Browse Prior Art Database

Disk drive clamping fixture Disclosure Number: IPCOM000130301D
Publication Date: 2005-Oct-19
Document File: 6 page(s) / 1M

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database

Related People

Andy Nineham: INVENTOR


A low cost adaptor that allows 2.5” SATA and PATA disk drives to be tested in unmodified 3.5” test fixtures, self-centralising and tolerant to variations in drive width.

This text was extracted from a Microsoft Word document.
At least one non-text object (such as an image or picture) has been suppressed.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 57% of the total text.


Disk drive clamping fixture


This invention relates to fixtures used to support disk drives while they are being tested.



Disk drive test fixtures traditionally have either:

·        side wedge clamping with a floating back plane connection, allowing drive to connector alignment, or,

·        four constrained layer springs combined with an alignment moulding to provide guidance for drive to connector alignment.

Such test fixtures suffer from the following problems:

1.      Side wedge clamping requires a floating backplane, flex and height compensating springs.

2.      Constrained layer springs are expensive and can delaminate over time.

Description of the invention

The device is an easy “plug and remove” adaptor that will allow a 2.5” hard drive to be tested in a variety of 3.5” test fixtures, without any modification to the 3.5” fixtures.

Four-point self-centralising clamping is provided by coil sprung rollers held on pivoting arms.  Note that the coil springs used are commercial parts, hence there is a lower component cost.

This method of clamping is tolerant to variations in drive width, while the rollers prevent damage to the drive and provide easy drive insertion. 

The self-centralising feature aligns the drive to card connector, removing the need to provide a floating connection card.

Both SATA and PATA drives can be accommodating simply by changing the bridge card which is held in place with four fixings and aligned to the correct position by features designed into the plastic body.

The adaptor has two lower rails that are retracted and stored within the side walls during SATA drive testing and extended during PATA drive testing.

To accommodate various drive heights from 9.5mm up to 15mm, top spacers are fitted to the top plate that can be exchanged to cater for height differences.

Novel features and advantages

·        Self-centralising four-point clamp (good alignment to connector)

·        Roller clamps (no damage to drive, easy drive insertion)

·        Commercially available coil springs (low cost compared to constrained layer)

·        Clamping preload can be varied dependent on spring rate

·        Tolerant to both SATA and PATA (lower rails stored in side walls when not in use)

·        Tolerant to various drive heights (pivoting clamp arms)

·        Will fit various 3.5” test fixtures (interchangeable top spacers)

·        No need for a flex or floating back plane connection system (reduced part count)

·        No height compensating springs (reduced part count)

·        Coil springs are interchangeable allowing different clamp loading, are lower cost because they are not specially made (unlike constrained layer springs) and...