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Connector System Using Opto-Electronic Techniques to Avoid Contact Wear

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000101412D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-16
Document File: 2 page(s) / 82K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Copley, JP: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

An optical connector device is described that can be inserted and withdrawn repeatedly without invoking the intermittences that conventional metal-to-metal connectors are prone to. The concept is to make an opto-coupler in two separable pieces containing light emitters and sensors for the purpose of making an electrical connecting device that does not wear out. For connector applications where electrical power must be transmitted as well as signals, conventional and opto-techniques can be used in the one connector.

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Connector System Using Opto-Electronic Techniques to Avoid Contact Wear

       An optical connector device is described that can be
inserted and withdrawn repeatedly without invoking the intermittences
that conventional metal-to-metal connectors are prone to. The concept
is to make an opto-coupler in two separable pieces containing light
emitters and sensors for the purpose of making an electrical
connecting device that does not wear out.  For connector applications
where electrical power must be transmitted as well as signals,
conventional and opto-techniques can be used in the one connector.

      Electronic products rely on plugs and sockets for the
transmission of signals and power, both internally and externally.
The combination of low voltage signals and a high packing density in
multi- way connectors dictates that sophisticated design techniques
and metallurgy are used. The extra requirement of reliable operation
over an extended number of insertions is difficult to satisfy with
existing techniques.

      Conventional connectors typically available have expected
lifetimes specified in tens of hundreds of insertions.  There is a
need for a connector that will perform reliably for thousands of
insertions.

      An opto-coupler is a well-established device for providing
galvanic isolation between electrical circuits while still allowing
for the transmission of signals.  It typically consists of a
light-emitting diode and a phototransistor arranged within a single
package so that there is optical coupling between the two devices,
but also with electrical isolation.

      This article proposes the physical separation of the two
opto-electronic devices, and their incorporation in the opposite
halves of a connector system.  When the two halves are mated, a
signal can pass, but there is no metal-to-metal contact and hence no
wear problems.  Only reasonably good mechanical alignment is required
which is relatively easy to assure over a long working life together
with a small supply of power to each connector to fee...