US 3278674 A
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1966 I. F. MATTHYSSE ETAL 3,278,674
CONNECTOR INSULATING HOUSING Filed June 12, 1964 INVENTOR IRVING F.MATTHYSSE EDWARD S. RAILA WZTQAM S. CHICKVARY BY t ATTORNEY United States Patent Ofiice 3,278,674 CONNECTOR INSULATING HGUSING Irving F. Matthysse, Danbury, and Edward S. Raila and William S. Chickvary, Norwalk, Conn., assignors to Burndy Corporation, a corporation of New York Filed June 12, 1964, Ser. No. 374,702 3 Claims. (Cl. 174-138) This invention relates generally to an insulating housing for electrical connectors of the type used to couple a plurality of conductors, and particularly to such a housing which is capable of accepting and enclosing such connectors with a wide range of differently sized conductors extending therefrom.
Electrical connectors, of the type having an exposed conductive metallic body which joins a branch or tap line to a running length of transmission line, are widely used in electrical power distribution applications. In many such applications its is often desirable to generally enclose and insulate the connector to the greatest possible extent, without necessarily forming a waterproof or airtight seal around the emerging conductors. Insulating enclosures of this type, which provide a substantially hollow body of insulating material for receiving the otherwise uninsulated connector are generally well known. Many different versions have been commercially produced.
Prior to this invention however, known insulating enclosures of the type described have always relied on various forms of manually-shaped openings, expandable diameter openings, or fixed-diameter sleeves to accommodate various sizes of the conductors which necessarily extend from an enclosed connector through at least one wall of the housing. The need for special installation tools, the severely limited range-taking ability, and the inability to form an acceptable closure across unused or otherwise unwanted openings were among the major disadvantages of the previously known enclosures.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an inexpensive insulating housing which is fast and efficient to use and which will accept various connectors and a wide range of different conductor sizes.
Another object is to provide a novel conductor-enclosing means in a housing of the type described.
A still further object is the provision of an insulating housing of the type described, having an improved locking means for assuring retention of the housing in its closed position.
These and further objects and advantages of this invention will be made more apparent by reference to the following specification, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a pictorial representation of a housing in accordance with this invention, showing a run conduc tor and a tap conductor emerging therefrom;
FIGURE 2 is a bottom plan view of the housing of FIGURE 1 with the conductors removed and with a cutaway portion showing a partial detail of the interior and side wall construction;
FIGURE 3 is a partial end section view taken in the direction 3-3 shown in FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a partial interior plan view of the housing of FIGURE 1 shown in fully open position;
FIGURE 5 is an end section view taken in the direction 55 shown in FIGURE 4; and
FIGURE 6 is a partial end-on view of an alternative construction for the curtain wall end closure of the housing of this invention.
Referring now more particularly to the drawings, the housing of this invention may be seen to comprise a generally unitary body having a pair of half sections and 10 and 12 which are integrally joined along a common edge by hinge portion 14. Each half section includes at its 3,278,674 Patented Oct. 11, 1966 opposite ends of pair of curtain-like end walls 16 which are defined by a plurality of strip portions 18. In operation, the two half sections are opened in clam-shell fashion to allow positioning of a connector in the substantially hollow enclosure defined by side walls 20 and end walls 16. Latch members 22 and cooperating latching apertures 24 (which will be more fully described subsequently) are provided to lock the two sections 10 and 12 in closed position. To facilitate proper positioning and retention of a connector within the housing, means such as the curved ribs 26, or similar internal projections, may be provided on the inner surface of side walls 20.
In addition to the operation of latches 22 and latch apertures 24, maintenance of proper alignment between the two half sections 10 and 12 during closing and locking may be improved by the use of alignment studs. Thus, a stud pin 28, and a stud seating socket 30 which is partially surrounded by a seating shield 32 may be provided, respectively, on the two sections. In use, pin 28 may then be engaged by the shield 32 and partially seated in the socket 30 just prior to final latching, in order to resist the distortion and misalignment which might be caused by the forces required to snap latches 22 into locked position.
As a further aid to maintaining alignment of the two half sections, and to improve electrical leakage path characteristics, a projecting lip portion 34 and a cooperating recessed seat portion 36 may be provided as shown on sections 12 and 10 respectively. When sections 10 and 12 are disposed in their closed position, lip 34 enters into section 12 and seats itself within seat 36 so that the electrical leakage path between the interior and the exterior of the housing is increased by the length of the overlapping lip and seat. The lip and seat thus act in the manner of a bafile.
As mentioned above, passage of conductors through the wall or walls of insulating covers has previously been generally limited to passage through specially cut holes, or through holes with expandable rims, or through sleeves having relatively fixed diameters. Such passage means often required the additional use of tape or clamps in order to achieve an effective closure. As a substantial improvement over each of these previously known alternatives, this invention discloses the curtain-wall closure designated generally by reference numeral 16 in the drawings. In accordance with this concept, each of the housing half sections 10 and 12 are provided with a pair of walls 16 disposed in substantially opposed relationship at opposite ends of the side wall 20. Each end wall is provided with a substantially linear edge 40 which is adapted to abut the corresponding end wall 16 on the other half section. The abutting walls then form a substantially complete closure across opposite ends of the closed housing in the absence of a conductor interposed between the abutting walls. However, when a conductor such as 42 is positioned between two corresponding end walls 16 as the housing is closed the individual strip portions 18 which directly engage the conductor are deflected by the conductor outer surface as may be clearly seen in FIGURE 1. The deflected strips, which then bear directly against the outer surface of the conductor or conductors regardless of their number and size, thus form a substantially continuous shield between the surface of the conductors and the side wall of the housing. The undefiected strip portions on the other hand, remain in their original positions where they provide a substantially continuous closure for the interior of the housing between the opposed side walls 20.
Unlike the generally arcuately formed openings of the conductor passage means employed in prior art housings, the linear edges 40 of this invention permit cooperation of end wall-s 16 to form substantially continuous closure Walls. The closures thus formed prior to passage of a conductor through the wall, may also be manually or resiliently reformed in substantially original shape subse quent to removal of a conductor.
Somewhat smoother blending of the tips of the strips 18 with the surface of the conductors 42 may be achieved by providing a bevelled surface 44 at the free end of each strip sloping inwardly from the outermost edge of that end toward the center of the housing. The individual strips may further be tapered from a given thickness at the bevelled surface 44 to a greater thickness at the opposite end of the strip, which is attached to the side wall 20. This preferred structure improves the formation of the strip portions around an interposed conductor by assuring that flexure is progressive, starting at the very tip of each strip.
In the embodiment shown in FIGURES 1 through 5, the end walls 1 6 include a plurality of individual flexible strip portions 18 which may be formed separately, or molded in place, or may be formed by cutting a plurality of parallel transverse slits 46 in an otherwise continuous wall section of suitable flexibility and dimensions. Alternatively, as shown in end-on view in FIGURE 6, adjacent strip portions 18A may be intergrally joined to each other by a deformable membrane 50 which may be simply a weakened or reduced-thickness integral wall portion. In this alternative embodiment, the membranes 50 may stretch or rupture as the attached strip portions 18A engaged and are deflected by a conduct-or, but the unruptured ones would otherwise provide an uninterrupted end wall for achieving more effective closure.
Latch members 22 and latch apertures 24, which have been mentioned above, are distinguished by the provision of inclined-plane cam surfaces 52 and 54 which are characterized by particular relationships, dis-cussed below. As may be seen in FIGURE 3, cam surface 52 bears against surface 54 on member 22 to urge latch member 22 up and away from its normal direction of insertion into latch aperture 24. Thus, shoulder 55 on the latch member seats itself securely against the opposed shoulder which is for-med by the outer surface of flange 25. By extending the plane of surface 52 beyond the plane of flange 25, the tip of latch 22 is effectively urged outwardly away from side Wall 20, and shoulder '55 is held firmly against the flange. Inadvertent release of the latch is thus rendered considerably more difficult then it would be in the absence of cam surface 52. To permit intentional release of the lat-ch when necessary, the configuration of aperture 24 (which may include a lower inner wall '56 inclined away from the latch 22) is adapted to allow insertion of a tool such as a screwdriver blade between the latch and the aperture wall for separating shoulder 55 from flange 25 by deflection.
Deflection and formation of the strips 18 around an emerging conductor are further facilitated in the illustrated embodiment by positioning walls 16 to form acuate angles with the axes of the emerging conductors. With all conductors generally lying in a plane intermediate the mating half sections, the acute angle formed by each wall 16 and that plane assures cantilever-like flexure of each engaged strip portion in the same outward direction.
In the embodiment of this invention herein illustrated and discussed, the half sections and 12, the hinge portion 14, the end walls 16 and strips 18, the latches 22, and apertured flanges 25 have all been shown to preferably be integrally formed of a unitary piece of moldable dielectric material. This construction oifers the advantages of a single-mold forming process while avoiding the disadvantages inherent in a single-mold system which relies on the use of identical half sections. While this embodiment is considered preferable for purposes of ease, expense, and practicality of manufacture, it is considered apparent that accetable alternatives exist. One material ticularly well suited to the fabrication of this housing in a unitary structure is high-density polyethylene; any one of the wide number of similar and related dielectric materials having the properties outlined above may be used with acceptable results.
1. An insulating cover for an electrical connector and and the conductors coupled thereto, comprising:
a pair of mating half-sections forming a substantially hollow enclosure adapted to receive an electrical connector therein; and
a pair of integral curtain walls disposed at the opposite ends of each half-section, each wall having a free edge of substantially straight linear configuration from one end thereof to the other positioned in substantially abutting relationship with the free edge of the corresponding wall on the mating half-section;
wherein each curtain wall includes a plurality of parallel, spaced-apart slits which form a plurality of strip portions each having a free end and a fixed end, the free ends thereof being aligned to define said free edge of substantially straight linear configuration;
and wherein the thickness of each strip portion tapers from a given value at said fixed end to a lesser value at said free end, said strip portions thereby being more flexible toward the free ends thereof than toward said fixed ends; and
wherein the strip portions of each curtain wall are inclined relative to the plane defined by the abutting edges of said curtain walls to deflect said strip portions outwardly from the enclosure defined by said half- .sections upon engagement with conductors emerging from said cover.
2. An insulating cover for use with an electrical connector having an electrical conductor extending therefrom, comprising a pair of hingedly coupled mating half-sections adapted to be locked together to form a housing for receiving said connector therein; each half-section having a Side wall and a pair of opposed end walls; integral snapfitting detents on said half-sections for locking said sections together; each of said end walls being characterized by a substantially linear edge portion adapted to abut the corresponding end wall on the other of said sections, and further characterized by a plurality of closely spaced flexible strip portions each attached at one end to said side Wall and having a substantially linear edge at the other, free end thereof; said integral detents including: an aperture in one of said sections; a shoulder formed by said aperture; a cooperating projection on the other of said sections adapted to be inserted into said aperture; a shoulder on said projection adapted to engage said aperture shoulder for interlocking said projection in said aperture; an inclined-plane cam surface on said projection; and, a cooperating cam surface on said one half-section disposed at least in part beyond said aperture for deflecting said projection shoulder int-o firm engagement with said aperture shoulder when said projection is inserted fully into said aperture.
3. The insulating cover of claim 2 wherein adjacent strip portions in said curtain end wall are integrally connected to each other by deformable webs of substantially reduced thickness.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,740,001 3/ 1956 Vergilio et a1 174-138 3,147,338 9/1964 Ekvall et a1 174-71 X 3,183,302 5/1965 Wochner et al. 174-92 X FOREIGN PATENTS 117,776 5/1930 Austria. 775,997 5/ 1957 Great Britain. 816,918 7/ 1959 Great Britain.
LARAMIE E. ASKIN, Primary Examiner.
having resiliency, flexibility, and dielectric properties par- ROBERT K. SCHAEFER, Examiner.