United States Patent 3790774

Disclosed is an improved ceiling fluorescent luminaire employing a recessed hinged door which supports not only a diffuser or a louver for light control, but the parabolic section reflector as well. The reflector is effective to enhance light output and does not interfere with relamping of the luminaire. The door is openable from either side and totally removable through the use of integral corner clip spring catch hinge members which are disclosed. The light distribution characteristics of the luminaire may be changed simply by removal and replacement of the diffuser or louver in combination with the reflector.

Miller, Jack V. (Sierra Madre, CA)
Galindo, Rudolph D. (Buena Park, CA)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F21V17/10; F21V17/16; (IPC1-7): F21V21/30
Field of Search:
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US Patent References:
3591798LIGHTING FIXTURE1971-07-06Florence
3358138Lay-in closure for lighting fixture1967-12-12Trantina
3264470Framed diffuser plate for a lighting fixture1966-08-02Bodian
3069541Lighting fixture1962-12-18Thomsen et al.

Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Peters Jr., Joseph F.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wagner, John E.
1. A fluorescent luminaire comprising a pan constituting an open bottom elongated box;

2. A fluorescent luminaire comprising a pan constituting an open bottom elongated box;


Recessed fluorescent luminaires have characteristacally comprised a pan or housing having an open bottom designed to be mounted planar with a ceiling and to enclose one or more fluorescent lamps plus associated sockets and ballast. The pan acts as a structural support member for the luminaire and typically its inner surface constitutes the reflector surface for the luminaire. The lower side of the pan usually includes a door hinged at one side which may be opened from the opposite side by releasing a catch in order to allow access to the interior for relamping. The door usually mounts a diffuser or louver which serves to modify the light characteristics of the fluorescent lamps and are to meet the particular requirements of the room to be illuminated.

A typical arrangement commonly found is a pan with the inner surfaces painted with a reflective paint thereby constituting the reflector and an egg crate divider diffuser or louver secured to the lower door. The particular form of diffuser or louver is usually selected as a part of the fixture and thus the optical characteristics of the luminaire are fixed. Even if the diffuser or louver may be removed and exchanged, the reflective characteristic as defined by the pan walls are fixed and are neither changeable nor optimum. In most cases the door portion of the fixture is not removeable without disassembly of the luminaire.

In my patent application, Ser. No. 215,822, filed Jan. 6, 1972, I teach that the optical radiation patterns of fluorescent luminaires, particularly of the ceiling mounted type, may be changed markedly merely by the substitution of different forms of a single type of variable density diffuser.


Given the foregoing background of the invention, I have designed a fluorescent luminaire with a door assembly which mounts interchangeably with diffusers or louvers of any of a number of types and additionally, mounts generally parabolic reflectors. The door assembly is openable from either side and easily removed.

The flexibility in mounting, opening and removing the door is primarily due to a novel fabricated metal part which constitutes a corner for the door, a hinge, a spring mounting and release all in a single member.


The foregoing features of this invention may be more clearly understood from the drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a luminaire employing this invention as viewed from below and to the right;

FIG. 2 is a vertical section through the luminaire of FIG. 1 taken along line 2--2 of FIG. 1 with the door opened from the right hand side;

FIG. 3 is a vertical section through the luminaire of FIG. 1 along lines 3--3 of FIG. 1 with the bottom door opened from the left;

FIG. 4 is an end view of the luminaire of FIG. 1 with the bottom door open from the right and a variety of composite reflector diffuser units which may be installed in the luminaire illustrated.

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view of a corner of the door assembly of luminaire FIG. 1 showing the corner clip member;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the corner clip member of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7a and 7b are bottom views of the corner clip member in its associated relationship with its mounting pin;

FIG. 8 is a graphical representation of typical radiation patterns from the luminaire of FIG. 1 with interchangeable reflector diffuser combinations.


Now referring to FIG. 1, this invention is incorporated in a luminaire 10 including a pan 11 shown as a generally truncated pyramidal shape with edge extensions 12a and b along the longer sides thereof. In this particular case, the truncated pyramid shape is modified to include two steps, the upper step portion 13 designed to enclose a conventional fluorescent lamp ballast as is apparent in FIG. 2 and the larger step portion 14 of sufficient size to enclose one or two fluorescent lamps and associated reflectors. The edge extensions 12a and 12b are designed to mate with the suspension systems for holding the luminaire with the lower surface 15 level with the ceiling. Viewing the luminaire from below, the edge of the pan 11 may be seen and a frame 16 which constitutes the door opening for access to the lamps within. The frame 16 mounts louvers or diffusers as described below. In this particular embodiment the light distribution modifying member consitutes a number of transverse metal louvers 20 extending between the longer sides of the frame 16. These transverse louvers enhance the longitudinal light distribution of a luminaire in accordance with well known practice in lighting art.

In certain cases, the luminaire of FIG. 1 may constitute an air handling fixture, that is, it includes air passages which will allow the distribution of heated or cold air into the room below through a gap between the frame 16 and the lower edge 15 of the pan 11. In case the fixture is not an air handling fixture there is a gap as shown at each end of the luminaire of sufficient size to allow the insertion of the forefinger between the end wall of the lminaire and the frame. This gap is shown in FIG. 7, the purpose of which will be more clearly apparent in further description of this invention.

Now referring to FIG. 2, the luminaire of FIG. 1 appears with the lower door consisting of frame 16 to louver 20 as well as corner hinge 21 and reflector 22 released from the right hand side and dropped partially from the luminaire. The door designated generally as 23 may be dropped to a full vertical position for relamping by removal and replacement of the lamp 24 and to allow the substitution of different reflector louver assemblies as illustrated below in connection with FIG. 4.

It should be noted in FIG. 2 that the major reflector of the luminaire is affixed to the door and is not merely the sidewall of the housing 11 as is customary. A small auxilliary reflector 24 is formed in the upper wall of the housing portion 14 and preferably as a generally parabolic shape. The reflector 22 preferably defines extensions of the parabolic reflector without the necessity of forming such a shape in the outer housing 11. The reflectors 22 carry no structural load and therefore may be light gauge highly polished metal, such as aluminum which would be impractical for the housing. Employing this internal parabolic reflector we have found that luminaires employing this invention produce markedly superior radiation patterns than lamps in which the internal wall of the housing or pan constitue the main reflector. The light weight reflector members also act as the spacers for the plurality of transverse members 20 and in this manner both the louvers 20 and the reflector 22 form a self-supporting structure which need only be secured into the frame 16 by resting on the lower edge or lip of the frame 16.

It is apparent in FIG. 2 that opposite the end clip 21 which acts as hinge is a similar clip 25 having a T-shaped opening 26 therethrough. The clip 25 normally is positioned in the recess 12a and the T-shaped opening 26 can be made to slip over the pin 30, which is secured to the end wall of the housing or pan 11. A similar pin 31 acts as the hinge pin for the end tab 21. The two tabs 21 and 25 are identical, and their arrangement with their associated pins 30 and 31 are identical whereby either tab may act as hinge or release member. This is apparent in FIG. 3 in which the same luminaire assembly 10 has the same door 23 opened in this case at the left hand side rather than the right by release of clip 21 and allowing the clip 25 to rotate around pin 30. Of course, it becomes obvious that by release of all four clips at each of the corners the lower door is easily removed without disturbing either the luminaire pan 11 or the lamp 24. The door is virtually self-supporting until the last of the four hinge clip combinations are released. It is also apparent from an examination of FIG. 2 in connection with FIG. 3 that in a luminous ceiling with a large number of similar luminaires a relamping process is simplified since a ladder positioned generally between the pair of reasonably close luminaires can serve to release the left hand side of one luminaire to change its lamp and the nearer or right hand side of the next luminaire without endangering the operator or unnecessary changes of position of the ladder. These are only minor aspects, but from the maintenance standpoint can be significant.

The change of lamp characteritics is best illustrated in connection with FIG. 4 in combination with FIG. 8. In this case the luminaire 10 of FIG. 4 is shown with the door frame 16 open. It should be noted that the frame 16 is the main structural part of the door 23 and is relatively thin compared with the louver-reflector and diffuser-reflector combinations. Shown to the right in FIG. 4 are three different types of reflector diffuser or louver combinations. FIG. 4b is the transverse louver of the type shown in FIGS. 1-3 with the reflector 22 of generally parabolic shape at the edge. This assembly is self-supporting and the lower edge of reflector 22 is formed into an L-shape retaining portion 31 at each side to engage the internal lip of the frame member 16 as is visible in FIG. 2. This transverse louver in combination with the reflector 22 provides an optical radiation pattern of a generally batwing shape as appears in FIG. 8 as curve 4b.

FIG. 4c shows a louver having longitudinal ribs 40 serving to minimize the transverse radiation of the luminaire. These ribs 40 in combination with the reflector 22 produces a generally cardioid pattern as appears in FIG. 4c in drawing.

Any of a number of flat diffuser panels or lens may be used as substitutes for the louvers and again luminaires according to this invention. A bubble lens of the type disclosed in my copending application, Ser. No. 215,822, filed Jan. 6, 1972, is illustrated in FIG. 4d. This lens produces a radiation pattern of the type shown in FIG. 8 as curve 4d, and also provides the function of obscuring direct view of the lamp.

The ease of inner changeability of louvers and lens in accordance with this invention and ease of replacement of the reflector louver or reflector diffuser combination are for the large part due to the presence of the improved mounting assembly of the door 23. This is illustrated in the fragmentary section of FIG. 5. The two door sections, namely, end extrusion 16a and a side extrusion 16b are shown joined by corner clip 21. The clip defines a right angle with the edges secured within edge groove 41 of the member 16b and 16a. The clip 21 is maintained permanently in place by a series of four spring tabs 42, two of which appear in FIG. 5 which allow the entrance of the spring clip 21 into the groove 41 but make withdrawal virtually impossible by reason of the biting engagement of the edge of the spring tabs 42 against the side wall of the slot 41. In order to ensure a tight corner, the spring clip 21 includes a displaced corner 42 best seen in FIG. 6. This displaced corner 43 forms a bend displaced at a 45° angle from the corner and allows the two corners to make a secure right angle contact. Any distortion or twisting of the door assembled employing this clip is taken in the clip 21 without bending the members 16a and b making up the frame 16. One of the features of the clip is its angular spring portion 44 ending in tab portion 45 having the slot 26 therethrough. The spring portion 44 provides a slight spring mounting for the entire door assembly and the slot 26 mates with the hinge pin 31 of the housing or pan. The tab portion 45 includes a pair of edge finger holds 50 which are used to apply pressure against the spring towards the right angle portion to release the spring portion of clip 21 from its mating hinge pin. From the foregoing it may be seen that I have invented a new form of luminare which employs virtually a parabolic reflector for the lamp or lamps and one which does not require dismantling for relamping of the luminaire. In accordance with this invention, the radiation characteristics of the luminaire may be changed simply by changing the louver reflector or diffuser reflector combination within the frame of the bottom access door. The bottom access door employing the novel corner clip spring latch is openable from either side and may be removed without tools while providing a rugged support for the door when in use.

The above described embodiments of this invention are merely descriptive of its principles and are not to be considered limiting. The scope of this invention instead shall be determined from the scope of the following claims including their equivalents.