US 3639890 A
An electrical connector assembly for use between a cable and stationary device, the improvement being in the locking mechanism of the connectors.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
0 United States Patent [151 3,639,890 Stevens et al. 5] Feb. 1, 1972 my LOCKING CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY "[561 Rc fer egc es;i1efl [72} Inventors: William P. Stevens; George M. Hubbard; UNITED STATES PATENTS Wlliam D.W I] fF agmra 2,853,690 9/1958 Madison ..339/91 R  Assigneez The Bendix Corporation 3,136,366 6/1964 Brown et aL. ....285/3l9 22 Filed: June 9 7 3,160,457 12/1964 Fischer "339/91 R PP N05 1,662 7 Primary Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn Altomey-C. F. Arens and Flame, Arens, Hartz, Smith and  U.S.Cl. ..339/91 R,285/3l9,285/DIG. 22, ThOmPSOn 287/l19 R v M M  ABSTRACT  Int. Cl ..H0lr 13/54 An le t al connector assembly for use between acable and  FieldofSearch ..339/45,46, 74-79, stationary device, the improvement being in the locking 339/91; 285/319, DIG. 22; 287/119 mechanism of the connectors.
1 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures LOCKING CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Electrical connectors provide the normal means for communication between instruments and associated circuit devices. If communication or connection is lost for only a few seconds, some veryv critical information may not be received. To reduce the human error of accidentally knocking or shaking a connector loose, previous connector assemblies have employed some type of locking means. One common type of locking means was a threaded connection whereby the outer shell of the cable connector was screwed on the stationary connector. Though this was satisfactory once connected, it did not have the ease of connection needed for equipment that may be connected and disconnected a number of times, and yet remain securely locked once connected.
Another common locking device is a pin and camming surface whereby the stationary connector has one or more pins located on its outer shell, and the cable connector has a slot in its shell to match each pin of the stationary connector. When the connectors are mated, the cable connector shell is twisted so that the pin moves along the slot in a camming action to draw the two connectors securely together. At the end of the slot is located a groove whereby the pin may seat to lock the two connectors in a mating position. During normal connection of cables, it is very common that the pin maynot be securely seated in the groove. Unless the pin is securely seated in the groove, the cable connector shell may twist slightly from vibration or cable movement causing the pin to no longer be located over the groove. Therefore, if a sudden pull or jerk was accidentally exerted on the cable, the two connectors may pull apart.
Attempts to minimize, if not eliminate, the human factor of accidental disconnections have been numerous. The present invention represents a new locking device over the previous locking mechanisms shown. It has ease of operation, simplicity of design, and high reliability not present in the prior art.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to provide a connector assembly with a better locking mechanism.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a connector assembly that may be easily connected and disconnected, but is very difficult to accidentally pull loose.
It is a still further object of this invention provide a connector assembly locking mechanism whereby a ridge of a locking sleeve of the cable connector is pressed into an undercut groove of the housing of the stationary connector to provide a retaining force when the two connectors are mated together; but after being mated, if a pull is exerted on the cable, a wedge surface of the cable connector will provide an outward force on the locking sleeve to securely lock the ridge in the groove so that the connectors can only be disconnected by physically gripping the sleeve and sliding it along the connector assembly to remove the wedging action and retaining force.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be more fully understood by the following detailed description when taken together with the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is a longitudinal sectional view of a cable connector assembly with a cable connected thereto.
FIG. 2 is a partially exploded view of the structure shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a partial sectional view of the structure of FIG. 1, showing the parts enlarged to better illustrate the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION With reference to the accompanying FIGS., there is shown in FIG. 1 a sectional view of two connectors mated together with the stationary connector being designated generally by reference numeral and the cable connector being designated generally by reference numeral 12. The stationary connectorconsists generally of a housing 14 for containing the male connector pin 18 which is surrounded by insulation 16. A guide 20 helps position the cable connector 12 so that it will be easier to assemble the two connectors 10 and 12.
The cable connector consists generally of a female contact 22 surrounded by insulation 24 contained within The body 26. The center part of the body 26 is encircled by a freely rotating locking'sleeve 28. A retaining nut 30 pulls the cable nut 32 against the clamp 34 to hold the cable 36 in rigid position. The clamp 34 is separated from the contact 22 by an insulating washer 38.
The cable 36 is prepared for the connector 12 by removing a portion 10f the covering 40 and shield 42, and a smaller portion of the insulation 44 whereby the wire 46 can be inserted into the connector contact 22 with the insulation 44 abutting the contact 22 and the covering 40 and shield 42 being forced against the clamp 34. To assemble the connector first put the cable nut 32 on the cable 36 and then slide the clamp 34 under covering '40 and shield 44. Put the insulating washer 38 over the cableinsulation 44 and against the clamp 34 before inserting the wire 46 in the contact 22. Upon inserting the wire 46 in the contact 22, solder is applied through an opening 48 to the cavity SOIinto which the wire 46 was inserted. Contact 22 is then inserted into the body assembly 51 (shown in FIG. 2) with a shoulder 52 of the contact 22 abutting a shoulder 54 of the insulation 24. All the subcomponents shown in FIG. 2 are securelyfastened into place by screwing the retaining nut 30 over the cable nut'32. It is important that the cable nut 32 remain stationary with respect to the cable 36 and that the retaining nut 30 be turned, otherwise the square cut edges 56 of the cable nut 32 will break the cable cover 40 and/or shield 42 when forcing them against the clamps cone-shaped section 58. The insulating washer 38 is designed to insulate the contact 22 from the clamp 34 which is pressed against the outwardly protruding flange 60 of the body 26.
The body 26 and insulation 24 are joined together by inserting the insulation 24 into the body 26 and crimping them togetherat the slotted portion 62 of the body. The locking sleeve 28, is slid over the body 26 and the retaining nut 30 is butted against the shoulders 64 of the body 26 in the position as shownsThe end of the body 26 inside the retaining nut is bent outward to form a flange 60 which holds the body assembly 51' together.
The stationary connector 10 is, for the most part, a standard plug receptacle. The pin 18 is embedded in the insulation 16 with point 66 electrically mating the spring pins 68 of contact 22. The lead portions 70 and 72 of point 66 and spring pins 68, respectively, are conically shaped to provide an easier mating connection. The insulator 16 has a forward cylinder portion 74 to protect the point 66 and ensure the necessary electrical insulation. Shoulder 76 of the insulation 16 butts shoulder 78 of the guide 20 with the flange 80 of the housing holding the connector 10 together. The guide 20 is physically attached to the housing 14 by some type of bonding. The forward portion 82 of the guide 20 is arcuate to conform to beveled rim 84 of the extension 86 by body 26. The arcuate shape 82 and beveled rim 84 provide an easy mating of the two connectors 10 and 12. The housing 14 is screwed into a chassis or bolted to a chassis by means of threads 88 with the flange 90 pressing against the panel surface.
Referring to the enlarged sectional view of FIG. 3, the locking sleeve 28 has tines 92 extending toward the left of connector 12. Each of the tines 92 have outwardly extending ridges 94 with two oppositely beveled surfaces 96 and 98. The inside left portion 93 of the tine 92 is arcuate. The housing 14 of connector 10 has undercut 100 into which the ridge 94 of the tines 92 will seat. The undercut 100 is beveled so that surface 102 matches the correspondingly beveled surface 96 in the ridge-94. Beveled surface 98 of the ridge 94 facilitates assembly of the cable connector 12 to the stationary connector 10. It is not necessary that beveled surface 98 of the ridge 94 have a corresponding cut as does beveled surface 104 in the housing 14.
The locking of the two connectors and 12 occurs in the following manner. When cable connector 12 is pushed into stationary connector 10, the tines 92 are forced inwardly by beveled surface 98 sliding along the beveled surface 106. Once the ridge 94 reaches the undercut 100, the tines 92 spring outwardly. The outward force of the tines 92 securely seats the ridge 94 in the undercut 100. Thereafter, if a pull or jerk is exerted on the cable 36, the beveled surface 96 of the ridge 94 will press against the beveled surface 102 of the housing 14. This interference between the corresponding beveled surfaces 96 and 102 causes the locking sleeve 28 to slide along the moving connector 12 until the wedging surface 108 of the body 26 engages the arcuate portion 93 of the tines 92. The wedging surface 108 tends to force the tines 92 outwardly so that the ridge 94 cannot unseat from the undercut 100. This wedging action of surface 108 stops the moving of connector 12 within the sleeve 28 because the body 26 cannot pass through the tines 92 which have a smaller internal circumference than the external portion of body 26. Since the tines 92 are secured in the undercut 100 of connector 10 and connector 12 is secured to the lines 92; therefore cable connector 12 is secured to stationary connector 10. The greater the force exerted on the cable 36 the tighter the wedge becomes. After the ridge 94 has been seated in the undercut 100, the only way the two connectors 10 and 12 can be disconnected is by pulling the locking sleeve 28 toward the retainer nut 30 to remove the interference between surfaces 96 and 102. Due to the fact that the bevel angle of surface 96 is greater with respect to the longitudinal axis of the connectors than the bevel angle of wedging surface 108, the connector 12 (excluding the locking sleeve 28) may have to move to the left a slight amount if the wedging surface 108 is against the arcuate portion 93. If no pulling force is being exerted on the cable 36, the force of the pull on the locking sleeve 28 will slide the arcuate portion 93 along the wedging surface 108 thereby moving the connector 12 slightly to the left which allows the locking sleeve 28 to move to the right and depress the tines 92 inside the housing 14. After the interference between surfaces 96 and 102 has been removed, the connectors 10 and 12 are free to separate. Upon separation, the tines 92 spring outward into their normal position.
From the foregoing it may be seen that applicants have invented a novel mechanism for locking two connectors into their mating portions. Though the present locking mechanism is shown in conjunction with a particular type of stationary connector 10 and a particular type of cable connector 12, it may be used in other mating connectors. There is no limitation on the type of cable being connected. A coaxial cable, multiconductor cable, or any other type of cable could use the locking mechanism as described in this disclosure or some variation thereof.
1. A connector locking means for a first connector having a housing, insulation, and contact pins; and a second connector having a cable clamp, insulation, contact pins, and body, comprising:
an undercut in said housing of said first connector;
a slidable sleeve around said body of said second connector, said slidable sleeve having tines with a ridge for seating in said undercut; and
a wedging surface on said body of said second connector to retain said ridge in said undercut;
said wedging surface, said undercut, and said ridge being beveled;
said tines being forced inwardly by a leading slope on said tines and ridge when said first and second connectors are pushed together;
said undercut and ridge being matchingly sloped on the rearward edge of said ridge os that when said ridge is seated in said undercut the two matchingly sloped surfaces are flat against one another; said matching slope causing interference which forces said sleeve to slide along said second connector when force is applied to separate the two connectors unless said ridge has first been unseated by a ull on said sleeve; said wedging surface avrng a lessor angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of said connectors than the angle of said matching slopes, the sleeve moving along said second connector until said tines contact said wedging surface upon attempted separation other than pulling on said slidable sleeve thereby forcing said ridge to remain seated in said undercut and stopping the separation of the connectors;
the mating end of said body being of greater diameter than said sleeve, the cable end of said body having an extension that is bent outwardly to form a flange which secures a retaining nut, said retaining nut holding said cable clamp to said second connection, said retaining nut providing a stop for said slidable sleeve.