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Publication numberUS3632938 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 4, 1972
Filing dateMar 25, 1970
Priority dateMar 25, 1970
Publication numberUS 3632938 A, US 3632938A, US-A-3632938, US3632938 A, US3632938A
InventorsMartin C Stessel
Original AssigneeMotorola Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pushbutton switch assembly
US 3632938 A
Abstract
A pushbutton switch assembly includes a first display surface mounted in a recess in the housing for the assembly. A clear plastic pushbutton actuator is movable between first and second positions. In the first position, the pushbutton overlies the first display surface, with light passing through the first display surface and the pushbutton to illuminate a second display surface on the pushbutton. In the second position the pushbutton is moved below the first display surface to permit viewing of the first display surface.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS [72] Inventor MartinC.Stessel Schaumberg,1ll.

200/l67 R X 200/167 A 200/167 A X 200/167 R mm mum m a r m mm eeeb .mbda aunh KGAC 0045 7766 9999 1111 III, 6682 l 7630 3847 2 7845 1 42 3333 H I 0 7 mm 9 a 7 1 JP 5 .m 224wr imam 2 ZMh-Mh 0. 06 m m mmm p as AFPA 11]] 253 2247 [[11 Primary Examiner-H. 0. Jones AttomeyMueller and Aichele ABSTRACT: A pushbutton switch assembl display surface mounted in a recess in the h sembly. A clear plastic pushbutton act between first and second positions, In the first 200/167 A, pushbutton overlies the first displ 116/ 135 through the first display surface 1101b 9/18 minate a second display surface on the pushbutton. In the 200/167 R, second position the pushbutton is moved below the first display surface to permit viewing of the first display surface.

[54] PUSIIBU'I'ION SWITCH ASSEMBLY ll Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.

[5|] Int. [50] Field of 167 A; 240/2; 116/1 35; 235/145; 340/365 PATENTEDJAN 4m 3.632.933

VENTOR wikmwwm ATTORNEYS PUSHBUI'I'ON swrrcrr Assam BACKGROUND or THE INVENTION push button switches to provide a display (preferably illuminated) which is indicative of the particular position or operation of the switch, that is, for an on-off switch it is desirable to have a display uniquely displaying the "off" position of the switch, with a similar display uniquely displaying the on" position of the switch. It further is desirable to provide such plural displays in an assembly which requires a minimum number of light sources and which is of simple construction. Assemblies have been proposed for providing plural displays,

but such assemblies generally require relatively complicated mechanical configurations and/or a plurality of light sources so that the displays are relatively expensive.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a simple pushbutton display assembly.

It is an additional object of this invention to provide a pushbutton display having a first display surface illuminated when the pushbutton is in one position and having a second display surface carried by the pushbutton illuminated when the pushbutton is in another position overlaying the first display surface.

It is a further object of this invention to provide an illuminated pushbutton display in which a pushbutton made of light-conductive material covers a first back-lighted display surface in a first position to cause light passing through the first display surface and the pushbutton to illuminate a second display surface on the pushbutton.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of this invention, a pushbutton assembly includes a first display surface and a pushbutton moveable between first and second positions. The pushbutton carries a second display surface which, with the pushbutton in a first position, overlies the first display surface. With the push button in a second position, the second display surface is moved to a position which permits viewing of the first display surface.

In a more specific embodiment of the invention the first display surface is illuminated from behind and illumination of the second display surface is provided by making the pushbutton of light-transparent material, so that light passing through the first display surface passes through the pushbutton when it is in the first position to illuminate the second display surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 illustrates a pushbutton assembly in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 shows details of the pushbutton assembly of FIG. 1 when mounted within a housing; and

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the pushbutton assembly shown in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings, in which the same reference numerals are used in all three views to designate the same components, there is shown an illuminated pushbutton assembly for providing displays indicative of the two positions of a pair of pushbutton switch actuators l and 11. The pushbutton switch actuator is shown in the uppermost of two posisions l7 and 18 which are attached to actuating slide levers l9 and 20 of a pair of conventional two-position slide switches 21 and 22.

In order to provide an indication of the position to which the push buttons 10 and 11 have been operated, a bifurcated light pipe 25 is illuminated at an end remote from the push button switch actuators l0 and 11 by alight source shown as a light bulb 26 in FIG. I. The light pipe 25 may be made of any suitable light conductive material, such as transparent acrylic plastic, which is machined or molded smooth on all surfaces to enhance its ability to transmit light. The paths of the light passed through the bifurcations of the light pipe 25 is generally indicated by the dotted lines extending from the light bulb 26. It should be apparent, however, that the light paths indicated are idealized, and that the actual light paths are in the form of reflections off the surfaces of the light pipe 25. The light is emitted from the ends of the bifurcated sections of the light pipe 25 which terminate in a pair of display surfaces 28 and 29.

As shown in FIGS. 1 the display surface 28 is provided with the display indicia "OFF" and the display surface 29 is provided with the indicia "F2..' These particular indicia are chosen for purposes of illustration only and correspond to the information to be conveyed by the lower operating positions of the pushbutton switch actuators l0 and II, respectively. The indicia "OFF" and "F2" are in the form of dark or opaque letters formed on a clear or translucent background at the end of the light pipe, so that a substantial amount of light is passed through the display surfaces 28 and 29. Indicia relating to the other of the two positions to which the pushbutton switch actuators l0 and 11 may be placed is located on the front surface of the pushbutton actuators l0 and 11 in the form of display surfaces 31 and 32, respectively. When the pushbutton l0 and 11 are in the upper position with the detent spring 13 engaging the lower detent notches 15, .the upper portion of the pushbutton switch actuators are in front of or block the corresponding display surface 28 and 29 The pushbutton actuators 10 and 11 also are made of light-transmitting material such as transparent acrylic plastic, so that light emanating from the display surfaces 28 and 29 passes through the corresponding pushbutton l0 and 11 in the upper position to illuminate from behind the display surfaces 31 and 32.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the pushbutton actuator 10 is in its upper position, so that light emanating from the light bulb 26 is guided through the left-hand branch of the bifurcated light pipe 25 to the display surface 28 which is blocked by the pushbutton 10. The upper portion of the pushbutton actuator 10, however, passes this light through to the display surface 31 which displays to a viewer the indicia ON." Thus, the pushbutton switch actuator 10 can be used to operate the on/off switch 22 of the apparatus with which the push button assembly is associated, with the upper position corresponding to the "on condition of the apparatus and being so indicated by the display surface 31. Thelower position of the pushbutton actuator 10 correspond to the "off" condition of the apparatus and is indicated by the display surface 28.

In order to prevent both display surfaces 28 and 31 or 29 and 32 from being observed simultaneously by a viewer, the pushbutton actuators I0 and 11 and the display surfaces 28 and 29 are located in a housing shown 'in FIGS. 2 and in FIG. 3. In FIG. 2 the portion of-the housing enclosing the bifurcated light pipe 25 is indicated by an upper housing having a front surface 36. A forward extending front panel 37 isattached to the front surface 36, and the pushbuttons l0 and II are mounted in the front panel 37. In order to permit complete blocking of the display surfaces 28 and 29 when the corresponding pushbutton actuators l0 and 11 are in the upper position, the display surfaces 28 and 29 are recessed into a recesses 38 in the front surface 36 of the housing. This recess is most clearly shown in FIG. 3.

With the corresponding pushbutton actuator 10 or 1 l in the lower position with the detent spring 13 engaging the upper detent notch 16, the upper portion of the pushbutton actuator is substantially fiush with the upper position of the front panel 37 and is located just below the corresponding display surface 28 and 29. In FIG. 2 the switch 11 is in the lower position and illustrates the manner in which the display surface 29 is uncovered to permit the indicia F2 to be seen by a viewer. On the other hand, the pushbutton actuator 10 is shown in the upper position in FIG. 2 and illustrates the manner in which the display surface 31 completely covers the display surface 28 to provide the indicia ON for the pushbutton 10 in its upper position. In the lower position, the display surface 31 is hidden behind the front panel 37.

The two positions of the pushbutton are illustrated by solid and dotted lines in FIG. 3. In the solid lines position (lower position) the display 28 is visible, and in the dotted line position (upper position) the display surface 32 is visible. When the corresponding push button 11 or 10 is moved to the upper position indicated in dotted lines in FIG. 3, the rear portion of the upper part of the push button actuator 11 (or 10) extends into the recess 38 to block the corresponding display surface, such as the surface 29 shown in FIG. 3. By causing the display surfaces 28 and 29 to be recessed, movement of the pushbutton actuators 10 or 11 into the recesses effectively provides complete blocking of any light passing through the display surfaces 28 and 29 to channel all of the light to the corresponding display surfaces 31 or 32 on the pushbutton switch actuators l and l 1.

When the display on the display surfaces 28 and 29 is in the form of dark or opaque letters on a substantially clear or translucent background, most of the light from the light source 26 is permitted to pass through the display surfaces 28 and 29 to be utilized to illuminate the display surfaces 31 and 32, respectively, when the pushbutton actuators l0 and 11 are in the upper positions. As a consequence, no separate light source for the pushbutton actuators and 11 is required, thereby amplifying construction and minimizing the number of light sources which must be employed in the apparatus.

To further distinguish between the two positions of the pushbutton switches, the display surfaces 31 and 32, may be the converse of the display surfaces 28 and 29, that is, the surfaces 31 and 32 may include a substantially opaque or dark colored background with the indicia being in the form of clear or light translucent portions. Sufficient dispersion of the light passing through the push button actuators l0 and 1 1 occurs so that the display on the display surfaces 28 and 29 is not superimposed on the display surfaces 31 and 32 when the pushbutton switch actuators 10 and 11 are in their upper positions.

I claim:

I. A pushbutton assembly including in combination:

a first display surface;

a pushbutton movable to first and second positions and having a second display surface thereon located in a plane substantially parallel to the plane of the first display surface, the first position of the pushbutton causing the second display surface to overlie the first display surface, and the second position of the pushbutton moving the second display surface to a position to permit viewing of the first display surface.

2. The combination according to claim 1 further including a housing for said pushbutton assembly having a front surface with a recess therein in which the first display surfaces located for permitting viewing of the first display surface from the front of the housing, the pushbutton in the first position overlying the first display surface within the recess.

3. The combination according to claim 1 further including a housing for said pushbutton assembly having a front surface in which the first display surface is located, with the housing including a front panel outwardly extending from the front surface substantially perpendicularly thereto at a point below the first display surface, the pushbutton being mounted in the front panel for movement from the second position, in which the second display surface on the pushbutton is located within the front panel, to the first position to cause the second display surface to overlie the first display surface.

4. An illuminated pushbutton assembly including in combination:

a first display surface;

a source of illumination located behind the first display surface for illuminating said first display surface;

a pushbutton movable to first and second positions and having a second display surface thereon, the first position of the pushbutton causing the second display surface to overlie the first display surface, and the second position of the pushbutton moving the second display surface to a position to permit viewing of the first display surface; and

means for illuminating the second display surface in the first position of the pushbutton.

5. The combination according to claim 4 wherein the means for illuminating the second display surface with the pushbutton in the first position includes a light-transparent portion of the pushbutton located between the first and second display surfaces for transmitting light from the first display surface through the pushbutton to the second display surface.

6. The combination according to claim 5 wherein the first display surface carries thereon indicia in the form of substantially opaque and substantially translucent portions, with the area of the opaque portions being substantially less than the area of the translucent portions.

7. The combination according to claim 4 further including a housing for said pushbutton assembly having a front surface with a recess therein in which the first display surface is located for permitting viewing of the first display surface from the front of the housing, the pushbutton in the first position overlying the first display surface within the recess.

8. The combination according to claim 7 wherein the housing further includes a front panel extending outwardly from the front surface substantially perpendicularly thereto at a point below the first display surface, the pushbutton being mounted in the front panel for movement from the second position, in which the second display surface on the pushbutton is located within the front panel, to the first position to cause the pushbutton to overlie the first display surface, the upper portion of the pushbutton extending outwardly beyond the recess to provide a finger engaging surface for moving the pushbutton from the first position to the second position.

9. The combination according to claim 8 wherein the pushbutton I is made of a light-transparent material to facilitate transmission of light from the first display surface through the pushbutton to the second display surface to illuminate the same with the pushbutton in the first position.

10. The combination according to claim 9 wherein the pushbutton assembly further includes detent means for holding the pushbutton in the first and second positions.

11. The combination according to claim 10 wherein the pushbutton includes a bottom surface extending below the front panel with the pushbutton in the second position for engagement to move the pushbutton to the first position.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3144643 *Nov 9, 1961Aug 11, 1964Gasaccumulator Svenska AbPush-button illuminating device
US3225170 *Mar 9, 1964Dec 21, 1965S & C Electric CoMeans for indicating the position of the contacts of a circuit interrupter
US3517637 *Apr 29, 1968Jun 30, 1970Honeywell IncPushbutton signaling arrangement
US3518386 *Aug 27, 1968Jun 30, 1970Raytheon CoIlluminated switch means
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4016388 *Jan 27, 1975Apr 5, 1977Oak Industries Inc.Keyboard switch
US4104981 *Aug 30, 1976Aug 8, 1978Nissan Motor Company, Ltd.Indicator using changeable path through transparent material
US4394546 *Oct 9, 1981Jul 19, 1983Alps Electric Co., Ltd.Composite switch assembly
US7566138 *Mar 3, 2006Jul 28, 2009Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.Light guiding body and lighting apparatus having the same
DE2329793A1 *Jun 12, 1973Jan 9, 1975Giersiepen Eltech IndElektrischer schalter, insbesondere flaechenschalter
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/314, 116/279, 200/DIG.470, 200/312, 200/330
International ClassificationH01H13/02, H01H9/16
Cooperative ClassificationH01H9/16, Y10S200/47, H01H13/023
European ClassificationH01H13/02B, H01H9/16