US 3368181 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
D. .J` GIMPEL Feb. 6, 1968 ELECTRICAL CONTACT FOR USE IN FLUIDPROOF CONNECTORS FIG.
I N V E NTOR.
wm E? DM L A. N O D Unite Stae ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE This disclosure relates to an electrical contact for use in a fluid-proof connector socket such as shown in United States Patent No. 3,277,424. The socket in question is of cylindrical configuration and the electrical contact is in the form of parallel longitudinal strips of metal integrally connected by two transversely extending strips intermediate the ends of the longitudinal strips, the configuration being rolled in a cylindrical shape with the opposite ends of the longitudinal strips in opposing relationship. This cylindrical shape or sleeve structure provides multiple contact points with a cylindrical plug member contact dimensioned to be received within the cylindrical socket.
This invention relates generally to electrical contacts and more particularly to an improved electrical contact particularly useful in fluid-proof connectors.
In co-pending patent application Ser. No. 490,256, filed Sept. 27, 1965, for cFluid-Proof Connector, now United States Patent No. 3,277,424, and in related co-pending patent applications, there are described various types of fluid proof connectors useful in underwater operations. All of these types of connectors are characterized by the provision of at least one elongated plug of uniform cross-sectional dimensions throughout its length for cooperation with a socket body having at least one elongated socket of cross-sectional dimensions corresponding to that of the plug. The plug and socket each include one or more electrical contacts embedded therein and having exposed surface portions such that an electrical connection will be effected upon reception of the plug in the socket. The socket is open at both ends so that when the plug is inserted in one end, fluid such as water will be expelled from the other end, and a wiping and cleaning action will take place so that when electrical connection is effected, the contacts are maintained in a clean, dry, and tiuid proof condition.
To assure proper electrical engagement between the contacts, one of the contacts is constructed in a manner as to be capable of circumferential expansion and contraction. Preferably, the contact so designed is employed in the socket portion of the connector and is in the form of a split ring embedded in the interior wall but having an inner cylindrically exposed surface portion. This surface portion extends radially inwardly slightly beyond a flush relationship with the interior wall of the socket such that when the plug contact engages the same, the split ring will circumferentially expand slightly to accommodate the exposed surface portion of the plug contact. There is thus assured a proper electrical connection between the contacts.
The present invention has to do with an improved type of contact useful in connectors as described above, capable of circumferential expansion and contraction which will provide even greater assurance of a proper electrical connection.
A primary object of the present invention, accordingly, is to provide an improved electrical contact for assuring ice greater reliability in effecting electrical connections, particularly in fluid proof type connectors.
Another object is to provide an improved electrical contact meeting the foregoing object which is relatively economical to manufacture.
Briefiy, these and many other objects and advantages of this invention are attained by providing an electrical Contact in the form of a stamped sheet of metal rolled into a cylindrical configuration similar to the split ring type of contact described in the aforementioned copending patent applications. However, the cylindrical configuration includes at least one cutout area in a side wall such that there is provided a greater degree of resiliency insofar as circumferential expansion and contraction of the cylindrical configuration is concerned..
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the cutout includes a central window area in the sidewall of the cylindrical configuration as well as cutouts in the opposed end edges of the rolled sheet to define extended opposed ends which are capable of individually circumferentially expanding and contracting so that a redundant type electrical connection with an engaging contact results.
A better understanding of the invention will be had by now referring to a preferred embodiment thereof as illustratcd in the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is an exploded elevational view partly in cross section of a plug and socket body incorporating improved electrical contacts of this invention;
FIGURE 2 is a plan View of one of the electrical contacts incorporated in the structure of FIGURE l in a fiat configuration; and,
FlGURE 3 is a perspective view of the contact of FIG- URE 2 after being rolled into a cylindrical configuration.
Referring first to FIGURE 1, there is shown a plug body 119 having an elongated plug 11 extending therefrom and of uniform cross sectional dimensions throughout its length. As shown, the plug 11 includes a rst plug contact 12 embedded therein and defined by an enlargement of a centrally extending longitudinal rigid rod 1'3 centrally disposed in the plug 11. The exterior surface of the enlarged portion constituting the first contact 12 extends 360 circumferentially about the plug and is disposed intermediate the ends of the plug as shown. The plug 11 also includes a second contact 1d constituting an enlarged cylindrical end portion of a cylinder 15 embedded in the plug and extending from the plug body 10. Suitable conductors 16 and 17 connect to the first and second contacts 12 and 14 through the rigid rod 13 and cylindrical portion 15, respectively. The point at which the plug 11 extends from the plug body 10 defines an annular shoulder 18 as shown.
The plug structure described above is similar to that shown and described in the referred to copending application.
Cooperating with the plug body 1t) and plug portion `11 is a socket body 19 including an elongated socket 20 of uniform cross-sectional dimensions corresponding to the cross-sectional dimensions of the plug 11. The entrance portion 21 of the opening 20 is fiat for cooperation with the shoulder 18 so that when the plug 11 is inserted within the socket 20, the extent of insertion will be checked by engagement of the annular shoulder 18 with the flat portion 21. The opposite end of the socket 20 is open as at 22.
Embedded within the socket body are first and second contacts 23 and 24, each being designed in accordance with the present invention. These contacts are longitudinally spaced to correspond to the longitudinal spacing between the first and second contacts 12 and 14 of the plug 11 suc-h that when the plug 11 is inserted into the socket 20, the contacts 12 and ld will circumferentially expand the contacts 23 and 24 and be positioned in elecrical engagement therewith. Suitable wires 215 and 26 connect to the contacts 23 and 24 within the socket body as shown.
Except for the particular improved contacts 23 and 24 employed in the socket 19, the structure of the socket is similar to the socket bodies described in the referred to co-pending application and the advantages of the fluid into the socket will force Water out the opposite open end 22 of the socket 20, the exterior surface of the plug l1 into the socket 20 will force water out the opposite end 22 of the socket Ztl, the exterior surface of the plug Il engaging the interior wall of the socket 2t) during the insertion operation to wipe clean the interior of the socket of any moisture and the like so that the electrical connection is dry and fluid proof.
As described heretofore, the contacts employed in the socket in the referred to co-pending patent application were in the form of split rings. This structure permitted circumferential expansion of the contacts to take place so that a proper electrical connection was assured.
In accordance with the present invention, the contacts 23 and 24 are designed to provide even greater assurance of the integrity of the electrical connection. The manner in which this greater assurance is realized will be better understood by now referring to FIGURES 2 and 3 which illustrate the manner in which the socket contact 23 is formed. The socket contact 24 is identical in construction and therefore description of the socket contact 23 will suffice for both.
Referring first to FIGURE 2, the socket 23 may be manufactured by a stamping operation wherein the contact is defined by first and second longitudinal strips of metal 27 and 23 in parallel relationship and integrally connected by transverse strips 29 and 30. The transverse strips 29 and 30 are parallel to an axis line H and define respectively a cutout edge 31 leaving extending ends 32 and 33 for the longitudinal strips 27 and 28 and a cutout edge 34 leaving extended longitudinal ends 35 and 36. The spacing between the transverse strip portions 29 and define a central window with the longitudinal strips 27 and 28 as indicated at 37. This window is preferably formed by cutting the window along these Sides and bending out the resulting tab as s-hown at 38.
When the foregoing described stamping is rolled about the axis line H, there is provided a cylindrical configuration, the ends of the longitudinal strips are brought into opposing relationship such as indicated at 32 and 35 for the strip 27 and 33 and 36 for the strip 28. The tab 38 from the window 37 serves as a convenient connecting means for the wire 2S of FlGURE 1.
lt will be evident from the configuration illustrated in FIGURE 3 that when one of the contacts such as the contact -12 of the plug 11 in FIGURE l is inserted into the cylindrical configuration, circumferential expansion of both the opposed ends 33 and 36 and the opposed ends 32 and can take place, and this expansion can be effected independently of each other because of the greater resiliency or decoupling of these ends provided as a consequence of the transverse strips 29 and 30 and the cutout window area 37. As a consequence, there is provided not only a redundancy in contact but an accommodation or equalization of contact pressure with the exterior surface of the plug contact 12 when the same is received within the cylindrical configuration. Essentially, there results all of the advantages afforded by a bifurcated type electrical connector.
It is to be appreciated that while the contact has been described as embedded in the socket body, it is possible to provide a single integral ring as the socket contact and employ the type of contact described in FIGURES 2 and 3 in the plug structure. In this event, when the plug contact is inserted in a fixed diameter ring type contact in the socket, a circumferential contraction will take place, the plug contact then being designed to extend slightly above the surrounding surface of the plug and the tab 38 being bent internally. Again, the elongated end portions 32, A33, and 35, 36 of the longitudinal strips 27 and 28 defining portions of the cylindrical configuration will provide multiple contacts or redundant electrical connectio-n.
From the foregoing description, it will thus be evident that the present invention has provided a greatly improved electrical contact, which contact is particularly useful in underwater or fiuid proof connectors of the type described in `FlGURE 1 and in the co-pending application heretofore set forth.
What is claimed is:
i. In a `fluid-proof connector including an elongated plug of substantially uniform cross-sectional dimension throughout its length and a socket body having an elongated socket of uniform cross-sectional dimensions corresponding to the cross-sectional dimensions of said plug for receiving said plug, the improvement comprising: electrical contacts adapted to be embedded in said plug and socket body with exposed portions such that said constacts are in electrical engagement when said plug is received in said socket, at least one of said contacts comprising first and second parallel longitudinal strips of metal integrally connected by two transversely extending strips intermediate the ends of said longitudinal strips, and rolled into a cylindrical configuration having an axis parallel to said transverse strips with opposite ends of said longitudinal strips beinU in opposing spaced relationship and defining said exposed portions, whereby said cylindrical configuration is capable of circumferential expansion and contraction when engaged by the exposed portion of the electrical contact of said plug, said longitudinal strips providing electrical engagement with said exposed portion of the electrical contact of said plug at more than one point, said two transversely extending strips defining with said longitudinal strips an open window area in said cylindrical configuration, said window area being formed by bending out a portion of the wall of said cylindrical configuration to define a tab for connection to a conductor passing into said connector.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1947 Bergan 339-256 l0/l966 Nelson 339-94