|Publication number||US3659093 A|
|Publication date||Apr 25, 1972|
|Filing date||Apr 13, 1970|
|Priority date||Apr 13, 1970|
|Publication number||US 3659093 A, US 3659093A, US-A-3659093, US3659093 A, US3659093A|
|Inventors||Lawrence E Rieth|
|Original Assignee||Stewart Warner Corp|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (12), Classifications (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Paten Rieth  PANEL INDICATOR LAMP ASSEMBLY  Inventor: Lawrence E. Rieth, Springfield, Ill.  Assignee: Stewart-Warner Corporation, Chicago, Ill.  Filed: Apr. 13, 1970  Appl. No; 27,909
 US. Cl ..240/152  Int. CL... ..F2lv 17/06  Field ofSearch ..240/l'52, l5l,8.16;339/l28  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,387,255 6/1968 Earleywine ..240/152 X 3,396,269 8/1968 Sorenson ..240/152 973,568 10/1910 RusselL. ..240/152X 3,364,350 l/l968 Larson ..240/152 Primary Examiner-Richard C. Queisser Assistant-Examiner-Ellis J. Koch 1 Attorney-Augustus G. Douvas, William J. Newman and Norton Lesser  ABSTRACT 5 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates in general to indicator panel lamp assemblies and more particularly to a snap fitted panel lamp assembly retainer of improved economy and versatility.
2. Description of the Prior Art Previous indicator panel lamp assemblies generally utilized a metal ring having extending spring fingers or prongs thereon for snap fitting in a panel opening. The ring was usually fixed to the tube in which the lamp is disposed with the axial position of the ring on the tube dependent on the panel thickness. Indicator panels may have a nominal thickness for thin panels between 0.035 inch and 0.05 inch and up to 0.3 inch for thicker panels or up to ten times as thick as the thinner panels. The axial position of the ring on the tube, therefore, required changing to accommodate different panel thicknesses and avoid changing the prong parameters.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention solves the above problem through the provision of a plurality of prongs integrally formed on the plastic lamp lens with the prongs extending rearwardly axially of the tube and having several steps therein. The steps extend radially outwardly at respective angles from the axis of the tube or panel opening and are located at respective axial distances from the front of the panel with the prong ends adapted to abut the tube. One step on each prong engages or intersects the rear edge of thin panels and a step located directly to the rear thereof is adapted to engage the side of the panel opening of thicker panels to securely grasp the panels under considerable force when the bezel is engaged with the front of the panel. The prong ends are supported at both the lens and tube so that a considerable securing force is'provided.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a panel lamp assembly for snap fitting into any one of a wide variety of panel thicknesses.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a more economical panel lamp assembly which is securely held in a panel.
Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent on examination of the following specification, claims and drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of the panel lamp indicator assembly illustrating a panel fragment;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the panel lamp indicator assembly taken along the line 2-2 in FIG. 1 and viewed in the direction of the arrows for illustrating the manner in which the assembly fits a panel of considerable thickness;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view of a portion of the indicator assembly illustrating the manner in which the assembly fits a thin panel; and
FIG. 4 is an isometric exploded view of the bezel, lens and tube utilized in the lamp assembly.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, a panel indicator lamp assembly is indicated by the reference character for insertion in a panel 12. As seen in FIG. 2, the lamp assembly 10 comprises a bezel 14, lens 16 whose front surface may be marked with desired indicia. As seen in FIG. 2, a lamp supporting tubular housing or tube 18 for carrying a lamp and socket assembly 20 extends rearwardly from the lens and bezel through an opening 22 in the panel 12.
The lamp and socket assembly 20 may be of the type illustrated in US. Pat. No. 3,387,255, issued June 4, 1968, and includes a plastic annular insulator 24. The insulator 24 carries a metal socket 26 with a spring 28 for holding a bayonet type lamp 30 in engagement with socket 26 and the center lamp terminal engaged with a terminal connected toa lead 32. The annular insulator 24 is fit on the end of tube 18 opposite the bezel 14 for holding the lamp in the passageway defined by tube 18 behind the lens, and a tab 34 at one end of the insula- I tor extends an electrical connection from a lead 36 through the socket 26 and the lamp socket to enable the lamp 30 to be lighted.
The bezel 14 and lens 16 are both formed of plastic with the lens preferably of polycarbonate and having a disc-like front face to close the end of tube 18 opposite the socket assembly 20. As may be seen from FIGS. 1-4, the bezel 14 comprises an annular wall 38, which overlaps a short axially extending annular wall 40 formed along the peripheral edge of the lens disc. A short radially outwardly extending radial wall 42 on the end of wall 40 abuts the rear side of annular wall 38 and is spaced from and overlapped by a rearwardly extending axial or rim wall 44 formed along the outer periphery of the bezel wall 38 for abutting the front fact of panel 12 to serve as a stop. A rearwardly extending lug 46 is formed on the rear side of walls 38 and 44 for insertion in a recess 48 formed adjacent the panel opening 22 for properly aligning the assembly 10 with the panel 12.
The radial wall 42 terminates in a plurality of three circumferentially spaced radial flanges 50, one of which may be split as seen in FIG. 4 to pass lug 46 and a plurality of three axially extending spring prongs or fingers 52 spaced circumferentially and equiangularly between flanges 50 about the radial wall 42. The radial wall 42 and flanges 50 on one side abut the rear surface of wall 38 with flanges 50 nested against the inner surface of wall 44, and on the other side the wall 42 and flanges 50 abut the adjacent end of tube 18 and a plurality of radial flanges 54 formed on that end of tube 18. The prongs 52 are nested between the flanges 54 and one of the flanges 54 is split to accommodate the lug 46. An ultra-sonically staked or pressed stop wall 56 is formed on the rear inner periphery of the bezel rim wall 44 to abut the rear of flanges 54 for holding the bezel 14, lens 16 and tube 18 in tight assembled relationship with rotation therebetween prevented.
The prongs 52 are about 0.04 inch thick and 0.2 inch wide. Each comprises an initial portion 58 extending axially rear wardly from adjacent the radial wall 38 and between flanges 54 for about three-sixteenths inch generally parallel and adjacent to the outer surface of tube 18 with an outer diameter of about 0.6 inch. Extending rearwardly from the initial portion 58 is a first step portion 60 extending axially of tube 16 for 0.032 inch and radially outwardly of the tube axis or the axis of opening 22 at a 45 angle to provide a surface length of about 0.03 inch extending between 0.025 inch and 0.05 inch from the rear surface of bezel wall 44. A second step portion 62 extends axially rearwardly about one-fourth inch from portion 60 and radially outwardly of the tube and opening axes to an external diameter of about 0.72 inch so that portion 62 extends to a maximum of over 0.3 inch from the rear of bezel wall 44. The prongs 52 each then terminate in an axially extending portion 64 of about one-fourth inch in length and extend radially inwardly to an external diameter of 0.57 inch, which is in abutment with the periphery of the tube or housing 18.
To insert the indicator assembly 10 in a panel, the tube 18 having the bezel l4 and lens 16 assembled at one end thereof is inserted in the opening 22 of the panel 12 with the lug 46 in alignment with the panel recess 48. The socket assembly 20 and leads 32 and 36 are passed through the panel opening 22 first, of course, since the leads are usually short and are fitted with a plug at the ends not shown. Thereafter the prongs 52 engage in the opening 22 and the portions 64 and 62, in sequence, engage the side or circular wall defining opening 22 and are forced inwardly causing the prongs 52 to flex about the juncture with wall 42 and move the portion 62 radially inwardly to accommodate the prongs within opening 22, while the bezel wall 44 is moved into abutment with the front panel face. The bezel 14 thus serves as a stop to limit the receipt of wall 44 and the circular wall of the panel opening 22 engages the prongs 54 along the three-sixteenths inch length of portion 62 and along the rear edge of the opening. The prongs 52 are supported both at wall 42 and the tube periphery and exert a substantial force radially outwardly while flexing to pass through the opening by moving axially of the tube in response to the compression force of the panel. A snug tight fit is therefore provided for preventing the assembly from loosening in the panel and a wide variety of thick panels are accommodated. Since contact between the sharp rear edge of the panel opening and the plastic prongs 52 is also provided by the described arrangement, and the prongs extend behind the rear surface of the panel, withdrawal or loosening of the assembly 5 can only be effected by manually squeezing the prongs radially inwardly and then moving the same through the opening. The socket assembly 20, including the lamp 28 together with the leads 32 and 36, may of course be assembled to the open end of the tube opposite lens 16, after the tube IS, lens 16 and bezel 14 are mounted in the panel 12 by reaching be hind the panel and inserting the socket 20 into the tube open end.
In the event panel 12 is only 0.035 to 0.05 inch thick, the portion or step 60 is located partially behind the rear surface of the panel opening as shown for panel 66 in FIG. 3 after por-' tions 62 and 60 have passed through the opening and the bezel 44 is in abutment with the front panel face. The portion 60'has a relatively steep slope and the sharp rear edge of the panel opening engages the portion 60 intermediate its ends to locate part of portion 60 behind the panel 66 to prevent disengage-v ment, although the compressive force on prongs 52 is substantially less than for the thicker panels. Note the relatively steep slope of portion 60 provides the effect of normal wedging action from loosening the prongs.
The foregoing is a description of an improved retainer for a panel indicator lamp assembly whose inventive concepts are believed set forth in the above description and accompanying claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A panel retainer for a panel indicator lamp assembly of the type including a housing for transmitting light through a lens at one end of said housing and adapted to be passed in one direction through an opening in a panel having any one of a plurality of nominal thicknesses with a stop on said housing for engaging one face of said panel in response to said passage, the improvement comprising a plurality of prongs spaced about the periphery of said housing each having one end in a fixed position relative said stop arranged to flex about said fixed position for radial inward movement to pass through said opening in response to the one portion of each prong extending radially outwardly of the axis of said opening at an angle of substantially 45 and spaced less than 0.055 inch from said stop to exert a radial outward force against the edge of said opening adjacent the opposite panel face for securing said housing to said panel in response to said panel having a nominal thickness less than 0.055 inch and said stop engaging said one face, and a second portion of each prong extending radially outwardly of said one portion and spaced less than 0.3 inch from said stop to intersect the edge of said opening opposite said one face in response to said panel having a nominal thickness greater than 0.055 inch and extending radially outwardly of said opening adjacent the opposite face of said panel in response to said panel having a nominal thickness less than I 0.055 inch.
2. The retainer claimed in claim 1 in which said prongs are integrally formed on said lens.
3. A panel indicator lamp assembly of the type including a tubular housing defining a passageway for receiving a lamp 5 carried by a socket at one end of said housing and having means for extending electrical connections to said lamp for lighting said lamp with said housing adapted to be received in the opening of a panel having any one of a plurality of nominal thicknesses, the improvement comprising a plastic lens for the opposite end of said housing to cover said passageway, means for securing said plastic lens to said opposite housing end and for limiting the receipt of said housingin said passageway to space said lens in a predetermined position relative one face of said panel, and a plurality of prongs integrally formed on said lens for flexing radially inwardly and outwardly of the axis of said opening and extending axially of said opening toward said one end with said prongs having a first portion spaced a predetermined distance from said predetermined position and extending radially outwardly of said passageway axis for engaging the opposite face of a panel having a nominal thickness of 0.03 to 0.05 inch and a second portion extending axially from said first portion and radially outwardly of said first portion for engaging the side of an opening in a panel having a nominal thickness between 0.05 inch and 0.3 inch.
4. The assembly claimed in claim 3 in which each prong has a terminating portion extending axially from said second portion and radially inwardly of said second portion for substantial abutment with said housing and for movement axially of said housing in response to flexure of said prongs on movement through said opening.
5. A panel indicator lamp assembly for insertion into a panel opening, the improvement comprising a tubular lamp housing defining a passageway. a lamp received in said passageway. a socket received at the rear end of said housing for supporting said lamp and having means for extending electrical connections to said lamp for lighting said lamp, a radial flange at the front end of said housing, a plastic lens for covering the front end of said housing and passageway with said plastic lens having a radially extending wall abutting said flange, a bezel encircling the periphery of said lens and having one annular wall in abutment with said lens radial wall and having an end face adapted to engage a front face of said panel after insertion of said housing into said panel opening, a second wall on said bezel abutting said housing radial wall at a distance from said first bezel wall corresponding to the thickness of said lens and housing radial walls to hold said lens and housing walls in abutment, a plurality of circumferentially spaced prongs integrally formed on said lens and extending axially toward said rear end for radial flexure about their juncture with said lens with a first portion on each prong formed radially outwardly of said passageway axis at an angle of substantially 45 and at a distance from said bezel end face ranging between 0.035 inch to 0.05 inch for engaging the rear face of a correspondingly sized panel engaged by said bezel end face, a second axial portion on each prong extending radially outwardly from said first portion at a smaller angle to said passageway axis and at a distance from said bezel end face ranging between 0.05 inch and 0.3 inch for engaging the side and rear edge of a panel opening in a respectively sized panel engaged by said bezel end face, and a third axial portion extending radially inwardly of said axis from said second portion into substantial abutment with said housing.
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