US Patent 8,651,711 Modular lighting system and method employing loosely constrained magnetic structures

Abstract

A lighting system including modules containing LEDs or other electroluminescent devices and loosely constrained magnetic structures at least partially contained within cavities in the module substrate that are connected to fixtures under magnetic force. The loosely constrained magnetic structures accommodate mechanical variations in the system and provide a method to connect modules mechanically, electrically and thermally to different fixtures or positions in fixtures without tools. The relatively short distance separating magnetic structures provides high connection forces with the use of relatively small magnets. Magnets and electrical contacts are not located directly between the LED subassembly and the fixture, which provides higher thermal conductivity pathways to remove heat from the LEDs. Biasing members may be used to increase thermal contact. Magnetic structures may, but are not required, to conduct electricity. Fixtures that attach to modules include rails, sockets, heat sinks and two-dimensional structures with recessed electrodes for improved electrical safety.

Claims

1. A lighting system comprising:

a) a lighting module comprising one or more electrically powered LEDs;

b) a thermal conduction pathway for removing heat from the one or more LEDs;

c) a lighting fixture for attaching a lighting module comprising electricity for powering the one or more LEDs;

d) a magnetic connection between the lighting module and the lighting fixture for attaching comprising at least one loosely constrained magnet or material to which a magnet is attracted wherein the thermal conduction pathway does not essentially pass through the magnet;

e) wherein the electricity is delivered to the one or more LEDs when the lighting module is connected to the lighting fixture via the magnetic connection; and

f) wherein the one or more LEDs comprise a mechanical bias which holds the one or more LEDs against the thermal conduction pathway to the lighting fixture.

2. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the magnetic connection comprises one or more magnets on the lighting module and a magnet or material to which a magnet is attracted is on the lighting fixture positioned for attaching the lighting module to the lighting fixture.

3. The lighting system according to claim 2 wherein the electrical connection passes through the magnetic connection.

4. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the magnetic connection comprises one or more magnets on the lighting fixture and a magnet or material to which a magnet is attracted is on the lighting module positioned for attaching the lighting module to the lighting fixture.

5. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the magnetic connection is not in a space between the LEDs and the lighting fixture when the lighting module is connected to the lighting fixture.

6. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the lighting fixture has at least one recessed electrical connection contact.

7. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the lighting module has at least one protruding electrical connection contact.

8. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein there is a thermal conduction pathway located between the lighting module and the lighting fixture.

9. The lighting system of claim 1 wherein there is a thermal conduction pathway between the one or more LED's and the lighting fixture.

10. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the lighting module comprises a material with a high thermal conductivity.

11. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein there is an electrical contact positioned between the magnetic connections.

12. The lighting system according to claim 11 wherein the electrical contact has a thickness that is less than or equal to 0.3 mm.

13. The lighting system according to claim 11 wherein the electrical contact comprises an electrically conducting coating on the loosely-constrained magnet or material to which a magnet is attracted.

14. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the thermal conduction pathway is a heat sink device positioned to remove heat from the one or more LEDs.

15. The lighting system according to claim 14 wherein the heat sink device is positioned between the lighting module and the lighting fixture.

16. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein there are electrical contacts located against the magnetic connection.

17. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein a portion of the magnetic connection in the lighting module is recessed in one or more holes in the lighting module.

18. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the loosely constrained magnet has movement in two directions.

19. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the electrical connection to the one or more LEDs passes at least partially through the magnetic connection.

20. The lighting system according to claim 1 further comprising a substrate wherein deflection of the substrate provides at least a portion of the mechanical bias.

21. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the one or more LEDs are recessed in one or more holes in the lighting module.

22. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the one or more LEDs is configured to protrude in the direction of the lighting fixture prior to being connected to the lighting fixture.

23. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the separation distance between the magnetic elements of the magnetic connection is less than 0.3 mm.

24. The lighting system according to claim 1 wherein the thermal conduction pathway comprises a compressible thermal conduction material.

25. A lighting system comprising

a) a lighting module comprising one or more electrically powered LEDs;

b) a thermal conduction pathway for removing heat from the one or more LEDs;

c) a lighting fixture for attaching a lighting module comprising electricity for powering the one or more LEDs;

d) a magnetic connection between the lighting module and the lighting fixture for attaching comprising at least one loosely constrained magnet or material to which a magnet is attracted wherein the thermal conduction pathway does not essentially pass through the magnet;

e) wherein the electricity is delivered to the one or more LEDs when the lighting module is connected to the lighting fixture via the magnetic connection;

f) wherein at least a portion of the lighting module comprises a material with a high thermal conductivity; and

g) wherein the thermal conduction pathway is through the portion of the lighting module having a high thermal conductivity.

26. A lighting system comprising

a) a lighting module comprising one or more electrically powered LEDs;

b) a thermal conduction pathway for removing heat from the one or more LEDs;

c) a lighting fixture for attaching a lighting module comprising electricity for powering the one or more LEDs;

d) a magnetic connection between the lighting module and the lighting fixture for attaching comprising at least one loosely constrained magnet or material to which a magnet is attracted wherein the thermal conduction pathway does not essentially pass through the magnet;

e) wherein the electricity is delivered to the one or more LEDs when the lighting module is connected to the lighting fixture via the magnetic connection; and

f) wherein a bottom of the one or more LEDs is held against the lighting fixture when the magnetic connection is made.

27. The lighting system according to claim 26 wherein a bottom of the one or more LEDs comprises a compressible thermal conduction material.

28. A lighting system comprising:

a) a lighting module comprising one or more electrically powered LEDs;

b) a thermal conduction pathway;

c) a lighting fixture for attaching a lighting module comprising electricity for powering the one or more LEDs;

d) a magnetic connection wherein components of the magnetic connection are fixed in position; and

e) wherein the one or more LEDs are mechanically biased to be held against the thermal conduction pathway when the lighting module is magnetically attached to the lighting fixture.

29. The lighting system according to claim 28 wherein the thermal conduction pathway is a heat sink.

30. The lighting system according to claim 28 wherein the LEDs are mechanically biased by use of one or more springs.

31. The lighting system according to claim 28 wherein a component of the magnetic connection is located at least partially within a recess.

32. The lighting system according to claim 28 further comprising a substrate wherein deflection of the substrate provides at least a portion of the mechanical bias.

33. The lighting system according to claim 28 wherein the one or more LEDs are recessed in one or more holes in the lighting module.

34. The lighting system according to claim 28 wherein at least a portion of the one or more LEDs is configured to protrude in the direction of the lighting fixture prior to being connected to the lighting fixture.

35. The lighting system according to claim 28 wherein the thermal conduction pathway comprises a compressible thermal conduction material.

36. The lighting system according to claim 28 wherein an electrical connection between the lighting module and the lighting fixture comprises a resilient contact structure compressed by magnetic force.