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Publication numberUS3929257 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 30, 1975
Filing dateJan 30, 1975
Priority dateJan 30, 1975
Publication numberUS 3929257 A, US 3929257A, US-A-3929257, US3929257 A, US3929257A
InventorsMohan Manohar
Original AssigneeWilliam F Shepherd Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mechanical interlock device for a vending machine
US 3929257 A
Abstract
The interlock device includes a drive cam adapted to be positively rotated by the product dispenser mechanism, the drive cam cooperating with a locking arm, a sensing arm, a coin blockout finger, and a reset lever. The locking arm, sensing arm and reset lever are all pivotally mounted relative to the drive cam, and are all adapted to be activated upon rotation of the drive cam through direct contact with the drive cam. Deposit of the requisite coinage to achieve vending of a product allows the sensing arm's finger to drop into a credit cam's notch, thereby withdrawing the locking arm from interlock engagement with the drive cam. Subsequently, the drive cam is rotated as the product dispenser is activated, thereby withdrawing the sensing arm's finger out of the credit cam's notch and activating the reset lever to reset the credit cam to the zero coinage position. When the sensing arm's finger drops into the credit cam's notch, the coin blockout finger, which is counterweighted, falls by gravity into operating relation with a coin rejector; when the sensing arm's finger is withdrawn from the credit cam's notch, the sensing arm's nose cams and restrains the coin blockout finger out of operating relation with the coin rejector.
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tlnited States Patent 1 Mohan Dec. 30, 1975 [54] MECHANICAL INTERLOCK DEVICE FOR A VENDING MACHINE Manohar Mohan, Cincinnati, Ohio {73] Assignee: William F. Shepherd, Inc.,

Cincinnati, Ohio [22] Filed: Jan. 30, 1975 [21] Appl. No.: 545,401

[75] Inventor:

[52] US. Cl 221/152; 194/1 L; 194/DIG. 3; 194/1 C [51] Int. Cl. G07F 11/16 [58] Field of Search194/DIG. 20, DIG. 19, DIG. 16,

l94/DIG. 15, DIG. 3, 22-27, 7,10, 48,1 L-l N, 73,1C,10, 91, 18, 19; 221/151-153, 13

1,570,993 l/l926 Cook 194/48 Primary ExaminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-H. Grant Skaggs Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Wood, l-lerron & Evans [57] ABSTRACT The interlock device includes a drive cam adapted to be positively rotated by the product dispenser mechanism, the drive cam cooperating with a locking arm, a sensing arm, a coin blockout finger, and a reset lever. The locking arm, sensing arm and reset lever are all pivotally mounted relative to the drive cam, and are all adapted to be activated upon rotation of the drive cam through direct contact with the drive cam. Deposit of the requisite coinage to achieve vending of a product allows the sensing arms finger to drop into a credit cams notch, thereby withdrawing the locking arm from interlock engagement with the drive cam. Subsequently, the drive cam is rotated as the product dispenser is activated, thereby withdrawing the sensing arms finger out of the credit cam s notch and activating the reset lever to reset the credit cam to the zero coinage position. When the sensing arms finger drops into the credit cams notch, the coin blockout finger, which is counterweighted, falls by gravity into operating relation with a coin rejector; when the sensing arms finger is withdrawn from the credit cams notch, the sensing arms nose cams and restrains the coin blockout finger out of operating relation with the coin rejector.

9 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures US. Patent Dec. 30, 1975 Sheet 1of 3 3,929,257

U, amt Dec. 30, 1975 Sheet 2 of 3 3,929,257

US. Patent Dec. 30, 1975 Sheet 3 of3 3,929,257

MECHANICAL INTERLOCK DEVICE FOR A VENDING MACHINE period of growth over the years in terms of dollar volume, as well as in terms of different types of products sold. Historically, vending machines were initially designed to vend candy-type products for one cent or five cents. More recently, a vending machines product line has been broadened to include cookie/cracker type products in addition to candy-type products, also and importantly, the price of such products has been increased to ten cents or fifteen cents per package. However, over the years it has become apparent that vending machines can be used to sell many different types of products in addition to the candy and cookie/cracker type products. Hence, it has been found desirable to provide a vending machine that is readily adaptable to the sale of a product having substantially any price between, for example, five cents and one dollar and fifty cents.

A vending machine is basically made up of a coin rejector, a credit system (which includes a credit device and an interlock device), and a product dispenser. To obtain a product from the vending machine, a consumer deposits a coin(s) in the vending machines coin slot. The coin first proceeds through the coin rejector where it is accepted as a valid coin, or rejected as either a slug or of the wrong denomination. In vending machines of the type capable of dispensing products ahving a value greater than that of a single coin, for example, fifteen cents, once the coin has passed through the coin rejector it proceeds into the credit system where it is totaled by a credit device. After the coin has been registered by the credit device, it proceeds into a coin box.

When the total coinage required (as registered by the credit device) has been deposited, the product dispenser, that is, the apparatus for releasing the product from the machine, can be completely actuated by the consumer to provide the consumer with the selected product. If the total coinage required has not been deposited in the vending machine, an interlock device functions to prevent the product dispenser from being completely actuated. The interlock device is interconnected between the credit device and the product dispenser and, in effect, establishes a lock on the product dispenser mechanism so that a product cannot be dispensed unless and until sufficient coinage has been deposited. The function of the interlock device, therefore, plays an extremely important part in the overall operation of the vending machine in that it establishes a lock which prevents the product dispenser from providing a product package when sufficient coinage has not been deposited in the machine, and releases the lock so a package can be dispensed when sufficient coinage has been deposited.

It has been one objective of this invention to provide an improved mechanical interlock device for a vending machine of the type having a credit accumulator device, that accumulator device permitting the sale of products at prices anywhere between, for example, five cents and one dollar and fifty cents, so that the machine being required.

It has been another objective of this invention to provide an improved mechanical interlock device for a vending machine of the type having a credit accumulator device, that interlock device being operated by a rotating drive cam connected to the drive shaft of the vending machines product dispenser mechanism.

It has been a further objective of this invention to provide a mechanical interlock device for a vending machine of the type having a credit accumulator device, that interlock device including a coin blockout finger that is counterweighted so that same falls by gravity into operating relation with the machines coin rejector when the interlock device is released upon deposit of the requisite coinage by a consumer.

It has been still another objective of this invention to provide an improved mechanical interlock device for a vending machine of the type having a credit accumulator device, that mechanical interlock device including a sensing arm and a reset lever that are both directly contacted by a rotating drive cam, the drive cam operating same in sequence to return the credit accumulator device to the zero price position during operation of the machines product dispenser mechanism.

In accordance with the objectives of this invention, and in preferred form, the improved mechanical interlock device of this invention includes a drive cam adapted to be positively rotated by the product dispenser mechanism, the drive cam cooperating with a locking arm, a sensing arm, a coin blockout finger, and a reset lever. The locking arm, sensing arm and reset lever are all pivotally mounted relative to the drive cam, and are all adapted to be activated upon rotation of the drive cam through direct contact with the drive cam. Deposit of the requisite coinage to achieve vending of a product allows the sensing arms finger to drop into a credit cams notch, thereby withdrawing the locking arm from interlock engagement with the drive cam. Subsequently, the drive cam is rotated as the product dispenser is activated, thereby withdrawing the sensing arm s finger out of the credit cams notch and activating the reset lever to reset the credit cam to the zero coinage position. When the sensing arms finger drops into the credit cams notch, the coin blockout finger, which is counterweighted, falls by gravity into operating relation with a coin rejector; when the sensing arms finger is withdrawn from the credit cams notch, the sensing arms nose cams and restrains the coin blockout finger out of operating relation with the coin rejector.

Other objectives and advantages of this invention will be more apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side perspective: view illustrating an improved mechanical interlock device in accordance with the principles of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the interlock device illustrated in FIG. 1 illustrating the position of the device's various structural components immediately after sufficient coinage has been deposited to permit dispensing of a product, but prior to commencement of the vending cycle of the product dispenser mechanism;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing the position of the interlock devices various structural components with the product dispenser mechanism part-way through the dispense stroke of the vending cycle;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3 showing the position of the interlock devices various structural components with the vending cycles dispense stroke having been completed, and just prior to the vending cycles return stroke.

FIG. is a cross sectional view of the mechanical interlock device illustrating the coin blockout finger in the home position taken along line 55 of FIG. 4

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 but taken along line 66 of FIG. 2 and showing the coin blockout fingers in the active position when sufficient coinage has been deposited;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the product dispenser mechanisms drive structure, and of the mechanical interlock device in that position also shown in FIG. and

FIG. 8 is' a perspective exploded view illustrating certain features of a typical credit accumulator device.

GENERAL STRUCTURE AND OPERATION The credit system 15 includes a coin rejector 17 (not shown in any detail), a credit accumulator device 18 (shown in partial detail only), and the mechanical interlock device 19 of this invention, see FIG. 1. The credit system 15 components are all mounted on a common wall 20, thereby providing a modular structure that may be easily mounted in or demounted from suitable support structure (not shown) within the vending machine to simplify initial installation and subsequent service on the system. The coin rejector 17 functions to examine each coin deposited by a consumer in the vending machines coin slot 11 to determine whether or not it is a valid coil or a slug, or a coin of the wrong denomination. The credit accumulator device 18 totals the coins deposited in the vending machine between product purchases. The mechanical interlock device 19 interconnects the credit accumulator device and the product dispenser mechanism'16 to prevent the dispenser handle 12 from being pulled by a consumer to dispense a product until a total sum equal to the cost of a product is deposited.

In use, coin feed chute 21 directs a coin deposited in coin feed slot 11 into the coin rejector 17. The coin, if it is an acceptable coin, passes through the rejector to actuate the credit accumulator device 18 where it is totaled. After passing through the credit accumulator device 18 the coin falls into its final resting place in coin box 23 supported by a part (not shown) of the vending machines housing. Once sufficient coinage is deposited the credit accumulator device 18 advances to where the interlock device 19 can release the lock on the product dispenser, thereby allowing the dispenser handle 12 to be actuated by the consumer and a product discharged from the machine.

SPECIFIC STRUCTURE AND OPERATION The coin rejector l7 utilized with the mechanical interlock device 19 of this invention may be of any known structural configuration, such coin rejectors being commonly known to persons skilled in the art. The credit accumulator device 18 includes an adjustable credit cam 30 movable from a zero price position whereat no coins are deposited, see FIG. 1, to a vend credit position whereat the full price of a product is deposited, see FIG. 2. The position of the credit cam 30 between the zero price position and the vend credit or full price position is solely dependent on the total coinage deposited in the vending machine. The coin rejector l7 and credit accumulator device 18 are mounted to that side of mounting wall 20 opposite to the side that carries the mechanical interlock device 19, the credit cam 30 being exposed into operational relation with the interlock device through port 24 in that wall 20.

The credit cam 30, as illustrated in FIG. 8, includes an indexing wheel 31 fixed to a drive shaft 32 that is rotated by the coins as they drop past sequencing mechanism (not shown), such sequencing mechanism being known to the prior art. A selecting wheel 33 is provided in combination with the indexing wheel 31, the selecting wheel being biased on post 34 toward the indexing wheel by leaf spring 35. When assembled, the selecting wheel 33 can be rotated relative to the indexing wheel 31 to move selecting wheel marker 36 to any position between 0 and 30 on the indexing wheel's scale 37. When each increment between 0 and 30 represents five cents, the credit accumulator device 18 can be set to any value in increments of five cents between zero and one dollar and fifty cents. The outer periphery 38 of the selecting wheel 33 is interrupted by notch 39 therein which is adapted to cooperate with the interlock device 19'. The credit accumulator device 18 further includes a return pin 40 that is connected to the indexing wheel 31 by means (not shown) known to the prior art, the return pin being provided to return the credit cam 30 to its home or zero price position after the product dispenser mechanism 16 has been actuated by a consumer.

The drive shaft 32 (and, hence, the credit cam 30 and the notch 39 it carries) are rotated clockwise (in all the Figures), and the return pin 40 rises, as coins fall through the credit accumulator device 18 from the coin rejector 17 and into the coin box 23. Such a sequencing mechanism, now shown, by means of which the credit cam 30 and return pin 40 are rotated one increment for each five cents deposited, is not illustrated in detail because such structural combinations are well known to persons skilled in the art. The preferred credit accumulator device 18 found most useful in the environment of this invention is a Series 13-03 Mechanical Accumulator manufactured by National Rejectors, Inc., 5100 San Francisco Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri.

The product dispenser handle 12 is adapted to reciprocate through a hole 45 in the face 10 of the vending machine for dispensing a product package (not shown). The handle 12 is part of a product dispenser mechanism 16 which further includes a main shaft 46 carried by the housing structure by bearings (not shown). Rotation of the main shaft 46 by pulling out on the handle 12 sequentially actuates other parts of the dispenser mechanism (not shown) to dispense a product package from that dispenser mechanisms supply magazine (not shown) to the access window 13 where it may be picked up from tray 14 by a consumer. Such product dispenser mechanisms are well known to those skilled in the art.

The handle 12 is related to the main shaft 46 through a connector arm 47, the handle being spring loaded toward the home or inactive position by return tension spring 118 fixed at one end to ratchet plate 51 as at 121, and at the other end to car 119 fixed to the machines housing structure. Wheel 48 on tracking end of arm 47 is trapped in or engaged with throat 49 of drive plate 50, this drive plate being fixed to main shaft 46. Hence, drive plate 50 is rotated clockwise (as shown in the Figures) to rotate main shaft 46 as the arm 47 is horizontally reciprocated out through the face 11 of the vending machine. Ratchet plate 51 is also fixed to the main shaft 46, and is provided with a ratchet edge 52 to cooperate with a pawl 53 pivotally connected as at 54 to housing structure 55. The pawl 53 is biased in a counterclockwise (as shown in the Figures) direction by spring 56. Rotation of the drive plate 50 through a clockwise arc, as illustrated in FIGS. 2-4 and 7, and as induced by drawing handle 12 away from the machines face 10, is translated to the interlock device 19 through drive pin 57 which is part of the interlock device, that drive pin 57 being received in the ratchet plates throat 58 when the credit system is operatively engaged, i.e., in place, within the vending machine.

The mechanical interlock device 19 of this invention interconnects the credit accumulator device 18 and the product dispenser mechanism 16 (more particularly, the product dispenser handle 12) to prevent the product dispenser mechanism from being actuated by a customer until a total sum equal to the cost of a product is deposited. The interlock device 19 includes mechanical sensor means in the form of a sensing arm 61 that is adapted (a) to sense through finger 64, the rotational position of the notch 39 of the credit cam 30, and (b) to control, through nose 65, the position of coin blockout finger 62, and to operate, through post 66, locking arm 63 to permit actuation of the product dispenser mechanism, when the notch has moved to the full price position, see FIGS. 1-4. The sensing arm 61 is pivotally mounted to base plate on stud 67 intermediate the nose 65 and foot 68 of the sensing arm. The sensing finger 64 projects from the sensing arm 61 adjacent the sensing arm s nose 65. The locking arm 63 is pivotally mounted at one end to base plate 20 on the same stud 67 as the sensing arm 61 is so mounted, the locking arm and sensing arm being pivotable relative to one another on that stud. The locking arm 63 includes a thumb type bolt 69 at the nose or nonpivoted end 70 thereof. Strong tension spring 71 interconnects the foot 68 portion of the sensing arm 61 and the locking arm 63, one end of that strong spring being fixed to post 72 mounted to the sensing arms foot and the other end of that spring being mounted to post 66 fixed intermediate the ends of the locking arm. As viewed in the Figures, the sensing arm 61 is continuously biased in the counterclockwise direction, and the locking arm 63 is continuously biased in the clockwise direction, by the strong spring 71, that rotational movement being limited by contact of locking arms post 66 on stop edge 73 of the sensing arm, thereby providing a home or unactivated position for the two arms 61, 63. A weak tension spring 74 is also interconnected with the locking arm 63, same being connected as at 75 to the locking arm and to post 76 fixed to the base plate 20. Thus, the weak spring 74 continuously biases the locking arm 63/sensing arm 61 structural combination in the counterclockwise direction as illustrated in the Figures and, therefore, continuously biases the sensing arms finger 64 against the peripheral edge 38 of the credit cam 30. In other words, the sensing arm s finger 64 is positioned to ride on the peripheral surface 38 of the credit cam 30 and, thereby, drop into the notch 39 of the credit cam (as so biased by weak spring 74) when the credit cam has rotated so as to position the notch beneath the sensing finger (as is explained in detail below upon describing operation of the vending machine by a customer). Strong spring 71 prevents the locking arm 63 and sensing arm 61 from pivoting relative one to the other as the weak spring 74 so functions to bias the sensing arms finger 64 against the credit cam 30.

Guide finger 60, which is fixed to the mounting plate 70, is positioned to contact and cooperate with the sensing arm 61. The guide finger 60 is positioned rela tive to the sensing arm 61 so as to hold the sensing arms finger 64 in proper alignment with the credit cam 30, and to hold the sensing arm s nose 65 in operational relation with coin blockout finger 62.

A reset lever 77 is independently and pivotally mounted to the base plate 20 on post 78 in a manner separate and apart from the locking arm 63/sensing arm 61 structural combination. This reset lever 77 is of a generally V-shaped configuration, and mounts a guide roller 79 at one 84 of the free ends. The other free end 85 is interconnected with a reset hand 80, the reset hand being pivotally mounted to the base plate 20 on post 81. The reset hand 80 is positioned so that the reset hands thumb 83 is adapted to interengage reset pin 40 of the credit accumulator device 18. A strong spring 82 interconnects the reset hand 80 with the free end 85 of the reset lever 77, the strong spring permitting the hand 80 and lever 77 to spread apart if need be as described in detail below in connection with the operation of the interlock device. A weak spring 86, fixed at one end to the base plate 20 and at the other end to the reset hand 80, spring loads the reset hand and reset lever into the home position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In other words, the weak spring 86 is adapted to hold the reset hand 80 and the reset lever 77 in the home or nonoperative position as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 when the product dispenser mechanism 16 is not activated. However, after sufficient coinage has been deposited in the vending machine, the reset hands thumb 83 cooperates with the credit accumulator devices reset pin 40 so as to return the credit accumulator device 18 to the zero price position when the product dispenser mechanism is activated, as is explained in detail below.

The locking arm 63/sensing arm 61 structure, and the reset lever 77, are interrelated one with the other by drive cam 90. The drive cam 90 is mounted to the base plate 20 on post 91, and is free to rotate relative to that post. The drive cam 90 provides a specially configured outer periphery 92 from point 93 to point 94 on that periphery that is adapted to cooperate with post 72 fixed to the sensing arms foot 68, and with roller 79 fixed to the reset lever 77. Further the drive cams outer periphery defines a lock notch 95 adapted to cooperate with the locking arms bolt 69. Drive pin 57 is carried by the drive cam 90 :in fixed relation thereon, the drive pin 57 being received within throat 58 of the product dispenser mechanisms ratchet plate 51 when the credit system (i. e., the mounting plate 20 with the interlock device 19 of this invention, the coin rejector 17, and the coin accumulator device 18) is located in operating position within the vending machine and with the product dispenser mechanism, thereby drivingly interconnecting the interlock device of this invention with the product dispenser mechanism (and, more particularly, with the product dispenser handle 12). Note that the drive cam 90 is coaxially disposed relative to the product dispensers main shaft 46 when the interlock device is in operational relation with the vending machine. The cam periphery 93, 94 of the drive cam is particularly important in that same controls the reset operation of the credit accumulator device 18 of the zero price position, and of the sensing arm 61, as the product dispenser mechanism 16 is activated by a customer. Further, lock notch 95 on the drive cam cooperates with the locking arms bolt 69 to establish an interlock on the product dispenser mechanism 16 unless and until sufficient coinage is deposited in the vending machine by the customer so as to satisfy the credit accumulator device 18.

Other features of the interlock device 19 of this invention include the coin blockout finger 62, the credit cam advance stop finger 96, and the manually operated unlocking arm 97. The coin blockout finger 62 is particularly illustrated in FIGS. and 6. As shown in those Figures, the coin blockout finger 62 includes a head portion 98 located on that side 99 of the mounting plate which carries the coin rejector mechanism 17, and a foot 100 portion location on that side 101- of the mounting plate which carries the interlock device 19. The blockout fingers head 98 and foot 100 are interconnected by an L-shaped leg 102, all as viewed in cross section. The vertical portion 103 of the L-shaped leg 102 is provided with a weight 104 so as to continuously bias the coin blockout finger 62 toward coin channel 89 blockout relation of the coin rejector 17, i.e., to continuously bias the coin blockout finger into counterclockwise motion as viewed in FIGS. 5 and 6. The coin blockout finger 62 is pivotally mounted relative to the mounting plate 20 on an axis 105 parallel to the plane of the mounting plate (it will be noted that the locking arm 63, sensing arm 61, reset lever 77, reset hand 80, and drive cam 90 are all mounted in pivotal relation to the mounting plate on axes transverse to the mounting plate). Such is accomplished by'providing ears 106 which extend outward from the mounting plate 20, the ears cooperating with similarly disposed ears 107 on the horizontal portion 108 of the coin blockout fingers L-shaped leg 102. A pin 109 is provided to hold the coin blockout finger 62 in pivotal relation with the mounting plate. Note particularly that the foot 100 portion of the coin blockout finger 62 is so positioned that, when the sensing arm 61 is in the home or unactivated position as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 5, the sensing arm s nose 65 contacts that foot portion to hold the coin block out fingers head 98 out of operational relation with the coin channel 89 of the coin rejector 17. Cam face 110 which depends from the foot 100 is adapted to cooperate with the sensing arm s nose so as to cam the head 98 back out of operational relation with the coin rejector channel 89 after a product has been dispensed from the vending machine as the interlock device 19 is being reset from the activated attitude illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 6 back into the home position illustrated in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5.

It is possible to jam the credit accumulator device 18 in those circumstances where sufficient coinage has been deposited to permit vending of a product, and after the product dispenser handle 12 has been pulled outward toward the vend portion of its cycle, i.e., into that attitude illustrated in FIG. 3. In this posture, and if additional coinage is deposited in the vending machine, the credit cam 30 will continue to rotate because the sensing arms nose 65 has retracted the coin blockout finger 62 from operational engagement with the coin rejector 17 as shown in FIG. 5. If such additional coinage continues to be deposited in the machine (which would probably only be so deposited by accident or by a competitor of the vending machines owenr so as temporarily disable the machine), the credit cam 30 will rotate clockwise as shown in the Figures until the notch passes from beneath the sensing arms finger 64 on beyond that sensing finger in the clockwise direction. In that posture, it is impossible for the interlock device 19 to reset the credit accumulator device 18, i.e., the accumulator device 18 would be jammed, thereby necessitating a service call for repair. To prevent this problem, a credit cam advance stop in the nature of a finger 96 is fixed to the credit cam 30, the credit cam advance finger extending out beyond the periphery 38 of that wheel. A tit 111 is fixed to the free end of the credit cam finter 96, and is oriented to extend through that plane which includes the sensing arms finger 64. Thus, it is possible to jam the machine in the manner just mentioned for the reason that, before the credit cam 30 rotates to that extent where the notch 39 is beyond the sensing arms finger 64, the advance stop finger 96 will abut against the sensing arm s finger to stop the advancement of the credit cam 30.

The manual unlock arm 97 is illustrated in FIG. 1, and same is only used by a service or repair man when he desires to operate the machines product dispenser mechanism 16 without the necessity of depositing sufficient coinage to activate the credit accumulator device 18. Such, of course, occurs only when the machine is being refilled with product, or is being repaired. The unlock arm 97 includes a strap 117 having a handle 1 12 at the top end thereof, and a foot 1 13 at the bottom end thereof, the strap including an elongated hole 114 vertically disposed. The strap 117 is fixed to the mounting plate 20 on posts 115 so as to permit reciprocation relative to the drive cam 90. The arm 97 is positioned on the mounting plate 20 such that its foot 113 is adapted to engage under edge 116 of the arm 63, thereby permitting the unlock arms bolt 69 to be lifted up out of the drive cams lock notch simply by lifting up on the handle '112. Of course, unlock arm 97 will simply fall by gravity to the inoperative or storage location illustrated in FIG. 1 when same is not positively urged upward by a service or repair man.

In operation the mechanical interlock device 19 of this invention, as coins are deposited in the coin input slot 11 by a customer they pass down through the coin rejector 17 (since the coin block out fingers head 98 is retracted as shown in FIG. 5), actuate the credit accumulator device 18, and then pass into the coin box 23. As coins pass through the credit accumulator device 18, that device totals the coins received, thereby rotating the credit cam 30 clockwise and credit cam s return pin 40 counterclockwise, as illustrated in the Figures, from a zero price position illustrated in FIG. 1 to afull price position illustrated in FIG. 2. At this point the product dispenser handle 12 may be actuated.

Note particularly that, as is illustrated in FIG. 2, as soon as the requisite coinage has been deposited (as evidenced by rotation of the credit cam so that the notch 39 is underneath the sensing arms finger 64), the locking arm 63/sensing arm 61 structural combination is rotated in the counter-clockwise direction. In other words, the sensing arm 6l/locking arm 63 structure is rotated by weak spring 74 so as to drop the sensing finger 64 into the credit cams notch 39. This operation raises the locking arms bolt 69 out of locking engagement with the drive cam 90, thereby releasingthe'lock on the product dispenser mechanism '16 which the interlock device 19 had previously provided by interengagement of the locking arm s bolt with the drive cam s lock notch 95. Further, and as the sensing arms finger 64 drops into the credit cams notch 39, the coin blockout finger's head 98 falls by gravity into operative relation with the coin rejector device 17 since the sensing arms nose 65 is removed from contact with the coin blockout fingers foot 100, see FIGS. 2 and 6. Such an operational attitude of the coin blockout finger 62 as is illustrated in FIG. 6, thereby deflects any additional coinage deposited by a customer into the coin chute 21 back through coin return chute 22 into the vending machines delivery tray 14. In other words, the coin blockout finger 62 functions to refuse acceptance of any additional coinage through the credit accumulator device 18 into the machines coin box 23 once sufficient coinage has been deposited in the machine to permit vending of a product therefrom, and prior to commencement of a vending cycle as carried out by the product dispenser mechanism 16.

The product dispenser mechanism 16 is now ready for actuation by the consumer. The product dispenser s handle 12, in its home position as illustrated in FIG. 2, is drawn outwardly from the face 10 of the machine into an intermediate attitude illustrated in FIG. 3. In this intermediate FIG. 3 attitude, and because drive cam 90 of the interlock device 19 is rotated by interengagement of drive pin 57 with ratchet plate 51, the peripheral cam surface 93, 94 of the drive cam first contacts the sensing arms post 72 and depresses the sensing arm in the clockwise position to uplift or raise the sensing finger 64 out of the credit cams notch 39. Such clockwise motion of the sensing arm 61 to raise the sensing finger 64 out of the credit cams notch 39 also interengages the sensing arms nose 65 with the cam face 110 and foot 100 of the coin blockout fingers 62, thereby pivoting the coin blockout fingers head 98 about axis 105 out of operational relation with the channel 89 of the coin rejector 17 back into the home attitude illustrated in FIG. 5. In effect, the sensing arm 61 performs three different functions, namely, it senses the position of the credit cams notch 39 through the interrelation of its sensing finger 64 with the credit cams periphery 38, it controls the lock (see FIG. 1) and unlock (see FIG. 2) positions of the locking arm 63 in that the locking arm is removed from locking engagement with the drive cam 90 once the sensing finger 64 drops into the credit cams notch 39, and it controls the operational attitude of the coin blockout finger 62 (compare FIGS. 5 and 6).

The drive cams cam periphery 93, 94 is configured so that as the drive cam 90 continues to rotate (i.e., as the handle 12 continues to be pulled away from the machines face and immediately after the sensing arms finger 64 has been lifted out of the credit cam s notch 39, the cam periphery comes into operational contact with the reset levers roller 79, thereby depressing the reset lever in a counterclockwise attitude and driving 1-reset lever from its home position illustrated in FIGS. 1--3 to its reset position illustrated in FIG. 4. Such motion of the reset lever 77 is translated into 10 clockwise motion of the reset hand (compare FIGS. 3 and 4) to reset the credit accumulator device 18 by driving the reset pin 40 toward the home position shown in FIG. 1 through its interengagement with the reset hands thumb 83. The strong spring 82 insures the return of the reset pin 40 to its home position without injuring the credit accumulator device '18 in that same prevents overloading the credit accumulator devices reset mechanism (not shown) by permitting a full return stroke for the reset lever.

FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 illustrate, in sequence, the vend stroke or handle 12 out stroke portion of the product discharge cycle. The return stroke or handle 12 release stroke of the product discharge cycle is provided by return spring motor 118 fixed to the ratchet plate 51 at one end and to housing structure 119 at the other end. Of course, such return of the product dispenser handle 12 by spring motor 1 18 also returns the drive cam 90 to the home or start position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. When the drive cam 90 is so positioned at the home location, reset lever 77 is also repositioned into the home location due to spring bias of weak spring 86 which draws the reset hand 80 and the reset lever end counterclockwise so as to maintain reset levers roller 79 in contact with the drive cams cam periphery 93, 94. Once the drive cam 90 has returned to the home position as illustrated in FIG. 1, the strong spring 71 that spring loads the sensing arm 61 and the locking arm 63 toward one another also serves to spring bias the locking arm s bolt 69 into latching relation with the lock notch on the drive csam, thereby once again interlocking the product dispenser mechanism 16 with the credit accumulator device 18 preparatory to the deposit of further coinage in a subsequent vend cycle. In effect, the strong spring 71 permits the locking arm 63 to be retained out of locking relation with the drive cam 90, i.e., to be spread apart from the sensing arm 61, while the sensing arms finger 64 is lifted out of the credit cams notch 39, and then retained in that spread apart posture until drive cam 90 is rotated back into the home or FIG. 1 position where lock notch 95 is accessible to the bolt 69, compare FIG. 1 to FIG. 3.

Having described in detail the preferred embodiment of our invention, what we desire to claim and protect by Letters Patent is:

1. A mechanical interlock device for a product dispenser mechanism of a vending machine, said mechanical interlock device being adapted to cooperate with a credit accumulator device of the type that includes a rotatable credit cam having a notch in the periphery thereof, said interlock device comprising a drive cam adapted to be rotated by said product dispenser mechanism from a home position to a vend position, said drive cam presenting a cam track on a first portion of its periphery and a lock notch on a second portion of its periphery,

a sensing arm having a sensing finger adapted to ride on the periphery of said credit cam and move into said credit cams notch when same is presented thereto, said sensing arrn being positioned to contact said drive cams cam track, said sensing arms finger being moved out of said credit cams notch upon rotation of said drive cam from home position toward vend position,

a locking arm having a bolt movable into and out of locking relation with said drive cam s locking notch, said sensing arm and locking arm being connected together in a manner that permits said 4 including 1 including a weak spring connected to one of said sensing arm and locking arm, said weak spring continuously biasing said sensing arms finger against the periphery of the credit cam,

a strong spring connected at one end to said locking arm and at the other end to said sensing arm, said strong spring continuously biasing said locking arm and sensing arm in opposite rotational directions, and

stop means on said locking arm and said sensing arm,

said stop means limiting the rotational motion of said arms in that direction in which same are continuously biased by said strong spring.

3. A mechanical interlock device as set forth in claim 4. A mechanical interlock device as set forth in claim 1 including a reset lever adapted to contact said drive cam s cam periphery, rotation of said drive cam causing actuation of said reset lever to reset the credit accumulator device to the zero price position.

5. A mechanical interlock device as set forth in claim a hand adapted to contact said credit accumulator device s reset pin for resetting said credit accumulator device to the zero price position,

a spring interconnecting said reset hand and reset lever, said spring permitting said reset lever to travel a full stroke as dictated by said drive cam so as to prevent injury to said credit accumulator device upon resetting thereof.

6. A mechanical interlock device for a coin rejector mechanism of a vending machine, said mechanical interlock device being adapted to cooperate with a credit accumulator device, said interlock device including a coin blockout finger positioned to cooperate with said coin rejector mechanism, said coin blockout finger serving to deflect coinage away from said credit accumulator device after said credit accumulator device achieves the vend credit position, weight mounted on said coin blockout finger, said weight causing said coin blockout finger to fall by gravity into coin blockout relation with said coin rejector when said credit accumulator device achieves the vend credit position, and sensing arm adapted to sense the total coinage deposited in said credit accumulator device, said sensing arm serving to restrain said coin blockout finger from coin blockout relation with said coin rejector until the vend credit position has been achieved by said credit accumulator device.

7. A mechanical interlock device as set forth in claim 6 wherein said sensing arm also serves to return said coin blockout finger to non-blockout relation with said coin rejector at the end of a vending cycle.

8. A mechanical interlock device as set forth in claim 7 wherein said sensing arm includes a nose positioned to cooperate with said coin blockout finger, said nose camming said coin blockout finger into the non-blockout position at the end of a vending cycle.

9. A mechanical interlock device as set forth in claim 8 wherein said coin blockout finger is mounted on a pivot axis that is transverse to the pivot axis of said sensing finger.

Patent Citations
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US859853 *Jun 22, 1906Jul 9, 1907David H StewartNewspaper-vending machine.
US1219861 *Aug 31, 1916Mar 20, 1917William M WillsCoin-controlled vending-machine.
US1570993 *Oct 31, 1921Jan 26, 1926Guss E RasmussenVending machine
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4000800 *Oct 9, 1975Jan 4, 1977William F. Shepherd, Inc.Electromechanical interlock device for a vending machine
US5224694 *Feb 27, 1992Jul 6, 1993R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co.Selectively disabled signature feeding apparatus
US6109417 *Nov 3, 1998Aug 29, 2000Parkway Machine CorporationAnti-corruption coin/token input chute
US6467603 *Nov 29, 2000Oct 22, 2002Newco Enterprises, Inc.Snack dispenser
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/152, 194/227
International ClassificationG07F11/22, G07F11/16, G07F5/20
Cooperative ClassificationG07F11/22, G07F5/20
European ClassificationG07F5/20, G07F11/22