US 3573720 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1111 3,573,720
 lnventor Charles Edward Reynolds FOREIGN PATENTS N 5 mg" 770,307 3/1957 Great Britain 339/94 21 A o. I 2} 531 7 19 9 Primary Examiner-Marvin A. Cahmplon 45 p d Apt 97 Assistant Examiner.loseph H. McGlynn 3 Assign AMP Incorporated Attorneys-Curtis, Morris and Safford, Marshall M.
Harrisburg p Holcombe, William Hintze, William J. Keating, Frederick W. Rating, John R. Hopkins, Adrian J. La Rue and Jay L.
Seitchik  ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR 6 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.
 U.S. Cl 339/217,
' 339/103 ABSTRACT: A pair of insulating electrical connector blocks  Int. Cl H011 9/16 has a plurality of cavities having contact terminals therein. 339/94 The terminals are sealed in their respective cavities against the 217 passage of moisture or gas. The terminals are locked in their  References Cited respective cavities by shutter plates on the rearward ends of the blocks. The shutter plates slidably move a limited amount UNITED STATES PATENTS in one direction to align the large ends of keyhole slots with 2,231,124 9 Joseph 3 /89M each cavity so that terminals may be inserted into the cavities; 2,38 ,9 1945 u hanan 339/ 196 the shutter plates slidably move a limited amount in the other 2,998,588 8/1961 Chamberlain 339/75M direction so that the small ends of the keyhole slots straddle 3,077,572 2/1963 Zimmerman,
3 9/2 5 the lead wires where they leave the terminals and lock the ter-  Field of Search 3,181,105 4/1965 Roach etal .11: 339/94 minals 1n the cavities.
23 a0 w +0 58 I 6 p I w zs- V 3a to 11/11/1111 f I;
Patented A rn 6, 1971 3,573,720
2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. CHARLES EDWARD REYNOLDS (Hawaii/.
Patented April 6, 1971 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 6 5 i. W *H .2;
mi \r 23 22 20 c 32 I-OIBR IZ 2 30 r") HO INVENTOR.
CHARLES EDWARD REYNOLDS BY 04"., ia
as as ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR This invention generally relates to an electrical connector of the type having a male connector block with terminals therein which is adapted to insertably engage a female connector block with counterpart terminals therein, and particularly relates to means for sealing and retaining terminals in their respective cavities in the blocks.
in automotive wiring applications in particular, it is desirable to have one-half of a connector block secured to one side of the automobile firewall such that a portion of the connector and its terminals project through the firewall and into the in side of the automobile, and to have the other half of the connector block disposed to be insertably secured to the first half from the other side of the fire wall. It is also desirable, in these cases, to be able to remove individual terminals from either block so that certain electrical circuits may be disconnected or repaired without detrimental effect to adjacent circuits. The terminals should be sealingly secured in their respective cavities to prevent moisture or engine fumes from passing from the engine compartment to the inside of the automobile.
Heretofore, connectors for this purpose included connector blocks with terminals mechanically latched in cavities therein by latching members in such a manner that extraction tooling was needed to remove them. When terminals were removed, their seals were broken. This subsequently allowed passage of moisture and gas. .Alternately, connector blocks were removed from the firewall so that terminals could be removed. This arrangement usually broke the seal between the block and the fire wall, and when the connector block was repaired and replaced, engine fumes leakedthrough the connector and into the interior ofthe automobile.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a connector arrangement which obviates the above shortcomings by providing a sealing means in connector blocks wherein terminals are automatically sealed in their cavities when they are inserted into the blocks.
Another object is to provide sealing means in connector blocks wherein terminals may be insertably. sealed in the blocks, and wherein the terminals may be removed and reinserted numerous times without detrimental effects to the sealing properties.
An additional object is the provision of means on the con nector blocks to retain the terminals within respective passageways of the connector blocks as well as to permit removal ofany of the terminals as desired.
A further object is to provide an electrical connector whereby terminals are retained in the cavities thereof by movable shutter plate means.
Other objects and 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 illustrative embodiments of the invention; it is to be understood, however, that these embodiments are not intended to be exhaustive nor limiting of the invention but are given for purposes 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 variousforms, each as may be best suited to the conditions ofa particular use.
In the drawings:
FIG. I is a perspective view ofa connector block constituting one-half of a connector;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view of the block of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view ofa portion of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a rear end view of a connector showing the shutter means in a position to place the terminals in or remove them from passageways in the connector block;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4, but showing the shutter means in another position to secure the terminals within their passageways;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged view ofa terminal in a cavity; and
FIG. 7 is a view showing an alternate shutter plate.
It should be understood that the drawings illustrate one-half of a connector according to this invention, and the contact terminals illustrated for this embodiment are only given for purposes of illustration. These terminals are of the pin type, and they are received in conventional socket-type terminals in a counterpart block (not shown). The socket terminals are secured in their respective cavities in the same manner as the pin terminals illustrated.
Referring to FIG. 1, a connector comprises a plastic connector block or housing 2 which is generally rectangular or square in cross section, however, it may be round or oval depending upon the configuration necessary to accomplish the intended result. Block 2 has a flange 4 therearound with a flat side 6 which is adapted to abut a firewall or other mounting panel. A recess 8 in flange 2 houses a pliable sealing washer (not shown). The washer becomes compressed between flange 4 and the firewall when a complimentary connector block is secured thereto thus effecting a seal between connector block 2 and the fire wall. Block 2 may be secured to the firewall by bolt 10, which threadedly receives a counterpart member on the other connector block, not shown. Alternately, block 2 may be bolted or glued directly to the fire wall. Block 2 has a forward nose section 12 which projects beyond flange 4 so as to project through an opening in the firewall and which is recessed to provide a region 14 of access for the contact ends of terminals. Nose section 12 and region 14 define a skirt 16 which serves to protect the contact ends of tenninals against damage. The terminals are, in effect, captivated in region 14 so that an operator will not be shocked and so that the terminals will not become accidentally short circuited against outside equipment.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 6, block 2 has a plurality of cavities or passageways therethrough and into which terminal contacts T are secured. Each cavity is defined by a cylindrical section 18 which starts at the rear of block 2 and continues toward the center of the block where it communicates with tapered section 20. Tapered section 20 terminates at wall 22 which has an opening 23 in communication with region 14. The opening 23 from wall 22 to region 14 is of such a diameter so as to snuggly grip a contact portion 26 of terminal T.
Referring still to FIGS. 2 and 6, a terminal T has a ferrule 24 to which the conductor C ofa lead wire W is crimped or otherwise mechanically and electrically secured thereto. Directly in front of ferrule 24 is contact portion 26, which is a pin for this block, and it is electrically connectable with a socket 26' of complimentary block. At the rearward end of pin 26, or socket 26', there are several projections 28 and 30, which are struck out from the body of terminal T. Projections 28 and 30 serve as stop members and abut wall 22 in block 2 to limit the insertion travel ofa terminal T into a cavity. The rearward end of terminalT directly behind ferrule 24 terminates in ferrule 32, which is crimped inwardly to compress one end of grommet 36 onto the insulation sheath 38 of lead wire W. Perforations 40 in ferrule 32 serve to receive portions of grommet 36 under compression and thereby add to the tensile strength so as to prevent the grommet from being accidentally pulled from terminal T.
Referring particularly to FIG. 6, grommet 36 comprises a tubular member with a tapered end which is secured to wire W, as described above. Grommet 36 is made of pliable plastic, rubber or the like, and it extends rearwardly over a section of the wire insulation in spaced relationship therefrom. The inside diameter of grommet 36 is slightly greater than the outside diameter of wire W so that the grommet may compress inwardly toward the wire. The outside diameter of grommet 36 is slightly greater than the inside diameter of section 18 of the passageway in block 2 to provide an interference fit therebetween. Peripheral sealing ridges 42 with sloping leadin edges 43 are formed around grommet 36. Ridges 42 serve to frictionally engage the walls of section 18, conform to the surface thereof, and seal the cavity. Sloped edges 43 serve to reduce frictional drag between a grommet and a cavity when a terminal is inserted into a cavity.
Referring to FIGS. 2-5, a plastic or metal shutter plate 44 having an elongated slot 46 in the center thereof is secured to the rearward end of block 2 via bolt 10. A spring member 48 which is disposed behind the head 11 of bolt biases plate 44 against the rear surface of block 2. Plate 44 has inwardly directed lances 50 and 52 which coact with recesses 54 and 56 on block 2 and serve to latch plate 44 onto an upward position, FIG. 4 or a downward position, FIGS. 3 and 5. Plate 44 has keyhole slots 58 therein which coincide with respective cavities of block 2.
In use, FIGS. 2-6, shutter plate 44 is pulled outwardly against the bias of spring 48 so as to lift lances 50 and 52 away from recesses 56. Plate 44 is pushed upwardly in the direction of arrow I where lances 50 and 52 become positioned in recesses 54. This aligns the large ends 59 of keyhole slots 58 with the cavities in block 2. Terminals T with lead wires W and grommets 36 thereon are inserted into their respective passageways or cavities to a point where projections 28 and 30 on the terminals T abut wall 22. During insertion travel, ridges 42 on each grommet 36 slidably engage its respective section 18 of the cavity and compress each grommet 36 inwardly thus to seal each terminal T in its cavity.
Referring particularly to FIG. 5, with all terminals T in place in their respective cavities, plate 44 is pushed downwardly in the direction of arrow 1] until lances 50 and 52 snap into place in recesses 56. This moves the small ends 57 of keyhole slots 58 into position around the insulation sheaths 38 of wire W and locks the terminals T into place in their cavities. The terminals T cannot be removed from their cavities when plate 44 is in this position by virtue of the enlarged grommets 36 abutting against the small ends 57 of keyhole slots 58. Plate 44 also serves to seat any nearly seated terminals T in their cavities if they are not fully seated by effectively pushing the terminals T forward when the plate is moved downwardly.
Referring to FIG. 7, wherein an alternative shutter plate 44 is shown, it should be noted that a shutter plate may be disc shaped if desired. In this embodiment, the plate 44 is fixed to the block by a screw 10 in the same manner as plate 44. Plate 44' rotates a limited amount, see double arrow, to align the small or large ends of its keyhole slots 58 with cavities in a block. Lances 50' seat in recesses in the block to maintain the small or large ends of keyhole slots 58 in alignment with their cavities.
It will, therefore, be appreciated that the aforementioned and other desirable objects have been achieved; however, it should be emphasized that the particular embodiments of the invention, which are shown and described herein, are intended as merely illustrative and not as restrictive of the invention.
1. An electrical connector including means for mechanically engaging a mating connector and adapted receive contact terminals in a direction of an axis thereof, said connector comprising insulating-block means having a plurality of contact-receiving cavities extending through said block, each of said cavities having a first enlarged portion at one end of said block to receive the rearward end of a contact terminal, a second enlarged portion at the other end of said block to receive the forward end of the contact terminal, and a third reduced portion disposed between said first portion and said second portion against which locking ledges on the terminal abut to limit forward movement of the terminal in said cavity, movable shutter means on said one end of said block to limit rearward movement of the terminal in said cavity, said shutter means being movable to allow removal and insertion of terminals while said housing is in mechanical engagement with said mating connector, and sealing means in said first portion of said cavity to seal said cavity against leakage therethrough of moisture or gas, said sealing means including a compressible grommet disposed around the rearward end of the contact terminal and adapted to compress radially against wall means of said first enlarged portion of said cavity thereby to seal said cavity.
2. A connector according to claim 1, wherein said grommet is secured to the terminal by crimping a portion of said grommet under a portion of the terminal and over a portion of the lead wire to which the terminal is secured.
3. A connector according to claim 1, wherein said grommet has peripheral ridges which engage said wall means of said cavity.
4. An electrical connector housing including means for mechanically engaging a mating connector comprising a dielectric block having passageways extending therethrough and adapted to receive electrical terminals therein, shutter plate means disposed on a surface of said block, mounting means provided by said block and said shutter plate means to maintain said shutter plate means in position on said block, said shutter plate means having slots in alignment with respective passageways, said slots having large and small sections, and means provided by said shutter plate means and said block to maintain said shutter plate means in positions on said block so that said large or said small sections of said slots are axially aligned with said passageways, said shutter plate means being movable to allow removal and insertion of terminals while said housing is in mechanical engagement with said mating connector.
5. An electrical connector including means for mechanically engaging a mating connector comprising a dielectric housing having a rear surface and a forward wall, said housing having passageways extending from said rear surface to said forward wall, said wall having openings therethrough in communication with respective ones of said passageways, electrical terminals having contact sections extending through said openings and ferrule sections disposed in said passageways between said rear surface and said forward wall, means provided on said terminals for engagement with said forward wall to limit forward movement of said terminals in said passageways, insulated conductors secured to said ferrule sections, sealing means extending along said insulated conductors and in sealing engagement with said passageways, a shutter plate secured to said block against said rear surface and being slidably movable relative thereto, said shutter plate having slots therein in alignment with respective passageways, said slots having large sections through which said terminals are positioned within said passageways and small sections to be positioned partially around said conductors and to prevent said terminals from being removed from said passageways, and means provided by said shutter plate and said housing to position said small or large sections of said slots in axial alignment with said passageways, said shutter plate being movable to allow removal and insertion of said terminals while said housing is in mechanical engagement with said mating connector.
6. An electrical connector including means for mechanically engaging a mating connector comprising a housing of insulating material having a rear surface and a forward wall, a plurality of contact receiving cavities extending from said rear surface to said forward wall, said wall having openings therethrough in communication with respective ones of said passageways, said openings and respective passageways adapted to receive therein electrical terminals affixed to ends of electrical conductors, the terminals having contact sections adapted to extend through said openings and ferrule sections adapted to be disposed in said passageways between said rear surface and said forward wall, said forward wall including means for limiting forward movement of said terminals in said passageways, a shutter plate having slots therein in alignment with respective passageways, said slots having large sections through which the terminals are inserted and removed from said passageways and small sections adapted to be positioned partially around the conductors providing abutment means to prevent the terminals from being removed from said passageways, and means provided by said shutter plate and said housing to position said small or large sections of said slots in axial alignment with said passageways, said shutter plate being movable to allow removal and insertion of terminals while said housing is in mechanical engagement with said mating connector.