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Publication numberUS3696318 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 3, 1972
Filing dateJul 28, 1970
Priority dateNov 12, 1968
Publication numberUS 3696318 A, US 3696318A, US-A-3696318, US3696318 A, US3696318A
InventorsMack Walter
Original AssigneeLitton Precision Prod Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Trimmer potentiometers
US 3696318 A
Abstract
A potentiometer or variable resistor adapted to be fabricated in subminiature size. The potentiometer or resistor comprises a top assembly and bottom header, and an insulating shell or casing. The top plate assembly is co-molded with a plastic bearing member for the adjustable shaft carrying the contact brush or wiper. The top plate is also co-molded with the insulating brush block on the adjustable shaft. A plastic sleeve is positioned between the brush block and the adjusting shaft to secure the block in place, provide a friction-clutch drive for turning the brush block and contact wiper which will slip if the shaft is turned after the block strikes the stop at the end of its travel, and act as a cushion between the metallic shaft and the molded block when the potentiometer is subjected to relatively large temperature changes. Terminals are provided, in the bottom header, for the contact wiper and resistance element. The resistance element may be of any suitable type, such as wire-wound, carbon film, thick metal or metal oxide film or thin metal or metal oxide film.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 15 3,696,318 Mack [45] Oct. 3, 1972 [54] TRIMIVIER POTENTIOMETERS Primary Examinerbewis H. Myers 72 I t Walt k, E Assistant Examiner-D. A. Tone men or er Mac mhurst N Y Attorney-Earl R. Evans, Alan C. Rose and Alfred B. [73] Assignee: Litton Precision Products, Inc., Mt. Levine Vernon, NY. 221 Filed: July 28, 1970 [57] ABSTRACT A potentiometer or variable resistor adapted to be fabricated in subminiature size. The potentiometer or resistor comprises a top assembly and bottom header, and an insulating shell or casing. The top plate as- Division Of 1963, sembly is co-molded with a plastic bearing member for the adjustable shaft carrying the contact brush or wiper. The top plate is also co-molded with the insu- [52] US. Cl ..338/162, 338/174 lating brush block on the adjustable shaft. A plastic [51] Int. Cl. ..H0lc 9/02 sleeve is positioned between the brush block and the [58] Field of Search ..338/162, 174, 175 adjusting shaft to secure the block in place, provide a friction-clutch drive for turning the brush block and [56] References Cited contact wiper which will slip if the shaft is turned after the block strikes the stop at the end of its travel, and U T TA PATENTS act as a cushion between the metallic shaft and the 3,099,811 7/1963 Ayoub ..338/174 when Pmemwmete is sublected 2,025,831 12/1935 Schellenger ..33s/174 UX l .large temperature Temmals? 2 778 906 1/1957 Burgess ..'.338/174 f header the 3 355 693 11/1967 v 3 nth Sen ct and resistance element. The resistance element may 81 6 338/174 X be of any suitable type, such as wire-wound, carbon 3 105 949 10/1963 338/174 film, thick metal or metal oxide film or thin metal or e n a n n u c v e u 1 u v l 3,129,400 4/1964 Hartman .4338/162 mm] xlde fi m 4 Claims. 8 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to a potentiometer or variable resistor and to the method of making the same.

In the past, the manufacture of a potentiometer or variable resistor involved the machining and assembly of several accurately fitted components. This entailed considerable time and expense including the employment of skilled workers, and was particularly difficult in the production of subminiature trimmer potentiometers. This difficulty is overcome, in accordance with the invention, by co-molding the top plate with the bearing for the adjustable shaft and with the brush block on the shaft carrying the contact brush or wiper. The resistor element in the form of a film of carbon, metal oxide or the like may also be co-molded with the shell or bottom header of the trimmer. Thus the invention simplifies the assembly of the unit and makes possible the fabrication of a trimmer of reduced size.

SUMMARY A potentiometer consists essentially of a resistor element, a contact brush or wiper engaging the resistor element, an insulating shell or casing, an adjustable or rotatable shaft member for positioning the contact brush, and terminals on the casing for providing electrical connection to the contact brush and resistor element. The adjustable shaft member being usually of metal, the contact brush is mounted on an insulating block attached to the shaft member. In accordance with the invention in a preferred embodiment, the insulating block carrying the contact brush'is co-molded with the top or front plate of the casing through which the adjustable shaft member projects or with a part of the top plate assembly. In the molding operation, the brush block is attached to the shaft member by molding the block thereon. Similarly other elements of the potentiometer may be formed and assembled simultaneously, by co-molding, such as a bearing and seal in the top plate for the adjustable control shaft. It will be evident that this method greatly simplifies the production and assembly of the unit. Furthermore the component parts of the potentiometer may be reduced in size to an extent heretofore impracticable. This is important in the manufacture of so-called trimmer" potentiometers, where the smallest possible physical dimensions are desired to reduce the size of the electronic assembly units in which they are generally used.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the drawing, which illustrates typical embodiments of the invention:

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of an assembled trimmer potentiometer embodying the invention;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are top and side views, respectively, of the subassembly consisting of the adjusting shaft and plastic bearing;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view, taken on the line 4- 4 of FIG. 5, showing the top plate co-molded with the bearing and brush block;

FIG. 5 is a view of the underside of the subassembly shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the subassembly taken on the line 6-6 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a modification; and

FIG. 8 is a transverse cross-section taken on the line 88 of FIG. 7.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawing, a subminiature precision potentiometer embodying the invention comprises a cylindrical plastic insulating shell or casing 10 having a conductive plastic or film-type resistor element 11 on the inner surface thereof, preferably comolded with the shell or casing. The potentiometer further comprises an insulating top plate assembly 12 consisting of two parts 13 and 14, an insulating terminal plate or header 15, and a rotatable brush block 18 supporting a contact brush or wiper 19 engaging the resistor element 11. The brush block 18 is attached to a stainless-steel adjusting shaft 21 joumalled in the top plate 12, said shaft being provided with a slotted external head 22 adapted to receive a suitable tool for adjusting the angular position of the brush block and associated brush or wiper 19. When the brush block 18 is molded around the shaft 21, as will be explained below, a plastic clutch sleeve 25 is compressed between the block and the shaft to provide a driving connection for the brush block which will slip if the block is forced against the stop member at the end of its travel. The sleeve 25, being slightly compressible, maintains a driving fit if the plastic block 18 shrinks or becomes deformed as a result of ambient temperature changes.

The potentiometer is shown as provided with the usual terminals 26 connected to the ends of the resistor element 11, and terminal 27 connected to the brush or wiper 19. While the terminals are shown as mounted in the bottom header, the arrangement of the terminals may be varied as required. In the embodiment shown by way of example the top header 12 is sealed and cemented to the shell 10 as indicated at 30, and the bottom header l5 cemented and sealed in place by a locating pin 33 as indicated at 31. The top header is lined properly by a locaing pi 33 in the top of the shell 10, or in any other suitable manner.

The part 13 of the top plate 12 forms a bearing for the shaft 21, and is preferably molded of a plastic such as a tetrafluoroethylene polymer made by E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and sold under the trademark Teflon. The metallic shaft 21 may be grooved to effect a tight seal at the bearing and the characteristics of the Teflon material insure the desired smooth and positive low-friction adjustment of the shaft. FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate the shaft with the Teflon bearing molded thereon, an initial step in the manufacturing process.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, the section 14 of the top plate or header l2 and the brush block 18 are co-molded around the bearing 13 and the lower end of the adjusting shaft 21, as shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 6. In order to lock the parts 13 and 14 of the top plate assembly together against relative movement as the adjusting shaft 21 is turned, they may be deeply grooved at their mating edges as shown. The insulating members 14 and 18 may be molded of any suitable material, preferably a thermosetting plastic such as a mineral-filled or glass fiber-filled epoxy, diallyl phthalate or formaldehyde derivative. After the parts 14 and 18 have been co-molded on the bearing 13, the brush block 18 is separated from the part 14 by slitting the material at the point 35 (FIG. 1). After being severed from the part 14 in this manner, the

brush block is free to turn as the shaft 21 is turned to adjust the unit. Since this is the only machining operation performed in the manufacture of the potentiometer during the final fabrication and assembly, the component parts of the unit may be of such small size as to provide a subminiature unit or trimmer having an outside diameter at least as small as one quarter of an inch. However the same manufacturing procedure may be utilized to make a variable resistor or potentiometer of larger size, with the same advantages of low manufacturing and assembly costs.

As shown more clearly in FIGS. 4 and 5, during the molding operations, the top plate 14 is formed with a projection or stop lug 36, and the brush block 18 with an offset portion 37 intersecting the stop 36 as the brush block is turned to either end of its travel. In this or any other suitable manner the angular adjustment of the brush block and associated contact or wiper is limited to the working area of the resistor element.

FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate a modified form of potentiometer in which the bottom header becomes the insulating support for the resistor element, which may be for instance in the form of a wire-wound coil, a carbon film, a thick metal film or a thin metal film. In this modification the cylindrical shell 40, the top or front plate assembly 41, the adjusting shaft 42, the brush block 43 and the bottom header 44 in which are embedded the terminals 45, 46 and 47 may be similar to the corresponding parts of the trimmer shown in FIG. 1, and the parts 41 and 43 co-molded as described above. The resistor element 49 is applied to the header 44 in the usual manner. As shown, the brush block 43 carries a spring contact member 50 secured in a slot 51 in the block. The contact member 50 includes projecting fingers or brushes 52 and 53 engaging the terminal 46 and resistor element 49 respectively. The terminals 45 and 47 are conductively connected to the opposed ends of the resistor element 49 at the points 55 and 56. The top or front plate 41 and the header 44 are cemented and sealed to the shell 40 as indicated at 59 and 60, using a strong adherent adhesive with adequate sealing characteristics, such as epoxy adhesive.

The important advantages of the described construction are evident, particularly in connection with subminiature trimmer potentiometers. While illustrative embodiments of the invention have been described in detail for the purpose of explaining the underlying prin ciples thereof, it will be apparent that the form and arrangement of the component parts may be varied without departing from the scope of the invention. Thus not only the conventional resistor element, wiper and wiper adjusting means shown may be modified but also the co-molded insulating components, while retaining the advantages of simplified and improved assembly.

What is claimed is:

1. A potentiometer, comprising:

an insulating shell, a resistor element, a top plate on said shell formed from moldable insulating materi a brush block oi'med from the same moldable insulating material as said top plate and formed as an integral part thereof,

an adjusting shaft journalled in said top plate and said brush block,

said top plate and said brush block having a separation plane therebetween for separating said top plate and said brush block such that said brush block is rotatably adjustable with respect to said top plate upon said adjusting shaft,

a contact brush engaging said resistor element and mounted on said brush block,

a stop for limiting the rotational adjustment of said brush block and contact brush,

friction-clutch means between said adjusting shaft and said brush block for effecting non-positive rotational adjustment of said brush block as said shaft is turned, and

terminals for said resistor element and contact brush.

2. A potentiometer according to claim 1, in which said resistor element is formed as an integral part on said insulating shell.

3. A potentiometer, comprising:

an insulating shell,

a resistor element,

an adjusting shaft,

a bearing formed of moldable material contiguously about said adjusting shaft,

a friction-clutch below said bearing mounted contiguously about said adjusting shaft,

a top plate mounted on said shell formed of moldable insulating material contiguously about said bearsaid top plate including a lower portion formed of moldable insulating material as an integral part of said top plate contiguously about said frictionclutch on said adjusting shaft,

said top plate having a separation plane at a point between said bearing and said friction-clutch for separating said top plate and said lower portion thereof to form a brush block such that said brush block is free to rotate with respect to said top plate upon said adjusting shaft while said friction-clutch effects said rotation,

a contact brush engaging said .resistor element and mounted on said brush block, and

terminals for said resistor element and contact brush.

4. A potentiometer comprising a resistor element,

an insulating shell,

an adjusting shaft journalled in said shell,

a brush block attached to said shaft,

a contact brush mounted on said brush block and engaging said resistor element, and

a plastic sleeve interposed between said shaft and said brush block to provide a friction-clutch drive for said block as said adjusting shaft is turned to vary the position of said contact brush.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2025831 *Oct 22, 1934Dec 31, 1935Chicago Telephone Supply CoFrictional coupling for circuit controllers
US2778906 *Jul 9, 1953Jan 22, 1957Acton Lab IncVariable resistor or potentiometer construction
US3099811 *Nov 18, 1960Jul 30, 1963Waters Mfg IncPotentiometer
US3105949 *Feb 7, 1961Oct 1, 1963Clarostat Mfg Co IncSmall electrical control device
US3129400 *Jan 2, 1962Apr 14, 1964Cts CorpVariable resistor with high torque adjustment
US3355693 *Jul 27, 1964Nov 28, 1967Cts CorpVariable resistance control
Referenced by
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US5721526 *Jul 18, 1996Feb 24, 1998Hokuriku Electric Industry Co., Ltd.Compact high-voltage variable resistor
US5726625 *Dec 27, 1995Mar 10, 1998Hokuriku Electric Industry Co., Ltd.High-voltage variable resistor
US5886616 *Jun 25, 1997Mar 23, 1999Hokuriku Electric Industry Co., Ltd.High-voltage variable resistor unit
US5933070 *Nov 4, 1997Aug 3, 1999Hokuriku Electric Industry Co., Ltd.High-voltage variable resistor
US6568177Jun 4, 2002May 27, 2003Ford Global Technologies, LlcMethod for rapid catalyst heating
US6715462Jun 4, 2002Apr 6, 2004Ford Global Technologies, LlcMethod to control fuel vapor purging
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US6758185Jun 4, 2002Jul 6, 2004Ford Global Technologies, LlcMethod to improve fuel economy in lean burn engines with variable-displacement-like characteristics
US6778063 *May 19, 2003Aug 17, 2004Jack ChenAngular position sensor
US6868827Jun 4, 2002Mar 22, 2005Ford Global Technologies, LlcMethod for controlling transitions between operating modes of an engine for rapid heating of an emission control device
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US7032572Jun 4, 2002Apr 25, 2006Ford Global Technologies, LlcMethod for controlling an engine to obtain rapid catalyst heating
US7047932May 12, 2004May 23, 2006Ford Global Technologies, LlcMethod to improve fuel economy in lean burn engines with variable-displacement-like characteristics
US7111450Jun 4, 2002Sep 26, 2006Ford Global Technologies, LlcMethod for controlling the temperature of an emission control device
US7168239Jun 4, 2002Jan 30, 2007Ford Global Technologies, LlcMethod and system for rapid heating of an emission control device
US20040206072 *May 12, 2004Oct 21, 2004Gopichandra SurnillaMethod to improve fuel economy in lean burn engines with variable-displacement-like characteristics
Classifications
U.S. Classification338/162, 338/174
International ClassificationH01C10/32, H01C10/00
Cooperative ClassificationH01C10/32
European ClassificationH01C10/32