Title:
TERMINAL BLOCK AND CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY
United States Patent 3800269


Abstract:
A terminal block and connector assembly including an elongated terminal block capable of supporting one or more electrical connector elements in respective sections. Each support section of the terminal block is separated from an adjacent one by a barrier wall which prevents electrical arcing and the like between terminal elements supported by the block. The connector elements are supported on the terminal block within openings which alternatively can receive a retention insert permitting the block to be attached to a support surface.



Inventors:
PALOMBELLA D
Application Number:
05/232438
Publication Date:
03/26/1974
Filing Date:
03/07/1972
Assignee:
PALMER IND LTD,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
439/746
International Classes:
H01R9/24; (IPC1-7): H01R9/00
Field of Search:
339/217R,217S,220,221,198R
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3723950JUNCTION BLOCK AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME1973-03-27Lourenich
3605076HERMETICALLY SEALED TERMINAL CONSTRUCTION1971-09-14Dozier
3585574TURRET TERMINAL BOARD1971-06-15Drapkin
3564478N/A1971-02-16Hampton
3349365Spring loaded electrical terminal1967-10-24Dozier
3315215Modular terminal block assembly1967-04-18Kulka
3086074Self-orientating terminal connectors1963-04-16Just et al.
2998589Terminal block assembly1961-08-29Kulka
2923913N/A1960-02-02Kulka



Foreign References:
FR1173674A
Primary Examiner:
Mcglynn, Joseph H.
Assistant Examiner:
Hafer, Robert A.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. An electrical terminal support comprising

2. The support of claim 1 wherein said elongated block includes at least one laterally extending stepped portion adjacent a respective opening to aid in securing an electrical terminal.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates in general to electronic assemblies and in particular, to an improved terminal block and electrical connector.

More specifically, the invention relates to an improved terminal block and electrical connector wherein the terminal block includes improved means to mount a plurality of electrical connector elements in a manner that each connector is electrically insulated from an adjoining connector by means of a novel barrier wall which prevents electrical arcing and the like therebetween. In addition, a novel electrical connector is disclosed which accomplishes improved coupling of electrical leads. The connector of the invention includes electrical insulative means to prevent arcing and the like between conductive stem or tail elements of connectors which project from a terminal panel or block.

In many electrical circuits and assemblies, it is common practice to mount a plurality of electrical connectors on a panel or board with adjacent connectors often positioned in a closely spaced relationship. An example of an electrical connector which is commonly mounted with a plurality of connectors adjacent each other is disclosed in the U.S. Pat. No. 3,609,654 issued to Wallo. In the prior art, it has been the usual practice to mount such electrical connectors on a flat panel or board whereby the respective connectors are relatively closely spaced. It has been found that during the operation of circuits including such closely spaced connectors that serious electrical arcing between adjacent connectors and other problems are encountered to reduce efficiency of operation of the circuit or assembly in which the elements are present. In addition to the arcing problems presented by the close spacing of connectors, the prior art method of mounting connectors to a panel or board has also not achieved a desired degree of efficiency of retention or flexibility of use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore, an object of this invention to improve the mounting of a terminal to a support structure.

A further object of this invention is to improve the mounting of a plurality of terminals positioned on a support structure.

Another object of this invention is to provide an improved terminal block.

A still further object of this invention is to prevent arcing between adjacently mounted electrical connectors.

A still further object of this invention is to improve the insulation of the conductive members extending from the body of a terminal or connector element.

These and other objects are attained in accordance with the present invention wherein there is provided an improved terminal block which facilitates the mounting of a plurality of terminal or connector elements in a manner that electrical arcing is prevented between adjacent elements. The terminal block of the invention includes barrier means interimposed between adjacent terminals to provide electrical isolation of the elements. Moreover, the novel design of the terminal block permits a plurality of terminals to be mounted on the block and provides significantly improved coupling of electrical leads thereto.

The terminal block of the invention provides a high degree of flexibility since any selected number of terminals may be supported on the block and the block is capable of supporting terminals or connectors of a variety of different designs. The invention herein disclosed also includes an improved terminal or connector having an insulative means to electrically isolate adjacent conductive stems extending beyond the terminal block or panel upon wich the terminal is mounted.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further objects of this invention, together with additional features contributing thereto and advantages accruing therefrom will be apparent from the following description of several embodiments in the invention when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top schematic illustration of an embodiment of the terminal block of the invention supporting a plurality of electrical terminals;

FIG. 2 is a side schematic illustration of the terminal block of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top schematic illustration of the terminal block of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side schematic illustration with part broken away of the terminal block of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a schematic side illustration of a retention member for use with the terminal block of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a bottom schematic illustration of the retention member of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a front schematic illustration with parts broken away of the retention member of FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a front schematic illustration of an improved electrical connector of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a top schematic illustration of the electrical connector of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a side schematic illustration of the electrical connector of FIG. 8;

FIG. 11 is a side schematic illustration of an electrical isolation member for use with the electrical connector of FIG. 8;

FIG. 12 is a top schematic illustration of the isolation member of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a sectional view taken along line 13--13 of FIG. 12.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFFERED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is illustrated an embodiment of terminal block 1 of the invention supporting a plurality of connector elements. The novel terminal block is capable of supporting one or more connector or terminal elements of one or more various designs. Viewing FIGS. 1 and 2, a variety of connector elements are illustrated being supported on the terminal block and include connector 2, similar in design to the device disclosed in the aforementioned Wallo patent, connector 3, commonly referred to as a Keller wrap connector, and a novel feed through connector 4 of the invention. Although the terminal block of the invention is shown supporting connector elements 2, 3 and 4, it should be apparent to one skilled in the art that numerous other connectors or terminals as well as other combinations of connectors may be utilized in conjunction with the improved terminal block 1 of the invention.

Terminal block 1 is formed as an elongated body 5 from a suitable material such as plastic and is manufactured by any conventional technique. The terminal block is capable of being formed of any selected length to support one or more connectors in a desired manner. The elongated body 5 is provided with a series of connector receiving openings 6 generally constructed with an essentially H-shaped configuration wherein opening 6 includes a corner slot 7 and an indented intermediate portion 7. Each of the connector receiving openings 6 are separated from adjoining openings by means of a vertically extending barrier element 10. Barrier element 10 extends across the width of the terminal block in a direction normal to the longitudinal axis thereof and forms the lateral vertical walls between adjacent connector openings 6. Each of the barrier elements 10 includes a bottom portion 11 which projects downward from the bottom of the terminal block and an upper portion 12 which extends above the top of the terminal block in a manner to create an electrical barrier between connector or connectors positioned in adjacent connector receiving openings 6.

The presence of barrier elements 10 prevents arcing and other problems associated with the mounting of a plurality of connectors on a flat panel member or board. Since barrier elements 10 form two sides of connector receiving opening 6, the barrier elements include stepped portions 13 formed on opposite faces thereof, which are positioned at a location beneath the top of the connector block body 5 in a manner that the stepped portion is capable of engaging a shear form and other projecting element provided on the connector elements. Generally, a connector is mounted on the terminal block by being inserted from the top, thus causing a shear form, for example, to bend resiliently inward until it interengages with stepped portion 13. An example of such a shear form provided on the connector will be described later with reference to the novel feed through connector illustrated in FIGS. 10 through 13. To aid in the retention of the connectors to the terminal block, the connector may be formed with a plurality of tabs 8a to abut the upper surface of block 6.

The novel design of the terminal block provides a high degree of flexibility in using the terminal block, since any number of connector elements of any variety may be supported by the block. Further, any of the receiving openings 6 may receive a retention element in place of a connector whereby the terminal block is attachable by screw means and the like to a board or panel as desired. An example of a retention member 20 utilized in conjunction with the terminal block of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7.

Retention member 20 includes a bottom portion having a cross sectional configuration 21 complementary to the H-like configuration of connector receiving opening 6. A hole 21 extends through the length of the retention member and is adapted to receive a screw or the like (not shown) to connect the terminal block to a panel, board or other support structure (not shown). The top of the retention member includes a flange portion 23 to contact the top of terminal body 5 for securing the block to a support structure. In FIGS. 1 and 2, it is illustrated that retention members 20 may be inserted at respective ends of the terminal block and that two such members are used. However, it is within the scope of the invention to position the retention members at any location on the terminal block according to encountered conditions and utilize any number of members 20 depending on such factors as the length of the terminal block, the availability of locations to attach terminal blocks to a support surface and the like.

In the manufacture of the terminal block, it is convenient to manufacture the block in a standard length such as with the provision of 27 terminal receiving openings 6 wherein the length of a particular block may be cut to include a selected number of terminal openings according to the number of connectors needed to be accommodated. Generally, electrical leads are coupled to the connectors mounted on the terminal block by clamping the ends of the leads between a clamping member 25 in the form of a nut element mounted on screw 26 and the upper body 27 of terminal 2 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The other types of connectors shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 similarly are connectable to electrical leads. The H-configuration of receptacle opening 6 improves the clamping of a wire to the connector because a part of the periphery of the nut contacts intermediate indented portion 8 at least partially within opening 6 to provide positive action between the nut and screw.

Referring now to FIGS. 8 to 13, there is illustrated a novel feed through electrical connector of the invention generally illustrated as electrical connector 4 in FIGS. 1 and 2. As best shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10, electrical connector 4 includes a body portion 31 bent from a flat metal strip of material into a U-shaped configuration which is adapted to be inserted into a connector receiving opening 6 of terminal block 1 or alternatively, to a conventional flat panel or other support structure. Body portion 31 includes a pair of oppositely disposed and diagonally positioned shear forms 32 which are adapted to interengage with the support structure to which the connector is mounted such as stepped portion 13 of terminal block 1 previously described. Additionally, a pair of smaller shear forms 33 are inwardly disposed within the U-shaped configuration of the connector body and are adapted to limit the downward movement of nut 34 mounted on screw 35 which is positioned through the upper portion of body portion 31.

In addition, body portion 31 is formed with a series of four corner tab members 36 which are utilized to abut the top of a board or block to which the terminal is mounted for better retention of the connector. Attached to U-shaped body portion 31 is a conductive tail 40 which extends longitudinally of the connector and includes a bent portion 40a unitarily attached to body portion 31. The tail 40 is formed with an outwardly extending shear form 41 and an end projection 42 which is coupled by any conventional technique to the circuit in which the connector is being utilized.

An electrically insulative element 50 is adapted to be inserted around the exterior surface of tail 40 wherein end projection 42 is the only portion of the tail exposed. Insulative element 50 includes a longitudinally disposed opening 51 which receives tail 40 in a manner to surround the exterior surface thereof. Shear form 41 formed on the tail interengages with a slot formed within the opening 51 in a manner that the insulative element is adequately secured to the connector. Insulative element 50 further includes a flanged upper surface 53 having a configuration similar to the bottom of terminal block 1 adjacent the lower portion 11 of the isolation element. The positioning of electrical insulative element 50 on tail 40 provides electrical insulation between the tails of adjacently positioned connectors to improve the electrical mounting of a plurality of connectors.

While the invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted thereof without departing from the true spirit of the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation to the teaching of the invention without departing from its essential teachings.