US 3676630 A
A push-button switch-actuating mechanism is integrated with one or more switch units by adding on the switch unit or units to the actuating mechanism. Detachable connections between the actuating mechanism and the unit or units enable one or more units to be added on in tandem. Latch means in the actuating mechanism enables it to be maintained in actuated position on one operation and released by the next operation. Latching and releasing springs of hairpin type constitute a novel part of the actuating mechanism.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Dennison  INTEGRATED LIGHTED PUSH BUTTON SWITCH DEVICE  Inventor: John J. Dennlsim, Southington, Conn.
 Assignee: Arrow-Hart, lnc., Hartford, Conn.
 Filed: Aug. 13, 1969 ] Appl. No.: 849,771
[451 July 11, 1972 3,334,209 8/1967 Hill et al. ..200/167 A FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,050,861 2/1959 Germany ..200/168 K Primary Examiner-H. 0. Jones Attomey-Dayis, l-loxie, Faithfull & l-lapgood ABSTRACT A push-button switch-actuating mechanism is integrated with one or more switch units by adding on the switch unit or units to the actuating mechanism. Detachable connections between the actuating mechanism and the unit or units enable one or more units to be added on in tandem. Latch means in the actuating mechanism enables it to be maintained in actuated position on one operation and released by the next operation. Latching and releasing springs of hairpin type constitute a novel part of the actuating mechanism.
2Clains,llDrawingFigures PA'TENTEDJUL 1 1 19: 2 3, 6,7 6.6 3 0 sum 2 OF 2 FIRST LATCH .POSIT SECOND DEPRESSION DEPRESSION BUTTON RETU ED LATCH RELEASING IN V EN TOR.
John J. 08/7/7/50/7 By Dow's, Hox/le, Fafihful/ 8 Hapgoad Aim/hays INTEGRATED LIGHTED PUSH BUTTON SWITCH DEVICE This invention relates to electric switching devices and more particularly to push-button actuated switching devices in which the button is illuminated from within and may be pushed to actuate one or more switch units which can be added on to a basic push-button unit as occasion requires.
It is an object of this invention to provide an integrated combination of switch units including a basic operating unit comprising a push-button illuminated from within which is depressible to operate the switch units.
Another object is to provide a basic unit for use in the foregoing integrated combination which unit may be adapted for momentary push-button actuation or for latching the push button upon one depression and releasing it upon the next depression.
Another object is to improve upon the construction of the basic unit and switch units of integrated combinations thereof, to lower the manufacturing cost while maintaining and enhancing reliability of operation.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear as the invention is described in connection with the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a device embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal section view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a transverse section view along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a transverse section view along line 4-4 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a longitudinal section view similar to FIG. 2 but taken along a plane at right angles to the plane along which FIG. 2 was taken;
FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of a switch unit alone, rotated 90 from its position in the assembly of FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a bottom end view of the basic unit of FIG. 1 with the switch unit removed;
FIG. 8 is a transverse section view taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 9 is a side elevation view of the actuating unit;
FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of the invention of FIG. 1;
FIG. 11 is a series of diagrammatic views showing the latching parts of the invention in different positions with certain of the parts broken away.
Referring to the drawing, the invention comprises a molded insulating body or shell with a central aperture and a laterally enlarged head 21 which has a recess 22 therein for reception of 'a molded push button 23 made of translucent insulating material. The recess may be circular or rectangular or of any convenient configuration to receive an enlarged head of the push button which head may be round as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 10 or of other convenient configuration. FRom the head of the push button, a pair of parallel resilient legs 23' extend into the central aperture of the shell body 20, extending along opposite sides of the central aperture in shallow longitudinal recesses. The ends of these legs have outwardly extending teeth 23: which are adapted to engage behind shoulders in the interior walls 20 formed at the inner ends of the aforesaid longitudinal recesses in which the legs 23 slide. When the button is assembled, its legs are inserted into the central recess of the shell body 20 and slide down its walls until the teeth 23: snap behind the shoulders. The button is thus held in the shell body 20. The shoulders and teeth are so located that they interengage before the head 23 of the button abuts the bottom of the recess 22 so that the button may still slide into the body further after the teeth are behind the shoulder. This allows the button to be depressed to actuate switches as will more fully appear later.
To illuminate the push button, an electric light bulb 24 is held in the body 20 behind the button. To hold the bulb, a holder 25 is provided formed of a pair of oppositely facing resilient curved arms 25a stamped from thin resilient sheet metal with a straight narrow temiinal strip 26 extending perpendicularly from their connecting portion as may be observed in FIGS. 10, 5, 3 and 2. The shell contact of the bulb is embraced by the bulb holder arms 250. To engage the center contact of the bulb, a flexible stamped sheet metal contact has a narrow, flat, short finger 27 bent inwardly of the shell body from a flat longer terminal arm 28 which extends along the interior wall of the body 20 (see FIG. 5) toward the end opposite the terminal button 23 through a passage so that the arm 28 can extend beyond the end of the body 20. Likewise the terminal 26 extends along the interior wall of the body 20 in diametrically opposite position and extends out beyond the end of the shell body 20.
A generally cylindrically molded insulation end-body 40 abuts the end of the shell body 20 It is held in abutting position by the terminal legs 26, 28 which extend through passages 42 and 43, respectively, and through rectangular slots in small flat securing plates 44 (FIG. 7) that seat against the transverse shoulders or recesses molded in opposite positions in the outside wall of the end-body 40. To maintain pans in assembled position, small rectangular resilient latching fingers 26s, 28s are lanced out of the terminals 26 and 28 with one end pressed out of the plane of the terminal while the other end remains attached to it so that when the terminals are pushed through the slots in the resilient securing washers or plates 44, the fingers snap out and prevent return movement or withdrawal, thus maintaining the parts in assembled position. The plates 44 are resilient and are slightly bent or bowed so as to press parts 40 and 20 together when held by the legs 26 and 28.
Within the shell body 20 near the end opposite the button, there is a transverse bridge portion 20b having openings 20a in diametrically opposite positions. Between this bridge and the end of the shell body, actuating member 30 slides. The actuating member is made of molded insulating material where the opposite shoulders 31 extending along lengthwise within the shell body in slidable engagement with the interior walls of the shell. The shoulders 31 are connected by a transverse portion 32 midway along their length. A circular knob 33 is formed on the side of the transverse part opposite the button and coaxial with the shell body. From this knob a cam finger 34 extends lengthwise away from the button end, being located in a position ofiset from the axis of the knob. On the end of the finger 34, divergently inclined cam faces 34', 34" are formed. See FIG. 5 and the diagrammatic FIGS. Ila-d. The cam faces are positioned to engage different parts of latch and release springs as will hereinafter more fully appear. The actuator 30 is normally biased toward the button end of the shell by a coiled compression spring 35 coaxial with the knob and pressing against the transverse part 32.
The actuator 30 is depressed each time the button 23 is depressed by reason of the button arms 23' engaging the actuator shoulders 31. Depression of the actuator 30 causes depression of a molded insulation plunger 50 that is slidably mounted in the end-body 40 and is designed to operate switch contacts in the switch units 60 that are adapted to be added on the end-body 40 as will now be described.
The switch unit may be formed of two cooperating cylindrical insulating bodies 61 and 62 which are secured together by rivets or in any other conventional manner. The bodies 61, 62 are recessed to receive fixed and movable switch contacts which are engageable and disengageable as pressure is applied to the movable contact. The contacts may be either normallyopen or normally-closed or a combination of them and there may be one or more sets of fixed contacts to be engaged by the movable contacts selectively as requirements and usage may dictate. As an example, only, and not as a limitation on the invention, a conventional normally-closed switch is illustrated in FIG. 6 wherein a pair of fixed contacts 64, 65 are engaged by a bridging contact 66 which is mounted loosely on a reciprocatable shaft 67 around which a compression 68 is coiled and pressures at one end against a fixed part of the insulating body 62 and at its other end against the bridging contact to bias it against the fixed contact in normally closed position.
An enlargement upon the head of shaft 66 causes the bridging contact to move away from the fixed contacts and to compress the spring 68 when the head (left end 6) is pushed by an extension on the plunger of the basic operating unit 50. The other end of the shaft 67 extends beyond the body part 62. There is an aperture in the end of the other body-part 61 to permit entrance of an operating member of the basic unit, such as the extension on the end of the plunger 50.
To enable quick attachment and detachment of one or more switch units to the end-body 40 of the basic unit, the switch unit has riveted or otherwise attached to the end of the body 61 a stamped sheet metal attachment member comprising a disc-shaped plate 69 from diametrically opposite sides of which a pair of parallel arms 69a are bent up perpendicularly thereto in a position to lie along the sides of the end-body 40 when the switch is in abutting relation to the end-body 40. The
arms are resilient and have apertures stamped in them to receive lugs 40L molded on the periphery of the end body. The lugs tapper from the shoulder to the surface of the endbody so that as the switch unit 60 is pressed against the endbody 40, the arms 690 will slide over the inclined portion of the lugs until the aperture is fully in register with the lugs, at which time the arms will snap toward the body 60 as the lugs move into the apertures in the arm 69a. The switch unit is thus held against the end of the end-body 40 as shown in FIG. 1. It will thus be seen that the components of force of the spring arms 69a press in opposite directions and equalize each other.
The switch body 62 is provided with lugs 62L similar to the lugs 40L so that another switch unit like 60 can be added to and attached to the switch unit 60.
The switch unit can be easily detached by flexing the arm 69a out to disengage the lugs 40L.
For actuating the switch, the plunger 50 has an extension 51 extending out of the end-body 40 coaxially in position to enter the coaxial opening in the switch body 60.
For moving the plunger 50 an extension 52 is formed on its inner end, i.e., the end opposite the extension I. Plunger 50 is adapted to be latched in depressed position (by means about to be described) and is shown as latched in depressed position in FIG. 5 (and also in the diagrammatic FIGS. b and b of FIG. II). The depression of the plunger occurs when the actuating member 30 engages the end of inward extension 52' of the plunger.
To latch the plunger 50 in depressed position on the first depression, a pair of hairpin type latch and release springs 53 and 54, respectively, are seated in a shallow recess in the endbody 40 in the end face thereof which is adjacent the shell 20. These springs are located in the same plane side by side. Each has its U-part hooked around a short circular post 57, 58, respectively, which are spaced apart and extend up from the bottom of the aforesaid shallow recess in the end face of the end-body 40. One leg 53', 54', respectively of each spring, is anchored in a slot, 55 and 56, respectively, formed in the recess.
The locking spring 53 is stronger than the release spring 54 and has a right angle bend 53' in its free leg whose extremity abuts the free leg 54 of the release spring. Three positions of the springs are illustrated in FIG. 4. Position a (shown in full lines) is an initial ON-latched position prior to depression of the push button. Position b shown in dotted lines is the latching position after the first depression of the push button. Position 0 is a latch releasing position occurring when the push button is depressed a second time.
Equivalent positions of the parts are shown in the FIG. 11 diagrammatically.
In order that the latch spring leg 53 can hold the plunger 50 down after it has been depressed, a latching shoulder 52s (FIG. II) is fonned on one side of the plunger extension 52 facing toward the actuator 30. The side surface 520 of plunger extension 52 between the shoulder 52v and the main body of the plunger is inclined so as to act with a cam action on the leg 53' of the latch spring when the button, actuator, and plunger are jointly depressed, pushing the leg 53' aside against its spring bias until the-shoulder 52c is reached. The leg 52.: snaps over the shoulder and holds the plunger 50 depressed as in the position b of FIG. 11 (equivalent to the position b in FIG. 4).
When the finger pressure is released from the button 23, the actuator 30 will rise under the urge of its biasing spring 35 as diagrammatically shown in position b of FIG. 11, and will push the button up to its original position of FIG. 2.
To keep the release spring54 out of action during the first depression of the plunger, dual cam surfaces 34, 34". are formed on the end of extension 34 of the actuating member 30, forming a peaked cam.
On the first depression of the actuating member 34, the cam surface 34' engages and pushes aside the leg 54' from the position a to position b of FIG. 11. This keeps the release spring out of action.
On the second depression of the actuating member starting from position b of FIG. 11, the cam surface 34 engages spring leg 54 pushing it to the left into position c of FIG. 11 (and in FIG. 4 from the position a to the position c) during which leg 54' engages the bent end of leg 53' and pushes the leg 53' out of engagement with shoulder 52: of the plunger in position c of FIG. 11, permitting the plunger to rise with the actuating member 34 as manual pressure on the push button 23, is released. This restores the parts to position a of FIGS. 1 l and 4.
Since the latch and release springs 53, 54 are relatively thin, an insulating disc or cover 58 (see FIG. 2) is placed over the springs and seats in the shallow recess in the inner face of the end-body 40.
What is claimed is:
1. Electric switching apparatus comprising insulating housing means, actuating means slidably mounted in said housing means, plunger means in one end of said housing means, push button means extending out the other end of said housing and depressible to cause axial movement of said plunger means, said push button means and said plunger means being formed separately from said actuating means, and said plunger means being movable independently of said actuating means, a switching unit attachable to an end of said housing means in position to be operated by said plunger means, fixed and movable contact means in said switching unit, a movable contact actuator having a projection beyond one end of said switch unit, and means on said switch unit and said housing means including spring finger means on one of said parts and shoulder means on the other of said parts engaged by said finger means interengaging to enable connection and separation of those parts by axial manual pulling and pushing respectively, without disassembly thereof, and a second switch unit like the first said switch unit operable by said movable actuator of said first unit, and detachable interengaging means con necting said first and second units together, said detachable interengaging means being like the means connecting saidfirst switch unit and said housing means in both form and location, whereby the positions of said units are interchangeable with respect to said housing means and to each other along a stack and whereby another switch unit may be directly connected to said housing means or inserted in a stack without the interfering with previously attached units.
2. Electric switching apparatus comprising insulation housing means, actuating means slidably mounted in said housing means, plunger means in one end of said housing means, push button means extending out the other end of said housing and depressible to cause axial movement of said plunger means, a switching unit attachable to an end of said housing means in position to be operated by said plunger means, and means on said unit and said housing means interengaging to enable connection and separation without disassembly thereof, by axial manual pushing and pulling respectively, said attached switching unit having fixed and movable contact means, a movable contact actuator having a projection beyond one end of the unit, and a second unit like the first said unit operable by said movable actuator of said first unit, and detachable interengaging means connecting said first and second units together, said detachable interengaging means being like the means connecting said first switch unit and said housing means, in both form and location, whereby the positions of said units are interchangeable with respect to said housing means and to each other along a stack and whereby another 5 switch unit may be directly connected to said housing means or inserted in a stack without the interfering with previously attached units.
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