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Publication numberUS3790922 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 5, 1974
Filing dateMay 8, 1972
Priority dateMay 8, 1972
Also published asCA973624A1, DE2323180A1
Publication numberUS 3790922 A, US 3790922A, US-A-3790922, US3790922 A, US3790922A
InventorsR Normann
Original AssigneeBendix Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Coupling for an electrical connector
US 3790922 A
Abstract
An easily disconnectable sleeve that houses one half of a quick release or emergency release type connector assembly. The rear portion of the sleeve may be removed for access to the junction between the electrical contacts of the connector and the incoming wires, thereby permitting the electrical circuitry to be checked without disconnecting the connector assembly. The rear portion of the sleeve is fixedly secured to the front portion of the sleeve by two snap rings and a coupling ring. Unlike a threaded coupling, this coupling is capable of transmitting torque and resisting vibrations that would normally uncouple a threaded coupling.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Normann Feb.5,11974 1 COUPLING FOR AN ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR [75] Inventor: Richard W. Normann, Otego, NY.

[22] Filed: May 8, 11972 [21] Appl. No.: 251,158

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 6/1942 Cannon et a1 339/126 R 3/1947 Hargreaves 11/1970 Hennessey 339/45 M FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Germany 285/321 615,082 12/1948 Great Britain 339/132 T Primary Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn Assistant Examiner-Lawrence J. Staab Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Raymond J. Eifler ABSTRACT An easily disconnectable sleeve that houses one half of a quick release or emergency release type connector assembly, The rear portion of the sleeve may be removed for access to the junction between the electrical contacts of the connector and the incoming wires, thereby permitting the electrical circuitry to be checked without disconnecting the connector assembly. The rear portion of the sleeve: is fixedly secured to the front portion of the sleeve by two snap rings and a coupling ring. Unlike a threaded coupling, this coupling is capable of transmitting torque and resisting vibrations that would normally uncouple a threaded coupling.

6 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENIEDFEB 519m 31,790,922

mm E

lOO

I COUPLING FOR AN ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an electrical connector of the quick disconnect or emergency release type. The invention is more particularly related to a housing for the plug portion of a connector assembly which provides access to the terminals of the connector contacts and the incoming wires without disassembly of the connector assembly.

In certain industrial and military applications it is necessary to have a connector assembly wherein the plug and receptacle are rapidly disengaged upon the application of opposed axial forces, such as when the plug and receptacle are pulled apart. A specific example of this type of connector may be found in US. Pat. No. 3,538,485 entitled Coupling Device, issued Nov. 3, 1970 to W. F. Hennessey, Jr. In the electrical connector described in US. Pat. No. 3,538,485 a lanyard, attached to the connector assembly, must be pulled to activate the release mechanism that allows the connector assembly to separate. However, some applications require the connector plug to be housed in a long metal sleeve which does not permit access to the connection between the incoming wires and the terminal portion of the electrical contacts within the connector assembly. Therefore, if replacement of a contact is necessary or if it is necessary to check the operational integrity of the electrical system, it is also necessary to disassemble and/or disconnect the entire sleeve from the connector assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention provides an emergency release electrical connector assembly with the capability of providing access to the connection between incoming wires and terminal ends of the electrical contacts of a connector assembly once the connector and wires are assembled. The invention further provides a coupling device for containing a connector that is simple to connect and disconnect, has an extremely high resistance to vibration with respect to uncoupling, and is capable of transmitting torque in both directions, which a threaded coupling without modification is not capable of doing.

The invention is an emergency release electrical connector assembly (1) characterized by a housing for the assembly which includes two sleeves (100, 200) demountably connected to each other by a lock ring (400) and snap rings (301, 302), thereby providing access to the terminals between the incoming wires (25) and electrical contacts (1 l) of the connector assembly.

In one embodiment of the invention (FIGS. 1 and 2) the electrical connector comprises: a first sleeve (100) having a cutaway rear end portion that includes on the remaining rear end portion a first and second annular groove (101, 102) arranged in spaced relationship, the second annular groove closer the rear end of the first sleeve than the first annular groove; a plurality of electrical contacts (ll) each having a mating end and a terminal end; means for mounting the electrical contacts within the sleeve (disclosed in the U.S. Pat. No. 3,538,485) so that the terminal ends of the contacts are facing the rear end of the first sleeve; a second sleeve (200) that includes a cutaway front end portion in mated relationship with the remaining rear portion of the first sleeve, the remaining front rear end portion of the second sleeve including third and fourth annular grooves (203, 204) aligned with the first and second grooves of the first sleeve, the third annular groove closer to the front end of the second sleeve than the fourth annular groove; a snap ring (3011) disposed in the first annular groove .of the first sleeve and the third annular groove of the second sleeve; a coupling ring (400) encircling the rear end portion of the first sleeve and the front end portion of the second sleeve and abutting against one side of the first mounting ring; and a second snap ring (302) disposed in the second annular groove of the first sleeve and the fourth annular groove of the second sleeve and abutting against the other side of the coupling ring whereby the first and second sleeves are demountably connected together. In an alternate embodiment (FIG. 5) the first annular groove of the first sleeve and the third annular groove of the second sleeve are replaced by a shoulder (I05, 205).

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a coupling for one half of a connector assembly that is capable of transmitting torque, has the ability to resist vibrations that would normally uncouple threaded type couplings, and is readily disconnectable to provide access to the junction between the incoming wires and the electrical contacts of the electrical connector.

Another object of this invention is to provide a novel coupling device to be used in combination with an electrical connector assembly of the type which permits rapid disengagement of the connector assembly on the application of opposing axial forces occurring in the process of pulling the connector assembly apart.

Still another object of this invention is to improve the versatility of the connector assembly shown in US. Pat. No. 3,538,485 and similar connector assemblies.

The above and other objects and features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and claims which form a part of this specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 illustrates the assembled] coupling device in combination with an emergency release type connector assembly.

FIG. 2 illustrates thecoupling assembly before it is securely connected together.

FIG. 3 illustrates a coupling ring.

FIG. 4 illustrates a snap ring which is used to secure the sleeves together.

FIG; 5 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the coupling assembly which embodies the principles of this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a releasable electrical connector assembly in combination with a disconnectable housing assembly that embodies the principles of this invention. A more detailed description and drawings of a releasable electrical connector assembly used in combination with this invention may be found in the aforementioned US. Pat. No. 3,538,485.

The coupling device, which is used in combination with an emergency release type electrical connector 1, includes a first sleeve 100, a second sleeve 200, coupling ring 400 and snap rings 301, 302 which connect the first sleeve 100 and the second sleeve 200 together and which captively retain the coupling ring 400 around the first sleeve 100 and the second sleeve 200.

The first sleeve 100 is mechanically linked to a connector assembly which is shown, by way of example, in the form of a plug and socket type electrical connector assembly comprising two matable parts of assemblies 2 and 3. The connector assembly is adapted to be releasably coupled in mated relationship for quick and easy disengagement. One half of the connector assembly 2 is shown as comprising a tubular shell 4, an insulating contact supporting insert 5 mounted in the shell, and a plurality of socket contacts 6 supported by the insert. Shell 4 has three equally spaced coupling pins or lugs 7 projecting radially therefrom, only one of the pins being shown. The other half of the connector assembly 3 shown mated with assembly 2 comprises a tubular shell 8 which telescopes with shell 4 and has a plurality of axially extending keys 9 on the periphery thereof. These keys mate with keyways in shell 4 to angularly orient the assemblies and prevent relative rotation thereof. An insulating insert 13 supports a plurality of pin contacts 11 in shell 8 for mating with socket contacts 6 in shell 4. Means are also provided for mechanically and releasably coupling each half of the connector assembly 2 and 3 together in mated relation in a manner which permits quick, simultaneous release of the coupling means and disengagement of the connector assembly. The coupling means is associated with shell 8 and forms an assembly therewith. In the embodiment shown the coupling comprises an inner sleeve 12, the forward end of which surrounds a rear portion of shell 8 and has an internal groove 14 in which is mounted an annular wavy compression spring 15. Alternate lobes of the spring engage the rear wall 16 of the groove and the other lobes thereof engage concentric telescoping flanges 17, 18 on shell 8 and sleeve 12 respectively. Sleeve 12 is free to rotate about shell 8, and axial movement of sleeve 12 to the right or rearwardly relative to shell 8 is limited by a split washer 19 seated in an annular groove on the shell 8 and engageable with an external shoulder on the sleeve. Shell 8 is permitted limited axial movement to the right or rearwardly relative to sleeve 12 against the compression of spring 15. The outer sleeve 100 of the novel coupling assembly surrounds inner sleeve 12 and is connected thereto for rotation therewith and limited axial movement relative thereto by any suitable means, such as an inwardly projecting tab or key on sleeve 100 and a mating groove or keyway' in the periphery of inner sleeve 12. Further details and drawings describing the operation of the releasable electrical connector'portion of this assembly may be obtained from a reading of the aforementioned U.S. Pat. No. 3,538,485, the description of this type of electrical connector being offered for purposes of illustrating the advantages and functions of the present invention.

The second sleeve 200 may or may not be directly connected to a cable (not shown) having a plurality of wires therein that pass through the second sleeve 200 and are connected to the terminal end of the electrical contacts 11.

The coupling ring 400 may be mounted to a rack or panel (not shown) by suitable mounting means (not shown). The purpose of the rack or panel 500 is to stop the movement of the sleeves and 200 in the direction of the arrow A when the assembly is being pulled in that direction so that the release mechanism of the connector assembly will allow the mated contacts 6, l 1 to disengage.

FIG. 2 shows a partial diagrammatic view of the coupling sleeves 100, 200, each of which is cut away to remove degrees of one end. The first sleeve 100 includes a cutaway rear end portion that includes on the remaining rear end portion a first annular groove 101 and a second annular groove 102 arranged in spaced relationship, the second annular groove 102 being closer to the rear end of the sleeve 100 than the first groove 101.

The second sleeve 200 also includes a similar cutaway front end portion that includes on the remaining front end portion of the second sleeve 200 a third annular groove 203 and a fourth annular groove 204 arranged in the same spaced relationship as the annular grooves on the first sleeve 100, the third annular groove 203 being closer to the front end of the second 200 than the fourth annular groove 204.

In the embodiment shown, each of the sleeves has 180 degrees removed from one end so that when the first sleeve 100 is mated with the second sleeve 200, the grooves 101 and 203 align themselves to form a continuous groove 360 degrees around the mated sleeves. Similarly, groove 102 of the first sleeve 100 and groove 204 of the second sleeve 200 align themselves to form a continuous groove 360 degrees around the mated sleeves. In this figure sleeves 100 and 200 will not remain in mated relationship unless a retention mechanism, such as a snap ring shown in FIG. 4, is placed in one of the continuous grooves (i.e., 101 and 203).

FIG. 3 is a view of the coupling 400 shown in FIG. 1. The coupling includes an opening therein slightly larger than the configuration of the first sleeve 100 and second sleeve 200 when they are in mated relationship. The remaining portion of the coupling may take any configuration and may include means for mounting the coupling ring onto a rack or panel. Preferably, however, the coupling 400 is ring shaped.

The coupling ring 400 may include mounting means such as screws or bolts to fasten the coupling ring to a rack or panel so that when a continuous axial force is applied in the direction A (FIG. 1), the mechanism retaining the connector'assembly will allow the contacts of the connector assembly to disengage. Disengagement of the connector assembly occurs when tension is applied in direction A to the wires or cables (not shown) attached to contacts 6 and when the first sleeve 100 remains in a fixed position, such as when the coupling ring 400 is mounted on a rack or strikes an object preventing further movement of the sleeves in direction A, thereby allowing the electrical contacts 6, 11 which are in mated relationship to be separated from each other by the force that is pulling on the cable (not shown) in the direction indicated by arrow A.

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic view of a snap ring shown in FIG. 1 (301, 302). Preferably the snap rings are made of a metal and are shaped to be resiliently deformable in the radial direction. The rings are also preferably split, with each end portion having a hole therein for receiving a tool to facilitate the opening of the ring and disconnecting of the sleeves. Alternately, a split ring could have tabs on each end that may be grasped by hand or a tool to enable a force to be applied that will increase the inner diameter of the ring so that it may be removed from or located in the grooves in the sleeves 100, 102.

FIG. 5 shows an alternate embodiment of the invention wherein one of the continuous grooves formed by grooves 101 and 203 is replaced by a continuous rearwardly facing shoulder formed by shoulders 105 and 205. In this embodiment the sleeve 100 and the sleeve 200 are secured together when in mated relationship by snap ring 302. The coupling 4.00 is retained in position by the rearwardly facing shoulders I05, 205 and the snap ring 301 located in the continuous annular groove formed by grooves 102 and 204i.

OPERATION Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIG. 1, access may be gained to the connections be tween the wires 25 and the rear end of the electrical contacts 11 as follows: snap ring 302 is expanded by a tool or some other means so that it is removed from the annular groove (102, 204) and placed in a position where it encircles either the cable (not shown) or the narrow portion of the rear sleeve 200. Next, the coupling nut 400 is moved back to a position alongside the snap ring 302 on the narrow poriton of the rear sleeve 200. Again, a tool or some other means is used to expand the snap ring 301, remove it from its annular groove and move it to a position alongside the coupling ring 400 on the narrow portion of the rear sleeve 200. Once the snap rings 30], 302 and the coupling ring 400 are moved to this position, the second sleeve 200 may be moved in the direction B, away from the first sleeve 100, thereby exposing the terminals of the wires 25 and the electrical contacts 11.

While a preferred embodiment of the invention had been disclosed, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes may be made to the invention as set forth in the appended claims and, in some instances, certain features of the invention may be used to advantage without corresponding use of other features. For example, in certain applications the object of this invention may be attained by utilizing only one snap ring and one continuous annular groove formed by a portion of that groove in the sleeves 100, 200. Further, the cutaway portion of the sleeves may take any configuration so long as the sleeves 100, 200 are matable and so long as each piece contributes a groove that forms a continuous groove around both sleeves. Accordingly, it is intended that the illustrative and descriptive materials herein be used to illustrate the principles of the ina second sleeve that includes a cutaway front end portion in mated relationship with said cutaway rear portion of said first sleeve, said remaining front end portion of said second sleeve including a rearwardly facing shoulder and an annular groove aligned with the shoulder and groove of said first sleeve;

a coupling ring mounted on the front end portion of said second sleeve in abutment with said rearwardly facing shoulders of said first and second sleeves; and

means for retaining said coupling ring between said rearwardly facing shoulders and said annular grooves in said first and second sleeves, said retaining means disposed in said grooves of said first and second sleeves so that said first and second sleeves are connected together.

2. An electrical connector as recited in claim ll wherein said means for retaining said coupling ring is a snap ring so that said first and second sleeves are disconnectable.

3. The combination as recited in claim'2 wherein said coupling ring includes means for mounting said coupling ring to a panel.

4. An electrical connector comprising:

a first sleeve having a cutaway rear end portion that includes on the remaining rear end portion a first and second annular groove arranged in spaced relationship, said second groove closer to the rear end of said sleeve than said first groove;

a plurality of electrical contacts each having a mating end and a terminal end;

means for mounting said electrical contacts within said sleeve so that said terminal ends of said contacts are facing said rear end of said sleeve;

a second sleeve that includes a cutaway front end portion, in mated relationship with said remaining rear portion of said first sleeve, said remaining front end portion of said second sleeve including a first and second annular groove aligned with the first and second grooves of said first sleeve, said first annular groove of said second sleeve closer to the front end of said second sleeve than said second groove;

a first snap ring disposed in said first annular groove of said first sleeve and said first annular groove of said second sleeve; i

a coupling ring encircling said rear end portion of said first sleeve and said front end portion of said second sleeve and abutting against one side of said first mounting ring; and

a second snap ring disposed in said second annular groove of said first sleeve and said second annular groove of said second sleeve and abutting against the other side of said coupling ring whereby said first and second sleeves are demountably connected together.

5. The combination recited in claim 4 wherein said coupling ring includes means for mounting said coupling ring to a panel.

6. An electrical connector as recited in claim 4 wherein said means for mounting said electrical contacts within said sleeve includes a first assembly adapted to'be releasably connected to a second assembly having a second plurality of contacts adapted to mate with said first plurality of contacts, said first assembly releasing said second assembly when, predeteb' mined axial forces are applied to said first and second assemblies.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2286952 *Jul 29, 1940Jun 16, 1942Cannon James HSplit connector for electrical conduits
US2417195 *Jun 30, 1943Mar 11, 1947Bendix Aviat CorpSnap-ring secured, divided motor casing
US3538485 *Aug 29, 1967Nov 3, 1970Bendix CorpCoupling device
DE1035989B *May 17, 1954Aug 7, 1958Helmut Ritter Dr IngRohrkupplung
GB615082A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3999830 *Jul 18, 1975Dec 28, 1976Amp IncorporatedHigh voltage connector with bifurcated metal shell
US4707046 *Jul 10, 1986Nov 17, 1987Liquidometer CorporationSafety breakaway electrical connector construction
US5066247 *Feb 23, 1990Nov 19, 1991Watson James FElectrical fitting for panel construction
US20010017947 *Jan 30, 2001Aug 30, 2001Sargento Foods Inc.Resealable bag for filling with food product (s) and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification439/544, 439/905, 285/70, 285/321, 439/563
International ClassificationH01R13/46, H01R13/74
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/74, Y10S439/905
European ClassificationH01R13/74
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: ALLIED CORPORATION, A CORP. OF NY
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:BENDIX CORPORATION, THE,;REEL/FRAME:004765/0709
Effective date: 19850401
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