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United States Patent 3,887,803
Savage, Jr. June 3, 1975

Light emitting diode device

Abstract

A light emitting diode device which includes an outer housing having a cylindrically shaped enlarged head and an integrally formed extended body portion. The head has a socket formed by an interiorly presented side wall sized and shaped to receive the skirt section of a lens. A recess is formed on the interiorly presented side wall of the socket and is sized to accommodate a projecting locking member on the skirt section of the lens. The body of the housing includes a chamber which is designed to accommodate a resistor and which is, in turn, soldered or otherwise connected to a light emitting diode within the housing in such manner that the diode and the resistor may be removed from the housing as a single unit.


Inventors: Savage, Jr.; John M. (Los Angeles, CA)
Appl. No.: 05/474,094
Filed: May 28, 1974


Current U.S. Class: 362/363 ; 174/138G; 340/815.45; 340/815.5; 439/491; 439/571
Current International Class: F21S 8/00 (20060101); F21K 7/00 (20060101); F21V 017/00 (); G09F 009/14 ()
Field of Search: 240/151,152,8.16 340/381 174/138G 339/113R,119L,125L

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents
2599361 June 1952 Beal
2946994 July 1960 Dumke et al.
3207954 September 1965 Elliott
3229083 November 1966 George, Jr.
3286255 November 1966 Sanchez
3435449 March 1969 Sloan
3604918 September 1971 Cook
3611360 October 1971 Bailey
3777137 December 1973 Costanzo et al.
3818486 June 1974 Bailey
Foreign Patent Documents
1,043,359 Sep., 1966 GB
Primary Examiner: Peters, Jr.; Joseph F.
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Haefliger; William W.

Claims



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

1. A light emitting diode device comprising an outer housing, said housing having a longitudinally elongated body and an enlarged head connected to said body, said head having an interiorly presented wall forming a socket therein, a lens having an outer section and an annular skirt section projecting from said outer section, said skirt section removably extending within said socket, recess means formed in said interiorly presented wall, and somewhat resilient projecting locking means on said skirt section sized and fitting within said recess means when said skirt section is introduced into said socket for removably retaining said lens on said outer housing, a light emitting diode received within said lens and extending radially inwardly of said recess means, the diode having a longitudinally elongated terminal and a relatively short terminal, both said terminals projecting within a hollow formed by said housing elongated body, a resistor positioned in said hollow by said body and in endwise alignment with said diode relatively short terminal, said resistor having a conductive tab and a terminal at longitudinally opposite ends thereof, said tab integrally connected to the diode relatively short terminal whereby the diode is positioned relative to the housing and lens by the resistor, there being electrically conductive clips in the housing removably longitudinally receiving and engaging the diode elongated terminal and the resistor terminal, whereby the diode and resistor may be longitudinally removed as a unit from the housing or returned as a unit into the housing via said socket after prior removal of the lens therefrom.

2. The light emitting diode device of claim 1 further characterized in that the resilient projecting locking means on said skirt section is an annular ring extending around the skirt section.

3. The light emitting diode device of cliam 1 further characterized in that one of said clips is located sufficiently closer to said socket than the other clip that the terminal normally received by said other clip cannot be sufficiently longitudinally received by said one clip to allow reception of the remaining terminal by said other clip.

4. The light emitting diode device of claim 1 further characterized in that said interiorly presented wall is tapered inwardly to produce a diametrally reduced inner end.

5. The light emitting diode device of claim 1 further characterized in that said skirt section is provided with at least one slit to permit diametral contraction and expansion thereof.

6. The light emitting diode device of claim 1 further characterized in that said skirt section is provided with a plurality of circumferentially spaced axially extending slits to permit diametral contraction and expansion of said skirt section.

7. A light emitting diode device as defined in claim 1 wherein said body has an arcuately shaped annular outer wall and a relatively flat wall section merging into said arcuately shaped annular wall.

8. The light emitting diode device of claim 7 further characterized in that said relatively flat wall section extends axially along the body for the full axial length of the body.

9. The light emitting diode device of claim 7 further characterized in that the body has a transversely extending back wall extending across said body, a first conductive terminal extending from said back wall, and an arm extending from said arcuately shaped annular wall.

10. The light emitting diode device of claim 9 further characterized in that said arm is defined by a clip wrapped about a portion of said arcuately shaped annular wall.

11. The light emitting diode device of claim 1 further characterized in that said body has a back wall and an arm extending from said back wall to engage and hold said resistor against another interior wall of the body.

12. A light emitting diode device as defined in claim 1 including a back wall on said body, first and second conductive terminals extending through said back wall, said conductive terminals respectively connected to said clips, a first embossment on said back wall in the shape of a conductive terminal designation and being located in proximity to said first conductive terminal, and a second embossment on said back wall in the shape of another conductive terminal designation and being located in proximity to said second conductive terminal.

13. The light emitting diode device of claim 12 further characterized in that said first and second embossments are integrally formed on said back wall.

14. The light emitting diode device of claim 12 further characterized in that the first embossment has the shape of a "+" and the second embossment has the shape of a "-" sign, and that said back wall is provided with a third embossment means in the form of information bearing indicia and being spaced from said first and second embossments.

15. A light emitting diode device comprising an outer housing, said housing having a longitudinally elongated body and an enlarged head connected to said body, said head having an interiorly presented wall forming a socket therein, a lens having an outer section and an annular skirt section projecting from said outer section, said skirt section removably extending within said socket, recess means formed in said interiorly presented wall, and somewhat resilient projecting locking means on said skirt section sized and fitting within said recess means when said skirt section is introduced into said socket for removable retaining said lens on said outer housing, a light emitting diode received within said lens and extending radially inwardly of said recess means, there being longitudinally elongated terminals of different lengths connected with the diode, there also being electrically conductive clips in the housing removably longitudinally receiving and engaging said terminals, one of said clips being located sufficiently closer to said socket than the other clip that the terminal normally received by said other clip cannot be sufficiently longitudinally received by said one clip to allow reception of the remaining terminal by said other clip.

16. The diode device of claim 15 wherein said body includes a back wall at the end thereof opposite the head and first and second conductive terminals extending through said back wall and connected with said clips, there being embossment structure projecting from the back wall at the outer side thereof and located in proximity to said terminals.

17. The device of claim 16 wherein the embossment structure includes first and second embossments respectively having the shape of + and - signs.
Description



BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates in general to certain new and useful improvements in light emitting diode devices, and more particularly, to unique modular components for constructing light emitting diode devices.

In recent years, light emitting diodes, or so-called "LED's," have become quite popular and extensively used in a wide variety of electronic apparatus and systems. Normally, the light emitting diode is included with an outer housing of the type which comprises a body and an integrally formed head. The diode is normally contained within the head and a lens is removably attached to the head. When the light emitting diode per-se is included within the housing and covered by a lens, this combination is usually referred to as a "light emitting diode device," or a "LED device."

Light emitting diodes per-se represent a significant advance over the prior art of radiation emitting devices. However, little attention has been directed to the housings in which these diodes are used and these housings suffer a number of deficiencies. Many of the housings or so-called "holders" included an integrally formed boss or raised area on the back wall so that the back wall of the housing could be spaced from a circuit board or similar substrate or mounting member in order to permit flux-washing after wave soldering operations. However, the very provision of this extended boss created a difficulty in mounting the housing to a circuit board or similar substrate. Moreover, those commercially available light emitting diode devices are not designed so that the device can be inserted into D type apertures on a circuit board or similar substrate or other display device.

One of the principal drawbacks of the commercially available light emitting diode devices is that they are not constructed of modular components. Consequently, an individual lens must be designed for a particular individual housing. Moreover, each lens-housing combination is uniquely designed to accommodate only one type of light emitting diode. Therefore, it is necessary to produce a large variety of sizes and shapes of these various light emitting diode devices. Consequently, each user of light emitting diode devices must carry a large inventory of such devices including every size and shape thereof which may be utilized in any particular system.

The commercially available diode devices also suffer from another serious disadvantage in that the entire device must be discarded and replaced by a new device when the diode has burned out, or is otherwise inefficient for its intended purpose. The present commercially available diode devices include the diode which is permanently affixed within the housing and usually include a resistor which is also permanently affixed within the housing. Consequently, even if the resistor should become faulty, it is necessary to replace an entire diode device. The removal of the diode device from a circuit board or other form of apparatus not only provides economic waste, but is costly in terms of the labor time required to remove the device and solder a new one in place.

It is therefore the primary object of the present invention to provide light emitting diode devices of the type stated which permit replacement of a diode or electronic component, such as a resistor, without removal of the diode housing from its mounted position on a substrate.

It is the further object of the present invention to provide a system including modular components capable of being connected in a variety of combinations to provide a variety of light emitting diode devices.

It is an additional object of the present invention to provide light emitting diode devices of the type stated which can be constructed at a relatively low cost and which are highly efficient in their operation.

With the above the other objects in view, my invention resides in the novel features of form, construction, arrangement and combination of parts previously described and pointed out in the claims.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The present invention can be described in general terms as a light emitting diode device which comprises an outer housing. This housing is provided with an elongated body and an enlarged head connected to the body and preferably is integral with the body. This head is provided with an interiorly presented wall forming a socket therein. The socket is adapted to receive a radiation emitting diode in such manner that at least a portion of the diode communicates with the socket. A lens is also provided with the diode device. This lens includes an outer section and an annular skirt section projecting from the outer section. The skirt section of the lens is sized to removably extend within the socket.

In one aspect of the present invention, a recess is formed on the interiorly presented wall of the socket. A somewhat resilient projecting locking means is provided on the skirt section of the lens and is sized and located to fit within the recess, when the skirt is introduced into the socket. In this way, the lens may be removably retained in the housing.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the resilient projecting locking means is an annular ring which extends around the skirt section. In another embodiment of the present invention, this locking means comprises a plurality of projecting elements which are circumferentially spaced around the skirt section in spaced apart relationship. These projecting elements preferably have obliquely located walls which are designed to extend within the annular recess on the interiorly presented wall.

In a further modified form of the light emitting diode device of the present invention, the skirt section is designed to snugly engage the interiorly presented wall so as to be snuggly, but nevertheless removably, received within the socket. In this way, the lens may be pulled from and inserted into the socket in a somewhat snap-fitting manner.

In an additional embodiment of the present invention, the interiorly presented wall is tapered inwardly to produce a diametrally reduced inner end. In still a further embodiment of the present invention, the skirt section of the lens is provided with at least one slit to permit diametral contraction and expansion of the skirt section. Generally, a plurality of circumferentially spaced axially extending slits are provided in the skirt section.

The housing of the present invention may be cylindrical in shape with a substantially flat back wall so that the housing can be mounted in an upright position. In another embodiment of the present invention, the body of the housing may be provided with one flat wall so that the housing can be mounted on a circuit board or similar structure in a relatively flat position. In addition, this latter shape enables insertion of the housing into a D-type hole on a circuit board or other receiving member. This flat wall preferably extends axially along the body for the full axial length of the body.

In a preferred aspect of the present invention, the body has a transversely extending back wall which extends across the body. In one embodiment, a pair of conductive terminals extend through the back wall and are provided for connection to a source of power. In another embodiment of the present invention, the conductive terminals extend through the back wall and a clip extends around the arcuately shaped annular side wall of the body of the housing for mounting the housing to the substrate. In actual practice, this clip has a portion thereof which is wrapped about a portion of the arcuately shaped annular wall so that it is retentively held thereon.

One of the unique features of the present invention is that the body of the housing is provided with a chamber which communicates with the socket. A radiation emitting diode is locatable within this socket and has at least one electrical diode terminal. A resistor or other form of electronic component is locatable in the chamber and is capable of being attached to the electrical diode terminal. Generally, this attachment is formed by means of soldering. The housing includes a retention means in order to retentively, but nevertheless removably, hold the resistor within the chamber. This retention means preferably adopts the form of an arm which extends from the back wall of the body. In this way, the resistor and the diode may be removably held within the housing so they can be removed therefrom as a single unit.

In another salient embodiment of the present invention, the back wall of the housing is provided with a pair of embossments, and each of which is located in close proximity to a respective one of the pair of terminals extending from the back wall. This first embossment has a shape of a conductive terminal designation, such as a "+" sign and the second embossment also has the shape of another conductive terminal designation, such as a "-" sign. In addition, a third embossment means in the form of information bearing indicia, as for example, a name or part number may be provided on the back wall and which is spaced from the first and second embossments.

The present invention may also be described as a system of modular components which are used to construct various forms of light emitting diode devices. This system comprises a plurality of housings of the type described. This system also includes the plurality of radiation emitting diodes of the type described. Some of these diodes have a size which differ from other of the diodes. Nevertheless, each of the diodes are sized to be received and accommodated by the sockets in any of the housings. Moreover, this system comprises a plurality of lenses and each of these lenses may adopt any of the forms of construction as previously described. Some of the lenses have a size and shape which differ from others of the lenses. Again, the skirt sections of each of these lenses are sized to snugly, but nevertheless removably, engage the ineriorly presented wall of the sockets in each of the housings. In this way, the lenses may be pulled from and inserted into the socket of any of the housings in somewhat of a snap-fitting manner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a light emitting diode device constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a modified form of light emitting diode device constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of the diode device of FIG. 1 substantially taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an end elevational view of the diode device of FIG. 2 substantially taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view taken along line 5--5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a vertical sectional veiw taken along line 6--6 of FIG. 5 and showing one form of locking means for retaining a lens within a housing forming part of the diode device;

FIG. 7 is a vertical sectional veiw, similar to FIG. 6, and showing another form of locking means for retaining a lens within a housing;

FIG. 8 is a vertical sectional view, similar to FIG. 7, and showing a skirt section forming part of the lens;

FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of one form of lens constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of a modified form of lens constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention; and

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view, similar to FIG. 5, and showing a further modified form of locking means for retaining a lens within a housing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now in more detail and by reference characters to the drawings which illustrate practical embodiments of the present invention, A designates a light emitting diode device which is more fully illustrated in FIg. 1 of the drawings. The light emitting diode device A generally comprises a body 10 which includes a cylindrical section 12 having an annular exterior side wall 14 which merges into a relatively flat back wall 16. The cylindrical section 12 integrally merges into an axially extending serrated section 18 which includes a plurality of wedge shaped ridges 20. Moreover, the serrated section 18 merges into a connecting sleeve 22 which in turn integrally merges into an enlarged head 24.

Referring to FIG. 5, it can be observed that the head 24 is provided with a cylindrically shaped socket 26 formed by an interiorly presented wall 28. The socket 26 is sized and designed to acommodate a light emitting diode 29. Moreover, the socket 26 is designed to accommodate the skirt 30 of a lens or a so-called "lens cap" 32. The actual details of construction of the means for retaining the lens 32 within the socket 26 is hereafter described in more detail.

Extending through the back wall 16 and projecting outwardly therefrom is a pair of conductive terminals 34 and 36, often referred to as "pins" or "posts." These pins 34 and 36 are sized to extend through holes formed in a circuit board or other substrate (not shown) and thereafter bent and soldered to a conductive strip or other electrical conductor. In this way, power is delivered to the light emitting diode for energizing the same. Moreover, it can be observed that the light emitting diode A may be mounted in the upright position so that the back wall 16 is disposed in juxtaposed relationship to the flat surface of the circuit board or similar substrate.

In many applications, the interior body portion of the diode device A could be sized to extend through a circular aperture within a circuit board of similar substrate. In this case, the serrated section 18 provides somewhat of a snap-type locking arrangement within the aperture. Moreover, the enlarged head 24 provides a rearwardly presented shoulder 38 which would be designed to engage the flat surface of the printed circuit board for mounting. In like manner the diode devices of the present invention are adapted for panel mounting in various forms of apparatus.

In the prior art, it was common to provide an embossment on the back wall 16 to engage the circuit board or other substrate so that the back wall 16 would remain in spaced apart relationship to the flat surface of the circuit board. This embossment was generally provided in order to facilitate flux washing after a wave soldering operation. Moreover, the prior art provided a printed indicia next to the terminals 34 and 36 to indicate either a positive or negative terminal. The present invention obviates the need of an embossment and further provides indicia in the form of a pair of embossments 40 and 42, in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawings. It can be observed that the embossment 40 is located in close proximity to the terminal 34 and the embossment 42 is located in close proximity to the terminal 36. In this way, it is possible to obviate the need of printing the terminal designations on the back wall 16 and further, the pair of embossments 40 and 42 actually facilitates the mounting of the housing 10 in an upright position on the circuit board.

Also located on the back wall 16 are a plurality of embossed letters 43 which are spaced apart from the embossments 40 and 42 and are preferably located along the periphery of the back wall 16. The letters may adopt the name of the manufacturer or distributor, etc., of the devices of the present invention. These letters may also adopt the form of a trademark, or other similar designation. The embossed letters 43 also cooperate with the embossments 40 and 42 by enabling the housing to be supported in an upright position for purposes of mounting.

FIG. 2 illustrated a modified form of light emitting diode device B constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention. The diode device B also includes an outer housing 46 having a body 48 which, in turn, integrally merges into a serrated section 50. Moreover, the serrated section 50 integrally merges into a connecting sleeve 52 which, in turn, is integrally formed with an enlarged head 54. In like manner, it can be observed that the head 54 is designed to accommodate the lens 32, illustrated in FIG. 1, or otherwise a modified form of lens 56, as illustrated in FIG. 2. In the case of the housing 10, the body 12 was cylindrical in cross section as illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawings. However, the body 48 includes an arcuately shaped wall 58 which is cylindrical for the greater portion of its annular surface and integrally merges into a flat wall 60, in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawings. Moreover, by further reference to FIG. 2, it can be observed that the flat wall 60 extends for the entire length of the body 48 including the serrated section 50 and the connecting sleeve 52. By means of this construction, the diode device B can be laid in a flatwise position on the circuit board or other substrate so that the flat wall 60 engages the upper surface of the circuit board.

The body 48 is also provided with a relatively flat back wall 62 and projecting through the back wall 62 are a pair of conductive terminals or pins 63 and 63'. Moreover, the back wall 62 is provided with a pair of outwardly extending integrally formed embossments 64 and 64' which both provide terminal indicia for the two terminals 63 and 63'. Moreover, each one of the embossments 64 and 64' is located in close proximity to respective ones of the terminals 63 and 63'. In this case, by reference to FIG. 4, it can be observed that the embossment 64 adopts a form of a "plus" sign and the embossment 64' adopts the form of a "negative" sign. For that matter, these embossments 64 and 64' could adopt any other form of indicia. In addition, the back wall 62 is provided with the embossed letters 65 representing the name, manufacturer, trademark, etc. of the party producing the devices of the present invention.

A clip 66 is wrapped about the serrated section 50 and is integrally provided with a pair of downwardly extending terminal arms 68. The arms are also sized to fit within and extend through properly sized and spaced apertures in a circuit board or similar substrate. The portions of the arms extending through the circuit board are then bent at right angles to retentively hold the housing onto the circuit board.

The light emitting diode device B is designed to be disposed on the surface of a printed circuit board or other substrate in a flatwise condition as indicated above. In this case, the two conductive terminals 63 and 63' would also extend through suitable apertures formed within the circuit board. Thereafter, these terminals 64 and 68 could be bent to the desired position and soldered or otherwise connected to other forms of conductors. However, it should be observed that the pin 63', in place of extending through the rear wall 62, could be substituted for the clip 66, and wrapped about the serrated section 50 with one end thereof extending downwardly beyond the flat wall 60. In this way, the pin 63' could also function as the retaining clip, thereby eliminating the need for the retaining clip. The opposite end of the pin 63' would extend through a suitable aperture (not shown) in the housing for operative connection to the diode.

The details of construction of the head 24 and the lens 32 are more fully illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings. The lens 32 includes the skirt 30 which is cylindrical in shape and integrally merges into a hemispherical end dome 70. The inner end of the skirt 30 which defines the open end of the lens 32 is provided with a section 74 of reduced thickness. In this way the section 74 is capable of yielding somewhat upon entry into the socket 26. It can be observed that the interiorly presented wall 28 is designed so that the skirt 30 snugly engages the wall 28 upon entry into the socket 26. Moreover, the wall 28 may be tapered inwardly so that the outer end thereof is diametrally reduced with respect to the open end of the head 24. This tapered wall 28, along with the section 74 of reduced thickness, facilitates entry of and removal of the skirt 30 into and from the socket 26.

The device A of the present invention also includes a unique locking means comprised of an annular locking ring 76 projecting radially outwardly from the sleeve 30. In a preferred form of construction, this ring 76 is integral with the sleeve 30 and is preferably located in the section 74 of reduced thickness. The interiorly presented side wall 28 is provided with an annular recess 78 which is sized and located to removably accommodate the annular locking ring 76 on the sleeve 30. Inasmuch as the locking ring 78 is located in the section 74 of reduced thickness, it can be conveniently pulled from its locking position in recess 78 by merely grasping and pulling on the outer end of the lens 32. In like manner, the ring can be inserted into its locked position, as illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawings, by merely pushing on the end dome 70 of the lens 32.

By further reference to FIG. 5, it can be observed that the lens 32 may retentively hold the diode 29 in place within the socket 26. The diode 29 may adopt many forms of construction, depending upon the particular manufacturer thereof. Nevertheless the devices of the present invention are capable of accommodating substantially any type of diode thus made. In this case, the diode 29 includes a bulb portion 80 having a diametrally enlarged inner end 82. It can be observed that the enlarged inner end 82 may abut against an annular shoulder 84 formed within the socket, in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawings. However, this abutting position is not necessary inasmuch as the diode could be retentively held by means of its terminals in a manner to be hereinafter described.

FIG. 9 illustrates one form of construction of the lens 32 which may be provided with a series of axially extending circumferentially spaced slits 86. In this case, three such slits are shown as indicated in FIG. 8, although it should be recognized that any number of slits could be provided around the inner end of lens 32. In this way, it is possible to eliminate the diametrally reduced section 74, inasmuch as the slits 86 will permit diametral contraction and expansion of the inner end of the lens as it is being inserted into the socket 26. Moreover, it can be observed that the lens 32 also includes the locking ring 76 as illustrated in FIG. 9 of the drawings. It should be further observed with respect to the lens 32 as illustrated in FIG. 9, that the slits 86 terminate prior to the annular locking ring 76.

FIGS. 7, 8 and 10 further illustrate a modified form of locking mechanism which may be used to secure the lens within the enlarged head of the housing. In this case, the skirt 30 of the lens 32 is provided with a plurality of outwardly extending locking lugs 88. Although, only three such lugs 88 have been illustrated, it should be understood that any number of lugs could be employed. Furthermore, these lugs are circumferentially spaced in axial alignment about the skirt 30. These lugs 88 are preferably provided with oblique sidewalls 90. FIG. 7 illustrates the employment of the lugs 88 in connection with the lens 32 having the section 74 of reduced thickness.

In like manner, the lugs 88 could also be used with that embodiment of the skirt employing the slits 86 in the manner as illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 10 of the drawings. In this later embodiment, it can be observed that the lugs 88 would be located within region of the slits 86. Thus, the slits would extend into the wall of the skirt 30 at least to the position of the lugs 88. In this respect, it should also be observed that since the lugs 88 are located toward the open end of the lens 32, the lens 32 would have the skirt shorter in axial length than when the annular locking ring 78 is employed.

FIG. 11 illustrates a further form of locking mechanism which may be used to secure a lens within the housing of the present invention. In this case, the housing includes the enlarged head 90 which is provided at its lower end with an annular groove 92. The groove 92 integrally merges into a back wall 94 formed within the housing. However, the other end of the groove 92 merges into an interior socket wall 96 through a tapered surface 98. Preferably this tapered surface 98 is located at about a 45.degree. angle with respect to the socket wall 96.

The lens 100 which is used with this locking mechanism is composed of a dome 102 which integrally merges into an annular skirt 104. The skirt 104, in turn, merges into a section 106 of reduced thickness. Moreover, provided on the outer surface of the section 106 of the reduced thickness in close proximity to the inner or open end of the skirt 104 are a plurality of circumferentially spaced locking lugs 108, similar to the lugs 88. These lugs 108 also include integrally formed abutment shoulders 110 which engage the tapered surface 98. However, it should be understood that the lugs could be replaced by a locking ring. However, in this case, the locking rings would not be cylindrical in shape, but include an abutment shoulder which is capable of engaging the tapered surface 98 of the groove 92.

One of the unique aspects of the present invention resides in the fact that the resistor which is normally carried by a light emitting diode device and the diode itself can be removed as a unit in order to replace either the resistor or the diode. FIG. 5 illustrates the construction which enables this advantage. The body 12 of the housing 10 is provided with an enlarged chamber 112 which is capable of accommodating a resistor 114. It can be observed that the housing also includes an arm 116 terminating in a flange 118 which engages the resistor 114 and thereby holds the resistor 114 against interior wall forming the chamber 112. Moreover, the resistor 114 is provided with a conductive tab 120 which is engageable with a conductive terminal 122 on the diode 29. In this way, the resistor 114 can be connected to the diode 29 through the tab 120 and the terminal 122. This connection between the tab 120 and the terminal 122 is preferably a soldered connection. Thus, the diode 29 and the resistor 114 can be removed from their position in the housing 10 by merely removing the lens cap 32 and pulling the diode 29 and the resistor 114 outwardly through the socket 26.

The conductive terminal 34 extends into the body 12, in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 5, and is integrally formed with a connecting clip 124. Although not necessary, the terminal 34 and the clip 124 may be individual pieces and the terminal 34 may be soldered to the connecting clip 124 if desired. The opposite end of the connecting clip 124 receives a diode terminal 126 in somewhat of a snap-fitting engagement. In this way, the diode can merely be removed from the housing by pulling on the head of the diode so that the terminal 126 is merely pulled out of the clip 124. The conductive terminal 36 is similarly integral with a connecting clip 128. Again, the clip 128 and the terminal 36 may be individual pieces with the terminal soldered or otherwise secured to the connecting clip 128. The connecting clip 128 is also capable of removably receiving a terminal 130 from the resistor 114. In like manner, the resistor 114 may be pulled outwardly through the socket 26 so that the terminal 130 is easily removed from the clip 128.

The clips 124 and 128 are preferably formed of a relatively thin metal which may be folded over in a form of a U-shaped clip. Moreover, due to the thin gauge of the metal, it is somewhat resilient so as to removably receive the various terminals 126 and 130.

By further reference to FIG. 5 of the drawings, it can be observed that the position of the clips 124 and 128 are offset from each other. Thus the clip 124 is located closer to the socket 26 than the clip 128. In this way it is impossible to reverse the terminals 126 and 130 since if the terminals were reversed they would not properly extend into the clips 124 and 128. More specifically, one of the clips is located sufficiently closer to the socket than the other clip that the terminal normally received by that other clip cannot be sufficiently longitudinally received by the one clip to allow reception of the remaining terminal by that other clip.

Each of the components described above are all mocular in their construction so that they are interchangeable. In this way, it is possible to generate a variety of diode devices with just a relatively few number of components. Consequently, the user of the diode devices achieves a much wider degree of versatility to fill all of the light emitting diode device needs. In this respect, it can be observed that any of the lenses 32 or 56 could be utilized in either of the housing in either of the devices A or B. Moreover, the lenses may be provided with the section of reduced thickness or the axially located slits, or any of the locking means described above.

The housing used in the diode devices may be formed of any of a number of materials including a wide variety of plastic materials. However, black nylon has been found to be one of the preferred materials of construction. In addition, the lenses also may be made of any of the variety of plastic materials, although cellulose acetate butyrate has been found to be a preferred material. With respect to the lens, the lens should be transparent to the radiation emitted by the diode 29. Various lens shapes and sizes and colors even moreso add to the versatility of the diode devices. The various clips 124 and 128 are preferably made of any metals which are relatively thin and tempered to have a spring type action. In this respect, phospher bronze has been found to be highly effective material. In like manner, the terminals or pins also preferably are constructed of phospher bronze and may be gold-plated.

Thus there has been illustrated and described various novel light emitting diode devices and components which can be used in a system for constructing diode devices and which can all be made at a relatively low cost and used in a variety of applications. Consequently, the diode devices and the components thereof fulfill all of the objects and advantages sought therefor. Many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications of the diode devices and the components thereof will become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering this specification on the accompanying drawings. Therefore, all such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention which is limited only by the following claims.

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