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Publication numberUS3918184 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 11, 1975
Filing dateJul 11, 1974
Priority dateJul 11, 1974
Publication numberUS 3918184 A, US 3918184A, US-A-3918184, US3918184 A, US3918184A
InventorsChao Albert L
Original AssigneeChao Albert L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mini-electronic blinking compartment
US 3918184 A
Abstract
A blinking device including a voltage source, a main operating circuit, and at least two indicator lights. The main operating circuit includes a first and second switching transistor of the same type, each connected in parallel across the voltage source. One of the indicator lights is serially coupled to the collector of the first switching transistor and the other indicator light is serially connected to the emitter of the second switching transistor. The base of the second switching transistor is connected to the collector of the first switching transistor. A control transistor of a type complementary to the switching transistors, is also connected in parallel across the voltage source. The collector of the control transistor is coupled to the base of the first switching transistor. A potentiometer connects the base of the control transistor to the voltage source. A regenerative feedback circuit includes a resistor and capacitor in series arrangement. The feedback circuit couples the base of the control transistor to the collector of the first switching transistor.
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[22] Filed:

Chao

[ Nov. 11, 1975 MINI-ELECTRONIC BLINKING COMPARTMENT [76] Inventor: Albert L. Chao, 407 Glendale Road,

Flushing, NY. 07647 July 11, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 487,792

[52] US. Cl. 40/52 R; 40/130 L; 315/200 A;

340/331 [51] Int. Cl. G09F 13/00 [58] Field of Search 40/52 R, 130 R, 130 L,

40/129 A, 129 C, 132 R, 132 D, 130 F, 133 R, 133 A; 315/200 A, 209 R; 340/83, 331,

Primary E.\'aminer-Ant0n O. Oechsle Assistant Examiner-Vance Y. Hum Attorney, Agent, or FirmRichard L. Miller [5 7] ABSTRACT A blinking device including a voltage source, a main operating circuit, and at least two indicator lights. The main operating circuit includes a first and second switching transistor of the same type, each connected in parallel across the voltage source. One of the indicator lights is serially coupled to the collector of the first switching transistor and the other indicator light is serially connected to the emitter of the second switching transistor. The base of the second switching transistor is connected to the collector of the first switching transistor. A control transistor of a type complementary to the switching transistors, is also connected in parallel across the voltage source. The collector of the control transistor is coupled to the base of the first switching transistor. A potentiometer connects the base of the control transistor to the voltage source. A regenerative feedback circuit includes a resistor and capacitor in series arrangement. The feedback circuit couples the base of the control transistor to the collector of the first switching transistor.

10 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures US. Patent Nov. 11, 1975 3,918,184

" AR DAD' MINI-ELECTRONIC BLINKING COMPARTMENT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a blinking device, and more particularly to a blinker circuit arrangement in a compartment and operating alternating indicator lights.

Electronic blinking devices are available for numerous applications, for example, advertising signs, as well as decorations to attract attention or aesthetic works of art. Some of the blinking devices include complex timing circuits and require numerous transistors and other circuit components. As a result, the space required for the blinking device is relatively large and it is difficult to utilize such devices for miniaturized signs or in connection with very limited space requirements. Some of the devices which are available for limited space requirements, are frequently restricted to operating a single blinker light. One such device includes a circuit arrangement which uses two transistors as part of a direct coupled amplifier with the indicator light as the load output of one of the transistors. However, if alternating lights are required, more complex circuitry is utilized, typically including a multivibrator and other switching elements. However, these more complex circuits for controlling alternating lights require larger circuit space and are not feasible for use with miniaturized signs or limited circuit space requirements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a blinking device which avoids the aforementione d problems of prior art devices.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a blinker device for controlling alternating lights and utilizing a simplified circuit arrangement.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a blinker device for alternating lights which can be enclosed within a miniaturized compartment.

Still a further object of the present invention is to provide a miniaturized electronic blinker device which can be encased within a small housing and including a clip-on unit for use as a badge.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a blinker device having the electronic circuitry and voltage supply enclosed within a miniature housing and having an interconnection switch through which a sign, having illuminating lights, can be plugged into the miniaturized housing.

Still a further object of the present invention is to provide a blinker device for controlling alternating lights which can'be easily adjusted to control the on and off time of the alternating lights.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a blinker device which is simple, inexpensive to construct, and efficient in its operation.

Briefly, the invention describes a blinker device comprising a voltage source, first and second indicator means, and a main operating circuit. The main operating circuit includes first and second switching transistors of the same type, each connected in parallel circuit arrangement across the voltage source. The first indicator means is serially coupled to the collector of the first switching transistor. The second indicator means is serially coupled to the emitted of the second switching transistor. The base of the second switching transistor is coupled to the collector of the first switching transistor. The main operating circuit also includes a control transistor of a type complementary to the switching transistors. The control transistor is also connected in parallel circuit arrangement across the voltage source. The collector of the control transistor is coupled to the base of the first switching transistor. A potentiometer interconnects the base of the control transistor with the voltage source. A regenerative feedback circuit including a resistor in series with a capacitor, is coupled between the base of the control transistor and the collector of the first switching transistor.

These and other object, features and advantages of the invention, will, in part, be pointed out with particularity, and will, in part, become obvious from the following more detailed description of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, which forms an integral part thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING In the Drawing:

FIG. 1 shows'an electronic circuit for the blinker device of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the blinking compartment for the blinker device of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 shows an arrangement utilizing the blinker device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is an edge view of the arrangement shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a top edge view of the arrangement shown in FIG. 5; and

FIGS. 7 and 8 show examples of other arrangements of the blinker device in accordance with the present invention.

In the various Figures of the Drawing, like reference characters designate like parts.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to FIG. 1, there is described the electric circuit for use with the blinker device of the present invention. A firstswitching transistor 10 and a second switching transistor 12, both of the same type, are con- ,nected in parallel circuit arrangement across a voltage source 14. A first indicator light 16 is connected in series with the collector of the transistor 10 and is inter-. connected between the terminals 18 and 20. A second.

and 12, is also connected in parallel circuit arrangement across the voltage source 14. The collector of the transistor 28 is connected to one end of the voltage source through the collector resistor 30, while the emitter of transistor 28 is directly coupled to the opposite end of the voltage source. The collector of the control transistor 28 is coupled to the base of the first switching transistor 10 through the resistor 32 which serves to limit the base current flowing to the transistor 10. The base of the second switching transistor 12 is coupled to the collector of the first switching transistor 10 at the terminal 18. A regenerative feedback loop including resistor 34 and capacitor 36 is interconnected between the collector of the first switching transistor 10 at the terminal 18, and the base of the control transistor 28 at the terminal 38.

The base of the control transistor 28 includes a base current limiting resistor 40 and a voltage divider arrangement including the fixed resistor 42 and the potentiometer 44. Resistor 42 is serially connected to the potentiometer 44 and the series arrangement is con' nected in parallel across the voltage source 14. The arrangement is such that by controlling the potentiometer 44, the voltage at the base of transistor 28 can be controlled.

A resistor 46 is connected in parallel with the second switching transistor 12 and the indicator means 22. A diode 48 is coupled between the voltage source 14 and the parallel arrangement of the resistor 46 on the one hand and the transistor 12 and indicator light 22 on the other hand. A main control switch 50 is serially connected with the voltage source 14.

The operation of the circuit shown in FIG. 1 is as follows. If the indicator light 16 is initially OFF, the indicator light 22 is ON. The potentiometer 44 is initially advanced to cause the control transistor 28 to conduct slightly, whereby the first switching transistor will also begin to conduct slightly. The voltage across the indicator light 16 increases and this voltage is coupled to the base of the control transistor 28 through the regenerative feedback loop including the resistor 34 and the capacitor 36. This serves to make the base even more positive and make the transistor 28 conduct more heavily. As a result, the first switching transistor 10 will also conduct more heavily until both transistors 28 and 10 are saturated and nearly all of the battery voltage is across the light 16 causing it to turn ON. At this point, there is insufficient base-emitter voltage on transistor 12 to maintain its conduction and transistor 12 will turn OFF thereby extinguishing the illumination light 22.

When the indicator light 16 is ON, capacitor 36 charges and the current applied to the base of the control transistor 28 through the resistor 34 and capacitor 36 is reduced. As capacitor 36 becomes sufficiently charged, the current supplied to the base of the control transistor 28 will reduce sufficiently so that it will no longer be in saturation, and likewise transistor 10 will also drop from its saturation state. At this time, the voltage across the indicator light 16 begins to drop. As the voltage across the indicator light 16 reduces, the base current to the conrol transistor 28 also decreases causing the voltage across the indicator light 16 to even further decrease. This latch-up arrangement results in the indicator light 16 being quickly extinguished and the base of the control transistor 28 driven negative due to the charge accumulated on the capacitor 36 during the period that the indicator light 16 is ON. Finally both the control transistor 28 and the switching transistor 10 are cutoff. During this time, the transistor 12 is ON and the indicator light 22 remians ON.

The charge on the capacitor 36 is the leaked off through the base resistor 40, the resistor 42, the resistor 34 and the indicator light 16. Then, the base voltage at the control transistor 28 will rise towards the positive value determined by the setting of the potentiometer 44. When the base of the control transistor 28 becomes slightly positive, the control transistor 28, as well as the switching transistor 10, begins to conduct. The cycle is then repeated. Thus, the indicator lights 16 and 22 will alternately blink ON and OFF.

The circuit is adjusted by means ofthe potentiometer 44. If the potentiometer 44 is set too near the positive end, indicator light 16 will generally remain ON with indicator light 22 generally in an OFF state. If. on the other hand, the potentiometer 44 is set too near its low end, the time interval during which indicator light 16 will remain ON will be extremely short. However, resistor 42 will always insure the fact that some alternating of the blinking arrangement will take place. The control of the ON-OFF time ofthe two lights 16 and 22 can be determined by the setting of the potentiometer 44 as well as by the values of the resistor 34 and the capacitor 36.

The diode 48 is placed in the circuit to insure the proper flow of the current through the switching transistor 12. Furthermore, the resistor 46 is available for flow of battery current during the time that the indicator light 22 is not illuminated. Although the circuit shown in FIG. 1 utilizes PNP transistors for the switching transistors, and NPN transistors for the control transistor, it is understood that these types of transistors could be reversed with a corresponding reversal of the voltage source, as is known in the art. In order to energize the circuit, switch 50 is initially closed.

The circuit arrangement as shown in FIG. 1 is both simple and compact and can therefore be included within a miniaturized compartment for providing the proper blinking arrangement. Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, there is shown a housing 52 having a slidable cover 54 closing one side of the housing 52. The slidable cover 54 can be made of transparent or translucent material and can include a message thereon which will be illuminated by the blinking circuit arrangement shown in FIG. 1. A notched groove 56 is available in the slidable cover to facilitate easy sliding of the cover on the housing. A thumbnail switch 58 is shown which would operate the switch 50 shown in FIG. 1 for turning ON and OFF the entire blinker device. On the back of the housing is shown a clip-on arrangement to facilitate attaching the housing onto a surface.

With the arrangement shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the entire circuitry of FIG. 1 including the indicator lights would be enclosed within the housing. The housing could be formed into a badge or a miniaturized sign and the clip-on 60 could either be used to clip on to a part of the clothing, in the case of a badge, or onto a wall or other flat surface in the case of a miniaturized sign. The cover 54 containing the message could have two sections thereon and the indicator lights could be re spectively splaced adjacent each of the two sections to alternately illuminate these sections.

Referring now to FIGS. 4, 5 and 6, there is shown an alternate arrangement utilizing the present invention. A first housing 62 includes the voltage souce 14, shown in FIG. 1 as well as all of the circuit components of FIG. 1 with the exception of the indicator lights 16 and 22. The indicator lights would be placed in a second housing unit, shown generally at 64 and including a first portion 66 having one of the indicator lights and a second portion 68 having another of the indicator lights. The two portions are interconnected electrically by means of the connection 70. A male plug 72 is connected by means of wire 74 to the second housing 64 and mates with the female plug 76 located in the first housing 62. The femal plug 76 would include the terminals 18, 20, 24 and 26 of FIG. 1 which are terminals for interconnecting the indicator lights. When the male plug 72 is inserted into the female plug 76, the indicator lgiths in section 66 and 68 will alternately blink ON and OFF. Each of the sections 66 and 68 could include a separate message and these would alternately blink ON and OFF. As is shown, one section 66 contains the letter A and the other section 68 contains the letter C. Alternately, the two sections could each include the indicator lights and the sections could be connected in parallel whereby instead of the signs alternately switching ON and OFF, both signs will work in conjunction and have bulbs in each section alternating ON and OFF. A clip-on arrangement 78 can also be included on the section 66 wherein it can also be used as a badge or a miniaturized sign.

Referring now to H65. 7 and 8, there are shown further arrangements utilizing the present invention. The voltage source and main operating circuit is included in a first housing unit 80 which forms a flat base for a sign. The indicator lights would be included in a second housing unit 82 which forms a sign to be illuminated. A plug and jack arrangement 84 and 86 is included between the two housing units 82 and 80. When the sign portion 82 is inserted into the base 84, the indicator lights in the sign 82 will alternately illuminate.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 8, has all of the circuitry in the base portion 80 as well as the light 88 also included within the base 80.

It will be appreciated, that numerous other embodiments can utilize the simple circuitry of the blinking device for alternating lights in accordance with the present invention.

While certain novel features of this invention have been shown and described and are pointed out in the annexed claims, it will be understood that various omissions, substitutions and changes in the forms and details of the device illustrated and in its operation can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. An alternating blinking display device having a housing means and a message area thereon comprising: a voltage source, first and second indicator means, and main operating circuit means including; first and second switching transistors of the same type, said first indicator means serially coupled to the collector of said first switching transistor forming a first series circuit branch, said second indicator means serially connected to the emitter of said second switching transistor form- 'ing a second series circuit branch, said first and second series circuit branches each connected directly across said voltage source, the base of said second switching transistor coupled to the collector of said first switching transistor, a control transistor of a type complementary to said switching transistors also connected in parallel circuit arrangement across said voltage source, the collector of said control transistor coupled to the base of said first switching transistor, potentiometer means independent of said first and second switching transistors, interconnecting the base of said control transistor with said voltage source for biasing said control transistors, and a regenerative feedback circuit including in series circuit arrangement, resistor means and capacitor means, said feedback circuit coupled between the base of said control transistor and the collector of said first switching transistor whereby said indicator means are alternatingly operative.

2. The blinker device as in claim 1 and wherein said main operating circuit means further includes diode means serially coupled to the emitter of said second switching transistor.

3. The blinker device as in claim 2 and wherein said main operating circuit means further includes second resistor means coupled in parallel arrangement across said second indicator means and said second switching means.

4. The blinker device as in claim 1 and wherein said switching transistors are of the PNP type and said control transistor is of the NPN type.

5. The blinker device as in claim 1 and wherein said both said indicator means includes illumination lights.

6. The blinker device as in claim 5 wherein said housing means has a removable cover adapted to receive a message to be illuminated, said voltage source, said first and second indicator means and said main operating circuit means all enclosed within said housing means, whereby said indicator means alternately illuminates said message on said cover.

7. The blinker device as in claim 6 and further comprising clasping means coupled to said housing means for providing easy attachment of said housing onto a surface.

8. The blinker device as in claim 5 wherein said housing means comprises first and second housing means, said second housing means including a message area thereon, said first housing means enclosing said voltage source and said main operating circuit means, said second housing means enclosing said indicatormeans and positioning said indicator means adjacent to said message area, and further comprising interconnectionmeans electrically inter connecting said first and second housing means.

9. The arrangement as in claim 8 and wherein said interconnecting means includes a plug and receptacle arrangement.

10. The arrangement as in claim 1 and wherein said potentrometer means interconnect the base of said control transistor with one side of said voltage source, and further comprising fixed resistor means interconnecting the base of said control transistor with the other side of said voltage source.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1990826 *Oct 1, 1932Feb 12, 1935Tom B OwensIlluminated display case
US2557663 *Jan 11, 1947Jun 19, 1951Samuel J KnodeShoe advertising attachment
US2825799 *Dec 31, 1956Mar 4, 1958Julien Louis RogerVehicle lamp
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4383244 *Oct 31, 1979May 10, 1983Knauff Robert JPseudo multi light display device and generator therefor
US4637148 *Jul 8, 1985Jan 20, 1987Barlow Dane DElectroluminescent badge
US5010665 *Apr 3, 1986Apr 30, 1991Cornell ClinkscalesModular electronic badge
US20120031130 *Apr 17, 2009Feb 9, 2012Mitsubishi Electric CorporationRelay unit and air conditioning apparatus
Classifications
U.S. Classification40/564, 340/331, 40/1.5, 315/200.00A
International ClassificationG09F13/04
Cooperative ClassificationG09F13/04, G09F2013/0454
European ClassificationG09F13/04