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Патент USA US3056905

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Oct- 2, 1962
G. F. JEYNES
3,056,901
COLD CATHODE COUNTING TUBE CIRCUITS
Filed April 21, 1959
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INVENTOR
GRAHAM FRANK JEYNES
BY
M A’. AGE
Oct. 2, 1962
G. F. JEYNES
3,056,901
COLD CATHODE COUNTING TUBE CIRCUITS
Filed- April 21, 1959
2 Sheets-Sheet 2
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INVENTOR
GRAHAM FRANK JEYNES
BY
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3,056,901
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‘Patented Oct. 2, 1962
An object of the invention is to provide a device for
resetting counting tubes connected in cascade by means
of resetting pulses at the output electrodes of all the
3,056,901
Graham Frank .Ieynes, §treatharn Vale, England, assignor
to North American Philips Company, Inc, New York,
COLD CATHODE {IQUNTING TUBE CmCUlTS
counting tubes so that, when the resetting pulse ceases,
all the counting tubes remain in the O-condition.
The device according to the invention is characterized
in that for resetting the counting tubes means are pro
vided for supplying pulses to the cathodes of all the dis
This invention relates to devices for counting pulses
charge tubes, the pulses having a value and a polarity
comprising cold-cathode counting tubes. It relates more 10 such that the pulses are active through the discharge
particularly to an improvement in the device for reset
tube upon the output electrode of the preceding counting
ting the counting tubes to their initial positions.
tube. This device aifords the advantage that, when the
Counting tubes of the foregoing type are described.
resetting pulse ceases, pulses having an effect similar to
for example, in British patent speci?cation 712,171 and
that of counting pulses are not transmitted to the subse
in their usual form comprise a gas ?lled tube having a 15 quent counting tubes.
plurality of cold cathodes spaced apart and associated
In one embodiment of a circuit arrangement accord—
with a common anode. Each cathode corresponds to a
ing to the invention, the cathodes of each discharge tube
selected digit value to be indicated and is made to indi
are connected through a diode to a point of ?xed poten
cate by a glow discharge between it and the anode. In
tial. These diodes are so connected that the performance
N .Y., a corporation of Delaware
Filed Apr. 21, 1959, Ser. No. 807,787
4 Claims. (Cl. 315—84.6)
the counting procedure, the glow discharge travels from
of the discharge tube is not a?ected when a counting
one cathode—anode gap to the next succeedig cathode
anode gap and to facilitate this transfer, as Well as to
pulse is transmitted.
insure movement of the glow discharge in the desired
according to the invention, the cathodes of the discharge
In one preferred embodiment of a circuit arrangement
direction, there are interposed between adjacent spaced
tubes are connected together and coupled through a com
mon diode to a point of ?xed potential. This step results
cathodes two control electrodes each of which is adapted
also to form a glow discharge in cooperation with the
in a saving of the number of the diodes required.
In order that the invention may be readily carried into
effect, it will now be described in detail, by way of ex
common anode.
Conventional devices for counting pulses comprise a
plurality of counting tubes connected in cascade and
separated by coupling circuits by which the output pulses
ample with reference to the accompanying drawing which:
30
of the counting tubes are ampli?ed and transmitted to
the subsequent counting tube. In such known devices
the coupling circuit includes a discharge tube the control
electrode of which is connected to the output electrode
of the preceding counting tube and the anode of which
FIG. 1 shows a portion of a conventional counting
tube arrangement.
FIGS. 1 and 2 show embodiments of a circuit arrange
ment according to the invention.
FIG. 4 shows the circuit of the last counting tube of
“ the arrangements shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.
is connected via a network to the input electrodes of the
subsequent counting tube.
After a number of input pulses, a counting tube sup
plies a pulse to the output electrode. If the counting
tube counts by the decimal system, it is formed with
ten cathodes and the tenth input pulse brings about an
output pulse. This output pulse is transmitted with am
pli?cation to the subsequent counting tube which then
makes a counting step and reaches the condition corre—
The counting tubes V1, V3, V5 of FIG. 1 are of the type
above described and have a gas ?lling and a central anode
A encircled by ten cathodes K1 to K9 and K0. The
cathodes K1 to K9 are connected together whereas cathode
K0 is separately led to the exterior. Each two cathodes
are separated by a ?rst control electrode GA and a second
control electrode GB, the ?rst control electrodes and the
second control electrodes being connected together. The
anode A is connected through a resistor RP to a voltage
sponding to the digit 1. After a subsequent pulse at
source indicated by the terminal P. The output cathode
the input electrodes, the preceding counting tube also 45 K0 is connected through a resistor RK to a lead N and
reaches the condition corresponding to the digit 1. When
also to the control ‘grid of a discharge tube V4 which is
a counting tube passes from condition 9 to condition 10
a conventional electron discharge tube such as the am
an output pulse occurs which is transmitted to the sub
pli?er tube 55 shown in FIG. 2 of U.S. patent speci?ca
sequent counting tube. If, however a counting tube 50 tion 2,860,286. The grid of this tube acquires through
passes from condition 10 to condition 1, any output
resistor RK a bias such that this tube is normally cut
pulse occurring must not be transmitted. In such count
off. The cathodes K1 to K9 are connected to earth and
ing tubes, the 0 condition is reached again after the tenth
the control electrodes GA and GB receive through lead
input pulse occurs and when this condition is reached, at
G a positive bias. The anode of discharge tube V4 is
the same time an output pulse is given off to the subse
connected through a resistor RL to a voltage source P.
quent counting tube.
Also the anode of discharge tube V4 is connected via a
Before starting on counting pulses, it is important for
all the counting tubes to be in the O-condition so that
each counting tube supplies an output pulse after the
same number of input pulses.
It has been suggested to bring all the counting tubes
to the O-condition by supplying a resetting pulse of suit
able value and polarity to the output electrode of each
counting tube. However, the practical realisation of this
suggestion causes dif?culty. During a resetting pulse, all 65
the tubes pass to the O-condition, but as soon as the
blocking capacitor CA and a voltage divider RA, RC to the
?rst control electrode GA of counting tube V5 and through
a retarding network RB, CB to the second control electrode
GB. Discharge tube V2 is similar to tube V4 and is
connected to the counting tubes V1 ‘and V3 in a similar
manner as isdischarge tube V4 to the counting tubes V3
and V5.
This conventional circuit arrangement operates as fol
lows.
An output pulse at the cathode K0 of counting tube V1,
resetting pulse is switched off, a pulse is transmitted to
which may be the ?rst in a chain of counting tubes, in
the subsequent counting tube and- this pulsehas the same
creases the voltage at the grid of discharge tube V2 so
eifect as the output pulse normally transmitted during
that this tube becomes conducting. The decrease in the
counting pulses. As a result thereof, after the reset 70 anode voltage of this tube is transmitted via blocking ca
ting pulse, all the counting tubes are in the condition 1,
pacitor CA and voltage divider RA, RC to the ?rst con
except the ?rst.
trol electrode of counting tube V3. If counting tube
3,056,901
ll
3
V3 is in the zero condition and hence ‘with the discharge on
lead N. The discharge tubes, including the discharge tube
the cathode K0, the discharge will be taken over by the
?rst control electrode GA following this cathode. A
short moment afterwards the decrease in voltage at the
anode of discharge tube V2 is also transmitted via block
ing capacitor CA and retarding network RB, CB to the
second control electrode GB of counting tube V3. The
V2 considered herein, become conducting and these tubes
also convey grid current. As a result of this grid current,
the grid voltage of each of the discharge tubes differs only
slightly from the cathode voltage. The negative resetting
pulse thus acts through the discharge tubes upon the out
put cathodes K0 of the counting tubes. The discharge in
the counting tubes is taken over by the output cathodes
K0 and the negative voltage of these cathodes is main
sult of this discharge, the potential of the second control 10 tained due to the diode action of the discharge tubes.
When the discharge tubes become conducting, the voltage
electrode GB increases and the potential difference with re
at the anodes also decreases, due to which the counting
spect to the cathode K1 following the second control elec
tubes V3 . . . can make a counting step in the manner
trode reaches a value such that the discharge is taken over
previously described. As a result of the direct-current
by cathode K1. The same action occurs in the transfer
of the glow discharge from any given cathode K(N) the 15 blocking between the control electrodes GA and GB and
discharge is now taken over by the second control elec
trode GB following the ?rst control electrode. As a re
that in counting tube V3 the glow discharge is transmitted
the anode of the preceding discharge tube, the voltage at
these control electrodes gradually increases again due to
the charging of blocking capacitor CA. When the count
from one cathode to the subsequent cathode.
ing tubes V3 . . . make a counting step due to the pre
next succeeding cathode K(N +1). Any positive pulse
at the cathode K0 of counting tube V1 thus has the effect
After 10
output pulses of counting tube V1, cathode K0 in count 20 ceding counting tube becoming conducting, the increase
in voltage at the control electrodes GA and GB and the
ing tube V3 is struck by the discharge. The output pulse
maintenance of the negative voltage at the output cathode
so produced is ampli?ed by discharge tube V4 and sup
K0 causes the discharge to return to the cathodes K0.
plied via voltage divider RA, RC to the ?rst control elec
After a short moment, the discharge in each counting tube
trode GA of counting tube V5 and via retarding network
RB, CB to the second control electrode GB. During the 25 is adjusted to the output cathode K0, whereupon the re
setting pulse on lead S may be switched off. In this circuit
time when the discharge in counting tube V3 takes place
arrangement, in contradistinction to the conventional type,
between the anode A and the output cathode K0, dis
the switching off of the resetting pulse has no particular
charge tube V4 is conducting and the potential of the ?rst
effect, since the discharge tubes V2 remain conducting.
control electrode GA and the second control electrode GB
The diodes D have the task to reduce the detrimental
is equal to the bias which these electrodes receive through 30
in?uence exerted by the pulse source connected to lead S
lead G. If, due to an output pulse at cathode K0‘ of count
upon the normal performance of the discharge tube.
ing tube Vvl, the discharge in counting tube V3 is taken
During the counting of pulses, the diode D constitutes an
over by the cathode K1, the grid voltage of discharge tube
effect short-circuit of this pulse source and the anode cur
V4 decreases to the voltage of lead N. Discharge tube
V4 is thus cut o?’ and the anode voltage of this tube 35 rent of the discharge tube is passed unhindered. The
diodes D are cut oil during a resetting pulse.
increases to the supply voltage of voltage source P. Thus
In FIG. 3, the cathodes of the discharge tubes V2,
set up at the control electrodes GA and GB of counting
V4 . . . are connected to the common lead S and through
tube V5 are positive voltage pulses which however, do not
the diode D, the earth wire E. The counting tubes V1,
affect the discharge in counting tube V5, since the polarity
of these pulses is exactly opposite to that of the normal 40 V3, V5 . . . are reset by the supply of negative pulses
to the said lead S, so that the discharge in each counting
counting pulses. When the counting cycle starts, the dis
tube is adjusted to the output cathode K0 in the manner
charge in each of the counting tubes V1, V3, V5 . . .
previously described.
mus-t be adjusted between the anode A and the output
cathode K0. In known arrangements, for this adjust
FIG. 4 shows in what manner the last counting tube of
the counting tube arrangements shown in FIGS. 2 and 3
is reset. The cathode K0 of this last counting tube is con
lead N. The cathodes K0 which are connected via re
nected to lead S, to which the resetting pulses are supplied,
sistor RK to the said lead acquire a high negative voltage
as previously described. When the resetting pulse ceases,
with respect to the other cathodes, so that the discharge
the discharge also in this tube occurs between anode A
is taken over by cathode K0. Set up at the grids of the
discharge tubes V2, V4, . . . are now positive voltage 50 and output cathode K0.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the voltage
pulses, the amplitude of which is substantially equal to that
of voltage source, P, may be for example from 300 to 350
of the output pulses which normally occur in counting.
volts positive with respect to the earth wire E. The posi
These voltage pulses coincide with the negative pulse on
tive bias of lead G may be, for example, 40 volts and the
lead N, so that the discharge tubes V2, V4 . . . do not
become conducting so long at the negative voltage pulse on 55 negative bias of lead N may be for example 12 volts, each
voltage reckoned with respect to the earth wire E. The
lead N subsists. When the resetting pulse on lead N is
other components may have the following values:
switched oft”, the discharge tubes become conducting, how
ever, and the glow discharge in the counting tubes V3,
Resistors RA, RB __. 56,000 ohms.
ment of the couting tubes, a negative pulse is supplied to
V5 . . . steps on to a subsequent cathode in the manner
previously described.
‘In FIG. 2, discharge tube V2 is connected to the count
Resistor RC _____ __ 82,000 ohms.
60 Resistor RD _____ _. 100,000 ohms.
ing tubes V1 and V3 in a similar manner as in FIG. 1
and the performance of this circuit arrangement as re
gards the normal counting of pulses is similiar to that of
the arrangement of FIG. 1. In the said arrangement, the 65
counting tubes are reset to their zero positions in the
following manner. A negative resetting pulse is supplied
to lead S which is connected through blocking capacitors
CD to the cathodes of all ‘the discharge tubes. The diodes
D connecting the cathodes of the discharge tubes to the
earth wire E must be disregarded for the time being. In
this connection it is to be noted that the blocking capaci
tors CD are not essential parts of a circuit arrangement
Resistor RK _____ __ 120,000 ohms.
Resistor RC _____ __ 220,000 ohms.
Resistor RP _____ __
800,000 ohms.
Capacitor CA ____ _. .0033 mmf.
Capacitor CB ____ _. .0015 mrnf.
Capacitor CD ____ _. .0033 mmf.
Tubes V1, V3, V5 __ Mullard Z303 C.
Tubes V2, V4 ____ _. Mullard E88CC (each 1/2 section of
_
dual triode) .
Diode D ________ __ Type 0A202.
What is claimed is:
1. Electrical apparatus for counting pulses comprising
a plurality of cold cathode counting tubes arranged in
according to the invention. The amplitude of the resetting
pulse has been chosen to be greater than the voltage on 75 cascade each comprising ?rst electrode means, a plurality
3,056,901
5
of second electrode means spaced from said ?rst electrode
means and adapted to produce individual glow discharges
between electrode pairs constituted by said ?rst and sec
ond electrode means, one of said second electrode means
including an output electrode, an input electrode system
comprising a plurality of control electrodes for consecu
tively actuating said second electrode means, input circuit
means for applying a control signal to said input electrode
system thereby to cause a glow discharge to step from
6
including an output electrode, an input electrode system
comprising a plurality of control electrodes for consecu
tively actuating said second electrode means, input circuit
means for applying a control signal to said input elec
trode system thereby to cause a glow discharge to step
from one of said electrode pairs to a next succeeding pair,
an output electrode system comprising said output elec
trode for producing an output signal in response to the
formation of a glow discharge at said output electrode,
one of said electrode pairs to a next succeeding pair, an 10 and circuit means interconnecting a ?rst one of said
output electrode system comprising said output electrode
for producing an output signal in response to the forma
tion of a glow discharge at said output electrode, and cir
cuit means interconnecting a ?rst one of said counting
tubes and a second counting tube thereby to apply said
output signal to the input electrode system of said second
counting tube, said circuit means comprising a discharge
tube having a control electrode, a cathode and an anode,
means connecting said control electrode to the output
electrode system of said ?rst counting tube, means con
necting the anode to the input electrode system of said
second counting tube, and means for resetting the glow
discharge of said ?rst counting tube to the position of said
‘output electrode comprising means for applying a resetting
pulse to said cathode.
25
counting tubes and a second counting tube thereby to ap
ply said output signal to the input electrode system of
said second counting tube, said circuit means compris
ing a discharge tube having a control electrode, a cathode
and an anode, means connecting said control electrode to
the output electrode system of said ?rst counting tube,
means connecting the anode to the input electrode sys
tem of said second counting tube, means for energizing
said discharge tube comprising a circuit element at ref
erence potential, diode means connecting said cathode
to said circuit element in series conductive relationship,
and means for resetting the glow discharge of said ?rst
counting tube to the position of said output electrode
comprising means for applying a resetting pulse to said
cathode.
2. Electrical apparatus for counting pulses comprising
4. Electrical apparatus for counting pulses comprising
a plurality of cold cathode counting tubes arranged in
cascade each comprising ?rst electrode means, a plural
ity of second electrode means spaced from said ?rst elec
trode means and adapted to produce individual glow dis
a plurality of cold cathode counting tubes arranged in
cascade each comprising ?rst electrode means, a plurality
of second electrode means spaced from said ?rst electrode
means and adapted to produce individual glow discharges
between electrode pairs constituted by said ?rst and sec
charges between electrode pairs constituted by said ?rst
and second electrode means, one of said second elec
trode means including an output electrode, an input elec
trode system comprising a plurality of control electrodes
ond electrode means, one of said second electrode means
including an output electrode, an input electrode system
comprising a plurality of control electrodes for consecu
for consecutively actuating said second electrode means, 35 tively actuating said second electrode means, input circuit
input circuit means for applying a control signal to said
means for applying a control signal to said input elec~
input electrode system thereby to cause a glow discharge
trode system thereby to cause a glow discharge to step
to step from one of said electrode pairs to a next succeed
from one of said electrode pairs to a next succeeding
ing pair, an output electrode system comprising said out
pair, an output electrode system comprising said output
put electrode for producing an output signal in response 40 electrode for producing an output signal in response to
to the formation of a glow discharge at said output elec
trode, and circuit means interconnecting a ?rst one of
the formation of a glow discharge at said output elec
trode, and circuit means interconnecting a ?rst one of
said counting tubes and a second counting tube thereby
to apply said output signal to the input electrode system
said counting tubes and a second counting tube thereby
to apply said output signal to the input electrode system
of said second counting tube, said circuit means com 45 of said second counting tube, said circuit means compris
prising a discharge tube having a control electrode, a
ing a discharge tube having a control electrode, a cathode
cathode and an anode, means connecting said control
and an anode, means connecting said control electrode
electrode to the output electrode system of said ?rst
to the output electrode system of said ?rst counting tube,
counting tube, means connecting the anode to the input
means connecting the anode to the input electrode sys
electrode system of said second counting tube, and means 50 tem of said second counting tube, means for connecting
for applying to said cathode a resetting pulse having an
in common the cathodes of the discharge tubes inter
amplitude and polarity producing conduction through
connecting consecutive counting tubes, means for ener
said discharge tube establishing said cathode and control
gizing said discharge tubes comprising a circuit element
electrode at substantially the same potential thereby ap
at reference potential, diode ‘means connected in series
plying said pulse to said output electrode and resetting 55 conductive relationship between said common cathodes
the glow discharge of said ?rst counting tube to the po
and said circuit element, and means for resetting the glow
siiton of said output electrode.
discharge of said counting tubes to the position of said
3. Electrical apparatus for counting pulses comprising
output electrode comprising means for applying a reset
a plurality of cold cathode counting tubes arranged in
ting pulse to said cathodes.
cascade each comprising ?rst electrode means, a plurality 60
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
of second electrode means spaced from said ?rst electrode
means and adapted to produce individual glow discharges
UNITED STATES PATENTS
between electrode pairs constituted by said ?rst and sec
ond electrode means, one of said second electrode means
2,860,286
Ost _________________ __ Nov. 11, 1958
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