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Publication numberUS3400667 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 10, 1968
Filing dateJul 13, 1965
Priority dateJul 13, 1965
Publication numberUS 3400667 A, US 3400667A, US-A-3400667, US3400667 A, US3400667A
InventorsNoel L Case, Bernard J Tuschak
Original AssigneeMarx & Co Louis
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lap counter
US 3400667 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

N. L. CASE ETAL Sept. 10, 1968 LAP COUNTER Filed July 15. 1965 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG.

IN VEN TORS NOEL L. CASE asnmao J. TUSCHAK ATTORNEYS Sept. 10, 1968 CASE ET AL LAP COUNTER 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed July '13, 1965 M w M 5 a. 0 I lnl l y u W. h mmnl N b\| mm?! V6 0 Sign. u mm m \mw amm 44 J. Q .|.l-l|l.L mm wmw .[I WNW 3% ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,400,667 LAP COUNTER Noel L. Case and Bernard J. Tuschak, Girard, Pa., as-

signors to Louis Marx & Co., Inc., New York, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed July 13, 1965, Ser. No. 471,676 4 Claims. (Cl. 104150) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A racing game for toy vehicles in which the number of laps completed by each vehicle may be individually recorded by a lap counting device even when the vehicles are traveling on the same course and deriving their energy from the same conductors. Spaced conductors are provided as part of the circuit which are insulated from the main conductors of the circuit. Each vehicle is supplied with a drive motor with the two drive motors being oppositely rectified, with each motor being arranged to propel the vehicle in the forward direction. Counter means are associated with the insulated conductors and are oppositely rectified and are connected to the insulated conductors to provide power input to the conductors for driving of the vehicles during their travel along the insulated conductors. An open circuit is provided for the counter means as a result of the spaced conductors and the vehicles complete the circuit through the counter means for effecting a lap counting operation through the circuitry in the vehicles. Counting of the laps for one of the vehicles takes place by completion of a circuit through a portion of a counting means and the associated vehicle which conduct in the same direction and counting of the laps for the other vehicle likewise takes place by completion of the circuit through the other portion of the counting means and the other vehicle which conduct in the same direction which is opposite to the direction of conducion of the first vehicle and its associated portion of the counting means.

This invention relates generally to a lap counter for a toy racing game or arrangement generally known as slot racing wherein an electrified track layout is provided for the travel of miniature racing cars therealong, the racing cars being guided by means of slots in the tracks, the cars being remote controlled.

The instant invention is more specifically concerned with a lap counter for utilization with a track layout including two closed circuit trackways for lanes with means permitting the toy vehicles to change lanes under the control of the operators. The invention is more especially directed to lap counter means for each of two cars on a dual raceway circuit, the lap counter means being responsive to record the number of laps or circuits completed by the car to which it is responsive regardless of the track on which the car is traveling.

Lap counters for raceway circuits are generally known in the art. In prior circuits, each competing car usually operates on its own track or lane and a lap counter is provided for each lane in order to record the number of circuits completed by the cars traveling on the respective lanes. Such lap counters are responsive to the passing of a vehicle on a particular lane at a particular point with the lap counter being unable to discriminate between cars. Thus, should a car traveling on one lane be caused to change over to another lane, means for counting the laps traveled by the particular car will become ineifective and, in fact, the lap counter in the change over lane will be responsive to record a lap each time a car passes the lap 3,400,667 Patented Sept. 10, 1968 counting point thus losing all discrimination and accumulating laps from both cars traveling on the same lane.

Accordingly, it is an object to provide a lap counter for counting the number of circuits completed by a particular car regardless of the lane on which the car is traveling.

Another object of the invention is to provide a lap counter individually responsive to an associated car so that the laps of each of two cars may be individually accumulated even when both cars are traveling on the same lane.

A further object of the invention is to provide a lap counter having recording means for each of two cars for use with a circuit wherein two cars may be individually and remotely controlled while traveling on a multiple lane circuit.

Still other objects and advantages of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part be apparent from the specification.

Generally speaking, in accordance with the invention, a track way is provided having at least one circuit including spaced parallel conductors for applying an electromotive force to the toy vehicle adapted to travel on the circuit. An AC power supply has one leg thereof connected to one of the conductors with the other leg being divided into two branch lines, each of which is connected to the other conductor. Each line includes a serially connected rehostat for remote control and a rectifier with the rectifier in one line being disposed to conduct in a direction opposite to that of the rectifier in the other line. A pair of raceway cars is provided for each circuit with the raceway car including shoes for current pickup from the conductors and a motor and rectifier serially connected across the shoes. Each car is rectified in a direction opposite to that of the other car. So that each power supply rheostat-rectifier circuit conducts in the forward direction and thereby controls only that toy vehicle which is rectified in the same direction. In this manner, two vehicles traveling in the same direction on the same track may be individually controlled by remote r-he-ostats. The track includes a lap counter having two cumulatively recording dials, each of which is responsive to only one of the vehicles as it passes the lap counter. Means are provided in the lap counter responsive to the completion of a circuit through the car to provide an incremental advance of the lap counter with each recording dial including such means whereby one counter will be advanced by the completion of a circuit through one car while the other counter will be advanced by completion of a circuit through the other car.

The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

For a fuller understanding of the invention, reference is had to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a simplified plan view of a typical track layout having a power supply and remote control means and incorporating a lap counter constructed in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of a single trackway circuit showing the means for operating the toy vehicles and the means for actuating the lap counter;

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the lap counter circuit connected to a dual trackway layout;

FIG. 4 is a partial, broken away, plan view of a lap counter constructed in accordance with the invention, showing the mechanical operating features thereof;

FIG. 5 is a sectional View taken along line 55 of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 4.

Turning now to FIG. 1, a simple oval trackway layout 11 is shown including an inner lane or circuit 12 and an outer lane or circuit 13. The trackway layout is for a racing game now commonly known as slot racing and each lane includes a central slot 14 and spaced conductors 15 and 16. A toy vehicle (not shown) which carries a motor connected to the rear axle for driving the vehicle, includes a depending finger adapted to be in serted in slot 14 to guide the vehicle during its travel along the surface of the trackway and spaced shoes adapted to contact conductors 15 and 16 for applying a driving electromotive force to the motor. The track layout shown in FIG. 1 is provided with a lane change section 17 by which the vehicle may be selectively switched from one lane to the other lane under the control of the operator. The layout also includes a lap counter 18 which will be subsequently described in greater detail. Electric power is supplied to the trackway by means of a power supply 19 and remote control is eifected through rheostats 21A and 21B.

The basic operating circuit may be best seen in connection with FIG. 2 wherein only a single lane or circuit is shown for the sake of simplicity. Power supply 19 is usually adapted for connection to normal house current and includes a transformer 23 to step down the voltage as desired in order to provide greater safety to the operators of the toy, who will generally, through not always, be children.

Transformer 19 is provided with four output terminals 24, 25, 26 and 27. Output terminal 27 is connected directly to conductor 15 thereby connecting one end of the secondary windings to the conductor. The other end of the secondary winding is connected to the three remaining output terminals. The connection of said other end to terminal 24 is direct While a rectifier 28A is serially connected between said other end and terminal and a rectifier 28B is serially connected between said other end and terminal 26. Note that rectifiers 28A and 28B are disposed to conduct in opposite directions. In this manner, the output of the transformer across terminals 25 through 27 is half wave rectified. Terminal 25 is connected to the input of rheostat 21A While terminal 26 is connected to the input of rheostat 21B. The output of each rheostat is connected to conductor 16. Thus, with the output of the transformer secondary windings being AC, a full wave potential is applied across conductors 15 and 16, with the current through each half wave being individually controlled through the rheostats.

Two toy vehicles are schematically shown on the circuit of FIG. 2 with the vehicle adapted to travel in a counter clockwise direction as indicated by the arrow. Vehicle 29A includes, for the purposes of this discussion, a motor 31A and a rectifier 32A serially connected between a pair of shoes 33A adapted to make mechanical and electrical contact with conductors -15 and 16. Vehicle 298 includes a motor 31B and a rectifier 32B serially connected between shoes 33B, the shoes also being adapted for contact with conductors 15 and 16. It will be noted that rectifier 32A conducts in the direction from conductor 15 to conductor 16 while rectifier 32B conducts in the opposite direction. The respective connections to motors 31A and 31B are such that the vehicle travels in the forward direction when its associated rectifier is conducting.

By tracing the circuits through the half wave rectified transformer, through the rheostat and the half wave rectified vehicles, it will be seen that vehicle 29A is powered under the control of rheostat 21A while vehicle 29B is controlled solely by rheostat 21B.

As shown in FIG. 2, conductors 15 and 16 of each lane are substantially continuous even though the track way layout is generally assembled from a plurality of interconnected sections. However, conductors 15 and 16 are interrupted at the lap counter 18 and the circuit thereof will now be described in connection with FIG. 2. For the sake of simplicity, lap counter 18 is also shown as having only a single lane although, as shown in the layout of FIG. 1, the lap counter will normally be provided with two lanes. Each lane includes a continuation of slot 14 (FIG. 1) and spaced conductors 35 and 36. Conductors 35 and 36 are respectively aligned with conductors 15 and 16 thereby forming continuations thereof but are insulated therefrom so as to be completely separate from the circuit associated with conductors 15 and 16. The output terminal 24 of transformer 19 is directly connected to one of the lap counter conductors, conductor 35, for example. Output terminal 27 of the transformer is connected to the other conductor 36 as will be hereafter described. At this point, it should be noted that the lap counter, being connected across terminals 24 and 27, is connected across an AC output of the transformer secondary winding, terminals 24 and 27 being completely separate from rectifiers 28A and 28B.

Terminal 27 is connected to a terminal 37 on the lap counter with two separate circuits connecting terminal 37 to conductor 36. The first circuit consists of a serially connected solenoid coil 38A and a rectifier 39A. The second circuit consists of a serially connected solenoid coil 38B and a rectifier 393. Note that rectifiers 39A and 39B are disposed to conduct in opposite directions and thus half the wave of the AC output of the transformer is applied across the lap counter conductors through one solenoid coil and one rectifier while the other half Wave is applied through the other solenoid coil and rectifier.

With vehicle 29A traveling along the lane or circuit shown in FIG. 2, it picks up current through shoes 33A from conductors 15 and 16 under the control of rheostat 21A. However, when the vehicle reaches lap counter 18, shoes 33A leave conductors 15 and 16 and come in mechanical and electrical contact with conductors 35 and 36 thereby immediately removing the vehicle from the control of the rheostat. The position of vehicle 29A at the lap counter is shown in phantom in FIG. 2. With shoes 33A in contact with conductors 35 and 36, a circuit from the transformer is completed through terminal 24, conductor 35, vehicle 29A, conductor 36, rectifier 39A, solenoid coil 38A, terminal 37 and terminal 27. The circuit is completed in this direction since rectifiers 32A and 39A are disposed to conduct in the same direction. This not only supplies power to motor 31A to continue the driving of the vehicle through the lap counter section, but also energizes solenoid coil 38A for the purpose to be subsequently described. Note that a circuit is not completed through solenoid coil 38B because of the oppositely conducting directions of rectifiers 32A and 39B. On the other hand, when vehicle 29B reaches lap counter 18, a circuit will be completed including solenoid coil 38B to energize same while failing to energize solenoid coil 38A. Thus, it is seen that each solenoid coil is energized responsive to its associated vehicle while failing to respond to the other vehicle.

The circuit for connection of a lap counter having two lanes is shown in FIG. 3 where it is to be noted that the circuit is identical to that shown in FIG. 2 except that the corresponding conductors of the inner and outer lanes are electrically interconnected.

The lap counting mechanism is shown in FIGS. 4 through 6. A lap counter base 41 which carries conductors 35 and 36 also carries solenoid coils 38A and 38B. Axially mounted in each solenoid coil is a slidable core 42A and 4213 respectively with a coil spring 43 surrounding each core to bias it outwardly from its associated solenoid coil. The indexing and counting mechanism is the same for each solenoid and thus only one need be described. Slidably mounted between spaced guides 44 molded integrally with base 41 is a slide 45 having an upstanding end 46 cooperatively engaged with the outer end of core 42 whereby axial movement of the core causes slide 45 to be reciprocated to the left or right as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The outer end of slide 45 is provided with an upstanding actuating pawl 47 having a beveled edge while the end of the slide approximate to the core is provided with an upstanding check pawl 48 having an oppositely disposed beveled edge. A disk 51 is rotatably mounted through a shaft 52 to base 41, the top surface of the disk being imprinted with consecutively numbered indicia 53 to indicate and record the number of laps completed. Slide 45 is provided with an elongated aperture 54 through which the long end of shaft 52 projects to permit free reciprocating movement of the slide. A cover plate 55 is suitably secured to the base with the upper end of shaft 52 being rotatably mounted therethrough. Cover plate 55 is provided with a window aperture 56 above the periphery of disk 51 to permit the indicia to sequentially show therethrough. Formed integrally with disk 51 on the under surface thereof is a toothed wheel 57 having a plurality of circumferentially spaced ratchet teeth 58 adapted to be engaged by actuating pawl 47 and check pawl 48.

The nonrnal position of the slide and solenoid core is shown in the left-hand portion of FIG. 5 with the core urged outwardly by coil spring 43. Operation of the mechanical counting arrangement may best be described in connection with the right-hand portion of FIG. 4. On energization of solenoid coil 38B, core 42B is drawn into the solenoid coil thereby moving the beveled end of actuating pawl 47 against a sloping surface of one of the ratchet teeth 58. The movement of the actuating pawl against the tooth surface causes the disk to be displaced in a clockwise direction until the actuating pawl comes to rest against the radially directed leading edge of one of the ratchet teeth 58. The disk remains in this partially indexed position for the time during which solenoid 38B is energized and, when the solenoid is deenergized, slide 45 is biased to its rest position by spring 43 thereby bringing check pawl 48 into engagement with one of ratchet teeth 58 to complete the indexing of disk 51 which occurs when the radial face of one of the ratchet teeth moves into engagement with check pawl 48. At the fully indexed position, one of the indicia on the disk will show through window 56. The disk may be reset to zero by counter clockwise rotation thereof through the projecting end of shaft 52, ratchet teeth 58 causing the slide to freely reciprocate during the reset operation.

The operation of the mechanical lap counter arrangement as shown in FIGS. 4 through 6 may now be understood in connection with FIG. 2. Each time vehicle 29B enters lap counter 18 and completes the circuit across conductors 35 and 36, solenoid coil 38B is energized thereby drawing core 4213 into the coil to rotate disk 51 a partial increment. When the vehicle leaves the lap counter and reenters the main portion of the circuit or lane, coil 38B is deenergized and coil 42B returns to its rest position completing the indexing of the disk and recording the completion of a single lap. Thus the disk shown in the right-half of FIGS. 4 and 5 counts and records a lap each time vehicle 2913 passes over the lap counter and makes contact with conductors 35 and 36. In a like manner, the disk in the left side of the counter as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 counts and records a completion of a lap each time vehicle 29A passes over lap counter 18 and makes contact with conductors 35 and 36-. In this manner, an individual lap counter is provided for each of the vehicles and, through the circuitry shown in FIG. 3, this occurs regardless of whether one vehicle is traveling along the inner lane and the other along the outer lane or both vehicles are traveling along the inner or outer lanes.

It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efliciently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.

What is claimed is:

1. In a racing game, a lap counter for individually recording the laps completed by a rectified, motor driven toy vehicle traveling about a course, and distinguishing said toy vehicle from any oppositely rectified toy vehicle, said vehicle having a rectifier in series with its drive motor connected across current pickup shoes, comprising a pair of spaced conductors adapted to be engaged by said current pickup shoes, said conductors being insulated from the conductors forming the main portion of the course, a pair of input tenminals adapted to have an AC power supply connected thereacross, one of said terminals being electrically connected directly to one of said conductors, at least one circuit connected between the other of said terminals and the other of said conductors, said circuit including a rectifier and circuit means adapted to be energized on completion of a circuit from the power supply and across said conductors, the rectifier in said circuit being oriented to conduct in the same direction as the rectifier in said vehicle, and counter means associated with said circuit means for counting and recording the number of energizations of said circuit means.

2. In a racing game, a lap counter for individually recording the laps completed by two toy vehicles traveling about a course, each vehicle having a rectifier in series with its drive motor connected across current pickup shoes, the rectifier in one vehicle being oriented to conduct in a direction opposite to that of the other vehicle, comprising a pair of spaced conductors adapted to be engaged by said current pickup shoes, said conductors being insulated from the conductors forming the main portion of the course, a pair of input terminals adapted to have an AC power supply connected thereacross, one of said terminals being electrically connected directly to one of said conductors, two circuits connected between the other of said terminals and the other of said conductors, each of said circuits including a rectifier and circuit means adapted to be energized on completion of a circuit from the power supply and across said conductors, the rectifier in one of said circuits being oriented to conduct in a direction opposite to that in the other circuit, and counter means associated with each of said circuit means for counting and recording the number of energizations of its associated circuit means.

3. A racing game as claimed in claim 1 wherein said circuit means includes a solenoid coil and said counter means comprises a core movably mounted in said solenoid coil and operatively associated therewith and mechanical means operated by said core for recording each cycle of reciprocating movement of said core.

4. A racing game as claimed in claim 1 in which said counter means includes two counters, each of said counters comprising a solenoid coil, a core movably mounted in said solenoid coil, a slide cooperating with said core and adapted for sliding movement, a base on which said slide is slidably mounted, a disc rotatably mounted on said base about said slide and carrying lap counting indicia on one surface thereof, circumiferentially spaced ratchet teeth carried by said disc, a pair of pawls carried by said slide and adapted to engage substantially diametrically opposed ratchet teeth during a complete cycle of reciprocation of said slide to index said disc by a single indicia during a complete reciprocation cycle of said slide, and spring means biasing said core from said solenoid coil.

(References on following page) 7 8 References Cited 3,056,022 9/1962 Phelps.

3,201,754 8/1965 Reiner et a1, 340176 X UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,219,816 11/ 1965 Albertson et a1.

3/1929 Geiger 317150 2/ 1933 Bonanno 104151 5 ARTHUR L. LA POINT, Primary Examiner. 10/1937 Willing 317150 X 3/1953 Haynes et a1 104M149 X STANLEY T. KRAWCZEWICZ, Asslstant Exammer.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3510631 *Jun 15, 1966May 5, 1970Revell IncLap counter
US3628725 *Jan 16, 1970Dec 21, 1971Mattel IncCompact toy lap counter
US4247107 *Jan 19, 1979Jan 27, 1981California R & D CenterElectronically controlled roadrace system with sound generator
US5601490 *Aug 23, 1994Feb 11, 1997Konami Co., Ltd.Track racing game machine
US5868076 *Mar 11, 1997Feb 9, 1999Myus; David AllanSlotless electric track for vehicles
US6044767 *Feb 4, 1999Apr 4, 2000Myus; David AllanSlotless electric track for vehicles
US6688985Jan 31, 2002Feb 10, 2004Mattel, Inc.Electrically controlled racing game with information and control center
US7072792Dec 23, 2003Jul 4, 2006Daniel FreifeldRacecourse lap counter and racecourse for radio controlled vehicles
US7474984Jun 7, 2006Jan 6, 2009Daniel FreifeldRacecourse lap counter and racecourse for radio controlled vehicles
US7766720Sep 14, 2007Aug 3, 2010Mattel Inc.Play set for toy vehicles
US20040156467 *Dec 23, 2003Aug 12, 2004Daniel FreifeldRacecourse lap counter and racecourse for radio controlled vehicles
US20060196384 *Dec 3, 2005Sep 7, 2006Faulcon Rene GModel Car Racing Simulator
US20060229843 *Jun 7, 2006Oct 12, 2006Daniel FreifeldRacecourse lap counter and racecourse for radio controlled vehicles
US20090072481 *Sep 14, 2007Mar 19, 2009Mattel, Inc.Play set for toy vehicles
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/59, 463/62, 361/208, 246/78, 104/60, 361/160, 377/5, 246/124, 361/170, 246/247, 377/9, 340/319, 340/16.1
International ClassificationA63H18/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63H18/005
European ClassificationA63H18/00C