US 3901574 A
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United States Patent [191 Paullus et a1.
[ Aug. 26, 1975 l ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR  lnventors: Clarence Leonard Paullus,
Lewisberry; Larry Ronald Stauffer, Camp Hill, both of Pa.
 Assignee: AMP Incorporated, Harrisburg, Pa.
 Filed: Dec. 28, 1973 [211 App]. No.: 429,255
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation of Ser. No. 214,164, Dec. 30, 1971,
 US. Cl 339/90 R; 285/81; 285/401; 339/113 R  Int. Cl. HOlR 13/54  Field of Search 339/89, 90, 113, 186, 187, 339/DIG. 2; 215/43; 220/40; 285/361, 354, 386, 396, 402, 81, 401
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,994,784 4/1935 Porzcl 285/354 2,323,912 7/1943 Johnson 285/354 2,912,261 11/1959 Mcycrholfer 285/361 3,008,116 11/1961 Blanchenot..... 339/90 R 3,413,021 11/1968 Potts 1 285/424 3,422,977 1/1969 Shaw 220/40 R 3,478,302 11/1969 Chirumbolo.... 339/90 R 3,685,004 8/1972 Kerr 339/90 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,092,983 1 l/1967 United Kingdom 339/90 R Primary Examiner-Joseph H. McGlynn Attorney, Agent, or FirmRussel1 J. Egan [5 7 1 ABSTRACT An electrical connector consisting of a plug and receptacle separately fastened to each other by means of helical double ribs, grooves and lug-mounted locking ring wherein coupling occurs after the lugs have traveled over transverse bosses positioned in the grooves. The bosses force the ring to expand outwardly so that as the lugs seat in position, an audio signal is emitted. The bosses also prevent the locking ring from vibrating out of position.
12 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 214,164, filed Dec. 30, 1971, and now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Commonly known types of quick disconnect electrical connectors comprise two parts, each part consisting of a cylindrical shell having within insulating inserts which contain mating terminal contacts. As the two parts are engaged the terminal contacts are also engaged to complete the electrical circuits of the wires to which the contacts are attached. The connector parts are provided with keys for polarizing purposes, and one of several kinds of coupling devices for joining the two parts together. Such coupling devices include thread, tang, or bayonet-type fastening means.
Conventional connectors are generally made from aluminum or steel wherein the parts are extruded, machined and, particularly in the case of aluminum, coated with cadmium or other suitable plating.
One of the principal uses of quick disconnect electrical connectors is in aircraft where any one such craft may contain upwards of a hundred such connectors. As with any aircraft component, weight is an important consideration. Another consideration given by design engineers is a couplings susceptibility to vibration. Yet another consideration, particularly where a large number of connectors are required in any one airplane, is cost of the component.
Accordingly, the present invention provides an electrical connector comprising a first part engageable with a second part, the first part having a resilient, annular locking ring rotatably mounted thereon, the ring having two inwardly projecting, spaced apart lugs, and the second part having one end adapted to receive the locking ring, that end having two adjacent helical grooves adapted to receive the aforementioned lugs, each groove having a transverse boss over which each lug must ride, deforming the locking ring in so doing so that as the lugs clear the bosses, the ring, in resuming its annular shape causes the lugs to strike the surface of the grooves whereby an audio signal is emitted, and further, each groove has a transverse barrier against which the lugs abut after clearing the bosses so that the locking ring is prevented from further rotational movement about the second part.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view of the components of the preferred embodiment of the electrical connector constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a development view of the ribs and grooves encircling the left-hand component of the connector shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side view, partially in section, of the righthand component of the connector shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 shows the two components of the connector shown in FIG. 1 in mating engagement;
FIG. 5 is a view taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 6 is another view taken along lines 33 of FIG. 4, showing rotation of the locking ring into a locking position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT facilitate mounting of receptacle 12 to a panel (not shown) or the like. Threads 24 (FIG. 4) are cut into housing 16 from flange 20 back to a second end 25. These threads provide alternative means of mounting receptacle 12.
A plurality of passageways (not shown) extending longitudinally through housing 16 are provided to receive a plurality of terminal contact pins 26 each of which are attached to one of a plurality of wires 28 extending away from second end 25.
The area between first end 17 and flange 20 is characterized as having two helical-extending ribs designated at 30 and 32 which are shown in a development view in FIG. 2. Each of the two ribs begin at end 17, 180 one from the other. These points of origin are designated at 300 and 32a. The ribs at each of these points have been constructed so as to provide lateral ramps 34 which have a steeper pitch than does ribs 30, 32 rela tive to the longitudinal axis of housing 16.
Ribs 30 and 32 cooperate to provide two grooves 36 and 38. Low relief, transverse deforming means or bosses 40 and 42 are positioned in grooves 36 and 38 respectively, each of the bosses having a beveled side facing toward end 17. Spaced a short distance from these bosses are transverse barriers 44 and 46 which have the same height as ribs 30, 32. Each set of a boss and barrier define seating space 48 thereinbetween.
Referring now to FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, plug 14 includes a housing 50 on which is mounted a rotatable locking ring 52. A forward portion 54 of housing 50 is sized to be sufficiently smaller so that it will be received in mated telescoped relation with recess 18 in receptacle 12 whereby terminal contact pins 26 telescopingly mate with terminal contact sockets (not shown) housed in bores 56 which extend longitudinally thru housing 50. The sockets are attached to wires 57 leading away from the rear portion 58 of housing 50. A number of keys 60 are positioned on forward portion 54 to provide polarization of that portion with recess 18 in cooperation with aforementioned keyways 19.
Threads 62 are provided on rear portion 58 to receive, for example, an insulating shroud (not shown).
A groove 64 is positioned on housing 50 between forward portion 54 and rear portion 58.
Locking ring 52 is characterized as having a forward collar 66 which has a milled outer surface 68 and a smooth inside surface 70 from which projects two diametrically positioned lugs 72 and 74.
Integral with collar 66 and comprising the remainder of locking ring 52 is a skirt 75 composed of a plurality of segments 76, each segment separated from another by slots 78 which extend from end 80 of each segment 76 to its juncture with collar 66. Each segment 76 consists of a slanted portion 82, a platform 84, and an inwardly projecting dog 86 which is positioned on the inside of the segment directly opposite platform 84.
Each dog 86 fits slidingly in groove 64 in housing 50, an arrangement which permits rotational but not axial movement of locking ring 52.
Slots 78 allow the segments and dogs to be expanded outwardly so such can pass over parts of housing 50 adjacent to groove 64 during the assembly of plug 14.
OPERATION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Coupling receptacle 12 with plug 14 to form electrical connection involves inserting portion 54 on plug 14 into recess 18 by matching keys 60 with keyways l9. Lugs 72 and 74 can then engage grooves 36, 38 by pushing on and rotating locking ring 52 clockwise. Continued rotation of ring 52 draws portion 54 further into recess 18, completing the electrical connection via pins 26 and the sockets in bores 56 in plug 14. At this point ring 52 is at the position shown in FIG. 4 and lugs 72, 74 are in the position shown in FIG. 5; i.e., adjacent to bosses 40, 42.
Additional clockwise rotation of ring 52 causes the riding of lugs 72, 74 up over the beveled sides of bosses 40, 42. This can occur because of the yielding or resilient nature of locking ring 52. At that point the ring is deformed into an elongated or oval shape. As the lugs 72, 74 pass over bosses 40, 42, the energy stored in the deformation restores the ring into its original circular shape and does so in a violent manner such that lugs 72, 74 strike the surface of grooves 36, 38 in seating spaces 48 resoundingly. This sound tells'the operator that the engaging of receptacle l2 and plug 14 is complete as can be seen in FIG. 6. Barriers 44, 46 prevent further unnecessary rotation of locking ring 52.
One of the very important and novel aspects of the present invention relates to the vibrational-proof structure of bosses 40, 42 and resilient locking ring 52. The sides of the bosses facing barriers 44, 46 being perpendicular to the grooves, positively lock the lugs and, hence the locking ring onto receptacle 12. Only a deliberate and forceful counter-clockwise motion which deforms locking ring 52 will cause the lugs to ride back over the bosses.
Aforementioned ramps 34 serve two purposes. The first is that they prevent mis-threading; i.e., where one lug is placed behind a rib and the second lug is placed in front of the other rib. As the present invention shows in FIG. 2, the build-up is too thick to allow tilting of ring 52 to where the lugs could be placed on opposite sides of the ribs. The second feature of ramps 34 is that as receptacle 12 and plug 14 are being disengaged, the change in pitch on ramps 34 causes the locking ring 52 to axially push housing 50 away from receptacle 12 at an accelerated rate. In other words, housing 50 pops out of the receptacle at that point.
As pointed out above, one of the several novel features of the present invention is the resilient locking ring which provides an audio signal when the engagement of receptacle l2 and plug 14 is completed.
Another novel feature in the present invention is that the components are economically made via molding which does not require milling, grinding, plating and/or the like. Additionally, the connector is light weight and has impact advantages over connectors made from metal.
Yet another novel feature is that separate nonconductive inserts to house terminal contacts are not required as in metal connectors.
Still another feature in the present invention resides in the construction of the ribs which prevent misthreading when engaging the plug to the receptacle and which provides a pop out effect upon disengagement.
Having thus described our invention, what we claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. An electrical connector assembly of the type comprising a cylindrical plug and cylindrical recepticle, said receptacle having a mating face within a cylindrical hood, with said hood having an helical groove thereon, said plug, dimensioned to fit within the hood, has a locking ring rotatably mounted thereon, said locking ring having at least one projecting lug formed unitarily therewith on the inner surface thereof, said lug being dimensioned to be received in the helical groove wherein the improvement comprises:
a. said locking ring, being of firm and resiliently deformable material, having an inner diameter larger than the outer diameter of said hood to permit an elongation of said locking ring when positioned on said hood; and
b. deforming means positioned in said groove for resiliently deforming said locking ring into a generally elongated shape as said lug passes thereover.
2. An electrical connector assembly of claim 1 wherein said firm and resiliently deformable material is a polymeric material.
3. An electrical connector assembly of claim 1 with the plug and receptacle being of molded plastic material.
4. An electrical connector assembly of claim 1, further comprising:
mating keying means on said plug and said receptacle.
5 An electrical connector, which comprises:
a. a plug having a plurality of axially passageways therethru to house a plurality of terminal contactmounted conductors;
b. a circumferentially-extending groove positioned on said plug;
0. a resilient locking ring having on one end a slotted resilient skirt, said skirt having a plurality of inwardly projecting dogs, said ring rotatably mounted on said plug via positioning said dogs into said circumferentially-extending groove;
(1. two inwardly projecting lugs diametrically positioned on another end of said resilient locking ring;
e. a receptacle adapted to engage said plug, said receptacle having a plurality of axial passageways therethrough to house a plurality of terminal contact-mounting conductors;
f. two ribs on said receptacle helically extending from one end of said receptacle toward another end thereof, each of said ribs beginning from said one end from each other, said ribs cooperating to define two grooves operable to receive said lugs on said locking ring;
g. a lateral ramp positioned on each of said ribs adjacent said one end of said receptacle, said ramps operable for aligning said lugs with said grooves and for axially displacing said lugs upon disengagement of said receptacle from said plug;
h. a boss positioned across each of said grooves, said bosses operable to deflect outwardly said lugs as such pass thereon thereby causing a deformation in said resilient locking ring such that as said lugs pass beyond said bosses said lugs strike said grooves whereby an audio signal is emitted; and a barrier positioned across each of said grooves, said barriers operable to abuttingly engage said lugs thereby preventing further rotational movement of said resilient locking ring.
6. The electrical connector of claim 5 wherein said bosses have a beveled side.
7. A cylindrical first member adapted to intermate with a cylindrical second member to form an electrical connector, said cylindrical second member including a cylindrical housing having a mating face a plurality of bores opening on said face, each bore adapted to receive an electrical terminal therein, at least one helical groove formed on at least a portion of the outer surface of said housing extending from a free end of said housing and terminating at abutments extending across said groove, radially outwardly directeddetent means in said groove spaced from said abutments, said first member comprising:
a cylindrical body having a mating end adapted to abut said mating face, a plurality of bores opening on said mating end, each bore adapted to receive a mating electrical terminal therein, locking ring rotatably and non slidably mounted on said body, said ring having an internal diameter greater than said first member housing and at least one radially inwardly directed locking lug adapted to be received in said helical groove, at least said ring being formed of a firm plastic material which is resiliently deformable to the extent that said ring can be distorted to an oval shape allowing said lug to pass over said detent means when said first and second members are coupled and said ring threaded into a locking position.
8. An electrical connector according to claim 7, further comprising:
at least one first keying means on said first member;
at least one second keying means on said second member matable with said first keying means.
9. A cylindrical plug member adapted to intermate with a cylindrical receptacle member to form an electrical connector, said cylindrical receptacle member including a cylindrical housing having a mating face a plurality of bores opening on said face, each bore adapted to receive an electrical terminal therein, an annular hood extending forwardly of said face, at least one helical groove formed on at least a portion of the outer surface of said hood, said groove extending from a free end of said hood and terminating at abutments extending across said groove, radially outwardly di- III:
rected detent means in said groove spaced from said abutments, said plug member comprising;
a cylindrical body having a mating end adapted to be received in said hood, a plurality of bores opening on said mating end, each bore adapted to receive a mating electrical terminal therein, locking ring rotatably mounted on said body, said ring having an internal diameter greater than said hood and at least one radially inwardly directed locking lug adapted to be received in said helical groove, at least said ring being formed of a firm plastic material which is resiliently deformable to the extent that said ring can be distorted to an oval shape allowing said lug to pass over said detent means when said plug and socket are coupled and said ring threaded into a locking position on said hood.
10. An electrical connector according to claim 9, further comprising:
matable keying means integral with each of said plug member and said receptacle member.
11. In a circular multi-contact connector assembly of the type comprising a plug member and a socket member, said socket member having a cylindrical housing and having a hood extending forwardly from said housing, said plug member having a cylindrical housing and having a mating end which is adapted to extend into said hood when said parts are coupled, the improvement comprising:
at least one groove on the external surface of said hood of said socket member, said groove extending from the free end of said hood helically at least partially around the external surface thereof,
boss means in said groove at a location remote from said free end of said hood,
said plug member having a locking nut rotatably and non slidably mounted thereon in completely surrounding relationship to said mating end, said locking nut having an internal surface which is radially spaced outwardly from said plug housing, at least one locking lug extending radially inwardly from said internalsurface, said lug being dimensioned to be received in said groove,
at least said locking nut being of a firm plastic material which is'resiliently deformable to the extent that said lug is permitted to pass over said boss means when said plug and socket are coupled and said locking nut is threaded onto said hood.
12. A connector assembly according to claim 1 1 further comprising:
first keying means integral with said plug member,
second keying means integral with said socket member and matable with said first keying means.