CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 16/123,835 field in Sep. 6, 2018, titled “Fiber Optic Connector with Releasable Pull/Push Tab Having An Internal Stop Limiting Tab”, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/981,309, entitled “SPRINGLESS PUSH/PULL FIBER OPTIC CONNECTOR”, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/665,217, entitled “SPRINGLESS PUSH/PULL FIBER OPTIC CONNECTOR”, filed on May 1, 2018 under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), and further is a continuation-in-part of U.S. non-Provisional application Ser. No. 15/720,980, entitled “NARROW WIDTH ADAPTERS AND CONNECTORS WITH MODULAR LATCHING ARM”, filed Sep. 29, 2017, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/546,920 entitled “NARROW WIDTH ADAPTERS AND CONNECTORS WITH MODULAR LATCHING ARM”, filed on Aug. 17, 2017, U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/457,150, entitled “NARROW WIDTH ADAPTERS AND CONNECTORS WITH MODULAR LATCHING ARM”, filed on Feb. 9, 2017, U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/452,147, entitled “NARROW WIDTH ADAPTERS AND CONNECTORS WITH MODULAR LATCHING ARM” filed on Jan. 30, 2017, U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/430,560 entitled “Narrow Width Adapters and Connectors with Spring Loaded Remote Release” and U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/430,067 entitled “Narrow Width Adapters and Connectors with Spring Loaded Remote Release”, each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material, which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to fiber optic connectors and adapters, and more particularly, to fiber optic connectors with a push/pull tab or extender attached to a latch that upon pulling said tab the connector is unlatched or released from an adapter receptacle.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Modern high capacity optical systems often utilize fiber optic ribbons for inter-system connection. As there are multiple connection points in an optical path, there are needs for mating two fiber optic ferrules or a ferrule to another connector. In the mating of two fiber optic ferrules or a ferrule and a connector, the mechanical and optical alignment is paramount. Slight misalignment can result in significant signal loss, especially in the case of ferrules and connectors for multi-fiber optic ribbons and cables. Therefore, there is a need for an adapter that can hold and secure two fiber optic ferrules or a ferrule and a connector in alignment with precision. The adapter design should also allow that installation of the ferrules and connectors that is easy enough for in-field assembly. Further, the adapter should be durable in design and/or material for repeated installations and uninstallations.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
According to the present invention, a fiber optic connector mates with a receptacle, the latter may be an opening configured to receive a push/pull tab fiber optic connector. The fiber optic connector contains a push/pull tab connected to a front body of the connector, the front body accepts one or more ferrules, a corresponding ferrule spring, the push/pull tab has a pair of arms configured to wrap partially around a connector back-body. The tab has one or more protrusions that secure the tab to the front body. The back-body in a conventional push/pull tab connector has a spring, the spring is positioned behind the push/pull tab and spring biases forward the push/pull tab. The user pushes the connector into a receptacle, and a front top surface of the connector and front body are latch into a hook contained within the receptacle. This secures the connector into the receptacle.
In the present invention the spring is removed, and a pair of catches protrude from a top surface of the back-body. The catches have a lip that secures the push/pull tab but allows the tab to be moved along a channel extending a predetermined distance along a longitudinal axis of the connector. The longitudinal axis is defined as front to back in the same plane or from a distal neared the cable and boot and a proximal end nearer the ferrules. The shelf on the connector that corresponds to the back-body lip is of a specific length that corresponds to the travel or push/pull a user exerts at the distal end of the connector to secure or remove from adapter receptacle.
The proximal end of the push/pull tab has a chamfered or inclined surface that engages a middle arm of a hook secured inside the receptacle. The tab surface lifts the middle arm, and this in turn lifts a pair of outer arms. The arms are one-piece with the hook body to form the hook. As the middle arm engages a recess at the top surface of the proximal end of the connector, the middle arm pushes the tab forward, as the recess is cut at a slope. This recess pushes the pull/push tab forward as the user inserts the tab using the cable/boot, and the outer arms fall into the recess securing the connector by the hook into the receptacle.
In another embodiment, a plural of hooks types can be deployed in an adapter receptacle. As described above the tab surface lifts the middle arm.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Embodiments of the invention are described in more detail hereinafter with reference to the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1A depicts a fiber optic adapter with a push/pull tab and a dust cap exploded therefrom;
FIG. 1B depicts an exploded view of the connector of FIG. 1A;
FIG. 1C1 is a perspective view of the connector of FIG. 1A with a zoomed area;
FIG. 1C2 is the zoomed view of FIG. 1C1 showing a push/pull tab spring;
FIG. 1C3 is the zoomed area of FIG. 1C1 showing a cross section cut away view of a push/pull spring;
FIG. 1D is a perspective view of connector of FIG. 1A with a short boot and long push/pull tab;
FIG. 1E is an exploded view of the connector of FIG. 1D depicting a push/pull tab spring prior to insertion into a back-body;
FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a hook inserted into receptacle to secure a connector therein;
FIG. 2B is a bottom perspective view of hook of FIG. 2A;
FIG. 3A is a perspective view of a connector of the present invention;
FIG. 3B is an exploded view of the connector of FIG. 3A;
FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the connector of FIG. 3A depicting an alternative back-body;
FIG. 5A is a zoomed proximal end view of the back-body of FIG. 4 securing a push/pull tab;
FIG. 5B is a zoomed proximal end view of the back-body of FIG. 4 with a cut-away cross section;
FIG. 6A is a perspective view of the push/pull tab of FIG. 5A being attached to the back-body of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6B is a perspective view of the push/pull tab partially secured to the back-body of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6C is a perspective view of the push/pull tab secured by connector back-body;
FIG. 7A is a perspective view of proximal end of connector as hook engages push/pull front end;
FIG. 7B is a cross section view of proximal end of connector as hook engages push/pull front end;
FIG. 7C is a perspective view of proximal end of connector as hook arm enters widthwise recess;
FIG. 7D is a cross-section view of FIG. 7C;
FIG. 7E is a cross-section view of hook middle arm along ramp slope in the process of securing connector;
FIG. 7F is a perspective view of proximal end of connector as outer arm becomes lodged in widthwise recess;
FIG. 7G is a perspective view a cross-section view of FIG. 7F showing middle arm along ramp slope;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a connector according to the present invention;
FIG. 9 is an exploded view of connector of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a zoomed view of proximal end of connector of FIG. 8;
FIG. 11A is a perspective view of an alternative hook;
FIG. 11B is a top perspective view of hook FIG. 11A;
FIG. 12A is perspective view of proximal end of connector of FIG. 8 engaging hook of FIG. 11A;
FIG. 12B is a cross-section view of FIG. 12A;
FIG. 13A is a perspective view of proximal end of connector of FIG. 8 beginning to install hook of FIG. 11A in widthwise recess;
FIG. 13B is a cross-section view of FIG. 13A;
FIG. 14 is a cross-section view of hook of FIG. 11A partially engaging widthwise recess;
FIG. 15A is a perspective view of hook of FIG. 11A engaged in widthwise recess securing connector;
FIG. 15B is a cross-section view of FIG. 15A;
FIG. 16A is a side perspective view of the FIG. 8 connector with a cross-section cut-out view;
FIG. 16B is a view of FIG. 16A during removal of tab in direction of arrow “R”;
FIG. 16C is a perspective view of FIG. 16A connector with tab removed from connector body.
In the following description, apparatuses for mating opposing multi-fiber optic connectors of differing types or the same type are set forth as preferred examples. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications, including additions and/or substitutions may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Specific details may be omitted so as not to obscure the invention; however, the disclosure is written to enable one skilled in the art to practice the teachings herein without undue experimentation.
FIG. 1A depicts a conventional push/pull connector with a front body 110, a pair of tabs 125 formed as part of a push/pull tab 120, the tabs 125 are configured to wrap around connector housing 127 and cable/boot assembly 108. The push/pull tab 120 has a proximal end near ferrules 102, the proximal end has a widthwise recess 117, ramp area 123 on an outer surface of front body 110. A dust cap 101 can be used to protect ferrules from debris. FIG. 1B depicts an exploded view of FIG. 1A. The connector 100A components are separated or exploded as connector 100B. Referring to FIG. 1B, pull/push tab 120 has a tab or handle 125, a bias spring 105.3, a first and second securing protrusion 124a, 124b respectively, a slope 123a which is part of the ramp area 123, and raised surface 122 and a front slope or chamfer 121. The securing protrusions are configured to lock into corresponding openings or recesses on an outer surface of the connector body to aid in securing push/pull tab 120 to the connector 100A without interfering in the longitudinal movement of push/pull tab 120. The bias spring 105.3 urges forward pull/push tab 120 as known in the art, and its removal is a non-obvious improvement over the art for fiber optic connectors with a push/pull tab. As described in more detail below, chamfer 121 engages a middle hook arm (not shown) of a hook inserted into an adapter receptacle. This chamfer is configured to lift the middle hook arm until the arm reaches a distance as defined by top surface 122. As described below, middle arm is connected to a pair of outer arms, so as middle arm is lifted, outer arms are deflected upwards.
Continuing with FIG. 1B, a widthwise recess 117 is located at an outer surface of front body 110. Front body 110 holds a plural of ferrules 102, the ferrules are contained within flange 103 that is configured to secure ferrules 102 inside front body 110. Ferrules 102 are urged forward by springs 104. The springs 104 are contained at a proximal end of back-body 105. Cut-out 105.7 accepts push/pull bias spring 105.2. In the present invention, this spring 105.2 is removed as described below.
Referring to FIG. 1B, crimp ring 106 is covered by boot 107 to form cable/boot assembly 108. The final assembly occurs from a distal to proximal end, with the ferrules inserted into front body, back-body restrains springs 104 forward when back-body latches 105.8 are inserted into front body at an opening 113. The boot assembly is screwed onto a distal end of back-body, although other methods are well known in the art.
FIGS. 1C1-1C3 depict a top surface of front body at a proximal end of connector 100A. FIG. 1C1 is a perspective view of connector 100A with a front body 110 at a proximal end and a pull tab handle 125 at a distal end of connector 100A. FIG. 1C1 zoomed area is shown enlarged in FIG. 1C2. FIG. 1C2 depicts bias spring 105.2 located within back-body cut-out 105.7, and configured to bias forward push/pull tab 120. Further disclosed is securing protrusion 124a press-fitted into a corresponding opening in connector body 127. A second securing protrusion 124b is press-fitted into a corresponding opening in body 127. These protrusions 124a, 124b slide in a channel formed in the connector body openings, the channel is sized so push/pull tab 120 can travel to secure and unreleased connector 100A with hook (not shown) located in a receptacle (not shown). FIG. 1C3 depicts a second zoomed view of FIG. 1C1. This view is a cross-section showing bias spring 105.2 located within push/pull connector tab body, and said spring is biasing forward the push/pull tab 120 as known in the prior art. FIG. 1D depicts an alternate conventional connector 100D fully assembled. The push/pull tab 120 is biased forward by bias spring (not shown), as indicated by lowest point of push/pull ramp 123 substantially aligned with widthwise recess 117.
FIG. 1B depicts connector 100D exploded showing major components. Referring to FIG. 1B like components have the same element number, for example bias spring 105.2 is shown inserted in cutout of back-body 105 in FIG. 1E. FIG. 1E further shows bias spring 105.2 prior to insertion into spring holder 105.1 in direction of arrow “A”. Comparing FIG. 1B and FIG. 1E illustrates differ versions of push/pull connector using bias spring 105.2 to urge forward tab 120.
FIG. 2A depicts a hook 200 inserted into a receptacle or adapter receptacle or opening (not shown) for securing connectors (100A, 100D) therein. Hook 200 has a radius 252 that allows arms (254, 256) to be flexed as described herein. The outer arms 254a, 254b are flexed up or raised up when a force is applied to middle arm 256. When force “F” is removed from middle arm 256, outer arms (254a, 254b) return to original position under spring force retained primarily in radius 252. Referring to FIG. 2B, surfaces 250 are configured to engage with corresponding receptacle inner structure to secure hook therein. Legs 259 support a proximal end of hook 200a against corresponding adapter receptacle structure (not shown), and keep arms at a pre-determined height when engaging an outer surface of front body 100 as described herein. This prevents arms from dragging on outer surface of connector top surface resisting movement of push/pull tab by a user.
FIG. 3A depicts a push/pull connector 300 of the present invention without a bias spring 105.2. Ramp surface 123 or arm of push/pull tab 120 has a plural of sloped surfaces. These surfaces are configured to engage middle hook arm to lift outer arms. Upon full insertion of connector 300, by pushing on said connector at a distal end, connector 300 is secure within hook 200. According to the present invention, slope 123b is configured to provide an opposing force against middle arm 256 of hook 200 to ensure push/pull tab 120 is urged forward allowing outer arms 254a, 25b to drop into widthwise recess 117 and secure connector into adapter receptacle via hook 200.
FIG. 3B is an exploded view of FIG. 3A showing conventional components. A pair of bias springs 105.2 urge pull/push tab 120 forwarded in this connector. FIG. 3B component elements are similar to those corresponding elements as shown in FIG. 1B and FIG. 1E, and described herein. FIG. 4 depicts a push/pull connector 400 according to an embodiment of the present invention without bias spring 105.2. Back-body 105 has a pair of protrusions 105.3 that extend through corresponding openings 128 of push/pull tab 120, as shown in more detail in FIG. 5A. An opening 128/protrusion pair 105.3 lock tab 120 to connector body, while opening 128 is also formed as a channel allowing tab 120 to slide back and forth.
FIG. 5A depicts proximal end of connector 400. Widthwise recess accepts outer arms of hook to secure connector with an adapter receptacle. FIG. 5B cross-section shows ferrule bias spring position between ferrule flange and back-body to urge forward a ferrule 103. Push/pull tab arm 129 contains a plural of slopes or ramps. Ramp 123b is cut or chamfered from about 10 degrees to 35 degrees, and it is this angle that provides an opposing surface force to push upward middle arm 256 of hook 200 or hook 400 (FIG. 11A). Back-body protrusion 105.3 latches onto surface 126 to secure push/pull tab 120 to back-body 105. Surface 126 extends longitudinally a distance needed to release or secure connector, moving tab 120 back and for the along connector axis within a receptacle.
FIG. 6A depicts attaching push/pull tab 120 to connector body in direction of arrow “A”. Back-body protrusion 105.3 attaches to surface 126, and rests against face 126.2. Securing protrusion 124b is accepted into connector body recess 111.1. FIG. 6B shows protrusion 124b inserted into connector body opening. FIG. 6C illustrates as pull/push tab 120 is pulled in direction of arrow “A”, protrusion 124b travels along a channel until it is stopped by face 110.2. When tab 120 is push forward, protrusion 124b ensures ramp area 123 lowest point is substantially aligned with widthwise recess 117.
FIGS. 7A-7G depict operation of connector 400 without bias spring 105.2, as connector 400 is being secured in an adapter receptacle (not shown) having a hook 200 therein. FIG. 7A depicts hook 200 middle arm 256 engaging surface 122. This lifts outer arms 254a, 254b up. The outer arms 254a, 254b are spaced apart so as not to interfere with push/pull tab arm 129. As shown slope 123a is covering recess 117, as middle arm is pushing back push/pull tab arm 128 toward a distal end of connector 400, as hook arms are being raised. FIG. 7B depicts middle hook 256 being raised by connector arm 128 surface 122. FIG. 7C depicts continued insertion of connector into receptacle. A radius 252 of hook 200 contacts a surface of ramp area 123, this pushes back connector arm 129. As middle arm is raise a force is stored in radius 252 that pushes outer arms outward into recess 117 as described herein. As discussed above protrusion 124b (FIG. 6C) meets face 110.2, which prevents push/pull tab from further distal travel. At this insert point, middle arm 256 is raised maximum, for hook 200 design, and outer arms 254a, 254b (not shown) begin to release tension and become secured in recess 117. As shown in FIG. 7C, a proximal face of outer arms is now pressing with its stored spring force on connector body 110 via recess face 117a. This is the start of hook 200 securing connector 400 within a receptacle. FIG. 7D depicts a cross-section view of FIG. 7C, showing middle arm 256 urging forward push/pull connector arm 129, as the arm 256 is relaxed along chamfer 123a. As described above best chamfer angle moves arm 129 forward smoothly without the need for a bias spring 105.2. FIG. 7E shows middle arm 256 moving along tab profile or chamfer, and as middle arm presses down by store spring force, this causes connector arm 129 (push/pull tab 120) to move forward. As tab 120 moves forward outer arms 245a, 245b come to rest in recess 117 securing connector within receptacle. FIG. 7G depicts middle arm 256 reaching lowest point of ramp profile 123. At this point outer arms 254a have extended further into recess 117 and continue to push of recess face 117a. The outer arms have reached locking position securing connector 400 into adapter receptacle via hook 200.
FIG. 8 depicts an alternative push/pull connector 800 capable of removing push/pull tab 120 using a removal tool 870 inserted into opening 104.5. FIG. 9 depicts an exploded view of connector 800. Like elements are similar to elements found in FIG. 1B. FIG. 10 is a zoomed view of proximal end of connector 800. The lowest point 123b of ramp area 123 is substantially even with recess 117 opening when push/pull tab 120 is biased forward. Raised surface 122 flexes middle arm 256 upward raising outer arms 254a, 254b. The outer arms are raised by middle arm to substantially avoid contact with surface 122a, allowing connector 800 be inserted into receptacle without becoming stuck.
FIG. 11A depicts an alternative hook 400. Like hook 200, hook 400 outer arms 254a, 254b are moved upward by raised surface 122. Surface 122 is accepted in channel 254c. Legs 259, as in hook 200, contact surface 122a, 122b are connector is inserted into receptacle. FIG. 11B shows contact surface 126 that secures hook 400 using corresponding structure in adapter receptacle.
FIG. 12A depicts the start of inserting connector 800 into a receptacle having hook 400 secured therein. As connector 800 is inserted pull tab arm 129 is pushed in a distal direction as shown by proximal arm 126 within width-wide recess 117. Middle arm 254c is raised, FIG. 12B, which raised outer arms 254a. Hook 200 or hook 400 is secured within adapter receptacle, so as connector practicing the invention is pushed in by its boot, connector arm moves distally until protrusion 124b is stopped. FIG. 12B depicts cross-section as hook is opening under force of middle arm 254c being raised by raised surface 122. The raised surface is sometimes called a hook region where connector arm 129 is acting on a hook.
FIG. 13A depicts hook 400 reaching chamfered surface 123b. Outer arm 254a pushes push/pull tab arm 129 toward a proximal end of connector 800. FIG. 13B depicts middle arm 254c reaching a turning point of ramp area, where chamfered surface 123a is biasing connector arm 129 forward without the use of a bias spring 150.2. FIG. 14 depicts middle arm 254c releasing its tension biasing push/pull tab arm 129 forward, as middle arm moves along profile 123a. This profile has an angle or slope between 20 to 35 degrees for maximum proximal bias of push/pull tab arm 129.
FIG. 15A depicts hook 400 fully inserted and its outer arms 254a, 254b engaged in recess 117, and pushing on recess surface 117a. This secures connector 800 within an adapter receptacle. FIG. 15B is cross-section of hook 400 reaching ramp profile lowest point, with tab 120 biased forward. Middle arm 254c is pushing on ramp profile 123a securing connector in adapter with tab forward.
FIG. 16A depicts connector 800 with a removal tool 870 inserted into an opening 104.5, as shown in FIG. 8. Tool 870 is positioned at surface of a deformable tab 118. FIG. 16B depicts connector 800 and as tool 870 is pushed in direction of arrow “P”, deformable tab 118 moves downward, as shown within front body 110, and user can pull up tab 120 in direction of “R” to remove tab 120 from connector 800 body. FIG. 16C shows tab 120 removed from connector 800 body, and deformable tab 118 returns to an unbiased position as shown in FIG. 16A.
An ordinarily skilled person in the art can appreciate that by following the principal of the present invention, a version of the adapter for mating a multi-fiber optic ferrule connector with another multi-fiber optic ferrule connector can be derived without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Although the embodiments of the present invention described herein are related to multi-fiber optic applications, the present invention can be adapted to single fiber optic applications. Specific details may be omitted so as not to obscure the invention; however, the disclosure is written to enable one skilled in the art to practice the teachings herein without undue experimentation.
The foregoing description of the present invention has been provided for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to the practitioner skilled in the art.
The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application, thereby enabling others skilled in the art to understand the invention for various embodiments and with various modifications that are suited to the particular use contemplated.