Topic: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

Disclaimer: the cost of this small mod was just 5 minutes, as I had all the materials already at home.

This is not an original idea. The photographs that our fellow forum member SShields posted showing us his NI strain relief system gave me the idea. Thanks man.
I've been using the RME a lot live, and I didn't have any problems because I have been very very careful with the ExpressCard, usually fixing the FW cable. But two days ago I was involved on a live situation were a lot of action was going on stage, so I was not confident enough and I decided to take away the fears and make a solid removable connection between the expresscard and my notebook (a Toshiba Satellite S200 by the way).

Needed materials:
* A pair of scissors
* A rubber sheet, 2 mm thick approx [I think mine was a silicone one]
* Some hook-loop fastener (ok, let's do not avoid commercial names and just call it "velcro")
* Some electrical tape (black if possible)
* A plastic bridle
[I'm not sure if this is its correct name in English. I mean this: http://www.e-merchan.com/images/brt120l.jpg]

In fact this solution is composed of two different ones:
a) A ExpressCard 54 slot filler that makes pressure against the RME expresscard and holds it in place. VERY EFFECTIVE!! Works amazingly well.
b) The velcro holder, as security.

Just the single rubber rectanble is amazingly effective. The trick is to cut a slightly wider than necessary rectangle of a deformable material. The rubber I was using also had a high friction. This element on its own is quite good.

http://www.solosade.com/obmun/g2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=2021&g2_serialNumber=2
http://www.solosade.com/obmun/g2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=2017&g2_serialNumber=2

The second part is to use some velcro to make a fastener between the ExpressCard plastic house for the FW connector and the notebook surface, as you can see in the images. I'm using 3M dual lock velcro (amazing thing!). For holding the velcro to the expresscard, as the glued face is not on contact with the xpresscard, I used a double system: first electrical tape, directly in contact with the glued surface of the velcro after removing its protecting tape; second a plastic bridle. Do not apply to much tension to the bridle, as the plastic housing does not seem to be too resistant.

http://www.solosade.com/obmun/g2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=2008&g2_serialNumber=2
http://www.solosade.com/obmun/g2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=2013&g2_serialNumber=2

The small piece of velcro installed on my notebook is not a problem for the closing of the notebook screen.

The final result? Almost perfect fixation. No way of getting the card out. You would broke the notebook before it comes out wink As I said in my case the rubber sheet was almost enough.

You can take a look at the medium res pictures on my gallery here

I hope this is useful for someone.

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

Nice one. I'll make it sticky...

I'd personally not stick anything into that slot (there are alternatives), but the velcro fix is neat.

Regards,
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

Genius!

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

RME Support wrote:

Nice one. I'll make it sticky...

I'd personally not stick anything into that slot (there are alternatives), but the velcro fix is neat.

Regards,
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Thanks Daniel.

The rubber sheet is not permanent. First, the user should insert the RME card and then push slowly the rubber in place. Later when you remove the express card the rubber sheet comes out with it, because, as I said, the trick is to make it a little wider than required. In all the tests I did, never the plastic piece was left inside the ExpressCard slot. As you said, there are alternatives in the form of ExpressCard fillers (already shown in this forums), but I didn't want to pay 15 ? for a stupid piece of plastic smile

I was afraid of the heat dissipation of the RME card and of my solution covering lateral (54 slot free space) and top heat outputs (velcro piece). But it seems card temperature after 6 hours of usage has not increased noticeable at all.

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

That is a great tip! I'm going to use it for my eSATA expresscard on the Macbook Pro, except I'm going to try and fix the Dual Lock strip (transparent Marine type: http://www.marinemegastore.com/product. … mp;cat_id= ) to the underside of the card/laptop so it doesn't get in the way of the speaker/scratch the screen etc. I'm actually thinking of doing a mini version to secure the Firewire800 cable on the other side. They just don't make connectors how they used to!

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

I built mine from the Targus 34/54 mm Spacer adaptor included with this: http://www.targus.com/au/product_detail … ku=ACP60AU

A little bit of hot melt glue & Dremel work...

http://www.puzzlefactory.com.au/ExpressCardSpacer.jpg

Yes, it's a little messy, because when I first cut it, I thought it went in further & so I based my measurements on that.


P.S. I wish you could upload attachments to this forum.

i7-4790k CPU | Asus Sabertooth Z97 mk1 | Corsair DDR3 | RME UFX | REAPER (latest beta) | Win8.1x64

7

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

RME Support wrote:

Nice one. I'll make it sticky...

I'd personally not stick anything into that slot (there are alternatives), but the velcro fix is neat.

RME

?h, what alternatives exactly please? I just bought this pcie card and expected it to work well with any 34mm compatible slot.
thanks,
SU

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

su wrote:

?h, what alternatives exactly please?

I was referring to the Exsys adapter. Please mind that this is not an RME issue, it affects every Expresscard 34 card.


Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

there seem to be a soft lock on my pci express slot of the dell m4400 laptop, its not as bad i tought at first, i dont need anything to hold it.

also the project was a success, m4400 + old multiface from 20001 with a new hdspe expresscard and octamic etc sucess story on the RME side, on the dell point of view i got some problems like screen dead pixels after a week and overheating  or should i say lack of proper heatsinks.

altough the m4400 cost me a bit ... about 2k because i bought the ram mostly.... i am happy with my mobile daw.

runnin on xp pro x64 atm with latest drivers and all... and the new totalmix skin .... 10/10

this new dedicated mobile daw rig is very performant, dual core t9400 and 4 gig ram and 250 gig fully dedicated to orion and i'm shopping for a daw software like cubase.

I bought korg legacy digital edition and everything works perfectly with dongle key in usb hub and midi controllers that are powered by usb are in a powered hub.

Seriously success story here ... always went this way with rme , started in 2001 and now i have a lonely hdsp pci card that was bought at the same time. I bought my octamic a few years after.

This new hdspe expresscard gave a new life to my multiface/octamic and they are now being used in a mobile setup and i can perform/dj/record/compose/mix/master anywhere and anytime. It was a project i had planned and it was achieved with great success, i would like to thank rme for making top of the line products accessible to pro home pc studios. Thanks RME for allowing me to use my multiface almost 10 years after i bought it and still being a very high end standard in the industry.

The process of installing went quicker than imagined and having the setup ready and working took a matter of minutes not hours. It did not take 2-3 trys but only one and i feel i have done the right thing by investing in this proper setup that now allows me to be fully mobile with it and opens new horizons for  many new projects like live performance etc.

This RME setup has now 11 albums to my own artist productions and about 3 other albums of urban music since 2001 credited for. The entire setup is the same but software is much higher quality then 10 years ago so i am very pleased with software most of the time.  Thanks for making my dream possible RME you have changed my life entirely in the way that i dreamed.

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

my post is kinda off topic but in the end to answer the statement by rme saying that the locking mechanism of some expresscard were practically non existent so that made it a failure but not on the technological side. the hdspe expresscard is insanely small and it was not cheap (730$ CAN)

Bought HDSP multiface + pci express card for 1400 can in 2001

Octamic for 1600 in 2003ish

Absolutely no regrets in investing in a proper setup with rme gear, pleased after almost a decade. I bought early i was 18 years old in 2000 and i can only dream of the multiface 2 and octamic 2 now haha!

I had concerns and i had noted this thread when shopping laptop and eventually preparing for the worst about the locking mechanism, in the m4400 it has some type of soft lock (pushnlock) and it is fine it would not disconnect unless pulled properly.

I have also a few times disconnected everything from the laptop/reconnect everything
it's a process that does not take much time with usb powered hubs that are already setup, only a few wires needed, i close laptop, disconnect mf ps etc etc properly before removing the hdspe .

I bought a m4400 because it was the new workstation line from dell back in october 2008 and it was recommended for DAW use as well and it was what i needed.

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

daxliniere wrote:

I built mine from the Targus 34/54 mm Spacer adaptor included with this: http://www.targus.com/au/product_detail … ku=ACP60AU

A little bit of hot melt glue & Dremel work...

http://www.puzzlefactory.com.au/ExpressCardSpacer.jpg

Yes, it's a little messy, because when I first cut it, I thought it went in further & so I based my measurements on that.


P.S. I wish you could upload attachments to this forum.

The Targus link doesn't work anymore.  And this item is part of a Targus item that costs a lot of money.

Here is an adapter for $5 (3 to a pack), and it's available in the US:
http://www.startech.com/item/ECBRACKET- … -Pack.aspx

Ira

Re: My homemade strain relief solution for the ExpressCard

obmun wrote:

I hope this is useful for someone.

Since this posting from 2008 is at the top if you google for a solution for this expresscards do not lock crap (how can this become standard?) it would be very nice if you could update the posting with working image links? Cause without the images I do not understand how to use/build your solution. Thank you. smile