|Publication number||US3731966 A|
|Publication date||May 8, 1973|
|Filing date||May 10, 1971|
|Priority date||May 10, 1971|
|Publication number||US 3731966 A, US 3731966A, US-A-3731966, US3731966 A, US3731966A|
|Original Assignee||Nagy S|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (22), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent 1 1 Nagy [4 1 May 8, 1973  APPARATUS FOR CHANGING FLUORESCENT LIGHTING TUBES AND THE LIKE  Inventor: Steve N gy, 248 15th Street,
Richmond, Calif 94801  Filed: May 10, 1971  Appl. No.: 141,888
Primary ExaminerEvon C. Blunk Assistant Examinerlladd S. Lane Att0rneyJoseph B. Gardner  ABSTRACT Apparatus for changing from the ground level fluorescent lighting tubes of suspended ceiling fixtures which are otherwise inaccessible for such change except from a ladder or scaffold. The apparatus includes an elongated pole having sufficient length to reach a ceiling fixture, and an elongated longitudinally extending carrier is mounted upon the pole so as to be manipulated thereby. A tube holder having a pair of jaws selectively movable between open and closed positions is mounted upon the carrier and extends upwardly therefrom. The holder is adapted to releasably receive a fluorescent tube for removal and replacement thereof, and when gripping such tube, supports the same in a generally horizontal longitudinally disposed orientation. A fixture stop is supported by the carrier adjacent one end thereof and it is movable with respect thereto and with respect to the holder in generally longitudinal directions between positions in which it is remote from a fixture and in engagement therewith to enforce longitudinal displacements thereof relative to the holder and any tube supported thereby so as to urge one end of the tube against a compression socket so as to force the same into a retracted position, thereby permitting the opposite end of the tube to be inserted into the socket therefor.
8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures APPARATUS FUR CHANGING FLUORESCENT LIGHTING TUBES AND THE LIKE This invention relates to apparatus for use in changing the fluorescent tubes of lighting fixtures, and it relates more particularly to apparatus for changing fluorescent tubes in suspended ceiling fixtures and the like which not only are supported at an elevation that otherwise makes them inaccessible except from ladders and scaffolding, but are often suspended on flexible .or swinging supports that permit the fixture to move in horizontal directions when a lateral force is applied thereto.
As is well known, fluorescent lights used for illumination are elongated tubular components equipped at their opposite ends with electrical contacts in the form of pins that must be inserted into sockets therefore so as to connect with the terminals of a power circuit. Since fluorescent lighting often is superior to the more usual incandescent lighting, it is not uncommon for fluorescent lighting to be used in factories, warehouses, stores, and other commercial and industrial establishments which have very high ceilings to 30 feet, for example) from which the lighting fixtures are suspended. In a great number, if not in all, instances such lighting fixtures are located at an elevation making the same generally inaccessible except from tall ladders and scaffolding, which therefore makes replacement of the fluorescent tubes in such fixtures difficult, time consuming, and somewhat hazardous. Further, such fixtures are usually not rigidly located and tend to move or swing in generally horizontal directions when a lateral force is applied thereto either because the support for the fixtures are flexible and/or because any rigid supports (pipes or tubes, for example) are quite long and therefore function somewhat in the nature of a long spring.
Whereas older fluorescent fixtures and the tubes therefor required the tubes to be inserted into the fixture sockets and then rotated to lock the tube in position and establish an electric connection between the tube contacts and socket terminals, the trend is to replace such tubes and sockets with an arrangement that does not require rotation of the tube. More particularly, in such more modern arrangements, one of the two sockets provided for any lighting tube is a compression-type socket in which a portion thereof is longitudinally movable between extended and retracted positions and is spring loaded toward the extended position thereof. In order to insert a tube into such socket, a tube intended for this use must be employed and the movable component of the compression socket must be displaced into its retracted position whereupon the tube can then be aligned with the sockets and inserted into one or the other thereof and the movable component of the compression socket released to permit it to engage the tube and lock the same in place and, at the same time, establish the electrical connection with the lighting tube.
Objects, among others, of the present invention are to provide an improved apparatus for changing fluorescent lighting tubes in suspended ceiling fixtures and the like of the general type described, and to provide improved apparatus of such character that can be used from the floor level to replace tubes in remotely located fluorescent lighting fixtures which may be swingable, the apparatus being operative to hold and stabilize the same.
Additional objects and advantages of the invention, especially as concerns particular features and characteristics thereof, will become apparent as the specification continues.
In general terms, the apparatus includes a pole equipped adjacent one end thereof with a longitudinally extending carrier along which a fluorescent tube is adapted to be located. A tube holder is located along the carrier and is adapted to releasably receive a tube therein both for removal of a tube from such fixture and for replacement of another tube therein. The holder is operative to dispose any such tube in a generally longitudinal orientation in which it substantially parallels the carrier. A fixture stop is supported by the carrier for generally longitudinal movement with respect to the holder and any tube supported thereby between positions remote from an end portion of such fixture and in engagement therewith to effect longitudinal displacements between the fixture and tube, thereby causing the movable component of a compression socket to be moved into its retracted position by the end portion of a tube engaged therewith. In this manner, the movable element of the compression socket can be retracted both during removal of a fluorescent lighting tube from the fixture and in replacing the same with another tube.
An embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a side view in elevation of apparatus embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, broken side view in elevation of one of the end portions of such apparatus showing the same in functional association with a fluorescent lighting tube and with the compressible socket of a fixture in which the tube has just been mounted;
FIG. 3 is a broken end view in elevation taken generally along the plane 3-3 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a broken vertical sectional view taken generally along the line 4-4 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the apparatus as it is illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a broken side view in elevation of the apparatus illustrating the same during its use in removing a fluorescent tube from its fixture; and
FIG. 7 is a broken side view in elevation, similar to that of FIG. 6, but illustrating the apparatus during use thereof in mounting a fluorescent tube within the fixture, it being observed that the condition of the ap paratus precedes the condition thereof illustrated in FIG. 2.
The apparatus illustrated in the drawing is denoted in its entirety with the numeral 10, and it includes an elongated support pole II that may be extensible or adjustable so that the apparatus can be made to accommodate conveniently lighting fixtures located at various elevations. In this respect, the pole 11 may have any usual and customary form, being constructed of separable sections and/or comprising a plurality of telescopically engaged sections 12 and M which are fixedly secured in any position of adjustment by set screws or other means, not shown. The pole 11 is equipped adjacent the upper end thereof with a longitudinally extending carrier 15 that is rigidly related to the pole by being welded, bolted, or otherwise fixedly attached thereto. In the form shown, the carrier 15 is elongated and extends outwardly from the pole 11 for substantially equal distances. The carrier 15 may have any convenient form, and in the apparatus it is a generally L-shaped channel, as shown best in FIGS. 3 and 4.
Fixedly related to the pole l1 and carrier is a tube holder 16 having a pair of jaws l7 and 18 pivotally secured to each other by a pivot pin 19, and biased toward the closed position thereof by one or more torsion springs 20. The jaw 18 may be considered a stationary component and it is rigidly secured to the carrier 15 by a pair of longitudinally spaced, L-shaped brackets 21 and 22 that may be spot welded or otherwise fixed to both the jaw and carrier.
The jaws 17 and 18 may be curved or otherwise configured, as shown in FIG. 4, so as to enable the same to receive and grip a fluorescent lighting tube therebetween, such tube being illustrated in FIGS. 2, 6, and 7 (and diagrammatically in FIG. 4) and denoted in each instance with the numeral 24. In their closed position, the jaws 17 and 18 are adapted to grip the tube 24 with sufficient compressive force to constrain the same against relative movement with respect to the holder but, of course, without sufficient force to crush the frangible glass envelope forming a part of the tube 24. The jaw 17 is movable with respect to the jaw 18 between the closed and open positions respectively illustrated in FIG. 4 by full and broken lines, and the means by which this is accomplished will now be described.
The operating means for opening and closing the jaws of the holder 16 may take a variety of forms, and in the embodiment of the invention being considered, it constitutes an arm 25 extending laterally from the jaw 17 at about the midpoint thereof. attached to the outer end of the arm 25 by means of a ring or loop 26 is an elongated cord 27 extending downwardly along the pole 11 through a guide loop or ring 28 located therealong intermediate the ends thereof. Ordinarily, the jaws 17 and 18 of the tube holder 16 are held in the closed position thereof by the torsion springs 20, but the jaw 17 may be swung outwardly into its open position by applying a downward force to the cord 27 of sufficient magnitude, whereupon the jaw 17 is pivoted or swung outwardly about the axis of the pin 19, as shown by broken lines in FIG. 4. When the force applied to the cord 27 is released, the jaw 17 returns toward the closed position thereof under the biasing force of the springs 20, thereby moving either into a completely closed position or into clamping engagement with a fluorescent tube 24 positioned between the jaws 17 and 18.
The apparatus 10 further includes a fixture stop 29 supported for movement with respect to the carrier 15 and, more particularly, with respect to the holder 16 in generally longitudinal directions between the open position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 in which the stop is remote from an end of a light fixture and a closed position illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7 in which it is in abutment with such fixture. As respects the present invention, a typical lighting fixture comprises (or is comprised by) a pair of longitudinally spaced sockets 30 and 31 respectively adapted to receive the opposite ends of the fluorescent tube 24 so as to mechanically support the same and establish electrical connection therewith. The socket 30 is a compression socket having an element 32 longitudinally movable between extended and retracted positions respectively illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. The element 32 is resiliently biased into the extended position shown in FIG. 6 but can be displaced inwardly into its retracted position upon application of a sufficient compressive force operative between the element 32 and main section of the socket 30. The sockets 30 and 31 may be completely conventional, and an example thereof is sold by the General Electric Co., under the tradename Alf8 l 2 (A & B)."
The fixture stop 29 in the form shown includes a crank-shaped element having a base leg 34 pivotally secured by a pin 35 to a downwardly extending bracket 36 riveted or otherwise fixedly attached to the carrier 15. The crank-shaped component further has an upwardly extending leg 37 formed integrally with the leg 34, and at its upper end the leg 37 is equipped with an inwardly extending abutment 38 adapted to engage the outer surface of the socket 30, as seen in FIGS. 6 and 7. Pivotally attached to the leg 37 by a pin 39 is one end of a lever 40 which is longitudinally disposed and at its other end adjacent the pole 11 is pivotally secured at 41 to a crankarm 42 which is pivotally attached to the section 14 of the pole 11 by a pin 44. The crank 42 is resiliently biased in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 7, by a helical tension spring 45 attached adjacent the opposite ends thereof to the arm 42 and carrier 15. The crankarm 42 can be angularly displaced in a clockwise direction against the biasing force of the spring 45 by an elongated cord 46 that extends downwardly along the pole 11 through the aforementioned guide ring 28.
It will be apparent that the spring 45 ordinarily maintains the fixture stop 29 in the outer position thereof in which it is remote from the socket 30. However, application to the cord 46 of a tensile force adequate to overcome the spring force 45 will cause the longitudinally disposed lever 40 to be displaced toward the right, as viewed in FIGS. 6 and 7, thereby swinging the fixture stop 29 inwardly toward the socket 30 or in a clockwise direction about the pivot pin 35. Such operation of the fixture stop 29 used to compress or retract the movable element 32 of the socket 30 both in removing a tube 24 from the fixture and in positioning a tube therein, as will be described in greater detail hereinafter.
The apparatus 10 further includes a plurality of Iongitudinally spaced tube supports 47 and 48 disposed on opposite sides of the holder 16 and fixedly secured to the carrier 15. The supports 47 and 48 are in the nature of auxiliary components that cooperate with the holder 16 in positionally locating the tube 24 with respect to the carrier 15 and entire apparatus 10. In this respect, the upper end portions of the supports 47 and 48 have arcuate openings of essentially semicylindrical configuration dimensioned to seat the tube 24 therein, as shown in FIGS. 2, 6, and 7. Evidently then, the supports 47 and 48 are disposed in longitudinal alignment and are also aligned with the holder 16 so that the tube 24 can be tightly gripped thereby when such tube is also seated within the supports 47 and 48. It might be noted that fluorescent lighting tubes are provided with different diameters, and the best results are obtained with the arcuate openings in the supports 47 and 48 are dimensioned to snuggly receive and seat a tube 24 therein. Accordingly, a plurality of supports in different sizes may be provided with the apparatus 10, and the supports may be removable secured to the carrier 15, as by means of wing nuts 49 and 50. A guide 51 is also removably secured to the carrier 15 by a wing nut 52, and it also has an arcuate, generally semicylinderical opening therein, as shown best in FIG. 5, adapted to seat the lower end portion of the socket 31 therein, as is seen best in FIG. 6. The arcuate openings in the support 48 and guide 51 are of different diameters, as can be seen in FIG. 5, since the tube 24 shown has a greater radius of curvature than the radius of curvature of the socket 31 along the bottom portion thereof.
The structural components of the apparatus as thus far described, are adequate for removal of a tube 24 from the sockets 30 and 31 of a fluorescent lighting fixture. In this reference, the tube 24 will be mechanically and electrically interconnected with the sockets 30 and 31 and supported thereby, at which time the displaceable element 32 of the compression socket 30 is in its extended position, as shown in FIG. 6. In order to remove the tube 24 from the fixture, a workman raises the apparatus 10 to the elevation of the tube 24 and opens the jaws 17 and 18 of the tube holder 16 by pulling the cord 27 downwardly. The fixture stop 29 is open or in its remote position, thereby permitting the apparatus 10 to be moved upwardly into the position shown in FIG. 6 in wh'ichthe tube 24 is seated within the holder 16 and within the auxiliary supports 47 and 48. The workman then releases the cord 27 to permit the jaws 17 and 18 of the holder 16 to close and engage the tube 24 with a tight frictional grip.
Next, the workman pulls the cord 46 downwardly relative to the handle 11 which results in the fixture stop 29 being moved inwardly in a clockwise direction toward engagement with the socket 30, as shown in FIG. 6. Continued downward force applied to the cord 46 attempts to displace the fixture stop 29 to a greater extent but since it is in firm abutment with the socket 30, the carrier and tube holder 16 are displaced relative to the fixture stop 29 and socket 30 from the position shown in FIG. 6 into the position illustrated in FIG. 7 in which the movable component 32 of the socket 30 is displaced into its retracted position by the tube 24 which, at this time, is tightly gripped by the tube holder 16 so that it must move together with the tube holder and carrier. As a result of such displacement, the opposite end of the tube 24 is withdrawn from the socket 31 (see FIG. 7) whereupon the apparatus 10 and tube 24 gripped thereby can be pivoted downwardly in a clockwise direction, as viewed in FIG. 7, about the point of engagement of the socket 311 with the tube 24 so as to completely separate the opposite end of the tube from the adjacent socket 31. Thereafter, the fixture stop 29 can -be released to permit the movable element 32 of the compression socket to return to its extended position and to free the fixture stop from the socket 30, thereby permitting the apparatus 10 and tube 24 to be displaced slightly toward the right to separate the tube from the socket 30. The tube 24 is then held only by the apparatus 10 which may be lowered to permit the workman to remove the tube from the holder 16.
An additional component comprised by the apparatus 10 is useful during the operation in which a tube 24 is mounted within the fixture comprising the sockets 30 and 31, and such additional component constitutes a movable guide 54 mounted upon the carrier 15 outwardly of the auxiliary support 47. The guide or guide structure 54 includes a tubular support sleeve 55 fixedly secured to the carrier 15 in any suitable manner as, for example, by means of a clip 56 extending forwardly from the tube and about the upper flange of the carrier. The clip 56 can be welded, riveted, or otherwise fixedly attached to the carrier, but it is advantageously secured thereto with a friction fit that permits the entire guide assembly 54 to be removed quickly and easily from the carrier when the apparatus 10 is used to remove a tube 24 from the lighting fixture, as shown in FIG. 6.
The guide assembly 541 further includes a generally U-shaped carriage 57 having a base leg extending through the tubular guide 55 and freely slidable with respect thereto in longitudinal directions. One of the upwardly extending legs of the carriage 57 has one end of a helical tension spring 58 attached thereto, the opposite end of the spring being attached to a post projecting upwardly from the guide 55. Accordingly, the carriage 57 is resiliently biased by the spring 58 toward the left, as viewed especially in FIG. 2, until the inner upwardly extending leg of the carriage substantially abuts the guide 55. The opposite leg of the carriage 57 is equipped with an upwardly extending guide 59 having an arcuate, semicylindrical opening 60 dimensioned to snuggly seat the arcuate lower edge of the compression socket 30 therein, as seen in FIGS. 2 and 7. The guide 60 further comprises an abutment 61 located along the inner face of the socket section having the seat 60 therein, and the abutment 60 is also provided with an arcuate recess 62 corresponding essentially to the curvature of the movable element 31 of the compression socket so as to seat the element 31 therein. It will be evident, especially in FIG. 5, that the arcuate seat 60 is substantially larger than the arcuate opening 62, whereupon the abutment 61 is adapted to engage or abut the inner face of the socket 30 when the lower end thereof is seated within the opening 60 and the element 31 of the socket is seated within the opening 62. This relationship is advantageously used when a tube 24 is mounted within a lighting fixture.
In this respect, when it is desired to position a tube 24 within the sockets 30 and 31, the guide assembly 54 is mounted upon the carrier 15 (if it is not already in position thereon) and the holder 16 opened to seat a tube 24 therein and in the auxiliary supports 47' and 4,8. The tube 24 is generally centered with respect to the apparatus 10, and the contacts of the tube are disposed in a horizontal position which conforms to the orientation of the contact-receiving opening in the sockets 3t and 31 (it being apparent that if such openings have a different orientation, the position of the tube 24 within the holder 16 will be changed to enable the contacts of the tube to align with the socket openings therefor). With the tube 24 firmly gripped by the apparatus 10 and properly oriented with respect thereto, the apparatus is elevated toward the fixture until the guide 59 seats the socket 30 and movable element 31 thereof within the openings 60 and 62. At this time, the tube 24 and carrier 15 will have a slight angular orientation because the tube 24 will not be able to fit between the sockets 3t and 31 because the element 32 of the socket 30 will be in its extended position. It might be noted that the tube 24 and carrier 15 might have some other angular orientation as, for example, one in which the tube 24 is generally horizontal but extends along the socket 31 on either of the sides thereof.
The workman then pulls the cord 46 so as to swing the fixture stop 29 inwardly from the position shown in FIG. 2 into the position shown generally in FIG. 6 in which the fixture stop abuts the outer surface of the socket 30. Continued inward movement of the fixture stop 29 causes the carrier 15, tube holder 16, and tube 24 supported thereby to be displaced toward the left relative to the fixture stop and socket 30. Such movement of the tube 24 causes the element 32 of the compression socket 30 to be displaced into its retracted position, whereupon the carrier 15 can be swung upwardly to seat the socket 31 in the arcuate opening of the guide 51, as shown in FIG. 7. At this time, the positive engagement of the guides 51 and 59 with the respective sockets 31 and 30 assures a condition of proper alignment of the tube 24 and contacts thereof with the openings in the sockets, and the workman then releases the fixture stop 29 to permit the movable element 32 of the compression socket to displace the tube 24 and carrier 15 toward the right so as to seat the tube within the socket 31, as shown in FIG. 6. Thereafter, the workman opens the tube holder 16 (perhaps after first testing to be sure the tube is firmly seated and mechanically held by the sockets 30 and 31), and the apparatus may then be moved downwardly and the holder released so that it can return to its normally closed position.
The guide structure 54 (or more particularly the guide 59 thereof) is movable relative to the carrier because the abutment member 61 of the guide is in firm engagement with the socket 30 when the fixture stop 29 is also in engagement therewith and is exerting sufficient force thereaginst to cause the carrier 15 to be displaced relative to the socket. Accordingly, the carrier 15 must then move longitudinally relative to the guide 59, abutment 61, and carriage 57. The two extreme positions of the movable guide structure 54 relative to the carrier 15 are illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 7. It may be noted that the apparatus 10 can be used to remove a tube 24 from the sockets 30 and 31 without first removing the guide structure 54 from the carrier 15, but this necessitates the exercise of considerable care in use of the apparatus in that the guide 54 must be carefully associated with the socket 30 before the tube 24 can be gripped by the holder 16. It might also be noted that the apparatus 10 can be used with tubes of different lengths simply by shifting the position of the guide 51 which, in each instance, is oriented so that it is in engagement with the socket 31 during insertion of the tube 24, as illustrated in FIG. 7. In the particular apparatus shown, it is intended to function with relatively long tubes 24 and to accommodate tubes that are slightly shorter, and in accordance therewith, the carrier 15 is equipped with a plurality of openings 64 (FIG. 5) respectively adapted to receive the wing nut structure 52 by means of which the guide 51 is secured to the carrier. The openings 64 are located so as to respectively correspond to the lengths of various tubes to be handled by the apparatus.
While in the foregoing specification an embodiment of the invention has been set forth in considerable detail for purposes of making a complete disclosure thereof, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that numerous changes may be made in such details without departing from the spirit and principles of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for changing fluorescent lighting tubes of suspended ceiling fixtures and the like having a pair of longitudinally spaced sockets respectively adapted to receive and establish electrical connection with the opposite ends of such tube and at least one of which sockets is a compression socket longitudinally movable between retracted and extended positions, comprising: a support pole equipped adjacent one end thereof with a longitudinally extending carrier, a tube holder adapted to releasably receive such a tube for removal from and replacement in such fixture and being adapted to support a tube in longitudinally disposed orientation, a fixture stop pivotally supported by said carrier adjacent an end thereof for generally longitudinal movement with respect to said holder between a position remote from the end of such fixture adjacent compression socket and a position in engagement therewith to enforce longitudinal displacements thereon relative to said holder and any tube supported thereby to displace such compression socket into its retracted position, and means for operating said fixture stop between such positions thereof.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 in which said tube holder is selectively movable between closed and open positions respectively to grip such tube and to enable the same to be placed within and removed from the holer, and in which said tube holder comprises a pair of relatively movable jaws displaceable between the aforesaid closed and open positions, a torsion spring engaging said jaws and biasing the same toward the closed position thereof, and in which said apparatus further comprises means for opening and closing said jaws.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 and further comprising guide structure supported by said carrier adjacent said fixture stop and being engageable with such compression socket to positively locate said apparatus and any tube supported thereby during mounting thereof in such fixture.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 in which said guide structure includes an abutment component engageable with such compression socket as aforesaid, and further includes means supported said abutment component for longitudinal displacements relative to said carrier.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 and further comprising an additional guide supported by said carrier adjacent the end thereof opposite the aforesaid guide structure for engagement with the other such socket to positionally locate said-apparatus and any tube supported thereby with respect to such sockets.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 in which said tube holder is selectively movable between closed and open positions respectively to grip such tube and to enable the same to be placed within and removed from the holder, and in which said tube holder comprises a pair of relatively movable jaws displaceable between the aforesaid closed and open positions, a torsion spring engaging said jaws and biasing the same toward the closed position thereof, and in which said apparatus further comprises means for opening and closing said jaws.
means for securing said guide structure to said carrier so as to permit removal of the guide structure from the carrier whenever said apparatus is used to remove a tube from such lighting fixture.
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