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Publication numberUS3772635 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 13, 1973
Filing dateDec 22, 1971
Priority dateDec 22, 1971
Also published asDE2262515A1, DE2262515B2, DE2262515C3
Publication numberUS 3772635 A, US 3772635A, US-A-3772635, US3772635 A, US3772635A
InventorsD Frey, R Henn, D Smith, A Vedejs
Original AssigneeBell Lab Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Universal miniature connector for plural conductors
US 3772635 A
Abstract
The connector is a basic-splice unit of three parts: an index strip, a connector module, and a cap. The index strip has alternately peaked and flat indexing teeth which help split the wire pairs. The strip acts as a temporary wire holder when dressing in wires to be joined. The connector module contains a double-ended slotted contact element. The module top is similar in design to the index strip top and performs the same functions. The module has two rails along its length which accommodate an optional bridge-connector block. The connector module snap-mounts to the indexing strip. In this process the slotted beam contact element penetrates the insulation and makes contact to the wire while the connector module bears down on the wire on each side of the contact element to firmly snug it in place. Between each tooth of the index strip, a cantilever beam forces the wire against a snubbing brace of the connector module, deflecting differing amounts depending on the wire gauge.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Frey et al.

[451 Nov. 13,1973

[ UNIVERSAL MINIATURE CONNECTOR FOR PLURAL CONDUCTORS [73] Assignee: Bell Laboratories Incorporated,

Murray Hill, NJ.

22 Filed: Dec. 22, 1971 21 Appl.No.: 210,750

FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,377,374 9/1964 France 339/99 R Primary Examiner-Marvin A. Champion Assistant Examiner William F. Pate, Ill Attorney-W. L. Keefauver [5 7] ABSTRACT The connector is a basic-splice unit of three parts: an index strip, a connector module, and a cap. The index strip has alternately peaked and flat indexing teeth which help split the wire 'pairs. The strip acts as a temporary wire holder when dressing in wires to be joined. The connector module contains a doubleended slotted contact element. The module top is similar in design to the index strip top and performs the same functions. The module has two rails along its length which accommodate an optional bridgeconnector block. The connector module snap-mounts to the indexing strip. In this process the slotted beam contact element penetrates the insulation and makes contact to the wire while the connector module bears down on the wire on each side of the contact element to firmly snug it in place. Between each tooth of the index strip, a cantilever beam forces the wire against a snubbing brace of the connector module, deflecting differing amounts depending on the wire gauge.

32 Claims, 19 Drawing Figures PAIENTEnunmma sir/2.635

' SHEET lUF 9 PAIENTEUnnvmms 3.772.635

' SHEET 30F 9 llllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllIllIIIIIITIIIIIIIIIIIIIlllllllllllllllllllllllll! llllllllllllIllIlllllllllllIlllllIllllllIIIIllllllllllllllllllllllllll" PATENTEI] lillV 13 I975 SHEET 7 [IF 9 PATENTED BUY 13 I973 3772.635 SHEET 8 OF 9 UNIVERSAL MINIATURE CONNECTOR FOR PLURAL CONDUCT ORS FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to joining of electrical conductors; and, particularly, relates to cable splicing connections in the telephone multipair cable art.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A wide variety of cable splicing connectors are presently used in telephone plant to perform the three basic splices of butt, bridge tap, and bridge splicing. Factors accounting for the many connector designs include differing wire gauges to be spliced, connectors designed to be used with various powered tools, need for an encapsulated splice (especially in aluminum conductor cable), modular designs to expedite wire handling and improve housekeeping, and need for ever smaller module sizes.

Given the over one billion pair splices made each year by the telephone industry and the manpower and material costs associated therewith, there is ample incentive to better-systematize splicing work. Ideally, a single basic cable splicing connector to fulfill all splicing needs is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, the following are all objects of the present invention:

to provide a single cable splicing connector capable of performing all butt, bridge tap, and bridge splicing;

to accommodate aluminum and copper conductor alike in the wide range of gauges in such a basic connector;

to avoid costly post-encapsulation procedures by building encapsulation into such a connector;

to eliminate use of connectors which have no ability to accept a bridge tap;

to achieve a modular design, by which is meant a design capable of orderly spacial growth,so that wire handling is minimized and improved housekeeping results;

to reduce module size thereby holding down the overall splice bundle size in a splice case; when desired to prevent disassembling a once-assembled module, thereby to prevent reuse;

To provide a. basic two-wire joint with an easily addable bridge-on feature;

to make possible use of power tooling or hand tooling for all splicing operations;

to preserve the option in such a basic-splicing connector of a reusable contact element and different reusable caps for use in terminating pairs in aparatus which requires occasional pair change and rearrangements;

to provide where desired test point accessibility; and

to preserve the option for bridge-tapping in such a basic splicing.

The above and other objects are achieved in the present invention which, consists of a basic-splice unit of three parts: an index strip, a connector module, and a cap. The index strip, advantageously using alternately peaked and flat-top indexing teeth, splits the wire pairs and acts as a temporary wire holder when dressing in wires to be joined.

The connector module contains a double-ended slotted contact element. The module top is similar in design to the index strip top and performs the same functions. The connector module has two rails along its length which provide support and lock for a bridgeconnector block.

Between each tooth of the index strip, to one side, a cantilever beam supports the wire against a snubbing brace of the connector module. The beam helps in the accommodating of a range of wire gauges, as from 26 through 20 gauge wires.

The connector module snap-mounts to the indexing strip. In this process the slotted beam contact element penetrates the insulation and makes contact to the wire while the connector module bears down on the wire on each side of the contact element to firmly snub it in place.

The contact element of the connector module is of the type taught for example in B. C. Ellis US. Pat. No. 3,496,522 issued Feb. 17, 1970. Pursuant to one aspect of the invention, however, each element may be engaged at a central thin web section, by similar contact elements arranged in a bridge-connector module which mounts to two lateral rails built along one side of the connector module. The web sections are accessible through aligned slots in the wall of the connector module and are normally fully protected with encapsulant.

Pursuant to another feature of the invention, the index strip and the connector module include wire slots having horizontally deflectable walls that further serve to grip and snub the wires to be joined in a standard butt splice. Gripping in a vertical sense of the wires dressed into the teeth of the connector module is achieved by cantilever beams built into the connector module cap. The latter snap-mounts on the connector module by the same type mechanism that snap-mounts the connector module on the index strip.

Pursuant to a further feature of the invention, the index strip, connector module and cap include vertical end grooves of a standard size that accommodate to a holder used in conjunction with either a power or a hand tool for making connections and cutting wires to length.

In using the splicing connector system of the present invention, the splicer first places the end grooves of the index strip into the guide tabs of a tool. Then, using the alternate peaked teeth of the strip, as a visual and physical guide he quickly locates and manipulates the pairs into position. The tool head is applied to the strip, snubbing the wires down into position. The tool head cuts off one set of conductor ends. Then, the connector module is placed in the same guide tabs of the tool, other wires are positioned into the connector module teeth, and the tool head is again applied to snub down the wires. The slotted beam contact in the connector module pierces insulation and electrically contacts the wires in the indexing strip and module. The ends of conductors applied to the module are cut, and the action also snap-mounts the module onto the index strip. Finally, the cap is applied through the same guide tab and is snap-mounted onto the module.

For thereafter applying a bridging connector, pursuant to another feature of the invention, the nowassembled butt splice is removed from the tool and rotated and reinserted on the tool through a second set of end grooves supplied in the connector module. In this orientation, the bridge-connector mounting rails of the connector module are projected upwardly to receive the bridging cnnector. I

The foregoing objects, features, and advantages of the invention as well as others not summarized above,

will be readily noted from a reading of the description to follow of an illustrative embodiment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view showing the index strip, the connector module, and the module cap;

FIG. 2 is a partial isometric front view of the index strip;

FIG. 3 is a partial isometric rear view of the index strip;

FIG. 3A is a sectional end view of the index strip;

FIG. 3B is a rear partial view of the index strip;

FIG. 3C is a front partial view of the index strip;

FIGS. 4A and 4B are exploded and slightly rotated isometric views of the two parts of the connector module, before the two parts are assembled;

FIG. 5 is a partial isometric rear view of FIG. 43;

FIG. 6 is a partial bottomperspective view of connector module portion shown in FIG. 48;

FIG. 6A is a rear perspective view of the slotted beam contact element;

FIG. 7 is an end view of the connector module;

FIG. 8 is a bottom perspective view of the cap;

FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view of the bridging connector showing the two components of which it is molded before their assembly;

FIG. 10 is a partial rear iosmetric view of the bridging connector;

FIG. 1 1 is an assembly view of the index strip connector module and cap assembled as a two-wire butt connector, showing also a bridge module and its cap assembled and ready to be placed into the butt assembly;

FIGS. 12A, 12B, and 12C are various perspective views of an assembly tool in use assembling the components of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT The structure of each of the parts that in combination make up a two-wire butt assembly with bridge module will first bedescribed, followed by a description of the operation of the connector which will include its functional features.

A two-wire butt assembly is shown in FIG. 1 as consisting of an index strip 100, a connector module 200 and a cap 300. This assembly connects at least one or more wires of a first group respectively to one or more wires of a second group.

INDEX STRIP FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 3A-C show the index strip 100. It consists of a lower body designated generally 101 with a generally flat undersurface 102 and a side floor 103. An end wall 104 rises vertically from body 101 and includes a vertical female guide slot 105.

A plurality of spaced teeth 106 rise vertically from body 101. Alternate teeth 106 have flattened top surfaces 107; and the other teeth 106 have peaked cathedral roofs 108. Each tooth 106 is set back slightly from the side edge 109 of index strip 100, to create a narrow ledge 109a. Each tooth 106 includes a latching nub 110 on its front surface about midway along its height.

In between each tooth 106, and along the rear side of strip 100 are wire slots 111 formed by adjacent upright arms 1 12. The arms 112 are formed by two verti cal through-slots 113 in a dome-roofed riser 114 located directly behind each tooth 106 and connected thereto by a web 115. With no conductor in the slots 111, the arms 112 are vertical and substantially separated by a constant distance. When a conductor 241 is introduced in slot 111, the arms 112 horizontally deflect away from each other in the vicinity of the conductor, and because of their mode of suspension, toward each other in the region above the conductor as seen in FIG. 1. This reverse bend serves to further snub and secure a conductor such as conductor 241.

Along the entire rear surface of index strip is a platen surface 117 which has an edge notch 118. The surface 117 serves as a conductor cutting anvil, as will be described. The region is broken periodically by slots 119 which have beveled snap-in entrance wings 120. Each slot 119 advantageously is located laterally in line with the teeth with peaked roofs 108, and thus out-ofline with the wire slots 111.

FIGS. 1, 2, 3A, and 3C show a vertically yielding wire confining means comprising the cantilever beam 116 suspended above the side floor 103 and between each of the teeth 106, in line with each wire slot 111, and preferably at nominally the same level as slot 111. Beam 116 is not attached to the adjacent walls of the teeth 106; and has sufficient flexibility to deflect all the way into contact with the side floor 103. Each beam 116 extends beyond the front vertical surface of the teeth 106 as seen in FIG. 3A.

A vertical slot 121 is defined between each two webs 115, and the adjacent interior surfaces of the riser 114 and the teeth 106. The slot 121, as seen in the breakout of FIG. 1 and in FIG. 3A, extends below the level of the conductor slots 111, to form a well 122. The slots 121 receive conductive means such as double-ended slotted beam contact elements 219 mounted in the connector module 200, which pierce the insulation of conductors placed in the conductor slots 111 between the upright arms 112 and the cantilever beam 116. The well 122 may contain an encapsulant compound 99, such as polyethylene-polybutene compound or a like nonconductive, nonflowing normally highly viscous material that protects cut wire ends against water and corrosion.

As earlier stated, the splicing connector of the present connection is modular; and advantageously may be made in, for example, five-pair modules or 25-pair modules. In the latter case, it is desirable pursuant to a further inventive feature to make each fifth tooth, such as tooth 106A in FIGS. 38 and 3C wider than the others. This will avoid the inadvertent placing of a fivepair connector module on anything but the right teeth.

CONNECTOR MODULE Numeral 200 designates the connector module, as seen in FIG. 1. A convenient way to illustrate the complex interior structure of connector module 200 is by showing the two parts of which the module seen in FIG. 1 is made: the front part 200A seen in FIG. 4A and the rear part 2003 seen in FIG. 4B. This approach teaches at the same time the presently preferred way of molding the connector module; but it should be understood that the term connector module refers to the entire module as assembled and used in practice, such as is depicted in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 illustrates rear part 2008 as having a rear face 201 with a lower edge 202 having a notch 203 and downwardly extending legs 204, each with two arrowback grips 205. The legs 204 lock into slots 119 of index strip 100.

Rear face 201 terminates at a top edge or platen 206 which includes a notch indentation 207. Top edge 206 serves as a conductor cutting anvil in a manner to be described. Into the top edge 207, plural receiving slots 208 with entrance wings 209 are placed, which snapmount latching legs 305 of the cap 300.

Along top edge 206 are plural dome-roofed risers 210, substantially identical to the risers 114 of index strip 100. The dome roofs of risers 210 have chamfers 218. The risers 210 include two vertical through-slots 211 in each, which structure creates upright arms 212. Between each adjacent two of the arms212 and the corresponding adjacent teeth 214 is defined a conductor slot 213. In front of each riser 210 alternate teeth have a flattened top surface 215 while the others have a peaked cathedral-like roof 216. Each of the teeth 214 is attached to the corresponding riser 210 by a narrow web 217.

Advantageously, one or both sides of each cathedral roof 108 and of each cathedral roof 216 may be identically color-coded such as with the color sequence blue, orange, green, brown, slate. Color coding of the roofs 108, 216 facilitates spotting the point over which to correctly split each differently color-coded pair of conductors.

The inner recesses of connector module 200 are best explained with the aid of FIGS. 4A, 4B, 5 and 6, beginning with the contact element 219 and its mounting.

Each contact element 219, as depicted in FIG. 6A and seen also in FIG. 1, is basically an elongated conductive means comprising bifurcated end portions 223A which define a wide-mouthed entrance to end slots 223. The wide-mouthed entrances taper to entrance width of the corresponding end slot 223, the latter thereafter undergoing a slowly converging taper. The thickness of the contact element is substantially reduced at each of the bifurcated end portions. The slots 223 extend toward a norrow waist section 220, and terminate within the body of element 219 before the body begins undergoing the indentations 221.

A series of radial or half-circle mounting surfaces 222 are molded into the module interior, at positions which place the space between adjacent half circles 222 in a plane with the conductor slots 213. Thus, the element 219 mounts on the half-circle surfaces 222 as seen in FIG. 1, which places its upper insulationpiercing slot 223 in line with-or facing-the conductor slot 213. The lower insulation-piercing slot 224 is, when the module 200 is applied to index strip 100, introduced into the well 122 so that the lower slot 224 is in line with or facing the conductor slots 111,

The contact elements 219 mounted on surfaces 222 are housed in a loose fit, in a well 225 formed of the zone between adjacent webs 217, the backs 212A of adjacent upright arms 212, and the backs 214A of adjacent teeth 214. The element 219 lower slot 224 extends through the tunnel 253 which is seen in FIG. 6, and in cross-section in FIG. 1.

As seen in FIG. 4B, the front end floor and slot 213 constitute a snubbing surface 226 between each of the teeth 214. An elongated top snubbing brace 227 seen in FIG. 7 having a downwardly tapering surface 228 joins the snubbing surface 226 as seen in FIG. 1. Extending out from the brace 227 is an upper rail 229 and below this is a lower rail 230. The rails 229, 230 receive a bridging connector pursuant to the invention, in the manner to be described. Rails 229, 230 are respectively provided with a row of spaced latching holes 231. The vertical surface 232 between the rails 229, 230 includes a series of upright walls 233 which affords improved dielectric breakdown between contact elements of the bridging connector to be described. In the surface 232, midway between each pair of adjacent walls 233, and in line with the waist 220 of pin connectors 219, there are provided bridging slots 234 with tapered entrances, as seen in FIG. 7. The bridging slots 234 provide additional electrical access from without the assembly to each contact element 219.

Beneath the lower rail 230 is molded the bottom snubbing brace 235 of the module 200. Along the length of the brace 235, latching holes 236 are spaced so that the module 200 can fit over the teeth 106 of index strip and into latching engagement with the latching nubs of teeth 106.

The interior of module 200 shown in FIG. 6 includes arches 237 which are bordered by downwardly extending wire stuffers 238. The slotted contact elements, as seen, are mounted behind the braces 227, 235. When the connector module 200 is applied to an index strip 100 through which conductors have been dressed, the wire stuffer 238 first bears down upon each insulated conductor lodged in the slots 111, thus to ensure that thereafter each conductor is fixably positioned for receiving contact element 219.

Every alternate one of the arches 237 is provided with a split 239 as shown in FIG. 4B, which accommodates a key (not shown) axially located under alternate mounting surfaces 222, to block space between surface 222 and tooth surface 107 on index strip 100 for the purpose of maintaining dielectric strength between adjacent contact elements 219.

Centered directly behind each wire stuffer 238 is a clearance cutout or recess 240 for the snubbed conductor, which permits each conductor end to be enclosed and surrounded by encapsulant 99 for the purpose of maintaining dielectric strength between adjacent conductors. The recesses 240 are separated by walls 243 which are molded between each of the legs 204. An encapsulant is advantageously preplaced in recess 240.

.Opposite the notched lower edge 202 of connector module 200 is the front brace 235 which acts as a snubbing bar and has an inwardly facing bevel surface 242.

As seen in FIG. 3A, the index strip cantilever beams 116 extend beyond the forward edges of the teeth 106. When th module 200 is pressed down on the index strip 100, the brace 235 effects bending contact with insulated conductors such as 241 resting on the beams 116, deflects the beams 1 16 and the conductors downwardly until the latching holes 236 lock onto the latching nubs 110 of the strip 100. At this point, the conductor 241 is firmly snubbed by the brace 235.

The connector module 200 includes vertical female guide grooves 244 at either end which enable the module 200 to mount in the bed of a handor poweroperated splicing tool with the teeth 214 pointing upwardly, as will be described. A horizontal female guide groove 245 is also formed in the sides of module 200 to enable mounting in a tool bed so that the bridge connector mounting rails 229, 230 face upwardly.

As with the index strip teeth 106, every fifth tooth of the module teeth 214 is widened (not illustrated) to help avoid placing the cap 300 improperly. Each of the teeth 214 is provided with latching nubs 246.

It would be appreciated that in FIG. 4A the detail denoted 247 that resembles a space capsule, and the L- shaped grooves 248 are merely molding details to facilitate assembly of the two parts, 200A, 2008 by insertion of the detail 247 into the like-shaped holes 249. The tongues 250 of part 2008, shown in FIG. 6, lodge in the grooves 248. The plug portions 251 of detail 247 will upon assembly with their female counterparts protrude through the assembly holes 252 seen in FIG. 5. The plugs 251 thereafter will be rendered flush with the surface of the rear face 201 of the module. Obviously, other ways may be devised by persons skilled in the molding art to construct the connector module.

CAP STRUCTURE The cap designated 300 and seen in FIGS. 1 and 8 consists of a generally flat roof 301 with a longitudinal groove 302 which accommodates a tool-cutting or compression blade. A vertical guide groove 303 in each end is received in a tool-mounting fixture when the cap is to be assembled to the connector module 200.

The bottom rear edge 304 of cap 300 is continuous except for legs 305 each of which include a pair of arrowback grips 306. The legs 305 fit into receiving slots 208 of the connector module 200. The notched indentation 207 of the module 200 is contacted by edge 304 and by the offset regions 307 directly above it. On either side of each leg 305, the offset regions are extended into a wire recess 308, each of which falls in line with a respective conductor slot 213 of the module 200. Above each wire recess 308 is a wire stuffer 309 formed by a downwardly depending rib whose bottom surface 310 is planar with the top roof 311 of each recess 308. Encapsulating sealant 99 is preplaced in the interior cavities of cap 300, including recess 308, wells 315, and in the regions below beams 316.

When the cap 300 is in place on module 200, the modules risers 210 are accommodated in the chambers of cap 300 that are defined between each stuffer 309 and slanted roof portions 312, which latter contact the chamfers 218 of the dome of risers 210.

Along the forward wall 313 of cap 300 are pluralspaced latching holes 314 similar in purpose and function to the latching holes 236 of the module 200. The bottom edge of forward wall 313 includes spaced wells 315 which receive a beam 316 that deflects when coming in contact with a conductor present on snubbing surface 226 of module 200. The deflecting beam 316 is the same in purpose and basic structure as the beam 116 of index strip 100.

OPERATION OF INDEX STRIP, CONNECTOR MODULE AND CAP The two-wire butt assembly that is shown assembled in FIG. 11 is pieced together with the aid of a tool such as depicted in FIGS. 12A, 12B, and 12C. The tool designated 400 consists essentially of a base or platen 401 with a longitudinal slot 402 that is just wide enough to snugly receive the width of index strip 100. Rising normally from the slot 402 are ribs 403 which engage the female guide slots 105 of index strip 100, then the guide groove 244 of the module 200, and finally the guide groove 303 of cap 300. To assure a tight fit, the ribs 403 can be spring-loaded (springs not shown).

A head 405 is pivotally attached to the base 401 by pivot arm 406. Head 405 mounts a boss bar 407 from the bottom edge 408 of which extend plural bosses 409.

- Behind the boss bar is mounted a blade 410 that advantageously is extensible beyond the bosses, or retractable.

For assembly, an index strip is placed as described in the tool base 401 with its teeth 106 facing upwardly. Then, insulated conductors 241 are loosely placed in the conductor slots 111 between the upright arms 112 and between the corresponding spaced teeth 106.

With all conductors in place, the head 405 is pivoted into position above the strip 100, and the boss bar 407 is forced downwardly, the spaced bosses 409 pressing each respective insulated conductor 241 fully down in its slot 111 and causing the arms 112 to horizontally yield. The extent of boss penetration is limited by contact of the boss bar bottom edge 408 on the flattened top surfaces 107 of strip 100.

Toward the end of the downward stroke, the blade 410 severs the conductors on surface 117 which serves as a cutting anvil as in FIG. 3. The head 405 then is pivoted away, and a connector module 200 is placed on the tool guide ribs 403 and brought down into contact with strip 100. The tool head 405 is again swung into position and brought down.

Pressing against the connector module 200 flattened top surfaces 215, the head 405 first causes the lower insulation-piercing slot of each element 219 to engage the conductors 241 by slicing through the outer insulation and effecting firm compliant electrical and mechanical connection to the underlying wire. As this connection is made, toward the end of the downward stroke of head 405, the legs 204 snap into the slots 119 of strip 100. Similarly, the latching nubs engage the latching holes 236 of module 200, thus achieving in this dual fashion a permanent engagement of the module 200 to the underlying strip 100. During this procedure, sealing compound preplaced in connector module 200 cavities formed by surfaces 253, 254, 255 of the connector module end and preplaced also in slot 121 of index strip 100, is displaced and surrounds the electrical connection.

The assembly tool head 405 is again raised and swung back. The splicer uses the cathedral roofs 216 of module 200 to split his pairs, just as he used the cathedral roofs 108 of strip 100 to do likewise.

Thus, conductor pairs to be selectively connected to those now mounted on index strip 100 are assembled onto module 200 in exactly the manner described for the assembly of conductors onto strip 100. The boss bar 407 similarly is then engaged to snub down the conductors on their snubbing surfaces 226, thus effecting connection between these conductors and the upper insulation-piercing slot 223. The blade 410 severs the conductor ends, using surface 206 as a cutting anvil.

The head 405 is again retracted, and a cap 300 is placed on ribs 403. The final downward stroking of head 405 brings the vertically deflecting beam 316 into engagement with the conductors. Beam 316 puts a snubbing bend in each conductor by causing it to press against snubbing surfaces 226, brace 227 and upper rail 229. Finally, the legs 305 of cap 300 snap into receiving slots 208 of module 200; and the latching nubs 146 engage the latching holes 314 of the cap 300.

Additionally, the cantilever beam 116 acting at one point of a conductor 241, and the horizontally deflecting upright arms 112 acting at a close second point of the conductor provide rigid support of the conductor in the vicinity to each side of the contact element 219, thus preventing motion of the conductor in the area to be contacted.

An alternative tool operation could be to put the connector module 200 on the guides over the index strip 100, then dress the wires into the top of the connector module and then press the connector module onto the index strip, seating and cutting the wires in this operation.

A further inventive embodiment is illustrated with the aid of portions of FIGS. 6 and 8. A blade which performs the function of the tool blade 410 is added directly into the connector module. As seen in FIG. 6,.a blade 260 fits into a slot 261 of the module 200 so that the blade outer surface is substantially flush with the interior surface of legsx204. The edge 262 is also flush with the same surface, and extends about 40 mils below the wire sutffers 238..

Similarly, in FIG. 8', a blade 320 is mounted into a slot 321 of cap 300 with the blade outer surface flush with the interior surface of the legs 306, and with the blade edge 322 extending about 40 mils below the wire stuffer bottom surface 310.

The blades 260 and 320 advantageously may be made of a ceramic or' glossy material, or an equivalent, that is hard enough to slice relatively ductile metal, sufficiently nonbrittle, and has good insulative and dielectric properties. The blades may be adhered to the mounting slots by a suitable adhesive.

It should be apparent from the foregoing discussion that the connector module upright arms 212 and the index strip upright arms 112 are each rigidly supported at a top and a bottom end. The wire slots which they thus serve to define are made so that the presence therebetween of' an insulated conductor of greate'r'diameter than the nominal arm separation causes the arms to retract at the contact zone. Elsewhere, the arms grippingly close over the conductor, as in a reverse bend shown in FIG. 1.

Depending on the wire gauge size, when the module 200 has snap-mounted into place, the beams 116 may actually be in contact. with the index strip side floor 103; and the insulation of the conductors 241 may actually be deformed.

The operation of the lower brace 235 and the index strip cantilever beam 116 is to grippingly accommodate different conductor guages with varying degrees of deflection of the beam 116. This is due in part to the cantilever beam being suspended from an interior position outwardly between adjacent teeth at a nominal at-rest position abovethe interior floor. The same operation holds true with respect. to the interaction of deflecting cantilever beams 316 of cap 300 and the snubbing surface 226 of module 200.

The index strip 100, connector module 200 and cap 300 advantageously may be made by plastic molding procedures known to the art. Materials of which each may be made include polycarbonate, polyamide, or a polystyrene or related polymer such as ABS resin, all of which provide goodmechanical strength and rigidity as well as adequate electrical insulation.

BRIDGE CONNECTOR As seen in FIGS. 9 and 10, a convenient way to illustrate the. structure of the optional bridge connector is by showing the two parts 500A and 5008 of which the connector is made. The bridge connector designated 500 consists of a rear surface. 527 with a platen 515 running from one end wall 505 to asecond end wall not shown. An edge notch 514 is provided in platen 515, as well as slots 516 with snap-in entrance wings 528. Latching nubs 525 are formed both on rear surface 527 and on front surface 529 shown in FIG. 9.

Conductor slots 530 opening onto platen 515 are formed between adjacent domed roof risers 508. Two vertical slots 509 in each riser 508 form horizontally yielding flexible arms 510 which yield to conductors in the manner described with respect, for example, to arms 212 of connector module 200.

Forward of each riser 508 is a tooth 501, joined to the corresponding riser 508 by a web 507. A well 511 is formed by adjacent webs 507, the backs 510A of adjacent upright arms 510, and the. backs 501A of adjacent teeth 501. The well 511 is similar to the well 225 shown in FIG. 1, and is for the purpose of mounting and housing double-ended slotted metallic contact element 504 which may for example, be similar to the element 219 shown in FIG. 1 and in FIG. 6A. The element 504 mounts on adjacent half-circle mounting surfaces 523.

The holes 520 are for the purpose of bleeding encapsulant during assembly. The two pieces 500A and 500B are advantageously molded separately, and then joined by insertion of molding ribs 519 into mounting grooves 523, with the half circles 522 fitting through the circular openings 524 formed between adjacent downwardly extending ribs 513.

The conductor slots 530 are substantially at the same level as a floor 526 which is adjacent to each tooth 501. On the outboard side of each tooth 501, are latching nubs 512. Each alternate tooth 501 has a peaked cathedral roof 503; and the in-between teeth 501 have flattened top surfaces 502.

A snubbing brace 517 with an inwardly-facing bevel 518 is situated next to the floor 526 between each two adjacent teeth 501. The bevel 518 tends upwardly from floor 526.

Pursuant to another aspect of the invention, a cap identical to the cap 300 snap-mounts onto bridge connector 500 by engagement of slots 516 by legs 305 and of nubs 512 by latching holes 314. The action of deflecting beam 316 on a conductor 541 in slot 530 is the same as has already been described in earlier mention of beam 316. Likewise, with the cap 300 snap-mounted in place, the brace 517 snubs the conductor 541 and the wire stuffer 309 of cap 300 stuffs conductor 541 into the slot 530.

The pin connector ends 504A of connector 504 ex-' tend downwardly and out beyond the lower edge 506, as seen in FIG. 11. Engagement of bridge connector 500 onto connector module 200 is by latching of nubs 525 into the latching holes 231, with the ends 504A extending through the bridging slots 234 and into gripping contact with the narrow waist 220 of the connector module contact element 219.

It is to be understood that the embodiments described herein are merely illustrative of the principles of the invention. Various modifications may be made thereto by persons skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for connecting two insulated conductors comprising:

indexing means comprising:

first wire slot means,

first vertically yielding wire confining means in line with said first wire slot means,

well means between said first wire slot means and said first wire confining means,

connector module means comprising:

second wire slot means,

top snubbing means and bottom snubbing means,

doubleended conductive means mounted with its second end disposed across said second wire slot means,

means for mounting said connector module means on said indexing means so that said conductive means first end extends into said well means and across said first wire slot means, said bottom snubbing means forcing an insulated conductor against said first wire confining means, and

cap means comprising:

second vertically yielding wire confining means,

and

means for mounting said cap on said block means, said top snubbing means forcing an insulated conductor against said second wire confining means.

2. Apparatus for connecting two insulated conductors comprising:

indexing means comprising:

first horizontally yielding wire slot means,

first vertically yielding wire confining means in line with said first wire slot means,

well means between and extending below said first wire slot means and said first wire confining means,

connector module means comprising:

second horizontally yielding wire slot means,

top snubbing means and bottom snubbing means,

double-ended slotted beam connector means mounted behind both said snubbing means with the beam second end slot disposed across said second wire slot means,

means for mounting said connector module means on said indexing means so that said beam first end slot extends into said well means across said first wire slot means so that said bottom snubbing means forces an insulated conductor against said first wire confining means causing the latter to resiliently yield;

first stuffing means for forcing an insulated conductor into said first wire slot means, and

cap means comprising:

second wire stuffing means for forcing an insulated conductor into said second wire slot means,

second vertically yielding wire confining means in line with said second wire slot means, snubbing means for mounting said cap means on said connector module means so that said top snubbing means forces an insulated conductor against said second wire confining means causing the latter to resiliently yield.

3. Apparatus for connecting at least one or more wires of a first group respectively to one or more wires of a second group, comprising:

indexing means comprising:

first wire slot means defined by adjacent flexible arms for receiving a first wire from said first group,

first cantilever beam means mounted in line with said first slot means, and

well means between and extending below said slot means and said beam means,

connector module means comprising:

second wire slot means defined by adjacent flexible arms for receiving a second wire from said second group,

a top snubbing brace and a bottom snubbing brace,

double-ended slotted conductive means mounted behind and crosswise of said braces, with its second end slot facing said second wire slot means,

means for mounting said connector module means on said indexing means so that said conductive means first end extends into said well means with its first end slot facing said first wire slot means and so that said bottom brace snubs said first wire when disposed in said first wire slot means against the yielding said first beam means, and first wire stuffing means for forcing said first wire into said first slot means, and

cap means comprising:

second wire stuffing means for forcing said second wire into said second wire slot means when disposed therein,

second cantilever beam means mounted in line with said second wire stuffing means, and

means for mounting said cap means on said connector module means so that said top brace snubs said second wire against the yielding said second cantilever beam means.

4. Apparatus pursuant to claim 2 wherein said indexing means further comprises:

an interior floor,

upright spaced teeth rising from said floor between said wire confining means, and

means mounting said wire confining means above said floor for yielding movement toward said fioor.

5. Apparatus pursuant to claim 4, wherein each said first wire confining means comprises a cantilever beam suspended from an interior support and extending over said floor beyond said teeth.

6. Apparatus pursuant to claim 5, wherein said connector module means further comprises:

an interior floor, and

upright teeth rising from said floor with spaces thereinbetween each corresponding to a respective said second wire slot means.

7. Apparatus pursuant to claim 6, wherein each said second wire confining means comprises a cantilever beam suspended from an interior point in said cap and wherein said cap means further comprises cavities between each two adjacent said cantilever beams to accommodate said connector module teeth when said cap is mounted on said connector module means.

8. Apparatus pursuant to claim 2, wherein each said first and said second wire slot means comprise adjacent horizontally yielding arms each rigidly supported at a top and a bottom end so that the presence therebetween of an insulated conductor of greater diameter than the nominal arm separation causes the arms to retract at the contact zone and elsewhere to grippingly close over said conductor.

9. Apparatus pursuant to claim 7, wherein each said first and said second wire slot means comprises adjacent horizontally yielding arms each rigidly supported at a top and a bottom end so that the presence therebetween of an insulated conductor of greater diameter than the nominal arm separation causes the arms to retract at the contact zone and elsewhere to grippingly close over said conductor.

10. Apparatus pursuant to claim 9 wherein the top of each said arm curves outwardly at said slot entrance to form a wide-mouthed slot entrance.

11. Apparatus pursuant to claim 2, wherein each said first wire confining means comprises a cantilever beam suspended from a support adjacent said well and said indexing means further comprises:

an interior floor,

upright spaced teeth rising from said floor the backs of adjacent said teeth defining an extension of said well, said cantilever beam being suspended freely between adjacent said teeth outwardly above said interior floor, thereby to grippingly accommodate different conductor gauges with varying degrees of deflection of said beam.

12. Apparatus pursuant to claim 3, wherein said double-ended slotted conductive means further comprises a central narrow waist section and said apparatus further comprises means for effecting bridging connection of one or more wires of a third group to respective ones of said central narrow waist sections.

13. Apparatus pursuant to claim 3, wherein said con nector module means further comprises:

upper and lower side rails extending outwardly respectively from said top and bottom snubbing braces and defining therebetween an elongated exterior surface, and

slot means through said exterior surface, each extending to a point adjacent the central section of a respective one of said double-ended slotted conductive means, thereby to provide additional electrical access from without said apparatus to each said conductive means.

14. Apparatus pursuant to claim 13 wherein said central section of each said slotted conductive means comprises a narrow waist,

said rails each include latching holes, and

said apparatus further comprises bridge connector means comprising a bridging block, and doubleended slotted contact elements mounted in said block for engagement of first end slots with respective said narrow waists.

15. Apparatus pursuant to claim 14 wherein said bridge connector means further comprises third wire slot means defined by adjacent flexible arms, the second said end slots of said slotted conductive means facing said third wire slot means.

16. Apparatus pursuant to claim 15, wherein said bridge connector means further comprises:

upright teeth with spaces therebetween, each space corresponding to a respective said third wire slot means, and

a third snubbing brace disposed outwardly of said teeth, and

second cap means comprising:

third wire stuffing means each for forcing a wire to be connected to a respective said contact element second end slot into a respective said third wire slot means, and

third cantilever beam means mounted in line with said third wire stuffing means, and

means for mounting said cap means on said bridge connector means so that said third snubbing brace snubs said wires against said third cantilever beam means.

i 17. Apparatus pursuant to claim 16 wherein said bridge connector means further comprises latching nub means for engaging said latching holes in each said rail.

18. Apparatus pursuant to claim 6, wherein the teeth of said indexing means and said connector module means are alternately flat-topped and peak-topped.

19. Apparatus pursuant to claim 4, wherein said index strip teeth further comprise latching nubs and said lower brace further comprises corresponding latching holes for grippingly engaging said nubs thereby to snapmount said index strip means on said connector module means.

20. nodule means. pursuant to claim 6, wherein said connector module means teeth further comprise latching nubs and said cap means comprises an exterior forward wall with corresponding latching holes for grippingly engaging said last-named nubs thereby to snapmount said cap on said connector module means.

21. Apparatus pursuant to claim 4 wherein said index strip comprises a vertical female guide slot in each of its two end walls for sliding engagement with a male guide member of an assembly tool.

22. Apparatus pursuant to claim 21 wherein said connector module means and said cap means each comprise a vertical female guide slot in each of their respective two end walls for sliding engagement with a said assembly tool male guide member.

23. Apparatus pursuant to claim 22 wherein said connector module means further comprises a horizontal female guide slot in each of its said two end walls for sliding engagement with said assembly tool male guide member. a

24. Apparatus pursuant to claim 3, wherein said connector module means comprises open chambers substantially surrounding each said conductive means first end slot, and viscous encapsulating means filling said chamber.

Z ST A ppa ratus pursuant to clairn id wherein said cap means comprises open chambers adjacent each said second wire stuffing means, and viscous encapsulating means filling each said chamber.

26. Apparatus pursuant to claim 3, wherein said means for mounting said connector module means on said indexing means comprises: a platen extending outwardly from the exterior side of said adjacent flexible arms of said index strip means, said platen having an edge notch therein, plural receiving slots extending downwardly from said platen, each slot having narrow entrance wings and relatively wider recesses therebeneath, and plural correspondingly shaped legs extending from the lower edge of said connector module, each for snapping engagement with one of said index strip receiving slots.

fives paafu's ursuaai106155676, wherein said means for mounting said cap means and said connector module means comprise a platen extending outwardly from the exterior side of said adjacent flexible arms of said connector module means, said platen having an edge notch therein, plural receiving slots extending downwardly from said platen, each slot having narrow entrance wings and relatively wide recesses therebeneath; and plural correspondingly shaped legs extending from a lower edge of said cap means each for snapping engagement with one of said connector module means receiving slots.

28. Apparatus pursuant to claim 12, wherein said conductive means comprises bifurcated end portions defining an entrance to each said end slot, said end portions having a relatively wide entrance that tapers to the entrance width of said end slot, the latter having a relatively narrow entrance width and a converging taper, the thickness of said conductive means being substantially reduced at each said bifurcated end portion.

T9: Kpparatus pursuant idciimzs, wherein each said conductive means end slot extends toward said waist section a substantial distance, the width of said conductive means being undiminished along all of said substantial t listance.

30. Apparatus pursuant to claim 18 further comprising color coding of the peak-topped teeth of said index. strip means and of said connector block means.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE QERHHCATE CF QCREQ'HC 3 5 772 3635 Dated Dean R. Frey, Robert W. Henn, Donald T. Smith, Invent0r(s) Arthur G, Vedejs Patent November 13, 1973 It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 8,, line 62, after "nubs" change "1&6" to --2 l6-.

Claim 2 line 53, after "slot means cancel "snubbing".

Claim 20, linel3, after "20." at the beginning of the line cancel "module means" and insert --Apparatus.

Signed and sealed this 9th day of April 197A.

'(SEAL) Attest: I

EDWARD MuFLETCHERJR. Ca, MARSHALL DANN Atte sting Officer Commissioner of Patents "ORM PC4050 (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 a u.s. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: I959 0-366-334

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Classifications
U.S. Classification439/403, 439/942, 439/488, 439/460
International ClassificationH01R9/00, H01R4/24, H04Q1/14, H01R12/08, H02G15/08, H01R9/22, H01R9/24, H01R12/38
Cooperative ClassificationY10S439/942, H04Q1/141, H01R4/2433, H04Q1/021, H04Q1/114, H01R4/2429, H04Q1/06, H01R9/2416
European ClassificationH01R9/24C, H04Q1/14B, H01R4/24B3C1, H01R4/24B3C1B