US 3731258 A
An electrical connector for use underwater or the like including two convex rubber bodies having one or more contacts embedded therein flush with the convex surfaces thereof. A bolt projects through aligned holes in the bodies. When the bolt is tightened with the convex surfaces in contact with one another, fluid between the bodies is squeezed out and a fluid tight seal is provided around each pair of mutually engaging contacts.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Spicer  UNDERWATER CONNECTION  Inventor: Lyndon Reginald Spicer, Cascades,
Llandevand, Monmouthshire, Wales  Assignee: International Standard Electric Corporation, New York, N.Y.
 Filed: Sept. 22, 1971  Appl. No.: 182,699
 US. Cl ..339/48, 339/49 B, 339/60 M,
339/92 M, 339/94 M  Int. Cl. ..l-I0lr 31/00, 1-l0lr 13/24  Field of Search ..339/59, 60, 61, 94, 339/92, 102, 48, 49
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,486,195 10/1949 Munsey ..339/6l M 3,478,298 11/1964 Nelson .......339/94 M X [451 May 1, 1973 2,359,256 9/1944 Spence ..339/99 R 3,657,681 4/1972 Falkner ..339/94 M X FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS 657,404 11/1963 Italy ..339/102 R Primary Examiner-Marvin A. Champion Assistant Examiner-William F. Pate, 111 Attorney-C. Cornell Remsen, Jr. et al.
 ABSTRACT An electrical connector for use underwater or the like including two convex rubber bodies having one or more contacts embedded therein flush with the convex surfaces thereof. A bolt projects through aligned holes in the bodies. When the bolt is tightened with the convert surfaces in contact with one another, fluid between the bodies is squeezed out and a fluid tight seal is provided around each pair of mutually engaging contacts.
1 Claim, 4 Drawing Figures Patented May 1, 1973 Inventor 1 R, SP/CER 2 flwfi Attorney UNDERWATER CONNECTION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to the connector art, and more particularly to an electrical connector which may be mated while submerged in a fluid, e.g., water.
In the past, submersible electrical connectors have been difficult to manufacture or to use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the device of the present invention the above-described and other disadvantages of the prior art are overcome by providing two dielectric resilient bodies which have convex surfaces that carry electrical contacts.
According to the invention there may be provided a multiway electrical connection capable of being mated underwater. Each of the conductors of a body may terminate in individual electrical contacts extending into the body from the convexly curved surface of the body. The electrical connection between the contacts of the two bodies is obtained by arranging the elements with their convexly curved surfaces facing one another and the central portions of the surfaces in contact. Pressure may then be applied across the central portions to compress the resilient material of the bodies, thereby flattening the convex surfaces and bringing the electrical contacts of the two bodies together while forcing out any fluid initially present between the convex surfaces of the bodies.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING An embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1a shows a side elevational view of a connector body partly in section;
FIG. lb is a transverse sectional view taken on the line XX shown in FIG. la;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of two of the bodies of FIG. 1a arranged to make connection but prior to the complete mating of their conductor contacts, and
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 with all contacts mated.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring firstly to FIGS. la and lb an electrical connection body or element 1 is shown comprising a cable portion 2 and an enlarged portion 3. Within the element 1 are positioned flexible electrical conductors 4 which have conductor contacts 5 positioned on the curved boundary 7 of the portion 3. The whole of the element 1, or only the enlarged portion 3, other than the conductors 4 and contacts 5 includes a resilient insulating material suitable for use underwater, for example rubber or neoprene. The portion 3 is provided with a bore 6 as shown.
In the embodiment shown in the drawings the connection element 1 has four conductors and has a section, as shown in FIG. 1b, which is curved at 8. If the element 1 is required to accommodate further conductors the width A of the portion 3 may be increased. In the case of four conductors contacts arranged in a line as shown, the curvature 8 may be negligible, whereas if width A is increased to accommodate further conductors the curvature 8 must approach that of the curved boundary 7.
When it is required to mate two of the elements I as shown in FIGS. la and 1b to make an electrical connection therebetween, the elements are positioned relative to one another, as shown in FIG. 2, with their curved boundaries 7 facing one another, and they are held in this position by the insertion of a bolt 9 having a nut 10 into the bores 6. The corresponding contacts of the respective elements 1 are positioned such that when the nut 10 is screwed further onto the bolt 9 and the portions 3 are compressed, the contacts are brought together as shown in FIG. 3. Since the effect of the compression is first experienced by those parts of the portions 3 adjacent the bores 6, and as the nut 10 is screwed on the effect of compression moves progressively outwards from the bores 6, the connection may be mated underwater since the screwingup action forces (Squeegees) the water away from the contacts so that insulation resistance between the contacts is achieved.
The conductors 4, which are of a material which will stand up to the compression effect, and the contacts 5 may be embedded in the resilient material in a molding process, the bore 6 being formed simultaneously or separately. The molding may include a tail cable portion as shown in FIG. 1a as cable 2. The cable extends perpendicularly to the axis of the bore 6.
Contacts 5 may be bonded to the material of portions 3, if desired.
What is claimed is:
1. A fluid tight electrical connector comprising: two resilient dielectric bodies, each of said bodies having a convex surface, said convex surfaces being constructed to contact each other; at least one conductive contact substantially embedded in each of said convex surfaces and flush therewith, said contacts being positioned to engage one another when said convex surfaces are broughtinto engagement with each other; and at least one flexible electrically conductive lead electrically connected with each contact and extending therefrom in a direction away from said convex surfaces, said bodies being adapted to deform when said convex surfaces are brought into engagement and pressure is applied to said bodies to squeeze them together, clamp means for holding and squeezing said bodies tightly together, said clamp means including axially aligned cylindrical holes extending through each of said bodies in a direction approximately perpendicular to said convex surfaces, a bolt having a larger head, a larger nut and a narrower cylindrical shank slidably disposed through said holes, said head lying in pressure contact with one surface opposite the convex surface of one body, said nut being threaded to said shank on the end thereof opposite the end to which said head is fixed, said nut lying in pressure contact with one surface opposite the convex surface of the other body, each of said bodies having a cable extending generally perpendicularly to the bore therein, said conductive leads passing through said cable, the application of pressure to said bodies by said clamp means with said contacts in alignment causing said contacts to mate, fluid between said surfaces being squeezed out of the space therebetween by application of said pressure, application of said pressure also causing the portions of said convex surface areas immediately surrounding said contacts to engage one another and form a fiuid tight seal to prevent any fluid outside of said bodies from 5 touching said contacts.