US 3550067 A
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W. HANSEN ELECTRICAL RECEPTACLE AND TERMINAL Dec. 22,1970
Filed April 29, 1968 \llllllll I J l l I I I II.
G g w xwwb mm lwzllllllilllllnu United States Patent 3,550,067 ELECTRICAL RECEPTACLE AND TERMINAL Wallace Hansen, Glen Ellyn, Ill., assignor to Molex Products Company, Downers Grove, 111., a corporation of Illinois Filed Apr. 29, 1968, Ser. No. 724,804 Int. Cl. H01r 9/16, 13/54 U.S. Cl. 339-217 4 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A terminal block arrangement including a plurality of female terminals for mounting in rectangular shaped openings in the terminal block. Each of the terminals includes a one-piece, metallic body having a leading end formed in the shape of a hollow, open-ended rectangle. A tab and an opposing strip extend outwardly from one of the walls of the rectangular leading end to engage a shoulder and a recess, respectively, formed in the walls of a corres onding opening in the block to secure the terminal therein. A pair of bowed contact members formed from and connected at both ends to the opposite side wall of the leading end of the terminal, and a pair of opposing indented portions formed in the first-mentioned side wall, serve to engage a male terminal received in the leading end of the female terminal. The trailing end of the female terminal includes a crimp-on type connector for attaching a lead wire thereto.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to electrical connector terminal block assemblies, and more particularly to female connector terminals for use in an apertured terminal block.
Many types of plug-in female terminal and terminal block arrangements are in use today. While, for the most part, the plug-in terminals used therein are satisfactory, they suffer from the disadvantage that after being used for a time the contacts thereof lose their resiliency and bad electrical connections result. In addition, care and skill on the part of the operator are required when inserting the terminals into apertures in a corresponding terminal block, for the terminals are dimensioned to be capable of being inserted therin at angles of zero degrees, ninety degrees, 180 degrees, or 270 degrees. Consequently, in the assembling of these terminals in the terminal blocks, errors often result, in that some of the terminals are incorrectly oriented in the block and are likely to be damaged or pushed out of position upon mating the terminal block with one containing male terminals.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is a general object of this invention to provide a new and improved female connector terminal block arrangement which overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art.
It is another object of this invention to provide a terminal for use in a terminal block of the above-described type, which is inexpensive to produce, efficient and simple to use.
It is a more specific object of this invention to provide a female terminal which is dimensioned so that it is able to be inserted into an aperture in a mating terminal block only at angles of zero or 180 degrees with respect to the aperture, thus to avoid displacing or damaging the terminals upon connecting the female terminal block with a male terminal block.
It is yet another object of this invention to provide a one-piece female terminal of the above described type which includes a pair of resilient, bowed contacts and 3,550,067 Patented Dec. 22, 1970 corresponding opposed indented portions, between which a male terminal is received.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A better understanding of the present invention and its organization and construction may be had by referring to the description below in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is an enlarged perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a connector terminal according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a front view of a terminal block having a plurality of apertures therein for receiving a corresponding number of connector terminals like that of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a top view of the terminal block of FIG. 2 having a connector terminal like that of FIG. 1 in place therein;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view of a portion of the block of FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrating the manner in which a connector terminal is received in an aperture in the terminal block according to the invention;
FIG. 5 is a longitudinal sectional view of the connector terminal and block of FIG. 4, taken along the line 5-5 thereof;
FIG. 6 is a longitudinal sectional view like that of FIG. 5, showing the male terminal being received by the female terminal according to the invention; and
FIG. 7 is a longitudinal sectional view of the connector terminal and block of FIG. 5, taken along the line 77 thereof.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Referring now to the drawings in more detail, a preferred embodiment of a female connector terminal 10 is shown in FIG. 1 thereof. The connector terminal 10 is of a onepiece, metal construction and comprises a leading end 12 and a trailing end 14. The leading end 12, as shown in FIG. I, is formed in the shape of a hollow, open-ended rectangle and includes a pair of opposing side walls 16 and 18, and a pair of opposing end walls 20 and 22; side walls 16 and 18 being wider than end walls 20 and 22. Extending from the extreme leading end 24 of the terminal 10, as an extension of wall 16, is a tab 26. The tab, as shown in FIGS. 1, and 5-7, is at an offset angle with respect to and extending outwardly from wall 16. Formed from wall 16, and extending outwardly therefrom in the opposite direction from tab 26, is a resilient tongue or strip 28, and on either side of strip 28, stamped from wall 16 and extending into the hollow rectangularly shaped leading end 12, is a pair of indented portions 30.
Wall 18, opposite wall 16 of the leading end 12 of the terminal, is divided into a pair of spaced-apart contacts 32. Each of the contacts 32 is bowed inwardly toward the center of the hollow rectangle and directly opposing one of the pair of indented portions 30 of wall 16. Each bowed contact, it will be noted, is connected to wall 18 at both ends. Thus, the contacts 32 do not lose their resiliency even after many insertions and extractions of a mating male terminal member 31, as shown in FIGS. 4-6 as a fiat blade terminal. Wall 18 is open at the center 34 thereof between contacts 32, thus maintaining the contacts 32 separate and physically independent to the extent that dirt or corrosion interfering with one will not interfere with the other.
The trailing end 14 of the terminal includes two pairs of opposing, wrap around arm members 36 and 38, respectively, for crimp connecting terminal 10 to a lead wire 37 (FIGS. 4 and 5). The arm pairs 36 and 38 may be manually crimped about the lead wire, but are preferably pre-wired thereto by machine. As seen in FIGS. 4 and 5 of the drawings, arm pair 36 is crimped about the conductor portion 39 of the lead wire 37 and arm pair 38 is crimped about the insulated portion 40 thereof, both to insure a good electrical connection and to prevent the lead wire from being pulled from the terminal 10. While the crimp-type trailing end is preferred, the terminal 10 also may be provided with a solder or other type connector end, if desired.
Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, there is shown therein a terminal block 42 having a plurality of terminal receiving openings 44 therethrough. This particular block 42 includes a pair of outwardly extending mounting members 46 for interlocking the block 42, a female terminal block, to a mating male terminal block (not shown). As can be seen in FIG. 3, a terminal 10 has been inserted into one of the openings 44 in the block 42. Each of the openings, it will be noted, is slightly longer in length than the length of a terminal 10, thereby completely to insulate the terminal once it has been inserted into the block.
A more complete understanding of the manner in which a terminal is secured in a corresponding terminal block opening will be had by referring now to FIGS. 4-7 of the drawings.
As can be seen, the distance or width between side walls 48 and 49 of opening 44 Within block 42 (FIG. 4) is approximately equal to but slightly greater than the width of the longer opposing side walls 16 and 18, and the width between walls 51 and 53 of the opening 44 (FIG. is approximately equal to but slightly greater than the width of the shorter opposing walls 20 and 22 of the leading end 12 of the terminal 10. While the width between walls 48 and 49 (FIG. 4) of the opening 44 is substantially equal throughout the length thereof, except at the end 50 of openig 44 which includes a pair of shoulders 52 extending into the aperture, which will be explained in more detail hereinafter, the over-all distance between walls 51 and 53 of the aperture 44 (FIG. 5) varies. As can be seen in FIG. 5, the width or distance between walls 51 and 53 near end 50 of the aperture is dimensioned so as to accommodate the leading end of the terminal 10. However, the opening 44 is tapered along walls 51 and 53 at 54 thereof and widens to accommodate the trailing end 14 of the terminal which is larger in size than the leading end thereof, and aids in the insertion of the terminal thereinto.
Looking now at the openings 44 within block 42, each includes, at a point inwardly from shoulders 52 thereof, a pair of recesses 58 located in the walls 51 and 53 (FIG. 5 The shoulders 52 and recesses 58 are provided to engage tab 26 and resilient strip 28, respectively, to secure the terminal 10 within opening 44, so that upon the insertion therein of a male terminal 31, the female terminal 10 will not become dislodged from within the aperture 44.
As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, tab 26 which, as described above, is angled outwardly from wall 16, engages one of the pair of shoulders 52 depending upon the position (zero or 180 degrees) in which it is inserted into end 56 of opening 44. At the same time, resilient strip 28 snaps into a recess 58 and is retained therein by shoulder portion 60 of the recess. 'In this manner tab 26 prevents the terminal from moving toward end 50 thereof, and resilient strip 28 prevents the terminal from moving toward end 56 thereof.
Upon the insertion of a male terminal 31 into end 50 of opening 44 (FIG. 5) the end 62 thereof, which is preferably tapered, is received in the hollow rectangularly shaped leading end 12 of the terminal. The force applied to the male terminal as it is thrust into the leading end 12 pushes bowed contacts 32 outwardly and is itself, by the resiliency of the bowed contacts, forced against opposing indented portions 30. Once the male terminal 31 has been inserted completely (FIG. 6), a mechanical and electrical connection is made between the male terminal and the bowed contacts 32 and indented portions 30. The wiping inserting action Wipes olf the contacts to insure good electrical engagement.
For purposes of affording a more complete understanding of the invention, it is advantageous now to provide a functional description of the mode in which the component parts thus far described cooperate,
Initially, the terminals 10 are stamped or cut from a piece of resilient sheet metal and are bent and formed into a shape like that of the terminal of FIG. 1. The terminals 10 may be prewired, if desired, preferably by means of a crimping machine of a well-known type. The terminal block 42 is formed from a piece of phenolic or plastic insulating material wherein a predetermined number of rows and columns of openings 44 are provided, depending upon the use to which the terminal block is put.
After the terminals and terminal block are prepared as described above, individual terminals 10 are inserted, leading end first, from end 56 into openings 44. Because of the rectangular shape of the leading end of the terminals and openings, the terminals can be accommodated (rotationally about the longitudinal axis) at either zero degrees or degrees within the openings. In either case, a male terminal 31 being inserted into opening 44 from end 50 thereof will mate correctly with a terminal 10.
Upon the assembling of the terminal 10 in an opening 44 of the block, tab 26 (FIG. 5) engages one of the shoulders 52 at end 50 of the opening, preventing the terminal from being inserted too far therein. The resilient strip 28, normally facing outwardly from wall 16 of the leading end 12 of the terminal, cams over the tapered wall portion 54 of either wall 51 or 53, depending upon the orientation of the terminal, and is forced inwardly toward the terminal thereby until it reaches a recess 58, at which time it snaps thereinto to secure the terminal 10 in place.
After all of the required number of terminals are inserted into predetermined ones of the openings in block 42, a male terminal block having correspondingly positioned male terminals 31 may be mated therewith. The male terminals are received between bowed contacts 32 and opposing indented portions 30 of the female terminals 10. Because, as explained above, the bowed contacts 32 are attached at each end thereof to wall 18, they do not lose their resiliency even after many insertions and extractions of the male terminals 31. The wiping provided upon the mating of the terminals helps to keep the contact members 32 clean. If dirt, etc., does accumulate on one of the pair of contacts 32, the other will provide an adequate electrical connection.
When it is desired to sever the electrical connection between the connector blocks, the blocks are simply pulled apart. The female terminals 10 will not become dislodged from their respective openings in the block 42, since tabs 26 hold them in position against shoulders 52.
While a particular embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it should be understood that the invention is not limited thereto, since many modifications may be made. It is therefore contemplated to cover by the present application any and all such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. An electrical female terminal comprising a receptacle portion and an integral wire attaching portion at one end of said receptacle, said receptacle portion having a longitudinal dimension and having major and minor transverse dimensions, said receptacle portion including a back extending in said longitudinal and major transverse dimensions and adapted to engage a male terminal on one side thereof, side flange means on said back extending in said minor dimension direction, confronting flange means on said side flange means separated by a longitudinal slot and opposed to said back for engaging the opposite side of a male terminal, a tab integral with said back and extending longitudinally from and beyond the end of said receptacle portion opposite to said wire attaching portion and diagonally away from said back in the direction opposite to the confronting flange means, and a retaining finger extending from said back toward said wire retaining portion and diagonally outward away from said confronting flange means, said tab and said finger being adapted to engage shoulders in an insulating housing to mount said terminal, and an insulating housing for receipt of the terminal, said housing having an opening therethrough and being symmetric about a transverse median plane parallel to the back of the ter minal and including on either side of said plane a pair of shoulder means respectively facing in opposite directions for engagement by said tab and said finger, said opening being substantially rectangular in cross section and including longitudinal slots in said housing forming one of said shoulder means on each side of said median plane whereby the end of said opening relatively adjacent said tab is cruciform.
2. A terminal as set forth in claim 1 wherein the tab and the finger are symmetric about the median longitudinal plane parallel to said minor dimension.
3. A terminal as set forth in claim 1 wherein the confronting flange means are elongated in the direction of said longitudinal dimension and are integral with said side flange means adjacent opposite ends, being intermediately separated therefrom, said confronting flange means being resilient and lowered toward said back.
4. A terminal as set forth in claim 3 wherein said back includes a pair of longitudinally extending embossments spaced laterally in the direction of said major dimension and projecting toward said confronting flange means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,768,361 10/1956 Aquillon et al. 339-2l7X 3,065,448 11/1962 Hopkins et al. 339-258X 3,097,906 7/1963 Shannon 1539-256X 3,155,449 11/1964 Henschen 3392l7 3,188,606 6/1965 De Lyon et al. 339-256 2,384,273 9/1945 Beal 339- 217 2,789,278 4/1957 Soreng 339-256X 3,037,183 5/1962 Hopkins 339217 3,202,959 8/1965 Keller 339217 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,353,853 1/1964 France 339256 RICHARD E. MOORE, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R,