US 3582866 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent inventors Roy A. Johnson Chicago; Maurice M. Light, Oak Park, both of, 111. Appl, No. 786,144 Filed Dec. 23, 1968 Patented June 1, 1971 Assignee Personal Service Manufacturing Corporation, Chicago, Ill.
FLUORESCENT TUBE CONDUCTOR 2 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 339/50, 339/95, 339/153 Int. Cl H0lr 33/08 Field of Search 339/50, 95, 149, 153
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,275,736 9/1966 Hotine et a]. 174/84 1 H1969 Testo 339/244 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,103,509 5/1955 France 339/50 833,911 5/1960 Great Britain 339/153 Primary ExaminerMarvin A. Champion Assistant Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn Attorneys-Robert W. Erickson and Harold W. Bergendorf ABSTRACT: Apparatus to be attached to a pin of a fluorescent tube having two flat exterior electrically insulating sheets, each sheet having an opening; and having a flat electrically conductive strip attached to the electrically insulating sheets and within the sheets having an opening lining up with the opening in the sheets through which the pin may pass such that the pin contacts the strip and allows electric current to be withdrawn from the pin and sent to any suitable foreign load requiring electricity; combination of such apparatus with a fluorescent tube: and method for withdrawing electric current from a fluorescent tube circuit by placing a flat metal strip over a pin and inserting the pin into the fluorescent tube circuit.
FLUORESCENT TUBE CONDUCTOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an apparatus which is attached to a pin of a fluorescent tube which together are inserted into a fluorescent tube receptacle to draw off electricity from the circuit in the receptacle. More specifically, this invention relates to an apparatus, inexpensive to make, which is readily attached to a fluorescent tube or the like so that when the tube is inserted in its receptacle, electricity can be drawn off the existing circuit in a simple and direct manner without having to open the housing of the fluorescent tube circuit and in a safe manner.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In one of its embodiments, this invention relates to an apparatus to withdraw electricity from a fluorescent tube receptacle into which metal pin means are inserted and to deliver the electricity to a foreign load which comprises: contact means directly connected to the pin means near one end of the contact means to carry electricity from the pins; fastening means located on and near said one end of the contact means to securely fasten the contact means to the pin means to maintain them in direct contact; insulating means surrounding at least a portion of the contact means to electrically insulate the contact means; holding means on the insulating means to hold the insulating means around the contact means; and conductive means electrically connected to the contact means near the other end of the contact means to carry electricity from the contact means to the foreign load.
It is an object of this invention to draw electric current off of an existing fluorescent tube circuit.
It is another object of this invention to produce a device for drawing electricity off a fluorescent tube circuit which is inexpensive to construct, simple to install and operate and portable in attachment.
It is still another object of this invention to provide effective electrically conductive contacting means between a pin of a fluorescent tube and the aforesaid apparatus.
It is a further object to withdraw electric current from a fluorescent tube circuit without having to open any of the housing of said circuit.
It is a further object to withdraw electric current from a fluorescent tube circuit in a safe manner.
The invention of the present device may be utilized in any location where it is difficult or impossible to run new wiring or where it is too expensive but where a fluorescent tube circuit is already in existence. More specifically, in display counters in retail stores in which fluorescent tubes are already installed the present invention permits the drawing off of electricity to be used in an advertising display to feature special items by means such as lighting incandescent light bulbs, running small motors, etc.
The apparatus of this invention can also be used to test fluorescent tube circuits such as ballast continuity, starter circuits, etc.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING FIG. 1 shows a top view of one embodiment of an assembled apparatus with the internal parts shown with dotted lines.
FIG. 2 is an expanded side view taken along section 2-2.
FIG. 3 is a top view of the conductive strip which is contained within the apparatus.
FIG. 4 is an expanded detail view of the pinhole in the conductive strip through which the pin of a fluorescent tube will pass.
FIG. 5 shows the apparatus attached to a fluorescent tube, drawing off current to operate a foreign load.
FIG. 6 shows a top view of an alternate embodiment of an assembled device.
FIG. 7 shows a side view of the alternate embodiment of FIG. 6.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION This invention is best described by reference to the drawing. FIG. I shows fluorescent tube conductor 6, top sheet 7, rivet, eyelet or other similar holding means 25, holding means 13 and pinholes 12 and 26. Conductive strip 9, shown in dotted lines, contains pinhole 10 with projections 11. Strip 9 is connected to internal sheet 8 by means of holding means 14. Sheet 8 is connected to top sheet 7 and bottom sheet 19 (bottom sheet not visible in FIG. I) by means of holding means I3. An insulated electric wire 16 containing conductive metal 18 is directly connected to strip 9 by means of a metal-to-metal contact such as solder 15, or crimping by the head of the holding means, etc. The electric current drawn off of a pin of a fluorescent tube passes through strip 9, solder 15, metal 18, insulated electric wire 16 and terminal connector 17. The terminal connector is electrically connected to a foreign load.
FIG. 2 shows an expanded side view taken along section 2-2 of FIG. I. It should be recognized that the view has been greatly expanded in order to clearly show the elements of the apparatus but normally the elements would be compressed together to produce a thin apparatus which can slip over the pins of a fluorescent tube and not interfere with the pins fitting into the fluorescent tube receptacle. In an assembled apparatus, top sheet 7 is directly held to bottom sheet 19 by holding means 25 and the apparatus overall thickness is essentially the thickness of sheets 7, 8 and 19 plus the thickness of strip 9. Sheets 7 and 19 form the outer boundaries of the apparatus. Inner sheet 8 is employed to secure conductive strip 9 thereto by means of holding means 14, and holding means 13 are employed to secure inner sheet 8 to outer sheets 7 and 19. All the sheets are made of electrically insulating material and are sufficiently thick to hold their shape without tearing or the like. Suitable insulating materials include without limitation thereby; cardboard, fishpaper, bakelite, vulcanized impregnated paper, fiberboard, etc. It is desired to maintain a minimum thickness of the apparatus in order not to interfere with the proper positioning of the pins in the fluorescent tube receptacle and therefor the thickness of the sheets is important. They should be sufficiently thick to withstand tearing and maintain themselves. Since internal sheet 8 is not exposed in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, sheet 8 is preferably thinner than sheets 7 and 19. Suitable thickness of sheets 7 and I9 is from about 0.005 to about 0.025 inches and preferable about 0.0 l 5 inches. Suitable thickness of sheet 8 is from about 0.005 to about 0.025 inches and preferable about 0.010 inches. The thickness of the strip is preferably about the same as the internal sheet or about 0.0 l0 inches.
The apparatus is generally assembled by attaching the metal portion 18 of wire 16 to strip 9 by means such as solder 15. Any secure method of attachment is satisfactory but it is preferable that the point of attachment be far enough up along the length of strip 9 in order to be electrically insulated by the nonconductive top and bottom sheets. Strip 9 is thereupon attached to internal sheet 8 and secured thereto by holding means 14. It should also be noted that holding means 14 are also far enough along the length of strip 9 so as to be electrically insulated by sheets 7 and 19. Internal sheet 8 with strip 9 attached thereto is then covered by top sheet 7 and bottom sheet 19 as shown in FIG. 2 and secured thereto by holding means 13 with holding means 25 employed to hold sheets 7 and 19 together at the other end. It should be noted that holding means 13 and holding means 25 will be exposed outside of sheets 7 and 19 and care must be taken to insure that such holding means do not contact any part of strip 9. The entire assembled apparatus is then placed over the pins of a fluorescent tube such that the pins pass through openings 12 and 26 in sheets 7 and 19 as shown in FIG. 5. One of the two pins will also pass through opening 10 in strip 9 and will directly contact strip 9. The tube is then placed in its socket in the receptacle and the electric current is turned on. Electric current, which flows from the fluorescent tube circuit, flows through the pins of the tube where a portion of the current can flow through strip 9 and be sent to some foreign load. Also shown in FIG. 2 are openings 27 in strip 9 and openings 28 in internal sheet 8 through which holding means 14 pass to secure strip 9 to internal sheet 8. Opening 29 in sheets 7 and 19 is employed to allow the passage of holding means 25 therethrough and aid in securing these sheets to each other.
FIG. 3 shows a detailed view of strip 9 containing pinhole 10 and projections 11 through which the pin of the fluorescent tube passes. Openings 27 are also shown which are employed to allow the passage of holding means 14 therethrough and secure strip 9 to internal sheet 8. Strip 9 may be made out of any good electrically conductive material including without limitation thereby; silver, copper, brass, phosphorous, bronze, nickel, various metal alloys, etc. Projections 11 are employed to provide better metal-to-metal contact by increasing the metal contact area between the pin and strip 9 and also to hold the pin more securely.
FIG. 4 shows an expanded view of pinhole 10 contained within strip 9. Three projections 11 are clearly shown therein. The general specifications for thickness of pins on fluorescent tubes are 009310.002 inches. It is preferred that pinhole 10 have a diameter of about flve thirty-seconds of an inch and each of projections 11 are spaced 120 apart and protrude into the circular opening a distance from the circular edge of about 0.044 inches. The width of projections 11 are about 0.05 inches. Thus when the pin passes through pinhole 10, it will cause projections 11 to bend thus securely wedging and holding the pin in place and affording increased metal-to-metal contact area.
FIG. shows an assembled apparatus employing the device of the present invention to draw off current from a fluorescent tube circuit and use such current to light an ordinary foreign load such as an incandescent light bulb, motor, etc. As shown therein, fluorescent tube 20 contains and pieces 21 on each end thereof. Each end piece 21 contains two pins 22 which connect into the socket assembly (not shown) of a fluorescent tube receptacle. The socket assembly is not shown in the drawing in order to clearly show pins 22 passing through openings 12 and 26 of apparatus 6 at the right-hand end of the tube. A similar apparatus 6 is installed on the left-hand end of tube 20. Electric current flows through wires 16 and into load 24. It is readily seen in a display counter having fluorescent lighting, the apparatus herein described may be used to furnish additional lighting to illuminate and emphasize a particular display or to cause motion to a display by driving a motor, etc. Such a system is much more economical, avoids extra wires and is portable (rather than permanent) and as such offers a merchant these advantages.
FIG. 6 shows a top view of an alternate embodiment 6' somewhat similar to that of apparatus 6 shown in FIG. 1. This embodiment is different in three respects from the embodiment in FIG. 1; namely, that conductive strip 9 has been centered at one end to reduce the possibility of accidental contact with holding means 13, the insulating sheet is formed from a single nonconductive material folded over twice to form the equivalent of two exterior and one interior insulating sheets and wire 18' is connected to strip 9 by means of crimping holding means 14 (rather than solder). FIG. 6 shows fluorescent tube conductor 6', insulating sheet 23, holding means 13', and openings 12 and 26'. Conductive strip 9', shown in dotted lines, contains pinhole An insulated electric wire 16' containing conductive metal wire 18' passes through opening 31 and is directly connected to strip 9' by means of metal-to-metal contact by crimping 29 under the head of holding means 14'.
FIG. 7 shows an expanded side view taken along section 7-7 of FIG. 6. Again this view is greatly expanded to show the elements more clearly. As shown therein insulating sheet 23 has been folded over twice to create the equivalent of two exterior sheets and one internal sheet. Holding means 14' secure conductive strip 9 to the equivalent internal sheet while holding means 13' secure the equivalent external sheets to each other.
Also shown in FIG. 7 are conductive metal 18 attached to conductive means 9 by means of crimping 29 under the head of holding means 14. Wire 16' containing metal wire 18 passes through opening 31 in sheet 23.
In general, the drawings of FIGS. 1, 3 and 6 are to scale and as such may be directly used to construct an operative apparatus. Although some of the dimensions are not critical, other dimensions must be maintained in order for the apparatus to function. For example, the distance between the centers of openings 12 and 26 should be about 0.500 inches and their diameters are about nine sixty-fourths of an inch in order that the pins properly pass through without tearing of the sheet when using a normal fluorescent tube. The thickness of the sheets and strip should be maintained near the preferred thickness described as aforesaid in order that the apparatus can fit over the ends of the fluorescent tube without preventing proper contact between the tube and its socket.
The apparatus of the present invention may be used for other types of fluorescent tubes not having the aforementioned geometric relation. Special fluorescent tubes may have pins spaced further apart or closer togetherv Certain types of fluorescent tubes only have one pin. In these cases the geometric relationship of the openings in the sheets and conductive strips are adjusted to allow the apparatus to fit flat over the end of the special fluorescent tube and the opening and projections in the conductive metal strip is adjusted to fit over the pin and securely hold the strip to the pin.
It should be noted that the purpose of the internal sheet is to secure the conductive strip to said sheet and to separately secure the internal sheet to the exterior sheets and thereby avoid grounding problems. However, the internal sheet is not a necessary element since any nonconductive fastening means can be employed to hold the conductive strip between the exterior sheets without grounding problems such as; nylon rivets, adhesives, etc. Any suitable holding means may be used for holding the sheets together as well as holding the conductive strip between the exterior sheets. Preferable holding means comprise eyelets, rivets, pins, adhesives, etc.
In those fluorescent tubes containing two pins at each end, the conductive strip may be contacted with either of the pins, providing the relationship between the load the fluorescent tube is proper. There is a certain desirable relationship between the load and the fluorescent tube if either pin is used. For example, of a 20-watt fluorescent tube is employed, a suitable load is a 6-watt, 60-volt, incandescent light bulb or a 60-volt motor, if a 40-watt fluorescent tube is employed, a suitable load is a 6- or l0-watt, ll0-volt, incandescent light bulb or a llO-volt motor. The load must have suffleient re sistance or impedence so as not to burn out the ballast since this apparatus creates a separate parallel circuit.
It should also be recognized that a fluorescent tube is not necessary for the apparatus to function properly. For example, a broomstick with pins inserted into each end can be utilized just as well as a fluorescent tube. Indeed, it may be possible to avoid any connecting tube or stick and employ an apparatus having pins as an integral part thereof.
1. An apparatus for withdrawing electricity from a fluorescent tube receptacle, into which metal pin means are inserted, and for delivering electricity to a foreign load, which apparatus comprises in combination:
a. elongated,-electrically conductive contact means connected to said pin means near a first end of the contact means, said contact means having fastening means at said first end to fasten securely the contact means to the pin means;
b. insulating means surrounding at least a portion of said contact means to electrically insulate said contact means, said insulating means consisting of three flat sheets of electrically nonconductive material, two of the sheets being exterior sheets located on each side of the contact means and one of the sheets being an interior sheet located between the two exterior sheets, in which the interior sheet has holding means to secure the contact means to the interior sheet, and the interior sheet has separate holding means to secure the interior sheet to the two exterior sheets; and,
c. conductive means electrically connected to said contact 5 means near the opposite second end of the contact means to carry electricity therefrom to said foreign load.
2. An apparatus for withdrawing electricity from a fluorescent tube receptacle, into which metal pin means are b. insulating means surrounding at least a portion of said contact means to electrically insulate said contact means, said insulating means consisting of a single flat sheet of electrically nonconductive material twice folded over so as to form two exterior portions located on each side of the contact means and an interior portion located between the exterior portions, in which the interior portion has holding means to secure the contact means to the interior portion and the interior portion has separate 2:53:11: to a forms load which 10 holding means to secure the interior portion to the two a. elongated electrically conductive contact means conextenor .pomonsland nected to said pin means near a first end of the Contact cl conductive means electrically connected to said contact means, said contact means having fastening means at said means h f zg f t F h f l g means first end to fasten securely the contact means to the pin to carry 6 66mm y are mm o ore'gn means;