ZIF connector is an electrical hardware, a kind of connector or socket for integrated circuit (IC). ZIF stands for Zero Insertion Force, corresponding to its special design that make its insertion with very little or minimal force.
ZIF connector could be found commonly in laptops and CPUs which function is to connect and attach various computer components, such as the motherboard to data bus or hard disk drive (HDD). Chosen mostly because of its small size, this product is widely used for connecting ribbon cable wires into circuit boards. It is used in computers starting around the mid-1990. In hard disks, it is used on SATA and IDE disk drives.
This type are usually of larger dimension, compare to the smaller ZIF socket found in chip programming and testing devices. ZIF socket is also efficient in practical insertion of pin grid array (PGA) and ball grid array (BGA) chips during development in particular. In universal test sockets, ZIF is used as a programming device for DIP chip packages.
ZIF connector works by using a lever. One part is still while the other is movable. The release lever can open and close by sliding. The pins easily drop into the socket without friction and pushed into their contacts by moving the lever, then allowing the contact to grip the pins. The lever is moved back to lock and secure.
ZIF connector has obvious advantage. It creates less harm to the device during insertion and removal by avoiding large (up to tens of Newton) friction during contact. This allows processors to be upgraded or replaced more easily without risk of damage. This arrangement in wire-to-board connectors also saves space as it does not need the mating half of a wire connector to be fitted at the wire ends. As such it can fit and is desirable in small equipment.