Grounding yourself before cleaning

By NZvista ยท 18 replies
Oct 19, 2008
  1. Hi, its been one year almost since i bought my computer and its running a little hot - time for a clean I think.

    Im told that I need to ground myself before I start cleaning my computer, I do not have a wrist band - but am willing to buy one if its needed.

    What should I do to ground myself throughoughly without/without a wrist band so that I do not damage my computer?

    Ps: I have been told previously to "touch any part of the case from the inside, and try to avoid working on carpets if possible" but Im not sure if this is completely adequate/ do i have to touch the inside at all times.
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    As long as you do not move your feet
    And confirm all power is removed
    You can just touch the non-painted metal (inside the case) Once only
    But if you do move yourself again, just touch the metal again (once)

    By the way here is an excellent BenchTest guide
  3. BorisandBailey

    BorisandBailey TS Enthusiast Posts: 154

    A static electric shock to the system is not common but I still wear a grounding strap (They're cheap! Go to Tiger Direct and order a couple.) and make sure the computer's power supply is plugged in but that the power supply isn't on. Then the computer is grounded and so are you.

    Now, I said that static electrical damage isn't common, but I suppose it's a wonder I didn't do some damage to my own computer and my wife's computer those times I didn't ground myself while changing cd rom drives and even power supplies while laying on a carpet. I even have a picture of myself doing that on my website with my cat watching me. Those were the days I was teaching myself how to fix my own computers and being my own technician.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I found one here for $3 (not including shipping):
    But actually any local computer store would be ok

    Just in regards to Power In (But Power outlet turned off)
    I understand that you are "grounding" yourself properly, but I do not believe this is needed.

    Reason being is, if you connect yourself to the chassis of the computer case (either by a working "wrist strap" or just by touching the case) you are in fact putting yourself at the same potential as the case, and therefore you cannot cause shock to any component.

    I'd be interested in your further thoughts on this.
  5. BorisandBailey

    BorisandBailey TS Enthusiast Posts: 154

    I've no doubt you're right, as I have simply touched my computer case on bare metal, even on a carpet, and not had any damage done. These days we have a wooden floor, and I ground myself, wrist strap and all, but sometimes I'll forget to connect my strap, but I will touch the bare metal, and all is well.

    I think the ground strap and power supply method is recommended because the companies that sell computer components want as few returns as possible. That may sound cynical but, for them, it's the surest bet. When I worked at Micron back in the 90s as a web designer, their computers were assembled in rooms with concrete floors, and stripes were painted to show us where we were allowed to walk. All of us were required to take a short course on ESD (electrostatic discharge...why couldn't they just say "static electricity"?) and they took it very seriously...probably more so than they really needed to...because they painted ESD as insidious demons that were just waiting for a chance to fry a motherboard at the slightest slip. But they wanted to educate assemblers who were there for nothing more than a paycheck. Just off the subject, they did have a problem with assemblers who, once in awhile, stole computers!

    Still, I like to wear the metal strap and keep the power supply connected because it makes me feel good and just a titch more secure in working on computers.
  6. NZvista

    NZvista TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 90

    Hi, thanks for all thehelp from every one, I decided to get a wrist strap (cost me about $15 as i live in New Zealand), cleaned the computer - it wasnt as dusty as I thought.

    hence, I am of the opinion that I need more cooling, unfortunately I only have one 3pin slot named PWR_FAN left, would a normal case fan such as: (see link below) connect into one of these, If so, would it permanantly run at max or would it vary?
  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I cannot see what power connector that fan has.

    But to give you an example of my case
    I have:
    1 x CPU Fan (of course)
    1 x PowerSupply Fan (of course)
    1 x Video Card Fan (Many addon Video Cards come with this)
    1 x Case Fan (Plugging into Side of the computer case)
    3 x Case Fans (Plugging directly into the PowerSupply)

    I have confirmed I have an even air flow, from the front of the case, then blowing on HardDrives, then Motherboard, then out the back.
    This has taken me lots of trials and errors, to get the airflow correct

    Yes my 3 x Fans run at maximum speed ! (Reasonably quiet for my standards)
  8. NZvista

    NZvista TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 90

    So I can plug fans directly into the power supply? What conecter does this need 3 or 4bit/ How do you do it?
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    You can purchase a fan that comes with the the same 4pin connector as the Power Supply connectors normally have

    But you must first confirm that you still have these Power Connectors from the Power Supply available

    You can also purchase short power adaptor plugs that have the "Y" configuration (1 in, 2 out) allowing two devices (fans) to connect off one power connector

    Hmm That sounds a bit confusing, I hope you understand me
  10. NZvista

    NZvista TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 90

    Ok, cool. So how exactly do I check this? Do i have to open upt he case, and physically remove the power supply from its place?
  11. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523


    You need to remove all power first (ie Power Cord out)
    Then remove the side cover (usually left one only, but not always)
    Then Do Not touch anything (ie it is easy to shock these components from static charge)
    And view what Power Connectors are still available from the Power Supply
  12. NZvista

    NZvista TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 90

    Ok, heres the status. Have opened up the case (very carefuly) and spotted the power supply. It has half a million red, yellow and black leeds running out of it. I cant remember exactly, but I think there were 10 white plastic ends with 4 holes in them, are they the power sockets, or little components used by my computer sellers to conenct hardware tot he power supply?
  13. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Yes that's them. The white power plugs

    If you have a few (you say 10, but you may be exagerating a tad :) )
    Then any one of those can be connected to a case fan that has that plug (well the male end anyway)

    But if all this is new to you, then you may need someone with a little experience to help you
    But then again, we all start somewhere. Good Luck :grinthumb
  14. NZvista

    NZvista TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 90

    Yes, this is all new to me. However, Ive got it all soughted now (err.. i hope :p).

    Firstly, I need a Fan with 4 pins or a 3 pin one and an adapter.

    Then i need to plug it into one of the free power tags :)

    Then attach it to the 50X80 grill which i will be expanding to a 80x80 with a power dril.

    Thankyou for your help.
  15. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I hope that was just a simple mistake

    The only 3 Pin powered Fans are the ones that plug into the Motherboard
    Actually you may need your Manual to locate these pins on the Motherboard, just in case you have any available.

    But for the last few posts we have been speaking only about 4Pin Power Supply Plugs. The "Y" adaptor allowing 1 Power Supply plug, to feed two other devices, ie a Y configuration
  16. NZvista

    NZvista TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 90

    Oh, i was not aware that they actually sold 4pin fans. I thought that you had to buy a 3pinned fan and then get an adapter that turns 3 pins into four, like on this fan here:

    The part i mention is quite abit down on the specifications.

    Also, ive come across people sayign that you need an AC fan, how do i know whther or not it is AC?
  17. NZvista

    NZvista TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 90

    Oh btw, I have one slot n my mother board free, It only has 3 fan slots.

    It only has one 3 pin slot left, it is labeled "PWR_FAN"
  18. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Just buy a computer case fan with the 4pin Plug
    Also please read your Manual in case you have any vacant Case Fan connections on the Motherboard. Some have 3 !!
    1 for CPU Fan
    1 for Case
    and another 1 for Case

    I believe we have said all we can about case fans on this "Grounding yourself before cleaning " thread !

    Go to a computer tech shop, and have a look

    No more questions on case fans please :)


    Yes that will be good for a Case Fan
    But read your Manual
  19. NZvista

    NZvista TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 90

    Ok, enough said. Will go have a look around some shops.

    Thnkyou and Bye Bye
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