US 3732531 A
This invention is an electrical connector for receiving and contacting a mating electrical connector such as a printed circuit board. The connector has a contact element including a terminal portion which is kept in a rigid, well-defined position and a contact portion which is moveable in order to provide proper contact with the mating electrical connector. The connector has a body of insulating material having an opening for the mating electrical connector and has a slot intersecting the opening with the contact element disposed therein. The contact element has a positioning portion which is engageable with the mating electrical connector for automatically positioning the contact portion of the contact element against the contact surface of the mating electrical connector. In one embodiment of the invention, the contact element can be held in one of two different positions for making contact with the mating connector in one of two different positions.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Bouley [541 ELECTRIC CONTACTS  Inventor: Jean Claude Bouley, Jura, France  Assignee: Bunker Ramo Corporation, Oak
22 Filed: June 16,1971
211 App]. N0.: 153,574
 US. Cl ..339/2l7 R, 339/176 MP, 339/258 R  Int. Cl. ..H01r 9/08  Field of Search ..339/2l7, 17 L, 17 LM,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1 May 8, 1973 Primary Examiner-Marvin A. Champion Assistant ExaminerRobert A. Hafer Attorney-Frederick M. Arbuckle  ABSTRACT This invention is an electrical connector for receiving and contacting a mating electrical connector such as a printed circuit board. The connector has a contact element including a terminal portion which is kept in a rigid, well-defined position and a contact portion which is moveable in order to provide proper contact with the mating electrical connector. The connector has a body of insulating material having an opening for the mating electrical connector and has a slot intersecting the opening with the contact element disposed therein. The contact element has a positioning portion which is engageable with the mating electrical connector for automatically positioning the contact portion of the contact element against the contact surface of the mating electrical connector. In one embodiment of the invention, the contact element can be held in one of two different positions for making contact with the mating connector in one of two different positions.
7 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEWY ems BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to the field of electric connectors, particularly connectors having terminals which must be kept in rigid well-defined positions, and having adaptable contacts for providing electrical connection with mating connectors such as circuit boards.
2. Description of the Prior Art Connectors according to the prior art'do not have both a rigid, well-defined terminal for connection with external Circuits and a contact which is adaptable to accommodate variations in the actual dimensions and positioning at mating electrical connectors.
There are prior art connectors which have contacts that are adaptable to accommodate mating connectors, but these connectors have floating terminals which are not rigidly held in a well-defined position. Previous connectors having rigidly positioned terminals do not have adaptable contacts, and can be used only with mating connectors which are properly and accurately positioned within the connector and whose dimensions closely match the dimensions of the connector in order to obtain reliable electrical contact.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to provide an improved electrical contact capable of providing reliable electrical connection with mating electrical connectors.
It is another object of this invention to provide an electrical contact whose base is rigidly fixed in an insulating body and whose contact-portions are connected to the base by means of a resilient blade disposed so that the contact portion automatically assumes a reliable contacting position after insertion of the mating male connector element, so that a uniform contact pressure is maintained between-the contact portion and the mating male connector even though the mating male connector is not closely centered within the opening of the receiving connector.
A further object of the invention is to provide a connector device having a contact element which can assume two positions in the connector slot. The connector element can assume a first position with respect to the body of the electrical connector for establishing a first electrical circuit connection with respect to the mating connector, or a second position for establishing a second electrical circuit connection.
According to the present invention, an electrical connector device is provided having a body of insulating material with an opening for receiving a mating electrical connector. The connector device has a contact element contained within a slot within the body and has a Contact portion resiliently coupled to a base portion which is held within the slot. A positioning portion of the contact element is engageable with the mating electrical connector for automatically positioning the contact portion to provide Contact with the mating electrical connector. The contact element has a terminal portion extending through the body of the connector for making electrical connection with an external circuit. Means are provided for holding the terminal portion fixedly with respect to the insulated body of the connector.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a cross-section of a connector and mating connector element according to the prior art;
FIG. 2 is a cross-section of a connector device according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a view of a connector element according to a second preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a cross-section of a connector device according to a third preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 5 is a cross-section of a connector device in which the contact element is capable of assuming two positions according to a fourth preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 6 is a cross-section of a connector device in which the contact element is capable of assuming two positions according to a fifth preferred embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a spacer suitable for use in the connectors as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The prior art and the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 shows a typical connector of the prior art having a male connector element such as a circuit board I mounted therein. A U-shaped contact element 6 having two arms 10 is mounted within a slot in an insulated body 2. The contact arms 10 have contact portions 11 for contacting the circuit board 1. The connector element 6 is held in the slot by two guides 9 and a catch 8 and has a connection terminal 7 extending through the rear of the body 2.
The distance between the contact portions 11 depends upon the nominal thickness of circuit board 1 whose actual thickness will vary because of manufacturing tolerances. Likewise, the actual width of the opening 3 which must be capable of accommodating circuit boards of maximum thickness with adequate clearance, will vary from a nominal dimension because of manufacturing tolerances. When a circuit board of minimum thickness is introduced into the opening 3, as shown in FIG. 1, and the board is in contact with one of the sides of opening 3, one of contact portions 11 is pushed away from the other contact portion 11 resulting in a clearance 12 between the conductors 5 on the circuit board and the mating contact portion 1 1. In this situation, a proper electrical contact will not be made.
Prior art connectors which do not have a terminal 7 rigidly mounted in body 2 by catch 8 and guides 9 are not suitable for use with pin connectors on a matrix board or for use with connectors for rolled up connection or clips, since terminals which are closely positioned are required for these applications and the random movement of individual pins or clips to adapt to the manufacturing tolerances of the mating connector precludes desirable close packing of contacts.
Prior attempts to obtain connectors having both a fixed terminal and an adaptable contact by providing flexibility in the U-shaped contact element 6 have not been successful, since movement of the U-shaped contact element to one side, to adapt to the mating connector, spreads the contact portions 11 apart but not uniformly with respect to both sides of the mating connector, thus lowering the contact pressure on one side of the mating connector'and hence decreasing the reliability of the contact.
FIG. 2 shows a preferred embodiment of the electrical connector according to the present invention having a contact element 28 mounted in a body 24 of insulating material. A male connector element such as a circuit board or a pin is inserted into opening 26 of body 24. In order to simplify the description, only the embodiment using a printed circuit boardwill be considered.
The printed circuit board 20 has a side 22 on which the conductors to be connected are mounted, and a side 21 without any conductors. Beveled edges 23 may be provided to facilitate the insertion of the circuit board into the opening 26.
Contact element 28 of electrically conductive material is mounted in slot 25 of the connector body 24 and intersects a rearwardly disposed portion of opening 26 at an angle of approximately 90. Contact element 28 has a base and a rearward projecting terminal 29 suitable for making connections with an external electrical circuit. A rigid blade portion 36 extends forwardly from the base 30 and terminates in a hook which is inserted into a mating notch 41 that is molded in the body 24. Hook 40 is formed by bending blade 36 after contact 28 is inserted into slot 25. Edges 39 of base portion 30 are accommodated in recesses 42 of slot 25. In this manner, the base 30 and connecting terminal 29 are rigidly mounted in body 24. The contact element 28 has two arms 35 and 38 which are joined to form a U-shape. A flexible blade portion 34 connects the forward extension of arm 35 to the upper portion of base 30 resiliently coupling arms 35 and 38 to base 30. Similarly, a long resilient blade 37 joins the forward end of rigid blade 36 with the rearward end of arm 35 at location 43 adjacent to junction with central resilient blade which is resiliently coupled to contact portion 32. An electrical contact portion 32 is provided on the forward end of arm 38, and a contact positioning portion 31 is provided on the forward end of arm 35 with I portions 31 and 32 being laterally spaced-apart and offset from the axis of opening 26 towards contact portion 31. The distance between contact portions 31 and 32 is defined by the contact pressure desired to guarantee a reliable connection. Blades 34 and 37 extend from respective adjacent sections of arms 35 and 38 in a side by side generally parallel relationship to beyond each respective section to base 30.
Axis 57 is equally distant from contact portions 31 and 32 and is displaced from the symmetry axis longitudinal axis of the opening 26 in a direction towards internal face 46 of the opening.
Circuit board 20 may have beveled edges 23, and slot 26 may have beveled edges 27 on the forward portion in order to facilitate the insertion of circuit board 20 into slot 26.
When circuit board 20 is inserted into slot 26, the edge 23 engages slope 33 at the upper end of arm 35.
The insertion force creates a reactive force which bends the resilient blade 34 until positioning portions 31 engages side 21 of circuit board 20. Arm 35, which holds arm 38 at its lower portion, is rigid and is not deformed. Therefore, electrical. contact portion 32 on arm 38 is kept at the same distance from positioning portion 31. Resilient blade 37 which is held by arm,35 does undergo some elastic deformation.
As the insertion of circuit board 20 is continue the distance between electrical contact portion 32 and positioning portion 31 is increased by means of ramp 44 at the upper edge of arm 38 which undergoes elastic deformation down to its junction with the base of rigid arm 35. The electrical contact portion 32 and the positioning portion 31 bear against sides 22 and 21 of circuit board 20. Axis 57 is shifted sufficiently with respect to the axis of the slot 26 so that a circuit board 20 of minimum thickness can establish contact with contact portion 32 when side 22 comes in contact with internal face 46 of slot 26, as described above.
In the modified embodiment of a contact element as shown in FIG. 3, a base 47 of the contact element can be twisted to hold it in the socket of the connector, and the U-shaped arms are joined with base 47 by a single resilient blade 48.
In the embodiment as shown in FIG. 4, base 53 of the contact element is mounted in a body 49 so that shoulders 55 provided at the base engage corresponding seats in the body. The intregal blades 52 of base 53 carry stubs 56 which are used as attachment members. A resilient blade 50 joins the lower end of one of the arms of the contact element 51-with one of the blades 52. A terminal 54 extends from the base 53.
FIG. 5 shows a modification of the embodiment shown in FIG. 4 in which the contact element is capable of assuming two different positions within the body 133. Contact element 125 is mounted in slot 137 of body 133 and consists of two arms joined to form a U-shaped element 126 which is attached to base 127 by means ofa resilient blade 124.
Base 127 is inserted into slot 137 and is provided with two blades 128 having stubs 131 which serve to hold the contact element 125 as explained below. Base 127 has a rearward extension 123 which forms a terminal for external electrical connections.
When contact element 125 is in the rearward position as shown in FIG. 5, stubs 131 rest on rear recesses 139 provided in the wall of body 133, and the lower faces 141 of the stubs 131 are supported by shoulders 132. A setting clip or spacer 129 is mounted on extension 123 between recess 134 and extension 123, so that the upper surface of the clip bears against the bottom 136 of a groove 135 provided at the bottom of body 133 (as shown in FIG. 6). Contact element 125 is held in its rearward movement, and by spacer 129 whose face 130 abuts the bottom 136 of groove 135 to prevent forward movement.
When the contact element is to be moved from the rearward position to the forward position, the contact is pulled rearward by compressing blades 128 towards each other, the clip 129 is removed, and the contact element is set in its forward position. Shoulders 142 of base 127 abut supports 143 provided on the wall of body 133, and stubs 131 rest in recess areas 140 with the lower surfaces 141 supported by shoulders 138 as shown in FIG. 6. g
The distance between shoulders 132 and 138 is equal to the distance between surface 136 and support 143 less the thickness of base 127. The distance between shoulders 132 and 138 is sufficient to insure two separate settings suitable for either a first circuit position or a second circuit position.
From the foregoing, it can be readily realized that this invention can assume various embodiments. Thus, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the specific embodiments described herein, but is to be limited only by the appended claims.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. An electrical connector device for receiving and contacting a mating electrical connector, comprising: a body of insulation material having front and rear ends, a connector opening extending longitudinally from the front end into said body with a longitudinal axis and a rearwardly disposed portion, and a slot intersecting said portion of said opening and extending through the rear end of said body; a contact element of electrically conductive material including disposed in said slot a base portion, a positioning portion, a contact portion, a U-shaped pair of arms frontwardly supporting said positioning and contact portions, and a long resilient blade portion resiliently coupling said pair of arms to said base portion and rigidly interconnected to said positioning portion, said positioning and contact portions being laterally spaced-apart and offset towards the contact portion from the axis of said opening so that said positioning portion is engageable with said mating electrical connector for positioning said contact portion within said opening to make electrical contact with said connector, said pair of arms including freeended upper portions separately joined to said positioning and contact portions and a central resilient bridge, one of said arms rearwardly forming a junction with said resilient bridge and having said upper portion joined to said positioning portion, the other said arm including said bridge resiliently joined to said contact portions, said long resilient blade extending in a side by side generally parallel relationship with at least a section of said arms and beyond said section to said base portion providing a long coupling length at least as long as said bridge portion.
2. The device in claim 1 wherein said means for holding comprises a pair of rigid blade portions projecting forwardly toward said front end with each blade portion including a stub, and front and rear pairs of recesses in said body for retaining said stubs in two different positions and thereby said contact element in corresponding front and rear positions in said body.
3. The device as claimed in claim 2 including a spacer coupled to said contact element and abutting a cooperating surface on said body to keep said contact element in one of said two different positions.
4. The device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said resilient blade portion joins said base with the upper portion of said one of said arms.
5. The device as claimed in claim 4, wherein said base has a rigid blade portion projecting forwardly toward said front end, and a second resilient blade portion joining said rigid blade portion with said one of said arms.
6. The device as claimed in claim 5, wherein said second resilient blade is joined to said one of said arms adjacent the junction of said arms.
. The device as claimed 1n claim 1 wherein said base has a rigid blade portion projecting forwardly toward said front end and said resilient blade extends from adjacent the junction of said arms to said rigid blade portion UNITED sTATEs PATENT OFFICE I CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,732,531 Dated May 8, 1973 Inventor(s) Jean Claude Bouley It is certified that error appears in the aboveidentified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
On the cover, sheet insert the following:
- Foreign Application PIiOPlty Data:
June 22, 1970 France "YO/2303i; November 20, 1970 France "(O/A1863 Claim 1, line 15, after "positioning portion, insert and means for holding said base portion fixedly with respect to said body,
Signed and sealed this 26th day of March 197L (SEAL) Attest:
EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. c. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents ORM PO-IOSO (10-69) uscoMM-Dc lO376-P69 U.S, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: I969 O3ii334.