Title:
Card retention system and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A card retention system comprises a retainer adapted to apply an increasing level of retention force to an expansion card disposed in a chassis as a size of the expansion card increases. The system also comprises a support member adapted to support the retainer in a plurality of different locations relative to the expansion card.



Inventors:
Roesner, Arlen L. (Fort Collins, CO, US)
Tuttle, Erick J. (Fort Collins, CO, US)
Application Number:
10/287889
Publication Date:
05/06/2004
Filing Date:
11/05/2002
Assignee:
ROESNER ARLEN L.
TUTTLE ERICK J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
G9B/33.033
International Classes:
G06F1/18; G11B33/12; (IPC1-7): A47G19/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY (Fort Collins, CO, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A card retention system, comprising: a retainer adapted to apply an increasing level of retention force to an expansion card disposed in a chassis as a size of the expansion card increases; and a support member adapted to support the retainer in a plurality of different locations relative to the expansion card.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the support member is adapted to be rotatably coupled to the chassis.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the retainer comprises a biased retention arm adapted to apply the retention force to the expansion card.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the retainer comprises a rotatable grip adapted to engage the expansion card to apply the retention force to the expansion card.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the retainer comprises a compressible grip pad adapted to engage the expansion card.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the retainer comprises a torsion spring adapted to generate the retention force.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the support member is adapted to be releasably coupled to the chassis.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the retainer is adapted to apply the retention force to an edge of the expansion card.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the retainer comprises: a base adapted to be releasably coupled to the support member; and a retention arm rotatably coupled to the base and biased away from the base for applying the retention force to the expansion card.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein the increasing level of retention force corresponds to an increasing width of the expansion card.

11. A method for manufacturing a card retention system, comprising: providing a support member adapted to be releasably coupled to a chassis; coupling a retainer to at least one of a plurality of mounting locations disposed on the support member, the retainer adapted to apply an increasing level of retention force to an expansion card disposed in the chassis as a size of the expansion card increases.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising coupling a compressible grip pad to the retainer adapted to engage the expansion card.

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising coupling a rotatable grip to a retention arm of the retainer adapted to cooperate with the expansion card.

14. The method of claim 11, further comprising coupling a grip to a retention arm of the retainer adapted to engage an edge of the expansion card for applying the retention force to the expansion card.

15. The method of claim 11, further comprising coupling a retention arm to a base of the retainer, the retention arm biased away from the base for applying the retention force to the expansion card.

16. The method of claim 11, wherein providing the support member comprises providing a support member adapted to accommodate a plurality of retainers disposed adjacent each other for applying the retention force to a plurality of adjacently disposed expansion cards.

17. A card retention system, comprising: means for applying an increasing level of retention force to expansion card disposed in a chassis as a size of the expansion card increases; and means for supporting the means for applying the retention force in at least one of a plurality of positions relative to the expansion card.

18. The system of claim 17, wherein the means for applying the retention force comprises a rotatable grip means adapted to engage the expansion card.

19. The system of claim 17, wherein the means for applying the retention force comprises a compressible means adapted to engage the expansion card.

20. The system of claim 17, wherein the means for applying the retention force comprises means for engaging an edge of the expansion card.

21. The system of claim 17, wherein the means for applying the retention force comprises means for biasing a retention arm away from a base to apply the retention force to the expansion card.

22. The system of claim 17, further comprising means for rotatably coupling the supporting means to the chassis.

23. The system of claim 17, wherein the supporting means is adapted to accommodate a plurality of means for applying a retention force disposed adjacent each other.

24. A card retention system, comprising: a base; a retention arm rotatably coupled to the base and biased away from the base; and a rotatable grip coupled to the retention arm, the grip adapted to engage an expansion card disposed in a chassis.

25. The system of claim 24, further comprising a compressible grip pad coupled to the grip, the grip pad adapted to engage the expansion card.

26. The system of claim 24, further comprising a torsion spring coupled to the base and the retention arm for biasing the retention arm away from the base.

27. The system of claim 24, wherein the rotatable grip is adapted to engage an edge of the expansion card.

28. The system of claim 24, further comprising a compressible grip pad coupled to the grip, the grip pad adapted to engage an edge of the expansion card.

29. The system of claim 24, wherein the grip comprises a rubber grip pad adapted to engage an edge of the expansion card.

30. A card retention system, comprising: a base; a retention arm coupled to the base and biased away from the base for applying a retention force to an expansion card; and a compressible grip pad coupled to the retention arm and adapted to engage the expansion card.

31. The system of claim 30, further comprising a torsion spring coupled to the base and the retention arm for biasing the retention arm away from the base.

32. The system of claim 30, wherein the grip pad is adapted to engage an edge of the expansion card.

33. The system of claim 30, wherein the compressible grip pad comprises a rubber grip pad.

34. The system of claim 30, wherein the grip pad is pivotally coupled to the retention arm.

35. A card retention system, comprising: a chassis adapted to receive a plurality of expansion cards; and a retaining assembly adapted to be releasably coupled to the chassis, the retaining assembly adapted to apply a retention force to at least two of the plurality of expansion cards, the retention force increasing as a size of the corresponding expansion card increases.

36. The system of claim 35, wherein the retaining assembly comprises a compressible grip pad adapted to engage an edge of the expansion cards.

37. The system of claim 35, wherein the retaining assembly is rotatably coupled to the chassis.

38. The system of claim 35, wherein the retaining assembly comprises: a support member coupled to the chassis; and a plurality of retainers coupled to the support member, each retainer adapted to apply the retention force to the corresponding expansion card.

39. The system of claim 35, wherein at least two of the expansion cards comprise different sizes.

40. The system of claim 35, wherein the retaining assembly comprises a plurality of retainers each adapted to apply the retention force to the corresponding expansion card.

41. The system of claim 35, wherein the retaining assembly comprises a plurality of retainers each having a retention arm biased toward the expansion cards for applying the retention force to a corresponding expansion card.

42. The system of claim 35, wherein each retaining assembly comprises a plurality of retainers each having a rotatable grip adapted to engage an edge of a corresponding expansion card.

43. The system of claim 35, wherein the retaining assembly is adapted to apply the retention force to an edge of the at least two expansion cards.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to the field of electronics and, more particularly, to a card retention system and method.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Computers generally include a chassis adapted to receive and removably support a plurality of expansion cards. The expansion cards may be installed in the chassis during computer manufacture and/or subsequently installed by the computer user. The expansion card generally includes a printed circuit board having an edge connector adapted to engage a corresponding socket in the chassis. Extending along one edge of the expansion card is a connecting bracket or bulkhead having angled securement tabs which rest upon a support or ledge of the chassis. The securement tabs generally include openings or notches that overlie threaded openings such that the bulkhead is secured to the chassis using a screw. Alternatively, the chassis may include a dimple or other type of raised surface area for engaging a notch or opening of the bulkhead to secure the expansion card in the socket.

[0003] However, securing the expansion card only to the support ledge of the chassis via the bulkhead of the expansion card may still result in movement of the expansion card within the chassis. For example, as the length and/or width of the expansion card increases, the greater the likelihood that portions of adjacent expansion cards may contact each other. Different types of mechanisms may be used to further secure the expansion card(s) within the chassis. For example, one mechanism for securing expansion cards within the chassis includes a fixed stop secured to a portion of the chassis and contacting a portion of at least one of the expansion cards. Another device for securing an expansion card includes a bracket secured to the chassis, and a spring-actuated mechanism attached to the bracket for directing a force to an edge of an expansion card. Another device for securing the expansion card within the chassis includes one or more slidable-cam mechanisms attached to a bracket. The cam mechanism includes a tab or button that a user may slide in a desired direction causing an arm of the cam to move downwardly to contact an edge of the expansion card. However, these mechanisms are generally configured for a particular type of expansion card or for a particular size of expansion card. Thus, these mechanisms generally do not readily accommodate a change to a particular expansion card within the chassis or varying sizes of expansion cards within the chassis. Additionally, depending on the size of the expansion card, the force applied to the expansion card by these mechanisms may be insufficient to restrain the expansion card or prevent contact between adjacent expansion cards.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a card retention system comprises a retainer adapted to apply an increasing level of retention force to an expansion card disposed in a chassis as a size of the expansion card increases, and a support member adapted to support the retainer in a plurality of different locations relative to the expansion card.

[0005] In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a method for manufacturing a card retention system comprises providing a support member adapted to be releasably coupled to a chassis and coupling a retainer to at least one of a plurality of mounting locations disposed on the support member. The retainer is adapted to apply an increasing level of retention force to an expansion card disposed in the chassis as a size of the expansion card increases.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] For a more complete understanding of the present invention and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0007] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of a card retention system in accordance with the present invention;

[0008] FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of the card retention system of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention; and

[0009] FIGS. 3A and 3B are diagrams illustrating an embodiment of the card retention system of FIGS. 1 and 2 in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] The preferred embodiments of the present invention and the advantages thereof are best understood by referring to FIGS. 1-3 of the drawings, like numerals being used for like and corresponding parts of the various drawings.

[0011] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of a card retention system 10 in accordance with the present invention. Briefly, retention system 10 retains at least one expansion card 12 disposed within a computer chassis 14 in a substantially fixed position relative to chassis 14 and relative to other expansion cards 12 within chassis 14. Retention system 10 is configured to accommodate varying sizes of expansion cards 12 and retain a plurality of adjacently disposed expansion cards 12 in a substantially fixed position, thereby substantially preventing contact between adjacently disposed expansion cards 12.

[0012] In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, system 10 comprises a retention assembly 20 releasably coupled to chassis 14. Retention assembly 20 comprises a support member 22 adapted to be releasably coupled to chassis 14 and a retainer 24 coupled to support member 22 and adapted to adapted to engage and apply a retention force to an edge 26 of expansion card 12. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, retention assembly 20 is adapted to be pivotably coupled to chassis 14 to provide rotatable movement of retention assembly 20 relative to chassis 14. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 1, an end 28 of support member 22 comprises a plurality of tabs 30 adapted to engage corresponding slots 32 formed in a wall 34 of chassis 14 to rotatably couple support member 22 to chassis 14. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, an opposite end 36 of support member 22 comprises a thumbscrew 38 or other type of fastening device for releasably securing end 36 of support member 22 to a portion 40 of chassis 14. Thus, in operation, retention assembly 20 may be rotated from an open position downwardly into a closed position, as illustrated in FIG. 1, by rotating end 36 downwardly toward portion 40 of chassis 14, where thumbscrew 38 may then be used to secure end 36 of support member 22 to chassis 14. However, it should be understood that other methods or devices may be used to releasably secure retention assembly 20 to chassis 14.

[0013] FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of retention assembly 20 in FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 2, support member 22 comprises a plurality of mounting holes 50 adapted to cooperate with retainer 24 to accommodate positioning of retainer 24 in any one of a plurality of positions relative to support member 22. For example, mounting holes 50 may be disposed at a plurality of different locations longitudinally, indicated generally at 52, and laterally, indicated generally at 54, such that retainer 24 may be disposed at any one of a plurality of locations longitudinally relative to support member 22 and/or laterally relative to support member 22. Thus, retainer 24 may be disposed at a longitudinal position relative to support member 22 to accommodate varying lengths of expansion cards 12. Additionally, multiple retainers 24 may also be secured to support member 22 to accommodate adjacently disposed expansion cards 12 or expansion cards 12 disposed greater distances away from each other.

[0014] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, support member 22 comprises downwardly disposed stiffening members 56 and 58 to provide rigid support to counter a downward retention force applied by retainer 24 to expansion cards 12. However, it should be understood that support member 22 may be otherwise configured to provide rigid support in response to the downwardly disposed retention forces applied by retainer 24 to expansion cards 12.

[0015] FIG. 3A is a diagram illustrating an exploded view of an embodiment of retainer 24 of FIGS. 1 and 2 in accordance with the present invention, and FIG. 3B is a diagram illustrating an assembled view of the embodiment of retainer 24 of FIG. 3A in accordance with the present invention. As illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, retainer 24 comprises a base 70 adapted to be coupled to support member 22. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, base 70 comprises clips 72 and 74 disposed at opposite ends of base 70 to cooperate with mounting holes 50 in support member 22. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, clip 74 is disposed on a flexible arm 76 of base 70 to accommodate movement of clip 74 relative to base 70. Thus, in operation, clip 72 may be inserted into one of mounting holes 50 to secure one end of base 70 to support member 22. Clip 74 may then be biased inwardly in a direction toward clip 72 to insert clip 74 into another mounting hole 50. After clip 74 has been inserted into one of mounting holes 50, arm 76 biases clip 74 outwardly to secure clip 74 within mounting hole 50, thereby securing base 70 to support member 22.

[0016] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, base 70 also comprises a positioning element 78 adapted to cooperate with support member 22 to ensure a desired orientation and/or position of retainer 24 relative to support member 22. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, positioning element 78 comprises a boss 80 preferably disposed a predetermined distance from either clip 72 or clip 74 such that unequal distances are provided between boss 80 and clips 72 and 74. Referring briefly to FIG. 2, boss 80 of base 70 cooperates with a corresponding positioning hole 82 formed in support member 22. Correspondingly, positioning holes 82 disposed in support member 22 are located between mounting holes 50 for a particular retainer 24 location on support member 22 such that unequal distances reside on each side of positioning holes 82 relative to mounting holes 50 for receiving clips 72 and 74. Thus, in operation, to ensure a predetermined orientation and position of retainer 24 on support member 22, mounting holes 50 are selected to accommodate both insertion of clip 72 and 74 into mounting holes 50 and insertion of boss 80 into positioning holes 82.

[0017] As illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, retainer 24 also comprises a torsion spring 90, a retention arm 92, and a grip 94. Retention arm 92 comprises a plurality of support arms 96 adapted to be pivotably coupled to corresponding support arms 98 of base 70 via a pivot pin 100 to accommodate rotatable movement of retention arm 92 relative to base 70. However, it should be understood that retention arm 92 may be otherwise coupled to base 70 to accommodate rotatable movement of retention arm 92 relative to base 70. Torsion spring 90 is coupled to base 70 and retention arm 92 to bias retention arm 92 away from base 70. As will be described in greater detail below, retention arm 92 is configured having a longitudinal length to accommodate a variety of sizes of expansion cards 12.

[0018] Grip 94 also comprises a plurality of support arms 102 adapted to be pivotally coupled to a plurality of support arms 104 of retention arm 92 via a pivot pin 106 to provide rotatable movement of grip 94 relative to retention arm 92. However, it should be understood that grip 94 may be otherwise coupled to retention arm 92 to accommodate rotatable movement of grip 94 relative to retention arm 92.

[0019] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, support members 108 extend longitudinally along retention arm 92 from support arms 96 to support arms 104 to provide rigid support to retention arm 92. However, it should be understood that other methods or devices may be used to rigidly support retention arm 92.

[0020] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, grip 94 comprises a base 110 adapted to cooperate with a compressible grip pad 112. As illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, base 110 may comprise a plurality of spaced apart walls 114 extending adjacent to grip pad 112. For example, wall 114 may be positioned relative to each other to provide a press-fit installation of grip pad 112 into base 110. However, it should be understood that grip pad 112 may be otherwise coupled to grip 94. Grip pad 112 may be formed from rubber or other compressible materials such that grip pad 112 compresses or slightly deforms in response to an applied pressure to grip pad 112.

[0021] In operation, referring to FIG. 1, end 28 of retention assembly 20 is coupled to chassis 14 by inserting tabs 30 into corresponding slots 32 such that end 36 of retention assembly 20 may be rotated downwardly and secured to portion 40 of chassis 14. As retention assembly 20 rotates downwardly toward expansion card(s) 12, grip 94 engages edge 26 of expansion card(s) 12. Continued movement of retention assembly 20 downwardly toward expansion card 12 results in a retention force applied downwardly to edge 26 of expansion card(s) 12 by retention arm 92 resulting from torsion spring 90 biasing retention arm 92 away from base 70.

[0022] As retention arm 92 retracts inwardly toward base 70 resulting from contact of grip 94 with expansion card 12, the corresponding downward retention force applied by retention arm via torsion spring 90 causes a slight deformation in grip pad 112 engaging edge 26 of expansion card 12. Thus, in operation, grip pad 112 substantially prevents lateral movement of expansion cards 12 by compressing or deforming a slight amount as a result of the retention force applied by retention arm 92 via torsion spring 90, thereby resisting lateral movement of expansion card(s) 12. Additionally, as retention arm 92 rotates upwardly relative to base 70 and/or support member 22 rotates downwardly toward expansion card(s) 12, resulting contact between grip 94 and edge 26 of expansion card 12 causes rotatable movement of grip 94 relative to retention arm 92, thereby providing uniform contact of grip pad 112 with edge 26 of expansion card(s) 12. End 36 may then be rotated downwardly and into releaseable engagement with portion 40 of chassis 14.

[0023] Thus, the present invention provides a variable level of retention force to accommodate varying sizes of expansion cards 12. For example, referring to FIG. 1, as a width of expansion card 12 increases, thereby resulting in edge 26 located in close proximity to support member 22, the amount or level of the retention force applied to edge 26 by retainer 24 increases because the amount of torsional energy or torque applied by retention arm 92 via torsion spring 90 increases as the distance between base 70 and grip 94 decreases. Correspondingly, as the width of expansion cards 12 decreases, thereby resulting in edge 26 located a greater distance from support member 22, the retention force applied to edge 26 by retainer 26 decreases because the amount of torsional energy or torque applied by retention arm 92 via torsion spring 90 decreases as the distance between base 70 and grip 94 increases. Therefore, to prevent or minimize movement of expansion cards 12 having greater widths, retainer 24 is configured to apply greater retention forces to edges 26 of expansion cards 12 having greater widths. And, as the width of expansion cards 12 decreases, thereby reducing the likelihood of expansion card movement 12, retainer 24 applies reduced retention forces to edges 26 of expansion cards 12. Thus, the present invention provides variable levels of retention forces corresponding to the size of the expansion card 12.

[0024] Additionally, as illustrated in FIG. 1, retainer 24 may be disposed at any one of a plurality of positions, both laterally and longitudinally, relative to expansion cards 12 to accommodate a variety of lengths and widths of expansion cards 12 within chassis 14. For example, retainer 24 may located at any one of a plurality of locations on support member 22 by engaging base 70 with corrseponding mounting holes 50. As best illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, retainer 24 preferably comprises base 70 to accommodate ease of engagement and disengagement of retainer 24 to support member 22. However, it should also be understood that retainer 24 may be otherwise configured without base 70 such that retention arm 92 is directly coupled to support member 22.

[0025] Additionally, as illustrated in FIG. 1, retention assembly 20 may also be adapted to accommodate a plurality of expansion cards 12 disposed in chassis 14, whether disposed adjacent each other or spaced apart from each other, by positioning retainers 24 at corresponding locations of support member 22 to accommodate each location of expansion cards 12. As illustrated in FIG. 1, retention arm 92 is also configured having a longitudinal length as measured from base 70 to grip 94 to accommodate a variety of widths of expansion cards 12.