US 3657722 A
A signal actuator module having a set of spring loaded levers which can be in one of at least two operating positions is disclosed. The various positions of the levers in the set represents a code. The module is for mounting on other equipment such as a signal transmitter which contains cooperating switches. The switches are operated by magnetic or mechanical means attached to the levers and movable therewith. The module is completely enclosed by a cover which when opened permits all of the levers to return to the same position thereby preventing discovery of the code.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[is] 3,657,722 [451 Apr. 18, 1972 United States Patent Givens et al.
 CONTROL APPARATUS Primary Examiner-Samuel Feinberg Assistant Examiner--H. A. Birmiel  lnventors: Richard C. Givens; Robert A. Glass, both of Clearwater, Fla.
Attomey-Charles J. Ungemach, Ronald T. Reiling and James A. Phillips  Assignee:
ABSTRACT A signal actuator module having a set of spring loaded levers which can be in one of at least two operating positions is disclosed. The various positions of the levers in the set represents a code. The module is for mounting on other equipment such as a signal transmitter which contains cooperating switches. The switches are operated by magnetic or mechanical means attached to the levers and movable therewith. The module is completely enclosed by a cover which when opened permits all of the levers to return to the same position thereby preventing discovery of the code.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures 2,591,165 Krasnasky................................70/3 l4 Patented April 18, 1972 m was 4 0 N M W /w 0 m m mm ME mm M VRR m A B SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a signal actuator module which can be used to set a code into another device for the purpose of causing a signal to be generated in the other device. It is often desirable for a person to be able to identify his presence from a remote location. For example, it is often necessary for a guard to call from various remote locations at predetermined times as he is making his rounds. As another example when a pilot is downed behind enemy lines, it is often possible to rescue the pilot if his location is known. Accordingly, the pilot can be given a survival radio which transmits a preselected signal when activated. The rescuers use the preselected signal to locate the pilot. Similar radios can be used by other military personnel in a variety of situations.
One problem with such survival radio schemes is that the enemy may also use the radio to transmit a signal and thereby lure the would-be rescuers into a trap. Similarly, some unauthorized person may use a security guards call box to indicate to the central security station that the security rounds are being made when they are not. Accordingly, it is desirable to have a tamper-proof actuator module to actuate the survival radio or call box so that unauthorized persons cannot transmit the proper signal.
An actuator module constructed in accordance with this invention includes a base which is mounted on the apparatus to be actuated. A plurality of levers are mounted in slots on the base so that they can be moved between at least two positions. Cooperating switches in the apparatus to be actuated are actuated by moving the levers from one position to another position. The cooperating switches may be responsive to magnetic fields or mechanical plungers. The mechanical plunger or magnet is attached to the lever and moves therewith to actuate the switches. If mechanical actuation is used, the plungers must protrude from the actuator module into the apparatus to be actuated so that mechanical contact is made with the switches. The levers are spring loaded and detention means are used to hold the levers in their proper positions. A cover is placed on the base means. The cover includes a release means which releases the detention means but also holds the levers in the preselected positions. If the cover is opened either inadvertently or intentionally the levers all return to an unset position so that the previous setting cannot be discovered.
If this invention is used in connection with a survival radio, for example, setting certain ones of the levers causes the survival radio to transmit the proper signal. The person using the survival radio can erase the code or setting of the switches merely by opening the cover of the actuator module. If he does so, the rescuers are immediately alerted to the possibility of a trap. Furthermore, if the radio is captured by the enemy, they cannot cause it to transmit the proper or preselected signal without knowing the proper code or setting of the levers. Additional provisions may be made to render the radio inoperative if an attempt is made to set the levers in an incorrect position so that unauthorized users cannot experiment with it. Furthermore, the codes can be changed often and individual codes, different for each radio, can be assigned to make tampering even more difficult.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a new and novel signal actuator module.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a signal ac- I tuator module which is tamper-proof.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a signal actuator module in which the code may be easily erase and reset to the same or a different code.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a signal module in which unauthorized persons cannot determine what code or signal was used once it has been erased.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a signal actuator module which can be set rapidly and erased rapidly.
These objects and advantages and further objects and advantages of this invention will become evident to those skilled in the art upon a reading of this specification and the accompanying claims in conjunction with the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric drawing of a signal actuator module in the open or setting position;
FIG. 2 is an isometric drawing of a signal actuator module which has been set;
FIG. 3 is an isometric drawing of a portion of a signal actuator module with mechanical actuation; and
FIG. 4 is an isometric drawing of a signal actuator module mounted on apparatus to be actuated.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In FIG. 1 a signal actuator module is shown with the cover open. Six levers are shown of which the details of two levers, 10 and 11, are shown. Lever 10 has a first portion or tab 12 designed to be engaged by the operator's finger and a second portion 13 designed to ride in a slot or groove 14 in a base or mounting means 15. Lever 10 is spring loaded by a helical spring 16 which is designed to force lever 10 to a first (non-actuated) position at the rear or back of the module. The levers are normally all in the non-actuated position. Lever ll similarly has a portion or tab designed to be engaged by the operators finger and a portion mounted in a slot or groove similar to slot 14. Lever 11 is also spring-loaded. A detention means or leaf spring 17 has a first spring portion 20 which engages portion 12 of lever 10 to hold it in a forward or second (actuated) position when lever 10 is moved forward by the operator. The second leaf 21 of spring 17 is designed to engage lever 11 when the operator moves lever 11 to a forward position. The leaves of spring 17 temporarily hold selected levers in the actuated position. As many additional levers as is desired may be used. Preferably the number of levers is great enough so that numerous codes can be used thereby diminishing the probability that an unauthorized person may accidentally discover the proper setting of the levers. Four additional levers are shown without illustrating the details thereof. These additional levers are constructed identical to levers l0 and 11 and would have corresponding spring loading and detention mechanisms. Lever 10 has further mounted thereon a magnetic means or magnet 22 which moves with lever 10. Magnet 22 is used to activate magnetically responsive switches which will be described hereinafter. Lever 11 and the other leaves have corresponding magnets attached thereto.
A cover 23 designed for closing the top of base 15 is preferably mounted on base 15 by suitable hinges which are not shown. The inside of cover 23 contains a bar 24 having a plurality of release means or lugs 25.
FIG. 2 shows the same structure as shown in FIG. 1 with cover 23 closed against base 15. When cover 23 is closed, lugs 25 (of which only one is shown in FIG. 2) engage the leaf springs 20 and 21 and similar leaf springs associated with each of the other levers so that the levers which have been moved forward by the operator are released. Lugs 25, however, also perform the function of holding the levers in the forward position. Note that in this forward position the lever tabs rest on top of the leaf springs, holding them down. If cover 23 is now opened, lugs 25 will disengage the levers which were previously moved forward and the levers will return to their original or unset position. Cover 23 and base 15 are designed such that visual observation of the setting of the levers is impossible. It should be noted that in FIG. 2 cover 23 is shown as if it were transparent only so that the internal details of the actuator module can be illustrated. Cover 23 will ordinarily be constructed of an opaque material and preferably of a material which is very difi'rcult to cut away so that no one can conveniently make a hole in the cover to discover the setting of the levers.
FIG. 3 is a partial view of the actuator module which can be used for the mechanical actuation of switches. The structure of FIG. 3 is basically the same as the structure illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 except that magnet 22 is removed from lever and from the other levers and a plunger or mechanical link 26 is attached to the lever. Mechanical link 26 protrudes through the center of spring 16 and through an opening in base 15. The structure of FIG. 3 is suitable for mechanical stimulation or actuation of corresponding switches while the structure of FIGS. 1 and 2 is suitable for magnetic stimulation or actuation of corresponding switches.
FIG. 4 illustrates the attachment of a module to some apparatus 30 which is to be actuated by the module. The apparatus may be, for example, a radio. The apparatus 30 contains a set of switches 31 which are to be actuated by the module. The module preferably is placed in a slot or recess in the housing of radio 30 such that only the module cover 23 is accessible. In other words, the module base is preferably recessed in the apparatus 30. Placing the module in a recess in the apparatus which is to be actuated is preferable because it will then be more difficult to detect the position of the switches with such devices as magnetic detectors. When the structure of FIG. 3 is used, it is necessary to place a module in a recess of some type so that the mechanical connection between the plungers 26 and the switches 31 can be made.
Furthermore, plungers 26 must be hidden from view by unauthorized persons since plungers 26 protrude through base 15.
To further illustrate the use of the module constructed in accordance with this invention, assume that the module is to be used with a survival radio for identifying pilots who are downed behind enemy lines. The module will be attached to the main radio housing such that the magnets attached to the various levers will be adjacent to a like series of reed switches which are within the body of the main housing. When one of the levers is pushed forward, a circuit will be completed by closing the corresponding reed switch. The radio is designed to transmit a preselected signal when the various levers correspond to a certain pattern or code. Preferably, the module levers are set prior to turning on the radio. If the pilot finds himself in danger of being captured, he can quickly and easily open the cover of the module thereby erasing" the code. The radio can be designed so that a different signal is transmitted if the code is erased thereby alerting any rescuers. Codes can be changed frequently or individually assigned to prevent captors from using a previously discovered code.
While this invention has been described with reference to specific applications, those skilled in the art will realize that it has many other uses as well. For example, this invention could be used with security combination locks, demolition key combinations, devices to transmit predetermined messages, etc. In some of these applications it will be preferable to use a module with mechanical actuation as illustrated in FIG. 3 while in other applications magnetic actuation of the switches as illustrated in the modules in FIGS. 1 and 2 will be preferable. Accordingly, we do not wish to be limited by the specific embodiment shown and described only by the scope of the appended claims.
We claim as our invention:
1. An actuator module comprising:
a base means for mounting on an apparatus to be actuated, said apparatus to be actuated including switch means responsive to stimuli provided by said actuator module;
a plurality of moveable levers mounted on' said base means;
actuating means fixedly attached to each of said-levers and moveable therewith for providing the stimuli to said switch means when each of said levers is moved to a first position;
a plurality of spring means for engaging said levers and for providing a unidirectional force against said levers;
detention means for detaining said lever means in said first position;
cover means coupled to said base means forenclosing said levers, said actuating means, said spring means, and said detention means; and release means attached to sard cover means for releasrng said detention means when said cover is closed against said base means, said release means further for releasing said lever means when said cover is opened whereby said spring means forces said lever means to a second position.
2. A tamper-proof actuator module comprising:
a base member; I V
a plurality of levers moveably mounted on the base member and normally all in a non-actuated position;
means for temporarily holding selected levers in a predetermined actuated position when they are moved to that position;
a cover member cooperating with the base member, the cover member including means which when the cover member is closed deactivates the means temporarily holding selected levers and holds the selected levers substantially at their actuated position;
means associated with each lever to return it to the non-actuated position if the cover member is opened; and
means for operating switches, associated with each lever.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the levers each include a tab and the means for temporarily holding selectedlevers includes a spring associated with each lever, the tab situated over and depressing the spring until the lever is moved to its actuated position at which time the spring is free to bend upward and engage the tab to prevent the lever from moving back to its non-actuated position.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the cover member includes lugs which depress any of the springs that are engaging lever tabs and holds the selected levers in the actuated position so that the lever tabs are located slightly over the depressed springs.
' 5. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the means associated with each lever to return it to the non-actuated position if the cover member is opened is a helical spring.
6. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the means for operating switches, associated with each lever, is a magnetic structure fixed to the lever.
7. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the means for operating switches, associated with each lever, is a rod extending from the lever.