US 3459427 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. '5, 1969 P. 0. RHODES ,459
ELECTRONIC CHANCE INDTCATOR DEVICE Filed May 29, 1967 INVENTOR PATIZLCK D. Queues BY i v g S}, was, w ATTORNEYS United States Patent US. Cl. 273138 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The present invention relates in general to electronic game apparatus, and more particularly to electronic apparatus housed in a casing in the form of a cube having dots on the side faces to resemble the faces of dice, and six dots on the top face, each having a neon bulb therein, the six neon bulbs each being respectively associated with an oscillator circuit including switch contacts which form part of a manual or relay operated gang switch having contacts in each oscillator circuit, which cause the oscillators to cease oscillation at an unpredictable point in their oscillating cycles to leave the exposed neon bulbs in ignited or extinguished condition in various combination.
Background of the invention Heretofore, various electrical devices have been developed for effecting random or chance illumination or deenergization of lamps in various combinations in accord ance with the laws of chance, for use in various games. Some of these devices have been devised to resemble the appearance of dice, but so far as I am aware, such devices have all resorted to making or breaking of energizing circuits to the lamps illuminating the the dice faces by motor driven commutators or similar circuit makers and breakers having numerous disadvantages, particularly because of the necessity of providing an electric motor in the apparatus.
Objects of the invention An object of the present invention is the provision of a novel electronic dice display unit having a cube-shaped housing provided on one face with a series of gas-filled diodes or the like simulating a six-spot face of a dice cube, each forming part of respective oscillator circuits located within the housing which, when energized, cause the glow tubes rapidly to alternate in on and 01f conditions and are responsive to activation of switch means to assume unpredictable combinations of on and off conditions, depending upon the time of activation of the switch means to establish random, unpredictable number counts.
Another object of the present invention is the provision of novel apparatus as described in the immediately preceding paragraph, wherein gas filled glow tubes paired with each of the exposed glow tubes are hidden within the housing and are associated with their paired glow tubes inv an oscillator circuit to be ignited and extinguished in alternation in out of phase relation with their paired glow tubes.
3,459,427 Patented Aug. 5, 1969 Yet another object of the present invention is the provision of novel apparatus as described in the preceding paragraphs, wherein capacitor means are interconnected between the paired glow tubes together with switch means operated in common with corresponding switch means for each of the other oscillator circuits to maintain in ignited state, whichever one of the glow tubes of each pair is in the ignited condition at the moment of activation of the switch means.
Other objects, advantages and capabilities of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention.
Brief description of the figures FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of electronic dice apparatus embodying the present invention; and
FIGURE 2 is a schematic diagram of the electrical circuitry for an embodiment of the present invention.
Detailed description of a preferred embodiment Referring to the drawings, the electronic dice apparatus of the present invention, indicated generally by the reference character 10, comprises a rectangular lower control box 11 forming a base for the apparatus, and housing the electronic circuitry of the apparatus, together with a cube-shaped upper box structure 12 surmounted on the control box 11 and simulating a dice cube. In the preferred embodiment, the upper, dice cube simulating box 12, is painted white or a light color, and has dummy black dots painted on the four sides thereof for decoration, and six black spots on the top face 13 thereof, in the center of each of which is a small gas-filled diode or tube, such, for example, as a neon glow tube, indicated in FIGURE 1 by the reference character V1 which may be a General Electric NE2 neon glow tube, connected in circuit as shown in FIGURE 2 to be used as a bi-directional neon glow tube. Associated with the control box and dice cube simulating box assembly are a pair of remote control switches 15, two of which are illustrated in FIGURE 1, which are provided with suitable supply cords which may be plugged into the control box 11. It will be understood that, if desired, more than two of such remote control switches 15 may be used, for example, four of such switches, if it is desired for four persons to be able to use the apparatus. It will also be apparent, if desired, that the control box 11 may be further elongated and a pair of upper boxes 12 of similar construction, each of which simulates a dice cube, may be surmounted on the control box 11 so that a pair of dice will be present.
Each of the six neon glow tubes V1, connected as a bi-directional neon glow tube, is associated with respective ones of six identical oscillator circuits, indicated generally by the reference character 20, housed within the control box 11 and illustrated schematically in FIGURE 2. The oscillator circuits 20 are all supplied in common from a standard, nominal volt, 60 cycle alternating current supply at terminals 21 through a silicon diode 22 and across a capacitor 23, selected so as to produce a pulsating DC. current at approximately volts at the terminal indicated by the reference character 24.
Each of the oscillator circuits 20 is identical in con figuration, and comprises a voltage dropping resistor, in this case indicated for convenience as a pair of series connected resistors R1 and R2, designed to reduce the applied voltage at terminal 25 to about 90 volts. Voltage divider resistors R3 and R4 are connected to the terminal 25 at the adjacent ends of these resistors, and their remote ends are connected respectively to the anode of inert gas bulb V1 and the cathode of inert gas bulb V2, respectively. The catode of tube V1 and the anode of tube V2 are connected together to the one of the input supply terminals 21 to which the diode 22 is not connected. Thus both the tubes V1 and V2 are connected so as to be used as bi-directional neon glow tubes. The relatively remote ends of the resistors R3 and R4, which are connected to the anode and cathode, respectively, of tubes V1 and V2 are connected together through a capacitor C1, the opposite plates of which are connected through leads 26 and 27 to the contacts of switch S1. As illustrated in FIGURE 2, the switches S1 of the plurality of oscillator circuits 20 collectively form a gang switch having a number of contacts corresponding to the number of oscillator circuits 20, which are formed, for example, of the contacts of a relay so as to be under control of a relay coil RE connected across the 110 volt A.C. input terminals 21 through the remote control switches 15, whereby, upon closure of either of the remote control switches 15, the relay coil RE is energized, closing the plural sets of contacts forming the switches S1.
The neon glow tube V2 is concealed inside the control box 11, while the tube V1 of each circuit is exposed at the upper face 13 of the dice simulating box 12.
Representative values of the circuit components are as follows:
C1 .5 mld.200 V. DC. V1 and V2 NE-Z neon. Capacitor 23 .22 mfd.
Silicon diode 22 750 ma.500 PIV.
The neon glow tubes V1 and V2 preferably have an ionization potential or firing point of about 80 to 85 volts. When the 110 volt A.C. potential is supplied across the terminals 21, the neon gas bulbs V1 and V2 of each oscillator circuit are ignited and extinguished in alternation, causing the exposed neon gas bulb V1 of each oscillator circuit to rapidly blink on and off with the pulsating D.C. current supplied to the terminal 24. The action of the circuit is believed to be as follows: The 150 volt peak potential supplied to the terminal 24 is reduced by the voltage dropping resistors R1 and R2 to approximately 90 volts at the terminal 25 and is further reduced to approximately 60 volts at the ends of the resistors R3 and R4, connected to the respective neon gas tubes V1 and V2. The 60 volt potential is insufficient to ignite the inert gas bulbs, but the charging and discharging of the capacitor C1 on the swing of the pulsating D.C. current at terminal 24 stores enough potential energy to ignite one of the gas bulbs V1 or V2. This results in alternate firing and extinguishing of one of the gas bulbs V1, V2 and then the other in alternating fashion; however, when one of the remote control switches 15 is closed, activating the relay coil RE to close the switches S1 across the capacitors C1 of each of the oscillator circuits 20, a by-pass is provided across each of the capacitors C1, collapsing the oscillator and causing only the bulb V1 or V2 which was ignited at the microsecond the switch S1 was closed to remain lit. The 60 volts applied by the normal voltage dividing circuit R3, R4 is enough to keep one of the inert bulbs V1, V2 ignited, but when the capacitor C1 is bypassed, there is not enough voltage present to ignite the other bulb.
It will be apparent that, due to the speed with which quency of the pulsating supply current, human reaction time is such that it is not possible to predict which of the bulbs V1 or V2 will remain ignited at the time of closure of the remote control switch 15, and thus the number of visible or exposed bulbs V1 which remain lit upon any given closure of the remote control switch will be a completely random matter incapable of accurate prediction by the operator. Thus the device is suitable for use with many childrens games or any type of game which requires the random selection of a number.
It will be apparent that instead of using the relay type of gang switch arrangement hereinabove described, a simple manually operated gang switch may be employed having a sufiicient number of contacts to provide the number of switches S1 needed for the number of oscillator circuits 20 employed. Also, other well known electronic devices may be used to terminate oscillation of the circuit responsive to direct manual or remote control activation.
While but one specific embodiment of the present invention has been particularly shown and described, it will be apparent that various modifications may be made therein within the spirit and scope of the invention, and it is desired, therefore, that only such limitations be placed thereon as are imposed by the prior art and set forth in the appended claims.
1. In a game apparatus, a housing including a substantially die-shaped casing, a purality of first inert gas bulbs exposed to view at a face of said casing representing die spots, a plurality of second inert gas bulbs hidden from view within said housing each respectively paired with said first inert gas bulbs, a plurality of oscillator circuit means respectively associated with each paired set of first and second inert gas bulbs for rapidly cycling the associated inert gas bulbs in alternation through ignition and extinguishing phases upon application of electrical energy to said circuit means, and switch means responsive to manual activation having contacts controlling all of said circuit means for terminating said cycling of said inert gas bulbs and maintaining in ignited state the inert gas bulb which was in ignited state at the moment of activation of said switch means.
2. In game apparatus as defined in claim 1, said dieshaped casing including a die face having six dots thereon, and said first inert gas bulbs being each disposed in a respective one of said dots.
3. In game apparatus as defined in claim 2, said die face being the top face of said die-shaped casing and said casing having a plurality of side faces each having a different number of dots thereon.
4. In game apparatus as defined in claim 1, supply means for supplying pulsating D.C. voltage to said plurality of oscillator circuit means, each of said oscillator circuit means comprising voltage dropping resistor means and first and second parallel connected branch circuits coupled in series with said resistor means across said supply means, said first branch circuit including said first inert gas bulb and a resistor connecting the anode thereof to said resistor means, said second branch circuit including said second inert gas bulb and a resistor connecting the cathode thereof to said resistor means and each of said oscillator circuit means including a capacitor connected between the anode of said first inert gas bulb and the cathode of said second inert gas bulb.
5. In game apparatus as defined in claim 4, said switch means including normally open contacts connected in parallel to said capacitor of each of said oscillator circuit means to by-pass said capacitor upon activation of said switch means.
6. In game apparatus as defined in claim 5, said switch means being a gang switch having plural contacts respectively coupled across the capacitor of each of said oscillator circuit means.
3,459,427 5 6 7. In game apparatus as defined in claim 6, said switch References Cited means including relay coil means energized responsive to UNITED STATES PATENTS a remote manual switch for closing said plural contacts.
8. In game apparatus as defined in claim 4, said die- 2,831,892 4/ 1959 F shaped casing including a die face having six dots thereon, 5 3,284,083 11/1966 Levin et and said first igertdggst bulbs being each disposed in a FOREIGN PATENTS respec 1ve one 0 sax o s.
9. In game apparatus as defined in claim 5, said die face 39 5 7/1933 Great Bmam' being the top face of said die-shaped casing and said casing having a plurality of side faces each having a 10 ANTON OECHSLE Pnmary EXammer ditferent number of dots thereon. A. W. KRAMER, Assistant Examiner