|Publication number||US3824525 A|
|Publication date||Jul 16, 1974|
|Filing date||Sep 11, 1972|
|Priority date||Sep 11, 1972|
|Publication number||US 3824525 A, US 3824525A, US-A-3824525, US3824525 A, US3824525A|
|Original Assignee||Amp Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (16), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent 1 Keller 2 CONNECTOR LATCH ASSEMBLY  Inventor: Alfred John Keller, Harrisburg, Pa.  Assignee: AMP Incorporated, Harrisburg, Pa.
22 Filed: Sept.ll,l972
21 Appl. No.: 288,170
521 user 0339/9112  lnt.Cl ..H01r13/54  Field of Search 339/17 LM, 17 M, 65, 66, 339/91,125,126,132,134,l76 MP  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,760,174 8/1956 Burtt et a1, 339/91 R 2,946,033 7/1960 7 Wirth 339/176 MP X 3,043,354 7/1962 Fitzgerald 220/31 S X 3,133,777 5/1964 Anhalt 339/91 R 3,149,897 9/1964 Martineck 339/91 R X July 16, 1974 3/1966 Fyrk 339/44 M 3,253,248 5/1966 3,475,716 10/1969 3,544,951 12/1970 3,651,446 3/1972 Primary Examiner-Bobby R. Gay Assistant Examiner-Lawrence J. Staab Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Allan B. Osborne, Esq.
[ ABSTRACT This invention relates to a connector latch assembly comprising a pair of identical latches adapted to simultaneously secure a pair of mated connectors one to the other. Each latch includes a base member slidably engaged with an end of the mounting flange of one of the connectors and an integral hinged member selectively .engageable with the corresponding end of 'the mounting flange of the other connector.
13 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures PAIENTED JUL 1 6 m4 saw 1 0f 4 PRIOR ART PATENTED JUL 1 6 I974 SHEEI20F4 1 CONNECTOR LATCH ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is desirable in the use of mating multi-contact connectors to provide a means whereby the connectors may be secured one to the other when engaged and yet be readily released for disengagement as may be required. Attempts heretofore to satisfy this desire have been generally reliable but have mostly included metal devices which have to be bolted to the flanges at the ends of each connector. The time required for initial installation, the complexity and the expense of these devices have been disadvantages which have not heretofore been eliminated.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a connector latching assembly which is easily and quickly installed for selective use on the connectors.
It is another object to provide a connector latch assembly of the type described having a minimal number of parts and being relatively inexpensive to manufacture.
It is also an object to provide a connector latch assembly of the type described which will not interfere with engagement of the connectors while remaining available to latch the connectors once engaged.
It is also an object to provide a contact latching assembly of the type described which may remain installed on the connectors without interference with or prevention of existing means for permanently securing one connector to theother or to a mounting panel.
It is also an object to provide a connector latching assembly of the type described which includes means for insuring full engagement of the connectors when being latched.
Other objects and advantages of this invention will become-known by reference to the following description and the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of engaged connectors including thereon a preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of engaged connectors including thereon one prior art latch assembly;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one latch of the preferred latching assembly;
FIG. 4 is an elevated view of the latch shownin FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of thelatch as seen along line 55 in FIG. 4 and as installed on the connectors;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view of the latch shown in FIG. 5 prior to engagement;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary perspective view of still another alternative embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional view of the embodiment as seen along line 99 of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary sectional view of yet another alternative embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary elevated view with parts broken away of one more alternative, embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 12 is a fragmentary sectional view of the embodiment as seen along line l2l2 in FIG. 11.
Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a pair of engaged, multi-contact connectors 10 and 12 of the type described in US. Pat. No. 2,790,153. Each connector 10 and 12 has extending therefrom a radial mounting flange, l4 and 16 respectively, having a generally rectangular shape. At each end of each mounting flange 14 and 16 and extending therethrough is amounting hole 18. When the connectors 10 and 12 are fully engaged,
the substantially identical mounting flanges l4 and 16 are parallel, spaced apart and aligned.
Indicated generally at 20 is a preferred embodiment of the invention mounted on the connectors 10 and 12. The preferred latch assembly 20 includes a molded pair of identical latches 22 of nylon, xylon, polypropylene or some other material having similar resilient characteristics. Each latch 22 includes a base member 24, a hinged member 26, and a hinge 28 which is integral with the base member 24 and the hinged member 26 and extends therebetween. The base member 24 has in one side an expandable opening 30 which slidably receives and retains the end of the mounting flange 16. The hinged member 26 has in its side a tapered, expandable opening 32 and, since the hinged member 26 is free to rotate at the hinge 28, it is selectively and independently positioned to receive the end of the other mounting flange 14 after the base member 24 has been installed. The latch 22 shown to the left in FIG. 1 is fully installed on both connectorsl0 and 12 while the hinged member 26 of the latch 22 at the right must be rotated to receive the flange 14 of the connector 10 to properly secure the engaged connectors 10 and 12.
As shown in FIG. 2, the multi-contact connectors 10 and 12 are again fully engaged but have installed dicated at 34 which is commonly and extensively used to temporarily secure engaged connectors. The spring latch assembly 34 includes a pair of identical spring latches 36 installed at opposite ends of the flanges 14 and 16. Each spring latch 36 includes an upper flange plate 38 and a lower flange plate 39. The upper flange plate 38 includes a hole therethrough by which the upper flange plate 38 is secured with a bolt 40 and a nut 42 at the hole 18 of the mounting flange 14 of the connector 10. The lower flange plate 39 also includes therethrough a hole by which the lower flange plate 39 is secured with a bolt 44 and a nut .(not shown) at the hole 18 in the mounting flange 16 of the connector 12. Extending from the lower flange plate 39 are a pair of spaced apart hinges 46 adapted to receive the opposite ends 48 of a loop spring 50. The opposite ends 48 of the loop spring 50 and the hinges 46 are coaxially aligned to allow the loop spring 50 to rotate about the hinges Extending outwardly from the upper flange plate 38 are a pair of spaced apart arms 52. Each arm 52 has at its base an indentation 54 in its edge nearest to the other arm 52. The indentations 54 are disposed substantially above the hinges 46 of the lower flange plate 39. Therefore, to latch the engaged connectors 10 and 12, the loop spring 50 is rotated to asubstantially vertical positionto engage with both indentations 54 of the upper flange plate 38. The internal resilience of the loopspring 50 is such that it will remain engaged with the indentations 54 until an outside force is applied to cause it to rotate free of the upper flange plate 38. When the loop spring 50 is not engaged with the upper flange plate 38, the internal resilience of the loop spring 50 further causes the ends 4810f the loop spring 50 to exert an outward force against each respective hinge 46. Each hinge 46 has thereon a cammed surface upon which the loop spring 50 acts. The force applied to the cammed surfacesof the hinge 46 causes the loop spring 50 to be automatically positioned outwardly from the connectors when not engaged with the upper flange plate 38 as shown on the spring latch 36 at the right of FIG. 2. Each loop spring 50 thereby remains clear of the upper flange plate 38 when engaging or disengaging the connector 10.
FIGS. 3 through'6 include detailed views of a preferred embodiment of the latch 22 and show that the opening 30 in a side 56 of the base member 24 has a substantially rectangular cross-section with the width substantially equal to that of the mounting flange 16. The height of the opening 30 at'the side 56 is significantly greater than the thickness of the mounting flange 16 but a' shoulder 58 in the base 60 of the open- 'ing30 reduces the height of the cross-section of the opening 30 to be substantially equal to the thickness of the mounting flange 16. The reduction in height allows easy insertion and alignment of the mounting flange l6 cient area at'which the opening 30 closely encircles the inserted mounting flange 16. Additionally, a pair of ridges 62 on an interior surface 64 of the opening 30 at the shoulder 58 further decreases the cross-sectional height of the opening 30 at the base 60. The. ridges .62 are provided to have the upper portion thereof worn away as maybe required by the flange 16 to specifically adapt the height of the base 60 of the opening 30 to accommodate the particular thickness of the mounting flange 16. It can also be seen that decreasing the width of the opening 30 can further increase retention of the mountingiflange 16 by producing additional inward force at a pair of opposite sidewalls 66 of the base member 24. I
When the base member 24 is fully installed on the connector 12 and the connector is separatedfrom the connector 12, the hinged member 26 extends generally upwardly from the base member 24 because of the natural resilience of the hinge 28 and its basic configuration at formation but is otherwise .free to rotate at the hinge 28. As the connector 10 is being engaged with the connector 12, an edge 68 at the end of the mountingflange. l4 acts on a cammed surface 70 of the side of an upper extension 72 of the hinged member 26 which is adjacent the connectors to force the hinge member 26 to rotate outwardly free of the path of the mounting flange 14. As shown in FIG. 6, when the connector 10 is engaged with the connector 12, the hinged member 26 rotates toward the connectors 10 and 12 with the opening 32 in the side of the hinged member 26 in general alignment with the mounting flangel4 of t the connector 10. A base 74 of the opening32 of the hinge member 26 includes dimensions and a pair of ridges 76 similar to those of the base 60 of the opening 30 of the base member 24 to likewise retain the mounting flange 14. An outer portion 78 of the opening 32 is tapered to have a larger height at the side of the hinged member 26 to facilitate alignment with themounting flange 14 as the hinged member 26 is rotated toward the connector 10.
When the connectors 10 and 12 are engaged, the hinge 28 is'disposed between the flanges l4 and 16 and is horizontally displaced from the ends of the mounting flanges 14 and 16 toward the connectors 10 and 12. The location of hinge 28 is such that when the hinged yet provides at the base 60 of the opening 30 a sufflv member 26 is rotated in a direction as shown by the arrow A for engagement with the mounting flange 14,
the edge 68 at the end of the mounting flange 14 makes sliding contact with a cammed, interior wall 80 of the tapered outer portion 78 of the opening 32. As the hinged portion 26 is forced into alignment with the flange 14, an expanding force is applied to the hinge '28, the internal resilience of which insures complete engagement of the connectors 10 and 12. Additionally, whenthe hinged member 26 is fully installed on the mounting flange 14, the internal resilience of the hinge 28 is such that inadvertent disengagement and rotation of the hinged member 26 from the engaged flange 14 is resisted not only by the encircling force at the base 74 of the opening 32 on the mounting flange 14 but also by the force which would be required to expand the hinge 28.
' A pair of vertically and coaxially aligned grooves 82 and 84 in the side 56 of the base member 24 respectively above and below the opening 30 are coaxially aligned with the hole 18 in the mounting flange 16 when the base member 24 is fully installed on the aligned with the hole 18 in the mounting flange 14 when the hinged member is installed thereon. An arcuate recess 88 in the extended portion 72 of the hinged member 26 at the side toward the connectors is adapted to receive the head of a bolt inserted in the groove 86-and the hole 18 and includes a surface 90 upon which the head of the bolt can rest. Assuming a bolt securing the connector 12 to a panel included therein a female head, a second bolt could be inserted through the opening 86 and the hole 18 of the flange 14 topermanently secure the connector 10 to the connector 12 as thelatch 22 was temporarily securing the connectors 10 and 12-one to the other.
5 As shown in FIG. 7, an alternative embodiment of the present invention, generally designated at 92, includes two independent alternative features. The first feature includes the utilization of a base plate 94 as asubstitute for the base member 24 described hereinabove when it is determined that the latch 92 would only be utilized in conjunction with a connector which is to be permanently installed on a panel. The generally rectangular base plate 94 includes dimensions for alignment with the end of the mounting flange of the connector to be secured to the panel and a hole 96 therethrough which is vertically and coaxially aligned with the hole in the mounting flange. Insertion of a bolt through the hole 96, the hole in the mounting flange and a hole in the panel allows the connector with the latch 92 secured thereon to be permanently secured to the panel. To facilitate insertion of the bolt in the hole 96 and the utilization of a tool at its head, a second feature is provided for the latch 92 which would be equally applicable for cent to the hole 96 and further includes a pair of spaced apart hinges 102 rather than one hinge extending along its entire width of the latch.
As shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, still another alternative latch l04includes a feature to further insure the retention of an upper mounting flange 14 in a hinged member 106. Extending from an upper portion 108 of the hinged member 106 along a side 110 toward the engaged connector is a flexible nipple 112. The flexible nipple 112 extends into an opening 114 in the side 110 of the hinged member 106 which is otherwise similar to the opening 88 described hereinabove and is aligned so that an extended end 116 extends into a mounting hole 18 in the fully inserted mounting flange 14.
Two alternatives to the openings as have been described hereinabove are shown in FIGS. 10, 11 and 12. A cavity 120, shown in FIG. in a hinged member 122 but equally applicable for a base member, is provided in the hinged member 122 to receive an insert 124. The insert 124 has an opening 126 therein to receive a mounting flange. The insert 124 is made of rubber, sponge or other similarly deformable material having a surface characteristic for increased friction upon and retention of the flange. The height of the opening 126 is sufficiently less than the thickness of the flange so that the internal resilience of the insert 124 acting on the flange inserted therein will produce friction forces between the insert 124 and the flange to resist disengagement.
Opening 128, shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 in a hinged member 130 but also equally applicable for a base member, includes a leaf spring 132. The preferred spring 132 extends generally along the floor 134 of the opening 128 and has a pair of curved ends 136 which are snapped into a corresponding pair of holes 138 at the opposite ends of the floor 134 to retain the ends 136 of the spring 132 as its center 140 extends upwardly into the opening 128. The leading edge 142 of the spring 132 extends outwardly and downwardly from the center 140 of the spring 132 to allow for alignment of a flange to be inserted therein. The height of the opening 128 betweenthe center 140 of the spring 132 and a roof 144 of the opening 128 is sufficiently less than the thickness of the flange to insure deformation of the spring 132 when the flange is inserted into the opening 128 so that the internal resilience of the spring 132 will act on the flange to resist its removal from the opening 128. It can also be seen that both alternative openings 126 and 128 have configurations which equally accommodate and retain flanges having slightly different thicknesses.
As illustrated, all of the above-described embodiments include openings which terminate within the latch at a side remote from the connectors. It should be obvious'that extending the openings through the remote side would not alter the specifications or function of the specific embodiments as described hereinabove.
What is claimed is:
l. A connector latch to be used in conjunction with an identical latch, or alternative securing means, for selectively securing corresponding ends of a pair of mated multi-con'tact connectors, each of said connectors having a flange, said flanges being generally rectangular and being substantially parallel, spaced-apart and substantially aligned when said connectors are engaged, said flanges having end portions having a rectangular cross-section and terminating at an edge, said aligned flanges having coaxially aligned, vertically displaced mounting holes in corresponding said end portions of said flanges, said latch comprising:
a base member having a first opening defined in its side facing said connectors, said base member being resiliently deformable for receiving and retaining said end portion of a first of said flanges in said first opening, said base member having a first vertically disposed groove in said side towardsaid connectors which is aligned with said mounting hole in said first flange when said base member is installed on said end portion thereof so that fastening means can be inserted into said first groove, and said mounting hole of said first flange for permanently securing said first flange and said base member installed thereon to a panel;
a hinged member having a second opening defined in its side facing said connectors, said hinged member being resiliently deformable for receiving and retaining said end portion of a second of said flanges in said second opening, said hinged member having a second vertically disposed groove in said side toward said connectors which is aligned with said mounting hole in said second flange when said hinged member is engaged with said end portion of said second flange so that said fastening means can be inserted into said second groove and said mounting hole of said second flange for permanently securing saidconnectors one to the other with said connector latch installed on said connectors;
a flexible hinge integral with and extending between said base member and said hinged member, said hinge allowing movement of said hinged member relative to said base member when said base member is engaged with said first flange for selective engagement of said hinged member with said second flange, said hinge being flexible about an axis which is disposed generally parallel to said edge of each corresponding said end portion of said flanges 'and displaced horizontally from said edges toward said connectors when said base member is fully installed on said end portion of said first flange;
cam surface means on said hinged member extending upwardly from a portion above said second opening and outwardly from said connectors when engaged so that said edge of said end portion of said second flange acts upon said cam surface means when said connectors are being engaged to move said hinged member away from said connectors out of the path of said second flange;
at least one cross-sectional dimension of said openings adjacent to said side of said latch being greater than the corresponding cross-sectional dimension of said end portion of said flanges to be inserted therein, said cross-sectional dimension of each of said openings in a region remote from said side of said latch being substantially equal to said corresponding cross-sectional dimension of said end portion of said corresponding flange so that the reduction of said cross-sectional dimension of said opening allows alignment of said end portion of said flange with said remote region of said opening as said end portion of said flange is being inserted for retention therein; and
2. A connector latch, which may be used in conjunc- .tion with an identical latch, and useful for holding together mated, multi-contact connectors of the type having peripheral flanges which are substantially parallel, spaced apart and in alignment with each other and which contain a mounting hole at either end, said connector latch comprising:
a. a base member having a resiliently deformable opening on one side adapted for receiving and frictionally retaining an end of a flange on one of the connectors; 1 b. a hinged member having a resiliently deformable opening on one side adapted for receiving and frictionally retaining an end of a flange c. a resilient hinge integral with and extending between said base and hinged members thereby maintaining said members in spaced relation to each other and permitting each to move rotationally relative to the other; and d. the upper wall of the opening in the hinged member being leveled inwardly toward the rear of the opening. 3. The connector latch 'of claim 2 wherein one or both of said openings contain means therein to effectively reduce the height thereof, thereby increasing the frictional retentivity of said latch. Y
4. The connector latch of claim 3 wherein said means includes a stepped portion adjacent the rear of the opening.
5. The connector latch of claim 3 wherein said means 8. The connector latch of claim 7-wherein the portion of the hinged member above the opening contains a longitudinally extending arcuate recess with a surface between it and the opening, said recess and surface adapted to receive a portion of fastening means which 7 may extend through the mounting holes on the flange.
9. A connector latch, which may be used in conjunction with an identical latch and useful for holding together mated, multi-contact connectors of the type having peripheral flanges which are substantially paralled, spaced apart and in alignment with each other and whichcontain a mounting hole at either end, said connector latch comprising:
a. A base member having a resiliently deformable opening on one side adapted for receiving and frictionally retaining an end of a flange on one of the connectors;
b. A hinged member having a resiliently deformable opening on one side adapted for receiving and frictionally retainingan end of a flange on another of the connectors;
c. A resilient hinge integral with and extending between said base and hinged members thereby maintaining said members in spaced relation to each other and permitting each to move rotationally rel- A ative to the other; and
d. said hinged member further including a down- 10; A connector latch usefulfor retaining mated,
multi-contact connectors of the type having flanges with mounting holes at either end, which comprises:
a. a base member having a plate which is adapted to extend over the end of one of the flanges, the plate having a hole therein which may be aligned with the hole in the flange so that a fastening means may secure the flange to the plate;
b. a hinged member positioned above the base member and having a resiliently, deformable opening therein for receiving and frictionally retaining the end of the other flange; and
c. a flexible hinge integral with and extending between said members, said hinge member having a reduced cross-sectional area relative to said members, said hinge permitting rotational movementof one member relative to the other and further maintaining thev members in space relation to each other.
11. The connector latch, of claim 10 .wherein the hinged member contains a downwardly depending nipple adapted to be positioned in the mounting hole of the other flange thereby providing additional retentivity of said member. r
12. A connection comprising:
asa pair of multi-contact connectors in mated relation, each of said connectors having'a flange extending about the periphery thereof, said flanges being substantially parallel, spaced apart and in alignment one to the other;
b. a pair of connector latches positioned on either end of said mated connectors and latching such together, said latches consisting of,
i. a base member having an expandable opening with the end of one of the flanges being received and frictionally retained therein,
ii. a hinged member having an expandable opening with the end of thesecond flange being received and frictionally retained therein, and
iii. a resilient, deformable hinge integral with and extending between the base and hinged members, said hinge maintaining the members in spaced relation to each other thereby maintaining the engagement of the mated connectors.
13. The connection of claim 12 wherein the hinge is resiliently expanded longitudinally so that the tension developed therein as a result of such expansion urges the members toward one another resulting in greater engagement of the connectors.
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