US Patent 9,300,081 Interposer Connectors with Magnetic Components

Abstract

Disclosed are interposer electrical connector embodiments including magnetic components used to facilitate interconnection of peripheral devices to standard input/output, or “I/O”, connectors (such as USB connectors) of devices such as mobile communications products (e.g. smart phones, tablets, and personal computers). The interposer connector embodiments disclosed include those in which a plurality of discrete permanent magnets are arranged with magnetic poles aligned in the same orientation perpendicular to and on one side of the electrical interface. Other embodiments include a plurality of bar permanent magnets located on opposite sides of the interface with all poles of the same type directed at the interface, but each one opposing a ferromagnetic element. These arrangements provide self-aligning capabilities useful for electrical connections that have restrictions on visibility or connection approach geometries. Other embodiments have a single magnet per mated connector pair and magnetic pole pieces and/or actuators to concentrate magnetic flux providing the magnetic attractive force for a plurality of electrical connections.

Claims

1. An electrical connector system comprising:a first connector comprising:a first connector mating interface;a plurality of first electrical contacts disposed along the first connector mating interface; andone or more first magnetic structures wherein a portion of a first magnetic structure is positioned behind each of the first electrical contacts;a second connector comprising:a second connector housing having a second connector mating interface;a plurality of second electrical contacts disposed along the second connector mating interface; anda compliant substrate; anda plurality of second magnetic structures affixed to the compliant substrate wherein a portion of a second magnetic structure is positioned behind each of the second electrical contacts; anda source of magnetic flux providing a magnetic attraction between the one or more first magnetic structures and the second magnetic structures; andwherein the magnetic attraction moves the second magnetic structures relative to the second connector housing as the first connector mating interface approaches the second connector mating interface.

2. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein the second magnetic structures are affixed within cavities of the second connector housing.

3. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein the compliant substrate is located between the second electrical contacts and the second magnetic structures.

4. The electrical connector system of claim 3 wherein the second electrical contacts comprise rigid electrical contact structures affixed to the front side of the compliant substrate.

5. The electrical connector system of claim 4 wherein the rigid electrical contact structures comprise magnetic material.

6. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein the second electrical contacts comprise conducting surfaces of the second magnetic structures.

7. The electrical connector system of claim 1 further comprising an aperture in the second connector housing and wherein portions of one or more second magnetic structures extend into the aperture.

8. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein at least one first magnetic structure comprisesa magnet having a first pole face and a second pole face; anda first ferromagnetic element comprising magnetic material that is not a magnet wherein the first ferromagnetic element is positioned proximate to the first pole face of the magnet and wherein the first ferromagnetic element directs magnetic flux through a first electrical contact in a direction substantially perpendicular to the first connector mating interface.

9. The electrical connector system of claim 8 wherein the first connector further comprises:a plurality of third electrical contacts disposed along the first connector mating interface; anda second ferromagnetic element comprising magnetic material that is not a magnet and wherein the second ferromagnetic element is positioned proximate to the second pole face of the magnet; andwherein the second ferromagnetic element directs magnetic flux through a third electrical contact in a direction substantially perpendicular to the first connector mating interface; and

the second connector further comprises:a plurality of fourth electrical contacts disposed along the second connector mating interface; andwherein at least one of the second magnetic structures comprises ferromagnetic material that is not a magnet wherein the second magnetic structure provides a magnetic flux path between a second electrical contact and a fourth electrical contact.

10. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein the magnetic flux passes in the same direction through adjacent second electrical contacts.

11. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein at least one of the first magnetic structures comprises a magnet having a first pole face and a second pole face wherein the first pole face is located closer than the second pole face to the first connector mating interface.

12. The electrical connector system of claim 1 comprising two first magnetic structures and two second magnetic structures whereinone of the first magnetic structures comprisesa first axially magnetized magnet having its magnetic axis oriented perpendicular to the first connector mating interface;one of the first magnetic structures comprisesmagnetic material that is not a magnet located laterally adjacent to the first axially magnetized magnet;one of the second magnetic structures comprisesa second axially magnetized magnet having its magnetic axis oriented perpendicular to the second connector mating interface; andone of the second magnetic structures comprises magnetic material that is not a magnet located laterally adjacent to the second axially magnetized magnet;wherein as the first connector mating interface approaches the second connector mating interface:the first axially magnetized magnet is attracted to the second magnetic structure comprising magnetic material that is not a magnet;the first axially magnetized magnet is repelled from the second axially magnetized magnet; andthe second axially magnetized magnet is attracted to the first magnetic structure comprising magnetic material that is not a magnet.

13. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein the magnetic flux density through the second electrical contacts is higher than the magnetic flux density through the space between adjacent second electrical contacts.

14. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein the connector system provides electrical continuity through a wall of a case for an electronic device.

15. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein the plurality of first electrical contacts or the plurality of second electrical contacts at least partially define a portion of a letter or logo.

16. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein the one or more second magnetic structures comprise magnetic material that is not a permanent magnet and wherein the smallest distance from a second electrical contact to a second magnetic structure is less than the smallest distance from the second electrical contact to the compliant substrate.

17. The electrical connector system of claim 16 wherein the compliant substrate comprises an aperture and wherein a portion of a second magnetic structure extends through the aperture.

18. The electrical connector system of claim 1 wherein the first magnetic structure comprisesan axially polarized magnet having a first magnetic pole face and a second magnetic pole face wherein the flux path inside the magnet between the first and second magnetic pole faces is substantially parallel to the first connector mating interface; anda first ferromagnetic pole piece proximate to the first magnetic pole face; anda second ferromagnetic pole piece proximate to the second magnetic pole face.

19. The electrical connector system of claim 18 characterized by a magnetic flux circuit wherein the magnetic flux circuit comprises a path through the first magnetic pole face, the first ferromagnetic pole piece, a first electrical contact, a second electrical contact, a second magnetic structure, the second ferromagnetic pole piece and the second magnetic pole face.

20. The electrical connector system of claim 18 comprising an electronic substrate wherein a portion of the electronic substrate is positioned between the first magnetic pole face and the first ferromagnetic pole piece.