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Publication numberUS3776418 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 4, 1973
Filing dateSep 11, 1972
Priority dateSep 11, 1972
Publication numberUS 3776418 A, US 3776418A, US-A-3776418, US3776418 A, US3776418A
InventorsF Bookout
Original AssigneeRock Ola Mfg Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Selection system for vending machine
US 3776418 A
An electro-mechanical apparatus for use in automatic vending machines, particularly of the mixed drink variety, embodying multiple push button selection controls operatively integrated by pivotal commodity rods and bars with common electrical control switches and vending circuits including a mechanical memory complex demanding the dispensing of a selected commodity for each vending operation, and electro-mechanical means for positively integrating and interlocking credit acceptance and commodity selection functions as a precondition to initiating vending operation of the machine.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 1451 Dec. 4, 1973 Bookout SELECTION SYSTEM FOR VENDING MACHINE Inventor: Floyd V. Bookout, Long Grove, Ill.

Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation, Chicago, Ill.

Filed: Sept. 11, 1972 Appl. No.: 287,785


US. Cl. 221/125 Int. Cl G05g 5/08 Field of Search 194/2, DIG. 19;

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,172,519 3/1965 Albright et al 221/129 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 635,850 2/1962 Canada 194/DIG. 19

Primary Examiner-Stanley I-l. Tollberg Att0rney- .lames A. Davis et al.

[57] ABSTRACT mechanical means for positively integrating and interlocking credit acceptance and commodity selection functions as a precondition to initiating vending operation of the machine. 1

9 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures ,5 O 130 20 o p110 2 4 2a [20 24 f /I 67 'f 25 Q 1.5 69 1,, 50 I22 E i-1i PATENTEUBEB im SHEET 10F 3 m mmmmmmuummm PATENTEDBEE m 3.716.418

SHEET 20F 3 SELECTION SYSTEM FOR VENDING MACHINE This invention in general pertains to automatic coinoperated vendingmachines and more particularly is directed to improvements in commodity selector systems employed therein.

Systems for commodity selection in automatic coinoperated vending machines employing push button controls are known. However, such prior systems generally are characterized by highly sophisticated relay memory and switch combinations associated with individual push button circuits. As a result, such known systems are costly to manufacture, difficult to maintain in proper working order and are generally overcomplicated.

In brief, this invention is directed to a simplified electro-mechanical selector system utilizing push button actuators and simplified electrical circuitry having a minimal number of electrical switches. Individual push buttons mechanically actuate one or more commodity bars each of which in turn operates associated switch means thereby operatively relating a plurality of push buttons with common switch means for controlling the dispensing of one or more selectable commodities. Novel interlock means mechanically intertie the push buttons to prevent selection of more than one commodity for each vend cycle and to precondition selection operation on the acceptance of predetermined coin values.

An important object of this invention is to provide improved selector means for coin operated vending machines.

Another object hereof is to provide selector means as aforesaid having particular utility in mixed beverage machines wherein plural ingredients are intermixed.

Another important object of this invention is to provide a selector system having a mechanical memory complex requiring the completion of a vend cycle for each selected commodity.

A further object of this invention is to provide simpli fied electro-mechanical means for interlocking commodity selection functions with coin deposit and acceptance in an automatic vending machine.

Still another object is to provide an improved selector system for automatic vending machines, as aforesaid, which exhibits improved economies of manufacture and maintenance.

Having thus described this invention, the above and further objects, features and advantages thereof will appear to those of skill in this art from the following de' tailed description of a preferred embodiment illustrated in the accompanying drawings and constituting the best mode presently contemplated for enabling those skilled in the art to make and practice the same.

IN THE mmwmos:

FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a vending machine embodying the selector system of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the selector apparatus thereof;

FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view taken substantially along vantage line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged end elevation of the apparatus shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, viewed substantially along vantage line 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged partial bottom plan view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 2, showing means for mounting the commodity rods therein;

FIG. 6 is a partial enlarged view inside elevation, as viewed in FIG. 3, illustrating mechanical interlock means for. the commodity rods;

FIG. 7 is an exploded view inside elevation of the commodity bar and rod arrangement; and

FIG. 8 is a schematic circuit diagram for a vending machine illustrating the selector system according to this invention.

Turning now to the particulars of the embodiment of this invention illustrated in the drawings, reference is initially made to FIG. 1 wherein a typical hot drink vending machine is illustrated in partial perspective as including an upright cabinet 15 having a front panel 16, usually comprising the front face of a hingedly mounted door according to conventional practice. Selector apparatus of this invention is adapted to be mounted behind panel 16 in such a fashion as to present a plurality of vertically arrayed push buttons 17 on the front face of the door panel adjacent a glass enclosed opening 18 behind which are mounted descriptions of the various commodities to be vended by depressing an opposing push button. In this particular instance, the invention is associated with a hot drink vending machine which typically operates to intermix fine powdered flavoring ingredients with hot water to provide potable beverages to the customer. In general, such hot drink machines vend coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soup and like commodities. As illustrated, the selection system to be described hereinafter presents eleven selector push buttons 17 representative of individual drinks which, for the sake of illustration, may

comprise the following commodities, reading from top to bottom in FIG. 1; extra cream; cofiee black; coffee and cream; coffee and sugar; coffee, cream and sugar; chocolate; soup; tea; tea and cream; tea and sugar; tea, cream and sugar. In this regard, it will be appreciated that the particular commodities and their arrangements on the selector panel or that is their order of selection is immaterial to the merits of this invention except to illustrate a typical usage environment.

Turning now to the particulars of the electromechanical selector apparatus associated with the selector push buttons 17, reference'is made to FIGS. 2 through 7 of the drawings wherein the same is designated generally by numeral 20 in FIGS. 2 and 3. It will be understood that the apparatus 20 is mounted behind door panel 16 si) that the various push buttons 17 thereof protrude therethrough for manual engagement by the customer. As seen best in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, apparatus 20 comprises a pair of elongated U-shaped frame members, an outer frame 2l and an inner frame 22 (see FIG. 4) which are internested with their longitudinal axes coplanar. Specifically, the outer frame 21 comprises a planar platform portion or bottom wall 23 and parallel-spaced sidewalls 24 and 25 extending upwardly at right angles to the lateral margins of the bottom wall 23 (see FIG. 4). The innerframe 22 likewise is formed with a planar bottom wall 26 and a pair of parallelspaced sidewalls 27 and 28 extending at right angles to the plane of bottom wall 26 at the lateral margins of the latter. The two frame members are of unlike lateral dimension with the .inner frame member being the smaller and nested within the outer frame so that the walls 27 and 28 of the inner frame are aligned in parallel-spaced relationship between the walls 24 and 25 of the outer frame. Such frame members preferably are formed of sheet metal or like rigid material.

The bottom platform wall 23 of frame member 21 is equipped with pairs of spaced mounting pads 29,29 and 30,30 adjacent its outer ends for receiving mounting bolts or fasteners (not shown) utilized for attaching the apparatus to the inside of the cabinet panel 16, as previously mentioned.

Fixed to the outside walls 24 and 25 of outer frame 21, as by spot welds, screws or the like, and depending downwardly beneath platform wall 23 thereof, are a pair of similar L-shaped brackets 32 and 33 disposed so that the lower arms 34 and 35 thereof, respectively, are in opposing spaced relationship. The several push buttons 17 are mounted in the space between the lower side of platform wall 23 and the opposingly related inwardly turned arms 34 and 35 of these brackets as particularly illustrated in FIG. 4. In this respect it will be noted that arm 35 of bracket 33 is provided with spaced upwardly turned finger portions 36 which hook in or extend into openings 37, one in each of the push buttons 17 so as to pivotally mount the push buttons for loose pivotal activity on the finger portions 36.

Again with reference to FIG. 4 it will be understood that each of the push buttons 17 preferably is formed of rigid plastic or the like to comprise a manually engageable button portion 40, the outer face wall 41 of which is visible and accessible to the customer on the front of the vending machine. The base end of portion 40 is integrally formed with an elongated body portion 42 having the opening 37 adjacent one end thereof and extending in a lip portion 43 at the opposite end thereof for underengaging the inwardly projecting wall portion 34 of the elongated bracket 32. Projecting substantially medially outward of body portion 42 and in an opposite direction from the manually engageable button portion 40 thereof is an actuator finger 44 of generally pyramidal formation adapted to extend through an opening 45 (see FIG. formed through the superposed platform walls 26 and 23 of the inner and outer frame members 22 and 21, respectively. In this fashion, then the several push buttons 17 are mounted for limited pivotal activity and are actuated inwardly in response to pushing activity of the customer while the return therefrom is in a manner to be amplified in greater detail presently.

Mounted directly over each of the projecting actuator portions 44 of the push buttons is an individual commodity rod 50-60 (sec FIGS. 4 and 5). The rods are arranged in adjacently cooperating pairs such as rods 51 and 52 illustrated in FIG. 5. As there shown, each of the rods 51 and 52 extends between and through the walls 27 and 28 of the inner frame member 22 in a downwardly sloping attitude from wall 28 toward wall 27. Positioning and mounting of the rods is such as to permit the same to pivot about their rearward ends and more specifically about their connections with wall 28. In this latter regard, it will be noted from FIG. 5 that wall 28 is formed with a plurality of laterally-spaced slotted openings 62 receptive of a neck-down portion 63 of each of the rods 50-60; such neck-down portion being spaced inwardly of the outermost adjacent end thereof and being formed to permit free pivotal action of the rod in the slotted openings 62. The outer or forward ends of the several rods as best seen from FIGS. 3 and 4 pass through opening 65 formed through the wall 27 of the inner frame member 22 so as to project therebeyond. Mounted intermediate adjacent pairs of the rods, such as rods 51 and 52 as shown in FIG. 5, and simultaneously engaging such pairs at retention notches 66 thereof, is a spring means 67 having single leaf arm portions engaged with the retention notches in overlying fashion. The central coil portion 68 of the spring means 67 is connected to a hook member 69 projecting upwardly from the bottom or platform wall 26 for the inner frame member. Thus, the rods are biased to their downward sloping position under the resilient urging force of the spring means 67 thereby to resiliently engage the outer ends of the actuator portions 44 for the push buttons, biasing the latter outwardly to the FIG. 4 position therefor. In this fashion then, the spring means 67 serves to normally retain the commodity rods, particularly the neck-down portions 62 thereof in bottoming contact with the slotted opening 63 so as to effect pivotal activity of such rods about their rearward ends and at the same time resiliently bias the push buttons outwardly and furnish resilient resistance to their inward movement.

As best noted from FIG. 4, inward or depressing movement of each push button 17 serves to bias the outer end of the individual commodity rod associated therewith inwardly to its dotted line position as shown in this Figure. That is to say, the forward end of the rod movable in the opening 65 of the inner frame wall 27 moves to the bottom of such opening which thereby serves as a stop limit for the inward movements of the rods. In so moving, the rods move and pivotally activate and bypass an elongated lock bar indicated generally by the numeral 72 (see FIGS. 2 and 4). Bar 72 is composed of two separate overlapping sections 73, 74 having superimposed tail portions 75, 76, respectively, (see FIG. 2) and each of which has extending ear or tab portions 77 projecting through openings (not shown) in the bottom wall 26 of the outer frame member 21 to pivotally mount the same between walls 24 and 27 of the two frame members (see FIG. 4). With this arrangement the two sections 73 and 74 are adapted to pivot about their lower edges and are normally biased toward wall 27 by means of springs 78 and 79 (see FIG. 2). As a consequence of this described arrangement, movement of the commodity rods past the lock bar 72 biases the latter outwardly against the spring means 78 or 79, as the case may be, to reach their inward movement limit in the bottom of the opening 65 whereafter the springs 78 and 79 return the lock bar inwardly beneath the commodity rod, holding the latter securely in their inward positions. It will be recalled from the description above appearing that the lock bar 72 is composed of two separate sections 73 and 74 which are connected by the superposed tail portion and 76. Thus outward biasing movement of section 74 serves to automatically carry section 73 therewith. However, outward biasing movement of section 73 in response to the raising of commodity rod 50 opposite the same, permits the section 73 to move independently of section 74 forpurposes which will be amplified in greater detail hereinafter. Because of this arrangement, the inward biasing movement of any of the commodity rods 51 through 60 serves to actuate or outwardly bias both of the lock bar sections 73 and 74 whereas inward movement of commodity rod 50 serves to bias only the smaller lock bar section 73 to secure rod 50 in its in ward biased position.

Inasmuch as each of the push buttons and their respectively associated commodity rod serves to control the ultimate dispensing of a selected commodity, it is essential that in normal operation, means be provided to prevent simultaneous depression of two or more push buttons so as to avoid the dispensing of several commodities available in the dispensing machine for a given coin value deposit. In order to achieve this feature, a unique interlock system is provided which effectively prevents more than one commodity rod, except for commodity rod 50, to be depressed at any one time once the mechanism is conditioned for selection operation. To this end, special reference is made now to FIGS. 3, 4 and 6 of the drawings. Shown in FIG. 3, for example, are a series of interlock discs 80 which are disposed immediately adjacent the several commodity rods 51-60 in such a fashion that inward biasing movement of any one commodity rod serves to separate adjacent interlock discs, moving the remaining discs in blocking engagement over the remaining rods. This operational condition is specifically illustrated in FIG. 6 of the drawings, wherein the commodity rod 54 is shown in its inward biased condition to separate adjacent interlock discs 80.

As will be better understood from examining FIGS. 4 and 5, the several interlock discs 80 are held for limited lateral movement in an elongated chamber or channel formed between wall 27 of the inner frame member 22 and an elongated bracket 81 fastened to the inside face of wall 27 and the bottom platform wall 26 of the inner frame member. It will be noted that bracket 81 has a central offset portion 82 of the substantially U-shaped cross section which with the inside face of wall 27 provides the channel-like chamber for housing the interlock discs 80. Lateral movement of the discs 80 is limited by reason of the intervening commodity rods which effectively block the movement of any one cam disc past an adjacent commodity rod. It will be noted from FIG. 3 in particular that with commodity rods 51-60 there are nine associated discs 80, disposed so as to have two commodity rods on opposite sides thereof. Additionally adjacent the commodity rod 60, and more specifically at the margin of the slotted opening 65 thereof not intersected by the adjacent disc 80, is an inwardly struck locking tab 84 (see FIG. 3) which'prevents movement of the adjacent disc 80 past that margin of slotted opening 65.

At the opposite end of the row or series of interlock discs, as best shown in FIG. 6, is a cam element 85 associated with a bell crank actuator 86 pivotally secured on pin 87 and normally biased in a clockwise direction, as viewed in that figure, by means of spring 88 to depress an actuator 89 of a microswitch 90. It will be noted that the cam 85 is closely adjacent the first interlock disc 80 disposed to the right-hand side of commodity rod 51 as viewed in FIG. 6. Thus lateral movement of the discs 80 in response to the raising or inward movement of a commodity rod causes the discs to push against cam member 85, rocking the bell crank 86 about its pivot in a counterclockwise sense as viewed in FIG. 6 to move away from the actuator arm 89 and actuate the microswitch 90. In this particular instance, actuation of the microswitch 90 serves to initiate a circuit common to all of the commodity rods. In similar fashion, inward or raising movement of commodity rod 50 completely bypasses the cam portion 85 and without moving the several interlocking discs 80. That is to say, commodity rod 50 is operable independently of the interlock discs 80 and .does not actuate the common switch means 90. Thus rod 50 may be depressed in addition to any other single commodity rod whereas the rods 51-60 can be depressed only one at a time. The purpose for this exception in the interlock system in the particular embodiment herein illustrated resides in the fact that commodity rod 50 is intended to be operated to dispense extra cream for any of the commodities associated with the remaining rods 51-60.

From the foregoing description of the interlock means, it will be readily understood and recognized that raising of any one of the commodity rods 5160 invokes the functioning of the interlock discs and prevents the raising of additional of such commodity rods except for the independent extra cream" commodity rod 50 as above related. It further will be recalled that the raised position of the forward end of a commodity rod is retained by virtue of the inwardly biasing movement of the lock bar 72 as best illustrated in FIG. 4. In this operational condition, one might expect that the depression of an additional selector button 17 would, if sufficient force were applied, result in the ultimate damage or breaking of the selector push button inasmuch as the commodity rods are in an immovable condition. This would be true if it were not for the fact that the mounting of the several commodity rods by spring means 67 permits such rods to pivot about their forward ends beneath the closed interlock discs in response to the pressure of a depressed push button 17. As a consequence, the rearward ends of the commodity rods may move upwardly to the dotted-line position therefor as indicated in FIG. 4, being limited in such movement by the length of the slotted openings 63 which straddle the neck-down portions 62 thereof. Thus a safety feature is provided by the unique mounting of the commodity rods to avoid damage to the selector push buttons in particular.

From the above description it will be understood that depression of any of the selector push buttons 17 with the exception of that one which is opposite the extra cream commodity rod 50, serves to lock the associated commodity rod behind the latch bar 72 which is normally biased inwardly as previously described by virtue of the spring means 78 and 79. In order to relate this functioning to the vending cycle of the machine, a solenoid means is mounted at one end of theinner frame member 21 and is conditioned for energization to pull the core member 96 thereof inwardly of its energizing coil 97 only after the deposit and acceptance of a specified coin value representative of the price of the commodities to be dispensed by the machine. In its normal or non-energized condition, the core 96 serves to maintain a pivotal link member 98, fastened thereto by pivot pin 99, in a non-actuated condition as best illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawings. As shown, link member 98 has a portion 100 projecting outwardly of the sidewall 27 of the inner frame member, which engages the adjacent end of the lock bar assembly 72, holding the same away from wall 27 of the inner frame member or that is in a non-latching position with respect to a depressed commodity rod. Spring means 101 extends between portion 100 of the link 98 and an anchor tab 102 projecting from the sidewall 27 of the inner frame member to normally bias the link 98 to its FIG. 2 position for holding the lock bar 72 away from wall 27. Thus in the normal at rest condition of the selector apparatus, prior to the deposit and acceptance of the predetermined coin value, the latch bar assembly 72 is held in a condition at which it is incapable of locking the inwardly biased end of a depressed commodity rod.

However, by an actuation of the solenoid means 95, the link 98 is pivoted appropriately to permit the spring means 78 and 79 to move the latch assembly 72 inwardly toward wall 27, so that subsequent depression of the outer end of a commodity rod effectively locks the latter in its inwardly biased position, as previously described. So long as the solenoid means 95 remains energized, the afore-described operational condition prevails preventing the return of a selected commodity bar until the completion of the vend cycle for the selected commodity. Thus, in a sense, the selector system of this invention has an inbuilt memory complex requiring the completion of a vending operation for any selected commodity before additional selection operations may be undertaken.

So far the foregoing description has dwelled on the functioning of the commodity rods and push buttons with their associated interlock system and the means for controlling operation of the lock bar 72. At this stage, how these functions are harnessed to effect the selection and dispensing of a selected commodity will be set forth.

With special reference now to FIGS. 2, 4, and 7, the means which responds to the inward depressing activity of the commodity rods will be described in detail. As best shown in FIG. 2, for example, a plurality of substantially U-shaped commodity bars, 110-116, (see FIG. 7) are provided and mounted directly over the several commodity rods 50-60 for engagement by the latter in accordance with a predetermined sequence in response to the inward biasing movement thereof. As will be noted, the several commodity bars 110-116 are intemested with 110 and 111 having front walls which bridge all of the commodity rods. Bar 112 on the other hand bridges only the extra cream commodity rod 50 while the bars 114 and 115, respectively, bridge commodity rods 55 and 56 only. The intermediate length bars 113 and 116, respectively, bridge rods 51, 52, 53, 54 and 57, 58, S9, 60, respectively, as shown best in FIG. 7.

As previously mentioned each of the bars 110-116 is substantially U-shaped and the outer free ends of the legs therefor extend through the back wall 28 of the inner frame member 22 and are fashioned with ear portions 120 such as shown in FIG. 4, which are located beyond the wall 28 of the inner frame. The upper edge of the wall 28 is formed with selectively spaced V- shaped notches (not shown) to provide a fulcrum for the legs of the commodity bars so that the latter may pivot thereabout. A locking gate bracket 121 is fitted over the rearward or outer free ends of the commodity bars, adjacent ears 120 and is attached to the rear wall 28 of the inner frame member to secure the several bars in position. Spring means 122 extend between hook portions 123 and anchor tab elements 124 struck upwardly from the bottom wall 26 of the inner frame. These springs act to normally bias the commodity bars into their FIG. 4 position whereat the same are disposed substantially parallel to the bottom walls of the inner and outer frames where their front walls engage stop lugs 125 (see FIG. 4) struck inwardly from the offset wall 82 of the interlock disc housing bracket 81. This normal positioning of the several commodity bars is such that the raising of the outer ends of any of the commodity rods will engage with the front wall of the commodity bars and effect their pivotal raising movement against spring means 122.

In order to actuate selected ones of the commodity bars in response to the depression of selected push buttons and their associated commodity rods, the two bigger commodity bars and 111 are provided with a series of spaced openings or cutaway notches in the front walls 130 and 131 thereof, respectively. More specifically, it will be noted that the front wall 128 of bar 110 is cut away opposite the commodity rods 50, 51, 53, 55, 56, 57 and 59, while the front wall 129 of bar 111 is cut away opposite rods 50, 51, 52, 55, 56, 57 and 58. As a consequence of this cutaway configuration, the raising of any of the above listed commodity rods into the cutaway openings, fails to actuate either or both of the bars 110 or 111, depending upon the presence or absence of a cutaway opening opposite such rod. For example, the raising of rod 51 will not activate either of the bars 110 or 111 due to the presence of the cutaway openings opposite the same. On the other hand, inasmuch as the bar 113 opposite rod 51 does not have a cutaway opposite such rod, raising of rod 51 will result in the raising of bar 113. In a like fashion, the raising of rod 50 serves only to actuate bar 112 while raising of rods 55 and 56 actuates bars 114 and 1 15, respectively, and no others. By way of further example, the raising of commodity bar 52 serves to actuate commodity bar 110 and 113, but does not actuate bar 1 1 1 due to the presence of a cutout in the latter opposite rod 52. Similarly, raising of rod 53 actuates both bars 111 and 113 but not 110. On the other hand, the raising of either of commodity rods 54 or 60 serves to actuate commodity bars 1 10, 1 1 1 and 113, or 1 10, 1 1 1 and 1 16, respectively. Thus raising actuation of the several commodity bars is effectively harnessed to the dispensing function for selected ingredients or combinations of ingredients, depending upon the number of bars raised by each of the commodity rods in response to the depression of a selector button 17. By way of illustration, raising of commodity bar 112 in response to inwardly biasing movement of the outer end of rod 50 serves to dispense extra cream" only. Recalling that rod 50 is operable independently of the other commodity rods and of the interlock system therebetvveen, it will be readily understood how depression of the push button opposite rod 50 results in the dispensing of extra cream in addition to any of the other ingredients controlled by the selector system. Also by way of example and in accordance with the ingredients assigned to the several push buttons 17, reading from top to bottom in FIG. 1, it may be assumed that commodity bar 110 is associated with the dispensing of sugar; bar 111 with the dispensing of cream, 112 with the dispensing of extra cream," 1 13 with the dispensing of coffee, 114 with chocolate, with soup and 116 with tea. With this arrangement in mind, it will be understood that activation of commodity rod 50 serves to elevate commodity bar 112 to dispense cream, in this case extra cream. Raising of commodity rod 51 serves to elevate only commodity bar 113 to dispense coffee. Raising of commodity rod '52 elevates bar 110 and 113 for dispensing coffee with sugar. Raising of commodity rod 53 elevates bars 111 and 113 to dispense cofi'ee with cream and raising of rod 54 elevates bars 110, 111 and 113 to dispense coffee with cream and sugar. Activation of rod 55 raises only commodity bar 114 to dispense chocolate and in a similar fashion raising of rod 56 elevates only bar 115 to dispense soup. In a similar fashion, the raising of rod 57 through 60 serves to correspondingly dispense tea," tea with sugar, tea with cream, and tea with sugar and cream.

In order to utilize the aforedescribed activity of the several commodity bars 110-116 to the dispensing of selected commodities, each of the commodity bars is associated with switch means in circuit with appropriate elements and circuitry of the vending machine whereby to effect the ultimate vending of the selected commodity. More specifically with special reference to FIG. 2 of the drawings, it will be noted that commodity bar 112 is aligned beneath a microswitch 130 normally in open circuit position in the lowered position of that commodity bar. In the particular illustration hereof, switch means 130 comprises a pair of microswitches operable simultaneously. In similar fashion, a pair of microswitches 131a and 131b are disposed over commodity bar 113 for actuation by the latter. Bar 114 is associated with switch 132 and bar 115 with switch 133. Switch 134 is a single microswitch associated over commodity bar 116 and in a similar fashion switch 135 is associated with commodity bar 111, and switch 136 is associated with commodity bar 110. Relating the several switch means 130-136 to the commodities associated with the bars 110-116 as previously designated, the same may be labeled as follows:

Switch 130 EXTRA CREAM;

Switch 131 COFFEE;

Switch 132 CHOCOLATE;

Switch 133 SOUP;

Switch 134 TEA;

Switch 135 CREAM; and

Switch 136 SUGAR.

In addition to the commodity switches 130-136 above noted, the apparatus 20 includes a normally open microswitch 137 found adjacent the lock bar assembly 72 and adapted to be closed in response to movement of the lock bar toward the wall 27 of the inner frame, or that is to its dotted-line positioning for is energized from a typical 1 l7-volt, 60 H A.C. supply 140 over supply conductors 141 and 142. Upon insertion of a coin and acceptance by the rejector of the typical coin acceptor system, the drop of the coin serves to close a vend switch 143, moving the same to its dotted-line position in FIG. 8. Circuit is then established through the vend switch 143 over conductor 144,145,

latching the outer ends of the commodity rods in their depressed positions as shown in FIG. 4. A pair or gang of microswitches 138 are also mounted adjacent lock bar switch 137 for operation in response to periodic energization and deenergization of the solenoid means 95. That is to say, the pivotal link member 98 which is actuated in response to energization of the solenoid means has switch engaging portions or ears 139 for contacting the operating levers of the microswitches 138 as best viewed in FIG. 2 of the drawings. Thus, in the normal non-actuated position for link 98, the microswitches 138 are held in a non-actuated condition by virtue of their engagement with the ears 139. Conversely upon energization of solenoid means 95, the ears 139 move away from the operating levers for the switch means 138 to actuate the latter.

Turning now to FIG. 8 of the drawings, the relationship of the various switches, viz., 130-138 and 90, to the ultimate vending of a selected commodity will be described. .For simplicitys sake, the schematic diagram of FIG. 8 has eliminated many of the normal elements attendant to a hot drink vending'machine and is further limited in showing only the commodity rods, bars and principal switches which relate to the vending of the coffee commodities. As therein shown, the machine switch 143, conductor 146 through .the lock bar solenoid and conductor 147 to line conductor 142. The energized activity of the solenoid core 96 causes the push button lock bar to transfer from its out to its in position adjacent wall 27 of the inner frame member, conditioning the selector panel for locking the commodity rods. At the same time, movement of the solenoid core 96 transfers the position of credit switches 138a and 138b and lock bar switch 137 to their dotted line positions of FIG. 8. Credit switch 138a parallels a holding circuit to the lock bar solenoid 95 over conductor 149 and a mechanical motor cam switch 150. At the same time, credit switch 138a releases blocking fingers in the coin acceptor mechanism to prevent deposit of any additional coins until the vend cycle is completed. The selector System20 is now conditioned for operation to select a desired commod ity.

Pressing of a selector button 17 as for coffee with sugar and cream, for example, serves to operate commodity rod 54 and commodity bars 110, 111 and 113 (see FIG. 7) which in turn serve to actuate switches 131a and 131b; and 136 as well as common switch 90, the latter of which operates on all selections except extra cream. Actuation of the common switch 90 starts the mechanism drive motor 151, and cup-drop motor 152, (the latter of which allows the cup to drop into the cup well or vending stage) while the drive motor 151 serves to drive a cam shaft for rotating a plurality of timer cams. Rotation of the timer cams transfers the position of the respective cam switches such as the credit hold cam switch 153 which operates initially to maintain the credit lock bar solenoid 95 energized; the mechanical motor cam switch the cup-drop cam switch 155 and the coffee, tea and water cam switch 156, the latter of which serves to time the dispensing of water into the beverage mixing chamber for making a potable beverage. The mechanism drive motor cam switch 150 insures operation of the drive motor for one complete revolution of the cam shaft for driving the cam switches to close power circuits to the selection switches 131, 131b, 135 and 136. Connection of power circuits to the selection switches result in the energization of the coffee solenoid 157, the cream solenoid 158 and the sugar solenoid 159. At this point the solenoid actuated commodity discharge devices are actuated fordispensing of the desired commodity ingredients to the mixing system of the vending machine.

When the coffee, tea and water cam 156 operates water inlet valve solenoid 160 is energized over conductors 161, 162 to introduce hot water into the mixing device of the machine for admixture with the powdered ingredients.

The vending cycle is ended when the motor cam switch 150 is returned to its standby condition and the cup-drop motor 152 cycles oft via its cam switch 155. At this point all vending circuits are open and ready to accept the next coin deposit for a repeat of the vending cycle.

From the above description, those familiar with the pertinent prior art will readily recognize the unique departure of the present invention from previously known selector systems and will particularly understand that while the same has been herein related to a specific preferred embodiment, its concepts and teachings are susceptible to variations and modification within the scope of the invention as set forth in the following appended claims.

I claim:

1. Apparatus for selecting commodities in an automatic coin-controlled vending machine comprising: a manually engageable push button, a commodity rod pivotally mounted adjacent said push button for pivotal movement to a selection position in response to depressing movement of said push button, means normally opposing said movement of said push button and rod, lock bar means operably engageable by said rod and including means for positioning the same to lock said rod in said selection position, and means coupled to said lock bar means and operable to selectively prevent and permit positioning thereof to lock said rod.

2. The invention of claim 1, wherein said means coupled to said lock bar means comprises an electrical solenoid in circuit with means for activating the same in response to acceptance of predetermined coin values, thereby to effect positioning of said lock bar to lock said rod.

3. The invention of claim 1, and commodity bar means operatively movable in response to pivotal movement of said rod to selection position, and electrical switch means for controlling commodity vending circuit means and mounted adjacent said bar means for actuation thereby in response to movement of said rod to selection position.

4. The invention of claim 3 in combination with a plurality of commodity bar means and at least one other commodity rod and push button, said commodity bar means traversing the path of movement of all of the commodity rods; certain of said bar means having openings opposite selected commodity rods whereby to avert movement of said bar means in response to selec tion positioning of said selected rods while operatively responding to the selection positioning of others thereof.

5. In a system for selecting commodities in an automatic coin-controlled vending machine, the combination comprising: a plurality of manually engageable push buttons, pivotally-moveable commodity rod means mounted one adjacent each of said push buttons for movement to a depressed position in response to depressing movement of its said associated push button, means normally opposing depressing movement of said rod means and push buttons, lock bar means adjacent said rod means including means normally biasing the same to lock said rod means in depressed position, and interlock means actuated by said rod means for positively preventing simultaneous depressing movement of more than one thereof.

6. The invention of claim 5 wherein each said rod means is pivotally supported intermediate its ends on yieldable fulcrum means and said interlock means engages one end thereof whereby depressing movement of a push button associated with a rod means held against depressing movement by said interlock means causes pivotal movement thereof about said interlocking means.

7. The invention of claim 5, and switch means operatively responsive to the actuation of said interlock means for controlling vending circuit function common to the vending of all commodities.

8. The invention of claim 5 and a plurality of commodity bars mounted adjacent said rod means for operation in response to the depressed positioning of the latter, certain of said rods effecting the operation of a single commodity bar and others thereof effecting operation of a plurality of commodity bars, and at least one switch means mounted adjacent each commodity bar for controlling the vending of a single commodity, in response to operation thereof whereby to effect the vending of one or more commodities for each vend cycle as selected.

9. The invention of claim 8 and means for normally preventing said lock bar means from locking said rods in depressed position except when the same is actuated in response to the deposit of predetermined coin values and operable thereupon to retain said lock bar in position to maintain said rod means locked in depressed position until completion of the vend cycle for the selected commodity.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3172519 *Jan 18, 1963Mar 9, 1965Vendo CoCigarette vending mechanism
CA635850A *Feb 6, 1962Automatic Canteen CoSelector device for vending machine
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U.S. Classification221/125
International ClassificationG07F13/06, G07F5/18, G07F5/26
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/002, G07F5/18, G07F13/065, G07F5/26
European ClassificationG07F11/00B, G07F5/26, G07F13/06B, G07F5/18
Legal Events
Oct 20, 1989ASAssignment
Effective date: 19890914