US 3394339 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 23, 1968 M. c. GASKIEVICZ ET AL 3,394,339
CONNECTOR Filed Oct. 7, 1965 mm. mm.
vm N #9 m9 Om wk mm mm Mark C. Guskievlcz, Jack D. Stiller,
United States Patent 3,394,339 CONNECTOR Mark C. Gaskicvicz, Los Angeles, and Jack D. Stiller, Santa Monica, Calif., assignors to Gray & Hnleguard, Santa Monica, Calif., a corporation of California Filed Oct. 7, 1965, Ser. No. 493,934 Claims. (Cl. 339-176) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The present invention relates to electrical connectors for individually interconnecting a large number of electrical conductors in a first cable wit-h respective conductors in a second cable. In connectors of this variety a first or plug portion of the connector mates with a second or socket portion of the connector. Each portion of the connector includes a large number of contacts attached to the ends of the conductors and sealed in the plug or socket. These contacts are positioned to engage a complementary contact on the other portion of the connector when the two portions are mated. One area of improvement over the prior art is the means by which the individual contacts in either the plug or socket portions or both may be removed from the connector and/or replaced without any special tools, disassembling the connector, etc. This connector thereby makes it possible to very quickly and simply repair the connector or interconnect equipment.
It is frequently desirable to quickly and easily interconnect and/or disconnect the individual conductors in a large set (for example in a cable) with the individual conductors in another large set (for example in a second cable). One means of accomplishing this is to provide a pair of mating connectors having pluralities of electrical contacts therein. The contacts in the two connectors are permanently attached to their respective conductors whereby mating the connectors completes the electrical circuits.
Most installations require that the connectors be sealed against moisture, etc., to protect the various portions of the connector. This is normally accomplished by providing one or more insulating and/or sealing members in the connector for supporting the various contacts and conductors in position. The sealing members tightly engage the interior of the connector and the exteriors of the conductors, contact, etc., and thereby form moisture proof barriers. In order to maintain the contacts and conductors properly positioned in the insulating and sealing members, a detent is provided for each contact. When the contact is forced into the insulating member the detent snaps into the locked position whereby the contact cannot be pulled out of the connector. Such connectors have been very successful for interconneting a large number of individual conductors together. However, under some circumstances it may become necessary to replace one or more of the conductors as a result of damage thereto and/ or a change in the wiring.
Heretofore this has been accomplished by employing a special removal tool for releasing the detent. The tool is designed to slide along the side of the conductor and/ or contact until it engages and releases the detent. In order to insure an effective sealing action and/or to insure a precise alignment of the contacts, it is essential that the clearance space between the conductor or contacts and the sealing or insulating member be as small as possible. This in turn requires that the removal tool be very thin. As a result of being very thin, the tool is fairly sharp and the insulating and sealing members are frequently cut or damaged. To avoid such damage it is necessary for the operator to be very careful. As a con- 3,394,339 Patented July 23, 1968 sequence the changing of the contacts is very time consuming and requires a certain amount of skill. It will thus be seen that the foregoing connectors have not been entirely satisfactory for all applications.
The present invention provides mean for overcoming the foregoing difficulties. More particularly the present invention rovides a connector wherein the various contacts and/or conductors may be readily replaced in a very short time without in any way damaging any portion of the connector. This i accomplished by providing means for removing and replacing the contacts and conductors without the necessity of employing any special tools.
In the single embodiment of the present invention disclosed herein, the individual contacts are crimped to the ends of their respective conductors and then manually forced into passages extending through a resilient sealing member and an insulating member. After all of the contacts are in position, means simultaneously compress a sealing member against the conductors and force detents against each of the contacts whereby the contacts are locked in position. In the event one or more of the conacts and/0r conductors are to be replaced, the release means are actuated whereby all of the detents are released and the pressure on the sealing member is removed. The contacts and conductors may then be manually moved past the detents and through the passages in the insulating and sealing member. After all of the necessary changes have been made the release means are again tightened to look all of the contacts in position.
These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent from the following detailed description of the single embodiment thereof particularly when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts and wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a side view of a pair of mating connectors embodying one form of the invention, a portion of said connectors being broken away,
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary cross sectional view of one of the connectors in FIGURE 1 after it is separated from the mating connector, and
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary end view of a connector of FIGURE 1.
Referring to the drawings in more detail the present invention is particularly adapted to be embodied in a pair of mating connectors 10 and 12. The two connectors 10 and 12 are effective to interconnect the individual conductors in a first set 14 of conductors 16 with the respective individual conductors 20 in a second set '18. It is to :be noted that there may be a large number of conductors in each set and that the conductors in a set may be incorporated into a cable or they may be loose and separated from each other.
In the present instance, the first connector is a receptacle connector 10 and is permanently mounted on a bulkhead 22 such as a firewall. All of the conductors interconnected with the receptacle connector 10 are disposed on one side of the firewall 22 (the left side as seen in FIGURE 1). The second connector is a plug connector 12 adapted to be disposed on the opposite side of the firewall 22 (the right side as seen in FIGURE 1). The two connectors 10 and 12 will thereby be effective to individually interconnect the conductors in sets 14 and 18 disposed on the opposite sides of the firewall 22.
The receptacle connector 10 includes a receptacle housing 24 having a mounting flange 26 that is secured to the bulkhead 22 by any suitable means such as bolts. A barrel 28 On the housing 24 extends through an opening in the firewall 22 so as to project from the right side thereof. A generally cylindrical passage 30 extends axially through the housing 24.
An insert 32 is disposed in the passage extending through the housing 24. The insert 32 is preferably a relatively rigid member and includes an electrically non-conductive material. A plurality of small passages 34 extends through the insert 32 and form openings 36 and 38 in the front and back faces 40 and 42 of the insert 32. Normally a separate passage 34 is provided for each conductor 16 in the set 14. The exterior of the insert 32 is preferably a snug fit in the barrel 28. An annular shoulder 44 may project into the passage 30 and engage the end of the insert 32. The shoulder 44 thereby limits the travel of the insert 32 through the barrel 28. Normally the shoulder 44 is positioned to maintain the front face 40 recessed inwardly from the end of the barrel 28. In addition a ring 46 of adhesive material may be provided in mating recesses in barrel 28 and insert 32. This will lock the insert 32 against the shoulder 44 and prevent movement of the insert 32 in either direction.
Although only single conductors 16 and 18 are shown it should be understood that normally there are a large number of such conductors 16 and 18 in each of the sets. The inner end of each conductor 16 in the set 14 has a contact 48 attached therethrough. In the present instance this is accomplished by inserting the conductor 16 into the end of the contact 48 and then crimping the contact 48 onto the conductor 16. The opposite end of the contact 48 includes means such as a socket 50 for receiving a complementary portion of a mating contact in the mating or plug connector 12. The diameter of the inner end of the passage 34 is reduced to form a shoulder. The shoulder engages the end of the contact 48 and prevents its moving through the passage 34. In addition the inner end forms a guide which is aligned with the socket 50 in the connector 48.
In order to prevent the contact 48 moving through the passages 34 in the reverse direction, a backup plate 52 may be provided. In the present instance the backup plate 52 is mounted in the passage 30 for sliding movement towards and away from the backface 40 of the insert 32. The plate 52 includes a plurality of openings 54 that are aligned with the openings 38 in the insert 32 whereby the conductors 16 and contacts 48 may pass through the plate 52 and into the passages 34 in the insert 32.
Detents 56 may be mounted on the backup plate 52 adjacent each of the openings 54 for locking the contacts 48 in position. In the present instance, each detent 56 includes at least one finger 58 that is bonded to the backup plate 52. The ends of the fingers 58 are positioned to extend into the ends of the passages 34 and engage annular recesses 60 in the contacts 48. The end of the passage 34 includes a clearance space 62 into which the fingers 58 may move. The fingers 58 may spring into the space 62 of their own accord and release the contact 48 for movement rearwardly through the passage 34. However normally the fingers will remain in the recess 68 and retain the contact 48 in position. A small pulling force on conductor 16 causes the fingers 58 to be spread into the annular recesses 62 whereby the contact 48 will be extracted.
It has been found desirable to provide an insert seal 64 between the backup plate 52 and the insert 32. A plurality of openings are provided in the insert seal 64 in alignment with the openings '54 in the backup plate 52 and the passages 34 in the insert 32. When the backup plate 52 is moved toward the insert 32, the insert seal 64 is compressed against the back face 42 of the insert.
The plug connector 12 is similar to the receptacle connector 10. It includes a plug housing 66 having a generally cylindrical barrel 68 with a generally cylindrical passage 70 extending therethrough. The outside diameter of one end of the barrel 68 is reduced whereby the end fits snugly into the end of the passage 30.
An engaging nut 72 or similar fastening means are rotatably mounted on the outside of the barrel 68. A thrust ring 74 is provided to prevent the nut 72 moving 4 axially of the barrel 68. The interior of the nut 72 is threaded so as to engage complementary threads on the exterior of the barrel 28. As a result by rotating the nut 72, it will be possible to force the plug barrel 68 into the receptacle barrel 28 and lock the two connectors 10 and 12 together.
An insert 76 similar to the first insert 32 is disposed in the passage 70 so as to engage the shoulder 78. A ring 80 of adhesive material is also provided to lock the insert against the shoulder. This insert 76 is also a relatively rigid member of an electrically non-conductive material having a front face 82 and a rear face 84. A plurality of passages 86 extend axially through this insert 76 and form openings 88 in the front face 82 aligned with the openings 36 in the front face 40 of the first insert 32.
The end of each conductor 20 in the second set 18 has a contact 90 attached thereto by some suitable means such as crimping. The end of each contact 90 includes means such as a pin 92 for engaging the complementary portion of the mating contact 48 in the receptacle connector 10. The end of each passage 86 has a reduced diameter whereby a shoulder 94 is formed that engages the contact 90 and prevents its moving completely through the passage 86.
The pins 92 extend through the ends of the passage and beyond the front face 82 of the insert 76. The exposed portion of the pin 92 may pass through the openings 36 in the front face 40 of the first insert 32 and into the socket 50 in the ends of the contacts. This will form a low resistance electrical path between the conductors 16 and 20 in the two sets 14 and 18. When the nut 72 is tightened onto the barrel 28 the contacts 48 and 90 will be locked in this condition.
In order to insure a seal between the two inserts 32 and 76 an inner face thrust seal 96 may be provided. This is a resilient member capable of being compressed between the front faces 40 and 82 when the nut is tightened. The compressed sealing member 96 will thereby form an effective moisture barrier that protects the contacts 48 and 90.
In order to secure the contacts 90 in position in the passages 86, a backup plate 98 may be provided inside of the barrel 68. This plate 98 is slidably disposed in the passage 70 for movement towards and away from the back face 84 of the insert 76. The plate 98 includes a plurality of openings aligned with the passages 86 in the insert 76. As a consequence the conductors 20 with the contacts '90 thereon may extend through these openings and into the passages 86 in the insert 76. It has been found desirable to provide an insert seal 100 on the backup plate 98. When the backup plate 98 is forced against the insert 76, the seal 100 will be tightly compressed whereby a moisture proof barrier will be formed.
Detent means 102 are mounted on the backup plate 98 for securing the contacts 90 in position. The present detents 102 include spring fingers 104 that are positioned to extend into the passages 86 in the insert 76 and engage an annular recess 106 in the exterior of the contacts 90 whereby the contacts 90 are locked in position. A clearance space 108 may be provided in each passage 86 whereby the fingers 104 may move out of the recesses 106 and release the contacts 90 when the conductor 18 is pulled.
The backup plates 52 and 98 in the two connectors 10 and 12 are substatnially identical to each other and are free to slide axially through their respective passages 30 and 70. In order to control the axial positions of the backup plates, adjustable means such as compression nuts 110 and 112 are mounted on the ends of each barrel 28 and 68. Each of the nuts 110 and 112 is threaded onto its respective barrel 28 and 68 whereby the nuts may be moved axially along the barrels. Each nut 110 and 112 is coupled to its respective backup plate 52 and 98 by a ferrule 114 and 116 and a grommet seal 118 and 120.
The grommet seal 118 and 120 is a resilient member having an inner face 122 and outer face 124. The inner faces 122 are adapted to engage the adjacent backup plate 52 or 98 and compress it towards the insert 76. A plurality of passages 126 extend through the seals 118 and 120 and form openings in front and rear faces. These passages 126 are substantially aligned with the passages in the inserts 32 and 76 whereby the conductors 16 and 20 may extend through the seal and into the inserts.
The inside diameters of the passages 126 are preferably a snug fit around the exterior of the conductors. However, the passages 126 are sufficiently large and the seal sufiiciently resilient to permit a conductor and the connector on the end thereof to be forced through the passage 126 without damaging the seal. In this regard it is desirable for the friction to be large enough to prevent an accidental pulling of the conductors from the connector.
The ferrules 114 and 116 which are free to slide along the inside of the passages 30 and 70 are disposed between the grommet seals 118 and 120 and the barrels. One end of each ferrule 114 and 116 is disposed therebetween a ring 128 and a shoulder 130 on the nuts 110 and 120. As a consequence rotating the nuts 110 or 120 about the barrel will move the associated ferrule 114 or 116 in an axial direction.
The second ends of the ferrule 114 and 116 include hooks 132 which fits over the edges of the backup plates 52 and 98 whereby the plates may be moved. The ferrules also include ramps 134 that slide against similarly tapered surfaces 136 on the exteriors of the seals 118 and 120.
It can be appreciated that when a nut 110 or 120 is tightened the ramp 134 on the associated ferrule will engage the tapered exterior 136 and force the grommet seal, inwardly and toward the backup plate. As this motion progresses the backup plate 52 or 98 and insert seal 64 or 100 will be forced against the rear face of the insert 32 or 76. This in turn will force the fingers 58 or 104 in the detents 56 or 102 carried by the backup plates to move through the passages and into the recesses on the contacts 48 or 90. At some point in the tightening process, the ramp 136 will begin to compress the grommet seal radially inwardly. As this compression builds up the seal will also be forced inwardly against the conductor and form a moisture proof barrier.
If the nut 120 is loosened it will move into the position shown in FIGURE 2. During the loosening process the hook 132 will engage the backup plate 98 and pull it away from the insert 76. At the same time the compression seal 120 will be released so that the backup plate 98 and seal 100 can move axially. During this movement the ends of the fingers 104 will be withdrawn and spring outwardly into the clearance spaces 108 and disengage the recesses in the contacts. As a consequence the conductor and contact may be pulled through the grommet 112 so as to be replaced.
It will thus be seen that a connector is provided wherein the contacts and conductors are securely locked in position. However in the event it is desired to change or replace a contact it is not necessary to employ 'a special tool. Instead the compression nut 110 or 120 may be loosened. This will then release the detents 56 or 102 and the grommet seal 118 or 120. The conductor and contact may then be removed by manually pulling on the conductor. The new contact may thenbe manually forced through the passage in the seal and into passage. The detent will then lock the contacts in position. Following this the nut is tightened until the seal and detents are firmly locked in position. The grommet seal 118 and 120 provide enough friction on the conductors 16 and 20- to preclude their being accidentally pulled out of the seals.
1. A connector for being interconnected with a mating connector, said connector including the combination of a connector housing for being coupled to the mating connector,
an insert in said housing,
a resilient sealing member disposed in said housing,
a plurality of aligned passages extending through said insert and sealing member,
a contact and conductor disposed in each of said passages,
detents on each of said contacts,
a support member disposed inside of the housing between the insert and sealing member for movement between a first position and a second position,
a separate retainer on said support member for each contact, said retainers engaging the detents when the support member is in one of said positions and thereby locking the contacts and conductors in the passages, said retainers disengaging the detents when in the other of said positions and releasing the contacts and connectors, and
means coupled to said members for moving the support member into the first position and compressing the sealing member against the conductors.
2. A connector for being interconnected with a mating connector, said connector including the combination of a connector housing for being coupled to the mating connector,
an insert of insulating material disposed in the housing.
a resilient sealing member disposed in said housing,
a plurality of aligned passages in said insert and sealing member,
a contact disposed in each of said passages and having detents thereon,
a support member disposed inside of the housing between the insert and sealing member for movement between a first position adjacent the insert and a second position therein separated from the insert,
fingers on said support member for each contact, said fingers extending into said passages and engaging the detents when the support member is in the first position and thereby locking the contacts in the passages, said fingers disengaging the detents when in the other of said positions and releasing the contacts, and
means on said housing for moving the support member between the first and second positions, said means being effective to compress the sealing member when the support member is in the first position.
3. A connector for being interconnected with a mating connector, said connector including the combination of a connector housing -for being coupled to the mating connector,
an insert of insulating material disposed in the housing,
a resilient sealing member disposed in said housing,
a plurality of aligned passages extending through said insert and sealing member,
a contact and conductor disposed in each of said passages,
detents on each of said contacts,
a plurality of fingers movable between a first position and a second position,
said fingers engaging the detents when in the first position and thereby locking the contacts and conductors in the passages, said fingers disengaging the detents when in the second position and releasing the contacts and connectors, and
means coupled to the fingers and the sealing member for moving the fingers between the first and second positions, said means being effective to compress the sealing member when the fingers are in the second position.
4. A connector for being interconnected with a mating connector, a connector including the combination of an insert of an insulating material,
a plurality of contacts disposed in said insert,
a detent on each of said contacts,
a support member movable between an inner position adjacent the insert and an outer position remote from the insert, and
at least one finger for each contact mounted on the an insert,
' support member for movement therewith, said fingers a plurality of contacts disposed in said insert and havengaging the detent on its respective contact and ing detents thereon, locking the contact in position when the support each of said contacts being movable between first and member is in the inner position and spreading and second positions, said detents being disposed in said releasing said detents when the support member is insert when the contacts are in the first position, in the outer positions. a support member disposed adjacent the insert for 5. A connector for being interconnected with a mating movement toward and away from the insert, and
connector, a connector including the combination of a separate retainer on said support member for each an insert of an insulating material, 10 of said contacts, each of said retainers extending into a plurality of passages in said insert, the insert and engaging the detent on its respective a contact disposed in each of said passages, contact when the support member is moved toward a detent on each of said contacts, said insert member to thereby lock the contact in a support member movable between an inner position the first position, said retainers disengaging the adjacent the insert and an outer position remote from detents and releasing the contacts when the support the insert, member moves away from the insert.
at least one finger for each contact mounted on the 9. A connector for being interconnected with a mating support member for movement therewith, said fingers connector, said connector including the combination of when in the inner position extending into the passages an insert. of insulating materials, and being compressed against the detent and locking a plurality of openings in said insert, the contacts in position, said fingers when in the a contact disposed in each of said openings, said consecond position being spread beyond said detents and tacts being adapted for movement into an operative releasing the contacts. position in its respective opening,
6. A connector for being interconnected with a mating a detent on each of said contacts, and
connector, said connector including the combination of a retainer for each contact movable between first and a connector housing for being coupled to the mating second positions, said retainers when in one of said connector, positions extending at least partially into the openan insert disposed in said housing, ings to engage the detents and lock the contacts in aplurality of contacts disposed in said insert, the operative position, said retainers when in the a support member in said housing movable between a other of said positions disengaging the detents and first position adjacent the insert and a second posireleasing the contacts for movement out of the opertion separated from the insert, ative position.
a separate retainer for each contact carried by said 10. A connector for being interconnected with amating support member for movement therewith, each of connector, said connector including the combination of said retainers when in one of said positions engaging an insert of insulating materials, its respective contact and locking said contacts in a plurality of contacts disposed in said insert for position said retainers when in the other of said posimovement between an operative position and an intions disengaging and releasing the contacts, and operative position, 7
means on said housing coupled to the support mema detent on each of said contacts ber for moving said member between the first and a retainer for each of said contacts movable between second position. first and second positions, said retainers including a 7. A connector for being interconnected with a mating plurality of fingers engaging the detents and locking connector, said connector including the combination of the contacts in the insert when the retainer is in the an insert member of insulating material, first position, said fingers spreading away from the a sealing member of resiliently deformable material detents when the retainer moves into the second posidisposed adjacent said insert, tion to release the contacts.
a plurality of aligned openings in said members,
a contact disposed in said openings, each of said con- References Cited tacts having detents thereon,
a support member disposed adjacent the insert for UNITED STATES PATENTS movement between a first position adjacent the insert 2,619,515 11/ 1952 Doane 339--94 and a second position remote from the insert, 2,700,140 1/ 1955 Phillips 339-94 a separate retainer on said support member for each 2,963,536 12/1960 Kokalas 339-103 X of said contacts, said retainers extending into the 3,028,574 4/1962 Di Monte 339-2l7 X insert when the support member is in the first posi- 3,040,287 6/1962 Agron et a1. 339-103 X tion to thereby engage the detents and lock the con- 3,066,272 11/ 1962 Quackenbush 3392l7 X tacts in position, said retainers being effective to dis- 3,227,993 l/ 1966 Bentley 339--2l7 X engage the detents and release the contacts when the 3,266,009 8/ 1966 Jensen et al 33994 X support member is in the second position, and l means for moving the support member between said MARVIN CHAMPION Examine]. positions and compressing the sealing member. 8. A connector for being interconnected with a mating J. R. MOSES, Assistant Examiner. connector, said connector including the combination of