EP2290749A1 - Connector - Google Patents

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Publication number
EP2290749A1
EP2290749A1 EP20090168785 EP09168785A EP2290749A1 EP 2290749 A1 EP2290749 A1 EP 2290749A1 EP 20090168785 EP20090168785 EP 20090168785 EP 09168785 A EP09168785 A EP 09168785A EP 2290749 A1 EP2290749 A1 EP 2290749A1
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EP
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
short
connector
wire
base
cap
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
EP20090168785
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Inventor
Meijl Hermanus Franciscus Maria Van
Guenter Zilligen
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
3M Innovative Properties Co
Original Assignee
3M Innovative Properties Co
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RLINE CONNECTORS; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R13/00Details of coupling devices of the kinds covered by groups H01R12/70 or H01R24/00-H01R33/00
    • H01R13/66Structural association with built-in electrical component
    • H01R13/70Structural association with built-in electrical component with built-in switch
    • H01R13/701Structural association with built-in electrical component with built-in switch the switch being actuated by an accessory, e.g. cover, locking member
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RLINE CONNECTORS; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R13/00Details of coupling devices of the kinds covered by groups H01R12/70 or H01R24/00-H01R33/00
    • H01R13/46Bases; Cases
    • H01R13/52Dustproof, splashproof, drip-proof, waterproof, or flameproof cases
    • H01R13/5216Dustproof, splashproof, drip-proof, waterproof, or flameproof cases characterised by the sealing material, e.g. gels or resins
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RLINE CONNECTORS; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R4/00Electrically-conductive connections between two or more conductive members in direct contact and means for effecting or maintaining such contact
    • H01R4/24Connections using contact members penetrating or cutting insulation or cable strands
    • H01R4/2416Connections using contact members penetrating or cutting insulation or cable strands the contact members having insulation-cutting edges, e.g. of tuning fork type
    • H01R4/242Connections using contact members penetrating or cutting insulation or cable strands the contact members having insulation-cutting edges, e.g. of tuning fork type the contact members being plates having a single slot
    • H01R4/2425Flat plates, e.g. multi-layered flat plates
    • H01R4/2429Flat plates, e.g. multi-layered flat plates mounted in an insulating base
    • H01R4/2433Flat plates, e.g. multi-layered flat plates mounted in an insulating base one part of the base being movable to push the cable into the slot
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RLINE CONNECTORS; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R13/00Details of coupling devices of the kinds covered by groups H01R12/70 or H01R24/00-H01R33/00
    • H01R13/46Bases; Cases
    • H01R13/502Bases; Cases composed of different pieces
    • H01R13/506Bases; Cases composed of different pieces assembled by snap action of the parts
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RLINE CONNECTORS; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R31/00Coupling parts supported only by co-operation with counterpart
    • H01R31/08Short circuiting members for bridging contacts in a counterpart

Abstract

A connector comprising contact elements, wire-mounting members and a short-circuit element. The contact elements, the wire-mounting members and the short-circuit element can be arranged in at least a short-circuit position and a connected position relative to each other, In the short-circuit position the short-circuit element electrically connects two or more contact elements with each other, and a wire entering the connector is not electrically connected to a wire-mounting member. In the connected position the short-circuit element does not electrically connect any two of the contact elements with each other, said wire entering the connector is securely mechanically and electrically connected to a wire-mounting member, and said wire-mounting member is electrically connected to one of the two or more contact elements which the short-circuit element connects with each other in the short-circuit position of the connector.

Description

    Technical Field
  • The invention relates to an electrical connector for mechanically and electrically connecting wires, in particular for connecting wires to an electrical connector that provides in one position a short-circuit between two contact elements.
  • Background Art
  • Among many known electrical connectors, some provide a short-circuit between two of their respective contacts. Short-circuit connectors are, for example, used to prevent accidental firing of vehicle airbags or explosives due to electrostatic potential differences between contacts.
  • US patent 6,186,805 B1 discloses a short-circuit electrical connector and a mating connector, where a shorting member has an inclined section for engagement by the mating connector. The electrical connector and the mating connector can be unmated, and the electrical connection of their contacts over the shorting member is reversible.
  • Other known connectors comprise mechanisms to connect wires to each other electrically, examples can be found in the wide area of electrical plugs. Such plugs may comprise two parts that can be brought from an open position, where the contacts in the two parts do not form an electrical connection, into a closed or mated position, where the contacts of one part are electrically connected with their respective counterpart contacts of the other part.
  • EP 0 605 460 B1 discloses a wire connector for connecting a plurality of wires, comprising a base member, a cap and a connecting member, where the connecting member is formed of conductive metal. The wire connector of EP 0 605 460 B1 has a connecting member to make electrical connection to the conductor of wires, but comprises no short-circuit element.
  • WO 2009/059335 A1 discloses a detonator connector comprising an enclosure and an electrical terminal inside the enclosure to which an electrical conductor can be connected. A non-electrically conductive insert, formed from a resiliently compressible material, within the enclosure contacts and forms a watertight seal around the terminal and at least part of the electrical conductor.
  • There is a need for an electrical connector for mechanically and electrically connecting wires that provides a short-circuit before wires are connected, and wherein the short-circuit is removed upon mechanical and electrical connection of the wires.
  • Summary of the Invention
  • The present invention provides a connector comprising electrically conductive contact elements, electrically conductive wire-mounting members, and an electrically conductive short-circuit element, whereby the contact elements, the wire-mounting members and the short-circuit element can be arranged in at least a short-circuit position and in a connected position relative to each other, such that in the short-circuit position, the short-circuit element electrically connects two or more contact elements with each other, and a wire entering the connector is not electrically connected to a wire-mounting member, whereas in the connected position the short-circuit element does not electrically connect any two of the contact elements with each other, said wire entering the connector is securely mechanically and electrically connected to a wire-mounting member, and said wire-mounting member is electrically connected to one of the two or more contact elements, which the short-circuit element connects with each other in the short-circuit position.
  • The present invention addresses the problem of electrically and mechanically connecting electrical wires, for example wires between devices, to their respective counterpart wires reliably, and removing a short-circuit between contact elements that existed before the connection of the wires was effected.
  • A first advantage of the claimed connector is that it serves two purposes simultaneously: The same connector provides for a short-circuit in its short-circuit position, and for a secure mechanical and electrical connection of a wire in its connected position, in which the short-circuit is removed. It may thus save cost that would otherwise be spent for separate devices, e.g. for one connecting device and one short-circuit device, and it makes installation of systems comprising the connector more reliable, quicker and hence less costly.
  • Another advantage lies in the fact that the connector of the present invention has a short-circuit position in which a short-circuit between contact elements is present. The presence of a short-circuit between contact elements in this position allows secure handling, storage, and shipping of a device electrically connected to those contact elements, since no potential difference can build up between those contact elements that are electrically connected with each other through the short-circuit element.
  • A further advantage is due to the connector having a short-circuit position, in which a wire is not connected. This allows for storing, shipping, and handling wires separately from the connector and from a device connected to the contact elements of the connector. This is an advantage in that storing, shipping or handling of simple wires may be associated with less cost and less risk than the storing, handling and shipping of devices connected to the contact elements of the connector.
  • An advantage is associated with the connector of the present invention having a connected position in which a wire is securely mechanically connected to a wire-mounting member comprised in the connector. Since the connection is a secure one, the wire can, under normal conditions, not be inadvertently removed. This increases the reliability of a system comprising the connector of the present invention.
  • The electrically conductive contact elements of the present invention may be rigid, resilient or flexible elements, they may, for example, be metal bars or sheets or wires or electrical circuits on solid or flexible substrates, or a combination of the afore-mentioned.
  • Besides the contact elements providing electrically conductive paths within the connector, they serve to connect the connector to some device, like, for example, the detonator of a seismic charge or of a vehicle airbag. This electrical connection may be effected by connecting conductive wires with one end to the contact elements, and with their respective other ends to the device. The wires between the device and the connector may be mechanically and electrically connected to the contact elements by any appropriate process like, for example, soldering, welding, crimping, clamping, taping, or by using an adhesive. The wires may also be connected through insulation displacement contacts or insulation-piercing contacts.
  • The electrical connection of the contact elements to a device may alternatively be effected without wires, for example, by connecting contact elements directly with corresponding contacts of the device. In one embodiment of the invention, the contact elements of the connector are directly connected with contacts of a fuse head of a detonator and form an electrical connection with contacts of the fuse head.
  • Each contact element of the present invention is electrically conductive. It may be conductive only on a surface, parts of a surface, or only on one of its surfaces. It may be coated with conductive material on one of its respective surfaces or on parts of one of its surfaces, or its bulk may be a conductive material. Each contact element may be entirely conductive or it may comprise electrically conductive parts. It may be a solid element or consist of many smaller elements like, for example, conductive threads in a woven or non-woven material, electrically connected with each other. In one embodiment of the invention, a contact element is made from a sheet of conductive metal, which is cut and bent to have a suitable shape, it is thus conductive on its surfaces and in its interior. In a different embodiment, a contact element is a solid metal bar which is conductive both on its surfaces and in its interior.
  • Wire-mounting members, in the context of the invention, are elements that are adapted to enable easy mechanical and electrical connection of wires to them. Wire-mounting members may, for example, be insulation-displacement contacts, wire-wrap contacts or insulation-piercing contacts, they may also be luster terminals. A wire-mounting member may be adapted to enable easy mechanical and electrical connection of a completely insulated wire or of a wire having its insulation removed in certain areas, for example at its end. A wire-mounting member may be adapted to enable easy mechanical and electrical connection to one single wire or to more than one wire.
  • A wire-mounting member may be part of a contact element. It may be electrically connected to a contact element in the short-circuit position of the connector or in the connected position of the connector or in both positions. Alternatively, it may also be not electrically connected to a contact element in the short-circuit position of the connector. With respect to the location of a contact element in the connector, a first wire-mounting member may be located above or below that contact element, on a side of it, in front of it or behind it. A further wire-mounting member may be located above or below that same contact element, on a side of it, in front of it or behind it, independent of the position of the first wire-mounting member.
  • At least two of the wire-mounting members may be electrically connected to at least one of the contact elements. This electrical connection may in particular be achieved by a wire-mounting member and a contact element being one piece of conductive material. A wire-mounting member and a contact element may be, for example, one piece of conductive material, of which one end is shaped to form an insulation-displacement contact or an insulation-piercing contact, and the other end of which may be shaped to enable easy contact of wires or other elements to it.
  • Alternatively, a wire-mounting member and a contact element being electrically connected to it may also be separate pieces and may be electrically connected with each other through intermediate electrically conductive elements like, for example, through resilient, flexible or stiff wires, resilient, flexible or stiff metal elements, resilient, flexible or stiff conductive polymer elements, or printed circuits, for example printed circuits on a printed circuit board.
  • The wire-mounting member of the present invention is electrically conductive. It may be conductive only on a surface, on a part of its surface, or only on one of its surfaces. It may be coated with conductive material on one of its surfaces, on parts of its surfaces, or its bulk may be a conductive material. The wire-mounting member may be entirely conductive or it may comprise electrically conductive parts. It may be a solid element or consist of many smaller elements.
  • Each of at least two wire-mounting members may be electrically connected to at least one contact element. A second or a further wire-mounting member may be not be electrically connected to any one contact element. One wire-mounting member may be electrically connected to more than one contact element.
  • The short-circuit element of the present invention is electrically conductive. It may be conductive only on its surface, on parts of its surface, or only on one of its surfaces. It may be coated with conductive material on one or more of its surfaces, or its bulk may be a conductive material. The conductive material may, for example, be metal or a conductive polymer. The short-circuit element may be entirely conductive or it may comprise electrically conductive parts. It may be a solid element or consist of many smaller elements like, for example, conductive threads in a woven or non-woven material.
  • The short-circuit element of the present invention may, for example, have different shapes in the short-circuit position of the connector and in the connected position of the connector, respectively. It may be stiff and have essentially the same shape in the short-circuit position of the connector and in the connected position. It may, for example, be shaped essentially like a "V" or be shaped like a rod having a rectangular or circular cross section.
  • In the short-circuit position or in the connected position of the connector or in both positions, the short-circuit element may be connected to a contact element so that the short-circuit element and the contact element form one piece.
  • In the short-circuit position of the connector, the short-circuit element may be connected to two or more contact elements so that the short-circuit element forms one piece with them. In this case, the connection between the short-circuit element and at least one contact element is broken when the connector is in the connected position. As an example, the connection between the short-circuit element and a contact element may be thin such that it can be easily broken by an operator.
  • The short-circuit element may have two or more protrusions, at least parts of which are conductive, the distal portions of those may be adapted to electrically contact two or more contact elements, and a conductive portion of the short-circuit element will provide electrical contact between those protrusions.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise more than one short-circuit element.
  • The connector of the present invention comprises contact elements, wire-mounting members and a short-circuit element that can be arranged in at least a short-circuit position and in a connected position relative to each other.
  • In the context of the invention, and when relating to contact elements, wire-mounting members, and a short-circuit element, the word "position" is meant to include location and orientation of contact elements, wire-mounting members, and short-circuit elements, respectively.
  • In reference to the position of the contact elements, the wire-mounting members may be in positions in the short-circuit position of the connector that are different from their positions in the connected position of the connector.
  • In reference to the position of the contact elements, the short-circuit element may be in a position in the short-circuit position of the connector that is different from its position in the connected position of the connector.
  • In the short-circuit position of the connector, the short-circuit element provides for electrical contact between two or more contact elements. These two or more contact elements are kept, by the presence, the properties and the position of the short-circuit element, on the same electrical potential and no electrical tension can exist between them. In this position of the connector, a wire entering the connector is not electrically connected to a wire-mounting member. Other wires may be electrically connected to a wire-mounting member in the short-circuit position, however, at least one wire entering the connector, is not electrically connected to a wire mounting member. In the short-circuit position of the connector, a wire mounting member may be electrically connected to a contact element. In the short-circuit position of the connector, a wire mounting member may be not electrically connected to a contact element.
  • In the short-circuit position, a wire entering the connector is not connected to a wire-mounting member, neither electrically nor mechanically, and thus it is not electrically connected to a contact element. This does not preclude that its insulation may touch the wire-mounting member without an electrical connection being established between the conductive part of the wire and the wire-mounting member.
  • In the short-circuit position, one or more wire-mounting members may or may not be electrically connected to one or more contact elements.
  • In the connected position of the connector, the short-circuit element does not electrically connect any two of the contact elements with each other. Two contact elements can thus be on different electrical potentials, and electrical tension can exist between contact elements. In this position of the connector, said wire entering the connector is securely mechanically and electrically connected to a wire-mounting member.
  • The wire entering the connector in the short-circuit position is thus connected to a wire-mounting member in the connected position of the connector. Other wires entering the connector may be mechanically or electrically not connected to a wire-mounting member in the connected position.
  • The short-circuit element may, in the connected position, not be in electrical contact with any of the contact elements, or it may be in electrical contact with one contact element. In the connected position of the connector, the short-circuit element may also be in electrical contact with two or more contact elements in certain parts of the short-circuit element, but those parts of the short-circuit element may not be electrically connected with each other.
  • In the connected position, a wire entering the connector is securely mechanically and electrically connected to a wire-mounting member. This wire-mounting member is, at least in the connected position, electrically connected to one contact element, which the short-circuit element connects with each other in the short-circuit position. Therefore, the wire entering the connector is, in the connected position, electrically connected to a contact element.
  • A mechanical connection between a wire-mounting member and a wire can be considered to exist if a reasonable pull force on the wire can be exerted without separating the wire from the wire-mounting member. In the context of this invention, a mechanical connection between a wire and a wire-mounting member is termed "secure" if excessive force or tools are required to remove a wire from the wire-mounting member. For example, engaging a wire in an insulation-displacement contact or in an insulation-piercing contact establishes a secure mechanical and electrical connection.
  • The transition of the connector and its elements from the short-circuit position into the connected position may involve an interim position.
  • In certain embodiments of the invention, the connector is shaped such that in the interim position, a wire entering the connector is electrically connected to a wire-mounting member, while the short-circuit element electrically connects two or more contact elements with each other. This may be advantageous in that no electrical tension between the contact elements can be induced by the wire entering the connector being connected to a wire-mounting member in the interim position.
  • In other embodiments, the connector is shaped such that in the interim position, the short-circuit element does not electrically connect any two of the contact elements with each other, while a wire entering the connector is not electrically connected to a wire-mounting member.
  • This may be advantageous in scenarios where electrical tension on the wire entering the connector may not be applied to more than one of the contact elements at any time. A removed short-circuit element in the interim position can ensure that the wire entering the connector can never be in electrical contact with both contact elements.
  • The connector of the present invention may further comprise a base.
  • The base may be shaped like an essentially flat plate or an open platform that offers space to support other elements. Advantageously, the base is non-conductive, in order to avoid interference with the electrically conductive parts of the connector, like the wire-mounting members, the contact elements or the short-circuit element. However, parts of base that can not interfere with the electrically conductive parts of the connector can be conductive, an example being a conductive coating on one side of the base, which may provide electrical shielding. The base may be made from a polymeric material. It may be made from a polymeric, electrically insulating material, like, for example, polypropylene, PVC, polyurethane, polyethylene, polycarbonate, or polyester.
  • The advantage of the connector of the present invention having a base is that a base can mechanically support contact elements, wire-mounting members, and/or a short-circuit element. A base may mechanically support one or more of the contact elements and/or one or more of the wire-mounting members.
  • The presence of a base can make the handling of the connector of the present invention easier, as single elements do not need to be handled independently.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise a base comprising a wall.
  • A wall, comprised in the base, is advantageous in that a wall may mechanically protect whatever is on one side of it against what is on the other side of it. A wall may thus protect contact elements, wire-mounting members or a short circuit element against mechanical or electrical effects. Advantageously, the wall is non-conductive, in order to avoid interference with the electrically conductive parts of the connector, like the wire-mounting members, the contact elements or the short-circuit element. However, parts of the wall that can not interfere with the electrically conductive parts of the connector can be conductive, an example being a conductive coating on one side of the wall forming a cavity, which may provide electrical shielding.
  • In a specific embodiment of the invention, the base comprises a wall that extends higher from a flat part of the base than the wire-mounting members extend from the flat portion of the base. When manually handling the base, for example, during assembly of the connector, the wall prevents that fingers of a person touch the wire-mounting members and deposit grease or dirt on the wire-mounting members. It may also prevent deformation of wire-mounting members, contact elements or a short-circuit element during handling of the connector.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise a base comprising a wall forming a cavity. A cavity may provide even more environmental protection against impacts from the outside of the cavity, like, for example, mechanical impacts, radiation, light, or electrically conductive items. A suitably shaped cavity further allows the use of gels or liquids inside the base, and prevents elements inside the cavity to be seen.
  • The cavity formed by a wall of the base may house in its inside one or more wire-mounting members, one or more contact elements or the short-circuit element of the present invention, or several or all of those.
  • A cavity comprised by the base may be open in certain areas, it may, for example, be open on one side, on two sides or on three sides, like, for example, a cube with three sides removed. The cavity may be open like, for example, a hemisphere or a pyramid without base or a cube without a base. It may have openings or sections where the wall is lowered. It may have a wire entrance section for allowing a wire to enter the connector. It may have hollow wire guiding tube for allowing a wire to enter the connector.
  • Inside the cavity, a recess may exist that provides space in which the short-circuit element may be accommodated in its short-circuit position and/or in its connected position.
  • Advantageously, the wall forming a cavity is non-conductive, in order to avoid interference with the electrically conductive parts of the connector, like the wire-mounting members, the contact elements or the short-circuit element. However, parts of the wall that can not interfere with the electrically conductive parts of the connector can be conductive, an example being a conductive coating on the outer side of the wall forming a cavity, which may provide electrical shielding.
  • If the connector comprises a wall forming a cavity, a contact element may extend from the inside of the cavity to the outside of the cavity. If the connector comprises a wall forming a cavity, a contact element may not extend to the outside of the cavity, but be accessible from the outside of the cavity.
  • In a specific embodiment of the invention, the base comprises a part that is shaped like a flat round plate. This part is encircled by a circular wall, located at the edge of the round-shaped part, and oriented perpendicular to it. The flat round part in conjunction with the circular wall form a cavity which has the shape of a simple bucket.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise a base wherein the base comprises at least two of the contact elements and at least two of the wire-mounting members.
  • The advantage of the connector of the present invention having a base comprising at least two of the contact elements and at least two of the wire-mounting members is that a conductive connection between these at least two contact elements and these at least two wire-mounting members may be mechanically rigid, as the distance between them is limited to the geometric size of the base. This conductive connection may, advantageously, be arranged inside a cavity formed by a wall of the base.
  • A further advantage is that these at least two contact elements and these at least two wire-mounting members comprised by the base can be handled more easily, for example in the assembly process, due to the fact that they are comprised by the same base.
  • It is also an advantage, that the at least two contact elements and these at least two wire-mounting members, comprised by the base, move with the base. They may not have to be brought into different positions individually, but they may be brought into different positions by bringing the base into a different position. For example, bringing the base and the elements comprised by it into a position closer to other elements of the connector is simpler than bringing the individual elements comprised by the base individually into respective positions closer to other elements of the connector. The advantage is even greater, if the transition from one position to another position is used to effect mechanical engagement of elements with other elements.
  • A further advantage is that the arrangement of at least two contact elements and these at least two wire-mounting members on the base may make the shape of a short-circuit element simpler, which may connect these at least two contact elements with each other. If the at least two contact elements are comprised in fixed positions on the base, a short-circuit element, used to electrically connect these at least two contact elements with each other in the short-circuit position of the connector, may have a simple shape, like, for example, a longitudinal shape with protrusions.
  • The connector of the present invention may further comprise a cap. Alternatively, the connector of the present invention may comprise a cap having a wall. Alternatively, the connector of the present invention may comprise a cap having a wall forming a cavity.
  • The words "cap" and "base", in the context of this patent application, do not refer to positions in space relative to each other. The cap, for example, may well be below the base or on a side of it. The base may be above the cap or on a side of it. This applies to both the short-circuit position of the connector and to its connected position.
  • The cap may be shaped like an essentially flat plate or an open platform that offers space to support other elements of the connector.
  • The advantage of the connector of the present invention having a cap is that a cap can mechanically support contact elements or wire-mounting members, or a short-circuit element. It may mechanically support one or more of the contact elements and at least one or more of the wire-mounting members. The presence of a cap can make the handling of the connector of the present invention easier, as single elements do not need to be handled independently.
  • A wall, comprised in the cap, is advantageous in that a wall may mechanically protect whatever is on one side of it against what is on the other side of it. A wall may thus mechanically protect contact elements, wire-mounting members or a short circuit element against impacts. In a specific embodiment of the invention, the cap comprises a wall that extends higher from the a flat portion of the cap than the short-circuit member extend from the flat portion of the cap. When manually handling the cap, for example, during assembly of the connector, the wall prevents that fingers of a person touch the short-circuit member and deposit grease or dirt on the short-circuit member. It may also prevent deformation of wire-mounting members, contact elements or a short-circuit element during handling of the connector.
  • Further, a cavity formed by a wall comprised in the cap may provide even more environmental protection against impacts from the outside of the cavity, like, for example, mechanical impacts, radiation, light, or electrically conductive items. A suitably shaped cavity further allows the use of gels or liquids inside the cap, and prevents elements inside the cavity to be seen.
  • A wall or walls forming a cavity may be transparent or translucent, entirely or in parts. In the short-circuit position of the connector, a transparent or translucent wall may allow to visually check if a wire entering the connector are in a correct position for connection to a wire-mounting member. In the connected position, a transparent or translucent wall may allow to visually check the proper mechanical connection of a wire entering the connector to a wire-mounting member.
  • In a specific embodiment of the invention, the cap comprises a part that is shaped like a flat round plate. This part is encircled by a circular wall, located at the edge of the round-shaped part, and oriented perpendicular to it. The flat round part in conjunction with the circular wall form a cavity which has the shape of a simple bucket.
  • Advantageously, the cap is non-conductive, in order to avoid interference with the electrically conductive parts of the connector, like the wire-mounting members, the contact elements or the short-circuit element. However, parts of cap that can not interfere with electrically conductive parts of the connector can be conductive, an example being a conductive coating on the outer side of the wall, which provides electrical shielding.
  • The cap may be made from an electrically insulating material. It may be made from a polymeric material. It may be made from a polymeric, electrically insulating material, like, for example, polypropylene, PVC, polyurethane, polyethylene, polycarbonate, or polyester.
  • The cavity formed by a wall of the cap may house in its inside one or more wire-mounting members, one or more contact elements or the short-circuit element of the present invention, or several or all of those.
  • A cavity comprised by the cap may be open in certain areas, it may, for example, be open on one side, on two sides or on three sides, like, for example, a cube with three sides removed. The cavity may be open like, for example, a hemisphere or a pyramid without base or a cube without a base. It may have openings or sections where the wall is lowered, or it may, for example, have a hollow wire guiding tube for allowing a wire to enter the connector.
  • The connector of the present invention may have a cap and a base, each one of cap and base having a respective wall forming a respective cavity.
  • The base, the cap and their walls may be arranged in a way to provide mechanical stability to the entire connector, and, for example, provide stability against bending or distortion of the connector. For example, if the cap has a flat rectangular portion whose circumference has a rectangular shape, and a wall portion extends perpendicularly to that flat portion and has its footline at the rectangular circumference of the flat portion, such that the wall portion consists of four adjacent, connected flat elements, this structure resembles a cube with one missing side and provides mechanical stability against torsion and compression.
  • If the base has a similar shape as the cap, with its wall portion having a slightly larger dimension than the wall portion of the cap, the wall portion of the cap may be introduced into the wall portion of the base, such that the respective flat portions of the base and the cap and their wall portions form essentially a cube. This structure is mechanically very stable against torsion, bending, distortion and pressure.
  • The structure may be even more stable if the wall portions of cap and base form mechanical connections with each other or mechanically engage with each other. This could, for example, be achieved by providing catches on the wall portion of either cap or base or both, and provide corresponding latches in the wall portion of the respective other element (base or cap), so that at least one catch mechanically engages with a corresponding latch. This could also, for example, be achieved by providing a row of raised parts or bumps on the wall portion of either cap or base or both, and provide a corresponding groove in the wall portion of the respective other element (base or cap), so that at least some bumps mechanically engage with the groove in a certain position of the cap with respect to the base.
  • Such bumps may be arranged such as to define two principal positions of cap and base relative to each other. Bumps may, for example, be arranged in two parallel rows on the outside of the wall portion of the cap, each row being parallel to the flat portion of the cap. A groove may, for example, be arranged on the inside of the wall portion of the base, running parallel to the flat portion of the base. When inserting the wall portion of the cap into the wall portion of the base, at a certain depth of insertion all bumps in the first row of the cap may engage with the groove in the base, this position then being one principal position of the cap relative to the base. When inserting the wall portion of the cap deeper into the wall portion of the base, at a certain depth of insertion a number of bumps in the second row on the cap may engage with the groove of the base, this position then being a second principal position of the cap relative to the base.
  • Similarly, catches and latches may be arranged such as to define two principal positions of cap and base relative to each other. Catches may, for example, be arranged in two parallel rows on the outside of the wall portion of the base, each row being parallel to the flat portion of the base. One or more latches may, for example be attached to the outside of a wall portion of the cap.
  • When inserting the wall portion of the cap into the wall portion of the base, at a certain depth of insertion the latches of the cap may engage with the catches of the first row on the base, this position being a first principal position of the cap relative to the base. This first principal position may be the short-circuit position of the connector.
  • When inserting the wall portion of the cap deeper into the wall portion of the base, at a certain depth of insertion the latches of the cap may engage with the catches of a second row of catches on the base, this position then being a second principal position of the cap relative to the base. This second principal position may be the connected position of the connector.
  • Alternatively, the base may have only one row of catches on one of its walls, defining a first principal position of the cap relative to the base, such that when inserting the wall portion of the cap deeper into the wall portion of the base, at a certain depth of insertion the latches of the cap may engage with an edge of a wall of the base, thus defining a second principal position of the cap relative to the base. The first principal position may be the short-circuit position of the connector, the second principal position may be the connected position of the connector.
  • In alternative embodiments, the base of the connector has one or more latches, and the cap has one or more catches, which may be arranged in one row or in several parallel rows.
  • When inserting the wall portion of the cap into the wall portion of the base, at a certain depth of insertion the first row of one or more catches of the cap may engage with the one or more latches on the base, this position being a first principal position of the cap relative to the base. This first principal position may be the short-circuit position of the connector.
  • When inserting the wall portion of the cap deeper into the wall portion of the base, at a certain depth of insertion the second row of one or more catches of the cap may engage with the one or more latches on the base, this position then being a second principal position of the cap relative to the base. This second principal position may be the connected position of the connector.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the base supports two contact elements and two wire-mounting members, the cap supports a short-circuit element, and these principal positions of cap and base relative to each other correspond to the short-circuit position and the connected position, respectively, of the contact elements, the wire-mounting members and the short-circuit element relative to each other.
  • In an embodiment of the invention, the cap supports at least one contact element, and the base supports at least one contact element.
  • The cap and the base may be at greater distance from each other in the short-circuit position of the connector, than they are in the connected position of the connector. The cap and the base may be movable with respect to each other. They may be movable with respect to each other such that by moving cap and base closer to each other, the short-circuit element moves from a position in which it electrically connects two or more contact elements with each other into a position in which it does not electrically connect two or more contact elements with each other.
  • The cap and the base may be in mechanical contact with each other in the short-circuit position of the connector. They may also be in mechanical contact in the connected position of the connector. The cap may have one or more catches or latches defining principal positions relative to the base, the catches and latches may define the short-circuit position and the connected position. The base may have catches and latches defining positions relative to the cap, the catches and latches may define the short-circuit position and the connected position. Alternatively, the cap may have bumps and/or grooves defining positions relative to the base, the bumps and reference grooves may define the short-circuit position and the connected position. The base may have bumps and/or grooves defining positions relative to the cap, the bumps and grooves may define the short-circuit position and the connected position. A combination of catches/latches with bumps/grooves may also be contemplated.
  • If the connector of the present invention comprises a base and a cap, the short-circuit element may be supported by the cap. It may also be supported by the base. In particular, it may be supported by the element, cap or base, that does not support the contact elements.
  • If the short-circuit element is supported by the cap, it may be brought from its short-circuit position into its connected position, relative to the contact elements and the wire-mounting members, by inserting the cap deeper into the base. If the short-circuit element is supported by the base, it may be brought from its short-circuit position into its connected position, relative to the contact elements and the wire-mounting members, by inserting a part of the cap deeper into the base.
  • If the connector comprises a base and a cap, a contact element may be mechanically supported by the base. It may alternatively be supported by the cap. In particular, it may be supported by the same element, cap or base, that supports the wire-mounting member to which it may be electrically connected. Alternatively, it may be supported by the element not supporting the wire-mounting member to which it is securely conductively connected.
  • If the connector comprises a base and a cap, a wire-mounting member may be mechanically supported by the base. It may also be supported by the cap. In particular, it may be supported by the same element, cap or base, that supports the contact element to which it is electrically connected. Alternatively, it may be supported by the element not supporting the contact element to which it is electrically connected.
  • One of cap or base may comprise an actuator. The actuator may have two principal positions, one of which corresponds to the short-circuit position, the other one corresponds to the connected position of the elements of the connector. The actuator may, for example, be a mechanical toggle switch, for example one comprising a lever, or a rotary switch. The actuator may be adapted to move elements of the connector from their short-circuit position into their connected position. The connector (2) is in its short-position, when the contact elements (4), wire-mounting members (26) and short-circuit element (50) are arranged in the short-circuit position relative to each other. The connector (2) is in its connected position, when the contact elements (4), wire-mounting members (26) and short-circuit element (50) are arranged in the connected position relative to each other.
  • The connector of the present invention may have a cap and a base, wherein the base and the cap form a single cavity.
  • The advantage of base and cap forming a single cavity is that this single cavity protects whatever is inside it against impacts from the outside of the cavity, like, for example, mechanical impacts, humidity, radiation, light, or electrically conductive items. A suitably shaped cavity further allows the use of functional gases, gels or liquids inside the connector, and may prevent elements inside the cavity to be seen from all directions.
  • An example of a single cavity adapted to provide particular protection of its inside is one where the contact elements are integrated into the base by a moulding process, so that no gas or liquid can enter or leave the cavity in any path along the contact elements.
  • If both the cap and the base comprise a respective wall forming a respective cavity, the walls of the cap and the walls of the base may form a single cavity in the short-circuit position of the connector. They may also form a single cavity in the connected position. In the connected position, a portion of the cap may have been inserted deeper into a portion of the base than in the short-circuit position. Thus, the cavity formed in the connected position may be smaller than the cavity formed in the short-circuit position.
  • The connector of the present invention may have at least two wire-mounting members and/or the short-circuit element that are arranged inside a single cavity.
  • An advantage of wire-mounting members or a short-circuit element or both being arranged inside a single cavity is that these elements then are protected against mechanical or environmental impacts from outside the cavity. These impacts may, for example, be humidity, radiation, liquids, gases, light, or electrically conductive items.
  • If a wire entering the connector is securely mechanically and electrically connected to a wire-mounting member arranged inside a single cavity, the place of contact between wire and wire-mounting element is also protected against mechanical and environmental impacts, thus increasing the reliability of the connector of the present invention.
  • Further, the arrangement of wire-mounting members and/or a short-circuit element inside a single cavity prevents these elements to be seen from all directions. This may be required for safety-critical applications in which elements of a connector should not be visible to everybody.
  • Also, the arrangement of wire-mounting members and/or a short-circuit element inside a single cavity provides for an opportunity to shield those elements against electromagnetic radiation that may be present outside the cavity, for example, by coating the cavity with an electrically conductive material. It also provides for an opportunity to confine electromagnetic radiation originating from these elements inside the cavity and avoid electromagnetic disturbances outside the cavity, for example, by coating the cavity with an electrically conductive material.
  • The wall or walls forming the single cavity may comprise suitable conductive parts or conductive layers, so that the cavity may become a Faraday cage, thus confining electromagnetic radiation originating inside the cavity to the inside of the cavity, and preventing radiation originating outside the cavity from entering the cavity and interfering with the electrical elements inside.
  • Besides wire-mounting members and a short-circuit element being arranged inside a single cavity of the connector, also one or more of the contact elements may be arranged inside the single cavity.
  • The single cavity may be formed by a wall or by walls comprised in the cap, the base or both, if the connector has a base or a cap or both. The single cavity may also be formed by a wall or by walls which are not comprised in a cap or in a base of the connector.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise an electrically-insulating liquid or gel.
  • An advantage of a connector comprising insulating liquid or gel is that this liquid or gel may prevent corrosion of conductive elements in the connector. The connector may comprise a single cavity that may be essentially closed on all sides and thus provide a confined space, in which, for example, a gas, a liquid or a gel may be arranged. The wall or walls forming the single cavity may be suitably designed to provide a sealing to the cavity and thus prevent gas, liquid or gel from leaving the cavity, or prevent gas, liquid or gel entering the cavity and interacting with elements arranged inside the cavity.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise a short-circuit element that is resilient.
  • With a resilient short-circuit member it is possible to use a simple design of the short-circuit element for establishing a reliable electrical connection between two or more contact elements in the short-circuit position. An external, spring-loaded support for the short-circuit element is not required. This reduces manufacturing cost of the connector, and enhances its reliability.
  • The short-circuit element of the present invention may in other ways behave like a spring. It may, for example, have different shapes in the short-circuit position of the connector and in the connected position of the connector, respectively. The short-circuit element may be flexible like, for example, a soft bendable wire or a non-woven material.
  • A resilient short-circuit member may, for example, have two arms or protrusions that can be bent elastically towards each other and away from each other. In manufacturing of the connector, these two arms may be positioned between two contact elements under mechanical elastic tension. The elastic spring force of the arms of the resilient short-circuit member will, for example, push the arms away from each other against the respective contact elements, whereby each arm makes electrical contact with a respective contact element. By virtue of the short-circuit element being conductive, the arms are electrically connected with each other, and the two contact elements, between which the arms are positioned, are thus electrically connected, too.
  • The contact elements may be arranged at a distance between each other that is smaller than the distance between the distal ends of the arms of the short-circuit element. Due to the short-circuit element being resilient, its arms can only be pushed between the contact elements by exerting a certain force. By this, an accidental positioning of the short-circuit element between the contact elements may be prevented.
  • Once arranged between the contact elements, the force with which the arms are resiliently pressed against the contact elements, increases the static friction between the arms and the contact elements, and may thus prevent the short-circuit element from slipping out of its position. This position of the short-circuit member relative to the contact elements may be the short-circuit position in which contact elements, wire-mounting members and short-circuit element may be arranged.
  • In another embodiment, the resilient short-circuit element comprises a bell-shaped portion, through which two or more contact elements are electrically connected with each other in the short-circuit position of the connector. When the bell-shaped portion is positioned between contact elements, it is elastically deformed. The rotational symmetry of a bell-shape may in specific cases be advantageous in that it may make angular positioning of the short-circuit element easier.
  • Resilience refers to elastic deformation upon application of non-excessive mechanical force, i.e. upon application of forces that are typically and normally used to install electrical connectors.
  • The short-circuit element may, for example, be made from a piece of sheet metal, which provides resilience to the short-circuit element. The short-circuit element may be resilient against mechanical bending forces in a single direction. It may be resilient against torsion or against compression. Resilience may be achieved or enhanced by suitable forming the short-circuit element, select an appropriately resilient material for it or by the short-circuit element comprising elastic elements.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise a short-circuit element that has a U-shaped portion. A U-shaped portion is advantageous in that its two arms may easily be designed to be resilient. The U-shape can be manufactured in a cost-effective way and may consume less material than other shapes.
  • The arms of the "U" may be suitably shaped so that the short-circuit element can be easily pushed between two contact elements during assembly of the connector, an arm of a "U" may, for example, have a shape like an arrow or a "V". Each arm of the "U" may be shaped differently. Each of them may be have a symmetrical shape or an asymmetrical shape.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise a short-circuit element that has a portion that is accessible from the outside of the connector.
  • Having an externally accessible portion is beneficial in that it allows manufacturing of the connector in "insert moulding" technology, which is a cost-effective way of production, particular in a reel-to-reel production process. If an externally-accessible portion of the short-circuit element is present, it can be used to position and hold the short-circuit element in place during moulding, which allows for a higher degree of automation of the manufacturing process.
  • A short-circuit element that is accessible from the outside of the connector brings along the further benefit of being able to electrically contact the short circuit element after assembly of the connector and thus provides an opportunity to test the assembly.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise an opening for a wire entering the connector. An opening permits easy positioning of a wire entering the connector, making installation of the present connector more cost-effective. An opening is further advantageous in that it defines a clear path into the connector for a wire, which is particularly beneficial for a thin or fragile wire that may break if exposed to sharp bending or shear.
  • If the connector of the present invention has a base, the opening may be arranged in the base or a wall of the base. If the connector of the present invention has a cap, the opening may be arranged in the cap or a wall of the cap. An opening may also be formed by cap and base together.
  • One such opening may be suitably shaped and sized to allow one single wire to enter the connector, or it may be suitably shaped and sized to allow two or more wires to enter the connector.
  • An opening may, for example, be in the form of a hole or of a hollow tube. An opening may be suitably shaped to guide a wire towards a certain target point in the connector. It may, for example, be in the form of a hollow tube, the long axis of which is aligned such as to point at one wire-mounting member.
  • The connector of the present invention may comprise one or more sealing ribs. In combination with a suitably shaped container, for example, a tube, such ribs may provide simple and cost-effective means to prevent liquids or gases from entering the container, thus protecting the content of the container from environmental impacts.
  • Sealing ribs may, for example, be made of a soft, elastic material, for example of a polymer containing plasticizer, or of rubber.
  • Brief Description of the Drawings
  • The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the following Figures exemplifying particular embodiments of the invention:
  • Fig. 1a, b
    seismic detonator fuse head device, connector according to the invention, and wires;
    Fig. 2
    connector base with wire-mounting members and contact elements;
    Fig. 3
    connector cap with short-circuit element;
    Fig. 4a, b, c, d
    connector short-circuit elements;
    Fig. 5
    connector in short-circuit position;
    Fig. 6
    connector in connected position;
    Fig. 7a, b, c
    wire-mounting members and contact elements;
    Fig. 8
    wire-mounting members with wire connected;
    Fig. 9
    connector directly connected to fuse head;
    Fig. 10
    connector base with alternative short circuit element;
    Fig. 11
    connector base with alternative short-circuit element;
    Fig. 12
    connector base with wire-mounting members and contact elements;
    Fig. 13
    connector base with catches;
    Fig. 14
    connector cap with latches and short-circuit element;
    Fig. 15
    connector in short-circuit position, and
    Fig. 16
    connector in connected position.
    Description of Embodiments
  • Herein below various embodiments of the present invention are described and shown in the drawings wherein like elements are provided with the same reference numbers.
    • In Figure 1a , a connector 2 according to the invention is sketched, electrically connected on one side to a seismic detonator fuse head device 68. The respective ends 32 of contact elements 4, protruding from connector 2, are shaped to form spring contacts, into which the contacts of device 68 are pushed. On the other side of connector 2, two wires 10 entering the connector 2 connect the connector 2 electrically to a power supply 12, which, when activated, provides electrical energy through the wires 10 and through the connector 2 to the device 68 so that the detonator (not shown) is fired. Connector 2 comprises a base 14 and a cap 38, which are shown in detail in Figures 2 and 3, respectively.
    • Figure 1b shows a connector 2 according to the invention, electrically connected to a seismic detonator fuse head device 68 in a different manner. It is connected on one side via two contact elements 4 to two wires 6 leading to the device 68. The wires 6 are connected to the contact elements 4 of connector 2 by welding or soldering, and, on their other end, they are connected to the contacts of device 68 by welding or soldering. On the other side of connector 2, the connection to a power supply 12 is effected in the manner described above.
    • Figure 2 shows the base 14 of the connector 2 of Figure 1. It comprises walls 16, 18, which form an oval-shaped cavity 22. Wall 18 is essentially flat and has an oval-shaped circumference, it forms a base plate for installation of contact elements 4 and wire-mounting members 26. Wall 18 is appropriately shaped to accommodate the contact elements 4 such that their side facing cavity 22 is flush with the side of wall 18 facing cavity 22. Wall 18 is thick enough to accommodate contact elements 4 completely, so contact elements 4 are not exposed on the side of wall 18 that is directed away from the cavity 22.
    • Wall 16 extends perpendicularly from wall 18, its foot is located at the circumference of wall 18. It encircles an oval space, and forms, in conjunction with wall 18, the cavity 22. Wall 16 has a thickness that is suitable for providing mechanical stability to the base 14 and for leaving sufficient space inside cavity 22 to accommodate contact elements 4, and wire-mounting members 26. Wall 16 has recesses 27 that accommodate corresponding guides 48 (see Figure 3) of cap 38, so that recesses 27 and guides 48 form a tight fit and prevent rotation of cap 38 with respect to the base 14.
  • Wall 16 has a further groove 29 that corresponds to two rows of raised bumps 52a, 52b (see Figure 3) comprised in wall 42 of cap 38. The groove 29 serves to fix the cap 38 relative to base 14 at certain depths of insertion. The groove 29 engages with corresponding bumps 52a in cap 38 in the short-circuit position of the connector 2.
    The groove 29 engages with corresponding bumps 52b in cap 38 in the connected position of the connector 2.
    Wall 16 is lower in a wire entrance section 24 in order to accommodate wire-guide tubes 54 (see Figure 3) of cap 38 when the connector is in the connected position, which is depicted in Figure 6.
  • The base 14 has a cylindrical protrusion 34 that makes handling easier and is shaped such as to serve as mechanical support when installing a system comprising the connector 2. Contact elements 4 extend through protrusion 34 longitudinally. Protrusion 34 is not hollow, but solid, and is made of a polymeric material, which is electrically insulating. It has a recess 36 to accommodate an O-ring (not shown). Protrusion 34 can be inserted into a protective tube (not shown), such that the O-ring provides sealing between protrusion 34 and the tube.
  • The protrusion 34 also comprises three circular sealing ribs 37, slightly raised above the outer surface of protrusion 34, which are made from a soft material. When protrusion 34 is inserted into a different protective tube (not shown), these ribs 37 may elastically contact the inner wall of that tube and provide sealing against any liquids entering the tube, even when no O-ring is used. Three sealing ribs 37 offer a higher degree of sealing than a single rib 37 would provide.
  • Base 14 is made from an electrically insulating polymeric material, in this case a polypropylene. The base 14 mechanically supports two longitudinally-shaped contact elements 4 and two wire-mounting members 26. The wire-mounting members 26 are shaped to form insulation displacement contacts, and they are electrically connected to the contact elements 4. Each wire-mounting member 26 and the contact element 4, to which this wire-mounting member is electrically connected, are one piece, typically stamped out of a single piece of conductive metal and bent rectangularly.
  • The contact elements 4 are arranged parallel to each other and extend from the inside of the cavity 22 to the outside of the cavity 22, leading through protrusion 34. The respective ends of the contact elements 4, forming the wire-mounting members 26, are located inside cavity 22. The contact elements 4 are each, at one of their respective ends 32 located opposite to the ends forming the wire-mounting members 26, shaped such that they can be connected easily to contacts (not shown) comprised by a detonator or a device 68 (as is shown in Figure 9), such as a fuse head.
  • The end portion 32 of each contact element may be shaped to form a U-shaped spring contact, such that between the tips of the "U" a wire 6 or a contact of a device 68 can be inserted. The tips of the "U" are closer together than the middle portion of the "U" in order to prevent a wire 6 or a contact inserted between them from slipping out accidentally.
  • The contact element 4 is made from metal, which offers a certain degree of elasticity. Thus, when inserting a contact or a wire 6, the ends of the U-shaped spring contact are bent away from each other elastically, and they will return to their normal position, shown in Figures 2 and 7b, once the contact or the wire 6 has entered the U-shaped end portion 32 of contact element 4.
  • Inside the cavity 22, between the contact elements 4, there is a rectangular recess 30 in the wall 18 of base 14, extending from one contact element 4 to the other contact element 4. As is shown in Figure 5, this recess provides space to accommodate parts of a short-circuit element 50, which is described in more detail in Figures 3 and 4a, b, c, and d, in the short-circuit position and in the connected position of the connector 2. Parts of two sides of the recess 30 are formed by the contact elements 4. Those surfaces of contact elements 4 forming the sides of the recess 30 are conductive.
  • Figure 3 is a detailed sketch of the cap 38 of connector 2 in Figure 1. The cap 38 comprises walls 42 and 44 which form a cavity 46.
  • Wall 44 is essentially flat and has an oval-shaped circumference, essentially identical to size and shape of wall 18 of base 14. It forms a base plate for installation of short-circuit element 50 and stop 56. Wall 44 is thick enough to firmly support the short-circuit element 50, so that the short-circuit element is not exposed on the side of wall 44 that is directed away from the cavity 46.
  • Wall 42 extends perpendicularly from wall 44, its foot is located slightly inward from the circumference of wall 44. Wall 42 encircles an oval space, and forms, in conjunction with wall 44, a cavity 46. Wall 42 has a thickness that is suitable for providing mechanical stability to the cap 38 and for leaving sufficient space inside cavity 46 to accommodate a short-circuit element 50 and a stop 56.
  • Wall 42 comprises guides 48, extending perpendicular from wall 44, suitably shaped to fit tightly with the corresponding recesses 27 of base 14, when base 14 and cap 38 are in the connected position of connector 2, shown in Figure 6. In the connected position, recesses 27 and guides 48 form a tight fit and prevent rotation of cap 38 with respect to the base 14.
  • The guides 48 extend far enough from wall 44 to enter into the corresponding recesses 27 of the base 14 in the short-circuit position of the connector and prevent rotation of cap 38 versus base 14 in the short-circuit position shown in Figure 5.
  • The walls 42 and 44 are made from a non-conductive polymeric material, such as polypropylene. The wall 44 has an oval shape, similar in shape and size to the wall 18 of the base 14. The outer dimension of the wall 42 is approximately the same as the inner dimension of the wall 16 of the base 14, so that the part of the cap 38 encircled by walls 42 can be inserted into the part of the base 14 encircled by its walls 16 and form a mechanical connection.
  • Guides 48 mechanically fit with corresponding recesses 27 in base 14 to allow for insertion of cap 38 into base 14 in a defined angular position, and raised bumps 52a, 52b, engaging mechanically with groove 29 in the wall 16 of base 14, serve to fix the cap 38 relative to base 14 at certain depths of insertion. The lower row of bumps 52a mechanically defines the short-circuit position of the connector 2, the upper row of bumps 52b defines the connected position of connector 2. The lower row of bumps 52a engages with corresponding groove 29 in the base 14 in the short-circuit position of the connector 2.
  • The upper row of bumps 52b, located closer to wall 44, mechanically defines the connected position of connector 2. The upper row of bumps 52b engages with corresponding groove 29 in base 14 in the connected position of the connector 2.
  • The cap 38 supports one short-circuit element 50, which is firmly mechanically connected to a support bar (not visible), which is firmly connected to wall 44. The support bar is made from the same, non-conductive material as the wall 44 of cap 38, and forms one piece with wall 44.
  • Attached to the wall 42 of the cap 38 are two hollow cylindrical wire guide tubes 54, leading towards the wire-mounting members 26, through which wires 10 can enter the connector 2. Each wire guide tube 54 provides an opening through which a wire 10 can enter the connector 2. Each wire guide tube 54 leads a wire 10 to a wire-mounting member 26 such that wire 10 can be securely connected to a wire-mounting member 26. The tubes 54 are made from non-conductive polymeric material, and the tubes 54 and the walls 42, 44 are one piece. In the connected position of connector 2, the tubes 54 occupy the wire entrance section 24 of the wall 16 of base 14. The tubes have an inner diameter large enough to accommodate a wire 10 entering the connector 2.
  • A wire 10 entering the connector 2 through one of the openings provided by wire guiding tubes 54 can only be pushed inside until it hits stop 56. Stop 56 is made from non-conductive polymeric material, and is attached to the wall 44 of the cap. It is oriented perpendicularly to the cylindrical axis of wire-guiding tubes 54. Its presence ensures that a wire 10 can not be pushed too far into connector 2, it prevents wire 10 from forming an electrical contact with the short-circuit element 50 in the short-circuit position and in the connected position of the connector.
  • In Figure 4a , the short-circuit element 50 of Figure 3 is shown in more detail. It has a holding section 60, two transition sections 62, two protrusions 58, extending from the transition sections 62, and is resilient, such that the protrusions 58 can be flexibly bent towards each other. The short-circuit element 50 can be made out of a flat piece of resilient conductive material by stamping out an essentially U-shaped piece of that material, and bending the open ends of the U-shaped piece in opposite directions. These open ends will then form the protrusions 58 depicted in Figure 4a.
  • The protrusions 58 will be in contact with contact elements 4, and the short circuit element 50 electrically connects two contact elements 4 with each other in the short-circuit position of connector 2 (as shown in Figure 5). The electrical contact between contact elements 4 is established by virtue of the short-circuit element 50 providing an electrically conductive path between its protrusions 58. The short-circuit element 50 shown in Figure 4a is made of conductive material, so that electric current can flow from one protrusion 58 to the other protrusion 58 through the bulk of the material, through the transition sections 62 and through holding section 60.
  • An alternative shape of the short-circuit element 50a is shown in Figure 4b , wherein the short-circuit element 50a is essentially arrow-shaped and flat, it has a holding section 60a and a single transition section 62a. Each of its two protrusions 58a, both located close to one end of the element 50a and opposite to each other has a triangular shape. The short-circuit element 50a is resilient and flexible against torsion forces around its longitudinal axis, and it permits the protrusions 58a to be elastically bent around the longitudinal axis of element 50a with respect to holding section 60a.
  • The entire short-circuit element 50a is made out of a flat piece of resilient conductive material by stamping out an essentially arrow-shaped piece of that material. As the entire element 50a is made from a conductive material, it provides an electrically conductive path between its protrusions 58a, and in particular between their portions located distant from the longitudinal axis of element 50a.
  • A further alternative short-circuit element 50b is shown in Figure 4c , the short-circuit element 50b comprises a holding section 60b and a U-shaped portion having two arms, each of which comprises a transition section 62b and a protrusion 58b, extending from the transition section 62. The transition sections 62b are arranged closer to the vertex of the U-shaped short-circuit element 50b, whereas the protrusions are arranged at the distal part of the arms of the "U". The arms of the "U"-shaped portion are resilient and can be elastically bent towards each other when the short-circuit element 50b is pushed between suitably-spaced contact elements 4. The holding section 60b, the transition sections 62b and the protrusions 58b lie in one geometric plane. Their extension in a direction perpendicular to the plane is small, so that they are thin, compared to their extension within the plane. In the plane defined by holding section 60b, transition sections 62b and protrusions 58b, the protrusions 58 extend further from the central symmetry axis of the U-shaped portion than the transition sections 62b.
  • The short-circuit element 50b further comprises a protrusion 63, which protrudes out of the geometrical plane defined by the holding section 60b, the transition sections 62b and the protrusions 58b. Once the connector 2 is assembled, this protrusion 63 will extend through a wall of cap 38 and be accessible from outside the connector, as shown in Figure 14, both in the short-circuit position and in the connected position of connector 2. Protrusion 63 is made out of the same conductive material as the other portions of short-circuit element 50b are. The presence of protrusion 63 allows manufacturing of the connector 2 in "insert moulding" technology, which is a cost-effective way of production, particular in a reel-to-reel production process. Protrusion 63 is used to position and hold the short-circuit element 50b in place during moulding, which allows for a higher degree of automation of the manufacturing process.
  • Figure 4d shows a further alternative short-circuit element 50c. In this embodiment, the short-circuit element 50c has the shape of an "S", and it is attached to a first contact element 4c. Short-circuit element 50c is made out of the same piece of conductive metal as contact element 4c, and it is thus electrically connected to this one contact element 4c.
  • Short-circuit element 50c is resilient, and it is shaped and positioned suitably to contact a pin 61, which is comprised in and electrically connected to the second contact element 4. In the short-circuit position of connector 2, short-circuit element 50c electrically contacts pin 61 and is pressed, by virtue of its resilience, against pin 61. In this configuration, short-circuit element 50c thus electrically connects contact elements 4 and 4c with each other.
  • Short-circuit element 50c is S-shaped, forming, at one end, an open "V" in combination with the top portion of pin 61, such that a non-conductive wedge-shaped portion 105 of cap 38 (see Figure 15b) can be pushed, with little force, between short-circuit element 50c and pin 61, so that short-circuit element 50c and pin 61 are not in electrical contact. This is the case in the connected position of connector 2. In this connected position, short-circuit element 50c does not electrically connect the two contact elements 4, 4c with each other.
  • In the embodiment shown in Figure 4d, the short-circuit element 50c is located in the base 14 of connector 2, which supports contact elements 4 and 4c, and the wedge-shaped portion 105 that can be pushed between short-circuit element 50c and pin 61 is comprised in the cap 38 of connector 2, as is shown in Figures 15b and 16b.
  • Figure 5 shows a 3-dimensional cross-sectional view of the connector 2 of Figure 1. Connector 2 is in its short-circuit position. Base 14 and cap 38 are arranged such that cap 38 is partially inserted into the cavity 22 formed by the walls 16, 18 of the base 14. Guides 48 are partially inserted into recesses 27 (not visible). The lower row of bumps 52a in cap 38 is mechanically engaged with the corresponding groove 29 of base 14.
  • The short-circuit element 50 electrically connects the two contact elements 4 with each other. This is effected by its two protrusions 58 electrically contacting the contact elements 4, and the protrusions being electrically connected with each other.
  • The figure shows two wire-mounting members 26 with no wire connected to any of them. The cap 38 and the base 14 form a single cavity 64. The short-circuit element 50 occupies some space in recess 30. No wire is entering the connector 2 through the wire guide tubes 54. Wires 6 or a device 68 may or may not be connected to end portions 32 (not visible in this figure) of contact elements 4.
  • The size of the base 14 and the cap 38, in particular the height of walls 16 and 42, and the length and shape of the short-circuit element 50 and its protrusions 58 are chosen such that in an interim position (not shown) between the short-circuit position and the connected position of the connector 2, wires 10 entering the connector 2 are electrically connected to wire-mounting members 26, and short-circuit element 50 still electrically connects the contact elements 4 with each other.
  • Figure 6 is a 3-dimensional cross-sectional view of connector 2 of Figure 5 in the connected position. Base 14 and cap 38 are arranged such that cap 38 is fully inserted into the cavity 22 formed by the walls 16, 18 of the base. In this position, the guides 48 are fully inserted into recesses 27 (not visible in Figure 6). The upper row of bumps 52b in cap 38 is mechanically engaged with the corresponding groove 29 of base 14. Two wires 10 enter the connector 2 through the wire guide tubes 54. Not visible in this figure is the connection of wires 10 to wire-mounting members 26, this is sketched in Figure 8.
  • Compared to the short-circuit position sketched in Figure 5, the cap 38 is inserted deeper into the cavity 22 formed by the walls 16 and 18 of the base 14, so that the cap 38 and the base 14 form a single cavity 64. The cavity 64 is smaller in the connected position than in the short-circuit position of the connector 2.
  • Due to the cap 38 being inserted fully into the cavity 22 formed by the base 14, and the contact elements 4, the wire-mounting members 26 and the short-circuit element 50 being arranged in their connected position relative to each other, the short-circuit element 50 does not electrically connect the two contact elements 4 with each other, and its protrusions 58 are located entirely in the recess 30 of the base 14.
  • Figure 7a is a sketch of two contact elements 4 in more detail. Each contact element 4 is, at one end, electrically connected to a wire-mounting member 26, the contact element 4 and the wire-mounting member 26 typically being one piece of conductive metal. The other end 32 of each contact element 4 has a rectangular profile and is shaped to facilitate soldering, welding or crimping of wires 6 or a device 68 to these other ends 32 of contact elements 4.
  • In Figure 7b , a different embodiment of contact elements 4 is shown. Each contact element 4 is, at one end, electrically connected to a wire-mounting member 26, the contact element 4 and the wire-mounting member 26 typically being one piece of conductive metal. The other end 32 of each contact element 4 is shaped to form a spring contact which facilitates mechanical and electrical contact to a wire 6 leading to, for example, a device 68, such as a seismic detonator fuse head, or mechanical and electrical contact to a device 68 directly. Each contact element 4 comprises a twisted portion 66 which allows end portion 32 to have a suitable orientation, while the entire contact element 4 and the wire-mounting member 26 can still be made out of one piece of sheet metal, which is advantageous in terms of production cost. Each wire-mounting member 26 is shaped to form an insulation-displacing contact.
  • Figure 7c shows yet another embodiment of two contact elements 4, 4c, where short-circuit element 50c is attached and electrically connected to one contact element 4c. The other contact element 4 comprises pin 61, against which short-circuit element 50c is resiliently pressed in the short-circuit position of connector 2. Contact element 4c, short-circuit element 50c and wire-mounting member 26 are made out of one piece of conductive metal. Contact element 4, pin 61 and wire-mounting member 26 are made out of a different piece of conductive metal. The other end 32 of each contact element 4, 4c has a rectangular profile as the embodiment shown in Figure 7a, and is suitably shaped to facilitate soldering, welding or crimping of wires 6 or a device 68 to this other end 32 of respective contact elements 4, 4c.
  • Figure 8 is another detailed sketch of the base 14 of the connector 2, with wires 10 connected to wire-mounting members 26. The wire-mounting members 26 are shaped to form insulation displacement contacts. Each wire-mounting member 26 is securely mechanically and electrically connected to a wire 10 entering the connector 2.
  • This secure mechanical and electrical connection is effected by forcing wire 10 between two cutting edges of wire-mounting member 26, whereby the inner edges of wire-mounting members 26 cut through the outer insulation of wire 10 and establish an electrically conductive connection between these edges of wire-mounting member 26 and the conductive interior part of wire 10. As the cutting edges of wire-mounting member 26 exert considerable force on wire 10, both in the axial and in the radial direction of the wire 10, wire 10 is securely mechanically connected to the wire-mounting member 26 and held firmly in its position, once it is fully forced between the cutting edges of wire-mounting member 26.
  • The wire-mounting member 26 in the form of an IDC acts as a one-way connector, and removing wire 10 from the IDC would require excessive mechanical force or a tool.
  • One of the wire-mounting members 26 is arranged closer to protrusion 34 than the other wire-mounting member 26. This staggered arrangement of the wire-mounting members 26 is advantageous to achieve smaller lateral extensions of the base 14 of connector 2 and thus of connector 2 as a whole, because the two contact elements 4 can be arranged closer to each other.
  • Figure 9 is a view of connector 2, directly connected to a device 68. In this embodiment, the device 68 is a fuse head for a seismic detonator (not shown). The device 68 comprises two conductive contacts 70 that are essentially flat. These contacts 70 have been pushed between the two U-shaped end portions 32 of contact elements 4, respectively. As described above, the two end portions 32 of a contact element 4 form a U-shaped spring contact, they are made from resilient metal, and so the ends of the "U" can be pushed apart by a contact 70 entering between the ends of the "U". The resilient force of the end portions 32 provides for mechanical and electrical connection between end portions 32 and contacts 70. The elements of connector 2 are in their connected position, and the cap 38 is fully inserted into the cavity 22 formed by the walls 16, 18 of base 14. Two wires 10 enter connector 2 and are securely electrically and mechanically connected to wire-mounting members 26 (not visible).
  • Figure 10 shows an alternative embodiment of the base 14 of the connector 2 of the present invention, wherein the short-circuit element 50d has a cubical shape. The short-circuit element 50d, the contact elements 4 and the wire-mounting members 26 are arranged in the short-circuit position with respect to each other. In this embodiment the short-circuit element 50d is arranged in the base 14, such that it mechanically and electrically connects the contact elements 4 with each other. The short-circuit element 50d is made entirely of conductive material. It is one solid piece and is held in place between contact elements 4 by pressure exerted by these contact elements 4 and the resulting friction between their exposed surfaces and the surface of the short-circuit element 50d contacting them. Recess 30, located in base 14 underneath the short-circuit element 50d, provides space to accommodate the short-circuit element 50d in the connected position of the connector 2. The wire-mounting members 26 are arranged next to each other in a line, as opposed to the staggered arrangement shown in Figure 2.
  • Contact elements 4 have end portions 32 that have a simple rectangular profile. This shape is advantageous for connecting other electrical elements like, for example, wires, a printed-circuit board or a detonator fuse head (not shown) to that end of the contact elements. This connection may, for example, be effected by welding, soldering, crimping, or it may be effected adhesively, or by a friction-based mechanism.
  • Connector 2 is brought from its short-circuit position into its connected position (not shown) by pushing cap 38 deeper into base 14, so that the short-circuit element 50d is pushed into recess 30 so that it does not electrically connect the contact elements 4 with each other..
  • Figure 11 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the base 14 of a connector 2 according to the present invention, in its short-circuit position. In the embodiment shown here, the short-circuit element 50e has the shape of a long bar with a rectangular cross section. The short-circuit element 50e is made of an electrically conductive material. In the short-circuit position of the connector, which is shown in this drawing, its first end is located in the cavity 22 formed by the walls 16, 18 of base 14, its second end is located outside the cavity. The short-circuit element 50e is arranged between the two wire-mounting members 26 such that it is in mechanical and electrical contact with the end portion of contact element 4, shaped as a wire-mounting member 26, on one of its sides, and with the other contact element 4, shaped as a wire-mounting member 26, on its opposite side.
  • The short-circuit element 50e is movable along its long direction with respect to the base 14 and the contact elements 4 and the wire-mounting members 26. Its movement is guided by two brick-shaped guiding elements 74 of non-conductive material, which are protruding from wall 18. These guiding elements are arranged at a suitable distance from each other, such that they slideably contact two side surfaces of short-circuit element 50e. The guiding elements are of non-conductive polymer and are firmly attached to wall 18 or form one piece with wall 18.
  • The longitudinal movement of short-circuit element 50e is limited by a stop 72. Stop 72 has a cubical shape, protrudes from wall 18, and is of non-conductive polymer, it is firmly attached to wall 18 or forms one piece with wall 18. It is sized such that the end of short-circuit element 50e which is located inside cavity 22 can not move further into cavity 22, it rises above wall 18 sufficiently high such that it reliably stops short-circuit element 50e from being pushed deeper into cavity 22. However, it is located suitably to allow short-circuit element 50e to be located sufficiently deep in cavity 22 to form an electrical contact with the ends of contact elements 4, shaped as wire-mounting members 26.
  • A recess in wire entrance section 24 of wall 16 permits short-circuit element 50e to have one of its ends inside cavity 22 and its other end outside the cavity 22. The recess in wall 16 is shaped to be in slideable contact with short-circuit element 50e, so that it acts as a guide and, together with guiding elements 74, limits the movement of short-circuit element 50e to the direction along its long axis.
  • Short-circuit element 50e protrudes sufficiently far to the outside of cavity 22, so that its end located outside the cavity 22 can be securely gripped with fingers or a tool to pull short-circuit element 50e into a position where short-circuit element 50e is located completely outside the cavity 22 of connector 2. In this position, short-circuit element 50e does not electrically connect the two contact elements 4 with each other, this position thus being the connected position of the connector 2.
  • Figure 12 is a representation of an alternative base 14 of connector 2. It comprises walls 16, 18, which form cavity 22. Wall 18 has an essentially flat surface facing cavity 22, and has a generally O-shaped circumference, it forms a base for contact elements 4 and wire-mounting members 26. Wall 18 is appropriately shaped to accommodate the contact elements 4 such that their respective sides facing cavity 22 are flush with the side of wall 18 facing cavity 22. Wall 18 is thick enough to accommodate contact elements 4 completely, so contact elements 4 are not exposed on the side of wall 18 that is directed away from the cavity 22.
  • Wall 16 extends perpendicularly from wall 18, its foot is located at the circumference of wall 18. It encircles a generally O-shaped space, and forms, in conjunction with wall 18, a cavity 22. Wall 16 has a thickness that is suitable for providing mechanical stability to the base 14 and for leaving sufficient space inside cavity 22 to accommodate contact elements 4, and wire-mounting members 26. Wall 16 has recesses 27 that accommodate the corresponding guides 120 (see Figure 14) of cap 38, so that recesses 27 and guides 120 form a tight fit and prevent rotation of cap 38 with respect to the base 14.
  • For the same purpose, guides 88 protrude from wall 16. They correspond to recesses 125 in wall 42 of the cap 38, into which they fit tightly. The combination of guides 88 and recesses 125 provides mechanical guidance for the translation of cap 38 and base 14 towards each other, when the connector 2 is brought from a short-circuit position into a connected position.
  • Wall 16 further has, on opposite sides, a pair of catches 80 (one of which is visible in the figure) and another pair of catches 85 (only one is visible in Figure 12), which correspond to a pair of latches 90 in cap 38. These will be shown in more detail in Figure 14. Catches 80, 85 can mechanically engage with latches 90. The position of cap 38 relative to base 14, in which the upper catches 85 engage with latches 90, is the short-circuit position of connector 2, and the position of cap 38 relative to base 14, in which the lower catches 80 engage with latches 90, is the connected position of connector 2.
  • The wall 16 is lower in a wire entrance section 24 in order to accommodate wire-guide tubes 54 (see Figure 14) of cap 38 when the connector is in the connected position, which is depicted in Figure 16a.
  • The base 14 has a protrusion 34 that makes handling of the base 14 easier and is shaped such as to serve as mechanical support when installing a system comprising the connector 2. Contact elements 4 extend through protrusion 34 longitudinally. Protrusion 34 is made of a polymeric material, which is electrically insulating. At the end of protrusion 34 which is closer to the wire-mounting members 26, it has a circular recess 36. Protrusion 34 can be inserted into a protective tube (not shown), an end of which may be crimped around protrusion 34 of connector 2 in the position of the circular recess 36. The crimped connection provides a mechanical connection between protrusion 34 and the tube. The protrusion 34 also comprises three circular sealing ribs 37 which are made from a soft material. When protrusion 34 is inserted into the tube (not shown), these ribs 37 may elastically contact the inner wall of that tube and provide sealing against any liquids entering the tube, even when no O-ring is used. Three sealing ribs 37 offer a higher degree of sealing than a single rib 37 would provide.
  • Base 14 is made of an electrically insulating polymeric material, in this case a polypropylene. The base 14 mechanically supports two longitudinally-shaped contact elements 4 and two wire-mounting members 26. The wire-mounting members 26 are shaped to form insulation displacement contacts, and they are electrically connected to the contact elements 4. Each wire-mounting member 26 and the contact element 4, to which this wire-mounting member is electrically connected, are one piece, stamped out of a single piece of conductive metal and bent into rectangular shape.
  • The contact elements 4 are arranged parallel to each other and extend from the inside of cavity 22 to the outside of the cavity 22, leading through protrusion 34. The respective ends of the contact elements 4, forming the wire-mounting members 26, are located inside cavity 22.
  • Inside the cavity 22, between the contact elements 4, there is a rectangular recess 30 in the base 14, extending from one contact element 4 to the other contact element 4. This recess 30 provides space to accommodate parts of a short-circuit element 50b (shown in Figure 14), described in more detail in Figure 4, in the short-circuit position and in the connected position of the connector 2. Two sides of the recess 30 are formed by the contact elements 4. Those surfaces of contact elements 4 forming the sides of the recess 30 are conductive. A wire pinch bar 93 serves as a stress relief device for wires 10 entering the connector through wire guides 54 of the cap 38 (shown in Figure 14), it presses wires 10 into a corresponding recess 115, provided in wall 44 of cap 38, such that the friction generated prevents the wires 10 from easily slipping out of cavity 22 in the connected position of connector 2.
  • Figure 13 shows in more detail catches 80, 85 on wall 16 of base 14, shown in Figure 12. Corresponding catches 80, 85 are also arranged on the opposite side of connector 2 (not visible in this figure). When cap 38 is inserted into base 14 from the open side of cavity 22 of base 14 in a direction parallel to recesses 27, the catches 80, 85 serve to fix the cap 38 relative to base 14 at certain depths of insertion. The upper catches 85, located at greater distance from wall 18 than lower catches 80, mechanically define the short-circuit position of the connector 2. These upper catches 85 engage with the corresponding latches 90 (see Figure 14) on the cap 38 in the short-circuit position of the connector 2 and prevent removal of cap 38 from base 14.
  • The lower catches 80, located closer to wall 18, mechanically define the connected position of connector 2. These lower catches 80 engage with corresponding latches 90 in the cap 38 in the connected position of the connector 2. The lower catches 80 have no wedge-shaped upper edge, so that the latches 90 can only be pushed over the upper edge of the lower catches with some force. This prevents the connector from being brought into its connected position inadvertently. The catches 80, 85, in combination with latches 90 on cap 38, act as a mechanism that prevents cap 38 to be pulled away from base 14.
  • Figure 14 is a 3-dimensional view of an alternative cap 38, which is designed to mate with the base 14 shown in Figure 12. The cap 38 comprises walls 42 and 44 which form a cavity 46.
    Wall 44 is essentially flat and has a generally O-shaped circumference, essentially identical to size and shape of wall 18 of base 14. It forms a base for installation of short-circuit element 50b, stop 56 and guide rings 100. Wall 44 is thick enough to firmly support the short-circuit element 50b, so that the short-circuit element 50b is not exposed on the side of wall 44 that is directed away from the cavity 46. Protrusion 63 of short-circuit element 50b is a part of short-circuit element 50b and is mechanically and electrically connected to it, as described in connection with Figure 4c.
  • Wall 42 extends perpendicularly from wall 44, its foot is located on the edge of the circumference of wall 44. Wall 42 encircles a generally O-shaped space, and forms, in conjunction with wall 44, a cavity 46. Wall 42 has a thickness that is suitable for providing mechanical stability to the cap 38 and for leaving sufficient space inside cavity 46 to accommodate a short-circuit element 50b, recesses 110 and 115, wire guide rings 100, and stop 56.
  • Wall 42 comprises guides 120, extending perpendicular from wall 44 away from cavity 46, suitably shaped to fit tightly with the corresponding recesses 27 of base 14, when base 14 and cap 38 are in the short-circuit position, shown in Figure 15, and in the connected position, shown in Figure 16. In the short-circuit position and in the connected position, recesses 27 and guides 120 form a tight fit and prevent rotation of cap 38 with respect to the base 14. In the connected position, guides 120 are inserted deeper into recesses 27 than they are in the short-circuit position.
    The guides 120 extend far enough from wall 44 to enter into the corresponding recesses 27 of the base 14 in the short-circuit position of the connector 2 and prevent rotation of cap 38 with respect to the base 14 in the short-circuit position shown in Figure 15.
  • For a similar purpose, wall 42 comprises recesses 125, which correspond in shape and size to guides 88 in wall 16 of base 14, each of which fits tightly into a recess 125. The combination of guides 88 and recesses 125 provides mechanical guidance for the translation of cap 38 and base 14 towards each other, when the connector 2 is brought from a short-circuit position into a connected position.
  • The walls 42 and 44 are made from a non-conductive polymeric material, specifically from polypropylene. The wall 44 has rounded shape, similar in shape and size to the wall 18 of the base. The outer dimension of the wall 42 is approximately the same as the inner dimension of the wall 16 of the base 14, so that the part of the cap 38 encircled by and comprising walls 42 and 44 can be inserted into the part of the base 14 encircled by its walls 16 and 18 and form a tight fit.
  • Guides 120 mechanically fit with corresponding recesses 27 in base 14 to allow for insertion of cap 38 into base 14 in a defined angular position. Latches 90, engaged mechanically with corresponding catches 80, 85 on the wall 16 of base 14, serve to fix the cap 38 relative to base 14 at certain depths of insertion. The latches 90 are attached to the wall 42 on opposite sides of cap 38. Latches 90 are made from non-conductive polymeric material. They are resilient and can be bent outwards, they will elastically return to their unbent shape when the bending force is removed. Latches 90 extend parallel to wall 42, and at their edges facing away from wall 44 they have wedge-shaped portions 95 that allow the latches 90 to be pushed over catches 80, 85, with little force, and engage tightly with catches 80, 85, so that cap 38 can not be pulled back from base 14 without excessive force.
  • The latches 90 engage with corresponding catches 85 on the base 14 in the short-circuit position of the connector 2. Latches 90 engage with corresponding catches 80 on the base 14 in the connected position of the connector 2.
  • The cap 38 supports one short-circuit element 50b which is firmly connected to wall 44. Attached to the wall 42 of the cap 38 are two hollow cylindrical wire guide tubes 54, through which wires 10 can enter the connector 2. Each wire guide tube 54 provides an opening through which a wire 10 can enter the connector 2. Each wire guide tube 54 leads, in the short-circuit position and in the connected position of connector 2, a wire 10 towards a wire-mounting member 26 in base 14, such that wire 10 can be securely connected to a wire-mounting member 26. Guide rings 100 serve for further guiding of wires 10 inside cap 38. The tubes 54 and the guide rings 100 are made from non-conductive polymeric material, and the tubes 54 and the walls 42, 44 are typically one piece. In the connected position of connector 2, the tubes 54 occupy the wire entrance section 24 of the wall 16 of base 14. The tubes each have an inner diameter large enough to accommodate a wire 10 entering the connector 2.
  • A wire 10 entering the connector 2 through one of the openings provided by wire guiding tubes 54 can only be pushed inside until it hits stop 56. Stop 56 is made from non-conductive polymeric material, and is attached to the wall 44 of the cap. It is oriented perpendicularly to the cylindrical axis of wire-guiding tubes 54. Its presence ensures that a wire 10 can not be pushed too far into connector 2, it prevents wire 10 from forming an electrical contact with the short-circuit element 50 in the short-circuit position and in the connected position of the connector.
  • Figure 15a is a sectional view of connector 2, shown in Figures 12 through 14, in its short-circuit position. Cap 38 has been inserted to a certain depth into the cavity 22 of base 14, so that latches 90 engage with upper catches 85. Short-circuit element 50b is attached to wall 44 of cap 38 at its holding portion 60b. Each arm of short-circuit element 50b contacts a contact element 4 with its protrusion 58b, respectively, thus electrically connecting the two contact elements 4 with each other. The electrical connection between contact elements 4 is established via the conductive protrusions 58b, the conductive transition sections 62b, and the conductive holding portion 60b of short-circuit element 50b.
  • Similarly, Figure 15b is a sectional view of a connector 2, having an alternative short-circuit element 50c, in its short-circuit position. Cap 38 has been inserted to a certain depth into the cavity 22 of base 14, so that latches 90 engage with upper catches 85. Cap 38 comprises the wedge-shaped portion 105, which is attached to wall 44 of cap 38 and protrudes into cavity 46 of the cap 38. Short-circuit element 50c is attached to contact element 4c, as shown in detail in Figure 4d. It is resiliently pressed against pin 61, which is comprised in contact element 4, such that there is electrical contact between short-circuit element 50c and pin 61 and consequently between the two contact elements 4 and 4c.
  • Figure 16a shows a cross section of connector 2 of Figure 15a in its connected position. Connector 2 is brought from its short-circuit position into its connected position by pushing cap 38 deeper into base 14, so that both latches 90, with their wedge-shaped portions 95, engage with lower catches 80 on both sides of base 14. Cap 38 can not be inserted deeper into base 14, because the wall 42 of cap 38 is stopped by wall 18 of base 14.
  • By pushing cap 38 deeper into base 14, the short-circuit element 50b is being pushed deeper into recess 30, such that its protrusions 58b do not contact the contact elements 4, and thus do not establish electrical contact between contact elements 4. Transition sections 62b of short-circuit element 50b do not extend sufficiently far sideways to contact the contact elements 4, so that, in this position, the short-circuit element 50b does not electrically connect contact elements 4 with each other in this connected position of connector 2.
  • By pushing cap 38 deeper into base 14, the wires 10 entering the connector are inserted into the wire-mounting members 26 and are securely mechanically and electrically connected to wire-mounting members 26.
  • Figure 16b is a sectional view of connector 2 of Figure 15b in its connected position. Connector 2 is brought from its short-circuit position into its connected position by pushing cap 38 deeper into base 14, so that both latches 90, with their wedge-shaped portions 95, engage with lower catches 80 on both sides of base 14. Cap 38 can not be inserted deeper into base 14, because the wall 42 of cap 38 is stopped by wall 18 of base 14.
  • By pushing the cap 38 deeper into base 14, the non-conductive wedge-shaped portion 105 of cap 38, attached to wall 44, is pushed between pin 61, comprised in contact element 4, and short-circuit element 50c, connected to contact element 4c, so that pin 61 and short-circuit element 50c do not contact each other. Due to the wedge-shaped portion 105 of cap 38 being electrically non-conductive, there is no electrical connection between pin 61 and short-circuit element 50c. Short-circuit element 50c thus does not electrically connect the two contact elements 4 and 4c with each other in this connected position of the connector 2.
  • By pushing cap 38 deeper into base 14, the wires 10 entering the connector are inserted into the wire-mounting members 26 and are securely mechanically and electrically connected to wire-mounting members 26. In Figure 16b, only one of the wires 10 is visible.
  • REFERENCE SIGNS LIST
  • 2 -
    connector
    4 -
    contact element
    6 -
    wire leading to device
    10 -
    wire entering the connector
    12 -
    power supply
    14 -
    base
    16 -
    wall
    18 -
    wall
    22 -
    cavity
    24 -
    wire entrance section
    26 -
    wire mounting member
    27 -
    recess
    29 -
    groove
    30 -
    recess
    32 -
    end portion of contact element
    34 -
    protrusion of base
    36 -
    recess
    37 -
    sealing ribs
    38 -
    cap
    42 -
    wall
    44 -
    wall
    46 -
    cavity of cap
    48 -
    guide
    50 -
    short-circuit element
    52 -
    bump
    54 -
    wire guide tube
    56 -
    stop
    58 -
    protrusion of short-circuit element
    60 -
    holding section
    61 -
    pin
    62 -
    transition section
    64 -
    single cavity
    63 -
    protrusion
    66 -
    twisted portion of contact element
    68 -
    device
    70 -
    contacts
    72 -
    stop
    74 -
    guiding elements
    80 -
    catch (lower)
    85 -
    catch (upper)
    88 -
    guide
    90 -
    latch
    93 -
    wire pinch bar
    95 -
    wedged-shaped portion
    100 -
    guide ring
    105 -
    wedge-shaped portion
    110 -
    recess
    115 -
    recess
    120 -
    guide
    125 -
    recess

Claims (15)

  1. Connector comprising
    - electrically conductive contact elements (4),
    - electrically conductive wire-mounting members (26),
    - an electrically conductive short-circuit element (50)
    whereby the contact elements (4), the wire-mounting members (26) and the short-circuit element (50) can be arranged in at least a short-circuit position and in a connected position relative to each other,
    characterized in that
    in the short-circuit position
    • the short-circuit element (50) electrically connects two or more contact elements (4) with each other, and
    • a wire (10) entering the connector (2) is not electrically connected to a wire-mounting member (26),
    and in the connected position
    • the short-circuit element (50) does not electrically connect any two of the contact elements (4) with each other,
    • said wire (10) entering the connector (2) is securely mechanically and electrically connected to a wire-mounting member (26), and
    • said wire-mounting member (26) is electrically connected to one of the two or more contact elements (4), which the short-circuit element (50) connects with each other in the short-circuit position.
  2. Connector according to claim 1, comprising a base (14).
  3. Connector according to claim 2, wherein the base (14) comprises a wall (16, 18).
  4. Connector according to claim 3, wherein the wall (16, 18) forms a cavity (22).
  5. Connector according to any of the claims 2 through 4, wherein the base (14) comprises at least two of the contact elements (4) and at least two of the wire-mounting members (26).
  6. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a cap (38).
  7. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a base (14) and a cap (38), each one of base (14) and cap (38) having a respective wall (16, 18, 42, 44) forming a respective cavity (22, 46).
  8. Connector according to claim 6 or claim 7, wherein the base (14) and the cap (38) form a single cavity (64).
  9. Connector according to claim 8, wherein at least two wire-mounting members (26) and/or the short-circuit element (50) are arranged inside the single cavity (64).
  10. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the connector (2) comprises an electrically-insulating liquid or gel.
  11. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the short-circuit element (50) is resilient.
  12. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the short-circuit element (50) comprises a U-shaped portion.
  13. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the short-circuit element (50) comprises a portion that is accessible from the outside of the connector (2).
  14. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising an opening for a wire (10) entering the connector (2).
  15. Connector according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising one or more sealing ribs (37).
EP20090168785 2009-08-27 2009-08-27 Connector Withdrawn EP2290749A1 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP20090168785 EP2290749A1 (en) 2009-08-27 2009-08-27 Connector

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP20090168785 EP2290749A1 (en) 2009-08-27 2009-08-27 Connector

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP2290749A1 true true EP2290749A1 (en) 2011-03-02

Family

ID=41467184

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
EP20090168785 Withdrawn EP2290749A1 (en) 2009-08-27 2009-08-27 Connector

Country Status (1)

Country Link
EP (1) EP2290749A1 (en)

Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
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WO2012140102A1 (en) * 2011-04-12 2012-10-18 Dynaenergetics Gmbh & Co. Kg Igniter with a multifunctional plug
DE102014118687B3 (en) * 2014-12-15 2016-06-16 Erni Production Gmbh & Co. Kg Connectors
WO2016095907A1 (en) 2014-12-15 2016-06-23 Erni Production Gmbh & Co. Kg Plug

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Cited By (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2012140102A1 (en) * 2011-04-12 2012-10-18 Dynaenergetics Gmbh & Co. Kg Igniter with a multifunctional plug
US8960093B2 (en) 2011-04-12 2015-02-24 Dynaenergetics Gmbh & Co. Kg Igniter with a multifunctional plug
DE102014118687B3 (en) * 2014-12-15 2016-06-16 Erni Production Gmbh & Co. Kg Connectors
WO2016095907A1 (en) 2014-12-15 2016-06-23 Erni Production Gmbh & Co. Kg Plug
US10020598B2 (en) 2014-12-15 2018-07-10 Erni Production Gmbh & Co. Kg Plug connector having at least one displacement insulation contact offset relative to a spring or blade contact element
US10074914B2 (en) 2014-12-15 2018-09-11 Erni Production Gmbh & Co. Kg Plug connector

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