US 3436716 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
A ril 1, 1969 J. w. AMIS, JR, E L 3,435,716
TUBE LAMP SOCKET FIXTURE WITH HINGED COVER PANELS Filed Oct. 5, 1967 Sheet 1 of 2 INVENTORS JAMES M AMIS J2. BY JAMES 5. 30350 ATTORNEYS TUBE LAMP SOCKET. FIXTURE WITH HINGED COVER PANELS A ril 1, 1969 J. w. AMIS, JR, ET AL Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 5, 1967 INVENTORS JAMES M A/V/S JE.
JAMES B DOBS'ON ATTORNEYS nited States Patent O 3,436,716 TUBE LAMP SOCKET FIXTURE WITH HINGED COVER PANELS James W. Amis, Jr., Bellevue, and James B. Dobson,
Seattle, Wash., assignors to Korry Manufacturing Co.,
Seattle, Wash a corporation of Washington Filed Oct. 5, 1967, Ser. No. 673,038 Int. Cl. Hlr 33/10 US. Cl. 33954 15 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A socket structure for tubular electric lamps including a socket housing with bottom, end and two side walls. A cover system is removably attached through grooves and ribs to the housing to form a top cover panel and a terminal cover panel which are connected to one another by a hinge. The top cover panel may be articulated about the hinge to permit insertion or removal of the end of a tubular electric lamp. The terminal cover panel can be articulated about the hinge to provide easy access to the terminal connections at one end of the socket housing. In the preferred form the cover system is one piece with the hinge formed by molding a transverse groove into the cover piece between the top cover panel and the terminal cover panel portions.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention This invention relates to an improved electrical lamp socket structure and more particularly to a socket assembly for tubular electric lamps which includes a cover system permitting access to the socket chamber for installing and removing lamps and also allows easy access to an otherwise covered terminal portion of the socket housing for installing or replacing electrical wiring.
Description of the prior art While it is acknowledged that there are several electric tube lamp socket designs known which provide relatively easy access to the socket for installation or removal of lamps and effective shielding for the electrical connections to the socket, until the development of the socket structure of the instant invention a low-cost reliable socket has not been available which provides easy access to the socket to permit rewiring and relamping. It is therefore the principal object of the instant invention to provide a generally improved lamp socket structure which is low in cost, reliable in operation, and provides structural features permitting easy access to the lamp chamber and terminal portion of the receptacle.
It is a further object of the instant invention to provide a lamp receptacle having a simple design utilizing the minimum number of parts which together form a compact, vibration-resistant light socket structure suitable for aircraft installations.
It is yet a further object of the instant invention to provide a lamp receptacle formed from two unitary pieces of insulating material which cooperate together to provide long life, reliable and safe operation of the receptacle while providing easy insertion and removal of the lamps without exposure of the electrical terminal portion of the device.
It is a still further object of the instant invention to provide a generally improved lamp receptacle which includes a cover assembly of a design which allows easy access to the terminal wiring and connections without opening the lamp chamber or otherwise disturbing the installed lamp.
It is a related object of the instant invention to provide a cover assembly for a lamp socket made of a unitary piece of insulative material including a unitary hinge portion which permits relative hinging of one panel of the cover assembly relative to the other.
Another related object of the instant invtntion is to provide a cover assembly for a lamp socket which includes unitary detent members for holding the cover assembly in its various desired positions.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an improved lamp socket and terminal block structure which increases the ease of access to the socket chamber for removal and replacement of the lamps and the ease of access to the socket terminal portion for removal and replacement of the wiring terminals. In its preferred form the socket housing includes longitudinally extending groove means which are slidably engaged by correspondingly shaped ribs formed in the side edges of the cover assembly. The panels of the cover assembly are hinged together so that one panel covers the open top of the lamp socket housing until this top panel is articulated about the hinge to permit the tubular light to be removed from or inserted into the lamp chamber portion of the socket. In a like manner the terminal panel cover normally is disposed to cover the terminal connectors at the terminal block end of the socket housing. If, however, access to the terminals is desired, the terminal cover panel may be articulated about the hinge to provide easy access to the wiring terminals. One particularly unique feature of the instant invention is the use of a slidable, articulative unitary member for the cover assembly incorporating a transverse groove in the unitary member defining a hinge dividing the member into relatively articulative panels.
These and other features and advantages of the invention will become more fully apparent through the following detailed description thereof, which is to be read with reference to the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a partial isometric view of a preferred embodiment of the invention showing the manner in which the socket is used to hold a tubular lamp;
FIGURE 2 is an end elevation view looking into the end of the socket of the instant invention through lines 2-2 of FIGURE 1 with the lamp removed;
FIGURE 3 is a side sectional view of the socket of the instant invention as seen from lines 3-3 in FIGURE 2 with the end of the lamp illustrated in its normal position within the socket;
FIGURE 4 is a partial isometric view of the socket of the instant invention showing the raised position of the terminal cover;
FIGURE 5 is a partial side elevation view, with some parts shown in section, of the socket and lamp shown in FIGURE 4;
FIGURE 6 is an exploded partial isometric view of the socket and lamp in accordance with the instant invention illustrating the position of the raised top cover panel for insertion or removal of the tubular lamp;
FIGURE 7 is a partial side section view of the lamp end socket as shown in FIGURE 6;
FIGURE 8 is an exploded isometric view of the socket assembly in accordance with the instant invention; and
FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary end elevation view, partially in section, showing a modification in which the cover groove configuration of the socket differs from that in the embodiment shown in FIGURES 1 to 8.
3 DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS With more particular detail, reference is directed to FIGURE 1 which discloses a typical installation utilizing the improved socket and terminal block structure 1 of the instant invention. As shown, the tubular electric lamp is supported within the socket housing which is enclosed by cover assembly 40.
For simplicity in describing and claiming, relative directions such as upper, lower, longitudinal, and transverse will be made with reference to the attitude of the socket structure 1 as Shown in the drawings with the understanding that the structure 1 could be installed in various other positions.
FIGURE 2 shows an end elevation view of a typical installation of the socket structure 1 with the tubular electric lamp 5 being removed from the socket chamber 20. As shown, a support frame 3 holds the socket housing 10 in place through suitable mounting screws 4 which are inserted through the support frame 3 into the bottom wall 12 of the socket housing 10. While being shown as a unitary molded article, the socket housing 10 could be composed of individual elements including the bottom wall 12 having side edges 14 to which are joined the upstanding side walls 16 and 17. The socket chamber end wall 26, upstanding side walls 16 and 17, bottom wall 12, and the cover assembly 40 encompass and define the socket chamber into which one end of the electric lamp 5 is inserted. Electrical connections are provided for the lamp 5 through contact springs 28 mounted in the end wall 26 of socket housing 10.
The position and configuration of the various components of the socket structure 1 are shown in FIGURE 3. This figure shows in more detail the configuration of the contact springs 28 for making electrical contact through the ring connector 7 and button connector 9 which are separated by insulator 8 and mounted at one end of the glass tube 6 of the electric lamp 5. The contact springs 28 are supported by terminal post screws 29 which pass through terminal apertures 27 in the end wall 26.
As shown in FIGURES 1-3, the socket chamber 20 is enclosed by means of the socket housing 10 and the cover assembly so that the electric lamp 5 is held in place and in contact with the contact springs 28 in the socket chamber 20. In addition, the terminal post screws 29 are protected and covered by means of the dihedral shaped terminal panel 55 of the cover assembly 40.
For a better understanding of the significant features of the components of the socket structure 1 reference is now made to the exploded perspective view shown in FIGURE 8. The socket housing 10 may include mounting apertures 13 formed in its bottom wall 12 for fastening engagement with mounting screws 4. Since upstanding side walls 16 and 17 are mirror images of one another, a more detailed description will be made of side wall 16 bearing in mind that side wall 17 is of a complementary structure. Toward the upper edge of side wall 16 there is formed a grooved ledge 22 and a grooved ridge 23 which together define a longitudinally extending groove 24. To add rigidity to the socket housing, end wall 26 spans transversely and connects at its ends with the two side walls 16 and 17. Terminal apertures 27 are formed in the body of end wall 26 for passage therethrough of the terminal post screws 29 for securing to the end walls 26 the electrical contact springs 28.
With continued reference to FIGURE 8, the structure and features of the cover assembly 40 are noted. Basically, cover assembly 40 includes two panels; the top panel 42, is connected by hinge means 50 to terminal panel 55. Top panel 42 has a front edge 43, side edges 44, rear edge and a lower surface 46. The side edges 44 are extended to form first rib means 47 having a size and shape suitable for insertion and longitudinal sliding along and within groove 24 in the socket housing 10. Near the rear edge 45 and extending outwardly and downwardly from lower surface 46 are first detent members 48, the purpose of which will be explained later.
As shown in FIGURE 8, the terminal panel 55 includes the front edge 56, side edges 57 and rear edge 58. The lower surface '59 of panel 55 includes second detent members 61, which are similar in size and shape to first detent members 48. Side edges 57 form second rib means 60 which are shaped for longitudinal sliding within groove 24 in the socket housing 10. Hinge means 50 joins the top panel 42 with the terminal panel 55 in such a way that the panels can articulate about the hinge relative to one another. As shown, hinge means 50 is formed by cutting a transverse groove 51 into the lower surfaces 46 and 59 of panels 42 and 55. The groove 51 is deep enough to provide the flexibility utilizing the remaining material as a web connector 52 between panels 42 and 55. In one specific embodiment the groove 51 has a radius of 0.05 inch with the web connector '52 having a minimum thickness of 0.010 inch. In this particular case the cover assembly 40 was formed from injection molding grade polypropylene. This material permits the hinging action literally hundreds of thousands of times without fatigue, provided that the fibers of the polypropylene extend at right angles to the hinge line.
The end portion 65 of terminal panel 55 extends downwardly from the rear edge 58 and includes a front surface 66, the rear surface 67.
To assemble the socket 1 so that it assumes the form shown in FIGURE 1, the cover assembly 40 is positioned to align first and second rib means 47 and 60 with the grooves 24 in the socket housing 10. The panels 42 and 55 are then pushed longitudinally until the end portion 65 engages side wall extensions 33 of the socket housing 10 and the front surface 66 engages the terminal divider 35 and bottom wall extension 36 both of which project rearwardly from end wall 26. In order for this closure operation to take place, the first and second detent means 48 and 61 are forced over the upper edge 31 of the end wall 26. Edge 31 lies in or below the plane established by groove ledges 22 in the side walls 1 6 and 17. Since the detents 48 and 61 are rounded, this forcing does not require an unreasonable amount of force.
Once the closure operation has been completed, the cover assembly 40 is in the normal position as shown in FIGURES 1-3. As shown, a wiring space 37 is defined between the rear surface 32 of end wall 26 and the front surface 66 of the end portion 65 of terminal panel 55. In the normal or first condition, the socket structure i1 provides adequate closure for retaining the electric lamp 5 within the socket chamber 20 with positive connection through the contact springs 28 to the power necessary for operating the lamp 5. In addition, the cover assembly 40 provides protective coverage of the wiring space 37 at the rear end of the socket housing 10.
In the event that it is necessary to replace the wiring originally installed or remove the wiring servicing socket structure 1, it is possible, using the protective terminal block and end socket structure of the instant invention, to make such changes quite easily without disturbing the tubular lamp 5. This is shown in FIGURES 4 and 5, which may be characterized as illustrating the second, i.e. rewire condition of the socket structure 1. As shown in FIGURE 4, cover assembly 40 has been moved in the direction of the arrow rearwardly along the groove 24. At this approximate position, the second rib means 60 of panel 55 are virtually free of the groove ridge 23, which extends along the side walls extensions 33, so that the terminal cover 55 may be lifted upwardly to rotate about hinge '50 providing easy access to terminal post screws 29 and power wires 70 Without interference between the second rib means 60 and the groove ridge 23. At this point also the first detent means 48 engage the forward edge 31 of the end wall 26 so as to cause a requirement for additional pulling force before additional movement of the cover assembly 40 can be made in the rearward direction.
It should be noted that the second detent means 61 in the normal condition, as shown best in FIGURE 3, is positioned so that they contact the forward edge 31 of the end Wall 26 requiring an additional initial pulling force to move the cover assembly from its normal position as shown in FIGURES 1-3 to the rewire position as shown in FIGURES 4-5.
The third condition or position of socket structure 1 is shown in FIGURES 6 and 7 and this condition may be characterized as the relamp condition. To reach this condition from the position shown in FIGURE 1 it is merely necessary that a lifting force be applied to the front edge 43 of top panel 42 to spring the first rib means 47 out of the grooves 24 in the upstanding sidewalls -16 and 17 of the socket housing 10. Since there is no forward end wall in the socket housing 10 the inherent flexibility of the forward end of the side wall 16 and 17 permits the spring-like action without requiring an undue amount of force. It should be noted that this operation takes place with the top panel 42 being articulated about the hinge 50 without interfering with the position of the terminal panel 55. In this manner, the electric lamp 5 can be withdrawn from or positioned within the socket chamber 20 without exposing or otherwise opening the wiring space 37, as shown in FIGURE 7.
To provide suitable insulation, flexibility and durability characteristics required for the service life of the socket structure 1, it has been found that an excellent material for both the cover assembly 40 and the socket housing 10 is provided by injection molding grade polypropylene having nonburning characteristics. Synthetic plastic and other suitable insulating materials which can be molded or formed into the structure described above may be suitable for this purpose as well.
It has been found that it is possible to expose the wiring space 37 without fully retracting or sliding the cover assembly 40 rearwardly to the position shown in FIG- URE 4. This is done by applying an articulating force to terminal end portion panel 65 of such an amount that the second rib means 60 spring out of the groove 24 in the side walls 16 and 17. Thus, the requirement that the cover assembly be slid rearwardly from the normal position prior to exposing the wiring space 37 is one of preference rather than being a critical requirement. If it were found that the sliding requirement is critical or otherwise important, it would be an easy matter to redesign the second rib means 60 and at least the rear portion of the groove 24 to resist any such spring release of the terminal panel 55 from the grooves 24. A most obvious expedient would be to extend transversely the second rib means 60 and to make groove 24 deeper.
Another modification 40' is shown in FIGURE 9 and includes the provision of a modified groove 24 formed by downwardly extending ridge 25 which acts against the upper extending tab 63 of the modified second rib means 60' to resist any upward rotation of the terminal panel 55 out of the modified groove 24. Thus formed, the modified cover assembly would be extremely difficult to spring out of the modified groove 24'.
It is therefore seen that we have disclosed a generally useful and advantageous socket assembly which is easy to fabricate while providing simple access to the socket chamber 20 for replacing tubular lights as well as providing simple access to wiring space 37 for installing or changing wiring connections. This simplicity of design reaches its greatest advantage in the configuration of the cover assembly 40 wherein the hinge means is formed by the transverse groove 51 so that the cover assembly 40 consists of a unitary piece.
What is claimed is:
1. A protective terminal block and end socket for tube lamps comprising:
an insulative receptacle having generally parallel sides joined by a connecting bottom and one end wall and adapted to accommodate the terminal end of a tube lamp in the chamber formed between said sides and to retain lamp terminal contact elements including connector means extending through said end wall for access on the exterior face thereof, and
removable cover means for said receptacle including rib means,
said receptacle side walls defining groove means shaped to slidably receive said rib means therein for maintaining said cover in position thereon,
said cover means including a top panel portion and a rigid dihedral terminal panel overlying said end wall to shield said connector means and joined to the top panel portion of said cover by hinge means permitting relative hinging movement between said top and terminal panels about a transverse line extending between said receptacle sides,
said side grooves being defined by flexible material permitting said top panel to be forced away from said bottom wall springing a portion of said rib means out of said groove means so that said top panel is articulated about said transverse hinge line to permit insertion and removal of said lamp end from said socket chamber while at the same time said terminal panel continues to shield said connector means.
2. The combination defined in claim 1, including:
detent means extending from said cover means toward said bottom wall on both sides of said transverse hinge line,
in the normal closed and relamp conditions of said socket and cover means, a portion of said detent means is positioned,
in contacting relationship with said end wall to resist the longitudinally sliding of said cover means along said grooves.
3. The combination defined in claim 2 wherein:
said detent means under sufiicient longitudinally applied force permit said cover means to be moved along said grooves in a direction toward said end wall until reaching a rewire position, at which point a portion of said detent means contacts said end wall resisting further movement along said groove permitting the rib portion of the terminal panel to be suificiently clear of said groove to allow said terminal panel to articulate about said hinge line to permit access to said connector means without removing said top panel from its closure position over said lamp chamber.
4. The combination defined in claim 1, wherein:
said receptacle is of integral one-piece construction, and
said cover means is of integral one-piece construction,
both said receptacle and cover means are formed of a synthetic plastic material,
said hinge means comprising a connecting web portion of reduced thickness defining a line of bending therein.
5. The lamp socket structure of claim 1 wherein:
said cover means is a unitary piece of polypropylene,
said hinge means is formed by a transverse groove through said cover means between said top and terminal panels with a web means connecting said top panel to said terminal panel permitting articulation between these panels.
6. The socket structure of claim 5, wherein:
said web means is at least 0.010 inch thick and the fibers of said polypropylene extend at right angles to said hinge groove.
7. An improved electrical lamp socket structure comprising:
socket housing, cover assembly and electrical connector means in combination,
said housing including a longitudinally extending bottom wall with two side walls extending upwardly along both side edges thereof and joining at one end with an end wall which also extends upwardly from said bottom wall and lies in a plane transverse to the planes of said side walls,
said bottom, side and end walls defining a socket chamber to accommodate therein one end of a tubular electric lamp,
each of said side walls defining a longitudinally extending groove means between groove ridges at the upper edge of said side walls and groove ledges spaced below said groove ridges with the plane of said ledges of said groove in a plane no lower than the plane established by the upper edge of said end wall,
said end wall including apertures,
said electrical connector means being mounted within said socket chamber for electrical contact with said lamp and including terminal means which are inserted through said end wall apertures,
said cover assembly including top and terminal panels,
said top panel having two generally parallel side edges including first rib means,
said terminal panel formed as a rigid dihedral overlying said end wall to shield said terminal means,
said terminal panel having side edges including second rib means,
said first and second rib means formed to be slidably engageable within said socket body groove means,
hinge means joining said top and terminal panel means,
in the normal condition, said top and terminal panel means are held by said first and second rib means within said groove means to enclose the upper end of said socket chamber with said terminal panel covering said terminal means;
in a rewire condition said terminal panel is forced upwardly articulating about said hinge to provide easy access to said terminal means.
8. The lamp socket of claim 7, wherein:
in a relamp condition said top panel is forced upwardly so that said first rib means spring out of said groove means and said top panel articulates about said hinge means.
9. The socket structure of claim 7 wherein:
first detent means are formed in the lower surface of said top panel adjacent said hinge, and
second detent means are formed in the lower surface of said terminal panel adjacent its forward edge and said hinge.
10. The socket structure of claim 9 wherein:
said first and second detent means are forward of said top edge of said end wall in said normal condition.
11. The socket structure of claim 9 wherein:
said first detent means engages said top edge of said end wall in said rewire condition.
12. The lamp socket structure of claim 7 wherein:
said socket housing includes extensions beyond the rear surface of said end wall including a terminal divider and a bottom wall extension;
said terminal panel in said normal and relamp conditions engages said terminal divider and bottom wall extension with its forward surface to further divide said terminal space defined between said forward surface of said terminal panel and the rear surface of said end wall.
13. The socket structure of claim 7 wherein:
at least the rear end portion of said groove means in said socket housing includes a downwardly extending retainer ridge, and
said second rib means of said terminal panel includes an upwardly extending tab means alOng its edge formed to abut said retainer ridge to resist upward movement of said terminal panel while said rib me ans is inserted into said housing groove means.
14. A protective terminal block and end socket for tube lamps comprising an insulative receptacle having longitudinally extending parallel spaced sides joined by a connecting bottom and a transverse end wall, said receptacle being adapted to accommodate the terminal end of a tube lamp in the space formed between said sides and to retain lamp terminal contact elements including connector means extending through said end wall for access on the exterior face thereof, and removable cover means for said receptacle including a top panel normally covering said space and a rigid end panel of dihedral form including a top portion normally coplanar with and hingedly joined to the top panel along a common edge extending transversely to said sides and an end portion depending from said top portion and normally covering said end wall so as to shield said connector means, and longitudinally extending guide means on the receptacle sides engageable with associated longitudinally extending guide means on the longitudinal edge of the cover means top panel and the end panel top portion, and guiding said cover means for longitudinal sliding retraction thereof from normal position on the receptacle through a displacement at least sufficient to disengage the guide means of the top portion of the end panel and thereby free the end panel to be swung outwardly on its hinge connection to the top panel.
15. The combination defined in claim 14, wherein the guide means of one panel are formed in relation to the associated guide means on the receptacle sides to be foreibly disengageable therefrom in a transverse direction accompanying manual swinging of such panel out of its normal position on the receptacle about its hinged connection with the other panel.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,268,446 12/1941 Gaynor 339--54 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,072,424 6/1967 Great Britain.
MARVIN A. CHAMPION, Primary Examiner.
J. H. McGLYNN, Assistant Examiner.
U.S. Cl. X.-R.