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Publication numberUS3474395 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 21, 1969
Filing dateJul 27, 1967
Priority dateJul 27, 1967
Also published asDE1765833A1, US3518620
Publication numberUS 3474395 A, US 3474395A, US-A-3474395, US3474395 A, US3474395A
InventorsGilbert Douglas Ferdon, Homer Ernst Henschen
Original AssigneeAmp Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Connector keying device
US 3474395 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 21, 1969 G. DQFERDON ETAL 3,474,395

' CONNECTOR KEY 1N0 DEVICE Filed July 27, 1967 2 Sheets- Sheet l 1969 G. D. FERDON ETAL 3,474,395

CONNECTOR KEYING DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed July 2'7, 196'? FEG United States Patent US. Cl. 339-186 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The disclosure relates to an electrical connector device having plural male and female connecting members on separate connector portions, the connector portions being molded to prevent polarization error, one of the portions carrying an apertured printed circuit board with cutout areas, the connector also including selectably positionable keying means for mating with the cut out areas on the printed circuit boards whereby only preselected male and female portions with accompanying apertured printed circuit boards can be interconnected.

This invention relates to a keying device for an electrical connector and, more specifically, to a keying device for use with electrical connectors which can be selectively positioned in the electrical connector to selectively provide different keying in the same electrical connector device.

The problem of accurately interconnecting male and female connector devices has been well recognized in the prior art. In order to provide such accurate connection of male and female electrical connector members, the prior art has resorted to the well known expedients of keying. Keying provides proper orientation of devices with multiple contact plug-in elements to insure that a particular plug-in element can be inserted only in the correct receptacle of a group of similar receptacles otherwise capable of receiving the same plug. The prior art has also resorted to the expedient of polarization ,to insures that the male connector member is properly orientated with respect to the female member rather than being, for example, turned -180 degrees with respect thereto. Examples of prior art connectors utilizing keying and/or polarization'are exemplified by the patents to Gilbert (2,746,022); DAmico (2,902,665); Fox (2,994,- 056); Kirk (3,024,436); Hagan (3,177,461); Kinkaid (3,264,599) and Moulin (3,281,761). These prior art devices have performed reasonably well in their jobs of keying and/or polarization. However, once the keying or polarization for a particular connector has been set up,

there is no Way to change this polarization or keying set up. It is therefore possible that electrical connectors with keying and/ or polarization, which are identical but which have differing electrical connection patterns thereon, can easily be interchanged and-provide erroneous wiring and other interconnection in an electrical system. The above noted prior art devices have no provision for automati; cally indicating that an improperly wired or otherwise improper connector with attached circuitry is being utilized, the only possibility of noting error being obtained by markings placed on the connector body itself.

In accordance with the present invention, the above problems of the prior art are overcome by providing an electrical connector having male and female portions, one of the portions being provided with a plurality of spaced apertures adjacent a pair of opposite sides thereof and a key which has prongs insertable into the apertures and which can be positioned into any adjacent pair of apertures to provide a plurality of possible key positions on each end portion of the connector body. The other Patented Oct. 21, 1969 portion of the connector is provided with selectably positioned recesses for mating with a particular configuration of the keying members whereby a single connector member can be provided with plural keying combinations to provide automatic differentiation between different wiring combinations or the like with the same connector member. This prevents the possibility of utilizing a pair of connector members with associated electrical circuitry which are not designed to be used together and thereby to prevent error.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a connector keying device capable of assuming a plurality of keying combinations.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a single electrical connector which can be selectively keyed to a plurality of possible keying combinations.

The above objects and still further objects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which there are shown and described an illustrative preferred embodiment of the invention. It is to be understood, however, that the preferred embodiment is not intended to be exhaustive or lirnitative of the invention and is provided for purposes of illustration in order that others skilled in the art may fully understand the invention, the principles thereof and the manner of applying it in practical use so that they may modify it in various forms, as may be best suited to the conditions of a particular use.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is an exploded view of the electrical connector keying device in accordance with the present invention including both the male and female members thereof;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged view of a portion of the connector of FIGURE 1 shown in elevation with a cutaway portion;

FIGURE 3 is a partially cut away top view of a portion of the electrical connector of FIGURE 1 in accordance with the present invention; and

FIGURE 4 is a section taken along the line 44 of FIGURE 3.

Referring noW to FIGURE 1 where there is shown a preferred embodiment of the connector keyingdevice in accordance with the present invention, there is shown a printed circuit board or other appropriate device 1 having a plurality of apertures 3 therein and a pair of grooves 5 and 7 selectively machined therein or placed therein in any other suitable manner as will be explained in more detail hereinbelow. The printed circuit board 1 is mounted on a pin header member 11 of the connector by aligning the apertures 3 with a plurality of pins 9 which are secured within the pin header member 11. The pins 9 are L-shaped, as better shown in FIGURE 4, the apertures 3 in the printed circuit board 1 being arranged to align with the pins 9, thereby the printed circuit board 1 may be positioned atop the pinheader member 11 withthe pins 9 extending through the apertures 3, as better shown in FIGURES 2 to 4. The pins 9 are electrically conducting and may be composed of brass with a gold-nickel plating thereon. The pin header member 11 is made of an insulating material such as dially phthalate or other suitable insulating material. The L-shaped pins 9 also extend outwardly from the pin header member 11 in a direction substanitally parallel to the top surface of the member 11 and also parallel to the plane of the printed circuit board 1 when said printed circuit board is mounted on the connector as better shown in FIGURES 2 through 4 and as explained hereinabove. The pin header member 11 further includes a flange portion 15 at the bottom portion thereof with a bevelled upper front surface 17 to provide for easier entry of a female receptacle assembly portion 19 therein. The pin header member 11 also includes "side Wall portions 21 to aid in proper positioning of the receptacle assembly member 19.

The receptacle assembly 19 includes a forward block portion 23 having a plurality of apertures 25 (shown in FIGURE 4), each aperture including a soldering tab 27 which extends from the forward portion of the aperture 25 through to the rear portion of the receptacle assembly 19 and extends outwardly therefrom for ultimate soldering to wiring assemblies or the like as is well known in the art. The cross section of the aperture 25 is wider in the block portion 23 than it is extending rearwardly into the member 19 to prevent the soldering tabs 27 from being able to move rearwardly along the aperture, this rearward movement being further prevented by the enlargement 29 at the forward end of each soldering tab 27. The soldering tab 27 is designed to receive the male pin members 13 of the pin header member 11.

The receptacle assembly 19 further includes a plurality of equally spaced apertures 39 for receiving a keying insert 31, the apertures being positioned within the cut out region labelled 45 in FIGURE 1 and better shown in FIGURES 2 and 3. The keying inserts 31 comprise three sides of stamped metal such as stainless steel, the sides being mutually perpendicular and the two parallel sides each including a downwardly extending flange portion 33 at one end thereof and outwardly extending fingers 35 extending from the other end thereof.

The receptacle assembly 19 is provided with a plurality of slots 37 for receiving the downwardly extending flange portions 33 of the keying inserts 31 therein to prevent lateral movement of the keying inserts. The outwardly extending fingers 35 are disposed through the apertures 39 which are disposed within the aperture 45 of FIGURE 1 and which are better shown in FIGURES 2 and 3. The keying inserts 31 are positioned as above mentioned and, when properlyfpositioned with the flange portions 33 within the slots 37 and with the outwardly extending fingers 35 extending through the apertures 39, the end portions of the outwardly extending fingers 35 are bent sideways as shown in FIGURES 2 and 3 to form outwardly bent portions 41 and secure the keying insert 31 in the selected keying position shown in FIGURES 2 and 3.

The receptacle assembly 19 further floating bushing 43 molded therein which can be used for subsequent securing of the receptacle assembly 19 to an external device.

To explain the operation of the invention device, the connector assembly as shown in FIGURE 1 can be provided for different keying arrangements by providing a printed circuit board 1 or the like, each different printed circuit board having different output terminal connections to tabs 9. The printed circuit boards 1 are arranged with different locations for the cut outsor aperture regions and 7, selected in accordance with the particular board 1, in order to insure that the proper receptacle assembly 19 is being utilized with the printed circuit board 1 thereattached to the'pin hea'der 11. Each type of circuit board 1wi11 have a unique keying configuration. A keying insert 31 is positioned whereby the extending fingers 35 extend through a predetermined pair of adjacent apertures 39 in the receptacle assembly 19, one insert 31 being positioned ateach end of the receptacle assembly. The end portions of the outwardly extending fingers 35 are then bent outwardly as shown in FIGURES 2 and 3 as at 41 to secure these keying insertswithin the receptacle assembly 19. The resulting device is now keyed so that only one unique arrangement of cutouts or apertures 5 and 7, on a printed circuit board 1 with associated pin header member is capable of being connected to the receptacle assembly 19. In the specific embodiment as shown, there are six apertures on each side of the receptacle assembly 19 and therefore five different positions that can be taken by the keying insert 31 at each end of the assembly. This arrangement therefore provides for twenty-five different keying positions and will allow the same electrical connector unitto be utilized for twenty-five different types is a matter of requirement. The present invention therefore provides an inexpensive and foolproof polarization and keying system whereby a supplier is required to retain an inventory of merely one connector unit for a plurality of different keying combinations.

Though the invention has been described with respect to a specific preferred embodiment thereof, many variations and modifications thereof will become immediately apparent to those skilled in the art.

What is claimed is:

1. An electrical connector comprising a first connector member, a second connector member for mating mechanically and electrically with said first connector member, selectively positionable keying means fastened to said first connector member, said keying means being exposed when said first and second connector members are in mated position, a circuit board member connected to said second connector member and having a portion lying adjacent said first connector member, and predetermined selectively positionable means in said circuit board member portion for mating with said keying means.

2. An electrical connector as set forth in claim 1 wherein there are plural keying means and plural means in said board portion for mating with said keying means.

3. An electrical connector as set forth in claim 1 further comprising plural means in said first connector member for receiving said keying means in selected positions.

4. An electrical connector as set forth in claim 3 wherein said receiving means comprises a plurality of passageways and wherein said keying means are provided with fingers adapted to be received within said passage ways.

5. An electrical connector as set forth in claim 4 wherein said keying means are formed from a metallic material.

' References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,928,998 3/1960 Brumfield 339--186 X 2,984,814 5/1961 Scott 339-184 X 3,325,771 6/1967 Ruehlemann et al. 339-184 3,364,458 1/1968 Black et a1. 339-184 RICHARD E. MOORE, Primary Examiner

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2928998 *May 18, 1956Mar 15, 1960Ite Circuit Breaker LtdKeyed mounting means for circuit breakers
US2984814 *Jul 12, 1957May 16, 1961Scott James KSeparable connector for printed circuit cards
US3325771 *Apr 9, 1964Jun 13, 1967Elco CorpElectrical connector module with adjustable polarization
US3364458 *Jun 1, 1966Jan 16, 1968Kernforschungsanlage JuelichUnviersal extension connector for use with indexed printed circuit boards and connector plugs
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3634816 *Oct 9, 1969Jan 11, 1972Amp IncConnector keying system
US4307927 *Mar 24, 1980Dec 29, 1981Rockwell International CorporationPolarization key for electrical connector
US4398779 *Dec 18, 1980Aug 16, 1983Bell Telephone Laboratories, IncorporatedKeying apparatus for interconnecting electrical components
US4580868 *Mar 5, 1984Apr 8, 1986Amp IncorporatedKeying system for electrical connectors
US4822305 *Aug 31, 1987Apr 18, 1989Amp IncorporatedFor electrical connectors
US4832625 *Aug 18, 1988May 23, 1989Amp IncorporatedConnector keying system
US4843714 *Mar 15, 1988Jul 4, 1989Amp IncorporatedMultiple line, automatic key programming and connector transfer system
US5014416 *Dec 19, 1989May 14, 1991Amp IncorporatedSingle line, automatic key programming and connector transfer system
US5076656 *Nov 17, 1989Dec 31, 1991Briggs Robert CHigh precision optical fiber connectors
US5129831 *Jul 26, 1991Jul 14, 1992Amp IncorporatedRight angle header shroud to board polarization and keying system
US5161996 *Jul 26, 1991Nov 10, 1992Amp IncorporatedHeader assembly and alignment assist shroud therefor
US5166995 *Jan 7, 1992Nov 24, 1992Amp IncorporatedPolarized connector
US5769669 *Aug 26, 1996Jun 23, 1998Dsc Telecom L.P.Apparatus and method for keying an electrical assembly with a wiring backplane
U.S. Classification439/633, 439/681
International ClassificationH01R12/22, H01R13/645, H01R12/18
Cooperative ClassificationH01R12/7005, H01R13/6456
European ClassificationH01R23/70A, H01R13/645D