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Publication numberUS3518620 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 30, 1970
Filing dateApr 11, 1968
Priority dateJul 27, 1967
Also published asDE1765833A1, US3474395
Publication numberUS 3518620 A, US 3518620A, US-A-3518620, US3518620 A, US3518620A
InventorsDale Nelson Bushey, Robert Linn Showman
Original AssigneeAmp Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Connector keying device
US 3518620 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 30, 1970 BUSHEY ET AL 3,518,620


DALE. NELSON auauer OBEQT umv snowman B y LMM.

United States Patent O 3,518,620 CONNECTOR KEYING DEVICE Dale Nelson Bushey, York, and Robert Linn Showman,

Hershey, Pa., assignors to AMP Incorporated, Harrisburg, Pa.

Filed Apr. 11, 1968, Ser. No. 720,641 Int. Cl. H01r 13/64; HOSk 1/18 U.S. Cl. 339-184 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE 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 expedience 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 insure 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 automatically 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 slots adjacent an upper surface thereof, and a key which is insertable into the slots and which can be positioned into any slot to provide a plurality of possible key positions on each end portion of the connector body. The other portion of the connector is secured to a circuit member, the latter being provided with selectively positioned reice cesses 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.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE" DRAWING In the drawing in which like reference numerals refer to like parts:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an electrical connector keying device made in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the connector members of FIG. 1 in their assembled position;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged end view showing the positioning of keys Within a connector member;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view showing details of the keying means; and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged perspective view showing the manner in which the keying means cooperates with a printed circuit board.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The attainments of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the drawings in which there is shown and described an illutrative embodiment of the invention; it is to be understood, however, that this embodiment is not intended to be exhaustive nor limiting of the invention but is given for purpose of illustration in order that others skilled in the art may fully understand the invention and the principles thereof and the manner of applying it in practical use so that they may modify it in various forms, each as may be best suited to the conditions of a particular use.

In FIG. 1 there is shown a preferred embodiment of the connector keying device in accordance with the present invention and comprises a printed circuit board or other appropriate device 10 having a plurality of apertures 12 therein and a pair of grooves 14 selectively machined therein or placed therein in any other suitable manner as will be explained in more detail hereinbelow. The printed circuit board 10 is mounted on a pin header member 16 of the connector by aligning the apertures 12 with a plurality of pins 18 which are secured within the member 16. The pins 18 are substantially L-shaped and have forward projecting portions 20 extending at right angles to the upper projecting portions 22. The pins 18 are electrically conducting and may be composed, for example, of brass with a gold-nickel plating thereon. The pin header member 16 is made of an insulating material such as diallyl phthalate or other suitable insulating material. The upper portions 22 of pins 18 are configured to extend through the apertures 12 in circuit board 10 and subsequently the pins 18 are electrically connected to pads 24 surrounding the apertures 12 by a dip soldering process or the like. A pair of polarizing pins 26 extend from the header member 16 adjacent the lower surface thereof, such pins serving to properly orient the header member relative to the receptacle assembly indicated generally at 28.

The receptacle assembly includes a plurality of apertures 30 for receiving the portions 20 of the pins 18 and further includes a pair of apertures 32 for receiving the polarizing pins 26. It can be seen from the location of the apertures 32 and polarizing pins 26 that the two connector halves 16 and 28 can only be mated in their intended fashion and cannot he accidentally misoriented. A pair of mounting holes 34 are also provided on the receptacle assembly to permit mounting of the assembly mechanically as desired for a particular use. The upper surface 36 of the receptacle assembly 28 is provided with a series of regularly spaced slots 38, s'uch slots opening into the forward face of the assembly. The slots 38, better seen in FIG. 4, are conveniently formed with an arcuate cross-section for slidably receiving a selectively positionable key 40. Each key 40 has a depending arcuate portion 42 for entry into the slot 38 and further has an upper generally rectangular portion 44 for cooperation with the grooves 14 formed in the circuit member 10. The keys 40 are preferably formed of an electrically insulating material so that their disposition in the grooves 14 of the printed circuit board will not cause shorting between adjacent pads 24 surrounding the apertures 12 in the immediate vicinity of the grooves 14. The keys 40 are slidable in and out of the slots 38 and are normally held therein by frictional force. If desired, a bonding agent may be employed in those particular instances where the keys are to be permanently located within a particular slot. However, in normal use it is desirable that the keys be readily positionable in any desired slot.

In operation the receptacle assembly 28 will be previously set up with electrical conductors 46 extending into the apertures 30 for electrically engaging the portions 20 of the pins 18 on the pin header member. The particular arrangement of conductors 46 is normally related to a particular printed circuit board. Therefore, to insure that a particular connector is employed by an operator with only the proper circuit board, the keying device of the instant invention is employed. For example, as shown in the drawings two keys 40 are positioned in particular slots 38 and the circuit board is provided with two grooves 14 placed to receive the two keys. It is readily understandable that any circuit board with a different groove configuration would not be usable with the particular connector assembly as keyed and it is also readily understandable that any other keying arrangement on the connector assembly would prevent that connector assembly from being used with the particular circuit board shown. In this way there is provided a very inexpensive and foolproof method of insuring proper matching between a circuit member and a connector assembly. When the particular connector assembly shown is desired to be used with a different circuit member then it is merely necessary to'remove the keys and to change the location or pattern of the keys to match a different circuit member.

t Changes in construction will occur to those skilled in the art and various apparently different modifications and embodiments may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is offered by way of illustration only.

We claim:

1. An electrical connector comprising a first connector member, a second connector member for mating mechanically and electrically with said first connector member, a circuit board member connected to said second connector member and having a portion for lying adjacent said first connector member, and keying means for matching said first connector member to said circuit board member, said keying means comprising a plurality of slots disposed along said first connector member, said slots communicating wtih an external surface of said first connector member, said external surface being disposed for lying adjacent said circuit board member portion when said first and second connector members are in mated position, at least one key selectively positioned in said slots and extending outwardly of said first connector member from said external surface thereof, and at least one predetermined selectively positioned recess formed in said circuit board member portion for receiving said key to thereby match said circuit board member to said first connector member.

2.. In an electrical connector as set forth in claim 1 wherein a plurality of keys are selectively positioned in said slots and wherein a plurality of recesses are formed in said circuit board member portion.

3. In an electrical connector as set forth in claim 1 wherein said key is formed of an electrically insulating material.

4. In an electrical connector as set forth in claim 3 wherein said key has a depending arcuate portion and wherein said recess is of arcuate cross-section for receiving said portion.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,984,814 5/1961 Scott 339-184 X 3,166,372 1/1965 Just 339-186 3,181,974 5/1965 Barbera 339-198 X 3,184,707 5/1965 Anderson 339-186 3,287,031 11/1966 Simmons et al. 339-186 X 3,316,521 4/1967 Fletcher et a1 339-186 X RICHARD E. MOORE, Primary Examiner U.S. C1. X.R. 339-17

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2984814 *Jul 12, 1957May 16, 1961Scott James KSeparable connector for printed circuit cards
US3166372 *Sep 29, 1961Jan 19, 1965Malco Mfg Company IncMethod and apparatus for connector orientation
US3181974 *May 16, 1962May 4, 1965Barb IncReleasable battery clip
US3184707 *Sep 23, 1963May 18, 1965Sperry Rand CorpUniversal receptacle shell coding device
US3287031 *Sep 21, 1964Nov 22, 1966William H SimmonsIndexed keyed connection
US3316521 *Feb 12, 1964Apr 25, 1967Fletcher Jr Ralph PVariable termination strip connector
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3614714 *Nov 21, 1969Oct 19, 1971Rca CorpEdge connector with polarizing member
US3993390 *Mar 12, 1975Nov 23, 1976E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And CompanyHeaders with insertable latch members
US4348073 *Jun 27, 1980Sep 7, 1982Continental-Wirt Electronics Corp.Frangible polarizing rib for multiple contact header
US4822305 *Aug 31, 1987Apr 18, 1989Amp IncorporatedProgrammable keying system
US4832619 *Aug 5, 1988May 23, 1989E. I. Du Pont De Nemours And CompanyPin mounted support system for printed circuit cards and connectors
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
US5822189 *Dec 13, 1996Oct 13, 1998Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.Electrical connection box, a connection construction, a busbar fixing construction and a connection terminal
US5913690 *Oct 2, 1997Jun 22, 1999Molex IncorporatedElectrical grounding shroud
DE3625865A1 *Jul 31, 1986Feb 4, 1988Siemens AgPlug connector having insulating-material bodies in the form of strips
EP0156539A1 *Mar 4, 1985Oct 2, 1985AMP INCORPORATED (a New Jersey corporation)Keying system and method of keying for electrical connectors
U.S. Classification439/629, 439/681, 439/633
International ClassificationH01R12/18, H01R12/22, H01R13/645
Cooperative ClassificationH01R12/7005, H01R13/6456
European ClassificationH01R23/70A, H01R13/645D