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1. GB2051712 - INSTRUMENT PANELS

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[ EN ]
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GB 2 051 712 A
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SPECIFICATION
Improvements in and relating to instrument panels
5 The present invention relates to instrument panels, and especially to a structure for arranging a harness within an instrument panel of an automotive vehicle.
Referring to Figure 1 of the accompanying drawings, one form of conventional instrument panel 1 is 10 equippedwith, inter alia-, an instruments and a switch 4. A bracket 6 is placed a long the lower edge of the instrument panel 1 in its longitudinal direction and fixed at its both ends to the side walls for the vehicle body 2 which bracket the instrument panel 1 15 can be attached by screw means. A harness is ' composed of first lead 11 and a second lead 7 which are provided at their ends with a first connector 10 and a second connector 8, respectively. The first lead 11 is fixed to vertical panel 2a of the vehicle body 2 20 and the second lead 7 is fixed through a harness clip 9 to the bracket 6. A plate 12 covers an opening between the lower edge of the instrument panel 1 and the vertical panel 2a of the vehicle body 2forthe purpose of soundproofing.
25 In such a conventional instrument panel 1, the first and second leads 11 and 7 of the harness are connected by either of the following two methods;
(1) The instrument panel 1 is fixed at its upper, lower and both side portions to the vehicle body 2
30 and the bracket 6 by screw means. Thereafter, a hand is inserted into the space defined by the vehicle body 2 and the instrument panel 1 through the opening between the lower edge of the instrument panel and the vertical panel 2a of the vehicle body 35 and the second connector 8 is manually connected to the first connector 10. Finally the plate 12 is attached to the instrument panel 1 and the vehicle body 2 to close the opening.
(2) First of all, the first connector 10 is connected to 40 the second connector 8 by a hand or hands inserted into the gap between the instrument panel 1 and the vehicle body 2 when the instrument panel 1 is held near its position of attachment to the vehicle body 2. Thereafter, the instrument panel 1 is fixed to the 45 vehicle body 2 and the bracket 6 by screw means or the like. Finally the plate 12 is attached to the instrument panel 1 and the vehicle 2.
With such conventional methods, the connectors 8 and 10 are positioned behind the instrument panel 1 50 so that the worker cannot easily connect them. Thus they are apt to be imperfectly connected, and maintenance or servicing takes a long time, because the plate 12 must be removed.
It is an object of the present invention to provide 55 an improved instrument panel in which a harness can be easily and reliably connected..
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an instrument panel with which maintenance and servicing of a harness within the instru-60 ment panel are facilitated.
According to the present invention, an instrument panel for an automotive vehicle has at its lower portion a small opening near a bracket fixedly supporting the instrument panel. A pair of connec-65 tors for a harness are connected near the small opening. A lid covers the small opening.
The invention provides a structure a wiring harness within an instrument panel of an automotive vehicle having a vehcile body, the harness being 70 composed of a first lead and a second lead, the former leading to the vehicle body and the latter leading to the instrument panel, comprising: a bracket extending along the lower edge of the instrument panel between the two sides of the 75 vehicle body and being fixedly supported by the vehicle body for fixedly supporting the instrument panel at its lower portion; a first connector attached to an end of the first lead; a second connector attached to an end of the second lead, and being 80 connectable with the first connector; an opening in the lower portion of the instrument panel near the bracket; the first connector being fixed relative to the bracket in such a way that the connecting point of the first and second connectors is positioned near 85 the said opening in the lower portion of the instrument panel; and a lid arranged to cover the said opening in the lower portion of the instrument panel.
Four forms of instrument panel including structures in accordance with the present invention will 90 now be described by way of example with reference to Figures 2 to 8 of the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure 1 illustrates a conventional structure for arranging a harness within an instrument panel for 95 an automotive vehicle;
Figure 2 is a perspective view illustrating an instrument panel for an automotive vehicle incorporating a first form of structure according to the present invention for arranging a wiring harness, 100 with some parts being omitted for clarity;
Figure 3 is a sectional view taken along the line Ill-Ill of Figure 2;
Figure 4 is a view to a larger scale showing a second form of structure for arranging the wiring 105 harness;
Figure 5 is a view similar to Figure 4 showing a third form of structure for arranging a wiring harness;
Figure 6 is a view to a still larger scale showing a 110 fourth form of structure for arranging a wiring harness;
Figure 7 is a sectional view taken along the line VII-VII in Figure 6; and
Figure 8 is a sectional view taken along the line 115 VIII-VIII in Figure 6.
Referring now to Figures 2 and 3, of the accompanying drawings, an instrument panel 1 is equipped with, inter alia, an instrument 3 and a switch 4 at the front portion thereof. A bracket 6 is fixed at its 120 ends to the vehicle body 2 for supporting fixedly the instrument panel 1 in a conventional manner. Afirst lead 11 and a second lead 7 constitute a part of a wire harness. Afirst connector 10 is fixed to an end of the first lead 11 while a second connector 8 is 125 fixed to an end of the second lead 7. The first lead 11 penetrates at its intermediate portion through a vertical panel 2a of the vehicle body 2. The branched ends of the second lead wiring 7 are connected to the instruments, the switch 4 and so on. A plate 12 is 130 attached to the vertical panel 2a of the vehicle body 2
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GB 2 051 712 A
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and the lower edge of the instrument panel 1 so as to close the opening between them.
A connector holder 14 and a harness clip 9 are fixed to the bracket 6 by screw means or by welding.
5 The harness clip 9 holds the first lead 11 near its end portion. The first connector 10 is held by the connector holder 14 in such a way that the connecting portion of the connector 10 faces downwardly an opening 16 formed in a lower portion of the 10 instrument panel 1. The opening 16 is such that the first and second connectors 10 and 8 can be connected and dis-connected at the opening 16 if desired. The opening 16 is positioned nearthe connector holder 14 so as to face the connecting 15 portion of the first connector 10. A lid 13 is attached to the instrument panel 1 to close the opening 16. It is preferable that the lid 13 is provided with a locking mechanism such as a locking leg 13a to engage resiliently the surroundings of the opening 16. 20 The instrument panel 1 and its related members are assembled as follows:
The bracket 6 is attached at both ends to the side walls of the vehicle body 2 so as to be arranged horizontally in the vehicle body 2. The first lead 11 is 25 fixed near its end portion through the harness clip 9 to the bracket 6. The connector 10 at the end of the first lead 11 is attached to the connector holder 14. The lid 13 is detached from the instrument panel 1, which panel 1 is equipped with the instrument 3, the 30 switch 4 and so on. While the second lead 7 and the second connector 8 hang through the opening 16, the instrument panel 1 is attached to the bracket 6 and the vehicle body 2 by screw means or the like. Thereafter a hand is inserted through the opening 16 35 into the interior of the instrument panel 1 to connect the second connector 8 with the first connector 10. The lid 13 with the locking mechanism is resiliently fitted into the opening 13 to close it. Finally the plate 12 is fixed to the instrument panel 1 and the vehicle 40 body 2 by the screws.
If maintenance or servicing of the harness in the instrument panel 1 is required, then the lid 13 is removed from the instrument panel 1 to open the opening 16 so that a hand can be inserted through 45 the opening 16 and pull the second connector 8 to disconnect it from the first connector 10.
Referring to Figure 4, in the second form of structure for arranging a wiring harness within an instrument panel a lid 13' is hinged at a point 17 to 50 the instrument panel 1 so as to rotate around the point 17. The front edge of the lid 13' is provided with a locking mechanism such as a locking leg 13a' made of a resilient material. Except forthe lid 13' and its related construction, the panel shown in 55 Figure 4 is substantially the same as that shown in Figures 2 and 3.
Figure 5 illustrates a still futher structure according to the present invention. The second connector 8 is attached on the inner side of a rotatablelid 13' 60 similarto that shown in Figure 4 at such a position that it engages with the first connector 10 when the lid 13' is closed as shown by solid lines in Figure 5. For example, the second connector 8 can be fixed to the lid 13' by a screw, adhesive, or locking means. 65 Figures 6 to 8 illustrate yet another structure according to the present invention in which an alignment mechanism forthe first and second connectors 10 and 8 is employed. The second connector 8 has a terminal 8a like aflat plate which is * a male terminal. The first connector 10 has a female terminal 10a which is so formed as to receive the male terminal 8a. The female terminal 10a is composed of a pair of plates each having at its inner and lower sides a projection, as best shown in Figure 7, for elastically pressing the male terminal 8a in opposite directions so as to obtain a good electrical contact therebetween. The second connector 8 includes a housing 8b with a recess 8cformed in the inner side thereof. The outer side of the housing 8b with a recess 8c formed in the inner side thereof. The outer side of the housing 86 is fixed to the inner side of the lid 13'. A slider 8d of the second connector 8 is slidable within a limited range in the direction parallel with the axle 17a of the hinge 17. The male terminal 8a in the shape of a flat plate is placed in a plane perpendicular to the sliding direction of the slider 8d of the second connector 8. In addition, as is best shown in Figure 8, the second connector 8 has a tapered projection 20 on the slider 8d while the first connector 10 has a recessed portion 21 corresponding to the projection 20 of the second connector 8.
When the projection 20 of the second connector 8 is fitted into the recessed portion 21 of the first connector 10, the male terminal 8a is aligned with the female terminal 10a inthe sliding direction of slider 8d.
In operation, the male terminal 8a can be reliably inserted between the two plates of the female terminal 10a against its spring force in the rotation direction of the lid 13' because they extend widely in the same direction. Also, the female terminal 10a can be so designed as to contact a wide area of the male terminal 8a because the male terminal is formed like a flat plate. In addition, as the slider 8d of the second connector 8 is slidable in the direction perpendicular to the rotation direction of the lid 13', the male and female terminals can be automatically aligned when the projection 20 of the second connector 8 is fitted into the recessed portion 21 of the first connector 10. The engagement of the projection 20 with the corresponding recessed portion 21 permits the male terminal 8a to be aligned with the female terminal 10 because the slider 8d is slid and adjusted within the recess 8c of the housing 8b in the direction perpendicular to the rotation direction of the lid 13' if the male terminal 8a is not aligned with the female terminal 10a. When the recess 21 is completely engaged with the projection 20, the first and second connectors 10 and 8 are connected with assurance. At that time, the locking leg 13a' is fitted into the opening 16 so that the lid 13' is locked to the instrument panel 1.
In order to disconnect the first connector 10 from the second connector 8, it is necessary only to rotate the lid 13' against the locking force of the locking leg 13a'.
Although the alignment mechanism is provided on the second connector 8 in the above-mentioned arrangement, it can be provided on the first connector 10 instead.
As can be seen from the foregoing, according to
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GB 2 051 712 A
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the present invention an instrument panel can be constructed in which a worker can easily see an area where a first connector is connected with a second connector from the passenger compartment of the 5 vehicle so that the workability can be remarkably improved. Also, incomplete connection of the connectors can be easily avoided. In addition, it is not necessary to remove the soundproofing plate when maintenance or servicing of the connectors is neces-10 sary. Thus the connection and disconnection of the first and second connectors can be quickly achieved.
The present invention is not restricted to the forms shown and described herein. For example, the lid, hinge means and instrument panel can be formed, 15 as a unit, made of a synthetic resin such as polypropylene.