Title:
STABILIZED LAMP
United States Patent 3846627


Abstract:
A vehicle mounted stabilized lamp assembly having a housing enclosing a lamp and a supporting frame. The frame is pivotally mounted in the housing on horizontal shafts. Electrical power is supplied to the lamp through tapered brushes contacting the shafts. A dampener is attached to the frame to resist undesirable oscillations. A plurality of weights can be attached to the frame to change the center of gravity and adjust the attitude of the lamp.



Inventors:
CHASTAIN E
Application Number:
05/394840
Publication Date:
11/05/1974
Filing Date:
09/06/1973
Assignee:
CHASTAIN E,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
362/384, 362/486
International Classes:
B60Q1/08; B63B45/02; (IPC1-7): F21V21/20
Field of Search:
240/7
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3636343SELF-LEVELLING VEHICLE LAMPS1972-01-18Martin
2885565Azimuth sensing device1959-05-05Davis
2851586Pivotal headlight assembly for motor vehicles1958-09-09De Lorean
2749431Tiltable tail light1956-06-05Dover
2673966Device consisting of rotatable and extensible means for conducting electrical current1954-03-30Larkin
1490676Automatic headlight control1924-04-15Miller
1435421Electric-lighting fixture1922-11-14Scharff
1217199N/A1917-02-27Matheson et al.



Primary Examiner:
Matthews, Samuel S.
Assistant Examiner:
O'connor E. M.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richards, Harris & Medlock
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. A self-adjusting lamp for mounting on a vehicle comprising a housing for attachment to said vehicle, a focused lamp means mounted in said housing to rotate about a horizontally extending axis, said lamp means mounted with its center of gravity located below said axis whereby said lamp means remains in a preselected attitude with respect to gravitational force as said vehicle moves; and means for varying the position of said center of gravity on said lamp means to alter the preselected attitude of said lamp means.

2. A device as defined in claim 1 where said position varying means comprises a bracket extending horizontally from said lamp means, a plurality of weights, means on the extending end of said bracket for supporting the desired number of said weights.

3. A device as defined in claim 1 additionally comprising a pair of shafts and bearings rotatably supporting said lamp means in said housing, separate brush means resiliently urged in a direction to contact each of said shafts in sliding contact whereby electrical power is supplied to said movable lamp means through said shafts, each of said shafts having a conical portion on one end, and each of said brushes having a countersunk portion which engages a conical portion on one of said shafts whereby said brushes make essentially point contact with said shafts and said brushes are retained in position on said shafts.

4. A device as defined in claim 3 wherein the apex angle of said conical portion is smaller than the apex angle of said countersunk portion.

5. A device as defined in claim 1 additionally comprising a dampener means operatively associated with said lamp means whereby swinging motion of said lamp means is resisted.

6. A device as defined in claim 5 wherein said dampener means is adjustable to vary the dampener forces applied to said lamp means.

7. A self-adjusting lamp for mounting on a vessel comprising a housing mounted on said vessel, said housing defining a sealed chamber, a transparent portion on said housing, a selectively removable wall for allowing access to said chamber, a frame mounted in said chamber, a focused lamp fixed to said frame to direct the lamp beam through said transparent portion, a pair of coaxial shafts extending from opposite sides of said frame and rotatably attached to said housing whereby said frame rotates about a horizontally extending axis, said shafts being positioned so that the center of gravity of said lamp and frame assembly is below the axis of rotation of said shafts whereby said lamp and frame assembly rotates about said axis as said vessel moves and remains in a preselected attitude with respect to the direction of gravitational force, means on said frame for varying the position of said center of gravity of said lamp and frame assembly to vary the attitude thereof, a dampener means connected to said frame whereby swinging motion of said frame is resisted, and separate brush means resiliently urged in a direction to contact each of said shafts whereby electrical power is supplied to said movable lamp means through said shafts, each of said shafts having a conical portion on one end, and each of said brushes having a countersunk portion engaging said conical portion, the apex angle of said conical portion is smaller than the apex angle of said countersunk portion.

Description:
The present invention relates to improvements in directional beam lamps. More particularly, the present invention relates to an improved directional beam lamp and mounting for attachment to a vehicle to maintain the attitude of the lamp fixed during vehicle movement.

In the provision of a directional beam lamp on a vehicle, it is of particular importance to mount the lamp such that it is aimed or directed to illuminate the path in front of the vehicle to reduce the risk of collision with objects in the path. This is of particular importance in the operation of vehicles such as boats in that floating objects, stumps, and other boats create navigational hazards causing damage to the boat and injury to its occupants.

To reduce the navigational dangers, it is desirable to mount a spotlight in a position to illuminate the water in front of the boat during travel. Although such a lamp system adequately performs when a boat is traveling at a constant speed, undesirable results are produced when the boat is operated in rough water or its speed is changed. In these situations the attitude of the boat changes during operation. If the lamp is fixed on the boat, the lamp will be aimed in various directions unless the lamp is continuously adjusted. In addition, during rough water, the boat tends to rock and pitch, causing any lamp fixed to the boat to accordingly rock and pitch, thus minimizing its usefulness.

To solve this problem, various configurations of gravity sensitive lamps have been provided. These lamps remain in a set orientation without regard to changes in the attitude of the boat. These lamps and their frames are pivotally mounted and suitably counterbalanced to cause the lamp to maintain a desired orientation. An example is disclosed in the U.S. Pat. to Taylor, No. 2.921,182, issued Jan. 12, 1960. Nevertheless, other problems not solved by conventional lamps are presented in the provision of lamps on moving vehicles.

Therefore, a need has arisen for an improved stabilized lamp assembly for use on vehicles. In accordance with this need, the present invention provides a stabilized boat lamp having a directional light source. The source is enclosed in a frame and the frame is supported by shafts in a housing to rotate about a horizontal axis extending perpendicular to the normal direction of travel of the vehicle. The frame is provided with a plurality of removable weights for changing the position of the center of gravity of the frame. A dampener is attached between the frame and housing to prevent unnecessary oscillations thereof. Power is supplied to the lamp through the shafts.

The objects and advantages of the improved lamp of the present invention and its particular features will be more clearly explained in the following Detailed Description by reference to the accompanying Drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of the improved lamp stabilizing apparatus of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the rear of the improved lamp stabilizer apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1 with a portion of the housing removed illustrating the interior thereof;

FIG. 3 is a section of the device taken on line 3--3 of FIG. 1 looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 4 is a section of the device taken on line 4--4 of FIG. 2 looking in the direction of the arrows; and

FIGS. 5 and 6 are sectional views similar to FIG. 3 illustrating an apparatus in various attitudes during use.

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, there is illustrated in FIG. 1 a lamp stabilizer assembly, which for purposes of description is identified by reference numeral 10. The assembly 10 has a focused or directional beam lamp therein and provisions for mounting on a vehicle, such as a boat, with the lamp beam set in a desired horizontal direction to illuminate the water in front of the boat without regard to the movement of the boat.

As can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the assembly 10 has a housing 12 with a top 14, bottom 16, rear 18 and two side 20 walls of opaque material. These walls cooperate with a front wall 22 of transparent material to define an enclosed chamber 24. This housing can be fixed to the vehicle to allow the lamp to be directed toward the front.

Within the chamber 24, a sealed beam lamp 26 is mounted to transmit light energy through the front wall 22 in a direction indicated by arrow 28. The lamp 26 is attached to a frame 30 by means of a plurality of screw clamp assemblies 32. These assemblies 32 allow removal of the lamp 26 for replacement as desired.

Attached to the frame 30 are right hand and left hand shafts 34 and 36, respectively, extending from opposite sides of the frame in a direction along an axis 38. The axis 38 extends through the housing 12 in a horizontal direction transverse to the direction of travel of the vehicle.

The shafts 34 and 36 are suitably mounted in a pair of bearings 40 mounted in the side walls 20 to allow rotation of the frame 30 and lamp 26 about the axis 38. The shafts 34 and 36 are attached to the frame 30 at a point horizontally above the center of gravity 37 of the frame so that the frame will tend to remain in one orientation with the center of gravity below axis 38.

The bearings 40 are held in position on the side walls 20 by means of bearing plates 42 which in turn are removably attached to the walls 20 by means of fasteners.

In FIG. 4, the left hand shaft 36 is illustrated inserted into a bore in the frame 30 and is held in position by frictional contact between the shaft and a transversely extending set screw 44. The screw 44 provides a second function in addition to holding the shaft 36 in place in that it provides a means for connecting a conductor 46 to the shaft 36. In addition, the shaft 36 extends through one bearing 40 and into a bore 48 located axially behind the bearing.

A movable brush element 50 is resiliently urged by means of a spring 52 in a direction to contact the end of the shaft 36. The end of shaft 36 has a tapered portion 35 aligned to fit into a countersunk portion 39 in the end of brush 50. The angle of the countersunk portion 39 is greater than the angle of the portion 35, thus essentially providing point contact between the brush and the shaft. This point contact reduces friction forces therebetween to allow free rotational movement of the frame 30. In addition, the portion 39 assists in holding its associated brush 50 in contact with the shaft 36. A small cover 56 is attached by means of fasteners to cover the outer end of bore 48.

Electrical power is supplied to the brush 50 from a power cable 60 through a terminal block 58 and a conductor 54. The brush 50 contacts and conducts the power to the shaft 36 and the conductor 46. The conductor 46 is connected to one terminal of the lamp 26 to supply electrical power thereto.

Although not illustrated, the right hand shaft 34 and its mounting are identical to that of the left hand shaft 36, with the right hand shaft conducting electrical power from conductor 62 to conductor 64. Conductor 62 is in turn connected to a power cable 60 at the terminal block 58 while the conductor 64 is connected to one terminal of the lamp 26. In this manner, electrical power is supplied to the lamp 26 and free rotation of the lamp about shafts 34 and 36 is provided.

A counterbalance bracket 66 is attached to the rear of the frame 30 by a suitable fastener to extend transverse to the frame. A weight 68 in the form of a plurality of washers with a nut and bolt assembly is illustrated affixed to the extending end of the bracket 66. The size of the weight 68 can be changed by adding to or removing washers from the bracket 66 as desired to alter the position of the center of gravity 37 with respect to the lamp and cause the lamp to be aimed in a different direction depending upon the amount of weight placed on the bracket.

In addition, an arm 70 is attached to the rear of the frame 30 above the bracket 66 to extend in the same direction. The arm 70 is pivotally attached at 72 to a piston rod 74 of a dampener assembly 76. The dampener assembly 76 has an adjustment 78 to vary the dampener forces applied thereby. In this manner, as the frame 20 rotates about the axis 38, the dampener 76 will retard motion and prevent swinging or the like during use.

Turning now in particular to FIGS. 3, 5 and 6, the operation of the assembly 10 will be described. In FIG. 3, the apparatus is shown with the lamp directed along an arrow 28 and the housing 12 held in a generally horizontal position.

If this housing 12 were attached to a boat, the boat would tend to tilt during acceleration. This tilting is illustrated in FIG. 5 and in this position, the housing 12 is tilted at an angle A. Due to the fact that the center of gravity 37 is positioned below the axis 38, the frame and lamp assembly will rotate in a counterclockwise direction with respect to the housing to position the lamp in an attitude aimed in the direction of arrow 28.

In a similar manner, when the boat is decelerated or tilted in a forward direction in rough water, as indicated by angle B in FIG. 6, the housing 12 will likewise be rotated. The lamp will rotate in a clockwise direction about axis 38 with respect to the housing to the position illustrated in FIG. 6 with the lamp remaining in an attitude aimed in the direction of the arrow 28. In this manner, the lamp will regain the same attitude during travel of the boat over rough seas or during acceleration or deceleration thereof.

Having thus described the invention, it is to be understood, of course, that other embodiments and alterations may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.