US 3811105 A
A "tap" or drop wire conductor clamp for electrical power conductors incorporating a holder having a conductor retaining surface and a ramped surface sliding advanced and locked within a resiliently deformable clamp which incorporates a "run" conductor mounting surface, a spring portion, a cooperating ramped camming surface and a latch, forming a secure branch connection joining a drop wire "tap" conductor to a continuous "run" conductor.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 G ha d 1 May 14, 1974  ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR 3,329,928 7/l967 Broske 339 247'  Inventor. g fg fggz ig ggfi Primary Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn Attorney, Agent, or FirmHoward S. Reiter  Filed: Dec. 29, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 319,142  A TR T A tap or drop wire conductor clamp for electrical  U.S. Cl 339/98, 339/273 F P conductors incorporating a holder having a 51 Int. Cl ..'H0lr 11/20 Conductor retaining Surface and a ramped Surface Slid-  Field of Search 339/95, 97-99, ifig advanced and locked Within a resiliently deform- 339/247 273 able clamp which incorporates a run" conductor mounting surface, a spring portion, a cooperating 5 References Cited ramped carnming surface and a latch, forming a se- UNITED STATES PATENTS cure branch connection joining a drop wire tap" conductor to a continuous run conductor. 3,588,79! 6/1971 Polldorl 339/247 3,235,944 2/1966 Broske et ul. 339/273 F 12 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures IKATENTEHMM 14 1974 3.81 .1. 1 05 SHEET 2 0F 2.
ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to electrical connectors and more particularly to clamping connectors for effectively interconnecting a branch tap conductor to a continuous run conductor.
When a branch connection is to be made between a tap conductor and a continuous run conductor, a special interlocking connector must be employed. The major difficulty found in prior art interlocking connectors is the ability of the tap or drop wire conductor to work itself loose from the connector, thereby eliminating power transmission along the branch line. The prior art attempts to solve this disconnection problem resulting in either complicated or expensive connectors.
It is a principal object of this invention to provide a secure tap connector which is both simple and inexpensive to manufacture.
Another object of this invention is to provide an electrical connector of the above character which substantially' eliminates the possibility of the tap conductor becoming disconnected.
Another object of this invention is to provide an electrical connector of the above character which is capable of rapid installation.
A further object of this invention is to provide an electrical connector of the above character which is ca- .pable of accommodating conductors ranging from No.
3 gauge to No. 6 gauge.
Other objects of the invention will in and will in part appear hereinafter.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The electrical connector of this invention incorporates a one-piece tapered resiliently deformable spring clamp and a wedging tap conductor holder which cooperatively interlocks with the clamp. Preferably, the clamp is formed from resilient heavygauge metal which has been formed with a' conductor retaining surface in close proximity to a ramped, tap conductor holder camming surface.
The wedging tap conductor holder preferably comprises two cooperating'parts, one ofwhich incorporates a ramped surface. In operation, the tap conductor is placed between the two cooperating parts of the tap conductor holder and the assembled holder is then forceably driven into the tapered clamp, which has beenmounted on the continuous run conductor. As the wedging holder assembly is driven into the tapered resilient clamp, the ramped surface of the holder slidingly advances along the cooperating ramped surface of the clamp. This causes the resilient clamp to spread as the holder is forced more tightly around the tap-conductor part be obvious while the top surface thereof slides along the run'conductor. Once the tap conductor and the holder are wedged and latched within the clamp, a secure connection has been made. I
The entire electrical connector is manufactured from material exhibiting high electrical conductivity, thereby effecting the desired branch connection of the tap conductor to the run conductor.
The tap conductor holder incorporates conductor retaining teeth on the surfaces which are in contact with the tap conductor and on the surface which contacts the run conductor. The surfaces which peripherally LII embrace the tap conductor incorporate teeth which are substantially transversely disposed to the axis of the conductor. This assures. that the tap conductor cannot be withdrawn from its secure, retained position. Furthermore, the retaining teeth achieve a bite that will assure the piercing of any insulating conductor coating or oxidation coating of low conductivity, thereby providing proper electrical transmission thereto.
The teeth which contact the run conductor are substantially parallel to .the axis of the run conductor. By having biting teeth which are parallel to the axis of the conductor, it is possible for the resilient clamp to slide along the run conductor while assuring a deep enough conductor bite to provide electrical transmission. As a result, the electrical connector of this invention is relatively free to slide along the run conductor but cannot in any way lose the tap conductor. This is most desirable since movement along the run conductor will not interfere with the electrical transmission.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combinations of elements, and arrangements of parts which will be exemplified in the constructions hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the in-' vention will be indicated in the claims.
of the invention, reference should be had to the follow ing detailed description taken in connection accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view showing the electrical connector of this invention with a portion of the assembled conductor holder shown in phantom;
FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the electrical connector of FIG. '1, completely assembled;
FIG. 3 is a cross secitonal left end view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a right end view of the connector of FIG. 2 shown assembled with smaller diameter conductors; and
FIG. 5 is a side elevation view of another embodiment of an assembled electric connector of this invenwith the tion.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, electrical connector 20 incorporates a one-piece clamping unit 22 and a tap laterally displacedbeside a flat latching shoulder'surface 53. I
Holder assembly 24 incorporates a substantially L- shaped member 26 and a cooperating wedge member 28. The top surface 30 of wedge member 28 incorporates transverse conductor biting and holding teeth 32. Teeth 32 extend along surface 30 substantially transverse to the axis of tap conductor 40. Similarly, bottom surface 34 of member 26 incorporates transverse teeth 32 similarly arranged thereon. Upper surface 36 of member 26 incorporates conductor biting teeth 38 which are disposed along surface 36 substantially parallel to the central axis of run conductor 42; and upper surface 25 of clamp 22 overlying the run conductor similarly incorporates teeth 38 thereon, as best seen in FIG. 3.
At the larger end of wedge member 28 is positioned an extension arm 44 with an enlarged head portion 46. L-shaped member 26 incorporates a downward facing slot 48 with a size and shape to accommodate extension arm 44 of wedge member 28. Member 26 also incorporates latch projections 50 protruding downward along the entrance to slot 48. When holder 24 is assembled, extension arm 44 is positioned in slot 48 and projections 50 are deformed inwardly into slot 48 toward each other, thereby preventing unwanted removal of arm 44 from slot 48.'Also, wedge member 28 incorporatesa cam lock 54 on its side surface. When assembled with clamp 22, fullydescribed below, cam lock 54 cooperates with tap 52 to maintain assembled connector in a locked mode. 4
The electrical connector of this invention is coristructed for simple and rapid installation. Assembly is most easily achieved by first placing the tap conductor 40 through the open left entrance end or mouth of clamp 22 and laying the tap conductor along the lower sloped camming surface 27 of clamp 22.Top surface of clamp 22 is then positioned over run conductor 42, holding clamp 22 thereon.
Holder assembly 24 is completely separate from clamp 22 and tap conductor 40 is placed overlying the top surface of wedge member 28 with the end of tap conductor 40 at the left in. FIG. 2 juxtaposed to the larger left end of wedge member 28. Holder 24 is then assembled by first placing lowersurface 34 of L-shaped member 26 in firm contact overlying tap conductor 40 while simultaneously placing arm 44 in slot 48. Projections 50 are then deformed inwardly to prevent withdrawal of arm 44 from slot 48.
Wedging holder 24, now assembled with tap conductor 40 securely held between surfaces 30 and 34, is slidably inserted into the larger open entrance end of clamp 22. The insertion of holder 24 into clamp 22 brings the bottom sloped surface of wedge member 28 into sliding contact with sloped camming surface 27 of clamp 22. Also, top surface 36 with longitudinally extending teeth 38 is brought into frictional contact with the underside of run conductor 42. As holder 24 is manually driven further into clamp 22, sloped surface 35 of wedge member 28 advances along sloped camming surface 27 of clamp 22, causing three simultaneous events.
First, since the horizontal advance of holder 24 into clamp 22 also incorporates a vertical component of motion, due to the camming surface 27 of clamp 22, surface 30 of wedge member 28 and surface 34 of L- shaped member 27 continuously 'clamp tap conductor with greater force. Second, top surface 36 of L- shaped member 26 along with surface 25 of clamp 22 provides a greater clamping force gripping run conductor 42. Third, in order to balance the resistance of conductors 40 and 42 to the continuous clamping force increase, laterally arched or Vee-shaped spring portion 23 of clamp 22 begins to spread resiliently to a greater degree as the wedging forces within clamp 22 increase. As a result, Vee-shaped arch spring portion 23 spreads from the dash line.
The horizontal advance of holder 24 is clamp 22 continues until cam lock 54 reaches tab 52, causing the tab to bend-outwardly while the cam lock 54 is securely positioned beyond the flat latching shoulder surface 53 of clamp 22. In this position, the wide end of cam lock 54 rests against flat surface 53 of clamp 22, thereby assuring the locked containment of holder 24 in clamp 22. This final assembled position is best seen in FIG. 2.
. Preferably, a tool similar to a pair of wide mouthed pliers is employed to advance holder 24 in clamp 22 until holder 24 is locked in place. One jaw of the pliers is placed on right end 56 of clamp 22, while the other jaw is placed on left end 58 of member 26. Then, by forcing the jaws of the pliers closer together, L-shaped member 26 along with wedge member 28 will'advance into clamp 22.
. As can best be seen in FIG. 3, teeth 38 of surfaces 25 h contact with the conductive wire. Similarly, as best seen in FIG. 2, teeth 32 of surfaces 30 and 34 pierce conductor 40, bringing teeth 32 into contact with the conductive wire. Since all parts of connector 20 are manufactured from conductive metal, the power transmitted along the run conductor 42 is now also transmitted along tap conductor 40. This results in a simple and effective branch tap connection.
Furthermore, connector 20 provides assurance that tap conductor 40 cannot be accidentally withdrawn from the connector, thereby terminating powertransmission along tap conductor 40. This stable branch connection is assured by the strong clamping forces throughout connector 20, along with the arrangement of teeth 32 on surfaces 30 and 34 transverse to theaxis of tap conductor 40. Conductor 40 would have to be virtually shredded or stripped away before it could be removed from holder 24. v
As previously described, teeth 38 of surfaces 25 and 36 which peripherally clamp run conductor 42 are disposed on their respective surfaces parallel to the axis of conductor 42. With this arrangement, connector 20 may. slide to some degree along run conductor 42. However, the clamping forces assure that teeth 38 will penetrate the coating of run conductor 42 regardless of movement along the run conductor. Since run conductor 42 is continuous, any movement of connector 20 along conductor 42 will be accompanied by sufficient penetration of the surface of conductor 42, continuous electrical transmission from run conductor 42 to tap conductor 40 is assured.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the preferred embodiment of tap conductor holder 24 is there shown in detail. By incorporating extension arm 44 and enlarged cross sectional flat head 46 on wedge member 28 for cooperation with slot 48 of L-shaped member 26, the desired cooperating orientations of these two members is assured. Slot 48 and the mating ramp surfaces allow tap conductors of various diameters to be accommodated easily between surfaces 30 and 34. Also, once a tap conductor has been positioned between surfaces 30 and 34 and projections 50 have been deformed to lock extension arm 44 within slot 48, as best seen in FIG. 3, slot 48 provides a positive guide for wedge member 28, assuring that the vertical component of its advance intoclamp 22 is in the desired plane. Since head 46 has a cross sectional area greater than slot 48, unwanted longitudinal displacement of wedge member 28 with respect to L-shaped member 26 is prevented.
Connector 20 is capable of securely clamping conductors-which range from No. 3 gauge to No. 6 gauge. In FIG. 3, tap conductor 40 and run conductor 42 both comprise No. 3 gauge wire. In FIG. 4, however, clamp is shown securely interconnecting a No.6 gauge tap conductor 60 to a No. 6 gauge run conductor 62. In order to accommodate the different-diameter conductors, arch spring 23 of clamp 22 resiliently spreads in response to the particular forces generated by the size and shape of the various sized conductors. The normal,
relaxed position of clamp 22, when arch spring 23 is unflexed after holder 24 is completely withdrawn from the clamp, is shown in phantom by the dash lines in FIG. 4.
Another embodiment of the connector of this invention is shown in FIG. 5. Connector 120 comprises clamp 22 and tap conductor holder 124. Holder 124 incorporates L-shaped member 126 and wedge mem ber 128. As with the embodiment described above, clamp 22 and holder 124 incorporate similar conductor biting and holding teeth, along with similar sloped camming surfaces.
' L-shaped. member 126 comprises a wedge-driving surface 170 along an inner face of the L-portion and a driving face 172 on the opposite end face of the L- portion. Wedge member 128 comprises driving surface 174 at itslarger end, facing wedge-driving surface 170 of the L-shaped member 126.
After tap conductor 40 has been positioned between L-shaped member 126 and wedge member 128, the entire assembled holder 124 is slidably driven into clamp 22. As indicated above, this is preferably accomplished by employing wide-mouthed pliers which have one jaw engaging right end surface 56 of clamp 22 and the otherjaw engaging driving face 172 of L-shaped member 126. Asvthe jaws are drawn closer together, surface 170 of member 126 comes into firm driving contact with surface 174 of member 128, causing members 126 and 128 to move as an integral unit into clamp 22 until securely retained therein.
As can be seen from the description of the embodiment of FIG. 5, the use of an extension arm and a guiding slot, although preferred, are not required. Furthermore, it should be apparent from the above description that the tap conductor holder can comprise various other configurations, such as a straight member instead of an L-shaped member, with equal efficacy.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above,
scription, are efficiency attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above constructions, without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
. lt-is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invitation herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
Having described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
l. An electrical connector, for interconnecting a branch conductor to a continuous conductor, comprismg:
among those made apparent from the preceding de- 1 A. a clamp comprising a unitary structure incorporating a. a mounting surface presented for conductive facing engagement with said continuous conductor,
b. a ramped, camming surface, and c. a spring portion connecting said surfaces and biasing said clamp into a closed position; and
B. a branch conductor holder incorporating a. a conductor gripping surface presented for conductive engagement with and secure retention of said branch conductor, and
b. a cooperating ramped surface for sliding, interfitting engagement with said clamp camming surface, whereby said conductor holder is adapted to be slidingly advanced within said clamp, spreading said spring portion, until securely retained therein wherein said conductor holder comprises a separate wedge member and further includes an L-shaped member.
2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said wedge member and said L-shaped member are lockingly interconnectible. Y
' 3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein one surface of said wedge member and one surface of said L- shaped member are cooperatingly juxtaposed, forming said conductor gripping surface.
4. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said conductor gripping surface comprises a plurality of teeth disposed thereon extending substantially perpendicular to the central axis of the conductor.
5. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said continuous conductor mounting surface incorporates a plurality of teeth disposed thereon extending substantially parallel to the central axis of the conductor.
6. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said clamp and said conductor holder comprise electrically conductive material.
7. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said L- shaped member incorporates a wedge member guide, assuring the desired directional advance of said wedge member.
8. Apparatus as defined in claim 7, wherein said guide comprises a slot.
9. Apparatus as defined in claim'8, wherein said wedge memberincorporates an extension arm for cooperative association with said slot.
10. Apparatus as defined in claim 9, wherein said wedge member further incorporates an enlarged head at the terminating end of said extension arm, preventing lateral withdrawal of said extension arm from said slot.
11. Apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said conductor holder further comprises a continuous conductor biting surface.
12. Apparatus as defined in claim 11, wherein said conductor biting surface incorporates a plurality of teeth disposed thereon extending substantially parallel to the central axis of the continuous conductor.