US 3852576 A
Apparatus for determining the allocation of a bonus to give for example in a gasoline station or self service store, comprising means for registering and totalling a plurality of sales transactions, means responsive when the total reaches a predetermined amount to condition the apparatus in readiness to allocate a bonus, and means for delaying the allocation of the bonus so that any customer making a sales transaction and the time that the predetermined amount is reached is prevented from receiving the bonus.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Rudd [4 Dec. 3, 1974 1 PREMIUM ALLOCATION DEVICE 3,138,385 6/1964 Giacobello 273/138 A 3,269,503 8 l966 F :1 235 92 GA  Inventor: Kenneth Norman Rudd, Eight OS Greenacres, London Rd, Ashmgton England Primary Examiner-Malcolm A. Morrison Filedi 1973 Assistant Examiner-R. Stephen Dildine. Jr. [211 App}. 6 193 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Witherspoon and Lane  Foreign Application Priority Data M81. 29, 1972 Great Britain 1. 14764/72 Feb. 7, l973 Great Britam 5986/73 52 us CL 235 92 GA, 2357 5 4 73 5 Apparatus for determining the allocation of a bonus to 340/239 give for example in a gasoline station or self service 51 1m. 01 G076 3/10 store, Comprising means for registering and totalling 11 53 Field f Search 194/1 R, 3 5 13 9 plurality of sales transactions, means responsive when 194 1 1; 22 23 40 59 575; 235 9 the total reaches a predetermined amount to condition Cp 92 1 92 GA, 92 5 132 R, 132 A, the apparatus in readiness to allocate a bonus, and 132 E 15134; 273/1 R 1 E, 133 A, 139; means for delaying the allocation of the bonus so that 340/1 3 239 R 42 417/ 3 572 any customer making a sales transaction and the time that the predetermined amount is reached is pre- 5 References Cited vented from receiving the bonus.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,104,107 9/1963 Powers 273/138 A 13 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures 15. 13 L 1 12 8: 11.. g 1.0- L2 4.
22 25 an S L 18. 2B. 35 36. LL. El- 2th PATENTEL DEC 31974 7 3,852,576 sum 1nr2 PATENTEL BEE 3|974 BONUS UN PUMP NU;
JACKPUT FIGS PREMIUM ALLOCATION DEVICE SUMMARY or THE INVENTION This invention relates to apparatus for determining the allocation of 'a bonus and is particularly applicable for use with trading systems employing a cash till and- /or a pump for dispensing a liquid such as gasoline.
According to the invention, there is provided apparatus for determining the allocation of a bonus, comprising means for registering a plurality of individual sales transaction and 'for providing a total indicative of the sum value of the individual transactions, means responsive when the total reaches a predetermined amount to condition the apparatus in readiness to allocate said bonus, and means for delaying the allocation of the bonus so that any customer making a sales transaction at the time that said predetermined amount is reached is prevented from receiving the bonus.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING A complete understanding of the invention can be obtained from the following detailed description of the invention when read in conjunction with the annexed drawing in which:
FIg. l is a block diagram of a gasoline dispensing system according to this invention;
FIG. 2 shows'a display panel of the system of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a block showing the manner in which the invention can be utilized in a self-service store.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present gasoline dispensing system includes a plurality of gasoline dispensing pumps 12 each having for example an electronic device which measures the number of rotations of a drive shaft which interconnects a flowmeter to a visual display of gallons delivered (as usual on normal computer gasoline pumps). This shaft can be marked with a painted spot whereupon the total rotations can be sensed by an electronic eye or can have, for instance, a magnetic attachment which activates a magnetic switch which in turn sends via a respective one of lines 13 a signal for each gallon dispensed to an accumulator module 14. The magnetic switch can be totally enclosed in a non-ferrous pipe which is safe to use in an existing gasoline pump.
The rotation of the shaft concerned, being accurately geared to the supply of fuel allows a metered amount of fuel to be detected in direct relation to the number of turns and this is normally accurate to l/ 100th of a gallon in a standard computer pump. The accumulator module visually indicates on digital counters the total amount dispensed by each individual pump and also visually indicates on a master counter, and records in a store of the module, the total number of gallons dispensed. The system is also able to allocate to a custonier or caller a bonus when the accumulative total of gasoline counted by the master counter reaches a predetermined amount; for the purposes of the description the apparatus is intended to give cash credits of 30p, 50p, 70p or 100p, selected by a random win selector module 15. A Jackpot prize can also be won.
The predetermined total is precalculated to correspond to a given cash discount per gallon for a given cash value of win; facilities are provided to enable the master counter to be adjusted within a variable band of discount i.e. 1p, l'kp or 2p per gallon. Instead of cash,
credited to the customer, in which case the accumula tor module would include a separate digital counter and indicator showing the total number of gallons or credit units credited to the customers, this latter information being needed to maintain accurate control from .a management point of view.
When the predetermined total is reached, a win pulse is passed via line 16 to a switching module 18, the accumulator module then being ready to begin counting again.
Module 18 includes a plurality of sensor switches 20- arranged to be operated by vehicles crossing the concourse area of the service station. The concourse area of the service station being defined as that area, generally paved, upon which the automobiles park while being fueled and the area extending from the gasoline pump islands upon which the automobiles stand while waiting to move up to the pump island or islands for fueling. The switches are connected in such a way that only vehicles entering the concourse area from either direction and not those leaving, will send a signal via a respective one of lines 22 to the module 18. Module 18 is arranged so that the signal initiated by the first car to enter the concourse area after a win pulse has been received by the module will trigger an appropriate lamp i.e. bonus or jackpot lamp on a digital display panel 24 shown in FIG. 2..Thus the customers or callers on the concourse area are made aware that a bonus is to be won. I
In addition to triggering the display panel 24, the module 18 sends via line 26 an enabling" signal to a pump lockout module 28. Feeding into the module 28 are a plurality of input lines 30, one for each pump, electrically connected to relay contacts of current operated relays wired in series with the supply lines of the pump motors, each relay being operable to close its relay contacts when its respective pump motor is switched on. Module28 consists of a logic circuit which will accept an input from the first pump turned on after the enable signal is received from module 18 and will ignore any subsequent input; the logic circuit will also ignore the input of any pump the motor of which was alreadyturned on when the enable signal was received. Acceptance of the input causes the module 28 to send a signal via-line 32 to the display panel 24 which indicates by means of window 34 the number of the pump that was turned on first after the module 28 received its enabling signal, and to send a pulse via line 35 to a display control module 36. I
The display module 36 of which the display panel 24 forms a part, consists of three counters each driven from an independent pulse generator which cycle 0 to 9 continuously. The pulse received from line 35 initiates three timing cycles which stop indicators 38 of the display panel in sequence to indicate to the customer at the relevant pump the appropriate win as determined by signals received from the win selector module 15 via line 40. When the last indicator stops it initiates a further timing cycle which holds the display static for a present number of seconds. At the end of this cycle, a reset pulse is fedvia' line 42 to modules 18, 28 and to a bonus and jackpot register module 44.
During the period of the static display, an enable pulse is present on the module 44. This causes a predetermining counter, which is controlled via line 46 by the win selector module 15, to count the relvant prize value. This count is also registered on an electromagnetic counter as a permanent record. The electromagnetic counter serves also as a jackpot register in that for every 500 counttpulses received it gives out 1 pulse which is used to initiate the jackpot sequence.
The bonus counter registers the number of wins divided by ten i.e. for a 50p win it will register units. It
.can be seen from this that the jackpot register therefore is actually dividing by 5000 and therefore for every 50 given in bonus prizes the jackpot will give 5.
So whilst the bonus counter, which is electronic, is reset after each prize,- the electromagnetic jackpot counter is a cumulative one. The win magnitude selector module consists of a re-cycling binary counter of 2 (32) with all possible output states connected so that wherever the counter is stopped its output will enable one of the bonus wins values. Approximately 59% of possible states will enable 30p win, will enable 50p win, 13% will enable 70p win, and 3% will enable 100p wm.
Thus it is obvious that there will be more p wins than 50p wins but that the win pattern will follow no predetermined sequence. The counter is set in motion by the re-set'pulse and runs at approximately i000 counts per second and is randomly stopped by the next car actuating a switch of the forecourt module 18.
The jackpot payout commences in exactly the same manner as the bonus payout except that a jackport override" line 48 extending between module 44 and each of modules 18 and 36 causes the display module 36 and panel 24 to indicate jackpot and show the amount of the payout. Line 48 also cause information connected with the bonus to be overridden during a jackpot sequence so that after that sequence, the system reverts to normal without any of the information present prior to the jackpot being destroyed.
It will be apparent that at the instant that the primary lever on the winning pump is operated, the customer at that pump need not have ordered any petrol and therefore may receive the bonus and/or jackpotfree, without any obligation to purchase anything else. Associated with display control-module 36 there may be a coin, stamp or credit ticket issuing machine that can either dispense to the cusotmer the bonus and/or jackpot as coins, stamps or tickets enabling the recipient to save them for future use or purchase of any other goods at the station.
The system maybe arranged so that it does not go into debt or alternatively it can be arranged to go into debt by an amount corresponding to a selected bonus win iniwhich case the next bonus payout is not selected and issued until the debt is cancelled by the master counter of the accumulator module 14 reaching a predetermined total corresponding to the bonus win value.
a graph on paper or punch tape may 8. Staffing requirements, i.e. busy days, busy hours, business graph showing earlier or later shut down times requirements.
9. Average and individual amounts purchased per customerserved.
10. Details of quantity served per customer related to issue of gift stamps.
ll. Delay in serving an arrival by logging entry against pump switch on time.
All this information can be stored on tape or graph awaiting posting to a central office or collection and would be tamper-proof, allowing a central chain organisationto exercise precise control from a distance.
The invention is also applicable as shown in FIG. 3 for use with a tradsing system such'as that employed in self service stores. The bonus allocating apparatus will be very similar to that just described for a petrol dispensing system, and therefore will not be described in detail.
Briefly the trading system would comprise at least one electrically operated till 12 located on a counter 14 at the exit from the self-service store, and could be manually operable to record the individual cash sales of each customer passing through that exit. Associated with the till would be a computer (not shown) which stored sales information from the till to produce a total of cash sales from which a potential discount or bonus is calculated. When that total reaches a predetermined magnitude, the computer passes a signal to the till that it is now ready to issue a bonus corresponding to the accumulated discount; the bonusmay be by way of trading stamps issued from an automatic stamp dispensing unit 16 located adjacent the till, although other forms of bonus can be given.
The counter may be slotted to receive a shopping basket A and may be provided with a sensor 18 such as a switch contact to record the arrival of a basket on the counter. The switch forms part of a lockout circuit which is operable to prevent the unit from issuing the bonus if a basket is already on the counter at the time that the computer reaches the predetermined total, but toallow the unit to dispense the bonus stamps immediately the next basket is located on the counter to actuate sensor 18. In this way, the system ensures that the bonus is not given to the customer who hasalready contracted to pay money for goods received from the store.. a
1. Apparatus for determining the allocation of a bonus comrising: means for registering a plurality of individual sales transactions and for providing a total indicative of the sum value of the individual transactions added together, means responsive when the total reaches a predetermined amount to condition the apparatus in readiness to allocate said bonus, and means for delaying the allocation of said bonus so that any customer making a sales transaction at the time that said .predetermined amount is reached is prevented from receiving said bonus.
2. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said sales transactions are sales transactionsinvolving the dispensing and sale of a liquid such as gasoline and said apparatus includes an' electrically operable pump for dispensing said liquid, said pump having a pump motor.
3. The apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said registering means includes counting means for counting the total volume dispensed by said pump during a plurality of individual liquid dispensing operations, said volume dispensed and therefore a count from said counter means being equivalent to a value according to cost per unit volume and wherein said means for delaying the allocation for a bonus includes a pump lockout module electrically connected to said pump motor so as to receive an imput signal each time said pump motor is actuated, said module having a logic circuit operable in response to an input signal from said pump motor when next actuated after said apparatus is in its conditioned state to allocate said bonus.
4. The apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein a switching module and switch means actuable by a customer are provided and wherein means are provided to electrically connect said switching module and said switch means to said means responsive when said total reaches a predetermined amount, said switching module being operable in response to the first actuation of said switch means after said apparatus is conditioned to send an enabling signal to said pump lockout module.
5. The apparatus as defined in claim 4 wherein said switch means is so positioned in the concourse area of a gasoline station that a vehicle entering said gasoline station by any entrance to said gasoline station and passing therethrough will actuate said switch means.
6. The apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein said switch means is non-responsive to vehicles leaving said gasoline station.
7. The apparatus as defined in claim 4 wherein a display panel for displaying to a customer said bonus is provided, said display panel being electrically connected to said switching module so that display panel displays said bonus in response to the first actuation of said switch means after a bonus signal is received by said switching module.
8. The apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said display panel is electricallyconnected to said pump lockout module to enable said display panel to display to said customer the specific pump that is actuated just after said bonus signal is produced.
9. The apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said sales transactions are sales transactions involving the dispensing and sale of a liquid such as gasoline and said apparatus includes a plurality of electrically operable pumps for dispensing said liquid, each said pump having a pump motor. I
10. The apparatus as defined in claim 9 wherein said registering means includes counter means for counting the total volume dispensed by said'plurality of pumps during a plurality of individual liquid dispensing operations, said volume dispensed and therefore a count from said counting means being equivalent to a value according to cost per unit volume, and said delaying means includes a pump lockout module electrically connected to each said motor so as to receive an input signal each time a pump motor is actuated, said module having a logic circuit operable in response to an input signal fromthe first pump motor actuated after said apparatus is in its conditioned state to allocate said bonus, said logic circuit being non-responsive to input signals received after said input signal from said first pump motor actuated after said apparatus is in its conditioned to the value of said previously paid bonus.