US 3127485 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 31, 1964 R. v. vlToLo 3,127,485
RAIN TRIGGER swITcH Filed June 26, 1961 INVENTOR.
ROBERT v. vlToLO BYM ATTORNEY United States Patent O 3,127,485 RAIN TRIGGER SWITCH Robert V. Vitolo, 1929 W. 9th St., Brooklyn, N .Y. Filed `lune 26, 1961, Ser. No. 139,024 3 Claims. (Cl. 20o-61.05)
The present invention relates to improvements in humidity-responsive electrical circuit breakers and connectors, and more specifically, to a new and improved device which reacts automatically to the presence of one or more drops of rain or of any other liquid. While my liquid-responsive device can be applied to many industrial and private uses, it is designed primarily for use in automobiles and the like for closing automatic windows and convertible tops. I am aware that humidityresponsive switching devices have been developed. However, the hitherto known apparatus of this type react only to humidity and temperature, and they are cornplicated, expensive to manufacture, and not so reliable in operation as is required of a device that can be expected to lind extensive application for many uses.
Therefore, one object of the present invention is the provision of a device of the character described which works by the principle of electrolysis and is responsive to an actual drop of liquid, irrespective of general humidity and temperature conditions.
Another object of the present invention is the provision of a device of the character described which is light in weight and of a comparatively small size and which does not require any specially machined or specially formed parts, but which can be manufactured inexpensively from parts that have been made by mass production processes and that can be assembled easily and quickly at low cost.
A further object of the present invention is the provision of a device of the character described which has no moving parts that are subjected to wear and tear and require Vadjustment or replacement, so that it requires no maintenance or attention, and which is well adapted for being used in automotive vehicles or the like.
With the foregoing and other objects which will appear as the description proceeds, the invention consists of certain novel details of construction and combinations of parts hereinafter more fully described and pointed out in the claims, it being understood that changes may be made in the construction and arrangements of parts of the embodiment disclosed without departing from the spirit of the invention as claimed.
In the accompanying drawing I have set forth an illustrative embodiment of my invention.
In said drawing:
FIGURE l is a top plan view of a preferred embodiment of my invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view on the line 2 2 of FIG. l; and,
FIG. 3 is a sectional view on the line 3-3 of FIG. l.
Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views.
In the drawing the numeral 1 denotes a conductive plate of aluminum or the like having perforations 2, and the numeral 3 denotes another conductive plate of the same or a similar size and material as` the plate. The plates 1 and 3 constitute a pair of electrodes between which is interposed a sheet 4 of filter paper which has been soaked in a solution of sodium chloride (NaCl) -ordinary tablesalt solution, or the like. The concentration of the solution and the type of the chemical used can vary, or any other substance can be substituted for the aforementioned filter paper, as long as the material of which the sheet 4 consists is nonconductive to electricity while dry, but becomes conductive when it gets wet. I prefer to make the sheet 4 somerice what larger than the plates 1 and 3, so that the edge portions of the sheet 4 protrude beyond the edge portions of the plates 1 and 3. The elements 1, 3 and 4 can be held together by any suitable means, preferably by means of a shallow nonconductive frame or box member 5, which may be made of plastic material or of hard rubber, or the like. The member 5 preferably consists of a Hat bottom portion 7 and of wall portions 10 and 11. Inwardly protruding sections 12 on the upper edges of the wall portions 11 prevent the members 1, 3 and 4 from falling out of the box member 5. If the box member 5 is made of bendable plastic material or the like, the sections 12, and the adjoining sections of the wall portions 11 can be bent outwardly in the direction of the arrows 15 (FIG. 1) for inserting the members 1, 3 and 4 into the member 5 during assembling of the device. This also greatly facilitates the exchanging of the sheet 4 whenever such an exchange should be necessary or desirable.
Wire leads 17 and 20 are conductively connected to the plates 1 and 3 respectively by means of soldering or the like, and are extended through a preferably increased section 21 of one of the wall portions 1i). The section 21 of one of the wall portions 10 is provided with threaded bores 22 into which are screwed contact screws 23, that are in conductive connection with the wire leads 17 and 20, as may be seen in FIGS. l and 2. I prefer to provide the bottom portion 7 of the box member 5 with perforations 24 and with foot sections 25, so that the liquid entered thereinto can drain olf easily and quickly, so that the device can dry out and can be re-used. The wire leads 17 and 20 from the electrodes 1 and 3 respectively can be attached in the same manner as any single pole single throw switch to the trip coil of a latching relay and a suitable source of electric current (not shown). The filter paper 4 between the two electrodes 1 and 3 acts as a dielectric and thus does not allow the transmission of current from one electrode to another. When a drop of water touches the top of the electrode 1, it falls into the holes 2, which are provided in said electrode 1, and wets the ilter paper 4. The water causes the sodium chloride in the lter paper 4 to come into solution. The sodium chloride then acts as an electrolyte thus permitting electrolysis between the two electrodes. The iiow of electricity from the top electrode 1 through the electrolyte to the bottom electrode 3 completes the circuit and trips the coil of the aforementioned latching relay. This relay locks in place and can be used to control a number of electrical devices.
When my new and improved rain trigger switch is coupled with a specially designed circuit it can be used to put up the top of a convertible car, close power windows, etc.
Since certain changes may be made in the above article and different embodiments of the invention could be made without departing from the scope thereof, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which as a matter of language might be said to fall therebetween.
Having thus fully described my said invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
l. A device of the character described comprising a first conductive plate provided with perforations, a second conductive plate, a liquid-responsive element interposed between said plates, a trough-like insulating member having a perforated bottom and side walls holding together said plates and said liquid-responsive element, and a pair of contact members provided at one of the wall portions of said trough-like member and conductively connected to said plates, said liquid-responsive element being adapted to be non-conductive to electricity while dry and to become conductive when wet.
2. A device as dened in claim 1, characteried in that the liquid-responsive element consists of lter paper that has been soaked in a solution of sodium chloride and allowed to dry.
3. A rain trigger switch comprising a first conductive plate provided with perforations, a second conductive plate, a piece of lter paper that has been soaked in a solution of sodium chloride and allowed to dry and which is removably interposed between said plates and protrudes beyond the edges of the plates, a trough-like bendable insulating member having a perforated bottom 4 and side walls provided with inwardly over edge sections of said rst conductive plate protruding sections which are in spaced relation to the bottom, and a pair of contact members mounted on one of the side wall portions of said trough-like member and conductively connected to said plates, said lirst conductive plate being placed in said trough-like member above said tilter paper, which is placed above said second conductive plate, and said filter paper being non-conductive while dry and conductive while wet.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,772,232 Van Guilder Aug. 5, 1930 2,687,721 Ellison Aug. 31, 1954 2,726,294 Kroening et al. Dec. 6, 1955 2,856,476 Kaiser et al. Oct. 14, 1958