BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a cable winding reel, and in particular, to a two-way winding reel.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Wired devices, such as computer peripheral devices, always drag cords around the user's narrow working space. Some users may tie the unnecessary portion of the cord when the cord is longer than a desired length, and untie it when the cord is shorter than a desired length. However, it is a great burden for the user to tie and untie excess portions of the cord over and over again.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,088,021 discloses a one-way reel structure for accommodating the excess cord to any desired length, in which a first end of the cable within the reel is fixed to a circuit board while the second end of the cable is retractable in length for connecting to a port of a computer or the like. However, due to the great dragging force coming from the second end, the first end is subject to detachment from the circuit board.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In order to overcome the defect mentioned above, U.S. Pat. No. 6,733,328 discloses a two-way winding reel with the structure including complicated designed grooves on the rotating mechanism and a movable roller that follows the grooves to control rotation and prevent excess force on the cable. However, it is extremely difficult and costly to design the proper angle of the grooves so as to stop the rotation of the rotating mechanism again and again. Further the great bounding force caused by the spring 25 will force the roller to strike the groove furiously, which will damage the groove and cause a breakdown after less than thousand times' rotation. Though Taiwanese patent No. TWM260039 replace the roller with a swing arm, the complicated groove design still remains.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a two-way cable winding reel that is low in cost.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a two-way winding reel adoptable by wired computer peripheral devices.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
To accomplish the objectives mentioned above, a reel constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention comprises a housing, a rotator, a worm spring, and a cable. The rotator has several protrusions on a side facing the housing, and the housing has a movable stopper. One end of the stopper is stuck between two of the protrusions, while the other end of the stopper protrudes through the housing.
FIGS. 1 and 2 are exploded isometric views showing a preferred embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the preferred embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2.
FIG. 4 is the sectional top view of the preferred embodiment.
FIG. 5 is a lateral view of the preferred embodiment.
FIGS. 6-8 are sectional views of the preferred embodiment showing its operation.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 9 is an isometric view showing application of the preferred embodiment to a computer peripheral device according to the present invention.
The following detailed description is of the best presently contemplated modes of carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating general principles of embodiments of the invention. The scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.
Referring to FIG. 1, the two-way cable winding reel 100 comprises a cable 110, a rotator 120, a housing (including an upper housing 130 and a lower housing 140), a worm spring 150 and a stopper 160. The cable 110 has terminals 111 at each end. The cable 110 can be any signal transmitting cable or power transmitting cable. The terminals 111 can be any specific type of connector, such as a universal serial bus (USB) or personal system 2 protocol (PS2). Though one end of the terminals 111 can be fixed to a circuit board, it is still operated as a two-way winding reel.
Referring further to FIG. 2, the rotator 120 mainly is a hollow column for receiving the spring 150, and has a hole 122. Several protrusions 123 are spaced around the hole 122 and face the upper housing 130. Slits 124 for receiving the cable 110, and slits 125 for receiving the worm spring 150, which is hooked to a wall of the rotator 120. The central portion of the cable 110 is clamped between the clip 126 and the rotator 120.
The upper housing 130 and the lower housing 140 can receive the cable 110, the worm spring 150, and the rotator 120 therein. The upper housing 130 has an axle 131 that extends through the hole 122 and is received in the hole 141 of the lower housing 140. The axle 131 has a slit 131a which has a screw portion 131 b such that a screw 142 can couple the lower housing 140 and the upper housing 130 together. The upper housing 130 further has a round groove 132 for receiving the protrusions 123. The upper housing 130 has a first recess 133 for receiving the stopper 160 and a second recess 134 for receiving a resilient element 170. The stopper 160 has an engage portion 161 that extends to the outside of the upper housing 130 so that it can be operated by a user's finger.
Referring to FIG. 4, the worm spring 150 surrounds the axle 131. One end of the worm spring 150 is clamped within the slit 131 a while the other end of the worm spring penetrates the slit 125 and is hooked around the wall of the rotator 120. The worm spring is thus positioned to apply a counterclockwise biasing force to the rotator 120, i.e., if the rotator 120 is rotated clockwise by an external force, the worm spring 150 will counter the external force with a counterclockwise force.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the stopper 160 is pivoted in the first recess 133 and biased against the resilient element 170 located in the second recess 134. The stopper 160 includes a pawl having an inclined or ramp surface 163 a and a stop surface 163 b. When the pawl including the inclined surface 163 a and the stop surface 163 b extends between any two adjacent protrusions 123, further rotation of the rotator 120 in the counterclockwise direction is prevented by stop surface 163 b, while rotation of the rotator 120 in the clockwise direction is resisted by the inclined surface 163 a so as to normally prevent rotation of the rotator 120, but to permit rotation of the rotator 120 when a sufficient force is applied to the cable 110.
The cable 110 surrounds the rotator 120, and the central portion of the cable 110 is clamped between the clip 126 and the rotator 120, i.e. in the space A. Each end of the cable 110 penetrates the slits 124 respectively. Further, one end of the cable 110 penetrates the upper opening 135 of upper housing 130 while the other end of the cable penetrates the lower opening 142 of the lower housing 140. Therefore, when the cable 110 is pulled out of the housing, the counterclockwise biasing force generated by the worm spring 150 will force the rotator 120 to retract the pulled cable 110 back into the housing.
Referring to FIGS. 6˜8, when the cable 110 is pulled out from the opening 135 and 142 simultaneously, the cable 110 will force the rotator 120 to rotate clockwise. Meanwhile, the protrusions 123 will also rotate within the round groove 132. However, the protrusion 123 will continuously push and lift the stopper 160 at the inclined portion 163 a such that the cable 100 will be pulled out continuously to a predetermined length. Once the user stops pulling the cable 100 out of the housing, the stop surface 163 b will be forced by the resilient element 170 to obstruct retraction of the rotator 120 by engaging the nearest protrusion 123, as shown in FIG. 7.
Referring to FIG. 8, if the user wishes to retract the cable 110 back into the housing or to a desired length, the user can press the engage portion 161 of the stopper 160 to cause the stop surface 163 b to disengage the nearest protrusion such that the rotator 120 will rotate counterclockwise to retract the cable 110 completely or to a desired length. Once the user releases the engage portion 161, the stop surface 163 b of the stopper 160 will be forced by the resilient element 170 to again obstruct the retracting or rotation of the rotator 120 by engaging the nearest protrusion 123.
Of course, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the illustrated clockwise and counterclockwise directions are for illustrative purposes only, and that the bias force and retraction direction may be changed to clockwise rather than counterclockwise by simply winding the cable around the rotator in an opposite direction and exchanging the inclined and stop surfaces of stopper 160.
Referring to FIG. 9, the present invention can be applied to a computer peripheral device 200, such as a wired mouse or the like having a main body 210 from which a cable 110 extends, and a circuit board 220 to which the cable is connected. By using the winding device 100 in the manner described above, the user may further extend cable 110 to a desired length by pulling on the cable, or the user may retract the cable 110 completely or partly by pressing on engage portion 161 of the stopper 160.
While the description above refers to particular embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that many modifications may be made without departing from the spirit thereof. The accompanying claims are intended to cover such modifications as would fall within the true scope and spirit of the present invention.