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Publication numberUS3478298 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 11, 1969
Filing dateNov 13, 1967
Priority dateNov 13, 1967
Publication numberUS 3478298 A, US 3478298A, US-A-3478298, US3478298 A, US3478298A
InventorsNelson Arthur L
Original AssigneeElectro Oceanics Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Fluidproof end connector
US 3478298 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

N0V 11, 1969 A. L. NELSON 3,478,298

FLUIDPROOF END CONNECTOR Filed Nov. 13, 1967 ,www

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25 ARTHUR L. NELSON I= |63. BY

ATTORN E YS United States Patent O U.S. Cl. 339-61 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An underwater connector includes first and second resilient bodies formed of neoprene or other resilient material with end faces for engagement with each other. In the respective end faces, there are imbedded contacts. The end faces may differ slightly from a flat configuration such that when they are urged into pressing engagement with each other, their central portions will first engage and there will be an increasing surface engagement in a radially outward direction as further pressure is provided. The contacts may be disposed at central and intermediate radial positions on the end faces such that they will progressively engage as the end faces progressively engage. Suitable locking means are coupled to the members to hold the end faces in full surface engagement. The progressive engagement of the end faces urges water from between the end faces so that the resulting electrical connections between the contacts are kept dry and fully insulated from the surrounding water.

This invention relates to electrical connectors and more particularly to an improved fluid proof connector for enabling electrical connections to be effected in a fluid medium such as under water.

In my United States Patent No. 3,277,424, issued Oct. 4, 1966, there is `disclosed a basic underwater connector in which two or more conductors may be electrically connected under water and maintained in a clean and dry state. The basic principle of operation of the connector described in this patent resides in the provision of a plug body and socket body, the external dimensions of the plug corresponding to the internal dimensions of the socket. The plug includes on its circumferential surface intermediate its ends an exposed contact and a corresponding ring-type contact is provided on the internal surface of the socket. When the plug is inserted into the socket under water, water is purged from an outlet end in the socket as the plug moves into the socket, there being effected a complete wiping of the surface of the contacts until the plug is completely within the socket wherein the contacts are then in electrical engagement and the contacts themselves kept in a dry state and fully insulated from the surrounding water.

The present invention provides a novel underwater connector in which many of the objects realized by the structure in my aforesaid patent are realized but wherein a different configuration is involved.

More particularly, it is an object of the present inven tion to provide a fluidproof connector readily usable under water in which one or more connections may be made while under water and the resulting electrical contact or contacts maintained in a dry and insulated environment from each other in the case of multiple contacts and from the surrounding fluid or water.

More particularly, it is an object of this invention to provide a novel underwater connector meeting the foregoing object wherein a large number of connections and disconnections of conductors can be effected more readily than is possible with prior known underwater connectors.

Briefly, these and other objects and advantages of this invention are attained by providing first and second resilient insulating bodies of non-wetting material such as neoprene including first and second end faces. First and second contacts are respectively embedded in these end faces and have exposed surface portions for engagement with each other when the end faces are pressed into engagement.

The end faces are shaped such that when the faces are urged towards each other with increasing pressure, the central portions of the faces will initially engage and thence progressive engagement in a radially outward direction will result such that water or other fluid between the end faces is squeezed radially outwardly. The contacts are disposed on the end faces in a pattern such that they will be in abutting contact with each other when the end faces are in full surface engagement.

Suitable means are provided for guiding and holdin the end faces in full surface engagement.

With the foregoing configuration, electrical connection between two or more conductors can be very rapidly effected and at the same time, the electrical contacts are fully insulated from the surrounding fluid or water once the connections have been completed.

A better understanding of the invention will be had by now referring to one embodiment thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a cross-section of the fiuidproof connector of this invention wherein components of the connector are in positions preparatory to effecting an electrical connection under water;

FIGURE 2 is a View similar to FIGURE 1 showing the components in their electrically connected positions;

FIGURE 3 is a cross-section taken in the direction of the arrows 3-3 of FIGURE 2; and,

FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary cross-section taken in the direction of the arrows 4 4 of FIGURE 2.

Referring first to FIGURE l, there are shown first and second resilient insulating bodies 10 and 11 which may be cylindrical in shape and formed of an electrically insulating resilient material such as neoprene. As shown, these bodies respectively terminate in first `and second end faces 12 and 13, each of these faces being slightly convex as shown, although they may appear in practice as substantially flat and lying in planes normal to the axes of the cylindrically shaped bodies respectively.

In the first end face 12 there are imbedded electrical contacts designated a, b, and c respectively. Each of the contacts has a surface portion exposed on the convex face 12. Suitable internal conductors 14, 15, and 16 within the body 10 internally connect to these contacts.

Similarly, the second end face 13 for the second body 11 includes electrical contacts a', b', and c similarly having exposed surfaces and positioned for abutting engagement with the contacts a, b, and c when the surfaces 12 and 13 are placed into full surface engagement with each other. Suitable internal conductors 17, 18, and 19 internally connect to the contacts a', b', and c respectively.

The bodies 10 and 11 may be axially aligned with each other with their faces 12 and 13 in opposing relationship by a suitable guide and locking means. This means may take several forms. In the particular embodiment illusstrated, the means comprises first and second sleeves 20 and 21 anchored within the resilient bodies 10 and 11 as at 22 and 23. The sleeves 20 -and 21 are dimensioned to telescope together, their ends extending beyond the end faces of the members as illustrated in FIGURE 1.

As shown, the interior end portion of the sleeve 20 includes pins such as indicated at 24 and 25 receivable in suitable slots 26 and 27 formed in the end portion of the sleeve 21. The pins and slots define a guide means for the two sleeves. As a convenience for a person in effecting engagement of the opposing faces 12 and 13 and maintaining tight engagement of these faces by means of the sleeves, suitable nubs such as indicated at 24' and 25 are provided on the exterior surface of the sleeve 20 in alignment with the pins 24 and 25 so that by feeling the sleeve the user can know the disposition of the pins. Similarly, the sleeve 21 includes nubs 26 and 27 circumferentially disposed in positions corresponding to the positions of the slots 26 and 27 respectively so that the user or operator may know by feel the disposition of the slots. Each of the sleeves includes fluid egrees openings such as shown at 28 and 29.

As shown, the sleeve includes external threads 30. The sleeve 21, on the other hand, includes a nut 31 having internal threads 32 mating with the threads 30 on the sleeve 20. As shown, the nut is rotatably anchored to the sleeve 21 as by an annular groove 33 receiving the inner peripheral end opening of the nut. The nut is thus free to rotate but is constrained against axial movement.

FIGURE 2 illustrates the members 10 and 11 urged together such that their faces are in fullsurface engagement. It will be noted in FIGURE 2 that the sleeves 20 and 21 have been telescoped to the position assumed upon further threading of the nut 31 on the sleeve 20. It will also be noted that the various contacts described in FIG- URE 1 are in full electrical engagement with each other.

I FIGURE 3 illustrates the geometry of the contacts for the member 11, this geometry being the same as that for the member 10. Thus, the central contact b and outer contacts a and c have an exposed conducting surface portion of circular cross-section substantially flush with the end face. Many additional contacts may be provided if desired. In FIGURE 3, it will be evident that there is provided an additional pin indicated in dotted lines at 34 receivable within an additional guide slot 35 there being provided a nub 33 enabling tactual location of the pin 34. This additional pin and slot structure is circumferentially displaced from the slots 26 and 27 by less than 180 such that there can be no ambiguity involved in properly mating the contact a with the contact a, and the contact c with the Contact c. In other words, there is only one way in which the sleeves can be urged together when threading the nut with the respective pins received in the slots.

FIGURE 4 illustrates in fragmentary View the guide slot 26 with the pin 24 for the sleeve 20 fully received therein.

With the foregoing description of the connector in mind, the complete operation of the device will be evident. Initially, a connection may be effected under water by an operator or diver simply bringing the opposing faces 12 and 13 of the resilient bodies 10 and 11 towards each other and nestling the sleeve 21 telescopically within the sleeve 20. The registering of the pins with the slots can be effected by aligning the various nubs with each other as described in FIGURE 1.

With the pins properly received in the guide slots, the operator then simply threads the nut 31 on the threads 30 of the sleeve 21 to thereby urge the bodies 10 and 11 towards each other. Because of the slight convex confiuration of the end faces 12 and 13, the central portion of these faces will initially engage. Continued threading of the nut will then result in a progressive increase in engagement of the end faces in a radially outward direction. As a consequence, water or other fluid between the faces will be urged radially outwardly from between the faces as indicated by the arrows in FIGURE 2. This fiuid can escape from between the telescope sleeves through the openings 28 and 29.

Because of the resilient nature of the end faces with the faces in full surface engagement as shown in FIG- URE 2, -all of the contacts will be completely insulated from the surrounding water or other fluid.

To disconnect the contacts, the locking nut is simply unthreaded from the sleeve 20 and the members simply pulled apart.

From the foregoing description, it will be evident that the present invention has provided an underwater connector wherein connections between two or more conductors may be effected. In addition, it should be noted that a sequence of connections will automatically result with the structure as described it being necessary for the particular configuration shown that the central contacts b and bl engage each other prior to engagement of the outer contacts a, a', and c, c.

It will also be evident from the foregoing description that only one or many more contacts than shown could be provided. These contacts could constitute further positions on the same circle as the contacts a and c with reference to FIGURE 3 or could be further or closer radially spaced from the central contact b. The exposed contacts, of course, would be properly dimensioned to assure that the contacts were insulated from each other.

It should also be understood that any suitable means may be provided for cooperation with the sleeves or a substitute for the sleeves to urge the faces of the bodies together and hold the same in locked position. The threaded sleeve and nut structure is set forth merely as one example of a suitable retaining means.

In view of the foregoing, the invention is not to be thought of as limited to the one specific embodiment set forth merely for illustrative purposes.

What is claimed is:

1. A fiuidproof end connector comprising, in combination: a first resilient insulating body of cylindrical shape terminating in a first end face, said first end face being slightly convex but appearing substantially flat in a plane normal to the axis of said cylindrical shape of said first body; at least one first conducting contact imbedded in said first end face with a surface portion exposed on said first end face; a second resilient insulating body of cylindrical shape terminating in a second end face, said second end face being slightly convex but appearing substantially fiat in a plane normal to the axis of said cylindrical shape of said second body for engagement against said first end face; at least one second conducting contact imbedded in said second end face with a surface portion exposed on said second end face, the slightly convex surface contouring of said end faces causing, when said first and second end faces are urged towards each other with increasing pressure, initial engagement thereof at central portions and progressively increasing surface contact towards peripheral portions in radial directions, said first and second contacts being positioned for abutting engagement with each other when said end faces are in full surface contact; and means on said first and second bodies for holding said first and second end faces in full surface engagement with each other, whereby said first contact may be electrically conected to said second contact in a fluid environment, the progressive engagement of said end faces urging fluid between said end faces radially outwardly so that the electrical connection of said contacts is insulated from said fluid.

2. A fiuidproof connector according to claim 1, in which there is provided at least one additional contact imbedded in each of said end faces for electrical connection together upon progressive engagement of said end faces; and electrical conductors within said bodies internally connected to said contacts respectively.

3. A fluidproof connector according to claim 2 in which said first and second contacts are first electrically engaged upon urging of said end faces progressively into engagement with each other and thereafter the additional contacts effect electrical connection whereby a sequence of connecting said contacts in a predetermined order results.

4. A fluidproof connector according to claim 1, in Which Said means for holding said first and second end faces in full surface engagement comprise rst and second sleeve members respectively Isecured to said first and second bodies and extending beyond said end faces for telescoping engagement with each other, said sleeve members including pin and guide slot means for lguiding the sleeves into a set telescoped position, one of said sleeves being threaded and the other of said sleeves including a nut rotatably mounted thereon so that threading of said nut on said one sleeve urges and holds said end faces in full surface engagement.

5. A uidproof connector according to claim 4, in which said first and second contacts are centrally disposed and in which there are provided additional contacts radially spaced outwardly on said end faces in .positions for respective engagement with each other when said end faces are in full surface engagement.

6. A uidproof connector according to claim 4, in which said rst sleeve includes at least two pins circumferentially spaced less than 180 and said second sleeve includes correspondingly positioned guide slots such that said sleeves can only be locked together when in given rotational positions relative to each other.

7. A uidproof connector according to claim 6, in which said sleeves include exterior nubs `disposed in alignment with the pins and slots to enable tactual location thereof.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,379,942 7/ 1945 Webber.

2,703,870 3/1955 Minto.

2,749,527 6/ 1956 Petersen. 2,892,990 6/ 1959 Werndl 339-6 3,328,744 6/1967 Fiske 339-61 MARVIN A. CHAMPION, Primary Examiner J. H. McGLYNN, Assistant Examiner U.S. C1. X.R. 339-94, 186

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3657681 *May 29, 1969Apr 18, 1972Deep Oil Technology IncSelf-purging multi-contact electrical connector
US3685004 *Dec 14, 1970Aug 15, 1972Schlumberger Technology CorpUnderwater pressure break connector
US3693133 *Oct 2, 1970Sep 19, 1972Inst Francais Du PetroleFluid tight electric connector
US3731250 *Nov 30, 1971May 1, 1973Petroles Cie FrancaiseMethod of making electrical connectors and connectors therefor
US3731258 *Sep 22, 1971May 1, 1973Int Standard Electric CorpUnderwater connection
US4500156 *Mar 2, 1983Feb 19, 1985Schlumberger Technology CorporationElectrical connector
US4943243 *Oct 21, 1988Jul 24, 1990Appleton Arthur IWire connector
US4963099 *Mar 24, 1989Oct 16, 1990Yazaki CorporationElectrical junction box
US6234816Jan 19, 2000May 22, 2001Agilant Technologies, Inc.Medical connector apparatus
US6244882Jan 24, 2000Jun 12, 2001Agilent Technologies, Inc.Medical connector apparatus
US6319031Jan 24, 2000Nov 20, 2001Agilent Technologies, Inc.Medical connector apparatus
US6575764Apr 23, 1999Jun 10, 2003Reipur Technology A/SMeans for providing electrical contact
US7355122 *Mar 31, 2006Apr 8, 2008Azura Energy Systems, Inc.Sealed eurytopic make-break connector utilizing a conductive elastomer contact
US8286713Oct 16, 2012Argus Subsea, Inc.Oil and gas well completion system and method of installation
US20070227757 *Mar 31, 2006Oct 4, 2007Moore Boyd BSealed eurytopic make-break connector utilizing a conductive elastomer contact
US20090010598 *Jun 27, 2008Jan 8, 2009Feeney Christopher JIn-situ electrical connector with composite structure
US20090211761 *May 1, 2009Aug 27, 2009Argus Subsea, Inc.Oil and gas well completion system and method of installation
WO1999062146A1 *Apr 23, 1999Dec 2, 1999Reipur Technology A/SMeans for providing electrical contact
Classifications
U.S. Classification439/205, 439/680, 439/592
International ClassificationH01R13/523
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/523
European ClassificationH01R13/523
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 2, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: COOPER INDUSTRIES, INC, 1001 FANNIN, HOUSTON, TEXA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:CROUSE-HINDS COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:004103/0954
Effective date: 19830223