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Publication numberUS3879104 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 22, 1975
Filing dateApr 26, 1973
Priority dateApr 26, 1973
Publication numberUS 3879104 A, US 3879104A, US-A-3879104, US3879104 A, US3879104A
InventorsLinder Lowell E, Shugarman Alvin E, Shugarman Lynn E
Original AssigneeGamm Tech Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lockable solderless electrical connector
US 3879104 A
Abstract
In a solderless electrical connector of the type having relatively rotatable jaws with alignable bores therein adapted to receive the bared end of a conductor which is securely clamped between the jaws when they are rotated to a closed position, there is disclosed an improvement wherein one of the jaws is provided with a locking rib and the other of the jaws is provided with a plurality of mating notches or grooves which receive the rib in different positions of the jaws thereby providing a ratchet mechanism to lock the jaws in securely gripping engagement with the conductor at multiple intermediate positions between the open and closed positions thereof.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 11 1 Shugarman et al.

[ Apr. 22, 1975 Lynn E. Shugarman, Costa Mesa: Lowell E. Linder, Santa Ana. all of Calif.

[73] Assignee: Gamm-Tech Inc., Santa Ana, Calif.

[22] Filed: Apr. 26, 1973 211 Appl. No.: 354,646

FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS United Kingdom 339/266 R Primary Examiner.loseph H. McGlynn Attorney. Agent, or Firn1Hume. Clement, Brinks, Willian, Olds & Cook, Ltd.

[ 5 7 ABSTRACT In a solderless electrical connector of the type having relatively rotatable jaws with alignable bores therein adapted to receive the bared end of a conductor which is securely clamped between the jaws when they are rotated to a closed position, there is disclosed-an improvement wherein one of the jaws is provided with a locking rib and the other of the jaws is provided with a plurality of mating notches or grooves which receive the rib in different positions of the jaws thereby providing a ratchet mechanism to lock the jaws in securely gripping engagement with the conductor at multiple intermediate positions between the open and closed positions thereof.

8 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures LOCKABLE SOLDERLESS ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention.

The present invention rel-ates to solderless electrical connectors and. more particularly. to a method and means for locking together. in any one of multiple positions. the relatively rotatable jaws of a solderless electrical connector of the rotatable jaw. clamping type.

2. Description of the Prior Art.

Solderless electrical connectors of the type having relatively rotatable jaws with alignable bores therein adapted to receive the bared end of a conductor which is securely clamped between the jaws when they are rotated to a closed position are well known in the art. Such connectors are disclosed in the following US. Pat. Nos.: Shuck et al.. 3.118.720 Lawlor. 3.138.422; Tracy. 3.169.8l8; Lawlor et al.. 3.351.889; and Lawlor. 3.406.372.

These patents disclose a solderless electrical connector comprising. in generaL'male and female jaws coupled for relative pivotal movement between an open position in which the bared end of a conductor can be freely inserted through aligned bores in the jaws and a closed position in which the conductor is securely clamped between the jaws thereby establishing a good electrical and mechanical connection. Movement of the jaws from the open to the closed position is controlled by a screw or bolt or other fastening means which is utilized to secure the tails of the male and female jaws to a suitable support.

Because of. the fact that the male and female jaws are freely pivotable relative to each other. it has been found. in practice. that the end of the conductor may become disconnected from the connector until such time as the connector is securely locked to the support. Furthermore. loosening of the screw or bolt used to secure the jaws to the support will also result in loosening of the jaws. Thus. to maintain the conductor clamped within the jaws during the installation of the connector to the support and to avoid the possibility of the conductor becoming disconnected from the connector through loosening of the screw or bolt. some means for locking the jaws together is required although unavailable heretofore.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to the present invention. this problemis solved by providing a method and means for locking together. in any one of multiple positions. the relatively rotatable jaws ofa solderless electrical connector of the rotatable jaw. clamping type. By locking the rotatable jaws together in any one of multiple positions. it is not only possible to maintain the connector locked to the conductor during the installation process. but the jaws remain locked together in the event that the screw or bolt interconnecting the same becomes loosened.

With the present connector. a positive means is provided to determine the open position of the jaws in which the bores therein are aligned. Furthermore. the present connector is readily adaptable to different sizes of conductors. In other words. each conductor size requires a slighly different angle between the male and female jaws to provide a positive locking action. Since the present connector is lockable in any one of multiple positions. the jaws may be locked together regardless of the conductor size or the angle between the jaws.

Briefly. the present solderless elecrical connector of the type having relatively rotatable jaws with alignable bores therein is modified so as to provide one of the jaws with a locking rib and to provide the other of the jaws with a plurality of mating notches or grooves which receive the rib in different positions of the jaws thereby providing a ratchet mechanism to lock the jaws in securely gripping engagement with a conductor at multiple intermediate positions between the open and closed positions thereof.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a lockable solderless electrical connector.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a method and means for locking together. in any one of multiple positions. the relatively rotatable jaws of a solderless electrical connector of the rotatable jaw. clamping type.

It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a solderless electrical connector of the rotatable jaw. clamping type which includes means for maintaining the jaws locked during the installation procedure.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a solderless electrical connector of the rotatable jaw. clamping type which maintains the jaws locked together in the event of loosening of the fastening device.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a solderless electrical connector of the rotatable jaw. clamping type in which the jaws are lockable together regardless of slight variations in the size of the conductor usable therewith.

Still other objects. features. and attendant advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a reading of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments constructed in accordance therewith. taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein like numerals designate like parts in the several figures and wherein:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a solderless electrical connector constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. with a conductor clamped therein;

FIG. 2 is a medial longitudinal sectional view thereof;

FIG. 3 is a medial longitudinal sectional view thereof in an open position ready to receive the bared end of a conductor:

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the two jaws thereof; and

FIG. 5 is a medial longitudinal sectional view of a modified form of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings and. more particularly. to Figures 1-4 thereof. there is shown. as an example of one form in which the present invention may be embodied. a solderless electrical connector. generally designated 10. comprising. in general. male and female jaws A and B. respectively. coupled for relative pivotal movement between an open position. seen in Figure 3. in which a conductor C can be freely inserted into jaws A and B. and a closed position. seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, in which conductor C is securely clamped between jaws A and B and connected thereby to a suitable support D. Connection to support D is achieved by a suitable fastener, such as a screw or bolt E, as will be explained more fully hereinafter.

Male jaw A comprises a cylindrical head or knuckle 11 formed integrally on one end of a tail 12 which is adapted to be mounted against support D. tail l2 having an aperture 13 through which bolt E can be extended through and into support D. An offset neck 14 joins head 11 to tail 12, thus positioning head 11 above the plane of tail 12. The back of neck 14 is generally normal to the plane of tail 12 whereas the front of head 11 protrudes forwardly from neck I4, overhanging a transverse recess 15.

Jaw A has a bore 16 which extends diametrically through the center of head 11 for reception of conductor C. Bore 16 is inclined downwardly and forwardly with reference to the plane of tail 12 at an angle which is substantially equal to the angle between the tails of jaws A and B when connector is in the open position, seen in FIG. 3. This angle may vary from approximately 12 to approximately 25, depending upon the size of conductor C. Bore 16 may have the respective end portions shaped in any suitable manner, such as flared outwardly, as disclosed more fully in the beforementioned Lawlor US. Pat. No. 3,406,372.

In accordance with the present invention, male jaw A includes a locking rib 17 which extends transversely of the vertical longitudinal plane of jaw A, at the back of head 11, above the intersection between head 11 and neck 14. According to the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1-4, locking rib I7 is located approximately within a horizontal plane passing through the cylindrical axis of head 11.

Female jaw B comprises a C-shaped head or yoke 20 formed integrally on one end of a tail 21 which is adapted to contact tail 12 of jaw A in the closed position, tail 12 having an aperture 22 through which bolt E can be extended through and into support D. Yoke 20 defines a transverse cylindrical socket 23 in which head 11 of jaw A is loosely fitted for tilting movement ofjaw B between the open position shown in FIG. 3 and the closed position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Yoke 20 has the general form of a U-channel, modified by a reentrant lip 24 which extends beneath head 11 into recess so as to retain head 11 captive within yoke 20. Recess I5 is positioned relative to lip 24 so that the two are in contact when jaw B is in its open position.

Yoke is provided with diametrically opposed cylindrical bores 25 aligned on a common diameter of yoke 20, generally parallel to tail 21, so as to be alignable with bore 16 in head 11 ofjaw A when jaw B is in its open position, seen in FIG. 3. Therefore, when connector 10 is open, bores 16 and 25 are aligned so that conductor C can be freely passed thereinto.

In accordance with the present invention, female jaw B includes at least one, but preferably a plurality of mating notches or grooves 26 which extend transversely of the vertical longitudinal plane of jaw B, on the inner surface of yoke 20, adjacent its intersection with tail 21. Notches 26 are positioned so that different ones of notches 26 receive locking rib I7 in different relative positions of jaws A and B between the open and closed positions thereof. As shown most clearly in FIG. 3, when jaws A and B are in the open position, locking rib 17 does not engage any of notches or grooves 26. Asjaw B is rotated relative to jaw A toward the closed position, locking rib l7 first engages the first notch 26. With continued rotation ofjaw B relative to jaw A, locking rib 17 engages subsequent notches 26 until reaching the last notch 26" which is reached when connector 10 is in the closed position.

OPERATION In the open position of jaw B, as seen in FIG. 3, the inner surface of yoke 20, immediately below first notch 26', at the junction between yoke 20 and tail 2I, designated 27, rests on locking rib 17 so as to hold jaw B in the open position where bores 16 and 25 are aligned ready to receive the bared end of conductor C. At this time, lip 24 at the end of yoke-20 extends into recess 15 and into engagement with neck 14 thereby limiting the movement ofjaw B beyond the open position. After insertion of conductor C into the aligned bores 16 and 25 in jaws A and B, respectively, jaw B may be closed upon jaw A by application of a downward force on tail 2] of a magnitude which is sufficient to overcome an interference engagement which exists between locking rib I7 and inner surface 27 of yoke 20. In forcing rib 17 past surface 27 into the first notch 26', yoke 20 will be spread slightly but will immediately spring back as rib l7 enters notch 26. As continued downward pressure is applied to tail 21 of female jaw B, this procedure repeats as locking rib 17 passes the ridges between adjacent notches 26. As rib 17 moves from one notch 26 to the next, yoke 20 is sprung apart slightly to permit rib 17 to pass the ridges therebetween, yoke 20 springing back to its normal position as rib l7 enters the next notch 26.

After tails l2 and 21 are brought together sufficiently to securely clamp conductor C between jaws A and B. connector 10 may be attached to support D by inserting screw or bolt E through apertures I3 and 22 in tails l2 and 21, respectively, and into support D. As described in the before-mentioned prior US. patents, with movement of tail 2] into contact with tail l2, bores 16 and 25 become angularly misaligned so as to distort the bared end of conductor C, as seen in FIG. 2. This distortion of conductor C securely grips the bared end thereof within connector 10, preventing the removal thereof.

As discussed previously, the purpose of locking rib l7 and notches 26 is to permit jaws A and B to be locked together, securely engaging conductor C during the installation process or in the event that nut or bolt E becomes loosened after interconnection. Locking rib 17, by engaging surface 27, also provides a positive means to determine the open position of jaws A and B in which bores 16 and 25 are aligned.

It should be particularly noted that in the event connector 10 is to be used with a single size of conductor C, without any variation in the diameter thereof, it would be possible to use a single locking rib l7 and a single notch 26, which notch 26 would be positioned approximately adjacent notch 26". Therefore, it should be understood that a single locking rib I7 cooperating with a single notch 26 is contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention. On the other hand, as a practical matter, it has been found that a single connector 10 may be used with several sizes of conductors C and that even with a single size of conductor C, variations exist in the diameter thereof from one conductor C to another. It has also been determined that as the size of conductor C changes, a slightly different angle of jaw B relative to jawA isrequired to effectively deform conductor C sufficiently =to:c=lamp conductor C within connector 1 during the-installation process. Therefore, a series of notches or grooves 26 which provide a ratchet mechanism is preferred to' permit locking of jaws A and B in multiple intermediate positions between the open and closed positions thereof.

In practice, the bared end of conductor C willbe inserted into the aligned bores 16 and 25 in jaws-A and B, respectively, and a downward force applied to tail 21 to permit locking rib 17 to pass surface 27 into the first notch 26. The downward force" will be continued. causing locking rib 17 to move into subsequent notches 26 until tails 12 and 21 cannot be brought further together without the use of fastening: means E. The locked'position of jaws A and B is therefore adjustable depending upon the sizeof conductor C.-

According to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, and as shown in FIGS. 1-4, the last notch 26", which receives locking rib 17 when connector 10 is in the closed position, is made slightly larger than the remaining notches 26. The reason for this is to insure that head 11 ofjaw A may be readily slid into yoke 20 of jaw B, with tails 12 and 21, respectively, parallel. as shown in FIG. 2. In other words, jaws A and B are assembled in the closed position since this is the position which is most convenient for shipping connector 10. Increasing the size of notch 26" insures that only a light force will be required to slide head 11 laterally into socket 23 of yoke 20.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that locking rib 17 may be positioned anywhere around the circumference of head 11 ofjaw A and that notches 26 may be located anywhere along the inner surface of yoke 20. Furthermore. it is possible for locking rib 17 to be positioned on female jaw B. extending inwardly into socket 23 from yoke 20, and for notches 26 to be positioned in the circumference of head 11 of male jaw A.

FIG. illustrates a modified form of solderless electrical connector. generally designated 30, which is identical to connector with the exception that locking rib l7 and notches 26 have been omitted. In the embodiment of FIG. 5, a locking pin 31 can be inserted into mating notches 32 and 33 in male and female jaws A and B, respectively, at any point within socket 23, such as at the intersection between head 11 and tail 12 of jaw A and yoke and tail 21 of jaw B. Notches 32 and 33 would be positioned so as to be aligned in the closed position ofjaws A and B so that pin 31 may be inserted to lock connector 10 in the closed position. Pin 31 may be made of hard aluminum and may be driven into notches 32 and 33 with a light force.

It can therefore be seen that in accordance with the present invention, solderless electrical connectors of the rotatable jaw, clamping type are improved by providing a method and means for locking together, in any one of multiple positions, the relatively rotatable jaws thereof. By locking the rotatable jaws together in any one of multiple positions, it is not only possible to maintain connector 10 locked to conductor C during the installation process, but jaws A and B remain locked together in the event that screw or bolt E becomes loosened. With connector 10, a positive means is provided to determine the open position of jaws A and B in which bores 16 and 25, respectively, therein are aligned. Furthermore. connector 10 is'readily adaptable todifferentzsizes of conductor CJSince connector 10 is lockablednany one of multiple positions, jaws A accordance therewithflit will be apparent to those skilled in th'e'art'tha t various modifications and improvements may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly. it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited by the specific illustrative embodiments. but only by the scope of the appended claims.

We claim: I I v 1. In a solderless electrical connector of the rotatable jaw, clamping type comprising male' and female jaws having respective mounting tails, said male jaw including a transverse cylindrical head joined .to one end of said male jaw tail and having a bore which extends diametrically through the center of said head for receipt of conductor, said female jaw including a C-shaped yoke joined to one end of said female jaw tail and defining a transverse cylindrical socket which receives said head of said male jaw for relative angular movement of said jaws between an open, conductor-receiving position and a closed, conductor-clamping position, said yoke having cylindrical bores on a common diameter of said yoke which are alignable with said bore in said male jaw in said open position of said jaws. the improvement wherein one of said jaws includes a transverse locking rib and the other of said jaws includes a plurality of mating transverse notches positioned so that different ones of said notches receive said locking rib in different relative positions of said jaws between said open and closed positions and wherein the notch engaged by said rib when said jaws are in said closed position is slightly larger than the remainder of said notches.

2. In a solderless electrical connector according to claim 1, the improvement wherein said yoke of said female jaw is sufficiently resilient to permit spreading of the opposite sides thereof during movement of said jaws between said open and closed positions so as to spring-load said locking rib and said notches in mating engagement.

3. In a solderless electrical connector according to claim 1, the improvement wherein said locking rib does not engage any of said notches in the open position of said jaws and engages the first of said notches as said jaws are angularly rotated toward said closed position, said locking rib engaging each of said notches during rotation to said closed position.

4. In a solderless electrical connector according to claim 1, the improvement wherein sald locking rib engages said inner surface of said yoke immediately below said notches. when said jaws are in said open position, so as to maintain said jaws in said open position.

5. In a solderless electrical connector according to claim 1, the improvement wherein said lockking rib is positioned on said head of said male jaw and said notches are positioned in said yoke of said female jaw.

6. In a solderless electrical connector according to claim 5, the improvement wherein said locking rib is positioned at the back of said head of said male jaw. above the intersection between said head and said tail.

7. In a solderless electrical connector according to claim 6, the improvement wherein said locking rib is positioned approximately within a horizontal plane passing through the cylindrical axis of said head of said male jaw.

8. A clamp type electrical terminal comprising a male jaw including an attachment tail: a transversely extending cylindrical head projecting from said tail normal to its plane at one end thereof: a reduced neck joining said head to said tail; and a conductor bore extending through said head with its axis in the medial longitudinal plane of said male jaw:

a female jaw including an attachment tail. and

a socket yoke comprising diametrically opposed arms joined by a bridging crown, one of said arms being integrally joined to an end of said female jaw tail and projecting normally therefrom to said crown. the other of said arms projecting from said crown. toward the extended plane of said female jaw tail; said arms cooperatively defining a cylindrical socket of more than l80 circumferential extent within which said head is received for limited relative hinging movements of said jaws between open and closed positions;

a conductor-receiving bore extending diametrically through said arms of said yoke with its axis in the said medial longitudinal plane of said male jaw, said bore of said yoke being alignable with said bore of said head in said open position of said jaws; and

said jaws having matable locking elements one of which is a transverse rib on one of said jaws and the other is a plurality of transverse notches each positioned on the other of said jaws to receive said rib at a different relative position of said jaws between said open and closed positions. and the notch engaged by said rib when the clamp is in the closed position being slightly larger than the remainder of said notches.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3 879 a 104 D d April 22 197 S Inventor(5) Alvin E. Shugarman et a1.

It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

On the cover page of the patent, under the designation of assignee, substitute "Electro-Clamp Corporation, Beverly Hills, California" for "Gamm-Tech Inc. Santa Ana, California".

Signed and Scaled this fourteenth Day of October 1975 [SEAL] A ttes r.-

RUTH C. MASON C. MARSHALL DANN Arresting Officer Commissioner ofParents and Trademarks

Patent Citations
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US2556491 *May 5, 1950Jun 12, 1951De Lorenzo Mario MarinoClamping cam lug for electrical connections
US3801952 *Oct 30, 1972Apr 2, 1974Electro Clamp CorpCable clamp with locking means
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4001921 *Sep 4, 1975Jan 11, 1977Paul A. CornellCable clamp with size adjustment
US4128294 *Dec 19, 1977Dec 5, 1978Ideal Industries, Inc.Cable clamps
US4357068 *Apr 2, 1980Nov 2, 1982Pan Electric CorporationCable clamping device
US4479694 *Feb 19, 1982Oct 30, 1984Pan Electric CorporationCable clamping device
US4898551 *Apr 11, 1989Feb 6, 1990Pan Electric CorporationCable clamp
US5765962 *Feb 15, 1996Jun 16, 1998Pan Electric CorporationGround rod connector
US5919065 *Dec 5, 1997Jul 6, 1999Pan Electric CorporationElectrical connector
US6241563Nov 25, 1998Jun 5, 2001Pan Electric CorporationElectrical connector
US6772868Sep 11, 2002Aug 10, 2004Pan Electric CorporationRailroad rail-connector assembly
US7743960 *Jun 11, 2003Jun 29, 2010Power Medical Interventions, LlcSurgical device
US7918230Sep 22, 2008Apr 5, 2011Tyco Healthcare Group LpSurgical device having a rotatable jaw portion
US7963433Sep 22, 2008Jun 21, 2011Tyco Healthcare Group LpSurgical device having multiple drivers
US7992758Feb 15, 2011Aug 9, 2011Tyco Healthcare Group LpSurgical device having a rotatable jaw portion
US8056786May 14, 2010Nov 15, 2011Tyco Healthcare Group LpSurgical device
US8272554Apr 20, 2011Sep 25, 2012Tyco Healthcare Group LpSurgical device having multiple drivers
US8342379Apr 19, 2011Jan 1, 2013Covidien LpSurgical device having multiple drivers
US8353440Jun 17, 2011Jan 15, 2013Covidien LpSurgical device having a rotatable jaw portion
US8540733Oct 3, 2011Sep 24, 2013Covidien LpSurgical method and device having a first jaw and a second jaw in opposed correspondence for clamping, cutting, and stapling tissue
US8752748Feb 10, 2011Jun 17, 2014Covidien LpSurgical device having a rotatable jaw portion
DE3153718C2 *Mar 17, 1981Dec 5, 1991Pan Electric Corp., Beverly Hills, Calif., UsTitle not available
EP0392709A1 *Mar 30, 1990Oct 17, 1990Pan Electric CorporationCable clamps
Classifications
U.S. Classification439/789
International ClassificationH01R4/38, H01R4/40
Cooperative ClassificationH01R4/40
European ClassificationH01R4/40