What is claimed as new and desired to be
protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims
1. In a structure of the character indicated, such as a magnetic tape recorder, a combination comprising a support; an elongated control member; a joint installed in said support and mounting said control member for pivotal movement between a plurality of predetermined positions and for lengthwise movement between first and second positions, said control member being movable lengthwise in each of said predetermined positions; biasing means for urging said control member to said first position; locking means including a first portion provided in said support and a second portion provided on said control member and arranged to engage said first portion in said first position of said control member so as to hold the latter against movement between said predetermined positions; indexing means including a first section provided in said support and a second section provided on said control member and cooperating with said first section to yieldably oppose the movements of said control member between said predetermined positions, at least in said second position of said control member and to locate said control member in the selected predetermined position thereof; and at least one controlled unit actuatable by said control member in response to movement of said control member to one of said predetermined positions.
2. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said support is a housing and said control member is a lever having a first portion located within said housing and including said second portion of said locking means and said second section of said indexing means, said lever further having a second portion which extends from said housing and is accessible for manual movement of said lever from said first to said second position against the opposition of said biasing means and thereupon between said predetermined positions against the opposition of said indexing means.
3. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said controlled unit is an electric switch.
4. A combination as defined in claim 1, further comprising motion transmitting means interposed between said control member and said controlled unit and arranged to actuate said controlled unit in response to movement of said control member to said one predetermined position.
5. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said joint is a universal joint.
6. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said first section of said indexing means comprises a plurality of rollers and resilient means for biasing said rollers toward each other, said second section of said indexing means including a homing portion provided on said control member and arranged to move between a pair of said rollers against the opposition of said resilient means in response to pivotal movement of said control member to or from a predetermined position.
7. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said first section of said indexing means comprises a face cam and said second section of said indexing means comprises a follower which tracks said face cam during pivotal movement of said control member between said predetermined positions, said first section further comprising means for biasing said face cam against said follower in all positions of said control member.
8. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said first portion of said locking means comprises a plurality of cavities one for each of said predetermined positions of said control member, and said second portion of said locking means comprises a locking element which extends into the corresponding cavity in each predetermined position of said control member and while said control member assumes said first position thereof.
9. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said first portion of said locking means comprises a plurality of projections and said second portion of said locking means comprises a cupped element which receives selected projections of said first portion in each of said predetermined positions of said locking member and while said locking member assumes said first position.
10. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said predetermined positions include a neutral position and a plurality of additional positions, said locking member being pivotable between said additional positions by moving through said neutral position.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to actuating mechanisms in general, and more particularly to improvements in so-called monocontrol mechanisms wherein a single lever or an analogous control member can initiate and/or terminate a plurality of similar or widely different operations, e.g., by completing and/or opening discrete electric circuits or effecting translatory, angular or other movements of links, gears or analogous motion transmitting parts. Still more particularly, the invention relates to improvements in actuating mechanisms wherein a single control member can be used to select any one of a number of different conditions or settings of an apparatus, machine, instrument or the like by the exertion of a predetermined force, for example, to change the setting of a sound recording and/or reproducing apparatus.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved monocontrol actuating mechanism which can be installed in or assembled with existing or presently known multistatus apparatus to select the status of such apparatus from a single point, with the exertion of a preselected force, and with a high degree of accuracy and reproducibility.
Another object of the invention is to provide a monocontrol actuating mechanism which can be used to change the mechanical and/or electrical status of equipment.
A further object of the invention is to provide a monocontrol actuating mechanism with novel and improved indexing, sealing, locking and mounting means.
The invention is embodied in a structure which can be installed in a magnetic tape recording or reproducing apparatus and comprises a support (e.g., a sealed housing), an elongated control member (such as a lever a portion of which extends from the housing), a joint (preferably a universal joint) installed in or on the support and mounting the control member for pivotal movement between a plurality of predetermined positions and for lengthwise movement between first or idle and second or operative positions, a helical spring or analogous biasing means for urging the control member to the first position (the control member is movable from the first to the second position by overcoming the action of the biasing means in each predetermined position of the control member), locking means including a first portion mounted in the support and a second portion which is provided on the control member and serves to engage the first portion in the first position of the control member so that the latter is held against movement between the predetermined positions, indexing means including a first section mounted in the support and a second section provided on the control member and cooperating with the first section to yieldably oppose movements of the control member between the predetermined positions in the second position of the control member and to locate the control member in a selected predetermined position, and at least one electric switch, gear, link, lever or an analogous controlled unit which is actuatable in response to movement of the control member to one of its predetermined positions. For example, the control member may be pivoted between five different predetermined positions and the apparatus may include four electric switches which are actuated in response to movement of the control member to four of the five predetermined positions. The fifth predetermined position may constitute a neutral position through which the control member must pivot in order to move from or to those predetermined positions in which it actuates the corresponding switches.
The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The improved monocontrol mechanism itself, however, both as to its construction and its mode of operation, together with additional features and advantages thereof, will be best understood upon perusal of the following detailed description of certain specific embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1 is an axial sectional view of a monocontrol mechanism which embodies one form of the invention;
FIG. 2 is an axial sectional view of a second monocontrol mechanism;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view as seen in the direction of arrows from the line III--III of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view as seen in the direction of arrows from the line IV--IV of FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Referring first to FIG. 1, there is shown a monocontrol mechanism which comprises a control member or lever 1 pivotable between five different predetermined positions including a central or neutral position which is indicated by solid lines. The control member is movable relative to a housing or support including two mounting plates 7 and 7a which have registering openings for a receptacle 5 having external threads mating with the internal threads of a mounting fixture 6 provided with a tubular seal 3 secured to the head 1a of the control member 1. The latter further comprises a shank 1b slidably extending through a diametral bore of spherical swivel 4 in the receptacle. A helical spring 2 reacts against the swivel 4 and bears against the head 1a to urge the shank 1b upwardly, as viewed in FIG. 1. The spring 2 is mounted in the interior of the seal 3 and surrounds the shank 1b. A sealing element 6a is interposed between the outer side of the mounting plate 7 and the polygonal lower end portion 6b of the fixture 6. A flange 5a of the receptacle 5 abuts against the inner side of the mounting plate 7a. A lower or inner end portion 5b of the receptacle 5 below the flange 5a has five locking cavities or recesses 9 each of which can receive a complementary locking element 8 at the inner end of the shank 1b.
The shank 1b comprises an extension having a spherical enlargement or link coupling 10 which is located between linkages 15 provided with a cylindrical sleeve 16. The latter receives the link coupling 10 with minimal clearance but allows the shank 1b to more axially or lengthwise between the illustrated first position and a second or operative position. The lowermost or innermost part 11 of the shank 1b constitutes a homing portion or follower which cooperates with an axially movable plain indexing table 12 here shown as a face cam, having in its upper side five indexing cavities 12a and furher comprising a shaft 12b slidably extending into a bushing 14. The indexing table 12 is biased against the homing portion or follower 11 by a helical spring 13 which reacts against the bushing 14.
The parts 5b and 8 constitute two portions of a locking means which can hold the control member 1 against pivotal movement with the swivel 4 of the universal joint 4, 5, when the control member 1 assumes the illustrated first axial position. The parts 12-14 and 11 constitute first and second sections of an indexing means which yieldably opposes pivotal movements of the control member 1 when the latter assumes its second axial position and which locates the control member in a selected predetermined position.
In order to change the angular position of the control member 1, the user depresses the head 1a in the direction indicated by arrow A to stress the spring 2 and to expel the locking element 8 from the central locking cavity 9 in the inner end portion 5b of the receptacle 5. At the same time, the homing portion 11 of the shank 1b depresses the indexing table 12 against the opposition of the spring 13. The shaft 12b is a relatively loose fit in the axial bore of the bushing 14 which is provided with suitable means (e.g., a spline 14a) to hold the table 12 against rotation.
The user thereupon pivots the control member 1 with the swivel 4 (for example, in the direction indicated by arrow B) so as to move the locking element 8 into register with the right-hand cavity 9 of FIG. 1. This causes the homing portion 11 to ride over a ridge or hump 12c on the upper side of the indexing table 12 and to enter the right-hand cavity 12a. The spring 13 yields while the homing portion 11 rides over the ridge 12c and thereupon expands to push the table 12 upwardly so that the right-hand cavity 12a receives and releasably retains the homing portion. In the next step, the user relaxes or terminates the pressure in the direction of arrow A whereby the spring 2 expands and pushes the locking element 8 into the right-hand recess 9. The spring 13 also expands and thus insures that the homing portion 11 remains in the right-hand indexing cavity 12a. The ridge 12c cooperates with the spring 13 to produce a distinct indexing action, i.e., the locking element 8 is in accurate alignment with the right-hand recess 9 as soon as the homing portion 11 snaps into the right-hand indexing cavity 12a.
The locking element 8 preferably constitutes the frustum of a cone which tapers toward the swivel 4 so that it can readily find its way into the registering recess 9 which is bounded by a conical surface. The collar 8a at the lower end of the locking element 8 determines the extent to which the spring 2 can expand when the axial pressure (arrow A) upon the control member 1 is terminated.
The transfer of the locking element 8 from the central recess 9 into the right-hand recess 9 has caused the link coupling 10 to change the position of the linkage 15. The linkage 15 preferably comprises four output members each of which can actuate a switch, rotate a cam, displace a lever or link or initiate another movement and/or operation when the link coupling 10 has been moved in the respective direction. As shown in FIG. 1, the element 15a of the linkage 15 can close an electric switch 17 when the coupling 10 is shifted in the direction indicated by arrow C. Another switch 18 can be closed by an element 15b of the linkage 15 when the coupling 10 is moved in the direction of arrow D, and two additional switches can be closed when the coupling 10 is shifted at right angles to the plane of FIG. 1, either toward or away from the observer. The recesses 9 and the cavities 12a are preferably located at the centers and four corners of two squares so that the distance between the central recess 9 or cavity 12a and any one of the four remaining recesses or cavities 9 is the same.
In moving from a first outer cavity 12a into an adjoining outer cavity, the homing portion 11 may but need not move through the neutral position of FIG. 1. Thus, each of the four "active" settings can be selected indirectly by moving the control member 1 back to and thereupon from the illustrated neutral position or directly by moving the control member to successive active positions.
It is clear that the monocontrol mechanism of FIG. 1 is susceptible of many further modifications. For example, the receptable 5 and/or mounting fixture 6 can be made integral with the housing (mounting plates 7, 7a), the receptacle 5 and the indexing table 12 can be provided with two, three, four, six or more recesses 9 and cavities 12a, the homing portion 11 can be mounted on the shaft 12b (the indexing table is then mounted on the shank 1b), and the linkage 15 can be omitted entirely or in part if the actuated or controlled unit or units (e.g., the switch 17) are mounted sufficiently close to the shank 1b to be actuated directly by the control member 1 in the corresponding predetermined position of the homing portion 11.
The control member 1 can move axially or lengthwise (under or against the action of the spring 2) in each of its five predetermined positions. However, the control member 1 can pivot only when it assumes the second axial position, i.e., when the second portion 8 of the locking means is disengaged from the first portion 5b.
The present invention can be embodied in a portable tape recorder, e.g., for use by military forces under circumstances where the entire apparatus is to be immersed in water. The housing must be waterproof and the sealing elements 6a, 3 (or analogous sealing means) insure that the lengthwise and/or pivotal movements of control member 1 do not allow water or another fluid to penetrate into the housing. If the illustrated monocontrol mechanism is incorporated in a tape recorder, the neutral position of the control member 1 may correspond to the "off" setting of the tape recorder and the four additional predetermined positions of the control member may respectively correspond to the "record," "playback," "fast forward" and "fast rewind" modes. The arrangement may be such that the motor of the tape recorder is automatically arrested during each transition from one mode to another. Thus, the motor will always start on movement of the control member 1 to any one of the four "active" positions, irrespective of the presence or absence of tape. This is desirable in order to insure that the motor can be operated irrespective of eventual tape break or the opening of customary end-of-tape switch.
FIGS. 2 and 4 show a second embodiment of the monocontrol mechanism. All such parts which are identical with or clearly analogous to the corresponding parts of the first monocontrol mechanism are denoted by similar reference characters plus 100. For example, the parts 103, 106, 107 shown in FIG. 2 respectively correspond to the seal 3, fixture 6 and mounting plate 7 of FIG. 1. The top of the head 101a of the control member or lever 101 has a knurled pattern, and this control member further comprises a shank 101b which is slidable in and turnable with the swivel 104 of a universal joint further including the receptacle 105.
The indexing plate 12 is replaced with four indexing rollers 112 cooperating with a stud-shoped homing portion 111 of the shank 101b. The rollers 112 are mounted on the vertical legs of two U-shaped springs 113 installed in a spring mount 114 so as to allow the rollers 112 to yield when the homing portion 111 is moved sideways in response to pivoting of the shank 101b. The springs 113 bias the rollers 112 toward each other (see FIG. 3) so that at least one thereof must be deformed in order to move the homing portion 111 between the neutral or central position (shown by solid lines) and a selected one of the four additional predetermined positions (indicated by broken lines). The spring or springs 113 will snap back as soon as the homing portion 111 reaches the selected position. In fact, the springs 113 will assist the last stage of movement of the homing portion 111 to a new predetermined position by urging the adjacent pair of rollers 112 to move toward each other as soon as the portion 111 has moved beyond the narrowest part of the gap between such adjacent rollers.
The locking element 108 is a cup whose open side faces the inner mounting plate 107a of the housing. The inner end portion 105b of the receptacle 105 has four triangular projections 120 (see FIG. 4) defining a cruciform passage for the shank 101b. The outer sides of the projections 120 are of convex shape having their centers of curvature on the axis of the shank 101b when the control member 101 dwells in its neutral position. The locking element 108 surrounds the projections 120 in the illustrated neutral position to thus hold the control member 101 against pivotal movement when the control member is in undepressed position. When the user applies finger pressure in the direction of arrow A, the locking element 108 is disengaged from the projections 120 and the shank 101b can pivot with the swivel 104 to move the homing portion 111 to one of the four broken-line predetermined positions shown in FIG. 3. If the spring 102 is then allowed to expand, the locking element 108 moves upwardly to assume a position in which it conceals two projections 120 but exposes portions of the other two projections. From then on, the control member 101 cannot pivot but the operator can apply finger pressure (arrow A) to disengage the locking element 108 from the portion 105b of the receptacle 105.
The mode of operation of the monocontrol mechanism of FIGS. 2-4 is analogous to that of the mechanism shown in FIG. 1. In order to change the position of the homing portion 111, the user must move the head 101a in the direction of arrow A to thus disengage the locking element 108 from the inner end portion 105b of the receptacle 105. In the next step, the control member 101 is caused to pivot about an axis passing through the center of the swivel 104 and normal to the axis of the homing portion 111 to thereby shift the linkage 115 which controls one or more switches, gears, link trains or analogous controlled units in a manner as shown in and described in connection with FIG. 1. The homing portion 111 directly engages the linkage 115 in the region between the locking element 108 and the indexing rollers 112. Once the homing portion 111 reaches the selected predetermined position, the pressure upon the head 101a is relaxed or terminated and the spring 108 into engagement with the inner end portion 105b of the receptacle 105.
The bias of the springs 113 is adjustable or the springs 113 can be replaced by softer or harder springs to thus change the resistance which the homing portion 111 encounters in response to pivoting of the control member 101.
The monocontrol mechanism of FIGS. 2-4 is also susceptible of many additional modifications. Thus, the two U-shaped springs 113 can be replaced by a single spring having four prongs, one for each of the indexing rollers 112, or by four discrete springs, one for each roller 112. Furthermore, the homing portion 111 may move between two, three, four, six or more different predetermined positions, depending on the number of mechanical, electrical or other controlled units which are to be actuated or deactivated in response to pivoting of the shank 101b. The locking element 108 and the portion 105b of the receptacle 105 can be replaced by locking means of the type shown in FIG. 1. or the indexing means 111-114 of FIGS. 2-3 can be replaced with the indexing means 11-14 of FIG. 1. The indexing means of FIGS. 2-3 is preferred at this time because it is less expensive than the indexing means of FIG. 1.
An important advantage of the improved monocontrol mechanism is that a single control member suffices to actuate any one of several electrical, mechanical or other units in any desired sequence and in such a way that a selected unit remains actuated or deactivated without any danger of accidental changes in its status. Once the control member is moved to a selected predetermined position, it is held in such predetermined position by the indexing means including the spring 13 or springs 113 as well as by the locking means including the element 8 or 108. The lengthwise movement of control member 1 or 101 in the direction of arrow A is necessary in order to disengage the locking means 5b, 8 or 105b, 108 and the pivotal movement of control member 1 or 101 about an axis defined by the swivel 4 or 104 is necessary to index the homing portion to a different predetermined position and to thereby displace one or more parts of the linkage 15 or 115.
If desired, the spring or springs of the indexing means can be designed and mounted in such a way that the movement of homing portion 11 or 111 to a given predetermined position necessitates the exertion of a smaller or greater effort than the movement to other predetermined position or positions so that the user can select a desired setting without locking at the head 1a or 101a and/or without observing any deals, scales or analogous indicating means on the housing, i.e., by the only expedient of taking into consideration the magnitude of that force which is required to index the homing portion to a selected predetermined position. The number of active predetermined positions of the homing portion depends on the number of units which are to be controlled by the linkage 15 or 115 or analogous motion transmitting means and is limited only by the desired dimensions of the housing which receives the locking indexing and motion transmitting means.
It is further clear that the improved monocontrol mechanism can be used to regulate the operation of a variety of machines, apparatus and/or instruments. Thus, in addition to being useful in magnetic tape recording and/or reproducing apparatus, the monocontrol mechanism can be installed in photographic and copying apparatus, radio and television receivers, control panels of machine tools and/or others.
Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features which fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic and specific aspects of my contribution to the art and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the claims.