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).
* 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: ]
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.
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.
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 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.