US 3749982 A
A self-contained, weathertight, easy access, vandal resistant, protective enclosure for housing electrical/electronic apparatus in an otherwise exposed location to serve as a motorist's roadside emergency aid callbox or the like. The housing is constructed of a lightweight but high impact strength plastic material with associated hardware which is impervious to rust and corrosion. A door handle arrangement is provided having a camming surface capable of breaking ice coatings of one-half inch or greater. Magnetic latch and switching controls are included to effect the intended functions without moving parts and thereby avoid mechanical complexity and unreliability. Positive door closing action is assured by the center pin of the door hinge acting as a torsion spring and further aided by the action of gravity. An internal control panel effectively seals off the associated electrical or electronic circuit apparatus from the ambient while providing access to the necessary control elements together with appropriate operating instructions.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 Derdzinski et a1.
 '3,749,982 1451 July 31,1973
EXPOSED LOCATION Inventors: Terrence E. Derdzinski, Addison;
Carl Finger, Glenview; Frank R. Geradi, Elmwood Park, all of I11.
Assignee: Motorola Inc., Franklin Park, 111.
Filed: Sept. 28, 1972 Appl. No.: 293,280
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Primary Examiner-J. V. Truhe Assistant Examiner -Gerald P. Tolin Attorney-Vincent J. Rauner and Donald B. South'- ard et a1.
57 ABSTRACT A self-contained, weathertight, easy access, vandal resistant, protective enclosure for housing electrical/electronic apparatus in an otherwise exposed location to serve as a motorists roadside emergency aid callbox or the like. The housing is constructed of a lightweight but high impact strength plastic material with associated hardware which is impervious to rust and corrosion. A door handle arrangement is provided having a camming surface capable of breaking ice coatings of onehalf inch or greater. Magnetic latch and switching controls are included to effect the intended functions without moving parts and thereby avoid mechanical complexity and unreliability. Positive door closing action is assured by the center pin of the door hinge acting as a torsion spring and further aided by the action of gravity. An internal control panel effectively seals off the 3,627,959 12/1971 Chapel! 335/205 associated electrical or electronic circuit apparatus 3,641,395 2/1972 Natron from the ambient while providing access to the necessary control elements together with appropriate operating instructions.
10 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures -J :5: M1; 22 R '2- ,Hh
:1; 2 45 l o w 0 5%; 11
1 52 ll 0 1 -J l 56 46 r ll l 20 1 1 WEATHER'IEIGI-IT, ,YANDAL RESISTANT PROTECTIVE-ENCLOSURE FOR HOUSING CIRCUIT AP RARATI JS IN AN OTHERWISE EXPOSEDQLOCATION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to enclosures for electrical equipment and the like, andin particular to an improved vgeathertight, protective enclosure or housing for electronic equipment exposed to the ambient, which housing is self-contained, weatherproof, vandal resistant and yet provides ready access even under severe icing; conditions.
There are a greatmany applications where electrical or electronic apparatus must be maintained in a location exposed to the ,ambient in order to be readily and continuously available to a designated group of individuals. One such application concerns the provision of emergency telephone facilities for motorists and the general public at selected locations along tollways, expressways and the like. Other instances may be housings for traffic sensing electronics and alarm boxes for fire, police and forestry. Whatever the application, the associated apparatus must be readilyaccessible at all times under any weather conditions to anyone in need of the facility, yet protected from the ambient atmosphere. This, one may surmise, requires a suitably protective housing of one sort or another.
Prior art enclosures, despite the relative abundance in both number and design approach, exhibit serious shortcomings which do not assure trouble-free operation and, indeed, in some instances, are a hindrance to realizing even minimal operational requirements. In some instances, the access door is inadequately biased to a normally-closed position such that the associated electronic circuitry or apparatus is not protected from the ambient at all times under all operating conditions. In other instances, the overall design of the protective housing simply renders it impractical if not impossible to effect field repairs of damaged component parts, such as, for example, the access door or its associated hinge'unit. Under certain design approaches, theaccess door cannot be opened under severe icing conditions.
Even in those applications where an ice breaker door handle is provided, it may be inadequate under those icing conditions where there isa half inch or more of ice covering. Additionally, where the components parts of the ice breaking mechanism are fabricated of steel hardware, rust and corrosion frequently jams the handle mechanism in a fixed, inoperable position in a relatively short period oftime.
Then too, problems have also beenencountered in the past'regarding' the complexity of the mechanical contrivance for latching and, in some instances, switching on or off the electronic equipment in the housing. Exterior paint peeling is likewise a commonly encoun' tered occurrence in some design configurations, while low impact strength of the housing material is frequently a problem in still other configurations.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved protective enclosure for housing electric or electronic apparatus serving as a motorists roadside emergency aid callbox, traffic sensing apparatus, or alarm box for fire, police and forestry, which enclosure effectively overcomes the foregoing operational deficiencies.
A more particular object of the present invention is to provide an improved outdoor housing enclosure of the foregoing type which is of a simplified but ruggedized design, highly reliable in operation under adverse weather conditions, and which exhibits substantial resistance to damage by vandals.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved outdoor housing enclosure of the foregoing type which has been fabricated of a suitable thermosetting, plastic material for lightweight and high impact strength and to eliminate entirely exterior painting requirements and wherein associated hardward components are providedwhich are impervious to rust, salt spray corrosion and the like.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide an improved outdoor housing enclosure of the foregoing type wherein access to the interior may be had even under severe icing conditions and wherein control of the front access door also controls automatically the activation of associated electrical or electronic circuit apparatus by magnetic switch action.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an improved outdoor housing enclosure of the foregoing type which may be fabricated in several interlocking component parts of a design to permit ready, repair or replacement of such component parts at any location.
Briefly, a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises an improved enclosure for housing electrical or electronic circuit apparatus wherein a rectangular base member is formed having integral'side, top, bottom andrear walls, and also a front access door which coacts with the base member to form a composite, weathertight enclosure. The basealso includes an extension or porch overhanging the top of the frontac cess door so as to further resist weather entry. A bracket and terminal arrangement is provided to support the associated electrical/electronic circuit apparatits in a quick-disconnect conditionwithin the interior of the enclosure. The outer access door is mounted to the base by a rust and corrosion resistant full length hinge member which is biased to a closed door position by a torsion spring aided by the action of gravity. The access'door carries an ice breaker handle arrangement having a camming means activated by pulling the handle downwardly, which camming-means pushes against an edge portion of the base member with sufficient force to break ice coatings of one-half inch or greater. The door handle is likewise biased to its upraised or return position by an associated torsion spring. The access door further includes amagnetic latch arrangement as well as a switch magnet for automatically initiatin'g a control function upon the opening of the access door. All component parts of the housing enclosure are arranged and mounted ina manner to facilitate ready repair or replacement at field location. I
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The novel features which are believed to be charac- FIG. 2 is a like perspective view of such housing of FIG. 1 but wherein the inner control panel is shown in its open position and an associated plug-in electronics module removed from its control rack. i
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, a housing is illustrated which has been constructed in accordance with principles comprising the present invention. For convenience, like numerals are utilized for like component parts in the several Figures.
As will be noted, housing 10 includes a rectangular box-like base member 12 having integral side, top, bottom and rear walls, but an open-face to the front. A front access door 14 is designed to coact with the base member 12 so as to form an overall composite, weathertight enclosure to be hereinafter described.
It will also be noted that the base member 12 includes an outwardly extending lip or porch 12a along the edge of the top front thereof, (best seen in FIG. 1) and which overhangs the top of the front access door 14. This effectively resists weather entry to the interior of the housing 10 and cooperates with still other weather I proofing means to provide a suitably weathertight enclosure for protecting delicate telephonic and/or electronic apparatus as will be described subsequently.
To complete the exterior housing assembly, a door handle arrangement is provided which includes an elongated hand operated lever or door handle 22 at the lower right of the access door 14, which lever is pivotable about an axis centering about a camming face 24. Camrning face 24, when rotated by the action of handle 22, exerts a force against the surface 12b of base member 12. The levering action of handle 22 is sufficient to force access door 14 open and away from base 12, even under the most severe of icing conditions. It has been found that ice coatings of greater than one-half inch are easily broken without undue pressure being required in activating door handle 22. Further, the handle 22 is biased to its neutral, upraised position by the action of the helical torsion spring 26 positioned within compartmen: 14a on the inside of access door 14.
Access door 14 is pivotably attached to base member 12 by a hinge assembly 30 running substantially the full length of the lateral side of the door 14 and base 12. Hinge 30 is mounted by a plurality of detachable fasteners, such as nuts and bolts 32, so as to facilitate ready removal and replacement at any time at any location. As will also be observed, hinge 30 serves a torsion spring action to bias the access door 14 to a normallyclosed position. This is effected by the central pin 34 interconnecting respective halves of the hinge 30, which pin 34 has one end thereof mechanically attached or anchored to the access door 14 and the remaining end suitably anchored to base member 12. Pivoting door 14 about the central pin 34 thereby effects the desired torsion spring action in the latter.
In addition to the torsion spring action provided by hinge assembly 30, access door 14 is further aided to its normally-closed or return position by still another factor that of gravity. This is effected by virtue of door 14 being mounted in a plane differing slightly from the precise vertical. As will be noted, the imaginary plane encompassing the front face of base member 12 slants progressively inwardly from the bottom to the top. Accordingly, should the torsion spring action of hinge 30 become inoperative for any reason, access door 14 will nevertheless be impelled to its normallyclosed return position, following use of the associated telephone equipment by a motorist or other person, through the action of gravity alone.
As best seen in FIG. 1, a control panel 40 is positioned midway in the interior of housing 10. As will be observed, the control panel 40 is pivotably mounted by a hinge 42 along one side of the panel 40 similar to that of hinge 30, except that the latter need not provide a torsion spring action of the former. Panel 40 provides the necessary interface for the associated telephone apparatus 50 necessary to effect the desired emergency aid facility for motorists and the like. As would be expected, telephone apparatus 50 includes a conventional telephone receiver 52 which when'not in use rests in a cradle 54 mounted to control panel 40 by machine screws or other suitable fasteners (not shown). The associated service cable 56 to the telephone receiver 52 is steel jacketed to obtain optimum service life. The cable 56 passes through an access opening 58 in the control panel 40 to connect with electronic transmitting/receiving apparatus positioned behind the panel. The referenced electronic apparatus is activated automatically by the action of a magnet 28 positioned on the interior of access door 14, as will be described subsequently.
As best seen in FIG. 2, a weather seal or stripping 44 is incorporated on a flange or lip 12c positioned .circumferentially about the interior of housing 10, which lip abuts a peripheral edge of control panel 40 when in its closed position and effectively sealing off the interior of the housing 10 to the ambient. A lock assembly 45 serves to maintain control panel 40 in its closed, weathertight condition and to deny access to potential vandals and other unauthorized individuals.
To complete the housing assembly, a magnetic latch arrangement is provided consisting of a magnetic latch plate 46a on the control panel 40 and a magnet 46b coacting therewith on the interior of access door 14. The referenced magnetic latch arrangementthere provides a positive hold-action without mechanical moving parts for reliable, service free operation.
The referenced electronic apparatus, as shown in FIG. 2, comprises a power supply module 60 contain ing a self-contained battery and switching circuitry (not shown), a battery recharge module 62 and a plug-in electronics package containing the necessary transmitter and receiving circuitry for a conventional radio telephone facility. The power supply and battery recharging modules 60 and 62 are mounted on the bottom of the interior of housing 10, substantially as shown. The plug-in electronic module 70, however, is in the form of a quick-connect, quick-disconnect arrangement for ease of servicing and/or replacement. To effect this feature, the electronics package 70- is mounted on a chassis frame 72 having side flanges 74 with inclined rectangular slots 74a at the top and bottom edges thereof, as shown. These slots coact to receive guide pins 82 extending laterally of a pair of L- shaped brackets secured to respective sides along the rear-wall of housing 10. These pins when received within slots 74a of chassis 72 serve to guide and position the electronic package in a way whereby terminal fingers (not shown) extending from the rear thereof make suitable electrical connection with respective terminal contacts on a terminal strip 84 at an appropriate location on the rear wall of housing 10. The described quick-connect/disconnect facility, however, forms no part of the present invention. For a more detailed disclosure of such an arrangement, reference may be made' to United States Letters Patent No. 3,641,395 to v Melvin S. Nation and assigned to the same assignee of the present invention.
In operation, a .user need only pull downwardly on the door handle 22 to open access door 14. Opening door 14 also physically removes magnet 28 from the position immediately adjacent power supply-62 and an associated control element such as a magnetic reed relay (not shown) in the interior thereof. Removing switch magnet 28 permits the magnetic reed relay to operate and energize the transmitter/receiver apparatus comprising the plug-in electronics module 70. At the same time, a suitablelamp assembly (not shown) at the bottom portion of a longitudinal hood 48 on the interior side of control panel 40 is supplied operating potential. The light emanating therefrom is utilized to illuminate the translucent instructions printed on the reverse side of control panel 40 (FIG. 1) and thereby indicate that the apparatus has in fact been activated, ready for use, and to direct appropriate instructions for that use.
Upon completion of the necessary communications, the user need only replace the telephone receiver 52 in its cradle 54 and release access door 14. The torsion spring action generated by hinge member 30 as described previously, and further aided by the force of gravity, effects a positive closure of door 14, which is then latched in place by magnet 46b acting in conjunction with plate 46a. Switch magnet 28 is again positioned sufficiently close to power supply '62 to effect opening of reed relay serving as a control switch in' the interior of power supply 62 so as to deactivate electronic apparatus 70.
As will be appreciated, housing provides an effective, weathertight enclosure for electronic apparatus which must be located in exposed condition to the ambient. For lightweight, but high impact strength, it has been found that the housing 10 may advantageously be constructed of a glass-reinforced polyester material. Such construction not only accomplishes the intended operational characteristics, but further permits suitable coloring to be included in the housing material and thereby eliminate entirely any requirements for painting the enclosure as a whole, inside or out. As described herein, the housing apparatushas been designed to require as little maintenance as possible. At the same time, should any component part thereof eventually'nee'd repair or replacement, the same may be effected simply and readily in situ at thefield location, including of course the electronics apparatus.
While only certain embodiments of the invention has been disclosed and described herein, it will be realized that various modifications and alternative constructions may be made without departing from the true scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and alternative constructions that may fall within the true spirit and'scope thereof.
What is claimed is:
1. An improved outdoor weathertight enclosure for housing associated electrical and electronic apparatus, including in combination:
a base member, having integralside, top, bottom and rear walls, and coacting with a removable front access door, said base portion further including an extension at the top front overhanging said access door to resist weather entry;i
bracket and terminal support means for supporring modular plug-in electrical circuit apparatus in a quick-disconnect condition within the interior of said base member; t i M an internal control panel pivotably mounted interme: diate said plug-in circuit modular apparatus and said outer front access door;
hinge means of rust and corrosion resistant material for pivotably mounting said front access door to a side wall of said base portion and biased to a closed door position by torsion spring means aided by the action of gravity;
door handle means mounted at a side of said access door opposite said hinge means, said handle means including camming means which when actuated provides a levering action against a peripheral edge portion of said base sufficient tobreak ice coatings of greater than one-half inch; and
magnetic switch means mounted on said access door for actuating said circuit apparatus automatically upon the opening of said access door. 7
2. An improved outdoor weathertight enclosure in accordance with claim 1 wherein said torsion spring means includes said hinge means having a center pin with one end thereof anchored to said access door and the remaining .end of said center pin anchored to said housing base member.
3. An improved outdoor weathertight enclosure in accordance with claim 1 wherein said access door is mounted to said base member in a plane differing slightly from the precise vertical such that when said door is released in its open position, it is impelled to a normally-closed position by the action of gravity.
4. An improved outdoor weathertight enclosure in accordance with claim 3 wherein said top wall of said base member extends outwardly to form a hood overhanging the top of said access door so as to resist weather entry. i
5. An improved outdoor weathertight enclosure in accordance with claim 1 wherein said door handle means is biased to a normally-upraised, return position by the action of an associated. helical torsion spring attached thereto and mounted on the interior of said access door.
6. An improved outdoor weathertight enclosure in accordance with claim 1 wherein a lip or flange extends circumferentially about the interior of said base member on which a weather seal is positioned to coact with a peripheral edge of said internal control panel in the closed position and thereby provide a weathertight compartment sealed off from the ambient atmosphere even with said front access door open. I
7. An improved outdoor weathertight enclosure in" accordance with claim 1 wherein power supply means are mounted in the interior of said housing to supply operating power to said electronic circuit apparatus and wherein said magnetic switch means includes a magnetically controlled reed relay controlling said power supply means, said reed relay in turn being controlled by a switch magnet positioned on the interior of said access door.
netic latch plate on said control panel and a magnet mounted on the interior of said access door and coacting with said latch plate whenever said door is in a predetermined position.
10. An improved outdoor weathertight enclosure in accordance with claim 1 wherein said base member, access door, inner control panel and door handle assembly are molded as unitary, component parts of a glass-reinforced polyester material. 0' 'l 0 II I