US 3903458 A
The indicating module comprises an open-ended parallelepipedal casing provided on at least two walls with sliding assembly means which are complementary to each other on two opposite faces, a translucent front cap and a rear connection unit which are removably fixed on the casing, a lamp-holder assembly and fixing members.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 1111 3,903,458
Arnoux Sept. 2, 1975  MODULAR ILLUMINATED INDICATOR 3,04L499 6/1962 Williams Ct 211 340/381 PANEL MOUNTED HOUSING WITH lsviattg v.2244O8/227 anc e2 1 INTERNAL COMPONENT CIRCUIT BOARD 3,338,452 8/1967 Oakley et 211.... 220/234  Inventor: Daniel Arnoux, 3,434O98 3/1969 Schumacher.... 339/91 R Saim Germain En Laye France 3446,46? 5/1969 Bailey ct a1. 339/128 3,518,612 6/1970 Dunman ct a1 339/17 LC  Ass gn Manumesure, Conches-En-ouche, 3.629809 12 1971 Tillman 339 17 LC France 22 Filed; Mar. 2 974 Primary Examiner-Gerald P. Tolin ] A I N 453 335 Attorney, Agent, or FirmYoung & Thompson  ABSTRACT  Forelgn Application Pmmty Data The indicating module comprises an open-ended par- Mar. 28, 1973 France 73.1 1072 allelepipedal Casing provided on at least two walls with sliding assembly means which are complementary to  Cl 317/120; 339/128; 339/176 MP; each other on two opposite faces, a translucent front 2 339/17 D; 248/27; 340/381 cap and a rear connection unit which are removably :rntidCLf 143 fixed on the casing, a lamp-holder assembly and fixing 1e 0 earc membem 339/17 D, 17 N, 193 P; 340/381; 248/27; 317/120 99; 240/21, 1 EL; 220/2.l R, 234 The front end of the caslng 1S provlded wlth at least 3-5 36 38 two longltudlnal sllts and a wedge-shaped pcrlpheral flange which permits insertion of the casing from the  References Cited r leglritsigzeogtatpznezlnpepening and is applied against the UNlTED STATES PATENTS p 2977.581 3/1961 Rodgers 340/381 8 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures MODULAR ILLUMINATED INDICATOR PANEL MOUNTED HOUSING WITH INTERNAL COMPONENT CIRCUIT BOARD This invention relates to an indicating module, namely to an instrument casing in which the front face comprises a visual signal device or a control pushbutton and which contains an electric circuit.
The invention also relates to the assemblies formed by casings or this type which are connected together by means provided for this purpose.
It is already a known practise to design modules of this type or measuring instrument casings in general in such a manner as to insert them into a panel which has been cut-out to the dimensions of the casing body. The front face of the casing forms a projecting edge or flange which is applied against the front face of the panel whilst the fixing means are so designed as to be applied and braced against the rear face of the panel. The module must therefore be inserted into the cut-out portion of the panel from the front side of this latter whilst the fixing means must then be adjusted on the rear side of the panel. An operation of this kind usually requires the presence of two persons.
Furthermore, in known designs, the means for fixing the module on the panel usually comprise screws for adjusting the force of application and are relatively cumbersome. Said means therefore call for a predetermined spacing between the instruments and this consequently entails the need to increase the surface area of the panels.
Finally, the replacement of a signal lamp usually has to be accompanied by disconnection of the electric circuit of the instrument and this is subject to major disadvantagesif said circuit is also intended to perform another safety function.
The aim of the present invention is to describe an indicating module which makes it possible to circumvent the disadvantages mentioned above as well as an assembly of said modules. I
In accordance with the invention, the indicating module which is designed to be mounted by insertion in a cut-out portion of a panel comprises:
a substantially parallelepipedal body which is open both at the front and rear ends, said body being provided on the external faces of at least a number of its four walls with sliding assembly means which are complementary to each other on two opposite faces and being provided at the front end with a peripheral flange which is intended to be applied against the front face of the panel;
a translucent cap fixed in position by snap-action engagement over the aforementioned front end;
a connection unit fixed in position by snap-action engagement in the aforementioned rear end;
a lamp-holder assembly;
at least two fixing members applied and braced against the rear face of the panel; the module being distinguished by the fact that at least a number of the four walls of the casing are separated from each other in the vicinity of the aforementioned front end, and that the aforementioned flange has a wedge-shaped cross-section so as to permit the insertion of the casing into the aforementioned cutout portion of the panel from the rear side of said panel.
Thus a single person stationed behind the panel can engage the module in the cut-out portion and then fit the fixing members in position.
In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, the fixing members comprise assembly means in cooperating relation with the aforementioned sliding assembly means of the casing and a tapered catch adapted to engage with a toothed rack which is rigidly fixed to the casing, said fixing members being applied against the rear face of the panel by means of two flexible fingers, the permissible distance of angular displacement of said fingers being longer than the distance between two successive teeth of the aforementioned rack.
The module can accordingly be fixed in position without any tools and without calling for any substantial space between two contiguous units.
Further properties of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, reference being had to the accompanying drawings which are given by way of example without any limitation being implied, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a view in perspective showing a module in accordance with the invention and mounted on a panel;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view in perspective showing the connection unit;
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view taken along line III-III of FIG. 4;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the module;
FIG. 5 is a transverse sectional view taken along line VV of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is an exploded view in perspective showing the lamp-holder assembly;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the front end of the module, the translucent end-cap having been removed;
FIG. 8 is a longitudinal sectional view of the fixing member, taken along line VIIIVIII of FIG. 9;
FIG. 9 is a plan view of the fixing member, taken along line IX-IX of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a profile view of the fixing member, taken along line XX of FIG. 9.
Referring now to FIGS. 1, 3, 4 and 5, the signal module comprises a casing l of plastic material of polycarbonate type having a certain degree of elasticity and good temperature resistance. The casing 1 is provided on the top face thereof with two rectilineal ribs 2, the edges 3 of which form a dovetail-section tenon and the edges 4 of which form a dovetail-section recess. On the bottom face of said casing, two ribs 5 and 6 form a dovetail-section recess which is complementary to the dovetail tenon formed by the edges 3.
Similarly, two ribs 7 which are identical with the ribs 2 are formed on one of the lateral faces and two ribs 8, 9 which are identical with the ribs 5, 6 are formed on the other lateral face.
It is apparent that the ribs mentioned above permit the interassembly of a number of casings so as to form units comprising any number of rows and columns. On each casing, a stop 11 extending along two contiguous faces serves to bring the front faces of the casings into accurate alignment.
On the bottom face of the casing l, a third rib 12 extends between the ribs 5 and 6 so as to form in conjunction with the rib 5 a dovetail-section recess which is identical with the recess formed by the edges 4 of the ribs 2 of the top face. A similar rib 13 is present between the ribs 8 and 9. Provision is thus made on each face of the casing 1 for a dovetail recess which is intended to cooperate with a dovetail tenon 14 of a fixing member 15 which will be described hereinafter.
The front portions 16, 17, 18, 19 of the faces of the casing l have an external contour which has substantially the same dimensions as the cut-out portion of the panel. These faces are provided on the front side with a flange 21 having a wedge-shaped cross-section having a forwardly-inclined face 22 and a rear face 23 which is substantially at right angles to the longitudinal axis of the casing 1 and intended to bear on the front face of the panel. In addition, slits 24 serve to separate the front portions 16 to 19 from each other, with the result that said front portions are capable of bending towards the center of the front face of the casing 1. The slits 24 are located in the vicinity of the junction corner formed by two walls but each slit is formed only in one wall, with the result that the light emitted by one casing does not diffuse into the others when these latter are joined together in juxtaposed relation.
It is apparent that, if the front face of the casing l is forcibly inserted into the cut-out portion of the panel, the bending movement thus obtained by virtue of the inclined faces 22 makes it possible to insert the flange 21 into said cut-out portion until the rear faces 23 pass in front of the panel, thus locking the casing 1 in said panel.
On completion of this operation, the positioning of a translucent cap 25 comprising a rigid frame 26 which is intended to be inserted in the front face of the casing 1 prevents any subsequent bending movement of the front portions 16 to 19.
The fixing members 15 (shown in FIGS. 8 to are made of plastic material which is more flexible than that of the casing l and comprise a body 27 molded in one piece with a frame 28 to which said body is attached at the front end 29. The body 27 is provided with the dovetail-section tenon 14 which is intended to be fitted in the complementary profile of the external faces of the casing 1. The frame 28 is provided with two flexible fingers 31, the extremities 32 of which are intended to be applied against the rear of the panel (shown in FIG. 1). The fixing member is maintained applied and braced against said panel by means of two tapered catches 33 bearing on two toothed racks 34 which are rigidly fixed to the casing 1 and located in the line of extension of the aforementioned ribs, the teeth of said rack being directed towards the front.
When one face of the casing 1 has three ribs, only the two ribs which cooperate with the member 15 are pro vided with a toothed rack 34.
It is understood that, in order to place the fixing member 15 in position, the dovetail tenon 14 is inserted by sliding in the forward direction within the complementary portion of the casing 1 until the extremities 32 of the flexible fingers 31 are applied with fairly considerable force against the rear face of the panel. The potential range of elastic displacement of the fingers 31 is greater than the pitch of the toothed rack 34.
In order to remove the fixing member 15, the rear portion of the frame 28 is lifted until the tapered catches 33 are released from the racks 34 by virtue of the flexibility of said member in the vicinity of the end portion 29 of the body 27.
In the event that a plurality of modules are assembled in a single unit, a sufficient number of fixing members 15 is fitted in position on the external walls of said unit which is then inserted into a single cut-out portion of the panel.
A connection unit 35 (shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 3) comprises a body 36 provided with wedge-shaped projections 37 which are capable of engaging and locking within holes 38 formed in the casing 1. The body 36 is also provided with lugs 39 which are capable of bearing on supports (not shown in the figures).
The rear face 41 of the body 36 has two end rows 42, 43 of slots 44 disposed so as to have a predetermined pitch, for example of 5 mm, and a central row 45 of identical slots but displaced by one-half pitch with re spect to the slots of the-rows 42 and 43.
Terminal connectors 46 (shown in FIG. 2) each having two terminal lugs 47 are engaged in the body 36 from the front end in alternate relation with terminal connectors 48 having only one terminal lug 49 in order that the lugs 47 should engage in the slots of the rows 42 and 43 and in order that the lugs 49 should engage in the slots of the row 45.
Terminal connectors 46 and 48 are provided at the rear ends thereof with two pairs of retaining arms or clips 51 in which printed-circuit cards 58 and 59 can be engaged, the contacts of said cards being spaced at a distance of 2.5 mm in the example under consideration.
The complete assembly of terminal connectors 46 and 48 is maintained within the body 36 by means of a closure plate 52 having two tapered ends 53 which are intended to engage and lock within two complementary recesses formed in the body 36.
The terminal connectors 48 are intended to receive signals which are applied only to the module to which said connectors belong; the terminal connectors 49 can receive signals which are applied to a number of modules.
At the front end of the casing 1 a lamp-holder assembly 54 (shown in FIGS. 3, 6, 7) comprises a socket unit 55 which is capable of sliding freely within the casing 1. The socket unit 55 has two slits 56, 57 in which the two printed-circuit cards 58, 59 can be engaged. These cards are locked within the socket 55 by means of the pivoted ends 61 of a forwardly-directed stirrup-piece 62, the ends 61 being engaged in holes 63 of the cards 58, 59. It is apparent that, by drawingback the stirruppiece 62, it is possible to extract the complete assembly consisting of socket unit 55 and cards 58, 59 which are freed from the clips 51.
A lamp-holder unit 64 slides freely within the socket unit 55 and carries two lamps 65, 66 which are slidably mounted thereon. The lamp-holder unit 64 has a central partition element 67 which provides a separation between the lamps 65, 66 and delimits two separate and distinct luminous zones on the translucent cap 25. In addition, the partition element 67 is provided at the front end with a groove 68 in which is engaged the stir rup-piece 62 which thus locks the lamp-holder unit 64 in the unit 55. The lamp contacts are intended to bear on support brackets 69 which are rigidly fixed to the printed-circuit cards 58, 59.
It is understood that, in order to change a lamp, it is only necessary to extract the lamp-holder unit 64 and the operation of the module is not interrupted. This extraction of the unit 64 can be carried out by taking hold ing behind the panel, by means of fixing members of small size. Said module is also adaptable to the construction ofjuxtaposed units consisting of any number of modules and permits ordinary maintenance such as changing lamps without any interruption of service.
Moreover. by arranging the terminal connectors in two rows in staggered relation, the terminal lugs can be spaced at a sufficient distance to carry out electrical connections with ease.
It is readily apparent that the present invention does not apply solely to the embodiment hereinbefore described and that a large number of alternative forms of construction may be contemplated.
What is claimed is:
I. An indicating module mounted into a cut-out portion ofa panel having a front face and a rear face, comprising:
a substantially parallelepipedal casing which is open both at the front and rear ends. said casing being provided on the external faces of at least a number of its four walls with sliding assembly means which are complementary to each other on two opposite faces and being provided at the front end thereof with a peripheral flange which is applied against the front face of the panel;
a translucent cap fixed in position by snap-action engagement over the aforementioned front end;
a connection unit fixed in position by snap-action engagement in the aforementioned rear end;
a lamp-holder assembly mounted in said casing;
at least two fixing members mounted on said two opposite faces of said casing and applied and braced against the rear face of the panel;
wherein at least a number of the four walls ofthe casing are separated from each other in the vicinity of the aforementioned front end, wherein the aforementioned flange has a wedge-shaped cross-section so as to permit the insertion of the casing into the aforementioned cutout portion of the panel from the rear side of said panel. wherein the fixing members are identical with each other. wherein said members comprise assembly means in contact with the aforementioned sliding assembly means of the casing. wherein said members each comprise at least one tapered catch engaging with a rack having teeth on each said opposite face. and wherein said members are applied against the rear face of the panel by means of two flexible fingers. the permissible distance of angular displacement of said fingers being longer than the distance between two successive teeth ofthe aforementioned rack. said member which carries at least one tapered catch being accessible from the rear face in order to permit of unlocking.
2. An assembly of indicating modules wherein a plurality of modules each according to claim 1 are assembled in rows and in columns by means of the sliding assembly means aforesaid without any intermediate fixing members, wherein said assembly is inserted into a single cut-out portion of a panel, and wherein said assembly is maintained in position by means of a certain number of fixing members disposed on the faces of the unit thus formed.
3. An indicating module according to claim I, wherein the separation of the walls is obtained by means of four slits. each slit being wholly located on only one wall.
4. An indicating module according to claim 1, comprising at least one printed-circuit card, wherein the lamp-holder assembly comprises a socket and a lampholder unit slidably mounted within said socket, means for extracting the unit from the socket, means for maintaining the same unit in said socket, means for attaching said socket to the printed-circuit card, and means for inserting and extracting the printed-circuit card.
5. An indicating module according to claim 4, wherein the means for extracting the lamp-holder unit from the socket comprise a partition element rigidly fixed to the unit. said element being directed towards the front and intended to provide a separation between the two lamps.
6. An indicating module according to claim 5, wherein the means for maintaining the lamp-holder unit within the socket, the means for attaching the socket to the printed-circuit card and the means for inserting and extracting the printed-circuit card comprise a stirrup-piece having two extremities pivoted in recesses formed in the socket. one of said extremities being engaged in a hole of the printed-circuit card and a movable front portion being applied against the partition element aforesaid.
7. An indicating module according to claim 1, wherein the connection unit comprises a body of flexible and hard plastic material in which terminal connectors are locked in position by means of a unit which is inserted into said body by snap-action engagement.
8. An indicating module according to claim 7, wherein the terminal connectors aforesaid comprise a first class of simple connectors and a second class of double connectors, the connectors of each class being spaced with a predetermined pitch and the connectors of one class being displaced by one half-pitch with respect to those of the other class, the length of one halfpitch being substantially equal to the length of the pitch of the connections of the printed-circuit card.