|Publication number||US3761920 A|
|Publication date||Sep 25, 1973|
|Filing date||Sep 20, 1971|
|Priority date||Sep 20, 1971|
|Publication number||US 3761920 A, US 3761920A, US-A-3761920, US3761920 A, US3761920A|
|Inventors||D Bucciferro, N Houbolt|
|Original Assignee||Jemco Engineering Co|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (7), Referenced by (6), Classifications (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [1 1 Houbolt et a1.
[ INDICATOR LIGHT ASSEMBLY HAVING LATCIIING LENS  Inventors: Neal Houbolt; Dominic Bucciferro,
both of Joliet, 111.
 Assignee: I Jemco Engineering Co., Minooka, ML
 Filed: Sept. 20, 1971  Appl. No.: 181,668
[52 us. Cl. 340/381 R, 3 40/366 R  Int. Cl. G08b 5/00  Field of Search 340/381 R  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,246,320 4/1966 Houbolt i 340/381 3,201,786 8/1965 Anderson 340/381 R [4 1 Sept. 25, 1973 3,217,319 11/1965 Ruegcr 340/381 R 3,276,014 9/1966 Ruegcr 3,286,255 11/1966 Sanchez 3,434,137 3/1969 Rueger 3,489,891 l/l970 Altissimo 340/381 R X Primary ExaminerI-Iarold L. Pitts AttorneyMolinare, Allegretti, Newitt & Witcoff  ABSTRACT A panel mounted indicator light assembly including a housing and a lens wherein latching means are formed integrally with the lens. The latching means latches the lens and the housing together and also latches the lens and the housing to the panel upon which the assembly is to be mounted.
15 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures i2 50 56 p 2 56 Q, 40
INDICATOR LIGHT ASSEMBLY HAVING LATCHING LENS BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION herein, an indicator light assembly is shown in which resilient latch members are formed on the terminal carrying portion of the assembly and latch the housing, to which the lens has already been attached, into place in an aperture upon the desired panel or appliance. Various other mounted assemblies have included elaborate and relatively expensive spring clamps for accomplishing the latching function. For example, in one prior indicator lamp assembly, a metal bezel, which surrounds the lens and holds the lens to the assembly housing, has a spring clip formed thereon for holding the lens and housing into the panel. This bezel construction is not only relatively expensive, but also, when the entire assembly is mounted, the conductive metal bezel is exposed such that it must be grounded in some applications and is actually completely unsuitable for use in certain applications due to the potentially hazardous conductive nature of the exposed bezel.
The indicator light assembly constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention employs latch means which latches both the lens to the housing and also this united lens and housing to the panel. In the indicator light assembly of the present invention, this latch means is preferably formed integrally with the lens of the assembly and the entire assembly may be positioned and latched, in a one step operation, into the panel or to the desired appliance to which it is to be mounted. Moreover, the indicator light assembly incorporating the principles of the present invention may be readily inserted from the front of the panel, but is tamperproof in that subsequent removal from the front face of the panel is difficult if not impossible, yet removal from the rear of the panel may be accomplished with relative ease. In the indicator light assembly of the present invention, insertion into and latching of either the lens to the housing or the lens and housing to the panel does not necessitate the deformation of either the housing or the panel and the assembly of the present invention may be readily and firmly mounted on panels of widely varying thicknesses. Moreover, in the indicator light assembly incorporating the principles of the present invention, metal bezels or other exposed metal components are not necessary as part of the lens or latching construction in practicing the present invention and thereby exposure of a conductive component on the front face of the panel is avoided eliminating the necessity and expense of grounding and making possible the use of the assembly of the invention in applications where even such grounded components are acceptable. Finally, the indicator light assembly of the invention is both simple and inexpensive, and yet presents an attractive appearance to the eye.
In one principal aspect, the indicator light assembly constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention comprises a housing which is adapted to contain illuminating means, translucent lens means which closes one side of the housing and latch means which is formed integral with the lens means and which latches the lens means and the housing together and also latches the lens means and the housing to the panel.
In another principal aspect, the indicator light assembly constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention comprises a housing which is adapted to contain illuminating means, apertures in opposed end walls of the housing adjacent'one side of the housing, and flange means extending from one side of the housing substantially perpendicular to the end walls of the housing. The housing extends through an aperture in the panel to which the assembly is to be mounted and the flange means is positioned on one side of the panel. Translucent lens means covers the panel side of the housing and opposed resilient latch means extend through the panel aperture from opposed ends of the lens means. The latch means is formed integral with the lens means and includes enlarged portions which extend through the apertures in the housing and which include a latching surface which cooperates with the flange means to latch the lens means into the housing and to receive the panel adjacent the panel aperture between the surface and the flange means to latch the lens means and housing in the panel aperture. The enlarged portion also includes a cam surface which is engageable with the housing and the edges of the panel aperture to bias the opposed latch means away from the latter when the latch means are being inserted in the latter.
These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood through a consideration of the following detailed description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the course of this description, reference will frequently be made to the attached drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a preferred embodiment of housing of the indicator light assembly of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the housing of FIG. 1 to which one preferred embodiment of lens of the present invention has been latched thereto;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of one preferred embodiment of lens constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the lens shown in FIG. 3 with a portion thereof broken away for clarity;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of another preferred embodiment of lens constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectioned side elevation view of the last mentioned embodiment of lens taken substantially along line 66 of FIG. 5; and
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectioned elevation view of the entire assembly of the invention as shown mounted to a panel and incorporating the embodiment of lens shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The indicator light assembly of the present invention comprises a housing, generally 10, which is adapted to receive the illuminating means 12 of the assembly therein, and a transparent or translucent lens 14 covering, but allowing litht to emanate from one side of the housing.
Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 7, the housing is substantially rectangular in shape and includesa pair of side walls 16 and 17, a pair of end walls 18 and 19, and a bottom wall 20 so as to form an enclosed box-like structure open at the top. A flange 22 is formed about the perimeter of the open top side 24 of the housing 10 and extends substantially perpendicularly outward from the side walls 16 and 17 and ends thereof. At the open top 24, a pair of relatively narrow elongate shoulders 26 are formed on the housing and these shoulders extend across the width of the housing and the top opening inside the flange 22. These shoulders 26 provide resting surfaces upon which the elongate side edges of the lens 14 may rest when the lens is latched into the housing as will be described in more detail later.
Suitable conductor openings 28 may be formed in the bottom wall 20 of the housing for the receipt of conductor wires (not shown). In lieu of or in addition to the conductor openings 28, a pair of slots 30 may also be formed in the bottom wall 20 of the housing adjacent the end walls 18 and 19 for the receipt of suitable tab terminals 32 as shown in FIG. 7. Guide ribs 34 are also preferably formed in the housing interior on the side walls 16 and 17 which extend vertically upward from and adjacent to the slots 30 to reenforce the tab terminals 32 where such terminals are employed. Whether conductors or the tab terminals are employed, suitable illuminating means 12, preferably a small neon bulb 36 and resistor 38 are contained with the housing 10 and are selectively connected to the terminals.
The end walls 18 and 19 extend upward from the bottom 20 of the housing to a location short of the flange 22 so as to define opposed apertures 40 through the opposite ends of the housing. Side walls 18 and 19 are also preferably slightly spaced from vertical edges 42 of the side walls 16 and 17 such that these edges define continuous guide surfaces for guiding the housing through the aperture in the panel to which the assembly of the invention is to be mounted, the edges of such apertures frequently being sharp.
Referring now to FIGS. 2, 3 and 7, one preferred form of less 14 constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention is shown. Lens 14 is formed of a transparent or translucent colored or clear plastic material and is preferably molded in one-piece form. The lens includes a planar upper wall 44 through which the light emanates from the housing. The lens also includes a pair of opposed downward extending end walls 45 and 46 and a pair of laterally extending side walls 47 and 48. The under side of upper wall 44 is preferably grooved or otherwise roughened at 50 so as to enhance the diffusion of the light through the lens.
The end walls 45 and 46 are somewhat longer than the corresponding lateral walls 47 and 48 so as to define elongate resilient latching legs 52. Each of the legs 52 includes an enlarged portion 54 each of which extend outward and in opposite directions from the resilient legs. These enlarged portions 54 preferably comprise radial or curved ears 56 which are substantially hollow as shown in FIGS. 3 and 7, the vertical edges 58 of the ears terminating in spaced relationship to the outer surface of the respective legs 52. This hollow construction, as well as the spacing of the ears 56 from the legs 52, allows the enlarged portions 54, i.e. the ears 56, to flex relative to the legs when a force is exerted upon their outer curved camming surfaces 60 as will be explained more fully later. In addition, the upper edge 62 of the ears is somewhat inclined, as shown in FIG. 4, to form an inclined substantially semicircular latching edge or surface which is adapted to latch the housing 10 and lens 14 to the panel P which will also be described in more detail later.
in this embodiment, a rib 64 preferably extends vertically of the legs 52 and on the hollow ear side of the legs. The length of the rib 64 is selected so that its upper end 65 terminates such that the rib end 65 is spaced from the lower downward facing edge 66 of the lens side walls 47 and 48 by a distance indicated as x in FIGS. 2 and 4. This distance x is selected to be such that when the lens 14 is fully inserted into the housing and its side wall edges 66 rest on shoulders 26, the upper end 65 of the rib 64 underlies the underside 68 of the flange 22 as shown in FIG. 7 to firmly secure the lens in the housing. Since the entire lens 14, including the legs 52 and the ears 56 are formed in integral one piece relationship and are formed of a suitable resilient material, such as a resilient plastic, the legs and ears are able to flex relative to each other and to the upper wall 44 of the lens.
in assemblying the present invention, the lens 14 is first inserted into the opening 24 at the top of the housing 10, latching legs 52 first. During insertion, the inclined curved camming surface 60 will first contact the inner side of the flanges 22 at the top opening of the housing and the enlarged portions 54 and ears 56 will be progressively flexed toward the resilient legs 52 and the resilient legs will be flexed inwardly toward each other to allow the enlarged portions 54 to easily pass through the opening into the housing. Once the lens 14 has been inserted to the point that the edges 66 of the lateral walls 47 and 48 rest upon the shoulders 26 of the housing, the resilient enlarged portions will have become aligned with the apertures 40 in the housing and the legs 52 will spring outward to the position shown in FIG. 7 and the enlarged portions 54 will spring from the legs and extend through the apertures in the end walls 18 and 19. Since the upper ends 65 of the ribs 64 are spaced by the distance x from the lower edges 66 of the lateral walls 47 and 48 of the lens and from the shoulders 26 on the housing, the enlarged portion and rib will move into underlying relationship with the underside 68 of the flange 22 and the upper ends 65 of the ribs will be positioned just beneath this flange surface to firmly latch the lens in the housing opening and prevent wobbling or movement of the lens relative to the housing or in a direction out of the housing. If it is desired to separate the lens 14 from the housing 10, the legs 52 need only be pressed inward until the latching surfaces 62 clear the inside of the flange 22 to permit withdrawal of the lens from the housing.
The assembled lens 14 and housing 10 may now be readily inserted into the panel opening A from the front face F of the panel. During insertion, the cam surfaces 60 on the enlarged portion 54 will again contact the edges of the panel opening A and the ears 56 will again flex toward the legs 52 and the legs will flex toward each other, readily facilitating movement of the enlarged portions 54 through the panel opening. Once the underside 68 of the flange 22 comes to rest against the front face F of the panel, as shown in FIG 7, the ears 56 will again snap through the apertures 40 in the end walls 18 and 19 of the housing and the inclined latching edge surface 62 which faces upwardly as shown in FIG. 7, comes into engagement with the rear of the panel to firmly latch the edte of opening A between the underside 68 of the flange 22 and the latching surface edge 62. If it is desired to remove the lens and housing from the panel opening A it will be seen that removal from the front face F of the panel P is virtually impossible without destruction of the assembly. However, removal from the rear of the panel is simple, since the enlarged portions 54 need only be flexed by a sufficient amount to allow edges 62 to clear the panel aperture edges.
Referring to FIG. 7, it will be seen that the latching construction of the present invention may be readily employed with panels of widely varying thicknesses, since the latching surface 62 will simply engage the thicker panel P as shown in dot and dash in FIG. 7, at a point further down its incline.
The embodiment of lens thus far described is particularly well suited for its assemblying and latching functions, since the likelihood of breaking of the legs 52 adjacent their juncture with the lens end walls 45 and 46 during insertion either of the lens into the housing or of the lens and the housing into the panel is substantially reduced by the dual flexure capability which is realized in this embodiment. This dual flexure capability, i.e. flexing of the ears 56 relative to the resilient legs 52 and the legs relative to each other, also reduces the force which must be exerted upon the components to force them together and thereby facilitates their assembly.
Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, another embodiment of lens 14' and latch construction is shown. Since the embodiment includes elements which are similar in numerous respects to those of the previously described embodiment, like reference numerals will be employed to designate like elements.
In this embodiment the lens top wall 44, end walls 45 and 46 and lateral walls 47 and 48 are substantially identical to that previously described. This embodiment differs from the previous embodiment in that the enlarged portion 54' is solid but it is still formed integrally with the lens and at the bottom of resilient leg 52. The enlarged portion 54' includes an upward inclined camming surface 60' which serves the same function as camming surface 60 and a downward sloped latching surface 62, again which has the same function as the latching edge surface 62. The latching surface 62 is preferably striated at 70 to improve the holding qualities thereof and a shoulder 72 is formed adjacent the top of the latch surface 62'. This shoulder is spaced from the lower edge 66 of the lateral side walls 47 and 48 of the lens again by the distance x and again for the reasons previously set forth with respect to top end 65 of rib 64.
The operation of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 will not be described in detail, since it is substantially identical to that set forth for the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, except that since the enlarged portions 54 are solid and not spaced from the resilient latching legs 52', only one degree of flexure occurs during insertion of the lens into the housing or of the lens and housing into the panel aperture, the flexure between the resilient legs 52.
Although the housing 10 andlens 14 of the preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed as being rectangular in cross-section, it will be understood that these components may readily be formed in a number of different cross-sections, e.g. circular, square, etc. In addition, the number of latching legs 52 may vary from the two shown in the preferred embodiment herein.
It will also be understood that the embodiments of the invention which has been described are merely illustrative of a few of the applications of the principles of the invention. Numerous modifications may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is 1. An indicator light assembly adapted to be mounted to a panel or the like, comprising:
a housing adapted to contain illuminating means therein,
translucent lens means closing one side of said housing, and
latch means integral with said lens means, said latch means latching said lens means and said housing together and also latching said lens means and said housing to said panel.
2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said housing includes at least one aperture therein spaced from but adjacent to said one side of said housing, said latch means comprises at least one resilient latching leg extending from said lens means into said housing, and latching surface means on said leg extending outward of said housing through said aperture and engaging said housing and said panel when said housing and lens means are mounted to said panel.
3. The assembly of claim 2 wherein said latching leg includes a second surface inclined with respect to said latching surface means, said second surface engaging said housing when said lens means is being positioned thereon and said panel when said lens means and housing are being mounted thereon, whereby ssid latching surface means is biased out of contact with said housing and said panel respectively when said lens means is being positioned on said housing and said lens means and housing are being mounted on said panel.
4. The assembly of claim 2 wherein said housing includes flange means extending from said one side of said housing, said latching surface means and said flange means receiving said panel therebetween and external to said housing when said housing and lens means are mounted to said panel.
5. The assembly of claim 2 wherein said latching leg includes an enlarged portion thereon which extends into said aperture, said enlarged portion carrying said latching surface means thereon which faces in a direction toward said lens means.
6. The assembly of claim 5 wherein said enlarged portion is hollow and includes a surface thereon which is movable relative to said leg when said latch means is inserted into said housing or said panel.
7. The assembly of claim 5 wherein said enlarged portion includes a curved surface and said curved surface is spaced from and movable relative to said leg when said latch means is inserted into said housing or said panel.
8. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said latch means comprises at least one resilient latching leg extending from adjacent an edge of said lens means and having an enlarged portion thereon, and latching surface means on said enlarged portion facing said lens means, said latching surface engaging said housing and said panel when said housing and lens means are mounted to said paneL 9. The assembly of claim 8 wherein said enlarged portion is hollow and includes a surface thereon which is movable relative to said leg when said latch means is inserted into said housing or said panel.
10. The assembly of claim 8 wherein said enlarged portion includes a curved surface and said curved surface is spaced from and movable relative to said leg when said latch means is inserted into said housing or said panel.
11. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said latching means includes a latching surface, a first portion of said surface latching said lens means to said housing and a second portion of said surface latching said lens means and housing to said panel 12. An indicator light assembly adapted to be mounted in an aperture in a panel or the like, comprising:
a housing having opposed end walls and adapted to contain illuminating means therein,
apertures in each of said opposed end walls adjacent one side of said housing,
flange means extending from said one side of said housing in a direction substantially perpendicular to said opposed end walls and positioned on one side of the panel, said housing extending through said panel aperture, translucent lens means covering said one side of said housing, opposed resilient latch means extending through said panel aperture and into said housing from opposed ends of said lens means, said latch means being formed integral with said lens means, enlarged portions on each of said latch means, said enlarged portions extending through said housing apertures from the interior of said housing, a first latching surface on said enlarged portions facing said flange and cooperating with said flange to latch said lens means into said housing and to receive the panel adjacent the panel aperture between said surface and said flange to latch said lens means and housing into said panel aperture, and cam surface on said enlarged portions engageable with said housing and the edges of said panel aperture to bias said opposed latch means away from the latter when said latch means are being inserted therein.
13. The assembly of claim 12 wherein each of said latch means includes a leg extending from said ends of said lens means, and said enlarged portions are each mounted on and resiliently movable relative to said leg.
14. The assembly of claim 13 wherein said leg is also resilient.
15. The assembly of claim 12 wherein said latching surface comprises a first surface which latches said lens means to said housing and a second surface which latches said lens means and housing to said panel.
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