Computer systems need reliable power, but the fact is that many of today’s industrial computing environments make that basic requirement a real challenge. We frequently field questions about the best ways to vibration proof a PC, with one of the primary concerns being how to ensure that I/O connections remain secure. Standards like DB-9 COM, VGA and DVI include screw-down connectors. However, perhaps the most important cable connected to your computer, the DC barrel jack, doesn’t generally include any locking functionality. It goes without saying that loss of connection between the PC and power cord can have catastrophic ramifications, regardless of the application.
So, what can you do to prevent data loss and downtime due to DC power connection fails?
Creating a Reliable, Vibration Proof AC Connector
After a lot of customer feedback, our engineering team went to work to try to develop an out-of-the-box solution that would work to secure any power adapter to a system’s DC connector. What we created was a simple and easy to install system that secures any power adapter to its case. Compatible with many of our industrial PC enclosures, the resulting solution is now included with the MC600, ML100, ML210, ML400 and ML600.
The locking feature is accomplished using a special retaining clip and a punchout in the case’s backplate. To install it, all you have to do is punch out the whole in the case, install the clip to your power adapter cord/cable and then install the clip on the case. The clip holds the power adapter into the case securely, but is also easily removable in the event that you need to uninstall the power adapter.
This feature, like many others in our enclosures, was designed in-house to ensure ease of use and compatibility with our systems. These clips are included free with each of our systems and are a quick, easy way to ensure that your computer never suffers an unexpected power loss as a result of the power supply becoming dislodged due to vibration. It may seem like a simple addition to the included accessories, but these small pieces of plastic have saved our clients thousands of dollars in costly power loss-related downtime.
Threaded Locking Power Adapter
There are, of course other ways to ensure reliable power connections. The PW-12V5A-VLC provides a specially designed threaded end and corresponding power adapter that allows the power cord to screw into the terminal. While this solution is very reliable, it requires the special threaded DC jack to be installed onto the motherboard and case, and wouldn’t be ideal for customers looking to retrofit a larger number of systems with vibration proof connectors.
Power Cord with Locking Connector
One additional solution that may be appropriate for certain situations is the PwrNSC13, a power cord/cable that features a locking plug on the female end to accommodate C14 couplings. Since many power adapters feature a removable power cord, the added security of the locking mechanism prevents disconnection from the adapter due to vibration or cord tension.
There’s a lot to consider when installing a computer in a vibration-prone environment, and reliable power is just one aspect to consider. For more information about how to prevent damage and downtime due to vibration, we’ve assembled the 6 Gotchas of Vibration Proofing Your PC, and our Solutions Specialists are always available to help identify the right hardware for your unique application.