Static electricity? cleaning dust?

By mom2techsupport ยท 8 replies
Sep 3, 2008
  1. disclaimer:
    i'm a little embarassed to even have to ask such basic questions. however, it seems easier to find information to solve technical questions than to find information spelling out what most people just know.

    background for static electricity questions:
    i've read that--
    grounding is important when working on hardware. this can be accomplished with an antistatic wrist band and a cardboard box.

    1. if we open a case on a wood kitchen table and work while standing on a tile floor, is this sufficient?
    2. is there anything i should know about the tools we use? i use chopsticks to hold things out of my way, for reaching things or to help me get the cases apart when they don't just have screws. is this okay?
    3. i use a regular plastic screwdriver when i need one. do i need to do anything to ground it?

    about cleaning:
    canned air seems to be the choice. is it the only choice? can i use a clean paintbrush, a microfiber cloth, or a magic eraser on parts. is it a HUGE no-no to use the dyson?

    some of the computers my son and i have been working on are very old, most have been stored in garages. while they are working fine without much cleaning, it goes against my instinct to put anything back together without wiping it down first.

    for the record, we aren't running a business. it's just something fun to do and i don't want to put a lot of funds into it.
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    If you touch the metal of the case, you are at the same potential as the case
    Therefore you cannot harm the parts (unless you build up Static Electricity by moving around again.

    The brush is OK too
  3. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 572   +6

    I use an anti-static wrist band, a pair of rubber gloves(the ones that doctors use), and I wear flip flops(Rubber) with no socks. No such thing as overly cautious, especially when working on someone else system . As for cleaning compressed air is good, brush is better for in dept cleaning.
  4. InsaneVr6

    InsaneVr6 TS Booster Posts: 221

    As long as you dont touch metal (or ANY POWER TOOLS) to the hardware, you should be fine. And i would say compressed air is the best choice for cleaning the 'inside' of things like the CPU. But it wont due much if you want to get rid of the fine layer of dust that ususally sits around (or on) the motherboard. A CLEAN brush going gently (no force is needed) will be perfectly fine.
  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  6. mom2techsupport

    mom2techsupport TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thank you so much, that was very helpful.

    does anyone happen to know if nitrile is okay? (latex issues)
  7. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    Rubber gloves would be OK as long as you didn't then touch your exposed wrist or perhaps a shirt sleeve.

    Frankly, that is overkill!

    You turn off the comp, you unplug it, you press the power button and watch the fans spin and then stop (stored energy) and then open it up.

    You take a piece of very flexible stranded wire and attach it to the case using one of the case screws you undid, this is in turn attached with a nut and bolt to a 2'x3' aluminium work screen (mat) upon which sits the computer and allows you to keep constantly discharging yourself.

    Then, you operate.

    I like the semi-stiff paint brush route and a low pressure air compressor (the 12 v automotive ones are great because they don't build a lot of pressure if the valve is held open, they don't have any oil in them, and they are cheap).

  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,033   +2,558

    You Had me Until the "Unplug It" Part

    All of this post applies to correctly wired, 115 volt USA electrical sockets.

    You do not have to unplug the computer >>>BUT<<< it >>>MUST<<< be hooked to a surge supressor!!!!
    In USA electrical standards both the Green (or bare copper wire) and the white "common wire" are BOTH grounds. As surely as though you banged a copper rod into mother earth. In fact, doing just that is part of most modern electrical codes.

    If you leave your computer plugged in, but turn off the power strip, only the black, or "hot" wire is disconnected. That means, your case is still fully grounded. So, if you put on your little anti-static wrist strap, take your shoes off, and stand on a piece of plywood, you'd really have to want to damage your computer, even then it might not be possible.

    But, on a simpler note, if you work with a turned off power strip and an anti-static strap, any charge you might pick will automatically be siphoned off to ground.
  9. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    Static electricity (the thing we're trying to avoid) builds up in ungrounded items and discharges to grounded items.

    If the comp isn't grounded, it has a limited ability to absorb static charges and if the worker is constantly in touch with the comp via a ground mat then there is 0 chance of static build up or discharge.
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