A device to allow access to User Servicable Parts
without having to take the machine apart.
Opening a trapdoor allows access to expansion sockets, while keeping the rest of the machine protected from damage
by unskilled hands. Generally the trapdoor is easy to open, with no screws to lose. Trapdoors are generally seen in machines that would require a professional to take apart. Adding a trapdoor generally adds complexity
(and therefore expense) to the system, as the system must be designed around it. Any user-servicable parts must be located together, in an area where a trapdoor can be added. Often, this is on the bottom of the case
, and can involve mounting components on both sides of the motherboard
High-end, modular, laptops (Dell latitude
, Toshiba Tecra
, for example) generally have trapdoors to allow access to the RAM and mini-PCI
cards. Some even keep the internal hard drive in a trapdoor. Compare with all-in-one laptops like the Apple iBook
and Toshiba Satellite
, where the machine must be substantially disassembled to get at the few upgrade slots.
Examples of trapdoors in consumer goods include the Nintendo 64
and Commodore Amiga
, which had a trapdoor to allow extra RAM
to be added. Interestingly, the Atari STE
had a trapdoor inside the case that allowed access to the SIMM
slots without having to remove the motherboard shielding (which required the removal of the power supply, floppy drive, and 20-odd screws).