Title of Invention

"A CONNECTOR AND CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY"

Abstract A connector of the movable member type, comprising a connector housing (10) connectable with a mating connector housing (80), the connector housing (10) comprising a movable member (40) movably mounted and formed with a cam member (41) engageable with a mating cam member (988) provided in the mating connector housing (80), and a detecting terminal (60) for electrically detecting the proper connection of the connector housing (10) with the matting connector housing (80), the detecting terminal (60) being able to come into contact with a contact terminal (98) provided in either the connector housing (10) or the mating connector housing (80) to close a detecting circuit only when the both connector housings (10, 80) are properly connected, wherein a pressing portion (44) is arranged at a part of the movable member (40) to substantially face the detecting terminal (60),characterized in that said pressing portion (44) keeps pressing the detecting terminal (60) to resiliency displace the detecting terminal (60) to a position away from the contact terminal (98) until the movable member (40) is moved to properly connect the both connector housings (10, 80) while stopping pressing to at least partly restore the detecting terminal (60) so that the detecting terminal (60) can be held in contact with the contact terminal (98) when the movable member (40) is moved to properly connect the both connector housings (10,80), and a pre-pressing portion (45) is arranged on the movable member (40) for pressing the detecting terminal (60) to hold the detecting terminal (60) separated from the contact terminal (98) at an initial stage of the operation of the moveable member (40) before the pressing portion (44) presses the detecting terminal (60). Fig.l
Full Text Description
A Connector And Connector Assembly
The present invention relates to a connector of the movable member type, particularly to a lever-type connector, and to a connector assembly provided therewith.
A lever-type connector is known e.g. from Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication No. 2003-86301. This connector is constructed such that a lever is rotatably supported on one connector housing, the other connector housing is provided with a cam pin engageable with a cam groove formed in the lever, the cam pin is engaged with the cam groove with the both connector housings lightly fitted to each other, and the lever is rotated in this state to pull the both connector housings toward each other and reach a properly connected state by the cam action of the engagement of the cam groove and the cam pin.
The lever is provided with a detecting member displaceable from a standby position to a detecting position. The detecting member can be displaced from the standby position to the detecting position when the lever reaches a properly connected position where the both connector housings are properly connected, whereas a displacement of the detecting member from the standby position to the detecting position is prevented when the lever is left at a partly connected position before the properly connected position. In other words, the rotational position of the lever can be detected based on whether or not the detecting member can be displaced to the detecting position, wherefore an operator does not end a lever rotating operation while the both connector housings are left only partly connected without the lever being completely rotated up to the properly connected position.
In the above case, whether or not the both male and female connector housings are properly connected is mechanically detected based on the rotational position of the lever. There is also a demand to electrically detect the proper connection of the both connector housings as another detecting method, and it is necessary to meet such a demand.
The present invention was developed in view of the above problem and an object thereof is to provide a connector of the movable member type and a respective connector assembly capable of electrically detecting whether or not two connector housings are properly connected.
This object is solved according to the invention by the features of the independent claims. Preferred embodiments of the invention are subject of the dependent claims.
According to the invention, there is provided a connector of the movable member type, comprising a connector housing connectable with a mating connector housing, the connector housing comprising a movable or operable member, such as a lever or a slider, movably mounted and formed with a cam member, such as a cam groove, engageable with a mating cam member, such as a cam pin, provided in the mating connector housing, and a detecting terminal for electrically detecting the proper connection of the connector housing with the mating connector housing, the detecting terminal being able to come into contact with a contact terminal provided in either the connector housing or the mating connector housing to close a detecting circuit only when the both connector housings are properly connected,
wherein a pressing portion is arranged at a part of the movable member to substantially face the detecting terminal, keeps pressing or urging the detecting terminal to resiliency displace the detecting terminal to a position away from the contact terminal until the movable member is moved to properly connect the both connector housings while stopping or reducing pressing to at least partly restore the detecting
germinal so that the detecting terminal can be held in contact with the contact terminal when the movable member is moved to properly connect the both connector housings.
Accordingly, the cam member starts cooperating with the mating cam member with the both connector housings lightly fitted to each other. When the movable member is operated or moved or displaced in this state, the cam member interact with the mating cam member to proceed (perform or assist) the connection of the connector housing with the mating connector housing. Since the pressing portion provided on the movable member presses and resiliency displaces the detecting terminal during this time, the detecting terminal is held separated from the contact terminal. When the both connector housings are substantially properly connected as a resulting of the operation or movement or displacement of the movable member, the pressing portion reduces or substantially stops pressing the detecting terminal, wherefore the detecting terminal is at least partly restored to come into contact with the contact terminal, thereby closing the detecting circuit. Thus, the properly substantially connected state of the both connector housings can be electrically detected even in the connector assembly having a connector of the movable member and a mating connector thus improving overall operability and reliability of the connector and respective connector assembly.
According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, there is provided a lever-type connector assembly, comprising a pair of connector housings connectable with each other, one connector housing including a lever rotatably mounted and formed with a cam groove engage able with a cam pin provided in the other connector housing, and a detecting terminal for electrically detecting the proper connection of the both connector housings, the detecting terminal coming into contact with a contact terminal provided in either the one or the other connector housing to close a detecting circuit only when the both connector housings are properly connected,
wherein a pressing portion is arranged at a part of the lever to face the detecting terminal, keeps pressing the detecting terminal to resiliency displace the detecting terminal to a position away from the contact terminal until the lever is rotated to properly connect the both connector housings while stopping pressing to restore the detecting terminal so that the detecting terminal can be held in contact with the contact terminal when the lever is rotated to properly connect the both connector housings.
Accordingly, the cam pin is introduced into the cam groove with the both connector housings lightly fitted to each other. When the lever is rotated in this state, the cam pin moves along the cam groove to proceed the connection of the both connector housings. Since the pressing portion provided on the lever presses and resiliency displaces the detecting terminal during this time, the detecting terminal is held separated from the contact terminal. When the both connector housings are properly connected as a resulting of the rotation of the lever, the pressing portion stops pressing the detecting terminal, wherefore the detecting terminal is restored to come into contact with the contact terminal, thereby closing the detecting circuit. Thus, the properly connected state of the both connector housings can be electrically detected even in the lever-type connector assembly.
Preferably, the movable member includes at least one locking piece that is resiliency deformable in the thickness direction of the movable member, moves onto at least one lock projection formed in the mating connector housing during a connecting operation of the both connector housings while moving over the lock projection and being at least partly restored to be engaged with the lock projection, thereby holding the connector housing connected with the mating connector housing, when the both connector housings are properly connected, and
the pressing portion preferably is provided on a surface of the locking piece to substantially face the detecting terminal.
Further preferably, the lever includes a locking piece that is resiliency deform-able in the thickness direction of the lever, moves onto a lock projection formed in the other connector housing during a connecting operation of the both connector housings while moving over the lock projection and being restored to be engaged with the lock projection, thereby holding the both connector housings connected, when the both connector housings are properly connected, and
the pressing portion is provided on a surface of the locking piece to face the detecting terminal.
Accordingly, since the locking piece is resiliency deformed by being located on the lock projection until the both connector housings are properly connected, the pressing portion provided on the locking piece presses the detecting terminal to hold the detecting terminal separated from the contact terminal. When the both connector housings are substantially properly connected, the locking piece is (at least partly) restored after moving over the lock projection and, thus, the pressing portion reduces or substantially stops pressing the detecting terminal. Therefore, the detecting terminal is (at least partly) restored to come into electrical connection with the contact terminal, thereby closing the detecting circuit.
As described above, since resilient movements of the locking piece, i.e. a movement of being resiliency deformed during the connecting operation and a movement of being resiliency at least partly restored upon the completion of the connecting operation are utilized as an indicator of the proper connection of the both connector housings, there is no variation in detection due to an assembling error of the movable member (such as the lever) and the properly connected state can be precisely detected as compared to the type in which the position of the movable member (such as the angular position of the lever) is detected and the detected position is used as an indicator of the proper connection.
Further preferably, the locking piece starts moving onto the lock projection to be resiliency deformed at an intermediate stage of the connection of the both connector housings, and/or
a pre-pressing portion for pressing the detecting terminal to hold the detecting terminal separated from the contact terminal before the pressing portion, preferably provided on the locking piece, presses or urges the detecting terminal is provided at a side of the movable member, preferably lever, before the locking piece with respect to a connecting direction.
Accordingly, if the resilient deformation of the locking piece starts after a while following the start of the connecting operation of the both connector housings, the detecting terminal and the contact terminal may be brought into contact during this time. However, the detecting terminal and the contact terminal can be held separated from each other even until the start of the resilient deformation of the locking piece by providing the pre-pressing portion as above. This enables the avoidance of a situation where the proper connection is mistakenly detected during the connecting operation. In other words, secure detection can be accomplished by enlarging an operation range where the connection detection can be made.
Still further preferably, the detecting terminal is assembled into the connector housing substantially along a connecting direction of the connector housing with the mating connector housing while the contact terminal is arranged in the mating connector housing
the detecting terminal includes:
a base plate used to fix the detecting terminal to the connector housing,
a first spring portion resiliency deformably extending substantially
backward from the base plate, preferably from a front end of the base plate,
with respect to a connecting direction of the connector housing and being able
to come into contact with the contact terminal, and
a second spring portion resiliency deformably extending substantially forward from the base plate, preferably from the rear end of the base plate, with respect to the connecting direction of the connector housing, the second spring portion preferably has the front end thereof placed on the rear end of the first spring portion at a side toward the movable member and is formed at a longitudinal intermediate position thereof with a pressable portion to be pressed by the pressing portion, and
the pressing portion preferably presses the pressable portion while substantially sliding on the pressable portion along a movement path from the rear side toward the front side with respect to the connecting direction of the connector housing when the movable member is displaced from an initial position, preferably where a backward projecting amount of the movable member from the connector housing is relatively large, to a connection ending position, preferably where the projecting amount is relatively small.
Most preferably, the detecting terminal is assembled into the one connector housing along a connecting direction of the both connector housings while the contact terminal is arranged in the other connector housing,
the detecting terminal includes a base plate used to fix the detecting terminal to the one connector housing, a first spring portion resiliency deformably extending backward from the front end of the base plate with respect to a connecting direction of the one connector housing and being able to come into contact with the contact terminal, and a second spring portion resiliency deformably extending forward from the rear end of the base plate with respect to the connecting direction of the one connector housing,
the second spring portion has the front end thereof placed on the rear end of the first spring portion at a side toward the lever and is formed at a longitudinal inter-
Mediate position thereof with a pressable portion to be pressed by the pressing portion, and
the pressing portion presses the pressable portion while sliding on the press-able portion along a rotational path from the rear side toward the front side with respect to the connecting direction of the one connector housing when the lever is rotated from an initial position where a backward projecting amount of the lever from the one connector housing is relatively large to a connection ending position where the projecting amount is relatively small.
Accordingly, the movable member (preferably the lever) has already moved to the connection ending position when the connecting operation of the both connector housings is completed. Since the backward projecting amount of the movable member (preferably the lever) from the one connector housing preferably is relatively small at this position, the entire connector can be made smaller. With such a construction, when the movable member is operated (preferably the lever is rotated or pivoted), the pressing portion of the movable member (preferably the lever) comes into contact with the pressable portion from behind with respect to the connecting direction and slides thereon forward along the movement path (such as a rotational path). In such a case, the second spring portion can be easily resiliency deformed since extending substantially along the sliding direction. Conversely, since extending backward, the first spring portion can be brought into contact with the contact terminal with a sufficient contact pressure at an early stage of the connecting operation.
According to a further aspect of the invention, there is provided a connector of the movable member type, in particular according to the above aspect of the invention or a preferred embodiment thereof, comprising a connector housing connectable with a mating connector housing, the connector housing including a movable member (such as a lever or slider) movably (e.g. rotatably or slidably) mounted and formed with a cam member engageable with a mating cam member provided in the
••mating connector housing, and a detecting terminal for electrically detecting the proper connection of the connector housing with the mating connector housing, the detecting terminal coming into contact with a contact terminal provided in either the connector housing or the mating connector housing to close a detecting circuit only when the both connector housings are properly connected, wherein:
the movable member includes at least one pressing portion at a side where the detecting terminal is located,
a movable arm is resiliency deformably provided between the pressing portion and the detecting terminal in the connector housing,
the pressing portion presses the movable arm to incline the movable arm toward the detecting terminal and the inclined movable arm presses the detecting terminal to hold the detecting terminal resiliency deformed to a position away from the contact terminal while the movable member is moved until the both connector housings are properly connected, and
the detecting terminal is at least partly restored so as to be able to come into contact with the contact terminal as the pressing portion reduces or substantially stops pressing to at least partly restore the movable arm when the movable member is moved until the both connector housings are properly connected.
Accordingly, the cam member starts cooperating with the mating cam member with the both connector housings lightly fitted to each other. When the movable member is operated or moved or displaced in this state, the cam member cooperates or interacts with the mating cam member to proceed (i.e. perform or assist) the connecting operation of the both connector housings. During this time, the pressing portion provided on the movable member presses the movable arm of the connector housing to incline the movable arm toward the detecting terminal and the movable arm presses the detecting terminal to resiliency deform the detecting terminal, wherefore the detecting terminal and the contact terminal are held separated. When the
woth connector housings reach a substantially properly connected state particularly by the movement of the movable member, the pressing portion stops pressing to at least partly restore the movable arm and, accordingly, the detecting terminal is at least partly restored to come into contact with the contact terminal, thereby closing the detecting circuit. As a result, the properly connected state of the both connector housings can be electrically detected also in the connector assembly comprising the above connector of the movable member type.
In this case, if no movable arm is provided and the pressing portion substantially directly comes into contact with the detecting terminal, there is a likelihood of throwing the resilient deformation of the detecting terminal out of balance since the pressing portion is displaced on the detecting terminal as the movable member is operated. However, according to the above, the movable arm can be held in contact with the detecting terminal substantially at a constant position and the detecting terminal can be resiliency deformed in a well-balanced manner since the movable arm is provided between the detecting terminal and the pressing portion and the detecting terminal is pressed by the movable arm. Even in cases where the pressing portion cannot reach such a position that it can directly come into contact with the detecting terminal due to restriction on the structural space, such a problem can be dealt with by providing the movable arm.
According to a further preferred embodiment of the invention, there is provided a lever-type connector assembly, comprising a pair of connector housings connect-able with each other, one connector housing including a lever rotatably mounted and formed with a cam groove engageable with a cam pin provided in the other connector housing, and a detecting terminal for electrically detecting the proper connection of the both connector housings, the detecting terminal coming into contact with a contact terminal provided in either the one or the other connector housing to close a de-
*3cting circuit only when the both connector housings are properly connected, wherein:
the lever includes a pressing portion at a side where the detecting terminal is located,
a movable arm is resiliency deformably provided between the pressing portion and the detecting terminal in the one connector housing,
the pressing portion presses the movable arm to incline the movable arm toward the detecting terminal and the inclined movable arm presses the detecting terminal to hold the detecting terminal resiliency deformed to a position away from the contact terminal while the lever is rotated until the both connector housings are properly connected, and
the detecting terminal is restored so as to be able to come into contact with the contact terminal as the pressing portion stops pressing to restore the movable arm when the lever is rotated until the both connector housings are properly connected.
Accordingly, the cam pin is introduced into the cam groove with the both connector housings lightly fitted to each other. When the lever is rotated in this state, the cam pin is displaced along the cam groove to proceed the connecting operation of the both connector housings. During this time, the pressing portion provided on the lever presses the movable arm of the one connector housing to incline the movable arm toward the detecting terminal and the movable arm presses the detecting terminal to resiliency deform the detecting terminal, wherefore the detecting terminal and the contact terminal are held separated. When the both connector housings reach a properly connected state by the rotation of the lever, the pressing portion stops pressing to restore the movable arm and, accordingly, the detecting terminal is restored to come into contact with the contact terminal, thereby closing the detecting circuit. As a result, the properly connected state of the both connector housings can be electrically detected also in the lever-type connector.
In this case, if no movable arm is provided and the pressing portion directly comes into contact with the detecting terminal, there is a likelihood of throwing the resilient deformation of the detecting terminal out of balance since the pressing portion is displaced on the detecting terminal as the lever is rotated. However, according to the above, the movable arm can be held in contact with the detecting terminal substantially at a constant position and the detecting terminal can be resiliency deformed in a well-balanced manner since the movable arm is provided between the detecting terminal and the pressing portion and the detecting terminal is pressed by the movable arm. Even in cases where the pressing portion cannot reach such a position that it can directly come into contact with the detecting terminal due to restriction on the structural space, such a problem can be dealt with by providing the movable arm.
Further preferably, the movable member is moved from an initial position where the movable member projects backward by a relatively long distance from the rear end of the connector housing towards or to a connection ending position where the movable member projects by a relatively short distance.
Still further preferably, the movable member includes at least one locking piece resiliency deformable along the thickness direction thereof,
the locking piece is displaced by moving onto at least one lock projection formed in the mating connector housing during a connecting operation of the both connector housings while being at least partly restored upon moving over the lock projection when the both connector housings are properly connected.
Further preferably, the pressing portion is provided on a surface of the locking piece substantially facing the movable arm, and
the movable arm extends substantially backward while having a supporting point of inclination thereof at or near a front wall of the connector housing located at the front end with respect to a connecting direction, and includes a press-receiving
portion to be pressed by the pressing portion at the rear end with respect to the extending direction thereof.
Still further preferably, the lever is rotated from an initial position where the lever projects backward by a relatively long distance from the rear end of the one connector housing to a connection ending position where the lever projects by a relatively short distance,
the lever includes a locking piece resiliency deformable along the thickness direction thereof,
the locking piece is displaced by moving onto a lock projection formed in the other connector housing during a connecting operation of the both connector housings while being restored upon moving over the lock projection when the both connector housings are properly connected,
the pressing portion is provided on a surface of the locking piece facing the movable arm, and
the movable arm extends backward while having a supporting point of inclination thereof at a front wall of the one connector housing located at the front end with respect to a connecting direction, and includes a press-receiving portion to be pressed by the pressing portion at the rear end with respect to the extending direction thereof.
Accordingly, since the locking piece is resiliency deformed by moving onto the lock projection until the both connector housings are substantially properly connected, the pressing portion provided on the locking piece indirectly presses the detecting terminal via the movable arm and holds the detecting terminal separated from the contact terminal. When the both connector housings are substantially properly connected, the locking piece moves over the lock projection to be at least partly restored and the detecting terminal is likewise resiliency at least partly restored to come into electrical contact with the contact terminal, thereby closing the detecting circuit,
ince the pressing portion stops pressing the detecting terminal. Since resilient movements of the locking piece, i.e. a movement of being resiliency deformed during the connecting operation and a movement of being resiliency at least partly restored upon the completion of the connecting operation are utilized as an indicator of the proper connection of the both connector housings, there is no variation in detection due to an assembling error of the movable member (such as the lever) and the properly connected state can be precisely detected as compared to the type in which position of the movable member (such as the angular position of the lever) is detected and the detected (preferably angular) position is used as an indicator of the proper connection.
Further, if the pressing portion comes into contact with the press-receiving portion of the movable arm substantially from behind with respect to the connecting direction by the movement of the movable member (such as the rotation of the lever), the movable arm is inclined with the front wall of the one connector housing as a supporting point of inclination. Thus, even if the pressing portion is located at the rear side of the (one) connector housing with respect to the connecting direction, the movable arm inclined by an amount substantially corresponding to the resilient deformation of the pressing portion can be brought into contact with the detecting terminal located at the front side of the (one) connector housing with respect to the connecting direction, wherefore the resiliency deformed state of the detecting terminal can be precisely held during the movement of the movable member (e.g. the rotation of the lever).
Most preferably, the movable member comprises at least one posture correcting arm which is to be arranged rotatably and substantially concentrically with a cam plate of the movable member on a surface of the connector housing substantially opposite to the one, where the cam plate is to be provided, with respect to the height direction of the connector housing, and
the movable member preferably includes the posture correcting arm, the cam plate and an operation arm connecting the posture correcting arm and the cam plate and used to rotate the movable member,
wherein the posture correcting arm further preferably is formed with at least one hooking portion for producing forces substantially in directions to pull the both connector housings toward each other by being engaged with a respective receiving portion provided in the mating connector housing when the connecting operation of the both connector housings is being or is completed.
According to a further aspect of the invention, there is provided a connector assembly comprising a connector according to the invention or a preferred embodiment thereof and a mating connector, the connector comprising a connector housing connectable with a mating connector housing of the mating connector, the connector housing comprising a movable member movably mounted and formed with a cam member engageable with a mating cam member provided in the mating connector housing, and a detecting terminal for electrically detecting the proper connection of both connector housings, the detecting terminal being able to come into contact with a contact terminal provided in either the connector housing or the mating connector housing to close a detecting circuit only when the both connector housings are properly connected.
These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following detailed description of preferred embodiments and accompanying drawings. It should be understood that even though embodiments are separately described, single features thereof may be combined to additional embodiments.
Fig. 1 is a side view in section of both male and female connector housings before being connected in one embodiment,
FIG. 2 is a side view in section of the both connector housings immediately before a pre-pressing portion presses a pressable portion,
FIG. 3 is a side view in section of the both connector housings showing a state where the pre-pressing portion presses the pressable portion,
FIG. 4 is a side view in section of the both connector housings showing a state where, instead of the pre-pressing portion, a pressing portion presses the pressable portion,
FIG. 5 is a side view in section of the both connector housings showing immediately before a pressed state by the pressing portion is canceled,
FIG. 6 is a side view in section of the both connector housings showing a state where the pressed state of the pressing portion is canceled upon the arrival of a lever at a connection ending position, thereby establishing the contact of contact terminals and a detecting terminal,
FIG. 7 is a horizontal section of the both connector housings before being connected,
FIG. 8 is a horizontal section of the both connector housings immediately before a connecting operation is started,
FIG. 9 is horizontal section of the both connector housings during the connecting operation,
FIG. 10 is a horizontal section of the both connector housings properly connected upon the arrival of the lever at the connection ending position,
FIG. 11 is an exploded side view in section of the female connector housing, FIG. 12 is a side view in section of the both connector housings properly connected with a cam pin and a cam groove located at an engaging position,
FIG. 13 is a side view in section of the both connector housings properly connected by a pushing surface of the lever pushing a housing main body,
FIG. 14 is a side view in section of the both connector housings properly connected showing a state where a locking piece of the lever is engaged with a lock projection,
FIG. 15 is a horizontal section of the both connector housings properly connected by the engagement of a hooking portion of the lever with a receiving portion,
FIG. 16 is a horizontal section of the both connector housings properly connected by the engagement of the cam pin and the cam groove,
FIG. 17 is a front view of the male connector housing,
FIG. 18 is a rear view of the female connector housing,
FIG. 19 is a front view of the female connector housing,
FIG. 20 is a plan view of the female connector housing when the lever is at a connection starting position,
FIG. 21 is a rear view of the housing main body,
FIG. 22 is a bottom view of a retainer,
FIG. 23 is a rear view of the retainer,
FIG. 24 is a side view of the lever when seen from a posture correcting arm,
FIG. 25 is a plan view of the detecting terminal,
FIG.26 is a front view of the detecting terminal,
FIG. 27 is a horizontal section of a second embodiment showing a state where a female connector housing is fitted into a receptacle of a male connector housing,
FIG. 28 is a side view in section showing the state of FIG. 27,
FIG. 29 is a horizontal section showing a state where a pre-pressing portion comes to be located at a position corresponding to a press-receiving portion of a movable arm by rotating a lever,
FIG. 30 is a side view in section showing the state of FIG. 29,
FIG. 31 is a horizontal section showing a state where a locking projection of a locking piece moves onto a lock projection by further rotating the lever,
FIG. 32 is a side view in section showing the state of FIG. 31,
FIG. 33 is a horizontal section showing a state where the lever is located at a connection ending position and the both connector housings are properly connected, and
FIG. 34 is a side view in section showing the state of FIG. 33. A first preferred embodiment of the present invention is described with reference to FIGS. 1 to 26. A connector shown in this embodiment particularly is an air-bag connector and is provided with at least one pair of male and female connector housings 80, 10 connectable with each other along a connecting direction CD. In the following description, reference is made to FIG. 1 concerning vertical direction and sides of the both connector housings 10, 80 to be connected are referred to as front sides concerning forward and backward directions FBD.
The male connector housing 80 is made e.g. of a synthetic resin and is formed with a receptacle 81 preferably substantially having a laterally long rectangular shape in front view and having an open front side as shown in FIGS. 1 and 17. At least one partition wall 82 is vertically (in height direction HD or at an angle different from 0° or 180°, preferably substantially normal to the forward and backward direction FBD) mounted preferably substantially along a widthwise central axis (widthwise center) of the inner surface of the receptacle 81, and at least one pair of left and right fitting recesses 83, into which the female connector housings 10 can be individually at least partly accommodated, are formed at the opposite lateral (left and right) sides of this or these partition wall(s) 82. In the male connector housing 80, preferably both fitting recesses 83 substantially have an identical internal construction, and/or transversely symmetrical with respect to the (respective) partition wall 82.
One or more, preferably a plurality of tab-shaped male terminal fittings 99 at least partly project in the receptacle 81, and are mounted preferably by being passed
through a back wall 84 of the receptacle 81. A portion of each male terminal fitting 99 projecting out from the receptacle 81 through the back wall 84 is bent down at an angle different from 0° or 180°, preferably substantially at right angle at an intermediate position and has the bottom end thereof electrically connected with a conductor path of an electric or electronic device such as an unillustrated printed circuit board, junction box, electric appliance. One or more, preferably a pair of lateral (left and right) protection walls 85 project backward at or near the rear ends of the (preferably substantially opposite) side walls of the receptacle 81 to at least partly protect exposed portions of the respective male terminal fittings 99 from the outer lateral side(s).
The back wall 84 of the receptacle 81 is formed with one or more projecting pieces 86 for preventing the both connector housings 10, 80 from being erroneously assembled. The projecting pieces 86 project into the receptacle 81 at positions displaced from the widthwise central axes WCA of the respective fitting recesses 83. One or more, preferably a plurality of short canceling pieces 87 for canceling shorted states of shorting terminals 70 provided in the female connector housing 10 as the both connector housings 10, 80 are connected are formed to at least partly project into the receptacle 81 from the back wall 84 of the receptacle 81.
One or more, preferably a pair of contact terminals 98 arranged on one side of a group of male terminal fittings 99 located at a first (preferably upper) stage of those arranged at a plurality of (e.g. three) stages, preferably having the substantially same shape as the male terminal fittings 99 located at the first (upper) stage and having the front end positions thereof substantially aligned with those of the respective male terminal fittings 99 project into each fitting recess 83. The respective contact terminals 98 are to be electrically connected with a detecting terminal 60 provided in the female connector housing 10 as the both connector housings 10, 80 are properly connected, thereby constructing part of a detecting circuit.
On the inner surface of the upper wall of the receptacle 81, one or more cam pins 88 (as preferred mating cam members) engageable with one or more cam grooves 41 (as preferred cam members) of levers 40 (as preferred movable members) assembled with the female connector housings 10 project at positions preferably displaced transversely outward from the widthwise central axes WCA of the respective fitting recesses 83, and one or more lock projections 89 resiliency engage-able with one or more locking pieces 42 of the levers 40 project at positions preferably displaced toward the partition wall 82 from the widthwise central axes WCA of the respective fitting recesses 83.
On the inner surface of the bottom wall of the receptacle 81, one or more receiving portions 91 engageable with one or more hooking portions 43 of the levers 40 to substantially correct the postures of the both connector housings 10, 80 being connected project at or near front end positions of the receptacle 81 displaced transversely outward from the widthwise central axes WCA of the respective fitting recesses 83. Further, one or more disengaging projections 92 preferably substantially in the form of vertical plates substantially extending in forward and backward directions FBD project at positions of the inner surface of the lateral (upper) wall of the receptacle 81 preferably displaced transversely outward from the widthwise central axes WCA of the respective fitting recesses 83.
One or more, preferably two female connector housings 10 similarly made e.g. of a synthetic resin are prepared in correspondence with one or more (e.g. both) fitting recesses 83, and each of them is provided with a housing main body 11, a retainer 93 and the lever 40 (as a preferred movable member) as shown in FIGS. 1 and 18. It should be noted that the shown female connector housing 10 is the one at least partly accommodated into one fitting recess 83 of the male connector housing 80 and preferably substantially is transversely symmetrical with respect to the one to be at least partly accommodated into the other fitting recess 83.

The housing main body 11 preferably is substantially in the form of a block as a whole, and formed with one or more, preferably a plurality of cavities 12 extending substantially in forward and backward directions FBD at positions substantially corresponding to the mating male terminal fittings 99 as shown in FIGS. 19 and 21. A female terminal fitting 97 to be connected with an end of a wire W is at least partly inserted into each cavity 12 from an inserting side, preferably substantially from behind, and preferably is resiliency locked to be retained there by a locking projection 13 projecting at the inner surface of the cavity 12 after being properly inserted.
A projecting-piece receiving portion 14 for receiving the projecting piece 86 of the male connector housing 80 at the time of connecting the both connector housings 10, 80 preferably is formed in the form of a recess in the front surface of the housing main body 11, and the insertion of the projecting piece 86 into the projecting-piece receiving portion 14 preferably prevents an upside-down connection of the both connector housings 10, 80.
One or more snorting-terminal accommodating portions 15 for at least partly accommodating the shorting terminals 70 are so formed in or near the front surface of the housing main body 11 as to substantially communicate with the cavities 12 located therebelow. Each shorting terminal 70 to be at least partly accommodated into the snorting-terminal accommodating portion 15 includes at least a pair of resilient pieces 71 to be brought into contact with at least a pair of female terminal fittings 97 arranged substantially side by side in the cavities 12 located adjacent thereto (e.g. therebelow) to short these female terminal fittings 97 as shown in FIG. 1 until a connecting operation of the both connector housings 10, 80 is started. As shown in FIG. 2, the short canceling pieces 87 of the male connector housing 80 resiliency deform the corresponding resilient pieces 71 of the shorting terminals 70 in a short-canceling direction, whereby the shorted state of pairs of the female terminal fittings 97 can be canceled.

A detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16 is formed preferably at or near one lateral end of the housing main body 11. The detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16 substantially is arranged adjacent to and/or in parallel with the group of cavities 12 for the female terminal fittings 97 located at the first (upper) level, and the respective detecting terminals 60 can be at least partly accommodated thereinto from an accommodation side, preferably substantially from behind.
The detecting terminal 60 preferably is formed by bending an electrically conductive (preferably metal) plate into a specified (predetermined or predeterminable) shape and is comprised of a base plate 61 to be arranged substantially along the inner surface of the detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16, first spring portions 62 substantially extending backward with an upward inclination (inclination at an angle different from 0° or 180°, preferably substantially oblique to the connecting direction CD) from the front end of the base plate 61, a second spring portion 63 extending backward with an upward inclination (inclination at an angle different from 0° or 180°, preferably substantially oblique to the connecting direction CD) from the rear end of the base plate 61, and opposite side walls 64 standing up substantially along the opposite side edges of the base plate 61 as shown in FIGS. 1, 25 and 26. Specifically, a pair of first spring portions 62 are arranged substantially side by side in width direction on the base plate 61, and formed preferably by making such a cutout in the base plate 61 as to leave a substantially U-shaped piece and bending the lateral (left) projecting pieces, and have contact portions 65 with the contact terminals 98 formed to project at positions near the base ends thereof. Accordingly, both first spring portions 62 are connectable with the corresponding contact terminals 98, and individually undergo resilient deformations, thereby avoiding a situation where the first spring portions 62 are brought out of alignment with the corresponding contact terminals 98. On the other hand, the second spring portion 63 preferably has a single-spring structure by folding a rear part of the base plate 61 substantially forward,

"and the front end thereof is arranged to at least partly cover the rear ends of both first spring portions 62 laterally (from above or outside).
An outward- or upward-projecting pressable portion 66 to be pressed by a pressing portion 44 and a pre-pressing portion 45 (to be described later) is formed at an intermediate position of the second spring portion 63. Specifically, the pressable portion 66 has a slant preferably obliquely inclined upward or outward toward the front after extending substantially vertically at the base end of the second spring portion 63, and particularly extends substantially vertically downward after extending a short distance substantially horizontally from the front end of the slant. By operating (rotating or pivoting) the lever 40, the pressing portion 44 and the pre-pressing portion 45 of the lever 40 come substantially into sliding contact with the pressable portion 60 while particularly making an arcuate movement along a rotational path of the lever 40, thereby resiliency deforming the pressing portion 66 in a deforming direction (substantially downward or inward). As the pressable portion 66 is displaced, the first spring portions 62 are also resiliency deformed in the deforming direction (substantially downward or inward).
One or more, preferably a pair of lateral (left and right) excessive deformation preventing pieces 67 for preventing an excessive deformation of the second spring portion 63 are formed preferably by making cutouts in the (preferably substantially opposite) side walls 64 and bending the cut portions substantially inward. One or more, preferably a pair of lateral (left and right) lock projections 68 engage able with the inner surfaces of the detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16 are formed at the outer or upper ends of the opposite side walls 64. Further, one or more, preferably a pair of lateral (left and right) spring pressing pieces 69 for pressing the (preferably substantially opposite) side edge(s) of the second spring portion 63 from above are formed by being bent substantially inward at the upper end(s) of the (preferably substantially opposite) side wall(s) 64. The second spring portion 63 is pressed while
s-eing loaded beforehand in such a manner as to press (preferably both) spring pressing piece(s) 69 substantially upward, wherefore it is not necessary to strictly adjust a spring reaction force.
As shown in FIG. 11, the housing main body 11 is formed with a retainer mount hole 17 preferably at least partly extending over three surfaces, e.g. the bottom surface and the opposite side surfaces of the housing main body 11. This retainer mount hole 17 has such a depth as to vertically cross and substantially communicate with the respective cavities 12 at the one or more (e.g. three) stages, and one or more full locking projections 19 (second projections) and one or more partial locking projections 18 (first projections) for holding the retainer 93 at a partial locking position (first position) and a full locking position (second position) are formed one above or behind the other (or one or adjacent to the other) on the (preferably substantially opposite) side surface(s) particularly located at an upper part of the retainer mount hole 17 in the housing main body 11 as shown in FIG. 21.
As shown in FIG. 23, the retainer 93 includes a main frame 95 formed with one or more, preferably a plurality of windows 94 that can substantially communicate with the cavities 12, and one or more latching projections 94A for latching the female terminal fittings 97 are formed on the inner surfaces of the windows 94. A stepped portion 95A is formed by cutting off at least one of the four corners of the main frame 95, the surrounding wall of the detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16 is at least partly fitted at the inner side of the stepped portion 95A. One or more, preferably a pair of lateral (left and right) locking arms 95E projecting substantially outward or upward are resiliency deformably formed at the (preferably substantially opposite) lateral end(s) (preferably excluding the stepped portion 95A) of the main frame 95. A locking claw 95F projecting inward is formed at the leading end of each locking arm 95E.
The retainer 93 is movable between the partial locking position (first position) where the retainer 93 is partly inserted in the retainer mount hole 17 while the lateral (bottom) end thereof is projecting from the lateral (bottom) surface of the housing main body 11 and the one or more locking claws 95F of the one or more locking arms 95E are resiliency engaged with the one or more partial locking projections 18 (first projections) and the full locking position (second position) which is attached by being pressed deeper into the retainer mount hole 17 and where the rear (bottom) end of the retainer 93 preferably is substantially flush with the lateral (bottom) surface of the housing main body 11 and the one or more locking claws 95F of the one or more locking arms 95E are resiliency engaged with the one or more full locking projections 19 (second projections). The latching projections 94A are located at lateral sides of the cavities 12 to permit the insertion and withdrawal of the female terminal fittings 97 at the partial locking position (first position), whereas the latching projections 94A are at least partly located in the cavities 12 to lock and retain the female terminal fittings 97 substantially properly inserted in the cavities 12 together with the locking portions 13 at the full locking position (second position). Further, as shown in FIGS. 15 and 22, an escaping recess 96 for avoiding interference with a posture correcting arm 46 of the lever 40 is formed in the rear (bottom) surface (press-in surface 93A) of the retainer 93. A lateral bottom part of the posture correcting arm 46 is fitted in the escaping recess 96 when the retainer 93 is located at the partial locking position (first position).
As shown in FIG. 21, an accommodating space 21 for at least partly accommodating the lever 40 is so formed at a lateral (upper) part of the housing main body 11 as to make an opening preferably in the rear surface. The accommodating space 21 is defined between a (preferably substantially thin) covering wall 22 (as a preferred cam-plate accommodating wall) located at the outermost (e.g. uppermost) position and a lever mounting surface 23 substantially opposed thereto. The lever 40
as a preferred movable member) is mounted by being slid preferably substantially in a substantially horizontal posture into the accommodating space 21 from an accommodating side, preferably substantially from behind. The aforementioned detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16 substantially communicates with the accommodating space 21 via a through hole 24 penetrating the lever mounting surface 23.
A (preferably substantially cylindrical) supporting shaft 25 for movably (preferably rotatably or pivotably) supporting the lever 40 projects from the lever mounting surface 23. In the process of mounting the lever 40, a cam plate 47 of the lever 40 moves over the supporting shaft 25 while resiliency deforming the covering wall 22 and, therefore, the supporting shaft 25 is at least partly fitted into a bearing portion 47A of the cam plate 47 to retain the lever 40 in the accommodating space 21 (preferably substantially simultaneously) when the lever 40 reaches a substantially proper mount position. The supporting shaft 25 is set at a position displaced from the width-wise central axis of the housing main body 11 and/or a central axis thereof with respect to forward and backward directions FED (depth direction). A cam-plate engaging portion 26 projects at a position adjacent to the supporting shaft 25 on the lever mounting surface 23, and is engageable with an engaging recess 47B formed in the cam plate 47 to hold the lever 40 at a connection starting position CSP and a connection ending position CEP.
On the lateral (bottom) surface of the housing main body 11, a supporting shaft 27 to be engaged with a bearing portion 46A of the posture correcting arm 46 of the lever 40 to support the lever 40 at two positions in cooperation with the supporting shaft 25 projects at a position substantially on the same vertical axis as the supporting shaft 25. One or more retaining projections 27A projecting preferably in substantially opposite directions are formed or near at the leading end of the supporting shaft 27, so that the posture correcting arm 46 does not come off the supporting shaft 27 during the rotating movement of the lever 40. One or more, preferably a pair of
nateral (left and right) adjusting projections 28 are formed at the (preferably substantially opposite) widthwise end(s) of the lateral (bottom) surface of the housing main body 11 at a sides of the retainer mount hole 17 substantially opposite to the supporting shaft 27 with respect to forward and backward directions FBD. Both adjusting projections 28 preferably project substantially the same distance as the supporting shaft 27 so that the leading ends thereof are substantially aligned with that of the supporting shaft 27, thereby substantially preventing the female connector housing 10 from being connected while leaning forward in the process of connecting the both connector housings 10, 80.
As shown in FIG. 20, a cam-pin introducing groove 22A which extends substantially in forward and backward directions FBD and makes an opening at the front end and through which a cam pin 88 of the male connector housing 80 is at least partly introduced is formed in the covering wall 22 preferably at a position immediately before or adjacent to the supporting shaft 25 with respect to forward and backward directions FBD. Further, a guide groove 22B which likewise extends substantially in forward and backward directions FBD and makes an opening at the front end and substantially along which the lock projection 89 of the male connector housing 80 is at least partly introduced is formed in the covering wall 22 at a position displaced toward a side opposite to the cam-pin introducing groove 22A. The cam pin 88 is introduced while being held substantially in sliding contact with the (preferably substantially opposite) lateral edge(s) of the cam-pin introducing groove 22A, whereas the lock projection 89 is introduced while being held substantially in sliding contact with the (preferably substantially opposite) lateral edge(s) of the guide groove 22B. Further, a guiding groove 22E along which the disengaging projection 92 of the male connector housing 80 is at least partly introduced while being held substantially in sliding contact is formed in the covering wall 22 substantially in parallel with the
rtguide grooves 22B and/or the cam-pin introducing groove 22A at a side opposite to the guide groove 22B.
The lever mounting surface 23 and the covering wall 22 are partly cut out to expose one side (left side in the shown example) of the accommodating space 21 at the rear surface of the housing main body 11, and this exposed space serves as a protecting-portion accommodating space 21A for at least partly accommodating a protecting portion 48 of the lever 40 preferably substantially in the form of a rectangular frame. Further, a stepped portion 29 substantially vertically extending (or extending at an angle different from 0° or 180°, preferably substantially normal to the connecting direction CD) and substantially facing the accommodating space 21 at its upper side is formed in one side surface of the housing main body 11 as shown in FIG. 21, and an area before this stepped portion 29 serves as a stepped recess 29B shown in FIG. 7 slightly lower than a rear area. A stepped surface of the stepped portion 29 facing forward serves as a contact surface 29A to be pressed or urged by an operation arm 49 of the lever 40 when the lever 40 is operated (rotated or pivoted) towards or to the connection ending position CEP.
As shown in FIG. 18, the lever 40 (as the preferred operable member) is comprised of the cam plate 47, the posture correcting arm 46 and the operation arm 49 coupling the ends of the cam plate 47 and the arm 46, thereby preferably being substantially gate-shaped as a whole. As shown in FIG. 7, the cam groove 41 engage-able with the cam pin 88 of the male connector housing 80 extends in a specified (predetermined or predeterminable) direction at an end portion of the cam plate 47 distanced from the operation arm 49, and the both connector housings 10, 80 can be connected and separated (or their connection and separation can be assisted) by relative movements of the cam pin 88 along the cam groove 41. It should be noted that such a cam groove 41 is not formed in the posture correcting arm 46. In the following description on the construction of the lever 40, reference is made to a state
where the lever 40 is located at the connection ending position CEP (state shown in FIG. 10) concerning forward and backward directions.
The inner surface (lower surface) of the cam plate 47 is cut at a position near the inner end of the cam groove 41 to form the (preferably substantially round) bearing portion 47A. The engaging recess 47B preferably substantially in the form of an arc substantially concentric with the bearing portion 47A is formed at a position near the bearing portion 47A, and the cam-plate engaging portion 26 comes substantially into sliding contact with this engaging recess 47B to guide the movement (rotation) of the lever 40.
A temporarily holding arm 51 resiliency deformable and extending substantially in forward and backward directions FBD when the lever 40 is at the connection ending position CEP is formed at a position of the outer periphery of the cam plate 47 near the entrance of the cam groove 41. Before the both connector housings 10, 80 are connected, a tip projection 51A of the temporarily holding arm 51 is engaged with a temporarily receiving portion 31 provided at or near a lateral edge of the accommodating space 21 of the housing main body 11, thereby preventing the movement or operation (rotation) of the lever 40. When a connecting operation of the both connector housings 10, 80 is started, the tip projection 51A is pushed by the disengaging projection 92 of the male connector housing 80 to be resiliency deformed in unlocking direction, whereby the movement or operation (rotation) of the lever 40 is permitted.
The locking piece 42 resiliency engageable with the lock projection 89 of the male connector housing 80 is formed at an end (side of the operation arm 49) of the cam plate 47 preferably substantially opposite to the one where the cam groove 41 and the bearing portion 47A are arranged. The locking piece 42 preferably is defined between a pair of slits 42A making openings at the rear end of the cam plate 47 and extending substantially in the width direction of the cam plate 47, i.e. forward and
backward directions, and is resiliency deformable upward and downward with the front end thereof as a base end. One of these two slits 42A is located near a slanted edge portion 47E formed by cutting off one corner of the cam plate 47 and cannot be extended any further forward.
In an area of the outer surface (upper surface) of the cam plate 47 before the locking piece 42 is formed an escaping portion 52 preferably substantially in the form of a recess for avoiding the interference with the lock projection 89 during the movement or operation (rotation) of the lever 40 to enable the further rotation of the lever 40. A locking projection 53 substantially continuous with the rear end of the escaping portion 52 with a step is formed at or near the base end of the locking piece 42. The front surface of the locking projection 53 forming the above step is formed into a slanted guiding surface 53A sloped up or outward toward the back as shown in FIG. 1, and the upper surface of the locking projection 53 is formed into a substantially flat surface preferably substantially at the same height as the general reference surface of the cam plate 47. Further, the rear surface of the locking projection 53 is formed into a substantially vertical locking surface 53B forming a step to a recess 54 formed behind the locking projection 53. During the movement or operation (rotation) of the lever 40, the lock projection 89 moves onto the locking projection 53 along the guiding surface 53A of the locking projection 53, thereby resiliency deforming the locking piece 42 downward or inwardly. When the lever 40 substantially reaches the connection ending position CEP after the lock projection 89 comes substantially into sliding contact with the flat surface of the locking projection 53, the lock projection 89 is at least partly fitted into the recess 54 and so locked by the locking surface 53B of the locking projection 53 as not to come out.
A locking-piece operating portion 55 preferably is set at a slightly higher position at the rear end of the locking piece 42. The locking piece 42 can be disengaged from the lock projection 89 by pressing this portion 55 down or inwardly. The protect-
ing portion 48 preferably substantially in the form of a rectangular frame is so formed at or near the rear end of the cam plate 47 as to surround at least part of the circumference, preferably substantially the entire circumference of the locking-piece operating portion 55, which can be operated to disengage the locking piece 42 through the inside of this protecting portion 48. The protecting portion 48 has one side thereof joined with the operation arm 49 to vertically bulge out from the rear end of the cam plate 47, and is (preferably substantially entirely) accommodated into the protecting-portion accommodating space 21A of the housing main body 11 when the lever 40 is at the connection ending position CEP.
Further, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 24, the pressing portion 44 projects substantially along one lateral edge of the base end of the locking piece 42 on the inner surface (lower surface) of the cam plate 47. The pressing portion 44 comes substantially into contact with the pressable portion 66 of the second spring portion 63 of the detecting terminal 60 (preferably substantially from behind) when the locking piece 42 is resiliency deformed inward or downward due to the engagement of the lock projection 89 and the locking projection 53 near or substantially at a rotation final position before the connection ending position CEP of the lever 40, whereby the second spring portion 63 is resiliency deformed downward or inwardly together with the first spring portions 62. Preferably substantially at the same time as the lever 40 reaches the connection ending position CEP, the pressing portion 44 stops pressing the second spring portion 63 to resiliency at least partly restore the second spring portion 63 and the first spring portions 62. The front end of the pressing portion 44 preferably stands substantially vertically and/or the bottom end thereof preferably is a slant sloped up toward the back. The slant of the pressing portion 44 is substantially horizontally held when the locking piece 42 is maximally resiliency deformed.
On the inner surface of the cam plate 47, the pre-pressing portion 45 separate from the pressing portion 44 is formed to project at a position right before the locking
.piece 42 and slightly displaced inward in width direction WD from the pressing portion 44. Similar to the pressing portion 44, the pre-pressing portion 45 extends substantially in forward and backward directions FBD (being preferably substantially parallel to the connecting direction CD) and preferably has a shorter dimension in forward and backward directions FBD than the pressing portion 44. This pre-pressing portion 45 comes substantially into contact with the pressable portion 66 (preferably substantially from behind) to resiliency deform the second spring portion 63 and the first spring portions 62 before the pressing portion 44 presses the pressable portion 66 of the detecting terminal 60 during the operation (rotation) of the lever 40. As the lever 40 is further operated (rotated), the pre-pressing portion 45 moves over the pressable portion 66. When the pre-pressing portion 45 stops pressing the second spring portion 63, the pressing portion 44 presses the pressable portion 66 of the second spring portion 63 instead of the pre-pressing portion 45. A bottom part of the front end of the pre-pressing portion 45 preferably is formed into a slant sloped down or inwardly toward the back, and the bottom or inner end thereof preferably is formed into a substantially horizontal flat surface. Since the pre-pressing portion 45 preferably is formed in such a range unaffected by the resilient deformation of the locking piece 42 and is distanced from the pressing portion 44, the interference of the rear end of the pre-pressing portion 45 and the front end of the pressing portion 44 can be avoided while the locking piece 42 is resiliency deformed.
Here, as the lever 40 is operated (rotated), the contact terminals 98 at least partly enter the detecting terminal 60. However, since the first spring portions 62 are pressed together with the second spring portion 63 by the pre-pressing portion 45 and successively by the pressing portion 44 to displace or lower the contact portions 65 of the first spring portions 62 during the operation or movement (rotation) of the lever 40, the contact terminal 98 and the contact portions 65 of the first spring portions 62 are so held as not to touch each other. On the other hand, when the lever 40
substantially reaches the connection ending position CEP, the pressing portion 44 stops pressing the second spring portion 63, with the result that the second spring portion 63 is resiliency at least partly restored together with the first spring portions 62 to bring the contact terminals 98 and the contact portions 65 of the first spring portion 62 into contact, thereby closing a detecting circuit. •
As shown in FIG. 13, the operation arm 49 of the lever 40 preferably is in the form of a long plate extending substantially in height direction HD (or in a direction at an angle different from 0° or 180°, preferably substantially normal to the forward and backward directions FBD). When the lever 40 substantially reaches the connection ending position CEP, the operation arm 49 is at least partly fitted into the stepped recess 29B of the housing main body 11 and/or the front end thereof is pressed against the contact surface 29A of the housing main body 11 in height direction HD, thereby pressing the contact surface 29A substantially forward, i.e. substantially in a connecting direction CD. The front end of the operation arm 49 functions as a pushing surface 49A to prevent the both connector housings 10, 80 from being connected in inclined postures.
As shown in FIG. 24, the posture correcting arm 46 of the lever 40 is arranged at such a position substantially facing the cam plate 47 with the housing main body 11 located there between, and preferably has a width shorter than the cam plate 47 so as to avoid the interference with the retainer 93. The bearing portion 46A penetrates the posture correcting arm 46 in thickness direction at a position coaxial with the bearing portion 47A of the cam plate 47 with respect to vertical direction. One or more escaping grooves 46B into which the retaining projections 27A are at least partly fitted and one or more engaging edges 46E engageable with the one or more retaining projections 27A substantially in a detaching direction of the lever 40 are formed at the inner edge of the bearing portion 46A of the posture correcting arm 46.
A hooking portion 43 having a hooking surface 43A extending in a direction at an angle different from 0° or 180°, preferably substantially normal to a rotating direction of the lever 40 is formed at or near the leading end (end distanced from the operation arm 49) of the posture correcting arm 46. In the case where the both connector housings 10, 80 are connected while being inclined from their proper postures substantially with respect to width direction WD, the hooking portion 43 is engaged with the receiving portion 91 of the male connector housing 80 with the hooking surface 43A thereof substantially opposed to the rear surface of the receiving portion 91 preferably immediately before the lever 40 reaches the connection ending position CEP. Further, in the process of the lever 40 reaching the connection ending position CEP, the hooking portion 43 pulls the receiving portion 91 to substantially correct the postures of the both connector housings 10, 80 being connected.
The lever 40 preferably is so arranged as to project from the rear surface of the housing main body 11 by locating the operation arm 49 more backward than the rear surface of the housing main body 11 at the connection starting position CSP as shown in FIGS. 7 and 20, whereas the rear end surface of the lever 40 preferably is substantially flush with that of the housing main body 11 to form no step to the rear end surface of the housing main body 11 at the connection ending position CEP as shown in FIGS. 10 and 16. Accordingly, whether or not the both connector housings 10, 80 have been properly connected preferably can be judged by confirming whether or not the rear end surfaces of the lever 40 and the housing main body 11 are substantially flush with each other.
Next, functions of this embodiment are described. First, the male connector housing 80 is fixed to the electric or electronic device, particularly to the outer surface of a circuit board, while establishing an electrical connection between the male terminal fittings 99 and conductor paths of the electric or electronic device such as a
printed circuit board, and is kept on standby until the start of the connecting operation with the female connector housing 10.
On the other hand, in the female connector housing 10, the retainer 93 is at least partly inserted into the retainer mount hole 17 of the housing and held at the partial locking position (first position). In this state, the cam plate 47 of the lever 40 is at least partly slid or inserted into the accommodating space 21 of the housing main body 11, and the bearing portion 47A of the cam plate 47 is engaged with the supporting shaft 25 while the bearing portion 46A of the posture correcting arm 46 is engaged with the supporting shaft 27 at the opposite side, whereby the lever 40 is mounted in the housing main body 11 preferably while being kept or oriented at the connection ending position CEP. At this time, the posture correcting arm 46 of the lever 40 and the retainer 93 are in such a positional relationship as to at least partly overlap in thickness direction, but the mutual interference thereof is avoided by the entrance of part of the posture correcting arm 46 into the escaping recess 96 of the retainer 93.
Subsequently, the above female connector housing 10 is transported to an assembling site of the female terminal fittings 97. At the assembling site, the one or more female terminal fittings 97 are at least partly inserted into the cavities 12 of the housing main body 11 from the inserting side, preferably substantially from behind, by an automatic machine or by an operator e.g. by hand or with a tool. In this case, since there is no step between the rear end of the lever 40 and that of the housing main body 11, the female terminal fittings 97 can be smoothly inserted. After all the female terminal fittings 97 are at least partly inserted, the retainer 93 is pushed to the full locking position (second position) to lock the female terminal fittings 97 (preferably doubly in cooperation with the locking portions 13). Since the retainer 93 preferably does not project out of the housing main body 11 by being pushed to the full locking position (second position), the rotation of the lever 40 is permitted. It should be
noted that the shorting terminals 70 and the detecting terminal 60 may be also assembled into the housing main body 11 together with the female terminal fittings 97.
Subsequently, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 20, the lever 40 is operated or moved (preferably rotated or pivoted) towards or to the connection starting position CSP, the tip projection 51A of the temporarily holding arm 51 is engaged with the temporarily receiving portion 31 of the housing main body 11, and the entrance of the cam groove 41 and that of the cam-pin introducing groove 22A of the housing main body 11 are caused to substantially communicate in vertical direction. In this state, the corresponding female connector housings 10 are lightly fitted into both fitting recesses 83 of the receptacle 81 of the male connector housing 80 held in the standby state. Then, as shown in FIG. 8, each disengaging projection 92 thrusts itself between the temporarily holding arm 51 and the temporarily receiving portion 31 to disengage them from each other, and the cam pin 88 at least partly enters the cam-pin introducing groove 22A and the cam groove 41, and the lock projection 89 enters the guide groove 22B.
When the lever 40 is operated or moved (preferably rotated or pivoted) in a direction of arrow X shown in FIG. 8 by holding the operation arm 49 in this state, the cam pin 88 moves substantially along the cam-pin introducing groove 22A, the lock projection 89 moves substantially along the guide groove 22B and the short canceling pieces 87 at least partly thrust themselves between the resilient pieces 71 of the shorting terminals 70 and the female terminal fittings 97 held in contact with these resilient pieces 71 at an initial stage of the operation (rotation) of the lever 40 as shown in FIG. 2, thereby canceling the shorted state. Further, at the initial state of the operation (rotation) of the lever 40, the pre-pressing portion 45 comes substantially into contact with the pressable portion 66 of the detecting terminal 60 from behind, and both slants of the pre-pressing portion 45 and the pressable portion 66 substantially slide on each other in the connecting direction CD of the both connector hous-
ings 10, 80, thereby resiliently deforming the second spring portion 63. As the front end of the second spring portion 63 is inclined, the first spring portions 62 are pressed down or inwardly, whereby the height of the contact portions 65 of the first spring portions 62 becomes lower or more inward than that of the corresponding contact terminals 98 as shown in FIG. 3. In this way, at an early stage of the entrance of the contact terminals 98 into the detecting terminal 60, the first spring portions 62 are pressed down or inward and the contact terminals 98 are inserted to the back side of the detecting terminal 60 while being separated from the contact portion 65.
As the lever 40 is further moved or operated (preferably rotated or pivoted), the locking projection 53 of the locking piece 42 moves onto the lock projection 89 as shown in FIG. 4, and the locking piece 42 is resiliently deformed in such a direction (downward or inward), with the result that the pre-pressing portion 45 moves away from the pressable portion 66 and the front end of the pressing portion 44 presses the pressable portion 66 down or inward instead of the pre-pressing portion 45. Since the second spring portion 63 is kept resiliently deformed in the meantime, the contact portions 65 of the first spring portions 62 and the contact terminals 98 are kept separated without raising the height positions of the contact portions 65 of the first spring portions 62. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 9, in the process of the locking projection 53 passing the lock projection 89, the slant of the pressing portion 44 slides on the pressable portion 66 preferably while substantially making an arcuate movement along the rotational path of the lever 40, whereby the second spring portion 63 and the first spring portions 62 are kept resiliently deformed.
When the lever 40 substantially reaches the connection ending position CEP to cause the locking projection 53 of the locking piece 42 to move over the lock projection 89 as shown in FIG. 6, the locking piece 42 is at least partly restored towards or to its initial natural state and the pressing portion 44 moves away from the press-able portion 66 to substantially stop pressing, with the result that the second spring
portions 63 and the first spring portions 62 are at least partly restored towards or to their initial natural states. Then, the height positions of the contact portions 65 of the first spring portions 62 are raised to push the contact terminals 98 from below and to establish an electrical connection therebetween, thereby closing the detecting circuit. By electrically detecting a signal resulting from the connection of the contact terminals 98 and the detecting terminal 60, it can be known that the lever 40 has reached the connection ending position CEP and the both connector housings 10, 80 have been properly connected. Of course, a specified circuit is constructed by establishing an electrical connection between the male and female terminal fittings 99, 97.
When the lever 40 reaches the connection ending position CEP, the cam plate 47 is at least partly accommodated into the accommodating space 21 of the housing main body 11, the protecting portion 48 is at least partly accommodated in the pro-tecting-portion accommodating space 21 A, and/or the operation arm 49 is at least partly fitted into the stepped recess 29B of the housing main body 11. Then, as shown in FIGS. 10 and 16, the rear end of the lever 40 and that of the housing main body 11 preferably are substantially flush with each other, thereby eliminating a step. The arrival of the lever 40 at the connection ending position CEP can also be known by confirming this.
In this embodiment, the central axis of rotation of the lever 40 preferably is set at a position displaced in width direction WD, and/or an engaging area of the cam groove 41 and the cam pin 88 is set only in the cam plate 47 of the lever 40 as shown in FIG. 12. Thus, a connecting force of the lever 40 preferably acts in such a manner skewed to the central axis of rotation and the engaging area of the cam groove 41 and the cam pin 88, wherefore there is a likelihood that the connecting operation proceeds faster at this side while being delayed at a side away from the central axis and opposite to the engaging area of the cam groove 41 and the cam pin 88.
However, in this embodiment, even if the both connector housings 10, 80 are inclined from their proper connecting postures with respect to vertical direction, the hooking portion 43 of the lever 40 preferably hooks the receiving portion 91 and pulls or urges it as shown in FIG. 15 (preferably substantially immediately) before the lever 40 reaches the connection ending position CEP. In this way, the connecting operation at the side of the posture correcting arm 46, which is apt to delay, is caused to proceed faster. Therefore, the postures of the both connector housings 10, 80 are corrected to proper connecting postures when the lever 40 reaches the connection ending position CEP.
Further, even if the both connector housings 10, 80 are inclined from their proper connecting postures substantially with respect to width direction WD, the pushing surface 49A of the operation arm 49 of the lever 40 comes substantially into contact with the contact surface 29A of the housing main body 11 and pushes it toward the receptacle 81 (preferably substantially immediately) before the lever 40 reaches the connection ending position CEP as shown in FIG. 13. In this way, the connecting operation at the end away from the central axis, which is apt to delay, is caused to proceed faster. Therefore, the postures of the both connector housings 10, 80 are corrected to proper connecting postures when the lever 40 reaches the connection ending position CEP.
While the both connector housings 10, 80 are being connected, the lock projection 89 moves while being held substantially in sliding contact with the guide groove 22B of the housing main body 11 and the cam pin 88 likewise moves while being held substantially in sliding contact with the cam-pin introducing groove 22A of the housing main body 11. While these are moving, the connecting operation of the both connector housings 10, 80 preferably is guided, whereby the inclination of the postures of the both connector housings 10, 80 can be prevented. Further, when the lever 40 substantially reaches the connection ending position CEP, the lock projec-
tion 89 is positioned and held between the back end of the guide groove 22B of the covering portion 22 of the housing main body 11 and the locking projection 53 of the locking piece 42 of the lever 40 as shown in FIG. 14. Thus, with the locked state of the lever 40, it can be known that the both connector housings 10, 80 are in their proper connecting postures.
As described above, according to this embodiment, the detecting terminal 60 is held separated from the one or more contact terminals 98 since being pressed and resiliency displaced by the pressing portion 44 provided on the lever 40 while the both connector housings 10, 80 are being connected. When the both connector housings 10, 80 are properly connected as a result of the rotation of the lever 40, the pressing portion 44 stops pressing the detecting terminal 60, which is then at least partly restored to come substantially into contact with the contact terminals 98, thereby closing the detecting circuit. In this way, the properly connected state of the both connector housings 10. 80 can be electrically detected also in the lever-type connector.
Since the locking piece 42 is resiliency deformed by being located on the lock projection 89 until the both connector housings 10, 80 are properly connected, the pressing portion 44 provided on the locking piece 42 accordingly presses the detecting terminal 60, keeping the detecting terminal 60 separated from the contact terminals 98. When the both connector housings 10, 80 are properly connected, the locking piece 42 is resiliency at least partly restored by moving over the lock projection 89 and the pressing portion 44 substantially stops pressing the detecting terminal 60, wherefore the detecting terminal 60 is resiliency at least partly restored to establish an electrical contact with the contact terminals 98, thereby closing the detecting circuit.
Since resilient movements of the locking piece 42, i.e. a movement of being resiliency deformed during the connecting operation and a movement of being resil-
iently restored upon the completion of the connecting operation are utilized as an indicator of the proper connection of the both connector housings 10, 80, there is no variation in detection due to an assembling error of the lever 40 and the properly connected state can be precisely detected as compared to the type in which the angular position of the lever 40 is detected and the detected angular position is used as an indicator of the proper connection.
If the resilient deformation of the locking piece 42 starts after a while following the start of the connecting operation of the both connector housings 10, 80, the detecting terminal 60 and the contact terminals 98 may be brought into contact during this time. However, the detecting terminal 60 and the contact terminals 98 can be held separated from each other even until the start of the resilient deformation of the locking piece 42 by providing the pre-pressing portion 45 as in this embodiment. This enables the avoidance of a situation where the proper connection is mistakenly detected during the connecting operation. In other words, secure detection can be accomplished by enlarging the operation range where the connection detection can be made thereby improving overall operability.
The lever 40 has already moved to the connection ending position CEP when the both connector housings 10, 80 are completely connected. Since the lever 40 projects backward from the female connector housing 10 by a relatively small amount, the entire connector can be made smaller. With such a construction, when the lever 40 is operated (rotated or pivoted), the pressing portion 44 of the lever 40 comes substantially into contact with the pressable portion 66 from behind with respect to the connecting direction CD and slides thereon forward along the movement (rotational) path. In such a case, the second spring portion 63 can be easily resiliency deformed since extending along the sliding direction. Conversely, since extending backward, the first spring portions 62 can be brought into contact with the contact
terminals 98 with sufficient contact pressures at an early stage of the connecting operation.
Accordingly, to electrically detect whether or not both connector housings have been properly connected in a lever-type connector, a lever 40 (as a preferred movable member) formed with a cam groove 41 (as a preferred cam member) is movably (preferably rotatably or pivotably) mounted and a detecting terminal 60 is mounted in a female connector housing 10. The detecting terminal 60 comes substantially into contact with one or more contact terminals 98 at least partly assembled in the female connector housing 10 to close a detecting circuit only when the both connector housings 10, 80 are properly connected. A pressing portion 44 is formed to project in a part of a cam plate 47 of the lever 40 substantially facing the detecting terminal 60, and keeps pressing the detecting terminal 60 to resiliency deform the detecting terminal 60 to a position where the detecting terminal 60 is separated from the contact terminals 98 while the lever 40 is operated (preferably rotated) until the both connector housings 10, 80 are properly connected. When the lever 40 is operated (preferably rotated) up to a position CEP where the both connector housings 10, 80 are properly connected, the pressed state is canceled to enable the detecting terminal 60 to come into contact with the contact terminals 98. Next, a second preferred embodiment of the present invention is described with reference to FIGS. 27 to 34. The second embodiment differs from the first embodiment particularly in that a movable arm 30 is arranged between a pressing portion 44 and a detecting terminal 60, and the pressing portion 44 indirectly presses the detecting terminal 60 via this movable arm 30. Since the other construction is substantially similar to or same as that of the first embodiment, no repetitive description is given thereon by identifying structurally identical or substantially identical elements by the same reference numerals.
The detecting terminal 60 is comprised of a base plate 61 to be arranged substantially along the inner surface of a detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16, and a spring portion 63A having a specified (predetermined or predeterminable) shape and bent substantially forward at the rear end of the base plate 61, and does not include portions corresponding to the first spring portions 62 unlike the first embodiment. More specifically, the spring portion 63A is turned at the rear end of the base plate 61 to extend substantially horizontally forward, then is bent to substantially project outward or upward, thereby forming a pressable portion 66, is bent to extend slightly outward or upward with a moderate inclination after extending obliquely inwardly or downward toward the front from the pressable portion 66, and preferably has the leading end thereof bent to extend obliquely inwardly or downward toward the front. This bent portion at or near the leading end serves as a contact portion 65 with the contact terminal 98.
Similar to the first embodiment, an accommodating space 21 for a lever 40 is so formed between a covering wall 22 and a lever mounting surface 23 as to make an opening in a lateral surface, preferably substantially in the rear surface, of a housing main body 11 of a female connector housing 10. A wall having the lever mounting surface 23 is formed with a through hole 24 at a position substantially corresponding to the detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16.
The (preferably substantially cantilever-shaped) movable arm 30 is so formed to extend substantially backward from the lateral (upper) end of a front wall 11A of the housing main body 11 and to be resiliency deformable (pivotable) with the lateral (upper) end of the front wall 11A as a supporting point of inclination or deformation. The movable arm 30 is formed to be integral or unitary to the housing main body 11, and is comprised of an arm main body 32 partitioning the lateral (upper) part of the detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16 by being located at least partly in the through hole 24 and/or extending substantially horizontally in forward and backward

'directions FBD (connecting direction CD), and a press-receiving portion 33 projecting from the upper surface of the rear end (free end) of the arm main body 32 to be pressed by a pressing portion 44 and a pre-pressing portion 45 of a locking piece 42. The arm main body 32 preferably has substantially the same thickness as the locking piece 42 of the lever 40 and is inclinable along the thickness direction thereof. At least one pressing rib 34 capable of pressing the pressable portion 66 of the spring portion 63A of the detecting terminal 60 from above is formed on the lower surface of the arm main body 32 to extend substantially from the front end to an intermediate position.
At the base end of the movable arm 30, which forms the supporting point of inclination, a reinforcing wall 11B is formed substantially in correspondence with the lateral (upper) part of the front wall of the detecting-terminal accommodating portion 16. The reinforcing wall 11B is for substantially guiding the insertion of the contact terminals 98 by the inner surface thereof substantially extending in forward and backward directions FBD without being deformed by an inclining movement of the movable arm 30.
On the other hand, similar to the first embodiment, the locking piece 42 of the lever 40 is formed with the pressing portion 44 projecting inwardly or down, and the pre-pressing portion 45 is formed to project inwardly or down before the pressing portion 44. Since the movable arm 30 is at least partly provided in a clearance to the detecting terminal 60, the pressing portion 44 and the pre-pressing portion 45 here have a smaller projecting distance than those of the first embodiment. The front end of the pressing portion 44 stands up or projects substantially vertically (or at an angle different from 0° or 180°, preferably substantially normal to the forward and backward directions FBD or the connecting direction CD), and the bottom end thereof extends substantially horizontally (or substantially along the forward and backward directions FBD) from the front end and then is sloped outward or up toward the back particularly

via a step. This sloped up portion particularly serves as an escaping recess 44A into which the press-receiving portion 33 at least partly enters when the lever 40 reaches a connection ending position CEP. On the other hand, the front end of the pre-pressing portion 45 is formed into a slant sloped inwardly or down toward the back, the bottom end thereof is formed into a substantially horizontal flat surface (or substantially along the forward and backward directions FED) and the rear end thereof stands up substantially vertically (or substantially normal to the forward and backward directions FBD). A slant substantially corresponding to that at the front end of the pre-pressing portion 45 is formed at the rear end of the press-receiving portion 33, so that the arm main body 32 of the movable arm 30 can be smoothly inclined by the sliding contact of these two slants.
Here, when a contact terminals 98 at least partly enter the detecting terminal 60 as the lever 40 is operated (preferably rotated or pivoted), the pre-pressing portion 45 and successively the pressing portion 44 come substantially into contact with the press-receiving portion 33, preferably substantially from behind, during the operation or movement (rotation) of the lever 40 to resiliency displace the movable arm 30 substantially inwardly or downward, and the movable arm 30 (pressing rib 34) presses the spring portion 63A to lower or displace inwardly the contact portion 65, whereby the contact terminals 98 and the detecting terminal 60 (contact portion 65 of the spring portion 63A) are held separated. When the lever 40 substantially reaches the connection ending position CEP, the locking piece 42 is resiliency at least partly restored, whereby the spring portion 63A stops pressing the movable arm 30. As a result, the spring portion 63A is resiliency at least partly restored to bring the contact terminals 98 and the detecting terminal 60 (contact portion 65 of the spring portion 63A) into contact, thereby closing a detecting circuit.
Next, the connecting operation of the female and male connector housings 10, 80 is described. It should be noted that, prior to the connecting operation of the both

connector housings 10, 80, the respective parts such as the retainer 93 and the lever 40 are mounted in the substantially same procedure as in the first embodiment. Then, the lever 40 kept at a connection starting position CSP projects backward from the rear end of the housing main body 11.
First, as shown in FIGS. 27 and 28, a front portion (preferably a substantially front half) of the female connector housing 10 is at least partly fitted into the receptacle 81 (fitting recess 83) of the male connector housing 80. Then, a disengaging projection 92 at least partly thrusts itself between a temporarily holding arm 51 and a temporarily receiving portion 31 to disengage them, the cam pin 88 enters the cam groove 41 and the lock projection 89 at least partly enters the guide grooves 22B.
When the lever 40 is moved (rotated or pivoted) preferably by holding the operation 49 in this state, the cam pin 88 moves substantially along the cam groove 41 and the short-canceling pieces 87 at least partly thrust themselves between the resilient pieces 71 of the shorting terminals 70 and the female terminal fittings 97 held in contact therewith, thereby canceling the shorted state of two or more (or of the pairs of) adjacent female terminal fittings 97 as shown in FIGS. 29 and 30. At an initial stage of the movement (rotation) of the lever 40, the pre-pressing portion 45 comes substantially into contact with the press-receiving portion 33 of the movable arm 30 preferably substantially from behind, the movable arm 30 is resiliency deformed substantially inwardly or downward with the supporting point of inclination as a center while the slants of the pre-pressing portion 45 and the press-receiving portion 33 substantially slide on each other in a connecting direction CD, and the spring portion 63A is pressed by the movable arm 30 to be resiliency deformed substantially inwardly or downward. In this way, the height of the contact portion 65 of the spring portion 63A becomes lower (or the position thereof more inward) than that of the contact terminals 98 to at least partly enter the detecting terminal 60, whereby the courses of the contact terminals 98 are opened so as not to come into contact with

the spring portion 63A. While the lever 40 is operated (rotated), the pressed position of the spring portion 63A by the movable arm 30 preferably is kept substantially constant.
When the lever 40 is further operated (rotated or pivoted) to reach a connection final position, the locking projection 53 of the locking piece 42 moves onto the lock projection 89 to resiliency deform the locking piece 42 downward as shown in FIGS. 31 and 32. At this time, the pre-pressing portion 45 is already moved towards or to a forward position substantially away from the press-receiving portion 33 after passing the press-receiving portion 33, whereas the pressing portion 44 presses the press-receiving portion 33 substantially inwardly or down instead of the pre-pressing portion 45 and slides on the outer surface of the press-receiving portion 33. Since the pressed state of the press-receiving portion 33 by the pre-pressing portion 45 is transferred to the one by the pressing portion 44 without being interrupted during this time, the spring portion 63A can be held resiliency deformed and the detecting terminal 60 (contact portion 65 of the spring portion 63A) and the contact terminals 98 can be held separated.
Thereafter, when the locking projection 53 of the locking piece 42 moves over the lock projection 89 upon the arrival of the lever 40 at the connection ending position CEP as shown in FIGS. 33 and 34, the locking piece 42 returns towards or to its initial natural state and, accordingly, the pressing portion 44 moves away from the press-receiving portion 33 to substantially stop pressing the press-receiving portion 33. Then, the movable arm 30 likewise returns towards or to its natural state and the spring portion 63A freed from the pressing by the movable arm 30 undergoes a displacement in returning direction. When the spring portion 63A returns, the contact portion 65 has the height position of raised to be pressed against the contact terminals 98 from below, thereby establishing an electrical connection between the contact portion 65 and the contact terminals 98 to close the detecting circuit. By electri-

cally catching a signal resulting from the connection between the contact terminals 98 and the detecting terminal 60, it can be detected that the lever 40 has reached the connection ending position and the both connector housings 10, 80 have been properly connected. Of course, female and male terminal fittings 97, 99 are also electrically connected, thereby constructing a specified circuitry. When the lever 40 reaches the connection ending position CEP, the pre-pressing portion 45 and the pressing portion 44 are arranged substantially along the upper surface of the arm main body 32 and are located at such positions as to at least partly overlap the press-receiving portion 33 in the connecting direction CD, and the press-receiving portion 33 at least partly enters the escaping recess 44A of the pressing portion 44 to be located in the proximity of the stepped slanted surface.
As described above, according to the second embodiment, the movable arm 30 is provided between the detecting terminal 60 and the pressing portion 44 to press the detecting terminal 60, wherefore the pressing portion 44 does not directly press the detecting terminal 60. As a result, the pressed position of the detecting terminal 60 by the movable arm 30 can be kept substantially constantly at a specified (predetermined or predeterminable) position, permitting the detecting terminal 60 to be resil-iently deformed in a well-balanced manner. Even in cases where the pressing portion 44 cannot reach such a position that it can directly come into contact with the detecting terminal 60 due to restriction on the structural space, such a problem can be dealt with particularly by providing the movable arm 30.
As described above, if the pressable portion 66 of the detecting terminal 60 is located in a front area of the female connector housing 10 in such a case where the pressing portion 44 is displaceable only in a rear area of the female connector housing 10 and is not movable to the front area, the pressing portion 44 can be directly brought into contact with the pressable portion 66. However, even in such cases, the movable arm 30 inclined by an amount corresponding to the resiliency deformation of

the pressing portion 44 can be brought into contact with the pressable portion 66 of the detecting terminal 60 located in the front area of the female connector housing 10 particularly by providing the movable arm 30 between the pressing portion 44 and the detecting terminal 60 and setting the supporting point of inclination of the movable arm 30 on the front wall 11A of the female connector housing 10. Accordingly, the resiliency deformed state of the detecting terminal 60 can be precisely held by the movable arm 30 during the rotation of the lever 40.
The present invention is not limited to the above described and illustrated embodiments. For example, the following embodiments are also embraced by the technical scope of the present invention as defined by the claims. Beside the following embodiments, various changes can be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention as defined by the claims.
(1) According to the present invention, the one or more contact terminals
can also be assembled into the connector housing where the detecting terminal is
provided, i.e. into the female connector housing.
(2) According to the present invention, the lever or any other movable
member and/or the detecting terminal may be assembled into the male connector
housing.
(3) According to the present invention, the lever may not be provided with
the pre-pressing portion provided that the contact terminal and the detecting terminal
can be held separated from each other only by the pressing portion.
(4) It should be understood that even though in the above embodiments the
operable member being operably or movably or displaceably provided in or on the
connector to assist or perform the connection of the connector (e.g. the female con
nector) with the mating connector (e.g. the male connector) is rotatably or pivotably
provided in or on the connector housing, according to one aspect of the invention it
may be displaceble along a different path e.g. linearly displaceble like a slider or follow any other path (such as a substantially elliptical, bent or other non-linear path).
(5) It should be understood that according to an aspect of the invention the operable member may be provided with two or more cam plates engageable with a corresponding number of cam pins provided in or on the housing, the cam plates being preferably arranged in a non-symmetric manner with respect to the housing (e.g. displaced with respect to the widthwise central axis of the both connector housings and/or with respect to the heightwise central axis of the both connector housings).
LIST OF REFERENCE NUMERALS
10 ... female connector housing
11 ... housing main body

21 ... accommodating space
22 ... covering portion (cam-plate accommodating wall)
22A ... cam-pin introducing groove
22B ... guide groove
23 ... lever mounting surface
30 ... movable arm
32 ... arm main body
33 ... press-receiving portion

40 ... lever (movable or operable member)
41 ... cam groove (cam member)
42 ... locking piece
43 ... hooking portion
44 ... pressing portion
45 ... pre-pressing portion
46 ... posture correcting arm
47 ... cam plate
49 ... operation arm
49A ... pushing surface
60 ... detecting terminal
61 ... base plate
62 ... first spring portion
63 ... second spring portion
66 ... pressable portion
80 ... male connector housing
81 ... receptacle
88 ... cam pin (mating cam member)
89 ... lock projection
91 ... receiving portion
93 ... retainer
96 ... escaping recess
97 ... female terminal fitting
98 ... contact terminal
99 ... male terminal fitting














WE CLAIM:
1. A connector of the movable member type, comprising a connector housing (10) connectable with a mating connector housing (80), the connector housing (10) comprising a movable member (40) movably mounted and formed with a cam member (41) engageable with a mating cam member (988) provided in the mating connector housing (80), and a detecting terminal (60) for electrically detecting the proper connection of the connector housing (10) with the matting connector housing (80), the detecting terminal (60) being able to come into contact with a contact terminal (98) provided in either the connector housing (10) or the mating connector housing (80) to close a detecting circuit only when the both connector housings (10, 80) are properly connected, wherein a pressing portion (44) is arranged at a part of the movable member (40) to substantially face the detecting terminal (60), characterized in that, said pressing portion (44) keeps pressing the detecting terminal (60) to resiliency displace the detecting terminal (60) to a position away from the contact terminal (98) until the movable member (40) is moved to properly connect the both connector housings (10, 80) while stopping pressing to at least partly restore the detecting terminal (60) so that the detecting terminal (60) can be held in contact with the contact terminal (98) when the movable member (40) is moved to properly connect the both connector housings (10,80), and a pre-pressing portion (45) is arranged on the movable member (40) for pressing the detecting terminal (60) to hold the detecting terminal (60) separated from the contact terminal (98) at an initial stage of the operation of the moveable member (40) before the pressing portion (44) presses the detecting terminal (60).
2. A connector as claimed in claim 1, wherein the movable member (40) that is resiliency deformable in the thickness direction of the movable member (40), moves onto at least one lock projection (89) formed in the mating connector housing (80) during a connecting operation of the both connector housings (10,80) while moving over the lock projection (89) and being at least partly restored to be engaged with the lock projection (89), thereby holding the connector housing (10) connected with the mating connector housing (80), when the both connector housings (10,80) are properly connected, and the pressing portion (44) preferably is provided on a surface of the locking piece (42) to substantially face the detecting terminal (60).
3. A connector as claimed in claim 2, wherein the locking piece (42) starts moving onto the lock projection (89) to be resiliency deformed at an intermediate stage of the connection of the both connector housing (10, 80), and /or the pre-pressing portion (45), preferable provided on the locking piece (42), is provided at a side of the movable member (40) before the locking piece (42) with respect to a connecting direction (CD).
4. A connector as claimed in any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the
detecting terminal (60) is assembled into the connector housing (10) substantially along a connecting direction (CD) of the connector housing (10) with the mating connector housing (80) while the contact terminal (98) is arranged in the mating connector housing (80) the detecting terminal (60) has a base plate (61) used to fix the detecting terminal (60) to the connector housing (10), a first spring portion (62) resiliency deformably extending substantially backward from the base plate (61), preferably from a front end of the base plate (61) with respect to a connecting direction (CD) of the connector housing (10) and being able to come into contact with the contact terminal (98), and a second spring portion (63)
resiliency deformably extending substantially forward from the base plate (61), preferably from the rear end of the base plate (61), with respect to the connecting direction (CD) of the connector housing (10), the second spring portion (63) preferably has the front end thereof placed on the rear end of the first spring portion (62) at a side toward the movable member (40) and is formed at a longitudinal intermediate position thereof with a pressable portion (66) to be pressed by the pressing portion (44), and the pressing portion (44) preferably presses the pressable portion (660) while substantially sliding on the pressable portion (966) along a movement path from the rear side toward the front side with respect to the connecting direction (CD) of the connector housing (10) when the movable member (40) is displaced from an initial position (CSP), preferably where a backward projecting amount of the movable member (40) from the connector housing (10) is relatively large, to a connection ending position (CEP), preferably where the projecting amount is relatively small.
5. A connector of the movable member type, as claimed in any one or more of the preceding claims, comprising a connector housing (10) connectable with a mating connector housing (80), the connector housing (10) having a movable member (40) movably mounted and formed with a cam member (41) engageable with a mating cam member (88) provided in the mating connector housing (80), and a detecting terminal (60) for electrically detecting the proper connection of the connector housing (10) with the mating connector housing (80), the detecting terminal (60) coming into contact with a contact terminal (98) provided in either the connector housing (10) or the mating connector housing (80) to close a detecting circuit only when the both connector housings (10,80) are properly connected, wherein the movable member (40) has at least one pressing portion (44) at a side where the detecting terminal (60) is located, a movable arm (30) is resiliently deformably provided between the pressing portion (44) and the
detecting terminal (60) in the connector housing (10), the pressing portion (44) presses the movable arm (30) to incline the movable arm (30) toward the detecting terminal (60) and the inclined movable arm (30) presses the detecting terminal (60) to hold the detecting terminal resiliently deformed to a position away from the contact terminal (98) while the movable member (40) is moved until the both connector housings (10, 80) are properly connected, and the detecting terminal (60) is at least partly restored so as to be able to come into contact with the contact terminal (98) as the pressing portion (44) reduces or substantially stops pressing to at least partly restore the movable arm (30) when the movable member (40) is moved until the both connector housings (10, 80) are properly connected.
6. A connector as claimed in any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the
movable member (40) is moved from an initial position (CSP) where the movable
member (40) projects backward by a relatively long distance from the rear end of
the connector housing (10) towards or to a connection ending position (CEP)
where the movable member (40) projects by a relatively short distance.
7. A connector as claimed in more of the preceding claims, wherein the movable
member (40) has at least one locking piece (42) resiliently deformable along the
thickness direction thereof, the locking piece (42) is displaced by moving onto at
least one projection (89) formed in the mating connector housing (80) during a
connecting operation of the both connector housings (10, 80) while being at least
partly restored upon moving over the lock projection (89) when the both connector
housings (10, 80) are properly connected.
8. A connector as claimed in claim 7, wherein the pressing portion (44) is provided on a surface of the locking piece (42) substantially facing the movable arm (30) and the movable arm (30) extends substantially backward while having a supporting point of inclination thereof at or near a front wall of the connector housing (10) located at the front end with respect to a connecting direction (CD), and has a press-receiving portion (33) to be pressed by the pressing portion (44) at the rear end with respect to the extending direction thereof.
9. A connector as claimed in any one or more of the preceding claims, wherein the movable member (40) comprises at least one posture correcting arm (46) which is to be arranged rotatably and substantially concentrically with a cam plate (41) of the movable member (40) on a surface of the connector housing (10) substantially opposite to the one, where the cam plate (41) is to be provided, with respect to the height direction of the connector housing (10), and the movable member (40) preferably has the posture correcting arm (46) the cam plate (41) and an operation arm (49) connecting the posture correcting arm (46) and the cam plate (41) and used to rotate the movable member (40) wherein the posture correcting arm (46) further preferably is formed with at least one hooking portion (43) for producing forces substantially in directions to pull the both connector housings (10,80) toward each other by being engaged with a respective receiving portion (91) provided in the mating connector housing (80) when the connecting operation of the both connector housings (10,80) is being or is completed.
10. A connector assembly comprising a connector as claimed in any one or more of the preceding claims and a mating connector, the connector comprising a connector housing (10) connectable with a mating connector housing (80) of the mating connector, the connector housing (10) comprising a movable member (40) movably mounted and formed with a cam member (41) engageable with a mating
cam member (88) provided in the mating connector housing (80), and a detecting terminal (960) for electrically detecting the proper connection of both connector housings (10, 80) the detecting terminal (60) being able to come into contact with a contact terminal (98) provided in either the connector housing (10) or the mating connector housing (80) to close a detecting circuit only when the both connector housings (10,80) are properly connected.

Documents:

2119-DEL-2006-Abstract-(29-06-2010).pdf

2119-del-2006-abstract.pdf

2119-DEL-2006-Claims-(29-06-2010).pdf

2119-del-2006-claims.pdf

2119-DEL-2006-Correspondence-Others-(03-05-2010).pdf

2119-DEL-2006-Correspondence-Others-(29-06-2010).pdf

2119-del-2006-correspondence-others.pdf

2119-del-2006-description (complete).pdf

2119-del-2006-drawings.pdf

2119-del-2006-form-1.pdf

2119-del-2006-form-13-(28-11-2006).pdf

2119-del-2006-form-13.pdf

2119-del-2006-form-18.pdf

2119-del-2006-form-2.pdf

2119-del-2006-form-3.pdf

2119-del-2006-form-5.pdf

2119-DEL-2006-GPA-(29-06-2010).pdf

2119-del-2006-gpa.pdf

2119-DEL-2006-Petition-137-(03-05-2010).pdf

abstract.jpg


Patent Number 249702
Indian Patent Application Number 2119/DEL/2006
PG Journal Number 45/2011
Publication Date 11-Nov-2011
Grant Date 03-Nov-2011
Date of Filing 26-Sep-2006
Name of Patentee SUMITOMO WIRING SYSTEMS, LTD
Applicant Address 1-14, Nishisuehiro-cho Yokkaichi city, Mie 510-8503, Japan,
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 TOSHIKAZU SAKURAI 1-14, Nishisuehiro-cho, Yokkaichi-city, Mie, 510-8503, Japan,
2 ATSUSHI SAKATANI 1-14, Nishisuehiro-cho, Yokkaichi-city, Mie, 510-8503, Japan,
3 MASAYASU FUJII 1-14, Nishisuehiro-cho, Yokkaichi-city, Mie, 510-8503, Japan.
PCT International Classification Number H01R13/40; H01R13/40;
PCT International Application Number N/A
PCT International Filing date
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 JP2005-285116 2005-09-29 Japan
2 JP2006-144469 2006-05-24 Japan