This invention relates to a remote signalling apparatus, particularly suitable for remote surveillance purposes.
Apparatus are known for remotely signalling the occurrence of ~articular events to be monltored, such as a theft, tampering, kidnapping, a variation in certain environmental conditions, etc.
These known apparatus normally comprise a transmitter, activated by one or more sensors which detect the occurrence of the event to be monitored, and one or more receivers which receive the signal from the activated transmitter. If for example the event to be monitored is the attempted theft of a water craft, the transmitter of known apparatus is installed on board the craft, the sensors are conventional members which detect the intrusion of the intruder and/or the attempted theft, and the receiver is an apparatus tuned to the transmitter frequency. When the driver abandons the craft, he carries with him the receiver, and if an attempted theft or tampering with the craft occurs, he receives a suitable signal from the transmitter.
Known apparatus also provide for corresponding signals to be fed to fixed points (guardhouses, surveillance stations, police, etc.), in order to increase the reliability and - . .,;, ~ . .
7~J52 timeliness of the intervention of the guard personnel or of the personnel entrusted with~the surveillance.
These known apparatus have proved considerably effective in that they immediately indicate the occurrence of the undesirable event, and thus enable the person concerned to intervene without delay. However, they also have certain drawbacks, which are mainly related to uncertainty in the attribution of responsibility where it has not been possible to prevent the undesirable event occurring. In this respect, because of the fact that there is no check on the actual moment in time at which most of such undesirable events occur, the only source of reference is the word of the person directly responsible. This can give rise to a whole series of disputes connected with the difficulty and `often the impossibility of proving any stat~ments. Moreover, practical experience continuously shows that where the undesirable event is co~ered by insurance, such disputes are greater the smaller the possibility of irrefutably proving the facts of the event.
There is therefore the problem of remotely transmitting a set of information in an unequivocal manner, and at the same time of providing certain proof of the fact that this information has been correctly received and '71~52 recognised by the person for whom it is intended, even where this person is replaced by others during the normal shift work covering such tasks and the responsibilities connected therewith.
Referring again to the already stated example, a concrete case could be that of a pleasure craft which on being moored is entrusted to the custody of the harbour guard. Up to that moment the responsibility for the craft is obviously in the hands of the driver, whereas from that moment onwards the responsibility is transferred to the harbour guard who, in the same manner as the driver, must be able to receive from the correctly operating apparatus suitable signals when an undesirable event such as flooding, the commencement of fire, the entry of intruders, attempts to destroy or pilfer the cargo, attempts to remove the craft etc. occur. Each responsible person must also obviously be in a position to determine from which of the craft in his care the various signals originate.
The object of the invention is to solve this problem and to provide a remote signalling apparatus which is able to provide direc~ and retransmitted signalling of the events to be kept under surveillance, to provide a self-checking signal and a signal indicating any erroneous 7~)52 operation of the apparatus, and to provide proper and chronological documentation of the events which have occurred.
A further object of the invention is to provide an apparatus of simple installation, of easy use and of low cost.
These objects are attained according to the invention by a remote signalling apparatus, particularly suitable for remote surveillance purposes, characterised by comprising a receiver arranged to receive in an unequivocal manner coded signals originating from a transmitter unit provided with sensors for detecting the events to be monitored, and signals indicating malfunction of ~he receiver and/or transmitter system, and further comprising a fixed unit for the supervision and operation of at least one receiver previously unequivocally coupled thereto and comprising:
- a compartment for housing and mechanically locking each receiver, - personalised means f~r releasing the mechanical lock, - an optical-acoustic indicator for the malfunction signals of each receiver and/or for the signals received by each receiver and originating from the respective transmitter, 71~52 s --- means for remotely retransmitting the alarm signals, - means for recognising the operator who is to intervene following a signal indicative of the abnormal event and relative to each receiver, and which enable the remote retransmission of said alarm signals to be suspended, - means for the chronological recording of all the signalled events.
Advantageously, the transmitter unit and the relative receiver can be arranged to be activated simultaneously but to enter effectively into operation after a predetermined waiting time (T and T' respectively, where T ~ T') and the transmitter can be arranged to feed a signal that activation has occurred, when the waiting time has passed since its activation.
Again according to the invention, the apparatus receiver can be provided with a first time counter which totalises the time which has passed since its activation, and a second time counter which totalises the time which has passed since any receipt of an alarm signal.
Advantageously- the receiver of the apparatus according to ~he invention can be provided with a timer circuit with a delay equal to the predetermined waiting time, with a delayed set ~nput controlled by the activation 7~52 of sald receiver, and with an instantaneous reset input controlled by the signal which indicates that the transmitter unit has been activated, the output of said t:imer circuit being connected to said second time counter and to alarm indicators.
Prefe~ably each receiver of the apparatus according to the invention can comprise a timer circuit which senses the alarm signals but not the signals which indicate that activation has occurred, and which has its output connected to said second time counter and to alarm indicators.
,~avantageously, each receiver of the apparatus according to the invention can be housed in a casing provided with at least one notch which, when the receiver is inserted into a compartment of the fixed supervision and operation unit, can be engaged by a corresponding locking member operable by removable personalised devices.
Again according to the invention, each receiver and each compartment provided in the fixed unit can be provided with members for their mutual connection in order to transfer to said fixed unit alarm signals and/or signals indicating the malfunction of the corresponding receiver inserted into the relative compartment.
Again according to the invention, the apparatus can ~2~7S~5;~
comprise for each compartment a plurality of coder circuits for the signals of the events being monitored, the outputs of all the coder circuits being connected to an indicator unit for said events and to the recording unit.
Advantageously the fixed unit of the apparatus according to t~he invention can be provided with a timer circuit which is activated by the circuit of the indicator unit when an event being monitored occurs, and which is provided with a reset input operable by an operator after he has been recognised.
Again according to the invention, the apparatus can comprise delayed alarm signal activator circuits activated by the timer circuit.
A preferred embodiment of the present invention is described in detail hereinafter by way of non-limiting example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
igure 1 is a front perspective view of the portable receiver of the apparatus according to the invention;
Figure 2 is a rear perspective view thereof;
igure 3 is a perspective view of the fixed supervision and operation unit with which the portable receiver ~IL2~}5Z
can be associated;
igure 4 shows the logic diagram of the portable receiver of Figure 1; and igure 5 shows the logic diagram of the fixed supervision unit of Figure 3.
The apparatus according to the invention comprises a transmitter unit of known type and thus not shown on the drawings. It is installed for example on board a water craft and is preferably of th~ type which can be activated by one or more sensors (thermal, magnetic, accelerometric, microwave, ultrasonic, etc.), which in their turn can be activated by the particular event or events to be kept monitored. The apparatus according to the invention also comprises ~ receiver 1. In order to ensure,unambiguity of connection between the transmitter unit and receiver 1, both can be provided with a programmable matrix of known type, which enables said transmitter unit to transmit coded pulse trains of the required sequence, and enables the receiver to receive only coded trains of the same sequence.
The receiver 1 comprises an antenna 2 for receiving the signal S1 transmitted by the transmitter unit, and a resonant circuit 3 tuned to the frequency of the carrier wave of the signal S1 . The output of said resonant circuit ~Z(~7~Z
g 3 is connected to the input of a bandpass filter 4, the output of which is connected to a mixer 5, to which there is also connected a local oscillator 6. The output of the mixer 5 is connected to another bandpass filter 7, th~n to a demodulator 8 and then to an amplifier 9.
A signal S2 constituted by a pulse train corresponding to the code imposed on the transmitter unit is present at the output of the amplifier 9.
The output of the amplifier 9 is connected to a synchronisation generator 10, to a serial data comparator 11, and to the abscissa axis of a PROM memory 12. The output of the synchronisation generator 10 is connected to the comparator 11 and to a sequential counter 13, to which the output of the comparator 11 is also connected. The outputs of the sequential comparator 13 are fed to the ordinate axis of the PROM memory 12, of which the output S3 is connected to the terminal 14 of a connector 15 provided on the receiver 1, and is also connected to an instantaneous reset circuit 16 and a delayed reset circuit 17. The output of the instantaneous reset circuit 16 is connected to a timer 18, to which the power supply 19 of the receiver 1 is connected, ~his power supply being switched on when a switch 20 is closed.
The output of the delayed reset circuit 17, whichis connected to the output of the timer 1~, is also connected to the input of a counter 21 and to an amplifier 22, which is connected to an optical indicator 23, to an acoustic horn 24 and to a terminal 25 of the connector 15.
The power supply 19 is also connected, by way of the switch 20, to a further counter 26.
The output signal from the mixer 5 is connected, by way of a decoupling capacitor 27, to a rectifier 28, the output of which is connected to an input of a NOR gate 29, of which the other input is connected to the power supply 19 by way of the switch 20. The output of the NOR gate 29 is connected, by way of an amplifier 30, to a luminous indicator 31 and to a terminal 32 of the connector 15. The same output of the NOR gate 29 is connected to the input of the amplifier 22.
The output S 3 of the PROM memory 12 is also connected by way of a rectifier circuit 33 and an amplifier 34 to the optical indicator 23 and to the acoustic horn 24.
The power supply 19 of the receiver is finally connected by way of the switch 20 to a threshold indicator 35, of which the input and output are connected to a NOR
gate 36. The output of the NOR gate 36 is on the one hand ~L2(~ 52 connected, by way of an amplifier 37, to a luminous indicator 38 and to a terminal 39 of the connector 15, and on the other hand to the input of the amplifier 22.
The described receiver 1 is enclosed in a parallelepiped casing provided on its upper surface with the switch 20.
The~same upper surface of the receiver 1 comprises the three luminous indicators 23, 31 and 38, which are preferably constituted by three LEDs, and also comprises the displays of the two counters 21 and 26: The front wall comprises the acoustic horn 24 and a reset pushbutton 40 for interrupting the acoustic signal and for resetting the stand-by state of the receiver 1.
The rear wall of the receiver 1 comprises ~he connector 15, which as stated includes the terminals 14, 25, 32 and 39.
Finally, a side wall of the receiver 1 comprises a notch 41, the purpose of which, as described hereinafter9 is to allow mechanical locking of the receiver 1 in the corresponding seat 42 of the fixed supervision and operation unit 43.
Said unit 43 comprises a parallelepiped casing in which there is provided a plurality of seats 42 for a like il;2~1!7~52 number of receivers 1. At each seat there is provided a luminous indicator 44 constituted preferably by a LED, and a mechanical lock 45 constituted preferably by a device operated by an extractable key and acting on the notch 41 of the receiver 1 which has been previously inserted into the respective seat.
In addition to the apertures for the seats 42, the front wall of the casing of the unit 43 comprises:
- an indicator panel 46, containing ~our luminous indicators 47, 48, 49, 50 and an acoustic horn 51;
- a further panel 52 for covering a compartment which houses a system 53 for memorising all the information, a date and time generator 54, and a system for recognising the operator;
- a third panel 55 for covering a compartment housing a system for generating and externally transmitting warning signals;
- a fourth panei 56 for covering a compartment housing the power supply for the unit 43.
On the end wall of each compartment 42 there is provided a connector 57 (see Figure 5), into which the connector 15 of the corresponding receiver 1 can be inserted. The diagram of Figure 5 also shows, in symbolic ~z~7n52 form, a switch 58 which is closed when the two connectors 15 and 57 become mutually engaged.
The terminals 14, 32, 25 and 39 of the connector 15 correspond respectively to the terminals 59, 60, 61 and 62 of the connector 57, which are connected, together with the switch 58, to filre coders 63, 64, 65, 66 and 67, the outputs of which are multiplexed over a bus 68, which leads to the indicator panel 46.
The connections between the two connectors 15 and 57 are such that the luminous indicator 48 corresponds to the luminous indicator 319 the indicator 49 corresponds to the indicator 23, and the indicator 50 corresponds to the indicator 38.
The output of the PROM memory 12 is also fed to the luminous indicator 47.
The output o~ the indicator panel 46 is connected to a reset circuit 78 for said indicator panel ~6. The circuit 78 is also connected to the reset input of a timer 69, the set input of which is connected to the output of the luminous indicator 47. .
The output of the indicator panel 46 is also connected to the input of a recognition circuit 70, comprising a badge reader 71 and a pushbutton panel 72. The ~Z(~7Q52 output of said recognition circuit 70 is connected to the reset circuit 78 for its activation.
The output of the timer 67 is connected to an activator circuit 73, the output of which is connected to a device comprising an optical indicator and power horn 74, and to a further activator 75, which itself controls remote signalling systems of the radio-electronic transmission type 76 or telephonic transmission type 77.
The outputs of the coders 63, 64, 65, 66 and 67, of the luminous indicator 47, of the reset circuit 78, of the timer 69, of the activators 73 and 75, and of the remote signallers 76 and 77 are also connected to the recording system 53, which itself is connected to the date and time generator 54 for the chronological recording of the various interventions.
Assuming for example that the transmitter unit associated with the receiver 1 is installed on board a water craft, and the fixed supervision and operation unit 43 is installed in a guard house in the harbour, then the operation of the apparatus according to the invention is. as ~ollows:
while the driver is on board the craft, the apparatus is obviously in an unactivated state. When the driver abandons lZ~7~
the craft,- he activates the transmitter unit and the receiver 1. After a predetermined waiting time T,- as necessary to allow him to abandon the craft and to distance himself to a limited extent from it, the transmitter unit emits a pulse train and thus becomes set into its waiting state.
This pulse train, which is constituted by a carrier wave modulated by coded signals, is received by the antenna
2, selected by the resonant circuit 3 and bandpass filter 4, and then fed to the mixer 5. In this, a frequency generated locally by the generator 6 is superposed on the signal in order to provide, at the output of the mixer 5, a frequency corresponding to the ratio of the two mixed frequencies.
This frequency is filtered through the bandpass filter 7, and demodulated in the demodulator 8, which at its output provides only the modulating signal. This signal is amplified in 9 and leaves as the signal Sz in the form of 1-0 signals in sequential form, corresponding to the required coding.
The signal S~ is then fed simultaneously to the synchronising gen~rator 10 the purpose of which is to put the commencement and sequence of the messages in order, to the serial data comparator 11 the purpose of which is to -~Z~7~52 compare the arriving data sequence ~ith the synchronising signals originating from the generator 10 and to direct the data to the abscissa axis of the PROM memory 12, and to the sequential counter 13 which feeds the same data to the ordinate axis of said PROM memory 12.
In its turn, the PROM memory 12, activated by the same signal Sz , analyses one by one the coincidence between the synchronous and sequential signals along the abscissa and ordinate axes, and only if the entire sequence is correct, in relation to that set in the PROM memory 12, does it provide the signal S3 as output.
If, instead of being a single pulse train (activation signal), the signal fed by the transmitter unit is a sequence of pulses similar to the preceding, but repeated, the PROM memory 12 provides at its output a series of messages (alarm signal) instead of a single message.
Figure 4 shows the activation signal configuration S3 tt and the alarm signal configuration S3 ll .
The signal S3 leaving the PROM memory 12 is fed to the instantaneous reset circuit 16 and to the timed reset circuit 17.
In the meantime, the said activation of the receiver 1 (operation of the switch 20) has uncoupled the ~2~7~5~
counter 26 and ~imer 18.
If the signal S3 is an activation signal S3att, lt is ~covered" by the delayed reset circuit 17, in that the delay of this latter is longer than said signal S3 tt' bu~
at the same time is transmitted by the instantaneous reset circuit 16 to~the timer 18 to zero it and prevent it from providing an output signal towards the counter 21 and amplifier 22.
However, if the signal S3 is an alarm signal S3 l~
it can activate the delayed reset circuit 17, and, by way of this, the counter 21, and also, by way of the amplifier 22, the luminous indicator 23 and acoustic horn 24.
In short, from the .instant of activation, which takes place simultaneously for the transmitter unit and for the receiver 1, a certain waiting time passes which is shorter for the transmitter unit but longer for the receiver 1. When the waiting time T of the transmitter unit has passed, this latter feeds a short signal S3 ttwhich is not sufficient to give rise to the alarm signal in the receiver 1.
Thus the transmitter unit is put into the waiting state, to transmit any long alarm signals S3 ll ~ which, precisely because of their length, are able to be received ~2(~7~S2 as such by the receiver 1. It should be noted that the waiting time T~ of the receiver 1 is set in the timer 18, and as stated must be greater than the waiting time T of the transmitter unit. Only if this is the case c~n the short signal S 3a~t~ emitted by the transmitter unit, reach the receiver 1 before its waiting time T' has passed, so that it does not become received as an alarm signal. In fact, said short signal S3att blocks the timer 18 by way of ~he reset circuit 16, and at the same time causes the emission, by way of the rectifier 33, amplifier 34, indicator 23 and horn 24, of a very short optical-acoustic signal indicating correct operation.
If the pulse indicating correct operation does not rezch the receiver 1 within the predetermined waiting time T', the timer circuit 18 activates the luminous indicator 23 and the acoustic horn 24 to indicate a malfunction of the transmitter or receiver system, and at the same time starts the counter 21, which enables the time at which the malfunction was detected to be determined in an irre~`utable manner.
The receiver 1 is also provided with a further two functions, which are theoretically secondary but which complete the operational configuration of the apparatus. In ~2~7~SZ
this respect, a signal corresponding to the intermediate frequency at the output of the mixer 5 is compared with a signal taken from the power supply 19 at the instant of closure of the switch 20. If both the signals are present, the NOR gate 29 gives no output signal, whereas if one of the two input signals is missing, for example the signal leaving the mixer 5, the NOR gate 29 opens and the output signal activates the luminous indicator 23 and the acoustic horn 24 by way of the amplifier 22, and the luminous indicator 31 by way of the amplifier 30.
Again, if the voltage of the power supply 19 is lower than a predetermined lower limit, below which correct operation of the receiver 1 is no longer guaranteed, a comparison is made in the NOR gate 36 between the actual voltage withdrawn from the power supply 19 and the minimum voltage which this power supply is required to have, in order to cause an alarm signal to be issued by the luminous indicator 38 and a malfunction signal to be issued by the luminous indicator 23 and the acoustic horn 24.
When the driver of the craft wishes to leave the harbour, he can entrust the supervision of the craft and thus transfer the relative responsibili~y to a harbour guard, in whose guard house the fixed apparatus 43 is ~2~7~S2 installed. The driver then mechanically inserts the receiver 1 into a free seat 42 of the apparatus 43, in the same manner as any other drivers, and thus inserts the connector 15 of the receiver 1 in~o the connector 57 provided in the end of said seat. The driver can then lock the receiver 1 in its seat 42 by operating the system 45 which is contrblled by a removable key.
The insertion of the receiver 1 into the seat 42 causes closure of the contact 58, which activates the coder 63, which in its turn causes a number to be recorded in the recording system 53 corresponding to the actual seat 42.
This system also requests from the generator 54 the time data relative to that particular message, in order to record these data with this latter.
Contact between the terminals 32 and 60 of the respective connectors 15 and 57 results in transfer of the output signal of the amplifier 30 to the fixed apparatus 43.
The signal representing malfunction of the receiver 1 is detected at the decoder 65 and is fed from here to the indlcator panel 46 and to the recording system 53, which memorises it together with the relative time data transmitted by the generator 54.
Contact between the terminals 3g and 62 of the ~ ^
~2~ ~ ~5~
respective connectors 15 and 57 results in transfer of the output signal of the amplifier 37 to the fixed unit ~3.
Excessive lowering of the voltage of the power supply 19 can be detected in this manner and recorded in said flxed unit 43.
Contact between the terminals 25 and 61 of the respective connectors 'l5 and 57 results in transfer of the output signal of the amplifier 22 to the fixed unit 43. In this manner, if the receiver 1 has received a (long) train of signals (alarm signal S3all ) or has not received a (short) train of signals (activation signal S3att ) and in accordance ~ith the aforegoing description has activated the counter 21, a corresponding signal appears and is recorded with the relative time data by the fixed unit 43. The same signal also reaches the indicator panel 46, where it activates the luminous indicator 47, and from here is directed to the timer 69 for further use.
In all cases in which the panel 4~ provides a luminous and/or acoustic indication, intervention of the responsible person is ~equired. He effects ~recognition~ of the call by firstly making himself recognised by the circuit 70 by means of the personal coded badge and the prearranged cypher, using the badge reader 71 and pushbutton panel 72.
If the translated data are correct, recognition occurs and the output signal of the circuit 70 activates the reset circuit 78, which zeroes the indicator panel 46 and the timer 69. At the same time, the recognition signal is recorded in the memory system 53 together with the time data of the event. If however recognition does not occur, the indicator panel 46 is not zeroed and the timer 69 proceeds until the end of the preset waiting time, after which it causes the activator 73 to intervene. This in its turn controls the optical indicator and power horn 74, normally installed outside the guard house, and at the same time causes the other activator 75 to intervene, which after the preset waiting time causes intervention of the remote signalling systems 76 and 77.