US 2546201 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 27, 1951 l.. THERIAULT SELF-LOCKING ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR 3 Sheets-Sheet l.
Filed March l, 1948 March 27, 1951 l.. THERIAULT SELFLOCKING ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March l, 1948 March 27, 1951 THERIAULT 2,546,201
SELF-LOCKING ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR Filed March l, 1948 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 y Zaak/rz /e/ 77% 2Go/vf@ ya Patented Mar. 27, 1951 lUNITED STATES .PATENT OFFICE SELF-LOCKING .CONNECTOR Lucien Theriault, New Haven, Conn.
-Application'March v1, 1948, :Serial/No. .12,22%l
1 Claim. .l 'llhe .present invention relates to improvements in electrical Aconnectors .and relates more .particularly ato self-locking electrical connectors which are .designed and ,adapted vto lcck themselves :in connected relationship with .respect to another electrical'ttngso as'to avoid accidental disconnection, in the event that undue strain is placed z-upon the wires or cables to vwhich the electrical connector .is attached.
:While lthe seit-.locking 'electrical connectors of the present invention lare .available for many other ruses, :one of 'the vmain Yuses is in the `form of a plug-.member having one-or more projecting blades 7or prongs which :may form the terminal of one or :more conductors leading 'to portable electrical 'devices such, for instance, as radios, .toa-sters, heaters, zetc.
Numerous .so-,called self-locking electrical connectors -have #heretofore .been designed, .substantially all of .whichfare characterized by van Dperating-member in addition -to the bodyaunit, which operating-'member vmoves relative to the body-.unit in Vorder .to effect the unlocking-of the connector. ISuch-anelectricalconnector, in improved form, yis shown and described vin lmy copending application Serial No. 719,049 led YDecember 28, `1946, which matured .into Patent .No. 2,498,7.4Bfdated-February128, 1950.
.I have discovered .thatit is possible to provide afself-lockingelectrical connector in which such f auxiliary voperating-Inembers may be ldispensed with and the unlocking action effected solely by means of relative movement -between a contactmember and a body-unit-which carries the said connector, vall in a manner faswill `be more fully hereinafter described.
One -of the main objects -of the present inventionisto providea superiorseli-locking electrical connector' characterized by 'fewness of parts and reliability-of op eration.
:Another object of Athe present invention is Ato provide ra superior .self-locking electrical connector which.A may beproduced at alow cost-both with respect to the Vcomponent .parts rand the assembly thereof.
:A ffurther object of .the presentinvention :is to provide a superior'self-locking electrical connector whichlmay have its locking-means released by'rtheisimpleexpedientof grasping-thebody-unit and `pulling 'the samevaway from such complemental electrical fitting as the connector ofthe present inventionmaybe attached to.
With the above and other objects in view, ias' will appear to those skilled in 'the art from the present disclosure, `this ,invention includes all features .in the said disclosure which are Vnot claimed by me in my .co-pending ,application Serial No. ,719,049 led December -28, 19,46.
`In the Iaccompanying drawings, in which certain modes of carrying .out .the y,present,invention are shown for illustratvepurposes:
Fig. 1 isa view lin side elevation o'fone form of la self-locking .electrical .connector embodying the princi'plesof the present invention, and shown' with the combined contact-,and-lockinglunitsiirr their retracted positions .relative to the bodyunit.;
Fig. 2 is an ,edge viewthereof;
,Fig. 3 .is .a view l'locking toward the 'inner or 20 blade-end of the connector;
Fig. .4 is a transverse V'horizontal 'sectional view taken `on the'line l-"d of'Fig. 1l i Fig. f5 is a vertical transverse sectional lView tal-:en on the'line'S--B of "Fig."1;
Fig. 6.is a .vertical sectional viewt'aken on'the' line IE5-5 of Fig. "but additionally showing "the electrical connector as engaged 'with and 'locked toan electricaltting or. outlet Fig. .7 is a similar view but showingthe bodyunit retracted with respect 5to the combined cone tact-and-locking units 'to e'iec't the unlocking 'df the connector .from `the complemental electrical outlet;
Fig. t8 is `a perspective view of one of the two corresponding bodyfmembers, viewing the same mainly from its inner face;
Fig. 9 isa perspective View of Vone of the combined contact-andelccking units detached and lookingitoward theouter face thereof; Iig. I0 is a View similar to .'Figx but Showing another form whicha self-.locking electricalconnector may assume in accordance with the vpresentinvention v .Fig Ilisa view similar'to Fig.6lcutshowing the body-unit drawn away from thecomplemen-` tal .electrical `outletand .also with vrespect to the contact-andalocking units, toeect the unlocking ofthe connector; Fig. 12 is` a transverse sectional .view taken, onthe line rl2--l-2 toiltgi.` 11;
Fig. 13 is a perspective view of one of the two corresponding body-members suitable for use in conjunction with the structure of Figs. 10, 11 and 12;
Fig. 14 is a perspective view of one of the combined contact-and-locking units shown in Figs. 10, l1 and 12; and
Fig. 15 is a similar view but viewing the unit mainly from the opposite direction of the showing of the preceding figure.
The structure of Figs. 1 to 9 inclusive The particular self-locking electrical connector herein chosen I'or purposes of illustrating a preerred form of the present invention, is in the form of a double-bladed plug-member of a type designed for connecting iioor lamps, radios, toasters, etc., to a source of current supply.
The device illustrated includes a body-unit generally designated by the reference character I0, which is composed of two corresponding juxtaposed body-members respectively designated by the reference characters il and l2. The said body-members may be conveniently molded from any suitab.e insulating material such, for instance, as thermosetting resins, thermoplastic resins, hard rubber and resilient rubber.
Each of the body-members II and I2 above referred to has a nat inner lace adapted to engage with the similar inner face of the complemental body-member, and each of the said body-members is also I'ormed in its outer Iace with a recess I3 Which is preferably of hexagonal Iorm in cross section. Leading inwardly from the bottom of each recess I3 is a passage I4 registering witn the similar passage in the companion body-member and adapted to receive the shank of a coupLngscrew I5. The recess I3 in one of the bodymembers is adapted to receive the head of the coupling-screw I5, while the similar recess oi the other'body-member is adapted to receive a nut I6, all as is especially well indicated in Fig. 5. Centrally in its inner end Il, each body-member`I2 and I3 is formed with a semicylindrical wire-passage I8 which, when placed in opposition to the similar passage in the complemental bodymember, forms a cylindrical passage for a pluralconductor wire, generally designated by the reference character I9. f. v.Each wire-passage I8 communicates at its inner end with a laterally-extending chamber 20 which at its respective opposite ends is in communication with guide-passages 2| and 22. The said guide-passages intersect the substantiallyat outer end 23 of the body-member of which they form features, as is especially well shown in Fig. 8. Formed in the outer portion of each of the guide-passages 21 and 22 is one of two oppositely-sloping cam-surfaces 24-24, for purposes as will hereinafter appear.
To one side of its wire-passage IB, each of the body-members II and I2 is formed with an integral locating-stud 25. and on the opposite end of the said passage with a correspondingly-positioned locating-socket 26. Adjacent its outer end 23 and to one side of its longitudinal center, each body-member II and I2 is also formed with an integral locating-stud 21, and on the opposite side of its said longitudinal center with a locating-socket 28.
AS before explained, each of the body-members I I and I2 of the body-unit Ill corresponds to each other so that when the said body-members are placed together in face-to-face relationship, the locating-studs 25 and 21 of a given one of the said body-members will snugly nt respectively into the locating-sockets 26 and 28 in the other body-member, to thus hold the two said bodyunits against twisting movement relative to each other around the coupling-screw I5 as a center. Furthermore, when the two body-members I I and I2 are placed in face-tO-ace relationship, each feature I8 and 20 to 26 inclusive of a given bodymember will be in registry with and complement the similar features in the other body-member.
Installed in each of the guide-passages 2l and 22 of the body-members II and i2 is one of two corresponding combined contact-and-locking units, generally designated by tne reference character ze. lnasmucn as each of the combined contact-and-locklng umts 29 corresponds to the other, a detailed description oi one thereof will serve for both.
In the instance shown, each unit 29 is folded up from springy sheet metal and comprises a plate-like body Sil which is formed along each of its respective opposite side edges with one of two parallel side flanges 3I-3I.
Formed integral with and reversely bent from the inner or upper edgeof the body 3U is a downwardly-extending locking-arm 32 which is suificiently narrow to ireely lit between the respective opposite side flanges 3I-3I. The upper or inner portion oi eacn of the locking-arms 32-32 is preferably pressed into tight engagement with the adjacent portion of the body 3i] and together therewith is provided With a piercing 33, for purposes as will hereinafter appear. The lower or outer portion of the locking-arm 32 is so set as to normally and resiliently be spaced away from the adjacent portion of the body 30. The projecting lower or outer end of the locking-arm 32 is bent outwardly and slightly upwardly to provide an inclined locking-finger 34, the function of which will hereinafter appear. Each lockingarm 32 is struck outwardly to form a sphericallycontoured boss 35 which is adapted to coact with the cam-surfaces 24 previously described.
The side flanges 3I--3I of each of the combined contact-and-locking units 29 terminate short of its lower or outer end and the material thereat is bent laterally inwardly from opposite sides to provide complemental resilient fingers 36-36, for purposes of providing a reliable electrical engagement with the contacts'oi a complemental electrical outlet, in a manner as will more fully hereinafter appear, Centrally of its lower portion, the body 30 is struck up to form a stilTening-rib 31 extending from the outer end of the said body upwardly past the inner or upper edges of the ngers 36-36, as is especially well indicated in Fig. 9.
A given contact-and-locking unit 29, when installed in the body-unit Ill, has limited reciprocation lengthwise of the said body-unit, partly in a guide-passage 2I of one body-member and partly in the complemental guide-passage 22 in the other body-member, as especially well indicated in Figs. 3 and 4. When installed as just described, the outer ends of the said contact-andlocking units will project beyond the outer end 23 of the body-members I I and I2 so that the locking-hgers 3 will be located well outwardly with respect to the said outer end.
Preferably and as shown in Figs. 6 and 7, the plural-conductor wire I9 has its main insulation or jacket stripped ofi so that one of the two metal conductors 38-38 thereof, together with its individual insulation, may be extended through the piercing ofv one ofthe contact-and-locking units A respectively into the iand-fthenled downwardly-ltowardtheouterendci 'the said -unit and lthere stripped and 4soldered `or 1 otherwise secured in place yagainst the-'outer -face lof the flat' upper `portion of the'adjacent lockingarm r32.
'The self-'locking electrical connector previously 'described `is Vdesigned and adapted Ito beused iin conjunction lwith another electrical connector of y:any suitable character. 'The particular Icomplementalfelectrical outlet-or connectorindicated in Figs; 6- and f 7 of thedrawings isone such suitable ftypefand is generally designated by the reference character 39. The said electrical voutlet 39 in- V'cludes a body '40 and-a cap f4! suitably secured together and `both formed of insulating material.
Inits upper orouterface, the electricalout1et`39 liis-'formed with a pair of funnel-shaped passages d42--42 spaced from eachother a distance which Jis substantially standard Vin =the art and which corresponds substantially to the spacing `of fthe ftwo. contact-a-nd-lockingunits `'l 9-'2 9. "The lower vor inner ends-vof vthe passages `42-42 respectively lead into chambers 43-43 in jthe body 4i! which respectively accommodateccontacts 44-44 which may have any suitable conductors (not shown) connected .thereto and leading, for instance, `from :a sourceofelectrical.- energy.
The chambers 43.-43 in .the .body 40 .of the ielectrficaloutlet f39 are .larger than the inner or lower i ends of the particular .funnel-shaped pas- .sages l'4Z-42 1 communicating therewith, with the -iresult that there .is provided by .the overhanging portionsof the.said.cap,.a pair of downwardly- Let Vit be assumed that the combined contactyand-locking lunits -29--29 are retired `inwardly with respect tothe body-unit |0, asis indicated linFigs. -1 and 2.. Underthese circumstances, the 'locking-arms A32--32 will be sprung laterally outwardly-relative to the `respective bodies 30-39. The assemblyLmay be held-bygrasping the'bodyunit I vandinserting Ithe `projecting outer ends of the lcombined contact-and-locking Aunits 29 funnel-shaped passages M42- 42 of the electrical outlet 39. 'During the process of `insertion just referred to, the lockingarms 32--3-2 will be lsprung inwardly by the engagement of -thesloping outer or under faces of the locking-fingers 34.-34 with the surfaces of the vrcap 4l, luntil the said fingers have been `vbrought into registry .with the locking-abutments 15i-45, whereupon the said locking-ungers will spring outwardly, in the manner Vindicated in Figaro therebynrmiyflock theconneetor of the present invention to the electrical outlet y39.
` When the .connectorof .the present invention -is assembledzwith an .electrical outlet such as 39 and as is indicated in Fig. 6, any draft exerted -,uponthe'plural-conductor:wire Vl9w1l beexerted 1upon' the contact-and-locking"units :29--29 and not tendto retract the locking-.arms 32-32,:since :the .body-unit :i0 .will vbe unaffected lThus, the
`connector willremainnrmly attached totheeleetrical outlet;39.despite such strains.
yWhen itis desiredzto disconnect 'the lconnector of the present invention fromfan outlet such yas 139, all that is required :is to y,grasp the body-.unit
.I0 .and draw the same .away from the electrical youtlet.39 totherebymovethe saidbody-,unit rela- .Thestructure of Fics. gtolfincluswe The self -locking electrical connector previously :described has ,itslQcking-ngers 34-;34 yieldingly `urged outwardly into theirlocking positions by the tensions of Vthe respective l.locking-arms 32-,32, -with `the said locking-fingers being positively `retired Vinto `their unlocking positions.
,The self -locking electrical connector ofFigs. 10 to 15 inclusive provides for-thepositive movement of lo,cking-lingers (similar to the previously-describedjlocking-ngers 34) into boththeir locking and unlocking positions, all vinafmanner as will be presently described.
The self-locking electrical connector of .-Figs. 10 to 15 inclusive includes a body-unit generally designated by the reference character 46 and composed of `two `corresponding rabutting-mem- `bers respectively designated by the .reference characters 41 and 48. The said .body-members are generally similar to the body-members l I and i2 previously .described and may be secured together lin a like manner.
Each'of the body-members and48 is formed centrally in its inner end 49 with a lsemicylindrical wire-passage 50 which, when placed in lopposition to the similar passage in the complemental body-member, forms a cylindrical passage for Va yplural-conductor wire generally designated by the reference character 5I..
Each wire-passage `5i) communicates with .a
laterally-extending chamber .52 which is in communication at its respective opposite ends with one fof. two similar guide-passages 5 3-.53.
Formed in the outerporton of -eachof the-.guidepassages 53-53 is one of two oPDositely-sloping ,releasing cam-surfaces 54-54. Also vformed in :the `.Outer portion of each of the guide-passages .53-53 is one of two .oppositely-sloping locking `cam-surfaces 55-55.
The oppositely-sloping locking ,cam-surfaces y55---55 above referred to respectively constitute the sloping upperwalls of two .notch-like clearance-recesses r56--56 and each terminates in one vof two dwells 51-51 extending in substantial parallelism -with the longitudinal axis of vthe body-unit 46.
Installed in each aligned V,pair of the guidepassages .53-531of the `complemental body-members 41 and 49, is one of two corresponding combined contact-and-locking units), each lgenerally .designated by the reference character 58. Each .contact-and-locking unit ,58 is folded up vfrom springy sheet metal and comprises a `plate-like body 59 `and a downwardly-extending resilient locking-arm 60.
The body 59 of each of V.the icontact-and-locking units 58-58 is formed along 'each of its respective opposite side edges with one of two parallel side-flanges 6 I-BI receiving between them the locking-arm 69 before referred to. The extreme lower or outer end of each of the contact-andlocking units 58-58 is reversely bent upon itself to provide a resilient nger 62.
The upper or inner ends of each body 59 and its adjacent locking-arm 50 are integrally united and both thereof are formed adjacent their inner ends with piercings 63 through which one of the two metal conductors 64-64 of the pluralconductor wire may be passed for being soldered in place, as is indicated in Figs. and 11.
About midway of its length and adjacent each of its side edges, each locking-arm '6B-t0 is struck up to provide two laterally-spaced-apart loop-like bosses 65-65 which are adapted to coact with the adjacent releasing cam-surfaces 54-54 in a manner as will hereinafter appear. Laterally intermediate the loop-like bosses 55- 65, each locking-arm 6: is deformed to provide a loop-like boss 66 which is adapted to move freely in a clearance-opening 61 formed in the adjacent portion of the body 59. The said boss 66 is adapted to be accommodated in the adjacent -pair of clearance-recesses 56 and to coact with the adjacent pair of locking cam-surfaces 55-55, as well as with the adjacent pair of dwells 5'1-57.
The extreme outer end of each of the lockingarms 60--69 is bent laterally outwardly to provide it with a locking-finger or pi'ojection 68 similar to the locking-fingers 34 previously described.
The self-locking electrical connector of Figs. f 10 to l5 inclusive is,v like the connector previously described-designed and adapted to be used in conjunction with another electrical connector of any suitable character. In this particular instance, it may be assumed that the complemental electrical outlet or connector is of the same charafter as the electrical outlet 39 previously described -and portions of which are shown in both Figs. 10 and 11.
Operation Let it be assumed that the self-locking electrical connector now being described is in coupled relationship with an electrical outlet 39, as
'is shown in Fig. 10. To effect such connection,
arm laterally outwardly toward the position in which it is shown in Fig. 10. Each boss `66 will ultimately come to rest upon the adjacent pair of dwells 5'! to thus cause each locking-arm 63 to be maintained in an outwardly ilexed position wherein its complemental locking-finger 69 is in position to engage with the adjacent lockingabutments 45 of the electrical outlet 39. Each locking-arm Ell-6l) is preferably so tensioned as to tend to lie flat against the adjacent face of its complemental body 59.
It will thus be clear that when the self-locking electrical connector is connected, as shown in Fig'. '10, to the electrical outlet 39, any draft upon the plural-'conductor wire 5l vwill-beresisted bythe locking-fingers 68-68 and the complemental locking-abutments l5 of the outlet 39.
When it is desired to disconnect the self-locking electrical connector from the electrical outlet 39 or the-litre, the user may grasp the bodyunit 46 thereof and draw the same away from the electrical outlet 39. This action will move the said body-unit outwardly with respect to the contact-and-locking units 58-58 until its clearance-recesses 56 register with the loop-like bosses 66. When the body-unit moves outwardly, as described, the releasing cam-surfaces 54-54 engage with the loop-like bosses 65-65 to thus positlvely iorce the locking-arms -60 inwardly into locking positions, in the event that the said 'loosing-arms do not so move under their own inherent tension. The parts will now have assumed the positions in which they are shown in Fig` 11, following which the self-locking electrical connector now under discussion may be completely removed from association with the electrical outlet 39.
From the foregoing it will be apparent that botli of tile illustrated and described ioims of the present invention are characterized by having one or mole combined contact-and-loclilng units mounted with respect to the body-unit with free'- doiil lor limited lengthwise or floating movement. Furthermore, each of the forms oi' the present invention illustrated and described is characterized by the iact that the relative movement between the body-unit and one or more contactand-loclring units provides for the unlocking of the device iroin a complemental electrical outlet without requiring the employment of auxiliary operating ieatures such, for instance, as ieleasing ringer-buttons or other separate operatingnieans movable with respect to the body-unit.
The invention may be carried out in other specic ways than those herein set forth without departing from the spirit and essential characteristics of the invention, and the present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, and all changes c-oming within the meaning and equivalency range of the appended claim are intended to be embraced therein.
I claim: -v
A self-locking electrical connector, including-in combination: a body-unit having a guide-pas'- sage therein receiving and guiding the lengthwise recipiocation of the herelnaiter-mentoned combined contact-and-locking unit, the said guidepassage opening at one end through the exterior of the body-unit, the said body-unit also being provided in one lateral wall of its said gu depassage with a iixed actuating-abutment; and an elongate combined contact-and-locking unit mounted for lengthwise reciprocation in the guide-passage of the said body-unit, the saidcon: tact-and-loching unit comprising a contact-portion and a resilient locking-arm extending in substantial parallelism with and flexible laterally toward and away from the said contact-portion for movement into and out of locking engagement with a complemental electrical receptacle, both the said contact-portion and the said lock;- ing-arm projecting outwardly beyond the said body-unit, the said resilient locking-arm having a laterally-extending locking-finger at its proijecting portion and also having'an actuating,- abutment constructed and arranged to `engage 9 with the said xed actuating-abutment in the lateral wall of the said guide-passage and constructed and arranged to jointly therewith ex the said resilient locking-arm laterally relative to the said contact-portion to shift the said locking-nger when the said combined contact-andlocking unit and the said body-unit are moved with respect to each other in a direction length- Wise of the said contact-and-locking unit.
le of this patent:
Number Number l0 UNITED STATES PATENTS Name Date Keeper July 29, 1930 Cornwell Nov. 4, 1941 Gurin Jan. 6, 1948 Mangold Feb. 24, 1948 FOREIGN PATENTS Country Date Great Britain of 1909