US 3435169 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
TIE-2 March 25, 1969 W, F BlENWALD ET Ai. 3,435,169
' ROCKERTYPE ELECTRIC SWITCH WITH PILOT LGHT Filed July 19, 1967 sheet l of 2 .Tlc-1-1.-
Marchzs, 1969 WQ E BIENWALD ET AL 3,435,169
ROCKER TYPE'ELECTRIC SWITCH WITH PILOT LIGHT Filed July 19, 19s? sheet 2 of 2 ATTORNEYS f hhA W WIENTORS m Mig-2f@ fgt/waa I v /gf/ .Z/ @W United States Patent O 3,435,169 ROCKER TYPE ELECTRIC SWITCH WITH PILOT LIGHT Wolfgang F. Bienwald, Huntington Station, and William J. Bowie, Flushing, N.Y., assignors to Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed July 19, 1967, Ser. No. 654,430 Int. Cl. H0111 9/18 U.S. Cl. 200-167 10 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An electric switch of the type having an actuator for operating the switch in the form of a rocker member having a chamber containing one or more pilot lamps for illumination of the actuator. Said chamber being free of obstruction and permitting the pilot lamp to be positioned therein immediately beneath a light-transmitting lens in an upper surface of the actuator member, The actuator is pivotally mounted in switch operating position by trunnions which extend outwardly from opposite sides thereof and are journalled in openings in upstanding side pieces of a mounting strap which is attached to the base of the switch. Electrical connections are made to the pilot lamp through a passageway leading from the chamber in the actuator to the interior of the base.
The present invention relates to a rocker type electric switch and it relates, more particularly, to an electric switch having a rocker actuator member which contains a pilot light for illumination thereof.
An object of the present invention is to provide a rocker type of electrical switch having a rocker actuator member which contains a chamber for reception and positioning of a pilot light immediately beneath a light transmitting panel in an upper surface of the actuator member and thus,-to achieve greater illumination of the panel.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a rocker type of electrical switch having an actuator member which is pivotally mounted in operating position on a base containing electrical contacts without obstructing the space within the light receiving chamber or .access thereto.
A yfurther object of the present invention is to provide a rocker type of electrical switch having an actuator member which, although of small size, contains one or more pilot lights and which can readily be assembled with other components of the switch.
These and various other objects of the invention will be better understood from the following description and the yaccompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. l is a view in vertical section taken along line 1-1 of FIG. 6 illustrating a rocker type of electric switch embodying the present invention prior to complete assembly thereof;
FIG. 2 is a view in vertical section taken along line 2--2 of FIG. 6 showing the switch of FIG. 1 in assembled condition;
FIG. Sis an exploded view in perspective of the actuator member and the illuminated panel, forming part of the switch shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the mounting strap for the switch shown in FIG. l;
FIG, 5 is 'a section View taken along line 5--5 of FIG. 2 of the actuator member and mounting strap;
FIG. 6 is the top plan View of the switch, but without the actuator member, the mounting strap therefor and the contact-carrying rocker;
FIG. 7 is :a vertical section view illustrating a rocker 3,435,169 Patented Mar. 25, 1969 type of electrical switch taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 8, but showing the complete assembly and constituting another embodiment of the present invention; and
FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the switch shown in FIG. 7, but without the actuator member, the mounting strap therefor, and the contact-carrying rocker.
Referring to FIGS. 1-6 of the drawings, there is a rocker type of electrical switch 10a having 4a base 10 in the form of a rectangular housing of insulating material which is hollow and has an opening at the top thereof, A combined mounting and actuator supporting strap 11 is secured to the top of the base with an opening therein aligned with the opening in the base. An actuator 12 in the form of a rocker is pivotally carried by the mounting strap in switch-operating position.
Wiring terminals 13 rand 14 in angle form are secured to the bottom wall 15 of the base 10 at one end and the center thereof by rivets 16 and 17, respectively. An additional terminal 13' may be provided at the other end of the base and is secured to the bottom wall of the base by a rivet 16.
The rivets 16 and 16' at the ends of the base, respectively, carry iixed contact buttons 18 and 18' which are positioned in opposing relation to contact buttons 19 and 19 which are carried -at opposite ends of a movable brush or rocker 20 which is located inside of the base for operation by the actuator 12 in a manner to be described.
The mounting strap 11 which may be stamped from sheet metal, comprises a flat strap 21 having a rectangular opening 22 therein which coincides with the opening in the base when the strap is secured t0 the top of the base 10 by means of rivets or scews 23. Extensions 24 at the ends of the strap contain holes 25 to receive fastening screws by which the switch may be secured to a supporting wall or panel.
The mounting strap 11 also has two triangularly shaped side pieces or ears 30 which extend upwardly along opposite sides of the opening in the strap in spaced relation to each other, The upstanding side pieces have holes 31 formed therein to receive trunnion pins 32 which are carried by and extend outwardly Afrom opposite sides of the actuator and thus, the actuator is pivotally supported in position for operation of switch mechanisms within the base without obstructing or diminishing the space within the actuator.
The actuator may be molded of plastic material such as nylon, and the trunnion pins are preferably molded integrally therewith. Each of the tunnion pins has an outer end and an inwardly bevelled cam surface 33 formed o n its lower or downwardly facing side. The distance between the outer ends of the trunnion pins relative to the distance between the confronting faces of the side pieces of the strap is such that in assembling the actuator between the side pieces, the cam surface on the trunnion pins enter initially between these confronting faces with a snug 1'it As the actuator 12 is further pushed into place between the side pieces, the cam surfaces engage with the apical edges of the side pieces and spread the side pieces apart. The side pieces have sufficient inherent resiliency to permit them to be exed outwardly by this camming action and the spreading of the side pieces 30 continues until the trunnion pins 32 are in regisetry with the holes in the side pieces, whereupon the side pieces snap into place with the actuator being pivotally held therebetween.
The upper part of the actuator 12 is channel-shaped to provide a chamber 35 in the upper part thereof which is above the base 10, and the external pivotal supports therefor, as described, without the use of any pivotal pin or shaft extending therethrough, leave said chamber free and unobstructed for the reception therein of one or more miniature pilot lights or lamps 36, as will be described more fully hereinafter.
The 'upper portion of the actuator is in the form of a rectangular frame 38 having two sections 39 which diverge outwardly at a wide angle from the center of the frame and which alternately present raised surfaces for movement of the actuator between on and off positions with small angular amplitude, upon application of pressure on said sections. The actuator 12 also includes two spaced sides or legs 40 and 41 depending from the opposite sides of the rectangle frame 38 and defining therebetween at least part of the chamber 35. The spaced sides 40 and 41 of the actuator extend downwardly through the openings in the strap and the base closely adjacent to the side walls of the base 10 and are of generally circular outline concentric with the axis of the trunnion pins 32, to permit the actuator to be rocked, while maintaining a constant clearance between the edges of said legs and the cross-members at the ends of the opening in the strap.
The actuator frame 38 supports a lens 45 in the form of a panel of light-transmitting material, such as molded plastic, which may be of any desired color and may be corrugated or otherwise irregularized on its inner face for light diifusing purposes, The pilot lamp 36 is fitted within the actuator member in a position where it extends along -the chamber immediately beneath the panel 45 to insure adequate illumination of the panel when the lamp is lit.
To receive the lens-like panel 45, the frame 38 of the actuator has a rabbetted edge 46 which surrounds the opening therein and the outer edges of the panel are angled to seat snugly in the rabbetted edge of the frame. At the center of the panel, lugs 47 extending downwardly therefrom make a snug-lit in grooves 48 formed in the inner faces of the actuator frame 38 and the panel may be retained in the frame by a press-fit or by a suitable cement.
The rocking movement of the actuator 12 controls the opening and closing of the circuit in which the switch is connected and this also controls the lighting of the signal lamp 36.
The contact-carrying rocker or brush 20 is made of an electrically conductive material and has trunnions 50 which are journalled in recesses l51 in the side arms of a U-shaped cradle 52 of an electrically conductive material. The cradle which is located at the center of the base, is held in place and connected to the terminal clip I14 by means of the rivet 17. In the angular position of the contact-carrying rocker 20 shown in FIG. 1, the contact button 19 carried by the rocker is in engagement with xed contact button 18 with the circuit between the two terminals |13 and 14 being closed. In the other extreme angular position of the contact-carrying rocker, the contact buttons are separated, thereby opening the circuit between the terminals.
To move the contact-carrying rocker in response to the manipulation of the actuator, the side piece 41 of the actuator carries a lug 53 having a socket 54 therein for the slidable reception of a plunger 55, which may be made of plastic or other suitable material and which is urged outwardly from said socket and into engagement with the contact-carrying rocker by a coil spring 56 which is interposed between the plunger and the base of said socket. The outer end of the plunger 55 which is rounded, rides along the contact-carrying rocker on opposite sides of the cradle in moving the rocker into and out of contact engaging position.
To impart strong rigid support to the lug 53, the side piece 41 is made slightly thicker than the other side piece 40, but is still thin enough at its outer end so that the chamber 35 is sufficiently wide at its entry end, to permit the pilot lamp 36 to extend freely therein.
A partition 60 which extends upwardly from the bottom of the base 10, divides the bottom base into two compartments and has a curved upper edge 61 which is concentric with the axis of the actuator trunnions 32.
The curved upper surface of the partition engages with surfaces defining a recess 62 at the lower end of the lug 53 carried by the actuator and thus, aids in supporting and guiding the actuator in angular movement thereof.
The pilot lamp 36 may be a small neon lamp which is connected by wires 63 and 64, respectively, to the ixed contact and the rocker cradle with suitable resistor 65 being connected in one side of the circuit. In this arrangement, the lamp is shunted by the rocker arm in closed position of the switch and is illuminated when the switch is in open position. However, the circuit forms no part of the present invention.
The lamp connecting wires 63 and 64 are located, arranged and shaped in the manner to be described so as to permit the lamp 36 to be positioned in the actuator chamber 35 in close proximity to the lens-like panel 45 and to extend along the panel for the attainment of uniform and maximum illumination thereof. For that purpose, the lamp connecting wires are arranged and located on one side of the base to accommodate for the offset positioning of the access passageway to the actuator chamber 35 in relation to the base 10. When the actuator 12 is in position with its rocker engaging lug and plunger directly over the contact-carrying rocker 20 on one side of the partition 60, the entrance to the actuator chamber 35 is offset in relation to the base 10, and above the area of the bottom of the base on the other side of the partition. To avoid interference with operation of the switch, the resistor and the connections to the lamp wire 64 are located on this side of the partition and connector links 66 and 67 extend from the fixed contact and cradle, respectively, through openings in the partition 60 to the other side of the base. The resistor 65 has terminal wires 68 and 70, one of which, namely, the wire 68, is connected to the connector link 66, with the other wire 70 being bent in upstanding position and being connected at its upper end to the lamp wire 63. The other lamp wire 64 which is connected to the rocker cradle also has a portion which extends upwardly. Both wires are bent so as to extend beneath the lamp and are then bent in a reverse direction toward one end of the lamp. This permits the lamp to be in an upwardly inclined position, as shown in FIG. l, to permit the lamp to pass through the passageway in the actuator when the actuator is being assembled in the mounting strap. The lamp is thereafter moved to a lowered position where it extends lengthwise of the chamber and beneath the lens-like panel 45 by insertion of the panel in the framed opening to the position shown in FIG. 2.
FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate a modication of a switch embodying the invention in which the same reference numerals have been applied to parts corresponding to those previously described. In this embodiment, a pair of miniature incandescent lamps and 81 are located within the chamber in the actuator and a panel 82 having two sections 83 and 84 of different colors, as for example, red and green, is mounted in the frame with each of the sections being located in front of a different lamp. The lamps 80 and 81 are connected to the terminals of the switch in such a way that when the actuator 12 is in one extreme angular position, one of the lamps is lit and illuminates the section of the panel associated with it, with the other lamp being shunted. When the actuator is in its other extreme angular position, this condition is reversed. An opaque partition 85 which extends across the chamber in the actuator, has its side edges tted in the recesses 48 in the inner sides of the actuator and divides the chamber 35 into two compartments 86. Thus, the partition prevents illumination from the respective lamps from being transmitted to the other compartment.
In this form, a connector link 66 extends from the rivet 16' to the other side of the base and the lamp 80 is connected by wires 92 and 93, respectively, to the link 66' and the center or common link 67. The other lamp 81 is connected to the center link 67 and the other link 66 by wires 94 and 95, respectively. All of the lamp connecting wires extend through the passageway on one side of the actuator which leads to the lamp compartments and hence, do not interfere with operation of the actuator.
What is claimed is:
1. An electrical switch of the rocker type which comprises a base of insulating material having a top and an opening in the top thereof, electrical contacts located within the base, said contacts including `at least one fixed contact and a contact which is movable into and out of enga-gement therewith, said movable contact extending along one side of the base, a mounting strap secured to the top of the base and having a flat portion resting thereon, said flat portion having an opening therein coinciding with the opening in the top of the base, upstanding side pieces of resilient material carried by the strap and extending in spaced relation to each other along opposite sides of the opening therein, an actuator pivotally mounted between said side pieces and having side portions extending downwardly and into the base through the opening in the strap, said actuator being hollow and having an exposed upper frame forming a lamp receiving chamber with the side portions thereof defining an open passageway from said chamber to the interior of the base, a switch actuating member carried on one side portion of the actuator and engaging with the movable contact on one side of the base, trunnion means formed on and extending outwardly from opposite side faces of the actuator, said trunnion means cooperating with the resilient side pieces of the mounting strap and pivotally mounting the actuator between said upstanding side pieces, and a pilot lamp located within the lamp receiving chamber in the actuator, said lamp being connected to the electrical contacts in the base by wires extending through the open passageway in the actuator.
2. An electrical switch as defined in claim 1 wherein the actuator has an exposed upper surface comprising a frame and a panel of light transmitting material fitted in said frame, said panel bein-g located immediately above the pilot lamp in the lamp receiving chamber.
3. An electrical switch as defined in claim 1 wherein the base has a bottom and includes a partition extending upwardly from said bottom, said partition having a curved upper edge in supporting and guiding engagement with the switch actuating member carried by the actuator.
4. An electrical switch as defined in claim 1 wherein the actuator includes a partition located within and extending between opposite sides of the lamp receiving chamber therein, said partition dividing said chamber into two compartments, and a pilot lamp located in each of said compartments, said lamps being connected to electrical contacts in the base through the passageway in the actuator.
5. In an electrical switch of the rocker type which includes a base having a top with an opening therein and electrical contacts located within the base including fixed contacts and a contact-carrying brush which is movable into and out of engagement with said xed contacts, the combination which comprises; a mounting strap of flat resilient material attached to the top of said base and having an opening therein aligned with the opening in the top of the base, side pieces carried by the strap and extending upwardly in spaced relation to each other along opposite sides of said opening, an actuator pivotally mounted between said side pieces, said actuator being hollow and having an upper portion defining a lamp receiving chamber with an open passageway leading from said chamber to the interior of the base, a switch operating member carried by the actuator and extending into the base through the opening in the strap and means on opposite exterior surfaces of the actuator and opposing surfaces of the upstanding side pieces of the strap for pivotally supporting the actuator between said side pieces without obstruction of said lamp receiving chamber and the passageway to the interior of the base, said pivotal supporting means comprising pin and hole connections between the actuator and the upstanding side pieces with the side pieces being resiliently movable for effecting pivotal mounting ofthe actuator therebetween.
6. In an electrical switch, the combination as defined in claim 5 wherein said pivotal supporting means comprise trunnion pins carried by and extending outwardly from opposite sides of the actuator and said side pieces have holes formed therein into which said trunnion pins extend.
7. In an electrical switch, the combination as defined in claim 6 wherein said trunnion pins include camming surfaces which engage with opposing faces of the upstanding side pieces of the strap and automatically effect snap pivot connections between the actuator and the side pieces upon insertion of the actuator in its switch operating position between said side pieces.
8. In an electrical switch, the combination as described in claim 6 wherein said spaced upstanding side pieces are resilient and are capable of being spread apart to a limited extent, said trunnion pins having bevelled surfaces at their outer ends which face downwardly and form cam surfaces thereon, said upstanding side pieces being spaced relative to the distance between the outer ends of said trunnion pins to cause said cam surfaces to engage with and force the side pieces outwardly away from each other as the actuator and the side pieces are brought together in assembled relationship, thereby causing the side pieces to snap into pin impaling positions automatically when the trunnion pins and the holes in the side pieces are in alignment.
9. In an electrical switch, the combination as defined in claim 5 which includes a pilot lamp located within the lamp receiving chamber in the actuator, said pilot lamp being connected to electrical contacts in the base by wires extending through the open passageway in the actuator.
10. In an electrical switch, the combination as defined in claim 9 wherein the upper portion of the actuator defining the lamp receiving chamber has an exposed surface comprising a frame and a panel of light transmitting material mounted in said frame immediately above the pilot lamp.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,250,887 5/1966 Sorenson 200-167 FOREIGN PATENTS 539,172 2/ 1956 Italy. 634,195 2/ 1962 Italy.
ROBERT K. SCHAEFER, Primary Examine. H. O. JONES, Assistant Examiner.