US 3193628 A
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Jilly 6, 1965 B. R. wANLAss 3,193,628
MULTIPLE CIRCUIT CONTROLLER SWITCH WITH ELONG'ATED FLEXIBLE CONTACT MEMBER 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 26, 1963 INVENTOR. erzt' F39 Wdv/ss y 6, 1965 a. R. WANLASS 3,193,628
MULTIPLE CIRCUIT CONTROLLER SWITCH WITH ELONGATED FLEXIBLE CONTACT MEMBER Filed Feb. 26, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.
Ma Win w I United States Patent MULTIPLE CIRCUIT CONTROLLER SWITCH WITH ELONGATED FLEXIBLE CGNTACT MEMBER Bert Ray Waniass, Warren, Mich, assignor to General Motors Corporation, Detroit, Mich, a corporation of Delaware Filed Feb. 26, 1963, Ser. No. 261,116
Claims. (til. 200-4) This invention relates to an electrical circuit controller and more particularly to a circuit controller that has its parts normally maintained in a neutral position. The preferred embodiment of this particular circuit controller has utility in controlling an electrically driven seat adjuster for an automobile.
Six-way powered seat adjusters are generally controlled by a set of three circuit controllers or switches, one switch controls the front vertical movement of the seat adjuster, a second switch controls the rear vertical movement and a third switch controls the horizontal movement and in some cases the third switclihas an overriding feature to actuate the first and second switches in unison for uniform vertical movement of the entire seat. Such circuit controllers are usually mounted on the side of the. seat so that operation thereof is by feel rather than visual observation; therefore, a single handle for control of all the circuits would be advantageous.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved circuit controller which includes a flexibly resilient movable contact that is constantly urged to a neutral position and is movable therefrom into contact with one or more stationary contacts that are radially and longitudinally spaced thereabout. The resilient contact being electrically connected to a power terminal and the stationary contacts being so positioned that such movement of the flexible member sequentially connects the stationary contacts electrically to the power terminal.
It is another object of this invention to provide an improved circuit controller for a six-way powercdseat which combines control of all circuits in a six-way seat adjuster into a single unitary control handle.
Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent as reference is had to the accompanying drawings and the following specification wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a plan view of a circuit controller embodying the invention, the controller handle being cut away. 7
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken substantially along line 2-2 of FIGURE 1, showing the circuit controller with parts in the neutral position.
FIGURE 3 is a bottom view taken from line 3-3 of FIGURE 2 and showing the position of the studs in the base member.
FIGURE 4 is a side elevational view, with portions cut away and in section, of the circuit controller with the movable contact in a flexed position.
FIGURES is an exploded view in perspective showing the arrangement and shape of the stationary contacts and the dielectric base member according to the present invention.
Referring now to the drawings, in FIGURES 1, 2 and 4, there is shown a circuit controller housing or case It having a cavity 12 centrally located therein, The cavity 12 has a notched aperture 14 in a concave thrust bearing surface 16. The lower portion 18 of the cavity 12 is generally cylindrical in shape, having two flat sides 21%, 22, and accommodates a generally cup-shaped dielectric base member 24 therein. The two flat sides 26, 28 of base member 24 fit adjacent flat sides 2%, 22 of portion 18 to properly locate member 24 therein. The base member 24 is suitably secured in the case by any well known means, such as tabs 29.
A dielectric handle consisting of a centrally apertured knob 32 and a stem 34 is supported in a power terminal 4t secured to base member 24. The stem 34 has a split end 36 that extends outside the housing 10 through the notched aperture 14.- and is adapted to have the knob 32 snap into place thereon after the stem 34 has been assembled in the housing 10. The power terminal 4%) is in the form of an eyelet fixed by crimping to the centrally apertured bottom wall of the base member, and its bore supports'the ball shaped end 38 of the stem 3 for pivotal and longitudinal sliding movement therein. A movable contact means in the form of a flexibly resilient coil spring member 42 is positioned about the stem portion 34 of the handle 30, with one end secured by tightly embracing the power terminal 40. The neutral unllexed axis A of this spring extends coaxially of the terminal 44 base 24 and bearing surface 16, and its opposite end abuts an enlargement or shoulder 44 of the stem 34, biasing the handle 32 towards the aperture 14 and helping maintain the handle 36 in an upright neutral position. The enlargement 44 has a plate like upper portion it-'5 which is adapted to slidably contact the concave thrust surface 16 of cavity 12 and limit movement of the handle through the aperture 14. In the assembled positions, the spring 42 is under axial compression between shoulder 44 and base member 24 and the resulting thrust of plate 46 against surface 16 provides a centering force tending to center the handle to the untlexed position of the spring.
As best seen in FIGURES 2 and 5, the interior of base member 24 is terraced-with four main levels 52, 54, 56 and 555. The levels 52, 54 and 56 have radially spaced stationary contacts secured thereto circumjacent and longitudinally of the spring 42. Stationary contact 60 is shown in the form of an annular ring secured on the upper level 52 so that its inner peripheral surface is most radially remote from the spring 42 in its neutral or unfiexed position and also most longitudinally remote from the secured lower end of the spring. Stationary contacts 62, 64 are shown in the form of two diametrically spaced half rings mounted on the second or next most remote level 54, and contacts 66, 63, it! are shown in the form of separate arcuate plates mountedon level 56 closest the spring 42. It will be noted that the inner peripheral surfaces of contacts 62 and 64 are less radially remote from the spring in its unfiexed position, and that the inner peripheral surfaces of contacts 66, 68, 74B are even less radially remote therefrom. Contacts 68, 70 are positioned in a groove 71 cut into the surface of level 56 to allow the contacting portions of their inner peripheral surfaces to be on the same level as those of contact 56.
The power terminal extends above the lowest level or bottom wall 58 of the base member 24 and is electrically connected to spring 42 by the aforementioned tightly embracing lower end of the latter. Two contact rings 48, 5t suitably secured to the spring as by threaded interengagement of their bases with spring convolutions, serve to reduce wear of the spring during engagement thereof with the stationary contacts tit) and 62, 64, respectively. Each of the six stationary contacts 60, 62,
64, 6d, 68 and 7%) is connected to studs 72, 74, '76, 78,
d and 82, respectively, which extend through the base 24 and provide terminals by which the circuit controller may be connected in a suitable manner to circuits wherein the power terminal 40 supplies the power source for each circuit.
In operation, the handle 3% is pivoted into one of the notches of aperture 14- to complete at least one circuit by flexing spring 42 into engagement with a stationary contact. Referring to FIGURE 4, as the handle 30 is moved toward the selected notch the ball on end 3d of the handle pivots in terminal 4d), the spring 42 flexes in the direction the handle is moved and engages the stationary contact 66 mounted on the closest level 56. Further movement of the handle in the same direction increases the flexing of the compression spring until contact ring 51) engages the stationary contact 62 mounted on the second level 54. As the handle 30 completes its movement into the selected notch, the contact ring 43 completes another circuit by engaging stationary contact 65% on the most remote level 52. Thus, it can be seen that as the handle 30 is moved into an appropriate slot, the compression spring 42 engages the stationary contacts at the several levels sequentially to complete the circuits with contacts aligned with the selected notch. By properly positioning the notches of opening 14 and the location of the stationary contacts, one movement of the control handle can be made to actuate two adjoining sets of circuits on each level.
After the circuits have been actuated by moving the handle to the desired notch, to break the circuits the handle need merely be released and the biasing force of the compression spring 42 acting with plate 46 and thrust surface 16 will return the handle to the neutral position.
The circuit controller illustrated and described could be used, for example to control adjustments of a six-Way automobile seat adjuster having a reversible electric motor selectively connectible through three electrically engageable clutches to respective actuators for raising the front and/or rear portion of the seat and/ or shifting it horizontally but it is not necessarily limited to such application. In such usage, power terminal 40 could act as a common terminal for all the circuits and be connected to a battery. Studs 78, 80 and 82 could be connected to the means controlling engagement of the respective clutches, and studs 74 and 76 connected to the direction controlling means of the motor.
While one preferred embodiment of the subject circuit controller is shown, it is to be understood that on each level a multiplicity of individual contacts could be mounted to provide a larger number of circuit combinations, and that obviously many other structural details may be changed without departing from the spirit and scope of the following claims.
1. A circuit controller comprising, a dielectric base member, a power terminal mounted to said base member, an elongated flexibly resilient contact member electrically connected to said power terminal and having a fixed connection at one end to said base member and having a neutral unflexed axis extending longitudinally thereof through said connection, said resilient member being movable from a neutral unflexed position to a plurality of flexed positions in which the opposite end thereof is radially disposed in different directions from said neutral position, such flexing of said resilient contact member inducing a biasing force therein for biasing said resilient contact member to return to said neutral position, a multiplicity of stationary contacts secured to said base member and in radially spaced positions of varying distances longitudinally from said one end of said resilient flexible member whereby movement of said resilient member to different flexed positions effects its contact with one or more of said stationary contacts, to electrically connect the same to said power terminal.
2. A circuit controller comprising, a dielectric base member, a power terminal mounted to said base member, an elongated flexibly resilient contact member electrically connected to said power terminal and having one end rigidly connected to said base member and having a neutral unflexed axis extending longitudinally thereof through said connection, a multiplicity of stationary contacts secured to said base member in radially spaced positions from said neutral axis, said resilient member being movable from a neutral unflexed position to a plurality of flexed positions for engaging and electrically connecting said stationary contacts to said power terminal, such flexing of said resilient contact member inducing a biasing force therein for biasing said resilient contact member to return to said neutral position, said stationary contacts being arranged in different levels longitudinally spaced circumjacent said resilient member, the level of said stationary contacts closest said one end being also radially closest said resilient member in its unflexed position and each succeeding level more remotely spaced longitudinally from said one end being also more remotely radially spaced from said resilient member in its unflexed position than the preceding level whereby flexing of said resilient member about said one end effects its engagement with said stationary contacts sequentially in order of their increased remoteness from said one end and said stationary contacts being so spaced from said neutral axis that said flexible contact will contact at least one of said stationary contacts on each level when moved to a fully flexed position.
3. The invention as claimed in claim 2, wherein said resilient member is a coil spring whose convolution; effect said engagement with the stationary contacts upon movement of said spring to its flexed positions, and including a handle for movably flexing said spring, said handle having a spring flexing portion extending concentrically of the spring and pivotally connected with said base member adjacent said one end.
4. The invention as claimed in claim 3, together with a housing secured to said base member and having a concave thrust surface generally concentric with the coil spring in its unflexed position, said handle portion having an enlargement overlying the free end of the spring and slidably bearing against said thrust surface, said pivotal connection accommodating movement of said handle toward said thrust surface, said spring being under axial compression between said enlargement and said base member whereby the resulting thrust of said enlargement against said thrust surface provides a centering force tending to bias the handle to the unflexed position of the spring.
5. A circuit controller comprising a dielectric base member, a power terminal mounted to said base member, a flexible coil spring member having one end electrically connected to said power terminal and rigidly connected to said base member and having a neutral unflexed axis extending longitudinally thereof through said connection, the other end of said spring member being free to move relative to said rigidly connected end, a multiplicity of stationary contacts secured to said base member in radially spaced positions from said neutral axis and on different levels longitudinally spaced from said one end circumjacent said spring member, the level of said stationary contacts closest said one end being also radially closest said spring member in its unflexed position and each succeeding level being more remotely spaced longitudinally from said one end being also more remotely radially spaced from said spring member in its unflexed position than the preceding level, said spring member being movable from its neutral unflexed position to any one of a plurality of flexed positions in which said other end of said spring member is radially displaced in any selected direction from the unflexed position, such movement of said spring member inducing a radial biasing force therein for biasing said spring member to return to its neutral position, an handle for flexing said spring, said handle having a spring flexing portion extending concentrically of said spring member and pivotally connected with said base member adjacent said one end, a housing secured to said base member and having a spherical concave thrust surface generally concentric with said neutral unflexed axis, said handle having an enlargement overlying the free end of said spring member and slidably bearing against said thrust surface, said pivotal connection accommodating movement of said handle toward said thrust surface, said spring member being under axial compression for providing an axial biasing force biasing said enlargement into engagement with said thrust surface, said spring biased enlargement, on said handle cooperating with said concave thrust surface in response to the spring axial biasing force to bias said spring member to said neutral unfiexed position, and manually operable means for selectively moving said handle for flexing said spring member about said one end into engagement with said stationary contacts sequentially in order of their increased remoteness from said one end.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,900,198 3/33 Paul 200-166 6 Clay 200-6 Pelletier et a1. ZOO-166 Mason 2006 Cole ZOO-168 Lybrook 200-6 Bertaud 200-6 X Mann et a1. 200--6 FOREIGN PATENTS France. Netherlands.
BERNARD A. GILHEANY, Primary Examiner.