(19)
(11)EP 4 027 465 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
13.07.2022 Bulletin 2022/28

(21)Application number: 21150779.3

(22)Date of filing:  08.01.2021
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01R 13/52(2006.01)
H01R 13/627(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
H01R 13/5213; H01R 13/6272; H01R 2201/26; B60R 16/00
(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
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(71)Applicant: ABB Schweiz AG
5400 Baden (CH)

(72)Inventors:
  • FRANCOS, Angel Jose
    Birmingham, B16 9BD (GB)
  • BUCK, Meirion
    Swadlincote, DE12 6LQ (GB)

(74)Representative: Maiwald Patent- und Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH 
Elisenhof Elisenstraße 3
80335 München
80335 München (DE)

  


(54)AUTOMOTIVE CONNECTOR COVER


(57) The invention relates to a protection cover (100) configured to cover an automotive connector and to protect a fastening latch mechanism of the automotive connector from paint, particles, humidity and/or liquids.




Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION



[0001] The present invention relates to a protection cover, an automotive connector, a vehicle comprising an automotive connector, and a use of the protection cover.

BACKGROUND



[0002] Automotive connectors found in automotive harnesses can be exposed to moisture, dirt, impact or can undergo a paint procedure in which the harness and the conduit system is painted. Therefore, particles or liquids dirt or paint may ingress into the connector fastening latch mechanism. In case of paint, the paint then freezes the connector fastening latch mechanism such that the latch cannot be engaged or disengaged.

[0003] In the case of particles or liquids, these can damage the fastening latch mechanism, such that it will not be able to achieve the intended function. In the case of impact, this can damage the functioning of the mechanism.

SUMMARY



[0004] It is an object of the invention to provide an arrangement in which the locking mechanism of the connector continues to function when being exposed and after having been exposed to liquids, moisture, dirt or paint, or impact by foreign bodies

[0005] The problem is solved by the subject-matter of the independent claims. Embodiments are provided by the dependent claims, the following description and the accompanying figures.

[0006] The described embodiments similarly pertain to the protection cover, the automotive connector, the vehicle comprising an automotive connector, and the use of a protection cover.

[0007] Technical terms are used by their common sense. If a specific meaning is conveyed to certain terms, definitions of terms will be given in the following in the context of which the terms are used.

[0008] According to a first aspect, a protection cover is provided that is configured to cover an automotive connector and to protect a fastening latch mechanism of the automotive connector from paint, particles, humidity, liquids and/or impact and vibration.

[0009] The protection cover is designed such that it covers only a part of the connector. The covered part may be regarded as a "top" part of the connector that at least comprises the fastening latch mechanism. The fastening latch mechanism is configured to fasten the automotive connector to a counter-connector such that a secure and fix mechanical connection is provided and therefore also a secure electrical connection. The protection cover is designed such that it is able to attach to a variety of automotive connectors, protecting the automotive connector fastening latch mechanism from several types of harmful external influences. E.g., a paint ingress may occur in cases where the automotive harnesses undergoes a paint procedure in which the harness and the conduit system is painted. By impeding the paint ingresses into the connector fastening latch mechanism, the paint cannot freeze the connector fastening latch mechanism and therefore ensures that the latch can be engaged or disengaged. E.g., when painting, the connector may be covered completely with paint; however, access to the latch mechanism may be needed for disconnecting the cable during service and maintenance, without removing the cover. The cover remaining on place then offers continuous protection against moisture and dirt ingress and protects against impact damage to the latch mechanism by using a dampening material. Further, the cover protects the connector in service from ingress of dirt and liquid and impact of foreign bodies.

[0010] According to an embodiment, the protection cover comprises a push fit mechanism. The push fit mechanism allows installing the protection cover subsequently, i.e., it has not to be integrated in the manufacturing procedure of the connector and can be applied to available, completely manufactured connectors.

[0011] According to an embodiment, the push fit mechanism comprises two legs, each comprising a hook-like form at their feet. The hooks may be oriented in opposite direction. The two legs extrude from a common body that is part of the protection cover.

[0012] According to an embodiment, the push fit mechanism is configured to snap into an opening covered partly by a protrusion of the automotive connector such that the protection cover can be mounted on the connector.

[0013] According to an embodiment, the push fit mechanism is a universal push fit mechanism fitting to a plurality of different connectors. That is, the universal push fit mechanism exploits common characteristics of latch fastening mechanisms of several types of automotive connectors. Thus, a single universal cover for connector can be used to protect the complete ranges of several types of automotive connectors.

[0014] According to an embodiment the push fit mechanism is configured to be moved into an opening covered partly by a protrusion of the automotive connector, wherein the protrusion fixes the feet and hence the protection cover such that the protection cover can be mounted in this alternative way on the connector. The push fit mechanism may be designed such that both ways of fixing, i.e. snapping and moving or sliding, are possible.

[0015] According to an embodiment, the legs have a common body that is limited by a free space around the body. The free space ensures flexibility and alleviates the removal of the protection cover if wanted.

[0016] According to an embodiment, the protection cover has a front portion and a rear portion, the front portion being the part, which is connected to a counterpart of the connector, and covering the fastening latch mechanism, wherein the front portion is foldable.

[0017] In other words, one part, i.e., the front part or portion of the protection cover is designed such that it is, may be removably, fixed on the connector. This part holds the protection cover in place. The other part, i.e., the rear part or portion is foldable by hand such that it can be lifted to release the surface of the fastening latch mechanism such that this mechanism can be accessed, and the connector can be connected to or disconnected from its counterpart. When no access to the fastening latch mechanism is needed, the lifted portion can be folded down and put on the fastening latch mechanism again. That is, the protection cover is flexible enough to fold the front of the invention to engage or disengage the connector fastening latch mechanism while maintaining, e.g., a paint barrier.

[0018] According to an embodiment, the protection cover has a shape that fits to the shape of the automotive connector. That is, the protection cover has a shape that not only covers the connector portion to be covered as, e.g. a simple box, but is adapted to the contours of the automotive connector.

[0019] According to an embodiment, the protection cover has a shape that fits to a plurality of different automotive connectors. In other words, the protection cover is universally applicable. This may be achieved, e.g., by covering a part of the connector that is common to further connectors, or by a shape that fits a least in the outer border also to further connectors.

[0020] According to an embodiment, the protection cover is made of rubber or rubber-like material. The rubber or rubber-like material ensures the flexibility of the cover, especially to enable the mounting and removing of the cover and the foldability. It further provides a good fitting and a good long-term stability such that a high number of folding activities is possible. The construction material also serves as an impact damper as to protect the cover from impact and vibrations. Further, no mechanically movable parts as screws, hinges, etc. are necessary for mounting the protection cover or for the folding of the front portion.

[0021] According to a further aspect, an automotive connector is provided comprising a protection cover as described in this disclosure.

[0022] According to a further aspect, a vehicle is provided comprising such an automotive connector.

[0023] According to a further aspect, a use of a protection cover for protecting an automotive connector from paint, particles, humidity and/or liquids is provided, as well as impact and vibration protection.

[0024] These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the accompanying figure and the following description. Identical or equivalent elements are in principle provided with the same reference signs.

SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES



[0025] 
Fig. 1
shows a 3-D diagram of a protection cover,
Fig. 2
shows a 3-D diagram of an automotive connector,
Fig. 3
shows a 3-D diagram of the automotive connector in conjunction with a conduit connector fitting,
Fig. 4
shows a diagram of a top view of the automotive connector in conjunction with a conduit connector fitting shown in Fig. 3,
Fig. 5
shows a diagram of a sectional view of the mounted protection cover,
Fig. 6
shows a diagram of a vehicle with an automotive connector.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



[0026] Fig. 1 shows a three-dimensional diagram with a top-side-view of the protection cover 100. The protection cover 100 may be made of rubber or a rubber-like material. The protection cover 100 comprises a front portion 120 and a rear portion 130. The front portion 120 is designed to cover the fastening latch mechanism 220 of the automotive connector 200 shown in Fig, 2. The front portion 120 is flexible such that it can be folded by hand. The rear portion 130 comprises the push fit mechanism 500 as described for Fig. 5. The protection cover 100 further comprises openings 110 that are also described as "free space" 110 in this disclosure.

[0027] Fig. 2 shows a 3-D diagram with a top-side-view of an automotive connector 200, which may be covered by protection cover 100. Automotive connector 200 comprises a portion with the fastening latch mechanism 220 and a portion 230 comprising an opening 206 and protrusions 208, in which the push fit mechanism 500 may be moved from a front or rear direction or may be pushed through from the top, wherein the front direction is indicated by arrow 240.

[0028] Fig. 3 shows a 3-D diagram with a top-side-view of the automotive connector 200 in conjunction with a conduit connector fitting 302 as an ensemble 300, and the protection cover 100 mounted on the automotive connector 200. The conduit fitting can be attached to the back of the connector to protect the cable coming out of the connector. The connector is also designed to be connected to a further connector when needed. When mounted and no access is necessary, the protection cover 100 covers the top of the automotive connector as shown in Fig. 3, such that it protects the automotive connector fastening latch mechanism from paint ingress, liquid, moisture, dirt, or other particles.

[0029] Fig. 4 shows a diagram of a top view of automotive connector 200 in conjunction with a conduit connector fitting shown in Fig. 3, where the protection cover 100 is mounted on the automotive connector 200. The arrangement is the same as shown in Fig. 3. Fig. 4 shows further the cutting line A-Aforthe sectional view of Fig. 5.

[0030] Fig. 5 shows a diagram of a sectional view of the mounted protection cover 100. The shape of the protection cover 100 is fitted to the shape of the automotive connector 200, through which the cut A-A of the sectional view is made. Fig. 5 shows the push fit mechanism 500 that comprises two legs 112, each comprising a hook-like form at their feet 114. The push fit mechanism 500 is configured to snap into the opening 206 covered partly by a protrusion 208 of the automotive connector 200. Fig. 5 shows further openings 110 or free space by which the common body 516 of the legs 112 is limited to provide flexibility, and which may further alleviate the removal of the protection cover 100.

[0031] Fig. 6 shows a diagram of a vehicle 600 with an automotive connector 200 as described in this disclosure.

[0032] Other variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected by those skilled in the art in practicing the claimed invention, from the study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims. In the claims, the word "comprising" does not exclude other elements or steps and the indefinite article "a" or "an" does not exclude a plurality. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage. Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope of the claims.


Claims

1. Protection cover (100) configured to cover an automotive connector (200) and to protect a fastening latch mechanism (220) of the automotive connector (200) from paint, particles, humidity, liquids and/or impact and vibration.
 
2. Protection cover (100) according to claim 1, wherein the protection cover (100) comprises a push fit mechanism (500).
 
3. Protection cover (100) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the push fit mechanism is a universal push fit mechanism fitting to a plurality of different connectors.
 
4. Protection cover (100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the push fit (500) mechanism comprises two legs (112), each comprising a hook-like form at their feet (114).
 
5. Protection cover (100) according to any of claims 2 to 4, wherein the push fit mechanism (500) is configured to snap into an opening (206) covered partly by a protrusion (208) of the automotive connector (200).
 
6. Protection cover (100) according to any of claims 2 to 5, wherein the push fit mechanism (500) is configured to be moved into an opening (206) covered partly by a protrusion (208) of the automotive connector (200), wherein the protrusion (208) fixes the feet (114).
 
7. Protection cover (100) according to any of any of claims 4 to 6, wherein the legs (112) have a common body (516) that is limited by a free space (110) around the body (516).
 
8. Protection cover (100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the protection cover (100) has front portion (120) and a rear portion (130), the front portion (120) being the part which is connected to a counterpart of the automotive connector (200) and covering the fastening latch mechanism (220), wherein the front portion (120) is foldable.
 
9. Protection cover (100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the protection cover (100) has a shape that fits to the shape of the automotive connector (200).
 
10. Protection cover (100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the protection cover (100) has a shape that fits to a plurality of different automotive connectors (200) .
 
11. Protection cover (100) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the protection cover (100) is made of rubber or rubber-like material.
 
12. Automotive connector (200) comprising a protection cover (100) according to any of the preceding claims.
 
13. Vehicle (600) comprising an automotive connector (200) according to the previous claim.
 
14. Use of a protection cover (100) according to one of claims 1 to 11 for protecting an automotive connector (200) from paint, particles, humidity, liquids and/or impact and vibration protection.
 




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