Title:
ELECTRONIC TIMEPIECE WITH A MULTI-TIMER
United States Patent 3834153


Abstract:
An electronic timepiece constructed as a wristwatch with a multiplicity of timer devices for setting therein different time settings either by actuation of setting switches or by reading in the time settings from a program in the form of a punched tape. The settings are introduced into the watch's electronic circuit without affecting its outputs indicating elapsed time. The time settings are stored and the wearer of the watch is warned by a bell or a light, visually or audibly when the actual time corresponds with the time setting memorized in registers forming the memories of the electronic circuit. The time set and the elapsed or actual time can be displayed on a display panel of the timepiece.



Inventors:
Yoda, Kazuhiro (Tokyo, JA)
Kato, Takashi (Tokyo, JA)
Application Number:
05/298490
Publication Date:
09/10/1974
Filing Date:
10/18/1972
Assignee:
DAINI SEIKOSHA KK,JA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
340/7.55, 340/7.63, 340/12.18, 368/256, 377/55, 968/802, 968/957
International Classes:
G04G15/00; G04F1/00; G04F10/00; G04G9/08; G04G13/02; (IPC1-7): G04C21/00
Field of Search:
58/23R,23A,38,39
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3707071SOLID STATE TIMEPIECE1972-12-26Walton
3672155SOLID STATE WATCH1972-06-27Bergey et al.
3664116DIGITAL CLOCK CONTROLLED BY VOLTAGE LEVEL OF CLOCK REFERENCE SIGNAL1972-05-23Emerson et al.
3545195ELECTRICAL AND MECHANICAL ALARM CLOCKS WITH PULSE-CONTROLLED POSITION LAMP1970-12-08Krishker
3513441VERIFICATION SYSTEM1970-05-19Schwend
3445633AUTOMATIC TICKETING SYSTEM1969-05-20Ratner
3291919Unattended radio station1966-12-13Robitaille
3171108Valuable protection system1965-02-23MacKeen



Primary Examiner:
Jackmon, Edith Simmons
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Burns, Robert Lobato Emmanuel Adams Bruce E. J. L.
Claims:
What we claim and desired to secure by Letters Patent are

1. An electronic timepiece with a multi-timer, comprising, an oscillator having a high frequency output, a divider dividing said output to a low frequency time standard signal, counter means receiving said time standard signal and developing hour, minute and seconds time-indicating outputs, display means displaying the last-mentioned time-indicating outputs, multi-timer circuit comprising memory means to store time signal input settings, setting means for setting different time settings in said memory means, said setting means comprising read-out means and read-in means for reading in to said memory means readouts of said read-out means, said read-out means comprising means for reading program means having time-setting indicia read into said read-in means, and indicating means indicating when the times set in said memory means correspond with elapsed time displayed on said display means.

2. An electronic timepiece with a multi-timer according to claim 1, in which said setting means comprises counter means connected to said memory means and means to apply a pulse signal of set frequency to said counter means until a desired time is set on said memory means.

3. An electronic timepiece with a multi-timer according to claim 1, in which said read-out means comprises a tape-reader and in which said program means comprises a punched tape having perforations corresponding to hour, minute and seconds time settings.

4. An electronic timepiece with a multi-timer according to claim 1, in which said memory means comprises registers for storing time signal inputs corresponding to time settings for hours, minutes and seconds.

5. An electronic timepiece with a multi-timer according to claim 1, including means comprising switch means for interchangeably displaying on said display means the time settings in said memory means and actual elapsed time indicated by said time-indicating outputs.

6. An electronic timepiece with a multi-timer according to claim 1, in which said indicating means comprises an audible alarm.

7. An electronic timepiece with a multi-timer according to claim 1, in which said indicating means comprises means visual indicating means.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to electronic timepieces with multi-timers and more particularly to an electronic timepiece provided with a plurality of timers therein by which a plurality of times can be set and be visually or acoustically indicated to a user.

Conventional timepieces have had their timer mechanisms separated from the movement of the timepiece themselves so that they have been unsuitable for use as portable timepieces such as wrist watches. Further the mechanical operation of a plurality of timers have required complicated cam-mechanisms in order that they may be operated at a set time. Furthermore, the time-setting in the conventional timers have been restricted to the order of minutes with attendant accuracy.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a portable electronic timepiece provided with a plurality of timers therein each operated at a predetermined set time optically or acoustically.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an electronic timepiece provided with a plurality of timers to which a desired time can be set by suitable means.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide an electronic timepiece provided with a plurality of timers and which has a display section on which the usual elapsed time as well as the time to be set in the timers can be displayed alternatively by means of a switching operation.

An electronic timepiece provided with a multi-timer according to the present invention comprises a standard oscillator for producing a signal of high frequency. A divider divides the high frequency signal to a low frequency signal serving as a standard time signal. Counter means count the time signal frequencies. Means for displaying the time signal, obtained by the counter means, display at a display panel in digital form, and at least one memory circuit stores the time signal. Setting means are provided as a counter means connected to the memory circuit and driven by a pulse signal having a predetermined frequency until a desired time signal is set on the memory circuit. The setting means may be a read-out device for reading out an input including a time signal to be set at the memory circuit. Further, the setting means may be means for registering a time signal in seconds produced by the counter means to the memory circuit. An electronic timepiece with a multi-timer according to the present invention further comprises means for switching a usual time and a time set to the multi-timer. Thus, the usual time and time set at the multi-timer can be interchangeably displayed on the display panel in response to the operation of switching means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an electronic circuit employed in an electronic timepiece provided with a multi-timer according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an electronic time-piece having a multi-timer according to the present invention wherein the time of a timer thereof is set by an input program device;

FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a circuit employed in an embodiment of an electronic timepiece in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of another embodiment of an electronic timepiece according to the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings, particularly to FIG. 1, an electronic timepiece according to the present invention comprises a display panel 1 on which time is digitally displayed. An electronic circuit for controlling and driving the display panel, and a plurality of switches for operating the electronic circuit are later described. The display panel 1 has on its face a unit-second display element 3, 10-seconds display element 4, unit-minute display element 5, 10-minutes display element 7 and 10-hours display element 8, and has marks S, M and H arranged above and to the right thereof for clearly distinguishing seconds, minutes and hour displays from each other. Usually, the elements 3 to 8 are comprised of seven segments each made of a liquid crystal or light emission diode. On the display panel 1 there are arranged a time display element 9 by which the fact that the electronic circuit is operated to display usual time is indicated, timer display elements 11 to 13 by which the operations of a multitimer of the timepiece are indicated, and an alarm display element 10 by which the operation of an alarm circuit for alarming at a predetermined time is indicated. These time and alarm display elements 9, 10, 11 to 13 are constructed as light emission diodes or liquid crystal panels.

On the other hand, in the circuit there are a plurality of normally open switches, i.e., a switch 14 for setting timers, a switch 15 for changing over the timer display and usual display, a switch 16 for setting the hour time signal, a switch 17 for setting the minutes time signal and a switch 18 for resetting the seconds time signal. The function of each switch will be fully described later in connection with the description of the operation of the electronic circuit. The pushbuttons for these switches are illustrated mounted on the display panel 1 and bear the corresponding reference number as the corresponding switches later described.

In operation, a standard signal of high frequency is derived from an oscillator 19 and is counted down or divided to a one-second signal (a signal having a frequency of one pulse per second) by a divider 20 and is counted by a counter 21 for counting the seconds time signal. The counter 21 is constituted as an 60-abic counter producing output signals on a line 21a, which are applied to the seconds display elements 3 and 4 through a decoder 24 and a driver 27 to display the time 0 to 60 seconds. On the other hand, on the line 21b of the counter 21 there is applied a 1-minute signal, which is counted by a 60-abic minute counter 22 to drive the minute display elements through a line 22a, a decoder 25 and a driver 28 in order to display the time 0 to 60 minutes. Similarly, a 1-hour signal applied on the line 22b of the counter 22 is counted by a 24 abic counter 23 to display the time 0 to 24 hours, operating the hours display elements 7 and 8 through line 23a, a decoder 26 and a driver 29.

Thus, the electronic timepiece according to the present invention effects the time display on its display panel 1 with accurate time-keeping when no switches 2 are operated. A gate circuit 30 is operated due to the application of a "1" voltage (having a predetermined voltage value) and a "1" voltage on the line 32a of a NOT circuit 31 to drive the display element 9 with the voltage "1" in order to display the usual elapsing time.

The closing of the timer switch 15 causes the voltage "1" on the line 31a to be inverted to a voltage "0" by the NOT circuit 31 to stop the functions of the decoders 24 to 26 through the gate circuits and further the functions of the AND gate 30, thus extinguishing the time display on the display panel with the time display element 9 turned off, although the time is properly counted by the counters 21 to 23. In this state, the operation of the minute setting switch 17 causes the voltage "1" and the setting pulse signal (usually having a frequency of more than 1Hz) transmitted through the line 34 to be applied to a gate 32 to produce the setting pulse on a line 32a. This signal is applied to the 60-abic counter 35, the output signal of which is then applied to the driver 28 through the gate and the decoder 25 to effect the setting of the minute by driving the minute display elements 5 and 6 quickly. On the other hand, the operation of the hour setting switch 16, similarly to that of the minute setting switch, causes the setting pulse to appear on the line 33a of the gate circuit 33. The setting pulse operates a 12-abic counter 36 and is applied to the decoder 26 through the line 36a of the counter and the gate.

Thus, the hour setting pulse drives hours display elements 7 and 8 through the driver 29 to effect the setting of hours. Alternatively, the setting of the hours may be effected by applying to the 12-abic counter 36 a pulse signal produced on the line 35b of the 60-abic counter 35 to display the set time on the display panel. It is to be noted that the setting of the hours or minutes is effected in order to set the time of the timers so that a group of counters 21 to 23 continue to count the signals produced from the preceding stage independently of the time setting operation. Further, the setting of seconds is also effected using a circuit configuration similar to that used for the setting of the hours or minutes, but it is not described in the embodiment.

The time signals for the timer, after being set, are stored in registers. The actuation to "on" of the timer setting button 14 causes a signal to be produced on a line 37a of a shift register 37. The signal is applied to gate circuits 38 to 40 having their output terminals connected to registers 41 to 43, respectively. The gate circuit 38 receives the set hours time signal from the counter 36 through the line 36a; the gate circuit 39 receives the set minutes time signal from the counter 35 through the line 35a; and the gate circuit 40 receives the seconds time signal from the counter 21 through the line 21a, 21b. The generation of the signal on the line 37a due to the operation of the switch 14 allows the set signals for hours and minutes and the running second signal to be successively read into the registers 41 to 43 for storing.

Further, the signal on the line 37a turns on the timer display element 11 through the 37b to indicate the registration of the time signal on the registers 41 to 43. Such a registration of the time signal is multiplied or effected by providing other registers. Registers 44 to 46 are connected in a configuration similar to the register 41 to 43 so that the signals from the counter 36, 35 and 21 can be applied thereto through gates 50 to 52. The minute and hour setting switches 17 and 16 are operated to store the set time in the registers until the desired time is displayed on the display panel 1 in the same way as mentioned previously. Then, the operation of the timer setting switch 14 causes the shift register 37 to produce signals on the line 37b to operate the gate circuits 50 to 52 and store the signals in the registers 44 to 46. This state is confirmed by the turning-on of the timer display element 12 connected to the line 37e. Further, registers 47 to 49 are connected in the same configuration as the registers 41 to 46 to memorize the desired time therein with the indication of this state on the time display element 13. It will be appreciated that the desired time signals can be stored in multiple by increasing the number of the memory circuits although only three memory circuits are illustrated in the embodiment.

Irrespective of a series of operations, the counters 21 to 23 continue to count the timer signal, so that the gate circuit 53 is operated to produce the signal on the line 53a when the signal of the hour counted by the counter 23 coincides with that of the hour stored in the initially set register 41; the gate circuit 54 is operated to produce the signal on the line 54a when the signal of the minute counted by the counter 22 coincides with that of the minute stored in the register 42; and the gate circuit 55 is operated to produce the signal on the line 55a when the signal of the second of the counter 21 coincides with that of the second in the register 43.

Thus, when the time elapsed time corresponds to one of the set times, the gate 56 is operated to drive a time-signal retaining circuit, for example a one-shot multi-vibrator, for retaining a time signal during a predetermined period, during which an alarm device 58, which may be a bell or a lamp, is operated to inform a user of the arrival of the set time, indicating this state with the display element 10 turned on through the line 57a. Further, when the time elapses at the time stored in the registers 44 to 46 or 47 to 49, the gate 56 operates to drive the alarming circuit. Thereafter, the alarm circuit is operated to inform of the time every time of the arrival of each set time. The alternation of the time signal stored in the register, if desired, can be affected by operating the setting switches 16 and 17, and the switch 14 in the same way as mentioned above. Further it will be appreciated that the write-in or read-out of the time signal may be carried out in series in succession. The switch 18 serves to reset the second counter and the operation thereof allows the counter 21 to be reset with the zero indication in second display.

FIG. 2 shows an embodiment of an electronic timepiece with a multi-timer wherein the desired set time is stored directly into the register, and the particular electronic circuits are shown in FIG. 3. The electronic timepiece 60 is provided with a wrist band 61. On the marginal portion of the upper surface of the timepiece 60 is mounted a detecting device 62 comprising a head portion from which light emanates, guide means 66 and 67 for introducing a punched tape 63 wherein the time signals are stored as perforations, and a detector 65 including electronic circuits for converting the time signals to the electronic signals. The punched tape 63 has sets of four perforations 63a to 63d arranged thereon in a direction perpendicular to that along which the tape advances as shown in FIG. 2. The punched holes 63a to 63d, for example, represent the time switching signal, the signals for hour, minute and second settings, respectively, forming binary coded signals of the time signals to be registered in succession. It is to be noted that the time signals may be registered using commercially available cards for computers instead of the punched tape.

The write-in or read-out circuit as shown in FIG. 3 is substantially similar to that shown in FIG. 1 except for input sections. The circuit shown in FIG. 3 requires no switches such as the ones 14 to 16 in FIG. 1. Photoelectric elements 70a to 70d, such as phototransistors, receive light beams emanating from light sources (not shown) provided in the detector head in FIG. 2 corresponding to the photoelectric elements 70a to 70d, and produce the signal according to the holes punched in the tape. The photoelectric elements 70a to 71d are, respectively, connected to wave shaping circuits 71a to 71d to convert the produced on the photoelectric elements 70a to 70d to the pulse signals. The outputs of the wave shaping circuits 71a to 71d are, respectively, connected to the gate circuits 72a to 72d to which signals are applied by means of the switch 15. In the same Figure, the photoelectric element 70a corresponding to the punched hole 63a of the card as shown in FIG. 2 receives the information therefrom to select the predetermined register in order to set the time. The signal from the photoelectric element 70a is applied to the shift register 37 through the line 37a. The photoelectric elements 70b to 70d correspond to the punched holes 63b to 63d, respectively, receiving the time signals for hours, minutes and seconds. These time signals are stored at the registers 41 to 49 through the lines 73b to 73d. Thus, the time information of the punched tape, for example, are punched in a binary code in succession along the travelling direction of the tape. The shift register 37 is operated by punching the hole 63a to actuate the photoelectric element 70a in order to set the time to the first timer. The shift register 37 produces the signals on the line 37a to apply them to AND gates 38 to 40 respectively connected to the registers 41 to 43. In turn or at the same time, the photoelectric elements 70b to 70d receive the time signals of hour, minute and second to store the hour signal in the register 41, the minute signal in the register 42, and the second signal in the register 43, respectively. It is to be noted that the signal always appears on the line 37a because the photoelectric element 70a does not receive the signal from the punched tape during storing.

After the first time-setting has been finished, then leftwardmost column in the tape is punched in such a manner as to operate the photoelectric element 70a. The signal developed on the element 70a operates the shift register 37 to allow the signal to appear on the line 37d. The signal is applied to AND gates 50 to 52 respectively connected to the register 44 to 46. In turn, or at the same time, the photoelectric elements 70b to 70d receive the time signals from the punched tape to store them in the registers 44 to 46, thus finishing the second time-setting. Similarly, the third time can be set in the registers 47 to 49. It is to be noted, in this case, that it is obvious that the set time can be visually displayed by means of a simple read-out circuit although not shown in the embodiment because the circuit for displaying the set time at the display panel 1 is omitted for the purpose of simplification. The alarm device is operated in the same way as mentioned in connection with the embodiment in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 shows another embodiment of the electronic circuit by which the timer is set in a more simplified way. The circuit has a configuration similar to those shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and employs the circuit for storing the time signal derived from the counter 21 counting the signal of second from the divider 20 instead of using the time-setting circuit and input device as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, respectively. The output lines of the counter 21 are, respectively, connected to an AND gate 83 in turn connected to the registers 41, 44 and 47 through the AND gate, and to an AND gate 82 connected to the registers 42, 45 and 48 through the AND gate.

Further minute and hour setting switches 80 and 81 are provided, the actuation of which causes a signal "1" to be applied to the AND gates 82 and 83 simultaneously with the function of decoders 25 and 26 turned out to extinguish the minute and hour displays, respectively. When the first time is to be set at the timer, the switch 14 is at first actuated to produce the signal on the line 37a. Then the actuation of the minute setting switch 80 causes the signal to be applied to the AND gate 82 so that the time signal displayed at the second display section upon the actuation of the switch is applied to the gate 82 to store the signal at the register 42 due to the actuation of the gate 39. On the other hand, the actuation of the hour setting switch 81 causes the signal to be applied to the AND gate 83 so that the time signal displayed at the second display section upon the actuation of the switch 81 is stored at the register 41 through the AND gates 83 and 38. These time signals are applied to the decoders 25 and 26 through the lines 82a and 83a to display them on the display panel.

Thus, the setting of the time X:Y, at the registers 42 and 41 is carried out by operating the minute-setting switch 80 when the digit Y appears on the seconds display element and by pressing the hour-setting switch 81 when the digit X appears on the same. Further, when the second or third time is desired to be set, the switch 14 is operated to produce the signals on the lines 37b and 37c in the same manner as mentioned above in order to set the time at the registers. It is to be noted that the output line 21b of the seconds counter 21 is connected to the register 43, 46 and 49 through the gate except for the embodiment of FIG. 2, so that the time-setting of the seconds encounters the difficulty that the content of the register varies with the elapsing time, but the unvariable time of seconds can be stored in the register by providing suitable gate circuits or a secondssetting switch.

As mentioned above, the electronic timepiece with a multi-timer according to the present invention includes therein a multi-timer set to a plurality of predetermined times by a simple operation and a device for acoutically or optically alarming the user at the set times, so that a portable and compact electronic timepiece is provided with the timer integrally combined with the timepiece body. Moreover, a plurality of times are set by one time-setting operation with the result that easy time setting operations can take place at the same time. Furthermore, the electronic timepiece provides multi-timer means of high accuracy because the time is set in the order of seconds.