US 3585570 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent lnventor John T. has
535 W. Richardson Lane, Glendora, Calif. 91740 Appl. No. 805,647
Filed Mar. 10, 1969 Patented June 15, 1971 ELECTRICAL TERMINAL ASSEMBLY Primary Examiner-Marvin A. Champion Assistant Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn Attorney- Boniard l. Brown ABSTRACT: An electrical terminal assembly having a terminal block mounting one or more conductor strips with ex'- posed ends projecting beyond an edge of the block to provide terminals for attachment to wire leads. The inner end of each conductor strip has resiliently flexible portions separated by a narrow intervening gap aligned with a hole in the terminal block through which a second wire lead may be inserted into frictional gripping engagement between the corresponding strip portions. A second hole is provided in the terminal block for each conductor strip through which an implement, such as another wire, may be inserted to deflect one strip portion in a direction to release the second lead. The terminal block is composed of mating molded plastic block members which may be quickly and easily assembled in interlocking relation with the conductor strips to provide a finished terminal assembly.
46 36 4 WNW JOHN T .J v5
ATTORNEY ELECTRICAL TERMINAL ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to electrical circuit aids and more particularly to a novel electrical terminal assembly.
2. Prior Art Many electrical circuits require the interconnection of numerous wire leads. Quite often, these interconnections are made by relatively unskilled workers. I
A circuit aid which has been devised to assist making the proper electrical connections in circuits of the class described above is a terminal assembly or terminal strip. The terminal assembly or strip has a number of terminal elements connected in pairs in such a way that two leads may be quickly and easily electrically connected by attaching the leads to a pair of corresponding terminal elements. In the existing terminal assemblies, the terminal elements comprise screws around which the leads must be bent and/or projecting terminal strips to which the leads may be soldered.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides an improved electrical terminal assembly of the general class described. This terminal assembly is uniquely constructed and arranged to permit attachment of leads to the assembly by simply inserting the bare ends of the leads through holes in an insulating terminal block. The leads which are thus inserted are frictionally gripped by resilient portions of conductor strips having ends projecting from the terminal block for attachment to other wire leads, as by soldering.
A terminal assembly according to the invention consists of a minimum number of parts which may be mass produced and assembled at high speed. As a consequence, the present terminal assembly may be produced at low cost so as to be capable of economic competition with the existing terminal assemblies.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a terminal assembly according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged section taken on line 2-2 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a section taken on line 3-3 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a section taken on line 4-4 in'FlG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a section similar to FIG. 2 illustrating a wire lead attached to the terminal assembly; and
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating the method of releasing the wire lead from the terminal assembly.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Turning to these drawings, there is illustrated an improved electrical terminal assembly 10 according to the invention.
This terminal assembly has a terminal block 12 constructed of electrical insulating material, such as plastic. The terminal block illustrated is composed of two molded plastic block members 14 and 16 joined in face to face relation by interlocking means 18 which retain the block members in alignment. In addition to the terminal block 12, the terminal assembly includes at least one, and in this instance several, conductor strips 20. Each conductor strip has an annular end 22 and an opposite outer end 24. The inner end of each strip is positioned between the terminal block members 14, 16 and is secured to these members in the manner to be explained presently. The outer ends of the conductor strips project beyond the edges of the terminal block and are thus exposed externally of the block. As shown, the conductor strips are disposed in spaced side-by-side relation along one or more sides of the terminal block. The outer end of each conductor The inner end 22 of the conductor strip 20 fits within a shallow conforming recess 26 in the inner face of the terminal block member 14 in such away that the strip is flush with the face. Interlocking formations 28 on the block member 14 and each conductor strip 20 prevent the latter from pulling endwise from its containing recess. In the particular inventive embodiment illustrated, the interlocking formations comprise integral molded lugs 30 which project from the sidewalls of each conductor strip recess into notches 32 in the edges of the contained conductor strip 20.
The inner end 22 of each conductor strip 30 has a longitudinal slot 34 which opens laterally through one longitudinal edge of the strip between the slot ends to define a pair of Iongitudinally aligned strip portions 36 and 38. These strip portions are separated by a narrow gap 40. Each conductor strip 20 is constructed of resiliently flexible metal and the strip portion 36 is made relatively long to form a resiliently flexible finger. The free end of this finger is located adjacent the gap 40. The opposite end of the finger is integrally joined to the conductor strip. The remaining strip portion 38 of each conductor strip is a relatively short stiff portion of the strip.
Extending through the terminal block member 14, in line with the gap 40 of each conductor strip 20, is a hole 42. Block member 14 contains a second hole 44 in line with each conductor strip finger 36. The opposite terminal block member 16 has a cavity 46 aligned with and opening toward the portions 36, 38 of each conductor strip 20. The finger portion 36 of each strip is bent at a slight angle toward and into the aligned cavity, as shown in FIG. 2. The opposite, relatively stiff portion 38 of each conductor strip curves toward and into the aligned cavity with a relatively sharp arcuate bend.
As noted earlier, the block members l4, 16 of the terminal block 12 are joined in face-to-face contact by interlocking means 18. In this instance, the block joining means comprise posts 48 which are integrally molded on the block member 16 and fit snugly within holes in the block member 14. These posts also serve to retain the block members in their illustrated aligned relation.
In use of the terminal assembly, first wire leads are soldered or otherwise joined to the exposed terminal ends 24 of the conductor strips 20. The ends of second wire leads 50 are then inserted through the terminal block holes 42 into the conductor strip gaps 40, as shown in FIG. 5. These gaps, in the normal unstressed condition of their strip portions 36, 38, are slightly narrower in transverse width than the diameter of the terminal block holes 42. Accordingly, a wire lead having a relatively close fit in these holes, when inserted to the position of FIG. 5, will be frictionally gripped between the corresponding conductor strip portions 36, 38. Because of their inclination away from the terminal block holes 42, end edges of the connector strip portions 36, 38 will bite into the wire leads to effect the frictional gripping action and prevent the leads from pulling from the terminal block. A selected lead may be removed from the terminal assembly by inserting an implement 52, such as the end of another wire lead, through the corresponding terminal block hole 44 and pressing the implement inwardly against the adjacent conductor strip finger 36 to deflect the latter out of contact with the lead to be released. This releasing operation is illustrated in FIG. 6.
What I claim as new in support of Letters Patent is:
1. An electrical terminal assembly comprising:
a terminal block of electrical insulating material,
a conductor strip having an inner end fixed within said block and an opposite outer end exposed externally of said block to provide a terminal for attachment to an external conductor,
said inner end of each conductor strip having spaced portions defining therebetween a narrow gap, and said terminal block having a hole aligned with and opening toward said gap and having a diameter slightly greater than said gap,
one of said strip portions comprising a resiliently flexible finger having a free end adjacent said gap and an opposite fixed end inwardly joined to the respective conductor strip,
said terminal block having a cavity at the side of said conductor strip remove from said hole and opening toward said conductor strip portions, whereby a wire lead having a close fit in said hold may be inserted through the latter into said conductor strip gap in such a way that said lead is frictionally gripped between said conductor strip portions,
said terminal block comprises a disposed in face-to-face contact,
said inner conductor strip end is positioned between said block members and seats within a conforming recess in the inner face ofone block member,
said conductor strip and one block member have interengaging formations for locking said conductor strip to said terminal block, and
said interengaging formations comprise projections on the sidewalls of said recess engaging in notches on the edges of said conductor strip, whereby said conductor strip may be inserted laterally into said recess when said block members are separated.
2. A terminal assembly according to claim 1 wherein:
said block members comprise molded plastic members having interengaging formations for retaining said block members in alignment.
3. An electrical terminal assembly comprising:
a pair of generally rectangular molded plastic block members joined in face-to-face contact,
a resiliently flexible conductor strip having an inner end positioned between said block members and an opposite outer end projecting beyond the edges of said block members to form a terminal for attachment to an external conductor,
pair of block members said inner end of said conductor strip seating within a conforming recess in the inner face of one block member flush with said face,
said conductor strip and terminal block having interfitting formations for locking said strip against endwise movement from said recess,
said inner strip end having a longitudinal slot opening laterally through a side edge of said strip at a position between the ends of said slot to define a pair of longitudinal strip portions having adjacent free ends separated by a narrow gap,
one of said block members having a hole aligned with and opening inwardly toward said gap, and the other block member having a cavity opposite and opening toward said strip portions,
said strip portions being deflected slightly toward and into said cavity, and one strip portion comprising a resiliently flexible finger, and
said gap being slightly narrower than the diameter of said hole, whereby when a wire lead having a close fit in said hole is inserted through said hole into said gap, said lead is frictionally gripped between said conductor strip portrons.
4. A terminal assembly according to claim 3 wherein:
said interfitting formations comprise integral molded lugs which project from the sidewalls of said recess into notches in the edges ofsaid conductor strip,
said block members having inter engaging formations for retaining said block members in alignment, and
the block member with said hole having a second hole opposite said finger through which an implement may be inserted to deflect said finger in a direction to release said lead.