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Title:
ADAPTER CONTACT, ADAPTER, PLUG CONTACT ARRANGEMENT AND CONNECTOR/ADAPTER COMBINATION FOR CONNECTING TWO PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARDS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/107865
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to an adapter contact (3), an adapter (17b), a plug contact arrangement (4) and a connector/adapter combination (16) for connecting two printed circuit boards. When connectors are fitted to printed circuit boards and when two circuit boards are assembled together, there occur tolerances which lead to bending of the contacts in the connectors and consequently to mechanical loading. The invention solves this problem owing to the displaceability of an adapter (17b) relative to the first connector (17a) in a first displacement direction (V1) and a displaceability of the adapter (17b) relative to a second connector (17c) in a second displacement direction (V2).

Inventors:
BUCK CARSTEN (DE)
STJEPANOVIC ZORAN (DE)
Application Number:
EP2013/050950
Publication Date:
July 25, 2013
Filing Date:
January 18, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TYCO ELECTRONICS AMP GMBH (Ampèrestraße 12-14, Bensheim, 64625, DE)
International Classes:
H01R13/631; H01R31/06; H01R13/04
Foreign References:
JP2000100536A
JP2009140705A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ERK, Patrick (Grünecker, Kinkeldey Stockmair & Schwanhäusse, Leopoldstrasse 4 München, 80802, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. Adapter contact (3) by means of which a first contact element (1) and a second contact element (2) can be electrically connected to each other in an insertion direction (S), the adapter contact (3) having a first contact flap (5) having a substantially planar first contact face (7a, 7b) which extends parallel with the insertion direction S and a second contact flap (8) having a substantially planar second contact face (10a, 10b) which extends parallel with the insertion direction (S) and perpendicularly relative to the first contact face (7a, 7b), the widths (Bl, B2) of the contact faces (7a, 7b, 10a, 10b) measured

perpendicularly relative to the insertion direction (S) being greater than the height (HI, H2) thereof measured in the insertion direction (S) and the contact flaps (5, 8) being arranged at the two ends of the adapter contact (3) located in the insertion direction (S).

2. Adapter contact (3) according to claim 1, characterised in that only a first contact flap (5) and a second contact flap (8) are provided.

3. Adapter contact (3) according to either claim 1 or claim 2, characterised in that a central portion (14) is provided between the first contact flap (5) and the second contact flap (8).

4. Adapter contact (3) according to claim 3, characterised in that a neck (15) is provided between a contact flap (5, 8) and the central portion (14).

5. Adapter (17b) comprising at least one adapter contact (3) according to any one of claims 1 to 4 and at least one retention means (18b) for retaining the at least one adapter contact (3).

6. Plug contact arrangement (4) for electrical connection in an insertion direction (S), comprising a first contact element (1), a second contact element (2) and an adapter contact (3) which can be interposed directly between the first contact element (1) and the second contact element (2), the first contact element (1) and the adapter contact (3) being able to be displaced relative to each other in a contact-retaining manner in the connected state in a first displacement direction (VI) which extends perpendicularly relative to the insertion direction (S) and the second contact element (2) and the adapter contact (3) being able to be displaced relative to each other in a contact-retaining manner in the connected state in a second displacement direction (V2) which extends perpendicularly relative to the insertion direction (S) and perpendicularly relative to the first displacement direction (VI) and the first contact element (1) and the second contact element (2) being located at ends of the adapter contact (4) located in the insertion direction (S).

7. Plug contact arrangement (4) according to claim 6, characterised in that the amount of a displacement is greater than the width (Bl, B2) of the contact element (5, 8). 8. Plug contact arrangement (4) according to claim 6 or claim 7, characterised in that the first contact element (1) and the adapter contact (3) in the connected state can be displaced relative to each other in a contact-retaining manner in the insertion direction (S).

9. Plug contact arrangement (4) according to any one of claims 6 to 8, characterised in that a first contact means of the adapter contact (4) or a contact means of the first contact element (1) which is in contact with a first contact means of the adapter contact (3) in the connected state is a contact flap (5, 8) and the other of the two contact means is a contact slot (6, 9). 10. Plug contact arrangement (4) according to any one of claims 6 to 9, characterised in that a second contact means of the adapter contact (3) or a contact means of the second contact element (2) which is in contact with the second contact means of the adapter contact (3) in the connected state is a contact flap (5, 8) and the other of the two contact means is a contact slot (6, 9).

11. Plug contact arrangement (4) according to any one of claims 6 to 10, characterised in that at least one contact means extends in accordance with two sides in a displacement direction (VI, V2) from a neck (15). 12. Plug contact arrangement (4) according to any one of claims 6 to 11, characterised in that at least one contact element (1, 2) has a resilient element (13) which is in contact with the contact face (7a, 7b, 10a, 10b) of the adapter contact (3) in the connected state.

13. Plug contact arrangement (4) according to any one of claims 6 to 12, characterised in that the first contact element, the second contact element and the adapter contact have substantially the same structural shape. 14. Connector/adapter combination (16) comprising at least one plug contact arrangement (4) according to any one of claims 6 to 13.

15. Connector/adapter combination (16) according to claim 14, characterised in that all plug contact arrangements (4) have the same displacement directions (VI, V2).

16. Connector/adapter combination (16) according to either claim 14 or 15, characterised in that at least one connector (17a, 17c) and/or the adapter (17b) has/have a retention means (18a, 18b, 18c). 17. Connector/adapter combination (16) according to any one of claims 14 to 16, characterised in that at least one connector (17a, 17c) has/have securing means (21) which extend in the displacement direction (VI, V2) thereof and which allow movement of the adapter (17b) relative to the connector (17a, 17c) only in the displacement direction (VI, V2).

Description:
ADAPTER CONTACT, ADAPTER, PLUG CONTACT ARRANGEMENT AND CONNECTOR/ADAPTER COMBINATION FOR CONNECTING TWO PRINTED

CIRCUIT BOARDS The invention relates to an adapter contact, an adapter, a plug contact arrangement and a connector/adapter combination as used to connect two printed circuit boards.

The assembly of connectors on printed circuit boards and the connection of two connectors which are each located on a printed circuit board is subject to tolerance. This leads to the connected contacts no longer being in alignment. There is consequently the risk that, in the connected state, the contacts in the connectors become bent and are consequently mechanically loaded. In order to reduce this load, meandering contacts as in US

2007/0173096 Al have been used until now. Such meandering contacts enable

compensation movements of the contacts in directions perpendicular relative to the insertion direction. However, these contacts are also subjected to mechanical loads since the compensation movements are brought about by means of redirection of resilient contacts. Furthermore, such meandering structures are complex in terms of production and involve the risk of load fracture which can be caused by repeated movements, for example, owing to vibrations.

An object of the present invention is accordingly to provide a plug contact arrangement which can be used in a connector/adapter combination and in which this risk does not exist. Furthermore, this plug contact arrangement should be simple to produce and enable the greatest possible level of movability of the contacts relative to each other.

This object is achieved according to the invention by a plug contact arrangement in which, in the connected state, a first contact element and an adapter contact can be displaced relative to each other in a contact-retaining manner in a first displacement direction which extends perpendicularly relative to the insertion direction, a second contact element and the adapter contact can be displaced relative to each other in a contact-retaining manner in a second displacement direction which extends perpendicularly relative to the insertion direction and perpendicularly relative to the first displacement direction, the first contact element and the second contact element being arranged at the two ends of the adapter contact located in the insertion direction. The solution according to the invention affords the advantage that any displacement of the contact elements relative to each other perpendicularly relative to the insertion direction can be compensated for by means of a movement of the adapter in both

displacement directions. Since both displacement directions are located perpendicularly relative to each other, a displacement in each direction in the plane perpendicular relative to the insertion direction can be compensated for. In particular this compensation can be carried out automatically by the forces which occur. The two compensation movements in this instance do not impede each other since the first contact element and the second contact element are fitted to the ends of the adapter contact located in the insertion direction.

A plug contact arrangement according to the invention may be implemented in such a manner that there is fitted between a first contact element and a second contact element an adapter contact which has a first contact flap having a substantially planar first contact face which extends parallel with the insertion direction and a second contact flap having a substantially planar second contact face which extends parallel with the insertion direction and perpendicularly relative to the first contact face, the widths of the contact faces measured perpendicularly relative to the insertion direction being greater than the height thereof measured in the insertion direction and the contact flaps being arranged at the two ends of the adapter contact located in the insertion direction. As a first and second contact element, it is possible to consider, for example, contact slots which are assembled in a state offset through 90° on a first or second printed circuit board.

The adapter contact according to the invention may be a portion of an adapter and/or be arranged in an adapter by means of a retention means. Furthermore, a plug contact arrangement according to the invention may be a portion of a connector/adapter combination.

As an amount of a displacement, approximately three times the width of the contact element may be advantageous since this enables an adequate movement range without the moving components becoming deformed owing to the lever action.

The solution according to the invention can be freely combined and further improved with the following additional embodiments which are each advantageous per se. It is particularly advantageous for the first contact element and the adapter contact in the connected state to be able to be further displaced relative to each other in a contact- retaining manner in the insertion direction. It is thereby possible not only to compensate for displacements in a plane perpendicular relative to the insertion direction, but also a displacement in the insertion direction. This may be achieved, for example, in that a contact face has an extent in the insertion direction which is greater than is required for contacting. This also applies accordingly to the connection between the second contact element and the adapter contact. In an advantageous embodiment, a first contact means of the adapter contact or a contact means of the first contact element which is in contact with a contact means of the adapter contact in the connected state is a contact flap and the other of the two contact means is a contact slot. A contact flap can be produced in a particularly simple manner and it may, for example, be punched from a metal sheet. Typically, a contact flap is rectangular and has two contact faces at a front and a rear side. A contact slot affords the advantage that it guides the contact flap.

In another embodiment, a second contact means of the adapter contact or a contact means of the contact element which is in contact with the second contact means of the adapter contact in the connected state is a contact flap and the other of the two contact means is a contact slot. In particular, both contact flaps may be arranged on the adapter contact. This has the advantage that, for the contact elements which are fitted to the printed circuit boards, contact elements which are already provided and which have contact slots can be used and only the adapter contact must be newly constructed. The two slots of the contact elements are offset through 90° relative to each other in the insertion direction in each case. The adapter contact with the two contact flaps may, for example, comprise only the two contact flaps which are secured to each other, for example, by means of welding or soldering. In order to enable more stable fitting of the contact flaps and to simplify the handling, a central portion may be provided between the two contact flaps on the adapter contact. This also affords the advantage of more simple production of such an adapter contact. For example, an adapter contact comprising the two contact flaps and a central portion which is located therebetween can be punched from a planar metal sheet which is rolled or folded in a subsequent step so that the two contact flaps are perpendicular relative to each other.

A neck may also particularly be provided between a contact flap and a central portion. At a neck, the adapter contact has a smaller cross-section which enables the contact flap and the central portion to be able to be pivoted relative to each other. The tolerance with respect to production or assembly errors is thereby further improved.

In order to ensure the movability between a first contact element or second contact element and the adapter contact, it is advantageous for only a first and a second contact flap to be provided on the adapter contact. Other contact flaps in which there is no displaceability in a first or second displacement direction could otherwise impair or prevent the movement or lose contact with other contact means during the movement. For good transmission of signals, in particular in the high-frequency range, it is advantageous for the first contact element, the second contact element and the adapter contact to have substantially the same structural shape.

In order to enable the best possible electrical contact, at least one contact element may have a resilient element which is in contact with the contact face of the adapter contact in the connected state.

The above-mentioned adapter contact may also be a portion of an adapter, there being further provided in the adapter at least one retention means for retaining the at least one adapter contact. This retention means may, for example, be an insulator, such as plastics material. A housing for electrical shielding, for example, of metal, may further be located on such an adapter.

A plug contact arrangement according to the invention may also be a portion of a connector/adapter combination. For example, the first contact element and the second contact element may be integrated in a connector and the adapter contact in an adapter, respectively. The connectors or the adapter may in turn each have at least one retention means for retaining the first or the second contact element or the adapter contact. When a plurality of contacts are combined in one retention means, a contact arrangement having the same spacings is advantageous during the transmission of high-frequency signals.

Furthermore, each of the connectors and/or the adapters may additionally comprise a housing. This housing may further have a shielding effect; it may, for example, comprise metal or another conductive material.

It is particularly advantageous for all the connector contact arrangements in the connector/adapter combination to have the same displacement directions. In particular, in addition to the plug contact arrangement, no other contacts which impede or prevent a movement or whose contact is lost through the movement are intended to be provided.

The connector/adapter combination may additionally have, on at least one connector, securing means which extend in the displacement direction thereof and which allow movement of the adapter relative to the connector only in the displacement direction. These securing means therefore perform a dual function since they secure the connector to the adapter and at the same time enable a displacement of the two relative to each other only in the displacement direction.

The invention is explained in greater detail below by way of example with reference to advantageous embodiments and the drawings. The embodiments described constitute only possible embodiments in which, however, the individual features, as described above, can be combined independently of each other or can be omitted. In the various drawings, the same reference numerals indicate the same objects.

In the drawings:

Figure 1 is a schematic perspective view of a plug contact arrangement according to the invention in a partially connected state;

Figure 2 is a schematic perspective view of the plug contact arrangement shown in Figure 1 in the connected state;

Figure 3 is a schematic, perspective view of a plug/adapter combination according to the invention in the separated state;

Figure 4 is a schematic perspective view of the connector/adapter combination of Figure 3 in the connected state;

Figure 5 is a schematic view of the plug arrangements present in the

connector/adapter combination of Figure 3. Figure 1 illustrates a plug contact arrangement 4 comprising a first contact element 1, a second contact element 2 and an adapter contact 3. The plug contact arrangement 4 is partially assembled in this instance. The first contact element 1 and the adapter contact 3 are still separated from each other; the adapter contact 3 and the second contact element 2 are already connected. In order to assemble the plug contact arrangement 4 completely, the first contact flap 5 of the adapter contact 3 is introduced in an insertion direction S into a contact slot 6 of the first contact element 1. This can be brought about by the adapter contact 3 being introduced into the first contact element along the first component SI of the insertion direction S or by the first contact element 1 being pushed onto the adapter contact 3 counter to the first component SI of the insertion direction S. The first contact flap 5 of the adapter contact 3 is substantially planar and parallel with the insertion direction S. The first contact flap 5 of the adapter contact 3 has two contact faces 7a, 7b at the wide sides thereof, the contact faces 7a, 7b being in contact with corresponding counter-contact faces of the contact slot 6 of the first contact element 1 in the connected state. These contact faces 7a, 7b are substantially rectangular in the embodiment shown. The height HI of the first contact flap 5 is measured in the insertion direction, the width B 1 of the first contact flap 5 is measured in a first normal direction Nl which at the same time constitutes a first displacement direction VI and which is perpendicular relative to the insertion direction S. The width Bl of the first contact flap is greater than the height HI thereof.

In addition to the first contact flap 5, the adapter contact 3 has a second contact flap 8 which is in contact with a contact slot 9 of the second contact element 2. The second contact flap 8 in turn has two contact faces 10a, 10b which are in contact with corresponding counter-contact faces in the contact slot 9 of the second contact element 2. The contact faces 10a, 10b of the second contact flap 8 of the adapter contact 3 are also parallel with the insertion direction S and further perpendicular relative to the contact faces 7a, 7b of the first contact flap 5 of the adapter contact 3. Therefore, they extend in a second normal direction N2 which at the same time constitutes a second displacement direction V2 and which is perpendicular relative to the first normal direction Nl and perpendicular relative to the insertion direction S.

In addition, the first contact element 1 and the second contact element 2 each have a stop 11 which, during assembly in a connector, serves to ensure that, when the connectors become disengaged from the adapter, the first contact element or the second contact element are not pulled out of the connectors. Furthermore, the stops 11 serve to contact the printed circuit boards, for example, by means of soldering processes. The shape of the stops 11 allows the first connector 17a and the second connector 17b to be surface-mounted on printed circuit boards.

The first contact element 1, the second contact element 2 and the adapter contact 3 are each formed from a metal sheet. During production, a corresponding shape is punched or cut from a flat metal sheet and is bent or folded in a subsequent step. This integral shaping from a metal sheet can be seen, for example, in the case of the contact element 2 which has a joint gap 12 at which two ends of the punched metal component are joined together.

During this bending or folding, the resilient elements 13 of the first or second contact element 1, 2 are also shaped. These resilient elements 13 may form the contact slot 6 of the first contact element 1 or the contact slot 9 of the second contact element or be arranged therein.

The adapter contact 3 illustrated in Figure 1 has in addition to the first contact flap 5 and the second contact flap 8 a central portion 14 which connects the two flaps. The length of this central portion 14 may, for example, be adapted to the typical distances between two printed circuit boards to be connected.

Necks 15 are located between the central portion 14 and the first contact flap 5 or the second contact flap 8. Such a neck 15 may have different dimensions. If tilting or rotation of the contact flap 5, 8 relative to the central portion 14 is desired, the cross-section of such a neck may be selected to be small. If the most stable connection possible is desired, the cross- section of a neck 15 should be as large as possible.

In the embodiment illustrated in this instance, the first contact element, the second contact element and the adapter contact have substantially the same structural shape. All three are hollow members preferably having a square cross-section and are substantially the same size. However, round cross-sections are also possible. This allows transmission of signals, particularly of high-frequency signals, through the connector. In Figure 2, the plug contact arrangement 4 shown in Figure 1 is illustrated in the completely assembled state. The first contact element 1 is fitted on the first contact flap 5 of the adapter contact 3 and the second contact element 2 on the second contact flap 8 of the adapter contact 3. The centre plane Ml of the first contact flap 5 of the adapter contact 3 is offset by an amount X in a first normal direction Nl from the centre line Zl of the first contact element 1. The centre plane M2 of the second contact flap 8 of the adapter contact 3 is offset by an amount Y in a second normal direction N2 from the centre line Z2 of the second contact element 2. The two normal directions Nl and N2, which again at the same time constitute the first and second displacement direction VI, V2, respectively, are each perpendicular relative to the insertion direction S and perpendicular with respect to each other. On the whole, the adapter contact 3 therefore compensates for a displacement in two directions which are located in a plane which extends perpendicularly relative to the insertion direction. Since it is sufficient for the contact slot of the first contact element 1 to be in contact only partially with the first contact flap 5 of the adapter contact 3, such a configuration enables greater displacement of the first contact element 1 relative to the adapter contact 3 without increasing the actual width of the contact flap 5. The same applies accordingly to the displacement of the second contact element 2 relative to the adapter contact 3 and the width B2 thereof. Furthermore, owing to a previously defined width B 1 or B2 of the contact flap 5 or 8, any displacement path in VI or V2 may be allowed. In this example, the displacement path corresponds to slightly more than the simple width B 1 or B2 of the contact flap 5 or 8, respectively.

Since the first contact flap 5 of the adapter contact extends with a height HI in the insertion direction S, it is also possible with this plug contact arrangement to compensate for a displacement in the insertion direction S.

The adapter contact 3 shown in Figures 1 and 2 has contact flaps 5, 8 which extend at two sides in a displacement direction VI, V2 away from a neck 15, respectively. This is particularly advantageous since consequently only one half of the displacement path is directed in each case to one side, whereby a smaller lever action is achieved. However, a contact flap 5, 8 which extends away from the neck 15 at only one side is also conceivable.

The contact flaps 5, 8 shown each have rectangular contact faces 7a, 7b, 10a, 10b. However, other shapes are also possible, for example, circles or trapezoids. Figures 1 and 2 show a plug contact arrangement 4 in which the two contact flaps 5, 8 are arranged on the adapter contact 3. Other arrangements of the contact flaps 5, 8 and the contact slots 6, 9 are also possible. The same displaceability can thus also be achieved in two directions perpendicularly relative to the insertion direction with other arrangements of the contact flaps 5, 8 and the contact slots 6, 9. For example, the first and the second contact element 1, 2 may have a contact flap 5, 8 and the contact adapter 3 may have associated contact slots 6, 9, respectively. A plug contact arrangement 4 is also conceivable in which the first contact element 1 has a contact slot 6, 9, the adapter contact 3 has a contact flap 5, 8 and a contact slot and the second contact element 2 has a contact flap. The significant aspect is only the displaceability of the first contact element 1 relative to the adapter contact 3 in a first displacement direction VI which is perpendicular relative to the insertion direction S and the displaceability of the second contact element 2 relative to the adapter contact 3 in a second displacement direction V2 which is perpendicular relative to the insertion direction S and not parallel with the first displacement direction VI. In particular the displacement directions VI, V2 may be perpendicular relative to each other, but this is not absolutely necessary. The two displacement directions VI, V2 may also not be perpendicular relative to each other but instead form an angle of, for example, 60° relative to each other. Figure 3 shows a connector/adapter combination 16 which comprises a plurality of plug contact arrangements 4 according to the invention. The connector/adapter combination 16 comprises a first connector 17a which comprises the first contact elements 1, an adapter 17b which comprises the adapter contacts 3, and a second connector 17c which comprises the second contact elements 2. The first connector 17a further has in addition to the first contact elements 1 a retention means 18a by means of which the individual first contact elements 1 are retained in the first connector 17a. Such a retention means 18a may, for example, comprise an insulator and may be injected around the first contact elements 1, for example, by means of moulding. The adapter 17b and the second connector 17c have corresponding retention means 18b or 18c. Furthermore, the first connector 17a, the adapter 17b and the second connector 17c each have a housing 19a, 19b, 19c which is used, for example, for electrical insulation or electrical shielding. This can be achieved in that the housings 19a, 19b, 19c comprise metal. The second connector 17c further has guiding elements 20c which enable movement of the adapter 17b relative to the second connector 17c only in the second displacement direction V2 in which the second contact elements 2 of the plug contact arrangements 4 can be displaced relative to the adapter contacts 3.

The first connector 17a also has corresponding guiding elements 20a. However, these enable a displacement of the first connector 17a relative to the adapter 17b in the first displacement direction VI in which the first contact elements 1 can be displaced relative to the adapter contacts 3. Therefore, the two guiding elements 20a, 20c enable displacements which are perpendicular relative to each other.

The guiding elements 20a of the first connector 17a act at the same time as securing elements 21 which secure the adapter 17b to the first connector 17a, for example, by means of clamping.

In Figure 4, the relative displaceability of the adapter 17b relative to the first connector 17a or the second connector 17c is illustrated. The adapter 17b is offset by an amount X in a first displacement direction VI and a first normal direction Nl relative to the first connector 17a and by an amount Y in a second displacement direction V2 and a second normal direction N2 relative to the second connector 17c. In this example, the two displacement directions VI, V2 are perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the insertion direction S.

The two guiding elements 20a, 20b each enable only a displacement in the first or second displacement direction VI, V2, respectively.

Although the guiding elements in this example are arranged on the connectors 17a, 17c, they may also be arranged on the adapter 17b.

Figure 4 also illustrates the function of the stops 11 which, when the first connector 17a or the second connector 17c is removed from the adapter 17b, prevent the first or second contact elements from being pulled from the connectors. Furthermore, the stops 11 serve to contact the printed circuit boards, for example, by means of soldering processes. The shape of the stops 11 allows the first connector 17a and the second connector 17b to be surface- mounted on printed circuit boards.

Figure 5 illustrates the plug contact arrangements 4 used in Figures 3 and 4 without the retention means 18a, 18b, 18c and without the housings 19a, 19b, 19c. It can be seen that the displaceability of the first contact elements 1 relative to the adapter contacts 3 extends in the same direction for all the first contact elements 1. The same applies accordingly to the relative displaceability of the second contact elements 2 relative to the adapter contacts 3.