US 3760133 A
An appliance feeding and supporting adaptor for continuous outlet current supply installations, has retractable contacts controlled by a rotary, manual operating member arranged transversely to the mouth of the track channel of the installation, so that the adaptor housing can fit substantially wholly within the channel. Mechanical interlocks prevent the contacts being moved to conductor engaging positions unless the adaptor housing is properly inserted in the track channel and an isolating switch is in its neutral (open contact) condition.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Howard Sept. 18, 1973 ELECTRICAL LIGHTING INSTALLATIONS lnventor:
John Howard, Bovingdon, England Rotatlex (Great Britain) Limited, London, England Filed: Mar. 27, 1972 Appl. No.: 238,194
Foreign Application Priority Data 7 Mar. 29, 1971 Great Britain 8106/71 US. Cl. 200/50 B, 339/21 R Int. Cl. I10lr 9/00, HOlh 9/20 Field 01 Search 339/ 14R, 20-24;
zoo/s1 R, 51.07, 50 B References Cited I UNITED'STATES PATENTS 3,686,614 8/1972 Hyrylainen 339/21 R 3,523,166 8/1970 Daly 200/50 B 3,503,032 3/1970 Routh et a1. 339/14 3,639,709 2/1972 Hart et al 200/51 3,613,045 10/1971 Routh et a1. 339/21 R Primary ExaminerMarvin A. Champion Assistant ExaminerRobert A. Hafer Att0rneyArthur B. Colvin 57] ABSTRACT nel and an isolating switch is in its neutral (open contact) condition.
5 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENIEUSEH a ma saw on":
1 ELECTRICAL LIGHTING INSTALLATIONS This invention relates to electrical lighting supply installations of the type, hereinafter referred to as the continuous outlet type comprising an elongated track member having a channel in which are mounted insulated conductors accessible from within the channel for electrical engagement by co-operating adaptor at substantially any described point along the length of the track member.
The adaptors (which feed and support individual lighting appliances) at present in use comprise housings of substantial size which extend downwardly from the open mouth of the channel of the track and have projecting portions extending into the channel for effecting mechanical and electricalengagement. These adaptors are designed to support the weight of the appliances which they supply, and must accordingly be of sturdy construction with the result that they form a prominent part of the appearance of an installation. This is a drawback in the majority of installations, in which aneat appearance is highly desirable, for example in prestige office or shop lighting installations.
The present invention provides an adaptor for use in combination with an electric lighting supply installation of the continuous outlet type, the adaptor being arranged to support an appliance and to connect it electrically to the conductors of a track member and comprising an insulated housing dimensioned to fit substantially wholly within the track member through the open mouth of the channel, mechanical fixing means for se-' curing the housing in position on a track member, a plurality fo movable contact fingers within the housing and associated terminal means within the housing, and a manually rotatable operating member mounted in the housing for rotation about an axis transverse to a plane containing the mouth of the channel, the member having one operating position in which the contact fingers are caused to project laterally through apertures in the sidewalls of the housing for engagement withthe track conductors, and a second position in which the contact fingers are retracted through the said apertures.
One form of adaptor and installation in accordance with .the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying draw ings in which:
FIG. 1 is a part sectional elevation of a track member and side view of an adaptor;
FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the track member and adaptor of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal section of the adaptor on a larger scale;
FIG. 4 is a section on the line IV-IV of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a' side view of the adaptor, with one half of the housing removed for clarity; and
FIGS. 6 and 7 are sections on the line VI-VI and VII-VII in FIG. '5. g
The track member shown in FIGS. 1,2,5,6 and 7 comprises a rigid, channel shaped extrusion 10 preferably of aluminium or other metal.
Adjacent the open. mouth of the channel, its side channel. The base of the channel is also formed with a recess housing an earth continuity strip 17. The back of the channel is provided with inwardly directed flanges I8 defining a fixing channel for facilitating mechanical connections to other track members or, for example, to ceiling pendant fittings; Holes. at intervals through the base wall 16 permitdirect mounting on a ceiling, wall or other surface by means of screws (not shown). l
Frictionally engaged between the aligned edges 14 and ribs 15 are respective strips 20 of electricaly insulating material, conveniently a synthetic plastics material. Each has a number of conductors partially embedded therein, for example, and as illustrated, two line conductors L1 and L2 or L3 and L4, and a neutral return conductor NX and NY. The conductors are accessible only in planes parallel to the base wall 16, through continuous slots in the inner sides of the strips 20.
The adaptor shown in the drawings, comprises an insulated housing dimensioned to fit substantially wholly withinthe track channel, and has a rotary operating member carrying contact fingers, arranged in three spaced planes parallel with the mouth of the channel, for engagement with the supply and neutral return conductorsof the track. In one operative position of the rotary operating members, the contact fingers extend outwardly through apertures in, the side walls of the housing to engage the conductors in the track channel, and a pair of integral locking lugs engage in the recess 13 to secure the adaptor mechanically. This first operative position is referred to below as the engaged position, and is shown in FIGS. 1,2,5 and 6. In the second operative position, referredto as the disengaged-position, and illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the contact fingers and locking lugs are retracted to posiitons within the side walls of the housing, to permit insertion and withdrawal of the adaptor relative to the track channel.
The. adaptor is reversible, in that it can be turned through 180 parallel to the plane of the track channel mouth so that the contact fingers engage within the set of conductors LLNY and L2 or the set L3,NX andL4. Selection of onductor L1 or L2, or of L3 or L4 is effected by a switch assembly incorporated in the adaptor.
More specifically, the adaptor shown in the drawings comprises a generally rectangular casing 40 consisting of two separately formed side portions of electrical insulating material (preferably plastics mouldings) secured together by a pair of fixing screws 41. An operating member 42 is mounted in the casing for rotation about an axis which may conveniently be referred to as vertical. The axis extends perpendicular to a plane containing the mouth of the track channel, as defined by the flanges 12, and will be vertical when the track is rotate with it about the vertical axis. In the disengaged position of the operating member 42 shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the contact fingers extend longitudinally of the housing. In this position, the fingers are capable of limited movement longitudinally, and are completely retracted into the housing. However, rotation of the operating member 42 through to the engaged position shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, causes corresponding angular movement of the contact finger which accordingly project outwardly through individual adjacent apertures in the side walls of the housing 40. The same movement brings the inner ends of the fingers into engagement with spring contact blades 83,84 and SX which extend generally longitudinally of the housing, adjacent the respective side walls thereof, to urge the respective fingers C3,C4 and CX outwardly. Outward movement of the fingers is limited by engagement between enlarged heads at the inner ends of the fingers and adjacent portions of the operating member 42.
The spring contact blade SX is electrically and mechanically connected to a terminal block TX.
A second terminal block T4 is connected by a conductive strip 43 to a fuse-holder clip 44 the cooperating clip 45 being conductively connected to the centre terminal 46 of a three position toggle switch having two fixed contacts 47 and 48 connected respectively to the spring contact blades S3 and S4. The movable contact 49 of the switch is a two armed member having a centre neutral position, clear of both fixed contacts and two operative positions for engaging the respective fixed contacts. The centreneutral position is seen in FIG. 3 and in FIG. the movable contact engages the fixed contact .47 associated with contact blade S3 and contact finger C3. Thus, only one of the fingers C3 and C4 can be converted to terminal block T4, whilst terminal TX is associated only with contact finger CX.
Rotation of the operating member 42 is facilitated by the provision, at its lower (or outer) end by a generally radial handle 50 the radial portion 57 of which is cranked downwardly to allow it to clear the protruding operating member 52 of the toggle switch assembly, but only when the switch is in the neutral condition (See FIG. 3). In either of its operative positions (See FIG. 5) the switch operating member 52 is disposed in the arcuate path of handle 50, thereby preventing its movement between its two extreme operating positions. Thus, the handle cannot be moved to cause the contact fingers to be retracted or extended, unless the switch is in the neutral position.
v A second safety interlock prevents the operating member 42 being turned to the position shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, unless the adaptor is fully inserted into the track channel. The operating member has a pair of opposed, radial lugs 54, which are arranged for engagement in the locking recess 13 of the'track (FIG. 6). The underside of one lug is formedv withan arcuate recess 55, for co-operation with a pin-like projection 56 carried on a spring loaded locking member 57. This locking member, urged upwardly by a spring 58, projects at each end through the adjacent side wall of housing 40, the projecting ends having upstanding pips 59 which, upon insertion of the adaptor into the track channel,
tive of which way round the adaptor is inserted in the channel.
Structural support for a'lighting or other fitting is, provided by a rigid L-shaped bracket 6 located in one comer of the housing. The bracket is electrically connected to earth blade 60 by an earth strap 62 and is apertured to receive a cable entry gland 63 which projects downwardly thorugh a registering opening in the lower wall of the housing. An appliance lead is taken into the housing through the gland and conected to terminals TX and T4.
The above described adaptor has, in addition to its neat appearance when engaged in a track, the technical advantages that it cannot be incorrectly engaged in the track, e.g., with the upper contact C4 engaging neutral return conductor NX or NY, and the danger of electrical arcing between the contact finger and the contact blades is eliminated by the interlock between the handle 50 and the switch operating member 52. The arrangement of the spring blades and contact fingers also provide a desirable degree of dimensional tolerance, since the blades press the contact fingers resiliently into engagement with the track conductors. The fact that the adaptor is not handed for polority, means that any one of the four power supplies (corresponding to the four current supply conductor) is available for powering an appliance.
1. An adaptor for use in combination with an electric lighting supply installation of the continuous outlet type, the adaptor being arranged to support an appliance and to connect it electrically to the conductors of a track member and comprising an insulated housing dimensioned to fit substantially wholly within the track member through the open mouth of the channel, said housing having a plurality of apertures in its side wall, mechanical fixing means for securing the housing in position on a track member, a manually rotatable operating member mounted in the housing for rotation about an axis transverse to a plane containing the mouth of the channel, said operating member having a plurality of radial slots, a plurality of movable contact fingers each movably mounted in an associated radial slot in engage the lower surfaces of flanges 12, to depress the fully and correctly inserted into the track channel.
The adaptor is provided with an earth contact spring blade for co-operation with earth continuity strip 17. This blade is of bifurcated form over most of its free length so that it can engage the offset strip 17, irrespecsaid operating member and capable of radial movement through the associated slot, terminal means within the housing associated respectively with each of said contact fingers, spring contact means extending generally longitudinally of said operating member, each contact means being respectively connected with a terminal inside said housing associated respectively with said contact finger, said spring contact means respectively engaging one end of the associated contact finger to urge the same outwardly of the housing to project laterally through said apertures in the side wall of the housing in one operating position of the operating member for engagement with the track conductors, said contact fingers in a second operating position of said operating member being retracted through said apertures and the ends of each contact finger are moved clear of the associated spring contacts.
2. An adaptor according to claim 1, wherein said mechanical fixing means comprises radially extending locking lugs rigid with said operating member and engageable in respective recesses in opposite sides of the track channel.
3. An adaptor according to claim 1, further comprising latching means for obstructing movement of the operating member from its second position to its first position, siad latching means being mounted on said housing in such a position that said means is engaged and rendered inoperative by the track member only when said housing is fully inserted therein, whereby to prevent incorrect connection of said contact fingers with the track conductors.
4. An adaptor according to claim 3, wherein said latching means comprises a spring loaded locking member resiliently biassed into locking engagement with the operating member to prevent rotation thereof between its first and second operative positions, said locking member being mounted within the housing but having a portion thereof projecting from said housing for engagement by the track member upon insertion of said housing into the track'channel.
5. An adaptor according to claim 1 in which said operating member has an elongated handle extending generally radially from its outer end, outside said housing, said adaptor comprising a switch assembly for connecting and disconnecting the terminal means and contact fingers, respectively, said switch assembly having switch contacts and an actuating member extending outwardly through said housing at the outer face thereof in the path of arcuate travel of said handle between the first and second positions of the operating member, said actuating member having an operating position in which it obstructs movement of said operating member into or away from its first position, and an inoperative position in which said switch contacts are open and in which said switch actuating member permits movement of said operating member from one position to the other.
* l I 4 I! Patent No.
Inventorlifii) (SEAL) Attest:
Attesting Officer CERTKFEQATE 0F QQ It is certified that error appears and that said Letters Patent are hereby In the printed patent,
claim change "operating member" to Signed and sealed this 12th MCCOY M. GIBSON JR.
mime STATES PATENT @FMCE REQTWN Dated September 18, 1973 John Howard in the above-identified patent corrected as shown below:
col. 4, claim 1, line 20 of the housing day of November 1974.
C. MARSHALL DANN Commissioner of Patents FORM PO-IOSO (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 r: us. GOVERNMENT rnmnm; OFFICE: was o-ass-au.
UNi'rEn STATES PATENT orMcE CERTKMQATE 0F CQRREQMON Patent No. 3,7 0,133 Dated September 18, 1973 Inventorifi) J Ohn HOWE) I'd It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
In the printed patent col 4, claim 1, line 20 of the claim change "operating member" to nous ing Signed and sealed this 12th day of November 1974.
McCOY M. GIBSON JR 0. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents FORM PO-105O (IO-69] USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 1* us sovsnuuzn'r PRINTING OFFICE: lacs 0-366-334.