Publication Date: 2012-Jun-08
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Mirko POSMIK: INVENTOR [+2]
The present invention relates to a connector assembly, e.g. for a charging cable of an electric or hybrid vehicle, and to a method for assembling such a connector assembly. The power connector assembly 10 comprises a housing 15 being adapted for the reception of at least one contact terminal, at least one terminal position assurance (TPA) member 30 associated with the housing 15 and being movable between a pre-locked and a locked position, and wherein the TPA member 30 in the locked position is adapted to retain the contact terminal in a mounted position, wherein the TPA member 30 comprises at least one pre-mounting portion 32 being adapted to prevent a movement of the contact terminal in at least one direction, when the contact terminal is in the mounted position and when the TPA member 30 is in said pre-locked position. (Fig. 1)
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1. Field of the invention 5
The present invention relates to a connector assembly, e.g. for a charging cable of an electric or hybrid vehicle, comprising: a housing being adapted for the reception of at least one contact terminal, at least one terminal position assurance (TPA) member associated with the housing and being moveable between a pre-locked and a locked position, wherein the TPA member in the locked position is adapted to retain the contact terminal
in a mounted position.
2. Technical Background
In many fields of applications electrical connectors are required which can provide save
and reliable electrical and mechanical connections. For example in the field of hybrid vehicles, the required high electrical powers translate into large electrical currents which can be in the range of tens to hundreds of Amperes. Examples of typical prior art power connector assemblies for motor vehicles having an electric drive are disclosed in documents WO 2010/009979 A1, US 5,751,135, US 5,577,920, US 5,637,977, US
6,203,355 or DE 196 50 099 A1. Therein, connector assemblies are disclosed comprising respective housings which are adapted for the reception of several contact terminals. Due to the large currents, electrical components connected to the high current circuit can be damaged and even users can be injured if corresponding electrical connections deteriorate and loosen, for example due to vibrations or movements during assembly or
use. In the case that such connections deteriorate during operation, i.e. during transmission of said currents, increased contact resistance can lead to generation of heat which can damage surrounding components and which even can cause fire accidents. Therefore, in particular in fields requiring high electrical powers, it is essential to provide power connector assemblies which provide safe and reliable electrical and mechanical
connections which remain safely connected even if the connections are subject to mechanical disturbances.
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Moreover, due to the large currents needed for charging the batteries of electrical vehicles, the power supply lines have large diameters, typically in a range of several mm, as for example 10 mm. In the majority of cases, the charging of the batteries is carried out with three phase current which means that at least three of these large power supply lines have to be mounted in the housing of the power connector assembly. Typically, during
assembly, in a first step all contact terminals are inserted into a part of the housing of the power connector assembly. Then, in a second step, the housing is finally assembled and the contact terminals are fixed in their mounted position by means of the housing. However, particularly due to the rigidity of the power supply lines, it is difficult to mount and hold the power supply lines, i.e. the contact terminals, in their mounted position
during assembly. Moreover, due to the rig...