US 3588784 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
0 United States Patent 3,588,784
 Inventors John Philip Kunkle 2,994,056 7/1961 Fox 339/17 Harrisburg; 3,065,447 1 1/1962 Maurer 339/184M Robert Charla Swengel, .Ir., York, Pa. 3,154,365 10/1964 Crimmins 339/176  Appl. No. 793,956 3,394,337 7/1968 Miller 339/91  Filed Jan. 27, 1969 3,417,365 12/1968 Krehbiel 339/91  Patented June 28, 1971 Prime ry Exammer-Marvin A. Cham ion  Assign 3 Assistant Examinerloseph H. McGlSnn Attorneys-Curtis, Morris and Safiord, Marshall M.
Holcombe, William Hintze, William J. Keating, Frederick [541 ELECTRICAL CDNNECTOR HOUSING ASSEMBLY W. Raring, John R. Hopkins, Adrian J. La Rue and Jay L.
4 Claims, 5 Drawing m Sertchrk  [1.8. CI. 339/65, 339/91, 339/113, 339/184  Int. CL H011 13/62  Field of Search 339/65, 66, ABSTRACT; A connector housing assembly f Contact tep 1 184 minals comprising a pair of mating housings formed of plastic insulatin material and havin an ali in means to ensure  Ream Cited that the ousings are confined to a desi i ed iath during mating UNITED STATES PATENTS of the housings thereby avoiding the possibility of damage to 810,949 1/ 1906 Kloman 339/1 13 the contact terminals within the housings.
WWW June 2&1971 3,588,784
2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR.
JOHN PHILIP KUNKLE ROBERT CHARLES SWENGEL JR.
Patented June 28, 1971 3,588,784
2 Sheets-Sheet 2 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR HOUSING ASSEMBLY This invention relates to electrical connector housing assemblies and more particularly to assemblies wherein a pair of mating housings are guided along a predetermined path during mating of said housings to prevent accidental damage to electrical contact terminals disposed within the housings.
In U.S. Pat. No; 3,367,729, having a common assignee with the instant application, there is disclosed an electrical connector housing of the same general type as the housing assembly disclosed herein. In this type of housing assembly, a problem could arise in that the housings are formed of an elasticallydeformable insulating material and therefore, if improperly handled by an operator, the housings could be misaligned during engagement or disengagement of the mating parts. Any misalignment between the mating housings can result in damage to the contact terminals located within the housings due to overstressing of various terminal parts. Theinstant application solves this problem by providing an aligning member on one mating part and a receiving member on the other mating part which members will engage and properly align and orient the housings prior to engagement of the contacts within the housings. The configuration of the aligning member provides a large surface which will resist any tendency for the housings to become distorted during normal engagement and disengagement forces to thereby minimize the possibility of contact terminal damage. The aligning means on the connector housings may take various forms dependent upon the desired path which will be traveled by the contact terminals during engagement.
It is therefore the principal object of this invention to provide a connector housing assembly having means for aligning and orienting the mating housings prior to engagement of the contact terminals.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts:
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view showing the housing assemblyof the instant invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view showing the housings of FIG. 1 in their assembled position and showing contact terminals in mated position;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view showing the locking arrangement between the connector housings;
FIG. 4 is a top view showing the housings in their partially assembled position prior to engagement between the contact terminals; and
FIG. 5 is a top view similar to FIG. 4 but showing the connector housings in their fully mated position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The 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 an illustrative embodiment of the invention; it is to be understood, however, that this embodiment is not intended to be exhaustive nor limiting of the invention but is given for purpose 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 various forms, each as may be best suited to the conditions of a particular use.
With reference now to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1 there is shown the connector housing assembly of the instant invention and comprising a pair of mating housings designated at and 12. The housings 10 and 12 are provided with contact terminal-receiving apertures 14 and 16 respectively and within these apertures are disposed male terminals 18 and female receptacles 20 respectively such as is well known in the art. It is to be understood throughout the description of this invention that the particular terminals shown are merely illustrative of one type of terminal for use in connector housings and that the principles of this invention apply equally to other varied types of contact terminals and to other housing configurations.
As noted above, the primary concern of this invention is in the proper guidance of the housings l0 and 12 during their movement into mating position. Housing 10 has a forward mating face 22 and housing 12 has a forward mating face 24. The mating faces of the housings extend slightly forwardly of the leading edge of the contact terminals 18 and 20 disposed within the housings. Therefore, if means are provided for accurately aligning and orienting the housings 10 and 12 prior to the point at which the mating faces 22 and 24 are juxtaposed, the movement of the housings during contact terminal engagement will be confined to a desired path and will eliminate any twisting or misalignment of the connectors which could possibly result in overstressing and malfunctioning of the contact terminal.
The aligning function is achieved by means of a projecting member 26 which extends a substantial distance forwardly of the mating face 22 of housing 10, and in addition, the projecting member is of substantial width to provide a broad surface over which stresses may be applied to minimize any distortion resulting from the nature of the material from which the housing is formed. Member 26 is provided at its lateral edges with aligning surfaces 28 which are rectilinear and parallel to each other. The surfaces 28 are also parallel to the contact terminals l8 and define the desired path of engagement between the terminals 18 and their mating terminals 20. Although the surfaces 28 are shown as being rectilinear, it is contemplated that other applications may utilize contact terminals having a desired engagement path which is nonrectilinear, in which case the aligning surfaces 28 would have a configuration to correspond to such desired nonlinear path.
Housing 12 is provided along its upper surface with a pair of parallel rail members 30 which are spaced apart to receive the projecting member 26 therebetween. The inner surfaces 32 of the rail members are beveled as are the surfaces 28 of member 26 whereby the beveling of the rails and aligning surfaces are complementary to provide means for retaining the projecting member in engagement with the rails when the housings are in their mated positions. The forward edges 34 of the rail members extend forwardly of the mating face 24 of the housing in order to insure that full alignment between the housings l0 and 12 has occurred prior to the point at which the mating faces of the two housings will meet. Housing 10 is provided with a pair of slots 36 disposed along opposite sides of projecting member 26 in order to provide clearance for the rails 30 and also to provide for additional guidance of the rails during mating of the housings. The extreme length of the surfaces 28 and the rails 30 provide the necessary rigidity which constricts the movement of the housings during engagement and eliminates any possibility of improper mating of the housings. As seen in FIG. 4, full alignment between the housings has occurred and yet the contact terminals 18 and 20 have not been brought into engagement and therefore cannot be damaged. Further movement of the housings into their fully mated positions as shown in FIG. 5 ensures proper engagement between the entire series of contact terminals 18 and 20.
The housing 10 is provided with a pair of ribs 38 along its upper surface in general alignment with the slot 36 and these ribs provide a means of visual polarization between the housings l0 and 12. The ribs 38 correspond to the rail members 30 on housing 12 and provide an easy means for an operator to determine that the two housings are properly oriented prior to any engagement between the housings.
In order to retain the housings in their assembled position, there is provided wedge means 40 on housing 12 and corresponding latch means 42 on housing 10, the wedge means cooperating to form a lock between the housings. Latch means 42 has a central pivot section 44 about which the latch may move during engagement of the housings. The wedge 40 deflects the forward portion 46 of the latch means outwardly to release the latch, force is applied inwardly to portion 50 of 5 the latch means thereby causing outward movement of portion 46 to thereby free the wedge means and allow disengagement of the housings.
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. A connector housing assembly for contact terminals, said assembly comprising first and second mating housings, each said housing being a unitary molding and comprising a block of plastic insulating material having a contact receiving cavity extending therethrough and having a forward mating face and a rearward face, said first housing having a projecting member extending forwardly of said first housing mating face, said projecting member having an aligning surface on each of opposite sides thereof which surfaces define the desired path of engagement between said first and second housings, said second housing having receiving means for receiving said projecting member, said receiving means being complementary to said aligning surface and comprising a pair of rail members adapted to receive said projecting member in sliding relation, said rail members extending forwardly of said second housing mating face, slot means disposed along each of opposite sides of said projecting member for providing clearance for said rail members, whereby said projecting member and said receiving means cooperate to guide said first and second housings together along a path defined by said aligning surfaces.
2. A connector housing assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising rib means extending along said first housing in alignment with said slot means for providing visual polarization between said first and second housings.
3. A connector housing assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising wedge means disposed along one of said housings and complementary latch means disposed along the other of said housings, said wedge means and said latch means cooperating to lock said housings together when in mated position.
4. A connector housing assembly as set forth in claim 3 wherein said latch means are pivotally secured to said other of said housings to permit pivotal movement of said latch means when engaged by said wedge means during mating of said housings.