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Modular rearview mirror assembly

Imported: 24 Feb '17 | Published: 06 Jan '04

Jonathan E. DeLine, Roger L. Veldman, Niall R. Lynam

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

An interior rearview mirror assembly for vehicles incorporates a case having a reflective, prismatic mirror element, a support on the assembly for mounting the assembly on the interior of a vehicle, a day/night actuator mounted for movement between day and night positions on the case to change the amount of light reflected by the prismatic mirror element, and a lever mounted for movement on the case and engaging the actuator to move the actuator between the day and night positions. The lever includes a curved configuration adapted to mate and correspond with a portion of the case when the actuator is in the day and night positions. In a preferred embodiment, the lever is a pivot lever which extends outwardly through an aperture in the case and has concave and convex areas which mate with opposed portions of the aperture in which the lever is positioned. A carrier member which includes a circuit member secured to and/or at least partially encased and/or encapsulated within a support body such that electrical connections extend therefrom may be mounted within the case. Portions of the assembly such as the carrier member may form a stop for the day/night actuator to limit movement of the mirror housing between the day and night positions. In various embodiments, the mirror assembly may include an electrical component, such as a lamp or a video device, mounted on the carrier member with the component being connected to the circuit member for operation on the mirror assembly.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded, perspective view of a first embodiment of the modular rearview mirror assembly for vehicles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional end elevation of the mirror assembly of FIG. 1 taken along line II—II of FIG. 2;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a preferred form of the carrier member for use in the mirror assembly of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is an exploded, perspective view of a preferred form of a stamped metal electrical circuit adapted for insert molding within the carrier member of FIG.

3 and illustrating plug-in attachment of preferred plunger switches thereto;

FIG. 5 is an exploded, perspective view of the carrier member of FIG. 3 incorporating light bulbs and reflectors for same;

FIG. 6 is a front elevation of the carrier member of FIGS. 3 and 5 from the side opposite that shown in those figures;

FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of the carrier member assembly shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is an end elevation of the carrier member assembly showing a method for attachment of a reflector to the carrier member;

FIG. 9 is a sectional end elevation of the carrier member assembly taken along plane IX—IX of FIG. 6;

FIG. 10 is a rear elevation of the mirror assembly of FIGS. 1 and 2 broken away to show the carrier member assembly within the mirror housing/case and illustrating illumination from the lamp assemblies on the carrier member;

FIG. 11 is a side elevation of a reflector for use with the carrier member of FIG. 3;

FIG. 12 is an end elevation of the reflector of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a top plan view of the reflector of FIGS. 11 and 12;

FIG. 14 is a sectional side view of the reflector taken along plane XIV—XIV of FIG. 12;

FIG. 15 is a bottom plan view of a lens element for use in the present invention;

FIG. 16 is an end elevation of the lens of FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is a side elevation of the lens of FIG. 15;

FIG. 18 is an exploded, perspective view of a second embodiment of the modular rearview assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 19 is a sectional side elevation of the rearview mirror assembly of FIG. 18 taken along line XIX—XIX of FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a preferred form of the carrier member for use in the mirror assembly of FIGS. 18 and 19;

FIG. 21 is an exploded, perspective view of a metal stamping for inclusion in the carrier member of FIG. 20 also illustrating a preferred form of switch adapted to mate with the electrical circuit;

FIG. 22 is a front elevation of a third embodiment of the modular rearview mirror assembly of the present invention with a portion of the prismatic mirror element removed;

FIG. 23 is a fragmentary, front elevation, shown partially in section, of the mirror assembly of FIG. 22;

FIG. 24 is an exploded, front elevation of the mirror assembly of FIGS. 22 and 23;

FIG. 25 is a top plan view of a preferred form of the carrier member adapted for use with the mirror assembly of FIGS. 22-24;

FIG. 26 is an end elevation of the carrier member of FIG. 25;

FIG. 27 is a bottom plan view of the carrier member of FIGS. 25 and 26;

FIG. 28 is a perspective view of a stamped metal electrical circuit adapted for incorporation in the carrier member shown in FIGS. 25-27;

FIG. 29 is a rear elevation of the mirror assembly of FIGS. 22-24;

FIG. 30 is a sectional end elevation of a fourth embodiment of the modular review mirror;

FIG. 31 is an enlarged, fragmentary, sectional view of area XXXI of FIG. 31;

FIG. 32 is an exploded, perspective view of a fifth embodiment of the modular rearview mirror assembly for vehicles of the present invention;

FIG. 33 is a rear perspective view of the mirror housing/case for the assembly of FIG. 32;

FIG. 34 is a plan view of one of the lenses used in the assembly of FIG. 32 showing the exterior surface thereof;

FIG. 35 is a perspective view of the interior side of the lens shown in FIG. 34;

FIG. 36 is a fragmentary, perspective view of the rear and bottom of the mirror assembly of FIG. 32 illustrating the electrical plug connection from the vehicle electrical system inserted in the mirror assembly;

FIG. 37 is an exploded, perspective view illustrating the forward side of the circuit member of the mirror assembly of FIG. 32 prior to encapsulation in the carrier member along with the preferred switches and a diode for mounting on the circuit member;

FIG. 38 is a perspective view of the rear side of the circuit member of the mirror assembly of FIG. 32 illustrating the mounting of a plug connector from a vehicle electrical system;

FIG. 39 is a perspective view of the carrier member of the mirror assembly of FIG. 32 showing the forward side which faces the reflective mirror element with portions of one of the reflector housings broken away to reveal the mounting of a bulb therein;

FIG. 40 is a perspective view of the carrier member shown in FIG. 39 showing the rear side and illustrating the mounting of a plug connector from a vehicle electrical system;

FIGS. 41 and 42 are fragmentary, perspective views of the carrier member shown in FIG. 40 illustrating the mounting of the plug connector from the vehicle electrical system;

FIG. 43 is a sectional elevation of the mirror assembly taken along plane XLIII—XLIII of FIG. 32;

FIG. 44 is a sectional elevation of the mirror assembly taken along plane XLIV—XLIV of FIG. 32;

FIG. 45 is a sectional elevation of the mirror assembly taken along plane XLV—XLV FIG. 32;

FIG. 46 is a sectional elevation of the mirror assembly taken along plane XLVI—XLVI of FIG. 32; and

FIG. 47 is a fragmentary sectional elevation of a sixth embodiment of the modular rearview mirror assembly for vehicles of the present invention.

Claims

1. A lighted interior rearview mirror assembly for vehicles comprising:

2. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 1 wherein said lever is connected to said actuator by a resilient connection.

3. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 2 wherein said lever is a pivot lever and is mounted on said case for pivotal movement.

4. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 2 wherein said prismatic mirror element and case are elongated in a first direction; said pivot lever being pivotally mounted on a pivot axis extending generally parallel to said first direction for movement toward and away from said prismatic mirror element.

5. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 1 wherein said lever includes concave and convex areas which mate with portions of said case when said actuator is in said day and night positions.

6. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 5 wherein said lever has the general shape of an S when viewed in cross-section.

7. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 5 wherein said case includes top, side, bottom and back walls defining an interior space within said case; said actuator being mounted within said interior space; said bottom wall having an aperture therethrough having opposed edges, said lever extending through said aperture such that said concave portion of said lever mates with one of said opposed edges of said aperture when said actuator is in one of said day and night positions, and said convex portion of said lever mates with another of said opposed edges of said aperture when said actuator is in the other of said day and night positions.

8. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 7 wherein said concave portion of said lever mates with said one opposed edge of said aperture when said actuator is in said night position, and said convex portion of said lever mates with said another opposed edge of said aperture when said actuator is in said day position.

9. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 1 wherein a modular carrier member is formed separately from and mounted to said case, said carrier member including an electrically conductive circuit member and a non-electrically conducting support body, said circuit member being formed separately from and secured to said support body, said carrier member providing an integral support, electrical connections for, and an electrical distribution network to at least said one lamp on said case; said lamp being connected to said circuit member.

10. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 9 wherein said lamp is mounted on said carrier member.

11. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 9 wherein said carrier member includes an edge portion defining a recess, said circuit member including a bulb holder within said recess, and a reflector secured to said carrier member and received in said recess, said recess edge portion engaging and supporting said reflector, said lamp including a bulb mounted within said recess in said bulb holder, said reflector reflecting light from said bulb through said case opening when said bulb is illuminated.

12. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 11 wherein said case includes a back wall, a peripheral side wall having top wall and bottom wall portions, and a central axis extending through said top wall and bottom wall, said recess and bulb extending at an angle to said central axis.

13. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 11 wherein said reflector has a wall defining a bulbous body, said body defining a hollow interior and a reflective inner surface, said reflector wall including an aperture therethrough, said bulb extending through said aperture into said hollow interior.

14. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 13 wherein said reflector wall includes a pair of opposed, generally planar wall sections extending generally parallel to said mirror element.

15. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 14 wherein said reflector includes curved wall portions extending between said opposed, generally planar wall sections, said recess edge portion engaging said curved wall portions.

16. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 13 wherein said carrier member includes a mounting stud adjacent said recess; said reflector including a mounting flange received on said stud to secure said reflector in said recess.

17. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 16 wherein said stud is heat staked over said mounting flange.

18. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 11 including a switch connected to said circuit member on said carrier member to control operation of said lamp, said switch including an extending portion projecting out of said case through an aperture in said case for access on the exterior of said case.

19. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 18 wherein said switch extending portion includes indicia thereon for indicating the switch control function to a user of said mirror assembly.

20. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 19 wherein said switch extending portion includes a plunger for operating said switch and a cap fitted thereover, said plunger including an indicia receiving area on which said indicia is placed, said cap including an opening exposing said indicia receiving area to a user of said mirror assembly.

21. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 9 wherein said carrier member includes an elongated, plate-like body having a length and height significantly greater than its thickness, said carrier member body including at least one rib projecting outwardly from said body and extending thereon for reinforcing and strengthening said body.

22. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 21 wherein said rib extends along the length of said plate-like body.

23. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 22 including at least a second rib spaced from the first of said ribs and also extending along the length of said body, at least one of said ribs including a portion extending adjacent said recess.

24. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 23 wherein said body includes first and second sides, said ribs extending along said first side of said body, said second side of said body including a plug connection for receiving an electrical plug to connect said circuit member to an electrical power source, and a latch member adapted to engage the plug when connected to said plug connection to retain the plug in said plug connection.

25. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 9 wherein said carrier member includes a diode connected to said circuit member for reducing current leakage and battery drain when said assembly is connected to the electrical system for a vehicle.

26. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 9 including at least one internal wall for reinforcing said case, said internal wall including a slot receiving a portion of said carrier member to secure said carrier member within said case.

27. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 9 wherein said carrier member includes a stop area thereon for engaging said actuator in one of said day and night positions, said actuator engaging said stop area when in said one position to limit movement of said day/night actuator.

28. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 11 wherein said carrier member includes a second lamp connected to said circuit member an adapted to provide light through a second opening in said case, said second opening being spaced from the first said opening; said carrier member including a second edge portion defining a second recess spaced from the first said recess, said second recess including a second bulb holder therewithin, and a second reflector secured to said carrier member and received in said second recess, said second recess edge portion engaging and supporting said second reflector; said second lamp including a second bulb mounted within said second recess in said second bulb holder, said second reflector reflecting light from said second bulb through said second case opening when said second bulb is illuminated.

29. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 28 wherein said second bulb extends at an angle to the first of said bulbs.

30. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 28 wherein said carrier member includes a mounting stud adjacent said second recess; said second reflector including a mounting flange received on said stud to secure said second reflector in said second recess.

31. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 28 including a pair of switches connected to said circuit member on said carrier member to control operation of said first and second bulbs, one switch controlling operation of said first bulb, the other of said switches controlling operation of said second bulb, each switch including a portion projecting through a respective aperture in said case for access on the exterior of said case.

32. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 31 including first and second lenses mounted on said case, said first lens mounted in said first opening, said second lens mounted in said second opening.

33. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 32 wherein each of said first and second lenses is a diffusing lens which diffuses light from its respective bulb.

34. A rearview mirror assembly for vehicles comprising:

35. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 34 wherein said case has a rear wall, said day/night actuator being mounted within said case between said carrier member and said rear wall.

36. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 34 wherein said carrier member includes a stop area thereon for engaging said actuator in one of said day and night positions, said actuator engaging said stop area when in said one position to limit movement of said day/night actuator.

37. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 36 wherein said case includes at least one internal wall on which said day/night actuator is pivotally mounted; said internal wall including a second stop area thereon for engaging said actuator in the other of said day and night positions, said actuator engaging said second stop area when in said other position to limit movement of said day/night actuator.

38. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 34 wherein said lever is connected to said actuator by a resilient connection.

39. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 38 wherein said lever is a pivot lever and is mounted on said case for pivotal movement.

40. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 39 wherein said prismatic mirror element and case are elongated in a first direction; said pivot lever being pivotally mounted on a pivot axis extending generally parallel to said first direction for movement toward and away from said prismatic mirror element.

41. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 34 wherein said lever includes concave and convex areas which mate with portions of said case when said actuator is in said day and night positions.

42. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 41 wherein said lever has the general shape of an S when viewed in cross-section.

43. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 41 wherein said case includes top, side, bottom and back walls defining an interior space within said case; said actuator being mounted within said interior space; said bottom wall having an aperture therethrough having opposed edges; said lever extending through said aperture such that said concave portion of said lever mates with one of said opposed edges of said aperture when said actuator is in one of said day and night positions, and said convex portion of said lever mates with another of said opposed edges of said aperture when said actuator is in the other of said day and night positions.

44. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 43 wherein said concave portion of said lever mates with said one opposed edge of said aperture when said actuator is in said night position, and said convex portion of said lever mates with said another opposed edge of said aperture when said actuator is in said day position.

45. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 34 wherein said case also includes at least one internal wall for reinforcing said case, said internal wall including a slot receiving a portion of said carrier member to secure said carrier member within said case.

46. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 45 including a plurality of said internal walls each of which is spaced from the others, each internal wall including a slot for receiving a portion of said carrier member to secure said carrier member within said case.

47. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 45 wherein said carrier member includes a projection adjacent said internal wall to limit lateral movement of said carrier member within said case.

48. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 45 wherein said carrier member includes a recessed camming surface for engaging said slot to facilitate rotating insertion of said carrier member within said case.

49. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 34 wherein said carrier member includes a plug connection for receiving an electrical plug to connect said circuit member to an external power source, and a latch member which engages the plug when the plug is connected to said plug connection to retain the plug in said plug connection.

50. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 49 wherein said plug connection is accessible through an opening in said case.

51. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 34 wherein said carrier member includes a diode connected to said circuit member for reducing current leakage and battery drain when said assembly is connected to the electrical system of a vehicle.

52. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 34 wherein said electrical component is a video device mounted on said rearview mirror assembly, said video device being electrically coupled to said circuit member for operation in said mirror assembly.

53. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 52 wherein said video device comprises one of a charge coupled device camera and a CMOS based video microchip camera.

54. The rearview mirror assembly according to claim 52 wherein said video device is mounted to said carrier member, the field of view of said video device being oriented for viewing the interior of a vehicle.

55. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 52 wherein said video device is mounted to said case, the field of view of said video device being oriented for viewing the interior of a vehicle.

56. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 55 wherein said video device is fixedly mounted to said case.

57. An interior rearview mirror assembly for vehicles comprising:

58. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 57 wherein said lever is connected to said actuator by a resilient connection.

59. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 58 wherein said lever is a pivot lever and is mounted on said case for pivotal movement.

60. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 59 wherein said prismatic mirror element and case are elongated in a first direction; said pivot lever being pivotally mounted on a pivot axis extending generally parallel to said first direction for movement toward and away from said prismatic mirror element.

61. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 57 wherein said lever includes concave and convex areas which mate with portions of said case when said actuator is in said day and night positions.

62. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 61 wherein said lever has the general shape of an S when viewed in cross-section.

63. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 61 wherein said aperture includes opposed edges; said lever extending through said aperture such that said concave portion of said lever mates with one of said opposed edges of said aperture when said actuator is in one of said day and night positions, and said convex portion of said lever mates with another of said opposed edges of said aperture when said actuator is in the other of said day and night positions.

64. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 63 wherein said concave portion of said lever mates with said one opposed edge of said aperture when said actuator is in said night position, and said convex portion of said lever mates with said another opposed edge of said aperture when said actuator is in said day position.

65. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 64 including a stop area on said assembly for engaging said actuator in one of said day and night positions, said actuator engaging said stop area when in said one position to limit movement of said day/night actuator.

66. The rearview mirror assembly of claim 57 including a stop area on said assembly for engaging said actuator in one of said day and night positions, said actuator engaging said stop area when in said one position to limit movement of said day/night actuator.