US 20060289539 A1
An improved outdoor telecommunication pedestal having a dome and a two part base. The base includes inner and outer horizontal and vertical ribs to greatly enhance in-ground stability. The dome also includes vertical ribs to engage slots in the base to give good security. Security is further enhanced by a spring loaded lock mechanism that requires only a quarter turn to unlock. A cam follower wall is provided on a slider of the lock to allow a snap attachment of the dome and the base once full engagement is reached.
30. An outdoor pedestal closure assembly with flood protection, the assembly comprising:
a dome having an upper portion and a lower portion, the dome configured to provide a bell jar effect within said upper portion when water rises above said lower portion;
a base for supporting the dome, the dome configured for concealing and protecting cables or equipment when the cables or equipment are positioned in the upper portion of the dome with the dome secured to the base; and
a lock positioned on the lower portion of the dome for securing the dome to the base;
wherein the dome is configured for removal from the base for servicing said cables or equipment by unlocking the lock and separating the dome from the base; and
wherein the lock is configured to automatically lock the dome to the base when the dome is replaced on the base.
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This application is a divisional of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/712,612 filed Nov. 11, 2003, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to an improved pedestal closure assembly and more particularly, to a pedestal closure assembly that is easy and quick to install, easy to open and close and very stable in the ground into which the assembly is placed.
2. Description of the Related Art
Telecommunications, cable television, power distribution equipment and the like include primary cable loops, terminal blocks, wires and connectors. These elements are commonly located out of plant and subject to ambient weather conditions. Since the necessary equipment is located outside, a protective covering is required to safeguard the equipment from human interference as well as from the environment. Therefore, such protective covering must provide structural as well as environmental protection.
One such protective covering is in the form of a pedestal closure assembly. The pedestal structure includes a housing with a sufficient volume but occupying a small area and placeable in a convenient working orientation. Inside the housing cable pairs may be connected to each other and such connections are made at connector blocks which are mounted to a mounting plate inside the pedestal structure. The connector blocks include a number of terminals where the pairs of wires and the cable are stripped of their insulation and connected.
A base portion of the pedestal closure assembly is substantially buried in the ground but includes a passageway to permit underground cables to be received into the interior of the pedestal. The cables extend through the base section and are covered by a top or dome which is mounted on the base and attached to it. The pedestal closure assembly, when assembled and installed, should have sufficient structural strength to resist minor impacts as well as to resist environmental conditions such as wind, rain and blowing contaminants.
Examples of such pedestals may be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,384,427; 5,412,960; 6,182,846; 6,198,041; 6,244,635 and 6,598,949, all of which are owned by the assignee of the present application. The disclosures of the above mentioned patents are included herein by reference.
Improvements in the above mentioned pedestals are always desirable. What is described here is a pedestal closure assembly comprising a substantially monolithic upper dome and a two-sectioned base for attaching to the dome. Each section of the base includes inner and outer ribs for stabilizing the pedestal in the ground.
There are a number of advantages, features and objects achieved with the present invention which are believed not to be available in earlier related devices. The pedestal disclosed here is easy and quick to install in the ground and once installed, has good stability. The pedestal does not pull out easily nor easily tilt away from a vertical position. The pedestal also is easy to open and close to facilitate service. There is only one lock mechanism to open (referred to as “one point of entry”) where a technician need only twist a lock one quarter turn or about 90 degrees with a lock opening tool to gain entry. Nevertheless, the pedestal disclosed here provides good closure security and is strong, relatively inexpensive and very reliable. A further advantage is that the lock/dome combination may be moved past wires and cables without snagging.
A more complete understanding of the present invention and other objects, advantages and features thereof will be gained from a consideration of the following description of preferred embodiments read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing provided herein. The preferred embodiments disclosed represent examples of the invention which are described here in compliance with Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (first paragraph), but the invention itself is defined by the attached claims.
While the present invention is open to various modifications and alternative constructions, the preferred embodiments shown in the various figures of the drawing will be described herein in detail. It is understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the particular embodiments, forms or examples which are disclosed here. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalent structures and methods, and alternative constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims, pursuant to Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (second paragraph).
Referring now to
Attached to the base for mounting in the interior of the pedestal assembly is a mounting plate 24. The mounting plate allows wires from an underground cable to be attached to connectors which are supported by the mounting plate. Underground cables are received by the pedestal closure assembly from below the pedestal. In normal usage, the pedestal is anchored in the ground to approximately the level shown by front and rear “ground lines” 26, 28.
More detail of similar pedestals and their operation may be acquired by reference to the four above mentioned patents.
Referring now to
At the bulge 44 three openings 50, 52, 54 are formed in vertical alignment, two small openings 50, 54 for rivets to attach the lock to the dome, and a central opening 52 for insertion of a lock tool to rotate the lock mechanism through 90 degrees to “unlock” the dome from the base and allow removal of the dome for service of the equipment within the pedestal or for replacement of the dome should it be damaged.
It is to be noted that above the three openings, the dome is a single molded piece. This is important to operation in the field. It is desirable that the dome perform as a “bell jar” in flood situations. By bell jar, it is meant that water rising from beneath the dome will cause an increasing air pressure in the upper portion of the dome above the water level. This has the effect of suppressing the rising water to keep the water away from the electrical wires and connectors inside the pedestal.
The dome is formed of a suitable synthetic resin, such as high density polyethylene, and has a normal wall thickness of 0.180 inches generally and about 0.200 inches at the bulge.
Referring now to
The dome includes a front interior surface 66, a left side interior surface 40, a right side interior surface 68 and a rear interior surface 70. The lock bulge 44 is formed in the front wall and the lock will attach to the front interior surface 66. The lock mechanism has a thickness generally matching the extent of the bulge so that the lock mechanism does not extend in any substantial way into the internal chamber formed by the dome. This facilitates moving the dome past the mounting plate 24 when wires and connectors are attached to the mounting plate and not causing a “catch” or snag. The lock ribs 60, 62 are formed along the left and right side interior surfaces 40, 68 near the rear interior surface 70. The ribs provide for an engagement between the dome and the base at the rear of the assembly to complement an abutment between the lock mechanism and the base at the front of the assembly. This ensures good security. The vertical ribs and slots also provide an alignment feature when placing the dome over the base and the ribs act to strengthen the dome and make it more robust.
Integrally formed with the dome is a small tab 72 which is used to key the location of the lock mechanism and facilitate assembly of the lock mechanism and the dome.
It is now apparent that above the three aligned openings 50, 52, 54 for mounting the lock mechanism, there are no further openings in the dome at an elevation above the three openings, thereby allowing the “bell jar” effect to be accomplished. Also, as is now apparent, the dome is strong and relatively inexpensive since the dome is molded as one piece, and the dome and lock mechanism will provide good security.
Each base 14, 20 is known as a split base and includes a front or cover section and a rear section. Referring now to
The lower portion 84 of the base cover section includes a front wall 90, a left side wall 92 and a right side wall 94. Integral with an outer surface 96 of the front and side walls are three horizontally disposed ribs, an upper rib 98, a middle rib 100 and a lower rib 102. The ribs extend generally in a continuous fashion around the cover section of the base. Four vertical ribs 106,108,110,112 are integral with the horizontal ribs and the first vertical rib 106 extends from the right side wall, the second vertical rib 108 extends from the left side wall 92 and two vertical ribs 110, 112 extend from the front wall 90.
Integral with the inner surfaces 116,118 of the side walls are two horizontally disposed ribs 120,122 that are located elevationally about the same level as the outer upper rib 98 and the middle rib 100. Also molded integrally with the base cover section are two curved walls 124,126 which form with the inner surface of the front wall an internal wire channel. The channel allows underground wires or cables to be inserted through a front opening 130 and extended within the channel upwardly in the pedestal assembly. The wall thickness of the base is a nominal 0.180 inches and the material is high density polyethylene.
The wire channel is shown in
Referring now to
A lower portion 168 of the rear base section 144 includes a left wall 170, a right wall 172 and a rear wall 174. Integral with outer surfaces 176,178,180 of the side and rear walls are a set of three horizontally spaced ribs 182,184,186 and four vertically spaced ribs 190, 192,194,196. Integrally formed with the walls but extending from interior surfaces 200, 202, 204 are three spaced horizontal ribs 206, 208, 210 and two attached vertical ribs 212, 214,
The inner and outer ribs are also shown in
The side walls 170, 172 also include two pairs of slots 230, 232 and 234, 236,
Referring now to
Referring now to
The base 272 includes an outside surface having two slanted end panels 290, 292, two slanted sides 294, 296 and a grill-like top 298. The end panels are slanted at about 40-45 degrees from a horizontal reference and the sides are slanted at about 30-35 degrees from a horizontal reference and all intersections are rounded as shown. The base also includes a rear wall 300 and a slider channel formed by the rear wall, two spaced apart lateral walls 302, 304 and a base side wall 306. The base also includes two spring guides 307, 308, four snap openings 310, 312, 314, 316 and two rivet receiving openings 318, 320. A hole 322 is formed in the base wall 306 for the rotator. The base further includes a key groove 324, a pair of drain ports 326, 328 in the lateral wall 302 and another pair of drain ports 330, 332 in the bottom end 334 of the base.
The cover includes a key groove 340 along its upper edge. The key grooves 324, 340 of the base and the cover mate with the key tab 72,
The rotator 278 has a hex shaped head 351 as shown in
The slider 276 includes outer slide walls 360, 362, an end wall 364 and an outer cam follower wall 366. The slider also has a base wall 368 with a slot opening 370 to receive the rotator, an inner cam follower wall 372 and two limit tabs 374, 376. When the hex head of the rotator is rotated a quarter turn or about ninety degrees, the cam arm 354 bears against the inner cam follower wall 372 of the slider and thereby retracts the slider to the left, when viewed as in
It is noted that the slanted outer surfaces 290, 292, 293, 296 of the lock mechanism which extend into the interior of the pedestal closure assembly do not snag wires situated there as the dome is moved relative to the pedestal base during dome removal or installation. This is because there are no sharp corners and because the lock mechanism is located in the bulge of the dome.
The purpose of the outer and inner ribs on the pedestal base is to provide greater stability to the pedestal closure assembly when it is installed in the ground. Customers of such pedestals prefer to excavate shallow pits in which pedestal assemblies are then installed. For example, the short or shallow pedestal embodiment shown in
When the spade version of the pedestal is used, ground stability is improved but the spade is not essential to the proper functioning of the pedestal. Also, openings, 380, 382,
The internal vertical ribs of the dome and the slots in the pedestal base provide for an inner lock along the rear of the pedestal. In combination with the lock mechanism at the front of the pedestal, a strong, secure arrangement is provided for attachment of the dome to the pedestal base.
While a strong all around attachment is made, a technician need only use a special tool with the lock mechanism and rotate the tool ninety degrees to cause the lock to disengage and allow the removal of the dome from the pedestal base. Thus, a technician need only go to a single point to allow disengagement of the dome. Furthermore, the technician need only use a single tool and a simple ninety degree twist for the unlocking step. To reassemble the dome with the pedestal base, a technician merely aligns the ribs of the dome and the slots of the base and pushes downwardly. The slider of the lock will be retracted by the camming action of the E rib and will automatically snap into a locking position once the E rib has been passed.
In operation the pedestal is installed over an underground cable and is typically buried in the ground to about ten inches not including a spike or the spade version of the pedestal. Because of the outer and inner ribs around the pedestal base, a relatively shallow hole or pit need be dug. This is a time and labor saving advantage for the pedestal of the present application. Once the pedestal is placed in the ground, soil, sand or the like is compacted around the pedestal to ensure that the pedestal remains upright. Because of the ribs, great stability in the ground is achieved.
After installation in the ground, the pedestal may be easily opened for service. To gain access to the cables, wires, connectors and the like that are housed within the pedestal, a technician need only place a tool on the hex head rotator of the slide lock and twist the hex head a quarter turn. This retracts the slider of the lock away from abutting engagement with the E rib on the pedestal base so that the dome may be raised upwardly and away from the base. After completion of service, the dome may be replaced on the pedestal base simply by aligning the vertical ribs of the dome with the slots in the base and pushing downwardly so that the E rib cams the slider of the lock to a retracted position. When the E rib has been passed by the lock, the slider automatically extends so as to create an interference abutment thereby locking the dome to the base.
The above specification describes in detail two preferred embodiments of the present invention. Other examples, embodiments, modifications and variations will, under both the literal claim language and the doctrine of equivalents, come within the scope of the invention defined by the appended claims. For example, slightly different shapes for the dome and pedestal base or the lock and E rib are still considered equivalent structures and will also come within the literal language of the claims. Still other alternatives will also be equivalent as will many new technologies. There is no desire or intention here to limit in any way the application of the doctrine of equivalents nor to limit or restrict the scope of the invention.