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Title:
ELECTRICAL DEVICE FOR A VEHICLE RUNNING BOARD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/186313
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An electrical device (100) for a vehicle includes a housing (102) having an upper portion (104) and a lower portion (106). An upper light source (134) attaches to the upper portion and a light guiding element (136) attaches to the upper portion to receive the upper light from the upper light source and direct outgoing light in a substantially uniform direction. A display (116) attaches to the upper portion to receive the outgoing light for illumination of the display. A lower member (184) couples with the lower portion. A lower light source (172) attaches to the lower member. A collimator (180) attaches to the lower member to receive incoming light from the lower light source and change directions of the incoming light to a collimated beam. A lens element attaches to the lower portion to direct the collimated beam at a target.

Inventors:
DAWIDZIUK, Jaroslaw Henryk (8 Spinning Lane, Whitby, Ontario L1P 1M6, L1P 1M6, CA)
LUCA, Dragos N. (75 Graydon Hall Drive, #1701North York, Ontario M3A 3M5, M3A 3M5, CA)
Application Number:
IB2019/052090
Publication Date:
October 03, 2019
Filing Date:
March 14, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TE CONNECTIVITY CORPORATION (1050 Westlakes Drive, Berwyn, Pennsylvania, 19312, US)
TYCO ELECTRONICS CANADA ULC (20 Esna Park Drive, Markham, L3R1E1, L3R1E1, CA)
International Classes:
G09F13/04; B60Q1/00; B60Q1/32; F21S41/00; F21V8/00; G09F13/06; G09F13/18; G09F21/04
Foreign References:
US20120280528A12012-11-08
US20150197180A12015-07-16
JP2015221657A2015-12-10
US20080037266A12008-02-14
US20090251920A12009-10-08
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARMS, Michael G. (4550 Linden Hill Road, Suite 140Wilmington, Delaware, 19808, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An electrical device (100) for a vehicle, comprising: a housing (102) having a display mount (112) and a lens barrel (170); an upper light source (134) attached to the display mount of the housing for emitting an upper light; a light guiding element (136) mounted to the display mount of the housing and aligned with the upper light source to receive the upper light and direct outgoing light in a first emitting direction (140); a display (116) attached to the display mount of the housing and aligned with the light guiding element to receive the outgoing light for illumination of the display; a lower light source (172) attached to the lens barrel of the housing for emitting a lower light; and a lens assembly (174) attached to the lens barrel of the housing, the lens assembly being configured to receive the lower light from the lower light source and direct outgoing light in a second emitting direction different from the first emitting direction.

2. The electrical device (100) of claim 1, wherein the lens assembly (174) includes a collimator (180) attached to the lens barrel (170) of the housing (102), the collimator being configured to receive the lower light from the lower light source (172) and change directions of the incoming light received from the lower light source such that the outgoing light emanating from the collimator is a collimated beam; and a lens element attached to the lens barrel of the housing, the lens element being configured to receive the collimated beam from the collimator and direct the collimated beam at the target.

3. The electrical device (100) of claim 1, wherein the lens assembly (174) includes an auxiliary lens (182) attached to the lens barrel (170) of the housing (102) and configured to receive the lower light from the lower light source (172) and modify a property of the lower light.

4. The electrical device (100) of claim 1, further comprising a lower member (184) attached to the lens barrel (170) of the housing (102), the lower member having an aperture (200) configured to direct the lower light to form a predetermined image.

5. The electrical device (100) of claim 1, wherein the upper light source (134) is positioned adjacent to an end of the guide lighting element (136), and further comprising, an auxiliary upper light source attached to the display mount (112) of the housing (102) and positioned adjacent an opposite end of the guide lighting element.

6. The electrical device (100) of claim 1, further comprising a light driver electrically coupled to the upper light source (134) and the lower light source (172) for controlling operation thereof, the light driver receiving a control signal from the vehicle to operate the upper light source and the lower light source.

7. The electrical device (100) of claim 1, further comprising a light driver having an input from the vehicle electrically coupled to a first printed circuit board and a second printed circuit board, the upper light source (134) being electrically couple to the first printed circuit board, and the lower light source (172) being electrically coupled to the second printed circuit board.

8. The electrical device (100) of claim 1, wherein the lower light source (172) is positioned directly below the light guiding element (136), the lower light source is configured to direct light downwardly, and the light guiding element is configured to direct light upwardly.

9. The electrical device (100) of claim 1, wherein the light guiding element (136) emits a diffused light pattern to backlight the display (116).

10. The electrical device (100) of claim 1, wherein the lower light source (172) emits a focused light pattern.

Description:
ELECTRICAL DEVICE FOR A VEHICLE RUNNING BOARD

[0001] The subject matter herein relates generally to an electrical device for a vehicle running board, and more specifically, a lighting assembly for a vehicle running board.

[0002] Running boards for vehicles often include electrical lighting devices for safety and aesthetic purposes. Typically, running boards extend alongside the vehicle frame between the front wheel well to the rear wheel well and below the door openings to provide a step for aiding passengers in entry or exit of the vehicle. Lighting assemblies are coupled with the running boards for both functional and decorative purposes. For example, lighting assemblies can illuminate the stepping surface of the running boards and/or trip or safety hazards on the ground surface below the running board. In another example, lighting assemblies can enhance the appearance of the vehicle by illuminating indicia or logos on the running board or vehicle.

[0003] Generally, multiple lighting assemblies are required to provide illumination for both safety and aesthetic purposes, and/or provide illumination at multiple locations. However, multiple lighting assemblies lead to increased cost, assembly, and installation. Accordingly, the problem to be solved is the need to maximize the illumination attributes of the lighting assembly, while minimizing the cost, assembly, and installation.

[0004] This problem is solved by an electrical device for a vehicle is provided that includes a housing having a display mount and a lens barrel. An upper light source attaches to the display mount of the housing for emitting an upper light. A light guiding element mounts to the display mount of the housing and aligns with the upper light source to receive the upper light and direct outgoing light in a first emitting direction. A display attaches to the display mount of the housing and aligns with the light guiding element to receive the outgoing light for illumination of the display. A lower light source attaches to the lens barrel of the housing for emitting a lower light. A lens assembly attaches to the lens barrel of the housing. The lens assembly is configured to receive the lower light from the lower light source and direct outgoing light in a second emitting direction different from the first emitting direction.

[0005] The invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0006] Figure 1 illustrates a partially exploded perspective view of an electrical device according to an embodiment;

[0007] Figure 2 illustrates a perspective section view of an electrical device according to an embodiment; and

[0008] Figure 3 illustrates an exploded perspective view of the electrical device according to an embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0009] One or more embodiments disclosed herein include an electrical device for installation in a running board for a vehicle that is configured to provide an upper light assembly for emitting a diffused light pattern in a first direction to backlight a display. For example, an upper light source can attach to a display mount and align with an end of a light guiding element. The light guiding element receives incoming light from the upper light source and directs outgoing light to backlight the display. The electrical device also includes a lower light assembly configured for emitting light through a lens assembly into a focused light pattern in a second direction for illuminating a surface. For example, the lens assembly can include a collimator, an auxiliary lens, and a lower member in a nested arrangement that diffracts, and/or refracts light to emanate the lens assembly as outgoing light in a focused light pattern.

[0010] Figure 1 illustrates a perspective section view of an electrical device 100 according to an embodiment. The electrical device 100 includes a housing 102 with an upper portion 104 and a lower portion 106. As used herein, relative or spatial terms such as“upper”,“lower”,“top,”“bottom,”“front, “rear,”“left,” and“right” are only used to distinguish the referenced elements and do not necessarily require particular positions or orientations of the electrical device 100 relative to the surrounding environment of the electrical device 100. The housing 102 is configured to be inserted into a cavity or recess 108 of a running board 110 of a vehicle (not shown) In alternate embodiments, the housing 102 can be inserted into any a recess of at any location on the vehicle, such as a bumper, a door sill, a spoiler, and the like.

[0011] Figure 2 illustrates a perspective section view of an electrical device according to an embodiment. Figure 3 illustrates an exploded perspective view of the electrical device according to an embodiment. The upper portion 104 of the housing 102 is a display mount 112 that is configured for mounting an upper light assembly 114 and a display 116. The display mount 112 is substantially planar and rectangular shaped having an upper surface 118, a lower surface 120 and an outer peripheral edge 122. A plurality of guide tabs 124 extend upwardly from the edge of the display mount 112. In the embodiment of Figures 1-3, four guide tabs 124 are equally spaced about the edge 122. The guide tabs 124 are configured to align the display 116 with the display mount 112. In alternate embodiments, any number and arrangement of guide tabs 124 can be used to align the display 116 with the display mount 112.

[0012] A plurality of retaining members 126 extend upwardly from the edge 122 of the display mount 112. The retaining members 126 are configured to secure the display 116 to the display mount 112. In the embodiment of Figure 1, two retaining members 126 are positioned at about the mid-point of the display mount 112 on opposite sides. In alternate embodiments, any number and configuration of retaining members 126 can be used to secure the display 116 to the display mount 112. Each retaining member 126 includes an upper angled portion 128 that is configure to define a recessed area 130 between the angled portion 128 and the upper surface 118 of the display mount 112. The recessed area 130 is configured to receive a portion of the display 116 for securement of the display 116 to the display mount 112. When attaching the display 112 to the display mount 116, the display 116 presses down on the angled portion 128 to deflect the angled portion 128 outwards. When the display 116 is positioned within the recessed area, the angled portion 128 returns to the default position so that the angled portion 128 is positioned above a portion of the display 116 for securement. [0013] The display mount 112 includes ribs 132 that extend upwardly from the upper surface 118. The ribs 132 are configured to mate with the display 116, as is further described below.

[0014] The upper light assembly 114 includes an upper light source 134 mounted to the upper surface 118 of the display mount 112. A light guiding element 136 mounts to the upper surface 118 of the display mount 112 and is aligned with the upper light source 134 positioned adjacent to an end 138 of the light guiding element 136. In alternate embodiment, a second upper light source is positioned adjacent an end of the light guiding element opposite from the first upper light source 134. The light guiding element 136 is a generally rectangular prism that is configured to receive incoming light from the upper light source 134 and direct outgoing light in a first emitting direction 140. Light emitting from the upper light source 134 enters the end 138 of the light guiding element 136 and is directed upwardly through a top surface 142 of the light guiding element 138 in a diffused light pattern. The outgoing light from the light guiding element 138 backlights the display 116. The light guiding element 136 comprises a material such as, plastic, glass, acrylic, silica, polycarbonate, and the like. The light guiding element 136 is composed of a light transmissive material, such as glass, acrylic, polypropylene, polycarbonate, or another polymer.

[0015] The upper light source 134 includes a light emitting device mounted to a substrate, such as a printed circuit board (PCB) 144. The upper light source 134 may be a light emitting diode (LED). Optionally, the upper light source 134 may be a monochromatic LED light that emits monochromatic white light. Alternatively, the upper light source 134 may be a tri-color red green blue (RGB) LED that is configured to be able to emit red light, green light, blue light, and/or combinations thereof to create many different colors and shades of light. In alternative embodiments, the upper light source 138 may be an incandescent bulb, a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulb, xenon bulb, halogen bulb, or the like, instead of an LED. The upper light source 134 is configured to emit light to the light guiding element 136.

[0016] The upper light source 134 is operatively coupled to a light engine. The light engine includes drivers, controllers, power sources such as batteries, and/or associated circuitry for controlling the optical characteristics of the light generated by the light source 134. At least some of the drivers, controllers, power sources, and/or associated circuitry may be embedded or otherwise contained on the (PCB). The light engine receives power and/or control signals via electrical leads 144 and/or wires that extend remotely to connect to a remote power source and/or controller in the vehicle. The light engine may be joined to a switch that operates the upper light source 134. Although one upper light source 134 is associated with each light engine in the illustrated embodiment, in other embodiments a single light engine may control operation of multiple light sources.

[0017] The display 116 is substantially planar and rectangular-shaped having a top surface 150, a bottom surface 152 and a perimeter edge 154. The display 116 is configured with a thickness so that the edge 154 of the display 116 inserts into the recesses 128 of the retaining members 126 for securement to the display mount 112. The bottom surface 152 is configured to define a channel 156 to at least partially enclose the light guiding element 136 and the upper light source 134. The bottom surface 152 is also configured to define a conduit 158 for wires 160 and a circumferential groove 162 for receiving the ribs 132. A bonding material 165, such as adhesive, is disposed within the groove 162 to affix the display 116 to the upper surface 118 of the display mount 112. In other embodiments, the display 116 can affix to the display mount 112 using any suitable material or process, including but not limited to tape, welding, fasteners, and the like.

[0018] The display 116 includes a trim element, such as a scuff plate 164, extending along the top of the channel 156. The scuff plate 164 includes openings 166 that align with the top surface 142 of the light guiding element 136. The openings 166 can be configured as desired indicia, such as a logo, design, letter, numbers, symbols or other indicia. Outgoing light from the light guiding element 136 emits through the openings 166, thereby illuminating the indicia.

[0019] The lower portion 106 of the housing 102 includes a substantially cylindrical barrel 170 that extends downwardly from the lower surface 120 of the display mount 112. The barrel 170 is configured to receive the lower light source 172 and a lens assembly 174. The lower light source 172 affixes to the top of the lens assembly 174 and is positioned to emit light through the lens assembly 174 and direct outgoing light in a focused light pattern 176 onto a surface 177.

[0020] The lower light source 172 includes a light emitting device mounted to a substrate 178. The lower light source 172 may be a light emitting diode (LED). Optionally, the lower light source 172 may be a monochromatic LED light that emits monochromatic white light. Alternatively, the lower light source 172 may be a tri color red green blue (RGB) LED that is configured to be able to emit red light, green light, blue light, and/or combinations thereof to create many different colors and shades of light. In alternative embodiments, the lower light source 172 may be an incandescent bulb, a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulb, or the like, instead of an LED. The upper light source # is configured to emit light to the light guiding element 136.

[0021] The lower light source 172 is operatively coupled to a light engine. The light engine includes drivers, controllers, power sources such as batteries, and/or associated circuitry for controlling the optical characteristics of the light generated by the lower light source 172. At least some of the drivers, controllers, power sources, and/or associated circuitry may be embedded or otherwise contained on the (PCB). The light engine receives power and/or control signals via electrical leads and/or wires that extend remotely to connect to a remote power source and/or controller in the vehicle. The light engine may be joined to a switch that operates the lower light source 172. Although one lower light source 172 is associated with each light engine in the illustrated embodiment, in other embodiments a single light engine may control operation of multiple light sources. For example, a single light engine may control operations of the lower light source 172 and the upper light source 134.

[0022] The lens assembly 174 includes a collimator 180, an auxiliary lens 182, and a lower member 184 in a nested arrangement that inserts into the barrel 170. The lens assembly 174 also includes a lens 186 disposed in the end of the barrel 170. [0023] The collimator 180 includes a cylindrical portion 188 having a rim 190 at the upper end so that the collimator can nest within the auxiliary lens 182. The collimator 180 is configured so that incoming light from the lower light source 172 is diffracted and refracted to form a collimated light beam as outgoing light that emanates to the auxiliary lens 182.

[0024] The auxiliary lens 182 includes a cylindrical portion 183 having a rim 185 at the upper end so the auxiliary lens can nest within the lower member 184. The auxiliary lens modifies a property of light passing through the lens assembly 174, such as the focal length. In alternate embodiments, the auxiliary lens is not included in the lens assembly 174.

[0025] The lower member 184 includes a cylindrical portion 192 having a rim 194 and a counterbore 196 at the upper end. The lower member 184 also includes a bottom surface 198 having an aperture 200. The aperture 200 is configured to receive incoming light from the collimator 180 and emit light through the aperture 200 to form a predetermined image or indicia.

[0026] The lens 186 disposed in the end of the barrel 170 receives outgoing light from the lower member 184 and emits outgoing light in a second direction 202 onto the surface 177. The outgoing light from the lower member 184 passing through the lens 186 is diffracted, and/or refracted and exits or emanates from the lens 186 as outgoing light in a focused light pattern. The lens 186 is composed of a light transmissive material, such as glass or acrylic. The lens 186 may be clear and transparent, or at least translucent, to allow the transmission of light.