Title:
PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD FOR CONNECTING OF MULT-WIRE CABLING TO SURGE PROTECTORS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A multi-layer printed circuit board assembly providing a rigid structural platform for supporting a plurality of surge protector modules for coupling to multi-line communications cables on one board. The multi-layer printed circuit board assembly includes a printed circuit board, multiple protector female sockets pins and at least two connectors mounted on the printed circuit board. The multi-layer printed circuit board assembly can also include a ground plane and a pin support block. The multiple protector female socket pins partially reside in receptacles within the printed circuit board and are arranged to receive and electrically connect surge protector modules to the multi-layer printed circuit board. This allows the traces within the printed circuit board to electrically connect each lead of a designated communication line with a corresponding surge protector pin.



Inventors:
Porter, Kennon B. (Bonham, TX, US)
Glaser, James A. (Bonham, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/465363
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
08/17/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
H02B1/00; H04Q1/14; H05K1/02; H05K1/00; H05K1/18
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SANDVIK, BENJAMIN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARR LLP (670 FOUNDERS SQUARE, 900 JACKSON STREET, DALLAS, TX, 75202, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An assembly for receiving at least one surge protector, comprising: a plurality of protector female socket pins disposed partially within a printed circuit board to rigidly extend outward from the printed circuit board and for electrically connecting one or more pins of at least one surge protector that is not directly in contact with the printed circuit board protector; and at least one trace formed within the printed circuit board, the trace electrically connecting the protector female socket pin to a communication line.

2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the multi-layer circuit board comprises at least one ground plane disposed within the printed circuit board, the ground plane electrically connecting at least one protector female socket pin to ground.

3. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the protector female socket pin has a first end and a second end, the first end disposed within the multi-layer printed circuit board to electrically connect to at least one trace, the second end extended outward from the multi-layer printed circuit board to secure one or more surge protectors without residing the surge protectors on the multi-layer printed circuit board.

4. The assembly of claim 3 wherein the multi-layer printed circuit board forms a compressed fit around each first end of the protector female socket pins to rigidly attach each first end to the multi-layer printed circuit board.

5. The assembly of claim 3 wherein each first end resides in a plated receptacle on the printed circuit board.

6. The assembly of claim 3 wherein the second end of the protector female socket pin forms a compression fit around each surge protector pin.

7. The assembly of claim 3 wherein each first end of the protector female socket pins forms a soldered connection with a plated receptacle of the printed circuit board.

8. The assembly of claim 3 wherein the second end of the protector female socket pin accepts at least one pin of the surge protector by expanding to form a compression fit between at least one pin of the surge protector and the second end.

9. The assembly of claim 5 wherein a unique electrical couple is created between each plated receptacle of the multi-layer printed circuit board, first and second ends of the protector female socket pin and surge protector pin resulting in an electrical connection between the surge protector pin and the designated trace.

10. The assembly of claim 3 wherein at least one plated receptacle contains an inner wall having two portions, a conductive portion and a non-conductive portion.

11. The assembly of claim 10 wherein the length of the first end of each protector female socket pin is of approximately equal length.

12. The assembly of claim 11 wherein the non-conductive portion of the plated receptacle is located between the ground plane and each first end and the conductive portion of the plated receptacle is located between the trace of the multi-layer printed circuit board and each first end, the electrical connection between the first end and at least one trace within the printed circuit board is formed.

13. The assembly of claim 11 wherein the conductive portion of the plated receptacle is located between the ground plane and each first end and the non-conductive portion of the plated receptacle is located between the trace and each first end, the electrical connection between the first end and ground is formed.

14. The assembly of claim 3 wherein the protector female socket pins have two separate and distinct first end lengths, a short first end being one and a longer first end being the other.

15. The assembly of claim 14 wherein the protector female socket pins having the short first end are electrically connected to the ground plane and the protector female socket pins having the long first end are electrically insulated from the ground plane and electrically connected to the trace.

16. The assembly of claim 15 wherein at least one protector female socket pin having the short first end forming an electrically connection between the ground plane and a ground pin of at least one surge protector.

18. An assembly for receiving at least one surge protector, comprising: a ground plane; a plurality of protector female socket pins formed partially within a printed circuit board, each protector female socket pin forming a compliant fit with the ground plane and the printed circuit board which secures the ground plane to the printed circuit board, the compliant fit rigidly holding each protector female socket pin and allowing each protector female socket pin to extend outward from the ground plane and printed circuit board and for electrically connecting one or more pins of at least one surge protector to the plurality of protector female socket pins; and at least one trace formed within the printed circuit board, the trace electrically connecting the protector female socket pin to a communication line.

19. A protector assembly, comprising a pin support block; a plurality of protector female socket pins formed partially within a printed circuit board and partially within the pin support block for coupling the printed circuit board to the pin support block and for electrically connecting one or more pins of at least one surge protector to the protector female socket pins; at least one trace formed within the printed circuit board, the trace electrically connecting the protector female socket pin to an incoming or outgoing communication line and at least one ground plane formed within the printed circuit board, the ground plane electrically connecting at least one protector female socket pin to ground.

20. The surge protector assembly of claim 19 wherein the protector female socket pin has a first end and a second end, the first end being a first end disposed within the printed circuit board to electrically connect to at least one trace and the second end being an elongated female socket which extends outward from the printed circuit board to secure one or more surge protectors.

21. The surge protector assembly of claim 19 wherein the printed circuit board, pin support block and the ground plane contain at least one plated receptacle each.

22. The surge protector assembly of claim 21 wherein the protector female socket pins couple the pin support block, ground plane and printed circuit board together to form a single protector assembly.

23. The surge protector assembly of claim 22 wherein the protector female socket pin is pressed into the plated receptacle of the pin support block, ground plane and printed circuit board forming a compliant fit with the pin support block and a compression fit with the printed circuit board.

24. The surge protector assembly of claim 19 wherein the protector female socket pin is rigidly attach to the printed circuit board.

25. The surge protector assembly of claim 23 wherein the pin support block forms a compliant fit around each second end of the protector female socket pins which rigidly attaches the pin support block to the printed circuit board.

26. The surge protector assembly of claim 20 wherein at least one first end of the protector female socket pins reside within a plated receptacle of the printed circuit board and at least one other first end resides within a plated receptacle of the ground plane.

27. The surge protector assembly of claim 20 wherein the first end of the protector female socket pins forms a soldered connection with a plated receptacle of the printed circuit board.

28. The surge protector assembly of claim 20 wherein the second end of the protector female socket pins accept at least one pin of each surge protector by expanding to form a compression fit between at least one pin of the surge protector and the second end.

29. The surge protector assembly of claim 28 wherein a unique electrical couple is created between each plated receptacle of the printed circuit board, first and second ends of the protector female socket pin and surge protector pin resulting in an electrical connection between the surge protector pin and the designated trace.

30. The surge protector assembly of claim 21 wherein the length of the first end of each protector female socket pin is of equal length.

31. A protector assembly, comprising: a pin support block; a plurality of protector female socket pins having a first end and a second end, the first end formed within the multi-layer printed circuit board to electrically connect to at least one trace and the second end being an elongated female socket which extends outward from the multi-layer printed circuit board for coupling the multi-layer printed circuit board to the pin support block and a ground plane and for electrically connecting one or more pins of at least one surge protector to the protector female socket pins; and at least one trace formed within the printed circuit board, the trace electrically connecting the protector female socket pin to an incoming or outgoing communication line, the ground plane electrically connecting at least one protector female socket pin to ground.

32. A protector female socket pin for connecting multiple layers of a surge protector assembly together, comprising: a first end having a conductive needle tip for resisting compression when pressed into a receptacle of a multi-layer printed circuit board, said first end forming a compression fit with the receptacle of the multi-layer printed circuit board and electrically connecting the receptacle to the first end; a base pressed into a receptacle of a support pin socket to form a compliant fit with the pin support block for coupling the multi-layer printed circuit board to the pin support block; and a second end having elongated finger sockets for receiving a surge protector pin, said second end extending outwardly from the multi-layer printed circuit board into the receptacle of the pin support block for electrically coupling a surge protector pin to the multi-layer printed circuit board.

33. The protector female socket pin of claim 31 wherein the compression fit between the conductive needle tip of the first end and the receptacle of the multi-layer printed circuit board electrically connects a trace within the multi-layer printed circuit board to the first end.

34. The protector female socket pin of claim 31 wherein the elongated finger sockets of the second end form a compression fit around the inserted surge protector pin forming an electrical connection between the elongated finger sockets and the surge protector pin.

35. The protector female socket pin of claim 31 wherein a unique electrical couple is created between the receptacle of the multi-layer printed circuit board, first and second ends of the protector female socket pin and the surge protector pin resulting in an electrical connection between the surge protector pin and a designated trace on the multi-layer printed circuit board.

36. A method of coupling a pin support block to a multi-layer printed circuit board using protective female socket pins comprising: compressing each first end of a plurality of protector female socket pins having a first end on one end and an elongated female socket on the other into a receptacle of the multi-layer printed circuit board; compressing the elongated female socket of each protector female socket pin into a receptacle of a pin support block; connecting input and output connectors on the communication lines; connecting the input connectors to a multi-layer printed circuit board; connecting the output connectors to a multi-layer printed circuit board; and connecting one of a five pin or six pin surge protector assembly to the elongated female socket, wherein traces on the multi-layer printed circuit board electrically connect pins of the surge protector assembly in series with the corresponding input and output pins of the input and output connectors, respectively.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending patent application Ser. No. 09/348,906, entitled “PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD FOR CONNECTING OF MULT-WIRE CABLING TO SURGE PROTECTORS”, filed on Jul. 7, 1999, (Attorney Docket No. 1082000).

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Surge protectors protect voltage sensitive equipment connected to electrical, communications, and signaling lines by discharging high voltage signals or current surges to ground before the high voltage signal can damage the equipment. Communication systems employ large numbers of surge protectors to connect voltage sensitive switching equipment and other equipment to outside cables. Communication lines, which normally carry relatively low voltage message signals, are subject to high current surges caused by lightning and other phenomena associated with the location of the communications lines.

Often, communication lines are bundled for logistic reasons including simplifying line routing. A communication bundle can include over 100 lines. Because of the large number of lines, connecting surge protectors to each of the lines is a labor-intensive task. One conventional device for connecting the communication lines to the surge protectors is a device known as a protector block.

A protector block provides a rigid structural platform for supporting a plurality of surge protector modules for coupling them to multi-line communications cables. Generally, protector blocks come in various sizes, including ones that handle ten, twenty-five, fifty, and one hundred surge protectors for coupling to an equal number of communication line pairs. The design of communication line and protector assemblies is currently limited to the availability of a specific protector block configuration. The protector blocks are rather expensive to produce, making the flexibility of their design rather limited.

A protector block assembly is fabricated as a single slab of plastic insulating material. On one side is a plurality of wire-wrap pins, one for each wire. On the opposite side, there is, for each wire-wrap pin, a female socket electrically connected to the wire wrap pins. The pins and the sockets are typically arranged in groups of five or six, with the pins in each group having a specified configuration depending on the type of surge protector module being used. The pins of the surge protector module, regardless of whether it has a five or six pin configuration, are inserted into the appropriate socket to establish a compression fit electrical connection with the socket and the wire-wrap pin.

There are two conventional methods for coupling communication lines to surge protector modules located on the protector block: wire wrapping each communication wire that is located within the communication line to the pin on the protector block or terminating multiple wires to a connector and connecting to a mating connector on a connectorized printed circuit board that is flow soldered to the protector block using a conventional flow soldering method known in the art. There is a need, therefore, for allowing the required connections to be made in a more efficient manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one embodiment of the invention, a multi-layer printed circuit board assembly provides a rigid structural platform for supporting a plurality of surge protector modules for coupling to multi-line communications cables on one board. The multi-layer printed circuit board assembly includes a printed circuit board, multiple protector female sockets pins and at least two connectors mounted on the printed circuit board. The multi-layer printed circuit board assembly can also include a ground plane and a pin support block.

The multiple protector female socket pins partially reside in receptacles within the printed circuit board and are arranged to accept, align, fit, hold, support, receive, retain and electrically connect surge protector modules to the multi-layer printed circuit board. Each multiple protector female socket pin forms a compression fit around a surge protector pin and a compression fit between the female socket pin and the receptacle of the multi-layer printed circuit board to create an electrical connection between the corresponding trace and its surge protector pin. This allows the traces within the printed circuit board to electrically connect each lead of a designated communication line with a corresponding surge protector pin.

In one embodiment, the invention provides a means for mounting and supporting a ground plane and/or support block to the printed circuit board by way of the multiple protector female socket pins. This mounting provides additional support to the printed circuit board, isolates the leads of the surge protectors from external contact, provides an attachment to mount the assembly in a working environment, and holds, supports, and retains the ground plane and/or support block to the printed circuit board without the need of any additional elements, such as, retention pins, wire wrap pins, metal sockets and any other connectors commonly used in the art.

Each metal trace provides a unique, low resistance electrical connection between one connector pin socket and one protector pin socket. Each metal trace includes multiple runs (for simplicity the term “run” shall be used to refer to each trace when there are multiple traces having common end points). The multiple runs on different printed circuit board layers allow the transfer of large current surges from induced power signal without breaking down. Using runs instead of sufficiently thick individual traces is advantageous in that it is less expensive.

The present invention eliminates one or more of the protector block, cross-connect block, and associated wire wrapping for assemblies requiring surge protection and/or cross-connecting on multi-line communications cables. Consequently, production time, manufacturing cost, and both labor and component costs are reduced, while also eliminating unnecessary wire connections and manufacturing processes. Furthermore, the electrical connection between the surge protectors and the cables is made through traces within the printed circuit board. This provides for high quality connections, avoids the likely manufacturing defects that are commonly associated with a manual wire wrapping, cabling, or flow soldering process. The connector sockets allow easy connection and disconnection of incoming and outgoing cables as needed. Yet another benefit of the present invention is that surge protector modules, protector blocks, ground blocks and/or support block can all be accommodated on or fixed to the multi-layer printed circuit board using only a protector female socket pin. Therefore, eliminating the added labor and cost of material due to connecting or attaching external parts in a manner that is customary in the art, such as, retention pins, female sockets, wire wrap pins, and connectors.

Other advantages and objectives of the invention are described or will otherwise be apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a partial exploded view of the prior art protector block assembly showing the relationship between the protector block, the printed circuit board and the metal hood;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of an embodiment of the present invention of a surge protector assembly having a protector female socket pin for coupling a surge protector module, a support block and ground plane to a multi-layer printed circuit board and for establishing an electrical connection between a plurality of surge protectors and a plurality of communication lines;

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of a protector female socket pin for coupling a surge protector module pin to a multi-layer printed circuit board of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of a protector female socket pin being inserted into and forming a compression fit with a multi-layer printed circuit board;

FIG. 5A is a cross sectional view of a protector female socket pin being inserted into the support block and forming a compliance fit and interference fit with the support block;

FIG. 5B is a cross sectional view of the support block, ground plane and printed circuit board of the multi-layer printed circuit board assembly before being coupled together; and

FIG. 6 is a cross sectional side view illustrating installation of a protector female socket pin in a pin support block.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawings, reference number 100 illustrates a partially exploded view of the prior art protector block assembly comprising a protector block 120, a printed circuit board (PCB) 130 and a metal cover 140. The prior art protector block assembly 100 is described in more detail in U.S. Pat. No. 5,457,593, (referred as “'593”) which is hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes. In summary, '593 discloses a method in which a plurality of communication lines 52 are coupled to surge protector modules 10, or other electrical components, eliminating the need to wire wrap each communication line 52 to a surge protector 10.

The protector block 120 provides a rigid structure in which a plurality of surge protector modules 10 is mounted to establish an electrical connection between the protector block 120 and the PCB 130. The protector block 120 comprises a plurality of socket pins 122, each of which comprises a female socket section (not shown) that receives the surge protector pins 11, and a male pin section (not shown) that inserts into corresponding receiving sockets 132 of the PCB 130. The socket pins 122 provide the electrical connection between the PCB 130 and the surge protector 10.

The electrical connection between the printed circuit board 130 and the protector block 120 is obtained through a plurality of wire wrap pins 122 of the protector block 120 and an equivalent number of receiving sockets 132 corresponding on the printed circuit board 130. Through these sockets and their corresponding traces, each lead of the surge protectors is electrically connected to a corresponding communication wire. Traces (not shown) within the printed circuit board 130 electrically couple the appropriate incoming and outgoing communication lines 52 coupled to the printed circuit board 130 by way of industry standard connector 40 to the appropriate pins 11 of the surge protectors 10 that are mounted on the protector block 120.

FIG. 2 illustrates an exploded view of a surge protector assembly 200 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The surge protector assembly 200 preferably comprises a printed circuit board 130, a dielectric plane 230, a ground plane 240, a pin support block 250, a plurality of female socket pins 300, and a plurality of surge protectors 10.

The printed circuit board 130 provides an electrical connection to one or more pairs of communications lines 52. Generally, the communication lines 52 are configured in pairs of incoming and outgoing communication lines, each communication line 52 comprising one or more wires, but typically 25 wires. In a typical embodiment, each communication line 52 comprises 12 ring and tip pairs plus 1 ground, for 25 total wires. In operation, the incoming communication line is electrically connected to the outgoing communication line via the surge protector 10 as described below, providing protection from line surges. The method of connecting of the communication lines 52 to the printed circuit board 130 is well known to a person of ordinary skill in the art and, therefore, will not be discussed in further detail.

Furthermore, the printed circuit board 130 is preferably a multi-layered printed circuit board fabricated from multiple layers of dielectric material, such as fiberglass and the like, that are bonded together using commonly known techniques in the art. Each layer of the multi-layer printed circuit board 130 can be fabricated with patterns of electrically conductive traces (not shown) or “runs” using a conventional subtractive process which is also commonly known in the art and is described in '593. In one embodiment, the electrically conductive traces (not shown) contain an enhanced copper content for sustaining high conductivity.

A dielectric plane 230 preferably separates the ground plane 240 from the printed circuit board 130. The ground plane preferably comprises copper, which is electrically grounded. The ground plane is, in turn, electrically connected to a good ground. The method of electrically grounding an element is considered well known in the art and will not be discussed in greater detail. While the printed circuit board 130, the dielectric plane 230, and the ground plane 240 are illustrated as separate entities, alternatively, a single board comprising layers for each of the above planes may be used, or a combination thereof.

Adjacent to the ground plane is preferably the pin support block 250 for providing an essentially rigid support platform for the ground plane 240, the dielectric plane 230, the printed circuit board 130, and the surge protector module 10. As illustrated below in reference to FIG. 2, the pin support block 250 preferably provides plated receptacles into which the protector female socket pins 300 are placed.

In an embodiment, the socket pins 300 comprise a male tip pin portion 330, a base 320 and a female socket portion 310, as further illustrated in FIG. 3. Now referring back to FIG. 2, the male tip pin 330 is pressed through the pin support block 250, the ground plane 240, the dielectric plane 230, and into the printed circuit board 130 to form a compressed and/or compliant (that is, a resilient or press-fit) fit. The compressed and/or compliant fit preferably acts to anchor and couple the ground plane 240, dielectric plane 230, and pin block to the printed circuit board 130. Furthermore, the compressed and/or compliant fit preferably establishes an electrical connection between the protector female socket pins 300 and at least one of the traces of the printed circuit board 130 or the ground plane 240.

The elongated protector socket 310 of the socket pin 300 also electrically couples the surge protector 10, or other electrical components, to the printed circuit board and/or the ground plane 240. While the embodiment shown in FIG. 2 illustrates protector female socket pins 300 for receiving, connecting, accepting, holding, fitting, securing, holding, grasping, retaining and supporting surge protectors 10 having a five-pin configuration, at 280, the invention also includes having socket pins 300 for receiving and connecting surge protectors 10 having different pin configurations (not shown). For example, one common alternate configuration includes a surge protector having a sixth pin in addition to the five described herein. The sixth pin is for carrying an alarm signal whenever a surge protector 10 shorts a transient to ground.

Use of the socket pins 300 as a receptacle for and direct connection with one or more surge protectors 10 eliminates the need for the wire wrap pins 122, and associated pin receptacles 132 in the printed circuit board 130 of the prior art assembly 100 (shown in FIG. 1). The present invention also eliminates the need to use retention pins and/or connectors to couple a printed circuit board to an external member. In an alternative embodiment, however, retention pins can be used to provide additional support.

In operation, the incoming and outgoing communication lines 52 are electrically coupled to the printed circuit board 130. The printed circuit board 130 comprises one or more layers, each layer comprising one or more traces. The traces electrically couple the wires of the communication lines 52 to a surge protector 10 via the protector female socket pins 300.

The surge protector module preferably comprises at least five pins, two pairs of pins that correspond to tip and ring wires and a ground pin. The module's ring and tip wires correspond to and are electrically coupled to respective tip and ring wires of the respective incoming and outgoing communication lines 52. The fifth pin of the surge protector 10 is electrically coupled to the ground plane. Therefore, signals from the tip and ring wires of incoming communication line are electrically coupled to the respective wires of the outgoing communication line via the surge protector 10. The surge protector 10 routes power surges in the tip and ring wires to the ground plane 240 via the fifth pin of the surge protector 10, preventing damage to equipment.

The coupling of an external member, such as a surge protector module, pin support block and/or ground plane, to the multi-layer printed circuit board will be better explained in the following discussion of the remaining figures.

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of a protector female socket pin 300 for coupling a surge protector module pin 11 to a multi-layer printed circuit board 130 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention. The protector female socket pin 300 of an embodiment comprises a tip pin 330 on one end, and an elongated protector socket finger 310 on the other end. The tip pin 330 comprises a compressing tip structure 350 referred to as an “eye of the needle tip.” A tip 350 is can be machined or made of stamped metal. It is then pressed through receptacles, 550 and 520, that are formed in the pin support block 250 and ground plane 240, respectively, and is pressed into receptacle 580 that is formed within the printed circuit board 130 (See FIG. 5B for cross sectional view of the receptacles within the printed circuit board, ground plane and pin support block) Each receptacle 580 of the printed circuit board 130 receives, accepts and compresses the tip 350 to conform to the shape of the inner wall of each receptacle 580. The compression fit electrically couples a corresponding trace to the tip 350 to form an electrical connection to the incoming and outgoing tip and ring wires of the communications wires.

The base 320 and the expandable elongated socket 310, on the other hand, reside outside the printed circuit board 130. In the preferred embodiment, the base forms a compliant fit with the pin support block 250 as it is pressed into the receptacle 550 of the pin support block 250. Elongated protector socket fingers 310 receive, connect, accept, hold, fit, secure, hold, grasp, retain and support surge protectors module pins that are inserted into the receptacle 550 of the pin support block 250. The protector female socket pin 300 is made of rigid conductive material sufficient to electrically couple a trace of the printed circuit board to a surge protector module pin 11.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of a protector female socket pin 300 being inserted into and forming a compression fit with a multi-layer printed circuit board 130. The inserted female socket pin 300 can be machined or made from stamped metal. It is then pressed into the printed circuit board 130. In addition, it can be soldered or reinforced by other methods commonly known in the art, but such is not mandatory. Specifically, the receptacle 580 of the multi-layer printed circuit board 130 accepts, receives and compresses the tip pin 330, collapses the eye 350 to hold, grasp, support and retain the protector female socket pin 300 securely and firmly into the printed circuit board 130.

In an embodiment, each tip pin 330 of the conductive protector female socket pin 300 reacts as an inverted spring that resist compression. The tip pin 330 resists external pressure caused by being pressed into a corresponding narrower receptacle 580 formed through the printed circuit board 130. When insertion is completed into the narrower receptacle 580, the external pressure collapses the tip pin 330 which forms a compression fit with the receptacle 580 of the printed circuit board 130. The compression fit acts to electrically connect the receptacle 580 with the conductive protector female socket pin 300 to a trace in the printed circuit board 130.

In an embodiment, five protector female socket pins 300 are pressed into corresponding receptacles 520 and/or 580 and are arranged to accept, hold, support, grasp and electrically couple and connect a corresponding surge protector module 10 (As seen in FIG. 2) to a trace in the printed circuit board 130.

Referring now to FIG. 5A of the drawings, a cross sectional view depicts a protector female socket pin 300 being inserted into the pin support block 250 and forming a compliance fit and interference fit with the pin support block 250. Each female socket pin 300 either electrically couples a trace with at least one corresponding surge protector pin or electrically couples a surge protector pin to ground 240. The female socket pins 300 that electrically couple a trace (not shown here) require a long needle tip pin 530. All female socket pins 300 that are electrically coupled to the corresponding ground pin of the surge protector module 10 require a shorter tip pin 540, to avoid contact with the printed circuit board 130.

FIG. 5B is a cross sectional view of the support block 250, ground plane 240 and printed circuit board 130 of the multi-layer printed circuit board assembly before being coupled together. A longer tip pin 530 extends through a first receptacle 570 of the ground plane 240 and into a second receptacle 580 of the printed circuit board 130. The second receptacle 580 of the printed circuit board is coated or plated with a conductive material, such as copper or tin, which electrically connects the longer tip pin 530 to a trace (not shown here). Consequently, the first receptacle 570 fails to establish an electrical connection between the plated non-conductive material and the tip pin 530 and, therefore, the first receptacle 570 does not electrically couple the longer tip pin 530 to ground.

Now referring back to FIG. 5A, the protector female socket pins 300′ having a shorter tip pin 540 reside and collapse into the first receptacle 520 within the ground plane 240 and form a compression fit between the first receptacle 520 of the ground plane 240 and the collapsed tip pin 540. The compression fit electrically connects a corresponding ground pin of a surge protector 10 to ground. The first receptacle 520 of the ground plane 240 accepts and receives the shorter tip pin 540. Upon the collapse of the tip 350, a compression fit forms which holds, grasps, supports, retains and compresses the shorter rigid tip pin securely. The first receptacle 520 having a shorter tip pin 540 is plated with silver and/or any other conducting material.

In one embodiment, before the tip pin 330 is pressed and inserted into the first and second through holes, 570 and 580 respectively, the entire protector female socket pin 300 is inserted into a third non-coated through hole 550 of the pin support block 250. The third through hole 550 accepts and receives the protector female socket pin and holds, grasps, supports and retains the elongated protector socket fingers 310 and the base 320 of the protector female socket pin 300 to form a compliant fit with the third receptacle 550 and its base 560.

Whenever a pin 11 is inserted into the protector female socket pin 300, the elongated protector socket fingers 310 of the female socket pin 300 expands and forms a compression fit around the surge protector module pin 11. The compression fit is formed by a protector female socket pin 300 having a plurality of elongated fingers 310 that are forced to expand and accept a pin 11 that is inserted into the protector female socket pin 300. Each of the elongated protector socket fingers 310 of the protector female socket pin 300 reacts as a spring that resists expansion due to the insertion of the pin 11, and is designed to grasp, secure and retain the surge protector pin 11. The compression fit electrically couples each surge protector pin module 11 with each protector female socket pin 300. The interference connection forms an electrical coupling between each protector female socket pin 300 and each receptacle 550. Together, the coupling maintains electrical connection between the surge protector pin 11 and the plated through hole 550 as well as securing the surge protector pin 11 and surge protector to the printed circuit board 130.

At least one surge protector module 10 is similarly secured, attached, supported, held, retained and electrically connected to a plurality of protector female socket pins 300 that are compressed on the printed circuit board 130 (See FIG. 2) Each protector female socket pin 300, and therefore, each surge protector module pin 11 of the surge protector modules 10 is electrically connected to the appropriate conductive metal trace (not shown). This metal trace electrically connects tip and ring pins of the surge protector 10 to the corresponding connector 20 or connectors to interface with the appropriate communication tip or ring wires 64 (as shown in FIG. 1) as is typically known in the art, and particularly, set out in U.S. Pat. No. 5,457,593.

Referring back to FIG. 5B, the receptacles 550 of the pin support block 250 are machine drilled using standard drilling techniques that are commonly used in the art, or injection molded to this shape. Each corresponding tip pin 330 passes through the drilled through holes 550 into the ground plane 240 and/or multi-layer printed circuit board 130. The receptacle 550 and its base 560 of the pin support block 250 form a compliant fit with the base 320 of each protector female socket pin 300. The compliant fit can be strengthened by soldering the base 320 to conductive traces. The protector female socket pin 300 is further secured into the receptacle 550 upon receiving and accepting a surge protector module pin 11 which forms an interference fit between the protector female socket pin 300 and the receptacle 550.

In this embodiment, a single rigid printed circuit board assembly is created when the printed circuit board 130, ground plane 240 with dielectric layer 230, and pin support block 250 are held firmly together by the compression and/or compliant fits that are formed when the metal protector socket pin 300 is pressed into the receptacles 550 of the printed circuit board 130 and the pin support block 250.

FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view illustrating installation of a protector female socket pin 300 in a pin support block 250. In this embodiment, the female socket pin 300 comprises a male tip pin 330 on one end and an elongated socket finger 310 on the other end. The male tip pin 330 is pressed into the receptacle 550 of a pin support block 250. Receptacles 550 in this embodiment contain a funnel socket 260 that accepts and guides male tip pins 330 from the support pin receptacle 550 to the corresponding receptacle (not shown here) on the printed circuit board 130 where the male tip pin 330 is secured and attached to the printed circuit board 130 by a compliance (i.e., resilient) fit. The male tip pin 330 can also be soldered. The funnel socket 260 guides the protector female pin socket 300 into the pin support block 250 so that the tip 330 is properly oriented within the pin support block 250.

Each elongated protector socket finger 310 of the female socket pin 300 can accept a surge protector module pin 11, wherein the elongated socket fingers 310 expand and form a compression fit around the surge protector module pin 11. The compression fit is formed when a surge protector pin 11 is forced into the elongated socket fingers 310, which expand and accept the pin 11 as it is inserted into the protector female socket pin 300. Each elongated protector socket finger 310 electrically connects a surge protector pin 11 to a corresponding trace as well as securing the surge protector pin 11 and surge protector to the printed circuit board 130.

In this embodiment the male tip pin 330 holds, grasps, retains, secures the pin support block 250 and/or the ground plane to the printed circuit board 130, as well as electrically connecting at least one surge protector module pin 11 to a corresponding trace within the printed circuit board 130. Thus, this embodiment teaches another means for attaching, connecting, supporting, and electrically connecting a pin support block to a printed circuit board and a corresponding trace.

Having thus described the present invention by reference to certain of its preferred embodiments, it is noted that the embodiments disclosed are illustrative rather than limiting in nature and that a wide range of variations, modifications, changes, and substitutions are contemplated in the foregoing disclosure and, in some instances, some features of the present invention may be employed without a corresponding use of the other features. Many such variations and modifications may be considered obvious and desirable by those skilled in the art based upon a review of the foregoing description of preferred embodiments. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the invention.