Static Electricity - read before openning cases/towers....

By Grimalkin ยท 5 replies
Aug 5, 2007
  1. Hi Guys and Gals in TechSpot
    Just thought Id add a little side note....When you are going to open your tower or case to reset the cmos, install hardware, etc., I know some posts tell you to unplug the mains power. Just a different variation, Safely isolate the mains supply (TURN OFF SWITCH )but leave the cord plugged in.
    Once you have removed the cover, discharge any static electricity you might be holding by touching the side of the power supply which is grounded to earth. Ideally a bonding strap bought from an electronics store is preferred.
    I know its a simple thing but sometimes overlooked casing more headaches.
  2. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    Very true!

    I worked in high tech as an embedded systems developer. I handled electronics routinely. Proper grounding makes a difference. Sometimes, you don't see the static spark, it's that subtle but it can fry a component.

    While you're upgrading your hardware with the case removed, it's a good time to blow out any dust built up. That's something else a lot of people don't realize. Excessive dust build up can cause hardware problems, even disable your comp! Take a vacuum or hairdryer and remove all that dust!
  3. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Lol, this topic came right out of the blue.....

    Very true, but in reality, if you did touch the case, and have an anti-static wrist strap connected to the case, it should be pretty much the same.

    Problem only occurs if the case is plugged in, you're NOT grounded, and you went straight to the motherboard.


    The case ISN'T plugged in, and you're barefoot on the ground, and you went straight to the motherboard.

    Moral of the story: don't go straight to the motherboard.

  4. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    *just to play devils advocate*, I've had a wriststrap for years now. And in over 30 system builds its not even come out the bag it came in. I do touch the sides of the case or a nearby peice of metal however and the correct method is to use a strap, but i've never had a problem without it.
  5. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    That's 100% correct! So long as you ground yourself, that's all that matters! Either touching ground or using a wriststrap, it's the same in the end. The wrist strap just ensures that you are grounded at all times. But routinely touching the chassis is all you need to do, it's the same.
  6. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Its not grounding yourself that matters. Static electricity is just and imbalance of electrons between one object and another. What happens when you touch the case is you're allowing those electrons to move between you, making them equal.

    And when they're equal, you've got no potential energy (volts). Without potential energy, you can't burn stuff.

    And what happens if you are grounded and your PC is not plugged in? There is 0V between you and the Earth, and goodness knows how much between the computer and the earth/you. And this will flow through you to get to the earth, blowing up stuff (and maybe give you a zap on the fingers).

    Same thing the opposite way.

    As long as you keep an electrical connection between you and your PC case (keep one hand on the PC case at all times), the potential difference between you and the case will always be 0V.
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