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Publication numberUS3784766 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 8, 1974
Filing dateFeb 9, 1973
Priority dateFeb 9, 1973
Publication numberUS 3784766 A, US 3784766A, US-A-3784766, US3784766 A, US3784766A
InventorsJohnson N, Smith E
Original AssigneeUs Navy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Positive lock toggle guard
US 3784766 A
Abstract
A toggle switch has a uniquely configured bail spring-biased in-place which allows one-handed operation while positively preventing the accidental actuation of the switch. Separate, oppositely directed motions by an operator to remove the bail and to displace the toggle lever ensure against the accidental actuation of the switch. By its simplicity of design the toggle lock guard is capable of being mass produced at minimal cost to provide a markedly high degree of reliability.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

O United States Patent 1191 1111 3,784,766 Johnson et al. Jan. 8, 1974 POSITIVE LOCK TOGGLE GUARD 3,214,530 10/1965 Tharp et al 200/42 T 2,192,060 2/1940 Wise 200/42 T [75] Inventors- E332; i g g i z 3,678,228 7 1972 Adamson 200 42 T 9 s Calif Primary Examine'r-Herman J. Hohauser 73 Assignee: The United States f America as Attorney-Richard Sciascia, Ervin Johnston and represented by the Secretary of the Th9maKQ h 1 N W h' t D.C. w

as mg 1 57 ABSTRACT [22 Filed: Feb. 9, 1973 I A toggle switch has a uniquely configured ba1l spring- [21] PP 3301939 biased in-place' which allows one-handed operation while positively preventing the accidental actuation of 52 us. Cl .Q 200/42 T the switch- Separate, oppositely directed motions by 51 im. c1. l-l0lh 27/00 an Operator to remove the bail and to displace the [58] Field of Search 70/203; 200/ 12 T lever ensure against the accidental actuation of the 1 switch. By its simplicity of design the toggle lock- [56] References Cited guard is capable of being mass produced at minimal UNITED STATES PATENTS cost to provide a markedly high degree of reliability. 2,523,943 9/1950 Choppa ZOO/42 T 4 Claims, Drawing Figures lll l4 O ls PAIENIEIJJAN 8:914

SHEET 1 OF 2 FIGI FIG.3

I 1 POSITIVE LOCK TOGGLE GUARD STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Mechanisms for holding a switch in one position or for preventing its accidental actuation are many and varied in design. Locking devices for toggle switches usually have assumed the shape of pivoted panels having a plurality of holes for receiving toggle levers. While these arrangements generally guard against the untimely actuation of the toggle switches, their bulk and cost of fabrication have discouraged their use in a number of applications. For example, in submersibles where space is often at a premium and electrical actuators are found in abundance, a satisfactory safeguard must be included which does not overly occupy the narrow confines. In particularly compact submersibles there simply isnt enough space to accommodate the conventional bulky toggle lever guard panels and, consequently, the hazard of having exposed switches must be tolerated. There is a continuing need for a positive lock toggle guard which, by its compact and uncomplicated design, lends itself to widespread use and which adequately safeguards against the hazard of an untimely actuation of an on-board circuit.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An improved toggle lock guard for a switch having an externally reaching toggle lever includes a base plate having an aperture for receiving the toggle lever. A mounting member carried on the base plate has a pair of aligned bores for journaling an elongate portion of a wire-like bail. 'A helical biasing spring is wrapped about the elongate portion and holds alock portion of the wire-like bail against the toggle lever. By the orientation and configuration of the toggle lock guard a onehanded distinct disengagement motion of the bail from the toggle lever must occur before the toggle lever is moved in a direction angularly opposite the disengagement motion to actuate the switch. Because of the sequence of separate and oppositely directed motions, accidental actuation of the toggle switch is prevented.

It is a prime objectof the invention to provide an improved toggle lock guard.

A further object is to provide a toggle lock guard which allows one-handed disengagement and actuation of a switch.

Another object of the invention is to provide a toggle lock guard requiring separate and distinct disengagement from and actuation of a toggle switch.

It is another object of the invention to provide an inexpensive toggle lock guard employing a wire-like bail.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a toggle lock guard requiring a rotary disengaging motion oppositely directed with respect to the direction of switch actuation.

These and other objects of the invention will become more readily apparent from the ensuing description when taken with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front view showing the bail in-place on the toggle switch.

FIG. 2 is a side view showing the toggle lever in the normal off position with the index finger in contact with the toggle lever.

FIG. 3 is a side view showing the bail disengaged and the top of the index finger in contact with the toggle lever.

FIG. 4 is a side view showing the toggle lever being partially rotated toward the on position.

FIG. 5 is a side view showing the toggle lever rotated to the on" position with the bail not yet released to rest on the switch.

FIG. 6 is a side view showing the toggle lever switched to the on position and the bail released to rest in-place on the switch.

FIG. 7 is a side view showing the bail pulled away from the switch and the toggle lever being rotated to the off position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, there is shown a typical toggle switch 10 lending itself to modification by inclusion of the invention to eliminate the hazard of being accidently actuated along with its resultant consequences. One switch so modified is a switch manufactured under the trade designation RE-CIRK-IT by the Heinemann Electric Company of Trenton, New Jersey. This switch has its moveable contacts encased in a plastic-like material having four tapped holes 10a,

10b, 10c, and 10d molded on its front side and an externally reaching dual-element toggle lever 11 including an interconnecting toggle roller 11a. When the toggle lever is in the down-position, the switch is of that is, the circuit between the output terminals 12a and 12b is open. Rotating the toggle lever in a counterclockwise direction, as shown in the drawings, the switch is on and a conductive path across the output terminals 12a and 12b is created.

Switches of this type usually are mounted in banks with each switch connected to have a separate function in a discrete circuit. Withso many switches in close proximity there is an ever present danger that one or more switches could become accidently actuated. The present invention provides a means for allowing only intentional actuation by an operator using only one hand. A flat metal base plate 13 reaches across the front of the toggle switch and is provided with a pair of apertures 13a and 13b through which the dual-element toggle lever protrudes. Another pair of holes 13c and 13d are formed in a position to align with either of a pair of tapped holes 10a and 10b or'a pair 10c and 10d. In the drawings only hole 13c is shown, it being understood that hole 13d lies within the same lateral projection at a point to align with tapped hole 10d, also not shown.

A U-shaped mounting member 14 includes a pair of upright sections 14a and 14b each provided with a bore 15 aligned with one another. The U-shaped mounting member is formed with a pair of openings through which threaded bolts 16 are inserted to secure the mounting member and base plate 13 onto the switch via a mechanical cooperation between a pair of threaded holes a and 10b or 10c and 10d and the threaded bolts.

.lournaled through aligned bores is a wire-like bail 17 or, more specifically, an elongate portion 18, which functions to define an axis about which the bail rotates to engage the toggle lever. Orthogonally extending from one end of elongate portion 18, a first leg portion 19 is fashioned to assume a J-shaped configuration to place a bearing section 19a adjacent the outer face of base plate 13, the purpose of which will be elaborated on below.

The wire-like bail further includes a lock portion 20 which extends across the lateral reaches of base plate 13 in a parallel relationship with respect to elongate portion 18. It should be noted that the lock portion engages the toggle lever at a point approximately twothirds up its length. This gives an operator an unrestricted access to the lock portion by a single finger to facilitate the bail's disengagement from the dualelement toggle lever. A second .l-shaped leg portion 21 extends from lock portion 20 back toward elongate portion 18. Thesecond leg portion also has a bearing section 21a where the bail rests on the surface of base plate 13. The end of the second leg portion is formed in a loop 21b which is tightly wrapped about the free end of elongate portion 18 and gives wire-like bail 17 the structural integrity of an integral unit.

A biasing spring 22 coils about and extends substantially the entire length of elongate portion 18. An arm 23 of the biasing spring is crimped onto first leg portion 19 and, by being so joined, urges lock portion 20 of wire-like bail 17 to engage and restrict birotational motion of the dual element toggle lever.

A toggle lock guard, designed as described above, possesses a high degree of reliability for preventing the accidental actuation of the switch, as well as assuring one-handed operation. This one-handed operation consists of a distinct sequence of steps which must be separately executed and does thereby prevent all but an intentional actuation of the switch.

Looking to FIG. 2 of the drawings an operator places the index finger on lock portion 20 of the wire-like bail and, noting FIG. 3, rotates the bail from its locking engagement on the dual element toggle lever. Because inter-connecting toggle roller 11a is journaled onto the dual element toggle lever and rotates freely, the withdrawal of lock portion 20 requires only a force sufficient to overcome the force exerted by biasing spring 22. After the wire-like bail has been disengaged, toggle roller 11a allows the operators index finger to roll under the dual element toggle lever to a point 24 and to permit actuation of the switch, see FIG. 3. As the operator continues to insert index finger under the toggle lever to a point 25; see FIG. 4, the toggle lever starts to be rotated to the on" position. At this point may it be emphasized that the direction of rotation of the toggle lever to the on position is opposite in direction and later in time than the displacement of the bail.

Further counterclockwise rotation by the index finger at point 26 displaces the dual element toggle lever to the on" position completing the circuit across terminals 12a and 12b, see FIG. 5. The bail begins to automatically rotate back to its normal position resting on the face of a base plate 13. After the finger is withdrawn, the bail securely is held against the surface of base plate 13 on the oppositely located bearing sections 19a and 21a of the leg portions, see FIG. 6.

FIG. 7 depicts the thumb rotating bail 17 in a clockwise direction away from the surface of base plate 13 to free the toggle lever 11 allowing it to be rotated back to the off position. Next, the index finger rotates toggle in a clockwise direction back to the on position. Here again, a distinct motion for releasing the bail and for displacing the toggle lever ensures against the accidental reswitching the switch to the off" position.

While the drawings and specification have given a typical actuation sequence in terms of using the index finger and thumb, any combination of digits is optionally used. The index finger-thumb combination was used to demonstrate the ease of disengaging the bail and actuating the switch using only one hand.

The toggle lock guard defined above is capable of being mounted to engage the toggle lever in the on" position merely by rotating the base plate and its supported elements and inserting threaded bolts 16 in threaded holes 10a and 10b.

Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light'of the above teachings, and, it is therefore understood that within the scope of the disclosed inventive concept, the invention may be practiced otherwise than specifically described.

What is claimed is: 1. On a switch having an externally reaching dual element toggle lever displaced in a first direction to an on position and in an opposite direction to an off position, an improved toggle lock guard allowing onehanded operation is provided therefor comprising:

a base plate covering the front of said switch having two apertures for receiving said dual element toggle lever therethrough; I

a U-shaped mounting member having a pair of aligned bores in the upright sections and at least one hole in the base section disposed on said base plate; v

a threaded bolt reaching through said hole being screwed into a correspondingly tapped cavity in the switch for securing said base plate and said U- shaped mounting member on said switch in one of two possible positions;

a helical biasing spring for exerting a continuous biasing force; and

a wire-like bail including an elongate portion extending through and journaled in said aligned bores, a pair of parallel leg portions connected to opposite ends of said elongate portion and extending therefrom in a J-shaped configuration and a lock portion integrally extending to interconnect said leg portions being parallel to the elongate portion and in contact with said dual element toggle lever, said wire-like bail is disposed and adapted to be angularly rotated oppositely to the displacement of said toggle lever in said first direction first in time and separate in motion with respect to the displacement of said toggle lever to the on position and further disposed and adapted to be angularly rotated in the same direction as the displacement of said toggle lever in said opposite direction first in time and separate in motion with respect to the displacement of said toggle lever to the off position to P event the accidental actuation of said switch.

2. An improved toggle lock guard according to claim 1 (amended) in which said helical biasing spring is wrapped about said elongate portion and coupled to one of the .l-shaped leg portions via an arm of said biasing spring to hold both the curved parts thereof against said base plate and said lock portion on said toggle lever.

3. An improved toggle lock guard according to claim 2 in which said base plate is provided with two apertures for receiving a said dual element toggle lever therethrough and said lock portion is suitably 'dimensioned to extend parallel to a toggle connector element integral unit.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2192060 *Aug 14, 1936Feb 27, 1940Westinghouse Electric & Mfg CoLocking device
US2523943 *Apr 14, 1949Sep 26, 1950Choppa John TSafety electrical switch attachment
US3214530 *Oct 19, 1962Oct 26, 1965Square D CoPadlock-receiving locking attachment for pivotable operating handles of electrical control devices
US3678228 *Oct 23, 1970Jul 18, 1972Square D CoHandle locking attachment for electrical control devices
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4006324 *Oct 2, 1975Feb 1, 1977The Dow Chemical CompanyElectrical distribution panel lockout means for switch actuators
US4920244 *Aug 10, 1988Apr 24, 1990Gundlach Joseph JVacuum cleaner switch retainer
US5270503 *Apr 14, 1993Dec 14, 1993Frye James AElectric circuit lock-out safety device
US5593020 *Mar 7, 1995Jan 14, 1997Alexander; Richard L.Apparatus for locking a circuit breaker, and methods for forming and using same
US6469264Jan 29, 2001Oct 22, 2002Brady Worldwide, Inc.Switch lever lock out assembly
US6727441Sep 4, 2002Apr 27, 2004Brady Worldwide, Inc.Switch lever lock out assembly
US6844512Mar 18, 2002Jan 18, 2005Brady Worldwide, Inc.Circuit breaker lock-out assembly
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/43.16
International ClassificationH01H9/20, H01H9/28
Cooperative ClassificationH01H9/286
European ClassificationH01H9/28D