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Securing Expensive Computer Equipment in Earthqake Zones

We've looked at several ways to secure our own computers and monitors. We thought that there must be a way to take advantage of the screw holes on the bottom and back side of our PCs and monitors. We looked at using braided ground straps with crimped and soldered eye hole lugs, and attaching them to the equipment with the existing screws. We gave up on the idea for several reasons:

  • In the case of the monitor, the screws hold the plastic case together, and any attachment would only be as solid as the strength of the plastic at the attaching point.
  • Our PCs are in desk type cases and don't have screw locations in the front of them. The only screws near the front are located underneath the case. This poses a problem in making the attachment point accessible when the top of the case is installed. It would be quite a pain if we need to remove the case cover just to move the PC, or to clean the desk top!

We recently discovered a few new products we found so cool, we wanted to pass the info along. Although this tip is not a product showcase, we can't help sharing a few products produced by a company in California that solved our problems — they might solve yours as well.

You might be able to find these kits at emergency suppliers in your area.

Lots of colors, lots of bucks

We all know how expensive computer monitors are. If you live in a quake zone, that expensive monitor might end up a pile of broken glass and plastic if it shimmies off your desk. Even worse, your monitor is typically at eye level and is near the edge of your desk. It could end up in your lap or impede your pathway to safe cover (under your desk) if a quake hits. (Safety is number one in our minds. Remember to duck and cover!)

Versa Buckles

We found a product that will help prevent catastrophic damage to your monitor. Better yet, this product can also be used for securing your CPU box (desk type) as shown. It can also be used on your printer, scanner, fax machine, and even your stereo!

The product is called "VersaBUCKLE" (The diagram shows two kits installed). A VersaBUCKLE kit consists of four buckles and two nylon straps. The buckles are high strength plastic and have 3M VHB (very high bond) adhesive on the back side. These buckles use a 1.0" x 1.25" piece of VHB adhesive tape, resulting in a strength of 100 pounds per buckle!

How do I get the buckles off to get inside the equipment?
Versa buckle release Release lever and lift computer up

This was a major concern of ours, since we mess around with the guts of our equipment regularly. With this securing system, all you need to do is release the buckle locking lever, and pull the strap through as shown here.

Now for the down side

The problem comes when you want to remove the buckles from your desk or computer equipment. The VHB adhesive that is used is so strong, you will need a small pry bar tool to remove it. A screwdriver will work, but you run the risk of marring the desk top or scratching the paint on your computer equipment.

Once the buckle is removed, it is not difficult to remove the adhesive in small pieces, starting from a corner. When all the adhesive is removed, a new adhesive pad can be installed on the buckle, and the buckle can then be reinstalled at another location, or on another piece of equipment.

What about tower cases?
Secured CPU A tower case installation

Many CPU boxes are of the tower type and are located under a desk. There is another product that is ideal for this application. It is called a GrommetGRIP. This uses a buckle like the above product, but the strap is longer and has "grommets" installed at one end to allow screws to be installed through the nylon.To install this kit, you first install the buckles on opposite sides of the tower. Then you install the straps to the underside of the desk with screws and tension the straps via the buckle release levers.

To install this kit, you first install the buckles on opposite sides of the tower. Then you install the straps to the underside of the desk with screws and tension the straps via the buckle release levers.

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