US 3784768 A
A submersible, touch-operated signaler including at least a pair of facially confronting, electrically conductive plates. Strips of resilient, non-conductive material are interposed between the plates to maintain a substantially preset spacing therebetween and yieldably resist movement of the plates toward each other. The strips are disposed in a plurality of spaced rows with vertical fluid-draining passages therebetween. Rigid strips along adjacent margins of the plates secure the edges of the plates against movement away from each other. These rigid strips have openings extending therethrough which align with the vertical passages between the resilient strips to provide free fluid flow into and out of the space between the plates.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 I 111, 3,784,768 [451 Jar ,81, 1974 1 SUBMERSIBLE TOUCH-OPERATED SLQNALQLMT FLUID ,DR INAQEW PASSAGES  Inventor: Theodore R. Hunt, Aloha, Oreg.
 Assignee: Data Time, Inc., Portland, Oreg.
 Filed: Feb. 28, 1972  Appl. No.: 229,782
 US. Cl. 200/52 R, 200/86 R, 272/4,
- 340/323 51 1111. C1. 110111 35/00, A6-3k 3/00 5 Field at Search ..2272/4; 340/273, 323;
ZOO/52R, 85 R, 86 R, 86 A, 159 B; 136/10, 63,100 R, 100 M, 143
 References Cited I UNITED STATES PATENTS I 1,329,180 l/1920 Holland et a]. 136/143 3,261,718 7/1966 Wilkefl 136/143 x 3,678,496 7/1972 Stalp 340/323 3,478,311 11/1969 Czingula 200/52 R X 3,522,398 7/1970 Heimann 200/86 R 3,584,169 6/1971 Leu... 272 4 x 3,230,325 l/1966 Parkinson 200 52 R 3,363,243 1/1968 Morley 340/323 Primary Examiner-Richard c. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-R. T. Stouffer Att0rneyJohn W. Stuart  ABSTRACT I I A submersible, touch-operated signaler including at least a pair of facially confronting, electrically conductive plates. Strips of resilient, non-conductive material are interposed between the plates to maintain a sub stantially'preset spacing therebetween and yieldably resist movement of the plates toward each other. The
stripsare disposed in a plurality of spaced rows with .vertical fluid-draining passages therebetween. Rigid strips along adjacent margins of thevplates secure the' edges of the plates against movement away from each other. These rigid strips have openings extending therethrough-which align with the vertical passages between the resilient strips to provide free fluid flow into and out of the space between the, plates.
6 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures 1 SUBMERSIBLE TOUCH-OPERATED SIGNALER WITH. FLUID DR INAGE BASSAGLS This invention relates to a submersible touchoperated signaler.
Various forms of submersible touch-operated signalers have been produced in the past. These may include signalers placed at the ends of swimming lanes in a pool, which are touched by swimmers to signal the completion of laps. Generally, such signalers include a pair of spaced-apart contact elements which, when pressed into contact with each other, complete an electrical connection to produce a signal. In such devices, it may be desirable to provide resilient, nonconductive spacers between the conductive plates, which spacers must be forcibly compressed to produce contact between the members. Further, it is often desirable to provide some means for maintaining a level of fluid between the contact plates which is substantially equivalent to the level of fluid surrounding the signaler. With the fluid level between the plates substantially equivalent to the level of the fluid surrounding the plates, the effect of fluid pressure and wave action on the outside of the plates is minimized.
A difficulty with previously-designed signalers, has
been that often the spacers used between the plates.
have impeded the flow of fluid into and out of the space between the plates. This can be a problem, especially when it is desired to remove the signaler from a body of fluid. Explaining further such signalers may be rather large and if they do not drain rapidly, they are extremely heavy, unwieldy, and difficult to remove from a body of fluid, such as a swimming pool.
A general object of the invention, therefore, is to provide a novel, submersible touch-operated signaler, including a pair of spaced-apart contact members, which is simply and economically constructed and provides for the rapid flow of fluid into and out of a region between the contact members.
More specifically, an object of the invention is to provide such a signaler having a pair of facially confronting, spaced-apart plates which are yieldably held in spaced-apart relation by a plurality of spacers secured between the plates. The edges ofthe plates are secured against movement away from each other by means extending along the edges of the plates. The spacers may be strips of nonconductive material which are so disposed between the plates that they provide vertically extending passages which substantially align with openings in the edge-securing means, thus to provide for the free flow of fluid into and out of the region between the plates.
These and other objects and advantages will become more fully apparentas the following description is read in conjunction with the drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a submersible touchoperated signaler constructed according to an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged front view of the signaler, with portions broken away;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along the line 33 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken gen erally along the line 4-4 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged segment of the lower front portion of the signaller indicated at 5-5 in FIG. 2; and
FIG. 6 is a view of an upper comer portion of a modifled form of signaler, with portions broken away.
Referring now to the drawings, and first more specifically to FIG. 1, at 10 is indicated generally a submersible touch operated signaler which may be secured to the wall of a swimming pool at the end of a swimming lane, or hung on the lip of the pool. The signaler is such as may be used to produce an electrical signal to a timing device when touched by a swimmer at the end of a lap.
The signaler includes an upright, substantially rigid back plate 12. The back plate has a rectangular front portion 12a and a top edge portion 12b which extends rearwardly, substantially normal to the front portion, as
is best seen in FIG. 4. A rectangular, upright face plate 14, having dimensions which are slightly smaller than the dimensions of front portion 12a of the back plate, is spaced forwardlyfrom the back plate and forms a front face for the signaler. Another, or intermediate, rectangular plate 16, having substantially the same dimensions as face plate 14, is interposed between, and spaced from, both of plates 12 and 14. The opposite ends and bottom edge of plate 16 are coextensive with the opposite ends and bottom edge of plate 14. The top edge 'margin of plate 16 extends above and is curved rearwardly over a portion of back plate 12, as is best seen in FIG. 4.
Back plate 12 is formed of a substantially rigid sheet of conductive, noncorroding material, such as passivated stainless steel. Face plate 14 and intermediate plate 16 also are formed of a conductive, noncorroding material, such as passivated stainless steel, but are of thinner sheet material which may be flexed when lightly touched. As an example of the thicknesses of steel of which may be used; the back plate may be formed of material which is 0.050 inch thick, and the face and intermediate plates may be formed of material which is 0.008 inch thick.
As is best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, plates l4, 16 are held in a normally spaced relation by a plurality of strips of nonconductive, resilient material 20. The strips may be thin strips of urethane foam tape which have adhesive material on both of their platecontacting surfaces. As is best seen in FIG. 2, the strips of tape are all equal in length, and are disposed in a plurality of substantially horizontal, vertically spaced rows. The strips in each row are spaced apart somewhat to form gaps, such as those indicated generally at 24, between confronting ends of strips. The strips are so disposed in the region bounded by the plates that the gaps 24 between their ends are substantially vertically aligned to provide vertical passages for fluid flow between the top and bottom of the signaler.
The tape is sufficiently resilient that a light touch on face plate 14 between strips 20 will deflect the plate into contact with plate 16. Upon release of such touch, the plates return to their spaced-apart relationship.
A similar set of elongated strips of tape 28 are adhesively bonded between back plate 12 and intermediate plate 16. Strips 28, like strips 20, may be formed of a urethane foam tape which has an adhesive material'on both of its plate-contacting surfaces. Strips 28 also are disposed in horizontally extending, vertically spaced rows. Gaps 30 are provided between adjacent strips in a row, and the gaps in each row are substantially aligned with gaps in adjoining rows to provide vertical passages extending from top to bottom in the region between the back and intermediate plates. As is best seen in FIGS. 2 and 4,the vertical positioning of tapes 28 is staggered with relation to the vertical positioning of tapes 20.
Referring now to FIG. 3, this cross-sectional view illustrates the manner in which vertical end margins of the plates and the bottom edges of the plates are secured against movement outwardly and away from each other. A strip of nonconductive tape 34 is secured between the edge margins of plate 16 and back plate 12, a strip of nonconductive tape 36 is secured between the edge margins of plates 14 and 16, and a strip of nonconductive tape 38 is secured to the outer face of plate 14 adjacent its edge margin. A double thickness of such tape, indicated generally at 40, is secured to the back plate contiguous tapes 34, 36.
An elongated substantially rigid, angle member, or securing plate, 44, having angularly disposed legs 44a, 44b, overlies the edge margins of the plate, and the previously-described tapes. Member 44 is clamped over the edge margins of the plates and the tapes by a plurality of rivets 48 which extend through leg 44a and back plate 12. The securing plate thus is operable to secure adjacent edge margins of the face, back and intermediate plates against movement outwardly and away from each other.
Similar securing plates, indicated generally at 50, 52 in FIG. 2, and similar tape combinations along the opposite end margins and lower edge margins of the plates secure the opposite end margins and bottom edge margins of the plates together. Securing plate 52 extending along the lower edge of the signaler has a plurality of drain openings 54 extending therethrough which are substantially vertically aligned with gaps 24, 30 provided between the tape strips which separate the plates in the signaler (see FIG.
Referring now' to FIG. 4, a pair of elongated top touch plates 58, 60 overlie and extend substantially parallel to top portion 12b of back plate 12. The rear edge of plate 58 is separated from top portion 12b of the back plate by a single thickness of nonconductive,
- resilient tape 62, while the forward edge of plate 58 rests slidably atop the upper edge of intermediate plate 16. The rear edge of plate 60 is separated from plate 58 by a double thickness of nonconductive resilient tape 64, while its forward edge is cantilevered over plate 58. Plates 58, 60 are secured against movement upwardly and away from top portion 12b by an elongated securing plate 66, similar to previously described plate 44. Plate 66 is secured to the back plate by rivets, such as that indicated generally at 68. I
A relatively wide strip of neoprene tape 72 extends fully the length of the face plate of the signaler, with one of its longitudinal edge margins overlying and secured to plate 60, and its other longitudinal edge margin secured to the front of face plate 14. As is seen in FIG. 1, tape strip 72 has holes 74 adjacent its opposite ends. These holes provide air inlets to the regions between plates 12, 14, 16 to aid in draining such regions, as will be explained further below.
An angle-support member 80, having legs 80a, 80b is secured to the underside of top portion 12b. Leg 80a of the member parallels the underside of the top portion and leg 80b extends outwardly and downwardly from the rear edge of the top portion. This support member provides means for hanging the signaler on the lip at the edge of a swimming pool. Further, and referring to FIG. 2, bolt holes 82 are provided adjacent the edge margins of the back plate for use if it is desired to secure the signaler to the wall of the pool with bolts.
In operation, back plate 12 and face plate 14 may be electrically connected to a ground connection and intermediate plate 16 may be connected to a source of relatively low voltage (in the neighborhood of 0.6,
volts). The signaler is hung on an end wall of a swimming pool with a major portion of the signaler submerged. Water in the pool flows. into the regions between the plates through holes 54 in securing plate 52 at the bottom of the signaler and is distributed through gaps 24, 30 between the strips of tape. Air displaced by the water escapes through holes 74 in tape strip 72.
A swimmer, on reaching the end of a lap, taps any portion of the face of plate 14 or the top of the signaler in the region of top touch plate 60 to produce a signal which may be transmitted to an automatic timer. Explaining further, a swimmers touch on face plate 14 either deflects the face plate whereby it touches intermediate plate 16 to produce an electrical connection therebetween, or such touch causes intermediate plate 16 to deflect and electrically connect with back plate 12. A touch on top touch plate 60 deflects the same downwardly and against touch plate 58 to produce an electrical connection therebetween.
When it is desired to remove the signaler from the pool, it is lifted from the water, at which time fluid which has infiltrated the regions between the plates flows rapidly therefrom through the aligned fluid passages provided by gaps 24'and 30 between the tapes and through openings-54 in the bottom securing plate. As the water drains from the regions between the plates, air enters through holes 74 in tape strip 72 to promote such draining. This rapid discharge of fluid from the interior of the signaler quickly reduces the weight which must be handled, making it easier to remove from the pool.
In FIG. 6 an upper corner portion of a modified version of the invention is illustrated. In this version a plu- I rality of horizontally spaced, elongated,,vertical strips of non-conductive tape are interposed between back plate 12 and intermediate plate 16. Face plate 14 similarly is spaced from'intermediate plate 16 by a plurality of horizontally spaced, elongated, vertical strips of non-conductive tape 102. The vertical spaces between adjacent strips of tape provide vertical passages for fluid flow from the region bounded by the plate in the signaler.
While a preferred and a modified embodiment of the invention have been described herein, it should be obvious to those skilled in the art that further variations and modifications are possible without departing from the spirit of the invention.
It is claimed and desired to secure by letters patent:
1. A submersible touch-operated signaler adapted for removable mounting on the side of a pool, in operative condition comprising at least a pair of substantially upright, facially confronting planar conducting members having opposing portions which are movable relatively toward and away from each other to make and break a conductive connection therebetween, said members bounding a substantially upright region therebetween,
nonconductive spacer means interposed between said members and distributed in spaced apart relationship over adjacent faces of the members, which.
allows fluid between the members to contact said adjacent faces, said spacer means yieldably resisting relative movement thereof toward each other, said spacer means defining a plurality of spacedpart, substantially vertically extending passages between the members through which fluid between the members may flow, and securing means extending along the edges of said members securing said edges against movement away from one another, said securing means in a region extending along the lower edges of said members having a plurality of openings substan tially vertically aligned with said vertically extending passages which openings freely accommodate fluid flowinto and out of said upright region.
2. The signaler of claim 1, wherein said spacer means comprises a plurality of elongated generally horizontally extending strips distributed in plural vertically spaced rows, with each row containing plural strips, and said passages comprise vertically aligned gaps be-' tween the ends of adjacent strips in the'rows.
3'. The signaler of claim 2, wherein a strip comprises resilient material.
4. The signaler of claim 1, wherein said-spacer means comprises a plurality of elongated, horizontally spaced,
vertically extending strips, and said passages comprise vertically disposed spaces between adjacent strips.
' 5. A submersible touch-operated signaler in operative condition comprising at least a pair of spaced-apart substantially upright, facially confronting, parallel conducting plates which are movable relatively toward and away from each other to make and break a conductive connection therebetween, nonconductive spacer means interposed between the confronting faces of said plates, said spacer means comprising a plurality of elongated strips disposed in a plurality; of elongated, vertically spaced rows which are distributed over said faces and which allow fluid to contact'adjacent faces of the plates, each such row containing a plurality of generally longitudinally aligned strips whose adjacent confronting ends are spaced apart from one another to define gaps in the row, the gaps in said rows defining vertically extending open passages between said plates through which fluid between the plates may flow, and
securing means extending along the edges of the plates securing said edges against movement away from one another, said s ecuringmeans in a region extending along the loweredges of said plates having a plurality of openings substantially vertically said one and said third plate and disposed in vertically spaced rows distributed over their confronting faces,
ings in said securing means.