US 3601764 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 0 NW 99 33 .33, wt 0 rm me n eul TB 0] 56 99 ll 41 86 31- 98 20 23 m a m K n w JH o t n e v n l n 7 .l
OTHER REFERENCES IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin, l2/l958- M. C. Panaro.
211 AppLNo. 794,547 221 Filed Jan. 28, 1969 Vol. 1, No. 4, pg, l5,
S m m n E m M o G C m L m w 0 muck C R u u m 0 8M F E u Am o M 3 D MA w mm a Primary Examiner-Ian A. Calvert Assistant ExaminerJ0seph H. McGlynn An0rneyFrederick M. Arbuckle ABSTRACT: Lock device for an electrical connector or the 3 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
like including a coupling ring mounted on one shell and  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 12/1955 Quackenbush et al.
rotation and visual, audible and feel indicators shown when the lockring is in its locking position.
LOCK DEVICE FOR COUPLING MEANS This invention relates to a lock device for coupling means and more particularly to a lock device which does not interfere with the operation of coupling means and which can be operated at a position of coupling means. The lock device is comparatively simple and yet rugged in construction, is readily operated and is highly reliable.
This invention was evolved with the general object of providing an improved lock device for an electrical connector of the type including a coupling ring mounted on one shell and threaded onto another shell to hold the shells together, mating electrical contacts being supported by dielectric members within the shells. Locking devices have heretofore been proposed for such electrical connectors, to lock the coupling means in position. Such locking devices have required alignment of splines, and have not been as readily operated or as rugged and reliable as would be desirable. It will be understood that although the lock device is specifically designed for, electrical connectors, principles and features of the invention have application to other types of devices of equivalent nature.
' According to an important feature of the invention, locking means are operative between the coupling ring and one of the shells to prevent relative rotation thereof and a lockring is rotatably mounted relative to the coupling ring and is arranged to actuate the locking means to a locking position when rotated in one direction.
Preferably, the lockring is arranged to actuate the locking means to its locking position when rotated in one direction to a certain position relative to the coupling ring, and indicia means are provided on the lockring and the coupling ring and are aligned when the locking means is in its locking position.
Additional features relate to the provision of means for emitting an audible sound and means for indicating by feel when the locking means is actuated.
According to another feature, the coupling ring is rotated in one direction to move the shells together and the lockring is rotatable in the same direction to actuate the locking means.
According to a further feature of the invention, the locking means comprises a lock member carried by the coupling ring and having tooth means arranged to be moved radially inwardly into engagement with an outer surface of one shell. Preferably, the lock member is in the form of an arcuately extending member having one end portion secured to the coupling ring and having the tooth means on the other end portion thereof with a cam surface portion being formed on the outer surface of the member and with a pin carried by the lockring for engaging the cam surface.
With the lock device of this invention, no alignment of splines is required, the lockring does not interfere with operation of the coupling ring and a visual lock indicator as well as audible and feel lock indicators are provided. Although comparatively simple in construction, the lock device is very rugged and reliable and it is readily operated.
This invention contemplates other objects, features and advantages which will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment and in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of an electrical connector incorporating a locking device according to the principles of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view, on an enlarged scale, taken substantially along line ll-ll of FIG, 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view similar to a portion of FIG. 2, but illustrating an unlocked position of parts; and
FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional view taken substantially along line lV--IV of FIG. 2.
Reference numeral generally designates an electrical connector incorporating a locking device in accordance with the principles of this invention. The connector 10 comprises a receptacle shell 1 l and a plug shell 12 which carry therewithin a pair ofdielectric members which support pairs of mating electrical contacts, the contacts being connected to wires 13 and 14.
To connect the plug and receptacle shells 11 and 12, a coupling ring 16 is provided which, for convenience in manufacture, is formed from two rings 17 and 18 which are staked or otherwise rigidly connected together. The ring 17 is internally threaded to be screwed onto an externally threaded portion 19 of the receptacle shell 12. The ring 17 also includes an inwardly extending annular flange 20, one surface of which abuts the end surface of the shell 12 when the connector is assembled. The opposite surface of the flange 20, before assembly of the plug and receptacle shells, is engaged with one surface of a retainer ring 21 which extends into an annular groove 22 in the plug shell 11. The opposite surface of the retainer ring 21 is engaged at angularly spaced points by a wave spring 23 which also engages an inwardly extending annular shoulder 24'formed on the ring 18.
In assembly of the connector, the receptacle shell 11 is I moved to a position in which a key 25 formed on the outer surface thereof is aligned with an axially extending keyway 26 in the inner surface of the plug shell 12, it being noted that additional keys and keyways may be provided. After such alignment, the coupling ring 16 is rotated relative to the plug shell 12 and through the coaction of the threaded portions, the coupling ring 16 is moved axially until the surface of the flange 20 engages the end surface of the plug shell 12. Before such engagement, a dielectric contact-support member within the plug shell 11 may engage a similar dielectric member within the plug shell 12 and the wave spring may be compressed to exert a certain pressure between the dielectric members, with a small spacing between the flange 20 and the retainer ring 21.
According to this invention, a lock device generally designated by reference numeral 28 is provided for. locking the coupling ring 16 in a fixed position relative to the receptacle shell 11 and thereby in a fixed position relative to the plug shell 12. The lock device 28 prevents the coupling ring 16 from turning in a disengaging direction under the influence of shocks, vibrations and the like.
The lock device 28 comprises locking means which includes an arcuately extending member 30 which is disposed between facing surfaces 31 and 32 of the ring 18. The surface 31 and the previously described surface 24, are on opposite sides of an inwardly extending flange portion 33 of the ring 18. The surface 32 is on the inner side of an end portion 34 of the ring 18. The flange 33 and the end portion 34' are integrally interconnected by portions 35 and 36 as shown in FIG. 2, the portion 35 having an arcuate extent of approximately and the portion 36 having an arcuate extent of approximately 60.
The arcuately extending locking member 30 may be considered as having two portions 37 and 38, the portion 38 having an arcuate extent of approximately 180 and having inwardly extending shoulders 39 and 40 engaged with the opposite ends of the portion 35 so as to be secured to the coupling ring 16. The portion 38 is formed with inwardly extending tooth means, consisting of two teeth 41 in the illustrated arrangement, which are engageable with the outer sur-- face of a flange portion 42, of the plug shell 1 l. Preferably, the outer surface of the flange 42 is grooved or serrated to facilitate obtaining a locking engagement with the teeth 41.
To actuate the locking member 38, a lock ringz44 is provided which is rotatably mounted on the end portion 34 of the ring 18 by means of a retainer ring 45 extending into a groove in the inner surface of the lockring 44 and a groove in the outer surface of the end portion 34. The lockring 44 has a recess 46 into which an outer part of the portion 38 of the locking member 30 extends. A wear pin 47 is carried by the lockring 44 and extends into the recess 46, the pin 47 being arranged to engage a cam surface portion 48 of theouter surface of the portion 38 of the locking member 30.
In an inoperative condition of the locking device 28, the parts are in a position as shown in FIG. 3, it being noted that counterclockwise rotation of the lockring 44 is limited by en- 7 gagement of a shoulder 49 at one end of the recess 46 with a terminal end 50 of the locking member 30. In this position, the pin 47 is not engaged with the cam surface portion 48 and the form of the locking member 30 before assembly is such that the teeth 41 are positioned outwardly away from the outer surface portion of the flange 42 of the shell 11. When the lockring 44 is rotated in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIGS. 2 and 3, the pin 47 engages the cam surface portion 48 to bend the portion 38 of the locking member 30 and to move the teeth 41 inwardly into engagement with the outer surface of the flange 42 of the plug shell 11. At the end of such movement, the pin 47 moves into a recessed surface portion 51, positioned inwardly slightly closer to the axis of the connector than the end of the cam surface portion 48, and further movement is limited by engagement of the pin 47 with an outwardly extending surface portion 52.
The portion 38 of the locking member 30 thus operates as a cantilever, the actuating force being applied at an intermediate point.
When the teeth 41 engage the outer surface of the flange 42 and the pin 47 moves into the recess 51, an audible sound is produced indicating to the operator that the lockring is in its operative position and the operator can also readily feel that the operative position has been reached. in addition, visual means are provided for indicating that the lockring is in its operative position. In particular, the lockring 44 has an outwardly projecting portion 54 which is aligned with a recess 55 in theouter surface of the ring 18. If desired, additional projecting portions 56-60 may be provided in equiangularly spaced relation and aligned with recesses 61-65 in the ring 18 so that the alignment can be seen from any angle of view and also to improve gripping effectiveness. The outer surfaces of the projecting portions 54 and 56-60 may be grooved or knurled, if desired.
It will be noted that the locking device 28 may be operated at any position of the coupling ring 16 and that in the inoperative position of the lockring 28, there is no interference with operation of the coupling ring 16. It is also noted that the lockring 44 is moved in a clockwise direction to move from an inoperative position as shown in FIG. 2 to an operative position as shown in FIG. 3, which is the same direction in which the coupling ring 16 is rotated to bring the plug and receptacle shells together. This is a distinct advantage in both the connect and disconnect operations. If the lockring 44 is inadvertently placed in its operative position when the operator attempts to rotate the coupling ring 16 to bring the plug and receptacle shells together, the application of sufficient force to the coupling ring 16 can cause the locking member 30 to be moved relative to the lockring 44 such that the pin 47 is effectively moved out of the recess 51 and into engagement with the cam surface 48 to move the lockring 44 to its inoperative position, so as not to interfere with further movement of the coupling ring 16. In the disconnect operation, when the operator grasps both the coupling ring 16 and the lockring 44 and attempts to rotate them in the counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIGS. 2 and 3, the lockring 44 is more readily moved and is readily placed in its inoperative position, after which the coupling ring 16 may be rotated.
It will be understood that modifications and variations may be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the novel concepts of this invention.
I claim as my invention:
1. In an electrical connector or the like including a pair of shells and a coupling ring rotatably mounted on one of said shells and arranged to be threaded on the other of said shells to move and hold said shells together, locking means operative between said coupling ring and said one of said shells to prevent relative rotation thereof, and a lockring, said locking means comprising a lock member carried by said coupling ring and having tooth means arranged to be moved radially inwardly into engagement with an outer surface portion of said one of said shells.
2. In an electrical connector or the like as defined in claim 1, said lock member being in the form of an arcuately extending member having one end portion secured to said coupling ring and having said tooth means on the other end portion thereof with a cam surface portion being formed in the outer surface of said other end portion of said arcuately extending lock member, and a pin carried by said lockring for engaging said cam surface to move said tooth means radially inwardly into engagement with said outer surface portion of said one of said shells.
3. In an electrical connector or the like as defined in claim 2, said lockring being in surrounding relation to said lock member and having a recess in its inner surface for receiving said other end portion of said lock member, said recess being terminated at one end with a stop shoulder engageable by an end of said lock member to limit rotational movement of said lockring in a releasing direction opposite said one direction.