The present invention refers to a portable signalling apparatus and
relevant kit for the use thereof. The signalling apparatus is intended, in particular,
for temporarily replacing railways' signal devices, especially for signals of high
It is known that in case of failures of, or extra maintenance interventions
on high signal devices, the engine-room personnel of the train has to consider the
signal as one of red configuration, with relevant consequences on the subsequent
The object of the present invention is to provide a signalling apparatus
able to replace the high-signal devices in the above mentioned situations.
This result has been achieved, according to the invention, by adopting
the idea of making an apparatus and a kit having the characteristics disclosed in
the independent claims. Further characteristics being set forth in the dependent
Among the advantages of the present inventions there is the fact that
upon failures or maintenance interventions, it is possible to provide a signal of
red colour (or a yellow signal in the particular case of protecting a crossroad
in correspondence of a diverted direction) capable of ensuring anyway a signalling
for the engine-motor personnel of a train, thereby improving the operation safety;
that it has a battery power supply which allows it to be transported and used in
any point of the railway system; that it provides, as a light source, a plurality
of luminous elements subdivided into at least two groups or sectors connected in
parallel to each other so as to give a high reliability; that it preferably utilizes,
as luminous elements, LEDs able to ensure remarkably high efficiency and duration;
that an apparatus according to the present invention is not subjected to the so-called
"ghost effect" (that is, to that optical phenomenon by which the optical unit of
a luminous signal, intended to project white light or other colour light, although
switched off, is still able to generate a light beam after the incidence and subsequent
reflection of foreign radiations such as those coming from artificial sources, like
railway or road lamps, lights and luminous signs, or from natural sources like the
sun rays); that an apparatus according to the present invention is relatively simple
to make and to use and cost-effective when compared to its performance.
These and other advantages and characteristics of the invention will
be best understood by anyone skilled in the art from a reading of the following
description in conjunction with the attached drawings given as a practical exemplification
of the invention, but not to be considered in a limitative sense, wherein:
- Fig. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a possible embodiment of a support
element for a portable signalling apparatus according to the invention, depicted
in association with a screen to be assembled to a high signal device;
- Figs. 2 and 3 show the support element of Fig. 1 in side view and front view,
- Figs. 4 and 5 show, respectively in front view and side view, one embodiment
of a portable signalling apparatus according to the invention;
- Figs. 6 and 7 show, respectively in front view and side view, one embodiment
of a dimmer shield according to the invention;
- Fig. 8 is an electric block diagram of a possible embodiment of a kit for use
with the portable signalling apparatus according to the present invention;
- Fig. 9 is an electric block diagram of a possible embodiment of a portable signalling
apparatus according to the present invention;
- Fig. 10 is a schematic operation diagram relating to a matrix defining a possible
optical group for the portable signalling apparatus according to the present invention,
consisting of sectors connected in parallel and formed by in-series LEDs.
With reference to the accompanying drawings which, as indicated above,
represent only possible non-limiting embodiments, a portable signalling apparatus
1 according to the invention comprises a containment body 11 provided with a handle
13 which allows it to be held by hand for the transportation and positioning thereof
onto a relevant support element 5.
The support element 5 defines the means for a stable and removable
association of the apparatus 1 with a railway signal device, in particular with
a high signal device.
The support element 5 is made up of a hollow body exhibiting a through aperture
50 centrally disposed and having a circular profile. Provided on two opposite faces,
around the aperture 50, are two sleeves 51 and 52 having cylindrical development.
The sleeve 51 has a plurality of holes 510 which are used to secure the support
element 5 to the fixed signal device to be equipped. The fixed signal device (not
shown) is in fact provided with a circular collar with holes for the attachment
of a screen 4 and/or other parts (not shown) such as a ground plate, for example.
When assembling the support 5 on the fixed signal device, the screen
4 is removed firstly from the latter, followed by the removal of any other part
such as the ground plate. Afterwards, the sleeve 51 of support 5 is fixed on the
collar of the signal device and, finally, by using suitable holes 520 provided on
the sleeve 52, the screen 4 (being provided with corresponding holes 420) is mounted
on the support 5 along with any other part previously removed from the fixed signal
It will be appreciated that the sleeves 51 and 52 can be shaped differently from
the one illustrated in Figs. 1-3, so as to complementarily match both the screen
and the other parts of the fixed signal device.
The support element, moreover, is provided with at least a side aperture
55 defining a seat for receiving the signalling apparatus 1 or a shield 2 to be
described later on.
In the example, the seat 55 has a length designated by D and a width
designated by H. On the support element two seats 55 may be provided which may in
turn be provided with relevant closing caps to be used when the apparatus 1 (or
the shield to be described later on) is not housed within the seats.
The apparatus 1 has, along the majority of its longitudinal development, a width
L which is steady as far as region of the handle 13, wherein the width LL becomes
larger. The thickness of the apparatus 1 has been indicated by Q in Fig. 5.
The kit for using the signalling apparatus 1 may comprise, among other
parts, a shield 2 having dimensions similar to those of the same signalling apparatus
1. The shield 2 has a fully opaque body 2, and a handle 23. The shield 2, once positioned
in front of a high-signal device, cannot be crossed by light radiations possibly
emitted. The shield is possibly made from thermoplastic material and may exhibit
an opaque black colour. The support element 5 and the signalling apparatus 1 may
also be made from the said material.
The said cross-section dimensions L and Q of the apparatus 1, as well as of shield
2, allow the apparatus or the shield to be inserted into the seat 55 exhibited by
the support element 5.
In practice, on railway signal devices equipped beforehand with the
support element 5, it is possible to house stably and removably either the signalling
apparatus 1 or the shield 2. In this way, in case of failures of high signal devices
or extra maintenance interventions thereon - when a switch-off configuration of
the signal takes place - it is possible to dispose the signalling apparatus 1 on
the highest signal device and obscuring the signals below by means of corresponding
Provided in the central region of the body 11 of apparatus 1, is an
optical group 12 able to provide the relevant luminous signal.
The optical group 12 is made up of a matrix of electrically luminous elements or
sectors connected in parallel to each other. Each luminous sector may consist of
one or more light elements 120 connected in series to each other.
Advantageously, the said light elements 120 may be formed by LEDs.
Shown in Fig. 10 is the electric diagram of a matrix 12 with m sectors in parallel,
each of which is made up of n LEDs in series. Provided on each sector is a relevant
limiting resistance (R1, ..., Rm) and a number n of LEDs 120 (D1, ..., Dn).
The optical group 12 is able to emit either a red or yellow light.
In case of emission of red light, the signal is characterized by a minimum light
intensity of 200 cd on its axis and of 100 cd at ±2°; in case of yellow light emission,
the signal is characterized by a minimum light intensity of 500 cd on its axis and
of 250 cd at ±2°. The said values are to be considered by way of a non-limiting
With reference to Figs. 8 and 9 (wherein many components are indicated
with their names), the signalling apparatus 1 is powered by a battery 16, preferably
of Ni-Cd type, which can be recharged by connecting the apparatus, via a suitable
connector 14, to a battery charger 10 schematically represented in Fig. 8. The signalling
apparatus 1 is also provided with an on-off switch 15.
The battery charger 10 may be of box-like shape made from plastics
material and provided with a suitable basket for receiving the units to be charged.
In the example, the battery charger 10 is able to charge up to four signalling units
1 (channels 1 to 4 of Fig. 8) and is provided with pilot lights 7 for signalling
the relevant state of charge; for the sake of clarity, the pilot lights have been
shown only for the channel 1 to which the apparatus 1 is connected in the example
of the figure; moreover, in correspondence of the channel 1, provision is also made
for the discharge function, that is, the possibility of periodically controlling
and restoring the efficiency of the batteries). The battery charger 10 can be powered
with either 220 V or 150 V; in this view, provision is made for a plug for the 220V
supply, and for terminals in case of 150V supply, along with a relevant voltage
With reference to Fig. 9, two power supplies are shown for two sectors
of matrix 12, connected in parallel to each other and represented by way of example
by two LEDs 120; in a practical solution, it is obvious that the LEDs will be higher
By using a matrix of LEDs or equivalent light sources as previously
described, it is possible to avoid making use of optical components such as mirrors,
prisms, colour filters and other that may alter the optical path and/or the colour
of the luminous rays produced by external sources and reflected toward the observer