The recent introduction and advancements in design of simple, constant-force mechanisms have created the potential for small-scale, low-cost, constant-force electronic connectors (CFECs). CFECs differ from traditional connectors by the separation or disassociation of contact normal force and contact deflection. By removing the traditional constraints imposed by forces and deflections that are dependent on each other, new types of electronic connectors can be explored. These new designs may lead to smaller and more reliable electronic connectors. In this paper, constant-force mechanisms are adapted to satisfy current industry practices for the design of electronic connectors. Different CFEC configurations are explored and one is selected, prototyped, and used as a proof-of-concept connector for a personal digital assistant (PDA) docking station. The modeling, optimization, and verification of the prototype CFEC is presented. Adaptation of constant-force technology to electronic connectors creates new possibilities in electronic connector designs, including allowing an optimal contact force to be utilized to decrease the effects of fretting and wear, lowering required manufacturing tolerances, reducing the system’s sensitivity to variations introduced by the user, and increasing the system’s robustness in applications where movement or vibrations exist.

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