Switch Module For A Flashlight
Embodiments herein relate to the sphere of switches.
Many devices, resembling flashlights, have mechanical switches for selectively connecting an input contact, corresponding to a battery, to an output contact to ascertain a conductive path and provide power to an output device. Some devices include multipleswitches, each one independently coupling a separate input to a separate output. For instance, some flashlights have multiple bulbs that could be switched on and off. However, these flashlights require a separate switch to couple each bulb to the battery.
Some switches couple a single input to multiple outputs, however, these switches toggle through a plurality of states, and each output can’t be selected independently.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Embodiments will likely be readily understood by the following detailed description along with the accompanying drawings and the appended claims. Embodiments are illustrated by the use of example and not by means of limitation in the figures of theaccompanying drawings.
FIGS. 1A-E illustrate perspective views of a switch module in accordance with various embodiments; and
FIG. 1F illustrates an exploded view of the switch module of FIGS. 1A-E.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DISCLOSED EMBODIMENTS
In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a component hereof, and in which are shown by means of illustration embodiments that could be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments maybe utilized and structural or logical changes may be made without departing from the scope. Therefore, the next detailed description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of embodiments is defined by the appended claims and theirequivalents.
Various operations may be described as multiple discrete operations in turn, in a way that may be helpful in understanding embodiments; however, the order of description shouldn’t be construed to imply that these operations are orderdependent.
The outline may use perspective-based descriptions reminiscent of up/down, back/front, and top/bottom. Such descriptions are merely used to facilitate the discussion and are not intended to restrict the applying of disclosed embodiments.
The terms “coupled” and “connected,” along with their derivatives, could also be used. It needs to be understood that these terms will not be intended as synonyms for each other. Rather, particularly embodiments, “connected” may be used to point thattwo or more elements are in direct physical or electrical contact with one another. “Coupled” may mean that two or more elements are in direct physical or electrical contact. However, “coupled” might also mean that two or more elements are usually not in directcontact with each other, but yet still cooperate or interact with one another.
For the needs of the description, a phrase in the form “NB” or within the form “A and/or B” means (A), (B), or (A and B). For the purposes of the description, a phrase in the form “(A)B” means (B) or (AB) that’s, A is an optional element.
The description may use the terms “embodiment” or “embodiments,” which may each confer with one or more of the identical or different embodiments. Furthermore, the terms “comprising,” “including,” “having,” and the like, as used with respect toembodiments, are synonymous, and are generally intended as “open” terms (e.g., the term “including” must be interpreted as “including but not limited to,” the term “having” needs to be interpreted as “having at the very least,” the term “includes” should beinterpreted as “includes but isn’t limited to,” etc.).
With respect to using any plural and/or singular terms herein, those having skill within the art can translate from the plural to the singular and/or from the singular to the plural as is acceptable to the context and/or application. Thevarious singular/plural permutations may be expressly set forth herein for sake of clarity.
In various embodiments, methods, apparatuses, and systems for a single input, multiple output switch module are provided. In exemplary embodiments, a computing device could also be endowed with a number of components of the disclosed apparatusesand/or systems and could also be employed to perform a number of methods as disclosed herein.
Embodiments herein provide a switch module for a flashlight with a single input contact and multiple output contacts. The switch module may include multiple mechanical actuators, each actuator configured to selectively and communicativelycouple one of many output contacts to the input contact. Each actuator could also be activated and/or deactivated independently. Accordingly, any combination of the output contacts could also be activated and/or deactivated at a given time. The switch module may beincorporated into a flashlight, allowing any of a variety of output devices (e.g., light bulbs) to be independently switched on and off from a standard power source.
Referring to FIGS. 1A-F, switch module 100 may include an input contact 102 and a plurality of output contacts 104-107. As shown in FIGS. 1A-F, switch module 100 includes four output contacts. However, various embodiments of switch module 100may include any number of output contacts greater than or equal to 2, corresponding to about two to twelve output contacts.
Switch module 100 may further include a plurality of actuators 112-115. Each of the actuators 112-115 may be used to selectively and communicatively couple one of the output contacts 104-107, respectively, to the input contact 102. Eachactuator 112-115 may couple the corresponding output contact 104-107 to the input contact 102 when in an activated state, and may uncouple the corresponding output contact 104-107 from the input contact 102 when in a deactivated state. Each actuator112-115 could also be activated and deactivated independently, in order that any combination of the output contacts 104-107 could also be coupled to the input contact 102 at a given time. Accordingly, switch module 100 provides an efficient mechanism for independentswitching of a plurality of outputs with a standard input.
As best shown in FIG. 1F, input contact 102 could also be coupled to a conducting core 120. Input contact 102, output contacts 104-107, and conducting core 120 may be made from a conductive material, reminiscent of copper, aluminum, silver, and/or gold. Conducting core 120 may be surrounded by an insulating shell 122 made from an insulating material, comparable to plastic. Insulating shell 122 may have holes 124-127 to permit actuators 112-115 to communicatively couple to the conducting core 120.
Each actuator 112-115 may include a button 132-135, a conductor 138-141, and a ratcheting member 144-147, respectively. Conductors 138-141 could also be communicatively coupled to the conducting core 120, equivalent to through springs 150-153, respectively,disposed through the holes 124-127, respectively, in shell 122. The ratcheting member 144-147 may be coupled between the button 132-135 and conductor 138-141. Each conductor 138-141 may be affixed to the corresponding ratcheting member 144-147 so thatthe movement of the ratcheting member 144-147 controls the movement of the conductor 138-141.
Each button 132-135 could also be depressed by the user to transfer the corresponding actuator 112-115 from the deactivated state to the activated state, and/or from the activated state to the deactivated state. When button 132-135 is depressed,ratcheting member 144-147 may interact with button 132-135 to maneuver the conductor 138-141 into contact with the respective output contact 104-107 during the activated state and move the conductor 138-141 away from contact with the respective outputcontact 104-107 throughout the deactivated state. When in the activated state, the conductor 138-141 completes a conductive path between the corresponding output contact 104-107 and the input contact 102. Accordingly, electrical signals, similar to power, maybe transferred from the input contact 102 to the respective output contact 104-107.
Each successive press of the same button 132-135 may alternate the state of the actuator 112-115 between the activated state and the deactivated state.
In some embodiments, the interaction of the ratcheting member 144-147 with the button 132-135 could also be just like the mechanism found in a retractable pen. Ratcheting member 144-147 and button 132-135 may include sawtooth portions 156 and/orother protrusions that interact with one another. When one of many buttons 132-135 is depressed, the sawtooth portions 156 may cause the corresponding ratcheting member 144-147 to rotate. The ratcheting member 144-147 may stop rotating at one or moredetents 158 located circumferentially around the ratcheting member 144-147 and/or button 132-135. The detents 158 may hold the ratcheting member 144-147, and thereby the conductor 138-141, in either the activated state or the deactivated state. Thelocation of the detents 158 may alternate so that each successive press of the actuator changes the state of the conductor.
In some embodiments, the conductor 138-141 could also be integrated into the ratcheting member 144-147. For instance, the ratcheting member 144-147 could also be made from a conductive material and/or include a portion of conductive material to contact theoutput contact throughout the activated state.
As shown in FIGS. 1A-F, actuators 112-115 include buttons 132-135. However, any suitable mechanical actuator may be used, comparable to a button, lever, rotating dial, and/or other mechanical actuator.
Switch module 100 may further include a housing 160 surrounding the other components of switch module 100, but leaving exposed the input contact 102, output contacts 104-107, and buttons 132-135. In some embodiments, housing 160 could also be made upof a plurality of portions coupled together.
The actuators 112-115 may be located circumferentially across the housing 160 of the switch module 100. In some embodiments, the housing 160 may generally have a cross-sectional shape resembling a regular polygon (e.g., equilateral triangle,square, regular pentagon, regular hexagon, etc.). An actuator may be disposed on each face of the housing 160. In other embodiments, multiple actuators could also be located on a number of faces of the housing 160. Alternatively, the housing 160 may begenerally cylindrical.
In some embodiments, the switch module 100 may be incorporated right into a flashlight. The flashlight may further include one or more power sources, resembling batteries, a number of output devices, such as bulbs, a focusing lens, and/or a housing. The switch module 100 could also be disposed within the housing of the flashlight, between the power source and the output devices. The input contact 102 of the switch module 100 may be communicatively coupled to the power source. Each output contact 104-107may be coupled to a distinct set of a number of of the output devices. The flashlight housing may have any suitable shape. For instance, the flashlight housing may be generally cylindrical or may have a cross section that resembles a daily polygon. In some embodiments, the housing of the flashlight may have a similar cross-sectional shape to the housing 160 of the switch module. The buttons 132-135 of the switch module 100 may extend out from the flashlight housing to be accessible by the user.
In some embodiments, each contact 104-107 may be coupled to output devices having different properties, corresponding to different colors, light intensities, light outputs, bulb sizes, bulb types (e.g., light emitting diode (LED), incandescent), flashingcharacteristics, focus properties, and/or reflection properties. For instance, output contact 104 could also be coupled to a white LED, output contact 105 may be coupled to a red LED, output contact 106 may be coupled to a blue LED, and output contact 107 maybe coupled to a green LED. Will probably be apparent that a number different of combinations of output devices are possible. In some embodiments, different output contacts could also be coupled to different bulbs of the same type, in order that activating additionalactuators provides additional light.
Accordingly, switch module 100 may allow any of the plurality of output devices in the flashlight to be turned on and/or off independently. Any combination of the output devices may be on and/or off at a given time, as controlled by the user.
It will be apparent that many other uses for the switch module 100 are possible. The input contact 102 may be coupled to any suitable input electrical signal, reminiscent of a power signal and/or communication signal. The output contacts 104-107 maybe coupled to any suitable output devices configured to receive the input signal.
Some embodiments of switch module 100 may include a plurality of input contacts to be used with multiple power sources, e.g., multiple batteries. The input contacts may all be coupled to the conducting core 120. Alternatively, the outputcontacts 104-107 may be separately coupled to one or more of the plurality of input contacts.
Although certain embodiments have been illustrated and described herein, it is going to be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that a wide variety of alternate and/or equivalent embodiments or implementations calculated to realize thesame purposes could also be substituted for the embodiments shown and described without departing from the scope. Those with skill within the art will readily appreciate that embodiments may be implemented in a really wide variety of ways. This application isintended to cover any adaptations or variations of the embodiments discussed herein. Therefore, it’s manifestly intended that embodiments be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof.