US 3769481 A
The illustrated push-button switch comprises fixed contacts which are adapted to be connected together by a contactor operated by the push button. The switch may be employed to short circuit the ignition of a vehicle engine so as to stop the engine. The switch has the additional function of automatically stopping the engine if the operator falls off the vehicle. To accomplish this additional function, a cord or the like is provided between the operator's body and a safety member removably mounted on the switch. Normally, the safety member prevents a spring contactor from forming a bridge between the contacts. When the safety member is withdrawn, the spring contactor engages one or more of the contacts and closes the circuit therebetween so as to stop the engine.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1 1 COMBINED ELECTRICAL CONTROL AND SAFETY SWITCH FOR VEHICLES  Inventor: Andrew F. Raab, Morton Grove, Ill.
 Assignee: Indak Manufacturing Corp.,
 Filed: May 10, 1972  Appl. N0.: 252,310
 US. Cl. 200/161, 180/82 R, 200/153 M, 200/157  Int. Cl. 1101b 17/10, l-IOlh 27/04  Field of Search 200/161, 153 M, 157, 200/61.85, 61.19, 83 Z; 180/77 R, 82 R, 103; 123/198 DC  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,991,939 2/1935 Howsam 200/153 M UX 3,062,326 11/1962 Jones et al.... 200/161 UX 2,844,675 7/1958 Edgar ZOO/61.19 2,331,826 10/1943 Davenport.... 200/83 Z UX 2,722,575 11/1955 Dobkins 180/82 R UX FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 817,542 9/1937 France 200/83 2.
[ Oct. 30, 1973 Primary Examiner-Robert K. Schaefer Assistant ExaminerRobert A. Vanderhye Att0rney-Marshal1 A. Burmeister et a1.
 ABSTRACT The illustrated push-button switch comprises fixed contacts which are adapted to be connected together by a contactor operated by the push button. The switch may be employed to short circuit the ignition of a vehicle engine so as to stop the engine. The switch has the additional function of automatically stopping the engine if the operator falls off the vehicle. To accomplish this additional function, a cord or the like is provided between the operator's body and a safety member removably mounted on the switch. Normally, the safety member prevents a spring contactor from forming a bridge between the contacts. When the safety member is withdrawn, the spring contactor engages one or more of the contacts and closes the circuit therebetween so as to stop the engine.
3 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures COMBINED ELECTRICAL CONTROL AND SAFETY SWITCH FOR VEHICLES This invention relates to a safety switch which will find various applications, but is particularly advantageous for stopping the engine of a snowmobile or some other vehicle if the operator falls off the vehicle.
It sometimes happens that the operator of a snowmobile may fall off the vehicle, particularly during a snowmobile race. Usually, the riderless snowmobile stops by itself without causing any damage. However, occasionally the throttle control of the snowmobile may stick in the open or partially open position, in which case the riderless snowmobile may continue to travel until it runs into something.
In accordance with the present invention, a safety switch is provided which is capable of automatically stopping the engine of a snowmobile or other vehicle, if the rider should fall off the vehicle. This is accomplished by connecting a cord or the like between the operators body and a removable safety member on the switch.
If the operator falls off the vehicle, the safety member is pulled out of the switch by the cord. The switch is constructed so that the removal of the safety member causes the switch to perform a switching function which has the effect of stopping the engine of the vehicle. For example, the engine may be stopped by short circuiting the ignition circuit. The switching function may be performed by a spring or other resilient means adapted to operate a contactor when the safety member is withdrawn. When the safety member is in place on the switch, it prevents the contactor from completing the switching function.
It is advantageous to combine the safety switch with a manually operable switch for stopping the engine of the vehicle. Such manually operable switch is preferably of the push-button type. The push button may be operated to open and close the circuit between the contacts of the switch. When the safety member is withdrawn, the safety contactor short circuits the contacts or performs some other function which is effective to stop the engine of the vehicle.
Further objects, advantages and features of the present invention will appear from the following description, taken with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 are three different elevational views of a switch to be described as an illustrative embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the switch.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged elevation partially in section along the line 55 in FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5, but with the safety member removed.
FIG. 7 is a sectional view, taken generally along the broken line 77 in FIG. 5.
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 7, but with the safet member removed.
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the spring contactor which is engageable by the safety member.
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the safety member.
As just indicated, the drawings illustrate an electrical switch 12 which will find many applications, but is especially well adapted for use as a stopping switch for a snowmobile or some other vehicle. The illustrated switch is adapted to perform a switching function which stops the engine of the vehicle. This may be done, for example, by short circuiting the breaker points or the magneto circuits in the ignition system 13a of the engine 13b (FIG. 8).
The illustrated switch 12 has a casing 14 to which a mounting bracket 16 is secured. In this case, the mounting bracket 16 is in the form of a clamp'which may be employed to mount the switch on the handlebar or tiller 18 of the vehicle. The bracket or clamp 16 is provided with a screw 20 for tightening the clamp.
The illustrated switch 12 is of the push-action type, although it may assume various forms. Thus, the illustrated switch comprises a push button 22 which may be pushed downwardly and is spring returned upwardly. The switch 12 may be of the momentary switching type, but preferably is of the push-push type in which the switch is operated between two different switching states by successive depressions of the push button 22.
As shown, the switch 12 has a flexible boot 24 which is mounted between the push button 22 and the casing 14 to provide an effective seal against the entrance of moisture, dust or other foreign material into the casing 14. The boot 24 is preferably made of natural or synthetic rubber, a flexible plastic material or the like.
When the push button 22 is depressed, the boot 24 bulges outwardly, as shown in FIG. 2, to form an outwardly projecting annular convolution 26. The presence of the convolution 26 serves as an indication that the push button 22 is in its depressed or partially depressed position representing one of the two switching states of the switch.
From FIG. 2 it will be evident that the mounting bracket 16 has a diagrammatic illustration or marking 28 thereon which indicates that the partially depressed position of the push button 22 is the OFF position. A second diagrammatic illustration or marking 30 indicates that the fully extended position of the push button 22 is the ON position.
Theillustrated switch 12 includes a safety member 32 which is normally inserted into the casing 14, but may be withdrawn by pulling the safety member 32 away from the casing. For this purpose, the safety member 32 has an external formation 34 to which a cord, line or other tension member 36 may be connected. It will be seen that an opening 38 extends through the connecting formation 34 of the safety member 32. The tension member 36 may be inserted through the opening 38 or may be connected to a ring 40 which extends through the opening 38.
When the safety member 32 is withdrawn from the casing 14, the switch 12 performs a switching function which has the effect ofstopping the engine of the vehicle. The cord or tension member 36 may be connected to the clothing or body of the operator so that the safety member 32 will be withdrawn automatically, if the operator should fall off the vehicle. The engine will then be stopped so that the vehicle will come to a halt.
As shown in FIGS. 5-8, the illustrated switch 12 comprises a plurality of contact elements which are adapted to be connected to the ignition system 13a by a plurality of leads or conductors. In the illustrated switch, the contact elements take the form of three contacts 41, 42 and 43 which are mounted on an insulating member 44 within the casing 14. As shown,'the casing 14 has a closure member 46 which encloses and conceals the member 44. Leads or conductors 51, 52 and 53 are connected to the contacts 4-1-43. It will be seen from FIG. 8 that the leads 51-53 are adapted to be connected to the ignition system 13a.
In the illustrated construction, the contacts 41-43 are adapted to be engaged by a movable contactor 54 connected to the push button 22 and movable therewith. The illustrated contactor 54 is in the form of a conductive disc which is mounted on a shaft or pin 56 secured to the push button 22. The illustrated pin 56 has an enlarged generally cylindrical end portion 58 which is slidably guided in an opening 60 formed in the insulating member 44.
As shown, a coil spring 62 is mounted around the pin 56 to bias the contactor disc 54 against the enlarged end portion 58 of the pin. When the push button 22 is depressed, the contactor disc 54 engages the contacts 41-43 and forms a conductive bridge or circuit therebetween. The spring 62 is adapted to yield and to develop spring pressure between the contactor 54 and the contacts 41-43. It will be understood that there may be only two contacts, rather than three, and that a larger number of contacts may be employed, if desired.
The illustrated safety member 32 is in the form of a pin having a portion 64 adapted to be inserted into the casing 14 through an opening or slot 66 therein. As shown, the insertable portion 64 of the pin or member 32 is tapered, although it may assume various forms.
The safety member or pin 32 is adapted to perform a-control function in that a switching operation involving the contacts 4l-43 is performed by the removal of the member 32 from the switch. Such switching operation may comprise either the closing or opening of the circuits involving the contacts 4l-43. In this case, the removal of the pin 32 has the effect of closing such circuits; When the pin 32 is reinserted, the circuits are opened.
In the illustrated switch 12, the closure of the circuits between the contacts 41-43 is brought about by resilient contactor means 70 illustrated as comprising two leaf springs 71 and 72 preferably formed in one piece of a conductive, resilient material such as spring brass, bronze or some other suitable material.
It will be seen from FIGS. -8 that the illustrated contactor means 70 is connected to the contact 41 and is resiliently engageable with the contacts 42 and 43. The illustrated contacts 41-43 are in the form of rivets which extend through the insulating support 44.The contactor 70 is clamped against the insulating support 44 by the contact rivet 41. The leaf springs 7land 72 are engageable with shoulders or flanges 74 formed on the contact rivets '42 and 43.
The illustrated leaf springs 71 and 72 have camming end portions or ramps 76 and 77 which are engaged by the insertable portion 64 of the pin 32 when it is inserted into the opening 66. The insertable portion 64 displaces the leaf springs 71 and 72 so that they are moved out of engagement with the shoulders 74 on the contacts 42 and 43. In this way, the leaf springs 71 and 72 are prevented from forming closed circuits between the contact 41 and the contacts 42 and 43.
As illustrated to best advantage in FIGS. 7 and 10, it is preferred to form laterally extending detent projections 78 on the opposite sides of the insertable portion 64 of the pin 32. The detent projections 78 provide frictional interference with the sides of the opening 66 so that the pin 32 is not likely to be withdrawn accidentally from the switch.
In the illustrated construction, a slot or opening 80 is formed in the insertable portion 64 of the pin 32 adjacent the detent projections 78 to impart yieldability or 2 springiness to the insertable portion 64 in the locality of the detent projections. Such yieldability obviates the possibility that the detent projections 78 may develop excessive resistance to the removal of the pin 32 from the switch.
In actual use, the cord or other tension member 36 is connected to the safety pin or control member 32 and is tied or otherwise fastened around the body of the person who is to operate the snowmobile or other vehicle. The tension member 36 may also be fastened to the clothing of the operator. If the operator should happen to fall off the snowmobile, the resulting pull on the cord 36 causes the removal of the pin 32 from the switch 12. The leaf springs 71 and 72 then spring upwardly so as to engage the flanges 74 on the contacts 42 and 43. In this way, all three contacts 41-43 are connected together, which has the effect of short circuiting the ignition system 13a of the snowmobile. Thus, the engine 13b is stopped so that the riderless snowmobile is brought to a halt. It will be evident that the safety switch of the present invention minimizes the chance that the snowmobile will become involved in a collision, if the rider falls off the vehicle.
The engine of the snowmobile can be stopped at any time by depressing the push button 22, which causes the contactor 54 to short circuit the contacts 41-43 so that the ignition system 13a is disabled. During normal operation, the switch 12 is operated manually to its open state so that the contactor 54 is out of engagement with the contacts 41-43.
Various modifications, alternative constructions and equivalents may be employed, as will be evident to those skilled in the art.
1. A combined electrical control and safety switch,
comprising a casing,
first and second electrically conductive contacts mounted in said casing,
each of said contacts having an enlarged head with a contact point at one end thereof,
a main conductive contactor movable in said easing into engagement with both of said contact points to form a closed circuit therebetween,
movable control means on said casing for operating said main contactor,
a conductive spring contactor mounted on said first contact between said head thereof and said casing,
said head of said second contact having a flange surface on the opposite side of said head from said contact point thereon,
said spring contactor being movable into and out of engagement with said flange surface to form a selectively operable electrical connection therebetween,
said spring contactor being spring biased toward engagement with said flange surface,
said casing having an opening therein,
and a safety member removably mounted in said opening,
said safety member being movable against said spring contactor to shift said spring contactor away from said flange surface on said second contact when said safety member is mounted in said opening.
2. A switch according to claim 1,
including a third contact mounted in said casing and having an enlarged head with a contact point at one tional spring contactor element to shift said additional spring contactor element away from said flange surface on said third contact when said safety member is mounted in said opening.
3. A switch according to claim 2,
including a spring sheet metal member,
said spring contactor. and said additional spring contactor element being in the form of leaf spring arms on said metal member.