WO2013092174A1 - Electrical connector with a lever and a connector position assurance (cpa) element - Google Patents

Electrical connector with a lever and a connector position assurance (cpa) element Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2013092174A1
WO2013092174A1 PCT/EP2012/074149 EP2012074149W WO2013092174A1 WO 2013092174 A1 WO2013092174 A1 WO 2013092174A1 EP 2012074149 W EP2012074149 W EP 2012074149W WO 2013092174 A1 WO2013092174 A1 WO 2013092174A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
electrical connector
cpa
lever
connector
contact
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/EP2012/074149
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Erwan Guillanton
Aymeric PEROT
Original Assignee
Delphi Connection Systems Holding France
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
Priority to EP11306703 priority Critical
Priority to EP11306703.7 priority
Application filed by Delphi Connection Systems Holding France filed Critical Delphi Connection Systems Holding France
Publication of WO2013092174A1 publication Critical patent/WO2013092174A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RELECTRICALLY-CONDUCTIVE CONNECTIONS; STRUCTURAL ASSOCIATIONS OF A PLURALITY OF MUTUALLY-INSULATED ELECTRICAL CONNECTING ELEMENTS; COUPLING DEVICES; 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
    • H01R13/703Structural association with built-in electrical component with built-in switch operated by engagement or disengagement of coupling parts, e.g. dual-continuity coupling part
    • H01R13/7031Shorting, shunting or bussing of different terminals interrupted or effected on engagement of coupling part, e.g. for ESD protection, line continuity
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RELECTRICALLY-CONDUCTIVE CONNECTIONS; STRUCTURAL ASSOCIATIONS OF A PLURALITY OF MUTUALLY-INSULATED ELECTRICAL CONNECTING ELEMENTS; COUPLING DEVICES; 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
    • H01R13/62933Comprising exclusively pivoting lever
    • H01R13/6295Pivoting lever comprising means indicating incorrect coupling of mating connectors
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RELECTRICALLY-CONDUCTIVE CONNECTIONS; STRUCTURAL ASSOCIATIONS OF A PLURALITY OF MUTUALLY-INSULATED ELECTRICAL CONNECTING ELEMENTS; COUPLING DEVICES; 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
    • H01R13/62933Comprising exclusively pivoting lever
    • H01R13/62955Pivoting lever comprising supplementary/additional locking means
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RELECTRICALLY-CONDUCTIVE CONNECTIONS; STRUCTURAL ASSOCIATIONS OF A PLURALITY OF MUTUALLY-INSULATED ELECTRICAL CONNECTING ELEMENTS; COUPLING DEVICES; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R13/00Details of coupling devices of the kinds covered by groups H01R12/70 or H01R24/00 - H01R33/00
    • H01R13/64Means for preventing incorrect coupling
    • H01R13/641Means for preventing incorrect coupling by indicating incorrect coupling; by indicating correct or full engagement
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RELECTRICALLY-CONDUCTIVE CONNECTIONS; STRUCTURAL ASSOCIATIONS OF A PLURALITY OF MUTUALLY-INSULATED ELECTRICAL CONNECTING ELEMENTS; COUPLING DEVICES; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R13/00Details of coupling devices of the kinds covered by groups H01R12/70 or H01R24/00 - H01R33/00
    • H01R13/46Bases; Cases
    • H01R13/53Bases or cases for heavy duty; Bases or cases for high voltage with means for preventing corona or arcing

Abstract

The present invention relates to an electrical connector (12), suitable to be connected to a mating electrical connector, comprising: • - a housing (32) for accommodating at least one power contact (42A, 42B, 42C) therein, • - a lever (60) rotatably mounted on the housing (32) between an unmated and a mated position, suitable to assist the mating/unmating of the electrical connector (12) and the mating electrical connector, and • - a connector position assurance (CPA) element (44) slidably mounted on the housing (32) between a safety position and an active position, • · wherein the CPA element (44) comprises a shunt contact (42D) for blocking and allowing a flow of power through the power contact (42A, 42B, 42C) respectively in the safety position and the active position, • wherein, in the unmated position of the lever (60), the CPA element (44) is blocked in its safety position by the lever (60), and • wherein, in the active position of the CPA element (44), the lever (60) is blocked in its mated position by the CPA element (44).

Description

ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR WITH A LEVER AND A

CONNECTOR POSITION ASSURANCE (CPA) ELEMENT

The present invention relates to electrical connectors and electrical connector assemblies, in particular for power contact assemblies for electricity-fuel hybrid vehicles or fully electric vehicles.

Recent trends in the automotive industry concern these electricity-fuel hybrid vehicles or fully electric vehicles which are powered by batteries through cables with high current and/or voltage.

Electrical batteries are used to supply the engine of these vehicles with energy, but might also be used for the electrical supply of the other electrical devices of the vehicle .

Electrical connector assemblies are used to electrically connect the battery to those other electrical devices. Each of such electrical connector assemblies comprises a first connector to be connected to the battery and a second connector to be connected to the electrical device. Instead of being connected to the battery, the first connector can be connected to other elements of the vehicle, such as the motor, the air conditioning system, etc.

For safety reasons, it is required that few or no power flows through the power contacts during their mating/unmating of the electrical connector assembly.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an electrical connector assembly which ensures, on the one hand, that power flows through the connectors only in the case of correct and complete connectors mating, and, on the other hand, that the power contacts are powered off before their unmating.

To this aim, it is provided an electrical connector to be connected to a mating electrical connector, the electrical connector comprising:

- a housing for accommodating at least a power contact therein,

- a lever rotatably mounted on the housing between an unmated position and a mated position, suitable to assist the mating/unmating of the electrical connector and the mating electrical connector, and

- a connector position assurance (CPA) element slidably mounted on the housing between a safety position and an active position.

The CPA element comprises a shunt contact for blocking and allowing a flow of power through the power contact respectively in its safety position and its active positions.

In the unmated position of the lever, the CPA element is blocked in its safety position by the lever. In the active position of the CPA element, the lever is blocked in its mated position by the CPA element.

With these features, the electrical connector of the present invention limits the possibility of electrical arcing upon mating/unmating of the electrical connector with the mating electrical connector, thereby reducing the risk of injury for users and/or damage to the connectors and to the electrical devices connected to the connectors. Of course, different features, alternatives and/or embodiments of the present invention can be combined with each other in various arrangement to the extent that they are not incompatible or mutually exclusive of others.

In some embodiments of the invention, one might also use one or more of the features defined in the claims.

The present invention will be better understood and other features and advantages will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description including embodiments for illustrative purposes with reference to the figures, presented as non-limitative examples, which can be used to complete the understanding of the present invention and the description and, where appropriate, contribute to its definition, in which:

- Figure 1 is a front perspective view of a first connector of an electrical connector assembly according to a first embodiment of the present invention,

- Figure 2 is a front perspective view of a second connector suitable to be mated with the first connector of Figure 1,

- Figure 3 is a perspective view of the electrical connector assembly according to the present invention with the first connector of Figure 1 and the second connector of Figure 2 in an initial configuration,

- Figure 4 is an enlarged perspective view of detail IV of Figure 3,

- Figure 5 is a perspective view of the electrical connector assembly according to the present invention with the first connector of Figure 1 and the second connector of Figure 2 in an intermediate configuration, Figure 6 is an enlarged perspective view of detail VI of Figure 5,

Figure 7 is a perspective view of the electrical connector assembly according to the present invention with the first connector of Figure 1 and the second connector of Figure 2 in a final configuration,

Figure 8 is a front perspective view of a first connector of an electrical connector assembly according to a second embodiment of the present invention,

Figure 9 is a front perspective view of a second connector suitable to be mated with the first connector of Figure 8,

Figure 10 is a rear perspective view of the second connector of Figure 9, and

Figure 11 is a perspective view of the electrical connector assembly according to the present invention with the first connector of Figure 8 and the second connector of Figures 9 and 10 in an intermediate configuration .

It should be noted that, on Figures, structural and/or functional elements which are common to different embodiments may have the same reference sign. Thus, unless otherwise stated, these elements have structural, dimensional and material properties which are identical.

Figures 1 to 7 represent an electrical connector assembly according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 1 shows in details a first connector 10 to be mated along a longitudinal mating axis XX with a second connector 12, shown on Figure 2, such as to be mechanically and electrically connected to each other and to form an electrical connector assembly according to the first embodiment of the present invention.

The location and orientation terms used in the present description, such as "front", "rear", "top", "bottom", are to be understood relative to the mating axis XX oriented in the mating direction.

The first connector 10 of Figure 1 comprises a first housing 14 having a central portion 16, a peripheral portion 18 and an upper portion 20.

The central portion 16 has a parallelepipedic shape with a generally rectangular cross-section and extends along the mating axis XX.

The central portion 16 delimitates three cylindrical sockets 22A, 22B, 22C extending along respective axes AA, BB, CC . Each respective axes AA, BB, CC are parallel to the mating axis XX, and delimitating a respective accommodating chamber 24A, 24B, 24C.

The three cylindrical sockets 22A, 22B, 22C have an external shape which is identical in terms of shape and size. More precisely, the three cylindrical sockets 22A, 22B, 22C have a generally oval external shape when viewed in cross-section.

The three cylindrical sockets 22A, 22B, 22C are arranged relative to each other substantially according to a triangle .

The first connector 10 comprises three male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C accommodated in the respective accommodating chamber 24A, 24B, 24C and extending along respective axes AA, BB, CC.

The peripheral portion 18 has a tubular shape with a generally rectangular cross-section and extends along the mating axis XX around a front part of the central portion 16.

The peripheral portion 18 comprises two opposed side walls 28 and two opposed guiding pins 30. Each guiding pin 30 protrudes inwardly from an inner surface of a respective one of the side walls 28.

The upper portion 20 has a parallelepipedic shape with a generally trapezoidal cross-section and extends parallel to the mating axis XX.

The upper portion 20 is arranged on the upper wall of the peripheral portion 18 and delimitates a cylindrical socket 22D.

The cylindrical socket 22D extends along an axis DD parallel to the mating axis XX and delimitates an accommodating chamber 24D.

The cylindrical socket 22D has a generally oval external shape when viewed in cross-section.

The first connector 10 comprises two interlocking contacts 26D accommodated in the accommodating chamber 24D and extending parallel to the axis DD.

The interlocking contacts 26D are suitable to be connected to an electrically controllable power switch. The connection of the interlocking contacts 26D is suitable to close the power switch and the disconnection of the interlocking contacts 26D is intended to open the power switch .

The male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C are suitable to be connected to an electrical power source, for example an electrical battery, through the power switch. Referring to Figure 2, the second connector 12 comprises a second housing 32 having a central portion 34 and an upper portion 36.

The central portion 34 has a tubular shape with a generally rectangular cross-section corresponding to those of the central portion 16 of the first connector 10, and extends along the mating axis XX.

The central portion 34 comprises three cylindrical sleeves 38A, 38B, 38C extending along respective axes AA, BB, CC and delimitating a respective accommodating chamber 40A, 40B, 40C.

The three cylindrical sleeves 38A, 38B, 38C have an external shape which is identical in terms of shape and size. More precisely, the three cylindrical sleeves 38A, 38B, 38C have a generally oval external shape when viewed in cross-section. The three cylindrical sleeves 38A, 38B, 38C are arranged in order to cooperate respectively with the three cylindrical sockets 22A, 22B, 22C.

The second connector 12 comprises three female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C accommodated in the respective accommodating chamber 40A, 40B, 40C and extending along the respective axis AA, BB, CC . The female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C are intended to be connected to an electrical device of a vehicle, for example an engine of a vehicle.

The upper portion 36 has a tubular shape with a generally trapezoidal cross-section corresponding to the one of the upper portion 20 of the first connector 10, and extends parallel to the mating axis XX.

The upper portion 36 is arranged on the upper wall of the central portion 34 and comprises a cylindrical sleeve 38D extending along the axis DD and delimitating an accommodating chamber 40D.

The cylindrical sleeve 38D has a generally oval external shape when viewed in cross-section and is arranged to cooperate with the cylindrical socket 22D.

The second connector 12 comprises a Connector Position Assurance (CPA) element 44 slidably mounted on a rear part 45 of the upper portion 36 of the second housing 32 between a safety position and a active position.

The CPA element 44 comprises a main body 46, a shunt contact 42D and two opposed lateral portions 48 extending on each side of the main body 46.

The main body 46 of the CPA element 44 has a cylindrical shape and is at least partially received inside the accommodating chamber 40D. The shunt contact 42D is a shorting clip having a generally U-shape and is carried by the main body 46 such that it is received inside the accommodating chamber 40D of the upper portion 36.

As best seen on Figure 4, one of the lateral portions 48 comprises a side wall 50 and a rib 52 protruding outwardly from a lower edge of the side wall 50.

The lateral portion 48 comprises a longitudinal inner rail 47 having a generally L-shape cross-section and protruding inwardly from the side wall 50. The inner rail 47 is adapted to be received in a corresponding longitudinal recess 49 provided in a corresponding side wall 51 of the rear part 45 such that the CPA element 44 can slide along the rear part 45 while being maintained in engagement with the rear part 45.

The lateral portion 48 further comprises an upper wall 53 and a stop tongue 55 protruding downwardly from the upper wall 53. The stop tongue 55 is adapted to be received in a corresponding longitudinal hole 57 provided in an upper wall 61 of the rear part 45 to prevent the CPA element 44 from being disengaged from the rear part 45 when the CPA element 44 slides rearwardly.

In the safety position of the CPA element 44 and when the first connector 10 and the second connector 12 are in the process of being mated, the shunt contact 42D is located in front of the interlocking contacts 26D. When the first connector 10 and the second connector 12 are correctly and completely mated, the CPA element 44 is slidably movable with respect to the second housing 32 along the axis DD parallel to the mating axis XX from its safety position to its active position in which the shunt contact 42D is connected to the interlocking contacts 26D.

As best seen on Figure 7, the other lateral portion 48 comprises a locking tab 54 having a locking hole 56 which is sized and shaped to engage with a locking tooth 58 protruding outwardly from a corresponding side surface of the upper portion 36 of the second housing 32. This forms a locking system adapted to lock the CPA element 44 in its active position on the second housing 32.

The locking tab 54 comprises an actuation surface 59 adapted to be pushed, e.g. by a finger of a user, along a direction perpendicular to the mating axis XX, in order to release the locking tab 54 from engagement with the locking tooth 58.

Referring back to Figure 2, the second connector 12 comprises a lever 60 mounted on the second housing 32 for assisting the mating/unmating of the first connector 10 and the second connector 12.

The lever 60 comprises a handle 62 and two support arms 64 extending on each side of the handle 62.

The lever 60 is rotatably mounted between an unmated position and a mated position with respect to the second housing 32 around a pivot axis YY perpendicular to the mating axis XX and delimitated by two opposed pivot posts 66 protruding from opposed side walls of the central portion 34 of the second housing 32.

Each support arm 64 comprises, on its external surface, a guiding groove 68 for receiving and driving the respective guiding pin 30 of the first connector 10.

Each guiding groove 68 is disposed adjacent to the respective pivot post 66 and has a substantially circular shape around an axis parallel to and offset from the pivot axis YY .

Each guiding groove 68 comprises an entrance aperture 70 for receiving the respective guiding pin 30 of the first connector 10.

As shown on Figure 4, on the support arm 64 which is arranged on the side of the rib 52 of the CPA element 44, there is provided a blocking surface 72 having a substantially circular shape around an axis parallel to and offset from the pivot axis YY .

The lever 60 further comprises a groove 74 located adjacent to the blocking surface 72 and adapted to receive the rib 52 of the CPA element 44 when the lever 60 is in its mated position .

In the unmated position of the lever 60 as shown on Figure 3, the lever 60 is lowered and rests on an upper wall of the upper portion 36 of the second housing 32, the entrance aperture 70 of each guiding groove 68 facing the respective guiding pin 30 of the first connector 10 and the female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C facing the respective male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C. In the mated position of the lever 60 as shown on Figures 5 and 7, the lever 60 stands substantially upright, the guiding pins 30 being placed at the end of the respective guiding groove 68 and the female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C being connected to the respective male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C.

The mating/unmating movement of the first connector 10 and the second connector 12 is explained here below.

Initially, the first connector 10 and the second connector 12 are in an unmated/unassembled position in which they are aligned along the mating axis XX as represented on Figure 3.

The lever 60 is in its unmated position and the CPA element 44 is in its safety position. As depicted on Figure 4, the rib 52 of the CPA element 44 abuts against the blocking surface 72 of the lever 60, thereby preventing the CPA element 44 from moving out of its safety position as long as the lever 60 is in the unmated position.

In this initial configuration, the guiding pins 30 of the first connector 10 are located at the entrance aperture 70 of the respective guiding groove 68 of the lever 60. Next, the lever 60 is rotated rearward around the pivot axis YY toward its mated position, which makes the respective guiding pin 30 to move along the respective guiding groove 68 so as to help moving the first connector 10 toward the second connector 12 into final mated/assembled position.

During this rotation movement, the CPA element 44 is still prevented from moving forward due to the abutment of the rib 52 against the blocking surface 72 of the lever 60.

The rotation movement of the lever 60 stops when the respective guiding pin 30 meet the end of the respective guiding groove 68 and when the blocking surface 72 has been moved away from engagement with the rib 52, the groove 74 being then aligned with the rib 52 along an axis parallel to the mating axis XX.

In this intermediate configuration as shown on Figure 5, the male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C are connected to the respective female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C. However, the interlocking contacts 26D and the shunt contact 42D are not connected to each other. Thus, the power switch is still open and power cannot flow through the male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C and the female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C.

Therefore, the connector assembly is configured in such a way that the male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C and the female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C can be powered up only after the lever 60 has been moved to its mated position. In this position, , the male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C and the female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C are connected to each other.

The CPA element 44 is then slid forward toward its active position, the rib 52 being inserted in the groove 74, which connects the interlocking contacts 26D and the shunt contact 42D.

This leads to the closing of the power switch and the subsequent powering up of the circuit comprising the male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C and the female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C.

In this final configuration as shown on Figure 7, the CPA element 44 is locked in the active position by the locking tooth 58 being received in the locking hole 56 of the locking tab 54. The CPA element 44 is thus prevented from returning back to its safety position.

Besides, as the rib 52 of the CPA element 44 is engaged in the groove 74 of the lever 60, the lever 60 is prevented from returning back to its unmated position as long as the CPA element 44 is in its active position.

Thus, it is impossible to unmate the first connector 10 and the second connector 12 as long as the CPA element 44 is in its active position, i.e. as long as the power switch is closed, i.e. as long as power flows through the connector assembly . To unmate the first connector 10 from the second connector 12, the actuation surface 59 of the CPA element 44 is pushed along an axis parallel to the pivot axis YY so as to disengage the locking tooth 58 from the locking hole 56. Next, the CPA element 44 is slid rearwardly to its safety position, thereby releasing the groove 74 from the rib 52 and at the same time disconnecting the interlocking contacts 26D. Nevertheless, the male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C are still connected to the female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C.

In the safety position of the CPA element 44, the lever 60 is then free to move from its mated position toward its unmated position to disengage the respective guiding pins 30 from the respective guiding grooves 68 and to unmate the first connector 10 and the second connector 12.

Thus, the connector assembly is configured in such a way that the male power contacts 26A, 26B, 26C and the female power contacts 42A, 42B, 42C can be disconnected only after the CPA element 44 has returned to its safety position, i.e. only after the power switch has been opened, i.e. only after power no longer flows through the connector assembly.

The guiding pins 30 and the lever 60 form a mating/unmating assistance system for the first connector 10 and the second connector 12. Preferably, the CPA element 44 and the lever 60 are arranged such that the rib 52 and the groove 74 engage each other in a portion of the lever 60 which is closer to the handle 62 more than to the pivot posts 66, thereby limiting the stresses on the rib 52 and the groove 74.

The rib 52 and the groove 74 are arranged to be mutually engaged with precision and low tolerances so as to ensure that the lever 60 is precisely positioned in its mated position, thereby ensuring that the first connector 10 and the second connector 12 are well mated.

The location of the rib 52 on a side wall 50 of the CPA element 44 enables to strengthen and to rigidify the rib 52. The location of the rib 52 and the locking tab 54 on opposite sides of the CPA element 44, and thus on opposite sides of the upper portion 36 of the second housing 32, enables to balance the stresses on the CPA element 44 when it is moved between its safety position and its active position .

Besides, this opposite location of the rib 52 and the locking tab 54 allows having a large actuation area at the back of the CPA element 44 for better ergonomics when the CPA element 44 is moved between its safety and active positions . Figures 8 to 11 represent an electrical connector assembly according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

In the relation with second embodiment, reference numbers are those used in relation with the first embodiment with a of 100.

The first connector 110 according to the second embodiment as shown on Figure 8 differs from the first connector 10 according to the first embodiment as shown on Figure 1 in that the central portion 116 has a tubular shape with a generally oblong cross-section and the three cylindrical sockets 122A, 122B, 122C are arranged side by side along a row . The peripheral portion 118 extends around the central portion 116 and the upper portion 120.

The peripheral portion 118 comprises the two opposed side walls 128 and the two opposed guiding pins 130, each guiding pin 130 protruding outwardly from an outer surface of a respective one of the side walls 128.

The upper portion 120 has a tubular shape with a generally oval cross-section and coincides with the cylindrical socket 122D of the first connector 110.

Referring to Figure 9, the second connector 112 according to the second embodiment differs from the second connector 12 according to the first embodiment as shown on Figure 2 in that the central portion 134 has a generally oblong cross-section corresponding to the one of the central portion 116 of the first connector 110 and the three cylindrical sleeves 138A, 138B, 138C are arranged side by side along a row in order to cooperate respectively with the three cylindrical sockets 122A, 122B, 122C.

The upper portion 136 has a generally rectangular cross- section .

As best seen on Figure 10, each lateral portion 148 of the CPA element 144 comprises a side wall 150 and a rib 152 protruding outwardly from an upper edge of the side wall 150.

The CPA element 144 does not comprise a longitudinal inner rail, the stop tongue 155 and the longitudinal hole 157 allowing the CPA element 144 to slide along the upper portion 136 while preventing the CPA element 144 from being disengaged from the upper portion 136 when the CPA element 144 slides rearward.

One of the lateral portions 148 comprises the locking tab 154 having the locking hole 156 which is sized and shaped to engage with the locking tooth 158 protruding outwardly from a corresponding intermediate surface of the upper portion 136. Concerning the lever 160, each support arm 164 comprises, on its internal surface, a guiding groove 168 for receiving and driving the respective guiding pin 130 of the first connector 110. Both support arms 164 comprise a blocking surface 172 having a substantially circular shape around an axis parallel to and offset from the pivot axis YY .

Referring back to Figure 9, the lever 60 further comprises a groove 174 on each support arm 164 located adjacent to the respective blocking surface 172 and adapted to receive the respective rib 152 of the CPA element 144 when the lever 160 is in its mated position. In the unmated position of the lever 160 as shown on Figures 9 and 10, the lever 160 stands substantially upright, the entrance aperture 170 of each guiding groove 168 facing the respective guiding pin 130 of the first connector 110.

In the mated position of the lever 160 as shown on Figure 11, the lever 160 extends substantially horizontally, the guiding pins 130 being placed at the end of the respective guiding groove 168.

The second connector 112 further comprises a latching system adapted to latch the lever 160 in its mated position . The latching system comprises two opposed latching members 180 each provided on one of the support arms 164, adjacent to the respective pivot post 166 and substantially opposite from the respective guiding groove 168.

As best seen on Figure 11, each latching member 180 comprises a latching hole 182 which is sized and shaped to engage with a respective latching tooth 184 protruding outwardly from a corresponding side wall of the second housing 132.

After rotation of the lever 160 from its unmated position to its mated position, the lever 160 is latched on the second housing 132.

Therefore, when the first connector 110 and the second connector 112 are correctly and completely mated, i.e. when the lever 160 is in its mated position and the CPA element 144 is in its active position, the lever 160 is prevented from returning back to its unmated position in two different ways:

- by the CPA element 144, via the engagement of the ribs 152 of the CPA element 144 with the grooves 174 of the support arms 164, and

- by the latching system, via the engagement of the latching holes 182 with the latching teeth 184.

Upon unmating of the first connector 110 and the second connector 112 and when the CPA element 144 has slid to its safety position, the lever 160 is rotated toward its unmated position by pushing on an actuation zone 186, shown on Figure 11, provided on each latching member 180, thereby disengaging the latching teeth 184 from the latching holes 182. Accordingly, the invention ensures that, when the first connector and the second connector are in the process of being mated, the circuit is powered up only when the male power contacts are connected to the female power contacts.

Conversely, when the first connector and the second connector are in the process of being unmated, the invention ensures that the male power contacts are disconnected from the female power contacts only when the circuit is powered down.

This prevents electrical arcing from occurring upon mating/unmating the first and second connectors, thereby reducing the risk of injury to users and/or damage to the connectors and to the electrical devices connected to the connector assembly.

Accordingly, the invention provides an electrical connector assembly wherein the first connector and the second connector can be safely mated/unmated.

Obviously, the present invention is not limited to embodiments which are here above described and provided only as examples. It also includes different modifications, and alternatives that may be considered by the person skill in the art as part of the present invention, including all combinations of different embodiments here above described, taken alone or in combination.

Claims

1. An electrical connector (12, 112) to be connected to a mating electrical connector (10, 110), the electrical connector (12, 112) comprising:
- a housing (32, 132) for accommodating at least a power contact (42A, 42B, 42C) therein,
- a lever (60, 160) rotatably mounted on the housing (32, 132) between an unmated position and a mated position, suitable to assist the mating/unmating of the electrical connector (12, 112) with the mating electrical connector (10, 110), and
- a connector position assurance (CPA) element (44, 144) slidably mounted on the housing (32, 132) between a safety position and an active position,
wherein the CPA element (44, 144) comprises a shunt contact (42D) for blocking and allowing a flow of power through the power contact (42A, 42B, 42C) respectively in its safety position and its active position,
wherein, in the unmated position of the lever (60, 160), the CPA element (44, 144) is blocked in its safety position by the lever (60, 160), and
wherein, in the active position of the CPA element (44, 144), the lever (60, 160) is blocked in its mated position by the CPA element (44, 144) .
2. An electrical connector (12, 112) according to claim 1, wherein the lever (60, 160) comprises a blocking surface (72, 172) and the CPA element (44, 144) comprises a rib (52, 152), the rib (52, 152) abutting against the blocking surface (72, 172) in the unmated position of the lever (60, 160), thereby preventing the CPA element (44, 144) from moving out of its safety position.
3. An electrical connector (12, 112) according to claim
2, wherein the lever (60, 160) comprises a handle (62, 162) and two support arms (64, 164), the blocking surface (72, 172) being arranged on one of the two support arms (64, 164) and the rib (52, 152) being provided on a side wall (50, 150) of the CPA element (44, 144) .
4. An electrical connector (12, 112) according to claim
3, wherein each support arm (64, 164) comprises a guiding groove (68, 168) suitable to receive and drive a guiding pin (30, 130) provided on the mating electrical connector (10, 110) upon rotation of the lever (60, 160) .
5. An electrical connector (12, 112) according to any of claims 2 to 4, wherein the lever (60, 160) comprises a groove (74, 174) suitable to receive the rib (52, 152) of the CPA element (44, 144) when the lever (60, 160) is in its mated position.
6. An electrical connector (12, 112) according to claim 5, wherein the groove (74, 174) is arranged adjacent to the blocking surface (72, 172) .
7. An electrical connector (12, 112) according to any of claims 1 to 6, comprising a locking system adapted to lock the CPA element (44, 144) in its active position.
8. An electrical connector (12, 112) according to claim 7, wherein the locking system comprises a locking tab (54, 154) provided on the CPA element (44, 144) and having a locking hole (56, 156) suitable to cooperate with a locking tooth (58, 158) provided on the housing (32, 132) .
9. An electrical connector (12) according to any of claims 2 to 6 in combination with claim 7 or 8, wherein the locking system is arranged on the CPA element (44) opposite from the rib (52) .
10. An electrical connector (112) according to any of claims 2 to 8, wherein the lever (160) comprises two opposed blocking surfaces (172) and the CPA element (144) comprises two opposed ribs (152) .
11. An electrical connector (12) according to any of claims 1 to 10, wherein, in the safety position of the CPA element (44), the lever (60) is free to move from its mated position toward its unmated position.
12. An electrical connector (112) according to any of claims 1 to 10, further comprising a latching system adapted to latch the lever (160) in its mated position.
13. An electrical connector (112) according to claim 12, wherein the latching system comprises a latching member (180) provided on the lever (160) and having a latching hole (182) adapted to cooperate with a latching tooth (184) provided on the housing (132) .
14. An electrical connector assembly comprising:
- a first electrical connector (10, 110) having at least one contact (26A, 26B, 26C) and a interlocking contact (26D), and
- a second electrical connector (12, 112) according to any of claims 1 to 13 and having at least one contact
(42A, 42B, 42C) and a shunt contact (42D) ,
wherein the first connector (10, 110) and the second connector (12, 112) are mated and unmated along a mating axis (XX) between an unassembled position and an assembled position in order to connect and disconnect the contact (26A, 26B, 26C) of the first electrical connector (10, 110) with the respective contact (42A, 42B, 42C) of the second electrical connector (12, 112) and to connect and disconnect the interlocking contacts (26D) with the shunt contact (42D) .
15. An electrical device comprising an electrical power source, an electrically controllable power switch and an electrical connector assembly according to claim 14, wherein the contact (26A, 26B, 26C) of the first electrical connector (10, 110) are connected to the electrical power source through the power switch, and
wherein the interlocking contacts (26D) are connected to the power switch so that the connection of the interlocking contacts (26D) closes the power switch and the disconnection of the interlocking contacts (26D) opens the power switch.
PCT/EP2012/074149 2011-12-20 2012-11-30 Electrical connector with a lever and a connector position assurance (cpa) element WO2013092174A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
EP11306703 2011-12-20
EP11306703.7 2011-12-20

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2013092174A1 true WO2013092174A1 (en) 2013-06-27

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ID=47290965

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Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/EP2012/074149 WO2013092174A1 (en) 2011-12-20 2012-11-30 Electrical connector with a lever and a connector position assurance (cpa) element

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Country Link
WO (1) WO2013092174A1 (en)

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EP2843773A1 (en) * 2013-09-03 2015-03-04 Japan Aviation Electronics Industry Limited Connector device
CN104425938A (en) * 2013-09-09 2015-03-18 泰科电子日本合同会社 Lever-actuated electrical connector and mating system
FR3013154A1 (en) * 2013-11-13 2015-05-15 Tyco Electronics Japan G K Connector comprising connector position assurance mechanism and connector coupling body
CN107528157A (en) * 2016-06-20 2017-12-29 日本航空电子工业株式会社 Power source circuit breaker
WO2018025137A1 (en) * 2016-08-01 2018-02-08 Te Connectivity Corporation Arcless power connector
US10020613B2 (en) 2016-08-01 2018-07-10 Te Connectivity Corporation Power terminal for arcless power connector

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Cited By (12)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP2843773A1 (en) * 2013-09-03 2015-03-04 Japan Aviation Electronics Industry Limited Connector device
CN104425977A (en) * 2013-09-03 2015-03-18 日本航空电子工业株式会社 Connector device
US9325112B2 (en) 2013-09-03 2016-04-26 Japan Aviation Electronics Industry, Limited Connector device
CN104425938A (en) * 2013-09-09 2015-03-18 泰科电子日本合同会社 Lever-actuated electrical connector and mating system
CN104425938B (en) * 2013-09-09 2019-08-06 泰科电子日本合同会社 Lever type electrical connector and chimeric system
FR3013154A1 (en) * 2013-11-13 2015-05-15 Tyco Electronics Japan G K Connector comprising connector position assurance mechanism and connector coupling body
US9425554B2 (en) 2013-11-13 2016-08-23 Tyco Electronics Japan G.K. Connector including connector position assurance mechanism and connector mating body
CN107528157A (en) * 2016-06-20 2017-12-29 日本航空电子工业株式会社 Power source circuit breaker
US10163590B2 (en) 2016-06-20 2018-12-25 Japan Aviation Electronics Industry, Limited Power-circuit breaking device
WO2018025137A1 (en) * 2016-08-01 2018-02-08 Te Connectivity Corporation Arcless power connector
US10020613B2 (en) 2016-08-01 2018-07-10 Te Connectivity Corporation Power terminal for arcless power connector
US10148034B2 (en) 2016-08-01 2018-12-04 Te Connectivity Corporation Arcless power connector

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