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Publication numberUS3827007 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 30, 1974
Filing dateMar 26, 1973
Priority dateMar 26, 1973
Publication numberUS 3827007 A, US 3827007A, US-A-3827007, US3827007 A, US3827007A
InventorsDyce J, Fairbairn L
Original AssigneeBendix Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hermaphroditic electrical connector with front releasable and rear removable electrical contacts
US 3827007 A
Abstract
A one-piece molded hermaphroditic electrical connector for a multi-conductor cable. The connector includes a plurality of contacts, each of which are front releasable and rear removable. The contacts are self-retaining within the one-piece molded housing so that the contact does not unseat during mating. The housing further includes a molded-in projection and slot that engage a corresponding slot and projection in another identical housing, when mated therewith, to retain the two housings together.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Fairbairn et al.

atent [191 HERMAPI-IRODITIC ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR WITH FRONT RELEASABLE AND REAR REMOVABLE ELECTRICAL CONTACTS [75] Inventors: Leroy W. Fairbairn; John W. Dyce,

both of Sidney, NY.

[73] Assignee: The Bendix Corporation, Southfield,

Mich.

[22] Filed: Mar. 26, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 344,692

[52] US. Cl. 339/49 R, 339/91 R, 339/176 M,

339/184 M [51] Int. Cl. II0lr 25/00 [58] Field of Search 339/47-49, 339/176, 204, 205, 184, 186, 65, 66, 217, 91

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,682,038 6/1954 Johnson 339/176 M X 3,188,600 6/1965 Woofter ct al 339/47 R [111 3,827,007 1 July so, 1974 3,676,833 7/1972 Johnson 339/49 R 3,688,243 8/1972 Yamada ct al 3119/49 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 966,887 8/1964 Great Britain 339/49 R 1,194,945 5/1959 France 339/47 R Primary Examiner-Bobby R. Gay Assistant Examiner-Terrell P. Lewis Attorney, Agent, or FirmRaymond J. Eifler [57] ABSTRACT A one-piece molded hermaphroditic electrical connector for a multi-conductor cable. The connector includes a plurality of contacts, each of which are front releasable and rear removable. The contacts are selfretaining within the one-piece molded housing so that the contact does not unseat during mating. The housing further includes a molded-in projection and slot that engage a corresponding slot and projection in another identical housing, when mated therewith, to retain the two housings together.

2 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures HERMAPHRODITIC ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR WITH FRONT RELEASABLE AND REAR REMOVABLE ELECTRICAL CONTACTS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a hermaphroditic electrical connector for connecting together two multiconductor cables. This case is related to case ELC 72/25 entilted Hermaphroditic Contact filed concurrently herewith.

With the advent of prefabricated housing construction, it has been found that certain economies can be achieved by having room partitions prewired. Thus, adjacent partitions can be interconnected by prewired paneling, minimizing the need for an electrician during construction of the housing. Conventional prior art electrical power connectors previously have been too complex and, thus, raise the cost of housing construction. A typical example of prior art electrical connectors having identical male and female portions may be found in U.S. Pat. No. 3,072,340 entitled Electrical Connector Insulator Block Construction issued Jan. 8, 1963 to G. W. Dean and U.S. Pat. No. 3,676,833 entitled Hermaphrodite Electrical Connector issued July 11, 1972 to G. S. Johnson. The connectors illustrated in the Dean patent contained a plurality of modules which are identical for the male and female mating members. However, the structure of the insulator housing is relatively complex, requiring a high degree. of molding skill. Moreover, the contact utilized in this housing was not sufficiently supported in the connector housing to provide a desired degree of mating reliability. The contact surfaces of the mating contacts were free standing and thus it was uncertain as to whether or not mating of the contacts would occur. In the aforementioned Johnson patent, the end of the contact that retains the contact within the connector may disengage, upon mating or after frequent matings, causing the contact to dislodge and prevent a proper electrical connection. Another example of spring type contacts may be found in U.S. Pat. No. 2,891,103 entitled Detachable Block" issued June 16, 1959 to R. C. Swengel. In this connector, unlike applicants contact, the retaining end of the contact is on the side opposite the mating surface of the contact and mismating of the contacts will cause release of the contact from the connector housing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention is a hermaphroditic electrical connector that provides secure retention for rear removable contacts and a latching mechanism which secures each half of the connector together once mated.

The invention is a one-piece hermaphroditic connector housing 20 characterized by several rectangular fingers 25, each having mounted thereon a portion of a hermaphroditic contact that is retained within the housing by the resilient action of one end portion 13 of the contact 10 that has an end 7 that engages a groove 33 in the housing 20. The hermaphroditic connector is further characterized by the fact that. the contacts 10 retained within the connector are selfretained, front releasable and rear removable and the connector includes means 28,29 to retain two identical housings 20 in mated relationship.

In one embodiment of the invention, the hermaphroditic electrical connector for a multi-conductor cable that incorporates the principles of this invention comprises: a one-piece molded insulating block 20 having a front face 21, a rear face 22, a plurality of axially aligned passages 26 extending through said insulator 20 from said front face 21 to said rear face 22, and a plurality of axially aligned and nonround forwardly extending fingers 25 arranged in spaced relationship and extending from said front face 21, each of said fingers 25 having a pair of slots 27 in one side thereof that communicates with the passage 23, 26 and is adapted to receive a portion 11 of a contact 10, the spaces 40 between adjacent fingers 25 adapted and sized to mate with the fingers of a second identical connector; a plurality of electrical contacts each having a first end portion 14, 16, 18 for receiving an electrical conductor and a resiliently compressible folded section 11,12 which includes a shaft portion 11 and an opposite mating surface 12 which terminates in a second end portion 13, each of said contacts 10 mounted in a portion of respective passages 23,26 with said conductor receiving end portion 18 disposed in said passage 26 and said contact shaft portion 11 extending into the slots 27 in the finger 25 so that the contact 10 is mounted in the housing 20 with the mating surface 12 of the contact exposed on one side of the finger 25, each of the second end portions 13 of the contacts 10 engaging a housing shoulder 33 or face 21 to prevent rearward movement of the contacts with respect to the housing 20; at least one lateral projection 29 on one side of the forward end portion of at least one of said fingers 25; and at least one projection receiving slot 28 on one side of the forward end portion of at least one other of said fingers, whereby when said electrical connector 1 is mated with a second 2 identical connector, the fingers 25 of the connector 1 mate with the spaces 40 between the fingers 25 of the second 2 connector, the contact mating surfaces 12 of the connectors 1,2 engage, and the lateral projections 29 of each of the connectors 1,2 are received in the slots or grooves 28 in the other connector thereby retaining the connectors in mated relationship.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an improved one-piece hermaphroditic electrical connector having hermaphroditic contacts that are self-retaining, front releasable, and rear removable.

It is another object of this invention to provide a hermaphroditic electrical connector assembly with an inexpensive and built-in latching mechanism that retains the connector in mated relationship until a predetermined axial force is applied in a direction that will separate the connector halves.

It is still another object of this invention to provide an improved hermaphroditic electrical connector assembly.

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 the specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a hermaphroditic electrical connector embodying the principles of this invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional diagram illustrating the connector and contacts therein in the mated position.

FIG. 3 illustrates an electrical contact used in combi nation with the one-piece molded housing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a hermaphroditic electrical connector wherein each half of the connector assembly is identical. The hermaphroditic connector 1 comprises: a one-piece molded housing 20 having a plurality of electrical contacts removably mounted therein.

The housing includes: a front face 21; a front face 22; a plurality of forwardly extending fingers that extend from the front face 21 to the rear face, each of said fingers 25 having a pair of slots 27 therein that extend the entire length of the finger 25; a plurality of parallel passages 26, each of which communicate with the slots 27 in the fingers 25; and a groove 33 in the front face 21 of the housing for receiving one end 13 of the contact 10. Although the housing 20 can be fabricated without the groove 33, it is preferred to have a groove 33 to provide more secure engagement of one end 7 of the contact 10 with the forward face 21 of the housing 20. It is the engagement of one end 7 of the contact 10 with the groove 33 that prevents inadvertent dismounting of the electrical contact 10 from its position in the connector housing 20. Each of the housings 20 have at least one finger 25 that includes on one side thereof a lateral projection 29. It is a function of this lateral projection 29 to seat itself in the slot 28 of an identical mating connector 2. The projection 29 is shaped so that it may be forced past the surface 41 and into the slot 28 upon mating. By application of sufficient axial force in a direction to separate both halves 1 and 2 of the connector assembly, the projection 29 will snap out of the slot 28 and allow the connector to be separated. In normal use, the seating of the lateral" projection 29 into the slot 28 retains the connector assembly in its mated position.

FIG. 2 illustrates a partial cross-sectional diagram of the hermaphroditic electrical connector illustrated in FIG. 1 in mated relationship. This figure illustrates how the rectangular fingers 25 mate with each other to form a single rectangular structure or block of material that may be readily mounted to a structure.

The electrical contact is retained within the housing 20 by engagement of the free end 7 with the groove or slot 33 in the forward face 21 of the housing and by engagement of the contact flange 14 with an internal shoulder 24 of the housing 20. It can be readily appreciated from this figure that, because of the particular shape of the contact 10, when pressure is applied to the mating surfaces 12 and the curved portion 6 touches the shaft portion 11, the free ends of the contact 7, which are on the same side of the contact as the mating surfaces 12, will extend toward the mating surface and away from the passage 23. Therefore, the forces applied to the contact and upon mating results in the deflection of the free end 7 of the contact 10 in a direction that provides secure retention of the contact from rearward movement. This is in contrast to most hermaphroditic electrical connectors and contacts wherein the forces applied to the contact during mating deflects the retaining portion of the contact in a direction (away from the mating surface) that would tend to release the contact from its position rather than it in its desired position.

FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of an electrical contact 10 that can be used with the hermaphroditic electrical connector to accomplish the objects of this invention. The contact 10 comprises: a conductor receiving portion 14,15,16,17,18 and a resiliently compressible folded section 11,12. The folded section includes a shaft portion 11 and an opposite mating surface 12 which terminates in an end portion 13 having a retaining end 7. It is a function of the retaining end 7 to engage the front face 21 of the connector housing 20 and prevent rearward movement of the contact 10 after it is inserted into the housing 20. Preferably, the retaining end 7 of the contact 10 engages the slotted groove 33 in the front face of the housing 21.

The conductor receiving portion of the contact 10 includes one or more crimpable or compressible porretain tions 14,16,18 that are crimped into the incoming conductor (not shown). It is the function of the forward most of these flanges 14 to engage an internal shoulder 24, FIG. 2 within the housing 20 so as to prevent further forward movement of the contact 10 when it is inserted into the rear of a passage 26 in the housing 20. Obviously, the rear end of the contact 10 may be moditied in a manner that would make it most adaptable to the type of incoming conductor and cable.

OPERATION Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the contacts 10 are demountably mounted within the housing 20 by insertion from the rear face 22. As the contact 10 is inserted towards the forward face 21 of the housing 20, the end portion 13 is compressed within the passage 23 until it reaches the forward face and then springs open. The contact 10 is prevented from further forward movement by engagement of the flange 14 with the internal rearwardly facing shoulder 24. Upon application of a rearward force to the contact 10, the end 7 of the portion 13 seats in the groove or slot 33 in the forward face 21 of the insulator 20. In the absence of a slot 33 the end 7 would engage the forward face 21 and prevent rearward movement. However, for more secure retention, it is preferred that the forward face 21 have this slot 33 for receiving the free end 13 of the contact 10. The contacts 10 are easily removed from the housing 20 by employing a forward force to the contact 10 and then depressing the end portion 13, with a suitable tool, so that the contact will pass through the passage 23 upon application of a rearward force to the contact, e.g., by pulling on an attached conductor or on the rear of the contact itself. I

To mate identical halves 1 and 2, the fingers 25 of one half are aligned with the openings 40 between fingers 25 of the other half and the connector simply pressed together. Upon mating the two housings 2 together the mating surfaces 12 of the contacts 10 engage each other to complete the electrical circuitry while the projections 29 snap into the grooves or slots 28 to retain the assembly in mated relationship. The connector halves 1 and 2 remain in the mated relationship until a sufficient separating force is applied in a manner that will force the lateral projection 29 from its position in the slot 28.

While a preferred embodiment of the invention has 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, insome instances, certain features of the invention may be used to advantage without corresponding use of other features. Accordingly, it is intended that the illustrative and descriptive materials herein be used to illustrate the principles of the invention and not to limit the scope thereof.

Having described the invention, what is claimed is:

1 A hermaphroditic electrical connector for a multiconductor cable comprising:

a one-piece molded insulating block having a front face, a rear face, a plurality of axially aligned passages extending through said insulator from said rear face to said front face and a plurality of axially aligned and nonround'forwardly extending fingers arranged in spaced relationship and extending from said front face, at least one of said fingers having a pair of slots in one side thereof that communicates with a respective passage and is adapted to receive a contact, the spaces between adjacent fingers adapted to receive the fingers of a second identical connector;

a plurality of electrical contacts each having a first conductor receiving end portion and a resiliently compressible folded section which includes a shaft portion and an opposite mating surface which terminates in a second end portion, each of said contacts mounted in a portion of a respective passage with said conductor receiving portion disposed in said passage and said shaft portion extending into said pair of slots in said finger so that contact is mounted in said housing with said mating surface of said contact exposed on one side of said finger, each of said second end portions of said contacts having an end that engages a housing shoulder to prevent rearward movement of said contacts with respect to said housing;

at least one lateral projection on said at least one finger, said projection disposed on the side of said finger opposite said side of said finger with said slots; and

at least one projection receiving aperture on the forward end portion of another of said fingers, said aperture disposed on the side of said another finger that faces the side of said at least one finger having said pair of slots therein whereby when said electrical connector is mated with a second identical connector, said fingers of said connector mate with the spaces between the fingers of said second connector, said contact mating surfaces of said connectors engage, and the lateral projection of each of said 2. A hermaphroditic electrical connector for a multi- 5 conductor cable comprising:

an insulating block having a rear face, a plurality of axially aligned passages extending through said insulator from said rear face and a plurality of axially aligned and nonround forwardly extending fingers arranged in spaced relationship and extending from an opposite face, at least one of said fingers having a slot in one side thereof that faces an adjacent finger and communicates with a respective passage and is adapted to receive a contact, the spaces between said fingers adapted to receive the fingers of a second identical connector;

plurality of electrical contacts each having a first conductor receiving end portion and a resiliently compressible folded section which includes a shaft portion and an opposite mating surface which terminates in a second end portion, each of said contacts mounted in a respective portion of one of said passages with said conductor receiving portion disposed in said passage and said shaft portion extending into said pair of slots in said finger so that said contact is mounted in said housing with said mating surface of said contact exposed on one side of said finger, each of said second end portion of said contacts engaging a housing shoulder to prevent rearward movement of said contacts with respect to said housing;

at least one lateral projection on the forward end portion of said at least one finger, said projection disposed on the side of said finger opposite said side of said finger with said slots; and

at least one projection receiving groove on the forward end portion of another of said fingers, said groove disposed on the side of said another finger that faces the side of said at least one finger having said pair of slots therein, whereby when said electrical connector is mated with a second identical connector, said fingers of said connector mate with the spaces between the fingers of said second connector to form a substantially rectangularly shaped connector block void of any external projections when mated, said contact mating surfaces of said connector engage and the lateral projection of each of said connectors are received in the groove in said other connector to retain said connectors in mated relationship.

Patent Citations
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US3188600 *May 22, 1962Jun 8, 1965Gen Motors CorpTerminal and mounting means
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3990764 *Jan 12, 1976Nov 9, 1976Bell Telephone Laboratories, IncorporatedConnector
US4036544 *Feb 2, 1976Jul 19, 1977Bunker Ramo CorporationContact for multiple conductor connector
US4066211 *Feb 24, 1976Jan 3, 1978Sze Hong MakModel track section
US4971565 *Nov 28, 1989Nov 20, 1990Fox Jr Roy WSurface mount stacking connector
US5441421 *Jun 11, 1993Aug 15, 1995American International Pacific Industries CorporationAnti-theft mounting system for vehicle radio or stereo equipment
US6048224 *Oct 9, 1997Apr 11, 2000Tekonsha Engineering CompanySealed multiple-contact electrical connector
US6074230 *Mar 23, 1998Jun 13, 2000Molex IncorporatedHermaphroditic electrical connectors
US6247972 *Aug 14, 1997Jun 19, 2001Silicon Bandwidth, Inc.Electrical connector assembly with a female electrical connector having internal flexible contact arm
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US6461197May 21, 2001Oct 8, 2002Silicon Bandwidth, Inc.Female contact pin including flexible contact portion
US7182608Jul 5, 2005Feb 27, 2007Amphenol CorporationChessboard electrical connector
US7607953 *Nov 30, 2007Oct 27, 2009Tyco Electronics CorporationSpring-loaded contact for electrical conductors
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US7727002Jul 9, 2007Jun 1, 2010Ideal Industries, Inc.Electrical disconnect with adjacent wire receptacle boxes
US7753718Sep 24, 2008Jul 13, 2010Ideal Industries, Inc.Electrical disconnect with push-in connectors
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US8147254Aug 25, 2008Apr 3, 2012Fci Americas Technology LlcElectrical connector mating guide
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US8668511 *Sep 19, 2011Mar 11, 2014Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.Hermaphroditic electrical connector
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Classifications
U.S. Classification439/293, 439/295, 439/746
International ClassificationH01R13/02, H01R13/28
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/28
European ClassificationH01R13/28
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
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