|Publication number||US3743805 A|
|Publication date||Jul 3, 1973|
|Filing date||Jan 21, 1972|
|Priority date||Jan 21, 1972|
|Also published as||CA991228A, CA991228A1, DE2302441A1|
|Publication number||US 3743805 A, US 3743805A, US-A-3743805, US3743805 A, US3743805A|
|Original Assignee||Heinemann Electric Co|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (7), Classifications (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [1 1 Guinan LIGHTED ACTUATOR ASSEMBLY  Inventor: ThomasGuinan,Trenton.NJ.
 Assignee: Heinemann Electric Company,
 Filed: Jan. 21, 1972  Appl. No.: 219,709
Primary Examiner-Robert K. Schaefer Assistant Examiner-William J. Smith Artorney-joseph G. Denny. ill and Peter J. Patane  ABSTRACT An actuator mechanism for a switch or a circuit 1 July 3, 1973 breaker comprising a rocker handle having a cavity for housing an indicator lamp. The lamp is energized when the rocker handle, and consequently the main contacts of the switch or circuit breaker, are in a first position, and de-energized when the rocker handle and the main contacts are in a second position. The lamp is located beneath a translucent cover which may be marked with suitable indicia to display the condition of the main contacts. The lamp is connected in series with a power source through a pair of rocket contacts carried by the rocker handle and pivotable therewith. The rocker contacts are movable into or out of engagement with a pair of stationary contacts which are supported adjacent the rocker handle, the stationary contacts and the support means therefor being located in the space between the top surface of the switch or circuit breaker case and the lower .wall of the panel to which the case is mounted. When the stationary contacts are in engagement with the rocker contacts, a conductive path is completed from the power source through the indicator lamp to'illuminate the rocker handle, thereby indicating the condition of the main contacts.
15 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures Patented July 3, 1973 3,743,805
2 Sheets-Shani 1 Patented July 3, 1973 2 Sheets-Sheet 8 FIG. 5
LIGHTED ACTUATOR ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to a lighted actuator mechanism for a circuit breaker or a switch adapted for mounting to a panel and, more particularly to an actuator mechanism comprising a rocker handle which contains an indicator lamp for illumination thereof.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention comprises an actuator mechanism for a circuit breaker or switch adapted to be mounted to a panel including a rocker handle having a cavity therein for housing an indicator lamp. The lamp is energized from a source via a pair of rocker contacts mounted for movement on a portion of the rocker handle. A pair of stationary terminals is positioned adjacent the rocker handle and is engaged by the rocker contacts or separated therefrom depending on the position of the rocker handle.
A further object is to provide a lighted actuator located wholly outside of the circuit breaker case except for a portion of the actuator which projects into the case to operate the circuit breaker mechanism, a portion of the actuator being located in the space between the case and the panel to which it is mounted.
An object of the present invention is to provide a rocker handle type of actuator mechanism for use with a known electric circuit breaker or switch adapted for mounting to a panel, the rocker handle containing a cavity for the reception and positioning of an indicator lamp immediately beneath a light transmitting cover in the upper surface of the rocker'handle in order to achieve greater illumination of the cover to indicate the condition of the circuit breaker or switch.
Another object is to provide an actuator mechanism which is compatible with a known circuit breaker and which mounts conveniently on the circuit breaker case without substantial change in the construction of the case circuit breaker mechanism.
These and other objects, the principles of the invention and the best mode in which I have contemplated applying such principles will more fully appear from the following description when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings, 7
FIG. 1 is an elevation view, partly in section, of the actuator mechanism of the invention, mounted on a circuit breaker case, a portion of the circuit breaker case adjacent the rocker handle being broken away to show engagement between the actuator mechanism and the operating link of the circuit breaker mechanism the view of the rocker handle and operating link being taken on the line 1-1 in FIG. 4;
FIG. 2 is a partial elevation view similar to FIG. I, with the rocker handle viewed along the line 2-2 of FIG. 4, to show the details of the rocker contacts carried by the rocker handle;
FIG. 3 is a view taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. I with the rocker handle omitted;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the actuator mechanism of FIG. 1 with the cover of the rocker handle partially broken away to show the rocker contacts and the indicator lamp situated in the cavity of the rocker handle;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view-taken on the line 5-5 of FIG. 1 showing the details of the insulator block which supports the stationary contacts; and
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on the line 66 of FIG. 1 showing the interconnection betw'eenthe actuator mechanism and the operating link of the circuit breaker.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the invention comprises an improved actuator mechanism 11 for use in operating a known circuit breaker 12, the actuator mechanism 11 including indicator means for displaying the condition of the main contacts of the circuit breaker.
The circuit breaker 12 is similar to that described in US. Pat. No. 3,329,913, except that the handle for manually operating the circuit breaker mechanism of US. Pat. No. 3,329,913 has been eliminated and the upper portion of the pivotal link thereof has been altered, as described in detail below. In view of the similarity between the circuit breaker in the above noted patent and the one employed in the invention, a detailed description of the operating mechanism of that circuit breaker will be omitted herein, the description in US Pat. No. 3,329,913 being hereby incorporated by reference.
The actuator mechanism 11 comprises a rocker handle 20 and a mounting bracket 21 for attaching the rocker handle 20 to the circuit breaker case 40 in a position to properly actuate the pivotal link of the circuit breaker operating mechanism. The mounting bracket 21 for the actuator mechanism 11 consists of a main body portion .23 which, when the actuator mechanism is mounted on the case 40, lies generally parallel to and abutting the upper surface of the circuit breaker case 40. The main body portion 23 of the bracket 21 includes two pairs of arms 24 and 25 which project in directions away from the rocker handle 20, one pair of arms located at each end of the main body portion 23. Each of the pairs of arms 24 and 25 interfits into comer recesses 26 in the case 40 of the circuit breaker to thereby straddle the upper surface of the case. The arms 24 and 25 include openings which are aligned with openings in the corners of the circuit breaker case 40. Rivets 27 are passed through the aligned openings in the arms 24 and 25 and corners of the case 40 to hold the actuator mechanism in abutment with the upper surface of the case.
The main'body portion 23 of the mounting bracket 21 includes two inverted L-shaped flanges 28 and 30 on opposite ends thereof, each flange having an upper portion which is spaced from and approximately parallel to the plane occupied bythe main body portion 23 of the bracket 21 and the upper surface of the case 40. These upper portions of the flanges 28 and 30 extend away from the rocker handle 20 and contain threaded holes 29 which may be used for mounting the circuit breaker to a panel 50, FIG. 2 with the rocker handle 20 projecting through a hole in the panel. The upper portions of the flanges are connected to the main body portion 23 by intermediate portions which extend away from the main body portion 23 at right angles thereto. The main body portion 23 further contains an approximately circular opening which registers with a circular boss 32 on the upper surface of the circuit breaker case 40, the
boss 32 circumscribing an opening 64 in the top surface of the circuit breaker case 40.
The main body portion 23 of the bracket 21 also includes two spaced apart, inverted V-shaped ears 33 integral with and projecting upwardly from opposite sides of the bracket 21. The apexes of the ears 33 include holes which jointly carry a mounting pivot pin 35 on which the rocker handle 20 is pivotally supported.
Portions of the ears 33 on the side of the rocker handle 20 containing the indicator lamp 41 have been cut away in a zig zag pattern to allow for the unobstructed pivoting of the rocker handle 20.
The rocker handle 20 is made of a plastic material and comprises a rectangular frame having two sections 16 and 17 which diverge outwardly and upwardly from the center of the rectangular frame to form a shallow V when viewed as in FIGS. 1 and 2. The sections 16 and 17 alternately present raised surfaces for movement of the rocker handle between on and off positions in response to manual pressure on said sections. The frame 15 is closed on the bottom by a bottom wall 18 and has an opening at the top thereof, the mid portion of the frame being hollow to provide a channel or cavity 42. The rocker handle 20 is located between the flanges 28 and 30 of the mounting bracket 21.
The rocker handle 20 supports a lens-like cover 36 in the form of a panel of light transmitting material, such as molded plastic, which may be of various colors and texture in order to diffuse the light transmitted therethrough. The cover 36 is press fit into a rabbitted groove 37 on the upper interior portion of the frame 38 and the outer edges of the cover 36 are angled slightly to seat snugly therein. The cover 36 includes a rectangular tongue 91 which extends through a portion of the top edge of the frame 15 so as to facilitate removal of the cover 36 from its seat in the groove 37 of the rocker handle 20.
The cover 36 includes two upper flat surfaces 38 and 39 intersecting each other to form a shallow V. The flat surfaces 38 and 39 may be used to indicate the condition of the circuit breaker by having imprinted thereon the indicia On (on surface 38) and Off" (on surface 39). Depending on whether the circuit breaker is in the contacts open or the contacts closed" position, one of these indications is oriented approximately parallel or flush with the adjacent surfaces of the panel 50, FIG. 2 to which. the circuit breaker is mounted, while the other indication projects upwardly above the panel at an angle thereto.
Asnoted above, the circuit breaker 12 of the invention is similar to the circuit breaker described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,329,913. However, the operating handle shown in the above noted patent has been omitted from the circuit breaker of the present application and the upper periphery of the handle link has been rounded. The pivotal link 60 of the invention, FIG. 6, furthermore has an approximately semi-circular recess 80 formed in its upper portion, the recess 80 being bounded by upwardly projecting legs 81. An operating pin 84 is carried in slots in the legs 81 and spans the recess 80 near the apex of the link 60. The pivotal link 60 will normally be held in one or the other of two stable positions, the contacts open position, FIG. 1, or the contacts closed position, FIG. 2. The pivotal link 60 is moved between these two positions by the actuating mechanism 12 which is mounted thereabove and 4 engages the operating pin 84'as will be explained in more detail hereinafter. I
The rocker handle 20 also includes a centrally disposed arm 31 formed integrally with the bottom wall 18 of the rocker handle 20 which projects into an opening 64 in the top margin of the circuit breaker case 40 to a position immediately overlying the pivotal handle link 60. The arm 31 has a circular outline concentric with the axis of the mounting pin 35 and includes a centrally disposed slot 44 which circumscribes at least in part the operating pin 84 carried by the pivotal link 60 of the circuit breaker. The slot 44 is defined by the wall portions 52 and 53 and, as the rocker handle 20 is pivoted manually clockwise toward the position shown in FIG. 2, its first stable position, the wall portion 52 moves into abutment with the pin 84 to move the handle link 60 and consequently the circuit breaker contacts to the closed position. As the rocker handle 20 is manually pivoted counterclockwise toward its second stable position, FIG. 1, the wall portion 53 of the slot 44 abuts and moves the pin 84 to move the pivotal handle link 60 and consequently the circuit breaker contacts to the open position.
The rocker contacts 45 and 46 are elongated, electrically conductive pieces which are generally rectangular in cross section. They are supported in spaced passages which extend through the bottom wall 18 of the rocker handle 20 and are prevented from moving away from the case 40 by means of shoulders 54 formed in the lower portions of the contacts, whichabut a lip 61 on the bottom wall 18 of the rocker handle 20. The rocker contacts 45 and 46 are likewise prevented from moving downward by means of resilient flanges 56 which interfit into notches 55 near the top of the rectangular passages in the bottom wall 18. The rocker contacts 45 and 46 are assembled to the rocker handle 20 by inserting the upper ends 57 thereof into the rectangular passages in the bottom wall 18 of the rocker handle 20 until the shoulders 54 abut the lip 61 and the resilient flanges 56, which are compressed during entry into the rectangular passages, snap into place in the notches 55.
The lower ends 59 of the contacts 45 and 46 farthest from the lamp 41 are hook shaped so as to form resilient sections for engagement with a pair of stationary contacts 48 and 49 supported intermediate the contacts 45 and 46 and the case 40 of the circuit breaker. These resilient sections provide a wiping action during engagement of the rocker contacts 45 and 46 with the stationary contacts 48 and 49.
The upper ends 57 of the rocker contacts 45 and 46 include V-shaped formations which are crimped closed after insertion of the connection wires 58 from the neon or incandescent bulb 41 to complete the electrical circuit to the bulb, and to aid in stabilizing the position of the bulb 41within the cavity 42. ,The movement of the lamp 41 is further limited by means of a secondary cavity 94 or channel into which the lamp 41 snugly fits.
Each of the contacts 48 and 49 are formed'of two sections integral with, and'at right angles to each other. The first sections 71 are arranged below the rocker contacts 45 and 46 and have their surfaces parallel with the main body portion of the bracket 21. The second sections 72 of the contacts 48 and 49 are integral with the first sections but bent at right angles thereto. The second sections 72 extend outwardly beyond the margin of the case 40 to facilitate connection of a source of power thereto.
The contacts 48 and 49 are carried by an insulator block 74 which has an upper portion or head 75 which is generally rectangular in shape. The head 75 has formed integrally therewith a pedestal 96, FIG. 5, which extends through openings in the bracket 21 and the upper margin of the circuit breaker case 40. A hole is formed adjacent the lower end of the pedestal 96 through which extends the pin 27 extends to anchor the block 74 to the circuit breaker case 40. The length of the pedestal is chosen such that the undersurface of the head 75 rests firmly on the adjacent upper surface of the bracket 21, to prevent any pivotal motion of the insulator block 74 about the pin 27.
The insulator block 74 has a pair of recesses 76 and 77 which extend along the entire margins of the block 74 in which contacts 48 and 49 are carried. The first sections 71 of each of the contacts 48 and 49 are located in the recesses 76 and the second sections 72 of the contacts 48 and 49 are carried in the recesses 77. A pair of screws 78 extend through holes in each of the second sections of the contacts 48 and 49 to hold them in place. The top margin of the insulator block 74 also contains a recess 81 in which the upper portion of the flange 28 rides so that the top surface thereof is approximately even with the top surface of the insulator block 74. Communicating with the recess 81 is a further recess 82 which is located directly underneath the threaded hole in the flange 28 so that the screw used for fastening the circuit breaker to a panel 50, FIG. 2, may extend thereinto without interference with the insulating block 74.
The insulator block 74 is arranged generally between the panel 50 and the case 40 and more specifically in the space between the upper portion of the flange 28 and the main body portion 23 of the bracket 21. This has the advantage of permitting the use of the insulator block 74 in combination with a previously known mounting bracket 21 and circuit breaker case 40 without any alteration to either of these components and without altering the space required for the mounting of the circuit breaker. The details of the circuit breaker case 40 have been previously described in US. Pat. No. 3,329,793.
While the insulator block has been described as being connected via the pedestal 96 and pin 27 to the circuit breaker case, it may also be attached directly to the bracket 21 by means of fasteners.
In operation, assuming the circuit breaker 12 and actuator mechanism 11 to be in the contacts open position, FIG. 1, when the rocker handle 20 is manually pivoted clockwise, the operating mechanism and the main contacts of the circuit breaker (not shown) are moved toward the closed position by the force applied via the arm 31, the pin 84 and the pivotal link 60. Also, as the rocker handle 20 is pivoted clockwise, the hook shaped lower portions of the rocker contacts 45 and 46 are brought into engagement with the stationary contacts 48 and 49, FIG. 2, at which time an electrical circuit to the lamp 41 is completed from a power source (not shown) via the stationary contacts48 and 49, the movable rocker contacts 45 and 46, and the connecting wires 58 of the lamp. This results in the illumination of the bulb to indicate that the circuit breaker 12 has been turned on.
When the rocker handle 20 is pivoted counterclockwise, the rocker contacts 45 and 46 are disengaged from the stationary contacts 48 and 49, thereby breaking the circuit to the bulb and turning it off.
Multipole operation may be provided by locating several circuit breakers in a side-by-side arrangement and interconnecting the rocker handles of the breakers by means of rods (not shown) which pass through the holes 99 located near opposite ends of the rocker handles 20, FIGS. 1 and 2.
Having described this invention, what I claim is:
1. In combination, a circuit breaker including an insulating case, an operating mechanism within the case movable between on and off positions, a pivotal link for operating said mechanism, said case having a first opening on one margin thereof overlying said pivotal link, a mounting bracket secured to said case having a second opening coinciding with said first opening in said case, upstanding ears integral with said bracket and located on opposed sides of said second opening, a rocker handle having a generally rectangular frame and a bottom wall closing said frame on one end thereof, said rocker handle being pivotally supported between said ears and having an arm integral with said bottom wall and extending through said first and second openings to operate said mechanism between on and off positions in response to the pivotal movement of said rocker handle, rocker contact means carried by the bottom wall of said rocker handle, stationary contact means, said stationary contact means including a first section located generally intermediate said case and said rocker contacts, said stationary contact means including a second section connectable to a source of electrical potential, said rocker contact means being pivotable into and out of engagement with said stationary contact means, said rocker handle being hollow in part to provide a cavity for housing an indicator lamp, said lamp being electrically connected to said rocker contact means, whereby said indicatorlamp is energized when said rocker handle is pivoted to a first position wherein said rocker contact means engages said stationary contact means, and said lamp is de-energized when said rocker handle is pivoted to a second position wherein said rocker contact means are disengage from said stationary contact means.
2. The combination recited in claim 1 wherein said rocker contact means comprises a pair of elongated, electrically conductive pieces supported in passages which extend through the bottom wall of said rocker handle.
3. The combination recited in claim 2 wherein one end of each of said pieces communicates with said cavity and the other end is engageable with said stationary contact means, said pieces being held in position in said passages by a resilient flange on each of said pieces which, after insertion of said pieces into said passages, snaps into place within a notch in said bottom wall, and a shoulder on each of said pieces which abuts a lip in said bottom wall after insertion of said pieces into said passages.
4. The combination recited in claim 1 wherein said stationary contact means is supported by an insulating block secured to said case.
5. The combination recited in claim 4 wherein said I insulating block comprises a head, one surface of which abuts the top surface of said bracket, and a pedestal, integral with said head and extending through third and fourth openings in said bracket and said case, said pedestal including a hole through which extends a pin anchored in said case.
6. The combination recited in claim wherein said frame of said rocker handle includes a rabbitted groove, and further including a translucent cover press fitted in said groove overlying said indicator lamp.
7. An electrical switch comprising a case, a pair of main contacts, means within said case operable to close and open said pair of main contacts, a unitary actuator mechanism attachable to said case for operating said means, comprising a rocker handle coupled to said means and movable between first and second positions corresponding to the open and closed conditions of said main contacts, said rocker handle carried by a mounting bracket, said bracket including means for attachment to said case and means for attachment to a panel, an electrical lamp positioned to illuminate a portion of said mechanism, first contact means carried by said rocker handle, second contact means positioned for engagement with said first contact means upon movement of said rocker handle to one of said first or second positions, and for disengagement from said first contact means when said rocker handle is in the other of said first or second positions, support means carried by said case on the outer periphery thereof for supporting said second contact means externally of said case, said lamp being in electrical contact with said first contact means, said second contact means connectable to a source of electrical potential, whereby said lamp is energized and de-energized depending on the position of said rocker handle.
8. The combination recited in claim 7 wherein said rocker handle comprises a rectangular frame closed on one end by a bottom wall and open at the top to define a cavity, said lamp being located in said cavity, said first contact means being carried by said bottom wall.
9. The combination recited in claim 8 further including a translucent cover carried by said frame overlying said lamp.
10. In combination with a circuit breaker including a case containing a mechanism movable between open and closed positions by means of a pivotal link, said case including an opening overlying said pivotal link, an actuator mechanism comprising a rocker handle, a mounting bracket attachable to said case having a generally flat main body portion, a hole in said main body portion coinciding with saidopening in said case, upstanding ears integral with said main body portion, inverted L-shaped flanges including an intermediate portion extending away from said case at right angles thereto and an upper portion spaced from and parallel to the adjacent surface of said case, one of said flanges defining between itself and the top surface of said case a space, said rocker handle carried by said ears and operable between two alternate stable positions, corresponding to said open and closed position of said mechanism, first contact means carried by said rocker handle, second contact means connectable to a source of electrical potential, means for supporting said second contacts means for engagement with said first contact means when said rocker handle is in one of said alternate positions, but for disengagement from said first contact means when said rocker handle is in the other of said alternate positions, said means located in said space, and an indicator lamp connected to said first contact means for illuminating a portion of said rocker handle, whereby said lamp is turned on and off depending on the position of said rocker handle.
11. The combination recited in claim 10 wherein said rocker handle defines a cavity, said lamp being located within said cavity.
12. The combination recited in claim 7 wherein said operating means comprises a member, a portion of which is movable toward said case to a first position in which said lamp contact means is in engagement with said supply contact means and movable away from said case to a second position wherein said lamp contact means are disengaged from said supply contact means.
13. The combination recited in claim 12 wherein said member comprises a rocker handle, said lamp is located within said rocker handle and said supply contact means comprises stationary contacts located in part intermediate said case and said rocker handle to engage said lamp contact means depending upon the position of said rockerhandle, and stationary contact support means carried by said case and located intermediate said panel and said case.
14. In combination, an electrical switch comprising a case, an operating mechanism within said case, and a pair of contacts within said case which are opened and closed by said operating mechanism, an actuator mechanism movable between first and second positions and coupled to said operating mechanism, said actuator mechanism carrying an indicator lamp and lamp contact means which project therefrom, supply contact means, support means carried by said case for mounting said supply contact means in a position external to said case and engageable by said lamp contact means when said actuator mechanism is in said first position and disengageable therefrom when in said second position.
15. In combination, an electrical switch comprising a case, an operating mechanism within said case, a pair of contacts within said case which are opened and closed by said operating mechanism, an actuator mechanism mounted upon said case comprising, support means for mountingsaid case in spaced relation to a panel, operating means carried by said support means and coupled to said operating mechanism, said operating means carrying an indicator lamp and lamp contact means, and supply contact means coupled to said case and electrically connectable to said lamp contact means, and supply contact support means for positioning said supply contact means external to said case and intermediate said panel and said case.
' t 4' u 1 :r
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|U.S. Classification||200/315, 362/95|
|International Classification||H01H23/00, H01H23/02, H01H73/00|