US 3188601 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 8, 1965 D, 3, DE TA 3,188,601
ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR FOR TAPE-LIKE ELECTRICAL CABLE Filed Aug. 15, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR. Dav/up P. D5 72/? ATTORNEY ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR FOR TAPE-LIKE ELECTRICAL CABLE Filed Aug. 15, 1962 D. R. DE TAR 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 June 8, 1 965 Q? Q 6 fin x a mm//// /%//fi MW m INVENTOR. Da/v/up R. 2357, 1?
ATTORNEYS D. R. DE TAR June 8, 1965 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR FOR TAPE-LIKE ELECTRICAL CABLE Filed Aug. 15, 1962 5 Sheets-Shea; :5
' INVENTOR. DON/74D DE 72A ATTORNEYS June 8, 1965 D. R. DE TAR 3,
ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR FOR TAPELIKE ELECTRICAL CABLE Filed Aug. 15, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 62 F 65 MENTOR. I DON/71.29 7?. DE 777/? ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,188,601 ELECTRICAL CDNNECTOR FOR TAPE-LIKE ELECTRICAL CABLE Donald R. De Tar, Stratford, Comm, assignor, by mesne assignments, to Litton Precision Products, Inc., a corporation of Delaware Filed Aug. 15, 1962, Ser. No. 217,042 4 Claims. (Cl. 339-75) The present invention relates to an electrical connector and it relates, more particularly, to an electrical connector for use in conjunction with electrical cables in the form of a tape.
Generally speaking, tape-like electrical cables of the type referred to herein and which are available commercially, are in the form of a fiat flexible strip in which a number of thin flat strips of conductive material, such as copper foil, are enclosed in a fiat sheath of plastic insulating material and extend lengthwise of the cable in spaced parallel relation to each other. The conductors may be sandwiched between two sheets of flexible plastic insulating material, such as a polyester, which are bonded together or they may be embedded in such a material so that the plastic insulating material forms the sheath of the cable and also holds the conductors in their respective positions. Such cable, which resembles a tape, has been available commercially for some time, but although it has certain advantages over the usual electrical cables, its use has not become widespread because of difficulties encountered in making connections to the conductors and in providing suitable connectors for use in conjunction therewith.
An object of the present invention is to provide an electrical connector by means of which reliable electrical connections may be readily and quickly made to the conductive elements of such a cable. A further object of the invention is to provide an electrical connector which can be applied to such an electrical cable on the job and without the necessity of soldering or crimping of contact elements to the fragile foil-like conductive elements of the cable.
Another object of the invention is to provide an electrical connector for such a cable by means of which circuit connections with other types of wiring, such as printed circuit, crimped or soldered contact elements or the like, can be readily made.
In general, an electrical connector embodying the present invention comprises two separable parts, a male member or plug and a female member or receptacle. The male member or plug comprises two interfitting parts molded from an insulating material which when assembled hold and support an end of the cable with portions of the thin foil-like conductive elements exposed to form the male contact elements or prongs. Thus, no soldering or crimping of the conductors to contacts or the like is involved.
The female member or receptable comprises a body made of two parts molded from insulating material. The two parts of the body when assembled define an vopening to receive the conductor-carrying portion of the plug and which leads to spaced spring contact elements mounted within the body of the receptacle to engage electrically with the exposed portions of the conductive elements of the cable forming the male contact elements of the plug.
The receptacle and the spring contact elements mounted therein can also be utilized in making electrical circuit connections with various types of contact elements or terminals, such as the terminals for a printed circuit board, contact pins which are soldered or crimped to individual wires and the like. 7
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent and will be more fully understood from the following description and the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating one form of an electrical connector embodying the invention, with certain parts in an exploded relation and with certain parts omitted for clarity;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view in partial section illustrating a housing for the male member or plug of the electrical connector shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating a cable sup port or spacing element for the male member or plug of the electrical connector shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a plan view illustrating a portion of a tapelike electrical cable as prepared for assembly in an electrical connector embodying the invention;
FIG. 5 is a side view of the portion of the electrical cable shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a section View, on an enlarged scale, taken along the line 66 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a section view, on an enlarged scale, taken along the line 77 of FIG. 4; 7
FIG. 8 is a vertical section view taken along the line 8-8 of FIG. 9;
FIG. 9 is a plan view in partial section illustrating the electrical connector shown in FIG. 1, but on an enlarged scale;
FIG. 10 is a plan view of the interior of an upper body part for the receptacle of the electrical connector shown in FIGS. 1 and 9 and on the same scale as FIG 9;
FIG. 11 is an end view of the upper body part shown in FIG. 10;
FIG. 12 is an end view of a lower body part for the receptacle of the electrical connector shown in FIGS. 1 and 9 and on the same scale as FIG. 9;
FIG. 13 is a plan view of the interior of the lower body part of the receptacle shown in FIG. 12;
FIG. 14 is a section view taken along the line 14-14 of FIG. 11;
FIG. 15 is a section view taken along the line 15-15 of FIG. 12;
FIG. 16 is a section view taken along the line 1616 of FIG. 11;
FIG. 17 is a section view taken along the line 17-17 of FIG. 12;
FIG. 18 is a section view taken along the line 18-48 of FIG. 11;-
FIG. 19 is a side view of a spring contact element for the receptacle of the electrical connector shown in FIGS. 1 and 9;
FIG. 20 is a plan view illustrating an electrical connector embodying the invention used in making circuit connections between a tape-like cable and a printed ciraration of an electrical connector embodying the invention due to vibration or the like.
For purpose of clarity, the connector embodying the invention and the various parts thereof have been illustrated in the accompanying drawings on an enlarged scale. However, it will be understood that in actual practice, the connector is quite small and light in weight.
Patented June 8, 1965 V Referring now to the drawings in detail, there is shown in FIG. 1 an electrical connector embodying the invention which comprises a double-ended receptacle 1 adapted to receive mating plugs 2 at opposite ends thereof. As will be described hereinafter, wiring connections may be made to the receptacle by means other than the plugs shown in FIG. 1.
As shown best in FIGS. 2 and 3, the plug or male part of the connector comprises a cable-supporting spacer member 3 and a hollow housing or body member 4, both of which are molded from a suitable insulating material, such as nylon. The housing is shaped to receive the cablesupporting spacer member and it has an elongated slotted opening 5 in its front end which faces an end of the receptacle when the two parts are brought into engagement. The slotted opening in the housing is shaped to permit the forward or front end of the cable-supporting spacer member to pass through said opening to a position where it extends beyond the front end of the housing when the spacer member is inserted within the housing.
The cable-supporting spacer member has an elongated flat central portion 6 with guide flanges 7 extending upwardly therefrom along its opposite side edges and flanges 3 forming stops extending downwardly therefrom along its opposite side'edges. The slotted opening in the housing 4 is shaped to accommodate the guide flanges, but the stops engage with the interior surface of the housing adjacent the slotted opening. Thus, when the spacer member is assembled .in the housing, the front or forward end of the spacer member with the guide flanges projects beyond the front end of the housing and the flanges forming the stops are seated against the interior surface of the housing. In addition, the outer surfaces of the flanges bear against the interior surfaces on opposite sides of the housing.
The width of the central portion of the cable supporting spacer member 3 between the guide flanges and also the flanges forming stops is made equal to the width of a flat tape-like cable 9 which is mounted thereon. The flanges engage with the side edges of the cable and position the cable on the spacer member.
FIG. 47 illustrate the. manner in which the cable is prepared for mounting on the cable-supporting spacer member prior to insertion of the spacer member in the housing. As is shown in these figures, the tape-like cable 9 is a fiat, flexible strip having a sheath ll of plastic insulating material which encloses a series of flat conductors 11 extending lengthwise thereof in spaced parallel relation to each other. The flat conductors are generally in the form of a relatively thin metallic foil and hence are of a somewhat fragile nature and difficult to handle individually.
In preparing the cable for mounting on the spacer member, the upper layer ltla of the plastic sheath is removed from a portion 9a of the cable spaced inwardly from one end thereof so as to expose the conductors. The layer is removed for a distance which is slightly less than twice the length of the forward end of the spacer member 3 which projects beyond the housing.
In assembling the elements of the plug, the portion of the cable from which the layer of insulation has been stripped is wrapped around the forward end of the spacer member 3 with portions of the cable extending between the upper and lower flanges on the spacer member and being positioned thereby. The exposed portions of the conductors face outwardly and are supported on both sides of the forward end of the spacer element so as to form the male prongs of the plug. When the spacer member with cable supported thereon is inserted in the housing 4 as shown in FIG. 8, there is a space or recess within the housing at the rear of the spacer member through which the cable extends. This space or void is then filled with a suitable potting or sealing material 12 which closes the end of the housing and holds the spacer member in place. The potting material may be a plastic which will soften at relatively low temperatures and can be applied as required at the job location.
In the assembled plug, the forward end of the spacer member which projects beyond the front end of the housing, supports the exposed spaced conductors of the cable in a position where contact can be made therewith and protects the conductors against damage. As will be noted, the plug can be readily assembled on the job without soldered or crimped connections being made to the individual conductors.
The receptacle 1, as illustrated, is a double ended part having plug receiving openings in its opposite end faces. it is made up of an elongated upper body part 20 and a mating elongated lower body part 21, both of which may be molded from a suitable insulating material, such as nylon. The two body parts have opposing surfaces 22 and 23 at their sides which are brought into contact when the two body parts are assembled. A centrally located partition 24 extends transversely across the inner surface of the upper body part 29 (see FIGS. 9, 10, 11 and 14) and is seated at its outer ends in mating slots 25 formed in the inner surfaces at the sides of the lower body part 21 (see 1 165.12, 13,15 and 17).
Intermediate their sides, the body parts have a series of spaced ribs 2%, 26' of reduced height formed on the opposing interior surfaces thereof. The ribs extend vertically or lengthwise of the respective body parts and define contact receiving and positioning channels 27 and 27' therein. In the upper body part, the partition 24 extends across the ribs and the channels. In addition, the channels in the upper body part contain raised areas 28 which form shoulders 28a spaced inwardly from the open ends thereof. When the two parts are assembled, the partition rests on .and extends across the ribs in the lower body member.
In the assembled body, the ribs and channels on the interior surfaces of the two parts are in aligned opposing relation and the opposing surfaces of the ribs of the two body parts which are spaced apart, define an elongated slotted opening 29 at each end of the receptacle which is shaped to permit insertion of the forwardly projecting end of the spacer element of the plug into the receptacle. To facilitate entry of the end of the spacer element, the tops of the ribs at their ends may be beveled downwardly and outwardly as indicated at 30.
The channels formed between the opposing sets of ribs in the receptacles are of approximately the same width as the conductors of the cable and are spaced to correspond to the spacing of the conductors in the cable. Thus, when the cable-carrying end of the spacer member of the plug is inserted in the receptacle, exposed portions of the conductors are aligned and in registry with the channels in the receptacle.
In addition, as shown in FIGS. 1, 9 and 11, interior channels 31 are provided at each side of the upper body part to receive the guide flanges 7 extending upwardly along the sides of the spacer member 3 of the plug. Entry of the guide flanges into the channels in the receptacle aligns the conductors of the cable with the channels in the receptacle and it also provides polarization by permittrng the plug to be inserted in the receptacle in only one position.
Each of the contact-receiving channels in the receptacle contains a spring contact 40. The spring contact, as shown in FIG. 19, is made from a strip of conductive material which is bent to form a flat base portion 41 having arms 42 extending upwardly therefrom. Each of the arms is bent to form an outwardly facing U-shaped clip. As shown in FIG. 8, the base portions of the contact elements are seated in the channels in the lower body part of the receptacle with the U-shaped clips formed by the arms facing the openings at the opposite ends of the receptacle so as to receive the exposed portions of the conductors 11 on the spacer member between opposing portions of the clips. The central partition 24 carried by the upper body part extends between the bottoms of the U-shaped clips formed by the arms of the contact and thus serves to hold the contacts in proper position for engagement with the conductors of the cable. The upper ends 43 of the arms of the contact are turned inwardly and abut the shoulders formed at the ends of the raised areas in the channels in the upper body part.
The body parts of the receptacle may be held together by pins 44 or other suitable fastening means. The pins extend through aligned openings 45 (see FIGS. 1()l'3) at opposite sides of the body parts and they also secure retaining plates 46 to the receptacle. The retaining plates have portions extending over the ends of aligned slots 47 formed in the sides of the body parts. End portions of wire clamping members 48 are located in said slots and are held in place by the retaining plates. In addition, mounting brackets 49 may be formed as part of the retaining plates if desired.
Each of the spring clamping members 48 is formed from a piece of wire and has two spaced parallel side pieces 50 extending along opposite sides of the receptacle. These side pieces are bent so as to provide a suitable spring action and are connected by a straight piece 51 of the wire which extends vertically across the side of the receptacle in one of the slots and permits the side pieces to be swung in an arcuate movement relative to the receptacle. The free ends of the side pieces of the spring are connected to a roller 52 which is adapted to ride over the rear end of the housing member 4 of the plug 2 and seat in a shallow depression 53 in the rear surface of the plug. When the spring clamping members are in engagement with the plug, they hold the plug and the receptacle against separation due to vibration or the like.
To provide a moisture-proof seal between the plug and the receptacle, a sealing gasket 54 of neoprene or similar material may be interposed between the opposing end surfaces of plug housing and the body of the receptacle. As shown hm in FIG. 1, the gasket has a slotted opening 55 which is shaped to fit the forward end of the spacer member and the guide flanges formed thereon.
In addition to using a plug as described above, connections may be made to the receptacle in other ways. For example, as shown in FIG. 20, the conductive elements 56 of a printed circuit board 57 may be brought to a terminal section 58 Where they are arranged in spaced relation corresponding to the spacing of the conductors of the cable and with the terminal section being of a width and thickness which will enter into the receptacle.
If desired, an adapter plug 61, as shown in FIGS. 21 and 22, of a conventional type having an insulating body 62 supporting spaced contact pins 63 and guide pins 64 may be provided for making connections to the receptacle. In such a plug, the contact pins are shaped to fit between the U-shaped clip portions of the spring contacts 40 in the receptacle and are spaced to correspond to the spacing of the contacts. The guide pins 64 are positioned to enter the polarizing channels at the opposite sides of the opening in the receptacle 1.
It will be understood that various other arrangements may be employed for making electrical circuit connection to one side of the spring contact elements of the receptacle without departing from the scope of the present invention. For example, lead wires may be connected directly to the spring contacts 14 and in such event, the receptacle could have a single opening to receive only one plug.
Other means may also be employed for holding the plug and receptacle against accidental separation. A modified form of clamp is shown in FIG. 25, where .a wire spring member 65 having a toggle lever 66 attached to the free end thereof is swingably mounted on the receptacle 1 in such a way that the lever can be moved over the rear of the plug and can then be brought into engagement with the plug under tension from the spring by moving the lever to an upright position.
It will be further understood that various other modifications may be made by those skilled in the art in the embodiment of the invention illustrated and described herein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.
1. An electrical connector for a flat, tape-like cable of the type in which a sheath of insulating material encloses a number of spaced parallel conductive elements extend ing a lengthwise direction, which comprises:
(-a) a plug comprising a hollow housing having a front end wall with an elongated slotted opening therein,
-(b) a cable-supporting element fitted within the housing and having a forward end extending through said slotted opening to a point beyond the front end wall of the housing,
'(c) a flat tape-like cable extending through the housing with an end thereof resting directly on opposite faces of the cable-supporting element and extending around the forward end thereof,
(d) the conductive elements in said end of the cable resting on opposite faces and extending around the end of the support element having exposed surfaces facing outwardly, the housing of said plug having a recess surrounding the cable-supporting element and cable, and sealing material in said recess serving to seal the housing and also hold the cable and cablesuppor-ting element in said housing,
(e) a receptacle comprising a hollow body having a slotted opening in an end face thereof which is shaped to receive the forward end :of the cable-supporting element, and
(f) a series of spring contact elements mounted in spaced relation to each other within the receptacle body,
(g) said contact elements being aligned with the conductive elements of the cable and each including a pair of opposing spring finger-s positioned to engage with the exposed surface of one of the conductive elements on opposite faces of the support element.
2. An electrical connector .for a flat, tape-like cable of the type in which a sheath of insulating material encloses a number of parallel conductive elements extending in a lengthwise direction, which comprises:
(a) a plug comprising a hollow housing having a front end wall with an elongated slotted opening therein,
(b) a cable-supporting element fitted within the housing and having a forward end extending through said slotted opening to a point beyond the housing, and
(c) a flat tape-like cable extending through the housing from the rear thereof with an end resting on opposite faces of the support element and extending around the end thereof, a body of sea-ling material in said plug for sealing said cable in the plug and locking said housing and cable-supporting element together,
(d) the conductive elements in said end of the cable resting on the opposite faces and extending around the end of the support element having exposed sur- (faces facing outwardly,
(e) a receptacle comprising a hollow body having a slotted opening in an end face thereof which is shaped to receive the forward end of the cable-supporting element, 7
(f) a series of spring contact elements mounted in spaced relation to each other Within the receptacle body,
(g) said contact elements being aligned with the conductive elements of the cable and each including a pair of opposing spring fingers positioned to engage with the exposed surfaces of one of the conductive elements, and
(h) releasable means for holding said plug and receptacle together including a pair of springs mounted at opposite sides of the receptacle body, each spring having an end portion attached to the receptacle body and a second end portion extending adjacent to the body of said plug, and roller-members carried by the second end portions of said springs and being yieldably moveable into and out of engagement with a rear end face of the plug housing 3. In an electrical connector for a fiat, tape-like cable of the type which includes a sheath enclosing a number of parallel conductive elements extending in a lengthwise direction, the combination which comprises: 7
(a) a plug comprising a hollow housing having a front end wall with an elongated slotted opening therein,
(b) a cable-supporting element fitted within said housing and having a forward end extending through said slotted opening to a point beyond the front end wall of the housing,
() a flat tape-like cable extending through said housing with the end thereof being supported on opposite faces of the cable-supporting element and extending around the forward end thereof,
(d) the conductive elements in said end of the cable having exposed outwardly facing surfaces, and
(e) a receptacle comprising a hollow body having slotted openings in opposite ends thereof shaped to receive the forward end of the cable-supporting element of the plug,
( t) a series of contact elements mounted in spaced relation to each other within the receptacle body, each including two sets of spaced opposed spring contact fingers aligned with the conductive elements of the cable and positioned adjacent the entrances to the slotted openings in the ends of the receptacle body,
(g) said two sets of spaced opposed spring contact fingers being conduc-tively connected together and being adapted to engage the exposed surfaces of one of the conductive elements of the cable.
4. In an electrical connector, the combination as 'defined in claim 3, wherein the receptacle body consists of two pieces each having a series ofribs formed therein which define spaced channels adapted to receive and position the contact elements within the receptacle body.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,718,529 6/29 Coldwe'l'l 339-176 X 2,703,395 3/55 Long 339205 3,017,602 1/62 Little 339-l74 3,082,398 3/63 Valach 339176 3,084,302 4/63 Braeutigam 33917 X 3,086,192 4/63 Dibner 339--205 3,127,228 3/64 Greco et al 33917 JOSEPH D. SEERS, Prilimry Examiner.