POLL: Do magnetic tools really hurt anything?

?

Should you have and use magnetic tools on your workbench?

  1. Yes (normal use can't harm anything)

    6 vote(s)
    75.0%
  2. No (having them around can be bad)

    2 vote(s)
    25.0%
  3. No flippin idea

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
By Vigilante
Mar 21, 2006
Topic Status:
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  1. Hey, in my own view, they don't, since I use them and never had a problem. The magnets in a screwdriver tip are just not strong enough to harm anything. Unless you went and rubbed it right on a floppy disk platter. But that's just my experience. What do you think?
  2. Peddant

    Peddant Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,644

    Your asking people to make a judgement on something that can only
    be determined by controlled experiment.Electromagnetic effects are not a matter of opinion.
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,067   +13

    of course keep magnetic items away from magnetized items like hard disks and floppies. Other than that, normal use it fine.
  4. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,120

    Having some magnetic tools on your bench and using them regularly sounds pretty close to a controlled expirement to me. And my results say it's perfectly safe.

    Besides, no need to get all scientific about it for pete's sake. In this day and age where nobody believes in absolutes anymore, EVERYTHING is a matter of personal opinion it seems. But we totally don't need to go there! lol

    The fact is, there are respectable techs on both sides, magazines, books etc... which hold to the right and left. Either it's NO magnetic items on your bench, or it's "bah, the little magnets aren't strong enough to harm anything".
    Nobody's asking to put a horseshoe magnet on your bench. lol. And speaking of which, I have a magnetic bowl on my bench to toss all my screws in and so forth, it's a fairly strong magnet, I don't keep floppies near it. Come to think of it, I don't USE floppies anymore. So it's a moot point.

    Nevertheless, it's still an interresting conversational piece amongst techs.
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu Newcomer, in training Posts: 9,431

    I have to agree.. The only thing a magnetic screwdriver could hurt is a floppy. (And someone should actually test that - a degaussing CRT monitor didn't do anything to my floppy when I tested it)

    You need lots of energy to induce any harmful currents in ICs and your puny screwdriver is not it unless you are going to move it around at ballistic speeds.

    Hard drive platters are inside solid metal casing and you'd need a pretty strong field to get through that too.

    Plus, any theoretical harm a magnetic screwdriver can do is nothing compared to harm a dropped screw can do :p
  6. tdeg

    tdeg Newcomer, in training Posts: 348

    I think static is probably the bigger concern.

    I've seen so many techs not use ESD protection and then wonder why they can't seem to resolve a problem on a machine or why new ones keep popping up.

    (I work usually on more complex machines, working on PCs though even requires good ESD prevention).
  7. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 2,120

    Good points. Funny I get some customers walking into the store and pull their RAM, bare, out of their pants pocket and ask if I have "more of this".
    Then bring back MY RAM saying it didn't work. Well DUHH, maybe if you didn't carry your RAM around in your pocket it wouldn't have gone bad. It's not my RAM that's bad.
    Some people....
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,250   +213

    I've never had problems using magnetic screwdrivers. I use an old non magnetic screwdriver when putting motherboards in just to be "extra" safe. It seems to have acquired a very small charge, which is really handy, but its far weaker than even crappy magnetic screwdrivers. (I think acquired the charge from replacing motors on RC cars for years)

    I've never sparked myself on a motherboard, but I have grabbed the side of the case and had a big ESD on it, which promptly shut down my brand new (at the time) Athlon64 system. I was pretty nervous for about a minute cause it didn't come back up right away, but it came came back to life after sitting for a few seconds. My guess is my PSU has some sort of protection for crap like that.
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