US3798394A - Keyboard switch assembly with conductive diaphragm operators and rotary switch operators for adjustably selecting a multidigit number - Google Patents

Keyboard switch assembly with conductive diaphragm operators and rotary switch operators for adjustably selecting a multidigit number Download PDF

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US3798394A
US3798394A US3798394DA US3798394A US 3798394 A US3798394 A US 3798394A US 3798394D A US3798394D A US 3798394DA US 3798394 A US3798394 A US 3798394A
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contacts
wipers
conductors
group
rotor
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R Stokes
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Nokia Bell Labs
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Nokia Bell Labs
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01HELECTRIC SWITCHES; RELAYS; SELECTORS; EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE DEVICES
    • H01H13/00Switches having rectilinearly-movable operating part or parts adapted for pushing or pulling in one direction only, e.g. push-button switch
    • H01H13/70Switches having rectilinearly-movable operating part or parts adapted for pushing or pulling in one direction only, e.g. push-button switch having a plurality of operating members associated with different sets of contacts, e.g. keyboard

Abstract

Different segments or bits of encoded information each of which is represented by signals produced by the connection of a plurality of conductors can be generated by a single encoding device which can be readily modified to interconnect different pluralities of conductors. Lands of conductive material are connected to respective ones of the conductors. A rotor having a plurality of wipers thereon is rotatably mounted with respect to the lands. The wipers simultaneously contact a different plurality of lands depending upon the angular orientation of the rotor with respect to the lands. The wipers are connected by a deformable membrane in response to an operating force thereby interconnecting a plurality of the conductors and proucing signals representing one of the segments of information.

Description

[ Mar. 19, 1974 3 10/1965 Lipps........ 200/11 R x 3 6/1970 Steranko.... 317/101 CM X 11/1961 Bake1s....... 200/8 A X 3 105.123 9/1963 De Fina......... 179/90 B 3 600.528 9/1971 Leposavic........................... 200/5 A Primary ExaminerJames R. Scott Attorney, Agent, or Firm-A. D. Hooper [57] ABSTRACT Different segments or bits of encoded information each of which is represented by signals produced by the connection of a plurality of conductors can be generated by a single encoding device which can be readily modified to interconnect different pluralities of conductors. Lands of conductive material are connected to respective ones of the conductors. A rotor having a plurality of wipers thereon is rotatably I mounted with respect to the lands. The wipers simultaneously contact a different plurality of lands depending upon the angular orientation of the rotor with respect to the lands. The wipers are connected by a deformable membrane in response to an operating force thereby interconnecting a plurality of the conductors and proucing signals representing one of the segments of information.

12 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures CONDUCTIVE CONDUCTIVE DIAPHRAGM OPERATORS AND ROTARY SWITCH OPERATORS FOR ADJUSTABLY SELECTING A MULTIDIGIT NUMBER [75] Inventor: Rembert Ryan Stokes, Middletown,

NJ. [73] Assignee: Bell Telephone Laboratories,

Incorporated, Murry Hill. NJ.

[22] Filed: Oct. 11, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 296,576

[52] U.S. 200/5 A, 200/8 R, 200/11 R, 1 200/159 B,3l7/l01 CM [51] Int. H0lh 13/66, I-10lh 41/14 [58] Field of Search............ 179/90 B, 18 A, 90 BD, 179/90 K; 335/117, 126; 200/8 R, 8 A, 11 R, l1D,1lDA,11G-11K,5 A, 1598, 166 BH, 1 R, 17, 9; 317/101 CM, 101 D [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,138,672 6/1964 Shlesinger, 200/11 R 3.545.079 12/1970 Kossar......,.........:.... 317/101 CM X United States Patent Stokes KEYBOARD SWITCH ASSEMBLY WITH PMENTIEUMAR 1 9 1974 SHEET 1 BF 5 Pmmenm 19 m4 3798.394

SHEET 3 OF 5 FIGS F IG. 6 CONDUCTIVE 42 MEMBRANE KEYBOARD SWITCH ASSEMBLY WITH CONDUCTIVE DIAPHRAGM OPERATORS AND ROTARY SWITCH OPERATORS FOR ADJUSTABLY SELECTING A MULTIDIGIT NUMBER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to signal encoding devices and more particularly to a reprogrammable encoding device for use in keyboards, repertory telephone dialers, and the like.

2. Description of the Prior'Art Much progress has been made in improving the efficiency of apparatus for accessing and utilizing the telephone network. For example, various types of repertory dialers are now available for efficiently and quickly dialing telephone numbers. Improved keyboards and data entry devices are also available for entering data. The copending application of C. J. Hoffman, Ser. No. 175,879 filed Aug. 30, 1971 now US. Pat. No. 3,743,797 and assigned to the assignee of this invention discloses examples of efficient keyboards, repertory dialers, data entry devices, etc.

In the aforementioned apparatus, and particularly those used as repertory dialers, it becomes necessary to provide for changes in the data or information to be initiated or produced by the operation of such apparatus. For example, changes in telephone numbers require corresponding changes in the encoded information within the repertory dialer being used. The means utilized in conventional repertory dialer for changing the encoded information therein are not suitable for use in repertory dialers of thetype disclosed in the previously mentioned copending application. Thus a need remains for a reprogrammable encoding device for use in repertory dialers and the like and particularly repertory dialers formed on printed circuit apparatus.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to improve the flexibility of encoding devices to allow changes in information encoded therein.

A more specific object is to provide an encoding device for use in repertory dialers and the like which can be readily modified to change the information encoded therein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The foregoing objects and others are achieved in accordance with the principles of the invention by the utilization of encoding devices which can be readily moditied to interconnect different conductor pairs which represent different segments or bits of encoded information such as alphanumeric information. The conductors to be interconnected comprise layers in a multilayer printed circuit board. At a plurality of points on the board where information is to be encoded, the layers are selectively connected to respective conductive lands comprising sectors of a commutator. A rotor or rotatable plug having wipers thereon is mounted within the sectors so that the wipers contact selected ones of the sectors thereby determining the conductor pairsto be interconnected. Different commutator pairs can be selected by rotating the rotor to a new position so that the wipers contact a different pair of conductors. The wipers are interconnected, thereby interconnecting the selected conductor pairs and producing the encoded information defined by these pairs, when a conductive diaphragm is deformed to bridge an insulating gap between the wipers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be more fully comprehended in the following detailed description and accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a simple matrix crosspoint switch arrangement wherein segments of encoded information are represented by the respective crosspoints;

FIG. 2 is a representation of a repertory dialer which can utilize the encoding devices of this invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of an encoding device of this invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of an encoding device mounted in a multilayer printed circuit board;

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of a rotor for use in the encoding device of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 4 of a second embodiment of vthe encoding device;

FIG. 7 is a schematic planar representation of the commutator of the device of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of another embodiment of a rotor for use in the encoding device of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a plan view of another embodiment of a rotor for use in a modified version of the device of FIG.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of wipers for use in the rotor of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a schematic planar representation similar to FIG. 7 of a commutator for use with the rotor of FIG. 9; and

FIG. 12 is a schematic representation of a commutator profile for providing a detenting action.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a crosspoint switch arrangement 101 wherein 12 segments or bits of information 102 are encoded in or represented by the 12 crosspoints 103 formed by the intersections of four horizontally disposed conductors H1-l-I4 with three vertically disposed conductors V1-V3. For example, the switch arrangement 101 of FIG. 1 can represent the keyboard of a multifrequency signaling telephone set in which each crosspoint 103 represents a key or button on the telephone keyboard. Pushing of a key connects a horizontal conductor with a vertical conductor to thereby originate the digit represented by the particular conductor pair. In a repertory dialer all digits of the selected telephone numbers are arranged in patterns which permit the digits to be dialed by an abbreviated dialing procedure. For example, in the repertory dialers disclosed in the aforementioned application, Ser. No. 175,879, now US. Pat. No. 3,743,797 the digits of the selected telephone numbers are serially juxtaposed on a printed circuit card so that a number can be dialed by the stroke of a stylus in a designated direction across the area wherein the number is designated on the card. This is illustrated in FIG. 2 as a stroke in the direction of arrow 201 in an area 202 on card 200. The digits of the telephone numbers are encoded in encoding centers 203 containing encoding devices having programmed therein the information represented by one of the crosspoints 103 illustrated in FIG. 1. If encoding devices in accordance with this invention are utilized in the encoding centers 203, the digits of the telephone numbers can be programmed or reencoded to accommodate changes in the telephone numbers. Further, repertory dialers and like apparatus containing desired patterns of coding centers 203 can be mass fabricated and the encoding devices therein can then be programmed for specific applications.

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of an encoding device 300 which can be utilized to encode the information represented by any one of the crosspoints 103 of FIG. 1, and can be utilized in a coding center 203 as shown in FIG. 2. Device 300 includes first and second groups 301 and 302, respectively, of commutator sectors 303 and 304, respectively. Commutator sectors 303 and 304 are essentially lands of conductive material which are connected by conductive paths or pins 305 to respective ones of the conductors. to be interconnected. The specific conductors to which the respective sectors are connected are indicated on the sectors. In the illustrative embodiment, each conductor of the group H1-H4 is connected to one commutator sector 303 in group 301 having an angular dimension or span of slightly less than 90. Each conductor of the group Vl-V3 is connected to four different commutator sectors 304 in group 302 each having an angular dimension of slightly less than 30. The commutator sectors in groups 301 and 302 are arranged in respective circular patterns, with group 301 being disposed around the outside of group 302.

Rotatably mounted within commutator sector groups 301 and 302 is a plug or rotor 310 having thereon first and second wipers 311 and 312, respectively, at an angular separation of approximately 180. Wiper 311 is relatively long and is designed to contact commutator sectors 303. The second wiper 312 is relatively short and is designed to contact commutator sectors 304. Wipers 311 and 312 are separated by an insulating air gap 313 which can he bridged by a conducting member, as will become apparent subsequently, to thereby connect the two conductors with which the wipers are in contact through commutator sectors 303 and 304.

In the position illustrated in FIG. 3 encoding device 300 is programmed to produce the digit or information bit i.e., is programmed to interconnect conductors H4 and V1 when insulating gap 313 is bridged. If rotor 310 is rotated 30, 60, and 90 clockwise device 300 would be encoded with digits 0, and 1, respectively. Thus, it should be apparent that any digit represented by a crosspoint in FIG. 1 can be encoded in device 300 by proper selection of the angular orientation of rotor 310 with respect to commutator sectors 303 and 304. Accordingly, if device 300 is utilized in the encoding centers 203 of repertory dialer 200 to represent digits of telephone numbers, the numbers can be changedby a simple change in the orientation of rotor 310 as indicated above.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view through an encoding device 400 formed in a multilayer printed circuit board 401. Board 401 comprises alternating conductive and insulating layers 402 and 403, respectively, formed by techniques well known in the printed circuit art. Conductive layers 402 can comprise the aforementioned conductors Ill-H4 and Vl-V3 as indicated in the drawing. Board 401 can comprise a plug-in type board which makes contact with other apparatus through a terminal area 404 having a plurality of terminals 405 thereon. Respective terminals 405 are connected to respective conductive layers 402 by plated through holes or pins 406 which selectively establish contact with only one layer 402. In the cross-sectional view, plated through hole or pin 406 connects the conductive layer V3 to the terminal 405 shown in section.

An opening 407 is formed in printed circuit board 401 and commutator sectors 408 and 409 corresonding to sectors 303 and 304, respectively in FIG. 3 are formed around the bottom edge of opening 407. Sectors 408 and 409 are connected to respective ones of conductive layers 402 by plated through holes or pins 410 and 411, respectively. In the cross-sectional view the particular sectors 408 and 409 shown in section are respectively connected to layers H4 and V1. A crosssectional view at a different angular orientation would, of course, show different connections.

Inserted in opening 407 is a rotor 412 having thereon wipers 413 and 414 corresponding to wipers 311 and 312, respectively, of FIG. 3. Rotor 412 can comprise a molding of insulating material such as an appropriate plastic material. Rotor 412 advantageously can have a slot 415 for inserting a tool to rotate rotor 412 with respect to the commutator sectors 408 and 409 and thereby encode different information bits. Rotor 412 is held in position by a retaining plate 416 which can be designed to hold the rotors 412 of all devices 400 used on a particular board 401. Retaining plate 416 can have markings 417 indicating the digit encoded at particular angular orientations of rotor 412. Rotor 412 can have a corresponding pointer 418 for alignment with markings 417.

Wipers 413 and 414, respectively contact commutator sectors 408 and 409 which are connected to respective conductors H4 and V1. Wipers 413 and 414 can be interconnected by a deformable overlaying conductive membrane 420 to bridge insulating gap 421. Membrane 420 advantageously comprises the visible or working surface of board 401, and can have the particular information encoded by device 400 indicated thereon. Membrane 420 can be formed of a conducting material or alternatively can have conductors deposited on the underside of an insulating membrane at locations where encoding devices are located.

FIG. 5 shows an exploded perspective view of a rotor 512 suitable for use as rotor 412 in the device 400 of FIG. 4. Wipers 513 and 514 are mounted in grooves 501 and 502, respectively, on rotor 512 and include contact areas 520 and 521 respectively for contacting the appropriate commutator sectors. Wipers 513 and 514 are formed of a conductive spring material to insure good contact with the commutator sectors. The ends 525 and 526 of wipers 513 and 514, respectively, are folded over the end 527 of rotor 512 and separated from each other by an air gap or spacing. This gap is then bridged by the membrane as previously described to interconnect the wipers.

FIG. 6 discloses an alternative embodiment of an encoding device in which the commutator sectors 608 are arranged around the inner wall surface 609 of opening 601. The conductive layers 602 of board 603 comprising conductors V1-V3 and Hl-l-I4 are selectively brought to inner wall surface 609 where they can be connected to sectors 608 which can be contacted by the vertical edge of wipers 604 and 605. Wipers 604 and 605 are spring loaded against rotor 606 so that a good contact is maintained with the commutator sectors 608.

FIG. 7 schematically illustrates in more detail the commutator pattern utilized in the device of FIG. 6. The pattern is illustrated as if the inner wall surface 609 of opening 601 had been split vertically through the center of the V1" commutator sector illustrated in section in FIG. 6, i.e., the commutator sector 608 connected to conductor V1, and rolled into a flat plane. The left margin and the vertical divisions of the illustration, respectively, show the conductors 701 and the corresponding angular orientations 703 of the associated commutator sectors 702 as measured clockwise around the inner surface 704 from the specified V1 commutator sector. In the embodiment of FIG. 6 wipers 604 and 60S make contact along the complete height or width of surface 609. Thus commutator sector 608 must be arranged so that each wiper 604 and 605 contacts only one sector 608 at a specified time. Accordingly, as illustrated in FIG. 7 the commutator sectors 702 associated with conductors Vl-V3 are arranged in one 180 sector or portion of surface 704, i.e., that portion which would be contacted by wiper 605, and the commutator sectors 702 for conductors Ill-H4 are arranged in the remaining 180 sector which would be contacted by wiper 604. Thus, any possible information bit or segment can be encoded by the device 600 by a rotation of 180 rather than the 360 degrees rotation required by the arrangement of FIG. 3. The respective commutator sectors being contacted by wipers 604 and 605 at any specified time are separated by 180 as was the case with respect to the arrangement in FIG. 3 also.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of another rotor 800 for use in the encoding device 600 of FIG. 6. Two wipers 801 and 802 are mounted within an insulating body 803 in such a manner that the ends of wipers 801 and 802 extend from body 803 to make contact with the commutator sectors along the inner wall surface of the opening in which rotor 800 is mounted.

A rotor 900 shown in FIG. 9 likewise could be used in the encoding device of FIG. 6. Rotor 900.contains two cantilevered wipers 901 and 902 mounted in an insulating body 903. Rounded wiping surfaces 904 and 905, respectively, of wipers 901 and 902 minimize commutator shear forces and the wiper configuration provides radial compliance for rotating rotor 900 with respect to the commutator sectors.

If wipers 801 and 802 of rotor 800 and 901 and 902 of rotor 900 make contact along the full height or width of the respective commutator surface, as discussed with respect to wipers 604 and 605 of FIG. 6, a commutator pattern similar to that shown in FIG. 7 must also be utilized with rotors 800 and 900. FIG. 10 shows two wipers 920 and 921 which can be used in rotor 900 and utilized with a commutator pattern requiring a full 360 of rotation for encoding all possible information bits. Wipers 920 and 921 do not make contact along the full height of the associated commutator surface but instead contact respective annular portions of this surface. Accordingly, commutator sectors associated with conductors Vl-V3 can be arranged in a full 360 pattern around the top of the commutator surface, i.e., the top of surface 609 of FIG. 6, while the sectors associated with conductors H1-I-I4 can be arranged in a 360 pattern around the bottom of the commutator surface.

FIG. 11 is a planar representation similar to FIG. 7 of a commutator pattern for use with wipers 920 and 921. Like numbers are used in FIGS. 7 and 11 to refer to the same elements.

It is often desirable to provide a tactile feedback of the rotation and positioning of a rotor at a specified ori entation to encode a specified information bit. FIG. 12 is a representation of a profile 950 of a commutator surface for use with device 600 of FIG. 6 for providing such feedback. The profile is in the form of a polygon. The commutator sectors can be placed at the intersections 951 of the sides 952 which form detents around the periphery 950 of the commutator profile. The tips of the wipers snap into these detents during rotation of rotor to provide a tactile feedback. The detents also provide a locking force to hold the wipers in a particular encoding position.

The encoding devices described in the foregoing can be made on large multilayer printed circuit sheets and these sheets can be subsequently divided into small printed circuit boards for particular applications. For example, a board having a plurality of rows of seven encoding devices each could be removed from the sheet and utilized as a repertory dialer. The conductive layers within the boards could be connected to appropriate conductors as previously discussed. Boards for other applications such as for generating ASCII coded information bits can be obtained by proper connection of the layers of the boards with the respective lands and proper orientation of the rotors with respect to the lands.

Various modifications to the described embodiments will be readily apparent. For example, a different number of conductors which define a different number of information bits can be utilized. Different orders of coding can also be utilized. For example, each information bit could be defined by the selective interconnection of three conductors rather than two as described. In such case the rotor of the encoding device would require three wipers which would contact commutator sectors within three respective groups. There is no requirement that the wipers be separated by as described in the specific embodiments. Two or more wipers or contacts could be mounted on a single wiper arm.

Various other modifications might be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for generating encoded signals comprising, in combination:

a plurality of conductors each having at least one contact associated therewith;

a rotor rotatably mounted with respect to said contacts and having a plurality of conductive wipers thereon engaging a given group of said contacts, said group being dependent upon the orientation of said rotor with respect to said contacts; and

flexible conductor means disposed over said rotor and being responsive to a force thereon to deform into contact with and interconnect said wipers and thereby interconnect said given group of contacts and said conductors associated therewith to generate said signals.

2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said conductors comprise respective conductive layers in a multilayer printed circuit board, said board includes an aperture therein, said rotor is mounted within said aperture, said contacts are arranged around one edge of said aperture, said wipers have portions extending radially from said rotor at said one edge to engage said contacts, and said flexible conductor means comprises a deformable membrane of conductive material.

3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2 wherein said rotor comprises a first generally cylindrical portion and a second disc shaped portion formed on one end of said first portion and coaxial therewith, said wipers comprise generally Z-shaped conductive members having a center portion and two end portions at approximately right angles to said center portion, said center portions being mounted in longitudinal grooves along the periphery of said first portion of said rotor with one of said end portions extending radially outward from said one end of said first portion and supported by said second portion, the other one of said end portions extending radially inward over the other end of said first portion and spaced from said other end portions of others of said wipers, said aperture extending through said board, said first portion of said rotor being inserted within one end of said aperture so that said one end portion of said wipers engage said contacts; and

said deformable membrane of conductive material is disposed over the other end of said aperture, said membrane being adapted to deflect into said other end in response to said force to contact said other end portions of said wipers and thereby interconnect said conductors. 4. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2 wherein said plurality of conductors comprises first and second groups including three and four conductors, respectively;

said contacts comprise third and fourth groups including l2 and four contacts, respectively, said 12 contacts in said third group being arranged in a first circle about said one edge with said 12 contacts being connected to respective ones of said three conductors in said first group in a repetitive sequence, said four contacts in said fourth group being arranged in a second circle about said one edge and connected to respective ones of said four conductors in said second group, each of said contacts from said fourth group being juxtaposed with a group of three contacts from said third group; said contacts in said third group having an angular dimension of less than 30; and 7 said plurality of wipers comprises two wipers adapted to engage a respective one of said contacts in said third and fourth groups, respectively, so that said wipers engage a different pair of said contacts for each change in said orientation equal to 30.

5. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said conductors comprise respective conductive layers in a multilayer printed circuit board, said board including an opening therein, said rotor is mounted in said opening, said contacts are arranged around the inner wall surface of said opening, said wipers extend from the periphery of said rotor to engage said contacts, and said flexible conductor means comprises a deformable membrane of conductive material.

6. Apparatus in accordance with claim wherein said plurality of conductors comprises first and second groups and said contacts comprise third and fourth groups respectively connected to said first and second groups of conductors; and

said contacts of said third group are arranged in one sector of said inner wall surface in angular spaced relationship, said contacts of said fourth group are arranged in the remaining 180 sector of said inner wall surface in angular spaced relationship, and said plurality of wipers comprises first and second wipers at an angular orientation of 180 with respect to each other, whereby each of said contacts is engaged by a respective one of said wipers for each 180 of rotation of said rotor.

7. Apparatus in accordance with claim 6 wherein said first group of conductors includes three conductors, said third group of contacts includes 12 contacts each comprising a sector of less than 15 within said one 180 sector, said 12 contacts of said third group being connected to respective ones of said three conductors of said first group in a repetitive sequence; and

said second group of conductors includes four conductors, said fourth group of contacts includes four contacts each comprising a sector of less than 45 within said remaining 180 degrees sector, said four contacts of said fourth group being connected to respective ones of said four conductors of said second group so that said wipers engage a different pair of said contacts for each change in said orientation equal to 15.

8. Apparatus in accordance with claim 5 wherein said plurality of conductors comprises first and second groups and said contacts comprise third and fourth groups respectively connected to said first and second groups of conductors;

said third group of contacts is located in a first annular portion of said inner wall surface;

said fourth group of contacts is located in a second annular portion of said inner wall surface juxtaposed with said first annular portion; and

said plurality of wipers comprises first and second wipers adapted to engage contacts within said first and second annular portions, respectively.

9. Apparatus in accordance with claim 8 wherein said first and second groups of conductors include three conductors and four conductors, respectively, said third and fourth groups of contacts comprise 12 contacts and four contacts, respectively, said contacts of said third group each comprises a sector of less than 30 in said first annular portion, said 12 contacts of said third group being connected to respective ones of said three conductors of said first group in a repetitive sequence, said contacts of said fourth group being connected to respective ones of said four conductors of said second group, each of said contacts of said fourth group being juxtaposed with three contacts of said third group so that said wipers engage a different pair of said contacts for each change in said orientation of 30.

10. Apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein said opening comprises a polygon, said contacts are located at the intersections of the sides of said polygon, and said wipers have a radial compliance whereby said surface provides a detenting force for holding said wipers in engagement with said contacts.

11. Apparatus for selectively interconnecting any group of N conductors from a plurality of said conductors in response to an operating force, where N is any positive integer, comprising, in combination:

at least one contact associated with each one of said ing conductors thereon and external contacts assoplurality of conductors; ciated with respective ones of said conductors, said a rotor rotatably mounted with respect to said structure including an aperture therein;

contacts and having N wipers thereon adapted to a rotatable component disposed within said aperture simultaneously engage a given group of N of said and having wipers thereon engaging a given group contacts, said given group of contacts being depenof said contacts, said component having manually dent upon the angular orientation of said rotor with adjustable characteristics providing for the engagerespect to said plurality of contacts, said wipers ment of different ones of said contacts to allow being electrically insulated from each other; and coding of preselected codes in said assembly; and a flexible diaphragm contact disposed over said rotor and responsive to said operating force to deflect aflexible diaphragm contact disposed over said rotatinto engagement with said wipers to connect said able component and adapted for deflection into enwipers and said conductors associated therewith. gagement with said wipers to interconnect said 12. A keyboard assembly comprising, in combinagiven group of contacts and allow selection of a tion: 5 preselected code.

a multilayer structure of printed circuit boards havv

Claims (12)

1. Apparatus for generating encoded signals comprising, in combination: a plurality of conductors each having at least one contact associated therewith; a rotor rotatably mounted with respect to said contacts and having a plurality of conductive wipers thereon engaging a given group of said contacts, said group being dependent upon the orientation of said rotor with respect to said contacts; and flexible conductor means disposed over said rotor and being responsive to a force thereon to deform into contact with and interconnect said wipers and thereby interconnect said given group of contacts and said conductors associated therewith to generate said signals.
2. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said conductors comprise respective conductive layers in a multilayer printed circuit board, said board includes an aperture therein, said rotor is mounted within said aperture, said contacts are arranged around one edge of said aperture, said wipers have portions extending radially from said rotor at said one edge to engage said contacts, and said flexible conductor means comprises a deformable membrane of conductive material.
3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2 wherein said rotor comprises a first generally cylindrical portion and a second disc shaped portion formed on one end of said first portion and coaxial therewith, said wipers comprise generally Z-shaped conductive members having a center portion and two end portions at approximately right angles to said center portion, said center portions being mounted in longitudinal grooves along the periphery of said first portion of said rotor with one of said end portions extending radially outward from said one end of said first portion and supported by said second portion, the other one of said end portions extending radially inward over the other end of said first portion and spaced from said other end portions of others of said wipers, said aperture extending through said board, said first portion of said rotor being inserted within one end of said aperture so that said one end portion of said wipers engage said contacts; and said deformable membrane of conductive material is disposed over the other end of said aperture, said membrane being adapted to deflect into said other end in response to said force to contact said other end portions of said wipers and thereby interconnect said conductors.
4. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2 wherein said plurality of conductors comprises first and second groups including three and four conductors, respectively; said contacts comprise third and fourth groups including 12 and four contacts, respectively, said 12 contacts in said third group being arranged in a first circle about said one edge with said 12 contacts being connected to respective ones of said three conductors in said first group in a repetitive sequence, said four contacts in said fourth group being arranged in a second circle about said one edge and connected to respective ones of said four conductors in said second group, each of said contacts from said fourTh group being juxtaposed with a group of three contacts from said third group; said contacts in said third group having an angular dimension of less than 30*; and said plurality of wipers comprises two wipers adapted to engage a respective one of said contacts in said third and fourth groups, respectively, so that said wipers engage a different pair of said contacts for each change in said orientation equal to 30*.
5. Apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said conductors comprise respective conductive layers in a multilayer printed circuit board, said board including an opening therein, said rotor is mounted in said opening, said contacts are arranged around the inner wall surface of said opening, said wipers extend from the periphery of said rotor to engage said contacts, and said flexible conductor means comprises a deformable membrane of conductive material.
6. Apparatus in accordance with claim 5 wherein said plurality of conductors comprises first and second groups and said contacts comprise third and fourth groups respectively connected to said first and second groups of conductors; and said contacts of said third group are arranged in one 180* sector of said inner wall surface in angular spaced relationship, said contacts of said fourth group are arranged in the remaining 180* sector of said inner wall surface in angular spaced relationship, and said plurality of wipers comprises first and second wipers at an angular orientation of 180* with respect to each other, whereby each of said contacts is engaged by a respective one of said wipers for each 180* of rotation of said rotor.
7. Apparatus in accordance with claim 6 wherein said first group of conductors includes three conductors, said third group of contacts includes 12 contacts each comprising a sector of less than 15* within said one 180* sector, said 12 contacts of said third group being connected to respective ones of said three conductors of said first group in a repetitive sequence; and said second group of conductors includes four conductors, said fourth group of contacts includes four contacts each comprising a sector of less than 45* within said remaining 180* degrees sector, said four contacts of said fourth group being connected to respective ones of said four conductors of said second group so that said wipers engage a different pair of said contacts for each change in said orientation equal to 15*.
8. Apparatus in accordance with claim 5 wherein said plurality of conductors comprises first and second groups and said contacts comprise third and fourth groups respectively connected to said first and second groups of conductors; said third group of contacts is located in a first annular portion of said inner wall surface; said fourth group of contacts is located in a second annular portion of said inner wall surface juxtaposed with said first annular portion; and said plurality of wipers comprises first and second wipers adapted to engage contacts within said first and second annular portions, respectively.
9. Apparatus in accordance with claim 8 wherein said first and second groups of conductors include three conductors and four conductors, respectively, said third and fourth groups of contacts comprise 12 contacts and four contacts, respectively, said contacts of said third group each comprises a sector of less than 30* in said first annular portion, said 12 contacts of said third group being connected to respective ones of said three conductors of said first group in a repetitive sequence, said contacts of said fourth group being connected to respective ones of said four conductors of said second group, each of said contacts of said fourth group being juxtaposed with three contacts of said third group so that said wipers engage a different pair of said contacts for each change in said orientation of 30*.
10. Apparatus in accordance with claim 9 wherein said opening comprises a polygon, said contacts are located at the intersections of the sides of said polygon, and said wipers have a radial compliance whereby said surface provides a detenting force for holding said wipers in engagement with said contacts.
11. Apparatus for selectively interconnecting any group of N conductors from a plurality of said conductors in response to an operating force, where N is any positive integer, comprising, in combination: at least one contact associated with each one of said plurality of conductors; a rotor rotatably mounted with respect to said contacts and having N wipers thereon adapted to simultaneously engage a given group of N of said contacts, said given group of contacts being dependent upon the angular orientation of said rotor with respect to said plurality of contacts, said wipers being electrically insulated from each other; and a flexible diaphragm contact disposed over said rotor and responsive to said operating force to deflect into engagement with said wipers to connect said wipers and said conductors associated therewith.
12. A keyboard assembly comprising, in combination: a multilayer structure of printed circuit boards having conductors thereon and external contacts associated with respective ones of said conductors, said structure including an aperture therein; a rotatable component disposed within said aperture and having wipers thereon engaging a given group of said contacts, said component having manually adjustable characteristics providing for the engagement of different ones of said contacts to allow coding of preselected codes in said assembly; and a flexible diaphragm contact disposed over said rotatable component and adapted for deflection into engagement with said wipers to interconnect said given group of contacts and allow selection of a preselected code.
US3798394A 1972-10-11 1972-10-11 Keyboard switch assembly with conductive diaphragm operators and rotary switch operators for adjustably selecting a multidigit number Expired - Lifetime US3798394A (en)

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US4858174A (en) * 1983-01-03 1989-08-15 Pitney Bowes Inc. Electronic postage meter control system employing a membrane switch mechanism
US20110017507A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Variable Value Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110019375A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-directed pass-through components for printed circuit boards
US20110017505A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Connector Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110017503A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Capacitor Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110017504A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Ferrite Bead Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110019374A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Delay Line Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110017581A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Switch Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110019376A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Filter Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110017502A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Components for Printed Circuit Boards
WO2012099599A1 (en) * 2011-01-21 2012-07-26 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed filter components for printed circuit boards
WO2012099601A1 (en) * 2011-01-21 2012-07-26 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed switch components for printed circuit boards
US20130104394A1 (en) * 2011-08-31 2013-05-02 Keith Bryan Hardin Continuous Extrusion Process for Manufacturing a Z-directed Component for a Printed Circuit Board
CN103314650A (en) * 2011-01-21 2013-09-18 利盟国际有限公司 Z-directed delay line components for printed circuit boards
US8658245B2 (en) 2011-08-31 2014-02-25 Lexmark International, Inc. Spin coat process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board
US8752280B2 (en) 2011-09-30 2014-06-17 Lexmark International, Inc. Extrusion process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board
US8790520B2 (en) 2011-08-31 2014-07-29 Lexmark International, Inc. Die press process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board
US8822838B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2014-09-02 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed printed circuit board components having conductive channels for reducing radiated emissions
US8822840B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2014-09-02 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed printed circuit board components having conductive channels for controlling transmission line impedance
US8830692B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2014-09-09 Lexmark International, Inc. Ball grid array systems for surface mounting an integrated circuit using a Z-directed printed circuit board component
US8912452B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2014-12-16 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed printed circuit board components having different dielectric regions
US9009954B2 (en) 2011-08-31 2015-04-21 Lexmark International, Inc. Process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board using a sacrificial constraining material
US9078374B2 (en) 2011-08-31 2015-07-07 Lexmark International, Inc. Screening process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board

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Cited By (35)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4858174A (en) * 1983-01-03 1989-08-15 Pitney Bowes Inc. Electronic postage meter control system employing a membrane switch mechanism
US8278568B2 (en) 2009-07-23 2012-10-02 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed variable value components for printed circuit boards
US20110019375A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-directed pass-through components for printed circuit boards
US20110017505A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Connector Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110017503A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Capacitor Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110017504A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Ferrite Bead Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110019374A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Delay Line Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110017581A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Switch Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110019376A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Filter Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US20110017502A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US8198547B2 (en) 2009-07-23 2012-06-12 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed pass-through components for printed circuit boards
US8198548B2 (en) 2009-07-23 2012-06-12 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed capacitor components for printed circuit boards
US8829358B2 (en) 2009-07-23 2014-09-09 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed pass-through components for printed circuit boards
US20110017507A1 (en) * 2009-07-23 2011-01-27 Keith Bryan Hardin Z-Directed Variable Value Components for Printed Circuit Boards
US8237061B2 (en) 2009-07-23 2012-08-07 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed filter components for printed circuit boards
US8273996B2 (en) 2009-07-23 2012-09-25 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed connector components for printed circuit boards
US8735734B2 (en) 2009-07-23 2014-05-27 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed delay line components for printed circuit boards
WO2012099601A1 (en) * 2011-01-21 2012-07-26 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed switch components for printed circuit boards
CN103314650A (en) * 2011-01-21 2013-09-18 利盟国际有限公司 Z-directed delay line components for printed circuit boards
CN103329636A (en) * 2011-01-21 2013-09-25 利盟国际有限公司 Z-directed filter components for printed circuit boards
WO2012099599A1 (en) * 2011-01-21 2012-07-26 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed filter components for printed circuit boards
CN103314650B (en) * 2011-01-21 2016-05-25 利盟国际有限公司 z for printed circuit boards to the delay line member
US20130104394A1 (en) * 2011-08-31 2013-05-02 Keith Bryan Hardin Continuous Extrusion Process for Manufacturing a Z-directed Component for a Printed Circuit Board
US8790520B2 (en) 2011-08-31 2014-07-29 Lexmark International, Inc. Die press process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board
US9078374B2 (en) 2011-08-31 2015-07-07 Lexmark International, Inc. Screening process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board
US9009954B2 (en) 2011-08-31 2015-04-21 Lexmark International, Inc. Process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board using a sacrificial constraining material
US20150101742A1 (en) * 2011-08-31 2015-04-16 Lexmark International, Inc. Continuous Extrusion Process for Manufacturing a Z-Directed Component for a Printed Circuit Board
US8658245B2 (en) 2011-08-31 2014-02-25 Lexmark International, Inc. Spin coat process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board
US8943684B2 (en) * 2011-08-31 2015-02-03 Lexmark International, Inc. Continuous extrusion process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board
US9564272B2 (en) * 2011-08-31 2017-02-07 Lexmark International, Inc. Continuous extrusion method for manufacturing a Z-directed component for insertion into a mounting hole in a printed circuit board
US8752280B2 (en) 2011-09-30 2014-06-17 Lexmark International, Inc. Extrusion process for manufacturing a Z-directed component for a printed circuit board
US8830692B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2014-09-09 Lexmark International, Inc. Ball grid array systems for surface mounting an integrated circuit using a Z-directed printed circuit board component
US8822840B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2014-09-02 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed printed circuit board components having conductive channels for controlling transmission line impedance
US8822838B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2014-09-02 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed printed circuit board components having conductive channels for reducing radiated emissions
US8912452B2 (en) 2012-03-29 2014-12-16 Lexmark International, Inc. Z-directed printed circuit board components having different dielectric regions

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