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Патент USA US3061712

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Oct. 30, 1962
Filed Oct. 10; 1960
Charles L. Jencks
By WM11247
United States Patent 0 "
Patented Oct. 30, 1962
its outer end or it maybe provided with dual contacts
respectively positioned near the inner and outer ends of
the contact arm. With the use of dual contacts, various
arrangements of ?xed contacts may be employed and
wired to respective terminals to provide various func
tions, such as a current by-pass for the connections be
tween the ?xed terminal and the movable contact arm
Charles Louis Jencks, Avon, Conn., assignor to General
Electric Company, a corporation of New York
Filed Oct. 10, 1960, Ser. No. 61,718
2 Claims. (Cl. 200—146)
This invention relates to an electric circuit interrupter,
or arcing contacts as may be obtained due to, an inherent
and more particularly, to an electric circuit interrupter
sequential opening of the dual contacts when the movable
incorporating a contact structure wherein the movable 10 contact arm arrangement of the invention is actuated.
contacts are resiliently mounted to provide desirable en—
Further objects, features, and attending advantages of
gagement and disengagement with cooperating ?xed con
the invention will become apparent by reference to the
following speci?cation and drawings, in which:
In electric switch apparatus of the type wherein mov
FIGURE 1 is a cutaway view of a circuit interrupter
able contact means are movable by a rocking or pivoting 15 incorporating the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary view taken along line 2—2
action into engagement with ?xed contact means, the
problem is encountered of providing a measure of resili
of FIGURE 1;
ency between the cooperating contact means so as to in
FIGURE 3 is 1a fragmentary view of a modi?ed form
sure ?rm face-to-face abutment of the respective cooper
of the invention incorporating a dual-contact, sequentially
ating contacts. For this purpose it has been customary to
opening structure;
provide a relatively free-?oating member carrying the
FIGURE 4 is a partial view of still another embodi
ment of the invention.
movable contacts, mounted upon a member which can be
moved between circuit-open and circuit-closed positions.
With reference to FIGURE 1, the invention is shown
This resiliency affords a degree of compensation or ad
as incorporated in an electric circuit breaker including a
justment in the attitude of the contact-carrying member 25 housing, generally indicated at 1 containing operating
to permit ‘desired abutment along the entire surface of
mechanism actuated by a toggle handle 2 of the well
the face~to-face contacts. The design and construction
known type. Toggle handle 2, by means of a system of
of such a resiliently mounted contact-carrying member
linkages which may be of any well-known type not shown,
in turn raises problems of insuring simplicity, compact
causes the pivoting of a switch arm 3 about a pivot shaft
These problems are compounded 30 31. The pivot shaft 31 may mount the switch arm 3 in
when it is desired to incorporate in such a structure a dual
any convenient fashion and, as best illustrated in FIGURE
contact arrangement characterized by sequential opening,
3, may take a well-known form comprising the metallic
or the type of opening wherein one pair of contacts is
shaft 31 of square cross-section, surrounded by electric
made or broken in sequence with a second pair of con
insulating material 32. A deformable metallic band 33
tacts. A still further problem arises from the fact that
surrounds the insulating material 32, is passed through
the relatively movable resiliently mounted contact-carry
apertures in the body of the switch arm 3, and is formed
ing member must be connected in some way to relatively
over or peened, thereby rigidly securing switch arm 3 to
?xed terminals of its associated circuit.
the rotatable pivot shaft 31.
The object of this invention is to provide an improved
As seen in FIGURE 2, switch arm 3 is of U-shaped
contact structure for an electric circuit interrupter.
cross-section, having parallel side walls 34. As best shown
Another object is to provide an electric circuit inter
‘in FIGURE 3, there are ?xed between and transversely
ness, and reliability.
rupter having improved means for resiliently mounting
to the parallel side walls 34 a ?rst pin 35 and a second
?rst contact means movable into ‘and out of engagement
pin 36.
with second contact means.
Still another object is to provide an electric circuit in
terrupter having two pairs of contacts adapted for sequen
tial opening and closing, wherein the movable contact
structure is resiliently mounted for ?rm abutment with the
?xed contact structure.
Still another object is to provide an electric circuit in
terrupter having a resiliently mounted contact-carrying
A contact arm 4 is disposed between the parallel side
walls 34 of the actuating member 3. Referring to FIG~
URE 3, wherein one side wall 34 ‘of switch arm 3 is cut
away to reveal the contact arm 4, there is shown an aper
ture 45 at one end of the arm, and a slot 46 at the other
50 end. Pin ‘35 passes through aperture 45, and pin 36 passes
through slot 46.
Spring means are provided to bias apart switch arm 3
structure incorporating a reliable means vfor connecting the
and contact arm 4, comprising a helical coil spring 5,
movable contact into the associated circuit.
arranged to be in compression. As illustrated in FIG
In accordance with the invention in one form, a switch 55 URE 1, parallel slots 34 are provided in each parallel
structure is provided with a movable switch arm of gen
side wall 34 of the switch arm 3. These slots 37 are
erally U-shaped channel cross-section having pivotally
‘aligned with and parallel to the axis of the helical spring
connected to an outer end thereof a movable contact
arm located within the channel of the switch ‘arm. The
5, and act as a guide for the spring while also permitting
a larger spring to be used within the relatively narrower
movable contact arm carried by the switch arm is pivoted 60 space afforded between the parallel side walls 34.
at ‘one end nearest the pivoting point of the switch arm by
Carried at the end of arm 4 corresponding with slot 46,
a pivot pin and aperture arrangement while the outer end
is a movable contact 6. In the closed-circuit condition,
of the contact arm is loosely connected to the switch arm
contact 6 abuts against ?xed contact 61. At the end of
through a pin and slot arrangement which thereby pro
arm 4 corresponding with aperture 45 there is attached
vides somewhat greater relative movement of the outer 65 a ?exible conductor 7. In the preferred embodiment of
end of the contact arm relative to the switch arm than
this invention, conductor 7 takes the form of a braid type
‘the inner ends of the contact and switch arms. Resilient
means is interposed between the switch ‘arm and contact
Fixed contact 61 is in electrical connection with a ter
arm to normally urge the two arms apart within limits
minal 62, which is in turn electrically connected to a
controlled by the aforementioned pivot means.
70 conductor 63 in the circuit on one side of the switch.
In the arrangement of the invention described above,
The ?exible conductor 7 is electrically connected with a
the contact arm may be provided with a single contact at
terminal 82, which is in turn electrically connected to a
conductor 83 on the side of the switch opposite conduc
tor 63. Thus, in the embodiment illustrated in FIGURE
1, ?exible conductor 7 completes the circuit between arm
ment, incorporating the basic contact arm, and utilizing,
4 and its associated contacts 6, 61 on one side and ter
minal and conductor 82 and 83 on the other side. Such C1
a ?exible conductor is necessary due to the floating or
resilient mounting of the contact arm 4. The resilient
mounting of arm 4‘ insures uniform contact along the en
tire surface between movable contact 6 and ?xed contact
61. Spring 5, urging the end of arm 4 which carries con 10
heavy duty pair of contacts 6, 61 and thus avoiding arc
tact 6 in a counter-clockwise direction about pivot pin 35,
results in the ?rm abutment of contacts 6, 61, despite
slight displacement of the actuating member 35 about its
pivot 31, so long as that displacement does not exceed
the limits de?ned by the upper and lower extremities of 15
as in the FIGURE 3 embodiment, two pairs of contacts,
provision is again made for drawing the arc across the
damage to the main current contacts 8 and 81.
In the operation of the FIGURE 4 embodiment, assum
ing the circuit-closed position, as the switch arm 3 is
pivoted counterclockwise by operation of the toggle 2,
the left side of arm 4, or that side corresponding with
pin 35, is ?rst lifted, causing contacts 8, 81 to breaker.
The current path is then continued from terminal 82,
through ?exible conductor 7, contact arm 4, and are con
tacts 6, 61 to conductor 63. As switch arm 3 continues
to rotate and pin 36 reaches the limiting end of slot 46,
the right side of contact arm 4 is lifted, and the are con
slot 46. It is further apparent that the construction thus
provided will alford inherent compensation for slight wear
upon the contacts 6, 61, whereby uniform abutment along
the surfaces of the contacts will be maintained in spite
tacts 6, 61 are broken, interrupting the circuit. In this
design, it will be apparent that a current path is provided
through both pairs of contacts. The conductive member
of this invention, a sut?ciently large conductive path
In view of the foregoing, it will be apparent to those
64 may be made a more conductive path than arm 4 so
of the somewhat lower attitude which contact arm 4 will 20 as to carry the bulk of current during the circuit-closed
condition. However, the arrangement thus described,
assume in the contacts-closed position due to such wear
providing sequential opening of contacts, saves the main
upon the faces of contacts 6, ?ll.
contacts 8, 8.1; ‘from damage due to the arc of interruption.
Where high currents are to be carried by the structure
should be provided between contact arm‘ 4 and terminal 25 skilled in the art that the instant invention provides an
82. However, in order to retain the necessary ?exibility
of ?exible conductor 7, the diameter of that member
should be maintained relatively small. In the modi?ca
tion of FIGURE 3, a second ?xed contact 8 is provided
improved circuit interrupter structure having a contact
arm resiliently mounted in such manner as to insure uni
form abutment of contacts, and adaptable to modi?cations
of special utility. The embodiment illustrated using the
at the end of the contact arm 4 nearest the pivot pin ‘35. 30 basic concept of the contact arm 4 and switch arm 3 per
mit high currents to be carried by the circuit interrupter,
In the closed-circuit position, movable contact it rests in
while sequential opening of two pairs of contacts protects
abutment with ?xed contact 81. Connecting ?xed contact
against undesirable arcing. Moreover, due to the inherent
81 with terminal 82 is a conductive member 84. It is
apparent that conductive member 84, when contacts 8, 81
are closed, offers a current path parallel to ?exible co-n
ductor 7.
In the FIGURE 3 embodiment utilizing two pairs of
contacts, assuming the closed circuit condition, the con
tacts will be opened by manipulation of toggle 2 causing
the switch arm 3 to pivot counter-clockwise about pivot
shaft 31, which in turn causes pins 35 and 36, ?xed with
respect to the switch arm 3, to rise. Since there is little
clearance between the aperture 45 and pin 35, the left
end of the contact arm 4, as viewed in FIGURE 3, will
rise ?rst; the right side of contact arm 4, however, will
not move until pin 36 reaches the top of slot 46, where
upon that end of the arm is also lifted.
The result of
this action is a sequential opening, ?rst of contacts 8, 81
and then contacts 6, 61. Closing of the switch takes place
in the reverse order. With pin 36 at the top of slot 46,
arm 4 being biased away from actuating member 3, the
contacts 6, 61 will meet ?rst, and contacts 8, 81 will then
meet in sequence. Thus, with the contacts closed, cur
rent ?owing ‘from the arm 4 to the terminal 82 will be
divided, ?owing through both ?exible conductor 7 and
?xed conductive member 84. Upon opening ‘of the cir
cuit in the FIGURE 3 embodiment, contacts 8‘, 81 will
?rst breaker, and the entire current will be momentarily
carried by conductor 7. Substantially instantaneously,
however, contacts 6, 61 will be broken and the circuit 60
interrupted. Since contacts 6, 61 remain closed after
contacts 8, 81 are open, it is at contacts 6, 61 that the main
arc of interruption will be drawn.
It should be apparent that the ?oating pivot arrange
ment ‘for the contact arm 4 in accordance with the inven 65
tion assures that both contacts 6 and 8 will establish a
?rm electrical contact with their respective ?xed contacts
61 and 81 when the switch is closed.
Referring now to FIGURE 4, still another embodi
ment incorporating the invention is illustrated. In this 70
embodiment, the ?xed conductive member 84, as illus
trated in FIGURE 3, is eliminated. In place of the
terminal member 62 of FIGURE 3, a terminal member
64, in the FIGURE 4 embodiment, is extended between
?xed contact 61 and ?xed contact 81. In this embodi 75
relative simplicity of the structure and the ?exibility of
the relatively small diameter conductive braid or other
?exible conductor, a high degree of reliability and com
pactness is obtained.
Although speci?c embodiments of the invention have
been illustrated and described, it is apparent that many
changes and modi?cations may be made in the construc
tion and arrangement of the various parts without de
parting from the scope of the invention, and I therefore
intend by the appended claims to cover all such modi?ca
tions as fall within the true spirit and scope of the in
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters
Patent of the United States is:
1. An electric circuit interrupter comprising:
(a) a housing of insulating material,
(b) a ?rst terminal carried by said housing,
(0) a second terminalicarried by said housing and
spaced ‘from said ?rst terminal,
(d) switch means for making and breaking an elec
tric circuit between said ?rst and second terminals
comprising a switch shaft pivotally mounted in said
(e) an elongated switch arm ?xedly attached to said
switch shaft, said switch arm comprising a generally
U-shaped member having a pair of closely spaced
planar wall portions connected by a bight portion,
(f) a ?rst supporting pin ?xedly carried by said switch
arm and extending transversely between said wall
(g) a second supporting pin ?xedly carried by said
switch arm and extending transversely between said
wall portions, said second pin being spaced ‘from
said ?rst pin and positioned closer to the outer end
of said switch arm,
(h) a generally planar movable contact support be
tween said wall portions of said switch arm,
(i) said contact support being pivotally mounted on
said ?rst transversely extending pin and having an
elongated slot therein receiving said second pin, said
slot extending in a direction generally parallel to the
direction of movement of said switch arm to permit
limited pivotal movement of said contact support
With respect to said switch arm,
(j) a compression spring compressed between said
bight portion of said switch arm and an edge portion
of said contact support, said compression spring be
ing positioned between said ?rst and second trans
(g) a movable contact member carried by said con
tact supporting member and disposed and arranged
to contact said relatively stationary contact in at
least one predetermined position of said contact arm,
(h) a second relatively stationary contact mounted in
said casing and connected to said ?rst terminal
verse pins,
(k) a movable contact member carried by said contact
(i) a second movable contact carried by said contact
support adjacent the outer end thereof and adapted
to engage a relatively stationary contact carried by
said second terminal means,
(I) and a ?exible electrical connector connecting said
supporting member and disposed and arranged to
contact said second relatively stationary contact,
(j) and ?exible conductor means connecting said ?rst
terminal directly to said contact supporting member,
contact support to said ?rst terminal means.
2. An electric circuit interrupter comprising:
(a) a casing of insulating material,
(b) a ?rst terminal mounted in said casing,
(c) a second terminal mounted in said casing and
spaced from said ?rst terminal,
(d) a relatively stationary contact mounted in said
casing and connected to said second terminal,
(6) an elongated contact arm pivotally supported in
said casing,
(f) a movable contact supporting member resiliently
mounted on said contact arm,
said ?exible conductor being electrically in parallel
with said second movable and said second stationary
contacts when said contacts are in closed condition.
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
Baker ______________ __
Tritle _______________ __
Seaman _____________ __
CasWell _____________ __
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