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Publication numberUS3862434 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 21, 1975
Filing dateDec 6, 1973
Priority dateMar 7, 1973
Publication numberUS 3862434 A, US 3862434A, US-A-3862434, US3862434 A, US3862434A
InventorsDavis Jr George B
Original AssigneeDavis George B Jun
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Christmas tree lighting control
US 3862434 A
Abstract
A control for Christmas tree lighting wherein a plurality of varying light intensity effects are produced and in a predetermined sequential order throughout all the lighting strings of a tree to result in a twinkling or shimmering effect heretofore unobtainable with any form or combination of flasher.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Davis, Jr.

[451 Jan. 21, 1975 1 CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING CONTROL [76] Inventor: George B. Davis, Jr., 7512 Marbury Rd., Bethesda, Md. 20034 [22] Filed: Dec. 6, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 422,350 g Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 338,832, March 7,

1973, Pat. NO. 3,808,450.

[52] US. Cl. 307/132, 315/185 S, 307/38 [51] Int. Cl. H051) 37/00 [58] Field of Search 323/23, 24, 25; 315/185 S;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,793,531 2/1974 Ferrigno 323/24 Primary Examiner-Herman Hohauser' [57] 7 ABSTRACT A control for Christmas tree lighting wherein a plurality of varying light intensity effects are produced and in a predetermined sequential order throughout all the lighting strings of a tree-to result in a twinkling or shimmering effect heretofore unobtainable with any form or combination of flasher.

10 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING CONTROL This is a continuation in part of application Ser. No. 338,832 filed Mar. 7, l973, now US. Pat. No. 3,808,450.

This invention relates generally to Christmas tree lighting and more particularly to a Christmas tree lighting control that, when in operation, produces a continuously changing lighting intensity throughout all the lighting strings of a tree and in a predetermined order to result in a twinkling or shimmering effect rather than the conventional method of making and breaking the circuit through the lamps to produce a flashing or by so reducing the voltage thereto as to produce a similar flashing result.

With the publics increasing desire for movement or action in Christmas tree lighting, the use of string flashers or individual flasher bulbs'has become widely accepted. While such devices do relieve the lifelessness of a lighted tree, the violent action of flashing lights can become quite annoying particularly when such flashing affects the entire string. This is generally the case even when not looking directly at the tree. The on and off of any light source within'a room, such as the flashing of tree lights can become quite distracting. This is particularly true when the flashing of two or more strings reach a condition of synchronization so as to flash simultaneously. Such a condition will invariably occur when any flasher apparatus operates individually whether in bulbs or strings.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved Christmas tree lighting control which, when in operation, produces a plurality of light intensity changes and as applied to all the lighting strings of a tree and in a predetermined sequence or order.

A further object is to provide a control for Christmas tree lighting wherein the circuits to the lighting strings are never interrupted to cause flashing, but produces a continual change in lighting intensity and in such a manner as to effect a twinkling or shimmering of the lights of the entire tree in predetermined timed sequence.

Referring now to the drawings, and more. particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, wherein is-shown the assembleddevice of the present invention and as will be generally designated 5 and to which may be connected strings of Christmas tree lights with the lights being either of the parallel or series wired types. The assembly 5 includes a mounting base 6 to which the perforated cover 7 is attached and wherein is enclosed the working mecha nism of the device. The connector and power supply cord 8 provides means for electrically connecting the device to a conventional 110 volt a.c. power supply source.

Extending from the side of the cover in the manner shown, is a number of electrical outlets 9 and into A still further object is to provide a Christmas tree I tree lighting strings simultaneously and in a manner to produce a coordination of lighting effects between the individual strings without materially varying the overall light intensity of the system.

A further object is to provide a light intensity control for Christmas tree lighting which will operate equally well with lights wired either parelled or in series and which, if desired, may be used in combination with the conventional individual flasher bulb.

In order that this invention may be more readily understood, reference is now made to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a view in elevation of the assembled device of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a plan view, partly cut-away of the invention as assembled beneath the cover.

FIG. 3 is an electrical schematic of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a schematic showing the position of the cam with all contacts in open position.

FIG. 5 is a plan view of the cam with two contacts of the control closed.

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the cam with all contacts of the control in closed position.

12, is mounted to the bracket member 13 and secured to the base 6 as by screws 14. Driven by the motor I2 is a cam member 17 the cams 35 of which may be of any configeration suitable for closing in predetermined sequence, contact members l8, l9, and 20 to produce the lighting effect desired and which will hereafter be. more fully described. Contact member l8, l9, and 20v are preferably molded within the insulating block 2].

The voltage source or power supply of the device includes, along with the line voltage input 25, solid state units 26, 27, 28, and 29 each having two differing dutyl I cycle outputs 30 and 31. These units may be of any suitable duty-cycle type such as the commonly known SCR or diac and triac variety, however, certain transistor assemblies will suffice. The duty interval of the outputs 30 and 31 may, if desired, be slightly varied between differing units to provide for further light intensity changes throughout the lights of the tree for a more varied and pleasing effect.

From the electrical schematic of FIG. 3 it will be noted that the lowest duty-cycle output 30 is continuously in circuit with the lights of the strings 33 and also with the contact member 18. This structure provides that at all times the light intensity output of the strings will never drop below that established by the duty-cycle of the output 30. The contact member 19 is shown as electrically connected to the output 31 which has a duty interval greater than that of the output 30 and thereby as contact member 18 is forced by cam 35 into electrical engagement with the contact member 19, as illustrated in FIG. 5, the duty-cycle interval to the lamps is increased to result in a brightening of the lamps over their initial luminous state. As the contacts members 18 and 19 are further forced by the cam into electrical contact with the contact member 20, as in FIG. 6, line voltage from 25 is applied through the contacts to the strings to result in full lamp brightness. During this operation of shunting out the various dutycycle outputs there is no flashing or flickering of the lamps of the string as would be the case were switching employed for connecting sequentially the various voltage inputs to the light strings. The order and rate at which these contacts members l8, l9, and 20 are closed can be selectively established by the configuration of the cams 35 and the-motor speed. For example,

contacts 18 and 19 may be made to close, say twice, to

the final closing of all three contacts to produce a more staggered lighting effect. The interval of their closing time may be varied by the shapes of the cams as related to the motor speed.

The cam member 17, as shown in FIG. 2, is preferably a one piece molded unit secured to the motor shaft as by set-screw 34. The back-geared motor drive 12 rotates the cams 35, desirably, at a speed of between 3 to 4 regulations per minute depending upon the configeration of the cams. The cam member 17 includes a shaft extension 36 that rotates within the molded contact mounting block 21. This arrangement provides a rigid structure for maintaining contact members 18, 19, and

20 in proper working relation with the surfaces of the cams. A heatsink 37 is positioned against the dutycycle members 26, 27, 28 and 29 as shown and against which internally the triacs of the unit are secured. The sink serves to dissipate the heat from the triacs during operation of the device. If desired, the now fixed dutycycles of the units may be altered selectively by including an adjustable pot in the gaiting circuit, the adjusting shafts of the pots are shown at 38 and 39. The pots should be of a resistance value, however, to prevent redueing the light intensity of the string by greater than 80 percent of full brightness.

The duty-cycle of the unit as herein referredto shall be understood to mean the ratio between the interval of the cycle the unit is on or passing current to the of timeof the cycle when no current or relatively no current is passing. The on and off intervals occur very rapidly varying into the milliseconds with the relative duration of these conducting intervals being controlled by the design of the gate or triggering circuit to the SCR,'triac, or such similar electronic elements of the circuitry. The conducting interval of thecycle as it relates to the off interval, determines the relative heating and cooling time of the incondescent lamp filament and consequently the light intensity output of the lighting source.

While one variation of the device is herein shown, it

connected to the lowest duty-cycle output of said power supply for connecting thereto one or more strings of Christmas tree lights, means movable for electrically connecting in common with the said lowest duty-cycle output the other outputs of said power supply in predetermined sequencial order.

2. A Christmas tree lighting control as claimed in claim 1 wherein the duty-cycle to said outputs may be selectively varied.

3. A Christmas tree lighting control as claimed in claim 1 wherein the duty-cycle of said lowest output will not reduce the light intensity output of said Christmas tree lighting string by greater than percent from full brightness.

, 4. A Christmas tree lighting control as claimed in claim 1 wherein electrical circuit between said power supply and said outlet is never interrupted.

5. A Christmas tree lighting control as claimed in claim 1 wherein said means movable is in the form of a motor driven cam operable to intermittently close, in predetermined timed sequence, contact members respectively connected to the differing duty-cycle outputs of said power supply.

6. A control for Christmas tree lighting including in combination a power supply having two or more differing duty-cycle outputs, an electrical outlet electrically connected to the lowest duty-cycle output of said power supply for connecting therewith one or more strings of Christmas tree lights, means movable for intermittently connecting in common withthe said lowest duty-cycle output the other outputs ofsaid powersup;

ply.

7. A control for Christmas tree lighting as claimed in claim 6 wherein the said movable means is in the form. of a motor driven cam operative to intermittently move' said control by greater than 80% from full brightness.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3793531 *Dec 9, 1971Feb 19, 1974Gen ElectricElectronic tree light controller
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4678926 *Feb 5, 1986Jul 7, 1987Davis George BChristmas tree lighting control
US4888494 *Nov 2, 1987Dec 19, 1989Mcnair RhettElectromechanical lamp switching
US4980608 *Sep 2, 1988Dec 25, 1990David MorrisonElectric motor rotator for Christmas tree ornaments
US5128595 *Oct 23, 1990Jul 7, 1992Minami International CorporationFader for miniature lights
US5414326 *Oct 16, 1992May 9, 1995Yang; Tai-HerSequential on-off type serial lamp set constructed by varied thermo delay time constant
US6087780 *Jan 20, 1999Jul 11, 2000Benny; RickyControl panel for Christmas lights
EP0491534A1 *Dec 16, 1991Jun 24, 1992Andreas Charalambous GeorgiouAn illuminating electric light switch
Classifications
U.S. Classification307/132.00R, 315/185.00S, 307/38
International ClassificationH01H43/00, H05B37/02, H01H3/00
Cooperative ClassificationH05B37/029, H01H43/00, H01H3/004
European ClassificationH01H3/00C, H01H43/00, H05B37/02S