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Publication numberUS3794957 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 26, 1974
Filing dateJan 22, 1973
Priority dateJan 22, 1973
Also published asCA990821A, CA990821A1, DE2400754A1
Publication numberUS 3794957 A, US 3794957A, US-A-3794957, US3794957 A, US3794957A
InventorsWinkler E
Original AssigneeAnderson Power Products
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Plural-poled, genderless electrical connector
US 3794957 A
Abstract
A plural-poled, genderless electrical connector having main and auxiliary contacts which telescopically engage with counterpart contacts on an identical connector. The contacts are arranged to provide a make first-break last electrical connection sequence for the main contacts and a make last-break first electrical contact sequence for the auxiliary contacts. A staggered peak insertion force load is obtained from a predetermined physical placement of the contacts within the connector.
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United States Patent 1191 Winkler 1451 Feb. 26, 1974 4] PLURAL-POLED, GENDERLESS ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR [75] Inventor: Edward D. Winkler, Reading, Mass.

[73] Assignee: Anderson Power Products, Inc.,

I Boston, Mass.

[22] Filed: Jan. 22, 19.73

[21] Appl. No.: 325,448

[52] US. Cl. 339/49 R, 339/31 R, 339/184 R [51] Int. Cl H01r 25/00 [58] Field of Search 339/47-49, 45, 339/46, 184, 186, 31-33 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,688,243 8/1972 Yamada et a1....-.....'. 339 49 R 482,306 9/1892 Hall 339/49 R 5/1963 Winkler 339/47 R Katzin 339/278 M Ruehlemann et al. 339/31 R X Primary ExaminerMarvin A. Champion Assistant Examiner-Terrell P. Lewis Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Chittick, Thompson & Pfund [57] ABSTRACT A plural-poled, genderless electrical connector having main and auxiliary contacts which telescopically engage with counterpart contacts on an identical connector. The contacts are arranged to provide a make first-break last electrical connection sequence for the main contacts and a make last-break first electrical Contact sequence for the auxiliary contacts. A staggered peak insertion force load is obtained from a predetermined physical placement of the contacts within the connector. 1

9 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PATENTED FEB26 I974 SHEET 1 BF 2 FIG. 30

FIG. 30

FIG. 3b

PLURAL-POLED, GENDERLESS ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to electrical connectors in general, and more particularly, to a plural-poled, genderless electrical connector.

Genderless electrical connectors are well known in the electric connector art. Representative examples of such connectors are shown in the following U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,091,746; 3,2l8,599; 3,259,870; and 3,654,586. The genderless type electrical connector has gained wide acceptance in the batterymotive industry for connecting and disconnecting the battery pack cables. Currently available genderless connectors include those manufactured and sold by Anderson Power Products, Inc., 145 Newton Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02135, under the United States Registered Trademarks SB and POWERPOLE.

In the batterymotive industry, electrical charging of the vehicles battery pack is a relatively frequent and routine operation. The charger is electrically connected to the battery pack through the battery cable connectors. After the connection is made, the charger is turned on for a predetermined period of time or until the battery pack reaches a fully charged state. The charger is then turned off and disconnected from the battery cable connector.

It is desirable to make and break the electrical connections between the charger and the battery pack during a zero current or de-energized condition. Although the de-energized making and breaking of the chargerbattery cable electrical connections can be achieved through manual operation of the charger, such an operation is susceptible to human error. It is, accordingly, one of the objects of the present invention to provide an electrical connector having main and auxiliary or control contacts which can be employed to control the operation of a battery charger. The sequence of operation for connecting the charger to its battery pack is as follows: (1) the main contacts close in a de-energized condition; (2) the auxiliary contacts close; (3) a relay within the charger controlled by the auxiliary contacts closes; and (4) the charger is energized and connected to the battery pack through the previously closed main contacts. The sequence for disconnecting the charger is as follows: (1) the auxiliary contacts open; (2) the relay controlled by these contacts opens; (3) the,

charges is de-energized; and, (4) the main contacts open in a de-energized condition.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION It is a general object of the present invention to provide a plural-poled, genderless electrical connector having main and auxiliary contacts which telescopically engage with counterpart contacts in an identical connector.

It is a specific object of the present invention to provide a plural-poled, genderless electrical connector in which the main contacts are arranged to provide a make first-break last electrical connection sequence while the auxiliary or control contacts are arranged to provide a make last-break first electrical connection sequence.

It is another object of the invention to provide a plural-poled, genderless electrical connector in which the contacts are positioned to provide a staggered peak insertion force load.

It is a feature of the invention that the electrical connector of the present invention comprises a combination of two presently existing electrical connectors.

It is another feature of the present invention that the components of the electrical connector can be assembled easily and that the electrical contacts can be electrically secured to the connector cables before the contacts are inserted into the electrical connector.

According to the preferred embodiment of the invention, a plurality of electrical connectors of the type described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,218,599 and 3,259,870 are positioned within and held by a modified electrical connector of the type described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,091,746.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The objects and features of the present invention set forth above and other objects and features of the invention will best be understood from a detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof, taken for purposes of illustration and shown in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pair of identical, genderless, plural-poled electrical connectors in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the inner-housing portion of one of the identical connectors of FIG. 1 showing the spring biasing means for two rigid electrical contacts, one of which is illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIGS. 3a, 3b and 3c, are plan and end elevation views, respectively, of the inner-housing portion of one of the identical connectors shown in FIG. 1;

FIGS. 44, 4b and 4c, are plan and end elevation views, respectively, of the outer-housing portion of one of the identical connectors shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic view of two sets of mating electrical contacts showing the relative position of the electrical contacts in each set;

FIG. 6 is a view in side elevation partially broken away showing two electrical contacts in the fully inserted, closed position; and

FIG. 7 is a diagrammatic view of three electrical contacts illustrating their relative positions to achieve a common contact closed center line.

Turning now to the drawings and particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, there is shown in perspective view a pair of identical, four-pole,-genderless, electrical connectors indicated generally by the reference numerals l0 and 12. The connectors 10 and 12 are exact counterparts adopted for longitudinal telescopic engagement of their connecting ends indicated at 14 and 14', respectively. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the plural-poled, genderless electrical connectors 10 and 12 comprise a combination of the electrical connectors shown and described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,091,746 and 3,259,870. The electrical connector described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,259,870 is identified in FIGS. 1 through 4 of the drawings at 16, generally. The electrical connectors 16 are positioned within a modified housing 18 of the electrical connector described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,091,746. Reference to these two United States Letters Patents should be made in connection with the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

The connectors and 12 each have a pair of electric cable terminals or contacts which are electrically secured to corresponding cables 22. The connectors also contain a pair of the previously mentioned separate connectors 16 each of which in turn contains a cable terminal or contact 24 which is electrically secured to a corresponding cable 26.

The interrelationship between the superposed electrical connectors 16 and the electrical connector housing 18 can best be understood by referring to FIGS. 2 through 4 in conjunction with the perspective view of the connectors shown in FIG. 1. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the connector housing 18 comprises an insulated housing which is split longitudinally into two sections: an inner housing 28 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3; and, an outer housing shown in FIG. 4. The two housings are detachably connected together by means of bolts 32 and nuts 34 as shown in FIG. 1.

The insulated housings 28 and are arranged to support two identical rigid contact or terminal members 20. For purposes of clarity, one contact member 20 has been removed from the inner housing 28 depicted in FIG. 2. Each contact 20 is provided with a cylindrical end portion 36 which is bored to receive the end of an electrical cable, such as, cable 22. The contacting end of each terminal 20 comprises an elongated flat portion 38 substantially rectangular in cross section and provided with a rounded or convex end portion 40 projecting from one surface thereof. The opposite face of the contacting end of each terminal is provided with a laterally extended shoulder portion forming a notch 41 (see FIG. 5) arranged to be engaged by the inner end of an elongated, U-shaped leaf spring 42 (see FIG. 6). The U-shaped spring 42 is held within the housing in opposed grooves 44 formed within the housing. Each housing also has two hollowed out, semicircular body portions 46 which form circular opening in the assembled connector through which the cables 22 exit from the connector.

The inner housing 28 is provided with two spaced, forwardly extending terminal receiving pockets 48 and 50 which are substantially U-shaped in cross section and closed at their outer end. The pockets 48 and 50 are aligned with their respective cable openings formed by the semicircular grooves 46.

The outer housing portion 30 is provided with a corresponding, forwardly extending portion 51 that is coextensive with the body portion of the housing and shaped to provide two inverted U-shaped sockets 52 and 54. The dockets are open at their outer ends and closed at their inner ends by transversely extending wall protions 56. A longitudinally extending wall portion 58 separates the two sockets.

When the two housings are assembled as shown in FIG. 1, the socket forming extension of the outer housing 30 extends over the terminal receiving pockets 46 and 48 of the inner housing 28. The sockets 52 and 54 are sized to snugly receive the corresponding pockets 48 and 50 of a second and identical connector. Thus, in the assembled form the contacting end of each terminal is enclosed in its respective pocket except for the engaging face thereof which is resiliently urged by the leaf spring 42 toward the cooperating terminal. When the two connectors are telescoped together in longitudinal engagement as indicated by the dashed lines in FIG. I, the insertion distance is limited by the engagement of the outer housing end portion 60 with a shouldered portion 62 in the inner housing 28.

The preceding description has been directed to the components of the present invention which are common with the components of the electrical connector described in US. Pat. No. 3,091,746. It has already been mentioned that the preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a combination of the electrical connector shown in US. Pat. No. 3,259,870, and the connector shown in the previously mentioned US. Pat. No. 3,091,746. However, in order to accommodate the electrical connectors 16 within the connector housing 18, the inner and outer housings 28 and 30 have been modified with respect to the corresponding housings shown in said US. Pat. No. 3,091,746.

Referring to said patent and the drawings of the present application, it can be seen that the central portion of the inner and outer housing 28 and 30 has been altered to accommodate the electrical connectors 16. Specifically, the transverse distance between the extensions which form the terminal receiving pockets 46 and 48 has been increased to provide room for the electrical connectors 16. In the modified version, each housing has a socket 54 which has the same configuration and size in plan view as the electrical connector 16.

Looking at FIG. 2, it can be seen that the inner housing 28 has a pair of transversely extending projections 66 which cooperate with corresponding notches 68 in the connector 16. The combination of the housing projection 66 and notches 68 serve to accurately position the connector 16 for telescopic engagement with an identical connector and hold the connector within the inner housing 28.

Each of the housings 28 and 30 has a longitudinally extending, semicircular cable receiving groove 70 for the connector cables 26. The main contact cable receiving grooves 46 and the auxiliary contacts cable receiving groove 70 greatly simplify the assembly of the plural-poled connector of the present invention.

A number of different assembly sequences are possible given the split half configuration of the electrical connectors 10 and 12. For example, the connectors 16 can be positioned within each of the respective inner and outer housings 28 and 30 before the housings are bolted together by means of bolts 32. Thereafter, the pre-assembled main connector contacts 20 and cables 22 can be inserted into the connector from the rear through the annular passageways defined by the semicircular grooves 46. In a similar manner, an auxiliary contact cable assembly comprising contacts 24 and cables 26 can be inserted into the electrical connectors 16 through the passage formed by the semicircular grooves 70. Alternatively, each of the respective contactcable assemblies can be formed and inserted into the respective housings before the inner and outer housings 28 and 30 are bolted together.

Although the preceding description has been directed to the split housing configuration of the preferred embodiment, it should be understood that the present invention is not limited to an electrical connector having separate inner and outer housings 28 and 30. For example, the two housings can be combined into a single molded unit as depicted in FIG. 6. However, a different contact biasing spring and spring holding arrangement must be employed in the single housing version of the present invention.

One suitable configuration for the contact biasing springs 46 and 48 for a single housing version of the present invention is described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,259,870. In that patent, the spring is T-shaped in plan view and slides into the single housing from the rear through the cable receiving channel. Means disclosed in the patent are provided for securing the contact spring in position within the housing. This arrangement is suitable for use in the present invention and is the preferred embodiment thereof for a single piece housing.

If a single piece housing is used, the receiving sockets 64 are modified by eliminating the projection 66 so that the electrical connector 16 can be inserted into the housing from the contacting end 14. The electrical connectors 16 are held within the single piece housing by staking or by using a pin member (not shown) which extends through the housing and is positioned within the connector notches 68.

It has already been mentioned that one of the objects of the present invention is to provide a plural-poled, genderless electrical connector having make first-break last main contacts and auxiliary contacts which make last and break first. This particular electrical sequence is obtained in connectors and 12 by means of the configuration of the main and auxiliary electrical contacts and by relative positions of the contacts with respect to each other and to the connector housing 18 and the connector 16.

The relative positions of the contacts 20 and 24 can best be understood by looking at FIGS. 2, 4a, 5, 6 and 7. Referring first to FIG. 2, the distance from the connecting end 72 of the forward extension which forms pockets 46 and 48 back to the shoulder 62 is identified by the small letter a. The dashed line in FIG. 2 indicates a distance from shoulder 62 equal to one-half the distance a. The distance a equals the insertion distance for the connectors 10 and 12 when they are inserted together in telescopic engagement. It should be noted that the a/2 distance dashed line does not intersect the center portion of the convex or crowned area 40 of the contact 20.

Looking now at FIG. 4, the outer housing 30 has similar distance relationships for its components. Thus, the distance from the outer housing forward end 60 to the forward surface of the transverse wall 56 is equal to the previously mentioned distance a. The center line AA is positioned at a distance of a/2. y

A similar configuration is also employed for the smaller connector 16. The distance from the forward end 74 back to shoulder 76 (see FIG. 1) is equal to a distance b which corresponds to the insertion distance for the connectors 16. The center line AA is located at a distance b/2 from the shoulder 76.

Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, the center line of the crowned convex portion 40 of each contact 20 is indicated by the dashed line BB. It should be noted that the contact crown center line BB does not correspond to the housing center line AA which is located back from the connecting end of each housing by distance equal to one-half the connector insertion distance. i.e., distance a/2 In FIG. 5, the smaller contact 24 has been moved upwardly from the dotted position to the solid line position for purposes of clarity. It can be seen from an inspection of FIG. 5 that the smaller contact 24 is located behind the crown center line BB of the larger contact 20.

When the two connectors are inserted into each other in longitudinal telescoping engagement as shown in FIG. 6, the final contact point for the two connectors 20 is defined by the center line AA which is located exactly one-half of the distance a from the forward end 60 to the transverse wall 56. If a plurality of different size contacts are arranged as shown in FIG. 7 with their respective closed contact positions being defined by the line A'A, this line will be located with respect to each individual connector at a distance equal to onehalf of the insertion distance for the particular connector.

If three different size connectors are employed as shown in FIG. 7 in side-by-side or superposed relationship, the making electrical sequence will be in order, connector 20, connector 20' and connector 24. Conversely, the breaking sequence will be connector 24, connector 20' and finally connector 20. In the fourpole version of the present invention, the main contacts 20 make first and break last while the auxiliary contacts 24 make last and break first. The sequential making and breaking of the electrical connectors, each of which is spring biased as discussed above, provides for a staggered peak insertion force thereby facilitating the insertion of one connector into another connector and the subsequent separation of the mated connectors.

Having described in detail a preferred embodiment of my invention, it will now be apparent to those skilled in the art that numerous modificatons can be made thereto without departing from the scope of the following claims. For example, more than two main contacts 20 can be employed as well as other numbers of auxiliary contacts 24 and the current carrying capacities of each can also be varied to accommodate a particular situation.

What I claim and desire to secure by Letters of the United States is:

1. A plural-pole, genderless electrical connector comprising:

1. a first hollow insulated housing means having:

a. first and second rigid terminal members positioned within said first housing means and carried in detached relation to the walls thereof, said first and second rigid terminal members being adapted for telescopic engagement with corresponding first and second rigid terminal members of a duplicate genderless electrical connector; and,

b. means for spring biasing said first and second rigid terminal members 2. a second hollow insulated housing means having:

Patent tioned to provide a make first-break last sequence for said first and second rigid terminal members and a make last-break first sequence for said third rigid terminal when said rigid terminals are telescopically engaged with corresponding rigid terminals in a duplicate, genderless electrical connector.

2. The electrical connector of claim 1 further comprising:

l. a third hollow insulated housing means having:

a. a fourth rigid terminal positioned within said third housing means and carried indetached relation to the walls thereof, said fourth rigid terminal member being adapted for telescopic engagement with a corresponding fourth rigid terminal member of a duplicate genderless electrical connector; and,

b. means for spring biasing said fourth rigid terminal member 2. means for securing said third hollow insulated housing means with respect to said second hollow insulated housing means.

3. The electrical connector of claim 2 wherein said second and third hollow insulated housing means are secured with respect to each other so that said third and fourth rigid terminals make and break together when said rigid terminals are telescopically engaged with corresponding rigid terminals in a duplicate genderless electrical connector.

4. The electrical connector of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said second insulated housing means is positioned within said first insulated housing means.

5. The electrical connector of claim 1 wherein said first hollow insulated housing means comprises detachable inner and outer housings and means for detachably securing said housings together and wherein at least a portion of said second hollow insulated housing means is positioned within and between said inner and outer housings and held thereby when said housings are secured together.

6. The electrical connector of claim 3 wherein said second and third insulated housing means are secured with respect to each other in superposed relation.

7. The electrical connector of claim 3 wherein said second and third insulated housing means are secured with respect to each other in side-by-side relation.

8. The electrical connector of claim 1 further comprising:

l. a third hollow insulated housing means having:

a. a fourth rigid terminal positioned within said third housing means and carried in detached relation to the walls thereof, said fourth rigid terminal member being adapted for telescopic engagement with a corresponding fourth rigid terminal member of a duplicate genderless electrical connector; and,

b. means for spring biasing said fourth rigid terminal member 2. means for securing said third hollow insulated housing means with respect to said first hollow insulated housing means.

9. The electrical connector of claim 8 wherein said second and third hollow insulated housing means are secured with respect to the first hollow insulated housing so that said third and fourth rigid terminals make and break together when said rigid terminals are telescopically engaged with corresponding rigid terminals in a duplicate genderless electrical connector.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification439/295, 439/170, 439/679
International ClassificationH01R13/28, H01R13/02
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/28
European ClassificationH01R13/28
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 25, 1991ASAssignment
Owner name: FLEET NATIONAL BANK
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING CORPORATION, A MA CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:005748/0283
Effective date: 19910607
Jun 28, 1989ASAssignment
Owner name: FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF BOSTON
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:COMFAB TECHNOLOGIES, INC.;HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:005258/0013;SIGNING DATES FROM
Dec 2, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: MARINE MIDLAND BANK, N.A.
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:005009/0952
Effective date: 19880801