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Title:
IGNITION SWITCH WITH LOW CURRENT AND DIGITAL SIGNAL FOR VEHICLES AND IGNITION DEVICE EQUIPED WITH SAID SWITCH
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2004/055360
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
The switch (1) comprises a rotor (3) rotating as one with the anti-theft locking cylinder, a low current electrical circuit comprising a printed circuit board (6) and at least one cursor (5) rotating as one with the rotor (3) designed to come into contact with tracks of the printed circuit (6). It is characterized in that the said printed circuit (6) comprises one low voltage input and at least one digital output in such a way that the cursor (5) can alter the value of the at least one digital output according to the predetermined angular positions of the same. The equipment comprises a switch (1) as described, a calculator (10) connected on the one hand to the at least one digital output of the electrical circuit and on the other hand to at least one relay (11, 12, 13).A very versatile switch of considerably reduced size is obtained.

Inventors:
Herrero Pellicer, Jose-antonio (Avda Timon 12-B-7, Barcelona, E-08860, ES)
Plana Bague, Miquel (C/Ramon Turro 13, 13 4a, Barcelona, E-08005, ES)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2003/050971
Publication Date:
July 01, 2004
Filing Date:
December 10, 2003
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VALEO SISTEMAS DE SEGURIDAD Y DE CIERRE, S.A (C. Olesa a Martorell Km1, Olesa de Monserrat, E-08640, ES)
Herrero Pellicer, Jose-antonio (Avda Timon 12-B-7, Barcelona, E-08860, ES)
Plana Bague, Miquel (C/Ramon Turro 13, 13 4a, Barcelona, E-08005, ES)
International Classes:
B60R25/04; B60R25/20; F02N11/00; H01H19/58; H01H27/06; (IPC1-7): F02N11/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2002103732A12002-12-27
Foreign References:
JP2002124156A2002-04-26
DE3219853A11983-12-01
US3803371A1974-04-09
US6122944A2000-09-26
FR2638918A11990-05-11
Other References:
See also references of EP 1573765A2
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hervouet, Sylvie (Valeo Sécurité Habitacle, SPI 42 rue le Corbusier, Créteil, F-94042, FR)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. Low current starter switch (1) and digital signal for vehicles, comprising a rotor (3) which rotates as one with the antitheft locking cylinder, a low current electrical circuit comprising a printed circuit board (6) and at least one cursor (5) which rotates as one with the rotor (3) intended to come into contact with tracks of the printed circuit (6), characterized in that the said printed circuit (6) comprises one low voltage input and at least one digital output so that the cursor (5) can change the value of the at least one digital output according to the predetermined angular positions of the same.
2. Switch (1) according to Claim 1, characterized in that the electrical circuit comprises a printed circuit board (6) with one low voltage input and three digital outputs in such a way that the cursor (5) can alter the value of the digital outputs according to the predetermined angular positions of the same, and each combination of values of the three output bits is associated with a specific function.
3. Switch (1) according to Claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the cursor (5) comprises a metal plate fixed to one face of the rotor (3) and provided with at least one finger in contact with the tracks of the printed circuit (6).
4. Starter equipment for vehicles, comprising a starter switch (1), characterized in that the said starter switch (1) is of the type defined in any of Claims 1 to 3 and in that it also comprises a calculator (10) connected on the one hand to the at least one digital output of the electrical circuit of the switch (1) and on the other hand to at least one relay (11,12, 13), the at least one relay (11,12, 13) activating the said calculator (10) according to the combination of values of the three output bits.
Description:
IGNITION SWITCH WITH LOW CURRENT AND DIGITAL SIGNAL FOR VEHICLES, AND IGNITION DEVICE EQUIPED WITH SAID SWITCH This invention relates to a low current starter switch and digital signal for vehicles.

It also relates to starter equipment for vehicles comprising the said switch.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION Starter switches which are high power switches, that is having contact members and conductor tracks located in such a way that the electrical contact between the battery and the starting motor, the accessories, etc., opens or closes in each angular position of the switch rotor, are known.

Switches having a configuration similar to the above which instead of directly opening and closing the contact between the battery and the blocks which have to be activated connect or disconnect corresponding relays, each of which are associated with a block, have also been developed.

Known switches have major disadvantages.

The main problems arise from the use of a power switch: primarily, the switch is a high cost component which is subject to energy requirements and needs sophisticated design and materials. It must guarantee the quality of the electrical contact in all circumstances overcoming the problems of friction, wear, loose dielectric particles, oil and the like-and all this with high power contacts, above all in the case of the starting motor, which has very high consumption. Another problem is that the switch is not a standard part, and therefore a separate design is needed for each application, and this renders development and manufacture expensive.

Furthermore the systems described make it necessary to use significant lengths of power cable, above all when relays are used. This makes the assembly more expensive and gives rise to space problems because of the considerable diameter of these cables.

On the other hand patent application ES 200101408 relates to a low current starter switch for vehicles comprising a rotor which rotates as one with the anti-theft steering lock, and a low current electrical circuit and variable resistance which depends on the angular position of the rotor providing an output voltage which varies in relation to the said resistance.

Preferably this switch comprises a set of three resistances having different values connected in series through a printed circuit, and one pair of cursors which rotate as one with the anti-theft rotor and which change the resistances circuit according to their angular position to yield a different output voltage in each case. According to the output voltage, and therefore depending on the position of the anti-theft rotor, a control circuit governs the relays associated with the different blocks in the vehicle which have to be activated (accessories, driving, starting).

This switch is reliable, versatile and of low cost, and makes it possible to dispense with a good part of the power cables.

However, the resistances present occupy a considerable space within the switch. Likewise, because of the fact that the output is an analogue output it is necessary to use an additional control circuit to read the said analogue output and control the relays.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The object of the low current starter switch and digital signal for vehicles according to this invention is to overcome the disadvantages presented by the switches known in the art, providing a number of advantages which will be described below.

The low current starter switch and digital signal for vehicles to which this invention relates is of the type comprising a rotor which rotates as one with the anti-theft locking cylinder, a low current electrical circuit which comprises a printed circuit board, and at least one cursor rotating as one with the rotor intended to come into contact with some of the tracks of the printed circuit.

The low current starter switch and digital signal for vehicles to which this invention relates is characterized in that the said printed circuit comprises a low voltage input and at least one digital output in such a way that the cursor can change the value of the at least one digital output depending on the predetermined angular positions of the same.

Through these features the switch can be used to generate reliable signals indicating the position of the anti-theft device, according to which the different items of electrical equipment in the vehicle are activated. As a consequence there is no passage of high current through the switch, and the design and materials requirements are very much reduced.

Furthermore there are no problems in the switch such as wear, friction, loose dielectric particles and the like, as is the case in power switches.

An additional advantage is elimination of the resistances, which offers a saving in space and therefore a switch of smaller size.

Also the development and production cost of the switch is substantially reduced in comparison with the power switches used hitherto.

According to one embodiment of this invention the electrical circuit comprises a printed circuit board with a low voltage input and three digital outputs so that the cursor can change the value of the digital outputs depending on the predetermined angular position of the same, each combination of values for the three output bits being associated with a specific function.

In this way, for example, when the three bits are at 0 all systems are deactivated; with the values (0,0, 1) the accessories are activated, with the values (0,1, 1) all the driving systems are activated, and with the values (1, 1,1) the starter motor is activated.

In addition to this the said switch is more versatile, because additional functions can be added without modifying the structure, as the three output bits are able to provide eight combinations of values, of which in principle only four are used.

Advantageously the cursor comprises a metal plate fixed to a face of the rotor and provided with at least one finger in contact with the tracks of the printed circuit.

The invention also relates to starter equipment for vehicles comprising a starter switch which is characterized in that the said starter switch is of the type described above and in that it further comprises a calculator connected on the one hand to at least one digital output of the switch's electrical circuit and on the other hand to at least one relay, the said calculator activating the at least one relay according to the combination of values of the three output values.

In this way, given that the output is directly digital and not analogue, it can be read by a calculator, which may be the calculator present in the vehicle, so that the control circuit used in the switches known in the art is also unnecessary.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In order to assist the description of what has been described above, drawings are appended in which a practical embodiment of the low current starter switch and digital signal for vehicles according to the invention is illustrated diagrammatically and only by way of a non-restrictive example, in which drawings: Figure 1 is a perspective and exploded view of a starter switch according to the invention, and Figure 2 is the connection diagram for a starter system incorporating a switch according to the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A starter switch 1 according to the invention, as may be seen in the exploded view in Figure 1, comprises a housing which houses the components of switch 1 and is formed of two parts 2a and 2b which are connected together by means of a system of elastic catches.

Within body 2a, 2b there is a rotor 3 with one of its ends accessible from the exterior through an opening 4 in part 2a of the body. This end of the rotor which is accessible from the exterior of the body has a shape, which cannot be seen in Figure 1, which is appropriate for connection to the end of the vehicle's anti-theft locking cylinder (not shown); thus, when the user turns the key in the anti-theft cylinder the rotation is transferred to rotor 3.

The switch is mounted on the vehicle's steering column in such a way that rotor axis 3 is in line with the axis of the anti-theft device.

A cursor 5 comprising a metal plate having a set of fingers bent so that they project from the plane of the plate is assembled to form one piece with the rotor. These fingers are designed to slide over the tracks of a printed circuit (not visible in the figure) formed on a corresponding plate 6.

Cursor fingers 5 have the function of connecting the various points of the printed circuit together, depending on the position of rotor 3 with which it forms one member, in the manner which will be explained below.

Connection pins 7 forming a low voltage input and a three bit digital output are located on printed circuit board 6 and connect with appropriate points on the tracks of the circuit.

Connecting pins 7 are accessible from the exterior of part 2b of the body through a suitable opening 9.

As will be seen in the connection diagram in Figure 2, switch 1 is connected to a calculator 10 through connection pins 7.

Calculator 10 reads the combination of values of the three output bits at all times, and according to this combination of values controls the activation of relays 11,12, 13 connected to battery 14.

Rotating cursor 5 associated with rotor 3 of the anti-theft device alters the value of the output according to its position. One function-stop, accessories, driving or starting-is associated with each combination of values (0 or 1) of the three bits in such a way that calculator 10 activates or deactivates relays 11,12, 13 required in each case.

In one embodiment the functions according to the values of the three output bits are: STOP ACCESSORIES DRIVING STARTING Bit10001 Bit 2 0 0 1 1 Bit 3 0 1 1 1 When the three bits are 0, all systems are deactivated; with values (0,0, 1) accessories 15 are activated, with values (0,1, 1) all driving systems 16 are activated, and with values (1,1, 1) starter motor 17 is activated.

Relays 11,12, 13 are located close to the components which have to be activated. As a consequence the amount of power cable (indicated by the thick line in Figure 2) required for the installation is a minimum. The other cables (indicated by a thin line) are signal cables and can therefore be very much finer cables.

The materials which are used to manufacture the components making up the low current starter switch described, and the shapes and dimensions of the same and all accessory details appertaining thereto are independent of the object of this invention and may be replaced by others which are technically equivalent provided they do not affect the essential nature thereof or depart from the scope defined by the claims appended below.