US 3397279 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 13, 1968 c P UL ET AL 3,397,279
CABLE CLAMP AND GUIDE MEANS FOR ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS Filed Jan. 25, 1966 United States Patent 3,397,279 CABLE CLAMP AND GUIDE MEANS FOR ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS Clarence Leonard Paullus and Larry Ronald Stauffer,
Camp Hill, Pa., assignors to AMP Incorporated,
Filed Jan. 25, 1966, Ser. No. 522,884 2 Claims. (Cl. 174-135) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Cable guide intended for use with multi-contact electrical connector having cable extending therefrom comprising helical spring having laterally extending supports on its ends and means on the ends of the supports for securing the guide to the rearward side of a cable clamp or to the rearward side of the connector. When it is desired to guide a cable extending from the connector laterally with respect to the connector axis, the guide member is deformed until the helical spring assumes an arcuate configuration. The free ends of the support members are then secured to the rearward side of the cable clamp and cable is passed from the cable clamp laterally between the support members so that it bears against this surface of the deformed helical spring.
Background of the invention This invention relates to electrical connectors and particularly to an improved cable clamp and guide means for an electrical connector.
The embodiment of the invention described below is intended for use with a conventional multi-contact electrical connector of the type which comprises a cylindrical shell, and insulating insert contained in the shell, and a plurality of contact terminals mounted in the insert. The wires which are secured to the terminals extend rearwardly from the shell and are usually clamped by means of a cable clamp which is mounted on the rearward end of the shell. One part of the connector assembly is usually mounted on a panel and the wires may either extend normally away from the panel or they may be bent through a right angle and extend parallel to the panel. Under the latter circumstances, it is desirable to provide a right angle guide for the wires to dress them towards the connector.
The present invention is directed to an improved guide means which is used with, and becomes part of, the cable clamp of an electrical connector under circumstances where the cable is to be dressed angularly with respect to the connector axis.
It is an object of the invention to provide an improved cable clamp for a multi-contact electrical connector. A further object is to provide a guide means for guiding the cables extending from an electrical connector angularly with respect to the connector axis. A further object is to provide a guide means of relatively simple and inexpensive construction which can be used with a standard cable clamp for an electrical connector.
These and other objects of the invention are achieved in a preferred embodiment which is intended for use with a cable clamp of the type which is secured to the electrical connector at the rearward end thereof and which guides the emergent conductors from the connector axially with respect to the connector axis. One form of guide means in accordance with the invention comprises a flexible center section, such as a helical spring, having a length which is substantially equal to about one half of the circumference of the cable extending from the connector. A pair of attaching feet are secured to the spring at each end thereof and have ofiset lugs with suitable 3,397,279 Patented Aug. 13, 1968 means for attachment to the cable clamp. In use, the flexible section is deformed until it assumes a substantially semicircular con-figuration so that the lugs extend parallel to each other. The semi-circular central section is positioned against the cable after the wires thereof have been dressed in the angular direction desired and the lugs are secured to the cable clamps.
In the drawing:
FIGURE 1 shows the parts of an electrical connector assembly with cable clamps and cable guides in accordance with the invention secured to the shells of each connector part;
FIGURE 2 is an exploded perspective view showing a cable clamp and a cable guide in accordance with the invention; and
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view of a cable guide in accordance with the invention in its normal or undeformed condition.
Referring first to FIGURE 1, a typical electrical connector assembly may be of the type described in detail in the co-pending application Ser. No. 567,331, filed July 19, 1966 by Clarence Leonard Paullus et al., and comprising a pair of shells 6, 6' (shown fragmentarily in FIGURE 1) having rotatable latching rings 8,8 mounted thereon. These latching rings (which are part of the contact retention system of the connector) are retained against undesired rotation by means of an car 10 extending from a split ring (not shown) as described in the above-identified Paullus et al. application. It will be understood that a cable clamp and guide means in accordance with the invention can be used with other types of connectors and that the type of application Ser. No. 567,331 is shown in FIGURE 1 only in the interest of convenience.
The wires 5 to which the contacts in the shells 6, 6' are attached extend rearwardly from the shells and through suitable cable clamps which in this instance are of a type described in detail in application Ser No. 462,591, filed June 9, 1965, by Clarence Leonard Paullus et a1- now US. Patent No. 3,349,364. Cable clamps of this type comprise a pair of identical halves 12, 14 each having an enlarged cylindrical portion 16 in which there are provided circumferentially spaced indentation-s 18 by means of which they are located on the connector shells. The cylindrical sections 16 merge with conical transition sections 20, which, in turn, merge with cylindrical sections 22. The diameters of the cylindrical sections 22 are such that the cable (i.e., the bundle of wires) 5 will be clamped when the two parts 12, 14 are assembled to each other on the ends of the shell as shown in FIGURE 1. Flanges 24, 26 extend on opposite sides of the cylindrical sections 22 and screws 28 are threaded through bosses 27 in the flanges 24. The flanges 26 are notched as shown at 30 so that the two parts can be brought against each other and the screws can be tightened to clamp the cylindrical sections 22 to the cable and to secure the two parts to the shell by means of the indentations 18. Advantageously, tangentially extending ears 32 are provided on the cylindrical sections 22 to assist in gathering the conductors when the parts are assembled to the connector. It will be understood that the guide means of the present invention can be used with alternative forms of cable clamps or can be attached directly to the shells of the connectors and the cable clamp of the type disclosed is, again, shown only in the interest of convenience.
A preferred form of cable guide means in accordance with the invention comprises an elongated helical spring 34 which is capable of being deformed until it assumes a hemi-toroidal shape as shown in FIGURE 2. Attaching members 36, 37 are suitably secured to the ends of the spring, the attaching member 36 having an end portion 38 extending into the spring and, if desired, Welded to the end coils of the spring. An intermediate leg or support portion 40 of the attaching member 36 extends normally of the axis of the spring and an offset attaching lug 42 is integral with, and extends from, the end of the lug portion. The attaching member 36 can be formed from relatively stiff bar stock and the lug portion 42 is merely formed by bending and flattening the end as will be apparent from an inspection of FIGURE 2. This lug portion 42 has a notch 44 extending diagonally inwardly on its inner edge, the width of which is slightly greater than the diameter of the screws 28.
The attaching member 37 in the disclosed embodiment is substantially similar to the attaching member 36 excepting that the leg or support 48 thereof is slightly longer than the corresponding leg 40 of the member 36. The reason for this difference is that when the guide is assembled to the cable clamp, the lug portion 42 will be disposed at a lower level (as viewed on the right in FIG- URE 1) than the corresponding lug portion 42' of the attaching member 37.
When the guide member is applied to the cable 5, the wires are dressed downwardly as shown on the right in FIGURE 1 and the spring 34 is flexed until it assumes the configuration of FIGURE 2 at which time the lugs 42, 42 will extend substantially parallel to each other. The lugs 42, 42 are then positioned against the surfaces of the flanges 26 with the screws extending through the notches 44, 44. In the disclosed embodiment, ears 46, 46' are provided on the lugs which lodge in the notches 30 of the flanges 26 and assist in holding the guide in its proper position on the cable clamp. The screws 28 are tightened until the lugs are firmly clamped against the flanges 26.
After assembly, the spring element 34 will form a semicircular guide surface disposed beside the axis of the connector part which will function to guide the conductors of the cable in the desired direction.
As explained more fully in application Ser. No. 462,591, the cable clamp 12, 14 can be mounted on the connector shell in any one of the several positions of angular orientation. This feature is advantageous in the disclosed embodiment since the guide member can similarly be placed in any desired position depending upon the direction which the cables will extend. Thus, the cable 5 on the right in FIGURE 1 extends downwardly as viewed in the drawing while the cable on the left in FIGURE 1 extends into the plane of the paper. Alternative orientations can be achieved when the clamp and the cable guide are assembled to the connector.
A distinct advantage of the invention is that the necessity of providing a special cable clamp under circumstances where the cable must extend angularly with respect to the connector axis is avoided. Thus, the user need only stock a standard cable clamp and a supply of guide members and use the guide members, which are of simple construction and are relatively inexpensive, only where they will be needed.
A salient feature of the above-described embodiment of the invention which permits the achievement of the advantages described above is that it is formed with a deformable center section such as the spring 34 which is formed at the time of assembly to conform to the desired shape. This deformable center section can obviously be of material other than a helical spring as shown. For example, the center section can be of plastic or of plastic reinforced with wire. It is not essential that this center section have a spring-like nature and it can be of material which is permanently deformed when it is applied to the cable clamp.
A further advantage of the disclosed embodiment of the invention is that it can be assembled to the cable clamp with relative ease. One of the attaching lugs 42, 42' can first be clamped to the cable clamp by one of the screws and the helical spring can be flexed and manually held in a flexed condition while the other lug is being clamped by the other screw. The cable comprising the bundle of wires thus need not be fitted in the guide prior to attachment as with some prior art right angle guides for connectors.
The offset sections 40, 48 of the attaching member can be substantially shortened or even eliminated if desired. If these offset sections are eliminated entirely, the curved guide surface for the cable would 'be disposed in alignment with the cable clamp and rearwardly thereof. It has been found in practice, however, that the offsets 40, 48 will usually result in neater bundling and dressing of the cable.
The helical spring 34 can be provided with a covering of plastic material, for example, a short section of plastic tubing can be slipped over the spring if it is desired to avoid having this spring bear against the insulated conductors 5 of the cable.
If desired, the entire cable guide can be formed as a rigid unit having the configuration shown in FIGURE 2. A rigid guide could, for example, be formed by bending the center portion of a length of bar stock into a toroidal shape and bending the ends of the bar to form the offsets 40, 48 and the lugs 42, 42'. The construction shown in the drawing is preferred, however, for the reason that it can be adapted to varying cable diameters.
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 combination with an electrical connector having a cable extending from its rearward side and having a cable clamp secured to its rearward side, said cable clamp being in clamping engagement with said cable, a cable guide for guiding said cable laterally with respect to the axis of said connector, said cable guide comprising a pair of parallel supports secured to opposite sides of said cable clamp and extending laterally with respect to said axis of said connector, and an arcuate guide member having its ends secured to the ends, of said supports, said cable extending laterally with respect to the axis of said connector between said supports and bearingagainst said guide member.
2. A device as set forth in claim 1 wherein said guide member comprises a helical spring.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 488,501 12/1892 Hudson 248113 2,294,934 9/1942 Raasch 339-29 2,630,316 3/1953 Foster 267-69 LARAMIE E. ASKIN, Primary Examiner. A. T. GRIMLEY, Assistant Examiner.