US 3340439 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
p 5, 196 H. E. HENSC'HEN ETAL 3,340,439
MULTI CONTACT CONNECTOR Filed July 2, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 mg; 26 23 I I f I l 23 N 8 IF; I w
ept 5, .6 H. E. HENSCHEN ETAL 3,340,439
MULTI CONTACT CONNECTOR Filed July 2, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent 3,340,439 MULTI-CONTACT CONNECTOR Homer Ernst Henschen and Marvin Leo Yeager, Carlisle, and Dale Richard Zell, Elizabethtown, Pa., assignors to AMP Incorporated, Harrisburg, Pa.
Filed July 2, 1965, Ser. No. 469,092 2 Claims. (Cl. 317-101) This invention relates to multi-contact electrical connectors for making connections among a plurality of groups of circuit components.
An object of the invention is to provide an improved connector for making connections among groups of circuit elements. A further object is to provide a connector for making connections among, and between, two or more printed circuit boards or their equivalents. A further object is to provide a connector which is matable with an identical connector to permit stacking of groups of connectors, each of which has a group of components associated therewith. A further object is to provide a stackable connector having provisions for continuous circuits or conductive paths extending from one end of the stack to the other end and also having provisions for breaking or interrupting such continuous paths when desired.
These and other objects of the invention are achieved in one preferred connector comprising a generally rectangular housing member having a relatively large central opening in which a printed circuit card or its equivalent is adapted to be mounted. A plurality of cavities for contact terminals are provided in the sides of the housing and extend normally of its plane. Contact members are mounted in these cavities, each contact member comprising an intermediate socket portion which is disposed in the cavity, a pin portion which projects from the socket at one end thereof and which extends beyond one side of the housing, and a flat contact tab extending from the other end of the socket and beyond the other side of the housing. The socket portions of the contact members are adapted to receive the pins extending from contact members in an adjacent connector, a feature which permits stacking of a plurality of the connectors with the projecting pins of each connector making electrical contact with the sockets of the next adjacent connector. This continuous stacking of pin-socket connections provides a plurality of continuous circuit paths extending parallel of the axis of the stack. Such paths may be broken, if desired, by merely removing the pin portion of the appropriate contact member. The contact tabs are bent laterally of the axis of the terminals and extend into the central opening in the frame. The ends of these tabs are soldered or otherwise electrically connected to circuit elements on the printed circuit card contained in the housing. Selected ones of these contact tabs can also be removed where it is required to provide a contact path which by-passes a printed circuit module contained in one of the housings. Connectors in accordance with the invention are usable with circuit arrangements other than printed circuit cards; for example, the circuit group of elements contained within an individual connector might take the form of a flat integrated circuit package, a ceramic or glass substrate having film-deposited circuitry thereon, or simply a group of discrete components suspended by their lead wires in the central opening of the housing.
In the drawing:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a group of connectors in accordance with the invention stacked on a large printed circuit board with each connector having a small printed circuit board mounted therein;
FIGURE 2 is a plan view of a connector in accordance with the invention;
FIGURE 3 is a view taken along the lines 33 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a view taken along the lines 44 of FIGURE 2 and illustrating the manner in which circuit paths extending from one end of the stack to the other are provided;
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view of one form of contact terminal usable in the practice of the invention; and
FIGURE 6 illustrates the manner in which the contact pins projecting from the lowest connector of the stack can be soldered to circuit paths on the large printed circuit board on which the stack is mounted.
A connector 2 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention comprises a generally rectangular housing or block 4 of suitable insulating material such as polycarbonate or diallyl phthalate. The corners 6 of the connector housing have a relatively heavier cross section than the sides 5, 7 and are provided with cylindrical bosses 8 on the lower side 16 of the connector. Cylindrical recesses 10 are provided on the upper side 18 which are adapted to receive the bosses 8, these bosses and recesses thus providing an integral guide means for stacking a group of connectors. Ledges 12 project inwardly from the corners 6 to provide support surfaces for small printed circuit boards 14 or equivalent circuit devices as will be explained below.
The height of an individual housing is substantially greater than the thickness of an individual board 14 so that the board is surrounded on all sides, and is protected by, the connector housing 4. The board may be mounted against either the under side or the upper side of the ledges 12 and may, if desired, be retained in position by a bead of adhesive 13 applied to the sidewalls of the housing in the edge portions of the board. This adhesive is often not necessary since the board can be supported in the housing by connections made with conupper side 18. a conical lead-in surface 24 is provided of each opening. Additionally, a slot 26 each cavity which extends towards, and
" communicates with, the central opening 3 of the frame.
The individual contact members 28 which are in the cavities comprises first, second, and third contact portions indicated at 33, 32 and 30 respectively. The second contact portion comprises a cylindrical socket 32 mounted of the pins against damage.
The contact pin is made up of a pair of arms 34, 36 which are adapted to be sprung together when the pin now Patent Number 3,238,- 497, for Electrical Contact Terminal.
The tabs 30 extend parallel to the axis of ,the contact member 38 so that these contacts can be inserted into the cavities from the side 16 of the housing until the end 38 wardly at 42 towards the printed circuit board 14 and again laterally as shown at 44. The end of the tab is then electrically connected, as by soldering, to a circuit path of other circuit element on a board 14.
Conventional small printed circuit boards are mounted in each of the connectors of a stack as illustrated at 4a, 4b, 4c. The tabs 44 are thus utilized to make the appropriate electrical connection to the circuit devices on the board. If electrical components are provided on both sides sides of the board, the tabs can be passed through openings in the board and connected to components on the remote side. In an individual connector, it may be necessary to utilize all of the tabs for making such electrical connections in which case the tabs which are used are broken at 48 adjacent to the inner wall of the connector frame as shown in FIGURE 4. The remaining portion of the tab 40, 42 functions to hold the contact member 28 within its cavity. It will be apparent that where the end portion 44 of a tab is removed from an individual contact member, a through circuit path is provided which by-passes the printed circuit board involved.
If it is desired to have a circuit path extending, say, from the lowermost connector 411 to the second connector 4b but not extending into the third connector 40, it is merely necessary to sever the pin portion 34, 36 from one of the contact members in the connector 40 at a location immediately adjacent to the end of the receptacle portion 32 as also shown in FIGURE 4. The invention thus permits the achievement of circuit'paths through adjacent frame members of any desired length and extending from any given connector to another connector.
As an alternative to removing the pin portion 33 or the tab portion 30 of the contact member when it is desired to interrupt the circuit paths, three separate types of contact members can be provided to the user. One type would be a complete contact member as shown in FIGURE 5, another type would be manufactured without the pin portion 33, and the other type would be manufactured without the tab portion 30.
In FIGURE 1, a stack of connectors having small printed circuit boards 14 contained therein is shown as being mounted on a larger printed circuit board 50. If the board 50 has pin-receiving holes and the walls of the holes are plated or if eyelets are mounted in these holes, the contact pins of the lowermost connector 4a can merely be inserted into the holes to establish conducting paths to the conductors on the board 50. If the holes in the board do not have plated surfaces or if the holes are not provided with eyelets, electrical connections between the pins of connector 4a and the conducting paths of the board 50 can be made by conventional dip-soldering techniques. It has been found that when such dip-soldering techniques are employed with the pins extending through the openings in the board, the solder will wick up on the inside and the outside of the pin portions 34, 36. The pins can thus be used in their conventional and intended manner for engagement with the sockets of an adjacent connector or can be used to affect the soldered connections of FIGURE 6.
A salient advantage of the invention is that it requires only two types of parts, the housings 4 and the contact members 28, although it permits the construction of circuits of any desired size or complexity. A multiplicity of possible connecting paths are provided by virtue of the relatively high number of cavities 20 in the sides 5, 7 of the frame and circuit paths can be provided in any arrangement desired such as continuous paths from one end of the stack to the other end or shorter paths extending between individual connectors of the stack.
The circuit groups 14 contained within an individual connector housing are protected on all sides by the housing which is of rigid material. As previously noted, the circuit group 14 may take forms of other than the small printed circuit boards shown, for example, a ceramic or glass substrate. These substrates are extremely fragile and subject to breakage and a connector in accordance with the invention provides a high degree of protection for circuit groups of this type. The circuit group might also take the form of discrete components having their lead wires connected to each other and to the tabs 44 of the contact members. Again, the surounding housing of the connector provides a high degree of protection for a circuit arrangement of this type. If desired, the circuit group contained within the housing member may be potted or encapsulated by a suitable plastic such as epoxy. The housing itself constitutes an ideal potting mold since it surrounds the component group and would retain the potting material until it was set.
External connections to a stack of connectors such as the stack 4a-4c of FIGURE 1 would normally be made at either the upper lower end of the stack, FIGURE 1 showing soldered connections with the lowest connector 4a. Alternatively, conventional multi-contact connectors can be used to make external connections at either end of the stack. For example, rectangular connectors having contact pins therein could be used to make external connections with the socket portions of the contact members in the connector. Other connector members having contact sockets therein could be mated with the projected pins of the lowermost pins 4a of the stack. As a further possibility, the contact pins extending from the connector at the bottom of the stack could be electrically connected to conducting paths on the printed circuit board 50 and a conventional connector with contact pins therein could be used to make connections with the uppermost connector of the stack.
While the disclosed embodiment of the invention includes a housing 4 of rectangular shape which entirely surrounds the component group, alternative types of housings might be used. For example, the housing could take the form of a single bar or block of insulating material against or on which the component group would be mounted. A housing of this type would be essentially similar to one of the sides 5, 7 of the housing shown in the drawing. Such an embodiment would constitute a stackable edge connector having provision for circuit path between adjacent connectors of the stack by means of the contact members.
Changes in construction will occur to those skilled in the art and various apparently different modifications and embodiments may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is ofiered by way of illustration only. The actual scope of the invention is intended to be defined in the following claims when viewed in their proper perspective against the prior art.
1. An electrical interconnection system comprising, a plurality of rectangular frame members having a central opening stacked on top of each other, a panel in each of said openings, said panels having electrical components thereon and conductor paths extending to the edges of said panels, each of said frame members having a plurality of contact terminals therein extending normally of the planes of said frames, said terminals each having a socket portion and at least some of said terminals having a pin portion and a laterally extending tab portion extending from the end of its socket portion and into the opening defined by the frame, said pin portions extending beyond the planes of their respective frames and being received in the socket portions of terminals in the next adjacent frames, said tab portions of each frame being electrically connected to conductors on said panels whereby, interlevel electrical connections are achieved by said pin and socket portions and said tab portions.
2. Means for electrically connecting the components in a plurality of panels comprising, a rectangular frame adapted to surround said panels, a plurality. of cavities extending through said frame, contact terminals in said cavities, each of said contact terminals comprising a contact socket and a contact pin extending therefrom, said socket having an open end adapted to receive a mating pin, a tab extending from said socket on one side, said sockets of said terminals being disposed in said cavities with said pins extending from one side of said frame whereby, a plurality of said frames can be stacked on top of each other with the pin portions of the terminals in each frame extending into, and making electrical contact with, the socket portions of the terminals in the next adjacent frame, said tab portions extending laterally into said frame and being connected to conductors on the printed circuit board contained in said frame.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Christian 317-101 Williams et a1. 339-252 Miller 317-101 Stien et al 3l7l0'1 McDonough 3l7101 D. SMITH, JR., Assistant Examiner.