US 3355695 A
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J. E. OVERESCH Nov. 28, 1967 HINGE FOR CARRYING ELECTRIC CIRCUITS Filed May 25, 1965 INUE wroq J0 SEPh' 5. 01/5255! ORNEYS United States Patent 3,355,695 HINGE FOR CARRYING ELECTRIC CIRCUITS Joseph E. Overesch, 1391 Dunning St., Meuasha, Wis. 54952 Filed May 25, 1965, Ser. No. 458,599 9 Claims. (Cl. 339-4) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A hinge consisting of a pair of leaves which are oscillatable with respect to the hinge pin, each leaf having a central passage extending toward the hinge pin within which electric wires are arranged, a stack of discs of insulating material surrounding the hinge pin and having annular channels on the faces of the discs to receive superimposed pairs of annular electrically conductive elements oscillatable with respect to the other member of the pair and having a radial conductive extension from each member of each pair to engage an electric Wire Within the recess in the hinge leaf, the edge of the insulating disc being relieved to provide an opening for the radial extension.
The subject of the invention is a door hinge having means for carrying electrical circuits past the hinge. The invention is particularly well adapted for use in automobiles, which frequently have electrically operated devices within the door such as electric window operators, electrically operated door locks, and the like. It would be desirable to have still other electrical devices in a door if there was some better way than the present methods for carrying electric current to and from the swingable member.
At present, the wiring for switches and motors within the swingable member is carried past the hinged joint on cables, which may be armored but frequently are not. Even an armored cable is subject to wear, breakage of conductors, and insulation failures at the point where it extends past the hinge because of the extremes of movement and bending which occur every time the door is operated.
The present invention otters means of carrying substantially as many circuits as desired through the hinge joint without flexing any wire or its insulation. This is accomplished by means of a stack of hinged conductors interspersed with wafer shaped insulators, the entire array being supported about the pivot axis of the door hinge. The shape of the insulator discs is such that the hinged portion of each conductor is completely enclosed. Each conductor is provided with a projecting plug prong at each side of the hinge axis, each wire being connected to the appropriate prong by means of an appropriate plug socket. If desired, a single socket may be provided to make contact with all of the respective prongs in any well known manner.
The connections are preferably made within the hinge body, an inspection plate being provided for the purpose. In the embodiment shown, the inspection plate has a dove-tailed connection with the hinge body. Other forms of cover may be used. The hinge body is so shaped as to olTer substantial protection against the entry of dirt into the space where the connections are made. If a multiple socket plug is used to make the electrical connections, the respective sockets may be numbered, color coded, or otherwise identified for ease of wiring. If desired, extra contacts may be provided in addition to those which are actually used by the equipment in a particular car door, in order to provide for the addition of accessories without changing the hinges.
Because of the arrangement of parts provided in my novel hinge, insulation breakdown through mechanical 3,355,695 Patented Nov. 28, 1967 wear is substantially impossible, while failure of electrical Contact is almost as unlikely. Should the hinged connector wear out, it is possible to remove the hinge pin and replace either the aliected hinged conductor or all of the hinged conductors, without removing the door hinge in its entirety.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a horizontal cross-sectional view through the hinge of my invention.
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of my novel hinge with portions broken away to show an axial vertical cross-sectional view of my device.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged exploded view of the insulating discs and hinged conductor of my device.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary broken away view similar to FIG. 2 showing a modified form of my device.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view similar to FIG. 1 showing the modified device.
In the drawings, the numeral 10 designates the hinge generally. As shown, the hinge is generally similar to present day automobile door hinges, although the particular shape is not a part of the invention, and will depend upon the configuration of the automobile or other device upon which my invention is used. Hinge 10 comprises a pair of hinge leaves 11 and 12. In my device, each of hinge leaves 11 and 12 is provided with an interior con duit, including the service cavities numbered respectively 13 and 14, and the smaller conduit portions respectively numbered 45 and 46, through which extend insulated wires 15 extending to the various switches and electrical devices within the car door. The body of the car is generally designated by the numeral 16 and the door by the numeral 17. As shown in the drawings, in an automobile the hinge axis is ofiset from the joint between the body 16 and the door 17 to a point within the body. This construction is common in automobiles today in order to permit concealment of the hinge, but my invention Will work as well with hinge leaves 11 and 12 which are shaped in other ways. If the hinge pin 18 is located in an exposed position, it may be desirable to provide a cover to protect the electrical connections within the hinge from the weather, but such covers form no part of the present invention.
As shown, hinge leaves 11 and 12 are each provided with a pair of spaced lugs 20, 20', and all of said lugs are provided with bores aligned to receive hinge pin 18. The
hinge pin may comprise a bolt and nut as shown, or any other conventional structure such as a headed pin and cotter pin, to insure retention of the hinge pin 18 in assembled relation with lugs 20, 20. Other structures may be used to connect the hinge leaves so that one may oscillate with respect to the other without departing from my invention.
Surrounding hinge pin 18 is a vertical stack of discs 21, the stack being of suitable dimensions to occupy the entire axial space between the lugs 20 of hinge leaf 11. Each disc 21 is provided with an annular channel 22 in itsupper surface and an annular channel 22' in its lower surface, except the last ones in the stack, which may have one channel each, adjacent the next disc in the stack. Each upper channel is defined by an inner rim or collar 23 surrounding hinge pin 18 and by an outer rim or collar 24 at the periphery of disc 21. Each lower channel 22 is similarly bounded by rims 23' and 24. The inner rims 23, 23 are unbroken and are of such a height as to rest upon each other to form an unbroken central insula-' tion about the hinge pin 18.
Each outer rim 24, 24' is notched at a single point 25 or 25' to about one-half the depth of the rim 24 or 24 of 7 channel 22 or 22'. The respective notches in rims 24 and 24' are aligned as shown in FIG. 3 in the preferred embodiment. They may be angularly displaced somewhat to accommodate a specific female plug arrangement, but must open opposite cavities 13, 14 in hinge leaves 11, 12.
The respective channels 22 and 22' in discs 21 combine when stacked to form an annular space having two outlets 25 and 25. The interior of the annular space is occupied by a hinged conductor designated generally as 30, and comprising an upper hinge leaf 31 and a lower hinge leaf 32. Upper hinge leaf 31 .is provided with an annulus 33 and lower hinge leaf 32 is provided with an annulus 34. Annuli 33 and 34 are intimately interconnected so that they have face contact over substantially the entire area of the annuli, to produce an electrical contact having high conductivity and low resistance. As shown in FIG. 3, this is achieved in my preferred embodiment by providing a metallic grommet 35 which is unitary with one of the annuli 33 or 34, and which extends through the central opening in the other annulus and is swaged to engage the free surface of the second annulus, so that the two annuli are permanently oscillatably connected. The connection could also be made by means of a separate grommet 35 swaged to engage the free surfaces of both annuli 33 and 34, or in other ways. The opening in grommet or flange 35 is of a diameter to fit over rims 23 and 23'. The external diameter of annuli 33 and 34 is such as to fit within the inner margin of rims 24 and 24'. Preferably hinged conductor 30 is a snug fit radially within channels 22 and 22 when discs 21 are superimposed with a hinged conductor 30 between.
The remaining portion 36 or 37 of each hinged conductor leaf 31 or 32 comprises a male plug prong adapted to extend respectively through a notch 25 or 25 in superimposed discs 21, the fit between the prong and the notch being very close, regardless of the physical shape of the prong. Because of height limitations in the usual hinge, and the number of conductors which it is desirable to provide in each hinge, particularly in an automobile having electric window operators, applicant has found a flat wide prong to be most suitable. Using that shape, it is possible to stack numerous conductors in a single hinge joint, as best shown in FIG. 2. By staggering the prongs horizontally instead of aligning them vertically, it would be possible to provide an even greater number of contacts with out packing them too close together, but such an arrangement would require a thicker hinge leaf to accommodate cavities 13, 14, and could result in difliculty in servicing. It will be seen that the arrangement of notches 25 and 25' is such that a pair of prongs 36 extends into hinge leaf 11 from one disc 21 and a pair of prongs 37 extends into hinge leaf 12 from the next disc 21. This arrangement is a necessity in order to permit the hinged conductors 30 to oscillate about the hinge axis, without unduly multiplying the number of discs 21 required. It would be possible to avoid this limitation by providing each insulating disc 21 with a single channel 22 on one face, leaving the other face plane, but it would then be necessary to provide a pair of discs between each pair of adjacent hinged conductors 30, rather than providing a single disc between each pair of conductors 30. In the preferred embodiment, only the top and bottom discs are provided with fiat faces, and even they could be identical with the intermediate discs if desired.
Discs 21 are formed of any insulating material. One suitable way of constructing the discs would be to mold them from plastic.
As best shown in FIGURES 1 and 2, the wires 15 may be connected to prongs 36 and 37 of the hinged conductors 30 by providing each wire with a flat clip 40, which is provided with a collar 41 into which wire 15 is crimped or soldered, and with flanges 42 which are curved to enclose the sides of prongs 36 or .37, as best shown in FIG. 1.
A large rectangular cavity 13 is provided within each hinge leaf 11 and 12 to receive the prongs 36 and 37 of the hinged conductors 30 and to provide space within which the connections are made to wires 15. Access is provided to cavities 13 and. 1.4 by pro i g ccess plates 4 43 and 44. As shown best in FIG. 1, these may have a dove-tailed connection with the side wall of the cavities 13 and 14, but it is contemplated that the access plate may be hinged, snapped, or screwed into place. Any other convenient method of closure may be used to provide ready access to cavities 13 and 14 for servicing.
If necessary for strength, cavities 13 and 14 may be limited to the space about the prongs 36 and 37, and the remainder of the conduit for wires 15 may be narrowed as shown at 45 and 46 to a conduit of much smaller dimensions through which wires 15 extend.
Cavities 13 and 14 are desirably lined or coated with insulating material, because in the embodiment shown, the walls of the cavity will come into contact with the uninsulated connectors 40 during pivoting movement of the hinge leaf about the axis of hinge pin 18.
In the alternative, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, female plugs 50 each having an insulating body 51 and containing respective conductors 52 which make intimate contact with each prong 36 and 37 may be used in a manner conventional with other multiple conductor electrical connections, in which case the plug walls 53 which are made of insulating material will be the part which contacts the interior of respective cavities 13 and 14, and will provide all the insulation needed. Such a plug 50 may be provided with screw terminals 54 to which wires such as 15 may be individually attached, thus serving as a terminal block as well as a plug. There will be no wear on the plug since there is no axial movement of the plug with respect to the interior walls of cavities 13 and 14. In fact the female plug 50 may be made a close fit within the cavity, as shown, in order to restrict or prevent lateral movement between the plug 50 and the cavity wall, so that oscillation is positively limited to annuli 33 and 34, so far as the electrical parts are concerned.
In accordance with the usual practice, the hinge may be bolted to a car body and to a car door by meansof bolts 47, or may be secured in any other conventional method to the unit on which the hinge is used.
It will be seen that my invention provides a far superior structure for conducting electric current through a hinge than has previously been known, in that the insulation is protected against wear, and the parts are readily produced, serviced, and replaced. The invention has special applica tion in automobile doors, but is not limited thereto.
1. In combination, a hinge comprising a pair of hinge leaves having margins, a pin having an axis, said leaves and electrical conductor comprising a pair of members substantially encircling the axis of said pin, said members being composed of conductive material and being adapted to contact each other in all positions of oscillation, one of said pair of conductive members being adapted to oscillate only with one said hinge leaf and the other said conductive member being adapted to oscillate only with the other said hinge leaf, whereby said pair of conductive members provides a conductive path past the axis of said hinge pin in all positions of oscillation of said hinge leaves, said pair of conductive members being placed between a pair of insulating discs, each said insulating disc comprising a body adapted to be rotated, said body being provided with a channel within which a conductor of said pair of members is received, a relief in the rim of said channel, and conductive extensions on each of said pair of members of said electrical conductor, each said extension being engaged with said relief and extending generally radially outwardly from said channel.
2. A device of claim 1 in which each said hinge leaf is provided with a recess extending from the margin of said hinge leaf nearest to said hinge pin, one said extension from each said pair of members lying at least in' part within each said recess, and a plurality of electrically conductive elements, one said electrically conductive element being ,in electrical contact with each said extension within. a said recess.
3. The device of claim 2 in Which said hinge is provided with a plurality of said electrical conductors having a pair of members and is further provided with a number of said insulating discs, one greater than the number of said electrical conductors, said electrical conductors and said discs comprising an axial series extending along the axis of said pin, each end member of said series comprising a said disc and the intermediate members of said series comprising alternate electrical conductors and discs.
4. The device of claim 2 in which an opening is provided in said hinge leaf adapted to give access to said recess Without disassembling said hinge, and removable means adapted to close said opening.
5. The device of claim 1 in which each said insulating disc is cylindrical and is provided with a central hole to receive said hinge pin, said disc having one said channel on at least one face to receive said electrically conducting member, said channel being radially spaced from said central hole and from the cylindrical surface of said disc to insulate said electrcially conducting member, each said channel being provided with only a single said relief to receive a said radial extension, and separate radial extensions on each of said pair of members of said electrical conductors being received in separate said reliefs in different discs, each said extension being fixed with respect to one said hinge leaf.
6. The device of claim 5 in which each said radial extension comprises a male portion of an electrical plug.
7. The device of claim 6, including a separate female plug portion for each said radial extension.
8. The device of claim 6, including a unitary female plug associated with the recess in each said hinge leaf, each said female plug being provided with an insulated opening for each said radial extension extending into aid 5 recess, and a respective contact member Within each said opening in conductive relationship with each said radial extension.
9. The device of claim 8 further comprising means within said recess to secure a Wire to each said contact member.
0 References Cited FRANCIS K. ZUGEL, Primary Examiner. MARVIN A. CHAMPION, Examiner.
P. TEITELBAUM, Assistant Examiner.
UNITED STATES PATENT CFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,355,695 November 28, 1967 Joseph E. Overesch It is hereby certified that error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below.
Column 4, line 48, after "leaves", second occurrence, insert being oscillatably mounted for movement about said axis,
Signed and sealed this 14th day of January 1969.
EDWARD J. BRENNER Edward M. Fletcher, Jr.
Commissioner of Patents Attesting Officer