US 3820642 A
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United States Patent [191 Levasseur June 28, 1974 VEND CONTROL CIRCUIT WITH IMPROVED DEPOSIT REFUND AND ACCUMULATION MEANS Joseph L. Levasseur, St. Louis, Mo.
Assignee: H. R. Electronics Company, High Ridge, Mo.
Filed: June 29, 1972 Appl. No.: 267,558
U.S. Cl. 194/1 N, 194/10 G07f 11/00 Field of Search 194/1 N, l M, 9, 10;
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 10/1967 Klinikowski 194/1 N 6/1971 Shirley 194/10 11/1972 Bowring 194/1 N Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Thomas E. Kocovsky Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Charles B. l-laverstock 5 7 ABSTRACT amount of a deposit'equals or exceeds a vend price the vend price is deducted from the amount accumulated so that thereafter only the excess deposited over the vend price need be accumulated and used to control the refunding operation. The present circuit is also versatile enough to be able to accommodate the coinage of any of the worlds coinage systems with little or no modification, it includes means to overcome the problems inherent in existing control circuits wherein the deposited coins themselves must actuate one or more switches or sensors to control circuit functions, it obviates the problems that occur when more than one coin is simultaneously being detected, and the subject control circuit includes means to prevent malfunction due to the presence of undesirable electronic noise and transient conditions that may be accidentally or intentionally induced into the circuit. The present circuit also includes novel means to convert single pulses to one or more pulses when accumulating and when returning change because of an overdeposit and also when the total amount of a deposit is to be refunded as in what is sometimes referred to as an escrow situation. This latter provision is especially important and advantageous in coinage systems where the lowest denomination coin used for making change in a coinage system may have more than one different combinational relationship with the other acceptable coin denominations. Also, being able to refund or es crow the total amount of a deposit regardless of its relation to the vend price, is unique to the vending art and eliminates the costly and expensive practice often used in vending centers and elsewhere of having to keep records of amounts due to customers who claim to have been cheated by the machines. This feature also prevents loss to the customer where the customer changes his mind after making a deposit or partial deposit or where he discovers that he does not have enough change to complete a desired purchase, or for some other reason wants his money refunded.
22 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures PATENTED JUN 2 8 I974 SHEEI 10F 2 QR -QQMEMQ PATENIEDI SHEET 2 BF 2 VEND CONTROL CIRCUIT WITH IMPROVED DEPOSIT REFUND AND ACCUMULATION MEANS Many different vending control circuits have been devised, constructed and used and most of these have certain advantages as well as limitations. So far as known, however, none of the existing control circuits solves the problems indicated above including providing escrow from the changer rather than requiring the holding of particular deposited coins, none has accumulator means that operate to cause a vend to take place when an amount at least equal to the vend price is deposited but never needs to thereafter accumulate more than an amount deposited that is in excess of the selected vend price, and none of the known devices is as versatile as the present means and none is able to be used with almost any existing coinage system. The present control means accomplishes these and other things by a unique arrangement of logic circuits including gate circuits, capacitor-resistor circuits, novel counter means, and other features and combinations thereof including also means which enable the subject control circuit to make change in the fewest possible number of coins returning first the larger denomination coins, and the present control means also employ novel input pulse generator means.
It is therefore a principal object of the present invention to provide an improved and more versatile control circuit for vending and like machines.
Another object is toprovide improved escrow means for vending and like machines which do not hold and return particular deposited coins such as the coins deposited but rather make all refunds including escrow refunds from the usual change making means.
Another object is to provide coin control means which can be made to operate with any of the worlds coinage systems.
Another object is to provide means capable of generating one or more impulses as required for each input received from a coin unit.
Another object is to prevent malfunctioning of a coin controlled device at times when two or more coins are simultaneously being detected.
Another object is to provide means in a coin controlled circuit for generating impulses of substantially shorter duration than the signals used to cause their generation such as signals produced by operation of coins.
Another object is to use electronically produced clock pulses instead of coin produced pulses to control the accumulation, payback and other functions of a vending control circuit.
Another object is to provide a relatively compact versatile coin controlled circuit constructed of a minimum of components. a
Another object is to reduce the inventory of different kinds of coin controlled circuits necessary to control the vending functions of vending machines regardless of the coinage systems on which they operate.
Another object is to provide vend control means that can be used to control the vending of products and/or services in response to inputs produced by coins, tokens, currency, or credit cards.
Another object is to provide a coin controlled circuit which is relatively insensitive to transient conditions such as might be caused by plug jiggle and other similar transient conditions.
Another object is to provide a coin controlled circuit with accumulator means that reset as soon as the amount accumulated therein equals the selected vend price and only needs to accumulate the amount of any excess that is deposited.
Another object is to provide refund means in a vending control circuit that always try to make refunds in the highest possible denomination. coins.
Another object is to provide refund means for vending machines which will switch from dispensing. coins of one denomination to dispensing coins of another denomination whenever the storage tube for the said one coin denomination becomes empty or inoperative.
Another object is to provide accumulator means which are not effected by the inventorying of coins.
Another object is to prevent jackpotting in vending machines due to switch failures-and other malfunctions.
Another object is to prevent simultaneously vending and refunding including deposit refunding or escrowing in a vending machine.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent after considering the following detailed specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which show a preferred embodiment of the subject control circuit and wherein the parts and components are identified by reference number designations. in the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a control circuit constructed according to the present invention; and
FIG. 2 is a circuit diagram of the same control circuit.
Referring to the drawings more particularly by reference numbers, the number 8 refers generally to a control circuit constructed according to the present invention. The circuit 8 includes an Up/Down counter 10 which has a plurality of bi-stable stages as required, and which receives inputs at the first stage from a pulse generator circuit 12 which in turn receives inputs from other coin controlled circuits at input connections 14, 15 and 18. The connections, 16 and 18 are connected, respectively, to nickel, dime and quarter input circuits 20, 22and 24. The nickel input circuit 20 is under control of nickel input switch 21, the dime input circuit 22 is under control of a dime input switch 23, and the quarter input circuit 24 is under control of a quarter switch 25. The inputs fed to the pulse generator circuit 12 on leads l4, l6 and 18 are also fed to other locations in the circuit which will be described later. When a nickel, dime or quarter is deposited, the pulse generator 12 will be controlled by the inputs it receives to produce one, two or five outputs on the output lead 26, and these generator outputs will be fed to the input of the first stage of the counter circuit 10. This means that when a nickel is deposited, one impulse will be fed from the pulse generator 12 to the counter 10, when a dime is deposited, two impulses will be so fed, and when a quarter is deposited, five impulses will be fed to the counter representing the number of times that the lowest denomination coin or nickel is divisible into the quarter.
The counter circuit 10 is also controlled by other inputs including inputs which appear on input lead 28. These inputs are used tocontrol whether the counter will count up or additively, or whether it will count down or subtractively. For example, when the voltage on the input lead 28 is in a high voltage condition or state, the counter will be controlled to count up, and when the voltage on the lead 28 is in a low state the counter will count down. The condition of the voltage on the lead 28 is controlled by a circuit which includes two cross-coupled inverter stages 30 and 32 which operate in conjunction with a motor pulse switch 34. In the position in which the switch 34 is shown in the drawing, the input to the inverter stage 30 on the lead labeled R is grounded, and this input is so labeled because it is used as a reset input to the inverter stages 30 and 32. When the motor pulse switch 34 is in its other or down position it operates to ground the input to the other inverter stage 32 and in so doing reverses the condition of the inverter stages 30 and 32. This is the set condition of the inverter, and the input lead to the inverter 32 is therefore labeled S. The outputs of the inverters 30 and 32 appear on leads 36 and 38, respectively, and the se outputs are labeled as the Q and Q outputs. The Q output of the inverter 30 is connected among other places to the input of the accumulator 10 that is present on the lead 28. The operation and functional purposes of the cross-coupled inverter stages will be described more fully hereinafter but it is clear at this point that the signals on the lead 28 control whether the accumulator is in an add or subtract mode.
The circuit 8 includes a NAND gate 40 which has a plurality of inputs which are connected to different outputs of the accumulator 10. The NAND gate 40 controls and initiates a vend operation and has an output connection 42 which goes to a low voltage condition whenever the accumulator 10 has accumulated in it an amount that is equal to the established vend price. This is under control of the settings of a plurality of twoposition switches 44, 46, 48 and 50 which are connected, respectively, to the outputs of the different accumulator stages. Each of these switches has a movable switch contact which is connected to a different one of the inputs of the vend NAND gate 40, and the movable switch contacts are movable between respective pairs of stationary switch contacts which are connected to the Q and Q outputs of the different accumulator stages. Whenever the output of the vend NAND gate 40 on the lead 42 is low, which means that each of its inputs is receiving a similar high, it will operate to set two flip-flop circuits 52 and 54. In the case of the flipflop 52 the connection from the NAND gate 40 is by way of lead 56, and in the case of the flip-flop 54 it is by way of another gate circuit which will be described later. When the flip-flop 52 is changed to its set condition by the presence of a signal at its set terminal S, it will produce an output high at its Q output terminal on lead 58 and this is one of two inputs which are then present at another NAND gate 60. The other input to the NAND gate 60 will also be at a high and will remain so due to a coupling delay circuit which extends the duration of the other gate input until a grounded capacitor 62 in the base circuit of transistor 64 discharges through a parallel connected resistor 66. This is under flip-flop 54, has its output on lead 71 go high. This enables another NAND gate 72 labeled Zero" thereby providing a low at its output 74. This occurs only at times when all of the other inputs to the gate 72 on leads 76, 78, and 82 are simultaneously at highs. The leads 76 78, 80 and 82 are connected respectively to the 6,, Q 6 and Q, outputs of the respective stages of the accumulator 10. This condition occurs at times when there is no remaining accumulation standing in the accumulator 10 due to a vend and an accumulator reset having taken place as will be described later. The resulting low on the gate output lead 74 is applied to the reset inputs (R) of both of the flip-flops 52 and 54 and operates to reset these flip-flops every time the exact vend price has been reached and used to initiate vend and reset functions. Hence, it can be seen that the accumulator is simultaneously reset upon reaching the vend price and any further accumulation will equal the amount that should be refunded to the customer.
Previously, when the flip-flop circuit 52 was set by the output of the NAND gate 40, the output at the C) output terminal went to a low and this low was applied as an input to an EXCLUSIVE OR gate 84 through a circuit which includes a capacitor 86. The EXCLU- SIVE OR gate 84 and its accompanying circuit are provided to clear or reset all of the stages of the accumulator 10 at the same instant that the vend price is reached and a vend signal sent to energize the vend relay control device 68. Thereafter, any additional input signals or pulses fed from the pulse generator 12 to the accumulator 10, which necessarily represent the excess deposited over the vend price, will be accumulated. This occurs with the accumulator 10 starting to accumulate from its reset condition and with the vend operation delayed by the circuits associated with the transistor 64. This delay is provided to assure that all inputs are entered into the accumulator after reset but before the vend takes place. It is important that with the present circuit the accumulator be instantaneously reset upon reaching the vend price because this means that all later accumulations which are the total amount in the accumulator will represent the amount to be refunded. This also means that the capacity of the accumulator need not exceed the vend price or the maximum amount that ever need be refunded which ever is greater.
The EXCLUSIVE OR gate 84 has a second input terminal 88 which is maintained in a relatively low state by means of a grounded resistor 90 except-when the voltage applied to another capacitor 92, which is connected to a voltage source V should fluctuate. This circuit provides initial reset of the accumulator, and also operates to reset the accumulator whenever there is a severe line voltage fluctuation and whenever the device is plugged in. Another resistor 94 is connected between the voltage source V and the other inlet connection to the EXCLUSIVE OR gate 84 at the location shown. This is included to maintain a voltage condition of this lead until pulsed by operation of the capacitor 86 which, as aforesaid, is connected to the 6 output of the flip-flop 52. The output side of the EXCLUSIVE OR gate 84 on lead 96 normally remains in a high condition unless and until one of its two input connections changes its state. The lead 96 is the accumulator reset connection and is connected to all of the reset (R) inputs of the various stages of the accumulator 10.
When the output of the inverter circuit 70 on the lead 71 goes high due to having a low applied to its input, and when the output on lead 74 of the NAND gate 72 is simultaneously high, which lead does not become low because of an over deposit or a deposit in excess of a vend price, then a motor payout relay 98 will be energized, This occurs because of the operation of another NAND gate 100 which has two inputs, both of which are high for reasons which will be explained. For example, the upper input to the gate 100 is connected to the output of the inverter 70, and the other input to the NAND gate 100 is connected to three parallel coin unit circuits each of which includes a respective diode 102, 104 and 106. The opposite sides of the diodes 102, 104 and 106 are connected, respectively, to the normally open sides of the nickel, dime and quarter coin switches 21, 23, and 25. If any one or more of the three coin switches should stick or otherwise become shorted on its activated side, which is the side connected to its respective diode, this will cause a low to be present on the associated lower input connection of the gate 100, and will in turn prevent the motor payout relay 98 from being energized. If none of the coin switches is shorted, however, then the payout motor, which is under control of the payout relay 98, will be able to be energized and will operate to refund nickels or dimes if a dime relay 108 is also energized. In other words, when only the payout relay 98 is energized nickels will be refunded, but if both the payout relays 98 and 108 are simultaneously. energized, then dimes will be refunded. The mechanisms in the machine to control the payback of nickels and dimes are not part of the present invention.
The dime control payout relay 108 is under control of another NAND gate 110 which has two input connections, one of which is labeled 1 12 and is the one that normally controls this gate. Whenever change is to be paid back to the customer, no more than one nickel should normally ever be returned unless the dime storage tube for the refund mechanism is empty. Any additional amounts therefore should be refunded in dimes.
NAND gate 118 through the normally closed contacts of a dime storage tube switch 120. The switch 120 is closed whenever there are times standing in'the dime tube. The other input to the gate 114 is not connected for a nickel-dime situation, but is connected to the Q output of the second stage of the accumulator (dotted line connection) when the device is equipped to operate with quarters. The other or second input to the AND gate 116 is likewise not connected when the circuit is used with a nickel-dime machine, but is connected by the dotted connection to the 0;, output of the third stage of the accumulator when used with machines that receive quarters. The oth er input to the NAND gate 118 is connected to the Q output on the lead 36in the output of the cross-coupled inverter circuit made up of the inverter stages and 32 described above. I
For the nickel-dime situations the inputs on the lead 112 to the NAND gate will be low whenever the first binary stage of the accumulator 10 is in a low condition. The low on the Q output of the first stage of the accumulator therefore causes the lead 112 to go low through the circuit just described, and this condition can only exist when the dime empty switch 120 is closed indicating that there are dimes in the dime storage tube. The circuit just described provides means for refunding a nickel as the first coin to be paid back under the circumstances described. The same circuit also operates to make nickel paybacks whenever the dime tube is empty. When the payback motor (not shown) is energized it operates the payback motor pulse switch 34 which is in the input to the inverter stages 30 and 32. Operation of the inverters 30 and 32 in conjunction with the switch .34 cleans up" any switch bounce or similar undesirable condition that may occur and prevents false signals. The circuit is made effective on the very first bounce of the transfer contact of the switch 34 so that when the movable switch contact transfers, it changes the Up/Down accumulator 10 from an up to a down counting mode and at the same time causes outputs at connection terminals 122 and 124 to go to low conditions. The output connection 122, labeled A for the solid outline circuit connections, is connected to the nickel input connection 14 of the pulse generator 12, and the output connection 124, labeled 8" for the solid outline circuit connections, is connected to the dime input connection 16 of the pulse generator 12. The circuit portion between the outputs of the inverter stages 30 and 32 and the connection terminals 122 and 124 includes the NAND gate 118 which has already been described, and two other cross-coupled NAND gates 126 and 128 which are provided to retain an indicated low on the output of the gate 118. This low is then also applied by the connection 122 to the nickel input of the pulse generator 12 whenever a nickel is to be paid back. Otherwise, if no such low is available and applied to the nickel input connection 14 because of the absence of a low at the terminal 122, then the terminal 124 will go to a low condition after capacitor 130 has been changed to a high condition. The low on the terminal 124 will be generated by the action of the capacitor 30 operating through another NAND gate 132. In order to make this circuit operate, the input to the NAND gate 132 which is grounded through the capacitor 130, is connected through a diode 134 to the Q output on the lead 38 of the circuit formed by the inverters 30 and 32. The capacitor 130 operating through the diode 134 therefore provides a delay at the associated input lead 136 of the NAND gate 132. This is done when a nickel is to be subtracted in order to prevent the output of the gate 132 at the terminal 124 from falsely or prematurely going low.
Another grounded capacitor 138 is connected to the output terminal of the NAND gate 118 to hold an indicated low condition thereon for a long enough time to guarantee that the cross-coupled NAND gates 126 and 128 remain in their set conditions when the motor pulse switch 34 moves from its normal to its transferred position.
When the accumulator 10 has received sufficient pulses during refunding to return it to its zero or reset condition, the NAND gate 72 which is the NAND gate that is connected to the 6 outputs thereof will again supply reset pulses to the reset inputs of the flip-flops 52 and 54 to reset them and thereby operate to prevent any further payouts. It is important to keep in mind that the accumulator 10 in its add mode accumulates up to the amount of the selected vend and is then immediately reset simultaneously with the issuing of the vend signal. Thereafter, the accumulator may continue to receive additional input signals representing the excess of the amount of a deposit and will then transfer to a subtract mode as it pays back the excess until it reaches its reset condition when the flipflops 52 and 54 again receive reset inputs. It can therefore be seen that the accumulator can never have an amount accumulated in it that is in excess of the vend price or the highest possi ble amount that can be refunded, whichever is greater.
The subject circuit can be modified to accommodate nickels, dimes and quarters by including the connections shown in dotted outline and eliminating the connections shown in solid outline which have the dotted Xs over them. These changes illustrate how the subject circuit can be relatively simply modified to provide one and five increment paybacks. The connections to the gates 114, 116, 118 and 140 play important rolls in this conversion to determine when equal or greater than five increments are to be paid out. In the one and five increment payback situations when nickels and quarters are used, the AND gate 116 will provide a high at the associated input terminal of the gate 118 whenever the Q output of the third stage of the accumulator 10 is high, and the 3, and/or 6 outputs of the first and second stages of the accumulator, respectively, are low. When this happens it indicates that there are at least five and possibly more counts accumulated in the accumulator 10.
When the other input to the gate 118, which is from the 6 output of the circuit of the cross-coupled inverters 30 and 32, is high thereby providing a low on the upper input to the NAND gate 126, there is present a high on the lead 112 to the NAND gate 110. This input on the lead 112 is applied by a connection that now includes the dotted lead 142, which is connected as shown, rather than being applied as in the abovecase by way of the output of the gate 1 18. This same circuit condition produces an output on the lead 122 by way of the dotted connection labeled C and is applied to the quarter input terminal 18 of the pulse generator 12 instead of to nickel input terminall4 as before This connection therefore causes the generator 12 to produce five outputs instead of one to the accumulator 10. This occurs, as aforesaid, when the terminal 122 goes low in response to the transferred condition of the payback motor pulse switch 34. Hence, it can be seen that with the dotted circuit connections instead of the solid circuit connections, five payback pulses will be transferred to the accumulator 10 rather than only one under the condition described.
The AND gate 140 provides a situation similar to that just described whenever the (1 output of the fourth stage of the accumulator 10 goes low. In this case, the output of the AND gate 140 is fed on dotted line 144 directly to an input of the NAND gate 126. This circuit is included to indicate that at least eight and possibly more counts are accumulated in the accumulator circuit 10. This can be understood by remembering the fact that when the first stage of the accumulator is in its transferred state it represents a total accumulation of one, when the second stage is transferred it represents an accumulation of two, the third stage an accumulation of four, and the fourth stage, when transferred, represents by itself an accumulation of eight. Therefore, when the Q output of the fourth stage goes low it means that there are at least eight inputs accumulated, and that it is therefore safe to refund a five unit coin such as a quarter in the case of a nickel-quarter machine. This feature of the present machine can be made to accommodate any coinage system of the world by proper selection of the number of impulses fed to the accumulator 10 by the pulse generator 12 for each coin deposited. For example, it can be used as disclosed with systems that have coin denominations in value ratios of two-to-one, three-to-one, four-to-one, fiveto-one, ten-to-one, or any other ratio for that matter.
A switch 146, shown in dotted outline, is connected to the leads 142 and 112 and like the switch 120 is under control of the refund coin tube (not shown) for the largest acceptable denomination coin, such for example as a dime or quarter coin tube. The switch 146 operates by closing instead of opening when the dime or quarter refund tube is empty. When the switch 146 closes it forces refunding in the lower value coins. For the greater than two-to-one coin ratio situations, the dotted connections are used as aforesaid and the crossed-out solid connections are eliminated.
A normally open deposit refund or escrow switch 148 is connected into the input circuit of AND gate 150 in the position shown. Whenever the deposit refund or escrow switch 148 is actuated by the customer it will cause the flip-flop circuit 54 to be set. This is accomplished by way of an input circuit connected to gate input 152 of the AND gate 150, which input circuit has its opposite side connected to one side of the escrow switch 148. The input circuit is a parallel circuit formed by a capacitor 154 and a resistor 156. The other side of the escrow switch 148 from the gate input circuit is connected to inputs of the NAND gates 72, and as shown. When the deposit refund or escrow switch 148 is actuated it will set the flip-flop 54 by operation of the AND gate and it will cause the output of the inverter circuit 70 to go high and to remain high until the NAND gate 72 indicates that there is no longer any accumulation remaining in any of the stages of the accumulator 10. This provides means by which coins that have been deposited can be refunded even if the accumulator has not reached the vend price. For example, if a customer deposits some coins before he finds that he does not have enough money to complete the vend, or if the customer changes his mind and decides he wants his money back he can get his money back simply by operating the deposit refund switch 148 which will effect a full refund of the amount deposited. It is important to the operations that when the cus tomer operates the escrow switch 148 the refund is made under control of the accumulator 10 in the same manner as described above, and is not made, as is known prior art circuits, by means which temporarily store the coins that have been deposited and holds them until either a vend operation is initiated or they are released back to the customer. This means that a customer using a machine controlled by the present circuit has many more options than with known machines and is much less likely to loose his money and become aggravated and possibly damage the machine.
From the above description .it is apparent that the present control circuit is adaptable with little or no change to be used with any of the worlds coinage systems regardless of the relationship between the different denomination coins involved, and it also provides an important escrow feature which enables the customer to get back his money under various circumstances and without having to trouble personnel or have the proprietor or other person in charge keep records of losses for later payback.
Thus there has been shown and described a novel control circuit for vending machines and the like which fulfills all of the objects and advantages sought therefor. Many changes, modifications, alterations and other uses and applications, in addition to the modifications already described, will become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering this specification and the accompanying drawings. All such changes, modifications, alterations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the intent and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention which is limited only by the claims which follow.
What is claimed is:
1. A coin controlled circuit comprising a coin unit including means for accepting at least two different denominations of coins, one of which denominations is n times larger than the other where n is a whole number, said coin unit producing a first output for the deposit of each coin of one denomination and a second output for the deposit of each coin of the other denomination, a pulse generator having separate inputs connected to receive the first and second outputs of the coin unit, said pulse generator producing a different number of output pulses upon receipt of the first and second inputs, the number of pulse generator outputs corresponding to the relative values of the coins deposited, a multi-stage accumulator having a first input connected to receive the outputs produced by the pulse generator, each stage of said accumulator having two possible operating states and the combination of the states of all of the stages representing the amount accumulated, means for changing the operating mode of the accumulator between an add mode and a subtract mode including an accumulator mode control input and bi-stable circuit means connected to said mode control input, the state of said bi-stable circuit determining the mode of the accumulator, accumulator output means including at least one output connected to each stage of the accumulator, a first gate circuit having inputs operatively connected to selected ones of the accumulator outputs, said first gate circuit producing an output whenever the accumulator stages are in states which represents an established vend price, means for initiating a vend operating in response to the output of said first gate circuit, reset means operatively connected to the accumulator output means including other. gate circuit means and an accumulator reset input, said other gate circuit means including means to initiate an accumulator reset operation substantially simultaneously with the initiation of a vend operation and means to terminate the refund operation when the amounts subtracted during refunding have restored the accumulator to its reset condition.
2. The coin controlled circuit defined in claim l including means to delay the duration of a vend operation after initiation thereof and after reset to the accumulator to allow time for the accumulator to receive any additional inputs from the pulse generator as a result of coin deposits, said additional inputs representing amounts deposited in excess of the amount necessary to initiate the vend operation.
3. The coin controlled circuit defined in claim 1 including means to reduce the amount accumulated in the accumulator by an amount that represents the value of each coin refunded.
4. The coin controlled circuit defined in claim 3 including means under control of the refund means which determine the number of pulses to be subtracted from the amount entered in the accumulator for each coin that is refunded.
5. The coin controlled circuit defined in claim 4 including escrow means, said escrow means including a customer actuatable deposit refund switch and means under control of said deposit refund switch to simultaneously inhibit initiation of a vend operation, change the operating mode of the accumulator to the subtract mode, and operate the refund means to control the inputs fed by the pulse generator to the accumulator.
6. The coin controlled circuit dlefined in claim 5 including means responsiveto the accumulator reaching its reset condition to terminate the escrow refund operation.
7. Control means for vending machines capable of vending articles at a selectable price comprising electronic accumulator means capable of being in an add or subtract mode and including a plurality of serially connected bi-stable stages, said accumulator having a first input connected to receive a number of input signals representative of the value of each coin deposited, a second accumulator input connected to receive con trol signals to change the accumulator operating mode between the add and the subtract modes, accumulator reset inputs connected to receive input reset signals to reset the stages of the accumulator to a predetermined reset condition, and said accumulator having at least one output connection to each of its stages to represent the condition thereof, gate circuit means having inputs connected to preselected ones of the accumulator output connections, said gate circuit means producing vend and reset output signals to initiate a vend operation and to reset the accumulator stages whenever the accumulator has an amount accumulated therein that equals the selectable price, means to prolong a vend operation to provide time for the accumulator to receive all input signals at its first input that represent coins deposited to accumulate amounts deposited in excess of the selectable price, means including said second accumulator input and the control signals applied thereto for changing the operating mode of the accumulator means from the add mode to the subtract mode when the vend operation is; initiated, means for generating refund signals for applying to the first accumulator input when the accumulator means are in the subtract mode to control the accumulator means to produce refund output signals, and means under control of said refund output signals operable to refund amounts deposited in excess of the selectable price and until the accumulator again reaches its reset condition.
8. The control means defined in claim 7 including other means actuatable by the customer any time a deposit has been made to return the amount of the deposit to the customer, said other means including said means under control of the refund output signals for refunding the amount of the deposit.
9. The control means defined in claim 7 including a pulse generator connected to the first accumulator input, and means under control of the deposit of each different denomination of coin deposited in the machine to energize the pulse generator means to generate outputs for feeding to the first accumulator input, said pulse generator producing a different distinct number of outputs corresponding to the value of each different denomination coin deposited.
10. The control means defined in claim 7 including a pulse generator having an output connected to the first input of the accumulator, said pulse generator receiving said refund output signals whenever the amounts accumulated in the accumulator means represents an excess over the selectable price and the control means are in a refunding cycle.
11. The control means defined in claim 7 including means to enable refunds to be made in more than one denomination of coin.
12. The control means defined in claim 7 wherein the pulse generator produces outputs for the deposit of different denomination coins in a ratio of n-to-one, where n is any whole integer.
13. The control means defined in claim 7 including a pulse generator having an output connected to the first input of the accumulator, a coin unit having means to receive at least two different denominations of coins, one of which coin denomination value is equal to a plurality of the other coin denomination value, said coin unit having an output connected to the pulse generator, coins of each of the acceptable denominations producing a corresponding output to cause the pulse generator to produce a different distinct number of outputs for applying to the first accumulator input.
14. The control means defined in claim 13 wherein the pulse generator produces outputs for applying to the first accumulator input which are in a ratio of twoto-one for the different denomination coins.
15. The control means defined in claim 13 wherein the pulse generator produces outputs for the deposit of different denomination coins in a ratio of five-to-one.
16. The control means defined in claim 13 wherein the pulse generator produces outputs for the deposit of different denomination coins in a ratio of ten-to-one.
17. A vending control circuit operable with a coin unit capable of accepting coins of at least two different denominations comprising a multiple stage accumulator in which the stages are serially coupled and each stage is able to be in one of two distinct operating states, alternate inputs received at each stage producing a change in the state of the next succeeding higher order stage, an input to the first stage of the accumulator, means for feeding a different distinct number of input pulses to said first stage input for each different denomination coin deposited, a mode control input to the accumulator and means for applying one of two different kinds of input signals thereto, means in the accumulator responsive to the kind of said signal for controlling whether the accumulator is in an adding or a subtracting mode, an accumulator reset input and a pair of accumulator outputs to each stage of the accumulator, the state of each stage of the accumulator changing each time an input signal is fed thereto so that the combined states of all the stages represents the total accumulation, a two position switch associated with the outputs of each accumulator stage, the combined settings of said switches establishing a vend price, a gate circuit having a plurality of inputs connected to the respective ones of said two-position switches and to asso ciated ones of the accumulator outputs, said gate circuit producing an output whenever the accumulator has the vend price accumulated therein, and means under control of the gate circuit output for initiating a vend and an accumulator reset operation, other means to prolong the duration of the vend operation for a predetermined time to enable the accumulator to reset and to thereafter have accumulated therein any amount deposited in excess of the vend price, means operable simultaneously with the commencement of the vend operation to change the kind of signal at the accumulator mode control input to change the operating mode of the accumulator from the add to the subtract mode, and means for refunding the amount of any excess accumulation in the accumulator, said refund means in cluding other gate circuit means connected to selected outputs of the accumulator, and means under control of said other gate circuit means to produce gate circuit outputs that control the value of each coin to be refunded.
18. The vending control circuit of claim 17 including escrow means including an escrow switch operable by the customer, and escrow circuit means under control of said escrow switch including means to change the kind of signal applied to the second input of the accumulator to change the accumulator to its subtract mode, said other gate circuit means operating to control the feeding of inputs to the first accumulator input according to the value of each coin to be refunded.
19. The vending control circuit defined in claim 17 including separate coin tubes for each denomination of coin to be refunded, tube switch means associated with the highest denomination coin tube and actuatable when the associated coin tube is empty of coins, and circuit means under control of the said tube switch means when actuated to cause subsequent coin refunds to be made from a lower denomination coin tube.
20. The vending control circuit defined in claim 17 wherein said other gate circuit means include means to ascertain if the remaining amount accumulated in the accumulator is sufficient to enable a refund to be made of the highest denomination coin.
21. A coin controlled circuit for vending machines having coin units capable of accepting coins of at least two different denominations, said coin unit producing a distinctive output for each different acceptable coin denomination, a pulse generator connected to receive said distinctive outputs of the coin unit and to produce a corresponding distinctive number of outputs to represent the value of each coin deposited, an accumulator having a first input connected to the output of the pulse generator to accumulate the value of coins deposited, a second accumulator input including means connected thereto for switching the accumulator between an adding and a subtracting mode, an accumulator reset input, and refund means under control of the accumulator when operating in the subtract mode for refunding amounts deposited in the coin unit in excess of an established vend price, said refund means including means for separately storing some of each different acceptable denomination coin, the improvement comprising deposit refund means including an operator actuatable switch and means under control of said switch for refunding amounts deposited in the coin unit in any amount up to the vend price, said deposit refund means including means for switching the accumulator to its subtract mode so that the accumulator can control the refund means to refund coins from the coin storage means equal to the amount of a deposit.
22. A coin controlled circuit for vending machines having coin units capable of accepting coins of at least two different denominations, said coin unit producing a distinctive output for each different acceptable coin denomination, a pulse generator connected to receive said distinctive outputs of the coin unit and to produce a corresponding distinctive number of outputs to represent the value of each coin deposited, an accumulator having a first input connected to the output of the pulse generator to accumulate the value of coins deposited, a second accumulator input including means connected thereto for switching the accumulator between an adding and a subtracting mode, an accumulator reset input, and refund means under control of the accumulator when operating in the subtract mode for re funding amounts deposited in the coin unit in excess of an established vend price, said refund means including means for separately storing some of each different acceptable denomination coin, the improvement comprising switch means associated with at least one of said separate coin storage means actuatable when said one coin storage means are empty, and means under control of said switch means when actuated to cause subsequent coin refunds to be made from the other of said separate coin storage means.
Patent No. 8 642 hated June 7 Joseph L. Levasseur Inventofls) It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 2, line .40, "15" should be "16''.
Column 5, line 52, "times" should be "dimes"; line 60,
"63" should be "Q Column 10, line 6, "to" should be "of".
Signed and sealed this 29th day of October 1974.
MCCOY M. GIBSON JR. C. MARSI IALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissloner of Patents FORM PC4050 (in-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-1 69 1% us. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1959 o-s65-33|