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Publication numberUS3247342 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 19, 1966
Filing dateJan 18, 1963
Priority dateJan 18, 1963
Publication numberUS 3247342 A, US 3247342A, US-A-3247342, US3247342 A, US3247342A
InventorsBeaman Jr John B, Ott Vivian L
Original AssigneeBeaman Jr John B, Ott Vivian L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Permanent magnetic switch
US 3247342 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 19, 1966 v. L. OTT ETAL 3,247,342

PERMANENT MAGNETIC swITcH Filed Jan. 18, 1963 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 VWM-m L.. O rT gJol-m BBEAMANQN ATTORNEYS April 19, 1966 v. l.. OTT Em. 3,247,342

PERMANENT MAGNETIC SWITCH Filed Jan. 18, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 56" .lo' Jo' Bc, Lo' j k.

S c, 6d' I I q 54 4K2 r 62 (64 E 5| n LN s n u s In 5 52 sz /52 @a A S 5 s S V" "m- '1 I ,f ,VF-8 'P1&.T IO vd a@ as en' da 6?' ed' @2' 64 B N N N N s u s s N s s u s s u s l l L l Jj INVENTORS ,1| VwmN k.. OTT "0 a 1 9 @JOHN B. BEAMANQ:

ATTORNEY;

April 19, 1966 v. l.. oT'r ETAL PERMANENT MAGNETIC SWITCH 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Jan. 18, 1965 INVENTORS Vwmm @JOHN B. Esemnmlr.

BY M m ATTORNEYS United States Patent O 3,247,342 PERMANENT MAGNETIC SWITCH Vivian L. (itt, 6100 Sylvan Ave., Norfolk, Va., and John B. Beaman, Jr., 81S Church St., Ahoskie, N.C. Filed lan. 18, 1963, Ser. No. 252,409 23 Claims. (Cl. 200-87) This invention relates to Switches, and more particularly to electric switches which are operated by a plurality of magnets.

ABrie-fly, the invention comprises a switch having a lixed contact and a movable contact with a magnet mounted thereon. The switch also includes a movable operator having an operating magnet mounted thereon in such a manner that when the operating magnet is moved by the operator in one direction the operating magnet and contact magnet mounted on the movable contact have like poles adjacent one another whereby the magnets are repelled apart so as to operate the switch in one direction, and when the operating magnet is moved by the operator so that the two magnets have unlike Ipoles adjacent one another, the movable contact is operated in an opposite direction so as to operate the switch in .a different direction. Thus, by moving the operating magnet alternatively in opposite directions, the magnetic lines of force between the two magnets alternately open and close the switch contacts.

Accordingly, it is a primary object of this invention to lprovide improved switches which are operated by a plurality of magnets whereby the switches are substantially frictionless in operation.

It is another object of the invention to provide switches which are operated by magnets which are so located in relation to lthe contacts of the switches so that the magnetic lines of force from the magnets pass lbetween the contacts of the switches and thereby prevent or substantially dampen arcing between the contacts of the switches.

`It is another object of the invention to provide ma-gnetically operated switches which are so constructed that the contacts of the switches may be hermetically sealed within a chamber and operated by a magnet which is movably mounted outside the chamber.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a plurality of switches arranged in side b-y side relationship whereby the switches may be successively loperated by a magnet as it moves past the switches.

It is still another object of the invention to provide magnetically operated switches which may be made smaller and more compact than ordinary switches because the switches may be used with higher voltage since arcing across the contacts of the switches is dampened by magnetic means.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide magnetically opera-ted switches which are substantially frictionless and therefore may be operated with a minimum of effort, are simple in design and therefore may be manufactured and maintained at a minimum of expense, and are very reliable in operation.

It is still another object of the invention to provide electromagnetically operated switches which are extremely precise in their operation since they always operate when their operators are at a precise point.

The invention will be best understood from a considera- -tion of the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective View of one form of the invention with portions thereof cut away;

FIG. 2 is a vertical cross sectional enlarged view taken substantially on the plane of line 2 2 in FIG. l;

iFIG. 3 is an enlarged vertical cross sectional view taken substantially on the plane of line 3 3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view taken substantially on the plane of line 4 4 in FIG. 3;

FIGS. 5A and B are diagrammatic views illsutrat-ing the principle of operation of our magnetic switches and particularly that form of switch shown in FIGS. 15 through 17;

FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic view illustrating how the magnets which operate the switches create magnetic lines of force to ionize or dampen the current tending to ilow between contacts of the switches and thereby prevent arcing across these contacts;

FIGS. 7A and B are diagrammatic views illustrating how a plurality of magnetic switches, particularly that form shown in FIGS. 15 through 17 could be simultaneously operated by -a single operator;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view with portions broken away showing another form of the invention;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged vertical cross sectional view taken substantially on the plane of line 9 9 0f FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a vertical cross sectional view taken substantially on the plane of line 10 10 of FIG. 9;

FIGS. 11A and B are the diagrammatic views illustrating the principle of operation of the switch shown in FIGS. 8 through 10;

FIG. 12 is another form of the invention illustrating how a single operator may be used to operate a plurality a magnetic switches in succession;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view with -portions broken -away of another `form of the invention;

FIG. 14 is a vertical cross sectional view taken subs-tantially on the plane of line 14 14 of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is another modied form of the invention;

FIG. 16 is an enlarged vertical cross sectional view taken substantially on the plane of line 16 16 of FIG. 15; and

FIG. 17 is a vertical cross sectional view taken substantially on the plane of line 17-17 of FIG. l5.

FIGS. 15 through 17 illustrate a magnetic switch 10 enclosed in a box-like housing 12 composed of insulative material, and preferably rectangular sheets or blocks of transparent plastic. Housing 12 includes rectangular side walls 14, front wall 16, rear wall 18, bottom wall Ztl and removable top wall 22. Adjacent edges of side wall 14, front wall 16, rear wall 18, and bottom wall 20 are secured together as by cement to form a rectangular switch chamber 24. Switch chamber 24 is normally closed by top wall 22 which is removably secured to the other walls by screws 26.

Front wall 16 has a bore 28 formed in the bottom center thereof which slidably receives operating rod 30. A guide flange 32 is secured to the rear of bottom wall 20 and projects upwardly into chamber 14 in spaced relationship to rear wall 18. Flange 32 is provided with a bore which is axially aligned with bore 28 for receiving and slidably guiding the rear end of rod 30. A pair of switch contacts support flanges 34 are also secured in parallel spaced relationship on opposite sides of rod 3l? to bottom wall 20 and guide flange 32. A pair of Switch contact arms 36 preferably composed of a conductive resilient material such as brass, each have their rear ends secured to one of the switch contact support flanges 34 by means of screws and nuts 30 and 40. A spacer block 42 is secured to the inner face of the support flanges 34 by means of an elongated screw 44 and nut 46. A movable contact 43 preferably comprising an elongated strip of the same material as the contact arm 36 is mounted between the arms 36 and has its rear end also secured over the center of rod by means of the screw 44. The forward end of movable contact 48 terminates in a ange 50 lwhich is secured to a switch magnet 52. The forward ends of the contact arm 36 terminate in semi-circular contacts 54.

A magnet support block 56 has a bore -therethrough which receives a central portion of the operating rod 30, and the support block 56 is located within chamber 24 adjacent front wall 16. A set screw 58 is threaded through block 56 so as to engage a surface of rod 30 and secure the rod to the block.

Magnet support arms 60 are secured to opposite sides of block 56 and extend upwardly therefrom. A pair of operating magnets 62 and 64 are secured on the upper surface `of block 15 and to the inner opposing surfaces -of` arms 60 in parallel relationship so as to define a rectangular space therebetween which contains magnet 52 whose opposite ends are adjacent the rear ends of magnets 62 and 64. A coil compression spring 66 surrounds the center of rod 30 and is compressed between guide flange 32 and block 56. Thus, spring 66 normally urges block 56 and rod 30 forwardly as indicated in solid lines in FIGS. 16 and 17 so that the block 56 abuts the front wall 16. `The members 32, 34, 42, 56, and 60 are all composed of non-magnetic insulative material, and preferably of the same material as the housing 12. The two screws 30 and the screw 44 may be attached to three separate conductors such as insulated Wires which extend through a wall of the housing 12 and be connected to some electrical device exteriorly of the housing.

FIGS. 5A and yB illustrate diagrammatically the principle of operation of the switch 10. It is to be noted that the movable operating magnets 64 and 62 are arranged in parallel relationship with like poles on the forward ends thereof and like poles onthe rear ends thereof. The switch magnet 52 lies between the magnets l62 and 64 so as to extend perpendicular thereto with the poles thereof adjacent the operating magnets. It is well known that like poles attract one another while unlike poles repel one another. Thus, spring 66 normally urges the operating magnets 64 and 62 to the forward position illustrated in FIGS. 16 and 5A whereby the north pole of operating magnet 62 is adjacent the south pole of switch magnet 52 and the north pole of switch magnet 52 is adjacent the north pole of operating magnet 64. Thus, operating magnet -62 attracts switch magnet 52 while operating magnet 64 repels magnet 52 so that the operating magnet 52 moves to the right as viewed in FIG. 5A so that movable contact 48 engages contacts 54 on the right contact arm 36. When the operating rod 30 is forced into housing 12 so as to compress spring 66, the operating magnets 64 and 62 are moved by the operating rod to the position illustrated in FIG. 5B. In this position, the south pole of switch magnet 52 is adjacent the south pole of operating magnet 62 and the north pole of switch magnet 52 is adjacent the south pole of operating magnet 64 whereby magnet l62 repels magnet 52 and magnet 64 attracts magnet 52 to the left as viewed in FIG. 5 so as to urge movable contact 48 into engagement with contact 54 of the left contact arm 36. Thus, it is apparent that as the operating magnets 62 and 64 are reciprocated back and forth to the positions illustrated in FIGS. 5A and B, the movable contact 48 alternately engages right and left contacts `54.

FIGS. 7A and B illustrate how a plurality of the magnetic switches 10V could be arranged and operated by a single operator 68. A plurality of switches 10" of the same design and construction as the switch `10 could be mounted in side by side relationship with the switch magnets 52 thereof arranged in a row so that like poles of each of the magnets 52 are on lthe same side of its respective switch. A plurality of oper-ating magnets 64 :and 62' are arranged in a row in the same relationship as and spaced the same distance from one another as .the magnets 62 and 64 in FIG. 5A. Each switch 10 is spaced from an adjacent switch 10' so that the center of each switch is aligned with the center of the space between two of the magnets 64 and 62. Each of the magnets 64 and 62 could be connected to a magnet support bar 70 which in turn is connected to the reciprocal operator 68. The magnets 62 and 64 like the magnets 62 and 64 all have like poles adjacent `one another. Thus, when the magnets 62 and 64' are moved downwardly by operator 68 to the position illustrated in FIG. 7A, all the switch magnets 52 are urged to the right relative to the operating magnets 62 and 64 so that contact 48 of each switch is urged into engagement with the right contact 54. When the operating magnets 62 yand 64 are moved upwardly or inwardly as illustrated in FIG. 7B by :operator 68, the switch magnets 62 of switches v10 are urged by the operating magnets to the left whereby movable contact 48 of each switch engages the left contact 54- and is separated from the right contact 54. Thus in FIG. 7A, current may flow from movable contact 48 to the right switch arm 36 while in FIG. 7B, current may ow from movable contact 48 to the left switch arrn 36. By having the operating magnets 62 and 64 arranged as illustrated in FIGS. 7A Vand B, the number of operating magnets may be substantially reduced by 50 percent since e-ach operating magnet serves to operate two separate switches. Of course, if desired, each of the operating magnets 62 and 164 could be operated by a separate operator.

FIGS. 1 through 4 illustrate a modified form of magnetic swi-tch 72. Switch 72 is also enclosed in a hollow box-like housing 74 comprising side walls 76 and 78, front wall S0, rear wall 90, bottom wall 92, and top wall 94 `all secured together at their adjacent edges to form a rectangular switch chamber 96. Chamber 96 is normally closed by the front wall which is preferably secured in place by a plurality of removable screws 98.

Aligned bores are formed in the upper portions of side walls 76 and 78, and each side wall has secured on opposte sides thereof bushings 100 `and 102I coaxial with these bores. Operating shaft 104 is rotatably journalled in bushings 100 and 102 and the bores in the side walls. One end of shaft 104 projects outwardly of housing 74 and extends through a bore in one end of operating lever `.106 and circular collar 108. Collar 108 is secured to shaft 104 by a radial set screw 110 which is threaded through the collar and the inner end thereof engages the shaft 104. An adjusting screw 112 extends through an arcuate slot 114 formed in lever 106 land is threaded into collar 108 whereby lever 106 may be angularly adjusted in relation to collar 108 and shaft 104 and -then secured to shaft 104 by tightening screw 112.

Located within chamber 96 are a pair of generally parallel and spaced magnet support Iarms 114 and 116 whose upper ends are each secured to a collar 118. Shaft 104 extends through the upper ends of arms 114 and 116 and through the collars 118. Set screws are threaded radially through each of the collars 118 into locking engagement with shaft 104 so as -to secure the arms to the shaft. The lower ends of the arms 114 and 116 are provided with T-shaped heads each of which supports and is secured to an operating magnet 122 or 124. The operating magnets extend generally perpendicular to the support arms 114 and 116 and like poles of these magnets are opposite one another.

A magnet support 126 comprising rectangular blocks or sheets 128, 130, and 132, bonded together, is secured to the rear wall 90 and the top wall 94 in the upper rear corner of chamber 96. Support 126 also includes a spacer 134 to which are secured downwardly extending parallel contact support legs 136. Each leg 136 has secured on the lower portion of its forward edge a lug 138 of insulatve material. Secured on each lug in vertically spaced relationship is a pair of pins ,140 which project toward the opposite lug 138. A contact arm 142 composed of resilient conductive material as brass, and having a pair of yspaced bores therein is slidably connected to each of the lugs 132 by having the pins 140 extend through the bores. Each arm 142 is prevented from sliding olf the pins 140 by stops comprising a cotter pin 144 extending through a diametric-al bore on each end of each pin `140. A coil spring 146 surrounds each pin 140 and is compressed between a lug 138 and an arm 142 as shown in FIG. 3. A movable contact 148 comprising an elongated strip of conductive material as of brass is pivotally mounted between the contact arms 142 by means of .a screw 150 which extends through a sleeve 152 secured to the upper end of contact .148. Screw 150 is threaded into spacer 1314. The bottom end of contact 148 is of inverted T-shape and has connected thereto a switch magnet 154 which extends between the magnets 1:22 and 124 but is shorter than the distance between these magnets.

Electrically conductive screws 156 extend upwardly through the top wall 94 and the two outer screws are connected electrically to the contact arms 142 by conductors 158. The center screw 156 is connected to the contact 148 by conductor 160. Conductors 158 and 160 are preferably insulated flexible copper wires. Screws 156 are secured in position by nuts 162 and may be secured to external conductors leading to an electrical device by means of nuts 164.

A laterally projecting lug 166 is secured to the arm 116 and a pin 168 is secured to the inner surface of the rear wall 90. A coil compression spring 170 telescopically receives at one end the pin 16S .and the other end of the spring is received in a recess within the lug 166. A short rod 172 is telescopically received within spring 170 to prevent buckling thereof. Normally, spring 170 urges the `arms 114 and 116 and the operating magnets 122 and 124 attached thereto forwardly adjacent to the forward wall 80.

As illustrated in the drawings, the operating magnets 122 and 124 have their south poles on the forward ends thereof and their north poles on the rear ends lthereof while the switch magnet 154 has its north pole on the left end thereof and its south pole on the right end thereof. Thus, when spring 170 urges the operating magnets 122 and 124 forwardly as illustrated in FIG. 4 the north pole of magnet 124 attracts the south pole of switch magnet 154 and the north pole of magnet 122 repels the north pole of switch magnet 154 so that the switch magnet and movable contact 154 are urged to the right whereby the lower end of movable contact 148 engages the contact 174 on the lower end of the right contact arm 142. As the magnet 154 moves into engagement `and contact with the magnet 124, the movable contact 144 forces the contact arm 142 outwardly and thereby compresses the bottom right spring 146 as illustrated in FIG. 3.

An operating lever 106 has pivotally mounted on its free end a roller 176 by means of a screw 17S. Although lever 106 may be operated manually or by any other conventional means, it is particularly adapted to be operated by a movable cam which engages roller 176 so as to rotate lever 106 and shaft 104 in ya clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. l. When lever 106 is rotated in `a clockwise direction, arms 114 and 116 `are also rotated in the same direction so as to compress spring 170 and move the loperating magnets 122 and 124 into contact with the rear wall 90 so that the switch magnet 154 lies between the south pole of Ithe operating magnets. When the operating magnets are in this position, and a switch magnet 154 lis urged to the dotted line position shown in FIG. 3 whereby movable contact 148 separates from the contact 174 and engages the contact 180 on the left contact arm 142. The front and rear walls 80 and 90 of the housing 74 serve as effective stop means for limiting pivotal move ment of the arms 114 and 116.

From the above explanation, it is apparent that when the operating magnets are adjacent to the front wall 80, the center screw 156 is electrically connected to the right screw 56 as viewed in FIG. 3 and when the operating magnets are urged adjacent the rear wall 90, the center screw 156 is electrically connected to the left screw 156 as viewed in FIG. 3.

Cil

Preferably, the housing 174, the lever 106, the arms 114 and 116, block 126 and legs 136 are all composed of insulative non-magnetic material such as plastic which may be transparent.

FIGS. 8 through l1 illustrate another form of magnetic switch which is operated by only two magnets and wherein the switch contacts are hermetically sealed within a chamber. The switch 182 includes a rectangular boxlike housing 184 comprising a rectangular front Wall 186, a rectangular back wall 188, a rectangular bottom and generally rectangular side walls 192 all secured together at their edges so as to define a rectangular chamber 194. The front and back walls have triangular upper extensions and 196 integrally formed therewith. The top of chamber 194 is closed and hermetically sealed by a top plate 198 composed of a non-magnetic material such as brass sheeting. Plate 198 is secured to the side walls by means of screws 200, and the edges of the plate 198 may be sealed by means of a gasket or cement. The upper corners of the triangular extensions 195 and 196 are provided with aligned bores which receive and rotatably journal a shaft 202. An operating magnet 204 is'xed to the shaft 202 by means of a U-shaped member 206 of non-magnetic material such as sheet copper which .overlaps the shaft and magnet and is secured thereto. An operating lever 206 has a bore through one end thereof which receives one end of shaft 202, and the lever is secured to the shaft by means of a set screw 208 threaded through the lever and engaging the shaft.

Three screws 210 and 212 extend through bores in the back wall 138 and are secured thereto by nuts 214 threaded on the screws on opposite sides of the back wall. A contact arm 216 composed of resilient conductive material as a strip of brass is connected at its lower end to each of the screws 210 by conventional means as soldering. Each of the arms 216 has an electrical contact 218 or 220 secured to its upper end. The screw 212 is located below and centrally of the screws 210 as shown in FIG. 9. A movable Contact 222 comprising an elongated strip of the same material comprising the arms 216 is secured at its lower end to the screw 212 and the upper end thereof is formed into a U-shaped socket which receives and is secured to a switch magnet 224.

A pair of parallel screws 226 are threaded through the triangular extension 195 and the projecting ends thereof serve as a stop means for the magnet 204. In a similar manner, a pair of screws 228 are threaded through the back wall 188 directly below the screws 226 and plate 19S so as to function as a stop means for the switch magnet 224. The screws 210 and 212 may be connected to conductors which lead to an electrical device or circuit to be controlled by the switch 182.

FIGS. 11A and B illustrate schematically the principle of operation of the switch 182. The magnets 204 and 224 are on opposite sides of the non-magnetic top plate 198 and have like poles adjacent one another and like poles remote from each other. As illustrated in the drawings, the magnets have the north poles thereof adjacent one an- -other and adjacent to the plate 198 while the south poles of the magnets are remote from one another.

In operation, when the lever 206 is operated so as to move the north pole of magnet 204 adjacent the right stop as viewed in FIG. llA, the north pole of operating magnet 204 repels the north pole of the switch magnet 224 and urges the switch magnet 224 away from operating magnet 204 and into eng-agement with the left stop 224. In a similar manner, when the operating lever 206 is urged to the left against the left stop 226 as shown in FIG. llB, the switch magnet 224 is urged to the right into engagement with the right stop 228. When movable contact 228 is urged to the left, it contacts the contact 220 `and when itis urged to the right, it contacts the contact 218. Thus, the contact screw 212 may be alternatively connected electrically to either of the contact screws 210 depending on which way the lever 206 is moved.

It is -to be noted that the contacts for the switch 182 are completely sealed within the chamber 194 while the operator for the switch is completely external of the chamber 194. Thus, the switch housing 184 may have a gas such as air sealed therein which further tends to limit arcing between the contact when the switch is operated. Thus, the switch 132 is particularly adapted to be used in space vehicles or apparatus because even when the switch is located in the vacuum of outer space, the switch chamber 194 will alw-ays contain a gas s-ealed therein. Also, the switch 182 is particularly adapted to be used in devices wherein the switch would ybe immersed in liquids or corrosive fumes since such liquids or fumes could never enter the sealed chamber 194.

FIG. 12 illustrates how a plurality of switches similar in construction and operation to the switch 182 could be mounted and hermetically sealed so as to be operated in succession by a single operator. The switch assembly 230 in FIG. 12 includes an elongated housing 232 of any desired cross sectional shape but preferably rectangular and having its ends closed by spaced end walls 234. The interior of the housing 232 is divided into a central operating chamber 236 and two hermetically sealed switch chambers 238 and 249 by a pair of longitudinally extending partitions 242 composed of said non-magnetic material and having their edges hermetically sealed to the inner surfaces of the housing 232. A threaded shaft 244 is rotatably journalled in the centers of the end walls 234 and has an operating gear 246 secured to its outer end. A nut 248 is threaded `on shaft 244 within chamber 236 and has a pair of magnets 250 secured to opposite sides thereof. The outer ends of the magnets 250 closely -adjacent the partitions 242 thereby preventing the magnets and nut from rotating on shaft 244 when the shaft is rotated by operating gear 246. 'Partitions 242 and the outer ends of magnets 250 could be dat and parallel to one another so as to prevent rotation of the magnets.

A plurality of switches 250 are mounted in a linear arrangement in each of the switch chambers 238 and 240. Each switch includes a flexible contact arm 252 secured at their outer ends to housing 238 and having contacts 254 at their inner ends. A switch magnet 256 is pivotally mounted to housing 232 at 258 between the contact arms 252. Fixed stops 260 on opposite sides of magnet 256 limit pivotal movement thereof. As shown in FIG. .12, the switches 250 are mounted in pairs on diametrically opposite sides of shaft 244 and in radial alignment with one another. However, if desired, the switches on opposite sides of the shaft could be longitudinally or axially oiset from one another.

In operation of the switch assembly 230, the nut 248 is normally at the left end of chamber 236. Gear 246 may be rotated by a motor or other conventional means. As gear 246 rotates, it also rotates shaft 244. However, since nut 248 is prevented from rotating, it is threaded along shaft 244 so that the magnets 256 move axially through chamber 236 from left to right. As the operating magnets 250 approach the switch magnets 256 on one pair of diametrically aligned switches, the operating magnets repel the switch magnets to the right so as to cause contact between the switch magnets and the right contacts 254. As soon as the operating magnets 256 pass the pair of adjacent swi-tch magnets, `the switch magnets are repelled to the left so as to urge them into contact with the left contact arm 252. In a similar manner, each pair `of diametrically opposite switches 258 are successively operated in two directions as the operating magnets 2S@ approach and pass these switches.

FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate a magnetically operated snap switch 262 comprising a rectangular box-like hollow housing 264 having a bottom wall 266. A pair of parallel spaced lugs 268 are secured to the bottom wall 266 within housing 264. An operating arm 270 of nonmagnetic material extends between the lugs 268 and is pivotally connected thereto by means of a pivot pin 272. One end of arm 270 extends through a passage 274 formed in an end wall of housing 264. The inner end of arm 270 is secured to a plate 276 of magnetic material which constitutes an armature for the switch. A closing magnet 278 is mounted on the upper surface of bottom wall 266 and an opening magnet 280 is mounted directly above magnet 278 by means of a U-shaped support 282 which straddles plate 276 and magnet 278 and is connected to bottom 266.

The armature 276 has a switch plate 284 composed yof conductive material secured to the outer free end thereof. A pair of generally L-shaped contact supports 286 are secured in -spaced relationship to the bottom 266 `by means of screws 288 which extend through the bottom land one leg of the supports 286 and by the nuts 290. The vertical leg of each L-sliaped support 286 is canted and has a contact 292 secured thereto directly below the contact plate 284.

As illustrated in FIG. 14, by urging the outer end of arm 270 upwardly, the armature plate 276 pivots downwardly away from magnet 280 and is attracted by magnet 278 so as to force the armature plate into a horizontal position as illustrated in dotted lines, parallel to the magnet 278. In this position, the contact plates 284 extend across and connect Ithe spaced contacts 292 so as to close the switch.

When the arm 276 is pivoted in a clockwise direction as illustrated in FIG. 14, when the armature 276 passes the halfway point between magnets 278 and 280, it is snapped into engagement with ythe opening magnet 280 whereby the switch is held in an open position.

lt is to be noted that in all the switches described above, the contacts thereof are located closely adjacent magnets. FIG. 6 illustrates schematically how these magnets reduce or prevent arcing across the points of the switches. As shown in FIG. 6, two magnets 38() and 302 are mounted in axial alignment with opposite poles adjacent one another and contacts 304 in the space between the magnets. Contacts 304 are mounted on movable arms 306. As illustrated by the magnetic iiux lines 308, 314D and 312, the magnetic flux lines tend to arc between opposite poles of the magnets. When the contacts 304 separate, an electrical arc 314 tends to iiow between these points. This arc creates its own magnetic field indicated by the circular lines 316 concentrically formed around the arc 314. However, it is to be noted that the magnetic field indicated by the llilies 310 passes through the magnetic field 316 created by the arc 314. The magnetic fields indicated by the lines 316 and 310 oppose one another whereby the field 310 tends to dampen or prevent arcing between the points. Field 312 also crosses or passes through the other limits of field 316 and also tends to dampen the arcing between the points. If the magnetic field created by the magnets 360 and 302 are sutiiciently strong in relation to the current iowing between or tending to flow between the points or contacts 304, arcing across the points or contacts will be completely eliminated or prevented.

While the above switches have been illustrated as being operated by permanent magnets, it is to be understood that the switches can also be operated by electro-magnets. In such case, the flow of current through the electro-magnets would be in a direction in relation to the ow of current across `the contacts of the switches whereby the electromagnetic ields created by the electric magnets and the current through the contacts would oppose one another so as to dampen arcing.

The above switches could be used for many purposes such as breaker points in vehicle ignition systems, limit switches, microswitches, etc.

inasmuch as various changes may be made in the form, location and relative arrangement of the several parts without departing from the essential characteristics of the invention, it will be understood that the invention is not to be limited except by the scope of the appended claims.

We claim:

1. -A switchcomprising support means, a first -contact mounted on `said support means for movement in a substantially vertical plane, a movable contact movably mounted on said support means, operating means mounted onsaid support means for movement in a substantially vertical plane normal to the plane of movement of said movable contact and adapted to move said movable contact into engagement with and away from said first contact, and said operating means including magnetic means.

2. A switch as defined in claim 1, wherein said operating means includes two magnets movable in relation to said support means one on each side of said movable contact.

3. A switch as defined in claim 2, and wherein said movable magnet comprises permanent magnet means.

4. A switch as defined in claim 2, wherein the magnetic field produced by at least one of said magnets passes through the space between said contacts when said contacts are out of contact so as to reduce arcing across said contacts.

5. A switch as defined in claim 3, wherein .a biasing means is associated with said first contact to store and release energy transmitted thereto by the movable contact when said contacts are in engagement.

6. A switch as defined in claim 5, wherein said support means includes a hollow housing having a chamber therein, and said contacts are located within said chamber.

7. A switch defined in claim 6, wherein said housing is composed of transparent plastic.

8. A switch comprising support means, a pair of spaced contacts mounted on said support means, a movable contact movably mounted on said support means for movement to and fro between said spaced contacts, a magnet means operatively associated with said movable contact for movement therewith with its poles aligned in the direction of movement thereof a pair of spaced operating magnets mounted outwardlyof said spaced contacts one on each side thereof and on said support means for movement normal to the movement of said movable contact, said operating magnets having two pairs of like poles and the like poles of each pair opposing one another, operating means connected to said operating magnets so as to selectively move said operating magnets whereby each pair of said like poles may be selectively moved adjacent the poles of said magnet means so that said movable contact may be selectively moved into engagement with one of said pair of contacts.

9. A switch as defined in claim 8l, wherein all said magnets and magnet means are permanent magnets.

10. A switch as defined in claim 9, wherein said operating means includes a shaft rotatable on said support means, a pair of arms each having one end connected to said shaft and another end secured to one of said operating magnets.

11. A switch as defined in claim 10, wherein said operating means includes an operating lever operatively connected to said shaft.

12. A switch as defined in claim 11 including a collar secured to said shaft, adjustable means operatively connecting said collar and lever.

13. A switch as defined in claim 12, wherein said lever has an arcuate slot formed therein, said adjusting means including a screw extending through said arcuate slot and `threaded into said collar.

14. A switch as defined in claim 9, wherein said operating means includes an operating member slidably mounted on said support means so as to reciprocate in a fiat plane, said operating magnets secured to said operating member.

15. A switch as defined in claim 14 including spring means urging said member in one direction.

16. ln combination, two switches as defined in claim 11 mounted side by side so that one pole of the switch magnet of one switch is opposite an unlike pole of the switch magnet of the other switch, one of said operating magnets extending between the opposing unlike poles of said switch magnets.

17. A switch assembly comprising a support means, operating magnet means, operating means connected to said operating magnet means so as to move the latter means relative to said support, a pair of switches mounted on said support means'on opposite sides of said operating magnet means, each switch including at least one fixed contact and one movable Contact a switch magnet mounted on each movable contact, said operating magnet means having two poles each adapted to move towards and away from a like pole on one of said switch magnets whereby said switch magnet is both attracted and repelled to close and open the contacts of its respective switch, said switch magnets being mounted to move in parallel substantially vertical planes and said operating magnetic means being mounted to move in a substantially vertical plane normal to said parallel planes.

18. A switch comprising a support means, a pair of spaced apart magnets mounted on said support for reciprocal movement, said magnets being aligned relative to said support with the axis thereof which passes through the two poles being generally aligned with the magnets direction of a movement, a third magnet also mounted on said support for reciprocal movement, said direction of movement being between the paths traveled by said first rnentioned magnets and at right angles thereto, said third magnet carrying contact means of an electric switch thereon, said support in addition carrying electric contact means thereon so situated as to be contacted by said first contact in one position of said third magnet along its path of movement.

19. The switch of claim 18 wherein said first mentioned magnets are supported by a rotatable shaft mounted on said support and wherein they travel through an arcuate path.

20. The switch of claim 19 wherein said third magnet is mounted on a pivot arm for movement through an arcuate path.

21. The switch of claim 18 wherein urging means are provided for moving said first two magnets in a first direction in their path of movement.

22. The switch of claim 20 wherein said contact means carried by said support are biasly mounted.

23. A switch comprising a supporting means, a rotatable shaft mounted on said supporting means, two spaced apart arms extending from said shaft in parallel directions, said arms being mounted on said shaft for rotation therewith and against axial movement thereon, bar magnets carried at the end of said arms normal to the longitudinal dimension of said arms and aligned in the direction of movement of said arms, each bar magnet being approximately half the length of the path it travels, like poles of said bar magnets being opposite one to the other, urging means associated with said arms for moving said arms in a first direction, a third arm pivotally supported at one end by said support means between the paths Vof movement of said first mentioned arms, said third arm having a magnet at the free end thereof with the axis thereof normal to the longitudinal dimension thereof and aligned in the direction of movement thereof, said direction of movement being between the mid-points of the path of movement of the bar magnets, said arm in addition carrying an electrical contact, two spaced apart relatively fixed electrical contact means carried by said support means engageable by the contact means of said third arm, spring means associated with said relatively fixed contact means for cushioning the engagement of said electrical contact on the third arm therewith, electrical leads associated with said electrical contacts and connected to separate electrical terminals mounted on said support means.

(References on following page)

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3364318 *Aug 20, 1965Jan 16, 1968Babcock & Wilcox CoEnvironment-proof limit switch
US3478717 *Mar 4, 1968Nov 18, 1969Kidd Joseph VPressure balanced mechanical detector with permanent magnetic means activating indicator means
US3569642 *Jan 26, 1968Mar 9, 1971Grover William BControl for sheet feeding apparatus
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US5430264 *Sep 14, 1992Jul 4, 1995Omron CorporationLimit switch
US5552570 *Nov 17, 1994Sep 3, 1996Omron CorporationLimit switch
Classifications
U.S. Classification335/207, 200/61.41
International ClassificationH01H19/18, H01H36/00, H01H19/00, H01H21/00, H01H21/28
Cooperative ClassificationH01H36/0073, H01H21/28, H01H19/186
European ClassificationH01H19/18C, H01H36/00C, H01H21/28