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Publication numberUS3084302 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 2, 1963
Filing dateDec 1, 1960
Priority dateDec 1, 1960
Publication numberUS 3084302 A, US 3084302A, US-A-3084302, US3084302 A, US3084302A
InventorsJean L Braeutigam
Original AssigneeHughes Aircraft Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electrical ribbon cable connector
US 3084302 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aprrl 2, 1 963 J. l.. BRAEUTIGAM 3,084,302

ELECTRICAL RIBBON CABLE CONNECTOR med DBC. 1. 196C s sheets-sheet i APIii 2 1,953 J. L. BRAEU'nGAM 3,084,302

ELECTRICAL RIBBON CABLE CONNECTOR 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. l. 1960 April 2 1963 J. L. BRAEUTIGAM ELECTRICAL RIBBON CABLE CONNECTOR 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Dec. l. 1960 l, .MM Z W M M. *M

llnited States Patent Olice 3,084,302 Patented Apr. 2, i963 3,084,302 ELECTl-CAL REBBGN CABLE CUNNESTQR Jean L. Braeutigarn, Eelliower, Calif., assigner to Hughes Aircraft Compmy, Culver City, Calii'i., n corporation of Delaware Filed Der. 1, 1966, Ser. No. 73,@23 8 Claims. (El. 339-45) The present invention relates generally to electrical cable connectors and relates mo-re specifically to means for connecting flat, multiconductor electrical ribbon cables to commonly used and available connectors or plug arrangements.

Electrical connectors and plugs are in common use and have been used for connecting etched circuit boards to adjacent structures or to conventional wiring. These common connectors are generally elongated and rectangular in cross-section and include an elongated slot in which a plurality of individual spaced connector elements are mounted. rl`he individual connector elements are of an electrical conducting material with the connector body being of a nonconducting material and wherein the connector elements extend from the connector -body in the form of terminals, pins or plug type elements. It has been common practice to utilize such connectors with etched circuit boards having the circuitry thereon brought to one edge in spaced terminations, each of which is adapted to mate with the correspondingly spaced connector elements in the connector.

it has been found that the well-known and used connectors for etched circuit boards may advantageously be employed with multiconductor, electrical ribbon cable with little or no modification of the connector, thereby enabling greater economic savings, Weight reduction and standardization of electrical components. This particular type of ribbon cable is in the form of a ribbon o-r tape of an insulating material, such as a ilexible plastic, having thin, lat, metallic strips embedded therein and disposed in parallel spaced relationship to each other. Ribbon cable of this type may be in the order of a few inches in width, with a thickness of a small fraction of an inch and having in the order oi ten to fifty or more conductors. The flat conductors are generally copper or the like that are provided with a coating or surface treatment which enables adherence of the plastic insulating material therto.

Many problems exist when attempting to connect the flexible, multiconductor ribbon cable to rigid plugs or connectors. The flexibility of the material, together with the relatively small sizes of the conductors, the relationship of the conductors, the necessity for establishing uniform and desired contact pressures and means for preventing inadvertent sepsration of the cable from the connector, all cooperate to define a portion of these problems. Accordingly, not only have prior connector arrangements been impractical and expensive in both manufacture and assembly, but the reliability of the connection has lett much to be desired in view of the delicate nature of the conductors. Still further, these prior used connection techniques have required the use of separate and distinct conductor strain relief apparatus that has added to the complexity, weight and costs thereof.

The described flat, muiticonductor, electrical ribbon cable is supplied by manufacturers in continuous lengths and it is convenient, as well as economical, to enable the desired lengths of such cable merely to be cut :from the stock material and thereafter utilized in connection with connectors or plugs without extensive treatment, handling or modification of either the ribbon cable material or the connector. it is also important that such connectors and connector arrangements for this type of electrical ribbon cable be of minimum weight and occupy a minimum of space and that cables be easily removed for repair or replacement, there being no requirement for the use of specific tools or fixtures.

lt is therefore one important object of the present invention to provide an improved means for connecting flat, multiconductor ribbon cable to standard connectors or plugs.

it is another object of the invention to provide structural apparatus to support portions oi the llat, multiconnector ribbon cable to enable use thereof with elongated connectors having a plurality of connector elements and for simultaneously enabling relief of strain on the cable and preventing inadvertent .removal thereof from the connector.

it is a further important object of the invention to provide a means for connecting multiconductor, dat ribbon cables to etched circuit board types of connectors, wherein no modification of the connector is required and 4wherein no specific tools or fixtures are needed to establish the connection.

Still another important object of the invention is to provide means for connecting ilat, multiconductor, electrical ribbon cable to connectors having individual connector elements and wherein adequate contact pressure is maintained between the connector elements and the conductors of the ribbon cable, the apparatus and the electrical characteristics being reliable, eicient, inexpensive enabling rapid assembly or disassembly without damage to the connector, ribbon cable or conductors.

Other and further important objects of the invention will become apparent from the disclosures in the following detailed specification, appended claims and accompartying drawings, wherein:

FiGURE l is an isometric view, partially cut away, showing one form of connection structure between ilat, multiconductor, electrical ribbon cable and a connector;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, transverse sectional view through the connector, connection means and cable, as taken substantially as indicated by line 2 2, FIG. l;

FlG. 3 is an exploded, fragmentary, partially sectional, isometric view showing the connector arrangement of FIG. l with the components thereof disassembled;

FlG. 4 is an exploded isometric View showing another form of the invention;

FIG. 5 is an isometric view showing a still further form of the invention;

FIG. 6 is an isometric View showing a further form of the invention in connection with means for maintaining the cable in connection with a connector;

FlG. 7 is an isometric view showing another form of the invention; and

FIG. 8 is a view showing a portion of a ribbon cable and individual terminal clips as used in the form of the invention illustrated in FIG. 7.

With reference to the drawings, and with reference primarily to the form of the invention illustrated in FIGS. l, 2 and 3, it is to be noted that the present electrical connection arrangement is adapted for use primarily with existing types of plugs or connectors as indicated generally at lll. The connector l@ is adapted for attachment to a panel 1l as by suitable fasteners such as screws l2. The connector lll further has a pair of laterally extending lugs 13 and an integral central body portion t4 of insulating material. The body portion lll has an elongated slot 15 therein, the walls of the slot having laterally aligned and spaced grooves 16 disposed normal to the slot l5. Individual connection elements in the form of metallic spring clips 17 are positioned within the grooves lo and have integral terminal portions 18, FIG. 2, which extend from a side of the connector body le remote from the elongated slot 15. The panel lll has a suitable open- Ving; 20 for reception of the connector element terminal portions 18. Individual wires or other conductors (not shown) may be attached to the connector element terminal portions 18- which may then in turn extend to elements or electrical componentsforming a portion of a structure a portion of which maybe the panel 11. The connection elements 17 are further provided with integral curved portions 21 that are slightly inwardly rounded and biased inwardly toward each other by the spring action inherent lin the material of the spring clips or connection elements 17.

The present invention provides means for connecting a flexible, multiconductor, electrical ribbon cable indicated generally at 22 to the connector 10. The cable 22 includes a plurality of parallel, laterally spaced conductors 2-3y of .at-metallic material such as copper, or the like, that are encased within and provided with an upper, lower and separating insulating coating 24. The coating 24 may be any suitable plastic material, or the like, and has 'a flexible characteristic to enable bending, folding or otherwise contouring of the cable 22.

For purposes of actual connection of the cable 22 and the individual conductors 23 with the individual clips 17, an end portion of the insulating material 24 is removed from one side of the cable 22 whereby to expose one surface of the conductors as at 25. The end portion having the exposed surfaces of the conductors 23 is thereafter folded over an elongated stilening and support member -26 which, in this form of the invention, is an integral portion of an adapter bracket indicated generally at 27. The bracket 27 may be made from any suitable rigid material and is preferably nonelectrically conductive. Fiber- `glas or similar material of the plastic variety reinforced with yglass fibers has been found to be suitable for this purpose. The bracket 27 may be molded, stamped or otherwise formed and may be suitably insulated metal such as anodized aluminum.

As shown, the bracket 27 further includes an integral transverse portion 28 disposed normal to the portion 26. The bracket 27 further has integral VL-shaped end portions 30 having openings 31 (FIG. 3) that are aligned With bores 32 in the lugs 13 of the connector 10. The screws 12 are adapted for disposition through the openings 31 and 32 whereby, as previously described, to secure the connector to the panel 11 and to retain the bracket 27 in the desired position.

It is to be noted that the portion 26 of the bracket 27 serves to support the folded-over portion of the ribbon cable 22 and to insure insertion of the end .of the cable into the slot in the connector 10. The portion 26 further serves as ,a backup member for the folded-over portion of the cable 22, whereby to insure adequate contact pressure between the exposed portions `of the conductors 23 and the curved portions 21 of the individual clips or connector elements 17. The adapter bracket 27 further serves l,to insure retention of Vthe .cable 22 relative tothe connector 10Vand to distribute any longitudinal strain on the cable 22 entirely across the width of the ribbon cable.

IIt may thusfbe seen that the cable 22, together with the portion 26 of the bracket 27 may be inserted .and .removed from the connector 10 Vas .desired without damage Vto the cable 22 vor the conductors 23 and while still mainitaining adequate Aand .precise contact with and contact pressure against the curved portions 21 of the clips `17.

With 'reference to the several other forms of the invention, similar reference numerals have been applied to the connector 10 and elements thereof` Additionally, in all the forms of the invention, the ribbon cable 22 is prepared in a similar manner as described vin connection with the 'form of the invention asillustrated in FIGS. l, 2 and 3, with the insulation removed from one side thereof, in order to expose one surface of the conductors 23, as at 25. Similar reference characters are also used for elements of the cable throughout the various illustrated and hereinafter described' forms of the invention.

With reference to the forni of the invention shown in FIG. 4, the ribbon cable 22 is disposed about a rigid support 4% that is similar to the previously described portion 26 of the adapter bracket 27. The rigid support 4t) may be made from any suitable material and is preferably electrically nonconductive. Each end of the support t) is provided with a tab 41 that is adapted to engage an outer surface of the body portion 14E- of the connector lili, with a rearwardly directed edge 42; of the support 49 being spaced from the surface of the connector body when the cable end portion is inserted within the slot 15 and Contact is madebetween the spaced conductors 23 and the clips 17. In this form of the invention, the ribbon cable 22 is retained in connection with the connector 10 by means of a pair of .7l-shaped brackets 43. The brackets 43 each have a formed groove 44 therein that is adapted to engage the edge surface 42 of the support 40. The brackets 43 are further provided with openings 45 for reception of the retaining screws 12 which extend through these openings and through the openings 32 in the connector lugs 13 to retain the assembly to a suitable panel or the like. The ribbon cable 22 may be removed from the connector 10 upon removal of the screws 12 and the brackets 43.

In the form of the invention shown in FIG. 5, the ribbon cable 22 is folded about a support element 50 which has laterally extending end portions 51 which protrude laterally beyond ends of the body portions 14 of the connection it). ln this form of the invention, the support element 50 and the cable 22 are retained in connection with the connector 10 by means of a pair of spring clips 52. The clips '52 are each provided with a generally rectangular, enlarged portion 53 having spring detent portions 54, the portion 53 being disposed about the lugs 13 of the connector 1l). The clips 52 are each further provided with an integral elongated portion 55 that is adapted to surround and engage the protruding end portions 51 of the support element 50. The spring clips 52 each have an opening 56 that is adapted for alignment with each opening 32 in the connector lugs 13, suitable screws (not shown) being adapted for insertion therethrough to retain the clips 52, as well as the connector 1t) to any desired adjacent structure.

With reference to the 'form of the invention illustrated in FlG. 6, the ribbon cable 22 is retained in connection with the connector lll as by a formed wire element 60. The wire element 6o 'has a portion disposed about a retaining peg 61 that is disposed from a lateral surface of the vbody 14 of the connector 19. A support member 62, having laterally extending end portions 63, serves to support the folded-over portion of the ribbon cable 22, the wire element 6l? having hook portions 64 on ends thereof that are adapted to surround and engage a rearward edge 65 of the support element 62. The wire element 60 constantly urges the support element 62 and the end of the ribbon cable 22 into the inserted position within the slot 1'5 of the connector 10. Also, this arrangement provides slight resiliency to the retention of the cable.

A still further Vform of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. In this form of the invention, the in- Vternal support element has been replaced by modified support and stiffening means and the cable 22 is folded back upon itself. A series of individual U-shaped terminal spring clips'7t) replace the previously described support element and are disposed about the folded-over edge of the exposed surfaces of each of the conductors 23. The individual clips 70 are adapted for contact with the conductors23 and with the clips 17 in the connector 10. The clips 7h serve to provide individual connection with the connection elements or clips 17 and stiften the folded-over edge-of the ribbon cable. The terminal clips 70 are further secured tothe conductors 23 as by cold welding, or the like. To retain thecable 22 in connection with the connector it?, the lateral sides of the cable 22l are provided with eyelets 7l disposed in and through an outer edge portion of the insulating material 24 of the cable 22. A pair of Wire connectors 72 having hooked end portions 73 are connected through the eyelets 71 and have other ends with formed portions 74 disposed about and under the heads of the screws l2. It may be seen, in the forms of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, that the cable 22 may be removed from the connector 1i? without disassembling the connector from the panel 1l. in some installation situations, such an ability is advantageous and particularly when it is desired frequently to remove the cable 22 from the connector i0.

it may thus be seen that the present invention provides adequate and advantageous means for connecting ribbon cable to a standard connector or plug in such a manner as first to support the cable; second, to provide a backup means to establish desired and adequate contact pressure between the conductors of the cable and the connection elements of the connector; and, third, to insure adequate distribution of strain forces across the width of the cable. The invention further enables removal, exchange, repair and reassembly of the cables in association with the connectors without damage to the connector or to the relatively delicate conductors of the cable.

Having thus described the invention and the present several embodiments thereof, it is desired to emphasize the fact that many further modifications may be resorted to in a manner limited only by a just interpretation of the following claims.

I claim:

l. An electrical connection apparatus for use in connecting flat, iiexible ribbon cable having a plurality of electrical conductors to a connector having an elongated slot, individual connector elements spaced within said slot and laterally disposed connector mounting lugs, the combination with said connector of said connection apparatus comprising: exposed end portions on one side of said conductors; an elongated, laterally disposed support member for said conductors, said cable and said end portions being folded about said support member With said exposed end portions of said conductors being outermost, said support member having ends extending laterally beyond lateral edges of said ribbon cable, said end portions of said conductors and a portion of said support member being disposed in said slot in said connector for electrical connection -of said conductors with each of said connector elements of said connector; and support member retention elements disposed in engagement with said mounting lugs of said connector and integral with said laterally extending ends of said support member for maintaining said cable in connection with said connector, elements for mounting said connector to an adjacent structure serving also to retain said retention elements in engagement with said lugs.

2. An electrical connection apparatus for use in connecting ilat, flexible ribbon cable having a plurality of electrical conductors to a connector having an elongated slot, individual connector elements spaced Within said slot and laterally disposed connector mounting lugs, the combination with said connector of said connection apparatus comprising: exposed end portions on one side of said conductors; an elongated, laterally disposed support member for said conductors, said cable and said end portions being folded about said support member with said exposed end portions of said conductors being outermost, said support member having ends extending laterally beyond lateral edges of said ribbon cable, said end portions of said conductors and a portion of said support member being disposed in said slot in said connector for electrical connection of said conductors With said connector elements of said connector; and individual retention members disposed in engagement with said mounting lugs of said connector and disposed in engagement with said laterally extending ends of said support member for maintaining said cable in connection with said connector, elements for mounting said connector to an adjacent structure serving also to retain said retention members in engagement with said lugs.

3. An electrical connection apparatus for nse in connecting fiat, flexible ribbon cable having a plurality of electrical conductors to a connector having an elongated slot and individual connector elements spaced within said slot, the combination with said connector of said connection apparatus comprising: exposed end portions on one side of said conductors; an elongated, laterally disposed support member for said multiconductors, said cable and said end portions being folded about said support member with said exposed end portions `of said multiconductors being outermost, said support member having ends extending laterally beyond lateral edges of said ribbon cable, said end portions of said conductors and a portion of said support member being disposed in said slot in said connector for electrical connection of said conductors With -said connector elements of said connector; and a spring Wire member carried by said connector and having hook ends extending in engagement with said laterally disposed ends of said support member for maintaining said cable in connection with said connector.

4. An electrical connection apparatus for use in connecting at, ilexible ribbon cable having a plurality of electrical conductors to a connector having an elongated slot, individual connector elements spaced within said slot and laterally disposed connector mounting lugs, the combination with said connector of said connection apparatus comprising: exposed end portions on one side of said conductors; a plurality of individual clip support members each being engaged with a different one of said conductors, said cable and said end portions being folded over within said support members, said end portions and a portion `of said support members being disposed in said slot in said connector for electrical connection of said conductors with said connector elements of said connector; and a pair of Wire retention members carried by mounting elements of said connector mounting lugs and having hook end portions connected through eyelets in edge portions of said ribbon cable for maintaining said cable in connection with said connector.

5. A connection structure for use with a flat, iiexible, ribbon cable having a plurality of laterally separated electrical conductors disposed Within `an insulating covering and having an end portion, said insulating covering being removed from one iiat surface of said cable at said end portion to expose a surface of said conductors; and a female connector having an elongated slot, `a plurality of laterally separated connector elements disposed Within Said slot, and having connector mounting lugs adapted to eceive fastening elements for securing said connector to an l.adjacent structure; said connection structure compri-sing:

(a) a rigid, thin, flat support member vadapted for insertion into said slot in said connector with said end portion `of said cable folded about said support member with said exposed surface of said conductors outermost for electrical connection of said conductors to said connector elements;

(b) and retention members operatively associated with said support member and adapted to engage said connector mounting lugs for maintaining said cable in connection with said connector,

(c) said retention members being adapted to be retained in engagement With said lugs by said fastening elements.

6. A connection structure for use with a at, flexible, ribbon cable having a plurality of laterally separated electrical conductors disposed within an insulating covering and having an end portion, said insultating covering being removed from one at surface of said cable at said end portion to expose a surface of said conductors; and a female connector having an elonated slot, a plurality 7. of laterally separated conneetor elements disposed. within said slot, and having connector mounting lugs adapted to receive'fafstening elements for'fsecurifng said. connector to an adjacent structure;` said Acc'iimfectiorl structure comprising: i

(o)y a rigid, thin, at support member adapted forinsertiouir'ito said slot in -sad connector with said end portion of said Acable folded about Said support member with said exposed surface of said conductors outermost VforY electrical connection of said conductors to said connector. elements;4 Y

(b1 rete tion members opera-tively associated with said support member and adaptedto engage said connector mounting lugs'for maintaining said cable in connection'Withsaidconnector,

(c).' said retention members beingintegral with said supportmembe'r,

(d) said retention members being adaptedV to be retained in engagement with said lugsbylsaid fasteningelements. v' 'l t 7. A connection structure for use with va ilat, iiexible,

ribbon cable havinga plurality of latera1ly"separated electrical conductors disposed Within an insulating coveringl and having an end portion, said insulating covering being removed from one'dlat surface of said. cable at said end portion toexpose a surfac'efot` said conductors; and a female connector having anV elongated slot', a plurality of laterally -separatedconnector elements disposed within said slot, and having connector mounting lugs adapted to receive fastening elements or'securirig said connector to an adjacent structuretfsaid connection lstructure comprising:

(nl a rigid, thin, flat support member adapted for insertion intosaid slot in said connector with said end portion of said' cable .folded about said `support ,inember'vvithsaid exposed surface ofsaid. conductors outermost for electrical connection of said'conductors to said connectorf elements,`

('b) said support member having a width greater than that of said cable and having ends to extend 1aterally beyond lateral edges of said cable;

(c) and retention members operatively associated with said support member and adapted to engage said connector mounting lugs for maintaining said cable in vconnection vyith `said connector,

(d) said retention members being individual and separateV brackets havingL grbves for engaging said ends of said support member', i

(e) said retention memblers being adapted to be rei tained in engagement with said lugs by said fastening elements.

8. A connection structure for use with a Hat, flexible,

ribbon cable having a plurality of laterally separated electrical conductors disposed Within an insulating covering and having an end portion, said insulating covering being removed from one flat surface of said cable at said end portion to expose a surface of said conductors; and a female connector havingl an elongated slot, a plurality of laterally -separated connector elements disposed Within slot, and having connector mounting lugs adapted to receive fastening elements for securing said connector to an Vadjacent structure; said connection structure comprisnsr (a) 'a rigid, thin, flat support member adapted for insertion into said slot in said connector with said end portion of said cable folded about said support member with said exposed surface of said conductors outermost for electrical connection of said conductors to said connector elements,

(b) said support member having a width greater than that of said cable and having ends to extend laterally beyond lateral edges of said cable;

(c) and retention members operatively associated with Vsaid support member and adapted to engage said connector mounting lugs for maintaining said cable in connection with said connector,

(d) said retention members being individual and separate clips having openings for surrounding and engaging s'aid ends of said support member,

(e) said retention members being adapted to be retained in engagement with said lugs by said fastening elements'j References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,825,037 French Feb. 25 195i;

2,858,515 Thunander et al. Oct. 278, 1958 2,961,629 Kamm Nov. 22, 19@

2,981,918 Gluck et al. Apr. 25, 1961 FOREIGN PATENTS IQO,490 Great Britain Dec. 2, 1953

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Classifications
U.S. Classification439/327, 439/373, 439/496, 439/328
Cooperative ClassificationH01R12/774, H01R12/79
European ClassificationH01R12/79, H01R12/77D4