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Publication numberUS3508391 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 28, 1970
Filing dateAug 26, 1966
Priority dateAug 26, 1966
Publication numberUS 3508391 A, US 3508391A, US-A-3508391, US3508391 A, US3508391A
InventorsLee Ray H
Original AssigneeLee Ray H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electronic controlled time piece
US 3508391 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 28, 1970 R.-H.LEE 3,50 ,391

ELECTRONIC CONTROLLED TIME PIECE Filed Aug. 26, 1966 i i g 5 3 *3 1 g M v v k e w k E w Q INVENTOR. 1 F may. 15,;

. BY E I Z& is i; qffrqcy in v kg 3,508,391 ELECTRONIC CONTROLLED TIME PIECE Ray H. Lee, 2 Sturgis Road, Kendall Park, NJ. 08824 Filed Aug. 26, 1966, Ser. No. 575,340

Int. Cl. G04c 9/00 US. C]. 58-23 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An electronically controlled time piece controlled by a standards signal from the Bureau of Standards time signal broadcasts consisting of a receiver for receiving the standards signals and developing therefrom a one second pulse of standards accuracy, a clock movement controlled by this pulse through a plural units ring shift register, seconds, minutes and hours, indicative of dual states of excitation and a visual time piece for displaying United States Patent, M

time movements responsive to said shift register as developed by the standards signals to display the actual time.

This invention relates to time-pieces in general and is particularly directed to electronically controlled timepieces such as watches, clocks etc.

Time-pieces and/or watches presently are either mechanically or electrically driven and have their accuracy determined by the ability of their component parts to remain stable and constant in the face of certain changing variables such as pressure, temperature, moisture, etc. However, none of the time-pieces are either controlled or determined from and by electronic signals emanating from Government controlled stations whereby time standard signals aretransmitted that contain precise second information. Such time standard signals are receivable anytime and anywhere in the world at the present time through one or more broadcasting channels depending on the locality.

To date, no time-pieces have been made which have the same accuracy as that generated by the Government time standard, which not only yield precise second information for the time but also adjusted according to the solar system for standard time. Further, no time-pieces have been made which can approach this standard especially in those areas where such time pieces undergo certain abnormal movements or are in environments detrimental to such time-pieces, such as caves, underwater, confined enclosures etc.

It is therefore the purpose and object of this invention to produce a time-piece having an accuracy comparable to that of the Government standard as broadcast on stations WWV and WWVH through the National Bureau of Standards in the United States and on other stations maintaining the same standard over the world.

Another object of the invention is to provide an electronic time-piece whose accuracy is determined and controlled by the Government standard time signals whether the time-piece be in enclosed or open surroundings.

A still further object of the invention'is to provide a"time-piece using solid state integrated timing circuits controllable .by the Bureau of Standards timing signals to match its accuracy and having no moving mechanisms or parts, thereby reducing wear, tear and costs and increasing the life of the said time-piece, including its accuracy.

A further object of the invention is to provide a timepiece which uses micro-circuitry and requires little servicing and can be easily made dust-proof, humidity- 3,508,391 Patented Apr. 28, 1970 proof, water-proof and temperature-proof and is rugged, durable and shock-proof.

Further objects and advantages will become apparent from a reading of the specifications and a study of the accompanying drawings, and wherein:

FIGURE 1 shows a simplified diagram according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIGURE 2 shows a ring shift register type of counter for controlling the accuracy of the time-piece.

Now proceeding with a description of the invention wherein, and wherever feasible, like parts or elements serving the same purpose and function will be designated by the same reference number. There is now shown in FIGURE 1 a time-piece according to an embodiment of the invention. In this one embodiment of the invention as shown in said figure, a receiver 10, tuned to the standard broadcast signal, is received and fed to a second detector 11 along with signals from oscillator 12 heterodyned in the usual way so that a one-second pulse is produced which is the one-second standard modulation signal coming from the Bureau of Standards station. The onesecond pulse signal 13 is then passed to a control motor or other actuating mechanism responsive to the onesecond signal.

The one-second standard signal pulse, as derived from the mixer or second detector 11, may be used to control other time-pieces such as that shown in FIGURE 2. Essentially, FIGURE 2 comprises an electronic counter 20 similar to a ring shift register as found in the computer art. The counter consists of sixty (60) magnetic cores (although six (6) are only shown for brevity), each representing a one-second time interval and connected by interconnecting input and output wires in a ring-like fashion.

The magnetic cores, numbered one through six, are all electro-magne tically linked by a common wire 21 to which the input signal 22 is applied and ground. Core number one has another wire 23 magnetically linked to it at one extremity 24 and terminating in ground, and the other extremity 25 magnetically linked with core two and terminating in a diode 26 and diode conductive ring or bus 27. Between diode 26 and the conductive ring 27 there is magnetically coupled a small visual display indicator 28 which can be, for example, in the form of an electroluminescent cell that emits light upon excitation. Similarly, each of the cores are linked by wires 23, each wire terminating in ground at one end, and at the other end terminating in a diode and ultimately to common conductive ring 27.

In the form of a ring shift register, as an example, the standard second signal is used to drive a ring shift register of sixty units. The unit of the register, for example, has two states a and b. If the ring shift register has all units at state b except one unit at state a, the state of that unit is advanced to the next unit every time a driving pulse is applied. The application of the standard detected onesecond pulse signal drives the shift register at a precise one-second time interval as determined by the standard transmitted. In other words, the driving pulse assures the shifting of the unit states at a precise time of once per second as dictated by the time standard.

Since only the shifting unit has a signal pulse connected therewith and not the other units, the signal pulse which belongs to that particular unit can be used for visual dis play control. Because the device is entirely electrical, no moving parts are necessary or used. The unit signal controlled display elements can thus be physically arranged in the form of a seconds scale. If light is to be emitted from each display element, one sees the display elements light up sequentially once per second dictated by the time standard signal. When the display elements are physically arrayed in a clockwise manner, one sees a sequential or rotating light display that appears like a moving seconds hand at precise time intervals of one second.

Since the signal pulse of any particular unit of the above said ring shift register, called hereafter as the second ring shift register, exists once every sixty seconds, it can be used as a minute signal to drive another ring shift register of sixty units, called the minute ring shift register, which is basically the same and, in fact, can br constructed in the same manner as the second ring shift 'egister. Similar to the seconds display, the minute signal I f each unit can bu used to control each of the minute display elements and can be arranged in a clock-wise minute division fashion. Since an electronic counter is used, the minute display is accurate to the time second standard signal.

Similarly, an hour signal obtained from any one unit of the minute ring shift register can be used to drive another ring shift register called the hour ring shift register, and to use its unit signal to control hour displays. The hour ring shift register may have twelve units for twelve hour displays, or may have twenty-four units for twentyfour hour display, such as twelve hour am. and twelve hour p.rn., arranged clockwise on the time-piece for hourly display. These same principles may be used for time displays including day of the month, month of the year and etc., whenever desired.

In particular, with reference to FIGURE 2. showing the operation of the ring shift register, assume sixty magnetic ring-type cores are used and assume all cores are magnetized in a direction or state 11 except core #1 which is in state a. The first drivingstandard one-second pulse changes core #1 state from a to b. Voltage, by magnetic action, is induced across the output winding of core #1 and permits diode 26 to conduct, thereby increasing the voltage of common ring bus 27 to a higher positive potential thereby rendering all the remaining diodes linking the cores #2 60, non-conductive with the exception of said diode 26. The current through diode 26 is the input to core #2 and therefore excites the said core from state b to state a, and the display unit 28, by virtue of the current flow, lights up the electro-luminescent cell 28.

The above condition remains until the next standard second driving pulse comes, shifting state a to core #3 and lights up the display element 30 associated with this core. All of the remaining cores stay in state b. This procedure continues with the display of each unit sequentially lighting up according to the seconds timing pulses.

It may be appreciated that other type counters, other H than the ring shift register may be used provided the standard secondspulse signal is used for producing the display. Further, although magnetic cores are used for illustration purposes, other devices such as electron tubes, tunnel diodes, transistors and the like-can also be used. Also, the display units can be other means other than electro-luminescent devices, such as storage elements where the light may be stored in the sense that a light flash can be made continuous until interruption, light reflective film or materials, refractive means, absorption means, and etc. Further,,the artof setting initial core state, say core #1 at state a and the others at state b is well-known and have not been discussed here. Setting means, therefore, can be provided when desired for time setting.

On occasions when the time standard signals are not receivables, such as in insulated enclosures and the like, the time-piece maybe provided with its own oscillator to generate one-second time signals (counters can be used so that the current art of having better constancy at higher frequencies can be taken, advantage of to generate the desired second signal). Hence, I in the absence of time standard signals, the time-piece will be as accurate as the time generating oscillators. However, such oscillators can be calibrated, adjusted and controlled by the time standard signals when available, as when the time-piece is removed from the said insulating enclosure. The art of such control and adjustment is available. For example, when calibration is desired, the oscillator and standard frequencies may be heterodyned to produce a zero beat. When this is done, the oscillator will be comparable to the standard and therefore accurate to the same degree.

The time-piece -is an electrical instrument and can be stopped by merely disconnecting the power. The power itself may be furnished by modern dry-cell batteries,"and because the power consumption is very minute, the battery will last a very long time. To set the time, all that has to be done is to provide the standard timing pulse, as previously stated, at the appropriate time. This can be done by the manufacturer, if necessary, and never touched again since the batteries will last indefinitely if they are of the rechargeable type.

It can be appreciated that other forms of the various elements and components may be applied without detracting from the true purpose and intent of the invention which is to produce a time-piece having an accuracy comparable to the standard as determined by the Bureau of Standards timing signals. For example, since at any particular place on the earth there is at least one channel of time standard signals available, the availability of such signal can be used by the invention herein. Further, the limited number of broadcast channels presently covering the world can be incorporated and utilized by the invention in such a way that the strongest signal from one of said broadcast channels available at any particular time and place would be automatically selected, detected and utilized. This scheme, while simple in principle and with little added complexity, enables the invented time-piece to have added protection against the possibility of failure of any one particular station. The art of automatically selecting the strongest signal is wellknown and need not be elaborated here.

Having defined the invention, what is claimed is:

1. An electronically controlled time-piece controllable in accordance with the Bureau of Standards time signal broadcasts comprising:

(a) signal receiver means for receiving said Burea of Standards time signals,

(b) means for extracting from said receiver means a one second timing pulse whose accuracy is comparable to the said standards signal,

(c) a ring-shift register counter responsive to said one Second signal for controlling the timing thereof to conform the said movement to the standard signal, said counter including intercommunication signal storage means, each having input, output, and excitation circuit means connected thereto, and I (d) time display means responsive to said-controlled time movement means for displaying same in accordance with said standards signals.

2. An electronically controlled time-piece according to claim 1 and wherein said signal storage means includes magnetic cores having two degrees or states of magnetization.

3. An electronically controlled time-piece controllable in accordance with the Bureau of Standards time signal broadcasts comprising:

(a) signal receiver means for receiving said Bureau of Standards time signals,

(b) means for extracting from said receiver means a one-second timing pulse whose accuracy is comparable to the said standard transmission signal,

(c) time-movement means responsive to said onesecond signal for controlling the timing thereof .to conform the said movement to the standard signal, the said time-movement comprising a ring-shift-register type counter having a series of sixty on-otf type memory units indicative of two states of excitation, such as state (a) and state (b), circuit means interlinking all of said units for receiving the said standard one-second signals, a plurality of cir= cuit means interlinking respective pairs of units so that the extremity of one circuit comprises an in put winding to orie unit and the other extremity of the circuit linked to the next adjacent unit comprises an output winding, one of said windings having a uni-directional current valve responsive to changes in energy state and terminating in a common bus, and,

(d) time display means responsive to said controlled time-movement means for displaying same in accordance with the said standard signals.

4. An electronically controlled time-piece according to claim 3 and wherein said time display means includes current responsive means disposed in said unit winding having the said uni-directional current valve and illuminated upon the receipt of said current to give a visual indication of the timing-movement.

5. An electrically controlled time-piece according to claim 3, and wherein said memory units are magnetic cores having dual magnetization states and said uni-directional valve is a diode.

6. An electronically controlled time-piece according to claim 4, and wherein said current responsive means includes electroluminescent cells.


15 RICHARD B. WILKINSON, Primary Examiner E. C. SIMMONS, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2662366 *Oct 19, 1951Dec 15, 1953Hamilton Watch CoElectric watch
US2968797 *Nov 20, 1959Jan 17, 1961Harvey SalzMagnetic core binary counter system
US2970294 *May 20, 1954Jan 31, 1961Raytheon CoMagnetic control circuits for shift registers
US3063233 *Apr 8, 1960Nov 13, 1962Hamilton Watch CoSecondary standard timer
US3166742 *Mar 22, 1963Jan 19, 1965American Sign & Indicator CoControl for lamp bank displays
US3217258 *Aug 23, 1962Nov 9, 1965Gorham CorpTiming system for setting clocks to distorted standard pulses
US3333410 *Apr 2, 1965Aug 1, 1967Instr For Industry IncElectronic clock-calendar
CA696292A *Oct 20, 1964Sunbeam CorpElectronic clock
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4106283 *Apr 30, 1976Aug 15, 1978Kabushiki Kaisha Daini SeikoshaCombination portable electronic timepiece and television
US4159622 *Jun 30, 1977Jul 3, 1979Kabushiki Kaisha Suwa SeikoshaElectronic timepiece having a main oscillator circuitry and secondary oscillator circuitry
U.S. Classification368/59, 968/946, 368/47, 368/187, 968/926
International ClassificationG04G9/00, G04G9/04
Cooperative ClassificationG04G9/0005, G04G9/04
European ClassificationG04G9/00B, G04G9/04