Title:
Hinging apparatus and method for a control cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a pivoting and sliding member is provided. The pivoting and sliding member includes a housing covering controls for a combustion appliance, a first and second pivot pin attached to the housing in a substantially parallel manner having sufficient strength to permit the housing to pivot and slide about the first and second pivot pins, and an elongated receiving slot configured to receive one of the first or second pivot pins and dimension to permit at least one of the first and second pivot pins to pivot within and slide along the elongated receiving slot. A method of manipulating a control cover on a combustion device is provided.



Inventors:
Moskwa, Kenneth R. (Valparaiso, IN, US)
Hoffmaster, Fred (LaPorte, IN, US)
Ryan, Scott H. (Skaneateles, NY, US)
Witkowski, Frank J. (Syracuse, NY, US)
Miller, Wayne (Michigan City, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/117522
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
04/29/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/811
International Classes:
F24C15/04; B65D43/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030150444Solar collector panelAugust, 2003Cedenblad
20060070616Combustion fan installation structure of gas radiation oven rangeApril, 2006Lee et al.
20070204858Gas cooking appliance and control systemSeptember, 2007Abelbeck
20070272232Cartridge fireplace fireboxNovember, 2007Weinberger
20090133685HELIOSTAT ARRAY LAYOUTS FOR MULTI-TOWER CENTRAL RECEIVER SOLAR POWER PLANTSMay, 2009Pham et al.
20020096168BBQ easy cleaning basketJuly, 2002Richard Sr. et al.
20100089387Attic ventilation and heat recovery device for warming swimming poolsApril, 2010Roseberry
20100000512Pollutant Removing Device and Dual-Air Curtain Range Hood Using the DeviceJanuary, 2010Huang
20090178670Building panelJuly, 2009Dzegan
20050098168Barbecue grill with enlarged fireboxMay, 2005Williams et al.
20080251400Golf ball warmerOctober, 2008Ulrich



Primary Examiner:
KIRSCH, ANDREW THOMAS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BakerHostetler (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pivoting and sliding member comprising: a housing covering controls for a combustion appliance; a first and second pivot pin attached to the housing in a substantially parallel manner having sufficient strength to permit the housing to pivot and slide about the first and second pivot pins; and an elongated receiving slot configured to receive one of the first or second pivot pins and dimensioned to permit at least one of the first and second pivot pins to pivot within and slide a substantial along the elongated receiving slot.

2. The member of claim 1, further wherein the member is a single integral part comprised of a resilient material.

3. The member of claim 1, wherein the first and second pivot pins are mounted on resilient mounts configured to deform to permit a user to flex the mounts to position the pins in or out of the slot.

4. The member of claim 1, further comprising a stop surface mounted on the member for bearing against a second stop surface for stopping the member in a raised position.

5. The member of claim 4, where the stop and the second stop are positioned relative to each other so that a position were the stop surface and the second stop meet, the member is in a stable raised position.

6. The member of claim 1, further comprising a fastener configured to mate with a receiver to secure the member is a lowered position.

7. The member of claim 6, wherein the fastener is a screw.

8. The member of claim 7, further comprising a fastener slot located in the member and configured to permit the screw to slide along the slot to align with the receiver.

9. The member of claim 8, further comprising an opening in the member and positioned in the member to permit a display panel associated with the receiver to be positioned in the opening when the screw is mated with the receiver.

10. The member of claim 1, further comprising venting slits in the housing on a side opposite the housing from the first and second pivot pins.

11. The member of claim 1, wherein the housing is configured to not interfere with operation of a door mounted to an appliance on which the member is mounted and the door does not interfere with operation of the housing.

12. A method of manipulating a control cover on a combustion device comprising: pivoting and sliding a hinge pin in a slot to move the control cover to a desired position; sliding a fastener in a slot in the control cover to align the fastener with a receiver; and fastening the control cover to a secured position with the fastener communicating with the receiver wherein the secured position is a position where an opening in the control cover is aligned to permit a display located under the control cover to be displayed through the hole in the control cover.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising removing the fastener and moving the control cover to a position to urge against stops located on the control cover.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein the position when the control cover urges against the stops is a stable position.

15. The method of claim 12, further comprising venting hot gas through vents located in the control cover.

16. The method of claim 12, further comprising flexing a support for a hinge pin located on the control cover and positing the hinge pin in a slot.

17. A pivoting and sliding member comprising: means for housing covering controls for a combustion appliance; means for providing pivoting and sliding motion attached to the housing for permitting the housing means to pivot and slide; and an elongated receiving slot configured to receive the pivoting and sliding means and permit the pivoting and sliding means to move the elongated receiving slot.

18. The member of claim 17, wherein the means for pivoting and sliding is mounted on resilient means for mounting configured to deform to permit a user to flex the mounts to position the means for pivoting and sliding in or out of the slot.

19. The member of claim 17, further comprising a means for stopping mounted one the member for stopping the member from moving beyond a predetermined point in a particular direction.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to hinge mechanisms. More particularly, the present invention relates to a hinge mechanism that both pivots and slides on a control panel cover on a boiler.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Household appliances, particularly appliances that are combustion devices such as boilers or furnaces, are often controlled with electronic controllers. Electronic controllers may, in some instances, be sensitive and require protection from external influences. The need for protection from external influences may be increased due to the fact that household combustion appliances often emit substances such as hot gases or water or vapor, which can damage electronic instruments.

In addition, household appliances may be located in a utility space such as a closet or basement which again may be subject to dust and other influences that can damage electronic equipment. Therefore, a cover protecting the electronic equipment from these sorts of influences is desired.

From time to time, a user of the boiler or maintenance personnel may desire to access the electronic equipment. Therefore, it is desired that a cover be moveable to selectively expose the electronic equipment at desired times so that a user may access the equipment. In keeping with the requirements of permitting selective access to electronic equipment, the cover should be selectively moveable to a covering (or protecting position) to a noncovering position. It may be desirable to have the cover be able to move to a position where it exposes the electronic equipment yet is also out of the way and does not require a user to continue to hold or keep hold of the cover of the electronic equipment in an exposed position. In other words, move the cover to a stable, out-of-the-way position. By using the word “stable,” what is meant is that the cover will stay in an out-of-the-way position.

Furthermore, due to the economic realities of the marketplace, it is desirable that a cover for the electronic equipment be easy to manufacture and assemble be made of relatively inexpensive materials and be easily fitted and assembled with associated components of the appliance to which it is associated.

In addition, it may be desirable to be able to secure the cover to the covering position so that vibrations or other influences do not permit the cover to be moved and exposed to the sensitive electronic equipment. Some embodiments provide a feature that allows the cover to fasten in a closed position.

In keeping with the desire to make manufacturing of the cover simple, it would be useful if the mechanism that keeps the cover in the closed position be simple. It would be useful if the cover did not require tight tolerances to ensure the cover will be in a position where when the cover is closed, the cover will fasten to a closed position. It would be desirable for the cover to be able to be easily moved and manipulated to fasten when placed in the closed position. Accordingly, it is desirable to provide an apparatus such as a cover that can selectively protect and expose sensitive electronic equipment and also a method for selectively protecting electronic equipment from external influences.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The foregoing needs are met, to a great extent, by the present invention, wherein in one aspect an apparatus is provided that in some embodiments a cover is provided that can protect sensitive electronic equipment and easily move to a stable out of the way position to expose the electronic equipment and thereby provide access to the electronic equipment. Some embodiments provide a feature that allows the cover to fasten in a closed position.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a pivoting and sliding member is provided. The pivoting and sliding member includes a housing covering controls for a combustion appliance, a first and second pivot pin attached to the housing in a substantially parallel manner having sufficient strength to permit the housing to pivot and slide about the first and second pivot pins, and an elongated receiving slot configured to receive one of the first or second pivot pins and dimension to permit at least one of the first and second pivot pins to pivot within and slide along the elongated receiving slot.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a method of manipulating a control cover on a combustion device is provided. The method includes pivoting and sliding a hinge pin in a slot to move the control cover to a desired position, sliding a fastener in a slot in the control cover to align the fastener with a receiver, and fastening the control cover to a secured position with the fastener communicating with the receiver wherein the secured position is a position where an opening in the control cover is aligned to prevent a display located under the control cover to be displayed through the hole in the control cover.

In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention, a pivoting and sliding member is provided. The pivoting and sliding member includes means for housing covering controls for a combustion appliance, means for providing pivoting and sliding motion attached to the housing for permitting the housing means to pivot and slide, and an elongated receiving slot configured to receive the pivoting and sliding means and permit the pivoting and sliding means to move the elongated receiving slot.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, certain embodiments of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof herein may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional embodiments of the invention that will be described below and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of embodiments in addition to those described and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the hinge mechanism of a control cover in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of a control cover of FIG. 1. showing the control cover installed in a boiler.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a electronic control mounting surface which includes a fastener receiver for receiving the cover fastener.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the hinge mechanism of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the cover and the front door of a boiler.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention will now be described with reference to the drawing figures, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout. An embodiment in accordance with the present invention provides a cover for electronic control equipment used in household appliances such as a boiler.

An embodiment of the present inventive apparatus is illustrated in FIG. 1. The cover 10 includes a housing 12. Mounted on the housing 12 is a hinge assembly 14 mounted on either end of the housing 12. The hinge assembly 14 includes hinge pins 16 which are connected to the housing 12 by a support arm 18. The hinge pins 16 are oriented so that the hinge pins 16 extend outwardly away from each other, as shown in FIG. 1.

In some embodiments of the present invention, the support arm 18 is flexible and permits flexture in a direction of the two support arms 18 to move inward toward each other. The flex movement of the support arms 18 allows the two hinge pins 16 to be moved toward each other sufficiently to avoid the edges of the slots 62 (see FIG. 4) to permit the housing 12 to be inserted and removed from the appliance to which it is applied.

Located on the back of the housing 12 are stops 20. The stops 20 define a surface for the housing 12 to rest on when the housing 12 is in a raised, or “up” position. The stops 20 may be made of the same or different material as the housing 12.

In some embodiments of the invention, the raised, or “up” position exposes components of the appliance normally protected by the cover 12. The raised or “up” position is a greater than 90° rotation so that when the cover 12 rests on the stops 20 the cover 12 is stable (will not move unless acted upon by an external force). The stops 20 are mounted to a back surface 22 of the housing 12. Also located on the back surface 22 is a spacer bar 24.

A fastener 26 which is in some embodiments, as illustrated in FIG. 1 is a machine screw, is used to secure the housing 12 in a down or protective position. The machine screw 26 is configured to mate with a corresponding receiver (discussed more below).

In some embodiments of the invention, a washer 28 is included and located on the fastener 26. The machine screw 26 fits in a fastener slot 30. Then the washer 28 is placed on the fastener 26 and located on the underside of the housing 12 opposite the head of the machine screw 26.

In some embodiments of the invention, the slot 30 may be a round hole or it may be elongated which permits the housing 12 to be slid or moved to position the housing 12, in a desired location without requiring the fastener 26 to also be moved. The fastener slot 30 is located in a dimple 32 within the housing 12. The dimple 32 is an optional feature that may be round or elongated according to the shape of the slot 30.

The housing 12 also includes a display opening 34, which in some embodiments of the invention, permits display features mounted on a structure located beneath the housing 12 to be displayed without the housing 12 covering those features when the cover 10 is in a down or protective position.

The housing 12 also includes ventilation slots 36 which permit warm or hot gases located below the housing 12 to be vented through the slots 36. These gases are the result of compulsion within the appliance. The ventilation slots 36 are optional and, of course, are not necessarily present in embodiments where they are not needed.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of housing 12 located on a boiler 38 according to one embodiment of the invention. The stop bar 40, located on the boiler 38, provides a surface for the stops 20 to urge against and hold the housing 12 in a raised position. The stop bar 40, as shown in FIG. 2, is part of the top jacket 42 of the boiler 38. In other embodiments of the invention, the stop bar 40 may be a separate element.

A space 44 exists between the stop bar 40 and the spacer bar 24 and the stops 20 as illustrated in FIG. 2. In some embodiments of the invention, the space 44 provides relief so that the housing 12 can be rotated and/or slid along the hinge pin 16 to a raised position. The space 44 also permits the cover 10 to be rotated to a position past vertical. Therefore, when the stops 20 are placed against the stop bar 40, the cover 10 will be in a stable, raised position.

The display opening 34 is dimensioned in the housing 12 to permit the control panel 46 to be seen even though the control panel 46 is located beneath the housing 12. In some embodiments of the invention, location of the fastener slot 30 is chosen so that when the fastener 26 is located in its receiver, the display opening 34 is properly aligned with the control panel 46.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of the control mount 48 that is located beneath the housing 12 when the housing 12 is in the down position as shown in FIG. 2. The down position shown in FIG. 2 is also a protection position (i.e., while in this position the cover 12 protects sensitive electronic parts).

The control mount 48, in some embodiments of the invention, and as illustrated in FIG. 3, includes a tongue 50 which has a hole 52. A grommet 54 is located within the hole 52. The grommet 54 and the hole 52 provide a receiver to receive the fastener 26 and hold the fastener 26 securely. Holding the fastener 26 securely then will cause the housing 12 to be held in a secure position. In the embodiments shown in the figures, the grommet 54 is threaded so that the machine screw 26 is screwed into the grommet 54 and holds 54 the machine screw 26 securely.

The location of the tongue 50 and the hole 52 and the grommet 54 are selected so that when the housing 12 is located to the lower position as shown in FIG. 2, the display opening 34 (see FIGS. 1 and 2) is aligned to permit the control panel 46 to be surrounded by, but substantially not covered, by the housing 12. Thus controls located on the control panel 46 may be manipulated and displays located on the control panel 46 may be viewed when the housing 12 is in the protective (lowered position).

In some embodiments of the invention, as shown in FIG. 3, the control panel 46 includes cutouts 56, 58 and 60. These cutouts 56,58 and 60 provide mounting surfaces for control switches, actuators or indicators associated with the boiler 38. The cutouts 46, 58 and 60 are located so that when the cover 12 is in the lowered position, the cutouts are positioned within the display opening 34.

In some embodiments of the invention, if some cut-outs are not used, plugs may be inserted into the cut-outs.

Turning now to FIG. 4, FIG. 4 is a broken side view of the top bar 40 illustrated in FIG. 2. The top bar 40 defines an elongated slot 62. The hinge pin 16 is located in the elongated slot 62. Thus, the hinge pin 16 mounted on the support arm 18 can either pivot within the elongated slot 62 or slide along the elongated slot 62. The housing 12 can pivot or slide for a combination of both pivot and sliding motion.

One characteristic of some embodiments of the present invention is to permit the cover 12 to move in a both and sliding and pivoting motion to align the fastener slot, shown in FIG. 1, with the receiver defined by the tongue 50 hole 52 and grommet 54 in order to permit the fastener 26 to be fitted into the grommet 54 and hole 52 to secure the housing 12.

As mentioned, the housing 12 may be equipped with a housing fastening slot 30 to permit the housing 12 to be moved even when the fastener 26 is located in the fastener slot 30 and grommet 54 and hole 52, but not necessarily tightened all the way down. In some embodiments of the invention, a desired location is one that permits the display opening 34 to display the control panel 46 (see FIG. 3).

In some embodiments of the invention, the cover 10 is installed or removed from the boiler 38 by installing or removing the hinge pins 16 into or from the elongated slot 62.

In some embodiments of the invention, the hinge pin 16 is entered into the slot 62 or removed from the slot 62 by flexure of the support arms 18 toward each other. By flexing the support arms 18 toward each other, the hinge pins 16 are moved toward each other and leave the elongated slot 62, at which point the cover 12 can be removed provided the fastener 26 is not engaged with the grommet 54 and hole 52.

To replace the hinge pin 16 back into the elongated slot 62, again the support arms 18 may be flexed so that the hinge pins 16 are in a position adjacent to the elongated slot 62. Then the force that is flexing the support arms 18, may be relieved to permit the support arms 18 to move back to a biased position which causes the hinge pins 16 to be inserted back into the elongated slots 62.

In some embodiments of the invention, the housing 12 may be made of a single material such as a blow molded and/or injection molded plastic, or rubber. In other embodiments of the invention, the housing 12 may be metal. In other embodiments of the invention, the housing 12 may be comprised of multiple parts assembled together. The descriptions of the way the housing is made or may be constructed is not meant to be limiting and in no way affects the scope of the invention, which is defined solely by the claims.

One optional feature of some embodiments of the invention is that the housing 12 is dimensioned so that the housing 12 does not interfere with removal and replacement of a front door associated with the appliance (often a boiler) to which the housing 12 is associated.

For example, as shown in FIG. 5, the housing 12 is located on the boiler 38. A front door 64 has a top portion 66. The front door 64 is removable and comes off the boiler 38 in the direction shown by arrow A in a conventional manner. In other embodiments of the invention, the door 64 may swing on hinges to an open position. A seam 68 is defined by the border between the cover 12 and the top portion 68 of the front door 64.

As shown in FIG. 5, the cover 12 and top portion 68 of the front door 64 are configured so that the movement of the cover 12 to an open position does not require opening of the front door 64. Further, opening the front door 64 does not require movement or opening of the housing 12. Thus, the operation of the housing 12 and the door 64 do not interfere with each other nor does the operation of one require the operation of the other.

The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed specification, and thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and variations will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.