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Publication numberUS3688066 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 29, 1972
Filing dateDec 30, 1970
Priority dateDec 30, 1970
Publication numberUS 3688066 A, US 3688066A, US-A-3688066, US3688066 A, US3688066A
InventorsAdelson Alexander M, Swartz Jerome, Tomasulao Walter M Jr
Original AssigneeWild Rover Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Switch forms for connecting one terminal to a plurality of other terminals
US 3688066 A
Abstract
A switch for electrically connecting a first terminal with a plurality of other terminals. A contact movable into and out of electrical engagement with a plurality of base contacts is employed. The movable contact may comprise physically parallel wires affixed to a flexible plate, as well as wires which radiate radially outwardly from a point. The physically parallel wires may be inclined to the base contacts or the base contacts may be of different thicknesses to achieve sequential contacting of the base contacts by the movable contact. The base contacts may be any convenient shape, or in the form of concentric spirals or interspersed parallel segments or adjacent triangular-shaped segments.
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Unite States Patent Adelson et al.

[ 1 Aug. 29, 1972' [54] SWITCH FORMS FOR CONNECTING ONE TERMINAL TO A PLURALITY OF OTHER TERMINALS [7 2] Inventors: Alexander M. 'Adelson, Elmsford;

Jerome Swartz, Stony Brook, both of N.Y.; Walter M. Tomasulao, Jr.,

Wayne, NJ. [73] Assignee: Wild Rover Corp., Closter, NJ.

[22] Filed: Dec. 30, 1970 [21] Appl. No.2 102,822

[52] US. Cl. ..200/159 8,-200/159 R, 200/166 BH I [51] Int. Cl. ..H01h 13/52, l-IOlh 1/20, HOlh 1/58 [58] Field of Search.200/l59 B, 159 A, 159 R, l66P,

200/16 D, 83 N, 16 A, 86, 5 C, 166 BH.

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,602,677 8/1971 Adelson et a1. ..200/159 B 3,437,973 4/1969 Mabbett ..200/86 RX 2,671,836 3/1954 Anger et a1. ..200/ 16 A X 3,267,233 8/ 1966 Basile et al ..200/83 N 1,004,005 9/1911 Ferguson ..200/16 A UX 3,506,795 4/1970 Schmidt ..200/ 16 A X 3,120,583 2/ 1964 Cornell ..200/ 166 P UX FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS France ......200/ 16 A OTHER PUBLICATIONS IBM Technical Bulletin Circular Sequencing Contact; Vol. 13, No. 1; p. 219; by D. P. Fazzio; June Primary ExaminerRobert K. Schaefer Assistant Examiner-Robert A. Vanderhye Attorney-Robert Scobey, Robert S. Dunham, Pem E. I-Ienninger, Lester W. Clark, Gerald 'W. Griffen, Thomas F. Moran, Howard .1. Churchill, R. Bradlee Boal, Christopher C. Dunham and Henry T. Burke [5 7] ABSTRACT A switch'for electrically connecting a first terminal with a plurality of other terminals. A contact movable into and out of electrical engagement with a plurality of base contacts is employed. The movable contact may comprise physically parallel wires affixed to a flexible plate, as well as wires which radiate radially outwardly from a point. The physically parallel wires may be inclined to the base contacts or the base contacts may be of different thicknesses to achieve sequential contacting of the base contacts by the movable contact. The base contacts may be any convenient shape, or in the form of concentric spirals or interspersed parallel segments or adjacent triangularshaped segments.

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sum u [If 5 INVENTORS ALBUM/55? M 140625 JEROME 5 14/457 BY W01 011?. 4770 Mar SWITCH FORMS FOR CONNECTING ONE TERMINAL TO A PLURALITY OF OTHER TERMINALS BACKGROUND AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to electrical switches. More particularly, it relates to an electrical switch in which one terminal is connected to a plurality of other terminals, i.e., a three or more terminal switching device. The invention is particularly applicable to the connection of plural sources to a load.

The present invention involves switch forms that are derived from the switch shown in co-pending application of Alexander M. Adelson and Jerome Swartz, Ser. No. 787,853, filed Dec. 30, 1968, for SWITCH, and assigned to the assignee of the present'application now U.S. Pat. No. 3,602,677. 1 r

The connecting of plural sources to a load presents difficulties, inasmuch as simultaneous connecting of sources to load may be required in some instances, and sequential connection in other instances. In the present invention, different switching forms are utilized to achieve both simultaneous and sequential sources-load connections. The invention involves a flexible-contact element having a flexible portion and a contact-making portion. This element is adapted to be finger or touchactuated to provide for the necessary electrical connections between terminals. Different forms of contactmaking portions and base contacts are utilized to achieve simultaneous or sequential connection of terminals. In some instances, the contact-making portion may comprise physically-parallel conductive segments, while in other instances this portion may comprise conductive segments which radiate radially outwardly from a point. In some instances the base contacts are simply adjacent pieces of conductive material of any convenient'shape, while certain shapes, such as concentric spirals, interspersed parallel segments and triangularshaped pieces of the same or different thicknesses, are employed.

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to providing an improved switch, and particularly one which is suitable for connecting plural sources to a load.

The invention will be more completely understood by reference to the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a plan view of a switch embodying the invention;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are sectional views, to an enlarged scale, of the switch of FIG. 1, taken along the sections 2-2 and 3--3;

FIGS; 4 and 5 are vertical and horizontal sections of another switch embodying the invention and including spiral concentric base contacts;

FIGS. 6 to 8 are sectional views of still another switch embodying the invention, incorporating base contacts formed from spaced parallel and interspersed segments;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view of a part of a switch similar to that of FIGS. 6 to 8, showing base contacts of different thicknesses to achieve sequential connection of sources to a load;

FIGS. 10 to 12 are sectional views of another form of switch incorporating base contacts that are formed from triangular-shaped segments; 7

FIGS. 13 to 15 are sectional views of another form of switch embodying the invention, incorporating spiral concentric base contacts and a movable contact com posed of conductive segments radiating radially outwardly from a point; and

FIGS. 16 to 18 are views of another switch embodying the invention incorporating base contacts in a plane and a movable contact in an inclined plane to achieve sequential contacting of base contacts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to FIGS. 1 to 3, a switch 20 is shown made of a housing 22 typically of non-conductive plastic material. Positioned in the lower portion of the housing 22 is a rigid base plate 24 which also maybe of non conductive plastic material. Deposited upon the base plate 24 are a pair of base contacts 26 and 28 connected respectively to output terminals 30 and 32. The base contacts 26 and 28 advantageously may be of copper or similar conductive material. A flexible-contact element 34 comprising a flexible portion 34a typically formed from brass or other flexible material and a contact-making portion 34b, typically formed from plural electrically and physically-parallel conductive segments, (e.g., wires) is positioned within the housing 22. The flexible portion 34a is positioned on the underside of a disk 36, and the disk and flexible portion are 'maintained in position between a pair of spacer rings 38 and 40 (typically of non-conductive material). Electrical connection is made to the contact-making portion 34b by way of terminal 41, which is connected to the contact-making portion through the flexible portion 34a,

which, in this instance, is also of conductive material. An energy director 42 is positioned over the disk 36 and serves to direct an actuation force roughly in the central region of the disk 36 to aid in movement of the flexible-contact element 34 against the base contacts. 26 and 28. Positioned over the ring 40- and energy director 42 is an actuation plate 44, which may be covered by an overlay 46 of non-conductive material, such as Mylar, for example.

The switch just described is virtually identical to the switch shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,602,677,

noted above. The major difference is that instead of utilizing the flexible-contact element 34 as an internal connecting means only, in the present invention electrical connection is made to this element. Thus when the switch shown in FIGS. 1 to 3 is actuated by finger actuation of the overlay 46, which constitutes a touch-actuation surface, the contact-making portion 34b moves into electrical engagement with the base contacts 26 and 28 so as electrically to connect together the terminal 41 with the terminals 30 and 32. In the form of switch shown in FIGS. 1 to 3 the bridging of the base contacts 26 and 28 by the contact-making portion 34b serves to connect the terminal 41 to the two other terminals 30 and 32 substantially simultaneously. Thus the terminal 41 may be connected to a load, while the terminals30 and 32 may be connected to two individual electrical sources, and the simultaneous connection of sources to load is ensured.

The representative materials and dimensions given in U.S. Pat. No. 3,602,677, referred to above, for the switch shown in FIGS. 1 to 3 are applicable with respect to the present form of switch. Thus, the amount of force needed to complete the electrical connection between terminal 41 and terminals 30 and 32 may be substantially less than 100 grams. The conductors 34b may be roughly each 10 to 20 milliinches in diameter, and spaced over a distance of about 20 to 50 milliinches center-to-center. A total of eight wires may be employed for the purpose of bridging the base contacts 26 and 28, and the spacing between base contacts and conductors 34b may be in the order of l to milliinches.

FIGS. 4 and 5 show a switch similar to that of FIGS. 1 to 3, with a different form of base contact structure.

as are used in FIGS. 1 to 3 to designate like components. Since the base contact structure is all that essentially differs, only that structure will be described.

As shown in FIG. 5, the base contact structure comprises concentric spirals of conductive material. In particular, three concentric conductive spirals 50, 52 and 54 are employed. Suitable connection may be made to.

v The same reference numerals are used in FIGS. 4 and 5 the spirals by way of output terminals 50a, 52a and 54a.

In this case, the flexible-contact element 34 bridges all the spirals and connects terminal 41 substantially simultaneously to the three other output terminals 500,

I 520 and 54a. It should be noted that the base contact structure is suitable for two or more concentric spirals; the three spirals which are shown are simply representative in number. It should be also noted that the spiral base contact configuration renders the switch completely insensitive to orientation, and the flexiblecontact element 34 may be accordingly positioned with any orientation.

FIGS. 6 to 8 show another form of switch similar to that'shown'in FIGS. 1 to 3. Again the only difference is in the base contact configuration. In this case, as shown in FIG. 7, the base contact structure includes two sections 60 and 62. The section 60 includes spaced, physically-parallel segments 60a and 60b and 600, while the base contact 62 includes spaced-parallel segments 62a and 62b. It should be noted that the segments of each base contact are interspersed among the segments of the other basecontact in an interspersed fork"-type arrangement. Conductive segments or wires 34b bridge the segments of the base contacts to achieve substantially simultaneous connection of terminal 41 with terminals 3th and 32.

In FIG. 9 an alternative construction is shown in which base contact 60', corresponding to base contact 60 in FIG. 7, is of a lesser thickness than base contact 62 corresponding to the base contact 62 in FIG. 7. The difference in thicknesses results in the electrical engagement of conductive segments or wires 34b first with the base contact 62' and thereafter with the base contact 66' to achieve the sequential connecting together of terminals 41, and 32.

FIGS. 21% to 12 show another form of switch similar to that of FIG. 1, involving still another form of base contact structure. In this case, the two base contacts are designated '70 and 72, and each is composed of triangular-shaped segments, (e.g., segments 70a, 70b, 780, 7th! on the right in FIG. II, and segments 72a,

72b, 72c and 72d on the left in FIG. 11). Conductive segments 34b bridge together the two base contacts in joining together the terminals 41, 30 and 32. As shown in FIG. 10, the base contacts 70 and 72 may be of the same thickness, in which case the terminals 41, 30 and 32 are joined together substantially simultaneously. The base contact 70 may be made of one thickness and the base contact 72 could be made of another thickness, the same as in the embodiment of FIG. 9, to achieve sequential connection of terminals. This technique is practical with current technology utilizing photo-selective metal deposition, for example.

FIGS. 13 to 15 show still another form of switch similar to the switch of FIGS. '4 and 5. In this case, only two spiral base contacts 80 and 82 are employed, connected respectively to terminals 30 and 32. The upper movable contact in this case does not include physically-parallel conductive segments as in FIGS. 4 and 5, but rather includes electrically-common conductive segments 34b which radiate radially outwardly from a point 86. These conductive segments constitute the contact-making portion of the movable contact, while the flexible portion is constituted by the flexible plate or strip 340, as in FIG. 1. As was the case with the switch of FIGS. 4 and 5, the switch of FIGS. 13 to 15 is orientation insensitive.

Finally, FIGS. 16 to 18 show a further form of switch the same as that of FIGS. 1 to 3, except in this case employing a different flexible-contact element. The two base contacts 26 and 28 are the same thickness and lie in the same plane. The contact-making portion 34b, instead of being in a parallel plane, is in an inclined plane by virtue of wedge 90, which is positioned between the electrically-common conductive segments 34b and the flexible portion 34a. The wedge 90 may be of conductive material, such as brass. By virtue of the inclination of the wires 34b, contact is first made between terminals 41 and 32 upon actuation of the switch; and then, upon continued actuation, terminal 30 is electrically joined with terminals 32 and 41.

It is apparent that modifications of the above embodiments may be fashioned. Accordingly, the invention should be taken to be defined by the following claims.

We claim:

1. A switch for completing an electrical connection between a first terminal and a plurality of other terminals, comprising: a movable contact connected to said first terminal, and a plurality of base contacts each connected to an individual one of said plurality of other terminals, in which said base contacts are in the form of concentric spirals, said movable contact being positioned adjacent said base contacts and movable into and out of electrical engagement therewith, said movable contact comprising a flexible-contact element having a flat plate-like flexible portion and a contact-making portion, said contact-making portion comprising a plurality of electrically-common conductive segments affixed to said flat plate-like flexible portion and bridging said plurality of base contacts in the on condition of the switch.

2. A switch for completing an electrical connection between a first terminal and a plurality of other terminals, comprising: a movable contact connected to said first terminal, and a plurality of base contacts each connected to an individual one of said plurality of other terminals, in which each base contact comprises a plurality of triangular-shaped pieces of conductive material electrically common to each other, said movable contact being positioned adjacent said base contacts and movable into and out of electrical engagement therewith, said movable contact comprising a flexiblecontact element having a flat plate-like flexible portion and a contact-making portion, said contact-making portion comprising a plurality of electrically-common conductive segments affixed to said flat plate-like flexible portion and bridging said plurality of base contacts in the on condition of the switch.

3. A switch for completing an electrical connection between a first terminal and a plurality of other terminals, comprising: a movable contact connected to said first terminal, and a plurality of base contacts each connected to an individual one of said plurality of other terminals, said movable contact being positioned adjacent said base contacts and movable into and out'of electrical engagement therewith, said movable contact comprising a flexible-contact element having a flat plate-like flexible portion and a contact-making portion, said contact-making portion comprising a plurality of electrically-common conductive segments bridging said plurality of base contacts in the on" condition of the switch, in which said base contacts lie in a first plane, and including a wedge affixed to said flat plate-like flexible portion, said conductive segments are positioned on said wedge parallel with respect to each other and in a second plane inclined to said first between a first terminal and a plurality of other terplane so as to achieve sequential contacting of said base contacts.

4. A switch for completing an electrical connection between a first terminal and a plurality'of other terminals, comprising: a movable contact connected to said first terminal, and a plurality of base contacts each connected to an individual one of said plurality of other terminals, said movable contact being positioned adjacent said base contacts and movable into and out of electrical engagement therewith, said movable contact comprising a flexible-contact element having a flat plate-like flexible portion and a contact-making portion, said contact-making portion comprising a plurality of electrically-common conductive segments affixed to said flat plate-like flexible portion and bridging said plurality of base contacts in the on condition of the switch, in which said conductive segments radiate radially outwardly from a point.

5. A switch according to claim 4, in which said base contacts are in the form of concentric spirals.

6. A switch for completing an electrical connection minals, comprising: a movable contact connected to said first terminal, and a plurality of base contacts each connected to an individual one of said plurality of other terminals, said movable contact being positioned adjacent said base contacts and movable into and out of electrical engagement therewith, and said base contacts being in the form of concentric spirals.

7. A switch according to claim 6, in which said movable contact comprises a plurality of electrically-common conductive segments bridging the spirals.

8. A switch according to claim 7, in which said conductive segments radiate radially outwardly from a point. 6

10. A switch for completing an electrical connection between a first terminal and a plurality of other terminals, comprising: a movable contact connected to said first terminal, a plurality of base contacts each connected to an individual one of said plurality of other terminals, said movable contact being positioned adjacent said base contacts and movable into and out of electrical engagement therewith, and in which each base contact comprises a plurality of triangular-shaped pieces of conductive material electrically common to each other.

11. A switch according to claim 10, in which there are two base contacts, each composed of triangularshaped pieces of conductive material disposed in a semicircle.

12. A switch according to claim 11, in which the base contacts are of thesame thickness.

13. A switch according to claim 11, in which the base contacts are of different thicknesses to achieve sequential contacting thereof by the movable contact.

14. A switch according to claim 10, in which the movable contact comprises a plurality of physicallyparallel conductive segments.

15. A switch for completing an electrical connection between a first terminal and a plurality of other terminals, comprising: a movable contact connected to said first terminal, and a plurality of base contacts each connected to an individual one of said plurality of other terminals, said movable contact being positioned adjacent said base contacts and movable into and out of electrical engagement therewith, and in which the base contacts lie in a first plane, and a wedge and conductive segments positioned thereon comprising said movable contact, said wedge positioning said conductive segments in a second plane inclined to said first plane so as to achieve sequential contacting of said base contacts.

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Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *IBM Technical Bulletin Circular Sequencing Contact; Vol. 13, No. 1; p. 219; by D. P. Fazzio; June 1970.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3735068 *Aug 18, 1971May 22, 1973Alps Electric Co LtdPush-button switch with resilient conductive contact member and with helical conductive networks
US3761944 *Jan 14, 1972Sep 25, 1973Alps Electric Co LtdBinary code generator
US3879593 *Mar 29, 1973Apr 22, 1975Magic Dot IncMembrane switch
US4005296 *Oct 29, 1974Jan 25, 1977Medtronic, Inc.Disc switch
US4063054 *Nov 14, 1975Dec 13, 1977Canon Kabushiki KaishaKey switch
US4090045 *Apr 1, 1977May 16, 1978Marsh Products, Inc.Keyboard strip switch assembly having multifurcated conductive screen contact with contact cleaning wiping-action
US4258096 *Nov 9, 1978Mar 24, 1981Sheldahl, Inc.Composite top membrane for flat panel switch arrays
US5729222 *Nov 25, 1996Mar 17, 1998Jerry IgguldenUser-configurable control device
US7417202 *Sep 2, 2005Aug 26, 2008White Electronic Designs CorporationSwitches and systems employing the same to enhance switch reliability and control
US7439465 *Jun 1, 2007Oct 21, 2008White Electronics Designs CorporationSwitch arrays and systems employing the same to enhance system reliability
US20070051609 *Sep 2, 2005Mar 8, 2007Wayne ParkinsonSwitches and systems employing the same to enhance switch reliability and control
US20070278082 *Jun 1, 2007Dec 6, 2007Wayne ParkinsonSwitch arrays and systems employing the same to enhance system reliability
EP0235517A2 *Jan 16, 1987Sep 9, 1987SCHOELLER & CO. Elektrotechnische Fabrik GmbH & Co.Layered push button switch
EP0637830A2 *Apr 21, 1994Feb 8, 1995Fluke CorporationElectrical switch having interdigitated and through poles
WO1999009572A1 *Aug 18, 1998Feb 25, 1999High End Systems, Inc.Elastomeric switch responsive to variable pressure
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/512, 200/275
International ClassificationH01H13/12, H01H13/702, H01H13/785, H01H1/12, H01H1/40, H01H13/70
Cooperative ClassificationH01H2203/022, H01H13/12, H01H2201/026, H01H2207/01, H01H2203/008, H01H2203/026, H01H2225/006, H01H2223/03, H01H1/403, H01H2221/05, H01H2227/006, H01H2225/018, H01H2203/02, H01H2201/03, H01H13/702, H01H2227/018, H01H13/785
European ClassificationH01H1/40B, H01H13/12, H01H13/785, H01H13/702