Title:
DETACHABLE COIN SORTING MECHANISM AND COIN ACCEPTOR ARRANGEMENT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement is disclosed to include a coin acceptor having a coin acceptor module for verifying the authenticity of each inserted coin and a track assembly for the mounting of the rail unit of a coin sorting mechanism to sort coins inserted into the coin acceptor. The track assembly has a positioning space, two sliding grooves at two sides of the positioning space, and a retaining notch at the front side of the positioning space between the sliding grooves. The rail unit of coin sorting mechanism has a locating block protruded from the top, two rails protruded from the locating block at two sides and respectively coupled to the sliding grooves of the coin acceptor, a hook plate protruded from the locating block and hooked on the retaining notch of the track assembly.



Inventors:
Yang, Wen-fu (Taipei City, TW)
Application Number:
11/559898
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
11/15/2006
Assignee:
INTERNATIONAL CURRENCY TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION (Taipei City, TW)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G07D5/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SHAPIRO, JEFFREY ALAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INTERNATIONAL CURRENCY TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION (TAIPEI, TW)
Claims:
1. A detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement comprising a coin acceptor, said coin acceptor having a face panel, said face panel having a coin slot, a coin acceptor module mounted on a back side of said face panel, said coin acceptor module having a coin outlet at a bottom side thereof and a coin passage connected between said coin slot and said coin outlet, and a coin sorting mechanism detachably fastened to said coin acceptor and adapted to sort coins received from said coin outlet, wherein: said coin acceptor comprises a track assembly for securing said coin sorting mechanism, said track assembly comprising a positioning space, two sliding grooves arranged in parallel at two sides of said positioning space, and a retaining notch at a front side of said positioning space between said sliding grooves; said coin sorting mechanism is detachably fastenable to the track assembly of said coin acceptor, having a coin inlet on a top side thereof for receiving coins from said coin outlet of said coin acceptor, and a rail unit for fastening to the track assembly of said coin acceptor, said rail unit having a locating block protruded from a top wall thereof at one side of said coin inlet, two rails formed integral with said locating block at two sides and respectively coupled to said sliding grooves of said coin acceptor, and a hook plate protruded from said locating block and suspending between said two rails and hooked on the retaining notch of said track assembly.

2. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 1, wherein said coin acceptor further comprises a coin-return assembly connected to said coin passage of said coin acceptor module.

3. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 1, wherein said retaining notch is curved inwards toward the inside of said positioning space.

4. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 1, wherein said unit has two crevices defined between said rails and two opposite lateral sides of said hook plate.

5. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 1, wherein said coin sorting mechanism further has a top wall portion disposed at one side of said coin inlet above the elevation of said rail unit, and a beveled guide edge disposed at one side of said top wall portion and sloping downwards toward said coin inlet.

6. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 1, wherein said track assembly has a stop block disposed at an outer side relative to one of said sliding grooves; said coin sorting mechanism has a locating plate disposed near one side of said rail unit for stopping against said stop block of said track assembly, and a mounting hole cut through said locating plate for fastening to said track assembly.

7. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 6, wherein said track assembly has a locating notch on at one side of said stop block for accommodating said locating plate of said coin sorting mechanism.

8. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 6, wherein said track assembly has a mounting hole formed on said stop block for fastening to the mounting hole of said locating plate of said coin sorting mechanism with a fastening member.

9. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 1, wherein said coin sorting mechanism has a first coin distribution passage extending from said coin inlet, and a second coin distribution passage extending from a part of said first coin distribution passage.

10. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 9, wherein said first coin distribution passage extends from said coin inlet to a bottom side of said coin sorting mechanism.

11. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 9, wherein said second coin distribution passage extends from a part of said first coin distribution passage to one lateral side of said coin sorting mechanism.

12. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 9, wherein said coin sorting mechanism comprises sensor module disposed at one side of said first coin distribution passage and adapted to detect the size of each coin entering from said coin inlet into said first coin distribution passage, an actuator controllable by said sensor module to block said first coin distribution passage.

13. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 9, wherein said actuator comprising a baffle suspending in between said first coin distribution passage and said second coin distribution passage and controllable by said sensor module to move between a first position to block said first coin distribution passage and to open said second coin distribution passage for enabling each coin entering said coin inlet to go into said second coin distribution passage, and a second position to open said first coin distribution passage and to block said second coin distribution passage for enabling each coin entering said coin inlet to pass through said first coin distribution passage.

14. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement as claimed in claim 9, wherein said actuator is an electromagnetic valve.

Description:

This application is a Continuation-In-Part of my patent application, Ser. No. 10/754,580, filed on Jan. 12, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates coin acceptors and more specifically, to a detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement, which allows quick installation of a coin sorting mechanism in a coin acceptor for sorting each inserted coin.

2. Description of the Related Art

Following fast development of modern technology, various automatic vending machines (food or beverage vending machines, ticket vending machines, coin exchanging machines are used everywhere to sell different products or to provide different services without serviceman. The use of automatic vending machines creates new marketing routes for the suppliers, and gives inconveniency to consumers. Further, an automatic vending machine may be equipped with a coin sorting mechanism to sort coins.

FIGS. 7 and 8 show a conventional coin sorting mechanism for use with a coin acceptor in an automatic vending machine. As illustrated, the coin sorting mechanism A comprises a lifter A1, and a link A11 movable by the lifter A1. The lifter A1 is controlled to move the link A11 between a first position and a second position for allowing the inserted coin B to go to a first coin passage A2 or a second coin passage A3. This design of coin sorting mechanism A is still not satisfactory in function because of the following drawbacks:

1. Because the first coin passage A2 and the second coin passage A3 are respectively extended to the bottom side of the coin sorting mechanism A, the coin sorting mechanism A must have a certain dimension to accommodate the first coin passage A2 and the second coin passage A3, i.e., the coin sorting mechanism A occupies much installation space in the automatic vending machine.

2. The multiple connection points between the lifter A1 and the link A11 may wear quickly with use, causing vibration of the link A11 relative to the lifter A1 and inaccurate functioning of the coin sorting mechanism A.

3. The coin sorting mechanism A is formed integral with the coin acceptor (not shown). When the coin sorting mechanism A failed, it must be removed with the coin acceptor from the automatic vending machine for repair or replacement. Therefore, the maintenance work of the coin sorting mechanism A is complicated, requiring much labor and time.

4. The coin sorting mechanism A is designed for sorting coins issued in a particular country. Therefore, different coin sorting mechanisms shall be prepared for sorting coins issued in different countries. In consequence, the inventory cost will be high.

Therefore, it is desirable to provide a coin sorting mechanism that eliminates the aforesaid drawbacks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has been accomplished under the circumstances in view. It is one object of the present invention to provide a detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement, which allows quick installation of a coin sorting mechanism in a coin acceptor to sort each inserted coin. It is another object of the present invention to provide a detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement, which allows selective installation of different coin sorting mechanism in a coin acceptor to assort different coins. To achieve these and other objects of the present invention, the detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement comprises a coin acceptor, and a coin sorting mechanism. The coin acceptor has a face panel, which has a coin slot, and a coin acceptor module mounted on the back side of the face panel. The coin acceptor module has a coin outlet at the bottom side, and a coin passage connected between the coin slot and the coin outlet. The coin acceptor further comprises a track assembly. The track assembly comprises a positioning space, two sliding grooves arranged in parallel at two sides of the positioning space, and a retaining notch at the front side of the positioning space between the sliding grooves. The coin sorting mechanism is detachably fastened to the coin acceptor and adapted to sort coins received from the coin acceptor. The coin sorting mechanism has a coin inlet on the top side thereof for receiving coins from the coin outlet of the coin acceptor, and a rail unit for fastening to the track assembly of the coin acceptor. The rail unit has a locating block protruded from the top at one side of the coin inlet, two rails formed integral with the locating block at two sides and respectively coupled to the sliding grooves of the coin acceptor, and a hook plate protruded from the locating block and suspending between the two rails and hooked on the retaining notch of the track assembly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a coin sorting mechanism for a detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the coin sorting mechanism according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the present invention showing the relationship between the coin sorting mechanism and the coin acceptor before installation.

FIG. 4 is an elevational assembly view of the detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a schematic sectional side view of the present invention, showing the coin delivered through the first coin distribution passage of the coin sorting mechanism.

FIG. 5A is a schematic sectional front view of the present invention, showing the coin delivered through the first coin distribution passage of the coin sorting mechanism.

FIG. 6 is a schematic sectional side view of the present invention, showing the coin delivered through the second coin distribution passage of the coin sorting mechanism.

FIG. 6A is a schematic sectional front view of the present invention, showing the coin delivered through the second coin distribution passage of the coin sorting mechanism.

FIG. 7 is a sectional side view showing the operation of the prior art design (I).

FIG. 8 is a sectional side view showing the operation of the prior art design (II).

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 1˜4, a detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement in accordance with the present invention is shown comprised of a coin acceptor 1 and a coin sorting mechanism 2.

The coin acceptor 1 comprises a face panel 11, a coin acceptor module 12 mounted on the back side of the face panel 11, and a track assembly 13 connected to the bottom side of the coin acceptor module 12. The face panel 11 has a coin slot 111, and a coin-return assembly 112. The coin acceptor module 12 defines therein a coin passage 121, which has a front end in communication with the coin slot 111 and the coin-return assembly 112, and a rear end terminating in a coin outlet 122 at the bottom side of the coin acceptor module 12. The track assembly 13 comprises a positioning space 131, two sliding grooves 132 arranged in parallel at two sides of the positioning space 131, a retaining notch 133 at the front side of the positioning space 131 between the sliding grooves 132, a stop block 134 disposed at an outer side relative to one sliding groove 132, a mounting hole 1341 formed on the stop block 134, and a locating notch 1342 formed on the stop block 134 near the mounting hole 1341. The retaining notch 133 is curved inwards toward the inside of the positioning space 131.

The coin sorting mechanism 2 is detachably fastened to the track assembly 13 of the coin acceptor 1, having a coin inlet 20 on the top side, a rail unit 21, which has a locating block 211 protruded from the top wall at one side of the coin inlet 20, two rails 212 formed integral with the top wall of the locating block 211 at two sides, a hook plate 213 protruded from the top wall of the locating block 211 and suspending between the two rails 212, and two crevices 214 defined between the rails 212 and the two opposite lateral sides of the hook plate 213, a top wall portion 23 disposed at one side of the coin inlet 20 above the elevation of the rail unit 21, a beveled guide edge 22 disposed at one side of the top wall portion 23 and sloping downwards toward the coin inlet 20, a locating plate 24 disposed near one side of the rail unit 21, a mounting hole 241 cut through the locating plate 24, a first coin distribution passage 25 extending from the coin inlet 20 to the bottom side of the coin sorting mechanism 2, a second coin distribution passage 26 extending from a part of the first coin distribution passage 25 to one lateral side of the coin sorting mechanism 2, a sensor module 27 disposed at one side of the first coin distribution passage 25, and an actuator 28 disposed at the other side of the first coin distribution passage 25 opposite to the sensor module 27. The actuator 28 has a movable baffle 281 controllable to block/open the first coin distribution passage 25 or the second coin distribution passage 26. The actuator 28 can be an electromagnetic valve controllable to move the movable baffle 281.

During assembly, the rail unit 21 of the coin sorting mechanism 2 is installed in the track assembly 13 of the coin acceptor 1 by inserting the two rails 212 of the rail unit 21 into the sliding grooves 132 of the track assembly 13 to force the locating block 211 of the rail unit 21 into the positioning space 131 of the track assembly 13. When inserting the two rails 212 of the rail unit 21 into the sliding grooves 132 of the track assembly 13, the locating plate 24 is moved over the stop block 134, and then the locating block 211 is forced into the positioning space 131 by means of the guidance of the beveled guide edge 22, and at the same time the hook plate 213 is hooked on the retaining notch 133 and the locating plate 24 is forced into engagement with the locating notch 1342 to aim the mounting hole 241 of the locating plate 24 at the mounting hole 1341 of the stop block 134, and then a fastening member, for example, a screw 29 is threaded into the mounting hole 241 of the locating plate 24 and the mounting hole 1341 of the stop block 134 to affix the locating plate 24 to the stop block 134. After installation, the coin outlet 122 of the coin acceptor 1 is in communication with the coin inlet 20 of the coin sorting mechanism 2.

Referring to FIGS. 5, 5A, 6 and 6A, when a coin 3 is inserted into the coin slot 111 of the face panel 11 of the coin acceptor 1, it goes through the coin passage 121 and coin outlet 122 of the coin acceptor module 12 to the coin inlet 20 of the coin sorting mechanism 2 after having been verified by the coin acceptor module 12 to be an authentic coin. When the inserted coin 3 entered the coin inlet 20 of the coin sorting mechanism 2, it moves into the first coin distribution passage 25, and at the same time the sensor module 27 of the coin sorting mechanism 2 detects the size of the inserted coin 3 and gives a corresponding detection signal to the actuator 28.

Upon receipt of a signal from the sensor module 27, the actuator 28 judges the inserted coin 3 to be delivered through the first coin distribution passage 25 or the second coin distribution passage 26. When the inserted coin 3 is judged to be delivered through the second coin distribution passage 26, the actuator 28 moves the baffle 281 to block the first coin distribution passage 25 and simultaneously to open the second coin distribution passage 26, allowing the inserted coin 3 to go through the second coin distribution passage 26. On the contrary, When the inserted coin 3 is judged to be delivered through the first coin distribution passage 25, the actuator 28 moves the baffle 281 to block the second coin distribution passage 26 and simultaneously to open the first coin distribution passage 25, allowing the inserted coin 3 to go through the first coin distribution passage 25.

As indicated above, the invention provides a detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement, which has the following features:

1. The track assembly 13 is provided at the bottom side of the coin acceptor 1 for securing the rail unit 21 of the coin sorting mechanism 2 so that the rails 212 of the rail unit 21 can be inserted into the sliding grooves 132 of the track assembly 13 to force the locating block 211 of the rail unit 21 into the positioning space 131 of the track assembly 13. When inserting the two rails 212 of the rail unit 21 into the sliding grooves 132 of the track assembly 13, the locating plate 24 is moved over the stop block 134, and then the locating block 211 is forced into the positioning space 131 by means of the guidance of the beveled guide edge 22, and at the same time the locating plate 24 is forced into engagement with the locating notch 1342 to aim the mounting hole 241 of the locating plate 24 at the mounting hole 1341 of the stop block 134, for installation of a fastening member 29 to affix the locating plate 24 to the stop block 134.

2. If the coin sorting mechanism 2 is not necessary, it can easily and quickly be detached from the coin acceptor 1 simply by removing the fastening member 29 from the mounting hole 241 of the locating plate 24 and the mounting hole 1341 of the stop block 134. Further, different specifications of coin sorting mechanisms 2 having the same rail unit 21 may be selectively used with the coin acceptor 1 in different countries for sorting different coins.

A prototype of detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement has been constructed with the features of FIGS. 1˜6. The detachable coin sorting mechanism and coin acceptor arrangement functions smoothly to provide all of the features disclosed earlier.

Although a particular embodiment of the invention has been described in detail for purposes of illustration, various modifications and enhancements may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be limited except as by the appended claims.