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Publication numberUS3589492 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 29, 1971
Filing dateApr 1, 1969
Priority dateApr 1, 1969
Also published asCA927002A1
Publication numberUS 3589492 A, US 3589492A, US-A-3589492, US3589492 A, US3589492A
InventorsShirley John R
Original AssigneeH R Flectronics Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Magnetic control means for vending machines and the like
US 3589492 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent John R. Shirley Primary Examiner--Samuel F. Coleman AuorneyCharles B. Haverstock ABSTRACT: Magnetic and electronic control means for MAGNETIC CONTROL MEANS FOR VENDING vending machines and other coin control devices which accept different denomination coins, make vends at selectable gigg g? E prices and perform other functions including making change, rawmg 'said control means including counting and memory means and U.S.Cl 194/10 means under the control thereof for producing the vending, lnt.Cl. 607i 11/00 change making and other functions. The subject means are Field 01' Search 194/ 1,9, preferably constructed using solid state and magnetic core 10, 6, 13, 15, 16 components.

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SHEET 2 OF 2 MAGNETllC CONTROL MEANS FOR VENDING MACHllNES AND THE LIKE Many coin-operated devices are in existence including some which perform vending, change making and other functions and combinations thereof. For the most part, however, the known devices are limited in their versatility, are electromechanical in nature, and are constructed for specific limited applications, such as applications which require the deposit of an exact amount of money for each operation as where the vend and the amount of refund, if any, and other functions do not vary, and are not selectable. Electromechanical control devices such as are in wide use are relatively complicated and expensive and they require frequent and timeconsumingmaintenance and repair all of which result in considerable expense and machine downtime. Such devices are also relatively inflexible to change and difficult to adjust, and to increase their versatility to enable them to handle a greater variety of operations and functions disproportionately increases their complexity and cost. Electromechanical devices are also relatively bulky and cumbersome, they are difficult to install and adjust, and they are unsuitable for many applications particularly such as those involving self-contained vending machines where space is limited and where it is desired to provide a variety of selectable vends at different prices.

Electronic control means for vending machines such for example as the control means described in Applicants US. Pat. No. 3,307,671, dated Mar. 7, 1967 and Applicants pending application Ser. No. 708,140, filed Feb. 26, 1968, now US. Pat. No. 3,508,636, have solved some of the above-mentioned problems and overcome some of the disadvantages and shortcomings of the prior art. The means disclosed herein represents still further improvements in such control means.

The present invention teaches the construction and operation of a novel, versatile and flexible electronic control circuit, preferably utilizing magnetic core structures which circuit is particularly well suited for use on vending machines which accumulate amounts deposited, make change and control vending and other functions of the vending machine. The present control circuit is also particularly suitable for use on vending machines that are capable of vending customer selected products costing different amounts, accumulating varying amounts deposited in the vending machine, deducting from the amount deposited the price of the selected product, and returning amounts deposited in excess of the vend price. The present invention also increases the versatility and utility of vending machines by allowing them to be used at locations where the supply voltage may be interrupted from time to time, such for example as in rural areas and onboard ships without losing track of amounts deposited or malfunctioning. This is mainly due to the distinctive nature and characteristics of the magnetic core structures used in the present circuit. Such devices do not, for example, lose their memory when the power to the circuit is interrupted either momentarily or for longer periods as when the machine is turned off as do other types of memory devices and electronic components including transistors, vacuum tubes and the like. The present circuit therefore can be constructed to remain in the same condition throughout almost any power interruption and to resume normal operation where it left off after the power is restored as if nothing had happened thereby preventing the loss of a customer's deposit and saving the trouble of having to call a service man or other person. The aggravation of a loss to a customer may also spare the vending machine from damage caused by the customer banging on it and shaking it.

Magnetic cores are known to be extremely reliable devices in computer storage and memory devices as well as in logic and computing circuits, and when used in the control circuits of vending machines they contribute to the reliability and roduce other advantages. Magnetic cores are also relatively unaffected by transient conditions and transient interference includin variations in the line voltage and they are also relia- LII ble over a wide range of temperatures. Magnetic cores also have the further advantages of having no moving parts, not being subject to atmospheric contamination as in the case of some solid-state devices and they are relatively small, compact, trouble free and inexpensive.

The subject device includes a control circuit which c0mprises means responsive to the deposit of coins of different denominations into a coin-receiving unit, means for accumulating or counting the value of coins deposited, means for controlling the selected vend operation of the machine including determining when an amount deposited at least equals the price of a selected article, and means under the control of the accumulating means for causing a vend operation and a refunding operation. The present circuit also includes vend control, refund control and accumulator reset means as well as circuit selection means, and the subject circuit is preferably constructed employing magnetic core and other solid-state components which as aforesaid minimize its size, improve its reliability, reduce maintenance and repair requirements and enable it to be constructed and packaged in a compact preferably plug-in type unit which can be easily and quickly installed and/or removed and replaced in a vending or like machine. Being constructed insofar as possible of magnetic cores and other solid-state components also makes the circuit relatively trouble free and easy to handle and maintain.

A principal object of the present invention therefore is to provide improved and more versatile means for controlling vending, refunding and other operations of coin-controlled devices.

Another object is to provide means capable of enlarging the functions and operations performed by vending and other like devices.

Another object is to increase the reliability of control circuits employed in vending machines and the like.

Another object is to provide improved means for accumulating the value of moneys deposited in vending machines which means do not lose an accumulation due to occurrence of a power interruption or other transient condition.

Another object is to increase the range of climatic conditions including the range of temperatures in which a control circuit for a vending machine will operate reliably.

Another object is to provide improved means for determining amounts deposited in vending machines including amounts depositedin excess of a selectable vend price and for determining, and controlling the refunding of such excess amounts.

Another object is to provide improved electronic control means utilizing magnetic core devices for controlling vending and like machines which control means can be installed as original equipment or as an improvement to an existing machine with minimum machine modification.

Another object is to provide relatively inexpensive means for controlling coin-operated devices that are capable of handling transactions involving different money amounts.

Another object is to provide a packaged plug-in type control unit for quick and easy installation in vending machines and the like.

Another object is to minimize the time required after coins are deposited in vending machines to make the selected vend and to perform other functions including refunding amounts deposited in excess of the vend price.

Another object is to minimize maintenance and downtime on vending machines and the like.

Another object is to provide a control circuit for vending machines and the like which is relatively unaffected by power interruption and other transient conditions and which is also able to operate reliably under almost any environmental conditions.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent after considering the following detailed specification which covers a preferred embodiment thereof in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a control circuit constructed according to the present invention; and,

FiG. 2 is a schematic circuit diagram showing the details of a particular embodiment of the control circuit of- P16. 1.

Referring to the drawings more particularly by reference numbers, number refers generally to a control circuit constructed according to the present invention. The circuit 10 is constructed to control the various operations of vending machines and other money or coin-controlled devices, and in particular those machines capable of vending items at costs which can be selected by the one servicing the machine and not ordinarily by the customer and also those machines capable of refunding amounts deposited therein in excess of the selected cost ofa vended item. The circuit 10 operates in conjunction with and receives input signals from a coin unit 12 on the vending machine. The input signals received are fed to accumulator means 14 shown as magnetic core accumulation means, which respond to these signals by accumulating therein an amount equal to the money value of the deposits. When the amount accumulated in the accumulator means 14 equals or exceeds the price of the selected article the subject circuit will be conditioned to cause several different things to happen including the energizing of means to initiate a vend operation as will be explained. Any amount deposited in the machine in excess of the selected vend price will be accumulated in a payback counter circuit 16 and upon initiation of a vend operation will set in motion means for refunding amounts accumulated in the payback counter, means for resetting the accumulator means 14 to some preestablished reset condition in readiness for the next vend operation and means for performing other control functions as will be explained.

Several different embodiments for the magnetic accumulator means 14 are disclosed and may be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. in the preferred form of the present device specific types of magnetic core aecumulator means are used but other types are also possible. it is also preferred wherever possible to construct the accumulator means as well as the rest of the circuitry utilizing solid-state components for reliability and dependability and to minimize the size, weight, and bulkiness and make the device as trouble free as possible. Size and bulk limitations are particularly important limitations in a plug-in type of control which is to be used in machines that have relatively little space availability.

The subject circuit 10 is designed to be used in conjunction with the coin-receiving unit 12 of a vending machine as aforesaid, and the unit 12 is shown in FIG. 1 in a simplified schematic form having provision for receiving deposits of nickels, dimes, and quarters. To this end the unit has a nickel switch 18, a dime switch and a quarter switch 22. The nickel switch 18 is constructed and positioned in the coin unit to have its normally opened contacts close once for the deposit of each nickel, dime or quarter and to reclose its normally closed contacts as soon as the coin has passed. The dime switch 20, on the other hnnd is constructed and positioned to have its normally open contacts close once for the deposit of each dime and quarter coin and to recloso its normally closed contacts when the coin has passed. By the same token, the normally open contacts of the quarter switch 22 close once for the deposit of each quarter and reopen immediately after the quarter has passed or moved out oi contact therewith. Coin units having these general characteristics are known and available commercially.

The movable contacts of the nickel and dime switches 18 and 20 are shown connected between an input voltage source labeled +VDC and the input side of the accumulator 14 so that the accumulator 14 receives an input signal whenever the nonnolly open contacts of the switches close and again thereafter when the normally closed switch contacts reelosc. This means that two separate input signals are sent to the accumulatcr 14 for each coin that moves past either the nickel or the dime switch It! or 20. The quarter switch 22 is also connected to the input voltage source but it produces only one input impulse each time it is operated by a coin because only its normally open contacts have an output connection. The single input signal produced by each closing of the quarter switch 22 is used to directly cause a vend operation to take place as will be shown and it is not fed as an input to the accumulator circuit 14.

The accumulator 14 has three output connections labeled 15, 20 and 25 and in the particular embodiment shown, a selected one of these connections is always connected to the first input of vend control means 24 through a multiposition price selection switch 26. The vend control means 24 also have a second input connected directly from the normally open contacts of the quarter switch 22. When the vend control 24 receives a signal at either of its two inputs, either because the proper vend price as established by price switch 26 has been accumulated in the accumulator 14 or because of the deposit ofa quarter, it produces an output signal which is fed to the first input ofa vend relay 28. The vend relay 28 also has a second input connected to the normally open contacts of the coin switches 18, 20 and 22, and when it receives input signals at both of its two inputs, the vend relay 28 is energized to produce a vend operation. This occurs through mechanism in the vending machine that is associated but not part of this invention. The vend relay 28 will thereafter be deenergized by the removal of the input that was produced by the closing of the normally open coin switch contacts when the actuating coin has passed the coin switch 18,20 or 22.

The vend relay 28 also produces an output signal which is sent to reset means 30, which means have first and second output connections, the first of which is connected to a reset input of the accumulator circuit 14 and to a reset input of payback counter 16 to return them to a predetermined initial condition. The second output of the reset means 30 is connected to the first of two inputs of a gate circuit 32. The gate 32 has a second input connected to receive the same signals which are sent to the vend relay 28 due to the closing of the normally open contacts of the coin switches 18 and 20. The gate circuit 32 produces an output which is sent to a second input of the payback counter 16 whenever a signal is received at the second input within a short time after an input has been received at the first. This happens whenever a dime is deposited in the coin unit when only 5 more was required to equal the vend price. Therefore the output of the gate 32 is connected to enter a count of "one" representing 5 in the payback counter 16 under these circumstances.

in addition to the inputs from the reset means 30 and the gate 32, the payback counter 16 has third and fourth inputs connected respectively to contacts of a second price multiposition selection switch 34 labeled 15 and 20 The second price selection switch 34 is mechanically ganged to the first price selection switch 26 and it conducts signals from the normally open contacts of the quarter switch 22 whenever it is in either its 15 or 20 position. in the device as shown, there is no need for an input connection between the 25 position of switch 34 and the payback counter because obviously no amount need by paid back when a quarter is deposited for a 25 item. The signal conducted to the payback counter 16 at the third or 15 input is forenteringacountoftwoor 10 in the payback counter because this signal is generated only when a quarter has been deposited for a 15 vend. The means in the counter 16 for making the entry will be described in connection with FlG. 2. input signals present at the second or gate input, or the fourth or 20 input are connected to cause a count of one or Se to be entered in the counter 16 because such input signals are generated by the deposit of 5 c too much such as by the deposit of a dime when only a nickel more is needed as aforesaid or the deposit of a quarter for a 20 vend. A signal at the reset or first input to the payback counter 16 resets a first portion of the payback counter 16 while the other portion is reset by other means as will be shown.

When a count of "one" or two" is entered into the payback counter 16 by inputs present at the gate 32 or at the switch 34, a payback output signal is sent to the input of a payback motor control 36 which in turn causes a payback motor 38 to operate to refund a coin of the lowest denomination acceptable in the machine which in the circuit described is a nickel. The payback motor 38 in turn cycles the payback reset switch means 40 to close its normally open contacts which conduct a first reset switch signal from a positive voltage source labeled +VDC to the counter 16 and to the accumulator 14 to reset both as was done by the reset means 30 described above. When the switch 40 recloses at the end of the payback cycle it sends a second input to reset the other portion of the payback counter 16 and to cause a second refund to be made ifa count of .two" had been entered in the payback counter 16 through the switch 34. The operation of the payback motor 38 will continue until the payback counter 16 is returned to a zero" count and at that point the vend will have already been initiated, the accumulator l4 and the payback counter 16 will have been reset to predetermined conditions, and all amounts deposited in excess of the selected price of the vend will have been refunded. The circuit will then be in its initial or reset condition ready for the deposit of more coins for another vend.

The circuit as shown in FIG. 1 also includes a power supply portion 42 which is constructed and connected to supply the necessary DC operating voltages to the circuit. The power supply 42 may be of a well-known construction and is shown connected to an AC source. The relays and other operating components of the vending machine on which the subject control means areinstalled are likewise not part of this invention and for the most part are of known constructions.

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram showing the details of the circuit connections and the circuit elements employed in a particular embodiment of the circuit 10. The particular circuit shown is based on the block diagram of FIG. 1 and is for use in a vending machine having a coin unit 12 capable of accepting nickels, dimes and quarters. The circuit as shown is arbitrarily constructed to be used to vend items costing 15, 20 or each. It should be apparent, however, that with slight modification, the coin unit may be made to accept other coin denominations including foreign and token coinage, and the circuit can also be made to control vends costing other amounts as well. Furthermore, the circuit as shown is constructed to be used where the value of the largest acceptable coin denomination is equal to the highest price vend. This can also be modified if desired. The coins acceptable, and the selectable vend prices are chosen to simplify the understanding and explanation of the circuit but obviously are not limiting factors. The elements and connections of the circuit shown in FIG. 2 wherever possible are identified by the same numbers as used in FIG. I.

The coin switches 18, 20 and 22 are located in the coin unit 12 as aforesaid, and are actuated or closed by movements of coins thereby to produce input signals for the circuit 10 that are used to control the various operations of the subject circuit and of the vending machine on which it is used. The accumulator circuit 14 is shown in HO. 2 as including nine serially interconnected magnetic core members 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58 and 59. The magnetic cores 511 through 59 function to accumulate the money value of coins deposited in the coin unit 12 and produce control outputs for use by other portions of the circuit and by the vending machine as will be explained.

Each magnetic core including the associated input and output coils and circuitry makes up a magnetic core stage. When a current is passed through an input winding of a core stage, the orientation of the magnetic flux in the core member will either change rapidly or not at all, depending on the previous flux condition of the core, the polarity of the current flowing in the winding, and the direction the current passes through the winding. To make the explanation easier and less confusing, only positive magnetizing currents to input windings and positive currents from output windings will be used but it should be understood that negative currents could also be used if desired. In this connection the top of each winding is identified in the usual manner with a dot and the so-called bottom of each winding is not identified by any symbol. By definition a positive magnetizing current applied to the bottom of a winding will cause the magnetic core involved to be in a reset flux condition while application of a positive magnetizing current to the top of'a winding will cause the associated core to be in a set" condition. lfa core is set" initially and a positive current is applied'to the bottom of its input winding the core will change to a reset" condition, and the changing flux will produce a positive current in all of its associated output windings. If a positive current is then applied to the top of an input winding, the core sets" and the changing flux will attempt to produce a negative current in the output windings. All such negative output currents are blocked by diodes as will be'shown and only positive outputs will be utilized in the circuit to produce any further results.

When the normally opencontacts of the nickel switch 18 are closed by movement of a coin thereby, a first input is fed from a positive potential source labeled through a surge limiting resistor 62 and the normally closed contacts of the dime switch 20 to an input circuit which includes a series connected pulse forming network including a resistor 64 and a capacitor 66 connected in parallel. This positive current input from switch 18 is then conducted through a lower shift buss 67 which includes series connected input windings on cores 51, 53, 55, 57 and 59 to ground. The input windings in the lower shift buss 67 are all connected so that the positive input enters the bottom of each winding, identified by its associated core number and the suffix a," and therefore the positive current input on the buss 67 causes cores 51, 53, 55, 57 and 59 to be in a reset" condition. The initial condition of the cores due to the previous operation of the circuit as will be explained is such that the core Sll is in a set condition while all of the other cores 52 through 59 are reset. The first input current therefore causes core 51 to change from a set condition to a reset" condition while cores 53, S5, 57 and 59 do not change, since they are already in their reset" conditions. The cores 5] through 59 are serially connected by pairs of input and output windings and diodes which are for blocking negative currents. The serially connecting windings are identified by their associated core numbers and the suffix )c" while the connected input windings are identified by their associated core numbers and the suffix b. The input windings 12" and their associated diodes are oriented so that only the positive output from a winding x" can flow into the top of the connected input winding b and produce a set of the core on which the input winding b" is wound. For example, when due to the deposite of a first coin the normally open contacts of switch 18 close to produce an input on the lower shift buss 67 and the core 51 changes from a set to a reset condition as aforesaid, a positive output is produced in its output winding 51x which passes through negative current blocking diode 68 to the input winding 52b of the core 52. This positive current passes into the top of winding 52b and therefore causes core 52 to change from its initial reset condition to a set condition. This change in the condition of core 52 produces no output on winding 52x since the connection between winding 52x and the input winding 53b of core 53 includes a diode 70 which blocks the negative current that would otherwise flow.

When the normally closed contacts of the nickel switch 18 reclose as the actuating coin passes on through, another positive input signal is conducted from the positive potential source through the resistor 62, the switch 20 and to and through another pulse forming network including parallel connected resistor 72 and capacitor 74 to the upper shift buss 75 which conducts the signal through other input windings identified by the suffix c on cores 51, 52, 54, 56, and 58 and then to ground. The upper shift buss 75 conducts the positive current into the top of input winding 51c and into the bottoms of inputs windings 52c, 54c, 56c and 58c. A signal passing through the upper shift buss 75 therefore sets the core 51 and resets" the other cores. Since cores 54, 56 and 58 are still in their initial reset condition at this time, they do not change condition and remain reset. However, the core 51 is returned to its set condition and the core 52 is returned to its reset" condition. When the core 52 is changed from a set to a reset" condition, it produces a positive output in its winding 52x and through the negative current blocking diode 70 to the winding 53b of the core 53 which causes the core 53 to change to a set" condition. Therefore, after a coin has passed through the switch 18 and thereby produced two input signals to the accumulator 14 the accumulator cores will be in a condition in which the cores S1 and 53 are set and the rest are reset. This is the condition representing the deposit of one coin of lowest acceptable denomination which in the case considered is a nickel.

If a dime or quarter was the first coin deposited or if a second nickel is deposited in the coin unit 12, it will again first cause an input current to be sent along the lower shift buss 67 and then secondly cause an input current to be sent along the upper shift buss 75 by the operation of the switch 20 or 18 respectively. Since an input current in the lower shift buss 67 causes the cores 51, 53, 55, 57 and 59 whose input windings a are connected thereto to change from a set condition if it exists to a reset condition both the cores 51 and 53 will be so affected. Changing these cores from set" to reset conditions produces output currents on their respective output windings 51x and 53x which currents pass through their associated negative current blocking diodes 68 and 76 and through the input windings 52b and 54b to change the flux condition of the next succeeding cores 52 and 54 so that the cores 52 and 54 then change to their "set conditions. The second signal in the upper shift buss 75 then sets" the core 51 and resets the cores 52 and 54 which thereby causes the cores 53 and 55 to change to their "set" condition as did the core 53 due to the deposit of the first coin. Therefore, after the deposit of two nickels or one dime or quarter, the accumu lator 14 will be in a condition wherein the cores 51, 53 and 55 are in a set condition and the cores 52, 54, 56, 57 and 58 and 59 are in the reset condition which represents the entry into the accumulator 14 of an amount equal to a deposit of 10 if a dime or quarter had been deposited initially the second pair of inputs would have been produced by the dime switch 20 instead of by nickel switch 18 first by the closing of its normally open contacts and then by the reclosing of its normally closed contacts. The first input .of the pair of inputs so produced is fed directly to the pulse forming network of the lower shift buss 67 while the second is fed to the pulse forming network of the upper shift buss 75 through the normally closed contacts of the coin switch 18. 1f a quarter had been deposited additional actions would take place as will be explained.

The deposit of another nickel or a dime when 10 is already entered in the accumulator 14 will produce another pair ofinputs from the coin switch 18 which will first cause the cores 51, 53 and 55 to change to a reset condition thus setting the cores 52,54 and 56. If the price selector switch 26 which is similar to the switch 26 of FIG. 1 is in its 15 position, a positive current will be generated in an output winding 55y on the core 55 when the core 55 changes from its set" to its "reset" condition, and this output will be conducted to the vend control means 24 to produce a vend operation or cycle as will be explained. Otherwise, the second input is applied to the upper shift buss 75 as before and the cores 51, 53, 55 and 57 will change to their set conditions, and the cores 52, 54 and 56 will change to their reset" conditions. The cores 58 and 59 will remain in their initial reset condition. This condition of the cores in the accumulator 14 represents an entry therein equal to a deposit of 15 a.

if a dime was last deposited or if another nickel is deposited in the machine another pair of inputs will be produced either by the dime switch or the nickel switch 18 respectively which will first cause the cores 51, 53,55 and 57 to change to their "reset" conditions thereby setting the cores 52, 54, 56 and 58. 1f the price selector switch 26 is in the 20 position a positive current will be generated in output winding 57y when the core 57 changes from its set" to its reset condition, and this current will be conducted to the vend control means 24 to produce a vend as will be described. Otherwise the second input produced by the closing of the coin switch 20 (or 18) will be applied to the upper shift buss 75 as before and the cores 51, 53, 55, 57 and 59 will change to a set" condition and the cores 52, 54, 56 and 58 to a reset" condition. This condition of the cores in the accumulator 14 represents the deposit of 20.

If another nickel or a dime is now deposited with 20 it in the accumulator 14 and the price selector switch 26 in the 25 position, the coin switch 18 will produce a pair ofinput signals the first on the lower shift buss 67 and the second on the upper shift buss 75 as before which signals will result in the core 59 changing from a set to a reset" condition and producing an output on its output winding 59y which passes through the 25 position of the price selector switch 26 into the vend control means 24 to produce a vend. After this input to the upper shift buss 75, the cores 51, 53, 55, 57 and 59 will be in a set" condition and cores 52, 54, 56 and 58 will be in a reset" condition. if a dime had been last deposited, the second pair of inputs caused by the switch 20 would have been switched by a gate 32 to the payback counter 16 to cause a payback of the excess nickel as will be explained. This same action takes place any time a dime is deposited and only a nickel more is needed to equal the vend price regardless of whether the price switch 26 and hence the vend price was in the 15 20 or 25 position.

The price switch 26 connects output signals from the accumulator 14 to the vend control means 24 through a series connected diode 78. The diode 78 is oriented to block negative currents produced in the outputs windings 55y, 57y and 59y when the associated cores 55, 57 and 59 change from their reset" to their set" conditions. The diode 75 also isolates the y" windings from the positive signals sent from the quarter switch 22 to the vend control 24 by a more direct route. The outputs that pass through the price selection switch 26 from the cores are of very short time duration and are too short to turn on a device such as a silicon controlled rectifier (SCR) directly so instead they are stored in a capacitor which is connected between the output side of the diode 78 and ground. The diode 78 also prevents the charge stored on the capacitor 80 from flowing back through the connected output y" windings of the cores 55, 57 or 59 to ground, and instead the charge flows through a resistor 82 connected at one end to the junction between the diode 78 and the capacitor 80 to the control element of SCR 84 which is in the vend control 24. The circuit which includes the capacitor 80 and the resistor 82 has a time constant that is long enough to turn on the SCR 84 if there is a voltage being applied across its anode and cathode.

The cathode of the SCR 84 is grounded as shown and its anode is connected through the vend relay 28 and through an isolation diode 86 to the normally open contacts of the coin switches 18 and 20 and through an isolation diode 88 to the normally open contacts of the quarter switch 22. A positive voltage is applied to the anode of SCR 84 whenever the normally open contacts of the coin switches 18, 20 or 22 are closed. This always happens at the same time a vend control signal if appropriate is applied through the selector switch 26 to the control element of the SCR 84 which causes the SCR 84 to turn on. When current flows in the SCR 84 it also flows through the coil winding 90 of the relay 28 thereby pulling in the vend relay contacts 92 which operate mechanisms in the vending machine that produce a vend cycle.

The opening or return to normal of the coin switches removes the positive voltage from the anode of the SCR 84 and this causes the relay 28 to be deenergized. The connection between the diodes 86 and 88 and to the vend relay coil 90 is grounded through a circuit which includes series connected resistor 98 and capacitor 100 which together form a chargestorage network. The charge-storage network maintains holding current on the SCR 84 in the event a switch bounce occurs when a coin closes the normally open contacts of coin switch 18, 20 or 22. This feature prevents improper multiple vends as well as other improper actions from occurring. Another diode 102 is connected in parallel across the vend relay coil 90 to prevent transient voltages from being generated when the inductive field of the vend relay 28 collapses as it is deenergized. Series connected resistor 104 and capacitor 106 are also connected between the anode of the SCR 84 and ground and form another charge-storage network to prevent voltage from being applied at too fast a rate to the SCR 84 which otherwise might cause it to turn on prematurely. A resistor 108 is also connected between the control OR gate element of the SCR 114 and its grounded cathode to prevent the SCR 84 from turning on prematurely at high temperatures due to leakage currents.

When an input signal is produced by the closing of the normally open contacts of the quarter switch 22, a positive input passes not only through diode 88 and the vend relay coil 90 to place a positive voltage across the SCR 84 but also through a pulse forming network made up of parallel connected resistor 110 and capacitor 112. and through an isolation diode 114 to the junction between the diode 78 and the capacitor 80. This signal is then applied through the resistor 82 to the control element of the SCR 84 causing it to turn on and energize the vend relay 28. It can be seen therefore that even though a quarter passing through the coin unit 12 will actuate the coin switches 18 and 20 and produce a count of in the accumulator 14, it will also actuate the quarter switch 22 to produce a vend operation directly without requiring any output from the accumulator 14.

When the vend relay 28 is energized, the relay contacts 92 close on their normally open sides as do other normally open relay reset contacts 116 which are included in the reset means 30 of FIG. 1. One side of the normally open relay reset contacts 116 are connected through a negative current blocking diode 118 and a pulse shaping network including parallel connected resistor 120 and capacitor 122 to a grounded reset buss 123 which includes series connected reset input windings identified by the suffix r on the cores 52 through 59 of the accumulator 14. The reset buss 123 also has in series therewith an input winding to the payback counter 16 which will be explained later. The reset input windings r in the accumulator 14 are all oriented so that positive current available thereto when the relay reset contacts 1 16 close enters the bottom of each r" winding and causes the associated cores 52 through 59 to be in a reset condition which is also their initial condition. This, of course, means that the cores 52-59 will be placed in their initial or reset" condition after the initiation of each vend operation. The other side of the reset switch 30 is connected to the first input of the gate 32 so that when the relay reset contacts 116 close they connect the gate 32 to the ground potential of the reset buss 123 to open the gate 32 as will be shown.

The reset buss 123 also has a connection to the normally open contacts of the switch 40 which is actuated by operation of the payback motor 38. When the switch 40 moves to its normally open position due to operation of the payback motor 38, a positive current is fed from a positive potential source through a surge limiting resistor 124 along the reset buss 123 which also causes the cores 52 through 59 of the accumulator counter 14 to be reset.

The input from the quarter switch 22 when its normally open contacts close due to the passage of a quarter thereby is also conducted through another pulse forming network made up of parallel connected resistor 126 and capacitor 128 to the second multiposition price selection switch 34 which is mechanically ganged to operate with the first price selection switch 26. If the price selection switch 34 is in the 25 position, this input signal is not conducted further. However, if the switch 34 is in either its or position this input signal is conducted to the payback counter 16.

The payback counter 16, like the accumulator 14, can be constructed along the lines of any suitable counting circuit but is shown constructed utilizing two multiwinding magnetic core members 131 and 132. More or fewer magnetic core members could be used in the payback counter 16 to increase or decrease the capacity thereof but, in the circuit as shown wherein the most that ever need be paid back by the payback counter is 10 two cores are all that are really needed.

The payback counter 16 receives signals for producing paybacks either through the price switch 34 in the 15 or 20 positions or through the gate 32 when it is open. The price switch 34 when in its 15 condition conducts a positive input signal from the coin switch 22 to windings on both of the cores 131 and 132 through a connection to ground through series connected input winding 131e on the core 131 and input winding 132e on the core 132. These windings are oriented so that the positive input signal enters at the top of the windings and places each of the cores 131 and 132 in a set condition. If the price selection switch 34 is in the 20 position instead of the l5 position the input signal is cond ucted through a single grounded input winding 131fon the core 131. The input current enters the top of winding l3lfand in this case places only the core 131 in its set"conditi0n.

The other means by which the payback counter 16 can receive input signals is from the coin switch 20 through the gate 32 to input winding 131g on the core 131. The output of the gate 32 is a positive current which passes into the top of grounded input winding 131g and places the core 131 in a set" condition. The payback counter 16 holds a count of zero when both cores are in the reset" condition, a count of one when either core 131 or 132 is in a set" condition, and a count of two when both cores 131 and 132 are in set conditrons.

When the core 131 sets from its normal reset condition, a positive impulse is generated on output winding l3lj which passes through a negative current blocking diode 134 to the input of the payback motor control circuit 36 which operates the payback motor 38. 'As aforesaid, when payback motor 38 operates, the motor switch 40 is moved to its normally open position and this causes a reset impulse to be applied through the reset buss 123 including winding l31r as well as through the other reset windings 52r-59r to ground. This changes the condition of the core 131 back to its normal reset condition but produces no output on winding l31j because of the polarity of the diode 134. When the switch 40 recloses or goes back to its normally closed position due to operation of the motor 38, a positive impulse is conducted from the positive potential source through the surge limiting resistor 124 to apply a positive input to the bottom of the input winding 132k on the core 132. This signal is applied through a pulse forming network that includes parallel connected resistor 136 and capacitor 138 and causes the core 132 to be in reset condition. lf the core 132 has been previously changed to a set condition by an input signal from the quarter switch 22 through the price selection switch 34 when in the 15 position, the core 132 will be changed from the set" to a "reset condition by the reclosing of the switch 40 thereby producing a positive output on its output winding 132]. This signal will pass through negative current blocking diode 140 to the input of the payback motor control circuit 36 thereby actuating the payback motor 38 a second time. It can therefore be seen that the payback counter 16 accepts inputs representing money amounts deposited -in excess of an established vend price and uses this information to control the payback means including the payback motor 38 to pay back the right amounts of money.

The outputs from the payback counter 16 to the payback motor control circuit 36 are temporarily stored on a grounded capacitor 142 which is provided to lengthen or stretch such inputs which may otherwise be too short in time duration to reliably turn on OR gate SCR 146 which is in the circuit 36. The diodes 134 and 140 in addition to performing the function already described, also block the charge on capacitor 142 and prevent it from flowing back through and being dissipated through the output windings 131 and 132] of the cores 131 and 132 to ground. The charge instead is only applied across resistor 144 which is connected on one side to the junction between the capacitor 142 and the diodes 134 and 140 and on the opposite side to the gate or control electrode of the SCR 146. The cathode of the SCR 146 is grounded, and a resistor 138 is connected between the control electrode and ground to prevent the SCR 146 from turning on prematurely at high temperatures due to leakage currents. The anode of the SCR 146 is connected to a payback motor control relay 150 and more specifically to one end of relay coil 152. A diode 154 is also connected in parallel across the relay coil 152 to prevent transient voltages-from being generated when the inductive field produced by the payback relay coil 152 collapses. The opposite side of the relay coil 152 is connected through an isolation diode 156, the normally closed contacts of the payback motor switch 40 and the surge limiting resistor 124 to the positive potential source. When the relay 150.is energized due to the turning on ofthe SCR 146 it completes a power circuit from power lead L to power lead L through the payback motor 38 and through relay contacts 158 to energize the payback motor 3d. The payback motor 38 also has means such as a cam assembly which cause a second motor switch 160 connected between the power source L and the payback motor to close for a proper duration to assure that the payback motor will complete its operating cycle each time it is energized to payback one coin. As the payback motor 38 approaches the end of its cycle, other means cause the switch 40 to briefly close on its normally open side and thereafter return to its nonnally closed condition. This sends a signal to the payback counter core reset winding 13lr which causes core 131 to be in a "reset" condition as aforesaid. This also interrupts the holding current on the SCR 146 which current is applied through the diode 156 and through the relay coil 152 thereby restoring the SCR 146 to its nonconducting condition and at the same time deenergizing the relay 150. When the normally closed contacts of the switch 40 reciose they send an impulse to the payback counter core winding 132k which causes the core 132 to be in a reset" condition in readiness for the next payback cycle. A grounded series connected resistor 162 and capacitor 164 form a storage circuit between the diode 156 and the relay 150 to make sure that the positive potential is not applied so quickly by the switch 40 to the anode of the SCR 146 that it undesirably turns on again.

The gate circuit 32 which passes nickel payback inputs to the payback counter 16, includes a resistor 170 and a capacitor 172 connected in series between a positive potential source and ground. Lead 174 connects the junction between the resistor 170 and the capacitor 172 to another junction between two series connected resistors 176 and 178. The opposite side of resistor 176 is connected between one side of a negative current blocking diode 180 and a bypass capacitor 182, and the opposite side of the capacitor 182 is connected to the gate input winding 131g of the core 131. The resistor 178 is connected on its opposite side from lead 174 and resistor 176 to the movable contact 116 of the reset switch 30. When the reset switch 30 closes it provides a ground potential to the gate 32 as aforesaid and the capacitor 172 is discharged through the resistor 178. The resistor 170 through which the capacitor 172 is recharged is chosen to be relatively large with respect to the resistor 176 so the potential on lead 174 approaches zero or near zero when the reset switch 30 is closed. This removes the diode back biasing positive charge from the capacitor 182 which is normally applied through the resistor 176 from the capacitor 172 for a period of time after the reset switch 170 rceloses which is determined by the value otthe resistor 170. The diode 180 is connected to the normally open contacts of coin switches it! and 20. The positive impulses generated when either switch 18 or closes, which impulse is normally blocked, can then pass through diode 180 and capacitor 182 to ground through input winding 131g of the core 131 to place it in a "sot condition and cause a payback of one coin for the time period that it takes the capacitor 172 to recharge. The recharge time period involved is slightly longer titan the time it takes a dime to leave the nickel coin switch 18 and close the dime coin switch 20. Of course in the circuit as shown only the switch 20 has an opportunity to pass a signal through the gate 32 as the gate is never open when a nickel is deposited unless two coins were deposited almost simultaneously. The function oi the gate 32 is to cause the payback of a nickel when a dime is the last coin deposited and i when it adds with the previously deposited coins to make a total deposit of 5d too much. This happens, for example, when two dimes are deposited for a l5 vend or when four nickels and then a dime are deposited for a 25 vend.

The power supply 42 for the circuit of FIG. 2 is constructed to produce a positive direct current source, and includes a current rectifier diode whose cathode is connected to the positive DC potential source and to a charge storage capacitor 192. The anode of diode 190 is connected to another capacitor 194 and through a current limiting resistor 196 to the power lead L The opposite sides of capacitors 192 and 194 are connected to grounded input lead L as shown.

By properly arranging the circuit connections including the connections to the accumulator circuit 14 the price selection switches 26 and 34, the gate 32 and the payback counter 16 it is possible to establish vend prices other than those which are shown in the particular embodiment illustrated and described herein. It is also possible to increase or decrease the capacity of the accumulator 14 and the payback counter 16 by increasing or decreasing the number of cores contained therein. The subject circuit 10 can also be modified for use with a greater number or different coin denominations and to be used with foreign and token coinage by modifying or changing the coin unit 12.

Thus there has been shown and described a novel coin control means for use in vending machines and similar devices which fulfill all of the objects and advantages sought therefor. Many changes, modifications, variations, adaptations and other uses and applications of the subject control means will, however, become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering this specification and the accompanying drawings which disclose one of many possible embodiments thereof. All such changes, modifications, variations, adaptations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope ofthe invention are deemed to be covered by the inven tion which is limited only by the claims which follow.

I claim:

1. Control means for a vending machine having coin-receiving means including means for receiving coins of more than one denomination and means for producing pairs of output signals representing at least part of the value of each coin deposited therein, means when excited for performing a vend operation, means for selecting a vend price, said coin-receiving means including means to produce a special control output signal whenever the value of a single deposited coin at least equals the selected vend price, means for refunding amounts deposited in the coin-receiving means in excess of the vend price, and means comprising accumulator means having counting stages of changeable states therein connected operatively to the coin-receiving means and energizeabie by said pairs of output signals therefrom produced when coins are deposited to accumulate the value of said deposits, said accumulator means having input means connected to the coinreceiving means and output means for producing an output signal to excite the means for producing a vend whenever the accumulated amount at least equals the vend price, other means connected between the coin-receiving means and the means for performing a vend operation, said other means including means responsive to the said special control outputs of the coin-receiving means to excite said vend performing means more directly whenever the deposit of a single coin at least equals the vend price, refund counter means for energizing the refund means to refund amounts deposited in the coinreceiving means in excess of the vend price as determined by the setting of the vend price selection means, said refund counter means having counting stages of changeable states therein, and means under control of said vend performing means to return the counting stages of the accumulator means and at least one counting stage of the refund counter means to preset initial states whenever the vend performing means are excited.

2. The control means defined in claim 1 including means under control of said refund means to return the Counting stages of the accumulator means and the counting stages of the refund counter means to preset initial states whenever the refund means are energized.

3. The control means defined in claim ll wherein each of said counting stages of said accumulator means includes at least one magnetic core.

4. The control means defined in claim 1 wherein said refund counter means include gate means which are normally in a closed condition, said gate being opened in response to signals produced by the means that return the accumulator means and at least one stage of the refund counter means to preset initial states, said gate means in an open condition allowing a preselected output signal from said coin-receiving means to pass therethrough to the refund counter means to energize the refund means.

5. The control means defined in claim 4 wherein said gate means include delay means to maintain the open condition of the gate means for a predetermined time period.

6, The control means defined in claim it wherein said output means for producing an output signal to excite the means for producing a vend are connected to the coin-receiving means and controlled by outputs therefrom to deenergize the means for producing a vend,

7. A control circuit for vending machines and the like com prising counting means including a plurality of serially connected stages each including a counting element capable of being in one of two distinct stable states and arranged in order to be changed from one stable state to the other stable state sequentially in response to the receipt of impulses produced when coins of selected denominations are deposited in the vending machines for accumulating the value of the coinage so deposited, each of said counting elements producing at least one output whenever it changes to a selected one of its two states, said elements being connected so that the output from one of said elements produces a change in the state of the element in the next succeeding stage, means including multiposition price switch means connected to receive outputs from selected ones of said counting elements, the setting of said price switch means determining the vend price, vend means connected to receive selected outputs of the counting means through said price switch means, said vend means also being connected to receive selected impulses produced when coins are deposited in the vending machine, said vend means initiating a vend operation whenever said selected outputs and impulses are both present at the vend means simultaneously, means for returning the counting elements to preestablished initial states in response to the occurrence of a vend operation, and refund means including refund counting means eon-' nected to respond to amounts deposited in the vending machine in excess of the selected vend price as determined by the setting of the price switch means.

8. The control circuit defined in claim 7 wherein at least one of said counting elements is a magnetic core element.

9. The control circuit defined in claim 7 including means to energize said vend means more directly, bypassing the said counting means whenever the value of a single coin deposited in the vending machine at least equals the vend price, said more direct means also including means'to deenergize said vend means once the single coin has ceased to produce impulses.

10. The control circuit defined in claim 7 wherein said plurality of serially connected states include 1, 2, n stages, where n is an odd integer at least equal to 3, the deposit of each coin producing at least one pair of input impulses, the first impulse of each of said pair of impulses producing a change in the state of the counting element of at least stage 2 and the second impulse of said pair producing a change in the state of the counting elements of at least stages 1, 2 and 3.

11. The control circuit defined in claim 7 wherein said refund means include refund motor means and means to control the energizing of said motor means, and wherein said refund counting means include at least one counting element capable of being in one of two distinct stable states, said counting element producing at least one output impulse whenever it changes to a selected one of its two states, said refund motor control means being connected to the refund motor means to energize said refund motor means upon receipt ofat least one output impulse from said refund counting means, said refund motor means including motor switch means connected to said refund counting means and to said counting means to return said refund counting means and said counting means to preestablished initial conditions each time a refund takes place.

112. The control circuit defined in claim 11 wherein said refund counting means include at least one controllable magnetic core element.

13. The control circuit defined in claim 7 wherein said refund means include refund motor means and means to control the energizing of said motor means, said refund motor means having associated switch means connected to said refund motor control means to momentarily incapacitate said refund motor control means to at least momentarily terminate energization of said refund motor means.

14. Control means for vending and like machines which inelude coin-receiving means capable of receiving coins deposited therein and capable of producing output signals corresponding to the value of each deposited coin, means on the vending machine adjustable to establish a desired vend price, means to perform a vend operation, and means including coinrefunding means for refunding amounts deposited in excess of the price of a selected vend, the improvement comprising a control circuit for controllingthe operation of the vending machine, said control circuit including first and second counting means the first of which include a plurality of serially connected. magnetic core counting elements wherein said magnetic core counting elements are connected in consecutive stages one through n where n is an odd integer, the output signals produced by the coin-receiving means when coins are deposited therein occuring as pairs of impulses, said first counting means including first and second input connections, the first of which provides means for conducting the first impulse of each pair of input impulses to the magnetic core counting elements in the odd integer stages and the second input connection providing means for conducting the second impulse of each pair of input impulse to the magnetic core ele ments of the first and even integer stages, said first counting means thereby accumulating the value of coins deposited in the coin-receiving means, output means associated with said first counting means producing an output to initiate the operation of the vend performing means in the vending machine whenever the magnetic core counting elements change to a condition representing an amount that at least equals the established vend price, and means operatively connected to the second counting means to enter amounts therein corresponding to amounts deposited in the coin-receiving means in excess of the established vend price, said second counting means being connected to the coin-refunding means and energizing the coin-refunding means whenever amounts representing amounts deposited in excess of the established vend price are entered therein.

15. The control means defined in claim M including means to initiate the vend operation means in the vending machine more directly, bypassing said first counting means whenever the value of a single coin deposited in the vending machine at least equals the vend price.

H6. The control means defined in claim 15 wherein said more direct vend initiating means include output means connected to said second counter means, which output means conduct a signal to said second counter means representing an excess deposited over the established vend price.

17. The control means defined in claim 114i wherein said output means associated with said first counting means include multiposition switch means capable of establishing any one of a plurality of selectable connection paths to different selected ones of the magnetic core counting elements in the first counting circuit to conduct selected outputs therefrom for use in initiating the vend performing means.

18. The control means defined in claim 14 including first means for returning said first counting means to a preestablished initial condition each time a vend operation is initiated, and second means for returning said first and second counting means to preestablished initial conditions each time a coin is refunded by the coin-refunding means.

19. The control means defined in claim 18 wherein said second means for returning said first and second counting means back to preestablished initial conditions include means to prevent operation thereof for a predetermined time period after initiation of a refund operation.

20. The control means defined in claim 14 wherein the second counting means include means for producing an output refund impulse to energize the coin-refunding means whenever an amount is entered therein, and means under control of the coin-refunding means for conducting an input signal to said second counting means during the occurrence of each refund operation to cause said second counting means to produce another output refund impulse to energize the coinrefunding means again whenever the amount entered in said second counting means represented more than the amount having been refunded by the coin-refunding means.

21. A control circuit for vending machines and the like hav' ing coin-receiving means capable of accepting coins of at least three different denominations and price control means for selecting between different vend prices, said coin-receiving means including first, second and third coin-activated input means, each of said first and second coin-activated input means including means for generating first and second input impulses each time a coin moves thereby, and said third coinactivated input means including means for generating at least one input impulse each time a coin moves by, counter means including a plurality of serially connected counter elements each having two stable states, means for changing the state of at least two of said elements each time the first coin'activated input means generate said first input impulse and means for changing the state of at least three of said elements each time the first coin-activated input means generate said second input impulse, means for changing the state of at least four of said elements each time the second coin-activated input means generate said first input impulse and means for changing the state of at least five of said elements each time the second coin-activated input means generate said second input impulse, vend control means for initiating a vend operation whenever an amount deposited at least equals a vend price as established by the price control means, said vend control means being connected to receive output signals from said counter means through said price control means, said counter means producing a vend output signal to initiate a vend operation whenever the amount entered therein at least equals a selected vend price, and means under control of said vend control means for restoring the counter elements to predetermined states after the initiation ofa vend operation.

22. The circuit defined in claim 21 including payback means for refunding amounts deposited in the coin-receiving means in excess of the selected vend price, said payback means including payback counter means and payback logic means, said payback logic means including a gate circuit having input connections to the vend control means and the coinreceiving means and having output connections to the payback counter means to conduct a signal to said payback counter means from said second coin-activated input means whenever said gate circuit is in a predetermined condition caused by the receipt thereat ofa signal from the vend control means.

23. The circuit defined in claim 21 including payback means for refunding amounts deposited in the coin-receiving means in excess of the selected vend price, and means bypassing the counter means to activate the vend control means whenever the third coin-activated input means is activated, said payback means refunding an amount that depends on the selected vend price and the amount of the de osit. I

4. The control circuit defined in claim 21 wherein said price control means include means for selecting between vend prices of 15, 20 and 25 25. The circuit defined in claim 21 including payback means for refunding amounts deposited in the coin-receiving means in excess of the vend price, said payback means including refund counting means, refund motor means, and refund motor control means, said refund counting means including first and second counting elements each having an initial and a transferred state, a gate circuit to conduct selected input impulses from said coin-receiving means to said first element to change said first element from its initial state to its transferred state, and payback switch means having at least a first and second position and controlled by said price control means to conduct other selected input impulses from said coin-receiving means to said first element to change said first element from its initial state to its transferred state when the payback switch means are in the first switch position and to conduct the said other selected input impulses from said coin-receiving means to both of said first and second elements to change said elements from their initial states to their transferred states when the payback switch means are in the second switch position, said first element producing an output for feeding to said refund motor control means whenever it changes from its initial state to its transferred state and said second element producing an output for feeding to said refund motor control means whenever it changes from its transferred state to its initial state, said refund motor control means energizing said refund motor to refund one coin each time said refund motor control means receives an output from said refund counting means, said refund motor including means for producing outputs when a coin is being refunded thereby for use in the refund counting means to restore any of the elements thereof that are in a transferred state to the initial state thereof.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3891075 *Nov 12, 1973Jun 24, 1975Amp IncSolid state control circuit for vending devices
US4023704 *Mar 25, 1974May 17, 1977Rowe International Inc.Helical feed merchandising machine
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US5988348 *Jun 27, 1997Nov 23, 1999Coinstar, Inc.Coin discrimination apparatus and method
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US6766892Jan 2, 2003Jul 27, 2004Coinstar, Inc.Coin discrimination apparatus and method
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Classifications
U.S. Classification194/217
International ClassificationG07F5/20, G07F5/22
Cooperative ClassificationG07F5/22
European ClassificationG07F5/22