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Title:
A VEHICLE DOOR LOCKING ARRANGEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1994/025710
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a vehicle door lock arrangement, comprising a locking and release mechanism (1) which includes a locking arm (6) that can be moved between a locking position in which the door release mechanism is latched, and a release position in which the door can be opened. According to the invention, the arrangement includes a cassette (7) which at least encloses the central part of that part of the release mechanism which is located in the vehicle door interior, and the locking arm, and further includes a latching device (11) wich is attached in the cassette and which in response to an electric signal can be moved into and out of a latching position in which the locking arm (6) of the door lock mechanism is latched against movement, and a control device (14) which functions to move the latching device from its latching position upon receipt of a predetermined activation signal.

Inventors:
NYFELT LEIF (SE)
Application Number:
PCT/SE1994/000403
Publication Date:
November 10, 1994
Filing Date:
May 03, 1994
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SCARINUS DEV AB (SE)
NYFELT LEIF (SE)
International Classes:
E05B65/20; E05B47/06; E05B65/12; G07C9/00; (IPC1-7): E05B65/20; E05B17/20; E05B65/36
Domestic Patent References:
WO1984003731A11984-09-27
Foreign References:
SE459195B1989-06-12
EP0162535A21985-11-27
US4113294A1978-09-12
SE8904093A
SE429459B1983-09-05
US4835533A1989-05-30
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A vehicle door locking arrangement comprising a locking and release mechanism (1) which includes a locking arm (6) which is movable between a locking position in which the door release mechanism is latched and a release position in which the door can be opened, characterized in that the arrangement includes a cassette (7) which encloses at least the central part of that part of the release mechanism which is located inside the confines of the vehicle door, and the locking arm, and further includes a latching device (11) which is attached in the cassette and which can be moved by means of an electric signal into and out of a latching position in which the locking arm (6) of the door lock mechanism is latched against movement, and a control device (14) which is constructed to manoeuver the latching device from its latching position upon receipt of a predetermined activation signal.
2. An arrangement according to Claim 1, characterized in that the control device (14) is fixedly mounted to the cassette (7) and includes a reader which reads an electri¬ cal, optical or acoustic signal or a radio signal.
3. An arrangement according to any one of Claims 12, characterized in that the latching device (11) includes a connecting element (13) made of hard material, preferably hardened steel, which is connected to the locking arm (6) of the lock mechanism, and a latch (21) which can be moved between a withdrawn and an outwardly projected position and which when the lock arrangement is in a latched state prevents movement of the connecting element (13) of the latching device and therewith movement of the locking arm (6) from its locking position.
4. An arrangement according to any one of the preceding Claims which includes a conventional cylinder lock (3), characterized in that the control device (14) is construct¬ ed so that the manoeuvering signal to the latching device (11) will not be delivered until a key inserted in the lock cylinder is turned.
5. An arrangement according to any one of the preceding Clams, characterized in that the latching pin (21) of the latching device is springbiassed towards its outwardly projected position; and in that the connecting element (13) includes a bottom endpart (16) which is connected to the remainder (15) of the connecting element such as to be movable axially therewith and is springbiassed towards a projected position and which is so dimensioned and guided that in the locking position of the locking arm (6) , the bottom endpart (16) in its projected position extends beyond the latching pin (21), while in its withdrawn position, said bottom endpart is located outside the movement path of the latching pin.
6. An arrangement according to Claim 5, characterized in that in the locking position of the locking arm (6), the bottom endpart (16) of the connecting element presses against the latching pin (21); and in that the latch pin can only be moved to its withdrawn position in the absence of load on said pin.
Description:
A VEHICLE DOOR LOCKING ARRANGEMENT

The present invention relates to a vehicle door locking arrangement comprising a lock mechanism which includes a locking arm that can be moved between a locking position in which the door opening mechanism is latched, and a release position in which the door can be opened.

Vehicle thefts and break-ins are a serious problem in present-day society. Car thieves are able to open car doors very quickly, either by forcing the cylinder lock or by manipulating the pull-rods or like devices by means of which the locking arm of the lock mechanism is activated. A simple method of forcing a locked vehicle door, is simply to break the side window and pull up the inner lock button, so as to move the locking arm to its lock release position. The car industry has been unable to produce a vehicle, or car, which is secure against forced entry into the vehicle, despite the fact that this problem has existed for a long time.

Applicant's earlier Swedish Patent Application No. 9300153- 5, which was filed on 20 January 1993 and was not therefore published at the time of filing the present Application, teaches a locking arrangement which includes a separate, electrically operated locking-arm latching device by means of which forcing of a locked vehicle door is made extremely difficult. However, this arrangement has not been found sufficiently effective to solve the aforesaid problem completely, because it is still possible to bend away and deform certain of the link arms of the lock release mechanism and move the lock pin from its latching position and thereby open a locked vehicle door.

An object of the present invention is to solve the afore¬ said problem more effectively than the locking arrangement known from the aforesaid patent application, by preventing

unlawful forcing of a locked vehicle door or at least by making forcing of said door extremely difficult to achieve. Another object of the invention is to facilitate fitting of locking devices having separate locking arm latching means.

These objects are achieved in accordance with the invention with a vehicle door locking arrangement which includes a locking and release mechanism that comprises a locking arm which can be moved between a locking position in which the door release mechanism is latched, and an open or release position in which the door can be opened, characterized in that the arrangement includes a cassette which encloses at least the central part of that part of the opening mecha¬ nism which is located in the vehicle door interior and the locking arm, and further includes a latching device which is fixedly mounted in the cassette and which can be manoeuvered by means of an electric signal to and from a latching position in which the locking arm of the door lock mechanism is latched against movement, and a control device which functions to manoeuver the latching device from said latching position in response to the receipt of a predeter¬ mined activating signal. Because the latching device latches the locking arm physically against movement, the vehicle door cannot be opened by manipulating the actual locking arm or the pull-rods of a conventional lock mechanism connected to the locking arm. The cassette also prevents access to those parts of the link arms in the opening mechanism which when opening the door move the locking pin from a latching to a release position, meaning that the door cannot be opened by laterally deforming these link arms so as to cause the arms to coact in lifting the locking pin. Because lock mechanism, latching device and also the control device can be arranged in one and the same unit, the inventive lock arrangement can be fitted in the same manner as a conventional lock mechanism, which makes installation of the lock mechanism much easier to achieve

than when installing the lock arrangement known from the aforesaid Swedish patent application.

The control device preferably includes a reader which reads an electric, optical or acoustic signal or a radio signal, and according to one preferred embodiment of the invention the latching device includes a connecting element which is made of hard material, preferably hardened steel, and which is connected to the locking arm of the lock mechanism, and a latch pin which can be moved between a withdrawn or retracted position and an outwardly extended position and which in the latching state of the lock arrangement prevents movement of the connecting element of said latching device and therewith movement of the locking arm from the locking position. The use of a connecting element made of hard material prevents the element from being clipped-off from above, through the gap presented between window glass and door plate in the door.

In the case of the preferred embodiment, the control device is conveniently constructed to deliver the manoeuvering signal to the latching device only when turning a key that has been inserted into a conventional cylinder lock. The latching pin of the latching device is spring-biassed towards its outwardly extended position, and the connecting element includes a telescopic bottom end-part which is also spring-biassed towards an outwardly extended position and which is so dimensioned and guided that when the locking arm is in its locking position the bottom end-part when extended will extend past the path of the latching pin, whereas when retracted or lifted said bottom-end part will be located outside the movement path of the latching pin. In the locking position of the locking arm, the bottom end- part of the connecting element presses against the latching pin when said pin is outwardly extended, and the latching pin can only be moved to its retracted position when no

load acts thereon, so as to prevent latching of the locking arm from a vehicle door that has been locked from within.

The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to an exemplifying embodiment thereof and also with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which

Fig. 1 is a schematic, perspective front view of a cassette constructed in accordance with the invention and supporting an inventive latching device, and shows that part of a conventional release and lock mechanism intended for installation in the interior of a vehicle door;

Fig. 2 is a view similar to Figure 1 and illustrates the release and lock mechanism mounted in the cassette;

Fig. 3 is a rear view in perspective of the release and lock mechanism of Figure l mounted in the cassette; and

Figs. 4-6 illustrate schematically the latching device included in the lock arrangement according to Figure 1 and show the latching device in different functional states of the lock arrangement.

Figure 1 shows in front view that part 1 of a conventional lock and release mechanism which is intended to be fitted in the interior of a vehicle door. By front view is meant that the side of the mechanism that is intended to be secured in the short side of a vehicle door faces towards the viewer of Figure 1. The mechanism 1 includes two bolt holes 2 by means of which the mechanism can be secured in a vehicle door. The mechanism also includes an opening 3 which enables the lock pin to be moved, said lock pin being movable by link arms in the mechanism 1 into and out of a latching position for the pivotal lock plate in that part of a conventional lock and release mechanism which is intended to be fitted to the outside of the short side of

a vehicle door. One, 4, of the mechanism link arms can be seen in Figure l, as can also a lever 5 which is intended to be connected to a door opening device fitted inwardly of the door. Also shown in Figures 1-3 is the end of the locking arm 6 of the lock mechanism, this locking arm functioning to prevent the link arms of the lock release mechanism from moving the locking pin in the locked state of said mechanism, with the aid of a locking shoulder.

According to the invention, that part of the described conventional door locking and door release mechanism which is intended to be mounted within the confines of a vehicle door is placed in a cassette 7. The cassette includes apertures 8 and 9 which are complementary to the aforesaid holes 2 and the opening 3, therewith enabling the unit shown in Figures 2 and 3 and comprised of the cassette -7 and the locking and release mechanism 1 mounted in said cassette to be fitted in a vehicle door in the same manner and with the aid of the same bolt holes as a conventional lock and release mechanism. As will be seen from Figure 3, the cassette 7 includes a plate 10 which covers the locking-pin accommodating opening 3 of the mechanism l and also those parts of the mechanism link arms 4, 27 which can be manipulated to move the locking pin 28 by bending and deforming said arras, and the central part of the locking arm 6. The locking pin 28 and the release mechanism link arm 27 of the conventional lock and release mechanism 1 are shown schematically in broken lines in Figure 3.

The cassette also carries a latching device 11. The main parts of the latching device 11 include a latching element 12 and a pull-rod 13 which is connected at one end to one end of the locking arm 6 and the other end of which can be held firmly by the latching element in a manner described in more detail herebelow. The latching element 12 is manoeuvered electrically and is connected to a control device 14 integral with the latching device.

The control device 14 includes a reader which in the preferred embodiment of the invention is constructed to receive a coded radio signal from a transmitter mounted on the standard key of the vehicle. It will be understood, however, that coded signals other than radio signals may be used, for instance electrical, acoustic or optical signals and the transmitter and receiver can be constructed correspondingly. Although not shown, there is provided a contact element which coacts with a contact element on the cylinder lock mounted in the vehicle door, said lock being connected to the locking arm 6 so that the locking arm is moved into or out of its locking position as the vehicle key is turned and so that the control device 14 is unable to deliver a manoeuvering signal to the latching element until the key is turned. The control device is also constructed so that a manoeuvering signal must be delivered to the latching device within the space of thirty seconds after the control has received a correct coded signal.

The control device is supplied with electric current through the vehicle lighting circuit, which facilitates unlocking of a vehicle whose battery is flat, and is connected to the circuit by means of cables 26.

The latching element 12 will now be described with refer¬ ence to Figures 4-6. As will be seen from these Figures, the pull-rod 13 is comprised of two parts 15, 16 which can be moved axially and which are mutually connected by means of a bolt 17 which extends through a hole whose axial extension and width exceed the diameter of the bolt. The lowermost part 16 of the pull-rod 13 is terminated at the bottom thereof with a generally cylindrical head 18 having a sharp top edge and a rounded bottom edge. This bottom-end part 16 of the pull-rod extends in an axial bore 19 in a cylinder block 20.

The latching element 12 also includes a locking pin 21 which extends in a radial opening 22 in a cylinder block 20, and which is pressed by a spring 23 towards a position in which the pin projects into the bore 19. The pin 21 can be retracted or withdrawn from the bore 19 by means of a solenoid valve 24. That part of the locking pin which projects into the bore has a semi-circular recess whose diameter corresponds to the diameter of that part of the pull-rod part 16 which is located above the head 21. The latching element also includes a spring 25 which strives to press the head 18 of the bottom-part 16 downwardly in the bore 19.

In the Figure 4 illustration, the latching device 11 is in its latching position and the pull-rod 13, whose upper end is connected to the locking arm 6 in its locking position, is prevented from moving upwardly by the locking pin 21 projecting out above the head 18. Thus, the locking arm 6 is also unable to move out of its locking position unless the pull-rod is destroyed. The pull-rod is preferably made of hardened steel, to prevent its destruction.

When wishing to unlock the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle activates his/her transmitter, which then transmits a coded signal which is read by the reader in the control device 14. The control device is therewith activated and delivers electric current to the solenoid valve of the latching element. However, no current is yet delivered to the solenoid valve since the valve circuit is still open. The control device is held activated for a period of thirty seconds and is deactivated if the electric circuit to the solenoid valve is not closed within this time period. When the vehicle owner turns the key in the cylinder lock, the solenoid valve circuit is closed and the valve withdraws the locking pin 21 while, at the same time, the pull rod is moved upwards in response to movement of the locking arm 6 from its locking position to its lock release position. The

β control device is constructed to deliver current to the solenoid valve for only a short period of time, and consequently the locking pin 21 is again moved into the bore 19 immediately after the pull-rod has been pulled upwards by rotation of the key. The latching element is now in the release position shown in Figure 5.

It will be understood that both code signal and key rotation are required to latch an unlocked door with the latching element in the state illustrated in Figure 5. Unintentional activation of the transmitter so as to produce a code signal will only cause the locking pin to be withdrawn for a short period, after which the pin is again projected into the bore. This ensures that an unlocked door cannot be latched from within, which is important from a safety aspect should the code signal be transmitted as a result of the driver or a passenger unintentionally activating the transmitter in the event of a collision or some other form of accident, or in the event of the control device being damaged in some way so as to deliver electric current.

However, the conventional lock mechanism can be manipulated from the lock release position of the lock arrangement shown in Figure 5 independently of the latching device in a conventional manner and has the same function. Thus, if the locking arm 6, the inner lock button or the central lock are moved to a locked state with the aid of the vehicle key, the latching element will adopt the state illustrated in Figure 6. Because the coupling between the parts 15 and 16 of the pull-rod is such as to enable these parts to move axially in relation to one another, the locking arm is able to move to its locking position without the bottom-part 16 being able to move to its bottom end position shown in Figure 4. Such a design is desirable so that vehicle doors can be locked from inside the vehicle when driving in areas where criminality is rife with. In

order to ensure that a door which has been locked from inside the vehicle cannot be latched unintentially, the movement mechanism of the locking pin 21 is constructed so that the pin can only be withdrawn by the solenoid valve 24 when no load acts on the pin. As will be seen from Figure 6, when a vehicle door is locked from inside the vehicle, the pin 21 is subjected to the load exerted by the head 18 and the downward force exerted by the spring 25. The pin will therewith be urged downwards into abutment with the bottom surface of the opening 22. The solenoid valve is dimensioned so that the force generated thereby is smaller than the sum of the forces exerted by the spring 23 and the friction generated between pin and the surface of the opening 22. Because the pin cannot be drawn back out of the bore 19 in the state of the lock arrangement illustrated in Figure 6, it is impossible to latch a door that has been locked from within.

According to a variant of the latching element (not shown), the undersurface of the head on the bottom part of the pull-rod and the upper surface of the locking pin are provided with mutually coacting projections and recesses which prevent the locking pin from being withdrawn when a door is locked from within. It is also conceivable to provide the underside of the pin with a projection which presses against an abutment in the radial opening of the cylinder block when the pin is pressed down by the head on the pull-rod.

As will best be seen from Figure 3, the upper end of the upper part 15 of the pull-rod is fork shaped and may be connected to the end of the locking arm 6 that projects out towards the interior of the vehicle with the aid of that end of the pull rod 30 which is connected to the inner lock button of the door. Other types of connecting elements are also conceivable. For instance, the forked ends of the

pull-rod 13 may be welded to a bolt that is pivotally journalled in the end of the locking arm.

The cassette 7 is manufactured from a strong material, such as metal plate, hard plastic or reinforced plastic. As evident from Figure 3, which shows the unit comprised of cassette and lock and release mechanism obliquely from beneath, the cassette includes a cover 29 which denies access to the lock and release mechanism 1 from above.

It will be understood that the described and illustrated embodiment of the invention can be modified in many ways without departing from the scope of the invention. For instance, the cassette may be constructed so as to totally enclose the mechanism 1 and the latching device 7. This construction is not preferred, however, since it would make installation of the pull-rods, the locking arms 6 and the link arms 4, 5 of the release mechanism more difficult. Furthermore, the pull-rod of the latching device may be provided with an upper part comprised of a steel wire, therewith obviating the need for a telescopic connection between the parts of this pull-rod and also the need for a pivoted connection to the end of the locking arm. Neither need the control device be integrated in the cassette, but can be placed anywhere in the vehicle. It is preferred, however, to place the control device in the proximity of the cylinder lock on the driver's door, and to construct the device to manoeuver all latching devices in the vehicle. It will also be understood that the invention can be applied with other lock release and locking mechanisms, provided that these mechanisms have a locking arm corre¬ sponding to the locking arm 6 of the described embodiment. The invention is therefore solely restricted by the content of the following Claims.