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Publication numberUS3790946 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 5, 1974
Filing dateAug 24, 1970
Priority dateAug 24, 1970
Publication numberUS 3790946 A, US 3790946A, US-A-3790946, US3790946 A, US3790946A
InventorsHendricks J
Original AssigneeInd Electronics Eng Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Bar segment readout unit
US 3790946 A
A bar segment readout unit having a face plate against which a viewing screen is positioned by shoulder-forming strips attached to the plate. Lugs formed integral with the strips extend perpendicular from the plate toward the rear of the readout and have locking tabs thereon for holding the ends of an eggcrate light shield in position. A seven segment bar readout mask is positioned between the light shield and the viewing screen such that the lamp receiving cells of the light shield are each positioned over one bar segment. A lamp holder having spring-like fingers extending into each cell is mounted on the end of the light shield opposite the mask and is held thereagainst by a terminal plate. A plurality of lamps are mounted on the terminal plate and extend through the lamp holders into the cells of the light shield. The terminal plate is held in position by means of prongs formed on the ends of the light shield.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Hendricks Feb. 5, 1974 BAR SEGMENT READOUT UNIT [75] Inventor: John E. Hendricks, Encino, Calif.

[73] Assignee: Industrial Electronics Engineers,

Inc., Van Nuys, Calif.

22 Filed: Aug. 24, 1970 21 App]. No.: 66,475

[52] US. Cl. 340/336, 40/132 D [51] Int. Cl. G09f 9/34 [58] Field of Search 340/336, 334, 324, 339; 40/130 E, 130 D, 28 C, 132 D, 63 R, 133 R; 217/32, 33

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 597,525 1/1898 McLane et al 217/33 3,581,307 5/1971 McKim et al. 340/336 3,432,846 3/1969 Jones et al 340/339 3,177,483 4/1965 Scharf et al 340/336 3,357,010 12/1967 Sweeney 340/336 3,137,082 6/1964 Phlieger, Jr..... 340/336 1,289,371 12/1918 Blades 340/336 3,366,950 H1968 Wilson ..f 340/324 Primary Examiner-Donald J. Yusko Assistant Examiner-Marshall M. Curtis Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Smyth, Roston and Pavitt 5 7 ABSTRACT A bar segment readout unit having a face plate against which a viewing screen is positioned by shoulderforming strips attached to the plate. Lugsformed integral with the strips extend perpendicular from the plate toward the rear of the readout and have locking tabs thereon for holding the ends of an eggcrate light shield in position. A seven segment bar readout mask is positioned between the light shield and the viewing screen such that the lamp receiving cells of the light shield are each positioned over one bar segment. A lamp holder having spring-like fingers extending into each cell is mounted on the end of the light shield op posite the mask and is held thereagainst by a terminal plate. A plurality of lamps are mounted on the terminal plate and extend through the lamp holders into the cells of the light shield. The terminal plate is held in position by means of prongs formed on the ends of the light shield.

6 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures BAR SEGMENT READOUT UNIT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The well-known seven bar segment readout has recently become increasingly popular for use in indicating machinery conditions, computer outputs, etc., due to the advent of inexpensive driver decoders which act to convert the four channel binary coded decimal output of many modern machines into a series of signals for actuation of seven bar segment readouts.

Such readouts have basically comprised three horizontal segments which are interconnected by four segments which may be truly vertical or, more often, slanted slightly toward the right to produce a figure eight when all seven segments are illuminated.

These readouts have proven to be very useful since, when selected segments are illuminated, discrete numerals, characters, or symbols can be displayed, which, in many cases, convey information directly to a person viewing the readout so that it becomes unnecessary for him to consult a decoding reference prior to taking a required action or interpreting an answer displayed by the readout.

Prior art readouts of this type have generally embodied relatively complex and expensive structure so that the readouts have failed to be used to their full potential. Examples of such prior art readouts have been shown in U. S. Pat. Nos. 3,177,483 and 3,210,876, each of which embody plastic molded parts, etc., which cause individual readouts to be relatively large. Miniaturization of the individual readouts, or of a unit formed by a plurality of such readouts, which is highly desirable, has not been possible to the fullest extent.

Bar segment readouts are normally provided with either a molded plastic face or plastic indicator units which are not interchangeable and which do not allow the shape of the segments to be altered from one application to the next. The molded plastic parts also prevent easy alteration of a readout if it is desired to change the angle at which symbols indicated by the segments are presented to the viewer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a new and improved seven bar segment readout which may be used either separately or together with other readouts to form a display unit. In either case, easy alteration of segment shape is provided by fastening devices which allow replacement of a character mask having translucent segments which may be illuminated, by lamps mounted in an eggcrate light shield.

When a plurality of readouts are put together to form a multi-symbol display unit, the space between individual readouts may be used for displaying colons, commas, decimals, plus or minus signs, or additional seg ments so that two adjacent readouts can be used together to display a wider symbol.

This invention also reduces the space required for either an individual readout or a display unit since relatively thin, light-weight materials may be utilized which allow a readout to be positioned very close to any immediately adjacent structure.

The present invention utilizes the novel light shield disclosed and illustrated in the co-pending application Ser. No. 66,474, filed together herewith (Attomeys Docket Number D-.4030) by Harold F. Rieth and assigned to the assignee hereof. Briefly, the light shield disclosed in that application comprises an eggcrate which is formed by four interlocking sections of strip material having interfitting slots with fingers therebetween. Lamp receiving cells or openings formed in the eggcrate by the fingers have predetermined shapes, whether square or rectangular, depending upon the positions of the slots and sizes of the fingers. The features of that invention allow a large selection of angles at which a character may be tilted from a true vertical line so as to improve the aesthetic appearance for a person viewing it.

In accordance with the present invention, each of the sections forming the eggcrate light shield are provided with an attachment segment by means of which the light shield is mounted and supported on the back of a face plate assembly which includes a viewing screen and one or more character masks. Each character mask comprises an opaque negative upon which suitably configured translucent bar segments are positioned so that each coincides with one of the openings of the eggcrate. Two of the attachment segments are provided with pinching slots to suitably fasten a printed wiring lamp board to the opposite side of the eggcrate from the character mask.

A lamp separator is positioned between the eggcrate and the lamp board to properly position the lamps extending from the board into the cells in the eggcrate light shield. The lamp separator also serves to reduce the load on the lamp leads which. attach the lamps to the lamp board and reduce any shock forces imposed on the lamps and their circuitry.

If desired, the lamp separator and the printed wiring lamp board may be enlarged to position lamps along the outside of either or both sides of the eggcrate so that other indicia such as periods, commas, etc., may be displayed by the readouts.

Thus, the teachings of the present invention allow the production of a seven bar segment readout in which the configuration of the segments and thus the characters displayed can quickly be altered, a wide variety of characters and indicia can be displayed, adjacent readouts can be closely spaced to allow miniaturization, and simple and inexpensive hardware configurations allow individual readouts to be fastened into a display unit in a minimum of time.

All of the above-described objects and advantages of the present invention together with further objects, advantages, modes, and embodiments thereof, will be understood by those skilled in the art by perusal of the Detailed Description and accompanying drawings which illustrate what is presently considered to be a preferred embodiment of the best mode contemplated for utilizing the novel principles of the invention as delineated in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an eggcrate light shield formed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevation of one side of a printed circuit lamp board which may be utilized with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an end view of the lamp'board shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a rear elevation of the face plate assembly, showing the face plate, viewing screen, and mask spacer strips;

FIG. 5 is also a rear elevation view of the front plate assembly, illustrating the character masks mounted thereon;

FIG. 6 is an elevation of a lamp separator which may be utilized with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a partial view of the lamp separator of FIG. 6, as seen along the line VII-VII therein;

FIG. 8 is a partial rear elevation of an assembled display unit, showing light shields mounted thereon, showing a lamp separator mounted in one position over a light shield, and showing a circuit board and lamp separator mounted over another light shield; and

FIG. 9 is a view of a readout shown in FIG. 8, taken along a line IXIX therein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown an eggcrate light shield 11 which is similar to that described in the above identified co-pending application Ser. No. 66,474. Light shield 11 is manufactured by providing interlocking slots 13 and 15 in four strip sections 17, 19, 21, and 23. When these four sections are properly assembled, they form seven cells 24-30, each of which receives a lamp as described hereafter.

Each of the eggcrate sections 19 and 23 are provided with identical attachment segments 33 which resemble the character E with the upper horizontal leg severed therefrom. A slot 35 formed between the lower and central portions 37 and 39, respectively, of the segments 33 act to aid in holding the eggcrate 11 to the readout face plate in a manner which will be described later. A surface 41 formed at each of the upper edges of the central portions 39 provide support surfaces for a readout lamp board as will also be described below.

Each of the eggcrate sections 17 and 21 are provided at one end thereof with an attachment segment 45. When the eggcrate is assembled, the attachment segments 33 and 45 on the sections 21 and 23 are immediately adjacent one another and those on the sections 17 and 19 are also immediately adjacent one another. The segments 45 each comprise a lower portion 51, a central portion 53, and an upper portion 55, which are separated from one another by slots 57 and 59, respectively. The vertical dimension of each of the slots 57 is substantially identical to the vertical dimension of each of the slots 35. The slots 57 cooperate with the adjacent slots 35 to hold the eggcrate 11 against the face plate in a manner to be described.

The slots 59 each form a support surface 63 on the upper edge of the central portion 53, as viewed in FIG. 1, in a common plane with the support surfaces 41 on the portions 33. The four surfaces thus formed support the edges of a lamp board when it is placed into position thereon. At the outer and lower corner of the portions 55, a pinching point 65 is formed so that a slight bending pressure exerted on the portion 55 will cause the points 65 to become slightly embedded into the lamp board to firmly secured it in place.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, there is shown a printed circuit lamp board 71 having a plurality of upstanding lugs 73 to which one lead of an output from a machine such as a computer may be attached. One lead of a lamp 75 is also attached to each lug 73. A

printed wire 77 is formed on the board 71 to serve as a common ground for all of the lamps. A lug 79 in contact with the'printed wire 77 providesa .point'of attachment for a single grounding lead to be brought away from the board since the second wire from each lamp is in contact with the printed wire 77. A pair of notches 81 are formed in the opposite ends of the board so that it will fit around the segments 33 and 45 and be held on the light shield against the surfaces 41 and 63. When the portions 55 of the attachment segments 45 are slightly bent, as described above, the points 65 will become embedded in the upper surface of the lamp board 71 to hold it in place.

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate a lamp separator 85 comprising a flat board-like member having an upstanding shoulder 87 at each corner thereof. As shown in FIG. 9, the lamp separator 85 is positioned between the eggcrate 11 and the printed circuit lamp board 71 so that the lamp board is also supported by the shoulders 87 while the separator is held against the eggcrate. A series of openings 24a-30a, corresponding to the cells 24-30 of the eggcrate 11, are formed in the lamp holder 85 so that the lamps extending from the board 71 are both positioned and supported, relative to the cells, by the separator. These functions are accomplished by providing each of the openings 24a-30a with a plurality of spring-like fingers 91 which extend into the cells and grip the bulbs. Thus, the fingers 91 position the bulbs relative to the eggcrate cells so that when the readouts are assembled, lamp breakage is reduced and positioning of lamps into incorrect cells is prohibited. Additionally, the fingers 91 support the lamps so that their weight is not borne by the thin leads which extend from each lamp to the lugs 73 and the printed wire 77.

Consequently, the lamp separator 85 provides additional support for the lamp board 71 by means of the shoulders 87 and reduces the loading which would be imposed upon the lamp board by the lamps 75. This supporting of the lamps also serves to prevent breakage and separation of their leads from the lamp board when the readouts are subjected to shock.

If desired, the lamp separators 85 may be provided with additional openings 32a, 34a, and 36a having similar lamp holding fingers 91 to support additional lamps mounted on the lamp board in order to illuminate additional indicia as will be described later.

A front or face plate assembly 101 for a display unit is shown in FIG. 4 as comprising a face plate 103, mask spacer strips 105 and 107, and a viewing screen 109 which is positionedbetween the mask spacer strips and locked in position relative thereto by means of extensions 111 on each of the strips which cooperate with beveled corners 113 on the viewing screen.

Each of the strips 105 and 107 are provided with a series of upstanding lugs 115 which are accurately spaced thereon. The lugs 115 on the strip 105 are offset from the lugs on strip 107 along a line which is at an angle, relative to vertical, approximately equal to that at which it is desired that the viewer see the information indicated on the readout. Realizing that the views shown in the drawing are those which would be seen from the rear of a display unit comprising a plurality of readouts, it will be understood that the viewer, seeing the series of readouts from the opposite side of the viewing screen, would see the indicia indicated on the readouts as slanting toward the right from the lower left of each character. Selection of this angle during the design of the readout also determines the relative lengths of the sides of each cell in the eggcrate shield l 1 so that the angleof tilt of the assembled eggcratewillbe identical to the angular relationship of the lugs 115 on the strips 105 and 107.

- Referring now to FIG. 9, it can be seen how the upper portion 55 of the attachment segment 45 can be bent inwardly a small amount so that the pinching point 65 in the slot 59 will serve to hold the lamp board 71 against the bottom surface 63 of the slot. At the opposite end of the eggcrate, adjacent the mask spacer strips 105 and 107, it can be seen that two angular tabs 121 on each of the lugs 115 enter into the slots 35 and 57 to hold the eggcrate in position. If it is desired, the attachment segments 33 and 45 may be squeezed together slightly so that the upper and lower surfaces of the slots 35 and 57 will enter into tighter contact with the angled sides of the tabs 121.

Character masks are positioned between the eggcrate l1 and the spacer strips 105 and 107 in the manner indicated in FIG. 5. In that figure it has been shown how a plurality of character masks 125 may be placed side by side to form a multiple readout unit. Each readout of the display unit is provided with a mask such as that shown at 125. If desired, all of the masks of the readout unit could be formed as a single entity but, at present, it is believed to be more desirable to provide individual masks so that each one may be changed as desired. As shown in the drawing, each mask 125 basically comprises a photographic negative having an opaque section 127 in which translucent segments 24b-30b are formed. If desired, additional translucent sections 32b, 34b, and 3612 may be produced on the mask, allowing indicia other than numerals and characters to be illuminated on the screen viewed by a person reading the unit. As will be apparent, each of the translucent .sections 24b-30b correspond with eggcrate openings 24-30 and lamp separator openings 24a-30a.

The masks 125 are formed with slots 128 at the opposite ends thereof which fit around the lower ends of the spacer lugs 115. The masks can therefore be installed merely by creating a bow in the horizontal center portion of the mask, aligning the slots 128 and lugs 115, and releasing the bow.

Comparing FIGS. 5 and 9, it will be seen at the righthand portion thereof how each of the eggcrate cells and the mask segments match up with one another so that when a lamp is illuminated in one cell, it will cause illumination of the bar segment with which it is aligned. Also, it will be seen that a lamp may illuminate the translucent portion 32b if it is positioned at the intersection of the eggcrate sections 17 and 21. The portions 34b and 36b may be similarly illuminated if lamps are positioned at the intersections of eggcrate sections 21 and 19, and 19 and 23, respectively. As shown in FIG. 6, the lamps for illuminating these translucent sections which are external to the eggcrate will be held in the openings 32a, 34a, and 36a, respectively.

When the lamp extending into eggcrate cell 24 is illuminated, the bar segment 24b can thus be viewed by a person standing on the opposite side of the face plate 103. When the lamps in cells 24, 25, 27, 29, and are illuminated, the viewer will see the numeral 2 illuminated on the surface of the viewing screen 109; when the lamps in all of the cells 24-30 are illuminated, the viewer will see a figure eight.

A minus sign may be formed on the viewing screen by the'illumination of the lamp in the cell 27 and the lamp. at the external intersection of eggcrate sections 21 and 19. If the lamps in cells 26 and 29 are also illuminated, a plus sign will be seen on the screen.

At the left-hand side of FIG. 8, an eggcrate 11 has been shown mounted on top of the lugs 115 on the spacer strips and 107. A lamp separator 85 has been positioned over the eggcrate 11 so that V" notches 135 (FIG. 6) are positioned at the intersections of the attachment segments 33 and 45. The separator fits tightly against the upper edges of each of the eggcrate sections and its lateral positioning is maintained by the V slots. The lamp holding fingers 91 extend into the openings 24-30 in the manner previously described so that the lamps 75 will be held in their proper positions.

In the display unit shown in FIG. 8, the readout shown second from the left has been illustrated to show the lamp board mounted on the eggcrate so that it is supported by the shoulders 87 on the lamp separator and by the attachment segments 33 and 45 as described previously.

Thus, the display unit may comprise a single readout or a series of readouts of any desired number. A single readout would, of course, require a smaller front plate assembly and only two mask spacer lugs 115.

Each individual readout is very simply formed comprising, basically, a character mask, an eggcrate light shield, a lamp holder, and a printed circuit lamp board to which the lamps are attached. This structure may be mounted on any suitable face plate and, if desired, a viewing screen may be mounted between the face plate and the character mask. The simplicity of the structure allows individual parts, such as the character mask, to be quickly and easily replaced since the masks are prevented from movement away from the viewing screen by the attachment of the light shield to the lugs and they are prevented from moving parallel to the viewing screen by notches 128 formed in the upper and lower edges of the masks.

In other words, if it is desired to change the configuration of the characters so that the bar segments are curved, for example, it is merely necessary to remove the eggcrate and the structure positioned thereon from the lugs 115, replace the mask in the manner described above with a mask having other indicia or character shaping thereon, and repositioning the eggcrate and the lamp structure on the lugs. Further, if it is desired to alter the angle at which the characters are seen by a viewer, this can be accomplished quite simply and easily by replacing the mask, eggcrate, lamp holder, and light board with a similar structure which is formed at a different angle as controlled by the lengths of the sides of the rectangles formed by the eggcrate segments as explained in the above-described co-pending application. Of course, the new attachment segments 33 and 45 would have to be so formed that they would cooperate with the lugs 115.

Thus the applicant has developed and disclosed a new and improved concept in the readout and display art which results in a true advancement in that art due to its simplicity, utility, and economy. Many other embodiments and alterations of the described embodiment will now become evident to those skilled in the art without avoiding the scope and intent of the invention as defined in the following claims, wherefore What is claimed is:

.1. A bar segment readout comprising:

face plate means,

a viewing screen mounted on said face plate means,

at least one character mask mounted relative to said viewing screen for illumination thereof through said viewing screen and having a plurality of translucent segments for identifying on the screen individual characters in accordance with the passage of light through different segments,

a light shield mounted adjacent said at least one character mask and defining a plurality of cells and supporting the face plate means, the viewing screen and the character mask, each of the cells being associated with a different one of the segments of the character mask,

a plurality of lamps individually positioned within the different compartments of said light shield for i1- lumination of the associated translucent segments of said character mask, and

lamp separator means attached to the light shield and having portions thereof extending into the compartments to support the lamps.

2. The readout of claim 1 wherein said character mask comprises a film-like negative having an opaque portion, a plurality of translucent portions, and means integral with the character mask for cooperating with the face plate means to prevent relative movement therebetween. 3. The readout of claim 1 including means extending from said face plate means for 8 maintaining said viewing screen, said character mask and said light shield in a substantially fixed relationship. 4. The readout of claim 1 wherein said light shield comprises an eggcrate means having a plurality of bent members which are interlocked to form lamp-receiving cells, each of said members having at one end thereof a slotted attachment segment,

and lug means on the face plate means for cooperating with the slotted attachment segment on the light shield to support the face plate means on the light shield. 5. The readout of claim 4 including a lamp board upon which said plurality of lamps are mounted, an electrical circuit included in said lamp board for energizing said lamps, and means provided on said light shield for attaching said lamp board to said light shield at the end opposite the viewing screen. 6. The readout of claim 5 wherein the attaching means includes spring-like fingers for individually holding said plurality of lamps in a predetermined position in said light shield.

Patent Citations
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US3177483 *Oct 17, 1960Apr 6, 1965Marco Ind CompanyVariable indicia multiple unit illuminated read-out indicator
US3357010 *Apr 28, 1964Dec 5, 1967Amp IncInformation display and storage means employing multi-aperture transfluxors
US3366950 *Sep 21, 1965Jan 30, 1968Honeywell IncDisplay projection apparatus employing half silvered mirror
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5812102 *Mar 12, 1997Sep 22, 1998Union Switch & Signal Inc.Vital monitoring system for seven-segment display used in railroad applications
US6097302 *Jun 23, 1999Aug 1, 2000Union Switch & Signal, Inc.System and method for monitoring a plural segment light-emitting display
DE3313353C1 *Apr 13, 1983Jan 26, 1984Hans-Werner Dipl-Kaufm BrinnerDisplay board
DE3912300A1 *Apr 14, 1989Oct 18, 1990Joerg Michael UhlElement set for non-pattern prodn. of luminous letter signs - has at least two respectively equilateral triangle and circular sector having hollow translucent housing with light source
U.S. Classification345/32, 345/35, 40/451, 340/815.57
International ClassificationG09F9/307
Cooperative ClassificationG09F9/307
European ClassificationG09F9/307