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Publication numberUS3633155 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 4, 1972
Filing dateApr 13, 1970
Priority dateApr 13, 1970
Publication numberUS 3633155 A, US 3633155A, US-A-3633155, US3633155 A, US3633155A
InventorsTaylor James W
Original AssigneeUs Navy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pressure-balanced electrical assembly
US 3633155 A
Abstract
A pressure-balanced electrical assembly for a grease-filled nonhosing cable comprising: an elongated generally tubular housing; one end of the housing being adapted to sealably receive the cable; the other end of the housing being sealed and having a feed-through terminal extending therethrough for connection to the end of a cable lead; an intermediate portion of the housing being fluid-sealed and pressure-exposed to the ambient environment, said intermediate portion being capable of receiving said lead therethrough for connection to the feed-through terminal; and an opening into the intermediate portion of the housing for pressure filling said portion with a semiliquid.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent represented by the Secretary of the Navy [21 Appl. No. [22] Filed [45] Patented [73] Assignee [54] PRESSURE-BALANCED ELECTRICAL ASSEMBLY 2,066,320 1/1937 Bennett 'l74/88.3X

2,886,626 5/1959 Burnett et al.. l74/70.l X 3,040,287 6/1962 Agron et a]. 339/94 M Primary Examiner-Richard E. Moore Attorneys-Richard S. Sciascia and Ervin F. Johnston ABSTRACT: A pressure-balanced electrical assembly for a grease-filled nonhosing cable comprising: an elongated generally tubular housing; one end of the housing being- 1lClaims,2Drawing Figs.

[52] U.S.Cl 339/117R, 339/104 [51] lnt.Cl ..H0lr 13/52 [50] Field ofSearch...; 339/117, 60, 94; 174/88, 25, 88.3, 70.1

[5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,158,680 11/1964 Lovittetal. 339/94MX 82 I so 72 5:6 34 36 fil g nnumm o q u.

MMl/Hl/ l N VEN TOR. JAMES w. TAYLOR ERVINI F. JOHNSTON ATTORNEY.

STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST The invention described ,herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government ofthe-United Statesof America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In deep ocean salvage orexploratory work a power cable is often used between the underwater device and a mother vehicle. In many instances this cable extends from the high seapressure environment through a connectorinto an atmospheric pressure within the underwater device or mother vehicle. A nonhosing cable is commonly employed for providing power in high-pressure submerged environments. Nonhosing electrical cable is commercially available and normally has a plurality of wires which are disposed in a flexible jacket which is filled with a greaselike material, such as Duct-Seal manufactured by Johns Manville lnthepast the connection such a cable has been made by potting the cable wires in a connector housing. When the underwater device or mother vehicle operates at various depths there are pressure cycles which cause the potting material within the connector {housing to flex. This flexing causes leak paths to develop along' the inside wall of the housing or along the conducting wires. Eventually the cable wires become weakened and break and may be subjected to salt water.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention overcomes the aforementioned problems associated with the prior art underwater connectors by providing an electrical connector assembly which is pressure-balanced between the wires of thecable and the ambient ocean environment. This is accomplished by providing a generally tubular housing, one end of which is sealed and-has a feed-through terminal connector for connecting to one end of a cable wire. An intermediate portion of the housing is fluidsealed and pressure-exposed to the ambient ocean environment and is capable of receiving the cable wire therethrough for connection into the terminal connector. The intermediate portion of the housing has an opening for introducing a liquid, such as grease, within the intermediate portion so that the cable wire within the intermediate portion will be within a pressure-balanced area with respect to the ambient ocean pressure. With such an arrangement the troublesome potting compound is eliminated and cyclic pressures have no detrimental effect on the cable wires.

STATEMENT OF THE OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is to overcome the problems associated with the aforementioned prior art underwater electrical connectors;

Another object is to provide a pressure-balanced electrical connector assembly for a nonhosing cable wherein cyclic pressures have no detrimental effect on the cable wires.

A further object is to provide a deep submergence pressurebalanced electrical assembly which is highly reliable, low in cost, and easy to assemble.

Other objects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will be readily appreciated as it becomes better understood by reference to the description and accompanying drawings which follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is an ocean elevation view of an underwater vehicle being controlledfrom a surface vessel.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the electrical connector assembly with portions cut away to show various details thereof.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERREDEMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing'there is shown in FIG. I an underwater device 10, such as anunderwater vehicle, which is controlled from a surface ship'by acable 12. This operation is quite common in theNavy and the underwater vehicle-isentitled CURV (cable underwater recovery vehicle). The cable 12, which is a nonhosing type, may be connected to the CURV vehicle 10 by a pressure-balanced electrical connector assembly 14, which is illustrated in 'FIG 2. The'nonhosing cable 12 is commercially available and includes a plurality of wires 16 which are packedby a grease l8,commonly referred to as duck-seal, within a jacket "20. The nonhosi'ng cable is'iparticularly suitable for deep ocean work s'incethe cable is pressure-balanced and the grease 18 is not extruded from the jacket 20 when there is-any penetration thereof. In the CURV vehicle the connector assembly14 may connect the cable wires 16 betweenthe ambient ocean-pressure environment and an atmospheric-pressure environment withinthe vehicle.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the electrical connector assembly 14 may include a generally'tubular housing 22, one end portion 24 of the housing being adapted to sealably receive the cable 12 and the'other end portion 26beingsealed and having a feed-through terminal connector28 which is adapted at its inner end to be connected to a respective one of 'the cable wires 16 and is adapted at its outer endto mate'with a plug (not shown) within the atmospheric environment of the CURV vehicle. An intermediate portion 30 of the housing is fluid-sealed and-pressure-exposed to thea'mbient environment and is capable of receivingthe cable wiresl6 therethrough for connection to the terminal connectors 28.

A preferred means 'for fluid-sealing and pressure-exposing the intermediate housingportion 30 to the ambient environment includes the intermediate portion 30having a plurality of elongated apertures 32, and a flexible boot 34 sealably mounted about the intermediate housing portion 30 and its apertures 32. The boot 34, which maybe fabric-reinforced neoprene, may sealably engage thein'termedia'te portion 30 on opposite sides of the apertures 32 by a-pairof spaced-apart worm drive clamps which are commonly referred to as hose clamps. It is preferable thatthe housing portion 24, which is adjacent to the intermediate housing portion 30, have an exterior diameter which is the same as or less than the exterior diameter of the intermediate housing portion so that upon loosening of the clamps 36 the boot 34 may be slipped from the intermediate housingportion to expose the apertures 32 and enable filling the intermediate housing portion 30 with a semiliquid, such as silicon grease.

As illustrated in FIG. 2 the cable 12 'sealably extends through the receiving end 24 of the housing, andthe jacket 20 and grease filling 18 of the cable terminates adjacent-the intermediate housing portion 30 so as to form an interface 38 with the semiliquid within the intermediate housing portion. From the interface 38 the cable wires 16, which may be individually jacketed, extend through theintermediate portion 30 and the semiliquid therein to their connection with the terminal connectors 28.

It is desirable that the intermediate housing portion 30 be filled with the semiliquid under a slightly positive pressure above atmospheric, such as 10 p.s.i. above atmospheric pressure. This may be accomplished by providing a fill-opening 40 and a vent-opening 42 into the intermetliatehou'sing portion 30. A grease-fitting 44 may be threaded within the fill-opening 40 and a stopper plug 46 may be threaded within the vent opening 42. With this arrangement a grease gun may be applied to the fitting 44 and grease inserted into the intermediate housing portion 30 until all air is expelled through the ventopening 42. The plug 46 may then be threaded into the ventopening 42 and grease applied within the intermediate portion 30 until the desired positive pressure is attained.

In order to sealably receive the cable 12 in'the receiving end portion 24 of the housing this housing portion may be provided with a counterbore 48. Within this counterbore and about he cable jacket 20 there may be a series of annular packing glands 50 between a pair of male adapters 52 and 54. The counterbore 48 may have a still further counterbore 56 in which an enlarged diameter portion of the adapter 54 and an O-ring 58 may be received for sealing purposes. In order to tighten the packing glands 50 for sealing action against the cable jacket 20 a capnut 60 with a central opening 62 may be threaded on the receiving end 24 of the housing. With such arrangement salt water intrusion into the intermediate portion 30 of the housing is prevented by the sealing actions of both the O-ring 58 and the packing glands 50.

In order to take up some of the strain on the cable 12 and provide a fair-lead of the cable from the receiving end of the housing a Kellem grip 64 (Chinese finger) may be connected to the receiving end of the housing. The wires of the Kellem grip 64 may be connected to an annular insert 66. The annular insert 66 may be received within the central opening 62 of the nut 60 and may be retained in place by an annular flange which is received within a counterbore within the central opening 62 of the nut. The insert 66 may have a longitudinal aperture 68 for introducing the ambient pressure to the O-ring 58 and packing glands 50.

At the terminal end 26 of the housing there may be located a plug 70 which is sealably disposed within a central opening 72 of the housing. Extending through the plug 70 are a plurality of feed-through terminal connectors 28. These connectors, which are commercially available, are threaded within the plug 70 so as to make a pressure seal therethrough. Altematively, the plug 70 may be a multipin connector in which the pins are fused in place, such as by glass, in the plug.

The plug 70 may be sealed to the central opening 72 by an O- ring 74, and may be retained in place by a retainer ring 76.

The outer ends of the terminal connectors 28 are adapted for insertion in a multisocket connector (not shown) within the atmospheric environment of the underwater device. In order to mount the terminal end 26 of the housing to the underwater device the terminal end may be provided with an annular flange 78. This flange may have an O-ring 80 for making sealing engagement with the exterior surface of the underwater device, and may have openings 82 for receiving bolts (not shown) which are threaded into the underwater device.

In the operation of the pressure-balanced underwater connector 14 the cable 12 is stripped of its jacket 20 and its inner grease so as to expose a required length of cable wires 16 for extending between the interface 38 and the terminal connectors 28. With the boot 30, male adapters 52 and 54, and the nut 60 all removed, the cable is inserted within the housing 22 until the cable jacket and grease therein forms an interface at 38. The ends of the cable wires 16 are then soldered to the interior end of the terminal connectors 28. The aforementioned components of the connector assembly are then assembled as shown in FIG. 2 and a semisolid, such as silicon grease, is inserted through fitting 44 into the intermediate housing 30 about the cable wires 16 until all air is expelled through the vent-opening 42. The plug 46 is then threaded in the ventopening 42 and grease is applied through the fitting 44 until a positive pressure exists between the intermediate housing portion 30 and the outside atmospheric environment. The connector assembly 14 may then be mounted to the underwater device and submerged to its operating depth. At the operating depth the flexible action of the boot 34 balances the pressure between the intermediate housing portion 30 and the outside ocean environment.

Obviously many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.

I claim:

1. A pressure-balanced electrical connector assembly for a cable of the type having at least one electrical wire in a flexible jacket filled with a liquid, comprising:

a generally tubular housing;

one end of the housing being adapted to sealably receive the cable;

the other end of the housing being sealed and having a feedthrough terminal connector extending therethrough for connection to the end of a cable wire;

an intermediate portion of the housing being capable of receiving said wire therethrough for connection to the terminal connector;

the intermediate housing portion having at least one aperture; and

a flexible boot sealably mounted about the intermediate housing portion and its aperture so as to fluid-seal and pressure-expose the intermediate housing portion to the ambient environment.

2. A connector assembly as claimed in claim 1 comprising:

said intermediate portion having an opening to the ambient environment for pressure-fllling the intermediate portion with a liquid.

3. A connector assembly as claimed in 1 comprising:

a housing portion adjacent to the intermediate housing portion'having an exterior diameter no greater than the exterior diameter of the intermediate housing portion so that the boot can be slipped from the intermediate housing portion to expose said aperture.

4. A combination as claimed in claim 1 including:

said cable, the cable having a jacket which contains at least one electrical wire and a grease filling;

said cable sealably extending through the receiving end of the housing;

the cable jacket and grease filling terminating adjacent the intermediate housing portion so as to be capable of forming an interface with liquid in the intermediate housing portion; and

said wire extending through the intermediate housing portion.

5. A connector assembly as claimed in claim 2 comprising:

a grease-fitting threaded within the liquid-filling opening of the intermediate housing portion; and

a vent-opening in said intermediate housing portion.

6. A connector assembly as claimed in claim 5 comprising:

the receiving end of the housing having a counterbore;

a male adapter and packing glands received within said counterbore;

an annular insert engaging the male fitting and connected to a Kellem grip for said cable; and

a capnut with a central opening threaded on the receiving end of the housing for tightening the annular insert, male adapter, and packing glands.

7. A connector assembly as claimed in claim 7 comprising:

the terminal end of the housing having an opening;

a plug sealably disposed within the terminal end opening;

and

said feed-through terminal connector extending through the plug.

8. A connector assembly as claimed in claim 7 comprising:

a housing portion adjacent to the intermediate housing portion having an exterior diameter no greater then the exterior diameter of the intermediate housing portion so that the boot can be slipped from the intermediate housing portion to expose said aperture; and

a pair of worm drive clamps sealably retaining the flexible boot about the intermediate housing portion.

9. A combination as claimed in claim 8 comprising:

said cable, the cable having a jacket which contains at least one electrical wire and a grease filling;

said cable sealably extending through the receiving end of the housing;

The cable jacket and grease filling terminating adjacent the intermediate housing portion so as to be capable of forming an interface with liquid in the intermediate housing portion and said wire extending through the intermediate housing portion.

10. A combination as claimed in claim 9 comprising:

said intermediate housing portion being filled with a grease.

1 l. A combination as claimed in claim comprising:

said intermediate portion having an opening to the ambient environment for pressure-filling the intermediate portion with said grease. 5

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2066320 *Oct 22, 1935Jan 5, 1937Okonite Callender Cable Co IncElectric cable system
US2886626 *Mar 5, 1956May 12, 1959Submarine Cables LtdWater-tight cable entry
US3040287 *Nov 14, 1958Jun 19, 1962Albert AgronElectrical connector
US3158680 *Feb 1, 1962Nov 24, 1964Gen Cable CorpTelephone cable system
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3877775 *Aug 27, 1973Apr 15, 1975Atomic Energy CommissionCable connector
US4406041 *May 7, 1981Sep 27, 1983The Boeing CompanyAnti-telescoping cable clamp assembly for wire bundles
US4668038 *Oct 1, 1985May 26, 1987The Babcock & Wilcox CompanySafety grade pressurizer heater power supply connector assembly
US4693540 *Mar 12, 1984Sep 15, 1987Bicc Public Limited CompanyPressure regulating devices
US4907980 *Jul 14, 1989Mar 13, 1990Kintec, Inc.Pressure compensating connector assembly
US4940416 *Jun 16, 1989Jul 10, 1990Wagaman James PPressure compensating connector assembly
US6796821Jun 5, 2003Sep 28, 2004Ocean Design, Inc.Field installable cable termination assembly
US7182617Dec 30, 2005Feb 27, 2007Ocean Design, Inc.Harsh environment sealing apparatus for a cable end and cable termination and associated methods
US7344396 *Aug 23, 2005Mar 18, 2008Utilx CorporationCable connection assembly
US7429193Dec 30, 2005Sep 30, 2008Ocean Design, Inc.Harsh environment connector including single-level or dual-level bladder and associated methods
US7544105Aug 23, 2005Jun 9, 2009Utilx CorporationCable and cable connection assembly
US7621767Feb 8, 2008Nov 24, 2009Utilx CorporationCable connection assembly
US7658629Mar 17, 2008Feb 9, 2010Utilx CorporationCable connection assembly
US20030228783 *Jun 5, 2003Dec 11, 2003Cairns James L.Field installable cable termination assembly
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US20070054563 *Aug 23, 2005Mar 8, 2007Stagi William RCable and cable connection assembly
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US20080124962 *Feb 8, 2008May 29, 2008Utilx CorporationCable connection assembly
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US20090209141 *May 1, 2009Aug 20, 2009Utilx CorporationCable and cable connection assembly
EP0124266A2 *Mar 29, 1984Nov 7, 1984BICC Public Limited CompanyPressure regulating devices
EP0124266A3 *Mar 29, 1984Apr 2, 1986BICC Public Limited CompanyPressure regulating devices
WO1990005394A1 *Oct 30, 1989May 17, 1990Kintec, Inc.Pressure compensating connector assembly
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WO2007024285A3 *Apr 18, 2006Jul 19, 2007Utilx CorpCable connection assembly
Classifications
U.S. Classification439/204, 439/451
International ClassificationH01R13/523
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/523
European ClassificationH01R13/523