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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
ELECTRICAL POWER OUTLET
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/080265
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fixed (4) or portable (5) socket outlet incorporating a safety isolating switch (2) operated by a removable actuator (3) to provide automatic isolation from the mains supply whenever the operator leaves the tool or appliance (11) plugged into it unattended. The removable actuator (3) may be provided with a means of attachment to the operator (7) so that the removable actuator (3) is automatically detached from the socket (5) whenever the operator (6) leaves the tool or appliance (11).

Inventors:
Jessup, Adrian George (The Hundred Steddle Cottage Brighton Road Henfield West Sussex BN5 9RT, GB)
Ingledew, Peter (Brookings Barrow Hill Henfield West Sussex BN5 9DN, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2000/001503
Publication Date:
October 25, 2001
Filing Date:
April 18, 2000
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Jessup, Adrian George (The Hundred Steddle Cottage Brighton Road Henfield West Sussex BN5 9RT, GB)
Ingledew, Peter (Brookings Barrow Hill Henfield West Sussex BN5 9DN, GB)
International Classes:
H01H27/00; H01R13/70; H01R13/713; (IPC1-7): H01H27/00; H01R13/70
Foreign References:
US4647735A
FR2334191A1
US4236052A
FR2470439A1
US5071360A
US5193665A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRANK B. DEHN & CO. (179 Queen Victoria Street London EC4V 4EL, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. An electrical power outlet comprising a connector part adapted to receive a complementary connector part, electrical switch contacts for interrupting the supply of electrical power to said connector part and a removable actuator wherein removal of said actuator opens said switch contacts.
2. A power outlet as claimed in claim 1 comprising electrical switch contacts in both poles of the electrical supply.
3. An electrical power outlet comprising an integral cable for connecting the outlet to an electrical supply and a removable actuator for selectively interrupting the electrical supply to the outlet.
4. A power outlet as claimed in claim 1,2 or 3 comprising means for attaching the removable actuator to an operator.
5. A power outlet as claimed in any preceding claim comprising retention means for preventing the removable actuator from being removed unless a minimum force is applied.
6. A power outlet as claimed in claim 5 comprising release means to allow said actuator to be removed with a force below said minimum.
7. A method of using an electrical power outlet operated by a removable actuator comprising attaching the removable actuator to an operator during use.
8. An electrical socket outlet comprising a socket to accept an electrical plug, a removable actuator, and electrical switch contacts.
Description:
Electrical Power Outlet This invention relates to an electrical power outlet incorporating a safety switch with a removable actuator.

When using mains operated power tools and appliances the only way to render it safe when left unattended is to switch off at the socket outlet or remove the plug. However this does not prevent the tool or appliance being simply reconnected by re-inserting the plug or operating the switch to the 'on'position. Appliances or tools used in conjunction with an extended mains lead are particularly at risk as it is often inconvenient for the operator to return to the mains socket outlet each time the tool or appliance is left unattended and it will therefore usually be left with the power connected. In this situation there is considerable risk of an unattended appliance or tool being unsafely operated by an unauthorised or inexperienced person-particularly a child.

When viewed from a first aspect the present invention provides an electrical power outlet comprising a connector part adapted to receive a complementary connector part, electrical switch contacts for interrupting the supply of electrical power to said connector part, and a removable actuator wherein removal of said actuator opens said switch contacts.

Thus it will be seen that in accordance with the present invention there is provided a power outlet, e. g. a socket, incorporating an electrical isolating switch which is actuated by a removable component. The power outlet may be fixed, e. g. by being mounted to a wall or portable, e. g. by being provided with a flexible electrical cable to connect it to a fixed electrical supply such as a wall socket or the like.

In the case of a fixed outlet, removal of the actuator enables a parent or responsible person to prevent unauthorised use or unsafe interference with the power outlet in their absence-for instance when a child is left unsupervised.

In the case of a portable outlet the operator can conveniently have such control wherever he or she is working without having to return to the fixed supply point-e. g. wall socket. Such an arrangement is novel and inventive in its own right and thus when viewed from a second aspect the present invention provides an electrical power outlet comprising an integral cable for connecting the outlet to an electrical supply and a removable actuator for selectively interrupting the electrical supply to the outlet.

The removable actuator is preferably provided with a means for attaching it to an operator so that the removable actuator can be automatically detached from the socket outlet if the operator leaves the appliance unattended. This is particularly beneficial in the case of a portable socket outlet. As well as making the tool or appliance safe and inoperable by unauthorised persons, the removable actuator remains with the operator ensuring that the power cannot be reinstated without the operators co-operation. This preferred feature also provides extra safety in the event that the tool or appliance is dropped in which case the removable actuator will be pulled from the socket outlet disconnecting power to the tool or appliance.

It will be appreciated that using an electrical power outlet in this way is both novel and inventive and thus when viewed from a further aspect the present invention provides a method of using electrical power outlet operated by a removable actuator comprising attaching the removable actuator to an operator during use.

The removable actuator may be arranged to interrupt

just one pole of the electrical supply, but preferably both poles are interrupted.

Preferably retention means are provided to prevent removal of the actuator unless a certain minimum force is applied. This prevents the actuator being removed by accident during use and thereby causing a nuisance interruption of electrical power, but allows the power to be interrupted as a result of a tool or appliance being dropped or if the actuator is sharply tugged e. g. in an emergency.

Preferably a release means is provided to overcome said retention means and allow the actuator to be removed under normal circumstances.

Specific embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:- FIG 1. shows particular features of an embodiment in the form of a fixed socket outlet; FIG 2. shows the relationship of the power supply, extension lead, portable socket outlet, removable actuator, operator and tool of a second embodiment when in use; FIG 3. shows the relationship of the same aforementioned items when the operator is absent; and FIG 4. is a close-up view of the second embodiment showing particular features thereof. the portable socket outlet application.

Referring to the drawing FIG 1. this embodiment comprises a fixed socket outlet with a removable actuator which operates switch contacts. Electrical connections to the socket contacts 1 are made via the switch contacts 2. When the removable actuator component 3 is inserted into the socket outlet 4 the switch contacts are closed connecting the electrical supply to the socket contacts 1. Correspondingly when the actuator is removed, the switch contacts will be opened again thereby interrupting the supply of

electrical power to the socket contacts 1.

Referring now to the drawings FIG 2. and FIG 3. there is shown a second, portable, embodiment of the invention. This embodiment comprises a portable socket outlet 5 provided with a removable actuator 3 which is secured to the operator 6 by means of an attachment loop 7. The socket 5 is connected to a mains cord 8 provided with a plug 9 for connection to the mains supply 10 via a conventional wall socket.

In order to operate the tool 11 the removable actuator 3 must be engaged in the socket outlet 5. If the operator 6 leaves the tool 11 unattended, because the removable actuator 3 is attached to him it is automatically removed from the socket 5 opening electrical contacts inside, thus disconnecting electrical power to the tool 11. The power cannot be reconnected until the operator returns and re-inserts the removable actuator 3 back into the socket 5.

Particular features of the socket and removable actuator are shown in FIG 4. Electrical supply from the cable 8 is provided to the socket contacts 1 via switch contacts 2, which are operated by the removable actuator 3. The socket housing 5 is provided with a mechanical latching device comprising a movable internal lug (not shown) to locate with an appropriate feature 13 on the removable actuator 3. This prevents the inconvenience of the removable actuator 3 being inadvertently detached from the socket housing 5 in normal use. The latching system can however be overridden in an emergency by directly pulling on the removable actuator 3 or the means of attachment 7. The latch may be released by pressing on a button 12 which causes the lug to be withdrawn from the notch 13, thereby allowing the actuator to be removed under normal circumstances.