US 3086190 A
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ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR 4 Sheets-Sheefp 1 Filed May 28, 1959 Jnvenfor:
RUDOLF NEIDECKER HEINRICH HAMM A ril 16, 1963 Filed May 28, 1959 R. NEIDECKER ETAL ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR I 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 III -184 I81 lllllllillilllllllll Illl 1mm! IIII IIIIIIIllII/I'IIIIII lag/o ml 0 ml 0 llll m1 ml 0 1m 0 lm o Illl o RUDOLF NEIDECKER HEINRICH HAM M Filed May 28, 1959 April 1963 R. NEIDECKER ETAL 3,086,190
ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Jnven/or:
RUDOLF NEIDECKER HEINRICH HAMM 3,086,190 ELECTRICAL (JONNECTDR Rudolf Neideclrer and Heinrich Hamm, Basel, Switzerland; said Hamm assignor to said Neidecker Filed May 28, 195%, Ser. No. 816,548 Claims priority, application Germany May 27, 1958 14 Claims. (Cl. 339-177) Our present invention relates to electrical connectors of both the male (plug) and the female (jack) type in which an elongated, resilient contact element or, generally, a plurality of such elements are adapted for electrical and mechanical engagement with a complementary connector.
Devices of this character are frequently used to afford a releasable connection between two leads or wires of which one is usually fixed and permanently connected to the jack, the other, mobile who being usually connected in similar permanent fashion to the plug. This permanent connection, which is almost always necessary in order to insure proper contact between wire and connector, is normally effected by soldering. Since, however, iacks are often installed at locations which are accessible only with diflioulty or not at all to the solderers torch, this operation may present a serious inconvenience especially when carried out after final assembly to repair a break or to change an existing circuit.
The need for soldering in situ can be obviated if the fixed connector is designed as a dual jack or a dual plug whose two portions are in communication with each other electrically and are independently engageable by complementary mobile connectors respectively attached to the two lines to be interconnected. Our invention has for its general object the provision of a dual connector of this type which is simple in construction and reliable in operation.
In order to insure the existence of a low-ohmic connection between the two connector halves, as well as for reasons of economy, it is desirable that the same set of contact springs be used for both halves. It is necessary,- on the other hand, that each connector half operate mechanically independently of the other so that the establishment or the release of a connection at one half will have no effect upon a connection existing at the other half. In a dual jack, for example, insertion of a plug at one end must not deform the springs of the jack in a manner which would loosen their contact with a plug at the other end. Our invention, therefore, has as a more specific object the provision of a double connector with one or more throughsgoing contact springs independently deformable at each end.
It is known to fashion the contact springs of a plug or a jack from draw-hardened Wire of bronze or the like and to impart to them an initial curvature designed to afford good contact with the opposite connector. Heretofore, however, the elements needed to support these springs in their deformed position often required relatively intricate machining operations for their manufacture. It is another object of this invention to provide simplified and inexpensive means for supporting an array of curved contact-springs in a device of the character referred to.
It is also an object of our present invention to provide an improved connector construction enabling a plurality of substantially identical connectors to be combined into a compact array.
A feature of our invention resides in the provision of an elongated support in combination with one or more 7 elongated, preferably rod-shaped, resilient contact eleport made in a single casting operation.
adapt itself to the shape of a mating connector engaging either of its ends.
Another feature of our invention is the provision of means for restraining an intermediate point of the or each contact element while leaving free the two ends thereof. The restraining means may be a clamping bar or ring acting against a co-operating clamping member on the other side of the contact element, the latter member preferably forming part of the support itself. In an advantageous embodiment, the support takes the form of a thinwalled tube with bent-over ends constituting a pair of cuffs to accommodate the extremities of a tubular array of axially extending contact springs. Especially in the case of smaller connectors, however, it is not absolutely necessary to provide a supportco-extensive with the contact elements since their extremities could also be joined together by a common (eg. annular) link fixedly secured thereto, albeit at the expense of sacrificing the individual mobility of these elements. In accordance with a further feature of the instant invention, moreover, we prefer to give to both the intermediate restraining means and the two end-holding means (whether or not these latter form part of a common support) a frnstoconical shape which serves to impart the desired curvature, characterized by two independent humps on opposite sides of the restraining means, to the resilient contact elements held thereby.
The use of continuous, through-going contact springs in a connector according to our invention makes it possible, pursuant to still another feature, to utilize a support consisting entirely or in part of non-metallic material. This support can thus be made of a moldable plastic, e.g. polyvinyl chloride, whereby even large multiple-connector panels can be conveniently assembled on a common sup- Naturally, it is also possible to assemble individual connectors into a multiple array by fusion, bolting and so forth. The absence of metallic supporting elements will, in either case, simplify the problem of mutual insulation and will enable closer spacing of the individual connector units, thus resulting in a more compact assembly. The above and other objects, features and advantages of our invention will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description, reference being made tothe accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 shows the combination of two line terminals with a double jack-representing a connector according to the invention, the connector being illustrated in longitudinal section;
FIGS. 2 and 3 are similar sectional views of modified female connectors according to the invention;
FIG. 4 shows an assembly similar to that of FIG. 1 but including a dual plug embodying the invention;
FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 are longitudinal sectional views of combination male and female connectors according to the invention;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a flat female connector according to the invention;
FIGS. 9 and 10 are sectional views taken, respectively, on lines IX-IX and XX of FIG. 8;
FIG. 11 shows, in a sectional view similar to that of FIG. 9 a multiple array incorporating a plurality of connector units each similar to that of FIGS. 840;
FIG. 12 is an end view of the multiple array of FIG. ll;
,FIG. 13 is a fragmentary plan view of a multiple array of male connectors each generally similar to that of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 14 is a sectional view taken on the line XIVXIV of FIG. 13.
' In FIG. 1 we have shown a jack 10 consisting of two halves 10A and 1013. 'It comprises a tubular support 12 of thin sheet metal whose inturned ends form cuffs 13 which slidably receive the ends of a cylindrical array of elongated contact springs 11 made from round wire. Supporting tube 12 is formed with a centrally located internal groove 12 of V-shaped cross section into which there is pressed from within a restraining ring -14 of frustoconical shape. The contact springs 11 are wedged ti htly between the groove 12' of tube 12 and the ring 14; they are held out of direct contact with one another but remain conductively interconnected through their supporting members 12 and 14. It will be noted that the cuffs 13 are frustoconical in opposition to ring 4, i.e. the narrow base of the cuff faces the narrow base of the proximal side of the ring. This arrangement causes the slender springs 11 to flex inwardly even if they had originally been straight rods; naturally, the springs could also have been given a certain initial deformation in the desired sense. The ends of the springs are free to slide within cuffs 13 although being positively held thereby against radial movement.
The two halves 10A, 10B of connector 10 are designed to mate with respective plugs 17A, 17B which are respectively connected, e.g. by soldering as is well known per se, to a pair of cables 16A, 1613 which are to be selectively interconnected and separated. Insertion of either plug 17A, 17B into the jack 10 causes a slight flattening of the corresponding humps of springs 11 whose tips will thereby be driven a little deeper into the respective cufi? 13 without in any way alfecting the position of the pposite humps. Independence of operation of the two jack sections A and 10B is thereby assured.
The location of the restraining ring intermediate the extremities of the contact springs need not be at the center of the tubular support. In some cases it will be advantageous to shift this location to one side of the transverse plane of symmetry so as to provide unequal spring pressure in the two sections of the jack. This has been illustrated in FIG. 2 where a jack =20, generally similar to the connector '10 of FIG. 1, is divided by a restraining ring 2-4 into a shorter left-hand section 20A and a longer right-hand section 20B. The contact springs 21, whose extremities are again freely slidable in cuffs -23 integrally formed on supporting tube 22, are thus similarly divided into short sections 21A and long sections 21B both inwardly curved as previously described to form humps of similar height. It will be apparent that the short spring sections 21A will oppose greater resistance to the insertion and also to the removal of a plug than will the long, relatively yieldable sections 21B. Thus the jack section 20A may be used to provide a semi-permanent connection for the cable 16A of FIG. 1, which may be a trunk line, whereas jack section 20B will interchangeably accommodate a plurality of mobile conductors (e.g. subscriber lines) as represented by the cable 16B in FIG. 1.
In FIG. 2 we have also shown that the supporting tube 22, in contradistinction to the metallic sleeve 12 of FIG. 1, may be made of non-conductive plastic material. In this case it will be advantageous to mold the tube 22 with an external collar 22' which not only serves as an abutment for clamping ring 24- but also alfords a convenient point of attachment, e.g. by adhesive bonding or thermal fusion, to a similar connector unit. Any number of jacks 20 may thereby be assembled into a panel of such units.
The connector unit 30 of FIG. 3 lacks the elongated tubular support of the preceding figures, its contact springs 31 being clamped between an inner ring 34a and an outer ring 34b of complementary frustoconical configuration. Other frustoconical rings 35A, 35B tightly engage the ends of springs 31, thereby helping to impart the desired curvature to them.
The close fit between the inner and outer clamping members 14-12', 24-22 and 34a34b of FIGS. 1-3 can be realized by various means, including mechanical contraction of the outer member, expansion of the inner member or thermal shrinkage of the outer member around the inner one. It is, however, also possible to make either or both of these members, particularly the one with the concave profile, in two parts. This has been illustrated in FIG. 4 which shows a dual jack 40 accord ing to the invention having contact springs 41 supported on a central stem 42 Whose two axially aligned halves 42A, 42B are threadedly interconnected by a screw 42'. Each end of the central support 42 is provided with a frustoconical cap 43, secured to it by a screw 43, which defines an annular groove similar to that provided by cults 13, 23 in the preceding embodiments. The contact springs 41 have their ends movably retained by these caps 43 while being clamped at their center between stem 42 and an external ring 44. The entire assembly is surrounded by a molded body 4-3 forming chambers for the guidance of terminal sleeves 47A, 47B to which cables 46A, 46B are respectively secured and which are adapted to fit over the outwardly bulging spring portions of jack halves 40A, 4&3.
In certain instances, e.g. for high-power applications, it will be desirable to use a combination jack-and-plug connector according to the invention. Such a connector has been shown at 50 in FIG. 5 and comprises a rod-like support 52a for a set of inner contact springs 51a along with a sleeve-type support 52!) for a set of outer contact springs 51]). Inner springs 51a, which constitute the plug part of the connector, are clamped between an internal ring 54a within tubular stern 52a and the inner half 5412' of a split intermediate ring whose outer half 54b serves as a restraining means for the jack springs 51b. Caps 53:! on stem 52a and cuffs 5312 on tube 52b slidably engage the extremities of contact springs 51a, 51b, respectively, as previously described. A cable terminal adapted to make conductive contact with both sets of springs 51a, 511; has been shown at 57.
Although in FIG. 5 the two coaxial connector portions 51a, 52a and 51b, 52b have been shown as substantially coextensive, this relationship is not always required or desired. FIG. 6 shows a connector which in its lefthand portion is generally similar to connector 50 of FIG. 5, this portion comprising a section 6211A of a supporting stem for the plug springs 61a and, substantially coextensive therewith, a section 6211A of a tubular support for the jack springs 61b. The right-hand portion of connector 60 comprises another section 6201B of the support for the inner springs 61a, axially aligned with section 62aA and of substantially the same length, and a foreshortened section 6212B of the support for the outer springs 61b. The portions 64b, 64b of the intermediate clamping ring are spaced from each' other by an annular layer 640 of insulating material, thus galvanically separating the male part 61a from the female part 6115 of the connector. This connector is adapted to co-operate with a pair of line teriminals such as the one illustrated at 67, comprising an inner conductive layer 67a and an outer conductive layer 67b separated from each other by an intervening insulating layer 670. It will be seen that, when the terminal 67 is moved into engagement with the connector 60, inner layer 67a contacts the springs 61a before outer layer 67b contacts the springs 61b. It is thus possible to use the outer conductors 61b, 67b as part of an auxiliary circuit which, e.g. by means of a relay, closes the main circuit through inner conductors 61a, 67a only after contact between layer 671) and springs 61b has been established; this will prevent arcing of the connector on disconnecting since the opening of the low-voltage auxiliary circuit through springs 61b will have broken the main circuit through layer 67a before the latter leaves the springs 61a.
The connector 70 of FIG. 7 serves the same purpose as the unit 60 of FIG. 6 and differs from it only in that the axially aligned sleeve portions 7212A, 72bB are of the same length whereas stern portion 72aA has been foreshortened with respect to stem portion 72aB axially aligned therewith. In this case the main circuit may extend through the outer contact springs 71b while the auxiliary circuit includes the inner contact springs 71a. An annular insulating layer 74c again separates the portions 74b, 74b" of the intermediate clamping ring from each other. It will be understood that the insulating layers 64c, 74c could be omitted if the plug and jack portions of the connector are to form part of the same circuit; in this case the foreshortening of the support portion 62bB or 7211A and of the associated spring segments could still be desirable for mechanical reasons as described in connection with FIG. 2.
Reference is now made to FIGS. 8-10 for a description of a connector 80 with co-planar contact springs, in contradistinction to the cylindrical connectors shown in the preceding embodiments. Connector 80 comprises a plastic supporting body 82 of H-shaped configuration whose upper and lower halves are provided with lateral lugs 85 joined together, e.g. by thermal fusion, at 85'. Between these lugs there extends .a transverse clamping bar 84 whose beveled profile is accommodated by transverse V- grooves 82 in body 82. This body is also provided with slanting recesses 83 -for the ends of contact springs 81 which are clamped at their centers between 'bar 84 and grooves 82' and which extend in two parallel layers along the two legs of the H.
It will be apparent that any number of connectors 80 may be secured together side by side and/or above one another to form a panel or array of jacks. A linear array of this type has been illustrated at 180 in FIGS. 11 and 12. The array 180 has the same H-shaped profile as the unit 80 of FIGS. 8l0 and comprises a supporting body 182 consisting of two parallel plastic strips which are joined together by a web 184 of similar material. Web 184 serves as a restraining means for the several groups of contact springs 181 between which it is bonded by suitable means to the supporting body 182. The latter is also provided with pulses 189 which project toward one another from above and from below between groups of springs 181, thereby serving as locators for respective terminal members. In a particularly advantageous embodiment, such terminal members may be combined into a single plate 187 bearing printed circuits in the form of strips 187a positioned for engagement by respective banks of contact springs 181; the plate 187 is also provided with shallow grooves 187 engageable by the locator pulses 189. Furthermore, a device such as the connector assembly 180 may also be used in connection with bus bars,
' blade-type contacts and other conventional circuit elements.
FIGS. 13 and 14 show an array 140 composed of several male connector units 40 each similar to the one shown in FIG. 4. The clam-ping rings 44 of these units are inserted into respective apertures of a yoke 148 and are removably secured therein by means of screws 148'. It will be understood that means equivalent to those shown in FIGS. 13 and 14 may be used to join together any of the cylindrical connectors shown in FIGS. "1-7.
The tubular supports of the cylindrical connectors may be made with or without seams by any known process, e.g. by extrusion-molding or die-drawing. Naturally, however, the invention is not limited to the specific embodiments described and illustrated; thus, elements of different embodiments may be combined with one another, within the limits of compatilibity, or modified in the light of one another. These and other modifications, which will be readily apparent to persons skilled in the art, are intended to be embraced by the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
We claim: 1
1. An electrical connector comprising a plurality of substantially parallel, slender contact springs extending spacedly alongside one another with shallow curvatures symmetrical with respect to a common axis, each of said springs being longitudinally subdivided into two separately curved and independently deflectable portions coextensive with corresponding portions of each remaining contact spring, link means mechanically interconnecting corresponding extremities of said contact springs, and a pair of co-operating clamping members common to all of said springs, said clamping members engaging each of said springs at a location between said two curved portions thereof and maintaining said locations in a predetermined relative position.
2. A connector according to claim 1 wherein said clamping members are provided with oppositely sloping spring-engaging surfaces imparting said curvatures to said portions.
3. An electrical connector comprising a plurality of substantially parallel, slender contact springs extending spaoedly alongside one another with shallow curvatures symmetrical with respect to a common axis, each of said springs being longitudinally subdivided into two separately curved and independently deflecta-ble portions coextensive with corresponding portions of each remaining contact spring, an elongated support for said contact springs, link means at opposite ends of said support mechanically interconnecting corresponding extremities of said contact springs, and restraining means on an intermediate part of said support clamping each of said springs to said support at a location between said two curved portions thereof and maintaining said locations in a predetermined relative position.
4. A connector according to claim 3 wherein said portions are of unequal length, said restraining means being offset from the midpoint of said support.
5; An electrical connector comprising a plurality of substantially parallel, rod-shaped contact springs extending spacedly alongside one another with shallow curvatures symmetrical with respect to a common 'axis, each of said springs being longitudinally subdivided into two separately curved and independently defiectable portions coextensive with corresponding portions of each remaining contact spring, an elongated support for said contact springs, first and second link means at opposite ends of said support embracing corresponding extremities of said contact springs with freedom of limited sliding motion of said extremities relative to said support, and restraining means on an intermediate part of said support clamping each of said springs to said support at a location between said two curved portions thereof and maintaining said locations in a predetermined relative position.
6. A connector according to claim 5 wherein said link means comprises a pair of bent-over terminations on said support.
7. An electrical connector comprising a generally cylindrical array of substantially parallel, rod-shaped contact springs extending spacedly alongside one another with shallow curvatures symmetrical with respect to a conunon axis, each of said springs being longitudinally subdivided into two separately curved and independently deflectable portions coextensive with corresponding portions of all other contact springs, an elongated tubular support surrounding said contact springs, link means at opposite ends of said support mechanically interconnecting corresponding extremities of said contact springs, and a pair of co-operating concentric annular clamping members on an intermediate part of said support engaging each of said springs at a location between said two curved portions thereof and maintaining said locations in a predetermined relative position, one of said clamping members being rigid with said support.
8. A connector according to claim 7 wherein said clamping members are provided with oppositely frustoconical clamping surface imparting said curvatures to said portions.
9. An electrical connector comprising a generally cylindrical array of substantially parallel. rod-shaped contact springs extending spacedly alongside one another with shallow curvatures symmetrical with respect to a common axis, each of said springs being longitudinally subdivided into two separately curved and independently defiectable portions coextensive with corresponding portions of all other contact springs, an elongated tubular support surrounding said contact springs, first and second link means at opposite ends of said support embracing corresponding extremities of said contact springs with freedom of limited sliding motion of said extremities relative to said support, arid a pair co-operating concentric annular clamping members on an intermediate part of said support engaging each of said springs at a location between said two curved portions thereof and maintaining said locations in a predetermined relative position, one of said clamping members being rigid with said support.
10. A connector according to claim 9 wherein said link means comprises a pair of frustoconical rings.
11. A connector according to claim 10 wherein said rings are integral inturned extensions of said support.
12. An array of electrical connectors each comprising a plurality of substantially parallel, slender contact springs extending spacedly alongside one another with shallow curvatures symmetrical with respect to a common axis, each of said springs being longitudinally subdivided into two separately curved and independently defiectable portions coextensive with corresponding portions of each remaining contact spring, a support common to all of said connectors, link means mechanically interconnecting corresponding extremties of the contact springs of each connector, and restraining means on said support clamping each of said springs to said support at a location between said two curved portions thereof and maintaining said 10- cations in a predetermined relative position.
13. An electrical connector comprising an elongated support of insulating material, a plurality of juxtaposed pairs of substantially parallel, slender contact springs engaging said support at their ends, and an insulating restraining member common to all of said springs interposed between the springs of each pair and clamping same against said support at an intermediate location, said restraining member imparting to each of said springs two independently deflectable portions with shallow curvatures on opposite sides of said location bulging toward the other spring of the pair.
14. A connector according to claim 13 whecrin said support comprises two substantially fiat, parallel parts, said contact springs extending along facing surfaces of said parts, said restraining member being a bar extending transversely between said parts and defining therewith a substantially H-shaped structure.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,669,038 Brach May 8, 1928 2,255,553 Funk Sept. 9, 1941 2,301,447 Parker et al Nov. 10, 1942 2,466,499 Sokolik Apr. 5, 1949 2,626,299 Richards Jan. 20, 1953 2,792,561 Cohen May 14, 1957 2,906,990 Cain et a1 Sept. 29, 1959 FOREIGN PATENTS 725,781 France Feb. 16, 1932 669,220 Germany Dec. 19, 1938 704,450 Germany Mar. 31, 1941 250,673 Great Britain Apr. 16, 1926 139,298 Switzerland June 16, 1930 217,599 Switzerland Oct. 31, 1941