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Dokumentenidentifikation EP1343183 29.12.2005
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001343183
Titel Schutzschalter
Anmelder Fuji Electric Co., Ltd., Kawasaki, Kanagawa, JP
Erfinder Asakawa, Koji, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki 210-0856, JP;
Kawata, Hisao, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki 210-0856, JP;
Ide, Yasutoshi, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki 210-0856, JP;
Yamagata, Hideto, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki 210-0856, JP;
Kohanawa, Akihiko, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki 210-0856, JP
Vertreter Hoffmann, E., Dipl.-Ing., Pat.-Anw., 82166 Gräfelfing
DE-Aktenzeichen 60302376
Vertragsstaaten DE, FR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 27.02.2003
EP-Aktenzeichen 030042899
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 10.09.2003
EP date of grant 23.11.2005
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 29.12.2005
IPC-Hauptklasse H01H 9/02
IPC-Nebenklasse H01H 71/02   

Beschreibung[en]

The present invention relates to a low-voltage circuit breaker, such as a molded-case circuit breaker or a protective switch, which is configured as an integral unit by a molded case. In particular, the present invention relates to terminal covers that cover terminal parts of the circuit breaker.

External wires are connected to terminal parts of a circuit breaker of the above-mentioned type via ring type terminal lugs or they are connected directly or via rod type terminal lugs.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing one end of a three-pole circuit breaker to which wires are connected via ring type compression terminal lugs 6. Terminals parts 3 are disposed at front and rear ends of a molded case comprising a main case 1 and a cover 2 (FIG. 6 illustrates only the end portion of the terminal part 3 at one of these two ends, namely that on the power supply side). The terminal parts 3 are each provided with a respective terminal 5 and a terminal screw 4 for each pole. To connect an electric wire 7 to such terminal 5 via a ring type terminal lug 6, the terminal screw 4 is let through the terminal lug 6 as shown in FIG. 6, and is then screwed into a screw hole 8 to press the terminal lug 6 against the terminal 5.

In the circuit breaker to which the wires are connected by this method, the upper part of the terminal part 3 must be open as shown in FIG. 6, and therefore, it is difficult to prevent someone from inadvertently contacting an energized part of the terminal part 3, i.e., an electrically conductive part being at an electrical potential that could be hazardous to a human being. To prevent such contact, additional terminal covers must be attached to the circuit breaker as disclosed in JP 57-167549 U, for example.

FIGS. 7(A) to 7(C) illustrate another circuit breaker whose terminal parts are covered with cover portions that are integral members of the main cover. In FIG. 7, terminal parts 3, which are to be connected to a power supply and a load, are respectively disposed at front and rear ends of a case 1. A control mechanism section including a switching mechanism used for switching main contacts, not shown, and an overcurrent tripping mechanism, is provided between the front and rear terminal parts 3. In this circuit breaker, each terminal part 3 is integrally covered with a cover 2, and therefore, electric wires cannot be connected to the terminal part 3 via ring type terminal lugs. Instead, an electric wire (or a rod type terminal lug fixed to it), not shown, is inserted into a wire inlet 12 formed in an end face of the case 1 (refer to FIG. 7(C)), and is directly fastened on the terminal 5 via a washer 13 by the terminal screw 4. In this case, the cover 2 prevents an energized part of the terminal part 3 from being contacted by someone.

On the other hand, to transmit a switch signal, a trip signal, or the like from a circuit breaker to another device or apparatus, an attachment such as an auxiliary contact device or an alarm contact device may be mounted on the circuit breaker. The attachment is mounted on the circuit breaker by the method shown in FIG. 7 or by a method disclosed in JP 7-169355 A. More specifically, at one side of the cover 2 (i.e. on the power supply side), two openings 9 are formed side by side in the widthwise direction and adjacent to the control mechanism section, such that an attachment 10 may be linked to the control mechanism to be operated in response to an operation of the control mechanism. In the case where no attachment 10 is attached, the openings 9 are closed by lids 11.

According to the above described prior art, energized parts of terminal parts are exposed from the circuit breaker (FIG. 6) to which wires 7 may be connected via the ring type terminal lugs 6, and terminal covers must be attached to the circuit breaker in addition to the cover 2 for covering the circuit breaker in order to protect people against contact with an energized part. The circuit breaker (FIG. 7) whose terminal parts 3 are integrally covered with the cover 2 has the problem that wires cannot be connected to the terminal parts via ring type terminal lugs. On the other hand, the type of circuit breaker that may have an attachment 10 mounted on the cover 2 (refer to FIG. 7) has the problem that the openings 9 formed in the cover must be closed by the lids 11 when no attachment is mounted.

A circuit breaker according to the pre-characterizing portion of claim 1 is known from DE 91 05 489 U. In this prior art, the attachment is formed on the side of the terminal cover remote from the control mechanism side and includes light-receiving elements as receivers for an optical signal transmission between the circuit breaker and the attachment. The attachment also includes light-emitting diodes driven by the light-receiving elements to indicate the switching state of the circuit breaker.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a circuit breaker that is capable of flexibly coping with the case where electric wires can be connected via ring type terminal lugs or not and the case where energized parts are required to be protected from contact or not, and is also capable of easily coping with the case where an attachment is mounted on a cover.

This object is achieved by a circuit breaker as claimed in claim 1. Preferred embodiments of the invention are subject-matter of the dependent claims.

According to the claimed structure, detaching the two parts of the cover that are for covering the terminal parts, to open the upper parts of the terminal parts enables electric wires to be connected to the circuit breaker via ring type terminal lugs, and re-attaching these terminal covers to the circuit breaker prevents the energized parts of the terminal parts from being inadvertently contacted. Moreover, dividing the cover into those three parts eliminates the necessity of providing those additional terminal covers, lids, and so forth of the prior art and makes it easier to handle the cover.

With the embodiment according to claim 2 it easily possible to either provide an attachment not only by replacing the terminal covers. Even if an attachment is mounted on the circuit breaker, electric wires may be connected to the circuit breaker via a ring type terminal lugs by detaching the terminal covers.

Preferred embodiments of the invention will be explained in more detail below with reference to the drawings, in which:

  • FIGS. 1(A)to 1(C) are views showing a circuit breaker according to an embodiment of the present invention, wherein FIG. 1(A) is a plan view, FIG. 1(B) is a side view thereof, and FIG. 1(C) is a front view thereof showing the power supply side of the circuit breaker.
  • FIGS. 2(A)to 2(C) are views showing the state in which terminal covers in FIG. 1 have been detached from the circuit breaker, wherein FIG. 2(A) is a plan view showing the circuit breaker, FIG. 2(B) is a side view thereof, and FIG. 2(C) is a front view thereof.
  • FIGS. 3(A)to 3(C) are views showing the terminal cover in FIG. 1, wherein FIG. 3(A) is a plan view thereof, FIG. 3(B) is a front view thereof, and FIG. 3(C) is a side view thereof.
  • FIGS. 4(A)to 4(C) are views showing a circuit breaker according to another embodiment of the present invention, wherein FIG. 4(A) is a plan view thereof, FIG. 4(B) is a side view thereof, and FIG. 4(C) is a front view thereof.
  • FIGS. 5(A)to 5(D) are views showing a terminal cover in FIG. 4, wherein FIG. 5(A) is a plan view, FIG. 5(B) is a front view thereof, FIG. 5(C) is a side view thereof, and FIG. 5(D) is a rear view thereof.
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing the essential parts of a conventional circuit breaker.
  • FIGS. 7(A)to 7(C) are views showing another conventional circuit breaker, wherein FIG. 7(A) is a plan view thereof, FIG. 7(B) is a side view thereof, and FIG. 7(C) is a front view showing the power supply side of the circuit breaker.

FIGS. 1(A) to 1(C) illustrate a three-pole circuit breaker as one embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 1, terminal parts 3, which are to be connected to a power supply and a load, are respectively disposed at the front and rear ends of a case 1 with a control mechanism section disposed between them. The control mechanism section accommodates an overcurrent tripping mechanism 16 and a switching mechanism 15 used for controlling a movable contact 14 of main contacts to be opened and closed. A cover 2 is divided into three parts 2a, 2b, and 2c to cover the control mechanism section and the front and rear terminal parts 3, respectively. The front part 2b and the rear part 2c that cover the terminal parts 3 are detachably mounted on the case 1 to serve as terminal covers. Preferably, the cover parts 2a, 2b and 2c are structured in such a way that when they are assembled the total length of the combined cover 2 is no greater than that of cover 2a alone. Furthermore, the terminal covers 2b, 2c are preferably mounted on the case (1), such that each terminal cover has side portions encompassing side walls of the case 1. These side walls of the case 1 are retracted relative to the outer side surfaces of the main part of the case 1 by an amount substantially equal to the thickness of the side portions of the terminal covers. Hence, when mounted, the outer side surfaces of the terminal covers 2b, 2c are substantially flush with the outer side surfaces of main part of the case 1.

FIGS. 3(A) to 3(C) illustrate the terminal cover 2b shown in FIG.1. As shown in FIG. 3, access holes 17 allowing the terminal screws to be fastened are formed in an upper surface of the terminal cover 2b. An engagement hole 18 used for engaging the terminal cover 2b with the case 1 is formed in a side surface of the terminal cover 2b. As shown in FIG. 1, the terminal cover 2b is engaged with an engagement protrusion 1a of the case 1 through the engagement hole 18 by a snap-fitting method so that the terminal cover 2b can be detachably mounted on the case 1 to cover the terminal part 3. The structure of the terminal cover 2c is identical with that of the terminal cover 2b (except that the terminal cover 2b is shown to be longer than the terminal cover 2c). In FIG. 1, to connect an electric wire, not shown, to the circuit breaker directly or via a rod type terminal lug, the wire or terminal lug is inserted into a wire inlet 12 formed in an end face of the case 1, and is fastened on a terminal 5 via a washer 13 by a terminal screw 4. In this state, the energized parts of the terminal parts 3 are covered with the terminal covers 2b and 2c, respectively, to prevent any contact by a finger or the like.

FIG. 2 illustrates the state in which the terminal covers 2b and 2c have been detached from the circuit breaker shown in FIG. 1. To connect an electric wire to the circuit breaker via a ring type terminal lug 6 (refer to FIG. 6), the terminal covers 2b and 2c are detached from the terminal parts 3 to expose the upper parts of the terminal parts 3. The energized parts of the terminal part 3 can be covered by attaching the terminal covers 2b and 2c to the circuit breaker again after the terminal lugs have been connected to the circuit breaker. It should be noted that in FIG. 2, the surfaces of the case 1 and the cover 2a, that face the terminal covers 2b and 2c, respectively, are closed by walls to prevent dust and other foreign matters from entering the case 1 even if the terminal covers 2b and 2c are detached from the circuit breaker.

FIG. 4 illustrates a circuit breaker having an attachment integrated with the terminal cover 2b, and FIG. 5 illustrates the terminal cover 2b. In FIGS. 4 and 5, a case 2d for the attachment 10 is integrated with the control mechanism section side of the terminal cover 2b. Two pairs of auxiliary contacts, not shown, are incorporated at the right and left hand side (as seen in Fig. 5) in the case 2d. Operating parts 10a to be operated for switching the auxiliary contacts are opposed to ends of actuators 15a that transmit the operation of the switching mechanism 15 to the attachment. A terminal part 19 of the attachment 10 is arranged to be accessible from the front surface of the case 2d, and corresponding terminal screws 20 face the upper surface of the case 2d. When the opening action of the switching mechanism 15 has lowered the illustrated ends of the actuators 15a to the lower ones of the positions in FIG. 5(D) (indicated by chain lines), the operating parts 10a of the attachment 10 lower in response to the movement of the actuators 15a to switch the auxiliary contacts to cause the attachment 10 serving as an auxiliary contact device to transmit an OFF signal. If the attachment 10 is an alarm contact device, the operating parts 10a are opposed to actuators, not shown, of the overcurrent tripping mechanism 16, and when an overcurrent occurs, the operation of the overcurrent switches alarm contacts to transmit a trip signal.

As described above, according to the present invention, the cover is divided into the three parts of which two parts serve as terminal covers to cover the terminal parts and are detachably mounted on the case. Removing a terminal cover allows fixing electric wires by means of ring type terminal lugs, and by then re-attaching the terminal cover energized parts of the terminal part are protected without fail and cannot be contacted. Furthermore, the circuit breaker may be provided with a terminal cover integrated with an attachment. This allows using either a normal terminal cover or one with an attachment, depending on whether or not the attachment is required.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Schutzschalter, aufweisend:
    • ein Formkörpergehäuse, dass aus einem Hauptgehäuse (1) und einer Abdeckung (2) besteht,
    • erste und zweite Anschlussteile (3) mit Anschlüssen (5), die an eine Stromversorgung bzw. eine Last angeschlossen werden sollen, wobei sich die Anschlussteile an zwei entgegengesetzten Enden des Formkörpergehäuses befinden,
    • Hauptkontakte (14), um einen Kontakt zwischen den Anschlüssen (5) der ersten und zweiten Anschlussteile (3) herzustellen oder zu unterbrechen, und
    • einen Steuermechanismus (15, 16) zum Schalten der Hauptkontakte, wobei der Steuermechanismus zwischen den ersten und zweiten Anschlussteilen (3) angeordnet ist,
       wobei die Abdeckung (2) in drei Teile (2a, 2b, 2c) unterteilt ist, welche den Steuermechanismus, den ersten Anschlussteil bzw. den zweiten Anschlussteil abdecken, wobei die Abdeckungsteile (2b, 2c), welche die Anschlussteile (3) abdecken, an dem Formkörpergehäuse als Anschlussabdeckungen lösbar angebracht sind, welche mit einem jeweiligen Zugangsloch (17) für einen jeweiligen Anschluss (5) versehen sind, welcher einen Zugang mittels eines Werkzeugs zu einem Bedienelement (4) ermöglicht, um einen elektrischen Draht an dem jeweiligen Anschluss (5) festzuklemmen oder den Draht vom Anschluss zu lösen, wobei eine (2b) der Anschlussabdeckungen (2b, 2c) mit einer Zusatzeinrichtung (10, 2d) integral ausgebildet ist,

       dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Zusatzeinrichtung auf der Steuermechanismusseite dieser Anschlussabdeckung (2b) integral ausgebildet ist und Hilfskontakte oder Alarmkontakte beinhaltet, die angeordnet sind, um reagierend auf eine Operation des Steuermechanismus (15, 16) zum Schalten der Hauptkontakte (14) geschaltet zu werden.
  2. Schutzschalter nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Anschlussabdeckungen (2b, 2c) mit Öffnungen für die an die Anschlüsse (5) anzuschließenden elektrischen Drähte versehen sind, wobei die Öffnungen in einer jeweiligen Fläche der Anschlussabdeckungen ausgebildet sind, welche eine Ebene definiert, die im Wesentlichen senkrecht zur Ebene derjenigen Fläche ist, in welcher die Zugangslöcher (17) vorgesehen sind.
  3. Schutzschalter nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Bedienelemente (4) Schrauben sind und die Zugangslöcher (17) Löcher sind, welche ein Festziehen und Lösen der Schrauben mittels eines Schraubendrehers ermöglichen.
Anspruch[en]
  1. A circuit breaker, comprising:
    • a molded case composed of a main case (1) and a cover (2),
    • first and second terminal parts (3) with terminals (5) to be connected to a power supply and a load, respectively, said terminal parts being disposed at two opposite ends of said molded case,
    • main contacts (14) for making or breaking contact between the terminals (5) said first and said second terminals parts (3), and
    • a control mechanism (15, 16) for switching said main contacts, said control mechanism being disposed between said first and second terminal parts (3),
       wherein said cover (2) is divided into three parts (2a, 2b, 2c) that cover said control mechanism, said first terminal part and said second terminal part, respectively, the cover parts (2b, 2c) for covering said terminal parts (3) being detachably mounted on said molded case as terminal covers that are provided with a respective access hole (17) for each terminal (5) allowing access by a tool to an operating member (4) to clamp an electric wire to the respective terminal (5) or release the wire from the terminal, one (2b) of said terminal covers (2b, 2c) being integrally formed with an attachment (10, 2d),

       characterized in that the attachment is integrally formed on the control mechanism side of said one terminal cover (2b) and includes auxiliary contacts or alarm contacts arranged to be switched in response to an operation of said control mechanism (15, 16) for switching said main contacts (14).
  2. A circuit breaker according to claim 1, characterized in that the terminal covers (2b, 2c) are provided with openings for said electric wires to be connected to said terminals (5), the openings being formed in a respective face of the terminal covers that defines a plane substantially perpendicular to the plane of the face in which said access holes (17) are provided.
  3. A circuit breaker according to claim 1, characterized in that said operating members (4) are screws and said access holes (17) are holes allowing the screws to be tightened and loosened by means of a screw driver.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Disjoncteur comportant :
    • un boîtier moulé constitué d'un boîtier (1) principal et d'un capot (2),
    • des première et deuxième parties (3) de borne ayant des bornes (5) destinées à être connectées à une alimentation en puissance et à une charge respectivement, les parties de borne étant disposées à deux extrémités opposées du boîtier moulé,
    • des contacts (14) principaux pour réaliser ou interrompre un contact entre les bornes (5) des première et deuxième parties (3) de borne, et
    • un mécanisme (15, 16) de commande pour commuter les contacts principaux, le mécanisme de commande étant disposé entre les première et deuxième parties (3) de borne,
    • le capot (2) étant divisé en trois parties (2a, 2b, 2c) qui recouvrent le mécanisme de commande, la première partie de borne et la deuxième partie de borne, respectivement, les parties (2b, 2c) de recouvrement pour recouvrir les parties (3) de borne étant montées de manière détachable sur le boîtier moulé en tant que capots de borne qui sont munis d'un trou (17) d'accès respectif pour chaque borne (5) permettant l'accès à un outil vers un élément (4) de fonctionnement pour serrer un fil électrique à la borne (5) respective ou relâcher le fil de la borne, l'un (2b) des capots (2b, 2c) de borne étant formé d'une pièce avec un accessoire (10, 2d),
       caractérisé en ce que l'accessoire est formé d'une pièce sur le côté du mécanisme de commande dudit un capot (2b) de borne et comporte des contacts auxiliaires ou des contacts d'alerte agencés pour être commutés en réponse à un fonctionnement du mécanisme (15, 16) de commande pour commuter les contacts (14) principaux.
  2. Disjoncteur suivant la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que les capots (2b, 2c) de borne sont munis d'ouverture pour les fils électriques à connecter aux bornes (5), les ouvertures étant formées dans une face respective des capots de borne qui définit un plan sensiblement perpendiculaire au plan de la face dans lequel les trous (17) d'accès sont formés.
  3. Disjoncteur suivant la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que les éléments (4) d'actionnement sont des vis et les trous (17) d'accès sont des trous permettant aux vis d'être serrées et relâchées au moyen d'un tournevis.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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