US 3368185 A
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6, .1968 H. J. DELL ETAL- 3,368,185
I ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Nov. 8, 1966 Feb. 6, 1968 H. J. DELL ETAL 3,368,185
ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY I Filed Nov. 8, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 3
3 47 5;;71 52 l :0 r as Feb. 6, 1968 ELL ETAL v 3,368,185
ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Nov. 8, 1966 Feb. 6, 1968 H. .J. DELL ETAL 3,
I ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY Filed Nov. 8, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 United States Patent 3,368,185 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY Harry J. Dell, Mechanicsburg, and William J. Garver, Harrisburg, Pa, assignors to AMP Incorporated, Harrisburg, Pa.
Filed Nov. 8, 1966, Ser. No. 592,931 6 Claims. (Cl. 339217) This invention relates to disengageable electrical connectors comprising a pair of matable housings each of which contains one or more electrical contact terminals.
Disengageable electrical connecting devices are widely used for wiring the electrical devices on appliances, automobiles, and a wide variety of other types of apparatus. In normal assembly practice of appliances and automobiles for example the various electrical connections between the electric motors, switches, fuses, control devices, and so forth, are made by means of previously prepared harnesses. Each harness comprises a bundle of wires having terminals on their ends and, frequently, connector housings in which the terminals are mounted. At the time of final assembly, the electrical connectors on the ends of the housings are coupled to each other and/or the terminals are connected to the various electrical devices on the apparatus.
The electrical terminals and connectors used in the automotive and appliance fields for example and in many other types of equipment should be relatively low in cost and should be as versatile as is reasonably possible, the term versatility in this instance being intended to connote that the connectors can be used under a wide variety of circumstances and are not limited to usage in particular specialized circumstances. A high degree of versatility is desirable in such electrical connectors for automobiles or appliances for the reason that the connector can be adapted to a wide range of assembly line techniques and conditions if it is versatile thereby simplifying the manufacturing and assembling processes for the apparatus and maintaining the assembly costs at a low level.
An object of the present invention is to provide an improved electrical connector assembly of the disengageable type. A further object is to provide an assembly comprising connector housings and contact terminals, the housings being adapted to receive either a pin or a socket type contact terminal. A still further object is to provide a connector housing having a contact receiving cavity therein which is of a form such that it will receive either one of two engageable contacts so that only one type of housing having one type of cavity is required for a two-part connector assembly. A still further object is to provide a substantially foolproof electrical connector assembly containing inserta ble electrical contacts, the assembly being foolproof in the sense that insertion of the contacts into the housing and coupling of the housings with each other can be accomplished by inexperienced and unskilled personnel.
These and other objects of the invention are achieved in a preferred embodiment thereof comprising a one-piece molded housing of suitable insulating material having a contact cavity extending therethrough from its rearward side to its mating side. This cavity has a plurality of radially inwardly extending bosses intermediate its ends which are circumferentially spaced-apart and which are separated by gaps of a given width. These bosses define first shoulders which face the mating face of the housing and which are utilized to retain the contacts against rearward movement. The cavity also has a plurality of axially extending ribs extending from its mating face towards the bosses. The ribs have a width equal to the given widths of the gaps and are in alignment with the gaps. Adjacent to the mating face, these ribs have a stepped cross-section which defines inwardly projecting teeth adjacent to the mating face 3,368,l Patented Feb. 6, 1968 ICC and rearwardly facing shoulder means. The shoulder means functions to retain an inserted contact against forward movement and the surfaces of the teeth function to support the reduced diameter contact portion of a contact pin. The cavities are such that they can receive either a pin or a socket contact terminal. A distinct advantage of the invention is that by virtue of the arrangement of having the ribs offset with respect to the bosses, that is in alignment with the gaps between the bosses, such housings can be made very cheaply and rapidly by molding processes. The invention thus achieves a high degree of economy of manufacture and also permits the user of the connector to simplify his inventory problems in that he need use only one type of connector housing.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a typical connector assembly, the two connector parts being disengaged from each other in this view;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of a contact receiving cavity in accordance with the invention;
FIGURES 3 and 4 are sectional side views taken along the lines 3--3 and 4-4 of each other;
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view of a contact pin terminal which is adapted to be inserted into the cavity of FIGURES 2-4;
FIGURE 6 is a perspective view of a contact socket which is adapted to be inserted into the cavity of FIG- URES24;
FIGURE 7 is a sectional side view showing the cavities in two blocks in alignment with each other and showing a pin contact in one of the blocks and a socket contact in the other block;
FIGURE 8 is a diagrammatic view of a mold for manufacturing, by a molding process, a block having the cavity of FIGURES 2-4;
FIGURE 9 is a perspective view of a pair of core pins used in the mold of FIGURE 8 which will produce the cavity of FIGURES 2-4;
FIGURE 10 is a sectional side view of an alternative embodiment of the invention; and
FIGURE 11 is a view taken along the lines 1111 of FIGURE 10.
FIGURE 1 shows a pair of connector housings or connector blocks 2a, 2b which have cavities 4 extending therethrough from their rearward sides 3, to their mating sides 5. Since the present invention is directed to the structure of the cavities 4 and the contact terminals mounted in the cavities, a description of the external structures of the blocks 2a, 2b is not essential to an understanding of the invention. It should be pointed out, however, that the contact cavities and contact terminals of the present invention can be used in connector housings having a wide variety of external configurations. The particular housings shown in FIGURE 1 are described more fully in the copending application of Harry J. Dell et al., Ser. No. 569,946, filed Aug. 3, 1966.
The cavities 4 in accordance with the instant invention are adapted to receive either a cont-act pin 6, or a contact socket 8, of the types shown in FIGURES 5 and 6. The socket 8 has a hollow cylindrical receptacle portion 10, a wire crimp portion 12 adjacent to the cylindrical receptacle portion 10, and an insulation crimp portion 14, the portions 12, 14 of the terminal being crimped onto a wire 16. Contact socket 8 is advantageously formed by die stamping and forming methods and will have an axially extending seam as shown at 20. Retaining ears 18 extend rearwardly and divergently from the cylindrical receptacle portion 10 on each side of the seam 20 and function to retain the contact in the cavity as will be explained below.
The contact pin terminal 6 has a reduced diameter leading end portion 22 which is adapted to enter the receptacle portion 10 of the socket 8, an intermediate cylindrical portion 24 of a diameter equal to the outside diameter of the portion 8 of the contact socket, and a forwardly facing shoulder 26 between the reduced diameter portion 22 and the intermediate portion 24. Contact pin 6 also has a Wire crimp portion 28, and an insulation crimp portion 30 by means of which it is secured to the end of a wire 16 as explained above. Retaining ears 32, similar to the retaining cars 18, extend divergently and rearwardly from the intermediate portion 24 on each side of the axial seam. The ears 32 are of the same width as the ears 18 and, like the ears 18, function to retain the contact in the cavity.
Referring now to FIGURES 24, a preferred form of contact cavity 4 in accordance with the invention has a cylindrical portion 34 extending inwardly from the rearward side 3 of the housing 2 to a location intermediate the cavity ends. A plurality, three in the disclosed embodiment, of inwardly extending bosses 36 are located at this intermediate location and define first shoulder means 38 which faces forwardly toward the mating side of the block. These bosses have inner surfaces 41 and conical rearwardly extending surfaces 40 which merge with the cylindrical portion 34. The bosses 36 are separated by gaps 42 of a predetermined width, the width of these gaps being less than the width of the pairs of ears 18, 32 of either the pin contact or the socket contact for reasons which will be explained below.
The left-hand portion 44 of the cavity as viewed in FIGURES 3 and 4 has three axially extending ribs 46 which are in alignment with the gaps 42 and which have a width substantially equal to the given width of these gaps. The height of the ribs 47 are such that their upper surfaces 47 are spaced from the axis of the cavity by an amount substantially equal to, and slightly greater than, the radius of the contact portion 1a of the socket contact and the radius of the intermediate portion 24 of the pin contact. At their right hand ends, the ribs have sloping surfaces 48 which merge with the wall of the cavity at their left-hand ends, the ribs are provided with radially inwardly projecting teeth 50 which define second shoulder means 51 which is opposed to the previously identified first shoulder means 38. The upper surfaces 52 of the teeth 50 are spaced from the axis of the cavity by an amount substantially equal to the radius of the reduced diameter tip portion 22 of the contact pin. The extreme left-hand portion of the cavity 4 is provided with a conical surface 54 which merges with the surface of mating end 5 of the housing and which functions to guide a pin contact into the cavity as is apparent from FIGURE 7.
As shown in FIGURE 7, the cavity 4 is adapted to receive either a pin contact or a socket contact. When a socket contact is inserted, it is merely pushed into the cavity from the rearward side 3 until the ears 18 pass beyond the bosses 36 so that the rearward edges of these ears will lodge against the first shoulder means 38. The distance between the corners 19 of the cars is greater than the given width of the gaps 42 so that the first shoulder 38 defined by the bosses will function to retain the contact socket against rearward movement even if these ears should bridge one of the gaps 42. The forward end of the contact socket lodges against the second shoulder means 51 and retains the contact against movement through the cavity beyond the position shown in FIG- URE 7.
A contact pin 6 is retained in the cavity in substantially the same manner as the socket 8, that is, the rearward edges of the cars 32 lodge against the first shoulder means 38 and the forwardly facing shoulder 26 of the intermediate contact portion 24 lodges against the shoulder means 51. The reduced diameter contact tip portion 22 of the contact extends between the surfaces 52 which retain the contact against undue lateral motion.
A distinct advantage of the cavity shown in FIGURES 24 is that it will receive either type of contact. This feature of the invention is achieved in an inexpensive injection molding operation by virtue of the core pin design shown in FIGURE 9 which would be used in a mold as diagrammatically shown in FIGURE 8. The mold is made up of two sections 55, 57 which have a mold cavity therebetween 60 which, when filled with molding material, will form the block 4. Core pins 62, 64 are mounted in the mold to form the block cavity and the molding material is injected through an inlet indicated at 58. It will be understood that a housing in accordance with the invention can be made by a transfer molding process as well as by injection molding.
The core pins 62, 64 have shank portions 66, and have surfaces which produce the internal cavity configuration which is shown in FIGURES 24. These surfaces on the core pins are denoted by the same reference numerals, differentiated by prime marks, as are used to denote the various surface portions of the cavity. Thus the conical surfaces 44 are formed by the conical surfaces 40' of the core pin and the shoulders 38 are formed by the peripheral portions 38 of the front end of the pin 70. The gaps 42 of the cavity between the bosses are formed by the portions 42 of the core pin and the ribs 47 are formed by the surface 47 of core pin 62. The pin 64 has three axially extending fingers or segments 72 which are adapted to enter the V-notches 68 of the pin 62. These three fingers 72 surround a projection 74 extending axially from the shank portion of the pin which projection has substantially the same cross-section as the nose portion (the left-hand end portion) of the pin 62. However, the surfaces 52' of this projection are spaced from the axis of the pin 64 by an amount slightly less than the distance between surface 47' of the pin 62 and the axis of the pin 62. This dimensional difference results in the formations of the shoulders 51, since a shoulder will be defined at 51' when the two pins are engaged with each other. The conical surface 54 on the left-hand side of the cavity as viewed in FIGURE 3 is provided by a matching conical surface 54' at the base of the projections 74.
FIGURES l0 and 11 show an alternative embodiment of the invention which, in many respects, is similar to the embodiment previously described. In the embodiment of FIGURES l0 and 11, the same reference numerals differentiated by double prime marks are used to describe the cavity as are used for the corresponding portions of the cavity of the embodiment of FIGURES 24. The embodiment of FIGURES 10 and 11 differs from the embodiment of FIGURES 24 in that only two axially extending ribs 46" are provided and arcuately extending webs are provided which are integral with the sides of the ribs. The embodiment of FIGURES l0 and 11 thus has a cylindrical element 78 disposed in the cavity adjacent to the mating side. This cylindrical element is spaced from the cavity wall and is supported on opposite sides by the ribs. This embodiment thus provides a contlnuous shoulder 51" rather than an interrupted shoulder 51 as in the embodiment of FIGURES 3 and 4.
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 fore going 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.
What is claimed is:
1. An electrical connector housing comprising a onepiece molding of insulating material, said housing having a contact receiving cavity extending therethrough from its rearward side to its mating side, said cavity having a plurality of bosses extending radially inwardly intermediate its ends, said bosses being equally spaced apart and being separated by gaps of a given width, said bosses defining first shoulders facing said mating face, said cavity having a plurality of axial ribs extending from said mating end towards said bosses, said ribs having a width equal to said given widths of said gaps and being in alignment with said gaps, said ribs each having an inwardly projecting tooth adjacent to said mating end, said teeth defining rearwardly facing second shoulders opposed to said first shoulders, said cavity being adapted to receive either a pin contact or a socket contact, either type of contact having means cooperable with said first and second shoulders for retaining said contacts against rearward and forward movement respectively, and said teeth being adapted to support the reduced diameter contact tip portion of a pin contact.
2. An electrical connector housing as set forth in claim 1 including a pin contact in said cavity, said pin contact having divergent ear means extending rearwardly therefrom and bearing against said first shoulder means, the width of said ear means being greater than said given width of said gaps whereby said first shoulder means retain said contact against rearward movement, said pin Contact having shoulder means intermediate its ends bearing against said second shoulder means to retain said contact against forward movement, and said pin contact having a reduced diameter contact tip portion supported on said teeth and extending beyond said mating side.
3. An electrical connector housing as set forth in claim 1 including a socket contact in said cavity, said socket contact having divergent ear means extending rearwardly therefrom and bearing against said first shoulder means, the width of said ear means being greater than said given width of said gaps whereby said first shoulder means retain said contact against rearward movement, the forward end of said socket contact bearing against said second shoulder means.
4. An electrical connector housing, said housing comprising a one piece plastic molding and having a contact-receiving cavity extending therethrough from its rearward side to its mating side, said cavity having a cylindrical portion extending inwardly from said rearward side, three bosses extending radially inwardly from the walls of said cavity at a location intermediate the ends thereof, each of said bosses defining first shoulders facing said mating side, said bosses being evenly spaced from each other to define three gaps, and three axial ribs between said bosses and said mating side, said ribs being in alignment with said gaps and having a width substantially equal to the width of said gaps, each of said ribs being stepped at a location adjacent to said mating end to define second shoulders opposed to said first shoulders and facing said rearward side, said cavity being adapted to receive either a pin contact or a socket contact, said first shoulders being cooperable with lance means on said contacts to retain said contacts against rearward movement and said second shoulders being cooperable with either the leading end of a socket contact or a forwardly facing shoulder on a pin contact to restrain said contacts against movement through said housing.
5. An electrical connector housing comprising a onepiece molding having a generally cylindrical cavity extending therethrough from its rearward side to its mating side, said cavity being adapted to receive either a pin or a socket contact, said cavity having a plurality of inwardly-extending bosses intermediate its ends, said bosses being circumferentially spaced-apart by a predetermined amount and defining first shoulders facing said mating side, a plurality of axially extending ribs extending from said mating side towards said bosses, said ribs being in alignment with the spacing, said ribs being stepped at a location adjacent to said mating side to define second shoulders facing said first shoulders, the height of said ribs conforming to the diameter of said socket contact and to the diameter of an intermediate portion of said pin contact, and the height of said shoulder conforming to the diameter of the contact tip portion of said pin contact, both said pin contact and said socket contact having lance means of a width greater than the width of said gaps whereby a socket contact disposed in said cavity has its forward end disposed against said second shoulders and has its lance means disposed against said first shoulders, and a pin contact disposed in said cavity has its contact end supported on said teeth and has its intermediate shoulder disposed against said first shoulders with its lance means disposed against said second shoulders.
6. An electrical connector assembly comprising a pair of mated connector housings, each housing having a cylindrical cavity extending therethrough from its rearward side to its mating side, said cavities being identical, a plurality of bosses extending radially inwardly from the wall of each cavity intermediate its ends, said cavities being spaced-apart by a predetermined amount and defining a first series of shoulders which face said mating sides, each cavity having a plurality of axially extending ribs extending from said mating side towards said bosses, said ribs having a width equal to the spacing between said bosses and being in alignment with the gaps between said bosses, said ribs being stepped at a location adjacent to said mating sides to define a second series of shoulders opposed to said first shoulders, one of said cavities having a socket contact therein, said socket contact having its forward end disposed against said second series of shoulders and having retaining ear means disposed against said first series of shoulders, the other of said cavities having a contact pin therein, said pin having a shoulder intermediate its ends disposed against said second series of shoulders and having retaining ear means disposed against said first series of shoulders, and said pin contact having a contact pin portion extending beyond said shoulders and supported against lateral movement by said ribs.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,352,618 7/1944 Daenz 339 217 3,202,954 8/1965 Kinkaid 339217 3,311,866 3/1967 Williamson 339-217 3,325,775 6/1967 Zak 339217 MARVIN A. CHAMPION, Primary Examiner. R. S. STROBEL, Assistant Examiner.