Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
FUEL LEVEL SENSOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/150209
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present disclosure relates to a fuel level sensor (10), with a magnet (12) being moveable along a curved path responsive to the fuel level in a tank, a resistance network (14) comprising a plurality of individual electrical contacts (14a, 14b, 14c,...), a plurality of contact springs (16a, 16b, 16c,...) being deflectable under the force of the magnet (12) in a direction towards the resistance network (14) so as to establish an electrical connection with one individual electrical contact (14a, 14b, 14c,...) of the resistance network (14) depending on the position of the magnet (12) along the circle segment shaped path, the fuel level being determined depending on which individual electrical contact (14a, 14b, 14c,...) of the resistance network (14) is in contact with a contact spring (16a, 16b, 16c,...), characterized in that the distal end of each contact spring (16a, 16b, 16c,...) has a u-shaped or v-shaped form.

Inventors:
PINTILIE, Radu-Paul (Welfenstraße 35, Karlsruhe, 76137, DE)
BOECKER, Albert (Hans-Sachs-Strasse 18, Ettlingen, 76275, DE)
Application Number:
IB2019/050366
Publication Date:
August 08, 2019
Filing Date:
January 16, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TI AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY CENTER GMBH (Lochfeldstr.31, Rastatt, 76437, DE)
International Classes:
G01F23/38; G01D5/165; G01D5/251; G01F23/46; G01F23/54; G01F23/62; G01F23/72; H01C10/36; H01H36/00; H01H36/02
Foreign References:
US6401533B12002-06-11
US20100207610A12010-08-19
US6803759B22004-10-12
US8179125B22012-05-15
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Fuel level sensor (10), with a magnet (12) being moveable along a curved path responsive to the fuel level in a tank, a resistance network (14) comprising a plurality of individual electrical contacts (14a, 14b, 14c,...), a plurality of contact springs (16a, 16b, 16c,...) being deflectable under the force of the magnet (12) in a direction towards the resistance network (14) so as to establish an electrical connection with one individual electrical contact (14a, 14b, 14c,...) of the resistance network (14) depending on the position of the magnet (12) along the curved path, the fuel level being determined depending on which individual electrical contact (14a, 14b, 14c,...) of the resistance network (14) is in contact with a contact spring (16a, 16b, 16c,...), characterized in that the distal end of each contact spring (16a, 16b, 16c,...) has a u-shaped or v- shaped or s-shaped form.

2. Fuel level sensor (10) according to claim 1 , characterized in that the distal end has double u-shaped or a double v-shaped form so that the wave shaped distal end has at least three wave crests (20a, 20b, 20c,...) and two wave troughs (22a, 22b), thereby forming a W-shape, the W being arranged a direction parallel to the longitudinal direction of the contact springs (16a, 16b, 16c,...).

3. Fuel level sensor (10) according to claim 1 or claim 2, characterized in that the distal end creates at least two contact points between a contact spring (16a, 16b, 16c,...) and its corresponding individual electrical contact (14a, 14b, 14c,...).

4. Fuel level sensor (10) according to claim 1 to claim 3, characterized in that the proximal part of each contact spring (16a, 16b, 16c,...) comprises two parallel individual stays (24a, 24b).

5. Fuel level sensor (10) according to claim 1 to claim 4, characterized in that a middle part between the proximal part and the distal end of each contact spring (16a, 16b, 16c,...) comprises a stiffening portion (26) in which the parallel individual stays (24a, 24b) are connected to each other.

6. Fuel level sensor (10) according to claim 1 to claim 5, characterized in that the u-shaped form or v-shaped form is arranged in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the contact spring (16a, 16b, 16c).

Description:
FUEL LEVEL SENSOR

FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates to a fuel level sensor.

BACKGROUND

[0002] It is known from the state of the art to use resistance networks, in order to detect the fuel level in a tank. For this purpose a resistance network is arranged on a substrate and is assigned to a contact spring structure which can be deflected under the action of a permanent magnet. The electrical connection between the resistance network and the contact spring structure is established by a contact which is dependent on the position of the permanent magnet which is moved depending on the fuel level inside the tank.

[0003] Such a position sensor is known from US 8,179,125 B2. The distal end of each contact spring has at least two contact spring elements being assigned to each individual contact of the resistance network. Two adjoining contact spring elements are mechanically interconnected in a middle part of the contact spring. The provision of at least two contact springs which are positioned opposite each individual contact of the resistance network is intended to ensure that in the event of contaminating particles adhering, at least one of the two contact springs produces a connection with the contact. In order to avoid a natural shift of individual contact springs due to magnetic influences on the position sensor, two individual contact spring elements are connected to one another mechanically so that their ability to move freely in a plane in which they are arranged is restricted.

SUMMARY

[0004] The present disclosure provides a fuel level sensor with a simpler construction that the state of the art.

[0005] This object is achieved by the features of claim 1 of the present invention. [0006] The inventive fuel level sensor comprises a magnet being movable along a curved path, preferably a circle segment shaped path responsive to the fuel level in a tank. The fuel level sensor further comprises a resistance network, comprising a plurality of individual electrical contacts. Further the fuel level sensor comprises a plurality of contact springs being deflectable under the force of the magnet in a direction towards the resistance network so as to establish an electrical contact with one individual electrical contact of the resistance network depending on the position of the magnet along the circle segment shaped path. The fuel level is determined depending on which individual electrical contact of the resistance network is in contact with a contact spring. Up to this point the invention corresponds to fuel level sensors which are known from the state of the art.

[0007] The invention is characterized in that the distal end of each contact spring has a u-shaped or v-shaped form or s-shaped form. In other words the distal end of each contact spring has the form of the letter U or the form of the letter V or the letter S. It is preferred that the u-shaped form or v-shaped form is arranged in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the contact spring, or that the s-shaped form is parallel to the longitudinal direction of the contact spring. In other words the letter U or the letter V can only be read when reading along the longitudinal direction of the contact spring. This feature will be described in more detail in the context of the figures.

[0008] By this waved shape it is preferred that at least two contact points can be created between a contact spring and its corresponding individual electrical contact. Therefore, it can be assured that the distal end of a contact spring will be in contact with its corresponding individual electrical contact, e.g. even if there is a contamination on top of the contact surface. However, the influence of lateral magnetic forces on each contact spring can be reduced due to the reduced material in the distal end of each contact spring.

[0009] It is preferred that the distal end has a double U-shaped or double V-shaped form so that the distal end has at least three wave crests and two wave troughs. [0010] It is further preferred that the proximal part of each contact spring comprises two parallel individual stays.

[0011] It is further preferred that a middle part between the proximal part and the distal end of each contact spring comprises a stiffening portion in which the parallel individual stays are connected to each other, thereby preventing a lateral movement of the contact springs. This stiffening portion can also be used to increase the magnetic properties of the contact springs. In the following a preferred embodiment of the invention is described in the context of the figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] Figures 1 and 2 show a part of the inventive fuel sensor 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0013] A part of the resistance network 14 comprising a plurality of individual electrical contacts 14a, 14b, 14c,... as shown in the figure. A plurality of contact springs 16a, 16b, 16c,... are arranged corresponding to each individual electrical contact 14a, 14b, 14c,.... These contact springs 16a, 16b, 16c,... are deflectable under the force of the magnet (not shown in the figure) in a direction towards the resistance network 14 so as to establish an electrical connection with one individual electrical contact 14a, 14b, 14c,... of the resistance network 14 depending on the position of the magnet. The magnet is moved along a circle segment shaped path responsive to the fuel level in a tank (for example by using a float arm as it is known from the prior art).

[0014] The fuel level is determined depending on which individual electrical contact 14a, 14b, 14c,... of the resistance network 14 is in contact with a contact spring 16a, 16b, 16c,....

[0015] As can be seen in figure 1 the distal end of each contact spring 16a, 16b, 16c,... has a u-shaped or v-shaped form. The distal end has three wave crests 20a, 20b, 20c and two wave troughs 22a, 22b thereby forming a W-shape, the W being arranged in a direction parallel to the longitudinal direction of the contact springs 16a, 16b, 16c,.... In other words the distal end of the contact spring 16a, 16b, 16c,... has a double u-shaped form. Hereby, this u-shaped form is arranged in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the contact spring 16a, 16b, 16c,.... In other words the letter U can only be read in a direction along the longitudinal direction of the contact springs. Thereby, at least two contact points between a contact spring 16a, 16b, 16c,... and its corresponding individual electrical contact 14a, 14b, 14c,... are created.

[0016] In its proximal part each contact spring 16a, 16b, 16c,... comprises two parallel individual stays 24a, 24b. In a middle part between the proximal part and the distal end of each contact spring 16a, 16b, 16c,... a stiffening portion 26 is arranged in which the parallel individual stays 24a, 24b are connected to each other.

[0017] Another embodiment of the invention is shown in figure 2. Here again, the distal end of each contact spring 16, 16b, 16c,... has a u-shaped form. However, this distal end only forms one single u and therefore does not have a double u-form as the embodiment of figure 1.