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Publication numberUS3732531 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 8, 1973
Filing dateJun 16, 1971
Priority dateJun 16, 1971
Publication numberUS 3732531 A, US 3732531A, US-A-3732531, US3732531 A, US3732531A
InventorsJ Bouley
Original AssigneeBunker Ramo
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electric contacts
US 3732531 A
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.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 Bouley [541 ELECTRIC CONTACTS [75] Inventor: Jean Claude Bouley, Jura, France [73] Assignee: Bunker Ramo Corporation, Oak

Brook, 111.

22 Filed: June 16,1971

211 App]. N0.: 153,574

[52] US. Cl ..339/2l7 R, 339/176 MP, 339/258 R [51] Int. Cl. ..H01r 9/08 [58] Field of Search ..339/2l7, 17 L, 17 LM,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1 May 8, 1973 Primary Examiner-Marvin A. Champion Assistant ExaminerRobert A. Hafer Attorney-Frederick M. Arbuckle [57] 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.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US26692 *Jan 3, 1860 John mcmannus
US3133780 *Feb 15, 1961May 19, 1964Cannon Electric CoEdge board printed circuit type connector
US3218603 *Nov 9, 1961Nov 16, 1965Burndy CorpCircuit board connector
US3399372 *Apr 15, 1966Aug 27, 1968IbmHigh density connector package
FR1392205A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3848952 *Jul 27, 1973Nov 19, 1974Amp IncZero insertion force edge card connector
US3871736 *Sep 20, 1973Mar 18, 1975Amp IncConnectors providing interconnection between closely spaced conductors and widely spaced terminals
US3997226 *Jan 27, 1975Dec 14, 1976Lang Roger DMounting and contact assembly for interconnection of display and logic circuit elements in digital electronic calculators
US4066327 *Jan 28, 1977Jan 3, 1978Amp IncorporatedElectrical connector assemblies
US4129351 *Jul 5, 1977Dec 12, 1978Matsushita Electric Industrial Company, LimitedConnector assembly for printed circuit board
US4275944 *Jul 9, 1979Jun 30, 1981Sochor Jerzy RMiniature connector receptacles employing contacts with bowed tines and parallel mounting arms
US4491382 *Feb 17, 1984Jan 1, 1985Iizuka Electric Industry Company Ltd.Resilient contact member of jack for use in conjunction with pin plug
US4521783 *Sep 27, 1982Jun 4, 1985Ford Aerospace & Communications CorporationOffset microwave feed horn for producing focused beam having reduced sidelobe radiation
US4722700 *Jan 23, 1987Feb 2, 1988Amp IncorporatedLow insertion force terminal for use with circuit panel
US4725250 *Jan 27, 1987Feb 16, 1988Amp IncorporatedHigh density circuit panel socket
US4737120 *Nov 12, 1986Apr 12, 1988Amp IncorporatedElectrical connector with low insertion force and overstress protection
US5013264 *Sep 25, 1989May 7, 1991Robinson Nugent, Inc.Edge card connector having preloaded contacts
US5030107 *Nov 8, 1990Jul 9, 1991Molex IncorporatedLCD cluster connector
US5100337 *Jan 22, 1991Mar 31, 1992Lee Chao Kuei LElectrical connector for exerting multiple elastic forces
US5207598 *Feb 24, 1992May 4, 1993Molex IncorporatedFor providing an electrical connection between contacts
US5254017 *Sep 13, 1991Oct 19, 1993Robinson Nugent, Inc.Terminal for low profile edge socket
US5259793 *Aug 21, 1992Nov 9, 1993Molex IncorporatedEdge connector for a printed circuit board
US5259795 *Aug 21, 1992Nov 9, 1993Molex IncorporatedEdge connector for a printed circuit board or the like
US5387133 *Sep 13, 1993Feb 7, 1995Robinson Nugent, Inc.Terminal for low profile edge socket
US5951335 *Dec 16, 1997Sep 14, 1999Fujitsu Takamisawa Component LimitedElectrical contact element
US6183283Jul 20, 1999Feb 6, 2001Fujitsu Takamisawa Component LimitedElectrical contact element and circuit board connector using the same
US6312268 *Dec 13, 1999Nov 6, 2001Tekcon Electronics Corp.Electric connector with a positioning terminal
US6739916 *Mar 8, 2001May 25, 2004Robert Bosch GmbhMultipole electrical connector
DE3031800A1 *Aug 22, 1980Mar 12, 1981Iizuka Electric Ind Co LtdElastisches kontaktglied einer zusammen mit einem stiftstecker verwendeten buchse
DE3633799A1 *Oct 3, 1986Apr 7, 1988Grote & HartmannFolienverbinder fuer gedruckte schaltungen
DE4023073A1 *Jul 20, 1990Jan 23, 1992Lumberg Karl Gmbh & CoElektrischer verbinder
EP0421474A1 *Oct 5, 1990Apr 10, 1991The Whitaker CorporationContact element for edge connectors
EP0423971A2 *Oct 2, 1990Apr 24, 1991Molex IncorporatedHigh deflection, high density single sided electrical connector
EP0675572A2 *Oct 5, 1990Oct 4, 1995The Whitaker CorporationContact element for edge connectors
Classifications
U.S. Classification439/748, 439/924.1, 439/636
International ClassificationH01R12/18
Cooperative ClassificationH01R12/721
European ClassificationH01R23/70B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 12, 1992ASAssignment
Owner name: AMPHENOL CORPORATION A CORP. OF DELAWARE
Free format text: RELEASED BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCE;REEL/FRAME:006147/0887
Effective date: 19911114
Oct 1, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: AMPHENOL CORPORATION, LISLE, ILLINOIS A CORP. OF D
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:ALLIED CORPORATION, A CORP. OF NY;REEL/FRAME:004844/0850
Effective date: 19870602
Owner name: AMPHENOL CORPORATION, A CORP. OF DE, ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ALLIED CORPORATION, A CORP. OF NY;REEL/FRAME:004844/0850
Jul 2, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCE, NEW YORK AGENC
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AMPHENOL CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:004879/0030
Effective date: 19870515
Jun 15, 1983ASAssignment
Owner name: ALLIED CORPORATION COLUMBIA ROAD AND PARK AVENUE,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:BUNKER RAMO CORPORATION A CORP. OF DE;REEL/FRAME:004149/0365
Effective date: 19820922