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Publication numberUS3710379 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 9, 1973
Filing dateOct 5, 1970
Priority dateOct 9, 1969
Also published asDE2049335A1
Publication numberUS 3710379 A, US 3710379A, US-A-3710379, US3710379 A, US3710379A
InventorsBruinsma A
Original AssigneePhilips Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Switching apparatus for selectively and sequentially operating two rows of lamps with lock-out means therebetween
US 3710379 A
Abstract
A switching device for sequentially operating two or more rows of lamps. An elongated light conductor is arranged between the two rows of lamps so that the light from a lamp of the first row and the light from a corresponding lamp of the second row emanate from the same given surface area of the light conductor. Cross connections are provided between switching elements connected in first and second circuits providing sequential operation of said first and second rows of lamps, respectively, so that when a lamp of one row is ignited, the corresponding lamp of the other row cannot be ignited simultaneously.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 Bruinsma 1 Jan. 9, 1973 [5 1 SWITCHING APPARATUS FOR [56] References Cited SELECTIVELY AND SEQUENTIALLY UNITED STATES PATENTS OPERATING TWO ROWS OF LAMPS Y WITH LOCK OUT MEANS g/1952 Peter et a1. ......340/380 /l954 Rothman ..340/380 THEREBETWEEN 3,225,342 12/1965 Clark ....340/l68 s Inventor: Anne Hendrik Bruinsma, Emmasin 3,568,177 3/1971 Hasler ..340/324 R l Emdboven Netherlands Primary Examiner-John W. Caldwell [73] Assignee: U.S. Philips Corporation, New 1 Assistant Examiner-Marshall M. Curtis York, NY. Attorney-Frank R. Trifari [21] Appl' 77300 A switching device for sequentially operating two or more rows of lamps. An elongated light conductor is [30] Foreign Application Priority Data arranged between the two rows of lamps so that the light from a lamp of the first row and the light from a Oct. 5, 1970 Netherlands ..69l5254 corresponding lamp of the second row emanate from the same given surface area of the light conductor. [52] U.S. Cl. ..340/379, 340/168 S, 340/380 Cross connections are provided between switching {51 Int. Cl. ..G08b 5/36 elements connected in first and second circuits provid- [58] Field of Search ..340/378, 379, 380, 324, 325, ing sequential operation of said first and second rows of lamps, respectively, so that when a lamp of one row is ignited, the corresponding lamp of the other row cannot be ignited simultaneously.

13 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PMENTEDJM 9197s 3.710.379

sum 1 OF 2 IXYEX'I'OR.

ANNE H. BRUINSMA K rpm/QM- AGENT PATENTEUJAH 9197a 3.710.379

' sum 2 OF 2 Fig.3

IXVEXTOR.

ANNE H. BRUINSMA SWITCHING APPARATUS FOR SELECTIVELY AND SEQUENTIALLY OPERATING TWO ROWS I OF LAMPS WITI-I LOCK-OUT MEANS TIIEREBETWEEN This invention relates to a switching apparatus for a moving light display comprising at least two rows of lamps. Associated with and adjacent to each lamp of the first row is a lamp of the second row. Each lamp of each row is connected in series with a switching element so that a moving light picture is obtainable with each of the rows of lamps.

A known switching apparatus of the kind set forth is employed, for example, for a luminous newspaper. In

this case a panel having a great number of lamps is used on which moving texts are rendered visible. Such a device is described, for example, in Dutch Pat. application No. 6,818,241. The information display system disclosed in said Patent application comprises a panel having a number of lamps arranged in rows and columns. The character displayed moves from right to apparatus in which the light from two co-ordinated lamps apparently emanates from the same place. The apparatus includes means for preventing the simultaneous emission of light from the two co-ordinated lamps. Such a switching apparatus serves to provide more variation in a moving light display.

A switching apparatus, according to the invention,

for a moving light, display comprises at least two rows I of lamps, in which adjacent each lamp of the first row there is associated a lamp in the second row, and each lamp of each row is connected in series with a switching element so that a moving light picture can be obtained by each of the rows of lamps. The invention is characterized in that light from a lamp of the first row is conducted through a light conductor to a surface thereof and emanates from said surface. The light from the associated lamp of the second row also is conducted through the light conductor and emanates from the same surface of the lightconductor. Electric cross connections are provided between elements of the circuits of the first and second rows of lamps so that in the ignited state of a lamp a voltage is produced across a cross connection of a magnitude and polarity to hold the switching element of the lamp associated with the ignited lamp in the non-conducting state.

Such a switching apparatus (according to the invention) has the advantage that it can be indicated how two flow quantities pass along the same track and in the same direction. This may apply to imitations of traffic flows (for example, of cars).

The light from the first row of lamps may have a spectral composition differing from that of the other row of lamps. Moreover, between the first row of lamps and the light conductor a color filter may be arranged or different color filters may be provided between the two rows of lamps and the light conductor. The first row of lamps may, for example, radiate green light from the light conductor, whereas the second row of lamps radiates red light. In a device according to the invention, if, for example, at one place on the light conductor red light is radiated, the adjacent green lamp cannot radiate simultaneously. If desired, a rapidly moving green signal may be caused to pass bya slowly moving red signal.

In a particular embodiment of a switching apparatus in accordance with the invention the different colors of I each of the rows of lamps are combined with such circuitries of each of the rows of lamps that the moving light of one row does not skip a lamp.

Such a preferred embodiment has the advantage that it is simply possible to imitate a situation in which a given flow cannot be passed by a further flow, but can only overtake it. Overtaking is to denote herein adiminution of the relative distance. After overtaking the speed of the next flow is equal to that of the leading flow.

An example of flows running with equal speeds one after the other is given by the situation occurring in an oil pipeline. Different qualities of oil maybe pumped one after the other through the line. Such a situation can be satisfactorily displayed by a switchingapparatus in accordance with the invention.

For each pair of co-ordinated lamps one short, e.g.

cork'shaped light conductor may be provided.

Moreover, a number of lamps of one row and a number of lamps of the other row may together radiate light into one light conductor.

In a further preferred embodimentof the switching apparatus in accordance with the invention the light conductor is elongated anda first row of lamps is arranged on one side of the light conductor and a second row of lamps on a second side thereof, whereas a third side of the light conductor is formed by a collection of surfaces from which the light emanates. This is a very practical embodiment of a switching apparatus in ac cordance with the invention. It does not require a large number of light conductors; a single long conductor is 1 sufficient, which imitates, for example, a pipeline in more realistic fashion.

The switching elements jmay be relays. Said cross connections may be coupled with the energizing windings of said relays.

In a further preferred embodimentof the switching apparatus in accordance with the invention the switching elements in series with the lamps are formed by transistors. The electric cross connection is coupled on one side with the connection of a lamp to the associated transistor and on the other side with the base of the transistor of the lamp associated with the firstmentioned lamp. l

The latter embodiment may advantageously be ar- I ranged so that each electric cross connection includes a:

Referring to FIG. 1, reference numeral 1 designates a long light conductor of a transparent synthetic resin, passed through a panel 2. On the lower side of said light conductor three rows of lamps are arranged, i.e. 3, 4 and 5, respectively. The lamps 3 are green, the lamps 4 red and the lamps 5 yellow. When the first green lamp is ignited, the first surface segment (1a) of the light conductor (1) will irradiate green light. If, however, instead of the first green lamp the first red lamp of row 4 is ignited, the surface la will irradiate red light. When the first lamp of row 5 is ignited, the surface 1a will in radiate yellow light. The electric coupling between the circuits for the rows 3, 4 and 5, to be described hereinafter is arranged so that the surface 1a can never irradiate a mixture of the said three basic colors.

In FIG. 2 the same reference numerals are used as in FIG. 1. The row 4 is the lowermost row of lamps.

. FIG. 3 can be divided into three parts a, b and c. The part a relates to the circuit for the green lamps of row 3 of FIG. 1, part b of FIG. 3 to the circuit for the red lamps of row 4 of FIG. 1 and part c of FIG. 3 to the circuit for the yellow lamps of FIG. 1.

The parts a, b and c of FIG. 3 are substantially identical. These three parts are interconnected by transverse (cross) connections, which will be described hereinafter. First the circuit part a of FIG. 3 will be described in detail. The part a of FIG. 3 comprises three uninterrupted conductors 20, 21 and 22. Con- .ductor is connected to the positive terminal of a voltage source, not shown. The conductor 21 is connected to a negative terminal thereof. The conductor 22 is coupled with a variable control-voltage of negative potential.

One end of a capacitor 23 is connected to the uninterrupted conductor 20. The other end of said capacitor 23 is connected through a resistor 24 to the uninterrupted conductor 22. The capacitor 23 is shunted by a circuit including a switch 25. The. switch 25 is a bipolar switch for reasons to be referred to hereinafter. The connection between capacitor 23 and resistor 24 has connected to it a Zener diode 26. The other end of said Zener diode is connected to a resistor 27 and to the base of a transistor 28. The other end of the resistor 27 and the emitter of the transistor 28 are connected to the uninterrupted conductor 20. The collector of the transistor 28 is connected via a resistor 29 to the unin- .terrupted conductor 21. A junction point between the collector of transistor 28 and the resistor 29 is designated by reference numeral 30. This point 30 has connected to it a contact of the switch 25 and, in addition, a Zener diode 31. The other end of the Zener diode 31 is connected to a resistor 32 and to the base of a transistor 33. The other end of the resistor 32 and the emitter of the transistor 33 are connected to the uninterrupted line 20. The collector of the transistor 33 is connected through an incandescent lamp 34 to the uninterrupted connecting line 21. A junction of the transistor 33 and the lamp 34 is connected to a diode 35. The other end of the diode 35 is connected to a capacitor 36. The opposite electrode of capacitor 36 is connected to the positive terminal via the conductor 20. The diode 35 is also connected to a resistor 37, the other end of which is connected to the uninterrupted conductor 22. A junction of the transistor 33 and the diode 35 is designated by reference numeral 38. The

I junction 38 is connected via a diode 39 and a switch 25b to a point 30b of the circuit part b of FIG. 3. The point 38 is furthermore connected via a diode 40 and a switch 250 to a point 300 of the circuit-part c of FIG. 3.

Beyond elements 36 and 37 the circuit is repeated in the part a and the connection of capacitor 36 and resistor 37 is again coupled to a Zener diode 26, etc.

The circuit part b(c) of FIG. 3 is identical to the circuit part a. In the part b the reference numerals are the same as in part a, but they have in addition a reference letter b, whereas in the part c they have an additional c. The transverse connections of part b(c) to the further circuit elements are also identical to those of part a of FIG. 3. The conductors 20, 20b and 200 have the same potentials. The conductor 21, 21b and 21c also have the same potentials.

This circuit operates as follows.

It is assumed that at a given instant capacitor 23 is charged. This means that its electrode facing the conductor 22 is at a negative potential. The diode 26 will then pass current in the reverse direction. A current then passes through the resistor 27 so that at the base of transistor 28 a potential occurs such that this transistor becomes conducting. Point 30 will thus be at such a potential that the voltage across the Zener diode 31 is When capacitor 23 is discharged by closing the switch 25, the current through the diode 26 is interrupted. The transistor 28 thus becomes non-conducting. The Zener diode 31 then receives a current in the reverse direction. This current causes the transistor 33' to become conducting, which results in the ignition of the lamp 34. The conductive state of the transistor 33 will result, moreover, via diode 39 and switch 25b, in a positive voltage at point 30b of the circuit part b. The transistor 33b of thepart b of FIG. 3 is then non-conducting and at this instant the lamp 34b is extinguished. In a similar manner via point 38 and the diode 40 and via switch 250 the conductive state of transistor 33 results in a positive voltage at point 30c. The result is that the transistor 330 is non-conducting so that the lamp 340 also is extinguished. The lamps 34b and 340 associated with the lamp 34 are therefore not ignited when the lamp 34 is ignited. A third consequence of the conductive state of transistor 33 is that the charged capacitor 36 is discharged across the transistor 33 and the diode 35. In the discharge state no current can flow through the Zener diode 26' so that the transistor 28' is non-conducting. In a manner similar to that for the circuit elements 26 to 34, the lamp 34' will ignite. In a similar manner the lamp 34" ignites in turn, etc.

Since the switch 25 is actuated only for a short time, the capacitor 23 is charged after some time via the resistor 24. This charged state results in the extinction of the lamp 34. The lower the voltage difference between the conductors 20 and 22, the later will extinguish the lamp 34. The situation is then as follows: When the switch 25 is actuated for a short time, first lamp 34 will ignite, then lamp 34', then 34" etc., the lamps 34, 34', etc. extinguishing at a slower rate than the ignition rate. The slower rate of extinction of the lamps 34, 34, etc.

than the rate of ignition thereof is due to the fact that the capacitor (for example, 36) is charged via the resistor (37) by means of a current which is lower than the discharge current of said capacitor (36) which flows, in the conductive state of the transistor (33), through said transistor and the diode (35). If desired, a control-voltage 22-20 may be chosen, of such low value is chosen, that the first lamp (34) is not extinguished until the last lamp of the circuit-part a has ignited. In a similar manner to that described for the lamp 34, the lamps 34b and 34'c will be cut off when the lamp 34' has ignited. So when the lamp 34' is ignited, the other associated lamps 34' are extinguished. Conversely, when a lamp in the part b is ignited, the coupled lamps of the parts a and c are extinguished, etc. If a color signal" is already present in one of the circuit parts, the rate of ignition of the subsequently igniting lamps in one of the further circuits parts will be limited by the rate of extinction of the said color signal.

As stated .above the switch is a bipolar switch. When it occupies the position in which capacitor 23 is shunted, the cross connections via the diode 40b and 400 of the parts b and 0, respectively, to. the part a are interrupted. So in the circuit described the actuation of the switch 25 in the part a causes the parts b and c to release the blocking action on the lamp 34. Thus a signal can pass through the part a. The ignited lamp blocks the coupled lamps of the other circuit parts. This applies similarly to the switches 25b and 25c.

The apparatus described above is highly appropriate for displaying the subsequent conveyance of different qualities of oil through one pipeline. It is assumed that a first oil quality is indicated by the green color of the lamps 34, 34', etc. and a second oil quality is indicated by the red color of the lamps 34b, 34b, etc and finally a third oil quality is indicated by the yellow color of the lamps 34c, 34c, etc. When switch 25 is depressed for a short time, the entry of the first oil quality in the pipeline is imitated by a green light in the device of FIG. 1. When the control-voltage 22-20 is adjusted to a low value, the whole pipeline may, if desired, be filled with green light.. When the switch 25b is actuated for a short time, a second oil quality (red light) flows into the line etc.. If desired, by actuating the switch 25, a

third oil quality can be introduced into the pipeline, which is pumped in after the first two qualities. Subsequently, one of the switches 25b or 25 again may be actuated, etc.

At the end of the circuit part a an energizing winding of a relay may be provided for a short-time actuation of the switch 25 at the input. Thus a signal once started in the circuit part a moves from left to right and is re-introduced at the input of circuit part a.-A similar provision may be carried out for the circuit part b and the circuit part c. Then the moving light picture will be constantly repeated.

At the output of the circuit part a a memory element may be provided so that a signal arriving at the output of the circuit part a is re-introduced with some time lag at the capacitor 23.

If desired, a cut-off member may be provided, which, when a lamp is ignited, keeps extinguished a lamp in a further row, and the last mentioned lamp is located before the lamp joined to the first-mentioned lamp.

In a practical embodiment of the circuit of FIG. 3 the resistor 24 had a value of about. 47 kOhms and the capacitor 23 had a capacitance of about 32 'uF. The resistor 27 had a valueof about 5.6 kOhms and the resistor 29 a value of about 1.2 kOhms. The Zener diodes 26 and 31 had a reverse voltage of about 4.7 V. The voltage between the conductor 20 to 21 was about 12 V and that between 22 and 20 could be varied between 9 V and 30 V.

By means of a device in accordance with the invention, other flow quantities such as the flow of money and/or goods may be displayed. if desired, the lightpearance of a moving spot of light comprising, two

rows of lamps arranged so that there is present adjacent each lamp of the first row a lamp of the second row, a circuit for each row of lamps including means connecting each lamp of each row in series with a controlled switching element, means for sequentially operating said switching elements to produce said moving spot of light for each of the rows of lamps, a light conductor optically coupled to said two rows of lamps so that light from a lamp of the first row is conducted via said light conductor to a given surface area thereof and emanates therefrom, from which given surface area the light from the lamp adjacent thereto of the second row 'of lamps emanates, and electric cross connection means pro vided between switching elements of the circuits of the first and second rows of lamps so that, when a lamp is ignited, a voltage is coupled across a corresponding cross connection of a magnitude and polarity to hold the switching element of the lamp adjacent to the ignited lamp in the non-conducting state.

2. A switching apparatus as claimed in claim 1 in which the operating means for the circuits of the lamps of each of the two rows are arranged so that the lamps are operated in sequence to produce said moving spot of light for each row, characterized in that the light emanating from said given surface and originating from a lamp of the first row has a different color than that emanating from said given surface and originating from a lamp of the second row.

3. A switching apparatus as claimed in claim 2 in which the light conductor comprises an elongated member with the first row of lamps arranged on one side of the light conductor and the second row of lamps arranged on a further side of the light conductor, a third side of the light conductor being formed by a collection of said given surface areas to form a surface from which light emanates.

4. A switching apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of the switching elements in series with the lamps comprises a transistor and wherein an electric cross connection includes a'diode coupled at one end to the junction of a lamp and its associated series transistor of the first row of lamps and at the other end to the base of the transistor in series with the corresponding lamp of the second row of lamps.

5. A switching apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of said switching elements comprises a transistor and wherein each electric cross connection going from the first row of lamps includes a diode whose pass direction points towards the base of the' transistor in series with the adjacent lamp of the second row of lamps.

6. A system for sequentially operating a plurality of lamps comprising, a light conductor, first and second rows of lamps optically coupled to the light conductor so that for each lamp of the first row there is a corresponding lamp of the second row arranged so that said light conductor emits light from said corresponding lamps at corresponding given areas of said light conductor, a first plurality of controlled switching elements connected in a first circuit with said first row of lamps to form a plurality of separate stages adapted to be operated in sequence, a second plurality of controlled switching elements connected in a second circuit with said second row oflamps to form a plurality of separate stages adapted to be operated in sequence, each of said first and second circuits including means for selectively energizing the first stage in the sequence and means intercoupling the stages so that operation of the first stage triggers the second stage into operation, the second stage in turn triggers a third stage, and so on, and a plurality of electric cross connections each of which couples a switching element of one circuit to the corresponding switching element of the other circuit so that, when a lamp of one circuit is ignited, a control voltage is coupled via its associated cross connection to the corresponding switching element of the other circuit with a magnitude and polarity to hold the corresponding stage of said other circuit and its lamp inoperative.

7. A system as claimed in claim 6 wherein each of said cross connections includes a unidirectional current conducting element. 7

8. A system as claimed in claim 6 wherein each of said stages includes a lamp and a switching element connected in series and the first stage includes an RC timing circuit and a voltage breakdown element coupling said RC circuit to a control electrode of the switching element of said first stage.

9. A system as claimed in claim 8 further comprising an RC timing circuit connected in each stage and a voltage breakdown element coupling each RC timing circuit to the control electrode of the respective switching element for that stage.

10, A system as claimed in claim 9 wherein said stage intercoupling means comprises a diode connected between a switching element of one stage and the capacitor of the RC timing circuit of the next stage in the sequence, said diode being poled so as to provide a discharge path for said capacitor via said one stage switching element.

11. A system as claimed in claim 7 wherein said selective energizing means comprises a switching device connected in circuit so as to selectively open and close the cross connections between the first stage switching elements of said first and second circuits.

12. A system as claimed in claim 8 wherein said selective energizing means comprises a switching device connected in circuit so as to selectively open and close the cross connections between the first stage switching elements of said first and second circuits and simultaneously to close and open, respectively, a discharge path for the capacitor of said first stage RC timing circuit.

13. A system as claimed in cla1m 6 wherein the light conductor comprises an elongate transparent member with a hexagonal cross-section that defines a first pair of parallel surfaces one of which includes said given areas and a second pair of parallel surfaces orthogonal to and intersecting said one surface, and fifth-and sixth surfaces making an obtuse angle with the second pair of parallel surfaces, said first and second rows of lamps being arranged adjacent to said fifth and sixth surfaces, respectively.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2591864 *Apr 16, 1949Apr 8, 1952Westinghouse Brake & SignalLine diagram panel
US2689948 *Oct 5, 1950Sep 21, 1954Gerald S RothmanLicense plate holder
US3225342 *Jul 1, 1959Dec 21, 1965British Telecomm Res LtdShift register with means for displaying stored information
US3568177 *Aug 31, 1967Mar 2, 1971Central Electr Generat BoardMulticolor indicators
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3934249 *Mar 13, 1974Jan 20, 1976Lawrence Peska Associates, Inc.Border flashers
US4259800 *Feb 12, 1979Apr 7, 1981Alexander SchoenfeldDisplay apparatus and associated circuit
US4321673 *Jan 22, 1980Mar 23, 1982Ebrahim HawwassElectronic game
US4344622 *Sep 18, 1979Aug 17, 1982Rockwell International CorporationDisplay apparatus for electronic games
US4457580 *Feb 24, 1983Jul 3, 1984Mattel, Inc.Display for electronic games and the like including a rotating focusing device
US4751506 *Sep 19, 1983Jun 14, 1988Brown Colin TScoreboard device
Classifications
U.S. Classification345/697, 340/815.42
International ClassificationG08B5/36, G09F13/00, H05B37/02, G08B5/22, G09F13/04, G09G3/00, G09G3/22, H03M11/00, H03K17/78
Cooperative ClassificationG09G3/004, H05B37/029, H03K17/78, G09F13/00, H03M11/00, G09F2013/0472
European ClassificationH03K17/78, G09F13/00, H03M11/00, G09G3/00C, H05B37/02S