US 3815718 A
An automatic fee determining system for use in parking facilities including means to totalize the amount of coins accepted by the system. The system includes means for calculating the fee due from a parking ticket. The customer inserts coins into a coin receptor and a "vend" signal is produced only when the total value of coins at least equals the calculated fee due. A coin return is provided to return coins so long as the total value of coins accepted is less than the calculated fee due. Means are provided to capture the coins when the amount accepted is at least as large as the calculated fee due. A pulse generator responsive to the "vend" signal is provided to produce a series of pulses corresponding to the value of the coins captured. The coin value pulses are counted by a pulse responsive totalizer which counts and stores the total value of coins captured.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Singer 1 AUTOMATHC FEE DETERMINHNG AND RECEIPT TOTALIZHNG SYSTEM FOR PARKING FACILITIES Paul A. Singer, Cincinnati, Ohio The Cincinnati Time Recorder Company, Cincinnati, Ohio Filed: Nov. 27, 1972 Appl. No.: 309,707 1  Inventor:
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Johnson 194/1 N Z/ CASH I STORAGE 5] June 11, 1974 3,729.617 4/1973 Stone 235/6l.8 A X Primary Examiner-Thomas J. Sloyan Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Wood, Herron & Evans [5 7] ABSTRACT An automatic fee determining system for use in parking facilities including means to totalize the amount of coins accepted by the system. The system includes means for calculating the fee due from a parking ticket. The customer inserts coins into a coin receptor and a vend signal is produced only when the total value of coins at least equals the calculated fee due. A coin return is provided to return coins so long as the total value of coins accepted is less than the calculated fee'due. Means are provided to capture the coins when the amount accepted is at least as large as the calculated fee clue. A pulse generator responsive to the vend signal is provided to produce a series of pulses corresponding to the value of the coins captured. The coin value pulses are counted by a pulse responsive totalizer which counts and stores the total value of coins captured.
12 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures LOST TICKET com SUBTRACT FEE PTOR LOGIC REGISTER COIN 8i O FEE l MATRIX PATENTEDJIIII I I I974 3 Q 8 l 5; 7 l 8 SHEET 10F 2 3/ CASH I LOST STORAGE TICKET coIN SUBTRACT FEE l" RECEPTOR LOGIC REGISTER 1 f z r I29) E6 33 Z 0 COIN & om
RETURN 7 d GATE L [3/ 9 Z i 6 OR 3 /d GATE Z z, SIGNAL l /9 r GATE DISPLAY FEE LoNTRoL MATRIX 33 4394 L &
BgTREMENT J6 1/ 4'5 6) E8E OR AND 4 AND VTOTALIZER 3 V 4% l Z 34 44 7 POWER ON 47 4 437 INTERLOCK AND CLOCK A? 4 3 FEE MATRIX] [3a sATE SIG L v j |DECREMENT"COUNTER 0 44 ["VEND" SIGNAL /J/ L II H n n FI n J zz AUTOMATIC lFEE DETERMINING AND RECEIPT TOTALIZING SYSTEM FOR PARKING FACILITIES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to parking systems and is particularly directed to an automatic parking system of the type in which a parking fee due is calculated automatically and in which the customer deposits coins equal to this fee in order to open an exit gate permitting his egress. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a system of this type including a totalizer for providing a running total of the value of coins deposited in the system.
One typical system in which the present invention can be utilized to an advantage is disclosed in a copending patent application entitled AUTOMATIC FEE DETERMINING SYSTEM FOR PARKING GA- RAGES by Carl K. Gieringer et al., Ser. No. 244,009, filed on Apr. 14, 1972, now US. Pat. No. 3,760,160. The disclosure of this co -pending application is herein incorporated by reference to form a part of the disclosure in this invention.
In a completely self-service parking facility of the type described generally in the above-identified copending application, a customer upon entering a parking facility receives a ticket withhis entry time encoded thereon. Upon leaving the parking facility, the customer presents the coded ticket to an automatic ticket reader. The system calculates the total elapsed time between entry and departure of the customer from which the parking fee due is calculated. This fee is displayed or otherwise indicated to the customer. In order to open the exit gate, the customer must insert at least enough coins into a coin receptor to equal the amount calculated as the parking fee due. After sufficient coins have been deposited, a vend signal is generated and the exit gate is opened automatically to permit the customer to leave the facility. I
The automatic fee determining system described in the above application can also be utilized in an attendant-controlled facility. In such ,a facility, the customer is issued a time encoded card upon entry and inserts this card in a reader at the time of his exit. The system automatically computes and displays the parking fee due. In this alternate system, however, the customer pays an attendant who deposits the amount due in a cash register, issues the customer any change, and opens the exit gate for the customer at the completion of the transaction.
While these prior systems provide a definite advantage in terms of automatically computing the parking fee due, they neverthelessare subject'to one common defect. Specifically, in neither of these systems is there any means of checking the total receipts during a period, for example an 8 hour shift. Indeed, one commonly recognized problem with these and other prior parking systems is their vulnerability to theft by dishonest employees. In a completely automatic system it is possible that the employee emptying the coin receptor may retain some of the coins while turning in only a portion of the total receipts. Similarly, an attendant may, by making false entries into the cash register of amounts less than the amounts charged to the customer, pocket the difference with the result that the proprietor of the facility receives less than the total amount received.
OBJECTS It is a primary object of this invention to provide a totalizer circuit to record the amount of money which should be received by an employer from attendants employed to handle money collected by an automated fee determining system.
his a further object of the present invention to provide an automatic totalizer which will provide a correct total of coins received without interfering with various desirable features previously incorporated in automatic parking systems. Thus, for example, it has been found desirable, as disclosed in my above-identified application, to provide an automatic system in which a visual indication of the fee due is provided. This indication is decreased as coins are inserted into the coin receptor so that the display indicates the total amount still due. I
all of the coins deposited, i.e., to prevent their return,
once the total fee has been deposited and a vend signal given to open the parking gate orthe like.
Thus, it is a further-important object of the present invention to provide a totalizer which will include in the running total only those fees which have been fully paid and the coins captured. In other words, the totalizer distinguishes between such amounts and the amounts of any coins that are deposited and withdrawn by the customer.
It is a further specific object of this invention to provide an accurate and non-defeatable totalizer for parking systems, the totalizer providing a running total of the amount of money accepted by the system, whether accepted automatically from the customer or whether received by an attendant.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an automatic totalizer in which the total recorded remains accurate even when customers improperly use the system either inadvertently or intentionally. More particularly, the present totalizer provides a signal lockout to prevent any errors from being introduced in the event a new ticket is inserted while the totalizer is still accumulating the total from a previous system operation. The present totalizer also includes an interlock effective to prevent any error from being introduced into the total should an attempt be made to actuate the coin return after the full fee due has been inserted into the coin receptor and the totalizer has started to add the fee thus represented.
BRIEF SYSTEM DESCRIPTION The fee determining system embodies a circuit to calculate the fee due from a customer and a display showing this fee. A coin receptor is provided for receiving coins deposited by a customer. The coin receptor includes a selectively operable coin return for returning coins inserted into the receptor solong as the total value of these coins is less than the calculated fee due. When the amount of coins deposited in the coin receptor is at least as large as the amount determined as the fee due, a coin-capturing mechanism is activated to capture the coins in the coin receptor thereby preventing their withdrawal. At the same time, a vend signal is generated which signifies a completed transaction and may also be operative to raise an exit gate to permit the customer to drive his vehicle from the parking facility. g
In accordance with the present invention, this vend signal is also operative to activate a pulse generator to generate pulses corresponding to the value of the calculated fee due or alternatively, the value of the coins captured by the system. A pulse-responsive counter is provided to count the pulses generated and thereby record a running total of the value of either the fees due or the coins captured. No error is introduced into this total due to any coins returned to the customer. Further, the pulse responsive counter provides to the system owner an indication of the minimum value of coins accepted to the system to thereby assure that employees do 'not embezzle any coins.
The foregoing and other objects and advantages of this invention will become more clear from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of this invention taken in connection with the drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the totalizer circuit constructed in accordance with this invention and including a portion of the system described in the aboveidentified co-pending application.
FIG. 2 is a pulse timing chart for various points in the electrical network shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a detailed circuit diagram of a preferred embodiment of a totalizer operative in combination with an automated fee determining system.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION An automatic parking system embodying the present totalizer is shown in block form in FIG. 1.In that figure, a dotted line is shown as separating the upper and lower portions of the drawing. The portion of the drawings located above the dotted line 10 corresponds in part to a parking system of the type shown in FIG. 1 of the co-pending patent application entitled AUTO- MATIC FEE DETERMINING SYSTEM FOR PARK- ING GARAGES by Carl Gieringer et al., Ser. No. 244,009, filed on Apr. 14, 1972, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,760,160. More particularly, the automated fee determining system, as indicated in the identified co-pending application, issues a parking ticket upon entry to the parking facility with coding thereon representing the time of entry. When the driver seeks to leave the facility, the driver presents the coded ticket to a ticket reader. The reader then reads the ticket to determine the time of entry and subtracts the entry time from the current time to determine the elapsed time between the time of entry and the time of egress. The elapsed time is preferably calculated in time periods for which a parking fee is to be determined. The elapsed time represented in time periods is presented, in the manner described in the identified co-pending application, to a fee matrix 11 which determines from the elapsed time the exact fee due. The fee due is transmitted from the fee matrix 11 to a fee register 12. In the preferred embodiment of this invention, the contents of the fee register 12 is transmitted over a data transmission line 13 i to display 14. This display 14, which may take the form of an electronic, electromechanical or other type of display, indicates directly to the customer the amount of money due.
Once the fee clue is displayed, the customer will deposit coins into a coin or cash receptor 15. This coin receptor 15, in a preferred embodiment of this invention is operative to receive coins in the form of nickels, dimes and quarters. Upon receipt of a coin, the cash receptor 15 transmits signals over the data line 16 to the subtraction logic circuit 17, the data signals on data line 16 corresponding to the valve of the coin placed into the coin receptor. When the subtraction logic circuit 17 receives signals on the data transmission line 16 indicating the value of a coin received, the subtraction circuit 17 is operative to decrease the magnitude of the fee due which is stored in the fee register 21. Specifically, the subtraction logic 17 is operative to subtract the value of the coin received from the fee due and store the results in the fee register 12. As such, the fee register 12 is decremented each time a coin is deposited in the coin receptor 15 and the fee due, as indicated on the display, always corresponds to the remaining amount of coins that the customer must deposit to totalthe fee due and cause the apparatus to open the exit gate. I
In normal operation, the customer will ultimately deposit at least enough coins in the coin receptor 15 to completely pay for the fee due. It should be noted that for systems which do not include a change-making feature for returning excess money paid by customers, the subtraction logic 17 is operative to subtract the value of coins deposited from the fee due in register 12 until the fee due is equal to zero. However, the subtraction logic 17 does not further subtract to determine the customer over-payment nor does the display 14 indicate the over-payment. However, in systems including a change return as described in the co-pending' application, change may be provided to the customer to return the over-payment.
In either case, however, when the subtraction logic 17 determines that the value of all coins deposited is at least as large as the original calculated fee due, the subtraction logic 17 generates a vend signal which is transmitted over a wire 20 to cause the coin receptor 15 to capture the accepted coins by depositing them in a cash storage means 21. Simultaneously, the vend" signal is transmitted over the wire 20a to the gate control 19 which will cause the exit gate to open and permit the motorist to drive his vehicle out of the facility. The cash storage means 21 normally comprises a locked container much like an after-hour bank deposite vault for holding the captured money until an attendant can remove it for deposit in a bank.
In some cases, a customer does not have at least as many coins as necessary to pay the fee due, and he may not determine this fact until after some coins have already been deposited into the coin receptor 15. In order to accommodate such customers, the present fee determining system is provided with a coin and ticket return button 18. The coin and ticket return button 18 is operative to return the customers parking ticket and simultaneously cause the coin receptor 15 to release all the accepted coins to the coin return 22. At the same time, the coin and ticket return button 18 is operative to clear the contents in the fee register 12. This clearing of the fee register 12 may be provided by transmitting a clear signal over a wire 23 to the subtraction logic 17. The subtraction logic 17, in response to a clear signal on the wire 23, is operative to clear the contents of the fee register 12 and thereby cause the display 14 to indicate that there is no additional fee due. This clearing operation for the fee register 12, however, does not produce a vend" signal on the wire 20 nor is the exit gate activated by a signal on the wire 20a. As such, depressing the coin and ticket return button 18 is operative to return the deposited coins to the coin return 22 and to reset the fee register 12 to zero while preventing the exit gate from opening.
In the semi-automatic mode of operation, the fee determining apparatus is operative to calculate the fee due from a customers parking ticket. The customer than gives an attendant enough money to cover the calculated fee due. If change is due the customer, the attendant will give such change to the customer and then depress a vend button which will manually operate the garage exit gate. The vend button will also reset the fee register 12 to zero.
The foregoing detailed description has described in general terms the automatic and semi-automatic operation of the apparatus located above the dotted line in FIG. 1, and this portion of the system is described, as indicated earlier, in greater detail in the aboveidentified co-pending patent application. The apparatus disposed below the dotted line 10 in FIG. 1, however, comprises the additional circuitry necessary to operate in cooperation with that portion already described to provide the coin totalizing aspects of this invention.
In general, the coin-totalizing apparatus isoperative to receive the initial fee due as calculated by the fee matrix 11 and stored initially in the fee register 12. The calculated fee due is stored within the circuitry shown below the dotted line 10 and, when the subtract logic 17 determines that the customer has inserted at least enough coins to equal the calculated fee due, the circuitry responds to produce pulses corresponding to the calculated fee due. These pulses are counted bya totalizer which accumulates the calculated fee due for each customer with the fees of all preceding customers. As indicated, however, the totalizer is not activated until the customer has inserted enough coins to at least equal the fee due and thereby prevent the necessity of modifying the accumulated value if the customer should press the coin and ticket return button 18.
In an alternative form of this invention, the value of coins released from the coin receptor to the cash storage 21 can be counted. The counted value may then be accumulated to provide a measure of the value of the coins in the cash storage 21. In this form, however, there is no provision to evaluate the accuracy of change making whether made automatically or by an attendant. As such, this form of totalizing is best suited for fully automated systems.
To accomplish the totalizing function, a gate circuit 30 responsive to the fee matrix 11 and also to gating signals from the output of the OR circuit 31 is provided. The gating signals from the OR circuit 31 are produced either by the coin and ticket return button 18 or by a gate signal on the wire 32. The gate signal on the wire 32 is generated by circuitry not shown and comprises a pulse, as indicated for signal 2 in FIG. 2.
This pulse on the wire 32' is generated at a time when the fee matrix 11 is producing at its output the original fee due. In the alternative, the gate might be responsive directly to the fee register 12 and the gate signal on the wire 32 could be generated at a time when the output of the fee register 12 contains the original fee due from the customer prior to any subtraction of coins deposited. In either case, the outputs of the gate 30 is a plurality of signals transmitted over a plurality of data lines 33 to a decrement counter 34 which is operative to temporarily store the original fee due as calculated by the fee matrix ll. The decrement counter 34 produces a signal on a wire 35 which. as shown at 3 in FIG. 2, indicates that the number stored in the counter 34 is greater than zero whenever the output on the wire 35 is at its high level. The signal on the line 35 is connected to one input of an OR circuit 36 whose output is transmitted over the wire 37 to an AND circuit 40 and also to a second AND circuit 41.
The AND circuit 40 has a second input connected via a wire 42 to the output of the subtract logic 17. The signal on the line 42, as described generally above, is the vend signal which is operative to activate the exit gate from the parking garage. This vend" signal is shown generally as signal 4 in FIG. 2. Whenever the decrement counter 34 is greater than zero and the vend signal is active, there will be a high signal on the wire 37 and also the wire 42 which is operative to cause the AND circuit 40 to produce a signal at its output 43 which is operatively connected to a startable clock circuit 44. The clock circuit 44 is operative in response to a signal at the output 43 of the AND circuit 40 to produce a series of pulses so long as there is a signal at the output 43. This pulse-producing condition is shown generally by signal 5 in FIG. 2. The output pulses from the clock 44 are placed on a wire 45 which is operatively connected to an input of the OR circuit 36 and also to an input of the AND circuit 41. As such, the clock 44 is operative to produce a series of pulses on the wire 45 to produce at the output 46 of the AND circuit 41 a series of pulses so long as the decrement counter 34 has an output indicating that the value stored therein is greater than zero. These pulses on the output 46 are operative to decrement-the number stored in the decrement counter 34 for each such pulse generated and also operative to increment the totalizer 47 for each such pulse. In a preferred form, the totalizer 47 comprises an electromechanical pulse counter of the type including rotating wheels or discs for displaying the pulse count, the display being incremented by 1 for each pulse counted, which advantageously retains the counter setting despite power failures or the like. To achieve this result, it is assumed that the power on interlock signal on wire 49 is at a level to permit the output pulses from the AND circuit 41 to pass directly through the AND circuit 48 to the totalizer 47 during normal system operation. As such, each pulse generated by the clock 44 is operative to increment the totalizer 47 by l and also operative to decrement the number contained in the decrement counter 34-by 1.
When the decrement counter 34 is reduced to zero, the signal appearing on the output wire 35 no longer maintains its high level as indicated generally at 50 in FIG. 2. This being the case, a low signal on the wire 35 is presented to the OR circuit 36. Consequently the output of the OR circuit 36 as provided on the wire 37, also becomes a low to thereby change the input to the AND circuit 40. When the input to the AND circuit 40 from the wire 37 changes to its low level, the output 43 changes so as to block the generation of any additional pulses by the clock 44. Consequently, the circuit shown in FIG. 1 is operative to control the clock 44 so as to produce the same number of pulses as indicated by the number gated into the decrement counter 34 from the data bus 33. This means that the totalizer 47 will be incremented by pulses generated by the clock 44 by an amount exactly equal to the fee due.
In operation, the system in FIG. 1 will perform in the following manner for a simple exemplary operation. It is assumed that the customer has presented a parking ticket to the ticket reader and the elapsed time in such that the fee matrix 11 calculates that the fee due is 15 cents. This indication is transmitted to the fee register 12 and also displayed on the display 14. The gate signal on line 32 also causes the 15 cent indication to be transmitted from the fee matrix 11 via the gate 30 to the decrement counter 34. Since the system, in the preferred embodiment described, can receive only quarters, dimes and nickels, the smallest money unit that may be accepted by the system is obviously a nickel, and the number stored in the decrement counter 34 is representative of the total number of nickels required to completely pay the fee due as stored in the fee register 12. For the example selected, as 15 is stored in the decrement counter 34.
Once the display 14 indicates to the customer the amount of money due, the customer deposits into the coin receptor 15 either quarters, dimes or nickels. For each coin deposited into the coin receptor 15, the subtract logic 17 is operative to subtract a value equal to the value of the coin received from the contents in the fee register 12. The result of this subtraction is then placed in the fee register 12 and the display 14 will con tain a number indicating the additional amount of money owed by the customer. For the example indicated, the customer initially owes 15 cents to cover the cost of parking. Assuming that the customer first inserts a dime into the coin receptor 15, the subtract logic 17 will be operative to subtract cents from the fee due in the fee register 12. The subtract logic 17, therefore, changes the remaining fee due in the fee re'gister 12 to a nickel. The display 14 is thereafter changed to indicate that an additional five cents is owed by the customer. When the customer inserts another coin into the coin receptor 15, whether it be a quarter, dime or nickel, the subtract logic will reduce the contents of the fee register 12 to zero to thereby indicate on the display 14 that no additional money is owed by the customer. At this time, the subtract logic 17 also generates the vend signal which passes over line 20 to the coin receptor to thereby transfer the accepted coins to the cash storage 21. Likewise, the vend signal on line a is operative to open the exit gate thereby permitting the customer to leave the parking garage. The vend signal also is carried over wire 42 to the AND circuit 40 to activate the clock 44.
At this time, the clock 44 is operative to produce a series of pulses, each such pulse is counted by the totalizer 47 and also used by the decrement counter 34 to thereby reduce the count stored therein by 5 for each pulse. Since, for the example selected, the decrement counter 34 contains a value of 15, indicating that the customer originally owed three nickels, the circuitry in FIG. 1 is operative to control the clock 44 so as to produce only three clock pulses as indicated for signal 5 in FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 2, the third clock pulse as indicated generally at 51 is operative to decrement the counter 34 to zero. This, as indicated earlier, causes a signal on the line 35 to fall to its low level as indicated generally at 50 in FIG. 2. When the decrement counter output indicates that the decrement counter has reached zero, this signal passesrthrough the OR circuit 36 to the wire 37 to cause the AND circuit 40 to produce an output signal on line 43 which turns off the clock 44 to thereby prevent any further clock pulses from being generated. Consequently. the totalizer 47 receives only three pulses as indicated at line 6 in FIG. 2, and the totalizer 47 will have been incremented by three, corresponding exactly to the fee due as calculated earlier by the fee matrix 11.
The circuitry in FIG. 1 is operational in the following manner to respond to a customer pressing the coin and ticket return button 18 prior to depositing enough money into the coin receptor 15 to cover the total fee due as originally calculated by the fee matrix 11. The coin and ticket return button 18 is electrically connected to the OR circuit 31 to produce a signal at its output which is connected to the gate 30. Since as indicated earlier, depressing the coin and ticket return 18 is operative to change the fee register 12 to zero, the gate 30, in response to the signal generated by the OR circuit 31, will transmit a value of zero to the decrement counter 34 thereby restoring the decrement counter to zero without generating any pulses at the output of the clock 44.
Referring now to FIG. 3, a detailed circuit diagram is shown for the totalizer circuit of the present invention and encompassing, in general, a circuit which performs very much like that for the portion of FIG. 1 disposed below the dotted line 10. In the preferred embodiment, as shown in FIG. 3, the output of the fee matrix 11 is used to enter the fee due into the decrement counter 34. As described in greater detail in the aboveidentified co-pending patent application, the fee matrix 11 includes a units output line which has signals thereon corresponding to either a zero or a five in the units position of the calculated fee due. The output of the fee matrix 11 for the tens position of the fee due is provided on a plurality of lines shown generally as 61. Specifically, there are nine different lines, each line representing a multiple of 10 ranging from 10 through 90. These input lines 61 form the input to a decimal to binary coded decimal converter 62 which has four output lines 63, 64, 65 and 66. The signals appearing on each of the lines 63 through 66 correspond to the binary coded decimal signal equivalent of the decimal numbers ranging from 1 to 9. For example, when the line indicating cents is active, the decimal to binary coded decimal converter 62 is operative to produce binary signals on the output lines 66, 65, 64 and 63 equal to 0111 respectively;
In addition to the foregoing inputs, a plurality of lines shown generally as 67 are connected to the fee matrix 11 for providing signals to another decimal to binary coded decimal converter 68. These lines, shown generally as 67, are representative of fees due which range between $1 and $9. Like the decimal to binary coded decimal converter 62, the converter 68 also produces at its output leads 70, 71, 72 and 73 a set of binary coded decimal signals representative of the binary coded decimal equivalent to the dollar value line active at the input thereto.
Wired to the unit input line 60, the converter output lines 63, 64, 65, 66, 70, 71, 72 and 73 is a level conversion network 74 which, for the specific application of the present invention, is operative to switch signals from 24 volts levels to 12 volts levels. It will be recognized by those of skill in the art, however, that not all applications will require this type of level converting network. The outputs of the level converting network 74, are applied to the input of a plurality of gate circuits shown generally at 75 and have the same binary meaning associated with the unit line 60 and the outputs of the two converters 62 and 68. The gates shown generally at 75 are used to provide the needed signal inputs to the decrement counter shown within the dotted line 34.
To best understand the circuits shown in FIG. 3, the operation of each of the major circuits will be described in detail. When the system is at rest and there are no tickets inserted into the ticket reader and the exit gate is in its rest position, the following conditions exist. The relay contacts indicated at 18 and K are connected as shown to the positive 12 volt supply. With the other elements connected as show-n, the SCRI and the transistor Q1 will both be conducting. Since the collector of the transistor O1 is essentially at ground potential, the transistor Q2 will be turned off. Under these conditions, the voltage on the wire 80 will be low, thereby forcing the transistor O3 to be turned off also. In addition, the transistor Q4 which is used to gate clock pulses to the totalizer 47 is also normally turned off. To achieve this result, the output of the circuit 48 must be low. As will be indicated later, the signal on the line 49 is normally low and, therefore, the output of circuit 41 must normally be high to maintain the output of circuit 48 at a low level. Furthermore, the output of circuit 36 is normally low and the output at point 82 is normally high.
The fee determining system as described in greater detail in the above-identified co-pending application is operative to switch the K5 relay contact from the position shown to the other switching position when the fee matrix I] is about to produce at its output the signals representative of the calculated fee due for a customer. When the relay contact K5 is changed, a signal appears on the line 76 which permits the gate circuit shown generally at 75 to transmit the binary coded decimal signals from the matrix input lines 60, 61 and 67 to the input to the decrement counter 34. The signals at the input to the decrement counter 34, however, are not stable at the time the KS relay contact changes so the preset enable line 83, which operates to gate the coded number into the decrement counter 34, is not active until sometime later. This delay is produced by a delay circuit shown generally as 84. When the K5 relay switches from the position shown, the delay circuit 84 is operative to produce a delayed signal at its output 85. When this delayed output appears at the output line 85, it is operative to activate a single shot circuit 86 to produce a pulse at its output 87. This pulse is transmitted through a NAND circuit 90 to the line 32 and forms the gate signal input described in connection with FIG. I. This signal is operative to produce a gate signal on the preset enable line 83 to cause the data at the input to the decrement counter to be entered therein. The delay provided by the delay counter 84 is sufficiently long to assure that the signals from the fee matrix 11 have become stable prior to the generation of the preset enable signal on line 83. As such, the circuitry including the delay 84 and the single shot 86 is operative to assure that only the correct data indicating the calculated fee due is stored into the decrement counter 34.
When the K5 relay contact switches to the other position, it also causes transistor 01 and SCRI to stop conducting and thereby cause the transistor ()2 to begin conducting. In this condition, the level'on line is high, the importance of which will become clear shortly.
Once the decrement counter 34 has stored a number indicating the calculated fee due, the output of the circuit 36 will become high thereby producing a signal at output 82 which is low to prevent the SCRI from conducting.
When the fee determining system in FIG. 1 determines that the customer has deposited enough coins into the coin receptor to at least equal the calculated fee due, the subtract logic 17 will generate a signal which causes the K5 relay to switch back to the position indicated in FIG. 3. When this occurs, a plus 12' volt signal appears on the line 92 which has two effects. In the first place, it will be recalled that the voltage on line 80 is also high, therefore, the transistor Q3 is turned on. When this occurs, the output signal from the transistor O3 is utilized by the system to prevent the activation of the coin and ticket return button as well as prevent the ticket reader from operating. This interlock prevents the fee determining system from being operational until'such timeas the totalizer has been incremented by an amount equal to the calculated fee due for the customer who has most recently deposited coins in the coin receptor.
At the same time that line 92 goes positive, transistor O1 is turned on which is operative to turn off the transistor Q2. When this occurs, two high level signals appear on lines 93 and 94 which is operational to turn on the pulse generating clock shown generally as 44.
The clock 44 is operational to produce a series of pulses in a manner as described in connection with FIG. I and will remain running until the decrement counter 34 is reduced to zero. At this point in time, the output of the circuit 36 will return to its normally low condition. This, in turn, causes the signal at point 82 to go to its high level, thereby causing the SCRl to conduct. When the SCRI begins to conduct, the voltage on the leads 93 and 88 fall to a low level, thereby inhibiting the clock circuit 44 from producing any further pulses and also turning off Q3 to remove the system interlock signal freeing the system to read another customers parking ticket.
The clock circuit 44 includes a resistor R and a capacitor C which are used to control the pulse rate of the clock. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, this circuit is adjusted to provide 20 pulses per second at its output. The reason for selecting this output rate is that it is compatible with the totalizer 47 which comprises, in a preferred embodiment, an electromechanical pulse counter which will operate reliably to count 20 pulses per second.
As indicated earlier, activation of the ticket and coin return button is operative to return a parking ticket and any coins deposited to the customer. Activation of the ticket and coin return button is also operative to reset the decrement counter 34. In the circuit in FIG. 3, the
reset function is provided by the switch 18. When the switch 18 is changed from the position shown, one of the inputs to the circuit 31 is grounded, causing the preset enable line 83 to go to its high level. This will cause the decrement counter 34 to be reset with all zeros because the gate 75 has only zeros at'its output when the line 75 is at its high level (+12 volts).
The power on interlock signal on line 49 in FIG. 3 is generated by a single shot circuit located within the dotted line 100. This single shot circuit is wired to provide a high level signal on the power on interlock line 49 for a time period determined by the circuit elements connected to the NE555 integrated circuit. The high level signal on the line 49 is generated as soon as the l2 volt power supply is turned on at point 102. In the preferred embodiment of this invention, the single shot timer within the dotted line 100 is operative to produce a high level pulse signal on the line 49 having a duration of approximately 12 seconds. This pulse signal is applied to circuit 48 to prevent any extraneous pulses appearing at'the output line 46 from activating the transistor Q4 and thereby causing the totalizer 47 to be incremented. After the 12 second pulse has ended, the single shot 100 will return the line 49 to a low level and subsequent pulses generated at the output line 46 will be transmitted through circuit 48 and via the transistor Q4 to the totalizer 47. Whilea 12 second period has been selected in the preferred embodiment, the single shot timer 100, for modified totalizer circuits of the type described, may be operative for a different period of time which may be either greater or less than the preferred 12 second period.
The present invention also contemplates operation in a semi-automatic mode. In this mode of operation, the customer would drive his vehicle to the exit gate and present his parking ticket to the ticket reader apparatus. ln response to reading the ticket, the apparatus will calculate the parking fee due in the manner as heretofore indicated in the above-identified co-pending patent application. The customer then, instead of depositing coins into the coin receptor, would pay money to an attendant. lf change were due to the custoemr, the attendant would give the customer such change and then, by depressing a button, the gate to the parking garage would be raised permitting the customer to drive his vehicle through the gate. The button used to activate the gate by the attendant is also operative to produce the signal on line 42 of FIG. 1 to turn on the clock 44 and thereby activate the totalizer 47. For the circuitry in H6. 3, the activation of the button by the attendant is operative to switch the K relay from the switching position not indicated to that position indicated in FIG. 3. This switching of the K5 relay, as described earlier, will be operative to turn on the clock44- to generate a series of pulses representative of the calculated fee due. As such, in the semi-automatic mode, the totalizer circuit is operative to provide a nondestructible indication of the amount of money which the attendant should have received from the customers leaving the parking lot, thereby providing a check on the honesty of the attendant.
While the foregoing description has been made with particular emphasis upon a preferred embodiment of this invention, it will be recognized by those of skill in the art that certain modifications in form only may be readily made without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. For example, it is readily recognized that. the clock circuit 44 might be replaced by a free-running oscillator producing a series of timed pulses. These pulses then would be applied to an AND circuit whose output would provide a series of pulses generated by the specific timing circuit 44 shown. Furthermore, the pulse rate of the clock can deviate from the preferred rate if the totalizer will respond reliably to count the pulses at the different rate. A further possible modification might be to change the circuit from counting nickles to a circuit that counts pennies, dimes, or even quarters. These and other modifications in formonly may be made readily by those of skill in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention as defined by the following claims.
What is claimed is; 1. An automatic fee determining system including means for calculating the fee due, coin receptor means, means for generating a vend signal when the total value of coins deposited is at least equal to the fee calculated, said coin receptor means including selectively operable coin return means for returning coins when actuated so long as the total value of coins received is less than the calculated fee, means for capturing said coins within said system when the total value of coins received by said receptor at least equals the calculated fee, a totalizing circuit for recording the total value of coins deposited in the coin receptor means and captured in the system, said money totalizing circuit comprising:
pulse responsive counter means for recording the total value of coins captured by the coin capturing means;
pulse generating means for generating pulses corresponding to the value of coins deposited in said coin receptor means; and
means responsive to said vend signal for causing said pulse generator means to apply pulses to said pulse responsive counter only when the value of coins deposited at least equals the fee calculated.
2. The automatic fee determining system of claim 1 where said system accepts coins of various values and said pulse generating means generates a pulse for each low value coin in the total value of coins deposited,
where said low value coin is the smallest value coin of all coins accepted by the system.
3. The automatic fee determining system of claim 1 including interlock means operative when said pulse generating means is generating pulses to disable said fee calculating means.
4. The automatic fee determining system of claim 1 including interlock means operative when said pulse generating means is generating pulses to disable said selectively operable coin return means.
5. The automatic fee determining system of claim 1 including interlock means operative when said pulse generating means is generating pulses to disable said fee calculating means and said selectively operable coin return means to permit the pulse responsive counter to count the coins deposited without being altered by other system operations.
6. The automatic fee determining system of claim 5 wherein said system accepts coins of various values and said pulse generating means generates a pulse for each low value coin in the total value of coins deposited, where said low value coin is the smallest value coin of all coins accepted by the system.
7. The automatic fee determining system of claim 2 including interlock means operative when said pulse generating means is generating pulses to disable said fee calculating means.
8. The automatic fee determining system of claim 2 including interlock means operative when said pulse generating means is generating pulses to disable said selectively operable coin return means.
9. In an automated fee determining system including means for calculating and displaying the fee due, a coin receptor means for receiving coins, a coin counting means for counting the value of received coins, a display decrementing means for reducing the displayed fee due by the value of coins received, and means for producing a vend signal when the total value of coins received is at least equal to the calculated fee due, a money totalizing circuit for accumulating the calculated fee due for each system operation comprising, in combination:
a temporary storage means for storing the calculated fee due;
a pulse generator means responsive to said vend signal and to said temporary storage means to produce a series of pulses corresponding to the value of the calculated fee due; and
accumulator means for counting said series of pulses to provide a sum of all such series of pulses counted thereby indicating the sum of all previously calculated fees due.
It). The money totalizer circuit in claim 9 wherein said temporary storage means includes a decrement counter means, said decrement counter having a decrement input for receiving pulses to decrement the value stored therein;
means responsive to said decrement counter to provide a counter greater than 0 signal whenever said decrement counter has a number stored therein which is greater than 0; wherein said pulse generator means includes a startable clock means for producing said series of pulses in response to said vend signal and said counter greater than 0 signal, said series of pulses being operatively connected to said decrement input to provide said decrement pulses to said decrement counter. 11. The money totalizer circuit in claim 9 additionally including a power on interlock means connected to said accumulator means for preventing pulses from being applied to said accumulator means while power is being turned on to the system.
12. The money totalizer circuit in claim 9 additionally including interlock means responsive to said pulse generator means for preventing further operation of said calculating and displaying means while said pulse generator means is producing said series of pulses.