US 3541874 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 24, 1970 a. A. DU ROCHER 3,
POWER DooR LOCKING AND UNLOCKING APPARATUS Filed Nov. 4, 1968 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. GIDEON A. DU ROCHER N'ov.'24,' 1970' G. A. DU TQOCHER 3,5'4'15874 POWER DOOR LOCKING AND UNLOCKING APPARATUS Filed-Nov. 4, 1968 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. GIDEON A. DU ROCH ER M$MW united States Patent Ocer 3,541,874 Patented Nov. 24, 1970 3,541,874 POWER DOOR LOCKING AND UNLOCKING APPARATUS Gideon A. DuRocher, Mount Clemens, Mich., assignor to Essex International, Inc., a corporation of Michigan Filed Nov. 4, 1968, Ser. No. 773,159 Int. Cl. F1611 1/18; 1305b 47/00; E05f 15/00 U.S. Cl. 74-424.8 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Power apparatus for locking and unlocking a vehicle door of the kind having a lock control member movable between locking and unlocking positions under the control of manually operable, linearly movable actuating means, the power apparatus including a reversible, electric motor having a rotary shaft and motion transmission means interconnecting the rotary shaft and the control member for moving the latter to and from its locking and unlocking positions independently of the manual operating means.
This invention relates to power apparatus for locking and unlocking all of the doors of a vehicle, and more particularly to power apparatus which is considerably simpler, less expensive and more trouble free than power devices previously proposed for similar purposes.
For many years each door of a vehicle conventionally has included a manually operable device by means of which the door operating mechanism may be locked or unlocked from inside the vehicle. In some vehicles the manually operable apparatus includes a linearly reciprocable plunger which protrudes above the window sill, whereas in other vehicles the manually operable apparatus includes a link or lever pivoted on the door and which effects linear movement of a locking rod or the like. In either event, it has been possible to obtain power apparatus which is operable independently of the manual operating means to effect locking and unlocking of each door operating mechanism more or less simultaneously from a central control unit. The prior art power mechanisms have consisted of two types, namely, electrical solenoids and vacuum rams.
The solenoid power device of prior art constructions constitutes essentially a dual acting solenoid having an armature coupled to a reciprocable motion transmitting arm so as to elfect movement in either of two directions of the lock control member. Such solenoids must be capable of exerting a substantially instantaneous pulling or pushing force of relatively high magnitude on the lock control member, which force decreases according to the length of travel of the armature. Consequently, the electrical capacity of such solenoids must be capable of withstanding current of high value, thereby requiring the physical size of such solenoids to be quite large. Because of the high current which must be supplied to the solenoid, it has been necessary to incorporate a separate relay in the circuit because of the inability of the control switch to accommodate a current of such high value. Altogether, therefore, the cost of a solenoid type power locking and unlocking mechanism is quite high.
The prior art vacuum operating system utilizes a cylinder for each door and within which is a reciprocable piston having its piston rod connected to the lock control member. The vehicles vacuum source is connected to each cylinder by a pair of tubes via a valve located on a central control unit. The tubes must be threaded carefully through structural parts of the vehicle, including the hinged doors, and the ends of the tubes must have a vacuum system is quite high, due to the time required to position the tubes accurately and seal their connections. Moreover, vibration due to vehicle operation and flexing due to operation of the vacuum devices frequently disables the apparatus or makes it unreliable. Furthermore, the vacuum tubes frequently become pinched or ruptured, thereby rendering one or more of the vacuum devices inoperative.
Both the solenoid and vacuum type systems are advantageous in that each of them is capable of incorporation in the conventional door locking and unlocking mechanism without requiring any modification thereof. That is, each of the solenoid and vacuum ram type devices is capable of applying pushing and pulling forces on the lock control member so as to be compatible with the manual operating mechanism. The cost, the poor reliability and the high current drain of the prior art devices, however, are objectionable.
An object of this invention is to provide an improved power locking and unlocking apparatus which overcomes the objections referred to above.
Another object of the invention is to provide door locking and unlocking apparatus powered by a small, inexpensive electric motor which requires so little current that relays and like devices are not necessary.
A further object of the invention is to provide power door locking and unlocking apparatus which is capable of operation independently of the conventional manual operating apparatus but which is compatible with the latter so as to permit operation of the vehicles door locking and unlocking mechanism either by manual or power means.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be pointed out specifically or will become apparent from the following description when it is considered in conjunction with the appended claims and the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic, fragmentary side elevational view of one embodiment of the invention and illustrating the door locking and unlocking mechanism in its locked position;
FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1, but illustrating the door locking and unlocking mechanism in its unlocked position;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 1, but illustrating another embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 44 of FIG. 3.
Apparatus constructed in accordance with the invention is adapted for use in conjunction with an automotive vehicle having a plurality of doors each of which includes a frame or panel member 1 on which the door-mounted parts of a latch mechanism are mounted. The latch mechanism is conventional and may include any one of a number of diiferent kinds of devices by means of which the latch mechanism may be locked or unlocked. For purposes of illustration, the locking and unlocking device is illustrated in the drawings as comprising an arm 2 which is reciprocable in a slot 3 formed in the panel 1 and which, in one position, locks the door latching mechanism and in a second position unlocks the door latching mechanism.
Means for operating the locking device 2 comprises a bell crank or control member 4 which is pivoted as at 5 to the panel 1 for oscillating movements between two extreme positions as defined by stop members 6 and 7 mounted on the panel 1 in the path of movement of the member 4.
One end of a manually operable actuating rod 8 is pivoted as at 9 to one end of the member 4 and at its other end carries a knob 10 which extends through an opening in the window sill (not shown) for manual operation by an occupant of the vehicle. In the position of the actuating rod 8 illustrated in FIG. 1, the member 4 overlies the locking part 2 and holds the latter in a depressed position, thereby locking the door latching mechanism in a manner well known in the art. In FIG. 3, the actuating rod 8 is illustrated in an adjusted position in which the control member 4 has been rocked counterclockwise, thereby permitting upward movement of the locking part 2 so as to unlock the door latching mechanism.
Power means 11 is provided for locking and unlocking the door latching mechanism independently of the manually operable actuator 8 and comprises a reversible electric motor 12 fixed to a bracket 13 which, in turn, is secured to the panel 1. The motor 12 has a rotatable drive shaft 14 to which is coupled a threaded screw 15 forming part of motion transmitting means 16 for operating the control member 4. The motion transmission means 16 also includes a rod or link 17 one end of which is pivoted as at 18 to the member 4 and the other end of which is pinned as at 19 to a ball nut 20 provided with circulating balls (not shown) which are accommodated in the helical grooves of the screw 15. The motor is mounted with its drive shaft 14 upright and in substantial alignment with the rod 17.
The terminals of the motor 12 are connected by wiring to a battery 21 or other suitable source of electrical power via a normally open, reversing switch 22. The wiring of the motor 12 may pass through the vehicles door, adjacent its hinge, and extend to the switch 22 which is mounted at some convenient location within the vehicle. From the switch 22 the connection to the battery may be made at any convenient location.
In the operation of the apparatus, and when the parts are in the positions shown in FIG. 1, closing of the switch 22 in the proper direction of movement will energize the motor 12 and cause rotation of the shaft 14 and the screw 15 in such direction as to cause the ball nut 20 to move longitudinally of the screw 15 toward the motor 12. This motion of the ball nut 20 will be transmitted by the rod 17 to the control member 4 to rock the latter counterclockwise from the position shown in FIG. 1 to the position shown in FIG. 2, thereby releasing the locking device 2. When the control member 4 engages the stop 7, the motor 12 will stall. The switch 22 then may be released, whereupon the control member 4 will remain in the position shown in FIG. 2.
To return the apparatus from the position shown in FIG. 2 to the position shown in FIG. 1, the switch 22 is closed by movement in the opposite direction, whereupon the motor 12 will be energized to drive the shaft 14 and the screw 15 in the opposite direction so as to effect movement of the ball nut 20 in an upward direction away from the motor 12. This motion of the ball nut will be transmitted via the rod 17 to the control member 4 so as to pivot the latter clockwise and move the locking part 2 to its locked position. Upon engagement of the member 4 with the stop 6, the motor 12 again will stall, whereupon the switch 22 may be released.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the power apparatus 16a comprises the motor 12, but in this instance the bracket 13 mounts the motor on the panel 1 in such manner that the shaft 14 is horizontal, rather than vertical. Fixed on the shaft 14 is a spur pinion 22 which meshes with a spur gear segment 23 that is pivoted as at 24 to the panel 1. The lower end of the motion transmitting rod 17 is pivoted as at 25 to the hub 26 of the gear segment.
In the operation of the modified apparatus, rotation of the motor shaft 14 in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 3, will operate the train of gears to effect clockwise movement of the gear segment 23 so as to exert a downward, pulling force on the rod 17. This force will be transmitted to the control member 4 so as to rock the latter counterclockwise and move the control member 4 from a position in which it holds the part 2 in its latch locking position to a position in which the part 2 is released. Rotation of the motor shaft 14in a clockwise direction will cause counterclockwise movement of the gear segment 23, whereupon the motion transmitting rod 17 will rock the control member 4 clockwise to the position illustrated in FIG. 3.
Regardless of which embodiment is used, it is preferred that the control member 4 may be manipulated between its locking and unlocking positions by either of the manual or power operating devices. Manual operation of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 is possible because the motor shaft 14 is rotatable in either direction when the switch 22 is in its open position. Thus, if a force is applied on the manual operating rod 8, and if the pitch of the threads on the screw 15 is steep enough, the force will be transmitted to the ball nut 20, rotating the shaft 14, thereby making it possible to effect linear movement of the rod 17 a distance sufficient to enable movement of the control member 4 between its locking and unlocking positions. The pitch of the threads on the screw 15 will govern the ease with which the control member may be manipulated manually. Accordingly, by substituting screws of different pitch it is possible to provide an assembly which is operable or inoperable manually. In the arrangement utilizing spur gears, the ratio between the gears should be so selected as to assure fairly easy manual operation of the apparatus.
The electric motor 12 preferably is of the permanent magnet type which requires only about one ampere of current for operation. Such motors are readily available. Because of the small current requirement of the motor, stalling of its armature for short periods of time does not pose any substantial risk that the motor will be burned out, but this small possibility can be compensated for by the provision of a fuse 27 or other current limiting device in the motor circuit.
Although the description has been confined to the operation of the locking and unlocking mechanism for a single vehicle door, it should be understood that apparatus like that disclosed herein is to be applied to each of the doors with which a vehicle is equipped.
The disclosed embodiments are representative of presently preferred forms of the invention, but are intended to be illustrative rather than definitive thereof. The invention is defined in the claims.
1. Apparatus for locking and unlocking a vehicle door latching mechanism, said apparatus comprising a control member; means mounting said control member for movements between locking and unlocking positions in which said latching mechanism is respectively locked and un locked; power operating means for moving said control member from either of said positions to the other; and manual operating means for moving said control member from either of said positions to the other, said power means comprising a reversible motor having a rotatable drive shaft, means for energizing said motor to drive said shaft in a selected one of two opposite directions, a rotary driven member coupled to said shaft for rotation in response to rotation of said shaft, and motion transmitting means interconnecting said driven member and said control member and operable in response to rotation of said shaft to move said control member from a selected one of said positions to the other, said manual operating means comprising an actuating member connected to said control member and operable to move the latter from a selected one of said positions to the other, movement of said control member by either of said operating means from either one of said positions to the other effecting movement of the other operating means to condition said other operating means to move said control means from said other position to said one of said positions.
2. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said motion transmitting means comprises a link pivoted to said control member and wherein said actuating member also is pivoted to said control member.
3. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said coupling means comprises screw means and nut means in threaded engagement with one another.
4. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said coupling means comprises a train of gears.
5. The apparatus set forth in claim 4 wherein gears of said train are spur gears.
6. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said actuating means and said motion transmission means are rigid rods.
7. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said control member is pivoted for rocking movements about an axis, and wherein said motion transmission means and said actuating means are pivoted to said control memher to rock the latter about said axis.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS LEONARD H. GERIN, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.