US 2891103 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 16, 1959 R. c. SWENGEL DETACHABLE BLOCK 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 ROBERT C. SWENGEL Filed April 22, 1957 June 16, 1959 R. c. SWENGEL DETACHABLE BLOCK Filed April 22, 1957 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 fun-Li INVENTOR. ROBERT Cfiwmeu.
DETACHABLE BLOCK Robert C. Swengel, Hellam, Pa., assignor to AMP Incorporated, Harrisburg, Pa.
Application April 22, 1957, Serial No. 654,287
9 Claims. (Cl. 174-153) This invention relates to casings; or housings, or the like, and particularly casings or housings which can be assembled to, and disassembled from, a panel. The invention is useful, for example, as an insulating housing for electrical connectors or as a coupling means for con duits. In the description which follows, the invention is shown in conjunction with electrical connectors and conductors, but alternative uses will be apparent.
An object of the invention is to provide a casing or housing or the like which can be assembled to, or re moved from, a panel with ease andwithout the need of specialized tools.
A further object is to provide a casing or housing which can be locked to a panel and which is adaptable to panels having a wide range of thicknesses and through panel openings which have a relatively wide range of dimensions. A further object is toprovide a casing which can be formed by relatively rapid and inexpensive operations such as die casting or injection moulding and which does not require supplemental parts (such as fasteners) for mounting. Further object is to provide a casing which can be formed from a relatively hard material such as a firm and relatively hard plastic or a metal.
Further objects will be apparent from a reading of the description which follows and from the drawing.
According to one embodiment of the invention, the housing or casing is provided with one or more flexible arms having shoulders on their ends which are adapted to -be flexed toward the body of the housing so that the arms can be inserted through a slot in a panel or wall. When the arms are permitted to return to their normal positions, the shoulders abut the surface of the panel and lock the housing in place. An additional feature resides in the provision of flexible bracing means which maintain the shoulders and the panel surfaces against each other to prevent movements of the housing relative to the panel. Another embodiment of the invention comprises a twopart casing consisting of a male portion adapted to be partially inserted through an opening in a panel, and a female portion adapted to be attached to the male portion from the opposite side of the panel. The male portion incorporates at least one flexible arm extending parallel to, and in spaced relationship from, the body of the male portion, and having an enlarged portion in its end which functions as a shoulder. This arm is flexed toward the body of the male portion during assembly to permit the male portion to be inserted through a panel opening which is undersized. After insertion, the resiliency of the arm causes its shouldered end to project beyond the confines of the panel opening to lock the male portion to the panel. Also, the female portion fits between the arms and the male portion to prevent the arm from being flexed toward the body of the male portion.
In the drawing:
Figure 1 is an exploded view of a preferred embodiment of an invention, in the form of a connector block for electrical connectors, in accordance with the invention;
United States Patent Figures 2, 3 and 4 illustrate the successive steps in the assembly of the embodiment of Figure 1 to a panel;
Figure 5 is a sectional view taken along the lines, V-V of Figure 4;
Figure 6 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the invention;
Figure 7 is a view showing the embodiment of Figure 6 assembled to a panel;
Figure 8 is a perspective view of still another embodiment; and
Figure 9 is an end view showing the embodiment of Figure 8 secured to a panel.
In Figure 1, reference numeral 2 denotes the female section of a connector block in accordance with the. invention, and 4 the male section thereof. This latter section comprises a generally rectangular block or body portion 5 having arms 6 integral therewith and extending from the rearward end of the block toward the front. These arms are spaced from the central body portion 5 but are so dimensioned (with reference to the physical properties and particularly the stiffness of the material from which the block is made) that they can be flexed towards and away from the body portion 5. Arms 6 provide enlarged end portions 8 which taper towards the axis of the male portion of the block and these enlarged end portions in turn define rearwardly facing shoulders 10 which advantageously extend normally of the axis of the block.
The remaining two sides of male portion 4 provide stop means 12 in the form of shoulders. which extend transversely across the sides intermediate the ends of the block for the, purpose of limiting the. movement of this half of the connector block relative, to. the panel into which it is inserted. Rearwardly of stop 12 there is provided a flexible bracing means 14 whichnormally extends obliquely of the surface. of the block and which, like the arm 6, can, be flexed towards. and away from the body of the block. The position of this flexible bracing means 14 relative to stopv means 12. should be such that when the stop. means, is, against a panel, the bracing means 14 will be flexed in order to anchor the. connector block relative to the panel.
A plurality of passageways 16 extends. through male portion 4 from the rearward end thereof and communicates with central enlarged chambers 18. A stop 20. is positioned at the end of each passage 16 which stop functions and cooperates with a projection on. a terminal. indicated by the letter T in Figure 5. This. terminal. forms, no part of the instant invention but is separately. disclosed and claimed in my copending application Serial- No. 654,122, filed April 22, 1957, for Duplicate. Mating Electrical Terminals. The instant invention is. adaptable to use not only with terminals of the type disclosed in Figure 5 but might also be. used, for example, as a block for other types of terminals or as a conduit for leading a wire or a fluid through a panel or a. wall.
The female section 2 of the connector block shown provides an end portion 22 dimensioned to. fit relatively snugly over the end, of male portion 4. and preferably incorporates locking means 24, in the form of detentsintegral with the connector itself. The wall thicknessof the female section 2' is such that it will fit between the arms 6 and the body of the male portion in order to prevent accidental disassembly from a panel as" described below. Internally, this. section provides apassageway 28 axially aligned with passageway 16 when the two parts are assembled together for the acommodation of a second terminal T which is electrically attached to the terminal in male portion 4 as-disclosed in Figure 6. A stop 30 at the end of this passageway cooperates with the terminal in the same manner as stop 20 of male portion 4 and prevents insertion of the terminal beyond the desired point.
In the use of the embodiment of Figure l, a rectangular opening is cut or stamped in the panel or wall through which the casing is to extend. This opening need not be dimensioned with a high degree of precision and accuracy since the disclosed invention is operative with panels of varying thickness and having openings of somewhat varying dimensions. However, it is ordinarily essential that the opening be slightly larger than the body portion 5 of the male portion 4, but smaller in its long dimension than the overall distance between the extreme edges of the enlarged ends 8 of the arms 6. The width of the opening will normally be slightly greater than the width of the body portion 5 of the terminal but considerably the lower right-hand corner of the male portion (as I viewed in Figure 2) to be inserted through the panel past the enlarged end portion 8 of the lowermost one of the arms 6. The upper one of the arms 6 is then flexed by application ofthe pressure in the direction of the arrow Figure 2 thus moving this arm against the edge of the body 5 of the block. If the opening in the panel is relatively small, the pressure may be further applied until the lowermost one of the arms 6 is flexed against its side of the body portion by reaction from the panel itself as is shown in Figure 2. This flexure of the arms can be effected by gripping the terminal at the arms 6 between the thumb and forefinger and pressing inwardly. When the terminal is positioned as shown in Figure 2 it can be passed through the opening in the panel and its axis aligned normally of the plane of the panel to position it as shown in Figure 3; the pressure is then released on the arms 6 and they immediately assume their equilibrium position which causes the shoulder 10 to project beyond the limits of the opening and thereby securely lock the panel and the male portion of the block to each other. At the same time the bracing means 14 will be brought to bear against the surface of the panel and will be slightly flexed as shown in Figure 5 to secure it against sidewise movement. The female portion of the panel is then fitted over the end of the male section, which projects beyond the panel, until the locking detents 24, 26 engage and secure the parts together. These detents are so positioned that the edge of the female section will extend between the arms and the body of the male section. It will be immediately apparent from Figure 4 that with this arrangement these arms 6 are prevented from accidental disengagement inasmuch as they cannot be moved toward the body portion a sufficient distance to permit passage of the male portion back through the opening. In Figure 4, the arms 6 are shown as being flexed slightly away from the male portion of the connector by the wedging or camming eflect of the assembled female section. This is an ideal arrangement but it is not essential since the shoulders 10 will normally extend beyond the confines of the panel in any event.
Several of the advantages of the invention are apparent from the foregoing description and from Figures 2-5. In the first place, blocks or casings made in accordance with the invention can be applied to panels of varying thickness. In Figure 5, the connector block is secured to a panel of maximum thickness for the particular block shown and it will be observed that this panel is confined on the one side by the stop 12 and on the opposite side by the end face 34 of the female section. In this figure also, it will be noted that the bracing struts 14 are flexed appreciably. If the panel were of a thinner section, however, this same connector block could be applied thereto since the block would then be retained by the struts 14 and held against the face or edge 34 of the female section and against shoulders 10 by the resilient force of these struts. In this latter case, of course the panel would bear against edge 34 but would not bear against stop 12.
An additional advantage of the invention is that when it is assembled to a panel it is anchored against movement in both directions relative to the panel to which it is secured. The struts 14 prevent any motion of the assembled connector parts rightwardly, as viewed in Figure 5, and the enlarged ends and particularly the shoulders 10 prevent any leftward movement. The struts also function to maintain the connector block with its axis extending normally of the plane of panel 32 and tend to absorb any vibratory effects which might be imparted to the panel from a foreign source before they are transmitted to the terminals or connectors within the connector block.
An additional important advantage is that the parts of the instant invention can be manufactured by an injection moulding or (in the case of metallic parts) by a die casting operation without subsequent assembly of additional fasteners or securing means or other supplementary parts. Connector blocks of the type shown in the drawing can be manufactured, for example, from any relatively firm and hard plastic material such as nylon, and particularly Zytel nylon (available from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.). The primary limitations regarding the choice of material are those concerning the flexibility of the bracing members 14 and the arms 6 since these elements must be flexible to the extent shown in the drawings in order to permit assembly and to maintain the braced relationship of Figure 5. Nylon, for example, and particularly moulded Zytel nylon, is a relatively firm and hard material and parts moulded from such nylon will exhibit the required degree of flexibility in the arms 6 and the bracing means 14. In the electrical connector field particularly it is a decided advantage to be able to produce a connector block which can be attached to a panel from a relatively strong, firm material rather than from an clastomeric material such as soft vulcanized rubber or the like. For other applications of the invention of course, and particularly where the quality of electrical insulation is not needed, it might be desirable to form the parts by die casting of brass or zinc.
Referring now to Figures 6 and 7, an alternative embodiment is shown in which the block is of round, rather than rectangular, cross sections. As with the previouslydescribed embodiment, the connector is formed from a female section 2a and a male section 411 having arms 6a and bracing means 14a extending therefrom, these bracing means being slotted in the embodiment shown to facilitate fiexure. This embodiment is assembled to a panel, as shown in Figure 7, providing a circular opening conforming to the cross section of male section 4a. Preferably this circular opening is notched at diametrically opposite points on its circumference to permit passage of arms 6a although an oversize circular opening, if sufficiently large, will permit passage of these arms. In Figure 7, a single conductor is shown as extending through the casing which in this instance functions as a grommet for the conductor. It is understood that a circular housing as shown in Figures 6 and 7 can also be utilized as a connector block for a plurality of pairs of mating connectors as with the embodiment of Figure 1.
Figures 8 and 9 show an embodiment which comprises a connector block 36 adapted to house a plurality of mating terminals and to be attached on one side of, but not to extend through, a panel 32. This embodiment pro vides flexible arms 6b and bracing means 14b similar in structure and function to the previously described elements. In this embodiment, an elongated slot is pro vided in the panel having a length slightly less than the extreme distance between the tips of shoulders 10b and having a width slightly in excess of the width of the arms. Assembly of block 36 to the panel is efiected by flexing the arms toward the body of the block, tilting the block and inserting, as previously described.
Changes in construction will occur to those skilled in the art and various apparently different modifications and embodiments may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is offered by way of illustration only. The actual scope of the invention is intended to be defined in the following claims when viewed in their proper perspective against the prior art.
1. A bipartite casing adapted for assembly to a panel or the like comprising, a male section having a body portion, at least one arm projecting from said body portion and extending along said body portion, said arm having an enlarged end and being flexible towards and away from said body portion, a female section fitted over said body portion and extending between said body portion and said arm whereby, upon assembly of said casing to a panel having an opening therein, said arm extends through said opening and said enlarged end extends beyond the confines of said opening, and said female section prevents flexure of said arm towards said body portion thereby to lock said casing to said panel, said body portion and said female section providing aligned apertures for the reception of electrical conductors.
2. A bipartite casing adapted for assembly to a panel or the like comprising, a male section having a body portion, a pair of arms projecting from said body portion and extending along said body portion on opposite sides thereof, said arms having enlarged ends and being flexible towards and away from said body portion, a female section fitted over said body portion and extending between said body portion and said arms whereby, upon assembly of said casing to a panel having an opening therein, said arms extend through said opening and said enlarged ends extend beyond the confines of said opening, and said female section prevents flexure of said arms towards said body partion thereby to lock said casing to said panel, said body portion and said female section providing aligned apertures for the reception of electrical conductors.
3. A device as set forth in claim 2 including flexible bracing means extending from said body portion, said bracing means being adapted to bear against said panel on the opposite side from said enlarged ends of said arms thereby to prevent axial movement of said casing relative to said panel.
4. In combination with a panel having a rectangular opening therein, a casing comprising a male section having a body portion extending through said opening and having on each of two opposite sides thereof arms extending substantially normally of said panel and through said opening, said arms being spaced from said body portion, said rectangular opening having a dimension less than the distance between said arms, said arms being flexible towards said body portion to permit insertion of said male section through said opening, said casing including a female section fitted over said body portion and having edge portions thereof extending between the surfaces of said body portion and said arms thereby to prevent flexure of said arms towards said body portion of said male section, and shoulder means in the ends of said arms on the sides thereof remote from said body portion, said shoulder means extending beyond the confines of said opening thereby positively to lock said casing to said panel.
5. A device as set forth in claim 4 including stop means bearing against the surface of said panel and lirniting the extent of movement of said casing relative to said panel. 7
6. A device as set forth in claim 4 including flexible bracing means extending from said body portion on the sides thereof and bearing against a surface of said panel, said bracing means functioning to restrain said casing against movement.
7. A device as set forth in claim 4 including locking means for locking said male section and said female section together.
8. A device as set forth in claim 4 including stop means on said body portion for limiting longitudinal movement thereof relative to said panel, and flexed bracing means extending from said body portion and bearing against said panel, said bracing means, by virtue of its flexed condition, maintaining said casing at the limit of its travel permitted by said shoulder means, and preventing vibratory motion of said casing relative to said panel.
9. In combination with a panel having a rectangular opening, a casing of relatively firm, plastic material, said casing comprising a male section having a body portion extending through said opening and having on each of two opposite sides thereof an arm spaced from said body portion and extending substantially normally of said panel and through said opening, said rectangular opening having a dimension less than the distance between said arms, said anns being flexible towards said body portion to permit insertion thereof through said opening, said casing including a female section fitted over said male section and having edge portions extending between the surfaces of said body portion and said arms thereby to prevent fiexure of said arms toward said body portion of said male section, shoulder means at the ends of said arms on the sides thereof remote from said body portion and extending beyond the confines of said opening positively to lock said casing to said panel, stop means on said body portion for limiting longitudinal movement thereof rela tive to said casing, and bracing means extending obliquely from said body portion toward, and bearing against, said panel, said bracing means being flexed convexly intermediate its ends toward said body portion thereby resiliently to maintain said casing at one of the limits of its longitudinal travel, as defined by said shoulder, and to prevent lateral movement and vibratory motion of said casing relative to said panel, said body portion and said female section providing aligned apertures for the reception of r electrical connectors.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,115,495 Mapelsden Apr. 26, 1938 2,782,391 Kirk Feb. 19, 1957 2,802,958 Curley Aug. 13, 1957