|Publication number||US3638164 A|
|Publication date||Jan 25, 1972|
|Filing date||Apr 23, 1970|
|Priority date||Apr 23, 1970|
|Publication number||US 3638164 A, US 3638164A, US-A-3638164, US3638164 A, US3638164A|
|Inventors||Thomas S Ashley, Patrick M Glance|
|Original Assignee||Ford Motor Co|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (7), Referenced by (24), Classifications (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent Glance et al.
[451 Jan. 25, 1972  BISEXUAL ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR  Inventors: Patrick M. Glance, Plymouth, Mich.;
Thomas S. Ashley, Dallas, Tex.
 U.S.Cl. ..339/49R,317/10l DH, 339/17 F,
339/75 MP, 339/176 MF  Int. Cl .,.H01r 25/00, l-lOlr 13/50  Field ofSearch ..33 /17, 49, 47, 75 MP, 176 MP,
339/59; 317/101 DH, 101 R, 101 B, 101 F; 174/117 R, 117 F, 117 FF, 68.5
3,082,398 3/1963 Valach ....339/176 MF 3,149,897 9/1964 Martinecl ....339/176 MF 3,278,887 10/1966 Travis ....339/l76 MF 3,337,836 8/1967 Churla,.lr ..339/49B FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,179,276 12/1958 France ..46/25 115,239 l0/1943 Sweden ..52/574 Primary Examiner Marvin A. Champion Assistant Examiner-Terrell P. Lewis Attorney-John R. Faulkner and Robert W. Brown [5 7] ABSTRACT A bisexual electrical connector made from a nonconductive material. The connector is designed to electrically and mechanically connect a plurality of flat flexible conductor strips. The connector has at least one U-shaped portion defined by a base and finger means projecting from the base, the finger means comprising two parallel projections spaced apart to form interlocking means into which projections from an identical connector are able to fit in a mating relationship. The conductor strips pass through the base of the connector and into means in the parallel projections adapted to receive the strips. Two or more of the conductors are mated together to mechanically and electrically connect the conductor strips, the projection or projections from one connector fitting into the space between the projections of another identical connector.
3 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures BISEXUAL ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to electrical connectors for the termination and electrical and mechanical connection of conductors, and more particularly to electrical connectors for use with flat flexible conductor strips.
The use of flat flexible conductor strips, in which a number of usually flat conductors are embedded within a suitable plastic insulating material, is well known. While such conductor strips may be easily manufactured and may be used to advantage in a variety of applications, one of the problems associated with their use is that of providing a suitable means for interconnecting or terminating them. Although numerous devices for the interconnection and termination of flat flexible conductor strips have been developed and utilized, the most commonly used device comprises a male unitary connector which is attached to the conductor strip and which mates with a female receptacle. This commonly used design suffers from the disadvantage that it requires separate male and female parts, and also that it is limited as to the number of conductor strips that may be connected together or terminated.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a bisexual electrical connector having both male and female portions which, when mated with an identical connector, may be used to interconnect a plurality of flat conductor strips. A bisexual electrical connector constructed in accordance with the invention has at least one U-shaped portion and is made from a nonconductive, or, insulating, material. A nonconductive plastic material is preferred. The U-shaped portion is comprised of base means and finger means, the base having apertures therein adapted to receive at least one, and preferably two, flat flexible conductor strips. The finger means comprises two projections extending substantially perpendicularly from the base means, the projections being spaced apart in order to provide interlocking means in which like projections from an identical connector may be inserted in locking or clamping engagement therewith. The connector may have a single U-shaped portion in which the projections, which form male finger means and female interlocking means, are spaced apart a distance approximately equal to the thickness of the projection, or the projections may be spaced apart a distance approximately equal to twice the thickness of the projections. In the latter case, where the finger means is comprised of projections extending perpendicularly from the base means and spaced apart a distance approximately equal to twice the thickness of one of the projections to form interlocking means, two other such connectors having identical projections are required, one of the projections from each of the other two connectors being inserted in the space forming the interlocking means of the original connector. This arrangement permits the U-shaped connectors to be stacked upon one another to thereby provide a large degree of flexibility in circuit design and construction. Alternatively, the connector can be designed with a plurality of U-shaped sections in which the projections are spaced apart a distance approximately equal to the thickness of a single projection. Although this embodiment of the invention is of somewhat more complicated design that that previously described, nevertheless, it also provides a large degree of flexibility in circuit design and construction.
It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a bisexual electrical connector for flat flexible conductor strips.
Another object of the invention is to provide a connector which will mate with one or more connectors of identical design.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a connector for flat flexible conductor strips which may be stacked with connectors of identical design to whatever extent necessary in a particular application.
These and other objects of the invention may be better understood by reference to the description which follows and to the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of a U-shaped connector constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a stack of connectors identical to that shown in FIG. 1 and also showing a plurality of flat flexible conductor strips entering the connector stack;
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the stack of connectors shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the stack of connectors shown in FIGS. 2 and 3;
FIG. 5 is an elevational view of two connectors interlocking with one another, each of the connectors having two U-shaped portions;
FIG. 6 is a pictorial view of a stack of four connectors, each having three U-shaped portions.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION With reference to FIG. 1, there is shown a connector made in accordance with the invention and which is the preferred embodiment for most applications. The connector has means, adapted to receive a flat flexible conductor strip, in the form of a base 10 having two apertures 11a and 11!; therein and extending therethrough, and finger means and 13b extending perpendicularly from the base 10. As shown, the finger means 13a and 13b comprises two parallel projections extending perpendicularly from the base 10, the parallel projections being of identical cross section and spaced apart a distance d equal to twice the thickness of one of the parallel projections. The parallel projections comprising finger means 13a and 13b are each provided with a groove 14 which preferably extends from approximately the midpoint of the exterior side 15 of the projection to the interior side 16 of the projection and to the bottom of the space formed between the projections where the groove enters aperture 1 1a, 11b in the base 10. Groove 14 is also adapted to receive a flat flexible conductor strip.
With reference to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, which depict a stack of connectors each of which is identical to that shown in FIG. 1, a flat flexible conductor strip 20 is shown passing through an aperture 11a in the base 10 of the top connector 21. The conductor strip is made of nonconductive material having conductive elements embedded in it. As shown, the conductor strip has three conductive elements, 24a, 24b, and 240, embedded in it. Of course, the width of the individual connectors, and of the apertures therein, may be chosen to accommodate any desired width of conductor strip, and the number of conductive elements in the conductor strips can be varied according to particular requirements of the application. After conductor strip 20 passes through aperture 11a in the base 10 of the connector, it enters groove 14 in the interior side 16 of the finger means, and the conductor strip may extend around the end of the finger means and into the portion of the groove on the exterior side 15 of the finger means. To provide mechanical strength, the conductor strip 20 may be bonded to the connector 21 by means of an adhesive or the equivalent. For the purpose of making an electrical connection between various conductor strips which enter the stack of connectors, it is necessary to remove the nonconductive material covering the conductive elements of the conductor strips where it is desired to make an electrical connection.
As is most clearly seen in FIG. 3, the various conductor strips 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34 may be connected to one another in a variety of ways. Electrical connection to other strips occurs at those locations where the conductive elements of the respective conductor strips contact one another. Thus, electrical connection is made between the conductive elements of conductor strip 30 and conductor strip 31 along the surface 37 formed between the exterior sides of two bisexual connectors. On the other hand, electrical connection between conductor strips 32 and 34 is made along the surface 38 formed between the interior sides of two bisexual connectors. Where necessary, a piece of conductor strip may be used as a jumper 39 to interconnect various other conductor strips. As shown, jumper 39 serves the purpose of electrically connecting conductor strips 30 and 31 to conductor strips 32, 33 and 34.
In FIG. 3 it may be seen that the projections comprising the finger means of each connector are spaced apart a distance d equal to the thickness of two such projections. This space forms the interlocking means into which are inserted projections from each of two other connectors of identical design for interlocking relation with the first connector. Where the connector has only one U-shaped portion, this spacing of the projections forming the finger means is necessary in order to permit stacking of the connectors.
In the preferred form of the connector having a single U- shaped portion as shown in FIG. 1, the projections comprising the finger means 13a and 13b extend substantially perpendicularly from the base of the connector and are of identical thickness and cross section. It is not absolutely essential that the projections 13a and 13b be identical in thickness. However, if they are not identical in thickness, the space between the projections forming the interlocking means for other connectors must be equal to the sum of the thicknesses of the two projections so that one connector may be mechanically attached to two other connectors when a projection from each of the two other connectors is inserted within the space between the projections of the first connector. Also, various modifications in the cross section of the projections are possible; for example, the projections may have a generally trapezoidal cross section spaced apart a distance to permit the insertion of projections from other connectors. Moreover, the projections can have elements located thereon, such as bumps and corresponding indentations, to facilitate a locking action when projections from other connectors are inserted in the space therebetween.
With reference to FIG. 5, there is shown two mated connectors, each having two U-shaped-portions, constructed in accordance with the invention. Each of these bisexual connectors has a base 40 and finger means comprising projections 41, 42 and 43. The interlocking means is provided by the space between the projections, this space being approximately equal to the thickness of one of the equally sized projections. When the connectors are mated as shown in FIG. 5, stacking is not possible; however, if the connector on the left in FIG. 5 were moved up one position so that projection 43 would occupy the space shown occupied by projection 42, then there would be an open space between projections 41 and 42 which would permit stacking of connectors. An arrangement of this kind may be seen in FIG. 6, wherein four connectors are shown stacked together, each of the four connectors having three U- shaped portions formed by finger means comprised of projections spaced apart a distance equal to the thickness of each of the projections.
From the foregoing description it will be evident to one skilled in the art that various modifications may be made in the basic U-shaped structure of the bisexual electrical connector without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A bisexual electrical connector made from a nonconductive material and having at least one U-shaped portion, said U- shaped portion comprising: base means having two apertures therein and extending therethrough, said base means apertures being adapted to receive a flat flexible conductor strip; and finger means comprising two parallel projections integral with said base means and extending substantially perpendicularly therefrom, said projections being spaced apart a distance approximately equal to the thickness of one of said projections thereby to form female interlocking means, and each of said two parallel projections of said finger means having a groove, adapted to receive a flat flexible conductor strip, on its interior side extending from one of said base means apertures, the grooves in each of said two parallel projections extending from the respective interior sides to the respective exterior sides of said projections.
2. A U-shaped bisexual electrical connector made from a nonconductive material, which comprises: base means having two apertures therein and extending therethrough, said base means apertures being adapted to receive a flat flexible c onductor strip; and a finger means including two parallel pro ections integral with said base means and extending substantially perpendicularly therefrom, said projections being spaced apart a distance approximately equal to the sum of the thicknesses of said two parallel projections thereby to form female interlocking means, and each of said two parallel projections of said finger means having a groove on its interior
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|U.S. Classification||439/284, 439/496|
|International Classification||H01R12/78, H01R13/28|