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Publication numberUS3248491 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 26, 1966
Filing dateMay 17, 1963
Priority dateMay 30, 1962
Also published asDE1245475B
Publication numberUS 3248491 A, US 3248491A, US-A-3248491, US3248491 A, US3248491A
InventorsHeinz Kroll, Helmut Steinhardt
Original AssigneeInt Standard Electric Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Slider switch construction with interfitting shaft members
US 3248491 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 26, 1956 H. KROLL ETAL I 3,248,491


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April 26, 1966 H. KROLL ETAL 3,248,491


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A ril 26, 1966 H. KROLL ETAL 3,243,491

SLIDER SWITCH CONSTRUCTION WITH INTERFITTING SHAFT MEMBERS Filed May 1'7, 1963 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 United States Patent 3,248,491 SLIDER SWITCH CONSTRUCTION WITH INTERFITTING SHAFT MEMBERS Heinz Kroll, Heroldsberg, near Nurnberg, and Helmut Steinhardt, Uttenreutli, near Erlangen, Germany, I assignors to International Standard Electric Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Filed May 17, 1963, Ser. No. 281,302 Claims priority, application Germany, May 30, 1962,

t W 32,340 3 Claims. (Cl. 200-16) This invention relates to pushbutton" assemblies and more partiularly to sliding switch type pushbuttons. Very often pushbuttons are used toprogram or control computers and similar devices. Among other things, thisuse requires a great flexibility of design wherein contacts may be added to, subtracted from, or otherwise ganged into an assembly of pushbutton controlled contacts to meet either existing or changing program needs. To provide such flexibility, the pushbutton assembly may be made up from many standard components which may be joined together in any convenient geometric arrangement. For example, assume that the geometry of the assembly may be described according to its distribution around horizontal and vertical axes. If the pushbuttons are arranged along'a horizontal axis, the number of pushbuttons may be changed by adding or subtracting pushbutton components, in a side-by-side arrangement, along the horizontal axis. Likewise, if the contacts are arranged along a vertical axis, the number of contacts per pushbutton may be increased by adding pushbutton components in a front-to-back arrangement along the vertical axis. Furthermore, interlocking levers, bars, or other devices may be arranged to simultaneously push one or more components, according to program needs. I o

Heretofore, the described type of pushbutton assemblies have. not been suitable for modular construction techniques. For one thing, pushbutton requirements have varied greatly,.and no one single design has met all needs. Also, pushbuttons have required reset springs, and the loadings on these springs varied greatly as the number and type of contacts varied. In like manner, the drag introduced by each added contact produces additive' forces which, as a practical matter, limit the number of ontacts that can be put on any given pushbutton. For these and other reasons, standardized modules have not heretofore been available. Thus, many different types of machine tools, jigs, dies, fixtures, and the like have been required to manufacture pushbutton assemblies. Moreover, an extensive inventory of parts have been required.

-Accordingly, an object of this invent-ion is to provide new and improved pushbutton assemblies and more particularly to provide assemblies of modular design. Anotherobject is to provide modular pushbutton assemblies using sliding contacts. A further object is to provide modular assemblies having contacts which may be increased, decreased or otherwise ganged into a pushbutton-controlled assembly.

Another object of this invention is to provide pushbutton assemblies which may be economically manufactured on conventional machine tools without requiring expensive, special purpose'production devices. More particularly, an object is to provide for the assembly of a great variety of pushbutton devices without requiring expensive inventories of special pieceparts.

In accordance with one aspect of this invention, pushbutton assemblies are made up from a number of modules. Each module contains an independent sliding switch device and a number of associated contact ele- 3,248,491 Patented Apr. 26, 1966 ments. This device includes all parts necessary for pressing, guiding, positioning, and returning the sliding switch element. Thus, if a number of modules are bolted or otherwise clamped together in a side-by-side arrangement, the number of pushbuttons may be increased or decreased. In like manner, if modules are bolts or otherwise clamped in a front-to-back arrangement, any number of contacts may be added to or subtracted from the number of'contacts controlled by any individual pushbutton. Finally, mechanical motion linkages may be arranged so that any convenient number of pushbuttons are operated simultaneously or sequentially if any one button is pushed.

The above mentioned andother features of this-invention and the manner of obtaining them will become more apparent, and the invention itself will be best understood by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows (by a partial cross section view) the side of a switch module constructed in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 1A shows a fragment of FIG. 1 with the sliding contact in an operated position;

FIG. 2 shows an end view (also in partial cross sec-' tion) of the switch module taken along line 22 of FIG. 1; a

FIG. 3 is a side view of an embodiment of the invention designed to use printed circuit components;

FIG. 4 shows an end view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a side view showing a plurality of pushbutton-controlled modules bolted together to form a pushbutton-controlled assembly;

FIG. 6 is a side view showing an alternative embodiment of the FIG. 5 assembly wherein adjacent pushbuttons have been ganged together for simultaneous operation; and

FIG. 7 shows a further modification. of the assembly wherein mechanical linkages gang and interlock the various pushbuttons of FIG. 6.

Reference may be made to FIG. 1 for a showing of an exemplary pushbutton module 20 which incorporates certain features of the invention. This module contains a sliding switch contact assembly 21 and all supplementary equipment required to make a completely inde-- pendent assembly. The elements shown in cross section are indicated by hatch-lines. The. major portions of this module are a casing or frame 22, a number of solder terminal contacts 23, a pair of sliding contact shoes 24, 25 forced outwardly by follower springs 26, 27, and a switch moving or actuating rod 28. Projecting from the righthand end (as viewed in FIG. 1) of the casing 22 and integral with the rod 28 is a pin 30. The other end of the switch rod 28 is formed with a recess or opening 31 having internal dimensions suitable for receiving another pin such as 30 projecting from an adjacent module. A reset spring 32 surrounds the lefthand end of the switch rod 28 and urges it in a rightward direction. Thus, at all times except when the pin 30 is pushed, the spring 32 forces the contact shoes 24, 25 to a home or normal position at the righthand extremity of the casing 22.

' The casing 22 consists of two identical shells or portions 35 (FIG. 2). Most appropriately, each of the shells is made from a molded plastic material having good electrical insulating qualities. Imbedded in, or otherwise suitably supported by, the plastic material are two strips of contacts 36. These contacts have a configuration adapted to guide and support the sliding shoes 24, 25. The follower springs 26, 27 urge the contact shoes outwardly (with respect to rod 23), thus insuring good electrical contact between the components 24, 25, and 36. Preferably, the contact strips 36 are printed circuit cards, however, they may be made of a laminate of conductive and insulating materials, or other suitable material known to those skilled in the art.

-As shown in FIG. 1A, the contacts 24, 25 make a contact from terminal B to terminal D when the switch is not operated. (Each of the terminals A-D is a segment of conductive material on printed circuit card 36.) When the switch is operated, the sliding contact shoes 24, 25 break the contact between terminals B and D and make a contact between terminals A and C, as shown in FIG. 1A. Of course, the printed circuit card has any suitable configuration of contact material.

To assemble or construct a module 2%, it is only necessary to place the various components inside of one of the shells in a manner which will be obvious from an inspection of FIG. 1. Then the other shell is placed over the assembly. As shown in FIG. 2, the two shells are reversed with respect to each other. After the assembly is completed, any suitable fastening device (such as a rivet) 38 secures the assembly together. Preferably a hollow rivet or sleeve is used so that it may provide passage for bolts or other devices.

To facilitate an assembly of the modules in a side-byside relation, two pairs of recesses 40, 40 are formed at opposite ends of the casings. Additionally, the casings include longitudinally disposed openings 41, 41 extending through the casings to receive bolts or other clamping devices. At one end of each casing is a pair of outstanding lugs 42, and at the other end of the casing is a pair of mating recesses 43. By inspection of the drawings it should be apparent that a plurality of modules may be arranged in a s'ide-by-side relation by fitting recesses 40, 40 against mating lugs on adjacent modules. Moreover, a plurality of modules may be placed in a front-toback, longitudinally disposed relation by fitting lugs 42 into recesses (such as 43) of adjacent modules.

After the modules are assembled, threaded shafts, bolts, or other suitable devices clamp them together into a unitary structure. Thus, the modules that are side-by-side are held together by bolts passing through sleeves 38. Those that are front-to-back, longitudinally disposed are held together by bolts passing through the holes 41, 41'.

In keeping with another aspect of the invention, the completed module assembly is mounted on a printed circuit card as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. To do this, the solder terminals 23 are inserted through openings in the printed circuit card 50 and then soldered into position, as shown at 51.

The advantages of the sliding switch module should now be obvious. Each individual switch represents a dust-tight sealed and an independently operable structural element. Since all modules are exactly alike manufacture is simple. Each of the sliding switches uses switch moving rods and reset spring of uniform design. Thus, for making a multi-pushbutton switch assembly only a small number of different components are reqmred irrespective of the switching functions that the multi-pushbutton switch is supposed to perform. In this way there is avoided the often times rather complicated and expensive manufacture of the hitherto special purpose pushbuttons. By the simple and analogous assembly of the individual switch modules the performance is reliably safeguarded and most of the various types of switching problems are eliminated. Only the threaded bolts used to hold together the switch modules require a particular design. This, however, may be accomplished simply by cutting threaded shafts to the correct respective length. Of course there are still other advantages which may become more apparent from the following description of examples of various pushbutton assemblies.

FIG. 5 shows a multi-pushbutton switch assembly. This particular assembly is composed of six modules 55,

each consisting of sliding switch devices. These modules are arranged next to each other in side-by-side relation. It is also possible to arrange several rows of these sliding switches behind each other. Each module is provided with a push-button 56 for performing the switching motion. The pushbuttons may be caps fitted on the ends of the pins 30 of the switch moving rods projecting out of the assembled system of individual modules. The individual modules are clamped into position next to each other on the threaded bolts 57. The dot-dashed lines 59 show how other modules may be longitudinally disposed, in front-to-back relation, thus increasing the number of contacts controlled by each pushbutton.

By correctly designing the shape of the pushbuttons, it is possible to simultaneously actuate two or several modules of sliding switches lying next to each other. The front view of such an arrangement is shown in FIG. 6. For example, pushbutton cap 60 moves shafts 30a, 30b of adjacent modules 61, 62.

Sometimes the pushbutton, upon release, is supposed to return to normal under the action of the spring 32 of the individual module. In addition, a number of pushbutton modules may be combined with an engaging mechanism to lock the pushbuttons when depressed. Moreover, the engaging mechanisms may be interlocking so that the switching modules are capable of mutually releasing one another.

FIG. 7 shows an exemplary embodiment relating to a multi-pushbutton switch assembly, built according to the invention, in connection with an engaging mechanism 70 for causing the mutual release or individual release of the switch modules. By arranging the individual modules next to each other, behind each other, and above or below each other, it becomes possible to achieve the number of required interacting contacts. The longitudinal and cross connections of the assembly are effected with the aid of the threaded bolts 72 and 73. With the aid of one pushbutton head 60, two rows of assembly modules are actuated simultaneously. These modules are arranged behind each other in a way such that the switching motion of one module is transferred to the next successive module. To this end, the pin 30 of the following assembly module engages the square recess 31 provided at the bottom side of the preceding unit. The individual casings are coupled to one another with the aid of pins 42 and recesses 43 arranged at their face sides, and which engage one another thus providing a protection against twisting or distortion. Slide 75 interlocks the pushbuttons in a well known manner.

While the principles of the invention have been described above in connection with specific apparatus and applications, it is to be understood that this description is made only by way of example and not as a limitation on the scope of the invention.

We claim:

1. An assembly comprising a plurality of sliding switch modules, each of said modules being made from two identical shell halves clamped together by tubular sleeves, lugs on one end and mating recesses on the other end of each shell half to facilitate end to end alignment of a plurality of said modules, a sliding switch assembly comprising a spring biased rod-like member slidably supported at either end and carrying contact making members, said rod and contact member traveling back and forth responsive to application and removal of longitudinal pressure on said rod against said spring bias, one end of said rod having an elongated pin projecting beyond said housing and the other end of said rod having a recess with contours of a shape which is complementary to said pin for receiving the pin on another end-to-end aligned one of said modules, whereby said longitudinal pressure is transferred from module to module, printed circuit card means in each of said modules for making any one of a plurality of electrical circuits depending upon the travel position of said contact member carried by said rod, means passing through said tubular sleeves for clamping a plurality of said modules together in side-by-side arrangement, a plurality of solder lugs for extending electrical circuits through said shells to conductive segments on said printed circuit cards, and means for interlocking a plurality, of said modules for simultaneous operations.

2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said interlocking means comprises a pushbutton cap extending over a plurality of said rod-like devices.

3. The assembly of claim 1 and engaging means for effecting mutual or individual release of said modules.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 6 Krenke 200-166 Kling 200-11 Wintle 200-6 Bease 200-67 X Naimer 200-168 Luehring et al 20'0-144 X Tabet 200-14 Watson 200-6 X Naimer et al. 200-168 OTHER REFERENCES German application 1,136,402, September 13, 1962.

KATHLEEN H. CLAFFY, Primary Examiner.


JAMES R. SCOTT, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3399282 *Nov 15, 1966Aug 27, 1968Matsuku Kabushiki KaishaMultiple pushbutton switch
US3441743 *Sep 15, 1967Apr 29, 1969Carroll Robert PSelector switch for multiple circuit control
US3493705 *Nov 7, 1967Feb 3, 1970Schoeller & Co ElektrotechPushbutton switch
US3514554 *Apr 18, 1969May 26, 1970Allen Bradley CoPushbutton assembly
US4013855 *Mar 17, 1975Mar 22, 1977Tektronix, Inc.Modular pushbutton switch
US4730090 *Feb 25, 1987Mar 8, 1988Indak Manufacturing Corp.Electrical switch having oppositely facing contactor
U.S. Classification200/16.00C, 200/16.00R, 200/307, 200/536, 200/278
International ClassificationH01H13/50, H01H15/06, H01H13/74, H01H1/40, H01H1/12, H01H13/70, H01H15/00
Cooperative ClassificationH01H1/403, H01H13/503, H01H15/06, H01H13/74
European ClassificationH01H13/50B, H01H15/06, H01H13/74, H01H1/40B