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Publication numberUS3836942 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 17, 1974
Filing dateApr 13, 1973
Priority dateAug 2, 1972
Publication numberUS 3836942 A, US 3836942A, US-A-3836942, US3836942 A, US3836942A
InventorsKnickerbocker R
Original AssigneeKnickerbocker R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Separable electrical connector
US 3836942 A
Abstract
There is disclosed a separable electrical connector which permits a large number of additional electrical conductors to be connected to a terminal block containing clip-type electrical connectors without increasing the size of the block. The separable connector comprises a flat, elongate, electrically conductive element and a dielectric retaining member for holding the electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portions of laterally adjacent electrical connectors which project upwardly from a terminal block. The conductive element comprises a flat base portion and at least one, e.g., one or two, pair of opposing contact fingers which project upwardly from the base portion and are integral with the base portion. The adjacent edge portions of the contact fingers are adapted to receive an electrical conductor therebetween. The retaining member comprises a casing which encloses a portion of the electrically conductive element. The top portions of the opposing contact fingers project above the casing so that an electrical conductor may be inserted between the opposing fingers.
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Knickerbocker SEPARABLE ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR [76] Inventor: Robert H. Knickerbocker, 29

Westmore Rd., Cheshire, Conn. 06795 [22] Filed: Apr. 13, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 350,915

Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 277,165, Aug. 2,

1972, abandoned.

[52] US. Cl 339/97 R, 339/19, 339/217 S [51] Int. Cl. H0lr 31/08, H01r 9/08 [58] Field of Search 339/19, 97-99, 339/198, 217, 222

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,736,875 2/1956 Protz 339/217 S X 3,112,147 11/1963 Pferd et al 339/97 P 3,239,796 3/1966 Buchanan et al.... 339/97 P 3,264,600 8/1966 Barth et al 339/218 S X 3,496,522 2/1970 Ellis et a1. 339/99 R 3,611,263 10/1971 Krone et al.. 339/97 R 3,611,264 10/1971 Ellis 339/99 Sept. 17, 1974 Primary Examiner-Paul R. Gilliam Assistant Examiner-Lawrence J. Staab Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Roylance, Abrams, Berdo & Kaul [57] ABSTRACT There is disclosed a separable electrical connector which permits a large number of additional electrical conductors to be connected to a terminal block containing clip-type electrical connectors without increasing the size of the block. The separable connector comprises a flat, elongate, electrically conductive element and a dielectric retaining member for holding the electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portions of laterally adjacent electrical connectors which project upwardly from a terminal block. The conductive element comprises a flat base portion and at least one, e.g., one or two, pair of opposing contact fingers which project upwardly from the base portion and are integral with the base portion. The adjacent edge portions of the contact fingers are adapted to receive an electrical conductor therebetween. The retaining member comprises a casing which encloses a portion of the electrically conductive element. The top portions of the opposing contact fingers project above the casing so that an electrical conductor may be inserted between the opposing fingers.

10 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PAIENIEDSEPI mu SHEET 2 (IF 3 FIG. 5

FIG.4

FIG.6C

FIG, 6B

FIG. GA

FIG. 6D

PAIENIEDSEP 1 w SHEET 3 [IF 3 SEPARABLE ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR This application is a continuation-in-part of copending US. Pat. application Ser. No. 277,165, filed Aug. 2, 1972, and now abandoned.

This invention relates to a means for quickly and easily connecting together or bridging terminal connectors in the same or different terminal blocks and/or adding more conductor wires to a terminal block without interfering with any of the wires already connected to the terminal.

Terminal connecting blocks are used extensively in the fields of electronics and communication. For example, they are used by the telephone industry in distribution cabinets for connecting conductors in a cable from an exchange to other conductors extending to various stations within a building. One type of terminal connecting block as disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,234,498 comprises a plurality of connector elements arranged in spaced-side-by-side rows of terminals in a connector block. Each element comprises a plurality of connectors joined together at a base portion. Each of the connectors is of the insulation penetrating type, i.e., the insulation on an electrical conducting wire is sheared when the wire is inserted in the connector.

US. Pat. No. 3,308,422 discloses a means for connecting together two or more sets of terminals when the terminals to be connected together are located to the right or left of each other. Connecting blocks, constructed of a dielectric material and containing conducting arms extending out of the upper portion thereof, are positioned on adjacent terminals so that the arms make contact with the connectors. A rod bridges the top portions of the arms of two different blocks which are situated on different terminals.

A device for connecting terminals lying in the same plane and/or for adding additional connections onto a terminal connecting block may be provided by merely adding an inverted U-shaped clip to the base of a set of two adjacent connectors of the type disclosed in US Pat. No. 3,234,498. Each connector may be surrounded by a plastic retaining means. The clip may then be placed over the top of adjacent connectors of the type shown in US. Pat. No. 3,234,498 which are situated in a terminal block. However, such a device is not entirely satisfactory since a good connection between the two sets of connectors is not always insured and the added connectors secured by means of the clip may come loose.

In accordance with the practice of this invention, there is provided an electrical connector means comprising a flat, elongate, electrical conductive element and a dielectric retaining member for holding the electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portions of laterally adjacent electrical connectors which project upwardly from a terminal block. The conductive element comprises a flat base portion and at least one pair of opposing contact fingers which project upwardly from the base portion and are integral with the base portion. The adjacent edge portions of the contact fingers are adapted to receive an electrical conductor therebetween. The retaining member comprises a casing which encloses a portion of the electrically conductive element. The top portions of the opposing contact tingers project above the casing so that an electrical conductor may be inserted between the opposing fingers. Since the retaining member holds the electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portion of an electrical connector in a terminal block, it is thus possible to connect a number of additional electrical conductors to the block without increasing the size of the block.

The invention will be more particularly described with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional telephone quick-connect terminal block and the separable connector of this invention illustrated in exploded view.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the separable connector installed on a terminal block with a phantom view of an insulated wire in place in the separable connector.

FIG. 3 is a front sectional view taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a vertical sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3 with a phantom view of an insulated wire in place in the separable connector.

FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 2.

FIGS. 6A, 6B, 6C and 6D are electrical schematics of the separable connector installed on a connector block to accomplish various types of connections.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a separable connector of this invention.

FIG. 8 is a front sectional view of the connector shown in FIG. 7.

FIGS. 9 and 10 are cutaway perspective views of the casing for the connector shown in FIG. 7.

Referring more particularly to the FIGS. 1-5, there is shown a terminal block 10 which may be formed of a suitable dielectric or electrical insulating material such as a phenolformaldehyde resin or a polyvinyl resin. The block 10 contains a number of slots 11 which are adapted to receive electrical connecting plates I2, 13 and 14. Each plate comprises a plurality of connectors l2a-I2f joined together by a base portion not shown. Such connecting plates are described in detail in US. Pat. No. 3,234,498, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Alternatively, the connectors l2a-l2f may be independent, i.e., not connected by a common base, in which case they may be bridged by a separable connector of this invention. Each connector comprises a pair of elongated fingers l5 and 16 having opposing edges for shearing insulation from a conductor which is inserted therebetween.

The separable connector of this invention is generally referred to by the reference numeral 20 and comprises a flat, elongate electrically conductive element 21 and a casing 22. The element may be constructed of any suitable resilient conducting material such as phosphorbronze, beryllium-copper or other known metal alloy. The element 21 includes two pairs of opposing contact fingers 23 and 24. The contact fingers 23 and 24 are joined at one end to a base portion 25. Extending downwardly on each side of the base portion 25 are projections 26. Each pair of opposing contact fingers 23 and 24 form a pair of mutually opposed edges 27 and 28 which shear the insulation from an electrical conductor inserted therebetween. Beneath the mutually opposed edges 27 and 28 and above the base portion 25 are slots 29.

The casing 22 includes a back portion 30 and a front portion 31 which are secured together at the upper portions thereof by end portions 32 and a divider means 33. The flat, elongate electrically conductive element 21 fits flush against the back 30. The opposing contact fingers 23 and 24 extend through the channels 34 and project above the top of the casing 31. The channels 34 are bounded by the end portions 32, the back portion 30, the divider means 33 and the shoulders 35 on the front portion 31. The shoulders 35 are of sufficient thickness so that the element 21 is substantially flush with the shoulders.

There are protuberances 36 on the back portion 30. These protuberances 36 are depressed when the element 21 is inserted into the casing 22 and are placed so that they expand into the upper portion of the slots 29 when the element 21 is in place, thus locking the element 21 in place. When the element 21 is locked in place in the casing 22, the projections 26 extend below the bottom portion of the casing.

The separable connector may be placed over the two adjacent connectors 12a and 12b in a terminal block 10. The width of the separable connector 20 is such that the end portion 32 does not extend more than half-way between the distance separating adjacent connectors. Thus, when the connector 20 is in position over connectors 12a and 12b, another connector may be placed over connectors 12c and 12d and another one over connectors l2e and 12f. Moreover, the thickness of the connector 20 is such that it does not extend more than half the distance separating the connecting plates 12 and l3,-thus permitting another series of connectors of this invention to be secured to adjacent connectors of the connector plate 13.

The top portions of the laterally adjacent connectors 12a and 12b fit into the cavities 37. The cavities 37 are bounded at the top by the bottoms of shoulders 35, on one side by the front portion 31 and on the other side by the lower portion of the element 21. The tops of the connectors 12a and 12b abut the bottoms of the shoulder 35. This relationship, along with the two projections 26, hold the bottom of the separable connector 20 above the conductor wire 39 and prevents the device from pinching the wires which are already in place in the connectors 12a and 12b. Moreover, since the bottoms of the shoulders 35 rest on the tops of the connectors 12a and 12b, the pressure which is transmitted when a conductor wire 40 is inserted between the opposing contact fingers 23 and 24 is absorbed in the block 10.

The divider means 33 is of such dimensions that it contacts the top portion of the base at a point between the two pairs of contact fingers 23 and 24. Thus, when the separable connector 20 is placed over the top of the adjacent connectors 12a and 1211 so that the cavity 37 is in registration with these connectors and the separable connector 20 is installed by pushing downwardly. the divider means 33 transmits the pressure to the base 25. The element 21 will thus make positive contact with the connectors 12a and 12b.

The casing 22 holds the base 25 of the element 21 in intimate contact with the connectors 12a and 12b. There are protuberances 38 on the base 25 which serve to insure maximum contact and also to achieve a tight fit of the separable connectors 20 on the connectors 12a and 12b.

In the figures, the insulating jackets on the electrical conductors 39 and 40 are shown withdrawn from the insulation penetrating connector to improve clarity in all views of the conductor. However, it will be appreciated that in actual use, the insulation will only be severed at the point of contact with the opposing edges of the connectors.

As previously mentioned, the separable connectors of this invention may be used to vastly increase the number of connections which may be made on a terminal block without increasing the size of the block. Moreover, they may be used to connect two electrical connectors which are not otherwise in electrical contact with one another. Some of the various uses of this invention are illustrated in FIGS. 6A to 6D. Thus, FIG. 6A illustrates the use of two separable connectors to bridge terminals in a terminal block and also to electrically connect additional external wires. FIG. 6B illustrates the separable connector bridging two terminals located in a single vertical column of a terminal block which are not otherwise in electrical communication. FIG. 6C illustrates the use of two separable connectors to bridge two terminals of different vertical columns of electrical connectors with an electrical conductor wire serving to join the two columns. FlG. 6D illustrates two separable connectors used to join terminals in different terminal blocks.

Referring now to FIGS. 7-10, there is shown a separable connector 50 which comprises a flat, elongated, electrically conductive element 51 and a casing 52. The element 51 includes one pair of opposing contact fingers 53 and 54 which are joined together at a base portion 55. Extending downwardly on each side ofthe base portion 55 are projections 56. Each pair of opposing contact fingers 53 and 54 form a pair of mutually opposed edges which shear the insulation from an electrical conductor inserted therebetween as previously described. Beneath the mutually opposed edges and above the base portion is a slot 57. There is a protuberance 58 on the base 55 which serves to assure maximum contact between the element 52 and a terminal over which the separable connector is placed.

The casing 51 includes a back portion 59 and a front portion 60 which are secured together at the upper portions thereof by end portions 61 and 62. The flat, elongated, electrically conductive element 51 fits flush against the back 59 and the opposing contact fingers 53 and 54 project above the top of the casing 51. The channel in which the element 52 is located within the casing 51 is bounded by the end portions 61 and 62, the front portion 59 and the shoulder 63 on the front portion 60.

The shoulder 63 is of sufficient thickness so that the element 52 is substantially flush with the shoulder. There are protuberances 64 and 65 on both the front and back portions of the casing 51 which are in the form of inclined planes. These protuberances are shown in exaggerated form in FlGS. 9 and 10 for the purposes of illustration. When an element 51 is inserted into the casing 52, the protuberances 64 and 65 are slightly depressed and then expand into the upper portion of the slot 57, thus locking the element 52 into place.

The separable connector 50 may be placed over a single terminal in a terminal block as previously described with respect to the separable connector shown in FIG. 1. The width of the separable connector 50 is such that the end portions 61 and 62 do not extend more than halfway between the distance separating adjacent terminals so that when it is in place over a terminal, such as 12a in FIG. 1, another connector may be placed over terminal 12b, another over terminal 120, etc. Moreover, the thickness of the connector 50 is such that it does not extend more than half the distance separating the plates 12 and 13, thus permitting another series of separable connectors to be secured to adjacent terminals of the plate 13.

The top portion of a terminal fits into a cavity 66 which is bounded at the top by the bottom of the shoulder 63, on one side by the front portion 61 and on the other side by the base 55 of the element 51. The two ends of the cavity 66 are partially open since the end portions 61 and 62 do not extend to the bottom of the separable connector 50. This allows a biasing or leaf spring action of the bottom portions of the back portion 59 and the front portion 60, i.e., when the separable connector 50 is placed over a terminal, these bottom portions spread slightly, thus facilitating installation. Preferably, the end portions 61 and 62 extend beyond the bottom of the shoulder 63 a distance which is not greater than the width of the terminal over which it is placed. The top of the terminal abuts the bottom of the shoulder 63. This relationship, along with the legs 67 on the casing 52, and the projections 56 on the element 51, holds the bottom of the separable connector 50 above the wire which is secured in the terminal over which the connector 50 is placed, thereby preventing the device from pinching the wire. A number of separable connectors 50 may be placed on terminals in a terminal connecting box such as shown in FIG. 1, thereby vastly increasing the number of connections which may be made on a terminal block without increasing the size of the block.

1 claim:

1. An electrical connector means comprising in combination a. a flat, elongate electrical conductive element comprising a flat base portion and at least one pair of opposing contact fingers projecting from said base portion and integral therewith, the adjacent edge portions of said contact fingers being adapted to receive an electrical conductor therebetween, and

b. a dielectric retaining member for holding said electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portions of laterally adjacent electrical connectors which project upwardly from a terminal block, said member comprising a casing which encloses a portion of said electrically conductive element, the top portions of said opposing contact fingers projecting above said casing, said casing including a back portion and a front portion secured together at the upper portions thereof by end portions and at least one channel in the upper portion thereof through which extends said top portions of opposing contact fingers on said electrical conductive element, said casing further including a cavity in the lower portion thereof, said cavity being laterally offset from said flat base portion and approximately as thick as the electrical connectors over which it is to be inserted and being bounded on one side by the base portion of said conductive element.

2. An electrical connector means as defined in claim 1 wherein each of said channels contains at least one protuberance which engages a slot in said pair of opposing contact fingers.

3. An electrical connector means as defined in claim 1 wherein said element comprises two pairs of opposing contact fingers joined at one end to said base portion.

4. An electrical connector means as defined in claim 1 wherein said element comprises one pair of opposing contact fingers and wherein said casing contains one channel.

5. An electrical connector means as defined in claim 1 wherein said base portion contains at least one protuberance thereon for contacting the flat, electrical connector over which said electrical connector means is placed.

6. A terminal connecting block containing a plurality of blade-like terminals projecting upwards therefrom, said terminals being arranged in side-by-side rows, two laterally adjacent terminals in said block being bridged by an electrical connector means, said electrical connector means comprising in combination (a) a flat, elongate electrical conductive element comprising a flat base portion and two pairs of opposing contact fingers projecting from said base portion and integral therewith, the adjacent edge portions of said contact fingers being adapted to receive an electrical conductor therebetween, and (b) a dielectric retaining member for holding said electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portions of laterally adjacent electrical connectors which project upwardly from a terminal block, said member comprising a casing which encloses a portion of said electrically conductive element, the top portions of said opposing contact fingers projecting above said casing, said casing including a back portion and a front portion secured together at the upper portions thereof by end portions and two channels in the upper portion thereof through which extends said top portions of opposing contact fingers on said electrical conductive element, said channels being spaced in side-by-side relationship and being separated by a divider means, said divider means comprising an elongate member which contacts the base of said electrical conductive element at a point between the two pairs of opposing contact fingers, said casing further including a cavity in the lower portion thereof, said cavity being adapted to receive and to hold said base portion of the electrical conductive element in contact with an electrical connector over which it is placed.

7. A terminal connecting block containing a plurality of blade-like terminals projecting upwards therefrom, said terminals being arranged in side-by-side rows, at least one of said terminals having placed over the top thereof an electrical connector means comprising in combination (a) a flat, elongate electrical conductive element comprising a flat base portion and at least one pair of opposing contact fingers projecting from said base portion and integral therewith, the adjacent edge portions of said contact fingers being adapted to receive an electrical conductor therebetween, and (b) a dielectric retaining member for holding said electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portions of laterally adjacent electrical connectors which project upwardly from a terminal block, said member comprising a casing which encloses a portion of said electrically conductive element, the top portions of said opposing contact fingers projecting above said casing, said casing including a back portion and a front portion secured together at the upper portions thereof by end portions and at least one channel in the upper portion thereof through which extends said top portions of opposing contact fingers on said electrical conductive element, said casing further including a cavity in the lower portion thereof, said cavity being approximately as thick as said terminal over which it is placed and being bounded on one side by the base portion of said conductive element, said base portion of said conductive element being in electrical contact with the terminal over which said electrical connector means is placed.

8. A terminal connecting block containing a plurality of blade-like terminals projecting upwards therefrom, said terminals being arranged in side-by-side rows, at least one of said terminals having placed over the top thereof an electrical connector means comprising in combination (a) a flat, elongate electrical conductive element comprising a flat base portion and one pair of opposing contact fingers projecting from said base portion and integral therewith, the adjacent edge portions of said contact fingers being adapted to receive an electrical conductor therebetween, and (b) a dielectric retaining member for holding said electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portions of laterally adjacent electrical connectors which project upwardly from a terminal block, said member comprising a casing which encloses a portion of said electrically conductive element, the top portions of said opposing contact fingers projecting above said casing, said casing including a back portion and a front portion secured together at the upper portions thereof by end portions and one channel in the upper portion thereof through which extends said top portions of opposing contact fingers on said electrical conductive element, said casing further including a cavity in the lower portion thereof, said cavity being approximately as thick as said terminal over which it is placed and being bounded on one side by the base portion of said conductive element, said base portion of said conductive element being in electrical contact with the terminal over which said electrical connector means is placed.

9. An electrical connector means comprising in combination a. a flat, elongate electrical conductive element comprising a flat base portion and at least one pair of opposing contact fingers projecting from said base portion and integral therewith, the adjacent edge portions of said contact fingers being adapted to receive an electrical conductor therebetween. and

b. a dielectric retaining member for holding said electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portions of laterally adjacent electrical connectors which project upwardly from a terminal block, said member comprising a casing which encloses a portion of said electrically conductive element, the top portions of said opposing contact fingers projecting above said casing, said casing including a back portion and a front portion secured together at the upper portions thereof by end portions and at least one channel in the upper portion thereof through which extends said top portions of opposing contact fingers on said electrical conductive element, said casing further including a cavity in the lower portion thereof, said cavity being adapted to receive and to hold said base portion of the electrical conductive element in contact with an electrical connector over which it is placed, said end portions not extending to the bottom of said connector means so that the two ends of said cavity are partially open.

10. An electrical connector means comprising in combination a. a flat, elongate electrical conductive element comprising a flat base portion and two pairs of opposing contact fingers projecting from said base portion and integral therewith, the adjacent edge portions of said contact fingers being adapted to receive an electrical conductor therebetween, and

b. a dielectric retaining member for holding said electrically conductive element in contact with the upper portions of laterally adjacent electrical connectors which project upwardly from a terminal block, said member comprising a casing which encloses a portion of said electrically conductive element, the top portions of said opposing contact fingers projecting above said casing, said casing including a back portion and a front portion secured together at the upper portions thereof by end portions and two channels in the upper portion thereof through which extend said top portions of opposing contact fingers on said electrical conductive element. said channels being separated by a divider means, said divider means comprising an elongate member which contacts the base of said electrical conductive element at a point between the two pairs of opposing contact fingers, said casing further including a cavity in the lower portion thereof, said cavity being adapted to receive and to hold said base portion of the electrical conductive element in contact with an electrical connector over which it is placed.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3877771 *Jul 25, 1974Apr 15, 1975Leo Anker JensenApparatus for the solderless splicing of multi-lead cables
US3955873 *Nov 27, 1974May 11, 1976International Telephone & Telegraph CorporationElectrical connector and contacts therefor
US4029376 *Oct 10, 1975Jun 14, 1977The Siemon-Dynamic Manufacturing Co.Bridging clip assembly and cover therefor
US4221445 *Feb 2, 1978Sep 9, 1980Amp IncorporatedCross connect distribution system and apparatus
US4400047 *Jul 14, 1981Aug 23, 1983Simms Alfred PDistribution module for multi-wire group
US4421374 *Sep 5, 1980Dec 20, 1983Western Electric Company, Inc.Trifurcated insulation-penetrating terminal
US4464834 *Dec 6, 1982Aug 14, 1984Simms Alfred PMethods of use of distribution modules for multi-wire group interconnection in telephone or like multi-wire distribution systems
US4575588 *Oct 15, 1984Mar 11, 1986Michael Vande VyverUniversal telephone test apparatus
US4580864 *Apr 16, 1982Apr 8, 1986The Siemon CompanyModular connecting blocks
US4767338 *Apr 20, 1987Aug 30, 1988Dennis Melburn WPrinted circuit board telephone interface
US5057844 *Mar 19, 1990Oct 15, 1991Rothstein Mark BInsulated underground antenna and method for utilizing same
US5412715 *May 19, 1993May 2, 1995Executone Information Systems, Inc.Apparatus and method for connecting telephone switching devices
US5547391 *Mar 11, 1993Aug 20, 1996Molex IncorporatedCommoning electrical connector
USRE31714 *Apr 20, 1981Oct 30, 1984The Siemon CompanyPre-wired terminal connecting block
Classifications
U.S. Classification439/402, 439/513, 439/752
International ClassificationH01R13/26, H01R13/02, H01R4/48
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/26, H01R4/48
European ClassificationH01R4/48, H01R13/26