- Zero insertion force
ZIF is an acronym for zero insertion force, a concept used in the design of
IC sockets, invented to avoid problems caused by applying force upon insertion and extraction.
integrated circuit(IC) socket requires the IC to be pushed into sprung contacts which then grip by friction. For an IC with hundreds of pins, the total insertion force can be very large (tens of newtons), leading to a danger of damage to the device or the PCB. Also even with relatively small pin counts each extraction is fairly awkward and carries a significant risk of bending pins (particularly if the person performing the extraction hasn't had much practice or the board is crowded), as can be seen with the unpopular front-loading mechanism of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Low insertion force(LIF) sockets reduce the issues of insertion and extraction but the lower the insertion force of a conventional socket, the less reliable the connection is likely to be.
With a ZIF socket, before the IC is inserted, a lever or slider on the side of the socket is moved, pushing all the sprung contacts apart so that the IC can be inserted with very little force (generally the weight of the IC itself is sufficient with no external downward force required). The lever is then moved back, allowing the contacts to close and grip the pins of the IC. ZIF sockets are much more expensive than standard IC sockets and also tend to take up a larger board area. Such a technique has disadvantages that the connector will occupy a large volume since it adds the space of the drawbars and the slidable space thereof. Therefore, the technique is not useful in the future development of the chips with a high density and large number of pins. Further, the connecting construction of the patent is not good enough to provide a close engagement between the pins and the drawbars. There are only two engagement points between the pins and the drawbars which will probably result in a poor connection in a short time. Also they are known to bend the IC pins at times. Therefore they are only used when there is a good reason to do so.
Large ZIF sockets are commonly mounted on PC
motherboards (from about the mid 1990s forward). These CPU sockets are designed to support a particular range of CPUs, allowing computer retailers and consumers to assemble motherboard/CPU combinations based on individual budget and requirements. CPUs may also be upgraded or replaced during the lifetime of the motherboard socket. Personal computers are among the few applications expensive enough to justify elaborate socket systems. Smaller ZIF sockets are also commonly used in chip-testing and programmingequipment.
Universal test sockets
Standard DIL packages come in two widths (measured between pin centers), 0.3 in (7.62 mm) (skinny dip) for smaller devices (8-28 pin) and 0.6 in (15.24 mm) for larger devices (24-40 pin). To allow design of programmers and similar devices that supported a range of devices some in skinny dip and some in full width dip universal test sockets are produced. These have wide slots into which the pins drop allowing both 0.3 in and 0.6 in devices to be inserted.
ZIF wire-to-board connectors
ZIF wire-to-board connectors are used for attaching wires to
printed circuit boards inside electronic equipment. The wires, often formed into a ribbon cable, are pre-stripped and the bare ends placed inside the connector. The two sliding parts of the connector are then pushed together, causing it to grip the wires. The most important advantage of this system is that it does not require a mating half to be fitted to the wire ends, therefore saving space and cost inside miniaturised equipment. See Flat Flex Cable
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