Title:
License plate cord winder with universal mount and ratchet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to an improved cord-winding device universally mountable to any front or rear North-American-style license plate bracket, accommodating all electrical devices, which require a 120 VAC power supply for a vehicle. The present winder includes a storage reel with a spiral coil return spring, a connection box, a male cord housing, a cord hatch and mounting holes, a closure plate and a universal mounting plate. A cord with a female receptacle extends from the housing to allow electrical connections to be made in a place well away from weather exposure such as engine or rear compartment. The universal license plate cord winder can thereby be mounted either from the top or the bottom of housing without compromising the structural integrity of the attachment while maintaining a water tightness required by such a device. A ratchet is provided to control the retraction of the male cord.



Inventors:
Naneff, Alexander Staiko (Sudbury, CA)
Ducharme, Bruno (Chelmsford, CA)
Desormeaux, Donald (Coniston, CA)
Application Number:
10/978997
Publication Date:
07/28/2005
Filing Date:
11/02/2004
Assignee:
NANEFF ALEXANDER S.
DUCHARME BRUNO
DESORMEAUX DONALD
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B60R13/10; B65H75/42; H02G11/02; (IPC1-7): B65H75/48
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LE, MARK T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALEXANDER S. NANEFF (Sudbury, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. A retractable electrical cord winder for a vehicle comprising: a) A water resistant multi-compartment housing adapted to be mounted with a vehicle license plate, b) A pair of electrical cords adapted for connection between the said winder and both a vehicle and a remote source of power wherein a first one of said cords is extensible from and retractable within said housing, c) A rotatable first cord storage reel mounted in a central housing compartment for rotation about an axis in the direction of travel of the vehicle, d) Said housing including a internal storage compartment adapted for storage of the connector end of said first electrical cord and further adapted to pass the said first cord from the exterior of the said housing through the said storage compartment and into said central compartment upon retraction, e) Spring means adapted to urge said reel and said first cord into a fully retracted condition,

2. A winder as claimed in claim 1 further comprising sealing means between said central compartment and said storage compartment.

3. A winder as claimed in claim 2 wherein said sealing means is adapted to pass said first electrical cord and both clean said cord and restrict water passage between said compartments.

4. A winder as claimed in claim 3 further comprising releasable closure means between said storage compartment and the exterior of the said housing.

5. A winder as claimed in claim 4 said storage compartment is adapted to downwardly drain water towards the exterior of the housing when mounted to a vehicle.

6. A winder as claimed in claims 1 through 5 further comprising a connection compartment adapted to provide for passage of and extended second electrical cord from the said connection compartment to the exterior of said housing and for passage of an electrical conductor between said connection compartment and said reel.

7. A winder as claimed in claim 6 further comprising sealing means between said central compartment and said connection compartment.

8. A winder as claimed in claim 7 wherein said housing includes conductor restraint means between said connection compartment and said reel and an electrical raceway between said conductor and said reel.

9. A winder as claimed in claim 7 wherein said raceway includes upstanding butterfly runners and circular rings mounted to said reel for continuous electrical connection between said conductor and said first electrical cord.

10. A winder as claimed in claims 1 through 9 wherein said pair of electrical cords is generally flat.

11. A winder as claimed in claim 10 further comprising a ratchet and pawl mechanism adapted to selectively restrict retraction of said first electrical cord.

12. A winder as claimed in claim 11 wherein said ratchet mechanism includes a ratchet ring integrally mounted to said reel and a pawl mounted to said housing.

13. A winder as claimed in claim 12 wherein said housing further comprises an external pawl release button adapted to main a water-resistant seal with said housing.

14. A winder as claimed in claim 13 wherein said reel is substantially planar and adapted to carry a single wind of said first flat electrical cord.

15. A winder as claimed in claim 14 wherein said spring is mounted between said reel and its axis of rotation adjacent a side of said reel opposite from said raceway and adjacent ratchet ring.

16. A winder as claimed in claim 15 wherein said raceway is adjacent a central hub of said reel.

17. A winder as claimed in claim 16 where said housing includes mounting holes each with aligned support spacers internal to said housing and adapted to support its sides.

18. A winder as claimed in claim 17 wherein said support spacers are formed integrally with the base or the cover of said housing.

19. A winder as claimed in claim 18 wherein said support spacers are formed integrally with both the base and the cover of said housing.

20. A winder as claimed in any of claims 1 through 19 further including universal mounting means adapted to provide a peripheral mounting channel between an edge of said housing and a vehicle license plate bracket.

21. A winder as claimed in claim 20 wherein said mounting channel is provided between said housing and an L-shaped peripheral edge of a generally planar mounting plate.

22. A winder as claimed in claim 21 wherein said mounting plated is separable from said housing.

Description:

This is a Continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/701,492 filed Nov. 6, 2003 entitled UNIVERSAL LICENSE PLATE CORD WINDER

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an improved cord-winding device universally mountable to any front or rear North-American-style license plate bracket, accommodating all electrical devices, which require a 120 VAC power supply for a vehicle. The present invention comprises; a housing containing: a reel, a connection box, a male cord housing, a cord hatch and mounting holes, a closure plate and a universal mounting plate. A female receptacle extends from the housing to allow electrical connections to be made in a place away from weather exposure such as engine or rear compartment. The universal license plate cord winder of the present invention can also be mounted either from the top or the bottom of housing without compromising the structural integrity of the attachment while maintaining a water tightness required by such a device.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is common for conventional, electric or hybrid vehicles to be adapted with components, which require a 120 VAC power supply for operation. Such components may include: engine block heater, interior heaters, battery warmers, battery chargers and the like. These commonly require an extension cord to function. Said cord must be rolled out of the vehicle path prior to departing.

The inventor sought to provide vehicle owners with an unobtrusive, thin, easy-to-use electrical-cord winder, which is neatly stored behind the vehicle's front or rear license plate. Furthermore, the inventor also sought to greatly improve safety within the present invention by allowing for the electrical connection to the vehicle to be made in the engine compartment from the front plate, or in the rear compartment from the rear plate thus preventing exposure to the connection from the elements.

The applicant is aware of attempts in prior art to provide means of reeling an extension cord behind a license plate.

An example of prior art may be had when referring to U.S. Pat. No. 6,264,016 of Bales, issued Jul. 24, 2001 depicting a mobile power center with self-retracting cord having a cord spring loaded winding spindle within a large housing, a 12 VDC to 120 VAC inverter, and extended lips around the front-most perimeter of the housing so as to wrap excess cord therearound and a female AC receptacle on housing for plugging a block heater. However, this invention, like most of this nature will fail when attempting to plug a block heater within the housing at the license plate area since most block heater cords are too short to reach much past the front edge of the vehicle's hood. Furthermore, at a typical diameter of 5.5 inches, which is the standard height of a license plate, can only hold a limited length of standard round extension cord material thereby limiting said cord to an impractical length. Additionally, there are no means to stabilize the housing when mounted since the unfastened edge would be separable for the license plate mounting bracket.

Another example may be had in referring to U.S. Pat. No. 5,669,471 of Unze, issued Sep. 23, 1997, which teaches of a trailer wire recoil device having a housing containing a rotatable member on which a trailer wire extension may be reeled thereon. The application of the device is clearly limited to trailer wires and therefore impractical for bloc heaters. Again, there are no means to stabilize the housing when mounted since the unfastened edge would be separable for the license plate mounting bracket.

Another example may be had in referring to U.S. Pat. No. 5,803,216 of McNaughton, issued Sep. 8, 1998, which depicts a retractable extension cord holder and receptacle for an automobile having a housing, a cord reel, a receptacle and a retractable cord. This invention also limits the length of cord due to restrictive housing measurements while also failing in that the block heater cord from the vehicle, in most cases will not reach the cord winder.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is thus the object of the present invention to provide vehicle owners with an improved electrical cord-winding device universally mountable to any North-American-style license plate bracket. Furthermore, the present improved cord winder ensures all electrical 120 VAC vehicle accessory devices reach the winder's outlet.

In one aspect of the invention, a flat-type cord is used for the extension portion so as to allow a more compact reeling of said cord thereby increasing the usable length.

In another aspect of the invention, the female receptacle is extended from the housing in order to make the connection to the electrical device within the vehicle's engine or rear compartment thereby preventing exposure of the connection to the weather elements.

In another aspect of the invention, a specially formed universal mounting plate is provided to stabilize the units to the license plate mount while allowing secure installation to any North American style license plate bracket.

In a further aspect the invention provides a retractable electrical cord winder for a vehicle including a water resistant multi-compartment housing adapted to be mounted with a vehicle license plate, a pair of electrical cords adapted for connection between the said winder and both a vehicle and a remote source of power wherein a first one of said cords is extensible from and retractable within said housing, a rotatable first cord storage reel mounted in a central housing compartment for rotation about an axis in the direction of travel of the vehicle, a housing including a internal storage compartment adapted for storage of the connector end of said first electrical cord and further adapted to pass the said first cord from the exterior of the said housing through the said storage compartment and into said central compartment upon retraction, and a coil spring adapted to urge said reel and said first cord into a fully retracted condition with sealing means between said central compartment and said storage compartment adapted to pass said first electrical cord and both clean said cord and restrict water passage between said compartments.

The winder includes a releasable closure between said storage compartment and the exterior of the said housing and is adapted to downwardly drain water towards the exterior of the housing when mounted to a vehicle.

In a still further aspect the invention provides a winder with a sealed connection compartment adapted to provide for passage of and extended second electrical cord from the said connection compartment to the exterior of said housing and for passage of an electrical conductor between said connection compartment and said reel.

The winder includes a ratchet restrained retractable reel adapted to receive a single wind of flat electrical conductor.

Mounting is provided by a peripheral mounting channel between an edge of said housing and a vehicle license plate bracket.

Accordingly, the system of the present invention therefore provides an unobtrusive, thin, easy to-use electrical cord-winding device universally mountable to any North-American-style license plate bracket while providing for a sheltered connection from the elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following brief description and upon referring to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view from below of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a cutout perspective view from below of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a left side elevation view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a right side elevation view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the mounting plate portion of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a partial top plan view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention as installed within a conventional license plate bracket.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view taken from FIG. 3 of the hatch assembly portion of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view taken from FIG. 1 of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view taken from FIG. 10 of the hatch portion of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a prior art example of a conventional license plate mounting bracket on which the universal mounting plate of the present invention may be installed.

FIG. 14 is a prior art example of a conventional license plate mounting bracket on which the universal mounting plate of the present invention may be installed.

FIG. 15 is a prior art example of a conventional license plate mounting bracket on which the universal mounting plate of the present invention may be installed.

FIG. 16 is a prior art example of a conventional license plate mounting bracket on which the universal mounting plate of the present invention may be installed.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view (with partial wire frame) of the housing portion of another embodiment of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention from the perspective shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 18 is a plan view of the housing embodiment shown in FIG. 17.

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of the coil spring of the embodiment of FIG. 17.

FIG. 20a and 20b are a cross-section along line A-A (FIG. 20b) and a plan view taken from below of the ratcheting reel of the FIG. 17 embodiment.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of the brush closure of the FIG. 17 embodiment.

FIG. 22 is a perspective of the housing embodiment of FIG. 17 without the ratcheting reel assembly of FIGS. 19 and 20.

FIGS. 23a and 23b are perspective views of the housing of FIG. 22 with the electrical raceways in position and the reel in position respectively, but without the spiral spring.

FIGS. 24a and 24b are a plan view and a side elevation respectively of the butterfly electrical connection.

FIG. 25 is a perspective view of the ratchet pawl of the preferred embodiment of FIGS. 17 through 26.

FIGS. 26a and 26b are a side elevation and a central cross-section respectively of the ratchet-release button of the FIG. 17 embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In the following description, similar features in the drawings have been given similar reference numerals.

Turning to the drawings, in particular, FIG. 1, which illustrates a perspective view from below of the universal license plate cord winder 1 of the present invention showing; a housing 2 having an inner molded spindle 4, a plurality of mounting bolt holes 6, a splatter guard 8, a receptacle cord 10, a receptacle cord outlet 12 and cord to housing connecting member 14, a hatch assembly having; a hatch 20, and knob 22, and a mounting plate 30.

Turning now to FIG. 2, a cutout perspective view from below of the universal license plate cord winder 1 of the present invention comprising; a housing 2 having an inner molded spindle 4, a plurality of elongated mounting screw holes 6 having hole extensions 5, a plurality of screw assembly receivers 11, a splatter guard 8, a receptacle cord 10, a receptacle cord outlet 12, a cord to housing connecting member 14, and a power-on indicator light 32, a reel assemble 17 having a spring coil 15 an electrical raceway 19 for continuous conductivity, a male cord end 3, an extension cord 13, a hatch assembly having; a hatch 20, and knob 22, a closure plate 9 having hole-extension receiving members 7 and perforations therethrough for receiving fasteners in assembly, and a mounting plate 30.

In reference now to FIG. 3, a front elevation view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention illustrating in particular, the splatter guard 8 and how it prevents oncoming rain and splatter from leading vehicles to enter the housing 2 of the present invention. The power-on indicator light 32 is also positioned so as to be viewed from the front, top and side of the vehicle.

Turning now to FIG. 4, a bottom plan view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention illustrating more particularly the positioning of the mounting plate 30 combinedly attached to the closure plate 9 and housing 2 with bolts. The mounting plate 30 having extruded member 41 extending rearwardly from the housing assembly 2, and flanges 40 extending outwardly from the extruded members 41 distal from the housing to an apparent edge equal to the outer edges of the housing 2.

In reference now to FIG. 5, a top plan view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention illustrating the correlation between the mounting plate 30 and the housing assembly 2. The top portion of the housing has no openings in which moisture could penetrate. The power-on indicator light 32 is also shielded from said moisture with a rim barrier 45. The hatch assembly 50, is provided with an awning member 18 again to prevent moisture from leaking within the hatch knob channel.

Referring now to FIG. 6, a left side elevation view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention illustrating again the correlation between the mounting plate 30 and the housing assembly 2. The left side portion of the housing has a sealed opening in which the power-on indicator light 32 is installed and also shielded from said moisture with a rim barrier 45.

Referring now to FIG. 7, a right side elevation view of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention showing in particular, the hatch assembly within the housing 2. An hatch knob channel 48 receives a protruding member of the hatch knob 22, which said protruding member snaps firmly in place within a mating opening trough the hatch 20 thereby connecting the hatch knob 22 and the hatch 20. A spring 24 applies constant downward pressure on the hatch to ensure said hatch 20 remains closed when not in use. Furthermore, said spring 24, by applying greater pressure onto the male cord 10 than the pressure excreted by the recoil spring 15 of the reel 21, thereby allows said springed hatch 20 to act as a brake to prevent male cord wire 10 from recoiling when in use. To recoil said cord 10, user simply lifts hatch 20 with knob 22. A splatter guard 8 and awning 18 also help prevent moisture and splatter from entering the housing.

In reference now to FIG. 8, a perspective view from the rear of the mounting plate portion 30 of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention wherein said plate 30 is formed from a resilient sheet material having extruded member 41 extending rearwardly from the housing assembly 2, and flanges 40 extending outwardly from the extruded members 41 distal from the housing to an apparent edge equal to the outer edges of the housing 2. A plurality elongated perforations 51 traverse said plate 30 thereby allowing mounting bolts to traverse plate 30 to be attached to the license plate mounting bracket.

The universal mounting plate 30 therefore installs where a license plate would normally be placed.

In reference to FIG. 9, illustrating a partial top plan view of the present invention illustrated as installed within a conventional license plate mounting plate 60 wherein the extension members 41 of the mounting plate 30 of the present invention extend the flanged members 40 to within the depth of the license plate mounting bracket 60 thereby providing a stable and dependable installation of the housing 2 of the present invention. Once the mounting bolts are attached to the license plate mounting bracket 60, the device of the present invention is securedly attached to the vehicle without fear of detachment.

FIG. 10, a cross sectional view taken from FIG. 3 illustrates the inner components that make up the sliding hatch assembly 50 and the connecting member's 11 relationship to the housing assembly wherein, a housing 2 integrally includes an upper spring guide 46, a connecting member 11 and knob slot. A closure 9 also integrally includes a lower spring guide 47 and a perforation through which a screw 36 may traverse to be engaged within the hollow bore of the connecting member 11. The upper spring guide 46 and the lower spring guide 47, when the housing 2 and closure 9 are assembled, form a generally cylindrical void of sufficient diameter to accept a spring of slightly lesser diameter than that of the above-mentioned void thereby preventing said spring from buckling outside its desired path. A hatch 20 is illustrated, having a height and width slightly lesser than an opening between the upper spring guide 46 and the upper inner surface of the outer wall portion of the housing 2, and between the lower spring guide 47 and the lower inner surface of the outer wall portion of the housing 2. A knob 22 having a snap-type protrusion passes through an elongated opening at the side wall portion of the housing 2, and is securedly attached to the hatch 20 thereby providing mechanical integration of the hatch 20 from outside the housing assembly.

Referring now to FIG. 11, a cross-sectional view taken from FIG. 2, illustrating the mounting bolt holes 6 comprising; hole extensions 5 integral with the housing 2, and hole extension receiving members 7 integral with the closure portion 9. The mounting plate 30 is also adapted with such a elongated perforation 51 thereby allowing through traverse of a mounting bolts 55 during installation of the present invention. The bolts 55 passes through similar holes in conventional license plates 60, then through the mounting bolt hole 6, through the closure 9 and are then held firmly in place with nuts 52.

Turning now to FIG. 12, a cross-sectional view taken from FIG. 11, further illustrating the hatch assembly 50 of the universal license plate cord winder of the present invention wherein, a hatch 20 having a perforation therethrough accepts a snap-type connector 28 integral with the hatch knob, and a spring pin 57 is slidably engaged between the upper spring guide 46 and the upper inner surface of the outer wall portion of the housing 2, and between the lower spring guide 47 and the lower inner surface of the outer wall portion of the housing 2. The housing 2 integrally includes a secondary spring pin 56, on which a compression spring 24 frictionally attaches therearound. Said spring 24 also frictionally attaches to the spring pin 57 of the hatch 20. The hatch 20, being slidably engaged within the housing thereby can be moved against the spring 24 to gain access to the male power cord through an opening 58 in the housing 2 created by raising the hatch 20, and automatically closes against the power cord when hatch knob 22 is released. The spring 24, by applying greater pressure onto the male cord than the pressure excreted by the recoil spring of the reel, thereby allows said springed hatch 20 to act as a brake to prevent male cord wire from recoiling when in use. To recoil said cord, user simply lifts hatch 20 with knob 22.

FIGS. 13 to 16 illustrate prior art examples of conventional license plate mounting brackets 60 on which the universal mounting plate of the present invention may be installed. FIG. 13 includes a top flange 70 under which the top flange of the present mounting plate would first go into, then bolted through the two bottom holes of the license plate mounting brackets 60. FIG. 14 includes a bottom flange 71 under which the bottom flange of the present mounting plate would first go into, then bolted through the two top holes of the license plate mounting brackets 60. FIG. 15 includes two side flanges 72 and 73 under which both side flanges of the present mounting plate would slide behind, then bolted through both either top or bottom holes of the license plate mounting brackets 60. FIG. 16 includes two side flanges 72 and 73, and a bottom flange 71 under which both side flanges and the bottom flange of the present mounting plate would slide behind from the top, then bolted through both either top or bottom holes of the license plate mounting brackets 60.

In FIGS. 17 through 26 inclusive is shown a further preferred embodiment of the universal winder la of the invention with a ratchet-operated cord reel in which the numbers correspond to items found in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 through 16 inclusive.

The perspective view of the housing base 2 of the winder 1a of the invention shown in FIGS. 17 and 18 includes a universal attachment extension 100 which may be a single universal mounting plate as shown at 30 in FIG. 8, an integrally molded into the body of the housing base 2 or provided by a plurality of individual separate side brackets. Water resistant hole extensions 5 are provided at each of 6 elongated mounting screw holes 6 and provide a water tight compression fit between housing base 2 and a flat cover plate 9 as depicted in FIGS. 2 and 4.

Reel assembly 17 is shown with a central spindle 4 and a ratchet ring 101. Ratchet ring 101 is preferably formed as part of the reel assembly 17 near is periphery and opposite from the electrical components shown in FIGS. 22 and 23. The interior of ratchet ring 101 is a flat spiral recoil spring 102 shown specifically in perspective in FIG. 19. Spring 102 is centrally secured to spindle 4 as at 103 in FIG. 19 and secured as at 104 to ratchet ring as at 105 in FIG. 18. Retraction of electrical cord 13 causes counterclockwise rotation of reel assembly 17 against the spring 102. Retraction of the electrical cord 13 is prevented by ratchet pall mechanism 106 in FIG. 18. Pall 106 is retained in position by retention spring 107 and released by movement of shaft 109 upon manual applied pressure to external knob 108. Thus, pressure on knob 108 releases the ratchet pall 106 from ratchet wheel 101 and permits clockwise rotation of reel assembly 17 under pressure from coil spring 102 and retraction of the cord 13.

As shown in FIGS. 20a (cross-section) and 20b (top plan view) reel assembly 17 includes an partially open central hub 109 adapted for secure electrical connection between cord 13 and electrical raceways for each electrical line which are preferably 2 or 3 concentric circular rings recessed into a face of reel 17 opposite ratchet ring 101. Central to hub 109 is a bearing collar 109a adapted to receive spindle 4. As opposed to the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2 raceways 19 are adjacent hub 109 and coil spring 102 extends from spindle 4 to the ratchet ring 101.

Housing base 2 of the winder includes a cord connector cavity 110 as shown in FIGS. 17 and 18 which is preferably adjacent a corner of the winder and, further, preferably oriented downwards to facilitate water flow outwards from the cavity as in FIG. 2 and opposite to the view shown in FIG. 18. As cord is rewound through cavity 110 onto reel 17 the cord is retracted until the male connector end 3 (FIG. 2) is completely enclosed in cavity 110 when not in use.

Cavity 110 is preferably formed with wall segments 111 and 112 to provide an internal passageway as at 113 in FIG. 17. A co-operating pair of brush closure elements 114 are mounted to the inboard ends of wall segments 111 and 112 with opposing and interacting bristles 115 which clean debris, snow, ice and water from cord 13 as it passes between them. Brush elements 114 are shown in detail in FIG. 21.

Cavity 110 is closed to the exterior elements by rotatable clasp 119 including a cylindrical bearing 122 and a door 123 adapted to rotate with opening 121 in housing base 2 and selectively open or close opening 120 against the elements for access to the cord 13.

Housing base 2 is depicted in perspective and plan views in FIG. 22 without reel assembly 17, brush closure elements 114 or pawl 109. Base 2 includes a floor plate 116 bearing upstanding spindle 4. Preferably wire channels 117 are integrally formed into floor plate 116 and act both as guides and as restraints for 2 or 3 wire conductors as required. Each channel 117 ends with an individual butterfly connectors 118 preferably mounted directly to electrical conductors (not shown) and floor plate 116 by upstanding connection post 118′ and butterfly mounting holes 118″ as shown in FIGS. 24a and 24b. Butterfly connectors 118 provide individual upstanding electrical connections with raceway rings mounted to the reel assembly 17 for continuous electrical connections to cord 13 mounted to said reel 17 in a known manner.

Housing base 2 of the winder also includes a vehicle connection cavity 124 which preferably is formed into base 2 by a wall 125 and provides storage space for excess vehicle connection cord extending through opening 150 and into the vehicle. Wall elements 111, 112 and 125 preferably extend the depth of the housing 2 from the floor plate 116 to a planar cover and provide both a double wall water resistance barrier and mechanical support between the floor plate 116 and the cover.

Wall 125 may be positioned to the outboard of screw holes 6 as in FIG. 17 or, alternatively, inboard of screw holes 16 for a larger storage cavity 125 and more centralized support. Further, wall elements 111 and 112 may include extensions the width of the housing.

Release button 108 is external to the housing base 2 and adapted to activate ratchet pall by shaft 109, FIG. 18.

Preferably release button 108 includes a compressible weather seal as at 126 which may be integral with button 108 as at 126 in FIG. 25 or separate.

FIGS. 23a, 23b and 23c show the reel assembly 17 in stages of installation.

FIG. 23a is a perspective view of the housing base 2 without the reel assembly but for its integral electrical raceway rings 151. In FIG. 23b the balance of the reel assembly 17 has been added by mounting on spindle 4 but without showing the spiral spring 102.

FIGS. 26a and 26b shown the release knob 108 in detail with FIG. 26b as a cross-section of the knob 108 taken along line B-B in FIG. 26a. Compressible seal 126 is shown formed integrally with knob 108 by a flexible skirt 127. Knob 108 includes a cylindrical cavity 128 which is secured to shaft 109 (not shown) upon assembly.

FIG. 25 shows a perspective view of ratchet pawl 106 with its bearing 107 which is installed over post 129 as in FIG. 22. While the invention is described in conjunction with preferred illustrated embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to such embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.





 
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