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Publication numberUS3924399 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 9, 1975
Filing dateDec 2, 1974
Priority dateDec 22, 1970
Publication numberUS 3924399 A, US 3924399A, US-A-3924399, US3924399 A, US3924399A
InventorsRobinson Ralph C
Original AssigneeGen Time Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Digital alarm clock
US 3924399 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 1111 3,924,399

Robinson Dec. 9, 1975 DIGITAL ALARM CLOCK 3,409,748 11/1968 Kawata 200/36 Inventor: Ralph C. n on, Mo res ille, 3,609,956 10/1971 Funaki 58/2l.15

Primary ExaminerLawrence R. Franklin [73] Assignee: General Time Corporation, Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Pennie & Edmonds Thomaston, Conn. 22 Filed: Dec. 2, 1974 [57] ABSTRACT A digitally indicating alarm clock having endless loops 528659 of tape to provide digital time indication, the tapes Related US. Application Data being driven by drums which are coupled together by [60] Continuation of Ser. No. 100,836, Dec. 22, 1970, ype a ms- A Synchronous motor 1 abandoned, which is a division of Ser. N0. 863,886, serves to dflve the mlmltes p through a tlmmg tram Oct. 6, 1969, Pat. No. 3,597,913. including a Geneva-type mechanism for step advancement of the minutes drum. An hour wheel coupled [52] US. Cl. 58/16 D; 58/125 C; 58/126 E to the minutes drum, and cooperating with an alarm [51] Int. Cl. G04B 23/02; G04C 21/28 set wheel under the control of a function lever serves [58] Field of Search 58/7, 16, 16 D, 19, 21.15, to operate a switch for turning on an associated radio 58/21.l55, 125 R, 125 C, 126 R, 126 E; and, a short time thereafter, for sounding an alarm.

235/1 C The alarm mechanism is advanced via a separate drive train which is independent of the hours drum. Por- [56] References Cited tions of the driving and control mechanisms lie on op- STATES PATENTS posite sides of the digital indicating assembly with the 1 086 268 M1914 Bentley 58/125 C portions being interconnected by cross-shafts. A setable sleep lever cooperating with the timing train 58/125 C ,t i, 58,125 C permits the user to fall asleep with the radio on with 200/37 subsequent automatic tum-off. The sleep lever, by 2,444,570 7/1948 Lawrence et a], 235/1 c disabling of the alarm, also serves on actuation of an 2,611,232 9/1952 Wuischpard 58/16 D associated drowse button to give the user the opera- 2,734,338 2/1956 Uhlig et al. 58/125 c n f a few minutes of additional Sleep ft the Grecnhow...... C alarm goes ofi 2,985,998 5/1961 Holzner 58/125 c 3,387,452 6/1968 Ring et a]. 58/16 x 6 Claims, 33 Drawing Figures 1,998,763 4/1935 Janson 2,040,421 5/1936 Almquist.... 2,130,808 9/1938 McClure U.S. Patent Dec. 9 1975 Sheet 2 of9 3,924,399

US. Patent Dec. 9 1975 Sheet 3 of9 3,924,399

US. Patent Dec. 9 1975 Sheet 4 of9 3,924,399

U.s. Patent Dec.91975 sheeteof 3,924,399

X77 1/? ZZZ 7 ill U.S. Patent Dec. 9 1975 Sheet 7 of9 3,924,399

AMI/w 567%?6' Wo US. Patent Dec. 9 1975 Sheet 8 of9 3,924,399

442M150 mama/v am sea/14 aw; 1670M may?" mm Jaw/0 JZZE'P Gail.

DIGITAL ALARMCLOCK This application is a continuation of copending application Ser. No. lOO,836, filed Dec. 22, 1970, now abandoned, which application is a division of application Ser. No. 863,886, filed Oct. 6, 1969, now US. Pat. No. 3,597,918, which issued on Aug. I0, 1971.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a digital alarm clock which is easily read and which employs numerals of large size considering the compactness of the enclosure in which the device is housed.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a digital alarm clock mechanism which is particularly well suited for integration with a radio for turning on the radio ata preset time and for sounding an alarm a short time thereafter. I

It is more specifically an object of the present invention to provide a digital alarm clock having indicating tapes displayed at a front panel, the tapes being driven by drums which are advanced in stepped fashion and which are located in alignment rearwardly of the front panel. Auxiliary forwardly offset drums are used for direct display of seconds and alarm set functions and both a time set wheel and alarm set wheel are located forward of the driving drums for direct fingertip access for setting purposes.

It is another object of the present invention to' provide an alarm set wheel and an hour wheel having cooperating cams or the like for triggering at'a pre-set time and in which the hour wheel is driven in oneminute steps rather than being continuously driven by the synchronous drive motor.

It is an object of the invention in one of its aspects to provide a novel function selector arrangement in which a selector lever is movable between on, off, auto and alarm positions to provide maximum choice and flexibility of the mode .of operation of the clock but in which the various modes of operation are brought about, with digital display, using a mechanism which is simpler and more reliable than that used for conventional clock hand display. In this connection it is an object to provide a digitally indicating clock timer in which the seconds drum, alarm set drum, time set wheel and alarm set wheel are symmetrically distributed on opposite sides of digital time display to provide a pleasing and balanced appearance and with the associated mechanisms at each side being coupled by a simplified arrangement of cross shafts so that the control mechanism, although divided, may be as simple and inexpensive as that of conventional clocks where all of the mechanism may be closely integrated at a single location. 7

It is yet, another object of the present invention to provide a digitally indicating timer for controlling an associated radio which includes a sleep lever for enabling the user to fall asleep with the radio on, with subsequent automatic turn-off, and which also includes a drowse button for operating the sleep lever to disable the alarm buzzer blade or the like for temporary shut-off of the buzzer blade when the user desires to range of price and size, or for other devices requiring display of numerals in successive orders, wherever digital display is desired. In this connection, it is an object to provide a digitally indicating clock-timer which may be manufactured and assembled at low cost using inexpensive plastic components which operates freely and which hence may be driven from a low power source and which does not require exercise of exacting tolerances in the manufacture or assembly of the parts.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the attached detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:.

FIG. 1 shows a bedside radio alarm clock employing the features of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of the mechanism employed in FIG. 1 with the housing removed and with certain portions broken away for maximum visibility;

FIG; 2a is a view on a reduced scale of the development of the tapes employed in the construction of FIG. 2;

FIG. 3 is a front view, in elevation, of the mechanism shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective of the drive train and geneva drive mechanism for the drums associated with the respective loops of tape as well as the train for driving the hour wheel which is associated with the alarm set wheel;

FIG. 5 is arear view of the drum and tape assembly; FIG. 6 is a transverse section looking along the line 6-6 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary view based upon FIG. 6 and showing the first geneva switchover;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary horizontal section taken along the line 8-8 in FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is a detailed fragmentary section of the-minute drum friction looking along the line 9-9 in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a vertical section taken between the minutes and tens-of-minutes drums looking along the line 10-10 in FIG. 2;

FIGS. 11, 12 and 13 show geneva profiles looking along correspondingly numbered section lines in FIG.

FIG. 14 shows an alternate form of dividing stage employing meshed gears;

FIG. 15 is a fragmentary sectional view taken through the alarm set wheel, alarm drum and hour gear looking along the lines 15-15 in FIG. 4;

FIG. 16 is a transverse section showing the alarm set friction taken along the line 16-16 in FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the function selector mechanism, simplified and slightly distorted, with parts broken away, to reveal the operating relationships;

FIG. 18 is a stop motion view of the function selector mechanism in the radio on condition looking along the line 18-18 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 19 is a view similar to FIG. 18, and slightly reduced in scale, showing the selector mechanism in the off condition;

FIG. 20 is a stop motion view similar to FIG. 19 showing the selector lever in the auto condition with the trip lever in latched condition;

FIG. 21 is a view similar to FIG. 20 but showing the trip lever following drop-off for turning on of the radio but which is not limited thereto and in which the digitally indicating drive and display may be employed for many other designs of clocks or timers covering a wide switch;

FIGS. 22, 23 and 24 are stop motion views showing the selector lever in the alarm position with the trip lever latched, and in the first and second positions of drop-off respectively; I w I FIGS. 25, 26 and 27 are fragmentary sections taken through the alarm set cams. corresponding to FIGS. 22-24 respectively;

FIG. 28 i'savertical section taken along the line 28 -28 in FIG. 2 showing the sleep lever in profile prior to actuation;

FIG. 29 is a stop motion view based upon FIG. 28 I showing the effect of moving the sleep lever from the off position to the zero reference position;

I FIG. 30 is a view similar to FIG. 29 but showing movement of the sleep lever to the end of its range corresponding to a sixty minute sleep interval; I

' FIG. 31 is va diagram showing the sleep lever in the off position and with the buzzer blade turned on prior to pressing of the drowse button; and

FIG. 32 is a view similar to FIG. 30 showing the turn- 'ing off of the buzzer blade resulting from actuation of the drowse button.

While the invention has been described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, it will be. understood that I do not intend to be limited to the particular embodiments which are illustrated, but intend on the contrary to cover the various alternative or equivalent constructions which are included within the spirit and scope of the invention.

Turning now to FIG. 1 there is shown a clock radio 40 contained in a flat rectangular housing or enclosure 41 having an upper wall 42, a lower wall 43 and a front panel 44. The front panel 44 has provision for digital display of the time as indicated at 50 through a horizontal set of. apertures 51, 52, 53 which display the minutes, tens-of-minutes and hours respectively. A further aperture 54 provides direct reading of seconds. An adjacent knob or wheel 55 projects through the panel and is manually-movable for setting'the time. At the left Turning next to FIGS. 2 to 5, the shown, minus the enclosure mountedin a frame 90 having parallel plates 91,92, 93, 94, with a pack plate 95, and interconnected by suitable posts or spacers to provide a compact and integrated timing unit. Brackets 96, 97 on the end plates serve as a mounting for the frontpanel 44. I I

For the purpose of driving the clock-timer, a motor 100 of the conventional a-c. synchronous type, with a buzzer blade B, is provided having an output pinion 101. The output pinion meshes with a gear 102which is coupled by a shaft 103 to the seconds drum 104 providing direct indication of secondsthrough the aperture 54. The seconds drum carries a pin 105 which serves as the input element to a geneva stage having a fivestation output element or star wheel 106, which will later by discussed in greater detail. It will suffice for the present tov say that the geneva output element 106 has an integral shaft 107 which terminates in a friction or incremental clutch 108 (hereinafter referred to as an incremental clutch) in the form of a star wheel having cooperating pawls 109 (see FIGS. 8 and 9). The'pawls are formed integrally inside of a drum..

1 10 having an integral output gear 1 11 and integral setting gear 112. The gear 112 meshesvvith the time setting wheel 55 mounted on a stub shaft 113, the wheel 55 projecting through the front panel for easy access as shown in FIG. 1. I

e For the purpose of steppingly driving the drum of next higher order at a reduced or divided speed, the minutes drum, 110 includes a pin 114 which forms the input element of a geneva stage having a six-station of the digital indication is an aperture 56 which shows the pre-set time for sounding of the radio and alarm with an adjacent adjusting knob or wheel 57 for changing'the alarm setting.

Projecting through the front panel is a selector lever 60 which is rockable upwardly and downwardly within a slot 61 for setting inany one of four positions which havebeen designated on, off, auto, and

alarm. The on and off settings permit direct on- "off control of the radio. The auto setting causes the radio to turn on at a pre-set time. Moving the lever 60 to the alarm position causes the radio to be turned on at a pre-set time followed, a few minutes thereafter,

. by sounding of an alarm device such as a conventional buzzer blade.

Where it is desired to fallasleep with radio music, but with automatic shut-off of the radio occurring after a pre-set interval, a sleep control lever 70 isprovided which is rockable withina slot 71, lever 70 having an I off position and scale calibrated from 0 to 60 minutes. A drowse button 75 is provided at the top of the thereon, a tuning control 82 and volume control 83.

The construction of theradio is beyond the scope of i the present invention and it will suffice to say that the radio control switch to be described serves to turn the radio on and off under manual or automatic control as desired.

output element or star wheel 115. Integrally included on the output element 115 are pins, three in number, indicated at 116 forming the input element of a second geneva stage having a four station output element 1 17. The latter is integral with a tens-of-minutes drum 120.

Similarly, for establishing a speed dividing ratio to the next drum in the series, the drum 120 carries pins 121 which constitute the input element of a geneva stage using a star wheel 122 having six stations. Directly coupled to the star wheel 122 are pins 123 of a second geneva stage having a star wheel 124 with four stations. The star wheel 124 is integral with an hour drum 130. i I

In accordance with the present invention, each of the drums 110, 120 and drives an endless loop of tape havinga cycle of numerals thereon, insuccessive orders, for direct time indication, with the tape being substantially longer than the periphery of the drum in a low integer ratio, and with the number of stations in the geneva output stage being equal to the number of numerals on the tape multiplied by the ratio of drum,

periphery to tape length. Thus referring to FIG. 5, and taking the minutes drum 110 by way, of example, the drum serves to drive a tape having a set of numerals 1 to 9 plus zero (see FIG. 2a), the tape being in the form of an endless loop having twice the length of the periphery of the drum 110, making the periphery-totape length ratio one-half. Thus the ten numerals on the tape, multiplied by one-half, equals 5, which. is the number of stations in the associated geneva output element 106. I

For the purpose of reducing the required headroom, the tape is disposed about the drum 1 10 in a reentrant C formation, with the drum occupying a central position. More specifically'in carrying out the invention, the tape-140 is trained about a vertical guide member clock-timer is 141 which spans all three of the tapes and which has upper and lower curved guide surfaces 142, 143. Tangent with respect to the guide surfaces 142, 143, and spaced rearwardly therefrom, are idler rollers 144, 145 mounted upon shafts 146, 147. The upper and lower passes of the tape thus may lie adjacent, and parallel to, the top and bottom walls of the enclosure. For the purpose of maintaining synchronism between the drum 110 and the tape 140, the drum is provided with sprockets 148 which engage sprocket holes 149.

The adjacent tens-of-minutes tape, indicated at 150 is trained about the drum 120 to form the tape into the same re-entrant, C configuration. However, in the case of the tape 150, the tape is three times the length of the periphery of the drum 120, resulting in a length ratio of one third. It is one of the features of the construction that two complete cycles of numbers in the series from 1 to 5 and 0 are carried by the tape 1.50 making a total of 12 numerals which, when multiplied by the length ratio (l/3) results in a geneva output element, or star wheel, 117 having a total of four stations. The tape is disposed about idler rollers 151, 152 mounted upon shafts 153, 154. Sprockets 158 engage sprocket holes 159.

Turning to the final tape in the series, which is the hours tape indicated at 160, such tape is, in accordance with the invention, chosen to'produce a length ratio of one-third which, when multiplied by the number of numerals on the tape (12 see FIG. 221), results in the use of a geneva output element 124, integral with the drum 130, having four stations as shown. As in the case of the previous tapes, the tape is folded re-entrantly and is supported upon idler rollers 161, 162 which are in alinement with the idler rollers 151, 152 and carried upon the same shafts 153, 154. Similarly, for preserving synchronism, the drum 130 is provided with sprockets 168 which engage sprocket holes 169 formed in the tape.

For the purpose of guiding the tapes smoothly in parallel paths for purposes of display, the vertical guide member 141 is formed with shallow grooves or tracks defined by spaced ridges 170. Moreover, the guide member 141 is formed of transparent or translucent plastic material having one or more lamps 171, generally alined with the viewing windows in the front panel, for illuminating the numeralson the tapes by transmitted light. Preferably the tapes are made of flexible plastic with translucent numerals on an opaque background, although opaque numerals on a translucent background may be employed as a matter of choice. The portions of the panel which separate the windows, 51-53 serve to mask any light which is transmitted through the sprocket holes 149-169. Conveniently, the edges of the guide member 141 may be formed with protuberances 172 which engage registering openings formed in the edges of the frame plates 92, 93 so that the guide member is firmly locked between the frame plates; moreover, the frame plates thus complete the ends of a light housing, defined in part by the upper and lower edges of the guide member, and may be painted white, to improve the efficiency of illumination.

Further in accordance with the present invention an overall geneva drive ratio between the adjacent drums is determined taking into account the value ratio of the numerals on the tapes, the periphery-to-tape length ratios, and the ratio of the number .of numerals on the adjacent tapes. More specifically, a geneva ratio, GR, is chosen in accordance with the following relationship:

L1 Nl GR= VR W where VR is the value ratio, L1 and N1 are the length ratio and numeral positions on the tape of lower order and L2 and N2 are the length ratio and numeral postions corresponding to the tape of higher order. With respect to the geneva mechanism between the minutes drum and tens-of-minutes drum 120, the value ratio of the numerals is 1:10. The length ratios, as previously stated, are one half and one-third, respectively. The number of numeral positions on the tapes are 10 and 12, respectively. Entering these amounts in the relationship set forth above results in an overall drive ratio between the drums 110, of 1:8.

For the purpose of selecting the other parameters of the reduction system, use is made of the following relationship:

This relationship is satisfied by employing a single pin and six stations in the first stage, and three pins for driving the four station output member 117 in the second stage.

The overall ratio of reduction between the tens-ofminutes drum 1 20 and the hour drum 130, and the number of pins and stations to be used in the auxiliary geneva stage, is determined in the same way. The value ratio between the tens-of-minutes numerals and the hours numerals is 1:6. The length ratios L1, L2, in the case of the drums 120, are both 1:3. The number of numerals N1, N2, on both of the tapes is 12. This results in an overall geneva ratio GR of 1:6. Since the number of geneva stations on the drum 130 has been previously determined as 4, then Such relationship is satisfied by employing a first geneva stage of two pins and six stations and by employing two pins at the input of the second stage, just as has been shown in the drawings.

By adhering to the procedures set forth above, operation of the digital tape display assembly is as follows: The motor 100, with its gearing 101, 102, drives the seconds drum 104 at the rate of one revolution per minute. Driven through the geneva stage 105, 106, the minutes drum rotates at an average speed of U5 r.p.m. Multiplying this by the drum-to-tape ratio (/2) results in a tape cycle speed of one tenth cycle per minute, or ten minutes per cycle, appropriate for the minutes tape. By reason of the 1:8 reduction from drum 110 to drum 120, drum 120 rotates at an average speed of 1/40 rpm. Multiplying this by the length ratio gives a tape cycle time of l/ 120 minute. Since there are two cycles on the tape 150, the numeral cycle time is l/6O cycle per minute, or 60 minutes per cycle, which is appropriate for the tens-.of-minutes tape. By reason of the final 1:6 reduction, the hours drum rotates at an average speed of H240 r.p.m. With a length ratio of 1:3.the tape cycle time is l/720 cycle per minute equal to 12 hours per cycle.

In accordance with one of the aspects of the present invention,meansresponsive to the periodic advancement of the minute drum 1 areprovided for operating an electrical circuit to turn onthe associated radio, and for operating an alarm device such as the buzzer. blade, at a pre-set time. Thus, referring to FIG. 4, a second drive train 180 is provided including a first gear 181 havinga pinion 182 driving a gear 183 and pinion 184,. with the latter meshing with an output gear 185 mounted on a cross shaft 186 which extends transversely within the mechanism. At the remote end of the shaft 186 is a pinion 187 and idler 188 which drives an hour wheel 189 on a twelvehour cycle. For the purpose of producing relative endwise movement of the hour wheel 189 at a pre-set time, an alarm set drum 190 is provided having cam surfaces 191, which cooperate with cam follower surfaces 192 on the hour wheel. As shown in FIG. 15, the hour wheel has a shaft 193 which is axially slidable and'which is biased, by a leaf spring 194, in a direction to keep the-cams in engagement.

. For the purpose of setting the phase position of the alarm set drum190, an alarm set knob or wheel 57 (see also FIG. 1) is provided which is accessible through the front panel and which is directly keyed to the alarm set drum 190. Such keying is brought about by forming the hub ofthe drum into a hexagonal cross section as indicatedv at 196 to mate with a correspondingly shaped hole at the center of the alarm set wheel 57. In order that the alarm set drum may be retained at the set position, an incremental clutch is.providedin the form of a set of stationary detent teeth: which cooperate with pawls formed on the interior of the alarm set drum. Thus as shown. in FIGS, and .16, the frame plate 92 has an integral, axially extending flange 197 which projects into. the interior of the alarm set drum and which has, formed on its outer surface, a set of teeth 1,98. The teeth are engaged by flexible pawls 199 formed integrally with the alarm drum. To set the time of turning on the radio, or for sounding of the alarm, the alarm set wheel 57 is rotated with fingertip-pressure until the set time appears in the viewing window 56. This establishes the desired relative phasing of the cam and cam follower surfaces 191, 192 so that, as the set time approaches, the cam surfaces begin to ride up on one another to produce progressive axial movement of the hour wheel 189 toward the position which is'shown by the dot-dash outline in FIG. 15.

- portant advantage which resides in the direct coupling of the hour wheel to the minute drum is that it permits simultaneous coordinated setting of the hour wheel and minute drum 110, as well as theassociated drums 120,

130, by manual turning of the time set wheel 55 with-. out requiring any corresponding rotation :of the motor, drive train, and geneva which serve to drive the minute dru'm under normal conditions. Thus it will'be noted, in

connection with FIG. 8, that rotation of the time set wheel 55 acting upon the circular rack 112"on the minj utes drum not only directly rotates the minutes drum but also, through circular rack 111, rotatesthe input gear 181 of the hour wheel gear train so that the hour wheel is locked into synchronism with the drums and with the tapes which are keyed to the drums. Since the geneva 105, 106 is effectively locked against actuation backwardly, the'teeth 108 (see FIG. 8) which are on sion. Thus, referring to FIG. 17, a trip lever 210 is provided rotatable about a transverse shaft 211 and having a tip portion 212'which is in the path of endwise movement of the hour gear 189. Formed integrally with the trip lever is a circular rack 213. For the purpose of biasing'the'trip lever clockwise, a spring 214 is engaged behind the rack. In orderto transmit the angular indexing of the. trip lever to the opposite end of the mechanism,

a second circular. rack 215 is mounted upon an elongated shaft 216 which carries a control'cam 217 at its opposite end. Cooperating with the control cam is a radio switch 220 having a lower blade 221 and an upper blade 222, the lower blade 221 being extended, as shown, to serve as a cam follower for the cam 217.

Arranged in the path of movement of the trip lever 210 is a stationary stop 230 having a first step 231 and a second step 232. To control drop off from the steps 231, 232 and hence to control the .mode of operation of the control switch and buzzer blade, and, indeed, for disabling the switch and buzzer blade when des ired, a function lever is provided which is settable at selected levels in the path of downward movement of the trip lever. The function lever, indicated at 60, is pivoted for rocking movement about the shaft 211, making the function lever coaxial with the trip lever 210 which it controls. So that the function lever, in its various positions, may obstructing'ly support the trip lever 210 against downward movement, the trip lever is provided with an integral pin 235 which overhangs the lever. To hold the lever in its set position,'a detent 240 is used in the form of a small pivoted arm having. notches 241-244 for reception of a pawl-like projection 245 integrally formed at the rear end of the function lever 60, the member 240 being biased by a spring 246 to provide a desired level of detent force. In order that the detent mechanism might be independent of the biasing force of the spring 214 on the trip lever, such spring is,

as shown, anchored at one end on the function lever.

With the function lever set in the off position, as illustrated in FIGS. 17 and 19, the cam 217, at the end of the cross shaft 216, is oriented so that a cam projection 217a (see FIG. 19) bears downwardly against the switch blade 221 thereby separating the contacts 220. With such contacts, in series with the power circuit of the radio, opened, the radio will remain turned off. Any endwise crowding movement of the hour wheel 189 which may occur at the time for which the alarm drum happens to be set will result in axial movement of the trip lever, but such movement will be idle since the pin 235 on the trip lever is hung up" on the function lever.

In order to insure that, when the function lever is in its off position, the buzzer blade B of the alarm will also be silent, an alarm shut-off lever 250 is provided having a cam follower arm 251 which engages the cam 217 and a blade engaging arm 252 which extends at right angles under the tip of the buzzer blade. Thus when the function lever, and the cam 217 which it controls, are in the off position, the cam follower arm 251 is upraised forcing the associated arm 252 upwardly against the buzzer blade to raise the latter away from the magnetic influence of the motor.

When it is desired to turn the radio on, the function lever 60 is raised to its uppermost, or on position which raises the trip lever 210 by reason of engagement with the pin 235 thereon resulting in rocking at the circular racks 213, 215 so that the shaft 216 and cam 217 are indexed clockwise. This rocks the high point 217a of the cam away from the switch blade 221 so that the cam presents a flat 217b to the blade, permitting the blade to rise thereby to bring the contacts 220 into engagement to turn the radio on. Such indexing movement of the cam 217 does not affect the height of the cam follower arm 251 on the alarm shut-off lever 250 so that the buzzer blade continues to be held in its disabled position.

In order to turn the radio on at a pre-set wakeup time, without however actuating the buzzer blade, the function lever 60 is moved downwardly one step from its off position into its auto position. This movement lowers the trip lever onto the step 231 which puts the trip lever into a condition of readiness for dropping off of the step upon being pushed by the hour gear upon reaching the pre-set wakeup time. Thus, asshown in FIG. 20, movement of the function lever into the auto position seats the trip lever in latched position on the step 231, with adequate clearance below the pin 235 on the trip lever to permit the trip lever to index downwardly in the directionof the second step 232. The indexed rocking of the cam 217 which accompanies the setting of the function lever in the auto position brings the high point 217a of the cam downwardly against the switch blade 221 to open the contacts. The cam follower arm 251 on the alarm shut-off lever 250 remains unaffected, and the buzzer blade therefore continues to be held in its disabled position.

Upon passage of time, the hour wheel 189 rotates around into a position where the cam follower 192 engages the cam 191 on the alarm set drum, thereby crowding the hour wheel 189 endwise in the direction of the arrow shown in FIG. 26. The hour wheel 189, ad vancing in oneminute steps, reaches a point where the resulting step of endwise movement is sufficient to cause the tip 212 on the trip lever to clear the first step 231, thus permitting the'trip lever to index clockwise until the pin 235 thereon bottoms on the function lever 60, which is the condition shown in FIG. 21. The

resultant rocking at the circular racks, accompanied by counterclockwise indexed rocking of the shaft 216 and cam 217, brings the high point 217a of the cam into an angled, or nonalined, position with respect to the 10 switch blade 221, thereby permitting the contacts 220 to close, turning on the radio. Continued rotation of the hour wheel 189 will occur, with increasing engagement of the cam surfaces 191, 192, and with additional endwise crowding movement of the hour wheel 189, but this will be ineffective to produce further indexing of the trip lever since the trip lever is hung up on the function lever and thus blocked against any further dropoff. As shown in FIG. 21, even though the contacts 220 close, the cam follower arm 251 continues to be held in its upraised position for continued disabling of the buzzer blade.

When it is desired to have the alarm sound to ensure the sleeper is awakened shortly after the radio turns on, the function lever is moved downwardly an additional step from the auto to the alarm position as illustrated in FIG. 22. Under such circumstances, the function lever is at a sufficiently low level so that the trip lever has complete freedom of movement and may drop off of both of the steps 231, 232 at the pre-set time in spaced succession. When the function lever is lowered into the alarm position shown in FIG. 22, the tip 212 of the trip lever is seated upon the first step 231. As the pre-set time is approached, the cam surfaces 191, 192, crowd the hour wheel 189 endwise so that the trip lever 210 drops from the first step 231 as shown in FIG. 23. The resulting indexing of the cam 217 in the counterclockwise direction permits the contacts 220 to come together to turn on the radio, just as the case of the condition shown in FIG. 21. However, in this instance, the stop pin 235 on the trip lever remains unobstructed, and the further crowding movement'of the hour wheel 189, as the cams 191, 192 come increasingly into engagement, results in drop-off of the trip lever at the second step 232 accompanied by an additional step of indexing movement of the trip lever and its associated cam 217. This additional (counterclockwise) movement of the cam 217 causes the cam follower arms 251 to reach a point of drop-off indicated at 2176 on the cam, permitting the cam follower arm to move downwardly accompanied by retreating movement of the arm 252 downwardly away from the buzzer blade, lowering the buzzer blade into its active, or sounding position. The user of the clock, upon being awakened, can then shut off the buzzer blade by moving the function lever upwardly into its auto position or he can shut off both radio and buzzer blade by moving the function lever upwardly into its off position, thus re-establishing the condition discussed in connection with FIG. 19.

It will be noted that the wide range of control functions have been accomplished both reliably and simply, using a minimum number of parts and those of low tolerance requirementseven though the function lever, alarm set drum and associated trip lever are located at one end off the mechanism with the switching and control functions being accomplished at the other end.

Further in accordance with the invention, a sleep control member is provided cooperating with a disc which is coupled to the minutes drum for periodic advancement and which is settable into an overlapping relation with the disc to provide a desired length of sleep interval during which the radio plays and following which the radio is automatically turned off. More specifically in accordance with the invention, a sleep control member is provided which, during the sleep interval turns the radio on by acting upon the second one of the two contact blades so that contact may be made regardless of the set position of the regularly controlled contact blade. Thus, referring to FIGS. 17 and 28, a sleep control lever 70 is provided pivoted about a shaft 260 and having a first arm 261 and a second arm 262. The arm 262 carries an opposed pair of frictionally engaging elements 263. Arranged in the path of movement of the friction engaging elements is a sleep disc 265 which is mounted at the end of the cross shaft 186 which drives the hour wheel 189. The associated'gearing is such that the disc rotates at a rate 'of /a revolution per hour. The sleep lever 70 is maintained in its upraised position by a spring 266 which maintains thefriction elements 263 out of effective engagement with'the disc 265. Interposed between the 'on'the arm 262 of the sleep lever is a cam surface 275 which engages, the cam follower surface 276, the surten minutes, so that when the buzzer sounds to awaken I sleep lever 70 and the switch contact is a sleep actuator faces being faced sufficiently abruptly so that the actuator lever 270 undergoes its entire range of movement incident to movement of the sleeplever from its off position to a zero reference position which establishes the beginning of the time scale. For pressing the upper blade 222 of the switch downwardly to engage the contacts during the sharp downward movement of the lever 270, a transversely extending pin 277is provided at the upper end of the arm 272.

The effect of moving the sleep lever 70 from its off position to its zero reference position is shown inFIG. 29. Here it will be noted that the friction elements 263 advance into initial engagement with the disc 265. At the same' time, rotation of the arm advances the cam surface 275 *against the cam follower surface 276 so that the lever 270 rocks counterclockwise bringing the pin 277 down against the blade 222 to close the contacts, thereby turning the. radio on. Further downward rocking of the sleep lever with'respect to the calibrated scale causesincreasing engagement of the friction elements263 with the sleep disc 265, the limit of a such engagement, corresponding to a sleep interval of sixty minutes, as illustrated in FIG. 30.

After the sleep lever has been set tothe selected time interval, for example, a full sixty minutes, the subsequent rotation of the shaft 186 and the sleep disc 265 thereon, step by step with advancement of the minute drum 110, causes the friction elements 263 to be walked in the clockwise direction as indicated by the tion is reached, illustrated in FIG. 29, whereupon the friction elements clear the disc 265 permitting the sleep lever to be drawn into its upraised off position illustrated in FIG. 28. The return movement is accompanied by drop-off at the cam surfaces 275, 276,

thereby permitting the actuator lever 270 to rotate clockwise under the influence of the spring 274 to release the upper switch blade 222 so that the contacts are opened to turn off the radio. v

The step by step advancement of the sleep disc 265, brought about by itsrdirect coupling to the minutes drum 1 10 provides more decisive and precise release of the sleep lever, for turning off the radio, than is possible where thedisc is continuouslydriven.

In accordance with one of the aspects of the present invention, the sleep-lever is coupled, not only to the radio controlling contacts, but also to the buzzer blade dotted arrow in FIG. 30 until the zero reference posifor pressing the sleep lever into the sleep range by a predetermined small amount of time, on the order ofv the sleeper at a predetermined time the sleeper may, by pressing the drowse button, disable the buzzer blade for'the predetermined short period of time to achieve a few minutes of drowsy sleep. At the end of the drowse period, when the sleep lever is walked to its released position, its upward movement, from reference to off" position, serves to release the buzzer blade so that it may again sound, the drowse function being repeatableas often as desired.

Referring to'FIG. 31, the parts are in the condition immediately following the sounding of the alarm. That is, the cam follower arm 251 on the alarm shut-off lever 250 has cleared the point of-drop-off 217c of the cam 217 (see also FIG. 24) so that the arm 252* has been into its bottomed position, the sleep lever is rotated counterclockwise, to its reference position accompanied by engagement of the pin 277 on the lever 270 with the third arm 253 on the alarm shut-off lever 250, I

thus rocking the shut-off lever so that the arm 252 thereon crowds upwardly against the buzzer blade B lifting it out of the magnetic influence of the motor and shutting off the sound. The final portion of the movement of the drowse button 75 causes thesleep lever to be moved downwardly into its 10 minute position illustrated in FIG. 32, accompanied by engagement of the friction elements 263 with the sleep disc 265. The

radio contacts, during the drowse cycle, remain closed and the radio continues to play s'oftly. At the expiration of the ten minute drowse interval, the sleep lever is restored to its reference position where it is free to be drawn upwardly by the return spring 266. The resultant drop-off at the cam surfaces 275, 276 frees the lever 270 so that the pin 277 thereon moves clear of the arm 253 of the alarm shut-off lever dropping the arm 252 away from the buzzer blade so that the buzzer blade may resume sounding. The sound may be terminated 'by moving the function lever to the auto position or,

' indeed, to the off or on positions whichever may be desired. y p I Preferably the drowse button 75 is provided with a detent 75b so that it remains extended even though the sleep lever is moved downwardly to initiate a sleep cycle. v

While it is one of the features of the invention that two successive geneva stages are employed between successive tape drums, the second stage being effective to advance the drum of higher order by a one numeral increment and the first stage serving in an auxiliary capacity to achieve the desired overall reduction between the adjacent drums, it will be understood that the auxiliary function may be performed by means otherthan adrums 120, 130, a gear reduction may be used to provide the necessary dividing ratio. Thus, instead of employing the pins 121 on the drum 120 a gear 121a may be used as shown in FIG. 14. Similarly, the star wheel 122 which cooperates with the pin may be replaced by a meshing gear 122a. Where it is desired to continue to use two pins 123 for driving the star wheel 124 on the hours drum, the gears 121a, 122a may have the same reduction ratio as the geneva stage 121, 122 for which it is substituted. However, if it is desired, in the interest of further simplification, to utilize only a single pin 123 in the second geneva stage, this may be done provided that compensation occurs by making the ratio of the gears 121a, 122a 2:3 (corresponding to a reduction of l-l/2: l) as shown in FIG. 14. The use of such auxiliary gearing to replace a geneva stage has the advantage of reducing the peak torque loading which the drive motor is required to overcome. It will, similarly, be apparent that the auxiliary geneva stage 114, 115 between the minutes and tens-of-minutes drum may, if desired, be replaced by gears having a 1:6 speed reduction ratio without departing from the present invention; alternatively, if the pins 116 are reduced to l, a 1:2 gear will suffice.

Still other means may be used, if desired, for effectively throwing away the redundant revolutions of the drum of lower order in accordance with my teachings, for example, the pin which drives the star wheel associated with the drum of higher order may be movable into an enabled position at the completion of a cycle of numerals on the drum of lower order and restored to a disabled position during the nonsignificant revolutions of the drum of lower order, as covered in my copending application Ser. No. 100,763, filed Dec. 22, 1970 and now U.S. Pat. No. 3,745,852.

It will be apparent that while I have discussed and shown certain preferred embodiments, it will be understood that minor changes may be made without departing from the invention. For example, while I have shown a series of window apertures 51-53, a single, elongated .aperture, while not as desirable, maybe used. And while I referred to a drowse button 75, it will be apparent that this is a general term and that any equivalent member may be used to depress the sleep lever. Similarly while the term lever has been used for convenience, for example as applied to the function lever 60, it will be apparent that such member need not, as a matter of necessity, be pivoted and that the member 60 could be mounted for translation upwardly and downwardly without affecting the result. Also, while a buzzer blade constitutes a common form of alarm, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to use with a buzzer blade and that other alarm sounding devices may be readily substituted. Even the term geneva used throughout is not intended to be limited to the particular shapes of indexing elements which are shown but it is intended to cover a mechanism which produces periodic angular indexing of one rotating element by another related by a predetermined dividing ratio.

It is to be particularly noted that while the drum and tape display mechanism is particularly well suited for use in a clock, radio timer, or the like driven by an a-c. motor, it is not necessary to use an a-c. motor and any desired drive may be employed in which the shaft 103 which actuates the initial geneva mechanism is synchronously driven with respect to passage of time. Indeed, while the drum and tape display is ideally suited for order-by-order direct indication of time, the tapes may be calibrated and the geneva reduction ratios accordingly adjusted, for decimal or other specific successive orders of numerals. In this connection, while it is preferred to have a simple periphery-to-tape length ratio of, say, l:3 or 1:2, as here employed, it is not necessary that the numerator of the ratio be one, and the numerator may be some other small integer without in any way affecting the invention or the procedures employed in arriving at the fruits of the invention. Where gears (FIG. 14) are used as an auxiliary dividing stage, the numerator and denominator integers determining the dividing ratio may be somewhat higher than where a geneva mechanism is used (but still to be considered low) since the number of gear teeth may be adjusted to compensate for an unusual periphery-to-tape length ratio.

While it is one of the features of the construction that a single set of contacts suffices for the switching function, with the blades of such contacts being individually controlled, the term switch as used herein shall include without its scope the possible use of more than one set of contacts connected in parallel with one another.

It is one of the features of the present invention that a special geneva construction 105, 106 is employed for indexing the minute drum in order to obtain rapid indexing movement of the minute numerals combined with freedom from jamming when torque is applied backwardly through the geneva connection incident to setting of the minutes drum by the time set wheel 55. It will be recalled, in connection with FIG. 6, that the minutes drum is forceably moved during a setting operation accompanied by idle clicking at the driving inremental clutch. The friction consists of pawls 109 on the drum which are in detenting engagement with a circle of teeth 108 on the hub of the geneva output element 106. The output element of the geneva mechanism is called upon to resist the setting torque, which torque tends to drive the geneva mechanism backwardly from output to input.

While it is true that conventional geneva mechanisms are inherently irreversible and include a locking provision to prevent rotation of the output member except during actual indexing, the indexing angle and the locking angle are substantially equal, so that positive locking is achieved only at the expense of requiring a large indexing angle. In a digitally indicating clock or timer the positive locking required to resist torque applied backwardly through the mechanism results in such a large indexing angle that the minute numerals are advanced slowly, and are hence obscured over a major portion of the cycle, rather than being indexed rapidly, from one to the rest, into viewing position.

In accordance with the invention, therefore, a geneva mechanism is provided having a pin and disc input and having a rotatable output assembly including an index member in the plane of the pin and an adjacent locking member in the form of an escalloped polygon presenting arcuate edge portions for engaging the periphery of the disc, with the index member being distinguished by use of short radial notches in the vicinity of the axis for rapid indexing upon engagement by the pin and'with radially extending spokes interposed between the notches presenting lateral surfaces for positively blocking the output assembly against rotation during the intervals immediately preceding and immediately following the indexing stroke. Thus referring to FIGS. 6-8 which show a geneva mechanism consisting of an input the carrier 300 is a locking disc 302 which has a radius smaller than the pin radius and which is arcuately relieved, as indicated at 303, in the vicinity of the pin. In

the output assembly 106, positioned in the plane of the pin, is an indexed member or star wheel 310. Adjacent the'indexed memben and secured to it, preferably by molding integral with one another, is a locking member 312 which lies in the plane of the disc 302 and which is in the form of an escalloped polygon presenting arcuate edges mating with the periphery of the disc. The indexed member 310 is distinguished by the use of short indexing station notches 311 which are positioned closely to the axis and which have a radial extension, indicated at r, which is extremely short, thereby to secure a minimum indexing angle, indicated at a.

In carrying out the invention, the engagement of the locking member 312with the periphery of the disc 302 is not relied upon duringthe time just prior to, and just following the indexing stroke, when a geneva mechanisin is most vulnerable to jamming. Instead, the indexing member is provided with relatively narrow, spokelike extensions. 313 interposed between the shallow notches 311 and which present lateral surfaces 314, 315 which are dimensioned to be in blocking engagement with the pin as the pin respectively approaches and leaves the region of indexing. In short, the indexing member, itself, performs a locking function in cooperation with the indexing pin during that critical time just before and just after indexing when the regular arcuate locking surfaces (on the member 312) are not fully effective. The result is that a locking angle b is achieved (FIG. 7) which may be several times larger than the indexing angle. It may also be noted that the speed-up in the indexing movement of the minutes drum is reflected in a proportional speed-up in indexing of the drums of higher order.

While it would be possible to use geneva mechanisms of such jam-proof design in the other geneva locations, it is notnecessary to do so since the geneva mechanism 105, 106 which drives the minutes drum is the only one in the system which is subject to substantial amounts of torque backwardly through the mechanism.

I claim as my invention:

1. In a digitally indicating clock, the combination comprising a plurality of endless loops of tape arranged side by side carrying cycles of numerals respectively representative of minutes, tens-of-minutes and hours in successive orders, means including a front panel having a viewing area for viewing said cycles of numerals, the tapes having respective drums for driving the same, geneva mechanisms interposed between the adjacent drums, a seconds drum having seconds indicia on the periphery thereof, a motor and first drive train for driving the seconds drum,,a geneva mechanism interposed between the seconds drum and minutes drum for periodic stepped advancement of the latter, an'hour wheel, an hour wheel drive train, an alarm set wheel adjacent the hour wheel, said hour wheel and said alarm set wheel having cooperating cams for producing relative endwise movement when the wheels come into a prede- 16 termined condition of register, said hour wheel drive train being coupled to the minutes drum for periodic advancement of the hour wheel, and means responsive to the relative endwise movement of the wheels for controlling the operation of apparatus-from an off condition selectively and sequentially to conditions of auto-on and alarm, said means including a trip lever, said trip lever being pivotally mounted adjacent the wheels for cooperable endwise movement with the wheels, means biasing said trip lever in one direction about said pivot point, means in the path of said trip lever for limiting biased pivotal movement of said trip lever in response to the relative endwise movement of the wheels, a circular rack on said trip lever, a second circular rack gear cooperable with said trip lever rack gear-and rotatable through an angular displacement representative of pivotal movement of said trip lever, means interconnecting said second circular'rack gear and controlled apparatus, and a functionlever for selectively disabling movement of said ,trip lever.

2. The combination as claimed in claim 1 in which the minutes drum has a time set wheel positively coupled to it and in which a incremental clutch is interposed immediately ahead of the minutes drum for permitting rotation of the minutes drum and hour wheel gear train by the time set wheel free of rotation of the seconds drum and the geneva mechanism which is associated therewith. v v I v p 3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said limiting means includes a stop providing first and-second steps,

said stop being mounted adjacent said wheels, each of said steps being configured so that said trip lever moves under bias control to and from the steps in timed succession incident to endwise wheel movement, and said function lever cooperable with said trip lever to determine selectively of operation by limiting pivotal movesaid trip lever is permitted movementfrom' said first to said disc is engaged in overlapping relation, said control lever being biased formovement to an off position clear of said disc upon elapse of a time interval which depends upon the degree of overlap, a switch for turning on said controlled apparatus, and means independent of the position of said trip leverfor turning on said switch thereby to turn on said controlled'apparatus during the time said control lever is in the sleep rangep

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4137703 *Jun 28, 1977Feb 6, 1979Copal Company LimitedTimer device
US4835349 *Mar 16, 1988May 30, 1989Taltronics CorporationAutomatic shut-off appliance timer
US5513384 *Nov 9, 1993Apr 30, 1996Inner Ear Communications, Inc.System and method for providing multiple broadcasts of audio information to spectators
US5747760 *Jul 10, 1996May 5, 1998Paragon Electric Company, Inc.Timer with improved geneva drive mechanism
U.S. Classification368/72, 368/235, 968/591, 368/263, 968/565, 968/596
International ClassificationG04C21/28, G04C21/20, G04C21/00, G04C17/00
Cooperative ClassificationG04C21/28, G04C21/20, G04C17/0008
European ClassificationG04C21/20, G04C21/28, G04C17/00B
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