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Method of Retaining Electrical Terminal in Housing

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000165733D
Publication Date: 2008-Jan-02
Document File: 8 page(s) / 552K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

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Spring Wire Fastener

In this invention, methods have been developed to lock the terminal to the meter base.  The first embodiment uses a simple spring-wire retaining clip to lock the terminal to the base.  The retaining clip is a very low cost part, which may be made from a corrosion resistant spring material such as stainless steel.  Carbon steel may be used if corrosion is not a factor, or if corrosion protection plating is used. 

The electrical terminal has two opposing notches that are sized to be a small amount wider than the thickness or diameter of the retaining clip.  The terminal also has a feature, such as a bend across the width, which will limit the insertion depth into the insulating base.

The insulating base is designed to accept the terminal into a through slot, such that the end of the terminal that will be exposed for subsequent mating with a receptacle.  The slot is sized to allow the terminal to pivot, with a rocking motion, about a center that is approximately in the middle of the base thickness.  Features incorporated in the outside surface of the base, which may be molded or otherwise formed, are designed to provide a locating nest for the retainer clip.  One of the features provides for a pocket or nest to keep the retaining clip in position.  Another feature is designed to provide an elevated surface for a portion of the retaining clip to contact and rest on such that the clip will be under bending stresses when installed.

To assemble the terminal to the base, the retaining clip is placed in a position defined by the pocket feature on the outside surface of the base.  A suitable fixture may be used to hold the clip in this position and apply a force sufficient to flex the clip...