US 3594700 A
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United States Patent  Inventors Jopaeh A. Nave Villa Park; Charles W. Smaczny, Chicago, both of, III.  Appl. No. 851,543 I  Filed Aug. 20, 1969 [4S] Patented July 20, 1971  Assignee The Pyle'National Company Chicago, Ill.
 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR WITI-I THREADED COUPLING NUT LOCK 13 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
521 vs. Cl 339/89 R, 285/81, 339/91 R  Int. CL ..Ii0lr 13/54  Field of Search 339/89- [5 6] References Cited I UNITED STATES PATENTS $924523....MAZIZLLMiHELT;-,-115:1:-1----:----
3,343,852 9/1967 Blight et al 285/82 FOREIGN PATENTS 825,579 12/1959 Great Britain 339/91 OTHER REFERENCES IBM TECHNICAL DISCLOSURE BULLETIN, Vol. 1, N0. 4, 12/1958,p. 15
Primary Examiner-James A. Leppink Assistant Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn Attorney-Hill, Sherman, Meroni, Gross & Simpson ABSTRACT: An electrical connector comprising a pair of telescopically assembled parts for joining axially aligned male and female conductors and having a coupling nut threaded onto one of the parts and engaging portions of the other part for coupling the interfitted parts in an assembled relationship, wherein resilient locking means are interposed between the coupling nut and the pair of parts for restraining uncoupling movement of the nut and for producing an audible sound indicating proper joinder of the parts.
PATENTEU 411201971 3594700 SHEET 1 OF 2 I 49 46 Z 5 a 3 14 i W V 1 m I N V1,;N T0185 cfaj'gflfzfl/vawa 10/ m les Wfikzaazzz y BY M Q a y laATHmNljYS PATENTED JULZOLHYI 3,594,700
SHEET 2 [IF 2 IN VEN "TO/ 5 Wla W 6772421222 BY W IORNIJY'S ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR WITH THREADED COUPLING NUT LOCK BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1'. Field of the Invention The present invention relates generally to electrical connectors, and more particularly refers to an electrical connector having a threaded coupling nut and resilient locking means for restraining and uncoupling movement of the nut and for indicating whenever telescopically interrelated connector parts are securely assembled.
2. Description of the Prior Art Multipin or multicontact electrical connectors generally comprise a pair of cylindrical parts having telescopically interfitting portions and housing complemental mating electrical conductors.
Various means for coupling the parts in an assembled relationship may be provided, for example means forming a bayonet-type connection, means forming push-pull frictional couplers or a threaded coupling nut. f the various coupling means, the threaded coupling nut has the most mechanically reliable configuration, but, unlike other coupling means, the nut does not inherently include means for resisting uncoupling when the connector is subjected to vibrations or means for audibly indicating when the telescoped parts, and thus the conductors are securely and firmly joined.
When utilized in aircraft and space vehicles, electrical connectors are oftentimes subjected to high vibrations and may be located or mounted in virtually inaccessible locations. Further, such applications require that the connector be resistant to uncoupling in order to maintain the conductor electrical integrity during service.
Prior art electrical connectors of the type having a threaded coupling nut, and of which we are aware, have not included simple and efiective locking means for both resisting uncoupling rotation and for indicating proper joinder of the parts. One presently accepted practice for preventing coupling nut rotation has included tying the coupling nut to one of the housing parts by means of a safety wire, but that means is not feasible where the connector is in a virtually inaccessible location.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the principles of the present invention, electrical connectors of the type having male and female telescopically assembled parts held in assembled relationship by a threaded coupling nut, have locking means interposed between the coupling nut and the telescopically assembled parts for resisting uncoupling rotation of the nut whenever the connector parts are firmly joined and for producing an audible indication of firm coupling.
Briefly, the locking means comprise first means attached to the coupling nut for corotation therewith as the same is threadedly engaged unto one of the mating connector parts and second means having a portion interposed between a forwardmost end edge of one of the mating connector parts and an annular stop surface formed on the other part. Normally the second means is freely rotatable relative to the mating connector parts and is firmly clamped between the forwardmost edge and the annular stop surface whenever the connector parts are firmly coupled in an assembled relationship.
One of the locking means has a series of circumferentially or angularly spaced recesses for receiving aligned ones of a plurality of circumferentially or angularly spaced projections resiliently mounted on an opposite one of the locking means. In that manner, whenever the connector parts are firmly coupled, the second locking means is clamped and restrained against rotation relative to the connector parts so that further rotation of the coupling nut moves the resiliently mounted projections to circumferentially adjacent ones of the recesses, thereby producing a clicking sound to indicate firm assembly of the connector. Also, since a positive force is required to move the resiliently mounted projections between the recesses, a positive force is also required to rotate the coupling nut in an uncoupling direction, thereby providing a restraining force to prevent inadvertent uncoupling when the connector is subjected to vibrations.
' In one form of the present invention, the first locking means comprise axially extending knurls or ridges formed on an innerbore of the coupling nut, and the second locking means has radially extending, resiliently mounted projections received within aligned ones of recesses defined between the ridges.
In accordance with the principles of the embodiment, the second means comprise an annular washer having a series of angularly spaced apertures formed therethrough for receiving axially extending projections resiliently carried on the first means.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevational view of an electrical connector with parts broken away and with parts shown in cross section and illustrating a threaded coupling nut locking means embodying the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a first means or member ofthe locking means illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of the member shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional view taken substantially along line IV-IV of FIG. ll;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, sectional view of an electrical connector illustrating locking means constructed in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention; and
FIG. 6 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional view taken substantially along line Vl-Vl of FIG. 5.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to the drawings, an electrical connector 10 comprises first and second, or female and male, telescopically interfitted parts 111 and I2, respectively. The female part 11 comprises a main body shell 13 having a forwardly projecting cylindrical sleeve 14 externally threaded as at 15 for engagement with a complementarily internally threaded coupling nut 16 having peripherally formed knurling as at 17 to facilitate gripping thereof. The male part 12 is shown as comprising a main body shell 18 and has a cylindrical portion 19 extending axially forwardly of a peripheral shoulder 21 forming an annular abutment or stop surface 22 confronting and axially aligned with a forwardmost end edge 23 of the sleeve 14.
A threaded neck 24 at a rear end portion of the shell 18 threadedly engages an adjoining housing member 26. In like manner, the main shell member 13 of the female part lll has a threaded portion 27 at a rear end thereof for engagement with a locking nut 28.
Any suitable insulation and contact or conductor unit may be situated within the housing parts 11 and 12, for example, of the multipin type. An exemplary assembly, as illustrated in FIG. 1, includes male and female portions effecting multiple electric circuitry connections.
In particular, the female part 11 houses a plurality of female contact members as at 29, each contact member forming a socket 31 for receiving a reduced end portion as at 32 of one of a plurality of male contact members as at 33 mounted within the male part 12. Suitable, resilient insulation material as at 34 surrounds the female contact 29 and is clamped against a radially inwardly extending shoulder 36 by the locking nut 28. Similarly, resilient insulation material as at 37 surrounds the male contacts 33. A clamp ring 38 axially advanced by the housing 29 urges the insulation 37 toward a radially inwardly projecting rib 39 formed on the housing part 12, thereby to clamp the insulation 37 in assembled relationship with the shell 18.
Rear end portions of each of the respective contact memthereto by crimping or soldering.
With plural contact members being disposed within the shell parts 11 and 12, it may be desirable to polarize the insulation and contact units in a definite relationship with a polarized connection provided between the telescopically interfitting parts 11 and 12. Thus, the female part 11 has one or more circumferentially arranged key slots as at 42 engaged by correspondingly arranged lugs or keys as at 43 formed on the cylindrical portion 19 of the male part 12, thereby permitting telescopic assembly of the parts 11 and 12 in only one angular relationship to assure axial alignment of corresponding male and female contacts or conductors.
The coupling nut 16 comprises a cylindrical member having a stepped throughbore 44 characterized by an internally threaded portion 46 engaging the complementarily formed threads on the cylindrical sleeve 14 and a counterbore 47 radially spaced outwardly of the peripheral shoulder 21 formed on the male part 12 rearwardly of the cylindrical portion 19. A washer 48 received within an undercut groove 49 formed within the coupling nut 16 compresses a wavespring 51 against a rearwardly projecting surface 52 of the shoulder 21 as the coupling nut is threaded onto the female part 11, thereby to draw the abutment or stop surface 22 toward the forwardmost end edge 23 of the sleeve 14. The wave spring 51 interposed between the rearwardly projecting surface 52 of the shoulder 21 and the annular ring 48 permits some overtravel of the coupling nut 16 on the threaded portion 15 of the sleeve 14. A washer or ring 53 retained within a peripheral recess 54 limits rearward movement of the coupling nut 16 on the male part 12 for retaining the nut on that part prior to assembling the connector 10.
In accordance with the principles of the present invention, locking means, generally indicated at 55 and interposed between the coupling nut 16 and the telescopically interfitted parts 11 and 12, restrains the coupling nut 16 against uncoupling rotation and produces an audible indication or clicking sound whenever the connector parts are firmly and securely joined. The locking means 55 generally comprise a first means or member attached to or carried by the coupling nut for corotation therewith and a second means or member surrounding the male part 12 and being normally rotatable relative to the telescopically interfitted parts. Portions of the second means interposed between the stop surface 22 and the forwardmost end edge 23 of the sleeve 14 are firmly clamped and restrained against rotation relative to the parts 11 and 12 whenever those parts are securely joined or coupled, thereby enabling relative rotation between the first and second locking means upon rotation of the coupling nut past the firmly coupled position.
In one form of the present invention, as illustrated in FlGS. 1 through 4, inclusive, the first locking means carried on the coupling nut 16 comprise an angularly or circumferentially spaced series of axially extending ridges or knurls as at 56 formed on and projecting radially inwardly of the coupling nut counterbore 47. The ridges or knurls 56 define a circumferentially or angularly spaced series of axially extending slots or recesses as at 57 for receiving aligned ones of a circumferentially spaced series of projections as at 58 resiliently mounted on the second locking means 59.
As best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the second locking means comprise a sheet form member having a substantially cylindrical body portion 61 and an annular, radially inturned flange 62 defining an innerbore 63 sized to loosely fit over an outer cylindrical wall 64 of the forwardly extending cylindrical portion 19 of the male part 12. A plurality of notches or key ways as at 66 extend radially inwardly of the flange innerbore 63 and correspond in angular displacement to the keys or tabs 43 formed on the cylindrical portion 19, thereby providing clearance for telescopically fitting the second locking means or member 59 over the cylindrical portion 19 to a position adjacent the stop surface 22.
The cylindrical body portion 61 has a plurality of radially outwardly projecting, V-shaped embossments forming the projections 58 and is sized relative to the coupling nut counterbore 47 so that the embossed projections are received in aligned ones of the recesses 57 defined adjacent ones of the ridges 56, As the coupling nut 16 threadedly engages onto the threads 15 formed on the cylindrical sleeve 14 of the female part 11, the forwardmost end edge 23 of the sleeve is drawn toward the stop surface 22, and, when the telescopically interfitted parts 11 and 12 are firmly coupled, the radially inturned flange 62 is firmly clamped between the end edge 23 and the stop surface 22, thereby preventing rotation of the second locking member 59 relative to the telescopically interfitted parts 11 and 12. Further coupling rotation of the nut 16 causes relative rotational movement between the plurality of angularly spaced recesses 57 and the projections 58.
Means resiliently mounting the projections 58 on the second locking member 59 for enabling the projections to resiliently skip over the ridges 56 and thus move between adjacent ones of the recesses 57 comprise a plurality of circumferentially extending slots as at 68 cut into the body portion 61 and angularly spaced therearound relative to the projections 58 to form a plurality of circumferentially extending strips as at 69 defined between each slot 68 and an axial end edge 71 of the cylindrical body 61 and having one of the projections 58 mounted midway between circumferentially opposite ends of an associated one of the strips. In that manner, the strips, and thus the projections 58 mounted thereon, may resiliently flex inwardly of the cylindrical body, thereby permitting the ridges 56 to depress the projections 58 for producing a ratchetlike effeet as the coupling nut 16 further threads onto the sleeve 14 subsequent to firmly clamping the radially inturned flange 62 between the sleeve end edge 23 and the stop surface 22.
It should also be noted that once the parts 11 and 12 are properly coupled, uncoupling or unthreading rotation of the coupling nut 16 is restrained by the interlocking relationship between the resiliently mounted projections 58 and the circumferentially spaced recesses 57. Further, since relative rotation between the ridges 56 carried on the coupling nut 16 and the projections 58 resiliently mounted on the second locking means 59 will not occur until a circumferentially directed component of the frictional force clamping the flange 62 exceeds a circumferentially directed component of the force necessary to depress the resiliently mounted projections 58, the torque applied to the coupling nut 16 necessary to produce the audible ratchetlike effect may be varied by varying the resiliency of the strips 69. That resiliency generally depends upon the type of material thickness of the material, axial distance between slot 68 and the axially projecting end edge 71, and the circumferential length of the strip as determined by the circumferential length of the slot 68.
An alternative embodiment of the present invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, contemplates providing resiliently mounted projections on the first locking means carried by the coupling nut 16 and forming the second locking means with angularly or circumferentially spaced recesses for receiving the resiliently mounted projections. ln most other respects the configuration of the components of this form of the present invention is similar to that of the hereinabove described embodiment, and thus, like parts are designated with the same reference numeral to which a prime has been added.
In accordance with the principles of the alternative embodiment of the present invention, a first locking member 81 is attached to the coupling nut counterbore 47' and comprises a generally cylindrical, sheet form body portion 82 characterized by a plurality of radially inwardly extending, circumferentially or angularly spaced tab portions as at 83. The cylindrical body portion 82 is secured by suitable means to the coupling nut 16 for corotation therewith.
The second locking means comprise an annular, sheet form member 84 having an innerbore 86 sized relative to the outer cylindrical surface 64' of the male part cylindrical portion 19' to permit telescopically fitting the annular member over the male part 12 in abutting relationship to the stop surface 22' formed by the peripheral shoulder 21'. Further, the annular member 84 is sized to extend radially outwardly beyond an outer extent of the shoulder 21' and has a plurality of circumferentially spaced apertures as at 87 formed therearound at a common radial distance and disposed radially outwardly of the shoulder 2R.
Circumferentially alternate ones of the tabs d3 of the first locking means 81 are disposed on opposite side surfaces of the annular member 8d, and each tab 83 has a first section 88 formed obliquely to a longitudinal axis of the cylindrical body 82 and extending radially inwardly toward the annular member 84 and a second section b9 extending along opposite sides of the annular member Ml and disposed substantially parallel to a plane containing the annular member.
Means forming projections received in the plurality of circumferentially spaced apertures b7 comprise conically shaped embossments or buttons as at 9B formed on circumferentially alternate ones of the tabs 83 and extending toward the annular member He. The embossments 91 are sized relative to the apertures 87 to be received therewithin, and the tabs $3 are composed of a resilient material, for example spring steel, thereby permitting the embossed projections 91l to skip over web portions as at 92 between adjacent ones of the apertures 87 for permitting relative movement between the first locking member 81 and the annular member 84, thereby producing a ratchetlike effect whenever the annular member is firmly clamped between the sleeve forwardmost end edges 23' and the abutment or stop surface 22 formed by the peripheral shoulder 21'. Thus, the locking means 55' of the alternative embodiment operates in a manner similar to that already described.
lt should be noted that the resiliency of the tabs 83 may be varied for varying the coupling nut torque necessary to produce the ratcheting effect. Further, in a manner similar to that described for the first embodiment, the interlocking engagement between the embossed projections 9i and the apertures or recesses d7 restrains uncoupling rotation of the locking nut ll6.
Although those versed in the art may suggest various minor modifications, it should be understood that we wish to embody within the scope of the patent warranted hereon all such modifications as reasonably and properly come within the scope of our contribution to the art.
We claim as our invention:
l. A connector comprising:
male and female parts each comprising a shell member,
one of said shell members having an externally threaded,
forwardly projecting cylindrical sleeve,
the other of said shell members having a forwardly projecting cylindrical portion adapted to be received inside of said cylindrical sleeve,
saidcylindrical portion of said other shell having a radially otfset peripheral shoulder forming an annular stop surface axially aligned with a forwardmost end edge surface of said cylindrical sleeve;
a coupling nut threadingly engaging said externally threaded sleeve and having radially inwardly projecting portions axially operating on said other part to clamp said male and female parts in a telescopically assembled relationship; and
locking means interposed between said coupling nut and said telescopically assembled parts and including a first means attached to said coupling nut for corotation therewith as the same threadingly engages onto said externally threaded sleeve,
second means having portions interposed between said annular stop surface and said forwardmost end edge of said sleeve said second means normally being freely rotatable with respect to said male and female parts and being clamped between said forwardmost end edge and said stop surface to restrain rotation relative to said telescopically assembled parts whenever said parts are securely assembled,
one of said first and said second means having a plurality of circumferentially spaced recesses formed therein, and another one of said means having at least one projection resiliently mounted thereon and received in an aligned one of said plurality of recesses, whereby, whenever said parts are securely assembled in a manner to clamp said second locking means between said forwardmost end edge of said sleeve and said stop surface, said first locking means rotates with said coupling nut relative to said second locking means, thereby causing said resiliently mounted projections to skip between adjacent ones of the circumferentially spaced recesses to produce an audible signal that the parts are securely assembled and to restrain uncoupling rotation of the coupling nut. 2. A connector as defined in claim l and further characterized by:
said projections resiliently mounted on said first locking means; and
said second locking means having said recesses formed therein for receiving said resiliently mounted projections. 3. A connector as defined in claim l and further characterized by:
said projections resiliently mounted on said second locking means; and said first locking means having said recesses formed therein for receiving said resiliently mounted projections. 4. A connector as defined in claim 1 and further characterized by:
said radially inwardly projecting portions of said coupling nut disposed rearwardly of said peripheral shoulder formed on said other part; and spring means interposed between said radially inwardly projecting portions and said peripheral shoulder. 5. A connector as defined in claim l and further characterized by:
said coupling nut having a counterbore surrounding and radially spaced outwardly of said peripheral shoulder; and said first locking means comprising axially extending, circumferentially spaced ridges formed on and extending radially inwardly of said out counterbore, circumferentially adjacent ones of said ridges defining said recesses for receiving said resiliently mounted projections. 6. A connector as defined in claim 5 and further characterized by:
said second means comprising a cylindrical body portion interposed between, and radially spaced from said coupling nut counterbore and said annular shoulder, and said cylindrical body portion having a radially intumed flange interposed between said forwardmost end edge and said annular stop surface, said projections extending radially outwardly of said cylindrical body and received in aligned ones of said rece'sses defined by said circumferentially spaced ridges, and means resiliently mounting said projections on said cylindrical body portion. 7. A connector as defined in claim 6 and further characterized by:
said cylindrical body portion having radially outwardly projecting embossment forming said projectionsf and said means resiliently mounting said projection comprising a slot formed in said cylindrical body portion and partially extending around a circumference thereof, said slot disposed between an axially outward end edge of said cylindrical body portion and said radially intumed flange, said slot defining a circumferentially extending strip portion formed on said cylindrical body and joined thereto at circumferentially opposite end portions, and
said embossment disposed substantially midway between the circumferentially opposite ends of said strip portion. 8. A connector as defined in claim 1 and further characterized by:
said second locking means comprising an annular, sheet form member surrounding said cylindrical portion of said other part and extending radially beyond said peripheral shoulder, said annular member having a plurality of axially extending, angularly spaced apertures passing therethrough and forming said recesses for receiving said resiliently mounted projections. 9. A connector as defined in claim 8 and further characterized by:
said coupling nut having a counterbore surrounding and radially spaced outwardly of said peripheral shoulder; said first locking means having a substantially cylindrical body portion secured to said coupling nut counterbore for corotation with said coupling nut, at least one resilient tab portion attached to, and extending radially inwardly of said cylindrical body portion, and said projection formed on said resilient tab portion, ex-
tending toward said annular member and received in an aligned one of said apertures. 10. A connector as defined in claim 9 and further characterized by:
said tab portions having a first section attached to said cylindrical body portion and extending obliquely ofa longitudinal axis thereof and toward said annular m ember, and a second section attached to said first section at a radially inward terminal end thereof and extending adjacent to, and parallel with, said annular member. 11. A connector as defined in claim 9 and further characterized by:
at least one other resilient tab portion attached to and extending radially inwardly of said cylindrical body portion, said other tab portion engaging a radially extending side surface of said annular member opposite of a side surface engaged by said first mentioned resilient tab portion and cooperating with the latter to resiliently retain said annular member therebetween.
12. In a connector comprising separable first and second parts and a third part constituting a threaded coupling nut operatively engaging one of said other parts and threaded onto a portion of the second of said other parts for locking all three parts in an assembled relationship, the improvement comprising:
a first signal means for producing an audible signal whenever said coupling nut is optimally threaded onto the second of said other parts to form a locked together assembly of all three parts, said first signal means including means attached to said coupling nut for corotation therewith;
a second signal means normally being freely rotatable with said coupling nut and relative to said parts and being restrained against corotation with said coupling nut whenever said first and second separable parts are optimally assembled; and
one of said first and said second signal means having at least one recess formed therein and the other of said signal means having at least one resiliently mounted projection formed thereon and cooperable with said recess to snapskip relative thereto whenever said signal means are rotated relative to each other, thereby pro ducing an audible signal for indicating when all three parts are optimally assembled.
13. In a connector as defined in claim 12, said first and second separable parts each having an axially projecting surface fonned thereon and disposed in confronting relationship to said surface formed on the other one of said parts and said second signal means having a portion interposed between said axially projecting, confronting surfaces, said portion being clamped between said confronting surfaces whenever said parts are firmly assembled for restraining rotation of said second signal means relative to said parts.