US 3604536 A
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United States Patent [ll/l/p/I/YA////////////////// Primary Examiner-Edgar W. Geog began Attorney-Friedman & Goodman ABSTRACT: A device, which consumes little power while producing a variable slow rate of continuous rotation of a display, having a self-regulating intermittently operating higher speed electric motor, an electric circuit connecting the motor to a power supply, a switch assembly connected to the electric circuit in series with the power supply and the motor for starting and stopping the operation of the motor, and a mechanism operatively associated with the motor and the display. The mechanism permits continuous rotation of a light or heavy weight display in any plane and is provided with a first member for storing rotating energy and a second member for controlling the opening and closing of the switch assembly upon the storing of a predetermined amount of rotating energy by the first member.
LOW WA'ITAGE DISPLAY ENERGIZER CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 84l,707,filed July 15, 1969, now US. Pat. No. 3,533,489 which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 659,16l, filed Aug. 8, 1967, now U.S. Pat. No."3,456,762.
BACKGROUND or THE INVENTION There is often need for low-power-consuming devices providing slow rates of rotation. Such devices are employed as part of battery-powered advertising displays, toys, clocks and phonographs. Clocks and phonographs must turn at a specific constant speed and therefore require carefully machined shafts, gears and speed control mechanisms, Advertising displays and toys on the other hand needless accurate speed controland can therefore employ simpler motor mechanisms.
Most existing advertising and display motor devices use one of three mechanisms to producea slow rates of rotation, One mechanism is that of a constantly operating electric motor geared down to produce a slow rate of output shaft rotation; this mechanism consumes excessive power and will rapidly drain a battery power supply.
A second mechanism involves a commutator assembly whichenergizes the motor coil during only a portion of the 360 rotation of'the motor shaft, relying on inertia to continue the rotation during the unenergized portion of the rotation;
this mechanism requires a flywheel mechanism in order to friction of reduction gears or cannot produce very low rates of rotation. In all of these devices the energy cost per revolution goes up as the number of revolutions per minute goes down.
A' high efficiency devicedisclosed in my above-mentioned U.S.'Pat. 'No. 3,456,762,"called an Electrically Powered Mobile, and disclosed in my above-mentioned copending application, Ser. No. 841,707, is presently limited to use with light weight, vertically suspended displays. This device employs an electric motor attached to a string or strings which shortens when twisted by the motor and thereby activates an associated switch whichtemporarily turns off the motor until the string untwists from its other end. The twisted and shortened string stores the rotating energy. Displays hanging from the string will rotate at variousrates, ranging from revolutions per minute up to the operatingspeed of the motor. The rate of rotation is controlled by varying the air resistance of the display. The energy cost perrevolution. is independent of the rate. However, because the weight of the display is supported by the string, and the string must shorten and lift the weight as it is twisted by the motor, a heavy weight can stall the motor. Also, because a string acts as an energy storage system only when it is under tension, the above device works only when the string supports the weight of the motor or of the display, and only when the display rotates in a horizontal plane.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a display device, and more particularly'to a simple device which will consume little power while producing a variable slow rate of continuous rotation of a lightorheavyweight display by means of self-regulating intermittently operating higher speed motor. The device of the present invention yields a slow rate of rotation in any plane, of heavy or light displays. It combines the simplicity, low power drain, and range of rotation rates of an electrically powered mobile with the flexibility of orientationand the weight-handling ability of devices employing gears.
The device stores the energy of some rapidly rotating motor shaft or other rotating element by twisting or otherwise deforming an' associated length or lengths of string, spring, or similar thin and flexible material. The device senses when a significant level of energy has been stored in the twisted or otherwise deformed flexible material by detecting some associated change in its length, width, shape, position or tension, and responds by turning off the motor. The energy stored in the deformed flexible material is transmitted to an associated rigid or flexible output shaft comprising a rod, string or similar extended structure which passes through a thrust bearing, a bushing, or other form of weight bearing means which may support the weight of associated displays while permitting them to rotate. Compressible or stretchable materialssuch as springs or rubber bands, functional equivalent magnetic or electrostatic fields, and sliding couplings may each be associated with the output shaft andbearings in such a manner as to permit the change in length, width, shape, position or tension of the flexible energy storage means to take place without a necessary associated displacement of the displays being rotated by the energy storage means. The speed of rotation of the associated display is restricted by the air-resistance of the display or by some equivalent means. The device senses when the stored energy in the deformed flexible material material is significantly depleted and causes the motor to again operate until the energy store is significantly replenished. The cycle repeats until the power supply of the electric motor is exhausted.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved display device which overcomes disadvantages of the prior art display devices. I
Another object of the invention is to provide a slow continuous rotation from the intermittent operation of a higher speed rotary-powered device without the need to employ large or heavy flywheels, and without the need to employ speed reduction gears, pulleys or drive wheels.
A further object is to operate a high speed rotary device intermittently, storing the output energy ofthe device, and releasing it as a slow rate of rotation.
A still further object is to detect the amount of energy stored in a slow rotation producing device as evidenced by the deformation of some flexible material, and to turn a power supply on and off so as to periodically add appropriate amounts of energy to the above-mentioned energy store.
Yet another object is to be able to vary the number of revolutions per minute of the output without significantly varying the energy requirement per revolution.
And yet another object is to be able to rotate displays too heavy to be rotated by an electrically powered mobile, and too heavy to be lifted by the deformation of the flexible material as it is twisted by the motor.
And still yet another object is to be able to rotate displays which, because of light weight or orientation, do not exert sufficient force on the output shaft to maintain the flexible material of the energy storage means under tension.
And still yet an additional'object is to obtain a number of different rates and directions of rotations of associated displays without employing gears, cranks, pulleys or friction drive wheels.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Having in mind the above and other objects that will be evident from an understanding of this disclosure, the invention comprises the devices, combinations and arrangements of parts as illustrated in the presently preferred embodiment of the invention which is hereinafter set forth in such detail as to enable those skilled in the art readily to understand the function, operation, construction and advantages of it, when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:
The lone FIGURE represents a transverse sectional view through an improved display device pursuant to the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawing, the FIGURE illustrates a display device of the present invention. The display device 10 includes a housing 11, as shown in longitudinal section, which is closed at both ends by wall 12 and 13, secured thereto by con ventional means. The housing 11 is provided with partition walls 14 and 15 to define compartments 16, 17 and 18 within the housing 1 l.
A conventional electric motor 20 is enclosed in the compartment 16 at one end of the housing 11. The motor 20 is provided with a shaft 21 which extends through an opening in the partition wall 14 into the center compartment 17. A fitting 22 conventionally attaches an end of a length of braided string 23 to the motor shaft 21. The other end of the string 23 is conventionally attached to a magnet 24 disposed in the compartment 17.
A conventional magnetic read switch 25 is disposed in the compartment 17 adjacent to the magnet 24. The magnet 24 controls the switch 25 and will cause the switch 25 to open or close depending upon the proximity of the magnet 24 to the switch 25, as will be set forth hereinbelow. A wire 26 extending through an aperture in the partition wall 14 electrically connects the switch 25 to the motor 20. A wire extending through the housing 1 1 electrically connects the motor 20 to a conventional battery supply (not shown). Another wire 28 extending through the housing 11 electrically connects the switch 25 to the same power supply so as to complete a series circuit between the motor 20, the switch 25 and the power supply when the switch 25 is in the closed position.
A spring member 30 includes an extension spring 31 disposed within compartment 17 between a supporting shaft 32 and an output shaft 33, with the shafts 32, 33 being conventionally secured to the opposite ends of the spring 31. The supportingshaft 32 is conventionally secured to the magnet 24. The output shaft 33 extends through the compartment 18 at the other end of the housing 1 1, projecting out of the housing 11. The projected end of shaft 33 is circularly shaped to define a ring 34 to which may be attached objects to be rotated.
The partition wall 15 and the end wall 13 are each provided with substantially centrally located bushings 35 and 36, respectively, which are provided with openings in alignmentwith each other to receive the output shaft 33. The shaft 33 is provided with a flange 37 disposed in the compartment 18 between the bushing 35, 36, the flange 37 being dimensioned larger than the openings in the bushings 35, 36. A pair of beads or washers 38 and 39 having openings therein to receive the output shaft 33, space the flange 37 from the bushings 35, 36 respectively, function of which will be set forth hereinbelow. The flange 37 is also dimensioned larger than the openings in the beads 38, 39 to retain the flange 37 therebetween.
To rotate a display or similar objects suspended from the output shaft ring 34, a torque must be applied to the output shaft 33. To produce this torque, the string 23 must continuously be kept under tension. This tension is maintained by the spring 31, which is associated with the string 23, in cooperation with the flange 37. The flange 37 is disposed in compartment 18 so that the position of the flange 37 always maintains a tension on the spring 31.
If no weight is on the output shaft 33, the flange 37 will abut the bead 38 which in turn will abut the stationary bushing 35 of the partition wall 15. In this above position, the spring 31 is under tension, being pulled upon by the output shaft 33. If the heavy objects are suspended from the output shaft ring 34, the weight of the objects will be supported by the flange 37 abutting the bead 39 which in turn abuts the stationary bushing 36 of the end wall 13. In this latter position, the spring 31 is still under tension, being pulled upon by the output shaft 33.
As shown above, the output shaft 33 will continuously maintain a tension on the spring 31 for any position of the flange 37 in the compartment 18.
Due to the above-mentioned tension, the string 23 will move the magnet 24 alongside the switch 25 as the string 23 twists and untwists, as set forth below. When the string 23 is untwisted, as shown, a portion A of the magnet 24 is positioned adjacent to the broken line B, in'which position the magnet 24 causes the switch 25 to close, thereby completing the circuit to the motor 20, starting the motor 20. If rotation of the output shaft 33 is slowed by air resistance, friction or other means, the string 23 will twist as it is rotated by the motor shaft 21, causing the string 23 to shorten. The shortening of the string 23 will stretch the spring 31 and displace the magnet 24 in a direction towards the motor 20 until the portion A of the magnet 24 is positioned adjacent to the broken line C.
At position C, the magnet 24 causes the switch 25 to open, thereby opening the circuit to the motor 20, turning off the motor 20. The string 23 will now untwist, causing the string 23 to lengthen. The lengthening of the string 23 will move the magnet 24 in a direction away from the motor 20 until the portion A of magnet 24 is again positioned adjacent to the broken line B, causing the switch 25 to again close, thereby repeating the above cycle over and over again. During this time, the display is continuously rotating.
In theory, if an object having no or zero air resistance was attached to the ring 34, and there was no friction present, the motor 20 would run continuously. In this situation, the portion A of the magnet 24 would be at a position B so that the switch 25 was in the closed position. The motor 20 would rotate the string 23 without twisting the same so that the magnet 24 would not move toward the motor 20. The string 23 would rotate the spring member 30 and would cause the output shaft 33 to rotate the object at the same speed as the motor shaft 21.
A torsion force is maintained on the output shaft 33 at all times, but electrical energy is consumed only to replenish the energy stored in the twisted string 23 whenever this store is depleted by rotations of the output shaft 33. Depending on resistance to rotation of objects attached to output shaft 33, the rates of rotation will range from zero up to the speed of the motor 20. Unlike a continuously operating motor, however, the energy cost per rotation is approximately constant.
Preferably, the end wall 12 of the housing 11 is provided with a ring member 40. The ring member 40 facilitates the mounting of the housing 11 in a vertical position, as shown, whereby a supporting string or wire (not shown) may be attached through the ring member 40 for such a purpose. If the device 10 is turned on its side for mounting thereof, the weights of the displays attached to the output shaft 33 are supported by the shaft 33 as it rotates against the bushings 35 and 36.
In the above vertical position, if a string is attached to the ring 34, this external string becomes part of the energy storage system. If one or more displays are attached along this external string, the system functions as the device disclosed in above-mentioned US. Pat. No. 3,456,762, to this reference may be made.
A similar system is generated if a battery is attached to the housing 11, some objects producing air resistance is attached to ring member 40, and the device is suspended by a string attached to the ring 34. In this latter position the housing 11 would be continuously rotated, first by the motor 20 when the switch 25 is closed, and then by the untwisting of the string 23 when the switch 25 is opened, in a manner similar to that set forth hereinabove. Displays attached to points along this latter external string, will show the complex pattern of movement common to electrically powered mobiles.
It is noted that separate strings may be attached to the display device 10, one sting being connected to the ring 34 and another string being connected to the ring member 40,
whereby the display device 10 may be suspended by either of these strings. It is understood from the above, that each of these external strings will become part of the energy storage system.
Numerousalterations of the structure herein disclosed will suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. However, it is to be understood that the present disclosure relates to a preferred embodiment of the invention which is for purposes of illustration only, and not to be constructed as a limitation of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. Display apparatus comprising:
a. an electric motor;
b. an electric circuit connecting said motor to a power c. switch means connected to said electric circuit in series with the power supply and said motor for starting and stopping the operation of said motor;
. rotating energy storage means associated with said motor for storing rotating energy;
e. control means operatively associated with said rotating energy storage means to control the opening and closing of said switch means upon storing of a predetermined amount of rotating energy in said rotating energy storage means;
. output means associated with said energy storage means for actuating associated displays and the like; and
g. linkage means associated with said output means and said energy storage means to functionally isolate the energy storage means from variations in forces other than torque applied to the output means. 7
2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said linkage means includes a spring biased flange disposed between stationary portions of said apparatus to continuously maintain a tension upon said energy storage means.
3. An apparatus according to claim 2, wherein abutment members space said flange from said stationary portions of said apparatus.
4. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said linkage means cooperates with associated twisting of said energy storage means to regulate the position of said control means relative to said switch means between the open position and the closed position of said switch means.
5. An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said output means is rotated by said energy storage means when said switch is in the open position.
6. An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said apparatus is rotated by said energy storage means when said switch is in the open position.
7. An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said motor rotates energy storage means when said switch means is in the closed position to twist said energy storage means.
8. An apparatus according to claim 7, wherein twisting of said energy storage means produces changes in dimension thereof, said changes in dimension of said energy storage means associated with changes in amount of energy stored are permitted to occur by said linkageindependently of position and orientation of said output means.
9. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said linkage means includes a spring connected to said control means, and a shaft disposed between said spring and said output means, said shaft being provided with a flange disposed between stationary members of said apparatus to continuously maintain a tension upon said energy storage means.
10. An apparatus according to claim 9, wherein said control means includes a magnet, and said switch means includes a magnetic reed switch operatively associated with said magnet to control opening and closing of said switch.
11. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said apparatus includes attachment means connected to said output means to permit attachment of secondary energy storage means to said output means to suspend said apparatus.
12. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said apparatus includes attachment means connected to said output means to permit attachment of secondary energy storage means to said output means to suspend the associated displays and the like.
13. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said apparatus includes housing means to support said electric motor, and attachment means connected to said housing means to permit attachment of secondary energy storage means to said housing means to suspend said apparatus.
14. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said apparatus includes housing means to support said electric motor, and attachment means connected to said housing means to permit attachment of secondary energy storage means to said housing means to suspend the associated displays and the like.
15. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said apparatus includes housing means to support said electric motor, attachment means connected to said housing means to permit attachment of secondary energy storage means to said housing means, and another attachment means connected to said output means to permit attachment of additional secondary energy storage means to said output means, whereby one of the secondary energy storage means suspends said apparatus and the other of the secondary energy storage means suspends the associated displays and the like.