|Publication number||US3716817 A|
|Publication date||Feb 13, 1973|
|Filing date||Apr 21, 1971|
|Priority date||Apr 21, 1971|
|Publication number||US 3716817 A, US 3716817A, US-A-3716817, US3716817 A, US3716817A|
|Inventors||Bowdish D, Wolfe W|
|Original Assignee||Mc Donnell Douglas Corp|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (16), Classifications (11)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent Wolfe, Jr. et al. 1 51 Feb. 13, 1973  ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS lnvenmrsl William Wolfe, Louis; 320,997 8 1902 France ..339/262 R Donald Bowdish, Overland, both 799,503 8/1958 Great Britain ..'..339/l 11 of Mo. 73] Assignee: McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Primary Examimj" -loseph McGlynn Saint Louis, Mo. Att0rneyGravely, Lieder & Woodruff  Filed: April 21, 1971  ABSTRACT  Appl' 135311 An electrical connection is formed by a pair of connectors which engage one another such that contact 339/93 339/1 1 l resistance between the two is extremely low. The one 339/253 R, 339/262 R connector is attached to a wire and has a hollow bar- Cl- ..H0ll' rel urrounded a flange The other connector is  F'eld search""339/74 H disposed within a socket and includes a pin sized to fit 339/259 262 within a barrel and a plurality of resilient contact finv. gers spaced around the pin and in electrical contact  References Cited therewith. When the first connector is inserted into UNITED STATES PATENTS the socket, the barrel passes over the pin and between 896,210 8 1908 James ..339/111 m g engages the internal 3,155,448 11 1964,v Korsgren, Jr. .339/75R o t e we e Fngaget eextefna 2,287,676 6 1942 Frank etal. ..339/111 rel Surface The socket comalns a locking P which 2,324,891 7/1943 Thumim ..339/93 C ngages the flange on the barrel and prevents 2,944,24l 7/1960 Londell, Jr... 339/258 R withdrawal of the first connector from the socket. 3,079,582. 2/1963 Lazar 339/258 R 3,397,384 8/1968- Lawrence ..339/258 P 7 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to connecting devices and more particularly to electrical connectors.
Electrical components such as terminal blocks, switches, relays, circuit breakers and the like are often provided with connectors of one type or another for attaching electrical wires to those components. Some of the connectors are of the female variety and of course accept mating male connector elements on the wires. Others are of the male variety, in which case the wires must be provided with female connectors. In any event, little standardization exists and consequently electrical components of different manufacturers are rarely interchangeable, even though they may be designed for similar products. Moreover, in electrical connections which are formed by engaged male and female connectors of the conventional variety, only one surface of each connector engages the other connector. For example, only the internal surface of the female connector contacts the external surface of the male connector. This characteristic of conventional male and female connectors often results in excessive electrical contact resistance and furthermore impairs the ability of one connector to transfer heat to the other connector and thereby dissipate heat from an overheated electrical component or wire. The present practice of using male connectors on some components and female connectors on others, furthermore, creates inventory problems, in that the assembler of the components must stock both male and female connectors for use on thewires which lead to the components.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One of the principal objects of the present invention is to provide an electricalconnection which is ideally suited for in line connections as well as for attaching wires to components of electrical circuits such as switches, terminal blocks, circuit breakers, relays, and the like. Another object is to standardize electrical connectors, and to eliminate the present need for assemblers of electrical equipment to stock both female and male connectors. A further object is to provide an electrical connection having extremely low contact resistance. An additional object is to provide an electrical connection which readily conducts heat. Still another object is to provide a termination for wires which will resist substantial lateral forces and vibration forces applied to the wires without disrupting electrical continuity. Yet another object isto provide an electrical connection system which may be utilized with a minimum number of parts, tools, and accessories. These and other objects and advantages will become apparent hereinafter.
The present invention resides in a connector for engaging another connectorhaving a hollow barrel. The connector of the invention includes a pin which projects into the barrel and a plurality of fingers which engage the external surface of the barrel and further are in electrical contact with the pin. The invention also resides in the connection .formed by the two connectors. The invention also. consists in the parts and in the arrangements and combinations of parts hereinafter described and claimed.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings which form part of the specification and wherein like numerals refer to like parts wherever they occur:
FIG. 1 is a longitudinal sectional view of an electrical connection constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view of a modified electrical connection;
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal sectional view of still another modified electrical connection; and
FIG. 5 is a longitudinal sectional view of yet another modified electrical connection.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now in detail to the drawings (FIG. 1), 2 designates an electrical connection or junction for connecting a wire 4 to an electrical component 6, the latter of which may be a terminal block, a switch, a motor, a relay, an electrical instrument, or the like. The electrical connection 2 consists of two basic elements or mating parts, namely a first connector 8 attached to the wire 4, and a second connector 10 set into the component 6.
The electrical component 6 '(FIG. 1) includes a header 20 and a retention block 22, the latter of which is secured against the back face of the former. The header 20 may be formed from a dielectric or an electrically conductive substance, depending on the nature of the component 6, but the header 20 should be rigid in order to support the second connector 10. The retention block 22, formed from a dielectric material which is also rigid in nature. In addition to the header 20 and retention block 22, the component 6 may have an elastomeric grommet 26 which is contained with a cup-like grommet support 28. The grommet support 28 is in turn attached to the back of the retention block 22 and is formed from a dielectric material. Also disposed within the grommet support 28 and interposed between the back face of the retention block 22 and the elastomeric grommet 26 is a dielectric separating plate 30. Alternatively, the grommet 26 may be bonded to the plate 30 or directly to the retention block 22. That portion of the electrical component 6 presented to the rear of the header 20, that is the retention block 22, the separating plate 30, the grommet 26 and the grommet support 28, is provided with a socket 32 which takes the form of a bore 34 and counterbore 36 within the retention block 22 and a ribbed hole 38 within the grommet 26. The bore 34 extends away from the back face of the header 20 and opens into the counterbore 36 at a shoulder. The counterbore 36 terminates at the separating plate 30 and opens into the ribbed hole 38 through an aperture in the plate 30. As its name implies, the ribbed hole 38 is provided with a plurality of ribs 40 which extend circumferentially therein and are somewhat smaller in diameter than the external diameter of the wire 4 to which the first connector 8 is attached.
The second connector 10 is disposed within the bore 34 and counterbore 36 of the retention block 22 (FIG. I) and includes a metal pin 46 which is fixed rigid in the header 20 and projects into the bore 34 therefrom. The fixed end of the pin 46 is connected to the electrical circuitry of the component, whereas the opposite or free end is rounded, or in other words is dome-shaped. Within the bore 34 the pin 46 is surrounded by a plurality of resilient contact fingers 48 which are formed from a spring metal and extend from a common base 50 formed integral therewith. The base 50 is positioned against the back face of the header 20 and is apertured to receive the pin 46 which projects through it. To retain the fingers 48 in the foregoing position, the base 50 from which they extend is soldered, brazed or otherwise securely fastened to the pin 46 adjacent to the back face of the header 20. This places the fingers 48 at thesame electrical potential as the pin 46. The fingers 48 are preferably of different arcuate size or width (FIG. 2) so that no two fingers 48 possess the same natural frequency. Accordingly, the fingers 48 will not resonate at the same frequency. The same effect may be achieved by making one finger larger than another or of greater mass than another. The fixed or inner ends of the fingers 48 are joined to the base 50 adjacent to the cylindrical wall of the bore 34, whereas the free or outer ends are disposed inwardly from the wall of the bore 34, yet they are still spaced outwardly from the pin 46. The free ends of the fingers 48 have inwardly presented contact surfaces which face the pin 46 and are disposedv rearwardly from the dome-shaped end thereon. The free ends of the fingers 48 are also pro vided with outwardly turned lips 52, and these lips 52 are setback from the shoulder separating the bore 34 and counterbore 36. The pin 46 projects axially beyond the lips 52.
. The counterbore 36 retains a locking clip 56 (FIG. 1) including a base section 58 which is seated against the shoulder located at the juncture of the bore 34 and counterbore 36, and this base section 58 is further apertured to accommodate the female connector 8. The base section 58 merges into a sleeve 60 which bears against the cylindrical wall of the counterbore 36 and radially positions the locking clip 56 in the counterbore 36. The sleeve 60 extends through the counterbore 36, and near the separating plate 30 it is connected to inwardly and forwardly turned retention fingers 62 which are spaced circumferentially from one another within the interior of the counterbore 36. The fingers 62 extend away from the separating plate 30 and terminate a predetermined distance from the base section 58. These fingers 62, like the contact fingers 48, are not outwardly obstructed and hence are free to move outwardly within the confines of the counterbore 36. The shoulder at the juncture of the bore 34 and counterbore 36 and the separating plate 30 axially position the locking clip 56 within the counterbore 36.
The first connector 8 (FIG. 1) is initially detached from the second connector and includes a metal barrel 70, the forward end of which is open and is internally sized to loosely receive the pin 46 of the male connector 10. The forward end of the barrel 70 carries several wire contact elements 72 which are biased inwardly so as to snugly grip the cylindrical side face of the pin 46 when the barrel 70 passes over it. Externally the forward end of the barrel 70 is slightly larger than the closest spacing between opposite sets of contact fingers 48, but is not larger than the circle defined by the outermost edges of the lips 52 on those fingers 48. Consequently, as the barrel is advanced over the pin 46, its forward end engages the lips 52, and spreads them apart so that the innermost surfaces of the contact fingers 48 will bear against the outwardly presented surface of the barrel 70.
The rear or opposite end of the barrel 78 is also hollow and fitted therein is the conductive portion of the wire 4, that is the metal conductor stripped of its insulation. Indeed, this end of the barrel .70 is crimped at 74 or else is soldered to the conductive portion of the wire 4 so that good electrical contact exists between the wire 4 and the female connector 8.
Intermediate its ends the first connector 8 is provided with a circumferential flange 76 which is carried by the barrel 70 and projects outwardly therefrom. Both ends of the flange are squared off, and the axial distance between the squared off end faces of these ends is less than the distance between the apertured base section 58 and the free ends of the retention fingers 62, both of which form part of the locking clip 56 (FIG. 1 The distance from the forward end face of the barrel 70 to the rearwardly presented face of of the flange 76 is less than the distance from the base 50, from which the contact fingers 48 extend, to the free ends of retention fingers 62 housed within the counterbore 36. Moreover, the diameter of the flange 76 is less than the diameter of the aperture in the separating plate 30, but is greater than the diameter of the aperture in the base section 58. It is also greater than the spacing between opposed pairs of retention fingers 62 at their free ends, and consequently the flange 76 will spread the retention fingers 62 as the barrel 70 passes over the pin 46. z
OPERATION To connect the wire 4 to the electrical component 6, the first connector'8 at the end of the wire 4 is inserted into the rearwardly opening socket 32 in the component 6. Once the initial insertion has been made and the first connector 8 is correctly-aligned with the socket 32, the barrel 70 is forced axially into the socket 32 preferably by means of an insertion tool (not shown) which engages the back face of the flange 76. As the barrel 70 advances through the ribbed hole 38 in the grommet 26, the ribs 40 therein, being formed from an elastomer, deform outwardly in the presence of the flange 76 and allow the flange 76 and barrel 70 to pass inwardly. After the forward end of the barrel 70 passes through the apertured base section 58 of the locking clip 56, the forward end of the barrel 70 will receive the pin 46 of the second connector 10. Indeed, the domed end of the pin 46 will enter the bore of the barrel 70 first and will guide the barrel into precise alignment with the socket bore 34 so that the advancement may continue. After a short distance, the wire contact elements 72 within the barrel 70 will engage cylindrical side surface of the pin 46, establishing good electrical contact therewith. In addition, further advancement of the barrel 70, brings its forward end face into engagement with the outwardly flared lips 52, thus enabling the forward end of the barrel 70 to spread the contact fingers 48 so that the free ends of those fingers 48 ride upon the outwardly presented surface of the barrel 70. In other words, the advancing barrel 70 earns the contact fingers 48 outwardly so that they are biased against the outwardly presented surface of the barrel 70.
After the lead end of the barrel 70 engages and spreads the contact fingers 48, the flange 76 engages the retention fingers 62 and spreads them apart as the barrel 70 advances. When the flange 76 approaches the base section 58 of the locking clip 56, the back face of the flange 76 will pass beyond the free ends of the fingers 62, thus freeing the fingers 62 and enabling them to spring back to their original positions. Consequently, when the first connector 8 is fully inserted the free ends of the retention fingers 62 will be presented directly opposite the back face of the flange 76 so as to prevent unauthorized removal of the first connector 8 from the component socket 32 (FIG. 1). In other words, when the first connector 8 is fully engaged with the second connector 10, the flange 76 is captured between the apertured base section 58 and the retention fingers 62 of the locking clip 56, and this prevents the first connector 8 from moving axially in either direction.
Moreover, when first connector8 is fully inserted the circumferential ribs 40 of the elastomeric grommet 26 will snugly embrace the wire 4 beyond the connectors 8 and and will prevent moisture and dirt from entering the socket 32.
Since the female connector 8 is both internally and externally engaged with second connector 10, extremely good contact results, and this in turn results in low contact resistance. The relatively large area of contact also provides more paths for heat conduction so that heat is readily conducted away from the component by way of the connection 2 and wire 4. Accordingly, the connection 2 surpasses conventional connections in both its capability to conduct electricity and its capability to conduct heat.
While the contact fingers 48 when subjected to vibrations of a frequency approaching the natural frequency will resonate and thereby impair their electrical contact with the barrel 70 of the first connector 8, no two contact fingers 48 will resonate at the same frequency since the fingers 48 are of different arcuate width (FIG. 2). Thus, while one finger 48 resonates, the other fingers 48 remain firmly engaged with the barrel 70 so that the resistance of the electrical connection 2 does not increase significantly when resonating occurs.
To withdraw the first connector 8 from the socket 32, in which case the first connector 8 will detach from the second connector 10, a sleeve-like extraction tool (not shown) is fitted around the wire 4 and inserted into the socket 32. As the extraction tool passes over the barrel 70 it engages the inside faces of the retention fingers 62 and spreads those fingers so that eventually their free ends are spaced apart a distance greater than the diameter of the flange 76. When this occurs, the first connector 8 may be withdrawn from the second connector 10 and likewise from the socket 32. If the first connector 8 is detached while the connection 2 is conducting current, any arcing will occur between the end face of the barrel and the domed end of the pin 46, since those surfaces are the last to separate when the connectors 8 and 10 are disconnected. In other words, since the free ends of the contact fingers 48 do not project as far into the, socket bore 34 as does the pin 46, they disengage the barrel 70 before the pin 46. Consequently, no arcing occurs between the contact fingers 48 and the barrel 70, and the inside contact surfaces on the fingers 48 and the external surfaces of the barrel remain free of pits.
In large amperage applications, such as welders, the domed end of the pin 46 may be a separate segment formed from a material capable of withstanding considerable arcing. Tungsten is ideally suited for this purpose. When the separate domed segment erodes to the extent that it no longer protects the pin 46 from arcing, it may be replaced.
Not only will the first connector 8 engage the second connector 10 to form the connection 2, it will also engage a conventional male type connector similar to the pin 46 or in the alternative a conventional female conductor which remotely resembles the contact fingers 48. Thus, the first connector 8 may be utilized on wires leading to electrical components having conventional connectors of either variety, and the assembler of those components need only stock female connectors, that is the first connector 8.
MODIFICATIONS To create an extremely secure mount for the contact fingers 48 so that the second connector 10 will withstand relatively high lateral forces, the base 50 from which those fingers 48 extend may be fitted with a mounting sleeve (FIG. 3) which receives the pin 46 and extends along it for a substantial distance. The base 50 is soldered, brazed, or otherwise fastened to one end face of the sleeve 80, and the sleeve 80 in turn is likewise fastened to the pin 46.
Instead of turning outwardly at the end of the contact fingers 48, the lips 52 may turn inwardly toward the barrel 70 and then reversely along the barrel 70. In such a construction, the contact surfaces would, of course, be along the reversely extending portions of the fingers 48.
While the electrical resistance of the connection 2 is extremely low, it may be reduced still further by forming secondary contact fingers or tabs (FIG. 4) in the primary contact fingers 48. In particular, each secondary finger 90 is severed on three sides from its primary finger 48, and remains integrally attached to the primary finger 48 only at its end closest to the lips 52. Thus, while the primary fingers 48 extend away from the base 50, the secondary fingers extend toward the base 50. The secondary fingers 90 are bent away from their respective primary fingers 48 so that the free ends of opposed secondary fingers 90 are spaced apart a distance less than the diameter of the barrel 70, just as are the free ends of opposed primary fingers 48. Consequently, the fingers 48 engage the external surface of the barrel 70 not only at their free ends, that is at their ends located adjacent to the flared lips 52, but also at the free ends of the secondary fingers 90 carried thereby.
Moreover, instead of joining the base 50 directly to the pin 46 by soldering or some other permanent attachment, the base 50 may be provided with locating fingers 92 (FIG. 4)-which turn axially away therefrom and when unrestrained are spaced apart a distance slightly less than the diameter of the pin 46. The locating fingers 92 at their free ends turn slightly outwardly to form end abutments 94 against which the end of the barrel 70 abuts. Despite the presence of the locating fingers 92 in the base 50, the base 50 is still annular adjacent .to the header 20, or in other words is still continuous, and consequently the contact fingers 48 and the locating fingers 92 are supported and positioned by the base 50. 7
Since the base 50 when provided with the locating fingers 92 is not permanently attached to the pin 46, the component consisting of the base 50, contact fingers 48, and locating fingers 92 may be inserted into the socket 32' after the pin 46 is positioned therein or it may be added-to an existing socket 32 provided with only the pin 46. in particular, the component is merely inserted into the bore 34 of the socket 32 from the open end thereof and advanced axially toward the header 20. After a short distance, the locating fingers 92 engage the end of the pin 46, after which they pass over the outside surface of the pin 46 and thus form an electrical contact therewith. 7
It is also possible to combine the fingers 48 and locking clip 56 into a single contact and locking element 100 (FIG. The element 100 includes a sleeve 102 which fits snugly into the counterbore 36 of the socket 32. At its outer end the sleeve 102 merges into a plurality of inwardly and reversely turned retention fin-. gers 104 which are similar to and serve the same purpose as the retention fingers 62 on the locking clip 56. At its opposite or inner end the sleeve 102 merges into a plurality of contact fingers 106 which initially converge toward the center of the socket 32 and thereafter diverge toward the innermost end of the socket 32, that is the end at the header 20. At their innermost ends of the contact fingers 106 turn into end fingers 108 which extend inwardly along the header 20, and the end fingers l08'in turn merge into locating fingers 110 which extend axially along the pin 46. Indeed, the locating fingers 110 actually contact the pin 46, and are curled outwardly at their ends to form end abutments 112. The distance between theend abutments 112 and the free ends of the retention fingers 104 equals or slightly exceeds the distance between the leading end of the barrel 70 and the back face of the flange 76 on the first connector 8. The spacing between the opposed contact fingers 106 at the juncture formed by the converging and diverging portions thereof is slightly less than the diameter of the barrel 70 of the first connector 8, and consequently the inwardly presented surfaces of the contact fingers 106 at those locations form contact surfaces for engaging the barrel 70.
The combined contact and locking element 100 is installed on the bore 34 and counterbore 36, merely by passingit axially inwardly from the outer end of the counterbore 36. As the contact fingers 106 pass through the bore 34, the locating fingers 110 thereon engage the pin 46, and pass over the surface thereof.
'1 flange 76 into engagement with the retention fingers 104, and that flange spreads the fingers 104. When the leading end of the barrel 70 reaches the end abutments' 1 12, the retention fingers 104 snap inwardly behind the back face of the flange 76 and prevent withdrawal of the first connector 8 from the socket 32.
While the connectors 8 and 10 have been described in conjunction with terminal connections, they may also be used for in line connections.
This invention is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the example of the invention herein chosen for purposes of the disclosure which do not constitutedepartures from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is: 1. An electrical connection comprising: a. A block having a socket provided with an open end and a closed end, a connector in the socket and including: i. a pin mounted rigidly with respect to the block and projecting into the socket from the closed end thereof, and resilient contact fingers positioned around the pin and having outwardly flared ends presented toward the open end of the socket, the resilient contact fingers being formed integral with and extended from a common base of substantially the same thickness as the fingers, the base being positioned against the closed end of the socket and being extended inwardly toward the pin so that the pin passes through the base, the base being in electrical contact with the pin where the pin passes through it so that current will be conducted between the pin and the contact fin gers; locking means in the socket and fixed relative to the longitudinal axis thereof and of the pin, the locking means including retention fingers which project inwardly and obliquely relative to the longitudinal axis of the pin and generally toward the pin; and a mating connector element including i. a barrel having a hollow interior which opens outwardly from the forward end thereof and is sized to receive the pin, the barrel being thicker than the spacing between the opposed contact fingers, whereby when the mating contactor is inserted into the socket the barrel will pass over the pin and will further engage and spread the contact fingers so that the contact fingers will engage the external surface of the barrel, and
ii. a shoulder fixed in position relative to the barrel and located such that it will pass beyond the ends of the retention fingers when the mating connector is inserted into the socket, the mating connector at the outer periphery of the shoulder being wider than the spacing between opposed retention fingers, whereby'the mating connector will spread the retention fingers as it is inserted into the socket, and thereafter the retention fingers will snap inwardly so that their free ends are disposed opposite to the shoulder and prevent withdrawal of the mating connector from the socket.
2. An electrical connector according to claim 1 wherein the locking means further includes a sleeve disposed in the socket, the retention fingers being fonned integral with and extended from one end of the sleeve, and the flared ends of the contact fingers being connected to and formed integral with the other end of the sleeve.
3. An electrical connector according to claim 1 wherein the contact fingers have tabs formed integral therewith and projecting toward the base, the spacing between the tabs of opposed fingers being less than the thickness of the pin so that the tabs also engage the external surface of the barrel when the barrel is passed over the pin.
4. An electrical connector disposed within a socket of an insulated block and adapted to engage and form an electrical connection with a mating connector having a hollow barrel at its end and a flange, the socket having closed and open ends and further containing locking means having resilient retention fingers which project obliquely toward the closed end of the socket for engaging the flange on the mating connector and thereby holding the mating connector in the socket; said connector comprising: resilient contact fingers forked integral with and extended from a common base located adjacent to the closed end of the socket, the base extending generally across the closed end of the socket and being substantially the same thickness as the fingers, the fingers at their ends located remote from the base being flared outwardly, the fingers further being spaced apart a distance less than the thickness of the barrel so that the fingers will engage the external surface of the barrel when the mating connector is inserted into the socket; and a pin projecting into the socket from the'closed end thereof and being positioned between opposed contact fingers, the pin further projecting through and contactingthe base from which the contact fingers extend so as to be in electrical contact with the base at that location, whereby current will be conducted between the pin and contact fingers, the pin being sized to fit into the hollow interior'of the barrel on the mating connector such that it comes into contact with the barrel, whereby the barrel of the mating connector is electrically connected to the connector through the pin and the contact fingers thereof.
5. An electrical connector according to claim 4 wherein the pin projects axially beyond the contact surfaces on the fingers, whereby the barrel of the other connector will disengage the fingers before disengaging the pin.
6. An electrical connector according to claim 4 wherein the contact fingers have tabs which project inwardly therefrom and have contact surfaces located axially from the contact surfaces of the fingers, the contact surfaces on opposed tabs being spaced apart a distance less than the width of the barrel so that the contact surfaces of the tabs will likewise engage the external surface of the barrel on the other connector when the barrel is passed over the pin.
7. An electrical connector according to claim 4 and further characterized by locating fingers formed .integral with the base and frictionally gripping the pin so that the base and contact fingers can be installed over the pin from the free end thereof.
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|U.S. Classification||439/346, 439/856, 439/848, 439/826|
|International Classification||H01R13/20, H01R13/02, H01R31/02, H01R31/00|
|Cooperative Classification||H01R31/02, H01R13/20|