Browse Prior Art Database

Deep-Flat Connectors (DFCs)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014395D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Oct-14
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Purpose of invention

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Deep-Flat Connectors (DFCs)

Purpose of invention

Disclosure is an highly flexible and configurable design for electronic connectors which can be packed on a very little surface when space is a critical resources.

Addressed problems

Just imagine you have to build a hub, or to connect several serial cables on a small panel on a wall, or simply have a server which should be connected to many different peripherals which support different communication protocols and cable configurations. If you consider most of existing connectors, they take a mostly rectangular or circular connection surface whose sides are from one to five centimetres of width times half to two centimetres of height.

Today we have also small connectors which provide users with cascade connection availability, as USB for instance, but of course your peripheral should support such a standard. There are a lot of old peripherals that do not support USB, and in any case, not always it is possible to substitute some standard with a USB cable.

If your problem is surface space, you might realise that you may have enough space if you consider the direction that is orthogonal to that surface. For example, most computer chassis are mostly empty. The back face of a server is relatively small, but the volume is mostly available to hardware.

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The foundation of this invention is to use that space to pack several connectors in a small surface. In addition, this invention shows also how to take advantage of the new design to allow to use the same plug for different connectors, to merge two different connection configurations in a single connector, to combine two connectors in a single connection mechanism, to dynamically recognise the connector configuration by using an optical or mechanical code.

Invention description

A connector is a piece of hardware consisting of a plug and a mechanism to fix that plug to a socket. The plug is usually made of a frame and a set of pin positioned according to some scheme. In some cases, i.e. electrical plugs, there are few big pins, which provide the plug with a natural fixing mechanism simply by entering the holes of a socket.

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In some other cases, as in electronic plugs (e.g. computers, cellular phones, hi-fi) there are many little pins which require an external mechanism to fix the plug in the sockets. Pins used in electronic plugs are usually implemented as small needles (as in serial and TMparallel cables), or little metallic lamellas (as in cellular phones or IBM Workpad ).

The common characteristic that is typical of all those plugs is that pins are inserted in the corresponding socket holes orthogonal to the socket surface. This approach reduces the friction of pins and hole container and therefore limits the wear. On the other hand, it forces the designer to dispose the pins on a surface which is...