Coin-operated control circuit for selectively energizing a plurality of machines

Abstract

A coin-operated control circuit is provided for selectively actuating a selected one of a plurality of starting coils for a group of laundry machines or other devices for each actuation of a coin-operated switch. The control circuit includes means for preventing actuation of more than one machine or load device for a single actuation of the coin controlled switch. In one embodiment said means includes capacitor means for storing only enough energy to energize one of said starting coils and means for discharging said capacitor through the selected starting coil. Fail-safe means may be further provided for removing the residual energy in the capacitor after said discharge. In a second embodiment a plurality of selector switch means, one for each starting coil, are so connected that upon actuation of more than one of said switch means at any given time an open circuit will result between the power supply and the starting coils, thus preventing the energization of more than one starting coil for a single actuation of the coin-operated switch.

Claims

1. A system for energizing a selected load means in a group of load means comprising: a. capacitor means for storing an amount of electrical energy substantially equal to the energy necessary to energize a single selected load means; b. first selector switch means for selectively discharging said capacitor means through said selected load means, said switch means including a first set of terminals connected to the respective load means of said group, and movable contact means for selectively engaging a selected one of said terminals in said first set, said contact means being selectively connected in series with said capacitor means; c. voltage generating means for supplying said capacitor means with said electrical energy; and d. a second set of terminals interspaced between each of said first set of terminals, said second set of terminals being directly connected to ground, whereby any residual energy in said capacitor remaining after the energization of a selected load means will be discharged to ground when said movable contact engages any of said second set of terminals 2. In a control system for energizing a single selected load means in a group of load means in response to the receipt of a predetermined number of coins of a predetermined value including means for preventing the energization of more than one selected load means in response to the receipt of only said predetermined number of coins the improvement comprising: a. capacitor means for storing an amount of electrical energy substantially equal to the energy necessary to energize a single selected load means; b. first selector switch means for selectively discharging said capacitor means through said selected load means to thereby energize said selected means; c. voltage generating means for supplying said capacitor means with said electrical energy; d. coin-operated switch means which normally connects said voltage generating means to said capacitor means and upon actuation in response to receipt of said predetermined number of coins connects said capacitor means to said first selector switch means; and e. means for selectively adjusting the resistance of said selective load means to facilitate the complete discharge of energy stored in said capacitor means by a single selected load means. 3. The control system of claim 2 wherein there is further provided start switch means connected in series between said first selector switch means and said coin-operated switch means. 4. The control system of claim 2 wherein said group of load means comprises starting coils for a group of automatic laundry machines. 5. In a control system for energizing a single selected load means in a group of load means in response to the receipt of a predetermined number of coins of a predetermined value including means for preventing the energization of more than one selected load means in response to the receipt of only said predetermined number of coins the improvement comprising: a. capacitor means for storing an amount of electrical energy substantially equal to the energy necessary to energize a single selected load means; b. first selector switch means for selectively discharging said capacitor means through said selected load means, said switch means including a first set of Terminals connected to the respective load means of said group, and movable contact means for selectively engaging a selected one of said terminals in said first set, said contact means being selectively connected in series with said capacitor means; c. voltage generating means for supplying said capacitor means with said electrical energy; d. a second set of terminals interspaced between each of said first set of terminals, said second set of terminals being directly connected to ground, whereby any residual energy in said capacitor remaining after the energization of a selected load means will be discharged to ground when said movable contact engages any of said second set of terminals; and e. coin-operated switch means which normally connects said voltage generating means to said capacitor means and upon actuation in response to receipt of said predetermined number of coins connects said capacitor means to said first selector switch means. 6. The control system of claim 5 wherein there is further provided start switch means connected in series between said selector switch means and said coin-operated switch means. 7. The control system of claim 5 wherein said group of load means comprises starting coils for a group of automatic laundry machines.
E/nite Hiortdahl States Patent Feb. 4, 1975 COIN-OPERATED CONTROL CIRCUIT FORv SELECTIVELY ENERGIZING A PLURALITY 0F MACHINES [76] Inventor: Davidsonville, Md. 21035 Filed: May 3, 1973 Appl. No.2 356,776 52 US. Cl. 320/1, 194/97 R, 307/38, 307/94 rm. Cl. H0lh 47/00 Field of Search 307/109, 244, 246, 38, [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1923 Wilcke 307/38 8/1956 Andrews... 2/1961 Ebert 1/1973 Constable et al. 3/1973 McKeown et a1 320/1 Primary Examiner-Stuart N. Hecker Attorney, Agent, or Firm1-Ierbert M. Birch; Terrell C. Birch; Anthony L. Birch John C. Hiortdahl, Rt. 1, Box 185A, [57] ABSTRACT A coin-operated control circuit is provided for selectively actuating a selected one of a plurality of starting coils for a group of laundry machines or other devices for each actuation of a coin-operated switch. The control circuit includes means for preventing actuation of more than one machine or load device for a single actuation of the coin controlled switch. In one embodiment said means includes capacitor means for storing only enough energy to energize one of said starting coils and means for discharging said capacitor through the selected starting coil. Fail-safe means may be further provided for removing the residual energy in the capacitor after said discharge. In a second embodi- 7 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures Tl l PATENTED 4W5 I SHEET 2 BF 2 COIN-OPERATED CONTROL CIRCUIT FOR SELECTIVELY ENERGIZING A PLURALITY OF MACHINES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of Invention The present invention relates to coin-operated control means for selectively energizing a selected relay in a group of relays. More specifically, the present invention relates to means for preventing the energization of more than one coin-operated machine in a group of machines for a single actuation of a coin-operated power control switch. 2. Description of Prior Art Laundry machines are frequently installed in large groups in apartment houses or other public facilities that are operated by coin-operated power switches. In large establishments it is often desirable to provide a central control console including a coin slot, a coin metering device, a coin vault, and a selector switch for selectively energizing one of said plurality of machines. Devices of this type are disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,221,862 to Taylor issued Dec. 7, I965. In devices of the type described it is desirable to provide means for preventing the energization of more than one of said laundry machines by the rapid manipulation of a selector switch or tampering with the selector switch in some other manner. In Taylor US. Pat. No. 3,221,862 this means comprises an electromechanical latching means, which locks the selector switch after the energization of any given machine to thereby prevent the actuation of more than one machine upon deposit of a single coin or coins. Electromechanical latching or interlocking means of course suffer from the disadvantages that they can be broken or jammed by one trying to illegally operate the selector mechanism. Moreover, the mechanical moving parts are inherently subject to wear and probable failure. SUMMARY OF INVENTION- Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide means for preventing the energization of more than one of a plurality of machines upon deposit of a single coin or coins which excludes the use of mechanical interlocking parts. It is a further object of the present invention to provide means for selectively discharging a capacitor through a selected relay in a group of relays, said capacitor storing only enough energy to energize the selected one of said relays. It is another object of the present invention to provide fail-safe means for removing the residual charge, if any, in said capacitor between discharges thereof through said selected relays. It is still another object of the present invention to provide a novel selector switch array including a plurality of individually actuated switches and means for opening the power circuit in response to the actuatio of more than one of said switches. It is still a further object of the present invention to provide means for preventing the energization of more than one coin-operated machine upon deposit of a single coin orcoins which is reliable and efficient in its operation and is substantially tamper proof. It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a starting circuit which does not require a multitude of expensive relays or holding coils such as used in starting circuits known heretofore. The objects of the present invention are fulfilled by providing a central control console for operating a plurality of machines, said console including a coin slot, a coin metering device, a coin-operated switch, a coin receptacle, a power supply, and selector switch means for selectively coupling said power supply to the starting coil of a selected one of said plurality of machines. The power supply includes an A. C. step-down transformer coupled to a conventional 1 10 volt wall receptacle. The transformer is coupled through a resistor and diode to a capacitor to facilitate the charging of said capacitor with a DC. voltage. The capacitor is selectively discharged through a selected starting coil to energize a selected one of said plurality of machines. In a first embodiment the control circuit of the present invention comprises: selector switch means for selectively energizing the starting coil ofa single machine in a group of machines; capacitor storage means in circuit with said selector switch means and said starting coils for storing a predetermined amount of energy sufficient to energize only one selected starting coil; a ' voltage supply including an A.C. power source and a diode rectifier for charging said capacitor to said predetermined energy;, and coin-operated switch means for selectively connecting said capacitor to said voltage I supply or said selector switch means. In the first embodiment of the present invention the selector switch means includes a plurality of stationary terminals connected to the respective starting coils and a movable contact arm which selectively connects said terminals to said capacitor means to provide a discharge path to ground through the selected starting coils. To make the device fail-safe a plurality of wipe out terminals may be added, which are directly connected to ground and are interspaced between the switch terminals. These wipe out contacts facilitate the removal of any residual charge in the capacitor after each discharge. This residual charge may result from spurious signals in the A.C. supply which charge the capacitor slightly above the desired level or from aa incomplete discharge of the capacitor through a selected starting coil. In a second embodiment of the present invention the selector switch means comprises a plurality of switches in an array, one for each starting coil, said switches being interconnected in such a manner that the actuation of more than one will open the circuit to the power supply to prevent energization of the starting coils. The present invention is described for use as a central control means for a coin-operated console for a plurality of laundry or cleaning machines. However, it should be understood that the control circuit of the present invention may be used to control the selective energization of any load containing a group of relays without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The objects of the present invention and the attendant advantages thereof will become more fully apparent with reference to the following description of the drawings wherein like numerals refer to the like parts and wherein: FIG. I is a circuit diagram illustrating a first embodiment of the control means of the present invention; and FIG. 2 is a circuit diagram illustrating a second embodiment of the control means of the present invention. Referring in detail to FIG. 1 there is illustrated a first embodiment of a control circuit of the present invention including a charging circuit for a capacitor C1 and a selective discharging circuit for selectively energizing a plurality of relays or starting coils RA, RB, RC, and 'RD. It should be understood that the coils may be replaced by semiconductor switches such as silicon controlled rectifiers without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The charging circuit of FIG. 1 includes a pair of AC input lines, AC1 and AC2, coupled to the primary a step down transformer T1. Transformer Tl reduces the line voltage to a value commensurate with the desired voltage to be applied to capacitor C1. A resistor R1 in series with a diode D1 are connected to the secondary of transformer T1 in the line containing capacitor C1. A coin-operated switch SW2 is connected in series between diode D1 and capacitor C1. Thus with switch SW2 connected in its normal position to terminal A2 the-D.C. voltage on line DCl generated by rectifier diode D1 will provide a charging path through capacitor C1 to ground. Coin-operated switch SW2 may be any suitable type known in the art. For example, switch SW2 could either be actuated by a coin slide or by the force of gravity in response to a coin dropped through a slot. The discharging circuit for capacitor C1 includes a rotary selector switch SW1 having a rotary contact arm CA and a plurality of stationary terminals TA, TB, TC, and TD connected to starting coils RA, RB, RC, and RD, respectively. Coin-operated switch SW2, when connected to terminal B2, and push button switch SW3, when closed, provide a series discharge path to ground for capacitor C1 through any of the stationary terminals TA, TB, TC, TD. The value of capacitor C1 is chosen so that it will store only enough energy to energize a single starting coil for each actuation of switch SW2. Capacitor Cl may be a variable capacitor to facilitate fine adjustments of the capacitance to vary the energy storage capability commensurate with varying lengths of cable between the console and the machines to be controlled. Variable resistors means R2, R3, R4, R5 may be provided in parallel with starting coils RA, RB, RC, RD. These resistors may be adjusted in accordance with the selected capacitance of capacitor C1 to further'assure that all of the energy in capacitor C1 is dissipated by each discharge following actuation of coin-operated switch SW2. Aplurality of wipe-out contacts WA, WB, WC, and WD may be provided between the stationary terminals of switch SW1 to provide a direct path to ground line DC2 for capacitor C1 when engaged by contact arm CA. The wipe-out contacts function to discharge any residual charge in capacitor C1 to ground line DC2 after the energization of selected coils. It should be understood that the wipe-out contacts can be eliminated without departing from the spirit and scope of thepresent invention. The wipe-out contacts are merely provided as a fail-safe means in the event that enough residual charge should remain in capacitor C1 to energize a second relay coil. Under normal circumstances capacitor C1 would only have enough energy to energize one relay coil. Referring to the operation of the control circuit of FIG. 1, let us assume for the purpose of an example that each of the relays RA, RB, RC, RD are starting coils for a plurality of laundry machines. An operator or customer first deposits one or more coins in the coin slot which moves the switch arm of SW2 into contact with terminal A2 and capacitor C1 is charged to a predetermined voltage. Coin-operated switch SW2 is then reconnected to terminal B2. The operator orcustomer then selects a machine which is not in use by moving contact arm CA on selector switch SW1 to a selector terminal such as TA. Push button switch SW3 is then depressed to close a circuit from capacitor C1 through ing coil and a residual charge will remain in capacitor after the energization of the selected coil. The wipe-out contacts alleviate this problem. For example, if a residual charge remains in capacitor C1 after coil RA is energized and a dishonest operator makes an attempt to also energize coil RB by rapidly turning contact arm CA without depositing more coins, as wiper contact CA is moved toward terminal TB it engages wipe-out contact 'WA and the residual charge in capacitor C1 is discharged to ground. Thus, only. one starting coil can be energized for each actuation of coin-operated switch SW2. I Referring in detail to FIG. 2 there is illustrated a second embodiment of a control circuit which precludes the operation of more than one machine for a single actuation of coin-operated switch SW2. As in the embodiment of FIG. 1, the control circuit of FIG. 2 includes a capacitor C1 and a similar charging circuit therefor connected in substantially the same manner. However, a plurality of identical push-button doublepole double-throw switches SWA, SWB, SWC, SWD are provided in place of selector switch SW1 of FIG. 1. v The push-button switches are normally biased in the positions shown and the terminals thereof are interconnected in such a manner that the power from line DC3 is cut off if more than one of push-button switches SWA, SWB, SWC, SWD is depressed at any one time. This prohibits the energization of more than one starting coil for a single actuation of coinoperated switch Each of switches SWA, SWB, SWC, SWD includes a pair of ganged contact arms designated CA1, CA2,; CB1, C32,; CCl, CC2,; and CD1, CD2, respectively. Each contact arm is adapted to selectively engage two of the four terminals of the associated switch. For example, switch SWA has two contact arms CA1, CA2. Contact arm CA1 is adapted to engage terminal SAl in its normal position and terminal SA2 in its depressed position. In a like manner contact arm CA2 will engage terminal SA3 in its normal position and terminal 8A4 in the depressed position. The other switches SWB, desired to energize starting coil RA a coin is deposited to actuate switch SW2 to position B2 and push-button SWA is depressed. As long as no other push-button switches are depressed, a discharge path from capacitor C1 to ground is developed by way of line DC3, contact arm CAl, terminal SA2, terminal SDl, contact arm CD1, terminal SCl, contact arm CCl, terminal 881, contact arm CB1, contact arm CA2, terminal SA4, and starting coil RA. Thus starting coil RA is energized as capacitor C1 discharges. As one can readily see if any of switches SWB, SWC, SWD are also depressed the discharge path from line DC3 through starting coil RA would be open circuited. In fact the actuation of any of the respective starting coils requires that all of the other push-button switches not directly connected thereto remain in the normal undepressed position. Accordingly, it is impossible to actuate any starting coil if more than one of switches SWA, SWB, SWC, and SWD are depressed. It should be understood that the circuits of FIGS. 1 and 2 can be used to actuate more or less than four starting coils or load devices. The respective circuits are illustrated with four coils only by way of example. The present invention may be modified as would occur to one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. What is claimed is: l. A system for energizing a selected load means in a group of load means comprising: a. capacitor means for storing an amount of electrical energy substantially equal to the energy necessary to energize a single selected load means; b. first selector switch means for selectively discharging said capacitor means through said selected load means, said switch means including a first set of terminals connected to the respective load means of said group, and movable contact means for selectively engaging a selected one of said terminals in said first set, said contact means being selectively connected in series with said capacitor means; c. voltage generating means for supplying said capacitor means with said electrical energy; and d. a second set of terminals interspaced between each of said first set of terminals, said second set of terminals being directly connected to ground, whereby any residual energy in said capacitor remaining after the energization of a selected load means will be discharged to ground when said movable contact engages any of said second set of terminals 2. In a control system for energizing a single selected load means in a group of load means in response to the receipt of a predetermined number of coins of a predetermined value including means for preventing the energization of more than one selected load means in response to the receipt of only said predetermined number of coins the improvement comprising: a. capacitor means for storing an amount of electrical energy substantially equal to the energy necessary to energize a single selected load means; b. first selector switch means for selectively discharging said capacitor means through said selected load means to thereby energize said selected means; c. voltage-generating means for supplying said capacitor means with said electrical energy; d. coin-operated switch means which normally connects said voltage generating means to said capacitor means and upon actuation in response to receipt of said predetermined number of coins connects said capacitor means to said first selector switch means; and e. means for selectively adjusting the resistance of said selective load means to facilitate the complete discharge of energy stored in said capacitor means by a single selected load means. 3. The control system of claim 2 wherein there is further provided start switch means connected in series between said first selector switch means and said coinoperated switch means. 4. The control system of claim 2 wherein said group of load means comprises starting coils for a group of automatic laundry machines. 5. In a control system for energizing a single selected load means in a group of load means in response to the receipt ofa predetermined number of coins of a predetermined value including means for preventing the energization of more than one selected load means in response to the receipt of only said predetermined number of coins the improvement comprising: a. capacitor means for storing an amount of electrical energy substantially equal to the energy necessary to energize a single selected load means; b. first selector switch means for selectively discharging said capacitor means through said selected load means, said switch means including a first set of terminals connected to the respective load means of said group, and movable contact means for selectively engaging a selected one of said terminals in said first set, said contact means being selectively connected in series with said capacitor means; c. voltage generating means for supplying said capacitormeans with said electrical energy; d. a second set of terminals interspaced between each of said first set of terminals, said second set of terminals being directly connected to ground, whereby any residual energy in said capacitor remaining after the energization of a selected load means will be discharged to ground when said movable contact engages any of said second set of terminals; and e. coin-operated switch means which normally connects said voltage generating means to said capacitor means and upon actuation in response to receipt of said predetermined number of coins connects said capacitor means to said first selector switch means. 6. The control system of claim 5 wherein there is further provided start switch means connected in series I between said selector switch means and said coinof load means comprises starting coils for a group of automatic laundry machines.

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    US-2004098811-A1May 27, 2004Tuttle Robert J., Souza William J.Control system and method for supplying detergent and other fluids to multiple washing machines
    US-7725970-B2June 01, 2010Robert J. Tuttle, William J. SouzaControl system and method for supplying detergent and other fluids to multiple washing machines