(19)
(11)EP 2 820 724 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
23.10.2019 Bulletin 2019/43

(21)Application number: 13754706.3

(22)Date of filing:  28.02.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H01R 13/74  (2006.01)
H01R 13/52  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2013/028135
(87)International publication number:
WO 2013/130692 (06.09.2013 Gazette  2013/36)

(54)

PANEL CONNECTOR

PANEELVERBINDER

CONNECTEUR DE PANNEAU


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 01.03.2012 US 201261605281 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
07.01.2015 Bulletin 2015/02

(73)Proprietors:
  • Molex, LLC
    Lisle, IL 60532 (US)
  • Vanslambrouck, Mike
    Lisle, Illinois 60532 (US)
  • Mauney, Joe
    Lisle, Illinois 60532 (US)
  • Koshy, Vijy
    Lisle, Illinois 60532 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • VANSLAMBROUCK, Mike
    Lisle, Illinois 60532 (US)
  • MAUNEY, Joe
    Lisle, Illinois 60532 (US)
  • KOSHY, Vijy
    Lisle, Illinois 60532 (US)

(74)Representative: Blumbach · Zinngrebe Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
Alexandrastraße 5
65187 Wiesbaden
65187 Wiesbaden (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
US-A- 5 277 610
US-A- 5 759 064
US-A- 6 109 960
US-B1- 7 090 533
US-A- 5 759 064
US-A- 6 083 040
US-B1- 6 508 666
US-B1- 7 090 533
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD



    [0001] The present disclosure relates to electrical connectors and in particular, to bulkhead, panel or feed-through connectors for electrical use. In particular, the panel connectors disclosed herein can seal against the panel to provide some measure of water and weather resistance. More particularly, the disclosure is directed to panel connectors that can be sealingly locked to the panel by twisting or rotation of the connector and that can be locked to the panel from the outside. Even more particularly, the disclosure is directed to panel connectors that cannot be unlocked once locked to the panel.

    BACKGROUND ART



    [0002] Panel electrical connectors are typically used to provide electrical connections through a pass-through or feed-through hole from one side of a bulkhead, wall or panel to the other side. Typically, the panel can separate two spaces or areas from each other. For example, a panel or wall can separate an engine compartment from a passenger compartment of a vehicle. One of the areas can be referred to as a module area and another as an outer area. Generally, the module area can simply be the area that has more limited accessibility then the outer area. One example would be a panel that makes up part of an enclosure. The inside of the enclosure could be considered as the module area even though the term module area is not limited to an enclosed space. Accordingly, a panel connector can provide an electrical connection from the outside to the interior of the enclosure. Panel connectors are suitable for use in a wide variety of applications such as for example power generation and supply systems, and aeronautic and automotive applications.

    [0003] Panel connectors may be configured to lock to the panel and allow removal or unlocking of the connector, or to prevent unlocking or removal from the panel. Some lockable panel connectors can have two parts. A mounting part can be mounted to the panel opening and the connector part can lock with the mounting part. These two-part connectors typically require access to both sides of the panel, which may be difficult especially in the case of cramped enclosures or other module areas. There are also one-piece panel connectors that are configured to interact or mate with the pass-through hole in the panel, which has complementary or interacting locking structures.

    [0004] For certain uses, the panel connector may include the ability to seal against the panel to prevent dirt, debris or liquid from an exposed side of the panel to enter the other side of the panel. Typically, in order to provide watertight sealing and/or to prevent removal of the panel connector, the connector is made to be installed to the module area side of the panel, which can be referred to as an inside-out installation. In this type of inside-out installation, the connector can be locked against and even sealed to the panel side facing the module area with one of the connector ends extending into the module area and an opposite end extending through the pass-through hole into the other or outer area. With inside-out installations for connectors having an end passing through the panel opening and extending towards the outer area for mating with a push-in or plug-in type connector, pushing against the panel connector from the outer area can cause the panel connector to be pushed out of engagement with the panel and/or can diminish the integrity of the seal between the panel connector and the panel. Inside-out installation also tends to be difficult and/or time consuming mostly due to the tight spaces involved.

    [0005] The U.S. Patent 7,090,533 B1 describes a connector which is configured for mounting to a panel. The panel has a mounting aperture formed with a keyway. The connector has a housing with a front end dimensioned to pass through the mounting aperture. However, keys project out in proximity to the front end of the housing. At least one of the keys is dimensioned to pass through the keyway. A stop flange projects out from the housing rearward of the keys. A resiliently deflectable locking finger projects forward of the stop flange and is dimensioned to engage in the keyway.

    [0006] The U.S. Patent 5,277610 provides a sealing system between an electrical connector assembly and another connector component, panel or the like. The connector assembly includes a housing having a mating end with a seal-receiving channel and a resilient seal received in the channel. The seal includes a sealing groove having a given width and a given depth. The connector component includes a sealing lip insertable into the sealing groove when the connector assembly and the connector component are mated along a mating axis. The sealing lip has a width greater than the width of the sealing groove and a length relative to the depth of the sealing groove such that the lip is spaced from the bottom of the groove when the connector assembly and the connector component are in mated condition. Therefore, only sealing forces normal to the mating axis are effected between the sealing lip and the sealing groove.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0007] The present disclosure concerns panel connectors that provide simple locking and effective and robust sealing in an outside-in installation where the panel connector locks to the outside face or the more accessible side of the panel and provides a watertight seal. In an aspect of the disclosure a connector has a simple locking mechanism and the ability to prevent unlocking and/or disengagement of the connector from the panel.

    [0008] The present invention is directed to an electrical connector for locking to a panel having an annular rib extending from an outer surface of the panel and surrounding a pass-through hole having an engagement lip and a stop surface. The connector includes a housing having an insertion portion at one end of the housing for entering the pass-through hole and an outer portion at an opposite end of the housing, a flange and a sealing gasket. The insertion portion includes a locking member and a first engagement member positioned about an outer wall of the insertion portion. The flange extends radially outwardly from the housing adjacent the insertion portion and includes a channel at an outer end portion thereof facing in the direction of the insertion portion for receiving the annular rib. The flange is spaced apart from the first engagement member to define a gap for receiving the engagement lip to lock the connector to the panel. The sealing gasket is disposed in the channel about an inner wall of the channel for radial compression between an inner surface of the annular rib and the inner wall, wherein insertion of the insertion portion into the pass-through hole causes the annular rib to enter the channel, and rotation of the connector causes the engagement lip to enter the gap to lock the connector to the panel and moves the locking member into engagement with the stop surface to restrict counter-rotation and removal of the connector.

    [0009] In another aspect not part of the invention, the present disclosure is directed to an electrical connector comprising a housing having an insertion portion, an intermediate portion and an end portion; the connector further comprising a deflectable locking arm disposed on an outer cylindrical surface of the insertion portion; the connector further comprising a flange extending radially from the intermediate portion and having a channel at an outer end thereof, the channel facing in the direction of the insertion portion; the connector further comprising first and second locking tabs disposed on the outer cylindrical surface of the insertion portion and spaced apart from the flange to define first and second gaps respectively therebetween, at least one of the first and second locking tabs including a detent member; and, the connector further comprising a sealing gasket positioned in the channel and against an inner wall of the channel such that an engagement surface of the sealing gasket faces an opposing outer wall of the channel for radial sealing compression, wherein insertion of the insertion portion into a pass-through hole in a panel moves an annular rib surrounding the pass-through hole into the channel for sealing engagement with the sealing gasket, and rotation of the twist lock connector causes entry of engagement members of the panel into first and second gaps, capture by the locking tabs and deflection of the locking arm, until the detent member engages a detent surface of the panel opening to restrict continued rotation at which point the locking arm engages a slot in the opening of a panel to restrict counter-rotation of the twist-lock connector.

    [0010] Preferably, a support post is positioned on the inside of the cylindrical surface of the insertion portion to prevent the locking arm from over deflection. Further, preferably, the panel separates a module area and an open area, and the insertion portion enters the module area through the pass-through hole.

    [0011] In another aspect also not part of the invention, the present disclosure is directed to a twist-lock electrical connector for use with a panel separating an open area and a module area with the panel having a pass-through hole including two engaging lips having detent surfaces, a deflecting tab defining a mating slot having a stop surface and an annular rib circumscribing the opening and extending into the open area. The connector includes a housing having a cylindrical insertion portion at one end for entering the pass-through hole and a mating connector portion at an opposite end; a resilient locking member and two locking tabs disposed about the cylindrical insertion portion, one of the locking tabs includes a detent member; a flange extending radially outwardly from the housing adjacent the insertion portion and spaced axially apart from the locking tabs to define first and second gaps therebetween for capturing the first and second engaging lips to lock the connector to the panel; a channel formed around the outer end of the flange and facing in the direction of the panel for receiving the annular rib, the channel defined by an inner wall, a base wall and an outer wall; and a sealing gasket positioned in the channel and against the inner wall such that an engagement surface faces the outer wall for sealing compression between the inner wall and an inner surface of the annular rib to form a seal between the connector and the panel. Insertion of the insertion portion into the pass-through hole causes the annular rib to engage the channel and rotation of the connector causes the locking member to engage the deflecting tab and deflect until mating with the mating slot at which point the detent member engages the detent surface to restrict continued rotation and wherein the stop surface cooperates with the locking member to restrict counter-rotation.

    [0012] In yet another aspect also not part of the invention, the present disclosure is directed to a twist-lock connector for locking engagement to a panel. The connector includes a housing having an insertion portion, an intermediate portion and an end portion; a deflectable locking arm disposed on an outer cylindrical surface of the insertion portion; a flange extending radially from the intermediate portion and having a channel at an outer end thereof, the channel facing in the direction of the insertion portion, first and second locking tabs disposed on the outer cylindrical surface of the insertion portion and spaced apart from the flange to define first and second gaps respectively therebetween, at least one of the first and second locking tabs including a detent member; and a sealing gasket positioned in the channel and against an inner wall of the channel such that an engagement surface of the sealing gasket faces an opposing outer wall of the channel for radial sealing compression. Insertion of the insertion portion into a pass-through hole in a panel moves an annular rib surrounding the pass-through hole into the channel for sealing engagement with the sealing gasket, and rotation of the twist lock connector causes entry of engagement members of the panel into first and second gaps, capture by the locking tabs and deflection of the locking arm, until the detent member engages a detent surface of the panel opening to restrict continued rotation at which point the locking arm engages a slot in the opening of a panel to restrict counter-rotation of the twist-lock connector.

    [0013] In yet another aspect also not part of the invention, the present disclosure is directed to a twist-lock connector for locking to a panel separating an open area and a module area: the panel comprising: an outer surface facing the open area, a passthrough hole including opposing first and second keying slots, each keying slot defining an adjacent engagement lip, a locking tab slot having a sloped surface, a mating slot having a stop surface and a rib disposed on the outer surface and surrounding the pass-through hole; the connector comprising: a housing having an insertion portion at one end for entry into the module area through the pass-through hole, an outer portion at an opposite end and an intermediate portion therebetween, the outer portion extending from the intermediate portion and away from the pass-through opening; the connector further comprising a flange extending radially outwardly from the intermediate portion and including a channel at an outer end portion of the flange, the channel facing in the direction of the insertion portion for receiving the rib; the connector further comprising first and second keying tabs disposed about an outer surface of the insertion portion at opposite ends thereof for entering the first and second keying slots upon entry of the insertion portion, the keying tabs spaced apart from the flange to define first and second gaps therebetween for receiving the engagement lips; the connector further comprising a deflectable arm having a locking tab disposed on the outer surface of the insertion portion and between the first and second keying slots; and, the connector further comprising a sealing gasket positioned in the channel and against an inner wall of the channel such that an engagement surface of the sealing gasket faces an opposing outer wall of the channel for radial sealing compression, wherein insertion of the insertion portion into the pass-through hole causes first and second keying tabs to pass through first and second keying slots, the locking tab to enter the locking slot and the rib to mate with the channel, and wherein rotation of the connector moves the key tabs behind the engagement lips to capture the engagement lips between the flange and the keying tab, moving the locking tab into engagement with a sloped surface to cause deflection of the resilient arm until the locking tab mates with the locking slot to prevent counter rotation by engagement of the locking tab with the stop surface.

    [0014] Preferably, a support post is positioned on the inside of the insertion portion to prevent the locking arm from over deflection.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0015] In the following detailed description, reference will be made to the following drawings, in which like reference numerals refer to like components, and in which:

    Fig. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a panel connector for locking to a panel according to the present disclosure;

    Fig. 2 is a perspective view of the panel connector of Fig. 1 locked to a panel according to the present disclosure;

    Fig. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a panel connector according to the present disclosure locked to a panel that is part of an enclosure;

    Fig. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a panel connector according to the present disclosure;

    Fig. 5 is a perspective view of a one embodiment of a panel for locking with a panel connector according to the present disclosure;

    Fig. 6 is another perspective view of the panel connector shown in Fig. 4 according to the present disclosure;

    Fig. 7 is an elevation view of the panel connector shown in Fig. 6 locked to a panel according to the present disclosure;

    Fig. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 8-8 of Fig. 7;

    Fig. 9 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a sealing gasket according to the present enclosure;

    Fig. 10 is yet another perspective view of the panel connector shown in Fig. 4 according to the present disclosure;

    Fig. 11 is an elevation view of the panel connector shown in Fig. 6 inserted into a panel according to the present disclosure;

    Fig. 12 is a detailed perspective view of the panel connector shown in Fig. 11 inserted into a panel just prior to being locked to the panel according to the present disclosure; and

    Fig. 13 is a perspective view of the panel connector of Fig. 6 locked to a panel according to the present disclosure.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0016] The detailed embodiments disclosed herein are merely exemplary of the inventions disclosed herein, which may be embodied in various forms, and specific details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present approach in virtually any appropriate manner.

    [0017] Figs. 1 and 2 show one embodiment of a panel connector 10 disengaged and engaged to a panel "P", respectively. Panel "P" can be part of a wall of an enclosure as shown in Fig. 3 or a wall separating two compartments (not shown). The connector 10 can include features which interact or cooperate with complementary features of panel "P". The features of the panel which cooperate with connector 10 to providing locking, sealing and/or removal prevention can be included as part of the panel or can be included on a separate panel opening adapter which can mount to a typical pass through hole of a panel "P". Accordingly, the term "panel" used herein is understood to refer to either panel itself or a panel adapter.

    [0018] In one embodiment, panel connector 10 can be a single piece connector for locking to a panel through rotation of the connector and can provide electrical connection from one side of the panel to the other. The panel can include a pass through hole structured to cooperate with structures of connector 10. Connector 10 can provide electrical connection including signal and/or power through the pass through hole and can include a variety of electrical connection interfaces at both ends of the connector 10. The connector 10 can lock to the panel with or without providing sealing to retard or prevent passage of dirt, debris and/or liquid through the pass through hole. In one embodiment, connector 10 can be locked to the panel "P" to provide a desired sealing rating. The connector can also include features to prevent removal or unlocking of the connector from the panel. Indeed, the panel connector can include one or more of the above identified features in any combination.

    [0019] In one embodiment shown in Fig. 4, panel connector 10 can have housing 12. Housing 12 can have an insertion portion 14 at one end, an outer portion 16 at an opposite end and an intermediate portion 18 therebetween. Insertion portion 14 can have a cylindrical wall 20 configured to enter a module area through a panel pass through hole or opening such as opening "O" of one embodiment of a panel "P" shown in Fig. 5. Fig. 5. shows panel "P" from the outer area. Intermediate portion 18 can be sized larger than opening "O" to prevent connector 10 from completely passing through the opening "O". Outer portion 16 can reside on the outer area of panel "P" when insertion portion 14 is inserted into opening "O" as shown in Fig. 2. Outer portion 16 can have a generally rectangular wall 22. It is understood that the shape of the housing can vary and is not limited to the embodiment shown in Fig. 4. It is preferable that the shape of intermediate portion 16 generally corresponds to the shape of the pass through opening especially when sealing of the opening is desired.

    [0020] In one embodiment, connector 10 can include at least one engagement member 24 to lock or secure connector 10 to panel "P". As shown in Fig. 6, connector 10 can have two engagement members 24, 26 disposed on outer surface 28 of circular wall 20. In another embodiment, connector 10 can have more than two engagement members. As shown in Fig. 6 engagement members 24, 26 can be disposed at opposite sides of circular wall 20 and spaced apart from annular surface 30 of intermediate portion 18 to define gaps 32, 34 therebetween. Gaps 32, 34 can receive portions of the panel "P". For example, with reference to Fig. 5, panel opening "O" can include two slots "S1", "S2" sized to allow engagement members 24, 26 to enter opening "O" therethrough. Slots "S1", "S2" can define adjacent engagement lips "E1", "E2" which upon rotation of connector 10 can enter gaps 32, 34. Engagement lips "E1", "E2" can be the portions of panel "P" that are adjacent corresponding slots "S1", "S2" in the direction of locking rotation. The locking rotation as viewed in Fig. 5 is the clockwise direction shown by arrow "CR". The portions of engagement lips "E1", "E2" received in gaps 32, 34 can be trapped between engagement members 24, 26 and annular surface 30 to secure or lock connector 10 to panel "P". Fig. 7 shows connector 10 in the locked position as viewed from the module area.

    [0021] Optionally, one or more of engagement members 24, 26 can each include a cam surface 25, 27 respectively (Figs. 4 and 6). In particular, cam surfaces 25, 27 can be positioned on the leading side or the side facing the direction of rotation such that on the occasion that insertion portion 14 is not fully inserted through pass-through opening "O" rotation of connector 10 sloping surfaces 25, 27 can contact the axially extending faces F1, F2 of engagement lips E1, E2 and transfer some of the rotational motion to axial movement in the direction of insertion. The angle of cam surfaces 25, 27 can be from about 15 to about 60 degrees, more preferably from about 25 to about 50 degrees and even more preferably from about 30 to about 45 degrees. In the embodiment shown in Figs. 4 and 6 the angle of cam surfaces 25, 27 can be about 45 degrees.

    [0022] In one embodiment, engagement members 24, 26 and corresponding slots S1, S2 can be sized or shaped differently to provide a keying function to ensure desired alignment of the connector such that the connector cannot be mounted to the panel in an inverted position. For example, engagement member 24 and slot S1 can have a greater radial length than engagement member 26 and slot S2. In another embodiment, instead of being differently sized or shaped to ensure proper alignment, engagement members 24, 26 can be disposed asymmetrically about circular wall 20. For example, instead of having engagement members 24, 26 disposed at directly opposite sides of circular wall 20, i.e. positioned at 180 degrees from each other, engagement members 24, 26 can be disposed at from about 170 to about 179 degrees from each other.

    [0023] Connector 10 can also include the ability to seal the pass-through hole "O" of panel "P". In one embodiment, Intermediate portion 18 can have flange 36 extending radially outwardly therefrom. Flange 36 can include annular surface 30 at its inner end and channel 38 at an outer end of the flange 36. Channel 38 can be open in the direction of the insertion portion 14 for receiving annular rib "R" which can extend from the side "OA" of the panel facing the outer area as shown in Fig. 5. As shown in Fig. 8, channel 38 can have parallel inner wall 40 and outer wall 42 both extending in an axial direction and a bridging wall 44 extending in a radial direction connecting inner wall 40 and outer wall 42.

    [0024] An annular sealing gasket 46 can be disposed in channel 38. Annular sealing gasket 46 shown in Fig. 9 can have a resting surface 48 and an opposite engaging surface 50. Engaging surface can be ribbed or have ridges 52 for sealing against annular rib "R" in a radial direction. As shown in Fig. 8 resting surface 48 can be disposed against inner wall 40 such that ridges 52 extend in the radial direction. Sealing gasket 46 can have a diameter smaller than the diameter of intermediate portion 18 and in particular smaller than the diameter measured between opposite sides of inner wall 40 such that sealing gasket 46 can be stretched in order to be placed about inner wall 40. The elasticity of the sealing gasket 46 can hold gasket 46 in place. Channel 38 can be sized such that entry of the annular rib "R" compresses radially against ridges 52 to create a seal. In one embodiment, the seal created by the above-described arrangement can have an IP6K7 and/or IP6K9K sealing performance. For example the combination of radial sealing compression combined with protective outer wall 42 can provide a seal effective against pressurized water spray testing. Sealing gasket 46 can be made from an elastomeric material such as rubber based elastomeric material, a silicone based elastomeric material or a composite elastomeric material. In one embodiment sealing gasket 46 can be made from a silicone elastomeric material.

    [0025] Optionally, connector 10 can include a locking mechanism for preventing or resisting unlocking connector 10 from the panel "P". In one embodiment shown in Fig. 10, connector 10 can have a resilient locking member 54. Locking member 54 can have a cantilevered arm 56 and a locking tab 58 at an end of the arm 56. Tab 58 can extend radially outwardly in a direction away from circular wall 20. Cantilever arm 56 can move from the locked or rest position shown in Fig. 10 to a retracted position (see Fig. 12). Cantilevered arm 56 can be formed from a cut-out region of circular wall 20. Tab 58 can include an angled surface 60 on the side of tab 58 facing the direction of rotation and an upright surface 62 on the opposite side of tab 58 as shown in Figs. 7 and 10. Locking member 54 can cooperate with panel "P" to resist counter-rotation and unlocking of connector 10 once the locking member has properly engaged panel "P" as discussed below.

    [0026] With reference to Fig. 5 which shows the side "OA" of panel "P" facing the outer area and Fig. 7 which shows the side of panel "P" facing the module area, opening "O" can have an entry slot "ES" for allowing entry of tab 58 and locking slot "LS" for receiving tab 54 following deflection of tab 58 when the connector 10 is in the locked position. Tab 58 can be positioned axially along circular wall 20 such that when insertion portion 14 has entered opening "O", rib "R' has entered channel 38 and engagement members 24, 26 have entered through slots "S1", "S2" tab 54 can reside in entry slot "ES". Entry slot "ES" can include a biasing surface "BS" positioned to engage angled surface 60 of tab 58 upon rotation in the locking direction, and locking slot "LS" can include an upright stop surface "SS" in facing relation with and for contacting upright surface 62 of tab 58 when connector 10 is in the locked position. Alternatively, biasing surface "BS" and stop surface "SS" can be considered as part of a biasing tab positioned between entry slot "ES" and locking slot "LS". The slope or angle of biasing surface "BS" and angled surface 60 can be similar to each other. For example, biasing surface "BS" and angled surface 60 each can be from about 15 to about 60 degrees, more preferably from about 25 to about 50 degrees and even more preferably from about 30 to about 45 degrees. In one embodiment, the angle of both biasing surface "BS" and angled surface 60 can be about 30 degrees.

    [0027] At the insertion position shown in Fig. 11, locking tab 58 resides in entry slot "ES". Rotation of the connector 10 is shown by the counter-clockwise arrow since the view is from the module side of the panel "P". Such rotation can cause angled surface 60 to contact biasing surface "BS" and deflect tab 58 radially inwardly towards the center of connector 10 as shown in Fig. 12. Tab 58 can remain in this deflected position with further rotation until the tab rebounds upon encountering locking slot "LS" as shown in Fig. 7. Fig. 7 shows the connector 10 in the locked position. Support post 59 positioned on the inside of circular wall 20 can prevent cantilever arm 56 from over deflection such as during handling or shipment.

    [0028] In this locked position, the connector can resist counter-rotation to resist or prevent removal of connector 10 since counter-rotation can result in upright surface 62 of tab 58 abutting or contacting stop surface "SS" of locking slot "LS". The contacting of stop surface "SS" with upright surface 62 can prevent counter rotation once tab 58 mates or engages with locking slot "LS". Connector 10 can also prevent or resist unlocking or removal of connector 10 from panel "P" by resisting or preventing continued rotation or rotation in the locking direction, i.e. clockwise when viewed from the outer area as shown in Fig. 5 and counter-clockwise when viewed from the module area as shown in Figs. 7 and 11.

    [0029] In one embodiment, tab 58 can have an a second upright surface instead of angled surface 60 for contacting opposing stop surface "OS" shown in Fig. 7 when the connector 10 is further rotated in the locking direction. The upright surface which can replace angled surface 60 can still allow tab 58 to be deflected by biasing surface "BS" with an appropriately sloped surface such as biasing surface having a 10-30 degree inclination.

    [0030] In another embodiment as shown in Fig. 10, connector 10 can have a detent member 64 for engaging or contacting a stop surface of panel "P". In the embodiment shown in Fig. 10, detent member 64 can be part of one of the engagement member such as engagement member 26 and extend axially from an end opposite sloping surface 27 in the direction towards outer end 16. When connector 10 is rotated in the locking direction, detent member 64 can contact axially extending face "F2" of engagement lip E2 upon tab 58 engaging locking slot "LS" or slightly thereafter (see Fig. 5). In other words, the distance traveled by tab 58 from entry slot "ES" to locking slot "LS" should equal or be slightly less than the distance traveled by detent member 64 before contacting a detent surface such as axially extend face "F2". In another embodiment both engagement members 24, 26 can have a detent member. Alternatively, the side of panel "P" facing the module area can have a stop surface which can be contacted by another part of engagement members 24, 26, such as forward or leading surface 65 shown in Fig. 10.

    [0031] Connector 10 can house a variety of connection interfaces to permit electrical connection to insertion portion 14 and outer portion 16. For example, insertion portion 14 can have one or more female connection ports for receiving terminals from another connector or electrical device in the module area and outer portion 16 can have male terminals or contacts for connecting to another mating connector or electrical device. This arrangement can also be reversed. In one embodiment, connector 10 can have one or more passages 66 as shown in Figs. 8 and 10 that can extend from the insertion portion towards the outer portion. Passages 66 can receive blade terminals (not shown) attached to wires or other conductors such that the ends of the blade terminal extend through passages 66 and towards and emerging at the outer end portion 16 for subsequent mating with a mating connector shown in Fig. 3. Connector 10 can have two rows of 4, 6, or 8 passages 66. Interior of connector 10 can include positive latch reinforcement (PLR) features 68. Connector 10 can also include connector position assurance (CPA) components.

    [0032] Optionally, housing 12 can include a latch member 70 at the outer portion 16 for locking connector 10 to a mating connector mated at the outer portion 16. In addition, housing 12 can include a visual marker to signal that the connector is in the fully locked position. For example flange 36 can include marker 70 (Fig. 6) which can align with complementary marker "M" on panel "P" as shown in Fig. 13 when in connector 10 is in the locked position.

    [0033] Many different materials can be used to construct housing 12. In one embodiment housing 12 can be made from a plastic or polymer material or polymer composite material. For example housing 12 can be made from a composite nylon polymer. In one embodiment connector housing 12 can be made from 20% glass filled SPS nylon blend.

    [0034] While the present subject matter disclosed herein has been described in detail with reference to the foregoing embodiments, other changes and modifications may still be made without departing from the present claims. It is understood that the specific structures, and arrangements described herein are not to be limited by the embodiments described herein.


    Claims

    1. An electrical connector (10) for locking to a panel (P) having an annular rib (R) extending from an outer surface of the panel and surrounding a pass-through hole (O) having an engagement lip (E1) and a stop surface (SS), the connector comprising:

    a housing (12) having an insertion portion (14) at one end of the housing (12) for entering the pass-through hole (O) and an outer portion (16) at an opposite end of the housing (12), the insertion portion (14) including a locking member (54) and a first engagement member (24) positioned about an outer wall of the insertion portion;

    a flange (36) extending radially outwardly from the housing (12) adjacent the insertion portion (14), the flange (36) including a channel (38) at an outer end portion thereof facing in the direction of the insertion portion (14) for receiving the annular rib (R), the flange (36) spaced apart from the first engagement member (24) to define a gap (32) for receiving the engagement lip (E1) to lock the connector (10) to the panel (P); and

    a sealing gasket (46) disposed in the channel (38) about an inner wall (40) of the channel (38) for radial compression between an inner surface of the annular rib (R) and the inner wall (40),

    wherein insertion of the insertion portion (14) into the pass-through hole (O) causes the annular rib (R) to enter the channel (38), and rotation of the connector (10) causes the engagement lip (E1) to enter the gap (32) to lock the connector (10) to the panel (P) and moves the locking member (54) into engagement with the stop surface (SS) to restrict counter-rotation and removal of the connector.


     
    2. The electrical connector (10) of claim 1 wherein the outer wall of insertion portion (14) is cylindrical and includes first and second engagement members (24, 26) positioned on opposite sides of the cylindrical wall, the first and second engagement members (24, 26) spaced from the flange to define first and second gaps (32, 34) to receive first and second engagement lips (E1, E2) of the panel opening to lock the connector to the panel (P).
     
    3. The electrical connector (10) of claim 2 wherein one of the first and second engagement members (24, 26) includes a stop finger for engaging an end surface of one of the engagement lips (E1, E2) to restrict continued rotation once the locking member (54) is in position to engage the stop surface (SS).
     
    4. The electrical connector (10) of claim 2 wherein at least one of the first and second engagement members (24, 26) includes a cam surface (25, 27) on a side facing the direction of rotation for engagement with the respective engagement lip (E1, E2) to transfer rotational movement of the connector (10) to axial movement towards the panel (P).
     
    5. The electrical connector (10) of claim 2 wherein the first and second engagement members (24, 26) are differently sized to restrict insertion of the connector (10) in the panel (P) to a predetermined orientation.
     
    6. The electrical connector (10) of claim 2 wherein the locking member (54) is a cantilevered arm (56) having a protruding nub (58), the nub (58) including a sloped surface (60) on a side facing the direction of rotation for engagement with a biasing tab of the panel for deflecting the cantilevered arm (56) during locking rotation of the connector (10) and an opposing upright surface for engaging the stop surface (SS) after rebounding of the cantilevered arm (56) when the nub (58) moves past the biasing tab.
     
    7. The electrical connector (10) of claim 6 wherein the cylindrical outer wall defines an interior space, the interior space includes a post (59) positioned to contact the cantilevered arm (56) on deflection of the cantilevered arm (56) into the interior space.
     
    8. The electrical connector (10) of claim 1 wherein the panel (P) separates a module area and an open area, and wherein the insertion portion (14) enters the module area through the pass-through hole (O).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Elektrischer Verbinder (10) zum Verriegeln an einem Paneel (P) mit einer ringförmigen Rippe (R), die sich von einer Außenoberfläche des Paneels erstreckt und eine Durchgangsbohrung (0) mit einer Eingriffslippe (E1) und einer Anschlagoberfläche (SS) umgibt, wobei der Verbinder umfasst:

    ein Gehäuse (12) mit einem Einführungsabschnitt (14) an einem Ende des Gehäuses (12) zum Eintreten in die Durchgangsbohrung (0) und einem Außenabschnitt (16) an einem gegenüberliegenden Ende des Gehäuses (12), wobei der Einführungsabschnitt (14) ein Verriegelungselement (54) und ein erstes Eingriffselement (24) einschließt, das um eine Außenwand des Einführungsabschnitts angeordnet ist;

    einen Flansch (36), der sich radial nach außen von dem Gehäuse (12) angrenzend an den Einführungsabschnitt (14) erstreckt, wobei der Flansch (36) einen Kanal (38) an einem Außenendabschnitt davon aufweist, der in Richtung des Einführungsabschnitts (14) zur Aufnahme der ringförmigen Rippe (R) gerichtet ist, wobei der Flansch (36) vom ersten Eingriffselement (24) beabstandet ist, um einen Spalt (32) zur Aufnahme der Eingriffslippe (E1) zu definieren, um den Verbinder (10) mit dem Paneel (P) zu verriegeln; und

    eine Dichtung (46), die in dem Kanal (38) um eine Innenwand (40) des Kanals (38) herum zur radialen Kompression zwischen einer Innenoberfläche der ringförmigen Rippe (R) und der Innenwand (40) angeordnet ist,

    wobei das Einführen des Einführungsabschnitts (14) in die Durchgangsbohrung (0) bewirkt, dass die ringförmige Rippe (R) in den Kanal (38) eintritt, und die Drehung des Verbinders (10) bewirkt, dass die Eingriffslippe (E1) in den Spalt (32) eintritt, um den Verbinder (10) an dem Paneel (P) zu verriegein, und das Verriegelungselement (54) in Eingriff mit der Anschlagoberfläche (SS) bewegt, um die Gegendrehung und Entfernung des Verbinders zu begrenzen.


     
    2. Elektrischer Verbinder (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Außenwand des Einführungsabschnitts (14) zylindrisch ist und erste und zweite Eingriffselemente (24, 26) einschließt, die auf gegenüberliegenden Seiten der zylindrischen Wand angeordnet sind, wobei die ersten und zweiten Eingriffselemente (24, 26) vom Flansch beabstandet sind, um erste und zweite Spalten (32, 34) zu definieren, um erste und zweite Eingriffslippen (E1, E2) der Paneelöffnung aufzunehmen, um den Verbinder an dem Paneel (P) zu verriegeln.
     
    3. Elektrischer Verbinder (10) nach Anspruch 2, wobei eines der ersten und zweiten Eingriffselemente (24, 26) einen Anschlagfinger zum Eingriff in eine Endfläche einer der WO-Eingriffslippen (E1, E2) einschließt, um die weitere Drehung zu begrenzen, sobald das Verriegelungselement (54) in der Position ist, in die Anschlagoberfläche (SS) einzugreifen.
     
    4. Elektrischer Verbinder (10) nach Anspruch 2, wobei mindestens eines des ersten und des zweiten Eingriffselements (24, 26) eine Nockenoberfläche (25, 27) auf einer zur Drehrichtung gerichteten Seite zum Eingriff mit der jeweiligen Eingriffslippe (E1, E2) einschließt, um die Drehbewegung des Verbinders (10) auf eine axiale Bewegung zum Paneel (P) zu übertragen.
     
    5. Elektrischer Verbinder (10) nach Anspruch 2, wobei das erste und zweite Eingriffselement (24,26) unterschiedlich bemessen sind, um das Einführen des Verbinders (10) in das Paneel (P) auf eine vorbestimmte Ausrichtung zu begrenzen,
     
    6. Elektrischer Verbinder (10) nach Anspruch 2, wobei das Verriegelungselement (54) ein freitragender Arm (56) mit einem vorstehenden Noppen (58) ist, wobei der Noppen (58) eine geneigte Oberfläche (60) auf einer zur Drehrichtung gerichteten Seite zum Eingriff mit einer Vorspannlasche des Paneels zum Ablenken des freitragenden Arms (56) während der Verriegelungsdrehung des Verbinders (10) und eine gegenüberliegende aufrechte Oberfläche zum Eingriff mit der Anschlagoberfläche (SS) nach dem Zurückprallen des freitragenden Arms (56) einschließt, wenn sich der Noppen (58) an der Vorspannlasche vorbei bewegt.
     
    7. Elektrischer Verbinder (10) nach Anspruch 6, wobei die zylindrische Außenwand einen Innenraum definiert, der Innenraum einen Pfosten (59) einschließt, der so angeordnet ist, dass er den freitragenden Arm (56) bei Ablenkung des freitragenden Arms (56) in den Innenraum kontaktiert.
     
    8. Elektrischer Verbinder (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Paneel (P) einen Modulbereich und einen offenen Bereich trennt, und wobei der Einführungsabschnitt (14) durch die Durchgangsbohrung (0) in den Modulbereich eintritt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Connecteur électrique (10) pour verrouillage à un panneau (P) ayant une nervure annulaire (R) s'étendant à partir de la surface externe du panneau et entourant un trou traversant (0) ayant une lèvre de mise en prise (E1) et une surface d'arrêt (SS), le connecteur comprenant :

    un logement (12) ayant une partie d'insertion (14) à une extrémité du logement (12) pour pénétrer dans le trou traversant (0) et une partie externe (16) à une extrémité opposée du logement (12), la partie d'insertion (14) incluant un élément de verrouillage (54) et un premier élément de mise en prise (24) positionné autour d'une paroi externe de la partie d'insertion ;

    un rebord (36) s'étendant radialement vers l'extérieur à partir du logement (12) adjacent à la partie d'insertion (14), le rebord (36) incluant un canal (38) au niveau d'une partie d'extrémité externe de celui-ci faisant face dans la direction de la partie d'insertion (14) pour recevoir la nervure annulaire (R), le rebord (36) étant espacé à l'écart du premier élément de mise en prise (24) pour définir un espace (32) pour recevoir la lèvre de mise en prise (E1) pour verrouiller le connecteur (10) au panneau (P) ; et

    un joint d'étanchéité (46) disposé dans le canal (38) autour d'une paroi interne (40) du canal (38) pour une compression radiale entre une surface interne de la nervure annulaire (R) et la paroi interne (40),

    dans lequel une insertion de la partie d'insertion (14) dans le trou traversant (0) amène la nervure annulaire (R) à pénétrer dans le canal (38), et une rotation du connecteur (10) amène la lèvre de mise en prise (E1) à pénétrer dans l'espace (32) pour verrouiller le connecteur (10) au panneau (P) et déplace l'élément de verrouillage (54) en prise avec la surface d'arrêt (SS) pour limiter une rotation inverse et un retrait du connecteur.


     
    2. Connecteur électrique (10) selon la revendication 1 dans lequel la paroi externe de la partie d'insertion (14) est cylindrique et inclut des premier et deuxième éléments de mise en prise (24, 26) positionnés sur des côtés opposés de la paroi cylindrique, les premier et deuxième éléments de mise en prise (24, 26) étant espacés du rebord pour définir des premier et deuxième espaces (32, 34) pour recevoir des première et deuxième lèvres de mise en prise (E1, E2) de l'ouverture de panneau pour verrouiller le connecteur au panneau (P).
     
    3. Connecteur électrique (10) selon la revendication 2 dans lequel l'un parmi les premier et deuxième éléments de mise en prise (24, 26) inclut un doigt d'arrêt pour venir en prise avec une surface d'extrémité d'une des lèvres de mise en prise (E1, E2) pour limiter une rotation prolongée une fois que l'élément de verrouillage (54) est en position pour venir en prise avec la surface d'arrêt (SS).
     
    4. Connecteur électrique (10) selon la revendication 2 dans lequel au moins l'un des premier et deuxième éléments de mise en prise (24, 26) inclut une surface de came (25, 27) sur un côté faisant face à la direction de rotation pour mise en prise avec la lèvre de mise en prise respective (E1, E2) pour transférer un mouvement de rotation du connecteur (10) en mouvement axial en direction du panneau (P).
     
    5. Connecteur électrique (10) selon la revendication 2 dans lequel les premier et deuxième éléments de mise en prise (24, 26) sont de tailles différentes pour limiter une insertion du connecteur (10) dans le panneau (P) à une orientation prédéterminée.
     
    6. Connecteur électrique (10) selon la revendication 2 dans lequel l'élément de verrouillage (54) est un bras en porte-à-faux (56) ayant une protubérance saillante (58), la protubérance (58) incluant une surface inclinée (60) sur un côté faisant face à la direction de rotation pour mise en prise avec une languette de sollicitation du panneau pour faire dévier le bras en porte-à-faux (56) pendant une rotation de verrouillage du connecteur (10) et une surface verticale opposée pour venir en prise avec la surface d'arrêt (SS) après rebond du bras en porte-à-faux (56) lorsque la protubérance (58) passe devant la languette de sollicitation.
     
    7. Connecteur électrique (10) selon la revendication 6 dans lequel la paroi externe cylindrique définit un espace intérieur, l'espace intérieur inclut un tenon (59) positionné pour venir en contact avec le bras en porte-à-faux (56) lors d'une déviation du bras en porte-à-faux (56) dans l'espace intérieur.
     
    8. Connecteur électrique (10) selon la revendication 1 dans lequel le panneau (P) sépare une zone de module et une zone ouverte, et dans lequel la partie d'insertion (14) pénètre dans la zone de module par l'intermédiaire du trou traversant (0).
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description