US 3845736 A
A pushbutton indicating device, adapted to be connected to a switch or other form of operating device, is shown to include a housing, having means engaging a reciprocal portion of the operating device, and an indicating area, positioned within the housing, and engaging a stationary portion of the operating device. There are means in the housing defining a path of movement for the indicating area such that reciprocal movement of the housing, causing reciprocal movement of a portion of the operating device, causes the indicating area to move toward and away from a lens in the housing.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Golbeek et al. Nov. 5, 1974  PUSHBUTTON SWITCH WITH POSITION 3,576,175 4/1971 Gammill ll6/l24 R INDICATOR 3,715,548 2/1973 Schadow 200/167 R  Inventors: Bernard J. Golbeck, Crystal Lake; Primar y Examiner-Louis J. Capozi Raymond f q Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Kinzer, Plyer, Dorn & Prospect, hot ll. McEachran I73] Assignee: Oak Industries Inc., Crystal Lake,
Ill.  ABSTRACT  Filed: Nov. 20, 1972 A pushbutton indicating device, adapted to be con nected to a switch or other form of operating device, ] p 308,252 is shown to include a housing, having means engaging a reciprocal portion of the operating device, and an 521 11s. c1. 116/124 R, 200/167 R indicating area, Positioned within the housing and 51 1111.0. G09f 9 00 gaging a Stationary Portion of the Operating device-  Field 0i SQ3lCh.... 116/124 11,135, 114, 129 R, There are means in the housing defining a p of 1 16/124 L, 1 20O/67 7 7 movement for the indicating area such that reciprocal 340/378; 40/65, 331; 337/163 movement of the housing, causing reciprocal movement of a portion of the operating device, causes the 5 References Cited indicating area to move toward and away from a lens UNITED STATES PATENTS i 2,954,632 10/1960 Ambrose 331 13 Claims, 19 Drawing Figures [0 M M 7/ 44 2 12 1 z; i
I 1 .J' I 1 24 #4 I; d j 97 J PUSIIBUTTON SWITCH WITH POSITION INDICATOR SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to pushbutton indicating devices and particularly to a simply-constructed reliably operable pushbutton providing means indicative of button position.
One purpose of the invention is an indicating device of the type described which includes an indicia area, fixed to a stationary portion of an operating device, and a housing surrounding the indicia area and fixed to a reciprocal portion of an operating device.
Another .purpose is a pushbutton indicating device of the type described which can be mounted on conventional pushbutton switches, without substantial change to the switch structure.
Another purpose is a pushbutton indicating device including an indicia area which moves in a pivotal manner within a housing.
Another purpose is a pushbutton indicating device of the type described which includes a flat plastic strip having an indicia area, with the indicia area moving within a reciprocal housing.
Another purpose is a pushbutton indicating device which is moved toward and away from a housing lens, to show position of the pushbutton.
Other purposes will appear in the ensuing specification, drawings and claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention is illustrated diagrammatically in the following drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side view of a pushbutton indicating device attached to a switch,
FIG. 2 is a front view of the device of FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 is an enlarged vertical section through the device of FIG. 1,
FIG. 4 is an enlarged vertical section, similar to FIG. 3, but showing the pushbutton in the in position,
FIG. 5 is an enlarged plan view of the indicating plate,
FIG. 6 is a rear view of the indicating plate,
FIG. 7 is a rear view of the housing,
FIG. 8 is a top view of the lens,
FIG. 9 is a section along plane 99 of FIG. 8,
FIG. 10 is a section through a modified form of indicating device,
FIG. 11 is a section, similar to FIG. 10, showing the device of FIG. 10 in the operated position,
FIG. 12 is a section showing a further modified form of the invention,
FIG. 13 is a section, similar to FIG. 12, showing the device of FIG. 12 in the operated position,
FIG. 14 is a section through a modified form of indicating device,
FIG. 15 is a section, similar to FIG. 14, showing the device of FIG. 14 in the operated position,
FIG. 16 is a section, similar to FIGS. 14 and 15, showing a further modified form of the invention,
FIG. 17 is a partial showing of yet a further modified form of pushbutton indicating device,
FIG. 18 is a vertical section showing an additional form of pushbutton indicating device, and
FIG. 19 is a vertical section, similar to FIG. 14, showing yet a further form of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED I EMBODIMENT In FIGS. 1 and 2 a typical reciprocally operated pushbutton switch is indicated at 10 and includes a housing 12, electrical terminals 14 and a reciprocal plunger 16. A frame 18 is conventionally used to mount the switch 10 into an instrument panel or the like.
In FIG. 3 the means for operating the switch 10, which are attached to the plunger 16 and to the frame 18, include a pushbutton housing 20, and an indicating plate or color plate 22. The housing 20 has a cavity 24 having a front wall 26, a top wall 28 and a bottom wall 30. Note particularly FIG. 7. The top wall 28 and the bottom wall 30 have projections 32 and 34 respectively which fit within a groove 36 in the reciprocal plunger 16. The cavity 24 has side walls 38, each of which have projections 40 which extend inwardly from the side walls. and rearwardly from the front wall 26 to form a stop for the plunger. The plunger 16 is thus fixed within the cavity by the projections 32 and 34, the top, bottom and side walls, as well as the projections 40.
Positioned at the front of the housing 20 and in front of the cavity 24 is a lens 42 illustrated in detail in FIGS. 8 and 9. The lens 42 fits within the open front of the housing 20 and has a transparent or translucent section 44 and rearwardly extending sides 46. As shown in FIG. 9, the sides 46 have a curved rear wall 48 which cooperates with a portion of the housing, as described hereinafter, to form a track for movement of the indicating plate 22. The housing 20, as well as those portions of the lens which are not transparent or translucent, may be formed of a suitable plastic. The translucent or transparent portion 44 of the lens may also be formed of a suitable plastic material.
FIGS. 5 and 6 detail the indicating plate or color plate. At the rear of the indicating plate 22 there are a pair of triangularly-shaped sides 50 and 52 which terminate in locking projections 54 and 56. The projections 54 and 56 interlock with the frame 18. There is a strap 58 connecting the rear portions of the sides 50 and 52, which strap will extend over a portion of the pushbutton plunger. Extending forwardly from the sides 50 and 52 and strap 58 are legs60 and 62, connected near the forward end by a strap 64 and terminating in a color plate 66 at the front. The color plate 66 may have oppositely-extending cams 68 which will ride in a track in the housing as described hereinafter.
Between the color plate 66 and the legs 60 and 62 are hinge areas 70 and 72 which are areas of the plastic indicating plate which are reduced in thickness, shown particularly in FIG. 3, so as to provide flexibility for the color plate as it moves within the reciprocal housing 20. The hinges 70 and 72 may effectively be formed by grooves 74 and 76, formed on opposite sides of the color plate, again as shown particularly in FIG. 3.
Opposite sides of the housing 20, adjacent the lens 42, may have grooves 78, which grooves cooperate with the rear walls 48 of the lens sides 46 to define a track on opposite sides of the housing. The projections 68 of the color plate will fit within and move within the track as shown particularly in FIGS. 3 and 4. The structure may be completed by downwardly-extending projections 82 on the top of the housing 20 which interlock with the strap 64 on the indicating plate to hold the indicating plate within the housing.
FIG. 3 shows the pushbutton arrangement in a position in which there is no indicia visible at the lens. When the housing 20 is pushed in an inward direction, to the position of FIG. 4, the indicia 66 will be moved from a position away from the lens, as shown in FIG. 3, to the position of FIG. 4 in which it is directly behind the lens. The projections 68 move in the track 80, causing the indicia 66 to pivot from the position of FIG. 3 to the position of FIG. 4 in which it is directly behind the lens. The hinge areas 70 and 72 permit the indicating plate to bend in the area directly behind the indicia area.
The plunger 16 is held in position with the housing by the projections 32 and 34 in the wall arrangement described above. The color plate or indicating plate 22 is held within the housing by means of the projections 82 which interlock with the strap 64. Thus, the color plate is attached to the stationary frame and the housing is attached to the reciprocal plunger so that the housing 20 is used to operate the switch and when used in this manner can function to show the position of the switch 10. In the position of FIG. 3 no indicia is visible through the lens, whereas, in the position of FIG. 4 the indicia 66, which may have color and/or additional indicia on it, is visible.
In FIGS. 10 and 11, a housing 220 is suitably interlocked with a switch plunger 22 extending outwardly from a switch frame 224. An indicating means 226 is suitably attached to the stationary frame 224 and has an arm 228 positioned within a generally central passage 229 in the housing 220. lndicia areas 230 and 232 are fixed at one end of the arm 228, there being hinge connections 234 and 236 between the indicia areas and the arm.
The housing 220 has a chamber 238 with tracks 240 and 242 formed in opposite sides of one wall. Similar tracks will be formed on the other wall of the chamber 238. A lens is indicated at 244 and will close the lefthand side of the chamber 238. The indicia areas 230 and 232 have projections 246 and 248 which will ride in the tracks 240 and 242 as the housing and plunger 222 reciprocally move toward and away from the frame 224.
FIG. 10 illustrates the unoperated position of the switch. Note that the indicia areas 230 and 232 are not visible through the lens 244. In the operated position of FIG. 11, the indicia areas have been moved by operation of the projections 246 and 248 moving in the tracks 240 and 242 to a position in which they are visible through the lens area 244. Thus, reciprocal movement of the housing relative to the switch frame in conjunction with the switch plunger is effective to move both indicia areas to a position in which they may be visible from the open or front lens area. Note that the two indicia areas pivot away from each other and outwardly from the generally central passage within thehousing.
FIGS. 12 and 13 show a structure similar to that of FIGS. 10 and I1 and like parts have been given the same numbers. The central passage 250 within the housing 220 is slightly'enlargedover that shown in FIGS. 10 and II. The color plate arm. 252 is similarly enlarged to accomodate indicia areas 254 and 256, the outward ends of which have inwardly-directed end portions 258 and 260.
In the unoperated position of FIG. 12 inwardly directed end portions 258 and 260 of the indicia areas are visible through the lens 244. These end portions may have indicia on their outer surfaces which is different from that of the indicia areas 254 and 256. Thus, in the position of FIG. 12 there may be an indication, either by color or word, that the switch is in a particular position. When the switch has moved to the position of FIG. 13, note that the indicia areas 254 and 256 are now visible through the lens 244. Indicia different from that on the end portions 258 and 260 is now visibleand may thus show that the switch has been moved to a new position.
The tracks, housing, plunger and switch frame, and large portions of the color plate, are the same in FIGS. 12 and 13 as were described in connection with FIGS. 10 and 11.
FIGS. 14 and 15 show a modified form of the invention. A housing 90, which again may be formed of a suitable plastic, has an interior portion 92 which interlocks with a switch plunger 94. An indicating plate is formed by a pair of straps 96 and 98 and a rear integral portion 100 which is adapted to connect to a stationary portion of the switch frame. Note the hinge areas 102 which connect the straps with the rear integral portion 100. There is a pair of indicia areas, indicated at 104 and 106, which are positioned to move along opposite sides of the housing 90 between the interior portion 92 and the housing outer walls. There is a lens 108 at the front of the housing 90. As was true in the'form of the invention shown in FlGS.'1-9, there are tracks 110 in the housing with cams 112 on the straps 96 and 98 being positioned to move within the tracks. There are hinge areas 114 on each of the straps 96 and 98 so that the indicia areas may be moved to a position in front of the lens 108. The structure of FIGS. 14 and 15 is similar to that of FIGS. 1-9, except that it provides for two indicia areas which can be moved toward and away from the lens 108. Note the operated position of FIG. 15 in which both indicia areas 104 and 106 have been moved, in a pivotal-manner, by operation or reciprocal movement of the housing 90, to a position in which they can be viewed through the lens 108. The structure of FIGS. 14 and 15 has been shown in a diagrammatic manner, however, it should be understood that the details may be similar to that shown in FIGS. 1-9.
In FIG. 16 there is a housing having a lens 122 at the front. A switch frame is indicated at 124 and a switch plunger at 126. The indicating means attached to the frame 124 includes a pair of arms 128 and 130, the forward ends of which are pivotally attached, as at 132 and 134, to a pair of indicia members 136 and 138. Each of the indicia members 136 and 138, which may have outer indicia surfaces 140 and 142, are pivotally mounted to the housing 120, at pivot points 144 and 146.
In operation, when the button is in the position of FIG. 16, the housing 20 has been pushed in an inward direction to cause operation of the switch or thelike. The indicia surfaces .140 and 142 are visible through the lens 122. When the button is released, in a conventional manner, the housing 120 will move to the left, as shown in FIG. 16, with the result that the indicia areas 136 and 138 will pivot, to the right, causing the indicia surfaces 142 and 140 to be out of view of the lens 122. The pivot points 144 and 146 are fixed to the housing and thus the arms 128 and will cause the indicia areas 136 and 138 to move to the rear or right, as shown in FIG. 16, when the button is released.
The structure of FIG. 17 is somewhat similarto that of FIG. 16 and the housing and switch frame have not been shown. The arms 128 and 130 of FIG. 16 have been replaced by a single arm 150, having a pair of forwardly-extending projections 152 and 154. Opposing surfaces of the projections 152 and 154 have a series of teeth which interact with gears 156 and 158 attached to the indicia areas 161) and 162 respectively. When a housing is reciprocated relative to the arm 150, the gears 156 and 158 will move with the housing. Rotation of the gears caused by the teeth of stationary projections 152 and 154, will cause the indicia areas 160 and 162 to pivot toward and away from a suitable lens.
In the pushbutton indicating device of FIG. 18, a housing 170 may have a lens area 172, which may either be an actual lens or merely an open area by which a portion of the indicating plate is visible from the front of the housing. The housing 170 may be fixed to a switch plunger 176 and the indicating plate or color plate 174 may be attached to the switch frame 178. The color plate 174 is in the form of a strip, which is flexible and which has an indicia area 180. In the position of FIG. 18, the indicia area 180 is visible from the front of the housing through the lens area. Because the color plate or indicating plate 174 is flexible, it can easily move within the track 182 formed in the housing. When the button is moved to the out position, not shown, the flexible indicating plate 174 will move within the track 182 so that it lies substantially flat in the track with no portion being visible through the lens area 172. The track 182 and the flexible indicating plate 174 perform essentially the same function as in the other forms of the invention. However, in this case there are no cam means on the indicating plate and the track is sufficiently confined and the indicating plate sufficiently flexible so thatsuch cam means are not necessary.
In FIG. 19 a housing is indicated at 190 and includes a lens area 192. The indicating means 194 is attached to the switch frame 196 and a portion of the housing 198 is attached to the switch plunger 200. The indicating means 194 is in telescopic relation with that portion of the housing 198 which is attached to the plunger 200. The front of the member 194 has an indicia area 202 which is always positioned opposite the lens area 192. There are a pair of masking members 204, attached at their rear, as at 206, to the housing 190. The masking members 204 have front areas 208, which, in the position of FIG. 19, are positioned in front of the indicia area 2 02. Thus, there is no indicia visible through the lens area in the FIG. 19 position of the pushbutton indicating device. When the button is moved inwardly, since the masking members 204 are fixed to the housing 190, they will move to the right, with the housing, exposing the indicia area 202 to the lens area 192.
In all forms ofthe invention, the housing is preferably attached to the plunger of a conventional reciprocal electric switch and the indicating plate is attached to the frame of the switch. Thus, when the housing is moved, the plunger will operate the switch and there will be relative movement between the housing and the indicating plate. There is an indicia area on the indicating plate and there may be a lens area, either formed by an actual lens or an open area, such that the indicia will be displayed after reciprocal movement of the housing. There are various means shown for permitting exposure of the indicia area, either bymoving the indi- Although we have described the indicia as being a color plate, it should be obvious that this may or may not be necessary. The indicia may be color and/or a particular written designation, such as on" or off or it may be just a written designation. In some applica-. tions there may be dual indicia, such as two words, two colors, etc. In one position one word or color may be visible, with the other Word or color being visible in a second position. What is important is to provide some means for displaying to the operator the particular position of the switch. Whereas we have described a lens or lens area, in most applications there will be an actual transparent or translucent lens member. However, in some applications there may be merely an open area, that being the type of switch in which there would be no contact with the color plate during movement of the pushbutton.
Whereas the preferred form of the invention has been shown and described herein, it should be realized that there may be many modifications, substitutions and alterations thereto.
1. Pushbutton switch means including a switch device having a stationary member and a plunger positioned adjacent and reciprocal relative thereto, an indicator housing fixed to said plunger, lens means in said housing, pivotally movable indicating means attached to said stationary member and including an indicia area positioned within said housing, means in said housing defining a path of movement for said indicia area including housing portions defining a track, guide means on said indicating means movable in said track, movement of said housing and plunger toward said stationary member causing said indicating means to pivotally move withinsaid housing to a position adjacent said lens means. j
2. The structure of claim 1 further characterized by and including a cavity in said housing, said plunger being positioned in said cavity.
3. The structure of claim 1 further characterized in that said lens means cooperates with the housing to form said track.
4. The structure of claim 3 further characterized in that there are a pair of tracks formed along opposed walls of the housing, and guide means extending outwardly from opposite sides of the indicating means and positioned in said track.
5. The structure of claim 1 further characterized by and including a hinged area on said indicating means generally adjacent the indicia area.
6. The structure of claim 1 further characterized by and including cooperating means on the housing and indicating means for holding the indicating means in a predetermined position within the housing.
7. The structure of claim 1 further characterized by a plurality of indicia areas on said indicating means, all of said indicia areas moving toward and away from the lens means upon reciprocal movement of said housing.
8. The structure of claim 7 further characterized by and including a plurality of tracks on the walls of the housing, and cooperating guide means on the indicating means movable in said tracks.
9. The structure of claim 7 further characterized in that there is a pair of indicia areas, each positioned to move along opposed walls of the housing toward and away from the lens means.
10. The structure of claim 9 further characterized in that said indicating means includes a pair of strips, there being an indicia area adjacent the end of each strip, the opposite end of said strips being connected together, and a hinge in each strip generally adjacent 12. The structure of claim 1 further characterized in that said lens means includes a lens member fixed to said housing.
13. The structure of claim 1 further characterized in that said lens means includes an opening in said housing exposing said indicia area.