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United States Patent 3,602,181
Harris August 31, 1971

OUTBOARD MOTOR STEERING CONTROL

Abstract

An outboard motor including a hollow casing assembly for mounting on a boat. A upstanding tubular shaft is rotatably mounted in the casing assembly. A hollow pinion is mounted on the shaft and a rack meshes with the pinion. The rack is coupled to a steering control pedal and is mounted for movement in the casing transversely of the shaft. An electric motor is mounted on a lower end of the shaft, and a propeller is driven by the motor and directed transversely of the shaft. The rack is moved transversely of the shaft for turning the direction of the propeller for steering the boat. Leads to the motor extend through the hollow pinion and along the shaft. A second pinion which meshes with the rack, carries a direction indicating pointer.


Inventors: Harris; Garrett H. (Jackson, MS)
Appl. No.: 04/835,168
Filed: June 20, 1969


Current U.S. Class: 114/153 ; 440/7; 74/512; 74/560
Current International Class: B63h 021/26 ()
Field of Search: 114/153 115/18E,18

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents
2545086 March 1951 Harris
3091977 June 1963 Kiekhaefer
Primary Examiner: Farrell; Andrew H.

Claims



Having described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by letters patent is:

1. An outboard motor which comprises a hollow casing assembly, means for mounting the casing assembly in selected fixed position on a board outboard thereof, an upstanding tubular shaft rotatably mounted in the casing assembly, an annular gear wheel pinion fixedly mounted on the shaft substantially coaxially therewith, a rack continuously in mesh with the pinion and mounted for movement in the casing transversely of the shaft to rotate the pinion and shaft, a motor mounted on a lower end of the shaft, power lead means connected to the motor and extending from the motor through the tubular shaft and the opening in the pinion, a propeller driven by the motor and directed transversely of the shaft, and means for moving the rack transversely of the shaft for continuous controlled orientation of the propeller axis of rotation in relation to the fixedly positioned casing.

2. An outboard motor as in claim 1 wherein the means for moving the rack includes a wire attached to the rack, a sleeve surrounding the wire and attached to the casing assembly, and means for moving the wire with respect to the sleeve.

3. An outboard motor as in claim 1 wherein the means for moving the rack includes a spring coupling the casing assembly and said shaft and urging the shaft to rotate to advance the rack in one direction, a wire attached to the rack, a sleeve surrounding the wire and attached to the casing assembly, and means for moving the wire with respect to the sleeve to shift the rack in a direction opposite to that in which the spring urges it.

4. An outboard motor as in claim 1 wherein the means for moving the rack includes a wire attached to the rack, a sleeve surrounding a portion of the wire and attached to the casing assembly, a floor plate attached to the sleeve remote from the casing assembly, a foot pedal pivotally connected to the floor plate, a crank mounted on the foot pedal, and an actuator rod connected to the crank, movable lengthwise of the sleeve and cooperating with the wire to advance the rack for turning the shaft as desired.

5. An outboard motor as in claim 1 wherein the means for moving the rack includes a wire attached to the rack, a sleeve surrounding a portion of the wire and attached to the casing assembly, a floor plate attached to the sleeve remote from the casing assembly, a foot pedal pivotally connected to the floor plate, means coupled to the casing assembly and the shaft for resiliently urging the shaft to turn in one direction and to advance the rack in corresponding direction, a crank mounted on the foot pedal, and an actuator rod connected to the crank, movable lengthwise of the sleeve and cooperating with the wire as it is shifted lengthwise relative to the sleeve to advance the rack for turning the shaft to place the propeller in desired attitude to propel the boat in the direction desired.

6. An outboard motor as in claim 1 wherein stops are associated with the rack and rack moving means to limit movement of the rack so that the rack and pinion are maintained in mesh.

7. An outboard motor as in claim 4 wherein stops are associated with the rack and the foot pedal to limit movement of the rack so that the rack and pinion are maintained in mesh.

8. An outboard motor as in claim 5 wherein stops are associated with the rack and the foot pedal to limit movement of the rack so that the rack and pinion are maintained in mesh.

9. An outboard motor as in claim 1 wherein a second pinion meshes with the rack and a pointer is mounted on the second pinion to indicated the line along which propeller produced thrust is directed.

10. An outboard motor as in claim 9 wherein the pinions are of equal size.

11. An outboard motor as in claim 1, wherein a second pinion meshes with the rack and a pointer is mounted on the second pinion to indicated the direction of the propeller.
Description



This invention relates to an outboard motor. More particularly, this invention relates to a control system for an electrically operated outboard motor.

An object of this invention is to provide an improved steering control for an outboard motor, which can be foot operated.

A further object of this invention is to provide a foot operated steering control for an electrically operated outboard motor which includes means for controlling operation of the motor.

Briefly, this invention provides an electrically operated outboard motor including a hollow mounting assembly which can be mounted on a boat and an upright shaft rotatably mounted in the mounting assembly. The shaft carries a motor at a lower end thereof having a propeller arranged to drive the boat in a direction transverse of the shaft. A pinion is mounted on an upper end of the shaft and is engaged by a rack which is mounted for reciprocating movement with relation to the mounting assembly while in mesh with the pinion. A spring urges the shaft to turn in one direction. A rack operator connected to the rack turns the pinion and the shaft in the opposite direction. The rack operator can be connected to a foot pedal which operates the rack. The pinion can be hollow to receive motor leads which extend down the shaft.

A further object of this invention is to provide a propeller drive direction indicator rotatable with a direction indicator pinion turned by the rack in synchronism with the motor turning pinion.

The above and other objects and features of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains from the following detailed description and the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary view in lengthwise section of a boat equipped with an outboard motor constructed in accordance with an embodiment of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view in rear elevation of the motor shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a view in section taken on the line 3--3 in FIG. 2, electrical wiring being omitted;

FIG. 4 is a view in front elevation of the motor illustrated in FIGS. 1--3 inclusive;

FIG. 5 is a view in side elevation of the motor, a fragmentary portion of the boat being shown in section in association therewith;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of an operating pedal of the motor, part thereof being broken away to reveal internal construction;

FIG. 7 is a view in section taken generally on the line 7--7 in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view in section taken on the line 8--8 in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the hollow mounting assembly of the motor with a cover plate and indicator thereof removed;

FIG. 10 is a view in section taken on the line 10--10 in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary view in section taken on the line 11--11 in FIG. 6; and

FIG. 12 is a schematic circuit diagram of the motor.

In the following detailed description and the drawings like reference characters indicate like parts.

In FIG. 1 is shown a fragmentary portion of a boat 10 having a transom board 12, a bottom panel 13, a floor panel 14 supported above the bottom panel 13 and side panels 15, only one of which is shown. An outboard motor assembly 16 is removably mounted on the transom board 12. A control pedal assembly 17 can rest on the floor panel 14.

As shown in FIG. 3, the motor assembly 16 includes a mounting block 18 which is integrally formed with a split sleeve 19 (FIG. 2). The split sleeve 19 fits around and is releasably clamped to a main body sleeve 21 by means of a bolt 21' which extends through openings in flanges 21" on side portions of the split sleeve 19 and a wing nut 22 threaded on the bolt 21'. The mounting block 18 is pivotally mounted on a bolt 23 between inverted U-shaped brackets 24 and 25 which fit over the upper edge of the transom board 12. Clamping screws 26 and 27 threaded in arms of the brackets 24 and 25, respectively, engage the transom board, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5, to support the motor assembly. The block 18 and the main body sleeve 21 can be held in position by a clamp nut 28 mounted on the bolt 23. A locking pin 29 (FIG. 3) can be inserted in openings 30 in the block 18 and 30' in the bracket 25 (FIG. 5) to lock the motor assembly in operative position as shown. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 10, a hollow head casing 31 is mounted at an upper end of the body sleeve 21. Screws 31', one of which is shown in FIG. 2, hold the head casing 31 and the main body sleeve 21 in assembled relation to form a hollow casing assembly. A tubular shaft 32 is rotatably mounted in bearings 34 and 36 (FIG. 3) mounted in the head casing 31 and the main body sleeve 21 respectively. A pinion 37 (FIGS. 9 and 10) is fixedly mounted on an upper end of the shaft 32 for rotation in unison therewith. A coil spring 38 (FIG. 3) mounted inside the main body sleeve 21 and surrounding the tubular shaft 32 urges the shaft 32 and the pinion 37 in a clockwise direction as shown in FIG. 9. One end of the spring 38 is anchored to the bushing 33 by lug 35, as shown in FIG. 3, and the other end of the spring 38 is anchored in a radial bore 41 in the tubular shaft 32. As shown in FIG. 3, bushing 33 is locked in fixed relation to main body sleeve 21 by setscrew 39. By rotating bushing 33 in relation to main body sleeve 21 while spring 38 is anchored in bore 41 and to the bushing 33 by lug 35 the spring can be placed under preload as desired and that load fixed by locking of bushing 33 to main body sleeve 21 through setting of setscrew 39. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 5, a motor housing 42 is mounted on the lower end of the tubular shaft 32. An appropriate electric motor (not shown in detail) inside the motor housing 42 drives a propeller shaft 42' on which is mounted a propeller 43 which is directed transversely of the shaft 32.

The pinion 37 meshes with a sliding rack 46 (FIGS. 9 and 10). The rack 46 is mounted for sliding lengthwise of a rack guide 46'. The rack is attached to an actuator bowden wire 47 which runs in a flexible sleeve 48, one end of which is attached to the head casing 31 by a clamp screw 49. Movement of the actuator wire 47 accompanies sliding movement of the rack to the left or right as shown in FIG. 9 to turn the pinion 37, the tubular shaft 32, and the motor housing 42 for steering the boat. A second pinion 51, of the same size as the first pinion, rotatably mounted in the head casing 31 meshes with the rack 46 and is turned thereby. A pointer 52 (FIG. 10) mounted on an upwardly extending shaft 53 carried by the pinion 51 swings in synchronism with motor 42 and gives an indication of the direction in which the motor is disposed. The pointer 52 is carried above a top cover 53' of the head casing, the shaft 53 extending through an opening 56 in the top cover. A stop member 54 mounted on the rack guide limits leftward movement of the rack as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. A stop member 55 may be mounted on the actuator wire 47 to limit rack movement in the opposite direction.

The actuator wire 47 and the flexible sleeve 48 extend from the head casing 31 through a protective sleeve 58 toward the control pedal assembly 17, as shown in FIG. 1, the lower end of the sleeve 48 being connected to a tubular guide 62 which is attached to a lower or floor plate 59 of the control pedal assembly 17 by a clamp 61 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. The lower plate 59 is provided with hemispherical legs 61' which rest on the floor panel 14 (FIG. 1). A left-hand end portion of an actuator rod 63 (FIGS. 6, 7, and 8) is slidably mounted inside the tubular guide 62. A plug 63' mounted on the lower end of the actuator wire 47 also is slidably mounted in the tubular guide 62. A socket 65 in the actuator rod 63 releasably receives a head 66 of the plug 63'. The right-hand end portion of the actuator rod 63 is threaded in a pivot plug 67 (FIGS. 6 and 7), which is rotatably mounted in an arm 68 attached to a pedal supporting body 69.

The body 69 is pivotally mounted on a pivot pin 70 carried by upwardly extending lugs 71 and 72 which in turn are mounted on the lower plate 59 so that swinging of the body 69 around the pivot pin 70 causes reciprocation of the actuator rod 63 inside the tubular guide sleeve 62. A stop 73 topped by cushion bumper 73', is mounted on the lower plate 59 and limits downward swinging of the body 69 when the body reaches the dot-dash line position indicated at 69' in FIG. 7. Actuator rod 63 may be rotated in threaded engagement with pivot plug 67 to alter the effective length of rod 63 between pivot plug 67 and plug 63'. Nut 64 may be rotated on rod 63 to secure same in locked relation to pivot plug 67. By adjustment of the effective length of rod 63 between pivot plug 67 and plug 63', a limit on movement of rack 46 away from stop member 54 may be established, corresponding to the position in which pedal support body 69 comes to rest against bumper 73' on stop 73.

A foot plate 74 is pivotally mounted for limited swinging on pivot pins 76 and 76' mounted in the body 69.

As shown most clearly in FIG. 11, the plate 74 can engage a switch operating button 77' so that when the plate 74 is rocked clockwise as shown in FIG. 11, the button 77' is depressed to actuate a switch 77. Electric connections of the motor are shown in FIG. 12. Power is supplied by a battery 78. When the switch 77 is closed, power is supplied to a three position switch 79. When the switch 79 is in the 79h position as shown in FIG. 12, power can be supplied through wire 83 to a high speed winding 81 of the motor. When the switch 79 is in the 79l position as shown in FIG. 12, power can be supplied through wire 84 to a low speed winding 82 of the motor. Thus, by selecting the position of the switch 79, the speed of the motor can be selected. At a central position 79c of the switch 79 (FIG. 6), the motor is turned off. From switch 77 lead 88' extends to switch 79, from which leads 83 and 84 extend through a cable 86 (FIG. 10), which is housed in the sleeve 58, and extend through the head casing 31 down the center of the tubular shaft 32, as shown in FIG. 10, to the motor in the motor casing 42 (FIG. 1). As shown in FIG. 6, battery leads 88 and 89 can be provided with clips 91 and 92, respectively, which can be attached to terminals of a battery (not shown in detail). As shown in FIG. 9, the battery lead 89 is attached to the head casing 31 as a ground wire. The common or ground lead 89' of the motor is attached to the motor housing and grounds same to structure through which a conductive path exists to the lead 89. The pinion 37, as shown in FIG. 10, has an axial opening 91 in which an insulating sleeve 92 is mounted. The axial opening 91 communicates with the interior of the tubular shaft 32. The leads 83 and 84 extend through the sleeve 92 and downwardly along the tubular shaft 32 to the motor windings 81 and 82 (FIG. 12).

When the motor is to be used, the switch 79 (FIG. 12) is moved to either its high or low position (FIG. 6) to connect one of the windings 81 or 82 in series with the battery 78 and the switch 77. Rocking of the plate 74 about the axis of pivot pin 76 (FIG. 11) in a clockwise direction to close the switch 77 places the motor in operation. Further rocking of the plate 74 with the body 69 about the pivot pin 70 (FIGS. 6 and 7) causes movement of the actuator wire 47 accompanied by sliding of the rack 46 (FIGS. 9 and 10) back and forth for turning the pinion 37 and the tubular shaft 32 (FIG. 1) to position the motor housing 42 so that thrust produced by the motor driven propeller 43 may be directed to steer the boat.

The outboard motor construction illustrated in the drawings and described above is subject to structural modification without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

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