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Publication numberUS3397384 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 13, 1968
Filing dateNov 17, 1965
Priority dateNov 17, 1965
Publication numberUS 3397384 A, US 3397384A, US-A-3397384, US3397384 A, US3397384A
InventorsLawrence Roland B
Original AssigneeDeutsch Co Elec Comp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Arrangement for electrical terminals
US 3397384 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

8" 3, 1968 R. B. LAWRENCE 3,397,384

ARRANGEMENT FOR ELECTRICAL TERMINALS Filed NOV. 17, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 .M'G. i

INVENTOR. POL/4ND .8. LAW/F'A/CE Aug. 13, 1968 R. s. LAWRENCE ARRANGEMENT FOR ELECTRICAL TERMINALS Filed NOV. 17, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 J L g v47 /57 /50 fin/K INVENTOR. POLAND 5. AAWF'A/CE 3 397,384 ARRANGEMENT FOR ELECTRICAL TERMHNALS Roland B. Lawrence, Falls Church, Va., assignor to The Deutsch Company Electronic Components Div., Banning, Califi, a corporation of California Filed Nov. 17, 1965, Ser. No. 508,198 19 Claims. (Cl. 339-458) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An electrical connecting device in which a contact has a portion to be received within an opening in a mating electrically conductive member, including means for positioning the contact in which a retainer has resilient tabs for holding the contact against axial movement, and means outside the opening in the mating part for biasing the contact laterally to one side for providing firm contact between the projecting portion of the contact and the electrically conductive member.

This invention pertains to electrical contacts and in particular to a means for retaining contacts in a supporting device, and to hold mating contacts in a current-carrying relationship.

The arrangement of this invention is applicable to a variety of designs, such as terminal junctions of different types and to multiple pin-and-contact electrical connectors. In providing electrical circuits in such connectors, normally a number of contacts are held in a block of insulating material by some type of spring clips, while mating contacts are similarly retained in another block of insulation. The contacts in one insulator will be pins and those in the other sockets, so that When the connector is secured the pins enter the sockets to form the electrical circuits. It has been necessary also to provide a spring in the socket to force the pin contact to one side so that it bears firmly against the socket Wall to permit current to be carried eifectively from one contact to the other. Thus, at least two parts have been required for each socket, these being the retainer clip to hold the socket in the insulation, and the spring within the socket to force the pin against the socket wall. The springs are prone to being damaged by contact pins and by test probes that are inserted to check the connectors from time to time. This damage usually occurs because the spring becomes bent beyond its elastic limit and takes a permanent set so that it Will not exert an adequate lateral force on the contact that later is introduced. Protection of the springs has led to complexities of design and the inclusion of additional parts. Moreover, in these connectors the pins normally are elongated elements that are easily bent. When this takes place, the pins will no longer be aligned with the socket openings and may not enter the sockets so that the connector cannot be secured. An inherent difiiculty in conventional electrical connector construction results from the wear that occurs from the force of the spring rubbing against the surface of the pin as the pin enters the socket. This reduces the life of the connector.

Terminal junction design in basic concept has been relatively static over a period of years, with few changes in approach being made. Terminal junctions often have included elongated tapered pins and embody a cumbersome and relatively heavy assembly. Such construction has been particularly subject to damage. In fact, elaborate precautions must be taken to prevent wire breakage even during shipment of the parts prior to use.

The present invention, which is adapted for terminal junctions, electrical connectors and other devices for completing electrical circuits, utilizes a single simple element that both retains the contact to its support and provides States Patent 3,397,384 Patented Aug. 13, 1968 the lateral spring force to accomplish the electrical connection when the mating contact is brought into place. It incorporates an integral spring tab that engages a portion of the contact unit other than the part that effects the electrical connection. In other words, the spring does not bear upon the pin within the socket cavity, but instead is applied exteriorly. This greatly reduces the Wear on the mating contacts. The spring element is not a part of the electrical circuit, so that the design has the basic design advantage of not conducting current through the spring. A large diameter stubby contact pin may be used, which is almost impossible to bend and which, by virtue of its large cross-sectional area, can transmit considerable current with low resistance. Also, the connectors and terminal junctions utilizing this design have no nonmetallic parts in compression at the electrical joint. The contact retaining device may be of the so-called rear release type, permitting the convenient installation and release of the contact from the assembly from the end at which the wire is attached. When incorporated in terminal junctions, the unit may be arranged in modules that are interchangeably and selectively assembled to provide the current-carrying pattern to suit the circumstances. This adds to the versatility of the terminal junction construction.

In general, the device of this invention includes a split sheet metal sleeve received in a cylindrical recess in a supporting member. The contact is retained within this sleeve, which incorporates a pair of spring fingers extending inwardly to engage the contact on one side of a shoulder formed on the contact. In addition, a side spring element forwardly of the retaining fingers engages the periphery of the contact beyond the shoulder but inwardly of the portion that enters the socket. This biases the pin contact to one side relative to the retainer sleeve. The pin portion is a short thick element that enters either an aperture in a bus bar for a terminal junction or a socket contact in an electrical connector. Alternative to engaging the shoulder on the pin contact, the spring force may be applied laterally to the periphery of the socket to bias it to one side and thereby accomplish the electrical connection between the pin and socket.

An object of this invention is to provide an improved arrangement for holding electrical contacts and effecting the electrical connection thereof.

Another object of this invention is to provide a contactretaining arrangement in which a single member both retains the contact and provides the lateral force to accomplish an electrical connection.

A further object of this invention is to provide a contact arrangement adapted for terminal junctions to provide a lightweight, compact, rugged and versatile unit.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide an electrical junction device having no current flow through a spring element and in which no nonmetallic portions are in compression at the electrical junction, also incorporating the advantage of the rear release feature for installation and removal of the contact.

These and other objects will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a terminal junction utilizing the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is an exploded perspective view of one of the modules of the terminal junction of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged perspective view of one of the retainer clips removed from the remainder of the invention;

FIGURE 5 is a perspective view of different shapes 3 of bus bars usable with the modules of the terminal junction of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional view of an electrical connector embodying the present invention;

FIGURE 7 is a longitudinal sectional view taken along line 77 of FIGURE 6;

FIGURE 8 is a perspective view of the retainer clip used in the electrical connector of FIGURES 6 and 7;

FIGURE 9 is a longitudinal sectional view of a different electrical connector in which the lateral spring force is applied to the periphery of the socket contact instead of the pin contact as in the previous designs;

FIGURE 10 is a sectional view taken along line 10 10 of FIGURE 9;

FIGURE 11 is a perspective view of one of the retainer clips for the pin contact of the design of FIGURES 9 and 10;

FIGURE 12 is a longitudinal sectional view of a patch cord type connector for joining the ends of two wires;

FIGURE 13 is a sectional view taken along line 13 13 of FIGURE 12;

FIGURE 14 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional view of a terminal junction incorporating a modified retainer clip in which a single spring finger is used; and

FIGURE 15 is an enlarged perspective view of the retainer clip of FIGURE 14.

As illustrated in FIGURES 1, 2 and 3, the arrangement of this invention is incorporated in a terminal junction assembly 15. This includes a plurality of individual modules 16 received in a U-shaped channel 17, where the modules are held in a side-by-side relationship. Any desired number of modules may be associated together in this manner through appropriately varying the length of the channel 17 and supplying the necessary number of the units 16 to be inserted into it.

Each of the modules 16 includes a block 19 appropriately made of a hard thermosetting plastic that acts as an insulating material. The block 19 has indentations 20 at its upper end edges, which fit beneath the inwardly extending lips 21 of the side walls 22 of the channel 17 for 'holding the assembly 16 in place. The block 19 includes a rectangular opening 23 at its upper side, which receives an insert 24 of resilient sealing and insulating material, such as a silicon elastomer. The relatively thick portion 25 of the block 19 beneath the opening 23 in the insert 24 is provided with a plurality of cylindrical openings 26 that extend vertically through the block.

The bottom portion of the block 18 is provided with a rectangular recess 29 that receives a bus bar 30, suitably made of a copper alloy. The bus bar 30 includes openings 31 through it, corresponding in number and location to the openings 26 through the section 25 of the block 19.

Beneath the bus bar 30 is a pad 34 of resilient elastomer that acts as a sealing gasket. This pad fits in the recessed upper portion 35 of a bottom block 36 of hard dielectric material, which is considerably thinner than the block 19. The gasket 34 is positioned and aligned relative to the bottom block 36 through the upwardly projecting short pins 37 on the block 36 that fit into matching openings 38 in the gasket pad.

The module 16 is held together by a pair of tubular rivets 39 that extend downwardly through openings 40 in inwardly projecting sections of the block 19, and through openings 41 in the bottom block 36.

The openings 26 in the block 19 include upper portions 43 of relatively small diameter connecting to lower portions 44 of larger diameter. This provides annular shoulders 45 between the sections 43 and 44 of the openings 26. The larger portions 44 of the openings 26 receive the contact mounting clips 47 of this invention. These elements, as may be seen in the perspective view of FIG- URE 4, are made of sheet metal rolled to a cylindrical form. They are split so that there is a longitudinal gap 48 extending the lengh of each of the clips 47. This permits the clips 47 to be compressed so as to pass through the upper sections 43 of the openings 26 in the block 19 to enter the larger portions 44 of these apertures.

Intermediate the ends of the clips are inwardly inclined resilient tabs 49 and 50. These are formed by providing U-shaped cuts to permit the tabs to be bent from the sheet. This provides the tabs 49 and 50 with diametrically opposed inner ends 51 and 52 adjacent the bottom end 53 of the retainer clip 47.

In addition to the tabs 49 and 50, the retainer clip 47 includes an inwardly bent spring element 54, circumferentially intermediate the tabs. The spring is provided by making a pair of longitudinal cuts extending from the end 53, and thereafter bending the spring element so that it will incline toward the axis. A reverse curvature is provided at the distal end section 55 of the spring element 54, which is axially forward of the ends 51 and 52 of the tabs 49 and 50.

When the retainer clip 47 is inserted into the modules 16, its upper portion is received in the enlarged section 44 of the opening 26 beneath the shoulder 45. The bottom end 53, however, extends into the enlarged upper part 57 of the opening 31 in the bus bar 30. This portion of the opening 31 has the same diameter as the opening 44 in the block 19, forming a continuation of that opening. A radial shoulder 58 is defined between the enlarged section 57 of the opening 32 and the somewhat narrower bottom portion 59 of this opening. Consequently, the bottom end 53 of the retainer clip 47 is engageable with the shoulder 58 of the bus bar, so that the shoulders 45 and 58 prevent axial movement of the retainer clip.

The members 47 are used to hold pin contacts 60 within the modules 16 and to maintain these contacts electrically connected to the bus bar. Each contact 60 includes a hollow barrel end portion 61 that receives the end of a wire 62, which is secured to the contact by crimping or soldering. The wires 62 project from the terminal junction through the openings 63 in the resilient elastomeric insert 24 that fits within the block 19 above the base portion 25. Three annular beads 64, 65 and 66 close the outer portions of each of the openings 63 and provide a seal around the periphery of the wire 62. The beads 64, 65 and 66 can be distended outwardly, however, to allow insertion of the contacts 60 or a tool for the release of the contacts.

The opposite end of the contact 60 is in the form of a relatively short thick cylindrical pin having a rounded forward edge. The pin end 67, however, is slightly smaller in diameter than the diameter of the opening 59 in the bus bar that receives it when the installation is complete. Inwardly of the pin section 67 is an enlarged cylindrical annular portion 68 that defines a radial shoulder 69 adjacent the pin end 67 and an additional radial shoulder 70 adjacent the barrel portion 61 that receives the wire 62.

The contact 60 is inserted into the retainer clip 47 from the rear, that is, from the upper end of the module as the device is illustrated. It is pushed down through the openings63 and 43, bringing the contact into engagement with the inwardly inclined tabs 49 and 50. In their free positions, the distal ends 51 and 52 of the tabs are closer together than the width across the barrel end portion 61 of the contact. Consequently, as the contact is advanced into the retainer clip 47, the enlarged annular part 68 forces tabs 49 and 50 outwardly until it passes them and the shoulder 69 of the contact is brought into adjacency with the shoulder 58 of the bus bar. The tabs 49 and 50, being of resilient material, then snap back inwardly to engage the periphery of the section 61 of the contact immediately behind the shoulder 70. The tabs 49 and 50 then retain the contact in place within the terminal block against movement upwardly in the direction of the insert 24. Movement downwardly in the opposite direction is pre vented by the interengagement of shoulders 69 and 58.

Also, as the contact is moved into the retainer clip 47, the enlarged annular portion 68 is brought into engagement with the end 55 of the spring element 54. Upon complete installation of the contact with the tabs 49 and in back of the shoulder 70, the inner end 0f the spring element 54 will then bear on the circumferential surface of the enlarged annular section 68. This is shown at the left-hand portion of FIGURE 3 where the retainer clip, for purposes of illustration, is rotated 90 from the position of the retainer clip at the right-hand portion of this view. As a result of the engagement of the spring and the section 68 of the contact 60, the spring member 54 produces a lateral force on the contact, biasing it toward the side opposite from the spring 54. The contact will be shifted toward the opposite side by this force, limited, however, by the engagement of the circumference of the pin end 67 with the wall of the bottom portion 59 of the aperture 31 in the bus bar 30. The tabs 49 and 50, which are rotationally 90 away from the spring 54, will not prevent this lateral movement of the contact. Also, the inner circumferential Wall 71 of the retainer clip 47 is dimensioned to provide a clearance around the annular portion 68 of the contact, so that there is no interference with the lateral movement of the contact from the force of the spring 54. Thus, the spring 54 forces the pin end 67 into firm contact with the wall of the opening in the bus bar that receives it. Consequently, the spring 54 assures that an electrical circuit is produced between the contact and the bus bar because of the interengagement of these surfaces.

It can be seen, therefore, that the design of this invention results in the use of but a single member 47 to both hold the contact in place and to create the lateral force necessary to produce an electrical connection. Both functions are accomplished by one part rather than utilizing a separate spring as in prior designs. Also, the spring bears against the periphery of the enlarged annular portion 68 of the contact, outside the socket cavity in the bus bar. The spring force is not applied to the pin portion 67 that is used in making the electrical circuit. Therefore, any wear resulting from the sliding of the contact against the spring will have no effect on the parts that make the electrical engagement. The only sliding engagement for the contact surfaces occurs between the cylindrical surfaces of the pin portion 67 and the cavity opening, these being assentially parallel and nearly complementary. This results in minimal wear at the critical areas. The spring 54 cannot be harmed during the entry of the pin into the bus bar or its subsequent removal. No special measures to protect the spring are required. Also, the design permits the use of a short and strong contact pin section 67 that is virtually impossible to bend or otherwise damage. The large diameter of the contact section 67 compared with the thin elements normally used in contacts of this type means that there is a substantially increased current-carrying capacity in the construction of this invention. Moreover, the entire terminal block is of simple construction, economically produced. It is ideally suited for being environmentally sealed, which is readily accomplished through the resilient insert 24 and the bottom gasket 34. The contacts are easily installed simply by pushing them into the openings in the insert 24 and into the retainer clips 47. Removal is equally simple through the use of a blade-like tool or other suitable means to be forced down past the sealing beads 64, and 66 to spread the tabs 49 and 50 outwardly past the circumference of the enlarged annular section 68. If this is done, the contact is free to be pulled from the module 16 by withdrawing the wire 62.

The construction of the terminal block with the series of modules 16 provides the unit with versatility so that desired numbers of wires may be connected to form predetermined electrical circuits. The channel 17 may be made of a convenient length to retain a suitable quantity of the modules 16. Each of the modules, moreover, permits the wires that it accommodates to be connected together in a wide variety of circuits. This is accomplished by varying the sizes and shapes of the bus bars. These bus bars may be constructed as illustrated in FIGURE 2 so that they connect together all the wires entering the modules 16. They may be formed differently, however, as shown in FIGURE 5, where it can be seen that the bus bar 72 will connect together four wires entering the module, and the bus bar 73 can join six wires. Two wires will be connected by the two-opening bus bar 74. The bus bars 72, 73 and 74 are dimensioned so that in appropriate combinations they have the collective area to fit in the block 19 in place of the single bus bar 30. Suitable combinations of the two, four and six-wire bus bars may be incorporated in any of the modules to result in the electrical circuit desired. Obviously, other sizes and shapes of bus bars may be selected for terminal junctions larger and smaller than that of the example shown.

In the construction of FIGURES 6, 7 and 8, the arrangement of this invention is utilized in a multiple pinand-socket type electrical connector. These connectors have mating pins and sockets as the electrical terminals rather than a pin and bus bar as in the previously described embodiment. One section 76 of the connector includes a block of rigid insulating maerial 77 having openings 78 through it in which are received socket contacts 79. The other section 80 of the connector includes a block 81 of dielectric material provided with openings 82 receiving the pin contacts 83. A number of sets of pins and sockets are included in the sections 76 and 80, with the sockets receiving the pins when the connector sections are advanced together to complete the circuit between the wires 84 and 85 of the socket and pin, respectively. A disc 86 of resilient elastomeric material carried by the section 80 of the connector provides a seal at the location of the mating pins and sockets.

Each socket contact 79 includes an axially inwardly extending opening 88 at one end, which is adapted to receive the mating pin. Inwardly of the opening 88 is an exteriorly enlarged annular portion 89, beyond which is the barrel 90 that receives the end of the wire 84. The socket contact may be held in the insulating block 77 by means of a retainer clip 91 having a pair of diametrically opposed inwardly extending tabs 92 that engage the shoulder to the rear of the enlarged annular section 89. The socket contact is rather closely confined at the forward portion of the opening 78, so that it is not permitted appreciable lateral movement.

The pin contact 83 includes at one end an outwardly extending section 94 tapering to the end pin portion 95 that enters the socket opening 88 when the connector sections 76 and 80 are attached together. The pin end 95 is slightly smaller than the socket opening 88. Inwardly of the portion 94 is an enlarged annular section 96 having a forward radial shoulder 97 on one end and a rearward shoulder 98 on the other end. Beyond the shoulder 98 is hollow barrel portion 99 that receives the end of the wire 85 to be crimped or otherwise secured to the pin contact 83.

The retainer clip 101 for securing the pin contact 83 within the insulating block 81 is illustrated in perspective in FIGURE 8. This device is a split cylindrical sleeve rolled into cincular form from a fiat blank to provide a longitudinal slot 102. As for the clip 47, the slot 102 permits contraction of the retainer 101 when it is to be installed in the recessed portion 103 of the opening 82 in the insulating block 81. The clip 101 includes a pair of inwardly bent diametrically opposed tabs 104. These elements incline toward the axis of the clip 101, with their inner ends being adjacent the retainer clip end 105 while their outer ends, where they are joined to the periphery of the clip, are adjacent the opposite end 106.

An additional spring finger 107, which is longer than the tabs 104, is bent inwardly tfirorn the cylindrical wall of the clip 101 intermediate the ends 105 and 106. The spring finger 107 is circumferentially between the two tabs 7 104, with its free end portion 108 being adjacent the forward end 105 of the clip.

At the end 105 of the retainer clip 101 are additional tabs that incline toward the axis of the clip and extend toward the opposite end 106. One of these tabs 110 is dia-metricallyopposite the slot 102 and generally comparable in shape to the tabs 104. A pair of additional tabs 112 is located besides the slot 102, with one of'these tabs being on either side of the longitudinal slot. The tabs 112 are collectively similar to the tab 110, being the same length and having their free ends extending toward the opposite end 106 of the clip 101.

The clip101 is installed in the insulating block 81 by squeezing it together so as to fit through the narrower portion 113 of the opening 82. It then expands outwardly to fit in the annularly enlarged opening section 103 intermediate the iforward shoulder 114 and the rearward shoulder 115 which hold the clip axially. As for the terminal junction, the pin contact 83 is fitted into the clip 101 by pushing it inwardly through an elastomeric sealing member 116 and into the interior of the clip 101. The opposed resilient tabs 104 will be spread apart by the enlarged annular section 96 of the contact to snap inwardly adjacent the barrel portion 99 of the contact in back of the radial shoulder 93 when the contact has entered the clip. This holds the contact against rearward axial movement.

The contact is stopped in the forward direction by the ends of the tabs 110 and 112 adjacent the end 105 of the clip 101. Thus, the tabs 110 and 112 engage the radial shoulder 97 of the contact 83 to prevent axial movement in the forward direction.

The inner end of the spring finger 107 bears against the periphery of the enlarged annular portion 96 when the contact S3 is fully inserted into place. This biases the contact laterally toward the side opposite from the spring finger 107. The contact 83 is made slightly narrower than the retainer clip 101 so that it can be shifted to one side by the force of the spring 107.

As a consequence of thisconstruction, when the pin end 95 enters the socket opening 88, the spring finger 107 pushes the contact to one side so that the end 95 of the contact bears firmly against the wall of the socket opening 88, thereby establishing an electrical circuit. The advantages described above for the terminal junction are all retained by the adaptation of the design to a multiple pin-and-socket electrical connector. Again, a single retaining clip 101 provides both the means to hold the contact in place and the means to provide a side force to maintain the electrical connection. The spring force is applied to the periphery of the contact outside the socket opening and away from the mating contact surfaces. Hence, the parts that accomplish the electrical circuit are not subjected to the rubbing action of the spring, so that wear is greatly reduced.

The lateral spring force for electrically connecting the pin and the socket contacts may be applied on the exterior of the socket, rather than on the pin contact. An arrangement of this type is illustrated in FIGURES 9, l and 11. Here, the device is shown as an electrical connector again, with the socket contact 117 being held by a retainer clip 91 in an opening 113 through a rigid insulating block 119. The socket contact 117 is generally similar to the socket contact 79, but the forward portion 120 preferably has a rounded edge adjacent where the axial cavity 121 extends inwardly. A clearance 122 is provided between the forward portion of the socket 117 and the wall of the opening 118 so that the socket contact may move later-ally a limited amount.

The pin contact 123 includes a cylindrical forward portion 124 adapted to enter the socket opening 121, being slightly smaller in diameter than the opening. The intermediate portion of the pin contact 123 includes an enlarged annular section 125 with a forward radial shoulder 126 and a rearward radial shoulder 127.

The retainer clip 128 for the pin contact 124 is seen in perspective in FIGURE 11. Again, it is rolled into a cylindrical configuration from a fiat metal sheet and is provided with a longitudinal slot 129 extending the length of the part. A pair of opposed tabs 130 extends inwardly from the circumferential wall of the retainer 128. In addition, there is a single spring element 131 adjacent the end 132 of the retainer clip. Also provided in the wall of the retainer 128 are two diametrically opposed inwardly extending substantially hemispherical protuberances 133.

When the contact 123 is received in the retainer 128, the tabs 130 fit behind the rearward radial shoulder 127 in the usual manner. In addition, the protuberances 130 are then positioned on the forward side of the shoulder 126 and act as the retaining means for preventing forward axial movement of the contact 123. Thus, the inward protuberances 133 take the place of the tabs and 112 of the embodiment of FIGURES 6, 7 and 8 that limited the forward movement of the pin contact. Either the indentations 133 or the spring fingers 110 and 112 may be used for this type of retainer clip.

The spring finger 131, by being adjacent the end 132 of the retainer 128, is forward of the annular enlarged portion of the pin contact 123. The distal end 134 of the spring finger 131 is thereby disposed radially outwardly of the forward pin portion 124 of the contact 123. As the pin and socket are mated, the spring finger 131 engages the periphery of the forward end 120 of the socket 117. Thus, the distal end 134 of the spring finger 131 bears against the outer circumferential surface of the forward end 120 of the socket contact outwardly of the pin portion 124 which enters the socket. Consequently, the spring finger 131 provides a sideward force on the socket moving it in the radial direction relative to the pin. Therefore, the wall of the cavity 121 of the socket is brought into firm engagement with the periphery of the forward pin portion 124. Thus, instead of the pin being moved to one side to form the electrical contact between the socket and pin, in this case the socket is given the :lateral movement.

The design of FIGURES 9, 10 and 11 in which the socket is given the lateral bias has an added advantage in even further reducing the wear on the mating parts. This comes about because the pin end 124 of the contact 123, which is slightly elongated and projects beyond the end 134 of the spring finger 131, is dimensioned to enter the socket opening 121 before the forward edge of the front portion of the socket reaches the distal end of the spring finger. When the pin and socket first mate, therefore, there is no lateral force imposed upon these elements. Finally, as the mating becomes complete the spring finger 131 is brought into engagement with the outer surface of the socket. At this time, the lateral sideward force is imposed upon the contact to assure the electrical connection. Only a small amount of relative axial movement takes place while the sideward force is imposed on the socket. At the time that the force is exerted on the socket, the pin already has entered a substantial distance and is aligned with the socket. Essentially, therefore, there are parallel cylindrical surfaces in engagement when the lateral force is imposed.

The principles of this invention also may be applied to a simple connector as shown in FIGURES l2 and 13 for joining the ends of two wires, rather than joining a multiplicity of wires as for the connectors of FIG-] URES 6 and 9 or in use with a terminal junction as in FIGURE 1. In the embodiment of FIGURES l2 and 13, there is a single cylindrical sleeve 136 that receives a socket contact 137 and a pin contact 138 to mate with the socket. This sleeve does not fit within an annular recess, and hence is not split longitudinally. The pin and socket may be of the conventional type described above. The entry of the pin into the socket will connect the Wire 1139 that fits into the barrel end of the pin to the wire 140 that is joined to the socket 137. The sleeve 136 includes a pair of inwardly bent tabs 142 that are adjacent the end 143 of the sleeve 136 and have their distal ends extending toward the opposite end 144 of hte sleeve. A second pair of tabs 145 is spaced axially from the first pair 142 and extends inwardly and in the opposite direc tion. The tabs are to fit behind the shoulder 146 on the socket contact and the corresponding shoulder 147 on the pin contact. This prevents withdrawal of the pin from the socket. Installation is effected by pushing the socket contact 137 in from the end 143 until it passes the tabs 142 that snap inwardly in back of the shoulder 146. Similarly, the pin is inserted from the opposite end 144 until the tabs 145 snap behind shoulder 147. It should be noted that there is no provision for preventing forward movement of either the pin or the socket. In this type of connector, a limited amount of axial movement toward each other will not be harmful as the pin will then only enter further into the socket. The parts are dimensioned so that only a small amount of such movement is allowed. The primary concern is with withdrawal of the pin and socket contacts, and this is prevented by the two sets of tabs 142 and 145.

The sleeve 136 includes, in addition, a spring finger 149, which may be located rotationally intermediate the pairs of spring tabs 142 and 145. The finger 149 in the embodiment illustrated bears against the circumferential surface of the enlarged annular portion 150' of the pin contact 138. This forces the pin contact laterally toward one side so that the pin end portion 151 bears against the wall 152 of the socket opening. Thus, as before, there is an auxiliary spring finger that serves to force the pin laterally to assure that a proper electrical connection is made. It should be noted that the spring finger 149 alternatively could be devised to engage the periphery of the socket to bias the socket to one side rather than the pin. The important consideration is that there is a spring force applied to one of the mating contacts to push it to one side to assure that there is a firm engagement between the male and female parts.

A simplified form of the retainer device is seen in FIGURES l4 and 15, illustrated in this instance as applied to a terminal junction construction. It is applicable also to the other electrical connectors, such as illustrated in the other figures. The retainer member 154 is a sheet metal piece rolled into cylindrical shape and provided with a longitudinal slot 155. It is adapted to fit within an annular recess formed in the rigid insulating block 156 and the bus bar 157. The member 154 includes a single spring finger 158 bent inwardly from its circumferential surface. The spring member 158 normally is made slightly larger in width than the spring fingers used in the other versions of the invention. The single spring 158 is used both to retain the contact within the sleeve 154 and to apply the lateral force to it to effect an electrical connection. As illustrated, the contact 160 is inserted into the sleeve 154 until its shoulder 161 passes the end of the spring finger 158. This permits the spring 158 to prevent withdrawal of the contact from the sleeve 154 by engagement of the end of the spring with the shoulder 161. Also, the end of the spring bears against the circumferential surface of the barrel portion 162 of the contact that receives the end of the wire 163. This unbalanced spring force pushes the contact 160 laterally so that the projecting pin portion 164 of the contact is brought into firm engagement with the inner periphery 165 of the opening in the bus bar 157. The basic effect is the same as before, therefore, with a lateral force being applied to one of the contacting elements at a location exterior to the interengaging contact surfaces to assure that the mating electrical elements are brought into engagement to effect an electrical circuit.

While the retainer clip 154 is of particularly simple construction, it does not ordinarily offer as effective contact retention as in the other versions where more than one spring and retaining element are provided. With a single finger being used, the clip body will yield at the bend area the finger under withdrawal loads often encountered unless the finger is made rather long. Many designs must be compact and do not permit the use of a long spring finger.

The foregoing detailed description is to be clearly understood as given by way of illustration and example only, the spirit and scope of this invention being limited solely by the appended claims.

I claim:

1. An electrical connector device comprising a duality of electrical terminals,

said terminals having portions in interengagement, said portions including an opening in one of said terminals and a projecting portion on the other of said terminals,

said projecting portion being received in said opening and being of smaller lateral dimension than the lateral dimension of said opening, at least one of said terminals having a shoulder remote from said portions in interengagement, and retainer means for holding said terminals in such interengagement,

said retainer means including a sleeve receiving at least one of said terminals in a spaced relationship therewith to allow the terminal received therein limited lateral movement relative thereto, and resilient means extending inwardly for engaging said shoulder to prevent axial movement of the terminal having said shoulder and including means for engaging one side of one of said terminals and providing a resultant lateral force on said one of said terminals to hold the side of said projecting portion and the side of said opening in interengagement for effecting an electrical connection.

2. A device for retaining and applying a lateral force to an electrical contact comprising a longitudinally split substantially cylindrical sleeve adapted to receive an electrical contact therein, at least one resilient finger extending inwardly of said sleeve toward the axis thereof, said finger having an end portion for engaging the shoulder of an electrical contact in said sleeve for preventing movement of such a contact axially of said sleeve,

and an additional spring member integral with said sleeve on one side thereof and extending inwardly toward the axis of said sleeve, said additional spring member having an end portion axially beyond said end portion of said resilient finger for engagement with exterior portions of one side of an electrical contact and providing a resultant lateral force thereon biasing said contact laterally in one direction.

3. A device for retaining and applying a lateral force to an electrical termination structure comprising an annular member adapted to fit in a recessed portion of an aperture through a supporting element, substantially opposed resilient spring fingers integral with said member and extending inwardly toward each other, said fingers having end portions for engaging and preventing axial movement of an electrical termination structure received therebetween,

and an additional spring element integral with said member on one side thereof and extending radially inwardly thereof, said additional spring element having an end portion forwardly of said end portions of said spring fingers for engagement with the periphery of one side of an electrical termination structure and applying a resultant lateral force thereon biasing said electrical termination structure laterally in one direction.

4. An electrical connector device comprising a duality of electrical terminals,

one of said terminals having an opening therein,

the other of said terminal having a portion received in said opening,

said portion being laterally smaller than said opening, one of said terminals having a shoulder thereon, support means for said terminals,

said support means defining an opening having an enlarged portion defining a shoulder at either end thereof, and retainer means for said terminals,

said retainer means including a sleeve in said enlarged portion intermediate said shoulders thereof,

said sleeve receiving at least one of said terminals, said sleeve including means for engaging said shoulder on said one terminal to prevent axial movement of said terminal having said shoulder and including means for engaging one side of one of said terminals exteriorly of said opening and exerting a resultant lateral force on said one terminal to hold the side of said projecting portion and said opening in interengagement for effecting an electrical connection therebetwee-n. 5. An electrical connector device comprising an electrical contact having a forward end portion, a rearward end portion for engagement with an electrical conductor, and an annular enlargement intermediate the forward and rearward ends of said contact,

said annular enlargement defining a shoulder adjacent said rearward end portion,

a support means including a member having an aperture therein,

said aperture having an annular cylindrical recess defining an outwardly extending shoulder at either end thereof,

a socket means of electrically conductive material having an opening receiving said forward end portion of said electrical contact,

said opening being of greater lateral dimension than the lateral dimension of said forward end portion,

and a retainer means for saidelectrical contact,

said retainer means including a longitudinally split cylindrical sleeve in said annular cylindrical recess retained against substantially axial movement by said outwardly extending shoulders at either end of said cylindrical recess,

said longitudinally split cylindrical sleeve receiving at least portions of said electrical contacting including said annular enlargement,

said cylindrical sleeve being of greater diameter than the width of said annular enlargement, said cylindrical sleeve including integral resilient means inclined toward the axis of said sleeve and toward said forward end of said contact,

said resilient means including means engaging said electrical contact adjacent said shoulder for preventing axial movement of said electrical contact and including means exerting a resultant lateral force on one side of said electrical contact for holding one side of said forward end portion of said contact in engagement with one side of said aperture for effecting an electrical connection therewith.

6. In combination with an electrical contact having a forward end, a shoulder inwardly of said forward end and a portion for connection to an electrical conductor,

a support for said contact including a member having an aperture therein having an annular cylindrical enlarged portion, and a socket of electrically conductive material receiving said forward end of said electrical contact, said socket being laterally a greater dimension than the lateral dimension of said forward end, a device for retaining said contact in said support comprising a longitudinally split cylindrical sleeve in said annular cylindrical enlarged portion,

said sleeve having one end adjacent said forward end of said electrical contact,

said end circumscribing said electrical contact at said shoulder and being of greater internal diameter than the width of said shoulder, said sleeve having a resilient section inclined inwardly from the cylindrical Wall thereof toward the axis thereof and toward said one end thereof, said section of said sleeve having a distal end engaging the exterior of said electrical contact on one side thereof adjacent said shoulder for cooperating with said shoulder to prevent axial movement of said electrical contact and exerting a resultant lateral force on one side of said electrical contact for biasing said electrical contact laterally in one direction and holding one side of said forward end of said electrical contact in engagement with one side of said socket thereby to effect an electrical connection between said electrical contact and said socket. 7. An electrical connector comprising a duality of members of dielectric material,

each of said members having at least one cylindrical opening extending therethrough,

an electrical contact in each of said openings,

one of said contacts including an inwardly extend ing aperture therein, the other of said contacts including a projecting pin portion received in said aperture,

said pin portion being slightly smaller laterally than the lateral dimension of said aperture, a retainer member in each of said openings,

each retainer member including means engaging the contact in theopening therefor for preventing axial movement of such contact,

one of said contacts being movable laterally a limited distance relative to the retainer member therefor, one of said retainer members having an integral spring member remote from said aperture extending inwardly toward the axis of said member for engaging one side of said laterally movable contact and producing a resultant lateral force on said laterally movable contact, laterally biasing said laterally movable contact in one direction, thereby to bring said projecting portion into firm engagement with the wall of said aperture.

8. In combination with a contact having a first end adapted for connection to a wire, a pin portion at the opposite end adapted for entry into an opening in an electrically conductive member, and an enlarged annular section intermediate said ends defining an annular shoulder adjacent said first end, a device for retaining said contact in a supporting structure and for applying a lateral force thereto for effecting an electrical circuit between said pin portion and the wall of an opening receiving the same, said device comprising a split annular sleeve of greater diameter than said contact,

said sleeve having opposed inwardly inclined tabs, said tabs having ends extending toward said 13 opposite end and positioned adjacent said annular shoulder for thereby preventing axial movement of said contact, and a spring extending inwardly of said sleeve on one side thereof and engaging the circumferential surface of said annular portion of said contact on one side thereof and producing a resultant lateral force thereon for thereby biasing said contact toward the opposite side thereof. 9. A device for providing an electrical connection comprising a support member having an opening therethrough, a retainer member received in said opening,

said retainer member including a sleeve portion engaging the walls of said opening, and including resilient means extending inwardly from said sleeve portion toward the axis of said opening, and an electrical termination member received in said sleeve portion,

said electrical termination member being dimensioned to permit limited lateral movement thereof relative to said sleeve portion, said electrical termination member having a pin portion at one end for entry into an opening in a mating electrically conductive member, an enlarged annular portion inwardly of said pin portion, and an additional portion extending from said annular portion to provide a means for attachment to a wire, said electrical termination member having a shoulder between said additional portion and said enlarged annular portion, said resilient means engaging said electrical termination member adjacent said shoulder for precluding axial movement of said electrical termination member, said retainer member further including a spring member extending inwardly from said sleeve portion and engaging the periphery of said enlarged annular portion on one side thereof for thereby providing a resultant lateral side force to bias said pin portion a limited distance to one side and effect an electrical connection with the wall of a socket in which said pin portion is inserted. 10. An electrical connector comprising a first member, a second member,

said members having aligned substantially cylindrical apertures therethrough, a duality of electrical contacts located one in each of said apertures,

one of said contacts having a socket opening therein, the other of said contacts having a projecting pin portion,

said contacts being in interengagement at said pin and socket portions with said pin portion being received in said socket opening, and retainer means for holding said contacts in said apertures in said first and second members,

at least one of said contacts including an enlarged annular portion adjacent said interengaged pin and socket portions to define a first shoulder adjacent said interengaged pin and socket portions, and a second shoulder adjacent the opposite end of said contact, the member receiving said last-mentioned contact including an annular recess in said aperture therethrough, the retaining means for said last-mentioned contact including a longitudinally split substantially cylindrical sleeve received in said annular recess, said sleeve including a pair of resilient tabs inclined inwardly toward the axis thereof and having distal ends adjacent said second shoulder for precluding substantial axial movement of said last-mentioned contact in one direction, said retainer means for said last-mentioned contact including protuberances projecting inwardly from said sleeve toward the axis thereof adjacent said first shoulder for precluding substantial movement of said lastmentioned contact in the opposite direction, said sleeve further including an integral spring finger extending inwardly toward the axis of said sleeve and engaging the exterior of one side of one of said contacts adjacent said pin and socket portions and producing a resultant lateral force on the contact so engaged by said spring finger biasing said engaged contact laterally in one direction to assure firm interengage ment of said pin and socket portions. 11. A device as recited in claim 10 in which said protuberances include a second pair of tabs inclined inwardly toward the axis of said sleeve,

said second pair of tabs extending in the opposite direction from that of said first pair of tabs and having distal ends adjacent said first shoulder. 12. A device as recited in claim 10 in which said protuberances include a duality of indentations in the circumferential Wall of said sleeve extending toward the axis of said sleeve.

13. An electrical connector device comprising a first contact,

said first contact having an opening extending inwardly from one end thereof, a second contact,

said second contact including a projecting portion for entering said opening,

said projecting portion having a smaller lateral dimension than said opening, a first supporting means for said first contact, and a second supporting means for said second contact,

said supporting means permitting relative longitudinal advancement of said contacts toward each other for permitting said projecting portion to enter said opening, said second supporting means including a spring element on one side thereof adjacent said projecting portion and laterally outwardly thereof, said spring being engageable with one side of the outer periphery of said first contact exteriorly of said opening upon entry of said projecting portion into said opening for exerting a resultant lateral force on said first contact biasing said first contact laterally to one side to eifect engagement between the wall of said opening and the periphery of said projecting portion, the distance end of said projecting portion extending longitudinally beyond said spring so that upon said advancement said projecting portion enters said opening prior to engagement of said spring with said one side of the outer periphery of said first contact. 14. An electrical connector comprising a first member, a second member,

said members having aligned substantially cylindrical openings extending therethrough, a first contact in said opening in said first member,

said first contact having an opening extending axially inwardly from one end thereof,

a first retainer means for holding said first contact in said cylindrical opening in said first member with freedom for limited lateral movement relative thereto,

a second contact in said opening in said second member,

said second contact including a pin portion at one end received in said axial opening in said first contact,

said pin portion being of smaller diameter than the diameter of said axial opening, an enlarged annular portion inwardly of said pin portion, 7 and an opposite end portion adapted for connection to a wire,

and a second retainer means for holding said second contact in said opening in said second member,

said second retainer means including an annular longitudinally split sleeve, said opening in said second member including a recessed portion receiving said sleeve,

whereby said sleeve is axially retained in said second member, said sleeve having inwardly extending protuberances on either side of said enlarged annular portion for thereby axially retaining said second contact in said sleeve, and a spring member extending from one side of said sleeve toward the axis thereof,

said spring member engaging one side of said first contact exteriorly of said axial opening in said first contact, thereby exerting a resultant lateral force in one direction on said first contact to bring said pin portion on one side thereof into engagement with the surface of said first contact in said axial opening.

15. A device as recited in claim 14 in which said pin portion of said second contact extends longitudinally beyond said spring member for entry into said axial opening of said first contact prior to said engagement of said spring member with said first contact upon bringing said first and second members together.

16. A terminal junction device comprising a block of dielectric material,

said block having at least one cylindrical opening extending therethrough,

a bus bar adjacent one end of said opening,

said bus bar including 'an opening having a first portion forming an extension of said opening in said block,

and a second portion of smaller diameter extending from said first portion, thereby to define a radially extending surface intermediate said first and second portions,

a retainer member,

said retainer member including asleeve in said opening in said block,

one end of said sleeve being received in said first portion of said opening in said bus bar in adjacency with said radially extending surface of said bus bar, said opening in said block having a shoulder adjacent the opposite end of said sleeve for precluding axial movement of said sleeve, and an electrical contact in said sleeve,

said electrical contact being of smaller diameter than said sleeve and having a first hollow end portion, an enlarged annular portion, and a pin portion at the opposite end thereof, said enlarged annular portion defining an annular shoulder on either Side thereof,

one of said annular shoulders being adjacent said radially extending surface of said bus bar, said pin portion of said contact extending into said second portion of said opening in said bus bar and being of smaller diameter than said second portion, said sleeve including a duality of opposed inwardly inclined spring tabs extending toward said first end portion of said contact,

said tabs having end portions adjacent the second of said shoulders of said contact,

said sleeve also including an integral spring extending inwardly and engaging the circumferential surface of said enlarged annular portion, thereby biasing said contact to one side relative to said opening for forcing said pin portion of said contact into engagement with the surface of said second portion of said opening in said bus bar for providing an electrical connection therewith.

17. A terminal junction comprising an elongated support member,

a plurality of modules in said support member in a side-by-side relationship,

each module including a block of dielectric mamaterial, said block having a plurality of substantially parallel spaced openings therethrough, at least one bus bar adjacent one side of said block in communication with the ends of said openings,

said bus bar including an opening aligned with and forming a continuation of each of said open ings in said block adjacent thereto, means for holding said bus bar adjacent said side of said block,

said means including a member of dielectric ma terial on the side of said bus bar opposite from said block,

an electrical contact in each of said openings of said block,

each of said contacts including a projecting pin portion extending into the adjacent opening in said bus bar, an enlarged annular portion inwardly of said projecting pin portion defining a forward shoulder at one end of said enlarged annular portion adjacent said pin portion and a rearward shoulder on the opposite end of said enlarged annular portion, and a pin portion extending from said enlarged annular portion for connection to an electrical connector, and a retainer clip for each of said contacts,

each retainer clip including a longitudinally split substantially cylindrical sleeve in the opening in said block,

said sleeve having .a duality of opposed resilient spring tabs extending toward the axis of said sleeve and toward said second shoulder for preventing axial movement of said contact, and an additional spring member extending inwardly from said sleeve and engaging the circumferential periphery of said enlarged annular portion for exerting a lateral force biasing said contact to one side relative to said retainer clip for holding said projecting pin portion in engagement with the wall of said opening in said bus bar.

18. A device as recited in claim 17 in which for at least some of said modules said bus bar is segmented, said 70 segments collectively providing openings forming the extensions of said openings in the block adjacent thereto.

19. An electrical connector comprising a duality of electrical contacts,

each of said contacts having one end adapted for connection to an electrical conductor,

1 7 the opposite end of one of said contacts having an axially inwardly extending socket opening, the opposite end of the other of said contacts having a projecting pin portion extending into said socket opening, each of said contacts including a shoulder facing said one end thereof, and a sleeve receiving said contacts,

said sleeve including two pairs of opposed resilient tabs integral therewith,

said tabs extending toward each other and being inclined toward the axis of said sleeve, one pair of said tabs engaging said shoulder on one of said contacts, the other pair of said tabs engaging said shoulder on the other of said contacts,

whereby said pairs of tabs normally prevent withdrawal of said contacts from said sleeve, said sleeve including an integral spring finger extending inwardly and engaging the exterior of one side of one of said contacts and exerting a resultant lateral force thereon for holding said pin portion in firm engagement with the wall of said socket opening and effecting .an electrical connection therewith.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Agron et al 339-217 X Majewski 339-256 Bachrnan 339-217 Noschese 339-176 X Dahlen 339-217 X Mittler et al 339-217 X Bachrnan 339-217 Nava 339-217 X Husband et al 339-19 X FOREIGN PATENTS MARVIN A. CHAMPION, Primary Examiner.

I. MOSES, Assistant Examiner.

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Referenced by
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US3716817 *Apr 21, 1971Feb 13, 1973Mc Donnell Douglas CorpElectrical connectors
US3784963 *Aug 20, 1971Jan 8, 1974Decenzo HConnector assembly for terminal junction system
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Classifications
U.S. Classification439/246, 439/723, 439/745, 439/721, 439/744, 439/715, 439/346
International ClassificationH01R31/02, H01R31/00
Cooperative ClassificationH01R31/02
European ClassificationH01R31/02