US2999998A - Self-aligning electrical connector assembly - Google Patents

Self-aligning electrical connector assembly Download PDF

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Publication number
US2999998A
US2999998A US76253258A US2999998A US 2999998 A US2999998 A US 2999998A US 76253258 A US76253258 A US 76253258A US 2999998 A US2999998 A US 2999998A
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connector
pin
terminal
end
receptacle
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Fred H Cole
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Fred H Cole
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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
    • H01R13/62Means for facilitating engagement or disengagement of coupling parts or for holding them in engagement
    • H01R13/629Additional means for facilitating engagement or disengagement of coupling parts, e.g. aligning or guiding means, levers, gas pressure electrical locking indicators, manufacturing tolerances
    • H01R13/631Additional means for facilitating engagement or disengagement of coupling parts, e.g. aligning or guiding means, levers, gas pressure electrical locking indicators, manufacturing tolerances for engagement only
    • H01R13/6315Additional means for facilitating engagement or disengagement of coupling parts, e.g. aligning or guiding means, levers, gas pressure electrical locking indicators, manufacturing tolerances for engagement only allowing relative movement between coupling parts, e.g. floating connection

Description

S pt 12, 1 1 F. H COLE 2,999,998

SELF-ALIGNING ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY Filed Sept. 22, 1958 INVENTOR. 7250 hi 6045 United States Patent 2,999,998 ,SELF-ALIGNING ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY Fred H. Cole, 1028 Sierra Bonita, Los Angeles 19, Calif. Filed Sept. 22, 1958, Ser. No. 762,532 4 Claims. (Cl. 33964) This invention relates to electrical connectors and, more specifically, to a type of connector whose novel construction permits positive contact closure even under conditions of severe vibration and where frequent misalignments exist between two or more connector terminals.

Conventional connector assemblies generally consist of two parts commonly known as a plug and a receptacle. The plug contains one or more electrically conductive pins which mate with corresponding spring contacts mounted in fixed or floating relation in a receptacle body. Those devices having spring contacts rigidly aflixed to the receptacle are unable to accommodate even slight misalignments of a pin and its contact. As a consequence, a proper mating of the parts is oftentimes impossible. This results in abnormal contact pressures and excessive wear and abuse of the contacting surfaces. Those devices which employ floating contacts in the receptacle are also objectionable since a misalignment may still pro duce a strain upon the pin contacts of the plug. Moreover, the ability of these devices to compensate for misalignments is extremely restricted. The natural consequence of both types of construction is that the connectors have reduced current-carrying capacity whenever one connector pin abnormally mates with its spring contact or whenever the connector is subjected to severe vibration.

Misalignment of a connector pin and its mating contact may be caused by defective manufacture or normal wear of the connecting terminals. It is necessary, therefore, that parts for conventional connectors be mmufactured to close tolerances, and this consequently results in a high cost of production. But even if the parts are precision made, ordinary usage will produce wear and eventually result in misalignment of one or more connector terminals. Inasmuch as the conventional connector assemblies do not adequately adjust to these changes, the useful life of such connectors is shortened each time a misalignment occurs.

Where an electrical connection is made between parts which are transversely movable relative to the axes of mating terminals, some misalignment will occur with almost constant regularity and irrespective of manufacture or wear. Conventional connectors heretofore described are, therefore, unsatisfactory for such purposes.

The present invention overcomes these disadvantages by providing an electrical connector assembly with unique self-alignment features. Each connector pin is 1 individually mounted for limited universal movement in the body of the plug, thereby relieving said pin from strains and wear which would result if rigidly imbedded in said body. The novel construction hereinafter described may be used for such applications where the plug and receptacle are transversely movable to one another and where misalignments occur with great frequency. This assembly will tolerate limited misalignment in any direction; it will withstand severe vibrations without detachment or impairment of its conducting qualities; and, it will operate in any position without producing abnormal strains on its parts.

Therefore, it is one object of this invention to provide a self-aligning connector assembly having connector pins mounted for universal movement in the body of a plug. One inherent advantage of a universally mounted conice nector pin is its ability to align itself in the plug body to mate with the receptacle. This prevents excessive or abnormal wear of the connector terminals, which, if otherwise, would shorten the useful life of one or both of the connector parts.

A second object is to provide an electrical connector plug having a unique construction for mounting connector pins in the body. This novel construction has a high resistance to shock and vibration but is relatively free to pivot in the body with limited universal movement.

A third object of this invention is to provide a plug connector having a split sleeve terminal with a connector pin universally mounted therein and having a means retaining said pin in its mounted position and per mitting only limited universal movement. These structural elements provide not only the desirable self-aligning feature but also assure mating cooperation between the connector parts.

Another object is to provide an electrical connector assembly comprising a first connector part having a terminal pin rigidly connected thereto and a self-aligning connectorsleeve contacting said terminal pin at one end and having a split opening at the other end. When used in combination with a plug provided with one or more universally mounted pin terminals, such an assembly possesses .a degree of self-alignment which is particularly advantageous where connector parts are relatively movable in planm transverse to the axes of the mating terminals.

The various features of novelty which characterize this invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this specification. For a better understanding of the invention, its advantages and specific objects attained with its use, reference should be made to the accompanying drawing and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated and described a preferred embodiment of the invention.

The drawing shows a preferred embodiment of this invention in section.

In the drawing is shown a fixed first part A and a movable second part B. Parts A and B form, respectively, the receptacle and plug terminals of the novel connector assembly, and are illustrated in a preferred arrangement. It is to be understood, however, that the attachment to fixed or movable electrical apparatus is optional and any arrangement of plug and receptacle on either fixed or moving apparatus is within the purview of this invention.

The receptacle part A of this connector assembly has a body portion 1 in which a plurality of terminal pins 2 are rigidly mounted. The pins. are connected to wire leads at one end in a conventional manner (not shown); the other end of each pin is rounded to provide a substantially spherical contacting surface 3. A semi-split sleeve connector 4 is provided axially of each pin 2, enclosing the rounded end portion and expansibly contracting upon contacting surface 3. Each sleeve 4 captivates the end of the terminal pin 2 with an inturned collar 5, and being loosely housed in the body portion 1 may pivot about spherical surface 3 with limited universal movement and restricted axial travel. The other end of each semi-split sleeve has an opening 6 for receiving the mating male terminal 7 of one of a plurality of connector pins 8. Each sleeve thereby provides a first female receptacle terminal which is self-aligning in the body portion 1 of part A.

Part B forms the plug portion of the connector assembly having a plurality of connector pins 8 universally mounted therein. Each connector pin is connected to a second female receptacle terminal 10 which is rigidly attached or imbedded in an insulating body portion 9.

The terminals, are formed with semi-split sleeve end portions 11 which engage the male end terminals 12 of the connector pins. Each male end terminal is rounded to provide a substantially spherical surface, and, in combination with its respective endportion 11, forms a ball and socket joint, permitting a universal movement of each connector pin. Since each pin is mounted independently of the others, its movement is likewise independent of either their movements or their axial alignment.

A retaining plate 13 captivates each terminal 12 in its mating receptacle terminal 10. Each plate is formed with a cup-shape having a hole 14 through which each connector pin is projected. The sides of each retainer plate extend axially about a split-sleeve end portion 11, and a lip-catch 15 protrudes radially inward therefrom and engages a locking groove 16 on the receptacle terminal. With this construction, each plate 13 provides a means retaining one of said end terminals in said mating receptacle terminal but permitting limited universal movement therein.

It will be noted that the size of hole 14 is large enough to receive end terminal 7 and the rod portion of the connector pin therethrough but of lesser diameter than end terminal 12. The size of this hole is in fact limited by the maximum desired universal movement of the connector pin. That is, the peripheral edge of the hole 14 is used to restrict universal movement of the pin, and the hole is sized to allow a limited movement of the pin in any direction. The peripheral edge of each hole 14 prevents its respective pin from movement which would make a connection with the receptacle impossible. The connector pins are in this way independently mounted in the body of the plug for universal movement and may pivot Within predetermined limits.

A protector guard 17 is provided to shield the internal connector parts and connector terminals. As shown, the guard is connected to the plug and circumvallates connector pins 8.

From the foregoing description it is apparent that an improved electrical connector assembly is provided which may be adapted to many kinds of electrical apparatus. Since numerous changes may be made in the above described construction and difierent embodiments of the invention may be made without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, it is intended that all matters contained in the foregoing description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

Having thus described my invention, what I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:

1. An electrical connector assembly consisting of a first part having a terminal pin rigidly connected thereto, a connector sleeve contacting said terminal pin for limited universal movement at one end and having an expansible opening at the other end; a second part having an expansible receptacle terminal rigidly connected thereto; and a solid connector pin having end terminals with substantially spherical surfaces, said end terminals respectively mating with said opening and said receptacle terminal,

thereby providing a solid pin terminal connection that will adjust for misalignments without imposing abnormal contact pressures upon contact surfaces.

2. An electrical connector assembly consisting of a first part having a terminal pin rigidly connected thereto, a self-aligning connector sleeve contacting said terminal pin for limited universal movement at one end and having an expansible opening at the other end; a second part having a solid connector pin universally mounted thereon, said pin having a substantially spherical end terminal mating with said opening to provide a universal mounting thereof in said opening, thereby providing a solid pin terminal connection that will adjust for misalignments without imposing abnormal contact pressures upon contact surfaces.

3. An electrical connector assembly consisting of a first part having a terminal pin rigidly connected thereto, a self-aligning connector sleeve contacting said terminal pin for limited universal movement at one end and having an expansible opening at the other end; a second part having an expansible receptacle terminal rigidly con-' nected thereto; a solid connector pin having end terminals with substantially spherical surfaces, said end terminals mating respectively with said opening and said receptacle terminal; and means retaining one of said end terminals in said mating receptacle terminal but permitting limited universal movement therein, thereby providing a solid pin terminal connection that will adjust for misalignments without imposing abnormal contact pressures upon contact surfaces.

4. An electrical connector assembly consisting of a first part having a terminal pin rigidly connected thereto, a self-aligning connector sleeve contacting said terminal pin for limiting universal movement at one end and having an expansible opening at the other end; a second part having an expansible receptacle terminal; a solid connector pin having substantially spherical end terminals mating respectively with said opening and said receptacle terminal; a retaining plate connected to said second part and having a hole therein, said hole being smaller than said spherical end terminal mating with said receptacle terminal and said hole receiving said connector pin therethrough; whereby said connector pin is held in contact with said receptacle terminal but universally movable within predetermined limits, thereby providing a solid pin terminal connection that will adjust for misalignments without imposing abnormal contact pressures upon contact surfaces.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Re. 20,608 Koehler Dec. 28, 1937 1,531,917 French Mar. 31, 1925 1,666,462 Mann Apr. 17, 1928 2,007,617 Sheward July 9, 1935 2,701,152 Cutler Feb. 1, 1955 FOREIGN PATENTS 132,019 Great Britain Sept. 2, 1919 843,278 France Mar. 20, 1939

US2999998A 1958-09-22 1958-09-22 Self-aligning electrical connector assembly Expired - Lifetime US2999998A (en)

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Cited By (23)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3171435A (en) * 1961-12-05 1965-03-02 Parker Hannifin Corp Solenoid operated valve assembly
US3356936A (en) * 1964-02-12 1967-12-05 Litton Prec Products Inc Method and means for total battery voltage testing
US3786391A (en) * 1972-07-11 1974-01-15 W Mathauser Magnetic self-aligning electrical connector
US3842187A (en) * 1973-11-28 1974-10-15 Gen Electric Electric bus with joint for accommodating earthquake-produced motion of parts
US3909573A (en) * 1974-04-24 1975-09-30 Ite Imperial Corp Squeeze coil primary disconnect contacts
FR2429509A1 (en) * 1978-06-22 1980-01-18 Nissan Motor electrical connector
US4316646A (en) * 1980-02-04 1982-02-23 Amerace Corporation Laterally flexible electrical connector assembly
US4432038A (en) * 1979-03-31 1984-02-14 Ferranti, Plc Circuit assemblies
US4556272A (en) * 1981-10-07 1985-12-03 Allied Corporation Flat cable connector
US4842536A (en) * 1987-02-09 1989-06-27 Nivarox-Far S.A. Miniature connector and method for the manufacture thereof
US5876228A (en) * 1996-03-18 1999-03-02 Harness System Technologies Research, Ltd. Connector connecting structure
EP1249895A2 (en) * 2001-04-09 2002-10-16 SEW-EURODRIVE GMBH & CO. Electrical connector
US6705875B2 (en) * 2001-03-29 2004-03-16 Harting Kgaa Coaxial plug member
DE10206106B4 (en) * 2001-04-09 2005-08-18 Sew-Eurodrive Gmbh & Co. Kg Connectors
EP2061120A1 (en) * 2007-11-13 2009-05-20 ITT Manufacturing Enterprises, Inc. Connector arrangement
US20100173538A1 (en) * 2007-09-12 2010-07-08 Autonetworks Technologies Ltd. Terminal
US20120021616A1 (en) * 2008-11-08 2012-01-26 Nicomatic Sa Electronic Connector, And Corresponding Electric Connection Element, Electric Linking Member, And Assembling Method
US20130210247A1 (en) * 2010-11-03 2013-08-15 Harting Electronic Gmbh Contact element for plug-in connector socket
US20140193995A1 (en) * 2013-01-09 2014-07-10 Amphenol Corporation Electrical connector assembly with high float bullet adapter
US20150295372A1 (en) * 2014-04-10 2015-10-15 S&C Electric Company Adjustable bus bar for power distribution equipment
US9356374B2 (en) 2013-01-09 2016-05-31 Amphenol Corporation Float adapter for electrical connector
US9502825B2 (en) 2013-03-14 2016-11-22 Amphenol Corporation Shunt for electrical connector
US9735521B2 (en) 2013-01-09 2017-08-15 Amphenol Corporation Float adapter for electrical connector

Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB132019A (en) *
US1531917A (en) * 1922-11-11 1925-03-31 Gen Electric Electric switch
US1666462A (en) * 1923-11-19 1928-04-17 Frederick E Mann Crystal detector
US2007617A (en) * 1933-01-12 1935-07-09 Howard A Sheward Electrical connection
USRE20608E (en) * 1937-12-28 Electrical contact device
FR843278A (en) * 1937-10-14 1939-06-28 Usinage De Materiel Electr Soc electrical connections coupling device
US2701152A (en) * 1952-08-02 1955-02-01 Cutler Morris Releasable coupling

Patent Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB132019A (en) *
USRE20608E (en) * 1937-12-28 Electrical contact device
US1531917A (en) * 1922-11-11 1925-03-31 Gen Electric Electric switch
US1666462A (en) * 1923-11-19 1928-04-17 Frederick E Mann Crystal detector
US2007617A (en) * 1933-01-12 1935-07-09 Howard A Sheward Electrical connection
FR843278A (en) * 1937-10-14 1939-06-28 Usinage De Materiel Electr Soc electrical connections coupling device
US2701152A (en) * 1952-08-02 1955-02-01 Cutler Morris Releasable coupling

Cited By (31)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3171435A (en) * 1961-12-05 1965-03-02 Parker Hannifin Corp Solenoid operated valve assembly
US3356936A (en) * 1964-02-12 1967-12-05 Litton Prec Products Inc Method and means for total battery voltage testing
US3786391A (en) * 1972-07-11 1974-01-15 W Mathauser Magnetic self-aligning electrical connector
US3842187A (en) * 1973-11-28 1974-10-15 Gen Electric Electric bus with joint for accommodating earthquake-produced motion of parts
US3909573A (en) * 1974-04-24 1975-09-30 Ite Imperial Corp Squeeze coil primary disconnect contacts
FR2429509A1 (en) * 1978-06-22 1980-01-18 Nissan Motor electrical connector
US4432038A (en) * 1979-03-31 1984-02-14 Ferranti, Plc Circuit assemblies
US4316646A (en) * 1980-02-04 1982-02-23 Amerace Corporation Laterally flexible electrical connector assembly
US4556272A (en) * 1981-10-07 1985-12-03 Allied Corporation Flat cable connector
US4842536A (en) * 1987-02-09 1989-06-27 Nivarox-Far S.A. Miniature connector and method for the manufacture thereof
US5876228A (en) * 1996-03-18 1999-03-02 Harness System Technologies Research, Ltd. Connector connecting structure
US6705875B2 (en) * 2001-03-29 2004-03-16 Harting Kgaa Coaxial plug member
EP1249895A2 (en) * 2001-04-09 2002-10-16 SEW-EURODRIVE GMBH & CO. Electrical connector
EP1249895A3 (en) * 2001-04-09 2004-03-31 Sew-Eurodrive GmbH & Co. KG Electrical connector
DE10206106B4 (en) * 2001-04-09 2005-08-18 Sew-Eurodrive Gmbh & Co. Kg Connectors
US8172625B2 (en) * 2007-09-12 2012-05-08 Autonetworks Technologies, Ltd Spherical terminal with guide groove
US20100173538A1 (en) * 2007-09-12 2010-07-08 Autonetworks Technologies Ltd. Terminal
EP2061120A1 (en) * 2007-11-13 2009-05-20 ITT Manufacturing Enterprises, Inc. Connector arrangement
US8573983B2 (en) * 2008-11-08 2013-11-05 Nicomatic Sa Electronic connector, and corresponding electric connection element, electric linking member, and assembling method
US20120021616A1 (en) * 2008-11-08 2012-01-26 Nicomatic Sa Electronic Connector, And Corresponding Electric Connection Element, Electric Linking Member, And Assembling Method
US8926352B2 (en) * 2010-11-03 2015-01-06 HARTING Electronics GmbH Contact element for plug-in connector socket
US20130210247A1 (en) * 2010-11-03 2013-08-15 Harting Electronic Gmbh Contact element for plug-in connector socket
US9735531B2 (en) 2013-01-09 2017-08-15 Amphenol Corporation Float adapter for electrical connector and method for making the same
US9039433B2 (en) * 2013-01-09 2015-05-26 Amphenol Corporation Electrical connector assembly with high float bullet adapter
US20140193995A1 (en) * 2013-01-09 2014-07-10 Amphenol Corporation Electrical connector assembly with high float bullet adapter
US9356374B2 (en) 2013-01-09 2016-05-31 Amphenol Corporation Float adapter for electrical connector
US9735521B2 (en) 2013-01-09 2017-08-15 Amphenol Corporation Float adapter for electrical connector
US9653831B2 (en) 2013-01-09 2017-05-16 Amphenol Corporation Float adapter for electrical connector
US9502825B2 (en) 2013-03-14 2016-11-22 Amphenol Corporation Shunt for electrical connector
US9385493B2 (en) * 2014-04-10 2016-07-05 S&C Electric Company Adjustable bus bar for power distribution equipment
US20150295372A1 (en) * 2014-04-10 2015-10-15 S&C Electric Company Adjustable bus bar for power distribution equipment

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