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The present invention relates in general to electrical switches and receptacles and, specifically, to a remotely controlled switch/receptacle.
Electrical switches operated by remote actuators are well known in the prior art, in addition to switches located in electrical receptacles, for instance I.E.C. receptacle. Such combinations of switches and receptacles are typically utilized in electronic equipment, equivalent to computer equipment. The mixture is mounted on the rear of the equipment cabinet and the switch actuator and the receptacle are arranged side-by-side. Operation of the switch is thus inconvenient and the mixture requires a big area on the rear of the cabinet. Also, the electrical contacts within the switch are separate from the prongs within the receptacle, the contacts and prongs being connected together by wires for instance. However, such relatively long electrical paths are detrimental to radio frequency isolation.
It is an object of the present invention to offer a switch/receptacle assembly which is remotely actuated.
It’s an extra object to provide a remotely controlled switch/receptacle which has optimally short internal electrical paths.
These objects are achieved by a remotely controlled switch/receptacle assembly which has a housing for providing a support having at least a primary section and a second section. A remote actuator has not less than one movable section. A nonlinear motion switch is located in the primary section of the housing and has a one piece movable actuator for making and breaking an electrical connection between at the very least first and second electrical contacts. A cable connects the movable section of the remote actuator to the one piece movable actuator in the nonlinear motion switch. An electrical receptacle is located within the second section of the housing, the receptacle having at the very least a primary electrical prong which has a first end connected to the first electrical contact in the nonlinear motion switch. When the movable section of the remote actuator is moved, the one piece movable actuator of the nonlinear motion switch changes from at the least one switch position to a different switch position, thereby producing a connection or a disconnection between the first and second contacts of the nonlinear motion switch.
In one embodiment of the remotely controlled switch/receptacle assembly the primary and second contacts of the nonlinear motion switch form a first pair of contacts of a plurality of pairs of contacts. The receptacle has not less than a corresponding electrical prong connected to a corresponding first contact in each of the pairs of contacts, each of the prongs having its respective first end extending into the primary section. The nonlinear motion switch generally is a double pole, single throw switch interfaced with a receptacle having no less than two electrical prongs. Alternatively, the nonlinear motion switch is usually a double pole, double throw-switch interfaced with a receptacle having no less than two electrical prongs, the nonlinear motion switch further having a third electrical contact for each pair of contacts, wherein in the switch position disconnecting the primary and second electrical contacts, the primary and third electrical contacts are connected.
The remote actuator has a body containing the movable section attached thereto at a pivot axis, the movable section having at the least a first end removably connected to the cable.
In the popular embodiment the cable has an outer sheath and an inner connector, a primary end of the cable having the outer sheath attached to the body and having the inner connector connected to the first end of the movable section. A second end of the cable is connected to the nonlinear motion switch, the outer sheath being attached to the first section and the inner connector being attached to the one piece movable actuator.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The features of the current invention that are believed to be novel, are set forth with particularity within the appended claims. The invention, along with further objects and advantages, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken along with the accompanying drawings, in the several Figures of which like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:
FIG. 2 is a schematic depiction of an actuator used in the FIG. 1 device;
FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of a receptacle used within the FIG. 1 device;
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a double pole version of the switch utilized in the present invention; and
FIGS. 9A-9D depict another alternative embodiment of the present invention; and
DESCRIPTION OF The popular EMBODIMENT
The current invention has general applicability, but is most advantageously utilized in a switching device as depicted in FIG. 1.
A part of the present invention is a switch, which could also be a rocker switch of a single or double pole configuration. Such switches are generally known as toggle switches. Numerous other sorts of electrical switches might be utilized in the present invention. For instance, a rocker switch having a mechanism of the type disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,814,554 (hereby incorporated by reference) will be utilized. A simplified example of a rocker switch is depicted in FIGS. 1 and three.
As shown in FIG. 1 the remotely controlled switch/receptacle has a means 10 for actuating having at the very least one movable section 12. A means for moving or one piece activating assembly 14 is contained in a rocker switch 16. The activating assembly 14 opens and closes the pair of electrical contacts 18, 20. A cable 22 is provided which has an outer sheath 24 and an inner conductor 26. The cable 22 connects the movable section 12 of the means for actuating 10 to the activating assembly 14 of the switch 16. When the movable section 12 of the means for actuating 10 is moved, the activating assembly 14 within the switch 16 changes from one switch position to another switch position.
Referring now to FIG. 2, the means for actuating or actuator 10 in the preferred embodiment has a housing 30. A movable actuator cap 36 is connected to the movable section 12 and pivots about pivot axis 34. An operator can change the position of the actuator 10 by pressing on the up raised portion of the cap 36. On a first end 38 of the movable section 12 an end of the inner conductor 26 of the cable 22 is attached in a pivotable manner at location 40. The outer sheath 24 of the cable 22 is attained to the housing 30. The flange 42 on the top of the cable 22 allows the cable 22 to be attached to the housing 30 of the actuator 10 without using any tools, the housing 30 being supplied with an open slot 44 for insertion of the cable 22. Also the tip of the inner connector 26 can have an enlarged portion which fits into an opening in the first end 38 of the movable section 12 on the pivot location 40. Thus, assembly and disassembly of the cable 22 from the actuator 10 is easy and quick and does not require the use of any tools. Various other ways of connecting the cable 22, both its inner conductor 26 and outer sheath 24, might be envisioned by one skilled within the art.
As shown in FIG. 3 the switch used in a single embodiment of the current invention is a rocker switch 16. The rocker switch 16 has its first contact 18 connected not only to the one piece movable actuator 14 but also to a first end 50 of a primary electrical prong 52 in an electrical receptacle 56. In a typical embodiment the receptacle 56 has first and second electrical prongs 52. 54 and a ground prong 58, see FIG. 4. The prongs 52, 54 and 58 can have various standardized known configurations for connecting, for instance, to a plug on a power cable (not shown) which supplies AC power to electronic equipment (not shown) via the receptacle 56 and rocker switch 16. On the whole and to more clearly depict the present invention the connection of the prongs to electronic equipment which wouldn’t have associated contacts of the rocker switch 16 will not be depicted, but one skilled within the art would understand that such connections are to be provided. Also the second prong 54 could be connected in the same fashion to a second pair of electrical contacts in the rocker switch, whereby the rocker switch then has a double pole configuration. The rocker switch 16 is contained in a first section 60 of a housing 62 and the receptacle 56 is contained in a second section 64 of the housing 62. A center wall 66 separates the primary and second sections 60, 64 of the housing 62. The primary end 50 of the primary prong 52 extends through the wall 66, first ends of the second prong 54 and the ground prong 58 also extending through the wall 66. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3 an electrical terminal 68 is connected to the bottom prong 58 and isn’t a part of the rocker switch 16. Alternatively, the bottom prong 58 could be attached to a third set of electrical contacts if the rocker switch has a triple pole configuration. The section 64 has an open end 70 to allow connection of an electrical cable to the prongs of the receptacle 56.
FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate the operation of the rocker switch 16 in response to movement of the actuator 10. In a primary switch position (FIG. 5) the electrical contacts 18, 20 are disconnected and the electrical path from the first prong 52 to a terminal 72 connected to the second contact 20 is broken. The terminal 72 could also be electrical connected to a printed circuit board, for instance in computer equipment. In such an application it is very important that the electrical path from the prong 52 to the primary contact 18 be as short as possible to eliminate or reduce radio frequency interference. Also this structure requires a minimum of space on a housing panel of the computer equipment, for the reason that rocker switch 16 is located behind the receptacle 56. Because the rocker switch 16 is remotely actuated, the actuator 10 could be mounted on the front of the pc, while the switch 16 and receptacle 56 have their housing 62 mounted on the rear of the pc. Obviously, many variations are possible and encompassed by the current invention. FIG. 6 illustrates a second switch position of the rocker switch 16 wherein the electrical contacts 18, 20 are contacting each other, thereby establishing an electrical path between the prong 52 and the terminal 72. In this embodiment the one piece movable actuator 14 has a hollow area 13 that contains one end 15 of a spring 17. A second end 19 of the spring 17 surrounds leg 21 of contact support 23. The contact support 23, which carries the primary contact 18, is electrically and pivotally attached to the prong 52 as depicted in FIGS. 5 and 6. Because the one piece movable actuator 14 is moved in a direction from one position to a different, the spring 17 flexes thereby allowing the contact support 23 to move in an opposite direction.
A double throw rocker switch 74 is shown in the choice embodiment depicted in FIG. 7, the switch 74 being shown in a center position wherein the prong 52 in the receptacle 56 is just not connected to either terminal 72 or terminal 76. In one switch position, the electrical contacts 18 and 20 contact each other and an electrical path is established between the prong 52 and the terminal 72. In the other switch position, electrical contacts 78 and 80 contact each other and an electrical path is established between the prong 52 and the terminal 76. The rocker switch 74 can have a double pole, double throw configuration for switching both prongs 52 and 54.
In general the type of switch used in the present invention might be referred to as a nonlinear motion switch, that may be a switch having at the very least one part which moves in a nonlinear fashion. For example, a slide switch wouldn’t be considered a nonlinear motion switch.
Three different alternative embodiments of the current invention are depicted in FIGS. 8A-8D, FIGS. 9A-9D and FIGS. 10A-10D, respectively. It is a feature of the present invention that every one three of those embodiments have a single one-piece housing for the rocker switch and the prongs that form the electrical plug. The rocker switch configuration could be, for instance, a single-throw, single-pole as depicted in the embodiment of FIGS. 8A-8D, or a single-throw, double-pole as depicted in the embodiment of FIGS. 10A-10D.
Within the FIGS. 8A-8D embodiment, three contacts 101, 102, 103 extend from a backside 104 of the housing 62 and are electrically connected to the prongs 52, 54 and 58, respectively. Prong 52 is connected to the contact 101 via the rocker switch 100. Within the FIGS. 9A-9D embodiment, the bottom prong 58 is electrically connected to a forward positioned grounding strip 105.
In FIGS. 10A-10D embodiment, lead wires 106, 107 extend from the backside 105 of the housing 62 and are electrically connected to respective prongs 52 and 54 via rocker switches 108, 198, respectively. The bottom prong 58 is electrically connected to forward positioned grounding strip 105.
The invention isn’t limited to the actual details of the apparatus depicted and other modifications and applications are contemplated. Certain other changes may be make within the above described apparatus without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention herein involved. It is intended, therefore, that the subject material in the above depiction shall be interpreted as illustrative and never in a limiting sense.
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