(19)
(11)EP 3 524 809 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
14.08.2019 Bulletin 2019/33

(21)Application number: 16918289.6

(22)Date of filing:  05.10.2016
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F02N 11/08  (2006.01)
F02N 11/00  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2016/079648
(87)International publication number:
WO 2018/066090 (12.04.2018 Gazette  2018/15)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD

(71)Applicant: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8310 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • ONO, Takuma
    Tokyo 100-8310 (JP)
  • MORIMOTO, Yoshihiro
    Tokyo 100-8310 (JP)
  • ITO, Tasuku
    Tokyo 100-8310 (JP)

(74)Representative: Hoffmann Eitle 
Patent- und Rechtsanwälte PartmbB Arabellastraße 30
81925 München
81925 München (DE)

  


(54)ELECTROMAGNETIC SWITCH DEVICE FOR STATOR


(57) A movable iron core, a primary attracting and holding coil, a resistor electrically connected to an upstream start-up electric contact, and an auxiliary attracting and holding coil electrically connected to the upstream start-up electric contact are included. The movable iron core displaces a pinion from a separated position to a contact position with a magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil in response to a start-up signal, and a current flowing in the resistor generates a start-up rotational force in a motor. After the pinion is displaced from the separated position to the contact position, the upstream start-up electric contact is electrically disconnected from another start-up electric contact to cut off a current to the motor, and the movable iron core displaces the pinion from the contact position to an engaged position with the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil and a magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil. After the pinion is displaced from the contact position to the engaged position, main electric contacts are electrically connected to resume electric connection to the motor, which generates a main rotational force in the motor, and the movable iron core keeps the pinion at the engaged position with the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil and the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil.




Description

Technical Field



[0001] The present invention relates to an electromagnetic device for a starter, for use in a starter to start an engine installed in an automobile or the like.

Background Art



[0002] There has been known an electromagnetic switch device for a starter in which a pinion is pushed toward a ring gear, by displacing a movable iron core with the use of a magnetomotive force generated in a coil, to be engaged with the ring gear while the pinion is rotated slowly, and, after the pinion is engaged with the ring gear, a motor is rotated by switching from a start-up electric circuit to a main electric circuit as an electric circuit for allowing a current to flow into the motor, with the use of a changeover contact interlocked with the displacement of the movable iron core. (see Patent Literature 1, for example).

Citation List


Patent Literature



[0003] [PTL 1] JP 2001-508855 A1

Summary of Invention


Technical Problem



[0004] The pinion, however, is moved toward the ring gear by the magnetomotive force generated in the coil, and an impact force from an impact between an end face of the pinion and an end face of the ring gear hastens the wearing of the ring gear. The resultant problem is that the pinion and the ring gear engage poorly with each other. A possible solution is to reduce the magnetomotive force generated in the coil while electric connection to the start-up electric circuit is established, for the purpose of decreasing the wearing of the ring gear, by lessening the impact force generated when the pinion reaches the ring gear. However, the reduction of the magnetomotive force during the engagement operation also reduces the magnetomotive force at the time of switching of the motor's electric circuit. This gives rise to another problem in that the coil cannot generate a magnetomotive force large enough to overcome a return spring, which is included in the changeover contact.

[0005] It is an object of the present invention to provide an electromagnetic switch device for a starter capable of decreasing the wearing of a ring gear.

Solution to Problem



[0006] According to one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided an electromagnetic switch device for a starter including: a pair of main electric contacts included in a main electric circuit to determine whether to open or close the main electric circuit depending on electric connection/disconnection between the pair of main electric contacts, the main electric circuit being configured to allow a current to flow from a battery to a motor; a pair of start-up electric contacts included in a start-up electric circuit to determine whether to open or close the start-up electric circuit depending on electric connection/disconnection between the pair of start-up electric contacts, the start-up electric circuit being configured to allow a current to flow from the battery to the motor; a movable iron core configured to displace a pinion of a starter between a separated position, at which the pinion is apart from a ring gear of an engine, and a contact position, at which the pinion is brought into contact with the ring gear, and between the contact position and an engaged position, at which the pinion is engaged with the ring gear; a primary attracting and holding coil provided around the movable iron core and configured to generate a magnetomotive force; a resistor provided to create a branch upstream of the primary attracting and holding coil, and electrically connected to one of the pair of start-up electric contacts; and an auxiliary attracting and holding coil, which is electrically connected to the one of the pair of start-up electric contacts, provided around the movable iron core coaxially with the primary attracting and holding coil, and is configured to generate a magnetomotive force, wherein the pinion is displaced from the separated position to the contact position with the movable iron core and with the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil in response to a start-up signal, and a current flowing in the resistor generates a start-up rotational force in the motor, wherein, after the pinion is displaced from the separated position to the contact position, the start-up electric contacts are electrically disconnected to cut off the current to the motor, and the pinion is displaced from the contact position to the engaged position with the movable iron core and with the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil and the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil, and wherein, after the pinion is displaced from the contact position to the engaged position, the main electric contacts are electrically connected to resume electric connection to the motor, which generates a main rotational force to the motor, and the pinion is kept at the engaged position with the movable iron core and with the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil and the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil.

Advantageous Effects of Invention



[0007] According to the electromagnetic switch device for a starter of the present invention, the primary attracting and holding coil and the auxiliary attracting and holding coil, each of which generates a magnetomotive force, are provided thereto, and the magnetomotive force, which is to be generated when the start-up electric circuit is energized, can be made small, thereby being capable of decreasing the wearing of the ring gear.

Brief Description of Drawings



[0008] 

FIG. 1 is a diagram for illustrating a starter of a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an explanatory diagram of a first operation stage in the starter of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an explanatory diagram of a second operation stage in the starter of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an explanatory diagram of a third operation stage in the starter of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a diagram for illustrating a starter of a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a diagram for illustrating a starter of a third embodiment of the present invention.


Description of Embodiments


First Embodiment



[0009] FIG. 1 is a diagram for illustrating a starter of a first embodiment of the present invention. A starter 1 of the first embodiment of the present invention includes an auxiliary relay 3, which is electrically connected to a battery 2, an electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter, which is electrically connected to the battery 2 and the auxiliary relay 3, a motor 5, to which a current is supplied from the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter, a pinion 6, which is rotated by driving the motor 5, and a lever 7, which is displaced to displace the pinion 6. The pinion 6 is displaced between a separated position at which the pinion 6 is apart from a ring gear 9 of an engine 8 and a contact position at which the pinion 6 is brought into contact with the ring gear 9. The pinion 6 is also displaced between the contact position and an engaged position at which the pinion 6 is engaged with the ring gear 9. The pinion 6 is coupled to the lever 5. The pinion 6 is displaced between the separated position and the contact position, and between the contact position and the engaged position by displacing the lever 7.

[0010] The auxiliary relay 3 switches the action of the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter. The auxiliary relay 3 is closed by a start-up signal. A current is supplied to the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter from the battery 2 via the auxiliary relay 3 by closing the auxiliary relay 3. In contrast, the supply of the current to the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter from the battery 2 via the auxiliary relay 3 is stopped by opening the auxiliary relay 3.

[0011] The electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter is configured to displace the pinion 6 via the lever 7, and switch between a main electric circuit 10 and a start-up electric circuit 11 as an electric circuit for allowing a current to flow into the motor 5.

[0012] The motor 5 uses a current supplied from the battery 2 to generate a rotational force with which the ring gear 9 of the engine 8 is rotated via the pinion 6.

[0013] The main electric circuit 10 configured to allow a current to flow from the battery 2 into the motor 5 when the motor 5 is in normal operation. The main electric circuit 10 includes a pair of main electric contacts 12, electric connection/disconnection between which determines whether the main electric circuit 10 is opened or closed. The pair of main electric contacts 12 is opened when the motor 5 and the starter 1 are not in action. In this example, one of the pair of main electric contacts 12 is referred to as "upstream main electric contact 12a" and the other of the pair of main electric contacts 12 is referred to as "downstream main electric contact 12b". The upstream main electric contact 12a is placed upstream of the downstream main electric contact 12b. "Upstream" in this example means an area of an electric circuit that is close to the battery 2.

[0014] The start-up electric circuit 11 is configured to allow a current to flow from the battery 2 into the motor 5 in start-up operation. The start-up electric circuit 11 includes a pair of start-up electric contacts 13, electric connection/disconnection between which determines whether the start-up electric circuit 11 is opened or closed. The pair of start-up electric contacts 13 is closed when the starter 1 is not in action and during the start-up operation of the motor 5. In this example, one of the pair of start-up electric contacts 13 is referred to as "upstream start-up electric contact 13a" and the other of the pair of start-up electric contacts 13 is referred to as "downstream start-up electric contact 13b". The upstream start-up electric contact 13a is placed upstream of the downstream start-up electric contact 13b.

[0015] The electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter includes a movable iron core 14, a primary attracting and holding coil 15, an auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16, a resistor 17, and a movable contact 18. The movable iron core 14 is displaced to displace the lever 7, which in turn displaces the pinion 6. The primary attracting and holding coil 15 is provided around the movable iron core 14. The auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 is provided around the movable iron core 14 coaxially with the primary attracting and holding coil 15. The resistor 17 is provided to create a branch upstream of the primary attracting and holding coil 15, and is electrically connected to the start-up electric contact 13a, which is one of the pair of start-up electric contacts 13. The movable contact 18 is displaced with the displacement of the movable iron core 14.

[0016] A current flow in the primary attracting and holding coil 15 generates a magnetomotive force in the primary attracting and holding coil 15 as a force with which the movable iron core 14 is displaced. A current flow in the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 generates a magnetomotive force in the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16.

[0017] The primary attracting and holding coil 15 makes up a primary attracting and holding circuit 19. The resistor 17, the upstream start-up electric contact 13a, and the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 make up a auxiliary attracting and holding circuit 20. The resistor 17 is included in the start-up electric circuit 11 as well.

[0018] An electric circuit of the starter 1 is made up of the main electric circuit 10, the start-up electric circuit 11, the primary attracting and holding circuit 19, and the auxiliary attracting and holding circuit 20.

[0019] An electric circuit of the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter is made up of a part of the electric circuit of the starter 1 excluding the auxiliary relay 3 and the motor 5. The auxiliary relay 3 may be included in the electric circuit of the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter.

[0020] Next, the operation of the starter 1 is described. A description is given first on a first operation stage in which the pinion 6 is displaced from the separated position to the contact position, and is rotated to a position where a tooth of one of the pinion 6 and the ring gear 9 falls into place between teeth of the other of the pinion 6 and the ring gear 9. FIG. 2 is an explanatory diagram of the first operation stage in the starter 1 of FIG. 1. The auxiliary relay 3 is switched on in response to a start-up request. This triggers a supply of current from the battery 2 to the primary attracting and holding circuit 19 and the auxiliary attracting and holding circuit 20. A current is also supplied to the motor 5 from the battery 2 via the start-up electric circuit 11 because the pair of start-up electric contacts 13 is closed by the movable contact 18.

[0021] The current flowing in the primary attracting and holding circuit 19 generates a magnetomotive force in the primary attracting and holding coil 15. This generates a start-up attractive force A with which the movable iron core 14 is moved slowly toward the movable contact 18.

[0022] The auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 of the auxiliary attracting and holding circuit 20 is connected in parallel to the motor 5 of the start-up electric circuit 11 and, because the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 is much higher in resistance value than the motor 5, most of a current passing through the upstream start-up electric contact 13a flows into the motor 5. This generates a start-up rotational force B for slowly turning the pinion 6. The start-up rotational force B is adjusted with the use of the resistance value of the resistor 17.

[0023] Part of the current passing through the upstream start-up electric contact 13a flows into the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 to generate a minute magnetomotive force in the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16. However, the magnetomotive force generated in the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 is minute compared to the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil 15, and accordingly contributes little to the start-up attractive force A.

[0024] The start-up attractive force A moves the pinion 6 slowly via the lever 7 engaged with the movable core 14, from the separated position to the contact position toward an end face of the ring gear 9. In this case, the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 hardly contributes to the start-up attractive force A, and an impact force generated between the pinion 6 and the ring gear 9 is therefore smaller than when the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 contributes to the start-up attractive force A. In this manner, the wearing of the ring gear 9 is decreased.

[0025] While end faces of the pinion 6 and the ring gear 9 are brought into contact with each other after the pinion 6 bumps into the ring gear 9, the pinion 6 cannot be displaced from the contact position to the engaged position. The start-up rotational force B, however, allows the pinion 6 to loosely fit with the ring gear 9.

[0026] Next, a description is given on a second operation stage in which the pinion 6 is displaced from the contact position to the engaged position after the first operation stage. FIG. 3 is an explanatory diagram of the second operation stage in the starter 1 of FIG. 1. After the pinion 6 is fit with the ring gear 9 in the first operation stage, the movable iron core 14 engaged with the lever 7 is moved further to reach the movable contact 18, at which point the movable contact 18 is moved in a direction away from the pair of start-up electric contacts 13 to open the pair of start-up electric contacts 13. This cuts off the current flowing into the start-up electric circuit 11, which causes the start-up rotational force B of the motor 5 to cease to exist.

[0027] With the start-up electric contacts 13 being open, the current flowing in the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 is equal to a current flowing in the resistor 17, and has a value larger than the value of the current in the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 prior to the opening of the start-up electric contacts 13, although smaller than the value of the current flowing in the resistor 17 prior to the opening of the start-up electric contacts 13. This makes the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 larger than that in the first operation stage. On the other hand, the current flowing in the primary attracting and holding coil 15 changes little and as large a magnetomotive force as that in the first operation stage is generated. Accordingly, the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 contributes considerably to an attracting and holding force C with which the operation in the second operation stage is performed smoothly.

[0028] As described above, the current flowing in the resistor 17 is much smaller than that in the first operation stage. As a result, the amount of heat generated in the resistor 17 is reduced.

[0029] Next, a description is given on a third operation stage in which the main electric contacts 12 are switched on after the second operation stage to generate a main rotational force D in the motor 5, and the generation of the main rotational force D is maintained. FIG. 4 is an explanatory diagram of the third operation stage in the starter 1 of FIG. 1. After moving in a direction away from the start-up electric contacts 13 in the second operation stage, the movable contact 18 is moved further in the direction away from the start-up electric contacts 13 by the attracting and holding force C to come into contact with the pair of main electric contacts 12, thereby closing the pair of main electric contacts 12. This closes the main electric circuit 10, causing a current to flow from the battery 2 to the motor 5. Consequently, the main rotational force D with which the engine is driven is generated in the motor 5. Once the engine is started through the process described above, the starter 1 is no longer required to be in operation, and is stopped by opening the auxiliary relay 3.

[0030] As described above, the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter according to the first embodiment of the present invention includes: the pair of main electric contacts 12 included in the main electric circuit 10 to determine whether to open or close the main electric circuit 10 depending on electric connection/disconnection between the pair of main electric contacts 12; the pair of start-up electric contacts 13 included in the start-up electric circuit 11 to determine whether to open or close the start-up electric circuit 11 depending on electric connection/disconnection between the pair of start-up electric contacts 13; the movable iron core 14 configured to displace the pinion of the starter 1 between the separated position at which the pinion 6 is apart from the ring gear 9 of the engine 8 and the contact position at which the pinion 6 is brought into contact with the ring gear 9, and between the contact position and the engaged position at which the pinion 6 is engaged with the ring gear; the primary attracting and holding coil 15 provided around the movable iron core 14 and configured to generate a magnetomotive force; the resistor 17 provided to create a branch upstream of the primary attracting and holding coil 15 and electrically connected to the upstream start-up electric contact 13a; and the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16, which is electrically connected to the upstream start-up electric contact 13a, provided around the movable iron core 14 coaxially with the primary attracting and holding coil 15, and is configured to generate a magnetomotive force . The start-up attractive force A is generated from the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil 15 in response to a start-up signal to displace the pinion 6 from the separated position to the contact position with the movable iron core 14, and a current flowing in the resistor 17 generates the start-up rotational force B in the motor 5. After the pinion 6 is displaced from the separated position to the contact position, the start-up electric contacts 13 are electrically disconnected to cut off the current to the motor 5, which causes the start-up rotational force B to cease to exist, and the attraction and holding force C is generated from the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil 15 and the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 to displace the pinion 6 from the contact position to the engaged position. After the pinion 6 is displaced from the contact position to the engaged position, the main electric contacts 12 are electrically connected to resume electric connection to the motor 5, which generates the main rotational force D of the motor 5, and the attracting and holding force C is generated from the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil 15 and the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 to keep the pinion 6 at the engaged position with the movable iron core 14.

[0031] As described above, according to the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter of the first embodiment of the present invention, an impact force with which the pinion 6 bumps into the ring gear 9 is made smaller by reducing the start-up attractive force A, which is generated when the pinion 6 is displaced from the separated position to the contact position in the first operation stage of engagement operation, and the wearing of the ring gear 9 can accordingly be decreased.

[0032] In addition, the operation in the second operation stage is performed smoothly because the attracting and holding force C with which the pinion 6 is displaced from the contact position to the engaged position in the second operation stage can be made large. The operation in the second operation stage is performed smoothly also because the pinion 6 can be displaced from the contact position to the engaged position in the absence of the start-up rotational force B and the main rotational force D, which means that the pinion 6 can be displaced from the contact position to the engaged position without friction between surfaces of engaged teeth.

[0033] The attracting and holding force C generated in the third operation stage after the pinion 6 is displaced from the contact position to the engaged position can be made large as well, and the pinion 6 can accordingly be kept at the engaged position without fail.

Second Embodiment



[0034] FIG. 5 is a diagram for illustrating a starter of a second embodiment of the present invention. The movable contact 18 is used in the first embodiment to switch between electric connection and disconnection of the pair of main electric contacts 12 to and from each other and to switch between electric connection and disconnection of the pair of start-up electric contacts 13 to and from each other. In the second embodiment, separate movable contacts are used to switch between electric connection and disconnection of the pair of main electric contacts 12 to and from each other and to switch between electric connection and disconnection of the pair of start-up electric contacts 13 to and from each other. The rest of the configuration of the second embodiment is the same as the first embodiment.

[0035] As described above, according to the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter of the second embodiment of the present invention, separate movable contacts are used to switch between electric connection and disconnection of the pair of main electric contacts 12 to and from each other and to switch between electric connection and disconnection of the pair of start-up electric contacts 13 to and from each other, and the same effects as those in the first embodiment can therefore be obtained.

Third Embodiment



[0036] FIG. 6 is a diagram for illustrating a starter of a third embodiment of the present invention. The resistor 17 in the first embodiment is placed apart from the movable iron core 14. In the third embodiment, at least a part of the resistor 17 is wound around the movable iron core 14 coaxially with the primary attracting and holding coil 15 and the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16. The rest of the configuration of the third embodiment is the same as the first embodiment or the second embodiment.

[0037] As described above, according to the electromagnetic switch device 4 for a starter of the third embodiment of the present invention, at least a part of the resistor 17 is wound around the movable iron core 14 coaxially with the primary attracting and holding coil 15 and the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16, and a current flow in the part of the resistor 17 wound around the movable iron core 14 generates a magnetomotive force, which contributes to the start-up attractive force A and the attracting and holding force C. The primary attracting and holding coil 15 and the auxiliary attracting and holding coil 16 can thus be reduced in size, weight, and cost.


Claims

1. An electromagnetic switch device for a starter, comprising:

a pair of main electric contacts included in a main electric circuit to determine whether to open or close the main electric circuit depending on electric connection/disconnection between the pair of main electric contacts, the main electric circuit being configured to allow a current to flow from a battery to a motor;

a pair of start-up electric contacts included in a start-up electric circuit to determine whether to open or close the start-up electric circuit depending on electric connection/disconnection between the pair of start-up electric contacts, the start-up electric circuit being configured to allow a current to flow from the battery to the motor;

a movable iron core configured to displace a pinion of a starter between a separated position, at which the pinion is apart from a ring gear of an engine, and a contact position, at which the pinion is brought into contact with the ring gear, and between the contact position and an engaged position, at which the pinion is engaged with the ring gear;

a primary attracting and holding coil provided around the movable iron core and configured to generate a magnetomotive force;

a resistor provided to create a branch upstream of the primary attracting and holding coil, and electrically connected to one of the pair of start-up electric contacts; and

an auxiliary attracting and holding coil, which is electrically connected to the one of the pair of start-up electric contacts, provided around the movable iron core coaxially with the primary attracting and holding coil, and is configured to generate a magnetomotive force,

wherein the pinion is displaced from the separated position to the contact position with the movable iron core and with the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil in response to a start-up signal, and a current flowing in the resistor generates a start-up rotational force in the motor,

wherein, after the pinion is displaced from the separated position to the contact position, the start-up electric contacts are electrically disconnected to cut off the current to the motor, and the pinion is displaced from the contact position to the engaged position with the movable iron core and with the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil and the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil, and

wherein, after the pinion is displaced from the contact position to the engaged position, the main electric contacts are electrically connected to resume electric connection to the motor, which generates a main rotational force of the motor, and the pinion is kept at the engaged position with the movable iron core and with the magnetomotive force of the primary attracting and holding coil and the magnetomotive force of the auxiliary attracting and holding coil.


 
2. An electromagnetic switch device for a starter according to claim 1, wherein switching between electric connection and disconnection of the pair of main electric contacts to and from each other and switching between electric connection and disconnection of the pair of start-up electric contacts to and from each other are conducted by displacing the movable iron core.
 
3. An electromagnetic switch device for a starter according to claim 1 or 2, wherein at least a part of the resistor is wound around the movable iron core coaxially with the primary attracting and holding coil and the auxiliary attracting and holding coil.
 




Drawing

























REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description