US 3605070 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Kerry M. Krafthei'er Refe en e Cited 21 A I N Gr UNITED STATES PATENTS I 1 2,034,966 3/1936 P7 1 mm 1 W3 3 3  Filed May 5,1969 45] Patented Sept. 14, 1971 233 233 21:32; zsheiltenugulu  Assignee Molex Incorporated a DownersGmvenL 3,417,365 12/1968 Krehblel.......................
Primary Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn Attorney0lson, Trexler, Wolters & Bushnell ABSTRACT: A plug and socket electrical connector comprising mating plastic housings and metal terminals housed m m mm mm w L m C5 ms T mm LC E3 M w  US. 339/91 R, n. Th housings are provided with interengaging latch 339/110 p members including an apertured tongue on one of the hous- [51} Int. g Handle members are Provided on the Same housing for gripping by the thumb and middle finger while the latch is retracted by the index finger to separate the connectors.
 Field of ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR Prior separable electrical connectors of the multiple circuit type having molded plastic housings and cooperating conductive terminals are well known in the art. For example, reference is made to John H. Krehbiel, U.S. Pat. No. 3,178,673 for "Wire Connector," and to John H. Krehbiel application, Ser. No. 666,299 for Miniature Pin Tenninal Connector, now allowed. A similar type of connector but using blade-type terminals rather than pin terminals is shown in John H. Krehbiel, U.S. Pat. No. 3,196,380 for Electrical Connector.
Such connectors have been quite useful in the past, but occasionally have presented some difficulties in separation. The molded housings, typically of nylon, are quite smooth, and if ones fingers are slightly damp, as from perspiration, etc., it is difficult to grip the housings adequately in order to pull them apart, bearing in mind that particularly with male and female pin terminals there may be a considerable tension force required to separate the terminals.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a separable connector of the pin terminal type having improved means for latching the two housings together, particularly in combination with finger-gripping means for separating the two housings.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be understood with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the two halves of an electrical connector constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the connector in separated position;
FIG. 3 is a plan view showing the connector with the two portions thereof in connected relation;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken substantially along the line 44 in FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view taken substantially along the line 5-5 in FIG. 3.
Turning now more particularly to the drawings, the invention will be seen to comprise an electrical connector designated generally by the numeral and comprising a plug 12 and a socket 14. The socket includes a generally rectangular housing of molded thermoplastic construction, such as nylon, including a body 16 and a forwardly projecting insertable end portion 18. The end portion has two chamfered corners 20 for keying with the plug 12. The socket is provided with a plurality of cylinders having bores 22 in which female terminals are received, and these preferably are terminals such as disclosed in the previously mentioned Krehbiel U.S. Pat. No. 3,178,673 and Krehbiel application, Ser. No. 666,299.
The forward projecting portion 18 of the socket is provided with a cam-ramp 24 having at its trailing edge a right-angle shoulder 26 serving as a part of a latch cooperable with latch means on the plug 12, hereinafter to be described. The socket 14 is completed by mounting ears or wings 28 extending out at right angles. These ears or wings are the same as those described and claimed in Krehbiel, U.S. Pat. No. 3,196,380 and are provided with transverse channels 30. As set forth in the last'mentioned Krehbiel patent, these ears are capable of being folded back parallel to the adjacent walls of the socket, and thereby to receive the adjacent edges of a mounting panel in the channels 30. It will be apparent that the ears or wings 28 are on sides of the plug that are at right angles to the side on which the latch 24, 26 is disposed. As further will be apparent, wires 32 extend rearwardly of the housing, being connected to the female terminals.
The plug also is of generally rectangular construction, including a body 34, having a slightly enlarged forward portion 36 with a cavity 38 therein shaped to receive the forward projection 18 of the socket. The cavity is provided with two chamfered corners 40 complimentary to the chamfered corners 20 for proper keying together of the two connector portions. Male pin terminals 42 are mounted in the plug and extending into the cavity 38, in accordance with the construction disclosed in Krehbiel U.S. Pat. No. 3,178,673 and Krehbiel application, Ser. No. 666,299. Wires 44 extend rearwardly of the plug, respectively being connected to the pin terminals 42.
A latch member is provided in the form of an integral, resilient tongue 46 separated from the forward portion 36 of the plug by longitudinal, edge-opening slots 48. The front or free end of the tongue is tipped up at 50 to cam-over the ramp 24 upon assembly of the two connector portions, namely the plug and socket. A recess 52 is provided behind the tipped-up portion 50, in order that the tongue might snap down over the cam-ramp 24 with the rear edge 54 of the tipped-up front portion locking behind the shoulder 26.
As will be apparent, the tipped-up end portion 50 of the tongue is readily engaged by a finger to pry it up for separation of the plug and socket. However, as noted heretofore, the molded plastic of which both housings is made is inclined to be a bit slippery. Thus, in accordance with the present invention, fins 56 are provided which extend out in opposite directions from one another from the sidewalls 58 which are arranged at right angles to the sidewall in which the tongue 46 is formed. The walls 58 are provided with central thickened portions 60 forwardly of the fins 56, and with a pair of spaced longitudinal ribs 62 rearwardly thereof for reenforcement. The fins in face view, as seen in the right portion of FIG. 1 are tapered somewhat, being narrower at their outer extremities than at their attachment extremities. Furthermore, fillets 64 are formed at the roots of the fins along the front faces thereof for additional reenforcement.
As will be seen, and considering the connector in the position shown in the drawings, when it is desired to separate the plug from the socket, the socket is grasped in the left hand, with the thumb and the index finger respectively engaging the wings 28. The thumb and middle finger of the right hand then engage the fins 56, and the index finger engages the tipped-up end 50 of the tongue, whereby the tongue can be flexed up away from the shoulder 26 while the plug is at the same time gripped by the thumb and middle finger for longitudinal separation of the plug and socket. The flexed position of the tongue is shown in FIG. 5 in broken lines, the latch position being shown in solid lines.
Although the present invention has its greatest use with pintype terminals wherein considerable axial separation force may be needed, it is considered that it would also be useful with blade-type terminals such as shown in Krehbiel U.S. Pat. No. 3,196,380.
The invention is claimed as follows:
1. An electrical connector comprising a plug element and a socket element telescopically engageable therewith, said socket element including an insulating housing and a plurality of terminals, said plug element including an insulating housing and a plurality of terminals cooperable with said socket element terminals when said plug and socket elements are telescopically engaged together, one of said element housings having a latching shoulder and the other thereof having a cooperating flexible latch member cooperable with the latching shoulder to retain said elements in plugged-in relation with the terminals in cooperating engagement, said flexible latch member comprising an elongated tongue having one end integral with a first side of said housing and having an aperture therein receiving said shoulder, the free end of said tongue extending relatively in the direction of said one housing element and angling out diagonally therefrom for ready manual engagement, as by a finger tip, said other element housing having a pair of oppositely facing protuberances including a plurality of longitudinal ribs for maintaining said protuberances substantially rigid whereby said protuberances are respectively retractably engageable by the thumb and a spaced finger while said flexible latch element is simultaneously movable from said latching shoulder by an intermediate finger for separation of said plug and socket elements.
2. An electrical connector as set forth in claim 1 wherein 3v An electrical connector as set forth in claim 1 wherein said one of said element housings includes a pair of ears said first side of said other element's housing includes an resiliently and integrally formed therewith for mounting said opening for receiving said latching shoulder when said plug electrical connector to a mounting panel. and socket elements are telescopically engaged together.