US 3351886 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
7, 1967 J. ANZIMMERMAN, JR 6 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR HAVING IMPROVED COUPLING MEANS Filed Dec. 14, 1965 2 $heets-$heet 1 3,351,886 uLECTRICAL CONNECTOR HAVING IMPROVED COUPLING MEANS N v- 7. 1967 J. A. ZIMMERMAN, JR
Filed Dec. 14, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent 3,351,886 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR HAVING IMPRGVED COUPLING MEANS John Aaron Zimmerman, Jr., Hershey, Pa., assignor to AMP Incorporated, Harrisburg, Pa. Filed Dec. 14, 1965, Ser. No. 513,697 2 Claims. (Cl. 339-90) This invention relates to a multi-contact electrical connector having improved means for coupling the two parts of the connector.
A commonly known type of multi-contact electrical connector comprises two parts, each part consisting of a cylindrical shell having an insulating insert means therein with contact terminals mounted in the insert. When the two parts of the connector are engaged with each other, the contact terminals of the two parts are also engaged to complete the electrical circuits of the wires to which the terminals are attached. The connector parts are conventionally provided with key and keyway means for polarizing purposes so that the intended terminals will be engaged with each other when the connector parts are coupled. Connectors of this type are also conventionally provided with a coupling member in the form of a locking ring or nut rotatably mounted on one of the connector shells, this coupling nut having grooves for reception of pins extending radially from the other part. The coupling of the connector parts thus requires that the key and keyway means be aligned, and the coupling nut be rotated relative to the shell member on which it is mounted to pull the two parts together.
In connectors of the type described above, the grooves in the coupling nut must thus be aligned with the pins of the mating connector part when the two parts are engaged with each other. The present invention relates specifically to a connector having improved means for aligning the grooves in this coupling nut with the complementary coupling pins of the mating connector part.
It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide an improved multicontact electrical connector. A further object is to provide a connector having improved coupling means which permits rapid coupling of the two connector parts. A further object is to provide a connector having a pre-oriented coupling nut on one connector part and which is relatively simple and rugged in its structural details.
These and other objects of the invention are achieved in a preferred embodiment in an electrical connector in which the two parts each comprise a cylindrical shell member having an insert, containing terminals, therein. The shells are provided with conventional key and keyway means so that they can be engaged with each other only when they are in the proper and intended rotational positions. A locking ring or coupling nut is rotatably mounted on one of the shell members and has grooves on its internal surface for engagement with radially extending pins of the other shell to pull the two parts .of the connector together upon rotation of the locking ring relative to its shell. The shell on which the locking ring is mounted has a radially extending flange and the locking ring has a rearwardly facing internal shoulder which is opposed to the forwardly facing surface of the flange. The coupling nut is resiliently biased rearwardly of the shell member on which it is mounted so that the shoulder and flange are normally biased towards each other. The opposed surfaces of this shoulder and flange are provided with interfitting shoulders which function as a ratchet means. This ratchet means is effective to yieldably latch the coupling nut at the last one position relative to the shell, this position corresponding to the starting position of the grooves and pins of the coupling nut and the other shell member. The coupling nut is thus latched "ice in a position relative to the shell on which it is mounted such that the two parts of the connector can be coupled by merely aligning their interengaging key and keyway means and rotating the coupling nut through a small are from its latched position.
In the drawing:
FIGURE 1 is a side view with parts broken away of a connector in accordance with the invention;
FIGURE 2 is an exploded view of the connector shell and coupling nut which appears on the left-hand side of the connector shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a view of the left-hand part of the connector showing the positions of the coupling nut when two connector parts are not in engagement with each other;
FIGURE 4 is FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 5 is a view taken along the lines 5-5 of FIGURE 4; and
FIGURE 6 is a view similar to FIGURE 5 but showing the positions of the parts when the two parts of the connector are disengaged from each other.
In the description which follows, the invention is shown as being provided on a multi-contact electrical connector of the general type described in detail and claimed in application Ser. No. 439,817, filed Mar. 15, 1965, by Clarence Leonard Paullus et a1. Since the instant invention is directed specifically to the structure of the coupling nut, the other features of the connector will be described only briefly and to the extent necessary for an understanding of the instant invention.
The connector shown comprises two cylindrical connector parts 2, 4; the part 4 being a plug portion and comprising a metallic cylindrical shell 6 with a composite insulating insert means 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 17 mounted within the shell. This insert means is made up of a series of generally cylindrical inserts as described in the aboveidentified co-pending application and a plurality of cavities are formed in the composite insert means by holes extending through the individual inserts. Contact terminals 18 are mounted in each of the cavities and wires 20 extend through the cavities, through a cable clamp 24 and emerge as shown at 22 of the rearward end of the connector part. The insert section 14 is of a relatively a view taken along the lines 4-4 of firm and hard material and is adapted to be shifted normally of the connector axis by a camming ring 23 which is retained on the shell by a washer 25. The purpose of shifting the insert member 14 is to impart a slight degree of tortuosity to the individual cavities after the contact terminals have been inserted and thereby prevent removal of the individual terminals, this feature of the connectors shown constituting the subject matter of the above-identified application Ser. No. 439,817.
The connector part 2 is in many respects similar to the connector part 4 and corresponding elements are identi fied by the same reference numerals as in the part 4 differentiated by prime marks. The connector part 2 is advantageously provided with an additional grommet 26 at its mating face which is compressed when the two parts of the connector are coupled to provide an interface seal. The shell 6 of the connector part 2 is also provided with a radially extending flange 28 by means of which it can be mounted on a panel. The mating ends of the two shell members are provided with key and keyway means, the
shell 6 having axially extending keys 27 and the shell 6' having corresponding keyways 29 in order to polarize the two parts during the coupling operation and to assure that the individual contact terminals 18, 18' will be axially aligned with each other.
The structure of the connector shown in FIGURE 1 described thus far is either conventional or constitutes the patentable subject matter of application Ser. No. 439,-
;17. The coupling nut and the improvements thereto [1 accordance with the instant invention will now be decribed.
A cylindrical coupling nut is rotatably mounted on he mating end of the shell 6 and extends rearwardly of a 'adially extending flange 31 on the shell. At its rearward and, this nut 30 is provided with a plurality of teeth 32 which, in the assembled connector, are bent downwardly 1nd inwardly over a washer 34. This washer, in effect, :hus becomes integral with, and part of, the locking ring 50 after assembly, the teeth 32 being shown in FIGURE 2 prior to bending and the washer 34 being shown on .he shell 6 rearwardly of the flange 31.
A flat circular spring washer 36 having a sinuous configuration is interposed between the rearwardly facing surface of the flange 31 and the forwardly facing surface of the washer 34-. This spring functions to bias the locking ring rearwardly (leftwardly in FIGURES l and 3) relative to the shell 6. At its forward or mating end, the locking ring is provided with a plurality (three in this case) of spiral grooves or channels 38 on its internal surface which are adapted to be engaged with an equal number of radially extending pins 40 on the mating end of the shell member 6. The grooves 38 are angularly spaced apart by an amount equal to the angular spacing between the pins 40 so that each pin is adapted to enter one of the grooves. It will be apparent that upon rotation of the coupling nut relative to the shell 6, the pins 40 will move relatively into the grooves 38 and the two connector parts will be pulled towards each other and into complete engagement. At the inner end of each groove 38, a hole 42 is provided in the coupling nut. This hole is slightly off center with respect to the groove so that a pocket is formed at the end of each groove. This pocket is displaced relatively towards the mating end of the locking ring (with respect to the end of the groove 38) so that when the parts are coupled, the locking ring will be moved rightwardly as viewed in FIGURE 1 and towards the connector part 2 for reasons which will be explained below.
When the two parts of the connectors 6, 6' are being engaged, they must be oriented angularly with respect to each other such that the key and keyways 27, 29 will be in axial alignment. Before the locking ring 30 can be rotated, it must also be oriented such that the entrance portions of the grooves 38 will be in alignment with the pins 40 and this aligning function is achieved by a ratchet mean effective between the cOupling nut and the flange 31 which will now be described.
As best shown in FIGURE 2, the forward portion of the coupling nut adjacent to its mating end has a relatively thicker wall than the rearward portion. The transition between these thick and thin-walled portions of the nut forms a repetitive series of shoulders 46, 48, and 50; the shoulders 46 face rearwardly and lie in a plane extending normally of the connector axis while the shoulders 48 lie in a plane extending parallel to the connector axis. The shoulders 50 extend generally spirally from the ends 49 of the shoulders 48 to the next adjacent shoulder portion 46.
The forwardly facing surface of the flange 31 is provided with shoulders 52 which extend radially with respect to the connector axis and with axially facing surfaces 54, 56. The surfaces 54 and 56 lie in spaced apart planes extending parallel to the connector axis while the surfaces 55 slope from the surfaces 52 up to the surfaces 56.
Since the spring 36 biases the locking ring 30 rearwardly of the connector part 6 (leftwardly in FIGURES 1 and 3), the shoulders 46, 48, 50 are resiliently biased towards the forwardly facing surface of the flange 31 and the complementary contours of these shoulders and surfaces constitute a ratchet mechanism. The locking ring 30 can thus be turned in a clockwise direction from the position shown in FIGURE 4 but cannot be turned in a counterclockwise direction because of. t e in g gement of the shoulders 52, 48. The locations of the interengageable shoulders 48, 52 are such that in any latched position of the nut 30 relative to the shell 6, the entrance portions of the channels will be aligned with the pin 40 of the shell member 6'.
With the disclosed arrangement, the coupling operation is rendered relatively simple and fool-proof. When the keys and keyways 27, 29 are aligned with each other, the entrance portions of the channels 38 will be in alignment with the pins 40 (assuming that the locking ring is in one of its latched positions) and the two parts of the connector can be fully engaged by merely turning the locking ring. If the locking ring is not in one of its latched positions, it need only be rotated through a slight are until the click of the ratchet mechanism indicates that it has been rotated to One of its latched positions.
It should be noted that the shoulders 48 and 52 will be against each other (FIGURE 6) only when the connector part 6 is disengaged from the connector part 6 and the spring washer 36 can bias the coupling nut leftwardly to the end of its permitted range of travel. When the two connector parts are in coupled relationship (FIGURE 1), the bayonet pins 40 will hold the coupling nut in a rightwardly displaced position such that the shoulders 48, 52 will be held out of engagement with each other (FIG- URE 5). As explained above, the channel or grooves 38 curve towards the mating end of the locking ring at the inner ends to achieve this rightward displacement of the locking ring relative to the shell 6 when the two parts of the connector are fully engaged. This feature of the disclosed embodiment is of importance since the parts must be moved in the direction of the arrows in FIGURE 5 to decouple the two parts of the connector and they could not be so moved if the shoulders 48, 52 were against each other. When the parts of the connector are coupled with each other, the locking ring is moved in the direction of the arrows of FIGURE 6 relative to the flange 31, a motion which is permitted since the shoulders 48, 52 are moving away from each other.
A distinct advantage of the invention is that the orientation of the coupling nut relative to the shell is achieved with virtually no increase in the number of separate parts of the connector but is provided on structure which must be provided for purposes other than orientation of the coupling nut. Specifically, the flange 31 on the connector shell 6 and the rearwardly facing shoulders 46, 48, 50 are required to retain the coupling nut on the shell. In accordance with the invention, the forwardly facing surface of this flange 31 and the shoulders 46, 48, 50 are contoured or formed in a manner such that the added advantage of the orientation of the coupling nut is achieved.
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 offered 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. In a multi-contact electrical connector of the type comprising two cylindrical parts engageable with each other, said parts comprising shell members having interfitting key and keyway means for polarizing purposes, one of said parts having a locking ring rotatably mounted thereon, said locking ring and said other part having cooperable interengageable means thereon to pull said parts together upon rotation of said locking ring, said locking ring having an internal rearwardly facing shoulder, said shell of said one part having a radially extending flange facing said shoulder, ratchet means effective between, and being formed on, the opposed surfaces of said shoulder and said flange, said ratchet means being effective to latch said locking ring in at least one position, said. one position corresponding to the starting position of said inter- References Cited engaging means whereby, after initial coupling of said UNITED STATES PATENTS shells, said locking ring can be immediately rotated to engage Said parts with each other. 2,984,811 5/1961 Hennesssey et al 339-9C 2. A device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said inter- 5 3302956 8/1965 Hennessey 339*9C engageable means on said locking ring and said other part comprises an internal spiral groove in said locking FOREIGN PATENTS ring and a locking pin extending radially from said other 1,297,925 5 1962 France.
part, said spiral groove having an internal end located 1, 3/ 1954 am at a distance inwardly from the mating end of said lock- 10 ing ring such that said ratchet means is maintained out of MARVIN CHAMPION, Examine!- engagement when said two parts are coupled. H. MCGLYNN, Assistant