|Publication number||USH280 H|
|Application number||US 06/891,299|
|Publication date||Jun 2, 1987|
|Filing date||Jul 31, 1986|
|Priority date||Jul 31, 1986|
|Publication number||06891299, 891299, US H280 H, US H280H, US-H-H280, USH280 H, USH280H|
|Inventors||Ben B. Thigpen|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (28), Classifications (20), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to connectors, and particularly to a connector assembly for use on devices having substantially sealed housings which are subject to unwanted internal pressure build up.
2. Discussion of the Related Art
Certain devices such as sonobuoys used in seismic exploration and submarine detection consist substantially of a battery-powered data gathering and transceiver package enclosed in an elongate, essentially waterproof housing. The housing is capped by an antenna protruding therefrom and is operably coupled to the enclosed transceiver. An external connector located in the top of the housing may be mated to another connector which couples a sensor or a recharging line to the enclosed battery, data gathering, and transceiver package.
Usually, the fully charged sonobuoy is transported to a predetermined recording station by a small boat. A crew member deploys the sonobuoy and attached sensor in the water where the sonobuoy is activated. Signals propagating through the water are detected by the sensor, converted to electrical signals, and passed to the transceiver for transmission to a remote recording device.
After many hours of operation, the battery within the housing needs to be recharged. The sonobuoy is retrieved and taken to a recharging station where the sensor is disconnected from the external connector and a recharging line is coupled thereto. The battery may generate hydrogen gas during the recharging process which fills the housing. Usually a screw in the top may be loosened to vent the gas, but often the vent screw is not loosened resulting in the housing being pressurized by the generated hydrogen gas. The hydrogen gas may be ignited by a spark or a hot spot generated within the housing causing it to explode. On the other hand, the operator may not close the vent screw after recharging. The sonobuoy is redeployed in the water and is flooded through the open vent screw, shorting out the enclosed electronics.
It is an object of this invention to provide a connector assembly for use on devices having a substantially enclosed volume which may be subject to periods of unwanted pressure build up; the connector assembly capable of venting the enclosed volume in one configuration and resealing the volume in a second configuration.
It is another object of this invention to provide a connector assembly which is capable of maintaining electrical or optical continuity while venting or sealing the enclosed volume.
The connector assembly of this invention includes a first connector half which is mounted in the housing of the device. The first half of the connector assembly has a body, having a plurality of connectors and a longitudinal bore defining a passage extending therethrough. The longitudinal bore places the enclosed volume in fluid communication with the housing exterior.
A second half of the connector assembly mates with the first half in such a manner so that a plug in the second half is received by the longitudinal bore in the first half. The plug may have a longitudinal bore defined therein so as to extend the passage on through the connector assembly. This connector would be used during the charging cycle and thus provide a vent anytime the device was connected to the charger.
A third half of the connector assembly, substantially identical to the second half, mates with the first half of the assembly. The third half of the connector assembly has a plug which is received by the longitudinal bore in the first half, thus sealing the longitudinal bore. This would provide the connection to other devices and would, therefore, always be in place and preventing debris from entering thereon during use.
A better understanding of the benefits and advantages of my invention may be obtained from the appended detailed description and the drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a device employing one embodiment of the inventive connector assembly;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view in quarter cross-section of one embodiment of a male and female member of the connector assembly;
FIG. 3 is an isometric view in quarter cross-section of a second female member; and
FIG. 4 is an isometric view in quarter cross-section of another embodiment of the connector assembly.
In reference to the figures, like reference numerals indicate like components wherein FIG. 1 is shown a device 10 such as a battery pack having a housing 12 enclosing a rechargeable battery 14. The housing is sealed at the top by a cap 16, defining an enclosed volume 18 within the housing 12. A connector assembly 20 having a portion extending through and fixed in cap 16 is operably coupled via conductors 22 to the enclosed battery 14. It should be understood that for simplicity, only battery 14 is disposed within housing 12, but other electronic circuits may be contained therein and operably coupled via conductors or optical fibers to the connector assembly 20.
FIG. 2 is an isometric view in quarter cross-secton of one embodiment of the connector assembly 20 which includes a male member or first connector 24 having a substantially tubular body 26 defining a first and a second end, 28 and 30 respectively. Disposed approximately midway around the exterior of body 26 may be an annular flange 32. The exterior of body 26 from the flange 32 to the second end 30 may be threaded. It is the second end 30 of body 26 that extends through and fixed within the housing 12, up to the annular flange 32.
Disposed within the tubular body 26, parallel to a longitudinal axis thereof are a plurality of conductor pins 34. The conductor pins 34 are separated from each other and the body 26 in a predetermined pattern by a dielectric potting material 36 which substantially infills the tubular body 26 such that only a portion of each conductor-pin end extend from each end. At least one of the conductor pins 34, such as 34', is preferred to be tubular defining a longitudinal passage 38 extending through the dielectric potting material 36 and thus the first connector 24 of the connector assembly 20.
A female member or second connector 40 of the connector assembly 20 is shown opposite the male member 24. The second connector 40 may include a coupling sleeve 42 having a first and a second end 44 and 46 respectively, where the first end 44 receives and firmly holds the first end 28 of the first connector 24 of the connector assembly 20 when mated together. The coupling sleeve 42 contains an inner sleeve 48 which has a plurality of conductor pins 50 disposed therein substantially similar to pins 34 in the first connector 24. Pins 50 are separated from each other and the inner sleeve 48 by a dielectric potting material 36. One of the pins 50, such as 50', may be substantially longer than the other pin and is preferred to be of lesser diameter. Pin 50' may be tubular defining a longitudinal bore 52 very similar to the longitudinal passage 38. The longitudinal bore extends through pin 50' and is continued on through the dielectric potting material 36 by a hole 53 extending through the second end 46 of the second connector 40. It is preferred that pin 50' be received by pin 34' and that a predetermined number of pins 50 mate with pins 34 when the first end 44 of the second connector 40 is coupled into the first end 28 of the first connector 24 thus placing longitudinal passage 38 in fluid communication with longitudinal bore 52. A conductor cable 54 having a plurality of conductors such as 56 is received in the second end 46 of the second connector 40 where an end 58 of each conductor may be coupled such as by the solder to each pin 50. Similarly, the ends of the pins 34 at the second end 30 of body 26 may be coupled to wire conductors.
FIG. 3 is an isometric view of another female member or third connector 60 substantially identical to second connector 40 wherein a coupling sleeve 42 surrounds an inner sleeve 48, defining a first end 44 and a second end 46. Conductor pins 50 are disposed within the inner sleeve and separated from each other and the inner sleeve by the dielectric potting material 36. One of the pins 50" is substantially longer than the other pins 50 and lesser in diameter but does not contain a longitudinal bore. The conductor pins 50 and 50" are coupled to conductors 56 within a conductor cable 54 received in the second end 46. It is preferred that conductor pin 50" be received by pin 34' when the third connector 60 is coupled to the first connector 24 thus, sealing the longitudinal passage 38.
FIG. 4 is an isometric view in quarter cross-section of another embodiment of the connector assembly 20. FIG. 4 shows a first connector 24 and a second connector 40 substantially similar to those described above. In the alternate embodiment, an axial passage 62 is defined within the potting material 36 of the first connector 24 as opposed to in a conductor pin 34. An axial plug 64 extends from the potting material 36 in the female member which is received by the axial passage 62 when the connector halves 24 and 40 are coupled together. The axial plug 64 may have an axial bore 66 defined therein which intersects a transaxial bore 68 extending into the second connector 40. A third connector 60 may be substantially similar to the second connector 40 but with axial plug 64 being solid to seal the axial passage 62.
In operation, using the sealed battery pack as an example, the first connector 24 of connector assembly 20 receives second connector 40 when it is desired to recharge battery 14. Gas generated from the battery 14 during the recharging process is vented through the longitudinal passage 38 and out longitudinal bore 52 and hole 53 thus preventing internal pressurization of the volume 18 in housing 14. Second connector 40 is disconnected from the first connector 24 after recharging and the third connector 60 may be coupled thereto sealing the passage 38. Third connector 60 may interconnect another device to the battery pack 10 or may not have any conductor therein, acting as a "dummy" to seal the passage.
For illustrative purposes, my invention has been described with a certain degree of specificity. Variations such as using fiber optic means instead of electrical conductor pins will occur to those skilled in the art but which may be included within the scope and spirit of this invention which is limited only by the appended claims.
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|US20070058907 *||Sep 12, 2005||Mar 15, 2007||Mynott Geoffrey N||Opto-electric connector|
|US20100048046 *||Aug 25, 2008||Feb 25, 2010||Cooper Industries, Ltd.||Electrical connector including a ring and a ground shield|
|US20100068907 *||Nov 23, 2009||Mar 18, 2010||Cooper Technologies Company||Visual latching indicator arrangement for an electrical bushing and terminator|
|US20120231644 *||Feb 28, 2012||Sep 13, 2012||Smk Corporation||Vehicle charge cable socket connector|
|US20130342213 *||Nov 9, 2012||Dec 26, 2013||Samsung Sdi Co., Ltd.||Battery module and method of testing the same|
|U.S. Classification||429/7, 174/101.5, 340/850, 367/149, 439/335, 439/206, 367/191, 385/76, 367/3|
|International Classification||H01R13/00, G02B6/38|
|Cooperative Classification||G02B6/3867, G02B6/3889, G02B6/3882, H01R13/005, G02B6/3885|
|European Classification||G02B6/38D12A, G02B6/38D10G, H01R13/00C, G02B6/38D10C|
|Jul 31, 1986||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WESTERN GEOPHYSICAL CO. OF AMERICA,TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:THIGPEN, BEN B.;REEL/FRAME:004598/0689
Effective date: 19860716
|May 11, 1987||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WESTERN ATLAS INTERNATIONAL, INC., 10,001 RICHMOND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:WESTERN GEOPHYSICAL COMPANY OF AMERICA, A CORP OF DE;REEL/FRAME:004725/0239
Effective date: 19870430