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Publication numberUS3470553 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 30, 1969
Filing dateOct 28, 1966
Priority dateOct 28, 1966
Publication numberUS 3470553 A, US 3470553A, US-A-3470553, US3470553 A, US3470553A
InventorsDennis William Hyde
Original AssigneeDaniel D Miller
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System for detecting potential failure in bowling pin-setting machines
US 3470553 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 30. 1969 Filed Oct. 28, 1966 D. W. HYDE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 PINSETTER F|G.l

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AND INDICATlNG MEANS I4 FT l5 AZ f COINCIDENCE 5 GENERATING D ECTING MEANS MEANS I L l OUTPUT L ELAPSED 24 TIME 5 GENERATING MEANS MM 0 o 2.

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DH HYDE ATTORNEY Sept. 30, 1969 D w Y 3,470,553

SYSTEM FOR DETECTING. POlENTIAL FAILURE IN BOWLING PIN-SETTING MACHINES Filed Oct. 28. 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 3

1 PNEUMATIC 24 1: TIME DELAY i MEANS I N VEN TOR.

D.W- HYDE United States Patent 3,470,553 SYSTEM FOR DETECTING POTENTIAL FAILURE IN BOWLING PIN-SETTING MACHINES Dennis William Hyde, Santa Clara, Calif., assignor to Daniel D. Miller, Sunnyvale, Calif. Filed Oct. 28, 1966, Ser. No. 590,281 Int. Cl. G08b 21/00, 1/08 US. Cl. 340-268 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A system for detecting potential failure in bowling pinsetting machines which detects the time period during which the pin setter removes the pins from the pit and places them into a table, comparing this period to a known time period, and determining if the detected time period is too long. If so, a malfunction is probably present.

The subject invention relates to an apparatus for advance detection and warning of malfunction of an automatic bowling pinsetter.

Bowling alleys traditionally have many lanes of bowling in order to facilitate economic operation. A 20 or 30 lane bowling alley is common. Particularly during peak bowling hours, it is essential that as many lanes as possible are kept in an operative condition. Furthermore, for economic reasons, the number of maintenance personnel should be restricted to one or at most two people at a time.

Obviously alley revenue is directly related-at peak bowling hours-to the number of bowling lanes which are operating properly. To minimize the amount of time a pinsetter is inoperative due to malfunction, it is essential that the maintenance man knows of pinsetter malfunction at the earliest possible time. With prior art systems, the maintenance man would not be aware of pinsetter malfunction until notified by the bowler that the pinsetter was not working properly. A system for bowler notification of pinsetter malfunction is described in US. Patent 2,937,- 370. Such prior art systems, however, have two principal disadvantages. First, when a pinsetter malfunctions, the bowler has no way of knowing of the malfunction until waiting an inordinately long period of time before he realizes that the pinsetter has failed to reset the pindeck. The bowler will probably not realize such a failure for two or three minutes. This period of time is completely wasted for the bowler and for the alley. It would be highly desirable to use this period of time, and preferably also a period of time even prior to the malfunction taking actual effect upon pinsetter operation, for the maintenance man to be repairing the pinsetter.

A second disadvantage is that such a system cannot detect a malfunction until the machine completely fails. There is no way for the prior art systems to designate a potential malfunction.

To the contrary, the system of this invention notifies the maintenance man of potential malfunctions in the case of many, but not all types of machine malfunctions. Furthermore, contrary to the prior art, the machine of this invention notifies the maintenance man well in advance of the time the pinsetter actually fails that the pinsetter is potentially malfunctioning. The maintenance man no longer must wait for bowler notification of malfunction.

Briefly, the apparatus for early detection and advance warning of pinsetter malfunction of this invention comprises: a detecting and indicating means coupled to the pinsetter for detecting the beginning and the end of at least a segment of the time period during which the pinsetter removes the pins from the pit and places them into the table, this detecting and indicating means having a first electrical state for the duration of the time segment and a second different electrical state otherwise; an elapsed time signal generating means for generating a signal indicating the elapse of a given period of time starting from the time the elapsed time signal generating means is triggered; a means coupling the elapsed time signal generating means to the detecting and indicating means, whereby the elapsed time signal generating means is triggered by the change from the second electrical state to the first electrical state of the detecting and indicating means at the start of the time segment; and a coincidence detecting means coupled to the detecting and indicating means and to the elapsed time signal generating means for detecting coincidence between the first electrical state of the detecting and indicating means and a signal from the elapsed time signal generating means, and for providing an output signal upon the existence of this coincidence, the output signal providing an indication of pinsetter malfunction or possible or impending malfunction.

The invention, along with its variations and advantages will be more fully set forth in the following description, making reference to the drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the apparatus of the subject invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic and block circuit diagram showing a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is an alternative preferred embodiment of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2.

Referring to FIG. 1, the apparatus of the invention is for use in the conjunction with a pinsetter 10. The apparatus provides advance detection and warning of malfunction of the pinsetter. A bowling pinsetter operates by removing the pins from a pit and placing them into a table. A pit is the depression at the end of a bowling lane into which the pins fall after being hit by a bowling ball. The table is a place within the pinsetter in which the pins are stored prior to their being spotted onto the pindeck. The pindeck is where the pins rest at the end of the alley immediately prior to the bowler rolling his ball.

A bowling pinsetter uses two full sets of pins and has two separate cycles of operation: the first cycle sets the pins for the first ball delivery, resets (clears the fallen pins) for the second ball delivery, and returns the bowling ball; the second cycle of operation prepares the second set of pins by removing them from the pit and placing them into the table. The second cycle is done during (or if bowler is slow in delivering the first ball, before) the first cycle. A bar sweeps any remaining standing pins into the pit at the end of each roll. Thus, at the immediate end of each frame, one-half of the pins are in the pit and the other half are in the table (except with certain pinsetters which do not hold pins knocked down by the first ball in the pit, but stacks them directly into the table as they fall into the pit). With other pinsetter models, the pins are not removed from the pit until the end of the frame when all of the pins are present. Thus, the conventional cycle of the pins during pinsetter operation is from the pindeck, to the pit, to the table, to the pin deck.

A pinsetter uses two full sets of pins, one being bowled at while the other is in preparation. Malfunctions nearly always occur when the pinsetter is operating upon the set in preparation, not the set the bowler is shooting at. The apparatus of the invention detects malfunctions during these preparatory operations and generally signals same before the bowler has completed play with the other set. When a pinsetter gets into a condition which will not allow it to progress to the frame which is to follow the one being played, the malfunction will be detected, signalled, and often repairedall while the pinsetter is properly operating through the frame having the pins already set.

The apparatus of this invention operates by comparing at least a portion of the pinsetter cycle time to a given or predetermined period of time. Accordingly, the apparatus uses a detecting and indicating means 11 coupled to the pinsetter. Preferably, this is a switch mechanically coupled to the pinsetter and actuated into a first electrical state by the normal mechanical operation of the pinsetter at the time it deposits the first pin in the table. This switch will remain closed until the mechanism deposits the final pin into the table and thus completes preparation for the frame of play which is to follow. Such a switch detects the beginning and the end of at least a segment of the time period during which the pinsetter is removing the pins from the pit and placing them into the table. Since this operation of the pinsetter is a mechanical one, involving many moving parts, the detecting and indicating means 11 can be a switch triggered by the normal mechanical motion of the pinsetter when the pinsetter moves to pick up the first pin from the pit.

Alternatively, the switch can be triggered when the pins are spotted on the pindeck. It will then remain closed until the table is once again full of pins and thus ready for the frame to follow. In any event, the switch will remain closed from the time the pins are placed upon the pindeck until the machine has properly and completely prepared for the subsequent frame. Obviously, the switch need not be closed for the entire operation, but may be closed during the same given portion of each operating cycle. However, the larger the portion of the cycle detected and compared, the better the chance of the detection of a failure.

The switch has a first electrical state (for example a conducting state wherein the switch is closed) for the duration of the time segment being sensed. The switch otherwise has a second different electrical state, for example, the open or nonconducting electrical state. Obviously, the electrical states can be reversed, if desirable for the circuitry employed. These modifications may easily be made by one skilled in the art. Furthermore, other types of detecting and indicating means than a switch may be employed, such as a photoelectric cell or other means of sensing the duration of at least a portion of the pinsetter cycle.

Elapsed time signal generating means 12 is a means for generating a signal indicating the elapse of a given period of time starting from the time the elapsed time generating means 12 is triggered. This elapsed time generating means 12 may be a pneumatic time delay means electrically coupled by a means, such as line 14, to the detecting and indicating means 11. This coupling allows the elapsed time signal generating means 12 to be triggered by hte change from the second electrical state to the first electrical state of the detecting and indicating means 11 at the start of the given ime segment. If coincidence deecting means 13 to be described below is a relay, the elapsed time signal generating means 12 may be a pneumatic time delay mechanically coupled to the relay. Such a pneumatic time delay operates on the relay to delay closing the relay for a given period of time (in this invention, it is the desired elapsed time) after triggering. Thus the relay is delayed from being closed from the time it is triggered until the elapse of the given elapsed amount of time.

In another embodiment of the invention, the elapsed time signal generating means may be an electrical oneshot. A one-shot is a conventional multi-vibrator which extends the duration of a trigger pulse at its input for a given amount of time. In this invention, the given amount of time is the desired elapsed time. The oneshot is trigered by a pulse from the detecting and indicatmg means 11, through line 14, which is generated at the time the detecting and indicating means changes from 4 e the second electrical state to the first electric-a1 state. This trigger pulse is extended by the one-shot for the glven amount of elapsed time.

Finally, the invention employs coincidence detecting means 13 coupled to the detecting and indicating means 11 and to the elapsed time signal generating means 12, :as shown. The coincidence detecting means 13 detects coincidencebetween the first electrical state of the detecting and indicating means and the signal from the elapsed time signal generating means 12 at the end of the given period of time. If such coincidence occurs, an output signal is provided at terminal 15, thus giving an indication of pinsetter malfunction or potential malfunction. In practice, the coincidence detecting means 13 can be a relay adapted to close a circuit upon the detection of the desired coincidence. This circuit provides the output signal giving an indication of pinsetter malfunction.

A preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 2. Where they correspond to parts in FIG. 1, the same numbers are used. The apparatus is powered by battery 20. The pinsetter 10, shown diagrammatically as a block, has a switch 21, as described above, coupled to it. Switch 21 is coupled so as to be closed at the beginning of the time period during which the pinsetter removes the pins from the pit and places them into the table. Switch 21 is coupled so as to be open at the end of that time period. The circuit of FIG. 2 uses the elapsed time generating means 12 as described above in connection with the diagram of FIG. 1. The coincidence detecting means is relay 22 which is coupled by line 14 to the elapsed time generating means 12. The circuit including lamp 23, relay 22, and battery 20 is the circuit coupled to relay 22 for providing an output signal (in this em bodiment, the lighting of lamp 23) upon the existence of the coincidence between the first electrical state (the closed state) of switch 21 and the signal from elapsed time generating means 12 indicating the expiration of the elapsed time.

The operation of the circuit of FIG. 2 for normal pinsetter operation (in the absence of a malfunction) is as follows. First the pinsetter begins its cycle of removing the pins from the pit and placing them into the table. At the beginning of this cycle, mechanical switch 21 coupled to pinsetter 10 is closed. The closing of switch 21 sends a trigger signal through line 24 into elapsed time generating means 12, starting the generation of the elapsed time. In the embodiment shown, the elapsed time generating means acts as an open circuit during the elapse of the given time period. This circuit becomes closed at the end of the elapsed time and then couples line 14 to line 25. During the period while the time is elapsing, however, line 25 is not coupled to line 14, and hence relay 22 is not powered. With normal, non-malfunctioning'pinsetter operation, the pins should have been placed entirely into the table prior to the end of the elapsed time. If that is the case, switch 21 will have ben reopened prior to the expiration of the elapsed time. Thus, at the end of the elapsed time, when line 25 becomes reconnected through elapsed time generating means 12 to line 14, switch 21 will have already been opened. Then relay 22 will not be powered because of the open circuit in switch 21. Accordingly, since relay 22 will not be closed the circuit including lamp 23 will remain open and no malfunction signal will be generated.

If there is pinsetter malfunction, however, and the malfunction results in a slow down of the pinsetter cycle beyond the predetermined elapsed time, the following is the cycle of operation. At the beginning of the pinsetter cycle, switch 21 is again closed. Elapsed time generating means 12 is then triggered through line 24, thus opening the circuit path between lines 25 and 14. At the end of the elapsed time, line 25 is reconnected to line 14 by the elapsed time generator 12 so that relay 22 is connected to the positive terminal of battery 20. Since the pinsetter is slower than normal, switch 21 will still remain closed at the expiration of the elapsed time-an indication of pinsetter malfunction. Accordingly, relay 22 then has a complete circuit between the positive terminal of battery 20 and ground, as shown. Thus the relay 22 is energized and switch 26 coupled to relay 22 is closed. Light 23 will then become lighted, indicating pinsetter malfunction. If desired, relay 22 can be of the type which remains closed until manually reset. Accordingly, lamp 23 will remain lighted until relay 22 is manually reset irrespective of the fact that switch 21 will again open at the end of the delayed malfunctioning pinsetter cycle.

As described above, the apparatus of this invention has some important advantages. A pinsetter will often have delayed operation well in advance of an actual breakdown. Such delayed operation is a harbinger of pinsetter malfunction to occur soon. Maintenance people can use this warning to steer bowlers to difiierent alleys and make anticipatory repairs to the pinsetter.

Furthermore, the malfunction will be indicated almost immediately (within about 20 seconds) of the time the bowler begins his frame of play. No longer is it necessary for the bowler to wait a few minutes and finally realize that his pinsetter is inoperative. Since it may take the bowler two or three full minutes to complete his frame while the pinsetter is in the preparatory cycle of operation, the maintenance personnel will have the other two minutes and 40 seconds in which to make repairs. The obvious advantage is that the advance repairs can often be made so rapidly that the bowler may never be aware that the malfunction has occurred at all. Moreover, this greatly speeds up repairs.

Any desirable warning system may be employed with the apparatus of this invention. Accordingly, a system of flashing lights, bells, buzzers, sirens, or other warning iv devices may be used to tell the repair man of the malfunctioning pinsetter. The bowler need no longer repeatedly ring the trouble bell until he gets results, as was true with prior art apparatus. The warning system may also turn on a light at the bowler operating table so that he too knows his pinsetter is malfunctioning. He can make arrangements to switch to a different lane during repair. The apparatus is normally placed on all pinsetters so that one maintenance man sitting in an office can monitor 20 or 30 pinsetters to insure proper operation. He need not constantly patrol the pinsetters to learn of any malfunctioning ones.

Finally, the advance warning system of malfunction or possible malfunction of this invention can often substantially reduce the amount of damage done by a malfunctioning pinsetter. If allowed to continue in its malfunctioning operation, the machine may be seriously damaged -sometimes beyond repair. Accordingly, the apparatus increases pinsetter life.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for early detection and advance warning of malfunction of an automatic bowling pinsetter which comprises:

a detecting and indicating means coupled to said pinsetter for detecting the beginning and the end of at least a segment of the time period during which said pinsetter removes the pins from the pit and places them into the table, said means having a first electrical state for the duration of said time segment and a second diiferent electrical state otherwise;

an elapsed time signal generating means for generating a signal indicating the elapse of a given period of time starting from the time said elapsed time generating means is triggered;

a means coupling said elapsed time signal generating means to said detecting and indicating means, whereby said elapsed time signal generating means is triggered by the change from said second electrical state to said first electrical state of said detecting and indicating means at the start of said time segment; and,

a coincidence detecting means coupled to said detecting and indicating means and to said elapsed time signal generating means for detecting coincidence between said first electrical state of said detecting and indicating means and the signal from said elapsed time signal generating means, and for providing an output signal upon the existence of said coincidence, said output signal providing an indication of pinsetter malfunction or possible malfunction.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized by said detecting and indicating means comprising a switch mechanically coupled to said pinsetter and actuated into said first electrical state by the mechanical operation of said pinsetter.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized by said coincidence detecting means including a relay, said relay adapted to close a circuit upon the detection of said coincidence, said circuit including a means for providing an output signal when said circuit is closed.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized by said elapsed time signal generating means including a pneumatic time delay means mechanically coupled to said coincidence detecting means.

5. The apparatus of claim 3 further characterized by elapsed time signal generating means including a pneumatic time delay means mechanically coupled to said relay, whereby said relay is prevented from being actuated during the elapsed time of said elapsed time signal generating means.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized by said elapsed time signal generating means including a one shot which operates an electrical signal after the elapse of said elapsed time.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 further characterized by said coincidence detecting means including a relay, said relay adapted to close a circuit upon the detection of coincidence between said first electrical state and a signal from said one shot indicating the elapse of said elapsed time, said circuit including a means for providing an output signal when said circuit is closed.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,166,318 1/1965 Barger 27354 3,189,348 6/1965 Keahey. 3,237,942 3/1966 Congelli et al 273-43 JOHN W. CALDWELL, Primary Examiner PERRY PALAN, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3166318 *Jan 2, 1962Jan 19, 1965Meredith M BargerAutomatic indicators and controls for bowling alleys
US3189348 *Jan 29, 1962Jun 15, 1965Richard W KeaheyTimer for disconnecting mechanism for automatic pin setters
US3237942 *Oct 16, 1962Mar 1, 1966American Mach & FoundryReversible pit conveyor for bowling lane
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3659279 *Jun 27, 1969Apr 25, 1972Fiber Controls CorpDefault warning system
US4592548 *Nov 20, 1984Jun 3, 1986Oldson Russell KEconomical bowling control system
US7053765Nov 2, 2004May 30, 2006Provider Services, Inc.Active security system
US8628428 *Jun 17, 2004Jan 14, 2014Qubicaamf Europe S.P.A.Method and a system for managing at least one event in a bowling establishment
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/526, 340/309.16, 473/73, 473/65, 340/679
International ClassificationA63D5/04
Cooperative ClassificationA63D5/04
European ClassificationA63D5/04