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Title:
ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR, CONNECTOR COMPONENTS OF SAID CONNECTOR AND A DEVICE WITH SUCH A CONNECTOR COMPONENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/072849
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to an electrical connector, comprising two connector components, wherein the connector components are mutually identical. The present invention also relates to a connector component of an electrical connector, wherein the connector component is identical to a corresponding connector component to form in combination an electrical connector. Each connector component comprises at least a first and a second contact, and a magnet, wherein the magnet is linked with or comprises one of the first and second contacts. The magnet exhibits at least two magnetic poles in a front surface, and the magnet is rotatable around a centre axis of the front surface. Furthermore, the present invention relates to a device, such as a lighting device, comprising a housing and at least a part requiring electrical power supply, such as a light source socket, and a connector component arranged in or in the housing and electrically connected with the part.

Inventors:
HONOLD, Jürgen (Maria Austriastraat 684, JC Amsterdam, NL-1087, NL)
Application Number:
NL2014/050770
Publication Date:
May 21, 2015
Filing Date:
November 07, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SILICON HILL B.V. (Cruquiusweg 111C, AG Amsterdam, NL-1019, NL)
International Classes:
H01R13/62; H01R31/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2010088695A12010-08-05
WO2006044859A22006-04-27
Foreign References:
DE19930642A12001-01-04
DE202012006523U12012-09-18
US20130273752A12013-10-17
DE202004003202U12004-04-29
US20120244732A12012-09-27
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GROOTSCHOLTEN, Johannes Antonius Maria et al. (Arnold + Siedsma, Bezuidenhoutseweg 57, AC The Hague, NL-2594, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An electrical connector (1), comprising two

connector (2, 3) components, wherein the connector

components are mutually identical, and each comprise at least a first and a second contact,

CHARACTERISED BY

a magnet, wherein the magnet is linked with or

comprises one of the first and second contacts,

wherein the magnet exhibits at least two magnetic poles in a front surface, which surface is oriented directed outward of the connector, and

wherein the magnet is rotatable around a centre axis of the front surface.

2. The connector according to claim 1, wherein the connector components are rotation symmetrical relative to a central axis oriented perpendicular to the front surface.

3. The connector according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the one of the first and second contacts, which is linked with or is comprised by the magnet, comprises an electrically conductive layer or coating on the surface of the magnet.

4. The connector according to claim 1, 2 or 3, wherein the magnet is accommodated in a bearing, preferably a slide ring .

5. The connector according to any one or more than one of the preceding claims, wherein the first and second contacts are coaxial.

6. The connector according to claims 4 and 5, wherein the bearing or slide ring is accommodated in the other of the first and second contacts than the one of the first and second contacts with which the magnet is linked or

comprised .

7. The connector according to any one or more than one of the preceding claims, wherein one of the first and second contacts is movable relative to the other of the first and second contacts.

8. The connector according to any of the preceding claims, wherein at least one of the first and second

contacts is rotatable in a housing and is connected to a return component, for example a helical spring, which is adapted to at least approximately return the relevant one of the first and second contacts to an initial rotational position .

9. A connector component of an electrical connector, wherein the connector component is identical to a

corresponding connector component to form in combination an electrical connector according to any one or more than one of the preceding claims.

10. A device, such as a lighting device, comprising a housing and at least a part requiring electrical power supply, such as a light source socket, and a connector component according to claim 9 arranged in or in the housing and electrically connected with the part.

11. The device according to claim 10, wherein the connector component is connectable to a low voltage DC power source .

12. A device for power supply to a device according to claim 10 or 11, comprising a power source and/or a

connection to a power source, a housing, and a connector component according to claim 9 arranged in or in the

housing .

Description:
ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR, CONNECTOR COMPONENTS OF SAID CONNECTOR AND A DEVICE WITH SUCH A CONNECTOR COMPONENT

Embodiments of the present disclosure relate to an electrical connector, comprising two connector components, any one connector component of such a connector on its own, as well as a device, such as a lighting device, comprising at least one connector component of such a connector.

Electrical connectors are generally known, for instance in embodiments of a socket and plug combination and a bayonet type connector, and the like.

All known connectors, with which the inventors of the embodiments of the present disclosure are familiar, rely for electrical contact and mechanical coupling on complementary connector components. For instance, a plug has two poles, often in the form of pins, which in a coupled state extend into clamps of a socket through holes or openings, where the clamps and pins are electrically conductive to establish simultaneously a mechanical coupling and electrical contact. Likewise, bayonet connectors are based on complementary and consequently mutually different connector components. Socket and plug combinations require a proper alignment during coupling thereof between pins of plugs and holes or openings of sockets, or the mechanical and/or electrical contact will not be established. Likewise, connection components of bayonet type connectors need to be properly aligned to engage on one another, and then turned, twisted or rotated to enforce a coupled connection between the connector components thereof.

Additionally, publication WO-2010/088695 is

acknowledged here, relative to which at least features in the characterising portions of the appended independent claims are novel and involve an inventive step. Embodiments of the present disclosure are directed at providing a connector, which allows the connector components thereof to simply abut, i.e. to be placed against each other, to establish electrical contact as well as a

mechanical coupling or alternative principle for keeping the connector components together and maintain the electrical contact. Moreover, embodiments of the present disclosure allow for minimisation of production and storage costs and efforts, where in contrast prior art electrical connectors require separate production, transport, storage and

marketing of complementary connector components.

Additionally, the connectors are designed to be very easy to use, self-aligning, exhibit no holes and no undercuts or extending parts or portions and consequently have an at least practically flat surface.

To achieve this goal, embodiments of the present invention exhibit the property for an electrical connector, that the connector comprises two connector components, wherein the connector components are mutually identical. As a result, embodiments of the present disclosure allow electrical connection of connector components in any

orientation relative to one another, merely by abutment, to establish electrical contact and mechanical engagement in any suitable shape or form.

The connector components (each) comprise at least a first and a second contact. In such an embodiment, the first and second contacts may be coaxial. The connector components comprise a magnet. The magnet is linked with or comprises one of the first and second contacts. The magnet exhibits at least two magnetic poles in a front surface, which surface is oriented directed outward of the connector. Further, the magnet is rotatable around a centre axis of the surface. The connector components will be pressed or pulled together, as well as the front surfaces of the magnets. Also, the

configuration of at least two, and for instance four or more magnetic poles will ensure alignment along central axis there through, as a consequence of which the magnets and other parts of the connector components will align along and around the central axis, to prevent misalignment and to prevent short circuit of contacts of the connector

components. Also, in embodiments where an elastic component is employed, for instance an elastomeric body, resulting forces exerted by the magnets and by the elastic component must be balanced, to achieve a sturdy contact and hold the magnets well together, and/or hold the magnets back from extending out of any outer surface, when there is no attracting magnetic force. Also, the attracting forces of the magnets should be sufficient to pull together

complementary contact parts, like contact rings surrounding the magnets. Depending on the circumstances of use or application, the strength or elastic force of the elastic component and of the magnets may be designed and balanced to hold together the entire bodies in which the contacts are arranged. For example, in a stacked configuration, gravity will contribute to establishing a good contact between such secondary contact elements, like rings around the magnets, for which no contribution from the attractive force of the magnets would be required. In such a case the attracting force of the magnets need to overcome only the withdrawing force of the elastic element.

The connector components may be rotation symmetrical relative to a central axis oriented perpendicular to the front surface of the magnet. This allows for a very simple and elegant configuration which is easy to manufacture by producer and easy to use by an end user; the end user only has to gently bring two identical connector components together, and all aligning will occur automatically to correctly connect the connector components.

In an embodiment having a rotatable magnet forming at least one of the contacts, the one of the first and second contacts, which is linked with or is comprised by the magnet, may comprise an electrically conductive layer or coating on the surface of the magnet.

In an embodiment having a rotatable magnet forming at least one of the contacts, the one of the first and second contacts and potentially even a conductive layer on the magnet. The magnet may be accommodated in a bearing, such as or may be even preferably a slide ring. In such an

embodiment, having also first and second coaxial contacts, the bearing ring or slide ring may be accommodated in the other of the first and second contacts than the one of the first and second contacts with which the magnet is linked or comprised .

Additionally or alternatively, an embodiment may comprise an elastic element, such as an elastomeric ring or bearing.

In an additional or alternative embodiment with first and second or possibly even coaxial contacts, one of the first and second contacts is movable relative to the other of the first and second contacts.

The aforementioned elastic element, for instance an elastomeric ring or bearing may function to hold the magnet in a withdrawn state, held back from extending towards an outside, which would enable the risk of a short circuit or the like. The withdrawing force should suffice to hold the magnet back from extending, and be sufficiently small to enable the magnets, when attracting each other, to not only overcome the withdrawing force of the elastic element, but also achieve a sturdy and secure coupling. As previously indicated, the present disclosure also relates to a connector component on its own, of an

electrical connector.

As previously indicated, the present disclosure also relates to a device, such as a lighting device, comprising a housing and at least a part requiring electrical power supply, such as a light source socket, and a connector component arranged in or on the housing and electrically connected with the part .

In an embodiment of such a device the connector

component may be connectable to a low voltage DC power source .

The present disclosure further relates to a device for power supply to a device having a power consuming part, the power supplying device comprising a power source and/or a connection to a power source, a housing, and a connector component according to the present disclosure arranged in or on the housing.

After the foregoing reference to embodiments of the present disclosure in the essentially generic terms and expressions, corresponding with the appended claims herein below, more detailed embodiments of the present disclosure will be discussed herein below, referring to the appended drawings, wherein a limited number of exemplary embodiments are shown. It should be noted, that the scope of protection of the appended claims is by no means to limited to any specific, detailed feature of the shown or described

specific embodiments, as alternatives for specific details will readily present themselves to the skilled person within the realm of the skilled person is normal professional capacity and knowledge. Further, the same or similar

reference numbers may be employed in the drawings and the below description for the same, similar or comparable elements, components and/or aspects of the more detailed embodiments. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a connector

component ;

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view, partially in cross section of an assembly of two identical connector components of FIG. 1, together forming an electrical connector;

FIG. 3 shows an assembly of a number of power consuming devices, which are designed to contain the power consuming parts, such as a light bulb, in particular an LED light source, and a power supply device;

FIG.'s 4 and 5 show schematic electric circuits for respectively power consuming devices and power supply devices of FIG. 3;

FIG.'s 6-8 show a further embodiment of a connector component ;

FIG. 9 shows a further embodiment;

FIG.'s 10 and 11 show a couple of connector components of FIG. 9 in an approaching and a coupled state; and

FIG. 12 show yet a further embodiment.

In figures 1 and 2, an embodiment of an electrical connector component 2 is shown. Connector component 2 comprises an electrically conductive, bus shaped contact 8 with a mounting flange 9 and an electrical abutment flange 10. Contact 8 can be made of electrically conductive

material or can comprise an electrically conductive coating for electrical connection thereof with a power source 11. Alternatively, a connection can be established to a power consuming part, such as a LED light 15 in figure 2.

The connector component 2 further comprises a magnet

12, having two or more magnetic poles N and/or S in the frontal surface thereof, where the frontal surface is surrounded by the abutment flange 10. The frontal surface is electrically conductive and/or has an electrically conductive coating or the like, for electrical connection thereof with the power source 11, or the power consuming part, such as a LED light 15 in figure 2. The magnet 12 is connected to either of a power consuming part 15 or the power source 11 via a brush 19 or the like.

There is a space between the abutment flange 10 and the frontal surface of the magnet 12, to prevent short circuits. The magnet is arranged in a slide ring 13 of for instance plastic and a flexible or compressible ring 14 of for instance rubber. The slide ring 13 can rotate within bus shaped contact 8 in the direction of double arrow A. The magnet 12 rotates with the slide ring 13 and with the flexible or compressible ring 14; the ring 13, the flexible or compressible ring 14 and the magnet 12 are a unit, which can rotate as a whole in the bus shaped contact 8. The magnet 12 can extend out of the slide ring 13 or be pressed into the slide ring 13, depending on attraction or repelling forces from a neighbouring magnet, as shown in figure 2.

Figure 2 further shows that two connector components 2,

3, which form assembly 1, wherein the two connector

components are each arranged in a separate housing 16 of one or more devices 17, for instance lighting devices 17 as in figure 3.

When the devices 17 in figure 2 approach each other, the two or more magnetic poles of the magnets 12, here four magnetic poles in the frontal surfaces of magnets 12, will align by rotation in the direction of arrow A with the unit to attract one another. The magnets will be attracted to extend out of the ring 13 in the direction of arrow B, where the flexible ring 14 of for instance elastic material or even more in particular elastomeric material allows for this movement. The abutment rings 10 of the connector components 2, 3 will be pressed or pulled together under the attraction force of the aligned magnets and contrary to the withdrawing force of the flexible ring 14. also thereby, the frontal surfaces of the magnets will be pressed or pulled together in close mechanical and consequently also electrical

contact. Also, the configuration of four or more magnetic poles as in figures 1 and 2 will ensure alignment along central axis 18, as a consequence of which the magnets 12 and the frontal rings will also align along the axis 18, to prevent misalignment of the rings 10 onto one another, and prevent short circuit of a ring 10 contacting a magnet 12.

Figure 3 shows a power supply bar 6 having a housing 7, a power cord 20 and a plug 21. The housing 7 may accommodate a rectifier and/or transformer (not shown) . Next to bar 6 are a number of cube shaped devices 5 having a number of connector components 2, 3 integrated in or on the housings 4 thereof. The bar 6 also has the connector components 2, 3. The devices 5 can be connected to power supply by simply arranging the cubes against the bar 6 and/or against each other. The connector components 2, 3 will augment or

complement to form connecting connector or assembly 1 of figure 2 and relay power to components in need thereof, for example one of a number of light bulbs 22 in figure 4 in the interior of the cubes, such as LED lights (not shown) for which the rectifier and/or transformer in the housing 7 of bar 6 may be required if the LED lights are DC and/or low voltage. Figure 4 also exhibits the connector components 2, 3 of the device 5, whereas figure 5 exhibits the connector components 2, 3 of the bar 6.

In figures 6, 7 and 8, an embodiment of an electrical connector component 23 is shown. Figure 6 shows an assembled state in perspective view, whereas figure 7 exhibits an exploded view, also in perspective, and figure 8 exhibits a cross sectional, exploded side view.

Connector component 23 comprises an electrically conductive, bus shaped contact 24 with a mounting flange 27 and an electrical abutment flange 28. Contact 24 can be made of electrically conductive material or can comprise an electrically conductive coating for electrical connection thereof with a power source. Alternatively, a connection can be established to a power consuming part, such as a LED light.

The connector component 23 further comprises a magnet 29, having two or more magnetic poles N and/or S in the frontal surface thereof, where the frontal surface is surrounded by the abutment flange 28.

The magnet 29 is arranged in a bus 26 of electrically conductive material and/or bus 26 has an electrically conductive coating or the like, for electrical connection thereof with the power source or a power consuming part, such as a LED light. The bus 26 is connected to either of a power consuming part or the power source in any arbitrary manner, for instance the via brush as shown in figure 2, or the like.

There is a space between the abutment flange 28 and the frontal surface of the bus 26, to prevent short circuits. The bus 26 is arranged in a ring 25 of for instance plastic or any other non-conductive and flexible or compressible material of for instance rubber. The ring 25 can rotate within contact 24. The magnet 29 rotates with the ring 25; the ring 25 forms a singular or unitary embodiment of the both the slide ring 13 and the flexible or compressible ring 14 in FIG. 's 1 and 2, and can rotate as a whole in the contact 24. The assembly of bus 26 and magnet 29 can extend out of the ring 25 or be pressed into the ring 25, depending on attraction or repelling forces from a magnet in or of a neighbouring connector component 23. The ring 25 comprises a cylindrical accommodation 31 for of the bus 26, which in turn houses the magnet 29. Further, the ring 25 comprises a cylindrical wall 32, where a flexible bridge 33 is arranged between the cylindrical wall 32 and the cylindrical

accommodation 31. Especially where the bus 26 is fixed in the cylindrical accommodation 31, the flexible bridge 33 enables depression or extension of the bus 26, relative to the top surface of the connector component 23, which is defined by a top surface of the abutment flange 28 of the contact 24. The curved, flexible bridge 33 is most clearly depicted in the cross sectional view of figure 8.

As is described herein above, the withdrawing force to hold back the magnets from extending can be overcome by attraction of the magnets, when these are properly aligned.

Next to the singular configuration of the ring 25 in the present embodiment, additionally also a spring 30 is provided. The spring 30 is connected on the one hand to for instance flange 27 and on the other hand to at least the bus 26. This spring 30 does not need to be extremely strong, but can serve to limit the amount of rotation, through which the bus 26 can be rotated. Thereby, the need for up brush or other slipping or sliding contact like the brush 19 in figure 2 can be omitted and welded or soldered connection can be established to the bus 26, for connection thereof to a power source or a power consuming component.

The embodiment of figure 12 differs from the embodiment of figures 6 through 8 in that the flexible, curved bridge 33 is replaced in ring 34 of figure 12 (comparable with ring 25 of figures 6 - 8) by an element 35, which is W shaped in the side sectional view of figure 12. The W shaped element 35 can funnel tenuously perform the function of the spring 30 in combination with the depressible or extendable

function of the bridge 33.

The embodiment of figure 9 exhibits in more detail, that contact flange 28 extends over a bridge 33 over a considerable distance. Preferably, the contact flange 28 can form a shield over bridge 33 or W shaped element 35 against penetration of dust or the like.

In any case, the representation of figure 9 clearly exhibits that the top surface 36 of bus 26 is, in a rest state of the connector component in figure 9, positioned at a distance d below or behind the outer surface of contact flange 28. Consequently, when connector components 23, 37, which are mutually identical, are made to approach as shown in figure 10, contact flanges 28 thereof will come into contact with each other first. In the absence of any magnet 29, the buses 26 will not be in contact, when the contact flanges 28 abut. Only on the basis of an attracting force, for which the buses 26 or at least the magnets 29 within the buses 26 may need to rotate, will the buses 26 be attracted against each other to abut and establish electrical contact there between, as shown in figure 11. When the connector components 23, 27 in figure 10 approach each other, the two or more magnetic poles of the magnets 29, here four magnetic poles in the frontal surfaces of magnets 29, will align by rotation to attract one another. The magnets will be

attracted to extend out of the ring 25, where the flexible ring 25 allows for this movement. The abutment flanges 28 of the connector components 23, 37 will be pressed together, as well as the frontal surfaces of the busses 26 accommodating the magnets 29.

It is self evident, on the basis of the preceding description in conjunction with the appended drawing, that many alternative and additional features, components, elements and aspects are possible within the framework of the embodiments according to the present disclosure, the scope of which is defined in the appended claims. For instance, the magnet contact of the connector components may comprise six or eight or more poles. The shapes of

components may be altered to more creative shaped of the bus shaped contact 8 and/or of the magnet 12 (forming the second contact in addition to the bus shaped contact 8), for instance rectangular, star shaped and the like. Also shapes of devices may vary from cube shapes, for instance a device may have a ball shape or a rectangular or box shape and even combinations of shapes are possible. For security,

especially in case of application with higher AC voltages, a screen may be provided to be retracted automatically, when connector components approach one another. The elastic ring does not necessarily need to be continuously closed, but could be formed by elastic posts distributed in a

circumferential direction relative to the magnets. However, a closed ring can aid in keeping foreign dust or dirt or other materials out from the interior of the connector components. Alternatively and/or additionally, the elastic force of the contact ,