Title:
Cassette storage device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cassette storage device is disclosed, which is capable of storing a cassette having a first connector. The cassette storage device comprises: a housing having an opening and a second connector; a tray coupled to the housing and being moveable through the opening; a first shaft positioned between the housing and the tray; a second shaft positioned between the housing and the tray; a driving end coupled to the first shaft and the second shaft; and a releasing switch positioned on the housing and coupled to the first shaft. Therefore, when the first connector of the cassette is going to be ejected from the second connector of the housing, the releasing switch is only required to be pushed slightly, then the first shaft, along with the driving end will subsequently make the second shaft rotate and thus push the cassette out from the cassette storage device.



Inventors:
Lin, Chien-chen (Taipei City, TW)
Lee, Kuan-yen (Taipei City, TW)
Chou, Chih-wei (Taipei City, TW)
Application Number:
11/878848
Publication Date:
01/31/2008
Filing Date:
07/27/2007
Assignee:
ASUSTEK COMPUTER INC. (Taipei City, TW)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
G9B/33.029
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WU, JERRY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BACON & THOMAS, PLLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cassette storage device for storing an element with a first connector, the cassette storage device comprising: a housing having an opening, and a second connector corresponding to the first connector; a tray coupled to the housing and capable of moving at the opening; a first shaft positioned between the housing and the tray; a second shaft positioned between the housing and the tray, the second shaft pivoted to the housing through a fulcrum for pushing the tray, while the first connector separates from the second connector; a driving end coupled to the first shaft and the second shaft; and a releasing switch positioned on the housing and coupled to the first shaft.

2. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tray comprises a holding area and at least one side surface.

3. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the cassette storage device further comprises a tray locating unit for securing the tray to a stored position in an inner space of the housing.

4. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the cassette storage device further comprises a spring connected with the tray and the housing.

5. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the element is a hot-plug element.

6. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 5, wherein the hot-plug element is a hard disk drive.

7. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the second connector is a hot-plug connector.

8. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the material of the tray is plastic.

9. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the second shaft is a lever element having a first end connected with the driving end, a second end and a pivot.

10. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 9, wherein a distance between the first end and the fulcrum is smaller than a distance between the fulcrum and the second end.

11. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the tray locating unit is an elastic shifter.

12. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 4, wherein the quantity of the spring ranges from 1 to 4.

13. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the driving end is a universal joint.

14. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 2, wherein as the element separates from the cassette storage device, the second end of the second shaft contacts with the side surface of the tray.

15. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the cassette storage device further comprises a compression spring, the compression spring encompassing a part of the first shaft.

16. The cassette storage device as claimed in claim 15, wherein the first shaft further comprises at least one protruding piece positioned on the surface of the first shaft and contacting with one end of the compression spring.

17. A cassette storage device for fixing on a computer case to store a cassette therein, the cassette storage device comprising: a lower cover; an upper cover; a plurality of side plates connected with the lower cover and the upper cover; a front plate having at least one opening; a rear plate having an outer surface and at least one plug; a button positioned on the front plate; a lever element positioned at an outer surface of the rear plate, the lever element comprising a first end, a second end and a fulcrum positioned between the first end and the second end; and a pushing rod positioned at the inner side of one of the side plates, two ends of the pushing rod connected with the button and the lever element, respectively; wherein, as the cassette separates from the cassette storage device, the second end of the lever element contacts with the side surface of the cassette.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a cassette storage device and, more particularly, to a cassette storage device capable of separating the cassette (hot-plug element) from the cassette storage device easily.

2. Description of Related Art

As shown in FIG. 1, a conventional cassette storage device comprises a lower cover 11, an upper cover 12, two side plates 13, a front plate 14, a rear plate 15 and a tray 16, wherein the front plate 14 comprises a hot-plug element entrance 141, and the rear plate 15 has an outer surface 151 and a hot-plug connector 152. In addition, the tray 16 has a holding area 161 and a rear side surface 163, and a retaining spring 162 connected with the lower cover 11 and the tray 16, so as to pull out the hot-plug element 17 and the tray 16 from the cassette storage device, if necessary. Thus, when a user wants to release the cassette (hot-plug element) from the cassette storage device, the inlet 171 of the hot-plug element 17 will be separated from the hot-plug connector 152.

However, this kind of cassette storage device still has many defects. For instance, for compensating the joint force between the inlet of the hot-plug element and the hot-plug connector, the cassette storage device uses a retaining spring to separate the hot-plug element from the cassette storage device. Besides, the elastic force of the retaining spring must be bigger than the joint force between the inlet of the hot-plug element and the hot-plug connector. Furthermore, in order to separate the hot-plug element that is heavy, the cassette storage device requires a retaining spring with higher elastic force to pull the hot-plug element and the tray out from the cassette storage device. In addition, to match the different types of hot-plug connector with different joint forces, the conventional storage device needs to be equipped with different kinds of retaining springs. As a result, the manufacturing process of the conventional cassette storage device becomes complicated and a user must use quite a lot of strength to separate the cassette from the conventional cassette storage device. Some members of the public, for example some elderly people may lack the strength to successfully separate the cassette from the device.

Therefore, it is desirable for the industries to provide a cassette storage device, which not only can reduce the production cost and simplify its operation process, but also can have conventional function for a user to separate the hot-plug element from the cassette storage device easily and without using excessive force.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The cassette storage device for storing an element with a first connector in accordance with the present invention comprises: a housing having an opening, and a second connector corresponding to the first connector; a tray coupled to the housing and capable of moving at the opening; a first shaft positioned between the housing and the tray; a second shaft positioned between the housing and the tray, the second shaft being pivoted to the housing through a fulcrum for pushing the tray, while the first connector is separating from the second connector; a driving end coupled to the first shaft and the second shaft; and a releasing switch positioned on the housing and coupled to the first shaft.

Therefore, for separating the cassette from the cassette storage device of the present invention, the user only needs to push the releasing switch for driving the first shaft and the second shaft, so as to separate the first connector of the hot-plug element (cassette) from the second connector of the cassette storage device. Besides, the cassette storage device of the present invention uses the driving force of the second shaft, instead of the compression force of the retaining spring, so as to compensate the joint force combining the first connector of the hot-plug element and the second connector of the cassette storage device. In addition, the cassette storage device of the present invention uses leverage instead of the retaining spring, so as to separate the cassette from the cassette storage device. For this reason, the cassette storage device of the present invention only requires retaining springs of one single kind, not retaining springs of several kinds, for separating the hot-plug element from the cassette storage device of the present invention. Thus, production cost of the cassette storage device of the present invention can be reduced, and the operation process can also be simplified.

The cassette storage device of the present invention can store any kind of cassette. The cassette is preferably a hot-plug element or any kind of electronic element. The cassette storage device of the present invention can store any kind of hot-plug element in it, the hot-plug element is preferably a hard disk drive, a floppy disk, a CD-ROM, a card reader, or any kind of data storage elements. The tray of the cassette storage device of the present invention can be made of any kind of material, yet the tray is preferably plastic or metal. The tray of the cassette storage device of the present invention can have any number of openings, the number of openings is preferably from 1 to 10. The cassette storage device of the present invention can comprise any kind of tray locating unit, the tray locating unit is preferably an elastic shifter or a fixing protruding piece. The cassette storage device of the present invention can comprise any number of springs, the number of springs preferably ranges from 1 to 4. The second shaft of the cassette storage device is a lever having a first end, a second end, and a fulcrum, wherein the distance between the first end and a fulcrum is preferably smaller than the distance between the fulcrum and the second end. The driving end cassette storage device of the present invention can couple to the pushing rod with any kind of jointing element, the driving end is preferably coupled to the pushing rod with a universal joint or a plug.

Other objects, advantages, and novel features of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded drawing of a cassette storage device of prior art.

FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing showing a cassette storage device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A is an exploded view showing a cassette storage device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3B is a perspective view showing a cassette storage device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top view showing a hot-plug element according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, while the cassette is inserting in the cassette storage device.

FIG. 5 is a top view showing a hot-plug element according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, while the cassette is separating from the cassette storage device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing showing a cassette storage device according a preferred embodiment of the present invention. In this preferred embodiment, the cassette storage device 2 comprises a housing 21 having an opening 211 and a second connector 212 wherein the second connector 212 is adapted to mate with a first connector 271; a tray 22 couples to the housing and is capable of moving at the opening 211, in this preferred embodiment, the tray 22 couples to the housing 21 through a rail and moves in or out from the housing 21; a first shaft 23 is positioned between the housing 21 and the tray 22; a second shaft 24 is positioned between the housing 21 and the tray 22 and pivots to the housing 21 through a fulcrum 241; a driving end 25 couples to both the first shaft 23 and the second shaft 24; and a releasing switch 26 is positioned at the housing 21 and couples to the first shaft 23. In this preferred embodiment, the cassette storage device 2 is used to store an element 27. When the first connector 271 of the element 27 is going to be separated from the second connector 212 of the housing 21, the user only needs to push the releasing switch 26 for driving the first shaft 23 to move. At this time, the driving end 25 coupled to the first shaft 23 pushes the second shaft 24 to rotate around the fulcrum 241, so as to push out the tray 22 by means of the leverage. It should be noted that, in this preferred embodiment, this present invention uses the leverage and the second shaft to separate the first connector of the element from the second connector of the housing.

FIG. 3A is an exploded view showing a cassette storage device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3B is a perspective view showing a cassette storage device according to this preferred embodiment of the present invention. In this preferred embodiment, the cassette storage device comprises a lower cover 31, an upper cover 32, two side plates 33, a front plate 34, a rear plate 35, a button 36, a push rod 37, a lever 38, and a tray 39. In this preferred embodiment, the lower cover 31, the upper cover 32, the two side plates 33, the front plate 34, and the rear plate 35 embody the aforementioned housing 21. The push rod 37 embodies the aforementioned first shaft 23. The lever 38 embodies the aforementioned second shaft 24. The button 36 embodies the aforementioned releasing switch 26. In addition, the front plate 34 comprises a hot-plug element inlet 341 (as embodying the aforementioned opening 211) and an opening for adapting to the button 36. The rear plate 35 comprises an outer surface 351, an opening 352 positioned at the outer surface 351, and a hot-plug connector 353 (as embodying the aforementioned second connector 212). The push rod 37 and the lever 38 connect with each other through a universal joint (as embodying the aforementioned driving end 25). Furthermore, when the tray 39 is at a standby position, the hot-plug element 4 is at the holding area 391 of the tray 39. In addition, when the tray 39 is at a stored position, the tray 39 is surrounded by the lower cover 31, the upper cover 32, the two side plates 33, the front plate 34 and the rear plate 35. Furthermore, a retaining spring 392 respectively connects with the tray 39 and the lower cover 31 for urging the tray 39 from the stored position to the standby position, so as to separate the hot-plug element 4 from the tray 39. Finally, the tray 39 has a plurality of holes 394 defined in the holding area 391 for reducing the weight of the tray 39.

The differences between the cassette storage device of the present invention and the conventional cassette storage device are the pushing rod 37 positioned at the inner surface of the side plate 33, the button 36, and the lever 38. In this preferred embodiment, a user can just press the button 36 to separate the hot-plug element 4 from the cassette storage device. In addition, the lever 38 locates at the outer surface 351 of the rear plate 35. The lever 38 has a first end 381 connecting the pushing rod 37 through a universal joint, a second end 382, and a fulcrum 383. Furthermore, a compression spring 371 surrounds part of the pushing rod 37 for adapting to a protruding piece 372, so as to reposition the button 36 and the pushing rod 37 to their original positions for subsequent pressing of the button 36.

Finally, when the tray 39 and the hot-plug element 4 are located at the stored position, the hot-plug connector 353 positioned at the rear plate 35 mates with the inlet 41 of the hot-plug element 4 for the electrical connection between a computer server (not shown) and the element 4 to exchange electrical signals.

Hereinafter, each element operation status of the cassette storage device of the preferred embodiment will be described in reference to the hot-plug element being inserted in and separated from the cassette storage device.

FIG. 4 is a top view showing the hot-plug element according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, when the cassette is to be inserted in the cassette storage device. In this preferred embodiment, when the tray 39 is located at a standby position, the hot-plug element 4 is placed at the holding area 391 of the tray 39. In this preferred embodiment, part of the hot-plug element 4 protrudes from the outer side of the cassette storage device, and another part of the hot-plug element 4 inserts in the cassette storage device through the hot-plug element inlet 341. At this time, the retaining spring 392 connected with the tray 39 and the lower cover 31 is stretched and kept in its extended status, and the hot-plug connector 353 inserts in the inlet 41 to secure the hot-plug element 4. Finally, the elastic shifter (not shown in figure) will flip up for securing the tray 39 in the stored position.

FIG. 5 is a top view showing the hot-plug element according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, while the cassette is being separated from the cassette storage device. When the user presses the button 36, the button 36 will move toward the rear plate 35 for driving the pushing rod 37 in the same direction at the same time. Therefore, the pushing rod 37 will drive the first end 381 of the lever 38 to move for driving the lever 38 to rotate around the fulcrum 383, so as to drive the second end 382 of the lever 38 to move toward the front plate 34. At this time, the second end 382 of the lever 38 passes through the opening 352 of the rear plate 35 for contacting the side surface 393, so as to drive the tray 39 and the hot-plug element 4 thereon to move toward the front plate 34. Besides, by using the specially designed pushing rod 37, while the button 36 pushes the pushing rod 37, an elastic shifter (not shown in figure) is pressed down for releasing the tray 39 from the cassette storage device.

Therefore, the joint force between the hot-plug connector 353 and the inlet 41 of the hot-plug element 4 will be compensated by the pushing force of the second end 382 of the lever 38, so as to separate the hot-plug element 4 from the rear plate 35. Then, the tray 39 and the hot-plug element 4 are retracted to the standby position by the elastic force of the compression spring 392. While the user presses the button 36, the compression spring 392 is kept in its compressed status. Therefore, when the second end 382 of the lever 38 has pushed the hot-plug element 4 out of the cassette storage device of the present invention, the compressed spring 371 returns to its original position and drives the button 36 and the pushing rod 37 back to their original positions at the same time.

Therefore, for separating the cassette from the cassette storage device of the present invention, the user can just push the button to drive the pushing rod and the lever, so as to execute related operation. Accordingly, the second end of the lever will contact the side surface of the hot-plug element for separating the hot-plug element from the cassette storage device. At the same time, the joint force between the inlet and the hot-plug connector will be compensated by the pushing force of the second end of the lever. As a result, the cassette storage device of the present invention differs from that of the prior art, which just uses a retaining spring to separate the hot-plug element from the hot-plug connector. In addition, when the inlet of the hot-plug element separates from the hot-plug of the cassette storage device of the present invention, the hot-plug element and the tray of the cassette storage device are pushed to the standby position by the elastic force of the retaining spring. Furthermore, when the second end of the lever pushes the hot-plug element out from the cassette storage device of the present invention, the compression spring surrounding the pushing rod makes the button and the pushing rod return to their original positions.

In summary, the cassette storage device of the present invention makes use of leverage, instead of the retaining spring, to separate the cassette from the cassette storage device. For this reason, the cassette storage device of the present invention only requires retaining springs of one single kind, not retaining springs of several kinds, for separating the hot-plug element from the cassette storage device of the present invention. Thus, production cost of the cassette storage device of the present invention can be reduced, and the operation process can also be simplified. When the user wants to separate the cassette from the cassette storage device of the present invention, the user can just push the releasing switch to drive the first shaft and the second shaft for separating the first connector of the element from the second connector of the cassette storage device. Then, the cassette or any kind of hot-plug element can be released from the cassette storage device more conveniently. Therefore, the cassette storage device of the present invention is very useful for a user with limited strength, especially when the user wants to separate the hot-plug element from the cassette storage device of the present invention.

Although the present invention has been explained in relation to its preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that many other possible modifications and variations can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as hereinafter claimed.