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Publication numberUS3649781 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 14, 1972
Filing dateOct 23, 1970
Priority dateOct 23, 1970
Publication numberUS 3649781 A, US 3649781A, US-A-3649781, US3649781 A, US3649781A
InventorsDrutz Alvin S, Johnsen Eric C, Mckinnon Eugene T
Original AssigneeDrutz Alvin S, Johnsen Eric C, Mckinnon Eugene T
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Selectively variable timer with improved integral clutch cam structure
US 3649781 A
Abstract
A selectively variable timer especially useful for refrigerators and the like for initiating defrost cycles wherein unique design of the timer permits easy mounting of an actuator member, selected from a provided group, to actuate a selectively variable switch member to initiate cycles and meet a variety of needs without major reconstruction of the device. The interchangeable actuator member is driven through a clutchlike train and is provided with one or a plurality of cam surfaces to operate a pressure switch shiftably mounted with respect to the cam surface to vary the period of circuit energization and deenergization and wherein a clutch train permits simple infield testing of the device. Manufacturers's inventories are substantially reduced in that one basic motor and timer, having the interchangeable feature, eliminates the need of having a plurality of individual motors and associated timers to meet a multiplicity of needs.
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United States Patent Johnsen et al.

[4 1 Mar. 14, 1972 McKinnon, Pacific Palisades; Alvin S. Drutz, Los Angeles, all of Calif.

said McKinnon and said Drutz, by said Johnsen 22 Filed: ()ct.23,1970

21 Appl.No.: 83,488

[73] Assignee:

3,126,759 3/1964 Cook ..200/38BA Danek et ....200/38 R Simmons ..200/38 BA Primary Examiner-J. R. Scott Attorney-Mahoney, Hombaker & Schick [57] ABSTRACT A selectively variable timer especially useful for refrigerators and the like for initiating defrost cycles wherein unique design of the timer permits easy mounting of an actuator member, selected from a provided group, to actuate a selectively variable switch member to initiate cycles and meet a variety of needs without major reconstruction of the device. The interchangeable actuator member is driven through a clutchlike train and is provided with one or a plurality of cam surfaces to operate a pressure switch shiftably mounted with respect to the cam surface to vary the period of circuit energization and deenergization and wherein a clutch train permits simple infield testing of the device. Manufacturerss inventories are substantially reduced in that one basic motor and timer, having the interchangeable feature, eliminates the need of having a plurality of individual motors and associated timers to meet a multiplicity of needs.

14 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEDMAR 14 I972 3 649 7 81 sum 1 OF 2 FIG. I. W (so INVENTORS.

ERIC (3. JOHNSEN, EUGENE T MKnvrv0- AND ALVIN S. DRu'i'z 90 M10 BY MAHONEY, HORNBA KER AND SCH/CK A TTORNEYS PMENTEDMAR 14 I972 3, 649.781

SHEET 2 [1F 2 INVENTORS. ER/c C. JOHNSEN.

EUGENE 7'. MCKINNON AND ALVIN S. DRUTZ MAHONEY, HORNBA KER AND SCH/CK ATTORNEYS SELECTIVELY VARIABLE TIMER WITH IMPROVED INTEGRAL CLUTCH CAM STRUCTURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the present modern day technology, employing a myriad of appliances which are usually electrically driven, the need arises to provide a selectively variable timer to allow unattended energization of the appliances or alternatively deenergization. In some instances, timer mechanisms are necessary in order to perform adjunct functions necessary for efficient and satisfactory performance of the appliances.

An example of an appliance that requires periodic initiation of support or maintenance functions is the refrigerator having, for example, a freezer compartment. In order to maintain a high degree of cooling efficiency, the freezer compartment must be periodically defrosted which function in advanced model refrigerators, is accomplished automatically. The device performing this function is the primary intent of the invention disclosed herein.

Because there are a plurality of refrigerator and associated freezer compartment apparatuses available on the market, each having their own peculiar characteristics, the prior art heretofore has had to provide individually engineered motors and associated timing mechanisms for proper association with individual refrigerator models. That is, because performance differed from one manufactured model to another, it was necessary to stock timing mechanisms that would institute defrost cycles appropriate for the refrigerators with which they were used. Additionally, prior art timing mechanisms utilize leaf contact switches and actuating mechanisms con tributing to early and frequent breakdown of the devices.

With the herein disclosed invention, it is now possible to provide a single timing mechanism unit which is selectively variable to meet the variety of needs presented by the various models of refrigerators presently on the market. Thus, one essential unit having available for use therewith, a plurality of actuating mechanisms is easily fabricated to properly function in conjunction with most refrigerators presently on the market. Additionally, because of the movable relationship of a switch member which is periodically actuated by an actuator member of selective configuration, not only the number of cycles is selectively variable, but also the duration of each of those cycles. The devices of this invention also allow for easy testing of the functioning thereof by a simple expedient not requiring the use of a special tool and because of a universal cover plate permits ready attachment to any one of a plurality of apparatuses with which the devices are to be used.

The advantages of the devices of this invention are manifest in that a manufacturer now need only stock one basic device which is easily modified for association with manufactured apparatuses to meet the requirements of those apparatuses. Thus, where heretofore a great multitude of motors and timing mechanisms were needed, one motor and associated mechanism, having interchangeable features, now suffices.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to provide a selectively variable timer.

It is another object of this invention to provide a selectively variable timer which is easily modifiable to meet a myriad of uses.

It is still a further object of this invention to provide a selectively variable timer having an easily interchanged, actuator element to meet a variety of needs.

It is still a further object of this invention to provide a selectively variable timer which will energize and deenergize a circuit for a selectively variable time interval, especially for use in conjunction with freezers and the like.

It is still a more specific object of this invention to provide a selectively variable timer having interchangeable actuator elements to meet the variety of needs for refrigerators having freezer compartments and to provide ease of testing such devices to insure their proper operation.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following specification and the accompanying drawings which are for the purpose of illustration only.

Generally, in an exemplary embodiment, the invention is directed to selectively variable timer comprising a motor member, having an extending shaft, secured to a housing member which is juxtapositioned to the motor member and which is adapted to receive the extending shaft of the motor. The housing member is adapted to house a rotor member mounted on the shaft to be driven thereby and a switch member which is mounted adjacent to the rotor member. The rotor member periodically actuates the switch member to energize and deenergize an electrical circuit. The rotor member mounted on the shaft comprises a driving element and a demountable, interchangeable actuator element to actuate the switch member which is movably mounted towards and away from the actuator element to vary the time period of actuation thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view of an exemplary selectively variable timer in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the device shown in FIG. 1 with the top cover and circuitry removed for purposes of clarity;

FIG. 3 is a view in partial cross section taken along he line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIGS. 4, 5, 6 and 7 illustrate the interchangeable, easily demountable actuator members used in conjunction with the device depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2; and

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of the device shown in FIGS. I and 2 illustrating more detail thereof.

DESCRIPTION OF THE BEST EMBODIMENTS CONTEMPLATED While the invention will be described as it specifically relates to a selectively variable timer mechanism for use in conjunction with refrigerators having freezer compartments, the invention is not to be limited thereto, since the fields of use are contemplated wherever energization and/or deenergization of electrical devices at preselected times are desirable. Additionally, the specific configuration and construction of the device is only exemplary and various modifications, alterations and changes will at once make themselves apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, all without detracting from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Referring now to the drawings wherein like numerals of reference designate like elements throughout, the selectively variable timer 2 of this invention basically comprises motor member 4 of common design for the end uses contemplated herein, having extending stub shaft 6, energized by the usual power leads 8 so that shaft 6 constantly revolves or rotates at a uniform rate. Juxtapositioned to motor member 4 in retained relationship therewith is housing member 10 of general rectangular configuration in this instance, having bottom wall 12 and sidewalls 14 defining an open top chamber 16. Housing member 10 may be fabricated of thin wall, high-impact strength plastic as by molding or the like, and may be provided with integral, interior extending bosses 18, 20 and 22 for purposes which will be described. Bottom wall 12 is provided with aperture 24 through which shaft 6 of motor 4 extends. A plurality of spaced through holes 26 may be provided for accommodating various electrical contact post members 28 (FIG. 1) and for providing circulation of the ambient atmosphere within chamber 16 of housing member 10. Locator-retaining pins 21 and 23 may also be provided, if desired, on the interior of wall 12 for purposes as will become apparent.

Mounted on shaft 6 is a rotor member generally designated 30 comprising one-way clutch member 32 seated on shaft 6 and adapted to rotate therewith. To insure secured rotation of one-way clutch member 32 with shaft 6, an aperture 34 provided in clutch member 32 has a flat side 36 to fit over and correspond to the configuration of shaft 6 of motor 4. The one-way clutch member 32 is provided with tooth surface 38 for the accomplishment of driving functions, in this instance in the counterclockwise direction as will be described. J ustapositioned in overlying relationship to one-way clutch 32 is floating, clutch-face member 40 of disclike configuration having spaced lugs 42 around the periphery thereof and being provided with aperture 44 of diameter sufficient to accommodate shaft 6. The lower face 46 of floating clutch-face member 40 is provided with congruent tooth surfaces as tooth surface 38 to engage one-way clutch member 32 in coacting and driven relationship.

Floating clutch-face member 40 is received within actuator member 48 of cylindrical design having an actuator surface generally designated 50 having one or a plurality of spaced lobes or cams 52 integrally formed thereon. The upper extending portion 54 of actuator element 48 terminates in a postlike configuration provided with a slot such as 56 by which means the actuator element 48 may be reversably rotated independent of the remainder of the rotor member 30. This is accomplished by having the interior configuration of member 48 slotted as at 58 to receive lugs 42 of floating clutch-face member 40, the floating action being obtained by coil spring member 60 disposed on the upper planar surface of clutch-face member 40. Thus, it will be noted that actuator element 48 is of hollow configuration to receive coil spring 60, clutch-face member 40 and one way clutch member 32 and maintained in assembled form by a cover plate as will be described.

In this relationship, the rotation of one-way clutch member 32 will engage the tooth surface 46 of floating clutch-face member 40 which will cause rotation thereof and because of the interfitted lug and slot relationship respectively of members 44 and 48, actuating member 48 will be driven in a counterclockwise direction but will be free floating and freely rotatable in the clockwise direction for purposes which will be described.

It should be apparent at this juncture that either one of the actuator elements 48, 48, 48" and 48" are interchangeable and easily replaceable with each other and the assemblage with which they are used for purposes that will become apparent. Suffice to say that the configuration of each one of the actuator elements bearing the numeral 48 are the same except for the number of cam surfaces or lobes 52 provided on the exterior peripheral surface thereof. Thus, in operation, the actuator element, for example 48, rotates once each 24 hours to effect actuation of a switch member as will be described every six hours. Thus, the cam or lobes 52 are spaced approximately 90 apart, l where actuation is desired every 8 hours, as for the 48' embodiment, 180 apart where actuation is desired every 12 hours as in the 48" embodiment and so on. Thus, when assembling the timer 2, an appropriate actuator element 48 is selected pursuant to the needs of the device with which the devices ofthis invention will ultimately be used.

Secured within housing member 4, as by means of cement or the like, for example, is switch base 62 mounting microswitch 64 of conventional design, having the usual pressure actuated switch element 68. Pressure switch 64 is movably secured to base plate 62 as by means of bolt 70 and nut 72 disposed through arcuate slot 74 such that switch 64 is movable to the extent thereofinto and out of proximity to actuator member 48 and more directly, the cams or lobes 52 located on the peripheral surface thereof. The thickness of base plate 62 is sufficient to bring pressure switch element 68 into engaging position with respect to cams 52 and is provided with extending apertured bosses 76 to receive locator-retaining pins 21 and 23. Bosses 76 also provide means of handling the assembled switch and base and provide mechanical protection for the switch that it carries. Also extending from the upper surface of base plate 62 is stub mounting shaft 78 which is received by a hole 79 in switch member 64 provided for that purpose so that switch 64 is pivotally mounted thereabout through the arc defined by slot 74 as heretofore described.

The under surface of base plate 62 may be provided with a lip, rib or the like, usually found in plastic molded products, so as to provide an accommodating space for nut 72 such that baseplate 62 is in stable contacting relationship with the interior surface of bottom wall 12 of housing member 10.

it should now be apparent from FIG. 2 that upon selection of an appropriate actuator element 48 in the rotor member 30 assembly, that the lobes or cam surfaces 52 will, upon rotation of the motor shaft 6 actuate the switch element 68 of pressure or microswitch 64 at selected intervals of time. The cam 52, of course, will depress switch element 68, thereby making or breaking appropriate circuitry, not shown. In order to vary, in a selective manner, the time period that each of the cams 52 are in contact with switch element 68, the switch 64 may be pivoted through the arc defined by slot 74 from and through the full line position to the phantom line position as illustrated in FIG. 2.

To complete the retained assemblage and so as to provide a somewhat dustproof chamber 16 for the functional components of the timing device 2, cover 80 is provided, in this case of lightweight metal, which is secured to member 10 by means of screws 82 engaging apertures provided in bosses 18, 20, and 22 of housing member 10 and provided for this purpose. lt will be noted that cover 80 is provided with, in addition to screw holes 84, a larger aperture 86 to accommodate the projecting end 54 and abut the shoulder 55 of actuator element 48 to retain rotor 30 in proper assembly.

Cover 80 may be provided with notches 88 adapted to interfit, where desired, with tabs 90 of housing 10. So that the timer 2 may be mounted in and with a variety of devices, for example refrigerators, aligned holes 94 and 96 are provided with offset aligned apertures 98 and 100. This spacious relationship, along with aligned apertures 102 and 104, provide for universal mounting of the selectively variable timer of the invention with a selected one of a multitude of commercially available refrigerators and the like. Recesses in the area of the screws 82 may be provided to allow flush disposition of the screwheads with respect to the remainder of the surface of cover 80.

In the assembled state (see FIG. 1), the slot 56 is outwardly presented by which means a coin (shown in phantom) or the like, may be inserted to rotate the actuator element 48 through a full revolution or more, if desired, for test purposes. This is accomplished, it will be recalled, by the fact that clutch-face member 40 is oppositely rotatable with respect to one-way clutch member 32 because of the beveled tooth surfaces of each of the members which allow for free rotation in the clockwise direction which, of course, permits testing of the device without removal of cover plate 80 or waiting for the motor 4 to bring the earns 52 of actuator 48 into contact with pressure switch element 68.

The housing member 10, as well as rotor member 30, and

the components thereof, (with the exception of coil spring 60) and baseplate 62, may all be fabricated as by molding with high-strength plastic material of appropriate electrical properties consistent with the end uses desired and, at least in the rotor member 30, of high wear and durability characteristic, keeping in mind the frictional wear involved in normal operation of the device. Obviously, other materials of construction are contemplated and indeed will be necessary, depending upon the ultimate end uses to which the devices of this invention are put.

For example, in the specific embodiment of the device illustrated and described, a metal cover plate 80 is preferred because it will receive a mounting bracket, not shown, and metal, in this particular instance, is preferable to plastic or other types of materials. Additionally, while an opposed inclinelike configuration has been shown for the slot 56 of upper portion 54 of actuator element 48, a conventional slot would suffice just as well, or where space considerations are not important, this portion may extend further than shown to allow for more ready grasping by the thumb and forefinger of a serviceman for ease of rotation thereof as previously described.

Thus, a selectively variable timer device has been disclosed which fulfills a variety of needs in a unique manner to provide devices of the character described herein easily and selectively varied, depending upon the ultimate uses desired.

We claim:

1. In a selectively variable timer, the combination of: a motor member, having an extending shaft, secured to a housing member juxtapositioned said motor member and adapted to receive said extending shaft and house a rotor member mounted on such shaft to be directly driven thereby and a switch member adjacent said rotor member to be periodically actuated to energize and deenergize an electric circuit; said rotor member mounted on said shaft comprising a driving element and a single demountable and interchangeable actuator element; and a switch member movably mounted, in said housing, with respect to said actuator element to vary the time period of actuation thereof.

2. The combination in accordance with claim 1 wherein said driving element is secured to said shaft and said actuator element is independently and reversibly rotatable with respect thereto.

3. The combination in accordance with claim 2 wherein said driving element acts as a one-way clutch and said actuator element includes a floating clutch-face member operatively associated therewith. I

4. The combination in accordance with claim 3 wherein said driving element has a tooth face surface meshing into engaging relationship with a mating tooth face surface of said floating clutch-face member.

5. The combination in accordance with claim 4 wherein said actuator element comprises a cylindricallike portion having at least one cam surface on the exterior thereof and which is adapted to receive said floating clutch member in the interior thereof in nestled relationship.

6. The combination in accordance with claim 5 wherein a spring member is positioned between said floating clutch-face member and the interior of said cylindricallike portion of said actuator element.

7. In a selectively variable timer, the combination of: a motor member having an extending shaft projecting into a juxtapositioned housing member; a rotor element secured to said shaft within said housing member, comprising a first annular clutch member secured to said shaft and having a beveled tooth upper surface, a second floating clutch member having an under surface of beveled tooth design for engagement with said clutch member and having peripheral spaced lugs, a coil spring carried by the upper surface of said floating member and an actuator member of cylindrical design adapted to receive said one-way clutch member, coil spring and floating clutch member and having at least one cam surface on the exterior wall thereof; a switch member pivotally mounted in proximity to said actuator member such that rotation of said actuator member brings said at least one cam surface into engaging and actuating relationship with said switch member to energize or deenergize an electrical circuit and a cover plate member covering said housing member and being provided with an aperture to permit access to said actuator member so that it may be rotated opposite its normal driven direction.

8. In a selectively variable timer, the combination of: a motor member, having an extending shaft secured to a housing member juxtapositioned said motor member and adapted to receive said extending shaft and house a rotor member mounted on such shaft to be driven thereby; a switch member adjacent said rotor member to be periodically actuated to energize and deenergize an electric circuit, said rotor member mounted on said shaft comprising a driving element secured to said shaft and a demountable and interchangeable actuator element which is independently and reversibly rotatable with respect to said driving element, said driving element having a tooth face surface meshing into engaging relationship with a mating tooth face surface of a floating clutch face member operatively associated with said actuator element and acting as a one-way clutch, said actuator element comprising a cylindrical-like portion having at least one cam surface on the exterror thereof and adapted to receive said floating clutch member in the interior thereof in nestled relationship; and a spring member positioned between said floating clutch face member and the interior of said cylindrical-like portion of said actuator element.

9. The combination in accordance with claim 8 wherein said cylindrical-like portion of said actuator element has an upstanding, projecting portion for easy engagement and rotation thereof with a tool or similar article.

10. The combination in accordance with claim 9 including a cover plate member covering said housing wherein said cover plate member is provided with an aperture to allow said projecting portion of said actuator element to extend beyond said cover plate.

11. The combination in accordance with claim 10 wherein said projecting portion is slotted for engagement with a tool or the like and wherein rotation of said actuator element opposite the normal driven direction causes said at least one cam surface to actuate said switch member.

12. The combination in accordance with claim 11 wherein the interior of said cylindrical portion of said actuator element is slotted and said floating clutch member is provided with projecting lugs received by said slots.

13. The combination in accordance with claim 12 wherein said cover plate member retains said cylindrical-like portion in operative relationship.

14. The combination in accordance with claim 13 wherein said cover plate additionally has at least pairs of aligned holes to permit universal mounting of said timer with a selected one of a plurality of refrigerators.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2753406 *Feb 17, 1954Jul 3, 1956Gen ElectricElectric switch mechanism
US3126759 *Jul 15, 1960Mar 31, 1964 Timing mechanism for washing machines and like equipment
US3214985 *Aug 9, 1962Nov 2, 1965Controls Co Of AmericaTimer
US3221117 *Sep 9, 1963Nov 30, 1965Mallory & Co Inc P RAdjustable cam time sequence control
US3306997 *May 6, 1965Feb 28, 1967Franklin Electric Co IncLimit switch control for a motor drive
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3767876 *Nov 17, 1972Oct 23, 1973Singer CoRemote mechanical switch for actuating a power tool with particular microswitch locating means
US3825781 *Jan 15, 1973Jul 23, 1974Gen ElectricMagnetically driven timer
US4488071 *Mar 7, 1984Dec 11, 1984Lucas Industries Public Limited CompanyMotor operated mechanism
US5506377 *Oct 12, 1993Apr 9, 1996Emerson Electric Co.For a motor
US6080943 *Aug 2, 1999Jun 27, 2000France/Scott Fetzer CompanyTimer
US6137067 *Jun 15, 1999Oct 24, 2000France/Scott Fetzer CompanyPushbutton hand dryer timer
US6583371Nov 2, 2001Jun 24, 2003France/Scott Fetzer CompanyTimer
US6613991Nov 2, 2001Sep 2, 2003France/Scott Fetzer CompanyTimer
US6797897Jan 21, 2004Sep 28, 2004France/Scott Fetzer CompanyTimer
US6838628Oct 17, 2003Jan 4, 2005France/Scott Fetzer CompanyTimer
US7619172 *Jan 17, 2008Nov 17, 2009Nidec Servo CorporationMicro switch mounting structure and automatic icemaker
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/33.00B, 200/38.00B, 200/574, 968/815
International ClassificationG04F3/06, G04F3/00
Cooperative ClassificationG04F3/06
European ClassificationG04F3/06
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 21, 1986AS06Security interest
Owner name: GEM PRODUCTS, INC., A CORP. OF CA.
Effective date: 19850913
Owner name: SECURTIY PACIFIC BUSINESS CREDIT INC., 45 SOUTH HU
May 21, 1986ASAssignment
Owner name: SECURTIY PACIFIC BUSINESS CREDIT INC., 45 SOUTH HU
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GEM PRODUCTS, INC., A CORP. OF CA.;REEL/FRAME:004561/0845
Effective date: 19850913
Owner name: SECURTIY PACIFIC BUSINESS CREDIT INC.,CALIFORNIA
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GEM PRODUCTS, INC., A CORP. OF CA.;REEL/FRAME:4561/845
Owner name: SECURTIY PACIFIC BUSINESS CREDIT INC., CALIFORNIA
Sep 28, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: GEM PRODUCTS, INC., 1660 EUCLID ST. SANTA MONICA,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNORS:MCKINNON, EUGENE T.;DRUTZ, ALVIN S.;REEL/FRAME:004174/0788
Effective date: 19830720
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MCKINNON, EUGENE T.;DRUTZ, ALVIN S.;REEL/FRAME:004174/0788
Owner name: GEM PRODUCTS, INC., A CA CORP., CALIFORNIA
Sep 28, 1983AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: DRUTZ, ALVIN S.
Effective date: 19830720
Owner name: GEM PRODUCTS, INC., 1660 EUCLID ST. SANTA MONICA,
Owner name: MCKINNON, EUGENE T.