US 3713073 A
An improved electrical connector for flat cable comprising a selectively segmented relatively flat housing, an appropriately contoured base member releasably securable therewithin, and a plurality of terminating members positionable within associated spaced recesses longitudinally disposed adjacent one edge of the base member. Extending within the base member and terminating in an elongated opening adjacent the spaced recesses therein is a narrow slot-like cable receiving passage through which may be fed the terminating end of a flat cable, each of the bared conductor ends of which may then be bonded to an associated terminating member. Strain relief means extending at least partially into said passage may be provided to secure the cable therewithin. Complementarily contoured portions on the base member and housing, respectively, permit releasable, locking interengagement therebetween.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Narozny  ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR  Inventor: Ronald S. Narozny, Panorama City,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,353,141 11/1967 Budai ..339/17FX 3,149,896 9/1964 Hall ..339/l7 F X 3,076,951 2/1963 Swanson ..339/17 F X 3,432,799 3/1969 Richards et a1.. .....339/l7 FX 3,432,794 3/1969 Churla ..339/17 F 3,079,579 2/1963 Crimmins et al. ..339/l7 F X [4 1 Jan. 23, 1973 3,146,051 8/1964 Woofter et a1 ..339/l28 X Primary EraminerRichard E. Moore Attorney-David Teschner and Jesse Woldman  ABSTRACT An improved electrical connector for flat cable comprising a selectively segmented relatively flat housing, an appropriately contoured base member releasably securable therewithin, and a plurality of terminating members positionable within associated spaced recesses longitudinally disposed adjacent one edge of the base member. Extending within the base member and terminating in an elongated opening adjacent the spaced recesses therein is a narrow slot-like cable receiving passage through which may be fed the terminating end of a flat cable, each of the bared conductor ends of which may then be bonded to an associated terminating member. Strain relief means extending at least partially into said. passage may be provided to secure the cable therewithin. Complementarily contoured portions on the base member and housing, respectively, permit releasable, locking interengagement therebetween.
12 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures PATENTEU JAN 2 3 I975 SHEET 1 OF 4 INVENTOR: RONALD S. NAWOZNY FIG. 2
AGENT PATENTED JAN 23 I975 SHEET 2 0F 1 OOOOAWOOOOO FIG 5 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The invention is directed to the field of connectors and principally to an electrical connector for multiconductor cable, such as flat cable.
2. Description of the Prior Art Electrical connectors for flat cable, for example, according to the prior art, generally comprised a plurality of wire terminating members rigidly secured to a support member, wherein each of the bared ends of the flat cable were required to be bonded, individually, to an associated terminal in a relatively slow, time-consuming operation. Upon the completion of the bonding operation, it was generally necessary to provide additional means for protecting the terminated junction and for restraining the adjacent extending portion of the cable in an attempt to secure the integrity of the completed juncture. Such means were often cumbersome, expensive, and frequently inadequate, being confined generally, in one form, to a relatively complex composite structure comprising mating cover members securable to the support member, or to each other, by means of separate threaded fasteners or the like, the plurality of elements thus required being readily subject to loss, breakage and misassembly. Difficulty was generally experienced in providing adequate strain relief means due to the nature of the cable configuration, the relatively thin flat structure thereof precluding the use of conventional cable encircling means. Additionally, further difficulty was generally experienced when attempting to remove, alter or modify, where necessary, one or more of the completed connections within the connector because of the fixed close rela tionship between adjacent terminating members therein.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention overcomes the limitations and difficulties noted above with respect to prior art devices by providing a plurality of removable terminating members selectively disposed within a slotted base member adapted to be releasably secured within an appropriately contoured housing, resulting in an electrical connector for flat cable which is more effective, efficient, reliable and convenient than such prior art devices. A plurality of appropriately contoured spaced recesses are provided adjacent one edge of the terminal receiving portion of the base member, each being suitably arranged to receive therein an associated male or female terminating member after the connection of said terminating members to associated bared conductor ends of a flat cable. The terminating members may be supplied either individually or in strip form, the latter configuration affording a rapid, convenient means for the termination of the flat cable thereto, the spacing between adjacent terminating members being arranged to conform to the spacing between adjacent flat cable conductors connectable thereto. Adjacent the terminal receiving portion of the base member is a cable receiving portion appropriately apertured to provide a selectively proportioned cable receiving passage therethrough arranged to permit the insertion therethrough of the terminating end of a flat cable prior to its connection to the associated connector terminating members. Depending inwardly generally transverse to the plane of the cable receiving passage and providing at least a partial restriction thereof is a generally elongated protrusion serving to cause at least a partial planar deformation of a flat cable disposed within the cable receiving passage thereby providing an effective strain relief means therefor. The surface of the protrusion may be suitably interrupted, where necessary or desired, as by serrating or the like, to increase the frictional engagement between said surface and the adjacent mating portion of the flat cable. Positionable over the base member and releasably securable thereto is an integral housing appropriately chambered to provide a relatively close mating fit with said base member. A plurality of spaced, generally parallel transverse ribs extending between the opposing adjacent inner surfaces of the housing serve to define a plurality of guiding apertures arranged to at least partially encompass the terminating members disposed within associated recesses in the base member, thus forming, in conjunction with said base member recesses, a series of selectively dimensioned, terminating member compartments. Retaining means in the form of cooperable, complementarily formed, mating portions are provided on said housing and said base member to permit said members to be releasably lockingly interengaged. To afford positional orientation of the electrical connector with respect to a complementary mating member, where desired, suitably formed orienting means comprising an aperture or protrusion adjacent the outer surface of the housing and configured to cooperate with a complementary portion on the mating member is provided therefor. The versatility of the electrical connector may be further increased by the inclusion thereon of means for permitting said connector to be coupled adjacent a similar connector in aligned stacked arrangement, to provide a plurality of selectively positioned terminating contacts in excess of that attainable within the confines of a single connector. In one embodiment, such means comprise preferably an elongated recessed portion adjacent one edge of the base member and a complementarily formed raised portion adjacent the opposing edge, said portions being arranged to interlock with similarly formed mating portions of a further connector. It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved electrical connector.
It is a further object of this invention to provide an improved low profile electrical connector for use in conjunction with a multiconductor flat cable.
It is another object of this invention to provide an improved electrical connector for flat cable having releasably interlocking members arranged to permit the rapid assembly and disassembly thereof.
It is yet another object of this invention to provide an improved electrical connector comprising separable terminating members arranged to permit the rapid connection thereto of the terminating end of a multiconductor flat cable.
It is still another object of this invention to provide an improved electrical connector for flat cable having unique strain relief means incorporated therewithin.
It is yet a further object of this invention to provide an improved low profile electrical connector for flat cable matingly stackable adjacent a similar connector to effect an increased aggregate terminating capacity therewith.
Other objects and feature of the invention will be pointed out in the following description and claims and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, which disclose, by way of example, the principle of the invention and the best mode which has been contemplated for carrying it out.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an electrical connector constructed in accordance with the concepts of the invention, including therewith a portion of multiconductor flat cable terminated therewithin.
FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the electrical connector of FIG. 1, showing the base member, female terminal members, and housing thereof.
FIG. 3 is a top plan view, partly in section, of the base member of the connector of FIG. 1, showing the female terminal members therewithin connected to one end of a flat cable.
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view, in section, of the base member of FIG. 3 taken along the line 4-4.
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the base member and female terminal members of the connector of FIG. 1 showing a flat cable inserted through the base member and disposed adjacent the terminal members preparatory to termination therewith.
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the members of FIG. 5 after assembly of the terminating end of the flat cable to the associated terminal members.
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a portion of a strip of male terminal members according to the concepts of the invention.
FIG. 8 is a top plan view of a pair of mating electrical connectors for flat cable constructed in accordance with the concepts of the invention.
FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the electrical connector of FIG. 1 disposed adjacent a mating terminal board.
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the electrical connector of FIG. 1 disposed in stacking arrangement adjacent further similar connectors.
FIG. 1 l is a fragmentary side elevational view, in section, of a portion of the base member of the connector of FIG. 1 showing an embodiment of a strain relief means therein according to the concepts of the invention.
FIG. 12 is a fragmentary side elevational view, in section, of an electrical connector locking means according to the concepts of the invention.
FIG. 13 is a fragmentary side elevational view, in section, of the rear portion of the stacked electrical connector arrangement of FIG. 10.
FIG. 14 is a fragmentary side elevational view, in section, of a further embodiment of an electrical connector locking means according to the concepts of the invention.
Similar elements are given similar reference characters in each of the respective drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Turning now to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4, there is shown an electrical connector constructed in accordance with the concepts of the invention. Connector 20 comprises a relatively flat base member 22 having a cable receiving portion 24 and a terminal receiving portion 26 in generally coplanar adjacent relationship. Disposed along the leading edge 28 of the terminal receiving portion 26 in spaced parallel relationship and extending rearwardly towards the cable receiving portion 24, are a plurality of terminal receiving recesses 30, each being selectively contoured to receive therein an associated terminal member such as 32. Extending through the cable receiving portion 24, generally parallel to the outer faces 34, 34 thereof and terminating adjacent the terminal receiving portion 26 of base member 22 in an opening 36 in FIG. 2 is a cable receiving aperture 38, as is more clearly shown in FIG. 4, said aperture 38 being arranged to permit the insertion therethrough of a flat multiconductor cable such as 40. As may be more clearly seen in FIG. 4, aperture 38 extends from the rear flanged portion 42 of base member 22 towards the terminal receiving portion 26, being interrupted generally intermediate its length by a laterally extending protrusion ,44 depending into aperture 38 and providing a strain relief means arranged to at least partially planarly deform cable 40 in a manner substantially as shown in FIG. 4 wherein cable 40 may be restrictively restrained against the walls defining aperture 38. Although the free end 46 of protrusion 44 is shown in FIG. 4 as having a relatively smooth planar surface, the surface thereof may be appropriately modified as by serrating or the like, as shown at 48 in FIG. 11, to enhance the restraining effect thereof. It will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that other suitable modifications of protrusion 44 may be provided without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, the side walls 50 of protrusion 44, illustrated in FIG. 4 as having relatively smooth surfaces, may be suitably modified to provide an irregular surface as at 52 in FIG. 11, thereby further enhancing the frictional engagement between said surfaces 52 and the adjacent surface of cable 40, where desired. Extending outwardly from face 34 of base member cable receiving portion 22 are a pair of spaced, selectively contoured protrusions 56, 56', the purpose of which is more fully described below. The terminal members 32 are shown in FIG. 2 as preferably coupled to and depending outwardly from a connecting strip 58 arranged to be removed therefrom prior to the disposition of said terminals 32 within their associated recesses 30 in base member 22, to facilitate the use of a mass-bonding technique wherein all of the bared conductor ends 60 (FIG. 5) ofa flat cable such as 40 may be bonded to the respective terminal members 32 simultaneously. The manner in which this may be accomplished is more fully described below. Positionable over base member 22 and releasably engageable therewith is an appropriately. contoured integral housing 62. A pair of recesses 64, 64' longitudinally disposed in spaced relationship adjacent the rear edge 66 of housing 62 are proportioned to matingly cooperate with the base member protrusions 56, 56' respectively to provide releasable locking engagement therebetween, as may be more clearly seen in FIG. 12. As further illustrated in FIG. 12, additional protrusions 68, 68 may be provided on base member 22, as, for example, adjacent its face 34 and suitably arranged to releasably lockingly engage additional recesses 70, 70 in housing 62 where such additional locking means are necessary or desired. The relative positions of the respective protrusions 56, 56' and mating recesses 64, 64 may be suitably interchanged, in such manner as shown in FIG. 14, as to provide recesses 98 in base members 22 matingly cooperable with associated protrusions 100 on housing 62 without departing from the spirit of the invention. Alternatively, each member may be provided with at least one recess and one protrusion to effect the locking engagement described, within the teaching herein disclosed. A plurality of generally parallel, spaced transverse members 72 extending between the opposing inner surfaces (not shown of housing 62 and terminating adjacent the forward edge 74 thereof serve to define a plurality of guiding apertures 76, each ar ranged to provide a compartment-like chamber for the receipt therein of at least a portion of an associated terminal member 32.
To more fully appreciate the novel advantages of connector and the termination of a multiconductor flat cable thereto, reference is now made to FIGS. 3, 5 and 6. The terminating end 78 of cable 40 is inserted within base member cable receiving aperture 38 from the rearward end adjacent flanged portion 42 and advanced through aperture 38, around the strain relief protrusion 44, and through the forward slot opening at 36. A sufficient length of cable 40 should be so advanced through aperture 38 to permit the convenient manipulation thereof during the subsequent bonding operation. Each of the bared ends 60 of cable 40 are then disposed adjacent the conductor receiving portion 80 of an associated terminal member 32 and bonded thereto by the employment of either one of several well known methods, such as soldering, welding, brazing or the like. For convenience, and to facilitate the bonding operation, terminals 32 may be supplied in reel or strip form wherein said terminals are maintained in a predetermined spaced relationship adjacent removable connecting strip 58, the spacing between terminals 32 being selectively arranged to conform to the spacing between adjacent conductors 60 of cable 40. Thus, by the use of well known multiple bonding techniques, it is readily apparent that all of the terminal members 32 may be simultaneously bonded to the associated bared conductor ends :60 of cable 40 in a single efficient, rapid and economical operation. The connecting strip 58 is thereafter separated from its associated terminal members 32, resulting in a configuration similar to that shown in FIG. 6. Cable 40 is then retracted partially through aperture 38 sufficiently to permit each of the terminal members 32 to be properly positioned within its associated recess 30 in the base member terminal receiving portion 26, substantially as shown in FIG. 3. Although terminal members 32 have been shown generally as female contacts, it is not intended that the invention be limited thereby, since it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that male contact terminal members such as 82 (FIG. 7) may be similarly effectively employed without departing from the spirit of the invention. It will also be apparent to the skilled art worker that a combination of male and female contact terminal members may be readily intermixed in appropriate arrangement in a particular connector, according to the concepts of the invention, without departing from the spirit thereof. Base member 22 may now be inserted within housing 62 and lockingly engaged thereto, the relationship of the protrusions 56, 56' on base member 22 with respect to their mating recesses 64, 64' in housing 62 being arranged in such manner as to permit either a mandatory or discretiona' ry orientation of the housing 62 adjacent base member 22. For example, where protrusions 56, 56' are disposed solely on one surface 34 of the base member 22, as shown in FIG. 2, the disposition of a mating pair of recesses such as 64, 64' within only one surface of housing 62 will effect a mandatory orientation therebetween. However, the inclusion of an additional pair of recesses such as 70, 70' (FIG. 12) suitably disposed within the opposite surface of housing 62 will permit a mating between housing 62 and base member 22 in either one of the two possible orientations. Similarly, selective positioning of base member protrusions 56, 56' with respect to the associated mating housing recesses 64, 64' may be effectively employed to accomplish the desired orientation. Where it is desired to establish a particular orientation of connector 20 with respect to a mating member, further orienting means such as locating recess 84 disposed adjacent the front edge 74 of housing 62 may be effectively utilized. Recess 84 may be selectively proportioned to engage a complementary protrusion such as 86 in member 88, as is more clearly shown in FIG. 8, member 88 being arranged to interengage with connector 20 to form a completed electrical connection therebetween. Similar interengagement may be effected between connector 20 and an appropriately arranged terminal board such as 90 (FIG. 9), board 90 ineluding therewith a locating protrusion 92 functioning in a manner similar to protrusion 86 of FIG. 8.
Turning now to FIGS. 10 and 13, there is shown a stacked arrangement of three electrical connectors 20 according to the concepts of the invention. The rear flanged portion 42 of each connector 20 is provided with a longitudinally extending coupling recess 94 adjacent one edge thereof and a mating complementary coupling rib 96 adjacent the opposing edge as shown in FIG. 13. Rib 96 of one of the connectors 20. is proportioned to matingly engage an associated recess 94 in the adjacent connector 20 in such manner as to effect a snap fit therebetween, wherein a plurality of connectors such as 20 may be conveniently stacked in aligned overlapping arrangement substantially as shown, where, for example, it is necessary or desired to terminate a plurality of flat cables 40 within a relatively restricted area. Although the adjoining ribs 96 and recesses 94 may be formed in such manner as to provide readily releasable interengagement therebetween, they may be appropriately contoured to provide a nonseparable interengaged assembly where, for example, it is necessary or desired to maintain a relatively permanent relationship between adjacent cables 40. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that although the mating ribs 96 and recesses 94 are shown disposed adjacent the rear flanged portion 42 of connector 20, they may be arranged, with equal effectiveness, adjacent other suitable portions of connector 20 without departing from the spirit, and according to the teaching, of the invention.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. An electrical connector for flat cable comprising: a generally fiat rectangular base member having an upper surface, a lower surface arranged in generally parallel planar relationship with respect to said upper surface, a first edge, a second edge, said first and second edges defining the lateral extent of said base member, a first end, a second end, said first and second ends defining the longitudinal extent of said base member, a cable receiving portion extending longitudinally a predetermined distance from said base member second end towards said base member first end, a terminal receiving portion disposed adjacent said cable receiving portion and extending therefrom to said base member first end, said cable receiving portion having an aperture extending longitudinally therethrough, said aperture being proportioned to receive a selective length of flat conductor cable in close fitting relationship therein, said terminal receiving portion having a plurality of longitudinally extending, laterally spaced recesses communicating with said base member first end; a housing removably disposed about said base member and attached thereto, said housing encompassing said base member upper and lower surfaces, said housing further having a plurality of spaced openings adjacent one edge thereof, each of said openings being coincident with a corresponding one of said base member terminal receiving portion recesses; and a plurality of terminal members, each being selectively connectable to an associated conductor of a fiat cable and at least partially positioned within an associated one of said recesses in said base member terminal receiving portion.
2. An electrical connector as defined in claim 1 further comprising means for releasably retaining said base member within said housing.
3. An electrical connector as defined in claim 2 wherein said retaining means comprises at least one raised portion disposed on said base member and at least one complementarily contoured recessed portion in said housing matingly cooperable with said raised portion.
4. An electrical connector as defined in claim 2 wherein said retaining means comprises at least one recessed portion in said base member and at least one raised portion disposed on said housing matingly cooperable with said recessed portion.
5. An electrical connector as defined in claim 1 wherein said base member further comprises strain relief means disposed in said base member cable receiving portion aperture.
6. An electrical connector as defined in claim 5 wherein said strain relief means comprises a protruding portion depending at least partially into said aperture in said base member cable receiving portion.
7. An electrical connector as defined in claim 6 wherein said protruding portion is provided with an at least partially interrupted surface.
8. An electrical connector as defined in claim 1 wherein said housing is provided with a plurality of spaced, generally parallel transverse members extending interiorly between the opposing surfaces of said housing, said transverse members at least partially defining a plurality of longitudinally aligned guiding apertures coincident with said spaced openings in said housing, each of said guiding apertures being disposed in such manner as to at least partially encompass an associated one of said terminal members.
9. An electrical connector as defined in claim 1 wherein a portion of each of said terminal members is formed in such manner as to define a female receptacle arranged to receive therein a mating tab.
10. An electrical connector as defined in claim 1 wherein a portion of each of said terminal members is formed in such manner as to define a male tab arranged for engagement within a mating female receptacle.
11. An electrical connector as defined in claim 1 further comprising orienting means provided on said connector wherein said connector may be coupled to a mating connector in only one predetermined position.
12. An electrical connector as defined in claim 1 further comprising coupling means adjacent said base member cable receiving portion for coupling said connector to a further substantially similar connector in adjacent generally parallel planar relationship.