Title:
Lockable outlet strip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lockable electrical strip includes a power outlet strip base with a plurality of electrical outlet sockets on the top of said base, one or more locking rings, one or more enclosing walls, and a locking piece. A lockable power outlet strip includes a power outlet strip base having one or more power sockets and a power cord connectable to a standard power supply; one or more enclosing walls connected to said base which enclose the power strip base; locking rings connected to said enclosing walls; and a locking piece insertable through said locking rings to prohibit the enclosing walls from opening. Alternatively, a lockable electrical outlet strip includes a power outlet strip base with a plurality of electrical outlet sockets; an enclosing wall having a top portion connected to said base and a side portion hingeably connected to said top portion, wherein said enclosing wall defines transverse access slots; locking rings connected to said base; a locking bar insertable through the locking rings, provided with a stop on one end of said locking bar, and a locking passage on the distal end of said locking bar; and a locking piece insertable through said locking passage.



Inventors:
Hynds, John P. (Washougal, WA, US)
Antilla, Dennis (Vancouver, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/521221
Publication Date:
12/20/2007
Filing Date:
09/13/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
H01R13/44; H01R13/639; H01R25/00; H01R29/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
IMAS, VLADIMIR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RYLANDER & ASSOCIATES PC (Vancouver, WA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A lockable power outlet strip, comprising: a power outlet strip base having one or more power sockets and a power cord connectable to a standard power supply; one or more enclosing walls connected to said base which enclose the power strip base; locking rings connected to said enclosing walls; and a locking piece insertable through said locking rings to prohibit the enclosing walls from opening.

2. A lockable electrical outlet strip comprising: a power outlet strip base with a plurality of electrical outlet sockets; an enclosing wall having a top portion connected to said base and a side portion hingeably connected to said top portion, wherein said enclosing wall defines transverse access slots; locking rings connected to said base; a locking bar insertable through the locking rings, provided with a stop on one end of said locking bar, and a locking passage on the distal end of said locking bar; and a locking piece insertable through said locking passage.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a divisional of and claims the benefit of and priority to prior co-pending U.S. Nonprovisional patent application Ser. No. 11/078,762 filed on Mar. 11, 2005 which claims the benefit and priority of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/553,592, filed on Mar. 12, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to electrical outlets, and more particularly to devices that control use of electrical outlets.

BACKGROUND

Today, in the typical home, children are spending more and more time indoors watching TV, playing on computers, playing on Play Stations, X-Box's, and other electronic entertainment gaming devices. Currently, it is very difficult for parents to oversee, let alone control these activities. Thus, there is a need for a device that provides user configurable control and configurable access to the electricity that such products require to function.

SUMMARY AND ADVANTAGES

A lockable electrical strip includes a power outlet strip base with a plurality of electrical outlet sockets on the top of said base, one or more locking rings, one or more enclosing walls, and a locking piece.

A lockable power outlet strip includes a power outlet strip base having one or more power sockets and a power cord connectable to a standard power supply; one or more enclosing walls connected to said base which enclose the power strip base; locking rings connected to said enclosing walls; and a locking piece insertable through said locking rings to prohibit the enclosing walls from opening. Alternatively, a lockable electrical outlet strip includes a power outlet strip base with a plurality of electrical outlet sockets; an enclosing wall having a top portion connected to said base and a side portion hingeably connected to said top portion, wherein said enclosing wall defines transverse access slots; locking rings connected to said base; a locking bar insertable through the locking rings, provided with a stop on one end of said locking bar, and a locking passage on the distal end of said locking bar; and a locking piece insertable through said locking passage.

The present invention presents numerous advantages, including: (1) the ability to permit or decline power to one or more power outlet sockets; and (2) the ability to limit TV time, video game time, and other power usage times based on preset parameters. Additional advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. Further benefits and advantages of the embodiments of the invention will become apparent from consideration of the following detailed description given with reference to the accompanying drawings, which specify and show preferred embodiments of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an overview of an embodiment of the present invention, showing a terminal, which includes a computing device, a lockable power strip and the remote outlet the lockable power strip will connect to.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of a lockable power strip unlocked.

FIG. 3 shows another view of the lockable power strip of FIG. 2, locked.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Before beginning a detailed description of the subject invention, mention of the following is in order. When appropriate, like reference materials and characters are used to designate identical, corresponding, or similar components in differing figure drawings. The figure drawings associated with this disclosure typically are not drawn with dimensional accuracy to scale, i.e., such drawings have been drafted with a focus on clarity of viewing and understanding rather than dimensional accuracy.

The present invention provides devices, methods, and processes for controlling power voltage application to specific power strip sockets.

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, a lockable outlet strip 10 includes one or more power sockets 16 and a source of electric power, wherein the sockets may be selectively provided with power via a computing device in electronic communication with said strip 10, wherein the computing device selectively provides power to individual sockets 16, and an access terminal 60 in electronic communication with said computing device. Those skilled in the art will understand that the computing device is preferably included within the access terminal 60.

In the lockable outlet strip 10 a plurality of sockets 16 allows multiple electrical devices to be plugged into it and then the access to the plugs P would be restricted, locked or secured, so that an unauthorized person could not remove the plugs. In preferred embodiment, base 12 contains a plurality of outlet electrical X10 sockets, which are displayed on the topside of the box. These are standard electrical sockets, through which electricity can be provided to many household items.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 3, a lockable power outlet strip 10 includes a terminal 60 to facilitate user access, and a computing device to tie together and enhance the functionality of the power strip 10 and the terminal. The power strip 10 allows multiple devices to be plugged into it and then the access to the plugs P can be restricted, locked or secured, so that an unauthorized person cannot remove the plugs P. The power strip 10 may connect to a computing device that has the ability to control each socket 16 on the strip 10, independently of the other sockets 16. This control allows voltage to be applied to a socket 16, or to have the voltage removed from the socket 16, as needed. The computing device, connects to a terminal 60 that allows the user to apply voltage, to one or many sockets 16, on the power strip 10, by using an access tool such as a PIN Code, Magstrip card, Biometric reader, or other such device, much like a point of sale terminal works.

As shown in FIG. 1, a lockable power outlet strip 10 preferably includes a power outlet strip base 12 having one or more power X10 sockets 16 which can receive standard electrical plug P, a power cord 22 connectable to a standard power supply, one or more enclosing walls 14 connected to the base 12 which enclose the power strip 10, locking rings 20, and a locking piece 24 insertable through the locking rings 20 to prohibit the enclosing walls 14 from opening. Alternative embodiments of a lockable power outlet strip 10 are shown in FIGS. 2, 3.

As shown in FIG. 1, the lockable power outlet strip 10, provided with a strip base 12, enclosing walls 14 which enclose over the sockets 16 to prohibit plugs P plugged into sockets 16 from being removed, and one or more locking rings 20 protruding from the base 12.

Enclosing walls 14 are preferably hinged metal walls, which hinge from opposite parallel edges of strip 10 and over and meet in the center. Enclosing walls 14 include access slots 18 through which the plug P cords run.

Preferably, access slots 18 are circular and have sufficient diameter that the non-plug end of a detachable electric cord can go through the slots 18, but have a diameter smaller than the size of a standard electrical plug P to prevent the plug P from being removed from within the closed enclosing walls 14. Enclosing walls 14 are further provided with locking rings 20, one on each enclosing wall 14, as shown in FIG. 1. A locking mechanism 24, such as a pad lock or key lock, fits through the locking rings 20 to prevent plugs P that have been placed in the power strip sockets 16 from being removed.

Alternatively, as shown in FIGS. 2-3, enclosing wall 14 has a top portion 26 and one or more side portions 28. The length and width of top portion 26 is such that it substantially covers the top of the strip base 12. The top portion 26 is provided with multiple transverse access slots 30, corresponding to and aligning over the sockets 16 on the top of the strip base 12. Each transverse access slot 30 is of great enough length to allow access to corresponding socket 16 and of great enough width to allow passage of electrical cords but narrow enough to prevent removal of a plug P when the enclosing wall top portion 26 is closed and locked. Enclosing wall side portions 28 hingeably attach to the enclosing wall top portion 26. Enclosing wall side portions 28 align with and correspond to top portion 26 to continue the transverse access slots 30. In each enclosing wall side portion 28 are a locking ring portals 32 matching and aligning with to receive the locking rings 20 which are provided on the side of the base 12. Locking ring portals 32 are of sufficient size so that locking rings 20 may pass completely through.

Is A locking bar 34 is insertable through the locking rings 20, and provided with a stop 36 on one end of the locking bar 34 and a locking passage 38 on the distal end of the locking bar 34. The locking bar 34 fits through the locking rings 20 once the locking rings 20 are fitted through the locking ring portals 32. The stop 36 prevents the locking bar 34 from passing completely through and out of the locking rings 20. The locking bar 34 preferably has a locking passage 38 which allows a locking piece 24, such as a pad lock or other suitable locking device known to those with skill in the art, to pass through the locking passage 38 to prevent the locking bar 34 from being pulled back through the locking rings 20. When the lockable power strip 10 is locked, plugs P that have been placed in the power strip sockets 16 cannot be removed.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that numerous modifications and changes may be made to the preferred embodiment without departing from the scope of the claimed invention. It will, of course, be understood that modifications of the invention, in its various aspects, will be apparent to those skilled in the art, some being apparent only after study, others being matters of routine mechanical, chemical and electronic design. No single feature, function or property of the preferred embodiment is essential. Other embodiments are possible, their specific designs depending upon the particular application. As such, the scope of the invention should not be limited by the particular embodiments herein described but should be defined only by the appended claims and equivalents thereof.