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Publication numberUS3542978 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 24, 1970
Filing dateJul 19, 1968
Priority dateJul 20, 1967
Also published asDE1774564A1
Publication numberUS 3542978 A, US 3542978A, US-A-3542978, US3542978 A, US3542978A
InventorsJohn Covell Collier
Original AssigneeAmp Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Card readers
US 3542978 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

' J. c. COLLIER Nov. 24, 1970 Filed July 19, 1968 \NVENTOR JOHN COVELL cou.

BY ja J. C. COLLIER CARD READERS Nov. 24, 1970 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed July 19, 1968 INVENTOR J'OHN COVELL COLLIER Nov. 24, 1970 J. c. COLLIER 3,542,978

CARD READERS Filed July 19, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 F/G.3. i

U B A B A B 1 an F/G.4.-

16 F/GG INVEMTOR TOHN COVELL COLLIER U i d States Patent 015 3,542,978 Patented Nov. 24, 1970 3,542,978 CARD READERS John Covell Collier, Farnworth, England, assignor, by

mesne assignments, to AMP Incorporated, Harrisburg, Pa., a corporation of New Jersey Filed July 19, 1968, Ser. No. 746,209 Claims priority, application Great Britain, July 20, 1967, 33,314/ 67 Int. Cl. G061 7/04 US. Cl. 200-46 1 Claim ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to card readers for reading information contained in the form of perforations on a card.

Such card readers are well known and basically comprise a number of movable contacts positioned on a carrier above a plane of stationary contacts. The stationary contacts are covered by the card and the movable contacts are brought into engagement with the card or, through the perforations in the card, with selected ones of the stationary contacts to complete electric circuits. The various circuits are connected to give electrical signal outputs to other equipment such as accounting or typewriting machines.

The cards used may be of a conventional paper or cardboard construction or may be made as a more durable carrier such as a stifily flexible plastics material. The holes can be punched in them by a number of well known methods, although it is essential that the holes should be correctly positioned relative to the arrays of stationary and movable contacts to ensure the right connections are made in accordance with the information carried by the card. Even when the holes have been correctly punched in a card it is essential that the card should be accurately positioned in a card reader relative to the contacts. To ensure this it is usual to polarize the card by cutting off one corner of the card and providing a correspondingly shaped polarizing projection in the reader which will cause the reader only to accept the card when correctly presented. A microswitch is usually also incorporated in the card reader in a position such that it will only be actuated when the card is properly in position to allow the reader to be operated. The card is also guided by other means such as pins or channels in the body of the reader between the two sets of contacts.

One of the problems encountered in card readers is that of dirt on the contacts which can give rise to faulty readings of information from a card by not comparing a circuit where one should be completed. Various suggestions have been made to deal with this problem most of which have necessitated the use of complex cam or linkage mechanisms.

A card reader in accordance with the present invention includes an array of stationary contacts and a corresponding parallel array of movable contacts adapted to be moved into and out of engagement with the stationary contacts in a direction perpendicular to the general planes of the contacts and adapted to receive a card to be read between the two arrays of contacts, a frame supporting the movable contacts mounted for reciprocal movement on support rods and biased away from the stationary contacts by spring means and a pivoted operating arm having a part arranged to bear on the frame or a member associated therewith to urge the movable contacts towards the stationary contacts when a force is placed on the arm causing it to rotate about its pivot.

The stationary contacts are preferably formed by through studs in a board of insulating material, the studs projecting from one side of the board so that electrical connections can be made to them. If required bussing or commoning connections can be made to selected contacts. Alternatively, the stationary contacts may be in the form of a printed circuit on one face of the board.

The card to be read is placed in the card reader to lie over the stationary contacts and guide pins may be fixed to the frame or to the board carrying the stationary contacts to ensure that the board is correctly located. If the, or some of the guide pins are carried by the frame carrying the movable contacts these guide pins may be provided with a part adapted to ride over an edge of the card when the reader is operated to its reading position and to engage a shoulder behind the edge, so that when the reader is released from its reading position and the spring means moves the movable contacts away from the stationary contacts the card is lifted from the stationary contacts by the shoulders. If the card is held in its reading position by an edge of the reader and is lifted over this edge by the shoulders a spring opposite the mouth of the reader can be incorporated to eject or partially eject the card.

The force may be applied to the operating arm either by hand or through a solenoid having its armature connected to the operating arm.

The movable contacts each comprise a contact part carried at the end of flexible arm secured in the frame.

It is preferred that all the contacts in one row or column are made as a single stamping from one piece of material such as springy copper and that each row of such contacts is contained in its own housing mounted in the frame.

In order that the invention may be readily understood one example of a card reader in accordance therewith will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of the reader with the cover removed;

FIG. 2 shows a side view of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows one form of punched card suitable for use with the invention;

FIG. 4 shows a detail of the movable contacts;

FIG. 5 shows a first embodiment; and

FIG. 6 shows a second embodiment of the guide pins used for lifting a card.

Referring now to the drawings, the card reader comprises a base 1 on which a solenoid 2 is mounted. In front of the solenoid 2 is a board 3 of insulating material carried on spacer studs 4 at its four corners and positioned above the base 1 to leave a gap 5. The board 3 carries an array of stationary contacts 6 arranged in a grid of a 10 by 8 configuration. Each contact 6 (FIG. 5) comprises a stud having a flat contact surface 7 flush with the upper surface of the board. The surface 7 forms part of a head 8 which is contained in a recess 9 in the upper surface of board 3. The shank 10 of the stud extends through the board and is held in it by means of a friction fit. A socket connector 11 crimped to a wire 12 is pushed over the shank 10 to make an electrical connection to it. If required an apertured commoning strip (not shown) can be slipped over the shank 10 to bus all or some of the contacts in a row or column together.

Four support rods or columns 15 are secured to the top of the board 3 and these columns each pass through holes in a rectangular frame 16 carrying an array of movable contacts 17 similarly arranged in a by 8 grid configuration to correspond with the stationary contacts 6. Each column has a head 18 which bears on its underside against the top of the frame 16 and the front two of these heads are apertured to receive a pivot rod 19. The holes in the frame 16 through which the columns pass are formed in two parts, a narrow close fitting part 20 at the top of the frame which slidingly engages with the column 15 and guides it, and an open lower part 21 which leaves a space around the column in which space a compression spring 22 can fit surrounding the column. One end of spring 22 bears on the board 3 and the other end in the frame 16. The springs 22 bias the movable contacts 17 and the frame 16 away from the board 3 and stationary contacts 6 to a position limited by the heads 18 of the columns 15. By virtue of the parts 20 being a close sliding fit on the columns 15 the frame 16 and the movable contacts are able to move only in a direction perpendicular to the planes of the contacts 6 and 17.

The pivot rod 19 carries at its center one end of an operating arm 23, to the other end of which an armature 24 of solenoid 2 is secured by a pivot 25. The arm 23 passes over and rests on a pressure bar 26 secured to the top of the frame 16.

At the front of the card reader a moulded plastic entrance panel 27 is secured to the board 3 by screws 28. The panel 27 has a forwardly projecting platform 29 on which the end of a card can be rested before it is slipped through a mouth 30 into the body of the reader between the contacts 6, 17. The platform 29 is cut away at its central portion 31 to provide a convenient indent for grasping a card.

At the rear of the reader and in line with the mouth 30 a microswitch 35 is positioned having a spring actuated switching arm biased towards the mouth 30. The microswitch is wired in the operating circuit of the solenoid 2.

In its open condition with no card in the reader the solenoid circuit is open and the reader cannot be operated. When a card is inserted the leading edge of the card presses against the switching arm and closes the microswitch; the circuit to the solenoid can now be completed through this switch by operating a control switch 36 situated at the side of the reader.

When a card is positioned in the reader it is aligned in its correct position by guide pins 37 fixed in the board 3 and passing with a sliding fit into corresponding holes in the frame 16 and by forward guide pins 38 located and 'fixed near the front of the frame 16 and passing with a sliding fit into holes in the board 3. The front guide pins 38 have a dual purpose, firstly to guide the card when it is inserted into the reader, and secondly to lift the card after reading so it can be ejected. In FIG. 5 a first form of a guide pin 38 is shown, this comprises a shaft having a lower cylindrical portion 39 separated from an upper cylindrical portion 40 by a conical portion 41 having a sharply defined shoulder 42. The pin 38 may be made of metal or a hard plastic. As a card 44 is pushed into the reader it is guided by the portions 39, when it is in a reading position and frame 16 is depressed the conical portion 41 rides over the edge of the card until the card snaps behind shoulder 42 and lies alongside portion 40. As the frame moves up after reading has taken place the card is lifted on shoulder 42.

The card may, on occasions, be a relatively flimsy one which would be damaged at its edges by the hard shoulder 42 of the pin 38 shown in FIG. 5. In such a case a guide pin 38 such as that shown in FIG. 6 can be used. Here the pin comprises a shaft 45 carrying over its central portion an easily deformable sleeve 46 of rubber or the like. As the frame moves down the sleeve is deformed by the edge of the card until the sleeve passes below the edge. The sleeve then assumes its normal shape and the card rests on top of the sleeve 46 and is lifted on the sleeve when the frame rises again.

The card 44 may be one of two kinds either a stub end card, as is shown in FIG. 3, or a card which is completely inserted into the reader. In both kinds the portion which is read is basically the same. The stub end card 44 shown in FIG. 3 comprises two parts, a first part 48 which contains information in punched hole form such as 49, and a second part 50 which contains information in written form such as 51. The first part 4 8 has one corner removed at 52 to provide a polarizing region. A projection 53 is located on the board 3 at the back of the reading area. If the card is inserted properly this projection does not interfere with the card, however, if the card is inserted upside down the corner 54 will engage projection 53 and prevent the card being fully inserted to close microswitch 35. With a stub end card such as that shown the guide pins 38 are not really necessary since the second part 50 of the card extends out of the reader and can be readily grasped to withdraw the card. In the other kind of card which is wholly inserted in the reader the card consists only of the part 48 shown in FIG. 3. Its trailing edge when inserted in the reader falls behind platform 29 and is pressed against a shoulder 56 behind this platform by the spring of the microswitch 35. It is thus necessary to use the pins 38 for this type of card to lift the card, after reading, over shoulder 56 and in line with mouth 30.

The movable contacts 17 are shown in FIG. 4. Here one complete row of ten contacts are shown all bussed together. The contacts are stamped out of a springy cop per lamina and comprise a contact portion 57 carried at the end of an arm 58 joined to a commoning strip 59. Connector parts 60 project from the top of the strip. Two such laminae are laid side-by-side and encased in a plastic housing (not shown) with the contact portions 58 extending through a slot in the bottom of the housing and the connector parts 60 through the top of the housing. The housing and the connectors are held together by screws through holes 61 and eight of the housings with the contacts are secured side-by-side in the frame 16.

In operation a card 44 is placed on the platform 29 and inserted through the mouth 30 of the reader. Assuming the card comprises only a first part 48 (FIG. 3) it is inserted until the trailing edge drops behind shoulder 56. As it enters the reader it is guided by the guide pins 37, 38 and its leading edge closes microswitch 35. The spring in the microswitch presses the card against shoulder 56 and this together with the action of the guide pins ensures the holes in the card lie correctly aligned over the stationary contacts 6.

Since microswitch 35 is now held closed by the card when switch 36 is actuated the coil of solenoid 2 will be energized drawing the armature 24 into the coil. As the armature 24 moves downwards it will also move the end of the operating arm 23, to which it is connected through pivot 25, downwards causing the arm 23 to rotate about the pivot rod 19. As the arm 23 pivots it will bear on pressure bar 26 forcing the frame 16 and contacts 17 downwards against the pressure of springs 22. When the contacts 17 have moved to a position where the pads 57 just contact the surfaces 7 of the contacts 6 through holes 49 in the card the movement of the contact pads 57 will change fro-m a downwards movement to a horizontal one since the frame 16 will still move downwards for a short distance. The pads 57 will thus be wiped over the surface 7 ensuring the removal of any dirt and a good contact. A good contact is further ensured by the use of two laminae for each contact surface which thus gives a safety factor since if one pad 58 does not make contact the other most probably will. As the contact pads 57 move horizontally the arms 58 flex about their roots.

After reading the switch 36 is released thus causing the coil of solenoid 2 to become de-energized. Springs 22 now come into action forcing frame 16 and contacts 17 upwards and at the same time lifting the arm 23 and armature 24. As the frame rises guide pins 3% lift the trailing edge of the card over the shoulder 56 and the spring of microswitch 35 can operate to open the switch and at the same time push card 44 through mouth 30 onto platform 29. The card can now be easily grasped due to the cutaway portion 31 and removed from the reader.

It will be appreciated that the card reader described can be varied in a large number of ways without departing from the invention. For example the number of contacts can be increased or decreased according to requirements, the card may be made to enter at the side rather than the front and the operation can be made manual by I dispensing with the solenoid and allowing the free end to be hand operated. In such a case the pivot rod 19 could be transposed to the back of the reader so that the free end extends to the front. However, many linkage arrangements could be added to obtain operation in any suitable position.

The invention is claimed in accordance with the following:

1. A card reader for reading information in the form of perforations in a card including an array of stationary contacts and a corresponding parallel array of movable contacts adapted to be moved into and out of engagement with the stationary contacts in a direction perpendicular to the general planes of the contacts and adapted to receive a card to be read between the two arrays of contacts, a frame supporting the movable contacts, support rods on which said frame is mounted for reciprocal movement, spring means for biasing said frame and movable contacts away from the stationary contacts, a pivoted operating arm having a part arranged to bear on the frame or a member associated therewith to urge the movable contacts towards the stationary contacts when a force is placed on the arm causing it to rotate about its pivot, guide means for the card located in the area between the contacts into which the card is to be inserted, said guide means including a shoulder adapted to latch beneath the card during a reading operation and to lift the card away from the stationary contacts after reading.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,161,598 6/1939 Torkelson 200-46 2,724,026 11/1955 Johnson 200-46 2,965,811 12/1960 Batcher 20046 3,139,519 6/1964 Reinschrnidt 200-46 3,148,251 9/1964 Burke 20046 3,334,199 8/1967 Hanson et a1. 20046 ROBERT K. SCHAEFER, Primary Examiner D. SMITH, JR., Assistant Examiner US. Cl. XR. 235-611

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2161598 *Dec 23, 1936Jun 6, 1939IbmCard sensing device
US2724026 *Dec 10, 1952Nov 15, 1955IbmControl panel
US2965811 *Aug 8, 1957Dec 20, 1960Ralph R BatcherCircuit selector device
US3139519 *Nov 15, 1960Jun 30, 1964Avco CorpPunched card reader
US3148251 *Nov 14, 1960Sep 8, 1964Howe Richardson Scale CoCard reader
US3334199 *Nov 3, 1965Aug 1, 1967Hanson Helmer CPattern controlled multiple switching unit
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4431911 *Oct 1, 1981Feb 14, 1984Rayburn Charles CCash replacement system including an encoded card and card acceptor
U.S. Classification200/46, 235/443
International ClassificationG06K7/06
Cooperative ClassificationG06K7/06
European ClassificationG06K7/06
Legal Events
Aug 17, 1983ASAssignment
Effective date: 19830602