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Title:
MOUNTING POST FOR MODULAR CONNECTOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/009983
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A mounting post (12) and an electrical connector (10) including the mounting post including a pair of legs (14, 16) having inner surfaces opposite one another to thereby define a slit (18) therebetween which is preferably oriented in a direction perpendicular to the front face (22) of the connector. Each leg includes an arcuate outer surface and a hook (32) projecting radially outward from the outer surface. In addition to, or instead of the hook on each leg, each leg may include a notch (34) adjacent the bottom face (13) of the connector to reduce stress during insertion of the mounting post into a printed circuit board.

Inventors:
IMSCHWEILER DEREK
Application Number:
PCT/US2000/020977
Publication Date:
February 08, 2001
Filing Date:
July 28, 2000
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
STEWART CONNECTOR SYSTEMS INC (US)
International Classes:
H01R13/02; H01R13/60; H01R13/639; (IPC1-7): H01R13/60
Foreign References:
US5613877A1997-03-25
US5244412A1993-09-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Raskin, Martin G. (P.C. 15th Floor 1140 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS: I Claim:
1. In an electrical connector including a housing defining at least one plug receiving cavity, contacts situated in the plugreceiving cavity and terminals extending downward from a bottom face of the housing and being electrically coupled to the contacts, the improvement comprising at least one mounting post extending from the bottom face of the housing, each of said at least one mounting post including a pair of legs having inner surfaces opposite one another to thereby define a slit therebetween, each of said legs including an arcuate outer surface and a hook projecting radially outward from said outer surface.
2. The connector of claim 1, wherein said legs are arranged such that said slit is oriented in a direction substantially perpendicular to front and rear faces of the housing.
3. The connector of claim 1, wherein said hooks are situated adjacent said slit.
4. The connector of claim 1, wherein each of said legs further comprises a notch adjacent the bottom face of the housing.
5. The connector of claim 1, wherein said at least one mounting post includes a connecting portion for connecting said legs together to form a unitary element.
6. A mounting post for an electrical connector, comprising a pair of legs having inner surfaces opposite one another to thereby define a slit therebetween, each of said legs including an arcuate outer surface and a hook projecting radially outward from said outer surface.
7. The mounting post of claim 6, wherein said hooks are situated adjacent said slit.
8. The mounting post of claim 6, wherein said hooks formed adjacent one end of said legs, each of said legs further comprises a notch situated at an opposite end of said legs from said hooks.
9. The mounting post of claim 6, further comprising a connecting portion for connecting said legs together to form a unitary element.
10. In an electrical connector including a housing defining at least one plug receiving cavity, contacts situated in the plugreceiving cavity and terminals extending downward from a bottom face of the housing and being electrically coupled to the contacts, the improvement comprising at least one mounting post extending from the bottom face of the housing, each of said at least one mounting post including a pair of legs having inner surfaces opposite one another to thereby define a slit therebetween, each of said legs including an upper portion adjacent the bottom face of the housing and a lower portion, said upper portion having a crosssectional area less than a crosssectional area of said lower portion such that said lower portion is displaceable to narrow said slit and toward the bottom face of the housing upon insertion of said mounting post into a hole of a substrate on which the connector will be mounted, said lower portion of at least one of said legs including an arcuate outer surface and a hook projecting radially outward from said outer surface.
11. The connector of claim 10, wherein said legs are arranged such that said slit is oriented in a direction substantially perpendicular to front and rear faces of the housing.
12. The connector of claim 10, wherein said lower portion of each of said legs includes an arcuate outer surface and a hook projecting radially outward from said outer surface.
13. The connector of claim 12, wherein said hooks are situated adjacent said slit.
14. The connector of claim 12, wherein said at least one mounting post includes a connecting portion for connecting said legs together to form a unitary element.
15. A mounting post for an electrical connector, comprising a pair of legs having inner surfaces opposite one another to thereby define a slit therebetween, each of said legs including an upper portion adapted to be situated adjacent a bottom face of the connector and a lower portion, said upper portion having a crosssectional area less than a crosssectional area of said lower portion such that said lower portion is displaceable to narrow said slit and toward the bottom face of the connector upon insertion of said mounting post into a hole of a substrate on which the connector will be mounted, said lower portion of at least one of said legs including an arcuate outer surface and a hook projecting radially outward from said outer surface.
16. The mounting post of claim 15, wherein said lower portion of each of said legs includes an arcuate outer surface and a hook projecting radially outward from said outer surface.
17. The mounting post of claim 16, wherein said hooks are situated adjacent said slit.
18. The mounting post of claim 15, further comprising a connecting portion for connecting said legs together to form a unitary element.
Description:
MOUNTING POST FOR MODULAR CONNECTOR TECHNICAL FIELD The present invention relates to a mounting post for a modular electrical connector or connector assembly, such as a single-port modular jack, multi-port modular jack, multi- level modular jack, and a connector or connector assembly including the same.

BACKGROUND ART Conventional mounting posts used to mechanically connect modular electrical connectors and connector assemblies to printed circuit boards by through-hole mounting present problems. Generally, the housing of the connector includes two mounting posts which are designed to enter into corresponding holes in the printed circuit board.

In the case of surface mount applications, when the hooked ends of the mounting posts of a board-mounted device snaps into engagement with the underside of the board, the impact may cause hundreds of small components that are laying in the solder paste prior to the surface mount soldering process to be jarred from their pads. In both surface and pin mount applications, the mounting posts must be specially sized for each application, having an appropriate diameter corresponding to the diameter of the opening in the printed circuit board, and a length corresponding to the board thickness.

A solution to these problems is presented in U. S. Patent Nos. 5,244,412 and 5,364,294 (Hatch et al., assigned to the same assignee of this application). In these patents, improved mounting components for board-mounted devices are disclosed which allow a smooth, low impact connection of the device to the board while achieving high retention in a range of hole sizes and printed circuit board thicknesses. One mounting component comprises a post depending from the device having tangs that extend from its side which are deflected to allow the post to be inserted into the board opening, and which skive into the sides of the opening to prevent the post from retracting therefrom. In a preferred form, the mounting component comprises a post having a through-slot into which a clip formed of a resilient metallic material is inserted and affixed. The clip is configured so that its ends protrude beyond the profile of the post upwardly away from the direction of insertion of the post into the board opening. The clip ends are deflected inwardly as the post is inserted into the hole in the board and skive into the sides of the hole to achieve a high degree of retention

The construction allows a post having a particular length and diameter to effectively conneet the device to boards of different thicknesses and hole sizes in a smooth, low impact operation which will not jostle other electrical devices positioned on the board. Since there is no snapping or high impact engagement between the mounting component and the printed circuit board, the mounting component is particularly suited for surface mounted arrangements since the other components laying in the solder paste prior to the surface mount soldering process will not be jarred from their pads. Moreover, since the mounting component connects to a board without engaging its underside, and the degree of deflection of the clip ends or tangs can accommodate different size board openings, the same mounting component can be used to effectively connect devices to boards of different thicknesses and hole sizes, an important advantage for both surface mount and pin mount applications.

Another prior art mounting post is described in U. S. Patent No. 5,613,877 (A. Patel et al., assigned at issuance to Molex, Inc.). This mounting post or peg is insertable through the hole in the printed circuit board in an axial direction. The mounting peg is bifurcated to define a pair of legs separated by an axial slit. One of the legs is a generally straight leg having a smooth outside surface facing one side of the hole inner wall. The other leg is a hooked leg having a radially outwardly extending hook for latching beneath a surface of the printed circuit board at an opposite side of the hole inner wall. The generally straight leg includes a radially outwardly projecting rib spaced axially at a base of the generally straight leg near the terminal housing. The hooked leg includes a reduced cross-sectional area near a base of the hooked leg near the terminal housing.

In spite of the constructions of these mounting posts, it is often a problem that whenever two identical mounting posts are present, one of the mounting posts is susceptible to snap or break when the connector is mounted onto the printed circuit board in view of unequal stress being applied to the two mounting posts. That is, one of the mounting posts receives more stress than the other mounting post causing it to break.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION It is an object of the present invention to provide new and improved mounting posts for modular electrical connectors whereby the mounting posts are not susceptible to breaking upon mounting on a printed circuit board.

It is another object of the present invention to provide new and improved mounting posts for modular electrical connectors in which the mounting posts are not able to be

overstressed to the point of breaking.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a mounting post which is able to compensate for installation variances which arise during insertion of the mounting post into a hole of a printed circuit board.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved mounting post that allows for both torsional and simple bending in order to reduce and possibly eliminate stress concentrations during insertion of the mounting post into a hole of a printed circuit board.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved mounting post that is constructed to avoid stress concentrations and thereby broaden the pool of available materials from which the mounting post can be fabricated.

Accordingly, in order to achieve at least some of these objects and others, an electrical connector in accordance with the invention includes a housing defining at least one plug-receiving cavity, contacts situated in the plug-receiving cavity, terminals extending downward from a bottom face of the housing and being electrically coupled to the contacts, and at least one mounting post extending from the bottom face of the housing. In accordance with the invention, each mounting post includes a pair of legs having inner surfaces opposite one another to thereby define a slit therebetween. Each leg includes an arcuate outer surface and a hook projecting radially outward from the outer surface. Thus, the hook of each leg will engage the underside of the printed circuit board or other substrate to which the connector is mounted and independently secure the connector thereto. In view of this dual locking or securement, breakage or malformation of one leg of the mounting post will not void the usefulness of the mounting post as the other leg will still be operable to perform its intended securing function.

In some preferred embodiments, the legs are arranged such that the slit is oriented in a direction substantially perpendicular to front and rear faces of the housing and the hooks are situated adjacent the slit. In additional embodiments, each leg comprises a notch adjacent the bottom face of the housing to reduce stress during insertion of the mounting post into the hole in the printed circuit board. Also, the mounting post may include a connecting portion for connecting the legs together to form a unitary element.

At least one of the objects is also achieved by means of another embodiment of an electrical connector which includes at least one mounting post extending from the bottom face of the housing, each including a pair of legs having inner surfaces opposite one another

to thereby define a slit therebetween, and whereby each leg includes a notch adjacent the bottom face of the connector to avoid the generation of stress on the mounting post during insertion into a hole in the substrate. The notch is formed by providing each leg of the mounting post with an upper portion adjacent the bottom face of the housing and a lower portion whereby the upper portion has a cross-sectional area less than a cross-sectional area of the lower portion such that the lower portion is displaceable toward the bottom face of the housing and to narrow the slit upon insertion of the mounting post into the hole of a substrate on which the connector will be mounted. The lower portion of at least one and preferably both legs includes an arcuate outer surface and a hook projecting radially outward from the outer surface. The legs are preferably arranged such that the slit is oriented in a direction substantially perpendicular to front and rear faces of the housing.

The mounting posts described herein may be used independent of the connectors described above, i. e., jacks including a housing defining a plug-receiving cavity and including contacts and terminals. Thus, the mounting posts are considered an independent invention for use in any number of applications, although they are used preferably for electrical connectors of the type described herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS A more complete appreciation of the present invention and many of the attendant advantages thereof will be readily understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which: FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a mounting post in accordance with the invention shown formed in conjunction with a structure representing a modular electrical connector of the type designed to be mounted on a substrate such as a printed circuit board ; FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the mounting post and structure shown in FIG. 1 ; FIG. 3 is a right side view of the mounting post and structure shown in FIG. 1; FIG. 4 is a front view of the mounting post and structure shown in FIG. 1, and FIG. 5 is a rear view of the mounting post and structure shown in FIG. 1.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference characters designate identical or corresponding parts throughout the several views, FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a

block representation (designated 10) of a modular electrical connector or connector assembly designed for mounting on a substrate such as a printed circuit board. The connector 10 includes a mounting post 12 in accordance with the invention arranged on a bottom face 13 of the housing of the connector 10. Although only a single mounting post 12 is shown, this is for the sake of clarity and convenience and it should be understood that the connector 10 may have two such mounting posts 12 as is typical in the art. The location of the mounting post (s) 12 on the bottom face 13 of the housing of the connector 10 may vary from one connector to another as well as for the same connector, depending on, e. g., the intended mounting substrate. If the connector 10 is a jack, then it would include a housing defining one or more plug-receiving cavities, contacts situated in each plug-receiving cavity and terminal pins extending downward from the bottom face 13 of the housing and electrically coupled to the contacts. The contacts and terminals may be formed from unitary members to thus constitute contact/terminal members.

Mounting post 12 is insertable through a respective hole in the printed circuit board in order to secure the connector 10 to the printed circuit board. To this end, the mounting post 12 includes a pair of legs 14,16 separated by a slit 18 and a connecting portion 20 connecting an upper region of the legs 14,16. Slit 18 is defined by opposed inner surfaces 14a, 16a of legs 14,16, respectively (FIG. 2). Further, mounting post 12 is formed in conjunction with the connector 10 such that slit 18 is oriented in a direction substantially perpendicular to the front and rear faces 22,24, respectively, of the connector 10, and thus usually parallel to the side faces 26, of the connector 10 (FIG. 2). The legs 14,16 and connecting portion 20 may be formed as an integral or unitary component, also integral or unitary with the housing of the connector 10.

Leg 14 is arcuate and includes an upper portion 28 situated more proximate the bottom face of the connector 10 and a lower portion 30. Lower portion 30 includes a barb or hook 32 projecting radially outward from an arcuate portion 14dl ofthe outer surface 14d of the leg 14 and upper portion 28 includes a notch 34 alongside the bottom face of the housing of the connector 10. The notch 34 is formed by providing the upper portion 28 with a cross-sectional area less than the cross-sectional area of lower portion 30 for reasons discussed below (see FIG. 3). Leg 14 also includes a generally planar bottom surface 14b, an inner surface 14c defined by a planar portion 14cl and an arcuate portion 14c2, the outer surface 14d further defined by a second arcuate portion 14d2 constituting an outwardly facing face ofthe hook 32 and which is substantially parallel to the first arcuate portion 14dl,

a third arcuate portion 14d3 constituting an upper face of the hook 32, a trapezoidal portion 14d4 constituting a side face of the hook 32 and a tapering arcuate surface 14d5 extending between the bottom surface 14b and the arcuate portions 14d 1 and 14d2 of the outer surface 14d.

Leg 16 is similar to leg 14 and includes an upper portion 36 situated more proximate the bottom face of the connector 10 and a lower portion 38. Lower portion 38 includes a barb or hook 40 projecting radially outward from an arcuate portion 16dl of the outer surface 16d of the leg 16 and upper portion 36 includes a notch 42 alongside the bottom face of the housing of the connector 10. The notch 42 is formed by providing the upper portion 36 with a cross-sectional area less than the cross-sectional area of lower portion 38. Leg 16 also includes a generally planar bottom surface 16b, an inner surface 16c defined by a planar portion 16cl and an arcuate portion 16c2, the outer surface 16d further defined by a second arcuate portion 16d2 constituting an outwardly facing face of the hook 40 and which is substantially parallel to the first arcuate portion 16dl, a third arcuate portion 16d3 constituting an upper face of the hook 40, a trapezoidal portion 16d4 constituting a side face of the hook 40 and a tapering arcuate surface 16d5 extending between the bottom surface 16b and the arcuate portions 16dl and 16d2 of the outer surface 16d.

As shown in FIG. 2, the separation between planar portions 14d and 16d of the legs 14,16, respectively, is greater than the separation between inner surfaces 14a, 16a defining the slit 18. This improves the flexibility of the bottom portions 30,38 of the legs 14,16 to enable them to bend during insertion of the mounting post 12 into a hole in a printed circuit board as discussed below.

Hooks 32,40 extend radially outward for latching beneath a surface of the printed circuit board upon mounting of the connector 10 to the printed circuit board, i. e., such that the arcuate portion 14d3 and 16d3 engage the underside of the printed circuit board. To this end, the tapering surfaces 14d5 and 16d5 facilitate entry of the legs 14,16, respectively, into the hole in the printed circuit board.

Further, the connector 10 may be constructed such that the hooks 32, 40 of the legs 14,16 face forward, i. e., toward the front face of the connector 10, or rearward, i. e., toward the rear face of the connector 10. Hooks 32,40 preferably do not extend to the sides of the legs 14,16 but rather are constructed such that the second arcuate portion 14c2,16c2 of the outer surface 14d, 16d of the legs 14,16, respectively, is entirely forward facing (see FIG. 2).

In view of the particular construction of the legs 14,16 as described above, several

important advantages are obtained.

First, the slit 18 formed between the legs 14,16 is oriented in a direction substantially parallel to the side faces of the connector 10 and perpendicular to the front and rear faces of the connector, assuming the connector is a rectangular jack. In this manner, assuming there are two such mounting posts 12 on the connector 10, each mounting post 12 is independent of the other to the extent that there is no possibility of different degrees of stress being applied to the mounting posts 12 causing breakage of one of the mounting posts. In this regard, it has been found that the application of unequal stress to the mounting posts resulting in breakage of one mounting posts (discussed above) arises in part in view of the orientation of the slit formed between the legs of the mounting posts to be parallel to the front and rear faces of the connectors. Thus, by turning the orientation of the slit 90° from the prior art mounting posts, the stresses at the mounting posts in accordance with the invention are decoupled from one another (i. e., not dependent on one another) and breakage thereof will not arise as a result of unequal stress being applied to the mounting posts during insertion of the mounting posts into holes in a printed circuit board.

Second, it is another advantage that a hook 32,40 is provided on each leg 14,16, respectively, of the mounting posts 12. Thus, each leg 14,16 will independently snap to the printed circuit board such that the upper faces 14d3 and 16d3 will abut the lower surface of the printed circuit board after insertion of the mounting posts 12 into the holes in the printed circuit board is complete. As such, the connector 10 will still be able to be secured to the printed circuit board by mounting post 12 even if one of the legs 14,16 is broken or malformed. Only if both legs 14,16 are broken will the mounting post be unable to function.

A third advantage of the mounting posts 12 in accordance with the invention is the presence of notches 34,42 facilitate entry of the legs 14,16 into the respective holes in the printed circuit board and securing of the mounting post 12 to the printed circuit board while reducing stress on the mounting posts 12 arising during insertion into the holes in the printed circuit board. The presence of notches 34,42 at the upper portion of the legs 14,16 adjacent the bottom face 14 of the connector 10 enables the bottom portions of the legs 14,16 to twist inward toward one another (in the direction of arrows designated A in FIGS. 2-5). During this torsional bending arising during insertion of the mounting post 12 into the hole in the printed circuit board, the slit 18 will narrow. At the same time as this torsional bending occurs, the legs 14,16 will also be bent inward (in the direction of arrows designated B) in view of the presence of tapering surfaces 14d5 and 16d5. After insertion of the mounting

posts 12 into the holes in the printed circuit board, the legs 14,16 will revert to their original position.

Thus, the overall combination of the orientation of the slit 18 to be perpendicular to the front and rear faces of the connector 10, the inclusion of a hook 32, 40 on each leg 14,16 forming the mounting posts 12 and the formation of notches 34,42 at the upper portion of the legs 14,16 provides a significantly improved mounting posts which is not as susceptible to breakage during insertion into holes of a printed circuit board as conventional mounting posts. It is emphasized though that each of these features can be used independent of the other features and that not all three features are required in a mounting post in accordance with the invention or an electrical connector including the same.

The mounting posts described herein can be applied on any type of connectors which is designed for mounting on a printed circuit board or other substrate. The invention can also be applied for components utilizing a male-female connection.

Although a single-port connector or connector assembly will generally include two of the mounting posts described above, the connector may include any number of such mounting posts and connectors with additional ports may include more than two such mounting posts. Also, it is conceivable that a single one of the mounting posts disclosed above can be used alone. Thus, the number as well as dimensions of the mounting posts can vary depending on the type and size of the electrical connector.

Obviously, numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. Accordingly, it is understood that other embodiments of the invention are possible in the light of the above teachings.




 
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