AUTOMATIC BELL DEACTIVATION SYSTEM AND METHOD
Publication Date: 2016-Jul-27
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Embodiments of the present invention relate to a method and system for deactivating a bell sound on a locomotive. Because a bell sound is typically activated automatically when a horn sound is activated as a locomotive is approaching a grade crossing, there is a need to automatically deactivate the bell sound when the horn sound is deactivated. A system for deactivating a bell sound including a locomotive, a horn sound system, a bell sound system, and a monitoring device in communication with a bell deactivation mechanism is disclosed. The system may include a countdown timer that begins counting down when a measurable characteristic of a horn sound is detected. When the countdown timer reaches zero, the bell sound is deactivated. A method for deactivating a bell sound using a bell deactivation mechanism is also disclosed.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is drawn to a system and method for controlling the deactivation of a bell sounded from a locomotive, wherein the bell is sounded as a warning to highway users at grade crossings, or sites where a road and a railroad track intersect. Grade crossings can be very dangerous due to the potential collisions that may occur between motor vehicles and railroad locomotives. The United States Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requires that railroad locomotives blast a horn at grade crossings to warn people on the road of the approaching locomotive. The FRA has regulations related to when and how the horns are to be sounded. It is important for locomotives to follow these regulations to ensure that the characteristics of the horn sound, such as distance from the grade crossing, duration, etc., comply with the FRA regulations.
Often times, the sounding of a horn at a grade crossing is accompanied by the sounding of a bell to magnify the audible warning to traffic on the road. In these cases, typically the sounding of the horn automatically activates a bell sound. This mechanism provides a simple way to ensure that both the horn and the bell are sounded at grade crossings. However, there is nothing to control the deactivation of the bell following the deactivation of the horn, besides manual deactivation. Due to its loudness and potential for disturbing local residents and passers-by, the bell sound should be deactivated shortly after the horn sound is deactivated to avoid unnecessary noise and to signal that the grade crossing is now safe for motor vehicles. This problem of the lack of a bell sound deactivation mechanism is solved by the present invention as described herein.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Figure 1 is a flow chart depicting a method of deactivating a bell sound on a railway locomotive using a bell deactivation mechanism.
Embodiments of the present invention provide a method and system for deactivating a bell sound on a locomotive. In an embodiment, the inventive system includes a locomotive, a horn sound system, a bell sound system, and a monitoring device in communication with a bell deactivation mechanism. The monitoring device is configured to detect the presence or absence of at least one measureable characteristic of the horn sound. The measurable characteristic of the horn sound can be, but is not limited to, electrical current (e.g., of an electrical device that produces the horn sound), air flow, pressure, sound, or any combination thereof. Furthermore, the monitoring device is configured to transmit a signal to the deactivation mechanism based on the detection of the presence or absence of the at least one measurable characteristic of the horn sound.
In an embodiment, the deactivation mechanism may include a countdown timer. The countdown timer has a first deactivated mode of operatio...