loose express card

This might be a dumb question but on both my old and new laptop the express card mounts so loose that it practically falls out!, Is there some adapter or something I am missing here, the slot is way to big.

I have to do live video streaming now for the TV station and I like to use the express card so I can use the larger 6 pin firewire cable as to not wear out the small jack on the laptop as in news we are rather rough with the equipment and it gets alot of use.


As noted in the Wikipedia article on ExpressCard, there are several different form factors included in the specification. Most laptops I’ve run across have ExpressCard/54-capable slots, and so if your adapter card is of the smaller, ExpressCard/34, size, the slot will indeed appear to be too large. This wasn’t too much of a problem for me when I had to use an add-on wireless card on my old laptop, but for your application where you have external cables attached it might be.

I’d suggest trying to implement some cable strain relief system to take the strain off the adapter itself, but overall it sounds like you’re dealing with much heavier usage than either the card or the slot is designed for. You may want to investigate something more like a docking station that might have a greater focus on durability instead of trying to get everything squeezed into the small form factor of a mobile add-on card.

A couple options:

  • If your laptop manufacturer makes a proprietary docking station that includes Firewire, that would probably be the best.
  • If that is not available, maybe try using a Firewire hub with the laptop’s built-in port, that may be enough to alleviate some of the stress.
  • This product claims to allow DV capture over USB, if that fits your needs
  • Don’t be so rough on your equipment!

Good luck,

Thank you very much! two very useful links, this is the adapter I need and now I have to find one File:Cardbus to ExpressCard Adapter.jpg - Wikipedia

I have been using heavy tape as a strain relief for now but it’s kinda annoying that the card wants to come out that easy.

I just don’t want to use the small 4 pin jack on the laptop as I’m sure I will wear it out with all the fast connecting and disconnecting, when we go live via the net it’s always a rapid deployment. I am trying to build a complete kit in a Pelican 1610 case with everything inside including power connections and everything.

My laptop (newer)for using wirecast for live streaming news video on the road is my Asus G50v and with 2.53G processor it’s the video is still not always smooth and maxes out at 100% sometimes, works perfectly everytime when we are testing it with engineering just not when we are playing for real at an event.

my Older Asus F3 series is my desktop right now as I don’t think it can run this Wirecast program, it’s high end near broadcast quality video streaming but wow does it use resources.


Addonics seems to be selling it. I’ve had good experiences with their stuff.

I don’t see how this is going to solve your problem, however. It still uses the same ExpressCard/34 form factor, and it seems like it would carry the same problems.


I see that now, I guess what I need is a spacer of some sort that fills all that empty space in that slot that is not used by the small express card so it has no place to go, at least not sideways and at the end of the day if I can’t find one then I may just have to make a more solid and permanent strain relief for the cables as I build this kit in the Pelican 1610 case, that’s probably the safest way anyways as that way accidents can’t happen.

Thanks for that link, I’ll look around their site.



It would seem from first glance that strain relief tied to the underside of the laptop would be the way to go. Replaceable cable tie wrapped to the underside of the laptop would keep things neat while in the case and easy to replace when the cable has been overstressed. The cable will then also keep the card in place. You might even be able to add a loop in the cable then tie wrap to the extender/adapter and then to the bottom of the laptop to lock everything together. I am always one for having spares so if you are going to keep the laptop I would look into having a spare card slot (they usually just plug into the board inside the case), a spare cable and spare card adapter. If the laptop needs to sit on a flat surface, add a few stick on feet. You can get a variety from any hardware store.

That might be the route I end up going, some form of strain relief for the cable, probably the best way to go anyways in case of accident such as me tripping over the cable or something. I was surprised as how loose fitting the express card is though, it barely holds and that’s on both machines and trying different cards so I guess that’s just the way it is.

The slot is wide like the old PCMCIA slot but only small connector at the bottom and when you insert the express card it can go anywhere it feels like it.

In addition to the strain relief, if you’re still looking for a spacer, you may be able to make one out of the plastic spacer “card” that comes with most laptops. There’s also several ideas of varying severity posted in this forum that may be of interest to you.


26 pins just doesn’t hold as well as the 68 pins of the PCMCIA cards. With all the slop in the card slot, in your application, I can forsee some intermittent problems down the road if you don’t come up with a solution that locks everything into place. I like the velcro solution in Ryan’s forum but hate it on the control surface. It is just too ugly for me. Velcro applied underneath might be the way to go. I also like 3M Duallock which is more positive and won’t let go when you really need it. It is available most places you can get velcro.

I looked at the pics in that forum and I think that’s the route I will go, I really like what I see in those pics.


Thanks for the help, I am in Toronto, Ontario and I “thought” 3M Dual lock would be available everywhere well I think I looked everywhere and I couldn’t find it, eventually someone who is into ham radio and electronics posted that this store has is and sure enough they did and I immediately bought a 5 metre roll of it :slight_smile:

Here is the info on the store up here that sells it in case anyone else needs it:

54 Six Point RoadEtobicoke, ON M8Z 2X2, Canada(416) 232-0522

Now I just have to build everything, it got so busy in news, 18 hour days and all I have a lot of spare parts for things that I have picked up over the last couple of weeks but no time to install or build anything yet.


Went exactly this route and it works perfectly, I did add one wrap of 3M industrial grade electrical tape (home depot) and it helped that card fit rather tight and the dual-lock locked it in and it hasn’t moved yet and those of us in news especially setting up live hits five minutes to air are not known for being to gentle with equipment.

If the express card was a bit thicker it would have a chance of holding but these things just don’t hold at all.

This fix has held good, now if only fixing the live video streaming issues I have were as easy.

thanks again,

Hey, it could be worse…



Leave it to Jim to bring up the good old days when TV production used TV81 http://www.tvcameramuseum.org/cameracables/biw-tv81a.htm#notes The days of iron men needed to pull this cable for each camera are long gone. The connector in the link is about 2.5-3 inches in diameter and the cable came on powered reels in the belly of the truck for sports trucks. TV81 cable is 1.75 inches in diameter and a single person could only carry about 100’ coil on their shoulder. Of the 81 wires, there were six coaxes and several power wires carrying 120 volts or more depending on the camera. The wire had a 1/8" rubber jacket which made it even heavier and sticky when pulling or coiling the cable.

It’s important to let the younger folks know what they’re missing out on :slight_smile:

One interesting (to me) pic on the page I linked to is this bus…

A friend just bought one of these old Flxible buses. his was originally a California Juvenile prison bus, then a church bus, then converted to a motorhome…

Sorry about all the old stuff, but I’ve been working on my 59 chevy pickup again

The facility I worked at in Peoria while in school (Bradley U) had one of those Flxible mobile production facilities. It had been donated by WBBM in Chicago to Bradley and had three cameras, about 10k feet of TV 81 and two RCA quad video recorders. We stripped it to use the machines and cameras in the studio. The video department later became WTVP, public TV in Peoria.

I love those pics and should look for more of them, it’s fascinating to see how they did things back then, just to think that even today’s live news trucks will be replaced with small pelican cases or maybe even backpacks or camera-packs in 2-3 years.

This live streaming stuff is just exploding and once someone makes something that works a bit better than what I am doing with wirecast and makes it in broadcast or near broadcast quality the live truck is history.

I work full time practically for two stations so my time to work on projects like this is limited unless I try and pull six weeks of no sleep and non-stop diet coke like you guys do but if windows7 doesn’t free up enough resources to run wirecast perfectly smooth then I am going to have to build a high end purpose built gaming rig into a pelican case just to run wirecast and I’ll do it and of course that case will be replaced in 2-3 years by a box that latches on to the back of my Sony XDcam and then that will be my “live truck”.

As demand for this explodes from mainstream TV stations I am sure a few companies out there will develop the real thing.

I guess this can be compared to a record and tape collection vs and mp3 player, imagine how much space 10,000 songs would take up vs that on an mp3 player.

It’s fun and exciting, at least success is fun when working on these projects but also so enjoyable reading about and seeing how they did the same things back then.


NBC and Fox are both going the way of the “content producer”. They are using the little Panasonic camera with memory stick media. An assignment is given and the shooter goes out and collects video including his/her own standup, then goes back to the car and edits on Final Cut, writes the dialog and then cuts that as well using their laptop. Then runs to a Starbucks or McD that has free wifi and uploads the story. The only people who like this idea are the management people. The shooters, reporters, editors and most importantly the audience doesn’t seem happy with the new way of doing things. It has also cost a lot of jobs and the unions are all balking at it. Here in Chicago, Local News Service has begun where one shooter goes out and produces a piece without a reporter and then sends it to all the LNS subscribers. Those stations that subscribe ( and not all have) provide one crew per day and there is one assignment editor who parses out the crews. As you can imagine lot’s of news is being missed because there is no one shooting the back story or the other behind the scenes video. No reporter means there is no professional to ask questions or put a slant on the story. It is an experiment but has already cost about 50 jobs in those member stations.

since we are here in broadcast world…

Al, do you have any experience in editing AVCHD versus P2 ???

My impression (and these are very very generalized statements) is that AVCHD is very popular for ENG, has a more progressive compression scheme and is ‘h’ ‘e’ double toothpicks on editing systems when doing HD. Basically you need an Intel i7 with multiple SATA disk channels.

And P2 is less rough on editing in terms of processor requirements but is used for professional ‘hollywood’ productions because of other superior image charactistics. The main downside to P2 being the memory is very expensive and the files very large.

dreaming of
Panasonic AG-HMC150 AVCHD type
Panasonic AG-HVX200A P2 type

when we find our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…

Up Here in Toronto ontario it’s not that bad yet but stations and networks are hurt bad by the recession, one is in bankruptcy protection now so who knows what will happen.

You are right news is being missed when they go that route, for breaking news you need people listening to scanners to the police, fire, ems, etc provided they haven’t gone encrypted yet and finding the news, then chasing it, you need people searching out good events in the community as well and sending people, one person doing all those things cannot do a quality job and the result is not something people care to watch and I know myself for example when I am doing the live operations using wirecast my shooting to disc/tape suffers because I am not able to concentrate as much on making good pictures, I enjoy the tech side of this new live technology but I have also noticed when I am live and shooting at the same time my shooting suffers. A few hairs on the top of my head have also tried to turn grey as well but I turned them back.

I have five scanners in my truck, I also program them (radioreference.com) and that alone is a heck of a lot of work, then listening because you never know when news will happen.

Today’s newsroom managers have no clue about how quality work used to be produced, think we can fly and be everywhere in five minutes and do five things all at once.

They do this in news for some reason but not yet at least in the trades, I don’t see one person doing the electrical, plumbing and drywalling on ajob site so why in news?

The other problem I am seeing in news is those who have some experience get no credit for it today, everyday might as well be my first day on the job.

It’s a very unique business thats for sure.

On another note I have installed Windows 7 professional this weekend with excellent results, uses way less resources than vista and I haven’t even tweaked it yet and freed up enough CPU that my Wirecast visibly ran better in a test I did today. All hardware and software just worked perfectly after the install and I am very happy.