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Title:
SPLIT QUADRAX INTERCONNECT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/183143
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A connector system includes a first connector that includes a first plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the first connector, a first contact insulator surrounding at least some of the first plurality of contacts, and a first planar ground plate terminating at the first end of the first connector. The connector system further includes a second connector that includes a second plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to mate with the first plurality of contacts when the first connector and the second connector are mated, a second contact insulator surrounding at least some of the second plurality of contacts, and a second planar ground plate terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to contact the first planar ground plate when the first connector and the second connector are mated.

Inventors:
KWANG, Kim (26431 Charford Way, Lake Forest, California, 92630, US)
JOHANNES, Richard A. (31591 Via Coyote, Trabuco, California, 92679, US)
Application Number:
US2019/023033
Publication Date:
September 26, 2019
Filing Date:
March 19, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SMITHS INTERCONNECT AMERICAS, INC. (5101 Richland Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas, 66106, US)
International Classes:
H01R31/02
Foreign References:
US20150270647A12015-09-24
US20070259568A12007-11-08
US20110275246A12011-11-10
US20140120769A12014-05-01
US6210230B12001-04-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VAKIL, Ketan (600 Anton Blvd. Suite 1400, Costa Mesa, California, 92626, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A connector system for providing ground continuity in a mated state, the connector system comprising:

a first connector having a first end and a second end and including:

a first plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the first connector, a first contact insulator surrounding at least some of the first plurality of contacts, and

a first planar ground plate terminating at the first end of the first connector; and

a second connector having a first end and a second end, configured to mate with the first connector such that the first end of the first connector contacts the first end of the second connector, and including:

a second plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to mate with the first plurality of contacts when the first connector and the second connector are mated,

a second contact insulator surrounding at least some of the second plurality of contacts, and

a second planar ground plate terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to contact the first planar ground plate when the first connector and the second connector are mated.

2. The connector system of claim 1 wherein:

the first plurality of contacts includes a first pair of contacts and a second pair of contacts; the first contact insulator includes a first pair contact insulator surrounding the first pair of contacts and a second pair contact insulator surrounding the second pair of contacts; and

the first planar ground plate is located between the first pair contact insulator and the second pair contact insulator.

3. The connector system of claim 2 wherein the first pair of contacts includes a first pair of socket contacts and the second pair of contacts includes a first pair of pin contacts.

4. The connector system of claim 3 wherein the first pair of socket contacts extends away from the first pair contact insulator, and the first pair of pin contacts is enclosed within the second pair contact insulator to protect the first pair of pin contacts.

5. The connector system of claim 2 wherein the first pair of contacts includes a first pair of socket contacts and the second pair of contacts includes a second pair of socket contacts.

6. The connector system of claim 2 wherein the first pair contact insulator terminates at the first end of the first connector and the second pair contact insulator terminates between the first end and the second end of the first connector.

7. The connector system of claim 1 wherein the first plurality of contacts and the first planar ground plate have substantially the same length.

8. The connector system of claim 1 wherein the first contact insulator defines a protrusion, the first planar ground plate defines an aperture, and the protrusion is configured to be received by the aperture to secure the first planar ground plate to the first connector.

9. The connector system of claim 1 wherein the first connector includes a first housing defining a key, the second connector includes a second housing defining a keyway, and the keyway is configured to receive the key to mate the first connector to the second connector.

10. The connector system of claim 1 wherein the contact between the first planar ground plate and the second planar ground plate provides controlled impedance through the connector system.

1 1. A connector system for providing ground continuity in a mated state, the connector system comprising:

a first connector having a first end and a second end and including:

a first plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the first connector, a first contact insulator surrounding at least some of the first plurality of contacts,

a first conductive housing defining a first cavity for housing the first contact insulator and including a first divider extending through at least a portion of the first cavity, and

a first ground plate located within the first cavity, located coplanar with the first divider, and in contact with the first divider to form an electrical connection between the first conductive housing and the first ground plate; and a second connector having a first end and a second end, configured to mate with the first connector such that the first end of the first connector contacts the first end of the second connector, and including:

a second plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to mate with the first plurality of contacts when the first connector and the second connector are mated,

a second contact insulator surrounding at least some of the second plurality of contacts,

a second conductive housing defining a second cavity for housing the second contact insulator and including a second divider extending through at least a portion of the second cavity, and

a second ground plate located within the second cavity, located coplanar with the second divider, and in contact with the second divider to form an electrical connection between the second conductive housing and the second ground plate such that the second ground plate is in electrical contact with the first ground plate via the first conductive housing and the second conductive housing when the first connector is mated with the second connector.

12. The connector system of claim 1 1 wherein:

the first conductive housing defines a first channel and a second channel separated from the first channel by the first divider;

the first plurality of contacts includes a first pair of contacts and a second pair of contacts; the first contact insulator includes a first pair contact insulator located in the first channel and surrounding the first pair of contacts, and a second pair contact insulator located in the second channel and surrounding the second pair of contacts; and

the first ground plate is located between the first pair contact insulator and the second pair contact insulator.

13. The connector system of claim 12 wherein at least one of the first pair of contacts includes a first pair of socket contacts and the second pair of contacts includes a first pair of pin contacts, or the first pair of contacts includes the first pair of socket contacts and the second pair of contacts includes a second pair of socket contacts.

14. The connector system of claim 12 wherein the first pair contact insulator terminates at the first end of the first connector and the second pair contact insulator terminates between the first end and the second end of the first connector.

15. The connector system of claim 1 1 wherein the first contact insulator defines a protrusion, the first ground plate defines an aperture, and the protrusion is configured to be received by the aperture to secure the first ground plate to the first connector.

16. The connector system of claim 11 wherein the first conductive housing defines a key, the second conductive housing defines a keyway, and the keyway is configured to receive the key to mate the first connector to the second connector.

17. A connector system for providing ground continuity in a mated state, the connector system comprising:

a first connector having a first end and a second end and including:

a first pair of contacts and a second pair of contacts each terminating at the first end of the first connector,

a first pair contact insulator surrounding the first pair of contacts and a second pair contact insulator surrounding the second pair of contacts, and

a first planar ground plate located between the first pair contact insulator and the second pair contact insulator and terminating at the first end of the first connector; and

a second connector having a first end and a second end, configured to be received by and mate with the first connector such that the first end of the first connector contacts the first end of the second connector, and including:

a third pair of contacts terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to mate with the first pair of contacts when the first connector and the second connector are mated,

a fourth pair of contacts terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to mate with the second pair of contacts when the first connector and the second connector are mated,

a third pair contact insulator surrounding the third pair of contacts and a fourth pair contact insulator surrounding the fourth pair of contacts, and

a second ground plate located between the third pair contact insulator and the fourth pair contact insulator, terminating at the first end of the second connector, and configured to contact the first planar ground plate when the first connector and the second connector are mated.

18. The connector system of claim 17 wherein at least one of the first pair of contacts includes a first pair of socket contacts and the second pair of contacts includes a first pair of pin contacts, or the first pair of contacts includes the first pair of socket contacts and the second pair of contacts includes a second pair of socket contacts.

19. The connector system of claim 17 wherein the first pair contact insulator terminates at the first end of the first connector and the second pair contact insulator terminates between the first end and the second end of the first connector.

20. The connector system of claim 17 wherein at least one of the first pair contact insulator or the second pair contact insulator defines a protrusion, the first planar ground plate defines an aperture, and the protrusion is configured to be received by the aperture to secure the first planar ground plate to the first connector.

Description:
SPLIT QUADRAX INTERCONNECT

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit and priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/644,916, entitled“SPLIT QUADRAX INTERCONNECT,” filed on March 19, 2018, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0002] 1. Field

[0003] The present disclosure is directed to systems and methods for connecting one or more quadrax cables together, such as by facilitating electrical contact between contact plates and main bodies of connectors.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] Quadrax cables may include any cables that include four conductors. For example, a quadrax cable may include two twisted pairs of wires extending along a longitudinal axis of the cable. As another example, a quadrax cable may include two shields surrounding two twisted wire pairs and extending along the longitudinal axis of the cable.

[0006] Bandwidth that is provided by a quadrax cable may be limited relative to other types of cables for various reasons such as connector design. For example, the four conductors of a conventional quadrax connector may each be located in the same channel, thus facilitating interference between the four conductors. As another example, the ground of a conventional quadrax cable may be non-floating. That is, the ground may fail to be connected to a ground of a complimentary connector portion, thus further reducing the available bandwidth of the quadrax connector system.

[0007] With recent advances in communications between electrical devices, it is desirable to increase data transmission rates across all types of cables and connectors. Thus, there is a need in the art for quadrax connector systems that facilitate increased data transmission rates.

SUMMARY

[0008] Described herein is a connector system for providing ground continuity in a mated state. The connector system includes a first connector having a first end and a second end. The first connector includes a first plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the first connector. The first connector further includes a first contact insulator surrounding at least some of the first plurality of contacts. The first connector further includes a first planar ground plate terminating at the first end of the first connector. The connector system further includes a second connector having a first end and a second end and configured to mate with the first connector such that the first end of the first connector contacts the first end of the second connector. The second connector includes a second plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to mate with the first plurality of contacts when the first connector and the second connector are mated. The second connector further includes a second contact insulator surrounding at least some of the second plurality of contacts. The second connector further includes a second planar ground plate terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to contact the first planar ground plate when the first connector and the second connector are mated.

[0009] Also disclosed is a connector system for providing ground continuity in a mated state. The connector system includes a first connector having a first end and a second end. The first connector includes a first plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the first connector. The first connector further includes a first contact insulator surrounding at least some of the first plurality of contacts. The first connector further includes a first conductive housing defining a first cavity for housing the first contact insulator and including a first divider extending through at least a portion of the first cavity. The first connector further includes a first ground plate located within the first cavity, located coplanar with the first divider, and in contact with the first divider to form an electrical connection between the first conductive housing and the first ground plate. The connector system further includes a second connector having a first end and a second end, configured to mate with the first connector such that the first end of the first connector contacts the first end of the second connector. The second connector includes a second plurality of contacts terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to mate with the first plurality of contacts when the first connector and the second connector are mated. The second connector further includes a second contact insulator surrounding at least some of the second plurality of contacts. The second connector further includes a second conductive housing defining a second cavity for housing the second contact insulator and including a second divider extending through at least a portion of the second cavity. The second connector further includes a second ground plate located within the second cavity, located coplanar with the second divider, and in contact with the second divider to form an electrical connection between the second conductive housing and the second ground plate such that the second ground plate is in electrical contact with the first ground plate via the first conductive housing and the second conductive housing when the first connector is mated with the second connector.

[0010] Also disclosed is a connector system for providing ground continuity in a mated state. The connector system includes a first connector having a first end and a second end. The first connector includes a first pair of contacts and a second pair of contacts each terminating at the first end of the first connector. The first connector further includes a first pair contact insulator surrounding the first pair of contacts and a second pair contact insulator surrounding the second pair of contacts. The first connector further includes a first planar ground plate located between the first pair contact insulator and the second pair contact insulator and terminating at the first end of the first connector. The connector system further includes a second connector having a first end and a second end, configured to be received by and mate with the first connector such that the first end of the first connector contacts the first end of the second connector. The second connector includes a third pair of contacts terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to mate with the first pair of contacts when the first connector and the second connector are mated. The second connector further includes a fourth pair of contacts terminating at the first end of the second connector and configured to mate with the second pair of contacts when the first connector and the second connector are mated. The second connector further includes a third pair contact insulator surrounding the third pair of contacts and a fourth pair contact insulator surrounding the fourth pair of contacts. The second connector further includes a second ground plate located between the third pair contact insulator and the. fourth pair contact insulator, terminating at the first end of the second connector, and configured to contact the first planar ground plate when the first connector and the second connector are mated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to one skilled in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. Component parts shown in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, and may be exaggerated to better illustrate the important features of the present invention.

[0012] FIGS. 1A-1H illustrate the components of a connector, according to various embodiments of the present disclosure;

[0013] FIGS. 2A-2C illustrate the components of a first connector and a second connector, according to various embodiments of the present disclosure; [0014] FIGS. 3A-3H illustrate the components of a first connector and a second connector, according to various embodiments of the present disclosure;

[0015] FIGS. 4A-4D illustrate the components of a first connector and a second connector, according to various embodiments of the present disclosure; and

[0016] FIGS. 5A-5B illustrate examples of larger connector assemblies using the connectors of FIGS. 1A-1H, FIGS. 2A-2C, FIGS. 3A-3H, and FIGS. 4A-4D as contact assemblies, according to various embodiments of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0017] The connector system disclosed herein is designed to terminate a quadrax cable in order to provide transmission rates of greater than or equal to 3 Gigabits per second (Gbps), 5 Gbps, 6.25 Gbps, or the like. A quadrax cable may refer to any cable that includes four conductors oriented along an axis of the cable. The connector disclosed herein includes a solid terminated ground rather than a floating ground, distinguishing the present connector from conventional quadrax connectors. The solid terminated ground provides improved performance and protection for the system and any electronic components included therein. For example, the solid terminated ground may increase the data rate of the quadrax interconnect system by electrically isolating the differential pairs in the quadrax cable.

[0018] FIG. 1A illustrates a connector 100 for use in a quadrax communication system that includes one or more quadrax cable and at least one quadrax connector. In that regard, the connector 100 may be referred to as a quadrax connector. The connector 100 includes a first socket contact 102 and a second socket contact 104. The first socket contact 102 and the second socket contact 104 are located on a same side of the connector 100. Referring to FIGS. 1A and IB, the connector 100 further includes a first pin contact 1 12 and a second pin contact 1 14. The first pin contact 1 12 and the second pin contact 114 are located on a side opposite the first socket contact 102 and the second socket contact 104. The first socket contact 102 and the second socket contact 104 are surrounded and insulated by a first insulator 108. The first pin contact 112 and the second pin contact 1 14 are surrounded by and insulated by a second insulator 1 10. The first insulator 108 may have a length along an axial direction that is shorter than a length of the second insulator 1 10. In that regard, the second insulator 1 10 may surround and enclose the pin contacts 1 12, 1 14, while the socket contacts 102, 104 remain exposed outside of the first insulator 108. The pin contacts 1 12, 114 may have a smaller diameter than the socket contacts 102, 104 and may thus be more susceptible to bending than the socket contacts 102, 104. Accordingly, enclosure of the pin contacts 1 12, 1 14 within the second insulator 1 10 may reduce the likelihood of damage to the pin contacts 1 12, 1 14.

[0019] The first insulator 108 and the second insulator 1 10 (and therefore the pin contacts and the socket contacts) are separated by a ground plate 106. The ground plate 106 extends from a front end 122 of the connector 100 (where the contacts terminate on the front end 122) to a rear end 124 of the connector 100 (where the contacts terminate on the rear end 124). The ground plate 106 may be planar and may have any shape such as rectangular, triangular, or the like. A quadrax cable may connect to the connector 100 at the rear end 124.

[0020] FIG. 1C is a perspective view of the connector 100. FIG. 1D is a perspective view of the connector 100 with an added bushing 116 for protecting and securing the connector 100 at a location in which various components join.

[0021] FIG. 1E shows the first socket contact 102 and the second socket contact 104 within the connector 100 and without the first insulator 108. As noted above, the ground plate 106 has a length substantially similar to the length of the first socket contact 102 and the second socket contact 104. Where used in this context,“substantially” refers to the referenced value plus or minus 2 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent, or the like of the referenced value. For example, the ground plate 106 may have a length of 10 inches; if the first socket contact 102 has substantially the same length as the ground plate 106 then the length of the first socket contact 102 may be between 9.8 and 10.2 millimeters (0.385 and 0.402 inches), between 9.5 and 10.5 millimeters (0.374 and 0.413 inches), or between 9 and 1 1 millimeters (0.354 and 0.433 inches).

[0022] FIG. 1F shows the first pin contact 1 12 and the second pin contact 1 14 within the connector 100. In some embodiments, the ground plate 106 has a length substantially equal to the length of the first pin contact 112 and the second pin contact 114. In some embodiments, the ground plate 106 may be longer than the length of the first pin contact 1 12 and the second pin contact 1 14, but the length of the second insulator 110 (which at least partially encloses the first pin contact 1 12 and the second pin contact 1 14) may have substantially the same length as the ground plate 106 (as shown in FIG. 1E).

[0023] The first insulator 108 may have multiple securing protrusions 118A-118B configured to be placed through corresponding holes or apertures in the ground plate 106 (holes or apertures 120 of FIG. 1H) in order to secure the ground plate 106 within the connector 100. The securing protrusions 1 18A-1 18B of the first insulator 108 may be received by corresponding holes or apertures in the second insulator 1 10. While the first insulator 108 is shown as having the securing protrusions 1 18 and the second insulator 110 is shown as having the holes or apertures to receive the securing protrusions 1 18, the securing protrusions 1 18 may be located on the second insulator 1 10 and the first insulator may have the holes or apertures to receive the securing protrusions 1 18 without departing from the scope of the present disclosure.

[0024] FIG. 1G illustrates the connector 100 with a bottom portion separated from the top portion. FIG. 1H illustrates the holes or apertures 120 of the ground plate 106, which receive the securing protrusions 1 18 to prevent lateral movement of the ground plate 106. [0025] FIG. 2A illustrates a first connector 200 having a housing 201. The housing 201 defines a cavity 203. The connector 100 shown in FIGS. 1A-1H may be housed within the housing 201 of the first connector 200. The first connector 200 has a first end (or front end) 202 and a second end (or back end) 204. The front end 202 may be configured to receive a corresponding front end of a second connector 250 (element 252 in FIG. 2C).

[0026] The first connector 200 has socket contacts 206 and pin contacts 208. The pin contacts 208 are configured to be received by a corresponding socket contact from the second connector, and the socket contacts 206 are configured to receive a corresponding pin contact from the second connector. The pin contacts 208 and the socket contacts 206 are oriented within the first connector 200 such that the terminating ends of the pin contacts 208 and the socket contacts 206 are proximal to the first end 202 of the first connector 200.

[0027] The first connector 200 also includes a ground plate 210 which may be similar to the ground plate 106 described with respect to FIGS. 1 A-1H.

[0028] FIG. 2B illustrates the first insulator 212 and the second insulator 214 of the first connector 200. The first insulator 212 covers and insulates the socket contacts 206, and the second insulator 214 covers and insulates the pin contacts 208.

[0029] FIG. 2C illustrates a second connector 250 having a housing 251. The housing 251 defines a cavity 253. The connector 100 shown in FIGS. 1A-1H may be housed within the housing 251 of the second connector 250. The second connector 250 has a first end (or front end) 252 and a second end (or back end) 254. The front end 252 may be configured to receive the corresponding front end 202 of the first connector 200 (shown in FIGS. 2A-2B).

[0030] The second connector 250 includes socket contacts 256, pin contacts 258, a first insulator 262, a second insulator 264, and a ground plate 260. The pin contacts 258 are configured to be received by a corresponding socket contact 206 from the first connector 200, and the socket contacts 256 are configured to receive a corresponding pin contact 208 from the first connector 200. The pin contacts 258 and the socket contacts 256 are oriented within the second connector 250 such that the terminating end of the pin contacts 258 and the socket contacts 256 (i.e., the ends that mate with respective contacts) are proximal to the first end 252 of the second connector 250.

[0031] When the first connector 200 and the second connector 250 are mated, the first end 202 of the first connector 200 is connected to the first end 252 of the second connector 250, and the first connector 200 receives the second connector 250. Accordingly, the socket contacts 206 of the first connector 200 receive the pin contacts 258 of the second connector 250 and the socket contacts 256 of the second connector 250 receive the pin contacts 208 of the first connector 200. In some embodiments, the interference between the contacts resists separation of the first connector 200 relative to the second connector 250.

[0032] In addition, the ground plate 210 of the first connector 200 contacts the ground plate 260 of the second connector 250. The contact between the ground plates 210, 260 provides a more effective grounding between the two connector halves. More specifically, a front edge of the ground plate 210 of the first connector 200 makes contact with a front edge of the ground plate 260 of the second connector 250 when the first connector 200 and the second connector 250 are mated, thus increasing surface area of the electrical contact relative to other types of electrical contact between connectors. Additionally, inclusion of the ground plates 210, 260 isolates the differential pairs. For example, the ground plate 210 isolates the socket contacts 206 from the pin contacts 208. The isolation of the differential pairs may be used to control impedance through the first connector 200 and the second connector 250, thus increasing a signal to noise ratio of the connector system.

[0033] FIG. 3A illustrates a perspective view into a first connector 300 from a first end 302. The first connector 300 is similar to the first connector 200 of FIG. 2A, and like components are numbered similarly. The first connector 300 includes a pair of socket contacts 306 and a pair of pin contacts 308. The first connector 300 may be generally cylindrical, with the first end 302 forming a circular shape when viewed along a longitudinal axis of the first connector 300. The pair of socket contacts 306 may be on a first half of the circular shape formed by the first connector 300 at the first end 302, and the pair of pin contacts 308 may be on a second half of the circular shape formed by the first connector 300 at the first end 302.

[0034] FIG. 3B illustrates a second connector 350 which has a first end 352 and a second end 354. The second connector 350 is configured to be received by the first connector 300 and mate with the first connector 300. The second connector 350 includes socket contacts 356 configured to receive and mate with the pin contacts 308 of the first connector 300. The second connector 350 also includes pin contacts 358 configured to be received by and mate with the socket contacts 306 of the first connector 300.

[0035] Referring to FIGS. 3A and 3B, the second connector 350 also includes a key 370 configured to be received by a corresponding keyway 305 in the first connector 300. The key 370 and the corresponding keyway 305 may be engaged to secure the first connector 300 and the second connector 350 together.

[0036] FIG. 3C illustrates a first insulator 312, a second insulator 314, and a ground plate 310 of the first connector 300 or the second connector 350. As described herein and referring to FIGS. 3 A and 3C, the first insulator 312 may be longer than the second insulator 314. The first insulator 312 may be configured to house and insulate a portion of the pin contacts 308, and the second insulator 314 may be configured to house and insulate a portion of the socket contacts 306.

[0037] FIG. 3D illustrates the first insulator 312, the second insulator 314, and the ground plate 310 from an opposing side relative to the view of FIG. 3C. The first insulator 312 may align at a front end 330 with the ground plate 310. The first insulator 312 and the second insulator 314 may align at a middle location 332. The ground plate 310 may align with the pair of socket contacts and the pair of pin contacts at a back end 334 (as shown in FIGS. IE and 1F).

[0038] FIG. 3E illustrates a pair of pin contacts 308/358, a pair of socket contacts 306/356, and a ground plate 310, which may be included in the first connector 300 or the second connector 350. The terminating ends of the pin contacts 308/358 may be substantially in line with the terminating end of the ground plate 310, or slightly inset such that the ground plate 310 extends further toward the front end of the connector from the pin contacts 308/358 and the socket contacts 306/356. The terminating ends of the socket contacts 306/356 (which may receive corresponding pin contacts of another connector) may be substantially aligned with the terminating end of the ground plate 310.

[0039] FIG. 3F illustrates the components of FIG. 3E with a first insulator 312 covering the pair of pin contacts. FIGS. 3G and 3H illustrate the placement and coupling of a bushing 320 to the connector.

[0040] While some of the connectors described herein have two socket contacts and two pin contacts on both connector halves, other embodiments may be possible where four socket contacts are on one connector half and four pin contacts are on the other connector half.

[0041] FIGS 1A-1H, 2A-2C, and 3A-3H illustrate various embodiments of a connector system including a ground plate which may extend at the length of the pin contacts and the socket contacts and is designed to connect to a ground plate of a corresponding connector. FIGS. 4A-4D illustrate another embodiment of a connector system that includes a ground plate that does not connect directly to the corresponding ground plate of the corresponding connector, but rather to the housing. The housing may in turn connect or attach to a housing of a corresponding connector. The embodiments shown in FIGS. 1A-1 H, 2A-2C, and 3A- 3H and the embodiment shown in FIGS. 4A-4D may achieve substantially the same goal of providing increased grounding protection.

[0042] FIG. 4A shows a cross section of a first connector 400 having a first end 402 and a second end 404. The first connector 400 is configured to receive the second connector 450 (shown in FIGS. 4C-4D) at the first end 402. The first connector 400 includes a plurality of socket contacts 406. The socket contacts 406 are separated into two pairs, and each pair may be enclosed within an insulator 412. That is, the first connector 400 may include two insulators 412 and four socket contacts 406. The first connector 400 has a conductive housing (or shell) 401. The insulators 412 are located within two channels defined by the housing 401.

[0043] The housing 401 includes an interior divider 420 located in the cavity defined by the housing 401. The divider 420 is located between the two insulators 412. The divider 420 is made of the same material as the housing 401, which may include a conductor such as aluminum, gold, or copper. The divider 420 may contact a ground plate 410 at a central location 422 within the cavity. Thus, the ground plate 410 may be electrically connected to the housing 401.

[0044] FIG. 4B illustrates a different cross section of the first connector 400. The cross section of the first connector 400 shown in FIG. 4A is perpendicular to the cross section of the first connector 400 shown in FIG. 4B.

[0045] FIG. 4C illustrates a second connector 450 configured to be received by the first connector 400 of FIGS. 4A-4B. The second connector 450 has a first end 452 designed to be received by the first end 402 of the first connector 400 of FIGS. 4A-4B. The second connector 450 includes four pin contacts 456. The four pin contacts 456 are insulated by two insulators 462 in pairs, such that two pin contacts are insulated by a first insulator, and the other two pin contacts are insulated by a second insulator. The second connector 450 includes a conductive housing (or shell) 451, which defines a cavity within the second connector 450. The insulators 462 are located within two channels defined by the housing 451.

[0046] The housing 451 includes a divider 470 separating the two insulators 462. The divider 470 may be made of the same material as the housing 451. The divider 470 may contact a ground plate 460 at a central location 472 within the cavity. Thus, the ground plate 460 is electrically connected to the housing 451. In that regard and referring to FIGS. 4A and 4C, the ground plate 460 may be electrically connected to the ground plate 410 via the housing 401 and the housing 451 (and/or via the divider 420 and the divider 470).

[0047] When the second connector 450 is received by and mated with the first connector 400, the divider 420 of the first connector 400 contacts the divider 470 of the second connector 450. Thus, the ground plate 410 of the first connector 400 is electrically connected to the ground plate 460 of the second connector 450, in a similar manner as the contact between ground plates of the connectors of FIGS. 1A-1H, 2A-2C, and 3A-3H.

[0048] FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate connector assemblies which include two or more connectors described herein and shown in FIGS. 1A-1H, FIGS. 2A-2C, FIGS. 3A-3H, and FIGS. 4A-4D as contact assemblies.

[0049] FIG. 5A illustrates a connector assembly which has a first connector 502 and a second connector 504. The first connector 502 has four contact assemblies 506 (e.g., connector 250, 350, 450) and the second connector 504 has four contact assemblies 508 (e.g., connector 200, 300, 400). In some embodiments, the four contact assemblies 506 may resemble connectors 200, 300, 400, and the four contact assemblies 508 may resemble connectors 250, 350, 450.

[0050] FIG. 5B illustrates a connector assembly which has a first connector 552 and a second connector 554. The first connector 552 has four contact assemblies 556 (e.g., connector 250, 350, 450) and the second connector 554 has four contact assemblies 558 (e.g., connector 200, 300, 400). In some embodiments, the four contact assemblies 556 may resemble connectors 200, 300, 400, and the four contact assemblies 558 may resemble connectors 250, 350, 450.

[0051] Exemplary embodiments of the methods/systems have been disclosed in an illustrative style. Accordingly, the terminology employed throughout should be read in a non-limiting manner. Although minor modifications to the teachings herein will occur to those well versed in the art, it shall be understood that what is intended to be circumscribed within the scope of the patent warranted hereon are all such embodiments that reasonably fall within the scope of the advancement to the art hereby contributed, and that that scope shall not be restricted, except in light of the appended claims and their equivalents.