US 3521013 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 21, 1970 B. BAUMANIS 3,521,013
Y PUSHBUTTON SWITCH MECHANISM INCLUDING A ROCKER CONTACT AND AN ACTUATOR Filed March 21, 1968 United States Patent 3,521,013 PUSI-IBUTTON SWITCH MECHANISM INCLUDING A ROCKER CONTACT AND AN ACTUATOR Bruno Baumanis, River Forest, Ill., assignor to Molex Products Company, Downers Grove, III., a corporation of Illinois Filed Mar. 21, 1968, Ser. No. 714,993 Int. Cl. H01n 13/28 US. Cl. 20067 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A pushbutton switch mechanism including housing means enclosing a rocker contact and an actuator operably interposed between the pushbutton and the rocker contact for effecting alternate and opposite partial rotation of the rocker contact upon depression of the pushbutton for engagement of the rocker contact alternately with one of a pair of spaced contact elements; and wherein the actuator for the rocker contact includes a blade mounted in substantially floating but controlled contact with the pushbutton for bodily movement without bending between a neutral position when the pushbutton is biased outwardly and alternate oppositely inclined inward positions upon depression of the pushbutton for shifting the rocker contact between the alternate positions of partial rotation thereof.
This invention relates to new and useful improvements in a switch assembly generally of the type shown in my copending application Ser. No. 714,991, filed Mar. 21, 1968, to which reference is hereby made.
In general, the present invention contemplates the provision of a switch mechanism mounted within a housing which is internally recessed, as more particularly set forth in my aforesaid copending application Ser. No. 714,991, to receive and mount the various parts of the switch mechanism including electrical leads and terminals, a rocker contact, a pushbutton and an intermediate actuator between the pushbutton and the rocker contact, and through which actuator the rocker contact is operated between its limit positions.
An object of the present invention is to provide a switch mechanism generally of the above type in which the actuator between the pushbutton and the rocker contact is constructed and mounted for operation, tending to eliminate fatigue failure in use.
Another object of the invention is to provide a switch mechanism generally of the above type wherein the actuator is in controlled floating association wtih the push button for bodily movement without bending thereof during its actuation of the rocker contact.
A further object of the invention is to provide a switch mechanism generally of the above type wherein the actuator is spring biased outwardly to a neutral position operating to so bias the pushbutton.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a switch mechanism generally of the above type wherein the actuator is in the form of a blade having a head in controlled floating association with the pushbutton and a shank serving to actuate the rocker contact between its limit positions without bending of the shank as the pushbutton is reciprocated.
The invention still further aims to provide a switch mechanism generally of the above type wherein the actuator is formed of plastic material of a type suitable for improving anti-friction characteristics between the head thereof and the pushbutton during operation.
The above and other objects of the invention will in 3,521,013 Patented July 21, 1970 "ice part be obvious and will be hereinafter more fully pointed out.
In the accompanying drawing:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the assembled switch mechanism;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1 and showing the pushbutton and actuator biased outwardly to neutral position;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view of FIG. 2 showing the pushbutton and actuator in section inwardly depressed to effect movement of the rocker contact in one direction for completing a circuit; and
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the actuator.
The assembled switch mechanism is shown in FIG. 1 as including a housing 10 with a front cover 12 and a pushbutton 14 projecting through an opening in the top wall 16. Light bulb leads 17, 17a depend through slots in the side walls of the housing intermediate the ends thereof. Circuit leads 19, 19a depend through the bottom wall of the housing and may be selectively connected by the switch mechanism for completion of a circuit with the center depending lead 20. Outwardly inclined resilient tongues or ears 21, 21a may be formed integral with the side walls of the housing, and these tongues or cars serve to mount the switch assembly in an apertured support.
With reference to FIG. 2, the housing 10 includes outer side walls 22, 22a and interior walls 24, 24a which latter provide a longitudinal central recess substantially throughout the interior extent of the housing. This central recess includes an upper cavity 25 communicating with a lower cavity 26. Between the interior surfaces of the outer side walls 22, 22a and the outer surfaces of the interior walls 24, 24a, there are provided upper receses 27, 27a having restricted communication with intermediate recesses 28, 28a and lower recesses 29, 29a. These lower recesses 29, 29a are in communication respectively with the intermediate recesses 28, 28a through slots including transverse slots 30, 30a and longitudinal slots 31, 31a. The pushbutton 14 is mounted within the upper cavity 25 and includes transverse outward flange means 32 with one edge adapted to engage the inner surface of the top wall 16 of the housing to limit outward movement thereof. The opposite edge of the flange means 32 may contact an internal shoulder means 33 on the interior walls 24, 24a to limit inward movement of the pushbutton or the lower end of the pushbutton may contact internal shoulder means 33a also on the interior walls to limit inward movement thereof. Within the lower extremity of the pushbutton, there is provided an internal peripheral shoulder means 34 leaving the lower portion of the pushbutton as a depending rectangular skirt portion.
Within the cavity 25 and below the push button, there is mounted the actuator which, as shown in FIG. 4, includes a rectangular head portion 35 from which depends a shank or blade portion 36. The outer surface of the head portion may be arcuately curved or frustoconical, as illustrated, to include inclined end surface portions 35a, 35b and an intermediate bearing surface 350. The undersurface of the head is provided with arcuate ribs 37, 37a concave toward the shank 36. The shank 36 is provided with a tapered free end portion provided by the inclined surfaces 36a, 36b. The transverse extent of the actuator head 35 is substantially coextensive with the transverse interior dimension of the rectangular area within the pushbutton skirt depending below the shoulder means 34 thus to confine the actuator head therein for controlled rocking. In the neutral or outwardly biased positions of the actuator and the pushbutton, as shown in FIG. 2, the intermediate bearing surface 35c of the actuator head is in engagement with the corresponding edges of the downwardly facing shoulder means 34. A coil compression spring '40 has the upper end thereof bearing against the undersurface of the actuator head and confined within the arcuate ribs 37, 37a. The lower end of the spring 40 is mounted on the upper surface of opposed shoulder means 42 projecting inwardly from adjacent portions of the interior walls 24, 24a. When the cover 12 is applied, the lower end of the spring 40 is confined to seat on the shoulders 42.
The circuit leads 19, 19a are shaped intermediate their ends thereof to snugly fit within the recesses 29, 29a, respectively, and these intermediate shaped portions are provided with outwardly struck lugs 44, 44a. The adjacent portions of these circuit leads 19, 19a are shaped to snugly extend through slots between the adjacent surfaces of the outer and interior walls and terminate in inwardly inclined contact terminals 45, 45a dis posed within the cavity 26. Also snugly mounted within the cavity is a skeleton mounting frame including side arm portions 46, 46a connected by upper and lower strap portions 47, 48, respectively. The circuit lead 20 extends from the lower strap portion 48 through a corresponding opening in the bottom wall of the housing. The upper strap portion 47 carries a pivotal rivet type mounting means 49 for a rocker contact 50 having depending leg portions 52, 52a with outward projecting surfaces 53, 53a for contact respectively with the lead terminals 45, 45a. The upper edge of the rocker contact is provided with a central substantially triangular portion providing bearing edge surfaces 54, 54a depending from the central apex and terminating in laterally extending edge portions 56, 56a which may also serve to limit inward movement of the push button and actuator when one or the other of the rocker contacts are in engagement with a corresponding lead terminal. The rocker contact 50 includes a central depending arm portion 51 apertured to receive an overcenter compression coil spring having the lower end thereof mounted over a projection 20a on the circuit lead 20. A light bulb- 57 is disposed within the hollow rectangular push button and mounted therein by lead wires 58, 58a passing through slots 59, 59a in adjacent edges of the push button permitting the same to be reciprocated without moving the light bulb. The light bulb lead wires 58, 58a extend downwardly through the housing recesses 28, 28a and have their ends crimped within the transverse slots 30, 30a by being pressed therein by the corresponding end portions of the terminals 17, 17a which are suitably shaped for a press fit within downwardly open vertical slots 60, 60a in the outer side walls 22, 22a, respectively, and along the transverse slots 30, 30a. One of the light bulb lead wires, such as 58, may have a resistor 62 included in series therewith. In some installations, it may be desirable for the light bulb lead wires to be extended through the slots 31, 31a for contact 'with the inwardly struck lugs 44, 44a on the circuit terminals 19, 19a.
After installation of the switch assembly in a selected circuit environment, the neutral position thereof is shown in FIG. 2 with the compression spring 40 urging the actuator outwardly with the top bearing surface 35c thereof in engagement with the adjacent surfaces of the shoulder means 34 on the push button; thus, in turn, biasing both the actuator and the push button toward the outward neutral position thereof. When the push button is depressed for movement to the inward actuating position, the actuator will be moved inwardly thereby until the end of the shank 36 engages the inclined edge surface 54a along which the inclined surface 36a of the shank will slide to an approximate parallel position with the end of the shank then engaging the abutment or bearing surface 56a. During this initial movement of the actuator, the head 35 will rock along the shoulder surface means 34 on the pushbutton and this rocking movement will continue as the shank forces the rocker contact against the action of the overcenter spring 55 to the position of FIG. 3. In this position, the contact surface 53 on the rocker leg 52 will engage the fixed terminal contact 45 and will be maintained in this position by the overcenter spring. Release of the push button permits the compression spring 40 to return the push button and the actuator to the neutral position of FIG. 2. Subsequent depression of the push button and the actuator will effect reverse operation of the rocker contact to the position shown in FIG. 2. It will thus be seen that the floating or rocking engagement between the actuator head and the shoulder means on the push button permits the actuator shank 36 to follow movement of the rocker arm during its actuation and without bending of the actuator shank. At the same time, the mating configurations between the actuator head and the skirt portion of the push button below the shoulder serve toconfine the actuator head in this floating or rocking movement. During rocking of the actuator head 35 along the shoulder means 34, there may be some slight sliding movement therebetween and to reduce friction, the actuator may be made from a suitable plastic material, such as nylon, Teflon, or the like. Such material also reduces friction as then end of the shank engages and slides along the adjacent surfaces of the rocker contact. By eliminating bending of the actuator during operation thereof, failure due to fatigue is substantially eliminated.
Though illustrated as a double-throw switch alternately opening and closing circuits through the leads 19, 20 or 19a, 20, the switch could be used as a standard onoif switch if either lead 19 or 19a is non-functional, in which case making or breaking the circuit will be between the lead 20 and the functioning lead 19 or 19a.
Since the switch circuit and light circuit are isolated from one another as shown, they may operate at two different voltages, for example volts and 6 volts.
While one form of the invention has been shown for purposes of illustration, it is to be clearly understood that various changes in the details of construction and arrangement of parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
1. A switch mechanism comprising a housing carrying terminal leads with at least one fixed terminal contact therein, a pushbutton reciprocably carried by said housing for movement between an outward neutral position and an inward actuating position and including downwardly facing abutment surface means, a rocker contact pivotally mounted in said housing and having a pair of bearing surfaces separated by an upward triangular projection by which it is moved between alternate positions into and out of engagement with a terminal contact, overcenter spring means biasing said rocker contact to remain in each alternate position to which it is shifted, an actuator operably interposed between said pushbutton and said rocker contact and including a head portion having central and inclined end bearing surfaces said inclined surfaces engageable with said abutment surface means during said movement between alternate positions and a shank portion havinga symmetrically tapered end, and biasing spring means interposed between the head portion and a fixed part of said housing for biasing the head portion into engagement with abutment surface means on said pushbutton and with the end of the shank portion out of engagement with the rocker contact in the outward neutral position of the pushbutton whereby inward movement of said pushbutton to actuating position will effect bodily movement of said actuator to a position with the symmetrically tapered end of the shank portion slidably engaging an adjacent bearing surface on the rocker contact substantially parallel therewith and shifting the same to one or the other of its alternate positions with rocking of the head portion along the abutment surface means of the pushbutton enabling the shank portion to follow movement of the rocker contact without bending of the shank portion during actuation of the rocker contact.
2. A switch mechanism as claimed in claim 1, wherein the abutment surface means includes downwardly facing internal shoulder means bearing against adjacent surfaces of the actuator head portion.
3. A switch mechanism as claimed in claim 1, wherein the pushbutton includes a skirt portion depending from said abutment surface means for confining the actuator head portion.
4. A switch mechanism as claimed in claim 1, wherein the biasing spring means comprises a coil compression spring through which the actuator shank portion extends.
5. A switch mechanism as claimed in claim 4, wherein the undersurface of the actuator head portion includes rib means confining the adjacent end of the coil compression spring therebetween.
6. A switch mechanism as claimed in claim 1, wherein the actuator is formed of integral molded plastic material.
7. A switch mechanism as claimed in claim 6, wherein the plastic material comprises nylon.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS HERMAN O. JONES, Primary Examiner 15 D. SMITH, JR., Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 200-68, 167