US 3832508 A
A switch assembly includes a switch housing, a switch operating plunger extending from the housing for actuating the switch mechanism within the housing, and an actuator lever for the operating plunger positioned in brackets molded integral to and extending in spaced relation outwardly from the housing. The brackets include aligned apertures therein, and aligned ramps and retaining ledges extending inwardly from the brackets. The actuator lever includes a portion for engagement with the operating plunger and mounting portion having a forked extension with pivot arms thereon. When the actuator lever is vertically inserted into the aligned apertures, the pivot arms rest in the apertures, and upon rotation of the lever toward the horizontal position, the forked extensions are deformed by the ramps until the lever reaches the horizontal position at which the forked extensions return to their undeformed state to lock the actuator lever in assembled position.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Beck [ MICRO-LEVER SWITCH OPERATOR  Inventor: Frederick R. Beck, Valparaiso, Ind.
 Assignee: McGill Manufacturing Company,
Inc., Valparaiso, Ind.
 Filed: Mar. 29, 1973  Appl. No.: 346,004
Primary ExaminerRobert K. Schaefer Assistant Examiner-William J. Smith Attorney, Agent, or FirmMueller, Aichele & Ptak [111 3,832,508 Aug. 27, 1974 ABS'I RACT A switch assembly includes a switch housing, a switch operating plunger extending from the housing for actuating the switch mechanism within the housing, and
an actuator lever for the operating plunger positioned in brackets molded integral to and extending in spaced relation outwardly from the housing. The brackets include aligned apertures therein, and aligned ramps and retaining ledges extending inwardly from the brackets. The actuator lever includes a portion for engagement with the operating plunger and mounting portion having a forked extension with pivot arms thereon. When the actuator lever is vertically inserted into the aligned apertures, the pivot arms rest in the apertures, and upon rotation of the lever toward the horizontal position, the forked extensions are deformed by the ramps until the lever reaches the horizontal position at which the forked extensions return to their undeformed state to lock the actuator lever in assembled position.
4 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures MICRO-LEVER SWITCH OPERATOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to switch assemblies, and more particularly, to micro-switch assemblies wherein a switching mechanism is enclosed within a switch housing and is actuated by a switch plunger which protrudes from a surface on the switch housing. Such switches are generally actuated by some type of external actuator lever which cooperates with the switch plunger to operate the switching mechanism.
In the past, various arrangements have been used for attaching the actuating lever to the switch assembly housing. Various attempts have been made to design brackets on the surface of the switch housing to hold the actuating lever in position for performing its intended function of actuating the switch plunger in the final switch assembly. However, such attempts have produced switch assemblies which require multiple operations during mounting of the actuator lever to the switch assembly. Specifically, such switch assemblies necessarily have required that when the actuating lever is inserted in the bracket on the cover of the switch assembly, the projections on the lever are deformed. Thereafter, when the actuating lever is rotated to its operating position, a further step is required to expand outwardly the deformed projections such that they engage the apertures on the switch housing. The attendant cost of the added labor necessary in manufacturing such switch assemblies has limited their use in switching assmblies.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is one object of this invention to provide an improved electric switch assembly.
It is another object of this invention to provide an economical electric switch assembly which may be assembled in one operation.
It is a further object of this invention to provide an improved switch assembly which permits precise cooperation between the actuator lever and the switch plunger.
It is still another object of this invention to provide an actuator lever for a switch assembly which is designed to cooperate with brackets on the switch housing to permit easy assembly without special tools.
The switch assembly of this invention includes a switch mechanism enclosed within a switch housing and having a switch plunger extending through one side of said housing to operate the switch mechanism. Molded integral to the side of the housing in which the switch plunger protrudes, is a pair of brackets in spaced relation extending outwardly from the surface. These brackets are aligned opposite one another and define a channel therebetween having retaining ledges and ramps extending inwardly therefrom. Each bracket includes aligned L-shaped apertures which extend transverse to the molded bracket. Within the channel and on each of the inner surfaces of the brackets, retaining ledges and ramps are positioned to intersect the bracket wall at a point rearward from the aligned apertures. The actuating lever formed of resilient material having a body portion and a pair of forked extensions at one end and having a pair of pivot arms extending outwardly from the forked tines intermediate the end of tines. When the actuating lever is vertically inserted into the L-shaped apertures in the brackets, and when plied to it, to actuate the switch plunger to operate the switching mechanism.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the switch assembly in accordance with this invention, with portions of the switch housing removed to clarify the showing;
FIG. 2 is an end .view of the switch housing of the switch assembly of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a plan view showing the actuating lever of the switch in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 4 is a top view of the switch housing showing the brackets retainer ledge and a ramp in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the switch assembly illustrating the partial insertion of the actuating lever into the bracket mounting holders in the switch housing; and
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the switch assembly having the actuator lever in operating position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION believed unnecessary to illustrate and describe in detail the specific structure present within the switch housing.
The switch cover 12 of the switch housing is provided with an aperture 16 (FIG. 4) intermediate its ends which receives a switch operating plunger 17 which is biased outwardly by the switch mechanism within the switch housing. The switch operating plunger 17 extends through the aperture 16 to permit external actuation of the switch mechanism. The switch operating plunger and switch base 11 and cover 12 are preferably molded from an insulating material.
The housing cover 12 is provided with a pair of brackets 18 molded integral to and extending in spaced relation outwardly from one end of the housing cover. These brackets are positioned on opposite sides of the cover and define a channel therebetween. Each bracket includes an L-shaped aperture 20, and located intermediate the aligned apertures 20 of the two brackets, and extending rearwardly to the end of the brackets is a retaining ledge 22 projecting inwardly within the channel. Importantly, from the edge of the retaining ledge 22 and extending downwardly and forwardly therefrom, and molded integral to the bracket and the retaining ledge is a ramp 24, the surface of which facilitates wedging the actuating lever into operating position.
Now referring to FIG. 3, the actuating lever 26 for the switch assembly is a flat resilient member, preferably composed of a metal. The actuating lever 26 includes a body portion which engages the switch plunger 17 at a point along the center of the actuating lever, and a forked extension at one end consisting of a pair of tines 28 each having a pivot arm 30 extending outwardly intermediate the ends of each tine 28. The tines 28 of the forked extension are of sufficient length that they permit deformation upon insertion into the switch assembly and then return to their original undeformed state when the actuating lever 26 is in operating position.
As pointed out previously, the brackets 18 are molded integral to the cover of the switch housing. The L-shaped apertures are of sufficient size that the pivot arms 30 extending outwardly from the tines 28 of the actuating lever 26 can be vertically inserted and freely rotated about a 90 axis.
To complete the assembly of the switch assembly, the actuating lever 26 is vertically fully inserted into the bracket opening by aligning the pivot arms 30 of the forked extension within the L-shaped apertures. When the actuating lever is rotated about its longitudinal axis, the ends of the forked extensions engage the ramp surface, as is shown in FIG. 5. When the actuating lever 26 is in the position as shown in FIG. 5, the tines are in a deformed state. As the operating lever reaches the horizontal and operating position (F IG. 6), the tines of the forked extension clear the retaining ledge 22 and return to their original undeformed condition thereby locking the actuating lever in operating position. Attendant with this return to the undeformed condition, the pivot arms 30 are fully inserted into the L-shaped apertures to further anchor the actuating lever in operating position.
When the switch is fully assembled, the switch operating plunger 17 urges the actuating lever 26 upwardly to a horizontal and unactuated position. In order to restrict the movement of actuating lever in an upwardly direction, the tines of the forked extension of the lever are adapted to rest on the retaining ledge and the pivot arms engage the upper edge of the L-shaped apertures. Thus, when the actuating lever is depressed, the switch operating plunger is actuated inwardly and the switch mechanism is completed. When the pressure is removed from the actuating lever, the resilient nature of the actuating lever, together with the outwardly biased operating plunger, returns the actuating lever to its unactuated and horizontal position.
As can be clearly understood from the above discusa switch operating plunger extending from said housan actuator lever for said operating plunger made of resilient material and adapted to be held in an operating position in engagement with said operating plunger,
said housing including a pair of brackets thereon extending in a spaced relation outwardly from said housing and forming a channel therebetween, said brackets including aligned L-shaped apertures therein and having portions extending inwardly into said channel forming retaining ledges and ramp surfaces facing each other,
said actuator lever including a body portion for engagement with the switch plunger and a forked extension at one end including a pair of tines, said tines having pivot arms extending outwardly therefrom,
said one end of said actuator lever being insertable into said channel with said pivot arms resting in said aligned apertures, and said tines of said forked extension being deformed by said ramp surfaces upon rotation of said lever toward the operating position, with said tines returning to their undeformed state and being locked in engagement with said bracket retaining ledges when said lever is rotated into the operating position, said tines resting on said retaining ledges and said pivot arms resting in said apertures of said brackets to hold said actuator lever in the operating position in engagement with said plunger.
2. The switch assembly of claim 1 wherein said brackets are molded integral with the switch housing.
3. The switch assembly of claim 1 wherein each of said pivot arms is positioned intermediate the ends of one of said tines.
4. The switch assembly of claim 1 wherein said actuator lever is made of metal.