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Static and electrostaticity

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by wilkyboy, 12 Sep 2007.

  1. wilkyboy

    wilkyboy New Member

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    I am going to be building up a new PC and have to install everything myself, I was wondering what I need to do to keep from destroying or damaging my new parts.

    I was told to touch something metal for electrostatic discharge and to build the PC on non synthetic carpeting.

    I plan on building the computer on wooden flooring and touch a radiator every few minutes. Does it matter what type of paint coat the radiator has?

    Also one last question, I wanted to know if it is safe to use a magnetic screwdriver, I heard putting something magnetic near a hard drive could cause damage and I am unsure if anything else could be damaged by magnets.

    Thanks
     
  2. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    If the radiator is painted then it wont work, you have to touch something that is earthed and conductive or you wont discharge the static. The way I have always done it is like this.

    (1) Install the PSU
    (2) Plug it in but dont switch it on at the wall

    This grounds the case so that by touching an unpainted part of the case the static charge is dissipated, I normaly touch one of the bolts holding the PSU in. Then you install the rest of the computer touching the metal of the chassis every couple of minuets. Ive never had any problems doing it this way.

    General common sense also applies, hold things by their edges and don't touch pins or gold fingers (card edge connectors).

    You can use a magnetic screwdriver without any problems, a magnet has to be very powerful to damage a modern HDD. CRTs however can be damaged by magnets but I doubt a screwdriver would do it.

    Moriquendi
     
  3. Techno-Dann

    Techno-Dann Disgruntled kumquat

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    Moriquendi has good advice. Even if the switch on the back of the PSU is off, the shell of the PSU is grounded. Once that's in the case, the case will be grounded too, so just make sure to touch the case every now and then, and you'll be fine. If you walk away from the system (to grab a drink, or whatever), be sure to touch the case when you come back.
     
  4. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    just a relating question:
    i always thought the paint on a case can insulate small voltage. so would it be better to stick a wire inside the ground bit of a plug and touch that wire?
    (provided that you know which one to stick it in, of course)
     
  5. wilkyboy

    wilkyboy New Member

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    Ok, so I should open the case up first, install the PSU and connect it to the mains however to not turn the mains on, or bother with the button at the back of the PSU. This is a slight problem because the mains in the room with the wooden flooring do not have a switch and are always powered. Can I plug the PSU in to an extension? With the mains buttons turned off of course.

    Also I have a question about the spacers and standoffs, do I put the standoffs on to the case, then the motherboard on to that, spacers where the holes are and then screw bolts on top of the spacers?

    Sorry for having so many questions, I just really hope tomorrow can go smoothly lol.
     
  6. Daniel114

    Daniel114 New Member

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    In all honesty I was terrified the first time I built a PC over the dreaded static shock, maybe I've been lucky but I just generally build up on a wooden surface and occasionally touch metal and have never had any problems at all, wouldn't say I was even overly careful, so don't lose sleep about it, like Moriquendi says just use common sense and its not as daunting as it might seem
     
  7. OtakuHawk

    OtakuHawk New Member

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    CRTs are as hard to damage as HDDs are. simply use the degauss feature in most modern CRTs.

    if you don't have one, strap two magnets to a drill bit with thier poles opposite, then spin up the drill and sweep it back and forth in front of the screen.

    alternating magnetic fields gets rid of the trippy colors.
     
  8. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    Yes they can, thats why I said an unpainted part such as the bolt holding the PSU in. Also sticking a bit of wire into a socked could be dangerous as the wire can bend and touch a live contact, I would say its a very bad idea.

    An extension will be fine, the reason for having it switched off at the wall is for insurance incase you knock something and it tries to startup with no heatsink or something. You need the cable plugged in in order to ground the chassis.

    Moriquendi
     
  9. wilkyboy

    wilkyboy New Member

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    Is an anti electrostatic armband really neccessary?
     
  10. GuitarBizarre

    GuitarBizarre <b>banned</b>

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    In all honesty, just touch something metal and earthed once before you start work, and don't build it wearing anything super staticky, and you should be fine. The danger is way overblown and 90% of the time earthing yourself isn't need, just a precaution.
     
  11. wilkyboy

    wilkyboy New Member

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    Oh ok, jeans and a 100% cotton t-shirt is fine I suppose!
     
  12. naokaji

    naokaji whatever

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    no.

    except you apply for a job in a computer shop and you get asked exactly that question, then the answer is yes:D.


    there is no need for them, just touch something grounded and your fine.
     
  13. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    Personaly I wouldnt even consider building a computer unless my clothes had atleast 65% platinum fibers (more for underwear) and I had three toes and two teeth attatched directly to the buildings grounding post by heavy guage oxygen free silver plated cables, the question you have to ask yourself is, Do I feel lucky?

    There is a risk with static electricity and given the value of the components I feel its worth the extra hassle of grounding myself every couple of minuets and if its someone else's computer then I will use a strap, but thats mostly coz it makes you look like you know what you're doing and reassures them.

    Moriquendi
     
  14. wilkyboy

    wilkyboy New Member

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    It's just that I want to take most precautions as the amount of money I have spent so far means a lot to me. I too agree it is worth taking a few precautions and ground yourself every few minutes, I just want everything to go smoothly lol.
     
  15. Daniel114

    Daniel114 New Member

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    Just think, how often have you noticed in day to day life that you've given off a static spark? Just don't rub your feet on carpet as your building it and you'll be fine
     
  16. mctigger

    mctigger New Member

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    u could wear rubber soled shoes, that takes out static from the capert, and just keep touchin the case every so often, and ur fine!!
     
  17. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    Can anyone honestly say they've killed something through static? Honestly? I know it's possible, but through normal handling of components I think it's incredibly unlikely unless you shuffle about on a thick shag-pile carpet with a big wooly jumper on whilst rubbing yourself with RAM...
     
  18. chrisb2e9

    chrisb2e9 Dont do that...

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    I never have. My dad used to be an electronic tech for kodak fixing film processing equipment and he would always wear one. but I still have never killed any think through static. I just touch the case often or work so that an arm or leg, or any part of skin is touching the case of the pc.

    On a side note. when I took my course on Avionics (aircraft electronics) our instructor told a story of an old ex coworker of his who took out a faulty transponder from a large commerical aircraft, put another one in. tested it. it didn't work, replaced it with another, tested, it didn't work. Finally puts in the third one and it worked fine. but this time he was wearing the antistatic band. He killed two transponders with static. and the cost 100k each. This is why he is was an ex coworker.
     
  19. ChromeX

    ChromeX Active Member

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    not at all! I've built a fair few PC's for people over the years, no doubt alot of the guys here have. And im sure most of them will agree that the chance of damaging a componant due to ESD is very very very small, unless you plan to drag your feet along a carpet while building your system I wouldnt worry about it :)

    EDIT: What krikkit said
     
  20. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    That would be a bad idea, you want to conduct the static charge away from your body, if you wear rubber shoes you insulate yourself from the floor and allow a larger charge to build up as electrons are rubbed off the rubber. Basicaly the body is a capacitor, rubbing against stuff, particularly man made materials builds up a charge in the capacitor (body) and when you touch something that has a path to ground and the charge is high enough it will force its way through, its this current discharging your body through a delicate silicon component that does the damage. The way to prevent the damage is to ensure that the body is discharged before you touch something delicate by either touching something grounded providing a harmless path for your body to discharge or by ensuring that the charge never builds up by working and standing on static dissipative (slightly conductive) mats or wearing a wrist-strap. Wearing insulating shoes will not prevent the build up of static charge.

    Ive killed 4000 series CMOS chips through static but they were college chips and I think they predated the Ark.

    Moriquendi
     

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