US 3046521 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 24, 1962v E. G. CANTWELL ETAL 3,046,521 V PORTABLE TRAFFIC SIGNAL SYSTEM Filed April 12. 1960 2/ Zla.
3.1. E l 22 22a /a n2 is INVENTORS.
EDWARD G. CANTWELL 2m ROBERTS. CURL SAMUEL O. LINZELL BY-MAHONEY, MILLER & RAMBO 4/44 M TTORI VEYS.
United States Patent M 3,646,521 PORTABLE TRAFFIC STGNAL SYSTEM Edward G. Cantwell, 7% Einns Blvd; Robert S. Curl, 215 S. Stanwood Road; and Samuel 0. Linzeil, 147 Chatham Road, all of Columbus, Ohio Filed Apr. 12, 196i Ser. No. 21,638 Claims. (Cl. Mil-41) This invention relates to a portable traffic signal system. It has to do, more particularly, with portable signal apparatus for controlling vehicular or pedestrian trailic or both which can be operated automaticaliy or manually.
As an example of the use of this system, it can be used in either the automatic or manual control of the flow of vehicular traffic adjacent highway construction areas or at otherwise uncontrolled trafiic intersections. For example, when a given section of highway is under construction with the result that trafiic must be reduced to single lane trafiic, it becomes necessary to momentarily halt the flow of traffic in one direction to permit a number of vehicles to move in the opposite direction, and vice versa, and this trafiic is ordinarily regulated by signalmen located at opposite ends of the section of the highway under construction. The use of the system of this invention eliminates anywhere from two to three signalmen, and serves automatically to permit the flow of trafiic in one direction for a controlled time period and then to permit the flow of traflic in the opposite direction for a controlled period of time, with repetition of this cycle. However, as indicated, the system can be actuated manually as desired.
The system of this invention provides a low cost, completely self-contained traflic light system for regulating one-Way, two-way, and intermitent stop and go trafiic. The system is completely portable and consists mainly of two electrical units, which in use are electrically connected together by a control cable, but which can be separated and carried from location to location in a truck or similar vehicle. Each unit is self-contained and portable. Each unit is composed of standard electrical parts. Parts which would wear out after normal use, such as lamps and batteries, can be replaced with easily obtainable equivalent standard automotive parts.
The accompanying drawing illustrates the preferred embod ment of this invention and in this drawing:
FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic view in elevation illustrating the two electrical units which form the system of this invention and which are shown connected by a partable electric cable.
FIGURE 2 is a diagram of the circuit of the system and including the portions of the circuit in both units.
With reference to the drawing, the traffic control system of this invention comprises a master control signal unit 11 and a remote signal unit 12. Each unit 11 or 12 includes a heavy base in the form of a box 13, which contains the circuit elements of that unit, and which is provided with a pair of wheels 14 at one end. The wheels are ordinarily out of contact with the ground or road surface but the box 13 can be tilted so that it is supported by the wheels for movement to a newlocation. Each box 13 has upstanding therefrom a removable or retractable lamp post 15 which carries red and green signal lamps, which are designated respectively by the letters R and G. In addition, the red and green lamps of the unit 11 are designated by the numerals 21 and 2,2 and the corresponding lamps of the unit 12 are designated by the numerals 21a and 22a. The units 11 and 12 are coupled together electrically by control cable sections 16 and 16a, respectively, which can be connected or disconnected at the usual plug or coupling 17. Each cable 16 or 16a is carried in the usual manner by a reel 18 on its respective 3,946,521 Patented July 24, 1962 unit which may be of the handcrank or spring re-wind type. The unit 11 also has the manual control switch 20 cohectcd on a cable 19. V Q
As previously indicated, the system can be adjusted to operate automatically or manually. The automatic operation ofthe signalling system provides timed cycles of operation for the flow of traific between the signal units first in one direction, and then in the opposite direction, with intermediate periods during which the how of traflic is halted at each signal unit to permit clearance of vehicles or pedestrians from between the signal units prior to the signalling of a reversal in the direction of trafiic flow between the signal units. The present signalling system also provides means to adjust the time cycles of automatic operation thereof. The manual operation of the signalling system permits any selection of stop and go signals desired for any combination of both stop or alternate flow of traffic.
The control system, when conditioned for automatic operation, depends upon the cycling of a plurality of thermally-responsive timing devices associated with an asseni'ly ofrelays. The master control unit 11 includes these timing devices and relay assemblies which will, in turn, control the operation of a set of relays in the remote unit 12 by means of direct-current supplied thereto at properly timed intervals. Each of the units 11 and 12 is provided with its own D.C. power source such as the batteries 25 and 25a, carried in the boxes 13 of the respective units. However, the circuit portions of the units are also provided with plugs or couplings 26 and 26a, respectively, which may, if desired, be electrically connected with an alternate source of electrical power, such as the electrical system of an automobile, truck or similar vehicle. The portion of the circuit associated with the remote signal unit 12 is very simple and includes the battery 25a, as a primary source of power and the plug 26a, previously mentioned, which may be connected to an alternate source of power. Connected in the remote signal portion of the circuit are also the red and green lamps 21a and 22a, previously mentioned. The supply of power from the battery 25a to the respective lamps 21a and 22a, is controlled by the contacts of the respective relays 31 and 32. These relays are normally open so that both red and green lights 21a and 22a are oil but when the contacts 31a of the relay 31 are closed, the red light 21:: is on and when the contacts 32a of the relay 32 are closed, the green light 22a is on. The relays 31 and 32 receive energizing current through the control cable section 16a which is arranged for detachable connection with the cable section 16 [by means of the coupling 17.
The portion of the circuit associated with the master unit 11 includes the battery 25 as a source of power and the plug 26, previously mentioned, which may connect to an alternate source of power. This portion of the circuit also includes the red and green lamps 21 and 22, previously mentioned. A pilot light 30 is provided at'th'e master unit 11 and is arranged to be connected in parallel with the coil of the relay 32, which controls the green light 22a, so as to indicate at the master unit 11 that the green light of the remote signal unit 12 is energized. A double pole, double throw selector switch 35 is provided in the master control circuit for setting the signal system for automatic operation or for manual operation by the switch 20. The switch 35 is shown in the off position but if its contact arms are moved to the left, the circuit will be set for automatic operation and if moved to the right, the circuit will be set for manual operation by the switch 2%.
The master control portion of the circuit includes a series of relays having sets of contacts connected to control the energization of the lamps 21, 22, and the relays 31 and 32 which actuate the remote unit lights 21a and 221. For this purpose, four relays 41, 42, 43 and 44 are connected in the circuit, each of these relays being of the solenoid actuated, multiple contact type. Associated with the relays 41, 42, 43 and 44, as indicated, are a like number of timers 51, 52, 53 and 54. Each of these timers is of the type known as a thermal time delay switch and each includes a set of normally open contacts arranged to be closed at a predetermined interval of time by a movable bimetallic switch element which is responsive to heat generated by an electrical resistor associated with the movable switch element. The time delay factor of each timer is predetermined by its particular type. For example, the timers 51 and 53 may be of the sixty second delay type and the timers 52 and 54 may be of the thirty second delay type. The time delay intervals for all timers may be simultaneously varied in proportion by means of a variable resistance rheostat 36 which is connected in series with the resistor elements of the various timers 51, 52, 53 and 54 to vary the flow of current thereto. A starter switch 37 of the momentary contact pushbutton type is also connected in the circuit between the selector switch 35 and the relay 42, as indicated.
The power line in which the rheostat is connected supplies power to the resistance heater elements 51a, 52a, 53a and 54a of the timers 51, 52, 53 and 54, respectively. Each of these timers includes the normally open contacts 51b, 52b, 53b and 54b, respectively, which are closed following energization of their respective heater elements for the predetermined interval for which each is set.
Each of the relays 41, 42, 43 and 44 includes the coils 41], 42), 43f, and 44], respectively, connected in the power supply lines, as indicated, and under the control of the selector switch 35 when it is moved to its automatic position at the left with reference to FIGURE 2. When the selector switch 35 is moved to its manual position at the right, the manual switch can be used to selectively energize the coils 41], 42 or 43f of the relays 41, 42 or 43. In order for the switch to function in this manner, it is provided with a pair of movable contacts 35a and 35b ganged together for simultaneous movement. The contact 35a can be moved from the off position shown selectively into contact with the automatic selecting point 35c or with the manual selecting point 35d. Similarly, the contact 35b can be moved from the off position shown selectively into contact with the automatic selecting point 35c or with the manual selecting point 35f. The manual switch 20 includes the movable contact arm 28a, which can be moved selectively into contact with the points 20b, 20c or 20d. As will later appear, the contact point 200 is selected to cause simultaneous energization of both red lights 21 and 21a, the contact point 20b is selected to light the remote green light 22a and the master red light 21, and the contact point 20d is selected to light the master green light 22 and the remote red light 21a.
The relay 41 is provided with a set of normally closed contacts 41a, a set of normally open contacts 41b, a set of normally closed contacts 41c, a set of normally open contacts 41d, and a set of normally closed contacts 41c. The relay 42 is provided with a set of normally open contacts 42a, a set of normally closed contacts 4211, a set of normally open contacts 420, and a set of normally closed contacts 42d. The relay 43 is provided with a set of normally closed contacts 43a, a set of normally open contacts 43b, a set of normally closed contacts 43c, a set of normally open contacts 43d, and a set of normally closed contacts 43c. The relay 44 is provided with a set of normally open contacts 44a, a set of normally closed contacts 44b, a set of normally open contacts 44c, and a set of normally closed contacts 44d.
Automatic Operation For automatic operation the selector 35 is shifted to the left so that contact arms 35a and 35b engage the contact point 350 and 35e, respectively. Master red light 21 and remote red light 21a are energized, respectively, through the normally closed contacts 430 of the relay 43 and 41a of the relay 41.
The starter switch 37 is closed momentarily to energize the coil 42] of the relay 42. This causes the armature of the relay 42 to move downwardly, as viewed in FIG. 2, and closes contacts 42a, energizing the heater element 52a in the timer 52, opens the contacts 42b, breaking any possible circuit to the coil 41) of the relay 41, closes the contacts 42c, which establishes a hold in circuit for the coil 42f by way of the contacts 432, and opens interlock contacts 42d. This condition remains for a time interval of approximately thirty seconds on the timer 52.
After the time interval for which the timer 52 is set, for example thirty seconds, during which the master red light 21 and the remote red light 21a both remain on, the contacts 52b of the timer closes. This energizes the coil 43) of the relay 43 by Way of the normally closed contact 44b of the relay 44. Energization of the relay coil 43 are closed the contacts 43b and 43d and opens the contacts 43a, 43c, and 43e. Opening of the contacts 43a breaks the circuit for the master red light 21. Opening of the contacts 430 and 432 breaks the hold-in circuit for the relay coil 42] of the relay 42. De-energization of relay coil 42] opens contacts 42a, thus de-energizing the heater element 52a of the timer 52. Closing of the contacts 43b energizes the heater 53a of the timer 53 and also energizes the master green light -22. Closing of the contacts 43d creates a hold-in circuit for the coil 43f of the relay 43 by way of the normally closed contacts 44d of relay 44. Thus, at this time the timer 53 is energized and the hold-in circuit for the relay 43 is set up. Also at this time, the master green light 22 is on and the remote red light 21a is on.
After the time interval for which the timer 53 is set, for example sixty seconds, during which the master green light 22 is on and the remote red light 21a is on, the contacts 53b of the timer are closed. This establishes an em ergizing circuit for the relay coil 44 of the relay 44 by way of the normally closed contacts 41c of the relay 41. Energization of the relay coil 44f closes the contacts 44a and 440 and opens the contacts 44b and 44d. Closing of the contacts 44a energizes the heater 54a of the timer 54.
Closing of the contacts 440 establishes a hold-in circuit for the coil 44] of the relay 44 by way of the normally closed contacts 41c of the relay 41. Opening of the contacts 44d breaks the hold-in circuit for the coil 43) of the relay 43 and de-energizes it. De-energization of the coil 43 of the relay 43 closes the contacts 43a to turn on the master red light 21, and simultaneously opens the contacts 43b to'de-energize the heater 53a of the timer 53 and the master green light 22, opens the contacts 43d and closes the contacts 43c and 430. Thus, during this cycle of operation, the master red light 21 is on and the remote red light 21a is still on.
After the time interval for which the timer 54 is set, say thirty seconds, during which both the master red light 21 and the remote red light 21a are on, the timer contacts 54b are closed to establish an energizing circuit for the coil 41 of the relay 41 by way of the normally closed contacts 421) of the relay 42. This closes contact 41b, and energizes the heating element 51a of the timer 51 as well as the relay 32. Energization of relay 32 closes contacts 32a to thus energize the remote green light 22a. Pilot light 30 is also energized simultaneously upon energization of relay 32. At the same time, relay contact points 41a, 41c and 41:: are opened whereas contact points 41d are closed. The latter establish a holdin circuit for the relay coil 41f by way of the normally closed contacts 42d of the relay 42. At the same time, the master red light remains energized through the normally closed contact 43a of the relay 43.
After the time interval for which the timer 51 is set, for example sixty seconds, during which the master red light 21 remains on and the remote green light 22a is on,
the contacts 51b of the timer are closed so as to reenergize the relay coil 42 of the relay 42 through the contacts 43c of the relay 43, at which time the operating cycles are repeated until the switch 35 is opened to cease automatic operation of the signalling system.
As described above, a complete cycle of operation consists in first having the master red and the remote red signals on for a starting period, then having the master red and the remote green signal lights on for a selected interval to permit flow of trafiic in one direction for a selected interval, then having both the master red and the remote red signal lights on for a selected interval to permit clearing of the traffic moving in the one direction, next having the master green and the remote red signal lights on for a selected interval to permit movement of traffic in the opposite direction, and finally again having both the master red and the remote red signal lights on to permit clearing of the trafiic in this opposite direction.
Manual Operation For manual operation, the selector switch 35 is shifted from the off position shown in FIGURE 2, when all the lights 21, 22, 21a and 22a will be off, to the manual position when contact arms 35a and 35b will be in engagement with the contact points 35d and 35 respectively. At this time, the remote red light actuating relay 31 will be energized to light the light 21a by way of the normally closed contacts 41a of the relay 41. The master red light 21 will be energized through the contacts 43a of the relay 43. Thus, both master red light 21 and remote red light 21a will be on.
Assuming the contact arm 20a of the switch 20 is now moved into contact with the contact point 20b, the remote green light 22a is energized and the master red light 21 remains energized. The circuit to the master red light 21 is still through the relay contacts 43a. The coil 41 of the relay 41 is energized by the setting of the arm 20a in contact with the point 22b and this opens the contacts 41a, breaking the circuit to remote red relay 31. At the same time, the contacts 41b are closed to complete the circuit to the remote green relay 32. Thus, at this time the remote green light 22a is on and the master red light 21 is on.
If the contact arm 20a of the switch 20 is now shifted to the point 20d, the relay coil 41 of the relay 41 is deenergized and the relay coil 43 of the relay 43 is energized.- Deenergizing the relay 41 breaks the circuit to the remote green light relay 32 at the relay contacts 41b and makes it to the remote red relay 31 through the relay contacts 41a. Energizing the relay 43 breaks the circuit to the master red light 21 at the relay contacts 43a and makes it to the master green light at the contacts 4312. Thus, the master green light 21 is on and the remote red light 21a is on.-
It will be apparent that by shifting the switch arm 200 between the contact points 20b, 29c, and 20d, any desired combination of red and green can be obtained.
It will be understood from .the above description that this invention provides a portable traffic signal system which can be manually controlled to obtain any desired combination of signals or which can be automatically controlled to obtain a predetermined cycle of signal operations. The system includes a master unit and a remote unit, both of which comprise relatively simple and input, and uses standard electrical parts which can be ob tained easily and cheaply both for the initial installation and for replacement if necessary. Furthermore, the present system is such that it can be actuated by relatively low voltage direct current which can be readily obtained from standard type storage batteries or the electrical system of a vehicle. This is particularly important in a portable system of this type, and makes possible its use at a location remote from normal power lines. Also, the units are compact and separable and are, therefore, readily portable.
Although the above description refers to red and green lights as the traflic signals, it is to be understood that equivalent electrically actuated signals may be used and they may be in forms other than lights.
According to the provisions of the patent statutes, the principles of this invention have been explained and have been illustrated and described in what is now considered to represent the best embodiment. However, it is to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described.
Having thus described this invention, what is claimed is:
1. In a portable traflic signalling system; a plurality of physically separate, portable traiiic signalling units for arrangement in relatively remote locations, each of said units comprising a plurality of electrically energizable, visual signals, a storage battery for supplying electrical energy to said signals and plural switching means having connections with said battery and said signals and operable to control the supply of electrical current from said battery to said signals; flexible cable means arranged to extend between said signalling units for electrically connecting the switching means of each of said units, the
the visual signals of both of said units in a given sequence, a thermally-responsive time delay switch for each of said relays operable to control energization thereof, each of said time delay switches having an electrical heating element responsive to the energization of another of said relays for closing an operating circuit for its associated relay follow ing a given interval of time, and a starter switch connected with one of said relays for initiating energization thereof.
2. A portable traflic signalling system as defined in claim 1, wherein said last-named signalling unit includes a manually controlled, multiple pole switch having con-' nections with said relays and operable to control energization of said relays independently of said time delay switches.
3. In a portable traffic signalling system; a portable, master signalling unit including a plurality of electrically energizable visual signals, a storage battery for supplying electrical energy to said signals and plural switching means having connections with said battery and said signals and operable to control the supply of electrical current from the battery to the signals; a portable, remote signalling unit adapted to be positioned in a location remote from said master signalling unit and also including a plurality of electrically energizable visual signals, a storage battery and switching means to control the supply of electrical energy from the battery to the signals; flexible cable means extending between and electrically connecting the switching means of said signalling units; the switching means associated with said master signalling unit including a plurality of electromagnetic relay switches energizable to control energization of the visual signals of said master signalling unit and the operation of the switching means of said remote signalling unit, a thermally-responsive time delay switch connected with each of said relay switches for controlling energization thereof, each of said time delay switches having an electrical heating element connected with another of said relay switches and responsive to the energization of such other relay switch to close an operating circuit for its associated relay switch following a given interval of time; and starter switch means having connections with the battery of said master signalling unit and one of said relay switches and operable manually to initiate energization of said one of said relay switches.
4. A portable traffic signalling system as defined in claim 3, and wherein the switching means of said master signalling unit also includes a manually operable switch also connected with said relay switches for controlling energization thereof independently of said time delay switches.
5. A portable traffic signalling system as defined in claim 4, wherein the switching means of said master sig- 8 nailing unit further includes a selector switch having connections with said battery, said manually operable switch and said time delay switches and operable to render either said manually operable switch or said time delay switches ineffective.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS