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Publication numberUS3848222 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 12, 1974
Filing dateJul 18, 1973
Priority dateJul 18, 1973
Also published asCA1030629A1, DE2432328A1, DE2432328C2
Publication numberUS 3848222 A, US 3848222A, US-A-3848222, US3848222 A, US3848222A
InventorsLightner L
Original AssigneeAmp Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Zero entry connector system
US 3848222 A
Abstract
A zero entry connector system is disclosed having male and female connectors which require very small force for mating. One of the connectors is provided with a camming means which acts on the other connector to effect a relative transverse motion therebetween to bring the contacts therein into mating engagement. Each contact of one member is the active contact and has the form of a resilient leaf while each contact of the other portion is the passive contact and has the form of a fixed and relatively rigid pin. The male and female connectors are mated in the conventional manner but no engagement of the contacts occurs until after the connectors have been fully mated and then moved transversely with respect to one another by the camming means.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 [111 3,848,222

Lightner 1 Nov. 12, 1974 ZERO ENTRY CONNECTOR SYSTEM Primary Examiner-J0seph H. McGlynn [75] Inventor: Linn Stephen Lightner, Camp Hill,

Pa. [57] ABSTRACT [73] Assignee: AMP Incorpo t d, H i b p A zero entry connector system is disclosed having male and female connectors which require very small [22] July 1973 force for mating. One of the connectors is provided [21] Appl. No: 380,316 with a camming means which acts on the other connector to effect a relative transverse motion therebetween to bring the contacts therein into mating en- [52] Cl 339/75 339/184 M gagement. Each contact of one member is the active [51] Int.] Cl HOlr 13/54 Contact and has the form of a resilient leaf While each [58] he d of Search 339/74 184 contact of the other portion is the passive contact and has the form of a fixed and relatively rigid pin. The [56] References cued male and female connectors are mated in the conven- UNITED STATES PATENTS tional manner but no engagement of the contacts oc- 3,209,302 9/1965 Uberbacher 339/92 M curs until after the connectors have been fully mated 3, 183 2/1 69 Feeser et a]... and then moved transversely with respect to one an- 3587037 6/1971 Aflhflll 339/75 M other the cammingmeans 3,594,698 7/l97l Anhalt 339/75 M 29 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTELNUVIZIHH sum 3 or 3 ZERO ENTRY CONNECTOR SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. The Field Of The Invention The present invention relates to a zero entry connec tor system and in particular to a connector system in which a plurality of contacts are engaged by first bringing together male and female members of the system with substantially no force since the contacts are not engaged and then moving the members transversely with respect to one another to bring the respective contacts into full engagement.

2. The Prior Art Most of the well known electrical connectors require the exertion of a certain amount of force to accomplish insertion and extraction of a moveable contact element or elements, which force is dependent upon the number of contacts to be mated. Whether the connector is of a single or multiple type, the force required is inherent in the mating and unmating operations due to fric tion and the resilient pressure employed to assure good contact between the respective contacts or terminals. Such force is of relatively small importance with jacks employing only a few contacts or terminals, but becomes rather considerable when a great multiplicity of contacts are involved. In such case, the force required to engage or separate the connector parts may become a problem of considerable portions. For this reason many efforts have been made in the direction of providing a so called zero force connector system which requires little force for connection or extraction of the connector components.

One attempt to provide a low insertion force connector can be found in US. Pat. No. 3,173,734. In this ex-- ample, the contacts are formed by two members which engage in a wiping manner thereby producing relatively low insertion force requirements.

Another type of low insertion force connector is the patch cord type connector, see U.S. Pat. No. 3,419,842, in which a fixed panel having a number of contacts associated therewith is joined to an associated circuit by first bringing two panels into relative position with respect to one another by a hangar arrangement,

closing the panels together and then effecting a cam operation to cause vertical and horizontal displacement of the contacts of the moveable panel with respect to the fixed panel contacts. This causes a wiping movement of the contacts assuring good electrical connection therebetween. However, such patch cord arrangements are relatively bulky, heavy and rather cumbersome to use.

Still another type of low insertion force connector is represented by US. Pat Nos. 3,553,630 and 3,670,288. Both of these patents disclose connectors in which a torsion force is applied to one member of the connector twisting it such that contacts therein engage contacts of a mated member.

A further example of a low insertion force connector is the position-and-lock jack disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,145,067. This jack system includes two portions which can be mated with substantially no insertion force and then cammed relative to each other by camming means 29. However, this system suffers from the defect that there is a great deal of effort required to properly align the jack portions for final mating as well as the possibility of breaking off the male contact or even effecting improper initial mating since there is no adequate guide for the jack members.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,315,212 and 3,594,698 disclose connector arrangements in which contacts carried by first and second mating block members are moved relative to one another by means of an intermediate third block which is cammed transversely with respect to the other two block portions. Both of these arrangements are rather complex in nature and have a substantial number of parts which greatly increases the production costs and assembly requirements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The subject zero entry connector system includes a female connector and a male connector receivable therein. One of the connectors is provided with passive contacts and the other connector is provided with active contacts. The passive contacts are rigid pins fixedly mounted in the connector while the active contacts have a resilient blade extending from the connector in cantilever fashion. Cam means are provided on one of the connectors for effecting relative transverse movement between theconnectors. The connectors are initially mated in the normal manner without the contacts engaging. There is substantially no connection force during this initial mating movement. The connectors are then moved transversely with respect to one another by the cam means to bring the contacts into good electrical and mechanical engagement.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to construct an economical zero entry connector system that is capable of quickly and easily mating large numbers of contacts with a simple motion and to provide positive retention of the engaged connectors.

It is a further object of the present invention to construct a zero entry connector system which will have little or no wear on the mating contacts since there is' no engagement of the contacts until after the connectors are fully mated and then moved transversely relative to one another.

It is a further object of the present invention to construct a zero entry connector system in which the relative transverse motion of the connectors causes some wipe and backwipe between the active (resilient) contact and the passive (rigid) contact to assure good electrical and mechanical engagement of the contacts.

It is another object of the present invention to construct a zero entry connector system having a continuous contact pattern that is unbroken by latching means in the center of the system.

It is still another object of the present invention to construct a zero entry connector system in which the contact engaging arrangement makes it possible to have long, low spring rate contacts andlarge relative motion between the contacts. This has the advantage of minimizing force variations that result from the inherent dimensional variations and can be achieved with only a very short length of the contact exposed thereby minimizing the risk of damage.

It is yet another object of the present invention to construct a zero entry connector system which is capable of use with shielded systems.

The means for accomplishing the foregoing and other objects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevation, partly in section, of the subject zero entry connector system;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view showing the subject zero entry connector system mated but not yet latched;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view showing the subject zero entry connection system mated and latched;

FIG. 4 is a transverse fragmental sectional view taken along line 44 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a transverse sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the cam latch of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view, on an enlarged scale, of the active or resilient contact of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The subject zero insertion force connector assembly includes a male or plug connector 10 and a receptacle or a female connector 12. The male or plug connector 10 is an integral member having a substantially rectangular mounting portion 14 surrounding a contact carrying portion 16. The mounting portion 14 has outwardly directed mounting flanges 18 at opposite ends thereof with openings 20 therein for the passage of bolts or other locking means'( not shown) to secure the plug to a panel or the like (also not shown). At one end of the contact carrying portion 16 there is a profiled cam reactor surface 22 which, in this instance, is formed by a first annular bore 24, a conical counter bore 26 and an intermediate arcuate portion 28 defining an arcuate shoulder 30 between it and bore 24. The opposite end of the mounting portion 14 there is a transverse flange 32. A plurality of contact bores 34 and counter bores 36 are formed in the contact carrying portion 16. A rigid connector pin 38 (the passive contact) is fixed in each of the contact bores 34 with its forward end extending into the counter bore 36 but not projecting be yond the mating face 40 of the male connector block. The other end of the pin is connected to an electrical lead (not shown) by any conventional means.

The receptacle or female connector 12 includes a contact block 42 having an integral, outwardly directed, annular flange 44 and a strain relief housing 46.

The housing is assembled with the block with annular recess 48 in the housing grippingly engaging flange 44. Screws 50 secure the parts of the housing together to hold cable 52 therein. The block 42 includes a forwardly directed hood or annular flange portion 54 which defines a profiled, and preferably polarized, opening into which the contact carrying portion 16 is inserted. A plurality of contact bores 56 are formed in contact block 42 and receive therein a resilient contact 58 (the active contact). The resilient contact includes a resilient blade portion 60 which extends beyond the mating face 62 of the contact block and a connection portion 64 adapted to be fixed to a lead 66 of cable 52 by any conventional means such as crimping. A bead 68 is formed on the free end of blade portion 60. A first bore 70 is formed'towards one end of the contact block 42 with a counter bore 72 in communication therewith. Atleast one resilient latching member 74 extends from an edge of the first bore 70 into the counter bore 72.

The latching member 74 includes a latching projection 76 on the free end thereof directed radially inwardly with respect to bore 70.

A cam member 78 is mounted in the first bore 70. The cam member 78 includes a first cylindrical portion 80 with a second cylindrical portion 82 integrally connected to one end thereof forming an annular shoulder 84 therebetween. A lever 86 is fixedly connected to the other end of the first cylindrical portion 86. The opposite end of the second cylindrical portion 82 has an ar cuate cam groove 88 formed therein defining a pair of spaced shoulders 90, 92. Shoulder 88 is normally engaged with the projection 76 of latching means 74. The free end of the second cylindrical member has a cam and latching extension 94 formed by a cam surface 96 and a latching projection 98. A first earn stop 100 is integrally formed on housing 46 at a position where it will be engaged by handle 86. A second cam stop 102 is integrally formed within counter bore 72. The first and second cam stops are preferably spaced apart a distance equalling one quarter turn of the cam member.

A transverse shoulder 104 is formed by a flange 106 or by a recess (not shown) within the hood 54 at the opposite end of the contact block 42 from the cam member 78.

The operation of the subject zero entry connector system will be described with reference to FIGS. 3 to 5. The male connector 10 is inserted within the hooded opening 54 of the female connector 12 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. This opening is polarized by the location of the cam member 78 and shoulder 104 in the female connector and the cam reactor surface 22 and flange 32 on the male connector thereby preventing mismating of the connectors. It should be noted that in this initial mating position the rigid contact pins 38 are not engaged by the blade portion 60 of the resilient contacts 58. Therefore the only force required to insert the male connector into the female connector is the force required to overcome the sliding friction between the mating peripherical surfaces of the connectors themselves.

When the male and female connectors have been mated, as shown in FIGS. 2 to 5, and faces 40 and 64 are in contact, the lever 86 of cam member 78 is rotated to rotate the cam and latching extension 94 from the position shown in FIGS. 2 and 4 to the position as shown in FIGS. 3 and 5. During this rotation movement, the cam surface 96 pushes against the arcuate surface 28 causing a relative transverse movement of the connectors which brings the active contacts 60 into engagement with the passive contacts 38. The latching projection 98 also rotates into position behind the shoulder 30 of the cam reactor surface 22 while transverse flange 32 engages with shoulder 104 to lock the opposite ends of the connectors together. Thus the present invention is able to achieve a rapid mating and latching.

The engagement of flange 32 and shoulder 104 serves a further function, namely, to prevent over travel of the connectors during the transverse move ment. The flange 32 and shoulder 104 limit the relative transverse movement between the connectors. Thus the blades 60 of the resilient contacts 58 projecting from the face 62 cannot be damaged by being bent out of position.

The cam member 78 also serves a further function to its polarizing and relative transverse movement functions. In the position shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 5 the cam and latching extension 94 is positioned to allow insertion of the male connector into the hood 54. However, if the connectors are not mated and the cam member 78 is rotated to the latching position shown in FIGS-3 and 5, then the cam latching extension 94 will bar entry of the male connector 10 into the hood 54.

The cam groove 88 serves to drive the latching member 74 outwardly when the cam member 78 is rotated to the latching position (see FIGS. 2 and 3). This action of the cam groove 88 allows for the removal of the cam member 78 from the contact block 42 should this be desired. Of course the cam member cannot be removed when the connectors are mated since the latching projection 98 would then engage shoulder 30.

The strain relief housing is shown with the cable entering at an angle of approximately 45. It is clear that the entrance angle of the cable may be changed to any desired angle, the invention not being limited to a particular angle.

The subject zero insertion force connector system can be applied to other combinations of connectors than the cable to plate connection shown, such as cable to cable, etc., since the invention lies in the way the connection is made rather than the specific entities being connected.

It is to be understood that the present embodiment is merely representative and is not to be considered as restrictive or all inclusive of the invention. Many modifications and changes may be made without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics of the present invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A low entry force electrical connector system comprising:

a first connector member having a plurality of passive contacts, each said passive contact having a contacting surface and being secured in individual bores in said first connector member;

a second mating connector member having a like plurality of active contacts, each of said active contacts being secured in individual bores in said second connector member and having a contacting surface extending from said bores,

each of said active contacts in said second connector member being associated with a passive contact in said first connector member and being overlappingly spaced apart from said associated contact when said connector members are initially mated;

cam means rotatably mounted on one of said contact carrying connector members and adapted to act directly on the other of said contact carrying connector members to cause relative transverse movement between said members, whereby said connector members are initially mated without said contacts engaging and said contacts are brought into engagement by the relative transverse movement resulting from actuating said cam means. 2. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 wherein said first connector member is a male member having a mating face, said passive contacts extending within their respective bores to a point spaced from said mating face.

3. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 further comprising polarizing means on said connector members whereby only one mating position is possible. r

4. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 further comprising locking means on said connector members, said looking means being brought into locking engagement by said relative transverse movement whereby said connector members are secured together.

5. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 wherein said second connector member includes a hood extending from a mating surface of said second connector member about the periphery thereof whereby connection of said connectors is polarized and said active contacts are protected when said connector members are disengaged.

6. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 further comprising strain relief means secured to at least one of said connector members.

7. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 further comprising cam travel limit means on said one of said connector members limiting the rotational movement of said cam means.

8. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 further comprising latching means to releasably secure said cam means in said one of said connector members, and

a cam surface on said cam means adapted to release said latching means.

9. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 wherein each said passive contact is a rigid pin fixedly mounted in said first connector member.

10. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 wherein each said active contact includes a connection portion adapted to be secured to an electrical lead, and

a resilient blade portion having a contact surface on a free end thereof.

11. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 wherein said cam means is mounted on one of said connector members adjacent one end thereof, and

cam reactor surface means formed on one end of the.

other of said connector members for cooperative reaction with said cam means to cause said relative transverse movement between said connector members. 1 12. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 11 wherein said cam means includes a cam surface adapted to bear against said cam reactor surface, and

latching means adapted to lockingly engage one side of said cam reactor surface to prevent separation of said connector members when said contacts are engaged.

13. A low entry force electrical connector system ac- I cording to claim 11 further comprising locking means at the other end of each of said connector members, said locking means being brought into locking engagement by said relative transverse movement.

14. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 13 wherein said locking means comprises a recess in one of said connector members defining an angular shoulder, and

a flange on' the other of said connector members defining a cooperating angular shoulder.

15. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 1 wherein said cam travel limit means comprises first and second fixed limit stops.

16. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 15 wherein said stops are spaced apart a distance defining a quarter of a turn of said cam means.

17. A low entry force electrical connector system comprising a first connector member having a plurality of active contacts therein, each of said active contacts being secured in individual bores in said first connector member and having a resilient blade portion projecting from a mating face of said first connector member in cantilever fashion;

a second connector member having a like plurality of passive contacts therein, each of said passive contacts comprising a rigid pin fixedly secured within individual boresin said second connector member; and

cam means rotatably mounted on one end of one said contact carrying connector members and adapted to act directly on the like end of the other of said contact carrying connector members to effect relative transverse movement therebetween, whereby said connector members are initially mated without said contacts engaging and said realtive transverse movement brings said contacts into engagement.

18. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 17 wherein said second connector member is a male member having a mating face, said passive contacts extending within their respective bores to a point spaced from said mating face.

19. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 17 further comprising polarizing means on said connector members whereby only one mating position is possible.

20. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 17 further comprising locking means on said connector members, said locking means being brought into locking engagement by said relative transverse movement whereby said connector members are secured together.

21. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 17 wherein said first connector member includes a hood extending from the mating surface and about the periphery thereof whereby mating of said connectors is polarized and said active contacts are protected when said connector members are disengaged.

22. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 17 further comprising strain relief means secured to at least one of said connector members. 23. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 17 further comprising cam travel limit means on said one of said connector members limiting the rotation movement of said cam means, said cam travel limit means comprising first and second fixed limit stops, spaced apart a distance defining a quarter of a turn of said cam means. 24. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 17 further comprising latching means adapted to releasabiy secure said cam means in said one of said connector members. and

a cam surface on said cam means adapted to release said latching means.

25. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 17 wherein each said active contact includes a connection portion adapted to be secured to an electrical lead, and

a resilient blade portion having a contact surface on a free end thereof.

26. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 17 further comprising cam reactor surface means formed on said like end of the other of said connector members for cooperative reaction with said cam means to cause said relative transverse movement between said connector members.

27. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 26, wherein said cam means includes a cam surface adapted to bear against said cam reactor surface, and

latching means adapted to lockingly engage one side of said cam reactor surface to prevent separation of said connector members when said contacts are engaged.

28. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 26 further comprising locking means at the other end of each of said connector members, said locking means being brought into locking engagement by said relative transverse movement.

29. A low entry force electrical connector system according to claim 28 wherein said locking means comprises a recess in one of said connector members defining an angular shoulder, and

a flange on the other of said connector members defining a cooperating angular shoulder.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3209302 *Nov 5, 1962Sep 28, 1965IbmConnector operating devices
US3430183 *Nov 30, 1966Feb 25, 1969Amp IncPlugboard system
US3587037 *Oct 25, 1968Jun 22, 1971IttLow insertion force connector assembly
US3594698 *Jun 30, 1969Jul 20, 1971IttLow insertion force connector assembly
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3977749 *Jan 29, 1975Aug 31, 1976International Telephone And Telegraph CorporationElectronic packaging assembly
US4168877 *Jun 27, 1978Sep 25, 1979Amp IncorporatedSingle lever back plane connector system
US4236190 *May 31, 1978Nov 25, 1980Hollingsead-Pryor Enterprises, Inc.Electrical connector structure
US4392705 *Sep 8, 1981Jul 12, 1983Amp IncorporatedZero insertion force connector system
US4407555 *Mar 19, 1981Oct 4, 1983Amp IncorporatedCam actuated DIP test socket
US4555156 *Nov 16, 1984Nov 26, 1985Amp IncorporatedElectrical connector assembly having mating and unmating removable keys
US4647130 *Jun 19, 1986Mar 3, 1987Amp IncorporatedMounting means for high durability drawer connector
US4664456 *Jul 14, 1986May 12, 1987Amp IncorporatedHigh durability drawer connector
US4734052 *Jul 1, 1986Mar 29, 1988Precision Mecanique LabinalElectrical connector
US4981440 *Feb 5, 1990Jan 1, 1991Elco Elektronik GmbhElectric connector
US5538437 *Mar 3, 1995Jul 23, 1996Itt Industries, Inc.Connector assembly for IC card
USRE34190 *May 17, 1990Mar 9, 1993Rogers CorporationConnector arrangement
Classifications
U.S. Classification439/342, 439/372
International ClassificationH01R13/02, H01R13/62, H01R13/639, H01R13/193, H01R24/00
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/193
European ClassificationH01R13/193