US 3354419 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
NOV- 21, 1967 E. MILLER, JR
VARIABLE ANGLE SPARK PLUG CONNECTOR 2 Sheets-Sheet Filed Sept. 2l, 1964 Z -lf INVENTR LLOYD E. MLLER JR. BM
ATTORNEY NOV- 21, 1967 L. E. MILLER, JR
VARIABLE ANGLE SPARK PLUG CONNECTOR Filed Sept. 2l, -1964 2 Sheets-Sheet :2
LLOYD E. NHLLEQ JE.
ATTORNEY United States Patent O 3,354,419 VARIABLE ANGLE SPARK PLUG CONNECTOR Lloyd E. Miller, Ir., 7811 Erwin Road,
Coral Gables, Fla. 33143 Filed Sept. 21, 1964, Ser. No. 397,864 15 Claims. (ci. 339-26) This invention relates to an improved spark plug connector, and more particularly, to a variable-angle connector where the connector may be adjusted to provide an optimum angle between the associated high voltage ignition Wire and the spark plug.
In the past, various designs have been proposed for spark plug connectors, but in each known instance, these arrangements have had marked inadequacies. Many manufacturers have made only straight-type and 90 degreetype connectors, but this presents a decided disadvantage inasmuch as for practically all multi-cylinder engines the angle between the longitudinal axis of the spark plug and the high voltage wire is dittcrent for each cylinder. In other Words, the spark plugs nearer the distributor generally require straight connectors, whereas the plugs most remote from the distributor generally necessitate the use of 90 degree-type connectors.
As should be apparent, the intermediate plugs of an engine would require some angle between the straight and 90 degree-types in order for the ignition wires to lie as flat as possible against the engine block r head, or to be otherwise optimumly positioned. However, intermediate angle connectors are not generally available because or' the inconvenience for manufacturers and dealers to make and stock connectors of every conceivable angle. Consequently, connections made where the angle cannot be accommodated by a straight or 90 degree-type connector often result in an installation where the ignition wire must be bent at an extreme angle. Such sharp wire bends, because of the necessarily thick wire insulation, leave residual stresses in the ignition wire which tend to undesirably disconnect the connector from the plug.
In accordance with lthis invention a variable-angle connector is provided which is easily and simply adjusted during installation to the correct angle for any given spark plug wiring situation.
My connector advantageously comprises a first member arranged to be in electrical as lwell :as mechanical contact with the terminal of ya spark plug or the like, and a second member rotatably attached to said first member and capable of being -disposed at substantially any rotative position with respect thereto. The second member is arranged to be connected to a high voltage ignition wire, with said members being closely interlitted so as to define a rotatable miter joint therebetween, so that when the second member is placed at a desired angle with respect to the first member, the ignition wire may be disposed in a desired angular relationship with respect to the spark plug, and lie optimumly positioned adjacent the engine with which it is used. Because of the inherent friction in the miter joint of the connector, the second member advantageously will remain in substantially the position to which it is adjusted with respect to the first member.
In accordance with la preferred embodiment, the first member and the second member are interconnected by means of a screw member so that the Vamount of friction between the first and second members can easily be regulated by controlling the number of turns of relative rotation between these members.
Inasmuch las the first member and the second member have mitered butting faces, such as faces disposed at a 45 degree angle to the respective centerlines of the first and second members, -by appropriate rotation of the second member with respect to .the first member, the angle between these members can be varied in infinitesimal increments between 90 and 180 degrees. In this manner, the ignition wire to which the second member is afhxed can be oriented to a desired angle and not biased away from that position because of the inherent springiness of the wire insulation.
Other prior art devices have utilized metallic spark plug connectors that could -be bent during installation so as to allow the ignitionv wire to be positioned as desired, but this has often induced cracking with subsequent failure, resulting in electrical discontinuity in the spark plug circuit. Likewise, the supposedly-flexible rubber boots utilized in the past to cover these metallic connectors have also been prone to crac-k and fail as a result of overstressed bends when subjected to temperature extremes 'and aging. It should be apparent, therefore, that in the preferred embodiments of my invention the component parts of the connector are desirably not subjected to overstressing as a result of angular attitude when installed.
It shoud be noted that my invention is not to be limited to an `arrangement in which the contacting surfaces of the first and second members are disposed at a 45 degree angle to the central axis of that member. This is because in some installations it is desirable to have interfitting first and second members that can be manipulated to an angle smaller than 90 degrees, sueh as may be brought about in the event the contacting surfaces of the first and second members are at 45 and 90 degrees to their respective member central axes. Other arrangements will be apparent within the scope of this invention.
If desired, my connector .may also be constructed as a` very simplified version of the hereinbefore described configurations whereby the use of the screw member may be eliminated, and Ithe mitered faces of the first and second members riveted together so as to be rotatable over a wide range of angles. As is obvious, the riveted joint would include a spring Washer or the like to provide sufiicient friction to cause the first and second members to stay in a desired relationship to each other but free enough to provide adjustment. Such construction may desirably utilize inexpensive steel stampings for the first and second members and be jacketed upon installation with a commercially available flexible rubber boot. This embodiment of course would not offer Ithe advantages afforded by the first embodiment, but in some instances Would be preferred for cost reasons. These and other objects, features and advantages, will be apparent from the enclosed drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 shows connector in place upon a spark plug, with first and second members held together by a screw member and disposed at a degree angle;
FIGURE 2 is a View closely related to FIGURE 1, but showing the second member rotated -with respect to t'he first member so as to 'cause the ignition conductor to be disposed straight or parallel with the longitudinal axis of the spark plug; f
FIGURE 3 is aview of the same spark plug connector appearing in FIGURES 1 and 2, but with the second member disposed at a location intermediate the 90 degree and the degree positions;
FIGURE 4 is a View of the second principal embodiment of my invention in which the screw member is replaced by la rivet or the like about which the second member is rotatable;
FIGURE 5 is another showing of the second embodiment, but with the first and second members disposed in the 90 degree position;
FIGURE 6 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of a further embodiment of my connector, similar 3 in design to the embodiment shown in FIGURES 1 through 3 but employing a different an-gular range of adjustrnent;
FIGUR-E 7 is a view of 'the connector depicted in FIG- URE 6 but showing the second member adjusted to its maximum obtuse angular position;
FIGURE 7a is a cross sectional View taken through the first member of FIGURE 7, being typical for FIG- URE l also;
FIGURE 8 is a perspective view, partly in section, to show the electrical spark plug terminal receptacle used inside the iirst member of the embodiments shown in FIGURES l, 2, 3, 6 and 7;
FIGURE 9 is a still further embodiment of my invention, differing from previous embodiments in that a range of adjustment is provided so as to permit the second member to be variable from zero to 180 degrees; and
FIGURE 10 is the connector of FIGURE 9 but adjusted to the 180 degree position.
Referring to FIGURE l it will be noted that connector 10 is principally comprised of first member 11 designed to compatibly connect to a spark plug 12, and a second member 13 designed to be mechanically and electrically attached to an ignition wire 14 such as may lead to the distributor` of an engine or the like. In this preferred embodiment, first member 11 principally consists of a rubber insulative boot inside of which terminal receptacle 11a is coaxially disposed. As will be noted in FIGURE l and perhaps with more clarity in FIGURE 2, angled screw member 15, which may be molded into the insulative body of member 13 during manufacture, is used to secure members 11 and 13 together in an adjustable and highly advantageous manner as will be described at length hereinafter.
One end of angled screw member 15,.otherwise known as an interconnection means, is equipped with a taper thread 16, which is utilized during installation to be wound into the stranded conductor 17 of ignition wire 14, so as to make good electrical and mechanical contact therewith. A non-tapered machine screw` thread18 is preferably utilized at the other end of the screw member 15, and as will be noted in FIGURES 1 and 2,` this portion of member-15 is designed to be received by complimentary threads disposed in a tapped hole 19 angularly disposed in the upper portion of terminal recetacle 11a. Note FIGURE 8. As may be noted from the aforementioned figures, terminal receptacle `11a is designed to t closely inside boot 11, vwith the lower portion of the terminal receptacle being `arranged to tightly receive the v terminal of spark plug 12.
The end of angled threaded member 1S containing threads 18 is disposed at approximately right angles to the mitered faces 21 and 23 of the rst and second members. In other words, these basic connector portions are arranged to be secured together in a generally rotatable manner, with it being understood that as relative rotation takes place in the tightening direction between these two members, the more tightly they will be drawn together. As should therefore be obvious, the upper portion of receptacle 11a in effect acts as a nut disposed on threads 18 of angled screw member 15, serving to retain the uppermost portion of boot 11 in close tting relationship with second member 13. Therefore, when the first and second members or portions are relatively rotated in the tightening direction, the boot material located at the mitered face 21 is compressed between the receptacle 11a and the face 23 of the relatively harder material constituting the second` member 13. Since compression of the boot j material in this area increases the frictional torque at the miter joint, the degree of friction required to keep the members from inadvertently unwinding or coming apart as a result of engine vibration or the like may be adjusted accordingly, while at the same time permitting the angular relationship between the first and second members to be carefully selected.
It is to be noted that for a given desired angle between the central axes of the first and second members, the friction is adjustable in increments as fine as the pitch of that portion of the angled screw member 15 that engages receptacle 11a.
As previously mentioned, the lower end of receptacle 11a is equipped with an aperture for receiving the terminal of spark plug 12 and may be slotted as shown in FIGURE 8 `so that the sides of the receptacle can in effect act as spring detents when installed upon the terminal of the spark yplug 12. Two or more dimples 24 located on opposite sides of the receptacle are arranged to engage the customary groove disposed about the terminal of the spark plug so as to provide mechanical retention and assure good electrical contact.
Advantageously, my connector provides a high degree of water-proofing as a result of several factors. As may be seen, the boot 11 is designed to tit closely over the porcelain insulator of the spark plug, with the upper end of the boot not admitting water by virtue of the fact of the compression of the boot material at the mitered face. Furthermore, the junction of the second member with the ignition wire is waterproof` inasmuch as the attachment procedure causes the tapered end of the angle screw member 15 to expand the insulation of the ignition wire 14 tightly against the interior of the annular end of the second member 13 to effect a highly satisfactory seal.
As to material, I prefer to make boot 11 of high ternperaturef(600 F.) silicon rubber, the second member 13 of molded phenolic, the receptacle 11a either of brass as a screw machine part, or alternatively as a tempered steel stamping, and finally the angled screw member 1S of brass or steel, cadmium plated.
Unlike prior art connectors, my connector permits an almost unlimited number of relative positions between the first and second members in order that the ignition wire used with a given plug may reside in an optimum` position.y As depicted in FIGURE 3 for example, the angle between the first and second members may be say 135 degrees, or for-that matter any other angle between the degree position shown in FIGURE 1 and the 180 degree position shown in FIGURE 2.`
Turning to FIGURES 4 and 5, a second embodiment of my invention isillustrated in which rst member 31 configured to serve as a terminal receptacle and second member 33 are interconnected by a rivet 35 or the like which permits in this embodiment the angle between members to be adjustable between 90 and 180 degree locations. As may be seen, this construction utilizes comparatively inexpensive steel stampings or the like configured into generally circular cross section members, with the rst member being appropriately split or slotted longitudinally to permit sufcient springiness `for proper installation upon the terminal of a spark plug and proper retention thereon.
It is usually desirable that the second member be left open, in a generally U-shaped cross section, and then crimped onto the ignition wire at the time of installation. A sharp tang 36 may be formed into this member by an appropriate stamping process so that when the wire is attached, as is shown in FIGURE 5, the tank will pierce the insulation and make proper contact with the wire conductor 37 so as to complete the electrical connection between the spark plug and the conductor 37.
As should be understood, the adjacent ends or faces of the first and second members are each disposed at a desired angle, such as a 45 degree angle as illustrated. A hole is formed in each of the mitered faces so as to receive rivet 35 used as the interconnection means to secure the members together as well as to provide an axis about which relative movement between the two members can take place. This rivet is staked in assembly with a spring washer 38 under its head, so as to provide sufficient springiness for producing an adequate amount of friction between members to effect retention of the members in desired positions but yet enabling a sufficient degree of manipulation for achieving a desired angular relationship between the members. Boot 39 encompasses both the first and second members and possesses enough resilience and flexibility as to permit the desired positioning of the first and second members, while at the same time affording waterproofing at the locations in which it cornes in contact with the spark plug 32 and the ignition wire 34.
While I ordinarily utilize mitered faces on members 31 and 33 disposed at a 45 degree angle to the central axes of the members so as to provide an angular range of adjustment between 90 and 180 degrees, it is to be understood that the angularity of these faces may be varied Iover a wide range so as to enable the first and second members to be brought to positions in which the angle between members is less than 90 degrees.
Referring to the embodiment shown in FIGURES 6 and 7, it is to be seen that the angulated threaded member 45 may be disposed in a different configuration than its counterpart in FIGURES l and 2 so as to enable an angular range of 45 to 135 degrees between the first member 41 and the second member 43. In this instance the threaded member may be configured at a 45 degree angle. As will be understood, the second member must be modified somewhat to accommodate the differently configured angulated screw member but the construction of this member in the various embodiments is otherwise quite sirnilar.
Also to be seen in FIGURE 7 as well as in FIGURES 7a and 8 are dimples 24, which may be utilized on the terminal receptacle 41a (and 11a) for preventing accidental dislodgement of the first member of these embodiments from the terminal of the spark plug.
Lastly, the embodiment of FIGURES 9 and 10 illustrates an angled screw member 55 of approximately the same configuration as depicted in the immediately preceding embodiment, but with the terminal receptacle 51a configured so as to present a threaded hole disposed at right angles to the longitudinal axis of the receptacle. As a result of this construction, the angular range between first member 51 and second member 53 is between the Zero and the 180 degree positions shown in FIGURES 9 and 10, respectively.
Other angular ranges than those shown in the various figures of drawing may of course be used, and other constructions employed within the spirit of this invention, and I am not to be limited to the illustrated embodiments except as required by the scope of the appended claims:
1. A variable angle spark plug connector for use with an engine in which the spark plugs are so located that their respective ignition wires are each disposed at somewhat different angles, each connector having two basic portions, each of nonconductive material, but containing in a central portion thereof, electrically conductive means in which a rotatable miter joint in involved that permits a wide range of angles between said portions, a first one of said portions configured to be connected to a spark plug and the second to an ignition wire, at least one of said portions being of compliant material, said miter joint remaining relatively movable in use but possessing a substantial amount of friction so that undesired relative rotation does not take place between said members.
2. The variable angle spark plug connector as defined in claim 1 in which said rotatable miter joint is formed by adjacent mounting faces disposed on said portions, which faces are secured together in close-fitting relation by interconnection means.
3. The connector as defined in claim 2 in which the face of one of said portions is disposed at a 45 degree angle to the centerline of that portion, and the face of the other portion disposed at an angle to the centerline of its portion of less than forty-five degrees.
4. The connector as defined in claim 2 in which the Afaces of both of said portions are disposed at a forty-five degree angle to the centerlines thereof.
5. The connector as defined in claim 2 in which neither of the faces of said portions are disposed at a forty-five degree angle to the -centerlines thereof.
6. The connector as defined in claim 2 in which said interconnection means is formed by an angled threaded member integral with one of said portions and threaded into the other portion, relative rotation of said portions in one rotative direction tending to increase the friction between said faces and thus assure the maintenance of the relative angular position established between said members.
7. A variable angle spark plug connector for use with the ignition system of an engine comprising first and second members each having an angled mounting face thereon, and interconnection means for rotatably securing said members together, said first member being configured to be secured to the terminal of a spark plug, said second member being configured to receive an ignition wire, at least one of said faces being made of compliant material, said interconnection means including a conductive member extending between said mounting faces and holding said faces in frictional contact, while permitting relative rotation of said members over a wide range of angular positions.
8. The spark plug connector as defined in claim 7 in which said interconnection means is in the form of an angled, threaded member, latter member being integral with one of the aforementioned members and threadedly engaging the other of the aforementioned members, relative rotation of said first and second members in one direction tending to increase the friction between said faces and thus assure the maintenance of the relative angular position established between said members.
9. A variable angle spark plug connector for use with the ignition system of an engine comprising first and second members each having an angled mounting face thereon, with the material of at least one of said members being compliant, and interconnection means for rotatably securing said members together, said first member having therein a terminal receptacle configured to receive the terminal of a spark plug, said second member being arranged to receive an ignition wire, said interconnection means being in the form of a conductive member extending between said mounting faces and holding said faces in frictional contact, while permitting relative rotation of said members over a wide range of angular positions.
10. The spark plug connector as defined in claim 9 in which said interconnection means is in the form of an angled, threaded member, latter member being integral with said second member and threadedly engaging a portion of the terminal receptacle of said first member, relative rotation of said first and second members in one direction tending to increase the friction between said faces and thus assure the maintenance of the relative angular position established between said members.
11. An improved spark plug connector adapted to accommodate an ignition conductor disposed in any of a wide range of attitudes with respect to the spark plug, said connector comprising a first member arranged to be in electrical as well as mechanical -contact with a spark plug, and a second member rotatably attached to said first member and capable of being disposed at substantially any rotative position with respect to said first member, said second member also being connected to an ignition conductor, said first and second members having interfitting faces, at least one of which utilizes compliant material so as to define a friction joint along the center of which is disposed conductive material, whereby when said second member is placed at a desired angle so as to cause the conductor to be disposed in a desired relationship with respect to the spark plug, said second member will remain in substantially that position with respect to said first member.
12. The improved spark plug connector as delined in claim 11 in which said rst and second members are prin-v cipally constructed of nonconductive material, andsecured together by a conductive, screw-type member disposed between said faces.
13. The connector as defined in claim 11 in which at least one of said intertting faces is disposed at an angle with respect to the centerline `of the member on which it is located, thereby to deine a miter joint.
14. An improved spark plug connector adapted to accommodate an ignition conductor` disposed in any of a Wide range of attitudes with respectto the spark plug, said connection comprising a rst member configured to be in contact with the spark plug, said first member including `a skirt portion arranged to fit snugly -about the upper end of the spark plug, and having an internal terminal-receivingy member disposed to make electrical contact with the terminal of the spark plug, and a second member rotatably attached to said first member and to a conductor and being capable of being disposed in a wide range of rotative positions with respect to said first member, one of said members being of compliant material, said tirst and second members being closely interfitted so as to define a variable angle friction joint of conductive material therebetween, whereby when said second member is placed at a desired angle with respect to the first member, so as to cause the conductor to reside at a desired angle, said second member will remain in substantially that position.
15. The connector` defined in claim 14 in which said second member includes an angled screw member threadedly engaging a portion of said terminal-receiving member, whereby the amount of friction present in said joint may be varied.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,649,951 11/1927 English 287-14- X 1,989,893 2/1935 Taylor 339-29 2,617,671 11/1952 Barrango 287-14 2,665,673 l/1954 Woofter 339-26 2,792,558 5/ 1957 Woofter 339-26 2,943,139 6/1960 Skunda 339-26 X FOREIGN PATENTS 151,858 8/1937 Austria.
16,828 of 1911 Great Britain.
MARVIN A. CHAMPION, Primary Examiner.
25 PATRICK A. CLIFFORD, Examiner.