environmental sealant may be disposed in the plug cavity such that it engages the interior wall. The interior wall may have a rough surface having a rating of at least N12 per ISO 1320:1922. A raised, inwardly projecting pattern may be provided on the interior wall. The raised pattern may include a plurality of ribs.
According to a further aspect of the present invention, a connector assembly for use with a connector plug and an environmental sealant includes a socket including a plug cavity formed therein adapted to receive the plug. The plug cavity has an interior wall. An engagement member is mounted on the interior wall. The engagement member is formed of a material providing enhanced adhesion with the sealant as compared to the material of the interior wall. An environmental sealant may be disposed in the plug cavity and engage the interior wall. The engagement member may be molded. The engagement member further may be formed of an elastomeric material.
According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a method of forming a sealant-filled connector assembly for use with a connector plug includes providing a socket including a first portion, a second portion, a plug cavity formed in the first portion and adapted to receive the plug, an electrically conductive lead having a first contact disposed in the plug cavity and a second contact positioned on the second portion, a partition wall positioned between the plug cavity and the second portion, and a connecting passageway formed in the partition wall, the passageway providing fluid communication between the plug cavity and the second portion. An uncured sealant material is placed in the plug cavity such that the sealant material flows from the plug cavity, through the passageway and into the second portion. The sealant material is cured to form an environmental sealant in the socket.
According to a further aspect of the present invention, a method of connecting a device connector having exposed wire ends with a sealant-filled connector assembly includes providing a sealant-filled connector assembly comprising a socket including a trough located therein and an environmental sealant disposed in the trough. The device connector is mounted on the connector assembly such that the wire ends of the device connector are received in the trough and the sealant surrounds the wire ends.
In each of the foregoing connector assemblies and methods, the environmental sealant is preferably a gel.
The present invention is explained in greater detail with reference to the preferred embodiments in the drawings herein and the specification set forth below.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a socket according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the socket of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the socket of FIG. 1 and a cap;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the socket of FIG. 1 taken along the line 4—4 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a gel-filled connector assembly including the socket of FIG. 1 and the cap and taken along the same line as FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the gel-filled connector assembly of FIG. 5 and a connector and taken along the same line as FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a front end view of a base member of the socket of FIG. 1;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary, enlarged view of a base member according to a further embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 9 is a front end view of a base member according to a further embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary, cross-sectional view of the base member of FIG. 9 taken along the line 10—10 of FIG. 9;
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary, perspective view of a base member according to a further embodiment; and 10 FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the base member of FIG. 11 taken along the line 12—12 of FIG. 11.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
15 The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodi
20 ments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.
25 With reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, a gel-filled connector assembly according to the present invention is shown therein and generally designated 100. The gel-filled connector assembly 100 includes a socket 102. A sealant 110 is disposed within the socket 102 to protect electrically con
30 ductive components thereof from dust and moisture and other corrosives. The sealant 110 is preferably, and will hereinafter be referred to as, a gel. However, other types of sealants may be used as discussed below.
35 In FIG. 5, the gel-filled connector assembly 100 is shown with an associated cap 170 mounted thereon. In FIG. 6, the gel-filled connector assembly 100 is shown with an associated device connector 180 connected thereto. The connector 180 includes a load bar or wire terminating cap 181 through
,„ which four wires 182 are inserted. The load bar 181 includes
partition walls 188 between the respective wires 182 adjacent the ends 182A of the wires 182. The partition walls 188 define slots 188 A within which the end portions of the wires are received as shown. The load bar 181, and thereby the
45 wires 182, are secured to the gel-filled connector assembly 100 by a connecting leg 186. It will be appreciated that more than four wires and connectors other than the connector 180 as shown and described herein may be used.
FIGS. 1-4 show the socket 102 without the gel 110 for
50 clarity. Similarly, FIG. 7 shows a base member 120 forming a part of the socket 102, also shown without the gel 110. The gel-filled connector assembly 100 is adapted to receive and electrically connect with a suitable male plug (not shown), for example, an RJ-type plug. RJ-type plugs are well known
55 to those of ordinary skill in the art.
Referring now to FIG. 4, the socket 102 includes the base member 120 and an insert member 150. The base member 120 has a rear portion 122 and front portion 124. The insert member 150 has a rear portion 152 and a front portion 154.
go The base member 120 and the insert member 150 are securely fitted together as will be better appreciated from the description that follows. It will be appreciated, however, that the inventive aspects of the present invention may be employed in sockets configured differently than described
As shown, for example, in FIGS. 4 and 7, the base member 120 is preferably integrally molded from a suitable