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Publication numberUS3839608 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 1, 1974
Filing dateJul 23, 1973
Priority dateJul 23, 1973
Publication numberUS 3839608 A, US 3839608A, US-A-3839608, US3839608 A, US3839608A
InventorsDe Vries D
Original AssigneeStewart & Stevenson Inc Jim
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for making and breaking an electrical underwater connection between releasable underwater members
US 3839608 A
Abstract
An apparatus for making and breaking an electrical underwater connection between releasable first and second members of an underwater connector by providing a fixed electrical contact on the first member and a movable electrical contact on the second member with means for moving the movable contact into and out of engagement with the fixed contact, and seal means positioned on the first member and telescopically movable relative to the fixed contact for moving away from the fixed contact for allowing coaction between the movable contact and the fixed contact and for moving to a position covering and protecting said fixed contact from the water when the first and second members are released. Movable means on the second member for moving the seal means into and out of engagement with the fixed contact.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

De Writes ct. ll, WM

Primary ExaminerDavid Smith, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or FirmJefferson D. Giller; James F. Weiler; William A. Stout [75] Inventor: lllionwe Eve WllitBS, Houston, Tex. [73] Assignee: .llirln Stein art & Stevenson, llnc, [57] AESTRAQT ous on, ex.

[22] Filed; July 23 73 An apparatus for making and breaking an electrical underwater connection between releasable first and [21] Appl- N05 381,874 second members of an underwater connector by providing a fixed electrical contact on the first member 52 us. c1 inn/31.07, 339/42, 339/117, and a movable electrical Contact on the Second 200/82 R bet with means for moving the movable contact into [51] lint. Cl lHIUZr 33/30 and out of engagement with the fixed Contact and Seal [58] non of Search 339/42, 116, 117, 118; means positioned on the first member and telescopi- 200/51 07 5100 51 09 2 R cally movable relative to the fixed contact for moving away from the fixed contact for allowing coaction be- 5 References Cited tween the movable contact and the fixed contact and UNITED STATES PATENTS for moving to a position covering and protecting said fixed contact from the water when the first and second gg f'i members are released. Movable means on the second 3729699 4/1973 2 "55 17 P member for moving the seal means into and out of en- 3,780,243 12/1973 Koomey et a1 200/32 R gagemem the fixed contact- FORElGN'PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 2 Claims 2 Drawing Figures 1,202,374 10/1965 Germany 339/42 an iilll -34 1 l l -36 1/4 a c I 2 l o A 32 A4 Z 30 a} V fl 56 4 PATENTEDIJBT H974 sum 2 or 2 ll APPARATUS EOR MARINE AND RREARIING AN ELECTRICAL UNDERWATER (CONNECTION BETWEEN REEEASAEILE UNDERWATER MEMBERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention is an improvement on copending patent application Ser. No. 296,880, filed Nov. 12, 1972 showing an underwater connector having releasable male and female members for supplying electrical power and/or controls to underwater equipment.

Since the underwater equipment remains subjected to its environment for prolonged periods of time, any electrical contacts adversely exposed to the water would be subject to corrosion and deterioration. In addition, if the underwater contacts were connected to battery means, the exposed water would short out between the underwater contacts and short the battery. The present invention is directed to an improved apparatus for making and breaking underwater electrical connections while at the same time positively protecting the electrical connections from the water.

SUMMARY The present invention is directed to an apparatus for making and breaking an electrical underwater connection between first and second coacting and releasable underwater members by providing a fixed electrical contact on the first member and a movable electrical contact on the second member with means on the second member for moving the movable contact into and out of engagement with the fixed contact. Seal means are positioned on the first member and telescopically movable relative to the fixed contact for moving away from the fixed contact for allowing coaction between the movable electrical contact and the fixed electrical contact when the first and second members are connected, and for moving to a position positively covering and protecting the fixed contact from water when the first and second members are released.

A still further object of the present invention is the provision of movable means on the second member for moving the seal means into and out of engagement with the fixed contact on the first member.

Yet a still further object of the present invention is an improved seal means on the first member including a tubular member slidably engaging the first member with stop means between the tubular seal and the first member limiting the outward movement of the seal from the first member to a position positively covering and protecting the fixed electrical contact.

Yet a still further object of the present invention is the provision of a movable shoulder on the second member for engaging and longitudinally retracting the seal means, and a releasable latch on the second mem ber for engaging and extending the seal means.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a shoulder at one end of the seal means for engagement by the second member shoulder, and to provide a second shoulder at the second end of the seal means for engagement by the releasable latch.

Other and further objects, features and advantages will be apparent from the following description of a presently preferred embodiment of the invention, given for the purpose of disclosure, and taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

LII

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a fragmentary, elevational view, in cross section, of a portion of coacting underwater members in which the electrical underwater connection therebetween is shown in the disengaged position, and

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, elevational view, of the apparatus of FIG. I in which the electrical underwater connection is engaged.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, particularly to FIGS. II and 2, the preferred embodiment of the present invention is best seen and is generally indicated by the reference numeral 10 in which two coacting and releasable'underwater members 12 and 14 are shown in an engaging position. The first member 12 and the second member 14 are adapted to be connected together and released amd may be of any conventional type such as shown in US. Pat. No. 3,486,556. One of the members, such as member 12, may be the female member and may be stationarily fixed underwater and connected to the underwater equipment (not shown) to which power and/or controls is desired to be transmitted from above water. The second member 14 may be the movable member and may be the male member which is retrievable and may be raised and lowered from the water surface and releasably connected to and disconnected from the first member 12.

The retrievable member 14 includes a conventional electrical connection 16 for connection to an electrical conductor 17 leading to the water. surface for providing electrical power and/or electrical controls to the under water equipment. The stationary member 12 includes electrical connectors 18 and 19 for receiving the electrical power and/or controls from the connector 16 in the member 14 and is in turn connected to underwater equipment.

The member 12 includes a recess 20 positioned to mate with the member 14 when the underwater connector members 12 and 14 are engaged. One or more fixed electrical contacts 22, such as circular ring contacts, are positioned in the recess 20 and are electrically insulated therein and electrically connected to the electrical connectors 18 and 119. The contacts 22 are spaced from the contacting surface 26 of the member I2 so as to be recessed in the recess 20. The recess 20 is open at both ends to freely allow mating with member 114.

The male member 14 carries one or more movable electrical contacts 30, such as rings which are connected by electrical connectors 32 and 33 to the cable I7 through connector 16 and are thus in communication with the equipment at the water surface for supplying electrical power and/or controls. Suitable means are provided for supporting and moving the electrical contacts 30 into and out of engagement with the fixed electrical contacts 22 to make or break the electrical underwater connection. Preferably, the movable contacts 30 are supported from a piston 34 which is movable in a cylinder 36. The cylinder 36 is positioned so as to be axially aligned with the recess 20 and fixed contacts 22 when the male member 14 is connected to the female member 12. A suitable hydraulic line 38 is connected to one side of the piston 34 and leads to the water surface for moving the piston by suitable hydrauhe controls (not shown) towards the member 12 and thus moving the contacts 30 into engagement with the fixed contacts 22, as best seen in FIG. 2. Suitable means for retracting the piston 34 may be provided such as spring 40 which, when the hydraulic fluid to the piston 34 is released, retracts the piston 34 and the electrical contacts 30 away from the fixed contacts 22 thereby breaking the electrical connection between the contacts 30 and 22.

A seal generally indicated by the reference numeral 50 is provided positioned on the first member 12 and is telescopically and longitudinally movable in the recess 20 relative to the fixed contacts 22. The seal 50 may be an annular ring including a neoprene seal 52 carried by a seal body 54. Since the female member 12 is generally stationarily positioned on the water floor adjacent the equipment to be serviced for prolonged periods of time, and the male member 14 is raised and lowered for various purposes, into and out of engagement with the member 14, the seal 50, when positioned as shown in FIG. ll, positively protects the electrical contacts 22 from the water when the members 12 and 14 are disconnected. The seal 50 will prevent the water from corroding the contacts 22 and in the event that the contacts 22 are connected across a power source such as a battery to be charged, the seal 50 will prevent water from completing an electrical circuit across the contact 22 and shorting out the battery.

However, when the members 12 and 14 are connected and the piston 34 is actuated to extend the movable electrical contacts 30 into engagement with the fixed contacts 22, the seal 50 is moved into the recess 20. An actuating shoulder 60 is provided on the piston 34 to contact with a shoulder 62 on the seal 50 for engagement and retraction of the seal member 50 into the recess 20 when the electrical connection is engaged.

Suitable means are provided for extending the seal means 50 into engagement with and covering the fixed contacts 22 when the electrical connection is broken. A releasable latch consisting of pins 66 and yieldably urged outward by a spring 68 is provided on the piston 34 to pass through the interior of the seal sleeve 50 and engaged a shoulder 70 on the seal 50 whereby on retraction of the piston 34 the latch will move the seal 50 upwardly into engagement and covering the fixed electrical contacts 22. The seal 50 includes a stop member 72 for engaging a shoulder M on the member 12 for limiting the extent of travel of the seal members 50 to a position covering the contacts 22. Therefore, on retraction of the piston 34 and latch means, the seal 50 will move to a position covering the contacts 22 at which time the latch 66 will retract from the shoulder '70 allowing removal of the piston 34 from the seal 50.

Therefore, the seal means will initially cover and protect the fixed electrical contacts 22, but will be moved out of engagement with the contacts 22 to allow engagement of the electrical contacts 30 with the contacts 22 for making the electrical connection, but will again be extended to positively cover and protect the fixed contacts 22 from the water when the electrical connection is disengaged.

The present invention, therefore, is well adapted to carry out the objects and attain the ends and advantages mentioned as well as others inherent therein. While a presently preferred embodiment of the invention has been given for the purpose of disclosure, numerous changes in the details of construction and arrangement of parts may be made which will readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the art and which are encompassed within the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for making and breaking an electrical underwater connection comprising,

a first underwater member adapted to remain positioned underwater, said first member having a recess open to the water at both ends,

a second underwater member adapted to be lowered underwater and releasably coact with the first member,

a plurality of fixed electrical contacts on the first member positioned in said recess,

a plurality of movable electrical contacts on the second member for coacting with the fixed contacts for conducting electricity from the water surface to the fixed contacts,

piston means connected to the second member for actuation from the water surface for moving the movable contacts into and out of the recess for engagement with fixed contacts,

a solid tubular seal member telescopically and slidably engaging the first member in said open recess for moving away from the fixed contacts for allowing coaction between the movable contacts and the fixed contacts and for moving to a position positively covering and protecting said fixed contacts from contact with the water,

first and second engaging shoulders on the seal member,

engaging means on the piston means of the second member for telescopically engaging and moving the seal member into and out of engagement with the fixed contacts and including an actuating shoulder and a releasable latch which coact with the first and second shoulders on the seal member.

2. An apparatus for making and breaking an electrical underwater connection comprising,

a first underwater member adapted to remain positioned underwater, said first member having a recess open to the water at both ends,

a second underwater member adapted to be lowered underwater and releasably coact with the first member,

a fixed electrical contact on said first member positioned in recess,

a movable electrical contact on said second member for moving into said recess for coacting with the fixed contact for conducting electricity from the water surface to the fixed contact,

piston means connected to the second member for actuation from the water surface for moving the movable contact into and out of the recess for engagement with the fixed contact,

a solid tubular sealmeans positioned on said first member in said recess and seal means movable relative to the fixed contact for moving away from the fixed contact for allowing coaction between the movable contact and the fixed contact and for moving to a position positively covering and protecting said fixed contact from contact with the water, and

means on the piston means of the second member for telescopically moving the seal means into and out of engagemene with the fixed contact including a releasable latch for engaging the seal means.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2189251 *Aug 16, 1938Feb 6, 1940Gordon W PotterPlug connector
US3491326 *May 15, 1968Jan 20, 1970Bolkow GmbhDisengageable electrical connector with contact protecting means
US3729699 *Jun 29, 1971Apr 24, 1973Southwest Res InstUnderwater wet electrical connector
US3780243 *Oct 12, 1972Dec 18, 1973P KoomeyApparatus for making and breaking an electrical underwater connection between releasable underwater members
DE1202374B *Oct 3, 1962Oct 7, 1965Bbc Brown Boveri & CieAus zwei Kupplungsteilen bestehende elektrische Kupplung
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4080025 *May 2, 1977Mar 21, 1978MatraAutomatic connector for underwater connection
US4117287 *Apr 11, 1977Sep 26, 1978Compagnie Francaise Des PetrolesCombined electrical-hydraulic connector means
US4188084 *Nov 17, 1978Feb 12, 1980Compagnie Francaise Des PetrolesUnderwater electrical connectors
US4411454 *Nov 3, 1980Oct 25, 1983Nl Industries, Inc.Underwater wellhead connector
US4494602 *Jan 10, 1983Jan 22, 1985Societe Nationale Elf Aquitaine (Production)Electrical connection device for an underwater well head
US4589717 *Dec 27, 1983May 20, 1986Schlumberger Technology CorporationRepeatedly operable electrical wet connector
US4598290 *Apr 27, 1984Jul 1, 1986Mobil Oil CorporationFiber optic penetrator for offshore oil well exploration and production
US4649241 *Nov 9, 1984Mar 10, 1987Siemens-Allis, Inc.Solenoid actuated high speed, high current making switch with a movable contact ring
US4803318 *Jan 7, 1988Feb 7, 1989Lymburner Robert KProximity switch for a cylinder
US4852494 *Dec 6, 1988Aug 1, 1989Williams Robert AExplosively actuated switch
US4879440 *Dec 13, 1988Nov 7, 1989Lymburner Robert KProximity switch for a cylinder
US4899822 *Sep 2, 1988Feb 13, 1990Camco Inc.Apparatus for controlling the operation of an underwater installation
US8020623 *Aug 11, 2008Sep 20, 2011Dtc International, Inc.Control module for subsea equipment
US8944082Nov 15, 2011Feb 3, 2015Teledyne Instruments, Inc.Dual reservoir coupler
US9028264 *May 20, 2013May 12, 2015Accessesp Uk LimitedDownhole electrical wet connector
US20070032112 *Jul 30, 2004Feb 8, 2007Oscar RenauttSelf-adjustable junction connector system
US20090038805 *Aug 11, 2008Feb 12, 2009Dtc International, Inc.Control module for subsea equipment
US20140030904 *May 20, 2013Jan 30, 2014Artificial Lift Company LimitedDownhole electrical wet connector
DE10215069A1 *Apr 5, 2002Oct 30, 2003Schuler Pressen Gmbh & CoPlug bush connection for underwater applications has a plug part with bush and plug connection parts to engage together when connected.
Classifications
U.S. Classification200/51.7, 439/137, 200/82.00R
International ClassificationH01R13/523
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/523
European ClassificationH01R13/523
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 7, 1992ASAssignment
Owner name: BAROID CORPORATION, TEXAS
Free format text: RELEASED BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, THE;REEL/FRAME:006085/0590
Effective date: 19911021
Mar 8, 1989ASAssignment
Owner name: CHASE MANHATTAN BANK (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION), THE
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BAROID CORPORATION, A CORP. OF DE.;REEL/FRAME:005196/0501
Effective date: 19881222
Feb 14, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: BAROID TECHNOLOGY, INC., DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:NL INDUSTRIES, INC., A NJ CORP.;REEL/FRAME:005091/0020
Effective date: 19890210
Apr 5, 1982ASAssignment
Owner name: NL INDUSTRIES, INC., 1230 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:C. JIM STEWART & STEVENSON, INC.;REEL/FRAME:003967/0240
Effective date: 19780323
Jul 13, 1981ASAssignment
Owner name: NL INDUSTRIES, INC., 1230 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:C JIM STEWART & STEVENSON INC.;REEL/FRAME:003883/0258
Effective date: 19810706
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:C JIM STEWART & STEVENSON INC.;REEL/FRAME:003883/0258
Owner name: NL INDUSTRIES, INC., A CORP. OF NJ, NEW YORK
Jul 13, 1981AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: C JIM STEWART & STEVENSON INC.
Effective date: 19810706
Owner name: NL INDUSTRIES, INC., 1230 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS,