Title:
TIME CONTROLLED ALARM SYSTEM HAVING ACTUATOR MOVING ALONG ROTATING SHAFT
United States Patent 3696381


Abstract:
An indicator system having an electrical timer which becomes actuated after a preselected interval for connecting a source of voltage to a motor. An extension of the motor shaft mounts an actuator that travels between the ends of the extension. After sensing actuator travel at one end, switching means cause the actuator member to reverse its direction to the second end of the extension. At one end of the extension an electrical switch closes a circuit between the voltage source and an electrically driven indicator. In operation, the indicator is caused to periodically issue an alert signal, the period between signals determined by the distance the actuator travels between extension ends.



Inventors:
WALLACE ARCHIE C
Application Number:
05/087430
Publication Date:
10/03/1972
Filing Date:
11/06/1970
Assignee:
ARCHIE C. WALLACE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
340/309.16, 340/309.7, 340/384.71, 340/393.4, 968/588
International Classes:
G04C21/16; (IPC1-7): H02J9/02; G08B1/00
Field of Search:
340/385,309
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3571711SPRING-DRIVEN TIMER1971-03-23Nemetz
3201693Emergency transmitter device1965-08-17Vacek
3113304Pest control device1963-12-03Lindley
2662974Arragngement for single-channel time sharing1953-12-15Dorff
2477857Annunciator1949-08-02Boeve et al.



Primary Examiner:
Pitts, Harold I.
Claims:
What is claimed as new is as follows

1. A time controlled alarm comprising timer means actuated after a preselected interval, a source of voltage connected to the timer means for advancement thereof, a motor connected to the timer means and energized by the source when the timer means becomes actuated, a threaded shaft extension connected to the motor output shaft, threaded actuator means mounted on the extension for movement therealong, first switch means stationarily mounted in a position to be contacted and closed by the actuator means when it moves to a first position on the extension, alarm means for producing an alarm signal when energized, closing of the first switch means completing a circuit path between the source and said alarm means, and electrical means for sensing the movement of the actuator means to second and third positions on the extension on opposite sides of said first position, the electrical means being connected to the motor for causing continued reversal of the actuator means between opposite end positions on the extension thereby resulting in periodic driving of the alarm means, the electrical means including a second switch means stationarily mounted at a second position on said extension and in the actuator means path of travel for connecting the motor to the source in a first mode causing motor rotation in a first direction upon actuation of said second switch means by said actuator means, third switch means actuated by the actuator means when said actuator means moves to a third position on said extension for connecting the motor to the source in a second mode causing rotation in a second direction.

2. The structure of claim 1 together with periodic switching means in series with said first switch means responsive to extension rotation for periodically interrupting the circuit path between the source and the alarm means thereby causing generation of alarm signal bursts.

3. A time controlled alarm comprising timer means actuated after a preselected interval, a source of voltage connected to the timer means for advancement thereof, a motor connected to the timer means and energized by the source when the timer means becomes actuated, alarm means for producing a signal upon energization, a shaft extension connected to the motor output shaft, the extension having first and second helical grooves therein criss-crossing each other, actuator means including follower means riding in said first groove when in a first mode and in said second groove when in a second mode for moving in a path along first and second directions, respectively along the length of said shaft extension, stop means mounted on said path of travel for reversing the mode of said follower means to reverse the direction travel of said actuator means, and switch means mounted for actuation by the actuator means when it moves to a first position on the extension for completing a circuit path between the timer means and the alarm means.

4. The structure set forth in claim 3 together with periodic switching means responsive to extension rotation for periodically interrupting the circuit path between the timer means and the alarm means thereby causing generation of alarm signal bursts.

5. The structure set forth in claim 1 together with further switch means for selectively switching out the alarm means and switching in a radio transmitter which broadcasts a signal indicative of transmitter location.

6. The structure set forth in claim 2 wherein said switching means includes cam means drivingly connected to said extension, and cam follower switch means operatively engaging said cam means for interrupting the circuit path between the source and the alarm means.

7. The structure set forth in claim 1 wherein said third switch means is mounted to said actuator means for movement therewith, and stationary stop means mounted in the path of travel of said third switch means for actuation thereof when said actuator means is moved to said third position.

8. The structure set forth in claim 7 wherein said stop means includes a stationary support shaft substantially parallel to said extension and a stop member adjustably mounted on said support shaft and in the path of travel of said third switch means.

9. The structure set forth in claim 4 wherein said periodic switch means includes cam means drivingly connected to said extension, and cam follower switch means operatively engaging said cam means for interrupting the circuit path between the timer means and the alarm means.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a timer actuated alarm which generates periodic signals after a preselected initial interval.

Hunting and camping enthusiasts have grown in number during recent years. The call to the great outdoors beckons many individuals and families and results in an increasing number of persons being found in our nation's woods and forests. Frequently, these individuals become lost and are unable to find their way back to their vehicles or campgrounds. As will be appreciated, this situation presents consternation on the part of the lost parties. Also, a great deal of time must be expended by authorities and search parties in order to return lost sportsmen to their base.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a relatively simply constructed mechanism for actuating an electrically driven alarm device which can be installed in a vehicle or at a campground. A timer is provided so that after a preselected number of hours, if the sportsman does not return, an alarm is issued which provides a means for directing the sportsman toward the source of the alarm, which will be his original starting point.

These together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is an electrical schematic diagram illustrating a circuit layout having components common to both embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a first embodiment assembly including electrical and mechanical parts for producing alarm signals in the first embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the structure illustrated in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a transverse sectional view taken along a plane passing through section line 4--4 of FIG. 3 and illustrates interrupting means that produces short alarm bursts during signal generation.

FIG. 5 is a transverse sectional view taken along a plane passing through section line 5--5 of FIG. 3, the view illustrating disposition of a switch actuator means mounted on a motor shaft extension.

FIG. 6 is a view similar to that of FIG. 3 wherein a second embodiment of the present invention is illustrated.

FIG. 7 is a partial top plan view of the components illustrated in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is an electrical schematic diagram illustrating the serial connection of switches to a horn relay as provided in the second embodiment of the invention.

Referring to the drawings, the first embodiment 10 is illustrated in FIGS. 1-5 while the second embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 6-8.

With reference to FIG. 1, both forms of the invention include electrically timed means for energizing a horn 12 after a preselected initial interval has been clocked by an electrical timer switch 14. In terms of a block system, the timer 14 is connected to a control relay assembly 16 which in turn operates a signal cycle controller 18. After the timer 14 has clocked a preselected initial interval, the signal cycle controller 18 periodically causes the completion of a circuit path between a voltage source 20 and the horn 12. The end effect is to generate short alarm bursts of horn 12 at a repetition rate governed by the signal cycle controller 18.

Considering the particular structure of the present invention in greater detail, continued reference to FIG. 1 is made. An on-off switch 22 is connected between a voltage source 20 and timer 14. A bus wire 24 is serially connected to timer 14 to provide source voltage to the circuit after a preselected initial interval passes.

A lead 26 is connected to a first terminal of a reversible motor 38. The lead 26 is connected to bus wire 24 through relay switch 30 and connecting lead 28. A second lead 32 is connected to the second terminal of the motor. This lead is normally connected to ground through relay switch 36 and connecting lead 34. Thus, with the relay contacts of control relay 16 in the position indicated, the motor 38 will cause rotation of a motor shaft extension 40 in a particular direction.

In order to appreciate the significance of the shaft extension 40, reference is made to FIGS. 2 and 3 wherein a housing 41 is provided with a base 42 upon which a bracket 44 is secured. The bracket includes a first vertical flange 46 that extends to a horizontal flange 48. The flange 48 serves to mount a dual microswitch assembly as hereinafter explained. A second vertical flange 45 is positioned in spaced parallel relationship to flange 46. A gear box 50 is secured to the flange 45, the gear box having an input shaft (not shown) that is directly connected to the motor 38. The output shaft of the gear box 50 is suitably keyed to shaft extension 40.

A cam 52 is coaxially secured to the extension 40 at a point adjacent the vertical flange 45. This cam serves as an alarm interrupter as will be explained hereinafter.

The signal cycle controller 18 (FIG. 1) includes an actuator block 54 having an interior threaded bore 56 for threaded engagement with threaded extension 40. A microswitch 58, normally opened, is mounted to the upper edge of the actuator block 54. In order to ensure that the block 54 is restricted to axial motion along the extension 40, a tongue 60 is attached at a first end thereof to the actuator block 54 and extends laterally outwardly for insertion between parallel spaced members constituting a tongue guide 62.

Assuming actuator block 54 is at an intermediate point on the extension 40, the relay switches 30 and 36 shown in FIG. 1 are in the illustrated position. Thus, a certain voltage polarity exists at the input terminals of motor 38. As actuator block 54 moves in the left direction, the trigger 64 of switch 58 approaches a mechanical stop 66 that is adjustably positioned on a rod 68 secured at a cantilevered end 70 to the vertical flange 45. When depression of trigger 64 is completed, microswitch 58 is closed. Now referring to FIG. 1, the closing of switch 58 will be seen to complete a circuit through the terminals 72 and 76 of relay coil 74 that forms a part of control relay 16. The closing of switch 58 causes the closing of relay switch 77 that completes a latching circuit through the relay coil 74. This latching action is coupled to the switching of relay switches 30 and 36 to the position illustrated in phantom lines. With the switch-over of the relay switches 30 and 36, the polarity is reversed at the input terminals of motor 38 thereby causing the motor 38 to reverse. This of course will cause a reversal in the rotational direction of extension 40 which in turn causes the actuator block 54 (FIG. 3) to move toward the right end of the extension. When this happens, switch 58 departs from the mechanical stop 66 and moments later, trigger 64 of the microswitch 58 is no longer depressed so that the switch 58 assumes a normally opened position as indicated in FIG. 1. However, it is to be remembered that the relay is in a latching mode so that the contacts 30 and 36 remain as illustrated in phantom. The mechanical stop 66 is in the form of a bushing having a setscrew 79 inserted therein. Thus, the actual position of the stop 66 along rod 68 can be changed. A change in this position results in a variation in the time required for the actuator block 54 to travel between the rightmost position and the leftmost position relative to extension 40, this latter position being governed by the point of contact between trigger 64 of microswitch 58 and the mechanical stop 66. Thus, by moving the stop 66 in the left direction, the time for actuator travel between the right end position and the point of contact between trigger 64 and stop 66 will be increased. Of course, the converse is true when the stop 66 is moved in the right direction.

Referring to FIG. 3, the right transverse edge of actuator block 54 is seen to include a step formation having a first portion 80 that is adapted to engage the trigger 81 of a microswitch 82 mounted to flange 48, when the actuator block 54 reaches the rightmost position on the extension 40. When depression of the trigger occurs, the switch is closed. As indicated in FIG. 1, the switch 82 forms a part of the signal cycle controller 18 and is connected in series with horn 12, relay 94, voltage source tap-off 92, switch 84 and ground 95. As indicated in FIG. 1, when the series connected switch 84 is closed, the horn 12 will be caused to generate an alert signal. Switch 84 is clearly illustrated in FIG. 2 to be a microswitch mounted to flange 45 and having a cam follower trigger 86 that follows cam 52 that rotates with the extension. FIG. 4 clearly illustrates the location of switch 84 relative to cam 52. The switch 84 is normally opened. However, when the roller 89 of trigger 86 engages the depression 88 in cam 52, the switch 84 is closed thereby enabling the generation of an alert signal. As shown in FIG. 3, the actuator block 54 has a second step portion 103 that is depressed relative to the step portion 80. A microswitch 78 mounted below microswitch 82 has a trigger 105 extending in vertical alignment with trigger 81 of microswitch 82. Thus, the step portion will actuate microswitch 78 some time after microswitch 82 has been actuated. This delayed actuation will open the normally closed switch 78 (FIG. 1) and reset the control relay 16 in a manner once more reversing motor 38 and actuator block 54 (FIG. 3).

Extension 40 is designed to rotate at 1 r.p.m. and switch 82 remains closed for approximately 1 minute, after which the actuator block 54 backs off from the switch 82 after the shaft rotation has been reversed, switch 84 will remain closed for a period of time governed by the extent of the depression 88 in the cam follower 52. Thus, switches 82 and 84 will be closed together for a fraction of 1 minute during which time horn 12 will sound. The repetition rate or time interval between alarm generation is governed by the position of stop 66 (FIG. 3). Otherwise stated, it is this mechanical stop that determines the cycle time for alarm generation. It will be observed in FIG. 1 that a S.P. S.T. switch 90 is connected across switch 82. The purpose of switch 90 is to short-circuit switch 82 when desired, which would result in the generation of alarm signals at a fixed rate depending upon the rotational speed of cam 52. Thus, if the cam is to rotate at 1 r.p.m. the horn 12 will issue an alarm signal every minute.

Although the alarm indicator for the invention has been specified as being a horn 12, other types of alarm indicating means can be used. For example, a visual indicator 106 in the form of a light (shown in phantom) can be connected between the voltage source and a junction point 107 that will provide a ground connection for the visual indicator 106 when switches 82 and 84 are closed.

An alternate mechanism is illustrated, in phantom, in FIG. 1. This phantom illustration indicates the utilization of a portable air horn 96 which is commercially available. Such air horns generally include compressed air for generating an alarm signal through a transducer. The air horn includes a trigger 100 that is disposed adjacent a plunger 98 associated with a solenoid 97. A first terminal of the solenoid 97 is connected to lead 104 that becomes grounded upon the closing of switches 82 and 84. The other terminal 102 of the solenoid 97 is connected to the voltage source. Thus, upon closing of switches 82 and 84, the solenoid 97 is actuated and causes the portable air horn to produce an alarm signal.

The second embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 6-8. In essence, this embodiment is a simplification of the first embodiment. However, both embodiments perform identical end results.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, the mechanism of the second embodiment is shown indicated by reference numeral 108. As in the first form of the invention, a motor 38 and stepdown gear box 50 are mounted to a bracket within the housing. However, rather than having a regularly threaded shaft extension, in the second embodiment criss-crossed grooves 112 and 114 are formed in the extension 110. The actuator block 54 of the first embodiment is replaced by a block 116 of quadralateral cross section. As in the first inventive form, a tongue 118 (FIG. 7) extends between parallel members forming a tongue guide 120. The tongue is attached to the actuator block 116 and restricts the block to rectilinear sliding motion along the extension 110. As FIG. 6 illustrates, a rod member 122 is vertically positioned within a bore 124 formed in block 116. The lower end of the rod 122 has an enlarged head 126. A finger follower 128 extends downwardly from the head 126 and is adapted to alternately engage the criss-crossed grooves 112 and 114. A coil spring 130 is positioned around the lower body portion rod 122 and abuts the enlarged head 126 at its lower end while abutting the upper side of block 116 at an opposite end. The spring 130 serves to bias the rod 122 downwardly so that contact is insured between finger follower 128 and grooves 112 and 114.

The upper end of rod 122 perpendicularly mounts a tab 132. This tab serves as a means for reversing the direction of actuator block 116 in the following manner: assuming the block 116 is disposed at an intermediate point along the length of extension 110, with the actuator block 116 traveling in the right direction, there comes a point where the actuator block 116 engages the trigger 81' of switch 82' that serves the same function as switch 82 (FIG. 1) discussed in connection with the first embodiment. This latter form of the invention includes a cam follower 52 and microswitch 84 operating in the same manner as previously discussed in connection with the first embodiment. Thus, as is evident from FIG. 8, when switch 82' and switch 84 are closed, a circuit path is completed between a voltage source and an alarm transducer. By way of example, these elements may be the same as illustrated in FIG. 1, namely, horn slave relay 94 and horn 12. As actuator block 116 approaches switch 82', the tab 132 engages a spring 136 that is horizontally mounted atop an L-shaped bracket 138 secured to the upper side of switch 82'. Moments after the actuator block 116 contacts trigger 81', engagement between tab 132 and spring 136 is sufficient to cause the rod 122 to turn (see FIG. 7). As the rod 122 turns, a projecting member 140 secured to rod 122 begins to ride over a second projection 142 (FIG. 7) secured to the upper edge of actuator block 116. This produces a camming action that results in the lifting of the finger follower 128 from one of the criss-crossed grooves. As the extension 110 rotates, the finger follower 128 is moved into engagement with the second cross-crossed groove. From this moment, with the extension 110 rotating in the same direction, the actuator block 116 begins to move in the left direction thereby causing switch 82' to open and cause temporary suspension of alarm generation.

The actuator block 116 will continue to travel in the left direction until tab 132 engages a second spring 134 horizontally mounted to an adjustable bushing 66' similar to the member 66 mentioned in connection with the first embodiment. When engagement between the tab 132 and spring 134 is effected, the rod 122 is lifted upwardly and rotated so that actuator block reversal once again occurs. The cycle between actuator block reversals depends upon the placement of member 66'. In view of the foregoing discussion, it will be appreciated that the second embodiment is a simplified version of the first due to the fact that reversal of the actuator block 116 is performed mechanically by employing an extension with criss-crossed grooves. This eliminates the switches 58 and 78 employed in the first embodiment. Still further, as becomes evident in FIG. 6, the control relay 16 is not needed in the second embodiment due to the fact that the motor shaft and connected extension always rotate in the same direction.

In both forms of the present invention, the voltage source 20 may be an automobile battery or convenient connection point thereto such as an automobile cigarette lighter receptacle. However, it should be appreciated that the present invention can be utilized as a portable unit, apart from a vehicle. In order to achieve this, a battery pack would be employed. This would allow the entire unit to be moved to a camp site or other remote location.

If the device is to be powered from a vehicle battery supply, it may be desirable to mount timer 14 onto the dashboard of the vehicle or directly onto the remaining assembly unit positioned elsewhere than the dashboard area. By way of example, the timer can have a 12 hour clock mechanism so that the user could set the timer to a maximum of 12 hours before the alarm signals are produced.

The embodiments of the present invention can include a radio transmitter 150 shown in phantom on FIG. 1. The radio transmitter would be of great value to a lost camper or hunter in the following situation. Consider a lost individual roaming aimlessly in the woods. By providing spaced stations individually having a horn 12 periodically issuing an alert, a lost individual can head for the sound until he reaches the station. At the station, a switch 152 is manually actuated thereby removing the horn 12 from the circuit and in lieu thereof the radio transmitter 150 becomes energized to transmit a distress code that is received by authorities. The transmitter may be of the type commonly used as emergency call boxes on highways. Each station would have a unique code so that authorities receiving the code can identify the location of the lost individual.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not deisred to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention as claimed.