US 3152815 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1964 A. R. BARRAG-ATO ETAL INTRA VEHICLE MECHANICAL CONNECTOR Filed June 3, 1963 FIG. I 4
This invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes, without the paymentto us of any royalty there- This invention relates in general to electrical connectors for conductors and moreparticularly to an improved manual connector having quick-connect and quick-disconnect features together with an automatic disconnect structure for emergency conditions.
Prior art connectors for joining separable elements have been made with spring-like fingers which hold the elements together and which may be readily severed with the application of a given force without damaging the connector. One application of such connectors is found in intra-vehicular arrangements which lincorporate a standardized electrical contact and is used to connect the prime mover vehicle to any trailer type unit. It is desirable to provide such a connector with a high-low separating force design. engagement during vehicle operation, but under emergency conditions the trailer will pull the connector from the receptacle without damage to the connector or receptacle. The connector of the instant invention can be released for separation manually by simple rotational movement followed by endwise axial movement.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a novel separable connector structure that will automatically disconnect when subjected to forces that increase beyond a certain safe amount to prevent damage to the connector. I
Still another object is to provide such a connector wherein the parts will be retained in tight holding and positive engagement and will not be easily dislodged by vibration and the like, yet may be readily separated by manipulation of an easily operable member.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a connector having a leaf-spring locking device which may be changed in effective length to allow for manual disconnect.
'Still another object of this invention is to provide a quick-connect, quick-disconnect connector which requires only a rotational release mechanism wherein the mating elements may be disconnected simply and quickly.
Objects and advantages other than those set forth will be apparent from the following description when read in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a longitudinal sectional view partly in elevation, through a line connector according to the present invention showing the connector in minimum pull position.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view of parts shown in FIG. 1, showing the connector in maximum pull position.
FIG. 3 is an end view of the connector with the closure cap receptacle removed.
FIG. 4 is a transverse section on the plane of the line 4--4 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of parts shown in FIG. 2.
Referring now more specifically to the drawings, for illustrative purposes, the electrical connector of the present invention is disclosed as of the two part type, wherein mating connectors, usually of the male and female type,
United States Patent 0 Such a device will provide positive I Patented Get. 13, 1964 ice are adapted for endwise axial movement into connected and separated positions.
More specifically, referring to FIG. 1, the connector is shown as comprising a terminal part as generally indicated at 15, and a receptacle cap part as generally indicated at 17, which will now be described in detail. As many types of connectors and receptacles could employ this type of coupling, the details of the internal portions havebeen omitted for the purposes of clarity.
Numeral 11 designates generally an outer sleeve which surrounds inner sleeve 13 of part 15. Part 17 surrounds the reduced portionll9 of the inner sleeve 13. The inner diameter of part 17 is such that it is slip-fitted over the reduced portion 1%. When parts 15 and 17 are assembled they are concentrically aligned so that their inner passages are in communication. It is to be understood that the respective terminals need be but generally cylindrical in configuration. Part 17 can be provided with a collar 21 having an annular shield 23 that extends over the coupling joint. The shield 23 is shown with an internal circular groove 25 within which is set a sealing ring 27 that contacts the outer sleeve 11 to keep dirt and moisture out of the joint. To further seal the coupling, an O ring stop member 29, shown in detail in FIG. 5, is positioned between the end of the receptacle and the shoulder 31 of the inner sleeve.
Single-leaf, spring fingers 35, 37 and 39 are equally spaced apart circumferentially around and have one end firmly secured to the outer surface of the inner sleeve 13 by means of rivets 41 or other fastening means. The fingers extend axially toward the engaging end of the connector 15 and terminate in radially inwardly projecting smooth grips 43. It will be seen from the drawing and particularly FIG. 5 that the grips 43 extend beyond the stop ring 29 and are curved in shape. Thus, the inner surfaces of grips 43 will slide over the surface of an annular abutment flange 45 and then spring to the position shown so that flange 45 bears against the grips 43 to restrain the connector from being disconnected by any predetermined reasonable amount of axial force encountered in normal service.
The sleeve 11 has its bore recessed at 46 an axial dis tance beyond the grips 43 to provide sufficient clearance for the grips to flex radially outwardly when the connector is subjected to an abnormally large axial pull. Shoulder 47 formed by recess 46 is the fulcrum point about which the fingers 35, 37 and '39 flex when the connector is in the position shown in FIG. 2.
The sleeve 11 has channels 48 milled or otherwise suitably formed in it and adapted to receive the fingers 35 when the sleeve 11 is rotated as shown in FIG. 1. Referring to the drawing, it will be noted that the depth of the channels are the same as the depth of the recess 46 for reasons to be explained shortly. In the embodiment shown, the sleeve 11 has six channels 48 arranged in pairs. Each pair of channels is spaced apart, a distance approximately equal to the width of the fingers. The length of the channels is substantially equal to the unsupported length of the fingers. Each pair of channels is equally spaced concentrically so that in the normal maximum pull position shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 each finger has a channel located on either side.
To provide for positive relative rotational movement between the outer sleeve 11 and the inner sleeve 13 a key 49 is formed on the interior face of the part 17 as seen in FIG. 5. A keyway 51 in the reduced portion 19 of sleeve 13 receives the key 49 when the parts are assembled. To insure that the normal position for the fingers 35, 3'7 and 39 is between each pair of channels 48, four helical springs 55 are positioned around the periphery of the connector with their longitudinal axis lying in the plane of the cutting line 44 of FIG. 1. Recesses 57 are formed in the inner sleeve 13 and the outer sleeve 11 to receive the springs 55. FIG. 4 shows the relationship between the springs and sleeves tobias the connector in its normal maximum pull position.
The mode of operation of this illustrative embodiment of the invention will be readily understood. Let it be imagined that the coupling is in connection-establishing use, and that it is desired to disconnect the parts from each other. Uncoupling is efiected by means of a slight manual rotational movement. Sleeve 13 is grasped with one hand and part 17 grasped with the other. The two members are rotated in opposite directions approximately 20 which is accomplished by compressing the helical springs 55. 'At this unbiased. position the centeriine of three of the channels are brought into approximate coincidence with the longitudinal centerline of each of the spring fingers. Whereas, before the shoulders 47 contacted the fingers to decrease their flexible length, the fingers are now free to bend from their fixed support (FIG. 1). The result of moving the fulcrum point of the fingers is that the deflection of the grips 43 for a certain load is increased due to the increase in the effective length of the leaf springs. The parts can thus be separated manually whereby the grips will slide over the element 45 with a minimum of effort. Continued pulling on the members in a straight-line axial movement results in complete disengagement of the grips from the element 45, with the resuiting separation of the members from each other.
To make a connection between members 15 and 17 the latter is slip fitted over the reduced tube 19. The key 49 is aligned with the slot 51 and the receptacle is slipped between the sleeves 11 and 13 until the grips 43 contact the raised portion 45 of part 17. At this position the shoulder 47 fulcrums the leaf springs to prevent the grips from sliding over the element 45. When the connector is rotated as described above one of the channels is again placed over a leaf spring with the resultantchange in the fulcrum point of the springs to their fixed support. It will thus be seen that the manual joining of the members can only be made upon rotation of the sleeve 11, together with a pushing together of the members. This results in a pressure on the grips which serves to urge the leaf springs radially outward and thereby allow the grips to engage a circumferentially extending groove 53 formed by element 45. Release of the sleeve 11 allows the springs 55 to automatically rotate the channels away from the leaf springs and place the connector in maximum pull position.
It will be observed that the telescoping complementary members of the connector herein described, when joined together, provide complete and positive locking therebetween, so that they are secure against dislodgement resulting from vibration and other disturbing means. It is apparent that this invention can be used for purposes other than electrical connectors, as, for example, hydraulic couplings, pneumatic couplings, and the like.
Although a specific embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be understood that various alterations in the details of construction may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as indicated in the following claims.
1. A connector comprising'separable first and second body members having maximum and minimum pull positions, said first member formed by inner and outer telescoping tubular sleeves, said inner sleeve having secured thereto circumferentially spaced and'longitudinally disposed radially fiexible fingers, one end of each of said fingers being fixably secured to said inner sleeve, the free ends of said fingers having grip portions, a peripheral groove on the outer surface of said second member for receiving said grip portions, the inner bore of said outer sleeve being recessed whereby said fingers are fulcrumed on the shoulder of said recess during maximum pull position, the depth of said recess being suificient to permit disengagement of said grip portions from said groove, a plurality of channels formed on the inner surface of said outer sleeve, said channels extending axially from the engaging end of said first member a distance substantially equal to the length of said fingers and extending inwardly beyond said shoulder and having a width sutficient to permit each of said fingers to be received within one of said aligned channels during minimum pull position, said channels having a depth at least equal to the depth of said recess, said outer sleeve aranged to rotate in relation to said inner sleeve whereby said channels can be positioned to receive said fingers when said first and second members are being moved into or out of maximum pull position.
2. A connector as described in'claim 1 wherein the inner surface of said outer sleeve and the outer surface of said inner surface are recessed to provide for the reception of helical springs, said helical springs being compressed by the rotation of the outer sleeve in relation to the inner sleeve and thereby biasing said connector in maximum pull position.
3. A connector as described in claim 2 wherein the inner sleeve has a keway and said second member having a key that engages in said keyway so that said outer sleeve can rotate in relation to said second member and said inner sleeve during the connect and disconnect operations.
Martin July 30, 1918 Clark Nov. 18, 1953