US 3701311 A
An air conditioner louver construction which permits easy insertion of a control wheel into the frame of the louver by virtue of a unique approach, whereupon the control wheel is locked into place by a novel frame structure that permits rotation in each direction and positively prevents inadvertent dislocation of the control wheel from the louver frame, while also providing a reduced complexity and increased air volume in a louver construction.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent McLarty [451 Oct. 31, 1972  LOUVER CONSTRUCTION 3,456,574 7/1969 Jakeway...................98/l2l R  Inventor: Shirley McLarty, l-lutchins, Tex.
Primary Examiner-Edward J. Michael  Assignee: Cary Products, Inc., l-lutchins, Tex. Atomey Thomas Copeland, k  Filed: Dec. 7, 1970  ABSTRACT ] Appl. No.: 95,588
An air conditioner louver construction which permits easy insertion of a control wheel into the frame of the  US. (i! ..98/ll0 louver by virtue of a unique approach. whereupon the 2: 3 control wheel is locked into place by a novel frame 1 e 0 re structure that permits rotation in each direction and positively prevents inadvertent dislocation of the con-  References Cited trol wheel from the louver frame, while also providing UNlTED T E PATENTS a reduced complexity and increased air volume in a louver construction. 2,969,725 [/1961 Grace et al. ..98/l10 X 3,063,357 11/1962 Eberhart ..98/1 10 X 4 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEDMITZH 1912 3.701.311
SHEET 1 BF 2 PRIOR ART PATENTEB B1 3 1 i972 SHEIZBFZ LOUVER CONSTRUCTION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1 Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to air conditioner louvers that employ a control wheel for rotating the air directing vanes, and more particularly to a louver and control wheel construction which employs a positive locking or holding structure for a rotary control wheel.
2. Statement of the Prior Art The prior art discloses louver units that have vanes that pivot in one or more planes and are moved through a control wheel attached to one of the vanes. The louver unit shown in the printed brochure entitled Cary Products Company Inc." dated April I969, and a similar unit shown in more detail in copending patent application of the assignee of this invention, entitled FLUID CONTROL SYSTEM LOUVER UNIT, Ser. No. 3,869, filed Jan. 19, 1970, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,636,854 by Arthur P. Cary, are examples of prior art embodiments, and the contents of the referenced brochure and patent application are incorporated herein by reference.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A principal object of this invention is to provide a control wheel operated louver unit for an air conditioning unit that may be used to direct air in the desired direction, but which louver unit is extremely rugged in construction, and is not subject to certain problems encountered in prior art installations where greater than normal pressure was applied to the control wheel.
When the above mentioned prior art units were installed in automotive air conditioners, it was found that there was a tendency for the automobile driver to lean forward and push down on the louver control wheel with an excessive force, due to his angle of application and other reasons, and this excessive force was sufficient to cause the louver control wheel and and the attached vane to pop out of its socket and thus disable the louver unit and the airconditioner for the balance of the automobile trip.
Now it has been discovered that the present louver construction has completely eliminated this particular problem with a change in louver structure that is accomplished at virtually no additional expense of construction.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 represents an assembled automotive air conditioner employing the type of louver unit that is adaptable to use this invention.
FIG. 2 is a rear view of a louver unit that shows the construction employed in the present invention.
FIG. 2A is a fragmentary view showing the bearing seat arrangement employed in the device of FIG. 2.
FIG. 3 is a pictorial view of a louver having the construction of FIG. 2, and showing the front side.
FIG. 4 is an exploded view showing the louver vanes and the control wheel and its attaching frame removed from the assembly of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged view in cross-section taken along the lines 5-5 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is another exploded view showing the unique installation technique employed in this invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMEITI- The embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 2-6 represents the louver with the improved comtruction of this invention. The louver of the prior art is shown in FIG. I, and would also have a similar external outline appearance to the views shown in FIGS. 2 & 3. And the installation of this improved louver and louvers of the prior art would both be as shown in FIG. I in general outline appearance. The principal parts that have been specifically changed in this invention are identified by the suffix A in FIG. I.
This invention is particularly adapted to use in automotive air conditioners where excessive pressure might be applied to the control wheel by the vehicle operator. In prior art installations, this pressure has been sufiicient to force both the control wheel and the air directing vanes out of their installations, and thereupon render the vanes inoperative. With the present invention, no direct pressure can be applied to the vanes or to their rotating axles or pivot pins, since all of the pressure is directed through the control wheel to a support ridge within the frame structure of the louver.
FIG. 1 is a typical air conditioner unit I that is suitable for installation in an automobile, truck or other vehicle. The prior art air conditioners include louvers 2A having a series of horizontal members 12A and vertical movable vanes 3A which are controlled through movement about their vertical axes, or axles 5 in response to movement of control wheel 4A.
FIG. 2 is a back view of the louver 2, the counterpart of louver 2A shown in FIG. 1. Many of the parts of the prior art louver may be identical to the corresponding part used in the present invention, but certain apparently small structural changes made to several of these parts have provided a large functional advantage over the prior art louvers.
The louver 2 of FIG. 2 is seen to be comprised of a main frame 10 having externally projecting axles 11 that permit the louvers 2 to rotate about the horizontal axis defined by the axle 11 when installed in their operating positions (as in FIG. 1). The louver frame 10 includes a single fixed horizontal or longitudinal member 12 in contrast with the series of horizontal members 12A in prior art louvers. The top and bottom walls 7 & 8 include a series of spaced and aligned hearing seats 13 which receive the pivot pins of each vertically extending pivoting vane 3. As seen in FIG. 2, the control wheel 4 engages the center vane 3 which rotates with movement in either direction by control wheel 4. The remaining vanes 3 are gang connected with the center vane as shown at 29 and 30 in FIG. 4, so that movement of the control wheel and center vane moves all of the vanes in unison. The difficulty experienced in the louver unit 2A of the prior art may be visualized in FIG. 2. When excessive pressure was applied on the exposed side of control wheel 4A and toward the viewer looking at FIG. 2, the center vane 3 and its pivot pins 5 could be forced out of their bearing seats 13, since the latter is a yieldable plastic material (also shown in detail in FIG. 2A). The control wheel (or thumb wheel) housing 14 of frame 10 simply surrounded and protected the control wheel 4A of prior art louver 2A, and did not support or restrain it in any way. Since the pivot pins 5 were installed in bearing seats 13 by force from the viewer into the plane of the paper in FIG. 2, then it is obvious that they could be disengaged by a force applied in the opposite direction, if it were not for the additional structure and changes afforded by this invention.
FIG. 3 is a view of the front side of the louver unit 2, but as previously noted, except for the single horizontal rib or member 12, and the omission of certain vane cutouts, this view could be also considered for practical purposes to be the front view of the louver 2A of FIG. 1, since the internal improvements are not visible in FIG. 3.
FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the vanes 3, control wheel 4 and longitudinal member 12 from louver 2 of FIG. 3. In FIG. 4 the control wheel 4 is shown in its proper relationship with vanes 3 and wheel housing 14A. At installation, a portion of the external circumference of control wheel 4 will be visible above the end of housing 14A as seen in FIG. 3. Also upon installation, the wheel slot 16 defined by ridges 17 will engage the center vane 3 between ridges l8 and may be affixed thereto with adhesive material. Wheel 4 will also engage and be supported for rotary motion in the housing MA by the following novel construction. The housing 14A defines an opening 1413 to receive wheel 4 by virtue of side plates 14C forming spaced apart side walls which may be integrally molded with or may be attached to longitudinal member 12. The inner walls of side plates 14C include a raised half-moon structure 20 which includes an abrupt edge 21 having the same radius as the inner circumference 22 of ring 23 on the outer circumference of wheel 4. Upon assembly, the inner circumference 22 engages and rotates around the curved edge 21 which thus acts as a support, a bearing, and a retainer for the control wheel. The term "halfmoon" obtains its name from the curved segment section 26 having the abrupt curved edge 21, but the term encompasses the tapered approach section 26A as well as the curved segment section 26.
In FIG. it will be seen that the edges 21 on each structure cooperate to form a cavity that will receive and restrain and yet provide bearing support for control wheel 4 by virtue of the engagement of the inner circumference 22 with the curved edges 21. The width of ring 23 of the control wheel corresponds to but is slightly smaller than the distance d between the narrow lips 24 of side plates 14C. Similarly, the distance d, between half-moon structures 20 corresponds to and is slightly larger than the thickness of the central disc section 25 of wheel 4.
Due to the described construction and the close tolerances of the working parts of the wheel 4 and the housing 14A it was necessary to devise a novel means of assembling these parts together. This unique construction and method is shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, wherein it is seen that a tapered approach section 26A is provided in side plates 14C. In FIG. 6 it is seen that to install control wheel 4 into housing 14A, the wheel 4 is aligned with the cavity 148 and the ring portion 23 aligns with the tapered approach 26A and width d Wheel 4 is then moved until the ring 23 rides up the tapered approach and actually enters the region d At this point, pressure is applied to wheel 4 which causes the relatively thin side walls 26 to expand and permit the ring 23 (which is wider than space dg) to pass through space d; and into the space d, and engage the curved track 21 about which it may then freely rotate.
Prior to this installation of control wheel 4 into wheel housing 14A, the assembled vane 3 (FIG. 4) will have been glued or otherwise attached to wheel 4 after alignment of ridges l7 and 18 and slot 16 and center vane 3.
With the installation and structure described above, it is now no longer possible to apply direct pressure to wheel 4 that would force it out of its socket in rib 12. But it is desirable to eliminate the other horizontal ribs (12A, as employed in prior art louvers) to provide a greater unobstructed opening for air delivery and to reduce cost, and this has been achieved by the addition of flanges 6 to the ends of pivot pins 5. Whereas the elimination of the intermediate ribs 12A from the louver main frame 10 would normally allow enough flexibility in the frame top and bottom members 7 8L 8 to pemlit pins 5 to slide out of their sockets (bearings 13) through use or warpage, this eventuality is now prevented from happening.
It will be observed from the above described construction that the difficulties experienced in prior art louvers of this type have been eliminated by the novel structure and unique installation technique employed by the present invention which permits ready insertion by hand and without the necessity of tools of any kind. However, in practice, to expedite assembly, tools, fixtures, and/or jigs may be employed if desired.
From the foregoing description and examples it will be seen that there has been produced a device which substantially fulfills the objects of this invention as set forth herein. The invention is not limited to the exemplary construction herein shown and described, but may be made in many ways within the scope of the claims below.
1. An air flow louver unit, comprising:
a. a main frame comprising a longitudinal stationary member,
b. a plurality of vanes pivotally mounted in said main frame for directing air flow through said frame,
c. said vanes including projecting axles having flanges at their outer ends adjacent their point of contact with said main frame for the purpose of preventing said axles from becoming detached from said main frame in the event said main frame is accidentally distorted,
d. a control wheel having a partial peripheral ring attached to at least one of said vanes for controlling the direction of movement of all of said vanes,
e. a pair of spaced apart side walls on said longitudinal member forming a control wheel housing, and
f. a structure having a circular edge formed in each side wall in a manner to provide a bearing, supporting, and retaining surface for said peripheral ring.
2. An air flow louver unit, comprising:
a. a main frame comprising a stationary member,
b. a plurality of vanes pivotally mounted in said main frame for directing air flow thru said frame.
c. a control wheel having a partial peripheral ring attached to at least one of said vanes for controlling the direction of at least said one vane,
6 d. a pair of spaced apart flexible side walls on said side wall in a manner to provide a bearing surface stationary member forming a control wheel housfor cooperative engagement with and retention of ing, said inner surface and said control wheel. e. a structure having a circular edge formed in each 4, I a air conditioner louver unit having a main sidewall in a manner t provi a be g, P- 5 frame including stationary member and plurality of pp g and retaining Surface for Said Peripheral vanes pivotally attached in the main frame, a control ""8 and means for operatively engaging and moving said vanes, f. a tapered approach surface in said structure to percomprising;
said Peripheral ""8 to be forced PP a. a control wheel housing in said stationary member tapered approach surfaces and between said fleiu- 1 having spaced apart side walls defining a cavity ble side walls until it engages said circular edge in having a apered entrance from one end and a bearing relaton' bearing surface adjacent the other end,
3. In an air conditioner louver unit having a main a comm] wheel engaging Said vanes and having a frame with stationary member and plurality of vanes arti r th 1 n rc mi pivotally mounted in the mam frame, a control means p a! pc lpheral nng an n er u creme surface thereon, g gggs iz tgg afg s z gfi' ring with an e. each side wall including a half moon structure with outer surface for non-slipping manual engagement iipenphral beanng Surface adapted to h and an inner surface for Sliding, inner circumference surface of said partial b a pair of spaced apart side walls in said stationary 2O f' P i and remm ,sald corftrol wheel member forming a housing for said control wheel, w'thm Smd cav'ty and pmvde beanng surface and therefor. c. a structure having a circular edge fonned in each