US 3876276 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ 1 Apr. 8, 1975 R 6 5 l. I 9 3 3 3,569.9l4 3ll97l Taylor et al. 3.705.378 l2/l972 Elkins...............
[ MULTI-CONTACT CONNECTOR COVER ASSEMBLY  Inventor: George E. Ayer, Endicott. NY. Primary Examiner Roy Frazier  Assignee; Bunker Rama Corp ti O k Assistant E.\'aminerLawrence J. Staab Brook, lll. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-David R. Bair; F. M.
Arbuckle  Filed: Oct. 17, 1973  ABSTRACT A cover for use with a pair of multi-contact connector members disposed in a back-to-back relation with multiple contacts disposed in a space between the Appl. No.: 407,395
 U S Cl 339/107; 339/156 R; 339/l63  Int. HOlr 13/58; l-lOlr 13/72  Field of 339/103-|o7, connector members and electrically Connected to one 33 154456, 163466 208 end ofa multi-conductor cable; the cover comprises a U-shaped molded plastic cover member extending 5 References Cited around the contact portions, with its ends forming a UNITED STATES PATENTS split collar for the cable, and a collar locking sleeve which locks the split collar together. l,643.659 9/[927 Hllhx 339/155 RX 2 077 801 4/1937 Ludwig..................... 339/164 R ux 5 C a 6 Drawing Figures MULTI-CONTACT CONNECTOR COVER ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to multi-contact connectors and more particularly concerns a cover which surrounds and secures the back portions of two connector members mounted in back-to-back relation.
It is often desirable to connect a multi-conductor cable to several telephones or other communication devices, or even to two other such cables. To this end, a pair of multi-contact connectors are often aligned back-to-back and connected electrically to each other and to the incoming cable. The back portions of the connectors then require a protective cover. An example of an integrally molded cover housing for this pur pose is seen in US. Pat. No. 3,137,537 to Cole et al. An example of a detachable preformed cover means is shown in US. Pat. No. 3,705,378 to Elkins. The present invention is concerned with a cover for protecting a pair of multi-contact connector members mounted in back-to-back relation with multiple contacts between the connector members which are attached to a multiconductor cable. In particular, the invention is directed to a simple, inexpensive cover, the principal element of which is a single, unitary, molded plastic part; the com' plete cover joins the connections in a strong, rigid assembly as well as enclosing the back electrical contacts of the connector members by folding in a U-shape.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A cover for a double-ended connector assembly comprising a pair of multi-contact connector members disposed in back-to-back relation, each connector member including a a lateral flange extending around the connector member, the two flanges defining a space therebetween, the two connector members having adjacent rear portions and each including multiple rear contact elements disposed within said space, and a multi-conductor cable having one end disposed in juxtaposition to said rear contact elements and electrically interconnected thereto, the cover assembly including: a cover member extending around the rear portions of the connector members between the flanges to enclose said space, said cover member terminating at its opposite ends in a pair of arms with free ends forming a split collar for the cable, the collar having external latching means, and collar locking means including a sleeve slidable on the collar and over the latching means to lock the collar arms and complete a strong, rigid connector assembly. The collar forming arms can additionally contain internal strain relief means for the cable, to reduce strain on the cable when the sleeve locks the split collar against the cable.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view ofa connector assembly including a cover constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top view of the connector assembly with its cover locked into position;
FIG. 3 is a side view of the principal cover member for the connector assembly of FIGS. 1 and 2',
FIG. 4 is an exterior end view of the cover member of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an interior end view of the cover member of FIG. 3; and,
FIG. 6 is a perspective, partial sectional view of a collar locking means used in the connector assembly of FIGS. 1 and 2.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION FIG. I shows a cover constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the invention and comprising a principal cover member l0 and a collar locking means 20 which are utilized to cover and to interconnect two connector members forming a muIti-contact connector 30. The multi-contact connector 30 includes a pair of multi-contact connector members 3] and 32 which are disposed in back-to-back relation to each other. The connector member 31 has a rear portion which includes a multiplicity of rear contact elements 33. Similarly, connector member 32 includes a rear portion comprising a corresponding number of rear contact elements 34. The rear contact elements 33 and 34 are electrically connected to either female or male contact elements in the front portions of the multi-contact connector members 31 and 32, respectively. Thus, the multi-contact connector member 3l is shown as affording a male connecting portion 35; it could as easily be a female external connector structure. The same construction, either male or female, applies to connector member 32. Any combination of female and male connectors can be utilized in the multi-contact connector 30. The rear contact elements 33 and 34 are soldered together to form a relatively rigid electrical and mechanical connection between the multi-contact connector members 31 and 32. One end of a multiconductor cable 36 is disposed in juxtaposition to the rear contact elements 33 and 34, and the individual insulated conductors 49 of cable 36 are soldered to the desired contacts 33 and 34 along the rear contact portions of the two connector members.
MuIti-contact connector member 31 includes a lateral flange 41 extending around the connector member and affording two end extensions 37 and 38. Similarly, connector member 32 includes a lateral flange 5| having end extensions 39 and 40. These flanges 41 and SI, and particularly the end extensions 37-40 define a space between them which contains rear contact portions of the connectors, the contact elements 33 and 34, and the end of the multi connector cable 36 and its conductors 49.
As shown in FIG. 2, the space between flanges 4] and 51 of the associated multi-contact connector members 31 and 32 is enclosed by a principal cover member 10 locked in place by a collar locking means 20. The cover assembly 50, which includes cover member 10 and collar locking means 20, provides protection for the exposed ends of the conductors 49 and for the contact elements 33 and 34; the cover assembly 50 also supports cable 36. Further, the cover assembly 50 rigidities the entire muIti-contact connector 30, thereby improving the strength of the complete multi-contact connector assembly for use with other connectors.
FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 show the principal cover member 10 in more detail. Cover member 10 includes a pair of arms I1 and 12 with free opposed ends which form two split collar elements 13 and 14. The split collar elements [3 and 14 of the arms 11 and 12 include latching means 15 and 16 on their external surfaces. As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 5, the internal surfaces of the split collar elements 13 and 14 include strain relief means 17 and 18 consisting of transversely extending ribs. The
split collar elements 13 and 14 fit over the end of the cable 36 when properly aligned, and the strain relief means 17 and 18 grip the cable 36 and ease the strain on conductors 49. Adapting holes 13A and 14A are capable of receiving collar reducing elements (not shown) which are similar in appearance to the split collar elements 13 and 14 and are used with smaller diameter cables. The collar reducing elements have protuberances which mate with adapting holes 13A and 14A to firmly attach the reducing element to cover member 10.
Cover member includes a center portion 19 which extends across one end of the rear portions of the mul- :icontact connector members 31 and 32 between the lange extensions 37 and 39. Arms 11 and 12 will align :hemselves to cover the rear portions of the connector nembers 31 and 32, and the split collar elements 14 and 15 are formed so that they cover the end of the :able 36 at the other end of the multi-contact connec- :ors 31 and 32, between flange extensions 38 and 40.
Cover member 10 is made of a somewhat flexible ma- :erial so that it can be folded to a U-shape as seen in FIGS. 1 and 3, and can be easily put on and removed "mm the connector assembly 60. It can be formed as :lesired with appropriate curves to fit any desired pair )f multi-contact connectors, with additional curves and grooves to aid flexibility and bending as desired. For :xample, for a connector similar to the multi-contact :onnector 30, the center portion 19 of cover member 10 is essentially flat and fits snugly between flanges 37 ind 39. Arms 11 and 12 are curved to provide concave ,nterior surfaces, the edges of arms 11 and 12 fitting snugly against the rear portions 31A and 32A of coniector members 31 and 32. The rear portions 31A and 32A form a rim which the cover member is aligned against. Split collar portions 13 and 14 are concave and ;ized to fit cable 36. Slits along 11A and 12A aid in the folding of the arms 11 and 12. The entire cover memaer 10 is preferably formed as a single, unitary molded part of somewhat flexible plastic material.
FIG. 6 shows the collar locking means 20, which in- :ludes a sleeve 21 which can be slid over the split collar elements 13 and 14 of cover member 10 to lock the :over member into position on connector 30. Sleeve 21 ,ncludes an essentially right-angled latching end 22 which, when locked onto split collar elements 13 and 14. butts against latching means 15 and 16 so that the sleeve cannot easily slide off the collar. Latching means 15 and 16 can similarly be essentially at right angles to lock the sleeve into position. The angles of the latching and 22 of the sleeve and the latching means 15 and 16 :an be varied from a right angle, correspondingly, to arovide adequate latching coaction. FIG. 6 shows the Forward end 23 of sleeve 21, which is preferably cham- Fered inwardly from the outer surface to aid the slipsing of the sleeve over the split collar formed by portions 13 and 14.
In attaching the cover assembly 50, the cover member 10 is aligned so that the center portion 19 is between the flanges 37 and 39 opposite cable 36, the arms 11 and 12 are pressed down so the split collar portions 13 and 14 form a collar around cable 36, and then sleeve 21 is slipped over split collar elements 13 and 14 and over latching means 15 and 16 to lock the cover member in place.
1. A connector assembly comprising a pair of multicontact connector members disposed in a back-to-back relation. each connector member including end flanges extending laterally therefrom, the flanges of the respective connector members defining a space therebetween, the two connector members having adjacent rear portionsand each including multiple rear contact elements disposed within said space, the rear contact elements of one connector being joined to the rear contact elements of the other connector to form a relatively rigid electrical and mechanical connection establishing a fixed distance between the flanges of the respective connector members, a multi-conductor cable having one end disposed in juxtaposition to said rear contact elements and electrically interconnected thereto, and a cover enclosing said space between said flanges, said cover comprising: a center portion extending across one end of the rear portions of the connector members between the respective flanges thereof, said center portion having a width substantially the same as said fixed distance between said flanges, a pair of arms extending respectively from each end of said center portion, said arms enclosing the longitudinal sides of the space between said connector members, and each terminating in a collar element, said collar elements when brought together forming a split collar embracing said cable, and means retaining said collar elements in joined relation.
2. A connector assembly as in claim 1, wherein said collar elements include internal strain relief means which grip the cable when said collar retaining means locks the collar elements together against the cable.
3. A connector assembly as in claim 1, wherein said arms are concave on their interior surfaces.
4. A connector assembly as in claim 1, wherein said retaining means comprises a sleeve having one end chamfered inwardly from the outer surface thereof.
5. A connector assembly as in claim 1, wherein said cover is formed of a single, unitary, molded part having transverse slits formed therein between said center por-' tion and said arms, the thinner sections of said cover at said slits acting as hinges permitting said cover to be formed in a U-shape for fitting around said connector members.
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