United States Patent  [ii] Patent Number: 5,984,690
Riechelmann et al.  Date of Patent: *Nov. 16,1999
 CONTACTOR WITH MULTIPLE
REDUNDANT CONNECTING PATHS
 Inventors: Bernd Riechelmann; Raymond Twigg,
both of 9920 Scripps Lake Dr., #108, San Diego, Calif. 92131
[ * ] Notice: This patent is subject to a terminal disclaimer.
 Appl. No.: 08/745,705  Filed: Nov. 12, 1996
 Int. CI.6 H01R 9/09
 U.S. C I 439/66
 Field of Search 439/66, 70, 73,
439/74, 91, 591
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,344,662 8/1982 Dalamangas et al 439/91
4,402,562 9/1983 Sado 439/91
4,453,309 6/1984 Shirk 29/884
4,506,215 3/1985 Coughlin 324/158 P
5,069,629 12/1991 Johnson 439/71
5,207,584 5/1993 Johnson 439/66
5,237,743 8/1993 Busacco et al 29/885
5,385,477 1/1995 Vaynkof et al 439/66
5,403,194 4/1995 Yamazaki 439/66
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
2726742 1/1978 Germany . 3009935 9/1980 Germany .
Specification Sheet From Zebra Connectors (Unnumbered and Undated).
Primary Examiner—Paula Bradley
Assistant Examiner—Tho Dac Ta
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—-Thomas J. Tighe
A contact array includes a plurality of uniform columns each for providing electrical continuity between things respectively in contact with opposite ends of the columns, each column means having a memory urging it to be straight. In a first embodiment the columns are all affixed to plurality of polymeric carrier films for holding them parallel to each other, spaced apart, aligned along an axis normal to them, and preferably symmetrical with respect to the axis. Each column can include a plurality of aligned, elongated contact leaves, each leaf having a memory urging it to be straight. In a second embodiment the columns each comprise a set, preferably ten, of loosely aligned contact leaves held in place by being disposed in slots defined by a housing. The housing forces the columns to be uniformly arcuate along the axis. The opposite ends of the columns define respective opposite contact margins of the array. A housing defines a chamber for containing the array and opposite openings through which the contact margins protrude for external contact therewith. The chamber further includes space to allow further, unobstructed, resilient arcuation of all the columns whenever the contact force is applied to the margins. The array can be moveable back and forth, over a range, in the directions that the forces are applied to the contact margins to equalize the forces.
18 Claims, 7 Drawing Sheets