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Publication numberUS3908149 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 23, 1975
Filing dateOct 16, 1974
Priority dateOct 16, 1974
Publication numberUS 3908149 A, US 3908149A, US-A-3908149, US3908149 A, US3908149A
InventorsBela Gergoe, Paul F Pelchat
Original AssigneeGen Motors Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Push button type door handle assembly for energizing an auxiliary lighting circuit of a vehicle
US 3908149 A
Abstract
A door handle assembly adapted for use with a vehicle having an auxiliary lighting circuit so that depression of a push button of the handle assembly grounds the circuit to an associated door lock to thereby energize the auxiliary lighting. A handle of the assembly defines a housing with an opening that receives the push button and an electrically conductive push rod of the assembly has an elongated configuration with one end thereof mounted to the push button. A plastic insert supports an electrically conductive terminal of an annular configuration which slidably receives the push rod in a guiding manner. A helical spring encircles the push rod and has one end thereof seated by the push button and the other end thereof seated by the insert so as to bias the push button to an extended position and to also engage a slot and projection arrangement on the handle housing and insert in a manner that securely locates the insert. An insulator on the push rod normally engages the terminal when the push button is in the extended position to electrically isolate the terminal and the push rod. The depression of the push button moves the insulator out of engagement with the terminal so that the push rod electrically contacts the terminal and upon engagement of the free end of the push rod with an associated electrically grounded door lock, the terminal is grounded through the push rod. The handle assembly is then capable of electrically grounding the auxiliary lighting circuit to cause energization of the circuit. The housing of the handle also supports a lens which transmits light from an elongated fiber optic arrangement that is adapted to receive the light from the auxiliary lighting circuit and the lens is adapted to illuminate an outside key cylinder associated with the door lock.
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United States Patent Gergoe et al.

[451 Sept. 23, 1975 PUSH BUTTON TYPE DOOR HANDLE ASSEMBLY FOR ENERGIZING AN AUXILIARY LIGHTING CIRCUIT OF A VEHICLE [75] Inventors: Bela Gergoe, Birmingham; Paul F.

Pelchat, Plymouth, both of Mich.

[73] Assignee: General Motors Corporation,

Detroit, Mich.

[22] Filed: Oct. 16, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 515,183

[52] US. Cl. 315/84; ZOO/61.64; ZOO/61.74;

ZOO/61.81; 240/2.13

[51] Int. Cl. B60Q 3/02 [58] Field of Search 315/84; 240/2.l3;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,280,321 10/1966 Overesch 240/2.l3

Primary Examiner-James B. Mullins Attorney, Agent, or Firm.lames A. Kushman [57] ABSTRACT A door handle assembly adapted for use with a vehicle having an auxiliary lighting circuit so that depression of a push button of the handle assembly grounds the circuit to an associated door lock to thereby energize the auxiliary lighting. A handle of the assembly defines a housing with an opening that receives the push button and an electrically conductive push rod of the assembly has an elongated configuration with one end thereof mounted to the push button. A plastic insert supports an electrically conductive terminal of an annular configuration which slidably receives the push rod in a guiding manner. A helical spring encircles the push rod and has one end thereof seated by the push button and the other end thereof seated by the insert so as to bias the push button to an extended position and to also engage a slot and projection arrangement on the handle housing and insert in a manner that securely locates the insert. An insulator on the push rod normally engages the terminal when the push button is in the extended position to electrically isolate the terminal and the push rod. The depression of the push button moves the insulator out of engagement with the terminal so that the push rod electrically contacts the terminal and upon engagement of the free end of the push rod with an associated electrically grounded door lock, the terminal is grounded through the push rod. The handle assembly is then capable of electrically grounding the auxiliary lighting circuit to cause energization of the circuit. The housing of the handle also supports a lens which transmits light from an elongated fiber optic arrangement that is adapted to receive the light from the auxiliary lighting circuit and the lens is adapted to illuminate an outside key cylinder associated with the door lock.

3 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PUSH BUTTON TYPE DOOR HANDLE ASSENIBLY FOR ENERGIZING AN AUXILIARY LIGHTING This invention relates generally to a push button type door handle assembly adapted for use witha vehicle to energize an auxiliary lighting circuit of a vehicle upon depression of a push button of the handle assembly.

The prior art shows many vehicle door handle assemblies of the push button type inwhich manual depression of a push button of the handle assembly is adapted to energize an auxiliary lighting circuit of the vehicle to provide an auxiliary lighting function. For example, the. patent of Mai-chant us Pat. No. 3,2l4 ,2'l4 which is assigned tothe assign'ee 'of the present invention, discloses such a'door. handle assembly in which the auxiliary lighting illuminates an outside key cylinder associated with the door lock on which the door handle assembly operates. The patent of Massoll US. Pat. No. 3,265,927, which is also assigned to the assigriee of the present invention, discloses a door handle assembly that is adapted to energize an auxiliary lighting circuit including the dome light or another interior light upon depression of the push button of the handle assembly.

Conventional push button type door handlesinclude an elongated'push rod which engages and moves the outside operating or unlatchingmember of the associated door lock in a manner that unlatches the lock to permit opening door movement. This type of door lock is well known in the prior art and the unlatching mem- SUMMARYOF THE INVENTION The present invention provides an 7 improved push button type door handle assembly adapted to energize an auxiliary lighting circuit upon depression of a push button of the handle assembly.

, One feature of the invention is that an electrically conductive push rod of the assembly is mounted by the push button and has anelongated configuration slid ably received in a guiding manner within an aperture of an electrically conductive terminal that is adapted to be connected to the auxiliary lighting circuit, and an insulator normally electrically isolatesthe push rod from the terminal when the push button is in an extended position thereof, but depression of the push button electrically engages the terminal with the push rod so that the terminal is grounded through the push rod when the push rod electrically engages the grounded unlatching member of a door lock on which the handle assembly is adapted to operate. Another feature of the invention is that the terminal has an annular configuration and is supported on a handle housing of the assembly by an insulated insert, and a helical spring encircling the push rod has one end thereof seated against the.push button and the other end thereof seated against the insulated insert so as to bias the push button to an extended position and to also.bias the insert into engagement with the housing in a manner that locates the insert on thehousing. Another feature of the invention is that the housing of the handle assembly and the insert are provided with a slot and projection arrangement that is interengaged by the bias of the spring to ensure the positioning of the insert on the housing, and the housing also mounts a lens with an elongated fiber optic arrangement that is adapted to receive light from the auxiliary lighting circuit so as to illuminate the conventional outside key cylinder for controlling the locked. or unlocked condition of the door lock.

I BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS dle assembly taken generally along line 22 of FIG. 1

and shows the handle assembly with a push button thereof in an extended position;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but shows the push button of the handle assembly in a manually depressed position wherein this handle assembly is adapted to energize an'auxiliary' lighting circuit of the vehicle;

FIG. 4 is a back view of a portion of the handle assembly taken generally along line 4-4 of FIG. 2; and FIG. is a schematic view which shows an auxiliary lighting circuit of the type with which the handle assembly of this invention is adapted to be utilized.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring generally to FIG. 1, a vehicle generally indicated by 10 includes a door 12 whose forward end is mounted by un'shown hinge arrangements for conven tional swinging movement ;about a generally vertical axis between open and closed positions. A conventional door'lock shown by hidden lines in FIG. 1 is indicated by numeral 14 and latches the door 12 in closed position in the usual manner. Thedoor 12 also supports a door handle assembly according to the pr'esent'invention which is generally indicated by numeral 16 This handle assembly includes a handle 18 that can be' manually grasped to pull the door open subsequent to a latching of door lock 14 as well as a push button 20'that is manually depressed to unlatch the door lock 14 in a manner that will be described. Below the door handle assembly 16, the door 12 supports an outside key cylinder. 22 that is connected to door lock 14 to'co nt rol the locked or unlocked condition thereof in a conventional manner.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the handle l8 of the handle assembly defines a housing 24 which ope ns laterally with respect to the vehicle at an ope ning 26 for push button 20. The push button 20 shown has a rectangular cross section as can be seen by additionalrefe'rence to FIG. 4. The push button 20 may also, of course, have a generally circular cross section as push buttons have had in the past. A seal 27 encircles the push button 20 and in the FIG. 2 condition where the push button is in an extended position, this seal engages a rectangular seat 28 on the housing as well as a peripheral flange 29 on the inner end of the pushbutton. This engagement seals theinterior of housing 24 from the environment.

-, A seal 30 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 is located between the handle 18 and the door 12 to likewise seal the interiorof the doorfrom the environment. A number'of screw holes like the one indicated by 31 in FIG. 4 pertended position.

mit conventional screws to attach the door handle assembly 16 to door 12 in the usual manner.

An electrically conductive push rod of the handle assembly is indicated by 32 and has an elongated configuration with a generally circular cross section that can be seen in FIG. 4. FIGS. 2 and 3 show that one end 33 of the push rod is secured within an embossment 34 on the inside of the hollow construction of push button 20. An annular electrically conductive terminal 36 defines an aperture that slidably receives the push rod 32 in a guiding manner. This terminal 36 is mounted on a plastic insert 38 which has a somewhat rectangular configuration with rounded ends when viewed as in FIG. 4. Positioning flanges 40 at the ends ofthe insert define these rounded ends and include respective projections 42 that are aligned with each other extending inwardly with respect to the vehicle. Between the projections 42 as seen in FIG. 4, the plastic insert 38 includes an annular rib 44 that encloses the terminal 36. A pair of grooves 45 are provided in rib 44 at four and eight oclock positions as viewed in FIG. 4. The eight oclock groove 45 receives a'wire 46 that is attached to terminal 36. The four oclock groove 45 receives the wire 46 when the insert 38 is used with a door handle assembly of the opposite hand to the one disclosed. This is necessary since wire 46 must extend in opposite directions with respect to the insert 38 on left and right-hand door assemblies.

The housing 24 of handle 18 also includes a pair of positioning flanges 48 that are spaced above and below the upper and lower sides of the push button opening 26 located inwardly from this opening. These positioning flanges 48 of the housing, as best seen in FIG. 4, define respective slots 50 which are aligned with each other. Upon assembly of the door handle assembly, a helical spring 52 is placed over the push rod 32 so that one of its ends seats against the push button encircling the embossment 34 that mounts the adjacent end 33 of the push rod; The other end of the spring 52 is seated about an annular rib 54 on the opposite side of plastic insert 38 from rib 44. The push button 20 is first inserted outwardly through the push button opening 26 and the plastic insert 38 then is inserted to within the housing 24. This insertion of the plastic insert 38 takes place with the elongated configuration of the insert extending at 90 to the orientation shown in FIG. 4 so that the positioning flanges 40 of the insert may clear the positioning flanges 48 of the housing. The insert 38 is then rotated 90 to its FIG. 4 position so that the bias of the spring 52 will position the projections 42 of the 7 insert within the slotsSO. The positioning flanges 40 of the plastic insiert and the positioning flanges 48 of the "housing'are'thus engaged'so as to secure the insert in position and the projection and slot arrangement en sures this positioning against rotation or other movement. It is thus evident that the electrical terminal 36 is electrically isolated from the handle housing 24 by the insert 38 and the push'button 20 is also biased outwardly with respect to the vehicle to its FIG. 2 ex- The push rod 32 of handle assembly 16 includes an annular insulator 56 that is mounted about the push rod 32 so as to engage the electrical terminal 36 when the push button 20 is in its FIG. 2 extended position. Upon manual depression of the push button 20 by a persons thumb as he grasps the handle 18, the push button 20 moves toward its FIG. 3position so that the insulator 56 moves out of engagement with the terminal 36 and allows the push rod to electrically contact this terminal. A knurled portion 58 of the push rod cleans the terminal 36 each time it passes through the terminal to ensure this electrical contact, and the free end of the push rod moves toward a conventional unlatching member 60 of door lock 14. This unlatching member is electrically grounded to the vehicle, due to the mounting of the door lock to the vehicle door, and engagement of push rod 32 with the unlatching member thus electrically grounds the push rod as the push button 20 is depressed. The push rod 32 thus carries a current itself to electrically ground the terminal 36 as well as the wire 46 that is connected to the terminal, and the terminal 36 guides the push rod during its movement,

The electrical grounding of terminal cle roof and an additional light whose function will be described later. Lights 68 and 70 are connected by a wire 72 across a source of power such as battery 74 and the battery is grounded by a wire 76. An elongated fiber optic arrangement 78 shown byschematic in FIG. 5 receives illumination from light 70 and transmits this light to alens 80. As seen in FIGS. 2 through 4, the lens 80 is mounted by the housing 24 of handle 18 below the push button 20. This lens transmits light received from the light 70 via the fiber optic arrangement 78 so as to shine onto the key cylinder 22 and to thereby provide illumination when a person is attempting to insert a key 82 within the key cylinder to unlock door lock 14.

The operation of the door handle assembly 16 proceeds by a person depressing the push button 20 to ground the push rod 32 to the unlatching meinber 60. Through the auxiliary lighting circuit 62 shown in FIG.

5, and the time delay relay 64 thereof, this grounding thus provides a momentary illumination of both the dome light 68 and the light 70 that lights the lens 80 via the fiber optic arrangement 78. A person may then use both hands to find the key 82 that is inserted into the lock cylinder 22, as in FIG. 3, to unlock the door lock. The door lock 14 shown is of the uncoupling" type where the. unlatching member 60 may be moved to its unlatching position by push rod 32 even when the door lock 14 is locked. However, this movement does not unlatch the door lock since the latch mechanism thereof is then uncoupled from the unlatching member 60. After the key unlocking, however, a subsequent depression of the push button 20 again causes thepush rod 3210 move the unlatching memberandto then unlatch the door lock. A blocking type of door lock may also be used in which the unlatching member 60 is blocked from moving to its unlatching position when the door lock is locked. Both of these types of door locks are well known in the prior art and are thus not described herein in detail. The only requirement is that the unlatching member 60 of the door lock must be electrically grounded.

36.by push rod 32 is used to energize and auxiliary lighting circuitof It should of course be realized that the door handle assembly of this invention may be utilized with other types of auxiliary lighting circuits than the particular one that is herein shown'so as to provide agrounding of the circuit andsubsequent energization thereof upon depression of the push button 20.

The invention thus provides an improved vehicle door handle assembly.

What is claimed is:

1. A push button type door handle assembly adapted for use with a vehicle door having a door lock including an electrically conductive and grounded unlatching member, the door handle assembly comprising? a handle defining a housing;

a push button mounted by the housing for movement from an extended position to a depressed position upon manual depression thereof;

a spring for biasing the push button to the extended position; I

an electrically conductive push rod of an elongated configuration with one end thereof mounted to the push button;

an electrically conductive terminal mounted on the housing and defining an aperture that slidably receives the push rod in a guiding manner; and

an insulator on the push rod that engages the terminal to electrically isolate the push rod and terminal when the push button is in the extended position, the push rod sliding through the terminal upon manual depression of the push button so that the insulator moves out of engagement with the terminal as the push rod moves into electrical engagement therewith, and the manual depression of the push button moving the other end of the push rod into electrical contact with the electrically grounded unlatching member of the door lock so that the push rod electrically grounds the terminal upon such depression and thereby permits the handle assembly to be used to energize anauxiliary lighting circuit of the vehicle.

2. 'Apush button type door handle assembly adapted for use with a vehicle door having a door lock including an electrically conductive and grounded unlatching .,.member, the handle assembly comprising:

a handle including a housing defining a push button opening which opens laterally outwardly with respect to a vehicle on which the door handle is.used,

. the housing also including a pair of spaced flanges located inwardly with respect to the vehicle from the push button opening on opposite sides thereof;

a pus'hbutton received by the opening of the housing for" movement from an extended position to a depre'ssed position upon manual depression thereof;

ian'electri'callyconductive push rod of an elongated configuration with one end thereof mounted to the I push button;

A an electrically insulated insert received by the housing between the push button opening and the flanges and having an electrically conductive terminal with an annular configuration supported thereon, the terminal slidably receiving the push rod in a guiding manner;

a helical spring encircling the push rod with one end thereof seated against the push button and the other end thereof seated against the insert so as to bias the push button to the extended position and to also bias the insert into engagement with the 1 spaced flanges of the housing in a manner that l0- cates the insert; and

an insulator on the push rod that engages the tenninal to electrically isolate the push rod and terminal when the push button is in the extended position,

the push rod sliding through the terminal upon manual depression of the push button so that the insulator moves out of engagement with the terminal as the push rod moves into electrical engagement therewith, and manual depression of the push button moving the other end of the push rod into electrical engagement with the electrically grounded unlatching member of the door look so that the push rod electrically grounds the terminal upon such depression and thereby permits the handle assembly to be used to energize an auxiliary lighting circuit of the vehicle.

3. A push button type door handle assembly adapted for use with a vehicle door having an outside key cylinder for controlling the locked or unlocked condition of an associated door lock carried by the door and including an electrically conductive and grounded unlatching member, the handle assembly comprising:

a handle including a housing defining a push button opening which opens laterally outward with respect to a vehicle on which the door handle assembly is used, the housing including a pair of spaced positioning flanges located inwardly with respect to the vehicle from the push button opening on opposite sides thereof and defining respective positioning slots in alignment with each other, the lower side of the housing having positioning means for receiv ing a lens;

a light transmitting lens received by the housing so as to transmit light onto the outside key cylinder;

an elongated'fiber optic arrangement with one end thereof connected to the lens to transmit light thereto and with the other end thereof adapted to receive light from an auxiliary lighting circuit of the vehicle;

a push button received by the opening of the housing for movement from an extended position to a depressed position upon manual depression thereof;

an electrically conductive push rod of an elongated configuration having a circular cross section, one end of the push rod being mounted on the push button;

a plastic insert received by the housing between the push button opening and the positioning flanges of the housing, the insert having-a pair of positioning flanges with projections thereon pointing toward the slots in the positioning flanges of the housing, and the insert also having an electrically conductive terminal with an annular configuration supported thereon and slidably receiving the push rod in a guiding manner;

a helical spring encircling the push rod with one end thereof seated against the push button and the other end thereof seated against the insert so as to bias the push button to the extended position and to also bias the insert so the flanges thereof engage the flanges of the housing with the projections of the insert flanges received by the slots of the housing flanges to thereby locate the insert; and

an insulator on the push rod that engages the terminal to electrically isolate the push rod and terminal when the push button is in the extended position,

unlatching member of the door lock so that the push rod electrically grounds the terminal and thereby permits the handle assembly to be used with the auxiliary lighting circuit to energize the circuit and thus shine light onto the outside key cyl-

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3280321 *Oct 14, 1964Oct 18, 1966Overesch Joseph EDoor handle light for automobiles
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4041301 *Mar 24, 1976Aug 9, 1977General Motors CorporationKey illuminating door handle
US4295052 *Mar 21, 1979Oct 13, 1981Bayerische Motoren Werke AktiengesellschaftCircuit for motor vehicles
US4745527 *Jan 9, 1987May 17, 1988Allison CorporationIlluminated door lock scratch guard
US5558372 *Jan 3, 1995Sep 24, 1996Chrysler CorporationInside door handle toggle release mechanism
US6070998 *Jan 23, 1998Jun 6, 2000General Motors CorporationFiber optic lighting system for vehicle door handle
US6234656 *Aug 20, 1998May 22, 2001Physical Optics CorporationFiber optic luminaire
US6349450 *Jun 20, 2000Feb 26, 2002Donnelly CorporationVehicle door handle
US6550103Jan 15, 2002Apr 22, 2003Donnelly CorporationVehicle door handle
US6854870Jun 28, 2002Feb 15, 2005Donnelly CorporationVehicle handle assembly
US6907643Apr 21, 2003Jun 21, 2005Donnelly CorporationVehicle door handle
US6977619Sep 27, 2002Dec 20, 2005Donnelly CorporationVehicle handle assembly with antenna
US7407203Aug 18, 2005Aug 5, 2008Donnelly CorporationVehicle door handle
US7544319Dec 19, 2005Jun 9, 2009Donnelly CorporationVehicle handle assembly with antenna
US8544904Nov 1, 2010Oct 1, 2013Kindig-It Designs, Inc.Replacement door handle for vehicle
US8786401Dec 22, 2010Jul 22, 2014Magna Mirrors Of America, Inc.Extendable flush door handle for vehicle
DE2946288A1 *Nov 16, 1979May 27, 1981Axel BurgbacherSchliessvorrichtung, insbesondere fuer kraftfahrzeuge
DE3136889A1 *Sep 17, 1981Mar 31, 1983Huelsbeck & FuerstLocking or switching device, especially for motor-vehicle locks
EP0926004A2 *Dec 12, 1998Jun 30, 1999Hella KG Hueck & Co.Lighting device for the area in front of a vehicule
EP0931698A2 *Dec 21, 1998Jul 28, 1999General Motors CorporationFiber optic exterior door handle light
WO2000011398A1 *Aug 20, 1999Mar 2, 2000Physical Optics CorpFiber optic luminaire
Classifications
U.S. Classification315/84, 200/61.74, 292/DIG.370, 200/61.81, 200/61.64, 362/100, 292/DIG.230
International ClassificationF21V8/00, H01H13/08, E05B17/10
Cooperative ClassificationE05B17/10, H01H13/08, Y10S292/23, Y10S292/37, G02B6/0005
European ClassificationG02B6/00L4, E05B17/10, H01H13/08