US 3393281 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Julx 156, 1968 M. J. BASSO 3,393,281
SELF-ADJUSTING SWITCH Filed June 1, 1967 INVFNTOR.
United States Patent O 3,393,281 SELF-ADJUSTING SWITCH Michael J. Basso, 7642 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Mich. 48202 Filed June 1, 1967, Ser. No. 647,288 9 Claims. (Cl. M10-61.62)
ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An electric switch assembly -comprising a body member adapted to be xedly mounted on a stationary grounded support .structure and defining a central opening within which an elongated, substantially cylindrical support tube is adjustably mounted. The tube supports an elongated plunger member for reciprocal movement between open and closed positions wherein terminal means disposed on one end of the -plunger member are biased into and out of engagement with contact means mounted on the support tube, the terminal means being arranged such that the subject switch assembly may be operatively associated with both grounded and non-grounded type electrical circuits.
Cross references to related applications This invention relates generally to switch assemblies of the type disclosed in the rapplicants Patent No. 2,921,- l55,.issued lan. 12, 1960, and in the applicants copending application, Ser. No. 479,176, led Aug. 12, 1965.
Background of the invention One particularly troublesome problem in installing switch assemblies which operate lighting or other electrical circuits in response -to opening and closing movement of vehicle closure members such as are found in automotive vehicles, namely, main doors, glove and luggage compartment doors and the like, is the irregular clearance that exists between the various door members and their respective supporting sections or frame members of the vehicles, the clearance between any two similar doors and their respective openings usually being appreciably different under normal mass production assembly conditions. Since such clearance space between the doors and the frames therefore determine the particular manner in which the switch assemblies are operatively installed, it is desirable to provide a lswitch assembly which is characterized by universality of installation and is thus adaptable for mounting where various amounts of clearance exists between the doors and associated frames.
The aforementioned patent and copending application disclose; switch assemblies which have been found to be particularly suited forv the above installation conditions by virtue of any adjustable feature wherein the switches are automatically self-adjusted for the clearance that exists between a particular door and its associated frame when the door is moved in a predetermined manner; however, the switch assemblies described in the aforesaid patent and application have had one drawback which has limited universal application thereof. In particular, the switch assemblies described in the Patent No. 2,921,- 115 are of the grounding type wherein a portion of the switch is grounded to the vehicle body and -actuation of the switch results in a terminal having a current carrying conductor connected thereto being moved into engagement with the grounded portion of the switch to complete an electrical circuit. Thus the patented switch is particularly, although not necessarily, limited to ground-type automotive vehicle electrical circuits. Conversely, the aforementioned pending application is directed toward a throughtype switch assembly wherein -actuation of the switch reresults in two or more terminals being biased into en- Patented July 16, 1958 -gagement with a common conductor member whereby to complete a circuit between the various conductors connected to the terminals. Accordingly, the switch assembly disclosed in the subject pending application is intended, although not so limited, to be used in non-grounded type vehicle electrical circuits.
Because certain automobile manufacturers are presently producing `automobiles incorporating grounded-type electrical circuits, while other manufacturers are producing automobiles having non-grounded type circuits, it has heretofore been necessary, in order to supply all switch requirements, to produce, store and distribute both of the afo're-described types of switch assemblies, resulting in objectionably high manufacturing, inventory and distribution expenses. The present invention is intended to overcome such objections through the provision of a novel switch assembly which combines the features of both the above described grounded and non-grounded type switches, as well as the feature of self-adjustment, in a single, unitized switch assembly.
Summary of the invention This invention relates generally to electric switch assemblies which have an adjustable mounting feature adapting them for a wide variety of different types of installations. More particularly, this invention relates to switch assemblies of the type disclosed in the aforementioned patent and copending application, and which incorporates cooperative terminal and contact means adapting the .assembly for use in both grounded and nongrounded type of electrical circuits. Accordingly, the provision of a new and improved universally applicable switch assembly constitutes a primary object of the present invention.
It is a more particular object of the present invention to provide a new and improved switch assembly which may be used in either grounded or non-grounded types of vehicle electrical circuits.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved switch assembly of the labove character which is self-adjusting.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved switch assembly of the above character which is of a simple design, is easy to assemble, and economical to commercially manufacture.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved switch assembly of the above character which is of a rugged construction and is thus reliable in operation.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing.
Brief description of the drawing FIGURE l is a top elevational view of the improved switch assembly of the present invention, as illustrated in operative association with fragmentary portions of an automobile door and its associated supporting frame, the door being shown in a relatively open position;
FIGURE 2 is a top elevational View of the improved switch assembly of the present invention shown in operative association with the door and door frame portions illustrated in FIGURE l, the door being shown in a relatively closed position;
FIGURE 3 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of an exemplary embodiment of the improved switch assembly illustrated in FIGURE l, as taken substantially along the line 3 3 thereof;
FIGURE 4 is a transverse cross-sectional View of the switch assembly illustrated in FIGURE 3, as taken substantially along the line 4-4 thereof; and
3 FIGURE 5 is a transverse cross-sectional View of the switch assembly illustrated in FIGURE 3, as taken substantially along the line S-Sthereof Detailed description of the invention For convenience of description, the terms inwardly and outwardly will have reference to the geometric center of the switch assembly of the present invention and the various component parts thereof. Likewise, the terms forwardly, and rearwardly and derivatives thereof will have reference to the switch assembly of the present invention as shown in FIGURE 3, with the forward end of said assembly being located at the left side of this figure.
Referring now to FIGURES l and 2 of the drawing, a switch assembly 10, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, is shown in operative association with a closure member 12 that is at least partially supported upon an associated frame member 14 Aby means of a suitable hinge means 16. The particular closure member illustrated herein is a vehicle door of the type commonly found on automotive and truck vehicles, and which is adapted to be pivoted about a vertical hinge axis delined by a hinge pintle or pivot section 18 of the hinge means 16 from the open position illustrated in FIGURE l to the closed position illustrated in FIGURE 2. The switch assembly is adapted to be operatively mounted on a transversely extending door jamb section 20 of the frame member 14 and be selectively engaged by a transversely extending :side portion 22 of the door or closure member 12 when the member 12 is biased to the closed position, whereby to selectively open and close the particular electrical circuit or circuits with which the switch assembly 10 is operatively associated, as will hereinafter be described.
Referring now in detail to the construction of the switch assembly 1t), as illustrated in FIGURES 3 through 5, the assembly 10 includes a body member 24 having an externally threaded shank `section 26 that is adapted to be threadedly received within a suitable aperture 28 in the jamb section 20, the forward end of the body member 24 being formed with a hexagonally-shaped head section 30 that is formed integral with the shank section 26 .and denes a plurality of wrench-engaging facets 32 for facilitating mounting the body member 24 within the aperture 28 by means of a suitable wrench-type tool or the like. If desired, the shank section 26 may be slightly tapered so as to be self-tapping when inserted within the aperture 28, the body member 24 preferably being advanced into the aperture 28 until the head section 30 thereof abuts against the forward face of the door jamb section 20, as illustrated in FIGURE 3.
As best seen in FIGURES 3 and 4, the body member 24 is formed with a central longitudinal `bore 34 which has a uniform diameter and extends completely through the member 24. Extending coaxially through the bore 34 is an elongated cylindrical plunger member 36 which has an enlarged diameter head section 38 formed at the forward end thereof, the section 38 including a radially outwardly extending flange or shoulder portion 40 on the forwardmost end thereof. The plunger member 36 is supported for reciprocal movement relative to the body member 24 within an elongated thin walled support tube 42 which has an inner diameter slightly larger than the diameter of the head section 38 of the plunger member 36 so that the member 36 is free to move toward the right end of the tube 42 until the shoulder portion 40 `abuts against the forward end of the tube 42. The rearward end of the support tube 42 is formed with an internal annular groove which is provided by diverging and converging frustoconical sections 44 and 46, respectively.
As best seen in FIGURE 4, the `support tube 42 is formed with a plurality of axially extending deformed portions or faces 48, the medial portions of the faces 48 being spaced radially inwardly from the inner periphery of the bore 34, whereby the portions of the tube 42 interjacent the faces 48 are in tight frictional contact with the inner periphery of the bore 34, as seen at 50 in FIG- URE 4, The dimensions of the tube 42 and bore 34 are such that upon assembly of the tube 42 within the bore 34, substantial force, for example, approximately 50 pounds, is required to move the tube 42 axially within the bore 34. Thus, for all practical purposes, the tube 4-2 and `body member 24 are fixedly secured to one another until such time as a relatively large force is applied against one of these members to move the same relative to the other of said members.
A helical return spring S2 extends coaxially within the tube 42 and is positioned around the outer periphery 0f the plunger member 36, the forward end of the spring 52 abutting against the -rear end of the plunger members head section 38, the opposite (rearward) end of the spring 52 being seated against a radially inwardly extending portion 54 formed on the rearward end of the converging section 46 of the tube 42. The spring 52 is sufciently long so that it is maintained in a slight state of compression within the tube 42, thus the spring 52 continuously resists movement of the plunger member 36 toward the rearward end of the tube 42.
Mounted on the rear end of the plunger member 36 is a terminal mounting block 56 which is preferably constructed of nylon or other non-conductive material such as molded plastic or the like, and is adapted to secure a plurality of generally arcuate terminal members to the rear end of the plunger member 36. More particularly, as `best seen in FIGURES 4 and 5, a plurality of axially extending terminal members 58, y6i) and 62 are mounted within suitable complementary (arcuate) shaped openings 64 which are formed in the terminal mounting block 56. The terminal members 58, 60 and `62 may be formed with upstruck ear portions (not shown) and be press-fitted within the openings -64 or, alternatively, be molded within the mounting block 56, The rear ends of the terminal members 58, `60 and 62 may have suitable apertures formed therein for receiving the ends of electrical conductors (not shown), these ends of the conductors preferably being soldered or similarly xedly secured to lthe terminal-s 58, y60 and l62 in any manner well known in the art. As shown in FIGURE 5, the terminal members 58, `60 and 62 are equally circumferentially and radially spaced from each other and from the axis of the plunger member 36. The mounting :block 56 is adapted to -be tixedly secured to the rear end of the plunger member 36 by means of having an externally knurled or serrated end section 66 of the plunger member 36 be pressed-fitted within a suitable axially extending bore 68 formed in the forward side of the mounting block 56. As best seen in FIGURE 3, the forward side of the mounting yblock 56 is formed with an integral elongated tubular or sleeve section 70 which extends around the outer periphery of the rear end of the plunger member 36 interjacent the inner periphery of the inwardly extending portion 54 of tjhe tube 42 and the outer periphery of the plunger mem- As illustrated in FIGURE 3, mounted on the rearward end of the support tube 42 is a generally radially outwardly extending member 72 which defines a tapered 0r converging Contact surface 74 at the rearward side thereof. The member 72 is adapted to be soldered or similarly fixedly secured to the rearmost end of the support tube 42 and denes an axially extending bore 76 which is aligned with the interior of the support tube 42 and through which the plunger member 36 and sleeve section 70 of the terminal mounting block S6 extends. The member 72 is preferably constructed of brass or similar conductive material and is formed with an annular contact support section 78 which extends rearwardly from the member 72 and is adapted to support an annular contact element 80 and insulating member 82. It will be noted that the diameter of the bore 76, and hence the interior of the support section 78, is slightly larger than the outer diameter of the sleeve section 70 of the mounting block y56, whereby the plunger member `36 and mounting block 56 will be freely reciprocable relative to the member 72. As best seen in |FIGURE 5, the insulating member 82 is formed with a central bore 84 through which the support section 78 of the member 72 extends. The member 82 is preferably constructed of nylon or other non-conductive material such as plastic, and may be molded directly on the support section 78. The rear end of the section 78 may be formed with a swaged or diverging retaining portion 86 for ixedly securing the insulating member 82, and hence the contact element 80, on the member 72.
The contact element 80 is of a generally annular configuration'and is mounted around the outer periphery of the insulating member 82, the contact element 80 preferably being fabricated of brass or similar conductive material. The element 80 is xedly secured to the member 82 by having a forward end portion 88 thereof deformed or crimped radially inwardly over the forward side of the insulating member 82, and the rear end portion 90 thereof tapered radially inwardly and rearwardly over the rear end of the insulating member 82. As illustrated, the end portion -90 defines a frusto-conical contact surface 92 against which the terminal members 60 and 62 are adapted to engage, as will hereinafter be described.
As best seen in FIGURE 5, an arcuate section of both the contact element 80 and insulating member 82 is removed from the uppermost portions of these members, whereby to define a radially inwardly extending recessed portion 94 which is axially aligned with the terminal member 58.l With this construction, upon forward movement of the terminal mounting block 56, the terminal member 58 will move through the recessed portion 94 without contacting either the insulating member 82 or contact element 80. The length of the terminal member 60 and 62 are such that when the switch assembly 10 is in the actuated position illustrated in FIGURE 3, the forward ends of the terminal members -60 and 62 concomitantly engage the contact surface 92 of the element 80; however, the terminal member 58 is somewhat longer so that when the switch assembly is in the actuated position shown in FIGURE 3, the forward end of the member 58 engages the contact surface 74. It may be noted that the tapered construction of the contact surfaces 74 and 80 is highly desirable in that such a configuration provides for positive engagement of the terminal members 58, 60 and 62 with the members 72 and 80. It will also be noted that for certain types of operative installations, the member 72 may be omitted by mounting the contact member 80 and insulating member 82 directly on the rearward end of the support tube 42, such a construction requiring that the terminal member 58 be mounted radially inwardly from the position shown herein so that the forward end thereof engages the frusto-conical section 46 on the rearward end of the tube l42 when the switch assembly 10 is actuated.
It will be seen from the above described construction that the contact surfaces 74 and 92 and the forward ends of the terminal members '58, 60 and 62 are adapted to function as switch terminals in the electrical circuit controlled by the switch assembly 10. More particularly, it will be seen that the spring 52 normally forces the plunger member 36 toward the forward end of the support tube 42, whereby the forward end of a terminal member 58 is biased into engagement with the contact surface 74 and the forward ends of the terminal members 60 and 462 are biased into engagement with the contact surface 92. At such time as the plunger member 36 is depressed, i.e., moved rearwardly or toward the right in FIGURE 3, the terminal member 58 will be disengaged from the contact surface 74 and the terminal members 60 and 62 will be disengaged from the contact surface 92.`
It will be seen that the switch assembly 10 of the present invention may be used in either grounded or nongrounded type vehicle electrical circuits. More particularly, when it is desired to utilize the switch assembly 10 in a grounded-type electrical circuit wherein the chassis of the associated vehicle comprises the ground conductor, only the terminal member 58 is utilized by having the current carrying conductor connected thereto. During such time as the plunger member 36 is depressed, i.e., when the vehicle door 12 is closed, the terminal member 58 will be disengaged from the contact surface 74 so that the electrical circuit controlled by the switch 10 remains open; however, as such time as the plunger member 36 is released, i.e., moves forwardly upon opening of the door 12, the terminal member 58 will engage the contact surface 74 to complete the circuit between the current carrying conductor and the chassis of the vehicle. Conversely, at such time as it is desired to utilize the switch assembly 10 in a non-grounded type circuit, that is, solely as a through-type switch, for controlling a circuit between two conductors, the conductors are connected in the usual manner to the terminal members I60 and 62. At such time as the plunger member 36 is depressed, the forward ends of the terminal members l60 and `62 will be disengaged from the contact surface 92 to maintain the circuit opening between the conductors; however, when the plunger member 36 is moved to the position indicated in FIGURE 3, the forward ends of the terminal members 60, 62 will engage the contact surface 92 of the element 80, whereby to complete the circuit between the terminal members 60, 62 and hence between the conductors connected thereto. It will be noted that the switch assembly 10 may not only be used independently in the above type electrical circuits, but also may be used simultaneously in both grounded and non-grounded type circuits.
By way of example, the switch assembly 10 of the present invention is adapted to be installed on the jamb section 20 of the frame member 14 by having the threaded shank section 26 of the body member 24 threadably mounted within the aperture 28 in the jamb section 20. Upon initial installation of the switch assembly 10, the support tube 42, together with the plunger member 36 which is supported therein, is disposed in the position illustrated in FIGURE l, the support tube 42 being withdrawn from the body member 24 such that the shoulder portion 40 of the plunger member 36 is spaced a maximum distance from the body member 24. The closure member or door 12 is then biased to the closed position illustrated in FIGURE 2 to automatically position a plunger member 36 at the desired distance from the switch actuating side portion 22 of the door 12 in the following manner. Upon closing the door 12, the side portion 22 initially contacts the head section 40 of the plunger member 36 and b iases the section 40 toward the right against the resistance of the spring 52 to a position where the section 40 engages the forward end of the support tube 42. Upon continued closing movement of the door 12, the force of the door 12 against the plunger members head section 40 progressively moves the member 36, along with the support tube 42, longitudinally toward the right within the bore 34 of the body member 24 until the door 12 has been fully closed, at which time the support tube 42 and plunger member 36 are disposed in the position illustrated in FIGURE 2. When the door 12 is in this closed position, the plunger member 36 is depressed and maintains the left ends of the terminal members 58, 60 and 62 spaced from the contact surfaces 74 and 80 and thus the electric circuit(s) controlled by the switch assembly 10 is open. When the door member 12 is biased to the open position illustrated in FIGURE l, the return spring 52 functions to bias the plunger member 36 forwardly, thereby causing the forward ends of the terminal members 58, 60 and 62 to engage the contact surfaces 74 and 80' whereby the circuit(s) controlled by the switch 10 is closed.
It will be seen from the above described description of thefpresent invention that the switch 10 combines the feature of the grounded and non-grounded type switch assemblies described in Patent No. 2,921,151 and in copending application Ser. No. 479,176, respectively, so that a single switch can be operatively associated with all types of electrical circuits presently being used in automotive vehicles. Moreover, the switch assembly 10 incorporates the novel self-adjusting features disclosed in the aforesaid patent and pending application, with the result that the switch assembly 10 will find no-t only universality of application, but ease of installation and freedom from maintenance. Furthermore, the switch assembly 10 will be found to be extremely simple, yet rugged in design and will thus be easy to assemble, economical to manufacture and durable in operation.
While it will be apparent that the exemplary embodiment illustrated herein is well calculated to fulfill the objects above stated, it will be appreciated that the switch assembly 10 of the present invention is susceptible to modification, variation and change without departing from the proper scope or fair meaning of the subjoined claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In a switch assembly,
a first electrically conductive member adapted to be supported in a grounded position, a second electrically conductive member,
first terminal means engageable with said first member to complete a grounded electrical circuit,
a second terminal means comprising multiple termi minal sections engageable with said second member to complete a non-grounded electrical circuit, and
means for operatively supporting said terminal means for reeiprocable movement toward and away from said first and second members.
2. A switch assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein `said means for supporting said plunger membe-r compri-ses a support member having a tubular portion mounted for axial adjustable movement relative to one of said members.
3. A switch assembly as set forth in claim 1 which includes a body member adapted to be supported in a stationary grounded position, a contact element adjacent said body member but insulated electrically therefrom, plunger means for supporting said terminal means for movement between open and closed positions, and means for urging said terminal means toward one of said positions.
4. A switch assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first member comprises a body member adapted to be supported in a stationary grounded position, which includes an elongated tubular support member, wherein said means for biasing said terminal means comprises a plunger member reciprocal relative to said support member, which .includes terminal carrying means for supporting said terminal means on said plunger member, and which further includes a contact member interposedl between said terminal means and said support member.
S. A switch assembly as set forth in claim 4 wherein said contact member defines a recessed portion and wherein said first terminal means is movable axially of said contact member through said recessed portion.
6. A switch assembly as set forth in claim 5 wherein said first terminal means and said terminal sections of said second terminal means are equally circumferentially spaced around said terminal carrying means with said first terminal means being circumfetentially aligned with said recessed portion of said contact member, whereby axial movement of said terminal carrying means toward said body member results in said first terminal means moving axially through said recessed portion toward said support member and said terminal sections of said second terminal means moving toward said contact member.
7. A switch assembly as set forth in clami 4 wherein said contact member is supported on one end of said support member and is electrically isolated therefrom.
8. A switch assembly as set forth in claim 4 wherein said terminal carrying means comprises an elongated tubular sleeve portion extending circumjacent a portion of plunger member and interposed between said plunger member and at least a portion of said support member.
9. A switch asembly as set forth in claim 4 wherein said support member is axially adjusatble relative to said body member.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,646,477 7/ 1953 Herterick 20G-61.81 XR 2,899,511 8/1959 Frazer ZOO-61.81 2,921,155' 1/1960 Basso ZOO-159 XR 3,244,829 4/1966 Webb 200--61.62
ROBERT K. SCHAEFER, Primary Examiner. H. BIURKS, Assistant Examiner.