Anti-static Precautions!

By Nexevo · 19 replies
Mar 23, 2008
  1. Electronic components are very often highly sensitive to ESD, or ElectroStatic Discharge. Static electricity in your body, even if you are not aware of it, can easily damage a component beyond repair.

    When performing system component upgrades or maintenance it is advisable to perform the following antistatic precautions:

    *Use a grounding wrist strap. These are supplied by most electronic stores.
    * Keeping in contact with the metal frame of the computer is fine as long as it is earthed (plugged into an earthed socket but switched off at the mains).
    * Handle circuit boards by the edges and avoid touching the contacts or components themselves.

    Remember! The damage may not become apparent until you actually try to use the damaged component.

    I apologise if I appear a little patronising but I suspect some system failures that I have read in these forums are due to a lack of taking the proper precautions.
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101
  3. Nexevo

    Nexevo TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Well done Zeno, yes I quoted much of that page :rolleyes:
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    This is good advice, but almost no one follows this kind of advice in these forums, educated or not. I did for a long time working at a National computer repair center, but admittedly not much any longer
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    touche' - I lost count at how many people don't bother to read the guides forum or the FAQs.
  6. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    What the heck, your suppose to take precautions when working with sensitive electrical components??? I just figured they were built to handle the abuse of the average uneducated user. But honestly, theres a limit to how careful you can be, grounding yourself on the case usually should do, at the least ground yourself on a sink or your fuse/breaker box/panel if your really worried. For the most part I've never really noticed any problems or have been a good conductor of static electricity.
  7. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    It really depends on where you are working on a computer. If it is in a dry climate, static is more of a problem. I use a graphite impregnated rubber mat in a work area. i do have antistatic wrist bands too
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    I work on carpet frequently and all I ever do is touch the case before and during any movement or addition of parts. Never had a problem. I think the whole issue is overblown. Of course now that I say that I'll probably fry an expensive video card next time I open my case :haha:
  9. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    I'm really much more concerned about static working on laptops rather than on desktops
  10. Nexevo

    Nexevo TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    This is not the case, any component sensitive to ESD will state so in some form. Usually the sticker sealing the bag or box.

    The thread is intended to make novices to PC components aware of the issue, take at least one of the listed precautions and avoid any possible damage to any handled components.

    As there is usualy no metal case in a laptop to earth yourself on, I can understand the greater concern.
  11. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    You are correct Nexevo,
    Manufacturers wouldn't waste money sealing their products in static protective bags if they weren't required. I'm sure most computer techs use some precautions. There are many post here concerning faulty video cards. I wounder just how many have been damaged by static and improper handling
  12. resu

    resu TS Rookie Posts: 172

    tbh i never used to care but now i tend to take more care with my gear :D would've thought it would be the other way around
    but i guess its down to me being able afford more pricey stuff :)

    tho i gotta say i am yet to use a wrist strap
    i just use the ol' earthed case

    and to be fair when im building i dont really move enough to build up static hehe

    good advice tho for new builders
  13. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I fully support this statement. I work on carpet all the time, and I keep an electrical connection to my case (read: toe touching case) all the time as I work on it.

    I really think this issue is overblown, although by posting this, some people would actually be aware of this problem, and maybe have 1 less post about busted video cards every month.
  14. resu

    resu TS Rookie Posts: 172

    heres a question ...

    anyone know a safe way to clean the inside of a PC

    because i have always been of the understanding that they create alot of static

    anyway anyone know a good way..?

    tho i dnt really wanna pay £11 for a small can of air so any other alternative cleaning methods would be great :D

  15. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    I use the combination of an air compressor and a vacuum, but I don't take too many precautions when working with my computer, just turn it off first and try not to make too much contact with anything too delicate.
  16. Whiffen

    Whiffen TS Rookie Posts: 235

    I heard vacuums aren't that great to get to close to your computer.

    A good way to ground yourself can be to touch your sinks tap.
  17. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I don't take great care with handling my computer, but even then, I'm very much opposed to someone taking a vacuum cleaner anywhere near my computer.

    However, the physics theory is, if you left your computer plugged in (but not turned on), bringing a vacuum cleaner should be fine (assuming your vacuum cleaner is grounded as well).

    Of course, there will be tons of people out there who has not used any precautions with vacuum cleaners, and have had no adverse side effects...
  18. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    Whats wrong with using a vacuum cleaner? I've been doing it for years and have and no problems, I even stick the tip up close to the fans to get them spinning which is the most effective way of cleaning them I find. And the vacuum I used is not grounded, at least it only has the standard two prong plug.
  19. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    The theory is that if both items are not grounded, you're fine. If they're both grounded, you're fine. If one of them is grounded, and the other isn't, then you've got a problem.

    Also, like I said, most people would not have a problem, but your chances of getting a problem is exponentially proportional to the cost of your hardware.

    The other problem with getting your vacuum cleaner close up to your fans, till it starts spinning, is that you're going to damage your fans. They're meant to go up to a certain RPM, and chances are, your vacuum cleaner is going to make them go way past it. This destroys whatever bearings, or at least wear them out prematurely. Same reason why you shouldn't be blowing onto your fan, using your mouth or an air can.

    I've personally killed a couple of fans with an air can before, but given they're cheap, and plentiful, I just replaced them without a thought. Its just after I came across some article warning against it that I realised what actually happened.

    Then again, I have this childish fascination with fans turning from wind passing through them.... which is why if you see someone parked on the side of the road for a whole day just staring at some wind farms.....

    Just joking :D
  20. skitzo_zac

    skitzo_zac TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 418

    I agree that the whole static issue is overblown. I thought that when I went to TAFE (where i am currently studying IT) they would be making a huge deal about the static stuff, but nah they dont worry about it at all. And I have messed around inside loads of cases with like no precautions and have yet to break one due to static.
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