about said protruding ends of said expansion brackets and also extending from about said base to about said top of said cabinet when said cabinet has been expanded.
12. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising a door frame positioned on said protruding ends of said expansion brackets and positioned to move with said expansion brackets, said cover comprising:
a main section positioned at said top of said cabinet frame, said main section having a ventilation passage to allow air to pass freely into and out of said cabinet; and
a free member positioned above said door frame, said free member being positioned to move with said door frame.
13. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising a front door pivotally mounted to said front portion of said cabinet frame, said front door being sized to allow for the installation of an electrical component box through said front portion of said cabinet.
14. The expandable cabinet of claim 1, said cabinet having a support base and further comprising:
a front door pivotally mounted to said front portion of said cabinet frame, said front door being sized to allow for the installation of an electrical component box through said front portion of said cabinet; and
a stabilizer reciprocally connected to said cabinet, said stabilizer leg being extendable from said cabinet and having a length that is sufficiently long to expand the support base of the cabinet when said stabilizer leg is extended.
15. The expandable cabinet of claim 1, said cabinet having a support base and further comprising:
a front door pivotally mounted to said front portion of said cabinet frame, said front door being sized to allow for the installation of an electrical component box through said front portion of said cabinet;
a stabilizer having at least one stabilizer leg reciprocally connected to said cabinet, said stabilizer leg being extendable from said cabinet and having a length that is sufficiently long to expand the support base of the cabinet when said stabilizer leg is extended;
said front door being configured to engage and extend said stabilizer from the cabinet as said front door is opened from a closed position, said stabilizer expanding the support base of the cabinet when said stabilizer leg is extended;
said front door being configured to disengage said stabilizer when said stabilizer has been fully extended and said front door continues to be opened further; and
said front door being configured to again engage and retract said stabilizer when said front door is returned to a closed position from an open position.
16. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a plurality of locking notches positioned along said expansion brackets for locking said door frame at predetermined incremental positions relative to said brace guide; and
at least one lock pin mounted in at least one of said brace guides, said lock pin being positioned to engage said internal notches of at least one of said expansion brackets when said at least one of said expansion brackets slides into one of said predetermined incremental positions.
17. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein:
each said box mount comprises a T-bone bracket, each said T-bone bracket having a mounting rail for engaging an electrical component box and a box mount slot extending along a substantial portion of the length of said box mount, each said T-bone bracket being adjustable for positioning in a plurality of positions within said expandable cabinet; and
at least one adjustable guide pin is mounted on each of said rear corner posts, each of said guide pins being configured to extend through one of said box mount slots to connect one of said T-bone brackets to one of said rear corner posts, each said guide pin being configured to secure one of said T-bone brackets in a fixed position within said expandable cabinet.
18. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein:
each said box mount comprises a T-bone bracket, said T-bone bracket having a mounting rail for engaging an electrical component box and a box mount slot extending along a substantial portion of the length of said box mount, said T-bone bracket being adjustable for positioning in a plurality of positions within said expandable cabinet; and
at least one adjustable guide pin and at least one washer are provided, said pin having a threaded portion configured to engage one of said rear corner posts and to allow for axial adjustment of said guide pin thereon, each said guide pin being configured to extend through one said washer and through said box mount slot to connect said T-bone bracket to one of said rear corner posts, each said guide pin co-acting with one said washer to lock said T-bone bracket in position when said threaded portion of said guide pin is tightened.
19. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a door frame connected to each said protruding end of each said expansion bracket;
said door being mounted with said door hinge on said protruding end of at least one of said expansion brackets, said door having a top brace, a bottom brace, and two side rails, each said side rail extending from said top brace to said bottom brace; and
said door hinge being attached to each said expansion bracket with a mounting screw, said mounting screw having a mounting head that is positioned to be accessible for tightening and loosening when said back door is in an open position and inaccessible from outside the cabinet when said back door is in a closed position.
20. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said expansion brackets comprise an extendable sleeve extending along the height of said cabinet, each said corner post having an inside surface that forms one of said brace guides, said expansion brackets having a plurality of vertically spaced expansion bracket slots to permit mounting of said box mounts to said rear corner posts.
21. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said expansion brackets comprise an extendable accordion sleeve extending along the height of said cabinet, each said corner post having an inside surface that forms one of said brace guides, said expansion brackets having a plurality of vertically spaced expansion bracket slots to permit mounting of said box mounts to said rear corner posts.
22. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein at least one of said expansion brackets is independently mounted to reciprocate from said rear corner posts.
23. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein at least one of said expansion brackets is independently mounted to reciprocate from said rear corner posts, said door having an alignment hole, at least one expansion bracket having an alignment lug extending from said protruding end of said expansion bracket, said alignment lug being configured to engage said alignment hole of said door when said door is in a closed position.
24. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein a first of said expansion brackets comprises a sliding plate and plate return and wherein a second of said second expansion brackets comprises a swing plate mounted to said back door, said swing plate being configured to be inserted into a brace guide after expansion of said cabinet.
25. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein:
a plurality of side panels are positioned along either side of said cabinet and extending from about said front portion to about said back portion of said cabinet and also extending from about said base to about said top of said cabinet;
said brace guides are formed between each said rear corner post and said side panels;
a first of said expansion brackets comprises a sliding plate and plate return positioned to reciprocate from one of said brace guides; and
a second of said expansion brackets comprises a swing plate mounted to said back door, said swing plate being configured to be inserted into one of said brace guides after expansion of said cabinet.
26. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising a door frame mounted to at least one said protruding end of one said expansion bracket, at least one said box mount being configured to transfer at least part of the load of an electrical component box to an expansion bracket, at least one said expansion bracket being configured to transfer at least part of the load of at least one said box mount to said door frame, said door frame being configured to support at least part of the loads of said electrical component boxes.
27. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a door frame mounted to each said protruding end of each said expansion bracket wherein said door frame causes each of said expansion brackets to move in unison during expansion or contraction of said cabinet; and
each said box mount being configured to transfer at least part of the load of an electrical component box to said expansion brackets, each said expansion bracket being configured to transfer at least part of the load of at least one said box mount to said door frame, said door frame being configured to support at least part of the loads of said electrical component boxes.
28. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a door frame mounted to each said protruding end of each said expansion bracket wherein said door frame causes each of said expansion brackets to move in unison during expansion or contraction of said cabinet; and
each said box mount being configured to transfer at least part of the load of an electrical component box to said expansion brackets, each said expansion bracket being configured to transfer at least part of the load of at least one said box mount to said door frame, said door frame being configured to support at least part of the loads of said electrical component boxes independently of said base of said cabinet frame.
29. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said box mounts are frictionally mounted on said rear corner posts, said rear corner posts being configured to allow for frictional adjustment and positioning of said box mounts to a plurality of positions within said expandable cabinet.
30. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said box mounts have female dove tail forms having inside surfaces and extending along a substantial portion of the length of said box mounts, said rear corner posts having male dove tail forms that frictionally engage said inside surfaces of said female dove tail forms to create a locking force and to position said box mount within said cabinet.
31. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said box mounts have female dove tail forms having inside surfaces and extending along a substantial portion of the length of said box mounts, said rear corner posts having male dove tail forms that frictionally engage said inside surfaces of said female dove tail forms to create a locking force and to position said box mount within said cabinet, said male dove tail forms providing lineal support against said female dovetail forms for supporting said box mounts.
32. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein each said box mount includes a post fitting for attaching said box mount to one of said rear corner posts, said post fitting allowing said box mount to be mounted in only one position within said expandable cabinet when said box mount is mounted within said cabinet.
33. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said box mounts include post fittings for attaching said box mounts to said rear corner posts, spacers for establishing the position in which an electrical component box will be mounted, and mounting rails for engaging and positioning said box mount within said expandable cabinet, said post fittings allowing said box mounts to each be mounted in only one position within said expandable cabinet when said box mounts are mounted within said cabinet.
34. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 further comprising:
a door frame mounted to at least one said protruding end of one said expansion bracket, said door frame having frame mounting rails extending along the height of said door frame, said door frame being configured to support at least part of the loads of the electrical component boxes; and
said box mount having a box attachment rail for engaging one of said frame mounting rails of said door frame, a mounting rail for engaging and positioning an electrical component box, and a spacer for establishing the position in which the electrical component box will be mounted, said box mount being configured to transfer at least part of the load of an electrical component box to said door frame.
35. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said box mount comprises a reciprocating arm and a mounting rail, said reciprocating arm extending through said corner post on a support bearing.
36. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said box mount comprises a reciprocating arm and a mounting rail, said reciprocating arm extending through said corner post on a support bearing and having a threaded portion extending through a turning sleeve, said turning sleeve allowing for adjustment of said box mount through said support bearing.
37. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said box mount comprises a reciprocating arm connected to a mounting rail with a slip sleeve, said reciprocating arm extending through said corner post on a support bearing and having a threaded portion extending through a turning sleeve, said turning sleeve allowing for adjustment of said box mount through said support bearing, said slip sleeve allowing said mounting rail to float in an upright position with respect to said rear corner post.
38. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said box mount comprises a reciprocating arm that is adjusted with a worm and rack assembly, said worm and rack assembly having a toothed rack fixed to said reciprocating arm, said toothed rack engaged to a rotating worm that is connected to said rear corner post.
39. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said expansion bracket includes a plurality of notches located at positions along the length of said expansion bracket and each corresponding to one of a plurality of predetermined expansion positions for said expansion bracket, said brace guide including a detent assembly having a detent that is biased to engage said notches of said expansion bracket and to secure said expansion bracket in position when said expansion bracket is in one of the predetermined expansion positions.
40. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said expansion bracket includes a plurality of conical internal recesses located at positions along the length of said expansion bracket and each corresponding to one of a plurality of predetermined expansion positions for said expansion bracket, said brace guide including a lock pin having a conical section and pin threads, said threads allowing said lock pin to be rotated so that said conical section can engage one of said conical internal recesses of said expansion bracket and can secure said expansion bracket in position when said expansion bracket is in one of the predetermined expansion positions.
41. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said expansion bracket includes a gear rack positioned to engage a drive screw, said drive screw being connected to said rear corner post and configured to move said expansion bracket when said drive screw is rotated.
42. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said expansion bracket comprises a male telescoping segment, a female telescoping segment, and a detent groove, said male telescoping segment positioned to reciprocate within said female telescoping segment, said detent groove providing frictional resistance between said male and female telescoping segments to allow for precise positioning of said male telescoping segment.
43. The expandable cabinet of claim 1 wherein said brace guide comprises a threaded sleeve extending through said rear corner post, said expansion bracket being threaded along its length and configured to engage said threaded sleeve of said brace guide, said expansion bracket being configured to move against said threaded sleeve of said brace guide when said expansion bracket is rotated.
44. An expandable cabinet for storing and positioning electrical component boxes of different lengths, said expandable cabinet comprising:
a cabinet having a cabinet frame, said cabinet frame having a front portion, a back portion, a base and a pair of rear corner posts positioned at about said back portion of said cabinet frame, said rear corner posts extending from about said base, each of said rear corner posts having at least one brace guide;
an expansion bracket mounted on each said brace guide, each said expansion bracket having a protruding end extending in a rearward direction from a rear corner post, each of said expansion brackets capable of being secured at a plurality of positions relative to said rear corner post;
a door frame connected in fixed relation to the protruding ends of each said expansion bracket;
a door hinge mounted behind said back portion of said cabinet frame in a manner so as to move with at least one said expansion bracket, a back door mounted on said door hinge in a position to extend across said back portion of said cabinet frame to form an expanded space of said expandable cabinet when said at least one expansion bracket is extended in a rearward direction from said rear corner post; and
at least one box mount installed in a horizontal position with respect to each of said rear corner posts that can be varied within the expanded space, each said at least one box mount configured to engage an electrical component box and position the box within said expandable cabinet.
45. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said door has a top brace, a bottom brace, and two side rails, each said side rail extending from said top brace to said bottom brace.
46. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said door has a top brace, a bottom brace, and two side rails, each said side rail extending from said top brace to said bottom brace, one of said side rails of said door being pivotally mounted with said hinge on at least one of said expansion brackets.
47. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said door has a top brace, a bottom brace, two side rails and a door grille, each said side rail extending from said top brace to said bottom brace, one of said side rails being pivotally mounted to said door hinge, said door grille extending between said top brace and said bottom brace of said door, said door grille being sufficiently perforated to allow cooling air to pass through said door.
48. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 further comprising:
a cover, said cover having a main section positioned at said top of said cabinet frame and a free member;
a pair of channels extending into said main section of said cover, each of said channels opening at about said back portion of said cabinet frame; and
a pair of alignment legs, each of said alignment legs being positioned in a manner so as to move with said free member of said cover, each of said alignment legs extending into one of said channels of said main section of said cover, said alignment legs being configured to reciprocate within said channels.
49. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 further comprising:
a cover, said cover having a main section positioned at said top of said cabinet frame and a free member;
a pair of channels extending into said main section of said cover, each of said channels opening at about said back portion of said cabinet frame;
a pair of alignment legs, each of said alignment legs being positioned in a manner so as to move with said free member of said cover, each of said alignment legs extending into one of said channels of said main section of said cover, said alignment legs being configured to reciprocate within said channels; and
a cover expansion gap being defined as the clearance between said main section and said free member of said cover when said main section and said free member are moved apart from each other.
50. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 further comprising:
a lower pair of expansion brackets slidably mounted on said brace guides at a location that is proximate said base of said cabinet frame;
a top pair of expansion brackets slidably mounted on said brace guides at a location that is proximate said cover of said cabinet frame; and
a midpoint pair of expansion brackets slidably mounted on said brace guides at a location that is between said pair of lower expansion brackets and said pair of top expansion brackets, said midpoint expansion brackets having locking notches for locking said door frame at predetermined positions relative to said brace guide, thereby locating said lower expansion brackets, said midpoint expansion brackets, and said top expansion brackets in positions relative to said rear corner posts.
51. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said door frame causes each of said expansion brackets to move in unison during expansion or contraction of said cabinet.
52. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said door frame has a slip joint positioned to allow for alignment of said expansion brackets during expansion or contraction of said cabinet.
53. The expansion cabinet of claim 44 further comprising side panels positioned along either side of said cabinet and extending from about said front portion to about said back portion of said cabinet and also extending from about said base to about said top of said cabinet.
54. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 further comprising filler panels extending from about said back portion of said cabinet to about said protruding ends of said expansion brackets and also extending from about said base to about said top of said cabinet when said cabinet has been expanded.
55. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 further comprising a cover, said cover having a main section positioned at said top of said cabinet frame and a free member, said main section having a ventilation passage to allow air to pass freely into and out of said cabinet, said free member being positioned above said door frame to move with said door frame.
56. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 further comprising a front door pivotally mounted to said front portion of said cabinet frame, said front door being sized to allow for the installation of an electrical component box through said front portion of said cabinet.
57. The expandable cabinet of claim 44, said cabinet having a support base and further comprising:
a front door pivotally mounted to said front portion of said cabinet frame, said front door being sized to allow for the installation of an electrical component box through said front portion of said cabinet; and
a stabilizer reciprocally connected to said cabinet, said stabilizer leg being extendable from said cabinet and having a length that is sufficiently long to expand the support base of the cabinet when said stabilizer leg is extended.
58. The expandable cabinet of claim 44, said cabinet having a support base and further comprising:
a front door pivotally mounted to said front portion of said cabinet frame, said front door being sized to allow for the installation of an electrical component box through said front portion of said cabinet;
a stabilizer having at least one stabilizer leg reciprocally connected to said cabinet, said stabilizer leg being extendable from said cabinet and having a length that is sufficiently long to expand the support base of the cabinet when said stabilizer leg is extended;
said front door being configured to engage and extend said stabilizer from the cabinet as said front door is opened from a closed position, said stabilizer expanding the support base of the cabinet when said stabilizer leg is extended;
said front door being configured to disengage said stabilizer when said stabilizer has been fully extended and said front door continues to be opened further; and
said front door being configured to again engage and retract said stabilizer when said front door is returned to a closed position from an open position.
59. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 further comprising:
a plurality of locking notches positioned along said expansion brackets for locking said door frame at predetermined incremental positions relative to said brace guide; and
at least one lock pin mounted in at least one of said brace guides, said lock pin being positioned to engage said internal notches of at least one of said expansion brackets when said at least one of said expansion brackets slides into one of said predetermined incremental positions.
60. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein:
each said box mount comprises a T-bone bracket, each said T-bone bracket having a mounting rail for engaging an electrical component box and a box mount slot extending along a substantial portion of the length of said box mount, each said T-bone bracket being adjustable for positioning in a plurality of positions within said expandable cabinet; and
at least one adjustable guide pin is mounted on each of said rear corner posts, each of said guide pins being configured to extend through one of said box mount slots to connect one of said T-bone brackets to one of said rear corner posts, each said guide pin being configured to secure one of said T-bone brackets in a fixed position within said expandable cabinet.
61. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein:
each said box mount comprises a T-bone bracket, said T-bone bracket having a mounting rail for engaging an electrical component box and a box mount slot extending along a substantial portion of the length of said box mount, said T-bone bracket being adjustable for positioning in a plurality of positions within said expandable cabinet; and
at least one adjustable guide pin and at least one washer are provided, said pin having a threaded portion configured to engage one of said rear corner posts and to allow for axial adjustment of said guide pin thereon, each said guide pin being configured to extend through one said washer and through said box mount slot to connect said T-bone bracket to one of said rear corner posts, each said guide pin co-acting with one said washer to lock said T-bone bracket in position when said threaded portion of said guide pin is tightened.
62. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said door is mounted with said door hinge on said protruding end of at least one of said expansion brackets, said door having a top brace, a bottom brace, and two side rails, each said side rail extending from said top brace to said bottom brace, said door hinge being attached to said expansion bracket with a mounting screw, said mounting screw having a mounting head that is positioned to be accessible for tightening and loosening when said back door is in an open position and inaccessible from outside the cabinet when said back door is in a closed position.
63. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said expansion brackets comprise an extendable sleeve extending along the height of said cabinet, each said corner post having an inside surface that forms one of said brace guides, said expansion brackets having a plurality of vertically spaced expansion bracket slots to permit mounting of said box mounts to said rear corner posts.
64. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said expansion brackets comprise an extendable accordion sleeve extending along the height of said cabinet, each said corner post having an inside surface that forms one of said brace guides, said expansion brackets having a plurality of vertically spaced expansion bracket slots to permit mounting of said box mounts to said rear corner posts.
65. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein at least one said box mount is configured to transfer at least part of the load of an electrical component box to an expansion bracket, at least one said expansion bracket being configured to transfer at least part of the load of at least one said box mount to said door frame, said door frame being configured to support at least part of the loads of said electrical component boxes.
66. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said door frame causes each of said expansion brackets to move in unison during expansion or contraction of said cabinet, each said box mount being configured to transfer at least part of the load of an electrical component box to said expansion brackets, each said expansion bracket being configured to transfer at least part of the load of at least one said box mount to said door frame, said door frame being configured to support at least part of the loads of said electrical component boxes.
67. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said door frame causes each of said expansion brackets to move in unison during expansion or contraction of said cabinet, each said box mount being configured to transfer at least part of the load of an electrical component box to said expansion brackets, each said expansion bracket being configured to transfer at least part of the load of at least one said box mount to said door frame, said door frame being configured to support at least part of the loads of said electrical component boxes independently of said base of said cabinet frame.
68. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said box mounts are frictionally mounted on said rear corner posts, said rear corner posts being configured to allow for frictional adjustment and positioning of said box mounts to a plurality of positions within said expandable cabinet.
69. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said box mounts have female dove tail forms having inside surfaces and extending along a substantial portion of the length of said box mounts, said rear corner posts having male dove tail forms that frictionally engage said inside surfaces of said female dove tail forms to create a locking force and to position said box mount within said cabinet.
70. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said box mounts have female dove tail forms having inside surfaces and extending along a substantial portion of the length of said box mounts, said rear corner posts having male dove tail forms that frictionally engage said inside surfaces of said female dove tail forms to create a locking force and to position said box mount within said cabinet, said male dove tail forms providing lineal support against said female dovetail forms for supporting said box mounts.
71. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein each said box mount includes a post fitting for attaching said box mount to one of said rear corner posts, said post fitting allowing said box mount to be mounted in only one position within said expandable cabinet when said box mount is mounted within said cabinet.
72. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said box mounts include post fittings for attaching said box mounts to said rear corner posts, spacers for establishing the position in which an electrical component box will be mounted, and mounting rails for engaging and positioning said box mount within said expandable cabinet, said post fittings allowing said box mounts to each be mounted in only one position within said expandable cabinet when said box mounts are mounted within said cabinet.
73. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said door frame has frame mounting rails extending along the height of said door frame, said door frame being configured to support at least part of the loads of the electrical component boxes, said box mount has a box attachment rail for engaging one of said frame mounting rails of said door frame, a mounting rail for engaging and positioning an electrical component box, and a spacer for establishing the position in which the electrical component box will be mounted, said box mount being configured to transfer at least part of the load of an electrical component box to said door frame.
74. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said box mount comprises a reciprocating arm and a mounting rail, said reciprocating arm extending through said corner post on a support bearing.
75. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said box mount comprises a reciprocating arm and a mounting rail, said reciprocating arm extending through said corner post on a support bearing and having a threaded portion extending through a turning sleeve, said turning sleeve allowing for adjustment of said box mount through said support bearing.
76. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said box mount comprises a reciprocating arm connected to a mounting rail with a slip sleeve, said reciprocating arm extending through said corner post on a support bearing and having a threaded portion extending through a turning sleeve, said turning sleeve allowing for adjustment of said box mount through said support bearing, said slip sleeve allowing said mounting rail to float in an upright position with respect to said rear corner post, said mounting rail is attached to an electrical component box.
77. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said box mount comprises a reciprocating arm that is adjusted with a worm and rack assembly, said worm and rack assembly having a toothed rack fixed to said reciprocating arm, said toothed rack engaged to a rotating worm that is connected to said rear corner post.
78. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said expansion bracket includes a plurality of notches located at positions along the length of said expansion bracket and each corresponding to one of a plurality of predetermined expansion positions for said expansion bracket, said brace guide including a detent assembly having a detent that is biased to engage said notches of said expansion bracket and to secure said expansion bracket in position when said expansion bracket is in one of the predetermined expansion positions.
79. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said expansion bracket includes a plurality of conical internal recesses located at positions along the length of said expansion bracket and each corresponding to one of a plurality of predetermined expansion positions for said expansion bracket, said brace guide including a lock pin having a conical section and pin threads, said threads allowing said lock pin to be rotated so that said conical section can engage one of said conical internal recesses of said expansion bracket and can secure said expansion bracket in position when said expansion bracket is in one of the predetermined expansion positions.
80. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said expansion bracket includes a gear rack positioned to engage a drive screw, said drive screw being connected to said rear corner post and configured to move said expansion bracket when said drive screw is rotated.
81. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said expansion bracket comprises a male telescoping segment, a female telescoping segment, and a detent groove, said male telescoping segment positioned to reciprocate within said female telescoping segment, said detent groove providing frictional resistance between said male and female telescoping segments to allow for precise positioning of said male telescoping segment.
82. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said expansion bracket comprises a male telescoping segment, a female telescoping segment and a detent groove, said male telescoping segment and said female telescoping segment each having a major dimension and an axis of reciprocation that extends approximately along said major dimension, said male telescoping segment positioned to reciprocate within said female telescoping segment, said detent groove providing frictional resistance between said male and female telescoping segments to allow for precise positioning of said male telescoping segment, said detent groove also preventing rotation of said male telescoping segment about said axis of reciprocation of said male telescoping segment with respect to said axis of reciprocation of said female telescoping segment.
83. The expandable cabinet of claim 44 wherein said brace guide comprises a threaded sleeve extending through said rear corner post, said expansion bracket being threaded along a portion of its length and configured to engage said threaded sleeve of said brace guide, said expansion bracket being configured to move against said threaded sleeve of said brace guide when the threaded portion of said expansion bracket is rotated.
84. An expandable cabinet for storing and positioning electrical component boxes of different lengths, said expandable cabinet comprising:
a cabinet having a cabinet frame, said cabinet frame having a front portion, a back portion, a base and a pair of rear corner posts positioned at about said back portion of said cabinet frame, said rear corner posts extending from about said base, each of said rear corner posts having at least one brace guide;
an expansion bracket mounted on each said brace guide, each said expansion bracket having a protruding end extending in a rearward direction from a rear corner post, each of said expansion brackets capable of being secured at a plurality of positions relative to said rear corner post;
a door frame mounted to each said protruding end of each said expansion bracket wherein said door frame causes each of said expansion brackets to move in unison during expansion or contraction of said cabinet;
a door hinge mounted behind said back portion of said cabinet frame in a manner so as to move with at least one said expansion bracket;
a back door mounted on said door hinge in a position to extend across said back portion of said cabinet frame to form an expanded space of said expandable cabinet when said at least one expansion bracket is extended in a rearward direction from said rear corner post;
said back door having a top brace, a bottom brace, two side rails, and a door grille, each said side rail extending from said top brace to said bottom brace, one of said side rails of said door being pivotally mounted with said hinge on at least one of said expansion brackets, said door grille extending between said top brace and said bottom brace of said door, said door grille being sufficiently perforated to allow cooling air to pass through said back door;
a cover, said cover having a main section positioned at said top of said cabinet frame and a free member; a pair of channels extending into said main section of said cover, each of said channels opening at about said back portion of said cabinet frame; a pair of alignment legs, each of said alignment legs being positioned in a manner so as to move with said free member of said cover, each of said alignment legs extending into one of said channels of said main section of said cover, said alignment legs being configured to reciprocate within said channels;
a lower pair of expansion brackets slidably mounted on said brace guides at a location that is proximate said base of said cabinet frame; a top pair of expansion brackets slidably mounted on said brace guides at a location that is proximate said cover of said cabinet frame; a midpoint pair of expansion brackets slidably mounted on said brace guides at a location that is between said pair of lower expansion brackets and said pair of top expansion brackets, said midpoint expansion brackets having locking notches for locking said door frame at predetermined positions relative to said brace guide, thereby locating said lower expansion brackets, said midpoint expansion brackets, and said top expansion brackets in positions relative to said rear corner posts;
a plurality of locking notches positioned along said expansion brackets for locking said door frame at predetermined incremental positions relative to said brace guide; at least one lock pin mounted in at least one of said brace guides, said lock pin being positioned to engage said internal notches of at least one of said expansion brackets when said at least one of said expansion slides into one of said predetermined incremental positions;
a front door pivotally mounted to said front portion of said cabinet frame, said front door being sized to allow for the installation of an electrical component box through said front portion of said cabinet; and
at least one box mount installed in a horizontal position with respect to each of said rear corner posts, each said box mount comprising a T-bone bracket having a mounting rail for engaging an electrical component box and a box mount slot extending along a substantial portion of the length of said box mount, each said T-bone bracket being adjustable for positioning in a plurality of positions within said expandable cabinet, each said guide pin being configured to secure one of said T-bone brackets in a fixed position within said expansion cabinet.
85. The expandable cabinet of claim 84, said cabinet having a support base and further comprising a stabilizer reciprocally connected to said cabinet, said stabilizer leg being extendable from said cabinet and having a length that is sufficiently long to expand the support base of the cabinet when said stabilizer leg is extended.
86. The expandable cabinet of claim 84, said cabinet having a support base and further comprising:
a stabilizer having at least one stabilizer leg reciprocally connected to said cabinet, said stabilizer leg being extendable from said cabinet and having a length that is sufficiently long to expand the support base of the cabinet when said stabilizer leg is extended;
said front door being configured to engage and extend said stabilizer from the cabinet as said front door is opened from a closed position, said stabilizer expanding the support base of the cabinet when said stabilizer leg is extended;
said front door being configured to disengage said stabilizer when said stabilizer has been fully extended and said front door continues to be opened further; and
said front door being configured to again engage and retract said stabilizer when said front door is returned to a closed position from an open position.
Description
    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    Electronic component boxes such as those used for computer servers are frequently stored in dedicated locations such as a central computer room. Server cabinets can be used to store these component boxes for security, organizational, and aesthetic purposes in these locations. Such locations also tend to be limited in floor space, making it necessary for individual components to be stored efficiently in a way that maximizes the usage of space that is available. For these reasons, existing server cabinets are commonly available in a variety of fixed sizes, the cabinets typically being configured to store multiple computer servers in a stacked or vertical arrangement.
  • [0002]
    Servers can also vary considerably in size, particularly in length. Many cabinet systems are designed to conform to accepted industrial dimensional standards such as those set forth by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) in EIA Standard EIA-310-D that is incorporated herein by reference. However, it is not required that cabinets conform to these standards, especially if the supplier and user agree to customized modifications. Even cabinets that do conform to one or more of such dimensional and construction standards can vary according to the specific standard or application for which the cabinet is intended.
  • [0003]
    As a user continually upgrades and adds to a computer system, new servers that are added are frequently larger than existing or replaced units. Often, a new server may be too large to fit into an existing cabinet, making it necessary for the user to acquire a new and larger cabinet and possibly forcing the user to incur substantial costs.
  • [0004]
    In some cases, the existing cabinet may be modular, allowing the user to simply add on to the existing cabinet by attaching an additional cabinet to effectively expand the size of the combined cabinet system. However, even this alternative requires that an additional cabinet module be acquired. In some cases, the size and construction of the modular addition may also be governed by applicable industrial standards. The addition of a modular component can also be costly and, depending on the size of the added server, result in a combined modular cabinet that is substantially larger than what is needed for storage. Thus, a combined modular cabinet is often at least partially empty, resulting in a substantial amount of valuable floor space being needlessly occupied and therefore essentially wasted.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0005]
    The invention is an expandable cabinet for storing and positioning electrical component boxes of different lengths. The cabinet has a cabinet frame having front and back portions and a base. Rear corner posts extend upward from the base at or near the back portion of the cabinet and provide structural support for servers or other types of electrical boxes that are stored in the cabinet.
  • [0006]
    At least one corner post includes a brace guide that is configured to securely position an expansion bracket so that the expansion bracket extends outward from about the back portion of the cabinet frame. One or more expansion brackets are capable of being secured by one or more brace guides at fixed positions relative to the rear corner posts and the back portion of the cabinet fame.
  • [0007]
    Each expansion bracket has a protruding end that extends out from the back portion of the cabinet frame. A back door hinge is mounted behind the back portion of the cabinet frame and is positioned to move with the protruding end of at least one expansion bracket. A back door is fastened to the back door hinge and is positioned to extend across the back portion of the cabinet frame. In some embodiments, a door sub-frame is connected to the protruding end of each expansion bracket and can assist in the positioning of the back door or enable each expansion bracket to move in unison with respect to the back portion of the cabinet frame.
  • [0008]
    An expanded space is formed between the back door and back portion of the cabinet frame when the at least one bracket is extended in a rearward direction from the rear corner post or posts. The expanded space enables the expansion cabinet to accommodate electrical component boxes that are too large to fit within the cabinet frame.
  • [0009]
    When a particular electrical component box is added to the cabinet, the component box is positioned in relation to both the front and back portions of the cabinet frame. To allow for the positioning of component boxes having different lengths, one or more box mounts are also installed in a horizontal position within the cabinet at or near the rear corner posts and near the expanded space between the back door and back portion of the cabinet frame. The position of each box mount can be varied within the expanded space. As an electrical component box is added to the cabinet, the position of one or more of the box mounts can be adjusted according to the length of the particular component box to allow the box mounts to engage and position the component box with respect to the back portion of the cabinet frame.
  • [0010]
    Those skilled in the art will realize that this invention is capable of embodiments which are different from those shown and that details of the structure of the expandable cabinet described herein can be changed in various manners without departing from the scope of this invention. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions are to be regarded as including such equivalent expandable cabinets as do not depart from the spirit and scope of this invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    For a more complete understanding and appreciation of this invention and many of its advantages, reference will be made to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 1 is a rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet of the invention;
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 2A is a rear perspective view of multiple adjacent expandable cabinets according to the invention;
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 2B is a front perspective view of the expandable cabinets of FIG. 2A;
  • [0015]
    [0015]FIG. 3A is a partially exploded rear perspective view of the expandable cabinet of FIG. 1;
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 3B is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet of the invention;
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 4 is a cross sectional side view of the expandable cabinet of FIG. 1 prior to expansion;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 5 is a cross sectional side view of the expandable cabinet of FIG. 1 after expansion;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 6 is an exploded view of an individual T-bone style of box mount and rear corner post assembly according to an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 7 is an exploded view of a brace guide and expansion bracket assembly according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 8A is a top view of a cabinet and front door stabilizer prior to extension of the stabilizer according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 8B is a top view of the cabinet and front door stabilizer of FIG. 8A during extension of the stabilizer;
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 8C is a top view of a cabinet and front door stabilizer of FIG. 8B after extension of the stabilizer;
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the door stabilizer of FIG. 8A;
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 10 is a cross sectional side view of the door stabilizer of FIG. 8A;
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 11 is a bottom view of a cabinet and front door stabilizer according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0027]
    [0027]FIG. 12A is a side cross sectional view of the cabinet and front door stabilizer of FIG. 11 prior to extension of the stabilizer;
  • [0028]
    [0028]FIG. 12B is a side cross sectional view of the cabinet and front door stabilizer of FIG. 11 after extension of the stabilizer;
  • [0029]
    [0029]FIG. 13A is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIG. 13B is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0031]
    [0031]FIG. 13C is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0032]
    [0032]FIG. 14 is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0033]
    [0033]FIG. 15 is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0034]
    [0034]FIG. 16 is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0035]
    [0035]FIG. 17 is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0036]
    [0036]FIG. 18 is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0037]
    [0037]FIG. 19 is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0038]
    [0038]FIG. 20 is a side cross sectional view of a dovetail form of the expandable cabinet of FIG. 19;
  • [0039]
    [0039]FIG. 21A is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 21B is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0041]
    [0041]FIG. 21C is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0042]
    [0042]FIG. 21D is a perspective view of a box mount according to certain embodiments of the invention;
  • [0043]
    [0043]FIG. 21E is a perspective view of a box mount according to certain embodiments of the invention;
  • [0044]
    [0044]FIG. 21F is a perspective view of a box mount according to certain embodiments of the invention;
  • [0045]
    [0045]FIG. 21G is a perspective view of a box mount according to certain embodiments of the invention;
  • [0046]
    [0046]FIG. 21H is a perspective view of a box mount according to certain embodiments of the invention;
  • [0047]
    [0047]FIG. 22 is a partially exploded rear perspective view of an expandable cabinet according to the invention;
  • [0048]
    [0048]FIG. 23 is a perspective view of a box mount positioned on a rear corner post according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0049]
    [0049]FIG. 24 is a perspective view of a box mount positioned on a rear corner post according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0050]
    [0050]FIG. 25 is a perspective view of a box mount positioned on a rear corner post according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0051]
    [0051]FIG. 26 is a perspective cut-away view of a brace guide and expansion bracket according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0052]
    [0052]FIG. 27 is a perspective cut-away view of a brace guide and expansion bracket according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0053]
    [0053]FIG. 28 is a perspective view of a brace guide and expansion bracket according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • [0054]
    [0054]FIG. 29 is a perspective view of a brace guide and expansion bracket according to one embodiment of the invention; and
  • [0055]
    [0055]FIG. 30 is a perspective view of a brace guide and expansion bracket according to one embodiment of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0056]
    Referring to the drawings, identical reference numerals designate the same or corresponding part throughout the several figures as shown in the drawings.
  • [0057]
    [0057]FIG. 1 depicts a rear view of an expandable cabinet 50 of the invention prior to expansion. The cabinet 50 is built around a cabinet frame 51 that includes a base 56, a front portion 52, and a back portion 54. Side panels 58 extend along each side of the cabinet 50 between the front portion 52 and back portion 54. As best understood with brief reference to the exploded view of FIG. 3A, the side panels 58 are modular and can be removed to allow for side access to the interior of the cabinet 50.
  • [0058]
    [0058]FIG. 1 also depicts a cover 60 having a main section 61 that extends over the cabinet 50 from the front portion 52 to the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51. As depicted, the main section 61 of the cover 60 is located in a fixed position relative to the cabinet frame 51 and can be configured to allow venting through a number of ventilation passages 62 that allow air to pass freely between the interior and exterior of the cabinet 50. Tapered corner angles 64 are attached between the cover 60 and side panels 58 and extend between the front portion 52 and back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51.
  • [0059]
    A back door 66 extends across the width of the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51, the back door 66 also having a vertical dimension from the cover 60 to the base 56 of the cabinet frame 51. The back door 66 is constructed around a door chasis 68 having extruded side rails 70 which interlock with a top brace 72 and a bottom brace 74 to provide rigidity for the back door 66. A free member 59 of the cover 60 is fixed to the top brace 72 of the back door 66.
  • [0060]
    A corrugated grille 76 occupies the open frame area between the top and bottom braces 72 and 74 and between the side rails 70. The grille 76 is constructed to allow a sufficient amount of air to pass through the back door 66 to permit cooling of the interior of the cabinet 50 while providing security to electrical boxes stored in the cabinet 50 if necessary. As shown in FIG. 1, the grille 76 has a corrugated configuration which contributes to the rigidity of the back door 66. When assembled in this manner, the back door 66 provides a maximum level of rigidity for a minimum amount of weight. As depicted in FIG. 1, the back door 66 can be constructed to be symmetrical along its horizontal axis.
  • [0061]
    Referring now to FIGS. 2A and 2B, multiple expandable cabinets 50 are depicted in positions that are immediately adjacent each other, each cabinet 50 having a different level of expansion. When positioned in this depicted arrangement, each cabinet 50 may have one or more side panels 58 that are removed at locations that are between the interiors of two or more cabinets 50, leaving a continuous open storage space between multiple cabinets 50 that is closed off from the exterior of the combined cabinets 50 for security. Filler panels 80 can be added to close off gaps between back doors 66 of cabinets 50 that have different levels of expansions to complete the enclosure of the combined storage space within the multiple cabinets 50. Corner angle fillers 65 are also added between the tapered corner angles 64 and back doors 66 to fill in the gaps caused by expansion that exist above the top filler panels 80. Both the filler panels 80 and tapered corner angles 64 can be customized in size to exactly fit the level of expansion or can comprise multiple smaller filler components that are fit together to form an appropriately sized filler panel 80 or tapered corner angle 64.
  • [0062]
    However, even after the cabinets 50 have been expanded, cover expansion gaps 81 are left uncovered between the components of the covers 60 of each expanded cabinet 50 in order to allow for the feeding of connection wires from outside sources to the electrical boxes that are stored within the expanded cabinets 50.
  • [0063]
    Each cabinet also includes a front door 82 extending across the width of the front portion 52 of the cabinet frame 51 and vertically extending from the cover 60 to the base 56 of the cabinet frame 51. The front door 82 can be substantially identical to and interchangeable with the back door 66, both doors having identical door chasis 68 and corrugated grilles 76, having door hinges 94, and being symmetrical along their horizontal axes.
  • [0064]
    As best understood with a comparison of FIGS. 2A and 2B, the multiple cabinets 50 are positioned so that the front door 82 of each cabinet 50 is flush with respect to the front doors 82 of the other cabinets 50 as shown in FIG. 2B. The relative positioning of each back door 66 depends on the different levels of expansion of the individual cabinets 50. FIG. 2A depicts the relative positioning of back doors 66 where individual cabinets 50 have been expanded to different levels so that the back doors 66 are offset with respect to each other.
  • [0065]
    The exploded view of a single expanded expandable cabinet 50 of FIG. 3A depicts portions of the cabinet interior including an expansion space 84. Two rear corner posts 86 are positioned to extend vertically from the base 56 of the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3A, each rear corner post 86 acts as a major structural member of the cabinet frame 51 and connects to the main section 61 of the cover 60 to fix the main section 61 in position relative to the rest of the cabinet frame 51. At least one of the rear corner posts 86 is to include at least one brace guide 88. In the embodiment of this invention shown in FIG. 3A, each rear corner post 86 includes brace guides 88 that are located at different vertical positions along the height of each post 86. Each brace guide 88 is configured to accommodate an expansion bracket 90. Two or more of the brace guides 88 are also configured to lock the expansion brackets 90 into one of multiple possible positions relative to the rear corner posts 86.
  • [0066]
    Each expansion bracket 90 has a protruding end 92 that is positioned to extend in a rearward direction from each rear corner post 86. A door hinge 94 is mounted behind the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51 in a manner so as to move with the expansion bracket or brackets used in the embodiment of this invention shown in FIG. 3A. The door hinge 94 is connected to the protruding end 92 of each expansion bracket 90 extending from one of the two rear corner posts 86 to allow for hinged mounting of the back door 66 to the cabinet 50. Each door hinge 94 can be attached to an expansion bracket 90 with a mounting screw (not shown). For security, the mounting screws frequently include driving heads that are positioned to be accessible for tightening or loosening when the back door 66 is in an open position and to be concealed and therefore inaccessible for tightening or loosening from outside the cabinet 50 when the door is in a closed position.
  • [0067]
    Referring to the exploded brace guide 88 and expansion bracket 90 assembly of FIG. 7, the brace guides 88 include an inside brace guide segment 87 and an outside brace guide segment 89, each mounted to a rear corner post 86 with brace guide mounting screws 77 and brace guide mounting nuts 78. The expansion bracket 90 is reciprocally mounted in a brace guide glide 79 that allows the expansion bracket 90 to slide in a rearward direction from the rear corner post 86 and from the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51 when the cabinet 50 is being expanded.
  • [0068]
    As depicted in FIG. 7, two or more of the brace guides include an expansion bracket slot 91 that extends down the axial midpoint of the expansion bracket 90 and includes internal notches 93 which mark preprogrammed incremental expansion stops. In the brace guides 88 that are configured to effect locking, a lock pin 83 is spring loaded with a locking spring 85. The lock pin 83 includes a smaller diameter portion 95 and a larger diameter portion 97, the smaller diameter portion 95 being positioned to pass through the bracket slot 91 when the cabinet 50 is being expanded. The locking spring 85 biases the larger diameter portion 97 of the lock pin 83 against the slot 91, the larger diameter portion 97 being positioned to engage the internal notches 93 when the expansion bracket 90 slides into an incremental stop. This locks the expansion bracket 90 in one of a plurality of positions after expansion of the cabinet 50 and allows the cabinet 50 to be expanded to different levels depending on the amount of expansion that is desired.
  • [0069]
    As shown in FIG. 3A, a cabinet 50 can include a top pair of expansion brackets 90 near the cover 60 (top) of the cabinet 50, a lower pair of expansion brackets 90 near the base 56 (bottom) of the cabinet 50, and a midpoint pair of expansion brackets mounted at a position along the posts 86 that is between the top and lower pairs. Frequently, only the midpoint pair of expansion brackets 90 will have brace guides 88 that are configured to effect locking. FIG. 3A depicts a door frame 96 connected to remain in fixed relation to the protruding ends 92 of each of the expansion brackets 90. This causes all of the expansion brackets 90 to move in unison during expansion or contraction of the cabinet 50 and restricts dependent movement of any single expansion bracket 90. Thus, when the midpoint pair of expansion brackets 90 are locked in a particular position, this causes the expansion brackets 90 of the top or lower pairs to also be located in similar positions with respect to the rear corner posts 86.
  • [0070]
    A free member 59 of the cover 60 is attached to the top of the door frame 96. Alignment legs 100 extend forward from and in fixed relation to the free member 59 of the cover 60 and are positioned to be in sliding engagement with the main section 61 of the cover 60. The door frame 96 and free member 59 of the cover 60 enable the expansion brackets 90 and alignment legs 100 to move in unison as the cabinet 50 is expanded. As the protruding ends 92 of the expansion brackets 90 move in unison, the door frame 96 and the free member 59 of the cover 60 move away from the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51. An expansion space 84 is defined as the clearance between the back door 66 and the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51. As the door frame 96 and free member 59 of the cover 60 move away from the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51, the expansion space 84 increases.
  • [0071]
    Expansion of the cabinet 50 leaves expansion gaps 81 existing between the door frame 96 and back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51. After expansion, filler panels 80 can be installed to cover the expansion gaps 81 and thereby enclose the expansion space 84 for aesthetic and security purposes. The filler panels 80 will normally be dimensioned to fit within the exact expansion gap 81 that is left following expansion to an incremental step as defined by the preprogrammed incremental expansion stops set by the internal notches 93 of the expansion brackets.
  • [0072]
    [0072]FIG. 3B depicts an accordion filler panel 80 a that is configured to compress or expand in accordance with changes in the size of the expansion gap 81 that the accordion filler panel 80 covers. Such alternative filler panels can be used where changes in cabinet size occur frequently, the accordion filler panel 80 a providing an appropriate cabinet covering for multiple expansion levels. Thus, it will be appreciated that many types of filler panels can be appropriately implemented and are contemplated to be within the scope of the invention.
  • [0073]
    An accordion filler panel 80 a can also allow for the enclosure of a cabinet interior where the shape of the cover expansion gap 81 becomes warped due to misalignment of the expansion brackets 90 and alignment legs 100 with respect to the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51. Such misalignment can occasionally result as weight is added to the interior of the cabinet 50, slightly varying the shape of the back portion 54 of the cabinet frame 51 with respect to the door fame 96. If the severity of a particular misalignment condition results in interference with expansion or reduction of the cabinet size, the expansion brackets 90 and alignment legs 100 can also be aligned by adjusting the door frame 96 with a slip joint 102 positioned at a two-piece connection point adjacent the base of the cabinet 50.
  • [0074]
    The slip joint 102 can also be used to reduce the need for precision in the assembly or manufacture of the door frame 96 and expansion brackets 90. Due to slight variations in the manufacturing process or assembly of the door frame 96 and cabinet frame 51, brace guides 88 and expansion brackets 90 can on occasion be slightly out of alignment prior to assembly of the cabinet 50. The slip joint 102 can be adjusted at the time of assembly or during expansion to relieve stresses on the expansion brackets 90 from binding with the brace guide glides 79 due to such minor misalignments. Such adjustment can then allow the expansion brackets 90 to reciprocate more smoothly in the brace guides 88.
  • [0075]
    Following expansion of the cabinet 50, box mounts 104 must also be adjusted to permit electrical component boxes to be mounted within the cabinet 50 in a way that will allow the component boxes to occupy the newly created expansion space 84. As best understood with reference to FIGS. 3A and 3B, multiple pairs of box mounts 104 are configured in horizontal positions and are located along the heights of the two rear corner posts 86, with one box mount 104 from each pair being mounted to one of the two corner posts 86.
  • [0076]
    When installed in an expanded cabinet 50, the front of each electrical component box is mounted in a fixed position relative to the front portion 52 of the cabinet 50 to allow for easy access to the controls or other features of the component box by opening the front door 82 of the cabinet 50. Therefore, due to the varying lengths of different component boxes, it must be possible for the back of each component box to be mounted at different points of connection with respect to the rear corner posts 86.
  • [0077]
    [0077]FIGS. 3A and 3B each depict embodiments of the invention having a total of seven pairs of box mounts 104 located at positions along the heights of the two corner posts 86. Although the invention is shown and described in FIGS. 3A and 3B as incorporating T-bone style box mounts 104, it will be appreciated that other box mount configurations are also possible and are contemplated to be within the scope of the invention. Each box mount 104 includes a mounting rail 106 for engaging the back end of a component box and to allow for positioning in at least one of the plurality of positions within the expandable cabinet 50. As shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, each pair of box mounts 104 can be adjusted to different positions so that the mounting rails 106 of each pair are located at positions that correspond to the length of individual server boxes.
  • [0078]
    [0078]FIG. 6 is an exploded view of an individual T-bone style of box mount 104 and rear corner post 86 assembly as incorporated into the embodiments shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. The box mount 104 includes a box mount slot 108 extending along a substantial portion of the length of the box mount 104. Two guide pins 110 extend through nylon washers 111 and the box mount slot 108, connecting the box mount 104 to the adjacent corner post 86. Each guide pin 110 includes a threaded portion 112 and an expanded radius portion 114. The threaded portion 112 of each guide pin 110 is configured to engage the corner post 86 and allows the guide pin 110 to be axially adjusted.
  • [0079]
    The box mount 104 is configured to slide along its box mount slot 108 on the expanded radius portion 114 of each guide pin 110 and against the nylon washers 111 while the box mount 104 is being positioned with respect to the rear corner posts 86. Once the box mount 104 is positioned, the guide pins 110 can be tightened so that the guide pins 110 and nylon washers 111 co-act to either lock the box mount 104 in place or fix the friction rate between the guide pins 110 and washers 111 so that the box mount 104 stays in position but remains movable.
  • [0080]
    When the cabinet 50 is expanded, the box mount 104 can be positioned so that the mounting rail 106 is located within the expansion space 84, thereby allowing the back end of an electrical component box to also partially occupy the expansion space 84 when the back of the component box is attached to the box mount 104. However, the guide pins 110 bear the weight of the load exerted on the box mount 104. This has the effect of transferring the load of the box mount 104 directly to the rear corner posts 86 regardless of the positioning of the mounting rail 106 and regardless of whether the cabinet 50 has been expanded.
  • [0081]
    Although expansion occurs only at the back portion 54 of the cabinet 50, most electrical component boxes are accessed through the front door 82 of the cabinet 50. Electrical component boxes are typically equipped with slides that allow each component box to temporarily slide beyond the front portion 52 of each cabinet 50. This allows for quick access to internal components of an electrical component box without requiring complete removal of a component box from its cabinet mounting. However, this also typically results in a disproportionate amount of weight being temporarily present at the front portion 52 of the cabinet 50, thereby shifting the center of gravity of each cabinet 50 toward or beyond the front portion 52 and possibly beyond the support footprint of the base 56, reducing the stability of the cabinet 50.
  • [0082]
    Referring briefly to FIG. 2B, stability can be increased with the addition of a stabilizer 116 to the base 56 of each cabinet 50. A magnified view of the stabilizer 116 of FIG. 2B is depicted in FIG. 9. The stabilizer 116 includes a pair of stabilizer legs 118 which are reciprocally mounted to fit within the base 56 and to be extended from the front portion 52 of the cabinet 50. A cross member 120 extends across the stabilizer 116 to connect the stabilizer legs 118 and to permit the stabilizer legs 118 to move in unison during extension from or retraction to the base 56. Glide legs 122 are positioned at either end of the cross member 120 to support the stabilizer 116 and to allow the stabilizer 116 to slide over floor space adjacent to the front portion 52 of the cabinet 50 when the front door 82 is opened.
  • [0083]
    The cross member 120 includes a spring loaded pin trap 124 extending along the length of the cross member 120. A pin track 126 is formed behind the pin trap 124 and against the cross member 120. The pin track 126 includes exit points 128 at either end of the pin trap 126 that open toward the front of the stabilizer 116.
  • [0084]
    A cross sectional view of the stabilizer 116 is depicted in FIG. 10 showing the pin trap 124 biased with a trap spring 130 to an upward position on its pivot 132. The stabilizer 116 is shown with the front door 82 of the cabinet 50 positioned over the cross member 120 of the stabilizer 116. The front door 82 has a roller pin 134 that is positioned in a roller pinhole 136 located at a fixed position on the front door 82. The roller pin 134 is removable and roller pinholes 136 are included at both the top and bottom of the front door 82 to allow for upside down hinge reversal of the door. Roller pinholes 136 are also included on the back door 66 since the front door 82 and back door 66 are identical and interchangeable. The roller pin 134 is also shown to be in engagement with the pin track 126 of the cross member 120.
  • [0085]
    [0085]FIG. 8A is a top view of the front door 82 and stabilizer 116 configuration of FIG. 10 positioned at the front portion 52 of the cabinet 50, the front door 82 being in a closed position and the roller pin 134 being in engagement with the pin track 126. When the front door 82 is opened slightly, as shown in FIG. 8B, the roller pin 134 travels with the front door 82 along a pin path 138 while maintaining its engagement with the cross member 120 of the stabilizer 116. This engagement exerts an extension force against the pin trap 124 and begins to extend the stabilizer 116 from the base 56 of the cabinet 50. As the roller pin 134 travels along the pin path 138, it also moves along the pin track 126 toward the exit point 128 at one end of the pin trap 124.
  • [0086]
    Referring now to FIG. 8C, the roller pin 134 exits the pin track 126 at the exit point 128 once the stabilizer 116 is fully extended. The front door 82 can then continue to be opened without further interfering with the stabilizer 116. The stabilizer 116 thus acts to extend the support base of the cabinet 50 past the front portion 52 and allows for greater stability as electrical component boxes are serviced in the cabinet 50.
  • [0087]
    While the front door 82 is in an open position and the cabinet 50 is loaded or unloaded, it is possible that the stabilizer 116 could be bumped or otherwise partially retracted by accident so that an exit point 128 of the pin track 126 would be out of line with the pin path 138. If this were to happen, the roller pin 134 would contact the pin trap 124 as the front door 82 rotated toward the front portion 52 of the cabinet 50. As best understood by comparing FIG. 9 with FIG. 10, the pin trap 124 is tapered so that if the roller pin 134 were to make contact with any portion of the pin trap 124, the force of the rotating front door 82 would cause the roller pin 134 to exert a compression force against the trap spring 130. This compression force would lower the pin trap 124 on its pivot 132 sufficiently for the roller pin 134 to bypass the pin trap 124 and engage the pin track 126.
  • [0088]
    Once the roller pin 134 returns to engage the pin track 126, the force of the rotating front door 82 is used to exert retracting forces, exerted through the roller pin 134 against the cross member 120, to retract the stabilizer 116 into the base 56 of the cabinet 50. Retraction of the stabilizer 116 then frees up adjacent floor space until it is again necessary to open the front door 82 to add or remove electrical component boxes from the cabinet 50.
  • [0089]
    Although the invention has been shown and described as having a stabilizer having a roller pin and pin trap to effect extension and retraction, it will be appreciated that other stabilizer configurations are also possible and are contemplated to be within the scope of the invention. An example of an alternate configuration is depicted in FIGS. 11, 12A and 12B. A stabilizer 116 includes an engagement angle 140 positioned at the end of a stabilizer leg 118. The stabilizer leg 118 is reciprocally mounted to be extended from or to retract into the base 56 of the cabinet 50. The front door 82 of the cabinet 50 includes a spring-loaded lever 142 that rests against a stop 144 when the front door 82 is in a closed position. The lever 142 is mounted on a pivot 146 that is in fixed position on the front door 82. The lever 142 is also spring biased to remain in contact with the stop 144 and also contacts the engagement angle 140 while the front door 82 is in the closed position.
  • [0090]
    When the front door 82 is opened, the lever 142 exerts an extension force against the engagement angle 140 to extend the stabilizer 116 and increase the support base of the cabinet 50. When the stabilizer 116 is fully exerted, the fixed position of the pivot 146 travels with the rotating front door 82, moving the lever 142 away from the reach of the engagement angle 140 and preventing further engagement with the stabilizer 116.
  • [0091]
    After the electrical component boxes in the cabinet 50 have been serviced, the front door 82 can be rotated toward the closed position. If the stabilizer 116 has been bumped or otherwise partially retracted by accident, the lever 142 rotates against its spring bias to bypass the engagement angle 140 as the lever 142 and engagement angle 140 make contact. Referring to the side cross sectional views of FIGS. 12A and 12b, the front door 82 includes an overhang 148 which is configured to contact the engagement angle 140 and force the stabilizer 116 to retract back into the base 56 of the cabinet 50 as the front door 82 returns to its closed position.
  • [0092]
    It will be further appreciated that variations are also possible with respect to the configuration of the cabinet frame 51, box mounts 104, expansion brackets 90, back door 66 and hinge 94, and other elements, each variation being contemplated to be within the scope of the invention.
  • [0093]
    Referring to FIG. 13A, a cabinet 50 is depicted in which the expansion brackets 90 a comprise an extendable two-piece sleeve that extends along the height of the cabinet 50. The expansion brackets 90 a are mounted on brace guides 88 a that are formed by the inside surfaces of the corner posts 86 (rear corner posts 86 hidden in the view of FIG. 13A) to guide and orient the expansion brackets 90 a during expansion. Each expansion bracket 90 a includes a support angle 150 d to enable the expansion bracket 90 a to glide along the base 56 of the cabinet 50 during expansion.
  • [0094]
    Vertically spaced expansion bracket slots 91 a extend along the length of each expansion bracket 90 to allow clearance for the guide pins 110 of each box mount 104 to connect to the corner posts 86 of the cabinet 50 as the expansion bracket 90 a moves along its brace guides 88 a during expansion. Some expansion bracket slots 91 a include internal notches 93 to allow for programmed incremental expansion of the cabinet. Filler panels 80 and corner angle fillers 65 can also be added to the sleeve exterior of each expansion bracket 90 a for aesthetic purposes. However, in this embodiment filler panels 80 are not necessary for security purposes since the sleeve encloses the expansion space 84 of the cabinet 50. Thus, the filler panels 80 can be omitted from this embodiment if desired.
  • [0095]
    In FIG. 13A, the sleeve comprising the expansion brackets 90 a is depicted as having alignment pin slots 154 positioned near the cover 60 of the cabinet 50. The alignment pin slots 154 are configured to engage alignment pins (not shown) mounted within the interior of the cabinet 50 and to enhance proper alignment of the sleeve during expansion. A cover expansion gap 81 separates the individual expansion brackets 90 a of the sleeve and leads from the exterior to the expansion space 84 of the cabinet 50 when the cabinet 50 is expanded.
  • [0096]
    In FIG. 13B, the sleeve comprising the expansion brackets 90 a is depicted as having alignment legs 100 that are positioned to be in sliding engagement with the main section 61 of the cover 60. The alignment legs 100 extend forward from and are positioned in fixed relation to the free member 59 of the cover 60 and extension brackets 90 a to maintain alignment of the expansion brackets 90 a when the cabinet 50 is expanded.
  • [0097]
    [0097]FIG. 13C depicts a cabinet 50 in which the expansion brackets 90 b of the sleeve are positioned to extend from a brace guide 88 b formed between the rear corner posts 86 and side panels 58 of the cabinet 50. Since this configuration does not require the expansion brackets 90 b to extend between each box mount 104 and rear corner post 86, this embodiment eliminates the need for expansion bracket slots in the sleeve.
  • [0098]
    [0098]FIG. 14 depicts a cabinet 50 having expansion brackets 90 c comprising a two-piece accordion sleeve extending along the height of the cabinet 50. Brace guides 88 c are formed by the inside surfaces of the corner posts 86 (rear corner posts 86 hidden in the view of FIG. 14). Each expansion bracket 90 c includes a support angles 150 c to support and enable the expansion bracket 90 c to glide along the base 56 of the cabinet 50 during expansion. The support angles 150 c each include two return edges 156, each return edge 156 running along the length of the support angle 150 c to orient an accordion sleeve from moving out of alignment.
  • [0099]
    Guide pins 110 of each box mount 104 connect to the rear corner posts 86 of the cabinet 50. Filler panels 80 and corner angle fillers 65 can be added to the sleeve exterior of each expansion bracket 90 c for aesthetic purposes, though the filler panels 80 are not necessary for security purposes since the accordion sleeve flexes to enclose the expansion space 84 between the door frame 96 and back portion 54 of the cabinet 50.
  • [0100]
    The invention can also be configured so that the back door 66 does not require a door frame. FIG. 15 depicts a cabinet 50 having independently mounted expansion brackets 90 d that are positioned to extend and reciprocate from rear corner posts 86 without being connected to a door frame. Alignment lugs 158 are positioned at the protruding ends 92 d of two of the expansion brackets 90 d to engage alignment holes 160 positioned on the back door 66 when the door is in the closed position. The protruding end 92 d of one expansion bracket 90 d includes a female roller latch connector 162 positioned to engage a male roller latch connector 164 when the door is in the closed position. Filler panels 80 can be attached directly to panel engagement surfaces 164 on the expansion brackets 90 d to enclose and secure the added expansion space 84.
  • [0101]
    In the embodiment of FIG. 15, each expansion bracket 90 d that has a hinge 94 positioned at its protruding end 92 d and which is connected to an extruded side rail 70 of the back door 66 must move in unison with every other expansion bracket 90 d having a hinge 94 that is also connected to the back door 66. However, each expansion bracket 90 d that does not connect to the back door 66 with a hinge 94, i.e. the expansion brackets having alignment lugs 158 or a female roller latch connector 162, must be extended or retracted individually to the same extent as the other expansion brackets 90 d.
  • [0102]
    In some embodiments of the invention, the expansion brackets 90 can be configured so that door hinges 94 are connected to or are positioned adjacent each of the extruded side rails 70 of the back door 66. For example, FIG. 16 depicts a cabinet 50 having an expansion bracket 90 e comprising a sliding plate 166 and plate return 168. The sliding plate 166 of the expansion bracket 90 e extends approximately from the base 56 to the cover 60 of the cabinet 50 and is configured to extend from the back portion 54 of the cabinet 50 from a brace guide 80 formed between one rear corner post 86 and side panels 58. During expansion, the sliding plate 166 can be extended from the back portion 54 of the cabinet 50 until the plate return 168 contacts the adjacent corner post 86. The free member 59 of the cover 60 moves with the alignment legs 100 to be fully extended with the sliding plate 166.
  • [0103]
    Once the sliding plate 166 is fully extended, the back door 66 can be closed to enclose the expansion space 84. One expansion bracket 90 e includes a swing plate 170 that is mounted to the back door 66 on a spring biased door hinge 94 having an offset 172. The swing plate 170 of the expansion bracket 90 e is configured to be inserted into a brace guide 80 that comprises an insertion slot between the corner post 86 and side panels 58. A hook latch 174 is positioned on the swing plate 170 and can be adjusted along the latch track 176 to engage a catch (not shown) mounted to a fixed position inside the cabinet 50.
  • [0104]
    As the back door 66 is closed, the swing plate 170 of the expansion bracket 90 e can be swung on its door hinge 94 to orient the swing plate 170 in line to enter the insertion slot of the brace guide 80. The offset 172 of the door hinge 94 prevents the swing plate 170 from binding with the insertion slot as the back door 66 closes. However, the extent to which the swing plate 170 must be inserted into the insertion slot of the brace guide 80 decreases as the level of cabinet expansion increases. Thus, the potential for binding between the swing plate 170 and brace guide 80 and the importance of the offset 172 of the door hinge 94 are reduced for greater levels of expansion. Once inserted, the spring bias of the door hinge 94 biases the swing plate 170 toward the side panels 58 of the cabinet 50, causing the hook latch 174 to lock the expansion bracket 90 e in position within the cabinet 50.
  • [0105]
    The invention can also be configured so that the expansion brackets 90 are themselves load bearing and/or can be configured so that the box mounts 104 and expansion brackets 90 are integrated into a single assembly. For example, the cabinet 50 of FIG. 17 includes multiple integrated expansion brackets 90 f and box mounts 104, the expansion brackets 90 f themselves having a heavy load-bearing construction. The guide pins 110 of each box mount 104 connect the box mount 104 to the expansion bracket slot 91 f of an expansion bracket 90 f. The guide pins 110, along with the inside surfaces of the rear corner posts 86, form the brace guides 88 f for the expansion brackets 90 f. Each expansion bracket 90 f extends from one of the corner posts 86 to the door frame 96 f, each expansion bracket 90 f being in fixed position with respect to the door frame 96 f and reciprocally connected to a rear corner post 86. Thus, guide pins 110 transfer the weight of the load of each box mount 104 directly to the expansion bracket 90 f.
  • [0106]
    In this embodiment, support glides 178 provide additional support for the door frame 96 against the floor space below the cabinet 50, requiring the door frame 96 to bear load forces exerted by the expansion brackets 90 f. Since each expansion bracket 90 f extends between a corner post 86 and the door frame 96 f, the expansion bracket 90 f allows for the distribution of the load of each box mount 104 between the corner post 86 and door frame 96 f.
  • [0107]
    It will be appreciated that in some embodiments, guide pins can be omitted and replaced with alternate means for mounting and fastening box mounts 104 in fixed positions with respect to the rear corner posts 86 of the cabinet 50. Referring to FIG. 18, a cabinet 50 is depicted in which individual box mounts 104 are insert mounted through box guides 180 a to extend through corner posts 86. Each box guide 180 a comprises a passage extending through a corner post 86 that is sized to allow for frictional engagement with a box mount 104, the frictional engagement between the box guide 180 a and box mount 104 being sufficient to secure the box mount 104 in fixed position with respect to the rear corner post 86. Movement of each box guide 180 a against the force of the frictional engagement with the box guide 180 a allows the box guide 180 a to be adjusted and positioned in a selected horizontal position according to the length of a particular server.
  • [0108]
    [0108]FIGS. 19 and 20 depict another cabinet 50 of the invention in which guide pins can be omitted due to the frictional mounting of the box mounts 104 b. FIG. 19 depicts the cabinet 50 in which the box mounts 104 b include female dovetail forms 182 extending along box mount slots 108 b. FIG. 20 depicts the cross sectional view of the female dove tail form 182 taken along the line A-A of FIG. 20.
  • [0109]
    As best understood with a comparison of FIGS. 19 and 20, each female dovetail form 182 frictionally engages a male dove tail form 184. Each male dove tail form 184 is positioned along one vertical location of a rear corner post 86 and extends through the box mount slot 108 b of a box mount 104 b to make frictional contact with the inside surfaces of the female dove tail form 182. This frictional engagement between the male and female dove tail forms 184 and 182 allows for sufficient reciprocal movement of the box mount 104 b for adjustment while creating sufficient locking force to maintain each box mount 104 b in fixed position with respect to the rear corner posts 86 within the cabinet 50.
  • [0110]
    It will also be appreciated that some embodiments of the invention may incorporate one or more box mounts 104 that, while allowing for the positioning of an electrical box to at least one of a plurality of positions, do not allow for adjustment while being mounted within the expandable cabinet 50. FIG. 21A depicts a cabinet 50 of the invention having multiple box mounts 104 c and 104 d positioned along the height of each corner post 86, each box mount 104 c and 104 d engaging one corner post 86 with a post fitting 186.
  • [0111]
    [0111]FIGS. 21D and F depict examples of box mounts 104 c and 104 d that can be incorporated into the cabinet 50 of FIG. 21A. As best understood with a comparison of each of FIGS. 21D and F with FIG. 21A, the depicted box mounts 104 c and 104 d each include a post fitting 186 that is shaped to engage a corner post 86 along a surface of the corner post 86 that faces inward toward the interior of the cabinet 50. As shown in both figures, a through hole 188 can extend through each post fitting 186 to allow for the insertion of a positioning pin or other locking member to engage the adjacent corner post 86 and to secure the post fitting 186 in position. Although the post fittings 186 of FIGS. 21D and F are shown and described as each having a through hole 188 to allow for fastening against the corner posts 86, it will be appreciated that other fastening methods are also possible and contemplated to be within the scope of the invention.
  • [0112]
    Each box mount 104 c and 104 d includes a mounting rail 106 for engaging a component box, the mounting rail 106 being positioned in one of a plurality of positions that is in fixed relation to the post fitting 186. FIG. 21D depicts a box mount 104 c in which the mounting rail 106 is connected directly to the post fitting 186 to allow for the mounting of shorter component boxes. FIG. 21F depicts a box mount 104 d in which the mounting rail 106 connects to the post fitting 186 by way of a spacer 190. As best understood by comparing FIG. 21F with FIG. 21A, different box mounts 104 d can have spacers 190 of different lengths to allow for the positioning of component boxes of varying length, the required spacer length of the specific box mount used depending on the length of the particular component box that is being mounted. However, these box mounts 104 d do not allow for adjustment while they are mounted within the cabinet 50. Such box mounts are limited to positioning a component box to only one of a plurality of positions within a cabinet 50. A clearance notch 192 extends the length of the spacer 190 to allow clearance for an expansion bracket 90 when the box mount 104 d is positioned at a location that is adjacent the expansion bracket 90.
  • [0113]
    [0113]FIG. 21B depicts a cabinet configuration in which fixed box mounts 104 e include post fittings 186 b that are shaped to engage corner posts 86 by each extending between a corner post 86 and side panels 58. An individual box mount 104 e for use in this configuration is depicted in FIG. 21G. As best understood by comparing FIGS. 21C and 21G, individual box mounts 104 e of this embodiment also include spacers of different sizes to allow for the positioning of component boxes of varying length, each box mount 104 e, as depicted, being capable of positioning a component box to only one of a plurality of positions.
  • [0114]
    A slight modification to this embodiment allows for the expansion brackets 90 and box mounts 104 to be integrated into a single component. FIG. 21H depicts a box mount 104 f having a post fitting 186 b configured to extend between a corner post 86 and side panels 58. The box mount 104 f also has an angled mounting rail 106 b attached to the spacer 190. A frame fitting 194 extends from the spacer 190 of the box mount 104 f.
  • [0115]
    Referring now to FIG. 21C, the frame fittings 194 on the box mounts 104 f located adjacent the cover 60, base 56, and at a midpoint position between the cover 60 and base 56 enable those box mounts 104 f to engage and support the door frame 96 at a fixed position with respect to the back portion 54 of the cabinet 50. This allows some box mounts 104 f to also function as an expansion bracket 90. As best understood with a comparison of FIGS. 21C and H, some box mounts 104 f can have a hinge 94 connected to the frame fitting 194 to allow for the mounting of a back door 66 to the cabinet 50. The hinge 94 can include spring loaded pins 195 that each extend to engage vertically disposed circular tracks in the adjacent side rail 70 of the back door 66. The spring loaded pins 195 can also permit enhanced interchangeability between the back door 66 and front door 82 or allow for easy reconfiguration of the front door 82 or back door 66 to open from the right side rather than from the left side.
  • [0116]
    It is also contemplated that the invention can be configured so that servers can be supported by both the rear corner posts 86 and door frame 96. For example, FIG. 21E depicts a box mount 104 g having a mounting rail 106 and a box attachment rail 198 connected with a spacer 190 having a fixed and predetermined length. Referring to FIG. 22, the box mounts 104 g of FIG. 21E are depicted with box attachment rails 198 connected to frame mounting rails 196 extending along the height of the door frame 96. When installed in the cabinet 50, servers utilizing the expansion space 84 can be mounted to the mounting rail 106 of the box mount 104 g, thereby transferring the load of each server to the door frame 96 and support glides 176.
  • [0117]
    As best understood by comparing FIG. 22 with FIGS. 21D and E, the box mounts 104 g of FIG. 21E can be used in conjunction with box mounts 104 c of FIG. 21D, to allow for the simultaneous mounting of smaller component boxes that do not require utilization of the expansion space 84. Thus, by combining box mounts of different types and/or lengths, the same cabinet 50 can be used to engage component boxes at a plurality of positions, each position of engagement depending on the size of the component box. When mounted within the cabinet 50, the loads of such smaller component boxes are transferred through the post fittings 186 to the corner posts 86 and base 56.
  • [0118]
    Other variations in the configuration of the box mounts 104 are also contemplated. FIG. 23 depicts a segment of a rear corner post 86 of a cabinet 50. A box mount 104 h includes a reciprocating arm 200 h and mounting rail 106 h. The reciprocating arm 200 h has a flat surface 201 h along its axial length which co-acts with an inside flat surface 203 h of the support bearing 202 to prevent rotation of the reciprocating arm 200 h. The reciprocating arm 200 h extends through the corner post 86 on a support bearing 202 h, the support bearing 202 h enabling the reciprocating arm 200 h to slide smoothly there through during adjustment. A box guide stop 204 is positioned to restrict movement of the box mount 104 h when the reciprocating arm 200 h is fully extended into the expansion space 84 of the cabinet 50. A locking screw 206 allows the box mount 104 h to be secured to any one of a plurality of fixed positions after adjustment.
  • [0119]
    [0119]FIG. 24 depicts a segment of a rear corner post 86 of another embodiment cabinet of the invention which allows for threaded adjustment of the box mount 104 i. The box mount 104 i includes a reciprocating arm 200 i having a threaded portion 208 that extends through the support bearing 202 i in the corner post 86. The threaded portion 208 of the reciprocating arm 200 i also extends through a turning sleeve 210 that is rotatably mounted on the corner post 86. The reciprocating arm 200 i attaches to the mounting rail 106 with a slip sleeve 212 that allows the mounting rail 106 to float in an upright position with respect to the corner post 86 (as shown) since the mounting rail is attached to an electrical component box, as explained above. When rotated, the turning sleeve 210 causes the reciprocating arm 200 i to move through the support bearing 202 to effect adjustment of the box mount 104 i to a plurality of positions within the cabinet. After adjustment, the turning sleeve 210 serves to lock the box mount 104 i in a fixed position.
  • [0120]
    Referring now to FIG. 25, a segment of the rear corner post 86 of another embodiment cabinet 50 is depicted, the embodiment having a worm and rack assembly for adjusting the box mount 104 j. A reciprocating arm 200 j extends through the rear corner post 86 and includes a toothed rack 214 along its top surface. A rotating worm 216 is mounted inside the corner post 86 immediately above the reciprocating arm 200 j so that the worm 216 engages the rack 214. The worm 216 is axially connected to an adjuster 218 which extends through an adjuster notch 219 to the exterior of the corner post 86. Manual rotation of the adjuster 218 from the exterior of the corner post 86 causes the worm 216 to rotate, this rotation causing the reciprocating arm 200 j of the box mount 104 j to move to different positions due to the engagement of the worm 216 with the rack 214. After adjustment, the worm 216 serves to lock the box mount 104 j in a fixed position.
  • [0121]
    Variations in the construction of the expansion brackets 90 are also contemplated, especially where the expansion brackets 90 are adjustable to multiple fixed positions. As best understood with reference to FIGS. 7 and 26-30, the brace guide 88 of each expansion bracket 90 can be constructed either as a modular unit that is positioned on or within a rear corner post 86 of a cabinet 50, or alternatively, be incorporated directly into the structure of a corner post 86.
  • [0122]
    Referring to FIG. 26, an expansion bracket 90 k is depicted extending through a modular unit brace guide 88 k. The expansion bracket 90 k includes angled notches 93 k that each correspond to one of a plurality of predetermined expansion bracket positions. Mounting holes 221 are positioned at the protruding end 92 k of the expansion bracket 90 k to allow for the attachment of a door frame 96 or door hinge 94.
  • [0123]
    A detent assembly 222 is installed into the brace guide 88 k. The detent assembly 222 includes a detent 224 that is spring biased to extend downward and engage and lock against notches 93 k of the expansion bracket 90 k when the expansion bracket 90 k moves into one of the predetermined positions. The detent 224 is tapered at its tip to allow a notch 93 k to compress the detent 224 against its spring bias when the expansion bracket 90 k is manually adjusted. This compression of the detent 224 disengages the detent 224 from the notch 92 that it engages, thereby allowing for extension or retraction of the expansion bracket 90. The detent assembly 222 also includes a tightness adjuster 226. The tightness adjuster 222 allows for manual adjustment of the spring bias of the detent 224 with an allen wrench or similar tool, thereby allowing for adjustment of the amount of manual force that is required to adjust the positioning of the expansion bracket 90 k.
  • [0124]
    Referring now to FIG. 27, an expansion bracket 90 m includes conical internal recesses 93 m located at positions along an expansion bracket slot 91 m. Each internal recess 93 m corresponds to one of a plurality of predetermined expansion bracket positions. A lock pin 83 m having a conical section 230 is positioned to extend through the side of the brace guide 88 m to be aligned for engagement with the expansion bracket slots 91 m when the expansion bracket 90 m is at one of the predetermined positions. The lock pin 83 m is mounted to the brace guide 88 m with pin threads 228. When mounted to the brace guide 88 m, the conical section 230 of the lock pin 83 m is aligned to engage one of the expansion bracket slots 91 m when the expansion bracket 90 m is at one of the predetermined positions. An alien wrench or similar tool can then be used to rotate the lock pin 83 m on its pin threads 228 to further extend the conical section 230 of the lock pin 83 m toward the conical internal recesses 93 m of the expansion bracket 90 m to lock the expansion bracket 90 m in position.
  • [0125]
    [0125]FIG. 28 depicts an expansion bracket 90 n having a rack adjuster assembly 232. The rack adjuster assembly 232 includes a gear rack 234 and drive screw 236, the drive screw 236 being connected to a rotation shaft 240. When rotated, the rotation shaft 240 causes the drive screw 236 to move the expansion bracket 90 n along the gear rack 234 until the expansion bracket 90 n is adjusted to the desired position. Bracket stops 242 restrict movement of the expansion bracket 90 n past the fully extended or fully retracted position to prevent damage to the drive screw 236. After adjustment, the drive screw 236 locks the expansion bracket 90 n in position.
  • [0126]
    Certain embodiments of the invention can also be configured to include a brace guide 88 p comprising a bearing or threaded sleeve that extends through each rear corner post 86 p. FIG. 29 depicts a corner post 86 p having a telescoping expansion bracket 90 p mounted within a brace guide 88 p that comprises a bracket bearing which extends through the corner post 86 p. The expansion bracket 90 p includes male and female telescoping segments 244 and 246 and a detent groove 248. The protruding end 92 p of the male telescoping segment 244 allows for attachment of a hinge 94 p (as shown) or door frame 96 as appropriate.
  • [0127]
    During adjustment of the expansion bracket 90 p, the male telescoping segment 244 reciprocates within the female telescoping segment 246 while the detent groove 248 provides frictional resistance between the male and female telescoping segments 244 and 246 to allow for precise positioning of the male telescoping segment 244. After adjustment, the frictional resistance of the detent groove 248 maintains the positioning of the male telescoping segment 244.
  • [0128]
    [0128]FIG. 30 depicts an embodiment of the invention in which the brace guide 88 q comprises a threaded sleeve extending through the rear corner post 86 q. The depicted expansion bracket 90 q is threaded along its length and has a slip sleeve connection to a hinge 94 q (as shown) or door frame 96 at the protruding end 92 q. The expansion bracket 90 q extends through the corner post 86 q, engaging the internal threaded surface of the brace guide 88 q. An adjustment knob 250 is attached to the end of the expansion bracket 90 q to allow the expansion bracket 90 q to be manually rotated for adjustment. Rail guides 252 extend along the length of the expansion bracket 90 q from the hinge 94 q or door frame 96 at the protruding end 92 q. The rail guides extend through the corner post 86 q but terminate prior to the adjustment knob 250 to allow for alignment of the hinge 94 q or door frame 96 q during the rotation of the expansion bracket 90 q. The engagement between the internal threads of the brace guide 88 q and external threads of the expansion bracket 90 q also serve to maintain the positioning of the expansion bracket 90 q after adjustment.
  • [0129]
    It will also be appreciated that in some embodiments, the expansion brackets may be secured in one position relative to the rear corner posts through frictional contact between one or more expansion brackets and members of the cabinet frame 51. For example, since the sleeve comprising the expansion brackets 90, as depicted in FIG. 13C, lacks expansion bracket slots, the expansion brackets 90 can be secured with a lock nut (not shown) mounted either on the expansion brackets 90 b of the sleeve, the support angle 150 c, or on the cabinet frame 51. In FIG. 14, the expansion brackets 90 c comprising the accordian sleeve can be secured in one position with a lock nut (not shown) mounted either on the support angle 150 d, or on the cabinet frame 51. In some embodiments, such as FIG. 16, a lock nut or other similar component can be mounted on a sliding plate 166, swing plate 170, rear corner post 86, or other suitable location. In some embodiments, the frictional contact between the expansion brackets 90, brace guides 88, rear corner posts 86, cabinet frame 51, and/or other components will be sufficient to alone secure the expansion brackets in at least one of a plurality of positions.
  • [0130]
    This invention has been described with reference to several illustrated embodiments and variations thereof. Many modifications and alterations of these embodiments and variations will occur or become apparent to others upon reading and understanding the preceding specification. It is intended and will be appreciated that this invention is to be construed as including all such alterations and modifications insofar as they come within the spirit and scope of the appended claims or equivalents of these claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification312/205, 312/223.1
International ClassificationA47B97/00, A47B45/00, H05K7/18, A47B57/10
Cooperative ClassificationA47B57/10, A47B45/00, A47B97/00, H05K7/1488
European ClassificationH05K7/14S4, A47B57/10, A47B97/00, A47B45/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 9, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: GREAT LAKES CASE & CABINET CO., INC., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LOWTHER JR., ROBERT J.;WHELAN, ARTHUR J.;SANTUCCI, WILLIAM S.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:013556/0173;SIGNING DATES FROM 20021119 TO 20021122