US3311731A - Panel mounted switch housing - Google Patents

Panel mounted switch housing Download PDF

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Publication number
US3311731A
US3311731A US53167266A US3311731A US 3311731 A US3311731 A US 3311731A US 53167266 A US53167266 A US 53167266A US 3311731 A US3311731 A US 3311731A
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Prior art keywords
housing
wing
switch
panel
elements
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Expired - Lifetime
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John A Koepke
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Illinois Tool Works Inc
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Illinois Tool Works Inc
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02BBOARDS, SUBSTATIONS, OR SWITCHING ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE SUPPLY OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02B1/00Frameworks, boards, panels, desks, casings; Details of substations or switching arrangements
    • H02B1/015Boards, panels, desks; Parts thereof or accessories therefor
    • H02B1/04Mounting thereon of switches or of other devices in general, the switch or device having, or being without, casing
    • H02B1/044Mounting through openings
    • H02B1/048Snap mounting

Description

March 28, 1967 J. A. KOEPKE 3,311,731

PANEL MOUNTED SWITCH HOUSING Filed March 4. 1966 INVENTOR.

John A. Keep/re His Aff'ys United States Patent 3,311,731 PANEL MOUNTED SWITCH HOUSING John A. Koeplre, Mount Prospect, TIL, assignor to iliinois Tool Worirs Inc., Chicago, Ill., a corporation of Dela- Ware Filed Mar. 4-, 1966, Ser. No. 531,672 1% Ciaims. (Cl. 200-168) The present invention relates to a panel mounted switch housing, and more particularly, to a snap-in, releasably mounted switch housing for reception by an apertured panel member.

There are several well known structures for mounting a switch housing or other similar body member to an apertured panel. These include such approaches as the provision of apertured flange members on a switch housing, each of which are adapted to underlie an associated panel and receive a fastening element to mount the switch housing to its associated panel as shown, for example, in U.S. Patent No. 3,157,771; a fastening assembly including a threaded neck projecting through a panel aperture which is threadably associated with nut elements as shown, for example in US. Patent No. 3,118,038; and flexible spring steel finger elements, either integral with or attached to the switch housing, which releasably maintain the housing to the panel as is illustrated in US. Patent No. 3,139,- 768. The present invention is an improvement over the mounting structure shown in this last mentioned patent as will become more apparent in the discussion that is to follow.

It is one object of the present invention to provide a switch housing mounting structure which permits snap-in front mounting as well as removal of the structure from an apertured panel.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of a switch housing mounting structure which, in addition to the aforementioned object, provides a reliable fit to panels of differing thickness, even where the apertures of the panels vary in size within predetermined limits.

Yet another object of the present invention is the provision of a switch housing mounting structure which provides, in addition to the above objects, single operation molding of the switch housing and its mounting structure, thus eliminating costly and time consuming assembly problems as well as the number of parts needed to suit the particulars required.

These and other objects and advantages are obtained through the provision of a switch housing made from plastic material having a plurality of integral and flexible wing elements which retain the housing to an apertured panel.

Reference is now made to the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a lighted push button switch assembly having an alternate action mechanism and incorporating the switch housing which is constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary end elevational view illustrating the integral and flexible wing elements projecting from the switch housing adjacent one end thereof;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevational view showing the 'manner in which the switch housing and its wing elements cooperate to retain the switch assembly to an apertured panel;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional View of one of the wing elements and a portion of the switch housing which cooperates therewith; and

FIGS. Sa-b are fragmentary end elevational views, partly in section, showing the manner in which the switch mounting structure can accommodate panels of differing thicknesses.

Mar. 2?, i967 Referring now to the drawing and first to FIG. 1, there will be seen a switch assembly 16 which includes a hollow casing or housing 12 having a pair of switches 14 attached thereto adjacent one end thereof, and a slidably mounted reciprocating pellucid button means 16 which is structurally inter-related to an alternate action mechanism 18 positioned intermediate the switches 14 and the push button 16 to provide alternate actuation and release of the switch actuator buttons 29. For a more detailed description of this particular switch assembly, reference is hereby made to patent application Ser. No. 443,554, filed Mar. 29, 1965, under the name of George I. Bury, and assigned to the same assignee of the present invention.

It will be understood that the switch assembly 19 shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing is intended to represent one typical environment in which the switch casing or housing 12 can be used. Various other embodiments not represented in the drawing and yet which are contemplated by the scope of the attached claims will become apparent upon an understanding of the discussion that is to follow.

As shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing, the switch casing or housing 12 comprises a hollow body member of generally rectangular configuration including four interconnected side walls 22. The exterior shape of the housing may be varied as desired, but preferably comprises a polygonally shaped configuration to prevent rotational movement of the casing or housing 12 when mounted within its panel aperture. Where switch components such as the switches 14 and the alternate action mechanism 18 are to be mounted to the casing or housing 12, there is provided a pair of spaced, downwardly extending side flanges 24 to permit mounting of the switches and the alternate action mechanism 14, 13 respectively therebetween in the manner shown in FIG. 1.

At the upper end of tthe casing or housing 12, a circumferentially extending, laterally outwardly directed shoulder 26 is provided to limit the extent of insertion of the casing within its associated apertured panel as will become more apparent hereinafter. A pair of generally opposed, barrier elements 28 are integrally connected to the shoulder means 26 and extend upwardly therefrom to a point beyond the upper surface of the push button 16 when not depressed or actuated. The slight protruding character of the barrier elements 28 prevents inadvertent operation of closely adjacent switches mounted to an apertured panel by requiring direct engagement of the push button 16 before operation of the switch assembly or device can be effected.

In order to mount the switch casing or housing 12 to an aperture panel, there is provided, in accordance with the teachings of the present invention, at least one pair of generally opposed, integral and flexible wing elements 30 which have a predetermined divergent relationship with respect to the axis of the casing or housing 12. In the form illustrated in the drawing, there is shown two pairs of generally opposed wing elements 39 which are integrally connected to the two longer walls 22 of the rectangularly shaped body member closely adjacent to each of the corners thereof.

Each wing element 32. includes a first portion 32 which extends upwardly and outwardly on a diverging angle with respect to the housing 12, and a second portion which extends upwardly and slightly inwardly from its associated first portion 32. The diiference in the angle of inclination between the first and second portions 32, 34- respectively of each wing element 36 serves to provide a shoulder 36 at the juncture of such portions which can be used as an underlying abutment engaging the rear face of an apertured panel member as will become apparent. While the angle of divergence of the first and second 6 portions 32, 34' respectively of each wing element may be varied within predetermined limits, taking into consideration the type of plastic material used and the thickness of the wing elements, it has been found that in the preferred arrangement each first portion should extend at an angle of approximately 45 with respect to the axis of the housing or body member, and each second portion should be angularly disposed from the first portion at an angle of approximately 150.

At the uppermost extent of each wing element 34), there is preferably provided a radially enlarged bead 38 which terminates short of the laterally outwardly directed shoulder 26 to prevent interference therewith. The radially enlarged bead 38 provided on each of the wing elements 343 affords some lateral strength to each of the wing elements, but is primarily designed to be received within a complementary groove 40 immediately below the laterally outwardly directed shoulder 26 as best seen in FIG. 4. In the embodiment shown, there are four such groove means ill, each of which are aligned with one of the radially enlarged beads 33 on a respective wing element 39. The cooperative engagement of each bead and groove 38, 49 respectively will prevent inadvertent removal or disassociation of the wing elements where they would interfere with either the snap-in mounting or removal of the switch housing or body member. Further, each bead 38 positioned within its associated groove it? will serve as a sliding pivot or fulcrum to enhance the spring action of its wing element 30 as will be described below.

As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 4, there is provided in the illustrated embodiment a laterally outwardly oflset integral projection or shoulder 4-2 which is positioned intermediate each pair of wing elements located on one of the longer side walls 22 of the housing. The rigid projection or shoulder 42 projects outwardly from the housing so that its outer face or surface will be generally aligned with the exterior surface of each adjacent pair of wing element second portions 34 when the radially enlarged beads 38 are received within their complementary grooves 40. In this way, it is possible to provide a snap-in mounting structure where there will be surface contact with the marginal portions surrounding the panel aperture throughout the entire length of the side walls to which the flexible mounting structure is attached. This will also become more apparent hereinafter.

As previously indicated, it is important to form the switch housing 12 and its associated wing elements 30 from a plastic material which has sutficient strength and durability to provide a relatively stable housing which permits repeated application and removal from an apertured panel, and yet which affords sufficient resiliency for the wing elements 319 enabling snap-in mounting and removal of the housing from an apertured panel. It has been found that acctal resins, among others, can provide the above characteristics.

To take advantage of this inherent resiliency so as to provide the desired snap-in mounting characteristics, it is important that each of the wing elements 36 have a predetermined configuration and thickness. The predetermined upward and outward divergent of each wing element first and second portions 32, 34 respectively will provide sufiicient spacing between each wing element and housing so as to permit radial inward flexing of the wing elements during application to an apertured panel. To enhance the flexibility of each wing element 3% a rounded fillet or groove area is provided immediately adjacent to and above each wing elements in the vicinity of its juncture with the housing 12. As will be apparent, the fillet or groove area 44 will provide less resistance to inward flexing of a respective wing element 3t), thus promoting its flexibility. It will also be recognized that the side wall area immediately below and aligned with each of the groove means 4i? is tapered downwardly and inwardly therefrom and intersects the fillet area 44 at a point spaced from the outermost extent of the side wall 22. This will provide a relatively thick side wall for the housing without interfering with the radial inward flexing of each of the wing elements 30.

The housing 12 and the switch components mounted therein are adapted to be inserted within an apertured panel, such as the panel 59 in FIG. 3, wherein the aperture is complementary to the preferred polygonal configuration of the housing 12, but is of a slightly larger size. Inserting the housing 12 within such an aperture will cause the surrounding marginal portions thereof to engage the first portions 32 of each of the wing elements 30 to cause radial inward flexing thereof about the point of juncture of the wing elements with the housing. Inward movement of the wing elements 30 will position the radially enlarged beads 38 within the respective grooves 40 with which they are to be associated so as to prevent inadvertent separation of the wing elements from the housing, particularly where thin panels are used. Movement of the housing 12 is continued until the laterally outwardly directed shoulder 26, which has at least one transverse dimension greater than the panel aperture, engages at least part of the surrounding marginal portions of the aperture. Vthen this occurs, the bead 38 of each wing element 30 will be fully received within its complementary groove 40 so that the outer surface thereof is in substantial alignment with the outer or exterior face of the laterally outwardly directed projection 42 intermediate a pair of spaced groove means on one of the longer side walls. As a result, it is possible to obtain a snap-action or snap-in mounting of the housing and yet provide surface contact throughout the length of one of the longer side walls by the combined effect of the projections 42 and the outer faces or surface of the second portions 34 which engage corresponding marginal portions adjacent the panel aperture.

To facilitate removal of switch housing 12 from the apertured panel, it is important that the distance between the free end of each wing element 36 and the laterally directed shoulder 26 is less than the thickness of the work panel to assure that the marginal portions adjacent the panel aperture engage and maintain the radially enlarged head 38 of each wing element within its respective groove. While the switching housing 12 is mounted within an apertured panel, it is important to prevent inadvertent or accidental removal thereof, and for this purpose, the length of each wing element second portion 34 is preferably greater than the thickness of the aperture panel to enable the shoulder 36 to act as an underlying abutment preventing inadvertent removal.

As readily depicted in FIG. Sa-b, the switch housing 12 of the present invention can be mounted within work panels of differing thicknesses and yet the snap-in mounting and relatively easy withdrawal thereof can still be effected. The panel member 52 illustrated in FIG. 5a is substantially twice the thickness of panel member 54 shown in FIG. 512, but this will not affect the application and removal of the switch housing.

From the foregoing it will now be apparent that the present invention contemplates a flexible mounting structure for a switch housing or the like permitting easy application and removal to apertured panels of dilfering thicknesses while providing a relatively stable mounting and secure fit when the housing is in applied position. The single operation molding of the switch housing eliminates secondary assembly operations and provides a relatively low cost item which is also of good reliability and relatively long life. While only a single illustrated embodiment has been shown in the drawing, it is apparent that modifications and variations therefrom as contemplated by the claims are possible. By way of example, the mounting structure for the switch housing can be employed in connection with the individual switches which are shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing or with any other structure which is to be mounted through an apertured panel. It is also obvious and intended herein that il ma y her structural details as shown and described may be changed without departing from the spirit and the scope of the appended claims.

i claim:

1. A one-piece switch housing made from a plastic material having resilient characteristics and adapted to receive switch components for assembly to an apertured panel, said switch housing comprising a substantially rigid hollow body member having at least a pair of exteriorly disposed, integral wing elements arranged on said body member in generally opposed relationship, said body member being imperforate in the vicinity of said wing elements, each wing element disposed at a predetermined divergent angle from its juncture with said body member and terminating in a free end located beneath a laterally outwardly directed shoulder of said body member, each wing element designed to provide shoulder means for engaging the complementary apertured panel with which it is adapted to be associated, the thickness of each wing element being sutficiently less than the thickness of said body member to cause radial inward fiexing of said wing elements upon passing through the aperture of said panel for spring retention of said switch housing against marginal portions surrounding the panel aperture, the laterally outwardly directed shoulder of said switch housing being in engagement with said apertured panel when completely assembled thereto.

2. The switch housing as set forth in claim 1 wherein the distance between the free end of each wing element and the laterally directed shoulder of said body member is less than the thickness of the work panel to cause each free end to be engaged by surrounding marginal portions of the panel aperture.

3. The switch housing as set forth in claim 1 wherein each wing element includes a first and a second portion, each first portion extending upwardly and outwardly at a diverging angle with respect to said body member, each second portion extending upwardly and slightly inwardly from said first portion and terminating in a radially enlarged head.

4. The switch housing as set forth in claim 3 wherein each first portion extends at an angle of approximately 45 with respect to the axis of said body member, and each second portion is angularly disposed from said first portion at an angle of approximately 150.

5. The switch housing as set forth in claim 3 wherein said body member includes a groove means immediately below the laterally directed shoulder of said body member for receiving the radially enlarged body provided on each of said wing elements.

6. The switch housing as set forth in claim 3 wherein the length of each second portion is greater than the thickness of the apertured panel whereby the juncture of the first and second portions of each wing element serves as an underlying shoulder preventing ready removal of said switch housing from said apertured panel.

7. The switch housing as set forth in claim 1 and including a fillet area immediately adjacent to and above each wing element to facilitate radial inward flexing thereof.

8. The switch housing as set forth in claim 1 and including two pairs of wing elements substantailly arranged in quadrature relationship on said body member.

9. The switch housing as set forth in claim 6 including two pairs of wing elements substantially arranged in quadrature relation on said body member, and a laterally outwardly offset shoulder positioned between each pair of wing elements on one side of said body member to enable the radially enlarged bead of each wing element to be received within its respective groove means with the laterally outwardly directed shoulder engaging marginal portions surrounding the panel aperture to provide surface contact across the entire area between and including each pair of wing elements arranged on opposite sides of the body member.

10. The switch housing as set forth in claim 1 wherein the hollow body member and said panel aperture have complementary polygonal configurations.

References Qited by the UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,931,006 3/1960 Klumpp 200-l68 3,223,813 12/1965 Lewandowski 2()0168 3,249,726 5/1966 Long 200168 3,273,104 9/1966 Krol 200168 ROBERT K. SCHAEFFER, Primary Examiner. H. O. JONES, Assistant Examiner.

Claims (1)

1. A ONE-PIECE SWITCH HOUSING MADE FROM A PLASTIC MATERIAL HAVING RESILIENT CHARACTERISTIC AND ADAPTED TO RECEIVE SWITCH COMPONENTS FOR ASSEMBLY TO AN APERTURED PANEL, SAID SWITCH HOUSING COMPRISING A SUBSTANTIALLY RIGID HOLLOW BODY MEMBER HAVING AT LEAST AW PAIR OF EXTERIORLY DISPOSED, INTERGRAL WING ELEMENTS ARRANGED ON SAID BODY MEMBER IN GENERALLY OPPOSED RELATIONSHIP, SAID BODY MEMBER BEING IMPERFORATE IN THE VICINITY OF SAID WING ELEMENTS, EACH WING ELEMENT DISPOSED AT A PREDETERMINED DIVERGENT ANGLE FROM ITS JUNCTURE WITH SAID BODY MEMBER AND TERMINATING IN A FREE END LOCATED BENEATH A LATERALLY OUTWARDLY DIRECTED SHOULDER OF SAID BODY MEMBER, EACH WING ELEMENT DESIGNED TO PROVIDE SHOULDER MEANS FOR ENGAGING THE COMPLEMENTARY APERTURED PANEL WITH WHICH IT IS ADAPTED TO BE ASSOCIATED, THE THICKNESS OF EACH WING ELEMENT BEING SUFFICIENTLY LESS THAN THE THICKNESS OF SAID BODY
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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3706869A (en) * 1972-03-24 1972-12-19 Carling Electric Inc Multiple wing switch case
US4327264A (en) * 1977-04-29 1982-04-27 Itt Industries, Inc. Fastening device for a switch
US4687164A (en) * 1983-12-01 1987-08-18 Mechanical Products, Inc. Snap-in bushing
US4939327A (en) * 1988-10-31 1990-07-03 Acer Incorporated Keyboard switch

Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2931006A (en) * 1958-10-16 1960-03-29 Heyman Mfg Company Multiple disconnect junction-terminal bushing
US3223813A (en) * 1963-07-02 1965-12-14 Oak Mfg Co Plunger switch having contacts readily convertible between normally open and normally closed positions
US3249726A (en) * 1962-02-15 1966-05-03 Wade Electric Products Co Push button door switch
US3273104A (en) * 1964-07-21 1966-09-13 United Carr Inc Electrical connector unit with snap-in fastener means

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2931006A (en) * 1958-10-16 1960-03-29 Heyman Mfg Company Multiple disconnect junction-terminal bushing
US3249726A (en) * 1962-02-15 1966-05-03 Wade Electric Products Co Push button door switch
US3223813A (en) * 1963-07-02 1965-12-14 Oak Mfg Co Plunger switch having contacts readily convertible between normally open and normally closed positions
US3273104A (en) * 1964-07-21 1966-09-13 United Carr Inc Electrical connector unit with snap-in fastener means

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3706869A (en) * 1972-03-24 1972-12-19 Carling Electric Inc Multiple wing switch case
US4327264A (en) * 1977-04-29 1982-04-27 Itt Industries, Inc. Fastening device for a switch
US4687164A (en) * 1983-12-01 1987-08-18 Mechanical Products, Inc. Snap-in bushing
US4939327A (en) * 1988-10-31 1990-07-03 Acer Incorporated Keyboard switch

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