News Column

Patent Issued for Pushbutton Controller with Cutoff Switch

July 16, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- A patent by the inventor Kristen, Martin (Gelsenkirchen, DE), filed on June 13, 2012, was published online on July 1, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8766115 is assigned to Stanzwerk Wetter Sichelschmidt GmbH & Co. KG (Wetter, DE).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A typical recliner is a chair or couch that can move from a neutral or up position into a reclined or comfort position and back into the neutral position. It typically has a built-in manual controller having a housing in which various switches for actuating the electric drive or drives of the recliner are held. These switches are operated by an actuator element and adjust the recliner from the neutral position into the comfort position and back into the neutral position. The built-in controller having a lock for blocking undesired activation, and is connected or connectable to the electric drives and to a power source via a current-conducting cable.

"Using these types of built-in controllers known in the prior art, a recliner adjustable by an electric motor may be adjusted by the user from a neutral position into a comfort position and then back into the neutral position in a particularly convenient manner. For this purpose, the user only has to appropriately activate the built-in controller, resulting in the adjustment by electric motor, typically moving the back between an erect up position to a more horizontal down position.

"To prevent unintentional readjustment of the recliner, built-in controllers are known in the prior art that can prevent the position-control switches from functioning. For this purpose it is known, for example, to provide the built-in controller with an additional key-operated cutoff switch connected in series with the control switches, for example, so that the built-in controller may be operated only by use of the key-operated switch. The built-in controller does not function when blocked by the key-operated switch.

"In another built-in controller known in the prior art, the locking and unlocking occurs by means of a switching contact in a hole or recess, for example, and that may be activated only by using a thin, pointed object in order to enable or block the built-in controller."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "A controller for operating an electric drive of a reclining chair or couch has according to the invention a housing mountable on the chair or couch, a pair of control switches on the housing and connectable to the drive motor to operate same, a locking or cutoff switch on the housing movable between an off position and an on position, and a supply cable extending from the housing and connectable to a electricity source capable of powering and forming with the electric drive. The control switches, and cutoff switch form a circuit interruptible by the cutoff switch so that in the off position of the cutoff switch the control switches are unable to operate the drive and in the on position of the cutoff switch the control switches can operate the drive. A cover shiftable on the cover between a first position setting the cutoff switch in the on position and a second position can set the cutoff switch in the off position.

"Thus, in a built-in controller according to the invention, the switch or switches for controlling the electric motor-driven adjustment of the recliner are blocked or enabled by a cutoff switch operable by twisting the cover of the housing. After adjusting the recliner in the desired position, a user may lock the cutoff switch by simply twisting the cover mounted on the housing in order to prevent further, undesired adjustment of the recliner. The actual activation of the switches for actuating the electric drives is thus interrupted, and is not enabled again until the switching element is activated once more by twisting the cover. In this type of built-in controller according to the invention, no additional means such as a key or an actuator element, for example, has to be kept on hand by the user, since all parts for locking the electric motor-driven adjustment of the recliner are situated on or inside the built-in controller. In addition, intuitive operation with only one hand is possible in a quick and simple manner, so that, for example, use by elderly or physically limited persons is also possible in a quick and simple manner.

"Furthermore, this type of built-in controller is economically and easily manufactured, and has a long service life. This is in part because the switches for actuating the electric drives of the recliner and/or the cutoff switches are microswitches. The use of microswitches for the control switches and/or the cutoff switch allows a particularly compact design of the built-in controller, so that it has only very small dimensions, also in the assembled state.

"In addition, according to the invention the cover is rotatable with respect to the housing, from a first position corresponding to the on position of the cutoff switch into a second position corresponding to the off position of the cutoff switch and back.

"The switch(es) for actuating the electric drives may be operated by slightly twisting the cover with respect to the housing, for example may be enabled by turning clockwise and may be locked by turning counterclockwise.

"In addition, the housing of the built-in controller has a base on which an installation plate is mounted, and the two switches for actuating the electric drives of the recliner are provided on the upper outer face of this plate, while the cutoff switch is sandwiched between this installation plate and the base. Each of the two control switches is covered and operable by a respective push button for actuating the electric drive in respective directions. The housing and the base are of circular shape. A web on the housing on the opposite side from the base in the assembled state is between the two push buttons. The web, the two push buttons, and a collar formed on the housing pass through a central hole or opening of the cover, and in addition a switch finger as a switch actuator is situated or formed on the cover and engages through the housing interior with the cutoff switch.

"With such an arrangement of the control switches for actuating the electric drive and the cutoff switch for interrupting or enabling the switches for actuating the electric drive, an extremely compact design of the built-in controller which occupies only a small volume is achieved. In addition, all electrical parts are located inside a housing which effectively protects them from external influences, for example liquids or the like which accidentally flow over the parts.

"This type of built-in controller may be situated, for example, in the arm rest or in an adjacent part of the recliner near the arm rest, so that the user has access to the switch in any position of the recliner. Alternatively, the built-in controller may also be connected to the recliner by means of a cable for free positioning by the user.

"For particularly simple operation of the electric motor-driven adjustment of the recliner from the neutral position into the comfort position and back into the neutral position, it may particularly preferably be provided that the switches for actuating the electric drive of the recliner are situated on the top side on a printed circuit board forming an installation board to which the contacts of all the switches are soldered, and the cutoff switch which in a first position enables an electric circuit for controlling the electric drive of the recliner, and which in a second position interrupts this electric circuit, is situated on the bottom side between the printed circuit board and the base, on or near the printed circuit board, the printed circuit board being indirectly connected to the base.

"By means of switches arranged in this way, activating the first switch adjusts the recliner from the neutral position into the comfort position, for example, and activating the second switch adjusts the recliner from the comfort position back into the neutral position. The individual control switches are activated by exerting pressure on the switches, for example by a finger of the user. As soon as the user no longer exerts pressure on the switch, the recliner remains in the current position. By activating the cutoff switch, the user is then able to disconnect the control switches for actuating the electric drive, and thus ensure that the recliner is not inadvertently is moved from this position.

"To quickly and easily show the user the particular switching state the cutoff switch is in, it may particularly preferably be provided that one or more lighting means, in particular LED's, is/are situated on the printed circuit board, each of which shines through a respective window in the web of the housing, and is powered from the printed circuit board to signals the particular switching state.

"With the aid of pilot lights arranged in this way, the user may be signaled at any time as to whether the cutoff switch is interrupting or enabling the switches for the electric motor-driven adjustment of the recliner. Thus, the actual state of the cutoff switch is quickly and easily apparent to the user at all times. The pilot lights are of different colors, one color being associated with each switching state of the cutoff switch.

"Thus, for example, a lamp or LED that lights up red may be used for signaling the interruption of the switches for the electric motor-driven adjustment, and a lamp or LED that lights up green, for example, may be used for signaling the enabling of the switches for the electric motor-driven adjustment by the cutoff switch. Thus, by signaling of the appropriate color, the user is quickly and easily notified whether the built-in controller is in the locked position of the cutoff switch or in the enabled position of the cutoff switch.

"It may also particularly preferably be provided that the base is releasably or permanently connected to the housing, for example by screwing, riveting, or clipping. Lastly, it may particularly preferably be provided that the cover is fastened to the housing by a bayonet coupling or a snap lock. By providing a bayonet lock or a snap lock on the housing, the cover may be fastened to the housing, and at the same time, twisting may be performed for locking or unlocking the cutoff switch."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Kristen, Martin. Pushbutton Controller with Cutoff Switch. U.S. Patent Number 8766115, filed June 13, 2012, and published online on July 1, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8766115.PN.&OS=PN/8766115RS=PN/8766115

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Circuit Board, Stanzwerk Wetter Sichelschmidt GmbH & Co. KG.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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