US 3798889 A
A clock alarm system wherein a lamp arrangement is utilized to announce the arrival of a preset time, the intensity of which light is controlled by appropriate electronic circuitry so as to increase in brilliance with the continued passage of time beyond that preset into the system, thereby simulating a natural sunrise.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 11 3,798,889 Chadwick Mar. 26, 1974 ARTIFICIAL SUNRISE 2,159,917 5/1939 Wagner 58/50 x i . Inventor: Duane G. Chadwick, 555 E. 3rd
North Logan Utah 84321 Primary Examiner-Lawrence R. Franklin  Filed: Feb. 9, 1973 ] App]. No.: 331,101
 ABSTRACT 52 US. Cl 58/19 C,58/21.12, 58/38 A clock alarm system wherein a lamp arrangement is  Int. Cl G04c 21/16 utilized to announce the arrival f a preset time the  Field of Search 58/3, l6, 19-21, intensity f which light is controlled by appropriate 58/21.]2, 22, 22.5, 425-44, 50 electronic circuitry so as to increase in brilliance with the continued passage of time beyond that preset into  References cued the system, thereby simulating a natural sunrise.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,727,395 4/1973 Baylor 58/19 C 4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures t .5, gi- 26a ARTIFICIAL SUNRISE BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION I. Field of the Invention This invention relates to light alarm arrangements operated by a timer mechanism.
2. Prior Art Light alarm arrangements for clocks and variations thereof have been proposed in the past. Such arrangements are disclosed in U.S. Patent Nos. 2,460,634,
Summary of the Invention It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a light alarm system, for operation with a timer mechanism such as a standard electric clock motor, having a lamp and associated electronic circuit whereby the lamp will be illuminated at a preset time increment and will increase in brilliance with the continued passage of time until full illumination is reached.
Other objects are toprovide a circuitry arrangement and mechanism for controlling lamp brilliance which is reliable, inexpensive to produce and quiet in operation.
Principal features of the present invention include an electric clock motor turning an hour indicator. A programmer, operated by the hour indicator, is set by a user to automatically initiate the light alarm at a desired time increment. The programmer consists, in
part, of a programmer cylinder arrangement that is suspended independently of the hour indicator, but is releasably connected thereto so as to turn with the time indicator by programming a time therein.
A continually energized, long life, electric light bulb is arranged within the programmer cylinder but is not connected thereto. The programmer cylinder provides a light barrier between the light bulb and a light sensitive resistor spaced from the bulb. A slot or notch in the programmer cylinder is arranged to allow light transmission through the cylinder and onto the light sensitive resistor once during each period of revolution of the cylinder. The shape of the slot determines the amount of light which the light sensitive resistor will initially receive and will receive over the vperiod of time in which the cylinder slot is between the light source and resistor as the opening is turned opposite thereto. Resistance values produced by the resistor sensing light through the turning slot can therefore be made to increase from a small to large resistance value, as desired, dependent upon the shape of the cylinder slot and the amount of light passed through.
A circuit including the light sensitive resistor and a lamp of the light alarm is connected to a source of alternating current. The circuit translates the current input into an output voltage reflective of the resistance value of the light sensitive resistor. As the slot in the turning programmerv cylinder first moves between the light bulb and the light sensitive resistor, the resistor, which has reflected an open circuit or infinite value, decreases in resistance, and reflects a small output voltage to light the lamp. As the slot turns to allow more light passage, a larger amount of light strikes the light sensitive resistor, decreasing the resistance produced. As an optimum resistance value is reached, the voltage transmitted is at a maximum value, and results in an increased voltage output to more brilliantly illuminate the lamp. The change in brilliance is dependent upon the rate of turning of the programmer cylinder and thereby occurs gradually with the passage of time to create a changing illumination pattern that simulates a natural sunrise.
Additional objects and features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken together with the accompanying drawings.
THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the face of the invention;
FIG. 2, a vertical sectional view taken on the line 2--2 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3, an electrical schematic view of the circuitry of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION I Referring now to the drawings:
In the illustrated preferred embodiment, a timer 10 is mounted in a housing 11. A clock dial [2 serving as a time indicator is arranged to turn within an opening 11c in a front face 11a, housing 11, and an electrical plug receptacle 13 is provided in the front face. The clock dial 12 is circular and has numbers reflecting the hours in a 24 hour period around the periphery thereof. A stationary pointer 14 is fixed on face 11a adjacent to the dial I2. Pointer 14 reflects or points to a particular number or a gradient between numbers on the clock dial, which dial is mounted to be rotated in the direction shown by the arrow, FIG. 1. The time over a 24 hour period is thereby reflected by the position of the numbers on dial 12, relative to pointer 14.
As shown in FIG. 2, dial 12 is fixed to one end of a shaft 15 having an opposite end extending into and turned by a clock motor 16. The housing of clock motor 16 has ears l7 projecting outwardly from its base opposite to shaft 15. Attachment means, shown herein as screws 18, are fitted through appropriate holes formed through the back 11b of housing 11 and into threaded holes in ears 17 to secure the clock motor 16 to housing 11. Shaft 15 is journaled through a cylinder 19 such that the cylinder 19 is capable of rotating independently of the shaft 15. A spring 20, arranged around shaft 15 and between cylinder 19 and clock motor 16, biases the cylinder away from the clock motor and towards a rear face 12a of clock dial 12. The clock dial rear face 12a has a circular rack 21 formed around the outer periphery such that the engaging surfaces of teeth 21a thereof face towards cylinder 19. A spring arm 22 is connected on one end to the edge of cylinder 19 at 19a, and is bent a 22a and 22b to clear the clock dial 12 and the edge of opening 11c before terminating at a tab 23. A tooth 24 is fixed to the end of arm 22, opposite to the tab 23, and is urged by spring 20 into mesh with a tooth 21a of rack 21. When tooth 24 is moved out of meshing engagement with rack 21, as by depressing tab 23 against the biasing of spring 20, the cylinder 19 can be rotated freely around shaft 15. Tab 23 therefore provides the means for programming or positioning the programmer cylinder 19 with respect to time as reflected by the relative position of the clock dial 12 to pointer 14.
A slot or notch 25, formed in the wall of programmer cylinder 19, provides an opening or window in the turning cylinder. The leading edge of the slot is aligned with tab 23 such that the positioning of tab 23, relative to clock dial 12, determines the time at which light will initially pass through the slot to contact a variable resistance producing means to be hereinafter described.
An electrical socket 26, having a long lasting light bulb 27 electrically connected therein, is fixed at its base 26a by screws 28 to the back 11b of housing 11. Bulb 27 is continuously energized by electronic circuitry that will be explained later herein, and is aligned within the interior of the cylinder 19 so as to be positioned immediately opposite to the slot 25 when the cylinder 19 is turned appropriately. A light sensitive resistor 29 is arranged directly opposite to the light emitting bulb 27, and is separated thereform by the wall of cylinder 19. Light sensitive resistor 29, FIG. 2, is connected to a circuit 30, shown as a box in FIG. 2, and
schematically in FIG. 3.
The outer wall of cylinder 19 acts as a light shield preventing, except when a slot 25 is positioned therebetween light emitted by the light bulb 27 from reaching the light sensitive resistor 29. Resistor 29 presents an open circuit or infinite value resistance configuration in the absence of light, prohibiting the electrical circuit 30 from passing a voltage therethrough. When, however, the slot 25 is turned between bulb 27 and resistor 29 such that light from the bulb passes therethrough to contact the resistor 29, the resistance value decreases in proportion to the intensity of light striking thereon, finally stabilizing at a desired value when the widest part of the slot 25 is between the light bulb 27 and resistor 29. The value of resistane produced thereby is directly related to the amount of light received from the light bulb 27, which amount of light is controlled by the shape of slot 25. The circuit is arranged such that by initially introducing a small amount of light to resistor 29, the resistance therein remains high and only a small amount of current output will flow through the circuit 30. The small current output passed, when connected to a household lamp 34, will produce only a low level of illumination therein. The amount of light passage from light bulb 27 to resistor 29 is varied from lesser to greater passage by appropriately forming slot 25, such that the narrowest slot dimension, such as slit 25a, FIG. 2, is initially turned between the bulb and resistor. As the slot 25 is continuously turned, exposing more slot area between the light bulb 27 and resistor 29, the resistance output from resistor 29 is lowered, resulting in an increased current output from circuit 30. Shown in FIG. 2, the sides of slot 25, from the slit 25a beginning slant apart, increasing the open area therebetween to pass more light therethrough. Continued turning of cylinder 19, therefore, gradually rotates the more open portions of slot 25 in between bulb 27 and resistor 29, thereby gradually increasing the amount of light passed proportionally increasing the current output from circuit 30.
The current output, produced through the resistor 29, is connected by wires 31 to the electrical receptacle 13 mounted in the face 11a of housing 11. Receptacle 13 is adapted to receive a standard electrical plug 32 that is preferably connected by wire 33 to the lamp 34. As lamp 34 emits light in proportion to the current received from circuit 30, when the cylinder 19 is finally turned such that the slot 25 is turned past resistor 29, the current passing through circuit 30 is cut off. The arrangement of the slot 25 thereby changes, with time the intensity of lamp 34 to simulate a natural sunrise. Con- 'tinued turning of cylinder 19, of course, moves slot 25 out from between bulb 27 and resistor 29 to again cut off voltage flow through circuit 30. It will be apparent that the cut off can be rather abrupt or can provide a gradual dimming and eventual cut off of the lamp, depending on the shape of the end 25b of slot 25 opposite to the slit end 25a thereof.
The cylinder 19, connected through tooth 24 to one -of the teeth a, rotates with dial l2 and blocks light transmission between the fixed bulb 27 and resistor 29 for a 24-hour period, unless, using tab 23, the cylinder 19 is repositioned with respect to dial face 12.
Input electrical energy is supplied to the clock arrangement 10 through a conventional electrical plug 35 mounted through the back 11b of housing 11. Plug 35 can be inserted into a standard room electrical outlet to suspend the clock arrangement therefrom.
A preferred circuit arrangement of the present invention is shown in FIG. 3. Shown therein, the clock motor 16, light bulb 27, the light sensitive resistor 29, and the circuit components associated therewith are all connected in parallel to a power source shown as l 10 volts AC. A portion of cylinder I9 is schematically shown, FIG. 3, positioned between the light bulb 27, and a schematic of the light sensitive resistor 29. The light sensitive resistor 29 is shown to be variable with its value of resistance, as already described herein, determined by the amount of light striking thereon. Two conventional resistors 37 and 38 are shown in FIG. 3 connected in series with tap arm 36 of the light sensitive resistor as a voltage dividing network that reduces the voltage applied to the light sensitive resistor 29. A conventional resistor 39 is connected in series with, and parallel to capacitors 40 and 41, which capacitors intersect the circuit on either side of the resistor 39. The resistor 39, and capacitors 40 and 41, all constitute a phase shift network capable of controlling variations in resistance across the light sensitive resistor 29 to produce an alteration in the time that a bilateral silicon controlled triac rectifier 42 will conduct for each cycle of the voltage wave applied to it.
An inductor 43 is included in parallel arrangement with the phase shift network to reduce high frequency transients and to cut down on spurious electromagnetic radiation that could cause static interference in nearby radios, etc.
The preferred timer and circuit arrangement herein described is intended to provide a quiet, long lasting control as a current supply for a standard type illuminating lamp as a variable brilliance alarm. By appropriately shaping the slot through which light is passed, a desired pattern of light brilliance can be obtained from the lamp, which lamp will not flicker as a result of wear of mechanical rheostat wipers or others like mechanical components.
Although a preferred form of my invention has been herein disclosed, it is to be understood that the present disclosure is made by way of example and that variations are possible without departing from the scope of the hereinafter claimed subject matter, which subject matter I regard as my invention.
1. A device for producing an electrical current output that varies with time a housing;
a time indicator mounted with said housing, so as to turn with the passage of time;
means for turning said time indicator with the passage of time; I
programmer means arranged to be movably positioned with respect to said time indicator for initiating an energy transfer, said programmer means comprising a cylinder,
a shaft journaled through said cylinder, which shaft is secured on one end to the time indicator and is turned to reflect the passage of time,
means for releasably connecting said cylinder to said time indicator,
a light source positioned within said cylinder, and
a slot formed through the wall of said cylinder, said slot being of gradually increasing size in the direction of rotation of the cylinder;
variable resistance means energized by operation of said programmer means for producing a value of resistance that varies with movement of said time indicator, said variable resistance means being positioned opposite to the light source and such that put that varies with time as recited in claim 1, wherein the variable resistance means comprises a light sensitive resistor arranged to be contacted by light passing through the slot during rotation of the cylinder.
3. A device for producing an electrical current output that varies with time as recited in claim 1, wherein the programmer means further includes a rack of teeth arranged on the time indicator;
a tooth means extending from the cylinder, for engaging said rack of teeth;
means for resiliently biasing said tooth means into engagement with said rack of teeth; and
means for disengaging said tooth means from said rack of teeth.
4. A device for producing an electrical current output that varies with time as recited in claim 3, wherein the means for disengaging the tooth from said rack comprises an arm carrying said tooth secured to the cylinder and extending to a point outside the housing.