ESD anti-static straps, etc...

I've always worn an anti-static wrist strap when working on PC components. I'd hook it up to the metal of the pc case or some other metal. This is what I've always heard to do, but now I've read in several places that it must be attached to something grounded, such as a PC case that is plugged into a proper outlet, but turned off. Is this true???

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More about anti static straps
  1. If you want to be really technical and rigorous... yes.. you need to connect it to a big metal object that is somehow connected to ground... the groung of an outlet will do or the side of the case... Typically though computer components are not that sensitive to electrostatic shock although they can be damaged I have never had experience with that... All you need to do is wear shoes when you work with a computer so you don't rub your sicks on anything... and ground your self to your case befor you start.. that should be sufficient...

    To err is human... to really screw things up you need a computer!
  2. Yep... so long as you and the case are at the same potential, static won't become current and you shouldn't have any problems. I just make a point of touching the case for a few seconds before inserting or removing components and I've never had a problem.

    --->It ain't better if it don't work<---
  3. Just agreeing here.... I just touch the case beforehand and I've never had a static-blowing-up-components type problem, in about 5 years of sticking my grubby paws into computers....

    :smile: :tongue: :smile:
  4. In addition, never touch the IC's or other components either, always handle components by their edges and use antistatic bags on any work surfaces you're placing components on.

    <b>Vorsprung durch Dontwerk</b>.....<i>as they say at VIA</i>
  5. Here is a post from another forum. Wondering if you guys have any input:Ok, I'll use the strap connected to the chassis (but not plugged in), I'll use anti-static carpet spray, I'll touch the pc case before I touch a component, and my work space will be a wooden table. How do these steps sound as a reasonable amount of prevention?

    A couple more questions though:

    -is the wooden table a good idea?

    -what is a good material to set my case on while assembling the pc, I don't want to scratch the table?

    -is it safe to set the components on the wooden table or do I have to go directly from bag to pc or pc frame as one suggested?

    -when touching the pc case to discharg myself do I have to remain touching it like one said about leaving your forearm on the case, or can I just touch it and then proceed working since I'll have the strap on?

    -I didn't have my pc frame handy and I wanted to check out my new video card so touched and then attached my wrist strap to a nearby utility knife, do you think this protected the component?

  6. I think you might be being a little bit OVERcautious now. Basically to sum up what everyone has already said.

    - Touch the case prior to grabbing components to discharge any static that might have built up.

    - Handle components by their edges.

    - Use common sense.

    - Don't shuffle around on a shag carpet in your sock feet before working on your computer :tongue: .

    If you just use common sense you shouldn't have any problem. I've built numerous computers sitting on the floor with wall to wall carpetting and have never had a problem (knock on wood, building a new system this weekend...haha).

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Javic on 04/30/03 01:29 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  7. Just to show the non caution side of computer work...

    I've been building pc's since my second computer (a 486 dx 50 woot-- heh) and I've never once used a static strap, I've had computers torn apart on carpeted, wood, tile, and linoleum<sp> floors in clothing ranging from nekkid to damn near winter garb and never once have I had a computer component get dusted from static... now I put my knee down on one once... and that was quite terminal for the part and for my knee (little board shards hurt bad!)

    Generally the only precaution I have ever taken is before I pick anything up or stick my hands anywhere that contains exposed electronics is to touch something metal... door knob, case, lamp, whatever. So 15+ years and running and no dead cards/motherboards/chips... I think it's generally an overrated concern.


    EDIT: I think Javic has the core of it right in his last point... "Don't shuffle around on a shag carpet in your sock feet before working on your computer"<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Shadus on 05/01/03 09:33 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  8. Thanks everyone, I'll just take basic measures and not worry too much about it.
  9. and to answer this question... "I didn't have my pc frame handy and I wanted to check out my new video card so touched and then attached my wrist strap to a nearby utility knife, do you think this protected the component?"

    Probally not. Generally the test is when you grab it if it shocks the hell outta you, it is grounded. If it doesn't... then it isn't grounded (and nor are you.) Personally I wish I could have one of those freezer doors they have at the store near where I live, everytime I touch one I get the [-peep-] shocked outta me (though that may be a short in the cooling somewhere...)

  10. Interesting. It brings up the question as to why touching the computer frame before working on the computer to release the charge would help insure components when the PC isn't grounded unless plugged into a proper outlet? Why wouldn't the metal of a utility knife do the same thing, neither are grounded anyway. Door handles aren't grounded either and I get shocked by them all the time.
  11. I also touch the metal bracket of the card before touching the edges, would that help or would the charge travel through?

  12. The whole point is to touch the metal case WHILE its plugged in (ie Grounded) before you work on it. Once you do that and discharge any static that's built up, you're free to unplug it and take it apart as you see fit. Touching any metal thats not grounded isn't going to do squat (ie the x-acto knife)
  13. Why then do many guides say to hook up the ESD wrist strap to a metal surface like the case, but specify that it doesn' thave to be plugged in? Also, touching the case while it is plugged in and then unplugging it and messing with it as you see fit doesn't insure that a charge may build again unless you use a strap or mat or other method of prevention.
  14. Beats me :) I just know that when you get shocked grabbing something metal you are discharging any static electricity build up that you presently have.

  15. I've fried an entire computer, a Mac Plus, installing memory. Basically my Dad and I were both trying to install it and he wasn't grounded while I was wearing a grounding strap. The entire thing needed to be replaced.

    Recently though it seems almost impossible to fry a PC or a component without doing something really stupid like rubbing the components on carpet.

    I just tap the powersupply or case occasionaly to ground myself. Keep the power cable plugged into the wall so that the computer is grounded.

    <font color=green>Everyone should be like the Dutch. They're perfect.</font color=green>
  16. Ah, and be carefull about dropping screws.

    <font color=green>Everyone should be like the Dutch. They're perfect.</font color=green>
  17. ... Especially if you drop a screw between the mobo and the case... and say oh it must have fell out, while it's actually shorting a bunch of solder points to your case ;)

    To err is human... to really screw things up you need a computer!
  18. heh, now there's a good way to kill a pc off...

    "Whats that snapping sound... smoke?!"

  19. Bumped for lymponus

  20. Thanks Shadus

    Usually I search through the posts to make sure I don't repost a topic already covered, but I was on my way to bed and didn't bother to check. Thanks everyone for all the help.


    "All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope." - Sir Winston Churchill
  21. I know this is an ancient thread, but just to note a new case I got is completely painted over, even on the inside - so I'm thinking I need something else to ground with? I guess it'd be a good idea to get something that goes into the ground in an outlet, and even better into a surge protector with an LED that indicates it is in fact grounded. (this old house has 3 prong outlets that are actually not)

    I'm guessing what's already been said here hasn't really changed in the last 7 years..
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