US 3827313 A
A switching mechanism has an operating arm pivotably movable in selected directions about an intermediate pivot point and the arm drives at least one camming member for operating a second cam in a cam-actuated self-restoring contact module. Mechanisms are provided for momentarily or maintained switching operations for up to nine positions for four contact modules, for mastered control of a fifth contact module in each position, and for a latched central position.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Kiessling MINIATURIZED JOYSTICK AND CAM STRUCTURE WITH PUSH BUTTON SWITCH OPERATING MEANS Rudolf H. Kiessling, Milwaukee, Wis.
Square D Company, Park Ridge, 111. Jan. 24, 1973 Inventor:
US. Cl. 74/471 XY, 74/529, 200/6 A Int. Cl. G05g 9/00, HOlh 25/04 Field of Search... 74/471 XY, 529; 137/6362;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS l/l933 Knowlton 200/6 A 5/1957 Spencer 137/6362 Aug. 6, 1974 2,958,233 11/1960 Johnson 74/471 XY 3,277,248 10/1966 Melvin, Jr... 74/471 XY 3,631,946 1/1972 Grosseau 74/471 XY 3,708,636 1/1973 Sobchak 74/471 XY Primary Examiner-Allan D. Herrmann Attorney, Agent, or FirmRichard T. Guttman; Harold J. Rathbun; William H. Schmeling  ABSTRACT A switching mechanism has an operating arm pivotably movable in selected directions about an intermediate pivot point and the arm drives at least one camming member for operating a second cam in a camactuated self-restoring contact module. Mechanisms are provided for momentary or maintained switching operations for up to nine positions for four contact modules, for mastered control of a fifth contact module in each position, and for a latched central position.
6 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures PATENIEMua slam SHEET 3 UP 5 FIG.3
MINIATURIZED JOYSTICK AND CAM STRUCTURE WITH PUSH BUTTON SWITCH OPERATING MEANS This invention relates to improvements in operating mechanisms for electric switching, and more particularly, to a switch operating mechanism having an operating arm or joystick constrained for pivotal movement from a central position in selected directions along predetermined numbers of paths of movement at selected angles to each other for selective operation of a plurality of self-contained, self-restoring switches of the camactuated type.
In many prior operators of this type, a sliding cam which operates the switches has been exposed, permitting contamination or dirt to adversely affect operation. Even in those operators in which the cam is completely enclosed thereby preventing accumulation of dirt the number of permissible operations has been undesirably limited. Furthermore, enclosed-cam operators typically consume more space than is desirable for numerous applications.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved miniaturized switch operator of the joystick type.
Another object of the invention is to provide such an improved joystick switch operator which is capable of operating four cam-actuated contact modules either singly or in pairs.
A further object of the invention is to provide such a joystick operator which may be employed selectively for momentary, maintained or latched operations which permits mastered control of a fifth switch in each position of the operator.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description of particular embodiments, taken together with the attached drawings thereof, in which:
FIG. 1 is a view in side elevation of an operating mechanism, constructed in accordance with the invention, arranged for momentary operation of one or two of four cam-actuated contact modules (three shown in FIG. 1) and having a latched central position;
FIGS. 2 and 2a are views in cross section, taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1, of rear and forward portions, respectively, of the operating mechanism and contact modules;
FIG. 3 is a view in front elevation, partially broken away, showing portions of a joystick mechanism and an actuating mechanism for momentary switching of contact modules;
FIG. 4 is a view in front elevation, partially broken away, showing portions of the joystick operator and an actuating mechanism for maintained switching of contact modules;
FIGS. 5 and 5a are views in cross section of rear and front portions of the operating mechanism of FIGS. 2 and 2a with the joystick arm removed from its central position and engaging a contact module cam-actuating member;
FIG. 6 is a plan view, taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 2, showing the rear face and interior of the operating mechanism housing with the contact module camactuating member assembly removed;
FIG. 7 is a view in top elevation showing a stem guide for a five-position operating mechanism;
FIG. 8 is a view of inner portions of a contact module cam-actuating member which provides maintained switching operations;
FIG. 8a is a view of outer portions of the actuating member shown in FIG. 8;
FIG. 9 is a view in cross section of an operating mechanism for momentary switching operations, with the operator arm in its central position, and of portions of a contact module;
FIG. 10 is a view in cross section of portions of an operating mechanism for maintained operation after the operator arm has been moved from its central position;
FIG. 11 is a view in cross section of rear and front portions, respectively, of an operating mechanism which provides mastered control of a fifth contact module in each position of the mechanism; and
FIG. 12 is a plan view of a housing for the contact module cam actuating assembly.
Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2 there is shown a switch operator mechanism, generally designated 10, having a hollow metal supporting body member 11 including a generally cylindrical front or upper portion 12 and a rear or lower generally rectangular flange portion 14. Four ribs 15 extend cicumferentially outwardly from rear portions of front portion 12 to the front of flange portion 14. Four contact modules 16 (to be discussed in greater detail below) of the cam-actuated self-restoring type are suitably secured to the rear of flange portion 14 by screws 17. Body member 11 is shown in FIG. 2 as mounted on a panel 18 by inserting body member 11 from the rear or lower side of the panel through an opening therein. Different numbers of rubber-like gaskets 19 may be placed between flange portion 14 and the rear face of panel 18 to compensate for panels of different thickness. Body member 11 is held in position on panel 18 by a ring nut 20 which threads over upper portion 12 of body member 11. A conventional locating ring 22 may be interposed between the front face of panel 18 and the rear of ring nut 20 to secure body member 11 against rotation with respect to panel 18.
Contact modules 16 suitable for use with the present invention are of the type disclosed in Kiessling et al., US. patent application No. l40,l52, filed May 4, 1971, now US. Pat. No. 3,740,501, the structural details of which are hereby incorporated by reference. Each contact module 16 is spring-biased into a normal contacts open or contacts closed position and is arranged to have the position of the contacts therein changed by actuation of a cam 23 (see FIG. 2) which protrudes through an opening in a concave exterior wall 24 of module 16. Advantageously, the forward edge portion of the module base has an arcuate projecting tongue molded thereon and an extended end portion of the module forward end is provided and has a molded or drilled opening therethrough which is arranged to hold a threaded fastener, such as a screw 17.
A plurality of arcuate grooves 26 (FIG. 6) are formed in the rear surface 28 of flange portion 14 and are spaced circumferentially of a central opening 30 therethrough and a plurality of internally threaded openings 32, preferably one more than the number of arcuate grooves 26, are drilled in rear surface 28. In the preferred embodiment, each of four threaded openings 32 is paired with a corresponding arcuate groove 26 to accommodate attachment of a contact module 16 by screws 17.
-It will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the" art that when four contact modules 16 have been secured to rear surface 28 of flange portion 14 at the positions designated I, II, III and IV in FIG. 6, the respective operating earns 23 of the modules are disposed circumferentially within central opening 30 and are normally biased inwardly toward the center of central opening 30.
Accordingly, operator mechanism 10 is provided with an actuating assembly, generally designated 34, having four reciprocable actuating members 36 carrying cam portions 37 adjacent the rear ends thereof. Each of actuating members 36 is arranged (in a manner to be described in greater detail below) to be moved between a forward position in which-the cam portion 37 urges its associated contact module cam 23 radially outwardly and a rear position in which the cam portion 37 is removed from its associated cam 23 which is then returned to its normal position by a spring in the contact module. Operator mechanism 10 is further provided with a joystick or operator arm, generally designated 38, which is arranged to be rotated radially outwardly from a central position to any of a plurality of positions in which a rear stem portion of arm 38 urges either one or two of actuating members 36 toward their rear position.
Referring now to FIGS. 2, 3 and 5 in which an actuating assembly 34 for momentary switching operations is shown in greatest detail, assembly 34 includes a generally tubular housing 40 (which is preferably molded of polycarbonate) having four generally parallel side ribs 42 which have generally concave inner surfaces 44 (FIG. 12) and extend forwardly or upwardly from a generally circular base 46 having a plurality of openings 48 spaced circumferentially of an annular center rib or boss 50 defining a central opening 52 which terminates in a rear recess 54. Slots 55 are defined between ribs 42. Housing 40 has a front opening 56 defined by an angular flange 58 which terminates in a front end 60 having a tab 62 extending radially outwardly therefrom.
Four actuating members 36, preferably molded from polytetrafluoroethylene filled acetal resin, are provided within housing 40 and each actuating member 36, as illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 8a, is provided with a central body portion 64 defining a forward convex top face 66, a rear convex top face 68 stepped upwardly at 70 from top face 66 and a planar right face 72 which terminates at its rear in a step portion 75 which defines the front face of a rearwardly extending leg portion 76 formed to define a cam portion 37 near the rear end 78 thereof. The lower surface of body portion 64 (see FIG. 8a) is defined by a generally convex rib 80 and a rectangular rib 82 spaced slightly from rib 80. The exterior surfaces of ribs 80 and 82 lie substantially on the circumference of a circle which is equidistant from the center of curvature of top face 66. The rear surface 84 of the rib 80 is provided with a rearwardly extending boss 86 which is arranged to cooperate with rear surface 84 to define a seat for one end of a metal compression spring 88, the other end of which may be seated on base 46 between an inner surface 44 of a side rib 42 and the adjacent exterior surface of center rib 50.
Actuating members 36 for momentary switching operations are shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 5, 9 and 11. As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 8, each central body portion 64 has at the front end thereof a flange portion 90 which extends radially outwardly (typically, at 58 from the longitudinal axis 92 of the assembly) and terminates in a pair of longitudinally extending posts 94 and 96. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the upper surface of flange portion 90 is formed to define a first (central) convex camming surface 98 between and to the rear of posts 94 and 96 and, to either side of camming surface 98, a second (left) and third (right) generally convex camming surfaces 100 and 102 which slope from downwardly from the edges 104 and 106 of first camming surface 98 and which terminate at side faces 108 and 110, respectively, which are spaced apart approximately 90 in a plane perpendicular to axis 92. Each of camming surfaces 100 and 102 has a width which is one-half the width of first camming surface 98.
The construction of actuating members 36 (see FIGS. 4, 8 and 10) for maintained switching operations is identical to that of actuating members 36 for momentary switching operations with the exception that the front ends of the first, second and third camming surfaces 98, 100 and 102, respectively, of members 36 for maintained operations are sloped radially outwardly at 45 from the longitudinal axis 92 of the assembly and terminate with land portions 112, 114 and 116, respectively, at their forward ends to provide maintained switching operations and to permit the positioning of posts 94 and 96 to remain unchanged for both the momentary and maintained versions of the actuating members.
In assembly, four compression springs 88 are mounted within housing 40 on the seats defined between surfaces 44 of side ribs 42 and center rib 50 on base 46. Four actuating members 36 (either for maintained or for momentary operations) are individually inserted with their respective bosses 86 seated on a spring 88 and their camming portion 37 facing outwardly in the slot 55 disposed to the right of its associated spring 88. When the four actuating members 36 have been thus loosely aligned on their respective springs 88 within housing 40, a central recess (FIG. 2) is formed between cooperating first convex top faces 66. An annular rib 122 is defined by cooperating second convex top faces 68. A metallic pin 124, which has an increased diameter front head 126 with a convex front surface 128 and an annular groove 130 adjacent the rear end of is provided and is inserted rearwardly through central recess 120 until the rear of front head 126 engages annular rib 122. Next, pin 124 and the four actuating members 36 are pushed rearwardly against the force of springs 88 until groove 130 is ex posed in or to the rear of rear recess 54 of housing 40 and a C-clamp 132, having a diameter which is greater than the diameter of central opening 52 of base 46, is snapped in place in groove 130. The force employed to compress springs 88 may then be released, and pin 124 is urged forwardly until C-clamp 132 becomes seated in recess 54.
Since the side walls 108 and 110 of each actuating member 36 are spaced apart approximately 90 the four actuating members 36 which are assembled within housing 40 present a substantially continuous circular configuration of camming surfaces (and, in the case the maintained type actuating members 36, of landing surfaces 112, 114 and 116) disposed circumferentially about recess 120. The camming surfaces are defined either by central camming surfaces 98 or by cooperating pairs of side camming surfaces 100 and 102 on adjacent actuating members 36. In the case of actuating members 36 for maintained operations, the landing surfaces are defined either by central landing surfaces 112 or by cooperating pairs of side landing surfaces 114 and 116 on adjacent maintained type actuating members 36. When the actuating members 36 are assembled within housing 40 the outer surfaces of posts 94 and 96 of the actuating members lie substantially on a circle which has a diameter which is less than 3/4 inch.
As illustrated in FIG. 2, an upper wall portion 133 of body member 11 has a circular opening 140 which is arranged to receive therethrough (from the rear of body member 11) operator arm 38 and an annular operator arm housing 142 which is dimensioned to fit snugly within opening 140, has forward and rear circumferential grooves 144 and 146, respectively, formed in the outer surface thereof and is provided with a rear circumferential flange 148, which is arranged to engage an annular rib l50disposed within forward portion 12 and which terminates in a rear surface 152. A flexible annular sealing ring 154 is seated within an annular inner groove 156 within forward portion 12 and provides an effective seal between housing 142 and the inner surface of forward portion 12. A metallic snap ring 158, having a greater diameter than that of circular opening 140 is arranged to be snapped in place in rear circumferential groove 146 of housing 142 to prevent housing 142 from being pushed rearwardly in the opening l40'after snap ring 158 is in place. A flexible dustproofing boot 160 has a rear lip portion 162 received in groove 144 between arm housing 142 and stop nut 20 and a front lip portion 164 is received in an external annular groove 166 in operator arm 38.
Referring again to FIGS. 1, 2 and 2a, of the arm 38 has an enlarged metallic front handle portion 168 in which a nylon push button 170 (to be discussed in greater detail below) is mounted, a metallic shank portion 172 which terminates in a threaded male connector 174, and a metallic bearing and stem portion, generally designated 176. Bearing and stem portion 176 has a front threaded female connector 180 which is arranged to receive male connector 174 (and to cooperate with connector 174 to define both external annular groove 166 and an internal annular recess 182 in which an O-ring 184 is seated before the connectors 174 and 180 are threaded together), a rearwardly extending tubular stem portion 185, a generally spherical central bearing portion 186, which is arranged to be rotated within arm housing 142 between a generally concave forward bearing surface 188 defined by the inner surface of arm housing 142, and a generally concave rear bearing surface defined by an annular metallic stem guide 190 supported in an internal annular recess 192 within arm housing 142 by upwardly turned generally annular lip portions 194 having a pair of openings therein defining two internal keyways 198 (see FIG. 6) which are arranged to receive radially extending tabs 200 on stem guide 190. When central bearing portion 186 has been inserted forwardly in arm housing 142 and tabs 200 have been received in keyways 198, stem guide 190 is disposed within recess 192 and lip portions 194 may be bent inwardly and forwardly to'hold stem guide 190 in place in arm housing 142. The forwardly bent lip portions 194 define an annular spring seat 204 within housing 142. Advantageously, central bearing portion 186 is coated with a desired amount of a suitable lubricant to reduce friction within arm housing 142 when operator arm 38 and, therefore, central bearing portion 186 is moved. A C-ring 206 is arranged to be clamped in an annular groove 208 in the surface of rear tubular stem portion 185 to define a rear spring seat 210 and a conical compression spring 212 is seated between seats 204 and 210 and thereby normally urges tubular stem portion 185 toward a central position within body member 11.
Each of arm portions 168, 172, 186 and 185 has a central bore 214 aligned with the bores in the other arm portions and arranged to receive a cylindrical reciprocably metallic operating stem 216 which includes a reduced diameter cylindrical front neck portion 218 and a reduced diameter stepped rear neck portion 220. A metal stern tip member 222 having a generally convex bearing surface 224 and a central opening 226 is arranged to be force fit on rear neck portion 220 and, together with operating stem 216, is normally urged rearwardly into central recess by a compression spring in front handle portion 168 (as will be explained in greater detail below).
As will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains, when stem tip member 222 is disposed within recess 120 (as shown in FlG. 2), the operating mechanism is latched with operator arm 38 in a central position. Accordingly, a novel push button mechanism is provided which permits the operating mechanism to perform desired switching operations while furnishing a latched center position. With particular reference to FIGS. 2a and 5a, enlarged portion 168 includes a handle portion 240, having a central opening 242 (which defines a concave bearing surface 244 and communicates with central opening 214 of operator arm 38) and an annular rib 246 at the front thereof, and an enlarged annular front member 248 having a central opening 250, through which push button protrudes, and a rear flange 252 which is arranged to be crimp-fit within rib 246 during final assembly of handle portion 168.
A rocker 254, molded from polytetrafluoroethylene filled acetal resin and having a substantially semicircular cross section is seated on bearing surface 244, and has a front camming portion 256 protruding from one edge of a flat front surface 258 with a recess (not shown) therein and has a central passageway 260 which has an increasing width toward the rear thereof. Reduced front neck portion 218 of stem 216 normally (FIG. 5a) protrudes forwardly of passageway 260 and a flat metallic lever member 262 having an opening 264 therethrough is seated in the recess on surface 258 and the front end 266 of front neck portion 218 is peened over to prevent lever member 262 from being removed from neck portion 218. Push button 170 has a boss 268 extending from the rear 270 thereof and a brass camming member 272 having a flat portion 274 with a central opening 276 is force fit around boss 268. Camming member 272 is further provided with a leg portion 278 (integral with flat portion 274) which extends rearwardly toward front camming portion 256 of rocker 254. A compression spring 280 is seated between camming member 272 and lever member 262 on boss 268 and normally urges push button 170 and rocker 254 to their respective positions shown in FIG. 5a and urges stem 216 toward its rear position.
Referring now to FIG. 6, the internal wall portion 290 of forward portion 12 of body member 11 has a plurality of keyways 292 formed therein which are axially aligned with opening 140. Flange 148 has a plurality of tabs 294 extending radially outwardly therefrom and each tab 294 is arranged to mate with a keyway 292 to prevent rotation of arm housing 140 with respect to body member 11. The rear surface 28 of flange portion 14 is further provided with a keyway 296 which is arranged to receive tab 62 on flange 58 of actuating member housing 40 to ensure the proper orientation of actuating member assembly 34 within body member 11 and to prevent rotation thereof.
In assembly of the operating mechanism arm bearing portion 186 is inserted into arm housing 142 from the rear thereof, annular stem guide 190 is placed in recess 192 and lip portions 194 are urged forwardly until they are in the position shown in FIG. 2. Compression spring 212 has its larger end placed on seating surface 204 and is compressed forwardly of recess 208. C-clamp 206 is snapped in place on tubular stem portion 185 in recess 208, spring 212 is released and the smaller end thereof is retained on spring seating surface 210. Reciprocating stem 216 is inserted in passageway 214 of arm portions 185 and 186 and stem portion 222 is force fit over the steps on reduced diameter rear neck portion 220. Arm housing 142 is inserted into tubular portion 12 of body member 11 from the rear until recess 146 is exposed at the front of body member 12 and clamp 158 is snapped into place to prevent removal of arm housing 142 from body member 11. Arm shank portion 172 has male connector 174 threaded into place over O-ring 184 within female connector 180 with lip portion 164 of dustproofing boot 160 engaged in place in recess 166. Lip portion 162 of dustproofing boot 160 may be fitted into place within peripheral recess 144 of arm housing 142. Rocker 254 is inserted over reduced neck portion 218 of reciprocating stern 216 and placed on bearing surface 244 (which may be .covered by a suitable lubricant, if desired). Lever member 262 is inserted over neck portion 218 and placed in the recess on flat front surface 258 and front end 266 of neck portion 218 is peened over. A tab which is inserted into a recess within front handle rear portion 240 (neither the tab nor the recess are shown) insures the proper orientation of rocker 254 within portion 240. Camming member 272 has its central opening 276 force fit over boss 268 on the rear 270 of push button 170 and push button 170, together with camming member 272, is inserted into central opening 250 of handle front member 248 from the rear and spring 282 is placed over boss 268. Handle front member 248 is placed over handle rear member 240 and rib 246 is crimped inwardly against rear flange 252.
Actuator member assembly 34 is inserted into flange portion 14 with tab 62 aligned with keyway 296 in rear surface 28 thereof. Rear surface 152 of arm housing 142 provides a forward stop for posts 94 and 96 on actuating members 36. Contact modules 16 may then be positioned and fastened in place with screws 17 and the entire assembly mounted on a panel with gaskets 19, locating ring 22 and ring nut 20.
P16. 2 shows an operating mechanism for momentary switching operations in its central latched position. ln order to change the condition of the contact modules 16, push button 170 is depressed and leg portion 278 of camming member 272 engages protruding camming portion 256 of rocker 254. Rocker 254 is rotated counterclockwise (as shown in FIG. 2a) and lever member 262 is urged forwardly with respect to handle rear member 240 against the force of compression spring 280, carrying reciprocating stem 216 forwardly until surface 224 of stem tip 222 is sufficiently removed from surface 128 of pin head 126 and reccss to permit operator arm 38 to be rotated from a vertical (as shown in FIG. 2) position. As operator arm 38, and therefore stem tip 222, is removed from its central position, surface 224 of stem tip 222 engages (and is guided by) either the central camming portion 98 of an actuating member 36, the camming portion 102 (together with the cooperating camming portion 100 of the next actuator member 36 to the right thereof) or the camming surface 100 (together with the camming surface 102 of the next actuating member 36 to the left thereof) of the actuator member 36. Push button is released. When a central camming surface 98 of an actuating member 36 is engaged by surface 224 of stem tip 222 (see FIG. 5), that actuating member 36 is pushed downwardly as stem tip 222 travels toward the side of the operator mechanism 10, its cam portion 37 is removed from cam 23 of a contact module 16 and the contact module 16 has the condition of its contacts changed. When either the left or right camming surface, 100 or 102, respectively, is engaged by stem portion 222, a right or left, respectively, camming surface 102 or 100, of an adjacent actuating member 36 is also engaged. When this occurs, two actuating members 36 are depressed and two contact modules 16 have the conditions of their contacts changed. When the operator arm handle portion 168 is released, conical return spring 212 urges tubular stem portion toward the center of mechanism 10, a spring (or springs) 88 urges the actuating member(s) 36 which has (have) been depressed toward its (their) original position(s) and the incline of the camming surfaces which has been engaged by stem tip 222 is sufflcient to permit stem tip 222 to be returned to recess 120.
The assembly of an operator mechanism for maintained switching operations is identical to that described above (with maintained type actuating members 36b utilized in place of momentary type actuating members 36) and the operation thereof is similar to that of the mechanism for momentary switching operations with the following exception: When the operator arm 38 is moved to an extent that stem portion 222 is urged beyond a camming portion 98, 100 or 102 into a landing surface 112, 114 or 116, respectively, (see F IG. 4) stem tip 22 becomes seated on the landing surface and a force must be exerted on operator arm 38 which is sufflcient to overcome the effect of the force applied by a spring (or springs) 88 and the incline of the landing surface on stem tip 222. Thus, in order to return the operator arm 38 and stem portion 222 to the central position, a force must be exerted on the operator arm 38 from the front of the mechanism which depresses the actuating member 36 further rearwardly until stem portion 222 is hand returned to a camming surface 98, 100 or 102 whereupon the force exerted by spring 212 and a spring (or springs) 88 is sufflcient to urge the stem portion 222 to its central position.
Utilization of an annular stem guide having circular opening therethrough permits bearing portion 186 and tubular stem portion 185 to be rotated in any direction desired. Therefore, the permitted directions of movement of stem tip 222 for switching operations and, therefore, the number of switching positions are determined by the configuration of the camming surfaces on the actuating members 36. In the case of the above described embodiments any of eight switching operations may be performed depending upon the direction of lateral movement of stem tip 222 and a ninth central position is further provided. In the above described embodiments, the central position is latched. The number of switching positions may be varied to suit particular applications. For exsmple, if an annular stem guide 300 (see FIG. 7) having radially extending tabs 301 and a generally cruciform-shaped central opening 302 is employed in place of the stern guide 190, a five-position operator mechanism may be provided. Tubular stem portion 185 may be moved into any of recesses 304, 306, 308 or 310 from a central position. Furthermore, a three-position operator mechanism may be provided by utilizing a stem guide with a single elongated slot.
Referring now to FIGS. 9 and 10, two alternate embodiments ofthe invention are illustrated. In FIG. 9 the bearing surface 320 provided by the head 322 of the central pin 324 in the actuator assembly housing is substantially aligned with the edges 326 of the camming surface 328 on the actuating members for momentary switching operations. As in the above described embodiments, the operator arm 330 has a stem tip 332 which is arranged to be seated in recess 320; however, since bearing surface 320 and the edges 326 of camming surfaces 328 are substantially aligned, a reciprocating stern 216 need not be provided. In operation the operator arm handle 330 is rotated and stem tip 332 is urged against the force of springs within the actuator member housing along the camming surfaces of the actuating members and the conditions of the contact modules change in the same manner as describd above.
FIG. 10 shows portions of an operator mechanism for selected maintained switching operations. In this embodiment the central position is unlatched and the stem tip 332 is urged to the side along an inclined camming surface 340 of an actuating member 341 until the stem becomes seated on a landing surface 342. When it is desired to return the operator mechanism to its central position the front handle is urged toward its center position and stem tip 332 urges actuating member 341 rearwardly against the force of a compression spring within the actuating member housing until the stem 332 is aligned with camming surface 340, whereupon the compression springs in the actuating member housing urge actuating member 341 upwardly and stem tip 332 towards its central position in recessed surface 320 of pin head 322.
FIG. 11 shows a view in cross section of another embodiment of the invention in which mastered control of a fifth contact module is provided for all switching positions. The operator mechanism is identical to that described above for momentary switching of four contact modules with the exception of the construction and operation of the operating handle and of the center pin in the actuating member housing. An operating handle 352 having a reciprocable stem 354 in a center passageway 356 thereof is provided and has a push button 358 protruding through a central opening 360 in a handle front member 362. Push button 358 has a boss 364 on the rear thereof which is arranged to urge reciprocable stem 354 against the force of a compression spring 366 which is seated between a concave bearing surface 368 in a handle rear member 370 and a C-ring 372 engaged in a recess (not shown) near the front end of reciprocable stem 354 having a stem tip 373. A reciprocable center pin 374 is provided in the actuating member housing 376 and has an enlarged head portion 378 including a forward bearing surface 380, has its forward movement limited by C-ring 382 engaged at clamp near the rear end 384 of pin 374, and is biased toward the front of the operator mechanism by compression spring 386 seated between the front surface of central rib 388 within housing 376 and a C-ring 390 engaged in a recess (not shown) disposed intermediate the ends of pin 374. A fifth contact module 392 is ultrasonically welded to the rear of actuating member housing 376 and has a pair of terminals 394 and 396 connected to spaced contacts 398 and 400, respectively. A pair of bridging contact members 402 and 404 are carried by a contact blade 406 which has a central opening (not shown) therethrough and is arranged to be carried on a rear end portion of pin 374.
The momentary (or maintained) switching operations for four contact modules is the same as described above with respect to FIGS. 9 and 10 for an operator mechanism without a latched center position. When operating arm 352 is in the central position and it is desired to operate fifth contact module 392, push button 358 is depressed and boss 364 urges stem 354 rearwardly against the force of spring 366. Stem tip 373 engages bearing surface 380 on pin head 378 and pin 374 is urged rearwardly against the force of spring 386. When pin 374 is moved rearwardly, contact members 402 and 404 are carried rearwardly on contact blade 406 until they engage contacts 398 and 400, respectively, and a closed circuit is provided between terminals 394 and 396.
When operator arm 352 is removed from the central position, at least one actuating member 36 is depressed and the surface 84 defined by its stepped convex top face is disposed immediately forward of C-ring 390 as is indicated by lines 410. When it is desired to operate fifth contact module 392. push button 358 is depressed, and stem 354 is mo ed rearwardly. Stem tip 373 pushes the actuating member 36 further rearwardly and surface 84 moves C-ring 390 (and, therefore, center pin 374) rearwardly against the force of spring 386 to a position as indicated by lines 412 to close the contacts in module 392.
Thus, an operating mechanism constructed in accordance with the invention permits the number of switching positions to be varied to accommodate particular applications, provides maintained and momentary switching operations, and may be adapted for mastered control of a fifth contact module in all switching positions or for providing a latched central position. Furthermore, such an operating mechanism is relatively simple and typically is relatively small-projecting, for example, less than two and one-half inches from the front of a panel upon which it is mounted.
While the invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments thereof, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains that various modifications in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
l. A switch operating mechanism comprising; a housing having a front end portion and a rear end portion, an elongated operating member having a pivot portion intermediate its end pivotally mounted in the front portion, a handle portion extending from the pivot portion outwardly from a front end of the front portion and a stem portion extending rearwardly from the pivot portion in axial alignment with the handle portion, a plurality of radially disposed actuating members with each actuating member reciprocable longitudinally in the housing between a front and a rear position and having a first camming portion and a second camming surface, means in the housing engaging the stem for releasably maintaining the operating member including the handle portion in a central portion, said first camming portion having at least one first camming surface arranged to be engaged by the stem portion for moving its associated actuating member from its front to its rear position when the handle portion is pivotally moved in a selected direction from the central position, said second camming surface of each actuating member being located at the rear end of its associated actuating member and arranged to operate a switch when the actuating member is moved from its front to its rear position.
2. The mechanism claimed in claim 1 further comprising biasing means urging the actuating members to their forward positions and wherein each of the first camming surfaces of the actuating members has a first surface portion inclined generally toward the front end portion and a second surface portion inclined generally perpendicular to the direction of longitudinal reciprocation of the actuating member, the operating member thereby being returned toward the central position by the biasing means when the stem portion engages the first surface portion and the biasing means and the second surface portion cooperate to prevent the return of the operating member to the central position when the stem portion engages the second surface portion.
3. The mechanism claimed in claim 1 wherein the actuating members are mounted adjacent each other, and the camming portion on each actuating member has a central first camming surface and a left and a right side first camming surface, each side first camming surface of each actuating member cooperating with the adjacent side first camming surface on an adjacent actuating member to define a composite camming surface having substantially the same configurations as a central first camming surface, the stem portion being arranged to engage either a central first camming surface or a composite camming surface.
4. The operating mechanism claimed in claim 1 wherein the radially disposed actuating members define a recess therebetween, the stem portion being reciprocable between a stem portion forward and a stem portion rear position and being constrained within the recess when the operating member is in the central position and the stem portion is in the rear stem portion position and being released from the recess when the stem is in the forward stem portion position, the mechanism further comprising pushbutton means in the handle for moving the stem portion from the rear stem portion position to the forward stem portion position.
5. The operating mechanism claimed in claim 1 wherein each actuating member has a third camming surface and is reciprocable between the front, an intermediate and the rear positions, the second camming surface of each actuating member being arranged to operate a device when the actuating member is moved from its front to its intermediate position, the mechanism further comprising a shaft member movable between a front shaft position and a rear shaft position, the shaft member being arranged to operate an additional device when the shaft member is moved from the front shaft to the rear shaft position, and pushbutton means in the handle portion for moving the stem from a forward stem to a rear stem position, the stem being arranged to move the shaft member from the front shaft position to the rear shaft position when the operator arm is in the central position and the stem is moved from the forward stem to the rear stem position and to move at least one actuating member from its intermediate to its rear position when the operator arm is removed from the central position and the stem is moved from the front stem to the rear stem position, said shaft having a portion engaged by a third camming surface arranged to move the shaft from the front shaft to the rear shaft position during movement of an actuator from the intermediate to the rear position.
6. The operating mechanism claimed in claim 1 wherein the first camming surfaces are concave and the stem portion has a peripheral surface arranged to be seated in a first camming surface, the configuration of the first camming surfaces thereby determining the permissible directions of movement of the stem portion and operator arm.