US 3328747 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 27, 1967 D J, DQVER ET AL ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR Filed July 20, 1965 INVENTORS DAVID J. DOVER EDMUND W. IDZIK FIG.
ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,328,747 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR David J. Dover, Deer-field, and Edmund W. Idzik, Chicago, Ill., assignors to Do-Ray Lamp Company Inc., Chicago, Ill.
Filed July 20, 1965, Ser. No. 473,438 4 Claims. (Cl. 33997) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention is for releasably electrically connecting the bights or mid regions of insulated wires together without disconnecting the ends of the wires from their respective circuits. It is characterized by a housing having a straight longitudinally extending groove formed therein in which the bights of the wires are positioned. An electrically conductive strip is mounted in the groove. This strip has longitudinally spaced prongs facing the mouth of the groove. There is a pressure exerting element for each prong for forcing the bights of the wires in the groove against the prongs until the prongs pierce the electrical insulation on the wires, thereby connecting the wires through the electrically conductive stn'p.
This invention relates generally to electrical connectors and more particularly to an electrical connector with insulation piercing means for connecting electrical wires together.
There are many circumstances where it is desirable to be able to releasably connect electric wires into a circuit without disconnecting any of the electrical connections in the circuit. It would also 'be desirable to be able to make such a connection without damaging the insulation on the wires to the point where the chance for a short circuit is increased. Furthermore, it would be advantageous to have an electrical connector which can also releasably electrically connect wires of different diameters. In addition, it would be desirable to have a simple electrical connector which can be used both with completely connected wires or wires having free ends. Practical considerations further require that such an electrical connector be simple to operate and inexpensive to manufacture. A requirement for such an electrical connector has long persisted, but it has not been easy to design one containing these features.
What is needed therefore and comprises an important object of this invention is to provide an electrical connector which has all these desirable characteristics.
This and other objects of this invention will become better understood when read in the light of the accompanying specification and drawing wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the electrical connector constructed according to the principles of this invention.
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the electrical connector showing the cam levers pivoted so they force the bight of the wires in the connector into electrical engagement with the electrical prongs.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the electrical connector shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 discloses an application of the electrical connector shown in FIG. 1 wherein a phonograph and a television set are releasably connected to the ignition of an automobile.
FIG. 5 discloses means for adjusting the electrical connector so it can accommodate and electrically connect wires of different diameters.
Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawing, an electrical connector indicated generally by the reference numeral is formed from an electrically non-conductive material. In the embodiment shown in the drawing, the connector housing 12 is L-shaped in cross section, see FIG. 3, al-
though it is understood that other shapes are possible. Leg 14 of the housing is provided with a longitudinally extending groove 16 formed in its upper surface 18. Leg 20 of the housing serves as a support wall and a surface 22 of leg 20 is co-planar with and forms an extension of side wall 24 of groove 16, see FIG. 3.
Two cam levers 26 and 28 each serving as pressure exerting elements are pivotally mounted on leg 20. Cam lever 26 includes a lever arm 30 and a cam arm 32 while cam lever 28 includes lever arm 34 and cam arm 36. As shown in FIG. 1 the level arms and cam arms of each cam lever are apart. It is to be understood that although the connector shown in the drawings has only two cam levers, the connector may have additional cam levers for connecting additional wires together to serve specific needs.
The base 38 of groove 16 is provided with a slot 40 in which a longitudinally extending strip 42 is fixedly mounted by any suitable means, see FIG. 3. The strip 42 is formed from copper or some other suitable electrically conductive material and includes prongs 44 in spaced relation to each other. In this way the material of the strip between the prongs provides a conductive path between the prongs. The electrically conductive strip 42 is orientated so the prongs 44 face the entrance 46 to the groove 16 in spaced parallel relation to surface 22 of leg 20, see FIG. 3. As shown, 2. prong is opposite to and associated with each cam lever for reasons to become apparent below. The center lines 48 of the prongs passing through the pointed tips 50 are radial to the axes of rotation 52 and 54 of the associated cam levers 26 and 28, see FIG. 2.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 the cam levers may be pivoted from the first position where the lever arms extend vertically upward and the cam arms extend horizontally, to the second position where the lever arms extend horizontally and the cam arms extend downwardly into groove 16. The cam arms 32 and 36 are sized so when the cam levers are moved into their second position the cam arms move down into groove 16 to a point adjacent the tips 50 of prongs 44. The groove 16 is wide enough and deep enough to receive the bights or mid portions of insulated wires as shown in FIG. 2. Further the cam levers are spaced apart far enough on support wall or leg 20 so that when the bights of wires are inserted in groove 16 they can pass between the cam levers and rest on support wall 20.
In operation, the bight or mid portion of one wire 56, as for example the bight of the ignition wire of an automobile is inserted in groove 16 beneath cam lever 26 when the cam levers 26 and 28 are in their first position. The bight of another insulated wire 58 is then inserted in groove 16 beneath cam lever 28. Then the cam levers are rotated to their second position as shown in FIG. 2. This forces the bights of wires 56 and 58 into engagement with prongs 44 with enough force so that the prongs pierce the insulation on the wires and make electrical contact with them. In this way the wires 56 and 58 are connected together through the electrically conductive strip 42.
As shown in FIG. 2, the apex 60 and 62 of the cam arms 32 and 36 is radial from the axes of rotation 52 and 54 of cam levers 26 and 28. In this way when the cam levers are rotated to their second position and the prongs are forced through the insulation on the wires, the reactive force against the cam levers is directed generally radially toward the axis of rotation of the cam levers. In this way the cam levers are held in their second position releasably holding the bights of the wires in the groove 16. Consequently the cam levers have a combined function in that they retain the bights of the wires in the groove 16 and they help force the bights of the wires into electrical engagement with prongs 44.
An application of the electrical connector is shown in FIG. 4 where the bight of ignition wire 56 from an automobile is forced by the electrical connector into electrical engagement with the electrically conductive strip 42 in the manner described above. Then the bight of wire 58 with opposed ends connected to a television set 44 and a phonograph 66 for example, is also forced into electrical contact with the conductive strip 42. With this arrangement, it can be seen that both the television set and the phonograph can be quickly and easily connected to the ignition wire 56 without disconnecting the ignition wire. Furthermore the prongs are small enough so that when they pierce the insulation, to make electrical contact with the wires, the insulation is not destroyed enough to seriously increase the possibility of a short circuit. Of course the use of the connector shown in FIG. 4 is only for illustration and as explained above the electrical connector can be used to electrically connect wires into any circuit without disconnecting the wires in the circuit.
It is noted that by forming a groove 16 in an upper surface 18 of housing 12 and by orienting the prongs 44 so they face the entrance 46 to groove 16, the bights of the wires can be easily disengaged from the connector by returning the cam levers to their first position and then simply lifting the wires up out of the groove 16. With this arrangement there is no chance for the insulation on the wires to be caught on prongs 44.
It is desirable for the width of the groove 16 in housing 12 to be just a little larger than the diameter of the wires to be connected to the electrical connector. In order to be able to use the electrical connector 10 with wires of different diameters, means may be provided for varying the width of all or part of the groove 16. For example an insert 68, U-shaped in cross section may be provided for insertion in groove 16 to reduce the width of the groove. The insert may extend throughout the entire length of the groove or only a part thereof so that two wires having substantially different diameters may be connected together. In this way, one electrical connector may accommodate wires of different diameters, see FIG. 5. Alternatively other mechanical arrangements, well known in the art may be used for this purpose.
Although the electrical connector has been described as a device for connecting completely connected wires, it is of course obvious that the electrical connector can also be used to electrically connect wires having free ends. In such a case the free ends of the wires to be connected would be inserted in groove 16 and the cams pivoted as described above to make a simple easy to operate electrical connection.
Obviously. many modifications and variations in the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention can be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
1. An electrical connector of the class described comprising a housing formed from a non-conductive material, said housing being L-shaped in cross section with a straight longitudinally extending groove formed in one leg thereof, the other leg of the housing comprising a support wall, said groove being of a length sufficient to receive in longitudinally spaced relation the bights of at least two insulated wires therein, an electrically conductive stri embedded in the bottom of said groove, said conductive strip having longitudinally spaced prongs facing the entrance to said groove, a cam lever opposite each prong and a cam lever and a prong for the bight of each insulated wire in said groove, each cam lever pivotally mounted on said support wall and comprising a lever arm and a cam arm, said cam arm sized so when said cam lever is pivoted in one direction the cam arm moves into said groove closely adjacent the tip of one of said prongs whereby if the bights of said wires are in said groove, pivoting said cam levers in said one direction causes said cam arms to force the bights of said wires toward said prongs until said prongs pierce the insulation on said wires and move into electrical engagement with them, whereby the bights of said wires in said groove are electrically connected together.
2. The electrical connector described in claim 1 wherein said cam levers are in longitudinally spaced relation to each other and the portions of the bights of said wires rest on said support wall and pass around said cam levers.
3. The electrical connector described in claim 1 wherein each cam arm has an apex, the apex of each cam arm is radial from the axis of rotation of said cam lever, so that when said cam lever is rotated until the apex of said cam arm is closely adjacent said prongs and the bights of said wires are in electrical engagement with said prongs, the reactive force exerted by the bights of said wires on said cam lever is directed generally radially toward the pivot of said cam lever whereby the cam lever is effectively held in said rotated position with the bights of said wires releasably locked in said groove.
4. The electrical connector described in claim 1 including means for varying the width of at least a part of said groove whereby the electrical connector can releas ably, electrically connect insulated wires of different diameters.
References Cited UNITED. STATES PATENTS 1,411,263 4/1922 Bellis 339-95 2,238,386 4/1941 Frank 339 97 2,437,339 3/1948 Webster 339-95 MARVIN A. CHAMPION, Primary Examiner.
EDWARD C. ALLEN, Examiner.
J. H. MCGLYNN, Assistant Examiner.