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Publication numberUS3755635 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 28, 1973
Filing dateApr 7, 1972
Priority dateApr 7, 1972
Publication numberUS 3755635 A, US 3755635A, US-A-3755635, US3755635 A, US3755635A
InventorsMc Gill W
Original AssigneeMc Gill W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Isolated electrical outlet assembly
US 3755635 A
Abstract
An electrical outlet and safety control circuit for preventing accidental shock comprising a socket with a pair of outlet terminals isolated from a primary voltage source by normally opened relay contacts, and a switch actuatable by an elongated pin on the associated electrical plug upon insertion thereof into the socket, the switch being serially connected to the relay for closure thereof and simultaneous energization of the electrical terminals upon complete insertion of the plug.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 McGill 1 Aug. 28, 1973 1 ISOLATED ELECTRICAL OUTLET ASSEMBLY [76] Inventor: William B. McGill, 9612-13 Roosevelt Dr., Ellsworth A.F.B., S. Dak. 57706 [22] Filed: Apr. 7, 1972 [21] App]. No.: 241,999

[52] US. Cl. ZOO/51.09 [51] Int. Cl IIOlr 33/30 [58] Field of Search ZOO/51.09

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,280,278 10/1966 Ganzert ZOO/31.09

FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,119,671 4/1956 France ZOO/51.09

3/1960 Great Britain .Q 200151.09 7/1951 Netherlands ..200/51.09

Primary Examiner-David Smith, Jr. Attorney-Harvey B. Jacobson [57] ABSTRACT An electrical outlet and safety control circuit for pre- 1 venting accidental shock comprising a socket with a pair of outlet terminals isolated from a primary voltage source by normally opened relay contacts, and a switch actuatable by an elongated pin on the associated electrical plug upon insertion thereof into the socket, the switch being serially connected to the relay for closure thereof and simultaneous energization of the electrical terminals upon complete insertion of the plug.

3 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures ISOLATED ELECTRICAL OUTLET ASSEMBLY The present invention is generally related to electrical outlets and, more particularly, to an improved electrical outlet assembly including safety means for preventing accidental shock to a user.

In the past, various electrical plug assemblies have been provided, several of which included safety means for preventing accidental shock to a user or a child who may accidentally poke his fingers into the outlet socket. However, such conventional devices have either required specially constructed plugs or were unduly complex in nature so as to render them impractical for household use or installation.

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved electrical outlet assembly which prevents accidental shock, is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and install, and which may be operated with the use of standard commercially available electrical plugs.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a unique electrical outlet assembly which includes a compact socket with a switch mounted therein which is effective in a control circuit to isolate the sockets electrical terminals until insertion of the plug has been completed, thereby greatly reducing the possibilities of accidental shock.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a versatile electrical outlet assembly which includes a control relay actuatable by closure of a safety switch and effective to isolate the socket terminals until the associated electrical plug has been fully inserted into the socket to close the safety switch.

These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout.

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of the electrical circuitry associated with the outlet assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front elevation of the outlet of the present invention mounted in a typical junction box.

FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the outlet and junction box illustrated in FIG. 2, with sections removed.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation of the electrical outlet and junction box illustrated in FIG. 3 but with a plug fully inserted therein.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the electrical plug associated with the present invention.

Referring now, more particularly, to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the circuitry associated with the present invention is generally indicated by the numeral and includes a conventional switch mechanism 12 including normally opened contacts, not illustrated, serially connected to a control relay l4 and a secondary winding 16 associated with a control transformer 18. The control transformer is provided with a primary winding 20 which is connected to a primary source of voltage, such as l 10 VAC indicated at 22. An outlet socket 24 is provided in a conventional mounting 26 and includes a pair of electrical outlet terminals connected to the voltage source through normally opened contacts CR] and CR2, respectively, of the control relay 14.

With reference to FIGS. 2-4, it will be observed that switch mechanism 12 is provided with an actuator 26 in the form of a pivotally mounted lever arm, a portion of which extends through an opening 29 into an elongated passageway 30 associated with the outlet socket. The switch mechanism is such that the actuators pivotal axis is located below and transverse of passageway 30, depression of the actuator being effective to close the normally opened contacts of the switch mechanism to effect energization of control relay 14. This operation, in turn, causes closure of the control relay contacts CR1 and CR2, thereby connecting conductive outlet terminals 32 of the outlet socket to the primary voltage source. Preferably, the outlet socket is comprised of an insulated housing 34 which substantially surrounds outlet terminals 32 and is provided with a pair of spaced openings or slots 36 adjacent the terminals to receive conductive electrical prongs 38 associated with a plug 39, as illustrated in FIG. 4.

As explained above, the electrical outlet terminals 32 remain isolated from the primary voltage source until closure of switch mechanism 12 has been effected by depression of the associated lever arm 28. This operation is achieved by way of an elongated actuation prong 40 associated with plug 39. The actuation prong is of a configuration similar to the cross section of passageway 30 such that it is easily inserted therein upon insertion of the electrical prongs 38 into slots 36 for contact with terminals 32. Switch actuator 28 is located remotely from the opening of passageway 30, such that it is not engaged by the actuation prong until the plug is fully inserted into position, as illustrated in FIG. 4. Thus, the electrical terminals 32 remain isolated from the primary voltage source until the plug has effected closure of the switch mechanism 12. This prevents accidental shock by contact of ones fingers with the electrical terminals of the socket member or the electrical prongs associated with the plug member. The possibilities of shock are further reduced by providing a flange or lip 42 which extends around the electrical outlet and overlaps a peripheral edge portion 44 of the plug member.

Referring to FIG. 5, the construction of the plug member associated with the present invention may be seen in more detail. Preferably, this construction is similar to that of conventional electrical plugs with ground prongs. However, the actuation prong 40 associated with plug member 39 is not connected to a ground wire or circuit as normally done. If desired, actuation prong 40 may be made of non-conductive materials, such that it may be readily distinguishable from a conductive ground terminal, or conventional grounded plug constructions may be utilized so long as the ground prong is insulated from the electrical wiring. As such, standard commercially available plugs may be utilized with the electrical outlet assembly of the present invention. This permits convenient installation and use of the outlet assembly of the present invention in place of conventional household outlets to increase safety by providing isolation of the outlet terminals. Of course, it is not intended that the present invention be limited to the exact configuration or mounting of the outlet socket and associated switch mechanism illustrated in the drawings, minor changes in such falling within the scope of the present invention.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

What is claimed as new is as follows:

1. An electrical socket assembly comprising an insulated housing with first and second prong-receiving slots therein, a pair of electrical terminals disposed in said first and second prong-receiving slots, a third prong-receiving slot in said housing and aligned with a passageway coextensive therewith and adapted to receive an actuation prong on an electrical plug, said passageway being of elongated configuration with said third slot at one end thereof, a switch mounted to said housing adjacent said passageway and including an actuator extending into said passageway remote from said third slot and being movable between opened and closed positions, said elongated passageway including an opening, said switch actuator comprising an elongated lever arm pivotally mounted with respect to said switch for movement about an axis transversely disposed of said-elongated passageway, and an electrical plug including a pair of conductive prongs extending throughsaid first and second slots and in engagement with said pair of electrical terminals and an actuation prong extending into said passageway and in operative wiping engagement with said switch lever arm to maintain it substantially parallel to said passageway when in said closed position.

2. The structure set forth in claim 1 wherein said prongs are substantially parallel to each other, said third prong being of greater length than said first and second prongs.

3. The combination set forth in claim 1 wherein said plug and said housing include oppositely disposed surface areas around said prongs and openings, and a raised lip integral with said housing and closely surrounding said surface areas, said electrical terminals being energized upon full insertion of said plug, such that said surface areas are immediately adjacent each other and shielded by said lip whereby personal contact with said electrical prongs is prevented.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3280278 *Nov 18, 1964Oct 18, 1966Pyle National CoInterlocking plug and receptacle electrical connector
FR1119671A * Title not available
GB830720A * Title not available
NL83234A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3846598 *Nov 2, 1973Nov 5, 1974Mucsi MSafety, electrical grounding outlet with safety switch
US4008403 *Sep 30, 1974Feb 15, 1977Rose Manning ISafety circuit and socket construction
US4093336 *Feb 10, 1977Jun 6, 1978Rose Manning ISafety circuit and socket construction
US4853823 *Mar 21, 1988Aug 1, 1989Amp IncorporatedSafety receptacle
US5256076 *Apr 10, 1991Oct 26, 1993Hamlin Jay TSafety electrical receptacle
US5426552 *Jan 21, 1993Jun 20, 1995Aditan, Inc.Electrical supply safety socket
US5485340 *Feb 19, 1993Jan 16, 1996Aditan, Inc.Electrical supply safety plug
US5513999 *Jun 2, 1994May 7, 1996Molex IncorporatedElectrical connector assembly with a switch
US5542425 *Dec 20, 1994Aug 6, 1996Acuson CorporationUltrasound system
US5967815 *Mar 19, 1998Oct 19, 1999Marc A. SchlessingerVariable orientation switching type electrical receptacle
US6111210 *Jul 30, 1999Aug 29, 2000Allison; John B.Electrical safety outlet
US6454604 *Sep 6, 2000Sep 24, 2002Astec International LimitedTwo-layer enclosure for electrical assemblies
US6455789Feb 2, 2001Sep 24, 2002Smart Products, Inc.Shock-resistant electrical outlet
US6486571Mar 1, 2002Nov 26, 2002Ford Global Technologies, Inc.Power delivery and connection circuit for an automotive vehicle
US7151234 *Apr 10, 2003Dec 19, 2006Richard WolpertOutlet panel for single pin connectors
US7442891 *Mar 12, 2007Oct 28, 2008Chi-Wen ChenElectrical socket with latching mechanism
US20110316352 *Jun 13, 2011Dec 29, 2011Canon Kabushiki KaishaElectric power supply control apparatus and image forming apparatus
EP0071724A1 *Jun 22, 1982Feb 16, 1983Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.Explosion-proof electric apparatus
EP0332475A2 *Mar 13, 1989Sep 13, 1989Black & Decker Inc.Battery charger and battery packs
EP0687039A2 *May 26, 1995Dec 13, 1995Molex IncorporatedElectrical connector assembly with a switch
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/51.9, 439/188
International ClassificationH01R13/703, H01R13/713, H01R13/70
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/713, H01R13/7038
European ClassificationH01R13/703D4