US 3861780 A
A terminal connector which will close and encircle a rod-like mounting member as the terminal connector is squeezed between a pair of mounting surfaces. The connector has a barrel-shaped hollow end for connecting to an electrical wire. The main body of the connector has a pair of arms for encircling the rod-like mounting member. The distal ends of the arms are spaced apart allowing passage of the mounting member until upraised portions on each arm are depressed causing the distal ends to move together preventing passage of the mounting member. In an alternate embodiment, the distal ends of the arms extend outwardly from the main body of the terminal connector.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Hobbs, II
[ Jan. 21, 1975 SELF-CLOSING TERMINAL CONNECTOR  Inventor: James C. Hobbs, II, 4384 Ingraham Hwy., Miami, Fla. 33133  Filed: Apr. 18, 1973 21] Appl. Not: 352,236
Primary Examiner]oseph H. McGlynn Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Woodard, Weikart, Emhardt & Naughton  ABSTRACT A terminal connector which will close and encircle a rod-like mounting member as the terminal connector is squeezed between a pair of mounting surfaces. The connector has a barrel-shaped hollow end for connect ing to an electrical wire. The main body of the connector has a pair of arms for encircling the rod-like mounting member. The distal ends of the arms are spaced apart allowing passage of the mounting member until upraised portions on each arm are depressed causing the distal ends to move together preventing passage of the mounting member. In an alternate embodiment, the distal ends of the arms extend outwardly from the main body of the terminal connector.
8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures SELF-CLOSING TERMINAL CONNECTOR v BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention is in the field of electrical terminal connectors.
2. Description of the Prior Art Electric wires often are connected to terminal blocks by bending the wire around the shank of a cap screw and tightening the screw into the block so as to press the wire into good electrical contact with the block. This method is frequently used where the wire is a single strand of relatively stiff metal that will maintain its formed curvature around the cap screw. However, when the wire is of the more flexible type of several twisted strands it is more difficult to make a satisfactory connection. First, it is difficult to form a proper bend around the shank and then it is even more difficult to maintain such a bend when the wire is compressed by the cap screw. The individual strands will squeeze out from under the head of the cap screw when it is tightened.
To avoid this problem it has long been the practice to fasten a terminal connector to the end of the wire and then attach the connector to the block. Such terminals are usually securely crimped or soldered to the end of the wire first and then attached to the block. This is the type of connection generally used with stranded wire. Such a terminal connection is required to prevent the strands from working out from under the head of the cap screw wherever there is vibration or motion of the wire. The end of the terminal attached to the block may have a hole punched in it to slip over the shank of a threaded member or the end may have a slot or hook formed to slip under the cap of the screw.
Other terminal connectors are made with form variations to partly surround the shank of the screw or to be held in position by bent lugs. The terminals are usually called by names that are descriptive of their shape, i.e., ring, spade, spring spade, hook, horse shoe, and other names.
Under operating conditions of vibration or relative motion the terminals other than the ring terminal are all subject to slipping out from under either the head of the cap screw or the nut. The ring connector cannot slip out from under the head and thus will maintain an electrical contact until the member holding the terminal vibrates completely free of the block. Thus, for security purposes, the ring connector is the most reliable. However, the ring connector is not completely satisfactory to use in cramped areas or hard to reach locations because it is almost more than a two handed job to make the connection. The terminal must be held in position with one hand while the cap screw is properly located to engage the matching threads androtated by a hand held tool into threaded connection. Holding the tool and screw requires two hands so that if the wire must also be positioned there is often a need for the third hand". Further difficulty is encountered if there are other terminal connectors on the same cap screw.
It is much quicker for the cap screw already to have made the threaded engagement with the block and then slip the terminal under the head or other connector. While the wire and attached terminal connector are held in position with one hand it is a simple matter for the other hand holding the tool to tighten the cap screw.
Hook connectors are formed to prevent slipping out in the direction of the connected wire. This is an improvement but in many multi-circuit blocks there is not sufficient room to use a hook connector because of the dividers in the block.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One embodiment of the present invention is a terminal connector comprising a main body including first means thereon operable to recieve a wire for the connecting of the wire to the main body, the body also in- .cluding a pair of arms with spaced apart distal ends between which a rod-like member may pass, the arms being spaced apart to straddle the rod-like member with at least one of the arms including upraised portion means operable when depressed to move the distal end of the one arm toward the distal end of the other arm preventing passage of the rod-like member between the distal ends.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved terminal connector.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a terminal connector which provides the assembling ease of a spade or hook connector and which will thereafterprovide the security of a ring connector.
In addition, it is an object of the present invention to provide a terminal connector which will provide a lock washer action on the threaded mounting element to resist retrogression of the means securing the terminal connector.
In conjunction with the above objects, it is an object of the present invention to also provide a terminal connector which will provide a wiping action between the metal surfaces of the terminal and cap screw or nut during assembly to insure a good electrical contact with a high unit load.
Related objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a view of a terminal connector incorporating the present invention shown connected to an insulated wire.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the terminal connector of FIG. 1 with one arm shown in the retracted position.
FIG. 3 is a partial side elevation view looking in the direction of arrows 3-3 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view of an alternate embodiment of arm 15 shown in FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless beunderstood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated device, and such further applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated therein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.
The terminal connector shown in FIG. 1 is formed from a piece of sheet metal. Open end is normally flat after connection to a terminal lock. Barrel end 11 is formed to receive the end of wire- 12 from which insulation 13 has been removed. Wire 12 is held in barrel 11 by crimping the barrel as shown at location 14 or by similar means such as by soldering. Arms 15 and 16 are formed to provide a substantially complete ring around the terminal opening through which block member projects. Arms 15 and 16 are provided respectively with an upraised portion 18 and 19 for causing the arms to move to a closed position as shown in FIG. 1. v
The enlarged viewof'open end 10 shown in FIG. 2 shows a before installation form on the left and an after installation form on the right. Arm-l5 will now be described, it being understood that a similar description applies to arm 16. By bending arm 15 along lines 22, 23 and 24 during the manufacture thereof, the free distal end of arm 15 will be rotated about point 21 and the distance between the distal ends of arms 15 and 16 will be such that member 20 may pass therebetween'assuming that arm 16 is bent in a similar manner. Forinstallation, after the terminal is so positioned, it is a simple matter to either rotate member 20 or a nut onto member 20 in order to depress upraised portions 18 and 19 thereby moving the distal ends substantially together as shown in FIG. 1 to prevent passage of member 20 therebetween.
Pressure on arms 15 and 16 will press the upraised portions 18 and 19 back to a flat form as shown for arm 16 in FIG. 2 thereby reducing the opening 17 between the distal ends of the arms. Thereafter, it is not-possible for the connector to slide off member 20.
The amount of deformation necessary to move the ends of the arms is shown in FIG. 3. It has been found that it is possible to open and close the opening between the ends of arms 15 and 16 by deforming or crimping the flat material an amount about equal to the thickness of the sheet metal. The amount of deformation and the distances between the ends will vary with various sizes of connectors. The upraised portion 18 similar to upraised portion 19 includes a pair of upward slanting walls and 26 integrally joined together along line 23 which extends upwardly from the inner edge of arm 15 to the outer edge of arm 15. Walls 25 and 26 are joined to arm 15 respectively along lines 24 and 22. Walls 25 and 26 are each triangular, upwardly slanted walls which have hypotenuses which lie respectively along lines 24 and 22 which intersect at the inner edge of arm 15 and then diverge to the outer edge of the arm.
An alternate embodiment of the terminal connector which is identical to the terminal connector shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 except for the configuration of the arm distal ends included a turned up lip at the end of each arm to act as a lock washer and also to provide a further means of having sufficient clearance to straddle a threaded member and thereafter to be flattened to encircle the member. For example, arm 15 (FIG. 4) has a slanted wall 27 with edge 28 which extends upwardly from the terminal block.
It has been found that the amount of deformation required to open the ends of arms 15 and 16 is very much within practical limits andalso that the amount of pressure necessary to flatten the arms once the terminal is in position is easily provided by either the cap screw or the nut threaded on member 20. Thus, the invention provides an improved terminal connector that is easy and inexpensive to manufacture and gives multiple benefits in use.
While the invention has been illustrated and de scribed in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiments have been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.
1. A terminal connector comprising:
a main body including first means thereon operable to receive awire for the connecting of said wire to said main body, said body also including a pair of arms with spaced apartdistal ends between which a rod-like member may pass, said arms being spaced apart to straddle said rod-like member with at least one of said arms including an outer edge and an inner edge and upraised portion means in the form of a segment of a frusto conical surface extending completely across one of said arms from said inner edge to said outer edge and being operable when substantially flattened and depressed to move the distal end of said one arm toward the distal end of the other arm preventing passage of said rod-like member between said distal ends, said arms having base portions with said rod-like member having a center locatable between said base portions and said distal ends, said frusto conical surface being located on one of said base portions.
2. The terminal connector of claim 1 wherein:
said other arm also includes upraised portion means operable when depressed to move the distal end of said other arm toward the distal end of said one arm.
3. The terminal connector of claim 1 wherein:
said upraised portion means including a pair of triangular, upwardly slanted walls integrally joined together along a first line extending upwardly from said inner edge to said outer edge with the hypotenuses of the triangular, upwardly slanted walls extending along a pair of lines intersecting at said inner edge and diverging to said outer edge.
4. The terminal connector of claim 1 wherein:
said upraised portion means of said one arm including a segment of a frusto pyramid surface.
5. A terminal connector comprising:
a main body including first means thereon operable to receive a wire for the connecting of said wire to said main body, said body also including a pair of arms with spaced apart distal ends between which a rod-like member may pass, said arms being spaced apart to straddle said rod-like member with at least one of said arms including upraised portion means operable when depressed to move the distal end of said one arm toward the distal end of the other arm preventing passage of said rod-like member between said distal ends;
said other arm also includes upraised portion means operable when depressed to move the distal end of said other arm toward the distal end of said one arm; and
said one arm has an inner edge and an outer edge with the upraised portion means of said one arm including a pair of triangular, upwardly slanted walls extending completely across said one arm from said inneredge to said outer edge, said 6. The terminal connector of claim 5 wherein:
said first means includes a barrel-shaped hollow end on said main body to crimpedly receive said wire.
7. The terminal connector of claim 5 wherein:
at least one of said distal ends extend upwardly from said arms, said upraised portion means and said distal ends are approximately equally spaced around the center of said rod-like member prior to depression of said upraised portion means.
8. The terminal connectorof claim 5 wherein:
each of said distal ends ha e spaced apart-edges prior to the depression of said upraised portion means of said arms with said edges spaced apart a distance not less than the width of said rod-like member, said one arm is bent forming said pair of triangular upwardly slanted walls of uniform thickness with said one arm without stretching and elongation of