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Publication numberUS3890476 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 17, 1975
Filing dateAug 8, 1974
Priority dateAug 8, 1974
Publication numberUS 3890476 A, US 3890476A, US-A-3890476, US3890476 A, US3890476A
InventorsCanter James A, Smith Robert
Original AssigneeGen Motors Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Appliance cabinet with actuated door switch
US 3890476 A
Abstract
An appliance cabinet switch assembly including a door-mounted magnetic actuator and a cabinet-mounted door switch to accommodate variation in the closed position of the door relative to the switch. A spring loaded housing enclosing a first magnet is pivotally connected within a socket mounted in the door and cooperates with a hidden switch beneath a plastic wall portion of the cabinet access opening. The switch includes a fixed contact and a contact carrying armature movably mounted at one end by leaf spring means such that when the door is closed the first magnet attracts the armature separating its movable contact from the fixed contact. Opening the door removes the first magnetic attraction and allows the armature contact to close in a snap action manner to the fixed contact under force of a second relatively weak magnet and the spring means to energize an internal lighting circuit or the like.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 11 1 Canter et al.

1 1 June 17, 1975 1541 APPLIANCE CABINET WITH ACTUATED DOOR SWITCH [73] Assignee: General Motors Corporation,

Detroit, Mich.

[22] Filed: Aug. 8, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 495,872

[52] US. Cl. ZOO/61.62; 200/6182; 335/205 [51] Int. Cl H0111 3/16; HOlh 36/00 [58] Field 01 Search..... 200/6162, 61.64, 61.69, 200/617, 61.76, 61.78, 61.81, 61.82, 61.83,

Parlato .1 335/205 Suska 1. 335/205 Primary Examiner.1ames R. Scott Attorney, Agent, or FirmEdward P. Barthel {57] ABSTRACT An appliance cabinet switch assembly including a door-mounted magnetic actuator and a cabinetmounted door switch to accommodate variation in the closed position of the door relative to the switch. A spring loaded housing enclosing a first magnet is pivotally connected within a socket mounted in the door and cooperates with a hidden switch beneath a plastic wall portion of the cabinet access opening. The switch includes a fixed contact anda contact carrying armature movably mounted at one end by leaf spring means such that when the door is closed the first magnet attracts the armature separating its movable contact from the fixed contact. Opening the door removes the first magnetic attraction and allows the armature contact to close in a snap action manner to the fixed contact under force of a second relatively weak magnet and the spring means to energize an internal lighting circuit or the like.

3 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures APPLIANCE CABINET WITH ACTUATED DOOR SWITCH This invention relates to magnetically operated switches and more particularly to a magnetic door switch for use on a household appliance cabinet. such as. for example, a refrigerator cabinet.

It is an object of the invention to provide a new and improved appliance cabinet magnetic door switch assembly including a door mounted magnetic actuator which accommodates for normal variations in the closing position of the door relative to a hidden cabinetmounted magnetic switch so that the magnetic actuator on the door is always in operative proximity to the cabinet switch upon closing of the door.

It is another object ofthe invention to provide an improved magnetically operated cabinet-mounted lamp switch and door-mounted magnetic actuator for a refrigerator cabinet internal lighting circuit which includes a spring biased first permanent magnetic housing pivotally mounted in a door-mounted socket; a cabinet-mounted switch hidden beneath an upright portion of the cabinet throat plastic wall having a contact carrying armature plate leaf spring mounted at one end for cantilever movement; upon closure of the door the magnetic actuator is biased in contact with the cabinet throat wall attracting the armature contact away from its fixed contact to deenergize a cabinet lamp; and the opening of the door removes the attraction of the first magnet while a second relatively weak magnetic in the switch provides an attraction force which together with the leaf spring bias enables the second magnet to attract the armature to snap close on the fixed contact and energize the lamp.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description, reference being had to the accompanying drawings wherein a preferred embodiment of the present invention is clearly shown.

In the Drawings:

FIG. I is a horizontal sectional view through a fragmentary portion of the front edge of a cabinet and a portion of its closed door having an actuator and switch assembly installed therein;

FIG. 2 is a view taken on line 22 of FIG. I of the cabinet-mounted lamp switch;

FIG. 3 is a view of the switch taken on line 33 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary vertical elevational view of the door-mounted magnetic actuator taken on line 44 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary horizontal sectional view taken on line 55 of FIG. 4 with the magnet housing shown in its outwardly biased position;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 7 is a horizontal cross-sectional view ofa refrigerator with the door closed showing a typical location for the door switch.

Referring now to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 a door mounted actuator and switch assembly installed in the throat or access opening of a refrigerator cabinet 10 including a thermal plastic throat strip 11 and a door operated non-magnetic switch casing 12 hidden therebeneath. The throat or door jamb strip 11 closes the gap between the forward edges of the cabinet inner liner and outer shell (FIG. 7) having insulating material 14 disposed therebetween. While the liner is shown as metal it could be formed of plastic material integral with the throat II. The access opening is normally closed by a door I6, hinged at 15 to a side wall of the cabinet 10, which includes outer and inner spaced apart walls with insulating material 18 disposed therebetween. When the door 16 is closed a lip portion 20 on the side edge thereof overlaps the corresponding throat strip 11 on the cabinet side wall to engage magnetic actuating means indicated generally at 22.

The magnetic actuator means 22 includes actuator socket 24 comprising a substantially shell-like body portion 26 which is preferably formed of a single piece of molded plastic material. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 46, the body portion 26 has a central cavity 28 providing a rectangular outer opening 29 substantially in the plane of door lip 20. The cavity 28 is adapted to receive a magnetic actuator including scoop-shaped housing 30 which encloses disc-shaped permanent magnet 32 therein and affixed thereto by suitable means such as epoxy cement. As seen in FIG. 5, the magnet housing 30 has an outer closed arcuate camming face 34 and an inner open end 36 with the ends 34 and 36 each extending at an oblique angle toward a pivotal axis de fined by a pair of vertically aligned hinge stubs or pin tles 37 and 38 integrally formed on the housing side walls 39 and 40 respectively. The stubs 37 and 38 are located in aligned holes 41 and 42 respectively. in the socket side walls 43 and 44. It will be noted in FIG. 6 that a pair of slots 45 and 46 are provided in the pivota end of the housing such that by applying inward pressure on the housing side walls 39 and 40 the stubs 37 and 38 will be flexed inwardly to allow the housing to be inserted in the socket cavity 28. Thus, release of the inward pressure will result in the stubs 37, 38 flexing outwardly to be received in their aligned holes 41 and 42 respectively.

A double torsion coil spring or mousetrap spring 50 has coiled portions 52 nested at the pivotal stub axis of the actuating housing and projecting ends 54 anchored by deformed distal ends 56 through holes 58 in the socket. The spring 50 has a central U-shaped bight portion 60 which cradles the magnet disc 32 such that it is retained in nested fashion in the inner arcuate surface of carnming wall 34 against the tension of the spring 50.

As seen in FIG. 5 the spring 50 normally biases the actuator 30 in its outward position away from the door lip portion 20 such that the actuator 30 is pivoted inwardly against the bias of spring 50 when engaged by the cabinet edge strip 11. By the actuator 30 pivoting into its cavity 28 as the door closes it compensates for variations in the spacing 62 (FIG. 1) between the door edge strip 20 and the switch I2 hidden beneath the cabinet breaker strip 11 which may occur due to manufacturing tolerance or different sized cabinets and doors.

The walls of the socket are provided with an outer integrally-molded peripheral face flange 64 which seats around the edge wall aperture 65 defined by the inturned peripheral flanges 66. A pair of forwardly extending arced upper and lower legs 67 and 68 are formed at the rearward portion of each of the upper and lower arcuate socket wall portions 69 and 70. Each of the legs 67 and 68 has outwardly curved forwardly extending resilient terminal wing portions 71 and 72 providing a series of external stepped shoulders 73 and 74, respectively.

Thus, to engage the socket 24 in the door edge wall aperture 65 the terminal wings 71 and 72 are flexed toward the axis of the socket body portion and then the socket is pressed into the aperture. In a relaxed position the spacing defined by the wings and the distance between the external steps is greater than the dimension of the aperture 65 so that after the steps 73 and 74 have abutted against the flanges 66 the inherent flexure of the wings is released to lock the socket to the door edge wall.

The magnetic switch assembly in casing 12 includes an armature plate 80 of magnetic steel resiliently mounted at one end by a plurality of rivets 81 on spring means in the form of leaf spring 82 which has its free end suitably secured to casing recessed shoulder 84 by threaded screws 86. A conducting angle member 87 is located therebetween to provide a path from the armature movable contact 88 to a first external terminal 89 formed integral with angle 87 and partially encased in an insulator 92 integral with casing bottom wall 93.

The magnetic switch assembly has a fixed contact 94 mounted on a support conductor 95 having an offset end 96 received in a slot 97 of a second casing permanent magnet 98. The magnet 98, which is relatively weak in comparison to the first actuator disc magnet 32, is positioned adjacent the undersurface of the armature free end. As seen in FIG. 1 the second magnet 98 is located to provide, together with the leaf spring 82, for snap action closure of the armature contact 88 to the fixed contact 94 upon the door 16 being opened and the field of influence of the first actuator magnet 32 being withdrawn from the armature, It will be noted that when the plate armature contact is in its closed position with contact 94 the armature plate 80 and its leaf spring 82 lie in a vertical plane substantially parallel to the vertical plane defined by the door edge wall 20. As seen in FIG. 2 the fixed contact support plate 95 is integral with a second outer terminal 102 encased in an insulator 104.

In FIG. 7 there is shown a specific application of the magnetic door switch at the throat portion of the refrigerator cabinet front access opening with the switch casing 12 located behind the cabinet plastic breaker strip 11. The insulated door structure 16 is hingedly secured to or mounted upon cabinet by suitable hinges I5 for horizontal swinging movement relative thereto. The door 16 comprises an outer metal pan member 117 and an inner mold plastic paneled member 118 with insulation material 18 disposed therebetween. Pan member 117 is provided with inturned flanges about the periphery thereof and these flanges are secured to peripheral edges of panel member 118 by suitable screws or the like. A gasket or conventional magnetic door seal 119, of the type shown in US. Pat. No. 3,048,902 to F. G. Hastings et al, for example, extends continuously around the door 16 and this portion of the door is adapted to engage a flat forward surface of the front of the cabinet 10. The lip or dyke portion of the door has the actuator socket 24 mounted therein as described in detail above. The molded plastic panel member 18 is shown inwardly dished or recessed as at 121 to accommodate vertically spaced-apart shelves 122 for supporting food products. It will be noted that applicants door switch assembly is particularly suited for use at the throat location shown in FIG. 7 to compensate for inaccuracies of manufacture and assembly of the cabinet and door.

While the embodiment of the present invention as herein disclosed constitutes a preferred form, it is to be understood that other forms might be adopted.

We claim:

1. A magnetic switch assembly for a cabinet member having walls defining a chamber therein provided with an access opening, a door member for said chamber access opening movably mounted on said cabinet member from a closed position in the access opening comprising, an open ended socket molded of non-magnetic material engaged in an aperture of the door member, a non-magnetic housing pivotally supported in said socket having a first permanent-magnet enclosed therein, means resiliently biasing said housing outwardly from said socket open end, a switch case mounted on the underside of an upright non-magnetic jamb portion of said chamber access opening, a fixed contact in said case at one end thereof, said case lo' cated in adjacent spaced relation with said socket open end when said door is closed whereby said magnet housing is urged into contact with said jamb portion by said biasing means, said switch including an electrically conducting leaf spring mounted at the opposite end of said case having an elongated contact carrying armature plate connected to and extending from said leaf spring free end past said fixed contact for cantilever movement in said case, a contact on said movable armature plate, said armature plate biased by said leaf spring in a plane substantially parallel to said jamb portion whereby its movable contact is closed to said fixed contact, a relatively weak second permanent magnet located in said case at the opposite end thereof so as to be positioned adjacent said armature plate to close said contacts in a snap-action manner upon said door being opened. and whereby upon said door being closed said first permanent magnet provides an attraction force on said armature plate of a magnitude sufficient to overcome the attraction of said second magnet and said leaf spring to hold open said contacts while said door is closed.

2. A magnetic switch assembly for a refrigerator cabinet having walls defining a food storage chamber therein provided with an access opening, a door member for said chamber access opening movably mounted on said cabinet member from a closed position in the access opening comprising an open ended socket molded of non-magnetic material engaged in an inner wall aperture of the door member, a non-magnetic housing pivotally supported in said socket having a first permanent-magnet enclosed therein, means resiliently biasing said housing outwardly from said socket open end, a switch case mounted in a concealed manner on the inner face of a vertically oriented sheet plastic portion partially defining said access opening, a fixed contact in said case at one end thereof, said plastic wall portion located in adjacent spaced relation with said socket open end when said door is closed whereby said magnet housing is urged into contact with said plastic wall portion by said biasing means, said switch including an electrically conducting leaf spring mounted at the opposite end of said switch case having an elongated contact carrying armature plate connected to and extending from said leaf spring free end past said fixed contact for cantilever movement, a contact on the inner surface of said movable armature plate, said armature plate biased by said leaf spring in a plane substantially parallel to said wall portion when its movable contact is closed to said switch case fixed contact, said movable contact being mounted on said armature plate a defined distance from the free end thereof. a rela tively weak second permanent magnet located in said case so as to be positioned adjacent said armature plate free end to close said contacts in a snap action manner upon said door being opened, and whereby upon said door being closed said magnet housing biasing means operative to position said first permanent magnet in contact with said plastic wall such that it provides an attraction force on said armature plate of a magnitude sufficient to overcome the attraction of said second magnet and said leaf spring to hold open said contacts while said door is closed.

3. A refrigerator structure or the like comprising an outer shell and an inner liner spaced from said outer wall and supported thereon, at least the throat portion of said inner liner assembly formed of plastic material extending around the perimeter of said inner wall for closing the space between said walls, said throat portion defining an access opening in said refrigerator cabinet structure, a door member for said access opening hingedly mounted on said cabinet for horizontal swinging movement from a closed position in the access opening, an openended socket molded of plastic mate rial engaged in an aperture on an inner wall of the door member opposing said throat portion in spaced relation thereto, a plastic scoop-shaped magnet housing pivotally supported in said socket by means of vertically aligned pintles integrally molded on said magnet housing, a disc-shaped permanent magnet located in said magnet housing, spring wire means resiliently biasing said magnetic housing outwardly from said socket open end, a plastic switch case mounted in a concealed man ner on the underside of a vertically oriented portion of said throat, whereby said magnetic housing is urged into contact with said vertically oriented throat portion by said biasing spring wire, said switch including an electrically conducting leaf spring mounted at one end of said switch case having an elongated contact carrying armature plate in electrical contact with said leaf spring and extending from the free end thereof for cantilever horizontal swinging movement in said casing, a contact on the inner surface of said movable armature plate, said armature plate biased by said leaf spring into a vertical plane substantially parallel to said throat portion whereby its movable contact is closed to said fixed contact, a relatively weak second permanent magnet located in said switch case so as to be positioned adjacent the free end of said armature plate to close said contacts in a snap action manner upon said door being opened to a position whereby the magnetic field of said first permanent magnet provides no substantial attraction force on said armature plate, and whereby upon said door being closed said first permanent magnet provides an attraction force on said armature plate of a magnitude sufficient to overcome the attraction of said second magnet and said leaf spring to hold open said contacts while said door is closed.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2467815 *Apr 20, 1945Apr 19, 1949Philco CorpSwitch and latch strike unit
US2924682 *Jun 3, 1957Feb 9, 1960Winterburn George AMagnetically actuated switches
US3264424 *Jul 23, 1964Aug 2, 1966Max BaermannMagnetically actuated switch
US3273090 *Jun 8, 1965Sep 13, 1966Alarm Device MfgMagnetically operated switch
US3426166 *Jun 9, 1966Feb 4, 1969Int Standard Electric CorpMagnetic closure and switch for doors and similar devices
US3539741 *Aug 8, 1969Nov 10, 1970Mallory & Co Inc P RMagnetically activated door switch
US3596021 *Nov 28, 1969Jul 27, 1971Saul Benno BensiyonBurglar alarm or the like
US3627959 *Mar 19, 1970Dec 14, 1971Sage LaboratoriesMagnetic latching and switching
US3676811 *Mar 19, 1971Jul 11, 1972Alarm Products Int IncMagnetic switch
US3806852 *Jul 18, 1973Apr 23, 1974Stanley WorksSwitch activating hinge
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4005295 *Nov 17, 1975Jan 25, 1977Mitchell James PComponent container
US4062314 *Sep 20, 1976Dec 13, 1977Charles Nick MorrisMagnetically operated warning device
US4999599 *Apr 20, 1990Mar 12, 1991Irvin Automotive Products, Inc.Electrical circuit
US5138373 *Dec 16, 1991Aug 11, 1992Xerox CorporationCopier or printer component position floating magnetic actuator
US5663540 *Oct 6, 1995Sep 2, 1997Control Products, Inc.Double pivot point overtravel switch actuator
US5887446 *Jun 6, 1997Mar 30, 1999Daewoo Electronics Co., Ltd.Refrigerator equipped with a refrigerator lamp magnet switch
US6150622 *Aug 5, 1999Nov 21, 2000Whirlpool CorporationElectrical contact element for refrigerators and similar
WO2006107680A1 *Mar 29, 2006Oct 12, 2006Grundelman George PAutomatic product expiration alert device
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/61.62, 335/205, 200/61.82
International ClassificationH01H36/00, H01H21/28, H01H21/00
Cooperative ClassificationH01H36/00, H01H21/282
European ClassificationH01H21/28B, H01H36/00