US 3011143 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 28, 1961 G. w. DEAN ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR N E E 1 E@ E, n mf .wm m\\\ --2 m w. y /l// iw l lwJ V wn* 1%. Il
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nite States Patetn O 3,011,143 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR Gordon W. Dean, Alhambra, Calif., assigner to Cannon Electric Company, Los Angeles, Calif., a corporation of California Filed Feb. 10, 1959, Ser. No. 792,287 6 Claims. (Cl. 339-49) This invention -relates to electrical connectors and to contact elements for electrical connectors.
It is an object of this invention to provide anelectrical connector composed of two connector members having contact elements therein which are adapted to be connected to the ends of conductor wires respectively of a cable, the connector members being matable and being generally similar to each other in structure and design whereby either of the connector members may serve as 'a receptacle or as a plug.
Another object of this invention is to provide an improved electrical contact element adapted to be m'unted in a connector mem-ber and adapted to provide an effecvtive and eicient electrical connection with a contact element of another connector member, the contact elements being generally similar toV each other in construction and design,
A further object is to provide a contact element of the above mentioned ch-aracter and adapted to be connected to the end of a conductor wire and then inserted, with the wire attached thereto, into the body of a connector member, the contact element having means for preventing being withdrawn from the connector member.
A `general object of this invention is to provide electrical connector members and contact elements therefor of the above mentioned character which are relatively simple and easy to manufacture, are rugged in construction and are reliable in operation,
The invention is especially advantageous when embodied in an electrical connector having a plurality of contact elements for making a multiplicity of electrical circuits. The connector members of this invention are adapted to'be formed from a plurality of structural units permitting any desired number of contact elements to be assembled easily for constituting a connector member.
Further objects and advantages of the inventionwill appear during the following part of this specification wherein the details of construction and mode of operation of a preferred embodiment are described with reference to the accompanyingdrawing in which:v
FIG. 1 is a cross lsection through an electrical connector of this invention andshowing the two connector members thereof separated;
FIG. 2 is a cross section through the connector taken along the same plane for the section of FIG; 1, but showing the two connector members thereof joined;
FIG. 3 is a cross section throughthe Velectrical connector takenalong line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a perspectiver view of the contact element. y
element i i Referring to the drawing in greater detail, there is I shown anelectrical connector of this invention Vcomprising two connector members which are designated, generally, by reference numerals 10 and 11, respectively.
ment are substantially/ identical to eachother in their details of construction and are adaptedy to be interengaged, as shown in FIG@ 2. of the drawing, forinterconnecting the. contactrelements or termina1s12`and13 of connector member .16 with contact element-s or`,ter-
minals 14 and 15 of connector member 11', respectively.
The ytwo connector members of the illustrated. embodi- 3,011,143 Patented Nov. 28., 1961 ICC Each of the contact elements is adapted to be connected (as will be explained more fully hereinafter) to the ends of conductors 16, respectively, whereby the electrical connector serves to join the conductors of one connector member to the conductors, respectively, of the other connector member.
Each connector member comprises a body or block 19 formed of non-conducting material. A synthetic polymer, e.g. nylon, is a preferred material from which to form the block. The block 19 is `substantially cylindrical in form and rectangular in cross section, it having a forward end surface 20, a rearward end surface 21, and side surfaces 2 2, 23, 24, and 25.
The illustrated block constitutes an yassembly of four strips of non-conducting material, these strips for block 19 of connector member 11 being a strip 26 which appears as a bottom strip in FIG. 1, a strip 27 upon the bottom strip, a strip 28 upon the strip 27, and a top ystrip 29. The strips 27 and 28 are identical to each other in the structural details thereof.
The body or block of the connector member 10 is likewise composed of four strips,` these being designated by reference numerals to correspond with thek reference numerals which designate the respective strips of the block 19 of connector member 11. The reference numerals for the several strips of the block of connector member 10 have a prime associated therewith to distinguish the component parts of theconnector member 10 from the corresponding parts of connector member 11,.y It will be noted that the strip 26 of connector member 10 appears in the upper-portion of FIG. 1 whereas the corresponding strip 26 of the connector member 11 vappears as -a bottom strip when viewedV a-s inFIG. 1. In like manner the other strips which form the block of member 10 appear as turned'V upside-down with respect to their cor-responding strips -in the block of vconnector member- 11. The configuration of each block is such that the block wilil mate with another block ment of the connector members. f
Referring -to FIGS. 4, 5 and 6of the drawing, a contact element or terminal 1=4 is shown as the same may be formed from an elongate flat strip of metal having end `edges'32 and 33. For convenience of reference herein, ytheterminal strip is described as comprising a contactengaging front end portion 34 terminating atend edge 32 of the terminal strip, a conductor-connecting rear end portion 35 terminating at end= edge 33 of the terminal strip, and a middle portion 36 between said end portions.
The conductor-connecting end portion 35. of the illustratedembodiment is formed as by bending the sideediges ofthe terminal strip'toward each otherto provide an endwardmost disposed tubular portion or sleeve 37 which yis crimped circumjacent the-outside surface of av jacket or Ycoating 38;of the conductor 16, The wire coreof the conductor 16 is` designated by reference numeral 39.
' Theterminal strip is cut as along slits 40 lto define an end of a tubular portion`41 of smaller diameter and which is crimped circumjacent the end of the wireY 39 of the conductor `thus to provide a secure electrical con- Ynection betweenv the terminal strip and the conductor.
It will be understood, of course, that other conventional v forms for the conductor-connecting end portion' of the terminal strip maybeemployed, such as, for example, ja solder cup construction.
It'is an important feature of this invention that .the
contact terminals arel adapted to bev connected tothe jends of theconductors and then inserted into the blocks of the connector members wherethey will remain against against each other.
being withdrawn. For that purpose the middle portion' 36- of the terminal strip has a spring retainer finger 43 struck from it leaving an opening 44 in the metal strip. The spring linger extends longitudinally with respect to the terminal strip with that end 4S of the finger which is remote from the conductor-connecting end portion of the strip, being integral with the strip, while the other end 46 of the finger is free. Thus, the finger may be pressed toward or partially into its opening, as when the terminal strip is being inserted in the insulation block, and then the finger will spring outwardly, when `free to do so, to the position thereof shown in FIG. 5, whereby the end 46 of the linger will engage a shoulder (hereinafter identified) on the inside of the block to prevent withdrawal of the terminal from the block.
The contact-engaging end portion 34 of the terminal strip is narrower than the middle portion 36 to dene shoulders 48 which extend axially inwardly from side edges 49 of the middle portion. The shoulders 43 will engage complementary shoulders (hereinafter identified) on the inside of the block to limit the extent to which the terminal strip may be inserted in the block. There are two spaced apart and parallel sli-ts 51 formed in the contact-engaging end portion of the terminal strip extending through end edge 32 to provide a middle finger 52 and two side fingers 53. The middle finger is bowed outwardly from the axis of the strip between its ends as by being bent a-t line 55 where it is integral with the metal strip, to incline outwardly from the axis of the strip to a transverse bend line 56 from which the finger inclines back in a flat contacting portion toward the axis of the strip. Proximate end edge 32, the middle finger is again bent outwardly along bend line 57 to provide an end or lip lead-in portion 58 which enables easy interengagement of the middle finger of one terminal strip with the middle finger of another terminal strip with which it is to be interengaged. The side fingers 53 are also bowed outwardly yfrom the axis of the terminal strip, but in a direction opposite to the bow of the middle finger, i.e. as a terminal strip appears in FIG. 6, the side fingers `are bent downwardly from bend line 55, thence upwardly at bend line 56 so as to incline forwardly and back toward the axis of the strip in fiat contacting portions, and thence downwardly again at bend line 57 to provide end lead-in portions S8 which make for easier interengagement with corresponding side fingers of another terminal.
The manner in which the contact terminals of connector member 10 interengage or mate with respective contact terminals of connector member 11 appear-s best in FIG. 2.y Referring in particular to the contact terminal- 14 of connector member 11 and to the terminal 12 of the connector member 10, these being in alignment for interengagement and being inverted with respect to each other, it will be noted that the end lip 58 of the middle finger of terminal 14 will be inclined downwardly, whereas the end lip of the middle finger of terminal 12 will be inclined upwardly so that in being interengaged the middle finger of terminal 14 will slide under the middle finger of terminal 12, yeach liexing the other until the inside faces of the endv lips engage respective inside lfaces ofthe slant portions of the fingers between bend `lines 55 and 56. The fingers will thus close flush In like manner the side fingers of terminal |14 will first flex and then mate with respective side fingers ofl terminal 12 as the terminals are interengaged.
Referring again to the details of construction of block 19-1 and to the thin strips 26-29 from which the block is formed, the strips are shaped such that when assembled together, they will define a plurality of openings 61 -extending through the block from' end to end thereof to receive the contact terminals, respectively. The sectional views of FIGS. l and 2 show but two contact terminals,
14 and 15, for the connector member 11; however, the4 illustrated block is constructed to accommodate three contact terminals in the plane or row of terminals 1'4 and 15, hereinafter referred to as row a. For the purpose of better illustrating the details of construction for the inside Wallls which define the block openings 61, a lower* most opening 61a3 of the row a for connector member 11 is shown without having a contact terminal positioned therein. Also, by referring to FIG. 3 of the drawing, it will be noted that the block 19 of the illustrated embodiment is adapted to receive a row or tier b of contact terminals disposed alongside row a, but again a block opening 61b1 of ro'w b is shown' as not having a terminal positioned therein.
The openings 61 for the contact terminals are provided by forming longitudinally extending grooves in the upper and lower surfaces of the plurality of thin strips from which the block is formed whereby a groove in the upwardly disposed surface of intermediate sit-rip 28, for ex* ample, will be aligned with a groove formed in the under surface of top strip 29 thereby to provide an opening 61ml for the contact terminal 14. As the openings 61 are adapted to receive respective contact terminals after the terminals have been secured on the ends of the conductors, the block openings have oppositely disposed keyway portions 63 extending from rearward end face 21 of the block and terminating at rearwardly facing shoulders 64 for receiving the side marginal portions 49 of the middle portion 36 of a terminal. These key-way or slot portions 63 are just wide enough to accommodate the marginal portions 49 whereby the side Walls of the keyways serve to prevent a terminal from turning on its longitudinal axis. Also, the key-way slots 63 are deep enough only to allow the middle portion of a terminal to t snugly between the slot bottoms whereby the side edges 49 of a terminal will hold the terminal against axial misalignment in its opening in the block. Shoulders 48 on the terminals abut against shoulders 64 of the block openings to prevent axial movement of a terminal in its opening in a direction toward the forward end 20 of the block.
The grooves which form the openings 61 are recessed or countersunk at 66 and 67 to accommodate the tubular portions 38 and 41, respectively, of a terminal. The illustrated embodiment is one in which its contact terminals are entirely contained within the insulation block. It isV to be understood, of course, that it is not necessary that the conductor-connecting end portions of the terminals be contained entirely within the block, for in some installations such end portions may extend out beyond the rearward end surface 21 of the block.
At the inner end of the recess 66 for the undersurface of block strip 29, there is a land 68 extending to the inner end of a recessed portion 69. 'This structure appears best in the lower left-hand portion of FIG. 3 showing an opening 61b'1 of connector member 10, the same being shown as not having a contact terminal positioned therein. That part of a block opening which is designated n by reference numeral 61'b1 is formed in the top surface Vbeing inserted in its block opening, the spring finger 43 on the terminal will be pressed, by sliding engagement against the land 68, into or toward opening 44. When next the shoulders 48 of the terminals reach the shoulders 64, the spring finger will be free to spring out into the recess 69 where its free end 46 will be disposed adjacent shoulder 7 il which defines the bottom or inner end of the recess 69, Thus, upon a terminal being positioned in its opening as just described, the spring finger 43, by engagement with shoulder 70, vwill prevent withdrawal of the terminal from its block opening in a direction axially toward the rearward face 21 of the block.
Forwardly of the recess 69, block opening 6r1a1 in the undersurface of block strip 29 for terminal 14 (as does vopening 61b71) continues as a yrecessed portion 72 of the conductor-connecting end portion 35 of a contact terminal. Each of the block strips has a plug or male portion 74 extending outwardly beyond the forward wall 20. Such outwardlyrextending portions 74 Vserve to shield the outer ends of the contact iingers of the terminals. The outer ends of the portions 74 are designated by reference numeral 75. A land 76 serves to separate a block opening 61a1 in the a row or tier of terminals from its adjacent block opening Glbl in the b row of terminals.
The other half of the block opening 61a1 for the terminal 14 is defined by a groove formed in the upper surface of intermediate strip 28 of the block, and the details of construction thereof appear best in the lower right-v hand portion of FIG. 3 as opening 61b1. The groove 61b1 in strip 28 is generally similar to the groove 61b'1 above described, but it does not have any recess formed therein corresponding to the recess 69. The two grooves for the block openings 61a1 and 61171 in the upper surface of block strip 28 are separated by a land 78 which terminates at bottom wall 79 of a forwardly disposed recess 80. The recess 80 extends between the two adjacent block openings of the a and b rows thus to provide a socket portion, constituted of the recess 80, for reception of a plug portion 74' in the forward end of strip 27.
The block portions 74 are narrower than the dimension` between side walls 24 and 25 of the block 19 so as to be received within respective recesses 80.
Frorn the above description it will be apparent that each block 19 is formed of a plurality of strips laid one upon the other, one surface for the intermediate strips 27 and 28 having grooves formed therein as above described for 61b1 and the other surface having grooves formed therein las above described for 61b1. For the endmost members 26 and 29 of the stack of strips one endmost strip member 29 has grooves formed therein as above described for 61b1, while the other endmost strip 26 has grooves formed therein as above described for lbl. Thus, the top surface of the opening separating land 78 of intermediate strip 2S, for example, will lie flush against opening separating land 76 of strip Z9. Before the contact terminals are inserted into their respective block openings, the several block strips are made integral with each other in a stack as with a suitable solvent serving as -an adhesive.
For some installations it may be desired to encase the blocks in a shell, e.g. shell 83 for the block of the connector member 11 and shell 84 for block 10. The shell 83 has an end flange 85 lapped over the outer surface Z1 of the block and has a bead 86 which extends into a groove 87 formed in the outside surfaces of the strips 26 and 29, such end flange and bead serving to secure the shell around theblock. Also the shell 83 may have an outwardly extending flange 88 at its forward end for' mounting the connector member 11 in an opening 89 of a panel 90. For an installation employing the iiange 88, the connector member 11 will serve as a receptacle rand the connector member 10 will serve as a plug, it being understood, however, that the blocks may be used without 'shells and also as units with shells but without any structure which would distinguish one as a receptacle member and the other as a plug member.
It is contemplated further that the blocks 19 may be grouped together in a battery formation. Thus in FIG. 3 there is shown along one side of block 19 a corresponding block 92 and at its other side another corresponding block 93. For preventing axial movement of the blocks 19, 92 and 93, they are provided with tongue and groove structures as shown at 94. For an installation employing a plurality of blocks side by side, the shell 83 will preferably encase all of them to serve as a connector member having a large number of contact elements. v
While the instant invention has been shown and described herein, in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is thereforenot to be limited to the details disclosed herein, but is to be accorded the full scope of the claims.-
What I claim is: Y n .Y
l. A contact terminal for an electrical connector which comprises: an elongate generally flat contact element having front and rear portions; means on said rear portion for engaging an electrical conductor; said front portion including three forwardly extending, longitudinally directed spring fingers arranged side-by-side so that one of said fingers is a middle finger and the other two fingers are side fingers positioned adjacent opposite sides of the middle finger; each of said fingers having a rear portion extending outwardly from the plane of the element, and a fiat contacting portion inclining forwardly and inwardly toward the said plane from said rear portion; whereby said fingers are interengageable in overlying position with respective fingers of a similarly constructed contact element, with said fiat contacting finger portions of one contact element mating with respective opposed fiat contacting finger portions of the other contact element, said ilat contacting portion of the middle finger being inclined relative to said plane in a direction opposite to the direction of incline of the flat contacting portions of the side fingers relative to said plane.
2. A contact terminal for an electrical connector as defined in claim l which includes a lead-in portion at the forward tip of each finger, said lead-in portion inclining forwardly and outwardly of said plane from said iiat contacting portion of the respective finger on the same side of the plane as said liat contacting portion of the respective linger.
3. A contact terminal for an electrical connector as defined in claim 2 wherein said elongate contact element comprises an elongate generally tiat strip of metal, said three spring fingers being formed therein by a pair of spaced, longitudinally arranged slits extending through said front portion of the contact element.
4. An electrical connector member which comprises: a body of non-conducting material having an opening extending therethrough; an elongate generally fiat contact element disposed in said opening, said contact element having front and rear portions; means on said rear portion for engaging an electrical conductor; said front portion including three forwardly extending, longitudinally directed spring fingers arranged side-by-side so that one of said fingers is a middle finger and the other two fingers are side fingers positioned adjacent opposite sides of the middle finger; each of said fingers having a rear portion extending outwardly from the plane of the element, and a fiat contacting portion inclining forwardly and inwardly toward said plane from said rear portion; whereby said ngers are interengageable in overlying position with respective fingers of a similarly constructed contact element, with said at contacting finger portions of one contact element mating with respective opposed flat contacting finger portions of the other contact element, said flat contacting portion of the middle finger being inclined relative to said plane in a direction opposite to the direction ofincline of the at contacting portion of the side fingers relative to said plane. i
5. An electricalconnector member as defined in claim 4 which includes a leadin portion at the forward tip of -each finger, said lead-in portion inclining forwardly and outwardly of said plane from saidrat contacting portion of the respective finger on the same side of said plane as said flat contacting portion ofthe respective finger.
`6. An electrical connector member as delined in claim Y 5 wherein said elongate contact element comprises an elongate generally fiat strip of metal, said three spring fingers being formed therein by a pair of spaced, longitudinally arranged slits `extending through said front por-l tion of the contact element. Y
(References on l following page) P7 a References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,297,336 White Sept. 29, 1942 2,497,523 Warkentiu Feb. 14, 1950 2,744,244 nSchumacher et a1 May 1, 1956 2,838,739 Winkler June 10, 1958 8 Fox May 26, 1959 FOREIGN PATENTS Switzerland Apr. 16, 1942 Great Britain Aug. 18, 1941 Germany July 19, 1951