US 3489987 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 13, 1970 5. N 3,489,987
UNDERWATER ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR Filed June 28, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 IN VE N 70/? SHALE J. NISKIN Jam-EM m y Jan. 13, 1970 s. J. NI SKIN' 3,489,937
UNDERWATER ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR Filed June 28, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR SHX LE J. NISKIN United States Patent 3,489,987 UNDERWATER ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR Shale J. Niskin, 9400 SW. 63rd Court, Miami, Fla. 33156 Filed June 28, 1967, Ser. No. 649,726 Int. Cl. H01r 25/04; F16b 7/04 U.S. Cl. 339-49 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An underwater electrical connector consisting of a pair of connector units identical in construction each having a terminal post, insulation surrounding the post, a contact member mounted on the post, the contact member having an S-shaped cross section having a flat rear wall and a similarly shaped S-shaped insulated member engaging the flat rear wall of the contact member forming an enlarged head portion with shoulder means extending along each side of the enlarged head portion and a further S-shaped insulated member joining a front edge of the contact member and in parallel relation to the first named S- shaped insulated member and a resilient sleeve slidably mounted on the terminal post insulation for sliding over the contact members of a pair of interlocked connector units.
This invention relates to electrical connectors but is more particularly directed to one for use underwater.
The present electrical connectors used underwater are the same male and female construction type as the conventional electrical connectors made waterproof by means of a rubber covering. One of the disadvantages in the use of these connectors is that they must be connected above water and then placed under water, since they are not self purging. Also, these connectors are not selflocking so that once connected they will remain in connected condition, but instead must be somehow fastened together by some extraneous means if the danger of becoming unfastened exists. The possibility of leakage of water into the connectors is great for the reason that the connectors are apt to become bent and the watertight seal then becomes ineffective so that the danger of shorting out the system by use of the conventional connectors underwater is extremely high.
With the increased activity in the field of marine science, there has arisen a need for a better electrical connector, primarily for underwater service. One which is self-locking, self-purging so that the connection can be made under water, is compact and of such water tightness that under no condition, especially when subjected to impact as would bend the conventional electrical connector, will they leak.
Therefore, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide underwater electrical connections that are interlocking and self-purging wherein during the mere connecting of the electrical connectors, the two halves become locked together and if the connection were made under water, the water that might collect in the connector is automatically purged therefrom.
Another object of the present invention is to provide underwater electrical connectors which have relatively large areas in contact so that currents having high'voltages are readily transmitted through the connectors.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide underwater connectors made of two parts that are identical in construction and are readily interlocked so that they cannot be inadvertently pulled apart.
A further object of the present invention is to provide underwater electrical connectors having two interconnecting members wherein each of these members is identical in construction so that one need only have a plurality of such members any two of which can be used to be connected together.
Another object of the present invention is to provide electrical connectors for underwater use that can be readily attached to cables or to bulkheads and connections made while under water without grounding the current that passes therethrough.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide underwater electrical connectors that are simple and compact in construction, relatively inexpensive in cost and readily connected or disconnected above or below water without the danger of rendering the connectors ineffective to permit current to pass therealong.
With these and other objects in view, the invention will be best understood from a consideration of the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings forming a part of this specification, with the understanding, however, that the invention is not confined to any strict conformity with the showing of the drawings but may be changed or modified so long as such changes or modifications mark no material departure from the salient features of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a longitudinal cross sectional view of an underwater electrical connector constructed in accordance with my invention.
FIGURES 2 and 3 are cross sectional views taken along the lines 22 and 3-3 respectively of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of a connector unit.
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view of the terminal post.
FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary cross sectional view of alternate form of my invention showing a connector having a plurality of terminal posts.
FIGURE 7 is a view similar to FIGURE 2 showing an insulated double terminal connector.
FIGURE 8 is a similar view of a still further alternate construction of my connector showing a multiple terminal connector.
Referring to the drawings wherein like numerals are used to designate similar parts throughout the several views, and in particular to FIGURES 1-5 inclusive, the number 10 refers to a single connector unit of which two such identical units are required to be brought into interengagement to form an electrical connection as is explained in detail hereinafter. Each connector unit 10 consists of a plurality of laminates, namely, an electrical conductor forming a terminal 11 with insulation 12 such as high durometer rubber on each side thereof. The electrical terminal 11 which is T-shaped consists of a post member 13 at the end of which there is a contact member 14 soldered or otherwise secured thereon at its midportion. The terminal contact member 14 is S-shaped in cross section indicated by the letter S having a fiat surface 15 opposite the S-shaped surface 16. The post r member 13 is provided with a bore 17 for receiving the end of a wire 18 that is soldered thereto in order that electricity is conducted from the wire 18 and through terminal 11. The insulation 12 is positioned about the post 13 to insulate same and at the position of flat surface 15 of the contact member 14 along its full length is a body of insulation 19 of S-shape cross section identical in size and reversed in convolution with relation to the S-shaped surface 16 of the terminal 11 whereby an enlarged curved head portion is formed having undercuts or shoulders 21'. A second body of insulation 20 identical in size and shape to the first named body of insulation 19 is positioned on the opposite side of the contact member 14 having its S-shaped surface parallel to the S-shaped surface of the first body of insulation 19. The second body of insulation 20 forms a curved body equal in size to one-half of the enlarged head portion 14, 19 with a single undercut or shoulder 21".
From the foregoing, it is apparent that there is provided an electrical connector unit which can be made to connect and interlock with a second identically constructed connector unit 10 by placing the enlarged head portions 14, 19 of one unit 10 adjacent the pair of op posed shoulders 21 of a second unit 10 and sliding one with relation to the other connector unit 10. The contact member 14 of one connector unit 10 will engage along its full length the contact member 14 of the other connector unit 10 to form an electrical connection therebetween. Also, if the act of connecting the two connector units 10 is done under water, the head portion 14, 19 of one unit 10 will remove the water found in the slot formed by the shoulders 21 between the head portions 14, of the other connector unit 10 as the head portion 14, 19 is slid into position wiping the moisture from the surfaces S of the contact members 14. After the connector units 10 have been connected together, a resilient sleeve 22 is slid over the juncture of the two connector units 10 to prevent moisture from entering therein.
Upon the connector units 10 being connected together, it is obvious that no amount of force as by pulling on the conductors 25 will separate the two connectors 10. In order to break the connection between the connector units 10, the two connector units 10 must be forced laterally to slide the head portions 14 with relation to each other.
The connector units 10 may be used to connect cables 25 together, which consist of insulation material molded over the wire 18 and fused to the ends of the insulation 12 so that water cannot contact the wire 18 or post 13. In the event a connection unit 10 is to be mounted on any rigid surface such as an underwater instrument housing, bulkhead or any other underwater equipment, a conventional watertight threaded coupling (not shown) may be fastened to the unit 10 in lieu of the cable 25.
It can be readily seen that my electrical connector unit 10 which shows a single terminal 11 may have any desired number of terminals. As shown by FIGURE 6, a connector unit is shown having four terminals 11. The terminals 11 of the connector unit 30* are identical in construction with those of the above described terminals 11. A pair of connector units 30 are connected together in the same manner as the connector units 10 by placing the enlarged head portions 14, 20 adjacent the slots formed by the opposing undercuts or shoulders 21 and sliding the head portions 14, 20 along the entire length thereof until the two connector units 30 become aligned. As in the case of the connector units 10, a sleeve 31 is slid over the juncture of the two units 30 to maintain the contact members 14 in a dry condition.
It is to be noted that the contact members 14 extend to the periphery of the connector units 10, 30 whereby the need for sleeves 22, 31 is paramount in order to provide insulation against water to prevent shorting out or grounding the circuit. However, the use of sleeves 22, 31 may be dispensed with as shown by FIGURE 7, which shows the cross section of a pair of interengaged connector units 33 each of which has a pair of terminals 34. The terminals 34 are provided with contact members 35 that do not extend to the periphery of the units 33 but terminate a short distance therefrom with the remaining space taken up by similarly shaped insulation members 36. Consequently a butter of insulation 36 is positioned between the ends of the contact members 35 and the water in which the units 33 are placed.
An alternate structure of my connector units shown by FIGURE 8 is similar to that shown by FIGURE 7 except that there are six terminals 41 in each of the interengaged connector units 40. The contact members 42 of each of the terminal units 41 have been narrowed forming three terminal members separated by insulation members 43 in the same space taken up by only one terminal member heretofore. This structure provides a compact connector unit having a large number of insulated terminals.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. An underwater electrical connector comprising two interlocking connector units of substantially identical construction and configuration, each of said connector units having a post, first insulation means extending about said post, a head portion mounted on said post, said head portion having a pair of substantially oppositely positioned side portions first shoulder means mounted on one of said side portions, further insulation means having a first side portion engaging said other of said side portions of said head portion and having a second side portion positioned substantially opposite to its first side portion, second shoulder means mounted on said second side portion of said further insulation means, said second shoulder means being substantially symmetrically disposed with relation to said first shoulder means and being identical in construction and configuration with said first shoulder means, still further insulation means having a side portion, third shoulder means mounted on said side portion of said still further insulation in substantially spaced relation with said shoulder means of said head portion with said still further insulation side portion engaging said one of said side portions of said head portion, said third shoulder means being substantially parallel with said second shoulder means and having substantially the same configuration as said second shoulder means whereby the space between said first and third shoulder means is substantially identical in size and configuration with those of said first and second shoulder means combined whereby said interlocking connector units may he slid laterally and interlocked with each other with said shoulder means of said head portions in contact relation with each other.
2. The structure as recited by claim 1 wherein said post and said head portion are electrical conductors and the remainder of said structure being non-conductors and impervious to water.
3. The structure as recited by claim 2 taken in combination with a resilient sleeve slidably mounted over said two connector units in an interlocked position preventing the access of water to said electrical conductors.
4. The structure as recited by claim 2 wherein all of said shoulder means are substantially S-shaped of substantially identical size whereby upon interlocking the pair of connector units by the sliding movement of one connector unit with relation to the other a wiping action of said electrical conductors is effected.
5. The structure as recited by claim 4 wherein said first insulation means of each connector unit is cylindrical in cross section and the exposed surfaces of the remainder of the insulation means of the pair of interlocked connector units form a cylinder with all of said insulation means of each connector unit being of unitary construction.
6. The structure as recited by claim 5 wherein said first shoulder means is substantially shorter in length than the diameter of cylinder formed by said remainder of said insulation means and additional insulation means having the same configuration as said first shoulder means mounted at each end of said first shoulder means and extending to the periphery of said cylinder.
7. The structure as recited by claim 6 taken in combination with a second post and head portions substantially identical in construction and configuration as said first named post and head portion, all of said posts and head portions being in parallel and spaced relation to each other and insulation means identical in construction and configuration with said additional insulation means mounted adjacent said second head portion.
8. The structure as recited by claim 7 taken in combination with a plurality of posts and head portions substantially identical in construction and configuration as said first named and second posts and head portions, said plurality of posts being in spaced and coplanar relation 5 6 with said first and second posts respectively and with FOREIGN PATENTS insulation means positioned in said spaces between said 124 526 5/1949 Sweden. head 260,408 3/1949 Switzerland.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5 MARVIN A. CHAMPION, Primary Examiner 564,195 7/1896 Henry L 33949 XR P. A. CLIFFORD, Assistant Examiner 741,052 10/1903 Mahon 339-49 XR 1,528,988 3/1925 Platts $113.1. 287104 US. Cl. X.R. 1,975,244 10/1934 Wiseman 33947 3,154,359 10/1964 Farber 33949XR