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Publication numberUS3793500 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 19, 1974
Filing dateJan 3, 1972
Priority dateJan 3, 1972
Publication numberUS 3793500 A, US 3793500A, US-A-3793500, US3793500 A, US3793500A
InventorsGerber R
Original AssigneeGerber R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electric lock and key assembly
US 3793500 A
Abstract
An electric lock and key assembly for energizing a target circuit, such as for controlling automobile ignition or door unlocking, in response to the engagement of the protrusions of a moving key with a plurality of conductive circuit closing means, which latter deliver current to a plurality of certain electronic switching means such as transistors, which latter will not cause said target circuit to be energized unless all of the certain transistors are energized by the proper key.
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[451 Feb. 19, 1974 United States Patent [191 Gerber 1 ELECTRIC LOCK AND KEY ASSEMBLY [76] Inventor:

Prima Examiner-Herman J. l-lohauser Richard w. Gerber Box 88, Webster City, lowasosgs Attorney, Agent, or FzrmZarley, McKee, Thomte &

Voorhees Jan. 3, 1972 [22] Filed:

[57] ABSTRACT An electric lock and key assembly for energizing a tar- [21] Appl. No.: 214,675

200/44, 307/10 AT, 340/64 get circuit, such as for controlling automobile ignition Int. Cl-

or door unlocking in response to the engagement of [58] Field of Search............ 200/42, 44; 307/10 AT;

the protrusions of a moving key with a plurality of conductive circuit closing means, which latter deliver current to a plurality of certain electronic switching means such as transistors, which latter will not cause said target circuit to be energized unless all of the certain transistors are energized by the proper key.

Kramasz, Jr. et

200/42 R 20 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures Luna et PATENTEDFEB 19 m4 3793500 saw 1 (IF 2 FIGI ENGINE OFF LATCHING FIG. 4.

ELECTRIC LOCK AND KEY ASSEMBLY FIELD OF THE INVENTION .lenoid therein, and further relates to locks which have alarm means associated therewith for the purpose of energizing an alarm whenever the lock is being operated in an unauthorized manner.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Although electrical circuitry has been highly advanced since World War I, no way of applying it to locks has been proposed heretofore which makes possible the use of a simple, easily duplicated, standard key as a part of the electrical circuit of a lock and key assembly.

Lock and key assemblies heretofore proposed have used keys requiring protrusions on two sides as in patent issued to J. G. Kramasz et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,415,087, issued Dec. I0, 1968, and titled: Electromechanical Lock, and in the patent issued to George Bell, U.S. Pat. No. 3,644,745, issued Feb. 22, 1972, and titled: Electrical Lock for Ignition Systems.

The Kramasz and Bell keys are special. One could not make use of any of the standard, local key cutting machines to duplicate the Bell key because it is made unique, not by protrusions of varying length, but by conductors imbedded in an insulating base as seems suitable only for at the factory production. The special or coded part of the Kramasz key is not used for electrically foiling a lock-picker and will mechanically help foil a lock-picker only by the expensive addition to the lock of an entire extra prevention assembly of the older, costly, pin-tumbler type. Costs are critical in most lock uses.

The reason the Kramasz et al lock especially benefits from his expensive pin-tumbler picker-foiling means is because his electrical lock system is limited, since his number of possible key variations are limited to the positions of his single-length switch-operating key protrusions without benefit of variation by means of lengthvariation of switch-operating key protrusions as I propose.

The elimination of extra pin-tumber features in an electrical lock is made practical, in my opinion, by my concept of having resilient fingers of the various switches be of varying lengths, as is a new feature in the history of electrical locks to be distinguished comend of a key for the reception of two arcuate membets received in the notches to prevent rotation except when a notch and its arcuate member are aligned.

However, the selective rotation key-notch means of the U.S. Pat. No. 3,348,220 is for a different purpose than I propose, the Lima purpose being to cause an alarm to be actuated only when a key is turned in a wrong direction, a key turning in the other direction providing normal operation. To my knowledge, no notched-key selective rotation device has ever been used in an electrical lock having multiple switches, as distinguished from a pin'tumbler lock having only an alarm switch, as in U.S. Pat. No. 3,348,220.

A costly mechanical switching arrangement has char .acterized some prior art locks, flexible finger" switches are my new concept, believed more economical.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a side elevation of the electrical lock and key assembly of this invention, shown with the key in a vertical plane position of insertion, and with various parts of the housing broken away to show interior parts, some of which are shown in cross section, certain other interior parts being indicated in dotted lines.

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a view of a sample door locking plunger assembly with a door locking and unlocking plunger solenoid system of this invention mounted thereon.

FIG. 4 is a wiring diagram showing how the switch of this invention is related to the starter and ignition coil of an automobile when viewed as an ignition switch.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of this invention taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 1, having front and back contact assembly electrical alarm plates being shown in cross section, a dotted position of the key being shown in engagement with a relocker contact, which latter is shown as connected to the door plunger locking solenoid.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 66 of FIG. 1 and showing a notch system in the outer housing for preventing the key from being rotated except when it is fully inserted.

FIG. 7 is a wiring diagram showing how contacts of the contact assembly of FIG. 1 are connected through pletely from the old pin-tumber locks which have had moving drivers.

When a wrong key switch operating protrusion can fail to work because it is too short, an extra variable is added to an electrical lock making it harder to pick.

A key which operates electrical switches will operate wrongly if it is possible to rotate it toward the switches without the key being fully inserted, i.e., the key protrusions will be opposite the wrong switches, and so a way to prevent key rotation of a key not fully inserted has been needed in electrical locks.

A U.S. Pat. No. 3,348,220, issued to T. J. Lima et al. Oct. 17, 1 957 for: SELECTIVELY SIGNALLING DE- VICE FOR PIN-TUMBLER LOCK, shows two keys, each with a notch a different'distance from the forward transsistors to a target circuit and also how special contacts on -the ,contact assembly are connected through transistors to an alarm circuit.

FIG. 8 is a detail showing a modified contact assembly for use with a non-energized key, in which the key and one contact are shown in dotted lines in position for causing that one contact to engage a mating contact, the open position of the two contacts and the key being shown in full lines, the view being substantially as .it would be seen along the line 5-5 of FIG. 1, if FIG. 1 contained this modified contact assembly of FIG. 8 but the contacts and key being shown in FIG. 8 as though the entire outer housing were rotated approximately 40 counter-clockwise from the position shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the lock and key assembly of FIG. 1, with the top half of the outer housing removed for showing the contact assembly and particularly for illustrating a special conductive device used, only when the lock and key assembly is used as an ignition switch, for engaging a metallic key whenever the key is in the key receiving means to prevent doors from being locked when the key is in the ignition switch. FIG. 9 also show the door locking plunger unlocking solenoid of FIG. 3 and a portion of its plunger.

FIG. A is a wiring diagram showing how front and rear conductive alarm associated plates and also how a door-locking contact of the switch are wired into the circuit of FIG. 7.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1 the electrical lock and key assembly of this invention is there generally shown at 10, and comprises a key having a forward insertion section 22 and a rearward handle section 24.

The key 20 has on the exterior of its insertion section 22 a plurality of raised portions of protrusions 30, which latter extend outward various distances from an axis of rotation 34 of the key and likewise respective distances from a guided surface of the key, which latter surface can be the undersurface 36 of the key. The guided surface or undersurface 36 extends forwardly and rearwardly along the key 20.

A key guide 50 has a slot 52 extending from the forward to the rearward end thereof. The slot 52 is upwardly opening and has vertical parallel side surfaces which can be called guide surfaces 54, which latter are ordinarily in guiding relationship or guiding engagement with the guided surface or undersurface 36 of the key 20 for directing the key lineally upon insertion of the key into the guide 50.

The guide 50 has a bottom portion 56 which interconnects two cylindrical end portions, a forward cylindrical end portion 57, and a rearward cylindrical end portion 58.

An outer housing 70 is provided having forward and rearward end walls 72 and 74 interconnected by a cylindrical central portion 76, which latter is concentric about the axis 34 of rotation of the key. The central portion 76 of the housing is cylindrical not only on its outer side but also on its inner surface 78, which latter receives the cylindrical forward and rearward end portions 57 and 58 of the guide 50 slidably thereagainst so that the guide 50 also rotates about the axis 34.

As best seen in FIG. 5, the key 20, if twisted, can define a movement in a clockwise direction or counterclockwise direction, as seen from the right end of FIG. 1. The clockwise direction is indicated by the arrow 80 in FIG. 5 and the counterclockwise direction by the arrow 82.

As best seen in FIG. 6, once the key is inserted through a keyhole 90 in the forward end 72 of the housing 70, as is made possible by a vertically elongated chamber entrance 92 extending through the end wall 57 of the guide 50, whereby the key and the key guide 50 can both be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise with respect to the housing 70.

Referring to FIG. 6,'the keyhole 90 can be said to have a main portion 94, and there is a small recess 96 in the upper wall of the main keyhole portion 94, the recess 96 having opposed spaced wall portions 97 and 98 closesly and slidably receiving an edge portion 99 of the key 20, the edge portion 99 being the upper edge portion.

As best seen in FIG. 1, the upper edge portion 99 of the key has a notch 100 therein which is disposed opposite the walls 97 and 98 of the recess 96 so that as the key is rotated, the notch will receive the walls 97 and 98 permitting the key to be rotated. But it will be seen that this can only happen when the key is fully inserted into the housing 70 with the exception of its enlarged outer end 24. This is because the notch 100 is opposite the recess surfaces 97 and 98 only when the key is fully inserted.

The purpose of this is to assure that the operator inserts the key fully so that it can be rotated because this full position of insertion must be achieved in order to place the protrusions 30 opposite mating contacts of a contact assembly 130.

The contact assembly has a row of contacts thereon disposed side-by-side and extending in a plane extending forwardly and rearwardly with respect to the outer housing and disposed at an acute angle of about 40 with respect to the vertical, by way of example, and extending inwardly toward a center of the cylindrical surface 78 of the inner side of the outer housing. The contacts 120 are insulated from each other by either air space or insulation, and preferably they are held together by insulation, best seen in FIG. 5 at 140, and which is attached to the outer housing for holding the contact assembly in place with terminals 142 extending completely through the housing from each of the contacts 120, as best seen in FIG. 5. Each of the contacts 120.can be made of flexible material such that its inner end is adapted to flex somewhat as the key 20 engages it and is best seen in FIG. 5 in full lines, although the dotted line position of the inner end of a contact 120 shows the relaxed and normal position of a contact.

A stop is attached to the inner side of the outer housing in a position for engaging an upper surface of the central portion 56 of the rotating guide 50 at a time when the key is rotated clockwise, as seen in FIG. 5, sufficiently for its protrusions to have contacted the mating contacts 120, but preventing further clockwise rotation of the key so as to prevent the contacts 120 from being broken off.

Rotation of the key is impossible except when it is fully inserted and, for that reason, the walls 97,98 of the recess 96 and also the entire annular circular portion of the end wall 72 of the housing 70 can altogether be called the blocking means and blocks rotation of the key when it is less than fully inserted.

Referring to FIG. 2, a rearward biasing spring 200 of a spiral configuration has its outer end anchored to the rearward side of the rearward wall 58 of the guide 50 and has its inner end suitably secured by means at 210 to a boss 216 which protrudes inwardly from the center of the rearward wall 74 of the outer housing 70, the boss 216 also serving to space the guide from the wall 74 to provide room to accommodate the spring 200.

The rearward biasing spring 200 constantly urges the key toward a vertical planar position of original insertion to cause it to return from a position of contacting the contacts 120.

In FIG. 7 is a wiring diagram in which a plurality of switches are shown at 8,, S S S S S and 8,, each of these switches representing the connection made when one of the protrusions 30of the metallic conductive key 20 touches one of the mating contacts 120 of the contact assembly 130.

In FIG. 7 a plurality of electronic switching means are shown and illustrated by transistors T T T T T T and T respectively, each of which has a base or first terminal 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236 and 237, respectively; and each having a collector or second terminal 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246 and 247, respectively; and each having a third or emitter terminal 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256 and 257, respectively.

The transistors T, to T are sequentially arranged T, being the first and T being the last, and the first terminal 231 to 237 respectively of each of the transistors is connected each to a terminal 142 of a different one of the switches S, to S this being accomplished by wires in the sequence 261 to 267, respectively.

The second or collector terminal 241 of the first transistor T is connected to a terminal 269 of a target cireuit 270 to be later described.

The third terminal 251 of the first of the transistors T, is connected by a wire 281 to the second or collector terminal of the second transistor T A wire 282 connects the third or emitter terminal 252 of the second transistor T to the second or collector terminals 243 and 244 of the transistors T and T The third terminal 254 of transistor T, is connected by a wire 286 to the second or collector terminals of the transistors T and T The third or collector terminal 256 of the transistor T is connected by a wire 287 to the second or collector terminal 247 of the transistor T 1 The target circuit 270 has in it a source of electrical power illustrated by an automobile battery 300, which latter has a grounded terminal 302' and has its other terminal connected by a wire 302 to a wire 303, which latter is connected to the terminal 269, which latter can be considered one of the terminals of a target circuit The wire 303 is connected to one of the terminals 310 of a relay 320, which latter has its other terminal grounded at 321. The relay 320 may be for the purpose of permitting current from the wire 303 to reach a solenoid S which latter is connected to the relay at 342 and has its other terminal grounded at 344.

The solenoid S can be an unlatching solenoid for door unlatching and is seen in FIG. 3, the solenoid S appears again in more complete detail showing its core 350 extending outwardly and into a notch 352 of a plunger 360 of a door-locking mechanism generally indicated at 362.

The core 350 is urged continually toward a locking relationship with respect to the plunger 360 by means of a spring assembly 368.

The door-locking plunger 360 is adapted to be automatically locked by means of a locking solenoid 380, which latter has a core 382 suitably attached to the plunger 360 for causing reciprocatory movements thereof. The core 362 of the solenoid 380 urges the plunger 360 upwardly whenever the solenoid 380 is not energized because of the action of a spring assembly 390 associated with the core 382 and solenoid 380. But when the solenoid 380 is energized, the plunger 360 will move downwardly from the dotted line position of its top 394 to the full-line position of its top and as shown in FIG. 3 for causing door locking. The remainder of the door-locking mechanisms associated with the plunger 360 are not shown since they are all common and the plunger 360 will itself be recognized as being of the type which commonly protrudes from the upper side of the door of an automobile or usually pushed downward by the finger of an operator.

In the wiring diagram of FIG. 7, the line indicated at 20 represents the conductive key itself with its inner end touching and making contact with an end contact 400 seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, which latter is resilient and elongated and is attached by a securing means 402 to the rear end wall 74 of the housing.

The end contact 400 is of a size for extending along substantialy a 45 segment of a circle on the axis 34 so as to be in contact with an inner end portion 402 of the key 20 as the key rotates and as later described.

As best seen in FIG. 1, this inner end portion 402 extends through an opening 406 in the cylindrical rearward end portion 58 of the guide 50 so as to permit it to engage the end contact 400.

In FIGS. 1, 2 and 9, a wire 408 can be seen leading from the end contact 400 to the key energizing terminal 410 which is suitably mounted on and extends through the outer housing 70.

In FIG. 7, a wire 420 connects the terminal 269 of the target circuit 270 to a resistor 430, which latter protects the transistors T, to T from excessive current, the resistor 430 being connected to the inner end of the metallic key 20 by means of the end contact 400, but also by means of two elements not shown in FIG. 7, namely, the wire 408 and the key energizing terminal 410, seen in FIGS. 1 and 9.

Referring to FIG. 7, the emitter or third terminals 253 and 255 of the transistors T and T are shown as connected to suitable resistors 502 and 503 respectively.

A wire 510 leads from the resistors 502 and 503 to a terminal of a relay 511 which latter has a terminal 512 connected to the heavy current wire 303 and an output terminal for heavy current at 513 connected to an electrical alarm A grounded at 522. The relay 511 is grounded at 515.

The alarm A can be of any signalling or humanly sensible type such as an audible alarm different from the automobile horn or it can be the automobile horn itself.

In operation, the circuit of FIG. 7 and lock and key assembly 10 of FIG. 1 will begin operation upon insertion of the key 20 through the outer housing at the key-hole while the key is held in the vertical plane in the example shown.

Rotation of the key toward the contact plate 130 will not be possible until the key has been fully inserted because it is only in that position that the notch in the key will be opposite the walls 97 and 98 of the key recess 96. Since full insertion is thus made easy for the operator to recognize, the inner end 402 of the key will then surely be in contact with the end contact 400 for the operation of the circuit of FIG. 7. When the key has its protrusions 30 in engagement with the flexible mating contacts of the contact assembly 130, then because it is the proper key, only the contacts 120 of the switches S,, S S,,, S,,, and S, will be engaged by protrusions of the key and the contacts 120 of the contact assembly which form terminals of the switches S and S, will not be engaged by protrusions of the proper key.

As thus described, all of the transistors which can be called target circuit operating transistors T,, T T,, T, and T, are operated for delivering current from the third or emitter terminal 257 of the transistor T, through a wire 258 to the solenoid terminal 259 of the relay 320 for operating the relay 320 so that it energizes the solenoid S, which latter, as seen in FIG, 3 will then retract its core 350, whereby the spring 390 will cause the door-locking plunger 360 to move upward into unlocked position, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3.

However, the operation of an unauthorized or foreign key, not shown, is different. The foreign key would possibly have protrusions in thewrong places which would then engage those contacts 120 which form parts of the switches S and S of FIG. 7, whereby one or both of the transistors T and T would be energized in accordance with whether one or both of the switches S and S are energized respectively, whereby the transistors T or T or both, would deliver current to the audible alarm 520 which would make a loud noise sounding substantially different than ordinary automobile horns, indicating that a theft has been taking place. It is possible, however, for the alarm 520 to actually be the automobile horn itself, or to be an alarm means of any kind that is sensible in any way.

It is understood that FIG. 7 is only an illustration. Any numbers of transistors may be used, and also, instead of transistors, the electronic switching means used can be switching diodes or relays.

To prevent the locking of the automobile doors when the key has been left in the ignition switch, a special system is used as illustrated in FIG. 9 in which the entire electrical lock and key assembly is being used as an ignition switch in an automobile, whereby the outer housing 70 is mounted in the dashboard of the automobile of which a portion is shown at 550 in FIG. 9, the automobile itself not being shown, with the exception of the numeral 560 indicating the automobile broadly as represented by the dashboard portion 550.

The understanding of FIG. 9 is best accomplished by realizing that FIG. 9 is a composite view, since most of the parts of FIG. 9 are useful as an ignition switch, but FIG. 9 also illustrates the position of a door-locking contact 900 and of a substitute modification doorlocking switch S11, both of which are later described herein and are used only when the switch is used as a door lock and are not used when the switch is used as an ignition lock. Most parts which are peculiar to my new electrical lock when this electrical lock is used as an ignition lock to be found in FIG. 4. But an exception to this is the feature of a later described lock-out prevention switch generally indicated at 601 in FIG. 9.

The purpose of the lock-out prevention switch 601 is to prevent an operator from becoming accidentally locked out of his car by shutting, and locking his door while his keys are at his ignition switch as later described in detail.

The lock-out prevention switch 601 is in electrical association with the door-unlocking solenoid S of FIG. 3, although this association is indirectly through the relay 320 which controls the door locking solenoid S as later described.

Referring to FIG. 9, a system for preventing doors from being accidentallyv locked while the key remains in the ignition is now to be described. For this system, the lock and key assembly 10 in FIG. 9 is to be considered to be an ignition switch mounted in the dashboard of an automobile, the dashboard being indicated at 550 and the automobile being indicated generally at 560 as represented by that portion thereof whic h i s the only part shown, namely, the dashboard portion.

7 times when he wishes to drive the automobile through The key guide 50 and the outer housing together define a key-receiving and housing assembly 600 on which a circuit-closing device generally indicated at 601 is mounted in the position for being engaged by the key 20 at a time when the key 20 is'but slightly inserted into the housing 70 so that it is substantially impossible for the key to be in an ignition switch without engaging the circuit-closing assembly 601. g V

The circuit-closing assembly 601 comprises a keyengaging member 602 which is formed of resilient, springy conductive material having one end suitably mounted on the inner side of the cylindrical end wall 57 of the guide 50. The circuit-closing assembly 601 further comprises a conductive engaged means 603 which is disposed on the side of the outer end of the key-engaging means 602 which faces away from the key, the positions being such that when the key is in a V certain position shown in FIG. 9, it will engage the keyengaging means 602 causing it to flex from a'dotted line position shown in dotted lines at 602 to a full-line position in which latter it contacts the conductive engaged means 603 and itis to be understood that the keyengaging means 602 does not engage the conductive engaged means 603 except at times when the key 20 is inserted whereby it has pressed the key-engaging means 602 into the full-line position shown in FIG. 9.

A wire 604 leads from the key-engaging means 602 to a lead 606 which extends through the housing 70 and which is connected by a wire 610 to the terminal 259 of the relay 320.

A second wire from the circuit-closing assembly 60] leads from the conductive engaged means 603 and can be seen at 612 in two separated parts since it actually extends through that part of the housing 70 which has been broken away in FIG. 9, and so the wire 612 extends to the terminal 269 where it causes the circuitclosing assembly 601 to have the effect of conducting current from the terminal 269 over to the relay terminal 259 for energizing the relays so that it tends to hold the solenoid S energized so that it releases the door plunger and maintains it released until such time as the key has been removed from the ignition switch.

This will tend to prevent a person from being locked outside of his car at a time when his ignition key is in the ignition having attached to it probably his doorunlocking key.

A variation has a switch 620 in a wire 610, the switch 620 being a manual switch somewhere in the dashboard area and known to the driver so that if there are a dangerous area and wants the doors to be locked at the same time, he can simply open the switch 620 making a disconnection along the line 610 to temporarily place this circuit-closing assembly 601 out of action so that the door can remain locked.

An alternate way of setting off the alarm 520 is shown in FIG. 5 in which a conductive alarm associated plate shown at 750 is arranged in disposition closely adjacent to, but not in, the swaths of motion of at least some of the protrusions 30 and in a plane disposed with respect to the outer housing 70 closer to the insertion or vertical position of the key with respect to the swath of motion of the key as it moves toward the contact assembly 130 than is the position of the contacts themselves with respect to the key insertion or vertical position.

The alarm associated plate or front plate 750 has many notches 754 therein of a size for permitting re-- spective protrusions to pass therethrough on their way to the respective contact 120. In another'sense, the alarm associated plate 750 has between its notches 754 a plurality of spaced downwardly extending fingers 756 formed integrally with the conductive plate material of the alarm associate plate 750. Whenever an unauthorized or foreign key is inserted into the lock, there are so many of these fingers 756 which can be engaged by one of the protrusions of the'key which do not match the notches 754 in the front alarm associated plate that an alarm means attached to the plate 750 will very likely be energized. The specific alarm means is not shown in FIG. 5, but can be the alarm A of FIG. 7, as is energized by circuit means now to be described.

A wire 770 is connected to a terminal 772 of the alarm plate 750, which latter extends beyond the outer housing 70. The wire 770 is connected to the wire 510 of FIG. 7 for operating the relay 511 to energize the alarm A. A wiring diagram showing this can be found in FIG. A in which a switch S-9 is shown of which the switch throw is to be considered to be whatever portion of the key 20 which touches the alarm plate 750 and which the other terminal of the switch S-9 is considered to be the plate 750 itself.

Referring to FIG. 5, it will be seen that a back alarm associated plate 800 is mounted on the inner side of the outer housing 70 in a position on the opposite side of the key protrusions 30 from the mating contacts 120. The back alarm associated plate 800 extends generally toward the axis 34 of the switch a greater distance than the front alarm associated plate 750, whereby, if the protrusions of the foreign key disposed in the lock pass beneath the fingers 756 of the front alarm plate 750 and also pass by the contacts 120, then they will touch the back alarm associated plate 800 causing energy to pass through the same to its terminal 804, which latter is connected by a wire 808 to the wire 770 for indirectly operating the alarm A in the same manner as does a key contact with the 'front alarm associated plate 750. A small extension 810 is disposed on the key side of the back alarm associated plate 800 so that the extension 800, which is conductive, and which is conductively attached to the plate 800 will be engaged before key rotation is stopped by the engagement of the central part 56 of the guide with the stop 160 of FIG. 5.

The back alarm associated plate 800 is separated by insulation 814 from the contacts 120 and parts electrically connected thereto.

Referring to FIG. 5, when it is desired to lock a door automatically, the key is turned so that its inner end 22 is disposed in the dotted line position of FIG. 5 and in contact with a locking contact 900 which is attached to the housing 70 and extends inwardly therefrom in a position to be engaged by the key 20 at times when the key has. been turned counterclockwise through an acute angle of perhaps 35.A terminal 902 attached to the locking contact 900 extends through the housing 70 and has a wire 910 attached to it,-which latter can also be seen in FIG. 5A in which a switch S in the wiring diagram of FIG. 5A represents the switching contact made between the key and the locking contact 900. The entire key is not diagrammed in FIG. 5A and the method of showing the switches S9 and S10 as coming directly from. a line extending horizontally at points inbetween the positions S and S is a device used to indicate that it is not the protrusions necessarily which cause operation of the switches S9 and S10, but rather any part of the key can close the switches, and it is preferable that the locking contact 900 and also the back alarm associated plate 800 extend far enough downardly so as to engage a key along its main portion below its protrusions, although this is not necessary if the locking contact 900 is of a great width in a direction along the axis 34, since it .would touch one of the other of the contacts of the proper key anyway.

Switches S9 and S10 depend for their operation upon an energized conductive key 20. But an alternate locking switch is shown at S11 which is intended for use in situations in which the key can be either conductive or non-conductive. The switch S11 has two contacts 920 and 922, both of which are elongated and resilient and extend alongside one another. The contact 920 is disposed closer to the top of the central section 58 and is adapted to be pressed upward in a normal position shown in dotted lines in FIG. 5 into the full-line position thereshown, in which latter the contact 920 engages the contact 922 closing the switch, although the contact 920 is not in engagement with the contact 922 whenever the central section 58 is not in engagement with the contact 920.

Upper ends of the contacts 920 and 922 are suitably insulated from each other by insulation means 923 and terminals attached thereto extend through the outer housing 70, as seen at 924 and 926 respectively.

An understanding about how switch S11 would work can be had by considering FIGS. 5, 5A, and 7 together in which it is understood that a terminal 926 of the switch S11 is connected to the wire 410 which leads from the resistor 430 of FIG. 7 through a wire 401 seen in FIG. 1 and FIG. 7 to the key contacting member 400, whereby no conductivity through the key is used since the switch S11 is for purposes in which the need is to make possible switching when the key is nonconductive.

The other terminal 924 of the switch S11 is connected to the wire 910 just described and the wire 910 can be seen in FIG. 3 as connected to the door-locking control relay 940 which is itself connected to one of the terminals 942 of the door-locking solenoid 380, earlier described, and which latter has its other terminal grounded at 943.

The door-locking control relay 940 has one terminal grounded at 946 and has its remaining terminal connected at 948 to the heavy current wire 303 seen in FIG. 7, whereby at times when theswitch S11 is closed and power from the power source or battery 300 can reach the relay terminal wire 910 through the FIG. 7 wires 303, 420, resistor 430, wire 410, then the energized relay will cause the solenoid 380 to be energized pulling down on its core 382, and thereby pulling down on the plunger 360 and having the same effect as though the plunger 360 was pushed downward by the operators hand.

This same result of locking the door by pulling down on the plunger 360 is likewise accomplished by energy passing through the wire 910 from the locking contact 900.

In FIG. 4 the switch is diagrammatically shown in a view similar to FIG. 5, but simplefied to illustrate its operation as an ignition switch. The door locking switch 811 or door locking contact 900 of FIG. 5 are not needed, although the contact assembly would be made substantially the same and the advantages of having a front and rear alarm associated plate 750 and 804 would remain, although these are not shown in FIG. 4 for convenience of illustration. In FIG. 4 a wire 261 leads from one of the terminals 142 of one of the switches which can be called S of the diagram of FIG. 1 to a multi-transistor assembly 1000, which latter comprises the resistors T to T of FIG. 7 and the details of the wiring thereof are not repeated in FIG. 4 for convenience of illustration, it being understood that the numeral 261 serves to illustrate a sample wire and that other wires from other terminals 412 of the various switches S to S also extend to the muIti-transistor assembly 1000 and in the same manner as do the wires 262 to 267 sequentially of the diagram of FIG. 7. The wire 258 from the multi-transistor assembly 1000 is a low voltage output wire for relay control and can be seen in FIG. 7 and FIG. 4, although in the wiring diagram of FIG. 4 the wire 258 leads to a relay 1002, which latter has another of its terminals connected to a starter 1004, which latter is grounded at 1006, the relay itself is grounded at 1008 and has one ofits terminals connected to the high voltage current wire 303 of FIG. 7 so that high voltage current passes from the relay 1002 through a wire 1010 to the starter 1004.

A low voltage wire 1020 connected to the wire 258 leads to a terminal of a latching relay 1030, which latter is grounded at 1032 and receives heavy current at one of its terminals through the wire 303, heavy current from the latching relay leaving another of its terminals through a wire 1040 extending to a coil 1060 which is grounded at 1062.

As thus described, when the key 20 is inserted in the vertical position, in an alignment with an Off mark 1090, it is then turned clockwise to a start position at which it engages one of the contacts 120 and also any of the other contacts 120 which the proper key would engage, whereby the transistors of the multitransistor assembly 1000 which are the transistors T T T T and T all receive energy from their various contacts 120 so that energy is passed through the wire 258 to the relay 1002 and from there to the starter so that the caf starts with other energy reaching the latching relay 1030 so that the ignition coil 1060 is energized and the car will start.

After the operator has turned the key to the start position, he then releases the key and a spring 1094 mounted on a bracket 2000 fixed to the housing 70 urges against the central section 58 of the guide 50 forcing the central section into a dotted line position shown at 1098 in dotted lines so that the key reaches the dotted position indicated at 2002 at which it no longer contacts the contacts 120.

The key 20 is maintained in the position 2002 because the spring 1094 is prevented-from expanding excessively by a telescoping frame assembly 2030 having interlocking parts 2032 and 2040.

With the key in the position 2002, the automobile can be operated.

When the operator desires to stop his car, he turns the key 20 to the position shown at 2070 which is the engine Off position. In this position, the key touches the contact 2072 connected by a wire 2080 to the latching relay 1030, whereby the latching relay gets a second impulse which releases its latching so that en- 'ergy no longer goes to the ignition coil 1060. However, it is to be understood that unless the key is turned to the position 2070, then from the time the key has first touched the contacts the latching relay will have remained latched energizing the coil 1060.

Referring now to FIGS, an alternate contact plate assembly is there shown and is generally indicated at The contact plate assembly 130' has a similar front alarm associated plate 750 and a similar back alarm associated plate 800, but between them, instead of there being a single contact 130 at each crosssection taken at a right angle to the axis 34, there are two contacts 3000 and 3002 so disposed that when the key 20 strikes a contact 3000, it presses that contact to the contact 3002 and since the contacts 3000 and 3002 form the contacts of the switch S of the diagram of FIG. 7, therefore, the same diagram of FIG. 7 will work, even though the key in the case of FIG. 8 is nonmetallic and non-conductive.

If the switch of the type of FIG. 8 is preferred, even though the key is metallic, then an insulative piece 3010 can be fastened to each contact 3000to insulate it from the key 20, as shown in FIG. 8.

A second telescoping assembly 3040 similar to the one shown at 2040 and containing a spring and mounted on a bracket 3060 fixed to the housing 70 is shown in FIG. 4 in a position for urging the central part 58 of the guide back from the position in which the key is opposite the engine Off station and contact 3072 to a position in which the key is opposite the Off" station 1090 from which the key can be withdrawn. The engine Off station can also be an accessorys position of the car radio and other accessories.

Referring to FIG. 4, a resilient contact 3100 can be seen in a position directly vertically above the axis 34 in a place where it would be contacted by the key only at times when the key is in the vertical plane position of insertion and removal.

A terminal 3102 extending through the housing 70 is connected by a wire 3200 to another terminal of the switch 620, as seen in FIG. 9, whereby at times when the switch 620 closes the contact between the wire 3200 and the wire 610', then the wire 3200 is connected to the relay terminal 259.

Alternatively, the wire 3200 could be directly connected to the wire 259, but in either case, the effect is that when the key touches the key-left contact 3100 while the key also touches the end contact 400, the net effect is to make a direct contact between the relay terminal 259 and the end contact 400 of the wiring diagram of FIG. 7, thus by-passing the transistors of FIG. 7 and causing the relay 320 to operate which then itself causes the terminal 342 of FIGS. 3 and 7 to be energized, this energizing the solenoid S which keeps the door lock plungers 360 unlocked for making it impossible for a man to shut and lock his car door at a time when his ignition key is in the ignition at the insertion andv removal position. This works because the key, when not being manually twisted, is urged to the vertical position by the spring-loaded telescoping frame assemblies 2030 and 3040.

I claim:

I. An electrical lock and key assembly comprising: a key having a forward insertion section and a rearward handle section, said key having on the exterior of its insertion section a guided surface extending forwardly and rearwardly, said insertion section having a plurality of protrusions extending outwardly therefrom, a key guide having a key receiving chamber therein which latter has a chamber entrance at an outer end thereof, said key guide having guide surfaces thereon which latter are in guiding engagement with said guided surface of said key and directing said key lineally upon insertion, an outer housing movably receiving said key guide and permitting said key guide to define movements in each of two substantially opposite directions called forward and rearward directions, a contact assembly having a plurality of contacts insulated from each other, means mounting said contacts on said outer housing, a certain plurality of circuits to be closed and opened and connectable to a target circuit, a plurality of conductive circuit closing means at least partially defined by said contacts and each conductive circuit closing means being cooperative with said plurality of circuits and also cooperating with the swath of motion of a respective one of said protrusions respectively as said key and key guide are moved with respect to said housing in a lock-opening direction from a key insertion position to certain advanced positions of said protrusions and responsive to completion of movement of said key protrusions into said certain advanced positions respectively for closing said circuits, key movement toward said certain advanced positions defining said forward key motion, said key receiving chamber and its entrance being large enough to receive said key therethrough until said key has reached a position for alignment of the swaths of its protrusions with respective ones of said contacts, a target circuit having two terminals, each of said circuit closing means having two terminals, said certain plurality of circuits each comprising an electronic switching'means having three terminals, said electronic switching means being sequentially arranged from a first to a last, each of said electronic switching means having a first terminal connected to one of said terminals of a different one of said circuit closing means respectively, a second terminal of the first of said electronic switching means being connected to a terminal of said target circuit, the third terminal of said first electronic switching means being connected to a second terminal of a second electronic switching means, means connecting the third terminal of said second electronic switching means to the second terminal of a last of said electronic switching means in said sequence, means connecting the third terminal of the last of said electronic switching means to a second terminal of said target circuit whereby said electronic switching means transmit energy from one to another and between the terminals of said target circuit only when those said circuit closing means which are connected to said electronic switching means are closed by action thereon by said key protrusions.

2. The combination of claim 1 further comprising: a key blocking means attached to said pilot housing and blocking forward rotation of said key by engaging said key at times when said key is somewhat less than fully inserted, said key having a notch in the exterior thereof and receiving said key blocking means therethrough during rotation of said key from a starting position of original insertion toward said certain key protrusion advanced positions.

3. The combination of claim 2 in which said key has its portions near said notch engageable with said blocking means for blocking said forward key rotation.

4. The combination of claim 1 further comprising:

said key being electrically conductive, said key guide and said outer housing defining a key receiving and housing assembly, a conductive key engaging means mounted on said key receiving and housing assembly and engaging said key when said key is in said lock whereby said key engaging means can be connected to automobile door latch opening means to prevent locking of door latches when said key is in said swltch and said switch is used as an ignition switch.

5. The combination of claim 1 in further combination with said key being electrically conductive, a conductive alarmassociated means disposed closely adjacent to but not in the swaths of motion of at least some of said protrusions and in a plane disposed with respect to said outer housing closer to the insertion position of said key with respect to said swath of motion than is the position of said contacts with respect to the said key insertion position, a source of power, an electrical alarm means, means electrically connecting said alarm means and said source of power and said key in a circuit with said conductive alarm associated means so that when said conductive alarm associated means is touched by protrusions of a foreign key said alarm is energized.

6. The combination of claim 2 in which said key blocking means will permit removal and insertion of said key only at one position of said key receiving means which latter position is called the starting position of said key guide, rearward biasing means operatively correlatedwith said outer housing and said key guide for biasing said key guide from said advanced position of said key protrusions toward said starting position.

7. The combination of claim 6 further comprising: said pilot housing having a forward wall serving as said blocking means and having a keyhole therethrough for receiving said key, said keyhole having a main portion and the wall of said main keyhole portion having a recess therein which latter has opposed spaced wall surfaces closely and slidably receiving an edge portion of said key, said opposed wall surfaces of said recess being sufficiently close as to prevent said key from rotating by engaging said larger portion of said key when said larger portion of said key is opposite said opposed recess wall surfaces, and said keyhole and key being shaped so that when said larger portion of said key is in said recess said key is not movable in said forward direction with respect to the wall of said keyhole whereby said protrusions cannot reach said advanced positions.

8. The combination of claim 1 in combination with an internal combustion engine system, said system having a starter and an ignition coil, said electrical lock and key assembly serving as an ignition switch, in further combination with a latching relay, means connecting said target circuit to said latching relay and to said starter, said housing having an ignition On terminal thereon contacted by said key when said key is in a position defining an ignition position disposed between said key insertion position and said advanced positions of said protrusions.

9. The combination of claim 1 in which said target circuit comprises an alarm means.

10. The combination of claim 1 in which said target circuit comprises a relay and in which a solenoid means is associated with and energized through said relay.

11. The combination of claim 10 in which a door locking means is provided and is operably controlled by said solenoid.

12. The combination of claim 1 further comprising: said key being substantially formed of conductive material, a conductive element attached to said housing and receiving assembly. and engaging said key only when said key is fully inserted, a source of power connected to said conductive element so that power is transmittable through said key protrusions to said contacts.

13. The combination of claim 1 in which other conductive circuit closing means are provided called foreign key conductive circuit closing means which latter are arranged on said outer housing in positions for being engaged by protrusions absent on said key but present on one or more foreign keys not matching said lock and key assembly, an electrical humanly sensible alarm means, a source of power, and means correlated with said alarm means and said source of power and said foreign. key circuit closing means for energizing said alarm means from said source of power whenever one of said foreign keycircuit closing means are energized.

14. The combination of claim 1 in which said circuit closing means each have a flexible means engageable by a protrusion and each yielding when sufficiently pressed by a protrusion, each flexible means being mounted on said pilot housing.

15. The combination of claim 14 in which a stop means is provided on said outer housing engaging said stop means when said key has been turned forwardly sufficiently for said protrusions to cause closing of said conductive circuit closing means respectively, and said stop means preventing further forward movement of said key guide to prevent said key from damaging said circuit closing means.

16. The combination of claim 8 in which each of said electronic switching means is a transistor of which latter the base terminal defines said first terminal, the collector terminal defines said second terminal, and the emitter defines said third terminal.

17. The combination of claim 1 in combination with a target circuit having in it an energizable device, a source of power separably correlated with said conductive circuit closing means and with said key and with said target circuit and energizing said energizable device whenever said certain plurality of circuits are closed.

18. The combination of claim 17 in which said energizable device is a relay circuit, a solenoid controlled by the switch of said relay, a door latch attached to the core of said solenoid, and an automaticall opened door lock plunger means operably latched in locked position by said latch at times but when said solenoid is energized said latch releasing said door lock plunger so that it can open.

19. The combination of claim 1 further comprising: said outer'housing and said key guide forming a housing and receiving assembly, said key guide having means thereon engaging said key at times when said key is fully inserted and holding said key from movement laterally of itself away from a desirable position with respect to said key guide such that the swaths of said protrusions are in alignment with respect to respective mating contacts of said contact assembly.

20. The combination of claim 1 further comprising: a vehicle having a door, a door locking plunger operably correlated with said door, a special circuit containing a source of power, a door locking plunger latching solenoid in latching and unlatching relationship with said plunger and disposed in said special circuit, said key receiving means and said outer housing defining a key receiving and housing assembly, a special conductive circuit closing means operably correlated with said special circuit and in position for engagement by said key when said key is in said lock, such engagement by said key causing said special conductive circuit closing means to close said special circuit causing said latching solenoid to unlatch said plunger.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3348220 *Dec 21, 1964Oct 17, 1967Luna Norman CharlesSelectively signalling device for pin-tumbler lock
US3415087 *Oct 22, 1965Dec 10, 1968Erich KaufmannElectromechanical lock
US3644745 *Nov 10, 1969Feb 22, 1972George BellElectrical lock for ignition systems
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3873891 *Oct 1, 1973Mar 25, 1975Gerber Richard WElectric lock and key assembly
US3941955 *Dec 17, 1974Mar 2, 1976Gerber Electronic Lock, Inc.Electric lock and key assembly
US3959613 *Feb 10, 1975May 25, 1976Gerber Electronic Lock, Inc.Electric lock
US4281226 *Nov 5, 1979Jul 28, 1981Firma Leopold KostalIgnition switch
US5743380 *Dec 2, 1996Apr 28, 1998Augat Inc.Rotary door lock switch assembly and method for manufacturing same
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/43.8, 307/10.3
International ClassificationH01H27/06, H01H27/00, E05B49/00
Cooperative ClassificationE05B49/004, H01H27/06
European ClassificationE05B49/00M2, H01H27/06