A zero insertion force (ZIF) connector was designed with the requirement of maintaining a specified contact normal force and wipe sufficient to achieve reliable electrical performance. In order to evaluate the design during its development and to monitor its quality during full scale production, a nondestructive sensor was developed to measure the force and wipe simultaneously. The sensor was built into a steel coupon, and assembled in a benchtop fixture that facilitates ease of alignment and measurement of the contact springs. The coupon can also be mounted on a printed circuit card to enable “in-situ” measurement of connectors assembled in the electronic “cage-like” package. Prior to sensor availability, the connector vendors as well as IBM had other methods of measuring contact force and wipe. These measures had varying accuracies, and were difficult to correlate. The sensor described in this paper was duplicated in order for the vendors and IBM to have a consistent measurement tool.

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