US 3196380 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 20, 1965 J. H. KREH'BIEL 3,196,380
ELCTRICAL CONNECTOR Filed July 14. 1961 INVENTOR.y
United States Patent O 3,196,380 ELETREQAL CONNEQTR .lohn H. Krehhiel, Brookfield, lll., assigner to Molex Products Compa y, Brookfield, lill., a corporation of Illinois Filed duly 14, 1961, Ser. No. llhl 3 Claims. (Cl. 339-126) This invention relates to electrical connectors, and particularly to an improved arrangement for securing electrical conductors in electrical connectors and for mounting such electrical connectors on panels.
In apparatus which comprises multiple sub-assemblies of electrical components, it is desirable to provide an electrical connector for interconnecting the various electrical conductors in groups rather than to join together individual pairs of wires. The interconnected groups of wires or the electrical connector itself, may then be secured to a mounting panel or the like to alford a predetermined location for each group or conductors thereby to present a systematized wiring layout which may be readily checked or serviced.
Prior means of securing electrical connectors to mounting panels include metal clips, lugs, screws, and other mechanical fasteners of various types. Since each of these required individual handling and the use of hand tools in assembling the fasteners and connectors to the mounting member, a significant amount of man hours was spent simply in searching for the proper fastener and in manipulating the appropriate hand tool. lt is to be appreciated that if such assembly time could be eliminated while still eifecting proper attachment of the electrical connector to the mounting panel, the assembly cost of the electrical apparatus would be reduced While leaving unarlected the quality of the product.
Accordingly, an important object of this invention is to provide an improved electrical connector which is readily mountable on a panel or the like without the aid of .separate clips or other mechanical fasteners.
Another object of this invention is to provide an improved electrical connector incorporating mounting means therein which entirely eliminates the use of hand tools in attaching the connector to a mounting panel.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide an improved means to facilitate quick assembly and firm securing of electrical conductors in an electrical connector.
Still another object of this invention is to provide an improved electrical connector adapted to be iixedly mounted on an associated mounting panel through a complementary shaped opening therein in a xedly mounted insulated manner.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved electrical connector of two-piece construction which is simple in design and construction, economical to manufacture, highly practicable in use, and which is adapted for rapid assembly in electrical components.
Further features of the invention pertain to the particular arrangement of the elements of the electrical connector whereby the above-outlined and additional features thereof are attained.
The invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following specification taken in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein like reference numerals have been used to designate like parts throughout, in which:
FIGURE l is an exploded, perspective view of an electrical connector made in accordance with and embodying the priciples ofthe present invention;
FIG. 2 is an assembled, perspective view of the electrical connector shown in FG. l;
955,330 Patented July 2G, 1965 ice FIG. 3 is an enlarged View of the electrical connector taken from the side in the direction of the arrows along the line 3 3 in FIG. 2, the connector being illustrated extending through an opening in an associated mounting panel;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, vertical sectional view taken generally in the direction of the arrows along the line 4 4 in FIG. 2; the connector being shown with the mounting panel;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged, horizontal sectional view taken generally in the direction of the arrows along the line S-S in FIG. 3 and showing two groups of electrical conductors encased by the connector for electrical contact;
FG. 6 is a greatly enlarged, fragmentary, vertical sectional view illustrating in broken lines the original position of a mounting ear of the connector and showing in solid lines the position of the ear immediately prior to the interlocking thereof with the edge of the panel opening; and
FG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6 depicting the mounting ear in operative engagement with the edge of the panel opening.
Referring now to FIG.1 of the drawing,.there is shown an electrical connector generally designated by the numeral l@ made in accordance with and embodying the principles of the present invention. The electrical connector l0 includes a plug element 12 and a receptacle element ld.
The plug element 12 is of a hollow, generally box-like configuration having substantially planar, rectangular top land bottom walls 16 and i8 respectively, the long edges thereof being integrally joined at right angles with a pair of spaced side walls 20 and 22. Intermediate the side walls 2l) and 22 there is arranged a spaced pair of partitions 24 extending between the top 16 and bottom 1S walls and disposed generally parallel to the side walls 2li and 22. The partitions 24 extend the full length of the plug element l2. The relationship of the partitions 24 to the walls i6, 1S, 20, and 22 provides passageways of generally rectangular cross section extending between the opposite ends of the plug elements l2.
On the outer surface of the top wall i6 there is disposed a pair of longitudinally extending and laterally spaced apart guide members 26 which facilitates proper interconnection of the plug l2 with receptacle lil. Being generally rectangular in transverse cross section, each guide member 26 is arranged ush with a long edge of the top wall 16 and extends from the short edge thereof about one-third the length of the plug element 12. Below each guide member 26 there is arranged on each side wall Ztl-22 an outwardly protruding lug 28. Being wedge shape, the lug 28 has its thin edge portion disposed to- Ward the entering end of the plug l2 and its thicker portion providing a shoulder 30 facing away from the entering end of the plug l2..
The receptacle element lll is of a hollow, generally boxlike conliguration having substantially rectangular, planar top 4and bottom walls 32 and 34 respectively, the long edges thereof being integrally joined at right angles with a pair of spaced apart side walls 36 and 38. Intermediate the side walls 36 and 3S there is arranged a spaced pair of partitions itl extending between the top and bottom walls and disposed generally parallel to the side walls 36 and 3S. The relationship of the partitions 40 with the walls 32, 34, 35, yand 38 provides passageways having generally rectangular, transverse cross section extending through the receptacle element 14. A housing or socket d2 is integrally joined to one end of the receptacle 14 and is adapted to receive therein the end of the plug 12 having the guide members 26 and the lugs 2S thereon. More particularly, lthe wall of the housing 42 contiguous the top Wall 32 is provided with a pair of longitudinally disenso extending and laterally spaced apart inverted channel mem bers 44 having an internal length and cross section of a size adapted to receive therein the guide member 26. A generally rectangular panel 45 interconnects the inwardly disposed sides of the channels 44, and is arranged in a plane disposed above theftop wall 32 of the receptacle 14.
Disposed outwardly from and contiguous with the receptacle side walls 36 and 38, the side walls 46 and 43 of housing l2y are each provided with a rectangular slot 5i? elongated longitudinally of the receptacle 14. An abutment 52 defines the edge of the slot 59 disposed adjacent to the free end of the housing 42, the abutment 52 being Vadapted to engage the shoulder 36 of the lug 2S in the assembled condition of the electrical connector 10.
In the assembled condition of the electrical connector 1t) the pair of guide members 26 (FIG. l) is received within the pair of channels 44(FIG. 2) and the lugs 28 are received within the slots 50, the shoulder 30 of the lugs 23 being in firm engagement with the abutment end 52 of the slot 51). It is to be appreciated that the side walls 46 and 4S of the housing 42 are outwardly flexible so as to yield a small distance when the wedge shape lugs 28 are urged therealong in inserting the plug element 12 into the socket or housing 42. In the assembled condition the inserted end of the plug element 12 is disposed adjacent to the end of the receptacle 14 adjoining the housing 42 and the rectangular passageways in the elements 12 and 14 are in communication thereby to provide continuous passageways between the opposite ends of the electrical connector 1t).
Means are provided on the electrical connector l@ for securely holding therein without the aid of auxiliary fasteners the terminal portions of electrical conductors. Referring'now more particularly'to FIG. 5, a first group of electrical conductors 54 is ixedly secured within the plug element 12 and a second group of electrical con'- ductors 56 is fixedly secured within the receptacle element 14. Each of the two groups of electrical conductors'54 and 56 is composed of three insulated wires of identical construction and arrangement and, hence, the individual wires of the first group 54 are designated With suiiix letters rz, b, and c respectively. Similarly, the individual wires of the second group are also designated with corresponding suftix letters. One conductor of the group 54 `will now be described as a conductor exemplary of both groups 54 and 56.
The conductor 54a includes an insulated wire 5S having a terminal clip 61B fixedly secured at the end portion thereof in a manner which effects an electrical path'between the clip 66 and the wire 58. Being made of metal, the terminal clip 69 comprises a barrel-like portion 62 adapted to fixed- 1y embrace the end of the wire 5S. A vfirst flat leg member 64 extends outwardly from the barrel 62 and merges at a curved end thereof with a second iiat leg member 66 disposed in a spaced apart, superimposed relationship Vwith the first leg 64. A free end portion of the second leg 66 extends toward a shoulder 67 on the barrel 62. It is to be appreciated that the free end of the second leg 66 confronts and is spaced apart from the shoulder 67 on the end of the barrel 62 thereby providing a gap therebetween.
To hold securely the first group of electrical conductors 54 w-ithin the plug 12, an abutment lug 65 is provid-ed in each passageway of the plug 12,7best shown in FIG. 5. The abutment lug 65 protrudes into the passageway from aside wall or partition and affords an arresting surface on one side thereof for engaging the shoulder 67 to limit inward movement 0f the vclip 60 with respect to the plug l element 12. The opposite sidel of the abutment lug 65 affords an arresting surface for engaging the free end of the leg 66to limit outward movement of the clip 66 with respect to the plug 12. Y
of the passageways in the plug element 12, the two leg portions of the terminal clip 611i slide beneath the abutment lug 65, the free end` of the second leg 66 being urged downwardly by the lug 65 towards the rst leg 64. When the abutment lug 65 has been passed by the second leg 66, the free end portion thereof springs away from the leg 62 to engage one face of the abutment lug 65 while the shoulder 67 provided by the barrel 62 engages the opposite face of the lug 65.
Similarly, each passageway in the receptacle element 14 is provided with an abutment lug 65 of identical construction and arrangement to the lug 65 on the plug 12. To hold securely the second group of electrical conductors 56 within the receptacle element 14, each conductor, 56a 56h or 56C, having the terminal clip 6d iixedly secured thereto, is inserted into a passageway in the receptacle 14 wherein the clip 6) and the abutment lug 65 thereof cooperate in the manner ydescribed above. In this condition the legs 64, 66 of the terminal clip 6i) extend outwardly Vfrom the passageway in the receptacle element 14 into the housing or socket 42. Thus, it will be seen that when the plug 12 is operatively inserted into the socket 42, the inwardly movable second leg 66 of the clip 60 on the conductor 54a engages the inwardly movable second leg 66 of the terminal clip attached to the conductor 56a of the second group 56 to effect an electrical path therebetween. The conductors 54h, 56b, and 54C, 56C cooperate in yan identical manner. It is also to be appreciated that when the two elements Vof the connector 10 are in their inserted position, each passageway in the connector 1d has disposed therein a pair of abutment Vlugs 65 longitudinally spaced with respect to the connect-or 1t? and extending into the passageway from confronting walls.
It is seen from the foregoing that the electrical connectors 54-56 with the terminal clips 66 fixedly secured to the ends thereof may be rapidlyassembled within the electrical conductor 113 without the use of handtools of any kind. The removal of a terminal clip 6@ from the plug 12 Vor from the receptacle 14 is effected by depressing the second or free leg 66 of the clip 66 toward the front leg 64 with a suitable tool such as a screwdriver. When the free end of the second leg 66 is moved toward the irst leg 64 and thus free of the lug 65, the terminal clip and Ythe wire may be withdrawn from the passageway in the ment 12.` A gripping member 72 (FIG. 7) is formed in- When an electrical connector, 54a, 54b, or 54C, and the Y i terminalclip 60 xedly secured thereto is inserted into one tegral with the bendable portion 7) and extends outwardly therefrom. VAt its free end the gripping portion 72 is provided `with a recess 74 in one face thereof, one side of the recess being defined by a lip V'76 extending at a right angle to the portion 72 flush with the free end thereof.
Prior to mounting the connector on the panel 69, the ear 68 extends at a right angle with respect to the contiguous surface of the plug 12. Subsequent to mounting the connector on the panel 69, the ear 68 is disposed at an acute angle or parallel to the surface of the plug 12, the recess 74 and lip 76 facing away from said surface. (It will'be noted that the dashed line showing of ears 68 in FIGS. 3 and 6 is before insertion of the plug in the panel, and that these ears never extend at right angles on the right side of the panel.) Y
Referring now to FIG, 3, the mounting panel 69 is provided with an aperture 73 shaped complementaryrto the cross section of the electrical connector 1t). To mount the connector 10 within the aperture 78, the pair of mounting earsV 68 on the topwall 16 and the bottom Wall 18 of the plug element 12v is urged in the direction toward the surface of the element l2 thereby to stress the bendable portion 7l). Thereafter, the element l2 is inserted through the aperture 73 until the edges defining the opening 7S are registered with the recesses i4 in the mounting ears 68. The ears are then released and urged away from the plug 12 by the forces induced in the bendable portion 70 while moving the ears from their original upright position toward the plug l2. it is to be noted that the Width of the recess 74 in each mounting ear 68 is of a size complementary to the thickness of the mounting panel 63 whereby the edge of the panel 69 will firmly engage the ear 68 within the recess 74. It is to be appreciated that by mounting the electrical connector on the panel 69 by means of the mounting ears 68 described above, there is provided an eiicient, and vibration-proof connection between the connector il) and the panel 69. Another advantage is that no hand tools or fasteners are required to mount the connector 10 or the panel 69, thereby obviating time consuming operations common heretofore. Furthermore, the ears readily take up production tolerances.
It will be understood that the member 12 described herein for the purposes of this specification as a plug member is also known in the electrical component industry as a receptacle The term, receptacle, is appropriate in that it describes the function of the member 12 in receiving the terminal clips d0 extending outwardly from the member 14. Conversely, the member Elfi described herein as a receptacle is also known as a plug The function of the member i4 being to hold a group of outwardly extending prongs or clips 6i) for their insertion into a mating member 12, the meaning of the term plug is sometimes used to describe the function of the member i4.
The electrical connector l0 may be mass-produced by molding from such iiexible plastic materials as nylon which is ideally suited to provide low unit-cost plugs and receptacle units adapted to be quickly locked together for ready mounting in a shake-proof manner on a panel. Thus, it will be seen that there has been provided an electrical connector of improved construction and arrangement which fulfills all of the objects and advantages set forth above.
While there has been described what is at present considered to be the preferred embodiment of the invention, it will be understood that various modications may be made therein, and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications as fall Within the true scope and spirit of the invention.
The invention is hereby claimed as follows:
1. An electrical connector adapted to be mounted through an opening in a panel, comprising a receptacle element of plastic material adapted to encase the terminals of a lirst group of electrical conductors, said receptacle d element having a receiving socket at one end thereof, a plug element of plastic material adapted to encase the terminals of a second group of electrical conductors, said plug element having an end portion complementary to and insertable in said receiving socket, means for locking said end portion in said receiving socket, and resiliently deformable integral ears on one of said elements extending outwardly from said one element substantially at right angles thereto and away from one another in substantial alignment prior to insertion in an opening in a panel and being resiliently deformable toward parallelism with said one element and parallel to one another extending in the same direction upon insertion in said opening, each ear being pivotable through substantially each of said ears having notch means respectively to engage the edges of the opening in the associated panel.
2. An electrical connector adapted to be mounted through an opening in a panel, comprising a receptacle element of plastic material adapted to encase the terminals of a first group of electrical conductors, said receptacle element having a receiving socket at one end thereof, a plug element of plastic material adapted to encase the terminals of a second group of electrical conductors, said plug element having an end portion cornplementary to and insertable in said receiving socket, means for locking said end portion in said receiving socket, and resiliently deformable integral ears on one of said elements extending outwardly from said one element prior to insertion in an opening in a panel and being resiliently deformable toward parallelism with said one element upon insertion in said opening, each of said ears having notch means respectively to engage the edges of the opening in the associated panel, each of said ears being of a minimum dimension longitudially of said element prior to insertion in an opening and progressively increasing in dimension working out from said element to said notch means, whereby to provide a cam ramp facilitating insertion of said element in the opening in the associated panel.
3. An electrical connector as set forth in claim 2 Wherein each ear has a terminating llange extending longitudinally of the element to a greater extent than the cam ramp and thereby resisting overinsertion of said element, said notch means being disposed between said flange and said cam ramp.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,802,958 8/57 Curley 339-126 X 2,891,103 6/59 Swengel 339-126 X 2,938,190 5/60 Krehbiel 339-176 JOSEPH D. SEERS, Primary Examiner.