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Machine Design

Retainer keeps graphics card in its place

Strong vibrations and mechanical shocks can cause electrical interrupts and even damage graphic or adjacent I/O cards attached to a computer's motherboard.

To keep PCI Express cards from dislodging, engineers at FCI Interconnect, Etters, Pa. (, designed a retainer that gets soldered next to the x16 PCI Express card edge connector. It interlocks with the "hockey-stick" shaped hook on the bottom of the card, and two metal forklocks hold it to the motherboard prior to wave soldering.

Once soldered in place, a deep slot in the retainer restrains the card during sideshock events. A flexible arm extending away from the slot includes a molded post that snaps into a notch on the bottom of the graphics card, keeping it secure despite vertical shocks. Pushing the arm away from the card releases the post from the notch and the card can be removed. The thermoplastic retainer is compatible with lead-free wave soldering. The forklocks' tin finish is also lead-free.

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