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Title:
CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY FOR A LINE LIGHT MODULE OF A LINEAR LED SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/041530
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A connector assembly for a linear LED system comprising a plurality of line light modules (10, 10'), wherein the connector assembly includes a female connector cap (14) that is configured to be connectable to an end of a first line light module (10) including at least one female electric connector (16, 18), and wherein the connector assembly includes a male connector cap (20) that is configured to be connectable to an end of a second line light module (10') and that includes at least one male electric connector (22, 24), wherein the female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) are configured to be connected to each other to mechanically and electrically couple the first line light module (10) with the second line light module (10'), wherein the connection between female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) is established by moving the female connector cap (14) to the male connector cap (20) in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis (L).

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Inventors:
VERSTRAATEN MARINUS ADRIANUS HENDRICUS (NL)
DINGS FRANCISCUS CORNELIUS (NL)
Application Number:
PCT/NL2014/050644
Publication Date:
March 26, 2015
Filing Date:
September 19, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LUMINAID B V (NL)
International Classes:
F21V21/005; F21S2/00; F21S4/00; F21V15/015; F21V23/06; F21V31/00; H01R13/52; F21Y101/02
Foreign References:
EP1830121A12007-09-05
US8398408B12013-03-19
JP4153870B22008-09-24
DE60126563T22007-09-20
DE102012202148A12013-08-14
EP1519106A22005-03-30
US20100112841A12010-05-06
US20120001554A12012-01-05
EP1830121A12007-09-05
EP13179709A2013-08-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JANSEN, C.M. (Johan de Wittlaan 7, JR Den Haag, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A connector assembly for a linear LED system comprising a plurality of line light modules (10, 10'), each line hght module comprising an extruded light module housing profile that extends along an axis (L) and that has a profile wall (12) defining an inner profile contour (12a) and an outer profile contour (12b) and of which a cross sectional view along a plane that is perpendicular to the axis (L) is closed, wherein the connector assembly includes:

• a female connector cap (14) that is configured to be connectable to an end of a first line light module (10) including at least one female electric connector (16, 18);

• a male connector cap (20) that is configured to be connectable to an end of a second line light module (10') including at least one male electric connector (22, 24);

wherein the female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) are configured to be connected to each other to mechanically couple the first line hght module (10) with the second line light module (10') and to

simultaneously connect the at least one female electric connector (16, 18) with the at least one male electric connector (22, 24), wherein the

configuration of the female connector cap (14) and the at least one male connector cap (20) is such that the connection between female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) is established by moving the female connector cap (14) to the male connector cap (20) in a direction (D) that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis (L) and wherein the female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) close off the ends of a said extruded hne light module housing profile to prevent water ingress into the interior of the line light module housing profile.

2. The connector assembly according to claim 1, wherein the at least one female electric connector (16, 18) includes a female power connector (16) and a female data connector (18) and wherein the at least one male electric connector includes a male power connector (22) and a male data connector (24).

3. The connector assembly according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the configuration of the female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) is such that the connection between female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) is established by moving the female connector cap (14) to the male connector cap (20) from above downwardly towards the male connector cap (20).

4. The connector assembly any one of claims 1-3, wherein the female connector cap (14) includes:

• a back plate (26) having a circumference that substantially

corresponds with outer profile contour (12a) of the profile wall (12);

• an upper wall part (28) that extends perpendicularly to the back plate (26) and that has substantially the same contour as an upper part of the circumference of the back plate (26) and optionally two opposite lateral side walls (30, 32);

· a female connector bridge (34) that protrudes from a front side of the back plate (26) in the axial direction and that is positioned on an upper region of the back plate (26) and that includes

o a downwardly directed face (36) in which the at least one

female electric connector (16, 18) is mounted

o a free end face (37) that extends perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis (L);

wherein the male connector cap (20) includes:

• a back plate (38) having a circumference that substantially

corresponds with outer profile contour (12a) of the profile wall (12); • a lower wall part (40) that extends perpendicularly to the back plate (38) and that has substantially the same contour as a lower part of the circumference of the back plate (38) and optionally two opposite lateral side walls;

· a male connector bridge (42) that protrudes from a front side of the back plate (38) in the axial direction and that is positioned on an lower region of the back plate (38) and that includes:

o an upwardly directed face (44) in which the at least one male electric connector (22, 24) is mounted; and

o a free end face (46) that extends perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis (L);

wherein in an connected condition of the female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) the downwardly directed face (36) is positioned above the upwardly directed face (44) and wherein the free end face (37) of the female connector bridge (34) abuts against the back plate (38) of the male connector cap (20) and wherein the free end face (46) of the male connector bridge (42) abuts against the back plate (26) of the female connector cap (14), wherein the two back plates (26, 38), the upper wall part (28) and the lower wall part (40) and the optional lateral side walls (30, 32) bound an interior space.

5. The connector assembly according to claim 4, wherein the female connector bridge (34) includes two vertically oriented slots (48a, 48b) on lateral opposite sides thereof and wherein the male connector bridge (42) includes two vertically oriented protrusions (50a, 50b) on lateral opposite sides thereof that are configured to slide into the two corresponding slots and to establish the mechanical connection between the female and male connector cap (14, 20).

6. The connector assembly according to claim 5, wherein the slots (48a, 48b) of the female connector cap (14) have a tapering configuration, wherein an entrance opening of a said slot (48a, 48b) has a relatively large cross section and wherein the cross section of the slot (48 a, 48b) diminishes when viewed from the entrance opening of the slot into the slot (48a, 48b), and wherein the projections (50a, 50b) of the male connector cap (20) have a tapering configuration, wherein a said projection (50a, 50b) at a basis thereof has a relatively large cross section and wherein the cross section of a said projection (50a, 50b) diminishes when viewed from the basis to a free end of the projection (50a, 50b).

7. The connector assembly according to any one of claims 4-6, wherein the end face (37) of the female connector bridge (34) includes at least one draining groove (52, 52') that extends from an upper part of the free end face (37) sloping downwardly to a lateral side of the female connector cap (14), wherein at least one draining opening (54, 54') is provided in a lateral portion of the upper wall part (28), the lower wall part (40) or one of the optional lateral side walls (30, 32), wherein the at least one draining opening (54, 54') is in fluid connection with an associated one of the at least one draining groove (52, 52') so that water in the draining groove (52, 52') may leave the interior space via the draining opening (54, 54').

8. The connector assembly according to claim 7, wherein the back plate (38) of the male connector cap (20) includes at least one black plate draining groove (56, 56') that is associated with the at least one draining groove (52, 52') in the female connector bridge (34), which back plate draining groove (56, 56') follows the same path as the associate draining groove (52, 52') in the female connector bridge (34) so that the draining grooves (52, 56 and 52', 56') together form a draining channel having a cross section that is formed by the two combined cross sections of the combined draining grooves (52, 56 and 52', 56').

9. The connector assembly according to any one of claims 4-8, wherein a seal (58, 60), for example a foam seal or silicon seal, is mounted on the downwardly directed face (36) of the female connecting bridge (34) and/or on the upwardly directed face (44) of the male connecting bridge (42), wherein the seal (58, 60) surrounds the at least one electric connector (16, 18, 22, 24) that is in the associated downwardly or upwardly directed face (36, 44).

10. The connector assembly according to claim 9, wherein the seal (58, 60) is a compressible seal and wherein the total height of the seal (58, 60) is approximately 5-7 mm in a non-compressed state and 1-3 mm in a

compressed state in which the seal (58, 60) is brought when the male and female connector caps (20, 14) are connected to each other.

11. The connector assembly according to any one of claims 4-10, wherein the back plate (26, 38) of the female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) each have a back side that is opposite to the front side thereof, wherein the back plate (26, 38) on the back side includes a ridge (62) structure that has an outer contour that substantially

corresponds with the inner profile contour (12a) of the profile wall (12) of the extruded light module housing profile.

12. The connector assembly according to any one of claims 4-11, wherein the back plate (26, 38) of the female connector cap (14) and the male connector cap (20) each have a back side that is opposite to the front side thereof, wherein the back plate (26, 38) on the back side includes a ridge structure (64) that has an inner contour that substantially

corresponds with the outer profile contour (12b) of the profile wall (12) of the extruded light module housing profile.

13. A light module of a linear LED system comprising a plurality of line light modules (10, 10'), the line light module comprising:

· an extruded light module housing profile that extends along a

longitudinal axis and that has a profile wall (12) defining an inner profile contour (12a) and an outer profile contour (12b) and of which a cross sectional view along a plane that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis is closed; • a connector assembly according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the male connector cap (20) is connected to a first free end of the profile wall (12) and wherein the female connector cap (14) is connected to a second free end of the profile wall (12) so as to close off the free ends of a said extruded line light module housing profile to prevent water ingress into the interior of the line light module housing profile.

14. The light module according to claim 13, including:

• a first sealing gasket that is interposed between the male connector cap (20) and the end face of the first free end of profile wall (12) of the module housing profile; and

• a second sealing gasket (68) that is interposed between the female connector cap (14) and the end face (12c) of the second free end of the profile wall (12) of the module housing profile.

15. The light module according to claim 14, wherein the first and second sealing gasket (68) each have a cross sectional profile along a plane that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis (L) that substantially corresponds with the cross sectional profile of the profile wall (12).

16. A linear light system including a plurality of line light modules according to any one claims 13-15.

17. A linear light system according to claim 16, including:

• at least one interface module including a interface module housing having at least two free ends that provide access to the interior of the interface module housing;

· at least one connector assembly according to any one of claims 1-12, wherein the at least two free ends of the interface module housing are closed off by a female connector cap (14) and/or a male connector cap (20).

18. A linear light systems according to claim 16 or 17, including

· at least one cable interface module that comprises: two connector elements having a front side that is configured like a front side of a female connector cap 14 and/or male connector cap 20 so as to be connectable to a female connector cap 14 and/or a male connector cap 20 and having a back side that is closed off by an end wall;

at least one cable extending between the two connector elements and emanating from the closed off end wall from each connector element.

Description:
Title: Connector assembly for a line light module of a linear LED system

FIELD

The invention a connector assembly for a linear LED system comprising a plurality of line light modules. The invention also relates to a line light module including such a connector assembly and to a linear LED system including a plurality of line light modules.

BACKGROUND

A linear LED system is known from US2012/0001554 Al. In that system, each line light module includes an elongated light module housing that extends along a longitudinal axis. The line light modules are

interconnected via nodes in which an end cap at a free end of a first line light module and an end cap at a free end of second line light module may be axially inserted.

When assembling a linear LED system according to

US2012/0001554 Al, first a line light module has to be connected to a node. Subsequently, the line light module has to be suspended from a building structure. Next a second line light module has to be suspended from a building structure and axially inserted into the node that is connected to the first line light module.

EP 1 830 121 Al relates to an fitting for a conventional fluorescent tube light based on corona discharge of mercury vapour resulting in the emission of ultraviolet light which is converted in visible light via a fluorescent coating which is applied on the inner surface of the tube light. In fact, this publication is in a different field and does not relate to a linear LED system. In one embodiment, the known tube light fitting includes a male connector on one longitudinal end and a female connector at the other longitudinal end of the fitting. The male and the female connector serve to establish a mechanical connection between the fittings as well as a power connection. From figure 8 of the publication, it is becomes clear that the connection between a female connector of a first fitting and a male connector of a second fitting may be established by moving the first fitting to second fitting in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the tube light. By this movement a power connection and a mechanical connection between the male and the female connector is established. Both the fitting of the linear tube light as well as the male and female connectors disclosed in EP 1 830 121 Al are totally unfit to be used in a moist environment. The tube lights which are mounted in the fittings and the metal connectors of the tube lights at the longitudinal ends are not screened off in any way from the external environment. The same holds for the male and female connectors at the longitudinal ends of the known fitting.

In fact, both publications are silent with respect to the problem of moisture ingress into the connection node and the line light module. The ingress of water or moisture must be prevented because it may lead to malfunctioning of the LED system.

SUMMARY

The object of the invention is to provide a connector assembly for a linear LED system that allows a very easy and quick assembling of a linear LED system.

An additional object may be to provide a connector assembly for a linear LED system that prevents the ingress of water or moisture into the line light modules and that also prevents or at least substantially alleviates the penetration of water to the electrical connectors that connect a first linear light module with a second linear light module.

To that end, the invention provides a connector assembly for a linear LED system comprising a plurality of line light modules, each line light module comprising an extruded light module housing profile that extends along an axis and that has a profile wall defining an inner profile contour and an outer profile contour and of which a cross sectional view along a plane that is perpendicular to the axis is closed, wherein the connector assembly includes:

• a female connector cap that is configured to be connectable to an end of a first line light module including at least one female electric connector;

• a male connector cap that is configured to be connectable to an end of a second line light module including at least one male electric connector;

wherein the female connector cap and the male connector cap are configured to be connected to each other to mechanically couple the first line light module with the second line light module and to simultaneously connect the at least one female electric connector with the at least one male electric connector, wherein the configuration of the female connector cap and the male connector cap is such that the connection between female connector cap and the male connector cap is established by moving the female connector cap to the male connector cap in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, and wherein the female connector cap and the male connector cap are configured to close off the ends of a said extruded line light module housing profile to prevent water ingress into the interior of the line light module housing profile.

Such a connector assembly provides the possibility to establish in one assembling action a mechanical connection between two line light modules and an electrical and/or data connection between two line light modules. The assembling action may be a simple shifting action whereby the shifting movement is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the line light module. Such a direction of relative movement makes it feasible to vertically place a line light module into a neighboring line light module. In other words, a line light module may be hanged into a neighboring line light module and by that single action create a mechanical connection as well as a electrical and, optionally additionally a data connection. The female connector cap and the male connector cap additionally close off the ends of the extruded line light module housing to prevent water ingress into the interior of each line light module housing profile. Thus, the LEDs and the electronic components inside the line light module housing profile are protected against moisture, which is of high importance for the durability of the linear LED system.

The invention also provides a light module of a linear LED system comprising a plurality of line light modules, wherein the line light module comprises:

• an extruded light module housing profile that extends along a

longitudinal axis and that has a profile wall defining an inner profile contour and an outer profile contour and of which a cross sectional view along a plane that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis is closed; and

• a connector assembly according to the invention, wherein the male connector cap is connected to a first free end of the profile wall and wherein the female connector cap is connected to a second free end of the profile wall.

Finally, the invention provides a linear light system including a plurality of line light modules according to the invention.

Such a linear light system may be assembled in a very efficient manner by just placing one linear light module into another one and by establishing in one assembling action a mechanical connection and an electric or electronic connection. Additionally, a substantially waterproof connection may be obtained that complies with the IP65 and/or IP66 according to DIN EN 60529 (VDE 0470). It should be noted that a linear light system must not be construed as a system of which the linear light modules are all assembled in line with each other. It should be construed as a system comprising line light modules that are linear. However, the line light modules may be coupled to each other via interface modules that include angles, so that the coupled line light modules include an angle relative to each other. An example of interface modules that may be used in a line light system is described in the earlier patent application of patentee NL-2009314 or European appl. no. 2013179709.4. The free ends of an interface modules may be closed off by a male or female connector cap of the connector assembly according to the invention and the interface module may be connected to a line light module by connecting the connector cap of the interface module with an associated connector cap of the line light module. In that manner it is possible to mount interface modules between line light modules using the same male and female connector caps. With the interface modules various additional functionality may be added to the line light system as disclosed in above-mentioned earlier patent application of applicant. Additional functionality may, for example, be provided by:

1. an electronic controller for controlling the plurality of LEDs of the individual line light modules;

2. sensors for sensing the presence or absence of an object;

3. camera sensors

4. 360° camera sensors optionally with automatic zoom functionality

5. image recognition

6. loudspeakers

7. ethernet connection ports

8. male or female power connectors

9. emergence signs or emergence lights

10. smoke sensors

The above list is not an exhaustive enumeration of all possible additional equipment that may be present to provide additional functionality.

Various embodiments of the connector assembly are defined in the dependent claims. These embodiments will be discussed with reference to the examples that are shown in the figures, so that the description of the embodiments will be more readily understandable. It should be noted that the embodiments of the invention are not limited to examples shown in the figures. Some of the embodiments provide solutions to the problem of water ingress as mentioned above. The embodiments may be applied

independently from each other or may be combined.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Fig. 1 shows a perspective view of an example of an embodiment of a female connector cap;

Fig. 2 shows a perspective view of an example of an embodiment of a male connector cap;

Fig. 3 shows a perspective view from a first angle of a female and a male connector cap just before connection;

Fig. 4 shows a second perspective view from a second angle of the female and male connector cap shown in the condition of figure 3;

Fig. 5 shows a perspective view of an end part of first line light module and an end part of a neighboring second line light module of which an female and a male connector cap are in a connected condition;

Fig. 6 shows a first exploded perspective view of an end part of a line light module that carries the female connector cap; and

Fig. 7 shows a second exploded perspective view of the end part of the line light module that is shown in figure 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the most general terms, the disclosure relates to a connector assembly for a linear LED system comprising a plurality of line light modules 10, 10'. Each line light module comprises an extruded light module housing profile that extends along an axis L and that has a profile wall 12 defining an inner profile contour 12a and an outer profile contour 12b (see figure 6). The profile wall 12 has a cross sectional view along a plane that is perpendicular to the axis L that is closed. Such a closed profile is

structurally rigid and strong. The connector assembly includes a female connector cap 14 that is configured to be connectable to an end of a first line light module 10 and that includes at least one female electric connector 16, 18. Additionally, the connector assembly includes a male connector cap 20 that is configured to be connectable to an end of a second line light module 10' and that includes at least one male electric connector 22, 24. In an embodiment, of which the figures show an example, the at least one female electric connector 16, 18 includes a female power connector 16 and a female data connector 18. In such an embodiment, the at least one male electric connector includes a male power connector 22 and a male data connector 24. The power connectors 16, 22 provide a power line coupling between the connected line light modules. The data connectors 18, 24 provide a data coupling between connected line light modules for electrically transferring data signals. The female connector cap 14 and the male connector cap 20 are configured to be connected to each other to mechanically couple the first line light module 10 with the second line light module 10' and to simultaneously connect the at least one female electric connector 16, 18 with the at least one male electric connector 22, 24. The electric connector may be a power connector 16 and/or a data connector 18. The configuration of the female connector cap 14 and the at least one male connector cap 20 is such that the connection between female connector cap 14 and the male connector cap 20 is established by moving the female connector cap 14 to the male connector cap 20 in a direction D that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis L.

As explained in the summary, such a connector assembly makes it possible to quickly assembly a line light system. Connection between two line light modules can be established by simply transversely shifting relative to the longitudinal axis one line light module into another one. In fact, a second module can be hanged with its free end into a neighbouring one. By that action, not only a mechanical connection between the two line light modules is established but also an electrical and optionally

additionally a data connection.

The connector caps op the connector assembly may also be used to connect a line light module with an interface module. An interface module may add additional functionality to the line light system as described above. Additionally, an interface module may be angular so that the longitudinal axes of two line light modules that are connected to the free ends of the interface module include an angle. Thus, linear line light system may be build in various configurations, for example a pure line system, or a system of squares, rectangles, triangles, hexagons or the like all formed by connecting line light modules to each other via interface modules using the female and male connector caps 14, 20 as disclosed herein.

In an embodiment, of which an example is shown in the figures, the configuration of the female connector cap 14 and the male connector cap 20 may such that the connection between female connector cap 14 and the male connector cap 20 is established by moving the female connector cap 14 to the male connector cap 20 from above downwardly towards the male connector cap 20. Mounting from above in a downward direction is easy and gravity helps to establish and maintain the connection between two line light modules.

In an embodiment, of which an example is shown in the figures, the female connector cap 14 may include a back plate 26 having a

circumference that substantially corresponds with outer profile contour 12a of the profile wall 12. The female connector cap 14 may additionally include an upper wall part 28 that extends perpendicularly to the back plate 26 and that has substantially the same contour as an upper part of the

circumference of the back plate 26. Optionally, the female connector cap 14 may include two opposite lateral side walls 30, 32 as is the case in the example shown in the figures. Finally, the female connector cap 14 may include a female connector bridge 34 that protrudes from a front side of the back plate 26 in the axial direction and that is positioned on an upper region of the back plate 26. The female connector bridge 34 may include a

downwardly directed face 36 in which the at least one female electric connector 16, 18 is mounted. Additionally, the female connector bridge 34 may include a free end face 37 that extends perpendicularly to the

longitudinal axis L. The male connector cap 20 of this embodiment may include a back plate 38 having a circumference that substantially

corresponds with outer profile contour 12a of the profile wall 12. The male connector cap 20 may have a lower wall part 40 that extends

perpendicularly to the back plate 38 and that has substantially the same contour as a lower part of the circumference of the back plate 38. Optionally, two opposite lateral side walls may be provided. In the examples shown in the figures, the male connector cap 20 does not have such lateral side walls. The male connector cap 20 may also include a male connector bridge 42 that protrudes from a front side of the back plate 38 in the axial direction and that is positioned on a lower region of the back plate 38. The male connector bridge 42 may include an upwardly directed face 44 in which the at least one male electric connector 22, 24 is mounted. The male connector bridge 42 may additionally include a free end face 46 that extends perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis L. The connector bridge 42 may be a separate part and may be connected to the back plate 38, for example, by means of a screw, glue or co-operating latches and ridges or latch-openings. In a connected condition of the female connector cap 14 and the male connector cap 20 the downwardly directed face 36 may positioned above the upwardly directed face 44. The free end face 37 of the female connector bridge 34 may abut against the back plate 38 of the male connector cap 20. The free end face 46 of the male connector bridge 42 may abut against the back plate 26 of the female connector cap 14. The two back plates 26, 38, the upper wall part 28 and the lower wall part 40 and the optional lateral side walls 30, 32 will bound an interior space. By virtue of the fact that the electric connectors 16, 18, 22, 24 are mounted in upwardly and downwardly directed faces 36, 44 the connection of two line light modules may be effected by moving one line light module 10 in a downward direction towards the other line light module 10', i.e. in a direction of movement that is transverse to the longitudinal axis. An additional advantage is that the female connector bridge 34 extends over the electrical connectors 16, 18, 22, 24 and thus screens off these electrical connectors 16, 18, 22, 24 for penetration of water. Additionally, the upper wall part 28, the lower wall part 40, the optional lateral side walls 30, 32 bound an interior space and protect this interior space from ingress of water. By virtue of the fact that the lower wall part 28 and the upper wall part 40 have substantially the same outer contour as the upper and lower part respectively of the circumference of the back plate 26, the connector assembly does not disturb the elegant profile contour of the line light modules.

In order to provide a simple and reliable mechanical connection, the female connector bridge 34 may, in an embodiment of which an example is shown in the figures, include two vertically oriented slots 48a, 48b on lateral opposite sides thereof. The male connector bridge 42 may include two vertically oriented protrusions 50a, 50b on lateral opposite sides thereof that are configured to slide into the two corresponding slots and to establish the mechanical connection between the female and male connector cap 14, 20.

The mechanical connection may, according an embodiment of which an example is shown in the figures, be further improved in that the slots 48a, 48b of the female connector cap 14 have a tapering configuration, wherein an entrance opening of a said slot 48a, 48b has a relatively large cross section and wherein the cross section of the slot 48 a, 48b diminishes when viewed from the entrance opening of the slot into the slot 48a, 48b, and wherein the projections 50a, 50b of the male connector cap 20 have a tapering configuration, wherein a said projection 50a, 50b at a basis thereof has a relatively large cross section and wherein the cross section of a said projection 50a, 50b diminishes when viewed from the basis to a free end of the projection 50a, 50b. By virtue of the tapering configuration, a snugly fitting connection will be established when the two connector caps 14, 20 are completely pushed in their end connection position. Such a snugly fitting connection is rigid and strong and thus provides a line light system that is stable.

To lock the connection, a locking strip (not shown) may be slid in one of the T-grooves 70 that extend in the outer circumference of the profile walls 12 of the hne hght modules and in the female and male connector caps 14, 20. The locking strip may be slid in the T-groove 70 when the connection between the two connector caps 14, 20 is established. The locking strip is then positioned such that it extends in the T-grooves 70 of the profile walls 12 of the first and the second line light modules and in the T-grooves of the female and the male connector cap 14, 20. In that condition, the connector caps 14, 20 are locked relative to each other. When the connection has to be broken, the locking strip has to be slid aside in the T-groove of the profile walls 12 of one of the line light modules. The locking strip may have a provision, for example a flexible ridge or a ball that is biased in an outward condition by a spring, that snaps into a notch 72 in the T-groove of one of the male and the female connector caps 14, 20. The notch is visible in figures 1 and 3.

In an embodiment, of which an example is shown in the drawings, the end face 37 of the female connector bridge 34 may include at least one draining groove 52, 52' that extends from an upper part of the free end face 37 sloping downwardly to a lateral side of the female connector cap 14. At least one draining opening 54, 54' may be provided in a lateral portion of the upper wall part 28, the lower wall part 40 or one of the optional lateral side walls 30, 32. The at least one draining opening 54, 54' may be in fluid connection with an associated one of the at least one draining groove 52, 52' so that water in the draining groove 52, 52' may leave the interior space via the draining opening 54, 54'.

If there is water in the environment, a will flow down from an upper point to a lower point. Thus, when water were to penetrate between the female connector cap 14 and the male connector cap 20, the chance that such penetration will occur from an upwardly directed region of the connector caps 14, 20 is the most likely one. When any water penetrates from an upwardly directed region of the connector caps 14, 20, it will move between the free end face 37 of the female connector cap 14 and the upper region of the front side of the back plate 38 of the male connector part 20. When flowing downwardly, the water will come across the draining grooves and subsequently follow the path with the least flow resistance, i.e. the draining groove. Thus the water is guided away in a lateral direction before it reaches the downwardly directed face 36 of the female connector bridge 34. Thus the chance that water reaches the electrical connectors 16, 18, 22, 24 is minimized.

In an embodiment, of which an example is shown in the drawings, the back plate 38 of the male connector cap 20 may include at least one black plate draining groove 56, 56' that is associated with the at least one draining groove 52, 52' in the female connector bridge 34. The at least one back plate draining groove 56, 56' may follow the same path as the associate draining groove 52, 52' in the female connector bridge 34 so that the draining grooves 52, 56 and 52', 56' together form a draining channel having a cross section that is formed by the two combined cross sections of the combined draining grooves 52, 56 and 52', 56'.

By virtue of this configuration, the thickness of the back plate 38 of the male connector part 20 and the thickness of the end face 37 of the female connector bridge 34 may be kept small. From a cost point of view and from the point of view of weight this is advantageous. By combining a draining grooves 52, 52' in the female connector bridge 34 with a draining groove 56, 56' in the male back plate 38 of the male connector part 20, a draining channel is formed that has a substantial cross section so that water may easily drained in a lateral direction via the draining channel.

To further diminish the chance that water reaches the electric connectors 16, 18, 20, 24 an embodiment, of which an example is shown in the drawings, may include a seal 58, 60, for example a foam seal or silicon seal. The seal 58, 60 may be mounted on the downwardly directed face 36 of the female connecting bridge 34 and/or on the upwardly directed face 44 of the male connecting bridge 42. The seal 58, 60 may surround the at least one electric connector 16, 18, 22, 24 that is in the associated downwardly or upwardly directed face 36, 34.

In an embodiment, of which an example is shown in the drawings, the seal 58, 60 may be a compressible seal. The total height of the seal 58, 60 may be approximately 5-7 mm in a non-compressed state and 1-3 mm in a compressed state in which the seal 58, 60 is brought when the male and female connector caps 20, 14 are connected to each other. When applying such a compressible seal, the electric connectors 16, 18, 20, 24 are effectively screened off from any penetration of water in a manner that complies with IP65 and/or IP66.

In an embodiment, of which an example is shown in the drawings, the back plate 26, 38 of the female connector cap 14 and the male connector cap 20 may each have a back side that is opposite to the front side thereof, wherein the back plate 26, 38 on the back side includes a first ridge 62 structure that has an outer contour that substantially corresponds with the inner profile contour 12a of the profile wall 12 of the extruded light module housing profile. With such a ridge structure 62, the orientation of the connector cap 14, 20 relative to profile wall 12 is fixed and the chance that water penetrates to the inside of the profile wall 12 is minimized.

Alternatively or additionally, the back plate 26, 38 may include on the back side a ridge structure 64 that has an inner contour that substantially corresponds with the outer profile contour 12b of the profile wall 12 of the extruded light module housing profile. Also such an outer ridge structure 64 minimizes the chance of penetration of water to the inside of the profile wall 12 of the line light module. The outer ridge structure 64 also provides a stable positioning and connection between the connector cap 14, 20 and the profile wall 12.

The back plates 26, 38 may at the back side thereof carry additional parts for adding functionality to the system. For example a printed circuit board 74 (see figures 6 and 7) may be mounted at the back sides of the back plates 26, 38. Such a printed circuit board 74 may, for example, be used for converting signals that are supplied via the electric connectors 16, 18, 22, 24.

The present invention also relates to a light module of a linear LED system comprising a plurality of line light modules 10, 10'. Most generally, the line light module comprises an extruded light module housing profile that extends along a longitudinal axis L and that has a profile wall 12 defining an inner profile contour 12a and an outer profile contour 12b and of which a cross sectional view along a plane that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis is closed. The line light module additionally includes a connector assembly according to the invention, wherein the male connector cap 20 is connected to a first free end of the profile wall 12 and wherein the female connector cap 14 is connected to a second free end of the profile wall 12.

Such a line light module will provide have the advantages that have been mentioned before in relation the connector caps 14, 20.

In an embodiment, of which an example is shown in the drawings, the line light module may include a first sealing gasket that is interposed between the male connector cap 20 and the end face of the first free end of profile wall 12 of the module housing profile. Additionally, the line light module may include a second sealing gasket 68 that is interposed between the female connector cap 14 and the end face 12c of the second free end of the profile wall 12 of the module housing profile.

The presence of such sealing gaskets 68 reduces the chance that water or moisture penetrates into the interior of the hne light module. Thus, the chance of damage of the interior components of the line light module, such as a power supply, cables, electronic components and the like is reduced.

In an embodiment, of which an example is shown in the drawings, the first and second sealing gasket 68 each may have a cross sectional profile along a plane that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis L that substantially corresponds with the cross sectional profile of the profile wall 12. Such gaskets 68 may be positioned between the inner and outer ridge structures 62, 64 before mounting the female connector cap 14 and the male connector cap 20 on the profile wall 12. The mounted connector caps 14, 20 may be fixed by means of screws that engage a part of the profile wall 12. To that end, the profile wall 12 may include a structure including narrow channels that may have such dimensions that a screw may be screwed into such a channel.

The connector caps 14, 20 may be manufactured from plastic. However, in order to provide sufficient mechanical strength a metal, for example, an aluminium construction of the connector caps 14, 20 may be preferred. The connector caps 14, 20 may be a monolithic structure or an assembly two or more monolithic structures that are, for example,

manufactured by injection moulding or high pressure die casting.

Finally, the invention provides a linear light system including a plurality of line hght modules according to the invention. Such a linear light system complies with IP65 and/or IP66 requirements according to DIN EN 60529 (VDE 0470) and may be quickly and effectively assembled without the use of special tools. In an embodiment, the linear light system may include at least one interface module including a interface module housing having at least two free ends that provide access to the interior of the housing. Additionally, the linear light system may include at least one connector assembly according to the invention, wherein the at least two free ends of the interface module housing are closed off by a female connector cap 14 and/or a male connector cap 20. Because of the fact that the interface module housing may be angular, the linear light system may be assembled in all kinds of configurations such as triangular, rectangular, hexagonal etc. The interface modules may add functionality to the linear light system as described before.

In an embodiment, the linear light system may include at least one cable interface module that comprises two connector elements having a front side that is configured like a front side of a female connector cap 14 and/or male connector cap 20 so as to be connectable to a female connector cap 14 and/or a male connector cap 20 of a line light module and having a back side that is closed off by an end wall. The interface module may additionally include at least one cable extending between the two connector elements and emanating from the closed off end wall from each connector element.

Such an interface module may, for example, be used when the line light modules are mounted close to a ceiling and when trusses or beams that extend below the ceiling prevent the mounting of a line light module there and have to be bridged in some manner. In such a situation, the end connector elements of the cable interface module are connected to the connector caps 14, 20 of two line light modules and the at least one cable of the cable interface module will interconnect the at least one electrical connector, in most cases both a data connector and a power connector, of the two line light modules. The cables may then bridge the trusses or beams on the two sides of which a line light module may be mounted. Although illustrative embodiments of the present invention have been described above, in part with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these embodiments. Variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected by those skilled in the art in practicing the claimed invention, from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims. Reference

throughout this specification to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, the appearances of the phrases "in one embodiment" or "in an embodiment" in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

Furthermore, it is noted that particular features, structures, or

characteristics of one or more embodiments may be combined in any suitable manner to form new, not explicitly described embodiments. The reference numbers in the claims do not limit the claims.