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Publication numberUS3767917 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 23, 1973
Filing dateJul 15, 1971
Priority dateJul 23, 1970
Also published asDE2130889A1, DE2130889B2
Publication numberUS 3767917 A, US 3767917A, US-A-3767917, US3767917 A, US3767917A
InventorsKuhn M, Lampart T
Original AssigneeCerberus Ag
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ionizing-type fire alarm sensor
US 3767917 A
A housing structure, made of metal, includes at least three interlocking parts, having interengaging elements which operate in different directions, in space, for example elements 1 and 2 being connectable by rotation in one direction, elements 2 and 3 being connectable by vertical movement and, if desired, rotation in another direction to permit ready disassembly of selected elements for cleaning and maintenance without, however, accidental dislodgment of the elements of the structure in case of fire or exposure to high temperature. The first part forms a socket; the second part includes an electric circuit and one portion of an ionization chamber with a radioactive substance; and the third part forms the other portion of the ionization chamber, containing no radioactive substances and shielding the second part from dust and dirt.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

" 22 Filed:

Unite States atent 1 1 Lampart et al.

[ Oct; 23, 1973 1 IONlZlNG-TYPE FIRE ALARM SENSOR [75] inventors: Thomas Lampart, Mannedorf; Max Kuhn, Stafa, both'of Switzerland [73] Assignee: Cerberus AG., Mannedorf,

Switzerland July 15, 1971 {21 Appl. No.: 162,781

I 30] Foreign Application Priority Data July 23, 1970 Switzerland 11203170 [52] [1.8. Ci. 250/83.6 FT, 250/43.5.D, 250/44, 313/54, 340/237 S dirt.

Primary ExaminerArchie R. Borchelt Attorney-Robert D. Flynn et a1.

[57] ABSTRACT A housing structure, made of metal, includes at least three interlocking parts, having interengaging elements which operate in different directions, in space, for example elements I and 2 being connectable by rotation in one direction, elements 2 and 3 being connectable by vertical movement and, if desired, rotation in another direction to permit ready disassembly of selected elements for cleaning and maintenance without, however, accidental dislodgment of the elements of the structure in case of fire or exposure to high temperature. The first part forms a socket; the second part includes an electric circuit and one portion of an ionization chamber with a radioactive substance; and the third part forms the other portion of the ionization chamber, containing no radioactive substances andshielding the second part from dust and 13 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures 1 IbNIZlNG-TYPE FIRE ALARM SENSOR The'present invention relates to ionizing-type fire alarm sensor, and more particularly to a structure in which at least one radioactive substance is included within the sensor located within an ionization chamber accessible to outside atmosphere; and which further includes an electrical circuit to generate and transmit an electrical'alarm signal.

Ionizing-type fire alarm sensors, for use in fire alarm systems include a measuring-chamber'in which atmosphere is ionized by a radioactive substance localized therein. An ion current will be'obtainablevbetween electrodes located in the ionization chamber. lf smoke, smoke aerosols, or other particles penetrate through openings into the ionization chamber, then the electrical ionization current will change and this change in current can be utilized to provide an'alarm signal, for example to a central fire station. The electrical circuits are as close to the ionization chamber as possible and are in circuit with a resistance element, for example a second reference ionization chamber being completely,

or practically completely closed off against smoke aerosols, smoke or the like. The potential difference between two chambers is then determined by means of a high resistance amplifierv element, for example a field effect transistor (FET). The charge on the electrodes in the ionization chamber can also be determined, from 1 time to time, for example by scanning in order to detertion, dirt, and other interfering'effects' which decrease i the insulation resista'nce. Additionally, particles in the immediate. vicinity of the sensor, such as dust, are also ionized andtransported within the measuring chamber, to be deposited therein. Smoke aerosols are likewise deposited Thus, the fire alarm sensors have 'to be cleaned-frequent ly' and, particularly, the ionization chamberrequires cleaning. Such cleaningand mainte fiance is time-consuming,{frequently difficult and sometimes dangerous.

necessary to carry, out the maintenance and cleaning work.

7 If a fire should start, the increase in temperature can melt plastic particles located within the socket and the ionization sensor. Some constructions have been made in which the entire sensor, or at least parts thereof containing the radioactive source may fall off, thus causing radioactive contamination of the fire location.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an ionization-type fire alarm sensor which can be interchanged rapidly and simply, which can be checked and cleaned by essentially. unskilled personnel without causing any hazards to the personnel or subjecting the p'ersonnelflto be' exposed to radiation, and which is so constructed that the sensoritself cannot be.damaged by accidental contact with its circuit component. Additionally, the construction should be such that radioactive substances cannot be released from the sensor even if plastic particles therein should melt.

SUBJECT MATTER OF THE PRESENT INVENTION Briefly, the ionization sensor comprises a housing structure having at least three interlocked parts which are formed with engaging, independently separately interlock means to enable individualseparation of the parts from each other. One of the parts forms a socket and is adapted to be secured to a support surface,;such as a ceiling.-It has electrical contacts and is adapted for connection to an electrical alarm system. A second'part has. separable contacts engaging with the contacts on the first, ceiling-mounted part and is shaped to form one portion of an ionization chamber within which radioactive substances can be maintained. Electrical circuit components are located on an insulating board of the'second part, for example bybeing placed ona printed circuit A third part is then provided; comprising the other portion of'the' ionization chamberhaving' no radioactive substances, independently separable from the other parts which surrounds at'least 'the sec- 0nd part and is shaped'to form a'dustand atmosphere The sensors are usually constructed as compact,

plug Jn units which can be plugged-into a mounting surdistribution shield for the second part. The interengaging interlocking means ares'o arranged that, between a first pair of adjacent parts, separation can be effected by motion in a predetermined direction, for example clockwise rotation; and the interlocking means between one of the'parts of the first pair and the remaining part is so arranged as to be separable upon motion in a different direction, for example longitudinally,

which may, if desired, be coupled with a rotary motion consuming: additionally, the sensors have to be recuit, for example the field effect transistor at the input,

as well, in the form ofa bayonet latch.

The construction infaccordance with this concept permits separation of the third part, which forms, together with a'portion of the second part, the ionization chamber to be separately removed and-cleaned: the construction is preferably so selected thatall surfaces subject to contamination by dustor dirt'are separated upon removal of the third part, the ionizing element itself being shielded from such contamination. The sec 0nd part, together with the radioactive substance and the electrical circuit which is sensitive to touch can remain in the socket. If desired, the second and third 'part can'be removed together, or the second part can beremoved separately after removal of the third. Screw connections, for example by set screws can be provided to prevent separation of the second part containing the ionizable substance so that this portion can be removed only by trained personnel under appropriate safety regulations. v

Separable, independent interlocking interconnections are arrangements in which one or both parts have spring elements which are pressed from their rest or normal position and which then can snap into holes, notches, grooves or recesses in order to retain the parts together, if and only if they are in the proper locking position. The spring elements, at least in part, are accessible from the outside, with orwithout any separate tools, so that they can be pressed from their rest position in order to release the interconnecting parts. Snap springs, spring rings, bayonet connections or other arrangements with similar function are suitable.

in a preferred form, the interlocking connections are so made that they can be reached from ground level directly, or by means of a simple separating tool which can be raised to the ceiling. If the springy elements are movable in different directions, then, by selecting the direction of movement, only the third part or the second and third part together can be, selectively, removed.

The invention will be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view of the three portions of the ionization sensing device, in exploded, removed form; and

FIG. 2 is a generally perspective view of a similar ionization-type sensor, partly cut open, with the second and third part connected and the second part removed from the first; and illustrating further a removal tool, in schematic form, aligned in engagement with the sensor.

The socket, which forms one part of the separable ionization sensor is a cylindrical housing 1 having a base 2 which can be secured to a support surface, for example a ceiling. This housing, preferably, is of metal. The housing is formed at various portions of its circumference with slits 3; the material punched out from the slits is bent inwardly as an inwardly projecting angle 4. A part 5, for example of plastic or ceramic, is secured to the bottom shell 2 of the housing. Part 5 carries at its bottom side a plurality of contact springs 6 which are readily movable in vertical direction. The contact springs 6 are connected with electric connection wires 7 which interconnect the various sensors among each other, and with a fire alarm central station. The contact springs 6 additionally form the connection between these lines and matching suitably arranged contact surfaces 8 on the second part of the sensor. An outer shell 9 which may consist, for example, of plastic can be used to adapt the sensor to various types of attachments, for example to fire alarm outlet boxes or the like.

The second portion of the fire alarm sensor includes a ring 10 of insulating material, for example plastic, and having suitably shaped grooves and projections. A plate 11 of insulating material is secured to ring 10. The upper part of plate 11 has a printed circuit placed thereon. The circumference of plate 11 is formed with various slits 12 through which the inwardly extending angles 4 can pass. By relative rotation of the second part with respect to the first, the angle 4 will slide over camming element 13, formed, for example, as a projecting punchmark, and lock in position by means of pressure of spring 6 on the insulating plate 11. The extent of rotation is limited by the extent of slits 14 in the plastic ring 10. The lower side of the insulating plate 11 has a metallic ring 15 secured thereto which is formed at various points of its circumference with pinching or friction holding springs 16 to secure the third part of the sensor thereto. On those points where the insulating plate 11 engages with inwardly extending angles 4, metallic ring 15 is formed into projections 17 which extend to the upper side of insulating plate 11. If, for example, due to excessive heating, for example due to a fire, insulating plate 11 deforms, metallic ring 15 will still secure the sensing element together by catching on, and bearing against the angles 4 of the socket part.

The upper side of insulating plate 11 has a metallic hood 18 secured thereto, defining therein a reference ionization chamber. Hood 18 has one or more cam projections 19 which fit into slits 20 of part 5 and provide a guide for the proper fitting together of the first and second portion of the sensor. A doubled electrode 21 is located centrally of the plastic ring 10. Double electrode 21 is formed with double-sided end faces, like a double mushroom, and radioactive substances 22, 23 are located at the flat faces of the double-sided electrode 21. The various components of the electrical circuit 24 are located in the space between ring 10 and insulating plate 11. The connecting wires are connected to appropriate points of the printed circuit on the upper side of the insulating plate 11. The embodiment illustrated utilizes two ionization chambers, connected to a field effect transistor (FET) having highly insulated input. in order to improve isolation between the adjacent connecting wires, the field effect transistor is encapsulated within a suitable insulating mass, and located in the space between plate 10 and plate 11. A control lamp 26, visible from the outside, indicates the state of sensing of the ionization sensor.

The third portion of the sensor comprises a metallic shroud 27, having openings 28, 29 for surrounding atmosphere. The upper edge 30 of shroud 2 7 is bent over outwardly, so that, upon attaching together the second and the third portion, it will catch over holding springs 16. Removal of this interengagement is possible only when springs 16 are pressed outwardly, so that shroud 27 can be removed.

A labyrinth 31, made of highly insulating plastic material, is located in the interior of shroud 27. it includes a series of annular projections 32 to increase the surface leakage path, that is the creep distance between the housing of the shroud and the inner electrode. Opening 33 is formed in the interior of the labyrinth 31 to permit the mushroom end of electrode 21 to pass therethrough. Labyrinth 31 is securely pressed to annular projections 34 formed on the plastic ring 10, when the sensor is assembled together. Thus, the surface leakage path between the center electrode 21 and the shroud 27, forming the counter electrode, is increased by at least four times the minimum distance. Additionally, the surface of plastic ring 10 is sealed by the presence of labyrinth 31, so that smoke and dust will precipitate in those portions of the measuring chamber which form part of the third element of the fire alarm sensor. The sensor can thus be effectively cleaned by mere removal of the third part without removing the sensitive portions of the electrical circuit or the radioactive substances therein. This completely prevents damage of the fire alarm sensor during maintenance, and any danger to personnel during cleaning or repair.

The second portion may, additionally, be secured against undesired and unauthorized removal by means of a set screw 35 located in ring which presses the insulating plate ii to angle 4 to such an extent that angle 4 can no longer pass over cam 13. The third portion, that is the third element of the sensor, can be removed without difficulty, whereas the second portion can be removed only by additional loosening of the safety set screw.

The upper side of the labyrinth 31 is formed with an annular projection 6 which, when the parts are assembled together, fits into a corresponding groove 37 of ring lit). This presses pin 38 upwardly, thus opening a short circuit switch. Field effect transistor 25 is thus protected from damage by accidental contact of the electrodes when shroud 27 is removed (see Swiss Pat. No. 460,594 for a full disclosure, which is hereby incorporated by reference). it necessary, shroud 27 may have a second shroud 39 applied'thereover (see Swiss Pat. No. 475,614, hereby incorporated by reference) which has atmospheric inlet openings 40 offset with respect to openings 28, 29 of shroud 27. This substantially decreases the sensitivity of the ionization fire alarm sensor to air currents.

FIG. 2 additionally shows a suitable removal tool, adapted for the removal of the components of the sensor of the present invention. It essentially comprises a cylindrical shell 41 which fits exactly in the space between shroud 27 and ring 10. Placing shell 41 in this space compresses springs 16, by pressing them radially 30 outwardly,-thus removing the third element of the sensor from the second and permitting its longitudinal removal. If, additionally, the element is rotated, then angles 4 will slip over the cams 13 (provided set screw is loosened, or absent) to enter slits 12, and the second part of the sensor can be removed from socket l together with shroud 27 This shell can readily be secured to a long pole so that portions of the sensor can be replaced or cleaned from the floor surface without requiring that personnel carry and mount ladders. This substantially decreases the period of time per sensor for maintenance. Simple and fast cleaning of the sensing element is thus possible without danger that potentially hazardous, or delicate parts of the sensor might be touched. Maintenance c'an'thus be entrusted to less than highly skilled personnel.

The arrangement in accordance with the present invention is so made that, if the sensor is subjected to a temperature high enough that all plastic parts therein will melt, constructional integrity of the sensor itself is not impaired. All three portions of the sensor will not separate and particularly the radioactive substance will not fall out of the sensor but remain therein. This effectively inhibits radioactive contamination of the location of a tire.

Various equivalent constructions can be used, and the present invention is not limited to the specific arrangement of parts described in detail. The essential feature is to form the sensor of single parts so that one element, that is one component includes all the sensitive and potentially hazardous parts, another one provides a shield or shroud protecting the sensitive and potentially hazardous parts against dust, dirt or other contamination and the third secures the assembly to a support, such as a ceiling; whereas all parts are so constructed that they are independently separable and connected by independently operable interlocking arrangements. The specific type and arrangement of the interlocks themselves can be selected depending on the specific form and shape of the sensing elements.

The third part ,of the sensor which is particularly subject to dirt and dust is so constructed that all sensitive elements of the second part, and particularly the insulation path; between the electrodes of the ionization chamber are so covered, when the third part is attached to the second, thatcontamination by deposit of dust, or the like, is avoided.

We claim:

1. Ionizing-type fire alarm sensor comprising a housing structure having at least three interlocked parts formed with engaging, self-locking, independently separate interlock means to hold the three parts together and permit individual separation of the parts from each other;

a first part forminga socket adapted to be secured to a support and being formed with electrical contacts and adapted for connection to a fire alarm system;

a second part comprising separable contacts engaging the contacts of said first part, means defining one position of an ionization chamber, radioactive ionizing substances being located on the second part and comprising all radioactive substances of the sensor, part of the ionizing substance being located in said chamber, and an electrical circuit means responsive to changes in electrical characteristics of the atmosphere in the chamber;

and a third part separable from said second part independent of separation or nonseparation of the second and first parts, said third part comprising the other non-radioactive portion of the ionization chamber and including shield elements fitting against the second part to form a dust and dirt shield for the second part when the second and third part are connected together.

2. Sensor according to claim 1, wherein the interlock means comprises spring elements secured to at least one engaging part and having an overcenter position to positively seat and position the engaging parts.

3. Sensor according to claim 1, wherein the interlock means between the first pair of adjacent parts are separable. upon motion in a predetermined direction;

and the interlock means formed between one of the parts of the first pair and the remaining part are separable upon motion in a different direction.

4. Sensor according to claim 3, including separable removal means individually engageable with at least one of said parts, said one part being formed with means engageable with said removal means;

said removal means being adapted for transferring removal motion inboth rotary and longitudinal direction.

5. Sensor according to claim 1, wherein the interlock means between a first pair of adjacent parts are separable upon rotary motion and the interlock means formed between one of the parts of the first pair and the remaining parts are separable upon longitudinal motion.

6. Sensor according to claim 5, wherein the interlock means interconnecting the first pair comprises a bayonet-type interlock requiring both rotary and longitudinal movement, the longitudinal movement being spring-loaded.

7. Sensor according to claim 1, wherein the interlock means comprises metallic interengaging elements remaining engaged even upon melting of non-metallic elements of the sensor.

8. Sensor according to claim 1, wherein the second part comprises an electrode terminal connected to the electrical circuit means;

and wherein the third part comprises a metallic housing and the shield elements include an insulating labyrinth separating said electrode terminal from said metallic housing, said labyrinth being shaped to extend the surface creep path between the electrode terminal and the housing by at least four times the minimum distance therebetween.

9. Sensor according to claim 1, wherein the second part includes an insulating plate;

and the electrical circuit means comprises a printed circuit on said insulating plate.


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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3900795 *Aug 15, 1973Aug 19, 1975Honeywell IncInstallation and test tool for ionization smoke detector
US3908957 *Apr 4, 1974Sep 30, 1975Cerberus AgIonization-type fire sensor
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U.S. Classification250/384, 250/388, 313/54, 340/629, 250/385.1
International ClassificationG08B17/10, G01N27/64, G08B17/113
Cooperative ClassificationG08B17/113
European ClassificationG08B17/113