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Publication numberUS3862792 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 28, 1975
Filing dateOct 3, 1973
Priority dateOct 3, 1973
Publication numberUS 3862792 A, US 3862792A, US-A-3862792, US3862792 A, US3862792A
InventorsMax L Jayne
Original AssigneeGte Sylvania Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electrical connector assembly
US 3862792 A
Abstract
An electrical connector assembly comprising an insulative housing with at least one opening therein. Positioned substantially within this opening is an electrical contact having a contacting portion for engaging a male contact pin as the pin is inserted within said contacting portion, a central retaining portion for frictionally engaging the internal walls of the opening, and a male end portion for protruding from the insulative housing. The contacting portion of the contact further includes means for applying progressively increasing force against the male pin during initial insertion of the pin.
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United States Patent 1191 Jayne 1451 Jan. 28, 1975 ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY Primary Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn W P [75] Max L Jayne North A Attorney, Agent, or F1rmNorman J. O Malley; [73] Assignee: GTE Sylvania Incorporated, Donald R. Castle; William H. McNeill Stamford, Conn.

[22] Filed: Oct. 3, 1973 57 CT [2H NOJ An electrical connector assembly comprising an insulative housing with at least one opening therein. Posi- 52 s 1 339 93 3, 339 221 R, 339 25 R tioned substantially within this opening is an electrical 51 1111. c1 H0lr 13/12 9 having contacting Portion for engaging a [58] Field of Search 339/93, 182, 183, 256, male Contact pin as the p is insertedwithin said 339 253 259 2 2 220 221 273 tacting portion, a central retaining portion for frictionv ally engaging the internal walls of the opening. and a [56] References Cited male end portion for protruding from the insulative UNn-ED STATES PATENTS housing. The contacting portion of the contact further 3 56 487 2! U t t I 339/258 R includes means for applying progressively increasing psoneea 3,670.294 6/1972 Johnson et al. 339/221 M fgg g s the male pm durmg memo" of FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 805,728 12/1958 Great Britain 339/182 R 12 Chm, 6 Drawing figures ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to electrical connectors. More particularly, this invention relates to electrical connectors having at least one contact positioned therein for frictionally engaging an inserted male pin member.

vPrior art connectors of the variety described most usually have a plurality of contacts positioned therein which frictionally engage a plurality of corresponding male pin members of a second connector when mated thereto. Thus a plurality of separate distinct electrical circuits may readily be formed in a substantially easy manner.

The contacts of these connectors are usually comprised of an upper contacting portion of a resilient material able to flex accordingly during pin insertion. Usually, a second less resilient material is utilized for a tail or lower portion of the contact. This portion is also usually provided with the necessary retention features for retaining the contact within the insulative housing.

The upper contacting portions of the contacts described above further include a plurality of individual tinesor engagement members of equal length and strategically positioned to slidably engage the inserted pin and thereafter apply the maximum frictional force thereto. This in turn assures a sound electrical connection between male pin contact. An example of such an arrangement is illustrated in U.S. Pat No. 3,665,378 (Hammell, et al.) and U.S. Pat No. 3,l92,498 (H.E. Ruehlmann.) In U.S. Pat. No. 3,665,378, the contacting bands 72 and 74 of equal length engagement members 2 and 4 respectively are oppositely aligned with each engaging an inserted pin at the same time. In U.S. Pat. No. 3,192,498, contacting areas 52 and 56 of equal length engagement members 18 and 20 respectively perform similar functions.

At least two distinctive shortcomings are found in contact members of this type. Firstly, it has been found on several occasions that the pressures exerted against the male pin have been substantially excessive during initial insertion of the pin. As a consequence, difficulties have arisen during positioning of the pins within the corresponding contacting portions of the contacts in the housing. As can be appreciated, when a plurality of pins are inserted within a corresponding plurality of contacts, the described excessive pressures are increased substantially. A second inherent problem in these types of connector has been a result of the excessive pressures mentioned above. Application of this pressure has further resulted in the inability of the described contacting portions to return to their basic spring-like configuration after several repeated insertions and withdrawals of the male pins. On far too many occasions, these contact portions have become permanently deformed resulting in insufficient electrical connections. I

It is believed, therefore, that an electrical connector which includes therein contacts able to apply progressively increasing pressure against inserting male pins rather than abrupt initial excessive forces would comprise an advancement in the art.

It is further believed that such a contact member which is readily able to provide such increasing pressure and thereafter return to its original position after removal of said male pin member would also constitute an advancement in the art.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Consequently, it is an object of this-invention to provide an improved electrical connector.

It is a further object of this invention to provide an electrical connector having therein at least one contact which is able to apply progressively increasing pressure against an inserted male contact member.

It is an even further object of this invention to provide an electrical contact which has a contacting portion readily able to return to its original established position after removal of said male contact member.

In accordance with one aspect of this invention. there is provided an electrical contact member for being positioned substantially within an established opening in aninsulative connector body. This contact comprises a contacting portion having means therein for initially engaging a male contact member, a centrally located retaining portion positioned substantially adjacent the contacting portion and having means located thereon for frictionally engaging the internal walls of the established opening in the connector body, and a male end portion positioned adjacent the retaining portion and adapted for protruding from said connector body. The contacting portion includes means for applying progressively increasing force against an inserted male pin during initial insertion of the pin rather than an abrupt large amount of force.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric view of one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 within a connector housing;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. I about to receive a male pin member;

FIG. 4 is the embodiment of FIG. I having a male pin member inserted therein.

FIG. 5 is a view taken along the lines 55 in FIG. 2 illustrating the central retaining portion of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a chart depicting the difference in applied insertion forces as exerted by a contact of the invention and a contact of the prior art.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS For a better understanding of the present invention,

together with other and further objects, advantages andcapabilities thereof, reference is made to the following disclosure and appended claims in connection with the above-described drawings.

With particular reference to FIG. 1 of the drawings, one embodiment of the present invention, contact 10 is shown. Contact 10 is adapted for being inserted within an established opening in an insulative housing and comprises a contacting portion 11, a centrally located retaining portion 13, and a male end portion 15. Contacting portion 11 is adapted. for initially engaging a male pin member and thereafter applying progressively increasing pressure against the male pin as this member is inserted into the contacting portion. A description of how this increasing pressure is applied will be given with the explanation of FIGS. 3 and 4. Central retaining portion 13 comprises a means 17 for frictionally engaging the internal walls of an established opening within the described connector body. Means 17 comprises at least two separate retention areas 19, each of which have a plurality of protruding flat walled members 21 extending therefrom. Each of these flat walled members frictionally engages the described walls when the contact is inserted into the established opening in the insulative connecting body. Male end portion 15, substantially adjacent central retaining portion 13 and comprising a protruding end 23, is adapted for extending beyond the confines of the described insulative housing and for making contact with an external lead or similar electrical conductive member. It is common practice in the art to wire wrap or similarly secure an electrical lead about this protruding end.

In HO. 2, contact 10 is illustrated in its inserted position within established opening 25 in insulative housing 27. As can be appreciated, established opening 25 comprises a relatively narrow lower portion 29 and an upper portion 31 substantially larger than the lower portion. Thus, when contact 10 is inserted within housing 27, central retaining portion 13 frictionally engages the internal walls of lower portion 29, while contacting portion 11 slidably engages the walls of upper portion 31. This latter engagement is accomplished when the outwardly knurled ends 33, 33', and 33" of the previously described engagement members 12, 12 and 12", respectively, make contact with the internal walls of upper portion 31. Because these outwardly knurled portions extend beyond the planar boundaries of the lower portions of the engagement members, these lower portions do not engage the internal walls of upper portion 31 of the opening 25 prior to insertion of a male pin. An enlarged view of the positioning of contacting portion 11 within opening 25 can be seen in FIG. 3. Contact portion 11 is shown about to receive a male pin 35. Pin 35, which may be one of several similar such pins of a multi-pin connector assembly or may singularly comprise an individual contact, is inserted within upper opening 31. The purpose therefore of contact 10 is to provide a means for electrically connecting male pin 35 or similar type male members with the described electrical lead or similar component which is electrically joined to male end portion 15. Engagement members l2, l2 and 12". each being of different lengths as illustrated in FIG. 3, thus make contact with pin 35 at different periods as pin 35 is inserted within contacting portion 11. By providing such varying periods of engagement, it can be seen that a means is provided for applying progressively increasing pressure against male pin 35 as the pin is inserted into the contacting portion 11. More specifically, pin 35 first makes contact with outwardly knurled portion 33" of engagement member 12". Shortly thereafter the inserted pin 35 will make contact with outwardly knurled portion 33 of engagement member 12'. At this time, it can be seen that pin 35 is slidably engaged with at least two engagement members. Upon further insertion, pin 35 subsequently engages a third engagement member 12 thus insuring a three-way contact with the pin. The described method of progressive engagement differs substantially from prior art contacts in that previous contacts most usually provide a means for abruptly engaging a male pin with a maximum amount of force during initial insertion. Once this relatively high initial force is overcome. the remaining force required to achieve complete insertion decreases substantially. The latter is also true with regard to the present invention. However, the initial forces against an inserted male pin have now been more widely distributed and are thus substantially easier to overcome. ln FIG. 4, pin 35 is completely inserted in upper portion 31 of opening 25 and the resulting depression of the outwardly knurled portions 33, 33' and 33" is illustrated. Each of these portions tends to flatten out upon insertion by the pin, thus providing a means for both frictionally engaging the internal walls of the upper portion 31 as well as frictionally engaging the surfaces of pin 35. As also shown in FlG. 4, the insertion of the male pin causes each of the engagement members l2, l2 and 12" to expand in an outwardly direction from the surface of pin 35. This outward expansion is achieved due to the fact that each engagement member is itself a separate entity. More specifically, each is separated from the other by an interim opening 37. Even more specifically, engagement member I2 is separated from engagement member 12" by opening 37 as illustrated in FIG. 4. Accordingly, engagement member 12" is separated from engagement member 12' by a similar openingtnot shown.) Because the described contacting portion comprises in the preferred embodiment three such engagement members, there is ofcourse no opening of the nature described between engagement member 12- and engagement member 12. Each of these members is separated throughout their entire length by a defining channel 39 as shown in FIG. 2. As can further be seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, each of the described engagement members are united at their re spective lower portions into a common joining portion 41 ofcontacting portion 11. In the manner described, each of the engagement members pivots from this common joining portion 41 upon the insertion of male pin 35. The above-described positioning arrangement of the individual engagement members l2, l2 and 12" readily facilitates the return of each of these members to their original positions upon removal of pin 35 from opening 25.

in the preferred embodiment, contact 10 is fabricated from a single material utilizing well known stamping, coining, and similar forming operations. It is also preferred that at least the contacting portion 11 of contact 10 be coated with a material possessing excellent electrical conducting properties, such as gold or silver alloy compositions. This is not an essential requirement, however, it can be readily appreciated that fabricating the contact from a material possessing good electrical properties, such as copper, will still achieve the desired function. In the event that it is not desired to coat contacting portion 11 with a material as described having excellent electrically conductive properties, an alternative embodiment is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 for providing a sound electrical connection. More specifically, as shown in FIG. 3, outward knurled portion 33" of engagement member 12" has an upstanding contact portion 43 positioned thereon. This upstanding contact portion 43 is of a material possessing excellent electrically conducting properties, such as a gold or silver alloy composition. In the preferred embodiment, a gold alloy composition is used. Thus, it can be seen that male pin 35 is immediately provided with a sound electrical connection upon insertion within contacting portion ll. As can be appreciated, however,

upstanding contact portion 43 can be positioned on either of the remaining engagement members and still achieve the desired result.

In H0. 5, there is shown a sectional view of the central retaining portion 13 of contact as this portion is positioned within the lower portion 29 of opening 25. More specifically, the cross section is taken through one of the described two retention areas 19 positioned on central retaining portion 13. Each of these retention areas comprises a plurality of flat walled members 21 (four are shown in the preferred embodiment) which extend from retention area 19 and frictionally engage the internal walls of openings 25. The embodiment described is only representative of several embodiments which are capable of frictionally positioning contact 10 within opening 25 of an insulative body. As can be appreciated, more than four such flat walled members 21 may be utilized although in the preferred embodiment only four are desired. It is essential that central retaining portion 13 have atleast two of the described retention areas 19 in order that contact 10 may be properly axially aligned within opening 25.

FIG. 6 depicts a unique comparison between the differences in insertion as applied by a typical prior art contact and the contact of the present invention. The broken line signifies the rather abrupt initial force which the pin receives upon insertion into a contact as sembly in which the upper spring-like deflection members are substantially aligned, or more specifically, of equal lengths. Once the deflection members have been fully deflected, the remaining forces needed for insertion are decreased substantially as illustrated on the right side of thechart.

Depicted in solid is the application of insertion forces by the unequal lengthed deflection members of the contact of the instant invention. As seen in the drawing, this force increases progressively through a series of three steps as each of the three deflection members is engaged. Because the male pin is slidably engaging the first and second deflection members, respectively, the maximum force required to deflect the three deflection members is substantially less than the total required in the prior art contact. Once deflection is achieved, the force required to complete insertion decreases to substantially that of the previous contact.

Thus, there has been shown and described an electrical contact member for being positioned within an opening in an insulative connector body. This contact member, in addition to providing a means whereby the contact is retained in axial alignment within the described opening, provides the unique features of being able to apply progressively increasing pressure against a male contact member as this member is inserted into the contacting portion of the contact.

While there have been shown and described what at present is considered the preferred embodiment of the invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. An electrical contact for being positioned substantially within an established opening in an electrically insulative housing, said contact comprising:

a contacting portion having means therein for initially engaging a male contact member and thereafter applying progressively increasing force against said male contact member during initial insertion of said male contact member into said contacting portion, said means comprising at least three engagement members, each of said engagement members being of different lengths;

a centrally located retaining portion substantially adjacent said contacting portion having means located thereon for frictionally engaging the internal walls of said established opening in said connector body; and

a male end portion substantially adjacent said retaining portion for protruding from said connector body.

2. The electrical contact according to claim 1 wherein said contact is of one piececonstruction.

3. The electrical contact according to claim 1 wherein each of said engagement members are adapted for mutually engaging at least one other engagement member upon removal of said male contact member from said contacting portion.

4. The electrical contact according to claim 1 wherein said means located on said centrally located retaining portion for frictionally engaging the internal walls of said established opening in said connector body comprises at least two retention areas, each of said areas having a plurality of protruding flat-walled members extending therefrom and adapted for engaging said internal walls of said opening.

5. The electrical contact according to claim 1 wherein at least one of said engagement members has an upstanding contact portion thereon for engaging said male contact member, said upstanding contact portion of a materialpossessing good electrical conducting properties.

6. The electrical contact according to claim 5 wherein said material for said upstanding contact portion is of a gold alloy composition.

7. An electrical connector assembly comprising:

an electrically insulative housing having at least one opening therein; and

at least one electrical contact for being positioned substantially within said opening within said insulative housing, said contact having means therein for initially engaging a male contact member and thereafter applying progressively increasing force against said male contact member during initial insertion of said male contact member into said contacting portion, said means comprising at least three engagement members, each of said engagement members being of different lengths, a cen trally located retaining portion substantially adjacent said contacting portion having means located thereon for frictionally engaging the internal walls of said established opening connector body, and a male end portion substantially adjacent said retaining portion for protruding from said connector body.

8. The electrical connector according to claim 7 wherein said contact is of one-piece construction.

9. The electrical connector according to claim 7 wherein each of said engagement members are adapted for mutually engaging at least one other engagement member upon removal of said male contact member from said contacting portion.

10. The electrical connector according to claim 7 wherein said means located on said centrally located retaining portion for frictionally engaging the internal said male contact member, said upstanding contact portion of a material possessing good electrical conducting properties.

12. The electrical connector according to claim ll wherein said material for said upstanding contact portion is of a gold alloy composition. k l

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Classifications
U.S. Classification439/733.1, 439/887, 439/851
International ClassificationH01R12/58, H01R13/115, H01R13/11
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/111
European ClassificationH01R13/11B