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Publication numberUS3569909 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 9, 1971
Filing dateDec 26, 1968
Priority dateDec 26, 1968
Also published asDE1964529A1, DE1964529B2, DE1964529C3
Publication numberUS 3569909 A, US 3569909A, US-A-3569909, US3569909 A, US3569909A
InventorsGarver William Joseph
Original AssigneeAmp Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electrical connector assembly having improved latching means
US 3569909 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 3,289,145 11/1966 Ruehlemann etal.

Inventor William Joseph Garver Harrisburg, Pa. 787,007

Dec. 26, 1968 Mar. 9, 1971 AMP Incorporated Harrisburg, Pa.

Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY HAVING IMPROVED LATCHING MEANS 7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.

US. Cl 339/91, 339/128 Int. Cl H0lr 13/54 Field ofSearch 339/91, 128

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,366,729 1/1968 Pauza 339/91 3,434,098 3/1969 Schumacher..... 339/91 3,475,718 10/1969 I-Iartz et al. 339/91 Primary Examiner-Ernest R. Purser Assistant Examinerloseph H. McGlynn AttorneysCurtis, Morris and Safford, Marshall M.

Holcombe, William I-Iintze, William J. Keating, Frederick W. Raring, John R. Hopkins, Adrian J. LaRue and Jay L. Seitchik Electrical connector assembly comprises a pair of matable connector parts, each of which has mounting means thereon to permit mounting in a panel opening. Each part is also provided with latching arms which are cooperable to latch the parts together. Either pair of arms can be disengaged from the other pair by depressing the arms toward the connector body, the arrangement being such that the connector parts can be disengaged from each other regardless of which part is mounted in the panel opening.

2 Sheets-Sheet l w lllll ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY HAVING IMPROVED LATCl-IING MEANS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A widely used type of electrical connector assembly comprises a pair of molded connector parts which are matable with each other and which contain a plurality of electrical contact terminals so that when the parts are mated, the terminals in the two parts will be engaged with each other. Connectors of this general type are frequently provided with a means to permit their being mounted in a panel opening such as an opening of a fire wall of an automobile or an internal panel of a domestic appliance, and with latching means to latch the parts to each other when they are engaged and prevent accidental disengagement. Some connectors of this general type are provided with panel mounting means on only one part and the user thus does not have a choice, when the connector assembly is assembled to a piece of equipment, as to which part will be mounted in the panel opening. However, many types of connectors have integral mounting means on both of the connector parts so that a connector of a given size and design can be used under a variety of circumstances. An advantage of providing panel mounting means on both parts is that a manufacturer of, say domestic applicances, need not stock several specialized connectors for use under different circumstances.

The instant invention is directed to the achievement of a connector assembly having panel mounting means on both connector parts, so that either part may be mounted in a panel opening, and having latching means for holding the parts in their mated condition, the latching means being arranged such that the parts can be disengaged from each other regardless of which part is mounted in a panel opening.

An object of the invention is therefore to provide a connector assembly which can be used under a wide variety of circumstances. A further object is to provide a connector assembly comprising a pair of connector parts,' which have mounting means for panel mounting and which have latching means arranged such that either part can be disengaged from the other by manipulation of the latching means thereon.

These and other objects of the invention are achieved in a preferred embodiment thereof comprising a pair of matable connector parts or housings, each part having mounting means on two opposite sides thereof permitting mounting of either part in a panel opening. The remaining two sides of 1 each connector part are provided latch arms, one of the parts having latch arms which are pivoted intermediate their ends and which have rearward ends which can be pressed to move the forward ends of the latch arms away from the surface of the connector part. The forward ends of this first pair of latch arms are adapted to interengage with the barbed ends of the second pair of latch arms on the other connector part. This second pair of latch arms extends rearwardly toward the other connector part and is integral with the connector part adjacent to the rearward end thereof. The latch arms of the second pair can be moved relatively towards the connector housing by merely applying finger pressure to the arms intermediate their ends. The arrangement is thus such that the interengaging means of the latch arms can be disengaged by manipulation of either pair of latch arms so that regardless of which connector part is mounted in a panel opening, the other part can be removed from the mounted part. i

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a connector assembly in accordance with the invention showing the parts disengaged from each other.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the receptacle part of the connector assembly mounted in a panel opening.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the plug part of the assembly mounted in a panel opening.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of an assembly in accordance with the invention showing the plug as mounted in the panel opening and showing the receptacle disengaged from the plug.

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 but showing the parts engaged with, and latched, to each other.

FIG. 6 is a view taken along the lines 6-6 of FIG. 5.

The disclosed form of connector assembly comprises a plug part 2, and a receptacle part 4. The plug part 2 comprises block 6 of molded insulating material having cavities 22 extending therethrough from its rearward face 28 to its mating face 30. Contact socket terminals 24 contained in the cavities 22 are secured to wires 26 which extend rearwardly from the rearward face of the block housing as shown.

The upper and lower sides, 8, 10-, of the plug part, as viewed in FIG. 1, are provided with integral mounting means 12in the form of trusslike structures comprising diagonally or obliquely extending beams 14 and a transversely extending ridge piece 16. Two bema are provided on the forward side of the ridge piece 16 and one beam on the rearward side thereof, the beam on the rearward side being offset with respect to the beams adjacent to the forward side so that the entire structure can be flexed when the block is inserted through an opening 20 in a panel 18. Further details of this trusslike mounting structure are described in copending application-Sen No. 786,954 filed of even date herewith.

The receptacle part 4 of the connector assembly is similar, in many respects to the plug part 2 and corresponding structural features of the receptacle part are therefore identified by the same reference numerals (differentiated by prime marks) as those used in the foregoing description of the plug part 2. The receptacle 4 differs from the plug 2 in that the former part is provided with an integral hood 32 which extends forwardly beyond the mating face 30 to protect the projecting ends of the contact pins 22' from damage, the contact sockets mounted in the plug part being recessed within their cavities arms themselves are in the form of flat platelike elements extending from a location adjacent to a rearward end of the housing to the mating end thereof. The stiffness of the connecting sections 36 is such that the forward ends 38 of these latch arms can be moved relatively away from the housing by depressing the rearward ends of the arms. The underside of the latch arms 34 have axially extending grooves 40 which extend to a location adjacent to the forward ends of the arms to define inclined reentrant rearwardly facing shoulders 42.

The shoulders 42 and grooves 40 cooperate with the barbed ends 48 of the latch arms 44 on the receptacle part 4. These arms, 44, are integral with the sides of the receptacle 4 adjacent to their rearwards as shown in 46 and extend forwardly in spaced relationship to the sides of the receptacle housing and the hood 32. It should be noted that the sides of the receptacle part 4 on which the latch arms 44 are provided and recessed, as shown at 45, in the area in which the latch arms are connected to the housing and the sides of the hood 32 are slotted immediately beneath the latch arms. This arrangement permits the latch arms to be located very close to the sides of the receptacle 4 as shown in FIG. 4 while permitting sufficient inward movement of these latch arms during engagement and disengagement of the parts. The barbed ends 48 of the arms define rearwardly facing shoulders 50 which have an inclination corresponding to the inclination of the shoulders 42 of the plug. The stiffness of the latch arms 44 is such that they can be moved relatively inwardly toward the sides of the receptacle housing by applying pressure to the sides of the arms intermediate their ends.

In FIG. 4, the plug part of the assembly is shown as being mounted in the opening in a panel 18 so that the rearward ends of the arms 34 extend through the panel opening and are thus inaccessible. The receptacle part '4 can be mated to the plug part 2 upon rightward movement of the receptacle from the position of the receptacle shown in FIG. 4 to the position shown in FIG. 5. The inclined leading ends of the arms 44 will move against the forward ends of the arms 34 causing the arms 34 to pivot through a slight are about their intermediate supporting sections 36 until the barbed ends of the arms 44 move into the slots 40 and the shoulders 42, 50 abut each other, It is desired to disengage the connector parts from each other, it is thus merely necessary to grasp the arms 44 between the thumb and forefinger and press these arms inwardly towards the receptacle housing until the ends of the arms 44 move out of engagement with the slots 40 and shoulders 42 of the arms 34. As noted previously, the sides of the hood 32 of the receptacle are slotted immediately beneath the arms 44 so that these arms can be moved inwardly a distance sufficient to effect such disengagement.

When the connector assembly is used under circumstances such that the receptacle, rather than the plug must be mounted in the opening in the panel as shown in FIG. 2, the sides of the arms 44 will not be accessible to effect disengagement but under these circumstances the technician need only grasp the rearward ends of the arms 34 between the thumb and forefinger and press the rearward ends of these arms inwardly thereby to move the forward ends of the arms away from the sides of the plug housing and again effect disengagement.

Changes in construction will occur to those skilled in the art and various apparently different modifications and embodi merits 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.

lclaim:

1. An electrical connector assembly comprising first and second connector parts, said parts being matable with each other thereby to engage contact terminals in said parts with each other, said first part having a hood extending from the mating face thereof, said second part being received within said hood when said parts are mated, each of said parts having panel mounting means on two opposite sides thereof whereby either of said parts can be mounted in a panel opening, latching means for said parts comprising:

a first pair of latch arms on opposite sides of said first part, each of said latch arms of said first pair having a rearward end which is integral with said first part adjacent to the rearward end thereof and extending forwardly on said part alongside said hood, each of said first pair of latch arms being flexible inwardly towards said first part;

a second pair of latch arms on said second connector part,

each latch arm of said second pair being pivotally connected intermediate its ends to said second part and hav ing engaging means in its forward end for interengagement with the forward end of a latch arm on said first part; and

interengaging means on the ends of said arms, said interengaging means being disengageable upon depressing either the intermediate portions of said first pair of latch arms or the rearward ends of said second pair whereby said parts can be disengaged regardless of which part is mounted in a panel opening.

2. A connector assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said second pair of latch arms comprise platelike members, said first pair of latch arms being adapted to move between said second pair of latch arms and surface portions of said second part upon engagement ofsaid parts with each other.

3. A connector assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said hood on said first part has slot means extending inwardly from the leading edge thereof in alignment with said first pair of latch arms. said slot means permitting inward movement of said first pair of latch arms beyond the external surface of said hood.

4. A connector assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said second pair of latch arms comprise platelike members, said first pair of latch arms being adapted to move between said second pair of latch arms and surface portions of said second part upon engagement of said parts with each other, said hood on said first part having slot means extending inwardly from the leading edge thereof in alignment with said first pair of latch arms, said slot means permitting inward movement of said first pair of latch arms beyond the external surface of said hood.

5. A connector assembly as set forth in claim 4 wherein said engaging means comprises barbed ends on said first pair of latch arms, said barbed ends defining first rearwardly facing shoulder means, said second pair of latch arms having grooves on their undersides, said grooves defining second rearwardly facing shoulder means on said second pair, said barbed ends on said first pair being adapted to enter said grooves and said first and second shoulder means being adapted to abut each other to latch said parts to each other.

6. An electrical connector assembly comprising first and second connector pans, said parts being matable with each other thereby to engage contact terminals in said parts with each other, each of said parts having panel mounting means thereon to permit mounting of either of said parts in a panel, said connector assembly having latching means for holding said parts in mated relationship comprising:

a first pair of latch arms on opposite sides of the first one of said parts, each of said first pair of latch arms having a rearward end which is integral with said first one of said parts proximate to the rearward end thereof, each of said first pair of latch arms extending forwardly beside, and spaced from, said first part and being flexible towards said first part;

a second pair of latch arms on the second one of said connector parts each latch arm of said second pair being pivotally connected intermediate its ends to said second part, each of said second pair of latch arms being movable outwardly away from said second part by depressing the rearward ends of said second pair of latch arms; and

interengaging means on the forward portions of said first and second pairs of latch arms, said first pair of latch arms being disengageable from said second pair of latch arms upon inward movement of the forward portions of said first pair of latch arms towards said first part, said second pair of latch arms being disengageable from said first pair of latch arms upon outward movement of the forward portions of said second pair of latch arms away from said second part, whereby either of said parts can be mounted in a panel and the unmounted part can be disengaged from the mounted part.

7. An electrical connector assembly as set forth in claim 6 including hood means on said first connector part, said hood means being adapted to receive said second connector part when said parts are mated, and slot means in said hood means permitting inward flexure of said first pair of arms.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3289145 *Apr 9, 1964Nov 29, 1966Elco CorpAppliance connector
US3366729 *Mar 31, 1967Jan 30, 1968Amp IncElectrical connector housing
US3434098 *Apr 21, 1966Mar 18, 1969Amp IncSeparable electrical connector housing assemblies
US3475718 *Sep 6, 1968Oct 28, 1969Essex International IncConnector block
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3721939 *Jul 6, 1971Mar 20, 1973IttElectrical connector
US3899237 *Sep 10, 1973Aug 12, 1975Bell Telephone Labor IncConnecting block structures for modular main distribution frames
US4192568 *May 12, 1978Mar 11, 1980Amp IncorporatedConnector assembly and improved connector plug
US4228343 *Dec 29, 1977Oct 14, 1980Schick IncorporatedCollapsible cordless electric hair curling appliance
US4376563 *Mar 20, 1981Mar 15, 1983General Motors CorporationElectrical connector with mechanically assisted latch means
US4431244 *Aug 11, 1980Feb 14, 1984Anhalt John WElectrical connector with integral latch
US4448467 *Sep 2, 1982May 15, 1984Amp IncorporatedConnector assembly having compact keying and latching system
US4449767 *Aug 30, 1982May 22, 1984Amp IncorporatedConnector assembly having improved keying and latching system
US4460230 *Sep 16, 1980Jul 17, 1984Trw Inc.Connector hood constructions
US4462654 *Feb 7, 1983Jul 31, 1984Amp IncorporatedElectrical connector housing with integral latch
US4667270 *Jul 16, 1985May 19, 1987Kitagawa Industries Co., Ltd.Light emitting diode holder
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Classifications
U.S. Classification439/353, 439/557
International ClassificationH01R13/627, F16B5/06, H01R13/639
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/6273
European ClassificationH01R13/627B2