So, I have a project where I envision a certain kind of self-disconnecting lever/ratchet, one that engages when moved, but is disconnected when “floating” in the center position. I can think of a method to do this with a split arm, cam, a spring-loaded pin and a corresponding hole track... but I can’t be the first person who has though this sort of mechanism would be useful, there must be commercial versions already out there. I shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel when I could buy and off-the-shelf component to solve my problem.... except I have googled every name idea I can come up with for what this would be called and can’t find anything... I must just be calling it the wrong thing?

Basically I’m looking for what amounts to a bi-directional overrunning clutch (something I DID find) but in a low-speed, limited range of movement, ratchet/lever system. The lever should be disconnected from the device to be moved (in my case a push-pull cable system) when in the centered position, but when moved off of the center position it should engage the mechanism and move it, when released it should return to the “floating” center position without taking the device with it. Essentially this would allow ratcheting movement of the target device in either direction, AS WELL as allowing the device to move freely when the lever is in the floating position.

What would such a device be called?

I would even be willing to entertain a manual engagement system, where a button on the lever has to be pressed, or a collar lifted or something, the important bit is the floating/disconnected when not in use function.