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United States Patent m
[ii] 4,101,805  Jul. 18,1978
 TOUCH-RESPONSIVE SOCKET
 Inventor: David E. Stone, Houston, Tex.
 Assignee: Destron, Inc., Houston, Tex.
 Appl. No.: 761,569
 Filed: Jan. 24,1977
 Int. C1.2 H01J 7/44; H01J 19/78;
H01J 29/96; H01J 17/34
 U.S. CI 315/74; 307/308;
339/30; 200/DIG. 1; 328/5
 Field of Search 200/DIG. 1; 307/308;
339/30, 31 L; 328/5; 315/74
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
2,896,131 7/1959 Schumann 240/2 S
3,255,380 6/1966 Atkins et al 200/DIG. 1
3,307,071 2/1967 Diamond 200/DIG. 1
3,899,713 8/1975 Barkan et al 315/205
3,919,596 11/1975 Bellis 307/308
3,992,634 11/1976 Larson 307/308
by S. Hoberman, Electronics, Popular Science, pp. 124 & 125, Feb. 1973.
Primary Examiner—Saxfield Chatmon, Jr.
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Beveridge, DeGrandi, Kline
A socket for mounting an electrical device such as an ordinary incandescent light bulb and enabling the electrical device to be switched to either its "off' condition or its "on" condition in response to touching the socket housing or any part of the structure electrically connected to the socket housing. All electrical components required to effect this switching of the power to the electrical device are mounted within the socket housing. The socket is usable with alternating current electrical power, and switching of the power to the electrical device occurs only when the voltage is passing through its zero point, thus avoiding current surges and lengthening the life of the light bulb or other controlled electrical device.
"Touch Module-This New Version Does Many Jobs",
30 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures
Electric lamps have been developed in which switching of power to the light bulb is accomplished by touch- 5 ing a metallic portion of the lamp base. The electronic circuitry required to control the switching of these lamps conventionally has been mounted within the lamp base. Such touch-sensitive lamps have, therefore, required a lamp base adapted to hold the electronic 10 circuitry, and so it has been impractical to sell the electronic switching components for such touch-sensitive lamps to a person desiring to modify an existing conventional lamp to incorporate the touch-actuation feature.
The present invention is a socket for mounting an 15 electrical device such as an incandescent light bulb and responsive to touching of the socket housing or any structure electrically connected to the socket housing to switch power to the electrical device. In accordance with the present invention, the electrical device to be 20 controlled is mounted within a device-receiving member in a first portion of a socket housing, while circuitry enabling control of electrical power to the device is within a second portion of the socket housing. The control circuitry is electrically coupled to the second 25 portion of the socket housing which is formed of an electrically conductive material. When the electrical device is not receiving power and the second portion of the socket housing is touched, a brief flow of current in the control circuitry triggers a switching device to 30 apply power to the electrical device. When the second portion of the socket housing is touched a second time, another brief flow of current triggers the switching device to terminate application of power to the electrical device. The socket is particularly suited for control 35 of power to an incandescent light bulb such as in a lamp. However, although the following description and the drawings make reference to a light bulb in a lamp, the socket is suitable for controlling power to other electrical loads, particularly by use of an electrical adapter 40 mounted in a light bulb socket and adapted to receive a two-prong electrical plug.
The present invention utilizes integrated circuitry and other miniaturization techniques to enable the entire control circuit to be mounted inside the socket. 45 Accordingly, the socket can be mounted on any lamp base or other structure, permitting ready conversion of an existing lamp to touch-actuated operation. Optimum operation of integrated circuitry occurs at moderate temperatures; e.g., temperatures between about 0° C 50 and about 70° C. Accordingly, the present invention provides a heat-sink for those components which generate heat that otherwise might be disadvantageous.
These and other aspects and advantages of the present invention are more apparent in the following de- 55 tailed description and claims, particularly when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like parts bear like reference numerals. In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a touch-respon- 60 sive socket in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 1A illustrates a socket in accordance with the present invention mounted on a lamp base;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, partially sectional view of the touch-responsive socket of FIG. 1; and 65
FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of control circuitry suitable for mounting within the socket of the present invention to enable touch actuation.
Socket 1 depicted in FIG. 1 includes an open first end la and an open second end 16. Second end lb is internally threaded to engage a threaded metal mounting rod 2 through which a power cord 3 passes. Cord 3 is equipped with a plug 5 adapted for plugging into a conventional electrical outlet to provide power to circuitry within socket 1 and to the electrical device controlled by the socket. An electrical device such as light bulb 4 can be inserted into first end la of socket 1 to threadedly engage a socket threaded member therein. Control circuitry 50 is positioned within chamber Id in the lower porion of socket 1. FIG. 1A depicts socket 1 mounted on a metal lamp base le by means of mounting rod 2.
Details of the construction of a preferred embodiment of socket 1 are shown in FIG. 2. First housing portion 40 is formed of an electrically insulating material such as ceramic or plastic and includes cylindrical side wall 40a and a substantially closed end wall 40b. Open end 41a of second housing portion 41 of socket 1 snugly engages the closed end of first housing portion 40, enclosing end wall 40b. If desired, side wall 40a might have a somewhat enlarged end 40c to mate with open end 41a of second housing portion 41. The second end of second housing portion 41 is closed to form internally threaded section lb which threadedly mates with mounting rod 2 through which power cord 3 passes. A set screw 41c may be provided to lock socket 1 in the preferred position on mounting rod 2, if desired. Second housing portion 41 is formed of an electrically conductive material, for example a thin-walled metal.
A metallic female socket threaded member 43 is provided within first housing portion 40 of socket 1 to threadedly engage an electrical device such as a light bulb. Member 43 includes a radially directed end wall 436 overlying end wall 40b of first housing portion 40. An opening 43c is provided in the center of end wall 43b and metallic contact member 44 is positioned therein, electrically isolated from threaded member 43. Contact member 44 is fastened to ceramic end wall 406 of first housing portion 40.
The electronic circuitry 50 positioned in chamber Id within lower housing portion 41 includes printed circuit board 45 on which the various miniaturized circuitry components are found. Bolts 45a pass through end wall 436 of socket threaded member 43 and through end wall 406 of first housing portion 40 to threadedly engage spacer blocks 456 within chamber la". Printed circuit board 45 is mounted by suitable means to the second end of spacer blocks 456. Open end 41a of second housing portion 41 includes an inwardly turned lip 416 which engages recess 40a* of first housing portion 40 to retain second housing portion 41 coupled on first housing portion 40.
Those components of the control circuitry which are provided in integrated circuit form are mounted on printed circuit board 45. Some components, however, cannot be provided as integrated circuits and are otherwise mounted within chamber Id. Power leads 3a and 36 within power cord 3 connect to the terminals 46a and 466 on terminal board 45 to provide power to the electronic components. Lead 45e electrically connects second housing portion 41 to circuitry on circuit board 45. Metallic contact member 44 is coupled by lead 44a to circuitry in lower chamber la*, while socket threaded member 43 is coupled by lead 43a to the circuitry in chamber la". Leads 43a and 44a pass through appropriate openings in end wall 406.