US 3573716 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor WilliamJosephGarver 3,196,380 7/1965 Krehbiel....................... 339/126R Harrisburg,Pa.
ABSTRACT: Electrical connector housing has improved means for mounting in a panel opening comprising a pair of v trusslike structures on opposite sides of the housing. Each trusslike structure comprises diagonally extending beams and a ridge piece which extends between the beams and is integral with their ends. Mounting of the housing in a panel is achieved by inserting the housing though the opening until the surface portions of the panel which are adja m6 v e 6M mm m M pe d 0m 8 e e m m m m a & .m t n w e a d gage the beams thereby to resilien structures until the ridge pieces of the structures are coplanar with the plane of the panel at which time the re deformed beams urge the ridge pieces panel opening and maintain the housing in position.
3mm mm w no u u m wa F m9 m u GN m m N m N] u n E IN u U T. VE n .NA D. u m m c s m m n mm .m u mNm U u n A w m S F m H m dY w m u m s 3 MW M R mm 1 Drum N Nfifi Tmd unm U99 CT 1 mm H E m LLcoi 64 m m d 00C SLM H. 5 CM4 UhF SJ 1 111 1 m. 4 2 0 6 71 U "NW5 5 2 3 Patented April 6, 1971 v 2' Sheets-Sheetv 1 CONNECTOR HOUSING HAVING MEANS FOR MOUNTING IN A PANEL OPENING BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Multicontact electrical connectors of the type used in the automotive, business machine, appliance, television and in similar industries frequently comprise a unitary molding of suitable plastic, such as nylon, having a plurality of contactreceiving cavities extending therethrough for the reception of electrical contact terminals. It is frequently necessary or desirable to mount one of the parts of the connector assembly, either the plug or the receptacle, in a panel such as the firewall of an automobile or an internal panel of a business machine and it is common practice to provide integral mounting means on one or both of the connector parts to achieve such mounting. The instant invention is directed to the achievement of an improved panel-mounting means for a connector housing which is rugged and durable, which can be provided on the connector-housing part as an integral part thereof during the molding process, which will maintain the housing part in the panel with a high degree of rigidity and firmness, and which provides other advantages apparent from the description of the preferred embodiment presented hereinbelow.
It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide an improved multicontact electrical connector assembly. A further object is to provide a connector housing having improved mounting means thereon for mounting the housing in a panel opening. A still further object is to provide a mounting means for a connector housing which permits mounting of the housing in the panel opening from either side of the panel. A still further object is to provide a mounting means which permits mounting of the housing in panels of varying thickness. A further object is to provide a connector-mounting means which is rugged and durable and which is resistant to overstressing.
These and other objects of the invention are achieved in a preferred embodiment thereof comprising a molded connector housing having a pair of trusslike structures on opposite sides thereof which comprise the mounting means for the housing. The trusslike structures each have a plurality of diagonally extending beams and a transversely extending strap or ridge piece to which the ends of the diagonal beams are attached. When the housing is to be mounted in a panel opening, it is inserted into the opening until the edge portions of the opening engage the sides of the beams and deform the trusslike structures to permit passage of the housing therethrough until the ridge piece lies in the plane of the panel. The beams then urge the ridge piece against the edge of the panel opening and maintain the housing in position. By virtue of the fact that the beams are held in a resiliently deformed condition, they function as springs biasing the ridge piece against the edge of the panel opening thus providing a firm, vibration resistant, mounting for the housing. ln the preferred embodiment, oppositely directed shoulders are provided on each side of the ridge piece which are adapted to bear against portions of the panel surface immediately adjacent to the opening in which the housing is mounted. These shoulders provide a high degree of resistance to removal when the housing is subjected to an axial force such as is imposed when the mounted housing part is engaged with the free hanging housing part.
In the drawings:
FIG. I is a perspective view of a connector assembly in accordance with the invention.
FIG. 2 is a side view of a connector assembly in accordance with the invention.
FIG. 3 is a top plan view taken along the lines 3-3 of H6. 2 looking down on the mounting means by which retains the housing in the panel opening.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of a mounting means in accordance with the invention illustrating the manner in which the core pins are arranged when the housing part is molded.
Referring to FIGS. l3, a preferred form of connector assembly in accordance with the invention comprises a plug part 4, and a receptacle part 2, the plug part being mounted in an opening 38 of a panel 36. The plug 4 comprises a block 6 of insulating material, such as nylon, having a mating face 8 and a rearward face I0. A plurality of contact receiving cavities 12 extend axially through the block from the rearward face to the mating face and are adapted to receive contact terminals which are crimped onto wires 16. The plug 4 contains contact sockets 14 which are adapted to receive the projecting ends of contact pins 14 contained in the receptacle part 2 of the connector assembly.
Block 6 has upper and lower sides l5, 17, on which the mounting means are provided, and sides 18, 20 on which latch arms 22 are provided. The latch arms 22 are generally flat platelike members connected to the sides of the housing by spaced-apart hinges I9, the location and thickness of these hinges being such that when the rearward ends 21 of the arms 22 are depressed, the forward ends will be moved away from the side of the housing. The undersides of the latch arms 22 are provided with longitudinally extending grooves 23 which define rearwardly facing shoulders 25. These shoulders are adapted to cooperate with the barbed ends 52 of latch arms 48 which are mounted on the corresponding sides of the receptacle 2 as will be described below.
Mounting means 24 are provided on each of the sides l5, 17 of the housing adjacent to the rearward face 10, each of these mounting means being in the form of a trusslike structure comprising diagonally extending beams 26, 28, 30, (which are analogous to the rafters of a roof truss) and a transversely extending strap or ridge piece 32. The beams 26, 28 of the plug part 4 are disposed approximately midway between the faces 6, 8 and are spaced apart transversely on the upper and lower sides of the block, the beams 30 being adjacent to the rearward face 10 and being opposite to the gap between the beams 26, 28. This arrangement, of offsetting the beams relative to the ridge piece 32, facilitates flexure of the entire mounting structure when the housing part is inserted through the panel opening. it will be understood, however, that this offset arrangement is not essential to the practice of the invention and that sufficient flexure in the beams can be achieved by reducing their width or thickness.
The ends of the beams which are integral with the ridge piece 32 are formed to define oppositely directed shoulders 34, two such shoulders being provided on the beams 26, 28 and a centrally disposed shoulder being provided on the beam 30. These shoulders are spaced apart by a distance substantially equal to, and slightly greater than, the thickness of the thickest panel in which it is intended to mount the housing.
The opening 38 in the panel 36, which is adapted to receive either the plug part 4 or the receptacle part 2, is generally rectangular but has recesses 40 on two opposite sides for the accommodation of the latch arms 22, in the case of the plug 4, or the latch arms 48 of the receptacle 2. The edges 42 of the remaining sides of the opening 38 are spaced apart by a distance slightly less than the distance separating the oppositely directed surfaces 44 of the ridge pieces 32 of the mounting structures.
It will thus be apparent that when it is desired to mount the plug 4 in the opening 38, it is merely necessary to align the plug with the opening and move it against the edges 42 until these edges snap into the space between the shoulders 34. The
inclined surfaces of the beams 26-30 facilitate the elastic deformation of the mounting trusses as the block moves progressively through the opening and the beams will be flexed towards the surfaces 15, 17 during such movement to permit the ends of the beams to move through the opening until the parts achieve the position of FIGS. 2 and 3.
By virtue of the fact that the edges 42 of the panel opening are spaced apart by a distance which is less than the distance between the surfaces 44 of the mounting trusses, some residual elastic deformation will remain in the mounting trusses and the beams will function to urge the surfaces 44 against the edges 42 of the opening thereby to retain the housing firmly in position. The spacing between the edges 42 of the panel opening is not dimensionally critical since the mounting trusses can be elastically deformed to varying degrees for openings of different sizes. It should also be noted that the thickness of the panel is not critical since the thickest panel in which the housing '4 can be mounted should have a thickness slightly less than the distance between the shoulders 34, in other words, the width of the ridge piece 32. However, housings in accordance with the invention can be mounted in panels having a thickness substantially less than the distance separating these shoulders.
The receptacle part 2 of the connector assembly is similar in many respects to the plug and need not be described in detail. Corresponding structural parts of the receptacle are therefore identified by the same reference numerals (differentiated by prime marks) as those used in the foregoing description of the plug part 4. The receptacle part 2 differs from the plug part 4 in that it has an integral hood 44 extending from the mating face 8, this hood surrounding the projecting ends of the contact pins 14' mounted in the cavities 12'. The latching means, for latching the two parts together, on the receptacle 2 comprises relatively thin arms 48 integral with the sides 18, as shown at 50. The width of these arms 48 is such that they will pass between the supporting columns 21 of the plug part until their barbed ends 52 lodge behind the previouslydescribed shoulders of the latch arms 22. it will thus be apparent that when the receptacle is moved relatively towards the plug, the latching means will engage and hold the parts in assembled relationship to each other.
The mounting truss structures 24' of the receptacle 2 are substantially identical to the structures previously described and again need not be described in detail. Since the disclosed embodiment has mounting trusses on both the plug and the receptacle, either part can be mounted in the panel 36 and can be assembled to the panel from either side thereof. Under some circumstances, mounting trusses may be provided on only one of the connector parts.
A mounting means in accordance with the invention has several distinct advantages, only some of which are noted above. One advantage is that the housing part on which the mounting truss means are provided can be mounted in, or removed from, the panel from either side thereof. This is a distinct advantage from a manufacturing standpoint in that it reduces the number of types of housings which must be stocked for a machine or apparatus being assembled with predetermined manufacturing steps. Additionally, when servicing is necessary, the technician can remove the housing from the panel from the most convenient and accessible side thereof.
Mounting trusses in accordance with the invention can be dimensioned, as to the width of the beams and the thickness of these members, to provide any desired amount of rigidity; if it is desired to discourage removal of the housing from a panel without the aid of special tools, these beams can be made relatively thick and wide and can be positioned in alignment with each other to fonn a relatively rigid truss member which is deformable only to the extent necessary to permit mounting of the housing in the panel opening. Alternatively, if it is desired to have the housing readily removable from the panel, the beams can be relatively thin and/or narrow.
Mounting means in accordance with the invention are particularly advantageous in that the panel-mounted connector part is very firmly secured in the panel against axial forces. Referring to FIG. 2, it will be apparent that when the receptacle is mated with the mounted plug by rightward movement of the receptacle from the position shown, the plug will be subjected to axial forces on its mating face tending to push it rightwardly from the panel opening. As these forces are applied during the mating operation, the plug 4 may move rightwardly, within the limits permitted by the panel thickness and the distance separating the shoulders 34, until the lefthand shoulders on the beams 26, bear against surface portions of the panel immediately adjacent to the opening. Upon imposition of still higher forces, as the contact pins in the receptacle enter the contact sockets in the plug, compressive stresses will be developed in the left-hand beams 26, 28 but the compressive loading of these left-hand beams does not constitute the only reaction force developed in the housing resisting the tendency toward removal. By virtue of the presence of the ridge piece or strap 32, the right-hand beam 30 will be placed in tension so that the entire truss structure is stressed and all its parts resist removal.
it should also be pointed out that the imposition of repeated axial forces on the mounted connector part (as when the parts are mated or disengaged) does not result in any change to the truss structures which would detract from their ability to retain the part in the panel opening firmly and without allowing vertical movement or rattling." in other words, the truss structures cannot be overstressed in a manner which would result in a loose mounting of the connector part in the panel. Unconneeted mounting ears, as known to the prior art, can be overstressed by the application of axial forces to the mounted connector part resulting in a loose mounting which permits lateral movement of the portion in the panel opening.
A further advantage, which is highly significant from a manufacturing standpoint, is that a mounting truss in accordance withthe invention can be formed integrally with the housing 6 by a relatively simple molding operation. Referring to FIG. 4, it can be seen that the injection mold cavity in which the housing 4 would be formed, can be provided with core pins lying in the general areas indicated by the arrows. Thus one core pin could be provided between the beams 26, 28 and would extend beneath the beam 30. Two core pins would be provided on the opposite side of the mold on each side of the beam 30 and extending beneath the beams 26, 28. These core pins would extend parallel to the core pins which form the contact cavities 12 in a mold and would extend normally of the parting line of the mold. Simple, straight-action, molding processes of this type pennit extremely low manufacturing costs and thereby reduce the overall cost of a connector in accordance with the invention.
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.
1. An electrical connector housing comprising a block of insulating material having contact-receiving cavity means extending therethrough parallel to the axis thereof, said housing having mounting means on at least one side of said housing to mount said housing in a panel opening, said mounting means comprising:
a trusslike structure comprising diagonal beams and a ridge piece, said beams extending diagonally from said housing and being integral with said ridge piece, said beams being offset with respect to each other on opposite sides of said ridge piece and holding said ridge piece in spaced relationship to said side of said housing, said beams being axially flexible towards said housing whereby,
upon insertion of said housing into a panel opening until surface portions of said panel engage said mounting means, said beams are flexed to permit location of said ridge piece is substantially coplanar relationship with said panel, and said beams resiliently urge said ridge piece against edge portions of said opening thereby latching said housing to said panel.
2. A connector housing as set forth in claim 1 including opposed, spaced-apart shoulder means on opposite sides of said ridge piece, said shoulder means being adapted to bear against opposite sides of said panel.
3. A connector housing as set forth in claim 1 wherein said housing has two mounting means on diametrically opposite sides thereof.
4. An electrical connector housing comprising a block of insulating material having contact-receiving cavity means extending therethrough parallel to the axis thereof, said housing having mounting means on two opposite sides thereof for mounting said housing in a panel opening, each of said mount- 5 distance greater than the thickness of the panel in which said housing is to be mounted; and said ridge pieces having oppositely facing surfaces which are spaced apart by a distance greater than a transverse dimension of the panel opening in which said housing is to be mounted whereby, upon insertion of said housing into said panel opening, said truss structures are resiliently deformed until said oppositely facing surfaces bear against edge portions of said panel opening, said truss structures urging said surfaces against said edge portions to restrainsaid housing against lateral movement and said shoulders restraining said housing against axial movement relative to said panel.