US 3539976 A
A coaxial connector for use with signals haVing components of an appreciable frequency is disclosed which includes a forward connector plug structure having a pair of spring arms shaped relative to an underlying dielectric insert and a center conductor to provide impedance matching. The connector includes a structure which facilitates termination of shielded and coaxial cable and a method is disclosed for controlling the deformation of material of the connector to provide impedance matching relative to a circuit path of use.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
10, 1970 c. E. REYNOLDS 3523,76
COAXIAL CONNECTOR WITH CONTROLLED CHARACTERISTIC IMPEDANCE Filed Jan. 4 }968 3 Sheets-Sheet l Nov. 10, 1970 c. E. REYNOLDS CQAXI'AL CONNECTOR WITH CONTROLLED CHARACTERISTIC-IMPEDANCE Filed Jan. 4, 1988 SSheets-Sheet :2
Nair. 10., 1910 .E. REYNOLDS 3,539,?
COAXIAL CONNECTOR WITH CONTROLLED CHARACTERISTIC IMPEDANCE Filed Jan. 4, 1968 v 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 United States Patent O 3,539,976 COAXIAL CONNECTOR WITH CONTROLLED CHARACTERISTIC IMPEDANCE Charles Edward Reynolds, Harrisburg, Pa., assiguor to AMP Incorporated, Harrisburg, Pa. Filed Jan. 4, 1968,.Ser. No. 698,092 Int. Cl. H01r 11/08 US. Cl. 339-177 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In applications calling for the termination of coaxial leads which define circuit paths for signals of an appreciable frequency range such as several hundred megacycles and above, the prior art has generally turned to a precision screw machined structure. The general approach has been one of carefully defining the conductive surfaces of inner and outer conductors by rather heavy and solidly continuous metallic bodies with spring members provided to assure matability and electrical continuity. Viewed in terms of actual mechanical and electrical requirements prior art structures represent an adequate but over-engineered solution to the problem of terminating coaxial cable. Viewed in terms of cost and overall reliability, the prior art approach of using connectors having a relatively large number of small parts which must be assembled together in a cooperative relationship represents a solution which is somewhat less than optimum from the standpoint of the end user.
As a problem related to the use of crimping techniques to terminate coaxial cable, some considerable difficulty has been experienced in achieving a proper match of the impedance of the connector to that of a given cable and circuit of use. In any connector structure which must be crimped to a coaxial cable there is always the possibility that in deforming portions of the connector to effect a mechanical and electrical termination of the cable, the spacing between inner and outer conductive surfaces of the coaxial path represented by the connector and by portions of the cable within the connector may :be so altered as to appreciably affect the characteristic impedance of such path. This is a particular problem with so-called open barrel connectors wherein there is no back-up ferrule against which the outer conductor of a cable is driven and supported under crimping forces applied to a surrounding ferrule portion of a connector. With open barrel type connectors there is also a problem caused by the presence Patented Nov. 10, 1970 of the seam which may or may not be deformed to an extent to present a proper spacing of conductive surfaces for impedance matching purposes.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a connector for coaxial and shielded cable which is capable of providing a matched impedance termination through a structure which is simple to manufacture and simple to terminate and which has fewer parts than heretofore required. The present invention also relates to a method of termination of coaxial devices wherein deformation is controlled in accordance with an actual reading of impedance to assure a properly matched termination of a connector to cable.
It is one object of the present invention to provide a coaxial connector device providing a matched impedance terminatilon of coaxial and shielded cable which can be quickly and easily accomplished. It is a further object to provide a connector device for coaxial and shielded cable wherein impedance matching to a cable of use can be readily determined during termination of the device to a cable. It is yet a further object to provide a stamped and formed coaxial connector capable of use with signals having components of appreciable frequency content. It is another object of the invention to provide a method of application of connector devices to coaxial and shielded cable which yield a termination of improved electrical characteristics. It is yet another object of the invention to provide a connector device of a simple construction having very few parts and capable of providing a matched termination of cable relying upon a mating receptacle structure to complete the configuration necessary for achieving a matched connection.
The foregoing objectives are attained through the present invention by an assembly of elements including a stamped and formed center contact mounted in an insulating and dielectric insert in turn mounted in a stamped and formed outer conductive structure. The inner contact has an open barrel portion which is aligned by the insert relative to the outer conductive portion so that a stripped cable may be laid into the connector device with the outer conductive portion then being deformed inwardly to terminate both the inner and outer conductive portions of a cable in a single stroke by dies simultaneously closed together. The center contact includes a forward spring portion shaped with respect to a particular shaping of the dielectric insert and the forward portion of the outer conductor of the contact to provide an impedance match when the connector is inserted within a mating receptacle. As a separate aspect of the invention a method is disclosed relative to the foregoing connector device wherein as the connector is deformed inwardly to terminate the inner and outer conductive portions thereof to inner and outer conductors of the cable, the impedance presented by such deformation is measured with deformation being stopped when a proper impedance is achieved. The connector device of the invention may be utilized with cables of rather widely varying impedance characteristics by controlling such deformation. Alternatively, connector devices made to a loose tolerance can be applied in a manner providing a matched connection.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a connector device in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention just prior to receiving a stripped coaxial and shielded cable;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the connector device of the invention shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the connector device as terminated to a cable and prepared for use;
FIG. 4 is a side view showing portions of the connector of FIG. 1 and of the cable of FIG. 1 in section;
FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 are cross-sectional views of portions taken through lines 5-5, 66 and 77 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 8 is a sectional View of a connector like that shown in FIG. 3 as mated with a receptacle;
FIGS. 9 and 10 are cross-sectional views taken through lines 99 and 10-10 of FIG. 8;
FIG. 11 is a perspective view illustrating the method aspect of the invention in one embodiment wherein deformation of a connector device to terminate it to a cable is monitored in terms of impedance characteristics; and
FIG. 12 is a schematic view illustrating the invention method in an alternative embodiment.
Referring now to FIG. 1, a coaxial and shielded cable 10 is revealed as including a center conductor 12 which is surrounded by a dielectric sheath 14 and an outer conductor in the form of braid 16. The braid 16 is shown folded back on the cable over an outer protective sheath 18. It is contemplated that cable may be prepared in this fashion as shown in FIG. 1 or alternatively, in a similar manner but without folding the braid back; merely exposing a length of the braid by stripping off the outer protective sheath 18 so that a similar portion of the braid is laid bare. Cable of this type is widely used to interconnect circuit paths where there is a requirement for shielding of signals carried by the center conductor 12 or limiting radiation from the conductor 12 of signals carried thereby to adjacent circuit paths. Cable of this type is also utilized to transmit signals having frequency components resulting in transfer of energy at least in part through the dielectric medium 14 between the conductive surfaces 12 and 16. Cable of the general configuration of 10 may be made to have a specific characteristic impedance such as 50 ohms or, with only a change in the inner conductor and the dielectric material of the sheath 14, to have the characteristic impedance of 75 ohms or some other value. From external appearances the only difference in the cable may appear as a reduction in diameter of the center conductor 12. Cable of the general configuration of 10 may be made to a very close tolerance to provide a characteristic impedance varying no more than i1% or it may be made to a looser tolerance to provide variation in characteristic impedance of -10% or the like. The choice between precision cable or loosely toleranced cable is determined by the requirements of the circuit of use and by the coat permitted in a given application.
In FIG. 8 to the left of the view is a receptacle R including a tubular outer conductor OC and an inner conductor IC in the form of a pin member. In accordance with a widely accepted practice, the receptacle R is made to a standard specification with respect to the inner diameter of OC and the outer diameter of IC. Considering air as the dielectric medium therebetween, R provides a fixed and standard characteristic impedance such as 50 or 75 ohms. The receptacle may be mounted on or proximate to a circuit of use with characteristic impedance consideration taken into account by the configuration of conductive paths therein or thereto. The general problem to which the present invention relates is one of providing a mechanical and electrical termination or connection extending between the cable 10 and the receptacle R. There is the mechanical consideration of physical- 1y joining the connector to the cable in a manner so that electrical continuity of inner and outer conductive paths will be maintained in a constant and stable manner throughout the life of the connection formed. There is the related consideration of providing a signal transmission path which is sufiiciently matched to the characteristic impedance of the receptacle and of the cable to preclude the connector device from operating as a source of reflections or from causing signal degradation or signal loss with respect to signals transmitted to or from the receptacle between the circuits connected thereto and the cable of use.
Referring again to FIG. 1, a connector device 20 embodying aspects of the invention and illustrating the invention is shown to be comprised of an assembly of three elements including an outer conductive shell 22, a dielectric and insulating insert 24 and a center contact member 26. The arrangement of elements is such that a stripped and prepared cable may be laid into the device rather than axially inserted. This permits an initial installation of the prepared cable while minimizing alignment problems and the opportunity for displaced strands of 12 or 16 accidentally coming into engagement with conductive portions other than those desired.
The outer conductive shell 22 shown in FIGS. l-3 is comprised of a one-piece stamping of sheet metal such as brass, having a forward contact portion, a center portion and a rear terminating portion. The forward portion is, in FIG. 1, formed into a circular configuration 22a which is slightly less than the inner diameter of the receptacle R into which the device is to be plugged. The portion 22a also serves to lock the assembly of the center contact member 26 and the insert 24 within shell 22. Extending from 22a and approximately apart are spring arms shown as 22b which, in a relaxed state, are bowed outwardly as indicated in FIG. 1. The spring arms 22b join the sidewalls of the center portion 220 at a point thereon so as not to be appreciably displaced upon deformation of portion 220 from the configuration shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 to the configuration shown in FIG. 3. The bow of spring arms 22b is made to be sufficient to provide a spring action notwithstanding deformation of the portion 220 inwardly. Portion 22c includes a series of grooves shown as 220. on the inner surface of the portion which operate to grip the material of the insert 24 during closure of the portion and tend to stabilize displacement of 24 against axial flow under the compression of the crimp which closes 220. As can be discerned from FIG. 6, the precrimped configuration of portion 220 is generally U-shaped with the ends turning in to an extent to prevent the insert 24 from being displaced even slightly in a radial sense with respect to the shell.
Joining center portion 220 and extending rearwardly is a rear terminating portion 22c which contains a series of relatively sharp grooves therewithin shown as 221. FIG. 4 shows the grooves 22 in greater detail. The grooves 22 serve to bite into the outer conductor 16 of the cable upon deformation of 22a from the configuration shown in FIGS. 1 and 7 to the configuration shown in FIGS. 3, 8 and 10. The grooves also operate to better grip the cable mechanically against pull-out.
The dielectric insert 24 includes a central bore 245: which is roughly D-shaped to admit the insertion of the center contact member 26 from the front of the insert. The forward portion of the insert has an outside circular configuration as indicated from FIG. 2. Adjacent the forward portion of 24 are two projections shown as 2412, which extend along the length of the insert in the manner depicted in FIG. 2. These projections define an outside surface slightly greater than the diameter of the portion 22a, so as to engage the walls of R upon insertion of the device within the receptacle. The projections 24b also serve to hold the insert in position within their shell prior to deformation; the forward portions engaging 22a and the rearward portions engaging the lower forward surface of 220 in the manner indicated in FIGS. 1 and 4. The projections 24b are controlled in width to provide a surface of engagement stabilizing the device as terminated to a cable and inserted within R with the width of these projections being held to a minimum to accomplish this purpose for impedance matching considerations. In other words, the projections 24b are held to a width wherein a substantial portion of the dielectric medium surrounding the center contact is comprised of air rather than dielectric material. As shown in FIG. 2 the rear portion of 24, shown as 240 is generally U- shaped to provide access for the cable center conductor to the center contact when the center contact is fitted within the dielectric insert 24. FIG. 6 depicts the crosssectional configuration of the rear portion 240 and shows the beveling of the upper surfaces and the general thickening of the structure for the upper portion thereof which has been found to result in a better control of the deformation of the center contact structure which is made through the dielectric material in accordance with the invention device.
The center contact 26 includes a forward circular portion 26a of a size to receive in sliding engagement the inner contact member IC of R as shown in FIG. 8. Adjacent 26a and as an integral extension are a plurality of spring arms shown as 26b which have an inward bow in a relaxed configuration to provide a spring loaded wipe of the inner contact of R. The spring arms 26b are tapered toward the center to control insertion force and to minimize the conductive surface of 26 in the spring region. The rear of 26 shown as 260 is open to receive the center conductor 12 of the cable inserted transverse to the length of 26. The portion 260 has a corrugated surface which has been found to provide an improved mechanical engagement with the cable center conductor 12 and thereby to provide a low-resistance stable interface with the conductive surface of the center conductor 12. As an additional point the serrations serve to lock the center contact member following crimping against axial displacement forwardly or rearwardly of the device. The center contact 26 further includes small flange 26d struck out at one point from the bottom thereof which serves to position 26 in the dielectric insert 24.
In assembly of the device, the center contact 26 is loaded from the front of the dielectric insert 24 and pushed back along the bore thereof until it is the position shown in FIG. 4. At this time the outer shell 22 is in the configuration shown in FIG. 2 and the insert is positioned therein with the lower projection 24b engaging the lower forward edge of 220 as shown in FIG. 4. Next, the forward portion 22a is deformed about the insert in the manner indicated in FIG. 1 or in FIGS. 4 and 5 to lock the assembly of elements together for use.
In use the connector devices are made to receive cable prepared like the cable shown in FIG. 1 or prepared without folding the cable back but exposing a portion of the braid 16 followed by a crimping and deformation of the portions 22c and 22e into the configuration shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. As can be observed from FIG. 10, the conductive surfaces of 22 and 26 are maintained generally concentric. As can be observed from FIG. 9, at least in one embodiment, the cross-sectional configuration of portion 22c is not quite concentric being slightly oval or oblong. This configuration leaves opposing outside edges of the forward portion of 220 at a greater radius than the radius of the bore of receptacle R and this portion engages the end of R upon insertion into R to act as a stop limiting rather precisely the axial position of the device relative to R. From FIG. 8 it will be apparent that cable is laid into the connector so as to leave a substantial space between the end of the braid and the rear end of the insert 24 and center contact member 26.
This serves to preclude accidental shorting of the outer conductive path to the inner conductive path.
In an application calling for a termination to a receptacle R of a standard size for SOQ impedance use, a connector having a solidly formed outer shell in the forward portion including a spring member was found to provide a mismatch which was unacceptable. In the standard expression for characteristic impedance the effective dielectric constant e for a solid dielectric insert and the inner diameter b of the outer conductive path of the connector were too high. The connector shown in this application matches impedance by providing an effective spacing between inner and outer conductive paths (adjusting a and b) considering the dielectric material or *medium (decreasing s) between conductive surfaces formed of the composite of air and the material of the dielectric insert 24. The effective characteristic impedance in the region of the spring configuration of the center contact member and the spring configuration of the outer shell takes into account the conductive surfaces of IC and the inner conductive surfaces of DC, as defining in part the conductive surfaces seen by energy transferred through the connection formed by the connector device 20 and receptacle R. The selective removal of conductive material and of dielectric material and the arrangement thereof has been found to offer a solution to the problem of providing a spring type coaxial connector mateable with a standard receptacle which is far simpler than devices heretofore known.
Turning now to a further aspect of the invention, FIG. 11 depicts the termination of a connector device like 20' through the use of a hand tool shown as T containing dies driven to effect the deformation heretofore described of portions of the device to terminate it to a cable 10. The tool contains a fixed die D1 and a movable die D2 which are driven together to simultaneously crimp the portions 22c and 22a. In accordance with this aspect of the invention a length of cable 10 is laid into the terminal device which is then positioned within the tool. A further connector shown as C which includes a forward receptacle R is then fitted on the forward portion of the connector device to be terminated. The connector C is connected by a coaxial lead L to an impedance bridge 30 for measuring impedance. The bridge 30 includes an output 32 which is terminated to the inner and outer conductors of the cable 10 as by some suitable means shown as alligator clips 34. The bridge includes on the face thereof a scale in ohms and an indicator. In accordance with this aspect of the invention as the dies D1 and D2 are closed the signal injected into 10 is returned to 30 through the inner and outer conductive portions of the cable end of the terminal. As continuity is made with the conductive portions of the cable and the device, the indicator will begin to drop from some high impedance level (open circuit, infinity) down toward a lower level. For example, the indicator will move from full scale down toward 50 ohms. When the indicator reaches 50 ohms further deformation of the device onto the cable is stopped with the terminated connector device and the cable then being removed from the tool. Experience with the set-up shown in FIG. 11 may show that due to slight spring back of the deformed portions of the center contact member and the outer shell an impedance of precisely 50 ohms can be achieved by deforming the crimp portions until the indicator reads somewhere a little less than 50 ohms with release of the dies resulting in the indicator returning to precisely 50 ohms. An impedance bridge of the type manufactured by Hewlett Packard Company as a VHF Model 803A is commercially available for use with the foregoing method.
FIG. 12 shows an alternative set-up wherein the method of the invention may be employed without connecting the free end of cable 10. In accordance with the showing in FIG. 12 a time domain reflectometer shown as TDR is made to have an output lead L connected to a connector C into which the device to be terminated is plugged. The connector device is shown as 20. The cable is laid into the terminal device and deformation follows by closure of dies D1 and D2 with the impedance level being observed on the TDR and deformation continuing until the appropriate impedance level is reached. The approach shown in FIG. 12. utilizes standard apparatus which is commercially available. With lower frequencies care must be taken to make L long enough so that the site of the lumped impedance represented by the termination of to 10 is not too close to the TDR; i.e. so that L is longer than or wavelength of the lowest frequency employed. A Hewlett Packard Company Model HP1415A Time Domain Reflectometer is commercially available for use with the foregoing method.
The foregoing methods are visualized as having numerous applications for experimentation and for production. As a most important aspect of the method as related to the type of device disclosed, the elements may be manufactured with relatively loose tolerances to reduce the cost thereof and to facilitate assembly with the functional performance thereof being assured by controlling the deformation of portions of the elements to yield the proper impedance. Variations in tolerances or construction of cable can also be accommodated.
In a typical use for a given quantity of connector devices and a given quantity of certain types of cable the application tooling employed, be it hand tool, as depicted or what is more likely, a bench mounted press or the like, the first connector device to be terminated on a given work shift can be installed in the manner shown in FIG. 11 or 12. Using either circuit a crimp may be made to achieve a desired impedance with the dies of the application tooling being adjusted accordingly to provide the precise control of deformation desired. After the dies have been set connector devices may be terminated to cables with a better assurance that the desired impedance will be achieved. Alternatively, it may be that in certain applications each connector device will be measured in accordance with a circuit arrangement shown in FIG. 11 or 12 or it may be that the method can be practiced by measuring only every tenth or every hundredth termination.
In an actual embodiment of the invention device for use with 50 ohm cable having a solid silver flash copper center conductor surrounded by sheath of Teflon material and a braided outer conductor, the outer shell was made of sheet stock brass approximately 0.010 of an inch in thickness. The insert was of polyethylene molded to the configuration shown and the center contact was of beryllium copper stamped and formed to the configuration shown out of 0.004 of an inch thick stock. The forward portion of the device of 22a was of an outer diameter of 0.100 of an inch. The spring arms were approximately 0.035 of an inch in width. The dielectric insert measured approximately 0.030 of an inch in the widest dimension across the projections 24b and approximately 0.080 of an inch in outer diameter in the cylindrical portion apart from the projections 24b. The device was used with a receptacle having an inner diameter of OC equal to approximately 0.105 of an inch with an inner contact member IC of an outer diameter of approximately 0.040 of an inch. The device was found to operate satisfactorily in a 50 ohm circuit.
Having now disclosed the invention in terms intended to enable a preferred practice thereof, the following claims are set forth to define what is asserted to be inventive.
What is claimed is:
1. In a connector device for terminating coaxial or shielded cable of the type having a center conductor surrounded by a dielectric sheath and an outer conductor, an assembly comprising an outer metallic shell, a dielectric and insulating insert and a center contact member, the center contact member being secured in the insert and the insert being secured in the outer shell to form said assembly, the said assembly having a rear end portion comprising means for terminating the connector device to coaxial cable mechanically and electrically, the connector device including a forward portion arranged to mate with a connector receptacle means having inner and outer conductive members, the said forward portion including means for providing an impedance matched to the characteristic impedance of the cable, said matched impedance providing means comprising a spring section in said forward portion joined to said outer shell, said spring section having a restricted surface area which is sufliciently limited that the effective outer conductive surface in the forward portion is substantially defined by the outer conductive member of the mating connector receptacle means.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein the dielectric insert in the forward portion of said assembly has a configuration to include a substantial portion of air to reduce the effective dielectric constant in the forward portion.
3. The device of claim 1 wherein the center contact member in the forward portion of the connector device includes a portion of reduced surface area to define an effective conductive surface in such portion formed by the outer surface of the inner conductive member of the mating connector receptacle means.
4. The device of claim 1 wherein the dielectric insert includes rib portions extending axially along the forward portion having an outer diameter to engage the outer conductive member of the mating connector receptacle means to support the said forward portion inserted therewithin.
5. In a coaxial cable connector for use in a circuit of a given characteristic impedance, an assembly including an inner contact member fitted within and coaxially supported by a dielectric insert in turn surrounded by an outer conductive shell, the elements being affixed together to form a coaxial assembly, the connector including a rear portion adapted to be deformed to terminate the connector to the conductive portions of the cable and a forward portion having spring sections to facilitate a sliding conductive engagement with a mating connector receptacle, the connector having in the region of the spring sections an arrangement of conductive and dielectric materials to result in a characteristic impedance for said connector when inserted within said mating connector receptacle which approximates that of the circuit of use, said inner contact member, dielectric insert and outer conductive shell including open barrel portions to facilitate placement of a coaxial cable therewithin, said open barrel portions having characteristics to permit deformation to terminate said connector to a coaxial cable, said mating connector receptacle including an outer conductive shell which has a circular configuration of a given diameter, and the said connector including a portion of a generally oval configuration having a minimum outer diameter approaching the diameter of the receptacle and a maximum outer diameter slightly greater than that of the mating connector receptacle whereby to limit axial insertion of said connector within the mating connector receptacle.
6. In a connector for terminating coaxial and shielded cable, an assembly means for receiving a stripped cable laid transversely into the assembly means, said assembly means including an outer conductive shell formed of sheet metal stock with a rearward portion having a substantially U-shaped configuration, a dielectric insert fitted Within said outer shell With a rear portion having a substantially U-shaped configuration, and a center contact member including a rear portion having a substantially U-shaped configuration, the stripped cable being arranged to have the bared strands of its center conductor fitted Within the U-shaped portion of said center contact member and the bared strands of its outer conductor fitted Within a portion of the U-shaped configuration of said outer shell, the rearward portion of the outer shell having edge means turned slightly inwardly relative to the center axis of the connector for closing said rearward portion into a tubular configuration to terminate said center contact member to the cable center conductor through compression thereof by the insert material driven by the outer conductor and the outer shell rearward portion and to obtain a tubular configuration of said outer shell about the cable outer conductor.
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3,366,920 1/1968 Laudig et a1. 399177 3,428,739 2/1969 Jackson 339-276 X US. Cl. X.R.